Thursday, January 19, 2012

My mum's Bibimbap, mixed rice with mixed memories


Five types of Namul unified in a bowl - each one with a different story. From top to bottom:
  • San-Namul (wild greens) picked in the Taebaek Mountains, defrosted and sauteed
  • Kkaenip (Perilla leaves) picked on a private island in the South Sea (there are so many little islands in that sea, that some people own one) dried, sauteed and seasoned
  • Gosari (Fern shoots) from the local market, dried, sauteed and seasoned
  • Pimaja or Ajuggari (Castoir oil plant), from farming relatives in the Jeollado province, dried, sauteed and seasoned
  • Siggeumchi (Spinache) from the local market, steamed and seasoned

In my family Namul is not made for the purpose of
Bibimbap. Bibimbap is rather an accidental bowl of rice mixed with anything that happens to be in the fridge, so it's kind of a leftovers' dish for us but not less pleasurable :)

When I visited my parents during holiday season there were lots of different Namul produce in the pantry and I adored each single type that made it onto the plate, every sort has a unique aroma and texture.

Partly though, that was connected with a sad memory: after the Fukushima tragedy when its impacts on the neighbor regions couldn't be foreseen and the people felt insecure in general, my mother was so concerned about the rains that during that spring she collected tons of dried vegetables for the upcoming time.

Officially the harmful clouds were said to have moved west and the rains to have hit the ocean, so after a while people in Korea (1-2 flight hours distance from the Japanese main island) went back to normal (of course nothing can't be normal after such a calamity but that's how one lives with it, right?).

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