Monday, April 9, 2007

Korean Home Cooking



Sorry, no recipes this time. I'm just going to tantalize you with pictures of some yummy Korean food, cooked for us by two lovely young women. This past week, EunJee and HyeJin came to visit us while they were on break from school. I thought they would do what most teens do when they are on a holiday break- sleep, shop, do laundry and watch DVD's. They did all that, but they also cooked for us. It was a treat- they made a terrific dinner, all the while telling us that they really couldn't cook.

I don't know the names of many of the dishes they made- they kept the menu and recipes a secret. There was a little bundle of rice and ground beef, tied with a strip of nori (seaweed), and a another meat dish that consisted of slices of beef in a sweet brown sauce, (not bulgoki) accompanied with slices of cooked green pepper and mushroom. My husband is convinced the little bundles were called chewibap; I don't know about that, but bap is the korean word for rice, so he could be close. There was a salad of cucumbers, spinach and silken tofu in a vinegar dressing. They cooked some commercial dumplings- mandoo- and melted cheese over them. Oh, and Korean rice- a white, short grained, very sticky rice.

My personal favorite was kimchijaen. Jaen is a pancake; pajaen has scallions, hae mul pajeon has scallions plus little bits of seafood. Kimchijaen, obviously has chopped kimchi. Kimchi, spicy fermented cabbage, is the traditional food of Korea, and Koreans eat it everyday. Koreans consider kimchi to be a health food. Health.com lists it as one of the worlds healthiest foods because the bacteria aids in digestion, but other sites have broader claims. This site talks about the research. I've tried to make it at home, but my efforts amused my husband and Eunjee. One of the things I love about Korean food is all the little side dishes that go with dinner. We had a relish made from carrot and white daikon radish, odang, which is a spicy fish cake, soybean sprouts, a cucmber dish called uwikimchi, and a spinach dish. Sometimes we get gokdugi- a spicy relish made with daikon radish. We bought all of the side dishes at the Korean grocery.

If you are looking for Korean recipes, try My Korean Kitchen, TriFood, and KoreanInfoGate . Zenkimchi's food journal is interesting, too.

EunJee came to our house as a foreign exchange student in 2003, we had her weekends while she went to boarding school the next two years, and she is now finishing up her first year of college. HyeJin was a student at the boarding school, and will be starting college next year. This is the time of year to be thinking about having a foreign exchange student. We have had 3, they have all been pleasant experiences. (I know there are people who have less than pleasant experiences, but we've been 3 for 3 on the good side, and I really have met relatively few people who had a bad experience.) You don't have to be the typical nuclear family with kids in high school to have a student, either- single people and empty-nesters can apply. In fact, I think it was an advantage that our children were grown before we started having students- there was very little chance of conflict between the kids. Think about it- visit AYUSA's website and find out what it takes to be a host family.

1 comment:

Susan said...

Isn't it wonderful that you've had such positive experiences with your exchange students? If their cooking tasted half as good as it looks, then you really got a treat! Thanks for the links as well.