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!

 

Tart and Tangy Thai Pork Noodles

This makes for a quick and easy dinner, using one skillet (or wok), and just involves a bit of chopping.  As always, please please, taste your marinade before adding cornstarch.  If you don’t smack your lips and say yum yum, try adjusting.  Maybe you like it spicier?  – add chile flakes.  Maybe you like it more tart?  – add lime.  Any dish that has Thai in the title should be well balanced, with salty, sweet, spicy & sour in perfect harmony. Once you get that perfect balance add the corn starch.

Pork noodles

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 lb boneless pork loin,  cut into strips
  • tablespoons hoisin sauce
  • tablespoons soya sauce (reduced sodium)
  •  4 tablespoons fresh squeezed lime juice
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 1 1teaspoons cornstarch
  • 1 1teaspoons sesame oil
  • 1/4 – 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
  • 8 ounces rice noodles
  • 2 teaspoons vegetable oil, divided use
  •  broccoli florets
  • carrot, sliced 1/8 inch thick
  • 1 sweet red bell pepper, seeded and cut into thin strips
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tablespoon ginger, minced
  • 8 ounces mushrooms, sliced
  • bamboo shoots (optional)
  • water chestnuts (optional)

Realistically – – – all the vegetables are optional, use whatever you like, just make sure you have a good assortment of color and crunch.

DIRECTIONS

  1. Combine hoisin sauce, soy sauce, lime juice, honey, cornstarch, sesame oil and red pepper flakes.  Remove enough just to cover pork and place in bowl.
  2. Add pork, marinate while preparing pasta and vegetables or up to overnight.
  3. Cook (or soak) rice noodles according to package directions, drain.
  4. Heat 1 tsp oil in large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Saute garlic & ginger for 1-2 minutes.
  5. Add vegetables and saute until crisp-tender (about 5 minutes).
  6. Remove vegetables from skillet and keep warm.
  7. Add remaining oil and pork mixture to skillet. Cook until pork is nicely browned.
  8. Remove pork, keep warm and stir in remaining marinade to skillet.  Cook until bubbly so the cornstarch is cooked through and thickens.
  9. Return pork & vegetables to skillet, add rice noodles, heat through and serve.

Garnishes:  sliced green onions, toasted and chopped peanuts and roughly chopped cilantro.

This dish works equally well if you want to make it a vegetarian dish, or decide to change up the protein, try:

  • sliced chicken thighs
  • prawns
  • seafood

We like rice noodles, but you could easily use any type of pasta you have on hand like chinese egg noodles or spaghetti noodles.

Crab Cakes with Horseradish Aioli

Crab cakes are one of our favourite appetizers to get when eating out …. this is an easy to create appetizer at home, or make slightly larger – serve with a great big tossed salad – amazing bread, and you have a complete meal.

Delicious crab cakes, served with horseradish aioli.

Delicious crab cakes, served with horseradish aioli.

1/4 cup mayonnaise
1/4 cup finely sliced green onions (green and white bits)
2 eggs, beaten
1 tsp Worcestershire sauce
1 tsp dry mustard
1/2 tsp sea salt
1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
Blend well together, and gently stir in:
1 pound lump crabmeat (take care to pick through it to make sure it is shell free)
1/4 cup panko bread crumbs

In separate bowl combine:
3/4 cup panko bread crumbs
1 tsp Old Bay seasoning
1 tsp dried Italian seasoning
Sprinkle of salt and pepper

1 pound of crab meat should make about 16 small cakes (appetizer size) or 8 larger cakes.

Form crab meat mixture into balls, and press each ball into the panko crumbs to coat.

Set aside in fridge to allow them to set up.

The crab cakes can be done to this stage, and kept in fridge until the next day.

Heat fry pan, and add 2 tbsp butter, 2 tbsp vegetable oil. When foam has subsided, add crab cakes and heat through for 2-3 minutes per side, flipping gently. Do not crowd the pan, fry in batches if necessary.

Horseradish Aioli

1 cup good quality mayonnaise
1 tbsp dijon mustard
1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
1 tbsp horseradish
1/2 tsp smoked garlic powder (or roasted garlic)
1 tbsp freshly squeezed lemon juice

Blend all ingredients well, and allow to sit in the fridge so that the flavours develop.

Serve crab cakes with aioli, sprinkled with a few cilantro sprigs.

Shrimp Cocktail

I love shrimp cocktail, and this version puts lots of flavour into the shrimp as well as the cocktail sauce – sure to be a hit at your next dinner or appetizer party.

Make sure to use raw shrimp and poach them in this broth - it really does make a difference.

Make sure to use raw shrimp and poach them in this broth – it really does make a difference.

Poach the shrimp:
3 cups water
1 cup your favourite white wine (preferably crisp, light, fruit – think pinot grigio)
juice and zest of 1 lemon
1 onion, sliced
2 cloves garlic, sliced
2 bay leaves
2 tsp kosher salt
1 1 pound bag of frozen RAW shrimp

Put all ingredients, save the shrimp, into a medium saucepan and bring to a gentle boil – allow to simmer for about 20-30 minutes to allow flavours to develop, and then turn to a gentle simmer. Add the shrimp, cover with a tight fitting lid and turn off the heat. Let sit for 10 min. Remove shrimp and allow to cool.

COCKTAIL SAUCE

1 cup ketchup
1/2 cup horseradish
1 tbsp soy sauce
1 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
juice and zest of 1 lemon

Combine all sauce ingredients and allow to sit

Serve shrimp with cocktail sauce and sit back to enjoy the compliments – way better than any shrimp cocktail you buy!

Crab Stuffed Ravioli

Our good friends Rob and Mandy love fresh crab as much as we do … and that is saying something! She is brilliant at the cooking and prep – something we look forward to so much! Last time we restrained ourselves just enough to have a cup of fresh crab meat left over …. that became tonight’s crab ravioli. Unbelievably good ….

Crab Stuffed Ravioli

Crab Stuffed Ravioli

When I have time I prefer to make my own pasta dough, but in a pinch, these little dumpling wrappers from the Asian market are fabulous.

Won ton or dumpling dough
egg
filling
butter
lemon
freshly chopped chives & parsley

FILLING
1 cup fresh crab meat
1 cup ricotta cheese
2 tbsp chopped chives
2 tbsp fresh parsley
1 tsp lemon zest
1 tbsp lemon juice
1/8 tsp red pepper flakes
salt and pepper to taste

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Blend everything just until combined, taste and season if necessary.

Using dumpling wrappers, put 1 tsp on one round – brush egg wash around and top with another dumpling wrapper – squeeze the excess air out and seal well.

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Allow to dry while you prepare a sauce.

Melt 1/2 cup butter, stir in juice and zest of 1 lemon. Toss in fresh chives and parsley, season to taste with salt and pepper.

Cook ravioli in well salted boiling water. Be careful not to cook too many at a time or the water temperature will drop.

Once they have bounced around the surface for a couple of minutes, transfer to sauce pan with lemon butter sauce, adding a tablespoon or so of pasta water. Toss with a bit of the fresh herbs and season to taste.

Shrimp Cocktail

I love shrimp cocktail ….. so why not make it at home instead of buying that frozen ring with the canned cocktail sauce??  I get it, when you are in a hurry, or just need to pick something up – those work.  If you have a few minutes though, and really only a few moments, make your own at home, infusing the shrimp with flavour along the way ….

Soooo delicious!

Soooo delicious!

Poached Shrimp

3 cups water

1 cup your favourite white wine (dry)

juice and zest of 1 lemon

1 onion, thinly sliced

2 bay leaves

2 tsp salt

1 1lb bag of frozen shrimp

Pour all ingredients except shrimp into a medium saucepan, and heat to boiling.  Turn down the heat and allow flavours to simmer and blend for about 5 minutes.  Add the shrimp, stir, and cover with a lid.  Remove from heat and allow shrimp to poach for 10 minutes.  Keep an eye on them, you don’t want them to do any more than turn pink. Strain the shrimp out and put in fridge to completely cool.

Cocktail Sauce

1 cup ketchup

1/2 cup (heaping) horseradish

1 tbsp soy sauce

1 tbsp Worcestershire sauce

juice and zest of 1 lemon

 

Combine all ingredients and set aside to serve with shrimp

 

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.