Sunday, April 27, 2008

Soon Tofu Seafood Stew (Soon Doo Boo Jjigae)

Soon tofu stew is becoming extremely popular in the U.S. it probably now is the stew of Korea in most people’s mind.  I never had it when I was in Korea ironically.  I think it was more of a specialty in some regions in Korea and not an everyday comfort food for most Koreans.  What I used to eat was miso stew and kimchi stew instead.  Where I lived in Seattle, WA, there was a restaurant called Ho Soon Yi that makes Soon tofu stew (Soon doo boo jigae) exclusively.  I always saw just as many non-Koreans there enjoying this stew as Koreans.  This dish is so popular, there are franchise restaurants in Southern California specializing just soon tofu stews such as BCD Tofu House which is open for 24 hours.  Although I like restaurant foods, there is nothing that beats some wholesome home cooked meals.  Some restaurants use MSG to enhance flavors of their food.  My body is super sensitive to MSGs whenever I eat food with MSGs, I feel disgusted and cranky.  It’s almost like I’m hungover.  So I tried making this at home and seriously this turned out to be the best tasting stew I have ever cooked in my life.  This is easily my #1 dish.
Ingredients: Bacon, chili pepper oil, sesame oil, clam base, salt, pepper, sugar, fish sauce, finely ground red pepper powder, minced garlic, kimchi (and juice), tofu (soft/silk), eggs, onions, zucchini or mushrooms, red/green peppers (jalapeño is ok), seafood (shrimp, squid, and if you have clams, use clams as well).
1. First, cook bacon in chili pepper oil.

2. Once bacon is cooked, add onions and minced garlic. At this time, after allowing garlic to cook for maybe 20 seconds, you need to throw in other ingredients below.

Thinly sliced green and red peppers
Add kimchi and its juice, and sliced zucchinis.

3. Add water and clam base. For the below portion, I used 1 1/2 table spoon of clam base. Do not put too much in the beginning because you can always add some more later if bland.

4. Prepare your seafood. I am using shrimp and squid for mine. If you have clams, use them. Real clams will make this dish look and taste great.

Add the sliced seafood into your soup.

5. So now it’s time to add tofu to your soup. See the sign that says “silken”. Do not use firm tofu for this stew because it will create an entirely different stew. When adding the tofu, you do not need to cut it. Just put the whole thing in. Of course, do not just turn it upside down and drop it from 3 feet above the pot and create a disaster. Use a big spoon or a spatula to carefully transfer it into the stew.

6. Keep on heating (high heat) and add little bit of sugar. Continue heating for additional 5-7 minutes and add fish sauce towards the end. I used about 2-3 table spoons of fish sauce for below amount of stew. Fish sauce will seal the deal for this stew flavor-wise.  Traditionally though, what you use instead of the fish sauce is salt pickled shrimps called “Se woo jut.” However, fish sauce will do the justice since that ingredient is harder to find and to utilize in your daily cooking.

7. Turn off the heat and add a raw egg. Let the egg cook but not fully cook so when serving in a bowl, each person will have the half cooked egg on top of their soup. I usually save my egg yolk without popping the yolk into the soup and put it on my rice along with some stew broth and mix them around. The egg part is optional but you will see that you can add a raw egg into your boiling stew in an earthen bowl.

You won’t be disappointed with this recipe.

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Salmon Delight - Appetizer

This is one of my original ideas and I don’t know how others like it but i thoroughly enjoy this dish.  It’s healthy, fresh and tasty.
1. Cut the salmon. You need some thin and wide pieces as well as long and chunky ones.

2. Now this sauce is a mix of teriyaki sauce, ginger powder, and lemon squeeze. (Refer to Condiments List.)

3. Make a flowery shape on your chopping board and simply transfer the entire thing over using a big kitchen knife and put it on top of the sauce without making a mess.

4. Cut a cucumber into slices. You need half slices. Then put those around the dish.

5. Throw some condiments on top of your salmon. I put some finely cut chives, and nori strips. Use a scissor for concise cutting of tiny pieces like that.

Enjoy this dish and impress your loved ones!

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Galbi (Korean Marinated Beef Short Ribs Barbecue)

So this is the most popular kind of Korean barbecue dish called Galbi (Kalbi).  It wasn’t the most popular way to cook because I didn’t have a grill in my apartment but I think I got all the marinade and the meat right.  The taste was excellent I wish I did have a grill because it could have been better.  Galbi simply means “ribs”.  Galbi is generally most recognized as marinated Korean beef ribs.
Ingredients: 1/2 cup of teriyaki sauce, 1/4 cup of soy sauce, 1/2 cup of water, 2 tbsp sesame oil, 1 tbsp minced garlic, 1/4 piece of grated pear, 2 tsp of grated ginger, 1-2 tsp sugar
1. First you need to pour teriyaki sauce, soy sauce, water, and the specified amount of sesame oil into a container.

2. Then you need to put some minced garlic, grated ginger and also grated pear. Asian pears are the best like this one below but if you can’t find it, any pear will do. Just use a blender after peeling it. I used 1/4 piece of grated pear and two teaspoons of grated ginger for the amount of sauce above. In addition, depending on how sweet your teriyaki sauce is, you might want to add more sugar.

3. Marinate your ribs into the mixture for at least 3-4 hours before cooking. Leaving them overnight is usually the best. Make sure you soak them in all the way.

4. You may want to marinate typical vegetables that go with Korean barbecue such as whole mushrooms and onions.

5. Like I said above, if you have a barbecue grill, please grill it instead! For those who don’t have a grill, you can still use a conventional oven and make great a Galbi dish. Put the heat on 400 degree F and cook it for 15 minutes. Do NOT broil it or overcook it especially in slow and low heat for a long time because it will dry out the juice and the meat will be rough.

Enjoy it! As a side dish, try eatting with fresh lettuce, cucumbers, pickled radish (ssam moo), and ssamjang (spicy miso paste) paste. For more information of those condiments, simply refer to Condiments List.

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Sushi Fest

So I made all these sushi over one day to invite some friends over after our final exam. Not only I wanted to feed my friends, but the fact that I wanted to update the blog with more sushi recipes seemed to be what motivated me that day. It’s a great deal for my freeloading friends.  :)

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Shrimp Nigiri Sushi (Ebi)

Shrimp sushi is probably a very popular sushi dish in America for its taste and looks.  Most people also tend to love shrimp and if you’re still not into raw fish, you will at least appreciate this cooked shrimp sushi.  There is also a raw version of shrimp sushi which I like better because of its softer texture and sweeter flavor.  Making this at home may be slightly more difficult than other sushi mainly because you have to flatten the shrimp.  Below images will show you how it’s done.

You need to have sushi rice. (Refer to how to make sushi rice.)

1. First, you need to peel your shrimps. You can use Tiger shrimps or bay shrimps similar in size. When peeling, leave the tail part.

2. Check to see if your shrimp has veins removed already. If not, remove them. Whether the vein is removed or not and got deep cut marks as a result will determine which side of shrimp you’re splitting to flatten.  However, if you split it by the belly side, remember that the tail will face up on your sushi.  Normally, it should face down and for you to do that, you need to buy shrimps with the vein still in so that you can manually remove the vein without carving off such a huge chunk of meat around the vein.  

3. Take out a few bamboo skewers. We need to do some serious poking with these sticks.

Push down your shrimp and pierce the stick all the way through until reaching the tail.  What this does is that it straightens the shrimp as we cook it.

Do it for all of them.

4. In boiling water, put the shrimps in for 30 seconds. It will be fully cooked in 30 seconds and by not over cooking, nice and soft texture of the shrimp will be preserved.

5. Take the sticks out of your shrimps.

6. So that cut mark is where you are going to cut through since this shrimp had the vein area cut. Cutting is very tricky. You do not want to cut too much to split the entire thing in half. You need to stop at some point so you will still have one piece.

7. Now you can use your knife to flatten the sushi.

8. In the end, this is what they will look like. Just put it on a sushi rice dough.

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