Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Afterschool for Smarty Pants: Korean cooking, activities and books
Disclosure: I am an Amazon affiliate and this post contains affiliate links.

Cooking Around the World

Every month a group of kid bloggers “travels” to a different country of the world. We cook the food, learn a little about the country, and, perhaps, do an activity or two with our kids. When I found out that we are going to Korea this month, I was excited and intimidated at the same time. See, I love Korean food. One of my best former work friends is Korean, and we went to a Korean restaurant near work almost every week. However, cooking Korean food at home is quite different, since usually one dish combines so many tastes and flavors.

Visiting a Korean Supermarket

Afterschool for Smarty Pants: Korean cooking, activities and books
Since I was so intimidated by cooking Korean at home, I consulted with another Korean friend of mine, and she recommended an excellent site with authentic Korean recipes – Maangchi. I picked a couple of possibilities from there, but they all required special ingredients. That was not really a problem – it gave me a chance to visit a full size Korean supermarket in San Jose and admire rows and rows of foods that I’ve never seen before. I have to go back with Smarty, because I think that visiting an ethnic grocery store is practically the next best thing to actually visiting a country “for real”

Korean Ginger Chicken

Afterschool for Smarty Pants: Korean cooking, activities and books
I have to admit that after all my research into authentic Korean cuisine, I “chickened out” and opted for something that was easy to prepare and that I hoped my family would eat – Korean Ginger Chicken. It had only five ingredients with one “mystery ingredient” – a rice cooking wine called mirin that, as it turns out, I could have bought in our standard supermarket as well. It also didn’t require hours of marinating (this story from Afterschool for Smarty Pants: Korean cooking, activities and booksAdventures in Mommydom made me giggle). Unfortunately, this recipe still required a little bit of marinating, so I made the marinade before picking up Smarty from her Y afterschool program, and she didn’t help me much except stirring chicken as it cooked. The verdict on the recipe – I thought it was too gingerly and not at all like Korean food I love, my husband loved it, and Smarty just “nibbled” on chicken and ate her rice. I still want to make a proper Korean barbecue meat next year when we return to barbecue season.

Hong Kil Dong: The Robin Hood of Korea

The Legend of Hong Kil Dong
I stumbled upon The Legend of Hong Kil Dong by accident looking for a Korean story to go with our Korean dish, and it was a very lucky find. The book is written as a graphic novel – the format that my daughter quite likes, and illustrations are done in traditional Korean style. The book is set in 17th century, and there are great details in the book about Korean clothes, martial arts, and Buddha teachings that older kids would find interesting. In general, I would recommend this book for grades 2+ because of its length and level of detail. Interestingly, Anna Sibley O’Brien, an author and illustrator of this book, grew up in Korea as a daughter of medical missionaries and studied Korean art. I am glad that she shared this fascinating story with English-speaking world.

Country Comparison Activity

Comparing Korea and Norway With Books
I wrote earlier this month about our opportunity to review books from the series If You Were Me… by Carole P. Roman. Smarty had fun comparing Norway and Korea and finding similarities and differences between them. If You Were Me and Lived in South Korea is a great introduction for younger kids to learn about life in modern Korea.


Carrie said...

Oh, it looks delicious and how exciting to get to visit a Korean grocery store (and to have one nearby). Glad you found a good recipe!

Phyllis said...

What a great study. I love visiting specialty markets. I like your book choice and the dish looks yummy.

maryanne @ mama smiles said...

I love ethnic stores! I have never made any Korean food, but your planned BBQ dish sounds good!

Anna said...

Thanks again for another great post to help kids learn about world geography!

Joyful Learner said...

I've never made ginger chicken before nor eaten it and I'm Korean! The bulgogi recipe I sent you is a popular dish. Most Korean recipes use soy sauce, garlic, black pepper, sesame oil, and green onions. Not much to it if you do it once. Did you have trouble finding sesame oil?

Also, there is the popular JumpQ right across from Korean Market? Have you visited? The owner is Korean and she's knowledgeable about all kinds of educational resources.

Ticia said...

I love visiting ethnic food stores too.

I'm glad the meal gave you a laugh. October has just been such a crazy month for us.

Ticia said...

Oh and that Korean Robin Hood looks awesome!

Crystal Mcclean said...

Funnily enough, one of my favourite foods during my time in Japan was Korean. Thank you for linking up with Mom's Library, I'll be featuring you this week at Crystal's Tiny Treasures.

Lisa Boyle said...

It looks really good! Thanks so much for sharing with "Try a New Recipe Tuesday." I hope you will be able to join us again this week. :-)

Valerie GlitteringMuffins said...

Great complete post once again :) Thanks for your participation in this project!

Tina at said...

That book looks so fun! It looks like a really classy graphic novel, and I'm so intrigued by it. I can't wait to get my hands on it and read it. Thanks so much for sharing at Booknificent Thursday! Hope to see you again this week!

lkgmita said...

Ah, I could have sworn I already left a comment on this! In any case, I love reading about your Around the World posts. The dish looks great, although it didn't turn out quite like you wanted, and the book looks wonderful! We tried a graphic novel as well, and my son loved it. Thanks for sharing at the Creative Kids Culture Blog Hop!