Cycle 12 – Cycle 298
30 (Sat) October 2021
Kall Inkokt Lax
-Changgok, Sujeong, Seongnam, Gyeonggi, Republic of Korea-
Korean-Swedish Culinary Exchange (19) (see also KSCX)
Although I was meaning to make ribbestek for my next submission to the exchange, I’ve decided not to. The only reason is that I’m trying harder to reduce consumption of red meat.
A few years back, I’d made a vague pledge to cut back, “for various reasons: personal health, environmental impact, and (somewhere down the line) animal welfare” (see 10.347 Steak) – Milestones in Meat Moderation, but never got very far (see most recently 11.037 Fried Chicken).
At that time, I had noted my protein consumption during the previous month (November 2019), as per GMTD posts:
- 13 pork and/or beef
- 5 chicken
- 10 seafood
- 2 meatless (includes egg)
This month (October 2021, through today), my protein consumption was, as per GMTD posts:
- 6 pork and/or beef
- 1 chicken
- 13 seafood
- 10 meatless (includes cheese, egg)
Even without trying, I ate one-third as much land-based fauna, and 5 times as much meatless items.
Probably not by coincidence, I’ve lost a lot of weight recently, maybe as much as 10 kg, first time in years that I’ve dipped below 100.
Let’s see how far I can get, trying, in November.
Kall Inkokt Lax is a Swedish dish. According to SwedishFood.com: “Poached salmon is a midsummer classic. Swedes cook the salmon by pouring boiling marinade over the fish and letting it cool slowly until cold. Poached salmon is normally served cold with new potatoes and dill mayonnaise (above), but other sauces are also popular, such as hollandaise, plain mayonnaise or skarpsås.”
Apologies to my Swedish readers (if there’s anyone else beside GK), but the store only offered Norwegian salmon.
The main idea behind ribbestek had been to try making a big ticket item, a centerpiece dish.
A whole side of poached salmon seems just as wow, maybe wower.
But just to test the recipe and technique, and because W and DJ wouldn’t be joining the meal, I cut the fish into smaller pieces, just enough for IZ and me.
The recipe from SwedishFood.com was super easy. Aromatics and herbs with a touch of white wine vinegar in water, brought to the boil in a large pot, salmon inserted, heat turned off, pot cooled in the fridge, salmon removed from the poaching liquid, left out to dry a bit, served.
While the recipe calls for an overnight cooling period, as I did, the fish could likely be poached in the morning, cooled by dinner time, though maybe it wouldn’t have enough time to absorb the flavors.
I loved it. The fish turned out very nicely moist and tender, very nicely fragrant from the lemon and allspice. Even the carrots, added to flavor the poaching liquid, presumably intended to be discarded, were just fine as a side dish, kinda like a mild pickle. I didn’t have dill, only sour cream, so the dish was missing a final fresh zing. Looking forward to trying it again, with a better sauce.
[The comments below are GK’s own words, with minor typographical edits from me.]
Here is my attempt to cook 제육볶음 (jeyuk bokkeum). Because of the mistakes I initially made (to be described below), I made the dish in three “stages.”
I cut up the pork belly into smaller bits (although they should have been much smaller).
I then made the marinade according the recipe in the book I got from you, and marinated one batch in this marinade, and marinated the other batch with the 매콤한 돼지불고기양념 (Spicy Pork Bulgogi Sauce).
I served the pork together with beer.
I cut the pork way too thick, making the pork pieces feeling uncooked. If I had cooked pork longer the vegetables would probably have burned though (especially the green parts of the scallions). I normally buy pork belly already cut up into slices but as seen from the photos these bellies were in big chunks. The recipe in the book actually calls for the pork to cut “as thinly as possible.”
The marinade made according to the book was good, although the texture of the pork, as noted above, made the whole experience not so good.
The marinade from the jar was a little bland, more sweet than spicy. I realize now that the marinade probably wasn’t made to be used exclusively.
Since I realized the pork was cut too thick, I cut some pieces into smaller slices and fried them again. (No photos from this stage that were good enough to share.)
Cutting the pork thinner made the dish much better, and also easier to get a “crust/searing” on the pork.
After your tip in the comment section, I divided up the remaining pork that had been marinated with the 매콤한 돼지불고기양념 (Spicy Pork Bulgogi Sauce) and marinated one part with some sesame oil and Yeondu.
The addition of sesame oil and yeondu elevated the dish a lot, much richer in flavor. Still not as spicy as I would have liked, but with a lot of taste (such as the slight nutty taste from the sesame oil) that I liked.
A few comments on GK’s effort:
- So happy to see that he’s using items from the care package that I’d sent.
- I’ve never used Spicy Pork Bulgogi Sauce to make Spicy Pork Bulgogi, only as a flavor enhancer to give a little kick to other dishes, often soups.
- Actually, I don’t recall if I’ve ever made jeyuk bokkeum in my life, although that seems impossible.
- Typically, jeyuk bokkeum in restaurants involve cheap tough cuts that are sliced very very thin, likely with a meat slicer.
- With a thicker cut of pork, like pork belly, I would avoid marinating it in advance, instead sear the plain meat on high heat to get a crust and get it fully cooked, then reduce heat and stir-in the sauce and vegetables at the end for a quick sauté. (I’m just now remembering that I must’ve skipped something: didn’t you send me photos of an attempted jeyuk bokkeum that was kinda burnt?)
- Yeondu is the magic sauce, which I use in almost all Korean dishes, in lieu of soy sauce.
I’m going to continue exploring Swedish seafood dishes. Maybe something like Svenska skaldjur bisque med scampi – is that really Swedish?
(See also BOOZE)
(See also GLOBAL FOOD GLOSSARY)