Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Korean Lettuce Tacos

OK, full disclosure.  This is not a recipe, this is a cast of cook and serve ingredients coming together to make a sensational lettuce taco that is ready to eat in about 20 minutes.  I love Asian flavors and Korean food is no exception.  From the sweet and savory marinades to the spicy, cool crunch of kimchi, I can't get enough.  When I saw that Trader Joes not only carried the fantastic Bool Kogi Marinated Short Ribs, but also the new Korean Kalbi Chicken Sausages, I knew something had to be created from these two incredible ready to cook items.  The result is a deliciously easy and healthy, gluten free meal that will no doubt become a go to weeknight meal or an easy dish to entertain with.

Here is what you need:

1 1/2 lbs of Bool Kogi (does not need to be from Trader Joes)
and/ or
1 pack of Spicy Korean Chicken Sausage
Prepare the meat according to package or about 3-4 minutes per side for the beef and about 12 minutes for the sausage.

1 head of Romain Lettuce washed with the ends trimmed
1 jar of Kimchi ( a fermented cabbage that is crisp and tangy with a hint of spice.  Kind of like a Korean condiment.  It is delicious and you can find it at an Asian Specialty Store).

2 cups cooked Quinoa ( I use Trader Joes microwaveable frozen quinoa when pressed for time)
1/2-1 tbsp Chili Garlic Sauce or Siracha
1 tbsp of Olive Oil
1 Lime, juice of half for the quinoa and slice the other half for garnish
2 tbsp Cilantro chopped
Salt and Pepper to taste
Serves 6-8 

This dish goes fast.  That means we need to get our prep work ready first.  So wash and trim your lettuce, slice your limes and chop your cilantro.  Takes all of about 3 minutes.

Now, you can either grill or pan fry, or broil your meat.  I'll give you one guess which method of cooking my husband chose...the grill, of course.  Whichever you choose, keep a close eye on it, because your beef will cook fast.
 Yes, please and thank you.

While your meat is cooking, get your quinoa ready.  I love to use the microwaveable frozen quinoa in this dish because it goes with the incredibly easy, barely there effort, yet oh so tasty nature of this meal.  Use whatever you have on hand though, just make sure it is cooked before you start the meat so you have time to season it with the ingredients above.  Add the chili garlic sauce or siracha to your taste but start slow because you can always add more.

When the meat is cooked and rested for a few minutes, slice it into bite sized portions and try not to take too many samples of the delicious meat that is laid out in front of you.  The struggle is real.

It really is that good.

The best part has come, assembling your lettuce taco.  The layers are very important here.  You want the quinoa on your lettuce leaf first, then it is the kimchi and finally it is the beef or chicken or both!  This will allow the quinoa to absorb the juices and keep your taco from falling apart.  If so inclined and a lover of spicy food, add some more chili garlic sauce or Siracha and garnish with a squeeze of fresh lime.  

Now enjoy all the free time you have tonight because this might be the best tasting fast meal you have ever made.