February 21, 2008

Everyday Korean Cooking


Out of the twelve or so Korean cookbooks I've collected over the years my favorite so far has been Everyday Korean Cooking. When it was in print it was $12 but now the cheapest copy I could find was $50! In any case, I love that it is homemade looking, with a basic wire binder that they'll do for you at Kinko's and a font that reminds me of the early days when you had about two choices on your home computer.

I learned most of my basic dishes from this book and as I got used to making them I'd add ingredients and techniques from other cookbooks. (I find the nationalism and OCD aspects of Koreans come out when writing cookbooks because the recipes can get very long with almost arcane techniques and discussion such as one recipe which mourned the use of metal knives to cut vegetables when historically it was considered a kind of profanity, you ought to tear vegetables by hand.)

Here is a simple recipe for shigumchi, kongnamul, or soochoo namul:

1 bunch of spinach/ 1 bag of sprouts (pre-washed spinach will save you heartache)
3-4 diced scallions
2-3 minced garlic
1/2 teaspoon sugar
salt, pepper
soy sauce
sesame oil
sesame seeds (not essential but close)
1 teaspoon vinegar (again, not essential especially if you want to keep the banchan around for longer than two days, the vinegar quickly overripens the vegetables)

1. Boil water in a medium sized pot.
2. When boiling, lower heat to high simmer, then blanch batches of vegetables for at least 20 seconds until wilted. (Blanching=dipping in hot water then removing) Vegetables should wilt but be slightly crunchy.
3. Drain and squeeze blanched vegetables. (Your armful of spinach will now fit in your hand)
4. Throw in garlic, scallion, and seeds (sesame seeds can be toasted) until it looks good to your eye. Taste.
5. Pour a bit of sesame oil in your hand and rub into vegetables. Taste.
6. Pour a bit of soy sauce in your hand and do the same.
7. Add sugar.
8. Add vinegar.

Mix and serve chilled if desired.

posted at 12:00 PM by jenn

Filed under: recipes


02/21/08 06:16 PM

what about sigumchi guk??? that's my favorite...

02/24/08 08:46 PM

I just want you to make me some of that yummy spicy Korean food and bring it on over, like in the days of yore...

02/26/08 01:18 AM

You made this for me on our first date!

03/03/08 07:41 PM

Sounds absolutely delicious. Looks easy enough so that even I can try it.

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