Kimchi Fried Rice

September 24, 2012 § Leave a comment

This is what I make when I have very old kimchi and I am short on time (mentioned here).  This time I made it with beef hot links for added protein and bulk, but these can be left out and be just as tasty.  In general, when I make fried rice, I found the best way to make it is to fry the rice separately from the kimchi and then combine it at the end.

  1. Fry rice.
    • Using a large pan or wok, fry old slightly dried rice over high heat in sesame oil (can use a mix of vegetable or canola oil with sesame oil to cut calories).
    • Add freshly grated black pepper and roasted sesame seeds.  Do not add salt—kimchi liquid will be used for this later.
    • Transfer the rice to a large plate.
  2. Fry kimchi.
    • Squeeze the kimchi until most of the liquid has been collected.  Set the liquid aside for later.
    • Using the same wok, fry the kimchi in a liberal amount of high heat oil (e.g.  vegetable, canola, safflower, grapeseed).
    • Add kimchi liquid and let most of the liquid evaporate.  Keep some on reserve for later.
  3. Add the hot links to the kimchi and cook until hot.
  4. Add the fried rice to the wok and mix well.  Add more kimchi liquid to help combine all the flavors together (this is like adding pasta water to the sauce and pasta to combine all the flavors).

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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.

’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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Korean Black Mackerel Stew

August 12, 2011 § 3 Comments

I have a love-hate relationship with meat and seafood…..if it looks or feels kind of gross, then I really don’t want to touch it or have anything to do with it.  So the spouse and I have an agreement that I would never touch or cook whole fish myself and it would be up to him to make the meal.  I have a lot of issues with eating and cooking things that are looking back at me….it just seems so….wrong….!!!

Growing up, mackerel was NEVER a favorite, let alone letting the potent smell permeate throughout the entire house while my mom had it boiling away in a spicy stew!  So I vowed that I would NEVER, EVER cook or even allow this smelly fish into my house….

HOWEVER,  I do have to acknowledge the many benefits of mackerel.  It is PACKED with nutrition, is a lower-in-the-food-chain fish, AND is a sustainable fish!  This is a “feel good” kinda fish.

So as usual, I ate my own words—-I actually made this spicy stew myself and it was surprisingly really delicious.  I still didn’t eat the fish, but I had a little taste of the broth and vegetables.  The spouse was extremely pleased and asked for another bowl of rice!  I think this will have to be entered in my repertoire as a “classic”.

I didn’t document the steps it took to make this stew, but you’ll notice a big, round, white radish in the background.  That’s the Korean version of the white radish we use, but one can substitute it with the Japanese daikon radish.  The Korean white radish has great flavor—it is a little spicier than the daikon radish, but it is more refreshing.  So when cooking a stew that seems a bit “heavy” (like the oily mackerel), then the spicier Korean white radish balances it well with a refreshing finish.  A side of bitingly fresh kimchi is also a MUST!

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a staple in my home: spicy Korean fermented bean stew

March 22, 2011 § 1 Comment

I usually make this when I want dinner on the table really fast.  This is such an easy stew to make and so very tasty if you’re really into Korean cuisine.  However, the taste completely hinges on one fact:  the fermented beans MUST be top quality or no matter what you do to the stew, it will taste sub par.  Any vegetables can be added, but garlic and onions are THE BARE MINIMUM.  I added garlic, yellow onions, zucchini, enoki mushrooms, Korean peppers (and/or serrano peppers) and soft tofu.

After years of making this same stew without a written recipe, I finally realized to make this consistently good every time, one needs to know a few things……

First, the water to fermented bean ratio is very important.  I’ve made it so many different ways and variations (one variation includes adding the spicy red pepper paste).  These were also all made with different sources of the fermented bean paste, which is why it has taken me so long to finally GET IT!

Second, timing is everything so that all the veggies are cooked just right and the green veggies retain its bright color.  So, I added the ingredients in the following order:  garlic & onions; tofu; zucchini & peppers; enoki mushrooms.  After adding each ingredient(s), let it come back to a boil each time before adding in the next ingredient(s).  This goes really fast, so prepping beforehand is essential.  I like to add the “green” veggies close to the end so that they stay bright green as much as possible when it is finally served.  And, YES, I do add THAT MUCH garlic!  I found that adding a ton of garlic makes it tastier than adding less… this case, less is NOT more! 🙂

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