Bibimbap by Gizzi Erskine

Bibimbap c. Issy Croker

One of my breakthroughs was bringing attention to Korean food in the UK back in about 2007. While working as a chef in NYC, I’d hit Koreatown in my downtime with my mates, drink ice-cold beers and eat Korean fried chicken. Koreatown was open late, and you could go from restaurant to karaoke bar eating and drinking yourself into a stupor. I fell in love with Korean food there, and fell in love with the culture 5 years later when I first visited Korea, later moving there to film my TV show Seoul Food.

I’m certain that the popular ‘buddha bowl’ has Korean culinary heritage, as it’s similar to a dish called ‘bibimbap’. In a bibimbap bowl, rice is topped with vegetables, meat (optional), egg yolk and a spicy sauce. It is quite refined -you can’t say that about a lot of Korean food – and is cooked in a searing hot cast-iron pot which is oiled before adding the rice; the vegetables and egg (and meat, if using) are swiftly put on top. By the time the rice gets to the table it has a fantastic caramelised crust that you peel away from the pot and you stir-fry everything at the table. It’s real theatre. Fear not if you don’t have cast-iron pots -you can eat it like Hawaiian poke, in a bowl with hot rice. Bibimbap is delicious, healthy and a great way to tackle a fridge forage. I’ve used traditional toppings, but do play around with seafood, tofu and different veg: the only mainstays are the rice, egg yolk and sauce.

SERVES 2
Preparation time 45 minutes
Cooking time 15 minutes

200g sushi rice
400ml water
1 tbsp sesame oil
2 tbsp sunflower oil
150g spinach
1 courgette, thinly sliced
1 large carrot, finely julienned
100g beansprouts
6 spring onions, shredded
100g shiitake mushrooms, thinly sliced
1 corn on the cob
2 free-range egg yolks
300g rump steak, finely chopped sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 tbsp black or white toasted sesame seeds, to serve

FOR THE SAUCE
6 tbsp gochujang
2 tbsp Korean or Japanese soy sauce
1 tbsp rice wine vinegar
2 tbsp sesame oil
1½ tbsp caster sugar

Put the rice and water in a large saucepan with a good pinch of salt. Cover, bring to a simmer and cook for 12 minutes. Take off the heat and steam (lid on) for 10 minutes.

Gently heat the sauce ingredients in a small saucepan until emulsified. Set aside.

Mix  together the sesame and sunflower  oils. Heat a large wok or frying pan over a high heat, add 1 tablespoon  of the  oil mix and add  half the spinach with a pinch  of salt. Cook briefly until wilted, then remove and drain on kitchen paper, squeezing out any liquid. Repeat with the  remaining spinach. Add another  splash  of oil and briefly fry the courgette until golden. Remove and set aside. Repeat this process with the carrot, beansprouts, spring onions and shiitake mushrooms. Rub the sweetcorn cob with oil, salt and pepper, then brown in the pan until the kernels start to char.

Heat two stone bibimbap dishes or a wok on the hob until smoking hot. Place the stone dishes on a heatproof surface (if using). Brush the insides of the dishes (or hot wok) with the remaining oil and add the rice. Group vegetables around the edge, put the raw meat in the middle, then the egg yolks and 2 tablespoons of the sauce for each serving. Top with sesame seeds. Mix the sauce into the rice at the table with a spoon.

Recipe taken from Restore by Gizzi Erskine, available now (£25, HQ)’. Photography credit – c. Issy Croker

Restore

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KFC (Korean Fried Cauliflower) by Matt Abergel

157 KFC

 

Ingredients:                                                        Amounts:
Cauliflower, cut into 25g florets ___________ 12 florets
Salt __________________________________ 20g
Vegetable oil, for deep-frying _____________ 3 litres
White sesame seeds, to garnish ___________ 3g
Lime wedge (1⁄8 of a lime), to serve ________ 1

For the KFC batter
Yardbird Chicken Flour Mix (page 191) _____ 400g
Tempura Batter (page 192) _______________ 400g

For the KFC sauce
Garlic cloves __________________________ 100g
Sugar
_______________________________ 500g
Mirin ________________________________ 50g
Korean chili paste ______________________ 150g
Red yuzu kosho ________________________ 250g

Yield: 4 servings

Method:

  • First, make the KFC batter. Whisk all the ingredients with 480 ml ice- cold water until smooth. Chill in the refrigerator until ready to use.
  • To make the KFC sauce, blend the garlic with 1.5 liters almost boiling water until smooth. Place the garlic paste in a pan with the sugar, mirin, Korean chili paste, and red yuzu kosho, then mix well. Reduce over a low heat for 1–3 hours, stirring frequently, until the mixture has the consistency of a thick barbecue sauce.
  • Soak the cauliflower florets in 2 liters water and the salt for 1 hour. Just before cooking, remove the cauliflower from the saltwater solution and put in the batter, completely coating each floret.
  • Heat the vegetable oil in a deep fryer, or a deep saucepan, to 350°F/180°C. One by one, carefully drop the battered cauliflower florets into the hot oil, making sure that the pieces don’t stick to the bottom of the fryer or to each other. Once all the florets are in the fryer, fish out any stray bits of batter. Fry the florets until they are deep brown in color, about 3 minutes.
  • Remove with a slotted spoon and drain on a wire rack, then on a paper towel. Transfer the cauliflower to a bowl. Immediately cover with a generous amount of room- temperature KFC sauce.
  • To serve, stack the sauce-smothered cauliflower florets in a serving bowl. Garnish liberally with the white sesame seeds and a lime wedge. Eat while hot.

Recipe extracted from ‘Chicken and Charcoal by Matt Abergel, published by Phaidon

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