Recently, I came back from a visit to Korea. By the way, that’s SOUTH Korea for some of you wondering. 😛 Now considering that I left Korea 20 something years ago, I went expecting all sorts of culture shocks. However, it was oddly (?) comfortable….Almost like, well. Home-coming… 🙂 YES, there were culture-shocks. Yes, there were moments where I felt like not only was this another country altogether, it was well..Like another planet! Just different ways of thinking, different ways of doing things, just different in so many ways…
Yet…The people, the food, the atmosphere. Call me naive, but I think I literally fell blindly in love with the place.
Now I hear some of you saying, “That’s just naiveness! You DON’T know what it’s like to be WORKING there! Paying the bills! Going to work! Putting up with the horrendous working hours!” Well, that’s probably true…
But as an expat, for me, it felt…nice… 🙂 To meet all these people that look vaguely like my parents, that I have little, or no memory of…To bite into food that I have the most faintest memory of…To reconnect with my roots, and find and understand, well. Parts of who I am… 🙂
I went, because my grandfather is dying…and before he goes, I wanted a chance to talk to him…Yet I think in my aspiration to talk to this man I have not seen in 20 yrs, I found well…Parts of me…:) To be honest, I think I went, thinking I had all these things to give…Yet the truth is, I think I received much, much more…
In his stories, in his pictures. I found part of my father, I found parts of well..me… 🙂 With it, came release…
As a tribute, I made Korean stuffed squid sausages [오징어순대] today. To be honest, I have never made this before. However, cooking has always been a way of release, a way of therapy for me…and today, in memory of my grandma, I made these. Of course, I inevitably added my own twist/my own interpretation of the dish. In my opinion, they could be good appetisers when you have guests. Or when you just feel like eating something different. 😛 The original recipe is from: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=f9-At8jEKSQ&list=FLjE2iUkqIR7dZLIwUfPlZog&index=1
However, as you can see, I have tweaked the recipe slightly. 😉
Hope you enjoy the photos/recipe! 😀 My next recipe will be macaroons, or something sweet 🙂
Now, it is best to use fresh calamari/squid. However, when you are on a budget and living in Dunedin, frozen ones are fine. 🙂 Just make sure that you check the expiry date of squid before using. Make sure that they are still fresh. 🙂 Frozen calamari can easily be found in your local supermarkets 🙂 I bought mine from New World.
At this point, you want to defrost them. While you let them defrost, add a pinch of salt, a pinch of pepper and 1TBS of light sauce sauce (not dark soy sauce) and let it marinate for about ~30minutes.
To 30g of pork mice, add a pinch of salt, a pinch of pepper, 1tsp of cooking oil (olive oil), 1tsp of light soy sauce. Mix.
Let the mixture marinate for ~30 minutes.
In mean time, soak your vermicelli noodles. Now I know that to be authentically Korean, you should be using dry noodles made from sweet-potato. However, due to budget, I chose to use vermicelli noodles that can easily be found in your supermarket. These are made from mung beans and costed me NZ 99 cents for FIVE bundles! Plus, stuff made from mung beans can’t be bad for you! These noodles= none fried. Anyways. 😛 Soak about one bundle in normal tap water, for ~30 minutes. Now this is where multi-tasking comes into play! 😛 😀 🙂
I then chopped 3/4 of the carrot above&diced it. I then diced the onion above.
These are green spring onions. Chop them finely. Chop 2 mushrooms. If you have the luxury of having Shiitake mushrooms, by all means, go add use those! Shiitake= more authentic.
Place the soaked vermicelli into a pot of hot boiling water and boil for ~3 minutes. Take the noodles out and place them into the bowl where you have all the veggies+mince mix. With your cooking scissors, cut up the vermicelli very finely. Now I know that in the original video, they ask you to chop the vermicelli BEFORE adding. However, to save dishes 😛 I just added them to the mince/veggie mix and started to chop them finely from there.
To this mix, now add 1tsp of minced garlic, a pinch of salt, a pinch of pepper and a dash of sesame oil. Mix.
Now, in the original video, they ask you to add tofu. However, tofu is mega expensive here in Dunedin, when compared with Korea. I also did not have any tofu in my fridge. So I decided to skip it. However, to add to the texture that tofu would have added(plus help bind the ingredients together), I added wee bit of my soy-bean rice, that I had in the freezer. The cooked rice was defrosted before being added to the mix.
At this point, you are meant to add starch. However, I did not have any. 😦 Now that sounds like I lack lots of ingredients for this dish! 😦 Then again, I think cooking is also always about compromising, being creative, and working with what you do have…:) Hence, I added 1/3 cup of plain flour to help bind the whole thing.
After cracking an egg into it (size 8 egg), I divided my stuffing mix into 4 parts. This is because I had 4 calamari to stuff.
Now this part was kinda hard to take pics of…So basically, you coat the inside of the calamari with flour. Once this is done, you then start stuffing. After this, you are meant to steam it. However, I do not own a steamer… 😦 So I tried the poaching method. NOTE: Before you stuff the calamari, dip them in a pot with hot water for ~3minutes. Take the calamari out and let them cool. Once they are cool, then you can coat with flour and begin the stuffing process.
Worked fine with me! The stuffed calamari were poached ~15 minutes in medium high heat. They were then allowed to cool, before being sliced like well…Sushi! At this point, the video says we should dip them in egg and pan-fry until golden brown… However, I had ran out of eggs and also did not feel like pan-frying extremely soft squid, cooked and ready for eating.
Now I am sure that most Koreans would agree that with seafood, especially 오징어, seafood goes well with chili sauce and vinegar. So I did a compromise. Instead of dipping them in eggs and pan-frying the stuffed calamari, I simply made a simple, yet classic Korean dipping sauce: 2 TBS of gochujung (Korean chilli paste), a splash of vinegar, a squeeze of lemon, 1 TBS of white sugar. Just mix all of this. How much vinegar= will affect your consistency of the sauce. Lastly but not least, add sesame-seeds! If you have time, toast them.
To add a crunchy texture to the otherwise soft-textured dish, I then added home-made Korean chilli radish cubes on top.
View from the top. 🙂 Good as entree. 🙂 If you or the guest don’t like the radish, serve minus the radish. Here is a picture of what it would look like. 🙂
Store the left-overs after they have been cooled in the fridge for up to a week, or repeat the procedures above, depending on how many guests you have. 🙂 These also go well with the classic light soy-sauce+sesame oil+vinegar+chives+chilli flakes dipping sauce.