Saturday, February 07, 2009

Foreign Food

I used to get so annoyed with those Jokers on Survivor. They were out, what, thirty nine days on their little island or desert and it would only be a couple days in before they started to fantasize about their favourite foods from back in civilization. Granted, they were pretty much starving on a diet of rice, lentils, bugs and grass or whatever. But, still.

I understand them now. Sometimes a craving will not be satiated, even if you manage to find and consume that thing it is you're jonesing for. There are days I think I might justify killing someone if it meant I could get me some cottage cheese and English muffins. I have no idea why these two things are what I miss most from the giant selection that could be found in a Western grocery store, but crave them I do.

This past week I was inspired to create a meal that I don't really miss at all. I haven't had perogies in probably twenty years and I had, in fact, pretty much forgotten they existed. I got to thinking about them, though, while I was chatting with a friend in Warsaw on Facebook. She likes her perogies filled with fruit and dusted with sugar. I'm not Polish, but still - that sounds blasphemous to me. So I searched for a recipe that would recreate the perogies of my youth served hot and unassuming at little hole-in-the-wall diners in Toronto's Polish-town. This is one of those foods that you can make and enjoy if you're living in Korea because it doesn't require an oven - which most people here don't have.

First, you gots to make the dough. I used a combination of flour, warm water, a tablespoon of oil and teaspoons of salt and baking powder. Simple enough. Don't over-knead. You then let the ball of dough rest in a warm place for half an hour. I then covered it with saran wrap and shoved it in the fridge. My intended half an hour or so nap extended to a five hour sleep and three o'clock in the morning is far too late to make dinner.

The next night I napped for five and a half hours. D'oh!

And, the following night I was dragged to a "hwe-shick" (work party) to welcome the new teacher who officially started on Friday. Bye-bye Amy teacher. And for the record, soju is evil. Pure evil delivered up to restaurants through pipes leading directly from hell. Just so you know.

So Thursday night I finally got to perogie making. You gots to roll in the dough. Ummmm. No. Roll out the dough. I don't own a rolling pin, so a bottle of gin was my flattening tool. I should have used a bottle of vodka for authenticity sake, but I don't have one of those. I don't even have a spacious flat surface, so I divided the dough and rolled it flat on my cutting board.

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I've gotten ahead of myself.
Before even making the dough, I cooked up a batch of faux ricotta. I've posted about this before and it's very easy to make. Yummy, too!

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Back to the dough, though.
I rhyme.
I used my Korea coffee mug to cut circles.

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And then I spooned on some filling.

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This was a mixture of mashed potatoes, mock ricotta, crumbled "McLelland seriously strong extra-mature cheddar" (bought at 13$ for 200g at HomePlus, yikes) and an egg yolk. Yum!

I used a fork to seal the edges.

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And then dropped these puppies into a large pot of boiling water. They're finished cooking when they start to float.

Meanwhile I fried up some onions and bacon. Really, the bacon is just glorified ham here, but whatever. We must make do. Once the perogies were floating, I dumped them into a strainer, sang them some Jimi Hendrix and threw them in the onion/faux bacon pan.

And this was dinner.

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It wasn't an awesome success. The dough should have been thinner. I was hampered by it's refrigerated state and my stupid gin rolling pin. Still, these tasted like perogies, even though the "bacon" and onion made me flash on liver, which grossed me out. These are totally do-able and I recommend giving them a try if you're in Korea and in need of a culinary mix-up. If you venture to make perogies (or pierogi - however you want to spell it) let me know how yours turn out!

3 comments:

Sarah said...

I had the same craving about a month ago. Instead of making my own dough, I used mandu wrappers/skins. You can get packets of them in the freezer section of most stores and marts here. They're pre-cut into perfect little thin-dough rounds. Anyways, it worked great for us.

Jason said...

Awesome post! I love the pics and your choice of substitute cooking tools, lol.

J

Jelly said...

Sarah - that's a good idea!
Thanks, Jason!