Korean Chili con Carne with Red Beans and Kimchi

Korean Chili con Carne with Red Beans and Kimchi

Korean Chili Con Carne
Red Beans, Kimchi, Shishito Peppers
Sesame Garlic Yogurt, Yellow Picked Radish, Scallion

How’s your Korean food vocabulary? Gochujang, gochugaru, kkwarigochu, pat, kimchi, danmuji, pachae, chamgireum and bokkeun-kkae are some of the ingredients that transform a traditional chili con carne into this super-flavorful Korean Chili with a unique topping.

Gochujang and gochugaru are sold in varying degrees of spiciness. For this recipe, I use medium-hot heat level as shown on the packaging. Gochujang is a Korean red chili paste with sweet heat and a fermented umami richness. It has a balanced fruitiness, slight smokiness and depth of flavor from the sun-dried Korean red peppers. Gochugaru, also made from sun-dried red peppers, is a coarse-ground chili powder. Together, they give this chili its distinctive Korean spiciness. Kkwarigochu (shishito) are thin-walled mild peppers with a fresh green vegetal flavor and just a whisper of heat. But beware, every once in a while, there’s a hot one in the bunch! Kkwarigochu stand in for green bell pepper used in standard recipes.

Korean Chili con Carne with Red Beans and Kimchi

The usual Western chili toppings of onion, cheese, and sour cream are replaced with a Korean flair. Pachae (curled green scallion) stands in for the diced white onion. Yellow cheddar is replaced by danmuji, a yellow pickled radish that is sweet, sour and crispy. Thick tangy yogurt gets a punch from garlic and rich toasty notes from sesame oil. Finally bokkeun-kkae (toasted sesame seeds) add visual appeal, nutty notes, they are a common Korean garnish.

Korean Chili con Carne with Red Beans and Kimchi Recipe
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Chili Chocolate Brownies with Gochugaru, Ginger, Sesame Seed, Olive Oil, Fleur de Sel

Chili Chocolate Brownies with Gochugaru, Ginger, Sesame Seed, Olive Oil, Fleur de Sel

Korean Influence Chili Chocolate Brownies
with
Gochugaru, Ginger, Sesame Seed, Olive Oil, Fleur de Sel

Gochugaru is a Korean red chili powder that is definitely spicy – but also has a balanced fruitiness, slight smokiness and depth of flavor from the sun-dried red peppers. Korean chili plus a fruity California olive oil and the sharp, exotic flavor of ground ginger come together in this fusion brownie that is an intense spicy grown-up dessert.

Gochugaru Brownie Recipe

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Pan-Seared Jumbo Sea Scallops in a Korean Seaweed Soup

미역국 korean seaweed soup, miyeok guk, miyuk guk
Pan-Seared Jumbo Sea Scallops in a Korean Seaweed Soup

Traditionally this satisfying soup is savored by Korean mothers who have just given birth as a restorative meal, to replenish vitamins and nutrients. Consequently, it is also enjoyed on one’s birthday, as a way to commemorate that special day.  Here, the addition of some gorgeous huge Atlantic Sea Scallops definitely adds to the celebration!

This soup, miyeok guk or miyuk guk, is simple but super-flavorful and the scallops add a luxurious component. It’s made with seaweed known as miyeok in Korean/wakame in Japanese, lots of garlic and ground pork  in an ocean-y broth. It is garnished with a drizzle of toasted sesame oil, a sprinkling of crunchy sesame seeds, while a restrained amount of Korean red chile flakes called gochugaru adds a lively quality. The scallops are seasoned with Kosher salt and seared in a hot pan with just a bit of canola oil to let their natural flavor shine.

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