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Cookbook Challenge - Day 2

Another great day of great recipes from my Maangchi cookbook. Today, unlike yesterday I was better prepared. Still took me 3+ hours to accomplish what I wanted but it was a lot better than yesterday. Everything I made today was new to me. I made soybean sprout rice with beef and topped with a fried egg, sides of steamed eggplants, bellflower, fernbrake, and lotus root and a dessert called hottoek which is a pancake filled with brown sugar and walnuts.

Today I am walking away with 3 lessons. First that planning really does pay off since today went so much better than yesterday. Second, always get MORE garlic and green onions than I think I need from the grocery store. Korean food uses a LOT of green onions and garlic. Keys to sauces and marinades! Third, I'm starting to see a pattern for the sides and dishes I've been making. For sides, a general pattern is cook the food, add soy and sugar and keep cooking, then finish with sesame oil and toasted sesame seeds. And in Chinese cooking the essential ingredients for marinades and sauces are soy sauce, ginger, garlic, sugar and rice wine. In Korean cooking it is soy sauce, garlic, sugar and sesame oil.

I like the dishes I made today. They were all new to me. I asked my husband if I made them right and the said he never had those at home, just in restaurants. I know we had the fernbrake at home. I remember his mom making that and it is one of my favorites. We've had the hotteok at HMart when the kids were young. We used to get it from a guy cooking it near the checkout line. So good right off the griddle!

I'm not a huge fan of soybean sprouts. I don't really go for the big yellow part. I prefer mung bean sprouts but it really went well in this rice dish. The recipe didn't call for a lot of meat. It was a flavoring I guess but mixed in with the fried egg and the sauce, it was perfect. A really nice mixture of textures, salty, spicy, crunchy, soft. You cannot go wrong with any dish topped with a fried egg. Yummy!

I really liked the sides I made too! I hope that they last. Each is flavored fairly similar but each has such a different texture and flavor of it's own that compliments the marinades. Lotus roots is kind of slightly undercooked potato texture like. Steamed eggplants are soft but still maintain their shape. Bellflower roots are crunchy and more fibrous than raw carrots. Fernbrakes taste really earthy and their texture is kind of like skinny string beans. All good!!

It was fun today. Tomorrow I'll make a Korean curry. Never had that. Had all kinds of Thai, Indian and Japanese curries but never Korean. We'll see! Stay tuned.

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