Korean Beef Bites

Korean Beef Bites - Appetite for China

Korean beef and kimchi are words that are like music to my ears. Ever since my trip to Seoul about 5 years ago, I've been in love with Korean food and have kept a jar of kimchi in the fridge at all times, for both planned meals and late night spicy food cravings

So when I saw this recipe for Korean beef bites in Jaden Hair's latest book Steamy Kitchen's Healthy Asian Favorites, I knew I needed to try it. Jaden and I first "met" online via our Asian cooking blogs back in 2008, and in person for the first time later that year for dinner down in Tampa. Her blog was an inspiration back when I first started blogging (oh god, so long ago!) and it's been great to see her come out with two beautifully photographed cookbooks since then.

Korean Beef Bites - Appetite for China

So yes, back to all this juicy beef business. This is a great easy recipe that involves just quickly marinating the beef, searing it, and assembling the beef with pre-made kimchi on a rice cracker. In short, very little effort for very impressive-looking results. I found that these particular brown rice crackers are the perfect size for holding the beef and kimchi, and for eating in one bite, but feel free to use any rice crackers that you can find. 

Technically, these Korean beef bites are party appetizers. But that doesn't you can't whip up a batch for lunch one day to break out of the salad and sandwich rut. I might do that again next week.

Korean Beef Bites - Appetite for China

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Korean Beef Bites

Makes 24

  • 1/2 pound flank steak or skirt steak
  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce or tamari
  • 1 teaspoon brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon sesame oil
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 teaspoon minced or grated ginger
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 24 rice crackers
  • 1/2 cup prepared kimchi, store-bought or homemade
  • 1 scallion, thinly sliced at an angle
  1. Cut the beef against the grain into bite-size pieces about 1/4-inch thick (at least 24 pieces). For easier cutting, freeze the beef for 20 to 25 minutes before preparing it.
  2. In a large bowl, whisk together the soy sauce, brown sugar, sesame oil, garlic, and ginger. Marinate for at least 10 minutes, or for a stronger flavor, overnight in the refrigerator.
  3. Heat a sauté pan over medium-high heat. Add the olive oil to the pan and swirl to coat the bottom. Add the beef and spread it in a single layer to cover the pan and allow it to sear undisturbed for 1 minute. Then stir and cook for another 2 minutes or so, until the beef is no longer pink.
  4. Assemble the appetizers: on each rice cracker, lay a piece of steak and 1 or 2 pieces of kimchi, then add scallions on top for garnish. 

Adapted from Steamy Kitchen's Healthy Asian Favorites by Jaden Hair

Barley Tea - Mugicha

I have been bombarded with writing deadlines recently and thus have been neglecting my poor blog. And something else has suffered. The amount of work, the dry Beijing air, and wind from sandstorms have given me a bit of a sore throat. (Okay, that and some recreational drinking and recreational spicy food intake over the weekend.) To help sooth my throat I decided to make some nice hot barley tea.

Barley tea, is a popular drink in Japan (where it is called mugicha) and Korea (boricha), and somewhat less popular in China (dàmàichá). In the West the most common non-English name is mugicha. Drinking barley tea supposedly cleanses your system and helps with congestion and bronchitis, along with some other claims, but I think most people drink it because it's refreshing and keeps you hydrated.

Barley tea is made by simply simmering roasted barley. Hot barley tea tastes a bit like toasted cereal, with less bitterness than tea from leaves, so it can be a good morning beverage, or night beverage since it contains no caffeine. You can add honey or sugar, though many purists insist on drinking it unsweetened. In addition to dark brown loose barley, some companies make bags of lighter barley meant for steeping at room temp for a cold drink. In Japan it is as popular as lemonade is in the US as a summer beverage.

Unfortunately, a more familiar drink made with fermented barley (beer) delivers none of the same health benefits. But this also means that if you can't find roasted barley in the markets or tea shops, you can ask a home brewer where he gets his.

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Barley Tea (Mugicha) Adapted from Recipezaar

Makes 1 large or 2 cups

  • 1/4 cup (2 ounces) roasted barley
  • 2 pints water
  • lemon slices, optional
  • honey or sugar, optional (honey helps soothe sore throats)

Put barley and water in a small sauce pot and bring water to boil. Reduce heat and simmer for 5 to 6 minutes. Strain and drink immediately, or store in the fridge to drink it cold. Flavor with optional lemon and honey or sugar when ready to drink.

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Related posts on tea: Chrysanthemum Tea Ginger milk tea Rose milk tea