Elwood 5566

Snacking Out on a Lobster – Monday Market

Posted in Food and Drink, Monday Market (Theme), seafood by 노강호 on February 29, 2012

so delicious

Recently, there seems to have been a glut of both lobster and the most enormous ‘banana prawns’  in my market and the local supermarket. Indeed, I’ve eaten more lobster in the last week than I’ve probably eaten in my entire life. They weren’t necessarily the biggest lobsters you could buy but to do that I’d have to take home a living one and despite my fondness for their flesh, I’m not sure if I’d be capable of committing one to a cauldron of boiling water.

As for the prawns – I’ve never seen banana prawns in the UK. First they are big, in some cases close to six inches in length, head to tail and discounting their antennae and second, lovely and plump.  I’m not sure if their name is derived from their size, or their slightly yellowy-pink colour. One evening, I treated myself to both a lobster and banana prawns, serving them with a salad. I couldn’t resist the purchase as they were reduced to 6000W (£3) but usually the price for a single lobster or around 15 prawns varies between this and 10000W (£5).

When I was considering the extravagance of a lobster and prawn dinner, and being dissuaded, I had to remind myself  how much that is in the UK, a piddly £6! And I had to remind myself that while I can buy a bag of prawns for around the same price back home, they are always the little things, probably caught off the coast of Scotland, shipped to China for processing, and then stored in a refrigerator warehouse for 2 years. Half their weight is glaceed water and they are totally tasteless. I think many British people have completely forgotten the taste of an unadulterated, fresh prawn just as much as they forgotten about pork or bacon that doesn’t piss a puddle of  water into the pan when you try to fry it! This week, I’ve eaten five lobsters and two were just for a snack!

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Lion’s Mane Mushroom – Monday Market (노루궁뎅이 버섯)

Posted in Food and Drink, Monday Market (Theme), plants and trees by 노강호 on February 29, 2012

the impressive Lion's Mane Mushroom - aka Pom Pom Mushroom

The strange shape of this mushroom, which I’ve only seen once, immediately attracted my attention though the ones I bought are nothing as spectacular as ones that can be found in the wild. The Lion’s Mane Mushroom, Hericium erinaceus, is also known as the Bearded Tooth Mushroom, Satyr’s Beard, Bearded Hedgehog Mushroom and the Pom Pom Mushroom. In the more spectacular examples, ‘pom pom, is an apt comparison.

spongy

The size of this mushroom varies from that of a golf ball to not much less than a regular football and its natural habitat is on the side of trees. The mushroom is particularly prized when small as it has a seafood texture and taste and is sometimes compared with lobster. The mushroom has a long history of medicinal use in the Orient and is currently of interest in the treatment of Alzheimer’s.

and watery

I had no idea what to expect or the best way to cook them so I simply fried slices in sesame oil. I was surprised by their weight as they are are heavier than they look and neither are they solid having substantial ‘air pockets’ inside. Indeed, in terms of cutting and feel, they are both spongy and watery. I didn’t find their taste particularly memorable though they were extremely succulent but because this was a first experience, I didn’t what to expect. Now I know a little about them, I’d like to try them again. However, currently, they are more expensive than lobster. Two, each between the size of a golf ball and tennis ball, cost 2700W (about £1.50); my last lobster cost 6500W (£3.25).

Here is a Youtube video by Don King,  a mushroom hunter…

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©努江虎 – 노강호 2012  Creative Commons Licence.

Pork Kimchi Jjim – 돼지 김치찜 – My Recipes

Posted in Food and Drink, Kimchi Gone Fusion, My Recipes, recipes for Kimchi by 노강호 on February 13, 2012

Key Features: Korean fusion / very healthy / adaptable

Pork Kimchi Jjim

I’ve lived for almost five years with one of Daegu’s best pork kimchi jjim restaurants less than 10 seconds walk from my front door. I very quickly developed a taste for this tasty dish and over the years have managed to gleam a few tips to help me reproduce it. This recipe is best with sour, aged kimchi, indeed the older the better. Even kimchi of a year old and which has started to grow a layer of mold on the top, can be washed clean and used for this truly satisfying and healthy meal.

The best cut of meat for this is pork leg and if you have time to cook on a low heat for an hour or more, you can cut the meat in large chunks about 1.5-2 inches square. My local restaurant cooks the pork, in large chunks, for several hours until it melts in your mouth. For quicker versions you can reduce the cooking time by cutting meat into smaller portions. If this is the case avoid more fatty cuts of meat – such as pork leg.

MY DEFINITIVE RECIPE

1 cup = 180ml. T=tablespoon (15ml), d=dessert spoon (10ml) t=teaspoon (5ml)

This recipe is ideal for one large portion – double ingredients for each additional person

SHOPPING LIST

240 grams pork tenderloin (목살) or front leg (앞다리). If you have time, leg is preferable.

2T Wine

1d Soy Sauce (간장)

1T Sesame oil

1d Sugar

1 cube or 4 cloves of crushed garlic

Half an inch of finely chopped ginger

Half a Spanish onion roughly chopped

Mooli – about same amount as onion, diced, but omit if this is a main component in your kimchi. White turnip is a good substitute.

0.5t of dashida or a stock cube

1t of sesame powder

1T Mild bean paste

1t Red pepper powder

1 cup of Kimchi, sour is preferable

Sesame powder

Sesame seeds and or pine nuts for garnish

3-4 cups of water

See also suggested accompaniments at the bottom of the page.

EQUIPMENT

Ideally as an earthenware pot or ‘ttukbeki’ (뚝배기) or a heavy bottomed sauce pan.

RECIPE

1. MARINADE

Cut the meat into cubes about an inch square. Then, make a marinade with:

2T wine, soy sauce (간장), 1T sesame oil, 1d sugar,1 cube or 4 cloves of crushed garlic, half an inch of finely chopped ginger (7 items)

Put the pork in the marinade and leave from two hours or overnight.

2.  COOKING

In a heavy bottomed pot or Korean earthenware ‘ttukbeki,’ place:

Half a Spanish onion roughly chopped and the same amount of mooli (or white turnip) omitting this if it features in the kimchi. (2 items)

0.5t of dashida or a stock cube and 1t of sesame powder. (2 items)

1T Mild bean paste

1t Red pepper powder

1 cup of Kimchi

Then add the marinade and bring back to the boil, boiling for five minutes before reducing the heat to a simmer for 25 minutes. You will need to add around 1 cup of extra water during simmering. If my meat is cut larger than inch cubes, and if I’m using the more fatty leg meat, I will cook on a low heat for up to an hour – until the meat is at a stage where easily falls apart. Stir occasionally and add extra water to maintain the original level.

Before serving and an extra teaspoon of sesame oil, some sesame seeds and/or pine nuts.

SERVING SUGGESTIONS        

Serve with an accompanying bowl of rice and a selection of side dishes (반찬) and laver bread (김).

ONGOING NOTES:

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Cabbage Kimchi (Sun-hee version) My Recipes

Posted in Food and Drink, it's kimchi time, Kimchi Gone Fusion, My Recipes by 노강호 on January 6, 2012

‘Kimjang’ – the Korean kimchi making season between mid November and December

Without doubt, cabbage kimchi is the most important item in the Korean kitchen. Not only is it an important side dish, accompanying most meals, but essential base in a number of other recipes. Kimchi is a ‘keynote,’ a defining feature of Korean culture and mastering its production will gain you much respect in the eyes of Koreans. There are not only geographical variations on the recipe, but family and personal ones and homemade kimchi is infinitely superior to that bought in supermarkets. This recipe was taught to me by my friend Sun-hui (순희) and it has proved to be a very successful.

Key Features: very healthy / relatively easy to make/ an essential Korean food

MY DEFINITIVE RECIPE

 1 cup = 180ml. T=tablespoon (15ml), d=dessert spoon (10ml) t=teaspoon (5ml)

SHOPPING LIST

1 large Chinese leaf cabbage (Napa) weighing about about 1.25 kilograms

I cup of mooli (무)

0.5 cup of red pepper powder (고추가루)

2T rice flour

0.25 cup of Fish sauce (액젓) plus more if required

24 cloves of crushed garlic

1. inch piece of fresh root ginger, grated

1cup of chives or wild leek (실파/부추)

0.75 cup of salt (sea salt, kosher, rock, 호렴)

1d Sugar

3 cups of water

Kimjang in Cheonan

SUBSTITUTES IF YOU’RE LIVING IN THE UK

Mooli can be substituted with white turnip but I would grate it rather than dice it.

Red pepper powder must be Korean (고추가루) and not chili powder.

Rice flour can be replaced with standard flour and many Koreans use this in Korea.

Fish sauce (액젓) can be either anchovy (멸치) or sand-lance (까나리) but Thai type squid sauces will suffice.

Chives are best but wild leek is better and after these small spring onions without the bulbs.

Salt – sea salt (Maldon) and rough salt such as rock salt or kosher salt are highly important. Table salt is totally ineffective at wilting the cabbage leaves!

EQUIPMENT

A large plastic basin

A plastic Tupperware type container

Possibly a muslin type bag

Rubber gloves

SALTING

  1. If the cabbage is a large one, cut it lengthwise into quarters and wash it. Then chop the cabbage into pieces about 1 wide and a few inches long. Wash the chopped cabbage and drain. Next dice the mooli into small pieces approx an inch square and a quarter of an inch thick and add them to the cabbage. Put the mixture in a large bowl, sprinkle with salt and then and 1.5 cups of water. Fold the mixture, pat down firmly and leave for about 12 hours turning once after six hours or so. 12 hours should ensure the cabbage is fully wilted but often it is ready much earlier than this. You should notice the volume of cabbage reduces by about half as wilting occurs.

PREPARING THE PASTE

When the cabbage is ready, wash it three times in clean water and thoroughly drain. I use a muslin bag for this process so I can squeeze out excess water. This process ensures the paste doesn’t become too watery though some people prefer it such. Set the cabbage aside.

2. Chop the chives into pieces about an inch long

3.  Crush the garlic and chop the ginger into small slivers.

4.  In a large plastic bowl, put the:

Red pepper powder (0.5 cup)

Chives (1 cup)

Ginger

Garlic

0.25 of a cup of fish sauce

sugar (1d)

5. Mix the flour in a little cold water and then heat a pan containing 1.5 cups of water. Add the flour mixture to this and stir until it is starts to boil. The flour paste needs to be the consistency of porridge so add more flour as required. When ready add this to the ingredients in the large bowl.

6. Mix the ingredients with a spoon and then, when you are not in danger of scalding, with your hands (you might want to wear rubber gloves for this process).

7. Add the cabbage mixture to the paste and thoroughly fold them together.

8. You can now taste the kimchi and if necessary add additional fish sauce to increase the saltiness. I hold back on using 0.5 of a cup to allow me more control over saltiness.

9. Put the kimchi in a Tupperware type container and pack down firmly to remove air pockets.

Kimchi does not need to be fermented and many people prefer kimchi when it is fresh. However, fermentation will begin immediately, indeed it has already begun. It can be kept in part of the fridge where it won’t freeze though you can leave it in room temperature for a few days to speed up fermentation. The lid will pop off the tub every day as gases build up but the smell grows on you!

Kimchi keeps for a very long time and even after a year it has its uses. Personally, I have used kimchi older than a year and have read of people using kimchi that was 3 years of age. My year old kimchi had a small layer of mold on the top but this washed off.  Aged kimchi, tart and sour, is a delicious basis for kimchi stew (kimchi jjim – 김치 찜) and far superior to fresh kimchi.

delicious..

ON GOING NOTES

None! The recipe is perfected!

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One Word – Vile!

Posted in fish, Food and Drink, seafood by 노강호 on January 3, 2012

the garden of a traditional Korean restaurant

Even for westerners with eclectic palates who enjoy flitting between the spicy and tantalizing subtleties of Thai, Indian, Mexican and Chinese food, a Korean specialty can chuck a spanner in the works. Of course, most of our knowledge of such cuisines has been doctored and what comprises their menu has been selected to appeal to our tastes. Chinese food in the UK is nearly always Cantonese or Peking and the enormous silk worm cocoon sautéed with scorpion, a cuisine typical of the Gobi region of China, is not likely to appear on the menu of your local takeaway.  I’ve never seen the boiled duck embryo, khai khao, cooked alive and served with the shell intact, in my local Thai restaurant and some of the food I ate in India I doubt appears on any menu outside the country itself.

Korea has a number of foods which cause a foreigner, especially those accustomed to European traditions, to stifle a retch. Dog meat is perhaps the most infamous and is likely to shock us with as much revulsion as Koreans find at the thought of eating rabbit. And if a westerner gags at the idea of sushi they are likely to do far worse if faced with sashimi (known in Korea as ‘hoe’ – 회) against which sushi is positively tame. Anything which crawls, swims, floats, buries itself in the mud or simply hangs about on rocks, is fair game for the sashimi platter where it is usually eaten raw. If raw fish isn’t enough to empty your stomach, there is variety of raw meats, the tamest of which is thinly sliced beef steak but venturing into the Klingon domain are raw tripe and liver. However, a few cooked meats, intestine and boiled lung, are likely to repulse a healthy hunger after which steamed silkworm cocoon or pan-fried grasshopper seem almost civilised.

Over the New Year, I ate at two traditional seafood restaurants. The first specialised in a particular kind of clam and the entire menu, apart from side dishes, focused on this local delicacy. I wasn’t too happy when the hors d’oeuvre arrived; an unceremonious bowl of clams which had been warmed rather than cooked, and hence the shells required prizing open with a tool I’m sure I’ve seen in an electricians tool-bag.  Have you ever been dumped on by a passing pigeon? Once prized open, the clams’ innards were just that; a messy splurge of white and brown pudding that dripped onto the paper table-cloth like diarrhoea. I silently cursed my Korean friend and prepared to stifle the retch reflex that was sure to follow but surprisingly, they were very delicious. The rest of the meal contained clams in one form or another – in pancakes, as sweet and sour, skewered, in a soup, and in the sauce of a bibimbap.

 

painful on the eye but pleasing on the tongue

My evening delight was in an enchanting traditional restaurant in a small outhouse. Here I was served the entire gamut of food at which the European usually cringes. Apart from insects and dog, there was a selection of all the nautical nasties, sea squirt – which resembles an acned, bulbous boil (멍게), ‘dog dick’  (개불 – Urechis unicinctus) – a slimy type of spoon worm which has no English name, a type of shellfish with the texture of slightly meaty, raw cauliflower, raw squid, the unpleasant orphaned testicle thing known as mideodek (미더덕 – styela clava) which many Koreans hate. Other delicacies, less shocking, included raw oyster and I even managed some raw sliced beef. Along with a fine spread of kimchies and as a veteran of Korean food, I managed to eat with apparent pleasure.

more still to come

Then I picked up what looked like raw tuna, which I actually like, and slipped it onto my tongue. I hadn’t even shut my mouth when there was a sensation of something very unpleasant. ‘Can you smell it?’ my friend asked. ‘Ugh,’ I managed to mutter without moving my teeth for fear of stirring whatever was on my tongue. I wanted to swallow it but it had bones, cartilaginous bones which demanded chomping and I could smell what seemed like neat ammonia invading my nasal passage. ‘Urgh!’ I gagged again. I couldn’t spit it out, that really isn’t an option with Koreans and though I scanned the ‘banquet’ fom some friendly food that might speed it into my stomach, everything was both raw and slimy.  It was truly like a mouthful of smelling salts and my eyes were beginning to water. ‘Ugh, ugh! ‘I gagged as I furtively eyed the table from the dish of raw oyster on one plate, the messy sea squirt on another to the slivers of sliced dog dick. In the end I was rescued by a bowl of seaweed soup from which I slurped before swallowing the entire slice of fish, unchomped cartilage as well.

raw ray fish (홍어) – revolting!

I’ve eaten dried ray fish in sauce and really enjoyed it but fresh (홍어) and uncooked it is the most revolting thing I’ve ever eaten; worse than all the crud of the sea, the insects, dog and probably worse than boiled lung – which I don’t ever intend eating! If you want to eat something truly awful, something that makes even live octopus tame, this is your baby.

recuperating

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FURTHER REFERENCES

Food to Put Hair on Your Chest (Bathhouse Ballads Sept 2010)

As Tasty as it Looks (Mideodeok). (Bathhouse Ballads Sept  2010)

Monday Market – Sea Squirt (멍게) (Bathhouse Ballads May 2010)

Mission Makgeolli – Definitive Recipes

Posted in Food and Drink, My Recipes, rice wine (beer) by 노강호 on December 31, 2011

Makgeolli (막걸리) and the closely related dongdongju (동동주) are Korean rice wines which are fairly easy to make. Such rice based fermented alcohols are common across Asia and in the case of makgeolli and dongdongju are the first fruits of a process which if continued and elaborated upon, leads to drinks such as saki. Unlike saki, which looks like water, makgeolli and dongdongju are of a milky appearance often with rice floating in the drink and sediment which necessitates it being stirred or shaken before serving. Dongdongju, often called nongju because of its association with farmers (농), is basically the same recipe as makgeolli but with an additional step in the process. I shall henceforth use the term ‘makgeolli’ when referring to the brewing process of both drinks.

straining the wine through a muslin bag

Originally, makgeolli was a rural alcohol, a sort of home brew and until recently you could neither buy it in cans or cartons as the fermentation was ongoing. Commercial methods have now established the drink in cities where it has gained a somewhat ‘trendy’ image being combined with pulped fruit, yogurt and Chilsung Cider (Seven Up or Sprite). Some companies have also started producing a ‘well being’ variation which uses schisandra (五味子). There is now a wide range of available brands and although makgeolli is naturally ‘bubbly,’ some versions are carbonated – probably as they are boiled to kill the fermentation process and hence lose their natural ‘gassy’ quality.

On parade

Served while still fermenting, it is has the quality of an alcoholic ice cream soda, being both light and creamy, a little like medieval syllabub. The recipe below is still being adjusted but it produces a brew that my Korean friends are happy to drink and if undiluted, is quite potent. Sugar and water, or sprite can always be added to adjust the drink to your own specific preference.

Is it Beer or a Wine?

Perhaps the best method of classification is based on alcohol by volume (ABV). If the brew is in excess of 10% ABV, then it is a ‘wine’, if under 10% ABV it is closer to a beer. Under this classification commercial makgeolli, which is usually 5-7% ABV, would be a ‘beer.’ On the other hand, Japanese Saki, traditionally containing about 16% ABV, is a wine.

For more information on makgeolli click here: (pages: Mister Makgeolli).

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Mission Makgeolli – Brewing Batch 7

Posted in Food and Drink, Kimchi Gone Fusion, rice wine (beer) by 노강호 on December 19, 2011

squeezing the wine from the mash

The aim of this brew was to try to remove the slight sourness of batch 6 that I think with too much nu-ruk and yeast but my Korean sources are all contradictory. One source will tell you that a fermentation temperature of 30 degree centigrade causes sourness, another, brewing in excess of 3 days. Batch 6 was brewed 5 days at around 22 degrees centigrade and when I gave it to friends to access it met with a favourable reception. A few friends said it was still  a little sour while others said it was perfect and indeed one asked if he could have a bottle. The sourness was mild as I had only added minimal ‘sugar.’ Slowly adding sugar, corn syrup or honey, until the desired sweetness it reached, removes sourness.

In batch 7 I standardized my measurements and in the process reduced both the amount of nu-ruk and yeast. I also terminated fermentation at 3 days. I then added ‘sugar’ to the brew, comparing it with shop bought makgeolli, which after my home-brew is surprisingly sweet – too much so.

The only difference between the commercial product and the home-brew is commercial makgeolli is pure white, carbonated and sweeter.

For my perfected recipe on brewing makgeolli, visit: Makgeolli Mania at Kimchi Gone Fusion

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Mission Makgeolli – Brewing Batches 6-7

Posted in Food and Drink, Kimchi Gone Fusion, My Recipes, rice wine (beer) by 노강호 on December 16, 2011

makgeolli, rice wine, batches 2-5

I’ve been searching for a Korean rice wine (makgeolli / dong dong-ju) recipe for over ten years and it’s only been in the last two years that information has begun to surface on the internet. You can sink  this unique Korean drink with as much ease as glass of milk, especially when the weather is hot or you are thirsty and it is often an accompaniment taken on hikes up the mountain or wherever there is likely to be some physical exertion.

The popular 'well-being' schisandra makgeolli. (오미자 막걸리)

Several of my friends told me it would be difficult to brew either makgeolli (막걸리) or dong dong-ju (동동주) but after one failed attempt, the failure caused by too warm an environment for the mash, a successful batch emerged. Though it was a little weak, it was perfectly enjoyable. My next five batches significantly increased in size but ended up being rather bitter. I could have added a lot more sugar to compensate but didn’t and three weeks later, they are still fermenting. I blended these five batches together and while they are certainly stronger than a strong wine (14%), they are not as potent as soju (around 20%) so I reckon the kick is about 16-17%. I made batches of both makgeolli and dong dong-ju though to be honest there seemed to be little difference between them and I ended up mixing both types.

The nu-ruk (누룩) after being 'pounded' in the blender

The recipe below is based on my sixth batch (11th December 2011) though I suspect I might have to reduce the amount of wheat yeast to curb a tendency towards bitterness and sourness.

I am not yet fully sure what nu-rook yeast (누룩) is though I do have a Korean recipe for it. Some sources define it as wheat yeast, others as blend of wheat and barley yeast. I do have a makgeolli recipe that uses wheat and barley grains along with the rice, boiling them together and simply adding standard yeast to make the mash. This I will try in the future. If you are in Korea, you can buy nu-rook in markets – I’ve not yet found it in any super-markets.

the 'inoculate' puree comprising nu-ruk (누룩) and yeast (효모)

I’ve discovered the yeast that looks like small seeds, as opposed fine powder, is not effective. Stick to very fine yeast, preferably dried.

Sources I researched varied in the temperatures they recommended in which to sit the mash. My first batch, perched on top of a rice cooker, was too warm and the mash failed to initialise and by the third day a mold contaminant had spoiled the batch. The next five batches sat in a warm corner of my room with the ondol floor heating on for around five days. The room temperature was around 27 degrees centigrade and uncomfortable but jars were very active. I’ve subsequently found that fermentation will occur at 20 degrees (centigrade) and even at ten it continues.

batch 6, technically dong dong ju as it uses glutinous rice, about to be 'bottled'

Most of my sources suggest leaving the mash to ferment for 3 days to a week before filtering it. They also said to bottle the final alcohol but since I’ve had two bottles come close to exploding, I’ve used a large plastic screw jar, which probably hold a gallon and I’ve left the top loosely screwed in place. It is quite amazing the amount of gas that occurs during fermentation. One source said not to open bottles for two weeks! One of my bottles exploded like a champagne bottle after only 9 hours, so be cautious! I have recently started punching a small hole in the tops of the plastic bottles I store rice wine. (Ten years ago, before you could buy canned or bottled rice wine in which the fermentation process had been terminated by boiling and subsequently, often carbonated, the plastic bottles in which you bought the wine had a small hole in the cap).

straining the wine through a muslin bag

Make sure all utensils are boiled or washed in the sort of solution with which you sterilise a baby’s feeding bottle. I also swish out the jar with some soju or vodka prior to filling it with the mash.

The most tiresome part of the entire process is washing the rice. I’ve discovered using a plastic ‘muslin’ bag, or a muslin bag makes this process much easier.

the bottled dong dong-ju, ready to drink

Ingredients used for batches 6 and 7 (seven is in brackets and although seemingly of smaller proportions, I used a standard size cup rather than a rice type cup – the standard size cup probably contains twice the content))

Glutinous rice (찹쌀)                               5 cups (3)   Glutinous rice for dong dong-ju (동동주)

or standard rice (햅쌀)                           5 cups (3)  Standard rice for makgeolli (만널리)

Water                                                              2 liters spring water (2)

Wheat Yeast (누룩)                                    1 cup (.5)

Yeast (효모)                                                  1 teaspoon (.5 teaspoon)

Sugar, honey or corn syrup (물엿)      as required

Equipment

rice cooker, large glass container, large rubber band, boiled cloth which can cover jar, muslin.

Wash the rice 20-30 times – until the water in which you swish it remains clear.

Let the rice stand in water for 30 mins after which give it a final rinse and drain. Be careful not to rub the rice too much between the palms as it will start to grind. Add 1.5  cups of water for every cup of rice and then cook this in the rice cooker. (other methods can be used – pot boiling, steaming, etc.)

When the rice is cooked let it stand for several hours before turning off the rice cooker to let it cool.

In a sterilised bowl and the ground nu-rook and yeast and mix it with a little warm water until it is a paste. Do not be tempted to do this in a blender as it might explode.

Put the rice into the glass jar and add about 1 liter of water. Mix the ingredients before adding the blended yeast  inoculate and then mix together.

You should now put a sterilised cloth over the jar and secure it with an elastic band.

Stir the mixture once in the morning and in the evening being sure to do so with a sterilised ladle.

You will know if the mash as initialised as you will both see rice particles floating up and down in the jar and see and hear the exchange of gases. From the third day, though I might possibly wait until the fifth, you can pour the mash into a sterilised muslin bag and then proceed to squeeze liquid out of the rice into  a storage vessel. Sugar, or corn syrup etc, can be added at this stage and the brew diluted to taste with spring water. In batches 6 and 7 I used about a liter of water. Both types of rice wine are commercially sold at about 5% alcohol and supposedly the undiluted brew from this recipe is around 16%. At an estimate it is probably about 7% if diluted with a liter of water.

It is often mixed with Sprite or Chilsung Cider and also drinking yogurt and this is especially useful if the brew is a little bitter or sour.

Fermentation will continue after this process but the brew is now ready to drink but give the contents a stir or shake before pouring.

NOTES ON BATCH 6 (removed from fermentation jar on December 16th after 6 days at around 22 degrees centigrade). As I mentioned earlier, I added 1 liter of spring water to the wine and about half a cup of corn syrup. There is only a touch of sourness with no bitterness. This is the best batch I’ve made so far in terms of balance.

Batch 7, prepared on December 16th, uses slightly less yeast – update to follow.

batch 7 at the start of fermentation

I have used several sources in the quest for the best recipe but I am indebted to Max from Zedomax.com. This was the first decent recipe I found and without his help I’d still be floundering. Cheers, Max!

For my perfected recipe on making makgeolli, visit: Makgeolli Mania at Kimchi Gone Fusion

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Mission Makgeolli

Posted in Food and Drink, rice wine (beer) by 노강호 on November 27, 2011

my first batch of dong-dong ju, light, fizzy and refreshing

I often mention how a mere twelve years ago, even 8 years ago, there was very little information on the internet about Korea. Indeed, my attempts at making kimchi and various other recipes as well as learning Korean and hanja, all began with books rather than internet sources. Until recently, there was little available in English in relation to Korean culture. I’m being cynical, but now you don’t really need to come to Korea to discover its secrets because they’ve been exposed to the entire world.

nu-ruk (누룩), a type of yeast made from wheat

I’ve been searching for a makgeolli recipe for over ten years. With the price of a bottle so cheap it’s pointless making your own brew in Korea but back in the UK kimchi is difficult to buy and makgeolli next to impossible. Every six months or so, I’d do a web search and it has only been in the last few years that information has began to emerge. I am now fairly confident at brewing Korean rice wine  but my next quest is to learn how to make the wheat and barley type yeast, known as nu-rook (누룩), which is essential both for this recipe and that of the rice drink, shik-hye (식혜). Nu-ruk is not available in the UK. The problem is compounded because a good number of Koreans, especially younger Koreans, have as much knowledge about the purpose of nu-ruk in the production of makgeolli as a British youngster might have about rennet in the process of making junket. Indeed, I’ve met Koreans who had no idea what nu-ruk is.

my first successful batch of dong-dong ju mash sitting fermenting on top of my rice cooker

Anyone who has lived in Korea will be aware of the variations in rice wine, namely between makgeolli and dong-dong ju (동동주). Learning the difference has taken a long time and I’m still not a hundred percent sure my understanding is correct. Misinformation abounds on the internet and even Koreans can be unsure of the difference. Some sources will tell you both versions are different strains of the same mash but the most plausible is that dong-dong ju is produced with sticky rice and makgeolli from standard rice. One source I recently read, western in origin, claimed the name dong-dong ju referred to the small bits of rice that float on the surface, like ‘shit.’  Of course, this is incorrect because ‘shit’ in Korean is ‘ddong’ (똥) and not ‘dong.’ (동). Sometimes, dong-dong ju is known as nong-ju (농주) because of its association with farmers (nong-sa 농사, farming).

3 cups of rice produced nearly two litres of ,wine’ though I may have over diluted it

The process of making rice wine is quite simple, despite being told by numerous friends that it was both difficult and time-consuming. With only five ingredients, rice, water, nu-ruk, yeast and syrup, the most laborious part of the process was washing the rice, around twenty times, and sterilizing equipment. Apart from a jar and some muslin, all other equipment is basic though a coffee type grinder is needed if the nu-rook hasn’t been previously ground.

subsequent batches of mash – both from glutinous rice and standard rice

Once again, information on temperature varies. I originally put my jar on the top of my rice cooker, set to ‘keep warm’ mode. However, this was too warm and I think the active enzymes were killed and mould quickly formed. I was originally aiming for a temperature of around 82 degrees and had read that over 97 is detrimental.  For my second attempt (dong-dong ju), I then placed a few plates between the top of the metal rice cooker bowl and the jar of mash and this brewed successfully. The process took 4.5 days and my initial batch consisted of 3 cups of rice which when further diluted produced about 1.5 liters of drink. The alcohol content was probably around 4% and a little weaker than I like and I only added about 2 table spoons of syrup. Unlike my first batch, the activity in the mash was high with plenty of bubbles and if you put your ear close to the jar, a constant busy fizzle.

I have now gone on to start five other brews using both glutinous rice and standard rice. The jars of mash are kept in a heat trap under my TV and at a point on the floor over the ondol heating pipes. Currently, I’ve set my room temperature to around 25 degrees (around 68 degrees Fahrenheit) but as I find this uncomfortable, I want to test a brew at around 21 degrees.

When I have perfected my technique and have discovered the secrets of nu-ruk, I will post details.

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©박민수 2011 Creative Commons Licence.

Monday Market – Persimmons (연시 – 홍시)

Posted in Food and Drink, fruit, Monday Market (Theme), seasons by 노강호 on November 16, 2011

'yeon-shi,' one of my favourite autumn fruits

I’ve written several times about the persimmon which in Korea, like the octopus, has three different names depending characteristics. For some reason ‘3’ always seems to be associated with food though I’m sure it’s coincidence. You’re supposed to wash cabbages three times after salting and I was taught to rinse rice three times before cooking. I took this photo a month ago as the first flush of soft persimmon, known as ‘yeson-shi’, appeared in the market. I love this type of persimmon and several years ago built a stock-pile in my freezer which lasted into mid spring. Actually, I ended up so tired of them I hardly bought any the following year.  Now I want to eat them but unfortunately am restricted by my diet. However, I couldn’t resist buying some just to photograph. The first flush of yeon-shi are particularity delicate and beautiful but their colour quickly changes as autumn progresses.

very similar to the slightly larger and more heart-shaped 'hong-shi.'

persimmons hanging on local trees

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© 林東哲 2011 Creative Commons Licence.

Related articles

The Intricacies of Persimmon (Bathhouse Ballads Nov 2010)

Interlude – Soft Persimmons (Bathhouse Ballads Oct 2010)

They mystery of the persimmons (militaryzerowaste.wordpress.com)