Before receiving my first Ggureomi shipments, I was about equal parts excited and terrified. I thought long and hard about asking the company to try to design foreigner-friendly packages, free of those things we generally have no idea what to do with, like head-size radishes, monstrous cabbages, and pucks of fermented beans. In the end, though, I decided that I was asking for enough favors with all the veg*an-friendly substitution hoopla, and that it would be less of a hassle just to take my chances.
So, what came in the first package? Well, if you don't already know the answer from reading the first Ggureomi post, the answer is: everything I had feared.
I ate all the familiar stuff pretty quickly: the tomatoes went into salads, the mushrooms into stirfries, the tofu was dried out then frozen, the broccoli onto pasta. With the rest, though, I procrastinated until nature's ways forced my hands. I've already documented what I did with the first half of the radish (thin sliced with light spicy dressing); the other half, I sliced thin, boiled in a little water, added some perilla seed powder, and stirred it in, resulting in a kind of rich, nutty vegetable dish. Well worth eating, but not photographing.
The other things were slightly more successful:
1) Vegan Kimchi
This had been on my list for forever, and I'm so happy I finally got around to it. I've still got a long way to go before I'm any good at it, but here's more or less what I did:
Take a cabbage and cut it up into bite-sized pieces. Soak in salt water overnight.
Remove the cabbage and squeeze out the extra water. Mix together with diced ginger and garlic, short strips of green onion, red pepper powder, and a tad of soy sauce, then dump into a jar. Leave it out for another 24 hours or so to start fermenting, then refrigerate. (Actually, I went away for the weekend and left it fermenting for almost three days, so it was pretty sour and almost fizzy by the time I got back.)
Not the best kimchi I've ever had, but actually far better than the stuff that tastes too much like anchovy or shrimp paste. The ginger really adds some nice zest. A few more iterations, and a bit of refinement in terms of seasoning and timing, and I'm sure it'll be on the verge of perfection.
As it is, it's decent enough to eat, but even better when thrown into:
2) Vegan Kimchi pancakes!
Chop up some stringy mushrooms and combine them with kimchi in a mixing bowl. Add either water, or, if you like it sour, some residual kimchi juice from the jar. Mix in plain flour or (Korean) pancake mix until you've achieved more or less the following consistency, then fry on medium high in a pan. Make sure to flip without the aid of a spatula, otherwise it's cheating.
3) Vegan just-slightly-fermented soybean stew.
The most intimidating, and yet the easiest to make. Boil about 1 cup of water for each 100g of bean clump (add more water if you're going to add lots of vegetables). In the water, make a broth by boiling radishes, mushrooms, japanese seaweed, or whatever else. Remove the broth ingredients and add in the vegetables in order of how long they take to cook (potatoes, then garlic, then kimchi, then tiny spicy peppers and big mild ones, then onions, then tofu), and throw in the beans when everything is about five minutes from done. Now you've got some excellent stank-soup. The 200g puck, 3 cups of water, and a cutting board full of vegetables make enough for about 3 servings - long enough for a serious intestinal purge.
Thank you, Ggureomi, for a week of wonderful eats! Things I never would have tried had they not been dropped off right at my door.