Wed, 16 Sep 2009 20:41:00 +0000
When our family lived together, I would come home late and my family would’ve already eaten dinner. Mom would ask me what I wanted to eat, and I’d tell her, “I don’t know.” She’d go through a list of options, and I’d just shrug at all of them.
Then, Dad — who would be watching some National Geographic special — would yell from the living room, “What about the Young Chang Special No. 1?”
Yes, my dad, Young Chang, named dishes after himself. They all involved putting a mixture of rice, soy sauce and eggs in the microwave. It was a concoction of everything a Korean family always had in the kitchen. It was delicious and disgusting. It was my comfort food.
It made me happy because I knew that, whenever I wanted my family to spend a few minutes for me, they would. Mom, Dad and (sometimes) my brother would stand in the kitchen as we created this jumble.
So I guess all that is to say that I want the Young Chang Special No. 1. Right now.
But I don’t want to hog the recipe. I want to share it with the world.
Luckily, over the years, I learned how to make the dish. It’s not the exact recipe, but a derivation of it.
So here it is. (But don’t tell Dad I told you. It’s his secret dish.)
Recipe: The Young Chang Special No. 1
Sticky Korean Rice
Kimchi, 1/3 cup
Sesame oil, 2 tablespoons
Korean dashida, 1 teaspoon
Soy sauce, to taste
1. Get a bowl and put in three heaping spoons of sticky Korean rice. Heaping spoons refers to the amount of rice that my large brother, Danny, can fit in his mouth at one time.
2. Take the spoon and create a deep divot in the middle of the rice, but do it gingerly like Dad does. Don’t smash the rice. Just push it gently to the side.
3. Get the kimchi — spicy Korean cabbage — and chop it up into quarter inch piece. Ask Mom to do this, because it could be challenging. Then ask her to put the kimchi in the divot. (Scared of kimchi? Skip this step.)
4. Take the sesame oil and pour it over the kimchi (or the plain rice.) But don’t pour too much, or else Mom will yell, “It’s too grease! Too grease!”
5. Take the egg and break it over the mixture. Have me come over and break the yolk for you with my bare hands — and make sure I wash my hands afterward.
6. Get the Korean dashida — otherwise known as beef stock MSG — and sprinkle it over the egg. Ignore Dad when he says this ruins the Young Chang Special No. 1. He’s just being stubborn.
7. Microwave until the egg whites are cooked. It will take approximately 1 minute 13 seconds in the microwave that used to be at 8411 W. 130th St., Overland Park, KS.
8. Season with soy sauce to taste. Actually, ignore the soy sauce. Put in more Korean dashida. Dad will have disowned the dish by now.
9. Mix the ingredients, get a spoon and eat it on the coffee table, next to Dad, who’ll be watching a NatGeo special on igneous rocks.
10. After you’re done, go wash your dishes because, one day, Mom and Dad won’t be there to tell you that the silverware should be put in the dish rack with the handles facing down — and you’ll miss it.