Journal #1: Jjangmyeon

Sarah Kim

Journal #1: Jjangmyeon

Jjangmyeon is a Korean dish that is also known as Black Bean Sauce Noodles. It is a Chinese Korean fusion dish that is popular in Korea and in the States. Jjangmyeon is a noodle dish with a thick sauce made of chunjang (a black/brown paste with a savory and sweet flavor), pork, and different vegetables like onions and cucumbers. Unlike most popular Korean dishes, it is not spicy. Unfortunately, I cannot handle spice very well. In fact, I rarely eat Kimchi because it is spicy. This is also a dish that is important to me and represents my family and cultural background. Jjangmyeon is a comfort food for me. Whenever I am feeling down, my parents take me to my favorite jjangmyeon restaurant. Surprisingly, eating this dish helps me feel better.

Moreover, I have good memories related to this food. It is Korean tradition to eat jjangmyeon after graduation. I still remember eating jjangmyeon as a family after my elementary, middle school, and high school graduations. They would congratulate my accomplishments and we would have many different and spontaneous conversations about life. This dinner is very special and meaningful to me. The times when I crave this dish, but cannot go to my favorite restaurant, I make the instant noodle version of this dish called, Chapagetti. When I am at Emory, Korean restaurants that serve this dish are a thirty-minute car ride away so during the semester, I see a lot of Chapagetti mukbangs. Mukbangs are very popular today. They are videos people upload on social media and Youtube of them eating specific foods. Some people to an ASMR version, in which I recommend listening to the video with headphones or earphones on. Some people may say that watching people eat makes them hungrier, but for me I feel better.

This dish has a rich history that started in China’s Shandong region. Jjangmyeon originated from zhajiangmian, which means “fried sauce noodles” in Chinese. China sent military men to Korea during the late nineteenth century and helped introduce different recipes. This dish was brought over to Korea during the Joseon Dynasty. However, it became popular after the Korean War.  It was known for being a cheap dish. People of all classes were able to enjoy a small bowl of jajangmyeon after a long day of work or as a family treat. Its low and affordable price along with its savory taste helped make jajangmyeon a popular dish in Korea. Moreover, Koreans who come to the United States and start a jajangmyeon business attract many different Koreans in the area. These restaurants are little hotspots for many Koreans and Korean Americans to find people they can relate with and.a place where many can get in touch with their culture.

Jjangmyeon is also holds an important place of the Korean culture. Korea has a lot of holidays celebrating couples and singles. In the United States, Valentine’s Day, on the fourteenth of February, is a day when both. males. and females get the chance to confess their love to a significant other by giving them chocolates and roses. On the other hand, Korea made specific dates to commemorate these love confessions. Valentine’s Day in Korea is also on the fourteenth of February, but on this day only females give chocolate to the males as confessions. The following month, the 14 of March, is the romantic holiday called White Day. This is when the males give chocolate to the females in response to what they were given on Valentine’s Day.This leads us to the last event Black Day, or the Single Awareness Day, is on April 14th. This is a day to celebrate being single by enjoying jjangmyeon. It is interesting how the South Korean government created this occasion.


Recipe for Jjangmyeon

1 pound fresh jajangmyeon or udon noodles (or substitute a couple packages of instant ramen noodles)
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
6 ounces fatty pork belly, cut into large dice
3 ounces pork shoulder, cut into large dice
1-inch knob of ginger, minced
2 cloves garlic, minced
½ medium carrot, diced
1 large Yukon Gold potato, peeled and cut into small dice
2 medium red onions, diced
½ zucchini, peeled and diced, plus ¼ cup julienned zucchini
½ cup black bean paste (chunjang)
2 tablespoons sugar
Kosher salt to taste
¼ pickled yellow daikon, cut into half-moons (optional)

1. Bring a large pot of water to a boil and add the noodles. Boil the noodles for 8 minutes, until soft (just beyond al dente), reserve 1½ cups of the noodle cooking water, drain and rinse the noodles with cold water to cool to room temperature. Drain well and reserve.

2. While the noodles are boiling, heat the oil on high heat in a wok or large skillet until lightly smoking. Add diced pork belly and shoulder and render for 2 minutes.

3. Add ginger and garlic and saute for 1 minute, being mindful not to let it burn. Add carrots, potatoes, onions and diced zucchini and saute for 6 minutes, until the vegetables are softened.

4. Mix in the black bean paste, sugar, 1 cup of reserved noodle water and salt to taste. Cook for 7 minutes, or until the sauce has thickened and the potatoes are fully cooked. If you need to add more noodle water, do so.

5. Divide noodles into 2 bowls and top with warm sauce. Garnish with julienned zucchini and pickled yellow daikon. As an alternative, the sauce can be served over cooked rice for a dish called jjajangbap.

Adapted from


My favorite food – Journal #1

Ben Kronman

July 5, 2019

Journal 1

To pick a favorite food is nearly impossible for me. The array of foods I enjoy expands far beyond the chicken tenders I called favorite in 3rd grade. The pizza of 5th grade was a big jump, for I enjoyed it with mushrooms on top. Middle school brought on the semi-unusual choice of Caesar salad, but mostly for the parmesan cheese commonly grated on top. In high school I began to come into my own and enjoyed cooking seafood with my mother, the salmon was always a winner. Today I look back on all of those items and try to choose what stands out above the others and I cannot decide. These are all of my favorites, but they were all a different version of me, from a different time. My all-time favorite has to connect each version of me. It came down to only one: my grandmother’s pasta with meat sauce. I think every Italian-American family can agree that their family recipe for pasta sauce is the best. I think it is fair to say that none of those families are wrong. That is because deep rooted family recipes are the best, and not necessarily because of what they taste like. My grandmother’s sauce is the best because it brings my family together. My family is really big and often we do not get to spend a lot of time as one. She makes it for the most special occasions: holidays, birthdays, snow days (Pittsburgh, PA, it gets really cold), and family gatherings. Walking into her house while the sauce is cooking down is walking through the gates of heaven. Pasta with the meat sauce is also my favorite because of the delicate balance between the sweetness in the carrots and tomatoes and the savory aspects of the meat and wine. Also, I tend to eat a lot, so the heftiness of a big plate of pasta with meat sauce is always a welcome meal. A big dish is the ultimate comfort food for me because it feels, smells, and tastes like home. The process of cooking the sauce is beautiful in of itself. The slow cooking of the sauce while adding the ingredients one by one fuses the flavors together and creates a perfect harmony. My grandmother has found perfection in her dish and I aspire to follow in her path.

The closest comparison to my grandmother’s sauce is a traditional Bolognese.  Bolognese is a meat-based tomato sauce that is slowly cooked to perfection. The first mention of a meat-based sauce served with pasta is from a cookbook by Pellegrino Artusi in 1891 called “La scienza in cucina e l’arte di magiare bane” or The Science of Cooking and the Art of Eating well. Artusi spent most of his time in Italy in the Northern city of Bologna and credits the heartiness of the food to the climate and geography of the region. The climate of Northern Italy is more rugged than the South, and Pellegrino as a result made the connection between the ruggedness of the region to the heartiness and ruggedness in the food. This is perfectly reflected in Bolognese because it is a heavy and meaty dish that warms the body and soul. This comes into play in my grandmother’s sauce because the Italian part of my family comes from Northern Italy. To say the dish warms the soul is true because it creates an air of happiness and leaves one stuffed. Traditionally, Bolognese is served with a flat pasta such as the egg and flour-based tagliatelle, and my grandmother follows in this fashion with rigatoni. The perfect finish to the pasta is shredded parmesan on top.

Below is a picture of my grandmother, siblings, cousins and I (the sauce’s biggest fans). Unfortunately, I do not have a picture of us making the sauce. Also included is an image of a generic Bolognese.


Ingredients for a Traditional Bolognese Sauce:


  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
  • 1 ½ pounds 80/20 ground beef
  • ½ pounds ground pork
  • 6 ounces pancetta, chopped finely
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon black pepper
  • 11 ounces large onion, finely chopped
  • 2 celery stalks, finely chopped
  • 6 ounces (1 large) carrot, finely chopped
  • 5 garlic cloves, grated or finely chopped
  • 1 cup white wine, or red if you prefer
  • 3 1/2 cups good quality can tomato puree, 28 ounces
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1 cup beef stock


It is important to remember that the method of cooking is significant and can vary. A traditional Bolognese is cooked slowly at a low temperature.


Sujebi: Hand-Pulled Noodles

As I mentioned on the first day of class, a dish that holds deep sentimental meaning to me is sujebi – a hand-pulled Korean “noodle” dish. This dish not only represents my Korean heritage, but the strong women in my family that I have the pleasure of looking up to. My grandma and mother are the backbone of my family and a large part of the reason why I am here today. As a first-generation immigrant family on both sides, my grandmother and mother were both very courageous to come to the United States to live a better life. My grandmother supported my grandfather and her son (aka my father), and my mother supported herself as a young college student. It was not until later on in her life that my mother would also be supporting my father before settling down to start a family together in a new country they would call home. I love this dish not only because it is delicious, but because it is just as fun to make as it is to eat. A normal activity at my grandmother’s house would be to sit down on the kitchen floor and take turns kneading a large bowl of homemade dough until it was sticky enough to pull apart and put in the boiling pot of broth. There was something magical about the way something so delicious could derive from our hands. Made with lots of love, energy, and a grandmother’s touch, the bite-size hand-pulled noodles were always a delight to eat.

My relationship with my mother is always an interesting story to tell, because of our cultural and language barriers in the way during my upbringing. Because she was my mother whom I lived with every day, unlike my grandmother, our daily lives together involved many arguments over miscommunication and misunderstanding. Our best form of communication ended up being food, which quickly served as a medium that we both used to show our love and affection for each other. Coming from a different country, my mother was not familiar enough with Western food culture to make me steak, chicken, or pasta dishes for dinner after school. My mother knew how much I loved noodles and pasta, so sujebi was the Korean-alternative dish that she knew I would enjoy to eat and could even help her in the kitchen to make. Cooking was the only fail-proof time that did not involve any fighting, and to this day, is a very important activity to me that I now love to do.

Sujebi requires some effort in preparing the dough but uses very minimal ingredients. Therefore, sujebi to me is also the embodiment for enjoying the little things in life. Beyond the precious time I got to spend with my mother not arguing, she did not have to buy expensive ingredients or prepare a lavish meal to make me happy; the meal was affordable for a new family on a tight budget. Especially on days when we could not necessarily afford any protein or immediately go grocery shopping, an easy mixture of flour, water, and salt could be used to make the dough. The best part about this dish is that you can. As a result, sujebi was also the perfect dish for a picky-eater, like myself, because my mother could put in all of my favorite vegetables and still make it taste very good. Sometimes the soup stock would be beef, vegetables, or seafood, depending on the day. It never fails to come together. I quoted noodle earlier in the first paragraph of my introduction for sujebi because the noodle itself is not in the standard form of long strand. Rather, it is a bit-size flat lump of dough that requires no slurping and chewy to eat! I personally relate the consistency of it as al-dente, which is one of the reasons why I like this dish.

Though I am not a fan of using Wikipedia, it was actually very difficult to find a reliable historical that wrote about sujebi. According to the page, sujebi derived in the Gorveo period from 935 to 1392. There are many noodle-variations amongst different Asian cultures, so I was really intrigued to read that this atypical shape of noodle emerged very early in its time. While the hand-pulled noodle shape is specific to sujebi, different geographical locations call sujebi by different names around South and North Korea. In North Korea, the dish – milgaru ddeudeo guk – translates to “wheat flour, hand-torn, soup.” Other name variations for sujebi around South Korea by itself includes ddeudegi or ddedeokguk, ddeoneonjuk or ddiyeonjuk, sujibimiljebi, or milkkarijang guk, dabureong juk or beongeuraegi. ( Personally translating this myself, the name variations all agree that it is a soup-based dish, a type of flour-based noodle that is hand-pulled or torn.

There is no historical fact on this site, but my personal prediction is that the hand-pulled noodle was invented for convenience. If someone could not afford the technology, time, and tools to make long string-like noodles, the next best alternative would be to use our own tools: hands. Wikipedia did say that sujebi first made its appearances in specific celebratory occasions, making it a special dish. However, this luxury did not last long as it quickly became a staple food for many commoners. The ingredients are not costly, and can be made from scraps like myself! The recipe below is my own mother’s, which I have used in the very picture I attached of the dish. However, since I did not have all the vegetables she recommended for the broth, I just used beef, tofu, potatoes, peas, and onions! I am very proud of this as it is the first time I made sujebi by myself without having my grandmother or mother to help me. I was craving a taste of home and feeling quite homesick during my first week in the new apartment after I moved to Atlanta. I even shared with my roommate and her friend and they both seemed enjoyed it as well.

My Mother’s Sujebi Recipe:

Hand-Pulled Noodle Dough:

  • 3 Cups of Flour
  • 2 Teaspoons of Salt
  • 1.25 Cup of Warm Water


  • Pot of Boiling Water
  • 3 Large Dried Anchovy
  • 1 Cup Fresh Cut Green Onion (Sliced)
  • 2 Potatoes (Cubed)
  • 1/2 Cup Zucchini (Sliced)
  • 1 Egg (optional)
  • Cubed Flank Steak (optional)
  • Seafood (optional)

For the dough: Combine the flour, salt, and warm water in a large mixing bowl and stir until it forms a dough-like consistency. Set aside to sit until broth is ready (~10-15 minutes).

For the broth: Bring a pot of water to a boil and add dried anchovies for 5 minutes. Take out anchovies and add the green onions, potatoes, and zucchini to boil for 10 minutes.  While vegetables are cooking, take the dough and pull apart a little piece about 0.5 inch. Use thumbs to press into a flat shape and add into boiling pot. Repeat this step until all of the dough is used. You know it is done cooking when the dough expands and rises to the top (kind of like tortellini!). Optional: add an egg to broth and mix to scramble for extra flavor. Serving size: 2-3 people.

My own sujebi I made from my mother’s recipe with a little tweaks!
A friend eating my sujebi dish I made
A photo of me with my grandmother (left) and mother (right), aka the women I described in my life.

Overall, this dish will and always be so special to me even if I do not eat it at home, because I know the dish must always be handmade. I know it would be handmade because asian markets do not even sell pre-made versions of this dough to use for sujebi. After all, the dish would not be called sujebi without its hand-torn noodle dough bits. Whether I am home, at a restaurant, or by myself in my apartment, I eat this dish with praise and thanks for the person who gave me their time, energy, and care in preparing it for me.

Cydni Journal #1: Gumbo

My favorite dish is Gumbo. Gumbo is a creole soup dish. The soup is made from a flour and oil base know as roux. The roux is then seasoned with the creole trinity that includes, bell pepper, onion, and celery. The roux is then diluted with a stock, usually seafood stock. Finally, a variety of meats are added to the soup. My family usually adds chicken, shrimp, blue crab, ham, and a variety of sausage. Gumbo represents my cultural background because the dish has roots in my hometown, New Orleans, and has both Creole and Cajun influences. My family is Creole, and I grew up making all types of Creole and Cajun dishes with my grandmother as a kid. She taught me how to make jambalaya, crawfish étouffée, stuffed bell peppers, and crawfish bread just to name a few. These dishes are unique because they are influenced by French, Spanish, West African, Native American, and Haitian cultures. Similarly, my family heritage is very diverse and has roots in Haiti, West Africa, France, and Spain. In fact, my mother’s maiden name is “Jeanpierre”, which is a Haitian Creole surname.

I could’ve picked any Creole dish, because I think they are all equally delicious, but gumbo holds a special place in my heart, because preparing it has become a family tradition for me. My family only prepares gumbo for Thanksgiving and Christmas, so I only eat it a couple of times a year. We usually wake up very early to do all of the preparation. My mother, sister, grandmother, aunt, and I each have our own specific roles. I usually peel and devein shrimp. My mom boils fresh shrimp heads to create her homemade seafood stock. My sister cuts up huge amounts of garlic, onion, celery, and bell pepper.  My aunt cuts up different types of sausage and seasons the chicken that goes inside the gumbo, and my grandmother makes sure that everyone is doing their job. After hours of hard work, the dish is finally ready. We all grab our bowls and fill them with a generous serving of rice, and a nice serving of gumbo. I was known for eating all of the shrimp out of the pot. We would pass the bottle of file seasoning around the table and enjoy. The first few bites made all of the hard work worthwhile. Over the years, my family has made so many memories in the kitchen preparing gumbo, and for this reason it is my favorite dish.

There are plenty of theories on how gumbo originated. Some people say that it originated from Bouillabaisse, which is French seafood soup. However, that theory has been disproved because of the major differences in preparation technique. Some critics of the theory claim that the Bouillabaisse explanation for gumbo is an attempt to white wash gumbo by implying that gumbo began with the French elite in New Orleans. Other scholars believe that Gumbo came from West African slaves that were brought to the French colony in large numbers. In many West African languages, the word for okra is “ki ngombo” or simply “gombo” and okra is included in many gumbo recipes and is used as a thickener. Gumbo was once associated with both the West Indies and New Orleans, because both places had a variety of soups that used okra as a base. However, as time passed, the dish solely became associated with New Orleans because of how much the people in Louisiana embraced the dish. Beginning in the 19th century, recipes for different varieties of New Orleans style gumbo began to appear in cookbooks. The interesting and complicated history of gumbo, mirrors the history of New Orleans. Gumbo makes me proud to be from New Orleans.

Photo of myself (far right), my older sister(far left), my grandmother, and my little brother.


  • 2 pounds unpeeled fresh large shrimp
  • 1/2 cup butter, divided
  • 2 (32-ounce) cartons chicken broth
  • 1 pound andouille sausage, sliced
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 2 cups finely chopped yellow onion
  • 1 cup finely chopped green bell pepper
  • 1 cup finely chopped celery
  • 2 tablespoons minced garlic
  • 1 (12-ounce) bottle amber beer
  • 1 tablespoon Cajun seasoning
  • 2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1/2 cup green onion tops
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
  • 1 pound lump crabmeat
  • Cooked rice for serving


  1. Peel and devein shrimp, placing shrimp shells in a large pot. Refrigerate shrimp until needed.
  2. In a large pot, melt 1/4 cup butter over medium heat. Add shrimp shells and cook until pink. Then add broth.
  3. Bring broth to a boil, reduce heat and simmer 15 minutes. Remove from heat and keep warm until needed.
  4. In a large Dutch oven, cook sausage until browned. Remove sausage with a slotted spoon and set aside.
  5. Add oil and remaining 1/4 cup butter to Dutch oven. Heat over medium heat until butter is completely melted.
  6. Add flour and stir with wooden spoon until smooth.
  7. Reduce heat to medium low and cook, stirring frequently until roux is a dark caramel color. This will take 30 to 40 minutes.
  8. Add onion and cook for 5 minutes, stirring frequently.
  9. Add green pepper and celery and cook for 5 more minutes, stirring often.
  10. Add garlic and cook 1 minute.
  11. Add beer and stir in well.
  12. Pour shrimp stock through a fine-meshed sieve into Dutch oven. (I like to add it in 3 separate additions, mixing well between additions.
  13. Add Cajun seasoning, Worcestershire sauce, thyme, and bay leaves, plus the reserved andouille sausage. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium-low, cover and simmer for 1 1/2 hours.
  14. Add green onions, parsley, and shrimp. When shrimp are pink, remove from heat and stir in crabmeat.
  15. Serve with white rice.


Source for information about the history of Gumbo:



Hand Grilled Lamb

Hand Grilled Lamb

            Right after the mid-autumn, hand grilled meat becomes the major dish on our family table. Growing up in Inner-Mongolia, I had always appreciated the privilege of tasting the best lamb in the world, and no matter how far I have traveled, the tenderness of the meat lingering on my taste buds reminds me of who I am and where I come from. Diving deep into my memory, my grandma and my mom would always be in charge of cooking the meat since I was 6 years old. At that time of the year, the weather had not turned extremely cold but since the central heating did not start yet, our house still feels a bit chilly. Therefore, hand grilled meat became the best option. Adding the entire freshly bought lamb ribs directly to a large steel pot with boiling water, my grandma then took a handful of salt and green onions and put them into the soup. While she looked after the fire, my mother would start preparing the milk tea. The room gradually became steaming with the fresh smell escaping from the pot. Immersing myself in the aroma of lamb, I run straight to the stove and waited for the meat to cook with my grandma. As soon as she opened the lid, I quickly used a spoon to steal some soup and a small piece of lamb and swallowed down my throat right away without considering how hot the lamb was. After hearing my painful mourning due to the burn from my throat, my grandma laughed and said, “slow down, there’s still plenty.”

These memories were unconsciously anchored in mind, and hand grilled lamb became the key to waken those taste buds and unlock the memory palace. As I traveled further away from Inner Mongolia, it served as a bridge between me, my families and my hometown. Every year when I went back during Christmas, all my families would gather around the huge dining table in my grandparents’ house to celebrate my return. My grandma tried to cook everything that I ever loved to eat when I was a kid in order to make up for my lonely journey in a different country. Therefore, hand grilled lamb was placed at the top of her menu. When the tender meat sliced down my throat, I felt instantly at home with caring and supportive families around me.

People who live in the southern part of China tend to complain about eating lamb due to the strong lamb taint smell. However, southerners would usually eat goat meat because it is easier to raise, but people in the north can eat sheep, which are raised on the vast grassland. Hand grilled meat originated from Mongolian nomadic tribes. The nomads of Mongolia sustain their life directly from domestic animals such as cattle, horses and sheep. Due to the extreme continental climate of Mongolia, people must consume foods that are rich in protein and high calories.

The process of preparing the meat is completely different. Firstly, people choose a sheep that is around five-month-old and shave the hair on its chest area. Then they create a tiny incision that is about the width of four fingers and reach their hands into the chest cavity, snapping the artery instantly. By killing the sheep in this way, the blood will accumulate in the abdomen and the meat will partly soaked in the blood. Because the lamb was less startled comparing to those that were killed by other method, their muscles were relaxed, which prevents the blood from clotting in the meat and decreasing the freshness of the meat. The butcher will then get rid of the head and internal organs and cut the ribs for us to share. After that, people add the meat directly into the boiling water with only a little bit of salt and braise it until the meat changes color. In this way, the meat is half cooked in order to best preserve the vitamins and other nutrients. Therefore, it is important for the cook to control the fire well and not to overcook the meat, because not only the nutrients will be lost, the meat also loses its tenderness and fresh tastes. The special thing about hand grilled meat is that Mongolians eat it directly with their hand by dipping in a freshly made leek sauce. Since it is hard to find fresh vegetables due to the unfavorable weather condition, the meat is usually consumed with Mongolian homemade milk tea, which helps people to digest the protein in their stomach smoothly.

This is a picture of hand grilled lamb.





A picture of my grandparents and my cousin


A whole rack of lamb      1000g (only from Inner Mongolia)

Salt      25g

Leek sauce     20g

Green onions    10g

Garlic     30g


Step 1. Cut the lamb ribs into smaller pieces that fit in the pot and add the pieces to the pot

Step 2. Add enough water that can fully submerge the meat and add the salt, green onions and garlic

Step 3. Start to cook the lamb for half an hour and make sure the color on the outside has turned darker

Step 4. Take out the lamb and it is ready for you


Ba’s First Class Puri

        Food is arguably the most important part of Indian culture. Indian food has become popular worldwide because of the unique taste, appearance, and experience that accompanies eating our food. When I think about all the different dishes I have had the privilege of eating growing up in a Gujarati household, I start to imagine the mouthwatering taste of Bataka Nu Shak (Potatoes) or the slight burn on the lip after eating paneer tikka masala. However, I believe the subtle puri (Pūri) has been the most impactful on me. The puri exemplifies how the most “simple Indian dishes” maintain a strong presence among the diet of Indians worldwide, including myself. Puris are deep fried bread that are made with cumin seeds, red masala, ghee, and other ingredients. Although the recipe may seem plain, every chef who cooks them has their own method that results in a different size, texture, and taste. I believe that the variation of puris has come about as a result of the varying Indian states which use different ingredients and cooking techniques that have been handed down from generation to generation. Out of all the puris I have tasted my grandmothers is by far my favorite as she manages to keep the inside light and fluffy while having a contrasting crispier edge. However, my aunt has earned the title of second best puri with a less traditional, more thin and chip like bread with a good balance of fluff and crunch.

During my visit home this summer, my Ba and I made puris on Sunday morning. The plate to the right has paaper, gatya, red masala gatya, and Puris.

Every Sunday morning I would help my Ba (grandmother) make warm puris to eat with our breakfast, which typically contained a lot of other Indian snacks as well as  chai tea. Similar to a lot of other international families, every meal was eaten together so this dish holds a lot of nostalgia to simpler times in which I made many good memories with my family. Most Indian functions would also serve puris with shaak (typically a vegetarian dish with vegetables and spices that can be either spicy or sweet) including weddings, engagements, house blessings (Puja), birthdays, and trips to the mandir (temple). Specifically, I can remember going to the mandir for Hindu festivals (like Diwali-the festival of lights) and getting plates of foods with crispy puris, bataka nu shak (potatoes with vegetables) , and rice. The combination of bright fireworks, wearing fancy red/gold kurtas, and eating traditional food has allowed me to become more knowledgeable about my culture and history.

Today puris are a staple food among Indians, however the history of this classic dish can be traced all the way back to the books of the Mahabharata which were composed in the 8th and 9th century. I have actually read pieces of the Mahabharata which is a huge epic that describes a war raging between two cousins. It contains philosophical and religious wisdom that is on par with the intelligence of the gods. The god I am named after, Lord Krishna, also makes a guest appearance in this fearsome battle. As the epic goes on, Draupadi’s mother in law gave her leftover potato and enough wheat dough to make one puri with the task of making enough food to feed her 5 sons. And although I would have failed this task miserably, Draupadi invented the pani puri which is the classic puri filled with shak. After nearly 10 centuries the puri has evolved through is travel throughout India and now there are so many types of puri including Aloo Ki puri, puris, luchi, and Masala Puri. Similar to what I discussed earlier the style of puri is heavily influenced by the geographic location of the chef and the flavor/ingredients that thrive in certain areas.

Julia Rogers: Grandma Phyllis’ Famous Kugel

A dish that is of great importance to my family is Kugel.  The translation of Kugel from its German origin to English is ‘ball’ or ‘sphere’. While this English definition seems completely awry from the dish I have come to know today, the root of the name represents the original sphere-like shape that Kugel was once served as. Today, my grandmother makes kugel in a large eleven by fifteen Pyrex dish in order to accommodate my growing family. Kugel is a noodle casserole that can be served as either a savory or sweet dish depending on the chef and the family tradition. My family traditionally makes sweet kugel which includes a noodle pudding base fused with raisins, sprinkled with brown sugar and crushed graham crackers. This compares to a savory kugel which might include onions, potatoes, and cornflakes in addition to the staple noodle casserole base. This dish is significant to my family as its unique recipe has been passed down for generations. This dish is so special that only those with the family touch are able to replicate it. The same rings true for other dishes passed down through generations such as our sour cream coffee cake. My aunt, who is not blood-related to my grandmother, has never been able to replicate the true taste of our family’s kugel or coffee cake. It is for this reason that we say you must have the Fireman family touch in order to recreate these family recipes. Historically, kugel is a dish made by Ashkenazi Jews, traditionally served at Jewish holidays which embody celebration.  As the dish is passed through each side of my family, individually, the number of holidays kugel is served at expands but the hidden meaning behind the dish of celebration holds true throughout each sweet slice.

Kugel is one of my favorite dishes because it reminds me of my family. My grandmother’s famous sweet noodle kugel represents extended family gatherings. The smell of crushed graham crackers and brown sugar sprinkled on crisp yet creamy noodles induces memories of Thanksgiving, Rosh Hashana, Yom Kippur, Hanukkah, Birthdays and those special times that she would surprise us with an unexpected noodle kugel. I like this dish not only because of its significance to my family but also because of the different flavors the dish offers. With four cavities and counting this year alone, you could say that I have an unusually large sweet tooth. I constantly crave sugar, so anything sweet that is served at dinner is extremely appealing to me. The creamy texture of the layers of noodles pairs perfectly with the crispy top. The savory taste of the noodles combines so well with the raisins swirled evenly into the kugel and sprinkled on the top. To top it off, the crushed graham cracker mixed with brown sugar coating the outer layer of the noodle pudding is what makes the entire dish. Once everyone has stuffed themselves with enough of Grandma’s noodle kugel, my cousin, Samantha, and I routinely proceed to pick the toppings off the top of the kugel. The top is the best part because it is the sweetest and the crunchiest. Psychologically, we crave crunchy foods over soft foods as it is an indicator of freshness so it is no question that my cousin and I crave the sweet and crispy topping of the noodle kugel even after stuffing ourselves with my grandmother’s notorious cooking.

Kugel is connected to both sides of my family, tracing back through our Jewish history. The first kugels were made savory with potatoes and onions to induce a greater flavor. However, once sugar becomes more of a staple in the 17th century, Jews in Poland were among the first to diverge towards a sweeter dish. This would explain why my family favors the sweet version of kugel as my great grandmother moved to The United States from Poland. At just six years old, my Bubbe arrived in the states carrying only her most valuable belongings, one of which included her famous kugel recipe. In most Jewish households, kugel is a dish commonly served on Shabbat. Shabbat, the Jewish Sabbath, is celebrated Friday nights until sundown on Saturday nights as a day of rest to appreciate ourselves, the people around us, and God. Shabbat represents a time of fulfillment and what better way to celebrate this than with kugel. Deeper than this, however, kugel resembles a dish made as early as 50 C.E. referred to as pashtida. It is said that the different layers and features of pashtida symbolize the manna. The manna was the food provided to the Israelites while wandering in the desert after forty years of enslavement in Egypt. The story tells of the manna being provided by the heavens every day except on Saturday, which is now known as Shabbat. Every Friday, just before Shabbat began at sundown, the manna provided would be sweeter than previous days. It was because of this that Friday at sundown until Saturday at sundown became known as Shabbat. The structure and, for some, the sugar within kugel represents the manna which signaled Shabbat. It is for this reason that we serve kugel on Shabbat, the holiest day of the week in Judaism. This includes all other celebrations on the Sabbath such as bar and bat mitzvahs. While my family has extended the meaning of kugel from the Sabbath to all family celebrations, the true meaning of joy and happiness that is baked into the sugary noodle dish remains constant through every family gathering that kugel is served at by my grandmother.


“Not my Mama’s Noodle Kugel or Finally, the Daughter Likes it!” by Abbe Odenwalder Published on October 6th, 2014


Above is a photo of my extended family on my mom’s side, pictured at Thanksgiving this past November (2018). My Grandma Phyllis is seated next to me (Third down on the right).


Grandma Phyllis’ Famous Noodle Kugel Recipe:


8 oz medium noodles

1/4 cup butter

1/4 lb cream cheese

4 eggs

1/2 cup sugar

1 1/2 cups mils

1 tbs vanilla


crushed graham crackers (about 7 whole ones crushed with a rolling pin)


Cook noodles and drain, then mix with 1/4 stick of butter

Mix cream cheese, sugar, add eggs one at a time add milk and vanilla

Fold in noodles and raisins

Put in buttered pyrex dish rectangular 

Bake at 350 for 25 minutes until top is golden

Take crushed graham crackers, sugar (approximately less than a 1/4 cup), melted butter that has been melted in microwave (approximately 1/4 stick) and mix together. Put this on top of the pudding and bake another 30 minutes until it looks nice and crispy on top

Note: My Grandmother did not have a recipe written down, only the ingredients because she is the only one in my family who can replicate her famous kugel. She had to write down the instructions on the spot when I asked her for the recipe.


I learned more about the history of kugel from by reading the article “Why Eat Kugel on Shabbat?”

Young Cho: Baechu Kimchi

One dish that is important to me and my culture is baechu kimchi, or cabbage kimchi, a form of kimchi that involves fermenting napa cabbage with Korean radish, red pepper flakes, jeotgal (salted seafood preserves), and other vegetables such as garlic and green onions. Even though there are reportedly over 200 types of kimchi, for me baechu kimchi stands out above all others as the earliest memories I have of eating  involve homemade baechu kimchi. It has a distinct red-orange color and a pungent, tangy smell from the red chili flakes and fermentation. The unique flavor, a combination of the spicy kick from the red pepper flakes and the salty, tangy taste from fermentation, in conjunction with the crunch from the cabbage, is something I never get tired of, and especially crave after eating foods that are too greasy.

In particular, my mom’s baechu kimchi is arguably one of the most important foods in my life, whose familiar flavors and texture kept loving and connected to Korean culture even though we were over 7,000 miles away from home. When I was five, my family had to leave South Korea to the United States as my father had decided to work overseas. As a Korean family in a foreign land with no intention of eating “junk food” like hamburgers and fries for most of our days, my mom, who has a passion for cooking, decided that one of the first things we had to do after unpacking was to create a good supply of baechu kimchi. As we lived in Athens, Georgia at the time, a city not known to have any good Asian supermarkets, I remember that once a month, when my mother deemed our baechu kimchi supply low, that our family would make an hour-long journey to Asian marts in Duluth and Buford to buy one or two huge boxes filled with napa cabbages. The day after grocery shopping was, as my mom called it, ‘kimchi making day,’ where she would bring out a huge plastic bin to transform the boxes of green cabbage into one or two months’ worth of baechu kimchi. As this process took the entire day, the burning, pungent smell of the garlic and the red chili powder would eventually take over the entire house, enveloping the furniture, and, unfortunately, my clothes. I learned to endure these days as the mountain of baechu kimchi that resulted from this long endeavor more than made up for the unpleasant smells during the manufacturing process. As my little brother and I grew older, my mom would allow us to help her make baechu kimchi, ordering us to lift large bins full of salted cabbage while she prepared the red pepper paste mixture that would coat the cabbage. Thanks to my mom’s insistence on making homemade kimchi, as I grew up in the States, baechu kimchi has been  beside me like an old friend, constantly reminding me about both my heritage and brings up memories of the various Korean meals I have shared with my family. To this day, even though most people buy their baechu kimchi at the store, due to growing up on my mom’s baechu kimchi, all other baechu kimchi fall short in terms of flavor or texture to me.

With regards to its cultural importance, kimchi is regarded as a national dish of Korea, with some variation of kimchi being served in almost every Korean meal. Today baechu kimchi is by far the most common form of kimchi available and has even become synonymous with the term kimchi itself. Kimchi in various forms has been around the Korean peninsula for over 4,000 years, as during Korea’s Three Kingdoms period (4th to 7th century, A.D.), where, as recorded by their Chinese neighbors, Koreans often salted vegetables for preservation. Before refrigerators, freshly made kimchi was placed into large earthenware pots called onggi and buried underground to start the process of fermentation. While kimchi became prominent in the Korean peninsula after the adoption of Buddhism and its vegetarian diet by the Korean people during the Silla dynasty (57 B.C. to 935 A.D.), the early forms of kimchi were simply salted vegetables but diversified over time to include seasonings like garlic and ginger. It was not until the late 16th to early 17th century during the Joseon dynasty that red peppers were introduced to East Asia through Portuguese traders. Furthermore, napa cabbage was introduced to the Korean peninsula in the 19th century, making baechu kimchi a more recent form of Korean kimchi. Baechu kimchi, while it can be eaten in all seasons thanks to the refrigerator, was originally intended to eat in the fall, when farmers harvested napa cabbage. During Kimjang, a Korean cultural tradition in late fall, for one month families, friends and neighbors would gather together and make enough kimchi to last the winter season. The preparation for Kimjang takes place yearly, as during the spring, families buy seafood to incorporate into the kimchi, such as shrimp and anchovies, and during the summer, they buy sea salt. Red pepper is then dried in late summer  before the Kimjang process begins.


A small plate of my mom’s homemade baechu kimchi. This particular batch was made just last month.
A picture of my little brother and me with my mom’s side of the family in Busan, South Korea. (From left to right: my aunt, me, my grandmother, my little brother, my mom)



  1. Two large sized napa cabbage
  2. 1 Korean radish chopped into thin 3 inch sticks
  3. 1 1/2 cup kosher salt
  4. 5 cups of red pepper flakes
  5. 1 cup shrimp jeotgal
  6. 1 minced onion (about 1 cup)
  7. 1 cup garlic
  8. 1 tablespoon of minced ginger
  9. 10 stalks of chopped green onion
  10. 1 cup carrots sliced into thin 3 inch sticks
  11. 1/4 cup sweet plum extract
  12. 1/2 Minced apple
  13. 1/2 cup sweet rice flour
  14. 3 cups of water


  1. Cut cabbages in half, wash with water
  2. Put salt inside the leaves of the cabbage, then place into a container for 2 hours
  3. Turn the cabbage pieces after 2 hours to ensure even salting, leave cabbage for another 2 hours
  4.  Rinse cabbage with cold water about three times
  5. While the cabbage is getting ready, put 1/2 cups of sweet rice flour and 3 cups of water into a pot, cook over medium-high heat while stirring, stop when bubbles are present, let it cool
  6. Pour the mixture into a bowl, add Korean radish, red pepper flakes, shrimp jeotgal, garlic, onion, ginger, green onion, carrots, apple, sweet plum extract, and mix well
  7. Spread this kimchi mixture on each leaf of the cabbage, place tightly in a container to go into the refrigerator for fermentation

Siyue Zong (Jenny)- #1 post – Shanghai Style Spring Rolls

Shanghai Style Spring Rolls

You may hear about spring rolls before. It is a very traditional Chinese dish. According to China International Travel Service, the Spring Rolls appeared way back in the Eastern Jin Dynasty (317-420 AD). In the Ming and Qing Dynasties (1368- 1912 AD), there was a custom of “biting spring”, which means welcoming spring by eating spring cakes. The practice was believed to ward off disaster and evil. Spring rolls were included in imperial court snacks(from

In my hometown, Shanghai, my family only prepare the dish during the Spring Festival every year. For me, it is a symbol of the start of a new year. All my family gather for a huge dinner in my house, watch the “Spring Festival Live” together and watch or light up the fireworks together. We have approximately 20 or more dish to serve that night, including fish, shrimp, pork, and dessert. We have cold dishes first, in smaller plates set on the table before everybody arrives. Then, we start to heat-up our deep-fry wok and serve the Spring Rolls. I believe, spring rolls are the first hot dish to serve on the Spring Festival.

My mom is making the Spring Rolls
My family’s Spring Festival Dinner!

As ordering food online and food delivery become more and more convenient, my mom can order the pre-prepared food online so that she will not be super exhausted after the meal. However, spring rolls are the ones we always make by ourselves. The preparations for making the Spring Rolls take for hours. First, you need to have wraps. When I was little, my grandma used to make the Spring Rolls wraps by herself. The wraps are made of flour and water. We do not put eggs. The balance of the flour and water is very tricky. The batter is the key. Put some of the oil on a flat pan and spread the batter out evenly to form a circle. Remove the round Spring Rolls wraps from the pan and refrigerate them. My grandma’s Spring Rolls wraps are thin and in the prefect round shapes. I miss the grandma made Spring Rolls wraps. I also miss my grandma. As it takes a lot of efforts, my mom buys the pre-prepared wraps now.

After you make the wraps or you have the wraps ready, it is the time to prepare the stuffing. Shanghai style stuffing is very unique. We use shii-take, pork slices, spring bamboo shoots and Napa cabbage to make the savory ones; we use red bean paste to make the sweet ones. The savory Spring Rolls are my favorite. Everything in the savory Spring Rolls is sliced into matchsticks-like shape. You roll the stuffing up inside the Spring Rolls wraps and then deep fry them. When the Spring Rolls turn to gold color, they are ready.

To me, the gathering of me and my mom to make the Spring Rolls together even make the dish more special and more “delicious”. We always roll the Spring Rolls together. We chat about everything. I feel much closer to my mom and I really enjoy that period of time. I always help to bring the plate with right-out-of-wok ones to the table. I always call out “The Spring Rolls are coming!” and then everyone will sit in their seats and begin the big dinner. The scene of the Spring Festival to me is the hotness in the kitchen, the golden Spring Rolls in the plates, and everybody sitting around the table with  the happy faces when they are eating the Spring Rolls.

It has been almost 5 years that I did not spend time in China during Spring Festival. I miss the big meal, the warmth in the house, and the time with my family. I talked to my mom couple years ago during the Spring Festival and I said I really miss the Spring Rolls. My mom asked, “Why not you make Spring Rolls by yourself?” So, I actually made the Spring Rolls in U.S.. Although it tasted a little bit different: all the slices in the stuffing were too wide, a little bit salty, some rolls were broken after deep-fried, but I really enjoyed it. The hard work to make the Spring Rolls became a special memory. I believe it is the sign of grown-up and independence. What I want can only be done by myself. I am no longer under my family’s shelter, but an independent person lives by myself. Whenever I think about Spring Festival in U.S., the scene of making my own Spring Rolls will appear in my mind. Spring rolls become the symbol of the strong connection to my family, and also the symbol of grown-up.

The stuffing that I made
My handmade Spring Rolls
My handmade Spring Rolls – when it’s done!

Recipe: How to make the Spring Roll Wrap?


1/4 teaspoon salt; 1 cup all-purpose flour; 3/4 cup water

  • In a large bowl, stir the salt into the flour.
  • Mix the water into the flour to form a batter.
  • Cover and let rest for 1 hour.
  • Spray a pan with cooking spray and heat over medium-low heat.
  • Turn the heat down to low and add a heaping tablespoon of the batter to the middle of the pan.
  • Quickly spread the batter out evenly to form a circle 5 to 6 inches in diameter. Continue smoothing out the batter as the skin cooks.
  • Cook the skin briefly, until it is cooked on the bottom and the edges curl slightly. Take care not to overcook.
  • Remove carefully and refrigerate or freeze until ready to use as called for in the recipe.
  • Use these with your favorite spring roll recipe and enjoy.

How to make the Shanghai-Style Spring Rolls?

Ingredients: 1/2-pound ground pork; 8-ounce bamboo shoots, ; drained and minced; 1-pound Napa cabbage; 8-ounce Shii-take mashrooms.

  • Mix the pork with the marinade ingredients and let sit for 20-30 minutes. Shred the cabbage and slice your mushrooms.
  • Over medium heat, add 4 tablespoons of oil to your wok. Brown the pork.
  • Then add the mushrooms and cook for another couple of minutes until fragrant. Add the Napa cabbage and stir well.
  • Season with salt, white pepper, Shaoxing wine, and soy sauce. Stir everything together, cover the lid and let it cook over high heat for 2 – 3 minutes, or until the cabbage is wilted.
  • Uncover the lid and add the cornstarch slurry. Stir. The mixture will start to thicken. Lastly, add sesame oil and stir everything thoroughly. Turn off the heat and let the mixture cool completely.
  • The key to wrapping spring rolls is making sure that they’re really tight and not overstuffed. Take out your spring roll wrappers.
  • And place the wrapper in front of you so that a corner is facing toward you. Use about one and a half tablespoons of the mixture per spring roll, spoon it about an inch and a half from the corner closest to you. Roll it over once tightly, tucking the corner under the filling and like you’re making a burrito, fold over both sides. Continue rolling it into a cigar shape. With your fingers, brush a bit of water to the closing corner of the wrap to seal it. Place each roll seam-side down on a tray.
  • To fry the spring rolls, use a small pot or shallow pan (which requires less oil) and fill it with oil until it’s about 1-inch deep, just enough to submerge the spring rolls when frying.
  • Slowly add the spring rolls and fry them in small batches. Cook each side until golden brown and drain on a plate lined with a paper towel.
  • We like to serve our Shanghai Style Spring rolls with some Chinese black vinegar

Hana Keith Blog Post 1 : Fettuccine


The ribbon-like noodle, glazed with delicious creamy sauce glistened on the dinner table; hunger growing within me. I look to my Noni (grandmother) to see her eyes filled with joy and warmth, proud of what we accomplished earlier that day. The first bite felt like fireworks in a dark sky. The smell, the taste and the texture unable to be compared to anything else we had eaten prior to this moment. Fettuccine is an Italian dish that consists of a wide but thin noodle that is usually paired with an Alfredo sauce. My father’s side of the family is Italian. Our family is from Lucca, Italy which is a small town in northern Italy surrounded by three contiguous walls. Fettuccine has been a loved meal in my family for generations. I was lucky enough to experience the actual process of making it with my cousins and Noni when I was ten years old.

We had spent hours earlier that day making a masterpiece that could have been just a ten minute grocery store trip. At the time, I would not have appreciated that this was much more than just consuming calories, but was in fact about bringing the families together as one, sharing the tradition and passing the special recipes and techniques down to future generations. The pasta recipe shown below is actually one of the many recipes in my great-Noni’s cookbook. I still remember the cooking aftermath, looking like a tornado had come into the kitchen. Compared to the other dishes we cooked that day (ravioli and tortellini), fettuccine’s simplicity was its very complexity. It was the first pasta dish I had ever made in my life. Through fettuccine, my Noni was educating the younger generation about much more than just the realm of pasta. After all, it was a more simple dish to make. The extenuating process felt like orders of magnitude longer than the brief period of time that we consumed the dish. Yes, it was much more. It reminds me of family, especially my Noni and handing down tradition. It was then when I learned the true meaning of my Noni’s phrase “P stands for patience.” The making of the pasta took much time and therefor much patience to make sure each noodle had the right amount of dough, was cut correctly, and had the perfect amount of flavoring. The phrase should have been “Pasta stands for patience.”

(My Noni, cousins and I making pasta)

(Fettuccine picture:×1009.jpg )

Fettuccine is believed to have originally been made around the fifteenth century in Rome by a man named Martino da Como, however, this fettuccine was only served with butter and cheese. Later, a man named Alfredo di Lelio created the fettuccine Alfredo dish in the early 1900s also in Rome. This was different from the original fettuccine in that Alfredo added in more butter while cooking the dish. He actually created fettuccine in efforts to calm his wife during childbirth. Deemed the “king of fettuccine”, his creation spread rapidly to other countries, and is currently a very popular dish in North America. While visiting Italy with my family, we experienced pasta-making there as well. It was a mesmerizing sight to watch the beautiful Italian women with tight hair buns and pastel outfits apply the same mannerisms as my Noni while we were making our own pasta, almost as though they were frozen in time from many years ago.

(My great-Noni Barbarina Galli and great-great Aunt Assunta making fettuccine)


Great-Noni’s Recipe for pasta:

Recipe for specifically Fettuccine Alfredo:


In a large pot of boiling salted water, cook pasta according to package instructions. Reserve about 1 cup of pasta water then drain.
Meanwhile, in a large skillet over medium heat, add cream and butter. Cook until the butter is melted and the cream is heated through. Whisk in Parmesan and season with salt and pepper.
Add cooked pasta and toss until coated in sauce. If the sauce is too thick, add reserved pasta water, 1 tablespoon at a time. Garnish with parsley and serve immediately.