Archive for the ‘Home Cooking’ Category

Thrown together

April 24, 2010

One of the things I miss most about not writing a cookbook is making Korean meals that are just thrown together.  The kind of Korean dishes Diane and I are most interested in are ones for which there aren’t really set recipes.  It matters how salty your soy sauce or how sweet your cabbage is — it’s really hard to say you must include a tablespoon of this or a teaspoon of that.  But I know people want guidance in a cookbook, even if it’s just that you start with a tablespoon and then add more to taste, which means I wield my measuring cups and spoons much more than I normally do.  I also know that we’re dealing with the additional challenge of explaining unfamiliar ingredients to the non-Koreans we hope will buy this book.

This lunch salad, though, was thrown together with leftover cheongpo-muk, a jelly made out of mung bean starch, and leftover perilla leaves, scallions, and sprouts.  I drizzled some soy sauce and sesame oil, I sprinkled a big pinch of gochukaru or red pepper powder.  It was really good.  But I can’t tell you exactly how I made it.

So how much guidance do you look for in a cookbook?

The New York Times just noticed people are taking photos of food

April 7, 2010

First Camera, Then Fork

I took this photo awhile ago, but I don’t post every photo of food I take.  It’s kongguksu, a summery dish of wheat-flour noodles in a cold soybean soup that gets liberally salted.  The whiteness of it bothered me when I was a kid, but now, I think it’s delicious.

The Question of Scallions, Part I

March 8, 2010

Writing a cookbook is hard.  I lie awake at night wondering why my seolleontang didn’t turn white.  I worry that my food tastes bad, or even worse, just mediocre.  I plan grocery expeditions in three different boroughs and feel my shoulders ache just thinking of carrying the groceries home.  And of course, there is the issue, or more accurately, issues of translating Korean ingredients into words that are understandable and available in English.

For example, the question of scallions.  The easiest way is to start with a picture: from left to right, a Korean daepa (대파), a leek, and a bunch of American scallions (also known as green onions, a whole separate issue for Part II of this post).

Korean cooking primarily uses two kinds of young, long green vegetables belonging to the Allium genus that comprises onions, leeks, shallots, garlic and chives.

The first, daepa, is about three-quarters to an inch thick and very long, so long I have to fold them in half to get them to fit inside my vegetable drawer.  They are often used to make stock, but they are also often thrown into soups right before serving, adding a flavor that remains fresh and sharp.  When used in this way, they are usually split in half lengthwise and then sliced thinly to create little half-moons of translucent green and white.  In the U.S., I’ve only ever been able to find them in Korean and Japanese grocery stores, never anywhere else.

Daepa is often translated in English-language Korean cookbooks as “leek.” That is not correct.  It may be fair to call them “Korean leeks,” but it’s definitely misleading to imply they’re simply the same leeks Americans are used to seeing in their grocery stores.  Yes, it belongs to the same family as leeks, and its size is closer to a leek than a scallion, but if you look closely, you can see that they are very different.  In the leek, the green stems grow out of the white base stiff and wide, like a fan.  In daepa, the green stems are floppier and more flexible.

Judging by this photo, the Catalan calcot may be similar to daepa.  It also may be accurate to call daepa a “welsh onion,” but I can’t say for sure because I’ve never seen a self-described welsh onion.

In flavor, daepa and leek are noticeably different as well.  When raw, a leek is mild and ever so faintly sweet.  Daepa has more of a kick with a lingering even fainter sweetness.  When cooked, the difference is even more noticeable.  Leeks cook up almost creamy in their sweetness.  Daepa sweetens as it cooks, like any onion, but it retains a sharper, more garlicky flavor.

The second type of green onion commonly used in Korean cooking is shilpa, 실파, often called just pa, . This is the type of scallion that gets cooked into seafood-scallion pancakes, chopped and thrown into marinades for bulgogi and galbi, and thrown into all kinds of soups and stews, as well as many kimchis.

Shilpa look a lot more like the scallions you can find in American grocery stores, but even they are not an exact match.  Compare the photo at the top and the photo just above, of shilpa that my mom bought while I was in Korea.  Korean shilpa are a little thinner and more delicate in both looks and in flavor.  Still, they’re a close enough match that I feel comfortable using American scallions when Korean recipes call for shilpa.

And here is where I make my stand as a cookbook author: I feel more comfortable using American scallions when Korean recipes call for daepa as well.

I know, you’re all reeling in horror.  But it’s true.  If you make a Korean beef stock with a leek, you will end up a stock that’s noticeably too sweet.  I know, I’ve tried.  It’s true that American scallions don’t add quite the same flavor as daepa.  But I find I can add just a little bit of extra sweetness with an onion, and I’m experimenting with whether it’s worth using a yellow onion rather than the white one more common in Korean cooking.

So that seems easy, right?  Buy a bunch of scallions and be done with it!  But that doesn’t get to the question of how scallions should be described…Stay tuned for Part II.

Lunar New Year Dumpling and Rice Cake Soup in Edible Pioneer Valley

February 17, 2010

Edible Pioneer Valley, covering Western Massachusetts, published a piece I wrote on tteok-mandu-guk, or dumpling and rice cake soup for its Winter 2010 issue.  Yay, someone other than me publishing me!  I realize it’s a little funny for me, living in Brooklyn, to write a piece for a local food-oriented magazine in Pioneer Valley, but that’s the beauty of home cooking — you make it at home and it becomes local.  (Just so you know, I didn’t pick the title.)

I can’t seem to figure out how to create a single PDF document from three scanned pages, but if you click on the photos and magnify, you should be able to read it.  You can also see the individual PDF pages on these three pages. Thanks to my wonderful friend Carolyn, you can now see the pages merged into a single PDF document.

A caveat: I stand by the dumpling recipe published here — it’s tasty — but it’ll probably go through another iteration to be a bit more traditional before it ends up in the cookbook.  And after a lesson with my mom’s friend, who used to make dumplings for a living, I am confident I will have a dumpling wrapper recipe as well!

Homemade hotteok

February 4, 2010

There are a lot of hotteok recipes online.  Based on my blog stats, there are even more people looking for hotteok recipes.  It surprised me that a street food, a simple fried pancake stuffed with brown sugar and nuts, is so sought after.  And then I remembered what it tastes like.

Diane and I agreed when we started working on the cookbook that we would focus on home cooking.  There were people who really wanted us to do a cookbook of Korean royal palace-style food, but we wanted to focus on the kind of food we like best: hearty, simple, and homey.

So where does something like hotteok (pronounced “hoe dduk”) fit in?  It’s not something Koreans generally make at home, though premade mixes are popular.  For all the food trends that come and go in Korea, hotteok has staying power.  The dough might change—one year, corn is in, another green tea—and the cooking contraptions change sometimes, too.  I’ve had hotteok that are practically deep-fried and hotteok that are airy, light shells around a thin film of sugar.  (They don’t taste as good as the greasy ones.)  But you can find it wherever young people are hanging out on the streets, even in the dead of winter, at rest stops all over the country, and even in chi-chi department store basement food courts.

I think this is why people outside of Korea are searching for the recipe online.  It might not be something you eat at home, but it’s still intensely familiar.  When it’s gone, there is a big hole in your life.  Like peanut butter for American expats in Europe, or Vegemite for Australians.

Having tried a couple of different recipes online, though, I have to say most of them are not quite right.  The biggest challenge is getting the perfect chewiness right.  It may be hard for you to find glutinous rice flour (also called sweet rice flour), but if the recipe you’re looking at only uses regular all-purpose wheat flour, you are going to wonder how these hockey pucks are supposed to resemble hotteok.  Gluten develops through kneading, and that can make an all-flour dough chewy to a certain extent, the way certain pizza doughs are chewy.  But hotteok aren’t tough-chewy, they’re tender-chewy, like Japanese mochi, Korean tteok, and other foods made with, you guessed it, glutinous rice flour.

The problem, though, is a recipe with a lot of glutinous rice flour is going to be ridiculously sticky.  I found one recipe that made a really wet, spongy dough, very similar to the dough from the mixes, and this one certainly resulted in a chewier pancake, but the dough was so sticky, my hands looked like those of a monster from the deep.  I had to practically sling the dough, misshapen as it was, into the pan, since it wasn’t going to separate from me otherwise.

So the following recipe is my two cents in the discussion of how to make good hotteok at home.  The ratio of glutinous rice flour to wheat flour is almost 1:1, but I keep the liquids low enough that the dough is still manipulable.  As lazy as I am, I’ve found it’s worth it to finely chop the nuts in the filling.  Otherwise, they take up too much space and not enough brown sugar ends up in the pancake.  It’s not as super-crispy as the almost deep-fried hotteok I saw last winter in Seoul.  Instead, it’s chewy with a crust that’s still a bit like bread, and the look is more traditional, a golden-brown center ringed with a paler crust.  Knowing me, I’ll probably tinker with it some more before it gets published in the cookbook, but if you get a chance to try it, I’d love to hear what you think.

호떡

Sticky rice pancakes filled with brown sugar and nuts

Hotteok

Makes 8 small pancakes.

  • ¼ cup lukewarm water
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 teaspoon active-dry yeast
  • 1 cup flour
  • ¾ cup glutinous rice flour
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ½ cup milk
  • 3 tablespoons canola or vegetable oil
  • filling:
  • ¼ cup brown sugar
  • ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 2 tablespoons finely chopped walnuts or peanuts

Stir together the lukewarm water, one tablespoon of sugar, and active-dry yeast in a small bowl until the sugar and yeast dissolve.  Let it sit for 10 minutes, during which time it will start to bubble and foam.

Combine the flour, glutinous rice flour, salt and remaining tablespoon of sugar in a large bowl.  Add the yeast-sugar mixture and the milk.

Using your hands, bring the dough together into a sticky ball.  Knead it a couple of times, for about two or three minutes.  The dough will be sticky, but it should still come off your hands and stay together.  Cover with plastic and place in a warm spot for 3 hours.  (I put mine on top of my heater.)

After 3 hours, the dough will have doubled in size.  It will look pretty puffy.  When you knead the dough, the dough will almost puncture and let out some air, but remain relatively airy and spongy.  Knead the dough a couple times until it becomes more elastic, but keep in mind that it will never become a smooth, elastic ball of dough.

Combine the sugar, cinnamon, and walnuts in a small bowl.

Heat the oil in a large pan on medium-high heat.  Make sure your pan is hot before you start — your pancake should sizzle when it hits the pan or it won’t form a good crisp crust.  Oil your hands and pinch off a piece of dough, about 2-3 tablespoons.  Knead it into a smooth ball and then stretch it out into a loose circle, creating a depression in the middle.  Fill the depression with the sugar mixture, about a tablespoon worth.  (Ignore how large the walnut pieces are in this photo — this was an earlier draft experiment.)  Stretch and seal the dough around the sugar mixture and flatten it between the palms of your hands.

Drop the flattened ball of dough into the pan.  The oil should be hot enough to sizzle.  Smooth some oil on your spatula and press down on the ball of dough, flattening it further.  Continue making balls of dough until the pan has 3 or 4 pancakes in it. Be careful not to crowd the pan.

Fry the pancakes until golden-brown, about 3 minutes on each side.  Remove from the pan and let them drain on a paper towels or a wire rack.  Serve warm.

Kimchi excuses

January 14, 2010

This isn’t a real blog post.  I’ve been working on one, but have somehow gotten stuck.  I’m hoping to get unstuck, but my excuse is that I’ve been making a lot of kimchi and jangajji (deeply salty Korean pickles).  I have too much in my refrigerator, not all of it is good, and I need to deal with it.

From left to right:

Back row: Green chile peppers in brine, waiting to be pickled in soy sauce; cucumber kimchi; pickled garlic; kkakdugi or radish; and green cabbage kimchi.

Front row: Pickled perilla leaves; oiji or pickled cucumbers; and dongchimi, or water kimchi, which was absolutely abysmal.

(There’s a circular depression on the kkaenip or perilla leaves because I weighed it down with an egg cup.)

It’s been a frustrating couple of months, pickle-wise.  There are some kimchis that I’ve made that I’ve felt really good about, but they’re the easy ones, cucumber and radish, spicy and tart at the same time.  I like my kkaenip-jangajji or pickled perilla leaves also.  I’ve been experimenting with fish sauce and anchovy stock, in addition to soy sauce, sugar, and vinegar, and I really like where I’m going.

But baechu-kimchi, the classic Napa cabbage that everyone knows and loves, has vexed me.  I’ve had friends eat and enjoy batches I’ve made, but it hasn’t once tasted quite right to me, or at least not through the whole process.  I made a batch recently that my sister really liked.  It was more lightly salted and fresher than most, the way my mom makes it, which I’ve recently found is a Seoul tendency.  But it ripened into something really blah.  I’ve made others where it tasted boring at first and then over time, became something sort of darkly interesting.

I’m starting to accept that making kimchi is unlike any other kind of cooking I’ve ever done before.  It’s not cooking in a literal sense, of course, but it’s also requires a certain kind of faith that’s unnecessary when you’re frying pork chops.  Making kimchi is a little bit like baking, something I don’t really enjoy, because once you put it in the oven, there’s nothing you can do to help it.  Except kimchi is even worse — that cake won’t come out of the oven for a long, long time.  And the cake will keep changing on you over months and you just have to accept it.  I ate kimchi almost everyday growing up, but I never followed a batch from the beginning, I never decided myself when the batch was done.  (The decision to pull the plug on a batch of kimchi is a difficult one, and only you can decide for yourself when it’s time.)

It’s only recently that people have started writing down recipes for kimchi, of course, the kind of recipes that try to quantify how much salt, how much fish sauce, how many spoonfuls of pickled shrimp.  The most important ingredient is salt, and as a chef told me recently, salt is the only seasoning that brings out the natural flavors of the underlying ingredient more sharply.  So even if your kimchi seems to be smothered in garlic, ginger, and crushed red pepper, what makes it good is the quality of the underlying vegetable and your skill in drawing out that flavor through salt.  You have to know your cabbage well.  You have to know that winter cabbage is sweeter than summer cabbage, that cabbages from certain mountains are crisper than cabbages from elsewhere, and then, almost intuitively, adjust your salt accordingly.

Ultimately, I don’t think you can learn to make kimchi from a recipe, no matter what Bobby Flay tells you.  (He uses vinegar and vegetable oil!  Read Maangchi‘s full take-down here.)  You can certainly follow a recipe and end up with good kimchi.  I’m going to include kimchi recipes in the cookbook, and you better believe I will stand behind them.  But to learn and to know how to make kimchi takes time and practice.  It takes a certain willingness to let go and be intuitive, to be humble and flexible.  Being an A student who always follows the directions exactly isn’t going to make it happen, a lesson I have learned from experience.

The last thing I want to do is discourage anyone from making kimchi.  It really isn’t hard, fermentation anyway.  In fact, I think what I am trying to say is the more you make kimchi, the more rewarding it will be.

To read about a Korean-American whose guilt-laden struggles led to something awesome, read this (via ZenKimchi).  It’s a Wall Street Journal article about Roy Choi, the chef of the Kogi Korean taco truck in LA.  My favorite part:

“Korean parents hate to even think about a boy becoming a chef or working in a kitchen,” says his father, Soo Myung Choi, 59. “We wanted him to become a medical doctor, lawyer or government official.” Finally reckoning it would never happen, the elder Mr. Choi asked his son what the Harvard of culinary arts was, and suggested he attend.

Rice Cake Soup for the New Year

December 30, 2009

Given that today is the second-to-last day of 2009, I really should write something about tteok-guk, the soup with which every Korean celebrates the New Year.  Unfortunately, I already wrote about rice cake soup in April.  What more can I say?

But I do have a revised recipe.  This one is for tteok guk with dumplings or mandu, which I love best, but feel free to leave out the dumplings.  The recipe is easily doubled and tripled — feed a crowd!

Wishing you many blessings in the New Year.  새해 복 많이 받으세요.

New Year’s Day Rice Cake and Dumpling Soup

Tteok Mandu Guk

Serves 4-6.

Broth:

  • 1 pound beef brisket, trimmed of fat
  • water for soaking, plus 16 cups
  • 2-3 cloves garlic
  • 4-5 scallions
  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce
  • salt

Soup:

  • 24 dumplings, frozen or homemade
  • 3 cups sliced rice cakes
  • 1-2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 1 teaspoon sesame oil
  • ½ teaspoon crushed red pepper (Korean gochukaru if available, optional)
  • 2 teaspoons minced garlic
  • 3 scallions, green and white parts, sliced into thin rounds
  • 4 eggs
  • 2 sheets gim or toasted, dried seaweed (also known as Japanese nori and laver, optional), cut into thin two-inch long strips
  • freshly ground black pepper

Soak the beef brisket in cold water to cover for one hour.  This draws out much of the blood, which is important as Koreans value broth that is clear in color.

Drain the brisket and put it with the garlic cloves, whole scallions, and 16 of water in a large pot.  Bring to a boil.  Skim off the foam and fat that appears on the surface of the broth.  Reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer covered for 1 hour.  Discard the garlic and scallions and cover the pot partially.  Simmer another hour until the meat is tender.  The broth will have reduced to 12-14 cups.

Remove the meat from the broth.  When the meat is cool enough to touch, shred it into thin strips and toss them in a bowl with 1 tablespoon of soy sauce, sesame oil, crushed red pepper, minced garlic, and sliced scallions.  Set aside.

In the meantime, soak the rice cakes in cold water to cover for 30 minutes to remove excess starch.  Drain and set aside.

Bring the beef broth back to a boil and season it with 1 tablespoon of soy sauce and 1 teaspoon of salt.  If it needs more seasoning, use salt as soy sauce will darken the broth.

Add the dumplings to the boiling broth.  Simmer for 10 minutes, then add the rice cakes and simmer for another 5 minutes.   Taste one of the rice cakes.  It should be tender but still chewy.  If not, simmer the soup for another minute or two.  Otherwise, break the eggs into the soup and stir to create ribbons of cooked eggs.

To serve, ladle the soup, dumplings, and rice cakes into large bowls.  Place some of the shredded beef on top of each bowl with a couple strips of toasted seaweed and a sprinkle of black pepper.

Ack, it’s been three weeks since my last post!

October 26, 2009

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I recently realized how much work I have to do to get this cookbook written and I started to spend more time panicking than blogging. So I am going to take a tip from a good friend of mine and take stock of what I’ve done this year.

Since March, I’ve cooked 21 Korean Sunday dinners and worked on 98 recipes.  Each dinner included anywhere from 6-12 people.  In total, I’ve fed about 69 different people, many of whom have come multiple times.  I’ve made new friends, people who I met simply because they were willing to come eat at a stranger’s house.  (There are a surprising number of you out there.)  I’m not as close to having well-developed versions of recipes as I’d like, but I’ve made a lot of progress.  This isn’t even counting the number of dishes Diane’s cooked, the number of people she’s fed.  I think we might actually finish this book.  Not this year, but next!

I’ve been working on writing up my notes from our incredible trip to Korea in September-October, but it’s been hard to find time between the cooking, the recipe-revising, the other job, and life.  But I hope to get something up soon, and in the meantime, here is a somewhat unattractive photo of the galbi–jim (braised short ribs with chestnuts, jujubes, and shitake mushrooms) I made last night.  I used Diane’s great-aunt’s recipe — she soaks the ribs in Coca-Cola for 3 hours to “draw out the blood” and she doesn’t use sesame oil and sesame seeds, which is almost as shocking and scandalous as the use of soda.

It was delicious.  I was proud.  Onwards.

Chuseok Feast

October 3, 2009

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On Saturday, October 3, the moon shone the fullest it has all year, and Koreans celebrated 추석, Chuseok, also known as Hangawi.  The holiday isn’t quite the same as the Chinese Mid-Autumn festival or the Vietnamese Tet Trung Thu, but all three celebrations occur at the same time each year, as they’re centered on the harvest moon.  Supposedly, Chuseok in Korea has its origins in moon worship, which sounds sort of lovely and ethereal, but it’s now a holiday as frenzied as Christmas.

In the days leading up to Chuseok, the streets of Seoul were clogged with people driving to get groceries, buy gifts, and presumably go home to their hometowns to pay their respects to their ancestors.  It’s not a gift-giving holiday quite like Christmas, but it’s that perfect opportunity to ask So-and-So for a favor with a well-timed gift, like a $200 box of beef or even a $35 Spam gift set.  (I’m not sure what kind of favor that will buy you, but keep in mind this is a Spam-loving country.)  Of course, there are gifts that are given just out of kindness and generosity, like the giant box of beautiful peaches my aunt sent over, but I kind of love the thought that some shady deals might be being made over a box of raw short ribs.  If I were in a position to grant favors, I would certainly rather get meat than a Tiffany crystal vase.

In the end, though, Chuseok is much more like Thanksgiving than Christmas.  Once the three-day holiday actually begins, the roads begin to empty because people are at home spending time with their families.  There’s an acknowledgment of the past, as people honor their ancestors by tending their graves and setting a sumptuous table before them.  And there’s a thankfulness for the present, with a ritual offering of the first rice of the harvest to one’s ancestors.

Most of all, there is a lot of food.  My family gave up on driving anywhere during Chuseok years ago, but at least while my sister and I lived here, we always took the “eat a lot” tradition very seriously.  Once we left home, my mother would tell me via phone how good all the food was and how sad she was we weren’t there to eat it.  So given the opportunity, how could I not come home for Chuseok?

P1020282

The foods served traditionally at Chuseok are your usual chesa foods, the ancient classics that are placed on a low table for your ancestors, with an emphasis on the harvest’s first fruits.  There’s almost always jeon, or pan-fried fritters, and a meat dish in celebration.

P1020290

In our house, every big holiday is an excuse to eat kalbi-jjim, or super-fatty short ribs braised with chestnuts and dates in a sweet, soy sauce marinade.

P1020285

The rest of the foods served vary from family to family.  Our Chuseok table included steamed prawns; bindaetteok or mung bean pancakes, shrimp and zucchini jeon; bean sprout kongnamul; bellflower roots and cucumbers tossed in a tangy, spicy sauce; and a light Western-influenced salad with my mom’s signature nut-pepper dressing.

P1020283

We made an old favorite, seogogi chapssalgui, where you take thin slices of beef marinated like bulgogi, slightly sweet and salty, and then dredge it in sticky rice flour.  It gets pan-fried, and then you wrap each slice around slivered green onions, sprouts, and thinly sliced perilla leaves, with a dab or two of a vinegar-mustard sauce.

And of course, there were multiple kinds of kimchi: Napa cabbage, young radish, and a cold, refreshing water kimchi filled with thinly sliced radish.  My mother must have been inspired by my cookbook project, because she resurrected a Chuseok tradition from her family, 토란탕 or beef and taro soup.

P1020270

We washed it all down with a couple of bottles of 경주겨동법주, Gyeongju beopju, an ancient wine with a clear, light and fragrant flavor, similar to Japanese sake.  It’s apparently been designated “Important Intangible Cultural Property No. 86-3,” and must always be made with water from the well of the Choi family in Gyeonsan Province!

P1020287

We ended the meal with the one food that is truly particular to Chuseok, the way turkey is to Thanksgiving, 송편, songpyeon or pine-steamed rice cakes.  (The block on the left is a white tteok filled with beans–my favorite.)  The exact shape and recipe for songpyeon varies from region to region, but they all have a sweet filling, usually made of sesame seeds or white beans, and they’re steamed on a bed of sweet-smelling pine needles.  The outer dough can range in color as well, from pure white to dark green, even a sweet yellow or pink.  Sitting around and making them as a family was a game, and the person who made the prettiest one would soon meet a good-looking husband or wife.  Given how obsessed my parents are with marriage and grandchildren, I’m glad songpyeon is one of the few things my family has never made from scratch.

I have to confess I didn’t make all this food.  My mother rules her kitchen, and she wasn’t going to give up her realm so easily, but she did let me and my sister do quite a bit.  When we sat down to eat, it felt like we had made dinner together as a family, which, in the end, is really the best way to cook a Chuseok feast.

More goodies from my trip to Flushing

September 9, 2009

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I don’t mean to sound like a broken record, but I really really love 떡, tteok.

I especially love it when I can find it fresh, in long, thick strips, like I did at Hansol Party House at 160-28 Northern Boulevard in Flushing, Queens.

P1010383

A big 2-3 lb. package normally costs $7, but the lady insisted on charging us only $5 because she said there was a little too much water in it that day. She said it would be fine for eating fresh that day, whether pan-fried or sautéed as tteokbokki, but that it would fall apart if I put it in soup for tteok-guk.

I love it when people have such pride in their work, they have to acknowledge when they’re not at their best.

P1010404

I was planning to pan fry it for my favorite breakfast. There’s nothing you have to do, other than cut it into manageable pieces, as much as you think want to eat, and then heat some oil in a pan and drop it in. As it fries, it’ll form a lovely, crunchy golden crust while the inside gets warmer and softer. You can turn it around and around for an even glow. Then you can dip it in soy sauce with a little vinegar, sesame oil, and a pinch of crushed red pepper.  Or you can dip it in honey.

Garaetteok is such a versatile ingredient. It can go into tteokbokki, it can go into soup, it can thicken up spicy chicken dakgalbi.

DSC_0074

It can even be made into tteok ‘n cheese, a dish I imagined and my friends executed for a dinner in the Bay Area. I didn’t get to taste it, but I heard it was a huge hit.

But when it’s as good as the stuff from Hansol Party House, it doesn’t need anything else.


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