5 years on…and traditional Korean noodles

I realized this week that this marks the 5 year anniversary of this little ol’ food blog of mine.

5 years.

That’s pretty much the longest relationship that I’ve ever had (yeah, my track record with romance isn’t exactly stellar…but that’s for another time!)

When I look back, it’s been a pretty interesting 5 years. When I started this blog back then for a university social media assignment, I had been reading food blogs for a few months and it seemed like the scene was still fresh and new. I could count the number of well known blogs on my fingers, and thought that I would love to start my own! Of course, when we were tasked with starting a blog at uni, I suddenly had opportunity and could legitimately devote time from the rest of my studies to starting this project.

I was so incredibly proud of my efforts back then – I even bought myself a brand new Olympus point and shoot camera to enable me to take pictures (though I knew absolutely nothing about photography), and at the end of the semester, when the project scored top marks, I was so absolutely pleased with myself.

Looking back at my first few posts, I quite literally cringe at how bad they were and how utterly abysmal my photography was. Part of me wants to tear them down, but part of me likes the idea of keeping them up just as an indication of just how far I’ve come from those early days….

Reaching 5 years seems particularly monumental considering that 2 and 1/2 years ago, my (then) web host accidentally destroyed my entire blog whilst upgrading their databases. Everything. Every post, every link, every comment, every picture – it was all lost to a 5gb size bunch of babble. Everything that I had worked on to that moment had disappeared.

It almost destroyed my desire to blog – and even managed to destroy my will to cook for a week (there was a lot of toast and cereal involved…)

However, with a little support from friends and readers, I slowly started to rewrite all my posts and eventually got almost all the recipes back up! And thankfully I’ve been going strong ever since :)

Anyway, in celebration of my blog’s birthday, I thought I’d run through a few POSITIVE memorable moments for this blog of mine!

Firstly, the list of the top 5 most viewed posts:

  1. Our authentic family recipe for Kimchi (so tasty that my Momma gives OTHER Korean ladies tips on how to make it!)
  2. Home-made English muffins (trust me, they’re worth the effort!)
  3. Beautiful Dutch baby pancakes
  4. My mother’s recipe for Korean Spicy Fried Chicken (move over KFC, you ain’t got nothin’ on this!)
  5. My step by step tutorial for making fondant animal heads (perfect for topping a cake or cupcakes!)

Then there’s the list of the top 5 most commented entries:

  1. My peanut butter beef stir fry (and Bessemer giveaway!)
  2. My step by step tutorial for making fondant animal heads
  3. My favourite recipe for simple lemon cupcakes
  4. Beautiful panna cotta and honey jelly
  5. Alice Medrich’s peanut butter & choc torte with strawberry sauce

Over the past five years, if there’s one thing that you’ve asked for, it’s always been for more of our traditional Korean family recipes. For someone who mostly cooks and eats Korean food at home, there is a real lack of family recipes here – something that I’m going to share more of this year!

It was actually a new year’s resolution…but I guess you can tell that hasn’t been going far too well :)

(Does ANYONE ever manage to keep their new year’s resolutions? Seriously? Anyone at all??)

Anyway, in keeping with that (failed) resolution – here is a recipe from my maternal grandmother. This dish is about as old school Korean as you can get; delicate hand-made noodles floating in a lightly fragrant broth and topped with silky spicy poached chicken. And this, served with spicy salted cabbage (or kimchi, if you have it!)


Hand-made noodles in chicken broth

Ingredients for the broth/poaching
1 medium-sized raw chicken – skinned, cleaned and rinsed
1 thumb-size piece of fresh ginger
12 cloves fresh garlic, peeled
1 tbsp black peppercorns
2 whole spring onions, cleaned and sliced in half
5-6L water

Ingredients for the noodles
4 cups plain/all-purpose flour + 2 cup flour for kneading/dusting
2/3 cold water

Ingredients for marinated chicken meat
1 tbsp gochugaru (Korean chilli powder)
4 cloves garlic, crushed
1 tbsp fish sauce
Salt & pepper, to taste
1 spring onion, chopped

Ingredients for spicy salted cabbage
1 medium-sized Chinese cabbage
1/4 cup salt
1/2 cup gochugaru (Korean chilli powder)
2 tbsp fish sauce
6 cloves garlic, crushed
2 tsp toasted sesame oil

1. Place the chicken in a large pot then add the remaining broth ingredients. Fill with water till the chicken is covered, then place the lid on, turn the heat on LOW and simmer for 30-40 minutes, or the the flesh falls easily away from the bones.

2. Remove the chicken to another bowl, strain out the other ingredients and return the stock to the pot and set aside. Allow the chicken to cool, then pull the meat off the carcass in small pieces. Discard the bones and set aside the shredded chicken meat for now.

3. Mix together the 4 cups of flour and water into a sticky dough, then scoop out onto a floured surface. Sprinkle an additional cup of flour over the dough and knead in. If the dough is still sticky, slowly incorporate the final cup of flour till the dough is smooth and no longer sticky or tacky.

4. Cut the dough into quarters. Take one quarter, roll out to about 2mm thick on a floured surface, then rub flour onto both sides and fold up into a ‘roll’ (from one side to the other, with each fold about 5cm wide)

5. Cut the roll into pieces 3-4mm wide, then lightly and gently spread them out onto a tray, making sure that you’re working with enough flour so that the noodles don’t stick to each other.

6. Repeat the process with the remaining balls of dough, till you have a tray full of noodles. Bring a pot of water to the boil, then blanch the noodles in the water for a few seconds (making sure you constantly stir with your chopsticks to prevent the noodles from sticking. Drain the noodles in a colander and set aside for now.

NOTE: This step is not entirely necessary, but I like to follow it because it part cooks the noodles and washes off a lot of the flour that coats them. If this excess flour is still clinging to the noodles when they are added to the stock, it will thicken the soup up a lot and also mute the flavour of it.

7. Separate the cabbage leaves then slice into long strips diagonally. Toss the salt through till evenly distributed, then set aside for 30 minutes or till wilted. Rinse the cabbage strips off under running water, then squeeze out as much water as possible (without crushing the cabbage) and set over a strainer for another 30 minutes.

8. Place the strips into a large bowl and toss through with the remaining ingredients, making sure it’s all thoroughly mixed together.

NOTE: You can skip the salted spicy cabbage and steps 7 & 8 if you like, and just serve the noodles with Kimchi, however traditionally this dish is served without kimchi and with this side dish instead.

9. Mix the shredded chicken meat with the marinade ingredients (gochugaru, garlic, fish sauce, salt & pepper and spring onion) and set aside. Then bring the stock back to the boil and add the noodles. Once the noodles are floating at the surface, they are cooked and the meal is ready to be served!

9. Working quickly, serve the noodles in separate bowls, then top with some of the chicken. Serve with the spicy salted cabbage in small bowls so that each diner is within reach of it, and enjoy!

This recipe is one that (according to my mother), my grandmother would make all the time in the colder months. She would often make incredibly large amounts of this dish, then invite all the neighboring families over to enjoy in the fruits of her labour. To me, this is what taught my mother to appreciate slow cooking and home made food – and is such an integral part of my appreciation of food and family to this day.

So this post is dedicated to my incredible maternal grandmother, who is no longer with us, as well as my amazing mother. Thank you for being such wonderful women who taught me to appreciate the simple pleasures. This blog would not exist without you.

Comments

  1. Happy Blogiversary and to many more!

    That dish is fabulous! I really love the looks of those homemade noodles. Terrific.

    Cheers,

    Rosa

    • Thanks Rosa! I agree, hand-made/home-made noodles are incredible – the great thing about these is how incredibly soft and cloud-like they are! My mother says that’s because her family has always refused to add egg to the dough (which is another way of doing it), but I think it’s just the way we do it :)

  2. 5 years on…and traditional Korean noodles – http://www.insanitytheory.net/kitchenwench/5-years-on-korean-noodles/

  3. Congrats on 5 years. I always look forward to your next post. I love your Korean ones the most, so I’m so excited that this one is Korean!

  4. Happy five years! I lost track of your blog for a while (moved my feeds and lost a bunch of them) but I have you back in RSS now.
    Kalynskitchen recently posted..Chicken- Black Bean- and Cilantro Soup Revisited Recipe

    • Thanks Kalyn! I had the same problem when Bloglines went down, but I spent a few hours the other day setting myself up with a google reader account so I’m back in the world of the (blog) living! :)

  5. Ummm that looks so ultra comforting. I love my noodles and this weather is just screaming for bowls of the stuff. But more importantly, congrats on your milestone and happy birthday to Kitchen Wench! The blogosphere will definitely be a duller place without KW so here’s to 5 more years and beyond xx

    • It’s incredibly comforting – real cold weather food that warms you from the inside out :) And thank you for such a lovely comment! xoxo

  6. Thanks for the great recipe! I can’t wait to try it. I made your soondubu jigae recipe today (I have made it often, it’s delicious!) and I was SO happy to see another one of your Korean recipes!
    I hope that you will keep that excellent resolution of yours and post tons more Korean recipes :)
    Oh congrats on the 5 years! Good job!

    • Thanks Carole! :) I’m so glad that you’ve been enjoying the soondubu jigae recipe, it’s one of my favourites too! And I’ll definitely try – I’m hoping to update the blog at least twice a week! One regular recipe and one Korean family recipe each week…we’ll see how well it goes :)

  7. Can’t believe those F’ers destroyed the blog- but you are all back on track ( I cannot even imagine the pain)!! Love the initial photos- mine still look like that- ha ha. Congratulations- you have worked so hard and have a fabulous blog to show for it!

    • Ahh, that’s life isn’t it? I was heartbroken at the time but I’m back now and I’ve learnt my lesson (namely – make sure to back up your blog regularly!!) :P And thank you for the lovely comment!

  8. Wow, 5 years huh? Kudos for the amount of effort you put into this blog, especially considering the time you you’d lost it all. Not sure if I would have powered on as you have, though I’m glad you did :)

    It’s been ages since I’ve last had this, and I can’t ever remember having it homemade. Must have been awesome being brought up by the women of your family.

    • Thanks Simon, I highly recommend trying it home made – it’s time consuming, but not difficult! :) And yeah, I’m very fortunate to have been raised by such wonderful women!

  9. Congratulations on 5 years! What an achievement – particularly when you rewrote the whole site, incredible dedication!

    PS: I saw your muffin post a while back and planned to make it but never did, I’ll rectify that this weekend!

  10. Saw this on foodgawker… I cant wait to try it! your photos are gorgeous and i love your content!

    thanks for sharing!
    claire recently posted..Brussel Sprouts Strike Again

  11. I read your blog regularly but don’t comment very often. Congratulations on hitting the five-year mark! I love your writing and photography, and I’m excited that you’ll be posting more homestyle Korean recipes. I just had a baby and am hoping to cook more now that I’m home on maternity leave. I’m looking forward to trying some of the Korean recipes you’ve already posted!
    CM recently posted..Maternity leave

    • Thanks for the comment, hon :) Congratulations on the new baby, hopefully you’ll get to enjoy more time in the kitchen while on maternity leave (though with a newborn, hopefully you won’t be too tired ;))

  12. 5 years, long time =P. keep up the good work.

    love your step by step photography =)… who takes the photos??? LOL
    Allan recently posted..Al’s photography 9 – Mornington Peninsula

    • Thanks Alan! In this instance, I was cooking alongside my mother so was able to take photos of her, but usually I do it all myself :)

  13. Congratulations on blogiversary! That’s a great achievement and these noodles look perfect!

  14. Congrats! I can’t imagine what it felt like to lose everything. I would have been so furious and honestly I’m not sure I’d have come back either. But I’m so glad and in awe of you that you did it. You’re the package deal, fabulous photos, recipes, writing, all of it! I’ve actually been a silent follower for a long time before the crash even, so I’m glad we’re finally “meeting” :).
    Xiaolu @ 6 Bittersweets recently posted..Feeling Grateful Outrageous Chocolate Butterscotch Cookies

    • It was incredibly heartbreaking, but I’m so glad that I didn’t give up! I’m glad that we’re finally meeting too – I’ve taken a look at your blog and love what you do! :) Thank you so much for the lovely comment xo

  15. I seriously can’t imagine what it would be like to go through a blog meltdown like that!

    I can imagine what those noodles would taste like about right now….

    yum…

    • I hope it doesn’t happen to anyone else – it really is awful! And the noodles are superb, I just wish I had some leftovers for tonight :)

  16. The recipe sounds delicious, and the photo sequences are so fabulous and helpful too. Happy Blogaversary!
    InTolerantChef recently posted..Bestest Brownies

  17. Happy blogiversary Ellie! I think 5 years is more like 50 in blog years. :-D

    I am SO glad you gradually worked up your blogging mojo again after that horrific deletion a couple of years ago.

    • Thanks Cindy! I think you’re right – 5 years doesn’t seem that long, but it feels incredibly long :) And I’m glad that I managed to come back from it too and can just look back on it… as a learning experience :P

  18. congrats Ellie!!!Your blog is always full of character and so YOU!! Always an inspiration

  19. Congrats on five years! I stumbled upon ur blog recently and I love the way you write – honest and frank :) glad the social media assignment got you started, and yes, i never keep any of my resolutions ever :/
    Janine recently posted..Travel Tuesdays 1 – Pizza Napoletana- from Napoli

  20. I’m so glad I have been around here since the beginning! And I’m also glad you did not give up on blogging after that horrible problem. Here’s to many more anniversaries, sweetie! You certainly make the blog world a lot prettier and fun!
    xx

    • Thank you darling! I’m glad that we’re both still on the scene – you know, I’m still hunting for a good cachaca in order to make myself a caipirinha like you told me about years ago! :)

  21. Congrats on 5 years! So when is video casting coming online?! :D Seriously, that’s the natural progress, isn’t it? Cooking show placed online… you can probably save space/time/bandwidth by creating a Youtube channel/account. Just a thought…
    Peter Jang recently posted..Exposure on Radiation – Pun Intended

    • Thanks Peter! As for video…hahaha!! Probably not anytime soon, it already requires some coordination to take the step by step photos, I think that taking video of the cooking process is a bit beyond my coordination abilities :P

  22. Wow…love that traditional method of making noodles….noodles look delicious….
    Lubna Karim recently posted..Comeback

  23. I never cook my own homemade noodles, so now I havent any excuse. Thank you

    kitchenvoyage has been in Venice, discover all the news about restaurant and hotels
    kitchenvoyage recently posted..Dorsoduro- quietness in Carnival

  24. Happy Blogiversary!!! 5 years wow, that is quite an achievement.

  25. WOW! What a milestone! Congratulations! I remember reading your blog when I was starting out and trying to learn photography and your tutorials really taught me all the basic concepts I need to know so thanks! Here’s to another 5 years of deliciousness to come!

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