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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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.

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

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

 

 

Green Smoothie (or, how to use Mallow)

The organic box from Wwoof CSA seems to love including “mallow,” which is a traditional Korean green that is used in Dwenjang Chigae  (fermented soybean soup) usually.  But, for me who rarely cooks up a chigae at home, it’s not so easy to use.  However, I’ve discovered a fabulous new application that I’m reasonably sure no Korean has ever tried: Green Smoothie!  Mallow has basically a neutral flavor, so it’s kind of perfect.  I’ve been putting 1/2 of the big bag in a single smoothie and have no ill-effects to report in stomach pain, or taste.  Here are the ingredient’s from today’s smoothie:

From the organic box/ regular supermarket: Mallow/ Banana/ Cucumber/ Strawberries/ Blueberries (for best results, make sure they’re all frozen).

From Iherb: Almond Milk, Pumpkin Seeds, Oatmeal.

The best way to use Mallow

The best way to use Mallow

Bok Choi and Eggs

photoOne of the simplest, but most delicious and healthy meals that I make.  If you put the rice on to cook ahead of time, then the rest of the prep and cooking should take you under 10 minutes.  Perfect for that busy day at work and school when you get home hungry.  Here are the ingredients:

From Iherb:

Fresh Ground Pepper

From the regular supermarket or the organic box:

Bok Choi, eggs, garlic, rice, salt, oil.

It’s really simple.  Just fry up the garlic in a bit of oil.  Add the bok choi, salt and pepper and cook for 30 seconds, or until just wilted.  Don’t overcook.  Put over the rice and then fry up an egg or two (add some salt and pepper).  I like mine over-easy, but up to you.  Delicious!