Saturday, July 3, 2010

A Recipe and Review!

Its finally here - the review of my Taylor & Ng 5 Piece 12" Preseasoned Flat Bottom Wok Set provided by CSN stores and my favorite Korean Recipe, Bi Bim Bap!

I'll start off with a quick review of the product and my experience with CSN stores (to learn about how I was chosen to do a review you can go here)  The delivery of my wok was as expected for an online order - I think it took about 5 days from the order going through to arrival at my door.  The wok came unassembled, which was surprising to me, but was simple to put together.  Basically I had to screw on the handle to both the wok and the lid.  The set consists of the wok, lid, wooden cooking chopsticks, a wooden spatula, and a metal spatula.  The wok is very sturdy, and looks to me as though it will last a long time.  The lid is kind of thin, but seems to be strong enough - I haven't had a need to use it yet.  The cooking utensils that came with the set are all great and I can see using them for many cooking applications.  The chopsticks may be my new favorite cooking utensil actually!  They are long and do a great job of moving food around when stir-frying.  The only issue I had with the set at all is that although it is called "pre-seasoned" you can't just jump into using the wok.  The set comes with a manual that takes you through the simple steps of removing a protective coating that has been placed on the wok.  While it is easy, you can't just use it right out of the box.  It is also not dishwasher safe, but is VERY easy to clean by hand, which I love!  Overall, the set is great, and I can see it being my number one cooking pan for a long time because of its size and convenience.

And now on to the Bi Bim Bap

Bi Bim Bap is a traditional Korean dish, which literally means "mixed rice" or "mixing rice" depending on who you ask.   The basic idea is that you stir-fry different types of vegetables and a meat and put it over rice.  Then add a little gochujang (hot pepper paste), mix it up, and you have a delicious meal!  According to Wikpedia, traditionally, Bi Bim Bap would include julienned  cucumber, zucchini, daikon, mushrooms, bellflower root, and gim (dried seaweed), as well as spinach, soybean sprouts, and bracken fern stems, tofu (either plain or sautéed), and/or a leaf of lettuce, plus a fried egg on top.  The following recipe is an Americanized version of Bi Bim Bap based on the vegetables and items we typically have in our kitchen.  The recipe I'm showing is loosely based on this recipe.  Keep in mind, you can use pretty much any vegetables you have on hand in your kitchen.  In the past i've used spinach, cabbage, green beans, sugar snap peas, pretty much whatever needs to be used up in the vegetable bin!  Its a GREAT way to use up leftover veggies :)  My kids don't do spicy, so we always skip the gochujang, but my husband is going to love our Korean Air flight when we go to get our son because they serve and awesome bi bim bap that comes with all the spicy gochujang you could want!

1 lb lean ground beef, ground turkey, chicken breast or beef cut in strips
2 cups carrots, julienned* (see end for a little picture tutorial on this!)
2 cups broccoli, cut into bite-sized pieces
2 cups cauliflower, cut into bite-sized pieces
2 cups asparagus, tough ends removed and cut into bite-sized pieces
1 (15 1/4 ounce) can corn kernels, drained or 1.5 cups frozen corn kernals
4 eggs, scrabled
1/2 cup light soy sauce
2 tablespoons granulated sugar
1 tablespoon brown sugar
1/8 cup garlic, chopped
2 tbsp chives, chopped
oil, for frying (sesame is the traditional, but I usually use Canola)
salt and pepper
1.5-2 cups white rice (cook according to package directions)

1)  In a small bowl, combine meat, soy sauce, both sugars, and 1/2 of the garlic (my photo is missing the garlic, oops!).  Mix together thoroughly to marinate.

2)  Scramble the eggs and cook into small pancakes.  Slice into strips.  (see video below).  Place into bowl and cover with foil to keep warm.

3)  Heat small amount of oil in wok, add canned or frozen corn and a dash of salt.  Cook until the corn starts to brown a little.  Place into bowl and cover with foil to keep warm.

4)  Heat small amount of oil in wok, add julienned carrots, add 1 tsp of sugar and stirfry until soft.  Place into bowl and cover with foil to keep warm.

5) Heat small amount of oil in wok, add asparagus and chives, and season with salt and pepper.  Stirfry until crisp-tender (and enjoy the AMAZING SMELL!)  Place into bowl and cover with foil to keep warm.

6)  Heat small amount of oil in wok, add broccoli, cauliflower and the rest of the garlic, and season with salt and pepper.  Stirfry until crisp-tender.  Place into bowl and cover with foil to keep warm.

7)  Add a small amount of oil to wok, add meat and marinade and heat until fully cooked.  Place into bowl and cover with foil to keep warm.

Either place all of the bowls out on the table, letting your family pick and choose what they want, or serve each person a bowl filled with rice and topped with a little each of the stir-fried dishes.  Mix it up and enjoy the very yummiest stir-fry you've ever had!

*how to quickly julienne carrots
1) cut a carrot at a steep angle creating thin, oval slices of carrot

2) push the slices into a neat row

3) cut down the row of slices to make little matchsticks (juliennes) of carrot.

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