umma paste

by Heguiberto on October 21, 2011

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umma paste ingredients

umma paste ingredients

I fell in love with this Korean cookbook, The Kimchi Chronicles by Marja Vongerichten, while perusing a book shop at The Japan Center in SF recently. I adore kimchi and the book has a whole variety of recipes for them, and for banchans, those tapas style Korean side dishes. I can’t wait to try them all. I’ve made a couple delicious vegetarian kimchis before: look here, and here.

The Kimchi Chronicles has other great recipes too, including amazing sauces and pastes, many perfectly adaptable to our pescatarian diet, just like this umma paste.

Umma is a Korean style chili garlic paste. The word, “umma” is the phonetic equivalent of “mother” in Korean. So umma paste translates into mother paste. She uses this paste ubiquitously and liberally on her dishes. I made a large batch and used it in several things: first in her Korean Bouillabaisse, then on sushi rolls and finally as a flavorful spread on toast topped with a fried egg. All were delicious.

Umma paste has a uniquely bold earthy, salty, sweet, sour, spicy, umami, garlicky, funky (in a good way) flavor, which I think defines a lot of what Korean cuisine is about. This is a new addition to my top favorite hot sauces: chili garlic sauce, sriracha and harissa.

I forgot to take a decent picture of the umma paste!  Darn it.  The one that I do have is so blurry that it looks like an abstract painting in a moving car.  As such, it is bound to make you dizzy so I’ve left it out of the article.  Instead, I put a pic of the ingredients, which are quite colorful. The paste is a very deep red color and was quite thick.    

umma paste

4 large garlic cloves
3 tbsp gochugaru (Korean red pepper powder)
3 tbsp fish sauce
3 tbsp soy sauce
3 tbsp gochujang (Korean red pepper paste)
3 tbsp sake

Throw everything in the food processor and whiz it until all turns into a smooth puree. Scoop it out into a bowl. Use as needed.

We got the Korean ingredients at Kukje Supermarket.

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