The inspiration for this week’s Food Friday came purely by chance. When sitting at the computer, pondering through restaurants, recipes and delicacies, something happened. The first sniffle of the year. That feeling of your sinuses acting against you until you are worn out and tired. Winter will soon be upon us; with the weather getting colder and warning already out for the Cold & Flu season. Unfortunately, while writing this week’s article, I did fall victim to a cold but it made me wonder about the home remedies. Cosy blankets and noodle soups are first point of call but how does Korea tackle such ailments? With my Legend of Zelda mug of tea nestled in my hand, I ventured forth and discovered some culinary cures of all varieties in the hope to fend off the symptoms once and for all.
Known as Jook (죽), rice porridge has various interpretations across Asia but in Korea, it is the staple remedy for the sick. It is known to be a childhood cure known by many and often available if recovering in hospital. It is easy to eat and digest due to its moist texture which is often perfect for those with stomachaches. Many families have their own take of rice porridge, adding various ingredients to make it either sweet or savoury. One example is Tarak, a milk porridge. Watch Produce 48 finalist, Kaeun cook alongside her After School member, E-Young in the video above for an easy recipe to make at home.
When suffering from a cold, our first reaction is to always reach for a hot drink such as tea or coffee. However, despite the comfort of a milky brew, you may also feel even more worn down due to the caffeine. Warm lemon and honey is often seen as the best substitute which is similar in Korean culture. The citrus food of choice in Asia is often the native Yuja fruit and mothers of all generations often swear by making tea by mixing Yuja marmalade – either store bought or homemade – in warm water. However, this tea is more than just a soothing remedy for a cold; it is high in Vitamin C. Traditionally, Vitamin C was well known as a miracle cure for the cold – which was controversially been debunked in recent decades. However, it is also known as an essential boost to the immune system which help fight off the cold after recovering.
Finally; when beginning my search of Korean food cures, this was the most frequently appearing recipe – and the most memorable for obvious reasons. Samgyetang is made with a whole small chicken, stuffed with rice, garlic, jujube, chestnuts and ginseng. During the cooking process, the entire chicken is left in a broth to cook and served in a bowl to break apart. It is the closest to Chicken Soup in terms of cold ailments but interestingly enough, it is not just reserved for the Winter seasons. Traditionally, this soup is served during the warmest days of the year. Koreans believe that Ginseng naturally warms the body and with the science of regulating body temperature with additional heat; samgyetang is believed to be the perfect remedy for all seasons.
Will you be trying these remedies this year? Do you have a home cure of your own? Let us known in the comments and on social media!