Monday, June 13, 2011

Another Kind of Comfort Food

I make a lot of pasta recipes (just see my recipe page)--I love making and eating pasta. It's a one-dish meal, super versatile, so yummy and filling, and so on. In a way, pasta is a comfort food to me because I turn to it so often.  But it's not a comfort food in the sense that there is one or two dishes that bring a rush of nostalgic memories or anything. I guess pasta is more of my go-to as opposed to a comfort food.  So I'm basically flip-flopping mid-paragraph and don't know what I'm talking about.

Because when it comes to comfort food, the thought of sitting down to a spread like this at my parents' house gets me every time...

One super awesome thing about Korean food is banchan, an endless variety of small dishes served at the beginning of the meal (and to be picked at throughout the meal). They're generally pretty salty so a little goes a long way (though I can really hork 'em down), and they are meant to be eaten with rice.  The above picture was not the full buffet that my mom put out that night, she continued to plunk down dishes after I took this picture.  Besides the rice and beer, and here are a few of my other favorites:

Jangjorim.  This is cooked, shredded beef marinated in soy sauce, rice vinegar, and...other things I don't know. It is salty, tangy, savory, and absolutely one of my most favorite banchan EVER.

Radish kimchi.  I love traditional cabbage kimchi as well, but if I had to choose, I would pick radish kimchi for my deserted island.

These are fresh sesame leaves and a green called soot-ghat from my parents' garden.  We dip it in a mixture of miso paste and red pepper paste. Deewish.

This is also a heavy favorite of mine--gaetnip. It's sesame leaves marinated in soy sauce, red pepper and garlic. One of these wrapped around some nice, fluffy rice is heaven to me.

This is a slightly astringent, bitter green sauteed with garlic, soy sauce, sesame oil and stuff. No I don't know the name. I didn't say this post was supposed to be educational.

Myung-ryang-jut.  This is preserved salted pollack roe. I didn't take a close-up picture so I found this on the webz. I don't even know what a pollack is, except that it's a fish. A little pinch of this with rice is a bit of salty, briny, savory heaven.  I know it sounds kind of unusual and looks odd, but I love it and is an absolute favorite among Koreans.  This isn't the kind of fish egg caviar that you find in sushi restaurants--the eggs are much smaller.

What are your comfort foods?


  1. Nothing beats home cooking. I miss home cooking now. Thanks.

  2. My comfort food is Korean food as well. Please ask your parents to adopt me. I am a self sustaining adult, I won't be too much trouble. Promise.

  3. Ackkk this just made me SOOOO hungry for my mom's homecooked meals. Needless to say, my comfort food is Korean food — more specifically, my mom's awesome Korean meals.

  4. *sigh* my comfort food also happens to be mom's -- her beef short ribs. coincidently is also the pugs' fave food, as well.

  5. I've never heard of ANY of these, invite me over to taste?

  6. I'm a big fan of all of the above, except the fish roe. My mom loved the staff and it was great with rice. Your post is making me feel homesick, sigh!

  7. I love small dishes! These all look so drooling.

  8. That looks so yummy!! My comfort food is always mexican probably because I grew up right near mexico and it's what takes me back. :)

  9. If your parents EVER want or need a dinner guest, you just let me know.:) I am dying to have homemade Korean food.

  10. alice, geekinheels, sashacleo and darwin: home cooking is certainly the best, isn't it?

    cathy, jessica and terri: my parents will be pleased at their newfound popularity.

    lobster: i know, small dishes make a meal so fun!

    kelsey: oh yum! i think i've been deprived of good, authentic mexican food--you'll have to show me the ropes on day!

  11. this looks really tasty, even though i haven't tried all the things you've posted! the big green jagged leaf looks like the one Sak and I will eat with rice and ikura/salmon roe, i wonder if it is the same?

    my comfort food, hands down is jook/congee. Throw in some ginger, green onion, a turkey leg and we're good to go.

  12. So much is similar to Japanese food, too! I love the pollack roe with rice, I love kim chee, mmmm!! I went to a Korean spicy tofu place in the Bay Area a few times, and they had all this banchan that came out, which was awesome!

    Penga, are you talking about shiso leaves? That's the first thing I thought about when I saw them.