Categories
Main Dish

Spicy Korean chicken is a great bite to ‘heat’

Korean Chicken
Korean chicken is a spicy, delicious dish, perfect for stuffing into fresh bao and topped with cilantro and sesame seeds.

A lot of people took time during their quarantine to learn to make fresh bread. I don’t know how many Pinterest posts I saw where people proudly showed off their sourdough starters. 

Rather than tackle that particular challenge, I decided to try my hand at some Asian dishes instead.

As a lifelong Kansan, I haven’t had a lot exposure to different cultures’ cuisines, so I decided to see if I could create some of those flavors myself. It was fun to explore some areas of the grocery store I don’t normally even visit.

Last week, I shared my experience with making steamed buns, bao, for the first time, and I promised to tell you how to make the chicken recipe I made to go with it. (If you missed that one, check out my website at spiceupkitchen.net to find it.)

Ironically, while I spent all kinds of time making my bao from scratch, I simplified the recipe for the chicken quite a bit, so even if you don’t have time to make steamed buns, I highly recommend trying this recipe out and serving it alongside some rice or maybe even over some Asian noodles.

This comes from the blog “Kitchen Sanctuary” by Nicky Corbishley. You can find the original post at https://www.kitchensanctuary.com/korean-chicken-bao/. I switched out a few ingredients—opting to use popcorn chicken instead of breading my own and substituting miso and sambal oelek for gochujang paste, which wasn’t available at my local grocery store. I also added extra garlic.

Korean Chicken
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Korean Chicken

Korean chicken is a spicy, delicious dish, perfect for stuffing into fresh bao and topped with cilantro and sesame seeds.
Course Main Course
Cuisine Korean
Keyword Asian, chicken, garlic, ginger, honey, Korean, miso paste, sambal oelek, spicy

Ingredients

  • 25 ounces frozen popcorn chicken
  • 1 tablespoon miso paste
  • 1 tablespoon sambal oelek
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • 4 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 4 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 4 to 6 cloves garlic minced
  • 1 tablespoon canola or vegetable oil
  • 1 tablespoon sesame oil
  • 2 teaspoons ginger
  • fresh cilantro for serving
  • white and/or black sesame seeds for serving

Instructions

  • Fry or bake the popcorn chicken according to package instructions. While the chicken cooks add the miso, sambal oelek, honey, brown sugar, soy sauce, garlic, ginger, canola oil and sesame oil in a saucepan, and stir to combine. Bring the mixture to a boil and simmer for about five minutes, until it thickens.
  • Add the chicken and sauce to a bowl and stir to coat the chicken. Serve the chicken inside bao or over rice or Asian pasta. Top with cilantro and sesame seeds.

This had a great kick to it, spice wise. If you’re not into spicy stuff, you might tone down the sambal oelek a bit and opt for a bit more miso instead, but I highly recommend giving this a try. It has more of a slow, sweet burn to it rather than one that smacks you in the face.

We ate ours in bao, obviously, and the puffed, simple bread was the perfect vehicle for the Korean chicken.

I don’t think I’ll be making bao all of the time, thanks to how time consuming it is, but this chicken will definitely go in the regular rotation.

If I’m going to completely master Asian cooking, I have quite a few more dishes—and countries—to explore. It might have been easier to stick with sourdough.

This piece first appeared in print on Oct. 7, 2021.

Spice Up Your Life is a weekly newspaper column written by Lindsey Young in south central Kansas. If you are interested in sponsoring this column, please contact us through the “Contact Lindsey” link at the top of the page.

Categories
Dessert

Ice cream cake is ‘fried’ and true recipe

Fried ice cream cake features cinnamon and toasted cornflakes to mimic the flavors of the classic Mexican dessert.

One of our family traditions is that when one of us has a birthday, it’s that person’s job to choose a dinner spot to celebrate. 

A few years ago, I chose a favorite Mexican restaurant my parents hadn’t been to yet, and I really wanted them to give it a try. Part of the bargain, though, was they couldn’t tell the waitstaff it was my birthday, because the tradition there, along with gifting you dessert, was to sing to you and make you wear a sombrero.

What I didn’t know was the tradition also included smearing your face with whipped cream.

My folks agreed to keep it to themselves, and we sat down to eat.

Unfortunately, we ran into my parents-in-law, who are wonderful folks and I love dearly, but they ratted me out, so I ended up with a full face of whipped cream. My parents thought it was as hilarious as they did. Thanks, guys.

I was thinking about that story this week when I found a recipe for a great Mexican-inspired dessert, fried ice cream, and wanted to give it a try.

The recipe I made comes from the blog “Cheese Curd in Paradise” by Ashley Lecker. You can find the original at https://cheesecurdinparadise.com/fried-ice-cream-cake/. I added vanilla and doubled the cinnamon in my version.

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Fried Ice Cream Cake

Fried ice cream cake features cinnamon and toasted cornflakes to mimic the flavors of the classic Mexican dessert.
Course Dessert
Keyword cornflakes, fried ice cream, honey, ice cream, vanilla

Ingredients

  • 8 cups corn flakes
  • 2/3 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 1.5 quart vanilla ice cream or frozen yogurt
  • 8 ounces whipped topping thawed (I used fat free)
  • 2 rounded teaspoons cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • honey for serving

Instructions

  • Set the ice cream out for about 30 minutes to let it soften.
  • Pour the cornflakes into a plastic bag and crush them with a rolling pin or meat mallet.
  • In a large skillet, melt the butter over medium heat and then add the sugar and crushed corn flakes, stirring to evenly distribute the ingredients. Keep stirring and let the cornflakes get a little toasted, about three minutes. Once the cornflakes are golden brown, put about one-third of them into the bottom of a 9-by-13-inch baking dish and spread them evenly across the bottom.
  • In a large mixing bowl, beat together the ice cream, whipped topping, cinnamon and vanilla by hand or with a hand mixer until all the ingredients are well incorporated.
  • Pour the ice cream mixture over the cornflakes in the baking dish and spread it to an even layer.
  • Top the ice cream evenly with the rest of the cornflakes.
  • Cover the baking dish and place in the freezer over night or until the ice cream firms up.
  • To serve, cut it into squares and drizzle each piece with honey.

I actually halved this recipe, because without being able to share this with other people, I didn’t want to have an entire pan of this in my freezer. It halves nicely into an 8-inch square pan.

And the flavors were perfect to remind me of traditional fried ice cream. The cinnamon and vanilla flavors were a perfect combination with the crispy, toasted cornflakes.

We enjoyed this over the course of the week as our after-dinner dessert, and lucky for me, my birthday is far, far away, so Joey didn’t make me wear any weird hats or sneak attack me with whipped cream.

Of course, depending on how long we’re stuck at home together, anything could happen.

This piece first appeared in print on April 16, 2020.

Spice Up Your Life is a weekly newspaper column written by Lindsey Young in south central Kansas. If you are interested in sponsoring this column, please contact us through the “Contact Lindsey” link at the top of the page.

Categories
Cookies Dessert

Here’s a dessert that’s perfect for crunch time

No-bake chocolate crunch bars are a perfect recipe for beginning cooks, those who are in a hurry, or anyone wanting a nice, sweet treat.

When we were kids, my mom would give my sister and I each a quarter a day for snacks at the Haven pool when we’d go swimming with our babysitter.

That quarter could get you some licorice or Now and Laters, but I would often hoard my coins for several sessions until I had enough to get a cold Twix from the pool’s freezer. It was always worth going a few days without a treat to bite into that icy candy bar.

I still like to toss candy into the fridge or freezer at home. I’m not sure what it is about a cold chocolate bar that’s so appealing, but I always love them.

That was part of what I liked about this week’s recipe, because these no-bake bars are chewy and crunchy and chilly right out of the fridge—a perfect combination.

This recipe comes from the blog “Barefeet in the Kitchen” by Mary Younkin. You can find the original at https://barefeetinthekitchen.com/no-bake-chocolate-cereal-bars-recipe/. Because this was such a simple recipe, my only change was swapping in crunchy peanut butter instead of creamy.

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No-Bake Chocolate Crunch Bars

No-bake chocolate crunch bars are a perfect recipe for beginning cooks, those who are in a hurry, or anyone wanting a nice, sweet treat.
Course Dessert
Keyword chocolate, crunchy, no bake, peanut butter

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup honey
  • 3/4 cup creamy or crunchy peanut butter
  • 3/4 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • 2 cups cornflakes

Instructions

  • Line a 8-by-3-inch bread pan or a 6-by-6-inch square pan with parchment or waxed paper (hang it over the sides to help remove the bars later) and set aside.
  • In a large, microwave-safe bowl, combine the sugar, honey and peanut butter and heat for 30 seconds at a time, stirring in between, until everything is smooth. Add in the chocolate and stir until the chocolate is melted.
  • Dump the mixture into the prepared pan and press it down evenly.
  • Place the bars in the refrigerator for two or three hours to set up. Pull the bars out of the pan using the paper and transfer to a cutting board.
  • Cut into bars the size of your choosing and store in an airtight container in the fridge.

I’m not often as big of a fan of no-bake cookies as many people are, but these were a slam dunk. Using honey for part of the sweetener gave these a richness that I really liked, and the crunch of both the cornflakes and crunchy peanut butter was excellent.

It’s probably a good thing this recipe makes a smaller batch of bars, since we managed to eat all of them in pretty short order.

I would say you could get away with using a normal 8-by-8-inch pan, too, but part of these bars’ appeal is how nice and thick they are.

They were also a nice, cool treat out of the fridge for a few days, which I really appreciated on some warm evenings. And, as a bonus, I didn’t even have to put on a swimming suit to enjoy them.

This piece first appeared in print on Oct. 3, 2019.

Spice Up Your Life is a weekly newspaper column written by Lindsey Young in south central Kansas. If you are interested in sponsoring this column, please contact us through the “Contact Lindsey” link at the top of the page.