Cycle 12 – Cycle 221
14 (Sat) August 2021
-Changgok, Sujeong, Seongnam, Gyeonggi, Republic of Korea-
with the Family
Korean-Swedish Culinary Exchange (17) (see also KSCX)
GK and I had agreed on stew as the theme for this latest exchange. He suggested kalops for me. I suggested budae jjigae for him.
Kalops is a Swedish dish. According to the recipe in The Daring Gourmet, it’s “a traditional beef stew that is slowly cooked with vegetables and spices, most notably allspice berries which gives it its distinct flavor. Traditionally it is always served with potatoes and red pickled beets. Delicious and belly-warming, this is the perfect comfort food for a cold winter’s evening.” As confirmed by GK via the Svenska Akademins Ordbok (the Swedish equivalent for Oxford English Dictionary), the name of the dish derives from the English word “collop,” which refers to a slice of meat (often bacon).
Until doing the research for kalops, I had never heard of a collop. “Give me 4 collops of bacon, please.”
G7 (The Seventh Generation), a cheap brand of wine by Chilean producer Vivino, now offers varietals in quarter/pony/piccolo bottles (187 ml) at just 3,000 won each (the full bottle sells for 8,000 won). Very convenient for recipes that call for small amounts. The screw cap allows for easy refrigeration of any remainder for future applications. The wine itself isn’t that great, actually not too bad, good enough for dishes in which wine isn’t a critical ingredient.
I was happy to find allspice available on-line, bottled locally.
The dish didn’t start out so well. Because the meat had been dredged in flour, it browned quite nicely but eventually made the soup way too thick and clumpy. Furthermore, everything was very bland, vaguely beefy, no trace of wine (the recipe called only for a quarter cup), and a wisp of allspice – interesting, though, that the subtlety of the allspice did come through.
I augmented the recipe by adding milk and white pepper, which turned the soup into a creamy gravy, and a dash of beef bouillon to up the flavor. On a last-minute whim, so as not to waste the gravy, I tossed in macaroni left over from the stuvade makaroner a few exchanges back.
As usual, having never tried an authentic rendition of the dish, I have no frame of reference to judge my effort. The addition of milk certainly pushed it beyond the bounds of a traditional kalops, but I hope that it remained Swedish enough.
[The comments below are GK’s own words, with minor typographical edits from me.]
I made the budae jjigae yesterday and shared it with a friend.
Perilla leaves, sliced onions, kimchi, and a beef stock cube, as well as a sauce made out of soy sauce, gochuchang, gochugaru, garlic, and black pepper, were added.
As per your suggestion, I used falukorv, which I have to say was a good idea. The blandness of the falukorv paired well with the spiciness of the rest of the dish. I used pressad skinka (also known as picnicbog) as an equivalent of SPAM (which as far as I know is not sold in Sweden). As you can see from the photo it looks more or less identical. I also added Bullens pilsnerskorv, a canned sausage that’s been sold (recipe unchanged) since the 1950s. I thought it would be fitting with an ingredient with more or less the same length of history as the overall dish.
After cooking the stew a little bit, I added instant noodles and a slice of “American yellow cheese” (as it’s called in the recipe). To be honest, I don’t really get what the cheese adds to the dish. In any case, one single slice in a big stew is not gonna make a difference, neither good nor bad.
The one mistake was adding two packs of noodles instead of just one. We didn’t finish all the noodles, and day old noodles are not that appetizing.
The ratio of broth compared to other ingredients could also have been higher.
In any case, both me and my friend liked the dish, and both agreed that the falukorv paired well with the spiciness.
Next time, I think I’m adding baked beans, too.
A few comments on GK’s dish:
- Given that budae jjigae began as a humble hodgepodge stew of whatever processed meats that could be scrounged from – in the wake of the Korean War, when food was scarce, especially fresh meat (1.265 Budae Jjigae) – localized versions outside of Korea should feel perfectly free to include whatever’s available. I’m sure that Koreans in Sweden use falukorv in their budae jjigae.
- I extend my deepest appreciation for GK’s sense of history in using Bullens pilsnerskorv, first launched in 1953, the year that the Korean War came to a halt. Full circle, the sausage and the stew coming together 71 years later in GK’s kitchen (like falukorv, probably not for the first time, but anyway). Imagine if hallyu, and hansik, got really huge in Sweden, the company could market the sausage for budae jjigae.
- “SPAM (which as far as I know is not sold in Sweden)” – this made me realize that KSCX began under a lie. On our very first exchange, GK had made AHQFGT a generic processed meat product spam, not official Hormel-produced SPAM. He did spell it lowercase “spam,” and Koreans generally use “spam” in reference to any rectangular luncheon meat, but I feel a betrayed nonetheless. Well, I sent him a can of the real stuff in a care package, so finally he can come clean.
- The cheese and the baked beans, like the meats, are also part of the tradition, all American processed crap, sourced from the base commissary, sold on the black market. When I make budae jjigae, I never add them.
As always, I really enjoyed the exchange and learned a lot. Thanks to GK for his participation!
Although I’ve attempted various Swedish meat dishes, they’ve involved small pieces of meat. For my next effort, I will try something bigger, like ribbestek.
(See also GLOBAL FOOD GLOSSARY)