07 May 2013

What?! Do I Look Korean?

No.  No I don't, but that didn't deter the kids at various east coast and southern elementary schools sometimes telling me that my lunches smelled like gook food when my ma would pack something Vietnamese in the lunchbox.  I didn't know the meaning until I asked my brother what it meant.  I won't go into the Maryland teacher telling me that maybe I shouldn't "act that way."

I didn't really know what it meant until a few years back when a friend taught English in Korea and told me his students were confused as to why "guk" would be offensive if used towards them because it simply means "person."  "Megukin" is an American while "hangukin" is a Korean, and "waygukin" means foreigner.  In the end, my friend told his students that if any westerner calls them that, they should punch them in the face.  In my own masochistic manner, I wish I knew this as a kid, so I could nerd out on them and say, "why yes, it is 'people food.'"  Then I could have gotten punched in the face for being the wise-ass new kid in addition to getting spit on in the jungle gym for being the new Asian kid.  Poor me...

Last night I decided I wanted "people barbecue," so I got to marinating spicy pork since I can't swing an outing to Rancho Cordova for proper Korean barbecue.  There were two bunches of still firm broccoli that were sitting in the fridge for maybe a week, so the side was already decided--oldest veg gets cooked first.  In spite of it not being a native vegetable to Korea, many Korean sauces or dressings have similar ingredients varying by different combinations or omissions thereof, it'll have to do, and the broccoli would just have to deal with having Korean flare.

Whisk together the following ingredients:

3 tbsp sesame oil
1 tbsp white vinegar
1 tsp salt
1 tsp sugar
1 tsp crushed chili flakes - the deep red Korean kind of which your mom brings you a massive bag
2 clv garlic - minced
1 in piece of ginger - minced

I let this sit for about an hour before adding the broccoli.

Steam one bunch broccoli for 3-5 minutes, shock in an ice bath, drain, and toss in the dressing.

The night before combine the following for the marinade, which is actually more of a paste:

1 tbsp crushed red chili flakes
2 tbsp soy sauce
2 tbsp honey
1 tbsp sesame oil
1 tbsp crushed toasted sesame seeds
2 scallions - chopped
2 clv garlic - minced
1 tsp ginger juice (thanks, mom for the X-mas Jack Lelane juicer)
1 tbsp onion juice (I didn't want to juice a whole onion, so I juiced a large shallot)
some black pepper - just for the flavor.

The original recipe from a Korean Mother's Cooking Notes calls for boiling the meat first, coating the pork and then "grilling" on a heated pan.  As I am megukin, I said fuck that, I'm grillin' this shit like uh murican. Marinated it raw and straight to the flaming hot grill, which cooked through in a total of 6 or 7 minutes; flipping once.

Short rest, chopped, and served.

Oh, the other bunch of broccoli?  Well, I didn't cook and eat it all this afternoon.  What am I, some kind of broccoholic?  I can only handle broccoli in so many intervals, so pickling it was to be.  Other than kimchi pickles, which are actually fermented pickles, I've noticed Korean vinegar pickles are fairly tame or rather sparse ingredient-wise compared to what some jerks are doing when pickling produce. *cough cough*  I went lazy and grabbed this lady's recipe because she had a semi-entertaining video.

Here are the ingredients that you heat to dissolve the salt and sugar and then pour over the broccoli party:

5 c water
1/2 c vinegar
1/4 c salt
1/4 c sugar

I threw in a clove of garlic for jerkiness.