Monday, 31 January 2011

Gamjatang (Korean Pork Bone Soup)

I thought it was almost spring season (well, at least according to the high street shops), but no, winter refuses to budge and it got really cold in London last weekend. What better than a spicy warming bowl of slow-cooked broth to remind me of home? Gamjatang is a Korean spicy pork bone soup with fermented soybean paste, hot pepper flakes and lots of vegetables-- a one-pot meal, though Koreans will still have it with rice.

I adapted the recipe from Maangchi (the cutest cook on Youtube), because I'm guilty of seeking shortcuts (like not removing the chilli pepper and soaking the bones), and because I didn't have some of the ingredients. If you have, please use! Everyone on Maangchi's forums seem to love the flavour that perilla leaves added (like Japanese shiso but "better"), and perilla seeds (I used some sesame seeds because I just thought it would be nice, but it's not a replacement). I don't know if I'm missing out a lot, but even without those ingredients, the soup was so good and it made me feel warm and happy.

Gamjatang (Korean Pork Bone Soup)
serves 2-3
For soup base
1kg of pork (spine) bones
1 large onion, sliced
1" ginger, sliced into pieces
2 tbs soybean paste doenjang (like miso, but a stronger flavour)
1 dried red chilli, seeds removed
3 dried shitake mushrooms
10 cups water
a bit more than 2l of water

For sauce
6 cloves of garlic, minced
2 tbsp of hot pepper flakes
1 tbsp Korean red chilli pepper powder (to replace the hot pepper paste)
3 tbsp Chinese cooking wine (shaoxing/huadiao)
3 tbsp fish sauce
1 tbsp of white sesame paste (to "replace" the 3tbsp of perilla seeds powder)

3 stalks of spring onions
1/4 Napa cabbage, chopped into bite-sized pieces.
1 big handful of beansprouts
3 small potatoes, peeled and halved

To serve
chopped spring onions
white pepper
(pretty black earthenware bowl if you have, which I don't)

1. Blanch the pork bones in boiling water for 10 min, with half the ginger added. Drain and rinse the scum off.
2. Bring the pork bones and all the ingredients for the soup base to the boil in a large pot filled with about 2l water, then let it continue to simmer for 1.5h over medium high heat.
3. Add the sauce and vegetables to the pot and continue to cook for half an hour more.
4. Serve piping hot (รก la soup slurping scenes in Korean dramas) with chopped spring onions and a dash of white pepper.

I love soups, and this one's just rich with flavour (and nutrients). As with all good bone broths, it gels the next day when cooled:

This is fun, I think I should start doing this "gelatin" test for all the bone broths I cook.

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