Tofu Buchim (Simple Korean Fried Tofu)

In a highly scientific survey conducted by this blog on foreigners checking out of Korea, I asked what people would most miss about the ROK. Obvious answers like cheap transportation, liberal drinking laws, and the ability to easily save half a paycheque were abound, but the answer people are most certain, and certainly passionate about? The food. The set of sides accompanying each meal, spilling off the edge of the table. The incredibly cheap prices, where cooking Korean at home usually saves a negligible amount. The spiciness, the sauces, the DIY meals—we’re all really gonna miss this cuisine.  And since we’ve now entered our last month in Korea (cue a wave of mixed emotions), I want to squeeze in as much gochujang, red pepper powder, kimchi, and kimbap as possible into my next month—including the meals I prepare for myself.

koreantofu-5

After my article for Colorful Daegu on Kimchi Jeon, they’ve requested I put my kitchen to work again. This time I made a simple fried tofu dish, mostly as a host for a spicy, savory, salty sauce—one that I’ll be stocking regularly in my fridge from now on. While I’m not a huge fan of tofu as a main protein source (nobody likes OD-ing on estrogen), I do believe in moderation. Where beans and lentils are not actually plentiful here in Korea, tofu—so long as it’s organic and not jam-packed with GMOs—can make a nice occasional vegetarian protein source, a pretty side dish with a kick, or as I used it, a salad booster for my lunch.

Head on over to Colorful Daegu for my post on Tofu Buchim!

 

easy korean kimbap triangles tutorial

The first food I ate in Korea was kimbap.

It was long after midnight and the only thing open near our hotel was a 7-11. We hadn’t eaten since the plane ride hours ago, and I was desperately in need of something to munch. (Have I mentioned the dude’s new nickname for me is “Snacks”? I think it’s well-deserved..)

Enter my golden little triangle.

 These little rice triangles are quick and even cute to eat, the store-bought versions with 1-2-3 easy unwrap instructions, and fillings like spicy kimchi or creamy tuna, all wrapped up in a ball of rice. Think of them as the Korean equivalent of a quick-grab pizza slice… minus the gluten and dairy. For the first week in Korea, I subsided mostly on kimbap triangles… at least until I found kimbap rolls, and started eating those for breakfast. And lunch. Ah, my Korean comfort food.

Unfortunately neither white rice nor purchasing food at convenience stores really appeals to me, so it was off to my midget-sized kitchen for a lesson in assembly failure and, subsequently, patience!

But finally, success…. And now I’m considering renaming this blog Kimbap and Kass. What do you think?

Kimbap Triangles (vegan, gluten-free, sugar-free)

Ingredients: (You’ll have to guesstimate—if you want exact amounts, check out this tutorial)

Seaweed (nori) sheets

Cooked brown rice

Vinegar (preferably sushi vinegar)

Salt

Sesame seeds

Filling(s) of your choice (I used avocado)

Directions:

1. In a bowl, mix ~1 cup of cooked rice with 1 tbsp of vinegar, 1 tsp of salt, 2 tbsp of sesame seeds, and the filling of your choice. I used half a cubed avocado, but other common fillings would be tuna and avocado, kimchi or other pickled vegetables, or beef. Set bowl aside.

2. Slice a nori sheet in half lengthwise. Try and actually do it in the middle. (Durr)

3. Take half of the rice mixture from your bowl and, with your hands, form it into the shape of a triangle, flattening the top and bottom. Place at the top of one of the nori sheet halves and press down to make sure all the sides are flat.

4. Fold the bottom half of the nori sheet up and over the rice mixture. It should come just to the top of the rice, if not, shorten the nori sheet as needed. Press the sides of the nori sheet against the rice mixture until it sticks. A little water can help the nori sheets stick together.

5. Flip the triangle over and tuck the sides of the nori sheets on top of the rice like you’re wrapping a present. No scotch tape, please. Now do the same for the other side. Press the triangle together, making sure it is secure. Again, moisture really helps the seaweed stick.

And voila! You have a kimbap triangle! These would go great with some tofu soup or seaweed salad to make a meal. Or you can saran wrap them and carry as snacks, they transport surprisingly well. Apparently you can also buy kits to wrap them in the same cutesy way the convenience stores do, but this works just fine for me.

I’d love to see what you put in your kimbap, so please post on Facebook or Twitter if you try these out! Your packed-lunch-rut will thank you.

Oh! And to my friends at home, happy Canadian Thanksgiving! Hope you enjoy lots of candied sweet potatoes and pumpkin pie and pumpkin spice lattes and … I’ll stop now. Yum.

Sunflower Seed “I’m Sorry” Nori Rolls

So I didn’t post for a week.

Sigh… it’s summer. Forgive me.

I was busy watching the boy get convocated, hopping town on my bike to catch as much NXNE as one borrowed press pass can allow, plus plain ol’ workin and schoolworkin’.

I used to think cookies were the best way to say “I’m sorry.”

Today, however, I think these will do just fine.

Remember last week, when I spent Saturday mauing (sp?) down on Raw Nori Rolls at the Raw Vegan Fest?

I knew they’d be perfect for a recreation in my kitch. Nut and seed pâtés are a stupidly easy way to add some protein, heartiness, and flavour to any dish, and since sunflower seeds often go otherwise overlooked, I figured this would be a great chance for them to get out of their shells (note to self: stop writing after 1 a.m.)..

You might ask why I advise soaking nuts and seeds. (You might, if you don’t just do everything I say with reckless abandon.) Well, if that’s what you’re asking, here’s the semi-scientific rationale:

Soaking releases the enzyme inhibitors in nuts and seeds that basically make them challenge your body’s digestion and absorption. Thus, if you want maximum nutrient efficiency and happy tummy times (and who doesn’t?!), always soak your nuts and seeds, then rinse them well!

Here’s a handy dandy guide to ideal soaking times:

And once you’ve done the soaking, you’re just a few minutes a way from eating these!

Sunflower Seed Pâté Raw Rolls (raw, vegan, gluten-free, sugar-free)

For the pâté:

1/2 cup sunflower seeds, soaked and rinsed

1/4 cup almonds, soaked and rinsed

1 carrot, chopped roughly

2 tbsp chopped onion

2 tbsp tamari, nama shoyu, or bragg’s liquid aminos (or plain ol’ soy sauce)

handful of parsley

juice of half a lemon

sea salt, to taste

Place all ingredients in a food processor and combine to desired consistency. If you can make ahead, do—the flavours come together once they’ve sat around together for awhile. You know—camraderie.

For the rolls:

Sheets of Nori (Sushi wrappers)

Sprouts (Pea or sunflower sprouts would be nice)

Sesame seeds

Chia, optional

Spread 3 tbsp of the pâté on the non-shiny side of the nori, about 1/3 of the way up. Pile with sprouts. Roll up like sushi, using water to seal the edge of the nori. Chop into rolls (note: it helps to wet your knife!), and sprinkle sides with sesame seeds and whole black chia seeds for garnish. Serve sushi-style with pickled ginger, wasabi, and soy sauce, tamari, or coconut aminos.