27 (Wed) July 2011
Bajirak Kal Guksu
-Oksu, Seongdong, Seoul, Republic of Korea-
with W and DJ
Bajirak (바지락) is the Manila clam, aka Japanese littleneck clam. Linnaean classification: family Veneridae, genus Venerupis, species V. philippinarum. The bajirak is perhaps the most common clam in Korean cooking. Small yet strong in flavor, they’re typically used to make a stock for soups, stews, and noodle soups, such as the kal guksu. Italian restaurants in Korea also use them for vongole pastas. But because each bajirak has relatively little meat, they’re usually not used for dishes where the clam itself is the main ingredient. Bajirak are fairly cheap, often sold in sealed water-filled pouches containing 200 grams for around 1,200 won.
Tonight’s dish comes close to repeating the very first dish of this cycle (see 2.001 Kal-Guksu with Clams & Kimchi), the only difference being the absence of kimchi this time. Ideally, bajirak kal guksu should be about the pure flavor of the clams in the broth, best when the clams are fresh and plenty, making additional kickers like kimchi unnecessary.
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