Archive for the ‘Korean Food’ Category

KimchiFriedRice3I think everyone has certain rules or considerations before people can be considered as friends.  There are obvious considerations such as not being a complete tool or tosser in order to be looked upon as a friend… unless you like those qualities in people.  Some people prefer to limit their friendships with folks who have like-minded religious or political beliefs.  Ok, cool.  That’s fine.  I have certain rules and guidelines as well.  I can’t be friends with people who don’t like to suck the brains and guts out of shrimp heads when eating whole shrimp, or are grossed out when I do.  For those of you who don’t do that, you don’t know what you’re missing.  I also can’t be friends with people who refuse to try kimchi.  It’s cool if you don’t like it but as long as you’ve tried it.  But to flat out say that you won’t even taste it… that’s the culinary equivalent of being a narrow-minded bigot if you ask me.

I kid, I kid.

I’m not that serious, but you can see the point I’m getting at.  I often ask people who refuse to eat or try kimchi why they won’t taste it.  I get responses such as, “Isn’t it fermented?  Meaning that it’s rotten cabbage?”  Why yes.  Yes it is.  I often follow that up with counter questions of my own.  “Do you like cheese?  Oh you do?  Well you realize that’s rotten milk, right?”  “Do you like wine?  Oh you do!?  You realize that’s rotten grape juice, right?”  “Do you like beer?  Who am I kidding… of course you do!  You realize that’s rotten barley juice, right?”  And finally, “do you like sauerkraut?  Perhaps with your Rueben sandwich or with your hotdogs and brats?  Oh you do?  Well what do you know… kimchi is pretty much the exact same thing except spicier.”  Free your minds, people.KimchiFriedRice1

I’ve seen kimchi fried rice on menus in Korean restaurants before but I’ve never taken the plunge in ordering it.  I’ve of course had my fair share of kimchi and would be very happy eating it with plain rice.  Cold kimchi and hot rice is a typical lunch in Korea for the working class and it’s more than enough to make me happy.  But I started thinking about other uses for the kimchi I had bought at the local Asian store and decided to scour the internet for a kimchi friend rice recipe. One of my favorite accompaniments for kimchi is barbecue and I recently made a rack of ribs (that’s another post for another time) that went perfect with it.  The sweetness of the barbecue sauce with the richness of the fatty ribs with white rice and a side of cold spicy/sour/acidic kimchi hits a lot of flavor combinations that would make any palette dance.  But I wanted to try something different and dug up a kimchi friend rice recipe that I made some tweaks to form my own

Ingredients

-Previously cooked rice.  Preferably cooked 1-2 days before.  Enough for 3 servings or so.

-1 carrot

-Several shiitake mushrooms

-3-4 green onions (spring onions)

-Several garlic cloves (or less if you prefer)

-1 cup of kimchi

-Vegetable cooking oil

-1 egg per serving

-Salt and pepper

KimchiFriedRice2Start by heating cooking oil in a wok or large pan.  As the oil gets hot, julienne cut the carrot, chop up the shiitake mushrooms, chop up the green onions (save some for garnish), and mince the garlic.  Toss the julienned carrot, chopped up shiitake mushrooms/green onion, and minced garlic and let the flavors combine and soften.

As it’s softening, cut up the kimchi in a bowl using kitchen shears which would be a perfect tool.  The reason you’re cutting kimchi in a bowl is because if you do it on a cutting board, it will stain it and perhaps even leave a lingering smell.

Add the cut up kimchi to the wok and mix it in to incorporate it with the rest of the vegetables.  Add in the rice, and break up the clumps with the back of the spoon so that individual grains can pick up the sauce brought about from the kimchi and vegetable mixture.  It should have a light red tint.  Add salt and pepper as needed.

Before plating, fry a sunny side up egg on a separate pan.  Plate the fried rice, sprinkle some of the remaining chopped up green onion, and land the sunny side up fried egg on top.  Enjoy with Korean barbecue, or your own barbecue concoction such as ribs, beef brisket, or even pulled pork.  I’d put this up against any other version of friend rice around Asia as well (Chinese, Filipino, Nasi Goreng from Indonesia, etc.).

Plus for those out there who have yet to try kimchi, this is a great way to get an initial taste before eating it as an accompanying side dish as it is meant to be.

Last night we went to J’s favorite restaurant. We haven’t been here for months so when I suggested it earlier in the week it was cause for great excitement. Given J’s Korean heritage we are always very critical of Korean restaurants, to quote J. directly “I don’t f#*@ around with korean food!”. When we discovered Chodang a couple of years ago it won both of us over and we have been going back every since.

In all our visits to Chodang we haven’t had a bad bite of food. It is situated in the Little Mexico part of Chandler which seems strange and actually across the road for Tortas Ahogadas Guadalajara. 10 minutes from home it is a great place to start out our weekend.

After studying the menu (I am not sure why, since we pretty much know it off by heart), we selected our 3 dishes. We usually get a mix of dishes to share, when I say share I mean I have a little bit of eat and J. finishes off the rest! So last night we ordered 3 dishes, 2 which we have had many times before and a cold noodle dish we hadn’t tried yet. I also got myself an OB beer, must have beer when eating spicy food!

After receiving our banchan, several bowls of kimchi, pickles and seaweed we were served all three of our dishes at once. I am always a little embarrassed by our table when we are here… it seems so incredibly overloaded and glutenous! Oh well, we don’t care enough to stop ordering so much!

The Dae Ji Sambab, which is korean bbq pork with lettuce wraps, is one of our favorites. I think we have ordered this nearly everytime we have been to ChoDang. Eating with your hands makes everything taste better though I do  like to eat it with a little rice and no wrap at times too just to mix it up a little and when I do this I will use chopsticks rather than my hands. For some reason it tasted better than ever tonight. It could be that we haven’t been here for a few months or we just got a really good batch, but it was seriously good and spicy.

The new dish we tried was Mul Nyungmyun, this is a cold noodle soup with sliced beef. The broth is sour and refreshing and filled with radish and other vegetables. They use an arrowroot noodle, which was surprisingly yummy. I have never tasted a broth like this, it was both delicious and refreshing yet a little shocking to the palate. Floating on the top of the soup was a sesame seed crusted boiled egg. I didn’t taste this but J. enjoyed it quite a lot. I liked have some broth and noodles between the two hot dishes, it acted almost as a palate cleanser since the other two dishes were quite spicy.

We have had bibimbap at this restaurant before but we tried Dolsot Bibim Bap for the first time. This was an assortment of vegetables, egg, rice and pork. Tasty and spicy since we added a bunch of spicy sauce. The best part of bibim bap for me is scraping the sides of the stone bowl to get the crispy parts of rice that have stuck to the edge… Yum!

As always it was incredibly delicious though since we had leftovers we may not have put in our best eating effort… usually every bowl has been licked clean. J. is losing his abilities!! Maybe it is just a one off, we will see when we go back next time. Either way neither of us left hungry, we both fell into food comas shortly after getting home! Just as it should be.