Only about a month and a half ago, I noted on this blog that "fall fell" when suddenly the weather turned from t-shirts and sandals to socks and jackets. Riding that same vein, this week winter crashed like a big ole' jet airliner done run outta fuel! Added to the socks and jackets are scarves and mittens, at least at night. Portable heaters were rolled into the classrooms today, which I like. Last year we did the central heating thing and the kids always gave me grief when I was closing the ceiling vents with a ruler. I can't handle hot air being blown on me, and my spot at the table or in front of the white board is right under the vent. With the portable heaters, I can switch them off when I come into the room, and they'll still retain their heat for most of the class. I think it's more cost effective for the boss, but even more important than that, it makes me happy!
So what goes better than winter than soup, food wise? Maybe stew, but, as they say here, "same same but different!" Tonight I enjoyed my usual Wednesday 'soon doobu jjighae (soft tofu stew) but last night in my little kitchen I made what was intended to be a soup, but turned out to be a stew.
This was made by browning a bit of minced pork with garlic, diced onions, and ginger. I added some white wine, black bean paste, red pepper paste and a bit of oyster sauce before throwing in some pieces of tubular rice cake and mushrooms and a few cups of soup stock. After letting that simmer for awhile, I added some pre soaked 'chap'che' noodles (made from sweet potato I think) and a splash of sesame oil. By the time I was ready to eat it, the noodles had absorbed a lot of the liquid, so it was a lot less soupy than I had intended, but no bother, it was still hot and delicious. I ate it with mool kimchi (pictured) and baechu kimchi (my favourite, the older and stronger the better!) Yummy!
Another treat I've recently found here is a little 'cup noodle' made of thin glass noodles (called harusume in Japan.) I love it, and usually buy a bag full of instant 'tantanmen harusume' from the 7-11 when I'm in Japan. I don't know what flavours they're featuring here, but so far I've found 3 of them, green, red and black. They're quick and hot for my breakfast, and only 120 calories each! Mmmmm mmmm! I thought I would like red the best, as it's spicier, but in this rare instance I prefer the milder tasting black container. Sometimes when I'm feeling saucy I add a bit of peanut butter before I pour in the hot water and it tastes a little more 'tantanmen-ish.' If you can find them in your supermarket near the ramen, give them a try!