Category Archives: East

Steak Pita Wrap with Garlic Cream Sauce

Hello! It is still hot and sweaty in Los Angeles. We are still thinking of beaches and water. So, to follow up on Hawaiian cuisine, we decided to go to the other side of the world and explore Mediterranean cuisine!

This is our own spin on Mediterranean wraps. We love what we came up with—colorful, fast and easy to make, and most of all, TASTY! It involves pita bread, tomatoes, meat, spinach, hummus, and a creamy garlic sauce that is inspired from Zankou Chicken. For those of you who are unfamiliar with Zankou, this delicious chain joint serves delicious Lebanese cuisine. They have the best chicken pita wrap and a to-die-for garlic sauce. Be sure to check it out when you get the chance!

Anyways, back to our recipe. Let’s Begin!

What You Need:

garlic (7-10 pieces, depending on how garlic-y you want your sauce to be)
Lemon Juice
Instant Package of Mashed Potatoes
Olive Oil
Salt & Pepper
Meat or Chicken
Spinach leaves (or whatever leafy green you want to put in)
Pita Bread
Hummus (we bought a garlic flavored one)
Tomato

*whoah! TEN ingredients? Don’t panic now! The last four ingredients are for the wrap stuffers only, and won’t be used in the actual cooking process. 🙂

What to Do:

First off, make some instant mashed potatoes! You can use real potatoes if you want, but that’s more work, don’t you think? We made about 2/3 cup of it.

Next, peel the garlic and put them in whole into a food processor/chopper. Add the lemon juice and grind until smooth. You can of course use fresh lemon juice…but you know…we were lazy. 😛

Slowly add in oil as you grind and season with salt.

When the mixture has become smooth, it is time to add in the secret ingredient, instant mashed potatoes!

The potatoes are only useful as a binding agent to get your garlic sauce/paste to the right consistency. The amount will vary depending on how thick you like your sauce. Taste it along the way to make sure you have the right flavor you are aiming for (i.e. saltiness, garlic-y, creamy texture, etc)…this is up to your preference.

Chill before serving.

Now on to the steak. We chose to use NY Strip. You can substitute flank or skirt steak to save money, but that is entirely up to your budget. On to the seasoning: use the classic simple recipe of salt, pepper and olive oil.. that’s it! In a super hot pan, sear the steaks on both sides to your liking – medium rare works best in this recipe, it keeps the meat moist and easy to eat. Let it rest for 3 minutes before slicing very thin.

When your meat is done, the rest is just like building a sandwich. Heat up your pita in the microwave for 10 seconds or until warm. Slather some hummus on the pita, assemble some lettuce, spinach, or microgreens, and put on your steak.

Top the steak off with tomatoes or any other vegetables you have on hand that day or night. Finally, drizzle on some garlic sauce…or just pour some in a small container to use to dip in.

Get ready for a wonderful night of dragon breath. Haha. Don’t worry. It’ll be worth it. Enjoy!

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Kimchi ‘Pancakes’ aka Kimchi Jun

Kimchi ‘Pancakes’ are a comfort side dish back at home. I recently met my mom and begged her to teach me how to make it…. and she finally gave in! I tried these today, and my oh my~brings me back home! 🙂 LOVE IT! Here is the super easy and quick recipe!

Things You Need (makes about four):

  • Good fermented Kimchi
  • Flour
  • Egg
  • Sugar

 

What to Do:

First get a good handful of kimchi and dice it up like so:

 

Next, crack open an egg in a bowl and break the egg yolk–mix mix mix! Next add in 2-3 spoonfuls of flour as well as a good pinchful of sugar. Eye the amount of flour you put in. You don’t want it too thick, but just enough so that you can make a good ‘pancake’ like batter.

 

 

Now add in the kimchi into the mixture.

Now heat up the pan with oil and when the pan is hot, put in a good spoonful of the mixture (like pancakes!).

 

Don’t forget to flip them over once!

 

You are done! These are delicious plain, or with a dipping sauce. Just in case you want to dip them in a sauce, here is my recipe for the sauce:

In a small sauce dish, put in about 1 tablespoon of soy sauce and 1 tablespoon of rice vinegar. Next add in about 1/2 tablespoon of sugar and a good sprinkle of Korean Red Pepper Flakes. Top that off with a sprinkle of sesame seeds! For an added kick, you can dice up a little bit of green onions and mix it into the sauce.

 

 

 

 

ENJOY! 🙂

Tasty Asian Beef Stew

This is a dish that H particularly enjoys. It is inspired from both the Western Beef Stew and the Chinese Beef Noodle Soup. The combination of Western and Asian ingredients marry beautifully together and brings about a delcious flavor that one cannot quite place a finger on–“what is IN this?” Well, it is a combination of many things. To name a few: beef (duh), tomato, soy sauce, star anise, and ginger. Are you excited yet? 🙂

Another great thing about this recipe is that it is very cheap to make. You can make a whole pot of this and enjoy it for the rest of the week with rice…with bread…with noodles…or just alone. Please, next time you are craving beef stew, give this stew a chance. You do not want to miss out on this dish! 🙂

What You Need:

  • Beef for stewing (beef shank brings great flavor!)
  • Soy Sauce
  • Whole Star Anise (We found this at the local Asian Store)
  • Ginger (ginger flavor is not too strong, so for you ginger haters, don’t worry)
  • Garlic
  • 1 Can of Beef Broth
  • 1 Can of diced tomato
  • Hon Dashi
  • sugar
  • Carrot
  • Onion

What to Do:

First, we have to cut the carrots and onion–cut into bite size pieces. Let’s also dice the garlic and slice the ginger.

Next, cut the beef into a nice stew-size:

Now, heat up some oil in a big pot and brown the meat.

After the meat has browned, you can either take the meat out while you cook the onions, but being lazy, we decided to just add the onions, garlic, and ginger in the pot with the meat. Stir, stir, stir!

Next, add in the carrots.

Ok, the hard part is done. Open the can of tomatoes and pour it into the pot.

Open up the can of beef broth, and pour that in. Pour in one and 1/2 cans of water into the can, and pour that in as well.

Now put in 3-4 star anises into the pot. You can choose to put them in a cheese cloth if you do not want to deal with the star anise when you eat the stew–up to you.

Next, put in 4-5 spoons of soy sauce.

And now for the last step, put in a pinchful of hon dashi and about 1/2 spoonful of sugar.

Now, bring the stew to a boil…then turn down to heat, cover and let simmer for a couple hours.

Now DIG IN! ENJOY! YUM! 🙂

 

Quick and Easy Spinach (tasty too!)

We love veggies–raw, boiled, steamed, you name it. One way we enjoy our greens is to saute them with garlic. It’s tasty as a side dish as well as on its own. This particular recipe uses spinach, but it can be used with any kind of green. Here is the super duper easy recipe:

What You Need:

  • Spinach
  • Oil
  • diced garlic
  • Salt
  • Hondashi

What to Do

Heat a pan with oil. Saute the garlic in the oil. Once you smell the garlic in the oil, add in the spinach. Sprinkle in a small pinch of salt and hon dashi. Make sure the garlic doesn’t burn, so when you see it turning brown, turn off the heat!

You are done! Can you believe it? Incredibly easy and fast! Enjoy!

Korean BBQ @ Home

Korean BBQ at home, simple or complicated? SIMPLE!! It’s so easy to enjoy a lovely Korean BBQ meal with your friends or family in the comfort of your own home. Forget going out and spending $16.99 at an All you can eat restaurant and totally forget spending $14.99 on one single plate of meat. For $15 total, you can enjoy enough meat for a family of four! Although the prep time and cleaning may be discouraging, we are in a recession and saving every penny counts these days. Put the extra cash you save into your gas tank or save it for a trip to Las Vegas, just kidding.

What You Need:

  • A grill – George Foreman, Korean gas grill..broiler..
  • Any kind of Meat/Chicken you want. We used Chadol (thinly sliced Beef found in Korean supermarkets) and Pork Belly – pre-sliced
  • Red Leaf Cabbage
  • Green Onion
  • Garlic
  • Sesame oil
  • Sea Salt/Pepper
  • Rice Wine Vinegar
  • Korean Red Pepper Flakes
  • Sugar
  • Soy Sauce
  • Ssam Jang – Red pepper paste miso for meat dipping
  • Optional: Dduk – Rice Cake for wrapping, Vinegared Radish Wraps


Here are a few close up pictures of our ingredients:

$1.71 for pork belly aka bacon, so cheap!

One pound of Chadol is only $5.89, you can usually find it cheaper as well. The same amount is 3x the price in any restaurant. In American supermarkets, you can ask for thin sliced rib-eye or any type of meat.

The following are a couple optional items to make the bbq experience more authentic. 🙂 We went and bought a package of delicious rice cake wraps. This particular one actually says “vietnamese” rice paper. So, yes, go buy yourselves one of these. The other item is vinegared radish wraps. These tangy & sweet things are delicious when used as a wrap with the yummy bbq. 🙂

What To Do:

So here, in Koreatown, a Korean BBQ is not a proper Korean BBQ without some veggies to eat the meat with. Of course, you can use plain whole red lettuce leaves to wrap your meat, but we love making our own Korean lettuce salad–very similar to the ones you find at the Korean bbq places. 🙂

First you will need about 3-4 bulbs of green onions. Clean them well and slice them in half lengthwise like so:

Then, at a somewhat diagonal direction, thinly slice the green onions so you are left with thin slivers of green onion pieces.

Next, get your red leaf cabbage and slice them into ‘salad’ size pieces. Add them into the same bowl as the green onions.

For the salad dressing get about 2 tablespoons of soy sauce and pour into a small bowl. Then add in 2 tablespoons of rice wine vinegar into the bowl. You can add a little more if you’d like. Then, add in about 1/2-1 tablespoon of sesame oil into the bowl. This serves as like the ‘olive oil’ in Western salads.

Then drop in about 1/2 – 1 tablespoon of Korean red pepper flakes. For a little sweetness, add in 1/2 tablespoon of sugar. Mix well. Add in a few sprinkles of sesame seeds (optional).

Add in the dressing to the salad mixture. Toss well.

Next, let’s get the dipping sauce ready for the meat. Pour in about 1 tablespoon of sesame oil into individual small bowls. Add in 1/3 tablespoon of sea salt. Generously sprinkle in some black pepper into the plate. Wa la! You have your dipping sauce. Easy!

Now, onto our rice paper. Don’t forget to boil this in hot water until the rice cake slices are soft and tender. Then cut it into small squares. Done. 🙂

We are finally ready to BBQ! Now, there are many ways to enjoy your bbq at home. If you have an electric grill, this would be perfect. However, many of us do not have that. In this case, you can use your oven, broiler, and if all else fails, you can use your fry pan to cook the meat. The downside to doing it in the oven/broiler/fry pan is that the meat will be precooked. We decided to try it both ways. We tested our handy dandy George Foreman Grill and also used our broiler. The George Foreman Grill was perfect for our thinly sliced Chadol. We turned the grill on, plopped the chadol on, closed it..and opened it up a little while later and tada! We had our yummy chadol ready to go. It was amazing to see how much fat dripped down! Egad!

The Pork slices also worked well, but we didn’t have enough patience to wait for the meat to cook through on the Foreman grill. So, we decided to put it in the broiler, and they were done in no time!

To add to our bbq experience, we also made Korean bean paste stew.

So, when all was done, how did we enjoy our bbq? Well, here are some pictures from this day:

The above is a picture of our ssamjang and dipping sauce. Ssamjang is essentially Korean red pepper paste mixed with Korean miso. So, if you have these two items, just mix them together to make ssamjang. If not, every Korean supermarket carries this delicious sauce.

To end our entry, here is how we enjoyed our bbq: 🙂

1. Pick up your meat

2. Dip in oil sauce

3. Put meat onto your radish wrap or dduk wrap or lettuce wrap

4. put a dab of ssamjang onto the wrap as well as some of the yummy lettuce

5. wrap it up, stick it into your mouth. CHEW CHEW CHEW the heavenly goodness

6. Pick up your spoon…get a spoonful of the bean paste stew

7. Wash it down with your Korean beer.

…ahhh heaven!

Kimchi Fried Rice – 김치 볶음밥

Kimchi Fried Rice is a comfort food for us. It is very easy to make and takes a very short time to cook. It is absolutely delicious! Enjoy!

What You Need:

  • A ‘handful’ of good fermented kimchi-diced
  • bacon/ham/spam/beef – this part is optional
  • diced onion – 1/2 handful
  • 1 garlic finely diced
  • 1/2-1cup cooked rice
  • 1 tbsp sesame oil
  • 1-2 tbsp kimchi juice
  • 1 tbsp korean red pepper paste (고추장- gochujang)

 

What to Do:

Heat a pan and drizzle some oil onto the pan. Saute the onion, garlic, and meat until the onion is yellow and translucent.

 

 

Next, add in the kimchi and continue to saute. OH yes, to give you an idea of how much kimchi we used and how big the size of the kimchi was, here you go:

 

 

After awhile, you will notice that the pan begins to become dry. At this time, add in the kimchi juice.

 

 

Continue to saute for 1-2 minutes. Turn down the heat and add in the rice and sesame oil. Mix well!

 

 

For an added kick and the signature ‘red’ look, add in 1 tbsp of gochujang. 🙂

 

You are done! Fry an egg up and plop it down on top of the rice and ENJOY! 🙂

 

Korean Bean Paste Stew 된장 찌개

Korean Bean Paste Stew (dwen jang jjigae) is a classic Korean dish that is equally, if not more, popular than the Korean Kimchi Stew . It is commonly served with rice at the end of a Korean BBQ meal in a small stone pot. It is a delicious meal, but for foreigners, may be an acquired taste. Partly the reason is because of its smell. We got to admit, it is not the most pleasant smelling dish out there. However, if you can get past that, you will discover its rich flavor and become hooked on this stuff! To sum it up, think of this dish as a Korean Miso Soup/Stew. Give it a chance, and try this recipe out. 🙂

What You Will Need

  • Korean Bean Paste (this can be found in a Korean grocery store) Japanese miso will not taste the same, so do not try to buy that!)
  • Tofu (we used silken tofu, but you can use any kind of tofu)
  • Korean Red Pepper Flakes (optional)
  • Green Pepper/Fresh or jar Jalapeño
  • Green Onion
  • Asian Squash or zucchini
  • Mushroom (any kind is fine)
  • Garlic
  • Mussel/clam/beef–Optional; you can use any one of those
  • Dried Anchovies and Dried Seaweed

What to Do:

The first thing we need to do is make a broth for the stew. We used about 5-6 pieces of dried anchovies (can be found in Asian market) and 2 pieces of dried seaweed. If you don’t have this in your pantry, you can use just water and hon dashi, but we recommend investing in anchovies and seaweed because they are used as a base for broth for many Korean dishes. So, start by putting those in a pot with about 1 1/2 cup water and boil. After a few minutes into boiling you will definitely start to smell a ‘fishy’ smell. That’s exactly what you want.

While the water is boiling, you can start prepping your other goodies. Start by slicing the squash/zucchini into half moon shape. It really doesn’t matter how you slice it, but we like ours like this.

Also, slice your green onions and and mince the garlic (we used about 2). After that, slice your mushrooms (we used about 4) and mussel (if you’re using clam, we recommend you using the ones still in the shell and just putting them in whole).

Once the water has boiled for about 2-3 minutes, take out the anchovies and seaweed with a slotted spoon. Discard the anchovies and seaweed, we are done using them.

Now, take a big generous spoonful of the bean paste, and using the slotted spoon, put it into the water. You are trying to break the bean paste up, so that you won’t have clumps of bean paste floating in the water.

Now let that come to a boil and then insert the mushroom, zucchini/squash, garlic, half of the green onions, and mussels into the pot. Lower the heat to a simmer.

Now, we like to add in a little spice into our soup, and to do that, we sprinkle in some Korean red pepper flakes as well as some good ol’ jalapenos from a jar. Trust us, just do it. 🙂


Let the pot simmer for another 10-15 minutes. Meanwhile, chop a little of the tofu. We used this much.

Now put the tofu in. You don’t want to boil it for long because the tofu will start to enlarge like crazy. So, insert the tofu about 1 minute–right before you are about to serve the soup. Also put in the rest of the green onions.

Stir it up a little bit with a spoon and you are ready to serve! 🙂 Enjoy!