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Spicy Korean Cucumber Kimchi Salad - YouTube

Video recipe: quick cucumber kimchi

Quick Cucumber Kimchi

Cucumber Kimchi Sauce

Quick Cucumber Kimchi

A quick Korean cucumber kimchi recipe that’s spicy, sweet and tangy. It’s perfect either as a side dish or a main salad. Enjoy the recipe below!

PRINTABLE RECIPE Quick Cucumber Kimchi Recipe

Serves 1-2

Ingredients Instructions
  1. Wash the cucumbers thoroughly, remove ends and slice into at least 1/4-inch circles.
  2. In a medium-size bowl, combine salt and sliced cucumbers. Give them a good toss to evenly coat. Set aside for at least 30 minutes or when cucumbers release most or all of its water. Rinse them off lightly to get rid of the excess salt. Lightly squeeze and drain dry. Give the bowl a quick rinse and transfer cucumbers back to bowl.
  3. Make the sauce: In a small bowl, mix together soy sauce, sesame oil, sugar, Korean red pepper flakes, garlic and rice vinegar. Give it a quick taste and adjust if necessary.
  4. Pour sauce over the cucumbers and toss to evenly coat.
  5. Serve immediately or placed in the refrigerator to chill lightly. If cucumbers are stored in the fridge for more than a day, the sauce will draw more water from the cucumbers and appear watery, which will not look as appetizing but still taste wonderful.
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Vietnamese Fermented Shrimp Sauce (Mam Tom)

This Vietnamese fermented shrimp sauce (Mam Tom) is the traditional dipping sauce for Hanoi Fried Fish with Turmeric and Dill (Cha Ca La Vong).

Mam Tom is not for the faint of heart. It has a strong and pungent smell. It’s made from a mixture of fermented shrimp paste, fresh crushed garlic, water and lemon juice.

PRINTABLE RECIPE Vietnamese Fermented Shrimp Sauce (Mam Tom)

Makes 3/4 cup

Ingredients Instructions
  1. In a small bowl, mix together shrimp paste, sugar, lemon/lime juice, and MSG until fully dissolved.
  2. Mix in garlic.
  3. Garnish with chili peppers.

Vietnamese Fermented Shrimp Sauce (Mam Tom)

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Vietnamese Tofu and Garlic Chive Soup with Ground Pork Recipe - Canh Dau Hu He Nau Thit Bam - YouTube

Video Recipe: Vietnamese Tofu and Garlic Chive Soup with Ground Pork (Canh Dau Hu He Nau Thit Bam)

Vietnamese Tofu and Garlic Chive Soup with Ground Pork (Canh Dau Hu He Nau Thit Bam)

Any kind of vegetable soup (canh) is a must in Vietnamese home cooking. Canh Dau Hu He is a very simple soup that takes no more than 15 minutes to make. The soup is made of chicken stock, tofu, garlic chives and ground pork. That's pretty much it. It's great for when you are super lazy, like me during these cold days when I rather lounge under warm blankets than cook in the kitchen.

Ingredients for Vietnamese Tofu and Garlic Chive Soup with Ground Pork (Canh Dau Hu He Nau Thit Bam)

Vietnamese Tofu and Garlic Chive Soup with Ground Pork (Canh Dau Hu He Nau Thit Bam)

PRINTABLE RECIPE Vietnamese Tofu and Garlic Chive Soup with Ground Pork (Canh Dau Hu He Nau Thit Bam)

Serves 4-5

Ingredients Instructions
  1. Season ground pork with chicken stock powder, sugar, salt and black pepper.
  2. To the bottom of a small pot, heat vegetable oil on medium high heat and fry garlic and shallot until fragrant. Add ground pork and fry for about 5 minutes, breaking up the pork into small pieces with a wooden spoon.
  3. Add chicken stock to pot and bring to a boil.
  4. Season stock with fish sauce and MSG (optional).
  5. Add tofu and cook on medium heat for 10 minutes.
  6. Add garlic chives then immediately turn off heat. Serve soup as a side dish to steamed white rice and your favorite Vietnamese meat dish for a complete meal.
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Kid-Friendly Vietnamese Pan-Fried Ground Pork Patties

When my kids were toddlers, they were very picky eaters. I had the hardest time getting them to eat anything other than plain white rice or noodles. Meat was the one thing they struggled the most with. They would swallow everything on their spoons, but spit out the meat. It was a terrible waste of effort and yum.

Husband and I love meat so we always have a little meat as our main protein source in our family meals. Meat not only tastes delicious when done correctly, but it also makes you feel full. I tried a vegetarian and vegan diet in the past and it was the most excruciating 6 hours of my life. I’m sorry — life is too short for that.

Kid-Friendly Vietnamese Pan-Fried Ground Pork Patties

It took me some tweaking of my regular meat dishes to get them to eat meat. This simple pan-fried Vietnamese pork patties perfectly hit the mark. No bones. No toughness. Just nothing but tender meat with great Asian flavors.

I normally marinate my grilled/fried pork with lemongrass as in Thit Nuong Xa or use fish sauce in my pork patties as in Bun Cha Hanoi. Since this kid-friendly, I eliminated the aromatic lemongrass. Since this is fried, I took away the liquid fish sauce and replace it with a not-so-liquid oyster sauce. I like to pan-fry these to get maximum caramelization on the outside, but it’s also great on the grill. Recipe below. Happy eating!

Kid-Friendly Vietnamese Pan-Fried Ground Pork Patties

Kid-Friendly Vietnamese Pan-Fried Ground Pork Patties

PRINTABLE RECIPE Quick Kid-Friendly Vietnamese Pan-Fried Pork Patty Recipe

Makes 10 mini patties

Ingredients Instructions
  1. Marinate ground pork with sugar, oyster sauce, pork/chicken stock powder, shallot, garlic and sesame oil for least 30 minutes or overnight in fridge. Divide the pork into 10 even patties.
  2. Coat the bottom of a large skillet with vegetable oil. Fry each side for about 3 minutes. Serve with steamed rice, cucumbers or other vegetables for a complete meal.
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Singaporean Chili Crab / Lobster

Chili crab is a Singaporean seafood dish. It is crab stir-fried with ginger, garlic, shallots and chilies  in a thick, sweet and savory egg and tomato sauce. Despite its name, the dish is not very spicy. Mud crabs are typically used in this dish but I didn’t use mud crabs. I didn’t even use crab. Instead, I used lobster. The dish still came out super delicious, as if I were in a hawker stall in Singapore. Just remember to wear a bib as it can get super messy. Recipe below. Enjoy!

Thank you for your sacrifice!

PRINTABLE RECIPE Singapore-Style Chilli Crab

Serves 2

Ingredients

    Lobster / Crab

  • 2-3 lbs whole lobster/crabs
  • Aromatics

  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 3-6 fresh chili peppers (slice thin)
  • 1 thumb-size piece ginger (peel and chop finely)
  • 1 large shallot (peel and finely chop)
  • 1 whole head garlic (about 8 cloves)
  • Sauce Mixture

  • 1 cup water
  • 1 tablespoon soybean paste
  • 2 tablespoons granulated white sugar
  • 4 tablespoons tomato sauce
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • Thickening agents

  • 1 tablespoon tapioca starch
  • 2 tablespoons cold water
  • 2 eggs (beaten)
  • Garnish

  • 2 tablespoons chopped cilantro/green onions (optional)
Instructions
  1. When working with any seafood, make sure to clean it properly to get rid of the strong fishy smell. Get into all the nooks and cranny with a small brush and rinse several times. Cut crab or lobster into bite-size pieces. If there's any roe, scoop it out and set aside. The roe would be a great addition to the sauce mixture below if preferred.
  2. In a large wok with a lid, heat up vegetable oil on medium high. Add all the aromatics in once (chili peppers, ginger, shallot and garlic) and saute until fragrant (about 1-2 minutes).
  3. To the wok, add water, soybean paste, sugar, tomato sauce and salt. Add roe here if there's any. Mix until combined.
  4. Add crab/lobster. Cover the wok with a lid and simmer on medium-high for 10 minutes. Occasionally toss to cover lobster/crab in sauce.
  5. After 10 minutes, remove lid. In a small bowl, mix together tapioca starch with cold water until completely dissolved. Add this slurry mixture to the wok and simmer on medium-high without lid until sauce thickens.
  6. Add beaten eggs and cook for 2-3 more minutes. Transfer crab/lobster to a large serving platter and garnish with chopped cilantro or green onions (optional). Serve by itself or with steamed rice or steamed buns for a full meal.

Singaporean Chili Crab / Lobster

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Vietnamese Sizzling Pancakes (Banh Xeo) - YouTube

Video: Grandma’s cooking up Banh Xeo

If you walk the streets of Vietnam, you will get bombarded with an array of amazing smells from the abundance of street food all around you. One famous street foods that not only can you smell, but hear is Banh Xeo.

Banh Xeo is Vietnamese sizzling crepe or sizzling pancake. It is named for the loud sizzling sound it makes when the rice batter hits a hot skillet. This savory thin pancake is filled with thin slices of pork belly, whole shrimp, mung beans, and bean sprouts. Once the pancake is crispy on all sides, it’s folded over with a spatula and slide onto a serving platter and served with a variety of fresh vegetables and Vietnamese herbs and a side of fish sauce dipping sauce (Nuoc Mam Cham).

Vegetables and herbs include lettuce, mint, fish mint (Rau Diep Ca), sorrel (Rau Chua), Vietnamese balm (Kinh Gioi), Vietnamese perilla (Tia To), and pickled daikon/carrots (Do Chua).

Vietnamese Sizzling Crepe / Pancake (Banh Xeo)

Traditionally, Banh Xeo is eaten with your hands. You tear off a piece of Banh Xeo, wrap it in lettuce and other assorted Vietnamese herbs, and dip it into the dipping sauce.

Banh Xeo batter is made from a mixture of rice flour, coconut milk and turmeric powder. When I make Banh Xeo at home, I usually get the premix Banh Xeo flour and make a few adjustments. I add a bit more rice flour to make it crispier, a bit more turmeric powder for a yellower color, and dash of MSG (optional) and salt. Everything is mix together with a bit of water and coconut milk.

I also discover recently that the addition of egg makes the batter richer and crispier. The egg yolk provides the richness while the egg white helps with the crispiness when fried. The egg yolk also makes the batter yellower without using too much turmeric.

If you get a chance to visit Vietnam, grab a seat on one of the tiny plastic stools at one of the street vendor stalls, order a plate of Banh Xeo and a cup of Vietnamese iced coffee (Ca Phe Sua Da). Sit back and enjoy the meal as you watch the beautiful synchronization of  mopeds and pedestrians and contemplate how people not get run over more often.

Vietnamese Sizzling Crepe / Pancake (Banh Xeo)

Vietnamese Sizzling Crepe / Pancake (Banh Xeo) Batter

Ingredients for Vietnamese Sizzling Crepe / Pancake (Banh Xeo)

Vietnamese Sizzling Crepe / Pancake (Banh Xeo)

PRINTABLE RECIPE Vietnamese Sizzling Crepe / Pancake (Banh Xeo)

Makes 8-10 pancakes

Ingredients

    Batter

  • 1 packet Banh Xeo flour (12 oz)
  • 1/2 teaspoon turmeric powder
  • 80 grams rice flour
  • 1 teaspoon refined sea salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon MSG
  • 1 can coconut milk (13.5 fl oz)
  • 3 cups water
  • 1 egg (beaten)
  • 3-5 green onions (slice thinly)

  • Toppings

  • 1 pound pork belly
  • 15-20 whole shrimp (size 21-25; peel and devein)
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 teaspoon pork/chicken/mushroom stock powder(divided)
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 3 garlic (mince)
  • 1 small shallot (mince)
  • 1/3 cup dried split mung beans (wash until water runs clear and soak overnight)

  • Vegetables

  • Lettuce
  • Mint
  • Fish Mint (Rau Diep Ca)
  • Sorrel (Rau Chua)
  • Vietnamese Balm (Kinh Gioi)
  • Vietnamese Perilla (Tia To)
  • 1 lb fresh bean sprouts
  • 1 small yellow onion (slice thin)

  • Other Ingredients

  • Vietnamese Fish sauce dipping sauce (Nuoc Mam Cham)
  • Vietnamese Pickled daikon and carrot (Do Chua)

  • Equipment Needed

  • Large nonstick skillet with lid (preferably two for faster cooking)
Instructions
  1. In a large mixing bowl and using a large whisk, mix together flour, turmeric powder that came with the flour, additional turmeric powder, rice flour, sea salt, MSG, coconut milk, water and egg until completely dissolved. Add green onions and set aside to rest for at least one hour. The longer the batter rests, the crispier it will be when fried as flour expands.
  2. Clean the pork and shrimp by vigorously rubbing them with salt. Rinse under cold running water and drain dry. Slice pork belly into thin pieces. Marinate shrimp and pork belly with stock powder (1/2 teaspoon each).
  3. In a large skillet, heat vegetable oil on medium high. Add minced garlic and shallot and saute until fragrant. Add pork belly and panfry until evenly cook (about 7-10 minutes). Add shrimp into same pan with the pork and lightly pan fry until no longer translucent (1-2 minutes). Remove pork and shrimp from skillet and set aside.
  4. Put the presoaked mung bean in microwave-safe bowl and fill with water to cover by 1 inch. Place in microwave uncovered and cook for 5 minutes until soft. Drain and set aside.
  5. To make the pancake/crepes, coat a large non-stick skillet with a thin layer of vegetable oil. Ladle in about 1 cup of batter and immediately pick up pan and swirl batter around to cover the bottom and sides of skillet. Add a small amount of sliced onions, mung beans and bean sprouts, pork belly and two shrimp to one side of the pancakes. Cover skillet with lid and cook for 5 minutes on medium high. After 5 minutes, remove lid and allow the pancake to dry out and become crispy. Once you get the desired crispiness and pancake can be loosely shaken from the skillet, use a spatula to fold the pancake in half. Slide pancake onto a serving platter. Repeat wtih remaining batter and ingredients.
  6. Serve pancakes with fresh vegetables and herbs, pickled daikon/carrots, and a side of Vietnamese fish sauce dipping sauce (Nuoc Mam Cham).

Vietnamese Sizzling Crepe / Pancake (Banh Xeo)

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In Vietnam, mangoes are rarely eaten when ripe. It’s the tart and crunchy unripe green mangoes that is highly sought after. When unripe green mangoes are paired with a sweet, spicy and savory dipping sauce or powder, it becomes a popular Southeast Asian snack. Here are the four popular dipping sauces that you can eat with unripe green mangoes.

PRINTABLE RECIPE (ALL 4) Muoi Ot / Chili Salt

If you've ever been to Asia, you've probably seen street vendors selling their freshly cut fruits with small packets of this popular chili salt powder (Muoi Ot). Salt is always paired with fruits, as it brings out the flavor and the fruit natural sweetness. Muoi Ot is the simplest and most popular way to eat crunchy and tart green mangoes. It is made by mixing together red chili peppers and salt with either a mortar and pestle or food processor.

Ingredients
  • 1 tablespoon sea salt
  • 2-4 red chili peppers
Instructions
  1. In either a food processor or a mortar/pestle, mix together salt and chili until fully combined.
  2. Serve with peeled, sliced green mangoes.

Green Mangoes with Muoi Tom (Salt with Dried Shrimp)

Muoi Tom / Salt with Dried Shrimp

Muoi Tom is a dipping powder made by mixing together salted dried shrimp, sugar and salt. This dipping powder has more umami flavor than the regular chili salt due to the addition of dried shrimp.

Ingredients
  • 2 tablespoons small dried salted shrimp
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 1 tablespoon sea salt
  • 1/2 tablespoon granulated white sugar
Instructions
  1. Soak shrimp until softened. Drain dry. Firmly pound the shrimp in the mortar to a fairly fine powder or place in a food processor.
  2. Heat up vegetable oil in a small frying pan. Add powdered shrimp and toss constantly over low heat until shrimp is completely dry and toasted. Set aside to cool.
  3. Add salt and sugar. Mix until fully combined.
  4. Serve with peeled, sliced green mangoes.

Green Mangoes with Sweet Fish Sauce (Nuoc Mam Duong)

Nuoc Mam Duong / Sweet fish Sauce

Nuoc Mam Duong is a sweet and salty dipping sauce made from a mixture of fish sauce, sugar and red chili peppers. It’s a thick sauce made from a higher ratio of sugar than fish sauce. This dipping sauce combined with tart green mangoes is a classic Southeast Asian flavor combination of sweet, sour, salty and spicy.

Ingredients Instructions
  1. In a small bowl, mix together fish sauce and sugar until fully dissolved.
  2. Add chili peppers.
  3. Serve with peeled, sliced green mangoes.

Green Mangoes with Mam Ruoc (Shrimp Paste)

Mam Ruoc / Shrimp Paste

This dipping sauce is for the more adventurous. Mam Ruoc is fermented shrimp paste, which is salty and pungent in aroma and flavor. This dipping sauce starts off with frying lemongrass, shallots, garlic and red chili peppers together with a bit of vegetable oil. The shrimp paste is thinned out with a bit of water, then combined to the aromatic mixture. Sugar is lastly added to reduce the saltiness of the shrimp paste.

Ingredients
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1 small shallot (peel and finely dice)
  • 1 tablespoon minced lemongrass (tender bottom part only)
  • 3 garlic cloves (peel and finely dice)
  • 2-4 red chili peppers (slice thin)
  • 3 tablespoons shrimp paste
  • 2 tablespoons water
  • 3 tablespoons granulated white sugar
Instructions
  1. In a medium frying pan, heat vegetable oil on high. Add shallots, lemongrass, garlic and chili peppers. Fry until fragrant.
  2. Thin out shrimp paste with water. Add shrimp paste mixture to the aromatics.
  3. Add sugar. Mix until combined.
  4. Serve with peeled, sliced green mangoes.
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Vietnamese Ginger Chicken - Ga Kho Gung - YouTube

Recipe Video: How to Make Vietnamese Ginger Chicken

One of my favorite Vietnamese braised dishes is ginger chicken or Ga Kho Gung. It’s a simple dish of bite-size pieces of chicken, braised and caramelized in a clay pot with ginger, garlic, shallots and fish sauce. It is typically served family-style with steamed rice and a vegetable dish.

This recipe is a simple version of Ga Kho Gung that doesn’t use coconut soda (Coco Rico) or coconut juice. For the Ga Kho Gung recipe that uses coconut soda/juice, click here. The below recipe also includes the traditional method of using sugar to caramelize or brown the chicken before braising.

This dish is always tastier the next day as the marinade seep into the chicken more. Double the recipe for a delicious leftover. The future-hungry-you will be thankful.

PRINTABLE RECIPE Vietnamese Ginger Chicken (Ga Kho Gung)

Serves 4-6

Ingredients

    Chicken

  • 3 lbs bone-in chicken (legs, drumsticks or thighs)
  • Salt for washing chicken (about 1 tablespoon)
  • Marinade

  • 1 tablespoon chicken stock powder
  • 3 tablespoons granulated white sugar
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon black pepper
  • ½ teaspoon MSG
  • 2-½ tablespoons fish sauce (add separately)
  • Caramel Color

  • 2 teaspoons granulated white sugar
  • Aromatics

  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 2-inch piece ginger (thumb size, peel and slice into thin strips)
  • 3 garlic cloves (peel and dice)
  • 1 large shallot (peel and dice)
  • Garnish

  • ¼ teaspoon black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons chopped cilantro/green onions
Instructions
  1. Chop up chicken into large 2-inch pieces. Coat the chicken generously with salt. Rub salt into the chicken to give it a good scrubbing. Scrap chicken skin clean with a knife if needed. Rinse with cold running water then drain dry.
  2. Marinate chicken with chicken stock powder, sugar, salt, MSG and black pepper for at least 15 minutes. Fish sauce will be added later to subdue the fishy smell.
  3. Make the caramel sauce: To a large skillet with a lid, add sugar and heat on medium high. Wait until sugar melts and caramelizes to a dark amber color. Sugar will burn quickly with lots of smoke (best to do this outside if possible). Do not walk away. Wait until sugar caramelizes to dark amber, not black. Immediately add marinated chicken. Toss chicken with caramel sauce to get a nice brown color. Remove chicken from skillet and set aside.
  4. To the now empty skillet, add vegetable oil and heat on medium-high. Add shallots first. Toss until fragrant. Add ginger next. Toss until fragrant. Lastly, add garlic. Toss until fragrant.
  5. Add chicken to the aromatics in the skillet. Toss until coated. Add fish sauce and toss until evenly coated. Cover skillet with a lid for 10 minutes and reduce heat to a low simmer. After 10 minutes, remove the lid and continue to cook for an additional 5-10 minutes until liquid is mostly evaporated.
  6. Garnish with a dash of black pepper and a sprinkle of chopped cilantro. Serve with steamed rice for a full meal.
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This Thai-style dipping sauce is very similar to the Vietnamese dipping sauce (nuoc mam cham). It’s sweet, spicy, sour and savory. The main difference is the use of cilantro in the Thai version. I love this dipping sauce with seafood, but like the Vietnamese dipping sauce, you can eat this with just about anything that needs a Southeast Asian flair.

Here are some tips in prepping seafood to eliminate any fishy smell:
  1. Give the seafood a rub down with salt then rinse thoroughly with cold running water. This should get rid most of the foul smell.

  2. Blanch or cook the seafood in water with smashed ginger and sliced shallots. This will definitely get rid of any trace of fishy smell, as well as provide an amazing aroma.

PRINTABLE RECIPE Thai-Style Chili, Lime, Garlic and Cilantro Dipping Sauce for Seafood (Nuoc Cham Hai San Kieu Thai)

Makes 1-1/2 cups

Ingredients
  • 1/4 cup hot water
  • 1/4 cup granulated white sugar
  • 1/4 cup fish sauce
  • 1/4 cup lime juice (1 whole lime)
  • 4 garlic cloves (chop finely or use a garlic press)
  • 1/4 cup finely minced fresh cilantro
  • 2 Thai chili peppers (optional; finely mince)
Instructions
  1. In a small bowl, mix together hot water and sugar unti dissolved.
  2. Add fish sauce, lime juice, garlic, cilantro and chili peppers. Mix well and serve immediately. If prepping in advance, do not add garlic, cilantro and chili peppers until you are ready to serve.
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Korean BBQ Essentials

Today is the kids’ last day of school! While they are so excited to start their summer vacation, I, on the other hand, am dreading the next two and a half months. To help ease the pain, I’m doing what puts me in zen during the summer. I’m busting out the grill! Nothing calms me more than grilling outside for three reasons. One, I get to enjoy the beautiful outdoors and the lovely weather. Two, there’s not much cleaning afterwards when grilling outside. Just a quick hose down and you’re done. Lastly, when paired with Korean BBQ, you have both a healthy and delicious meal that is sure to satisfy. With my very, very simple marinade below for pork and beef bulgogi (Korean grilled marinated beef and pork), the prep time is literally under 5 minutes. Woot!

Korean BBQ Simple Marinade for Pork & Beef Bulgogi - YouTube

Video: Korean BQQ Beef & Pork Belly Bulgogi Simple Marinade

For my pork and beef bulgogi marinade recipe below, I utilize a store-bought Korean BBQ sauce as a base. To liven up the store-bought sauce, I add sesame oil and chopped green onions. The sesame oil adds an amazing toasted aroma and the chopped green onions add freshness.

This is a great Korean product to use when you are in a rush and need something tasty. This marinade has a sweet and fruity flavor with crushed pears as one of the sweeteners as well as a natural meat tenderizer. Although it’s labeled for beef, I use this on pork belly too and it turns out great. I’m sure it would also work on chicken too that I have yet to try.

Enjoy the recipe below and the quick fun video above.

Here’s to a great summer vacation and my mental health! Cheers!

Korean BBQ: Easy Beef & Pork Belly Bulgogi Marinade

PRINTABLE RECIPE Korean BBQ: Easy Beef & Pork Belly Bulgogi Marinade

Makes 1 cup

Ingredients Instructions
  1. In a medium-size bowl, mix together Korean BBQ sauce, sesame oil and chopped green onions. Mix well.
  2. Add meat and marinate for at least 30 minutes or overnight in fridge for best results.

Korean BBQ: the perfect bite

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