안녱하세요 to new and old readers of The Manic Kitchen, a cooking blog started by a then maniac cook who has fortunately mellowed (somewhat) into a mere manic cook. A girl who was hopeless in the kitchen and thought that eggs were supposed to cook on their own without any oil. A girl who now experiments with the myriad of ways of cooking eggs, loves tweaking her mix of spices and herbs from every nook and cranny of the world, and understand that tiramisù is the real secret of happiness.
The Manic Kitchen was a food blog by an Asian girl who started cooking on the foundations of Italian cuisine, namely the trio of aglio, olio e peperoncino. It was, to put it mildly, a cultural confusion of sorts, learning to cook by foreign flavors. She attempted to put in her own touch of sass and personality in the form of chili and pepper until the whole house almost exploded in a fairytale of smoke and burnt oil in which the protagonists all ended up coughing and choking from the spiciness.
It wasn’t all that bad. From that little incident, moderation became a lesson learned.
Determination, research, and a little ingenuity soon led her to attempt her first cake (a Torta Margherita made with a prepared flour mix) and gelato (a smashing success, because the yearning of a yummy homemade ice-cream was more than enough reason to give it her best shot). These successes spurred her on, and she began nurturing her passion for Mexican, Thai, Chinese, Italian, Japanese and Malaysian food. Her Chicken Fajitas and Thai Green Curry are, to this day, her fail-proof, go-to dishes whenever there are house guests.
Fortunately the world is big enough and after she got bored of the aforementioned cuisines, she soon branched into Indian, Spanish, American, French, Indonesian, and Korean cuisine, the last of which has extended beyond her Manic Kitchen.
These days she can barely manage to tear her eyes away from the likes of City Hunter, Chuno, Iris and Sungkyunkwan Scandal, which if you still don’t know, are Korean dramas that have the ability to make you very hungry for kimchi, japchae, bibimbap, and dakgalbi.
What makes Korean food so irresistibly appealing? Simple ingredients like spring onions, garlic, chili powder (gochugaru), chili pepper paste (gochujang), rice vinegar, sesame oil and ginger all combine together to form a taste that leaves your tastebuds wanting for more – this mix of spicy, sweet, and savory.
And now, if after reading all this random blabber and you’re still holding on and hungry for dakgalbi, she has the recipe just for ya ;)
닭갈비 [Dakgalbi] * Korean Sweet & Spicy Chicken
Recipe partially adapted from Rasa Malaysia
What You Need:
350g chicken breast, cut into thin strips
1 small onion, sliced thinly (red or yellow)
2 scallions, chopped (use the green part too – adds flavor and a dash of color)
Frozen baby carrots
2 tbsp gochujang (Korean red chili pepper sauce)
1 tsp gochugaru (Korean red chili pepper powder)
1 tbsp Korean soy sauce
1 tsp white sugar
2 tbsp rice vinegar (mirin)
1 tsp sesame oil
1 tsp minced garlic
1 tsp minced ginger
4 dashes of pepper
1/4 tsp salt
How To Cook:
1. Combine the marinade ingredients in a small bowl and mix in with the chicken strips, onion and scallions. Cover and leave it in the fridge for a few hours prior to cooking. The longer the time of marinade (up to a day), the more tender and rich would be the flavor.
2. Heat a pan on high heat and when it becomes hot, add in the marinated chicken and frozen baby carrots. Cook and stir for a few minutes until done. Serve with steaming hot white rice and some banchan like kimchi, spinach, and bean sprouts. Watch a good Korean drama while you’re at it ;-)