These dishes are great for when it’s hot outside, because they require absolutely no cooking. Both dishes are quite light – perfect for summer eating.
Mung bean noodles with vegetables, pressed bean curd and spicy sesame dressing
This isn’t a difficult dish to make, but it’s important for visual appeal that the vegetables are sliced to about the same size. Apart from the mung bean noodles and sesame dressing, there are no rules for the other ingredients to use, although you should always have a good mix of colours. I used carrot, cucumber, yellow bell pepper, white radish and pressed bean curd, but you can also add (or substitute) egg (make it into a thin omelette, then cut it into fine strands), red bell pepper (but don’t use green because the flavour is too grassy), spinach (blanch it then squeeze out as much water as possible before roughly chopping it) and lightly blanched bean sprouts.
Mung bean noodle sheets are brittle and too large to fit into most bowls. But don’t break them up so they fit: just pour boiling water over them and, with a little time, they’ll be soft and pliable. You can then press them into the bowl so they’re fully submerged. The noodles need only to be soaked; there’s no need to cook them.
200 grams mung bean noodle sheets (called fen pei or fun pei)
1 yellow bell pepper, about 150 grams
120 grams white radish (loh bok)
120 grams carrot, peeled
1-2 cucumbers (use the slender Japanese or Chinese cucumbers)
2 pieces pressed bean curd
1-2 spring onions
Toasted sesame seeds
For the spicy sesame dressing:
60 grams Chinese sesame paste
1 large garlic clove, minced
10ml soy sauce
5ml light soy sauce
10ml rice wine vinegar
5ml sesame oil
A few drops of chilli oil, or to taste
About 25ml hot water
Put the mung bean noodle sheets into a bowl and pour boiling water over them. Let them soften in the heat and moisture until they are submerged in the water. Add more boiling water, if needed. If there are some thick, tough parts that don’t soften, tear them off and discard them.
While the noodles are soaking, prepare the ingredients. Cut the top and bottom off the yellow bell pepper, then slice it in half and remove the core and seeds. Cut the pepper into thin strips. Cut the white radish, carrot and cucumbers into pieces about the same size as the bell pepper. Lay the bean curd on the cutting board. Slicing parallel to the cutting board, cut the bean curd into three or four layers. Stack the layers then cut into thin strips.
Mix the sesame paste with the garlic, soy sauces, rice wine vinegar and sesame oil. Mix in chilli oil to taste then add enough hot water to thin out the sauce slightly. Check the consistency by dipping one of the bean-curd strips into it – it should lightly coat the bean curd. Taste the sauce and correct the seasonings, if needed.
Drain the mung bean noodle sheets then stack them on a cutting board and cut into 1cm-wide strips. Pile them in the centre of a serving plate. Lay the vegetables in separate stacks around the noodles. Finely julienne the spring onion and lay the pieces over the noodles, then sprinkle with sesame seeds. Serve with the dressing on the side. Pour it over the ingredients and mix well just before eating.
Yukhoe (Korean beef tartare)
The first thing you should do when making this dish (which is also spelled yukhwe) is to put the beef in the freezer; it needs about 30 minutes, so it slices neatly. While the meat is freezing, prepare the other ingredients.
1 piece (250 grams) beef tenderloin, frozen for 30 minutes
15ml light soy sauce
10ml sesame oil
About 1 tsp granulated sugar
1 tsp toasted sesame seeds, lightly crushed, plus extra for sprinkling
1-2 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
½ a nashi pear, peeled, cored then cut into thick matchsticks
2 raw quail eggs, yolk only
15 grams pine nuts, coarsely crushed
2 spring onions, sliced lengthwise into thin strips, then cut into 4cm long pieces
Gochugaru (Korean chilli flakes), for sprinkling
Cut the beef across the grain into 5mm-thick pieces, then slice those into 5mm strips. Put the beef in a bowl and combine with the soy sauce, sesame oil, sugar and a teaspoon of crushed sesame seeds. Taste the beef and adjust the seasonings, if needed.
Divide the beef into two portions and pile onto two serving plates. Put the garlic and nashi pear in separate piles on the plates. Make an indentation in each portion of beef and add the quail egg. Scatter the pine nuts and some sesame seeds over the beef, then top with the spring onion and a light sprinkling of gochugaru. Mix the ingredients together before eating.
Styling: Nellie Ming Lee
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