Friday, September 16, 2011

Green beans with soy bean hummus

 I would love to learn new techniques and perfect the skills.  However, at times, I feel like to retreat myself from "being too much". That's when I take out a thick earthenware pot to cook rice and pay attention to the simplest and easiest things which I do everyday without thinking. It is just as valuable and rewarding as learning a difficult skill. I achieve infinite feeling of calmness from inside. Hearing and smelling as the clay rice pot releases vapor is mesmerizing. Feeling soy beans through my fingers to make tofu is also a peaceful experience to send me to different status of mind. It's just like listening to wind, rain...
I conceived the idea of this dish by accident while making soy bean milk. I used to make quite similar Banchan dish like this one using tofu. Although soy bean hummus is made with pretty much same components with tofu-soy bean and water basically-, it is fresher and, of course tastes better. The nuttiness of soy bean hummus elevates the flavor and the texture of the vegetable without disturbing the essence of it.
I got a bag of green beans from farmer's market. I blanched them in boiling water with a big pig pinch of salt until the color of green beans turns bright green. Then I took out the green beans when they are still crunch, plunged them in the ice water,
Soy bean hummus 
1 cup soy bean/ soaked with 3 cup of water overnight
reserved soy bean cooking water
sea salt
In a big pot, cook soy beans in its soaking water over med-high heat. Boil for 15 minutes. (Over cooking and under cooking will result serious off smell.) Follow the instruction exactly as described in  the previous post except the amount of water. Blend the drained soy bean and peanut mixture in a blender, use just enough water to obtain the hummus consistency, maybe 1/2 cup or a little more. I like to keep it creamy but with a little bit of peanut chunks. Season it with salt. Scoop out as much hummus as you need. Add more reserved cooking water to make soy milk.
Mix blanched green beans with soy bean hummus. Sprinkle some black sesame seeds on top.
The soy bean hummus is very versatile. You can use any kind of vegetable for this Banchan. I hope you try this recipe when you make some soy bean milk. It's simple, healthy, delicious and therapeutic!

Monday, September 5, 2011

Yeol-Moo summer noodle 열무김치비빔국수

Summer is officially almost gone. I think the debate about "wearing white clothe after Labor day" is very funny. Although I don't care much about the proper dress code after Labor day, I do care about eating summer foods before summer becomes past. And Yeol-Moo-Gook-Soo is one the summer foods I have to eat timely. As some of you might already know from my previous blog post, I made some Yeol-Moo-Kimchi a few weeks ago. Yeo-Moo-Limchi has become very mature in the refrigerator, I love it when it tastes just about to turn sour but not quite sour yet. So it is still delightfully crunch in texture. It is right on the climax of its fermentation process.

Yeol-Moo-Gook-Soo 열무비빔국수 serves 4
4 bundles of somyun (somen) noodle
1/4 cup hot noodle sauce (famous O-Jang-Dong-Nangmyun sauce), the recipe follows bellow
4 hard boiled eggs/halved
1/2 seedless cucumber/julienned
2 cups Yeol-Moo-Kimchi
1 Tbsp sesame oil
freshly ground toasted sesame seeds

Cook somen noodle following product's instruction. Rinse the noodle under cold water. Drain and keep the noodle cold until needed.
Mix the noodle with hot noodle sauce and sesame oil.
Put Yeol-Moo-Kimchi, cucumber and an egg on top of noodle. Sprinkle ground sesame seeds on top. Serve immediately.

hot noodle sauce 오장동냉면소스 (famous O-Jang-Dong noodle sauce)
O-jang-dong is the place which is known for Bi-Bim-Nangmyun (a type of cold noodle which is originated from the North Korean region, Ham-heung. It is very spicy) in Seoul. I don't know who smuggled out or imitated the recipe but it is one of the most popular recipes in Korean food websites.

1/2 cup water
1/2 cup soy sauce
1/2 cup light brown sugar
3/4 cup Gochugaru (Korean red pepper poder)
1 tsp ginger/finely minsed
1 Tbsp garlic/finely minsed
1 Tbsp corn syrup
1 apple/peeled
1 Korean (Asian pear)/peeled
1/2 yellow onion
1 Tbsp salt

In a sause pot boil water and soy sauce together. When it boils turn off the heat and add sugar. Let in cool down completely.
In a food processor, finely grind the apple, pear and onion together. Add it to the soy sauce mixture.  Add the rest of ingredients together and mix it very well. Keep it in the refrigerator. It will well kept for months. The flavor becomes mature and ready to eat after a 3-4 days.

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Cold soba noodle salad

 Try this salad for your next summer potluck. I will guarantee this will be one of your favorite summer time repertoires. It's easy to prepare, looks pretty and tastes delicious.
It is a versatile salad. You can use any kind salad vegetables you have in your refrigerator. I like to use  use some spicy vegetables like radishes and arugulas with sweet tomatoes.
Prepare the salad dressing in advance, keep it cold until needed.
Soba noodle (buckwheat noodle) gives nutty and earthy flavor. 

Soba noodle salad serves 10 or more
5 bundles of soba noodle/oiled and rinsed in cold water
a bundle of radish/ sliced thinly
1 seedless cucumber/sliced thinly
1 bag of arugula
1 pack of cherry tomatoes
cooked shrimp (optional)

  1. Prepare vegetables and keep it cold.
  2. Cook noodles for 5-6 minutes and rinse under cold water. Mix with 1 Tbsp of olive oil to prevent sticking.

Salad dressing with soy sauce, wasabi and lemon
4 Tbsp soy sauce
2 Tbsp oyster sauce (available in Asian market)
Juice of 1 lemon
Zest of 1 lemon
2 Tbsp vinegar
4 Tbsp sugar
1 Tbsp finely minced garlic
1 Tbsp wasabi
5 Tbsp olive oil
2 Tbsp sesame seed oil
1 Tbsp toasted and ground sesame seeds
freshly ground black pepper

Mix all the ingredients for the dressing. Keep everything cold until serving. Mix everything together, including dressing just right before serving.

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Cold soy bean noodle (콩국수)

Soy bean noodle, (콩국수 [Kong-Guk-Su]) is accompanied with Yeol-Moo-Kimchi (열무김치).
I mixed soy beans with peanuts to make it even more nuttier.
The consistency is like heavy cream. It has  to be really silky.
Don't forget to drink fresh warm soy bean milk (콩국) with a pinch of sea salt. mmmm-good!

Unfiltered soy bean milk (콩국) makes 4 serving
  • 2 cups dried soy beans
  • 1/2 peanuts
  • 8 cups water
  • sea salt to taste

  1. Wash soy beans several times. Soak the soy beans in cold water for 4-5 hours. (longer in the winter time)
  2. Cook soy beans with the soaking water. When it boils, cook for 10-12 minutes. Either undercooking or overcooking will give an off taste. Taste the beans, it's ready when it tastes nutty.
  3. Cool it down. Scoop out the soy beans. ( I save the cooking water aside.) Plunge the soy beans in the cold water. Gently rub the beans between your palms. you can easily peel its skin. Try to peel as much as you can. 
  4. Transfer the beans to a blender, add peanuts. Start blending. Add bottled water one cup at a time (Use the reserved water if you want) until it reaches to a heavy cream consistency. It should be silky.
    1. Fresh Soy bean milk is very perishable. Keep it in the refrigerator for up to 2 days. Skinning soy beans requires some patience. Don't try to be perfect. It will become smooth and silky when it is blended.  If you prefer the texture of milk, sieve it with fine clothe. I like it unfiltered. 

  1. Cold soy bean noodle (콩국수)
  • any types of noodle such as Soba, Somyun (Somen).. for 4 servings
  • 1/2 seedless cucumber/ julienned
  • 4 hard boiled eggs
  • soy bean milk (콩국)
  • 1 Tbsp toasted sesame seeds
  1. Cook Somyun (Somen) noodle in the plenty of salted water. Drain and rinse under cold water.
  2. Put some noodles on a big bowl, pour soy bean milk. Top with julienned cucumber, egg and some freshly ground sesame seeds.
  3. Serve it cold.

Saturday, August 27, 2011

A day in Sudbury

I've been to Sudbury to visit our friends, more precisely friends of parents. The wife is an artist who works with clay.  Her backyard is where her works of art and nature meet-her potteries and the clay arts mingle together harmoniously with the flowers, vegetables and fruits. She made a basket full of freshly picked vegetables for me. 

The ripe melon is waiting to be harvested.
Tori (또리) is from Korea too.
I  got some Yeol-Moo (a Korean type of radish) from her. Every part of the Yeol-Moo is  to be relished.
I made some Yeol-Moo Kimchi (열무김치) which is a popular  summer  food in Korea.
I also made some Perilla (깻잎김치) Kimchi.

I usually have Kimchi paste handy in my freezer to make impromptu Kimchi like today. This is my master recipe which always works fantastic with any "Kimchable" vegetables.  e.g Korean cabbage, Napa cabbage, Perilla leaves, and all sorts of radishes.

The basic recipe for Kimchi paste (makes one gigaserving)
  • the juice of 1 Korean pear, 1 onion, about same size of Korean radish (Moo) 
  • sticky rice glue paste (to make this, cook 1 Tbsp of sticky rice powder with 1 cup of water)
  • 2 cup Dashi 
  • 2 cup fresh shrimp
  • 8 cup Gochugaru (Korean red pepper powder)
  • 2 cup garlic paste
  • 2 Tbsp ginger paste
  • 150 ml Korean fish sauce
  • 2 cup Korean salted shrimp(새우젖)
  • 1/4 cup sugar (or Korean green plum syrup 매실청 or both mixed together depends on your taste)

Blend everything together, working on several batches, mix everything well. Keep it in the refrigerator or freezer until needed.

Monday, August 22, 2011

식혜 ([shikhae], Korean malted punch)

Shikhae (식혜) is a cherished drink by Koreans. Koreans prefer light desserts to finish their meals. Shikhae is one of the most common desserts, often served with some fruits. Making Shikhae takes time, although time itself does the most of the work.

Malt flour (germinated cereal) is the main ingredient.
You need 2 cups malt flour.

Mix the malt flour with 10 cups of cold water and leave it for 1 hour .

Rub the malt between your palms aggressively to extract all the juice.
Sieve,  pressing down as much juice as possible.
It will look like this now. Refrigerate for 3-4 hours (or overnight). Meanwhile, prepare rice.  Cook 1 cup of rice. Make it a little bit drier that you usually like.
It will become like this. Do you see the sediment on the bottom? What we need is the clear juice, not the sediment. Be careful. Do not agitate the sediment on the bottom.
Pour the malted water through cheese clothe into the rice cooker pot. Discard the sediment on the bottom.
Add cooked rice, then separate the grains gently.
Set the rice cooker on "warm" cycle. Leave it for 3 hours to develop enzyme. During this process, the starch in the malt grains will turn into sugar. You don't want to over develop the enzyme so check from time to time. When you see  30-40 rice grains are floating, it is done. 
Scoop out half of the rice. Rinse the rice and save it in the cold water. Keep it in the refrigerator until you need it.
Transfer all the fermented malted rice water to a big pot. Add a slice of ginger (or 1/4 tsp of ginger powder). Bring it to a boil on high heat then reduce the heat to medium.  Boil for 15 minutes. While it is boiling, skim the foam often. Add 1/4 cup of sugar (or more, depends on your taste). Cool down the liquid and transfer it to a container. Keep it really cold. Float some of the saved rice just right before serving.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

"Enter the Dragon" Hwei (sashimi) House in Jeju Island, Korea

I recently have been to Jeju Island  for a vacation with my family and friends. I had an unforgettable meal at Yong-Chul-Hwei-Jib (용출횟집 : could be translated "Enter the dragon sashimi house"?) It is located near Yong-Du-Ahm (용두암: Dragon-Head-Rock) which is 10 minutes away from Jeju international airport by car. 
Indeed, formed by volcanic activity, the rock looks like a dragon head. The legend says that the dragon stole a jade marble from god of Mt. Halla in order to enter heaven, but unfortunately he ended up being caught by god just as the dragon started its ascent. Well, it is very sad that the dragon is still here in agony as a rock. However thanks to him, we have a magnificent view of the dragon head and other wonderful views from many great seafood restaurants in the vicinity, such as "Yong-Chul-Hwei-Jib".
I have been to Jeju Island numerous times. It didn't take much time to figure out that the local tour guide who also acts as a rented car driver and photographer is not our best friend. After some trial and error, despite our tour guider's own agenda, I spoke up for our right to eat better food. Yong-Chul-Hwei-Jib was introduced by my friend who is a semi local here. The place is humble and honest. The owner and staff are warm and generous. And oh my god!!! Despite having dined at many truly amazing places all over the world, this was one of the absolute best meals I have ever had in my life. The food here is beyond extremely fresh. The seafood is literally alive seconds before it is served. Not only are the main courses out of this world, plentiful side dishes are served that are delicious and constantly topped off without asking.
we ordered Sawedged Perch (다금바리). It came with all the side dishes below.
fresh sea conch, sea urchin, octopus
fresh abalone
I had never seen/heard this before. It is a shame that I forgot the name.
Every eatable part of the fish is served beyond just the flesh, respecting the sacrifice of life to sustain life.
 Even the bones are not wasted.  As they served soup made from the bones of the fish and seaweed,
 they said this soup is so thick your lips will stick together and not open.  While not literally true,
the soup was indeed incredibly rich and scrumptious.
This place manifests the truism: less is more. Why do we need to meddle with flavors when the raw ingredients are already perfect as is?