Spring Bibimbap

With the possible exception of bulgogi (fire beef), bibimbap (stirred/mixed rice) may well be the Korean dish that is best known/best loved beyond Korean shores. Originally, this dish was used to recycle leftovers. Today, many bibimbaps include meat and are sealed with an egg; the recipe below is a light, vegetarian version.

Ingredients:

14 ounces cooked rice
10 1/2 ounces assorted mushrooms
1/4 baby courgette
1/3 eggplant
1/4 carrot
3 1/2 tablespoons tallae (a Korean spring herb)
3 1/2 tablespoons dotnamul (a Korean spring herb)
3 1/2 tablespoons organic herbs
3 1/2 tablespoons of any other spring herbs
Edible flower for decoration
Cooking oil
Salt and pepper

Mushroom marinade:

4 teaspoons soy sauce
1/2 tablespoon sugar
1 teaspoon sesame oil
1 teaspoon sesame seeds
1 teaspoon cooking sherry, white wine, or rice wine
1 teaspoon chopped garlic
Salt and pepper to taste

Bibimbap dressing:
3 tablespoons red pepper paste
1/2 tablespoon soy sauce
1 tablepoon sugar
1/2 tablespoon honey
1/2 teaspoon sesame seeds
1 tablespoon chopped onion
1/2 tablespoon chopped garlic

Directions:

Slice all mushrooms thinly or tear them. Slice and julienne the courgette, eggplant, and carrot into two-inch lengths. Wash and dry all the spring herbs. Set aside. Mix the marinade, then stir-fry the mushrooms with the marinade together. Set aside.

Stir-fry the courgette, eggplant, and carrot with nothing more than a pinch of salt. Put the cooked rice into a large bowl. On top, add all the cooked veggies including the mushrooms and spring herbs. Add the edible flower on top for decoration. Add the sauce just before eating. Then stir vigorously— preferably with chopsticks, which prevents the rice turning mushy—and serve into two bowls.

Servings: Serves two

Dried Mushroom and Organic Green Salad With Tofu Dressing

Ingredients:

1 1/3 cups assorted salad greens
1 1/3 cups assorted mushrooms
5 cherry tomatoes

Tofu dressing:
1.7 ounces tofu
1 teaspoon milk
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon soy sauce
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
1 tablespoon sugar
1 teaspoon chili powder
1 tablespoon chopped garlic
1 teaspoon chopped ginger
1 teaspoon salt
Pepper to taste

Directions:

Wash all greens thoroughly, shake dry, and tear into bite-size pieces. Cut the tomatoes in half. Slice all the mushrooms thinly and lay them flat on an oven tray. Dry them in the oven for three to five minutes; oven temperature should be around 355°F (180°C). Mash the tofu in a bowl using your hands. Add all the dressing ingredients, mix, pour, and serve.

Moo Jjim (Braised Rib and Radish Stew)

The city of Kaesong, just over the border in North Korea, proudly boasts a number of traditional recipes. This hearty, winter dish from Kaesong is analogous to a European stew. Cook it in advance, and freeze it for up to a month.

Ingredients:

14 ounces Korean radish (or substitute a potato or sweet potato)
7 ounces galbi (beef rib)
1/4 chicken
5 ginkgo nuts
2 jujubes
3 shiitake mushrooms
5 chestnuts
10 pine nuts

Marinade:

6 tablespoons soy sauce 3 tablespoons sugar

2 tablespoons honey 2 tablespoons clear rice wine

4 tablespoons chopped leeks 2 tablespoons chopped garlic

1 tablespoon ginger juice 1 teaspoon sesame seeds

1/2 teaspoon black pepper 1 teaspoon sesame oil

Directions:

Cut the Korean radish into chestnut-size pieces, then par-boil it in boiling water for three minutes. Remove and put to one side. Peel the chestnuts and remove the skin from the ginkgos. (The easiest way to do this is to roast them in a dry pan until the skin browns, so when you put them on a clean, dry cloth and rub them gently, the skin comes off easily.)

Put the shiitake mushrooms in warm water for around 20 minutes. Then cut into chestnut-size chunks. Place the beef rib into very cold water to remove any blood. This will take about a half hour. Discard the water. Cut the chicken into chunks approximately the same size as the beef ribs. Then plunge them into boiling water to get rid of fat from the skin. Remove and set aside.

To make the marinade, put all the ingredients into a bowl and whisk with a spoon or small whisker. Put the rib and par-boiled chicken into a large bowl. Marinate in half the sauce for half an hour to two hours. Put the ribs into a cast iron pot then pour water in—just enough to cover the ribs. Bring to a boil. Add chicken. Turn down stove heat to medium, and simmer for 45 minutes. Pot must be covered with a lid.

Add the Korean radish and shiitake mushrooms to the pot and pour in the rest of the marinade. Simmer for another 15-25 minutes (the actual time depends on stove setting and thickness of pot). You will know when it is ready, as the radish will absorb the sauce and change color to a dark, rich brown. At this point, add the jujube and chestnuts. Simmer for another ten minutes. Then, bring the pot back to a boil, and add the ginkgo and pine nuts and boil for five minutes.

Serve. The dish is traditionally eaten with steamed rice, but a crusty baguette, a plate of polenta, or even a scoop of mashed potatoes work equally well.

Servings: Serves two

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