Sides

Kimchi Pancakes (Kimchijeon)

Kimchi PancakesSo great, you’ve made your first batch of mak kimchi and now you’re probably wondering what the heck to do with it? One word: pancakes.

I know it may sound strange, maybe even a little wrong, but relax, these aren’t pancakes of the sweet variety – these are spicy, savoury treats that make for the prefect snack or light meal. Simple and delicious, kimchi pancakes are a great way to get your kimchi-fix without having to go to the effort of making an elaborate Korean meal. Kimchijeon is perhaps my favourite way to eat kimchi; I love to eat mine with a fried egg, topped with some chopped spring onions, laver (Korean dried seaweed) and a dollop of chilli sauce! Kimchi-bliss

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Mak Kimchi (Napa Cabbage Kimchi)

IMG_5453 (480x640)When most people think of kimchi they usually have Mak Kinchi in mind. Made with napa (Chinese) cabbage it is perhaps the most commonly found variety of kimchi, especially outside Korea. Of all the kimchi out there (and there are many) Mak Kimchi is still my personal favourite; it is versatile, its ingredients readily available, and most importantly, it is easy to make.

I used to buy my kimchi ready made from my local Asian supermarket, but it wasn’t really spicy enough for my palette and that it often went off very quickly. I found the latter odd, given that kimchi is by its very definition preserved and therefore shouldn’t go mouldy after just a couple of weeks in the fridge.

Determined to make my own, I bought various kimchi making contraptions on my last visit to Japan. I scoured the internet looking for recipes and I stocked up on an obscene amount of Korean Chilli Powder. My first few attempts were a bit disappointing but eventually, through trial and error, I started to make passable Mak Kimchi. I must confess that I no longer use any of those weird and wonderful kimchi contraptions that I hauled all the way back from Japan. All you really need is a large glass jar, a little patience and you too can make your own kimchi!

I have no doubt that my attempts would be a mockery compared to kimchi in Korea itself; but thankfully I’m not in Korea. I live in Cape Town and here my kimchi is pretty damn good!

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White Risotto (Risotto Bianco)

This is risotto’s ground-zero; risotto stripped right back to it’s bare bones of rice, stock and cheese – the basics. Risotto Bianco is, in essence, the root-recipe for all risotto but don’t be fooled, just because it’s simple doesn’t mean that it isn’t incredibly tasty! In this risotto, the cheese is the true star of the show; without any other strong flavours compete with, the parmesan takes centre-stage and boy, does it shine!

A cheese lover’s dream come true, Risotto Bianco is blissfully velvety, coddlingly rich and packs a knock-out parmesan punch that leaves you wanting more. This is home cooked comfort food at it cheesy best.

IMG_5419 (480x640)With a dish this plain, it is always tempting to add additional flavour elements to the risotto itself. If it were my risotto I wouldn’t, as this would detract from the essence of the dish but of course I’m not the person making your risotto; it’s your kitchen and ultimately you are in charge! However, if you do decide to add ingredients to the recipe just don’t go overboard. Personally, if I wanted to bring some additional elements to the dish, I would rather serve the risotto as an accompaniment to a main meal. Perhaps pairing it with something like grilled chicken breasts (simply marinated in garlic, thyme and lemon), some rocket and oven-roasted cherry tomatoes.

Should you like to read more on my thoughts on risotto, please follow the link http://wp.me/P4JqRl-5z

RECIPE NOTE: The rice quantities for these recipes vary depending on the number of people you are feeding and whether you intend making the risotto as a main meal or an accompaniment. As a general rule of thumb, I use approx. 70-80ml of rice per person for a main meal and 50-60ml as an side dish. Generally, risotto recipes on my blog are based on 2 people eating a full portion.

Click here for the recipe

Red Wine Risotto (Risotto Rosso)

Now I adore red wine, really I do but it has taken me a long time to get my head around the mere idea of risotto rosso. It’s not that I was adverse to using wine in cooking; like most of us, I regularly add red wine to braises and stews but to add it to a risotto? It just seemed wrong. And its not just me, generally people do seem a bit put off by the notion of a red wine risotto, which is a shame as it really does make for a delicious meal. I know this because I eventually tried it for myself and discovered that I was wrong, oh so wrong. One evening, whilst making a risotto, I was momentarily gripped by a flash of culinary adventurism and reached for the red and not the white! In a splash there was no going back, I was having ruby colored risotto for dinner! It wasn’t without trepidation that I took my first bite, followed by my second, then third – all too soon I was licking the plate (sorry, over-share)! It was incredibly tasty and satisfying, everything you’d want from a risotto.

Risotto rosso works especially well as an accompaniment to most meat dishes, although I wouldn’t serve it with anything cooked in red wine as this would just be overkill. It is however, particularly good when served with a juicy steak and a rocket salad!

A word of advice though, the wine will be the prominent flavor in the risotto so you really should try to use a decent red when making it!

Should you like to read more on my thoughts on risotto, please follow the link http://wp.me/P4JqRl-5z

RECIPE NOTE: The rice quantities for these recipes vary depending on the number of people you are feeding and whether you intend making the risotto as a main meal or an accompaniment. As a general rule of thumb, I use approx. 70-80ml of rice per person for a main meal and 50-60ml as an side dish. Generally, risotto recipes on my blog are based on 2 people eating a full portion.

Click here for the recipe

Mushroom Risotto

Mushroom RisottoIn my experience, when it comes to risotto most people’s frame of reference seems to be the omnipresent mushroom risotto. In fact, I would wager that precious few have ever tired any other sort of risotto and who could blame them – mushroom risotto is utterly delicious! Given its popularity, it is tempting to dismiss mushroom risotto as de rigueur but don’t. It is for good reason that this risotto remains an enduring classic and, as a bonafide fungi-fiend, I would rate it as perhaps my all time favorite mushroom dish.

Should you like to read more on my thoughts on risotto, please follow the link http://wp.me/P4JqRl-5z

RECIPE NOTE: The rice quantities for these recipes vary depending on the number of people you are feeding and whether you intend making the risotto as a main meal or an accompaniment. As a general rule of thumb, I use approx. 70-80ml of rice per person for a main meal and 50-60ml as an side dish. Generally, risotto recipes on my blog are based on 2 people eating a full portion.

Click here for the recipe