Mushroom bulgogi

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mushroom bulgogi
mushroom bulgogi

My mother from Oshkosh, Wisconsin makes delicious bulgogi with chicken or beef but I don’t eat it any more as I’m a veghead. Does this mean no more bulgogi in my life? Never! Here comes the trusty mushroom to save the day. Same marinade, different protein (ok, and texture). This wonderful vegetarian/vegan dish also solves the modern problem: Oh how can a paleohead/glutenfreehead and a veghead have a dinner party together? It also solves the problem of what else can you bring to a vegetarian bbq.

This is not a complicated dish and to make a full meal of it, serve with kim chi, sticky rice, fresh green lettuce and ssamjang paste (or ko chu jang in a pinch). Skip the rice if you like. Or go all out and make several side dishes such as bean sprouts, soup, radish kim chi, pickled cucumber, pancakes, etc. You do need about an hour for the mushrooms to marinate.

Ingredients for mushroom bulgogi
serves about 4
2 portobellos
8-10 fresh shiitakes
1/2 white onion
4 cloves garlic
1 small piece ginger (about a tsp worth)
4 tbs soy sauce
1 tbs sugar or honey
1 tbs roasted sesame oil
1/2 asian pear or bosc pear (or apple in a pinch)
1/2 to whole carrot, sliced
3-6 green onion, chopped
roasted sesame seeds
couple grinds of black pepper
olive oil for frying on the stove or tin foil for using on the grill

ssamjang sauce
1 tbs go chu jang*
2 tbs doen jang (Korean soy bean paste, similar to miso)*
1 tsp sesame oil
1 tsp chopped onion
1 tsp chopped green onion
1 garlic clove, minced with salt
1/2 tsp sugar
roasted sesame seeds
splash of water if needed
*Buy these at a Korean or Asian market. Go chu jang (or Ko chu jang) is in a red container with a chili pepper on it and Doen jang is in a brown container usually.

1) Wash and slice the mushrooms. Set aside.
2) Put 1/4 of the white onion, garlic, ginger and pear in a food processor and blitz. Add a sprinkle of water if necessary.
3) Add the sliced carrot and green onion to the mushrooms, along with the other 1/4 of white onion, sliced. Add the garlic/pear paste and mix.
4) Add the soy sauce, sesame oil, sugar, and pepper. Mix together thoroughly. Cover and set in the fridge for an hour to marinate.
5) After an hour, remove from the fridge and mix again. Heat up olive oil in a wok (or simply skip this and cook on the grill outside using a tray or sheet of tinfoil).
6) Pour the mushroom mixture and all the marinade into the hot wok and fry on high for about 15 minutes. Turn the heat down slightly as the juices start to evaporate so it doesn’t burn. Cook till all the soupy marinade has been absorbed and the mushrooms are cooked. About 20 minutes.
7) For the ssamjang sauce, simply mix everything together.

Serve with ssamjang paste and lettuce as a hand held wrap. Take a piece of green lettuce such as romaine, butter or gem lettuce and dab as much ssamjang as you like. Add some mushroom bulgogi (and sticky rice if you like), fold up and eat! I made some pickled spicy cucumber and sticky rice to go with our dinner tonight, but the more banchan, the more tasty fun.

sliced mushrooms

chopped veg

marinating mushroom bulgogi

go chu jang and doen jang
mixing the ssamjang

vegan bulgogi

ssamjang finished

lettuce with ssamjang

mushroom bulgogi wrapped in lettuce
mushroom bulgogi

A quick lunch to take away

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quick lunch; vegan wrap

Ok so the main reason we fail at work lunch time is because of time. It seems as though everyone around me all over this world (our round blue spaceship hurtling through space, by the way) wakes up at the crack of dawn and walks their dog, gets their kids up, makes coffee, makes breakfast, gets ready for work, and so on. Who has time to make themselves a nice lunch? Your kids (if you have them) are lucky if they even get a nice lunch. But yourself? Forget it.

There’s the easiest solution: buy something—buy something spectacular, buy something healthy, buy something cheap. There’s the perfectly respectable but unglamorous solution: bring in last night’s leftovers that you shoved into 10 year-old tupperware that’s sure to gross everyone out when you heat it up in the office microwave. Or there’s the alternative to saving time: take even more time, wake up even earlier, watch the sun come up, defy your physical limitations and make yourself a nice, crisp, farmers market healthy lunch.

Use what you have, for example, I had tortillas, roasted portabellos from a bbq, sliced zucchini salad, lettuce, jalapeno, olives, cucumber and basil. Anything, any vegetable at all would be delicious, such as radish, artichoke, bean sprouts, cilantro, parsley, cabbage, pickles, peppers, carrots, etc. Any spread would work (or choose to go spreadless), such as hummus, guacamole, cream cheese mixed with herbs, homemade ranch, tzatziki, etc.

There’s really no cooking involved of course. This is what I did, but the possibilities are endless.

Quick take-away style vegan wrap:
serves 1
1 flour tortilla (plain, whole wheat, spinach)
1 tbs hummus (or other spread)
2 leaves soft green lettuce
3 slices cucumber, sliced lengthwise
3 slices raw zucchini, sliced lengthwise
1/2 tomato, sliced
1/2 fresh jalapeno, sliced
1 roasted portabello mushroom, sliced
3 leaves basil
a few kalamata olives, sliced

1) Lay a tortilla on a piece of parchment paper and spread with hummus (or similar).
2) Layer all the vegetables on one side.
3) Carefully roll up, using the parchment paper to help hold everything together, like a sushi rolling mat.
4) Either cut in half, keeping the parchment paper on and eat as a wrap, or cut into sushi-style rolls, but be careful they don’t fall apart.

vegan vegetable wrap

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