East Meets West Part One

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I had the opportunity to meet Roy Choi, founder and owner of the famous Kogi truck, Chego!, A-Frame, Sunny Spot, and POT.  He is credited for starting the gourmet food truck phenomenon.  He was named Best New Chef by Food & Wine in 2010.  Choi’s new cookbook L.A. SON reads like a memoir and is an inspiring story for any Angeleno.  Born in Seoul, Korea and raised in Los Angeles, this L.A. son describes how the city of Los Angeles and Korean culture shaped him into a chef.  All of this while weaving recipes throughout the cookbook.   His Kogi truck melds Korean and Mexican flavors in a way we haven’t seen before.  It’s exciting to read about his experiences in some of the same towns I grew up.  Roy Choi will most definitely be known as a pioneer and legend of his time.  He cooks food with high end quality ingredients and a low end price point.  He inspired me to cook from my point of view and not worry about what’s trending.  Choi got me thinking about food fusion.  I had to consider the recipes in my wheelhouse to offer you.  This month, in honor of Roy Choi, I’d like to give you two recipe’s that combine flavors from the east and west.



Time-30 minutes



4-6 pieces of thin sliced round steak

3 poblano peppers skin removed and diced

1 14.5 ounce can of diced tomatoes

1 cup of less-sodium soy sauce

3 tablespoons of sugar

1 tablespoon of garlic chopped  (4-5 cloves)

1/4 teaspoon of chopped ginger

1/2 jalapeño chopped

2 cups of long/extra long grain white rice

Handful of cilantro chopped

Green onion chopped for garnish

Olive or Canola oil for pan frying


Roast poblano peppers over open flame until outside skin is blackened, then place into a gallon zip-lock plastic bag to steam for 10  minutes.  Remove blackened skin and seeds, then chop poblano pepper and set aside.

Steam white rice and follow package directions of water to rice ratios.  When rice is cooked incorporate chopped cilantro into steamed rice.

In a large non-stick skillet add enough oil to lightly coat the bottom of the pan.  At high heat, sear the round steak about 2 minutes per side and set aside.   Lower heat to medium-high and add soy sauce.  Scrape the bottom of the pan to loosen the pan drippings.  Add sugar, garlic, ginger, jalapeño, poblano peppers, and canned tomatoes with juices and simmer for 5 minutes.  I break down tomatoes with a potato masher so they are less chunky.  Place the seared meat with its drippings that might have collected on the plate back into the skillet and allow flavors to marry for 5 more minutes.  Turn off the heat and garnish with green onions.

Place round steak with marinade over steamed rice and enjoy!

What is your favorite fusion meal?

Cook’s Note

1.  Do not season steak or rice with salt.  The soy sauce removes any seasoning normally required of your steak and rice.

2.  When removing skin from poblano peppers, never run under water to clean off.  You are removing all the flavor acquired during roast.

3.  I always chop a little extra garlic and ginger to sauté up a quick vegetable (broccoli or green beans) to accompany the dish.

4.  Rice cooking and water ratios vary.  The rice I use is 3 cups of water to 2 cups of rice.  The cooking time states 15 minutes but I find I like it closer to 8 minutes then I turn off the heat and leave the lid on for a couple more minutes.  A rice cooker is fail proof.

5.  Next blog East Meets West Part Two.

The Author

First off, I'm not a writer. This should be abundantly clear as you read this bio. I'm not a trained Chef either. I'm a Mother, Wife, Registered Nurse and Fraudulent Chef. Why a blog you ask? Well, I don't want to be a line cook, executive Chef, or a restaurant owner. I just want to cook what I want, when I want, and for who I want. Cooking is a creative outlet for me. I don't even consider myself a blogger because I don't blog often. So advertising dollars and web fame is not my motive. Finding the time to cook, write up a recipe, photograph it while maintaining a job and household is challenging. However, it has given me great joy over the years to see people carrying on dishes that I've developed. It's also an online cookbook that I can reflect on. My cooking is an expression of the strong women in my life and inspired dishes from my favorite restaurants. I'm a recipe impostor of dishes from restaurants I love. Furthermore, many of the recipes are spruced up from my childhood. I'm a Mexican-American, native Californian who has spent time in New York and married a first generation Costa Rican. My cooking reflects all of these aspects. Karen's Kitchen is not a Mexican food blog. As much as I'd like to fit into a pretty little red, white and green box. I find it too limiting and reject the notion of creating a Latino point of view because it makes a blog cohesive. So my recipes are all over the place, with no rhyme or reason. Home cooks never apologize for not graduating from culinary school. You will find that my recipes are easy to follow and geared for the home cook. They look amazing and will make you look like a Domestic God/Goddess in front of your loved ones. It's my hope that you find the love for cooking and make some of my recipes your own. Cheers to cooking, eating and surrounding yourself with lovely people.

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