What a frustrating week! My 5-year-old MacBook Pro somehow “died” and it took a week to receive my new one and transfer all the contents. The good news is that we are spending the next two weeks in Mexico City and Boston. We’ve been to both before, and I can’t wait to reunite with my favorite Siamese cat and Doni’s baby niece in Boston. I would love to hear about your experience if you’ve been to either one. We also made new travel plans for this Spring: we are heading to Taiwan, Macau and Hong Kong including Peru! Please let me know your favorite vegan eateries & spots – we’ve only been to Taichung, Taiwan.
To celebrate the Year of the Horse (Chinese New Year), I made Bok Choy and Shiitake Mushrooms with Gochujang Vinaigrette. Known as the Spring Festival, Chinese New Year is a grand celebration centered around family and food. While marginally celebrated in America, this holiday is recognized in most countries across Asia. It is customary to celebrate the first day of the Chinese New Year with a vegetarian diet.
To create my dish, I took inspiration from Cathal Armstrong of Restaurant Eve. His ‘Shiitake Mushrooms With Harissa Vinaigrette’ was featured in the Wall Street Journal a few months ago and this dish is an excellent example of the fresh, bright, balanced cooking that I love. To introduce more Asian flavors into my vinaigrette, I used soy sauce, toasted sesame oil (preferably Kadoya), freshly ground japones chiles and gochujang. The lovely folks at Frieda’s Inc were kind enough to provide me with their beautiful, crunchy, rich green bok choy, dried japones chiles and fresh ginger. Thanks Frieda’s Inc!
The vinaigrette recipe calls for gochujang, which is a mildly spicy, dark red and fermented red pepper paste. It is a staple ingredient in traditional Korean dishes. It doesn’t taste as spicy as Sriracha though. Think of it as beautiful dark red miso that delivers the mildly spicy, umami flavor. You can find gochuang at any Asian supermarkets. They come in a jar or a tub. This gochujang vinaigrette can also be used for seasoning rice or noodles. For the gochujang, we used the brand Jayone (Product of Korea) and you can use other gochujang brands which may vary in spiciness. You can try making your own vegan gochujang here.
Toast a few dried chiles lightly in a cast-iron skillet or griddle over medium heat, until they deepen color, about 3 to 5 minutes. Remove from heat immediately and let them cool down. Remove stems and shake off seeds from dried chiles. Grind the toasted chiles by hand using a mortar and pestle or a coffee/spice grinder. Continue grinding until they turn into a coarse powder. Store ground chiles in an airtight container and keep it in a cool, dry place for up to six months.
In a medium bowl, mix together gochujang, lemon juice, lime juice, soy sauce and ground dried chiles. Slowly whisk in both olive oil and sesame oil a little at a time until dressing emulsifies. Set aside.
In a wok or heavy-bottomed skillet with a lid, heat 1 tablespoon rice bran oil over high heat until shimmering. Add garlic, ginger and freshly ground dried chiles and cook, stirring constantly, until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add white pepper and bok choy and sauté about 2 minutes, cover pan and cook for few more minutes until liquid is close to evaporated and stalks are tender to the touch. Season to taste with salt.
Meanwhile, in a small skillet, heat remaining oil; sauté mushrooms over medium-high heat until browned and tender, about 3 to 5 minutes. Transfer mushrooms to a plate and set aside.
Arrange bok choy and mushrooms on a serving platter. Drizzle with gochujang vinaigrette, chopped cilantro and toasted sesame seeds. Serve immediately with rice, noodles or as a salad.
This gochujang vinaigrette can also be used for seasoning rice or noodles. For the gochujang, we used the brand Jayone (Product of Korea) and you can use other gochujang brands which may vary in spiciness. You can try making your own vegan gochujang here.
If you can't find fresh Shiitake Mushrooms, you can use the dried version. Rehydrate into hot water until soft then de-stem and cook according to the recipe.
As a side note, I’m obsessed with these raw and organic black sesame seeds. I use them in everything from rice to stir-fried dishes.
Kevala Organic Black Sesame Seeds (RAW)
Have you tried using gochujang before? Got a favorite shiitake mushroom and/or bok choy recipe?
This item(s) was kindly sent to me to review. All reviews are my own personal opinions, I have not been compensated to provide any feedback positive or otherwise. If I receive a product complimentary of the company, it will be stated so in the post, otherwise, all products are purchased myself for my own personal use.