The Korean word “jeok” is a generic term for brochette, a representative dish that never fails to be on a holiday table. Depending on the ingredients, there are many different kinds of brochettes in Korean cuisine. One of them is hwayangjeok, which we would like to introduce this month.
Hwayangjeok refers to skewers of five to seven colors using ingredients like beef, seasoned bellflower root, shiitake mushroom, carrot, cucumber, egg, etc. You can easily see this dish on major seasonal holidays such as Chuseok (Korean Thanksgiving Day).
As reflected in its name, which literally means “as colorful as a flower,” the harmony of ingredient colors is very important when cooking hwayangjeok. You can use many different ingredients but in Korea the most common ones are beef, mushroom, spring onion, and bellflower root. These days, many cooks also add string cheese, clam, and ham.
Another feature top note is the shape. All ingredients should be cut to a similar size and put on skewers neatly. The recipe is quite simple, though, so it is easy to make once you trim the ingredients well.
Koreans usually garnish hwayangjeok with pine nut powder but other ground nuts will also do.
How to Make Hwayangjeok (2 servings)
Main ingredients: 45g beef, a shiitake mushroom, 50g carrot, 50g cucumber, two eggs, spring onion, spam, skewers
Seasoning ingredients: 2Tbsp soy sauce, 1Tbsp sugar, 1/4 Tbsp crushed garlic, oil, sesame oil, ground sesame mixed with salt, black pepper powder
1. Wash the cucumber and cut it into strips 1cm wide, 0.6cm thick, and 6cm long. Soak in salt water for a couple of minutes; take out and wipe the water off.
2. Wash the carrot and cut it into strips the same size as the cucumber. Parboil the carrot in salt water.
3. Cut the beef into pieces 1cm wide, 0.5cm thick, and 8 cm long, and score the meat.
4. Soak the shiitake mushroom in water. Remove the pillar and cut into strips of the same size as cucumber.
5. Mix the sauce ingredients in a bowl; add beef and mushroom.
6. Separate the egg whites from the yolks. Add a little bit of salt to both the whites and yolks. Pan-fry them separately so that each fry is 0.6cm thick. Slice into pieces of the same size as beef.
7. Oil the pan and fry cucumber, carrot, beef, and shiitake mushroom adding them in this order.
8. Arrange the strips on skewers by color.
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