banchans

4

This egg dish comes out freshly made in a korean earthenware pot if you go to traditional Korean restaurants and it is one of the most savory, comforting food ever. It’s piping hot, the egg soft, airy and salty. The whole pot is gone into my belly in a blink of an eye. There are many different ways to make this dish and you can even microwave it for 3-4 minutes instead of steaming it and get a similar result but I think steaming makes it have better texture. Some people put it in a rice cooker when they are making rice, too. When you make a bigger portion of this recipe, remember to increase the cooking time accordingly. In case you are wondering what the Korean traditional earthenware pot (Ttuk-Bae-Gi) looks like, I’ve put some pictures of it above. You can easily buy regular earthenware bowls at any kitchenware stores like Crate and barrel, Pier 1 import…etc.

2

Kimchijjigae is probably #1 comfort food Koreans miss when they are living overseas. And most Korean people think their mother’s Kimchiijigae is the best, kind of like how Italian Americans think their mothers’ meatball or Lasagnia is the best. The main part of this super simple dish is Kimchi and depending on how old the KImchi is, the taste will differ dramatically. Months of fermentation will make the Kimchi leaves very soft and the juice will become almost effervescent which makes it heavenly when made into stews.

There are many variety in the protein content in this dish and the most beloved is the pork belly. But you can also use spam as I mentioned and also canned mackerel, saury or tuna. 

Kimchijjigae is generally quiet spicy, but you can make it even spicier by adding more chili flakes and fresh green chili pepper or jalapeno peppers. Fresh peppers give another layer of spiciness to this dish over the mellow fire of the aged kimchi.

4

I don’t remember seeing bokchoy in Korea when I was growing up there in the 1980s and 90s but now it is getting popular as more and more people around the world begun to know about it and cook with it. It’s not uncommon to see this veggie in even american and european restaurants these days and I think it’s because it is such a versatile vegetable. It has two opposing qualities: delicate and tough at the same time, sorta like cross between napa cabbage and spinach, with a slight bitter after taste. It’s important to blanch this veggie enough for the bitterness to come out yet maintaining a firm texture. I use it for all kinds of cooking including stir fry, steaming, blanching and also a great addition to noodle soups.