Friday, March 4, 2011

Fermenting with seoul

A few weeks back I was in the Cherry Hill area and stopped at a Korean BBQ joint called Sammy Chons ,that had some good things written about it. I wanted to try their Bulgogi steak sandwich or Koagie. I wimped out and ordered only medium heat when asked by the server. I know that some of the Asian heat levels can get scorching so to be on the safe side and until I know where this particular restaurants levels are, medium is fine. Bulgogi is a sweet-soy marinated beef, usually sliced thin and grilled or seared on a hot griddle or pan. But this place served it in a sub roll ala South Philly style.

 Accompanying it was a side of kimchi and sweet pickled cucumbers. The kimchi was spicy as it usually is and that kicked up my medium heat which definitely needed kicking for sure & the thickly sliced cucumbers were slightly sweet and added a nice textural snap. All in all a very good taste sensation that I have never had in sandwich form before. My only complaint would be that the beef was not as tender as it should of been. I don't think it was rib eye(which is what I make my bulgogi with), maybe it was round or sirloin. it was also cut too thick.
The interesting thing is that I went for the beef and got excited by the cabbage. See it's been awhile since I've made kimchi(many years), and it got me itchin to whip up a batch. I say whip up because I don't make your standard Korean, long-fermented kimchi. What I produce is more of a quick, Asian-marinated cabbage, carrot & daikon salad.  But that suits my tastes better than the traditional spicy, soured version.
This time however, I wanted to try a recipe that uses a quick-ferment of 2-3 days as apposed to many, many months in a clay pot buried in the ground. If I plan it right, it should be ready for my kimchi-devouring brother, who it just so happens is meeting with us for a brew-pub crawling trip in Lancaster. Hopefully a tasty offering in exchange for crashing his fiance's birthday weekend. The recipe I used was close to mine.
The only change I made was to substitute one of the nappa heads for a head of bok choy, some julienned carrots and when it came time to drain the salt water I only put half of it back and replaced the other half with 3 tablespoons each of soy sauce, rice wine vinegar & brown sugar. Also, I did not have any Korean chile powder so I used 2 teaspoons each of sambal sauce, smoked paprika & tiny dried Pequin Chiles. Initially I thought that I went over board with the heat but, as it turns out, it's just right for my tastes. I'll get a few weeks out of this in the fridge if it last that long. The fun will be trying this on as many new foods as I can. My first thoughts go to burgers, tacos, fried rice, hash & eggs. Do I dare kimchi & grits? Hmm...

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