Weekly Winner: Kim-Chi-Wa-Wa!!!

Kimchi ChickenLet me say this straight out:  I am not a fan of insanely spicy food.  I have always held firm to the belief that food (specifically the act of eating food) should not hurt.  I love spice, and a bit of heat is always fine, but fiery, blow-the-top-of-your-head-off food is not my style.  Usually.

This past week I made Korean-Style Chicken and Green Bean Salad for dinner.  Now, I know kimchi can be spicy.  But I thought that the small amount of the sauce used compared to the vast amount of chicken, beans and tomatoes would temper the heat.  Yeah, well… not so much.  Now don’t misunderstand me, this dish was not incendiary.  But it was very spicy.  Spicier than I usually can tolerate.  However I found myself going back for just one more bite.  OK, maybe one more.  Dang it’s hot… but it’s so good.  Just one final bite.  Whew!

My husband went back for seconds.  Then again, he was born in Albuquerque where chili pepper runs in the bloodstream.  And while I didn’t exactly clean my plate, I ate more than I thought I would after my first couple of bites.  And I learned that heat can come with amazing flavor… and yes, some pain.  But then again, we often suffer for that which we love, right?

The recipe comes from Sunset Magazine.  You’ll notice I’ve edited it to replace parsley with cilantro.  I just really hate cilantro and will not apologize for it.  If you like it, then by all means, knock yourself out.

Korean-Style Chicken and Green Bean Salad

Serves 4

Ingredients

1 lb green beans, stem ends trimmed

¼ cup canola oil

2-3 Tbsp spicy kimchi juice (from the jar) plus 1 cup roughly chopped spicy kimchi

½ tsp kosher salt

1 ½ to 2 Tbsp gochujang (Korean chili paste) or Asian chili paste

About 2 tsp unseasoned rice vinegar

1 ½ cups very coarsely shredded rotisserie chicken

1 cup grape tomatoes, cut in half

½ cup roughly chopped cilantro parsley

Directions

  1. Blanch beans: Drop into a pot of heavily salted boiling water (it should taste like seawater). Cook until tender-crisp and bright green, 2 to 3 minutes, then drain and drop into ice water until cool. Drain and set aside.
  2. Meanwhile, in a small bowl, whisk together oil, kimchi juice, salt, chili paste, and vinegar to taste.
  3. Drain beans, pat dry, and put in a large bowl along with chopped kimchi, chicken, tomatoes, and cilantro parsley. Gently toss with enough dressing to coat. Serve any remaining dressing on the side.
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