I hope everyone had a fabulous Thanksgiving! I’m sure our dinner table isn’t much different from some of the other Korean-American dinner tables out there. For as long as I can remember we have always had Korean food on Thanksgiving. It wasn’t until I was old enough to learn how to roast a turkey that our family started having turkey on Thanksgiving. =P Now our tables look like a mix of the old and new with Korean food intermingling with American food.
One of my mom’s specialties around the holidays is a fresh gut-jul-eeh kimchi she makes specifically for my halmoni who doesn’t like the sourness of fermented kimchi. I asked my mom where she learned to cook and she told me that all of the myun-noo-ris in our family were taught how to cook by my grandmother. I now understand why the food at all the different households on my dad’s side pretty much tastes the same. My grandmother hails from a town called Andong and I was told by many people that the ladies of Andong are known for their cooking prowess.
I went to my parent’s house early in the morning to start the ham and turkey, so I was actually able to watch her make this fresh kimchi from start to finish. It is one of my husband’s favorite dishes, so I made sure to note how much of everything she used. Of course there are no exact measurements, I was able to eyeball her proportions pretty well…I think. =P
First, a small peek at our dinner table. My mom’s *famous* chong-gak kimchi (really, it’s GOOD – and I’m not just saying that because she’s my mom), kongnamool moochim, cornbread stuffing (with cranberries, apples, turkey sausage, almonds, onions, parsley, celery, and…whatever else I had on hand), fresh cranberry sauce, grilled snapper, spinach moochim, roasted ham, roasted turkey, garlic mashed potatoes and creamed corn. I made all the American food and my mom made all the Korean food. We are a good combo in the kitchen and totally know how to work around each other now.
Have I mentioned how much I love my mom? She’s my favorite person next to Munchkin. =P
Take one cucumber and chop it up like so and then sprinkle a little bit of sea salt and set aside.
Then grab one napa and start washing it and taking it apart.
Then take a knife and start slicing the napa into little pieces straight into the same bowl. My mom just holds it up and just takes her knife and slices it directly above the bowl. Then generously sprinkle salt on top and set it aside for a couple of hours.
After the napa begins to look soft, rinse the salt water out under cool water and then julienne half a moo into the bowl as well.
Add some green onions…
Add about 1/4 cup of minced garlic.
Meanwhile defrost your raw oysters. I wasn’t able to take a picture of the bag, but my mom tells me they sell it frozen in a bag and it’s usually next to the frozen fish area…
Then add about 4-5 TB of sesame seeds…
1-2 TB of sugar…(my mom uses this Korean sugar that looks brown)
Add your red pepper flakes. Depending on the type of red pepper flakes you have, you have to adjust your measurements accordingly. This is the one my MIL brought back from Korea last year and it’s very light. We tend to use a lot of more of this when making recipes because it’s not as red.
My mom then added the oysters (about 1/2 cup) and shrimp jut (1 TB). I actually asked my mom why she doesn’t chop up the raw oysters (since they tend to look pretty GROSS) and she said it’s because then it *bursts* and the kimchi tastes much more fishy.
Mix, mix, mix!
And we realized that it could use a little more color, so in went some more red pepper powder.
And voila! Fresh gut-jul-eeh kimchi. This tastes best when served within an hour or two of preparation. It will naturally ferment into kimchi as well and can be eaten when it’s fermented, but because a lot of the real steps to making kimchi were skipped, this type never tastes as good as real beh-choo kimchi. Yes, I will do a step-by-step of beh-choo kimchi one day…
I hope everyone had a great Thanksgiving. I hope you found time to reminisce your past and find many things you are thankful for. Life can throw unexpected twists and turns to you, but always remember that there is a light at the end of tunnel.
My latest scans all came back clear. My chest is free of mets and my head and neck is free of disease as well. Two years after diagnosis, I am still cancer-free. I’m sure there are tiny little buggers lurking around somewhere inside my body, but I’m hopeful that I will live to see Munchkin grow old.
Health, happiness, love and many blessings to all my readers! Thank you for having been my outlet to break down and reconstruct myself these past couple of years. This blog was truly my form of therapy. It is a small slice of space away from my real world. It’s a place I come to when I’m feeling a bit down.
Writing these posts and sharing our families recipes is cathartic. It’s a way to heal. So thank you for helping me heal.
P.S. For those of you who are curious. All pictures were taken with my Canon G11. I didn’t have my Canon 50D with me on this day.