How do you make that Cinnamon Ginger Drink?
This is called Soo Jung Ga. Typically, this dish has a dried persimmon and other dried fruits in it but persimmons are a sweetening agent and does not have a major role as a digestive aid.
The pine nut however is a great story. The Korean herbalists put the pine nut in the drink because it is a floating nut. Because the drink is consumed cold it should be enjoyed slowly. The pine nut will get caught on your lip and you will have the urge to stop drinking for a moment allowing your stomach temperature to catch up.
Soo Jung Ga is simple to make. Start with a stockpot filled with cold water. Put in 10 good cinnamon sticks and around 100 grams of peeled ginger. The ginger needs to be peeled because the peel and flesh of the ginger have opposite effects on the body. This recipe will vary according to the quality of cinnamon and ginger you are using.
Bring this to a boil. Once boiling turn down the heat so a simmer for a while longer. We go for 4 hours but it tastes great without the simmer you don't have to.
Add a bit of brown sugar or any other sweeteners that you like to taste. Don't add too much because the cinnamon makes the sugars taste sweeter than it is.
Enjoy a hot cup of this as soon as it is made (great for colds) and put the rest in the fridge to enjoy later. If you want to make the dish fancy, drop a dried percimmon in the drink 1 hour before you serve it. Looks great served as a dessert dish.
WHAT IS THE STONE BOWL MADE OF AND HOW DO YOU HEAT IT?
Our stone bowl is made from a big chunk of stone. Hand carved and polished smooth. I don't know why our bowl stays hot longer than other bowls but I think it is because our bowl has a high iron content. Korean Grocery stores like Galleria and P.A.T. carry these bowls for a reasonable price. They won't stay hot as long as ours but they get just as hot and will still make your rice sizzle.
You can heat the bowls on top of the stove. Even an electric stove top works (just takes a few minutes longer) Try soups stews or anything else you like eating hot.
There are two types of bowls. Stone bowls look like raw granite when you first get it and then there are ceramic bowls that look similar but with a glazed coating on them. The Stone bowls need seasoning as the stone surface is porus.
Soak the bowls in salt water overnight. Dry the bowls and put on a light coating of oil on the surface. Heat the bowls and let sit until cool. Repeat the oiling and heating process 4 times. Wash before use.
Don't put hot bowls in cold water. Allow the bowls to cool enough so you can touch it and then soak in hot tap water. Don't scrub the bowls unless absolutely necessary and don't worry if the bowls crack (stone bowls) as they will sometimes crack and heal with use but should not leak.
We don't mind selling you one of our bowls but our bowls cost $100 and you can get a similar one at the K-Grocery stores for around $25. Nothing wrong with the grocery store bowls, they cool down faster and/or the cut is not as good but these are minor points and your food will taste just as great.
WHAT BEEF AND CHICKEN DO YOU USE?
At Bi Bim Bap we don't have Pork or Seafood on our menu. We do use Anchovy paste in our KimChi but are shellfish free. We use Canadian Chicken breast. They are smaller but they taste better and healthier. Our Beef comes from a small Korean butcher in Mississauga. Woori Meats specializes in cutting cuts of meat for Korean cooking and always has the best cuts of beef. They sell Korean BBQ beef or Ribs marinated and ready to cook if you need it (need to order 24hrs before) so go check them out 157 Dundas St. W, Mississauga 905 277 9990. The Tofu we use is Pyung Hwa's Organic Firm Tofu. Available in most Korean Gorcery stores. Costs a bit more but more than worth it for the taste. Besides a pack of tofu only costs a few bucks so might as well use the nice stuff. Why am I tell you where I get my stuff? Because my suppliers take good care of me and I dont' mind if they get more business!
DO PICKY CUSTOMERS BOTHER YOU?
Not at all. As long as you like the food that you are eating we don't mind catering to your needs. There are a few things that we can't avoid like garlic and onions but other than that we will do anything we can to make the food the way you want it.
WHAT GLUTEN-FREE OPTIONS DO YOU HAVE?
First of all, DON'T drink the TEA! We serve barley tea. Caffiene free but it is wheat based. Our chicken bibimbap, mushroom bibimbap, tofu bibimbap and plain bibimbap can be made gluten free. Our apple hot sauce is gluten free and we have a gluten free soy sauce that you can ask for. If you call 24 hour ahead we can do many other dishes gluten free as we stock gluten free flour, starch and soy that we can use in your food. We do need early warning since some of the dishes do take time to make. If you give me a week's notice we can even do BBQ beef or BBQ ribs gluten free!
WHAT KIND OF BROWN RICE DO YOU USE?
We use a Pan-Asia brand rice. It is made in California. We wash all our rice many times and rinse until the water becomes clear. We soak the Brown Rice for 2 days until soft and cook it in a regular rice cooker. Pan-Asia White rice has a lower glycemic index than most other short grain rice.
WHAT MAKES YOUR FOOD HEALTHY?
We use as many local products as possible. We use only sea salts. Instead of sugar we use fruits, dark brown sugar, organic honey, agave syrup as substitutes. We use different ones for different foods and little of it as possible. In our food we use 3/4 cup of rice, 1.5 cup of vegetables and 100g of meat is our single serving. All our sauces are made in house to minimize sodium, sugar and keep out MSG. Our Kimchi is also made in house. I'm hoping that what we serve is healthy because my family eats here.
WHAT MAKES YOUR KIMCHI UNIQUE?
Ours is vegan Kimchi. For the last 3 years we have been struggling to make Kimchi without fish sauce or shrimp paste. It turned out nice. Not too spicy, crunchy with the right amount of Umami. We offer take-home jars.