Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Sunny-Side Up - Bindaetteok (Korean Mung Bean Pancakes) with Dipping Sauce and Stir-Fried Vegetables

Bindaetteok

Although most Americans know the mung bean best as the squiggly, little pale sprouts which dominate the vegetable population in our cartons of take-away Chinese fried rice, this versatile legume leads quite the chameleon's life.

From their bright, olive-green birthday suits, mung beans morph into different shapes and colors depending on preparation. They can be cooked whole for uses in stews, soups, and desserts; ground into flour for breads and noodles; kept moist for sprouts; or skinned and split to reveal cheerful yellow centers for even more variations of recipes.

For bindaetteok, a Korean pancake that is fashioned more like a thick burger than a flexible, flat disk, yellow split mung beans are soaked then ground into a paste. With kimchi, the lauded ferment of spicy cabbage providing much of the seasoning, bean sprouts are a common addition which further boosts nutritional value while providing a sturdy infrastructure that helps to keep the fritters in shape as they are frying. This recipe is an excellent source of protein and fiber, and a particularly attractive and hearty dish to serve to diners wary of meals that do not include meat. You will likely never convert a carnivore, but you just might get on one's sunny side nonetheless.

Mung Beans

Bindaetteok (Korean Mung Bean Pancakes) - Adapted from the recipe in The Food of Korea - Authentic Recipes from the Land of the Morning Calm by Periplus Press.


Makes 8

Ingredients

1 cup dried yellow, split mung beans
4 cups water
3 large eggs (not extra large)
8 tablespoons rice flour
1 tablespoon corn starch
1 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon grated or minced freshly peeled ginger root
1/2 cup rinsed and chopped vegetarian kimchi, firmly packed
1 cup mung bean sprouts, canned or fresh (drain if using canned)
1/2 cup flavorless oil (such as safflower), divided
2 scallions, green part only, chopped or slivered
2 tablespoons sesame oil (optional garnish)
1 tablespoon red pepper flakes (optional garnish)

Method

In a large strainer, pick over, rinse, and drain beans. Transfer to a medium bowl and cover with water. Set aside on counter or in refrigerator for at least 8 hours or up to overnight. Drain and rinse soaked beans before transferring them to a food processor or blender. Add eggs and process until mixture is a loose, paste-like batter (it will not be smooth). Pour into large bowl. Whisk in rice flour, corn starch, salt, and ginger root. Stir in kimchi and bean sprouts.

Working in 2 batches, heat half the oil over medium heat in a large skillet until it shimmers, and a dollop of batter instantly sizzles when dropped into it (around 30 seconds). Using rounded half-cup measures, pour batter into hot oil to form pancakes, taking care not to crowd them. Quickly, with a metal turner, shape and build up the sides to create even rounds. Press a few scallion pieces into the wet tops. Since the batter will still be somewhat loose, it is critical to leave the pancakes undisturbed while they brown and set to maintain their shape when you turn them. Do not leave the skillet unattended. When the undersides are brown and crisp (about 5 minutes), avert your face as you quickly turn the pancakes over. Brown for another 5 minutes, then remove to a large plate covered with paper towels to drain. Tent with foil to keep warm. Scrap any bits from the skillet before repeating the frying process with the remaining oil and batter. Serve immediately while still warm with dipping sauce and vegetables on side. Drizzle and sprinkle optional garnishes around pancakes.

Dipping Sauce

Ingredients

1/2 cup soy sauce
1/4 cup rice vinegar
1/4 cup sesame oil
1 large clove garlic, peeled and grated or minced
4 inches scallion green, finely chopped
1 tablespoon sesame seeds

Method

Whisk all ingredients in a small bowl. Divide into individual servings.


Stir-Fried Vegetable Medley

Ingredients

8 ounces shiitake mushrooms, stems discarded, then rinsed and sliced
1 large carrot, peeled, shredded, grated, or cut into matchsticks
1 medium summer squash (green or yellow), rinsed, shredded, grated, or cut into matchsticks
1 tablespoon flavorless oil (such as safflower)
1 tablespoon sesame oil
1 teaspoon salt


Method

In a large skillet, warm oil over medium-low heat until it shimmers (about 5 seconds). Add vegetables and stir-fry with a large spoon or chopsticks until mushrooms release their liquid and shrink (about 7 minutes; matchstick carrots will also be soft at this time). Stir in sesame oil and salt. Remove from heat and serve a small amount with each pancake portion.

Bindae Duk

This recipe is for Smitha of Kannada Cuisine, hosting My Legume Love Affair 35, which closes today. Do stop by Smitha's site for her round-up coming soon.

Aqua of Served with Love will be assuming the reins for June's MLLA 36. The announcement will be posted shortly.


Been There, Done That ~

Akara
Green Mango Dal
Vegan Dubu Kimchi

Other People's Eats ~
Nokdu Bindaetteok
from Gluten-Free Gobsmacked
Sukju Namul from Wandering Chopsticks
Mung Bean Sticky Rice from Ravenous Couple

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Seriously Sloppy - Çilbir (Turkish Poached Eggs on Yogurt with Spiced Butter and Mint)

Çılbır - Ottoman Poached Eggs

Eggs and I have an uneasy relationship. Actually, eggs can take me or leave me, while I wrestle with an ambivalence that is as melodramatic as high opera. Despite being the first in line to beat them up into a froth for a skillet's worth of frittata or a baked cup of custard, I routinely slink away in horror from the sight of texturally challenged egg whites of the poached or soft-boiled ilk.

Palate peccadilloes are nothing unique, with enough people as put off by the look and mouth feel of some foods as the taste of them, but if you share my fainthearted aversion to particularly sloppy eggs, you might be tempted by the Turks to reconsider with çılbır.

A traditional comfort food of the Ottoman Empire, çılbır pairs poached eggs with dense yogurt, topped with a simple sizzle of spiced butter followed by flecks of mint. The flavors are distinctive, yet they align rather than clash. When presented in a bowl, they are so alluring that diners finicky about their eggs are likely to be dipping spoons to yolks before the cook is seated. A thick and soft tear of bread will clean the curves of your bowl, but if you become as devoted to this dish as I am, you will quickly develop the finesse to spoon-up from the yogurt to capture every golden, smoldering, tangy drop.

It's been four years since I was introduced to çılbır, and it is still the only way I will eat poached eggs. May I be so lucky someday to find a soft-boiled recipe that I can live with and love.

Çilbir (Turkish Poached Eggs) - Slightly adapted from Burcu's Almost Turkish recipe

Serves 1.

Ingredients

4 cups water
2 tablespoons vinegar
2 large eggs
1 cup thick, strained yogurt*
2 tablespoons butter*
1 tablespoon Aleppo pepper or paprika
1 tablespoon dried mint flakes
1/2 teaspoon sea salt

Method

Bring water to boil in a 1-quart saucepan. Add vinegar. Crack eggs into small bowl and slip them into water, somewhat submerging the bowl to avoid breaking the yolks. Reduce heat to lowest setting possible. Cook eggs undisturbed for 3 - 4 minutes, depending on how firm you like the whites to be. (The yolks will also be less runny the longer the cooking time.) Meantime, line bowl w/ yogurt and create a well in the center with the back of a spoon. Microwave butter and Aleppo pepper together for about 10 seconds. Lift and drain eggs with a slotted spoon, then tip them into and over yogurt. Stir the red butter, then drizzle over eggs. Top with mint and salt.

*To trim calories, you can use non-fat yogurt and reduce the butter down to as little as a teaspoon.


Been There, Done That ~
Parmesan and Pasta Cacciatore Frittata
Ouefs Sur Le Plat
Asian Fried Quail Eggs


Other People's Eats ~
Turkish Eggs with Garlicky Yogurt from Limecake
Beyaz Peynirli Yumurta from Morsels and Musings
Menemen from Binnur's Turkish Cookbook