Thanks to our friends Nomie and Noah, we recently delved into the world of Korean cooking. Before this particular meal, Marnina and I were completely unversed in Korean food; we only knew that Korean and Japan shared some culinary history and that there is some ingredient overlap. Nomie, who speaks Korean and is very knowledgeable about Korean food and culture, was a capable guide to introduce us to Korean food. And we are very thankful that she was there, because the instructions on all the package labels were in Korean! She informed us that traditionally, rice and/or noodles, and vegetables make up many Korean meals, and that commonly used ingredients include sesame oil, soy sauce, salt, garlic, ginger, and pepper. Meats or tofu are sometimes added to these dishes too. The basic seasonings make for a relatively salty and spicy meal. (*Be on the look out for a new restaurant guide in which we will be expanding our list of cuisines and how IBDers can navigate these cuisines*).
For our meal, we made a tomato egg drop soup, yu bu cho bap (tofu-wrapped rice balls), and chop chae (a rice noodle and vegetable stir-fry). Although all three dishes were delicious, the highlight dish was the yu bu cho bap. Preparing this dish is super easy, and involves some fun manual labor (stuffing the rice into the tofu wrappers). Nomie brought her rice cooker, which produced perfectly steamed rice (we will definitely be investing in one at some point in the future). After pouring the seasoning mixture over the rice and adding the carrots and scallions (we steamed the veggies so that Marnina would not be eating raw veggies), Nomie advised us to smell and feel the rice mixture to ensure that the seasonings and consistency were just right. The rice mixture should cling together and easily be packed to form balls into which we used to stuff the tofu wrappers. The tofu wrappers themselves have an eggy consistency, and they are a perfect vehicle to eat the rice mixture. The rice is by far the best part of this recipe – it tastes similar to sushi-rice, it has a sweet and sour flavor and it can be enjoyed for days afterward (we plan on making this rice by itself in the future).
Any kind of white rice is generally a safe option for Marnina. It is one of the first foods that she reintroduces into her diet after she has a flare or is not feeling well. White rice has gone through a processing phase whereby the husk, bran, and germ have been removed. It is therefore a refined food that is quickly and easily digested. We will definitely incorporate this rice mixture into Marnina’s “Post Stomach Unhappiness Recovery” process, especially considering it is more flavorful than plain white rice. If you are able to tolerate brown rice or wild rice, then those foods are a healthier alternative to white rice because they are richer in a host of important vitamins and minerals. Luckily, white rice is usually enriched with some B vitamins and iron, so it is not completely devoid of nutrients!
The meal was delicious and great fuel for our running as we continue to train with Team Challenge. We have logged 34 miles so far, and we have raised over $1,000 during the past week! Thank you to our contributors!! This money will directly fund research to find a cure for Crohn’s and Colitis. You still have one more day to enter our Blog Giveaway to receive a signed copy of The Foul Bowel. Don’t miss out on this wonderful opportunity and please don’t forget to donate and help us SKEWER IBD!
Pictures and recipe below:
Yu Bu (wrapper) Cho Bap (rice, meal)
- 24 wrappers + vinegar packets
- 1 ½ – 2 cups rice (measurement uncooked)
- 2 large carrots finely grated
- 4 large green onions finely chopped
- 2-3 T black sesame seeds (We omitted them as they are a big ‘no-no’ for most people with IBD)
- 6 T rice vinegar
- 3 T mirin
- 3-4 T sugar
- 1 ½ t salt
Mix rice vinegar, mirin, sugar and salt. Pour mixture over rice. Add veggies. Mix in sesame seeds last (we omitted the seeds!). Adjust to taste and make sure not too goopy. Stuff in wrappers.
Eat within a day or two so it doesn’t get soggy.