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Make A Fist. Then Read This Card.
So I just learned about something cool today called Kobushi Shindan. Have any of you heard about it? Kobushi Shindan (literally, 'fist analysis' in Japanese) is an ancient samurai personality test. All you need to do to take it is make a fist! So make a fist, any fist, and find out what your personal fist form says about you! Fist #1: Your thumb rests on your index finger. People with this fist shape tend to be natural leaders. You like helping others and, likewise, appreciate being leaned on for support. However, despite a strong exterior, you have the tendency to be a bit insecure. In relationships, you are extremely devoted and expect that same kind of loyalty in return. You put others before yourself, and since you're not necessarily good at words, you put that love into compassionate action. Fist #2: Your thumb rests in the middle of your fist. You're a free-spirit with a wide range of talents and plenty of friends. However, you tend to be afraid to try new things because you fear failure. And despite the fact you have a wide group of friends, the amount of friends you consider close is considerably smaller. In love, that fear of failure makes it hard for you to begin romantic relationships, but because of your kind and sociable nature, you're a pretty attractable potential mate! Fist #3: You tuck your thumb underneath fingers. You're much more introverted than the other two personality types. You're a sensitive and private person, and while you don't have a huge social network, the few friends you do have are extremely close and loyal to you. You hate conflict and tend to internalize your feelings, but your compromising nature makes you very attentive in your romantic relationships, which tends to make them pretty long-term. So which fist did you guys get? Do you think Kobushi Shindan has got you all figured out, or are there some things you disagree with?
How To Make Gyeran Bbang (계란빵), A Popular South Korean Egg Muffin
When I first got into Korean cooking, I had never actually eaten at a Korean restaurant. I didn't actually know what most of the dishes I was making were supposed to taste like, but as I live in a town with no real Korean restaurants, I was curious to find out more about the different foods the region had to offer. The nice thing about Korean food is, for the most part, the recipes are simple and easy to follow. The trickiest part about Korean cooking is being able to get all of the ingredients in place, which might require you to locate a nearby Asian grocery store or find a nice place to buy them online. (If that is your situation, I would recommend ordering from H-Mart's official website, one of the larger Korean grocery chains here in the US.) However, gyeran bbang - which translates to 'egg bread' - is a pretty simple Korean food to make without needing to dig that much for ingredients. In fact, you probably already have most if not all the ingredients in your refrigerator right now! Gyeran bbang is a popular street food that is often sold by vendors in South Korea. It was also made recently popular in the Korean television show "The Return of Superman" when actor Jang Hyunsung made them with his two sons. Gyeran bbang is perfect for any time of day, but is especially delicious when served warm for breakfast or on a cold winter day. An oval muffin pan is traditionally used to make the bread's shape, but a standard muffin pan works just as well. I've even seen gyeran bbang in adorable heart shapes! --------------------------------------------- Gyeran Bbang (Egg Bread) 3/4 cup flour 10 eggs 1/2 salted butter, melted 1/3 cup sugar 1/4 cup milk 3/4 teaspoon baking powder Salt, to taste 1. Preheat the oven to 350F. Whisk two eggs in a mixing bowl until they are slightly foamy. Add the sugar and continue whisking until all of it has dissolved. 2. Sift the flour and baking powder into the egg mixture. Add the melted butter and milk and mix well. Place the batter in a ziplock bag. 3. Brush the inside of the muffin pan with melted butter. Cut a 1/4" hole in one corner of the ziplock bag and squeeze 2 - 3 tablespoons worth of batter into each space. It should cover about the first 1/4". Smooth the batter with a spoon, if needed. 4. Carefully break an egg on top of each muffin. Sprinkle each egg with a generous pinch of salt, then cover each egg with the rest of the contents of the ziplock bag. (Make sure each muffin space is only 3/4 of the way full so that each muffin has room to rise.) 5. Bake the muffins for about 24 - 26 minutes or until golden brown. Turn off the oven, but leave the muffins inside for an additional five minutes to continue cooking the egg yolks. Serve warm.
How To Make Oyakodon (親子丼), Donburi with Chicken and Egg
A 'donburi' - or 'don' for short - in Japanese cuisine is any type of meal that is eaten over a steaming bowl of rice. Among the most internationally popular are katsudon, a rice bowl topped with a fried cutlet and covered in katsu sauce, or gyudon, which is topped with simmered cuts of beef and chopped onion. Perhaps my favorite of all the donburi meals out there, however, is oyakodon, which literally translates to 'parent-and-child' donburi because it uses both the egg and the chicken. (A little gross when you think about it, but whatever. It's delicious.) A warm bowl of oyakodon gives me the same kind of wholesome 'well-being' feeling I would get when I ate a bowl of chicken noodle soup growing up. I blame this either entirely on the chicken and onion itself or the aromatic flavors the donburi is cooked with. In any case, oyakodon is perhaps one of the simplest donburi bowls to make, and I highly suggest you try it out yourself! Pretty much all of the harder to find ingredients (particularly dashi and mirin) should be easy to find in the international section of your local supermarket. ------------------------------------------------------------- Oyakodon, Chicken and Egg Rice Bowl Chicken thigh, skin on (You can use any cut of chicken really, but I prefer using boneless skin-on chicken thigh because of all of its flavor.) 2 eggs 1/2 cup dashi broth (or chicken broth if you have trouble finding dashi near you) 2 teaspoons soy sauce 2 teaspoons honey 2 tablespoon sake (or mirin) a pinch of salt green onions, chopped 1. Place your chicken onto a cold saute pan with some oil, making sure as much meat is making contact with the pan so that cooking will be nice and even. Adjust to medium heat and continue pressing down the meat with a spatula as it cooks to make sure that every bit of the chicken is touching the pan as it goes from cold to hot. It'll make your chicken nice as crispy! 2. As your chicken cooks, mix dashi, soy sauce, honey, and a little bit of salt in a small bowl. In another bowl, throw in two eggs and lightly beat them just enough to break up the yolk. 3. Once the chicken skin is browned, remove from heat and cut the meat into small, bite-size pieces. Don't worry if your chicken isn't cooked thoroughly because it will be put back in the pan later. 4. Drain excess oil in the pan, and put it back on your stove to medium-high with the chicken. Add sake or mirin and cook until the liquid is evaporated. before adding the dashi/soy sauce/honey mixture. Cook until the liquid boils. Add the green onions and egg mixture, and cover until the eggs reach a preferred consistency. 5. Serve over rice, and as an option, garnish with flat-leaf parsley or furikake, a seaweed-based garnish you can find at most Japanese markets. Enjoy!
How To Make Nabeyaki Udon (鍋焼きうどん), Udon Noodle Soup with Shrimp Tempura
Nabeyaki udon is one of the first Japanese dishes I really learned how to make. One of my favorite things about Japanese recipes - especially when compared to other East Asian cuisines - is how a lot of it is not only extremely simple to make, but how savory and flavorful the final result ends up being. Case in point, nabeyaki udon blends ingredients like shrimp, mushroom, and dashi broth to create a flavor so clean and full of 'umami' that it might just replace your sick day bowl of chicken noodle. In this card, I'm going to teach you not only how to make this udon soup but how to make shrimp tempura from scratch for the recipe's integral ingredient. However, I will be honest in saying that a lot of the time, I end up cheating and buying premade shrimp tempura made elsewhere. (Check Trader Joe's. Cough cough.) -------------------------------------------------------------- Nabeyaki Udon (Shrimp Tempura Udon Soup) To Make Tempura Shrimp: 2 large tiger shrimp, shelled and deveined with the tails still attached (If your shrimp are frozen, let them thaw in cold water for about 20 minutes.) Salt Potato starch Frying oil (I use soybean.) 1 3/4 cups of water 2 tablespoons tempura flour 1. In a small bowl, cover the shrimp with a little salt and enough potato starch to coat evenly. Add a little bit of water to the bowl, gently tossing the shrimp to coat them in it. 2. Rinse the shrimp in cold water, and then then dry them well with a paper towel. Make diagonal cuts into the length of the shrimp, then gently straighten the shrimp out with your fingers. 3. In a separate bowl, put cold water in a bowl and mix in the tempura flour until fully combined. 4. Sprinkle the shrimp with a bit of salt and apply a very thin coating of more tempura flour to each. Dip one shrimp into the batter and gently place the shrimp into a frying pan of oil, heated to around 350F. 5. As the shrimp fries, use a pair of cooking chopsticks to reattach stray bits of tempura back to the shrimp. Add the second shrimp, fully frying both. 6. Once the tempura becomes crisp, carefully shake off the excess oil and transfer the shrimp onto a plate or cooling rack. To Prepare Toppings: 6 fresh shiitake mushrooms, stemmed (You can use dried shiitake mushrooms as well, but you must submerge them for at least 30 - 60 minutes in a small bowl of water to prepare them for the recipe.) 1 1/4 cup water 1 1/2 tablespoon sugar 1 tablespoon soy sauce Green onion, chopped diagonally Flat parsley, chopped Kamaboko (steamed fish cake), sliced diagonally 1 egg 1. Preparing Mushrooms: On medium-high heat, place the mushrooms into a small saucepan with the 1 1/4 cups of water. As the water boils, use a spoon to skim the foam. Once boiling, cover the water with a square piece of paper towel, place the lid on, and reduce the heat to low to prevent bubbling over. Cook for 20 minutes before stirring in sugar, gently lifting and reapplying the paper towel to do so. Cook for an additional 7 minutes. Add in soy sauce, and keep the mushrooms on low heat until the water in the saucepan has almost evaporated completely. Then turn off the burner and allow the mushrooms to sit in the saucepan until cool, absorbing the remaining liquid. To Make The Broth: 1 bag of fresh (or frozen) udon noodles 1 1/2 cups water 2/3 teaspoon dashi soup base 1 1/2 tablespoons soy sauce 1 1/2 tablespoons mirin 1. Drop the udon noodles into a medium-sized saucepan of boiling water. After 25-30 seconds, separate the noodles with cooking chopsticks and drain them with a colander. Let them immediately soak in a shallow bowl of ice water, then set them aside in a dry bowl while creating the broth. 2. Add the 1 1/2 cups of water to a small saucepan or ceramic cooking pot, setting the burner to medium-high. Lightly stir in dashi base, soy sauce, and mirin. 3. Drop in the udon noodles. If you are not using a ceramic cooking pot, let the udon noodles cook in the bowl for about a minute before transferring it into a large soup bowl. 4. Add the ingredients to the bowl, keeping in mind that the pride of a bowl of Japanese udon noodles is having a beautiful presentation! Add the slices of kamaboko, the shiitake mushrooms, and chopped green onion. While still freshly hot, crack an egg into the bowl of soup and sprinkle on the flat parsley. Finally, lay the shrimp tempura across the soup. Enjoy!
How to Make Katsu Curry (カツカレー), Japan's Cutlet & Curry Dish (Vegan Option)
Every so often, this is one of those plates I get a serious craving for. I always think that katsu cutlets tend to be a little too dry and that simple curry rice plates are a little bit boring, so when I'm able to order them together, I get really excited. They really balance each other out! Traditionally, katsu curry is made with chicken, beef, or pork, but you can customize this however you would want. For example, I have seen people sub the meat out for thick breaded cuts of eggplant or Portobello mushroom for an equally satisfying vegetarian dish. Katsu Curry (Makes 4 servings) INGREDIENTS: To Make the Katsu (Meat Version) - 4 pork loin chops, chicken breast, or thin steaks (about 1" thick, no bones) Salt & pepper, to taste 1/2 cup flour 1 - 2 eggs 1 cup panko or bread crumbs Oil for deep frying To Make the Katsu (Vegan/Vegetarian Version) - 4 1" thick slices of eggplant, 4 portobello caps, or 4 store-bought seitan-based cutlets (I would recommend trying Gardein's Chick'n Scallopini - thawed - for this dish.) Salt & pepper, to taste 1/2 cup flour 1 - 2 egg replacements (Ener-G Egg Replacer woould be good for this recipe.) 1 cup panko or bread crumbs Oil for frying To Make the Curry - 2 yellow onions 2 carrots 3 potatoes 1 tablespoons oil 3 1/2 cups water 1 box curry sauce mix (approximately 4 ounces) 4 cups of cooked white rice DIRECTIONS: 1) To make the katsu, make small cuts all over your cutlet of choice with tip of knife. Sprinkle salt and pepper on both sides. Coat it with flour, dip in eggs (or egg replacement), then cover with bread crumbs. 2) Heat deep frying oil to 350 F, and deep fry crumb-covered cutlet. (You can check the temperature by dropping a bread crumb. If it comes up to the oil surface right after it's dropped, it's good.) 3) Fry until color turns golden brown and cutlet floats in the oil, about 5-8 minutes, turning once or twice. Set the meat on a cooling rack for a minute. Cut into 5-6 pieces. 4) To make the curry, cut vegetables into bite size pieces. Heat oil and fry onions for 8 minutes. Add carrots and potatoes. Add water to the pot. After it boils, remove from heat and add curry sauce mix. Stir well so the pieces of the mix dissolve. Let it simmer for 10 - 15 minutes (cook longer if you'd like it thicker). If you'd like to add the optional curry powder, stir it in just before serving. 5) Put about a cup of rice on each plate, then place a katsu over the rice. Finally, generously pour curry over it. Serve while still warm.
The True Lives Of First Generation Kids
I've been wanting to write a card about this for a while because I feel like this is a really unique experience that, at the same time, a lot of people can relate to. My mom was born in the Middle East, raised in Mexico, and moved to New York City when she was a young girl. Because of this, she had a really different way of raising us than maybe the 'normal' American parent would, and I don't think I really understood why I felt so weird and different growing up until I could look back at the whole experience and realize - hey, I'm a first generation. My favorite show on television right now is 'Fresh Off The Boat', a loosely biographical comedy based on the life of celebrity restaurateur Eddie Huang and his childhood as a first generation Taiwanese American. The Huangs might be from Taiwan, but I feel like the things they experience and the way that they handle situations are so reminiscent of anyone who comes from a similar family situation. Inspired by that show, and facets of my own life, I figured I'd put together a list of ABSOLUTELY TRUE (AND TRULY HILARIOUS) experiences first-generation kids deal with when growing up. Granted, many of these are my own experiences and might not be true for all first generation kids. However, I hope you all get a laugh! Your grandparents don't speak English - and taught you all the best insults in the language they DO speak. Okay, maybe Teta (aka 'Grandma') didn't want me to know how to call people sloppy, dumb, and fat in Arabic, but she talked so much Middle Eastern smack that those are some of the only words I know. You never get to eat the cafeteria lunch - just whatever was left over from last night's dinner. There's nothing quite like trying to explain to the other kids at the table what falafel is. (Not many 4th graders have come across it before, and don't realize that they'll be devouring them by the dozen when they become the 'trendy' foreign food 15 years later.) You have so many cousins that family photos require the panorama feature. So you've got your first cousins, your second cousins, your third cousins once removed, the cousin who is a cousin of your other cousin (which also makes you cousins, according to your mom), and the cousins who aren't actually cousins but are so close to your family they're treated just the same. Your mom isn't saying you have to marry someone of the same background, but she isn't NOT saying that. Just like she's not telling you that your wedding ceremony has to be in your family's church/mosque/temple/religious center of choice and that you must give her lots of small, chubby, adorable grandbabies. You have to warn your non-ethnic friends about your family before they show up to a party. Take your shoes off, sample the hummus, and I apologize in advance that no one on my mom's side knows how to pronounce the 't' in 'Courtney'. (You guys, my uncles paid for a bellydancer to show up to our Fathers' Day party one year. I cannot make this up.) You have an uncle that pushes alcohol on everyone even though half of your cousins are still in high school. Here's looking at you, Uncle Alfif. (Or as we say in my family - Alcoholic Al.) And your parents aren't really fans of the fact you never tried learning 'the language'. Why do I need to learn how to speak a language I'm only going to be able to use when I'm talking to old people at family functions? I already learned all the good words from my bilingual cousins anyway. Are you a first generation American kid who has their own stories? Let me know in the comments below!