Spicy Chicken Bulgogi

It’s winter and I don’t know about you, but I always crave for something spicy or soupy during this time of the year. I have to admit. Winter is my least favourite season of the year. Gloomy, wet and freezing! All I want to do is hide under my blankets and hibernate! Definitely can’t wait till it is over. But for now, winter warmers are a must!

If you’ve been reading my blog (and thank you for you constant support!), you know that I’ve been obsessing about the korean cuisine. When I do go to a korean restaurant, I would find myself looking at either the hotpot or hotplate page of the menu and I would end up ordering bulgogi. A hot favourite is beef bulgogi of course. But I also enjoy the spicy version of bulgogi. Don’t you? I’ve had really good spicy chicken hot plate at 7&7 in Carnegie and tonight, I was just craving for some! So I decided to make it for dinner!

Matched with a variety of mixed vegetables – it’s my version of a perfect and balanced meal. You have your carbs, protein and fiber all in one dish. Plus the heat from the dish just brings comfort to our tummies. Definitely a win-win! Have to thank Bee from Rasa Malaysia for her recipe for bulgogi. It’s delicious! (: Thank you for helping me satisfy a craving!

 Spicy Chicken Bulgogi (Adapted from Rasa Malaysia)

Ingredients : 

2 skinless chicken thighs, cut into strips

1/2 leek, thinly sliced

1/2 carrot, thinkly sliced

1/4 chinese cabbage, cut into strips

100g enoki mushrooms

4-5 spring onion, cut into large pieces

2 tbs olive oil

2 tbs water

ground white pepper to season

For the marinade : 

3 tbs Korean red chilli pepper paste (gochujang)*

1 tbs Korean red chilli pepper powder (gochugaru)*

2 tbs light soy sauce

2 tbs mirin

1 tbs sugar

1 tbs sesame oil

1 tbs mince garlic

1 tbs grated ginger

pinch of ground black pepper

Steps : 

1) Mix all the ingredients in the marinade and add the chicken strips. Mix well and allow the chicken to marinade for at least 30 mins to an hour.

2) Heat a deep frying pan on medium-high heat and add 1 tbs of olive oil. Add the leek and carrot and fry till soft. Add the cabbage and enoki mushrooms and fry until the vegetable is cooked. Season with ground white pepper. Place in the serving bowl and set aside.

3) Add the other tablespoon of olive oil into the pan and fry the chicken till cooked. Add water and all0w the chicken to simmer for 5-10 mins. Add the spring onion and fry for another 3 mins.

4) Serve the chicken on top of the vegetables. Have it with korean rice and ENJOY! (:

Definitely spicy enough to warm up our tummies tonight. The Mr was very happy (: This recipe is a keeper and perfect winter warmer. Do give it a try and let me know what you think!

So dear readers, what do you order when you’re at a korean restaurant? Would love to know!

* Note : You can get the red chilli pepper paste and powder from most asian supermarkets. I got mine from KFL at Springvale. If you have a korean supermarket near you, ever better! (: 

New Found Gem : Kang Na Roo Korean Restaurant

I have something to confess : I’m a convert! Let me explain. I use to think that my favourite cuisine is Japanese food. Don’t get me wrong. I still love my sashimi and sushi. But of late, I’ve realised that I would actually rather have korean when given the choice! Just something about hot plates and hot pots that I am craving for all the time. (: And I have to admit, we’ve been a bit korean crazy lately. haha

We chanced up this small little restaurant when we were furnishing our new place and needed to get some materials. Traveling up and down to Bunnings Warehouse at Clayton and saw this restaurant, at the corner opposite Clayton train station, was still buzzing with patrons at 9pm on a weekday night! So we both decided it was a place we have to check this place out.

Of course, we decided to pop up on a Friday night at 7pm. PEAK HOUR ALERT! And waited, willingly and excitedly, for half an hour to get our seats. Standing at the doors was pure torture, only because we had to withstand the cold winds that was coming through the doors whenever customers were going in and out, and also smell the aromas from the food in front of us (and salivating non-stop because of it!). The restaurant was really cosy and everyone working there were koreans. We were excited, cause we knew we were going to get some authentic korean food.

Kang Na Roo

Address : 309-315 Clayton Road, Clayton Vic 3168

Tel : 03 95432842

I dunno about you, but I absolutely adore the small dishes that come just before the food comes. The top of my favourite list is the caramelised sweet potato! I could just have that all night, although my waist wouldn’t be too pleased about that. haha

We flipped through the menu and this hot pot dish caught our attention : Gamja Tang. It’s mild pork bone marrow stew with vegetables and potatoes. It was just the right amount of spice that we needed to warm our tummies up for the start of winter. The Mr was just happily slurping on the marrow and we finished everything in that pot.

What was special about this particular hotpot is that you could order a serve of special rice with vegetables that will come after you have finished 95% of the soup in the pot. Then one of the wait staff came to mix the rice into the hotpot and fry it on the spot! The Mr and I were just smiling non-stop cause we were so amused!

It looked simple but it tasted A-M-A-Z-I-N-G! With the flavours of the stew, it was a home run for us!

This, dear readers, was no ordinary fried chicken. It’s drizzled with a sweet chilli sauce that intrigues us. It’s almost like malt –  it’s super duper thick and sticky but not overly sweet when you taste it! We just couldn’t stop eating it even though our stomachs were starting to feel stuffed! The addition of peanuts and pine nuts just adds a bite to the dish. Just describing it now is making me hungry even though I just had dinner. haha

We could not be happier when we were done with our meal that night. Both the Mr and I had the widest smiles and the happiest bellies (: Definitely a place we will visit regularly from now, seeing that it’s about 5 mins drive away from our new place! (: And do know that you could call and book a table in advance so you won’t have to wait too long for a table!

So are you a japanese or korean food lover? Or are you a convert like me? Would love to know!

Homemade Yu Seul Jja Jang Myun

So the korean craze continues.

Remember my recent review on Han Guuk Guan and we had the yummiest jja jiang myun? I got adventurous and decided to challenge myself to make it! I was a bit apprehensive about it, but we both were craving for more after having it that night! So I went to the asian supermarket KFL at Springvale and guess what I saw?

Black bean paste! (: PERFECT! I snapped a photo and whatsapped the mr and he was as enthusiastic about it as I was. So I saw that as a green light to get it. It wasn’t expensive though. Just $3? Could definitely last us for a minimum of 10 plates of jja jang myun! haha

I also question how restaurants get their jja jung myun the beautiful dark colour and only after I cooked it myself, I realised it’s all in the black bean sauce! There is no secret and definitely no additional colouring. *phew*

I have to admit, after plating up I was dancing a small dance inside when I realised I got it looking pretty close to the one we had at Ham Guuk Guan! I couldn’t find the right noodles to use so I just used the flat wheat noodles. It worked well with it as well! Had a little spring to the noodles. Almost like the la mian you get from chinese restaurants. The julienne zucchini gave the dish an extra crunch and the mr really enjoyed that. (:

I sure do love my noodles black. hehe (:

Yu Seul Jja Jang Myun (Seafood Black Bean Noodles)

200g basa fillet, sliced into 1-inch pieces

150g prawn, shelled and deveined (keep the shell for stock*)

50g clams

1 onion, cubed

1 carrot, cute into cubes

150g black bean sauce

1 1/2 cup prawn stock (recipe below)

1/2 zucchini, julienned, for garnish

1/2 tbs sugar

1 heap tbs corn starch

3 tbs water

2 tbs olive oil

200g dried wheat noodles

Steps :

1) Heat the olive oil in a deep dish pan over medium to high heat and add the onions and carrots. Fry until the onions become transparent and the carrots become a little softer.

2) Add the black bean sauce and stir it well. Add the stock* slowly, stirring, making sure everything is well combined. Cover with a lid and allow it to come to a soft boil.

3) Add the seafood according to the time needed for them to cook. I added the fish and allowed it to cook for 2-3 mins, before adding the prawns then the clams.

4) Add the sugar and adjust amount as needed. Mix the corn starch with water and slowly add it to the sauce, stirring as you add the mixture, allowing it to thicken.

5) Boil the wheat noodles according to the instructions at the back of the packet, then drain them when ready. Place them on a large plate and top it with the black bean sauce. Top the dish with the julienned zucchini before serving. ENJOY!

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* For the prawn stock :

Shells from the prawns used

4 cloves of garlic, minced

1 tbs vegetable oil

1 litre water

1 tsp fish sauce

Steps :

1) Heat the oil in a small heavy-based pot over medium heat. Add the garlic and fry till it’s brown, careful not to burn it as it will turn bitter.

2) Add the prawn shells and fry till the shells turn orange/red. Use the spatula to press the heads down and get all the flavours out of the shells.

3) Add the water and fish sauce and allow the stock to come to a boil. Lower the heat and allow the stock to simmer for not more than 30 mins. Drain the shells and take out 1 1/2 cups of stock for the noodles. You can freeze the rest for up to 1 month or keep in the fridge to be used within 3 days.

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Once again, a messy plate is a yummy plate in my books! (: 

A Review Post Gone Korean Crazy

We are addicted. Addicted to everything Korean. But more specifically, Running Man! We were introduced to this awesome tv game show by the Mr’s sister, Melissa, and we have been crazy about it ever since! If you haven’t had a chance to watch any episodes, I urge you to watch them! I have to warn you though, you would laugh so hard, you would get cramps or even fall off your chair!

So the last few episodes that we watched, they went around the different cities of Korea buying the famous korean food and snacks at their night markets. That made us drool and made our stomachs growl. We usually watch an episode before going to bed, and boy was that a bad idea. We were so hungry by the time the episode was over. haha

Needless to say, we were both craving for Korean food! If you follow me on Instagram, you would have realised that for my dinners, I’ve been making my own versions of korean dishes just to satisfy those cravings. But after the weightlifting competition the mr took part in last night, we couldn’t resist but to head to Han Guuk Guan at Carlton for dinner since it on our way home.

Han Guuk Guan

Address : 13 Victoria Street, Melbourne Vic 3000

Telephone : (03) 96391747

This family-run Korean restaurant is gem hidden behind taller buildings along Victoria Street. We use to dine there really often when we were living in Carlton a few years ago. But haven’t been there for ages! They serve both chinese and korean dishes and trust me, both cuisines are yummy (Do take note that they only serve korean on Mondays, in case you would like to try their chinese dishes).

The staff were very friendly and the whole restaurant was filled with the delicious smell of BBQ meat. We couldn’t wait to get seated and have our food!

We ordered the seafood pancake as a starter. It was really crispy on the outside and was made with a mixture of vegetables and seafood. It came with a tangy sauce which made it even more delicious!

Though the starter appeared to be small, the mains were huge! The Yu Seul Jaa Jung Meon (Black Bean Noodles with Seafood) was DELICIOUS! There is something about me and black noodles. I can’t have enough of them.  As unappealing as it looks, trust me. When you take your first bite, you will be in love! However, the combination of hunger and delicious food was horrible though, I ate two bowls so quickly, I was stuffed even before the other dish arrived! haha

The Mr was really happy with how delicious the food was! (: And he sure had a big appetite after his weightlifting competition and he finished everything!

of course, we couldn’t resist ourselves from ordering our favourite dish: Soondubu Jjigae (Spicy Seafood Toufu Stew) ! Especially on a cold and rainy night, this was perfect! The soup was really tasty and breaking the raw egg yolk just made the soup/stew thicker.

We definitely left the restaurant full and happy! The price was really reasonable too for the portion size! And what made us even happier was that the Mr did really well at the competition! 3 Personal Best lifts yo! (: Congrats baby!

So the next time you are around Carlton or even the city and you crave Korean, you know where to go! (: