How to make Soy sauce in a traditional Korean method

I finally made my soy sauce using a traditional Korean method  yesterday. My mum sent a fermented bean block from Korea and I was eager to make ‘homemade’ soy sauce for the first time. It’s so simple to make as long as you have the right ingredients, such as a well fermented soybean block called ‘Mejoo’ and good salt. I also used some good charcoal, dried chill and dried Korean dates to prevent bad bacteria from growing during the fermentation process of about 40-60 days. It involves two stages of fermenting actions to make good soy sauce in the traditional Korean way. First, you have to make a fermented soy bean block over winter, then you put the fermented block into salt water for around 40-60 days. It depends on weather. Before making the soy sauce, I read many recipes from Korea. However, I can only experiment within British weather conditions in my back garden. I think it will be quite exciting to see the results of my soy sauce in around two months’ time. Please wish me luck and wait for my Korean soy sauce to be born sound and safely in England.

Korean fermented chilli sauce, ‘Gochoojang’

I think that we have three main sauces in Korean culinary history: soy sauce(Ghanjang), soy bean paste sauce(Deonjang) and chilli sauce(Gochoojang). They are all made through fermentation. One of the things on my ‘to-do’ list before I die is that I make these three sauces all by myself. Now at least I have made one of them: Korean fermented chilli sauce, ‘Gochoojang’.

I’ve remembered that my mum made a huge pot of this chilli sauce on one of the sunny days in Spring. It might have been February though because it is supposed to be made around that time of the year in Korea. However, in my memory it was alway done on a sunny day. When my mum was making chilli sauce in a large dining/living room of my house, there was always plenty of sunshine coming through the window. Then I was sitting next to her  to be her  little assistant. My mum said to me, “Bring me more chilli powder.”, “Give me that spoon to me.”,  “Have a taste, what do you think?”, “Is it salty enough?” etc… And sometimes I had a chance to grab a long wooden mixing spoon to mix all the ingredients together.

Before making my first chilli sauce, I called my mum in Korea and asked her a few details about her recipe. She asked me whether I had malted barley which was one of the key ingredients to make ‘Gochoojang’ and she also said to me, “Make sure, you mix all the ingredients well before they get too cold. Or it would get too hard to mix.”

So thanks to my mum, here is my first version of Korean chilli sauce made yesterday and it will be fermented in my patio under sunshine and breeze if weather permitting!

 

 

How to make homemade tofu

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homemade organic tofu

 

 

These days I make my own homemade tofu using my Korean style juicer which uses a heavy pressing screw instead of a blade. It helps my tofu making process a lot easier.

 

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soaking organic soybeans over night-  at least 8 hours                                 Wash the soybeans before soaking in water.

 

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left: before soaking , right: after soaking You have to wait until the beans become 2-3times bigger than dried ones.

 

Before grinding soaked soybeans into a juicer, drain all the water from a soaking bowl. Then add fresh water to grind the soybeans. You may need double the quantity of water to soybeans.

 

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using a juicer: use right hand side of soybean water for making tofu If you don’t have a machine like this, do not worry! You just need to use blender and squeeze out soybean water.

 

 

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Boil the soybean water in a big sauce pan. I start with a strong flame and reduce the heat to medium. You have to keep stirring the bottom of the pan otherwise it might be stuck at the bottom. You will see plenty of foams created on the top of the soybean water. Do not worry. They are good source of ‘saponin’.

 

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When it reaches the boiling point, just turn the heat off. You need to add some sea salt extract. I use 1 tablespoon for about 4litre of boiling soybean water. This photo is a status of the soybean water after adding the sea salt extract.

 

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It is ready to eat! This is called ‘soon-tofu’ meaning is a pure tofu. It is the stage before you press the tofu in a frame. It is very soft and nutty!

 

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Pour tofu mixture into a frame and press it down with a heavy object. Wait for about 10-15minutes.

 

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Here it is, ready to eat my homemade organic tofu!!

Summer has gone

I was quite lazy in the last summer. I didn’t want to do much…

I am just showing you a few photos of my summery memory and now starting to my autumn blog!

Hope to see you soon.

memory of last summer 2015
memory of last summer 2015 : elderflower for making elderflower drink
memory of last summer 2015 : abundant salad leaves from my tiny back garden
memory of last summer 2015 : abundant salad leaves from my tiny back garden
memory of last summer 2015: presents from nature
memory of last summer 2015: presents from nature
memory of last summer 2015: drying mollie leaves under the sun for making 'name' which is a kind of vegetable dish in Korea
memory of last summer 2015: drying moolie leaves under the sun for making ‘namool’ which is a kind of vegetable dish in Korea

Sun dried chillies

I am going to show you my sun dried chillies today.

They have been dried on my garden table for a few days under the hot sun!!

It is very common in Korea to dry chillies under the scorching sun in summer.

I must say that you could make kimchi without red chillies.

In fact, there are lots of variations of kimchi without red chillies.

However, it is quite a main characteristic of kimchi being RED AND HOT with chillies.

After drying these chillies, I am going to crush them into powder for my precious kimchi.

So please pray for more sunshine here in Brighton…

sun dried chillies on my garden table
sun dried chillies on my garden table

Feverfew tea

This morning, I am having a cup of tea made of feverfew leave and tiny flowers.

I planted my feverfew plants last year and I have lovely flowers this year.

The reason I wanted to have this herb was to try to have it for my migraine.

I sometimes suffer from severe migraine…

It is said that feverfew leaves can be effective for preventing migraine which will be great for me!!!

(Warning! it is very bitter if you simply chew it. But I can bear it if it helps my migraine.)

But if you make it into tea, it will be very pleasant.

Lovely, mellow green colour in your tea cup makes you smile, too.

However, whether you might have migraine like me or not, it is very soothing tea for anyone. (except pregnant ladies)

Here is your morning feverfew tea.

Click for more information about feverfew from the migraine trust.

feverdew tea
                          feverdew tea
growing feverfew in my garden
growing feverfew in my garden

buckwheat pillow

Have you ever seen or heard of a buckwheat pillow?

I have my beloved buckwheat pillow for more than 10 years and it is still in good condition!

These days here in Brighton, it has been quite sunny.

“sun bathed” buckwheat hull from my beloved pillow

Thus I have decided to give sun-sterilisation to my buckwheat pillow which is filled with buckwheat hulls.

They are supposed to have cool characteristic in nature so it could help us to have comfortable sleep.

Once I finish making a new pillow case for this, I will show you that!

bean sprouting experiments

my first time ever to try Azuki bean sprouting in an old teapot

growing your own bean sprouts in a teapot
growing your own bean sprouts in a teapot

Have you ever tried to grow your own bean sprouting experiment? If you haven’t, I strongly recommend you to do it.

It’s dead easy!

All you need is an old tea pot and some dried beans such as soya beans, azuki beans, mungbeans etc…

Here, I have a shiny bright yellow teapot for my sprouting ‘farm’. I was lucky to find this in my local charity shop. I just paid £1 for it. A teapot works perfectly for sprouting. When you look after bean sprouts, you need to keep watering them so they do not become thirsty. Another key factor for bean sprouts is ‘no natural light’. Thus the teapot is the perfect facility for sprouting.  All you need to do is

  1. soak the beans in cold water over night
  2. put them in an empty teapot
  3. cover the teapot lid
  4. water them and pour the water out after a couple of minutes each time
  5. make sure water them at least 4 times a day

You can have them whenever you like and how much you like. That is a beauty of growing your own vegetables at home. I call bean sprouts vegetables, too!!

crunchy, crunchy sprouts
crunchy, crunchy sprouts

Tonight, I am having crunchy azuki bean sprouts for my salad. You don’t need to cook them at all. Just take as much as you wish to eat and just rinse them under clean water.

Then, they are ready to eat.

Yummy, crunchy!!

Power of plants

It is not only a reddish pink tulip flower you can admire but also the same colour bulb near the ground. So bend your knees to closer towards the ground to admire the beauty of nature.
It is not only a reddish pink tulip flower you can admire when it in full bloom but also the same colour bulb near the ground you can find accidentally and joyfully. (photo taken in April 2015)
Jasmine flowers: planted out into the ground from a small pot
Jasmine flowers: planted out into the ground from a small pot in the winter of 2013
perpetual spinich picked from my back garden: has grown through the winter
perpetual spinich picked from my back garden: has grown through the winter
perpetual spinach and lettuce grown through the winter in my back garden
perpetual spinach and lettuce grown through the winter in my back garden: planted into my vegetable patch in the late Autumn of 2014

Just picked this morning

greens from my back garden this morning
greens from my back garden this morning

Can you guess how many different types of greens in this bamboo tray?

These are picked from my back garden this morning.

I am going to make them into a quick salad like a cheat version of kimchi called ‘겉저리 got-geri’.

There are 8 different types of greens all together.

They are perpetual spinich, beet leaf, dandelion leaf,

spring onion, summer mooli leaf, chives, purple broccolie, fennel.

Blue sky, mild breeze and handful of greens in your hand…

What can you expect more this morning?

8 different types of greens
8 different types of greens