Ever heard of Chuseok or Hangawi? They just happens to be two names for the Korean harvest festival celebrated by Koreans around the world. We love a good fest so come on in and get the Bi Bim in your Bi Bim Bap, the Song in your Songpyeon and check out if Lil Kim actually likes Kimche.
Getting technical it falls on the 15th day of the 8th month of the lunar calendar and is held at the time of the Autumn equinox. Koreans visit their families, wear traditional costumes and share lots of delicious food and for the adults that includes rice wine.
Usually this celebration is exclusively experienced by Koreans, however this year on Sunday 13th September, the V&A will create a day long free event for the whole family. You’ll have the opportunity to drop in and celebrate. There will be traditional music, games, storytelling and kite making and the chance to try on Korean costume. Fancy a pop culture moment? Why not take part in a K-Pop dance workshop at the museum? Or you can transport yourself into the palaces and gardens of Korea which I had the pleasure of visiting last year. The V&A will be welcoming families visiting the event to wear traditional Korean costume. If you haven’t seen them before they are glorious.
If you feel like making a real day of it you should try your hand at the terrifically named Bi Bim Bap a traditional dish that is easy to make and will become one of your standards.
Bi Bim Bap
1 tablespoon yellow miso paste
2 tablespoons soy sauce
1 tablespoon chili paste (sambal oelek is best, use less if you don’t like it very spicy), plus more for drizzling
1 tablespoon rice wine vinegar
1 teaspoon white sugar
1 1/2 cups cooked brown or white rice
2 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 cup julienned cucumber
1/2 cup bean sprouts
1/2 cup julienned carrot
1 tablespoon coconut oil
2 sheets nori, thinly sliced
1/2 cup spinach
1/4 cup kimchee
1 egg (optional)
(these are american cup measures)
Make sure that whatever dish you service in is thoroughly heated up.
Cook the brown or white rice and add garlic
In a separate bowl combine the bean sprouts, carrot, cucumber and add miso, soy sauce, chili paste to taste, vinegar and sugar.
Put the pan on a medium heat and heat it up until it becomes very hot, be mindful of the pan and protect your hands. Aid coconut oil (keep a careful eye on it as you do not want the oil to smoke.
Add the marinated veg, the rice, nori and spinach.
Crack an egg and place it on top of the mixture.
Drizzle chili oil to taste if you are going to use it.
Stir everything together until all combined and the egg is completely cooked.
Serve and enjoy whilst it is hot.
KIMCHI (and yes it is loved by Lil Kim)
Given that there are 187 varieties of Kimchi and that it’s base flavour is femented vegetables we’ve decided not to share a recipe! Check some of them out on the internet but bear in mind that for most people their dear old mum’s version is the best!
And here’s a suggestion from our lovely Korean graphic designer Insun, Songpyeon, she advises getting the family together for a natter in the kitchen whilst you make these delish rice cakes made from kneading finely ground rice powder with hot water and stuffing the dough with lots of yummy fillings such as chestnut, beans or sesame. Shaped like half-moons, they are steamed. The challenge may be getting the ingredients here in the UK outside of where the Korean community live, however they sound so fab I couldn’t resist sharing – lets face it how often do we suggest finding Mugwort Powder! There are elements to be prepared the day in advance so read through carefully before getting stuck in. Raid the internet for youtube videos in preparation. We know the Riverside Cares gang are a creative bunch so have fun and share your photos with us.
500g non-glutinous rice powder
5g salt, 200~210g water
Food Colouring for the Cakes
2.5g mugwort powder
7g of gardenia infused water (made from 2g of korean food store purchased edible gardenia soaked in 25g water (don’t pick from your garden)
9g strawberry powder liquid (made from korean 1g strawberry powder infused in 8g of water)
1g cinnamon powder
50g fresh green bean, 1g salt
30g sesame seeds gently fried
30g geopi-pat (dark blue, thin skin sweet bean)
0.6g cinnamon powder
300g pine needles,
2kg steaming water
13g sesame oil
- 1. Halve the gardenia, soak in water for 30 min. to make gardenia soaked water. Mix strawberry powder with water to make strawberry powder liquid.
2. Sprinkle salt on the rice powder and sieve. Divide it into 5 parts. Mix each part of rice powder with each coloring stuff well and sieve.
- 3. Sprinkle salt on the fresh green bean. Grind half of the fried sesame seeds, mix with honey, sugar and salt together
- 4. Halve the gardenia, soak in water for 30 min. to make gardenia infused water. Mix strawberry powder with water
- 5. Wash the geopi-pat and soak them in 7 times their volume of water for 8 hours, skin by rubbing, rinse in water, drain water on a strainer for 10 min. (60g).
- 6. Rinse Korean food shop purchased pine needles (not the variety from your garden which may not be edible) in water and drain water on a strainer.
- 7. Strongly knead each colored rice powder with hot water quite for a long time.
- 8.Pour water into the steaming pot and heat it up for 9 min. on high heat. When it gives off steam, layer damp cotton cloths on the bottom of the pot. Put the geopi-pat in the pot, steam it for 25 min. Pound the geopi-pat with salt and sieve (55g), then mix with honey, salt and cinnamon powder thoroughly
- 9.Pull off around 15~16g of rice powder dough, roll it into a small ball and make a dent in the center. Put the filling stuffs in it, close up the balls edges and make it into a half-moon shape (20g after stuffing).
- Take out the steamed rice cake, quickly rinse in cold water, remove the pine needles, drain water and coat with sesame oil.
- steaming 34 minutes
- dough shaping 30 mins
Fancy escaping to Seoul? It is a vibrant, modern, fashionable city which also has pockets of traditional korean life. The palace is in the centre of the city and is a beautiful place for families to visit. Very close by is the national children’s museum which is an interactive educational space.
Secret Palace Garden
Featured image with thanks to Dol Bok