Dinner Banchans. Technically, there are no dinner-specific banchans. We eat banchan for breakfast, lunch and dinner. But today, Katie selected a few of her favorite hearty side-dishes that you can pair with rice – for a weekday dinner.
Pan-Fried Garlic Tofu
I think tofu tastes great on its own! So today, we will not do anything fancy or complicated – no battering or braising. We will simply pan-fry it in a garlic-infused oil and dip it in soy sauce. Fast but delicious banchan!
Wood Ear Mushroom Salad
Wood Ear Mushrooms look alien. They are big, jiggly and look like a sea creature. Very few people know about it outside of Asia. But I want to change that. These mushrooms have amazing texture and are rich in nutritional value – especially good for your heart. Today, we will quickly blanche them and toss them in a light vinaigrette sauce. A refreshing salad to offset the other banchans.
These little fritters are so delicious! It will be the highlight of your meal. I also think it would work well as a platter for a potluck. To make it, we will chop out squid (or shrimp), throw in fresh vegetables and pan-fry them. Dip them in some soy sauce if you like!
Dinner Banchan Ideas
Pan-fried Garlic Tofu
- Tofu - 1 Block 300 grams, Medium-Firm or Firm
- Garlic - 3 cloves
Soy Sauce Dipping Sauce
- Soy sauce - 1 Tablespoon
- Sesame oil - 1 dab or 1/2 teaspoon
- Vinegar - 2 squeezes
- Sesame seeds - shake optional
WoodEar Mushroom Salad
- WoodEar mushrooms - 20 gram
- Cucumber - 1 whole size of your forearm
- Salt - 1 teaspoon to sweat the cucumber
- Sesame oil - a dab or 1/2 teaspoon
Balsamic Vinaigrette Sauce
- Balsamic Vinegar - 2 Tablespoons
- Minced garlic - 1 teaspoon
- Salt - 2 shakes
- Sugar - 1 teaspoon
- Squid - 1/2 a whole use all the tentacles + 1/2 of tube
- Button mushrooms - 2
- Onion - 1/4 a whole
- Carrot - 1/5 a whole measure up to second crease on pointer finger
- Spring onion - 1 stalk forearm length
- Eggs - 2
- Salt - 1 teaspoon
- Flour - 5 Tablespoons
Pan-fried Garlic Tofu
- Drain tofu from package. Slice block in half and then cut into 8 pieces.
- Put a few paper towels on a plate. Then place each tofu blocks over it. Grab a few more paper towels and gently pat-down each tofu piece - get rid of the excess water.
- Cut each garlic clove into thin slices.
- Put a neutral tasting oil (e.g. vegetable oil) in a frying pan. Put it on a medium heat. Once its hot, place garlic pieces in. It will begin to infuse its flavors into the oil. When garlic pieces get a nice browning, briefly take them out and set aside. (We will use later for garnish)
- Then place the tofu pieces into the infused oil. Fry tofu on both sides until you get a slightly crispy skin. Then set tofu pieces aside on a plate with a paper towel - let it soak up the excess oil. Then plate tofu pieces on a clean plate. Place cooked garlic pieces over the top.
- Make dipping sauce: Mix soy sauce, sesame oil, vinegar and sesame seeds.
- Dip tofu pieces into soy sauce and enjoy!
WoodEar Mushroom Salad
- Place dried woodear mushroom into a bowl with cold water. Let it sit and rehydrate in water for 30 minutes.
- Cut cucumber in half. Then cut into thin slices. Put slices into a mixing bowl. Pour salt over the slices and give a quick toss. Set it aside for 10 minutes and let the salt sweat out the cucumber.
- After 30 minutes, drain the wood ear mushrooms. They will have grown in size. Bring a pot of water up to boil. Blanche the mushrooms for 1 minute. Then drain and rinse under cold water.
- Remove the middle root portion from the boiled mushrooms. Then tear any extra-large pieces into smaller pieces.
- Now use your hand and squeeze out the water from each mushroom.
- Now back to the cucumber: Rinse the salted cucumbers under some running water - wash off all the salt. Then use your hands again to squeeze the water out of the cucumbers. Set them aside.
- Make Balsamic Vinaigrette Sauce: Mix all of the listed ingredients.
- Take out a large mixing bowl. Place the mushrooms and cucumbers in. Then put in the vinaigrette sauce and give it a nice toss. Finish the salad by adding in the sesame oil. Plate and enjoy!
- Clean the squid (reference video) first. Then dice each tentacle and 1/2 of the tube into small, bite-sized pieces. Give the pieces a quick rinse under running water. Set aside.
- Dice mushrooms, onion, carrot and spring onion into small cubes. Set aside.
- Place the squid squid and vegetable pieces into a mixing bowl. Then crack two eggs in. Put salt in. Give it a very good mix. The egg mixture will look foamy.
- Then add in the flour and give it a good mix.
- Put your frying pan on a medium-low heat (Note: Do not fry on high heat!). Pour a good amount of oil in. Once it is hot, place spoonfuls of batter into the frying pan. Let each piece fry until you start to browning on the bottom.
- Then flip each piece over and let it cook. Then flip each back over. Set aside on a plate with a paper towel. Plate and enjoy!
- See video below for more details