On Tuesday evening, I attended my first event as a new member of the New York Women's Culinary Alliance, which is a service-based organization I recently joined. NYWCA was started by Sara Moulton and a number of other female culinary professionals who felt that women needed a platform to share, mentor, and network with other woman in the field.
I was very excited when I saw this class on Korean home cooking taught by Shin Kim of Banchan Story on the agenda so I signed up and offered to volunteer my services and be part of the program. The hands-on class, which started with Korean pop music and some fun videos of food scenes in Korean cinema, included six items we prepared together.
Clockwise from top: Shin Kim; making dessert; Pajeon.
Shin shared wonderful stories about Korean food traditions like how the eating of Miyeok Guk (also known as birthday soup) is eaten by new mothers for 21 days after giving birth and subsequently eaten on each birthday. It is never however, given to students before an exam because it is believed the slippery nature of the seaweed might cause the student to "slip and fail" their exam. We also made scallion and seafood pancakes called Pajeon, which are eaten with a soy and garlic dipping sauce. We learned to how to add extra oomph to glass noodles by using the water from soaking dried Shiitake mushrooms, which gave them a strong umami flavor. Participants worked in teams of three, sharing the prep of all the dishes. Then we all sat down at the end to a wonderful feast, ending with a traditional dessert made with shaved ice, vanilla ice cream, diced fresh fruit, Mochi, red bean paste, and sweetened condensed milk. This begins my quest to become fluent in Korean cuisine.
Left to right: cucumbers with Ssamjang; glass noodles and Shiitake mushrooms.
Good thing I know Jen Yi, owner of Mi Young's Farm in Jaconita New Mexico, where I will be going for my next Korean cooking class. New Mexico folks, keep your eyes out for Jen's new food truck!
Here is a recipe for an amazing dip we made in class. It's called Ssamjang and Shin Kim suggests pairing it with veggies or grilled meats.
1/2 cup Doenjang (Korean fermented soy bean paste)
1/4 cup Gochujang (Korean fermented red pepper paste)
3 cloves garlic, grated
2 scallions, finely chopped
2 tablespoons toasted sesame oil
2 tablespoons honey
1 tablespoon sugar
2 teaspoons toasted sesame seeds
Simply mix everything together. Will last in the fridge for about a week.