Friday, October 10, 2014

New Banchan comic: Soybean Paste Soup with Clams






If you have a king oyster mushroom left over from my last recipe, this will be the way to put it to good use. Deun-Jang-Gook or Deun-Jang-Jji-Gye means ‘soybean paste soup’ in Korean and it’s probably the second most missed food for Koreans in oversea after Kim-Chi-Jji-Gye. Japanese MISO paste would be probably easier to find than Korean soybean paste in American grocery shops and it’s fine to use them in this recipe instead of the Korean soybean paste. Traditionally, you basically need soybean paste (Deun-Jang) and zucchini and potatoes to make a very simple Deun-Jang-Gook, but adding the oyster mushroom and clam makes the broth so much deeper and flavorful. I made this recipe a few days ago and my mom told me it was the best Deung-Jang-Gook she’s ever had. Coming from her who has highly trained taste buds in Korean food, it must have really tasted good. So try it and see for yourself! This is korean comfort food at its best: Warm, savory and full of nutritions. Once you have this version of Soybean paste/ miso soup, you wouldn’t want it any other way.

Follow Banchan in 2 pages for a new recipe every week!


Friday, October 3, 2014

Seafood Mushroom Porridge Recipe






Jeon-Bok-Jook is the korean word for the abalone porridge and it is a special treat in korean cuisine. Abalone is very tasty but it can get super pricy and hard to find in a regular grocery shop. So I’ve replaced it with the king oyster mushroom which tastes so much like scallop, sometimes even better than abalone or scallop when cooked right! In the seafood mix, there are mussels, shrimps and squids in it which gives out enough seafood flavor in the porridge. This is a super simple recipe and the only thing to be careful about is to pay attention when you’re simmering the porridge. Do not leave the pot unattended! You should watch it bubble up and stir it so the rice and the glutenous liquid get mixed well and it’ll get thickened evenly. A bit of sesame oil and the york of the soft boiled egg add more rich and creamy flavor,  and the seasoned seaweed adds more seafoody saltiness and a bit a of crunch which goes so well with this porridge. This is one of my favorite savory treats. 
If you are a vegetarian or allergic to seafood, you can still make this by taking out the seafood and the fish sauce and replacing them with more mushrooms and the soy sauce. 
Follow Banchan in 2 pages for a new recipe every week!

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Do you wanna be drawn?

I'm taking portrait commissions!
For more detailed overview of my work, Check out:

                                                   http://yourprettyportrait.tumblr.com/

Portraits are great gifts for everyone, including yourself. If you or your loved ones want to be drawn, just shoot me an e-mail to robinha81@gmail.com and I will see what I can do!
I have several styles and methods to draw with, and they are posted on this tumblr. The categories are:
- Digital flat color fashion portraits
- Pencil portraits on paper. 
- Water color 11” x 14” Fashion Portraits
- Water color croquis 9” x 12”
Please review your options carefully and write to me which style, size and how many people you want to get drawn.
If the number of the people to draw exceeds two people, or if what you are looking for aren’t specified on this tumblr, we can negotiate via e-mail.
You can send me a photo of the person you want me to draw, along with the detailed request and the shipping address. Please make sure the face on the photo is clearly shown and it is the angle you want to be drawn. In other words, send me your best angle! And it should be taken in day time, or indoor with the sufficient lighting.  
Once I’ve received good reference photos and the request is understood between us, I’ll e-mail you a confirmation of your order and the invoice. For the payment, credit card, paypal and chase quick pay are accepted. Once I receive the payment, I’ll start drawing. The final product will be mailed to you within 5-7 days in Priority USPS certified mail. 
If you have any questions, feel free to e-mail me.
Happy drawing!

Friday, September 26, 2014

The Beauty and the beast






My favorite greek mythology is about Cupid and Psyche. I love their mysterious courtship. Psyche can’t see how Cupid looks like, but still falls in love with him and goes on to claim her love despite numerous obstacle his jealous mother, Venus throws on her ways. Psyche starts as naive girl and ends up a woman who takes charge and fights for what she wants. I was watching a stunning film by Jean Cocteau,”La belle et la bĂȘte” several years ago and I realized this fable is actually a variation on the story of Cupid and Psyche. And I dreamed about telling this story again in my own way someday. I wanted to make this story into a graphic novel, add more romance and adventure in the middle, sort of like all those fantasy comics I read when I was little. Oh, I love me a good fantasy romance comics!
In this drawing, I added the pomegranate, which is from another greek mythology of Hades and Persephone. In order to bound her to hell, Hades fed his unwilling wife pomegranate seed.
Here are a few snapshots of the work in progress. This time I made a sketch with a blue pencil, so it’s easier to distinguish ink line from the sketch when I do the line work. I imported this scan and started outlining on photoshop. Then I did a sepia monotone light and dark layer on top. I added very little color touches for the red of the pomegranate since the drawing is pretty complicated. Then I layered it with some painterly texture on top to give it more vintage feel. 

New recipe on Banchan in 2 pages: Chili Chicken Stew!






When the weather is getting chilly like now, there’s nothing better than this dish with a shot of soju for dinner. It warms you right up! This dish is full of everything tasty, big chunky juicy dark meat chicken, soft potatoes and deep, rich and spicy sauce that taste so yummy when eaten with rice. Soju is a korean liquor made with mainly potatos. It tastes somewhere between japanese sake and vodka. It’s used in Korean cooking a lot, especially in cooking meat. When heated with meat, the alcohol evaporates and takes away the gamey smell of the meat with it. So even if you are not into drinking this liquor, it’s good to keep a bottle for cooking purposes. And they are super cheap at Korean grocery shops, usually less then $7 a bottle.  It is the most popular drink in Korea and there are many different brands but most of them come in green bottles. You can use any brand for cooking. If you can’t find soju near you, no worries. You can substitute soju with sake or vodka. You can use many different types of chicken as long as it’s dark meat: bone-in chicken thighs, wings, and drumsticks…etc. Just make sure they are not too big, and you might need to cook them a bit longer in order for the chicken to cook through. I like to use boneless chicken thighs the best because they take less time to cook and also less messy to eat. 

Follow Banchan in 2 pages for a new recipe every week!

Monday, September 22, 2014

Daisy Buchanan from The Great Gatsby





It’s not supposed to be Mia Farror or Carey Mulligan from the movie, but Daisy from the book. I recently re-read this classic and I liked it even more than when I first read it in high school. I think I understand who these people are better now that I’m older. What a great book, it really transcends time.
Here are a few snapshot of the steps I took. First, I make a rough sketch with pencil. Then I scan and import it to photoshop. I do the final cleaned up pencil line and on to the color on Photoshop. I layer with water color texture on top to give more natural look at the end.

Friday, September 19, 2014

Banchan in two pages: Kimchi Stew




Kimchijjigae is probably #1 comfort food Koreans miss when they are living overseas. And most Korean people think their mother’s Kimchiijigae is the best, kind of like how Italian Americans think their mothers’ meatball or Lasagnia is the best. The main part of this super simple dish is Kimchi and depending on how old the KImchi is, the taste will differ dramatically. Months of fermentation will make the Kimchi leaves very soft and the juice will become almost effervescent which makes it heavenly when made into stews.
There are many variety in the protein content in this dish and the most beloved is the pork belly. But you can also use spam as I mentioned and also canned mackerel, saury or tuna. 
Kimchijjigae is generally quiet spicy, but you can make it even spicier by adding more chili flakes and fresh green chili pepper or jalapeno peppers. Fresh peppers add a punch of spiciness over the mellow spiciness of the aged kimchi.

Follow Banchan in two pages for a new recipe every week!

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Han Bok


What is the Korean girl chef wearing in my comic? It’s called Han-Bok, a traditional Korean dress. This particular top with striped sleeves is called ”Sek-Dong-Jeh-Go-Ri”  which is worn by girls on happy special occasions. The silk tie at the end of her braid is called “Deng-Ki”. It is worn by young ladies yet to be married. This tie was the sign for the town’s bachelors to know which girls were available. Once the ladies got married, they turned the braid into a bun and wore an ornate pin though the bun.
Han-Bok is such a beautiful costume. It makes the woman look so graceful but unfortunately it is so uncomfortable to wear. I have no idea why they made the skirt to be tied so high, right on the breast line. Ouch!
It’s hard to see anyone wearing Han-Bok in Korea anymore, except for the national holidays, weddings and funerals. I remember wearing them when I was a little girl visiting the elderly relatives in Korean new years and Chu-Suk, the Korean thanksgiving. I couldn’t wait to take it off because it was so itchy and uncomfortable. The only way for this dress to stay put was to tie it very tightly right underneath my armpit and I could hardly breath, let alone eating any of those wonderful Korean holiday food.
There are many Korea dramas based on the Cho-Sun (Korean dynasty 1300s- 1800s) period and all the characters wear such a beautiful ornate Han-Bok. I’m a total sucker for those dramas. I’ve recently heard about this K drama called “Dae-Jang-Kum” which is about a female chef in the Cho-Sun era palace. It’s been translated as “The Jewel in the palace” in the other Asian countries and apparently it was a hugh hit a few years ago. I don’t watch much K dramas these days so I was completely oblivious to it until one of my Korean teacher told me to watch it since I’m doing a comic about Korean food. Korean Food drama full of beautiful Han-bok clad characters?? I was sold instantly and ordered the entire set online, I can’t wait to watch it! 

Recap on Baltimore Comic Con 2014











The Baltimore Comic con was held last weekend from Sept 5th Friday to the 7th, Sunday. I got to share a table with my fellow cartoonist friends from Brooklyn, Simon Fraser who is working on the new Doctor Who comic and Lara and Dave from So What? Press with their beautiful and funny Lovecraft illustrations and a mystery horror comic series “The tales of the night watchman”.
This was my second time attending and first time exhibiting at Baltimore comic con. The first time I went was 4 years ago, and I was just walking around, checking out mainstream comic as a newbie fan than a creator. So it was quite a different experience for me this time to be among these creators of mostly mainstream, super hero genre at the artist alley.
This was the first time Baltimore con has expanded to three day con. It was their attempt to take off the load from usually packed attendance on Saturday. But it was very slow for everyone on Friday and moderately packed on Saturday and Sunday, I thought it could have been better to just be a two day con.
My work was very different from the rest of the exhibitors at the con. My table with Korean food comic and feminine and original illustrations attracted a few curious attendees but I felt that most people were looking for Super hero collectibles and fan art than original art and comics. I met a few people who were very excited to read my Banchan in 2 pages and I got to do a fun portrait commission of a nice couple so it was not all lost in the end. 
The best part of this con was that I got to check out how mainstream audience work. It was very interesting to check out so many awesome cosplayers and what they were buying. And watching the veterans of comics pumping out gorgeous commission after commission was very inspiring. It was completely different from the indie comic scene like SPX and MoCCa.
I had an awesome time in the after hours connecting with old friends from Brooklyn, stuffing my face with lumpy delicious crab cakes and washing it down with Nanny-boo. Even though I have moved away from Brooklyn, the comic community is so tight and strong, it still felt as nothing has changed. I am looking forward to SPX this weekend where I will be tabling with So What? Press folk again.

Thursday, September 4, 2014

Banchan in 2 pages at Baltimore Comic Con this weekend!










I’ll be bringing my Banchan in 2 pages mini comic to Baltimore comic con this weekend. It’s fresh off the press, 24 pgs of full color yummy recipes!
Baltimore comic con is this Friday through Sunday sept 5- 7, at Baltimore convention center on 1 west Pratt st, Baltimore MD.
Find me at table A263!

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Intro to Korean dining


There are a few things different about Korean dining from the American dining. I thought I should explain it briefly for those people who aren’t familiar with it. These days many Korean restaurants have been americanized so you can order snacks like pancakes and pot stickers as appetizers before you start your “main course”. If you do Korean traditional fine dining, as the Korean royalties used to have, there are many courses but in normal dining, there aren’t any “courses”. You order what you want and Banchan and rice would usually come out first so many people think Banchans are the Korean appetizers but it’s suppose to be eaten as part of your main meal. Of course, you can eat which ever dish in however order you want. We Koreans are not fussy with dining etiquettes. Double dipping is almost required in Korean dining because we share everything! We are all about enjoying the food the way you like it. No one’s going to to force you to eat a side dish you don’t like. You pick and choose what you like to eat and that’s the fun part about Banchan in Korean dining.

Follow Banchan in 2 pages for a new recipe every week! 

Sunday, August 31, 2014

A brief map of Korean regional food



Korea is a tiny country: North and South Korea combined is the same size as Minnesota. But South Korea alone has 50 million people and 1/5 of them are living in Seoul.  While doing some research on more traditional Korean recipes, I thought it would be good to make a brief map of Korea and its regional produce and cuisines. Most people think Korean BBQ as the prominent food in Korea but vegetable and seafood have had more impact in Korean traditional food. Long time ago, before we started importing food from other countries in the modern era, the meat was very scarce because Korea is full of rough mountains which are not good for farming or ranching. But we are surrounded by three seas which produce different types of abundant fresh seafood that we ate raw, braised, grilled, pickled and made jerkies with. The rich, meat orientated dishes developed in Seoul and other big cities that used to be the capital at some point in Korean history. But rest of Korea were eating rustic meals made out of wild earthy plants and preserved veggies and seafood to last the harsh winters. Wasting food is like the biggest sin in Korea. When we butcher an animal, we use every part of it including their organs, bones, blood and odd parts like the heads, tails and the feet. Actually, the weirder the part is, the better it tastes! And it’s interesting to see that cold food developed way up in the north, which has brutal long winters. You would expect more hearty, thick, warm meals from there, but no, Koreans from the north rather enjoyed the effect to refreshing cold meals, which are served with a chunks of ice floating in the bowl to make it extra cold. These cold noodles and soups from northern regions are now popular everywhere in Korea. Some of these recipes goes back hundreds of years and I wish to learn them all some day. 

Follow Banchan in 2 pages for a new recipe every week!

Thursday, August 28, 2014

New Banchan recipe: Tangy Sea Kelp Salad





I’m like a vacuum cleaner when it comes to this dish, I can’t stop eating it! Mi-Yuk (Sea kelp) could be one of those weird, never-before-seen ingredient to the westerners but it’s been part of asian cuisine for centuries. It is silky, flexible yet crunch and somewhat meaty at the same time which is very different from land leaf greens. It’s hard to describe how good this is, so just try it and you won’t regret it! 
Hmm... you can see that I really have to work on my julienne cut skill! it's too chunky for this dish, but it was still delicious!
Follow Banchan in 2 pages for a new recipe every week!

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

New Banchan recipe: Spicy Bokchoy!





I don’t remember seeing bokchoy in Korea when I was growing up there in the 1980s and 90s but now it is getting popular as more and more people around the world begun to know about it and cook with it. It’s not uncommon to see this veggie in even american and european restaurants these days and I think it’s because it is such a versatile vegetable. It has two opposing qualities: delicate and tough at the same time, sorta like cross between napa cabbage and spinach, with a slight bitter after taste. It’s important to blanch this veggie enough for the bitterness to come out yet maintaining a firm texture. I use it for all kinds of cooking including stir fry, steaming, blanching and also a great addition to noodle soups. 

Follow Banchan in 2 pages for a new recipe everyweek!