Personally, this was one of the first dishes that I LOVED in Korean food.
I promised that I would write this recipe down for you last time when I posted on how to make Bulgogi. This recipe calls for a bit more work in terms of prep but the pay-off is really delicious so I think it’s worth it. And if you have spent enough time in the kitchen cutting veggies, then this should not be too hard for you.
We discovered a delicious Penang family recipe that was almost forgotten.
Whenever we go back to Penang, I always make sure that I come home with some goodies. One of the most popular things to take away from Penang (and no, unfortunately, we can’t pack their char koay teow, or Asam Laksa) is the biscuits evidenced by the number of people on our flight back to Kuching hand-carrying boxes and boxes of these wonderful pastries.
When I was in San Jose, every so often, I would pop into a Korean grocery store and pick up several tubs of marinated bulgogi (uncooked) to cook at home. One tub would be used on the day it was bought and the rest would be stuck in the freezer for other times when I wanted to convenience of cooking up a quick meal.
Here in Kuching, we found that there is a small enclave of Korean expatriates around (there’s even a small Korean grocery store here) and a few Korean restaurants. So far, we’re tried two of the restaurants only to find them somewhat disappointing.
Just this past week, I had a hankering for some Korean food. So I decided to make it myself. After all, our Killer Kalbi recipe is probably one of our all-time most popular recipe (with good cause—it’s REALLY good). So I decided I needed to expand my Korean repertoire.
Recipe for how to make this tasty, South Indian fried lentil snack called vada or vadai.
A few days ago, Nate and I were walking in Kuching’s version of a strip mall (more like a row of shop lots) looking for Christmas presents for our kids and we bumped into an Indian lady selling snacks outside a store. She spoke to me in Hokkien (a Chinese dialect) which surprised me. I guess she must have lived here a good long time and have interacted with enough Chinese here to pick up the language. I bet her Hokkien is better than mine!
Anyway, she was selling vadai and some steamed chickpeas. Nate had been craving vadai for a long time so we happily snapped up some to munch on as we walked around shopping. Though they were tasty, they lacked the curry leaves that Nate loves dearly and they just didn’t have any heat to them. That is one problem with living here in Kuching—people don’t enjoy their food too spicy. My heat tolerance has probably gone down a lot since getting here. And being that this lady was local to Kuching, she has also tempered her food to match the local tastebuds.
Feeling somewhat deprived of good vadai, I decided it was time to try to make some of my own. I’ve had a Southern Indian cookbook that I bought many years ago that I’ve never gotten around to cooking from and I decided that it was time to look at the recipes again. True enough, there was a section on snacks and there was not just one recipe for vadai but several recipes.