Recently, I trekked my way to the west side of Michigan (the state I live in) to join in the fun of our annual family reunion. It’s always great fun matched with great food. While historically my brother-in-law and I have prepared all the tasty fare, the last two years we’ve started enlisting the younger generation to help prepare the meals. And what a treat!
My nephew and his sweetheart, Christina, prepared a wonderful Korean Barbecue. Barbecue Beef Ribs (my version here), Pork Belly, Marinated Tofu, Kimchi Pancakes, Omelets, Rice, Seaweed Salads, Mung Bean Salads, and multiple dipping sauces provided a feast of flavors that had everyone delighted. While Korean food may seem exotic to some, it really is rather straight-forward to prepare, once you understand the flavor profiles.
Soy sauce, brown sugar, sesame oil and chili pastes are really all you need to get started. You can combine these to make the marinades and glazes for the meats. Then you can mix them in different proportions and add scallions and garlic to make wonderful dipping sauces. A touch of Korean bean paste or miso can also be added to the mix. Then serve everything with a nice pile of shiso leaves to use as wraps and there you have it — a beautiful Korean flavor fest! This food is light, fresh and packs a lot of flavor. So go visit a Korean market and load up. You’ll be glad you did. . .