I love Korean food and I assumed it would be hard to make a good Korean dinner at home.  I saw a recipe for Seasoned Vegetables by Soon Young Chung on the New Asian Cuisine website and I decided to give it a try.  As I began to cook, I realized why I love Korean food — they are not afraid of garlic!  I modified the recipe based on the ingredients I had at home.  I had baby spinach, cremini mushrooms, extra firm tofu, and (YES) lots of garlic.

First, I blanched a ton of spinach in salted boiling water for a couple of minutes.  Then, I put the spinach in a bowl of cold water and drained it.  I mixed the dry spinach with a lot of crushed garlic, soy sauce, toasted sesame oil, and tahini.

Then, I blanched the whole cremini mushrooms in the same boiling water.  I drained them and thinly sliced them.  I mixed the sliced mushrooms with a similar combination of ingredients that I used for the spinach and added some black pepper.  I then sauteed the mushrooms in a bit of vegetable oil until they released their liquid and were golden brown.  I drained and diced some extra firm tofu and served the vegetables and tofu over steamed sushi rice.  I really like the sticky consistency and sweet and sour taste of sushi rice.  But, you could serve this with any other type of steamed white or brown rice.

The food smelled so good while I was making it that I forgot to get a picture while everything still looked nice on the plate.  This picture shows a messier version of the dish with a generous amount of sriracha sauce swirled on top.

Seasoned Baby Spinach & Cremini Mushrooms with Tofu

Adapted from Korean Cooking Made Easy:  Simple Meals in Minutes by Soon Young Chung

Ingredients

Spinach

2 cups of water

Pinch of salt

16 oz fresh baby spinach

1 tablespoon crushed garlic

1 1/2 tablespoons soy sauce

1 teaspoon toasted sesame oil

2 teaspoons sesame paste (or tahini)

Mushrooms

10 fresh cremini mushrooms

2 teaspoons crushed garlic

1/2 teaspoon salt

2 teaspoons soy sauce

1 teaspoon sesame paste (or tahini)

1 teaspoon toasted sesame oil

Pinch of freshly ground black pepper

1 tablespoon of vegetable oil

Accompaniments

Steamed rice (see sushi rice recipe below)

Sriracha or other hot sauce (optional)

1.  Prepare the spinach by bringing the water and salt to a boil over high heat in a saucepan.  Blanch the spinach for 1-2 minutes (until the spinach is wilted) and remove from the heat.  Rinse the blanched spinach in cold water and drain well.  Squeeze out the excess water from the spinach.  Combine the spinach with all the other ingredients in a bowl and mix until well coated.  Set aside.

2.  To prepare mushrooms, return the salted water to a boil over high heat and blanch the mushrooms for 15 seconds.  Remove from the heat, rinse in cold water and drain well.  Remove and discard the stems, then thinly slice the caps.

3.  In a bowl, combine the mushroom slices with all the other ingredients, except the oil, and mix well.  Heat the oil in a skillet over medium heat and saute the mushrooms for 2-3 minutes (until they release their water and are golden brown).  Remove from the heat and set aside.

4.  Serve vegetables in a bowl on top of steamed rice.  Top with hot sauce such as sriracha.

Sushi Rice

Ingredients

1 1/2 cups of Sushi Rice (I like Nishiki brand)

2 cups of water

1/4 cup of rice vinegar

1 tablespoon of sugar

1 teaspoon of kosher salt

1.  Put rice in a colander and rinse it in cold water several times until the water comes out clear.  If cooking on stovetop — Combine rice and water in a medium saucepan.  Lower heat to a simmer and cook covered for 20 minutes until water is absorbed. Remove from heat and let stand for 10 minutes.  If using a rice cooker — Combine the rice and water in the rice cooker.  Set rice cooker on sushi setting or regular setting.

2.  Meanwhile heat the rice vinegar in a small saucepan over medium high heat.  Stir in the sugar and salt.  When the sugar and salt have dissolved take the saucepan off the burner and let the sauce cool.

3.  Let the rice cool for a few minutes.  Stir in the vinegar sauce.

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