comfort food

Oh my God, I just discovered Korean wild rice.

Black rice contains iron and minerals and preserves the germinal disks to provide more nutrients than white rice.

Also, black rice has more calcium and vitamins (B1, B2, and niacin) than white rice and has a high content of protein, fat, vitamins B1/B2/E, minerals, phosphorus, iron, calcium, and amino acids.  It is particularly higher in lysine than white rice.

Adding about 10-20% of black rice to white rice will enhance the taste and flavor of your rice.  Black rice is also used to make wine, rice punch, noodles, rice crackers, rice cakes, and Korean-style sushi.  Black rice extracts can be added to various foods as an enhancement.

It’s all black, short grain, and not grassy like American wild rice.  It’s actually a rice instead of a seed.  It’s got a natural malty sweetness to it and very nutty.  I know that Koreans add a handful of this when they want to add a nutty flavor, and it makes the rice turn a light purple color.

But I’m eating it at 100% wild rice right now, and it is sooooo yummy.  I downed some with dinner, and then I realized it would make a great dessert, so I threw a teaspoon of sugar (not even sure it needs it, as it’s naturally a little sweet) into what was left in the rice cooker, added a cup of milk, and voila – the yummiest warm desert ever.  Sooooooo much better than black bean pudding – nutty flavor, better texture.

Looking for a photo of it cooked, I noticed some other person making rice pudding out of it, but they ruined it with cinnamon and cardommon and raisins.   The author couldn’t tell if it tasted any different than white rice and only chose it for its color.  But in this case, the rice itself has so much nice flavor that it’s a shame to cover it up with strong spices.

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I’ve always been a big fan of pickled anything.  My dad used to make pickles that were similar in taste to Claussen refrigerator pickles with cucumbers from our garden.  The brine was the best part:  Very light and none of that burning alum flavor that most jarred dill pickles have.

I’m beginning to wonder if this affinity I have for pickled things is because of coming from Korea, as so many things are brined and fermented here.

One little treat that comes with sitting down at a Korean restaurant for dinner is mul kimchi. (water kimchi)  It’s basically  a small bowl of brine with a few pieces of white kimchi (cabbage and pears) floating in it.  This is mostly a winter appetizer.  Something about the cold brine on a cold day is supposed to be healthy for you, so you won’t find it served in summer for the most part.

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I’ve also learned to like acorn jelly.  It’s this kind of tasteless tan colored jelly that is pressed into blocks similar to tofu – but it’s not quite as firm.

It’s a great vehicle for a little of that awesome sesame oil/red pepper paste/sugar/hot green peppers/green onion/garlic/sesame seed sauce that goes on top.  I like tasteless things that are a vehicle for other flavors.

It’s also a total bitch to pick up with chopsticks.  For everyone – even if you’ve been using chopsticks all your life!

Other kinds of jelly’s (from wikipedia)

5 thoughts on “comfort food

  1. Korean food is comfort food. There’s something primal about kimchi that makes me feel good.

  2. I’ve known Koreans in the past who say they get ill when they are without it, or traveling. So I advise my Korean friends to bring some with them.

    Because it is a pro-biotic, I think there is some credence to this. To be used to that as a digestive aid and then to hit the countries heavy with cheese, bread, meat, potatoes, and milk, is bound to bind and loosen any Korean.

    I get kind of anxious myself now on those days when I don’t have any!

    But I’m really into the aged kimchi. It’s really wonderful with noodles…

  3. That rice sounds great. I will have a look in the local Korean groceries and see if I can find some.

    What is it called in Korean?

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