Bring the memory of Aubergine into your kitchen with these favorite recipes shared by members of the cast.
From Tony Nam (Ray)
Cornelia mentions mandu briefly during the play, at the top of Act 2. My mother would make mandu by the hundreds and freeze them for quick thawing and cooking later. They were present for nearly every special occasion: birthdays, Christmas, New Years, Thanksgiving... And we devoured them!
- 1 whole cabbage
- 1 package of rice vermicelli or bean thread (12oz)
- 1 large white onion, diced small
- 1 medium-large carrot, minced
- 1 bunch green scallion, chopped small
- 1 thumb-sized piece of fresh ginger, peeled and minced (optional)
- 1 block of firm tofu, rinsed, drained and diced
- 1/2 cup of creamy peanut butter
- 2 TB soy sauce
- 1 TB sesame oil
- 2 tsp toasted sesame seeds
- 2 eggs, beaten
- Salt to taste
- 2 packages of thawed, pre-made/cut dumpling wrappers (round or square), approx. 3” across.
- Plastic wrap or wax paper
- Wide-rimmed bowl of water
Peel away outer leaves of cabbage and cut into quarters. Boil water and par-boil the quarters of cabbage until cooked, but not over-cooked (about 5 minutes). Use tongs to carefully remove cabbage from boiling water and drain/cool in colander. Add vermicelli to hot water (not boiling), and cook for 3 minutes. Strain vermicelli and run cold water over the noodles to cool, allowing to strain as vegetables are prepared. Mince cooked, cooled cabbage into small dice (1 cm or less). Put diced cabbage in clean cheese cloth or kitchen towel and ring out all the water, then place in large mixing bowl. Add prepped onion, carrot, scallion, ginger and tofu to bowl. Stir in peanut butter, soy sauce, sesame oil, toasted sesame seeds and eggs. Mix with gloved hands or wooden spoon until all ingredients are thoroughly incorporated. Add salt to taste.
Have a freezer-safe tray ready (a large, glass oven dish will also work), along with sheets of plastic wrap or wax paper and bowl of water. Place a dumpling wrapper on flat surface, dip finger into water, and trace dampened finger around the outer sides of wrapper. Place 1/2 teaspoon of filling mixture in the middle of wrapper and crimp wrapper closed with hands (crimping can be a simple flat seal or crimping can be made more elaborate as desired). Repeat with additional dumpling wrappers, placing each on prepared tray, leaving at least 1/2-inch space around each mandu. After tray is filled with one full layer, place plastic wrap or wax paper atop and begin next layer of mandu (hint: place next layer of mandu in the previous layer’s gaps in order to fit more mandu). When all mandu are made, tray can be covered with plastic and frozen or cooked immediately. Makes 50-70 mandu.
Dumplings can be deep fried, pan fried, steamed or added to a soup. If the mandu are frozen, they do not need to be fully thawed to use, but be careful of oil splatter.
KIMCHI FRIED RICE (BOKKUMBAP)
From Song Kim (Uncle)
In our house, kimchi bokkumbap was always Mom’s go to for a quick meal as the three main ingredients were always readily available in our kitchen; Rice, kimchi, sesame oil. As this is a repurposing of leftovers, other ingredients can be modified or substituted (so long as you keep your ratios of the three main ingredients—rice, kimchi, sesame oil—true). The best recipe is the one that is suited to your taste.
- 2 TB vegetable oil
- 2 large eggs
- 1 cup protein of your choosing (I like canned luncheon meat and/or bacon)
- 2-3 cups kimchi very coarsely chopped*
- Sesame oil to taste (100% pure for best flavor)*
- 4 cups cooked rice (preferably day old rice, but Mom would scoop warm rice right out of the cooker)*
- 1/4 cup kimchi juice
- 1/2 cup green onion to garnish
- Small package of roasted seasoned laver (seaweed) to garnish
- Salt to taste
*denotes “non-negotiable” ingredients
Add a small amount of vegetable oil to pan and scramble eggs to set but soft consistency. Remove eggs from pan and set aside. Add more vegetable oil if needed and cook protein thoroughly. Add chopped kimchi and bring heat to medium/high. Lightly coat with sesame oil. Let kimchi become cooked through, stirring frequently. Add cooked rice to pan, stirring frequently to prevent sticking. If desired, coat again with sesame oil and add kimchi juice (add too much oil and you will end up with a greasy mess—not necessarily a bad thing). Cook all ingredients to desired doneness (cooking out any added liquid). Fold in scrambled egg and let work another minute or so. Plate and garnish with green onion and crumbled seaweed. Serves two.
Substitute scrambled egg with over-easy or sunny-side up egg, prepared in a separate pan and placed over bed of rice.
RED BEAN MOCHI SQUARES
From Eunice Bae (Cornelia)
This was my favorite sweet treat that my mom used to make, and I would ask her to bake it all the time. I specifically remember a “culture day” at school, in third grade, where students were asked to each bring in a food representing our culture. Most of my classmates brought in American standards like brownies or macaroni and cheese, or Italian food like lasagna—but I was so excited to bring what my family called “red bean brownies,” and couldn’t wait to share them at school. Little did I realize that American kids in the 1980s had no taste for unusual textures, and my Korean treats went virtually untouched. I couldn’t understand the insanity of my classmates. It was incredibly disheartening at that time, when I had only wanted to blend in—but now, looking back, I just see the insularity of those kids and I am thankful that I was exposed to many different kinds of foods and textures beginning at an early age. It has made me a much more adventurous eater as an adult, and more open to the unusual.
- 1 egg
- 16 oz sweet rice flour (e.g. 1 box of Michiko)
- 2 tsp baking powder
- 1 cup (or less) sugar
- 1/2 cup crushed walnuts
- 1 can (15 oz.) sweet red beans (azuki beans)
- 2 cups milk
Preheat oven to 350°. Grease and flour a 8”x12” baking dish. Beat egg in large bowl. Add sweet rice flour, stirring until combined. Add baking powder, sugar, and walnuts, mixing thoroughly. Gently stir in red beans. Add milk and stir to combine. Pour mixture into baking dish and bake 50-60 minutes, until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean.