Travel: Our Macau/Hong Kong Getaway (6D/6N)!

Follow our 6 day, 6 night adventure in these lands of amazing food, awesome culture and astounding sights. See how we ate, shopped and laughed our way through Macau and Hong Kong! :)

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Thursday, July 11, 2013

Zespri 14-day Scoop of Amazing Challenge: Day #12 - Bulgogi Jeongol (Noodle Soup) with Kiwi Marinade

I absolutely adore Korean Bulgogi. I was first introduced to the wonders of bulgogi during my year in Melbourne, when I stumbled upon it in an Asian grocery. It was a bulgogi marinade, but I used it for a lot of other things - stir-fries, pasta, fried rice, you name it. It was a bit of an addition. Thankfully for Adam, we weren't dating yet or else I'll probably force-feed him so much bulgogi that he would run away.

There's just something about that savoury-sweet combination that I really love. It's a combination that manages to bring out the flavour of beef so well but at the same time, manages to become an incredibly tummy-warming, satisfying broth or stew.

In the past year, I've looked at some bulgogi recipes, but never quite got around to pulling myself off my ass and into the kitchen to attempt any. It was only after we started on the Zespri 14-day Scoop of Amazing Kiwifruit Challenge that I stumbled upon the fact that many Koreans use the kiwifruit in their bulgogi marinade. You'll see pears being commonly called for in bulgogi recipes, but I learnt that kiwi is a good choice as well. Particularly because they contain a certain enzyme that makes it an au naturale meat tenderizer.

Thankfully our kiwis got replenished, so I could try the kiwi in my marinade yesterday. Now, Zespri's website mentions that the Green kiwi works well as a tenderizer, but my green ones weren't as ripe as the SunGold ones, so I decided to use the latter instead (with my fingers crossed of course) because it also contains actinidin. It still worked out really well!

Here goes...

Bulgolgi Jeongol with Kiwi Marinade

Adapted from Shinshine
Makes 6 servings

Bulgogi Marinade
1/2 cup Japanese or Korean soy sauce - I used Japanese sashimi soy sauce
1 Zespri Kiwi, mashed - you should try to use green ones as they are known as better meat tenderizers, the original recipe uses a grated Asian pear for this
5 cloves garlic, peeled and finely minced
1/2 onion, peeled and finely minced - decided to add this
2 tsp ginger, grated - omitted, cause I had none
2 tbsp honey
2 tbsp sesame oil
Ground black pepper

Bulgogi Jeongol Hot Pot
400g beef steak, thinly sliced
8 shitake mushrooms
5 cups lukewarm water
1/2 onion, thinly sliced
1 carrot, thinly sliced
1/4 cabbage, cut to 1-inch pieces
2 cups edible chrysanthemum (a.k.a. crown daisy or ssukgat), washed, trimmed and cut to 2 inch length (or substitute with spinach) - omitted cause I have no idea where to find it!
1/2 cup perilla leaves, washed, stems trimmed and julienned - also omitted
4 stalks of scallion, cut to 2-inch length
1 bunch enoki mushrooms, cut to 2-inches length
1 Zespri Sungold kiwi, cut into 8 slices length-wise
2 tbsp sugar (to taste)
Glass noodles (optional)

1. Prepare beef slices as thinly as possible and place in bowl. Mine were bought sliced from Cold Storage, and were too thick for my liking.

2. Add the ingredients needed for the marinade to the beef and combine thoroughly. 
3. Cover and refrigerate to marinate for at least 1 hour. You can marinate it overnight for better results, but use 1/4 cup of soy sauce instead of 1/2 cup.

4. While the beef marinates, soak shitake mushrooms in lukewarm water. When the mushrooms soften, squeeze excess water out and slice thinly. Put the shitake slices back in its soaking water. Prepare rest of the items for the hot pot. 

5. If you would like your bulgogi jeongol with glass noodles, soak the noodles with water in a bowl until soft. Put in boiling water until translucent and set aside into bowls. (I couldn't find any glass noodles, so I got some Penang laksa noodles instead.. shhh! Worked just as well.)

6. Arrange all the vegetables for the hot pot (except the enoki mushrooms and kiwi) and the marinated meat into a pot.

7. Pour in all the 5 cups of shitake liquid into the pot and bring it up to a boil. Stir in the enoki mushrooms. 

8. If bulgogi broth is not sweet enough for your liking, add in the 2 tbsp sugar, 1 at a time, and stir well before tasting. 

9. When the vegetables are cooked (you can see the soup turning a lovely murky colour - as only flavourful soups can look), toss in the kiwi slices. Quickly stir and remove from heat. If you let the kiwi cook for too long, it may lose it's vibrant colour.

10. Separate small servings of glass noodles into bowls and top with bulgogi. Sprinkle sesame seeds on top before serving. Enjoy!

To my glee, the bulgogi turned out exactly the way I liked it, hearty yet appetizing, with flavoursome, supple beef (must be that magic kiwi tenderizer at work!) and tenderly-cooked vegetables. I like my bulgogi sweeter, so I added in the 2 tbsp of sugar to taste during the cooking of the soup. My favourite bulgogi glass noodle soup is from the friendly Korean auntie in the Gardens Mall food court, and I'm pleased to say this came quite close in my opinion. :)

The glass noodles also gives the soup a bit more substance, adding a very nice slurp to the meal. To my surprise, the kiwis took on an appetizing tang after being added to the soup, a taste similar to tomatoes. Definitely a healthy meal that I wouldn't mind having often!

For more fascinating kiwi cooking adventures, you can get some fun ideas straight from the Zespri website here or follow all the other bloggers taking on the Zespri 14-day Scoop of Amazing Challenge by checking out the #zespriMY hashtag on Facebook, Twitter & Instagram. Happy cooking!

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