추석 Chuseok – Korean Thanksgiving

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image courtesy of http://m.post.naver.com/my.nhn?memberNo=10005291

추석(Chuseok) is one of the most important holidays for Korean along with 설날(Seollal). The word Chuseok means ‘a Fall night’ which expresses ‘A day that has the brightest moon in  Fall’. Chuseok is derived from Chinese letters, and the Korean word for Chuseok is 한가위(Han-gahWe). Han-gahwe means ‘The center of the month’ because Han-gahwe is August 15th on the Lunar Calendar. It is Korean Thanksgiving.

It is a national holiday which everyone take 3 days off. The holiday starts a day before Han-gahwe and ends a day after Han-gahwe because families have to prepare food for a ceremony in early morning on the holiday.

For food, they make a special rice cake for this holiday which is called 송편(Songpyoun). Songpyoun is a rice cake that is steamed with pine leaves, and it looks like a half moon(반달). Why does it look like a half moon even thought they celebrate for a full moon? Old Koreans hoped their lives would be filled with happiness like a full moon(보름달) from the half moon after the holiday, not like the full moon becomes smaller after the holiday.

At night, Koreans pray to a full moon for their happiness and health and appreciate mother nature for food. In the past, women went out with their female family members or neighbors dancing a special dance and singing for Han-gahwe. It is called 강강술래(Gahng Gahng Soollae).

<강강술래(Gahng Gahng Soollae) dance
image courtesy of  http://www.k-heritage.tv/main/heritage&gt;

 

If you have Korean friends, tell them “Happy Chuseok!”.  즐거운 추석 보내세요! 즐거운 한가위 보내세요!

 

Words for Chuseok>

추석 Chuseok
한가위 Han-gahwe
송편 Songpyoun
보름달 full moon
반달  half moon
강강술래 (Gahng-Gahng Soollae)
즐거운 추석 보내세요!  Happy Chuseok!
즐거운 한가위 보내세요!  Happy Han-gahwe!

You can listen to the audio files by clicking here. 

미역(seaweed) in Korean culture

Koreans eat ‘미역국(seaweed soup)’ on their birthdays. This custom derives from when moms have their babies, they eat 미역국 to supplement iron. They also have some special food for their birthday such as 불고기(Bulgogi), 잡채(Japchae) with a birthday cake for dessert.

Do you know how to sing the birthday song in Korean? Click here to learn the birthday song in Korean.

Koreans love 미역(seaweed), however there is a myth that if you eat 미역국 before a test, you will fail the exam. Why? 미역(seaweed) is very slippery, and there is an adjective for ‘slippery 미끄러지다’ which is the same meaning as ‘fail 시험에 떨어지다’. So when someone asks “또 미역국 먹었어?”, it means “Did you fail the exam again?”

I was the person who believed that myth when I was in middle school. My birthday was always in the middle of mid-term, so I told my mom not to make 미역국 on my birthday. Do I believe it now? I am a grown-up person! 🙂

I love 미역 and 미역국, it is easy to cook and delicious! And don’t get confused 미역 and(dried seaweed) which is salty side dish.

미역 seaweed

 

[Food] 삼겹살과 제육볶음 Sam Gyeop Ssal and spicy pork belly

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image from : http://blog.naver.com/ahj9808/220289192035

Do you know what kind of meet Koreans love the most?  It is Pork belly which is called 삼겹살(Sam Gyeop Ssal).  When we eat 삼겹살, we wrap it with lettuce and put some garlic and green pepper with some sauce(쌈장 : Ssam Jang, seasoned bean paste).

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image from : https://vegan8korean.wordpress.com/2013/03/14/ssam-bap-recipe/

My favorite part of grilling 삼겹살 is grilled 김치(Kimchi).  If you put 김치 surrounded 삼겹살, when you cook pork belly, it turns brown and sooooooooooooo delicious!!!

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image from : http://news.naver.com/main/read.nhn?mode=LSD&mid=sec&sid1=103&oid=143&aid=0002009149

I also make 제육볶음 very often.  제육볶음 is marinated pork belly.  It is spicy because there is 고추장(red pepper paste).  Here is the recipe.

Ingredient>

삼겹살 1lb,
고추장 (red pepper paste) 2 daddy spoons,
고춧가루 (red pepper powder) 1 daddy spoon,
설탕 (sugar) 1.5 daddy spoons,
소주 (soju) 1 daddy spoon,
다진마늘 (minced garlic) 1 daddy spoon,
후추 (black pepper) 0.5 baby spoon,
간장 (soy sauce) 2 daddy spoons,
참기름 (sesame oil) 1 mommy spoon,
깨 (sesame seeds) 2 mommy spoons
a half of 양파 (yellow onion)
파 (green onion)

Marinate>>
1. Put 고추장, 고춧가루, 설탕, 다진마늘, 후추, 참기름, 깨 into a bowl with pork belly and mix them well.  And wait 1 hour.

2. Heat up a pan (no oil) with high heat and put the meat and vegetables together.

3. When it is done, eat it with 상추(lettuce) or 꺳잎[깬닙] (sesame leaves, perilla) .

[Culture] 부대찌개 – Army stew, troops stew

부대찌개 - Army stew
부대찌개 – Army stew

부대 means ‘army’ or ‘troops’ and 찌개 is ‘stew’.  Koreans love 부대찌개 especially when they drink Soju.  It is normally served in a big pot, so 3 or 4 people can share. Do you know why it is called ‘army stew’?

During the Korean war, there was not enough food to eat, so a lot of people died by hunger. So Koreans collected some food such as spam, can beans or sausage that is left-over from the U.S troops and put them all together in a big pot. 부대찌개 has sad history, however this is one of Koreans’ favorite food!

In 부대찌개, there are Kimchi(김치 Seoul Kimchi), spam(스팸), sausage(소시지), noodles(라면), can beans(콩), bean sprouts(콩나물), tofu(두부) and onions(양파).  You can put them in a pot and pour broth or water with Red pepper powder(고추가루), yellow bean sauce(된장), soy sauce(간장) and garlic(마늘).

You can add a slice of cheese(치즈) at the end, it is more delicious!!! I am going to make it tonight, do you want to join with me?

Korean home food

 

What do Koreans normally eat?
한국 사람들은 보통 뭐 먹어요?

 Koreans eat 밥(rice) for three meals, you can say Koreans can’t live without rice.  How can you eat rice for every meal?  My friend asked me once.  Yes, we can because there are lots of different 반찬(side dishes).

Because a lot of people(workers) eat out for lunch, we can have some side dishes for breakfast and add a 찌개(stew) or (soup) with the same or different side dishes for dinner.

This is my normal 점심(lunch), but sometimes I eat this for 아침(breakfast) or 저녁(dinner).  I had 시금치나물(seasoned spinach), 두부부침(fried tofu), 어묵조림(fried fishcake), 파래무침(seasoned seaweed) and 오징어채(dried squid) with my rice for lunch.

It is very healthy and light. IMG_1023.JPG

 

You will wonder,

Where is 김치(Kimch)?
김치가 떨어졌어요. Well, I have run out of Kimchi.

I haven’t been to the 한국슈퍼마켓(Korean market) recently.

My precious Kimchi!!!!

My favorite side dish is 김(seaweed).

What is yours?

오이 김치 Cucumber Kimchi

 

*My favorite Kimchi is cucumber Kimchi, especially in the summer.

Few months ago, I bought a bag of cucumbers from a Korean market and made my first cucumber Kimchi.  It was very easy!!!!!

 

You need,

1. cucumbers  오이 

2. chives  부추

3. red pepper flakes 고춧가루 (Korean red pepper powder)

4. anchovy sauce or shrimp sauce  멸치액젓 또는 새우젓 (Korean anchovy sauce)

5. garlic, onions, green onions, carrots, sugar, salt  마늘, 양파, 파, 당근, 설탕, 소금

 

1. Cut cucumbers 2.5 ~ 3 inches and cut each piece like the picture. BUT, don’t cut them all the way down, just cut 2/3 so you can put chives stuffing inside of each cucumber piece. IMG_1013.JPG

 

2. Boil water with lots of salt(I put two cups).

3. When it starts boiling, turn off the stove and put those little cucumbers into the hot water.

IMG_1010.JPG

4. Wait one hour.

5. While you are waiting, you can make chives stuffing.  Cut chives 2 inches, slice onions and carrots.  And Mix veges with a cup of red pepper flakes, a big spoon of fish sauce, a big spoon of minced garlic, a small spoon of sugar and a small spoon of salt.  You can taste it now.  If you like spicy, you can put more red pepper flakes.

 

 

IMG_1011.JPG

6. Rescue those cucumbers from salty hot water and drain the water.

7. Put the stuffing into each cucumber piece.  It is kinda BORING………

8. This is a very important part!!  Put them in a jar or a Tupperware, fill up the container as much as possible.  It is not good if there is lots of space.  Old Koreans used to put them into a jar and put a big rock on the top of the jar, so it can press cucumbers.

 

IMG_1009.JPG

 

 

9. I left that Kimchi container outside for two days and then put it into refrigerator because I thought that would help the process of fermentation.  We do that for cabbage Kimchi!!!!  But my mom said I should have put it into refrigerator after I made that.  Anyway, you have to wait for few days.

Whatever!

It was delicious~~~~~~~~
Crunch, juicy, spicy, stinky(of course!) 

I eat them almost every meal right now.  Am I the happiest girl in the whole world?  🙂

 

두부김치 Tofu Kimchi

두부 김치 (Doo-bu Kimchi : Tofu Kimchi)

두부김치(Doo-bu Kimchi : Tofu Kimchi)

I make this dish all the time for the guests because it is SUPER EASY and Yummy!
집에 오는 손님을 위해서 제가 자주 만드는 음식이에요.  아주 쉽고 맛있어요.

1. Slice FIRM Tofu about a half inch and fry them both side for 10 mins. (I like CRISPY!!!!!)
두부를 썰고 양쪽을 10분 간 부쳐요.

2. Cut Kimchi as small pieces fry Kimchi with a little bit of sugar for 10 mins.
김치를 잘게 썰고 10분 간 볶아요.

IT’s DONE!
끝났어요!

***** Tip : If you don’t want to make your cutting board BLOODY RED, you can cut Kimchi with SCISSORS.
도마를 빨갛게 만들고 싶지 않으면, 가위를 쓰세요.

가위 scissors

My husband and I have this with 막걸리(Mahk-ggul-li : Korean milky rice wine). Mmmmmmm…
제 남편하고 저는 두부김치를 막걸리하고 같이 먹어요.

Honey!  Today’s dinner is 두부 김치~
여보! 오늘 저녁은 두부김치예요~