When I was 12 years old, my parents and another family's parents decided that five children, age range from 5 to just turned 13, could handle an international trip to Korea, alone. In fact, the four parents decided to take off to China for 2 weeks, the same day as us, but on an earlier flight, leaving the 5 of us alone in the LAX airport to go to Korea. My friend MSL, being unusually tall and being the oldest was in charge and I was her deputy chief of staff. The three younger kids were to obey us and we got on our plane to Korea. Everything went smoothly on flight and upon landing we managed to grab our huge bags from the baggage claim area. The only minor problem was trying to explain to customs why one of our bags had 25 lbs of frozen meat in it, but even that wasn't so horrible.
We walked out into the airport waiting area and there waiting for my brothers and me were aunts and uncles lined up two deep. It was a big deal for us to travel so far (and alone!), and my family came out in full force to grab us and take care of us. We were going to my aunt's house with my paternal grandmother but even so, my mother's side of the family had all come out just to catch a glimpse of us and see the relatives who were from so far away.
We spent a lot of that summer just having fun with our extended family. It was dinners at this restaurant with this family, a week in a beautiful house with another family, trips all over Korea and just lots of fun eating and playing. But even with all the food there is only one dish that sticks out in my memory even to this day, and it was a the simplest of potato dishes prepared for me by my paternal grandmother. It was a sweltering hot day and electricity was a precious commodity, but even then, the "spoiled" kids from America were sitting in front of an air conditioning unit. My grandmother came out with this plate of potatoes and a small bowl of salt. She proceeded to break off small pieces, blow on them, dip them in the salt and feed us by hand. The potatoes were crispy, delicious and the simple crunch of salt just made them incredibly addictive. My brothers and I began shoving each other out of the way to get the precious little bites our grandmother was feeding us.
This is not a spectacular dish - it is not fine dining but it is good. It requires three ingredients, four if you count boiling water, and is very simple technique. But let me say this - Son and Daughter #2 generally do not like potatoes, but when I make them like this, they often eat four or five.
Korean Roasted Potatoes
1 -2 lbs red rose potatoes, small ones - no bigger than a golf ball.
3 tablespoons (or more) vegetable oil (I use safflower)
sea salt for sprinkling or dipping
Wash and rinse your potatoes. Fill a large pot with water and add potatoes. Cook until tender about 20 minutes. (Poke a fork in and make sure your potato is cooked all the way through.) Drain.When the potatoes are cool enough to handle, peel off the skin. This part is the most time consuming, but you'll get the hang of it.Place into a bowl and sprinkle with some sea salt.
In a fry pan over medium heat, add oil and the peeled potatoes. Cook until golden on one side and then shake the fry pan to get them golden on other sides. Total cooking time is around 6 minutes.