i count 4 banchan if you consider the bok choy and rehydrated shiitakes my main dish. kong jang, dotori muk, pickled daikon, and my ever-present kimchi. of course i don't have all the little dishes nor storage containers that my mom has collected over the years so i'll have to make do with one large plate and keeping only a few banchan at a time. what i had on hand today made a very nice lunch.
most of the treats that i bought at the asian markets are being used already. but to my horror, i saw the bok choy was already getting wilty after only a day! WTF. no wonder it was on sale... luckily i like the taste of this vegetable even raw so only a few leaves have been thrown out. i feel so bad wasting food. ever since i was a kid, a common korean saying was always exclaimed at mealtimes. "mahnee mohgoh!" which means "eat a lot!" to this day, whenever we visit either of my grandmothers they get upset when i don't finish everything on my plate. no surprise that i was a fat kid, hehe. not only do i forbid myself to waste food by my upbringing, but also because we have so little fridge space that there's really no excuse.
using yet another one of maanchi's recipes, i made kong jang! these seasoned soy beans are usually among the many small plates laid out at korean dining tables. i always thought it was a time-consuming (like month-long) process to get em all wrinkly and so deeply flavoured. but it turned out to be very quick and easy and, above all, a delectable balance between savoury and sweet. now that i know how to make it myself and adjust the texture of the beans with soaking times, i doubt i'll buy this banchan premade.
as you can see in the first photo, my third attempt at dotori muk has turned out much firmer than the last two tries. the second one wasn't even documented, it turned out so bad. i found that 6.5 cups water to 1 cup acorn starch worked well, the heat must be turned low immediately after coming to a boil, and the container doesn't need to be oiled. impatience got the best of me before but obviously slow and steady wins the race. i'll post my method once i get it down pat. (: