Saturday, June 30, 2012

Cooking Korean FOOD & other dishes :3

And yet again I wait so long to make a post, especially in the summer when I'm supposed to have all the time in the world.  (-___-);;

I was really motivated these past 2 weeks so I decided to expand my cooking repertoire and learn to cook some delicious Korean dishes.

After I started watching this family Korean drama called Ojakgyo Brothers (omg she's talking about dramas AGAIN?), I was inspired to try cooking some Korean dishes.  I researched and found maangchi ( who is really awesome because she organizes her recipes very well so it was easy for me to find a few that I would like to cook.  She also makes simple, well organized, and easy directions for how to create each of the recipes.

The super-awesome-kick ass-delicious dish pictured above is called Patbingsu and like the Japanese Kakigori, it's a refreshing ice dessert, except more healthy!  I noticed the main difference in the ingredients between the Japanese and Korean versions of the icy treat was the fact that the Korean Patbingsu used much more fruits and omitted the sweet syrup that's more common in Japanese Kakigori and Hawaiian Shave Ice.

A few other ingredients that were used for Patbingsu are sweet azuki beans (which I'm proud to say I made myself), mochi balls, and a drizzle of sweetened condensed milk.  I added vanilla ice cream and I thought it would be cool to add boba as well.  So this is my most extreme Patbingsu with all the ingredients I could think of adding so far!  The only extra stuff I can think of are more variety of fruits but I think Patbinsu is cool with a few fruits such as strawberries, blueberries, kiwi, and most recently, watermelon which was VERY refreshing. \("^o^")/

Doesn't that look freakin' beautiful?! xD

Here's my process of preparing all the ingredients for Patbingsu...

Azuki beans before adding sugar and boiling.

Azuki beans after added sugar and boiling.  See the difference?  :D

Sekihan imo, is included in the package if I boil azuki beans.  When azuki beans are boiled, the water leftover is dark red in color and when added with sticky rice to cook, it will eventually turn into this color and you can add some of your already cooked azuki beans to make sekihan.

I don't think this is my best effort in making sekihan.  It's actually the first time I've ever made it and I didn't really follow any directions.  My mom was around at the time and she mentioned why I don't just make sekihan with the water I used to boil the azuki beans.  So I went ahead and put some sticky rice and substituted fresh water with the leftover water I boiled the azuki beans with and came out with this.

There's a different way to make sekihan and that is to boil the red beans WITH the rice in the rice cooker.  I sort of went around with this one and boiled the beans separately but I still think that this result is just as nutritious and still looks alright.  I might try cooking sekihan the other way just to see if the rice color turns out the same lol.  I see pictures of sekihan and the color looks more delicate while mine looks, well... idk.

 Back to Patbingsu, here's chopped kiwi.

And chopped strawberries.

You know when you go all-out on cooking something when you make ALL your ingredients.  I had to make mochi balls because I couldn't find it anywhere *boohoo*!  It was a slightly tortuous process but I got through it and they were really delicate mochi balls.  ^^

Here's all the ingredients together (omit the mochi balls).  I'd also like to mention that 1 cup of azuki beans after boiling, actually makes about 3 cups of azuki beans!  Isn't it crazy what the expansion of water can cause?

FINAL result~!  I'm SO proud of this dish.  It's been a real hit with my parents.  Too bad my siblings just can't appreciate the healthy and refreshing quality of fruits and ice.

The next Korean dish I made was sukjunamul.  The first time I tasted this yummy side dish was at a Korean BBQ restaurant where we were given a plethora of side dishes and I recall this one being my fav.  :D

The thing I like about making my own Korean side dishes is the fact that I can control how much salt to add; Korean cuisine can get pretty high in the sodium.  I didn't need much salt for this one to make it tasty.

This is supposed to be my try at jajjangmyeon.  I see this as an interesting creation since I used spaghetti noodles instead of the traditional 'myeon' noodles and I didn't add a lot of the ingredients that was listed for the sauce mix including the zucchini and sweet potato.  I also added all kind of sauces to get it tasting the way I wanted.  xP  I didn't think some picky members of the family would go for a lot of the veggies listed in the recipe so I simplified it and ended up only including the meat, garlic, and onion with the sauce mix.  It still tasted good though.

Chamchijeon.  After making this, I really wished that I didn't use as much salt but live and learn..  It didn't seem like that much salt as I was mixing the ingredients but it turned out it was.  Only a simple tsp of salt can go a long way!  Now when I use future Korean recipes for side dishes, I'll probably cut the salt quantity in half just in case.

The last thing I made was the popular Sikhe drink that uses barley powder and rice.  It turned out great but I don't think it really got much popularity points with most members of the fam, I guess it's just a bit too out there for them.  It's still in the fridge and I think it's still fermenting?  It seems sweeter when I drink it so I may have to add more water.

That's 5 Korean recipes in all: Patbingsu, Sukjunamul, Jajjangmyeon, Chamchijeon, and Sikhe!  Not a bad accomplishment for a couple weeks!  I'll be continuing to explore Korean cuisine this summer because their food is so colorful, delicious, and fun to cook!!!  (^_^)

Here's a few other pretty dishes that I made so far this summer. I've gotta keep busy with all this extra time!

Curry dish.  Made sure to add less water to the curry sauce because what I learned last time I made this was that if you add lots of veggies, you need less water as vegetables will add the extra water.  Curry always seems to disappear from the fridge so quickly...  Too yummy for its own good.

I LOVE soumen noodles and for good reason!  It's cold, refreshing, light, and delicious, especially for hot days.  It took me a while in the past but I finally figured out how to boil perfect soumen noodles every time.  I like how they're so delicate and deliciously refreshing in the summer.  It's a really popular food in our family so it won't last for long.

This is the finished product; I added sliced eggs, cucumber, green onions, and of course, soumen sauce.

It occured to me that Korean side dishes would go perfectly with the soumen noodle dish so I ate it with sukjunamul and omg, so delish!  I'll have to make more Korean side dishes to go with soumen.  It's a great combo!

It's not summer without lemonade!  Drinking this on days where the temperatures are pushing 100 degrees is like heaven, especially if you're outside.

Most of these were made a few weeks ago since I was in a blog-lazy slump.  I'll try harder to get out of them.  Somehow summer brings out the laziness in me, even when I have so much extra time.  (-.-);;

Friday, June 8, 2012

Getting back my GAME on!!!

Somehow I always get some type of my brother's "hand-me-down" games, consoles or any other kind of electronic device to borrow.  Last time it was his PSP, then it was his LCD computer screen, now it's his Xbox360.  Since he so kindly let me borrow it, I thought I might as well use it and play FFXIII again.  I've played that game before but I had a lot of fun and since I have time now, I thought, why not do a replay with that one?

I put two boxes below the xbox; I read somewhere online that it's bad to put it directly on the carpet.  Something about the carpet blocking and clogging the vents underneath.

I ordered FFXIII online.  I was thinking about just ordering the PS3 version but my brother is using the PS3 for playing netflix and it's in the basement up high on a shelf in front of a giant treadmill; not a good location to play video games (-.-).  I was close to also ordering FFXIII-2 but I might try waiting that one out until my brother perhaps lends me the PS3 or moves it to a better location. lol


I borrowed a few games from my bro but I can't really get into them.  There's Assassin's Creed Brotherhood which (sorry fans) I just really don't get.  Yes, it's graphics are beautiful and it probably has a great storyline too but I don't know, I must be a hardcore Final Fantasy fan because those are the only RPGs I've connected with so far.  I'm also not really a hardcore gamer so I suck at most games, lmao.  There's also Nier by Square Enix but I don't like the character designs or the setting so I quit with that one.  Lastly, I borrowed Lost Odyssey but I gotta fix the first disc because it somehow got scratched in the xbox (>_>)...

Aside from those games, maybe I'll find other good JRPGs to play on the xbox.  It would be sad for a good game console to go to waste after playing only FFXIII...

And THIS!  I somehow got my hands on a spare TV too!!!  I had to move my cosmetics over to my main desk but hopefully it will be worth it.  One of my latest projects is to connect this TV to my PC so I can play netflix or K-dramas on it.  We'll see.  So far I just have the Y-cable for audio (pictured below the television).  I still need to VGA cable.

 Here's where it's connected and you can see the TV is fairly close to the PC.  Why the tape on the TV you ask?  Well no, it's not broken.  That's there because with me being ultra sensitive to light in my room and not being able to sleep with any light on, I had to cover that blue light on the TV that still was on even when I turned off the damn thing.  xP

I really hope this works.  It would be so much better to watch dramas and such on a larger television instead of sitting with (most likely) bad posture at my computer.  No matter how conscientious I am about good posture at the comp, I'm sure I'm still defecting back to poor posture anyways.  (>_<)

 I'll end this post with a cute pic of Scruffy since I haven't been showing much doggy love on my posts lately.  x3

Please ignore my fat leg, and take in the cuteness, lol.

Went to the Korean side of town today for BBQ

Right now I'm still getting over my "meat-hangover" lol.  If you don't know what that is, it's an endearing term I've made up just now about how I feel after eating all that meat.  It feels like I still haven't digested and sorry if this sounds gross, but if I burp, I can still taste the meat mixed with sikhye.  xP

I went with my parents and sis to a Korean BBQ restaurant downtown and I finally got the chance to participate in the activity of grilling my own meat at the table! :DDD  Actually, dad and I did most of the work, my mom wasn't really into that, just eating the meat lol.  My sis was the same, she didn't show interest in grilling. (-_-)

We ordered three kinds of meat, bulgogi, some other plain thin sliced meat, and chicken.  Lots of grilling work was left to me and dad.  But it was fun and I feel it's something cool to do at a restaurant, especially if you have a group of people.  I guess it could be cool with two people too but it would be easier if we ordered less meat.  The bulgogi was DELICIOUS and I enjoyed the thin sliced meat but imo, the chicken was meh.  I think if we ever do this again, we should just get two orders of bulgogi and other types of dishes like bibimbap.  It looks like they give lots of meat on platters but one dish of meat is only good for one small serving per person if there's 3-4 people.

May I also mention that Koreans are crazy about their side dishes so we had a ton of those.  I love Korean side dishes because it's like a really cool variety of appetizers or pupus as my dad likes to call them.  OMG I'm still burping up sikhye smelling burps, nasty.  ANYWAY, yeah, excuse my grossness but I do have a major case of meat-hangover.  Meat takes so long to digest and not any easier for me as I hardly eat beef.  That reminds me, at the end of din din, we got complimentary cups of sikhye which is a cup of heavenly refreshing deliciousness. 

I  used to call Sikhye "the sweet rice drink."  My mom had asked the waiter what the drink was but I don't know if he mentioned 'sikhye.'  He simply said that it aids in digestion.  I was contempt to believe his claim because the drink really just seemed like sugar and water with rice in it so I researched when I got home and found that it indeed aids in digestion and has a few other claimed health benefits such as preventing constipation and lowering blood pressure.  The reason for this is because sikhye is a fermented drink and contains bacteria that helps the digestion process.  I didn't find too much aside from that.  I think I may try making my own sikhye, just for the fun of it.  :D

The dinner was really nice and it was a nice way to spend the evening with family.  It's too bad that all the authentic Korean restaurants are so far down south from where we live. If only we had a good korean bbq nearby.  There's also all the Korean supermarkets down there too including H-Mart.  Love the atmosphere of that store. :3
I went there maybe a couple weeks ago and bought some shampoos.  Japanese shampoos smell soooo nice!  And guess what, first thing I see when I entered the store were ramyun advertised by none other than Micky Yoochun!!!  <3  Funny how this is right after I finish watching Rooftop Prince lol.

I really want to go to H-Mart again and I feel like I might be seeing that store again soon as I'll need to buy some ingredients for a few Korean recipes that I'm eyeing on food blogs.  (^.^)