Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Korean Mac and Cheese.

It's cold.  I feel like summer just ended and winter hit us like a ton of bricks.  This calls for rich, hearty, soul food that warms from the inside.  Dduk Bok Ki, or as I like to call it, Korean Mac and Cheese, does just the trick. 

I was introduced to this delicious dish several years ago when a friend of mine brought it to our big family and friends Thanksgiving feast.  There was cheese, lots of carbs and a delicious spicy sauce.  It made me happy in just the same way mac and cheese does.  Thus, we dubbed it Korean Mac and Cheese.

So here we go.  First you need to go to an Asian or Korean food market and get a package of dduk and gochujang, a Korean hot chili paste.  Dduk are basically rods of rice gluten.  In addition to that, you are really free to add whatever you want.  To make it as healthy and wholesome as possible, I also included fried tofu, carrots, cabbage, onion, and red and green bell peppers.  (In the past, I've also made it with fish balls instead of tofu.)

First you have to make the sauce.  In a small bowl, mix 2 tablespoons of the gochujang with a tablespoon of sesame oil, 2 tablespoons or so of soy sauce, and a tablespoon of sugar.  Mince a clove of garlic very finely and add that to the sauce as well.  You can add salt and pepper of you want, but all those ingredients are really heavy on flavor so I don't think the salt is necessary.  Set aside.

Cut the dduk rods into 2 inch pieces and place in a bowl of cold water.  Set a separate pot of water to boil.

Now, saute onions for a few minutes in a large wok or saute pan.  Add the carrots, cabbage and peppers and cook for several minutes. 

Boil the dduk for about 5 minutes.  They will float and puff up when they're ready.  Add a tablespoon of the boiling water to the sauce that you made earlier.  This makes mixing it in at the end a little easier.

Before the dduk.
Once the dduk are boiled and the vegetables are cooked and heated through, add the dduk to the pan and pour on the sauce.  Stir to combine. 

After the dduk and sauce.
Now you're almost there.  At this point, I bet many of you are saying "Hey, where's my cheese?  How can it be called mac and cheese without any cheese?"  Trust me, I totally understand, I too feel very strongly about cheese.  Never fret, here it is:

Slice up some cheddar baby!
Layer the top of the whole pan with slices of cheddar and cover to let it melt all delicious-like. 

Now, you're finished.  Sprinkle on some sliced scallions and sesame seeds, and try not to eat the whole pan.  It's really easy.  But it's also really easy to get a major stomach ache because of it.  There are two things in this world that, never fail, I will eat until I am in complete pain.  Those two things are Popcorn and Korean Mac and Cheese.  Don't be like me.  Don't get a stomach ache.  But enjoy.  It'll keep you warm all over.

It's even prettier with the scallions and sesame seeds.

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