For Christmas, I was given a three-month subscription to The Spicery. Basically, the way this works is every month, you get sent a little, postbox-sized box filled with two recipes (one main course, one dessert – yay) and all the exotic spices, pre-measured out, you need to create those recipes. It’s is a really great way to try out new and exotic foods without the hassle of searching the aisles of international supermarkets looking for spices you’ve never even heard of before and will never use again. All you have to do is buy the rest of the ingredients, put it all together, and voila!
There are two different subscription options you can pick: Friday Night Curry, which contains recipes for curries, or World Explorer, the one I received, which showcases different dishes from around the world. Once you’ve selected one, there are also some different menu choices: for World Explorer, you can pick between the “Favourites” box (which will give you dishes like fajitas, tagines, and so on), a Vegetarian box, or the “Discoverer” box, which will give you more unusual, exotic dishes. In the spirit of adventure, I opted for the latter, and have since received 2 of my 3 boxes. Last night, after weeks of looking longingly at the boxes and not being bothered to buy the ingredients, Rory and I finally got down to making the first recipe I received, Budae Jjigae.
As the little card explained, Budae Jjigae is a dish originally eaten by American troops in Korea and was made up of hot dogs, baked beans and eggs, along with more traditional Korean aspects like noodles and kimchi. The Spicery have poshed up the menu a little bit though, replacing hot dogs with real sausages and baked beans with broad or edamame beans.
First up was the kimchi. We were using pak choi, which I already had in the fridge, rather than the Chinese cabbage it specified, but I don’t think it really made much difference. All this entailed was chopping up pak choi and spring onions, and adding the required spices (korean chilli flakes & kimchi spices), along with some vinegar (we used balsamic, which isn’t what the card said, but it still tasted fine!), garlic and ginger. Then we left it to soak up all the flavours while we got on with the main part of the meal.
There were a lot of different steps and components, but everything by itself was actually very easy and with a little bit of teamwork we got everything going nicely. We basically created a broth with spices & tomato puree, in which we boiled some eggs, and then added mushrooms, noodles, broad beans, ham, and sausages.
It has to be said, it was not the most photogenic cooking process and I was getting distinctly worried right about this time that it was going to taste revolting.
To my vague surprise though, it actually all came together to make a very Instagram-friendly dish – and more importantly, it tasted really good too! The spices elevate what is essentially a random mix to a really flavoursome and delicious meal and I even enjoyed the boiled eggs on top.
My Budae Jjigae recipe card came with a dessert card for creole bread pudding which I cannot WAIT to try, and we also received a free sample meal in that box and have received my second box in the meantime, so look out for more posts – I personally can’t wait to try them all!