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.

 

 

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.

 

 

Red Lentil Curry

Red Lentil Curry is one of my favorite meals for when I have almost nothing in my fridge or cupboard except for a bit of onion, garlic and ginger (which I’m never without).   It only takes about 15 minutes in total so it’s perfect for when you’re hungry and tired.

Here’s how to do it:

Put your rice in the rice-cooker and bring your red lentils to a boil and then turn off heat and cover.  I always get my lentils from Iherb, but you can also find them at Asian supermarkets.

Chop up some onion, garlic and ginger.  Fry in oil with the following spices, which are all from the fabulous Iherb:

Cumin, Coriander, Cinnamon (only a tiny bit), coriander, salt.

Add the lentils and some coconut milk.  Bring to a boil and cook over low heat until at your  desired consistency.  If you have some fresh cilantro or green onion, put on top.  If not, no worries.  Just serve over rice. Delicious!

Red Lentil Curry

Delicious lemony chickpeas

This is a simple recipe to use for chickpeas, which takes less than 5 minutes to make.  It’s perfect just for eating the chickpeas straight out of the bowl with a spoon, or you can eat them on a salad, or you could put them in something like a pita with a few veggies for a hearty meal.

I always use dried chickpeas from Iherb because they’re much cheaper and healthier than the canned ones.  Cook them according to the package directions.

Then add: salt, lemon juice, cumin, minced garlic, sesame seeds.  Adjust to taste!  Delicious.

Water Parsley Quinoa Salad

Water parsley Quinoa SaladIn the organic box, they often include water parsley, which I find a little bit hard to put into my usual dishes and it’s peppery so not an ideal addition to green smoothies.  So, I branched out and came up with a new creation.

From the organic box/regular supermarket:

Water parsley, zucchini, onion, garlic

From Iherb:

Quinoa, parsley, celery salt, veggie stock cube, fresh-ground pepper

Here’s how to do it:

Cook the quinoa according to the package directions.  I added a veggie stock cube.  Then fry up your veggies in a bit of oil, adding the greens and spices right at the end.  Mix the veggies up with the quinoa and enjoy!  It’s equally good hot or cold.