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I’m introducing one of my most popular recipes among my Korean friends to you today. Gochujeon made with green chili peppers is one of my favorite lunchbox side dishes.
When I was young, I used to visit my grandmother during the summer vacation. She lived on an island in the very southern part of Korea. Her gochujeon was very salty and spicy, and very delicious.
Why did she make it so salty? She might have wanted to conserve her other ingredients. Or maybe she thought salty pancakes were more delicious? I never asked her why, and she passed away a long time ago. I modified her gochujeon recipe to make it milder and less salty, and I’ve been making my popular gochujeon for many years.
When I traveled to Mexico City, the hotel I stayed at provided us with breakfast every morning. I met chef Margarita there. Her menu was very interesting: Canadian enchilada, Italian enchilada, Mexican style eggs… What’s the difference between different countries’ enchiladas? Everyone would be interested to see what the Canadian enchilada tastes like.
Even though I usually don’t eat breakfast, I was so curious about the different dishes that I ordered a different breakfast every day. One morning, my gochujeon idea came up. I asked chef Margarita if she was interested in learning my authentic Korean gochujeon recipe. She loved the idea.
We made 2 versions: the first was my gochujeon, and the second was her version using seasoned chicken strips, her specialty. It worked wonderfully. Her gochujeon with chicken was very tasty.
Margarita understood a little bit of English but she understood a lot of my body language. She wrote down the recipes in her notebook and took notes about the fish sauce. I told her where to find it; there’s a Koreatown in Mexico City in an area called Zona Rosa. I visited Zona Rosa and found several Korean supermarkets.
I hope she added a new dish to her breakfast menu: “Korean style green chili pancake!” Wouldn’t that be great!
Margarita is making a note about the fish sauce.
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