Artist & Writer, San Francisco Bay Area

Pan Chan in the House now

The last time I wrote about food it was enchiladas I was all excited about, and this time it’s some egg pan chan– Korean side dishes. I made 2 for Umma- my Korean mother-in-law, and for Imo who is visiting from Seoul. (Imo= auntie on GK’s mom’s side.) Would that change her to some kind of Gomo to my kids, since to them she’s an auntie on dad’s side, altho one generation up? Anyway, we called her Mini-Halmoni (Halmoni= grandma) since her American name sounds like Minnie a-la Minnie Mouse, and I personally call her Mini-Imo. (She does prefer the kids to call her Imo instead of some kind of Halmoni but too bad! While she has no grandkids of her own, we are initiating her into the concept that she’s of age to be a grandma.) ☺And we do love Mini-Halmoni. It makes my boys laugh to call her that. And GK’s grandma is Big Halmoni which really gets the boys laughing, since actually she’s somewhat little, being both petite and hunched over from age.

On to the food.

I must admit, I am coming around slowly to embracing Korean food in my kitchen. I do enjoy it with the family outings & celebrations, and I have had kim-chi for years, but it’s not something that I keep stocked in my fridge. I have also been known to run out of rice, for shame!

At the turn of the year, I decided to bring our family’s heritage cooking into our home, both Korean and Mexican, and I think this is a pretty grand gesture (the cooking part, not the both cultures part) because I am not a huge fan of spending time in the kitchen. But a little inspiration goes a long long way with me, and so embracing this goal has helped out quite a bit.

For Umma’s birthday, I made two of the easiest dishes ever.

Geyran buchim (omelet roll) and Geyran jjim (egg & scallion custard.) Umma & Mini-Imo loved them. (Although apparently one of them is called geyran mari by them. I have no idea which one.)

I used my own mom’s ancient mortar and pestle to ground down the roasted toasted sesame seeds into a paste with a rich aroma.

Dok Suni: Recipes from My Mother’s Kitchen by Jenny Kwak

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