I miss Korean BBQ. A lot. So I veganized it using soy curls.
Traditional Kalbi uses short ribs. The meat is thinly sliced, quite fatty, and can take a lot of work to get “right” because the meat will need to be tenderized quite a bit lest it end up tough. Soy curls are a lot easier to prepare. Soak them in some water for ten minutes, drain, and… well, that’s it. As a bonus, you don’t have to worry about icky stuff like e. coli. For this batch, I used about 3/4 cup of dried soy curls.
1/2 cup soy sauce
1 tbsp sesame oil
2-3 cloves garlic, coarsely minced
1 tsp turbinado sugar (optional)
I mixed everything but the sesame seeds in a plastic container and then added the soy curls. I mixed it around so the soy curls were covered. After I mixed it around, I sprinkled some sesame seeds on top.
Here are before and after shots of the soy curls. The photo on the right was taken about an hour after I added the curls to the marinade. My advice: don’t let them marinade for much longer than that. I baked the soy curls for about 20 minutes at 350 degrees. Okay, I totally burned them, but they still turned out yummy!
I had planned to go to the store to pick up veggies and seaweed salad to accompany the kalbi, but the store was CRAZY. If you’re in the Chicago area, I’m talking about Jerry’s. Oh, Jerry’s. Prices and product are so good, but I feel like I die a little every time I go there because it’s so crowded. Anyway, I asked my Dad to pick some fresh mustasa (mustard greens) from the garden for me and made it into a little side salad with lemon, olive oil, salt, and freshly ground pepper. The mustasa was in prime form and gave a serious mustard kick to the kalbi. It was delicious.
Here’s my niece, granting peace to all of you and posing with the food. She didn’t try the kalbi and opted to have cereal for dinner. I was glad I didn’t have to share.
It’s Memorial Day weekend and I’m spending it hanging out with family. I’ll be away from home most of the weekend, so I cooked the rest of my soy curls this morning so I would have something vegan to eat. I opted to cook them in a pan this time, mostly because I didn’t want to burn them again. It ended up looking more like bulgogi than kalbi, but regardless — this wins out over meat versions because look at the lack of fat and oil on the plate! Soy curls have the perfect texture for this. This is also where I learned that marinading soy curls overnight in soy sauce is probably not the best idea. It’s still good, though, and I am still amazed by the soy curl.
I am so happy that I can still have Korean BBQ! All that’s missing is one of those little grills that I can put in the middle of my kitchen table… Have a lovely Saturday! –Melissa