Saturday, 30 November 2013

Rice, Kimchi and Soup, Simply the Best

Kimchi, rice and  Korean bean paste soup

We had 4 day break in Naples in Italy, it was the food heaven , not pretentious, homely food.
We had world best ( I was told by guy from Rome) pizza, waiting for an hour to be called and authentic home food restaurants in the middle of old town, back street, also can not book, just wait until to be called.
Had best pizza, pasta, Pama Ham with melon and with mozzarella cheese, Ragu, anchovy so on.
As soon as we were back home, I only wanted eat kimchi ( well fermented from my fridge), white steamy rice and simple bean paste soup. Just simple but well made 3 dishes, no meat or fish just rice, kimchi and soup.

Luckily I always make my kimchi ( 3 kind at least) keep in the fridge all the time, I love well fermented mature kimchi,has to be made by myself!! and has to be white rice ( Korean) not healthy conscious brown rice!!
Wrap steamy rice with kimchi ( leave side of cabbage) with chopstick, it is most delicious thing when you had not had Korean food for 4 days. this humble food is better than fillet steak or any most expensive food on earth. This is my soul food, truly!!
Well, well !! you can take a girl from  Korea but you can not take out Korea from a girl, Who said this wise comment, I wonder. But it is true. my husband was so happy to have Lancashire hot pot made by my son, John!   He is a Lacastarian after all.

Sunday, 10 November 2013

Kimchi ( Making Authentic easy, instant Cabbage Kimchi)

I am so annoyed by famous celebrity chef's recipe on kimchi. I am going to write  how to make real easy kimchi like in Korea and at home in UK.

Ingredients: 2 cabbages. 1/2 mooli. 1 cups of sea salt.
1 tbsp crushed garlic, 2 tsp grated ginger, 3tbsp Korean chilli flakes ( buy at Korean Shop), 2 tbsp. Korean anchovy fish sauce, 1 tsp Korean salted baby shrimp. 1tbsp sugar, 1 bunch of spring onion.

Choose cabbage with plenty of green out layer of leaves on, which gives more nutty taste. Cut the head in half and pull by hand then cut again head first and pull again make 4 sides, If you like to have instant kimchi cut again 2cm , put in the big bowl, add 2cups of water and makes wet leaves.
Sprinkle sea salt and mix well . If you do not have sea salt ( you can buy at Korean shop) use table salt ( 3/4 cup) and leave 40 minutes to an hour. This process is very important, if cabbage salted too long, moist has taken out , cabbage can be too chewy, White part is still crunch, leaves are slightly wilted, this makes a good kimchi.

Rinse the salted cabbage twice and  drain well. cut mooli like matsh stick ( 5cm long) and spring onion as well.
Put all ingredients except. cabbage, sugar, fish sauce and salted shrimps, mix well , add cabbage, shrimps( this is optional, if you do not have, it will be fine), and slowly pour fish sauce little and taste, add again, add sugar mix and store the air tight jar to ferment ,  the best way to ferment, is keep in the fridge to slowly ferment, if you like to ferment quickly, put in the cool place for 2 days and keep in the fridge, it will last at least 2 weeks-4 weeks

If you like to eat strait away like kimchi salad, you have to dress a bit because newly made kimhi tastes too raw with garlic and fish sauce, add 1tsp sesame oil, 1tsp sugar and mix, add toasted sesame seed( 2tsp) and serve.

If you like to have as a part of bossam, cut kimchi thinly and serve with ssamjang ( ready made ssamjang at Korean shop)

I read kimchi recipe from celebrity chef, using chilli paste ( gochujang) instead of Korean chilli flakes, but I never heard , seen or taste this. I do not know where chef got this recipe , it is certainly not real Korean kimchi recipe, gochujang is fermented very thick paste, it will be too sticky to my liking.  But I never heard of, seen or tasted, using chilli paste in Kimchi!!
It may taste  nearly same, salty, sweet ( gochujang has hint of sweet taste), but I strongly recommend use chilli flakes ( Korean).
kimchi stuffing ( can be use as bossam sauce)

my instant kimchi

If you do not have Korean anchovy sauce, Thai fish sauce is best one. Specially oyster Thai fish sauce is very good for kimchi. My family in South East of Korea ( near Busan), use fresh oyster in kimchi stuffing as oyster is not too expensive in Korea, which makes best kimchi, specially matured( fermented) oyster stuffed kimchi is my all time favourite. so delicious.

Thai fish sauce is widely available in every supermarket, easier to use than anchovy in the jar in olive oil.
When Kimchi is stored in the jar, always press down because if Kimchi has too much air in between, it makes funny, unpleasant taste kimchi, when it is fermented, we call this kind of kimchi, crazy kimchi or kimchi has gone mad. it can be used in stew only after washed off all stuffing.

Golden Rules for kimchi:
1.  Use Korean chilli flakes ( from Korean Shops, London or New Malden,  Gochu Garu ( in Korean))
Not use Chilli paste as celebrity UK chef wrote in the paper , Do not use Thai or Mexican chilli too hot for the Kimchi.
2. Use good sea salt, not UK's expensive, use Korean Sea salt , it is much less expensive than Uk sea salt.
if using table salt, use less!!

Authentic Kimchi class : 8th of February 2014 11:00 AM


Tuesday, 5 November 2013

Korean Food at Robison college, Cambridge

Robinson College

Head chef, Gary and chef, Stuart

My instant kimchi

 marinating beef with chef, Stuart
Before  the Summer I had email from head chef, Gary at Robinson College , Cambridge University , planning to do Special Korean Evening for the students on 30th October.
As a social event and selling ticket for the Korean dinner.
Well, this event is very special, as far as I know there were never British university catering team provide Korean food for the Students, Yes there were a few Korean Food events but they were all funded and for the invited ( free) guests like Dr shin and I did on May.
As I  already had shown them  how to cook my 5 recipes on May,
Gary seemed confident doing themselves but I was a little concerned . also they did not learn how to make kimchi,  the Korean food event without kimchi seemed so odd.
I decided to help them on the night and show them how to make instant kimchi, so they can make next time.
Cooking needs a lots of practise specially when you are making foreign food, even you got recipe for it, still you need to see and get use to the taste ( right taste).

Arrived just before 2 pm, and went in kitchen to see chefs first, as usual they were delighted see me and so welcoming. some staff offered me lunch from students canteen.
Gary showed me the menu for the Korean night, surprised by not cooked rice on the menu. Gary said as they did not have Korean rice, they will serve potatoes and bread, I said without rice and kimchi Korean food can not be eaten, all Korean dishes are meant to be eaten with rice. Asked cook any kind of rice ( long grain or Thai) . I was so glad I came to help, after all they are cooking with my recipes and my name on the leaflet.
Chef, Stuart prepared so nicely, thinly cut beef for bulgogi, spring onion for pajeon (seafood pancake) so on, 2 Chinese cabbage were delivered for my instant kimchi. as kitchen is closed from 2 pm to 4 pm I asked them to take out cabbage, sea salt, I can start before 4 pm.
Dr Shin kindly booked a room for me for the night.

Making kimchi is a long slow process if I like to make proper one. This recipe will be the easiest one, I call it Instant kimchi, like kimchi salad. it is much easier to work in this huge professional kitchen with a walk in cold room, all kind of wonder machines around .

 Cooking for 50 paying students is not easy, Stuart is working so nicely and efficiently with me is a big advantage.
Marinating 50 potion of bulgogi and plus extra helping needs some beef. I just put my robber gloves on and took in charge with Stuart's help. Move on to pajeon batter as same way, make Ssamjang as they did not buy ready made Korean ssamjang, I just made with bean paste, chilli flakes, sesame oil, sesame seed, garlic and honey, too salty, asked them quick boil sweet potatoes and mashed in to dilute saltiness as I do at home.
Made dipping sauce, all kitchen staff remembered all things which was so pleasing.
Stuart loves my special red cabbage , apple, molli, red onion salad, he informed me, he using my recipe a lot at home and at college kitchen, it is very good to hear that from professional chef !

By 6 pm all hungry students arrived at once, we cooked as fast as we could. the feed back from serving staff was so positive. I did not feel tired at all, I know it will hit me later.
My instant kimchi has gone with no time, I should have made 4 cabbages rather than 2.

I was so relived when they are having dessert and went out talk to the students. they all said they really loved and even asking more often and not well known Korean dishes they'd love to try.
Perhaps I will make Kimchi jjigae.

As Dr Shin recognised, I need to be there to supervise this Korean night as still chefs are unfamiliar with taste and process in Korean dishes.

I dragged my tired body with a bottle of white wine to my room and had a long drink.

Menu:  Cooked rice.
Bulgogi and lettuce with ssamjang.
Pajeon and dipping sauce
Instant kimchi
Red cabbage, apple red onion salad.
Dessert: Fruits salad

After all we, Dr Shin, Robison college kitchen team and I made a small history on Korean food!!