What’s your go to when you have a relatively simple main part to a dish like steak?
If your first instinct is to reach for frozen veggies to steam, maybe it’s time to have a look at upping your side dishes.
It’s easy to get into a rut of just doing the same sides over and over, but dinner should be a time to enjoy food and the company you are having it with.
The sides I’m writing about today were made to compliment a sticky Thai pork belly dish.
Naturally I went for something close to the same region.
I used the crispness of a tiger salad to offset the heat from some South Korean style eggplant.
It’s a little extra work but the payoff is huge when it comes to having a great main that isn’t let down by lacklustre sides.
Tiger salad is very simple but if you are not a fan of coriander find another herb that will do the job like a flat leaf parsley.
If spicy heat is something that you can’t handle too much of, ease up on the chilli in the bulgogi and swap it out for miso, but do try to put a bit of heat in there.
Ingredients: 1 tbsp rice vinegar 2 tsp sesame oil 1 tsp sesame seeds Pinch of chilli flakes (Optional) Small bunch of coriander leaves roughly chopped 4 celery stalks sliced thin 2 small cucumbers sliced thin 6 shallots cut diagonally Method: Cut the cucumber rounds as thinly as you can and the celery stalks and the green part of the shallots on an angle, you could use a mandolin for uniformity. In a bowl vigorously whisk the vinegar, sesame oil, sesame seeds and chilli flakes until it becomes cloudy. Pour the sauce over the coriander leaves, cucumber, celery and shallots and mix in vigorously.
South Korean style eggplant
Ingredients: 1 large eggplant ½ onion finely diced 2 large garlic cloves finely chopped 1 shallot cut diagonally 2 tbsp sugar 1 tbsp soy sauce 1 tsp gochujang (or red chilli flakes) 1 tsp sesame oil 1 tbsp salt 1 tbsp vegetable oil 1 tsp sesame seeds Method: Cut the eggplant into one centimetre thick sticks and halve them. Place them in a bowl and heavily coat them in salt. Leave them to sit for 10-20 minutes. Mix the sesame oil, sesame seeds, gochujang (or red chilli flakes), soy sauce, sugar, shallot, onion and garlic until well combined. When the eggplant is ready strain out the water and squeeze out as much liquid as you can from the eggplant. Marinate the eggplant in the sauce. Heat oil in a large frying pan on medium high heat and sear the eggplant on both sides. Turn down the heat and cook until marinade becomes thick.