In addition to tax crap, I’ve been focused on doing a presentation for Korean class. I wanted to do something that might interest people, so I did one on lazy Korean cooking. The oral bit was, of course, in Korean (learned a lot of cooking terms), but I also did recipes in English for the class (including jjajangmyeon), so I though I’d stick them here as well.
I think the only part of my oral presentation that is missing here (aside from actually showing people chili paste and the like) is the bit where I point out that instant ramen is not, in fact, truly lazy cooking because it makes only one meal.
LAZY KOREAN COOKING:
(in English, ’cuz we’re lazy!)
The philosophy: People who actually cook at home often don’t get hung up on making the most authentic or fanciest dish—if you own a restaurant that’s worth doing, but if you just want healthy, home-made food on the table, you should keep it simple. (If you want the full manifesto, pick up Mark Bittman’s How To Cook Everything—definitely my choice for an all-purpose cookbook.) Korean cooking works very well with this philosphy, because the majority of Korean staples (toasted sesame oil, soy sauce, chili paste) will keep pretty much indefinitely when refrigerated.
1. Lazy Bulgogi (Beef or Pork)
Marinade for beef: 1 T soy sauce, 2 t toasted sesame oil, 1 t sugar, 3-4 minced garlic cloves
Marinade for pork: 3 T chili sauce or paste, 3-4 minced garlic cloves, 1 1-inch piece ginger, minced (or use powder), 1 T soy sauce, 2 t toasted sesame oil
Slice about 2 lbs meat thinly, mix with marinade. Let sit in the refrigerator for at least 15 minutes (a couple of days is OK, you can also make the marinade in advance and store it in the fridge). Fry in a large frying pan at high heat, going crazy with a heat-proof spatula so it won’t burn—the marinade contains oil, so you probably won’t even have to oil the pan.
Koreans eat bulgogi in everything—salads, noodles, rice, stew, kimbap, sandwiches, pizza, tacos—so follow their fine example, cook up a big batch of bulgogi on the weekend, and have food for the week. When you get tired of bulgogi, you can freeze it until you feel like eating it again. (Simplified from Eating Korean by Cecilia Hae-Jin Lee—a very practical Korean cookbook.)
2. Lazy Chicken
Just roast chicken pieces (450 degrees for 25 minutes usually works well) and add chili sauce, chili paste, or half chili sauce/paste and half ketchup. Tastes great! If you find chili sauce or paste to be too hot, adding it before you cook the chicken will mellow it. (Vastly simplified from Eating Korean.)
3. Lazy Hot Pots
A hot pot is bascially a stew with Korean flavors, and just like there are a million Western stews, there are a million Korean hot pots. Just try to match flavors you think will work well together. (This is also a great way to use up too-spicy kimchi.) While hot pots are traditionally served when made, I find they typically obey the rule that stew is just as good if not better the next day, making them an excellent choice to make on the weekends to eat during the week, or to make and freeze for later consumption. (But remember that stew should always be brought to a complete boil if it’s been sitting in your fridge for more than a couple of days.)
For lighter flavors (seafood, tofu) I like to use anchovy broth, while beef works better with the heartier chicken broth. There are instant anchovy and chicken broths, but given my experience with instant chicken broths, I prefer to make the broth and freeze it—it’s not hard, it’s not expensive, and it will really improve the taste of your food. (You can always use water, but broth just tastes better.)
With chicken, you save bones in your freezer (along with onion skins and trimmings), boil them in a pot of water for maybe two hours, strain, and freeze. With anchovies, you need:
About a dozen dried anchovies (available at Korean markets)
Two pieces dried kelp (sea tangle) if it’s in big pieces, a big pinch if it’s a bird’s nest
Four cups water
Soak the anchovies and kelp in the water for 20 minutes. Meanwhile, in a pot combine
Three cups water
One small onion
Four cloves garlic
2-3 dried shiitake mushrooms
Bring the water in the pot to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer, covered, for 15 minutes. Remove lid and boil at higher heat for five minutes more. Pour the contents of the bowl (including its water) into a pot. Return to a boil, but boil it gently and for only 10 minutes (it’s important not to overboil). Skim any foam and strain the stock! (From EatYourKimchi.com)
**EXTRA BONUS RECIPIE!!**
A Chinese-Korean classic, lazified for you!
Vegetables are considered optional in jjajangmyeon, but not only do they make the dish tastier and healthier, they give up moisture into the sauce, which is very convenient for reasons you will understand in a moment. Traditional jjajangmyeon uses kalguksu noodles, which are yummy but temperamental, and which have to be made fresh every time. The traditional sauce is thickened with added starch. Lazy jjajangmyeon uses sturdy udon noodles, which are cooked in the un-thickened sauce. Not only is this easier, it results in fewer dirty dishes and a meal that is still edible after spending the better part of the week in the fridge.
¼ c. cooking oil
½ c. black soybean paste (also called black bean paste)
Black soybean paste is the consistency of tar: I use a ½-cup measure, fill it halfway with oil, dump the oil in the pan, and then measure out the paste into the now-oiled cup. (Use a spatula or a knife to handle the paste, not a spoon!) First heat the oil over low heat, then add the paste and mix the two together. Cook for 6-8 minutes until the mixture begins to smell (pleasantly).
Pour the oil into a big frying pan—maybe even a pot. Add:
Two minced medium onions
Fry them in the oil over medium-high heat until soft. Then add:
½ lb ground pork (or other meat, or tempeh—I don’t like turkey in this, though)
¼ t ground black pepper
Once the pork is cooked through (no pink!) stir in the cooked black soybean paste. Add:
1 ½ c broth or water
1 T oyster sauce
1 dried chili (if you like)
about 3 c meaty vegetables (zucchini, eggplant, potato, radish, mushrooms, whatever—I even used parsnips once) chopped into cubes
Cook until the vegetables have given up their moisture and the sauce has boiled down a bit—about 20 minutes. Then, while the sauce is still a bit watery, throw in:
1 bundle of udon noodles
Poke them into the sauce with your utensil of choice and keep poking them down until they soften up and relax of their own accord. Once they have soaked up the excess fluid and gotten cooked, about 5 minutes or so, your lazy jjajangmyeon is ready to eat!
Note: You can also make lazy jjajangbap by cooking rice in the sauce instead of noodles. Add uncooked rice right after the vegetables have given up their moisture and the sauce is super-watery, and cook for however long the rice typically takes to cook.
(Bastardized from EatYourKimchi.com)