Category Archives: Rice

Kimbap with Beef and Vegetables

Exactly one year ago today, I started my recipe blog. During the past year, I’ve had viewers from around the world visit my blog. To celebrate my one-year anniversary, I share with you my mom’s kimbap (Korean rice rolls) recipe. Kimbap are beautifully colorful and taste delicious. My mom made them for celebratory meals, and the thought of them made my brothers and I excited whenever one of our birthdays was around the corner. My mom would wake up before dawn to prep all the ingredients and once we were awake, it would only be minutes before we would begin devouring them. This recipe stays true to my mom’s original recipe – I haven’t altered it one bit, down to ingredients I wouldn’t typically use today.

The key to a successful kimbap is properly cooked rice. I typically use a little less water than what the directions call for on the package. The cooked rice should separate a bit when moving it around with a rice paddle. You want the rice fully cooked, not al dente like risotto rice, but also not too soft or mushy. Be sure to allow the rice to cool down a bit before placing it on the nori sheets. Note that there are 3 Japanese ingredients in this recipe that contain MSG or a derivative of MSG – takuan taro, kamaboko, and powdered sushi flavoring – so if you are sensitive to MSG, this is probably not the recipe for you. I searched for non-MSG versions of these three ingredients but they were difficult to come by, and I ultimately decided that maintaining the authenticity of the recipe was more important than using different ingredients that were MSG-free. If you try this recipe, though, you will experience a piece of my childhood through the flavors of one of my favorite comfort foods. Enjoy!

Kimbap with Beef and Vegetables

About 6 servings

Special Equipment: Bamboo Sushi Mat

Beef
1/3 lb. of brisket (cut into 1/3″ long strips, cut against the grain)
2 teaspoons of soy sauce
1 teaspoon of mirin
1/4 teaspoon of baking soda
1/2 teaspoon of sugar
Freshly grated black pepper

Vegetables and Other Fillings
2 large carrots (peeled, sliced into 1/4″ strips, boiled 2 minutes, and shocked in ice water – blotted dry)
1 bunch of spinach (washed, boiled 1 1/2 minutes, and shocked in ice water – squeezed dry)
2 teaspoons of sesame oil
1/2 teaspoon of salt
1 red kamaboko (Japanese fish cake) – 6 oz*
3 eggs, beaten well
Vegetable oil
1 takuan taro (Japanese picked daikon) – about 8 ounces, sliced 1/3″ strips**

Rice
6 cups of cooked short-grain sushi rice
2 tablespoons of roasted sesame oil
2-3 tablespoons of powdered sushi flavoring***

Other
5 sheets of unseasoned nori sheets
Roasted sesame seeds and black sesame seeds
Extra daikon for serving

1. In a small bowl, add the brisket strips, soy sauce, mirin, baking soda, sugar and a couple turns of the pepper mill. Stir well and let marinate for 20 minutes at room temperature.

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2. In a small bowl, toss the carrots, 1 teaspoon of sesame oil, and a pinch of salt. Place the carrots on a platter.

3. In the same bowl, add the spinach, the other teaspoon of sesame oil, and a pinch of salt. Place on the platter next to the carrots.

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4. Heat a 6-inch non-stick sauté pan on medium heat. Add a tablespoon of vegetable oil. Add a pinch of salt to the eggs and give them quick beating. Add the beaten eggs in the pan. You want to create an egg cake that will be 1/4″ thick when sliced. Flip and cook on the other side until fully cooked. You don’t want a runny center.

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5. Transfer the cooked eggs to a cutting board. Let cool before slicing.

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6. Take the kamaboko and slice out the pink portion and white portion into 10 equal strips. They will be about 1/3″ thick. Heat a small sauté pan on medium heat and add 1 tablespoon of oil. Add the kamaboko and sauté for 2 minutes. Transfer the kamaboko to the platter.

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7. In the same pan, add the beef strips and cook on medium high until you get a nice sear on each side. This should take about 5 minutes. Transfer to the platter.

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8. Add the cut pickled daikon on the platter.

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9. In a large bowl, add the cooked rice, 2 tablespoons of the powdered sushi flavoring and sesame oil. Using a rice paddle, mix until the powdered sugar and sesame oil is evenly distributed into the rice. Taste the rice and add more powder if needed.

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10. Lay 1 sheet of nori on the bamboo mat, long side down and the nori touching the bottom portion of the mat. Add about 1 cup of the rice and spread evenly throughout the nori, leaving about 1 1/2″ on the top.

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11. Carefully add the filling (one of each) on the lower potion of the rice. You will need to add about 6 spinach leaves, evenly distributing the leaves so when cut, each one will have leafy greens.

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12. Take a hold of the bamboo mat on the bottom side and, while rolling, press down to secure the filling and roll the kimbap away from you.

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13. Repeat four more times.

14. Slice the kimbap with a serrated knife into 3/4″ pieces. Place the pieces on serving plates and sprinkle the sesame seeds. Serve with miso soup and extra pickled daikon pieces.

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15. Kimbap are best eaten the same day they are made. Place any leftover pieces in a airtight container in the refrigerator. The leftover kimbap can be heated in the microwave for a few seconds or eaten at room temperature.

 

*This Kamaboko is processed in Los Angeles, California and it is my favorite Kamaboko brand. You can find it at most Asian markets.

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** Here is the Takuan brand I use for this recipe. I tested quite a few brands and this one has the best flavor. You can be find this Takuan at most Japanese markets.

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*** This is Japanese powdered sushi flavoring I use for the rice. You can find it at most Japanese and Korean markets.

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Sticky Rice with Chinese Sausage and Shrimp

My first Chinese sticky rice experience was in high school at my friend’s house. My friend’s mom, Mrs. Young, was an amazing Chinese home cook and it was always a treat to have dinner at their place. Mrs. Young was originally from China, but lived in Vietnam before emigrating to the US, and you can taste the Vietnamese influence in her cooking. One of my favorite dishes that she made was her sticky rice. The sticky rice had tender pork, shiitake mushrooms and dried shrimp and was a beautiful caramel color. It was savory and slightly sweet and had the perfect texture. Mrs. Young was always kind of enough to pack extra for me to take home. It was best sticky rice I’ve ever had.

I lost contact with my friend about 15 years ago and for years have regretted not learning how to make her mother’s wonderful sticky rice. Since then, I have had many versions of the dish in the San Gabriel Valley and have finally come up with a good recipe for it. In this recipe, I have incorporated the steaming method my mom taught me when making Korean sticky rice for a dessert called yak-shik, but added all the Chinese flavors for sticky rice. Also, I added homemade Vietnamese caramel sauce to give it that great dark color. The combination of all the techniques and flavors produces a sticky rice close to my memory of Mrs. Young’s version. Try this recipe. I promise it won’t disappoint!

Sticky Rice with Chinese Sausage and Shrimp

Serving Size: 4-6

2 cups of sweet rice (medium-grain or short-grain), soaked in water for 30 minutes
Non-stick cooking spray, vegetable oil based
1 1/2 tablespoons of vegetable oil, divided
3 slices of ginger, 1/2″ thick and 1 1/2 inches long
2 Chinese sausages, casing remove and thinly sliced* or 1/2 cup of roasted pork strips
2 ounces of fresh shiitake mushrooms, thinly sliced**
1/4 cup of dried shrimp, soaked in warm water for 30 minutes***
3 scallions, thinly sliced and divided
1 tablespoon of mirin
2 tablespoons of organic soy sauce
2 tablespoons of oyster sauce
1/2 teaspoon of roasted sesame oil
Freshly grated pepper, to taste
1/2 cup of homemade chicken stock or low-sodium chicken broth
2 tablespoons of dark Vietnamese caramel sauce or 1 tablespoon of molasses****

1. In a medium steamer (2 quart-size), coat the steamer basket with non-stick cooking spray.

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2. Give the sweet rice a good rinse over a fine-meshed sieve. Transfer the rinsed rice into steamer basket.

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3. Add a generous amount of hot water into the base of the streamer. Cover and steam over high heat for 30 minutes. Add additional hot water to the base of the steamer, as needed.

4. Meanwhile, heat a 12-inch sauté pan to medium-high. Add 1 tablespoon of vegetable oil. Add the ginger pieces and sauté for 30 seconds.

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5. Add the Chinese sausage slices and the shiitake mushrooms. Sauté until the sausages get a little crispy (about 5-7 minutes).

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6. Drain the soaked dried shrimp and add them to the pan. Sauté for 1 more minute.

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7. Add the mirin and sauté for 30 more seconds. Remove the ginger pieces. In a small bowl, whisk the soy sauce, oyster sauce, sesame oil, 1/2 tablespoon of vegetable oil and a couple of turns of the pepper mill. Pour the mixture into the sauté pan. Add 2/3 of the sliced scallions.

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8. Stir and cook for 1 minute.

9. Remove the lid off the steamer with the par-cooked sweet rice. Add 1/2 cup of chicken stock directly to the rice and stir to moisten the rice. Add the cooked sausage/mushroom/shrimp mixture and 2 tablespoons of dark caramel sauce on top of the sweet rice. Stir with a wooden spoon to coat the rice and evenly distribute the ingredients.

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10. Replenish the base of the steamer with more hot water. Cover and steam for 20-30 more minutes (stirring a couple of times in between for even steaming) or until the rice is fully cooked.

11. Add the remaining sliced scallions on top of the cooked sticky rice.

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12. Serve with chili sauce and pickled vegetables. Enjoy!

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Sweet rice can be found in most Asian markets. Sweet rice is chalk white in color, unlike the more common translucent white rice. Make sure not to purchase the long-grain version, or the recipe will not be successful.   Shirakiku sells a 2-pound bag option.

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*There are several Chinese sausage brands. I prefer Kam Yen Jan’s Chinese sausage. Unfortunately, it is difficult to find nitrate-free options.

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**When purchasing fresh shiitake mushroom, try to purchase them locally or purchase the ones grown in the US. There are inferior versions being shipped from overseas you want to avoid.

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***You can find dried shrimp in the refrigerator section at most Asian markets. Make sure you soak the dried shrimp in warm water to reconstitute them before using.

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****I make my own caramel sauce using Andrea Nguyen’s recipe. It is pretty easy to make and stores in a dark pantry. If you don’t want make your own, you can use molasses instead.

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Bacon Kimchi Fried Rice

Kimchi fried rice is one of my favorite Korean comfort foods. Growing up, whenever the kimchi in our refrigerator got too sour, my mom used it to make kimchi jjigae (kimchi stew), kimchi bokkeum (sautéed kimchi), and kimchi bokkeum bap (kimchi fried rice). My mom’s kimchi fried rice was simple and delicious. She served it with dongchimi, a refreshing radish water kimchi without any pepper flakes, which tempered the spiciness of the kimchi fried rice. For this recipe, I took my mom’s kimchi fried rice and added bacon, soy sauce, and spicy bean paste for more umami flavor. Sometimes, I even add shiitake mushrooms and soybean sprouts for additional layers of texture, but I didn’t here.

When preparing to make kimchi fried rice, be sure to use sour kimchi, as using freshly-made kimchi will not produce the same deep, umami-packed flavor. To achieve this sourness, buy kimchi at you local Korean grocery store, open it up to break the seal, then close the cap and let it sit in your refrigerator until the kimchi starts to get a little soft, which should be in about 1 to 2 weeks. Essentially you are allowing the kimchi to become a little overfermented.

This recipe isn’t too spicy, but you can increase the heat with Korean pepper flakes or sliced red jalapeños if you like. If you’re a fan of kimchi, you’ll love this dish. Enjoy!

Bacon Kimchi Fried Rice

3 slices of thick bacon (preferably nitrate-free), cut into 1/2 inch pieces
1/2 cup of chopped onion
1 tablespoon of sunflower oil or other neutral oil
1 tablespoon of roasted sesame oil
1 cup of sour kimchi, roughly chopped
1/3 cup of kimchi juice
1/2 teaspoon of sugar
4 cups of short-grain rice, cooked but firm
1 tablespoon of soy sauce
1 tablespoon of spicy Korean bean paste, optional
Fresh ground black pepper
2 green onions, thinly sliced crosswise
1 tablespoon of toasted sesame seeds
4 eggs, cooked sunny side up (optional)

1. Cook the bacon on medium heat for 3 to 5 minutes in a wok or cast iron pan. You want the bacon to be brown but not crispy. Remove the bacon with a slotted spoon and set-aside.

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2. Add the chopped onions to the wok. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly until translucent (about 3 minutes).

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3. Add 1 tablespoon of sunflower oil and 1 tablespoon of sesame oil to the onions.

4. Add all the chopped kimchi and cook for about 8 minutes, stirring constantly.

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Add the reserved kimchi juice, sugar, rice, soy sauce, and spicy bean paste. Cook for 2 more minutes.

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5. Fold the rice in to the kimchi mixture and mix well. Cook for about 2 minutes. Add the cooked bacon. Taste for seasoning. Add a few turns of black pepper.

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6. Add the sliced green onion and toasted sesame seeds.

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7. Divide the rice among 4 bowls. Top with sunny side up egg and serve.

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Dried Scallop Fried Rice

When I was in Hong Kong back in 2005, I had this incredibly delicious fried rice. Unlike most fried rice I’ve had at other Chinese restaurants, it wasn’t greasy and had very few ingredients: white rice, egg whites, dried scallops, and scallions. There’s no soy sauce or oyster sauce to overpower the subtle shellfish flavor of the dried scallops. The fried rice made the dried scallops the star. I loved the simplicity of the dish. Since then, I have tried several versions of this fried rice in Southern California, but none have been quite like the one I had in Hong Kong. So I decided to tackle the recipe myself.

Making fried rice is not difficult, but making good fried rice requires a few things. First, the rice should be cold, and typically a day old. This prevents clumping when frying the rice. Also, the rice should be fully cooked, but firm. You don’t want to use soft rice or your fried rice will be mushy. Also, make sure you use good-quality rice. Your recipe is only as good as its ingredients. Finally, making fried rice is fast process; once you have all the ingredients prepped, it’s just a matter of a few minutes before the dish is ready to be served.

Note: In addition to making the rice a day in advance, the dried scallops must be soaked overnight in the refrigerator. Please read the entire recipe first before starting this dish. Enjoy!

Dried Scallop Fried Rice

Serving Size: 4

7 large or 10 small dried scallops (soaked in water overnight)*
1 1/2 cup of chicken stock or low-sodium chicken broth
Sunflower seed oil or other neutral oil
3 egg whites
1/4 cup of choy sum stems, no leaves (thinly sliced)*
4 cups of cooked jasmine rice (day old)
2 scallions, thinly sliced
Sea salt
Freshly ground black pepper
1 teaspoon of roasted sesame oil
Chili oil for serving (optional)

1. Take the scallops out of the water. Discard the water. Remove the tough muscle from each scallop.

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2. Pour the chicken stock into a small sauce pan and add the scallops. Bring to a simmer and reduce to low and cover with a lid. Cook on low for 30 minutes.

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2. Strain out the liquid, but don’t discard. Reserve the liquid and let scallops cool.

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3. Once the scallops have cooled, shred them with your fingers. Set aside.

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4. Heat a large wok on high. Add 1 tablespoon of oil to the wok, swirl. Quickly beat the egg whites. Quickly cook the egg whites and remove from the wok. Set aside.

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5. In the same wok, add 1 more tablespoon of oil. Add the the choy sum stems, and sauté for 30 seconds.

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6. Add the rice and 1/4 cup of the reserved liquid and quickly stir letting the rice absorb the liquid.

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7. Add the shredded scallops, sliced scallions, and a good pinch of sea salt. Fold to incorporate. Don’t over stir or you’ll break up the rice.

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8. Finally, add cooked egg whites, sesame oil and some black pepper to taste. Give it a quick stir to incorporate. Turn off heat.

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9. Divide the rice in 4 bowls and serve with a side of chili oil.

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*You can find dried scallops in most large Chinese supermarkets or Chinese dried herb and supplement stores. Make sure you buy the Japanese dried scallops.

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*Choy sum is a leafy, green vegetable sold in Asian Markets.

 

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