Sometimes you just gotta treat yourself. Julia and I are seven labs into our Intro to Computer Science course as computer science majors, with just one more lab, one final project, and one mid-term to go. I'd say it's about time we treated ourselves. Well, really, it was Julia who treated me. She was the one who went all the way to H Mart and bought the stuff we needed to make ddeokbokki, my absolute favourite Korean food. And then she was the one who did most of the cooking while I mostly hovered around with my camera (#bloggerstrugs). To be fair, food is art. But more delicious ;)
The busy bees we are, we had trouble coordinating a meal time where we'd both be free for long enough to both cook and eat. Luckily, in addition to taking the same Intro to Computer Science course, we're also in the same Advanced Chinese class that ends around lunch time (can't get enough of this girl), so we choose to do it then, and also invite our dear friend and classmate Lamei to join in the fun. After all, Julia had bought enough ingredients to make six servings, oops.
I say that we cooked this ourselves, but it's not nearly as impressive as it sounds. Paraphrasing my friend Victoria, it's not like I "pounded [my] own rice cakes" or anything. Yet, to say that we made "instant ddeokbokki" is not fair either, because as you can see from these photos, it's not a simple "just add water" recipe. While pounding my own rice cakes may have enriched this cooking experience, we had to be mindful of time and so needed something that wasn't too elaborate.
We went for mild curry and original spicy (three servings of each hahh...). I am not someone who handles spice very well, but if I like the food enough, I can power through it. Ddeokbokki is one of those foods. On average, I take a swig of water after every two original spicy rice cakes. #weak
After defrosting the rice cakes, we put them on the pan and pour in the packaged sauce. When they're mixed well enough, we add the fish cake and some more water. It seems too watery at first, but the sauce thickens. Add in a boiled egg or whatever else you want, and then you're good to go! According to the packaging, this whole process should only take up to six minutes. We took a little while longer.
We were cooking at Haverford College's Multicultural Center (MCC) in Stokes, which is the same building we have our Chinese class in. Anyways, the MCC is great. It's open to everyone and you don't have to reserve it but you can if you want. We used their stove, pans, spatulas, knives, cutting boards, and we even found skewers to make our ddeokbokki eating experience that much more authentic.
Have you ever had original spicy ddeokbokki with cheese? It sounds strange, at least it did to me the first time I saw it on a menu, but it works. I'd even say that I prefer it with cheese. Obviously you can't put any ol' cheese on it (just imagine putting processed American on it, yuckk); go with mozzarella.
The original spicy ddeokbokki is usually my favourite, but of the ones we cooked today, I think I'd have to give it to the mild curry. I should expand my ddeokbokki-eating horizons. Either way, isn't this glorious? At one point, two people walked into the MCC to work on stuff and they smelled our food, so we offered them some to taste. They were very intrigued by the texture of the rice cakes.
Thank you Julia for such a delicious meal! I always forget how much I enjoy cooking, or rather, how much I enjoy eating the food I cook (okay so technically I didn't really cook this because I was mostly taking pictures, but maybe it counts as secondhand cooking or something).
It's a struggle making your own food in college when you don't have convenient access to a kitchen and when you don't already have a bunch of raw ingredients at your disposal, but I guess that's what makes cooking in college so exciting. It becomes a special occasion, a whole event.
And because I must end every post with some existential
epiphany food for thought: wouldn't it be nice if we treated all the little moments in life like they were special occasions? Bro, the occasion is life.