Fall In Love with Fall

Late October and Early November is the best time to experience Autumn in South Korea. Next to spring, autumn is my favorite season to be in South Korea.  This is when the leaves turn red.  The weather is not to hot and not to cold and for some reasons the surroundings warms the heart.  Maybe its the mix of yellow and read leaves which brings that feeling.  How I love this season.

Autumn Leaves. Photo courtesy of the Visit Korea Website.

Autumn in Korea is 가을 (gaeul). Just like 봄 (bom) or spring, 가을 is used as given name for girls.  Other than being born on autumn, the warmth of this season and the good weather are common inspiration to give such name to a pretty little one.

During this season a visit to a park is truly a wonderful experience.  Imagine walking with trees painted in yellow and red.  The falling leaves is the autumn’s version of cherry blossoms.

Fall in Munsu along Gochang Road. Picture courtesy of Visit Korea website.

So how do you say the weather is good today (because it is usually during autumn)?

  • 날씨가 좋네요. (Nalshiga choneyo – The weather is good)
  • 가을의 날씨가 좋다! (Gaeuri nalshiga choda! – The weather during autumn is good)

I feel like going to South Korea Now! If only I have Harry Potter’s floo powder, I’d be there on an instant and fall in love with autumn leaves *sigh*

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Make Your Own Korean Fusion Recipe with Recipe Bingo

You’d be hard-pressed to find anything that’s quite as fulfilling as digging into a culinary experiment and finding it to be a success. Being able to determine which flavors will go well together is a gift that not everyone is born with, and for many, it takes years of trial and error, of discovering different tastes and combinations, to finally be able to say that they have a solid grasp of even just the basics.

This is especially true for Korean cuisine, with its myriad of strong, intense flavors and subtle, delicate fragrances. Korean food is as rich and complex as the culture it embodies, and to be able to know the many flavors that function in this cuisine is already difficult enough – let alone trying to cook with them. A great game of bingo, however, could help you learn to work with these flavors.

Modifications to the traditional 75-ball bingo card, a 5×5 chart of numbers. Each spot on the chart presents a number, apart from the center square, which is labeled “FREE”, have been used to create bingo cards for different activities and events. Free Bingo Hunter, a website dedicated to online bingo portals, has reported that bingo portals often vary the themes of their games and promotions, with some giving away Flowers for Mother’s Day and then tickets to games during football season. It’s this versatility that helps bingo lend itself to different themes. In fact, bingo has even been used to teach the Korean vocabulary, through an app available on iTunes.

Cooking and learning new Korean dishes can be fun and having to use the Recipe Bingo can double the fun. Playing Recipe Bingo to create your own Korean fusion dishes is easy. As many of you know from following My Korean Kitchen, Korean cuisine combines colored ingredients because of a belief that they make it easier to absorb nutrients into the body. Korean cuisine follows a five-color, five-taste formula, and it is this formula that gives rise to our bingo game.

The five essential tastes are as follows:
• Sweet
• Sour
• Salty
• Hot
• Bitter

A perfect example of a dish that makes use of all of these tastes is bibimbap, but these can also be apparent in other classic Korean dishes. To prepare for your bingo game, list down five ingredients for each of the five essential tastes. Create your bingo card using any of the free bingo card templates available online, with each row being dedicated to one essential taste. Label each of the items on each row a number from 1-5.

Once you’re ready, roll a die. The number you roll corresponds to the ingredient you need to use in your Korean dish. Should you roll a six, you are free to choose among the ingredients, or add your own choice of ingredient even if it isn’t on the card. Allow yourself to experiment with different techniques, and you might be pleasantly surprised by the results of your Recipe Bingo game.

Expressing Mild Surprise

I am back to reading my Continuing Korean book.  I have been so curious about the -네요 (-neyo) verb ending for the longest time.  I asked about this before from a former Language Exchange Partner (LEP) and I guess there was a different explanation.  Finally there is an answer to this question.

The verb ending -네요 when attached to processive or descriptive verb expresses mild surprise. Its like having ‘oh gee’ or ‘oh my’ in the statement. The verb ending -네요 can be attached to base form of the verb in all tenses – present, past and future.

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I don’t usually eat spicy food but having been introduced to Korean food, I learned to like spicy food since pepper paste and red pepper powder are usually added in their dishes. The expression above 맛있네요! (Mashineyo!) can translate to Oh my…its delicious.

Here are more examples on how the verb ending can be used in different tenses:

  • 한국말을 잘 하시네요! (Hangukmareul jal hashineyo) -You speak Korean so well!
  • 동생이 시를 잘 썼네요! (Dongsaengi shireul sseoneyo) – My younger brother/sister wrote the poem so well.
  • 밥을 사야 되겠네요 (Papeul saya dwikeneyo) – Oh my we will have to buy more food.

I always hear this verb ending in Korean conversation.  Now I know why. Btw, the book says it is inappropriate to use this as a reply to a question.  The use of this verb ending is normally like talking to oneself but in such a way that others notice you are surprised.

Hunger, Eating and Food

Joining the Taste of Korea posted a challenge on how well I know Korean food. I know there are a lot more food to taste and learn. The number of 반찬 (banchan) alone is too many to learn in one cooking session.

In Korean you say 배고파요 (paegopayo) or 배고파 (paegopa) when you want to eat or when you are hungry. The first one is polite way to say it while the next one is the casual way. You will also hear 배고프다 (paegopeuda) when someone declares that he/she is hungry.

I am always amazed by the number of food served in a typical Korean meal. The 반찬 or side dishes are way too much. Just before you know it you are full picking on these banchan even before the main dish is served.

Banchan

 

My good friend Suhyeon treated us to a Korean dinner in one of the restaurants in Sinchon last April.  The picture above shows the side dishes served.  There were around 7 반찬 served.  The 동그랑땡 (donggeurangddaeng – mini beef patties) in stone warmer and the 파전 (pancheon- Korean onion pancakes) were the best.  

Sundubu Jjigae

I specially request for 순두부 찌개 (sundubu jjigae – spicy soft tofu stew) since this is my favorite. Then another set of side dish were served  although some of which are treated as seasoning or spice, I am surprised that another set of 반찬 was served along with the soup.  Instead of the usual plain white rice what went along with the food we had is the 오곡밥 (ogokbap).

Ogobap

Ogokbap is actually sticky rice.  It is made of five grains namely glutinous rice, millet, sorghum, black beans, and red beans.  I heard that this is usually eaten by Korean families during first full moon day in hopes of peace and a good harvest.

At this point, 제가 배고파요… I am getting hungry looking at the Korean food I got to taste in the past. What I wanted to have right now is the 김치볶음밥 (kimchibokkeumbap – kimchi fried rice).  To say I want to eat kimchibokkeumbap in Korean, this pattern can be used <food>을/를 먹을 거에요.  김치볶음밥을 먹을 거에요 (Kimchibokkeumbapeul mokeul koeyo – I want to eat kimchibokkeumbap). Depending on what letter or sound the food name ends you can simply attach 을 -eul for consonant ending food name  and 를 -reul for vowel. 

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I got to taste this kimchibokkeumbap from Yoogane in Myeongdong last April.  It was one of the best Korean fried rice I ever had. I got mine mixed with chicken and it was a super complete meal on its own.  The pan above it humongous, I can’t imagine I would be able will finish it ~ but I did LOL!

I have never into spicy food until I became hook with Korea.  Maybe it was a natural thing, me liking the country and the culture led me to liking the food as well.  Honestly it is not that I like every Korean food I had before but I get to appreciate the taste itself and I slowly grew fond of spicy dishes.   How about you?  What is your favorite Korean food? 

Taste of Korea Philippines 2014

So I was not able to post anything last month, this is because I gave Taste of Korea Philippines 2014 a try. This is how crazy and fascinated I am with Korea, I learned how to cook some of their dishes and took my knack on it the next level.  I was busy the whole month preparing for the competition.

The Taste of Korea Philippines 2014 is a cooking contest exclusive to residents and is open to professional and amateur chef, by the way , I don’t fall in any of the two I am just an amateur cook 😛 It was sponsored by the Korean Cultural Center (KCC).  I must say this contest is  neatly organized.

Spot me! :-)

Spot me! 🙂

I did not win…LOL but I sincerely enjoyed the contest.  Being there and getting selected as one of the participants is good enough for me.  It was nerve wrecking.  Having to cook two dishes in 1 hour with the judges observing is so stressful. Now I know how it feels to be in Master Chef show.

I prepared one of my favorite Korean dish, 수두부 찌개 (Sun dubu jjigae) known as spicy soft tofu stew.  This is the very first authentic Korean dish I had.  In one of the local Korean restaurants in the Philippines, I tried this stew served in stone pot before in preparation for my first ever travel to South Korea in 2008.  I am never a fan of spicy food but this stew changed the way I eat spicy food.  I really liked the combination of tofu’s soft delicate taste and the spiciness of the stew.  Since then, this became one of my favorite Korean dishes.

Sundubu jjigae

Sundubu jjigae is easy to prepare.  I a sharing my not so winning recipe but it taste really good.

Ingredients:

For the Stock

12 dried anchovies (intestine part removed)

3 pcs of dried kelp (about 2 inches each)

1 medium sized onion (cut into half)

5 cloves of garlic

2 dried shiitake mushrooms

5 cups of water

 

For the stew

100 grams of beef or pork

100 grams cut cabbage kimchi

1 cup diced zucchini

20 pieces of clams

2 green onions (stem part)

1 green chili pepper

3 tbsp of hot pepper flakes

2 tsp olive oil

sesame oil

1 tube of sundubu (silken tofu)

1 tbsp of fish sauce

1 egg

Procedures:

  1. Prepare the stock first, pour 5 cups of water into a pot and add 12 dried anchovies after removing intestine part.
  2. Add onion, dried kelp, dried shiitake mushrooms, 5 cloves of garlic and boil it over high heat.
  3. Approximately 10 minutes later, lower the heat to low medium heat and boil it for another 20 minutes.
  4. Set aside the stock and take out the mushrooms and chop them into small pieces.
  5. Heat your earthen ware (or ceramic pot) on the stove and put 2 tsp of olive oil.
  6. Stir in 100 grams of pork.
  7. When the pork is browned, add the chopped shiitake mushroom and stir.
  8. Add 3 tbsp of hot pepper flakes and keep stirring for 1 minute.
  9. Add the kimchi and stir for another 1 minute
  10. Pour 2 cups of the stock.
  11. Add 1 tbsp of fish sauce.
  12. Cut the tube of Soon du bu (soft Tofu) in half and squeeze it out into the pot and break the tofu with a spoon several times in the pot.
  13. Add the clams (it opens when it is cooked)
  14. When the clams are cooked, put off the fire and garnish 2 chopped green onions, 1 green chili pepper and enoki mushroom on top.
  15. Crack egg and drizzle some sesame oil before serving.

Instead of serving this with plain rice, i made some Korean style burrito which is basically kimchi fried rice, bulgogi, cheese and seaweeds wrapped in tortilla. It was a hit at home when I was practicing although I did not get to impress the judges 😛  A chef in a 5 star hotel actually won and to compete with chefs and aspiring chef was a feat in itself for an amateur like me.

Joining this contest was like ticking one item in my bucket list.  It was a first for me and it was something I enjoyed doing.

 

My Favorite Korean Singer is Back

I know this is a totally random post. My most favorite Korean artist is back in the music scene.  Wheesung just released a mini album and his songs inspired me to learn Korean.  I love his songs, I love his way of singing.  After more than 2 years MIA, he is finally back.

I just watched his video and it totally turned my stressful Monday into something else.  The inspiration his music brings to me, I cannot explain. Someone did post a playlist of his Best Man Mini Album in youtube and all the songs are worth listening.  I am just too happy to listen to his mini album.

휘성씨 축하해요!

Still on Common Expression

As a Korean Language enthusiast, I sometimes find my self uttering some of Korean expressions or words.  Like the word 아이구 – aigoo or 아이씨 just comes out when I am a little irritated, dismayed or disappointed.  Watching Korean dramas and movies makes you notice these common expressions that people would use in regular conversation.

From one drama to another this expression without even looking at dictionary or consulting my super helpful Korean friends, the word 깜짝이야 (kkamjjagiya) is an expression of surprise.

I hear it a lot of times although it’s a bit too long for an expression of surprise compared to my native language.  Here is a video of how it is said, the video is taken from posts of learnkoreanwithlily from Youtube.

In Filipino language when we are surprised, we typically utter random words like kalabaw (cow), huh, susmaryosep, etc but Koreans actually have the word for it 🙂