Korean Bibimbap

Quick disclaimer here …. this is unapologetically inauthentic!  At Fat Boy Moves in Mexico City we ate Bibimbap a couple of times and this is my version of trying to replicate that in my own kitchen, minus of course the stone bowl to serve it in….

Bibimbap

What’s missing you say?  Any authentic Bibimbap will have a soft egg on top!

In terms of recipes, this is more of a guideline.  I’m sure you can find lots of real, true Korean Bibimbap recipes out there, but for my own preferences, in my kitchen, this was pretty delicious.  I think it is key to have either a cast iron frying pan or a stainless steel pan to get the rice nice and crusty.

First, make a sauce:

  • 1/4 cup soya sauce
  • 2 tbsp roasted sesame oil
  • 1 tbsp chile garlic sauce
  • 1 tbsp gojuchang

Taste the sauce, I can’t say that enough, make sure it is delicious …. each of those components will be slightly different by brand so hit a balance you like.

Second, make pickled cucumbers:

  • cut about a 4 inch piece of cucumber in half, lengthwise
  • scoops out seeds and slice very thinly

Put cucumbers in a bowl, and sprinkle with 1/2 tsp each of salt and sugar.  Sprinkle with 2 tbsp rice vinegar and mix well.  Set aside.

To assemble you will need:

  • cooked rice
  • protein (if you like, easy to just make it vegetarian also)
  • stir fried veg
  • pickled cucumbers
  • sesame seeds
  • cilantro
  • slivered chives

Thinly sliver nori sheet and toast until crispy

If you are using a protein, cover your steak, chicken or prawns with a light bit of gojuchang and allow to marinade for an hour.  Grill, and once rested, slice into bite size pieces.

Prepare the vegetables you are going to use, today I used coloured sweet peppers, onions, snow peas, bok choy and cabbage.

Heat fry pan until very hot, add neutral oil and sauce some ginger and garlic.  Add in vegetables and stir fry just until tender.  Set aside.

Reheat the pan, barely cover the bottom with sesame oil and then cover the bottom with the rice.  Allow to sit undisturbed until the rice is heated through and the bottom develops a nice golden brown crust.

Centre your cooked vegetables on the rice, scatter the protein around the edge and garnish with the pickled cucumber, toasted nori and sesame seeds.  Drizzle over the prepared sauce and enjoy!

 

Asian Marinade for Chicken or Pork

Asian Marinade for Chicken or Pork

 

I love the balance of flavours in this marinade, it just has the right amount of sweet, heat, sour and salt …. and caramelizes perfectly on the grill.  I find it works really well on pork chops or chicken thighs but I’m sure it would be great on just about anything.

1/4 cup vegetable oil

2 tbsp brown sugar

2 tbsp rice vinegar

1 tbsp minced ginger

1 tbsp Sriracha sauce

1 tbsp chile garlic paste

2 tsp sesame oil

3 cloves garlic, minced

zest & juice of 1 orange

juice of 1/2 lime

Make enough marinade for 8 pork chops or 12 chicken thighs.

Garnish:  lime, roughly chopped cilantro and green onions.

Place all marinade ingredients in food processor and give it a good whiz.  Pour half of it in a ziplock bag with meat and reserve the rest.  Give the meat a massage and allow to marinade for 30 minutes at the least and up to 8 hours.

Put reserved marinade in a small sauce pan and cook over moderate heat until reduced and thickened.

Heat grill, and grill meat, brushing with the reduced marinade.

 

 

Thai Hot-Sour-Salty-Sweet Chicken

All Thai dishes should have a balance of hot/sour/salty/sweet. Whatever recipe you use, keep tasting and adjusting until you get that balance just right. I do a lot of Thai cooking, and we love it all – but this is the first recipe that our Thai student Ping claimed was exactly like chicken he eats at home.

hot-sour-salty-sweet Gotta get that balance in Thai cookery!

hot-sour-salty-sweet
Gotta get that balance in Thai cookery!

MARINADE:
1/4 cup chopped cilantro
2 tbsp asian fish sauce
1 1/2 tsp freshly ground pepper (white if you have it)
1 garlic clove, minced
juice of 1 lime
2 tbsp soy sauce
1 tbsp tamarind concentrate

Blend all ingredients together well – then add chicken.

This is enough to do 4 chicken breasts, or 8 chicken thighs. If using breasts I like to pound them lightly first – just enough to make them equal thickness which is easier to grill. Allow to marinate for whatever length of time you have – I have made this with only 1/2 an hour to marinate, and up to overnight.

Grill until cooked through – slice into strips and serve with dipping sauce.

DIPPING SAUCE
2 tbsp tamarind concentrate
1/4 cup asian fish sauce
2 tbsp freshly squeezed lime juice
1 tbsp rice vinegar
1 minced clove garlic
1 small Thai chile – seeded and minced
2 tsp sugar
1 tbsp water
1/2 cup chopped cilantro

Combine all ingredients except cilantro – TASTE!! Adjust to your preference, and if you like it really spicy, drizzle in a little chili oil. I have also drizzled on sesame oil to finish it. Once you have a good balance of flavour (which means you can’t stop yourself from continuing to taste) then stir in the cilantro.

Salsa Verde

Salsa Verde

This is great served as an appetizer with taco chips, drizzled over eggs and served as a topping for any meat.

 

 

1 pound tomatillos – husked and washed

1 large white onion, sliced thickly

4 cloves garlic

2 jalapenos

1/3 bunch cilantro

We like our salsa grill roasted, so everything but the cilantro gets a little time on the grill before hitting the blender.  Give it a zap or two until purified.  Taste for seasoning and adjust a bit if you need to – adding salt and pepper to your preference.

If you don’t have a grill handy you could either use a comal, as they do in Mexico, which is just a simple flat fry pan, or your own favorite fry pan.  Nothing wrong with just blending it all fresh either – try it both ways and see which you like best.

This can be processed in a hot water bath to preserve it for the winter, or put it in the freezer.  Either way works really well. Bring it to a boil on the stovetop prior to processing and use hot jars.  If you do a hot water bath, make sure your jars and seals are all sterilized and the seals are new – place carefully in hot water bath with 2 inches water over top of the jar and process pint jars for 35 minutes.

Sesame Chicken Salad

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Today was a beautiful hot sunny day, just the way we like in the Okanagan.  The idea of a Thai inspired chicken salad felt like the ideal dinner item – fresh, crunchy, tasty and not too heavy.  You could just as easily substitute the chicken with tofu or any seafood item – delicious either way.

 

4 chicken breasts

12 ounces chinese egg noodles, cooked and drained

3/4 cup green tea (strong is best)

1/3 cup smooth peanut butter

1/4 cup soy sauce

1/4 cup rice vinegar

3 tbsp light brown sugar

1/4 cup roasted peanut oil

2 tbsp toasted sesame seeds (plus some for sprinkling over top)

2 tbsp chili garlic sauce

2 tbsp Thai sweet chili sauce

1 heaping TBSP Thai red chili paste

zest and juice of 1 lime

1 tsp toasted sesame oil

1 -2 tbsp minced ginger (depending on your ginger love!)

2 cloves garlic, minced

2 carrots, finely chopped

1 long english cucumber, diced

1 cup sliced snap peas

1/4 cup each finely chopped red and yellow pepper

1 cup bean sprouts

1 head red lettuce, washed and leaves torn

kosher salt

cilantro

roasted peanuts

toasted sesame seeds

1 jalapeno seeded and diced finely (optional) To make the sauce combine green tea, peanut butter, soy sauce, vinegar, brown sugar, Thai sweet chili sauce, Thai red curry paste and peanut oil in a blender or food processor.  Add sesame seeds, chili garlic sauce, sesame oil, ginger, garlic and 1/2 tsp kosher salt – blend well until creamy and smooth.  TASTE and adjust for seasoning – you should have lots of flavour, but also really well balanced – I find depending on the type of soy sauce, chili sauce or even the lime you will have to work with those flavours.

Using a meat mallet pound chicken breasts to an even thickness.  Pour just enough of the dressing over to coat well and marinate for at least an hour and preferably overnight.  Discard marinade used for the chicken.  Grill just until cooked through and thinly slice.

Prepare salad with lettuce, cilantro and vegetables – as well as the diced jalapeno if using.

Cook noodles just until tender, rinse well to cool and dress with a bit of the same dressing the chicken is marinating in.

Toast peanuts and sesame seeds to use as garnish.

To assemble pile noodles on a plate, salad on top – scatter chicken over and drizzle with dressing.  Garnish with more cilantro, peanuts and sesame seeds. 

Spicy Cilantro Salad

P1110024

This salad pairs so well with Sesame Peanut Noodles and Pork Kebabs with cumin and chile – you will love it!

4 scallions (green onions)

2 tbsp rice vinegar

1 minces garlic clove

1 tsp each:  sesame oil, chili oil and kosher salt

1/4 tsp brown sugar

1 thinly sliced serrano chile (remove seeds)

1 english cucumber, thinly sliced

1 bunch cilantro

1/2 head iceberg lettuce

Finely slice scallions, reserving white parts.  Soak white parts in cold water 15 minutes, drain well and combine with finely sliced green parts.

Wash cilantro and lettuce well.  Spin dry – roughly chop cilantro, removing long stems and thinly slice lettuce.  Add to bowl with scallions, chile and cucumber.

Mix together rice vinegar, garlic, sesame oil, chili oil, salt and sugar.  Mix well until sugar is dissolved!

Toss dressing with salad (lightly) immediately before serving.

 

Sesame Peanut Noodles

P1110022

I have been looking for the perfect peanut noodle dish, and finally found it. Serve this with spicy cilantro salad and pork kebabs in cumin and chile – a winning combination for sure.

 

12 ounces chinese egg noodles, cooked and drained

3/4 cup green tea (strong is best)

1/3 cup smooth peanut butter

1/4 cup soy sauce

1/4 cup rice vinegar

3 tbsp light brown sugar

1/4 cup roasted peanut oil

2 tbsp toasted sesame seeds (plus some for sprinkling over top)

1 tbsp chili garlic sauce

1 tsp toasted sesame oil

1 -2 tbsp minced ginger (depending on your ginger love!)

2 cloves garlic, minced

2 carrots, finely chopped

2 mini bok choy, chopped fine

1/4 cup each finely chopped red and yellow pepper

kosher salt

cilantro

roasted peanuts

To make the sauce combine green tea, peanut butter, soy sauce, vinegar, brown sugar and peanut oil in a blender or food processor.  Add sesame seeds, chili garlic sauce, sesame oil, ginger, garlic and 1/2 tsp kosher salt.

Toss the sauce with the cooked noodles – garnish with cilantro, sliced green onions, roasted peanuts and more sesame seeds.  I like this served at warm or room temperature, but it is just yummy cold also.