Taste the World – South Korea

So uh….we jumped ahead in our journey. Because, well, Dan was craving Korean short ribs. I’m pretty sure Korean short ribs are at the top of Dan’s “Favorite Meals” list so I was more than willing to skip half the alphabet in order to make him happy.Capture2
Along with the ribs we also made spicy Korean kidney beans aaaand kimchi!! Oh. My. Word. I think I’m in love. Fresh kimchi is possibly the best thing ever. I’ll definitely be making it again, and soon.
All of the dishes were pretty easy to make, albeit somewhat time-consuming. Although the recipe looks complicated, the kimchi was much easier than I expected. We followed this video and recipe from Maangchi – a talented Korean chef who was very enjoyable to watch. I can’t wait to see what other videos she’s put together!
Capture3
Once again, our photography skills are lacking nonexistent. Hang in there! Some day we’ll figure this out.
Speaking of pictures, you may notice a hot dog in one of them. Dan and I will put anything and everything on a hot dog, and if it’s spicy or pickled – so much the better.  Naturally, we had to make a kimchi dog. Totally worth how stuffed we were after eating so much food. I’ll write a post in the near future focusing on hot dogs and all of the crazy and delicious combinations we’ve discovered!
I’m not entirely sure how authentic the spicy kidney beans are to traditional Korean cuisine. Regardless – they were a tasty, easy side dish.
There are so many Korean dishes that we still want to try – we’ll most likely post at least once more about South Korea. We’ll also do a post about North Korean cuisine. Although the dishes and flavors are very similar between the two countries, I’ve read that North Korean dishes are generally less spicy and often utilize seafood, broths, and noodles. Capture4
For those of you in the know – what is the one Korean dish we HAVE to try?
 

Korean Short Ribs

  • Servings: 6-8
  • Difficulty: intermediate
  • Print
Ingredients
  • 5 lbs Korean style beef short ribs
  • 1 c brown sugar, packed (alternative sweetener and 1 T molasses can also be used)
  • 1 c soy sauce or Braggs Aminos
  • 1/2 c water
  • 1/4 c rice vinegar
  • 1 medium onion – finely diced
  • 1/4 c fresh minced garlic
  • 1-2 T minced fresh ginger
  • 2 T toasted Sesame oil
  • 1/4 tsp pepper
  • 2-3 sprigs Thai basil – minced
  • 6 Serrano peppers – minced, optional
  • 3-4 green onions – thinly sliced, for garnish

Instructions

  1. Combine all marinade ingredients in a medium bowl and stir to combine. Let it sit until sugar is dissolved.
  2. Add short ribs and marinade to a large zip lock bag (remove most of the air before sealing).
  3. Turn bag over a few times to coat ribs evenly with marinade.
  4. Refrigerate for at least 4 hours or overnight.
  5. When you are ready to cook the ribs, preheat a grill or a cast iron pan to high heat.
  6. Drain off excess marinade.
  7. Cook ribs 3-4 minutes on each side, turning once.
  8. Garnish with sliced green onions.

Enjoy!

Notes:

  1. When looking for short ribs – try to buy the thinnest, widest, and leanest ribs available. (The ribs will still have some fat, which is good, but many of the ribs for sale have excessive amounts.)
  2. Serrano peppers are optional, the longer the ribs marinade – the spicier they will be.

 

For our beans we used a Soyaki marinade I found at Trader Joe’s. This replaced the sugar, soy sauce, water, and some of the ginger and garlic.

Spicy Korean Kidney Beans

  • Servings: 3-4
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print
Ingredients

  • 1 standard size can red kidney beans – drained and rinsed
  • 1-2 T ketchup
  • 3 T brown sugar (alternative sweetener and a dollop of molasses could also be used)
  • 3 T soy sauce or Braggs Aminos
  • 1/3 cup water
  • 1-2 T garlic – minced
  • 1 T fresh ginger – minced
  • 1-2 green onions – thinly sliced, for garnish

Instructions

  1. Combine all ingredients in a medium sauce pan.
  2. Bring to a slow boil over medium heat.
  3. Cook until sauce has reduced slightly.

Serve as a side dish or over rice. Garnish with green onions.

Don’t forget to check out Maangchi’s recipe for Kimchi which can be found here: http://www.maangchi.com/recipe/tongbaechu-kimchi

 

Advertisements

Taste The World – Afghanistan

Here begins the grand adventure we have undertaken. Cook a meal from every country in the world. I know this isn’t a new idea, but we are very excited! Let me introduce a special guy…my boyfriend Dan! He is the owner of Black Market Hot Sauce Company as well as a top-notch cook at a cool little local restaurant. We obviously both love food. We’re also both pretty bad at geography. The solution? Cook a meal from every country and learn a little about each country, and hopefully it’s location, in the process! (Don’t tell anyone but, we’re mostly just excited about the whole trying-new-food thing.)

I feel the need to apologize here for the photo quality. Hopefully it will slowly start improving. I learned today that my man has a knack for getting a decent picture in horrible lighting!

Why start with Afghanistan? Uh…’cause we’re so creative that we decided to start alphabetically. Next up – Albania.

The food we made today was amazing! Afghanistan was the perfect country to start with (how convenient). Even after researching recipes, I didn’t really have a good idea of the unique flavors and dishes contained in Afghan cuisine. I know the two dishes we made did not even begin to scratch the surface.

20160105_152331Dumplings, mint, meaty tomato sauce, yogurt, cilantro, sour dried plums, turmeric, spiced chicken, onions, ginger, garlic. On and on. So many flavors contained in two dishes; and everything tasted fantastic together!

It was a little challenging to find good recipes for Afghan dishes. Some were impossible to follow, some were overly vague, others sounded like they could have originated from any middle eastern or Asian country. In the end we decided to take several recipes for one dish and combine them. I’m hoping we didn’t step on any toes in the process. Regardless, the final dish was delicious!

We made chicken korma and mantu (dumplings) as well as attempted to make naan. I say attempted to make naan because ours turned out less like a soft flat bread and more like a crusty round loaf.

Word to the wise – if you decide to make these recipes, you will be dicing a lot of onions.20160105_152635The combination of yogurt, spices, lime juice, plums, and ginger in the korma was unexpected and completely different from any other curry dish I’ve had before. It was slightly spicy as well as tangy, savory, and sweet. This dish was great with our naan bread and it would have been perfect served with a rice dish. You can find our recipe for chicken korma at the bottom of the post.IMG_20160105_185320695The mantu were surprising simple and well worth the extra time it took to put them together. The filling was simply onions and spiced meat. They were served with a meaty tomato sauce and a garlicky yogurt sauce and garnished with mint. The flavor combination of mint, yogurt, tomato and onions was my favorite part of the whole meal! Mantu are generally made for special occasions in Afghanistan because of the extra time they require. We followed this recipe from Lucky Peach. We used a combination rice cooker/slow cooker to steam our dumplings but other cooking methods (including boiling) would work just fine.IMG_20160105_185305570No Afghan meal would be complete without tea. I’m sure I made it incorrectly but I made a simple chai tea with cardamom, cinnamon, ginger, and green tea. It was very light and aromatic. All in all, our first meal in this experiment was a huge success!

Chicken Korma

  • Servings: 4-6
  • Difficulty: intermediate
  • Print
Ingredients

  • 10 dried sour plums
  • 1 whole chicken or 3-4 chicken leg quarters, cut into smaller pieces
  • 2-3 T oil or fat, for frying
  • 2 yellow onions, diced
  • 1-2 T fresh ginger, minced
  • 1 T fresh garlic, minced
  • 2 limes, juiced
  • 1/2 bunch cilantro, roughly chopped
  • 3-4 sprigs mint, chopped
  • 1 cup plain Greek yogurt
  • 1/4 cup heavy cream
  • 1-2 Anaheim chilies, thinly sliced
  • 3-5 red jalapenos, thinly sliced
  • 2 tsp ground turmeric
  • 1 tsp black pepper
  • 1 tsp sea salt

Instructions

  1. Soak dried plums in water for about 1 hour.
  2. Heat oil to medium high in a deep frying pan or stock pot.
  3. Brown chicken pieces in hot oil.
  4. Remove chicken when browned and add onions, garlic and ginger.
  5. Saute onion mixture for a few minutes until the color starts to change.
  6. Drain plums and add all remaining ingredients to frying pan, stir to combine.
  7. Return chicken to pan. If needed, add enough water or cream to prevent burning.
  8. Cook on low heat for about an hour or until chicken comes off the bone easily.
  9. Taste and adjust seasoning if needed.

Serve family style with a garnish of cilantro and lime wedges.

 

I would love to hear from anyone with experience in Afghan cooking and food!