|Bulgogi, Lettuce Wraps, Spinach & Bean Sprouts with Kimchi|
Tonight's meal is made possible by the generosity of some old and new friends. First, a big shout out to old friends, Jack and Robin Bloomer for their friendship and for introducing me to several awesome people who have helped me learn about and prepare meals from their countries of origin since I started this adventure.
The most recent new friend is Jean Wahlberg. Born in Korea, Jean was kind enough to endure 45 minutes of questions about her favorite meal, ingredients and cooking techniques during a Christmas party. She suggested I make Bulgogi, Korean barbecue and serve it with a spinach and bean sprout side dish, rice and kimchi ( spicy pickled cabbage in this case). She also told me how to make lettuce wraps to accompany the meal, which were a huge hit in my house. I'm 99.9% sure my rendition wasn't even close to hers, but her instructions were perfect and the meal was fantastic - you rocked it, Jean!
Korea's original and ancient name was Chosun, meaning "the land of morning calm," however since WWII, the country has been divided into two zones, North Korea a communist country and South Korea a democracy which has caused continual conflict as North Korea continues to attempt to reunite the two countries under communist rule.
In fact, today's news reported that South Korea held a nationwide civil defense air raid drill to prepare the country in case of an attack from North Korea since an artillery exchange three weeks ago. It's a complex history, that could fill hundreds of pages, so this brief synopsis should by no means be taken as definitive or precise.
Korean cuisine relies on rice, noodles, tofu, vegetables and meat as staples. Seasoning such as sesame oil, bean paste, soy sauce, salt, garlic, red pepper flakes and fermented chili paste are used throughout the country to flavor dishes. If I had to choose a country to eat in daily, Korea would rank in my top five.
|Rib Eye, sliced paper thin|
|Marinade with toasted sesame seeds and PLENTY of garlic|
|Blanched spinach and bean sprouts, tossed with|
Soy sauce, sesame oil, garlic, scallions & a little sugar
|Spinach topped with toasted sesame seeds and scallions|
|Kimichi - Spicy pickled cabbage|
|Bulgogi lettuce wraps, topped with bean paste & garlic|
|Umm, Umm, gooooooood!|
Bulgogi - Korean Barbecued Beef (from Jean Whalberg)
- 1 - 1.5 pounds rib-eye steak, sliced paper thin
- 1/3 cup soy sauce
- 3 Tbsp. brown sugar
- 1 Tbsp. sesame oil
- 1/2 medium onion, sliced as thin as possible
- 2 scallions, finely sliced
- 2 Tbsp. toasted sesame seeds
- 1/2 tsp. red pepper flakes
- Combine all liquid ingredients, stirring until sugar is dissolved. Add meat, onions and scallions, stir well until meat is covered with marinate. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for one hour.
- In a wok or frying pan, cook meat at medium high heat in batches until cooked through. Serve with rice and Kimchi
Spinach and Bean Sprouts
- 1 lb. spinach, washed and chopped
- 1 cup bean sprouts
- 1-2 cloves garlic, chopped
- 1-2 scallions, chopped
- 3 Tbsp. soy sauce
- 1 Tbsp. sesame oil
- 1 tsp. sugar
- Toasted sesame seeds to taste
- Blanch spinach and sprouts. Rinse and gently squeeze out excess water.
- Toss with soy sauce, sesame oil, sugar, garlic, scallions.
Final assessment: D-licious! The meat was melt in your mouth good, and the marinade was the perfect blend of salty and sweet. The spinach was excellent and added color to the plate. And, the Kimichi - it was spicy and perfect with the rice and meat. A++ from the family :)