Tag Archives: side dish

sukjunamul: korean-style bean sprouts

30 Mar

My goodness it’s hot out! According to the needle of my 1970’s thermostat, it reached a tropical 80-degrees in my western-facing apartment today.

As I sit here in my little greenhouse, sweating more than is appropriate in March, all I can think of is vegetables. Cool, crisp, watery plants. I want to shove as many as possible into my mouth, pronto. This must be how it feels to be a brontosaurus — giant and slowed by climate assault, and all you want to do is eat trees.

My refreshing vegetable of choice is the mung bean sprout. Mung beans are recognized in Asian culture as a “cool” food, which is easy to digest and has a cooling effect on the body. In Korean cooking, mung bean sprouts are blanched, seasoned, and served in an appetizer set of small dishes (including kimchi) called banchan.

I love Korean food because it’s so simple to prepare. It seems Koreans are only aware of five spices: garlic, sesame oil, soy sauce, salt, and red pepper paste. Once you have these basics in your cupboard, you can make almost any Korean dish, including this refreshing vegetable side.

sukjunamul: korean-style bean sprouts
a crispy oasis

* 1 lb bean sprouts
* 2 teaspoons salt
* 3 tablespoons sesame seeds, toasted
* 2 teaspoons sesame oil
* 2 teaspoons minced garlic
* 1/3 cup finely chopped green onion

Add bean sprouts to boiling water and simmer for five minutes. Drain well.

Stir in the salt, sesame seeds, sesame oil, garlic, and green onions. Saute in a saucepan for a minute. Serve room temperature or cold.

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momofuku’s brussels sprouts with kimchi puree & bacon

11 Feb

For Christmas, LeeMa gave me David Chang’s Momofuku cookbook. Every time I’m in New York, I aim to hit up at least one of his famous mod Asian joints — typically a late night stop at Milk Bar for a slice of Crack Pie.

The cookbook reads like a biography of David Chang with wonderful anecdotes about studying ramen in Japan and trying times he faced in opening his restaurants. As for the recipes, many are focused on technique — for instance, I am not about to make my own ramen noodles. Others are about wacky flavor combinations that just make sense — the stink of brussels sprouts and the funk of kimchi, it’s a match made in heaven!

brussels sprouts with kimchi puree & bacon
stinky funky goodness

* 1 lb brussels sprouts, halved
* 1/4 lb smoky bacon, cut into 1- to 1-1/4-inch batons
* 1 cup cabbage kimchi, pureed
* 2 tablespoons butter
* Salt and pepper
* 1 cup julienned carrots

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.

Saute bacon over medium heat in an oven-proof skillet, until just crisp (around 5 minutes). Transfer to paper towel-lined plate.

Drain off most of the fat and add brussels sprouts to skillet. Flip so sprouts are all cut-side down. Raise heat to medium-high and sear until sprouts start sizzling. Put skillet into the oven and roast until deeply browned, around 8 minutes. Shake pan to loosen sprouts, then put back in oven for 10-15 minutes more. Sprouts are done when they are bright green and tender.

Return skillet to stove top on medium heat; stir in butter and bacon. Season with salt and peper; toss to coat.

Divide pureed kimchi among four bowl and top with sprouts. Garnish with carrot. Serves 4 as a side dish.

quinoa two ways

11 Feb

I don’t know how many times I’ve accidentally given a lecture about quinoa. First off, no one seems to know how to pronounce it properly. No, it’s not QUEE-NO-AH, it’s more like KI-NWA. After that, I tend to launch into quinoa’s historic context as the “mother of all grains,” how it was the sacred food of the Incas, and the fact that it provides all of the essential amino acids of a complete protein.

Usually people let me finish my rant before they declare, “oh yeah, I’ve tried that before and it tastes like birdseed.”

Yes, it can have that crunchy texture, but if you cook it properly with lots of flavors, it can serve as the base for a hearty vegetarian main course, or refreshing grain salad similar to tabouleh. Here are two of my favorite ways to cook quinoa.

#1: main course
quinoa with mushrooms and peppers

adapted from bon appetit (photo above)

* 1 cup quinoa, rinsed thoroughly in cold water
* 2 cups chicken or vegetable broth (salted water also works, but will be more bland)
* 1 tablespoon olive oil
* 1 1/2 cups onion, diced
* 1 medium red bell pepper, diced
* 1 garlic clove, chopped
* 1 8-ounce package sliced crimini (baby bella) mushrooms
* 6 ounces fresh shiitake mushrooms, stemmed, sliced
* 3 teaspoons chopped fresh thyme, divided
* 1 cup dry white wine
* Sprig of flat leaf parsley, chopped
* Grated Parmesan cheese

Bring 2 cups of chicken broth to boil in medium saucepan. Add quinoa, reduce heat to medium-low, cover, and simmer until tender and water is absorbed, about 13 minutes. If there is left over water, drain it off.

Meanwhile, heat oil in large skillet over medium-high heat. Add onion and sauté until onion begins to brown, 5 minutes. Add garlic; stir 30 seconds. Add mushrooms and thyme. Saute until mushrooms are tender, 6 minutes. Toss in bell peppers; sauté for another minute or so. Add wine; stir until wine is reduced and liquid is syrupy, 2 minutes.

Mix quinoa into mushroom mixture and add parsley; season with salt and pepper. Pass cheese separately. Serves 4 as a main dish.

#2: side dish
mediterranean quinoa salad

a chef crissy weeknight special

* 1.5 cups quinoa, rinsed thoroughly in cold water
* 3 cups salted water
* 1 pint of grape tomatoes, halved
* 4 oz of feta cheese, crumbled or cut into tiny cubes
* handful of kalamata olives, pitted and chopped
* handful of fresh mint, torn
* handful of flat leaf parsley, chopped

dressing:
* juice of 1-2 meyer lemons (taste as you go)
* 2 tablespoons olive oil (approximate, taste as you go)

Bring 2 cups of salted water to boil in medium saucepan. Add quinoa, reduce heat to medium-low, cover, and simmer until tender and water is absorbed, about 13 minutes. If there is left over water, drain it off. Cook quinoa in a medium mixing bowl.

Once quinoa has cooled to room temperature, add the rest of the ingredients. Toss with the  dressing — no need to mix the oil and lemon juice together first. Taste and add more oil and lemon juice accordingly. Season with salt and pepper. Serve immediately or chill for a few hours to let the flavors develop. Serves 6 as a side dish.