I know that the blog posts have been erratic. The main reason is that I've been away. Brother #2 got married in Korea a couple of weeks ago, so Family and I traveled to Seoul to attend the wedding and see lots of family members. It was Son's first time ever leaving the country and Daughters first time back since having moved back to the US. The airplane ride was an experience I don't really want to think about again, but time in the country was wonderful, amazing, and difficult.
It was interesting coming back to Seoul, after 4 years of not having lived here. There were so many changes, so many new buildings and in many ways the city itself had changed dramatically. Getting off the airplane, it almost felt as if I had never left, but once we headed back into the city, it was clear that this was not the city I had left 4 years ago. I found myself being excited by the familiar, the things that I knew from before and almost amazed at the new. How could things change so quickly?
But during our time in Seoul, the biggest change that I noticed wasn't in the place I was, but actually in children. Since we were in Seoul for an extended period of time, Husband and I decided to put Son and Daughters in a local preschool here to see how they would do. The greatest changes it seemed were yet to come. Normally vibrant outgoing Daughter #1 suddenly began withdrawing, becoming very clingy and private . Normally shyer, more reserved Daughter #2 suddenly burst into high gear, high spirits and high speed chattering. Normally friendly, warm, and silly Son suddenly became much whinier, clingier and difficult here. Children, it seemed, were changing.
But they also started speaking more. In Korean. Son began dropping multiple phrases in Korean. Daughters' vocabulary dramatically improved. Although Daughter #1 hasn't said much in Korean, I can see her brain rapidly working as she begins learning vocabulary. Daughter #2 watched Korean TV and began picking up phrases and repeated after the cartoons.
But in the end, the kids wanted to be back at home. Back at their house in California. And back we c\ame. And it is strange, how much things change when being away and how much things actually just stay the same.
This Korean Radish Kimchi Fried Rice (깍두기볶음밥) is one of the dishes that I got to taste this trip to Seoul. It's something that I've never seen or even heard of before, but one restaurant made it, and I made them explain how they did it. I put my own spin on it with extra meat inside the rice and the fried egg on top, but the korean radish within the rice mixture just cannot be beat. Make it spicier by adding more of the kimchi juice and less spicy by rinsing the radish before cooking.
Korean Radish Kimchi Fried Rice (깍두기볶음밥)
½ lb of steak, bulgogi, or your choice of protein, also diced
2 teaspoons finely minced garlic
2 cups radish kimchi, diced, including a about 3 tablespoons of the juice (more if you like it spicier)
4 cups cooked rice
3 tablespoons vegetable oil
2 tablespoons sesame oil
1 tablespoon sesame seed
Scallions to garnish, if desired
Fried egg to top, if desired
Heat a heavy fry pan over medium high heat. Add meat and garlic along with a pinch of salt. Cook until meat is browned on all sides. Add an additional tablespoon of oil. Add radish kimchi (깍두기) along with the kimchi juice. Reduce heat and cover, allowing radish to soften, about 6 minutes. Remove lid, and add 1 tablespoon of sesame oil, rice and begin incorporating rice with radish and beef mixture. Continue cooking, adding more oil if necessary. Finish with sesame seeds and a garnish of scallions of desired. A fried egg on top is also a great finish.