So in my highly unscientific and informal poll on the blog, twitter and facebook, with regards to the question "which starch would you choose - rice or noodles?" - Rice won by 3 votes out of 40. Pretty close I have to say. But since rice won, today, for Asian Heritage month, I shall share with you one of my favorite Korean rice dishes - Dulsot Bi Bim Pab. Which basically means mixed rice in a nuclearly hot stone pot.
So you can see that it is a very vegetably dish. There is rice on the bottom and it is topped with bean sprouts, pickled radish, marinated ferns, garlicky spinach and some lettuce. You don't see it but there is also delicious meat in the mix also. In this picture, the egg on top looks practically raw. This is unusual, but keep in mind that the stone dish that it is served in is so hot that the egg will cook immediately upon stirring. However, most places serve it with an over easy egg.
The stone dish is dangerously hot so whatever you do, don't touch it! The rice on the bottom crisps up with the heat of the pot. On the side, you will get a little dish of spicy red pepper paste that you can add to the mixture, at your discretion. As soon as you get your dish, you want to add the red pepper paste and mix everything up, making sure to lift up the rice from the bottom of the dish to get blended in. I've seen non-Koreans eat this unmixed, each part separately. Me and my big mouth always has to butt in and explain that bi bim means mix and show them how to mix it all up. Trust me, it is better that way!
So McKoala wanted some Asian recipes. Unfortunately, this is one of those dishes that is very difficult to recreate at home as the components are very time consuming. And unless you have an earthen stone dish in your house, it will be nearly impossible to get that lovely crisped rice effect so get thee to a Korean restaurant (preferably a good one! I took a friend to one in NY that I was sadly disappointed in so make sure to get good recommendations.)
Instead, for McKoala - I shall give you my shumai recipe. Here it is. You know how if you go to a Japanese restaurant you order shumai and you pay like $6.00 for 6 pieces of shumai? What a rip off! Wouldn't it be so much cheaper to eat at home? Absolutely. Here's my recipe. Get in your car, drive to your local Asian marketplace. Go to their frozen food section and find frozen shrimp shumai in packages of 24 for $4.99. Take home, heat in microwave and serve. For those of you who do not have an Asian marketplace near you - NO SHUMAI FOR YOU!
Ok - so are you getting the sense that I don't have lots of good recipes to share with you? Yeah, how sad is that. I realize that I cook more Italian food at home than Asian. But when we go out to eat, we eat more Asian. Unfortunately we go out to eat too much.
But because I hate to turn you away without any kind of recipe, I'll give you my Mother's grilled shrimp recipe. It is very easy. You want shrimp in their shells Throw them in a large ziploc bag and cover them with olive oil, salt, pepper, garlic powder and Korean Kochukaru (which is crushed red chili flakes). If you don't have the Korean version look for red chili flakes - I'm sure there is a similar spice you can use. This is all to taste so you can make it spicier or milder, up to you. Shake the bag until all the shrimp are coated in the mixture. I like my shrimp to have a nice coating of red, since they are shelled, you get the taste more from your fingers. Grill and serve.
My next Asian heritage month question is - Do you like sushi (and I don't mean California Rolls! I mean the real raw fish stuff)? If yes, what and why. If no, have you ever tried it?