Homemade vegetarian bibimbap recipe

Bibimbap (비빔밥) is a Korean dish that literally means mixed rice. The first time I had bibimbap was in Tokyo after a quite amazing chance encounter with an old family-friend at Shinjuku Station in Tokyo during rush hour. After realizing that us, two Swedes, had run into each other at one of the busiest, most crowded places in the world, not to mention other side of the world, we went for bibimbap.

The bibimbap was served proper Korean style in a hot clay bowl, meaning that the rice and veggies were still cooked as the dish arrived at our table. We then mixed the rice with the also included raw egg, raw and cooked vegetables and hot chilli sauce. The result was a crispy, spicy, semi-warm rice dish with fresh crunchy vegetables (and probably some meat).

Bibimbap can be quite ambitious, with hot bowls and lots of different items put in it, or just a basic ‘mixed rice’. The common denominator is that it is always delicious. 

Above picture and below recipe is of and for a homemade quite easy-to-make, no fuss vegetarian bibimbap. If you want it meatier you could easily add sliced chicken or beef, or maybe salmon.

What you need for the bibimbap 2-3 persons)

2 carrots

1/2 cucumber

4 eggs

4 dl (1,75 cups) of Jasmine rice

2 stems of scallions

Hot sauce or gochujang chilli paste (you decide how much 😉)

1 jar of Kimchi (buy pre-made, making your own is quite an effort)

400 grams of Shiitake mushrooms

2,5 deciliters (1 cup) of sliced lettuce (eg. Iceberg)

Sesame seeds

Neutral oil for frying

How to cook the bibimbap

1. Cook the rice until done.

2. Julienne (eg. slice into thin strips like above photo) the peeled carrots and cucumber.

3. Slice and fry the shiitake mushrooms until golden brown and cooked through. The stems are bit though, so remove them if you don’t like that. They taste great though.

4. Slice the iceberg lettuce and the scallions.

5. Fry the eggs.

6. Plate. Put rice in the bottom of a bowl, top with veggies, kimchi, eggs and hot sauce. Then mix everything around for your proper Koream mixed rice or bibimbap.

Egg, ham and cheese breakfast brioche sandwich recipe

Last Saturday I woke up with a slight headache after a night of Korean food and too much Riesling and beer. As it happened, I had cheddar cheese, prosciutto ham, eggs and brioche rolls – and no urge to go to the store for groceries. The idea then came to me to make something a bit like a Mcdonald’s McMuffin.

I’m not sure I even need to make a recipe out of this since it’s so simple, but just for your convenience I will.

You need (for two sandwiches):

4-6 thin slices of prosciutto ham

2 eggs + oil for frying them

2 brioche rolls (or English muffins or any roll you like – but preferably a quite soft one)

2 thick slices of cheese

Salt & pepper

How to cook the Mcmuffiny breakfast roll

1. Fry the eggs. Season with salt and pepper.

2. Put a slice of cheese and half of the han on each breadroll’s bottom part. Put in oven or micro-wave oven until cheese melts. Also toast/warm the top slightly.

3. Make the sandwich. Put the fried egg on top of the ham and cheese stack on the bottom bread. Sprinkle with chives if you have any, maybe some hot sauce too. Add top bread. Eat. Coffee is sort of essential. But tea should work too.

Korean fried prawns (or shrimp) recipe

 

A non-poultry take on the sweet, spicy and deliciousness of a dish that is Korean fried chicken, or KOFC.

What you need

300 grams of peeled prawns

Panko bread crumbs

1 beaten egg

Wheat flour

50 grams of salted butter

2-3 tablespoons of hot sauce, I used Sriracha

2 tablespoons of brown sugar

How to cook the Korean fried prawns

1. Put flour, the beaten egg and panko breadcrumbs in three separate bowls.

2. Dip prawns one by one, first in flour, then in the eggs, and finally in the panko.

3. Heat oil in a pan or deep-fryer. Fry the prawns till golden brown. Put on paper towels to dry/lose some oil (beach 2017 is coming up).

4. Melt butter in a pan. Add sugar and let dissolve. Remove from heat.

5. Put prawns in a bowl. Coat with butter-sugar-mix and hot sauce. Mix so that the prawns are covered by the buttery, salty, spicy and sweet coating.

Serve! For instance in lettuce leaves with sriracha mayo, kimchi and sesame seeds. Cold beer or crisp German Riesling works well with this!

Lunch at Bobergs Matsal in Stockholm

Visited Bobergs Matsal in NK (Nordiska Kompaniet) department store the other day for some fine-dining lunch. Bobergs Matsal was originally opened in 1915, but has been closed until a few years ago, when it was re-opened by chef Björn Frantzén of famous Frantzén restaurant in Stockholm. 

Bobergs Matsal is a quite classic fine-dining experience, but generally only open for lunch, offering lunch eaters a in-Stockholm sort of rare opportunity to enjoy lunch with table service, white tablecloths and well executed, fancy plating sort of food.

I’ve been to Bobergs Matsal a couple of times, and it has been consistently great every time so far. My latest visit was no exception and I really enjoyed the steak tartare ‘Parisienne’ which in addition to delicious steak tartare included deep-fried capers, a creamy baked egg yolk, horseradish mayonnaise, pickled yellow beetroot, herbs and mustard. The tender steak worked really well with the pickled crunchy beets and the fatty mayonnaise. The ultra-crispy fries, topped with a fancy sprinkle of fried parsley and parmesan cheese, worked like a charm as a side. The accompanying salad was a bit redundant, but nevertheless tasty.

For dessert, I went, after much agony (was also keen to try the glace au four), for the Cardamom-baked Ingrid Marie apples. The apples were served ‘crumble pie-style’ with vanilla ice cream, a caramel sauce, an oat and dinkel crumble, and some crispy apple chips. It was a very delicious dessert, but also very rich. If you’re still hungry after your main, go for it. Otherwise, the delicious chocolate ice cream with caramelized banana and rum creme could be a good bet. I ordered a quite enormous latte to have with the dessert, and it too was very good.

Bobergs Matsal is a solid bet for a fine dining lunch in Stockholm, and during my four visits, I’ve left happy. 

Price $$$

Prices are expensive, but not crazy expensive, depending a bit on what you order, of course. Mains are roughly 200-400 SEK, desserts 65-90 SEK.

Website (in Swedish)

A weekend of eating in Helsinki with a visit to Ravintola Saaga

 

Last weekend I visited the Finnish capital Helsinki for a 70 year birthday party. Since Helsinki is such a short flight from Stockholm (approximately 45 mins) you can go straight from an (almost) full day work and still have a decent evening out. Many airlines fly this route so you’re usually able to score decent priced tickets during campaigns. We flew Norwegian and just barely had times to finish our sparkling wine before landing (not included in ticket). The only gripe is that Helsinki’s an hour ahead, so you’ll lose an hour due to the time difference, although you get it “back” on your return.

 

For our first night I was so lazy so I just scanned google maps for a good-rated restaurant near our hotel Glo Hotel Arts. I managed to find Ravintola Saaga or Saaga restaurant, which is a semi-fancy and sort of touristy Lappish restaurant. We started with a glass of sparkling wine topped with cloudberry liquor and some free nibbles from the kitchen consisting of reindeer jerky on rye crispbread with horseradish cream and pickled onion.

 

For main, fried sea pike with king crab from the Arctic Ocean, roasted butter sauce, cauliflower purée and crisp malt bread. I also had a delicious slow-cooked reindeer shank with mushroom purée as well as pickled mushroom, the picture of it in the dimly lit restaurant however, wasn’t as delicious.

 

For dessert we had iced cranberries in an ice bowl. The bowl was, as the name implies, made out of ice, which was a quite cool (sorry) feature. The caramel-liqourice sauce that came with it was delicious. The main problem with this dish was when the sauce started to cool (sorry) and was poured over the even cooler (sorry) iced cranberries. It of course did not defrost them as the general idea of the dish was, and that meant you had to eat frozen cranberries with cold caramel sauce for the last part of the dessert. Great idea though, and very tasty as long as the sauce was warm. Eat fast in other words.

 

We also tried the Lappish squeeky cheese with a pine-tar cream, cloudberry crumble and cloudberry sorbet. This was also a very clever and unique dessert with the tar flavour shining through the dessert’s different components, giving a tar-y smoky taste, contrasting the sweetness of the cream and sorbet. The cheese did not taste that much but had a nice texture.

Price for a meal €€+

Prices were semi-expensive, but not that bad considering Helsinki is a quite expensive city. We paid about €130 for 2 mains, 2 desserts, 2 glasses of sparkling wine with cloudberry liquor and a bottle of the least expensive wine on the menu.

Service was friendly but a little bit slow.

Website (menus and online booking in English available – through a form)

 

The rest of the trip was spent walking Helsinki (above is the beautiful Helsinki Cathedral) and attending the birthday party.

 

Where we stayed

We stayed at Glo Hotel Art a few blocks from the city center. The rate was about €90 and we had a very small but comfortable room with wifi, motorized bed, shower and flatscreen TV as well as breakfast included.

Website

Where to find the prinsessemla in Stockholm

The prinsessemla, or prinsess-semla, was recently invented. Now it has reached Stockholm and Konditori Vallmofröt in Hagsätra. The creation is a fusion between two classic Swedish pastries; the semla and the prinsesstårta (princess cake). Since both are heavy in their whipped cream content, the combination is a quite good one, with both’s main features remaining noticeable. I liked it very much, but it is indeed rich and you might want to share it if you want to stay awake post-fika.

Where to find the prinsessemla

Konditori Vallmofröt in Hagsätra. Click here to open their website (in Swedish).

Homemade soy flavoured pulled chicken ramen noodle soup

The other day I watched Netflix’s Chef’s Table about American chef Ivan Orkin that moved to Japan, and opened a ramen joint that quite quickly was named one of the best in Japan. This made me want to move to Tokyo and open my own restaurant too, but since that won’t be happening anytime soon, I decided it at least was ramen cooking time at home.

What you need (for approximately 2-3)

Noodles, we used Nissin’s brand premium ramen noodles. About a third of a package for two.

200 grams of shiitake mushrooms

450 grams of chicken thighs

4 sprigs of spring onion

4-5 garlic cloves

2 tablespoons of finely chopped ginger

4-5 tablespoons Japanese soy sauce

1 tablespoon of Sriracha hot sauce (can be excluded)

2-3 chicken stock cubes (or make your own)

Water

3 eggs, semi-soft boiled (see picture above)

Sesame oil, or cooking oil

How to cook it

1. Peel and finely chop garlic, the white stems of the spring onion and the ginger.

2. Fry chopped vegetables in oil on medium heat in a cooking pan until soft, do not brown.

3. Add chicken thighs to the fried vegetables, you do not need to trim as you’ll do that during the “pulling”. Let cook for a couple of minutes till chicken’s a bit coloured.

4. Add soy sauce, stock/stock cubes and hot sauce. Stirr occassionally and let simmer for about an hour on medium heat. Add water if needed, if soup gets too reduced.

5. When an hour has passed, slice the shiitake mushroom caps. Also keep the stems. Add both to the soup and continue to simmer.

6. Meanwhile mushrooms cook, it is time to pull the chicken thighs. Remove them from the broth and shredd them with two forks until ‘pulled’. Remove any remaining sinews, bones or similar. Then put the pulled chicken back into the soup.

7. Cook noodles until just cooked (eg. ‘Al dente’) since they’ll be in the broth which will make them cook a little bit more.

8. Serve! Add the noodles to bowls, pour over broth (remove the shiitake stems if you’re sensitive, they are a bit chewy). Top with the finely sliced green part of the spring onions and egg halves. Enjoy!

Stockholm’s best semla?

During my early days of eating (eg. when I was a kid in one of Stockholm’s Northern suburbs) I did not really like the semla. The semla (one semla, several semlor) is a Swedish pastry, consisting of a soft, sweet pillowy bun that is filled with (hopefully) fresh whipped cream and almond paste. When I was younger, I found it too rich and without anything to really contrast the extremely sweet taste.

In my later years I’ve started to appreciate the semla however, and this season’s been my most semla-intense so far, with several semlor downed even before tomorrow, the 28th of February. As you may, or may not know, February 28th this year is Mardi Gras, or Fat Tuesday, which also is semmeldagen or National semla day, in Sweden. This year I have found the wienersemla and it has brought my semi-new found love of semlor to a new level. Below are a few delicious one I’ve had lately.

The secret semla

Above is a hemla, which is short for hemlig semla, meaning ‘secret’ semla. The reason why it’s secret is, because the filling; whipped cream and almond paste, is hidden inside the bun. This one is from Wienercaféet.

The Danish pastry semla, Wienersemlan

Wienersemlan. My new favourite pastry, with a croissant-y or Danish pastry:ish bun (Wienersemla is from wienerbröd which is Swedish for Danish pastry) filled with whipped cream and almond paste. This one is bought from Magnus Johanssons Bageri. It is similar to a semla, and according to many not a real semla. So delicious though that it in my mind beats the traditional one (sorry traditional semla-lovers).

Semmelwrappen

Mention also to Tössebageriet’s delicious semla wrap, or semmelwrap as we call it. The traditional semmel bun has been smashed into a flat, semmel bun-flavoured wrap, which, like a semla, is filled with whipped cream and almond paste. Very delicious too.

What about normal semlor?

If you want to have a traditional proper semla however, the picture at the top of this post is from a breakfast dessert tasting of semlor the other day. The right one is a traditional one and was really delicious too. It’s like the wienersemla bought at Magnus Johanssons Bageri in Hammarby Sjöstad.

Update: A great traditional semla (pic above) can also be found at Älvsjö Konditori, just outside central Stockholm. The semla is one of the better I’ve had.

Sunday waffle fika at Älskade Traditioner

 

Just got back to the Sunday couch after a sugar-rushy fika at retroish café Älskade Traditioner on Södermalm in Stockholm. 

Älskade traditioner translates to “beloved traditions” in Swedish, and serves for instance savoury as well as sweet waffles, cakes, semlor, Swedish classics such as meatballs, Bullens pilsnerkorv (sausages) and herring. The place is located on trendy Södermalm and was packed with a Sunday fika crowd. The service was friendly but sort of chaotic with my waffle arriving a few minutes after being ordered, while my fika companion’s waffle arrived together with my latte 15-20 minutes later, after we asked the staff where it had gone. The waffles were delicious and prices decent fortunately.

 

Savoury club sandwich waffle with chicken, bacon and extra avocado.

 

Nutella waffle with whipped cream, strawberry ice cream and fresh strawberries. Reminded me of the ‘pancake cakes’ I had as a child.

Banana split waffle. Also very good.

Price and website

While not exactly inexpensive at 95 kronor for a nutella waffle, prices are still pretty good considering the area as well as quality. A tasty latte was 40 kronor.

They do not have a website, but their Facebook page has some info about location etc.

Dough – how to make the perfect homemade pizza

Pizza. One of my, and many others’ favourite dishes. I am probably never as happy as when a pizza meal is approaching. A couple of years back we decided that we wanted to be able to make as good pizzas as from pizzerias or pizza restaurants. 

We started with the tomato sauce, and then the toppings, before we realized it mainly depended on the dough to get that pizzeria quality homemade pizza. After probably five years of making homemade pizzas we were getting somewhere. Here is what we found out:

My 5 tips for making great pizza at home in summary:

Use a pizza or baking stone

Use good quality flour

A very hot oven

Put the pizza high in the oven, close to oven’s heaters

Watch the pizza all the time

Use a baking stone or a pizza stone

One of the tricks is using a pizza/baking stone. We bought our at Urban Deli in Stockholm, but I think you can get it in most places around the world. It’s basically a portable stone that you put in your oven to more or less mimick the effects of cooking a pizza in a masonry oven. Importantly, you will cook the dough from below to get that perfect crust.

Use a good recipe and good quality flour

We use this recipe, from the nowadays legendary hipster pizzeria Roberta’s in Brooklyn, New York. Tipo 00 flour can be a bit hard to find, but really adds to the texture, flavour and end result in my mind. In Stockholm we buy tipo 00 flour at Cajsa Warg on Södermalm.

What you need (approximately three medium sized pizzas or two large)

153 grams Tipo 00 flour (1 cup plus 1 tablespoon)

153 grams all-purpose flour (1 cup plus 1 tablespoon and 2 teaspoons)

8 grams fine sea salt or regular salt (1 teaspoon)

2 grams active dry yeast (3/4 teaspoon)

4 grams extra-virgin olive oil (1 teaspoon)

Tomato sauce

A kilo of peeled fresh good quality tomatoes (make a cut in the skin and cook in boiling water for a minute to lose the peels) or a can of a good brand crushed tomatoes

5-6 cloves of finely chopped garlic

Olive oil

Salt & oregano

1. Heat olive oil in a cooking pot. Add garlic and fry until soft. Be careful not to colour.

2. Add tomatoes, cook for 30 minutes. Add water if needed. Season with salt and oregano.

How to make the pizzas

1. Combine flours and salt in a large mixing bowl.

2. Stir together 200 grams (a little less than 1 cup) lukewarm tap water, the yeast and the olive oil in a small mixing bowl. Then pour it into the flour mixture. Knead with your hands until well combined, about 3 minutes, then let the mixture rest for 15 minutes.

3. Knead the rested dough for 3 minutes. Cut into 2 or 3 equal pieces and shape each into a ball. Place on a heavily floured surface, cover with dampened cloth, and let rest and rise for at least 1 hour, but preferably 3 to 4 hours at room temperature or for 8 to 24 hours in the refrigerator. (If you refrigerate the dough, remove it from the fridge 30 to 45 minutes before you begin to shape it for pizza.)

4. To make the pizzas, place each dough ball on a heavily floured surface and use your fingers to stretch it, then your hands to shape it into rounds or squares. You can also use a rolling pin.

How to cook the pizzas

I put my pizza stone on maximum heat in my oven for about three hours so the stone is really hot. Follow instructions for your particular stone and oven though. Take care here to not do something risky, I would not want you to burn down your house. We have our pizza stone on a regular oven tray for easy handling. The idea though, is to get both stone and oven as hot as possible to minimize the pizza cooking time. We set our oven on 275 degrees fan-heat and grill. You need to watch the pizza all the time because they cook and hence burn fast. Set an alarm if you tend to forget stuff like me. 🙂

1. When the stone is ready. Put on a pizza, smother with tomato sauce, add your toppings such as mozzarella, salami, prosciutto, vegetables or whatever you fancy.

2. Put the pizza stone as high up in your oven as (safely) possible. I use the grill/broiler to get maximum blast from above meanwhile the pizza stone does the same from below. Again, important to watch the pizza as it bakes in about 2-4 minutes and burn very fast. Remove the pizza when it starts to get deep golden spots on the edges.

3. Serve immediately, and don’t forget to put the pizza stone back in the oven if you’re making another pizza. Red wine is very recommended, or a cold beer for that matter.