Food for the King

I am really glad that someone like David Chang has introduced Korean Cuisine to those who may not have been so familiar with it before. I am 100% sure all of you are familiar with Momufuku Ssam Bar and his other restaurants, and some very common things like Korean bbq, bibimbap, or even jap chae…So I thought it would be too redundant to re-introduce those things, even though I did start off with bibimbap… Two major Korean dishes that most non-Koreans don’t know about…. Shinsunro, or Goo Jul Pan, these are two that fall into the Korean Royal Court Cuisine category. This style of cooking existed during the Joseon dynasty, people of nobility enjoyed these dishes. It’s a miniature version of a precious feast…!

One of the most important things about this dish is the miniature brazier that you’ll use.. In the middle of the pot you have your heat source, the brazier is kind of shaped like a donut, well just in the sense that there is a hole in the middle to heat the surrounding broth and vegetables. Sometimes you’ll see a copper brazier, but the most authentic way to serve this dish is in a genuine silver brazier. Silver was used to serve nobility or the king because it could detect poison, the silver changes color if there is poison inside the dish. There were always people who wanted to conduct assassinations by adding poison into any kind of food or liquid, for nobility using silverware was just a way to combat any nefarious behavior. Now I am not saying I am part of any nobility but as you know most rituals from the past tend to stick.. But as you know silver tends to rust over time. Not only is this dish quite difficult to cook but some time is needed to clean the pot. In most families I think this would just fall into the ritual category. I did this many times growing up…

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Raw egg yolks need to be separated from the whites and cooked slowly on a warm temperature.

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On the liveblog I mentioned that True fashion is born out of a deep struggle. Well I can repeat the same thing for food. True food is also born out of a deep struggle. The origin of this dish started when a scholar/politician who lived at the king’s palace during the Joseon Dynasty was exiled from the court and escaped to live in the mountains. Usually braziers are quite large but the exiled scholar created a smaller version from scratch and cooked some vegetables in the pot with some flavored broth. I personally like the mobility of this dish, very small and light. Other important ingredients, radish, carrot, meatballs, ginkgo beans, shrimp, chives, and cow tripe. Tripe is a common ingredient also used in Italian cuisine (think trippa a la Fiorentina).

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Here you see the raw ingredients then transformed into the cooked version. Difficult to prepare because each one needs to be cut into perfect little rectangles, save for the meatballs and the gingko beans..The chives are actually prepared with a savory pancake batter, and this is then cut into a rectangle.

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You see the way left, how the tripe is prepared. Tripe needs to be grated finely, and then formed into a pancake as well.  After some cooking in the pan it’s also ready to cut into rectangles.

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Blistered Gingko beans..

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Meatballs need to be pan fried.

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See how miniature this pot is ??

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The broth is made by boiling radish, garlic, scallion, pepper, and brisket. The brisket is cooked until fork tender. Then you place these radish and the brisket at the bottom of the pot and the broth is added later after all of the vegetables, seafood and meat are added.

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Another challenge, but well worth it, all of the prepared ingredients need to fan around the brazier perfectly.

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Gingko beans and meatballs are added on top.

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All of the ingredients are cooked by now, but they just need some time to heat together again, so the flavors can combine. What I like most is that each brazier is perfect for individual servings, just for yourself, no sharing!

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Ready to serve, quite possibly one of the most delicious things I’ve ever eaten.. Thanks for reading, more soon.

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