Category: Korea

Curing Cramps a la Korean

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Curing Cramps a la Korean

I have been watching quite a few Korean dramas lately and I often see something rather strange practised time and again by some of the drama characters.

I am talking about touching their tongue with their index finger and then their nose, they do this a few times.

Currently I am watching Reply 1997, a very good coming of age drama which I can highly recommend.

One of the boys had a girl sleeping soundly with her head on his legs.  Instead of waking her up,he started licking his index finger and then touching the tip of his nose several times.

I google about this strange thing and came up with how to cure a cramp a la Korean.  It figures then that the boy had a cramp from the weight of the girl’s head across his legs.

I will try it if it works the next time I get a leg cramp! 😉

 

Wilted Spinach a la Korean

Wilted Spinach a la Korean

Wilted Spinach, Photo by JMorton

Wilted Spinach a la Korean

I have seen Korean dramas where the obedient daughter in law making the mother in law tastes her wilted spinach called sigeumchi-namul.  I must admit the stringy wilted spinach looked so appetising! And not only that, spinach is a superfood as it contains a multitude of vitamins and minerals.

Below is an easy recipe to follow and enjoy.

Ingredients

  • 500g spinach, cleaned and washed
  • 1-2 garlic cloves, finely minced
  • 1 stalk green onion, chopped
  • 1½ teaspoon soy sauce
  • 1½ teaspoon sesame oil
  • 2 teaspoon sesame seeds, lightly toasted

Directions

  1. Boil 10 cups of water in a large casserole or sauce pan.
  2. Drop in the spinach into the boiling water and blanch quickly for a minute, stirring  continuously using a wooden ladle.
  3. Remove from heat and drain the spinach using a colander, then rinse in cold water.
  4. Squeeze into a ball to remove excess water
  5. Mix the spinach with garlic, green onion, soy sauce, sesame oil, and sesame seeds by hand.  Korean dramas show the lady/ladies of the house covering their hands with transparent plastic gloves.  (gloves are available in most supermarkets in the West)
  6. Transfer into a serving bowl and sprinkle with the roasted spinach.
  7. Serve as a side to rice and meats.
  8. Enjoy.

Egg Rolls Recipe

I have been seeing lots of egg rolls as a side dish in many Korean and Japanese drama.  It looks so good that I thought I should try making some.

It is fairly easy to make and quite quick as well.  Just remember to cook these under very low heat to give you a chance to manoeuvre the egg pancake into a fairly neat roll without burning it.

Egg Rolls Recipe

Ingredients
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 tablespoon milk
  • 1 tablespoon carrot, finely chopped
  • 1 tablespoon onion, finely chopped
  • 1 tablespoon green part of spring onion, finely chopped
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper for seasoning
Instructions
  1. Crack the eggs into a mixing bowl, beat in the milk and season with salt and freshly ground black pepper.  Whisk until combined and no lumps are left, otherwise run into a sieve to remove any remaining lumps.
  2. Add in the carrot, onion and spring onion and stir until combined.
  3. Lightly oil a medium size frying pan or a pancake pan over a low heat.
  4. Pour in half of the egg mixture into the pan, when half-way cooked, slowly and carefully fold the omelette into a roll using a flat spatula and a pair of chopsticks (if available) and push it into the left side of the pan. As a space is created from the omelette roll, pour in half of the remaining egg mixture to it.  When the consistency starts to set, connect it by rolling it to the first batch, thus creating another layer.  Finally pour in the remaining egg mixture; do the same, roll in to make a stack.  Just imagine making a Swiss Roll. 🙂
  5. Transfer to a chopping board and slice into bite size pieces.

Enjoy!

Quick Kimchi Rice Recipe

Quick Kimchi Rice, Photo by JMorton

Quick Kimchi Rice Recipe

My quick kimchi rice was really the quickest most basic recipe ever.  It was just kimchi, freshly boiled hot steaming basmati rice, a bit of olive oil and kimchi juice.  I also added the heated marinade from the peri-peri chicken I was cooking at the same time. 🙂  Mix together to make a delicious rice dish to go with meat  (in this case the peri-peri chicken) or vegetable dish.

Below is the more standard Korean recipe. Enjoy!

Ingredients

  • 2-3 cups boiled rice
  • ¾ cup kimchi, chopped
  • ¼ cup kimchi juice (if are not making your own kimchi 🙂 , you can get the juice from packet or a large jar of kimchi available in any Oriental supermarket.)
  • ¼ cup water
  • 2-3 tablespoons gochujang (hot red pepper paste)
  • 1½ tsp sesame oil
  • 1 stalk spring onion, chopped finely
  • 1 sheet of kim, (also known as gim is a Korean’s edible seaweed much like the Japanese’ nori) roasted and shredded
  • 1 tbsp vegetable oil

Directions

  1. Heat up a large frying pan or a wok.
  2. Add the vegetable oil.
  3. Quickly stir-fry the kimchi; for a minute under high heat.
  4. Stir in the rice, kimchi juice, water, and gochujang.
  5. Continue stirring the ingredients together for 5-7 minutes.
  6. Drizzle the sesame oil and remove from the heat.
  7. Finally sprinkle the chopped spring onion and crumbled roasted gim,
  8. Serve hot!

 

Korean Yellow Pickled Radish

pickled radish, photo by jmortonn

pickled radish, photo by JMorton

Korean Yellow Pickled Radish

Due to excessive, almost obsessive newly acquired habit of watching Korean dramas (Kdramas), Korean way of life as depicted on television has influenced how Peter and I eat our dinner.

Suddenly we are going to Korean restaurant to try Korean cuisine, which thankfully is rather good

Korean pickled radish is daikon radish

Ingredients
  • 1 large daikon (labanos) radish
  • 2 cup white vinegar
  • ¼ cup sugar
  • 11/2 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp turmeric
  • 1 tsp whole black peppercorn
  • 3 bay leaves
  • distilled tall pickling jar
Instructions
  1. Peel the daikon and cut in half lenghtwise; each half cut crosswise in two parts or 3 portions if radish is really long.
  2. Arrange the pieces standing up into the tall pickling jar.
  3. Make the pickling liquid by mixing the vinegar, sugar, salt turmeric, bay leaves and pepper corns together.
  4. Pour the spiced vinegar over the pieces of daikon.  Ensure that they are soaked through with the the pickling marinade.
  5. Cover the jar and leave overnight in the fridge.
  6. Store in fridge for up to 2 weeks.

Delicious as addition to grilled meat, fish and vegetables also as a side to a freshly made ramen soup.

I Have a Lover – Korean Melodrama

I Have a Lover – Korean Melodrama

I love this drama.  There is something about it that pulls me back time and again, so much so that I have watched it several times already.

I told my husband that I love this drama and it is my favourite one.  He did remind me that I said previously that Goblin was my favourite.  Oh yeah.

Well I have a Lover is my second favourite! 🙂

It is a melodrama of marriage, grief and infidelity.

Be prepared to watch it with a lot of hankies as it will tear your heart apart.

The story is about a aesthetically gorgeous couple in their 30s, in the peak of their career, who lost their beloved daughter.  They showed their grief differently.  The wife, Do Hae-gang, played by the stunning actress Kim Hyun Joo, was an ambitious lawyer, who was driven by her grief to focus all her attention to her career.  The husband,Choi Jin-eon, played by the debonair Ji Jin-hee, on the other hand was some sort of a professor in bio-chemistry and was more emotive, sensitive and full of angst.

He felt repelled by his wife’s look of indifference to his grief.  He, of course, found solace with one of his student, Kang Seol-ri, played by Park Han-byul.  He was attracted to her because she reminded him of how his wife was once like.

After Do Hae-gang found out about the affair, even with a broken heart, she did everything she could to get her husband back.  She confronted the young mistress, who cheekily told her that she was not having an illicit love affair with Jin-eon because they are in love.  Love came to her.

The husband was so cruel and was so infatuated with the young mistress that he begged and begged his wife for a divorce.  The wife suffered every kind of humiliation.

Despite emotional blackmail from his wife including trying to commit suicide by jumping from a bridge, Jin-eon knelt down in front of his father, begging him to throw is Hae-gang out and allow a divorce.

The sight of her husband pathetically begging for divorce on his bended knees made Hae-gang was finally realised she was defeated and signed the divorce papers.  If you have not cried over a melodrama, you would on this one.  Jin-eon was so hateful.  By the way, he is obsessed with shoes and shoe laces.  Rather quirky 🙂

In a vast number of Korean dramas, amnesia seems to happen a lot.  This drama is no exception.

Jin-Eon with his young mistress went to America whilst Hae-Gang met an accident and suffered from amnesia and now goes by the name of Dokgo Yong-gi.  She was rescued and cared for by a lawyer.

Four years on, Jin Eon came back from America.  In no time, he met Dokgo/Hae-gang, a more carefree and relax woman who does not recognise him at all.

This is when the fun and romance really begin.  Jin-Eon character had a good and proper redemption.  He stalked Dokgo so lovingly and so dutifully that you forgive his past transgression.  It was very appealing to see how Hae-gang lead Jin-Eon on a merry dance.

His actions were so lovable that this drama goes to your heart and stay there.  It is therefore addicting.

I have watched the drama several times in a month and feels the love of Jin-Eon to Hae-gang.

How can one resist words like:  She was my wife, she is my wife

Another integral part to the drama was the almost subliminal way of playing the sountrack : Years.  You know as soon as it plays, there was a cute or sad moment ahead!  🙂

Love the drama so much.

Highly recommended.

Pajeon (Spring Onion Pancake)

Korean Spring onion Pancake

Korean Spring onion Pancake , photo by JMorton

Pajeon (Spring Onion Pancake)

This recipe is of savoury pancake, which is popular in Korea and Korean dramas 🙂  Savoury pancake is a mainstay of Korean celebration and family gatherings.

Ingredients:

1-2 bunches of spring onions (choose young thin ones), cut in 3-4 inches, each stalk will provide 3 pieces length

1 cup plain or rice flour

1 cup water

1-2 tsp soy bean paste (depending on your tolerance of spiciness/hotness), this can be substituted by a tsp of salt

1 pinch sugar

1 – 2 tbsp cooking oil

Method of preparation:

Using a large mixing bowl, make the pancake batter by putting together the flour, water, soy bean paste (or salt) and sugar.  Mix together until no lumps are visible.

Heat a large frying pan over a medium heat.  Add the oil.

Gently arrange the first batch of spring onions neatly on the hot pan.

Pour  some of the batter over the spring onions, just enough to cover them.

Cook until golden, carefully turn on the other side and cook.

Transfer to a serving dish and continue cooking the other two batches.

Enjoy with spicy dipping sauces!

Yummy

Best Korean Drama Original Soundtracks

still from Moonlight drawn by the Clouds

What makes a KDrama special?  In my opinion the choice of soundtrack is very important.  Heartstrings, a Park Shin Hye  & Jung Yong Hwa drama is memorable to me because of the songs.  Step step by Suran also made Jealousy Incarnate that extra special!

Here are my collection of original (official) soundtrack of Korean dramas that I have watched. Many of them 🙂  so again this list is a work in progress.

Best Korean Drama Original Soundtracks

You’ve Fallen For Me – Jung Yong Hwa, from drama Heartstrings

Because I Miss You – Jung Yong Hwa of CNBlue, from drama Heartstings

Stay With Me – corroboration of Chanyeol & Punch, from drama Goblin

Run to You – Lasse Lindh, from drama Angel Eyes

Step Step – Suran, from drama Jealousy Incarnate

Beautiful Sad – Han Soo Ji, from drama Angel Eyes

Million Roses – Comeback Madonna, from drama I am Legend

Beautiful – Crush, from drama Goblin

Hallucination – Jang Jae In ft NaShow, from dram Kill Me, Heal Me

Hush – Lasse Lindh, from drama Goblin

That Man – Hyun Bin & That Woman – Baek Ji Young, from Secret Garden

Fool – Kim Jong Kook, from The Man Living at our House (aka Sweet Stranger and Me)

Angel Eyes – Han Soo Ji – from Angel Eyes

Thumping – Kim Min Seung, from She Was Pretty

Years – Ryu, from I have a Lover

I Choose to Love You, from The Rascal Son, sung by Seo in-Guk and Park Hye Soo from Introverted Boss but the original was from the Korean singing Superstar, Hyorin

Goblin – Korean Supernatural Drama Review

gong-yoo-goblin

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Grim Reaper on the left, Goblin on the right!

ls1Goblin – Korean Supernatural Drama Review

As soon as I saw that Gong Yoo was doing another tv drama, I begun to look forward to it.

The drama he is currently starring on is called the Goblin (Dokkaebi), also known as Guardian: The Lonely and the Great God, and it started airing on 2 December 2016.

As much as I wanted to see it, I thought I should give it time for episodes to file up for an enjoyable binge watching.

But I just could not help it.  It is Gong Yoo, for goodness’ sake!  I have to see him now.  I still miss him as he turned zombie in Train To Busan (sorry, spoiler to the film).

GOBLIN turns out to be totally AWESOME, DAEBAK!

It has everything; a composite of everything good in Korean dramas.  It started with the historical genre where prior to Gong Yoo’s character turning to the Goblin, he was  unbeatable as a fighter, that he became known as the divine warrior.  The fighting scenes were reminiscent of films by Jet Li and also the legend of King Arthur (the excalibur) and ,of course, the Knights Templar.  Beautifully filmed.

Anyway, he was so good as a fighter that the King, Wang Yeo, instead of rewarding him, became envious and jealous of his popularity, much admired by the people.  The king incidentally was a puppet king, practically created by the machination of his minister or was it a eunuch called Park Joong Won..

The  minister/eunuch played mind games with the king manipulating him that there should only one divine being within the realm and that was only the king.  The immature king was only too happy  to execute Gong Yoo’s character which is actually call Kim Shin. As Kim Shin approached the grand podium where the king was taking audience, the guards where ordered to start executing  the nearest and dearest to Kim Shin, beginning with the king’s wife, who happened to be Kim Shin’s very own sister.   He had no other choice but to submit to his death.  He was stabbed by his own sword, given to him by the king, and ultimately  left to die and eaten by wild animals in a field, with the sword still firmly embedded to his chest.

Now the legend begins.  He will lived as the goblin for years to comes in search of the Goblin Bride who will be the only one to be able to pull the sword out from his body, which will turn to dust and give him eternal peace.

As a goblin, he is the guardian of souls.  He works in tandem with the amnesiac Grim Reaper, who of course harvest souls from the dieing.  Their bromance is one of the sweetest, funniest relationship ever. Just thinking about it makes me smile. 🙂  They were both old souls in young gorgeous bodies.  How they deal with modern technology was hilarious.

Anyway, one of the dieing souls was a woman who was a victim of hit and run.  She prayed with all her heart that her baby in her tummy lives.  As luck would have it, the Goblin heard her.  He did not only allow her to live but her daughter in her tummy as well.

The next scene showed the Grim Reaper looking perplexed as he surveyed the bloody snowed in road but empty of a body.

The baby grew up into a  girl able to see ghosts and spirits.  There were ghosts who continued to tell her that she was meant to be the Goblin Bride.

Korean excels from drama making because they do beautifully well rounded scripts and it seems their budget is unlimited.

Goblin is a 16-parts drama.  The first two already shown are so enticing that I can’t wait for the next episode!

…….

Now episode 13 of the crackingly brilliant drama.  I watched it last night just before bedtime.  It was a big mistake, I am afraid because the episode was the climax of the story.  The Goblin, as foretold, splintered into blazing dust after the sword was pulled out of his chest with the help of the faint Goblin Bride, Eun Tak.  No other choice as the sword is be used to put an end to , Park  Joong Won,  who create mayhem and encourages the evil or what Sigmund Freud would call the ID of human nature.

The Grim Reaper’s back story was full of pathos.  He was of course the ` amnesiac reincarnation of king Wang Yeo, who became a broken man after the death of his queen.  He did love her truly that his guilt ate him up leading to his ‘suicide’.

Now that the Goblin has gone, what can we look forward to in the final episodes 14, 15 & 16?

…………

The brilliant series is over.  If you have not seen it, be preferred with some tissues to wipe away those tears.

All I can say is that there is a happy ending for all.  There is also some spiritual enrichment to be had.

It is rather reassuring to know that everyone will be touched by the deity or almighty at some point.

Moonlight Drawn by Clouds – Daebak

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Moonlight Drawn by Clouds – Daebak

Korean dramas have conquered Asia and are now busy spreading its awesomeness throughout the world, greatly helped by Netflix.

If you have not tried it and wanted to find out about Korean dramas, there is no better one to start with than Moonlight Drawn By Clouds, which is also known as Love in the Moonlight.

It is an epic historical cross-dressing love story, beautifully made with an overload of cuteness and sweetness.  Total kawaii.

The television series was made of 18 episodes.  It was so entertaining and gripping at the same time that it was so addictive.  Two episodes were shown each week, leaving viewers wanting more; sadly it ended this week.

SPOILER ALERT!!!

Moonlight Drawn by Clouds’ popularity is made possible by the right choice of actors portraying each role. Each of the cast did a fantastic job.  It might be historical in nature but it is fresh with a modern twist, which will delight anyone.

Viewers can’t helped but be drawn by the lead actor’s, Park Bo Gum, unbelievable handsomeness and perfect of stature and charisma. Being tall and slender he looks spectacular wearing the colourful hanbok.  My favourite was the purple hanbok which was pleated at the waist. 🙂  I have never seen a handsomer person walking, being stationary and flying on air while sword fighting in a long gown.  Park Bo Gum has the most beautiful smile with his perfectly white even teeth.  His orthodontist must be commended.

I watched the series via Kissasian which post each of the episodes between 7-10pm UK time still in a raw stage (unsubtitled) Because it is so good, I would watch it, not understanding a word said and yet enjoyed it tremendously.  I would often stay up until 2am when the subtitles were ready and applied at 1am. (I have such a sad life LOL)

I did a quick research on Lee Yeong, who the character of Park Bo Gum’s Crown Prince was based. I was rather adamant to continue watching the series because I found out that the real crown prince Lee Yeong died at the very young age of 20.  I did not want to invest emotion and time for a sad ending!

Anyway, Moonlight Drawn By Cloud is about the love story of the Lee Yeong and a eunuch Hong Sam Nong.

Before you become rather uncomfortable with the idea of boy on boy, lol, the eunuch was really a girl, who was pretending to be a boy, a rather beautiful boy.  The prince fell in love with the eunuch after he secretly found out that he was really a she.

The ending was bittersweet as one of the three handsome heroes (the crown prince, the scholar and the bodyguard) died in battle.  It was heartbreaking but I think, it was some sort of closure.

There was a sweet ending for the Crown Prince and Hong Ra On.

The drama was produced by KBS, which is now apparently involved in a bit of a drama themselves.  Some complaints were received about them for allowing Kim Yoo Jung, the actress of the series to be shown binding her bosoms to make herself flat-chested as a boy (it was a fleeting glimpse and not much skin shown) and also having had some kissing scenes with the gorgeous Park Bo Gum when in reality she is only 16 years and 10 months old.  She is still an underage girl.

To watch the complete series, below is a good link:

http://kissasian.com/Drama/Love-in-the-Moonlight