Archive for the ‘Vegetarian’ Category

Plus Zero*: Vegetarian Bulgogi

August 4, 2011

(*plus zero: when you don’t have to get any exotic ingredients to make a **k-fabulous dish.)

(**k-fabulous: a word I just made up which means Korean fabulous. I really should be a poet or something.)

I like to think of myself as a part time vegan.

If you’re thinking “hey, if you’re a part time vegan, that means you’re not vegan because you’re eating meat/dairy half the time!!”, in response, I will launch on a long,obnoxious, self-referential diatribe, such as: “The extent to which our present society conceptualizes dietary paradigms — indeed, any paradigms –reflects antiquated standards of unassailable boundaries between constructed dichotomies… Any quantiative researcher knows that arbitrary determination of cutoff points will differentially impact effect sizes and not necessarily in the direction that is most free of artifactual bias or conducive to producing salutatory outcomes in behaviors of populations.”

Right? Right.

So anyhow, I am a part time vegan and that makes me totally sensitive to all kinds of considerations. Unless I’m going for dim sum. I am sorry, if people are going to dim sum and you announce your vegetarianism, that’ just annoying. Be Chinese. Do the right thing. Eat that pork-crab-shark-egg-thing. But Korean food? Korean food is great for vegetarians and vegans! There is naturally zero dairy occurring in traditional Korean fare, so if you’re only avoiding meat, Korean is an amazingly accommodating cuisine. But considering the fact that Korean barbeque is really famous and popular here (and deservedly so), I wish non-meat-eating folks had the opportunity to enjoy something similar. Actually, I wish meat-eating folks had the opportunity to enjoy the following recipe — a way of producing totally meaty, juicy, charred awesomeness minus the guilt of cholesterol-raising, carbon-footprint-leaving, calorific red meat consumption.

What’s better than that?



Plus one: Weekday Five-ingredient Bibimbap.

August 1, 2011

Thanks for holding tight, my friends.

I am back with a vengeance, and this time, as I promised a billion 1.5 years ago, with a bibimbap recipe.

There are a good reasons I am doing a post on bibimbap. It’s not only because bibimbap is perhaps the most popular and well-known Korean dish in America. You see, I didn’t particularly grow up eating bibimbap on a regular basis. There’s nothing wrong with it but it’s just not one of those things that my mom made all the time. It’s perfectly delicious, I have no qualms against it, and am happy every time somebody else orders it and I steal a spoonful.

The reason I feel very strongly that I must do a post on this, and that you MUST make this at least once, is for you to see the utter folly of spending 12 dollars on it when you are eating out. Sorry, Korean restauranteurs… I keep saying things that might put you out of business, but I have to share the truth. Hopefully the truth will not only set you free but also propel you to do creative things instead of relying on the same ol’ limp presentations of well-worn favorites.

(No offense).

Wait.. what? Where was I? Oh yea, the folly of spending an excess of hard-earned ca$hdollaz on bibimbap.


Quickie Side Dishes – Pan-fried tofu with Million Uses Basic Korean Sauce

October 24, 2009

Here’s a quickie for you. Ready?

A super quickie, a classic, weekday dinner table staple: pan-fried tofu with the Million Uses Basic Sauce drizzled on. My mom made this twenty million times when I was growing up because it is so simple. She makes batches of the basic sauce and keeps them in the fridge, and puts it on everything. You can do it too! And who doesn’t love tofu?

Here’s a recipe for the sauce:

Million-Uses Basic Korean Sauce: 3 tablespoons soy sauce + 1 tablespoon chilli powder + 1 teaspoon sesame oil

Variations: add one chopped scallion, some minced garlic, a drop of vinegar, a spoonful of sugar, and/or grated ginger. increase amount of chilli powder for heat, and decrease for, well, less heat.

Of course, as always, quantities are approximate. This sauce can keep in the fridge for up to a week. The sauce described above, salty, complex and with a spicy bite, can have the following uses:

  • Dipping sauce for tempura (with a drop of vinegar)
  • Dipping sauce for dumplings (ditto about the vinegar)
  • Drizzle sauce for pan-fried tofu
  • Drizzle sauce for pan-fried fish
  • Drizzle sauce for steamed clams
  • Mix-in sauce for various renditions of bibimbap
  • Salad dressing (with a teaspoonful of sugar)
  • Seasoning accompaniment for Korean chicken noodle soup
  • Topping for apple pie
  • Marinade for Sarah Palin-caught wild caribou.
  • Alien bait.

…. and the list goes on. Three of the above are lies. Which ones? I report. You decide!!

And here are the super simple steps:

Step 1. Cut up some tofu into thin-ish rectangles. I say 3″ by 2″, perhaps 1″ thickness.Since they usually come submerged in water, make sure they’ve been thoroughly drained and patted dry.

Step 2. Heat a nonstick pan with a drizzle of oil. Medium-high.

Step 3. When pan is sufficiently heated, drop tofu pieces in.

Step 4. Let sufficiently brown on one side (3-5 min)

Step 6. FLIP! (see how brown they have to be?)