Saturday, January 17, 2009

Ttoek Boki

I have no idea if I spelled that correctly.  It's an anglicized attempt at Korean spelling.  This is a variation on a fiery hot Korean snack food, made with a kind of rice-cake-noodle-thing called ttoek (it'll sound like "duck" to us caucasoids).

Sesame oil
6 cloves garlic
1/4 lb ground beef
1 medium onion, sliced very thin
salt and black pepper
4-6 tablespoons Korean red pepper paste (gochu-jang)
1 tsp sugar
1 lb duk
1 medium shallot, sliced thin
3 bunches scallions, coarsely chopped
Blanched snow peas (1 cup)

Fry the garlic in the sesame oil. Add half the beef. Add the onion and shallot, then the rest of the beef, and fry until the onion is tender. Season with salt and pepper.

While the beef is frying, start boiling water for the duk. Boil it just a bit--you want it to start to get tender, but don't let it get too soft or it'll fall apart. Drain immediately and add to the beef mixture along with a little more sesame oil

Add the red pepper paste, sugar, scallions, and snow peas. Stir until heated through, and serve with rice, kimchee, and the usual sides.

Mak Kimchee

A lot of Korean cuisine shares three attributes:
  1. preservable
  2. portable
  3. Anyone who hasn't tried it before probably won't eat it.
My friend Tom Pak and I used to theorize that this was because of the number of invasions in the country's history. Locals developed food that invaders would pass up--I mean, how many ravaging Mongols are going to think to not only dig up the kimchee pot, but eat what's inside it?

Fantastic stuff, though.

So, without further ado, I'll show you how to make something that most of your friends won't even recognize as food, no matter how hungry they are. This is awesome dorm food and good for shared job-site refrigerators, too--your lunch will never, ever get stolen.

2-3 cabbages, cut in half
Red pepper
fresh garlic
7-up (yes, the soft drink)
ginger (finely minced)
1 teaspoon baby shrimp per large jar

Put the cabbages in heavily salted water and soak them for at least two hours, or until they begin to wilt. Wash, drain, chop, and put into a jar with the rest of the ingredients. The 7-up helps the fermentation. Let it sit in the fridge for a couple of weeks before eating.

Bulgolgi marinade

This was shared with me by a Korean friend's mother. I'm writing it up here so that I don't forget it.

Soy sauce, sesame oil, crushed sesame seeds, ground onion, honey, fresh garlic, wine, milk, a teaspoon of instant coffee, and ginger juice. She didn't share the proportions--those are a closely guarded family secret. She just told me to play.

Marinate for anywhere from two hours to three days. You're supposed to use short ribs or flank steak, sliced nearly paper-thin, which you then either grill or stir-fry. Mrs. Pak's bulgolgi was melt-in-your mouth tender and was amazing with rice and kimchee.

Shrimp in a cream sauce

Obviously, the better the ingredients, the better it will taste, but it's still pretty good with all canned/bottled/cheap stuff.

1 pint light cream
3 tbsp flour
3/4 cup chicken broth
6 cloves garlic, crushed and minced
1 bunch scallions, sliced thin
6-10 large muchrooms
1/2 cup brandy
1/4 cup grated swiss cheese
1/2 lb cooked shrimp
Salt and pepper to taste

Whisk together cream, broth, and flour, and set aside. Make sure there are no lumps.

Fry garlic, scallion, and mushrooms in olive oil. I like to start the garlic, add the scallions after a few minutes, then add the mushrooms.

When the mushrooms are tender, add the cream mixture all at once. Stir.

As it begins to thicken, add the brandy. Stir.

As it starts to bubble, stir in the swiss cheese.

When the cheese is melted, add the shrimp. Stir.

Season to taste, and serve over egg noodles, fetuccini, or (my personal favorite) angel hair.