I have these moments in my life that normally happen when I’m nearing hangry. A rage builds as I realize that nothing in the pantry interests me, there’s nothing in the fridge that I can just shove in my mouth, and I’ve already taken down all the cheese in the house. It’s a blessing in disguise because most of my creative ideas come at a time like this. Inspiration can’t be forced, it just happens. And this time it happened when I looked at the ground beef and kalbi marinade.
Kalbi marinade is usually used to soak those thinly sliced short ribs that will later be thrown onto a grill; one of my favorite Korean BBQ meats. Now, I’m positive that I’m not the first to marinate ground beef with this sweet, tangy sauce of the gods, but in that moment I claimed myself to be a genius. And since I have more tahini in this house than I could ever go through, I try to use it as often as possible.
Sinaya is a type of Palestinian Arab shepherd’s pie with layers of spiced beef, eggplant, tomatoes and a crispy crust of tahini. It’s incredibly heavy but super delicious. The sister version to sinaya is something called kofta b’siniyah; kofta style kebabs that are quickly baked in a pool of tahini sauce. Faster, lighter, less labor intensive. Ottolenghi makes this in Jerusalem. It is a very classic comfort food dish. Since I’ve got these strange ideas when I’m borderline hangry, I decided that the sweet flavor of the Korean marinade would contrast the nutty deep flavor of the tahini. Boy, I’m so happy this worked out. Please trust me on this one. It’s one of those taste it to believe it type dish.
Some life updates:
- I got a typewriter. Your good ol’ basic cordless typewriter that clanks so loudly. This is helping me cope with my with my perfectionism. More on this soon.
- Started watching FX series Atlanta. Donald Glover is an actual genius. It’s so smart and sharply funny. Recommended.
- I’m working with Cake in a Crate and Soom on a salted tahini chocolate chip cookie kit that is going to blow your mind. More on this soon too.
KOREAN BEEF B’SINIYAH
MAKES 4 SERVINGS
1 1/3 lb ground beef chuck
1 yellow onion, grated
½ cup Korean kalbi marinade
1 – 1 ½ cups tahini (depends on the size of your baking dish or pan)
½ – ¾ cup water
3-4 tbsp toasted pine nuts
toasted sesame seeds
Korean chili flakes (gochugaru) or paprika
Combine the ground beef, grated yellow onion, kalbi marinade, and a few pinches of salt. Cover with plastic wrap and set in the fridge for at least 1 hour. (Can be left to marinate anywhere up to 24 hours).
Whisk together the tahini, water, and a pinch of salt until smooth. The consistency should be a thick pancake batter. Set aside.
Pre-heat oven to 450˚F and heat a grill or grill pan on high heat.
Make 14 patties from the beef mixture (about ¼ to 1/3 cup per patty). Season patties with salt and black pepper and grill for 2 minutes/side until nicely charred. Transfer patties to an oven-proof pan or baking dish leaving some room between them. Spoon the tahini into the pan/dish around the patties leaving the top half of the patties exposed. Bake for 5-6 minutes until the tahini is warmed through and slightly bubbly.
Remove from the oven and garnish with toasted pine nuts, sesame seeds, and Korean chili flakes or paprika. You can eat this as is or mash it into a fluffy warm pita. Enjoy!