Saturday, August 21, 2010

Sunday, July 18th - Kimchee Chigae and Brunch - catch up

Mom's Kimchee Chigae
My cousin's wedding was last night.  It was a beautiful ceremony in an enviablie location.  We were taking in the nuptials with the breathtaking background of the Toronto skyline.  Yet despite the late night we returned home, mom was still up bright and early waiting for us to wake up so she could make us breakfast.

If you have ever seen the movie Joy Luck Club, you will already know that the best way to win over an Asian mother in law is through excessive, unnecessarily obsequious praise of her food.  It does not matter which part of Asia or South East Asia, it is true.  Equally, the easiest way to alienate yourself from an Asian mother in law is to insult her food or not eat enough of it.  D easily eats twice his usual portion when we're visiting my parents.  He is subtle about it and has never told me he planned on it until well after the fact back at home on his post-Toronto regime.  Remember when I told you that the best portion size for freezing Kalbi is 4 pieces per bag?  Well, when we're in Toronto, D normally takes in 6-8.  He even falls for the 'who want's the last one' nudge, which he never otherwise does. :^D

Mom's Asparagus and Eggwhite Avocado and Gochu Omelette
Mom made us Asparagus and Cheese Omlettes for breakfast with fresh Fruit Yogurt smoothies which could easily have been a meal unto itself.  Mom loves Asparagus and Brussel Sprouts.  She buys them buy the bushel when they are sale.  My Omlette is an Egg White Omlette.  Mom always makes me Egg White Omlettes because about 5 years ago I was on a Yolk embargo.  Actually, I still have Egg White only Omlettes but do not always remember.  Nothing is wasted though.  She makes this weird hair treatment with the leftover Yolks

Egg White Avocado and Gochu Omlette

3-4 Egg Whites
1/2 c Mozzarella Cheese or White Cheddar (Mom uses WAY TOO much cheese)
1-2 non spicy Fresh Gochu (Korean Peppers), chopped
1/2 Avocado
1/4 c Zucchini, chopped
1/8 c Onion, chopped

Separate the Egg Whites.  Beat briefly only to bring some uniformity to the mix.

In a non stick pan on Medium Low Heat, heat some Olive Oil or Butter.  Sautee the Vegetables for 3-5 minutes until softened.  Set aside.

In the same pan, add some more Oil or Butter,  Add the Egg Whites.  Move around like you're straightening out a Table Cloth.  When it is mostly solidified and less jiggly, flip.  Add the Vegetables and Cheese.  Let heat through for 1 minute.

Fold out on to a plate and serve.

Bacon and Asparagus are a weekend staple.  There is no bacon on my plate but Mom does have the technique for flat, crispy Bacon down to a science.  She lays them out on a rack with a pan underneath and puts on the low broiler.  She used to also microwave them wrapped in layers of paper towels.  She's decided they become much crispier under the broiler.



We are flying home after three weeks today.  Well 1 weekend in Toronto and the rest in the Galapagos.  Mom made us Kimchee Chigae for Dinner.  It is traditionally a Winter dish but she knows it to be one of my favourite so she made it specially for me.  Plus, generally nowadays, most households have the 'Mature Kimchee' you need to make Kimchee Chigae.  Mature Kimchee means that it has picked and become quite sour.  Afterall, before the arrival of Columbus and he Chili from the New World, Kimchee was probably alot more similar to Sauerkraut than it is to its present form.

Back in the day, before the common availability of refridgerators and NOW Kimchee refridgerators, people fermented or stored their Kimchee in earthen pots buried in then ground.  You would normally make loads during the summer when the Cabbage was in season so by the Winter, the Kimchee was quite ripe.  As well, Korean like many cultures derived many of their signature dishes through peasantry and necessity.  You stretch what you have.  Now, with the addition of Tofu and Pork ribs, it's not quite the Peasant stew it used to be.

One thing you should be aware of is that Store Bought Kimchee will not age like the homemade stuff.  It lacks some pretty key ingredients so it will spoil rather quickly too.  That is why your fridge smells after a week whereas my Mom's fridge never ever smells.

Traditionally, Kimchee Chigae is made from a Pork broth with simple Aromatics, loads of Kimchee, Gochu-Cadroo (Korean Chili Powder) and Dubu (Tofu).  Mom has made adjustments over the years, because V, my sister and I became Vegetarian nearly 20 years ago.  Now, Mom's Kimchee Chigae uses Milchee Mul (Korean Fish Broth) which is somewhat similar to Dashi.  It is a light broth based in dried Anchovies and sometimes, Kombu.  As well, she adds Mushrooms for some girth.  She tried a less successful Enoki Mushroom experiment which does NOT work well in Kimchee Chigae.

Mom's Kimchee Chigae served. There is no heat source!

She still uses Dubu but now and for several years, she uses Organic Fresh Dubu.  A friend of hers has a Dubu House.  They make fresh Tofu daily.  It is incredibly delicate and similar to 'Silken' Tofu and only keeps in the fridge for a few days.    And of course, quite alot of Mature Kimchee is essential.

This Christmas, I will watch Mom end to end.  She normally starts the Milchee Mul 3 hours in advance so I have not done it yet.  But that said I wanted to share this video.  Kimchee Chigae is cooked and broth to the table bubbling.

Mom also made Sam Yup Sal or Pork Belly with Korean BBQ Sauce for D.  I'd been bragging about it for sometime so Mom went out to buy some for D specially.  I will post the recipe soon but it is not too different from my post on the BBQ Korean Halibut Steak on the link here  but a bit more Sugar.  The name Sam Yup Sal comes from the 'Three' visible layers in the Pork Belly. 'Sam' is Korean for Three. MMMMM Even as a nearly 20 year Vegetarian, I must admit I miss this dish.  I did not taste after the celebration at the wedding, I did not want to see more of the West Jet facilities than I needed to. :^P

Mom's Korean BBQ Sam Yup Sal - Korean Pork Belly

2 Leave a / Read COMMENTs:

Anonymous said...

Man that looks good!!!!

Me said...

Haha, someone has pointed out that in the Kimchee Chigae video on Jul 18th posted last week, you can hear D ask 'Why doesn't your mom ever eat with us?' I hadn't realised. LMAO. Mom like the mom in 'Christmas' story, never seems to stop moving during dinner. She rarely sits down with us as she is flitting all over the place. She sets an immaculate, painstakingly prepared table that spends no time at. Koreans? Do you know this story?