For this week’s recipe, we are featuring Korean Steak Tacos with Homemade Kimchi. I was inspired by a staple ingredient used in Korean culture called Gojuchang. For more information on this ingredient, you can visit the Tip Tuesday from this week. As a quick overview, it’s a fermented red chili paste that can be used for a lot of things, from making kimchi to marinating meats. This week, we will be doing both!
In my job at banquets, I’ve had the opportunity to learn how to cook many different cuisines from chefs with first hand experience. In this case, I looked to my Chinese Chef, who married a Korean woman, and learned these recipes from her. The first recipe is a marinated steak for Korean Steak Tacos, and the second is for a Daikon Radish Kimchi that’s unlike any kimchi you have ever had. I like kimchi a lot, but sometimes I have a hard time with the overbearing flavor of some of them; with this one, you don’t have that problem. This week, we’ll dive into the history of kimchi before we start cooking. Or, because the kimchi and steak need to marinade over night, you could start by prepping them both out and then returning the history of kimchi to fill in that time. Whatever floats your boat.
What is kimchi?
Kimchi is a traditional fermented Korean side dish made of a variety of vegetables and seasonings usually with a common base. The traditional method of creating kimchi was to store it in jars underground to keep it cool and preventing the winter elements from effecting the fermenting process. The process is made a little easier with the use of refrigerators and air tight containers today.
Kimchi is the national dish for Korea. Like miso soup and rice is a common staple in the Japanese diet, kimchi is an essential of a Korean’s diet. During South Korea’s involvement in the Vietnam war, South Korea requested from the American government that their soldiers would have access to their key food for survival, kimchi.
Kimchi can be made from many different ingredients, depending on the season or region. There are 180 different varieties. The two most common colors are red and white. White is the same as red, but without the chili pepper, making it not spicy. The most common ingredients are Napa cabbage, radish, cucumber, and green onion.
There is a reason that Koreans eat 40 lbs of kimchi per year- it has many nutritional benefits. With kimchi containing a variety of vegetables, it contains a high concentration of dietary fiber, while being low in calories. One serving of of Kimchi provides 50% of your daily recommended amount of vitamin C and carotene. It is also rich in vitamin A, B1, B2, calcium and iron. The fermenting process of Kimchi makes it rich in beneficial gut-boosting lactobacilli bacteria.
The wealth of antioxidants in kimchi exercise healing effects in the medical conditions like cancer, diabetes, obesity, atopic dermatitis and gastric ulcers. The flavonoids and probiotics-rich kimchi helps to combat aging, maintain healthy levels of cholesterol and strengthen the immune system. -Organic Facts
Kimchi is a superfood in its own right. I know that for most people, it’s hard to eat because of its intense flavor, but with so many varieties out there, there’s a kind for everyone. The recipe that I am sharing today is a more palatable version because of the fruit added in the base. I hope you enjoy these recipes and have a great taco night with friends and family.
Korean Steak Tacos with a creamy roasted corn salsa
For the steak marinade mix together in a bowl the gochanjang, some water, and mirin.
Make sure the steak is trimmed to your preference. I trimmed them into long strips to provide the perfect sized pieces when I sliced them for the tacos. Based on Trader Joe’s meat selection that night, I had to pound the flank steak to be a little thinner. The preferred cut of meat for this would be a skirt steak.
Place the steak and the marinade into a airtight container. Massage the marinade into the meat, making sure that each piece of meat is equally coated. Steal the container with the lid and refrigerate over night.
Turn your grill onto high heat. Take the steak out of the marinade and scrape off any excess marinade. Grill on both sides, equal amount of time until the meat is cooked to your preference. Don’t be too concerned if there is a little char on the steak, that tends to happen with the marinade (plus its the best part!).
When the steak is done, let it rest for a few minutes before slicing.
Serve with the corn salad, kimchi, and corn tortillas.
Creamy and Spicy Corn Salad
Roast the corn on the grill until slightly charred and the corn kernels are cooked.
In a separate bowl mix tougher the sour cream, sriracha, and little bit of water until the desired consistency and heat level is achieved.
Mix in the corn and some fresh chopped cilantro. You can either eat this on its own or on your taco.
Daikon Radish Kimchi
The process for the marinade for the kimchi is quite simple, measure all of the ingredients out, place them in a blender and blend until smooth.
Next peel and slice the daikon radish into thin slices (I prefer using a mandolin for uniform slices).
Put the daikon in a bowl and pour the kimchi marinade over them. Using your hands massage the marinade into the radish, trying to make sure to incorporate all of the radish.
Place the kimchi into an air tight container and marinade overnight before serving. You can keep the kimchi for up to three months. The longer you have it, the more fermented it will become, making for a deeper flavor.