Friday, November 15, 2013

korean out and in

Since we got back from Japan, at least half of the recipes I've added to my list to try have been Asian recipes of one kind or another. Actually, more of them have been Thai or Korean than Japanese. I have tried a couple of Korean and Korean-inspired recipes and have really enjoyed them. We also made it Chicago for dinner at Dancen Korean restaurant (it is really, really dark in there).

fire chicken with cheese

seasoned rice balls

I tried making a Korean barbecue chicken earlier this year that turned out just okay. The daeji bulgogi, or barbecue pork that I made recently knocked my socks off. It's sweet, spicy, oniony, and meaty--in other words, pretty complex.

daeji bulgogi, pickled kohlrabi, kimchi, & rice

I can't say how authentic this is since I have never eaten its equivalent at a restaurant. I just know that I thought it was really great.

daeji bulgogi

Daeji Bulgogi
from Serious Eats

I let this marinade for at least 24 hours, and that seemed to be the key to the pork's tenderness.

1 lb pork tenderloin, trimmed of silver skin and excess fat
1/4 c soy sauce
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 tbsp light brown sugar
2 tbsp gochujang
2 tbsp mirin
2 tbsp sesame oil
1 tbsp crushed ginger root
1 tsp red pepper flakes
2 green onions, minced
1 small onion, thinly sliced

Place the pork in the freezer until it firms up, about 1 hour (or if frozen, thaw until it is still slightly firm). While the pork is in the freezer, combine the soy sauce, garlic, brown sugar, gochujang , mirin, sesame oil, ginger, red pepper flakes, and green onions in a small bowl.

Remove the pork from the freezer and slice into pieces 1/8 inch thick. Place the pork and sliced onion in a large Ziploc bag, pour in the marinade and seal. Toss to evenly distribute the marinade, then open and reseal the bag, removing as much air as possible. Place in the refrigerator and let marinate for at least one hour to overnight.

Light one chimney full of charcoal. When all the charcoal is lit and covered with gray ash, pour out and spread the coals evenly over the charcoal grate. Clean and oil the grilling grate. Place the pork slices on the grill and cook over direct, high heat until the meat is seared on both sides and cooked through, about 1 minute per side. Remove from the grill and serve immediately with bibb lettuce or rice, kimchi, and quick pickles.

Chinese-style pickled kohlrabi

We're always up for a breakfast sandwich, so we jumped on the chance to have a Korean-inspired bacon muffin. I made some adjustments to the original recipe, swapping out the Canadian peameal bacon for plain old American bacon. I also added a fried egg, which you can see dripping out of the sandwich in the photo and left off the sesame-vinaigrette salad.

bacon, egg, & kimchi sandwich

Bacon, Egg, & Kimchi Breakfast Muffin
adapted from Closet Cooking
makes 2 sandwiches, can be easily multiplied for more

4 slices bacon
1/2 c kimchi (drained and chopped)
2 eggs
3 tbsp mayonnaise
1 tbsp gochujang
2 English muffins (lightly toasted)
1/2 c shredded Cheddar cheese
shredded romaine in a korean sesame vinaigrette, optional

Cook bacon until crisp (we like a cast iron skillet), then drain on paper towels. Pour off all but a couple tablespoons of the bacon fat. Add kimchi to the skillet and saute until a bit caramelized. Carefully crack one egg at a time into skillet, cook over medium until bubbling, then flip and cook just until set, 1-2 minutes.

Mix mayonnaise and gochujang in a small bowl. Sprinkle bottom of muffin with cheese, then top with fried egg. Add bacon, kimchi, and romaine salad, if using. Slather top muffin with gochujang mayo mixture, join the halves, and enjoy!

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