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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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.

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)

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.

Scottish Shortbread

So I was watching Gordon Ramsay’s Ultimate Christmas and saw him make a pretty simple shortbread recipe. I really wanted to make it, but a less expensive and wasteful version. It goes really well with tea or coffee in the winter afternoons. This version is a more rustic feel to it and is a bit crumbly, but really buttery.

Here are the ingredients needed for this recipe:

  • 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup rice flour or cornstarch
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup frozen unsalted butter
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract (optional)

Step 1: Take out an 8-in. tart pan with a removable bottom (Since I don’t have that I’ll be using an 8-in. cake pan)

Step 2: In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, rice flour, salt and sugar together.

Step 3: Take the frozen butter and grate it over the flour mixture (you can add the vanilla extract at this time)

Step 4: With your fingertips, work the butter into the flour by lifting small handfuls and rubbing the butter and flour together. Do this until the mixture looks like breadcrumbs. (do not form a dough)

Step 5: Evenly press the shortbread into the tart pan, smoothing the top as much as possible.

Step 6:Place shortbread in freezer for 10-15 minutes.

Step 7: Preheat oven to 300°F with the rack in the center of the oven.

Step 8: Score the top of the shortbread, by slightly cutting the top of the shortbread creating 8 or 16 triangles. (will flake don’t worry about it)

Step 9: Press a thumbprint at the edge of each triangle.

Step 10: Prick the surface shortbread with a fork.

Step 11: Bake for 40-50 minutes, or until light golden/biscuit color.

Step 12: Allow to cool slightly in pan on a wire rack for 5 minutes

Step 13: With a sharp knife cut all the way through the score marks on the shortbread (do this while shortbread is still quite warm)

Step 14: Allow shortbread to cool completely in pan on wire rack before removing from pan.

Notes:

  1. If you have overly warm hands you can place the flour into the refrigerator to reduce melting of the butter

Mitarashi Dango

I tried many different dango recipes over the years and I finally got the right one that worked. Recipes from videos didn’t ever work for me, so I searched high and low until I stumbled upon one that finally worked. Dango is a Japanese dumpling made from rice flour, related to mochi. I will be using a combination of two different types of rice flour in this recipe. The important thing about dango is using rice flour, wheat or other grain flours will not work and flour ratio to water is crucial. This recipe will be in ml, because this will be easier to measure out than ounces and such.

Joushinko or Johshinko (上新粉, sometimes spelled Jyoshinko) is made from regular Japanese rice (uruchi-mai).

Shiratamako (白玉粉)is sweet or glutinous rice flour, or mochiko, mixed with a little corn starch or potato starch. If you can’t find shiramako, you can use mochiko with about 1 tablespoon of cornstarch or potato starch flour added.

Here are the ingredients needed for this recipe:

FOR DUMPLINGS:

  • 220ml joushinko (red label)
  • 110ml shiratamako, or mochiko plus 1 Tbsp. of cornstarch or potato starch (green label)
  • 265ml or so of hot tap water (water that’s hot if you put your hand in, but doesn’t burn you)

FOR MITARASHI SAUCE:

  • 1/4 cup (55 ml) sugar
  • 1/2 cup (105ml) water, with 1 Tbs. cornstarch or potato starch or arrowroot dissolved in it
  • 1/8 cup (28 ml) soy sauce
  • 1 Tbsp. mirin or saki
  • 1/2 Tbsp. rice vinegar

Step 1: Mix together the rice flours and the hot water. (Add water slowly until dough forms)

Step 2:  Mix until it forms a soft dough that feels a bit dry to the touch. It’s a very pleasant dough to handle. (I had leftover water)

Step 3: Divide the dough into bite-size pieces (you can do this by forming a long log and cutting it, or just divide it up in the bowl and eyeball it).

Step 4: Make each piece into a little round ball. (It doesn’t have to be perfect in shape – a little bumpiness is fine)

Step 5: Bring a pot of water to a boil and add salt, as you would for boiling pasta.

Step 6: Add the dumplings a few at a time to the pot, while stirring the pot occasionally so the dumplings doesn’t stick to the pot.

Step 7: After a few minutes, the dumplings will come floating to the surface.

Step 8: Boil for a further 3-4 minutes, then scoop out with a slotted spoon or similar.

Step 9: Immediately dump the dumplings into a bowl of cold water.

Step 10: Put the dumplings on skewers, 3-4 per skewer. (Try to pierce the dumplings in the middle) Set aside.

Step 11: Combine all the ingredients for the sauce in a small pan and bring to a boil.

Step 12: Cook until the sauce has thickened. (The more it cools, the more viscous it will get. You can make the sauce in advance too.)

Step 13: Pour the sauce over the skewered dumplings. (They are best eaten right away, but you can make them in advance too, as long as you bring them to room temperature before eating.)

Pandan Rice Cake

Today I wanted to test out a steamed cake, but not just any old steamed cake. A pandan rice cake and not just any old pandan rice cake, but a double layered cake. This will be my first try at making this cake. So let’s hope it turns out alright.

Here are the ingredients needed for this recipe:

Layer 1:

  • 1 cup glutinous rice (sweet/sticky rice) soaked in water for 30mins – 3hrs
  • 1 1/4 cup coconut milk
  • 3/4 tsp pandan paste
  • 2 Tbsp white sugar, brown sugar, or maple syrup
  • pinch of salt

Layer 2:

  • 1 1/4 cup coconut milk
  • 1/2 cup white sugar, brown sugar, or maple syrup
  • pinch of salt
  • 3-4 drops of pandan paste
  • 2 Tbsp rice flour

Step 1: Use a steamer for this cake, place a greased or parchment paper lined 9-in cake pan inside steamer

Step 2: After soaking the rice, drain, rinse, and stir it together with all the 1st layer ingredients. Mix well.

Step 3: Pour mixture into cake pan and even out the surface with a spoon or spatula.

Step 4: Place in steamer, cover, and allow to steam on high heat for 20 minutes or when rice has absorbed the liquid.

Step 5: While first layer is steaming, beat the eggs for 30 seconds

Step 6: Add the coconut milk, sugar, salt, and pandan paste.


Step 7: Sprinkle the flour over the batter (if not it will clump)

Step 8: Beat by hand or electric mixer until batter is smooth

Step 9: Strain the batter

Step 10: When the 1st layer is cooked, gently press down on it with a fork or spatula to even out the layer ( I got a bit impatient with it so I didn’t think to allow it to cook longer to absorb more of the liquid)

Step 11: Slowly pour the 2nd layer mixture over the 1st layer (hence the reason it has the darker green floating up a bit)

Step 12: Cover the steamer and reduce the heat to medium

Step 13: Continue to cook for another 20-30 minutes, or until the custard has set (to check: insert a fork and should come out clean)

Step 14: Optional: Use the under side of a greased spoon and smooth it over the surface of the top layer as it is setting (allow to develop a crust before doing this) if you do this several times this will even out the layer and give the top a nice sheen.

Step 15: Allow cake to cool for at least 10 minutes before cutting into it.

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