It’s Not Fusion, It’s Dinner

Another quick one, because I gots things to do and places to go. This was a most enjoyable meal, and made all the more so by the short list of ingredients: a london broil, a head of romaine lettuce, a jar of kimchi, and rice wrappers. There was dipping sauce, too, which had about 17 ingredients, but you get the point.

Obviously there are a million different combinations of things that can go in rolls like these. What I love about them, like dumplings, is the way that the wrapper imparts a sturdy authority to the unruly filling, turning haphazard piles of food into neat geometry. The result is also more satisfying, due to the starchy swaddling, and the addition of a sauce adds another element of complementary and contrasting flavors. In this case, using a peanut based sauce made it even more substantial.

I took the frozen steak and cooked it hard in a bit of butter until it was well-seared on both sides, then let it rest before slicing it thin. It was still deep purple in the center, and ready for a second quick cooking; I threw the slices back in the buttery, fond-crusted skillet and added a generous spill of kimchi to deglaze the pan and season the meat. I scraped the pan into a bowl on the counter, next to the tub of tepid water in which the first wrappers were soaking.

Lettuce on wrapper, meat on lettuce, roll. Repeat.

The sauce was peanut butter, tamarind paste, soy sauce, fish sauce, sesame oil, cider vinegar, sriracha, ginger, garlic, mango juice, tomato paste, miso, and probably a couple of other things. It was good. Beef and kimchi are of course an incredible combination, and the hot filling inside the cool wrapping dunked in unctuous, saucy complexity made for a pretty splendid reverie of consumption.

2 comments to It’s Not Fusion, It’s Dinner

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I'm a painter who happens to also spend a lot of time growing, making, and writing about food. I'm particularly interested in the intersection of frugal peasant cooking techniques and haute improvisation. And I have a really great personality.

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