September 2023 Letter
Inviting you to a gift exchange for Chuseok! And 2 new recipes: tofu soup with clams and stir-fried kimchi & pork. Plus your stories & photos!
Just a few days ago, I received an invitation from the Korea Agro-Fisheries & Food Trade Corporation (aT) to attend the Korean Food Fair 2023. aT is supported by the Korean government and is all about promoting Korean food and products worldwide. They asked me to give a short speech and toast at the dinner event. To my surprise, many of my readers cheered me on! It's heartwarming to see you all wherever I go.
New recipe: Tofu soup with clams! Grind the clams, Ma!
Are you in search of a quick and easy-to-make soup that's perfect for people who prefer non-spicy options? Here you go! This recipe is suitable for everyone, offering a mild, savory, and nutty flavor that's sure to bring a sense of comfort. I've used soft tofu (sundubu) and readily available frozen clams from the Korean grocery store's frozen section.
This soup is also a great choice for both babies and the elderly. I recently shared this recipe over the phone with my mother, who resides in California, and she absolutely adores it! I did suggest one small alteration to her: I advised her to "grind the clams, Ma!" as she's found it challenging to chew tougher textures these days. Check out the recipe here!
New recipe: Pork and Kimchi Duruchigi
Is it kimchi stew? No! : )
The amount of broth is less than stew but it contains enough broth so that you can mix it with rice. This dwaeji-kimchi duruchigi (stir-fried pork with kimchi) is a spicy, savory, delicious dish that’s easy to make and great party food to share with many people. The combination of well-fermented kimchi and succulent pork creates a harmonious blend of spiciness and meatiness. Everyone can enjoy this, and especially if you like spicy food you will love it! The recipe is here!
Event: Chuseok gift exchange!
I’ve been sharing my recipes with you guys for years, but what makes me really excited is when my readers and viewers start interacting with each other! You all have something in common - an interest in Korean food - and one of the most rewarding things for me is to bring you together and foster real friendships. I’ve seen it happen many times!
I've been planning this event for years, but various circumstances led to postponements and delays, including the corona virus. : ) This year we’re going to do it—a gift exchange in celebration of the Korean holiday of Chuseok.
Chuseok is Korea’s traditional harvest festival and one of its major holidays. It’s on the 15th day of the 8th month of the lunar calendar, on the full moon (also called the Harvest Moon). This year it’s from September 28th to 30th.
In modern Korea, it’s a big day for families. No matter where we currently live, we typically travel back to our home towns to spend time with our families. There are some traditional foods we eat such as songpyeon, galbijjim, and sujeonggwa, and many more vegetables, seafoods, and desserts. It’s also a big time for gift-giving, not only to family members and parents but to good friends and business acquaintances. It’s a way of showing thanks and appreciation and having fun.
I’d like for us to celebrate Chuseok together by exchanging gifts!
How? Sign up here and I’ll match you with a partner. I'll connect you two by email, and you guys can exchange addresses and send each other gifts for Chuseok!
How much does it cost to join?
It’s free! But you have to promise to send a gift. : ) I know everyone who reads my monthly letter is awesome, so I’m sure you guys will make good friends.
How much do I need to spend on a gift?
It’s up to you. You can even make something instead of buying. But if you buy something, how about spending at least $20? And if you have problems with finding good gifts, Korean cooking ingredients are always liked.
Ok, I signed up. What’s next?
On September 9th I’ll email you and your partner so you can connect and exchange shipping addresses. Then buy a gift and send it in time to reach your partner by September 28th.
Can I cancel my participation after signing up?
Yes, you can cancel if you really need to, but only before September 9th. After that you'll have a partner so please don't let them down! Best to make sure you can participate before signing up.
I live in [some country] -- can I join?
Yes, this is open to everyone in the world.
Do I have to ship a gift internationally?
When you sign up, you can ask not to ship internationally, but if there aren't enough people in your country, you might need to ship internationally.
Short video: Haemul-pajeon
This is a short, 1-minute edit that shows you how to make haemul-pajeon (green onion and seafood pancake! Check out my website for the full recipe and a more detailed video.
My reader’s homemade Haemul-pajeon!
JamjariHobag-ui in Australia made such a delicious haemul pajeon and said, “I’ve been ordering green onion and seafood pancakes from my favourite Korean restaurant for ages but they skimp a bit on the green onions and, of course, there’s nothing like the taste and satisfaction of making your own. So here it is… with an alteration to the flour because I keep gluten very low. I make my own gluten free flour and it worked just fine in this recipe. And yes, the addition of potato starch did the trick for the crunchiness. I used prawns, squid and sea scallops… mmmm!!”
Fire chicken with cheese!
One of my readers, Nlife in Canada, captured this mouthwatering photo right after she removed her cheese buldak from the oven. She shared, “We absolutely adore this dish and prepare it nearly every week now. It's a delightful fusion of spicy and sweet flavors.”
Bubbling cheese on top of spicy red chicken looks mouthwatering! Check out the recipe for cheese buldak here.
Sharon’s fresh kimchi
One of my readers Sharon, who goes by the username “Kimchiajumma” loves authentic Jeolla-style geotjeori kimchi. She says, “My family always tells me that my kimchi tastes so much better than store bought. I always make mine with anchovy sauce.”
That’s right! Homemade kimchi truly stands out as the best!
Messages from my readers & viewers
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!
Recently, someone who doesn't have access to a refrigerator asked me about the best way to store kimchi. My answer might be useful to some of you as well, so I'm sharing it here.
If you don't have a refrigerator, let me give you this method. First make a small amount kimchi that you can finish eating in a week. Pour some cold water in a large basin and put your kimchi jar in it so that the cold water will keep your kimchi jar cool. Change the water twice a day. This is the way of storing kimchi without a refrigerator that my grandmother used to use.
Guamababie left a nice comment on my recipe for tofu soup with clams that made me so happy! She used scallops instead of clams and the soup turned out very tasty. Thanks for sharing this fantastic tip!
I didn’t have clams but had some scallops in the freezer so I chopped them up and subbed them for the clams. Hubby gave two thumbs up and the kids (even the picky one) finished their bowls of soup. This recipe is a keeper! Thank you, Maangchi-nim!
A viewer from Estonia shared a heartwarming story on my potato pancake video recipe. She mentioned that her grandmother's potato pancakes were so delicious that she couldn't resist eating them until she felt stuffed! As I read her comment, I couldn't help but burst into laughter; she's just too adorable!
We have those pancakes in Estonia as well. My grandmother used to cook these for me when I was little and visited her over summer holiday. I stayed for weeks. And this was my favorite dish. I could eat those potato cakes (this is how we called them), until I started to feel physically ill and grandmother made my water with soda, because my stomach ached from overeating. But I loved them so much!! Today, 30 years later, my father cooks these for me when I visit him. I still love them. Dish from my childhood.
One of my viewers mentioned that she and her mom has been watching and cooking my recipes for a long time. Thanks so much, both of you! Please say hello to your mom for me!
Hello Maangchi! You were my childhood from 9 years ago! Me and my mom always used to watch you and follow your recipes. I also remember that time when we made that shrimp pancakes you made! It was DELICIOUS! Words cannot explain how I missed you so much, you stood a huge role in my childhood…
I wanted to dry out the cooked rice a little bit because it seems to work better and the makgeolli has a higher degree of alcohol. The traditional way of taking care of rice is to steam it in a steamer instead of cooking it in a pot, so you can steam it or make it in a pot and dry out like I did in the recipe.
I found this comment on my cold soba with dipping sauce video really interesting. It painted a vivid picture of buying cold soba from a Japanese noodle vendor at night, which in turn reminded me of a similar experience with the "Here comes sikhye!" vendor in Korea during my youth. We used to have a sikhye (rice punch) man selling this delightful beverage in the middle of the night. He would yell: "Here comes sikhye!"
I was on my honeymoon in Japan with my half Japanese wife when I had Soba for the first time. At about 10:00 PM the noodle man came down the street pushing a cart, blowing a low whistle. My wife who grew up in Tokyo said it’s the noodle man! Let’s go. It was a wonderful experience eating cold noodles in the warm summer evening with the neighbors who all came outside wearing their pajamas.
I'm growing perilla leaves (known as "kkaennip" in Korean) on my patio, and can you spot the purple flowers of hyssop (called "bahng-ah" in Korean), from just one plant I planted? I keep myself busy using the perilla leaves every day, whether it's for making kimchi, in pancakes, or adding them to my smoothies.
I will see you next month on October 1st!
Keep being happy with your delicious Korean cooking!
And remember that if you type any Korean dish into the search box on my site, 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 the recipe among my hundreds of recipes.