Monday, January 20, 2014

If You Have Koreans or You Just Like to Eat

My Asians are obsessed with Korean food.
We go to our favorite Korean restaurant when we can, but it's almost an hour away and it's a little pricey.

I cook "Asian cuisine" often and everyone here loves it, but for reasons I cannot articulate, I've never tried making a full Korean meal.

Until Fridayyyyyy!

Can't even tell you how excited these boys were.
The one Korean phrase they both know best is, "Oma, behgopah." (I'm hungry, Mom.)

Silas called me Sunny (the owner of our fave restaurant) all afternoon. Calvin kept circling the island like a herring on a hunt.

These perpetually at-each-others-throats brothers even bonded over an appetizer bowl of Shrimp Snacks (think shrimpy cheetos. yuck. and just, blech. but they love them.)

Never fear, this meal isn't just for Koreans!
All the skins will love it.
Just ask the two of us.

We were having company for dinner, but I managed to grab a few tight shots before we attacked....

#1 : Cucumber Kimchi

I don't know if this is a typical Korean food??? But Sunny makes it and Silas adores it, as do Cory, Ruby, and I. (Calvin is a spice wimp so far, but he's working on it.)

This won't help you at all, but Sunny actually makes a kimchi packet and sells it through a local grocery store chain. (Martins, for all you locals!) So all I did here was peel, seed, and chop the cucumbers, Asian pear, and scallions, and mix it with the packet and a few other basic ingredients then let it sit.

It is De Lish.

#2 : Chop Chae

This is a popular Korean dish made of sweet potato noodles. I bought these at a local Asian market for less than $2. You could also use rice noodles, but these are the authentic chop chae noodles. They don't really taste sweet-potatoey. They have a bit of a more springy texture and they really soak up all the flavor of the sauce.

I'm not gonna lie, I sort of cheater-cheatered this dish, using Dubsie's recipe as the base. I still think it counts as Chop Chae though, on account of the very authentic sweet potato noodles, yes?

I also sauteed chopped Asian cabbage and shredded carrots for a few minutes and stirred them in, along with the scallions. Chop Chae always includes some veggies. 

All my people adore chop chae. Even Robert.

#3 : Bulgogi

My fellow mama-of-a-Korean, Rachel, graciously sent me her recipe. 

1 lb. flank steak thinly sliced (or beef tenderloin, sirloin, etc.) (put beef in the freezer for an hour or so to make slicing easier - thanks for that tip, Rach!)
5 tablespoons soy sauce
1/4 cup chopped scallions
2-2 1/2 tablespoons white sugar
2 tablespoons minced garlic
2 tablespoons sesame oil
2 tablespoons sesame seeds
2 teaspoons fresh grated ginger (optional, but I used it)
1/2 teaspoon ground pepper
white sticky rice

To make marinade, combine soy sauce, scallions, sugar, sesame oil, ginger, pepper and sesame seeds. Pour over beef in a baking dish/ziplock and let sit for at least 30 minutes. (I've let this sit overnight, too) Heat some oil in a large skillet and saute garlic. Remove beef from baking dish and grill in skillet until brown around edges, about 30 seconds or so per side.

Serve and enjoy with white sticky rice and/or romaine wraps.

This bulgogi was off the chain.

I've gotta say, it was strangely empowering or gratifying or something to pull this off. The boys were so thankful, Cory was thrilled, Ruby got seconds of everything, and our company asked for the recipe.

I'll be making this meal again and again.

I'm just so grateful that my life turned out this way. I know everyone loves their own situation and thinks it's the best, but I have to say, I just can't imagine my life without these little lovey friends who came to us and love us and give us the gift of their culture and their general awesomeness, every single day.

As I chopped and stirred on Friday afternoon, I just kept feeling so lucky to be right here, with these humans who teach me things and make me laugh every single day.

Of course my life has been made infinitely better because of each of them, but our mash-up of cultures and characteristics is the salsa on the chip, man.