When the weather gets hot, all I want to do is kick back and relax, bumming around while watching TV. Really, it’s just too much of a bother to do anything else when the thermometer goes higher than 85ºF. And with the World Cup on these days, you need an excuse NOT to watch TV.
It also helps when your mom makes you dinners that cool you off – that way you can be full AND lazy! :D
I’ve already talked about the wonderfully refreshing powers of soymilk noodles, but there’s a whole world of chilled Korean dishes out there, made especially for those unbearably hot and humid summers.
First, of course, is the ubiquitous moolnengmyun:
This is, without doubt, THE Korean summer dish. Everything about it – from the noodles, to the broth, to the cucumbers – screams refreshing goodness. And it’s satisfying to loudly slurping the noodles when you’re eating it with your family. Not that I would ever do that in a restaurant, o’course.
And you have to add mustard to your nengmyun.
Mind you, this isn’t the same mustard you squeeze on top of your hot dog. It’s oriental mustard – it’s similar in taste to the American version, but it’s definitely a lot spicier.
I add a lot of mustard to my nengmyun because I love that punch of OMG-my-sinuses-are-burning heat. Don’t you? :D
My mom always keeps a bunch of the moolnengmyun broth/stock in the freezer over the summer, so she usually whips this up in no time. I also enjoy eating this at Korean restaurants – each place has their own way of making the broth and they sometimes use different types of noodles, so it’s fun trying out the variety. There’s actually a place in Closter that has pretty decent nengmyun.
Next is a dish that I’ve never had before in my entire life; it’s called mookbap.
I was confused at the concept of it at first, because when my mom described it to me, it sounded like it should be a bowl of noodles.
A bunch of crisp vegetables in a bowl.
And a chilled broth poured over it.
Added on top, a sprinkling of nori.
Then you mix and enjoy!
Now, you might be thinking, “Wow. Those are some unusually thick and stubby noodles.” But see, the thing is, THEY’RE NOT NOODLES.
It’s actually this:
Chopped up like this:
“Wtheck is that?” you ask? This is mook, a common Korean banchan. I’ve had it lots of times with soy sauce drizzled over it, but never like this. It’s kind of a jiggly form of carb that has a slightly springy texture.
There are 2 types of mook: white and brown. And as you can see, I had the brown type – it’s healthier because it’s made from acorns, whereas the white variety is (probably) made from rice.
I always thought making mook was a really complicated process, because how else could get acorns to gelatinize like that? But it’s actually really, really, really simple.
There are 2 ingredients. Acorn flour and water.
Then you move the pot over to the burner, turn it on medium heat, and stir to combine.
Then you stir some more while the mixture heats up.
And stir some more.
And then you stir even more. You keep stirring until the mixture slooooowly begins to thicken up.
And it gelatinizes. It’ll become like glue, and stick everywhere inside the pot.
Then you pour it out into a shallow glass pan, so it can set up overnight.
The next day, it’ll be ready to be bathed with in a cool, vinegary broth with a bunch of other stuffs (as demonstrated above). Then it’ll be ready to be placed into my mouth and eaten, so that I may be refreshed even in the suffocating heat of summer.
Now, doesn’t that make you want to Korean summer food? Yup, I’m sure it does.
And speaking of Korea, I don’t know whether to anticipate or dread the match against Argentina tomorrow. On one hand, we won against Greece. On the other hand, Argentina has Leo Messi. Eeep.
WHATEVER. IT DOESN’T MATTER WHO WINS OR WHO LOSES. IT’S ALL ABOUT THE LOVE FOR THE SPORT.
. . .
Well, good luck to all! I’ll be up nice and early for the 7:30 game tomorrow!!