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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Cucumber “Noodle” & Radish Salad with Miso Salmon

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I love to making oven-roasted miso salmon. This miso sauce adds so much flavor and I love to pair it with a cucumber and radish salad. This time I made the cucumber into noodles by using my mandoline with the julienne attachment. A very easy and flavorsome meal.

This recipe serves 2.

Ingredients:

For the salmon:

320 grs of Salmon, pin bones removed and sliced into 2 fillets

2 tablespoons of red miso paste

2 tablespoons of brown sugar

¼ cup of soy sauce

2 tablespoons of peeled and grated fresh ginger

2 tablespoons of white vinegar

2 tablespoons of sesame oil

2 teaspoons of white sesame seeds

For the cucumber noodles:

3 cucumbers, washed

10 radishes, thinly sliced

2 tablespoons of black sesame seeds

For the sesame dressing:

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

 

To prepare the cucumber and radish salad. You can use a mandoline or a spiralizer. I used my mandoline with the julienne attachment. I sliced the cucumber into noddles, but I stopped when I got to the seed part (discard the core). For the radishes, I just thinly sliced them.

Place the cucumber noodles in a large sieve with a bowl underneath to catch all of the water. Let it stand like these to loose the moisture until ready to serve.

To make the vinaigrette, place all of the ingredients in a jar with a lid, seal it and shake it. Set aside.

To prepare the salmon, whisk the vinegar, miso, brown sugar, sesame oil, soy sauce and ginger in a bowl until combined.

Put the salmon on a plate and add the miso sauce. Make sure to coat the salmon pieces well in the marinade. Cover with plastic film and refrigerate for 20 minutes.

Preheat the oven to 180C.

Remove the salmon from the fridge and place it on an oven dish lined with parchment paper. Pour some of the sauce on top and cook for about 10 minutes.

After 10 minutes, turn on the broiler on for about 2 minutes. Check constantly so it doesn’t burn. It should be a bit browned.

Remove the salmon from the oven.

Press on the cucumber noodles to try to get most of the moisture out. Then place the cucumber noodles in a bowl, add the radishes, black sesame seeds and the sesame dressing. Mix well.

Divide the salad among 2 bowls and add the roasted salmon. Sprinkle some white sesame seeds over the salmon. Enjoy!

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Cauliflower & Ricotta Fritters with Radish Salad (fritters made with cauliflower & radish leaves)

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I have been following the amazing Sarah Phillips on Instagram (@food) for a while now. Not too long ago she created another account called Ugly Produce is Beautiful (@uglyproduceisbeautiful), to create awareness of how much food is wasted. It is a great initiative to educate people of how you can actually use produce that is considered imperfect or not good for sale anymore. And parts of produce that you might not know are edible, like radish and cauliflower leaves.

In an effort to promote less food waste, I created this recipe. I roasted the cauliflower (florets plus stem) with spices and olive oil and then mixed it with the chopped cauliflower leaves, radish leaves, ricotta and Parmesan. I finally served the fritters with a simple radish salad. It makes a delicious vegetarian meal!

This recipe serves 3.

Ingredients:

For the fritters:

1 small cauliflower

¼ cup of olive oil

1 teaspoon of onion powder

1 teaspoon of garlic powder

½ teaspoon of celery salt

Cayenne to taste

Salt

Pepper

Radish leaves (from the bunch for the salad), finely chopped

Zest of 1 lemon

2 eggs

125gr of ricotta

60gr of grated Parmesan

1/3 cup of bread crumbs

1/3 cup of panko

1/3 cup of cornmeal

For the radish salad:

1 bunch of radishes, julienned (I used a mandoline)

1 1/2 tablespoons of chopped chives

For the dressing:

1/3 cup of olive oil

¼ cup of white vinegar

Juice of 1 lemon

1 tablespoon of honey

1 teaspoon of mustard

Salt

Extra:

Olive oil for pan-frying the fritters

 

Preheat your oven to 230C/446F and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

Remove the leaves from the cauliflower and finely chop them. Set them aside.

Finely chop the cauliflower, including the stem. Try not to leave any big chunks. Place the chopped cauliflower in a large bowl. Add ¼ cup of olive oil, onion powder, garlic powder, cayenne, celery salty, salt and pepper. Mix well and spread it over the prepared baking sheet. Place it in the oven and roast for 20 minutes, stirring half way through.

To make the dressing just place all of the ingredients in a jar, put the lid on and shake it. Set it aside.

Remove the cauliflower from the oven and allow it to cool down for 10 minutes.

In a large bowl, mix the chopped cauliflower leaves, chopped radish leaves, lemon zest, ricotta and parmesan. Mix well. Then add the cauliflower, panko, bread crumbs, cornmeal and a pinch of salt. Mix to combine and then add the eggs. Mix everything well.

Pour about 3 tablespoons of olive oil in a large pan over medium heat. Grab about 2 tablespoons of the cauliflower mixture and shape it into a ball, place it in the pan and repeat for a few more. Flatten it a bit with the back of a spatula. Cook until brown on both sides. Repeat for the rest. It’s better to make the fritters small so they don’t break while flipping them.

Add some of the dressing to the julienned radishes and chives, mix well. Serve the fritters with the radish salad and extra dressing on the side.

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Beet & Barley Salad with Black Radish, Brussels Sprouts, Arugula, Kumquat & Grana Padano

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This past Saturday at the Farmer’s market, I got some beautiful black radishes. I had never seen them before so I was very excited to give them a try. They are stronger in flavor than the average radish. They are a bit spicy. I wanted to keep things simple so I just thinly sliced one radish (they are quite big) and added it to a simple beet & barley salad. This one is a bit different since I cooked the barley in a mixture of vegetable stock and beet juice. A delicious and filling salad for these colder months.

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This recipe serves 3.

Ingredients:

For the barley:

2 cups of barley

1 ½ cups of beet juice

4 ½ cups of vegetable stock

For the salad:

75 grs of arugula

1 black radish, thinly sliced

9 kumquats, thinly sliced

30 grs of thinly sliced Grana Padano cheese

12 Brussels sprouts, stems trimmed, halved and leaves separated

1 tablespoon of olive oil

Salt

Pepper

For the balsamic dressing:

1/3 cup of olive oil

1/3 cup of balsamic vinegar

1 teaspoon of mustard

2 tablespoons of honey

Salt

Pepper

 

Cook the barley with the stock and beet juice over medium heat for about 40 minutes, until all of the liquid has been absorbed and the barley is tender. Once it is cooked, let it stand for 5 minutes with the heat off. Then transfer it to a bowl and allow it to cool down for a bit.

To make the dressing, just place all of the ingredients in a jar and close it with a lid. Shake it until it emulsifies. Set it aside.

To cook the Brussels sprouts, place the olive oil in a large pan over medium heat. Add the Brussels sprouts leaves, salt and pepper. Cook them for about 20 seconds. Set them aside.

To plate the salad, mix the arugula with the barley. Divide it over 3 plates. Top with the radish, kumquats, Grana Padano and Brussels sprouts. Serve he salad with the dressing on the side.

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