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.

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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.

6 Foods to Avoid Adding to your Smoothie

I’m a huge fan of Green Smoothies and eat them probably 14/15 days for breakfast.  I ran across this excellent article the other day about 6 foods to avoid adding to smoothies and I wholeheartedly agree with its advice.

The article mentions that dried greens are not terrible, but fresh ones are better.  I usually depend on my organic box for greens, but some weeks are a little light and I run out towards the end of the week.  If it is, this is my go-to dried green powder, which I order on Iherb: Greens Plus Organic Superfood.

Smoothie Grain Mix

I’m a big believer in people eating a wide variety of food because our bodies weren’t really designed to eat the same 10 things each week.  I try to do this in 3 ways:

1. When I eat out at Korean restaurants, I literally eat almost every side-dish (banchan) that comes along with the main meal.  Oftentimes, it’s random mountain herbs or seaweed or some other “strange to the Westerner” type thing, but I eat then anyway.

2. The organic box.  Lots of random Korean green and other veggies each week!

3. My smoothie grain mix.  I order lots of different stuff from the most fabulous Iherb and then I mix them up in a Ziplock bag in order to save time when I make my green smoothies in the morning.  I’ll just add a couple tablespoons if I’ll be able to eat lunch at a normal time, or 4-5 if I have class during lunch and will have to eat late.

In this current mix is: oatmeal, hemp hearts, walnuts, pumpkin seeds, and flax seeds.  Healthy and delicious!Smoothie grain mix

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.

 

Water Parsley Side-Dish

In the organic CSA box, they often send water parsley.  The problem is that most expats in Korea truly have no idea what to do with it.  How I usually eat it up is by making a really simple salad.Water Parsley Salad  Here’s how you do it:

Clean and chop up the water parsley.  I usually use some of the stems, but discard the really thick pieces.

Then, from the regular supermarket or Iherb, add:

Sesame oil, ground up red pepper, sesame oil, salt, brown rice vinegar, garlic.

You should add sesame seeds and green onions, but I didn’t have any.

Eat it with some rice!

Bibimbap, “Fusion-Style”

I like “fusion” to describe anything that is not quite authentic, even if it doesn’t really “fuse” elements from another culture.  Anyway, here is how I made my not so authentic Bibimbap:

From the regular mart: 

Rice, gochujang (spicy red paste)

From the Organic Box:

Egg, lettuce, bean sprouts, eggplant, water parsley

After getting the organic box of goodness, I made up three Korean sidedishes: eggplant, bean sprout, and water parsley. I looked up a few recipes online to get an idea of the basic ingredients and then just taste-tested along the way until I liked it.

To make up the Bibimbap, I added some cooked rice, chopped up lettuce, the three  vegetable side-dishes, some gochujang (red pepper-paste) and an over-easy egg.  Then, I mixed it all up with my chopsticks and enjoyed!  This picture is of the pre-mixed up state.bibimbap