13 May 2012

Of Obangsaek and the Desperation Dosirak

When life gets stressful, I start cooking.  And it's Korean food that I've been turning to of late: food that is healthy, satisfying, and stimulating.  Food that is steeped in history and connects me to that which is beyond me.  In these past few weeks, I've been through times of great peace but also times of great pressure.  And as the pressure built up to an unmanageable pitch this weekend, I went nuts in the kitchen and prepped up some dosirak (lunchbox) dishes for the coming week.

Tomorrow's dosirak:
계란말이 Gyeran mari with kim (Egg roll with laver)
어묵 볶음 Eomuk bokkeum (Spicy fried fishcakes)
기장밥 Kijangbap (Steamed rice and millet)
브로콜리나물 Broccoli namul (Garlic and sesame-seasoned broccoli)

In this lunch, I tried to pay attention to 오방색 (obangsaek), the philosophy of the five colors.  Each color (black, blue, red, white, and yellow) represents one of the five elements of the universe (water, wood, fire, metal, and earth, respectively), and according to Korean tradition, a meal with obangsaek brings together all the forces of the cosmos.  By eating such a meal, the diner is in harmony with the world, and the food brings nourishment and wellness on more than just a physical level.

Black - Kim (seaweed laver)
Blue - Broccoli, Green pepper
Red - Gochujang sauce
White - Rice, Onion, Garlic
Yellow - Millet, Egg

Now I'll just try and take a few more deep breaths and remind myself that this season will also pass...

기장밥 Kijangbap (Steamed rice and millet)
Makes 3-4 servings

1 cup short-grained rice
1/4 cup millet

Wash short-grained rice in several rinses of water until water is clear.  Drain rice, then place in a small cooking pot.  Add the millet, then add 1 1/4 cups water.  Cover pot and bring to a boil, then reduce heat to low and simmer for 30 minutes until rice and millet is tender.  Fluff steamed rice and millet and serve hot.


The Church Cook said...

What absolutely beautiful creation! And praying for you this moment for peace through pressured days. What is He teaching, I wonder? Thinking of you today, Erica. Hugs.

the Junkie book said...

What a visual delight! Umm, it's just a matter of days before your "release".

Unknown said...

Erica - this reminds me of my childhood doshirak. Looks great! May the Korean food that you love so much bring nourishment and wellness to you on all levels!!

Anonymous said...

So pretty! I've tried to make dosirak boxes for my daughter, but no nearly as pretty as this. It does remind me of my childhood very much.

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