Kimchi Fried Rice

While studying and writing papers I was hankering for something easy and inexpensive to make. I had forgotten about the container of kimchi in the back of the refrigerator and stumbled across it just the other day. So I got to thinking that I should make something with the kimchi. Well I would have had it in a bowl of noodles, but I ran out of noodles a while ago. Instead there was a container of leftover rice and I figured why not combine the two. I was inspired to make this dish from watching Maangchi’s youtube video on Kimchi Fried Rice and just had to make it. But with a few changes.

Here are the ingredient needed for this recipe:

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  • 1 1/2 cups cooked rice
  • 1/3 cup frozen sweet peas
  • 1/4 cup Spam
  • 1/3 cup kimchi
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tsp. sesame oil
  • 1 Tbsp. plum sauce

Step 1: Rinse the frozen sweet peas to remove the ice; set aside.

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Step 2: Cut the Spam and kimchi into small pieces; set aside.

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Step 3: In a large pan, add 1 Tbsp. vegetable oil over high heat.

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Step 4: Add the egg and fry it to however you prefer it. (I like a slightly runny yolk, this way when I cut into the egg the yolk will give the dish a creamy texture.)

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Step 5: Remove the fried egg from the pan and onto the cutting board. (I accidentally broke the yolk, such a sad moment.)

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Step 6: In the same pan, add in the defrosted sweet peas, Spam, and kimchi and cook until heated through.

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Step 7: Add 1/4 cup of water and the rice.

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Step 8: Break the rice up with a spatula and again cook until heated through.

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Step 9: Add in 3-4 Tbsp. kimchi juice and stir to combine.

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Step 10: Add in the sesame oil and toss to combine.

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Step 11: Turn off the heat and add in the plum sauce and stir until well mixed.

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Step 12: Scoop into a large bowl and top it with the fried egg and serve. (I had to make this again the next day, but I added Emoki mushrooms.)

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Tteokbokki

Tteokbokki, also known as ddeokbokki or topokki,is a popular Korean snack food which is commonly purchased from street vendors or Pojangmacha. Originally it was called tteok jjim (떡찜), and was a braised dish of sliced rice cake, meat, eggs, and seasoning.

So while I was completely and utterly sick from a head cold for a good week I ended up watching some Korean dramas online and I stumbled upon one called Gourmet. This drama was all about the traditional foods of Korea and of course the drama of the characters’ lives, but anyways I got really into the food shown on it. This has led me to wanting to make some of the dishes. Well at least the ones that I can kind of manage with the limited supplies on hand in my town.

So today, finally after getting over the nasty cold, I will show you how to make topokki. Well a version that I am able to make right now. After looking over dozens of food blogs and videos I have come up with my own version. Let’s hope it’s not too spicy to eat. As an added bonus you can add instant ramen to the mix as well and it’s really tasty.

Here are the ingredients needed for this recipe:

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  • 1lb. rice cake sticks (there are different types, the smaller they are the less time it takes to cook them, so be careful when cooking them, try not to overcook them.)
  • 4 oz. fish cake, thinly sliced
  • 4 oz. cabbage (optional)
  • 1/2 medium carrot, thinly sliced (optional)
  • 1 green onion, cut into 2-inch pieces (I had tiny ones from the market so I used 3 of them)
  • 4 boiled eggs (optional)
  • 8 oz. fish meat balls (optional)

Sauce

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  • 2 Tbsp. gochujang (hot pepper paste) I’ll be using a milder version (Korean Bean Paste [green container])
  • 1 tsp. red pepper powder (paprika for my taste)
  • 1 tsp. garlic, minced
  • 1/2 Tbsp. mirin
  • 1 Tbsp. corn syrup
  • 1 Tbsp. soy sauce
  • 2 Tbsp. sugar
  • 3 cups anchovy stock, vegetable stock, water, or in this case dashi
  • 1 Tbsp. ketchup (optional)

Step 1: Prepare the rice cakes as indicated by the packaging.

Step 2: In a large saucepan, add stock or water, pepper paste, sugar, corn syrup, pepper powder, and garlic and bring to a boil. (When you add in the pepper paste make sure you press it in, cause it doesn’t like to dissolve easily)

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Step 3: Add in the rice cakes, cabbage, carrot, and fish cake. (Add the instant ramen)

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Step 4: Turn heat down to low and simmer for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.

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Step 5: Add in remaining ingredients.

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Step 6: Keep stirring until rice cakes are cooked through, or soft. (I removed everything but the sauce so that I could thicken the sauce without overcooking everything else.)

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Step 7: Serve hot and garnish if desired with sesame seeds and sliced green onion.

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Honey Ginger Noodles

I know I haven’t posted in a month or so, but I’ve been super busy with life. So while I was taking a break from life and going out for dinner I came across something called “Soy Sauce Noodles”. I was intrigued and when I tasted it…YUM!! Wanting to remake it though was a whole other story. Some of the ingredients were a bit hard to come by in my small town. So I improvised instead and “MacGyvered” my own version of the recipe that is so much simpler and cheaper to make.

Here are the ingredients needed for this recipe:

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  • 2 Tbsp. soy sauce
  • 1/4 cup mirin
  • 1/2 tsp. sesame oil
  • 1/2 tsp. red pepper flakes (preferably Korean, but I didn’t have any, if you have ground use only 1/4 tsp I didn’t and it was way to spicy.)
  • 1/2 tsp. sesame seeds (I didn’t have any)
  • 1 Tbsp. minced garlic (3 cloves)
  • 1/2 Tbsp. honey
  • 1/2 Tbsp. fresh ginger, finely minced
  • 1 (6oz.) pkg. chow mein noodles
  • 2 stalks of green onion, chopped (save 1/4 for garnish)
  • 1 Tbsp. red vinegar (optional)

Step 1: In a medium bowl, combine the soy sauce, mirin, sesame oil, red pepper flakes, sesame seeds, minced garlic, and honey. Taste to adjust.

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Step 2: In a medium pot of boiling water, blanch the chow mein noodles for 30-40 seconds.

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Step 3: Drain the noodles well and set aside. (Make sure you do this or else the noodles will stick to the pan)

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Step 4: In a large pan, heat up some oil over high heat. (Canola or vegetable oil)

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Step 5: Add the drained chow mein noodles and ginger into the pan. (I didn’t drain the noodles enough so they stuck to the pan)

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Step 6: Stir-fry for a 3-4 minutes.

Step 7: Add in the green onion and cook for 30 seconds.

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Step 8: Add in the sauce mixture and continue to stir-fry for 1-2 minutes. (The sauce will help loosen the stuck noodles)

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Step 9: Serve immediately with a quick garnish of the leftover green onion.

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Sweet Potato Rice

After the holidays there seems to be a surplus of sweet potatoes in the house and I can’t seem to figure out what to do with them all. Well other than to make desserts and such for the most part, but I found a recipe that used sweet potato in a different way, it’s called Sweet potato rice (Gogumabap). It is a healthy and filling dish.

Besides simple starches, sweet potatoes are rich in complex carbohydrates, dietary fiber, beta-carotene (a provitamin A carotenoid), vitamin C, vitamin B6, manganese and potassium. Pink, yellow and green varieties are also high in beta-carotene.

Perfect for the cold winters and tiring nights. Simple to make and inexpensive.

I will be combining two different recipes to make it as simple as possible. Gogumabap requires a pot or stone pot to cook the dish. Instead I will be using a rice cooker, like in Sweet Potatoes Rice (地瓜飯).

Here are the ingredients needed for this recipe:

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  • 3 cups long grain rice
  • 2 sweet potatoes (washed, peeled, & cut 1/2 inch cubes)
  • 3 cups water/chicken broth/vegetable broth (or any type of combination)

Sauce

  • 1/4 cup green onion or Chinese garlic chives, minced
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 2 Tbsp. soy sauce
  • 1/2 tsp. honey
  • 1 Tbsp. vinegar
  • 1/2 tsp. sesame oil (suppose to use 1 Tbsp. sesame seeds, but didn’t have any)
  • 1/2 tsp. red pepper flakes (more or less)
  • 2 tsp. red wine vinegar (optional)

Step 1: Wash the rice and rinse 2-3 times.

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Step 2: Fill the rice cooker according to the instructions of the model with water/broth combination.

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Step 3: Add sweet potatoes to the rice and begin rice cooker.

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Step 4: Meanwhile, in a small bowl combine the sauce ingredients until well mixed.

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Step 5: Serve sweet potato rice in a serving bowl and spoon the sauce on top.

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Notes: You can add a fried egg to add a protein to the dish.

Holiday Desserts and Sides

Another year has crept past and it’s that time of the year again for the holiday cheers. After debating and revising recipes many dishes will be showcased today. I feel the need to go a bit unconventional, but with a traditional twist to it.

Last year I had made:

  1. Garlic Mashed Potatoes
  2. Dulce de Leche Cake
  3. Key Lime Cheesecake
  4. Sweet Potato Pie
  5. Soft Ginger Cookies
  6. White Chocolate, Chocolate Cookies
  7. Chocolate Pumpkin Truffles
  8. Cookie Truffles
  9. Double Layer Pumpkin Cheesecake

This year I will be making less, but still with that “WOW!” factor in it. So a whole new menu that has been revised many times over and kept to a short list with items being taken off and being placed back on the list for weeks on end.

So now the final verdict has been written down and here are the dishes that I will be making this year:

  1. Iced Chocolate Chip Pumpkin Cookies
  2. Pumpkin Molasses Cupcakes
  3. Pumpkin Cheesecake
  4. Roasted Garlic Mashed Potatoes

Khaliat Nahal (Bee’s Hive Bread)

Khaliat al Nahal (known by many as Khaliat Nahal) literally means Bee’s Hive in Arabic. This is because the buns are baked close to each other in a round pan in a honeycomb like pattern and they are glazed with a honey flavored syrup. Now there are many different recipes for this dish. I have compiled a group of them and found an easier and less expensive version.

Here are the ingredients needed for this recipe:

Dough

  • 3 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup + 1 Tbsp. powdered milk
  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 pkg. dry active yeast
  • 1 Tbsp. sugar
  • 1 Tbsp. baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1 cup warm water (may need more or less, just enough to form a soft dough) (I added 1/2 tsp.)
  • 1/2 (8oz.) pkg. cream cheese
  • sesame seeds

Simple Syrup

  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1 Tbsp. honey

Egg Wash

  • 1 egg yolk + 1 Tbsp. water

Step 1: In a large bowl, sift together the flour, powdered milk, sugar, baking powder, and salt.

Step 2: Mix in the yeast, vegetable oil, and enough warm water to form a soft dough.

Step 3: Knead for 8-10 minutes. The dough will be smooth in texture.

Step 4: Place dough into a lightly oiled bowl, cover with a damp cloth, and place plastic wrap over the bowl. (I recommend to not cover the dough with the cloth, it will stick to the dough. Instead just lightly oil the plastic wrap and cover the dough with it.)

Step 5: Proof for 1 + 1/2 hours.

Step 6: Meanwhile in a sauce pan, combine the sugar, water, and honey.

Step 7: Bring to a boil and allow it to lightly thicken over med-low heat, 3-4 minutes. Allow to cool.

Step 8: Lightly oil and line the bottom of a baking pan. (I will be using a 12-inch cake pan.)

Step 9: Preheat the oven to 350°F.

Step 10: Punch the dough down and divide it into small balls, about 2-3 Tbsp.

Step 11: Create a well in the balls and add 1/2-1 tsp. cream cheese in the center and encase the cream cheese in the dough.

Step 12: Place dough balls into a lightly oiled and lined baking pan, starting from the center and moving outward like a honeycomb.

Step 13: Brush dough balls with the egg wash and sprinkle on some sesame seeds.

Step 14: Bake for 25-30 minutes, or until golden brown.

Step 15: Remove from oven and immediately pour the cooled simple syrup over the buns.

Step 16: Cover the buns with foil and allow to cool to room temperature, about 20-30 minutes. (The syrup will be absorbed into the buns.)

Curry Rice

This week I was craving for some curry, but not an overly spicy Chinese version my dad always makes. So I figured I could make a Japanese curry rice dish. Went to the local oriental market and picked up a box of mild Japanese curry roux.

Curry (カレー karē?) is one of the most popular dishes in Japan. It is commonly served in three main forms: curry rice (カレーライス karē raisu?), karē udon (thick noodles) and karē-pan. Curry rice is most commonly referred to simply as ‘curry’ (カレー karē?).

A wide variety of vegetables and meats are used to make Japanese curry. The basic vegetables are onions, carrots, and potatoes. For the meat, beef, pork, and chicken are the most popular. Katsu-karē is a breaded deep-fried pork cutlet with curry sauce.

Today I will be making a basic curry rice dish. It is inexpensive and very easy to make. The great thing about this dish is that the next day you reheat it, the curry taste even better.

Here are the ingredients needed for this recipe:

  • 1 box = 100g (3.5oz.) Golden Curry Sauce Mix (Mild) or whichever brand/spiciness you prefer
  • 8oz. meat (chicken, beef, pork, etc.), chopped bite-sized
  • 2 medium onions, chopped bite-sized
  • 1 1/2 medium potatoes, chopped bite-sized
  • 1 medium carrot, chopped bite-sized
  • 3 1/2 cups water (or 1/2 water and 1/2 chicken broth) (*I used 1 can 14.5oz. chicken broth and the rest was water)
  • 1-2 Tbsp. vegetable oil
  • 6 servings of cooked rice

Step 1: Heat the vegetable oil in a large pot over med-hi heat.

Step 2: Add the onions, carrots, and potatoes. Stir to coat with the oil and cook for 5 minutes.

Step 3: Add in the meat and cook until it is no longer pink.

Step 4: Add the water and bring to a boil.

Step 5: Remove the foam that has formed on the surface.

Step 6: Reduce heat to low and continue to cook for 15 minutes.

Step 7: Turn off the heat.

Step 8: Break the curry roux into pieces and add to the pot.

Step 9: Mix well until curry roux is completely melted.

Step 10: Turn heat on med-low and simmer for 10 minutes until the sauce thickens.

Step 11: Serve the curry on a hot bed of rice.

Optional: Here’s a video on how to make (curry rice)

Baingan Bhartha (Eggplant)

I’ve always wanted to make Baingan Bhartha (Eggplant) ever since I had it once in the Indian restaurant a few months ago. So I looked long and hard for a recipe that could emulate the flavors.

Here are the ingredients needed for this recipe:

  • 1 large eggplant
  • 2 medium tomatoes (using Roma)
  • 1 red bell pepper, diced (I will be using red and yellow)
  • 1 green chili pepper, seeded (I will be using green bell pepper and adding some chili sauce)
  • 3 Tbsp. vegetable oil
  • 1/2 tsp. cumin seeds
  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 1/4 inch piece of fresh ginger
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1/2 tsp. ground turmeric
  • 1 tsp. ground coriander
  • 1/4 tsp. cayenne pepper
  • 1/4 tsp. garam masala
  • 1/2 tsp. salt, or to taste
  • 1/4 tsp. ground peppercorn
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
  • 1/2 cup frozen peas (optional)

Step 1: Preheat the oven’s broiler.

Step 2: Rub oil on the outside of the eggplant, or coat with cooking spray.

Step 3: Place under the broiler, and cook until the flesh is soft and the skin is blistering off, about 20-30 minutes. (Turn as needed for even cooking.)

Step 4: Cut the eggplant in half lengthwise, and scoop the flesh out of the skin. Discard the skin; chop up the flesh and set aside.

or

Step 1: Cook the whole eggplant (put it on a microwave safe dish) in microwave for 8 to 10 minutes until it is tender. If you are using an oven, preheat the oven at 400 degrees F and bake it for about 45 minutes turning the sides every fifteen minutes. Be sure to first put the eggplant in an oven safe shallow bowl or a cookie sheet.

Step 2: Let it cool and scoop out the flesh, then chop the eggplant in small pieces and keep aside.

Step 3: Blend together the tomatoes, ginger and green chili; set aside.

Step 4: Heat the oil in a large skillet or wok over medium-high heat.

Step 5: Add the red bell pepper, onion, and garlic; cook and stir until tender, or until golden brown.

Step 6: Add the cumin seeds, and let them crackle for a few seconds and turn golden brown. (Be careful not to burn them.) *you may want to heat a bit more oil in the pan before doing this.

Step 7: Stir in the tomato and peas, and season with turmeric, ground coriander, cayenne pepper, and salt. Cook and stir for a few minutes or until the tomato puree has begun to separate from the oil.

Step 8: Add eggplant over medium heat, keep stirring the eggplant and mashing the eggplant as it cooks; 8-10 minutes.

Step 9: Add the garam masala and cilantro.

Step 10: Taste, and adjust seasonings if desired. Serve with a side of naan. (Side note: It taste best the next day.)

Spam Musubi

While watching the show “The Best Thing I Ever Ate” I came across Spam Musubi from Mana Bu’s. I just had to recreate it. Since I didn’t want to go the conventional route and make it with the traditional mold. I will be recreating the version on the show, which is similar to an onigiri. Here is a review of Mana Bu’s Musubi.

Here are the ingredients needed for this recipe:

  • 1 canned Spam (any flavor you would like to use)
  • 2 Tbsp. soy sauce
  • 2 Tbsp. oyster sauce
  • 2 Tbsp. mirin(I didn’t have any so I will be making a substitute)
  • 3 Tbsp. water
  • 2 Tbsp. sugar
  • 3-4 cups of cooked Japanese short grain rice
  • sheets of nori (for sushi making)

Step 1: Slice the Spam into 1/2 inch slices.

Step 2: Brown the Spam in a skillet over high heat until both sides are browned.

Step 3: In a small bowl, combine the soy sauce, oyster sauce, mirin, water, and sugar until the sugar is dissolved.

Step 4: Once the Spam is done browning, turn the heat down to low and pour in the sauce mix.

Step 5: Simmer the sauce gently for 20-30 minutes, the sauce will have thicken as well.

Step 6: Once the sauce thickens, take the pan off the heat and set aside. (I will be cutting them in half to fit into the onigiri shape)

Step 7: Wet your clean hands with cold water sprinkle with salt.

Step 8: Take 1/2 cup of the rice and place on one hand. (I couldn’t take pictures for steps 8-12, my hands were covered in water, rice, and nori)

Step 9: Make a dent in the middle of the rice with your other hand.

Step 10: Place in 1 piece of the Spam in the dent.

Step 11: Working rapidly, wrap the rice around the filling, and form into a ball. To make the traditional triangular shape, cup your hand sharply to form each corner, and keep turning it until you are happy with the shape. (I recommend using a mold, it was really difficult keeping it in a triangle shape.)

Step 12: Wrap the musubi with 1-2 strips of nori seaweed.

Beef Bowls

While living in Miami I had tried my very first beef bowl and it blew my mind. I just had to make some. So I will be attempting to recreate a traditional beef bowl today.

Here are the ingredients needed for this recipe:

  • 5oz. thinly sliced beef (I will be using veal, didn’t slice it thin enough)
  • 1/2 medium onion, chopped
  • 1/4 oz. (2 tsp.) ginger root, grated
  • 2 servings of rice
  • 1 1/2 Tbsp. soy sauce
  • 1 1/2 Tbsp. sake
  • 1 1/2 Tbsp. sugar
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1 1/4 cups hot water

Step 1: In a large pan, add in the onion and hot water and bring to a boil.

Step 2: Allow to boil for 7 minutes, or until the onion is soft.

Step 3: Add the sake, sugar, salt, soy sauce, ginger and beef; stir, cover, and boil for 8-10 minutes over medium heat.

Step 4: Taste and add more sugar and/or soy sauce if needed.

Step 5: Serve over the steamed rice.

Notes: Leftover broth can be used for dipping.

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