JeJu

Are You Mooking At Me?

In food on 06/13/2009 at 7:55 am

Mook (or Muk) is one of my favorite appetizers. It sounds like dirty derogatory slang, but it’s actually Korean food, served in small bowls with the kimchi. Alt-kimchi. I first had it in Seoul, and while I tried to find it in NYC, it has been hard to come by. Once I asked for it in Koreatown and was given the evil eye.

Are only natives allowed to eat it? I wondered. Since Koreatown caters to non-Koreans looking to sample local cuisine, I think they figure it’s too foreign a texture/flavor to give it out for free, just to get it back uneaten. It’s basically savory, but flavorless, strips of almost crunchy Jell-o. I thought it was made of agar agar, turns out it’s any number of flours made from a variety of starches generally unknown to the American palate. While buckwheat, mung bean, or sesame seed starches are used, Mook by itself generally refers to acorn.

Ingredients
1 cup acorn starch
5 cups cold water
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp olive oil

Prep:
Start by oiling a deep glass baking dish (unlike Jell-o, mook will stick so don’t forget this!)

Cook:
Combine starch and water in a heavy pot, cast iron if you have it, and whisk it continuously (like making pudding, don’t let the mood burn), until the mixture darkens and is very thick. This will take about 10-15 minutes.

Whisk in salt and oil well.

Cover the pot leaving a large vent, reduce to low heat and cook for 5 minutes. Stir once and continue to cook for another 10 minutes.

Remove from heat and pour mook liquid into the dish and let cool. Once solid, cut into chunks for storage. These can be refrigerated for several weeks if well sealed.

Enjoy:
Slice into thin pieces and serve topped with your favorite dipping sauce. We also think this would be a great in seaweed salad. Yum!

(Adapted from koreanrecipes.org)

mookie moo

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