I was about to line all the veggies up on my cutting board in the usual way and realized that this is getting a bit boring. So instead I give you a rather untalented Archimboldi portrait. I should study his paintings a bit and see if I can create something a bit more inspired.
Anyway, you’d think after last night’s Korean feast over at Munich’s Seoul restaurant on Leopoldstrasse (good, but not great, wouldn’t go there again probably, but that’s me being very picky) that I would have had enough of Korean for at least a ….week? But no. I get into these moods, and nothing can sway me for a few days if not longer. I swear, sometimes I wake up in the morning thinking about putting some kimchi on my toast. Ok, that’s a lie. But I do love it as a snack, I think especially during the winter when it is very cold or during the summer, when it is very hot. Maybe it’s when I’m in need of vitamin C/A, kimchi is supposed to be full of it – due to the cabbage. But it also has a ton of salt…not so good. But after yesterday’s incredibly beautiful but painful run (it was so slippery on the icy snow that I was a tense mess during the standard 9-10k, all muscled seized up the whole time), I knew I wanted some Korean snack food. It was calling to me.
I dropped by one of the Asian groceries in Munich yesterday in the late afternoon and picked up a bag of Korean rice cakes – Garaeddeok 가래떡- (basically a Korean pasta or dumpling) while I was poking around. I’ve made them a couple times. They’re not so far from Italian gnocchi or Schwabian Schupfnudeln in nature. Basically it’s all about layering a comforting soft starch with a delicious sauce.
I made them this evening. These were fresh, not dried, so to soften them, I simply boiled them in salted water for about 5 minutes and them pan-fried them for a couple minutes to give them a bit of a crispy exterior while the inside stayed nice and pillowy.
I had marinated a chopped up chicken breast this morning – in a mix of sesame oil, vegetable oil, some Gochujang (Korean pepper paste), chopped garlic and ginger, a bit of brown sugar, and some Vietnamese fish sauce.
I chopped a large onion and a medium sized carrot and sauteed them in oil until the onion began to brown a bit and sweeten up. Then I added the chicken plus marinade, and let them simmer together, adding in some more ginger and garlic, a handful of reconstituted shitake mushrooms, and several slices of lotus root, chopped into quarters. These simmered for a bit – until the chicken was cooked through. Then the rice cakes went in and were mixed in, letting the sauce coat the dumplings. I added in more of the Gochujang paste, a bit more sugar, and some soy sauce, perhaps a tablespoon. Mixed, tasted, corrected a bit here and there. Sprinkled it all with coriander and chopped green onion. Mixed these in and removed it from the hot stove.
Meanwhile, I had this beautiful kohlrabi in the fridge, so while the dumplings were frying and in between steps, I made a favorite salad with it – just chop it into matchsticks, and then make a simple dressing: 1 tsp soy, 1 tsp chopped garlic, 1 tsp sesame oil, 1/4 tsp sugar, 1 tsp black Chinese vinegar. Stir and them pour the dressing on the kohlrabi, mixing well, and let sit at least 15 minutes.
I had also bought some Choy Sum (a relative of Bok Choy, not so bitter), which I blanched in salt water, and then layered with slivered green onion, red chili, and ginger. Then you heat a little oil in a pan until it’s quite hot, and then pour the hot oil over the greens, followed quickly with a mix of soy and hot water. Also lovely and simple. (Both above veggie recipes from “Every Grain of Rice” by Fuschia Dunlop)
The greens are served room temperature as is the kolrabi.
Best thing is that there are leftovers tomorrow for lunch or dinner.
Looking forward already.