Saturday, August 07, 2010

Chicken Sesame Cakes, Korean American style

I learned this dish from a Korean American woman student who was dating one of my student friends. It was a recipe from her mother.

At her home it would be part of a Korean dinner in which several “entrée” dishes were placed in the middle of the table to be shared by all the diners, accompanied by individual bowls of rice and surrounded by numerous small dishes of kimchee and other condiments. But the chicken dish also served well as a snack alone, and could even be served as a hamburger on a toasted bun.

I included the recipe in one of my international cooking classes for Evening at Emory. By chance there was a Korean American woman in the class. She said that while the dish tasted Korean, she didn't know specifically of it. She then checked with her mother, who also didn't recognize it.

Thus the recipe seems to have been a creation in the family of first woman, a sort of Korean American chicken hamburger. But it certainly tastes good, especially with the dipping sauce.

The recipe as I learned it makes six substantial portions, but 12 smaller ones could also be made.

Korean food is often served with beer, "OB" being the import from that country.

Chicken Cakes with Sesame Seeds, Korean American Style

4 teaspoons sesame seeds
1 pound ground chicken
1 scallion (green onion), finely minced
1 teaspoon sesame oil (available at Asian groceries)
2 teaspoons cornstarch
1 teaspoon sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon soy sauce
Large pinch ground hot pepper or cayenne
Large pinch black pepper
Watercress sprigs for garnish or a scallion (green onion) shredded lengthwise and soaked in cold water to curl

In a heavy pan toast the sesame seeds over medium high heat, stirring constantly or shaking the pan, until the seeds become golden brown and fragrant. Pour them into a mixing bowl (do not leave them in the pan, or they will overcook). Set aside a half-teaspoon of the seeds for garnishing.

Add ground chicken and remaining ingredients, other than garnish, to main group of seeds. Mix well.

Form into 6 large or 12 smaller hamburger-like cakes. Fry over medium heat in a non-stick frying pan with a little oil, turning several times to cook until lightly browned on both sides.

Serve on a platter, sprinkled with the reserved sesame seeds and surrounded by several sprigs of watercress or curled green onion. Accompany with dipping sauce.

Korean-style Dipping Sauce for Chicken Cakes

3 tablespoons soy sauce, Korean or Japanese style preferred
3 tablespoons water
2 teaspoons rice or white vinegar
1 teaspoon sugar
1/4 teaspoon Asian sesame oil
A few thin slices of scallion (green onion) tops

Combine soy sauce, water, vinegar, sugar, and sesame oil. Mix to dissolve sugar.

Transfer to several small sauce dishes. Sprinkle with a few green onion slices.

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