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Jul 9, 2010 01:06 AM

Korean restaurants and rice

Here, in and about Lynnwood, Wa., at some Korean restaurants, I get white rice in the hot stone pots and at others, the bean rice that is reddish/purple. Why the difference?
At some restaurants, the waitress will spoon out the rice from the hot stone pot into a silver container, then pour tea into the hot stone pot. Why?
I am discovering and loving Korean food. I am now, officially addicted to the Hot Tofu Soup.

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  1. You probably mean pat bap (red beans+rice) which is considered healthier than white rice. More unusual is ogok bap (aka chapgok bap) which is multi-grain rice.

    I usually eats these types of rice in winter as they are heartier than white rice or brown rice. The ogok bap is traditionally served at the first full moon of the lunar year/consumed towards the end of winter to provide needed nutrients. I don't recall the pat bap being associated with anything particular but could be wrong.

    The rice stuck to the hot pot is called nurungji, it is then mixed with water to make nurungi bap. It's just an extra rice porridge type dish for you to eat as it is suppose to have health benefits including aiding with digestion. It is also eaten at breakfast.

    1. Shop at nearby HMart if you want a stone bowl of your own.

      4 Replies
      1. re: paulj

        Hi Paul,
        Believe it or shut up, I bought a stone pot, from Paldo some months ago.
        And! I have successfully made the hot bibimbap using the premade seasoned veggies available at HMart and Paldo.
        Now, next challenge is homemade soon doo bu. :-)

        1. re: ritabwh

          Rita, you might look at maangchi's recipe on youtube for the soon du bu in case you are looking for a great recipe...awesome! I had some also recently at a Korean restaurant in San Francisco 2 weeks ago and what they brought out to our table looked just like what she makes in her video...a bubbling little cauldron of spicy, delicious soup. I made her recipe a few months ago but didn't buy the Korean red pepper powder nor the Korean tube of soft tofu so mine needs tweaking but can't wait to make it again.

          1. re: Val

            Great videos and instruction. I also went to her actual website. I recommend to all.

            1. re: ritabwh

              She is fantastic. The videos are helpful and her recipes turn out beautifully!

      2. Why do they serve different kinds of rice? That's sort of like asking why different restaurants serve different kinds of bread. :)

        As far as pouring tea into the pot, it's basically an old school way of scrubbing off the stuck on crispy rice on the bottom of the pot. Think of it like a deglazed rice tea.

        You mentioned hot tofu soup - for some reason these restaurants seem to often serve rice in the stone pots in the way you mentioned. Most joints will still just serve you white rice. IMO when a restaurant does really good rice in a stone pot, it's incomparably good. Mmm.

        I love Korean food too, it's the best!

        1 Reply
        1. re: joonjoon

          In my non-Korean mindset, it seems to me that the red bean rice would be more costly than plain rice. So, following that logic, the restaurants that serve the red bean rice would be of higher quality? But now that you mention it, my forays into Korean food have been pretty much at Tofu Houses. So now it makes complete sense to me!
          Thanks a bunch

        2. A great many stateside Koreans have become extremely "health conscious" over the past decade or two.
          While home cooked rice has nearly always been changed up with various grains and beans, non-specialty restaurants are now getting into the "healthy" schtick, and serving the current popular healthy rice dishes. You can see oats, barley, red beans, mung beans, black rice, wild rice, peas, etc added to white rice to increase the nutrient value of the dish.
          Specialty restaurants like tofu houses, soondae (blood sausage) places, etc usually serve "coordinated" meals - meals that are composed of complimentary dishes that often include something other than plain white rice.

          In addition to SeoulQueen's description of nurungji, hot water (or barley/corn tea) in the stone bowl is pretty standard to provide a toasted rice "tea" drink to accompany the meal.

          1 Reply
          1. re: hannaone

            Growing up, we ate the multi-grain rice with beans to the point that when we had plain ol' white rice, it was such a treat. My Asian friends who grew up with white rice preferred the multi-grain one. Now that I'm an adult, I can have all the plain rice I want (except it's usually brown).

          2. I'm curious what some of the posters on this thread think of the ready made nurungji products available in bags in Korean groceries? I've even seen them in a mix of white and brown rice or all brown. Of course, they won't be as good as freshly made rice that's allowed to overcook a bit, but can they be redeemed at all by some preparation? They seem awfully convenient for those who don't think ahead...I have a neighbor who just snacks on it straight from the bag, but I found that completely unappealing, and am now wondering what to do with a bagful. Are there any dishes that I could spoon over it to perk it up?

            4 Replies
            1. re: amyzan

              I always thought those bags of ready made nurunji were for sizzling rice soup. Besides that, I have seen my mother pour some hot barley/corn tea over it for a snack.

              1. re: soypower

                I thought sizzling rice soup was a Chinese recipe? or has it been adopted by Koreans? I've only ever had it at Chinese American restaurants, but the bag of nurungji I have is a Korean product. Once the weather cools off, though, I will certainly give that recipe a go. We've always liked it.

                1. re: amyzan

                  I've only had sizzling rice soup at Chinese restaurants too so I called my (korean) mom to see what she uses those packages of nurunji for. She said she does pour barley/corn tea over it to simulate the stuff you get at the restaurant, but she says you can also fry the nurunji and then use it in sizzling rice soup.

                  She also gave me a rundown on how to make simmered burdock root, so thanks for giving me a reason to pick her culinary brain!

                  1. re: soypower

                    I love burdock root this time of year. It's so fresh and crisp! Thanks for the barley tea tip from your mom. I've got some in the pantry, 'cause it's refreshing cold in this unbearable heat.