Jajangmyeon (Korean Black Bean Noodles)
Our newest tradition for a BLACK FRIDAY meal is the polar opposite to everyone’s beloved Turkey & Stuffing. JAJANGMYEON couldn’t be more perfect for the day after the Big Feast, giving those precious leftovers a little space to breathe and be enjoyed later on with gusto.
A super-satisfying bowl of noodles coated with slurpy black bean sauce that’s chock-full of pork and vegetables, Jajangmyeon is Korean/Chinese comfort food at its zenith.
Lovelorn Koreans typically eat this noir dish on BLACK DAY which is “celebrated” on April 14th every year. It’s a day dedicated to single people who haven’t yet found their true love; a reverse Valentine’s Day of sorts.
I’m advocating eating Jajangmyeon on BLACK FRIDAY as well. Jajangmyeon can follow that special day of high culinary expectations and not let anyone down with its super tasty salty/sweet flavors and visually astonishing deep dark color.
Jajangmyeon (Korean Black Bean Noodles) Recipe
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With Hanukkah right around the corner I have a hankering for brisket. But, just for fun this year, I am taking our beloved Jewish brisket recipe and giving it a Korean twist by replacing the tomato-based sauce with a gochujang sauce.
Gochujang is a Korean red chili paste with sweet heat and a fermented umami richness. It is definitely spicy – but also has a balanced fruitiness, slight smokiness and depth of flavor from the sun-dried Korean red peppers.
Beef plus gochujang is a classic Korean pairing, slow-roasted beef brisket plus gochujang equals a match made in heaven. Fresh ginger and plenty of garlic round out the flavors. A touch of sugar brings out gochujang’s natural sweetness. Serve this brisket as the main dish of the holiday gathering and be sure to serve leftovers as gochujang brisket sandwiches – two ways to ensure happy guests this holiday season!
Gochujang Brisket Recipe
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Spicy Korean BBQ Chicken with Iceberg Lettuce Cups
White Seaweed Salad, Sliced Scallion & Chiffonade of Perilla
Warning: This is not your ordinary barbecued chicken. Here, grilled Korean-style spicy smoky chicken with a hint of sweetness (dak bulgogi) is nestled in refreshingly crisp iceberg lettuce cups, topped with a white seaweed salad dressed with garlicky mayonnaise and sesame seeds, then finished with slices of scallion and herbaceous ribbons of perilla.
The chicken marinade’s main ingredient is gochujang – a Korean red chili paste with sweet heat and a fermented umami richness. It is definitely spicy – but also has a balanced fruitiness, slight smokiness and depth of flavor from the sun-dried Korean red peppers.
The chicken is served in “under-appreciated” iceberg lettuce cups. Iceberg is the perfect vehicle for transporting the chicken – the leaves are pliable, just the right size, with a beautiful pale green color, and adequate crunch. My unique white seaweed salad is made of crunchy springy kelp noodles. Perilla (wild sesame leaf) is sliced into thin ribbons and sprinkled over the chicken, adding a complex herby flavor. It’s all very fresh and summery. Low-carb too.
Korean BBQ Chicken, Lettuce Cups Recipe
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White Seaweed Salad
Garlic Mayonnaise, Toasted Sesame Seeds, Sea Salt
White seaweed salad makes a unique sea vegetable banchan (side dish). Seaweed “noodles,” also called kelp noodles, are made from kelp, water, and sodium alginate. Sodium alginate is extracted from the cell wall of brown seaweed. It is used as a stabilizer, thickener, and emulsifier in many common foods. In modernist cuisine it is used as the cold gelling agent to form spheres that have a thin membrane and are filled with a flavored liquid – a technique called spherification, pioneered back in 2003 by Chef Ferran Adrià at El Bulli.
Kelp noodles are fat-free, gluten-free, and low in carbohydrates and calories, and rich in oceanic trace minerals. They have a neutral taste and surprisingly crunchy texture with a curious elasticity. Here, the salad is made with minimal preparation – the noodles are served raw, simply rinsed and coated with a garlicky mayonnaise, toasted sesame seeds and sea salt. The result is an unusual side dish that pairs especially well with spicy Korean dishes.
White Seaweed Salad Recipe
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Kimchi Bacon Cheddar Quiche
Napa cabbage kimchi and sharp cheddar cheese is one of my favorite combinations – kimchi’s zingy fermented flavors and rich full-bodied cheddar, together create an amazing food synergy. And since last week’s Spinach, Tomato, Goat Cheese Quiche with a Black Quinoa Crust was such a big hit, I wanted to share another quiche using the more common white quinoa for the crust. Besides being gluten-free and high in protein and fiber, the quinoa crust has a delightful crunchy-chewy texture, counterbalancing the creamy cheesy custardy filling. In addition to kimchi and cheddar, I add bacon and scallions too. So there is no shortage of flavor in this pie!
Kimchi Quiche with Quinoa Crust Recipe
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“The food that you cook has to come from within.”
Chef Hooni Kim to the students of Le Cordon Bleu in Pasadena, May 5, 2015.
Invited by the Korean Cultural Center Los Angeles to demonstrate Korean cooking to the students at Le Cordon Bleu cooking school, he flew across the country to share his passion. With such a broad subject to cover in one class, Chef Hooni Kim decided to focus on a few special ingredients, ones that really give Korean cuisine its unique flavors.
One of these special ingredients is gochujang – the red chili paste with sweet heat and a fermented umami richness. It is definitely spicy – but also has a balanced fruitiness, slight smokiness and depth of flavor from the sun-dried Korean red peppers.
“I like to share Korean flavors and Korean culture through my restaurants. Not only do I feel like I need to cook delicious food, I need to teach a bit about Korea through the flavors.”
The menu at his Michelin-starred New York City restaurant Danji was inspired by his Korean-American heritage and his New York stomping grounds. The second restaurant, Hanjan, features pure Korean cuisine inspired by all his trips to Korea, the place of his birth.
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Doenjang 된장 Mashed Potatoes
Butter, Roasted Seaweed, Gochugaru, Sesame Seed, Black Pepper
Umami is the savory taste and round mouth-feel imparted by glutamate and nucleotides found in certain foods. Doenjang, that funky-chunky-fermented-aged Korean soybean paste, has an exceptionally robust umami profile.
In 1908, a chemistry professor at Tokyo Imperial University was intrigued by the complex flavor and deliciousness of dashi, a simple Japanese soup base made from seaweed. Upon investigation, Dr. Kikunae Ikeda was able to isolate the principal flavor ingredient of kombu (the kelp used to make dashi). Using classical chemistry procedures he identified this substance as glutamic acid.
Glutamic acid is a type of amino acid, which are the building blocks of proteins. Bound with minerals such as sodium, potassium, or magnesium – glutamic acid becomes glutamate, a salt. It is the salt form of glutamic acid that elicits the taste. Following Ikeda’s glutamate discovery, other foods were determined to be sources of umami, and that the process of fermentation forms and releases amino acid and nucleotide compounds as well.
Doenjang is made from dried soybeans which are boiled and stone-ground into a coarse paste, then formed into blocks called meju and allowed to ferment with the help of warmth or sunlight and bacteria. One to three months later, the blocks are placed in large pottery jars and covered with a very salty brine as the fermentation process continues. At the end of the long process the liquid is filtered off, this liquid is Korean soy sauce called ganjang, and the remaining solids are our salty-earthy-complex-umami rich paste with a pungent aroma – called doenjang.
Doenjang 된장 Mashed Potatoes Recipe
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