Archive for the ‘Soups’ Category

So from the comment to my last blog entry you can see that there is a demand for specific recipes.  I am not a native Korean cook, and I won’t make any claims about the authenticity of my recipes.  I am only going to tell you how I I have learned to make this from Grandmaster Tae Yun Kim.  She sometimes teaches about food and food preparation right at her school, Jung SuWon, or in more depth and detail, at the Self Discovery programs. 

For the freshly made rice – I use a rice cooker.  Simply go by the instructions that come with the cooker.  Get a cooker the size you need – if you have a big family, get a big pot.  If it’s just you, get the smallest one.  Fresh cooked rice is always a lot better!  Once you are familiar with the basics, try adding some brown rice and beans, barley, are some of the possibilities. 

For the radish soup, start with some soup meat.  First, slice the meat or cut into small pieces.  For each person, about 1/4  cup is plenty.  Boil it in some salted water, enough to cover the meat.  Boil only until the dirty foam comes up, then rinse.  For most recipes that involve meat, I treat the meat this way.  Grandmaster Kim explains that this pulls out all the pollutants, antibiotics and other things that aren’t good for you.

Put the meat in water, add coarsley chopped garlic, dried anchovies, and sliced Korean Radish.  These are the big, plump, white radishes.  Cook until radishes are tender, then add salt and pepper and a touch of Korean Soy sauce.  You can also add a spoon of finely chopped green onions for the final touch. 

As for the fried fish, I like to use the smaller King fish, available in Korean stores.  You can of course use other fish, but this and mackerel seems to be the more authentic ones.  Ask the store person to clean the fish for you – they usually do that free of charge.  At home, make 3 shallow incisions on the top of the fish, then coat it with flour seasoned with salt and pepper.  You can then fry the fish in a pan, on both sides, which will take about 15 – 25 minutes depending on the size of the fish. 

Or, you could put the fish on aluminum foil, and put some crushed garlic and soy sauce on the fish, close the foil and bake in a pre-heated oven at 375.  Again, the timing depends on the size of the fish. 

To serve and enjoy your Korean breakfast, you would put some kim chi (of course you picked up a jar when you purchased the fish, right? ) in a little bowl, then you take some rice in a bowl, and some soup, and arrange the fish nicely on a plate.  Eye appeal is important at the Korean table, and Grandmaster Kim also emphasizes that in order for your body to enjoy the meal, it should look nice and inviting. 

So go ahead and start your day with a delicious, light, yet satisfying meal!  And by the way, this tastes good any time of day, too!

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Yes, this recipe is a bit involved, but just trust me, this is really worth the effort.  Actually, come to think about it, it’s not all that time consuming if you are managing that time well. 

This is one of my very treasured recipes, one that i received directly from Grandmaster Tae Yun Kim.  She told me this soup reminded her of Korea, when she grew up during the war time.  Back then, the soup was a lot more “bare basics” and didn’t have any meat or mushrooms or anything fancy.  The current version is old-style Korean with a new twist.  But most of all its just plain good. 

You start with a base of oxtail soup.  Here’s a quick primer if you are not familiar with that.  You get a package of oxtails, and put them in a pot with cold water, crushed garlic and kosher salt.   Bring to boiling, then let boil for about 15 minutes or until there is a lot of dark foam on top.  Drain the oxtails, rinse well, and wash out the pot.  Bring water to boiling again, add the oxtails, crushed garlic and Kosher salt.  Cover, and let boil on low heat at least an hour, but you can let it boil for several hours – the soup only gets better.  It’s best when it gets milky white.  The meat will get so tender it will fall off the bones. 

About half hour before you want to serve this soup, bring some water and salt to boiling in a seperate pot, and add a handful of chap chae noodles (glass noodles, made of sweet potatoes) per serving of soup you want to make.  Cook until still very al dente, then rinse with cold water and set aside.

Meanwhile, cut a handful green onions – the white part into 1 inch long chunks and put right in soup.  The rest, chop very fine and set aside.  For the suchebi = dumplings, you can either start from scratch – and any recipe for noodle dough you have will probably do fine.  I like to make noodle dough from 2 eggs mixed with salt and a little oil, about 2 Tsp per 2 eggs, and about 3/4 cups warm water.  Add enough flour and mix until the dough holds shape, then knead on floured board until no longer sticky.  Add flour as needed.  If you are not using the dough right away – which is actually better – you can let it rest at room temperature under a small porcellain bowl.  Just before serving, pull off very thin pieces of the dough and add to the soup.  You won’t have to cook it very long. 

If you are a bit queasy or, heaven forbid, intimidated, by this recipe so far, take heart.  You don’t have to make the dumplings from scratch.  Just get a box of suchebi mix from a Korean store.  This is what the box looks like:

With your hands/fingers, flatten one end of the wad of dough and pinch off (or cut off with scissors) flat, relatively thin, pieces of the dough and put into soup as you go along.  At this point, you can  also put in straw mushrooms if you like.  Season soup with salt, pepper, and red pepper. 

To serve, ideally, put a little broth into a Korean soup pot like the one above, add the glass noodles, add more broth and suchebi.  Top with the finely chopped green onions, cover, and serve piping hot.  Traditionally, and I do make it this way – you would bring the soup and contents to boiling in the soup pot directly on open fire, and then serve like this, while it’s still boiling inside the pot.  But you don’t have to do this.  It will taste great even if you don’t. 

This tastes incredible after a hard class at Jung SuWon, it will rejuvenate and strengthen you.  Especially on a dark and blustery fall or winter night.

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I love making chicken soup.  I also love to eat it!  It is so versatile and you can use it as a base for a whole host of other things.  But let’s talk about the soup first.

Nowadays, I experiment a bit more, and also am not afraid to make the soup if I am lacking an ingredient or two.  I have found that it’s hard to make bad chicken soup.  Somehow it always comes out good.  Of course, I LOVE to make chicken soup and I am sure this happy energy “jumps” right into the soup I make.  It is just like my teacher, Grandmaster Tae Yun Kim, says, that if you are happy and in a good mood, your food comes out tasting good and people will feel good after eating it.  But if you are upset or angry while you are cooking – it’ll show up as indigestion in those that eat that food.  I have to agree with that, from my experience…

While chicken soup is, of course, not a medication, and doesn’t actually cure anything, it does make a lot of people feel better and brings warmth and comfort.  Just the smell alone makes me feel better already….

So, here is my not so secret chicken soup recipe: 

Things I always put into my chicken soup:

  • Chicken (duh!)
  • crushed garlic (I use a lot, for a good sized pot of chicken, about 3 tablespoons or more)
  • One oninon, cut in chunks
  • a couple carrots, peeled and cut in rough chunks
  • a couple parsnips , peeled and cut into chunks
  • a spear or two of celery, cut into chunks
  • if you can get it, some celery root

the next ingredients, well whatever I have on hand, I might throw in…in varying quantities

  • a spoonful or two of grated ginger
  • some fresh sprigs of rosemary
  • some parsley
  • cilantro
  • mushrooms, any kind
  • salt and pepper to taste.

Let this boil at least a couple hours, slow, rolling boil is best.  Another trick I learned from Grandmaster Kim is, to boil out the chicken pieces before using it in the soup, with Kosher salt and crushed garlic – this takes out all the hormones and whatever might be lurking in the chicken…

So there you have it.  Of course, don’t stop there.   There are a bunch of things you can add into this soup, to make it into more of a meal – like little dumplings of all sorts, matzo balls, croutons, the sky is the limit!  I personally love to add suchebi – thin Korean dumplings, and I prefer the ones made from potatoes…mmmmh!  I better head to the kitchen right now and start cooking that chicken!!!

PS:  any chicken parts will do.  I personally like using a whole chicken – gives a more intense flavor, but use whatever you have!

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