Gochujang Chicken Adobo and Chef Hooni Kim

Korean-Filipino Gochujang Chicken Adobo

“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.

Continue reading “Gochujang Chicken Adobo and Chef Hooni Kim”

Doenjang Adds Umami Notes to Mashed Potatoes

Doenjang 된장 Mashed Potatoes Butter, Roasted Seaweed, Gochugaru, Sesame Seed, Black Pepper

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

Continue reading “Doenjang Adds Umami Notes to Mashed Potatoes”

Chili Chocolate Brownies with Gochugaru, Ginger, Sesame Seed, Olive Oil, Fleur de Sel

Chili Chocolate Brownies with Gochugaru, Ginger, Sesame Seed, Olive Oil, Fleur de Sel

Korean Influence Chili Chocolate Brownies
with
Gochugaru, Ginger, Sesame Seed, Olive Oil, Fleur de Sel

Gochugaru is a Korean red chili powder that is definitely spicy – but also has a balanced fruitiness, slight smokiness and depth of flavor from the sun-dried red peppers. Korean chili plus a fruity California olive oil and the sharp, exotic flavor of ground ginger come together in this fusion brownie that is an intense spicy grown-up dessert.

Gochugaru Brownie Recipe

Continue reading “Chili Chocolate Brownies with Gochugaru, Ginger, Sesame Seed, Olive Oil, Fleur de Sel”

Savory Korean Breakfast Pancake {Breakfast Bindaetteok}

Savory Korean Breakfast Pancake {Breakfast Bindaetteok}

Savory Korean Breakfast Pancake
Breakfast Bindaetteok

Mung Bean Pancake (Gluten-Free, Low-Carb)
Nappa Cabbage Kimchi, Scallion
Topped with a Sunny-Side-Up Egg
Gochujang Sauce

It’s those savory caramelized bits of kimchi that make this pancake so irresistible. Dried-peeled-split mung beans are soaked overnight in water, then pureed in a blender to produce a pale yellow batter that yields a tasty low-carb, gluten-free pancake with an interesting slightly chewy texture.

The pancake is topped with a sunny-side-up egg. Gochujang sauce made from fermented red chilis, is spicy and slightly sweet and makes the perfect condiment for this breakfast which is a twist on the popular Korean appetizer called bindaetteok.

Savory Korean Breakfast Pancake Recipe

Continue reading “Savory Korean Breakfast Pancake {Breakfast Bindaetteok}”

Korean Macaroni and Cheese with Beef, Kimchi, Cheddar

Korean Macaroni and Cheese with Beef, Kimchi, Cheddar

Korean Macaroni and Cheese with Beef, Kimchi, Cheddar

One stellar food pairing is kimchi plus cheddar. So when it came time to create a macaroni and cheese dish for Food Network’s Comfort Food Feast event, I immediately thought of kimchi. Funky tangy kimchi partners with sharp creamy cheddar, ground sirloin, and gochugaru, a Korean red chili powder that is definitely spicy – but also has a balanced fruitiness, slight smokiness and depth of flavor from the sun-dried red peppers. The resulting fusion dish is an irresistible grown-up full-flavored mac and cheese.

Korean Macaroni and Cheese with Beef, Kimchi, Cheddar

Beef & Kimchi Mac ‘n Cheese Recipe

Continue reading “Korean Macaroni and Cheese with Beef, Kimchi, Cheddar”