Wednesday, January 20, 2010
4373 Convoy St
San Diego, CA 92111
Chon Ju Jip has been on my list of places I wanted to try ever since I read that their bibimbap was on the Union Tribune's list of 50 Things to Eat Before you Die- San Diego.
On my previous attempt to try it, they were closed. Then last week, I had planned to revisit Do Re Mi, after receiving some great food and fabulous service on our last visit. However, when we got there, we were told that the restaurant was closed for the night due to a large party reservation. Already in the mood for Korean food, I decided to give Chon Ju Jip a try.
The place was completely full when we got there, but after only a few minutes, the owners were able to put some tables together to fit my group.
It was a bit difficult to communicate with the staff. Only one woman spoke English fluently. With the other people, there was a lot of pointing and gesturing. The menu was also hard to understand, as not everything was translated. They do have pictures of some of their food items on the wall though and so we relied partly on the menu and partly on the pictures in making our selection.
We were all served large, cold glasses of the barley tea.
We were given eight different panchan dishes. I thought some of them were quite unique.
The lower left one is like a dried squid, slightly spicy. It's something I haven't tried at the other Korean restaurants we've been to. The squid, the beans, and the potato salad were amongst the favorites of the night. They did refill our dishes after we asked.
So since I hadn't been planning on going to Chon Ju Jip, I wasn't really in the mood for bibimbap. (I also hadn't done my research beforehand, so I was at a loss of what was supposed to be good here.) Luckily, Baby Bro's girlfriend ordered it, so I got a taste and some pictures.
The first thing that is different about Chon Ju Jip's bibimbap is that it is served on a stone plate rather than a stone bowl. They also use a lot of uncooked lettuce. I wasn't very impressed with the bibimbap. It definitely would not be on my list of 50 things to try before leaving San Diego.
Boyfriend and my cousin both ordered the beef with rice.
Again with the raw lettuce! The beef bulgogi tasted fine, but there wasn't enough of it. Boyfriend and my cousin polished off their food quite quickly.
The smaller portion sizes tended to be a trend that night. Usually with all the panchan dishes, I have difficulty finishing my entree. However everyone finished their food that night with no problem, except for Baby Bro.
I ordered the soy bean tofu stew.
I caught the image while it was still boiling, though it doesn't look so great in stillness. The soup was really salty and didn't have enough soy bean flavor. There also wasn't much in it, other than a couple pieces of tofu, some vegetables and a crab claw.
Another person in my group ordered the a rice noodle dish.
There seemed to be a mix of chewy rice cakes and ramen noodles. It was also quite spicy. I'm not sure how the taste was.
Baby Bro ordered the full order of beef bulgogi. He was the only one that had leftovers. He seemed to enjoy it, but then it's pretty hard to ruin beef bulgogi in my opinion.
Little Bro and Little Sis ordered the tofu stew. It came out quite red and spicy, though they weren't asked how spicy they wanted it.
The service was pretty friendly, but I left pretty disappointed. I thought the portions were a bit too small and the food quality was just average.
Tuesday, January 19, 2010
Sweet Rice Balls (tang yuan), which are made with glutinous rice flour, are traditionally eaten to celebrate and welcome the arrival of winter. It's a bit late, but I had a chance to make some this weekend. Tang yuan are one of my favorite foods of all time. They are chewy, and a little bit sweet.
They can be found in red bean soup, rice wine soup, as a topping for shaved ice, or they can be eaten on their own. Usually, I just make the plain white ones. If you buy them frozen in the super market, they usually come in white and pink. At restaurants, you will often see light blue and pink ones.
I thought that I would attempt to make my own and use some colors. I haven't had much experience with food coloring and I've never tried to make colored sweet rice balls. I wanted to make light blue, pink and purple. I try not to use food coloring when I cook, so I was a little concerned about adding food coloring to the sweet rice balls since I would be eaten them after.
My first few attempts were a bit of a disaster as I added too many drops. The food coloring is also a pain to get off your hands. I finally managed to make some pretty pink balls. When I cooked them though, the water was stained pink.
After staining my fingers with food coloring and seeing the pink water, I decided to not try to make the purple and blue balls. Instead, I used some matcha powder to make some green ones.
Usually when I make these rice balls, I don't do measurements. I just pour out some glutinous rice flour and add a little water at a time and mix. You want the dough to be wet and sticky, but not so sticky as to stick to your fingers. You should be able to easily form small balls and put them into bowling water.
This time, I tried to do some measurements for those who have not made them before. For every 1/3 cup of flour, you need about 2 tablespoons and one teaspoon of water.
If you are just eating the sweet rice balls by themselves or putting it on some shaved ice, then you can simply cook them in some sugar water. If you are eating them in red bean soup or in rice wine soup, you can cook them directly in the soup. Though if you are cooking ones with food coloring, I recommend cooking them separately first, so that the dye does not run into the soups.
Sweet rice balls
- Sweet glutinous rice flour
- Food coloring, matcha powder (optional)
1. Mix glutinous rice flour with water. For each 1/3 cup of flour, add about 2 tablespoons and one teaspoon of water. Mix together. The dough should be sticky and wet. You should be able to form balls in your palm easily and have them not stick to your hand. If the dough is too dry, add some more water. If it's too sticky, add some more flour to adjust.
2. If you wish to color your balls, add food coloring after mixing. Very little coloring is needed. Add about one to two drops of red to create a pink color for 2/3 cup of flour. To create matcha sweet rice balls, add approximately 1 tsp of matcha powder for every 2/3 cup of flour.
3. 2/3 cup of flour makes about 10-15 balls, depending on the size you make them. Traditionally, they are fairly small. I usually make mine to be about 1/3 – 1/2 inch in diameter.
4. To cook, boil a pot of water. Add sugar to the water if desired. Usually for a small pot of water, I will add about 1/4 cup of sugar. Put the balls in after the water is boilin. This prevents the balls from sticking to the bottom of the pot. The balls do not need long to cook. Once they float to the top, they are done. Turn off boiling water and remove balls from water.
Tuesday, January 19, 2010
After seeing how beautiful my coconut mochi bunt cake came out, I really wanted to use my Nordic Ware Chrysanthemum Bundt Pan again. I’ve also been wanting to make a dessert using japanese sweet potatoes, after tasting some japanese treats with sweet potato filling.
Japanese sweet potatoes, called satsumaimo, have a purplish skin and a yellow flesh. They are starchier than the American varieties of sweet potatoes and I like the starchier texture.
I went hunting for a sweet potato bundt cake recipe, and chose one I found by Sauce and Sensibility. I followed the recipe as written, except I used japanese sweet potatoes. It’s pretty simple to whip up, though there is the extra step of having to mash the sweet potatoes.
The cake came out tasting great. It tasted very similar to the sweet potato cupcakes as well as the pumpkin cake variations I have made. I do wish that the sweet potato taste was more distinct. I could have probably substituted for pumpkin and not have noticed much of a difference. Also, the fact that the sweet potatoes are a much lighter yellow color did not seem to affect the color of the cake. I think next time I will try making a sweet potato pie with these potatoes to see if I bring out the taste of the japanese sweet potatoes.
Also, for some reason, I didn’t like how this cake looked in my bundt pan as much. It came out fine and slid out easily, but I liked how the coconut bundt looked in the chrysanthemum bundt shape better. If I make this cake again, I will use another bundt shape.
Recipe slightly adapted from recipe found on Sauce and Sensibility
2 cups mashed sweet potatoes (I used japanese sweet potatoes)
2 ¾ cups flour
2 tsp. ground cinnamon
1 ¼ tsp. ground ginger
1 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. baking soda
1/8 tsp salt
1 2/3 cups sugar
1 cup vegetable oil
4 large eggs
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Thoroughly grease a 12 cup Bundt pan. I use a pam spray that has flour already added to it.
2. In a medium bowl combine the flour, baking soda, baking powder,
cinnamon, and salt.
3. In a large mixing bowl combine the sweet potatoes,
oil, and sugar. Beat until smooth. Add eggs and beat until combined. Then add the flour mixture and beat until just blended. Add the vanilla and mix on low speed until blended. Pour the batter into the Bundt pan.
4. Bake for 1 hour and 5 minutes or until a cake tester comes out mostly clean. Cool the cake in the pan, and then invert onto a cake platter.