Modern Korean recipes for your Winter Olympics watch party

The book “Everyday Korean” offers bold and fresh takes on classic Korean-American fare.

  • Wednesday, February 14, 2018 7:02am
  • Life
Kimchi, bacon and cheddar seem like an unlikely trio, but they all come together beautifully in kimchi mac and cheese. (Leela Cyd)

Kimchi, bacon and cheddar seem like an unlikely trio, but they all come together beautifully in kimchi mac and cheese. (Leela Cyd)

By Erin Booke

The Dallas Morning News

The cookbook is billed as accessible Korean cooking with a modern twist.

“Everyday Korean,” by Kim Sunee and Seung Hee Lee, offers bold and fresh takes on classic Korean-American fare. Think kimchi bacon mac and cheese and gochujang sour cream. Nothing too difficult or intimidating.

Here are three recipes from the book that we want to eat while watching this year’s Winter Olympics, held in Pyeongchang County, South Korea.

Kimchi bacon mac and cheese

Kimchi, bacon and cheddar seem like an unlikely trio, but they all come together beautifully. The trick is to saute the kimchi in butter to soften the funk.

4 to 6 slices bacon, diced

1 tablespoon unsalted butter

14 ounces kimchi (store-bought is fine), drained and chopped

3 tablespoons all-purpose flour

2 to 3 cups whole or semi-skim milk

1 pound cooked short pasta, such as elbow macaroni, fusilli or penne rigate

Freshly ground black pepper

Dash of hot sauce

8 ounces grated comte or cheddar, or a combination of both

Garnish thinly sliced green onion

Cook the bacon over medium-high heat in a large, oven-safe skillet for about 7 minutes, until the bacon is cooked through and starting to crisp. If there’s more than 3 tablespoons of rendered fat, omit adding the butter. Otherwise, add the butter.

Add the chopped kimchi and saute, stirring occasionally for 5 to 8 minutes. Sprinkle the flour over the kimchi, stir, and cook for 1 minute. Add 2 cups of the milk and, stirring constantly, bring to a boil, then lower the heat to medium-low and cook, stirring, until the sauce is slightly thickened.

Stir in the cooked pasta, pepper and hot sauce, if using. Add a little more milk if too thick. Turn off the heat and stir in the cheeses. If the mixture is thick, add a little bit more milk. Taste and adjust seasoning as you add more milk. Garnish with green onion and serve.

Makes 4 to 6 servings.

Extra-crispy baked chicken wings two ways

So many recipes for “baked” fried wings actually require partial frying. These are truly baked but come out of the oven supercrisp and highly addictive. We like to serve half of the wings with the Sweet and Spicy Wing Sauce and drizzle the other half with warm honey and sesame seeds. Also, you might want to double the sauce recipe; it’s great in place of ketchup for a kicked-up burger, stirred into your favorite barbecue sauce, smeared on a piece of bread when making grilled cheese, or as a dipping sauce for sweet potato fries.

4½ pounds chicken wings, tips discarded, and cut at the joints into flats and drumettes, if desired

4 teaspoons baking powder

1 teaspoon onion or garlic powder (optional)

1 teaspoon salt

½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Canola oil to grease foil (optional)

Honey, rosemary sprig and toasted sesame seeds for garnish

Place the chicken in a large colander. Rinse under cold water and pat dry. Place the wings on two wire cooling racks set over two baking sheets and let sit at room temperature for 30 minutes or, preferably, overnight, uncovered, in the refrigerator.

Preheat the oven to 275 degrees. Combine the baking powder, onion or garlic powder, if using, salt and pepper in a large bowl. Add the dried wings and toss to coat evenly. Line two baking sheets with aluminum foil (lightly greased) or parchment paper (no need to grease) and divide the seasoned wings equally between the two baking sheets.

Place two oven racks on the lowest levels of the oven and bake the chicken for 30 minutes. Switch the baking sheets, increase the temperature to 425 degrees, and bake for another 20 to 25 minutes until golden and extra crispy. There’s no need to turn the chicken, but turn the pans around and switch them from one rack to another for even cooking.

Making the Sweet and Spicy Wing Sauce: Combine 4 tablespoons ketchup, 3 tablespoons gochugaru, 2 to 3 tablespoons gochujang, 2 tablespoons low-sodium soy sauce, 1 tablespoon rice vinegar or cider vinegar, 1 to 2 tablespoons rice syrup (or maple syrup), 1 tablespoon honey or brown sugar, 1 tablespoon apricot or peach preserves, about ¼ cup water, 2 tablespoons minced garlic, and juice from ½ orange, plus one 1-inch strip of zest in a medium-size saucepan over medium heat and bring to a low boil. Lower the heat to medium-low and let simmer, stirring occasionally, for about 10 minutes. Taste and add more vinegar or honey, as desired.

When the wings are finished, place half the wings in a large bowl and toss with the sauce; place the sauced wings on one side of a large serving platter. Place the remaining half of (unsauced) wings on the other side of the platter. Lightly warm honey in a small saucepan, immersing the rosemary sprig in the honey, if using. Drizzle over the unsauced side of the wings and sprinkle with toasted sesame seeds.

Makes 10 servings.

Beef bulgogi meatballs

Bulgogi, one of Korea’s most popular beef dishes made of very thin slices marinated and then grilled at a very hot tableside grill, is often served in restaurants. At home, getting the thin bits of beef crispy is hard to mimic and often results in overcooked and anemic-looking meat, so we took the flavors of bulgogi and made mini meatballs for sliders or to top rice bowls.

¼ cup low-sodium soy sauce

2 teaspoons fish sauce

3 tablespoons dark brown sugar

¼ Asian pear, or Bosc or Bartlett pear, grated

2 tablespoons minced garlic

3 tablespoons minced green onion

¾ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

2 tablespoons toasted sesame oil

1 large egg, lightly beaten

⅓ cup homemade dried bread crumbs or panko

1 pound ground beef, preferably chuck and short rib

1 pound ground pork or veal

Neutral oil, such as canola or grapeseed, for panfrying (optional)

8 small slider buns, such as brioche or sesame buns or lettuce leaves and steamed rice

Cheddar, mayonnaise, mustard, for toppings (optional)

Combine the soy sauce, fish sauce, brown sugar, pear, garlic, green onion, black pepper, and sesame oil in a large bowl; whisk well. Add the egg, bread crumbs, and ground meats and mix just to combine all the ingredients, being careful not to overmix. Cover and let chill in the refrigerator for 30 minutes and up to 2 hours.

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Form the meat mixture into about 18 slider patties or 40 to 50 mini meatballs and place on a baking sheet. Bake the patties or meatballs until golden and cooked through but still tender and moist, 18 to 20 minutes, turning the pan halfway through cooking time to ensure even cooking. Alternatively, heat about 1 tablespoon of neutral oil in a large pan over medium-high heat. Add the patties or meatballs, being careful not to overcrowd the pan. Cook, shaking the pan occasionally, until the meat starts to brown on one side, about 3 minutes. Gently turn and cook for another 3 to 4 minutes, or until the meatballs are just cooked through and still tender.

If making sliders and adding cheese, top the patties with cheese about 2 minutes before the cooking time is over. Toast the slider buns and top with the patties and extra pan sauce and your favorite toppings. Meatballs can be served with lettuce leaves and rice, or on top of rice bowls.

Makes 18 servings.

— Excerpted from “Everyday Korean” by Kim Sunee and Seung Hee Lee. Copyright 2017 by Kim Sunee and Seung Hee Lee. Used with permission of the publisher, Countryman Press. All rights reserved.

“Everyday Korean”

By Kim Sunee and Seung Hee Lee

Countryman Press. 256 pages. $29.95.

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