Monday, 26 April 2010

From the Ancient Garden

Deprivation fires the culinary imagination:

How about rice with mixed vegetables in a hot pot? Thinly slice carrots and sauté them with sesame oil and salt; blanch bean sprouts and season them with sesame oil, sesame seeds, and salt. Also thinly slice meat and season it with spices and soy sauce and sauté; halved and thinly sliced zucchinis are also sautéed with salt and sesame oil. Put oil in a pan and sauté the minced meat, then add hot pepper paste and water and sugar, and let it bubble away before adding pine nuts. This is the sauce. In a stone pot, put a layer of cooked rice and top it with the cooked vegetables and meat and cracked egg. Heat the stone pot until everything is hot, mix everything together with hot pepper sauce, and dig in. (345-6)

(One of many lovingly rendered food fantasies from Hwang Sok-Yong’s The Ancient Garden, Picador 2010, trans Jay Oh).

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