Friday, March 25, 2016

Tteokbokki with Spicy Mini Sausages and Twisted Peppers

     Korean Street Food Style Rice Cake Sticks!
     Tteokbokki are finger shaped rice cake sticks.  Tteokbokki are fairly easy to make from scratch.  Tteokbokki are also available as a pre-made product at Korean food markets.  Pre-made fresh rice sticks are a nice convenience and a package will feed several guests.    
     Spicy Mini Sausages are also available at Korean markets.  The flavor of Asian style Spicy Mini Sausage flavor has accents of five spice powder, so they taste different than American style Little Smokies Sausages.  
     Korean street vendor stands do good business in pedestrian traffic areas near tourist attractions, temples and points of interest.  Street vendor food is usually finger food, but saucy entrées are also served on paper plates.  
     Street food style Tteokbokki tends to be served with plenty of sauce.  The red sauce for Tteokbokki can be very spicy hot!  The level of spicy heat can be adjusted to personal taste.  

     Tteokbokki with Spicy Mini Sausages and Twisted Peppers:
     This recipe yields 1 entrée.
     Twisted Peppers have a mild flavor.
     Sriracha is a mild serrano pepper and garlic sauce.  Not all Sriracha Sauce brands are created equal.  For this recipe, it is best to select a Sriracha that is not too salty.   
     Step 1:  *The sauce can be made while the Tteokbokki cook!
     Boil large sauce pot of water in a pot over medium high heat.
     Add about 1 3/4 cups of pre-made Tteokbokki (rice cake sticks).
     Boil till the Tteokbokki are tender, but not mushy.  (This takes about 8 to 10 minutes.)  
     Step 2:  Heat a sauté pan or mini wok over medium heat.
     Add 1 tablespoon of vegetable oil.
     Add 1/4 cup of thin julienne sliced onion.
     Add 5 ounces of Spicy Mini Sausages.  
     Add 5 or 6 whole Twisted Peppers (Shishito Peppers) that have the stem ends cut off.
     Sauté till the sausages are lightly browned and the peppers start to become tender.
     Step 3:  Add 1 teaspoon of minced garlic.
     Add 1 teaspoon of minced ginger.
     Add 1 tablespoon of minced green onion.
     Sauté till the garlic and ginger become aromatic.  (About 20 seconds)
     Step 4:  Add 1 tablespoon of thin soy sauce.
     Add 3/4 cup of beef broth.
     Add 1/2 cup of Sriracha Sauce.
     Add 1/2 teaspoon of red bean paste.  (red miso paste)
     Add 1/4 teaspoon of Chinese Red Chile Powder or Korean Smoked Red Chile Powder.  (to taste)
     Add 1/4 teaspoon of Spanish Paprika.
     Add 1 pinch of sea salt and white pepper.
     Step 5:  Toss the ingredients together.
     Bring the sauce to a gentle boil.
     Step 6:  Reduce the temperature to very low heat.
     Keep the sauce warm and stir occasionally, till the Tteokbokki finish cooking. 
     Step 7:  Drain the water off of the Tteokbokki rice sticks after they are tender.
     Add the Tteokbokki to the sauce, peppers and mini sausages in the pan.  
     Toss the ingredients together.
     Gently simmer and reduce till the sauce can easily coat the rice sticks.  
     Garnish a plate with 3 large perilla leaves.
     Place small bunches of radish sprouts on the plate between the perilla leaves.
     Mound the Tteokbokki with Spicy Mini Sausages and Twisted Peppers on the center of the plate. 

     Quick spicy delicious Korean street food style Tteokbokki!      

Saturday, March 12, 2016

Lemongrass Winter Melon Soup with Periwinkles, Ginkgo Nuts and Vietnamese Perilla

     More Winter Melon Soup Ideas! 
     Periwinkles are a nice tasting small sea snail.  The flavor is very clean and not muddy at all.  Periwinkles add a light savory seafood flavor to Winter Melon Soup.  
     Vietnamese Perilla is in the mint family of plants.  This herb has a complex basil flavor.  Vietnamese cuisine makes use of a wide variety of fresh herbs.  The herbs can be part of the recipes or they can be used as an integral garnish.  Often a fresh herb garnish for soup is meant to be stirred into the soup at the table, to add a fresh crisp herb flavor.
     Ginkgo Nuts have a nice delicate flavor of their own.  Ginkgo Nuts are a strong antioxidant and they boost the immune system.  Lemongrass is a classic choice for flavoring light savory broth soups and this herb compliments the flavor of Winter Melon.  Put it all together and this is a very tasty healthy Winter Melon Soup!
     Lemongrass Winter Melon Soup with Periwinkles, Ginkgo Nuts and Vietnamese Perilla:               
     This recipe yields 1 large bowl of soup!   (About 2 3/4 cups)
     Poached shelled periwinkles can be purchased at Asian food markets.  Fresh live periwinkles in their shells are sometimes available too. 
     Step 1:  Tie 1 shoot of fresh lemongrass into a simple knot.
     Place the lemongrass knot in a small soup pot.
     Add 2 3/4 cups of light chicken broth.  
     Place the pot over medium high heat.
     Bring the broth to a gentle boil.
     Step 2:  Reduce the temperature to medium low heat.
     Add 1/2 teaspoon of ginger paste.
     Add sea salt and white pepper.
     Simmer the broth for 10 minutes, so the lemongrass flavor infuses with the broth.
     Step 3:  Add 1 3/4 cups of winter melon that is cut into 1/2" cube shaped pieces.
     Add 4 ounces of poached periwinkles that are sliced into bite size pieces.  
     Add 6 peeled fresh ginkgo nuts.
     Step 4:  Simmer the soup till the winter melon is tender and the volume of the soup is 2 3/4 cups to 3 cups.  (The winter melon will be opaque at first, then it will be a translucent color when it is tender.)
     Step 5:  Remove the lemongrass knot.
     Ladle the soup into a bowl.
     Float a few very thin slices of onion on the surface of the soup.
     Line the rim of the soup bowl with whole fresh Vietnamese Perilla Leaves.

     This soup has a delicate flavor that brings on a smile!