February 22, 2005

The Sweetest Potato

By now you've probably heard about the unusual weather we're having in Southern California. Except for the massive traffic congestion the rain causes in this region, I rather like rain. I like the sight and sound of rain drops falling and the fresh smell it brings after it's gone. That freshness is pretty rare in this car crazy town so it's a change I welcome. Besides, it's the perfect time to cozy up to the TV, book or anything comforting with a hot cup of tea and your favorite comfort food.

One of my favorite comfort food -- or vegetable, actually -- is the Korean sweet potato, goguma. In its raw state, it's sometimes difficult to distinguish this variety from yam or sweet potato, often from the Caribbean. When cooked, this variety has yellow, rather than orange flesh, and is firmer than other kinds of sweet potatoes. It is less sweet than yam and has a real chestnut-y flavor that I can't get enough of.

In Korea, goguma is often sold roasted on the street in the winter, similar to the roasted chestnuts in the winter. I don't know if this kind of business is still popular there but the smell of roasted sweet potatoes wafting through the icy cold weather is priceless. Here in LA, you can sometimes get roasted sweet potatoes outside the Korean markets. I usually buy mine at the market and roast them in the oven (350 for 45 min). It's not as good but still comforting. And after a crappy day dealing with modern life and traffic congestion, it's a great way to re-balance my system.

9 comments:

jetjohnson said...

Thank you for posting about goguma. I'm a US citizen working in Incheon KR on the New Songdo City project. In our office, the adjuma (madam) who is our office cleaner brings in delicious roasted sweet potatoes for us as treats. Also, our client has wonderful Korean employees that bring roasted goguma from their family farms to the office to share. On a recent trip to the sea, we stopped by a road-side vegetable stand and bought a box of raw goguma to take home. I didn’t know how to properly roast them, but will follow your guidance for our first attempt. Thanks again.

James said...

FYI...I have found that if you are going to roast the Goguma in the oven, its best to wrap them in foil to keep the moisture in.
My wife and I love Goguma~

Anonymous said...

I tried my first goguma today and am delighted with it. My husband and I visited the local H Mart in North Texas this weekend where I saw the sign for "Korean Sweet Potato."

Joanne said...

I wonder if there's a difference between in the yam or sweet potato. They are always so confusing between the two.

Anonymous said...

Seohyun!!!

Anonymous said...

In the Los Angeles area, there is a Korean market on Sherman Way near Lindsey. A vendor outside sells these sweet potatoes that are roasted in a box containing hot rocks. I bought a bag of them and they were delicious!

Anonymous said...

My family and I are korean. We LOVEEEE 고구마(goguma)!!! I'm making it right nowww~yum! My dog loves goguma too. He keeps pawing the oven waiting for it to finish cooking :)

Brendan said...

goguma is the korean transliteration of the polynesisn kumara/kumala (sweet potato) which is a transliteration of the Peruvian kumal(polynesians can't resist having a vowel to end their words). Here in New Zealand we eat it as a staple.I am roasting some with chicken and onions as I write this. During my last trip to Korea a found a street seller with a converted 44 gallon drum wood burning oven roasting gugoma in the snow. Brilliant

Anonymous said...

I love goguma and everytime that i eat it i cant help but think of YongSeo!! <3