After fourteen days trekking through snow-covered mountain passes, the rebels and the Princess emerged on the eastern path leading down to the seaward fishing villages. As they descended towards the ocean, the snow began to melt, replaced by fragrant springs and budding wildflowers. The Princess breathed in deeply, rejuvenated by the balmy, salt air after the frigid winds of the north. The rebels shed their heavy furs and packed them away with the horses, who they left tethered in the paddock of a farmer ally.
“From here we travel on foot,” said the rebel leader. “The path is narrow, but easy walking.”
“Will we see more villages along the way?” the Princess asked.
“We will make several stops before we reach the coastal city.”
And so they did – first, at a lower-lying mountain village, where villagers were struggling to get by after a particularly cold winter in which their goats had been seized and confiscated by royal officials.
“Why were your goats taken?” asked the Princess. “What reason did the Ministers give?”
“They said we owed duties, for all the protection we were receiving from imperial soldiers.”
“Is it true?”
The village elder hesitated and leaned on his cane. “We’ve not seen an imperial soldier or guard in this area for years – except for those who came to take our livestock.”
The Princess made a note on a ledger she carried. “You will get your goats back. Or compensation equal to everything you have lost.” The elder grasped her hand and bowed his head in thanks, while the other villagers handed them packages of fried tendon and other treats to sustain them.
“You should be careful what you say,” advised the rebel leader to the Princess, as they continued on their way. “You will raise their hopes too much.”
The Princess raised her chin. “I will deliver on my promise.”
They traveled on to an abandoned village, popping the villagers’ savory treats into their mouths as they marched. The huts and temples of the abandoned village were still smoldering, the road through the village covered in ash.
“What happened here?” asked the Princess.
The young man pulled a scroll from his bag. “The villagers refused to deliver the rice and pigs demanded by their local ministry official. His soldiers chased the people out of the village and set it on fire.” He handed the scroll to her, so she could read the testimony herself.
“Come,” said the rebel. “The king’s guard is closing in on us. We must make it to the coast before nightfall.”
The Princess folded the scroll carefully and placed it in her pack. She had made up her mind. It would be an uphill battle, but once she returned to the capital, she would fight for her people.
Click the below links for other episodes in the Princess & Rebel series!
- The Princess & the Rebel Part 1: Pajeon in the Cave
- The Princess & the Rebel Part 2: Mandoo at the Village
- The Princess & the Rebel Part 3: Mandooguk in the Woods
- The Princess & the Rebel Part 4: Kalbi Tang in the Mountains
- The Princess & the Rebel Part 6: Kimchi on the Coast
- 1 pound pre-cooked beef tendons (about 2 cups, chopped in bite-sized pieces; pre-cooked = 1-2 hrs in a pressure cooker or 5-7 hours simmering stovetop)
- ¼ c tapioca flour or arrowroot starch
- ¼ c tigernut flour
- 1 tsp sea salt
- ½ c frying oil (coconut oil, ghee (non-AIP), olive oil, palm oil or any combo of these)
- Mix flours together with salt.
- Heat up oil in a small pot (oil should be about a cm deep) on the stove, over medium heat.
- Dip tendons in the flour mixture, coat well.
- When oil is hot (a drop of flicked water sizzles), drop a handful of tendons in pot (don't overcrowd).
- Cook for about 5-8 minutes, until tendons have browned nicely.
- Spoon out onto paper towel (hit with more salt at this point if desired).
- When finished frying, serve tendons with coconut aminos, scallions, lemon wedges, and/or parsley garnish (could also eat with ketchup, mustard...whatever floats your boat 😉