Caramelized Kimchi & Sriracha Stir-fry Ramen with Char Siu Aubergine

The other day I was so busy with meetings that I didn’t have time to have lunch. So I quickly stopped by my Asian store on my way home to grab an instant ramen soup. They sold some with with kimchi so I thought of making something similar but in stir-fry form. I love Chinese BBQ pork but I wanted to make a vegetarian version of it, so I made it with aubergine instead. I caramelized the kimchi for extra depth of flavor and added some sriracha for some heat.

This recipe serves 2.

Ingredients:

For the aubergines:

2 medium aubergines, chopped into small cubes

1/4 cup of char siu sauce (Chinese bbq sauce)

2 tablespoons of soy sauce

2 tablespoon of sesame oil

1 teaspoon of Chinese five spice powder

1 tablespoon of white vinegar

For the ramen:

2 tablespoons of sesame oil

½ a red onion, finely chopped

1/2 cup of kimchi, finely chopped

2 tablespoons of finely chopped ginger

2 cloves of garlic, minced

2 tablespoons of hoisin

2 tablespoons of soy sauce

1 tablespoon of oyster sauce

1 tablespoon of sriracha (or more to taste)

Extras:

300grs of ramen noodles

2 eggs

Sesame seeds

Chopped chives

 

For the Char siu aubergine: Mix the chopped aubergine with the char siu sauce, soy sauce, sesame oil, Chinese five spice powder and vinegar. Place it on a large pan (preferably non-stick pan) over medium heat. Cook for about 14 minutes. Stirring from time to time. You want it to caramelize, so flatten it with a spatula to get them in a single layer. This way they will get nicely browned. Set it aside.

For the 7 minute eggs: Place the eggs in a saucepan over medium heat and add boiling water. Boil them for 7 minutes. Remove the shells and slice them in half.

For the ramen: Place the sesame oil, onion, kimchi and ginger in a large pan over medium-low heat. Let it caramelize for about 6 minutes, stir constantly so it doesn’t burn. Then add the garlic cloves and stir-fry for another minute. Remove it from the heat.

Boil the ramen noodles as instructed on the package. Drain them.

Once the noodles are cooked; add the hoisin, soy sauce, oyster sauce and sriracha to the pan with the kimchi. Mix well over medium heat. Then add the noodles and mix until they are coated in the sauce.

Serve the ramen with the char siu aubergine and soft boiled egg. Sprinkle some chives and sesame seeds.

I also served them with some pickled daikon that I made the night before (I juts pickled it in white vinegar with salt, sugar and chopped chili).

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Potato Cakes Stuffed with Lentil Coconut Curry (served with mango chutney)

These potato cakes are very easy to make. You can even make them with leftover mashed potatoes. For the filling I used beluga lentils since they hold their shape but you can use other kinds instead. I flavored them with curry spices and coconut milk. And because curry goes so well with mango chutney, I also made some to accompany these potato cakes. You can also make them smaller as an appetizer. They are great for a dinner party since they can be made in advance.

This recipe makes about 14 potato cakes.

Ingredients:

For the lentil coconut curry:

1 tablespoon of coconut oil

1 red onion, finely chopped

2 cloves of garlic, minced

1 tablespoon of finely chopped ginger

1/2 teaspoon of turmeric

2 teaspoons of hot curry powder

½ teaspoon of ground coriander seeds

1 cup of tomato puree

400ml of coconut milk

750ml of vegetable stock

Pinch of salt

1 cup of beluga lentils

For the potato dough:

1 1/2 kilos of potatoes (the mashing kind)

Salt to taste

1 egg white

¼ cup of all-purpose flour

For the coating:

1 1/2 cups of flour

1 ½ cups of panko

3 eggs, beaten

Pinch of salt

1 1/2 teaspoon of onion powder

1 teaspoon of garlic powder

1 cup of vegetable oil for pan-frying

For the Mango chutney:

250gr of diced mango (I used frozen mango, but you can also use fresh mango)

1 medium white onion, finely chopped

1 tablespoon of minced ginger

1 bird’s eye chili, chopped

¼ cup of apple cider vinegar

¼ cup white vinegar

¼ cup of sugar

½ cups of water

Pinch of salt

 

To make the curried lentils: Place the coconut oil in a medium pot over medium heat. Once the coconut oil has melted; add the onion, garlic, ginger, turmeric, curry powder and ground coriander seeds. Cook while stirring for about 2 minutes. Then add the lentils. Give it a good stir and then add the tomato puree, coconut milk, vegetable stock and a pinch of salt. Let it cook over medium-low heat for about 30 minutes till it becomes a creamy stew. Don’t forget to stir every couple of minutes so that it doesn’t burn in the bottom. Taste for salt and set it aside to cool down.

To make the mango chutney: Place all of the ingredients in a pot over medium-low heat. Let it cook for about 18 minutes, stirring from time to time until it has a chutney consistency. Midway through the cooking time, I like to mash the mango using a potato masher or a fork. Then transfer it to a bowl and allow it to cool down.

To make the potato cakes: Boil the potatoes till they are tender. Check with a knife. Then carefully peel them while they are still hot and mash them. Add salt to taste. Let it cool down a bit until you can handle touching the mash. Add the egg white and flour. Knead the dough with your hands making sure there are no lumps.

Take about 1/2 cup of the potato dough and flatten it with your hands, add about 1 tablespoon of the curried lentils in the middle and then shape it into a patty. Make sure the filling is not sticking out. Repeat for all.

Once all the potato cakes are done, have the coating ready. For the coating; mix the salt, onion and garlic powder with the panko. Coat each potato cake in the flour, then egg and finally in the seasoned panko. Set them aside.

Pour the vegetable oil in a large pan over medium heat. Once the oil is hot, fry the potato cakes in batches. Be careful when flipping them so they don’t break. Since they are already cooked, you just have to pan-fry them till they are evenly golden. This goes fast so keep an eye on them. Place them on a plate lined with paper towels.

Serve them warm with the mango chutney.

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Apple Butter Galette

The time of the year when I start to crave pies has come. My apartment has been smelling of apples and cinnamon since yesterday night, when I made the apple butter. The smell was killing me because I just wanted to eat it and not wait to make this recipe. If you have never made apple butter before, don’t get discourage about the time it takes to make it. Yes, it needs to bake for 3 hours (and be stirred every 30 minutes) but it takes minimal effort. I made it while watching TV in the evening and just set my alarm. I made the pie crust with gin but you can use vodka if you like. The alcohol will evaporate so don’t worry. If you don’t want to use liquor, you can always switch it for cold water. The liquor makes the dough a bit more flaky. Pieter is working from home today so we already finished one of the small galettes for lunch. I gave one to our sweet neighbors who always give us produce from their dad’s farm. Happy world animal day! Mandu and Nip are getting extra treats and cuddles today.

This recipe is for 3 galettes. I made one big one and two small ones.

Ingredients:

For the apple butter:

2 1/2 kilos of apple, I used royal gala (peeled, cored and chopped into chunks)

1 cup of apple cider vinegar

1 1/2 cup of packed brown sugar

Pinch of salt

2 tablespoons of vanilla essence

1 tablespoon of cinnamon powder

1 teaspoon of cardamom powder

Juice of half a lime

For the pie crust:

340gr of cold unsalted butter, chopped into pieces

3 ¾ cups of all-purpose flour

2 tablespoons of granulated sugar

¾ teaspoon of salt

1 teaspoon of cardamom powder

1 teaspoon of cinnamon powder

8 tablespoons of cold gin (or vodka)

Extras:

7 apples for the topping

1 egg, beaten

2 tablespoons of melted butter

3 tablespoons of granulated sugar

½ teaspoon of cinnamon powder

1/3 cup of fig jam (optional)

100grs of pistachios, chopped

Vanilla ice cream for serving (optional)

 

To make the apple butter:

This apple butter is not overly sweet. If you want it a bit sweeter, use 3/4 cup of apple cider vinegar instead of 1 cup. Since the pie already has a sugary crust, I prefer the apple butter to be a bit more tart to balance it out. Preheat your oven to 120C/250F. Place the apples, apple cider vinegar, brown sugar and salt in an oven proof pot or Dutch oven. Bring to a simmer over medium heat and let it cook for about 20 minutes, until the apples are soft. Remove from the heat. Add the lime juice, cinnamon, vanilla and cardamom. Then blend the apples until smooth, I used an immersion blender.

Bake uncovered for 3 hours, stirring every 30 minutes.

Once the apple butter is done, allow it to cool down completely before transferring it to an airtight container. You can keep it in the fridge for up to 5 days.

To make the pie crust: You can make it in the food processor, by hand or in the stand mixer.  I used my stand mixer fitted with the flat beater. Place the flour, sugar, salt, cinnamon and cardamom in the bowl of the stand mixer. Add the cold butter pieces, mix it with a spatula. Then mix on low speed for about 2 minutes. Then add the cold gin and mix on low speed for a couple of minutes until you have an even dough.

You have enough dough to make 2 large galettes. I decided to make 1 large one and two smaller ones. So I divided the dough into 3 parts (I also separated a small piece of dough to make cut outs to decorate the galette). Pat each piece down with your hands, forming a circle. Cover each piece in plastic wrap and keep them in the fridge for 1 hour.

After the hour has passed, remove one piece of dough from the fridge and preheat the oven to 180C/350F. Mix 3 tablespoons of sugar and 1/2 teaspoon of cinnamon and set it aside.

Dust your working area with flour and roll out the piece of dough, trying to form a circle. Don’t worry about giving it a perfect shape since it is supposed to be rustic. Place the dough in a piece of parchment paper and place it in the fridge. Roll out the other pieces of dough and keep them in the fridge. If you saved a small piece to decorate, then roll it and cut it into the shapes that you want.

Peel, core and slice the 7 remaining apples. Take one of the rolled out pieces of dough from the fridge.

Spread some of the apple butter in the dough, leaving a border of about 5 centimeters. Then arrange about 1/3 of the sliced apples on top of the apple butter. Fold the rim of the dough up and over the edge of the filling, overlapping the dough as you go. Press firmly. If you have cut out pieces of dough for decoration, place them on the dough now. Brush the dough with the egg wash. Brush the sliced apples with the melted butter. Sprinkle some of the cinnamon sugar over the apples and the crust. Bake it for 50 minutes or till golden. I finished assembling the other galettes and kept them in the fridge till my oven was free again.

Once the galettes are baked. Make the glazing. This is optional, I wanted the apple to shine a bit. Place the fig jam and 3 tablespoons of water in a small pan over medium heat. Stir for about 2 minutes until it is sort of a glaze. Brush the apples with a bit of the diluted fig jam. Sprinkle some chopped pistachio nuts. I like to serve it with some vanilla ice cream.

For more foodie inspiration, travel & lifestyle; you can follow me on Instagram and Facebook. For behind the scenes, more of Amsterdam and a peek of press events, you can follow my Instagram stories and Youtube channel.