It’s not quite BBQ season yet, but we’re all itching to break out the charcoal, call our friends over and…eat! Chef May (who you may have had in a Sushi or Chinese Dumplings class) hosts the best get togethers and makes it look effortless. We sat down with her for a quick bite and to find out about her favorite way to entertain:
Hi May! Thanks for having us over. What’s your favorite way to entertain these days?
Korean BBQ! Going out with a large group can be really expensive, so we have everyone over and ask a few people to pick up sides on their way in. It’s a very informal is very communal. We live in L.A., so it’s important to have a spread to let people customize. Keeps everyone happy.
Do you prefer grilling inside or out?
Sometimes we set up the outdoor grill at home; I don’t like to get the house too smoky. I use a charcoal grill instead of gas because the smell of charcoal makes for better flavor over propane. We like to use the harder, slower burning charcoal because it doesn’t burn out as fast and won’t impart the strong charcoal flavor- we like to let the meat shine.
What does the menu look like?
Korean BBQ is the perfect party menu when you stick to the classic stuff- short ribs (galbi), marinated pork, Korean sides- which I sometimes make them and sometimes pick up. You gotta take a few hours the morning of or night before to marinate the meat and make good Korean rice. I love having these pancakes going as people walk in. Pa Jeon is addictive!
Say I only had time to marinate meat and make rice- what’s the best thing to pick up from a market?
Unless your Korean grandmother is around with her magical Kimchi, I suggest picking it up from a local market. I like getting store-bought seaweed salad and spicy cucumbers.
What kind of rice should we buy? Is Sushi rice ok?
Yes- a good brand that you can easily find is Nishiki. Always rinse your rice several times with cold water to get rid of the excess starch- the grains should stick together but not get mushy. Let the rice drain for 15-20 minutes. I use a heavy bottom pot- don’t judge!- to cook the rice. You’ll want to use 1-1/4 cups of water for every cup of rice, bring them together to a simmer, covered, then lower to heat to low and cook another 15 minutes. Turn the heat off, keep the rice covered, and let it sit for 10 minutes.
What kind of meat do you get?
My favorite dish is Dak Galbi, or chicken with Gochujang chilis and rice cakes. This dish comes together really quickly and cooks in less than 15 minutes. It looks super cute on the leaves (see recipe and photo above).
For the red meat crowd, you want to get thin, flank-style beef short ribs. I marinate it for at least 4 hours with soy sauce, garlic, sesame oil, more sugar than you think you need, honey and grated Asian pear (this helps tenderize the meat with its natural enzymes). You can also source a thin pork shoulder or neck steaks- I make the marinade a little spicier with garlic, ginger, gochujang -a Korean chili paste- honey, sugar, soy, scallions- all blended in the food processor and also marinated 4 hours or overnight.
Once the meat is marinated, get the grill really hot. Sear the steaks for 2-3 minutes on each side and 4 minutes on each side for a 1/2″ pork or steak. Let your meat rest for 10 minutes before slicing.
Anything else you want to add?
I set out all the condiments on the table, leaving space for the meats as they come off the grill. We usually set out Bibb or butter lettuce leaves out to wrap everything up in. You can also get Perilla leaves from the Korean market for more edible wraps.
Wait! Tell us your favorite Korean markets to shop at in L.A.:
HK Market on Western & Beverly and Galleria Market (various locations).
Chocolate Meringue Tarts
Pate Sucree au Chocolat (Chocolate Sweet Tart Dough)
|3 Tbsps||16g||Cocoa powder|
- Cream the butter, sugar and salt with a paddle attachment in a stand or hand held mixer. Need a workout? Start with room temp butter and beat with a wooden spoon. Either way, mix until no chunks or bits of butter remain.
- Add the egg and vanilla and beat until smooth. Add the flour and stir until your dough just comes together.
- Grab two sheets of parchment paper (about the size of a cookie sheet) and a rolling pin (or wine bottle). Roll the dough between the sheets until it covers the entire area. This is a good thickness for a tart crust. Slide this dough onto a cookie sheet and freeze for at least an hour. Or a week.
- Preheat your oven to 350F. Grab an 8" or 9" tart pan or a couple of 4" ones. Peel off the top layer of parchment back and cut out circles about 2" larger than your pan. Once you can bend the dough without it cracking, lower it into your tart pan. Don't freak out if it does crack a little; you can patch this up.
- Tarts need to have thin crusts- no one wants to bite into a doughy corner. Be sure to thin out the crust, but not so much that you can see metal. If the dough is too warm, pop it back in the freezer for a few minutes.
- Grab a fork and dimple the dough all the way to the bottom of the pan. Bake for about 15 minutes for a larger tart and 12 for smaller ones. Set aside.
Chocolate Pudding (makes more than you need, because pudding is great for breakfast).
|1/4 cup||Potato or Corn starch|
|2 tsps||Kosher salt|
|7 ounces||Dark chocolate (or 10 oz milk)|
- Chop up the chocolate and set it aside.
- Place the sugar, starch and salt in a non-reactive pot (anything but aluminum, really). Slowly whisk in the milk, followed by the yolks.
- Turn the heat to medium and whisk continuously until it boils (a little over five minutes). Remove from heat and whisk in the chocolate until smooth. Set aside to cool a bit.
|1 tsp||Vanilla extract|
|1 tsp||Cocoa powder|
- Place a medium saucepot filled 1/3 of the way with water and bring to a simmer.
- Place the sugar, salt and egg whites in the bowl of a stand mixer. Holding the bowl over the saucepot, whisk the mixture until it feels warm to the touch.
- Place the bowl on the stand mixer (or begin beating with a hand held mixer) and beat with the whisk attachment until stiff peaks form. Add the vanilla and cocoa powder once the mixture is nice and stiff. Spoon or pipe over the pudding and torch!