Bibimbap

Bibimbap was probably the first Korean dish I ever tried which is probably the same for most people. It’s close to my heart as I love Korean food and culture. I love watching Korean tv shows, the K dramas have so much humour and the mother is always a real character. When I lived in London, I used to go to a gym that had Netflix on the treadmills and I ended up watching so many episodes of K Dramas on there that every lunch, all I could think about were ramen and sushi (Koreans have their own sushi called Kimbap which is bigger and may contain things you wouldn’t normally find in Japanese sushi such as cheese and ham). If you’re interested in Korean TV, I recommend ‘My Love from the Star’ and ‘Hellbound’.

For bibimbap, it’s great to eat out as they serve it on a super hot stone plate which comes out sizzling. This means that you get some really nice crispy bits of rice at the bottom. This is hard to replicate in the kitchen but it’s still nonetheless delicious with all the sauces and different elements. Despite cooking many things separately, they are all things which cook quickly and can be done while you’re cooking the rice. Also the recipe is really customisable so you can really change it up with your favourite veggies/protein. It’s entirely vegan if you omit the egg).

Serves 2

Ingredients

  • 120g rice
  • 1 carrot
  • 1 courgette
  • 2cm ginger
  • 2 vegan steaks (I use plant pioneers)
  • oil
  • 100g kale
  • 1 pack mushrooms
  • 2 eggs
  • 3 spring onions
  • 10g coriander leaves
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 1 tsp soy sauce
  • 1 tsp brown sugar
  • 1 tsp sesame oil
  • 2 tbsp gochjang paste
  • 2 tsp cider vinegar
  • 4 tsp soy sauce

Method

1.) Cook the rice ( I have a rice cooker)

2.) Peel and finely dice the garlic, add to a bowl with the sugar, sesame oil and 1 tsp soy sauce.

3.) Wash and slice up the mushrooms and add to the bowl. Stir and set aside.

4.) Peel the carrot and chop into batons. Chop up the courgette into batons.

5.) In a large frying pan, heat up some oil then add the carrot and courgette. Cook until soft then move to a bowl.

6.) Slice up the steak, pan fry until it’s cooked, then set aside.

7.) Add the mushrooms to the pan and fry until cooked, set aside these too.

8.) In the meantime, finely dice the spring onions and finely chop the coriander leaves.

9.) Add the kale to the pan, fry until start to soften and place in a bowl.

10.) Crack in the eggs and fry the eggs.

11.) Make the bibimbap sauce – in a bowl mix the gochujang, vinegar and soy sauce.

12.) Dish up the rice on two plates. Place the mushrooms, kale, steak, carrot and courgettes around the plate. Put an egg on top. Add a dollop of the bibimbap sauce. Sprinkle over some coriander leaves and spring onions.

Okonomiyaki

I’m excited to post this Okonomiyaki recipe as I’ve basically been obsessed with okonomiyaki ever since I went to Japan three years ago. It’s a Japanese savoury pancake served with Japanese mayonnaise and Okonomiyaki sauce which is a bit like brown sauce and then some bonito flakes which are dried fish. There are 2 regional variations that are the most famous – the Osaka version and the Hiroshima version, the Hiroshima take adds noodles to the mix. I’ve had both and I have to say the Hiroshima version is the best so that’s what I’ve tried to replicate here with some success. In Japan they just have a large hot plate which they cook the okomiyakis all in a line. I’ve made this a couple of times before and this was the best it’s ever turned out. I think it’s to do with the ratio of ingredients to the pan. I was feeling a bit indulgent and it was the weekend so I had salmon, prawns and scallops but you can pretty much put whatever you want in an okonomiyaki. You can maybe get away with leaving out the bonito flakes and also even subbing the okonomiyaki sauce for HP sauce but I think the Kewpie mayonnaise is an absolute must.

Serves 2

Ingredients

  • 3 eggs
  • 300g white cabbage (about half a cabbage)
  • 3 tbsp plain flour
  • 1/2 tsp soy sauce
  • 1/2 tsp sesame oil
  • 2 spring onions
  • 2 fillets salmon
  • 6 small scallops
  • 100g raw prawns
  • 300g ready to wok noodles
  • bonito flakes
  • kewpie mayonnaise
  • okonomiyaki sauce

Method

1.) Cut the cabbage into shreds. Dice the spring onions. De-skin the salmon and chop into large chunks.

2.) Break the eggs in a measuring jug, add the flour and beat. Add the soy sauce and sesame oil.

3.) In a large oven proof frying pan, heat some oil and add the cabbage and fry for 3 minutes or so.

4.) Add the salmon and spring onion and fry for a couple more minutes. Turn on the grill to preheat.

5.) Add the prawns and scallops and cook for a few more minutes, flipping the prawns over so they start to become pink on both sides.

6.) Now add the noodles and break them up a bit with the spoon. Cook for a couple more minutes.

7.) Move the ingredients around the pan so that it’s all evenly distributed and then pour in the batter.

8.) Cook for about 4 minutes until the bottom is set.

9.) Put under the grill for 3 – 4 more minutes until the top is starting to brown.

10.) Sprinkle over the bonito flakes and then drizzle the mayo and the okonomiyaki sauce all over the pancake and serve.

Prawns in beer sauce

I’m now doing a month’s alcohol detox as I never made it through dry January so it was a little sad to use beer in cooking without being able to drink any but this was a tasty dinner which I enjoyed. In the last couple of years I’ve really started to enjoy porter and stout beers and a result of my detox I’ve found a really great alcohol free Milk Stout from the company Big Drop. Also, I had a girly dinner at Salvi’s Italian restaurant in Manchester yesterday and they had Crodino on the menu which is like an alcohol free Aperol spritz but actually a little nicer in my opinion as it’s a little sweeter. So there’s a couple of ideas for you if you’re doing non-alcohol. The beer prawn recipe was again in the Vietnamese Market Cookbook. I did change it up a bit by adding tomatoes to the sauce and serving it with rice noodles and broccoli to make it more of a meal.

Serves 2

Ingredients

  • 250ml beer (I used Birra Morreti)
  • 1 bunch fresh lemongrass
  • 300g prawns
  • 250g tomatoes
  • 1 lime
  • salt and pepper
  • rice noodles
  • 200g broccoli
  • 10g coriander leaves

Method

1.) Chop up the lemongrass into stalks

2.) Chop up the tomatoes

3.) Add both to a large frying pan and add the beer

4.) Cook down the tomatoes and lemongrass until the tomatoes really break down and most of the beer has cooked down into a sauce

5.) Add the prawns and simmer until cooked through. Chop up the coriander leaves finely. Slice the lime in half.

6.) Add the rice noodles into a sauce pan with the broccoli. Cover with boiling water and cook until the noodles and broccoli is tender.

7.) Take the lemongrass and discard. Squeeze the lime juice into the sauce. Serve the noodles and broccoli with the prawns and sauce. Sprinkle over some coriander leaves.

Vietnamese Sweet & Sour Soup

Whilst in Paris, our friend made us a delicious rhubarb crumble and it reminded me that rhubarbs do exist as they’re so underutilised. I was hugely intrigued by this Vietnamese soup from ‘The Vietnamese Market Cookbook’ as to use rhubarb is by itself interesting but to use rhubarb in a savoury recipe is something I’ve never seen before. It seems that the authors added the rhubarb as a happy accident as they just had some rhubarb to use up. The rhubarb adds the sour element and then you get the sweetness from the pineapple. I bulked the soup out with some smoked tofu which also added some protein. I could only find tinned rhubarb but if you get the fresh stuff, do remember that the leaves are poisonous.

Serves 4

Ingredients

  • 4 tomatoes
  • 1 tin rhubarb
  • 160g pineapple
  • 1 tbsp oil
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp pepper
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1.5 litres water
  • 2 tbsp fish sauce
  • 1 spring onion
  • 200g smoked tofu
  • 2 tbsp coriander leaves

Method

1.) Chop up the tomatoes

2.) In a casserole dish, heat up the oil and add the garlic

3.) Cook for 1 minute, then add the tomatoes, the sugar, salt, pepper and garlic powder and a splash of water.

4.) Bring to the boil.

5.) Rinse the rhubarb and chop up the tofu, pineapple and the coriander leaves and spring onion,

6.) Once the tomatoes are soft, add the rest of the water and the pineapple and bring to the boil for 5 minutes.

7.) Add the tofu and rhubarb and cook for another couple of minutes.

8.) Season with the fish sauce

9.) Serve and garnish with spring onion and coriander.

Sushi Bake

For someone that deleted her facebook account as a self-birthday gift (self birthday gift – definitely using that one in the future), you can imagine my enthusiasm for Tik Tok. However, I found the recipe for this Sushi Bake on the blog ‘I am a food blog’ which had been trending on said social media platform. I am a food blog is a really great blog if a little too wordy for me and it’s obviously the first thing that comes up on a Google search ‘food blog’ so points for the name there. The sushi bake is assembled by cooking some rice, spreading it out into a casserole dish and topping with a mixture of cream cheese, crab and the Japanese seasoning Furikake (or togarashi – both work). Serve it with some seaweed on the side and the result is heavenly – I really think you could impress your mates with this one! I changed it up a bit by adding some crab paste to cheaply boost the crab flavour and fleshed it out with some fishsticks.

Serves 6

Ingredients

  • 225g sushi rice
  • 2 tbsp rice wine vinegar
  • 1/2 tbsp sugar
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 225g crab meat
  • 1 tin crab paste
  • 100g cream cheese
  • 100g kewpie mayonnaise
  • 2 tbsp furikake seasoning
  • 1 pack seafood sticks
  • roasted seaweed

Method

1.) Preheat the oven to 220 degrees C

2.) Boil the rice until tender. Drain off any excess water. Add the vinegar, sugar and salt to the rice and mix to dissolve.

3.) Spread the rice out into a casserole dish and sprinkle with half of the furikake.

4.) In a mixing bowl, add the cream cheese, crab paste and mayonnaise and give it a good mix. Chop up the seafood sticks and add them to the bowl. Add the crab meat and gently stir.

5.) Spread the cream cheese mixture on the top and sprinkle on the rest of the furikake.

6.) Bake for 15 minutes until golden and bubbling.

7.) Serve with some seaweed.

Korean Stew

I love Korean food and culture and it’s fortunate for my husband that my ancestry test didn’t come back with any Korean as I would have been annoying my husband even more than I have been for the last week about being 20% Norwegian (Viking). This recipe was in Gizzi Erskine’s ‘Healthy Appetite’ and utilises Korean Gochujang chilli paste which I really recommend seeking out (which should be easy in any oriental supermarket). Korean food is typically very spicy and I don’t think this is really a recipe you can tame – just keep a glass of milk to hand! Serve with sushi rice.

Serves 6

Ingredients

  • 2 onions
  • 6 cloves garlic
  • 3cm ginger
  • 1 pack plant pioneers chicken pieces (or another chicken sub)
  • 2 tbsp gochujang
  • 500ml stock ( I used vegan chicken stock)
  • 1 tbsp tomato puree
  • 3 tbsp mirin
  • 1 tbsp rice wine vinegar
  • 2 tbsp soy sauce
  • 2 tsp sugar
  • 1 tsp Korean chilli powder
  • 500g new potatoes
  • 2 carrots
  • bunch spring onions
  • 200g green beans
  • salt and pepper

Method

1.) Add some oil to a pan and heat up. Add the chicken pieces and brown on all sides in a casserole dish.

2.) Roughly chop one of the onions, peel the garlic and ginger and blitz in a food processor to a paste. Chop up the other onion into wedges.

3.) Set the chicken pieces aside and add the onion wedges to the pan. Fry until browned then set aside with the chicken.

4.) Add the onion paste to the pan and fry for 3 – 4 minutes. Whilst this is cooking, make up the stock.

5.) Add the chicken and onion back into the pan with the stock, gochujang, tomato puree, mirin, rice wine vinegar, soy sauce, sugar and potatoes.

6.) Peel the carrots and chop into chunks and add to the pan. Put the lid on and cook on a medium – low heat for 35 minutes.

7.) Cook the rice and tidy and chop the spring onions into 3 pieces. Trim the green beans.

8.) Add the spring onions and green beans and cook for a further 5-10 minutes.

9.) Serve the stew with some sushi rice.