Request: “something good with eggplant”

March 11, 2012 § 1 Comment

Although I love eggplant, I never cook with it because it can be a little tricky to bring out the flavor without it tasting like one big pile of mush (which is what I did once about 6 years ago!).  This one seemed to turn out pretty good, though.  My official taste tester gave it a thumbs up, but even better, said he would eat it again if I made it!

Here’s my eggplant side dish {I used medium heat to cook this}.

1.  To heated canola oil, I added garlic and shallots to perfume the oil.  Cooked until starting to get translucent.

2.  Then added eggplant and salted right away to draw out some moisture.  A few splashes of soy sauce (the Korean kind, which is used for soups, so the flavor is much more concentrated and saltier than the Kikkoman variety).  Some red pepper powder was also added.

3.  When eggplant is tender, bias-sliced green onions were added to finish the dish.

Extra tip:  To soy sauce or not to soy sauce?  I would NOT substitute any other kind of soy sauce for this dish.  However, you can add some seafood dashida instead.

Dashida is a powder mix, similar to chicken or beef boullion.  So it is very salty and a little goes a long way.  You can get a seafood or beef-flavored dashida.   The one pictured below is a seafood-based dashida that is “all natural” with no preservatives.  Sometimes I use this to flavor soup even if the soup is not seafood-based (e.g. Korean-style egg drop soup).  It is simply to provide an extra layer of flavor.  This doesn’t mean you should use it until you can actually taste it—it is only supposed to enhance the flavors that are already present in the dish.

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leftovers…

March 5, 2012 § 1 Comment

What do you do with some trumpet mushrooms and zucchini?  Well, considering that I almost ALWAYS have tofu, garlic and onions on hand, I made a stew with it.  Remember that fermented bean paste (another staple in my fridge) in one of my earlier posts?  These ingredients were really not even leftovers considering the stew I was able to make out of it (see first photo). 🙂

…..On another day…..

We had a couple of slices of thinly sliced pork that was leftover on a night of grilling meat (called Korean BBQ to Westerners). Essentially, these are like the Korean version of bacon, only it isn’t cured or anything–just thinly sliced.  So what do you do with 6 pieces?  Pan fry it with kimchi, of course (see 2nd photo)! 😛  Kimchi is one of those things that you can use a gazillion different ways. It’s sacrilege to throw out “old” kimchi.  As a rule of thumb, the “older” it is, the tastier it is as a stew or pan fried.

Tofu tip:   To make this vegetarian, omit the pork and you can serve fried kimchi with a side of super-soft tofu that is boiled in water or with sliced firm tofu that is pan-fried.  I’ll show this another time since we eat a lot of tofu.

A birthday fit for a KING!

March 2, 2012 § 4 Comments

This ENTIRE meal was homemade, except for the seaweed sheets—I made the {*DELICIOUS*} seaweed soup and my mom made ALL the side dishes, in which at least SIX of them are from her garden! 😛

I should say that we also had kalbi (Korean short ribs) that my mom made, but there was so many side dishes that we served it for dinner (short ribs for breakfast just doesn’t seem appealing).

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’twas the night before Valentine’s day…

March 1, 2012 § 3 Comments

This was probably one of my most memorable Valentine’s celebration, especially since we are not big on “holidays”.  My favorite roommate made one of my all-time favorite Korean street foods:  spicy Korean rice cakes and a side of pan-fried dumplings.

A tasty snack:  fresh rice cakes can be eaten just by dipping it in a mixture of soy sauce, sesame oil and sesame seeds.

The pictures say it all—–your mouth will be watering by the end of it…..

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