Friday, February 15, 2013

What in the world is kimchi?

Hello Crushers!

One group of friends never seems to be able to have a Christmas party, so we started having a Chinese New Year party instead. While only a few Chinese dishes get made, it's mostly one big food party with handmade presents. There a sandwiches, egg rolls, hush puppies, slaw, cheese cake, beer and cheese dip and all sorts of crazy but delicious foods! This year, I decided to try something Korean: Kimchi Tuna Rice Patties. Sooooo goooood.

When my mom asked what I was going to make, I told her, and her first reaction was, "What in the world is kimchi?" Actually, I posted a picture of it on facebook and she asked that. Anyway...

From left to right: Chili paste, kimchi, sesame oil
Kimchi is like Korean sauerkraut. It's a cabbage-based condiment that has a vinegary sourness to it. It also has some shrimp and radish in there, so WARNING shellfish allergy people. I had a lot of fun going to buy it, too.

You see, you can't just buy kimchi at any old store. You need an Asian grocery or market. Fortunately, there is a grocery called Pacific Produce in Milwaukee, and let me tell you, it was amazing. My cousin, Caitlin, and her friend Danielle came along on this grocery field trip. I REALLY wanted to take out my camera and start snapping pictures of all the stuff I saw (and half I couldn't read), but I didn't want to be that girl. I also didn't want to get banned from the store. They had foods like jack fruit, frozen cuttlefish, and tofu in every shape and size.

The funniest part of this grocery trip was that I'm in the middle of an aisle entirely devoted to rice and rice noodles (there are that many kinds), a country music song came on over the radio. It was like East meets West in the rice aisle. I'm not saying that to be a jerk, I'm just saying that it totally threw me off-guard.

Anyway, here is my attempt at making these delicious tuna and kimchi snacks!
Kimchi Tuna Rice Patties

1 cup kimchi chopped

1 (5oz, 145g) canned tuna, drained well (depending on your environmental stance, you may want to choose the wild caught, dolphin safe kind like I did!)
3 tablespoon kimchi juice (or as much as you can get out of the jar)
2-3 green onion, chopped
1 teaspoon sesame oil
1 tsp hot chili paste/sauce (optional)
4 cups cooked short grain white rice (my rice wasn't very sticky)
as many sheets of plain roasted seaweeds as you need
NOTE: buy a triangular rice shaper thingy like the other blog says. Mine worked OK in the cupcake pans, but they fell apart. Argh...

Start your rice since that will take the longest. If you don't have a rice cooker (like me - I know!), follow the stove top directions.
Yes, it really is that bright red. Chop up those big cabbage chunks!
Chop up the kimchi on a washable surface. Throw it all in a pan and saute the kimchi for about 2 minutes or until it gets soft. Take those two minutes to try and scrub the red juice off your cutting board and hands. You'll get it off your hands, but you might as well throw the cutting board right into the dishwasher.

Once the kimchi is heated through, add the tuna, sesame oil, chili paste (optional) and chopped green onions. You'll want this to cook this all together until the mixture gets kind of dry. I have never used some of these ingredients before, but wow does it make your kitchen smell fantastic! Especially the roasty-toasty smell of the sesame seed oil!

The happy red spoon is happily stirring.

NOTE: This is where I totally veer off from how the Holly did it at Beyond Kimchee.

If you don't have the rice shaper thingy, hunt for something in your kitchen that could hold about a half cup of rice. Since I had to travel for two hours to get to the party with these snacks, I used cupcake tins because a) they make travel easy, b) it's about the right size, c) I have two of them, and d) they stack!

While letting the rice and tuna mixtures cool enough for handling, chop up your seaweed into strips about 1.5 inches by 5 inches. I just took the seaweed sheets and cut them in half and half again until they were about right.

This is before you put the rest of the rice on top.
In order to fill them, place a piece of seaweed across the top of one of the holes. Firmly, fill it half way with rice and make a little dent in the bottom so it's shaped like a bowl or nest. Put about a tablespoon of the tuna mixture into the dent/bowl/nest, but not too much that it hangs over the sides. Take more rice and firmly cover it up and then wrap in seaweed. If your rice is the right texture/stickiness, you will be able to pop those things out of the tins and serve them in cute little circles.
Cute little circles!
I ended up making 24 of these things. Can you believe it?

However, if you had some trouble with that, ahem, you're going to need a spoon and some patience. You can eat them cold and they taste pretty great, or if yours totally fell apart when you tried "popping" them out of the tins, just toss the insides of about three of these in a bowl, pop it in the microwave and eat it for dinner with a bit of soy sauce or more kimchi. Either way, it's hit!

No comments:

Post a Comment