gamja tang for the rainiest of days {stewed pork and potatoes}

 
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although there’s less daylight now (the sun is out at 8:30 and goes down at 5), the days lately have felt so. incredibly. long. why? i woke up to horrible news a few nights ago that there was another shooting in the usa, except this one was in a city that’s a fifteen minute drive from where i grew up. i came a across a clip of a victim’s father doing a public interview and shamelessly crying out to God for comfort. the only thing i could do is roll over to my side and and sob because i could feel a tiny bit of his pain. not this again.

what kind of world are we living in? people are now becoming desensitized to the mass shootings, but every time i watch interviews of victims’ parents, i can’t help but imagine the precious moments i’ve had with hudson and taylor, their beautiful joy, the privilege i’ve had to watch them grow, and the deep deep love i carry for these children. one interview i saw recently featured a heartbroken and devastated father who also probably had so many of these memories of his son rushing through his mind that now bring unbearable pain more than anything else.

they say that “pain is pain”, but we all know that pain can definitely be classified and indexed by triviality. like breaking up with a boyfriend hurts, but is definitely not as painful as even imagining something unjust and grave happening to a child, especially one that you know. it’s a tad bit more extreme because this kind of pain pangs your heart a million times harder until the day you leave this earth, should that imagination become a reality. i can’t even begin to process…

what i do know is that there is a God out there who has felt that exact pain for the sake of being able to love me and you. so when that father in the interview cried out for comfort, i knew that my God knew exactly what that unimaginable pain felt like, and will be there to empathize and to bring light, as he has done with all pain in due time.

i pray, never to hudson or taylor or anyone’s children that you or i know, but i’m sure the hundreds of parents of these victims had prayed the same. i can’t tell you where the light at the end of the tunnel is or what kind of good can come out of these mass shootings. however, what i do know is that i see my generation becoming more courageous, resulting in moving local level gun control policies in a more favorable direction. i can also see a world in which God will use the new leaders who have recently been brought into congress to bring broader changes.

i’m sure you find it funny and super irrelevant that i’m writing about gun control over a korean pork and potato stew recipe…and haha, you’re absolutely right. there is no connection. the only way they’re connected is that it when there is no sun and it’s raining outside (and inside my heart. #emo), cooking a low and slow comforting stew can help you better gather yourself if you’ve been completely swallowed up by your thoughts. i’d highly recommend it and hope that your soul is somehow soothed by this gamja tang’s meaty broth.

xo, christine

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gamja tang

{stewed pork and potatoes}

ingredients

main ingredients

2 pounds pork neck and spine meat with bones

2 tbs kosher salt

1/2 small napa cabbage, cut into half slices down the spine

3 medium waxy potatoes

2 korean green chili peppers sliced into 1/2 inch pieces

the paste

8 garlic cloves minced

1 tbs gochujang

2 tablespoon three crabs fish sauce

3 tablespoon gochugaru (ground red pepper)

3 tablespoon perilla seeds

1 tablespoon sesame seeds

for the broth

10 cups water

2 dried thai chili peppers

3 small onions cut in half

5 thumb sized pieces fresh ginger

2 tablespoon soy sauce

1 tablespoon peppercorns

for garnish

a handful of of crown daisy leaves

a handful of perilla leaves

chopped scallions

notes

  1. give the pork meat a good rinse under cold water and pat dry using a towel. set out on a platter and toss meat in kosher salt. set out for at least 45 minutes before cooking.

  2. while waiting for the pork to season and tenderize with the salt, fill a large pot with water and bring to a rolling boil. blanch napa cabbage for 7-8 minutes, remove cabbage pieces from pot, and rinse under cold water until completely cool. squeeze out as much water as possible without breaking leaves. cut out the core of the cabbage, releasing the leaves. peel leaves into 1 inch (bite sized) strips

  3. combine the paste ingredients in a small bowl

  4. peel potatoes and slice into 3/4 inch disks, chop fresh green chili peppers into 1/2 inch disks

  5. in a large bowl, toss together strips of cabbage, potatoes, and green peppers with paste. make sure that potatoes are evenly coated. set aside

  6. after pork has been seasoned and tenderized, place in a boiling pot and fill with water. boil until meat is no longer pink (6-7 minutes). drain the pork and discard water. rinse off as much fat off under cold water

  7. place pork back into pot with 10 cups of water, dried chili peppers, onions, ginger, and soy sauce. bring up to a boil, cover, and bring down to a medium simmer. simmer slowly for 1 1/2 hour.

  8. after an hour and a half has passed, the pork meat should have tenderized. skim off any fat, remove chili pepper, onions, ginger, and peppercorns

  9. take dressed cabbage, potatoes, chili peppers and place atop the pork, stew the vegetables with pork meat for another 45 minutes on a medium simmer. potatoes should be soft and the paste should have seasoned the broth thoroughly

  10. serve with crown daisies, perilla leaves and scallions. best enjoyed with steamed rice (duh!)

*storage tip alert: if you have a ton of leftovers and you need to store for 1+ days, remove as much vegetable from the pot and set in a separate container. that way, the vegetables won’t soak up that precious broth and won’t get as soggy. when reheating, heat the broth and meat up first, and then add in the vegetables/greens.

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