Monday, August 09, 2004

Rambling on a Korean street in Sydney

Ahn-nyong-ha-se-yo! *korean for hello*
Last friday, I was lucky enough to be invited into a korean kitchen. YangWoon, my korean friend, said she wanted to introduce me to all kinds of korean food. Especially since I always drooled over Korean food whenever I am with her.

♥ foodies date: 6 August 2004
♥ where: yangwoon's place

#1 KoreanFood - tteokbokgi

♥ Tteokbokgi - pan-broiled rice cake in spicy sauce
pronounced tok-bok-gi *i think*

YangWoon remembered I told her long long time ago that I like tteokbokgi so she decided to make it for lunch. That is so nice of her. *grin*

Tteokbokgi is a type of street snack food, especially popular among high school students in korea. So it's not hard to imagine you would find many tteokbokgi stall near schools.

'Tteok' stands for rice cake in korean. It is made using rice flour (duh! it's obvious isnt it? else why would it be called rice cake). It comes in different shapes. Most common shapes are thinly and diagonally sliced and cylindrical. Here in sydney, you can find frozen tteok in Asian/Korean groceries store. The freshly made tteok (cylindrical) usually arrives at korean groceries stores every Thursday. You should be able to find it located near the cashier. It costs about $3.70 a pack.

YangWoon said it's a little expensive but it would be even more expensive in Korea and wont be of such good quality. The reason being rice is expensive in korea, so tteok isnt made using 100% rice.

♥ Tteokbokgi - add anything you like!
Basically you can add anything you like into tteokbokgi. What we had in our tteokbokgi (clockwise from top):
- boiled egg
- tteok
- korean fish cake (you can use any type of fish cake)
- instant noodle (you can use udon if you like)
- korean dumpling (chinese one works fine too!)

Quick guide to cooking tteokbokgi
1. In a sauce pan, bring water just enough to cover cabbage and rice cake to boil. Chuck in cabbage and rice cake. Let simmer for a while until the cabbage is soft.
2. Add in a few tablespoonful of 'kochujang', Korean hot pepper paste, and stir until well mixed.
3. Mix in some sugar,a little bit of Korean cooking syrup (you can use maple syrup or honey).
4. Add anything you like at this stage. If adding frozen dumpling, do so at step-1. We added in boiled egg, fish cakes and instant noodles.
5. Let simmer for a while until liquid thickens to a paste-like consistency.
6. Serve with the whole pot on the table!

The dumpling was added in sort of last minute:
yangwoon (showing me the frozen pack of korean dumpling): this is korean dumpling. in korea, they also put it in tteokbokgi
pinkcocoa: ohh really? must be very nice (examining the pack)
yangwoon: you like?
pinkcocoa: yeah. i like dumpling
yangwoon: ok. i put.
*splash * splash * splash*
3 dumplings were added after step4 and nearing step5.
so we had to wait for a little longer for the dumpling to cook.

This is so yummy and unbelievable easy to make! To think i paid $10 in restaurant for this. *shucks* From now on, I think I will cook my own tteokbokgi!

#2 KoreanFood - Gimbap

Gimbap Ingredients - Korean sushi ingredients
l-r: Korean fishcake, eggs, seafood stick, cucumber, korean pickled radish, carrots.
In the blue bowl: canned tuna mixed with a little mayo, sugar, salt & pepper.
YangWoon told me korean sushi (called gimbap) is different from Japanese sushi. Korean sushi doesn't have raw fillings beside the raw vegetables. Preparation is easy. Just cut everything into long strips. As with the rice, Korean sushi rice is only seasoned with a little sesame oil and salt.

♥ assembling my gimbap
Take a piece of nori, spread a tablespoon of rice on it. Then lay whichever ingredients that takes to your liking on the rice. Drizzle with a little wasabi-soy-sauce.

then just

Voila! Here's a freshly made personalised gimbap! isnt this easy?
This is some easy party idea! Easy preparation and fun to eat. Beside you can personalised your own roll. If wished, you could prepare sashimi too. Even steak(cut into strips)! Just anything really!

♥ Korean snacks
l-r: moist choc-chip cookie, nutty-chocolate pretz stick, chocolate wafer-stick.
And then here's probably the highlight. Sweet little snacks (or you can call it junk food) for our afternoon blab.
gahm-sah-hahm-ni-da (korean for thank you), YangWoon!