Prawn and Blue Swimming Crab Salad with Korean Chilli dressing

Salad with cold water prawns, chunks of blue swimming crab and a Korean style sesame and chilli dressing.

The summer season is finally here in Edinburgh after a long, cold, dark winter and with it comes salad season. I love nothing more than a good fresh salad on a warm summers day, in fact I have been dreaming about one all winter – there is something about a summer’s day that just says “salad”, or maybe its just me!

With this salad of cold water prawns, blue swimming crab meat, eggs, romaine lettuce, cucumber, tomatoes, red chilli, yellow bell pepper and red onion, the twist comes with the dressing which transforms the salad to something really special. The dressing is made from sesame seeds, sesame oil, dark soy sauce, honey, vinegar and the essential Korean ingredient – gochujang chilli paste.

I always find it hard to put into words exactly how my food tastes, but one thing I can say for sure is that the dressing transforms an ordinary salad into a truly exotic and fun dish.

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Serves two as main dish or four as a starter

Ingredients and method

The salad

120-150g crab meat – I used blue swimming crab

125-150g cold water prawns – pre cooked, shell and head removed

1 romaine lettuce – wash, dry and roughly shred

4 large round tomatoes – cut into eighths 

10-15 cm cucumber – cut into medium thick slices

4 pre boiled eggs – see method

1 red onion – thinly slice

1 yellow bell pepper –  cut into small pieces or dice

1 large red chilli – thing slice, keep seeds in for spice (optional)

Method: To boil the eggs – bring a medium-sized sauce pan to the boil then carefully add the eggs one at a time into the water, take care not to drop them in too quickly or they will crack (remove and discard if they crack). Reduce heat so pan is gently boiling and cook for 10 minutes.

After this remove eggs and place them in a bowl of cold water to stop them cooking. Once cooled remove from water and set aside. To remove the shells take the egg and tap the egg against the worktop until it starts to crack, turn the egg and continue to tap so that you crack the egg all the way round (imagine a line round egg and follow it). Once you have cracked the egg all the way round the shell you should be able to gently pull the shell and membrane away from the egg.

Assemble the ingredients, layering them in a large salad bowl ready for the dressing.

For the Korean dressing

1 heaped dessert spoon gochujang chilli paste

1 dessert spoon dark soy sauce

1 dessert spoon clear honey

1 dessert spoon vinegar

1 heaped dessert spoon sesame seeds

2 teaspoons sesame oil

Method: Add all the ingredients in a bowl and mix well until combined. Cover and set aside at room temperature for 45-60 mins, to allow flavours to develop. Before serving mix well again, then drizzle over the salad, then mix well so it coats everything. Serve immediately and enjoy!

 

 

 

Korean beef skewers

A really quick and easy recipe for knock out Korean beef skewers.

 

The beef is knocked flat with a rolling-pin, then thinly sliced. This is added to a marinade made from ginger, garlic, dark soy, vinegar, shaoxing, sesame, honey and gochujan chilli paste.  Left a few hours in a fridge then the beef is skewered, before being cooked quickly over a hot skillet.

In this recipe I used fajita steak, however any steak cut such as sirloin or rump would work just as well. I served this as part of a main meal along with some coconut rice and a cucumber salad (recipe below), however it also works brilliantly as a starter.

You can make a tasty dipping sauce by pouring the marinade into a saucepan and cooking it through the boil.

 

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Serves two as a starter or part of a main meal

Preparation time 20 minutes (plus 3 hrs marinading time)

Cooking time approx 5 minutes

Beef Skewers

2 steaks (fajita, frying, sirloin or rump) – flatten with rolling-pin/mallet, thinly sliced

Bulb of garlic – crush and finely chop

Thumb of ginger – cut into thin match sticks

2 dessert spoons dark soy sauce

1 dessert spoon vinegar

1 desert spoon sesame oil

Dash shaoxing wine

2 teaspoons sesame seeds

1 dessert spoon honey

2 dessert spoons gochujan paste

Vegetable oil  (to lightly bush grill)

You need a skillet grill pan and bamboo skewers for this recipe.

Mix marinade in a bowl then add the thinly sliced steak. Stir then cover in a fridge for at least three hours or overnight. Remove 30 minutes before cooking.

Get cooking!

  1. Start by skewering the beef. Try to get several skewer folds as you do this instead of simply one in one out.
  2. Heat the skillet pan over a high heat until smoking hot, then lightly brush with oil.
  3. Add the skewers across the grill from right to left, spacing out slightly so that all the skewers have room on the grill and are not lifted off by its neighbour – this helps to evenly cook them.
  4. On a hot grill the skewers will cook very quickly and need at most 90 seconds on each side, even less for very thinly sliced beef. Make sure you turn them in the same order for even cooking.
  5. Once cooked on both sides remove skewers in same order placed on grill and transfer to a plate to rest for 2 minutes before serving.
  6. If you wish transfer the remaining marinade into a saucepan and heat through until it bubbles away to kill any bacteria. This makes an excellent dipping sauce along.

Cucumber salad

15cm cucumber – deseed, peel and cut into crescents

2 long red chillies – thinly sliced

3 spring onions – thinly sliced

2 tbsp chopped fresh coriander leaf

2 tbsp chopped peanuts

Mix ingredients in a bowl, keep the coriander and peanuts separate to add as a last-minute garnish.

For the salad dressing:

1 dessert spoon gochujang chilli paste

1 dessert spoon dark soy sauce

1 dessert spoon honey

3 teaspoons rice vinegar

1 teaspoon sesame seeds

1 teaspoon sesame oil

Mix the dressing well in a separate bowl, drizzle over salad before serving.

 

Korean King Prawn Chilli noodles

Stir fried egg noodles with King prawns and vegetables in a Korean style chilli sauce.

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Serves two people

Preperation 10 minutes, cooking time 10 minutes

Ingredients

12 raw king prawns (shell, devien and buttefly)

2 tablespoons wok oil

6 trimmed broccoli spears

8 trimmed green beans (cut into 3-4cm lengths)

1 carrot (cut into thin matchsticks)

1 red chilli (thinly sliced)

6 baby corn (thinly sliced)

1 red onion (cut into thin strips) 

2 portions of cooked medium thick egg noodles

Thumb of ginger (cut into very fine matchsticks)

2 teaspoon sesame seeds

1 desert spoon sesame oil

1 desert spoon gochujan

1 desert spoon honey

1 desert spoon vinegar

2 desert spoons dark soy sauce

4 cloves garlic (crush, finely chop)

 

Get cooking

  1. Start by making the sauce, this is best 1-2 hours before cooking. Mix the crushed garlic, dark soy, vinegar, honey, gochujan, ginger, sesame seeds and sesame seeds in a large bowl. Stir well until combined, cover and set aside at room temperature until cooking.
  2. Cook the noodles as per packet instructions then drain and set aside. It is best to use a fork to seperate the noodles to make it easier when frying them.
  3. Heat one tablespoon of wok oil until smoking hot. Keep your cooker setting at maximum for the whole cooking process – it is better to lift the wok off the cooker than to turn it down. Stir fry the prawns until they turn from gey to pink (2-3 minutes), then tip the contents into a colander to drain the oil. Set aside.
  4. Wipe the wok clean then add a further tablespoon of wok oil and heat until smoking hot. Add the vegetables (onion,, carrot chilli, baby corn, brocholi spears and trimmed green beans) and stir fry for 2-3 minutes.
  5. Add the cooked prawns followed by the sauce then the noodles, stir fry for 2-3 minutes until the dish is piping hot.
  6. Serve immediatley and enjoy!

Korean crispy Sesame chicken with fried chilli noodles

My take on Sesame chicken – Korean style.

Chicken marinated for 2-3 hours in dark soy sauce and sesame then coated in corn flour just before being deep fried. I used a chicken supreme breast with bone in to give extra juicy flavour, although you could use diced breast, wings, thighs or drumsticks if you wish. Don’t be concerned by the dark colour of the fried chicken, its not overdone, the dark soy colours the crispy corn flour coating.

Noodles are stir fried along with vegetables, ginger, garlic, gochujan (Korean fermented chilli paste) , honey, vinegar and dark soy sauce – they are so tasty they would be a great meal by themselves.

A rich sesame sauce completes the dish, made from Tahini, peanuts, gochujan, dark soy, sesame oil, garlic and vinegar. This is warmed through in a separate sauce pan then poured over the crispy fried chicken.

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Serves two people

Preparation 30 minutes (plus 2-3hrs marinating time)

Cooking time 10-15 minutes

Ingredients

For the fried chicken:

2 chicken breasts, bone in (I used chicken supreme cut- see above notes)

4 desert spoons sesame seeds

2 desert spoons sesame oil

2 desert spoons dark soy sauce

Vegetable oil to deep fry (approx 180०c)

Approx 75g corn flour (enough in a bowl to coat chicken) 

Use a food bag, put all the ingredients in and massage them into the chicken. Tie the bag and marinate in fridge for 2-3 hours or overnight. Remove from fridge at least 20 minutes before cooking to bring chicken to room temperature.

For the stir fried noodles:

1 tablespoon wok oil

6 trimmed broccoli spears

8 trimmed green beans (cut into 3-4cm lengths)

1 carrot (cut into thin matchsticks)

1 red chilli (thinly sliced)

6 baby corn (thinly sliced)

1 red onion (cut into thin strips) 

2 portions of cooked medium thick egg noodles

Handful of peanuts

Thumb of ginger (cut into very fine matchsticks)

2 teaspoon sesame seeds

1 desert spoon gochujan

1 desert spoon honey

1 desert spoon vinegar

2 desert spoons dark soy sauce

4 cloves garlic (crush, finely chop)

Place all of the chopped vegetables in a bowl ready to fry. In a separate bowl make the noodle flavour mixture – mix the ginger, sesame seeds, gochujan, honey, vinegar and garlic. Stir well until combined.

For the sesame sauce:

4 desert spoons Tahini paste

4 desert spoons peanuts

1 desert spoon gochujan

2 desert spoons dark soy sauce

1 desert spoon sesame oil

3 cloves garlic

1 desert spoon vinegar

Add all the ingredients to a mini blender and whizz into a smooth sauce ready to be heat through just before serving.

 

Get cooking!

You need a wok, pan for deep frying and a small saucepan to heat the sesame sauce.

  1. Start by pre heating the oil to around 180०c. Remove the chicken from the bag and roll in the cornflour ensuring the chicken is well coated. Place carefully in the oil and deep fry for 6-8 minutes until chicken turns dark brown and floats in the oil. Remove and sit on a plate with absorbent paper.
  2. Add a tablespoon of wok oil to the wok and heat on maximum hob setting until smoking hot. Add the bowl of vegetables and stir fry for 1 minute, keeping hob at maximum setting. Next add the noodle flavour mixture and stir fry for a further minute. Next add the noodles and stir through so the noodles are coated in the sauce. Stir fry for a further minute until piping hot.
  3. In a separate saucepan heat the sesame sauce through to the boil, stirring to make sure the sauce does not burn on the pan bottom.
  4. Place the noodles on serving plates, place chicken on top then pour the sesame sauce over the chicken.
  5. Serve and enjoy!