Ah, last week of summer holiday and I had a dinner party on Wednesday to plan. I decided on a Korean theme because it’s easy. The recipe I’m most excited to try was the braised lotus root, a recipe by Maangchi.
It’s super simple, although it did take about an hour to make. You need only a few ingredients: the lotus root, I used frozen, chopped garlic, soy sauce, and rice syrup. I didn’t have rice syrup so I used regular dark syrup, you can also use plain sugar too. It turned out a little sweeter than I intended, guess rice syrup is not as sweet. But the smell of them is incredible and it goes so well with white rice. I would also be a great lunch box item as it can be served warm or cold. Who knew with such simple ingredients you can make such delicious things. Frozen lotus root are usually pre-boiled so that makes things quicker but they wouldn’t become as tender as fresh ones. I didn’t mind, I like the crunch.
There were only six people eating so I only made one main dish, two sides and three starters. Those familiar with Korean cuisine would know that there are usually many tiny side-dishes/starters served. I didn’t have so much time to make so many so I just made three in a slightly larger portions: the lotus root, eggplant and a kimchi-cucumber salad. One of the side dish, the chicken wings were made by my parents.
Let’s start from the left top photo, I really love the combo of cucumber and kimchi. I simply cut up the cucumber, marinated it with some vinegar, Tabasco hot sauce and fish sauce and then mix it all up with some kimchi. Then there’s the eggplants on top right, it’s actually a Japanese recipe: Eggplant cooked in dashi powder, soy sauce, mirin, sake and sesame oil. Very succulent and tasty. Bottom left there’s my newest Korean favorite dish japchae aka stir-fry veggies and beef with sweet potato starch noodles. Here’s the recipe. You can basically choose any veggies you prefer or meat or even leave the meat out. I love the vibrant colors and it’s a real party food that pleases everyone. Last but not least, a Korean spicy pork stew. There were five different mushrooms cos I love it, pork pieces, tofu and Korean rice cakes, all bubbling in a spicy delicious kimchi-filled sauce. Korean spicy stews go perfectly with sticky rice.
And then something fresh into the mix – strawberries. It’s probably not that well-known, but Finnish strawberries are one of the best in the world. They might not be the prettiest, or biggest, and you can get them fresh only in summer time and that also depends on the weather that year, but holy shit they are delicious. They are very juicy and sweet and they just taste much more intense than strawberries from elsewhere. If you are lucky, you might even get a batch that tastes like candy. If you ever visit Finland during summer, buy a liter from friendship market vendors around the city. And the variety called ‘polka’ are usually the sweetest. Do not let their less pleasing to the eye appearance fool you. 😛
And finally on Sunday, it was time to face the cold truth that my summer holiday had ended. But on the other hand, I was quite excited to mealprep again. I saw a slow cooker meatball recipe on Instagram and decided to give it a go. It turned out pretty good, but the meatballs were slightly on the dry side, I think I will go with fattier minced beef next time. I struggled with deciding what to eat with the meatballs, cos I didn’t want to just eat spaghetti. So I decided on pasta salad. I found some super cute looking black and white bow pasta, cooked some broccoli and greenbeans to go with it and seasoned with some olive oil, apple cider vinegar, lemon juice, lemon zest and salt. On top I put some balsamic glaze and it went pretty well with the meatballs. They do look very pretty. And that’s it for last week. Have a delicious week!