Sunday, December 26, 2010

이남장 - Lee, Nam Jang or Nam Jang Lee

I hope everyone had a wonderful Christmas!

I'm not doing much cooking out here in the Motherland only because I have a wonderful MIL who bans me from entering the kitchen. No, really. She doesn't let me cook at all. I <3 my MIL.

Anyhow, let me begin this post by saying I am not in anyway affiliated with any of the restaurants I'm recommending. If I were - I'd be rich doncha think? =P These restaurant reviews are strictly because I love food and I feel it's my duty to share good food finds with everyone else.

I'm not sure if you've noticed, but our family is a big fan of sulung tang. The one thing the MR, Munchkin and I can agree on when we're stumped on what to eat is always sulung tang. The following restaurant might just be better than my two other favorites - Ham Bat and Jun Tong AKA E-Moon Oak in La-La Land.


The name is simply Lee Nam Jang and the sign states that they have been doing this for over 30 years. The restaurant is divided into three floors. The first floor is most suitable for families and small parties.

The second floor caters more towards folks that are drinking alcohol. It gets pretty loud. You know how Koreans get when they're imbibing themselves. =P

The third floor is composed of ondol rooms (heated floors, shoes off) and caters to larger parties or to people who want to eat in more privacy. However, the third floor also gets pretty loud because there are a lot of larger groups drinking soju while eating sulungtang and soo-yook - which is basically the delicate meat that has been boiled in the broth and served separately.


Upon sitting down, you are greeted with the green onions and kimchi. Their kimchi is a bit on the sweeter side, but it's still yummy nonetheless.



The MR ordered neh-jang tang.



While I ordered good old fashioned sulung tang. Unfortunately I can't seem to find a picture of the soo-yook from our last visit in April so I'll have to end the pictures here. We've already been to this restaurant twice in two weeks. It is one of the best sulung-tang places I've ever been to.

I will be back soon with more restaurant reviews. Until then, hope you have a GREAT rest of the year. Here's wishing that 2011 brings more joy and happiness than all the previous years.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Greetings from Korea

Street Foods. You can't go wrong with this. =) Hope everyone has a very, Merry Christmas!

Monday, December 6, 2010

Cow Parts

MOOOOOOO.  That’s me being a cow.

Hello all!  I hope everyone had a nice Thanksgiving break – yes I realize I’m a bit late.  Anyhow, I thought I would do a short little blog on cow parts.  I made beef tang no less than four times already this winter so I thought I would share some of the different parts of cow you can buy at the butcher shop so you can see what it looks like.

 

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Knee caps.  If you go to Jinju Gomtang, they have a great do-ga-ni tang - though I confess that I haven’t been there in a very long time since I’m not out and about in K-town like I was in my twenties.  =P  They give you kitchen shears and a big plate of knee caps with soft tendons falling off the bones.  I loved eating all the tendons and dipping into their soy sauce/wasabi mix.  Squeamish?  Don’t be.  Give it a try and you might become a fan!

 

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This is where the marrow is.  Even if you don’t use other parts, I suggest adding some beef marrow to any gook or tang you make.

 

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Ox tails are always a favorite in tangs.  I always separate my meat after boiling for a while and store it for easier access.

 

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Beef brisket.  After boiling for a few hours, I will take this out of the soup and let it cool down.  Then you just take a sharp kitchen knife and slice the meat into thin strips.

 

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Beef Feet.  This is definitely not for the weak of heart, but I guarantee your gook will be much more milky and flavorful if you add some feet.  Try it.  I promise you won’t regret it.

 

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I normally use all the ox tails and then use about half of everything else.  Let it drain in water and then boil and throw out the water.

 

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You can store the remaining cow parts for another time.

 

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Remember, boil and throw it out once!

 

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Then wash and clean all your bits and pieces and add water and boil, boil, boil.  You can see the more in-depth how-to over HERE and HERE.

Hope everyone has a great holiday!  We will be heading over to the Motherland again to spend Christmas and New Year’s in Seoul.  And yes, food pictures from the homeland will be coming up again so get ready to salivate. 

And can someone please tell North Korea to tone it down a little while we’re over there?  Thanks.

Friday, November 26, 2010

Fresh Kimchi–Gut Jul Eeh Kimchi with Raw Oysters

I hope everyone had a fabulous Thanksgiving!  I’m sure our dinner table isn’t much different from some of the other Korean-American dinner tables out there.  For as long as I can remember we have always had Korean food on Thanksgiving.  It wasn’t until I was old enough to learn how to roast a turkey that our family started having turkey on Thanksgiving.  =P  Now our tables look like a mix of the old and new with Korean food intermingling with American food.

One of my mom’s specialties around the holidays is a fresh gut-jul-eeh kimchi she makes specifically for my halmoni who doesn’t like the sourness of fermented kimchi.  I asked my mom where she learned to cook and she told me that all of the myun-noo-ris in our family were taught how to cook by my grandmother.  I now understand why the food at all the different households on my dad’s side pretty much tastes the same.  My grandmother hails from a town called Andong and I was told by many people that the ladies of Andong are known for their cooking prowess.

I went to my parent’s house early in the morning to start the ham and turkey, so I was actually able to watch her make this fresh kimchi from start to finish.  It is one of my husband’s favorite dishes, so I made sure to note how much of everything she used.  Of course there are no exact measurements, I was able to eyeball her proportions pretty well…I think.  =P

 

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First, a small peek at our dinner table.  My mom’s *famous* chong-gak kimchi (really, it’s GOOD – and I’m not just saying that because she’s my mom), kongnamool moochim, cornbread stuffing (with cranberries, apples, turkey sausage, almonds, onions, parsley, celery, and…whatever else I had on hand), fresh cranberry sauce, grilled snapper, spinach moochim, roasted ham, roasted turkey, garlic mashed potatoes and creamed corn.  I made all the American food and my mom made all the Korean food.  We are a good combo in the kitchen and totally know how to work around each other now.

Have I mentioned how much I love my mom?  She’s my favorite person next to Munchkin.  =P

 

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Take one cucumber and chop it up like so and then sprinkle a little bit of sea salt and set aside.

 

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Then grab one napa and start washing it and taking it apart.

 

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Then take a knife and start slicing the napa into little pieces straight into the same bowl.  My mom just holds it up and just takes her knife and slices it directly above the bowl.  Then generously sprinkle salt on top and set it aside for a couple of hours.

 

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After the napa begins to look soft, rinse the salt water out under cool water and then julienne half a moo into the bowl as well.

 

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Add some green onions…

 

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Add about 1/4 cup of minced garlic.

 

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Meanwhile defrost your raw oysters.  I wasn’t able to take a picture of the bag, but my mom tells me they sell it frozen in a bag and it’s usually next to the frozen fish area…

 

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Then add about 4-5 TB of sesame seeds…

 

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1-2 TB of sugar…(my mom uses this Korean sugar that looks brown)

 

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Add your red pepper flakes.  Depending on the type of red pepper flakes you have, you have to adjust your measurements accordingly.  This is the one my MIL brought back from Korea last year and it’s very light.  We tend to use a lot of more of this when making recipes because it’s not as red.

 

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My mom then added the oysters (about 1/2 cup) and shrimp jut (1 TB).  I actually asked my mom why she doesn’t chop up the raw oysters (since they tend to look pretty GROSS) and she said it’s because then it *bursts* and the kimchi tastes much more fishy. 

 

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Mix, mix, mix!

 

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And we realized that it could use a little more color, so in went some more red pepper powder.

 

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And voila!  Fresh gut-jul-eeh kimchi.  This tastes best when served within an hour or two of preparation.  It will naturally ferment into kimchi as well and can be eaten when it’s fermented, but because a lot of the real steps to making kimchi were skipped, this type never tastes as good as real beh-choo kimchi.  Yes, I will do a step-by-step of beh-choo kimchi one day…

I hope everyone had a great Thanksgiving.  I hope you found time to reminisce your past and find many things you are thankful for.  Life can throw unexpected twists and turns to you, but always remember that there is a light at the end of tunnel.

My latest scans all came back clear.  My chest is free of mets and my head and neck is free of disease as well.  Two years after diagnosis, I am still cancer-free.  I’m sure there are tiny little buggers lurking around somewhere inside my body, but I’m hopeful that I will live to see Munchkin grow old.

Health, happiness, love and many blessings to all my readers!  Thank you for having been my outlet to break down and reconstruct myself these past couple of years.  This blog was truly my form of therapy.  It is a small slice of space away from my real world.  It’s a place I come to when I’m feeling a bit down. 

Writing these posts and sharing our families recipes is cathartic.  It’s a way to heal.  So thank you for helping me heal.

P.S.  For those of you who are curious.  All pictures were taken with my Canon G11.  I didn’t have my Canon 50D with me on this day. 

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Random…

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I made do-gan-neeh (basically same process as gom gook using different parts of the cow – in this case, cow knee bones) tang yesterday and added some beef eye of round into it as well.  I took a big piece of beef eye of round and added it to the boiling broth.  When it was just under two hours, I removed the beef and let it cool down.  Once cooled, I took a large, sharp knife and sliced the beef pieces like so.  I threw it back into a smaller pot and kept boiling it until it became VERY, VERY tender…

 

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My ggak-ddoogi is only a day old, but I prefer fresh kimchi.

 

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I also cooked up some somen noodles and added it to the bowl with rice.

 

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Whenever I cook beef tang I use that huge pot and fill it to the brim with water.  The key to a milky, white broth is making sure the heat is not TOO high.  You want it just barely boiling for 24 hours…

 

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My broth always ends up being less than half of what I started with.

 

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In a smaller pot, I add a few bones and then take apart all the tender meat and keep it in there for easier access to the meat.  Both Munchkin and I ate this for breakfast and dinner today so I took the leftover broth and put it into the refrigerator.  Tomorrow morning I’m going to skim the fat off the top and then freeze some of the remaining broth for quick and easy meals for the future.

Anyhow, if you’ve never tried it you should try and make beef tang with cow FEET.  It’s not for the squeamish, but the resulting broth is really rich and creamy – like sulungtang.  =)

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Ggak Ddoogi–(깍두기)–Version 2.0

 

Is fall/winter (they sorta just blend in SoCal don’t they?) finally hitting SoCal?  About time, eh? 

It has been hot for so long that I’m sort of welcoming this cold.  SORT OF.  I’ll always be a SoCal girl and that means my body can only tolerate so much cold. 

On a side note, the MR has been out of the country for almost a month now leaving our house feeling a bit empty.  It has been just Munchkin and I for the last 23 days and counting.  Although it has been a bit trying at times, I’m relishing my one on one time with him.  He is now an almost five-year-old and I’m thankful every day that I was able to be here for three birthday parties after my diagnosis (I was diagnosed the day before his 3rd birthday party). 

I see Munchkin developing leaps and bounds every day.  He talks SO much.  SOOOOOOO much.  He talks about anything and everything under the sun.  “Can I ask you something?” is one of his favorite lines and you bet he will definitely ASK ME SOMETHING.  He drives me to the brink of insanity, but will then turn around and do something so sweet and inspiring that I thank God for each and every day.

To be honest, since it’s only Munchkin and I – our consumption of Korean food has been almost nil.  =P  With the exception of kimchi, Munchkin and I rarely eat Korean food.  We recently devoured the latest batch of my mom’s chong-gak-kimchi so I decided it was time to make some ggak ddoogi in it’s place.  I opted for a quicker and milder version this time since I was pressed for time and feeling absolutely lazy.

Ingredients Needed:

  • 5 LBS of daikon radish (moo)
  • 1/4 CUP red pepper powder, 4 TB minced garlic, 1 TB salt, 3 TB honey powder, 2 TB rice wine, 1/2 TB ginger powder, 3 TB minced shrimp jut plus about 1 TB of the shrimp jut liquid.

 

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I bought about 5 lbs. of moo (daikon radish) at the K-market and went to work on my kitchen floor.  Yes, I did the kimchi squat.  =P

 

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I chopped up the moo into smaller pieces than normal.

 

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Try and make it about 1CM-ish.  It will get smaller once you salt it up.

 

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Continue chopping it ALLLLLL up and dump it into a large bowl.

 

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Dump about 1/4 cup of salt on top…

 

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…mix it around and just let it sit.  No need to add water. 

 

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Leave it for a few hours and when you come back, there will be all this liquid in the bowl.

 

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Rinse all the moo pieces CLEAN.

 

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Give it a nice bath a couple of times even.

 

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And let it sit and drain out for about 10 minutes or so.

 

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Then add all the following ingredients: 1/4 CUP red pepper powder, 4 TB minced garlic, 1 TB salt, 3 TB honey powder, 2 TB rice wine, 1/2 TB ginger powder, 3 TB minced shrimp jut plus about 1 TB of the shrimp jut liquid.

 

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MIX, MIX, MIX!  I used this red pepper powder for the first time today.  I had brought it back with me earlier this year on our trip to Korea.  It looks a lot spicier than the one I used prior which is why I adjusted my recipe.  I actually used half a cup of red pepper powder, but I think 1/4 cup would have been plenty.

 

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Transfer it over into a kimchi container…

 

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And let it sit out in a cool area for 2-3 days.  You’re all set! 

 

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I’m currently making beef soup with ox tails, do-gan-neeh (cow knee bone) and beef (eye of round?)  It will be a sul-lung-tang of sorts.  No recipe because it’s just boiling, boiling, boiling.  We’re going on 10 hours so far and I plan on boiling for over 24 hours.  =P

Hope you have all been doing well!

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