Thursday, October 25, 2012

Banchan pizza: A second life for side dishes

Typical of many Korean households, my refrigerator is stuffed with little containers of leftover 반찬 banchan. Many recipes for those side dishes are scaled to serve six to eight people, so the two of us always have leftovers. I can only eat so much 비빔밥 bibimbap.

Banchan pizza with sauteed carrots, cilantro kimchi and bulgogi ground beef (photo by Jeff Quackenbush)

While fretting about my bounty of banchan, I was insipred to repurpose those leftovers as pizza toppings. In my fridge, I spied sauteed carrots, cilantro 김치 kimchi and 불고기 bulgogi-style ground beef from some prior culinary creations.

I smothered a fresh-made buy-and-bake cheese pizza with leftover banchan, cooked the pie according to its directions and had a delicious meal.

Frankly, most any vegetable banchan bound for a bowl of bibimbap — such as spinach, mushroom, bean sprouts, kimchi — would find a place on pizza. (I don't think canned corn counts as banchan or, frankly, as a topping.)

To me, it's better to bury banchan in one's stomach aboard pizza than in a food-waste bag, garbage disposal or landfill.

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