In the country of morning, it is hot and wet in summer. To remedy this, Koreans commemorate “sambok,” the three days considered to be the hottest according to the lunar calendar, by sharing various solid dishes. With the approach of the third boknal or “malbok” that falls this year on August 15, “Saveur du terroir” invites you to find hot dishes that help to beat the heat of the summer.
Our first destination this week was Geochang County in South Gyeongsang Province. Arriving at Binggisilmaeul, a small village located at the foot of Mount Deogyu, the Binggisil Valley will soon reveal to us the icy wind blowing over the area.
Mr. Seo and Mr. Im living from the tradition of “sanyangsam” roots to welcome us. According to these sixty friends, sanyangsam, a type of wild ginseng that grows among rocks, must be carefully harvested. For digging, it is necessary to gently clean the surrounding earth. The smaller the roots of the sanyangsam, the higher the medicinal value. After spending a long morning tearing sanyangsam, the two husbands and their wives prepare a hearty lunch.
Despite the heat wave, they decided to make “samgutgui” which is the local menu that is often prepared at this time of the year. We start by heating a large flat stone. Corn, potatoes and pork belly wrapped in lotus leaves are placed there. Then we spread the maranta leaves before covering everything with clay. As you can imagine, it is possible to cook food using the heat of the stone, which is well protected by the clay. These dishes are cooked in a traditional way that allows you to taste the first taste of each product.
The chicken is grilled on well-heated stones over charcoal. If the meat is eaten at a high temperature, the sugar will turn a dark color to ensure a pleasant taste. The smell and taste of melted protein is better. It also comes with grilled chicken codonopsis lanceolata, The “deodeok” root that is seasoned in a sweet way, and also the sanyangsam that is roasted over the embers, can regain strength. He is not alone. Rice husks are also used to cook aubergines, skewers and fish. These ingredients are placed between the rice husks before burning. Cooked in this way, the food becomes moist.
Let’s move on to Seonyu-do, an island in the center of the Gogunsan Peninsula in North Jeolla Province. In the past, it was an island far from the mainland, three hours away by high-speed boat. Therefore, it is a country that favors cooperation between citizens.
The men of Mr. Nam, who has spent more than 40 years in this island area, invites us to find semi-dried fish, the local specialty. Of course, when there was no drying system, the fish were dried instead of being dried under the sea breeze. We can appreciate the firmness of the bite and the flavor of the fish. Semi-dried fish, conch, prawns and crabs are properly prepared as “jjim” in a “tang” stew, but if cooked over coals, you can taste something simple and condensed. To accompany these fire-grilled dishes, they prepare “haesam mulhoe”, a refreshing broth of fresh sea cucumbers. Dry water with spices and vinegar and frozen sea cucumbers will restore your appetite.
Our “Iyeol chiyeol” food tour continues next week!