Monday, May 3, 2010

Spring has come!

It seems to late to say, but I truly feel it. Now I can finally say, spring has come.

During the Winter, everything freezes, including mind. When the Spring comes, everything relaxes, and this make people little bit nostalgic and lethargic. It sounds very counter intuitive, while the frogs are jumping out of their slumber and the sprouts are sprung, people rather look like the sleepy cat. But that is how we describe the sign of Spring in Korea. To wake up from the spring slumber, we use bitter spring greens. Dureup (Fatsia), Neangee, Chwi, Mindulea(Dandelion green), and countless other bitter greens will be in the market. People also go and gather wild greens. It is tradition born out of necessity since spring was lean season in Korea.

Now, I found myself hungry. Hungry for the spring greens in Korea. When I was back home this year, it was still too early for the greens I craved for. Well, I can not get them here in Boston, MA, U.S.A. I may get it with big money but it wouldn't be the same: the fresh and bright bitterness wouldn't be there. Yes, my head understand all of it, but my hunger went on for a while. So, when I found fresh chicory I have to grab it. Even though it is not the perfect thing.

I made my comfort food: kimchi bibimbop. First I made chicory kimchi and add it on the freshly made steamed rice, adorned with fried egg, sesame oil and Korean chili paste. The taste was as bright as the spring sun.

Chicory Kimchi

chicory 2 lb, soy sauce 1/4 cup, Korean chili flake 1/4 cup (or up to taste), garlic, grated 1 T,
1/2 small Asian pear grounded (or 1t sugar with 1/4 cup water)

1. wash chicory well and drain it well.
2. mix soy sauce, pear, chili flake, garlic well.
3. add seasonings to chicory, mix well (but be gentle!!!) and let it sit for a day in room temperature.

It can be eaten as it is, but adding sesame oil or toasted sesame seeds right before eating is good option. (Do NOT mix sesame oil when you make kimchi if you intent to store it. sesame oil goes rancid faster than you can say rancid. :) )

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