Namul (a Korean seasoned vegetable dish) is usually served as banchan (a side dish accompanying the main course). In atypical fashion here, I serve kongnamul (soybean sprout namul) with a sliced tofu cutlet as the main course of a heart-healthy vegetarian lunch. We enjoyed a simple bowl of vegetable dumpling in broth on the side. Crunchy sprouts pair very well with mellow sautéed leek and bright red bell pepper plus a bit of spiciness from gochugaro (Korean chili powder). Toasted sesame oil adds a rich nutty component.
Bibimbap, literally meaning “mixed rice,” a very popular dish in Korea, is prepared with steamed white rice, beef, and vegetables, topped with a fried sunny-side-up egg and spicy red chili paste, called gochujang. It’s one of the dishes that Chefs Guillas & Oliver hoped would propel them to the number one spot at the Top Chef Korean Food Challenge.
Three teams of two non-Korean chefs randomly chose six traditional Korean dishes which were to be prepared in 30 minutes. Host Cathlyn Choi then provided a Magic Basket, containing traditional Korean ingredients that the chefs were required to incorporate into their dish. As one of six food bloggers along with three other esteemed judges, it was my absolute pleasure to attend this event earlier in the month in San Diego, California.
SIX DISHES SELECTED FOR THE CHALLENGE
bibimbap – beef & mixed vegetable rice with fried egg
tuk bokki – spicy rice cake with vegetables
galbi jim – braised short rib stew
dak galbi – spicy stir-fried chicken
gu jeol pan – royal nine section pan with meat, vegetables, and thin wheat pancakes
kimchi – fermented cabbage
TOP CHEF KOREAN FOOD CHALLENGE
This Top Chef Competition is a part of [buzzKOREA], a global campaign organized to introduce the brilliance of Korean culture and to share the secrets of the great hidden cuisine of Korea. Korean food is honestly the undiscovered jewel of Asian cooking.
Inspired by the Chefs and traditional ingredients at last week’s Top Chef Korean Food Challenge in San Diego, Galbi Jim was the first of many Korean dishes I’ve prepared since arriving back home. It was my pleasure and honor to be invited to the event as one of six food blogger judges. There, I discovered a new love, Hansik (Korean food)!
Shiitake, chestnut, dried jujube (red date), ginkgo nut, and daikon are just some of the exotic ingredients that flavor this intoxicating stew. Beef short ribs are marinated in a mixture of grated Asian pear, with soy sauce, sugar, ginger, garlic, and sesame. The meat is braised over low heat with the vegetables and fruit and the sweet/savory broth is reduced into a rich complex sauce…
Mandarin Orange Sauce, Creamy Sesame Splash, Soy Syrup
Scott & Gina Lee have been my dear friends for many many years. They opened Gina Lee’s Bistro, an Asian Fusion restaurant in Redondo Beach, over a decade ago. A while back I offered to help Gina start a blog so on this night I took some photos of the food as it was leaving the kitchen.
For dinner, I enjoyed the Thai Marinated Sea Bass paired brilliantly with a glass of Etude Pinot Gris from Scott’s eclectic wine list.
Irene Virbila from the Los Angeles Times wrote, “Everything from Gina Lee’s kitchen tastes fresh and vivid. There’s also a logic to how flavors are woven together.”
I couldn’t agree more. The flavors are just so vibrant…
When you are in Southern California, I recommend a visit to Redondo Beach to have dinner at my friends’ fabulous and unique restaurant. And be sure to tell them Lori Lynn sent you 🙂