Dakgalbi Korean Spicy Stir Fried Chicken

There a number of Korean Restaurants back home which serve good Dakgalbi. Usually dakgalbi in prepared right in front of you, hence there is a rule for minimum order for 2pax. Dakgalbi does not come cheap as the minimum charge for a 2pax set is around MYR36. With additional add-on such as rice cake, ramen, udon, sweet potatoes etc. plus drinks, the total bill could be easily hit above MYR50.

It did not cross my mind to prepare Dakgalbi at home until I crave for the dish in foreign land and it is nowhere to get except cook it myself. My first attempt was a great success and I had received tonnes of compliments, I then confident to share the recipe here.

350gm of chicken breast (cut into bite sized pieces)
3-5 leaves of Napa cabbage (cut into bite sized pieces)
1 carrot (sliced)
2 stalks of scallion (cut into 3cm chunks)
1 potato (cut into 3-5cm long stripes, and boiled in water)
1 medium onion (sliced)
1 1/2 tbsp of minced garlic
1 tbsp of minced ginger
3 tbsp gochujang
1 tbsp cup chili flakes (optional, skip this if you don't take spicy food)
3 tbsp of soy sauce
sugar and water solution
cooking oil
sesame seed for garnishing (optional)

1. Marinate the chicken pieces with some soy sauce, salt and pepper. Set aside for 30 minutes.
2. Make the sauce by mixing the minced ginger and garlic, 3 tbsp gochujang, 3 tbsp of soy sauce, 1 tbsp cup chili flakes and sugar water solution.
3. Heat up some oil in pan, stir fry the sliced onions follow by cabbage, carrot and potato stripes.
4. Add in chicken pieces and sauce prepared earlier. Stir well. Cover with the lid and cook for about 15 minutes.
5. Add in the seasoning - pinch of salt if required.
6. Once the chicken pieces are cook, add in the scallion and do a quick stir.
7. As finishing touch, sprinkle some sesame seeds on top of the Dakgalbi and serve the dish straight from the pan.

Koreans' way to enjoy Dakgalbi is to wrap the chicken pieces with butter-head leaf or lettuce. The left over sauce in the pan is then used to make fried rice. You may add-in some kimchi and roasted seaweed to your fried rice for more texture. I bet you will be super satisfied and full after this hearty meal.

Famous Czech Food Roasted Duck & Beef Goulash

Czech cuisine

A visit to Czech is incomplete without tasting the famous Czech roasted duck and dumpling goulash. I first tasted the roasted duck in Pilsner Urquell Brewery Restaurant in Plzeň (Pilsen), a small town about 90 km away from Prague. If time allows, I recommend one to patron at the restaurant for a good taste of local Czech cuisine before/after the tour to Pilsner Urquell Brewery.
If Pilsen is not in your travel plan, not to worry as I know exactly where in Prague city you could get the delicious yet authentic Czech roasted duck. Located in a hidden alley in old town square, the Restaurant Mlejnice is easy to miss. The restaurant is usually packed and it is best to beat the crowd by either patron before noon or after  2pm.

Restaurant Mlejnice, Prague

Regardless of the great selection of food including streak and pasta, the Czech roasted duck and goulash are must try items. The 1/4 duck is served with sauerkraut and gnocchi pasta. The skin of the duck is fried till crispy while still maintain the tenderness of the duck meat inside. The duck meat is best to enjoy with sauerkraut as the sourness helps to reduce the gamy taste of the duck. I tasted no cheesy taste on the gnocchi which I suspected they could be a type of Czech dumpling, in gnocchi pasta shape. Nevertheless, the whole dish scored!
Restaurant Mlejnice, Prague

Next in the menu is the famous Czech beef goulash soup in crusty hollowed bread. This is by far my favourite goulash. The gravy is flavorful, thick and creamy. The beef chucks are stewed to perfection, tender and moist. It is hard to stop after the first spoonful, so addictive indeed. Enjoy the goulash by tearing the crusty bread and dip into the gravy. Yum! If you are not mind with soggy bread, the inner bread should not be missed as they packed with great flavor after soaked up in the rich gravy.

Another restaurant I would like to recommend is the Hlucná Samota located in Praha 2, a highly recommended pub restaurant by my local Czech colleague. It was where I usually held welcome dinners for visitors (especially colleagues) from homeland.

I had tried quite a number of dishes and the most memorable one was the gigantic salad platter with delicious hot wings. I yearning for it but could not figure out which one was the item listed in the menu. I ended up order the hot wings with ciabatta. An average dish I would say. On the contrary, the beef goulash and sausage dumpling with bacon strips did wow me, especially the dumpling. Unlike the dumpling served in Restaurant Mlejnice, the dumpling served here is the classic Czech dumpling with meat filling. The bacon strips added the salty and crispy dimensions to the dish. The dish did have the classic flavour i am searching for.

Although I am not a 'meaty person', I do like Czech food a lot. Perhaps I have acclimated to it after spending few months in this beautiful country. I love Prague !!
Hlucná Samota, Prague

Hlucná Samota, Prague

Fried Salmon Steaks with Asparagus Garlic Lemon Pepper: Under €6 Meal

Yes, you read it right, €6 for 2 pax of pan-fried asparagus & salmon steaks. Affordable restaurant standard meal prepared at home in less than 30 minutes. That's the the beauty of home cook meal. The 2 pieces of marinated salmon steaks was sold for merely  € 4. I opted for the lemon-pepper-marinate flavor over the BBQ-marinate as the lemon-pepper salmon steak pairs better with asparagus.

The salmon steaks were packed in an aluminum container. You may just unseal the plastic cover on top, drizzle some olive oil and pop into the oven and bake for a 15-20 minutes. I prefer to pan-fry my salmon steaks instead. About 3-4 minutes for each side under medium heat with a tbsp of olive oil. Remember the skin side down first. The salmon steaks were well marinated and no extra seasoning is required.

Now, let's prepare the asparagus.
Ingredients: 500g asparagus (trimmed), 2 cloves of garlic (sliced), 1 tbsp olive oil, salt and pepper.

Direction: Heat-up a tbsp of olive oil in the skillet and lightly brown the garlic slices. Add in the
asparagus and cook for 3 minutes. Sprinkle some salt and pepper, pan fry for another 2 minutes. Serve your salmon steak and pan fried garlic asparagus with boiled potatoes or rice. I prefer rice as they are more substantial than potatoes *wink*

Al dente asparagus, crispy salmon skin, moist and flaky salmon steak, the dish scored. I will definitely make it again. (By the way, the 500g asparagus just cost a mere €1.60)

Crispy salmon skin
Al dente pan fried asparagus with garlic

Homestyle Taiwanese Braised Chinese Cabbage

Whenever I ordered 3 cups chicken take-away lunch set from my favorite Taiwanese restaurant, I always hope they packed me extra braised Chinese cabbage side dish. I can omit the meatball or the braised bean curd (鹵豆干)but I can never forgo the delicious braised Chinese cabbage (鹵白菜). In fact I hope they could give me extra. Too bad, it is not always the case. 

Because my 'great love' with braised Chinese cabbage, I decided to cook it myself , so I can enjoy it like a feast. It is quite a simple dish to make but require some patience as you will need to stew it for 20 minutes to soften the cabbage.

Chinese cabbage (medium size), 6 shiitake mushrooms (sliced), 3 stalks of scallion (cut into 2-3cm length, 5 slices of ginger, 5-8g of small dry shrimps, shredded carrots, white pepper, salt, oyster sauce, sugar, water, corn starch solution, cooking oil, sesame oil (optional).

1. Slightly fry the Chinese cabbage in hot oil (1 min). Alternatively you can boil the Chinese cabbage in hot water for few minutes. Set aside for later use.
2. In a pot, heat up some cooking oil.
3. Stir fry the dry shrimps and sliced shiitake mushroom till fragrant. Follow by scallion, ginger slices and shredded carrot.
3. Add in the fried or boiled Chinese cabbage and water and cook about 5 minutes.
4. Now, add in the seasoning - oyster sauce, sugar and salt according to taste.
5. Braise the cabbage for 20 minutes.
6. Add in the corn starch solution to thicken the sauce.
7. Sprinkle some white pepper and a dash of sesame oil, a quick stir and serve the braised Chinese cabbage with rice.

How to cook Thai Pineapple Fried Rice

There were fresh pineapples for free sampling of  in Føtex. That indeed had triggered my interest to attempt the Thai pineapple fried rice over the weekend. The typical Thai Pineapple Fried Rice is served in hollowed pineapple shell and fresh pineapple cubes are used. Pardon my cutting skill, I opted the canned syrup pineapple instead of the fresh pineapple.

Here are the ingredients required: a bowl of cooked rice, chicken fillet (cut into bite size cubes), corn kernels, canned pineapple (cut into cubes), onions (finely chopped), soy sauce, sugar, curry powder (small amount for coloring), cooking oil, salt and pepper. For garnishing, you will need cucumber slices, shredded egg, fried dried shrimps, chili slices.

1. Marinate the bite size chicken pieces with some salt, sugar, pepper and soy sauce. Set a side for 1 hour in the fridge for use later.
2. Sprinkle some curry powder onto the cooked rice and mix well. Since curry powder will overpower the overall flavor of the fried rice, hence, small amount will do, mainly for the coloring.
3. Heat up the oil in the pan, add in the chopped onions and stir fry till they turn fragrant.
4. Then add in the marinated chicken pieces and stir fry till they are cooked.
5. Add in the rice and seasoning and stir well.
6. Lastly, put in the pineapple cubes and corn kernels

Now, you may plate your fried rice and garnish it with cucumber slices, shredded egg, fried small shrimps, chili slices. There you go my version of Thai Pineapple Fried Rice.

a. Overnight rice is perfect for fried rice as it contains less moisture.
b. Fresh pineapple cubes are more succulent as compare to the canned version.
c. Fried dried shrimps help to enhance the overall taste of the fried rice. The savory salty flavor helps to balance up the sweetness from the pineapples.
d. If you prefer seafood, you may substitute the chicken cubes with shrimps.

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