Well, I’ve had a little over two months to unpack and organise, figure out where the Metro stations are located, and learn basic “restaurant Korean”. So now it’s time to get back on the blogging wagon.
With my fourth country move now, I’ve learned that there is always a cooking/shopping learning curve. This fact used to make me uneasy every time I touched down on a new continent. But this time, I was ready for it. I’ve been cooking, exploring, and making the most of the differences. When I moved to Hong Kong, I first moaned about losing fresh cream and the ability to make lamb burgers, but then I gained access to wet markets stocked with day-glo tropical fruits, spiny creatures knocking around in tanks, and old school butchers who could provide any part of a pig I desired. Now, I’ve once again spun the foodie roulette wheel, and where I’ve landed is quite different from where I left, but what’s out there is even more exciting.
In Seoul, what I’ve fallen in love with has been quite a surprise to me -the chicken, the barley, Korean grapes. Those ingredients will get their turn, but for now it’s all about the Korean staple -kimchi. I’m up to my eyeballs in it. This time of year, it’s common practice for families to hunker down with loads of cabbage, radish, spices, and fermented seafood products and lovingly albeit painstakingly assemble kilograms of the stuff. I’ve seen friends pictured next to giant plastic bags of what looks to be filled with biohazards. But no, it’s freshly made kimchi, ready to ripen.
Why do they make so much? Because kimchi is 24-7. They aren’t kidding when they say it is the national dish. It comes with pretty much every meal. And now I have about 4 kg of homemade kimchi sitting in my fridge. Amazing gifts from people eager to show us how things are done here in Seoul.
Over these past months, I’ve been pairing kimchi with my scrambled eggs and also mashed sweet potatoes. Now I’m addicted. But it also led me to think up this simple kimchi and sweet potato hash made with ingredients just lying around in my fridge. The first of my Korean recipe adventures. Don’t be surprised if you see more kimchi inspired dishes. I have a lot to go through.
Kimchi and Sweet Potato Hash with Fried Egg
- 3 sweet potatoes
- 1 onion
- 10-15 mushrooms
- 3 cloves of garlic
- 100-200 g of kimchi
- 2 strips of pork belly or samgyeopsal or bacon
- salt and pepper
- brown sugar
- hickory salt
- grape seed or olive oil
- fresh eggs
The samgyeopsal you buy in the store isn’t cured. So when I want a bacon or sausage like flavour, I end up seasoning it with a mix of salt, pepper, nutmeg, brown sugar, and hickory salt. I’m sure Koreans would be horrified by this, but hey, whatever works, right? If you are using bacon, skip this step.
Add the onions, garlic, and mushrooms, and continue to saute. Add the kimchi. When I made this, I actually diced a second batch in addition to what you see below, turned off the heat, and added more. What can I say, I like my kimchi.