Brian's Photo Blog — Article 727
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Homemade Kimchi and Korean Fusion
Wednesday 7 November 2018   —   Category: Cooking & Food
The year I graduated from high school The Vapors were Turning Japanese. Almost 40 years later it seems as if this gourmet chef wannabe is turning Korean.

The seed was planted in September 2015 when I tasted my first Korean taco at the Yard House in downtown Portland, Oregon (shown to the right).

My first attempt at making a Korean taco at home fell far short of the Yard House taco. My second attempt a few months later was better than the first, yet it still wasn’t quite there.

My Korean cuisine aspirations languished for a couple of years until November 2017 when they were jumpstarted by delicious Korean tacos at the McMenamins North Bank restaurant in Eu­gene, Oregon.

The unknown green chili sauce they served with the tacos led me to inventing my own homemade jalapeño salsa.
The following month I tried making a similar taco at home. On top of a corn tortilla I piled homemade coleslaw (with pears), pulled pork soaked overnight in Korean BBQ marinade, paprika Mexican crema fresca, and my addictive home­made jalapeño salsa.

I was quite happy with the results. It looked like I might figure out how to make Korean-​inspired dishes after all.
April 2018 was Korean fusion month in my kitchen!

It started off with a Korean taco consisting of a warm corn tortilla filled with stir-fried diced chicken breast soaked overnight in Korean BBQ marinade, my homemade Ko­re­an gochujang hot sauce, the first use of my homemade fermented kimchi (cabbage, carrot, onion, radish, garlic, green onion), and a generous topping of Tillamook sour cream (no cheese), garnished with green onion.

It turned out really good, and I did not even miss the cheese. It was a different type of taco which broke the boredom of the same o’ same o’.
Next up was a Korean pork kimchi wrap made with pulled pork soaked overnight in Korean BBQ marinade, then fried in a hot cast-iron skillet with peanut oil.

After placing a portion of meat on a whole wheat flour tortilla, I piled on some of my homemade kimchi, doused everything with my homemade Korean gochujang hot sauce, and topped it all off with a generous amount of Tillamook sour cream and a handful of crunchy chow mein noodles.

Wrap and eat! It turned out really good, better than I expected. Another keeper!
I finished the month with a dish inspired by an Instagram post by PDXFoodLove of a pineapple boat from Trap Kitchen PDX.

I filled a pineapple half with stir-fried beef teriyaki, my homemade fermented kimchi and jasmine rice, then sprinkled homemade Korean gochujang hot sauce over the whole thing.

It was our regular Asian food in a unique pre­se­nt­ation with a huge wow factor.

Once my wife and I were finished, all that remained were the two pineapple boats, stained with hot sauce. Heating the pineapples in the oven before filling them caused their leaves to turn gray.

I don’t think I would make it again just for us — been there, done that. But for a really special occasion for someone else, I just might!

Looking through the fridge and freezer one day in July, I found some items that needed to be used: unseasoned pulled pork, a large hamburger bun, my home­made Red Eye BBQ sauce, and some of my homemade kimchi.

This Korean fusion pulled pork sand­wich practically made itself! Served with Kettle Chips and a salad which included my own marinated beet and cucumber.

In the end I like coleslaw better in a pulled pork sandwich, but when you got­ta kimchi you gotta kimchi.
The following month I tried another take on a Korean taco: pulled pork soaked overnight in Korean BBQ marinade, Trader Joe’s Island Salsa with mango, pineapple and red jalapeño peppers, sau­téed julienne zucchini from our garden, and Tillamook sour cream on a corn tortilla. Yummy!
Last but not least, after being inspired by an Instagram post by @gochujangsauce, last month I made some probably not very authentic Korean tteok-bokki from scratch. I had lots of trials and trib­u­la­tions because I was making the garae-tteok (cylindrical rice cakes) my own way instead of the correct way.
When it came time to assemble the dish, my beautiful 3/4 by 4 inch garae-tteok became quite mangled. Even though the rice and gochujang sauce didn’t have the consistency I was hoping for, the tteok-bokki, steamed broccoli and chicken ter­i­ya­ki were all delicious. At least I know what to do differently next time!
A larger version of the second photo has been added to the Gourmet Chef Wannabe 2017 album. Larger versions of all the subsequent photos have been added to the Gourmet Chef Wannabe 2018 album.
Brian's Photo Blog — Article 727
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