Jun 232014
 

Yuzu makes a fabulous sorbet, one I am seldom able to resist if I see it on a menu.

But when I was given a jar of Korean Yuzu Tea to try by Sous Chef I decided to use it in a simple yuzu ice cream instead.

Yuzu is an Asian citrus that originated in China (though be aware that in China, yòuzi refers to pomelo) but it’s particularly popular in Korea and Japan. The tart flavour is reminiscent of mandarin, grapefruit and lime and has a delightfully floral note to it.

The Japanese make extensive use of the fruit – yuzu juice is an integral ingredient in ponzu, a classic dipping sauce; yuzu koshu is a fiery condiment made from yuzu zest, chilli and salt; and the citrus is also a popular flavouring for both sweet and savoury dishes. The aromatic oils in the skins are so fragrant that the Japanese have even invented the yuzu buro (yuzu bath) – whole or halved fruit floating in a steaming hot bath; this is on my list for my next Japan visit!

In Korea a hot drink known as yuzacha (yuzu tea) is a popular cold remedy. This is actually a marmalade-like preserve, made by cooking the fruit and rind of the fruit in sugar and honey – a generous spoonful of which is stirred into hot water to make the “tea”.

Indeed, I’d happily have Sous Chef’s Korean Yuzu Tea on toast or stirred into natural yoghurt for breakfast!

Quick-Easy-Yuzu-Ice-Cream-KaveyEats-KFavelle-800text-6761

To keep things quick and simple on a busy weekend, I used my go-to no-churn ice cream base – double cream and condensed milk – and stirred in lots of Korean Yuzu Tea once the base was whipped.

This turned out to be one of the most delicious ice creams I’ve made! Taste, texture and even the bursts of colour from the peel – everything was spot on. I don’t think the tub will last long!

Quick & Easy Yuzu Ice Cream

Ingredients
300 ml double cream
150 ml condensed milk
5-6 tablespoons Korean yuzacha 

Note: You can adapt this recipe to make many different flavours of ice cream – just substitute your favourite fruit jam, jelly or marmalade.

Method

  • Whisk the cream until it is thick but still a little floppy.

HoneycombIceCream-0973

  • Add the condensed milk and whisk again until it holds its shape.

Yuzu-Ice-Cream-KaveyEats-KFavelle-093849

  • Gently stir in the yuzacha or your chosen fruit jam.

Yuzu-Ice-Cream-KaveyEats-KFavelle-094205

  • Transfer into a freezer container and freeze overnight.

Yuzu-Ice-Cream-KaveyEats-KFavelle-093210 Yuzu-Ice-Cream-KaveyEats-KFavelle-093349

 

This is my entry for the June #BSFIC challenge.

IceCreamChallenge mini

 As I won’t be available to post the round up this weekend, I’m extending the deadline for entries to June 30th, emails to be received by 1st July.

Kavey Eats received a sample of Korean Yuzu Tea from souschef.co.uk.

Mar 072014
 

In China, Taiwan and North America, yakinuku (literally “grilled meat” *) is often referred to as Japanese barbeque but in Japan itself, it’s very much considered a Korean import. In the UK, it’s not well known at all.

Japan2013-3234
Showa Taishu Horumon in Osaka

What is Yakiniku?

Yakiniku is DIY dining at its finest! Diners gather around a charcoal or wood burner, usually placed in the centre of the table, and cook their own meal, piece by piece and at their own pace.

Many specialist restaurants have yakiniku grills built right into the tables, with extractor systems to whip away smoke and smells. Others bring portable grills to the table, quickly switching them with a hotter replacement should the coals die down during your meal.

Most commonly, thin slivers of raw meat are ordered according to the cut. A variety of vegetable accompaniments is usually available, though the choice is sometimes limited, and the vegetables are clearly secondary to the meat! Most restaurants also offer a range of side dishes (such as rice, noodles and salads) which don’t need to be cooked on the grill. Again, these are simply a supporting act to the meat.

Yakiniku is perfect for 2 to 4 diners (any more than that and you’ll need multiple grills so everyone can reach). Sit down, check the menu, order your favourites and cook them just as you like them.

Some of the raw meat will come plain – thinly sliced and ready to grill; some will come marinated in a sticky tare (sauce); you may also be given raw egg or other sauces in which to dip pieces of meat once they have been cooked.

Beef and pork are the most common choices. Some yakiniku restaurants specialise in horuman (offal), their menus listing more different types of offal than I ever imagined existed! My first choice is the fattiest and most tender cuts of beef, which work well when flash grilled for mere moments until the fat starts to melt. I’m also addicted to thin slices of fatty belly pork, cooked a little longer until the fat starts to bubble and brown.

* Yaki most commonly refers to cooking on a grill, but can also mean frying or tempering.

The History of Yakiniku in Japan

According to most web resources, including Wikipedia, yakiniku originated in Korea.

The Meiji Restoration (the revival of Imperial rule) gave rise to a burgeoning interest in western culture, including foreign food. In 1872 The Emperor broke a 1,200 year ban on meat eating, though it took some time for long-ingrained cultural taboos to dissipate. ~

Korean food became popular in Japan during the 20th century, especially in the years following World War Two. Korean restaurants advertised themselves as offering chōsen cuisine; the term came from Joseon, the name of the old, individed Korea but when Korea split into two North and South nations following the Korean War, Joseon was appropriated by the North. Businesses in Japan, more sympathetic to the South, removed all chōsen references and instead labelled their food as kankoku (South Korean).

Restaurants serving bulgogi (grilled marinated beef) and galbi (grilled ribs) were known as horumonyaki (offal grills).

Although this is the history trotted out whenever the origins of yakiniku are discussed, isn’t it a little simplistic not to take into account the fact that grilling meat was already prevalent in Japan before the influx of Korean cooking, even though beef was not widely eaten until the late 19th Century?

Perhaps it is the use of the wonderfully-flavoured marinades that mark yakiniku as a Korean-influenced cuisine? But yakiniku, as it is enjoyed in Japan today, is not wholly Korean either – the prevalence of offal and the use of dipping sauces (in which the meat is dipped after cooking, rather than before) are, apparently not common in Korea.

Regardless of the exact origins, the association between yakiniku and Korean food is a strong one and many yakiniku restaurants in Japan commonly offer a range of Korean dishes including kimchi and spicy tofu.

I’m not sure when the general yakiniku (grilled meat) term came widely into use for this kind of cooking but the All Japan Yakiniku Association was established in 1992 and proclaimed August 29 as an annual Yakiniku Day in 1993. The date is described as goroawase (numerical wordplay) because the numbers 8, 2 and 9 can be read as ya-tsu-ni-ku, an approximation of yakiniku.

Yakiniku has seen its fortunes rise and fall according to a variety of influences. In the 1980s, the introduction of modern ventilated systems, which allowed restaurants to easily eliminate smoke and cooking smells, gave open grill restaurants a big boost. So too did the easing of beef import restrictions in 1991, which resulted in a drop in the price of beef. However, the 2001 occurrence of Mad Cow Disease (BSE) in Japan was a set back.

Today, yakiniku is hugely popular and that popularity is still growing. ^

~ This (PDF) article on The Meat Eating Culture of Japan gives a fascinating, detailed history of ancient meat-eating customs, the prohibition of meat and the lifting of restrictions.
^ Here’s an entertaining article from Japan Today with a theory on why and how diners may be forming an addition to meat!

Our Yakiniku Feasts

Japan2012-2464 Japan2012-2476
Japan2012-2480 Japan2012-2488

The best beef we had in Japan was also our first yakiniku experience, at Maruaki, a Hida Beef restaurant in Takayama in 2012.

Japan2012-2537 Japan2012-2538
Japan2012-2542 Japan2012-2543

On that same trip, we came across this restaurant in department store restaurant floor. A sign outside invited overseas customers to tell the restaurant manager he was handsome in return for a free beer. We did, he giggled, we received our free beers!

Japan2012-3190 Japan2012-3174
Japan2012-3180 Japan2012-3179
Japan2012-3182 Japan2012-3186 Japan2012-3189

Gyu-Kaku is a large Korean yakiniku chain with several hundred branches across Japan (and quite a few internationally too). Many of the meats come marinated and there are various dipping sauces, including raw egg ones, to dip the cooked meat into before eating. We really liked the spicy tofu with mince meat side dish as well.

Japan2013-2686
Japan2013-2687 Japan2013-2689

Another visit to a different branch of Gyu-Kaku, on our second trip.

Japan2013-3224 Japan2013-3231
Japan2013-3241 Japan2013-3226

We chose Showa Taishu Horumon in Osaka’s Dotonbori district for a number of reasons – specialising in horuman (offal), but with regular cuts also on the menu, it gave me the opportunity to try cuts I’d never normally try; I found the retro ‘50s vibe to the decor rather appealing; I liked the bucket barbecue grills; everyone inside looked happy; staff were welcoming. By the way, Showa Taishu Horumon has a a few branches in the area, this one is located at Dotonbori 1-5-9 1F, on the area’s main street. We had a great meal – I discovered that oesophagus is definitely not for me but confirmed I’m happy to eat cheek and tongue. I chose not to explore the extensive tripe menu! And the regular beef and pork cuts were delicious!

 

Next, Pete and I bring yakiniku into our kitchen for a home made Korean-Japanese BBQ. Coming soon!

 

Having only recently tried dolsot bibimbap for the first time (and loved it) I was happy to accept an invitation from Kimchee restaurant to a blogger event introducing their Korean menu to a group of food bloggers.

Kimchee kimchee3 Kimchee2
images from Kimchee website

The restaurant is very large, with an additional dining room downstairs, but the wooden panels break up the space pretty well. The design is meant to reflect a traditional Korean home, hence the prevalence of wood and simple lines. To me, it seems a little too much of a copy of the Hakkasan look (not a restaurant I liked) but that was probably based on traditional oriental design with a modern twist too.

Diners seated upstairs can watch the chefs at work, through huge glass panels into the kitchen. There is also a small water garden at the entrance, which is a pretty place to wait for friends.

Kimchee-9746

Kimchee arranged for us to share a feast of different dishes, as well as some traditional Korean drinks. During the meal, we also learned a little about about Korean traditions, including how to address elders, how to pour drinks for each other and the way that food is usually served as a feast of many dishes on the table at once.

The alcoholic options weren’t to my taste, but I loved both the (cold) sweet plum tea and the aloe vera drink (which I’ve been buying from Wing Yip for a while – can’t get enough of it’s refreshing flavour and the strangely appealing texture of the bits of aloe vera suspended within the liquid).

Kimchee-9756 Kimchee-9759

To my surprise, the dolsot bibimbap dishes, served in huge stone pots, weren’t as full of flavour as the one I had at Bibimbap a few weeks ago. The seafood one in particular, I found quite bland. However, for me, they were the two weakest dishes of our feast, and I enjoyed the rest of the menu much more.

Kimchee-9750

The lemon sole gui was delicious, with a crispy fried noodle garnish and fresh, green vegetables, this dish was reminiscent of Chinese dishes I’m more familiar with. The fish was tender and the flavours in the sweet miso and soy dressing were delicious.

Kimchee-9761
Kimchee-9763 Kimchee-9762

As well as trying the main and side dishes, we also sampled the traditional accompaniments. Probably one of the most famous elements of Korean cuisine is kimchee, pickled cabbage. The version here was refreshing, crunchy and full of flavour. A small dish of kkakdugi (pickled radish) was crunchy and fiery hot. My favourite of these little plates was the modum namul – little mounds of beansprouts, spinach, radish, cucumber in a fantastic sesame oil and garlic dressing

Kimchee-9751 Kimchee-9755 Kimchee-9800

A jeon is a Korean pancake made from a flour and egg batter. The pajeon, with spring onions, was simple and particularly tasty when dipped into the accompanying soy and chive sauce. The mung bean version (bean dae duk) was OK, but not as much to my taste. Lastly, the kimchee jeon, which I thought I’d like more, but didn’t really have enough of the distinctive kimchee flavour.

Kimchee-9765

I loved the roseu puen che – thin slices of very lightly seared beef wrapped around crunchy vegetables and herbs. What made this was the mustardy-flavour of the wasabi and soy dipping sauce that came with it.

Kimchee-9767 Kimchee-9771

Pork belly is listed in the BBQ section and is a simple dish of marinated and grilled pork belly slices stir fried with green beans. These are eaten wrapped in crispy lettuce leaves. A little greasy but very good.

Kimchee-9772

Probably one of my favourite dishes of the evening was the deceptively simple tofu kimchee. Fat, wobbly slices of silky tofu, steamed or boiled and served with minced pork and kimchee on top. A fantastic blend of textures and flavours, I couldn’t get enough of this one.

Kimchee-9775 Kimchee-9790

Jjigae probably best translates as a stew, though you could equally think of it as a flavoursome soup with lots of goodies added. We tried two versions, the kimchee jjigae and the seafood soft tofu jjigae. The latter was my favourite, but both were punchy, warming and with a lovely mix of textures.

Kimchee-9778 Kimchee-9782

Yuk hwae was another dish I loved. Raw minced beef served with thin slices of pear and cucumber, and a raw egg yolk mixed into the beef at the table. Essentially a simple beef tartare, the sweetness of the pear and the crunchy texture of both pear and cucumber, were unexpectedly delicious contrasts to the yolky beef.

 Kimchee-9786

The beef mari didn’t do it for me. A little like the wonderfully fresh and vibrant Vietnamese summer rolls but altogether lacking in flavour, these rolls of beef and vegetables wrapped in rice paper were bland, even with the accompanying sauce.

Kimchee-9788

Soft shelled crab, breadcrumbed and deep fried… what’s not to like about that? Yes, I definitely enjoyed the crab tuigim with its simple plum sauce.

Kimchee-9793

Despite the fried lotus root garnish, I didn’t find the beef bulgogi very exciting, though it was decent enough. The flavours were more pedestrian, less unfamiliar and exciting, than much of what we ate during the evening. The same applied to the chicken bulgogi we also tasted.

Kimchee-9802

I think glass noodles are beautiful, and they glistened attractively in the jap chae dish, where they’d been cooked with beef and vegetables. The taste was richly savoury too.

Kimchee-9809 Kimchee-9811

After eating my way through all the dishes above, I didn’t think I had any space left for dessert, but the ice creams and chap ssal ddeok were so delicious, I managed to put away more than my fair share. Chap ssal ddeok are a Korean version of what I know as Japanese mochi, and had that same wonderfully gluey texture to the rice flour wrapper and the same sweet hit from the soft chocolate mousse inside.

Kimchee-9812 Kimchee-9816 Kimchee-9819

The ice creams were very good indeed. We tried almond, black sesame, roasted green tea, red bean and sweet chestnut flavours and all were excellent.

The roasted green tea ice cream was the best green tea ice cream I’ve ever tasted, and was an absolute revelation. Even after the many delicious dishes we tasted through the meal, it’s been this ice cream that’s remained in my thoughts since the meal, and which I’ll be going back for as soon as I can!

 

Kavey Eats dined as a guest of Kimchee restaurant.

Kimchee  on Urbanspoon

 

Bibimbap is a popular Korean dish. Its name translates to ‘mixed rice’ and it usually consists of warm white rice topped with vegetables, meat or seafood, chilli paste and sometimes a raw or fried egg too. The ingredients are stirred together before eating.

Dolsot bibimbap is bibimbap served in a hot stone pot. The stone is so hot that it cooks the raw egg, and any other raw ingredients, and can also create a crunchy layer of baked rice around the edges.

I’d never had either, but when my friend and I were looking for a central, budget-conscious, winter-warmer place to meet up for dinner, her suggestion of Bibimbap Soho made me screech with delight – the perfect fit and somewhere I’d been meaning to visit for ages!

Our visit was almost scuppered – when I arrived 20 minutes early, the restaurant was closed. The lights were on and I could see staff inside, so I hovered, shivering with cold and hopeful they’d notice me. Eventually, they came out to let me know that a “kitchen failure” meant they were closed. Someone was working on fixing it right now, but they weren’t sure how long it might take and it could be hours! My friend Carla arrived and we retired to a nearby pub to give us time to search the web and ask twitter friends for alternatives in the immediate vicinity. A drink and chat later, and decided on a strategy, we left the pub only to find Bibimbap, on our route, now open again! Hoorah!

Still shivering with cold, I started with a bowl of warming miso soup (£1) to drink.

Bibimbap-9198

To begin our meal, we shared a kimchi pancake (£4.45). Kimchi is another Korean staple – a fiery pickle of cabbage and other vegetables. Here, it was mixed into a light pancake batter and served with a garlic and sesame soy dipping sauce. It was simple but addictive and disappeared quickly.

Bibimbap-9199 Bibimbap-9202

Bibimbaps range from a basic dolsot bibimbap (£6.45) featuring cucumber, daikon, bean sprouts, spinach, carrots, mooli and fried egg, and a kimchi bibimbap for the same price, to spicy pork and chilli chicken versions (both £6.95), to Nutritious bibimbap (£7.95) which includes ginseng, ginko, dates, chesnut and vegetables served on brown rice to marinated mixed seafood bibimbap (£8.95).

Carla and I both chose the most expensive option on the menu – the raw and marinated fillet beef (£9.45) and vegetables, also adding a raw egg for an extra £1. You can ask for brown rice to be substituted for white in any of the bibimbap dishes, by the way, as Carla did for hers.

The dishes arrived sizzling with heat and we quickly squirted in some sweet miso sauce and gochujang (chilli paste) from squeezy bottles on the table before starting to mix the contents with our chopsticks and long-handled spoons.

When the staff warn you about how hot the stone bowls are, they aren’t kidding – the bowls continued to sizzle loudly for several minutes and the food was still well and truly piping hot well over 10 minutes later. I challenge you not to burn your mouth a little as you impatiently shovel in all those tasty flavours!

Our bill came to £26.35 plus service. Fantastic value for a delicious and filling meal in central London.

Bibimbap on Urbanspoon

© 2006 - 2014 Kavita Favelle Suffusion theme by Sayontan Sinha