Bean Sprout & Coriander ‘Kimchee’

So, this isn’t technically a Kimchee, but it’s where the foundations of this recipe came from. Bean sprouts are one of the items that supermarkets simply don’t sell in small portion sizes, they also perish very quickly and the lack of a desire to eat stir-fry 5 nights in a row, forced me to come up with some other options for the short-lived bean sprout.

I found this Recipe, on the excellent blog Beyond Kimchee, a blog dedicated to Korean food, and as this was my first foray into a Kimchee creation, what better place to start?

Now I didn’t have all the ingredients to follow this recipe, but below is an example of how recipes can be used as a base and adapted to cater for items you do have in stock:

INGREDIENTS

  • 4 x Shallots
  • 2 x Garlic Cloves
  • 2cm piece of ginger
  • Handful of coriander
  • 300g bean sprouts
  • 2 tsps chilli flakes
  • 1 tbsp fish sauce
  • 1/2 tbsp rice wine vinegar
  • Pinch salt
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • 1 tsp sesame oil
  • 1 tbsp sesame seeds
  • Squeeze lime

METHOD

Steam bean sprouts for 4 minutes

Toast sesame seeds in a dry frying pan for 2 mins, until they start to ‘pop’

Allow hot ingredients to cool

Chop all other ingredients and combine in a bowl

Once cool, add the bean sprouts and toasted sesame seeds

Eat immediately or allow to marinate and ferment in the fridge over night

TIPS

Some more specialized ingredients may be hard to find in supermarkets, it’s always worth searching online for cheaper, more readily available substitutes

Fish Sauce, sesame oil and vinegar (rice wine or white wine) are what I consider to be cupboard staples if you’re a fan of Asian cooking as they form the base of many Asian sauces and dressings

The bean sprout kimchee is a great accompaniment for many meat/fish dishes, particularly salmon for which I have a complimentary recipe for Sweet chilli salmon here.

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Sweet Chilli Salmon with Asian Vegetables

Salmon is one of my midweek time saving meals. It’s quick to cook, can be served with pretty much any side and gives rise to a huge variety of optional flavour mix ups; from simple lemon and parsley to teriyaki salmon or something more unusual, such as sweet chilli.

The idea for this dish was again down to leftover ingredients mentioned in my No Shop Week blog, which included fresh salmon fillets that I’d frozen alongside carrots and green beans.

The vegetables screamed stir-fry at me and Asian flavours are so easy to achieve with a few stock cupboard essentials.

If you’re a fan of Asian food, I’d recommend always keeping in store soy sauce, sesame oil, honey and; a new discovery on my part; ginger paste (although only buy this if you will use the paste regularly as it does have a shortish self life when open). In terms of flavour, I prefer fresh ginger but I like the fact that keeping paste in stock, opens up the opportunity to throw together a huge variety of Asian sauces without having to visit the shop.

I’m a flavour junky and I knew I wanted to stir fry the vegetables with sesame and soy but I didn’t want the salmon to be bland so I coated it in sweet chilli sauce, covered it in foil and baked in the oven for 15 mins. Whilst the salmon was cooking I prepared the veg, chopping the baby carrots and green beans into long thin slices.

In a wok, I heated a tbsp of oil and fried a clove of crushed garlic with a tsp of ginger paste for a minute, before tossing in the veg. I then added a tbsp of sesame oil and 2 tbsps of soy sauce and stir fried for a further few minutes before serving with the salmon. And that’s how to quickly make great Asian style side.

(Again I’m not one for measuring, as a guide two to one of sesame vs. soy is a good start. Sesame oil is very strong flavoured so I tend to start small and adjust as I taste)

If you fancy some carbs, this dish will be great with rice or why not flake the cooked salmon up and stir fry with the veg and a portion of egg noodles.

 

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Grilled Halloumi and Cherry Tomatoes with Mint Pesto

Despite the packaging on the Basil clearly reading “keep me away from the cold”, the packet of Basil had ended up squished in the bottom of the fridge past it’s prime, alongside a few sprigs of floppy mint and some wrinkly cherry tomatoes.

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Normally when I have left over Basil, I make myself some home-made pesto and as I only had a few sprigs of mint left, I decided to throw them in. I’ve never made any other pesto other than bog standard pesto but I’ve heard adding mushrooms, mint and a whole other host of ingredients can create great variations on the original.

I couldn’t remember the correct measurements so I just threw all the herbs into a blender with two tbsps of toasted pine-nuts, a crushed garlic clove and a good glug of olive oil. I always find pesto takes a while to blend, during the blending I gave the mix an occasional stir and gradually added more olive oil until I was happy with the consistency.

After I tipped the mix out of the blender for a taste test, I discovered my hap hazard approach to pesto making had led to me missing out a vital ingredient…parmesan.

Not wanting to re-blend, I just added grated parmesan to the finished product (probably not how the Italians do it but hey-ho it tasted pretty good).image-3image-4

 The best thing about making any paste from fresh herbs, is that it pro-longs the life of the herbs and can be used for a huge variety of dishes such as pasta sauces, meat marinades or salad dressings.

I decided to go for the old BBQ classic of grilled halloumi and cherry tomatoes, a proper recipe for which can be found at bonappetit.com.

As I didn’t have a BBQ, or any skewers, I continued with my hap hazard approach to cooking by throwing halloumi and cherry tomatoes into an oven-proof dish, and whacked them underneath the grill for 5 minutes before mixing with the pesto.

And hey presto,  a few wrinkly past their best ingredients created a great dish that can be eaten as an appetizer or lightish supper/salad.

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