Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Korean Mixed Warm Rice with Eggs, Vegetables and Shrimps

It was nearly end of summer this year when my friend Anne and I decided to go for a good Korean meal on the south shore of Montreal, after spending a relaxing afternoon at a spa. The sun was shining and the temperature was hitting the mid 20Cs. We started with a great lunch at the spa which we pleasantly savoured over a good conversation. Our meal consisted of grilled sandwiches filled with turkey and avocado. We were enjoying every moment that our afternoon just flew by. It was getting chilly later that evening which was a sign that it was time for us to leave and have our second meal of the day! We didn't know what we were in the mood for, but anything good, hearty and different from spa food was going to surely hit the spot, after an exhaustive and grueling day of sitting around in hot tubs, steam rooms and saunas!

Once hopped in the car, we cruised around on Taschereau Blvd ,the busiest boulevard on the south shore and definitely the least esthetically pleasing, in my opinion. Regardless, there is quite a huge variety of Asian restaurants popping up lately on that boulevard. So as we were looking around for a good place to eat, we spotted one of the best Chinese restaurants in town, Kam Phung. We were so indecisive, but just a couple of doors east of Kam Phung was a little Korean restaurant, Dae Jang Kum, which caught our attention. It seemed to cry out 'genuine' and 'small family-run eatery with quick service'. We were both in the mood for something different, nothing fancy, food we don't have often. The place looked somewhat inexpensive yet very inviting from the outside, only because it had a simple sign with a very-hard-to-remember name, which spelled authentic.

The minute we walked in, the aroma of grilling meat and steamed white rice tempted us even more to quickly take a seat and order our food. The place was small, cozy and a refreshing change of scenery. We were aleady famished. Since it wasn't our first time eating Korean food, we were ready to order our favourite dish, the famous Korean pancake, called Pajeon, made primarily from a batter of eggs, flour, rice flour, green onions and other additional ingredients depending on the variety. We ordered the one with seafood. Another dish which looked interesting was one we discreetly spotted from the table next to us. It was one of those mouth-watering dishes made of steamed white rice, grilled beef, chopped scallions and a sweet chili sauce that was sizzling in a hot cast iron bowl. What was great about the hot bowl is that it added a nice little crunch to the rice at the bottom. The meal itself is known as Bibimbap, a simple yet amazingly delicious dish comprised of warm white rice topped with namul (sautéed and seasoned vegetables) and gochujang (chili pepper paste). A fried egg and sliced meat (usually beef) are common additions. The ingredients are stirred together thoroughly just before eating. Absolutely savoury! The Pajeon pancake was a little disappointing as it wasn't as thick and crispy as the one we're used to. We were just thankful that we had discovered the rice dish and thoroughly enjoyed it. If you can't find a Korean restaurant near your place to try out the Bibimbap, it's quite easy to guess which ingredients were put together to concoct this meal. I tried it for the first time yesterday based on my memory of the taste and the texture. It turned out to be very close to the one I had eaten at the Korean restaurant. It was incredibly flavourful and fragrant. The recipe is also a quick and easy one if you have very little time to cook after a day's work. I don't have the exact measurements of ingredients but if you are one who is adventurous and cooks by feel and taste, then go for it!

Preparation : 10 minutes, Cooking 10 minutes

Recipe "au pif" for 1 person:

Steamed white Jasmine rice

1 fried egg (I prefer runny)

dash of fish sauce

dash of low sodium soya sauce

a drizzle of sesame oil

seared plump jumbo shrimps, or meat if you prefer

caramelized onions (adds sweetness to the dish)

Chinese garlic chives, or scallions

chili paste

Add rice in the hot bowl and top with the rest of ingredients.

Mix and serve hot with chili paste. Though I did not have a hot iron plate or stone bowl, I served the meal in a hot wok on the table. My next purchase will surely be a cast iron serving dish!

Share and enjoy!


Benji - The Margaret River Guide said...

sounds like a great way to finish of your Spa. The Korean shrimp dish realy does sounds simple and i am sure it will be fast.
thanks for sharing and I will try it out as prawns are in season here in Western Australia.

QlinArt said...

Thank you Benji! It's very quick indeed. I made this dish when I had no idea what to make for dinner! Fast and easy when you're feeling lazy. But making it invigorated me!