For quite some time, I have been thinking about incorporating Japanese-style sets to our daily meals. A typical Japanese meal which consists of rice (of course), soup, pickled vegetables and fish or meat is considered very healthy and well balanced. However, I found that some of the ingredients are either harder to buy or more expensive. At the same time, preparing a variety of side dishes could be very time consuming.
Soon, I was introduced to Korean cuisine. As I researched more about it, I noticed the similarities in their meal sets. They also have rice, pickled vegetables, soup or stew. Even the side dishes are similar to the Japanese. However, unlike the Japanese, they have the side dishes that could be kept in the fridge for a longer period of time – kimchi.
Because of this pandemic, I needed to find ways to make sure that we can have healthy meals without leaving the house often. I would buy food – including vegetables in bulk. And to make sure that none of them gets wasted, I either freeze some or pickle them.
My pantry/kitchen staples, now, also include dried seaweed and soybean paste (된장) as I often make some sort of soup or stew.
From the basic meal set, I also started reading on other recipes that I can cook. Korean Bapsang, My Korean Kitchen and of course, Maangchi had been my go-to sites for recipes. Fortunately, there is an abundance of Korean grocery stores where I can get specific ingredients like the black bean paste (춘장) for the Jjajangmyeon. Sometimes, I would improvise especially when it would not be practical to get the exact ingredient as listed in the recipe.
Army Base Stew (부대찌게)
밥.밥.밥 (Rice. Rice. Rice)
Of course, there have been lazy days when we order food online. There are some food that would require skill and patience that I lack. For those dishes, I rather have them delivered so I can just focus on the other tasks that I have to accomplish. hehe.
My adoration for BTS also led me to some recipes like the Spicy Braised Chicken Stew (닭볶음탕) from Bon Voyage Season 4 and Pajeon (파전) from In the Soop. I also tried making Korean Sauna Style Egg which I saw from the Grammy nomination video.
One morning during lunch, my sister asked me if I had told our mom that I make kimchi. I couldn’t help but to laugh. From a person who asks her family not to keep kimchi in the fridge for a long time, I turned to a person who frequently make some.