Thursday, March 29, 2012
korean mungbean jelly (muk)
Of all the restaurants in San Francisco, it's funny that the only one where we are considered regulars is a Korean restaurant. Maybe its the underground parking - a lifesaver in the rainy season when dining out with kids - or maybe its the deliciousness of the food, the sweetness of the staff and owner, the cleanliness and child-friendliness of the establishment. But honestly, I think its their muk. Muk is a savory jello-like dish commonly served in Korean restaurants among the little appetizers they pass out called panchan. Whenever my kids hear the words mungbean jelly, they cheer.
There's a korean grocery near the restaurant, and feeling inspired one day, I asked the owner if he stocked the ingredients necessary to make muk. He handed me a package of whitish powder, and painstakingly translated the korean instructions for me. My new favorite grocer!
Muk (Korean mungbean jelly)
1/4 cup mungbean starch powder (available at korean grocery stores)
1/2 tsp sea salt
1/3 cup soy sauce
1 tsp minced garlic (about 2 cloves)
1/4 cup minced scallions
1 tsp roasted sesame seeds
1 tbsp sesame oil
2 tbsp granulated sugar
1 tsp red chili flakes (optional - don't add this for the kids' portion!)
In a heavy pot, place 1/4 cup mungbean starch powder and add 1 3/4 cups water. Using a wooden spoon, stir until well mixed. Bring to boil on medium heat, stirring every so often to keep from sticking to bottom of pan. Add salt after mixture reaches boil, turn heat on low, and cook for another 3-4 minutes, stirring. You'll know its ready when mixture looks bubbly and translucent. Pour into shallow glass containers and cool, chilling for at least 2 hours. When firm, cut into cubes and serve with sauce.
For sauce: mix all ingredients together, stirring to dissolve the sugar. Spoon over muk and serve chilled or at room temperature.