Thursday, March 26, 2015

Spaghetti Squash Korean Pancake 韩式蔬菜煎饼, turned fritters

The intended big and round Pajeon Korean-style pancake was a failure. It did not turn out as crispy as it should. Once again, this is telling me...I can't handle F-L-O-U-R !

Did I use the wrong flour? Was it because too little oil was used for frying? Was the oil not hot enough?

It was such a waste to discard the squash pancake, so to "save" the pancake, it was made to smaller pieces and fried like fritters. By doing this, the flour gets "cooked" thoroughly and becomes crispy.

Monday, March 23, 2015

Pan-Fried Lion-Mane Mushrooms 干煎猴头菇

The English name Lion-Mane Mushrooms is not in any way associated with monkey's head and yet the Chinese go by this mushroom name Hou Tou Gu (猴头菇) literally translating to Monkey-Head Mushrooms.

Just as black-trumpet chanterelle mushroom is prized in France, monkey head mushroom is a prized high-end gourmet luxury mushroom in Asia.

I actually do not know what to do with these mushrooms (from Far West Fungi - currently my go-to mushroom vendor in Saratoga Farmer's Market, CA) when they found their way to my grocery basket. I researched a bit (just in case - only the paranoid survive!) before using, to cut down the risk of improperly cooking them and them landing in the garbage bin.

Most Chinese Lion-Mane/Monkey-Head mushrooms recipes are soup recipes from various sources. However, with only one small fist-size lion-mane mushroom to spare, it will not be easy to extract the flavor fully for a full-bodied clear soup.

Thursday, March 19, 2015

Kimchi Meatballs & Vegetables Noodles 韩式泡菜肉丸

The wrappers ran out before the filling! With the remaining kimchi fillings from making kimchi wontons (boiled dumplings), I made meatballs (mini ones!) and they are such a flavorful addition to this noodle dish which otherwise would have been a vegetarian combination of carrots, mushrooms, mung bean sprouts and spinach.

Did you forget that these are actually kimchi meatballs? Not only can kimchi be used as a condiment or pickle paired with steamed rice or noodles for a meal or complement grilled meat, it is also an (flavoring) ingredient that can be used for cooking - kimchi wonton, kimchi jigae, kimchi fried rice, kimchi pancake.

I usually like to stir-fry the baby spinach first, set it aside, then add them later (last) when a stir-fry is just about to be done. This way, I can use more spinach, and shrink down its volume first. In addition, in a stir-fry which often needs quick-fry, and in which time and speed of frying action is important, frying vegetables separately would allow better control during the stir-fry itself.