Saturday was Test Kitchen night. This time, we tackled Asian cuisine. And the verdict = LOVE!!!
I’ve been jonesin’ for beef kalbi for a while, and stumbled on this beauty via Chrissy Teigen: http://sodelushious.com/2011/06/28/beef-curtains/ and just last week, PBS posted their recipe archive on Facebook and I immediately found and fell in love with Mapo Tofu: http://www.pbs.org/food/fresh-tastes/mapo-tofu/
Please click thru these links for recipes. They are fabulous as they are, and I want you to see them just how I did.
Being a white girl who grew up on chicken breasts and pasta, I get intimidated by Asian faire. So last week, I hopped up to Ranch 99 to pick up some basics. About 10 minutes later and two passes thru the “sauces” aisle, I had my black bean paste (OMG the precious) and chili bean paste. I passed on sake- I never know what I’m buying and apparently I’m embarrassed to buy sake because I’m probably just buying the cheap crap. But I digress….
Back to the food! Making the marinade for the kalbi was super easy. I grated the pear on my microplaner and just about sliced off a few fingernails (always inevitable). Super easy. Pour it on the brown sugar rubbed beef and let it marinate for a few hours.
Next up: chill. Once you get going with this stuff, dinner will be ready in about 10 minutes.
Now let’s talk tofu. I edited this recipe because the husband isn’t super fond of the Silken tofu (I prefer firmer fu as well). The fermented black beans came in a huge vat so I opted for a smaller glass jar of black bean paste (love love love); the doubanjiang… well I ended up picking up a jar of “chili bean paste with garlic” – worked out just fine. Also, I didn’t get the Sischuan peppercorns because I’m new to this whole cuisine and don’t want to buy a ton of something I may use just once. Next time, I’m investing. And about the cornstarch: this type of stuff is evil so I use arrowroot instead. Works just the same and is a grain-free alternative.
Husband grilled the ribs on the bbq- don’t start the tofu until the ribs are on the fire. All of this stuff cooks quick!!
A few things I’d change: flank steak instead of Oriental short ribs. These were great, but the fat content made it difficult to eat. Also, I want to mess around with Mapo and add prawns.
After this massive success, I’ve gained some confidence and feel more secure about cooking Asian cuisine. If there’s one thing I cannot take, its failure in the kitchen. And with a spread like this, you really can’t lose.