Thursday, June 11, 2009

A first stab at Ddukbokkie and other things

I discovered two great Asian markets by the Finchley Road tube stop (ergo, near our flat) which I have now visited twice in as many days. When you are a white gal with a huge buggy and extroverted baby, they remember you; so I'm sure that the next time I go in they will greet us even more heartily. One is called Natural Natural and the other is creatively named SK Mart.
Now onto the food part of things. I was inspired to cook up some new Korean dishes. It's nice to experiment on "ethnic" dishes when your audience is not ethnic, so I didn't do any of this cooking for our son's Korean nanny or our dear friend Myong while we still lived in Seattle, nor have I tried making any bebimbap or the like for the bi-coastal Kwons. I can safely experiment and get my chops on the non Asians and then open myself for criticism later.
Here's what I made, assisted by a great website with recipes and video!
Yachaejeon- Omelette with prawn and sprouted beans (all kinds, adzuki, garbos, mungs... not totally authentic, but tasty)
Ddukbokkie- Rice Cake with hot pepper paste and scallion. A spicy soup which gets the song "Chewbacca! What a wookie!" stuck in my head...
Bolgogi- broiled skirt steak with sesame and kimchee sides
and then some not Korean things:
Tofu and Seaweed Salad
Roasted Butternut Squash with miso, lime and sesame dressing
Braised Eggplant with soy sauce, ginger and rice vinegar

I made one huge blunder when I shopped. I don't speak Japanese or Korean. Don't read them either, but I went to the sake area (or so I thought) found two bottles that looked good (how I assess good when something is covered in a language I don't read is purely aesthetic. I am a former book designer, so I gravitate toward nice typesetting) and bought those and later some beer. While setting the table, down went a bottles of beer and bottles of "sake". We opened up the sake, poured and out came some very very brown liquid. Soy Sauce! Serves me right. When in doubt, ask.
So I guess now I will be making lots of soy sauce based dishes. Perhaps it will be an asian summer...