Sunday, June 28, 2009

Foodbuzz 24, 24, 24: MyEpiKorean Fusion Fire & Fry

A MyEpiKorean Special Event Featuring Summer EatsFusion Fire & Fry

What better way to enjoy a sunny, breezy Southern California summer day than an outdoor cookfest with friends and family? Since this is my first post after a roughly year-long hiatus, I thought it would be nice to feature an old recipe in addition to introducing some new ones in a special MyEpikorean Fusion Fire & Fry event. This special event, funded generously by FoodBuzz, marks a new direction for MyEpikorean.

battering chicken

Our summer menu featured the following:

- Marinated, fried chicken and kochujang barbeque dipping sauce

- Sweet potato & Okinowan yam french fries with kochujang-garlic-kalamanzi aioli

- Barbequed corn

- Grilled purple onions & korean hot peppers

- Whole roasted garlic cloves (to be eaten with fries & aioli)

- Pressure-cooked brown rice (blended short grain and sweet rice)

- Modified version of my Super G Salad (everything is the same except the gogi berries were replaced with Persian green raisins)

- Chilled makkoli (malty, farmer-style, unrefined Korean rice wine)

- Kalimanzi bars

- Black sesame ice cream with whipped cream


Kalamanzis, also known as calamansis or Panama orange, and kochujang, Korean fermented hot red pepper paste, were a running theme throughout the dishes. The kalmanzis added a fragrant zip to aioli and was the star of the desserts. And kochujang added a hot kick to the barbeque sauce and aioli.


In this particular post, our main course of special marinated and deep-fried chicken with sweet potato and Okinowan yam fries are balanced by plenty of those yummy anti-coagulents, such as whole roasted garlic, grilled purple onions and pepper, ginseng, gingko and of course, alcohol! We even give your stomach a head start as the apple cider, vermouth, garlic, onion, and pineapple juice in the marinade break down the enzymes of the chicken, tenderizing it.

frying chicken

We had two versions of chicken. The first was marinated chicken, battered in sweet potato starch and deep-fried. The second version was the same, except dipped in a kochujang barbeque sauce and grilled. chicken It was nice to have two different versions because we could dip the fried chicken in the kochujang-kalamanzi-garlic aioli or as much or as little kochujang barbeque sauce as our heart desired. I marinated the chicken for over two nights because of my kitchen situation (it is out-of-commission due to remodeling) and had to borrow a kitchen in order to prepare the chicken. I was crazy enough to skin and fillet three whole chickens + a pack of thighs (roughly 15 lbs of chicken), partly because I wanted the carcasses for soup but also because they were on sale. aioli Once I peeled the skin, cut the fat, and removed the bones, these fifteen pounds reduced to about 5 ½ lbs of chicken. You can save yourself a lot of grief by buying pre-prepared chicken. Make sure that the chicken is fresh by checking the date. You can marinate the chicken over one night instead of two, but at the very least, you need to marinate it for a few hours. If you find that you made too much chicken, simply place the extra chicken with marinade in a zip-top baggy and freeze. I usually put as much chicken in the bad as I intend to serve/eat for the week. The day before I want to cook the chicken, I pull it out of the freezer and stick it in the fridge.

meal

Originally, I wanted to have candied sweet potatoes and Okinowan yams as one of my two desserts. That was more of a fall dessert though, and with sweet potato already incorporated in the menu in fry form, a second dose of sweet potato might be overkill. Since I did not want to lose the Okinowan yams, I moved them up with the sweet potato fries. The color contrast between the two fries was quite nice, although I think the brilliant purple was subdued by the batter color. Both the Okinowan yam and sweet potato fries tasted delicious with the kochujang-kalamazi-garlic aioli and whole roasted garlic, which popped out of their sleeves, and had a lovely mellow flavor and creamy texture.


kalamanzi barsWe ended up having a rather wide selection of desserts because my friends brought some Russian ginger bread cookies, bird's milk (chocolate covered marshmallows), and dried anise-flavored guava in addition to the kalamazi bars and black sesame ice cream. The black sesame ice cream was very easy to make. I took a nice tub of vanilla ice cream and folded in fresh ground black sesame seeds and a sprinkle of finely ground sea salt. For the kalamazi bars, I used King Arthur flour, which has less gluten than other flour brands, and unsalted Plugra butter, which has a higher butterfat content than other butters. These higher quality ingredients made the shortbread-like base extra flaky and buttery.


The formatting for this post is a little bit different since I posted multiple recipes. I will repost the recipes individually later for easy searching. Since the focus of this special event was as much about my friends and fun as it was the food, here is a very short-video clip of our outdoor food fest on the patio. video

Without my friends valiantly helping with last-minute food preparations, dishes, and of course, photography, none of this would have been possible. The person you don't see, behind the camera, is one of my dear friends and the creative genius behind all the MyEpikorean photography. Life is so much sweeter with good friends. Guhn-bae!

SICGirls


Kochujang Barbeque Chicken Recipe
I used about 6 lbs of skinned, deboned, fat-removed chicken, including mixed parts from the whole birds. Marinate the chicken overnight—I marinated mine over two nights-- (or at least 2-3 hours minimum) with the following:
- 1 head of garlic
- 1 ½ cup hard apple cider (I used Scrumpy’s)
- 2 medium sweet onions
- 2 teaspoons hot red pepper flakes
- 3 tsp ginger, minced
- 1 cup of vermouth
- 1 ½ cup pineapple juice
- ½ cup light soy sauce


For the frying, I blended canola and peanut oil- 5 quarts of canola oil + 3 pints of peanut oil. Proportions don’t matter too much. I recommend either canola, peanut, or a blend. Peanut oil has a higher burning point (450) versus canola (400), and peanut also imparts less flavor to the food being fried. Generally, you should keep the oil at 350 degrees for the chicken. deep-fry the chicken pieces for 4-5 minutes or until a burnished golden brown.

For the sauce, I simmered the following for about two hours:
- three 18 ounce bottles of Trader Joes Kansas City BBQ sauce
- 1 tbs apple cider vinegar
- 24 ounces of barely malt syrup/yut girum (Eden’s is better than some Korean brands, which are so processed they resemble corn syrup)
- 18 ounces of a mild honey
- 1 ¼ cup kochujang (O’Foods brand is best for this because it has the least amount of sodium of all brands)
- 3 tablespoons of minced fresh ginger
- 3 tablespoons Korean red hot pepper flakes
- 8 cloves of garlic, minced
- ¼ cup of vermouth


Kalamanzi Bars Recipe
Set oven to 350 degrees For crust, bake the following for 25 minutes:
- 1 ½ cup flour
- 1/3 cup powdered sugar
- 1 ½ stick butter (3/4 cup butter)

For the topping, beat the following:
- 4 eggs slightly beaten
- 3/4 cup sugar
- 1 tsp baking powder
- 2 ½ tbsp flour
- 1 cup fresh kalamanzi juice


Pour the liquid mixture over the baked crust, and bake for another 25 minutes.

Kochujang-Kalamanzi-Garlic Aioli Recipe
The most important detail about this recipe is to not to dump the oil in all at once.
- 5 fresh garlic cloves
- 2 large egg yolks
- 2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
- 1 tsp apple cider vinegar
- 1 ½ cup of olive oil
- 2 tablespoon kochujang (fermented hot pepper paste)


Combine the garlic, egg, lemon juice, apple cider vinegar, and kochujang in a food processor or blender and puree. Add the oil in a slow stream and continue to process until the mixture has emulsified.


Sweet Potato and Okinowan Yam French Fries
I used about 4 1/2 lbs of mixed Korean sweet potato and Okinowan yams. Chop them into sticks roughly 1/4 inch thick. You will need 1 1/2 cups of mung bean or sweet potato starch and ice cold water.


Prepare a fryer filled one-third of the way with canola/peanut oil heated to 275 degrees. Fry sweet potatoes and Okinowan yams about 2 minutes. Remove sweet potatoes and yams to paper towel-lined trays, wait till they cool a bit, and then chill in fridge until cold (about 15 minutes). Heat fryer to 350 degrees. Fill a large bowl with the mung bean or sweet potato starch and mix with ice cold water to make a batter. Batter the fries till well-coated. Working in batches, place fries in fryer and cook until coating adheres, but do not brown the fries, about 2-3 minutes. Remove fries to a sheet pan in a single layer, taking care to keep fries separated. Freeze fries overnight. Once fries have frozen, you can preserve them in bags until ready for use. If you are using them right away, just reuse the oil you have and fry them at 350 degrees.

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Friday, June 6, 2008

Stewed Korean Short Ribs, Kalbi Jjim (갈비찜)

Succulent Stewed Ribs Reminiscent of French Bourguignonkalbi jjim

Whenever recent inductees to Korean cuisine describe fond memories of Korean food, the frequently mentioned universally palette-pleasing dish is kalbi, Korean barbeque short ribs. Typically marinated overnight and then fired over a tabletop or backyard grill, kalbi is the Korean equivalent of American barbeque. What people are less familiar with, however, is the kalbi jim*. Kalbi jim essentially uses the same cut of rib meat and similar seasonings as barbeque short ribs, only the bone is longer and meat scored or butterflied. But, the similarities end there. This tasty dish has more in common with the flavorful French bourguignon than its brother barbeque.

Bourguignon is beef braised in red wine and seasoned with garlic, onions, carrots and bouquet of assorted herbs like thyme, sage, tarragon and parsley. Like the French bourguignon, kalbi jim is also slow-cooked with liquor and spices, simmered till it reaches a fall-off-the-bone, melt-in-your-mouth tenderness. The reduction, when cooled, congeals and resembles aspic, a savory meat gelatin. The richness of kalbi jim derives from the bone marrow of the ribs, which steadily seeps into the sauce, thickening it as it simmers.


Although many traditional Korean recipes call for par-boiling the ribs, soaking the meat, or adding chicken broth, I have found that the simplest and most efficient way to cook kalbi jim is to just group the ingredients together according to cooking time and throw each of them in at the right time in a heavy-bottomed, copper-coated pot. What is most important in this dish is the cooking time and quality of ingredients. I love simmering raw chestnuts in kalbi jim, but since chestnuts are out of season, I used small Korean sweet potatoes with similar success.

* Kalbi is also spelt galbi, kalbee or galbee. Jim is also spelt jjim or chim.


Kalbi Jim, Korean Stewed Short Ribs Recipe

~ Serves 3-4 people


Preparing the beef short ribs
3 lbs short beef ribs (English, thick-cut 3”-5” pieces)
1. Rinse the ribs in cold water to clean away any remaining bone bits.
2. Trim and discard excess fat.
3. Score or butterfly the meat (I will post separately for how to properly butterfly short ribs).
Cooking the beef short ribs
The alcohol and fruit juices in this kalbi jim tenderize and naturally sweeten the meat. With enough meat tenderizers, overnight marinating and sugar or honey rendered unnecessary.

6 cloves garlic, sliced
1 small onion, coarsely chopped
6 tbs soy sauce
1 ½ cups pineapple juice
1 cup vermouth or rice wine
¼ cup maesil ju, green plum wine, or Grand Marnier
½ cup water
1 tbs fresh ginger, peeled and chopped
1 tbs roasted sesame seeds
8 raw chestnuts, peeled or 2 Korean sweet potatoes, peeled and cubed
10 ginkgo nuts, shelled
2 tbs red pepper threads (sil kochu), cut into 1” pieces
1 tsp black pepper, ground
1. Throw all ingredients, including meat but except the chestnuts and ginkgo nuts into heavy-bottomed or thick clay pot and cover with a tight-fitting lid.
2. Bring to a boil, then reduce to a low simmer.
3. Simmer for 1 hour, stirring occasionally to ensure the bottom does not burn.
4. Add in chestnuts and simmer for another 20 minutes.
5. Add in ginkgo nuts and simmer for another 20 minutes.
6. Remove the lid and turn up heat to medium high.
7. Stirring frequently and scraping the bottom with a wooden paddle, cook for another 20-30 minutes, until the meat becomes shiny and liquids reduce.
8. Optional step: Wait till the whole pot cools, then put it in the freezer for 20 minutes. Scrape away the fat, then reheat and serve with ogokbap, mixed rice.

Continue Reading "Stewed Korean Short Ribs, Kalbi Jjim (갈비찜)" Recipe ...

Friday, May 30, 2008

Mixed Rice2, Dolsot Bibimbap (돌솥 비빔밥)

Sizzling Stone Pot Rice, A Multi-Grain Mix of Rice Mixed with Seasoned Vegetables & Meat
Dolsot Bibimbap

This Sizzling Stone Pot Mixed Rice, Dolsot Bibimbap*, should be called Dolsot Bibim Ogokbap (돌솥 비빔 오곡밥) because not only is the rice physically mixed with all the vegetables, meat, and rice as in traditional bibimbap, but the grains themselves are composed of a mix, hence Mixed Rice².


My blend of grains diverges from the traditional ogokbap five-grains± of sweet rice, foxtail millet, red beans, black beans, and sorghum. And, unlike ogokbap, which is traditionally served on the day of Jeongwol Daeboreum, the first full moon of the new lunar year, my grain mix has been modified for daily consumption. While health-conscious Koreans are increasingly consuming multi-grain rice nowadays, I find pre-packaged blends of mixed grains to not be quite to my liking. I don’t like the taste of beans in rice that I plan to eat with kimchi, unless they are buttery Peruvian lima beans or quick-to-cook lentils. Nor do I like wild black rice mixed with sticky rice. Wild black rice tastes better, in my opinion, with fragrant, long grain rice, like jasmine rice. Some varieties of black rice not only poke at your throat but also bleed into the rice, coloring the rice a dark purple. Grains and beans also have different soaking times, and the pre-packaged multi-grain rice does not allow you to adjust for the different soaking times.


Multi-grain Rice

In my everyday version of ogokbap, I blend short grain brown rice, sweet brown rice, foxtail millet, wheat berry, oat groats, green lentils, and peas to create a golden brown rice mix with flecks of yellow and green. Combine this rice with a medley of delicately seasoned summer vegetables, earthy shitake mushrooms and burdock, and well-marbled bulgogi-style flank meat and you have a well-balanced meal all in one bowl! Crack in an egg, drop a dollop of kochujang or samjang, mix the mix up, and your dolsot bibimbap will be ready to eat!


Nurunji bap

Cooked in a granite stone pot, even the leftover roasted rice stuck to the bottom of the pot, nurungi, is delicious and is, in fact, a favorite Korean snack now sold in grocery stores. After you scoop out the rice, pour water into the stone pot for a toasty, after-meal palette cleanser.
* Also spelled tolsot pibimbap.
Ogokbap, also called chapgokbap, is served on the fifteenth day of the first month of the lunar year.
± The exact grain blend varies, depending on which region you examine. Sometimes, for instance, black soybeans are included. Generally, the grains used in ogokbap are those they plan to plant in the coming year.
Samjang, also spelled ssamjang, is a combination of kochujang, fermented hot pepper paste, and doenjang, fermented soybean paste. Although kochujang is more commonly used in bibimbap, samjang may also be used.


Dolsot Bibimbap Recipe

~ Serves 2 people


Soaking and Cooking the Mixed Grains
Peruvian lima beans require a longer soaking time of 4-6 hours and at least three water changes (in hot weather, soaking time is less than in cold weather). Otherwise, most of the grains here are relatively quick-to-soak-and-cook.

1 cup short grain brown rice
½ cup sweet brown rice
2 tbs split peas
2 tbs wheat berry
2 tbs foxtail millet
1 tbs lentils
1 tbs oat groats
¼ tsp salt

1. Soak the short grain brown rice, sweet brown rice and wheat berry together for 1 ½ - 2 hours and separately, the lentils for the same time, rinsing the lentils thoroughly and changing the water at least once.
2. Soak the millet for one hour, rubbing the grains and changing the water at least once.
3. Drain the millet and set aside.
4. Mix together the short grain brown rice, sweet brown rice, split peas, wheat berry, lentils, and oat groats and rinse once more. Drain and set aside.
5. Make sure your stone pot has been properly cleaned. See below for Dolsot Cleaning Instructions.
6. Put all of the grains except the millet in the pot with three cups of water.

7. Bring the water to a boil with the lid off. Dissolve salt into the boiling water.
8. After boiling gently for 15 minutes, add the millet in, decrease the heat to low, and cover the pot, leaving a crack of an opening.
9. Cook for another 15 minutes and then seal the opening shut with the lid.
10. Cook for another 15 minutes on very low, and then turn off and let sit for 5 minutes.
11. Fluff the rice with a fork and immediately seal to preserve the heat.

Preparing the Vegetables
Some people feel that bibimbap has a very labor-intensive process for preparing and seasoning vegetables, but actually, you can use whatever seasonal vegetables you like, including fresh sprouts and purple cabbage, both of which involve no preparation other than washing and chopping! Alternatively, you can cheat and go to the Korean grocery store and pick up prepared banchans such as doraji saengchae (marinated bellflower root) and pre-packed bibimbap seasoned vegetables. In general, the best short cut is using the right equipment. A mandolin slicer, as featured in Ratatouille and my cucumber salad recipe, is indispensable in any recipe that calls for slicing vegetables into thin disks or matchsticks.

3 medium carrots, sliced into matchsticks
2 Italian squash, sliced into matchsticks, leaving out the seed middle
1 lb chrysanthemum, leaves separated from stalks, stalks chopped in 1” pieces
2 tbs distilled white vinegar
½ tsp salt
2 tsp soy sauce
1 clove garlic, crushed
1 tsp sesame oil
1/8 tsp salt
1/8 tsp black pepper

1. Boil 6 cups of water with vinegar and salt.
2. Using a metal sieve, douse the carrots in the boiling water for 1 minute and then immerse in a bowl of icy water. Drain and set aside.
3. Douse the Italian squash for 45 seconds, immerse in icy water, drain and set aside.
4. Douse chrysanthemum leaves for 30 seconds, immerse in icy water, squeeze dry, and set aside.
5. Douse chrysanthemum stalks for 2 minutes, immerse in icy water, drain, and combine with wilted chrysanthemum leaves.
6. Coat the wilted chrysanthemum leaves and stalks with the soy sauce, garlic, sesame oil, salt, and black pepper.

Soybean sprouts- Mung bean spouts may also be used as a substitute for soybean sprouts. Although they are not as wide available, I do think they have a better flavor than soybean sprouts. You can also sprout your own, but it takes a few days.

1 ½ cups soybean sprouts
1 cup water
7. Place soybean spouts and water in a covered pot.
8. Boil for three minutes and then drain and set aside.
Ginkgo nuts- These healthy nuts are a beautiful addition to bibimbap, adding a wonderful chewiness and nutty flavor.

1 cup gingko nuts
2 tsp of vegetable oil

9. In a non-stick pan with oil, roast shelled ginkgo nuts over medium heat.
10. Transfer to a brown paper bag and rub between hands to remove the shell. Set aside.
Burdock & Shitake Mushrooms- The burdock root, which resembles a parsnip once peeled, adds a deep, earthy flavor. Similarly, shitake mushrooms add earthy and rustic undertones to this bibimbap.

1 burdock root, approximately 2 ½ ft, cut into matchsticks
2 tsp soy sauce
1 tbs sesame oil
2 cloves garlic, crushed
½ tsp honey

4-5 shitake mushrooms, fresh or thoroughly soaked and sliced
2 tsp soy sauce
1 tbs sesame oil
1 clove garlic, crushed
½ tsp honey

11. Over medium heat, pour the oil in the pan, then add the crushed garlic, sliced burdock, and roast for five minutes.
12. Add the soy sauce and honey, stirring often to make sure the burdock is well-coated. Cook until the burdock is browned on the edges, approximately 10 minutes.
13. Repeat these steps for the sliced shitake mushrooms.

Bulgogi
Literally translated, fired-meat adds a punch of protein to this otherwise vegetable-intense dish.

10 ounces of well-marbled rib-eye or tenderloin, thinly sliced
1 tbs + 1 tsp soy sauce
2 tbs vermouth
2 tbs maesil ju, green plum wine
1 tsp sesame oil
2 garlic cloves, crushed
¼ onion, sliced
¼ cup pineapple juice
½ tsp black pepper, ground
2 tsp red pepper threads, cut in 1” pieces

1. Put all the ingredients in a small pot and bring to a boil over medium heat.
2. Reduce to a simmer and cook covered for 15 minutes.
3. Remove cover and on medium heat, cook until most of the liquid has evaporated and turned into a thicker sauce, stirring frequently to prevent burning. Set aside.
Dolsot Bibimbap
All of the prepared toppings won’t fit on the top of the rice in the dolsot, so arrange a bit of each for the purposes of presentation on top. You can then allow your guests to add more vegetables and meat to each of their dishes.

Ssamjang or kochujang
1 tbs toasted sesame seeds for garnish
1 sheet gim, seasoned, roasted pressed laver, shredded for garnish
1. First, crack the eggs on the piping hot rice.
2. Arrange the vegetables and meat on top of the rice in the pot.
3. Serve with more vegetables, meat, and a dollop of either kochujang or samjang.
4. Garnish with seaweed and sesame seeds.

Instructions on How To Clean Your New Dolsot, Chiseled Granite Stone Pot

You may notice that dolsots are traditionally a shiny jet black color, reminiscent more of cast iron than chiseled granite. Dolsots become this way over time after repeated seasonings with oil and salt. Chonju, a Korean city, is famous for serving delicious bibimbap in these striking jet black granite bowls. My dolsot has not gone through enough seasonings to get this color, but I am noticing it steadily getting darker with each serving of bibimbap.

There are two different ways to wash your new granite stone pot. Regardless of which method you choose, you must never wash your dolsot with soap. The granite surface of stone pots is very porous and will absorb the soap and emit a very-difficult-to-rid-of-soapy-flavor.

The First Method
1. Rinse your pot very well.
2. Wearing rubber gloves to prevent your hands from chafing and becoming dried from the salt, pour a generous amount of salt into bowl and rub the salt around the sides and bottom. You will notice the salt pick up the dirt and become grey in color.
3. Rinse the bowl well.
4. Fill the bowl with water and at least ¼ cup of salt and bring to a boil.

The Second Method
1. Rinse your pot very well.
2. Place your stone pot in a large pot filled with salted water.
3. Bring the large pot of water to a boil.
4. Boil for an hour.
5. Remove the pot once the water is cooled.
6. For good measure, rub salt in the inside of the bowl to remove any sanded stone residue.

Dolsot Maintenance
After each use, use only salt and water to clean your dolsot. If you wear rubber gloves, you can either rub the salt into the dolsot to clean it well or just boil the whole thing to remove large residual rice grains and etc. Once your dolsot has dried, rub a little oil all around it and inside it. Keep it away from dust.

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