Tag Archives: Gochujang

Chicken with Gochujang Sauce, Korean Rice Cakes (Tteok) and Celery

This wonderful one-pot meal is a perfect example of how my Asian food experiments evolve throughout months or years: first, they typically become spicier, more garlicky (if it suits them); then they get adjusted to my lazy nature, becoming easier and eliminating side-dishes, requiring even less dish washing… This one started with the Hawaiian Shoyu Chicken, to which I added gochujang and lots of garlic, then one day I threw in some celery (avoiding the necessity of a side dish) and, finally, I ha the idea to complete it with the cylindrical tteok rice cakes creating a delicious easy one-pot meal.

Tteok (떡) is a Korean word weirdly translated as “rice cake”. Contrary to what most Asian cuisine neophytes think (“rice cakes” exist in some other cuisines too), rice cakes are savoury and I would rather compare them to gnocchi. Of the two most famous kinds – coin-shaped flat ones and cylindrical ones – I prefer the latter, much chewier and thicker, and actually find them highly addictive. The flat ones are cooked in a mild typical New Year soup (tteoguk), while the cylindrical ones are most often simmered in a sweet & fiery sticky sauce (tteokboki). Cylindrical tteok can be found in two sizes and my favourite are the smaller ones (probably because I eat less of them…) and you see them at the above photograph. Whether big or small, I find my favourite tteok extremely versatile: I stir-fry them and add to different soups and sauces, not only Korean (they work perfectly with the remains of Indian or Thai curry…).  If you find them refrigerated, they freeze very well (I usually freeze individual portions) and if you buy them frozen, don’ thaw them; once at home, quickly divide them at home into portions and have fun experimenting!

If you don’t have rice cakes, you might want to try Shoyu Chicken in Gochujang (with or without celery):

Shoyu Chicken with Gochujang

TIPS: This dish is easily reheated or defrosted, but if you are sure you’ll want to keep it for later use, it’s better to cook it without rice cakes which are less chewy when reheated and without celery, which becomes too soft (for me). Remove the sauce’s and chicken’s amount for later use and add the celery and rice cakes only to the same-day portion.

If you don’t like having bones in your bowl or plate, remove them before serving, but don’t use boned chicken legs. Bones add lots of wonderful flavours.

If you like soft chicken skin, leave it. I always use skinned chicken legs when simmering because I hate soft skin (I love it crisp from the oven though!).

Preparation: about 2 hours

Ingredients (serves 2):

2 small chicken legs (cut into two pieces), without skin or two big thighs

100 ml (about 3 fl oz) low-sodium Japanese soy sauce (or 70 ml of “normal” soy sauce)

300 ml (about 10 fl oz) water

60 ml (about 2 fl oz) agave syrup or honey

2 tablespoons rice vinegar (or any other vinegar)

2 heaped tablespoons gochujang (Korean chilli paste)

4 big garlic cloves chopped or sliced

toasted white sesame seeds, chopped green onions

2-4 celery stalks, cut into bite-sized pieces (“threads” removed)

250-300 g rice cakes (fresh or defrosted)

(1-2 tablespoons sesame oil)

Bring all the sauce ingredients to a boil (apart from the four last ones : sesame seeds, rice cakes celery and oil).

Lower the heat, put the chicken into the sauce, cover (add more water if needed) and let it simmer for at least one hour until the meat falls apart from the bones (if the chicken has actually walked, i.e. free range or organic) it might take two hours.

Add the rice cakes and let them simmer until they become thicker (it takes usually about 15 minutes).  Add the celery and let it simmer until the celery is soft enough. I like it crunchy, so I add it ten minutes before the end, but you can add together with rice cakes (it will cook 20 minutes and will be soft).

Finish cooking it uncovered until the sauce thickens.

Sprinkle with toasted sesame seeds, green onions and with sesame oil.

 

Pork Spare Ribs in Gochujang (Korean Chilli Paste) Sauce

ribs_gochujangpI love pork ribs, but they have always been a rare treat, due to their fat content. I usually manage to avoid them in the summertime, but when it gets colder I start dreaming of my beloved sticky Chinese ribs simmered in soy sauce…. This autumn I’ve already made my beloved Chinese sticky pork ribs simmered in soy sauce and recently I thought I’d experiment with gochujang sauce I usually simmer chicken legs in (see the recipe here). I didn’t change anything apart from adding ginger which usually goes well with pork. If you like a mixture of sweet and fiery flavours, you will fall in love with this easy dish, just like I did.

If you don’t like hot flavours, you might be interested in this delicious Chinese dish:

Chinese Spare Ribs Braised in Soy Sauce with Star Anise

Chinese Spare Ribs Braised in Soy Sauce with Star Anise

TIPS: Gochujang is a sticky Korean chilli paste. It has a slightly sweetish taste, it’s really unique and cannot be replaced with anything else. The good news is that it’s sold in “general” Asian shops (I find it in Chinese and Vietnamese shops) and most of all, it’s sold widely on internet, also on Amazon.

You can prepare the same dish with any fatty pork cut (belly for example) and even with tenderloin (adjusting the ingredients’ amounts and the cooking time), but not with loin, which will be too dry.

Apart from the normal soy sauce, you can add also some Chinese dark soy sauce. I find it great with Korean dishes, though I know it’s not Korean…

Preparation: 1h30

Ingredients (serves two-three, depending on how much meat there is on the bones):

1 kg pork ribs (I always trim the fat and cut them in half horizontally if they are long, but neither is necessary)

100 ml (about 3 fl oz) low-sodium Japanese soy sauce (or 70 ml of “normal” soy sauce)

300 ml (about 10 fl oz) water

60 ml (about 2 fl oz) agave syrup or honey

2 tablespoons rice vinegar (or any other vinegar)

2 heaped tablespoons gochujang (Korean chilli paste)

2 big garlic cloves chopped or sliced

3 cm fresh ginger, sliced

toasted sesame seeds

(1-2 tablespoons sesame oil)

Put all the ingredients into a pan (apart from ribs, sesame oil and sesame seeds).

Bring to a boil, reduce the heat to low and put the ribs.

Cover and cook for about 1 hour.

Take off the lid and check if the meat falls off the bone.

If it’s the case, increase the heat to medium (thus the sauce will thicken). (If not, cover and cook until the meat becomes more tender, then increase the heat and uncover to thicken the sauce).

Cook until the sauce is thick enough for you.

Sprinkle with sesame seeds and add a splash of sesame oil.

(You may want to remove the ginger slices before serving, unless they were really super thin and edible).

Open Omurice with Hot Gochujang Sauce and Mushrooms

omurice_My favourite omelette is the French-style, rugby ball-shaped fluffy one, which apparently gives a very clear idea of a professional chef’s skills. I often order it for lunch in France, but I haven’t mastered it yet, so whenever I make an omelette, it has to be the easiest flat one. The famous Japanese omurice (fried rice with an omelette) has two main versions: rice wrapped into a round thin omelette or topped with the fluffy thick one. I was glad to discover that Japanese Soul Cooking, from which I sourced my very first omurice, features the former version. Yesterday I decided to “koreanise” it a bit and replaced the customary ketchup with hot gochujang sauce. It proved such a great idea, I couldn’t wait to share it with you. Actually, I think I will never go back to the standard mild omurice!

For those who have never heard about this dish, omurice/omuraisu (オムライス) belongs to “youshoku” (洋食), Japanised Western dishes, the category which includes such dishes as korokke (croquettes).  The dish was apparently invented in Tokyo at the beginning of the XXth century and its name is a contraction of “omelette” and “rice”. As I have mentioned, it consists of two parts: “chikin rice” (cooked rice, fried with chicken, onion and carrot, then seasoned with ketchup) and the omelette, either wrapped around the rice or made into a fluffy shape and put on top. Whatever the version, the dish is served either with more ketchup on top or with a generous amount of demi-glace sauce.

The omurice where fluffy soft omelette served on top of the rice is often called “Tampopo omurice”, with reference to the legendary Japanese film “Tampopo” (if you like Japanese cuisine, you must see it, not only because of omurice!). See the beautiful Hiroyuki’s Tampopo omurice here.

I have never tasted omurice in Japan and while preparing my first homemade version I was afraid double presence of ketchup would spoil the rather promising result, but maybe because I’ve used my own homemade ketchup, I found it surprisingly good. On one hand, I was thrilled to discover another egg dish in my long collection, but at the same time this way of using leftover rice is a nice alternative for fried rice or rice-based salads I’ve been making for years.

Apart from the gochujang sauce, I have also changed the “chikin rice” ingredients, skipping the carrot and peas and replacing them with mushrooms. As you see above, I have also made too much “stuffing” to close the omelette properly (by “properly closed” I mean something like Nami’s perfect Omurice you can admire here), so I named it “open” 😉  If you want to follow the original recipe, I invite you to buy the wonderful Japanese Soul Cooking by Tadashi Ono and Harris Salat.

TIPS: If you are don’t like ginger, you can skip it and the gochujang sauce will be equally good (I liked it here though; it added a nice fresh kick).

Egg dishes get cold very quickly, so I strongly advise serving omurice on a warmed plate (heated in the oven, set at lowest temperature).

Whenever using leftover cooked rice I always warm it a bit in the microwave. Thus grains are easier to separate.

Preparation: about 30 minutes

Ingredients (serves one):

1/4 chicken breast

3 medium or big button mushrooms (called cremini, when dark)

1 small onion or shallot

3 heaped tablespoons steamed Japanese rice

3 tablespoons chicken stock

oil

Omelette:

2 eggs

3 tablespoons of milk or cream

salt, pepper

Gochujang sauce:

2 tablespoons gochujang

1 tablespoon sake

1 tablespoon honey or syrup

1 tablespoon low-sodium soy sauce or 1 teaspoon normal soy sauce

1 garlic clove, crushed or grated

(1/2 teaspoon grated fresh ginger)

toasted sesame seeds

Cut the chicken and the mushrooms into small pieces.

Slice the onion finely.

Put a bowl and a plate to warm in a cool oven (set at lowest temperature).

Fry the chicken bits, the onion and the mushrooms.

Add the rice, the gochujang sauce and the stock.

Simmer at low heat until everything is hot (make the liquids thicken if the sauce is not thick enough).

Place the rice mixture into the warm bowl and keep in the oven until needed.

Prepare the omelette mixture.

Heat some oil in a pan and fry the omelette, destroying the bubbles which will form.

When the top of the omelette is almost set, put the pan aside.

Place the omelette on the heated plate.

Place the rice stuffing at the half of the omelette. (You can also do it in the pan but I found the transferring process very difficult).

Cover it with the other half, spread some gochujang sauce on top and sprinkle with sesame seeds.

 

Shoyu Chicken with Gochujang (Chicken Simmered in Soy Sauce and Gochujang)

shoyu_goch_chickIf you ask me what I have been eating most often for the last three years, Shoyu Chicken would certainly be among the top ten. The frequency with which I prepare it is not only due to its irresistible taste and texture, but also – and maybe most of all – to its extremely low difficulty. Actually, I cannot recall any other equally effortless warm dish. Even though, after dozens of times, the original recipe is still my favourite in my house, I have obviously twisted it more than once. This gochujang (Korean chilli paste) version has also become a staple and is always welcome whenever the chilli addict in me requires an urgent dose of spicy food.

This recipe is based on the original Shoyu Chicken, a Hawaiian recipe found on a wonderful, inspiring blog Humble Bean, which is unfortunately no longer continued. “Shoyu” means “soy sauce “in Japanese and even though this dish comes from Hawaii it does have a Japanese influence of course. Since the first time I prepared it I have cut down on the soy sauce amounts (and always use the low-sodium version), but otherwise I still prepare it the same way and never get tired of it.

If you cannot find gochujang or don’t feel like having a spicy meal, try this mild version:

Shoyu Chicken

Shoyu Chicken

TIPS: If you like soft chicken skin, leave the skin on, but for me the result was much too fatty, so I did it only once and have always skinned the legs since then (it’s really very easy and takes maximum five minutes for two legs).

Try to use chicken pieces with bones, which add lots of flavour.

I strongly advise using low-sodium soy sauce. You will have less salt in the final dish, but more of the wonderful soy sauce taste.

Do not skip the vinegar. The dish will not be sour, but the vinegar adds a certain je-ne-sais-quoi you will like. (You can use any vinegar you have, unless it’s something like raspberry vinegar, etc. of course).

It’s obviously delicious served with kimchi.

Preparation: about 1 hour – 1h30

Ingredients (serves 2 – 4 people depending on the size of the legs):

2 chicken legs (cut into two pieces) with or without skin

100 ml (about 3 fl oz) low-sodium Japanese soy sauce (or 70 ml of “normal” soy sauce)

300 ml (about 10 fl oz) water

60 ml (about 2 fl oz) agave syrup or honey

2 tablespoons rice vinegar (or any other vinegar)

2 heaped tablespoons gochujang (Korean chilli paste)

2 big garlic cloves chopped or sliced

toasted sesame seeds

(1-2 tablespoons sesame oil)

Bring all the sauce ingredients to a boil (apart from the sesame seeds and oil).

Lower the heat, put the chicken into the sauce, cover (add more water if needed) and let it simmer for at least one hour until the meat falls apart from the bones.

Finish cooking it uncovered until the sauce thickens.

Sprinkle with toasted sesame seeds and with sesame oil.

Serve with rice (and kimchi, if you have it).

 

 

 

 

Stir Fried Korean Noodles (Dangmyeon) with Marinated Minced Beef

kornoodlesbeefpAs you might have noticed, I have been quite lazy in the kitchen during last weeks. Due to my recent frequent trips, I don’t find motivation to cook complicated dishes, not to mention trying new recipes. Last weekend however I felt an urgent need for cooking adventures and decided to prepare my very first bibimbap, the famous Korean beef and vegetable rice dish. I wanted to go shopping, but looking through my fridge I saw that, miraculously, I had almost all the ingredients. I started to marinate the minced beef, I prepared the vegetables, assembled the sauces and suddenly realised… I ran out of rice! If you are Asian or, like me, an Asian food addict, you can imagine the horror, since the shop selling good quality rice is far and there was no way I could get there before the closing time. This happened for the first time in my life (of course I count only the years since I have fallen in love with Japanese short grain rice), so after the first moment of panic, I started to look for a solution and came up with this simple, but absolutely delicious, Korean-inspired dish.

The vegetables depend on your preferences (maybe apart from the carrot which in my opinion goes perfectly with Korean flavours), the crucial elements being the sauce, the marinated beef and, last but not least, the Korean sweet potato noodles, called dangmyeon (당면). Light brown, or rather greyish, they don’t look very attractive when dry, but they are my definite favourite transparent noodles. Contrary to all the glass noodles I know, they actually do have their own delicious taste, though they absorb easily flavours from the sauces and spices. I love them especially for their slightly chewy texture other noodles lack. I find them excellent with Chinese dark soy sauce and here they were perfect with strongly flavoured marinated beef. In short, the initial catastrophe ended up in an invention that is already on my staples list. If you cook Korean from time to time, you will probably have all the seasoning and sauce ingredients in your kitchen at any time.

The beef marinade, the sauce (substantially modified) and the remaining ingredients (everything slightly changed) are inspired by a bibimpab recipe found in the excellent The Food and Cooking of Korea by Young Jin Song.

If you don’t like beef, but feel like experimenting with these Korean noodles, I have posted here a similar stir-fried dish with chicken.

Preparation: 20 minutes (+ beef marinating time: 30 minutes at least)

Ingredients (serves two):

2 portions of Korean sweet potato starch noodles (I take usually about 80 g for two, but it depends on your appetite)

1 courgette, julienned

1 big carrot julienned

6-7 fresh shiitake mushrooms (or dried ones; soaked until soft), sliced (without stems)

1 onion, sliced (it can be the white part of the spring onion)

(a handful of soybean or mung sprouts)

200 – 250 g minced beef

Beef marinade:

2 tablespoons dark soy sauce (I have used Chinese dark soy sauce)

2 small garlic cloves, crushed or grated

1 tablespoon chopped spring onion green part

1 tablespoon sesame oil

1 tablespoon rice wine (I have used, as always, sake)

salt and pepper

Sauce:

1 tablespoon gochujang (Korean chilli paste)

1 teaspoon (or more) Korean chilli powder

1 tablespoon agave syrup (or honey or another syrup)

2 teaspoons sesame oil

1 tablespoon sake

1 tablespoon soy sauce (light)

Combine the marinade ingredients with the minced beef. Cover and let marinate for 30 minutes (you can leave it for several hours or even overnight, but refrigerated).

Combine the sauce ingredients.

Soak the noodles in boiling water for about 20 minutes before you start stir-frying.

Heat one tablespoon oil in a wok.

Stir fry the beef until crunchy.
Add the onion and the shiitake and stir fry until the onion becomes soft.

Add the carrot and stir fry for about one minute.

At the end add the courgette (and the sprouts if you use them), the noodles and the sauce.

Stir fry until the sauce thickens.

Serve sprinkled with green onion and toasted sesame seeds.