Korean Vegetable Pancake

hanuka-candles
It’s Hanuka and we have been eating pancakes. These were pancakes made by Mr. Tess some time ago, yet they deserve some space on my blog.
I bought a bag of Korean pancake mix, thinking it would have some special secret ingredient. I’d made them from scratch with vegetables and seafood but they were not quite the same as the pancakes served at our favorite Korean restaurant. But no, just ordinary flour, baking powder, spices… I hate wasting food, and the minor convenience of one measuring cup, one bowl, a knife, and a frying pan means we’ll eat them at least a couple of more times…

Korean Cold Noodle Soup with Radish Water Kimchi

eating Korean noodles with a fork
Eating cold noodles in winter, preferably in front of a great big fire, is a way of enjoying the best of two seasons.

We made a meal of this when Mr. Tess returned from Philly after working there for nearly two months. As a dyed-in-the-wool noodle-lover it was the best thing I could think of to welcome him home.

I don’t think he was disappointed in the menu; at any rate he was happier than the cats were.

Korean Radish Water Kimchi

water kimchi cut for dinner

Making kimchi seemed a wonderful idea. I spent a lot of deep-in-the-night sleepless hours roving the internet while Mr. Tess was working in Philadelphia. Radish water kimchi made me laugh, especially when I heard about a cold noodle soup made with this pickle. The weather was beginning to be chilly in October, and I wanted to hold on to summer if only in my dining room.
These pickles are absolutely delicious, especially the water which can only be called addictive: sour, salty, sweet, and popping good…

Rosh Hashanah: Chicken Soup for 5772

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For the first Rosh Hashanah in our new house I wanted to make a meal which would reflect the change from summer to autumn. This soup is traditionally eaten in the hottest part of summer in Korea, the theory being that it warms the body so much as to make the outside temperature feel cooler. Yet the dates, chestnuts, and ginseng, and even the rice are fruit of fall. In any season, it is traditionally believed that sam gae tang helps to rejuvenate the body by replenishing essential nutrients while sweating out the toxins, thus promoting a long and healthy life. As we look forward to a sweet new year this soup was a flavorful meal to begin.

Nengmyeøn: Korean summer noodles

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It was one of those “busy-lazy” days when cooking was low on my list, but we were hungry. Mr. Tess had found edamame beans and some lovely cherry tomatoes at the Ann Arbor Farmers’ Market, and we had a large piece of beautiful but left-over Atlantic salmon. I also had some still-usable green onions, a small cucumber, and a nice pear. And of course, noodles came to mind. Korean buckwheat noodles.
I viewed this as an opportunity to try the instant broth packets which were included in the bag with the noodles.
Turns out that the broth was about what one would expect: salty, bland, chemical…
But it was wet, kept the noodles from sticking together, and with condiments and my good toppings, the meal was fine.

Neng Myeon: Cold Korean Noodles: 냉면

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The label read, “Korean Style Noodles with Buckwheat, “Pyongyang Mul Neng Myeon,” and “Vermecille.” One can see thin brown noodles through the window on the package. I had a vague but good memory of eating these noodles at a restaurant with my daughter: buckwheat noodles in cold beef broth topped with cucumber, pear, radish, thin beef slices and boiled egg. I was thinking about the broth left from the Korean soy braised beef (changjorim or jangjorim) that would be a crime to waste.

Korean Braised Beef: Chang Jorim 장조림

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jangjorim
Beef braised in soy sauce is a popular appetizer in Korea. Like oxtail soup, it is made with a relatively inexpensive cut of meat which is unfamiliar to me. Like oxtail, beef shank is rich in fat and collagen thus making both good candidates for long slow gentle cooking which produce delicious broths.
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To be honest, I had not planned to make this dish! There is a lot on my mind these days so sometimes I don’t pay close attention to what I’m doing. Twice I accidentally bought the wrong soup: wanted chicken and wild rice—got 1. spinach and wild mushrooms, 2. jalapeño chile! So at least oxtails and beef shank look almost similar in that they are both round, with a bone in the center…

Oxtail Soup 곰탕 (テールスープ)

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Oxtail soup is the broth of the gods! It’s deeply robustly beefy delicious.
Shopping so often in the little Korean grocery store means that I see many foods which are unfamiliar. Though it leads me to a neighboring cuisine, I can’t help but be curious. I rarely see the tails of cattle for sale anywhere else! Imagine my surprise when I saw some lovely fresh oxtails in my regular grocery store. I grabbed a couple of packages and hurried home to find my Korean cookbook.
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Not Okonomiyaki: buchujeon or pajeon

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Okonomiyaki, the Japanese pizza—a pancake served “as you like it” with your favorite toppings—is delicious; I’m inspired to try as many kinds as I can. Koreans enjoy a similar pancake dish called jeon; the most basic version is made with only scallions and is called pajeon, or p’ajon, pajon, pa jun, pageon, or (oddly) buchimgae or buchujeon. The last two may refer to pancakes which use garlic chives (or Chinese chives) rather than green onions; I don’t know. buchimgalu=packaged mix?

Chicken in Coconut Sauce

Chicken CurryI’ve posted about Japanese curry, which came to that country in the nineteenth century by way of Britain whose empire once included India. This recipe is an Indian dish, not exactly a curry, but one with another interesting cross-cultural history. There are Jews in India, several different communities of them, and Claudia Roden has a chapter about them in her book, The Book of Jewish Food.