Well, its Good Friday and in the Philippines, that means one big thing: there are no freakin’ restaurants open to sate my infinite hunger!  Worse, the Korean food stall that I go to for lunch at work is closed for the holidays. That means, no Korean Food fix for until Black Saturday.  But no! I won’t stand for it! When man is faced by an insurmountable obstacle, he evolves. When there is no food and you need to eat, you make your own food!

Yes, today I cooked some Japchae, wrapped it up in seawood, and fried it in tempura batter. The result is the Korean snack called Kimari.

Japchae is a simple enough food to make. It’s sweet potato noodles (what Western people call viramicelli, Filipinos call sotanghon and the Japanese shirataki noodles, the type used in Sukiyaki). You mix it up with some soy sauce, brown sugar, carrots, spinach, sesame oil, sesame seeds and shiitake mushrooms. And viola, you have these Korean pansit type thing that looks like this:

Well, I used my Google Fu for a quick recipe on Japchae. Followed it a bit but the result was lacking so I pretty much quadrupled the soy sauce and sugar required, and came up with a satisfactory tasting bowl of noodles. Here is the result:

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Afterwards, I wrapped it up in some Nori that I got from the local grocery. The Nori was actually the most expensive component of this dish, got it for 100php for 10 pieces. A pair of kitchen scissors then let me chop it up into smaller clumps, ready to be battered up in tempura batter and then fried. The batter, in by the way, is easy to make — just mix 3/4th cup of flour with six tablespoons of water and an egg. Put some ice to keep it cold — the secret to fluffy, crispy tempura batter is to keep it cold right before you fry it!

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And yes, I did my frying in a rice cooker, sue me I’m lazy.

After a few batches of chopping, dipping in batter and frying in the rice cooker, we have a very, very edible dish.  Served it with some tempura sauce (I make some by mixing some miren and soy sauce in equal measure, adding some chopped radishes and a touch of sugar. Though I ran out of radishes today so I skipped that, still tasted good). And viola! Instant Korean goodness.

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Have to say, I’m pretty happy with the result. Tastes close enough to the stuff I see Korean entrepreneurs selling at stalls for 100 bucks. I mean, come on, four tiny pieces of this for a 100 bucks. The one I made were kinda jumbo-sized since my nori-wrapping technique sucks, so it was bigger than usual.

But I bet you it didn’t cost me 25 bucks to make one of these, haha. In the food industry, mark up really is around 200%. Looking at the costs of the stuff — the Nori was 100 bucks and I only used 8 pieces, I still have 2 sheets of Nori to munch on as a snack later. The sotanghon was like 50 bucks. Then some carrots, spinach and mushrooms. Each Nori roll cut into 3 pieces (jumbo size haha, smaller would be 4 per roll) so I made 24 pieces of Kimari. I probably spent no more than 200 bucks all in all for 24 pieces. If I could sell 4 for 100… that’s a 600 bucks! For like 200% profit. Yeah, the food industry really does mark up 200%.

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Posted by Erwin Anciano

Erwin has been eating food for the past 30 or so years. Yes, he actually thinks that makes him an expert on all things food-related.

Website: http://emuncher.com

  • http://twitter.com/rochie_chan Rochelle R. (@rochie_chan)

    I like the improvised version of the kimmari even though the ingredients are not complete. In my opinion, the soy sauce and sugar (in the chapchae), nori and sesame seeds brought out the taste and made it a close replicate of the kimmari sold in you-know-where. Nina and I would love to eat more of that stuff!