Saturday, March 7, 2015

Yulmoo Gat Kimchi Tteokbokki

     Korean Radish Top Kimchi With Rice Cake Sticks! 
     Kimchi it not difficult to make.  I watched students make a big batch of Cabbage Kimchi at school the other day and it turned out okay, but the mixture was a little bit short on chile pepper paste.  Making Kimchi as good as a Korean cook is another story.  It does take quite a bit of experience to get the texture, color and flavor just right, when making Kimchi.  

     Las Vegas has a few large Korean food markets that offer many specialty items.  The Greenland Market in Korea Town has a very nice deli section that is devoted to only Kimchi sales.  The last time that I was shopping there, more than ten different kinds of Kimchi were on display in the deli case.  One of the most interesting looking Kimchi that I never heard of before was Yulmoo Gat Kimchi, so I purchased some to try.  
     Yulmoo Gat Kimchi is made with radish tops.  As everybody knows, radish roots can have a bit of a zesty bite to them.  Depending on which variety of radish, the flavor can be slightly mellow or quite harsh.   Radish Tops are the same way.  Varieties of Radish Tops can be quite zesty too.
     There is something about the Kimchi fermenting process that mellows the zesty flavor of radish.  I was expecting a strong flavor when I first tried the Radish Top Kimchi, but I was surprised to find the flavor to be very mellow.  
     The texture of the Radish Top Kimchi was crisp and fresh.  Radish Top Kimchi is not extra tough, but is does take some pleasant chewing time, before the roughage is fit for swallowing.  It is kind of like chewing on blanched kale stalks.  
     There actually is something satisfying about chewing on roughage and looking off in the distance with a blank stare while pondering over vague thoughts.  There is some kind of a primal pleasure involved with chewing on roughage like Radish Top Kimchi.  Those who farm or grow gardens kind of understand these things.
     Kimchi is not just a chilled accompaniment.  Kimchi is also cooked in hot food recipes.  Cabbage Kimchi is added to many soups and stews.  I decided to add Radish Top Kimchi to today's strett vendor food style Tteokbokki recipe.  The radish tops were very tender after cooking and they were a pleasure to eat.
     Tteokbokki has become a popular Korean street vendor style food.  There are old traditional Korean recipes for Tteokbokki, but street vendor style creations are fun to make.  Today's Yulmoo Gat Kimchi Tteokbokki turned out kind of nice!

     Yulmoo Gat Kimchi Tteokbokki:
     This recipe yields 1 hearty entrée portion.
     Be sure to have the ingredients ready before the cooking starts.  This recipe progresses quickly!
     Step 1:  Boil a pot of water over medium high heat.
     Add 1 portion of Rice Cake Sticks (Tteokbokki) to the water.  (About 16 to 20 sticks.  Pre-made fresh rice cake sticks are available in Korean food markets and they are a nice convenience.)
     Stir the rice cake sticks occasionally while the sauce is made!
     Step 2:  Heat a sauté pan or mini wok over medium/medium high heat.
     Add 1 1/2 tablespoons of vegetable oil.
     Add 2 teaspoons of sesame oil.
     Add 2 cloves of minced garlic.
     Sauté for about 10 seconds, till the garlic becomes fragrant.
     Step 3:  Add 1/4 cup of julienne sliced onion.
     Add 1 teaspoon of ground sesame seed.
     Add 1 1/3 cups of Radish Top Kimchi (Yulmoo Gat Kimchi) that is cut into large bite size lengths.  
     Sauté for a few seconds.
     Step 4:  Add 1 tablespoon of thin soy sauce.
     Add 1 teaspoon of granulated sugar.
     Add 1 cup of beef broth.
     Add sea salt and white pepper.
     Add 1 teaspoon of Korean red chile powder.
     Add 1/2 tablespoon of red bean paste.  (Red Miso or Korean Red Bean Paste)
     Add 3 tablespoons of Sriracha.
     Bring the liquid to boil:
     Step 5:  Reduce the temperature to low heat
     Braise the ingredients, till the Radish Top Kimchi and onions start to become tender.
     Step 6:  The Rice cake Sticks should be ready by this time.  (Tteokbokki only takes about 5 minutes to cook.)
     Drain the water off of the rice cake sticks.
     Step 7:  Add the Rice Cake Sticks to the kimchi and sauce.
     Toss the ingredients together.  
     Simmer and reduce the sauce till it is just thick enough coat the ingredients.
     Remove the pan from the heat.

     Place a few perilla leaves around the border of a plate in a flower petal pattern.
     Mound the Yulmoo Gat Kimchi Tteokbokki on the center of the plate.
     Sprinkle some lightly toasted sesame seeds over the Tteokbokki.

     Yumoo Gat Kimchi Tteokbokki is delicious and healthy!  The flavor of this recipe is moderately spicy, but the level of spicy heat can be adjusted to suit personal taste. 

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