14.084 Jeonju-Style Kongnamul Gukbap

Cycle 14 – Item 84

30 (Thu) March 2023

Jeonju-Style Kongnamul Gukbap


by me

at home

-Changgok, Sujeong, Seongnam, Gyeonggi, Republic of Korea-

with the Family

A decade ago, we were invited to a dinner party at YI’s house, where he prepared a visually spectacular form of sukiyaki, which I’d never seen before.  I forgot to ask him about the origin of the dish, and later posted it as “Dragon Sukiyaki” (his surname is Yong = dragon) (see 5.139 Dragon Sukiyaki – my god, I looked so young back then, having just turned 40!).  All these years later, the mystery is finally solved in the meal kit aisle at E-Mart.

Whereas Korean cuisine features many soups, stews, and hotpots, such dishes are easily packaged into meal kits, which simply call for making a stock and tossing various elements into it.
Mille Feuille Beef Hot Pot!

Upon my first encounter with kongnamul gukbap, I was thoroughly unimpressed (see 12.025 Kongnamul Gukbab).  But since then, I’ve had it for lunch on several occasions at various restaurants near the office (see for example 13.104 Kongnamul Gukbab) – for some reason, the dish is popular in the neighborhood, even though it originates in the southern city of Jeonju – and I’m slowly coming to appreciate its simplicity, which I’d initially scoffed as “a huge pile of kongnamul in a clear, nearly flavorless broth.”

Peacock is a line of meal-kits and other food products by E-Mart, featured only twice before on GMTD (see previously 11.223 Jjajang Myeon; 6.166 Budae Jjigae).
Everything else I could handle just as easily from scratch, but I appreciated the shortcut for squid: pre-cleaned, pre-diced, pre-parboiled.

Suran (수란) is a Korean style of egg preparation.  A whole egg is cracked into a bowl, which is placed in a larger steamer, where the egg is steamed for about 5 minutes until the white just begins to set, and the yolk remains soft.  The term means “water (su) egg (ran),” often mistranslated as “poached egg” (French-style poached eggs are also called “suran”) – I suspect that “water” refers to the consistency of the egg, not the method for cooking it.

I’ve never encountered suran outside of this dish, in which it is an essential component.  Diners have the option of eating it as is, sometimes with a sprinkling of seasoned laver, or dumping it into the soup, as I do.

The suran came in their shells, essentially way undercooked soft-boiled eggs, which made peeling extremely difficult, leaving behind about a third of the whites.

Everything else in this meal kit I could’ve made from scratch with just a bit more time and effort, except for the squid.  From scratch, I would need to clean it, cut it, parboil it – a lot of hassle.

Not bad.  Perhaps not substantive enough to constitute a stand-alone dinner meal, but okay as part of a wider spread.

(See also HANSIK)

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