Monday, January 24, 2011

bean sprout rice soup ( Kong-na-mul-kook-bob)

Koreans believe that food is the best medicine. For instance, when we are sick, we eat Jook (porridge) and when we are really sick, we eat abalone porridge ( I think mostly because it is very expensive). When we catch cold, we are supposed to eat bean sprout soup or bean sprout Kook-bob. (koop means soup) When we have hang over, we are supposed to eat dried pollock soup (booka-kook) and so on. The philosophy was based on Yin/Yang and old Korean medicine. Amazingly it is proven to work scientifically as well.

Besides the food science, I have been conditioned to eat certain foods in certain occasions. I have been sick with flu recently, I am terribly missing my grandma and her comfort food! I think this soup is what she would have prepared for me today. I know it's a little sad to make soup for myself when I am not well but my craving was so specific.....

This bean sprout soup is ultimate comfort food, even though it doesn't neccessarily mean easy to make. But it is worthy to spend a long time in the kitchen to make this. It's just soooo good and so healing.

to make broth
1/2 dried pollok
total 5 sq inches dashima (dried kelp, aka konbu)
1 dried pyogo mushrooms (aka shitake)
1/2 lb moo (Korean radish)

Roughly chop the radish to large pieces. In a big pot, fill 8 cups of cold water and the all of the ingredients above. Bring it to a boil, on medium-high heat. Once it boils, reduce the heat to medium. Keep slow boiling for 3 hours, partially covered with lid. Check if you need to replenish water from time to time. After 3 hours, you will need to have 6 cups of water for total. Cool down the broth overnight and sieve the broth. You will have medium brown clear broth.

to assemble
lightly packed 1 cup of Kimchi (preferably mature one)
1/2 tsp sugar
1 tsp sesame oil
1/2 tsp ground sesame seeds
1/2 lb bean sprouts
1/4 tsp salt
1 cup water
1 cup of shredded Jang-jorim
3 cups of cooked rice
3 scallion/ sliced
2 hot red peppers/seeded and sliced
3 egg yolks
toasted Gim (seaweeds, aka Nori)/ broken to smaller pieces
salt or salted shrimp for seasoning

Prepare beans sprouts. Although yellow bean parts are perfectly fine to eat, I remove them. (the texture somewhat bothers me and I don't think it has much flavor) In a small pot, boil 1 cup of water and cook the sprouts for 3-4 minutes with 1/4 tsp of salt. It's very important to keep the lid covered tightly, otherwise the flavor will be off. After 3-4 minutes, take out the sprouts, keep the cooked liquid. Squeeze out excess liquid from kimchi then chop it to small pieces. Season kimchi with sesame oil, sesame seeds and sugar. Put it aside.

In a pot, layer rice then kimchi, the sprouts and jang-jorim. Pour 4 cups of broth and the reserve cooking liquid from bean sprouts on the pot. Cover and boil. When it boils, top egg yolks, red peppers and scallion. Cover and cook for a couple of minutes longer. Season with salt or salted shrimp. Sprinkle broken Gim on top just right before serving.

a picture of salted shrimp (available in Korean market, refrgerator section)

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