Friday, June 19, 2015

Miyeok Saewoo Tteokbokki

     Wakame Beef Broth and Shrimp Tteokbokki
     More Korean street vendor style food!  Tteokbokki (Rice Cake Sticks) are a popular street food item.  There are many old traditional recipes for tteokbokki.  There are also many new tteokbokki recipes that are created by Korean street vendors everyday.  
     Street vendor food chefs do not really have to play by a book of rules, as far as writing a menu goes.  Tradition is just another option to consider when designing street food menu items.  
     Street food design strategies focus more on creating something new and exciting.  The goal is always to inspire consumer interest and draw more customers.  
     Combinations of ingredients that were previously unheard of are often offered by street vendors by means of trial and error.  It the new street food creation becomes popular, then the idea is a success.  If the new street food does not sell, then either the idea is a dud or more product development is needed.  
     Sometimes just making a few improvements makes the difference in whether a new street food product sells or not.  Sometimes giving a slow selling product a catchy new name is enough to trigger sales.  For example, at tourist trap destination areas, the street food item that has the craziest name often is what sells the best and makes the most money.  

     Miyeok Guk is a Korean seaweed soup that is usually made with beef and beef broth.  I decided to break the bounds of tradition when designing the Meok Guk for today's street food style Rice Sticks recipe.  Instead of sliced beef, shrimp was used to make the Miyeok Guk recipe component.  
     I figured that the beef broth and seaweed flavor of Miyeok Guk would naturally go well with the shrimp and it could be turned into a sauce for Tteokbokki.  The flavor of today's Tteokbokki turned out rather nice!    

     Miyeok Saewoo Tteokbokki:
     This recipe yields 1 hearty large portion.
     Pre-made Tteokbokki (Rick Sticks) and salt packed dried wakame seaweed can be found at Korean food markets.  Salt packed wakame is soft and the seaweed is actually still alive.
     Rice cake sticks are easy to make, if you want to make them fresh from scratch.  Packages of pre-made fresh or frozen Tteokbokki are a nice convenience.
     Step 1:  Cut a strand of salt packed dried wakame that is about 8" long.
     Soak the seaweed in water, till it is fully reconstituted.
     Cut the seaweed into large bite size pieces and set them aside.
     Step 2:  Boil a pot of water over high heat, so the Tteokbokki can be cooked later in the recipe.
     Step 3:  Heat a sauté pan or mini wok over medium heat.
     Add 1/2 tablespoon of vegetable oil.
     Add 1 teaspoon of pure sesame oil.
     Add 2 cloves of minced garlic.
     Add 1/2 teaspoon of minced ginger.
     Briefly sauté for a few seconds, so the ginger and garlic becomes fragrant.
     Step 4:  Add 1/4 cup of thin julienne sliced onion.
     Sauté till the onions start to turn clear in color.
     Step 5:  Add 1 1/2 tablespoons of thin soy sauce.
     Add 1/2 teaspoon of sugar.
     Add 1/2 teaspoon of Korean style coarse ground red serrano chile pepper paste.  (sambal)
     Add 10 medium size whole shrimp.  (Leave the heads attacked, but trim off the antennae.)
     Add the reserved wakame seaweed pieces.
     Step 6:  Stir the ingredients as the marinade liquid rapidly reduces to a thin glaze consistency.  
     Step 7:  When the marinade thickens enough to easily coat the ingredients, immediately add 2 cups of rich dark beef broth.
     Add sea salt and white pepper.
     Reduce the temperature to medium low heat.
     Step 8:  Start cooking 1 generous portion of Tteokbokki (rice cake sticks) in the pot of boiling water.  
     Step 9:  When the rice sticks start to become tender, use a pasta net to gather the rice sticks and drain off the water.
     Add the rice sticks to the shrimp and thin broth sauce in the other pan.
     Step 10:  Raise the temperature to medium heat.
     Rapidly simmer and reduce, till most of the excess liquid evaporates and the thin sauce starts to cling to the rice sticks.  (The starch from the rice sticks will thicken the sauce a little bit.)   
     Step 11:  Toss the ingredients together.
     Place the Miyeok Saewoo Tteokbokki on a plate.  
     Use a squirt bottle to paint a little bit Sriracha Sauce on the entrée.

     This Miyeok Saewoo Tteokbokki is a healthy and filling plate of street vendor style food!    

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