Brian’s grandma always made this curry in her apartment in Korea
Get to know Brian in this Q&A and get his “Homemade healthy curry” TONIGHT in Humboldt Park!
Q: What can you tell us about the dish you’re making and what inspired it?
Brian: The dish I’m making is a what I like to call a “healthy” transformation of Korean style curry. It was mostly inspired by my grandma’s curry which she would make all the time when I was staying at her place in Korea. My recipe, is for the most part very similar to hers, though I’ve switched out a few ingredients to make mine healthier.
Being a nutrition major, I’m always conscious about what goes into my body, and I enjoy the creative process of taking popular dishes and tinkering with them to make them healthy but also maintain the same taste and flavor. A lot of popular Korean curries tend to be processed which loads them with preservatives and added sugars. However, I feel with a few little tweaks you can make the same savory curry, but much more nutritious because why can’t we have both?
Q: Who do you think about when you make this dish?
Brian: My curry dish was inspired by my grandma since it always reminds me of her. She would make it whenever I would stay at her place in Korea because she knew it was one of my favorites. It’s weird to describe, but even though my mom and I had gotten off the plane, grabbed our baggage, it never felt like I was officially in Korea until I had stepped into my grandma’s apartment and smelled her curry. Once I smelled it though, it would click in me that I was not in the U.S. anymore, and that I was now in a new country where my mom and grandma were born.
Q: What’s your favorite food memory?
Brian: My favorite food memory is always with my grandma and I in her apartment in Korea. It was difficult to get me to come to the dinner table as I was busy saving the world in my favorite Pokemon game. However, my grandma never needed to raise her voice or shout because she knew the exact trick to get me to put down the Gameboy and come rushing out to the dining room.
All I needed was that little sniff and I would immediately perk up and run outside. There I would see my grandma slowly stirring a giant metal pot with steam slowly emanating from the top. After a few stirs she would place the lid back on top – a sad moment as the smell would soon disappear. I was too short to see the beautiful curry that was simmering in the giant pot, but I could perfectly imagine the golden brown texture, the soft carrots and potatoes, and the tender meat that was all being cooked to perfection inside.
The best part, of course, was watching my grandma take the ladle out of the pot and slowly pour the curry on top of fresh steaming rice. The steam of fresh rice soon turned into an aromatic adventure as I could smell the different spices working together to excite me even more. It was hard not to go for seconds, thirds, or even fourths. Luckily, my grandma had no qualms over me asking her to pour me another serving of curry or to get some more rice.