DDD Ep. #8 – 5-minute Sticky, Spicy, Korean BBQ Chicken with Sesame Hibachi Noodles (Vegan)

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All Photos © Christine Elise McCarthy 2017

To see images of my past posts & get links to the recipes – look on my Pinterest board – HERE.

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I am reposting this recipe from August 27, 2015 because it is episode #8 on my cooking show – Delightful Delicious Delovely & Video Vegan.  Go there for all my long & short format cooking videos & please subscribe.

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Holy fucking shit!  This 5-minute Sticky, Spicy, Korean BBQ Chicken is AWESOME!  Honestly, the sauce on them takes 5 minutes & will blow your socks off!  The noodles are more delicate in flavor & accompany the chicken well – and will take as long to cook as the package directs but this whole thing can be don in under 20 minutes.  These noodles are probably more authentically prepared with soba noodles but I just used this spaghetti here.

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I used the best faux chicken on the market – Beyond Meat.  Click that link to find a store locator & maybe grab a coupon!  I used vegan butter & I am pretty sure that vegetarian hoisin in vegan (I am not yet 100% vegan).  If you fear it is not – substitute with a vegan teriyaki sauce.

***NOTES – I used gochujang – a Korean spicy paste.  I see it at my local grocery store in the Asian section but you might have to go to a Korean market or buy it online.  It is like a thick & spicy ketchup.  One suggestion to substitute it is:

“Per tablespoon – Make a paste of 1 tablespoon red chilli pepper flakes moistened with soy sauce and add a little sugar. This will not replicate the complexity but a similar flavor profile.

HERE is another option to substitute using sambal oelek.

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Sesame Hibachi Noodles

Serves 4 (cut this recipe in half to match the chicken quantity – or just treat yourself to leftover yummy noodles)

INGREDIENTS

1 lb noodles (your choice of spaghetti or soba or linguine etc) – cooked & drained

2 TBS vegan butter

2 TBS brown sugar

2 garlic cloves – minced

4 TBS low sodium soy sauce (or tamari)

1 TBS hoisin sauce (or teriyaki sauce)

1 tsp to 2 TBS crushed red pepper (I like shit hot – you might not – so adjust to suite your taste)

1 TBS sesame oil

Sesame seeds

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DIRECTIONS

Cook the noodles.

Meanwhile – heat the butter in a saute pan.  Add the garlic for one minute & then add sugar, hoisin (or teriyaki) and the crushed red pepper.  Bring to a boil & let it thicken a bit.  Add the sesame oil & then immediately toss with the drained, warm noodles

Sprinkle with sesame seeds & maybe extra crushed red pepper.

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5-minute Sticky, Spicy, Korean BBQ Chicken

Serves 2 (double this recipe to match the noodle quantity)

INGREDIENTS

9 oz vegan Beyond chicken – cubed

3 TBS agave nectar (or honey – if you are not vegan)

2 garlic cloves – minced

1 tsp to 2 TBS crushed red pepper (Again – I like shit hot – you might not – so adjust to suite your taste)

1 TBS gochujang (see notes above)

1 TBS low sodium soy sauce (or tamari)

Juice of 1/2 lime

2 tsp sesame oil

Scallions – sliced – as garnish

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DIRECTIONS

Thaw & cube the chicken.

Put the rest of the ingredients (not the chicken) into a sauce pan & bring to a boil  Simmer a few minutes until it thickens – less than 5 minutes.  Add the chicken & cook until the sauce is thick & clinging to the chicken – maybe even letting a few bits brown or char.  Be careful not to burn it.

Garnish with scallions & serve with the noodles.  YUM!

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Vegan BBQ Ribs (Seitan) with Spicy Korean or Spicy Traditional BBQ Sauce

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All Photos © Christine Elise McCarthy 2014

To see images of my past posts & get links to the recipes – look on my Pinterest board – HERE.

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I am reposting this recipe from June 2014 because I have a new Video Vegan Youtube recipe to go with it.  Check it out here:

Holy.  Fucking.  Shit.

These are so crazy easy & so freaking delicious – I might eat them every day for the rest of my life!  As a kid, BBQ ribs with that red, Chinese BBQ sauce were my favorite food on Earth.  Having given meat up 25 years ago or so – I have often longed for those fuckers but nobody seemed to have any way to replicate them.  Until now!

These will not fool a meat-eater into thinking these are beef or pork but who cares about that?  Not fucking ME.  I was very pleased with myself yesterday – having eaten the entire plate of these spicy wonders and – and sat there wondering why I put off trying to make my own seitan (wheat gluten-based fake meat) for this long.

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This is the brand I bought & I got it at the local health food store.  I am certain Whole Foods & places like Erewhon must also carry it – perhaps even in the bulk items aisle.  If you live in a remote area – buy it online.  But BUY IT!

The rack of 8 ribs I made yesterday took 1 cup of this flour to make – which is only about 500 calories – plus the calories from the BBQ sauce.  Not bad for what feels like an enormous amount of meat because, remember, those ribs you see here are boneless – so that big slab is all eatin’ material.  Plus – it is really enough for two – I just completely lost my shit & shoved these down my gullet like hotdog-eating champion Takeru Kobayashi.  It must have looked obscene (had anyone been here to watch me) and I will admit to a near-sexual level of excitement as I devoured these.  It was madness!  I had become unhinged!  And I write about it now without shame or regret.  Though I still suffer from a haunting, multi-pronged depression-anxiety that clings to me like a sticky burr on a pilly Irish sweater.  So – these ribs, magical as they are, do not cure THIS feeling (photographer unknown):

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Never fear – wine takes at least some of the edge off – if you also feel like that image above.  The combo of wine & these ribs will keep those demons at bay for at least a brief respite.

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OK – back to the ribs.  I made two kinds of BBQ sauce yesterday – Korean & traditional.  Both were very spicy but I ended up opting to use the Korean variety on my first faux rib effort.  The Korean one was made in my crock-pot as I hiked.  The other was made stove-top.   I used 2 TBS Gochujang (seen below) in the Korean BBQ sauce but only because I had it.  It is in NO WAY critical to the final outcome.

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Spicy Korean BBQ Sauce

INGREDIENTS

3/4 cup dark brown sugar

3/4 cup low sodium tamari (soy sauce)

1/4 cup water

1 TBS rice vinegar

2 TBS chili paste (sambal oelek or other type)

2 TBS Gochujang (optional)

2 tsp sesame oil

1 tsp ground pepper

1 TBS fresh ginger (minced)

5 garlic cloves – minced

2 TBS cornstarch

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DIRECTIONS

I put everything EXCEPT the cornstarch into a little crock-pot & left it for two hours.  Once it was bubbly – I added 2 TBS cornstarch & whisked it in.  That made the sauce very thick & gooey.  Perfect!  You can do this stove-top by just bringing everything (except cornstarch) to a boil & then whisk in the cornstarch.  It would likely take only a few minutes to come together.

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Spicy Traditional BBQ Sauce

INGREDIENTS

2 cups ketchup

1 cup water

1/2 cup apple cider vinegar

5 TBS brown sugar

2 TBS white sugar

1 TBS ground pepper

1 TBS garlic powder

1 TBS onion powder

1 TBS Dijon

1 teaspoon dry mustard

1 TBS horseradish

1 TBS lemon juice

1 TBS vegan (or other) Worcestershire sauce

2+ chipotle peppers in adobo (minced) (use more or less to suit your heat tolerance – I used 5)

juice of 1 orange

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DIRECTIONS

Bring all ingredients to a boil & simmer until thick.  10-15 minutes.  Maybe more but not likely.

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Vegan BBQ Ribs

INGREDIENTS

1 cup vital wheat gluten

2 tsp chipotle powder (smoked or not)

1 TBS lemon pepper

1 TBS onion powder

1 TBS garlic powder

1 cup water

2 TBS tahini

2 TBS low sodium tamari (soy sauce)

1-2 drops (DROPS – as this shit is overpowering and gets nasty-tasting fast) – liquid smoke (optional)

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DIRECTIONS

Heat the oven to 350 degrees.  Also – get the barbeque ready.  It is the grilling of these guys that is the magic.  A regular BBQ with charcoals is best.

Mix the wet ingredients (water, tahini, tamari & liquid smoke) in a small bowl.  Set aside.

In a larger bowl – mix the dry ingredients (wheat gluten & spices) and add the wet ingredients.  Mix it up until that gooey hamburger-looking stuff comes together – which happens almost instantly.

Grease a loaf pan & press the seitan into the pan.  Smooth it flat.  Bake it at 350 for about 30 minutes.  Remove from the oven & transfer the seitan to a plate & slather it with the BBQ sauce of your choice.

When your charcoals are ready – flop the seitan, BBQ sauce side down, onto the grill.  Slather lots more BBQ sauce on the other side.

Now just cook this until it looks the way you would want ribs to look.  I took mine off too early & found the “ribs” still not chewy enough to seem like meat so – I cut the slab into ribs and cooked them all a bit more.

And then I commenced the food orgy.  I suggest you do the same!

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Fiery Spicy Vegan Korean Gochujang Sticky Chicken with Thai Rice Berry (Riceberry – Black Jasmine Rice)

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All Photos © Christine Elise McCarthy 2016

To see images of my past posts & get links to the recipes – look on my Pinterest board – HERE.

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All my posts now have a VERY customizable PRINT & PDF option.  Create a PDF & save the recipe to your computer or just print it out.  It offers a “remove images” option & you can delete any part of the post you do not need before printing.  The button is below by the Twitter & Facebook links.

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Beyond-Meat1

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So – I saw this new rice at my favorite Thai grocery store – Bangluck.   $10 for 5 pounds – so I could not resist.  I looked it up online & found THIS:

Riceberry  Rice is the new variety of rice that has been bred in Thailand. The rice is deep purple in colour; this rich dark colour is typical of plants that yield high nutrition. Rice berry rice is cross pollination of three hardy and loved rice strains; they are:

  • Thai Hom Mali Race – also known as fragrant jasmine rice, the highest quality and most sort after rice in the world, after cooking it retains its structure but takes on a soft fluffy consistency.
  • Hom Nin Rice – has well known and documented antioxidant properties, but this grain can become a little chewy if it isn’t cooked through.
  • Khao Dawk Mali 105 – a hardy seed which will grow in a broad range of agricultural environments.

The cross-pollination of these three rice plants has resulted in Riceberry Rice, a new and exciting rice variety. Riceberry takes on the best attributes of each of the grains that were used in its inception. The light fluffy texture and flavour from Thai jasmine rice, high in minerals and antioxidants from Hom Nin rice and hardy and high yield characteristics of Khao Dawk Mali 105.

Riceberry Rice Nutrition Profile

Riceberry rice is rich in many antioxidant that help our immune system stay healthy. It contains significant levels of:

  • Beta-carotene
  • Gama Oryzanol
  • Vitamin E
  • Folic Acid
  • Tannin
  • Zinc
  • Fiber
  • Bran Oil

These antioxidants, vitamins and minerals give riceberry rice a nutrition profile that is relatively unique. The dark purple colour it matures signifies it high nutrition content and gives it a unique appearance when served.

The rice is also extremely high in fiber and bran oil, this natural aids digestion and helps keep the stomach free from disease.

Thai Rice Glycemic Index

Riceberry rice has been graded as low-medium in the glycemic index. The abundant fiber and bran oil which it contains helps to reduce the risks of diabetes by hindering the absorption of sugars into the blood through the stomach. It also helps the pancreas function better.

– See more at: http://www.thenaturalhealthmarket.co.uk/riceberry-organic#sthash.388tjdGM.dpuf

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As to the Fiery Vegan Korean Gochujang Sticky Chicken – this recipe is genuinely VERY spicy!  VERY.  If you do not like spice – maybe lose the serranos & the chili oil.    Once you have all the ingredients ready – it only takes about ten minutes to make.  Gochujang is a staple ingredient in Korean food & is sort of like a thick, spicy ketchup.   If your local or Asian markets do not carry it – look to Amazon.

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Fiery Spicy Vegan Korean Gochujang Sticky Chicken with Thai Rice Berry

Serves 2

INGREDIENTS

9-12 oz vegan chicken (I always use Beyond Meat – if it available) – cubed

1 TBS olive oil (or other oil)

1 small onion – diced

2 serrano chilies (optional – lose if you don’t like a LOT of spice) – diced & seeded (the seeds are hot – and I used them)

1/2 cup gochujang

5 garlic cloves (or 2-3 TBS garlic paste) – I used jarred, minced garlic

3 TBS ginger (I used jarred)

2 tsp chili oil (optional – lose it if you don’t like heat)

1/2 cup liquid aminos (or low sodium soy sauce or tamari)

1 TBS sesame oil

3 TBS agave nectar (or brown sugar)

GARNISH – cooked rice for two & sesame seeds

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DIRECTIONS

Cook the rice according to directions (typically a 1 cup rice – two cups water ratio).

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Heat the oil in a large saute pan.  dd the onions & serranos.  Cook until the onions soften & jut begin to brown.  Add everything else except the chicken & combine.  It should thicken very fast.  Add the chicken & heat through.

Serve over rice & sprinkle with sesame seeds.  See?  Easy!

Eat that awesome shit & breathe fire over the villagers!

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Vegan Beef & Vegetable Bibimbap Bowls

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All Photos © Christine Elise McCarthy 2015

To see images of my past posts & get links to the recipes – look on my Pinterest board – HERE.

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Bibimbap!  A signature Korean dish.  Bibimbap translates literally to “mixed rice.”  Typically made with sauteed vegetables, beef, gochujang sauce & topped with a fried egg – diners mix it all up before eating it – so that the yolk & the gochujang sauce get completely incorporated.  It photographs very well – especially when using that egg.   Look HERE at how gorgeous it can be!   I think some people even serve it with a raw egg & let the heat of the other ingredients cook the egg.  I did not do this.  I used no egg at all and Beyond Meat Beefy Crumbles rather than real beef.  Depending on your diet & tastes, you could add egg or eliminate the vegan meat – or use different vegetables.

The most critical ingredient is the gochujang sauce.  Gochujang is a spicy, red paste – thicker than ketchup – that adds the distinct flavor to this dish.  If you cannot find it locally – HERE are a ton of options available on Amazon.  It is not expensive & should last in your fridge as long as any other condiment – which, let’s face it, for most of us means – years.  Korean markets sell it in gigantic tubs – so that should tell you how critical it is to Korean dishes.

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I used this Chinese BBQ sauce – which I later discovered has honey in it.  Oops!  Well – I am not strictly vegan but, if you are, be sure to buy a vegan Asian BBQ sauce (maybe a Korean BBQ sauce) – or any smokey/mesquite BBQ sauce that you like.

You need to cook everything separately to get the gorgeous presentation – but everything comes together in under twenty minutes – as long as you start with cooked, warm rice.  If not – I guess it would come together while the rice cooked.  I used leftover Coconut & Ginger Rice Pilaf with Pomegranate Seeds – but plain steamed rice is actually probably better.  Whatever you decide – I hope you try this recipe because it is really healthy & satisfying!

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Vegan Beef & Vegetable Bibimbap Bowls

Serves 2

INGREDIENTS

1-2 cups cooked rice (depending on how much rice you want to eat)

1/2 lb shitake (or other) mushrooms

2-3 carrots – grated or cut into matchsticks

5 oz fresh spinach

1 large zucchini – grated, cut into matchsticks or, as I did it, spiralized

A handful of bean sprouts

9 oz vegan ground beef

4 TBS soy sauce (or tamari) – divided

1 TBS brown sugar

1 TBS Mirin

1-2 tsp sesame oil

Salt

2 TBS BBQ sauce (Korean or Chinese or other mesquite BBQ sauce)

Sesame seeds – back and/or white (toasted or not)

I added Asian micro greens as garnish but they are $$ and silly – but they just LOOK so nice!

for the gochujang sauce

2 TBS gochujang

1 TBS brown sugar

1 tsp sesame oil

2 tsp rice vinegar

1 tsp soy sauce (or tamari)

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DIRECTIONS

Make some steamed rice.

Mix the gochujang sauce with a whisk & set aside.

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Heat about 1/2 tsp sesame oil in a saute pan.  Cook the carrots with a pinch of salt until just softening.  If your matchsticks are thick like mine are – add a TBS or so of water & steam them a bit.  Set aside.

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In the same pan – add 1/4 tsp sesame oil & cook the zucchini until just tender.  The water trick works here, too, if you need it.  Set aside.

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In the same pan – add 1/4 tsp sesame oil & cook the spinach until just wilted.  The water trick works here, too, if you need it.  Set aside.

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In the same pan, heat about 1/2 tsp sesame oil  & cook the mushrooms.  When they start to wilt, add 2 TBS soys sauce, 1 TBS brown sugar & 1 TBS mirin.  Cook until the liquid is absorbed.  Set aside.

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In the same pan, heat the beef with sesame oil, soy sauce & BBQ sauce until warmed through.

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Now – you assemble your bibimbap bowls – pretty much any way you like – but keeping everything separate.  Remember a spot for the gochujang sauce.

Sprinkle with sesame seeds & serve!  When ready to dig in – REALLY mix all that shit up!  Completely incorporate everything & chow the fuck down!

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Vegan Korean BBQ Beef Lavash Pizza with Arugula

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All Photos © Christine Elise McCarthy 2014

To see images of my past posts & get links to the recipes – look on my Pinterest board – HERE.

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All my posts now have a VERY customizable PRINT & PDF option.  Create a PDF & save the recipe to your computer or print it out.  It offers a “remove images” option & you can delete any part of the post you do not need before printing.  The button is below by the Twitter & Facebook links.

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This can be made with real beef but I used Beyond Meat’s Beefy Crumbles.  I also used my homemade Spicy Korean BBQ sauce from my vegan BBQ ribs post.  Pizza toppings are really personal & these toppings are more just suggestions than a recipe.  The BBQ sauce is REALLY good, though!

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Spicy Korean BBQ Sauce

INGREDIENTS

3/4 cup dark brown sugar

3/4 cup low sodium tamari (soy sauce)

1/4 cup water

1 TBS rice vinegar

2 TBS chili paste (sambal oelek or other type)

2 TBS Gochujang (optional)

2 tsp sesame oil

1 tsp ground pepper

1 TBS fresh ginger (minced)

5 garlic cloves – minced

2 TBS cornstarch

DIRECTIONS

I put everything EXCEPT the cornstarch into a little crock-pot & left it for two hours.  Once it was bubbly – I added 2 TBS cornstarch & whisked it in.  That made the sauce very thick & gooey.  Perfect!  You can do this stove-top by just bringing everything (except cornstarch) to a boil & then whisk in the cornstarch.  It would likely take only a few minutes to come together.

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I used lavash bread as the base because each piece only has 240 calories so it is a great lower-calorie way to make pizza.

The toppings I used were:

Beefy crumbles mixed with some Korean BBQ sauce

Cherry tomatoes – halved

Grated carrots

Red onion – sliced VERY thinly

Grated cheese (real or vegan – your call)

I cooked this in the oven at 350 degrees for about ten minutes.

After the pizza was cooked – I added:

Jalapeno – diced

Arugula – tossed in a bit of olive oil & a pinch of salt

More tomatoes

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Vegan BBQ Ribs (Seitan) with Spicy Korean or Spicy Traditional BBQ Sauce

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All Photos © Christine Elise McCarthy 2014

To see images of my past posts & get links to the recipes – look on my Pinterest board – HERE.

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All my posts now have a VERY customizable PRINT & PDF option.  Create a PDF & save the recipe to your computer or print it out.  It offers a “remove images” option & you can delete any part of the post you do not need before printing.  The button is below by the Twitter & Facebook links.

~

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Holy.  Fucking.  Shit.

These are so crazy easy & so freaking delicious – I might eat them every day for the rest of my life!  As a kid, BBQ ribs with that red, Chinese BBQ sauce were my favorite food on Earth.  Having given meat up 25 years ago or so – I have often longed for those fuckers but nobody seemed to have any way to replicate them.  Until now!

These will not fool a meat-eater into thinking these are beef or pork but who cares about that?  Not fucking ME.  I was very pleased with myself yesterday – having eaten the entire plate of these spicy wonders and – and sat there wondering why I put off trying to make my own seitan (wheat gluten-based fake meat) for this long.

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This is the brand I bought & I got it at the local health food store.  I am certain Whole Foods & places like Erewhon must also carry it – perhaps even in the bulk items aisle.  If you live in a remote area – buy it online.  But BUY IT!

The rack of 8 ribs I made yesterday took 1 cup of this flour to make – which is only about 500 calories – plus the calories from the BBQ sauce.  Not bad for what feels like an enormous amount of meat because, remember, those ribs you see here are boneless – so that big slab is all eatin’ material.  Plus – it is really enough for two – I just completely lost my shit & shoved these down my gullet like hotdog-eating champion Takeru Kobayashi.  It must have looked obscene (had anyone been here to watch me) and I will admit to a near-sexual level of excitement as I devoured these.  It was madness!  I had become unhinged!  And I write about it now without shame or regret.  Though I still suffer from a haunting, multi-pronged depression-anxiety that clings to me like a sticky burr on a pilly Irish sweater.  So – these ribs, magical as they are, do not cure THIS feeling (photographer unknown):

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Never fear – wine takes at least some of the edge off – if you also feel like that image above.  The combo of wine & these ribs will keep those demons at bay for at least a brief respite.

OK – back to the ribs.  I made two kinds of BBQ sauce yesterday – Korean & traditional.  Both were very spicy but I ended up opting to use the Korean variety on my first faux rib effort.  The Korean one was made in my crock-pot as I hiked.  The other was made stove-top.   I used 2 TBS Gochujang (seen below) in the Korean BBQ sauce but only because I had it.  It is in NO WAY critical to the final outcome.

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Spicy Korean BBQ Sauce

INGREDIENTS

3/4 cup dark brown sugar

3/4 cup low sodium tamari (soy sauce)

1/4 cup water

1 TBS rice vinegar

2 TBS chili paste (sambal oelek or other type)

2 TBS Gochujang (optional)

2 tsp sesame oil

1 tsp ground pepper

1 TBS fresh ginger (minced)

5 garlic cloves – minced

2 TBS cornstarch

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DIRECTIONS

I put everything EXCEPT the cornstarch into a little crock-pot & left it for two hours.  Once it was bubbly – I added 2 TBS cornstarch & whisked it in.  That made the sauce very thick & gooey.  Perfect!  You can do this stove-top by just bringing everything (except cornstarch) to a boil & then whisk in the cornstarch.  It would likely take only a few minutes to come together.

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Spicy Traditional BBQ Sauce

INGREDIENTS

2 cups ketchup

1 cup water

1/2 cup apple cider vinegar

5 TBS brown sugar

2 TBS white sugar

1 TBS ground pepper

1 TBS garlic powder

1 TBS onion powder

1 TBS Dijon

1 teaspoon dry mustard

1 TBS horseradish

1 TBS lemon juice

1 TBS vegan (or other) Worcestershire sauce

2+ chipotle peppers in adobo (minced) (use more or less to suit your heat tolerance – I used 5)

juice of 1 orange

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DIRECTIONS

Bring all ingredients to a boil & simmer until thick.  10-15 minutes.  Maybe more but not likely.

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Vegan BBQ Ribs

INGREDIENTS

1 cup vital wheat gluten

2 tsp chipotle powder (smoked or not)

1 TBS lemon pepper

1 TBS onion powder

1 TBS garlic powder

1 cup water

2 TBS tahini

2 TBS low sodium tamari (soy sauce)

1-2 drops (DROPS – as this shit is overpowering and gets nasty-tasting fast) – liquid smoke (optional)

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DIRECTIONS

Heat the oven to 350 degrees.  Also – get the barbeque ready.  It is the grilling of these guys that is the magic.  A regular BBQ with charcoals is best.

Mix the wet ingredients (water, tahini, tamari & liquid smoke) in a small bowl.  Set aside.

In a larger bowl – mix the dry ingredients (wheat gluten & spices) and add the wet ingredients.  Mix it up until that gooey hamburger-looking stuff comes together – which happens almost instantly.

Grease a loaf pan & press the seitan into the pan.  Smooth it flat.  Bake it at 350 for about 30 minutes.  Remove from the oven & transfer the seitan to a plate & slather it with the BBQ sauce of your choice.

When your charcoals are ready – flop the seitan, BBQ sauce side down, onto the grill.  Slather lots more BBQ sauce on the other side.

Now just cook this until it looks the way you would want ribs to look.  I took mine off too early & found the “ribs” still not chewy enough to seem like meat so – I cut the slab into ribs and cooked them all a bit more.

And then I commenced the food orgy.  I suggest you do the same!

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Sock-It-To-Me Vegetarian (or not) Spicy Sausage & Mushroom Pasta – Gangnam Style

2 Comments

All Photos © Christine Elise McCarthy 2012

It has been more than two weeks since I posted anything but that doesn’t mean I am not cooking up a storm out here.  After my Orlando trip – my Asian food obsession continued.  I have been trying all kinds of new ideas out but, while most of them tasted pretty good, few LOOKED very pretty.  And none really blew my socks off flavor-wise, either, so I held back posting the recipes.  One dish that I liked very much was a seared shiitake mushroom & grilled tofu dish.  I am not a big fan of shiitake mushrooms as I think they have a gummy, fishy texture that is icky.  But I pan-fried the beJesus out of the ones I had used (and reserved) to make the stock for my Hot & Sour Soup recipe and they became chewy & more pleasant.  Here are some pics:

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The final dish looked like this:

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The primary reason I didn’t post THIS dish was that it was dependent entirely on this sweet & hot BBQ-y kinda sauce I found at the Korean market:

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Sweet & hot as promised – this stuff is delicious but I have no idea what it is or how to send folks out to find some.  And – for all I know, it is made of giant water bugs like the paste I accidentally got at another Asian market a while back.  This Korean stuff is sorta similar to this stuff from my childhood:

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which I still ADORE – despite the fact that it has about 3000 calories in a tablespoon but the Korean version is not as thick & smokey.  At any rate – the Korean stuff was critical to the dish – so I didn’t post the recipe.

Additionally – I made a garlic eggplant dish which was delicious but looked like melted tar due to the dark soy sauce (think Texas tea) I used.

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I made a green bean dish & a lemongrass shrimp thing:

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This is the marinade for the shrimp.  At least IT looks pretty.

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I tried this can of vegetarian “meat” in the green beans:

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It looked like ground pork but smelled sweet & disgusting.  I pan-fried the shit out of it & saturated it with spicy sauces (a black pepper sauce & hoisin & sriracha etc) until it was chewy an unrecognizable.  I made a faux pork & garlic green beans – Asian style:

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But i wouldn’t recommend this dish at all.

I made an orange chicken using seitan:

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Also underwhelming.  I made two kinds of tofu satays – both failures.  Here is some pressed tofu in a satay marinade:

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It fell apart on the grill.

I photographed everything – hoping I’d come up with at least one keeper – but no.

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Delivered Chinese would top all those dishes & be cheaper & WAY easier.  The learning curve on this Asian stuff is brutal.  So disappointing because the Asian markets are such wonderlands of opportunity.  Speaking of which – if you ever see keffir lime leaves – BUY THEM & then go home & Google a recipe using them.  This little packet BURST with the aroma of a Thai restaurant the second I opened it.

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These Thai chilis are fun, too.

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Now – researching recipes for inspiration – I kept coming across a Korean hot paste that intrigued me.  It is called “gochujang” and none of my Thai stores had it – or even knew what it was.  So – last week – I hauled my ass to Korea Town in search of a Korean market.  I found one.

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Once again – these Asian markets do not disappoint!  This one was a wonderland of crazy, fucked up looking shit & then products we all know but with entirely Korean labeling.  The only English I could find – at first – was the aisle markers.  I saw one that said “sauces & spices” or something so I went there.  They seemed to have even more options here than at my Thai market but I could not find GOCHUJANG.  Lost, I spotted a woman in the aisle with me.  I Googled gochujang & brought up images & approached the woman.

“Excuse me,” I said.

She looked at me in surprise & with supreme distaste – as if I’d just walked up to her & cut a loud, wet fart.

“I’m sorry, but do you know where I can find this?” I asked & held my iphone out to her.  She literally recoiled from my gesture, maintaining her offense at my approach.

Undeterred – I pushed the phone closer to her face.  She started to say no – as if she thought I was giving her my phone & then she saw the images.  “Oh, over here,” she said & led me to a HUGE aisle-end stand stacked with tubs of gochujang – but the word “gochujang” appeared NOWHERE.

She waved her arm over the display.

“Very spicy!” she warned.

“OK, thank you,” I said and looked at the mountain of product, confused and scanning for the word gochujang.

“VERY SPICY,” she insisted.

“Yeah, OK.  Thank you,” I said & she walked away from me – her disgust with me only partially abated.

I picked up a tub of it & finally found the word gochujang in teeny tiny print on the front.  I put it in my cart & decided to tour the rest of the market – hunting for inspiration.

Now – I don’t know how familiar you are with Korean food – but it is like those folks are from a different planet – with an entire planet’s worth of bizarre & exotic culinary options.  I have been to Korean BBQ restaurants – which are lame for me because they are really all about meat – but wtf?  What ARE those marinating meats?  And more bizarre – what are those unidentifiable non-meat things they have on the raw bar for grilling?  I can’t identify a single item up there except for shrimp.   All kinds of seaweedy looking things & grasses & sprouty things.  Everything vegetarian looks grey & gelatinous and all the meat looks shredded intentionally to render them as unidentifiable as the vegetarian fare.    Hmmm….I’m no food-o-phobe but those Korean options spook me.

Similarly – this Korean market had a gauntlet of pre-made things on a self-service bar.

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Not even a KOREAN explanation for what any of it was – though I will admit – lots of it looked pretty tasty.  But – after my waterbug close call – I shan’t eat anything Asian – the ingredients of which are not clearly explained to me beforehand.

Next to this smorgasbord – was the seafood counter:

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Next time you get a craving for fish heads – you can thank me for showing you where to buy them.

Everything is just all out & floppy & looks SORE and sorely unhygienic but what do I know?  They did have shrimp on sale for $3.99 a pound with a two pound limit – so I stocked up.  I watched a woman bag some & hand it to the fish monger guy to weigh & price.  I did the same & am proud to say that my best guess at 2 pounds weighed in at 2.1 lbs.  The fish monger let me slide.

On a side note – the vein in these shrimp was on the under side of their curve – rather than along the “spine.”  Not sure what that was about but they tasted fine & I didn’t get sick.  So – there.

Another curiosity was the sweet potato vendor.  Who knew there were sweet potato fetishists out there?

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The meat department proved disappointing after the horror show of a seafood department.  Mostly, I learned that ox tails are not cheap.

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Which brings me now to today’s recipe – Sock-It-To-Me Vegetarian (or not) Spicy Sausage & Mushroom Pasta – Gangnam Style.  I made this with various produce I had laying around, my precious gochujang & some vegetarian sausage.

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Gochujang is like a spicy tomato paste – but not so spicy that I needed to be warned TWICE by that cranky woman in the Korean grocery.  I’m calling this dish Gangnam in honor of my hero – Psy – and his amazing dance-craze video:


Here is what Wikipedia had to say about it (among other things):

“Gangnam Style” is a Korean neologism that refers to a lifestyle associated with the Gangnam district[16] of Seoul,[17] where people are trendy, hip and exude a certain supposed “class”. The term was listed in Time‘s weekly vocabulary list as a manner associated with lavish lifestyles in Seoul’s Gangnam district.[18] Psy likened the Gangnam District to Beverly HillsCalifornia, and said in an interview that he intended a twisted sense of humor by claiming himself to be “Gangnam Style” when everything about the song, dance, looks, and the music video is far from being such a high class.[19]

People who are actually from Gangnam never proclaim that they are—it’s only the posers and wannabes that put on these airs and say that they are “Gangnam Style”—so this song is actually poking fun at those kinds of people who are trying so hard to be something that they’re not.
—Psy[20]

 

At any rate – this came out VERY meaty for a non-meat dish but you can certainly use real sausage if you prefer.   I also used leftover (frozen) arrabiata sauce in this.  You can use your own arrabiata or a jarred version – if you like.

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Sock-It-To-Me Vegetarian (or not) Spicy Sausage & Mushroom Pasta – Gangnam Style

INGREDIENTS

2 shallots – diced (or a second onion if you have no shallots)
1 sm onion – diced
1 large tomato – diced (reserve half for garnish)
6 garlic cloves – diced
15 mushrooms – sliced
2 TBS soy sauce
3 TBS Gochujang Korean paste (more or less – according to your taste)
Sesame oil – as garnish
3 TBS sesame seeds
16 oz or more of arrabiatta or other spiced tomato sauce
olive oil
1 package Gimme Lean veggie sausage or equivalent amount of real sausage
1 lb pasta – I used spaghetti
Parsley or chives – chopped as garnish
Grated cheese as garnish
DIRECTIONS
Heat some olive oil in a frying pan & saute the onions, shallots & garlic until the onions start to brown.  Add the mushrooms & saute until the mushrooms begin to sear & turn brown.  Remove from pan & set aside.
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Add more olive oil to the pan & saute the sausage (use more oil for veggie – way less for real meat) until it begins to brown (or in the case of real meat – until it is cooked thoroughly).
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Add the mushroom mixture to the sausage & stir.  Add the tomato sauce, some of the chopped tomato (reserving half for garnish), gochujang and soy sauce & simmer over low heat for 30 minutes so flavors can blend.  I added probably a cup of water to thin this sauce to a consistency I liked.  Add water at your own discretion.
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Meanwhile – in a dry frying pan – toast the sesame seeds until just golden.  Remove from heat.
Cook the pasta to your liking.  Drain.  Toss with about 1/2 of the mushroom & sausage tomato sauce.  Arrange servings on plates & top with more sauce, chopped tomato, toasted sesame seeds & chopped parsley or chives.  Drizzle a tiny amount of sesame oil on top, add some grated cheese & serve.
vegetarian
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