Saturday, December 17, 2011

Faux Bulgogi

FateDo you believe?  Chance occurrences that tug us this way and that, seemingly random and without objective, but ultimately with a purpose we could not have even guessed.  A tricky subject, fate.  Do we relinquish all control to it?  Or do we take our free will firmly in hand, never let go, and leave no room for fate in our life?

I think life is a little bit of both.  Happiness lies in finding the balance between going for what you want with determined intent and purpose, and allowing life to take you in its current with wonder still in your heart.  It’s believing in your own power and a higher power all at once, and seeing that it is not at all contradictory.

Choice and fate – they don’t have to be at opposite ends of the dance floor.  I choose to trust in fate the same way I can choose to change my fate.  I choose to pick myself up and look on the bright side.  These are things that I choose to do. 

And fate can help, if you let it.  It can lead you to happy accidents like meeting your husband, or a tiny seaside restaurant that serves the best cazuela de mariscos, or a recipe not followed that turns out even better that you expected.

Faux Bulgogi
(adapted from the Bulgogi Recipe of Hyosun of Eating and Living as featured on Rasa Malaysia)
  • 3 tablespoons Korean red chili pepper paste (gochujang)
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoons rice wine (or mirin)
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 tablespoon sesame oil
  • 1 tablespoon garlic, very finely minced
  • 1 tablespoon grated ginger
  • 1/8 teaspoon black pepper
  • 400-500 grams “bacon-cut” pork belly (if you don’t see this cut, just ask the butcher to slice the pork belly thinly)
  • 1/2 medium onion, thinly sliced
  • 3-4 spring onions, sliced on the diagonal
  • A drizzle of canola oil
  • Optional: Korean red chili pepper flakes (gochugaru) or any dried chili flakes – the original recipe called for it but I didn’t have any so I went without.  You can go ahead and add chili flakes if you’d like it spicier.

- Place the gochujang, soy sauce, rice wine/mirin, sugar, sesame oil, garlic, ginger, pepper in a bowl and mix well.
- Cut the pork belly into pieces about 2 inches long.
- Mix the pork with the onions, spring onions, and marinade.  Mix well and marinate for at least an hour.
- Heat a skillet or wok over medium high heat.  Add a touch of oil just so the meat won’t stick.  Add the pork belly and marinade into the pan, scrape everything in there.  Cook, tossing frequently, until pork is cooked and the marinade has bubbled and reduced.  There won’t be much marinade left, it will be coating the meat thickly.
- Serve garnished with more spring onions atop a steaming pile of rice!

Alright.  First things first.  Why “faux bulgogi”?  Because in the original recipe you are supposed to grill the pork strips, or at the very least lay them on a skillet nicely and cook them one side at a time.  I’ll admit, I was not trying to achieve a better result by dumping the whole lot (pork, marinade, and all) in my skillet – I was, in fact, just lazy.  But what a fortuitous delight (happy accident!) that turned out to be.  The marinade turned thick and sticky and amazing, clinging and coating the pork while the onions softened and turned just a touch caramelized. 

This recipe also led me to the discovery of gochujang and I am smitten!  I need to go out and buy (much) more because I am most definitely making this again, and I am very excited to find other ways to use it.

Happy accidentsreally, where would we be without them?  Let them happen!


Mieke Zamora-Mackay said...

I love the new look of the site!

Of course faux or otherwise Bulgogi is a true favorite in this Mackay household. Merry Christmas, Jo and C, and the Little One.

Rosa's Yummy Yums said...

That faux Bulgogi looks mighty scrumptious and beautiful!



Paz said...

you're right. where would we be without 'happy accidents'. yes, indeed, "let them happen"! :-D

love your new blog look!

Mark said...

Tasty looking!

Anh said...

I hope all of us will have happy accidents, more! :)

Betty Ann @Mango_Queen said...

Wow,this Bulgogi just made me so hungry.Awesome dish.Must try it. Thanks for sharing!Merry Christmas,Joey!

ChichaJo said...

Hi Mieke! Thank you!! :) It always puts a smile on my face :) Merry Christmas to you and your family as well from us!

Hi Rosa! Thank you!

Hi Paz! Thanks!! Yes, always keep eyes and heart open for "happy accidents" :)

Thanks Mark :)

Hi Anh! That is my hope too! :)

Hi Betty Ann! I love it! So making this again :) Merry Christmas to you as well!!

Midge said...

Faux it may be, but it looks like a scrumptious, satisfying dish for supper!

Junglefrog said...

Love the look of that bulgogi and yes where would life be without happy accidents or the fate that they will happen ? Merry Christmas Jo!

ChichaJo said...

Hi Midge! I liked it so much I bought all the ingredients again and am making it soon!

Hi Simone! Merry Christmas to you as well! :)