Gamjatang ~ Korean Pork Bone & Potato Soup

by Lynne on October 29, 2014

Post image for Gamjatang ~ Korean Pork Bone & Potato Soup

I have really been enjoying cooking and eating Korean food lately. I am totally smitten with the red pepper powder (gochugaru) and red pepper paste (gochujang), and Dak Galbi is one of my most favorite recipes of all time. Recently I decided to make my Dak Galbi even more authentic by adding Perilla leaves; however, they were 5 bunches for 99 cents at the Korean market, so I had a lot left over. Well, I had to find some new recipes in which to use the Perilla leaves, and Gamjatang was the answer.

Gamjatang ~ Korean Pork Bone & Potato Soup 3

One of the great things about this recipe, besides the fact that it tastes so good, is I got to learn about a bunch of Korean ingredients that I had never used before. On this plate you can see the Perilla leaves on the upper right. They are about as big as my palm, with serrated edges, dark green and barely fuzzy. They are a member of the mint family, but if you didn’t know that, you would never guess it. They are mildly herbal, a little sweet like an apple, with just a whisper of mint. They grow on a bushy ground plant, which is sometimes grown as an ornamental.

Also on this plate are the long Asian garlic chives, which are actually longer, but I trimmed them down a little. The leaves are flat and taste like a mixture of chives and garlic. They added a lovely flavor note to the soup. I found both the Perilla leaves and garlic chives at the Korean Market named Market World in Torrance.

The flavoring sauce in the metal bowl is made up of minced garlic, gochugaru, gochujang, wine, fish sauce and another new ingredient, perilla seed powder (duelkkae garu). This sauce is a total flavor bomb. Get ready.

Gamjatang ~ Korean Pork Bone & Potato Soup 2

The recipe calls for pork neck bones, which I found at the Korean market in a cold case. They were packaged unfrozen in just the correct amount of pounds to make this soup. They were quite meaty and really cheap. $1.38 per pound. This photo shows the start of making the pork bone stock with water, ginger slices, onion, arbol chile, dried shiitake mushrooms and another new ingredient, Korean soybean paste called doenjang. The color of the liquid is that funky brown from the doenjang, but don’t turn up your nose yet, because the final dish is sooo good. Plus the flavoring sauce is going to turn the soup a mouth-watering red color.

Korean Hot Pepper Powder (Gochugaru)

This is the hot pepper powder called gochugaru, which you can buy on Amazon or at Market World.

Korean Hot Pepper Paste (Gochujang)

Gochujang is the Korean hot pepper paste made from fermented red chili, glutinous rice, fermented soybeans and salt. You can buy it on Amazon or at Market World.

Korean Soybean Paste (Doenjang)

Doenjang is the Korean soy bean paste, which is similar to Japanese miso. Boiled stone ground dried soybeans are formed into blocks to ferment, then broken up in pieces and fermented in vats with brine. Liquid and solids are later separated and the liquid becomes Korean soy sauce and the solids are made into doenjang. Amazon or Market World.

Korean Perilla Seed Powder (Deulkkae Garu)

Duelkkae Garu is Korean perilla seed powder. Its flavor is nutty and a little sweet. I could not find any mail order source for you. So sorry. If you can’t find it at your Asian market, it can be optional. Your soup will be missing one flavor note, but it will still be amazing.

When I was at Market World, I could not find duelkkae garu anywhere. I looked and looked. Finally, I did what I sometimes do when no store personal are in sight, I got a civilian to help me. In this case a Mom and her 11 year old son. Mom did not speak English, so she called over her son to help me. I had written down the Korean words, duelkkae garu, but he couldn’t translate that, so I tried to pronounce the Korean words. Mom and son said the words back and forth a couple of times, and the light bulb went off for the son. He said, “I know what that is, follow me!” I raced off after him with my cart, leaving Mom laughing in the aisle. Over two aisles, Son was kneeling, gesturing and pointing. And there it was on the aisle of ground seeds and beans. What a great kid. He was so happy to have helped me. I was so happy to have found this elusive ingredient.

This soup was so much fun for me, you have no idea. All the new ingredients I learned about, plus a really delicious dish to eat. AND, I got to buy one of those really cool Korean stone bowls with its cover to eat my soup. This was a really great adventure!

Gamjatang ~ Korean Pork Bone & Potato Soup 5

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Chocolate Brownie Toasted Pecan Cookies

by Lynne on October 17, 2014

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Have you ever eaten an extremely satisfying meal, feel totally full and replete, and then get hit with a unrelenting need for something sweet. It just hits you. You prowl around your house looking for the little Snickers bar or Snickerdoodle. Anything to satisfy your junkie craving. You may have to resort to a spoonful of brown sugar or drizzle of honey to lick off your finger.

Well, I know how you feel. This happened to me the other day. But what was really weird was during my search, I ran into a bar of Ghirardelli bittersweet chocolate in my pantry. That was it. All over. I had to have brownies. Chewy. Fudgy. Densely chocolate-y. I didn’t have very much chocolate, so I decided to make these Chocolate Brownie Cookies from an old recipe of mine. I had to search my files for it, but it was so worth it. A few minutes to mix up the batter and heat the oven, and I was happy, happy, happy. *sigh*

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