Bulgogi (beef) – Scrumptious but simple enough to make!

The picture is from the website of a famous Korean franchise restaurant called “Bulgogi Brothers.” They haven’t opened one in the States yet unfortunately. 😦 What you see up there is Bulgogi Bibimbap. “Bul” literally means fire, “gogi” meat, “bibim” mix and “bap “rice. It’s self explanatory except for the ‘fire’ part. That came from how it’s cooked and for more information, click the link above. 🙂 Because I am too excited to reveal the recipe that’s so easy! There are more than a few different kinds of Bulgogi’s but this one is the most common and easiest one that you can make. The key is to get all the right ingredients. After that, it’s a piece of cake!

*** Recipe (2 servings) ***

<Meat>

You need thin slices of (usually) sirloin. I do have hard time finding this cut of beef at regular supermarkets. If that’s the case, go to H-Mart or an Asian grocery store nearby. They should have it and it doesn’t matter if it’s frozen. Get 1lb of the meat.

<Marinade – unit:tablespoon> FYI, everyone has a different recipe and this is my mom’s.

soy sauce (4-5), water (2), Coke or Pepsi (3), minced garlic (0.5-1), sugar or honey (1), sesame oil (0.5-1)

<Secret Ingredient>

Meat can be really chewy and here’s the ultimate meat tenderizer! Pureed KIWI! Use only half of the whole kiwi, though. Your bulgogi won’t even have big chunks if you put the whole thing – half joking. 😉 If you don’t have a kiwi, you can use half of a pear. This will add a nice tone to your marinade as well.

Now, you can mix everything together. You can put a little ground pepper as well. When you marinate the meat, you can also add onions as in the picture above. Let it sit for a couple of hours. You can even wait a day to cook it. Once you are ready to stuff your face with this deliciousness, cook it on a pan. No oil is needed. Add mushrooms (button mushrooms or shiitake mushrooms are usually good), which go perfectly well with bulgogi. Cook it until it’s ready, which doesn’t take too long.

One thing about my mom’s recipe is that “Coke” part. You can add a little more water instead of that but her bulgogi does taste gooooooooooood. 🙂 Like I said, everyone seems to have his/her own bulgogi recipe so do some experiment and find your own recipe! It’s another fun part of cooking, right? 😉 Serve it over white sticky rice maybe with some kimchi. That’s one complete meal! Enjoy!

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Samgyeopsal, Ultimate Meatlovers’ Dish

Samgyeopsal!

The picture up there said it all. Pure delight in your mouth. Every single person in Korea has had this and vegan population in Korea is pretty insignificant probably because samgyeopsal is so irresistible!! You can’t go vegan with this meat cooking right in front of you!

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What’s cooking on the pan:

– Meat: Go to any Asian grocery store (in my case, I go to H-Mart) and look for “sliced pork belly”. It is basically thicker bacon meat that’s not cured or smoked. Frozen samgyeopsal works just fine too.

– Garlic: Slice garlic cloves and just throw them in the pan with the meat. No rules.

Kimchi: Yup. Kimchi it is. Even if you might like the strong taste of kimchi normally, you will be pleasantly surprised with the amazing taste of cooked kimchi. Trust me and try this.

– Pan? Your regular non-stick frying pan works fine but if you want to get a little fancy, try your breakfast griddle! It seems that someone made it just for samgyeopsal without telling anyone this secret! *Warning: lots of grease!

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“Triple-S” Salad – Spicy, Sweet and Sour!

It’s got all the flavors that you can imagine. Just grab a bag of any lettuce at the supermarket. I usually get red leaf and a mix of other greens. All you have to do is to toss it with this mind-blowing dressing!

Pepper flakes (2) + Soy sauce (2) + Fish sauce (1, optional) + Honey(1) + Vinegar (2) + Sugar (2) + Minced Garlic (1) + A hint of sesame oil

After tossing it nicely in a big bowl, if you are into a nice presentation, sprinkle some sesame seeds! ALL DONE!

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SoMac! = Soju + Maekju (Beer, in Korean)

A complete Samgyeopsal meal is finally served with some SoMac! Soju can be purchased pretty much at any ABC store in Virginia for $4-$6 a bottle (it’s kinda sad because it’s less than a dollar in Korea). 😦 Anyway, watch these people make SoMac. ->; So Cool! http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JL6oWNgAZNs

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No exaggeration. Not a month goes by without Samgyeopsal in Korea. If you have a regular job, not a week goes by without it. This is meat lovers’ ultimate pilgrimage so you should try it some time. If it’s too much headache for you to do it at home, go find any Korean style BBQ restaurant. It is one of those things that you can’t really mess up! Enjoy!

Cold Soba Noodles when it’s 100 degrees out!

 

Cold Soba Noodles! It’s the time of the year and today was perfect weather for these mouthwatering buckwheat noodles in a cold dashi broth! These are my favorite summer food.

What is soba? It’s a Japanese word, which means buckwheat (I am guessing it’s not gluten free?? I have no idea, because I don’t have any special dietary needs. I can eat literally EVERYTHING!). These noodles made of soba are known to be rich in amino acids and antioxidants. They are very easy to digest as well. Girls seem to love these noodles in Asian countries because these are “healthier”, meaning you won’t get too fat from them. 😉

Then what is dashi? Dashi is basically a fish broth or stock. In this case, it’s seasoned with soy sauce. I could have made the broth but, after a long day of work, I feel lazy too. So I buy the magic bottle! You can easily find this sauce at Asian stores. Look for “zarusoba sauce” or “tsuyu”. This sauce is really strong but all you have to do is pour this into a bowl of cold water. That’s it. No cooking involved here at all! I do sauce:water=1:5 but if you want a little more flavor, it’s your call.

Super Simple Soba Noodle Recipe!

1. Get the broth ready with the sauce.

2. Boil water and cook the noodles for 6-7 minutes.

3. Rinse the noodles with running, cold water. Let them drain and sit there.

4. Things that go perfectly well with this: finely chopped radish, wasabi, and nori(awesome kind of seaweed)!

5. Ready to serve: Get the broth(I usually put a couple ice cubes in it too), put the noodles in, mix the broth with some radish, wasabi and nori and now ENJOY!

 

I should write about Nori, aka Kim, because that’s my “what if you can choose only one food you can eat till u die” food. No brainer. But next time because my tummy is full of soba noodles now and I am getting sleepy……….Zzzzzzzz……..

 

[Restaurant Review] Sushi Naru – Alexandria, VA

▣ Location: 540 John Carlyle St., Alexandria, VA 22314

▣ Tel: 703-535-5540

▣ Sushi / Roll / Asian Cuisine

▣ Yelp Rating: ★★★★☆ (as of July 25, 2012) – Click stars for more info!

 

I work in Alexandria, VA. Even though I work right off King Street, which is full of great restaurant options, I try not to go too far because I have so much S*** to do every day!!!

Me and my girls today decided to go back to this sushi restaurant nearby AGAIN because we all loved it so much last week. Sushi Naru!

I’ve never been there for dinner but according to one of the attorneys in my office, this place has some amazing tofu salad. Anyway, we get their lunch buffet.

Not only do they have fantabulous sushi/roll options, but they also have a “hot food” section – bulgogi, lomein, fried tofu, mussels, dumplings, and heavenly miso soup! Miss F (not gonna mention her full name) had never had miso soup in her life until this afternoon. She fell in love with it, had two full bowls of it and she still couldn’t stop talking about it. That’s how darn good it was! Another good thing about this place is that you can accommodate lots of different needs – meat lovers, seafood lovers, and even vegetarians!

They are very hospitable and quick to serve you. It gets quite hectic during their lunch buffet hours, but that’s a good sign. And one thing about this place is that it doesn’t feel cheap. I am sad to say this but some Asian all-you-can-eat places could be kinda (or sometimes REALLY) crappy. However, it actually feels nice to sit there and enjoy your meal at Sushi Naru. My girls were all about their lamps, whether they could be from IKEA or Crate and Barrel.

I might go there for dinner to see what it’s like some time soon!

Next time you are near King Street, come check this place out. You might catch me with my coworkers talking about very important stuff like “where did you get those cute earrings?” 😉

 

Asian Festival DC 2012

 

ASIANFestival 2012

☆ Where: GMU in Fairfax

☆ When: July 21, 2012~July 22, 2012

☆ Best Part: Are you kidding me? FOOD!

I am not gonna lie. I knew nothing about this even until this morning and I just randomly saw what one of my tweeps posted “… at the Asian Festival…” when I was trying to figure out what to get for lunch. And to be completely honest, I still have no clue what this festival is all about. However, I do know that it comes back every year and they have great, fun food selections there!

The food picture up there is Liang Mian (涼麵), a kind of chinese noodle dish, which literally means ‘cold noodles’. These gingery, vinegary noodles were only ONE DOLLAR! Nothing in this world is a dollar these days even at the dollar store after taxes! The portion was really small but when you are there, you want to go for variety rather than “quantity”!

Lunch consisted of: Dosa (Indian crepe with dips), Liang Mian (Chinese cold noodles), Dinuguan (Filipino meat dish… I didn’t know exactly what it was but I just found out when I got home.. Click the link.. Might be a little disturbing ;)) and Gway Teow (My all-time favorite noodle soup from Thailand – It’s gonna be another post when I get the recipe down).

If you missed it today, check it out tomorrow! If you can’t make it this year, you know where to go back next year! Happy weekend!!

Korean (Asian) Supermarket – Great Seafood Selections!

It’s not easy to get fresh fish in the neighborhood. That means it’s time to go to H-Mart in Falls Church. It’s the closest one but there are actually two other ones around that I can go to. H-Mart has been around since 1982. It is run by Korean people and there’s a small food court in the supermarket as well. I’ve tried their food once. It wasn’t anything crazy but to some people it might be an interesting experience, especially if you don’t cook Korean food at home. Just so you know, right in front of the H-Mart in Falls Church is this Chinese supermarket called “Great Wall” – go figure.

Today’s Shopping List: Kimchi, soy sauce, oyster sauce, soba noodles (my favorite summer food, which I eat in winter too…?!), pork belly (the legendary “samgyeopsal” to be posted some time soon), a huge bag of sticky rice, clams and two mackerel.

I cannot help talking about their seafood selections there. They have quite a variety from  dried anchovies (in multiple sizes) to whole monkfish. They are fresh. They are very affordable. Two mackerel, which could feed three people, were 7 dollars. They clean the fish for you too without any extra charge. You might not be familiar with dealing with the whole fish but I love it! The best flavor is where the bones are – meat, poultry or fish! I also bought some clams so I can use them in my doenjang soup later. Remember doenjang? 😉

I am not gonnna lie. If you like a slow-paced, peaceful shopping experience, H-Mart is not for you. You gotta hustle and bustle walking through tiny aisles trying to figure out what all the things say in multiple foreign languages when other people are pushing you around. But it’s definitely FUN! Try the free tasting samples. Maybe buy their best-selling ramen noodles for your late night snack. Be adventurous and get some kimchi to cook with! You will see so many things that Giant or Harris Teeter doesn’t have.

Next time you go to H-Mart, if you don’t know what the heck you are holding in your hand, take a picture of that and tweet it to me! I will be pleased to help you!

Oven-baked Doenjang Chicken!

Ok, we need to talk about Doenjang. What the heck is Doenjang? (I am gonna call it DJ here so you don’t have to get embarrassed trying to pronounce it right.) DJ is a Korean style fermented soybean paste. Korean people usually make soups with it or they use it to get rid of that gamey smell off your meat dish, just like western people use herbs. Every single household in Korea has DJ and Gochujang, which is a spicy pepper paste. I am going to focus on DJ this time though.

We buy a lot of chicken thighs. Chicken breasts are probably a little healthier? Maybe? However, thighs are a lot more affordable and, most of all, they taste way better than any other parts of chicken. Buy a bunch and freeze them in smaller bags. Thaw them out one day before and cook them. And this is one easy way to cook your chicken thighs. Trust me, I ain’t no cook but man, this was delicious. This could seriously be served at a nice restaurant for 27 dollars(+tax) and get a good review on Yelp! 😉

Here’s how I made this dish: 3 chicken thighs, 2 tbsp of soy sauce, ground black pepper, honey, sesame oil, onions, AND 1 tbsp of DOENJANG

1. Score the thighs so the flavor gets in and it also helps cook the chicken all the way – Bones are tricky!

2. Marinate the thighs – soy sauce, honey, ground black pepper (Don’t leave the chicken in the “liquid” cuz it might get too salty.)

3. Rub DJ all over the thighs (Hmm… this could sound kinda weird…? Sorry, but DJ is kind of smelly.)

4. Get a baking pan and put foil on it. Rub a little sesame oil so the chicken doesn’t stick (like you use butter for certain things). If you don’t have sesame oil, it’s not a big deal. Just don’t go too crazy with sesame oil because it’s got a really strong aroma. You don’t wanna overdo it.

5. Set the oven at 400 degrees and put the chicken in the oven COVERED so it doesn’t get dry. Let it bake for 30-35 minutes.

6. Take the chicken out and put the onions in the pan. Get rid of the foil and set the oven on broil at 400.

7. Let it broil in the oven for another 5 minutes and turn the chicken and do it again for another 5 minutes.

8. Dinner is served!

This took less than an hour and the actually “me cooking time” wasn’t even 10 minutes. Onions are optional. You can put any veggies you want. Some summer squash would have been really nice as well. If things are too crazy during the weekdays, get your usual DiGiorno pizza. Then, try to cook this easy dish on the weekend with the fam. And I guarantee you that YOU CAN’T REALLY MESS IT UP. Keep me posted! And if you have any questions about where to get all these “Asian” ingredients, please send me a message on Twitter (@Virginia_Delish). They are easier to find than you think! Good luck!