Weeknight meal: Poor and/or Lazy Man’s Bulgogi

Alrighty. So in my last post I mentioned a dish that I like the call Poor Man’s Bulgogi. I call it this because you use ground beef, which is often dirt cheap. But it could also be called Lazy Man’s Bulgogi, because it’s really easy as heck. No slicing beef, no marinating it, NOTHIN’. I can make this meal in less than 30 minutes if I’m really on top of shit.

My bestie Cassie made this, after I recommended it, and she returned with the following review:

Okay what the hell that bulgogi was SO easy and SOO GOOD”

It really is. Really really.

ImageSo, I basically use this recipe,  from Damn Delicious which I found by googling “ground beef + bulgogi” because that’s exactly what I wanted to cook. And I used the very first recipe that came up, which was this one. And it was pretty perfect. I like to double the sauce, because SAUCE, and also add some sriracha (because sriracha. On everything. Yes). And I garnish with some sesame seeds, AND AND AND piece de resistance: A CRISPY BOTTOMED, RUNNY-YOLKED EGG. UGH. OH MY GOD. It’s so tasty. The spiciness from the sriracha against the runny yolk, with a hint of green onion and salty-sweet, fragrant bulgogi sauce? IT’S ALMOST TOO MUCH TO HANDLE.

I literally just ate this minutes ago, and I’m feeling pretty passionate about it.

So grab all your ingredients together. Chuck the soy sauce, sesame oil, ginger, garlic, red pepper flakes and brown sugar into a bowl, and mix it all together. Note that you can also just use dried ginger and garlic powder for a somewhat decent result, if you’re in a bind. Also you can play with the amount of each of the ingredients to make it just how you like: a bit sweeter, saltier, spicier, whatever.

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Then just brown your ground beef right up.

ImageYou’ll probably want to drain a bit of the fat off. I used extra lean, and there was still a fair amount. You want to avoid a greasy sauce. Once it’s nice and browned and drained, throw that beautiful sauce right on that meat. Mix it all up. Let it bubble.

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Of course, at this point I should probably mention that this is supposed to be served over rice. So before you start cooking the meat, put on a pot of rice. However much you desire. Once the rice is done, you can just turn off the burner, and let it sit there until you need it. Letting it sit somehow allows the rice to de-stick from the bottom of the pot. This is a good tip.

Next, we want to fry up that perfect egg. I am really into eggs. IT’S A FOOD WITH A BUILD IN CREAMY HEAVENLY SAUCE. Eggs are wonderful. Anyway, so heat up a bit of oil in a pan, and let it get nice and hot. We want the bottom of that egg to be super nice and crispy. Trust me. Once it’s nice and hot, crack the egg in there, and immediately cover the pan with a lid. Leave it for a couple of minutes. Usually enough time to scoop some rice into a bowl, and top it with out meat and some extra sauce. Then take the lid off. The top of the egg should be cooked from the steam, and the bottom should be nice and crispy, but you want the yolk still runny.

I didn’t get any pictures of cooking the egg.

But anyway, once it’s done, throw the egg on top of your bowl of rice and meat. Garnish with sesame seeds, green onion, and a zig-zag of sriracha, or more if you want.

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AND THEN YOU GET TO EAT IT.

Okay, now go cook this. Right away. And come back and tell me how darn good it was.

Anticipating Summer: Lazy(ish) Fish Tacos

I have many plans for the summer. One of these plans is to eat many fish tacos. There is something delightfully summery about them. So spicy and bright tasting. It just satisfies you. Add a margarita to the mix, and you’re gold. 

Often, when I’m craving fish tacos, I go to straight to the experts: La Carnita’s fish taco, “In Cod we Trust” plagues my mind on a pretty constant basis. In fact, pretty much everything they do plagues my mind. I’ve never had a bad taco there, but their fish taco is my favourite. They also do a mean margarita, and their street corn is pretty boss as well. If I could go there all the time, I would. But I can’t so I don’t. So every once in a while, I have to try my hand at my own fish taco.

I am no fool. You cannot improve upon perfection. And I don’t entertain ideas of being able to replicate perfection. So I went on a hunt for a recipe for fish tacos that I could replicate or at least approximate. I needed something that had the same satisfying array of flavours, blending so well but still distinct. And spicy. A fish taco has to be spicy. It just does.

So anyway, after a bit of research (ie: googling) I came across a recipe that seemed to capture most of what I wanted in my fish tacos. Bobby Flay’s Grilled Mahi Mahi Tacos with Red Cabbage Slaw, Tomato and Avocado Salsa and Pineapple Hot Sauce is what I use as a rough guide for my much lazier (and probably just as delicious) fish taco. It’s a weeknight taco. Or a weekend taco. Or a midnight taco. Or an every minute of your life taco, really.

Here’s a rough overview of my recipe: Tilapia fish tacos with “whatever slaw”, pineapple jalapeño “salsa”, avocados, and a sriracha “crema”. 

First, assemble your toppings. Slice up dem avocados. Here’s a nice tip I read somewhere on the internet once: to make sure an avocado isn’t overripe, pop off the little nubbin/stem/whatever, and if it’s still white underneath, it’s all good. If it’s brown, put it down. HANDY. 

For the slaw, use whatever is easiest. In an ideal world, it’d be red cabbage slaw. But I don’t want to buy an entire damn red cabbage for a cup of slaw. So I pick up a bag of slaw from the store. Sometimes they have red cabbage, but mostly they don’t. Today I used a carrot-cabbage combo. So long as it’s crispy and colourful, you’re all good. Chop up some cilantro and mix it in with the slaw, then add a generous splash of rice vinegar and good amount of lime juice. Half a lime or a whole lime. Up to you! Let that marinade while you do the rest. 

Next chop up the pineapple and some jalapeños (canned, jarred, fresh, whatever, no judgement here) and fry them up in a pan until they get all delicious looking, charring and caramelizing a bit. Most foods are better if you can somehow get them to caramelize. Once that’s done put it in a bowl. That is my pineapple jalapeno “salsa”.

Grab a couple of tablespoons of sour cream, and mix it with sriracha sauce to taste. It should be pretty spicy. This is the “crema”.

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As for the fish. I usually use tilapia fillets, because they’re cheap and easy to find, but you could use any old white fish you wanted, I’m sure. Season both sides with salt and pepper. I like to grab some breadcrumbs and zest a lime into them, and a good squeeze of lime juice. Mix that good stuff all together. Then I simply dredge the fish in these breadcrumbs and fry it up in a tiny bit of oil. Both sides. But you could also do the fish any old way you want, really. If you’re a better man that I, you could actually batter the fish! But that’s too much work. For even less work, you could just skip the breadcrumbs and do salt, pepper and some lime zest/juice.

Once the fish is done, grab a pile of corn tortilla and stick them on a plate. Cover them with a damp dishtowel, and microwave it for about 2 minutes. This kind of steams them and makes them lovely and pliable. 

Now, YOU ARE READY. Throw everything onto a pita and GOBBLE IT UP. It’s good right? Super good. Yea.

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