As I learn to cook from all these different cultures, I have come across a lot of different ingredients, and it’s rare anymore to run across a recipe that asks for something I haven’t seen or at least heard of before. But the recipe for Spicy Potato Guk (soup) did just that – with an introduction to anchovy-filled tea bags.
I discovered the recipe for Spicy Potato Guk on Aerie’s Kitchen, a set of Korean recipes and YouTube cooking lessons. It looked good and I had some potatoes in the cupboard that I needed to use, so I thought – why not? Then I looked closer at the recipe and realized that it required anchovy packets. I crossed my fingers and went to look at the Korean market, and sure enough there they were – tea bags filled with dried anchovy powder.
So I boiled the anchovy packet with kombu seaweed (dried kelp that I already had from my Japanese cooking experiences, you just have to rinse the salt off before using it). This essentially makes a dashi broth, similar to the Japanese version which uses dried bonito fish flakes. With the stock made, it’s a couple of simple steps and the addition of the Korean red pepper flakes that make a distinctly Korean dish.
FYI – I probably used half of the red pepper it called for and it had a nice kick without being overwhelming. Also, it calls for “soup soy sauce” – which as far as I can tell is just a lighter-colored and lighter-flavored soy sauce. This is unverified by a Korean, but best guess based on internet knowledge and experience with other soy sauce options from Chinese and Vietnamese cooking. I think any soy sauce in a typical American pantry would probably work fine – I just knew I shouldn’t use my extra dark Chinese one.