If I have learned nothing about food since living in Los Angeles, one thing I know for certain is that whatever your cooking style, it does not have to fit into a neat little well-labeled box. Italian, southern, puerto rican, whatever. I mix and match flavors, cuisines, regional ingredients and techniques-- until I find a combination which is both unique and darn delicious. I encourage you to do the same.
Fear not naysayers or critics, proclaiming the bastardization of classic dishes through the increasingly popular trend of multi-culti cookery. Why not blend components from multiple international cuisines? Who writes this rule book, anyway? Ah, that’s right, no one.
So the next time someone turns their nose up at the idea of combining Italian and Japanese cuisine, or in this case, Korean and Mexican... Shove a bulgogi taco in their mouth and tell them to take a hike.
I thought I might share a recipe with you today. My Kimchi Pork Tostadas... This is one of my favorite indulgent snacks. A love child of Korean and Mexican roots. Latin and Asian cuisine have many similarities in style, so swapping out different ingredients isn’t too dangerous, and often times yields a superior product. I like making these tostadas as minis-- they’re great for parties, as appetizers (super bowl, anyone?). Plus, when something is mini, I get slightly fewer awkward glances when I stuff the 6th one into my mouth. I wish I was exaggerating.
If you’re feeling squirrelly, don’t bother cutting the tortillas into small rounds, just do king size tostadas and add a sous vide 62 degree poached egg. Because why not add a slutty egg to anything already this far vandalized.
Kimchi Pork tostadas
4 lb pork shoulder
1 C kosher salt
1 C sugar
big ass jar of kimchi (20 oz +/-)
1/2 C sour cream
2 T gochujang (korean chile paste)
1/2 T honey or agave
splash of rice vinegar or kimchi juice
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 T minced ginger
1 shallot, minced
1-2 T minced chives
1/4 C homemade [or not] pico de gallo
reserved chopped kimchi
3-4 flour tortillas
1 C grated cheddar ( I used pimento cheddar, because I had made it previously, which is delicious, but regular cheddar works greta too)
1 avocado, chopped
4-6 oz neutral oil
kosher salt to taste
Combine salt and sugar and rub thoroughly over pork. Place in a pan large enough to hold the whole pork shoulder, and cover tightly and refrigerate over night. The next day, wash cure off the pork and pat dry. Cut the pork into 4-5 smaller evenly sized pieces. Setup an immersion circulator ( love my Nomiku) in large bath of water, set temp to 75 degrees celsius. Meanwhile as water is coming up to temperature, chop the kimchi into small pieces. Place 2/3 of the kimchi into a large bowl (reserve the other 1/3 of the kimchi for serving later on) and add pork chunks. Toss together. Place the pork/kimchi mixture into vacuum seal bag and remove all air and seal. Cook the pork in the water bath for 12 hours.
After the 12 hours, remove pork and let cool. Once cool enough to handle, drain the pork from the liquid/fat and pick the meat apart (like how you would for pulled pork sandwiches). Keep the reserved liquid and store uneaten pork in the liquid in the fridge. This recipe will not use nearly all the pork-- however, its delicious on anything, and will keep for a week in the fridge or indefinitely in the freezer.
Make the salsa by combining the shallot, garlic, ginger, chives, reserved chopped kimchi and pico. Make the Korexican sauce by whisking together all the ingredients until creamy and pour/drizzle-able. Heat 1/2” oil in a sauté pan and heat to medium high. Use a circle cutter or biscuit cutter to punch approximately 3" rounds out of the tortillas and fry them in the hot oil, until crispy (1 minute or so). Drain on paper towels and season with kosher salt. When all tostadas are fried, assemble. To assemble, place a little of the pork on the bottom of each fried tostada round, topped with some kimchi salsa, and cheddar. Using a blow torch (my favorite kitchen tool) or a broiler... torch the cheese to melt it slightly. Finish with some avocado and a drizzle of the korexican sauce.
Serve, devour, drink with a Hite beer, repeat.