Alan Turing Deserves a Nice Korean Dinner and Then Some…

Lib Dems, do the right thing and pardon the father of the modern-day computer and decoder of Nazi codes!


Pull up a glass

This year marks the 100th anniversary of Alan Turing’s birth and he deserves to be lauded for cracking the Nazi codes and creating a “universal machine” which author David Leavitt considers the “avatar of the modern-day computer” in an NPR interview back in June.  Instead of being given the respect he had earned, he was hung out to dry because of who he chose to love.  Yes, Mr. Turing was a homosexual and he lived in a time (and place) where being honest about who you really were got you arrested and medically castrated.

Though Gordon Brown formally apologized for Mr. Turing’s maltreatment by the British government, the pols still refuse to give him a full pardon.  Seems petty not to.  But I’d like to honor him here by cooking him a nice Korean dinner.

First, I’d fix him a refreshing drink and settle him in the living room with the A/C while I set the table…perhaps a blueberry-basil infused soju and tonic in a full glass of ice for these dog days.  I’d put on Chris Matthews’s Hardball on the TV as Mr. Turing might be interested in the state of our (inter)nation––the Syrian civil war, Pakistan’s nuclear proliferation, Senator McCaskill’s  disclose act, election 2012, Rush Limbaugh foaming at the mouth…so much to catch up on!

Dinner would feature a big pot of my favorite, soon dubu stew (순두부찌게):

Aw shucks…clams!

Accompanied by a big stack of classic Korean potato pancakes (감자전)*. 

*For a very thorough and tasty take on potato pancakes you ‘ll want to check out bellacorea’s post.  

Braised short ribs the way my mom used to make:

The way my mom used to make them

and assorted sides (반찬) like kimchi, simmered mung bean sprouts and seasoned spinach.

But for this particular post, I’d like to regale you with the virtues of soon dubu stew.

My version of this classic stew features mighty Strong Island clams:

Get the best

Bright shiso peppers:

Green and bright

Homemade kimchi:

Homemade love

Just a note: For my version, you would use clams in their shell, but other recipes call for chopped clams to go directly into the stew.  I’ll leave that up for you to decide.

The ingredients

24 ozs soon dubu (soft tofu)

maitake mushroom, 1 small head or 1 cup chopped

10-15 shiso peppers, stems removed

1 dozen clams

kimchi, about 1 cup chopped

1 – 1 1/2 cup stock (beef, fish) or water

1 cup sliced scallions

2 garlic cloves, minced

1 heaping spoonful homemade red-hot pepper paste

or homemade red pepper oil*

sesame oil


black pepper, optional

The steps

1. Prep your ingredients: wash & chop your vegetables.  Soak your clams in cold water. Break up your tofu.

2.  When your pot (a large sauce pan is what I used) is nice and hot, add sesame oil.  Add peppers & mushrooms. Saute for about five minutes and then add chopped kimchi.  Stir in your hot pepper paste and cook for a few more minutes.

3. Pour in your stock or water and bring to a boil.  Taste your soup now and adjust the flavor with salt and black pepper (the clams will flavor your stew so be careful not to over salt it).  Add your tofu and cook until the soup comes back up to a boil.  Add your clams and let boil for a few minutes before adding the scallions.

*If you’re using red pepper oil, drizzle some in to taste. Boil the stew until clams have opened up.

All in one pot

You can get as fancy or plain as you’d like with this stew.  So if you’ve got clams in a jar already in the pantry and don’t feel like trekking to the fish monger, go ahead and use those. If you want to leave out the maitake and shiso, no problem.  Or if you want to go to some extra trouble, you could make your own red-hot pepper oil or paste and, hopefully, you’ve already got some homemade kimchi in your fridge (but store brought is better than none at all).

Make it as homey or as showy as you want, but just make it with love.

Happy birthday, Alan Turing.

Alan Turing

The honorable Alan Turing


3 thoughts on “Alan Turing Deserves a Nice Korean Dinner and Then Some…

  1. Pingback: It’s Only a Paper Moonie… | DIY Korean Food

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