I’ll be honest: it’s been a long time since I’ve done so little cooking.
It’s easy to be lazy and pay a local restaurant to make me dinner. Why scrub a pot with stuck-on rice when I can go out and have kimchi-fried rice made by the people who do it best? Especially when the cost of dinner in an unpretentious Korean eatery is not much pricier than buying groceries and making the same dish myself. I’ve never enjoyed the luxury of so many restaurant meals before (my backpacking days in Southeast Asia are the one exception).
Still, eventually I found myself actually wanting to cook again, and as a result I’ve been making meals inspired by the delicious ingredients and dishes around me.
Like my first attempt at sundubu jjigae (spicy tofu stew). I didn’t have kelp for the broth, so it wasn’t 100% authentic- but it was 100% delicious.
And to put a 3-kilo bag of rolled oats to good use, I’ve been enjoying a good old-fashioned bowl of oatmeal rather often.
Because eating out in Korea is such a delicious and aesthetically appealing experience, I’ve included a recent meal of dduk gamjatang, or soup with potato and pork. It was a warm and comforting meal after a drizzly January afternoon at the art museum! As per Korean custom, this meal was served with several banchan, or side dishes. In this case we received sauteed green onions with imitation crab, spicy fish cakes, bean sprouts, pickled daikon (Korean radish) and, of course, the ubiquitous kimchi! Five dishes- rather minimal compared to the dozen-plus banchan served in the past!
Are you an expat living in a country with food vastly different from what you grew up with? What kinds of things are you cooking in your kitchen (if anything?)