While I’ve never had the pleasure of queuing up at his gourmet taco truck or visiting one of his restaurants, in my mind chef Roy Choi is the Master of Funk. I love his story–Korean immigrant parents raising a streetwise punk in the rougher neighborhoods of L.A. Work in his family’s restaurant eventually/fortunately led to culinary school and the reinvention of street food. I love Choi’s tatted up look that’s softened by a warm, friendly smile. But most of all, I love his food. I love the way Choi combines the cuisines of Los Angeles’ melting pot in the most unexpected way.
Roy Choi chooses polarizing flavors and throws them together in one wacky dish. His recipes’ descriptions often seem off-putting with the first-bite even tasting somewhat bizarre. But I find this approach intriguing, sort of a mystery for my palate, which shifts into overdrive trying to sort through the challenge.
If you haven’t already tried his kimchi quesadillas that I’ve raved about in a past post, I encourage you to click the link and make these a.s.a.p. You’ll never look at quesadillas the same way again. And now here’s yet another crazy recipe that only the Master of Funk could pull off, Furikake Kettle Corn.
A quick glance at the list of ingredients will leave you wondering if they were chosen at random. While most of the items are familiar the combination is no less weird. The only ingredient that may leave you scratching your head is furikake. Furikake is a Japanese condiment that is a mixture of chopped seaweed, sesame, sugar, salt, dried ground fish, sesame seeds, and other flavorings such as bonito or wasabi. It can be found in the Asian aisle of most supermarkets, in Whole Foods or of course, in an Asian specialty store. It is meant to be sprinkled on rice but I often sprinkle it on a simple piece of baked salmon that I serve over rice with a side of spinach. My point is that if you buy a jar of furikake, you will find other uses for it besides this kettle corn. Then again, if your friends devour the treat as quickly as mine did, you may find yourself looking to stock a back-up supply of furikake as opposed to ways to use it. Enjoy!
- 8 c kettle corn
- 1 1/3 c corn pops
- 4 oz clarified butter (or ghee), melted and cooled slightly
- 4 Tbls furikake
- 2 tsp red chili flake
- 2 pinches of cayenne pepper
- 4 Tbls dried pineapple
- 4 Tbls chopped cooked bacon
- 4 tsp minced chives or Shiso
- In a large bowl, add all of the ingredients and mix well.
- Pour into a serving bowl and "Lick your fingers and get dirty with some friends..." says Choi.
- Do not make this recipe too far in advance as it may get soggy. You can have all of the ingredients ready to go and then toss with the melted butter just before serving.