Dolsot Bibimbap (Korean Fried Rice in a Stone Bowl)

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Buying stone bowls was definitely a tipping point in my obsession with Korean food. Nothing else would do but that authentic stone flay-va. As well as getting delicious crispy bits of rice through your meal the stone bowls have the extra advantage of keeping your food hotter for longer. You don’t need stone bowls to cook this dish but you would never find me trying to talk someone out of buying them. They need a little love and attention (don’t we all?) but just like a well kept wok they will last you for the rest of your life.

This dish is more then a bit of work but it’s all assembly after the ingredients are prepped. I usually double the recipe and freeze all the ingredients in little meal packs that are ready to go for a quick dinner. The vegetables listed below are favourites in my household but you can give anything the sesame-oil-garlic-treatment and it will fit in great. Use the freshest egg yolks that you can if you are concerned about lightly cooked egg but I have to warn you, they add a creaminess to the rice that is hard to replicate or do without.

Dolsot Bibimbap (Korean Fried Rice in a Stone Bowl)

Adapted from Dolsot Bibimbap over at SBS Food.

6 cloves garlic, minced and divided into thirds

3 tbsp sesame oil, plus extra for final cook

2 carrots, julienned

1 large zucchini, julienned

1 1/2 cups of bean sprouts

1 cup dried shitaake mushrooms

4 cups cooked rice (2 cups of raw rice)

one lot of Korean Pork

4 tsp gochujang (Korean chilli paste)

4 egg yolks

Prep:

Preheat a large saucepan on high heat, drizzle in 1 tbsp of sesame oil and add the carrot and a third of the garlic.

Stir constantly until the carrot is lightly cooked but still crunchy, transfer to a small bowl.

Repeat with the zucchini and bean sprouts separately.

In a small, heat proof bowl cover the dried mushrooms with boiling water, allow to sit for 15 minutes then drain.

Cook the Korean Pork as per the instructions in the post.

Final Cook:

If you have 4 Korean stone bowls, rub the inside of each with a little bit of sesame oil.

Place 1 cup of rice in each bowl then 1/4 each of the carrots, zucchini, bean sprouts and mushrooms.

Add desired amount of meat to each bowl as well as 1 tsp each of gochujang (you can add more later as desired).

One at a time, place each stone bowl on a gas stove and set to the lowest possible heat.

Drizzle a tiny amount of sesame oil around the ingredients in the bowl.

Cook until you can hear the rice beginning to crackle then cook for a further 10 minutes.

Take the stone bowl off the heat (heavy duty oven gloves are great for safety) and place on a heat-proof silicone mat.

Place an egg yolk on top and quickly mix everything together, making sure to reach all of the rice at the bottom.

Repeat with the 3 remaining stone bowls.

IF you don’t have Korean stone bowls, follow the instructions exactly the same but do it in a small, non-stick saucepan.

OR do it all at once in a large non-stick saucepan.

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Chicken and Cabbage in Silky Egg Sauce

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Do you like Chinese chicken and sweetcorn soup? This is a similar deal. Egg is stirred through the sauce at the last moment to create silky ribbons that hold all the flavour of the sauce. The ingredient list and instructions might look long but I just wanted to give you all the details so that it’s all ready to go when you get your wok on the heat. I’ve got a kick butt burner that hooks up to a gas bottle, once it’s going I can’t leave it alone so organisation is key (cue laughter from anyone who knows me!). If 4 tbsp of cornflour isn’t enough to thicken your sauce, mix more cornflour into cold water then add to your sauce. It might seem counter-intuitive to add more water but if you add the cornflour straight into the hot sauce it cooks into little lumps that are not fun to eat. I cooked this as part of a mid-week Chinese feast that included this Morning Glory Stir Fry, it takes about a minute to cook in the wok and is a great companion dish if you want to get some more veggies in.

Chicken and Cabbage in Silky Egg Sauce

Adapted from Chinese Cabbage With Chicken Slices In a Silky Egg Sauce over at 3 Hungry Tummies.

1/4 wombok cabbage, chopped

6 garlic cloves, minced

4 cm knob of ginger, grated

3 chicken breasts

dash of sesame oil

dash of  Chinese cooking wine

pinch of white pepper

1 tsp cornflour

6 tbsp oyster sauce

1 tbsp soy sauce

2 tbsp caster sugar

1.5 L chicken stock

4 tbsp cornflour

3 spring onions, sliced

3 eggs

Place the cabbage in a bowl, set aside.

Place the prepared garlic and ginger in a bowl, set aside.

Slice the chicken breasts across the grain as thin as possible then place in a bowl with the sesame oil, cooking wine, white pepper, the first lot of cornflour and 1 tbsp of the oyster sauce, mix until the chicken is evenly coated then set aside.

In a large jug mix together the rest of the oyster sauce, soy sauce, caster sugar and chicken stock, set aside.

Mix the 4 tbsp of cornflour with 1/4 cup water, set aside.

Crack the eggs into a small bowl and whisk together, set aside.

Arrange all of your prepared ingredients near your wok.

Heat your wok until smoking then add 2 tbsp of vegetable oil, add the cabbage and half of the garlic and ginger, toss for 2 minutes then transfer to a bowl or platter large enough to hold the finished dish.

Heat up the wok again and add 1 tbsp of vegetable oil and the rest of the garlic and ginger, cook for a few seconds.

Pour in the stock mixture and bring to a simmer, add the chicken and stir slowly as it poaches, it should only take a few minutes (depending on how strong your wok burner is).

Remove the chicken with a slotted spoon and place on top of the cooked cabbage in the serving bowl.

Add in the cornflour mixture and spring onions, simmer until the sauce reaches desired thickness then turn off the heat and pour in the eggs, stir gently to scramble it into thin ribbons.

Pour the sauce over the chicken and cabbage, serve immediately with rice.

Crispy Sassage Stir Fry

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This recipe has similar flavours to my Chinese Duck Stir Fry but the Chinese sausage brings its own unique taste. It is quite sweet and is a perfect match with crunchy onion and any mild flavoured vegetables. The vegetables are cooked in the fat that renders out of the sausage, helping the flavours to meld. Unfortunately this fat does not have a high smoking point like vegetable or peanut oil, so whenever I used to make this I would set off the smoke alarm, even with all of the doors and windows open. The plus side is you get a lovely smokey flavour that can be so elusive in home cooked stir fries. I now have my hardcore three ring gas burner set up in the garage for stir fries (woop woop!) so I don’t have to stop mid stir fry to frantically bat at the smoke alarm with a pillow.

The Sassage Flare! Chinese sausage (lap cheong) is sold at all Asian supermarkets and butchers but I have also found them at my local Coles. There are 6 sausages per vacuum sealed packet and they will keep forever in the pantry, making this a great store cupboard ingredient. The ones I am using at the moment are from a Chinese butcher in Sunnybank and are quite large so I just use three but if you can only find the small ones use all six.

Sometimes I add soaked shiitake mushrooms but most vegetables will work with these sausages so use whatever you have in your fridge. In the original recipe Ching uses Sichuan peppercorns but I prefer to use the powder because crunching on whole Sichuan peppercorns isn’t high on my things-to-do-list. As with any stir fry have all of your ingredients prepared and laid out in the order that you will need them. This meal comes together really quickly in the wok because the sausages are pre-cooked.

Crispy Sassage Stir Fry

Adapted from Ching’s mala Crispy Sichuan sausage with pickled chillies and wood ear mushroom over at BBC Food.

3 lap cheong

2 small zucchinis, de-seeded, sliced

1 onion, sliced

2 large handfuls green beans, trimmed and chopped

3 cloves garlic, minced

2 tbsp Chilli and Bean paste

1 tbsp Chilli paste

1 tbsp hoisin or kecap manis

1/2 tsp Sichuan peppercorn, ground

Boil the lap cheong whole in water for 15 mins, drain and allow to cool.

Slice lap cheong on an angle into bite sized pieces.

Heat wok on high until smoking and add sausage.

Stir constantly until crispy then transfer the sauasge to a bowl, keeping all of the fat that has rendered from the sausage in the wok.

Heat wok back up and add the zucchini, onion, green beans and garlic and cook in the sausage fat for 2 mins, stirring constantly.

Add the sausage back in to the wok and add all of the sauces and ground Sichuan peppercorn, stir to combine.

Serve with rice.

Moo Pad Graprow – Pork and Holy Basil Stir Fry

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This stir fry started off its life as a chicken dish but after tasting it with pork I don’t think we’re ever going to go back. Maybe it’s the way that the pork mince soaks up all the sauce, or maybe it’s just ‘cos pork is all the rage in my household at the moment. It’s a good thing it’s so tasty, I want every opportunity I can to say it out loud, GRAPROW! Tell me that doesn’t make you feel good.

Now, please don’t be put off by the large amount of chillies, once they are de-seeded they are so mild. Have you ever tasted chillies? I mean really tasted them? They have so much personality hiding behind the aggressive heat of the seeds, once you take that heat away you can taste their, dare I say it, essence. The first time I cooked this I really skimped on the chillies and I regretted it. Same goes for the garlic. The original recipe says 10-12 garlic cloves but I seem to have crept up to 15 and I still wouldn’t describe this dish as garlic-y.

As with all stir frying, have everything chopped beforehand and keep with reaching distance of your wok. I also start my rice cooking and when it’s in its last 5 mins I start the wokking. The reason I say to spread the mince out on a paper towel and place in the fridge is because store bought mince is high in water and you want to leech as much out as possible before you add it to your wok. This will help you to keep everything frying rather than braising in your wok. Varied vegetables can be added but maybe cook the vegetables separately if you have a lot of them, this will keep them crunchy and avoid the aforementioned braising situation.

Thai Holy Basil can be found at Asian supermarkets and most farmers markets, I grow my own now because I felt bad about buying a bunch and only using half of it. It’s actually the plant that is doing the best in my garden. As much as I wish I had a green thumb, herbs in pots seems to be my limit when it comes to gardening. As my Dad said to me once, “You have to keep watering them, you know.”

Edit: I have been informed by a reliable source in Thailand that if you start yelling GRAPROW sporadically Thai people will think you are yelling for Holy Basil, so yell MOO if you would like to yell for pork instead.

Moo Pad Graprow

Adapted from Rachada Mahamontri’s Chicken and holy basil stir-fry (gai pad graprow) over at SBS Food.

15 garlic cloves

10 big red chillies, de-seeded

3-4 tbsp vegetable oil

500g pork mince

1 tbsp oyster sauce

1 tsp light soy sauce

1 tsp fish sauce

pinch of pepper

1 onion, sliced

2 spring onions, sliced finely

1/2 bunch holy basil, sliced

One hour before cooking, spread the mince out on a paper towel-lined plate and place in the fridge.

Combine the garlic, chillies and vegetable oil in a blender and pulse until finely chopped.

Heat a wok on high until smoking, add in the garlic and chilli mixture, cook for 20 seconds, stirring constantly.

Add the pork and cook, stirring, until all of the mince has changed colour.

Add sauces, pepper and onion, cooking for 2 mins.

Turn off the heat and stir through the holy basil and spring onions.

Serve with rice.

 

 

Korean Pork (Jae Yook Bokum)

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When I first started eating Korean food I couldn’t handle any heat at all. The boyfriend would order the hottest dish on the menu and I would watch him sweat and pant and somehow still have a really good time. Our favourite Korean restaurant is called Madtongsan II and it’s hidden away up a little flight of stairs on Elizabeth St in the CBD. When we first started going there regularly we ordered the same two dishes so many times that the wait staff had it memorised. You could actually see surprise on our waiters face the first time we ordered something different. The food is so delicious that no matter how hot it is you always want more. I got my tolerance up and now can safely order off any Korean menu without fear of having my taste buds cauterised.

This pork is one of the dishes on their menu, we loved it so much that I copied down the name and searched for a recipe at home. I used the first one I came across and it was almost perfect. This is the dish that converted me to eating crunchy onion. Let me explain how important this is. As children my sister and I had such a huge aversion to onion that we would pick every tiny piece of it out of our food no matter how long it took. We would pick it out of spaghetti bolognaise. Our mother refused to leave it out for us and I like to think that the whole reason I started cooking was to be able to eat things without having to stop and pick onion out of it. Korean food is chock full of onion and uses it so well that I was willing to give it a go. My man likes to take the credit for my onion conversion but I figure that because he didn’t cook any of the food he can’t claim bragging rights. Besides, I usually do the opposite of what he says, so how does he think he did it?

Gochujang is one of the most important ingredients in Korean cuisine. It’s a fermented chilli and rice paste that adds mild heat and sweetness to dishes, as well as a beautiful red colour. It can be found in all Korean Supermarkets (there is usually a whole shelf devoted to it) and most Asian Supermarkets. I have no idea how to pronounce it but asking for ‘red pepper paste’ is usually a pretty safe bet. This recipe is a really nice introduction to Korean food for anyone wanting to dip their toe in. Don’t like pork? I’ve done this with chicken and it’s divine. Beef would be great and for any vegetarians I bet deep fried tofu would be insane. You can buy meat sliced paper thin from Korean Supermarkets but if you can’t, cook the meat for 8 mins or so, until it’s cooked through when you cut a piece open.

Bonus picture of Coco helping me write.

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Korean Pork

Adapted from Peter’s Spicy Pork Stir Fry over at Home Cooking Diary.

800g thinly sliced pork

4 tbsp gochujang

1 tbsp sesame oil

1 tbsp light soy sauce

1 tbsp caster sugar

pinch of pepper

4 cloves garlic

1 onion, sliced

1 carrot, cut into matchsticks

2 spring onions, finely sliced

sprinkle of sesame seeds

In a bowl big enough to hold the pork, mix together the gochujang, sesame oil, soy sauce, sugar, pepper and garlic.

Add the pork and stir to coat well, cover with cling film and keep in the fridge for 30 mins.

Heat up your wok on high until smoking and coat with vegetable oil.

Stir fry the onion and carrot for 5 mins, transfer to a bowl.

Heat wok back up and add a small amount of vegetable oil.

Stir fry pork with marinade (in two batches if necessary) for 5 mins, until all of the pork has changed colour.

Add vegetables back in to the wok and stir to combine.

Taste a piece of onion and carrot and cook longer if you want them softer.

Turn off wok and sprinkle pork with spring onions and sesame seeds.

Serve with rice.

 

 

 

Chinese Duck Stir Fry

Chinese roast duck.

Chinese roast duck.

I’ve always found Chinese food mysterious and a little scary but lately I’ve been diving in head first. My momentum came from a beautiful four part food documentary called Exploring China, made by the BBC. It’s hosted by two talented chefs, Ken Hom and Ching He Huang who both grew up outside of China but have deep roots there. Exploring China is the story of their return to the country that they were born in and their re-connection with Chinese food and culture. This duck stir fry is one of the first recipes I can claim completely as my own and its inspiration I fully attribute to those two passionate people.

Please don’t be put off by the whole roast duck, it’s a little bit confronting but easy enough to get used to once you taste how good it is. I buy mine from Burlington’s in the Fortitude Valley and they will cut it up for you if requested but I find it easier to strip the meat from the whole carcass. Not a fan of duck? Chicken would work beautifully, as would pork. I think this stir fry would be a great way to use up left overs from a roast and the vegetables can be adjusted depending on what you have on hand. If you use raw meat rather than something pre-cooked, just cook it for slightly longer to account for it.

Secret weapons.

Secret weapons.

It’s slightly embarrassing but I don’t actually know the name of the sauces pictured above. We first came across it at the dumpling stall at our local Farmer’s Markets and memorised the picture on the label. I found it in a little Chinese supermarket in Fortitude Valley and now every time I go into an Asian supermarket I come across it. There are quite a few different flavours, some of which include chicken and pork but I stick to the Chilli Black Bean and the pure Chilli. Thankfully the store I go to has the ingredients list in English on the back but if you can’t eat meat just be careful and make sure you don’t end up with a mouthful of pork. The sauces themselves are so delicious, they are salty, sweet and oily and can be used for anything. I find myself putting a little spoonful of the Black Bean sauce in every Asian dish I make and the oil from the sauces gives a great background hum of warmth to salad dressings.

Crispin' up the duck.

Crispin’ up the duck.

I have an electric stove top that is absolutely useless when it comes to using my wok so we bought a cheap butane camp stove and it is much better, although still not as hot as I would like. I have a three ring gas burner on my birthday wish list and hopefully then I can get the smoky flavour from the wok that so far has eluded me. I’ve had my wok for about a year (I think?) and it is finally seasoned enough to start becoming non-stick. Exciting times!

A quick sear of the vegetables.

A quick sear of the vegetables.

Cooking the different elements of the dish separately is very important, especially if you aren’t able to get a very strong heat under your wok. I’ve had a lot of issues with my food getting too soupy while I’m cooking and the dish braising in its own liquids, rather than frying. An easy way to around this it to cook your food in small batches to avoid overcrowding the pan. I used to be impatient with this and always regretted it when my food turned into a wet mess. Cooking the vegetables separately also gives you more control over keeping them crispy, which is super important because Chinese food is all about contrasting textures. The crunchy green beans and onions are highlights in this dish, not just background players to the duck (and that’s saying something, this duck is insanely tasty).

The final product!

The final product!

This recipe makes a lot of food, so if you are cooking for two just halve the recipe and you’ll still have some for lunch the next day. Use the other half of the duck to have in salad or with steamed Asian vegetables. So versatile! Or just freeze it for the next time you make this stir fry (I can guarantee there will be a next time, that’s how much I love it). This is a favourite and much requested dish at my house, meaning that when I cook it I’m beating back hands trying to get at the little bits of crispy duck skin (she knows who she is!) and although I might feign annoyance, it always gives me the warm and fuzzies knowing that people can’t resist something I’ve cooked.

Chinese Duck Stir Fry

Recipe by Ainsley Badman, that’s me!

1 Chinese roast duck

2 tbsp cornflour

1 tbsp vegetable oil

250 g green beans, trimmed and cut into bite sized pieces

1 brown onion, peeled and sliced

1 large handful bean sprouts

4 spring onions, white parts chopped finely

4 cloves garlic, minced

2 tbsp light soy sauce

3 tbsp Chilli Black Bean sauce

2 tbsp Chilli sauce

2 tbsp hoisin sauce

Strip the duck of meat and skin then cut into bite sized pieces.

Toss duck in a bowl with cornflour until evenly coated. Set aside.

Place the green beans, onion and garlic in a bowl together.

Gather all ingredients and arrange close by to your wok, putting the sauces in a bowl together if desired.

Heat your wok on high until smoking then add the vegetable oil and the duck.

Cook for 5 mins, constantly moving, until the fat has rendered and the duck skin gets crispy.

Remove duck to a bowl but leave the fat in the wok.

Add the bowl of vegetables to the wok and cook for 2 mins, scraping the bottom of the wok to prevent the garlic from sticking.

Add the duck back into the wok, as well as the bean sprouts and spring onions.

Mix briefly, then add all of the sauces.

Stir to evenly coat everything, taste, and add a little more hoisin if it isn’t sweet enough.

Transfer to a serving dish and eat with Jasmine rice or as part of a Chinese style banquet.