Every Monday night I have a group of about ten people over for a Bible study. I always make a simple dinner, usually soup or chili. But as the temperature has been continuing to rise the idea of a hot steaming bowl of soup doesn't sound all that appealing. Lately I've been cooking through Gwyneth Paltrow's cookbook "It's all Good" and these Korean Chicken Tacos looked so tasty and I thought they'd be a nice change of pace. I gave the group a "heads up" that they were being guinea pigged, something quite frankly they've kind of accepted. The chicken itself with the Korean BBQ sauce (a definite must) wasn't difficult. I made all of the additional sides which did make these tacos unbelievably good, but I think you could do a simple addition of some store bought kimchi or even shredded cabbage, sliced avocado and a sprinkling of sliced scallions and call it good. I've posted the entire recipe with the suggested sides, so you have the option. They're not difficult you just need a little extra time in the kitchen to pull it all together.-s
P.S. The group all gave thumbs up on the tacos!
Korean Chicken Tacos
2 Tbsp. toasted sesame oil
1 tsp. gochugaru (Korean red chili flakes, I used regular chili flakes)
1/2 tsp. kosher salt
4 boneless chicken breasts
1 batch Korean BBQ sauce (see below)
a dozen corn tortillas
1 batch Korean slaw (see below)
1 batch Korean salsa (see below)
Quick cucumber kimchi (see below) or us a bit of store bought kimchi
Whisk the sesame oil, gochugaru (or chili flakes), and salt together in a large mixing bowl. Add the boneless chicken breasts to the bowl and toss to coat. This can be done a day ahead of time, just make sure it is covered securely.
Heat the grill or grill pan over high heat. Grill the chicken for about 3 minutes on a side, or until just barely firm to the touch and nicely marked. Brush each chicken breast with a spoonful or Korean BBQ sauce, then turn it and brush the other side. Continue to grill on both sides, brushing with more sauce, until the chicken is nicely lacquered, about 2 more minutes. Remove the chicken from the grill and let it sit for at least five minutes.
While the chicken is resting, warm the tortillas. I like to do this over the flame on the stove top, using tongs to flip from side to side and until blistered slightly and warmed through. Thinly slice the chicken and pile it on a plate alongside the tortillas. Serve with Korean slaw, Korean salsa and the kimchi and let everyone assemble there own tacos.
Korean BBQ Sauce
This easy sauce depends on the unexpected combination of orange and chili. This BBQ sauce can go on top of any cooked protein and is especially good over a roasted sweet potato.
1/2 cup Orange Marmalade
1/4 cup gochujang (Korean red pepper paste, available at Asian markets or Hmart.com)
1 tsp. soy sauce
1 tsp. toasted sesame oil
1 tsp. fish sauce
1 garlic clove
Puree all the ingredients in a blender.
Makes 1 cup
This slaw is delicious on these tacos, but don't limit it to those alone. Served alongside grilled chicken or on top of a turkey burger or even some seared tuna or salmon.
2 Tbsp. olive oil
2 Tbsp. freshly squeezed lime juice
1/2 tsp. fish sauce
1 cup shredded cabbage
1 cup shredded romaine
3 Tbsp finely diced red onion
2 scallions, white and light green parts only, thinly sliced
2 tsp. toasted sesame seeds
Whisk together the olive oil, lime juice, and fish sauce in a large mixing bowl. Add the rest of the ingredients and allow the slaw to sit for at least 10 minutes and as long as 6 hours before serving.
1 1/2 cups cherry tomatoes, halved
1 small yellow onion, roughly chopped
1 Tbsp. olive oil
2 Tbsp. gochujang (Korean red pepper paste)
1 clove garlic, minced
1 tsp. fish sauce
Preheat the broiler to high, placing the rack in the upper third of the oven. Line a baking sheet with foil and place the tomatoes and onion on the baking sheet and toss with olive oil. Broil, stirring now and then, until the tomatoes have collapsed and the onions have softened a bit and everything is slightly charred, about 10 minutes. Place the tomatoes and onions in a food processor with the remaining ingredients and blitz until pureed. Remove the salsa to a bowl and season to taste with salt.
Makes 1 cup
Quick Cucumber Kimchi
One of the world's best condiments, kimchi is a traditional Korean food that involves fermenting spicy cabbage for days or even months on end. This is a quick and light version that you can make at home.
4 cups coarsely chopped cucumber, seeds removed (I like to use the english cucumbers)
1 Tbsp. kosher salt
2 Tbsp. white miso paste
2 cloves garlic
2 Tbsp. gochugaru (Korean red chili flake, or substitute regular chili flakes)
1 Tbsp toasted sesame seeds
1 Tbsp. raw honey
Thoroughly combine the cucumbers with the salt and let them sit for 10 minutes. Meanwhile, mix the rest of the ingredients to form a paste. Rinse and drain the cucumbers and combine with the paste. Pack them into a jar, screw the top on and let them sit in the fridge for at least 6 hours before eating them. They keep in the fridge for as long as 2 weeks, getting more and more flavorful as they sit, but rarely last that long.
Makes 4 cups