(Happy-Go-Lucky Memoirs of a Foodie and her Peeps)


Monday, September 23, 2019

Around the World in Foodventures (Eritrea: ZIGINI with INJERA)

I picked Eritrea this week because it's rather obscure but also because I remember when I was in high school (or maybe it was 7th or 8th grade? -- it was a fuzzy long time ago ๐Ÿ˜›) I was on some regional student counsel type thingie, and there was a girl from another school who was originally from Eritrea....so here we are.

Zigini, I am guessing based on how it's cooked, is a dish that is meant to turn any cut of meat or offal (expensive, cheap, tough, or already tender) into a delightfully fall-apart, intensely flavorful stew.  And it delivers!  The finished product looks thusly:


Completing this cook was a multi-day process, but only because the Injera dough had to be left to ferment for 48 hours.  The Berbere Spice (which was a fresh, not dried mixture) and the stew itself could have been done all in one day.  Here is the recipe I followed:  https://nationalfoods.org/recipe/national-dish-of-eritrea-zigini-with-injera.  (I note that the Zigini portion of the recipe mentions adding onions, but the ingredient list for that part doesn't have any -- so I just guessed and used half of a small onion, diced, which seemed to work out perfectly fine.)

I don't really have a lot else to say other than that the meat stew here is absolutely amazing and delicious, and I will make it again (probably for our weekly potluck sometime sooner rather than later).  But honestly, I've never been much of a fan of Injera -- it's pretty nondescript and plain, if you ask me, and the fact that it smells like cocoa powder but doesn't taste like isn't necessarily disappointing....but just odd to me.  I mean, I guess it's not really meant to be eaten on it's own, and with the meat folded inside it's just fine and certainly doesn't detract, so I guess I rescind my "complaint."  ๐Ÿ˜‰

This post is part of my project: "Around the World in Foodventures" (I decided I want to expand my culinary horizons even further by making the national dish or a popular recipe, or some signature food or traditional meal from every country in the world. Maybe it'll happen alphabetically, or by region, in random order, or something else. I figure if we can't (yet?) travel everywhere, we at least have the luxury of being able to taste it. It’ll be fun and interesting, but obviously, will take a long time to get through -- as we'll only be doing it once a week or so at most. I am chronicling the journey here.)


“If I’m an advocate of anything, it’s to move…Walk in someone else’s shoes or at least eat their food.” --Tony Bourdain

Friday, September 13, 2019

Around the World in Foodventures (South Korea: BUDAE JJIGAE)

It's been over a month since my last post, but I have a good excuse: I went to Burning Man (again; it was my 4th time)! .... where, incidentally, my newfound method of rice cooking was proven to be successful even in very large quantities (i.e. being the Chef/Kitchen Manager of Lamplighter Village, I had written a new recipe for Brown Rice Salad to feed 175 people plus seconds -- and not only did it cook well and easily, but it was quite popular ๐Ÿงก).  Anyhoo, now I'm back and re-settled into the default world, and here to present my next Around the World foodventure:

Budae jjigae (translated: "Army base stew") may not be traditional or an official national dish anywhere, but it's certainly iconic.  Created shortly after the end of the Korean war primarily from army ration surpluses combined with dumpster diving because, frankly, there weren't many ingredients available and people were harshly struggling -- this meal on its face looks to be....well, unappetizing.   But being that my hero Tony Bourdain experienced it on his Parts Unknown trip to South Korea, and since that time always wanting to give it a morbid curiosity try, there was no way it wasn't going to be my pick for this installment.  So, without further ado, this one gets two photos:


First, in the pan before it got all mixed together.
And then, the final plated stew.
There are a lot of recipes out there for this dish, varying slightly in ingredients as you would expect due to what was  -- and is -- available to people also varying.  Some even call for a slice of American cheese (processed, of course) to be thrown on top of each serving.  I didn't choose one that includes cheese, but instead went straight-up with Tony's: https://explorepartsunknown.com/korea/military-stew/.

And you know what?  It's really kinda frickin' delicious!  I mean, sure the meats are unusual, but the broth is as good as any spicy ramen I've ever had.  Bottom line, it's super spicy (probably intended as such to "balance" out the...less than ideal meats) and those four little dried anchovies absolutely come through to give some cooked-all-day flavor.

This post is part of my project: "Around the World in Foodventures" (I decided I want to expand my culinary horizons even further by making the national dish or a popular recipe, or some signature food or traditional meal from every country in the world. Maybe it'll happen alphabetically, or by region, in random order, or something else. I figure if we can't (yet?) travel everywhere, we at least have the luxury of being able to taste it. It’ll be fun and interesting, but obviously, will take a long time to get through -- as we'll only be doing it once a week or so at most. I am chronicling the journey here.)


“If I’m an advocate of anything, it’s to move…Walk in someone else’s shoes or at least eat their food.” --Tony Bourdain