Korean Beef Stuffed Perilla Leaves!
Ah! The mystery of Korean side dish food! What are Korean side dishes? That question is asked by many people who have not experienced Korean cuisine. A Korean meal features a main course that is a large healthy portion. A covered bowl of white rice usually accompanies the meal. Several little plates of side dishes are sat at the table to go along with the meal. The side dishes are small petite portions of a wide variety of tasty treats!
Mung bean sprouts, salads, tiny bowls of soup, noodles, fried marinated tofu, crispy fried sun dried anchovy, dumplings, candied potato, fried egg green bean cake and kimchi of all kinds are just a few of the items on the long list of Korean side dishes!
Every chef at each Las Vegas Korean restaurant that I have dined in takes great pride in the side dishes that they offer. They waitress always offers more side dishes, if the plates are empty. A Korean meal is a time of fueling up and the food is very healthy. Korean meals are social events for family and friends. Korean BBQ cooked at the table and plates of side dishes create a social fun atmosphere!
The Korean side dishes can be considered to be French amuse bouche, Spanish tapas or tasting menu style cuisine. The flavor combinations are endless!
Kkaetnip Jeon is considered to be a Korean side dish or a party platter type of food. For a side dish with a Korean meal, only 1 or 2 Kkaetnip Jeon are served on a little side dish plate per customer, For a shared hand passed party platter, the Kkaetnip Jeon are served like the ones in the pictures above. Korean party food platters are just like side dishes. A wide variety of tasty items are offered on large plates.
Perilla leaf has a very nice exotic herb flavor. Like basil, perilla is in the mint family of plants. The flavor of perilla varies greatly. Some taste like fennel and some taste like Thai holy basil. The ones that taste like Thai holy basil have a very complex flavor profile. Thai holy basil is not the same as Thai basil or round leaf basil. The perilla leaves that I used for this recipe had the complex Thai holy basil flavor!
The beef stuffing can be made in a variety of ways. Minced firm tofu is usually added to the meat stuffing. Some chefs leave the tofu out of the recipe. I didn't want to purchase a whole block of tofu for just one recipe, so I omitted the tofu in my personal recipe. I had no plans for other tofu recipes in the near future. I did list the tofu as an optional ingredient in the recipe below.
Kkaetnip Jeon Recipe:
Place 5 ounces of lean ground beef into a mixing bowl.
Add 2 ounces of minced firm tofu. (Optional)
Add 1 minced garlic clove.
Add 1 tablespoon of minced onion.
Add 1/2 tablespoon of sugar.
Add 1/2 tablespoon of sherry or sweet rice wine.
Add 1/2 teaspoon of soy sauce.
Add 1/2 teaspoon of sesame oil.
Add 1/2 tablespoon of ground or crushed sesame seed.
Add 1/2 of a minced green onion.
Add sea salt and white pepper.
Add 1 tiny pinch of Korean or Chinese red chile powder.
Mix the ingredients together.
Trim the stems off of a few perilla leaves. (Perilla leaves vary in size. Larger leaves are easier to work with. Trim as many leaves as it takes to use up the stuffing. About 8 to 12 leaves should be enough.)
Place the perilla leaves in rows on a counter top.
Use a spoon to place small portions of the stuffing on one half of each perilla leaf.
Spread the stuffing over half of each perilla leaf, so the stuffing is less than 1/4" thick. (The stuffing layer must be thin, so it will cook quickly!)
Fold the bare half of each leaf over the stuffing and press it together like a little sandwich.
Heat a saute pan over medium/medium low heat.
Add enough vegetable oil to the pan, so the pan is covered with about 1/8" of oil.
Dredge each stuffed perilla leaf in flour.
Dip each stuffed leaf in egg wash.
Place a few egg washed perilla leaves at a time in the hot oil.
Pan fry the stuffed leaves, till they become golden brown on each side and till the meat stuffing becomes fully cooked. (Flip the leaves a few times, so they cook evenly.)
Set the fried stuffed perilla leaves on a dry towel to drain off any excess grease.
Place the Kkaetnip Jeon on a plate and arrange them so they look nice!
Serve with a small sauce dish of Korean garlic red serrano chile pepper sauce. (Bottled pre-made Korean garlic hot sauce is fine for this recipe.)
No garnish is necessary!
Kkaetnip Jeon is a nice tasting exotic appetizer or side dish! The flavors are delicate and savory. The Korean garlic hot sauce is fairly mild and it goes well with the Kkaetnip Jeon. Yum! ... Shawna