June 2023 Letter
Recipes for blackbean sauce over rice & garlic pickles! Plus photos and comments from my readers and viewers
While I was visiting California in May, I had a wonderful chance to spend some time with my friends and family in a house in the desert next to Joshua Tree National Park. Surrounded by the expansive scenery of rocks, cacti, and Joshua trees, and among the sounds of so many kinds of birds, I made a special table for everyone using Korean ingredients I had brought along.
I made galbi (marinated grilled beef ribs) and set out a wide selection of vibrant vegetables. It was served with kimchi, acorn jelly, and a thick doenjang jjigae (soybean paste stew). We each created our own bibimbap by mixing the vegetables, doenjang jjigae, rice, and a spoonful of gochujang (Korean hot pepper paste).
The flavors were absolutely incredible, and eating together made everything much tastier than it would have been if we just ate at home individually. Everyone customized their own bibimbap and it was all about the joy of sharing a meal together and the variety of flavors in Korean cuisine. We had a great time! I hope you get to spend some time eating a delicious meal with your friends and family this summer, it’s the best way to enjoy good food!
New Recipe: Blackbean Sauce Over Rice
Many of you are probably familiar with Korean jjajangmyeon, a delicious dish consisting of black bean sauce served with noodles. When this kind of sauce is served with rice, it is called jjajangbap ("bap" means cooked rice in Korean). My initial intention was to create a filling for buns using this sauce. However, I soon realized that the process of making buns, whether steamed or baked, can be quite labor-intensive. Simply mixing this sauce with warm rice was an easier and faster alternative for you guys.
The sauce itself requires only a few ingredients: chunjang (black bean paste), pork, onion, and cabbage. The resulting combination is incredibly smooth and savory, with the addition of crispy cabbage and delectable chunks of pork providing an extra burst of flavor and texture. One great advantage of this recipe is that you can prepare the sauce on a weekend and enjoy it throughout the entire week, just like some people do with spaghetti sauce!
New Recipe: Whole garlic pickles
Eventually I released a recipe for my family’s all time favorite tongmaneul-jangajji (pickled whole garlics). These fermented pickles are sweet, sour, salty, and crispy and they get better the longer you ferment them. Even years later they are still crispy, juicy, and flavorful!
Ivy’s Garlic pickles
Whole garlics in brine made by Ivy in Edinburgh, Scotland. She excitedly exclaimed, "Only 8 months to go!" because the recipe requires a minimum of 8 months of fermentation.
Yes! While eagerly anticipating the completion of your amazing project, you can use this jar as a beautiful decoration in your home. It will fill your heart with anticipation and excitement. : )
Colorful Korean table prepared by Eileen!
Eileen in Melbourne, Australia: “It’s #maangchi day! Been craving for spicy and warm broth so I made anchovy and kelp stock this morning 😊 Looking forward to more jiggaes (stews) in the next few days!“
1 minute Short video: seafood soft tofu stew
NeeRee’s Korean pan-fried fish topped with seasoning sauce
Intrigued by the unfamiliar name, "crappie," I looked it up online. It’s a freshwater fish that NeeRee got fresh in Tennessee. Regardless of the type of fish you choose, the key is to pan-fry it until the outside turns crispy and the inside is fully cooked. Once done, generously coat it with the delectable sauce! Check out the recipe here!
workscissorpaper in Japan had a craving for bibimbap so she made it! The final result looks incredibly appetizing and nutritious. She even went the extra mile by using multi-grain rice. I couldn't help but burst into laughter when I read her comment on the photo: "I might have committed a sin by omitting some essential ingredients (or maybe they're hiding under the egg)."
By the way, the egg looks perfectly cooked and beautiful. Even if you feel like you may have deviated from the traditional recipe, your culinary skills are still remarkable because of that beautifully cooked egg! : ) My bibimbap recipe is here!
Messages from my readers & viewers
Every day my readers and viewers always make me smile, inspire me, amaze me, and make me think. Here are some of their messages that I chose to share with you this month!
Paulina, who is half-Korean, recently shared a touching message with me. It's heartening to know that many individuals, like Paulina, have a deep desire to preserve their Korean heritage through cooking.
I made your seaweed & mussel soup recipe today for my mom who has been sick. She loved it and she could hardly believe it was the very first time I cooked this meal. I struggle trying to keep my Korean side alive living in America but with your recipes, I feel like I will be able to hold on to that part of me. I never cooked much Korean food because if I wanted it, I could always go to my mom but I know that will not always be the case. Thank you so much for sharing your knowledge about our food.
One of my readers from India left a surprising comment. They, too, have a tradition of making pancakes on rainy days, just like Koreans! It's amazing how diverse cultures can find similarities in the rituals and comfort foods associated with rainy weather.
Hi Maangchi !!
I’m from India and love your recipes. Here in India our mums also make pancakes in rainy days but they are made with Gram flour and we call them Chillas. It's real happiness and fun of life to enjoy with your family
Heather's late father was an avid viewer of my videos, and reading Heather's comment on one of my videos stirred up a wave of emotions within me.
Today would be my dads 75th birthday. I am watching your videos because they remind me of him. He loved to watch your videos and eat your recipes. Thank you!❤
Just in case you are also wondering what kind of rice is used for jjajangbap, I’m telling you we always use short grain rice. It provides the perfect texture and consistency to complement the flavors of the black bean sauce.
The recipe is here:
En route to Joshua National Park! I love this kind of time, do you know what I mean? It's just us on the road, with no cars ahead or behind us as I drive. I love the sense of freedom. Let’s go! : )
I’ll see you next month on July 1st! During my recent travels, I filmed some good recipe videos that I can't wait to share with you.
And remember that if you type any Korean dish into the search box on my website, you can find it (if I have a recipe for it). I use the search box all the time because that’s the fastest way to find a specific recipe among my hundreds of recipes.