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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Sesame & Peanut Ramen with Ketjap Marinated Chicken

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If you have never heard of Ketjap, it is a sweet Indonesian soy sauce. It is very popular here and you can find it at any supermarket. For this recipe you need to marinate the chicken for at least 30 minutes in the fridge but the rest is done very quickly. The chicken caramelizes very nicely in the pan and it is still juicy inside. I love the creamy sesame and peanut sauce, and it makes a filling dish.

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This recipe serves 3.

Ingredients:

For the chicken:

700gr of boneless and skinless chicken thighs

1/3 cup of Ketjap manis

1 ½ tablespoons of ginger syrup

2 tablespoon of white vinegar

1 tablespoon of sesame oil

½ teaspoon of onion powder

½ a teaspoon of garlic powder

1 tablespoon of chili oil

A good pinch of salt

Pepper

For the sesame and peanut sauce:

4 tablespoons of sesame oil

1/3 cup of smooth peanut butter

2 tablespoons of soy sauce

Juice of 1 lime

1 teaspoon of chili oil

1 tablespoon of ginger syrup

1 tablespoon of water

1 tablespoon of white vinegar

2 spring onions, thinly chopped

1 tablespoon of black sesame seeds

1 tablespoon of white sesame seeds

3 tablespoons of freshly chopped coriander

Extras:

300gr of ramen noodles, or the noodles of your choice

A handful of chopped toasted peanuts (optional)

 

Place the chicken along with the rest of the ingredients for the marinade in a medium bowl. Cover it with plastic wrap and let it sit in the fridge for 30 minutes.

To make the sesame and peanut sauce, just whisk all the ingredients together in large bowl. Set it aside.

Once the 30 minutes for the chicken are up, heat up a large pan over medium heat. Once the pan is hot, add the chicken in batches, be careful because it will splatter. Let it cook for about 3 minutes per side until they are cooked through and caramelized.  Repeat for the rest of the chicken. Finally slice the chicken and taste for salt.

Cook the noodles as instructed in the package. Then drain them and toss them in the sesame and peanut sauce.

Divide the noodles among 3 bowls, add the sliced chicken and if you want top it with tasted peanuts. I only realized I forgot to add the peanuts after I had taken all the pictures so I added them later. Enjoy!

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Green Salad with Tonkatsu and Sesame Vinaigrette

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Yesterday night, I went with my hubby to Pocha Factory to eat Korean fried chicken wings in the pop-up they hosted in Amsterdam. We knew the fried chicken wings were really good from last time we went there. This time around, Korean BBQ beef sliders were added to the menu and they were served with a secret sauce. They were so good! If you are in Amsterdam, check their social media to know when they will host a pop-up again. The place was full so I wouldn’t be surprised if it’s soon.

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OK, so back to the recipe. This is a super easy Asian style salad. I love the crunchy pork cutlets which are still juicy in the center, the crunchiness of the sugar snaps and radishes. And of course the sesame vinaigrette which just brings everything together. And you can also serve it as rice paper rolls. Ad if you don’t like pork, you can make it with chicken, or make it vegetarian by using tofu instead.

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This recipe serves 4.

Ingredients:

4 pork cutlets

300gr of sugar snaps

8 radishes, thinly sliced

1 cup of edamame

400gr of arugula, I used wasabi arugula which has a bit of a stronger flavor

2 eggs, beaten

1 ½ cups of panko

8 tablespoons of flour

Salt

Pepper

Vegetable oil for pan-frying

For the vinaigrette:

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

Juice of 1 lime

 

For the edamame, just follow the instructions on the package. I usually buy it frozen but this time I got it ready to go.

For the sugar snaps, I just sautéed them in a pan with a bit of vegetable oil until tender-crisp. You can also just blanch them.

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

To make the Tonkatsu, place each cutlet in between parchment paper and flatten them using a rolling pin.

Place the flour, beaten eggs and panko in separate plates. Add salt and pepper to each plate and mix it in.

Season each cutlet with salt and pepper. Then coat each one in the flour first, then the egg and finally the panko. Press with your fingers so each piece is completely coated in panko.

Add some vegetable oil to a large pan over medium heat. Once the pan is hot, add the breaded pork. I cooked 2 at a time. They will need about 4 to 5 minutes per side. Make sure that the oil is not extremely hot though, otherwise it will brown too fast and the pork won’t be thoroughly cooked. Place them on paper towels to absorb some of the oil. Then transfer them to a cutting board and thinly slice them.

To plate up, divide the arugula between 4 plates. Then add the sugar snaps, radishes and edamame. Place each sliced cutlet on top of the salad and serve the dressing on the side.

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Sesame Noodle Rice Paper Rolls

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For some reason in the summer I tend to crave sesame dressing. On wakame, cucumber, or noodle salad.  And this hits the spot for me. I have already made it 3 times in the past week and a half. This recipe doesn’t need a dipping sauce since the filling is already seasoned. But you can make extra dressing for dipping if you like.

Ingredients:

1 small pack of Longkou vermicelli (Chinese noodles), 50grs

1 red bell pepper, julienned

1 yellow bell pepper, julienned

1 green bell pepper julienned

1 carrot shredded

2 cups of bean sprouts

1 spring onion, cut lengthwise

2 tablespoons of roasted white sesame seeds

2 tablespoons of roasted black sesame seeds

12 rice paper wrappers

For the dressing:

¼ cup sesame oil plus 2 tablespoons

¼ sushi seasoning

Juice of one lime

1 teaspoon of honey

Red pepper flakes to taste

Salt to taste

 

First soak the noodles in boiling water for a few minutes until they are soft. I usually let them sit for about 5 minutes. Then let them drain for a few minutes, you don’t want them to be too wet otherwise they will water down the dressing. I let it drain while I chop all the veggies.

For the dressing, just whisk all the ingredients together in a bowl. Once all the vegetables are cut, add them and the noodles to the dressing and toss to mix well.  Add the sesame seeds as well, and if you want reserve some to sprinkle on top once the rolls are assembled.

To assemble the rolls, first fill a large bowl with warm-hot water. I mix boiling water with cold water. You want it to be warm but cool enough to stick your fingers in it without getting burned. Soak one wrapper in the water until it softens, it takes about 10 seconds. Don’t worry if it still seems a bit hard, it will continue to soften as you work with it.

Lay the soaked wrapper on a plate and fill the bottom center part with the filling (leaving a bit of space at the bottom to hold). Roll the bottom part once, then close the sides and finish rolling it. Repeat until you’re done. Serve.