Jo Ara just nodded without thinking it twice. Jo Minjoon couldn’t help but finding it amusing. To think that their mother’s cooking was rated so low by her children.
However even if you took it for granted that Lee Hye Seon cooked well, Jo Minjoon was confident in surpassing her. Jo Minjoon was almost at the top of the amateurs. His cooking skills weren’t ones to be inferior to an ordinary housewife.
“Ara. What do you want to eat ? Choose something.”
“I need to have options to choose.”
“Why, you know. You can choose from western cooking, or soups. If not you can also choose noodles.
Jo Ara started to think. From usually seeing her oppa that only stared at the ceiling to suddenly start acting like a chef. That was really amusing. So she thought of something that seemed the hardest to prepare. Suddenly a thought came to her head. That chinese food was really hard to make. Jo Ara let a malicious grin and said:
“Make me some Champong. Champong. Why? Can’t do it?
Jo Minjoon found it outrageous. He could clearly see the intentions of Jo Ara so he didn’t even get angry. Jo Minjoon said.
“I’ll make it”
“That I’ll make it”
Jo Minjoon immediately went to the cutting board. He didn’t particularly have chinese noodles, but he thought that instead he could make some flat rice noodles. For seafood he had some clams, but he didn’t have time to clean them. It was almost six. And to properly clean the clams it took at least three hours.
“Ara. Go to the fridge over there and look if there’s some pork meat.
Maybe she was sorry for asking him to make dinner, but Jo Ara moved however Jo Minjoon asked her to. After looking for some time on the fridge she came with a lump of pork meat.
Origin: Korea, hoengseong
“It’s chuch beef.”
Personally it was the part of the pork he liked the most. The taste of the lard compared to Samgyeopsal(삼겹살) or Moksal(목살, neck meat?) was really deep. The feeling you got when you chewed was also really different. Jo Minjoon thought for a while. “Can I make it to suit with the Champong soup?” He thought it was going to be okay. Only, if the meat was grounded. In case it was not grounded, the feeling the chuch beef gived would play differently with the noodles.
Jo Minjoon took a polished and sharp knife from the knife holder. And immediately started to cut the beef to ground it later. The part where Jo Minjoon took more emphasis on while cooking was the use of the knife. Ordinary people might think that only making the shape of holding the knife was enough, but depending on how you dealt with the knife the final result of the cooking would vary greatly.
Even if the edge of the knife was less sharp or if you failed to control your strength while slicing the meat it could end up like a torn rag. But of course if you dedicated and put your all to it even a little kid could do it easily. Of course they wouldn’t be as fast as Jo Minjoon. Jo Ara watched with eyes of admiration and said.
“When did you improving your knife skills?”
“Why are you making a fuss over only this?”
Jo Minjoon grinned. To say the truth, the time he improved the most on his knife skills was when he just entered a restaurant as the youngest. He didn’t know how many onions and garlics he had to chop and slice. He thought that those days were quite painful, but thinking about it he thought that those moments were necessary. However he didn’t think of repeating those times. Ever.
After slicing the meat, he also trimmed the green onions and the garlics he had by the side. After crushing the garlics with the side of the knife he sliced it. As for the green onions he sliced them longly. Jo Ara was looking at this sight with her mouth wide open. He was already fast while slicing the meat, but now it surpassed that. The skill he showed while dealing with the green onions and the garlic wasn’t normal. It could be said that it was something you could only watch in TV.
“Mom! Oppa handles the knife really well!”
Jo Ara raised her voice and yelled, but Lee Hye Seon replied as if it was annoying. Even if he was good at it how good could he be? Jo Ara was frustrated, but she didn’t keep bothering Lee Hye Seon. Anyways the slicing was nearly over.
Jo Minjoon spread the cooking oil on the wok. And when it was sufficiently hot he put in the garlic and the green onions. When the wet vegetables met the fire it made frying noises. The sound made him happier. Sometimes some of the oil got to him, but that was unavoidable.
Besides the wok, he started to boil some water. Instead of pouring cold water on the already stir-fried ingredients it was better to pour already hot water.
The aroma the green onions and the garlic gave, tickled his nose. When the garlic started to turn brownish, Jo Minjoon put the chuch beef over it. The pork oil and the cooking oil mixed and got sucked by the ventilator. The chuch beef got roasted and turned yellowish.
And that was the moment to put some pepper powder. Jo Minjoon didn’t waste a single minute and put on the pepper powder and the oyster sauce. It was the next moment after that. Jo Minjoon grabbed a handful of dried cabbage leaves. Jo Ara that was observing next to him said with a freaked expression.
“Everything’s okay, but is it alright to put that dried cabbage leaves? It isn’t even potato soup.”
“I think it should be okay.”
“What’s with that answer.”
He couldn’t answer that it was going to be okay. It was something he hadn’t tried yet. However he thought that the aroma of the dried cabbage leaves was going to mix in well with the Champong. It gave the feeling he was going to present a kind of korean Champong. He thought of putting in some coriander, but Jo Ara didn’t like coriander much. And if by chance he did put some coriander it was going to get closer to thailandese cooking.
“Oppa, give me that portion of meat please.”
Jo Minjoon smiled and gave Jo Ara a spoonful of chuch beef. Jo Ara after tasting a bit laughed.
“I love meat.”
Jo Minjoon nodded and also heated a portion of chuch beef. Mmm. You cook for tasting things like this.
“Instead of making Champong I think it’s gonna be okay to eat it fried?”
“It’s because you only ate a bite. If you keep eating it gets salty.”
“Mm. If you say it like that. Maybe you are right.”
Even if you put in soup it was salty, then how salty would it be if you ate it alone. Jo Minjoon checked the pot filled with water. The water was boiling. Jo Minjoon lifted the pot and slowly poured the soup to the wok. It made a ‘chaa’ sound similar to the one when you put off fire. Soon the aroma of the green onion and the pepper powder spread.
“…..Unexpectedly i think it is going to be delicious.”
“Later don’t ask me to make you some.”
Jo Minjoon put the boiling wok behind, took the onion and went to the cutting board. He sliced the tap, and sliced horizontally following the texture. Slicing one onion seemed to take at least 10 seconds. Jo Ara couldn’t help but feel confused and feel admiration.
“Oppa is it not that you study english in university but instead go to cooking school?”
“It’s a compliment right?”
“No….. It’s too sudden. That you cook well? My oppa? Like this?”
The confused feelings were transmitted by her voice. Jo Minjoon didn’t respond and smiled. Saying the truth he thought it to be pointless to answer. Did he practice alone? What time would he have on a house that he lived with everyone. He could only change subjects.
“Enough. Bring me some cabbage.”
Jo Ara still confused, didn’t reply but still obeyed. Jo Minjoon followed the texture and sliced it perpendicularly. If it was too big not only didn’t go in in the mouth but it also took a while to chew all the food. First he put the cabbage from one to two minutes. After that he also put the rice noodles.
If you boiled the noodles with soup, the noodles would lose oxygen and get harder but that could also help on strengthening the flavor. Personally Jo Minjoon preferred pouring the soup on the already cooked noodles. Because he liked simple flavors. But there was a reason he didn’t do that right now.
To put the soup and the noodles took two or three times the effort. And it was not that the difference in flavors was that different. It was only a matter of preferences. If that was the case he didn’t have any reason to trouble himself. Also, aside of it being too bothersome, rice noodles didn’t mix well with soup. So he expected that boiling them at the same time would give it more flavor.
Jo Minjoon silently prevented the noodles from getting sticky and continued to boil. While he was doing that, before Jo Minjoon appeared an alarm that wasn’t as surprising as before.
[Chuch beef Champong]
Origin: Too many ingredients to find out
Cooking points: 5/10
Translator : Subak
Proofreader : Maled