Steamed Buns with Crispy Calamari & Korean Sauce

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Fried calamari is one of my favorite summer meals. And it is very cheap and easy to make at home. I must admit that cleaning squid is not favorite cooking activity but it doesn’t take very long and the finish product is well worth it. If you don’t feel like doing it, you can always buy them cleaned. The cornmeal and panko coating make the calamari rings extra crispy, just how I love them! For the buns, I just got them frozen at my local Asian store. Just 5 minutes in the steamer since they are quite small and I was done. No need to thaw them.

For the sauce, this time I went for Korean. For some freshness, I added a cucumber and radish salad in a sesame dressing. It is such a great combination with the crispy calamari. My hubby and I finished everything in no time.

This recipe makes 10 small sandwiches.

Ingredients:

10 small steamed buns, I get the frozen ones.

500grs of squid, about 8 small ones (cleaned)

For the coating:

2 cups of all-purpose flour

2 cups of panko

1 cup of cornmeal

½ teaspoon of onion powder

½ teaspoon of garlic powder

Salt

4 eggs, beaten

For the Korean sauce:

4 tablespoons of sesame oil

1 ½ tablespoons of minced ginger

3 cloves of garlic, minced

2 tablespoons of Korean chili paste

1 tablespoon of brown sugar

2 tablespoons of honey

1/3 of a cup of soy sauce

1 tablespoon of white vinegar

For the cucumber and radish salad with sesame dressing:

1 cucumber, thinly sliced

10 radishes, thinly sliced

¼ of a cup of sesame oil

1/3 of a cup of white vinegar

3 tablespoons of honey

2 tablespoons of soy sauce

1 tablespoon of ginger syrup (if you can’t find it, just add 1 teaspoon of grated ginger)

Juice of 1 lime

1 teaspoon of black sesame seeds

1 teaspoon of white sesame seeds

Extra:

1 litter of vegetable oil

Coriander for garnish

 

Start by making the sauce. Place the sesame oil in a medium pan over medium heat. Once the oil is hot, add the minced ginger, garlic and Korean chili paste. Cook while stirring for about 1 minute. Then add the brown sugar, honey, soy sauce and white vinegar. Stir until everything is well mixed and the sugar has dissolved. Once the sauce is ready, set it aside in a bowl.

To make the cucumber and radish salad, whisk all of the ingredients for the dressing until evenly combined. Then add the sliced cucumber and radish and mix well. Set it aside.

Then start to prepare the squid. You can ask your fishmonger to clean them for you or you can do it yourself. If you have never cleaned a squid before, start by slicing the tentacles off. Just slice it below the eyes. Reserve the tentacles but discard of the beak.

Then holding the body, pull out the head and the inner parts. Also remove the flaps. What I like to do is pull the squid inside out so I can rinse it properly under cold water, don’t forget to also rinse the tentacles. Then pull it back to normal and peel the thin skin so that you are left with only white meat. Pat the squid dry with some paper towels and then slice it into small rings. Repeat for all.

Once all your squid are cleaned, start making the coating. In a medium bowl, mix the panko, cornmeal, onion powder, garlic powder and a pinch of salt. Have another bowl ready with the beaten eggs and another one with the flour.

Dip each squid ring and tentacle in the flour, then the eggs and finally in the panko/cornmeal mixture. Repeat for all. Once all the calamari is well coated, place it on a tray in a single layer and keep it in the fridge until ready to fry.

In the meanwhile, start prepping your steamed buns. I got them frozen and they went into my steamer for 5 minutes without thawing. The time will depend on the instructions in the package.

Then place the vegetable oil in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Once the oil is hot, fry he calamari in batches until they are golden. This will only take a few minutes per batch. Just make sure the oil is not too hot that it burns them quickly.

Serve each bun with some of the cucumber and radish salad, calamari and drizzle some of the Korean sauce. Serve straight away. Enjoy!

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Korean-Style Pork Meatballs with Stir-fried Noodles

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This is an Asian version of spaghetti and meatballs. Juicy meatballs are coated in a sauce made with Korean chili paste, grated pear and other Asian ingredients. Because of the thick sauce for the meatballs, I kept the stir-fried noodles very simple.

This recipe makes about 19 meatballs and serves 3.

Ingredients:

For the meatballs:

500gr of minced pork

1 spring onion, finely sliced

1 tablespoon of minced ginger

1 teaspoon of garlic powder

1 teaspoon of onion powder

1 tablespoon of sesame oil

¾ cup of panko

Salt

1 tablespoon of vegetable oil

For the Korean-style sauce:

1 tablespoon of Korean chili paste (Gochujang)

1 pear, peeled & shredded

1 tablespoon of brown sugar

2 tablespoons of soy sauce

1 tablespoon of minced ginger

2 tablespoons of sesame oil

1 tablespoon of hoisin

Juice of ½ a lime

Pinch of salt

For the stir-fried noodles:

200gr of noodles of your choice (I used glass noodles)

3 ½ tablespoons of oyster sauce

3 tablespoons of soy sauce

2 tablespoons of sesame oil

1 spring onion, chopped

1 tablespoon of ginger syrup (if you can’t find it, you can use some minced ginger and some honey, or make a simple syrup infused with fresh ginger)

Extras:

Chopped chives

Sesame seeds

 

Start by making the meatballs. In a bowl, mix the minced pork with the spring onion, ginger, garlic powder, onion powder, sesame oil, panko and salt. Then using your hands, shape the mixture into meatballs. This will make about 19 meatballs; just don’t make them too big otherwise they will take longer to cook.

Place 1 tablespoon of vegetable oil in a non-stick pan over medium-high heat. Once the oil is hot, brown the meatballs. Try to brown them evenly.  Then transfer them to a plate and set them aside. Don’t clean the pan.

Blend all of the ingredients for the Korean-style sauce until smooth. Pour the sauce in the same pan where you browned the meatballs over medium heat. Add the meatballs and cook for about 5 minutes, stirring carefully so each meatball is evenly coated in the sauce.

Cook the noodles as instructed on the package. Heat up a pan or wok over medium heat. Once it is hot add the oyster sauce, soy sauce, sesame oil, spring onion and ginger syrup. Stir to mix it and then add the noodles. Stir-fry it for 1 to 2 minutes.

Divide the noodles among 3 plates. Then add the meatballs and the sauce. Finish it with some chopped chives and sesame seeds. Enjoy!

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