Since moving to Austin, I’ve been missing some good Korean food. Dallas has a much bigger Asian population and therefore more choice in Korean restaurants.  The one decent Korean restaurant in Austin (Not Korea House, it’s not a Korean joint unless they serve SOJU!) is Chosun Galbi, but it’s a good 20 minute drive to the restaurant from where we live,  and since we usually workout after our jobs, most of the time I rather cook at home than deal with Austin traffic and driving home after drinking on a weeknight.

Tonight I decided to make Bibimbap, Kimbap, Beef Bulgogi, and Seafood Pancake. For the Bibimbap, I used a recipe that was relinked from Rasamalaysia.com. Rasamalaysia has authentic Korean, Chinese, Japanese, and Malaysian recipes (the hostess is Malaysian-Chinese). I’ve tried many many of her recipes and they are easy to follow and very good.

Bibimbap is a Korean rice dish composed of seasoned vegetables and Korean Gochujiang (red pepper sauce). Regular Bibimbap is served in a cold dish, while Dol-sot Bibimbap is served in a hot stone or ceramic pot with a raw egg on top. The hot stone pot will give the rice a crispy bottom which adds to the texture of the dish.

Making Bibimbap is about patience and organization. There are 7 mini-dishes that make up the ingredients from the Bibimbap I made: seasoned spinach, seasoned carrots, sauteed seasoned soy bean spouts, sauteed fern brake, pickled cucumbers, pickled shitake mushroom, and the fried egg at the end. There is a lot of prep work on the vegetables to begin with, then each vegetable has to be cooked in their own way. Since I usually make a little bit more than what I need in the Bibimbap, I decided to make Kimbap with the extra ingredients.

Kimbap is basically Korean Maki sushi, where vegetables and rice are wrapped in Nori. I’ve made this recipe before with ground beef in the middle, but I decided to make it completely vegetarian tonight since I was making Beef Bulgogi anyways.

A bamboo Sushi rolling thingy is very helpful when making Kimbap or any Sushi with Nori. Keep in mind your roll should be about bite sized, so don’t overload it with ingredients, otherwise it will be hard to assemble. After rolling the Kimbap roll, it’s a good idea to brush some sesame oil over the Nori to keep the surface of the roll flexible and shiny. Use the sharpest knife you can find to cut the roll.

Since me and my boyfriend are both meat eaters, and personally for me, a meal is incomplete unless there is some sort of flesh protein. Bulgogi is thinly sliced sirloin marinaded in a mixture of soy sauce, mirin, sugar, scallions, Korean chili paste, korean chili powder, and sliced Asian pear.

After 1 hour of marination, the meat is cooked on a hot skillet and served Fajita style at the table. You can eat it with white rice or lettuce wrap; I just mixed it into the Bibimbap.

The last thing I decided to make is Korean Seafood Pancakes. The batter is very simple with flour, corn starch, and ice water. Once you ladle the batter into the hot pan, you add scallions, carrots, and a seafood mixture of squid, octopus, shrimp, mussels, and whatever else you’d like. I’d suggest buying one of those frozen mixed seafood medley bags, so you don’t have to buy 10 ingredients separately. You do need to defrost the seafood before hand and make sure there is as little water on the seafood as possible.

When you flip the pancake over, you want to let it cook for a few minutes longer than the first side to make sure that the seafood is cooked and the green onions are nicely caramelized.

I started preparing everything at 6PM after working out, I cooked at a casual pace, and we were eating by 8:15PM. I think cooking helps me unwind mentally after a long day of work, and it’s good to have some time for your self to do something you really enjoy and be rewarded for it.

Bibimbap Recipe: http://rasamalaysia.com/bibimbap-recipe/
Kimbap Recipe: http://rasamalaysia.com/kimbap-recipe/
Seafood Pancake Recipe: http://www.hannaone.com/Recipe/haemulpajeon.html
Bulgogi: http://eatingandliving.blogspot.com/2010/05/bulgogi-korean-bbq-beef.html

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