Elwood 5566

Red Pepper and Bean Paste Stew – My Recipes

Posted in Food and Drink, Kimchi Gone Fusion by 노강호 on July 31, 2011

Key Features: Korean fusion / very healthy / adaptable

red pepper and bean paste stew and black bean tea (까만콩 자)

This is probably one of my favourite Korean meals and it originated from a recipe for o-geo-chi kalbi doen-chang guk (우거지 갈비 된장국). It is very versatile and I often eat if for breakfast but with a larger portion, rice and side dishes it becomes a filling dinner. O-geo-chi is basically the outer leaves of cabbage (Napa/Chinese) or any other vegetables.

I have found Koreans tend to be quite rule bound when it comes to cooking and I have even be critcised for putting pepper in food. Indeed, a number of Korean women have found the idea of combining bean paste and red pepper paste strange even though I originally found this recipe in a Korean-Korean cookbook.  You can use pork, especially belly pork (cut sam-kyeop style – that is the same cut as bacon before it is turned into bacon) or simply tofu. I have used numerous vegetables and sometimes even made it without o-geo-chi. I recently added some black beans at the same time I was making black bean tea (까만콩 자) and was reminded of German bean soup.

INGREDIENTS (for one)

• some outer leaves or spinach

•a pinch of small anchovies (myeolchi. Failing this use some form of stock)

• pork, (a few slices or pieces) and or tofu

• 1 desert spoonful of bean paste (mild) 된장

• 1 or 2 diced garlic cloves

• 1 desert spoon of sesame oil (optional)

• 1 desert spoonful of soy sauce (again I often omit this)

•1 teaspoon of red pepper (고추가루)

•a handful of any chopped vegetables, carrot, potato, leek, onion, mushroom, etc.

•small piece of chopped ginger.

•salt and pepper to taste (the pepper actually part of the original recipe)

•1 teaspoon of green perilla seed powder (들깨) or ground sesame

•sesame seeds

•3 cups of water

METHOD

1. Put everything, except the sesame seeds into a pot, bring to boil and then simmer for up to 30 mins depending on the type of meat, if any, you are using.

2. Remove from heat, add salt and pepper to taste and if you wish a teaspoon of extra sesame oil (sometimes I don’t add any oil until this stage). Finally, sprinkle with some sesame seeds.

This stew can be eaten alone or with rice and side dishes.

OBSERVATIONS

VARIATIONS

Add kidney beans or black beans

Replace meat with some mackerel

Creative Commons License
©Bathhouse Ballads –  努江虎 – 노강호 2012 Creative Commons Licence.

Sesame Spinach (시금치 나물)

Posted in vegetables by 노강호 on May 31, 2010

Delicious and simple to make

Vegetables! Boring! But there are a number of vegetables that can be prepared in the same way as sesame-spinach, one of my favourite Korean side dishes (반찬) which is both incredibly easy to make and tasty enough to ‘pig out’ on. I will often raid the fridge at night to snack on this. Koreans use the entire baby spinach plant which I’ve not seen in the UK but I’m sure you could probably make it with other types of spinach and indeed substitute spinach for other types of leaf.

The biggest bind to making this side dish is removing the yellowed leaves and trimming off the stalks. I recently watched the guru of Korean cooking, Maangchi performing a similar process with young radish shoots (열무) and her skills with a knife are formidable. In a flash she cut out yellowed leaves, trimmed off roots and scrapped  their shafts clean. To be honest, I can’t be bothered,  all that work for a couple of munches! What takes the wonderful Maangchi ten seconds takes me a minute and besides, she’s younger and not prone to backache standing over the sink. I only cook for me and once any chemicals and dust are washed off, I’m happy to eat any bits of root and yellowed leaf though I will pick them out if not too much bother.

In Korea, you usually buy spinach in bundles and it is best to put these straight in water and let them soak. Withered looking bunches will quickly revive. I recently bought a bundle and then went for a walk leaving them on the back seat of a car on a hot afternoon.  On my return they had totally wilted and at home I noticed some plants were beginning to decompose . Subsequently, the water I washed them in was tainted green and smelt a  little  like a dirty goldfish bowl.

Baby spinach plants

Way too much work removing the few bad bits, so after thoroughly swishing them in water, they were blanched for a about a minute . Usually, I keep the stock and add it to bean paste soup which I eat for breakfast. This panful, I chucked straight down the sink.! The leaves are then washed in cold water and when properly drained, tossed in chopped red chilli, garlic, sesame seeds, a good splash of soy sauce and sesame seed oil. I’m on a diet, so I use  the sesame oil sparingly but it is this which gives this side dish such a sexy aroma and compliments and transforms the spinach into something you can easily alone.

Maangchi's version, superior!

I can report, that I at no time noticed anything unpleasant about the decomposed state of some of the spinach leaves, washing, blanching and rinsing removed most of them. It still tasted delicious.

The Queen of Korean cooking, Maangchi, would be appalled at my cooking technique so if you want a first class tutorial, in various formats, on how to make this simple side dish, please click the photo below to activate. The site also contain many comments from readers who have tried various other vegetables to make a similar side dish.

I have used the same recipe using:

Baby radish sprouts (옇무).

Mung bean shoots (숙주 나물)

Make sesame spinach side dish with the Queen of Korean Cooking: Maangchi

Cabbage Kimchi

Posted in Quintesentially Korean by 노강호 on May 17, 2010

Salted cabbage

You can’t have a blog on Korea without there being a post on Kimchi. Oh, I’m not going to recite a recipe as there are a number of brilliant sites able to do this much better than I. Ten years ago there was nothing on the internet about making kimchi, Korean history, Hanja and so forth but now it all awaits you at the stroke of a key. This week some one asked me if I prefer Korean food or western food? Well, being a fat twat, I like all food. But at this moment a roast dinner consisting roast potatoes, pork with crackling, homemade gravy and garden peas and sprouts would be my choice. Yes, in Korea I miss English food but I only have to be back in the UK a few days to pine for Korean food. Nowadays, I’ve usually prepared a batch of kimchi within a day or two of arriving back home, ready for when I suffer kimchi withdrawal symptoms. Making kimchi in the UK can often be a little problematic so I’ve include some suggestions here should it prove difficult to find quintessentially Korean ingredients.

Moo (무), usually called Mooli. Be prepared to have to buy moo which looks like a big white carrot and is so stale you can bend it in half without it snapping. Tesco’s often sell them. If you can’t buy moo, white turnips are a good substitute.

Thread Onion (실파) – a good substitute is spring onion or better still, chives.

Anchovy fish sauce – (액젓) the Thai version, easily available, is indistinguishable (in my opinion).

Minari  (미나리) – I have read some people use water cress for this but I’ve never tried it. Parsley might also be an option but I’d choose the flat leaf rather than curled. If I cant use minari, and in the UK, I have never been able to buy it though it is probably available in areas with  a Korean population (eg, New Malden), I have simply left it out.

Chinese leaf cabbage (배추) – bought in a place such as Tesco’s are always shit quality. Small, probably four times smaller than an average real cabbage, almost pure white, and around £1 (2000W) each. They are difficult to cut properly and I have often cut them up rather than try to keep them in sections.

MAKING KIMCHI TIPS  (these are my tips recorded for my own benefit. If you want to jump straight to Maangchi’s kimchi making video, providing clear instructions in several different formats, click the photo below.

Maangchi! The Queen of Korean cooking


One sure way to impress both Koreans and wayguks is to be able to say you can make kimchi. No! despite what you have been told, it is not a difficult process. After some trials and experimentation you will find it easy to ‘fine tune’ kimchi to your own particular preferences. There are very many different versions of cabbage kimchi both  in terms of individuals recipes and in the taste of kimchi as it ‘matures.’

The price of seasonal goods in Korea can alter drastically depending on the weather and other factors. Currently Chinese cabbage (배추) is increasing in price due the late start of spring but in December, when I made my last batch, one large cabbage was 1000W (50 pence) and two of these were enough to provide me kimchi for about six weeks. This morning I found it very difficult to but cabbage in the market and when I did find some it was rather manky and expensive. Currently, cabbage is a bout 300% more expensive than in December. Make sure you scrutinize the underlying leaves and beware of  ones which appear eaten as some pest burrow into the cabbage. A tell tale sign are brown smudges on the leaves. If you’re buying cabbages in the west you won’t encounter this problem but the quality will be much poorer.  A cabbage, apart from the outer leaves, should be tight.

Two good size cabbages

Two good size cabbages

Outer leaves removed

Quarter about 2-3 inches into the base and tear apart rather than cleave them into sections

The most boring part is salting between the leaves. I was originally taught to rub the salt into leaves but on several web sites, Maangchi, for example, they leaves are sprinkled. I found this just as effective and much less tiresome.

standing in salt

When the cabbage section are adequately salted, they should be floppy,and in a state where they can be ‘rung’ like a cloth without tearing. They will also have reduced significantly in volume.

Limp and floppy

Other  ingredients include:

Mooli (moo) 무

Minari and thread onion (미나리, 실파)

Rice flour and fish sauce

Ready to be stored

Storage in a Kimchi pot

Or in a 'Tupperware' box

Great links for making Kimchi: Maangchi

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