18 (Thu) February 2021
-Changgok, Sujeong, Seongnam, Gyeonggi, Republic of Korea-
Another Korean-Swedish culinary exchange between Number One Swedish Fan GK and me, wherein he does something Korean, and I do Swedish (see most recently 12.035 Jansson’s Medley).
This time, I made Lingonberry Cheesecake. Recipe from the cookbook Traditional Swedish Cooking by Caroline Hofberg (see generally 12.020 Pasta and Salmon Pudding). It was challenging because (a) I’m not a fan of dessert, thus lacking enthusiasm; (b) I don’t bake much, thus lacking skill; (c) I’d never made cheesecake before, thus lacking experience; and (d) I live in Korea, thus lacking ingredients. However, here’s a little secret, privy only to GMTD Premium Members: every so often, I do enjoy a slice of thick, New York-style cheesecake, especially with strong black coffee, so I was curious to try making one. Also, guilted by GK’s example, I had to push myself a bit.
The recipe calls for crushed graham crackers as the base of the crust, but I was unable to find them at any of the stores where I shop for groceries (I’m 100% certain that I could find them on the internet, but I resist virtual grocery shopping as yet). Reviewing my prior baking posts on GMTD, I was reminded that I had previously dealt with this problem by substituting Sablé cookies (see 3.357 Patty Pumpkin Pie – 9 years later, posting the recipe finally pays off!).
For the topping, the recipe calls for lingonberry or cranberry juice, neither of which is readily available in Korea. The closest substitutes that I could find in our local supermarket were extract of omjia (오미자) (magnolia berry) (a bit sour) and tonic of bokbunja (복분자) (raspberry) (a bit sweet).
I combined them in a small saucepan over low heat to reduce the volume and intensify the flavors, then added gelatin powder to make a thick syrup, which was poured over the finished pie. After a couple hours in the fridge, the syrup turned into a wiggly jelly.
The cheesecake was nearly hit, mostly miss. It had the general texture of a cheesecake, but not as dense. It had the general flavor of a cheesecake, but not as rich. Very little lingonberry flavor, even with jam in the filling and in the topping. Anyway, everyone seemed to enjoy it, even if only for the novelty of a homemade cheesecake.
Part 3 : BULGOGI
Me: Because GK had cooked a full spread, and I wanted to make sure that his efforts were fully appreciated, I am presenting his dishes in 3 parts. Previously, his handmade kimchi and pickled eggplant were featured. For this third installment: bulgogi.
GK: I decided to also try the sunan bulgogi (순안불고기). The recipe was pretty straightforward.
GK: I gathered “so deungsim (소등심)” meant ”beef sirloin” so I bought that. I was a little confused by the “칼집 넣다 (“score the meat”).” Since the meat is so thin, why the need to make a cut in it?
GK: I messed up with the cooking of the meat though. Since it called for using a bbq and it’s the middle of winter, I decided to try out the ”grill” function of my oven (with the meat on a gitter above a pan in the oven). Since I was looking for the outer surface of the meat to become more browned (i.e., look like it been ”grilled”), I cooked it too long, so it came out pretty dry. Maybe I should have given it a short fry in a pan so give it a nice outer surface, followed by low temperature in the oven? I will in any case try it again.
GK: Since I was inspired to cook some more I also made gamja jorim (감자조림), oi namul (오이나물), jeyuk bokkeum (제육볶음), and falukorv kimchi jjigae (김치찌개). The last one you could call some kind of ”fusion” dish, since it calls for the meat in a regular kimchi jjigae to be replaced with the Swedish traditional sausage ”falukorv.” Jeyuk bokkeum is the first Korean dish I ever tried, my favorite dish and the one I have made the most times. Those recipes were from a Swedish language korean cookbook which I’ve had for a long time, since 2011 actually. It was the first Korean cookbook I bought, to help me try to recreate the tastes I had experienced in Korea.
GK: Anyways, it was fun to try out some of the recipes from the North Korean cookbook. Even though they didn’t turn out perfect this time, you learn with every experience. Looking forward to see what you have cooked.
A few comments on GK’s dishes:
The sunan bulgogi is new to me. While essentially the same as other Korean marinated beef dishes with soy sauce, sesame oil, sugar, garlic, and scallions as the base flavors, it is a bit unusual with the addition of vinegar, which would contribute a bit of tang – maybe like Filipino adobo? Also unusual in grilling whole pieces of beef.
Next time I make jumulleok, I might try adding vinegar to the marinade.
On Naver, searching for “sunan bulgogi” returns the same recipe used by GK.
Using falukorv for kimchi jjigae is totally legit, even if it’s a traditional Swedish sausage. I’d bet that Koreans in Sweden use it for kimchi jjigae all the time.
Personally, with beef and pork already represented in this spread, I would’ve made the kimchi jjigae meatless, or maybe with canned tuna.
As always, and I believe that I can speak for both parties, the exchange was informative, inspirational, challenging, fun, and tasty. Whereas GMTD reflects what I feel like eating on every given day, I truly appreciate that one of the readers can exert such a proactive and positive and poetic influence on the content.
For the next exchange, I would like to revisit a dish that I had made previously: kåldolmar (see 3.330 Kåldolmar). Perhaps GK would like to make bibimbab again?
(See also FOODS.)
(See also PLACES.)