Wednesday, February 07, 2018

Korean BBQ Buns

We really loved this one which is a great testament to the basic goodness of the recipe, since we wound up changing a lot of details around. It's from Cooking Light which is so good at nailing ethnic flavors and textures while simplifying the work for an American kitchen.

I've put the recipe below as Cooking Light had it but we changed a few things on the fly and plan to change more in the future.
  • We doubled the recipe to serve as a meal for 4. This says it serves 8 so maybe it was supposed to be an appetizer?
  • Ground chuck instead of sirloin
  • Bread crumbs instead of panko
  • This seemed overly sweet, possibly because every step involved sugar. We'll skip the pan glaze next time.
  • We couldn't find steamed buns anywhere (frozen or not). So we used flour tortillas. Never a problem finding those in Dallas! Cooking Light suggested slider buns as an alternative.
  • We made the meatballs but they are unwieldy in a tortilla. That's probably something the buns would help hold onto. If we used slider buns then we'd make slider size burgers. However, we liked the tortilla option and next time would just pinch off large pieces to cook without worrying about any round shape.
Step 1 — Pickles
1/3 cup rice vinegar
1/3 cup water
1 tablespoon brown sugar
2 garlic cloves, grated
1 cup 1/8”-thick English cucumber slices

Bring all except cucumbers to a boil in a saucepan over medium-high heat. Remove from heat; add cucumber slices. Cool to room temperature, stirring occasionally, about 30 minutes. Drain.

Step 2
8 ounces 90% lean ground sirloin
1/4 cup whole-wheat panko
1-1/2 teaspoons light brown sugar
3/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper
1 garlic clove, grated
1 large egg white, beaten
1-1/2 teaspoons soy sauce

Meanwhile, stir together all until well blended. Shape mixture into 16 meatballs, a scant 1 tablespoon each. Heat a large skillet over medium. Coat pan with cooking spray. Add meatballs to pan; cook, stirring occasionally, until browned and cooked through, 5 to 7 minutes.

Step 3
2 teaspoons toasted sesame oil
1-1/2 tablespoons brown sugar
1-1/2 tablespoons soy sauce

Move meatballs to side of skillet. Add oil, sugar, and soy sauce to center of skillet; cook until sugar dissolves and sauce is glazy, about 1 minute. Stir to coat meatballs.

Step 4
8 frozen folded Chinese steamed buns (if you can’t find them, you can stuff the meatballs into standard slider buns)

Layer 3 well-moistened paper towels on a microwave-safe plate. Place frozen buns on prepared plate; cover with 3 more well-moistened paper towels. Microwave at high until warmed, about 1 minute and 30 seconds, checking for doneness every 10 seconds after heating for 1 minute.

Step 5
8 small red leaf lettuce leaves

Divide pickle slices, lettuce leaves, and meatballs evenly among buns.

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