Pan-fried Tofu

When I first came to Korea, I used to get lunch provided at my school and one of my favorite meals was rice, with pan-fried tofu and dried seaweed.  I remembered thinking how bizarre it all was that this was my favorite meal when I would never have considered eating something like it in Canada.  These days, I even cook it at home.

Here’s how to pan-fry some tofu:

1. Drain a block of firm tofu well and cut into 5cm thick slices.  Salt and pepper both sides, flipping it carefully.

2. Heat up a non-stick or cast iron frying pan with some oil until hot.

3. Add tofu carefully and fry until brown on the first side.  Flip only once and then cook until brown on that other side.

Here are some meal combination ideas:

1. Put it on top of a green salad.

2. Make “bibimbap” with the tofu, rice, gochu-jang and whatever veggies or side-dish stuff you have in the fridge.

3. With seaweed and rice, of course.

4. Use it in place or pork or beef in Korean BBQ, with the lettuce wraps and side-dishes.

It’s equally delicious hot or cold so it’s perfect for taking for lunch at work. Check out This Can’t Be Tofu! for even more recipe ideas.

Duck, it’s delicious

We all know that duck is probably the most delicious bird-type meat ever.  It’s a million times better than turkey or chicken and I really don’t know why North Americans don’t get on it for Thanksgiving and Easter.  Anyway,  that’s a blog post for another day.   However, I’m a wee bit scared to cook it, even though I’ve tackled turkeys and whole chickens quite easily.

But, not to worry because they have pre-cooked, sliced duck at all the major grocery stores here in Korea and it’s fabulously delicious.  As a little splurge, I bought a package yesterday.  And here’s what I did with it:

Round 1: I was very hungry when I got home from the grocery store so I fried some up and ate it straight-up with mustard sauce.

Round 2: I fried up some more of it and put it on top of a big green salad with a homemade balsamic vinaigrette dressing.  It made a boring kind of salad into one of the most delicious things I’ve eaten in a long time.

Round 3: I made some duck fried rice for hiking.  It was kind of the ultimate lunch on the mountain and the duck grease made everything taste quite fabulous.  Duck grease and garlicky goodness: YUM!

Round 4: I’m contemplating a sandwich with some homemade bread, ripe tomatoes and lettuce, with a bit of mustard and mayo.  It depends how inspired I feel tomorrow.

So, even though it cost 12 000, it’s actually a lot of meals and I’ll definitely be buying one again at some point in the near future.

 

 

How to make the perfect omelette

I love omelettes!  They are delicious, healthy and the perfect way to use up random veggies, meat and cheese that you might have lingering in your fridge.  You can eat them for breakfast, lunch or dinner.  I learned how to make a perfect one from Jamie Oliver, although I must confess that mine are not as beautiful as his.

Baked tortilla chips for your hummus

You’re perhaps wondering what you can use to scoop up that delicious homemade hummus of yours.  A good option is homemade brown bread, but if that’s too much work for you, there’s an even easier solution: baked tortilla chips.

It’s really quite simple.  Just go to Costco and get the jumbo bag of tortillas (or you can buy them at the local mart as well usually, but they’re quite expensive).   Then, cut them up into triangles and lightly brush them with olive oil.  Add some salt, or another spice or two if you’re feeling adventurous.  Something like cumin is good for hummus.  Then bake in the oven on medium heat until crisp.  Check frequently because it’s quite easy to burn them.  You can store them for a few days in an airtight container, but make sure you let them cool first.

(image from Whatthecraft)

tortilla chips

Homemade Hummus

Hummus is one of the ultimate quick lunch or dinners for summer.  It’s cool and refreshing and surprisingly easy to make your own.  Here’s how you do it:

From Iherb: chickpeas, cumin, tahini paste

From the regular supermarket: salt, olive oil, fresh garlic, lemon juice (freshly squeezed is best).

Soak the chickpeas overnight and then bring to a boil.  Cover and let cool.  They should be cooked, but if not, bring to a boil one more time.

Then, mix up everything in the blender, going easy on the spices until you do your first taste test. Adjust ingredients to taste.

Serve with bread, crackers or fresh veggies like cucumber and carrots.

Tips:

1. If it’s difficult to blend, add some more olive oil or lemon juice.  DO NOT under any circumstance add milk or any other such crazy thing.

2. You need to add LOTS of lemon juice and salt.  This is how to make it extra delicious.

3. Make sure your chickpeas are cooked well so it’s smooth.

4. You can keep it in the fridge for 4 or 5 days.  I wouldn’t freeze it though.

5. People love homemade hummus but it’s hard to get in Korea.  You’ll be the most popular girl or boy at the party if you bring some.

 

 

Salt and Vinegar Chips

Did you know that the fabulous Iherb has some delicious junk-foody things that are very hard to find in South Korea?  Yes, it’s not all about the health stuff on Iherb.  Some of my personal favorites include:

Salt and Vinegar Chips, Organic Coffee,  Bacon Ranch Dressing,  Organic Chocolate, and organic Jelly Beans.  Yes, it’s not home-cooking in Korea, but it is a lot of deliciousness!

Salt and Vinegar Chips