Sunday, December 14, 2008

Homemade Budae Jjigae

Last week my yoga buddy, Mr. Choi, invited me over to his house for lunch after yoga. His wife wanted to make budae jjigae for me. At first, I was a little apprehensive because of the previous incident. Everything is back to normal between us and he assured me that, of course, his wife would be there. He knew I wouldn't do the cooking.

When we arrived at their apartment, his wife was busy preparing all the food. I tried to help but she shooed me out saying that was the Korean way. Choi gave me the grand tour of their apartment which is located right next to a mountain so they have a fantastic view. They had two large family portraits on the wall. I asked and he told me that they were of his son and his family. Mr. Choi and his wife were in both pictures with their son and his wife and family. The pictures were taken a few years apart. He also had several pictures of his son's two children.

I knew he also had a daughter so I asked about her. He confirmed he had a daughter and she was married with a couple of kids. I asked about pictures of them and the answer was that there weren't any pictures. I think he meant that they had not taken any formal portraits but the total exclusion of his daughter and her family had me offended.

The picture above is of the side dishes. She made them all from scratch.

Here is the budae jjigae. I guess every Korean family owns the tabletop gas stove which you find in any budae jjigae restaurant. She made a ton of food for the three of us. After lunch, she refused my help in clearing the table.

I had made some homemade chocolate chip cookies as a gift. For dessert, she cut up a Korean pear, apple and a persimmon and a few other fruits I had never seen before. She also broke open a cooked and room temperature sweet potato. I'm not a sweet potato fan but she was very insistant that I try everything. I was surprised how naturally sweet it was.

She doesn't speak any English but through Choi I found out that maybe I should not have brought the cookies. She let me know that cookies along with what a lot of food Americans eat was not healthy and made you fat. Ouch! I have a feeling the grandchildren (probably just the son's) will be eating the cookies. Just for the record, his son lives in the apartment building right next door.

Choi's wife knows how much I love Korean culture and crafts. After lunch, she showed me her handmade Hanbok. It was beautiful and to think that it was entirely hand stitched. She then went into the bedroom and put it on for me. I had to take a picture.

I had a great time and lunch ended up lasting over three hours. I had to excuse myself to get home in time for my maedeup class (Korean knotting). I had a great time and Choi told me that she wants to make me bulgogi next time.


Sandra said...

Yeah, the spam and processed meat in that soup looks real healthy, doesn't it?

The kids will love your cookies!!

vonna said...

When are you coming home, to bake me cookies?

ZenKimchi said...

That's a mighty fine lookin' Budae Jjigae.

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