Many people omit sugar when it is called for in savory dishes. Sometimes, sugar is called for in small amounts, anywhere between 1 teaspoon to 1/4 cup in a large pot. I would urge you to Not omit the sugar in these cases. Sugar adds complexity to the dish, bringing out natural sweetness of other ingredients. To me, it is almost as important as salt or garlic. Many dishes I have made uses sugar in this way. Here are just a few examples:
In many cultures, there is a basic trio of ingredients that make up the regional cuisine. In the Italian Soffritto, there are onion, celery and carrot. In Chinese, there are onion, garlic and ginger. The Cajun version has onion, celery and bell peppers. My version is made up of onions, garlic and chili peppers. I find this combination provides the flavor I'm looking for in the dishes I make, providing both depth and heat required in my meals. Of course, when making pasta sauce I happily add chopped celery and carrots to my trinity. What is your soffrito?
The strong odor of ginger makes it perfect to enhance the flavor any meat. It also increases the intensity of chillis, as I found out in Sichuan Hot Oil.
Used a lot in Asian cooking, ginger has found a place in many of my curries (Braised Fragrant Beef Curry), stews (Vietnamese Beef Stew), braised soups (Taiwanese Braised Pork) and also in some of my baked dishes (Jamaican Jerk Lamb, Teriyaki Pork). As a drink, it adds a kick to Ginger Honey Tea, warming up from the inside out on a cold day.
If you haven't already, give ginger a try!
This time of year, sweet potato is on my mind. Sweet potatoes are one of my favorite ingredients in the kitchen. It's sweet taste lends itself to sugar reduction and a certain comfort of home feel, at least for me. Sweet potato was an ingredient in one of my favorite snacks in childhood. From fritters, to malasadas, to breadrolls, to doughnuts, to scones, sweet potatoes add something unique to anything it is added to. Here are my sweet potato recipes so far:
Another spice that has a wide variety of uses is cinnamon. From sweet to savory, cinnamon’s versatility is obvious in many cultures. I use it as much as star anise, if not more. It is a constant companion to star anise in many of braised dishes, and in quite a few sweet dishes. I have cinnamon in two forms in my kitchen: whole and ground. Here is a list of some of the dishes what I've tried so far. For the love of cinnamon!
Cherry Crisp (in the cherry filling and in the crisp topping)
Pineapple Shakes (as a pinch of cinnamon in the shake and as a topping)
Loco Moco is a local Hawaiian dish. We enjoyed it on our visit to the Big Island. It consists of steamed rice, fried egg and a protein of some sort. Traditionally, a hamburger patty is topped with gravy as the protein. Nowadays, a variety of different proteins are used. Spam and Portuguese sausage are popular versions of this dish on the Big Island. I like to add some lettuce on top to round off the dish. Feel free to substitute with any veggie, cooked or fresh. Feel free to substitute leftover dinners for the protein. Teriyaki pork works well as well. I have also used boiled egg instead of fried egg. I use Loco Moco often on our hiking lunches. They're easy to make ahead, hearty, simple and tasty. It's one of only a few portable lunches everyone in my house can agree on.
Tikka Masala sauce is a creamy and spicy tomato-based sauce. Tikka Masala was born as a fusion dish, to accustom the British to Indian curries. The fact that it is tomato-based has made it a perfect substitute for many dishes. Some examples so far that I have used a base of Tikka Masala sauce are:
Tikka Masala Chicken over pasta or as a wrap or as a sandwich or over rice
I could see it doing well in Shepherd's Pie too, as a sauce for the meaty filling, or Tikka Masala potato and pea curry (which could work as a filling in a samosa). I will keep you updated!
Star anise is the spice with the funny name that I have come to enjoy using in a variety of different cuisines. From a variety of Asian dishes, to American and Italian inspired cuisine, I have found it to provide a strong licorice flavor to anything I add it to. Recently I added it to Hong Kong-Style Tomato Sauce Pork, to accentuate the complexity of flavors in the sauce, and it was wonderful. I like to fry the star anise in oil along with my trinity of onion, garlic and chili peppers. Here is a list of my star anise uses so far:
I also use it in my Italian Pork Ragu, Sichuan Hot Chili Oil, Malaysian Chicken Coconut Curry and Hong Kong Style Tomato Pork. Recipes to come. I hear there exists Anise cookies and Anise gelato as well. I can't wait to give it a try!
There is nothing better than a hot beverage on a cool winter's night. Here are a few ideas to keep warm and toasty from the inside out, whether you're out on a snowy hike, or looking to keep warm by the fireplace.
Honey Ginger Tea - If you like ginger, this one will keep you smiling. Sweet and spicy but light.
Milk Tea - If you like milk tea, this recipe will make you happy. Feel free to try with your favorite teas.
Hot Chocolate - Calling all chocolate fans, this recipe with let you have your chocolate and drink it too!
Hot Spiced Apple Cider - Okay, this one is a store bought option. Warm some apple cider in a pot, pour into a thermos and enjoy on your snowy hike. Alternatively, sit by a cozy fireplace and enjoy.
If you’re like me, the flavors of Rotisserie Chicken stays on my palate from one episode to another. For me, it was those days late after work, too tired to make my own dinner and the ease of these budget-friendly rotisserie meals that enticed me. Fast forward 15 years, and the flavors of those store-bought rotisserie chicken on its own just doesn’t call my name, though the convenience of ready-to-eat protein does. So here are a few ideas of what I do with rotisserie chicken after I shred it. I usually shred the chicken on the day I bring it home from the store, then freeze it in small ziplock bags for convenient future use.
Homemade Cream of Mushroom Soup (with added shredded chicken for a heartier version)
Filling for Asian Lettuce Wraps or Tacos or Chicken Enchiladas
Or any recipe that calls for diced or shredded cooked chicken is fair game.
Japanese Tan Tan Noodles is a fusion recipe marrying Chinese Sichuan flavors with Japanese flavors. The mix of flavors gives Tan Tan Noodle Soup a complex deliciousness. One day last month, I had leftover beef bone broth which I made with my pressure cooker for Vietnamese Spicy Beef Noodle Soup.. I decided to add beef bone broth in place of the broth I usually use to make Tan Tan Noodle Soup…. The results were amazing! Strong bone broth flavors underlying the sesame and soybean flavors of the usual Tan Tan Noodles. If you're a fan of strong flavors, I think you'll love this mix! Beef Bone Broth is easy to make. Boil some beef shank bones with half an onion, some ginger, garlic and bay leaves in a pressure cooker (or stove top if you don't have a pressure cooker). Pressure cooker shortens the cook time. I like to boil the bone until all of the tendon and meat comes off the bone, usually about 90 minutes with my pressure cooker on high. I would boil it for double that time stove top. Best to cook it the day before to allow the broth to cool overnight before using it, so that you can remove any excess fat easily. If you prefer to do without the sesame paste of Tan Tan Noodles, try it with Sichuan Hot Chili Oil and soybean paste for a slightly different flavor. Or have it plain with a little salt.
We like how moist oatmeal cookies are - the oatmeal seems to hold in moisture, making it less dry. What I don't like is the rough texture of the oatmeal. So I decided to put my food processor to work, grinding up the oatmeal to the finest that my food processor can handle. Oat Flour tends to make things crispy on the outside, moist on the inside and a little nutty in flavor. It also has a sweetness to it, paving the way for sugar reduction. In my “Healthy “ Brownies for example, I was able to cut the amount of sugar into half without compromising sweetness or texture. The one thing I did have to do is increase baking powder to provide for the same level of “rise”. Since then, I have started to work in Oat Flour into cookie recipes. Stay tuned….
My kids are huge fans of pizza. I don't think I have met a kid who is not, yet. I like making home-made pizza because I can make different flavors. I have found a quick way to making custom flavored pizzas. I use ready-made flat breads (naans or pitas) as my pizza crust and put on our favorite toppings. In my case, the easiest toppings available are leftovers from last night's dinner: Jerk Chicken with BBQ sauce, Hummus as a sauce base with shredded rotisserie chicken or roasted sweet peppers, shredded Coconut Curry Chicken or Chicken Tikka Masala. I'm guessing Indian Curried Mashed Eggplant would also make a nice saucy topping. Top all of these with a generous sprinkling of shredded cheese. Any curry or any saucy dish will do as a topping. Feel free to add onion rings if you'd like, or any roasted veggie. Just make everything bite-sized and you've got yourself some unique personal-sized pizzas for any meal or snack.
Nothing beats an ice cold blended drink on a hot summer’s afternoon! My kids are huge fans of all of drinks blended, so I happily oblige. All you'll need is a reliable ice-crushing blender, some vanilla ice-cream and you can be making these anytime you like too! Here are some icy desserts we’ve come up with so far this summer:
Berry Shake (we've tried raspberry, blueberry, strawberry, blackberry and pineapple)
Do you ever wonder what you can do with Broccoli stems? I usually roast or stir fry my broccoli florets, and the stems just don’t quite fit in. I was eating at my favorite Sichuan restaurant having pickled vegetables made with broccoli stems. That’s when it dawned on me… Broccoli stems can be diced and used in any dish needing the use of diced vegetables. It tastes a little sweet after being cooked, almost like a sweeter version of celery stalks. So far, I use broccoli stems in these dishes:
Breakfast Burrito (as part of the diced veggie combination)
Vietnamese Beef Stew (or any stew or soup that requires a lot of diced veggies)
Sichuan Hot Chili Pickled Veggies (recipe soon to be posted)
I hope to add more dishes as I explore further what to do with broccoli stems.
If you have cooked with my recipes, you might notice that I use fresh hot chilies in many of my savory dishes. As you may know, I really like spicy foods,and love the freshness that fresh hot chilies bring to a dish. The choices of fresh hot chilies are plentiful…. Jalapeno for a mild hot (most of the time), Serrano and Thai for a medium hot, and Habanero and Naga Peppers for a volcano hot… The only drawback is that fresh hot chilies don’t color a dish red; that’s when I supplement with the many hot chili condiments available…. Both homemade and store bought. Here are some of my Homemade Chili Condiments:
Fish Sauce is one of my favorite sauces to add when trying to impart complex flavors to a dish quickly. It is an indispensable part of many Southeast Asian cuisines such as Vietnam and Thailand. I have found that in addition to using it in dishes that traditionally employ fish sauce such as Vietnamese Beef Stew, Pad Thai and Vietnamese Noodle Salad, it also imparts a wonderful flavor when adding to dishes that do not usually call for it.... such as Spicy Pong Teh, Mee Goreng, Spicy Fried Bee Hoon. In my early years in Malaysia, it wasn't a sauce that my family readily had in the kitchen, but when I discovered it after moving to North America, I started adding it to many of my meals - usually less than a tablespoon added to a pot that feeds a family of five. Considering that the ancient Romans had something like fish sauce added to their meals, I have also tried adding it to my non-Asian meals such as Calamari Pasta Arrabbiata, Homemade Pasta Sauce with Fresh Tomatoes, and Trini Style Pepper Shrimp. I will continue experimenting with Fish Sauce, and I hope you will too....
One of my favorite things about Easter is Ham. Good old sweet, salty ham with a side 0f mash potatoes and green beans. But I often have leftovers. So what to do with ham? I like to cut up the ham into portions large enough for a meal for my family - usually about the size of a sandwich ziplock bag, filling the ziplock bag anywhere between 1/2 full and 3/4 full - and freeze them. In my experience ham freezes very well for long periods of time, but after about a month or so, it gets a little freezer burned.. So what to do with ham? Well, if you have a bone, make a Ham and Split Pea Soup. When I am ready to use the leftover ham, I cut it into small strips to make Ham and Cheese Quesadilla, Ham and Cheese Grilled Cheese Sandwiches, Korean Inspired Gochujang Ham Fried Rice or Ham Malaysian Inspired Mee Goreng (Fried Noodles). Of course, feel free to make Ham and Pineapple Pizza or add Ham to Breakfast Burrito or to Mac and Cheese, or to Spaghetti Arrabiata or add to Scalloped Potatoes. I also add thinly sliced Ham to Stirfried Beans or Broccoli. What I love about ready-to-use Ham is that it is a readily available protein source when I'm in a hurry and hadn't planned ahead for a meal. I find myself actually looking forward to having Ham, for the leftovers of course... Here's to Leftover Ham and being creative with it!
I was browsing through Irish recipes sent to my inbox around St. Patrick's Day. One of the recipes that jumped out at me was Irish Beef Stew over Mashed Potatoes. So I thought why not have my favorite Beef Stew over my favorite mashed potatoes? Vietnamese Beef Stew over Sweet Mustard Mash Potatoes was born. Vietnamese Beef Stew and Sweet Mustard Mash Potatoes have very strong flavors, so feel free to cut back on the mustard if you wish so that the strong flavors of the Beef Stew can stand out a little better. Or substitute with your favorite Mash Potato recipe.
Gochujang is a deep red, sweet, rich and slightly hot, fermented bean paste originating in Korea. I realize that description may not cause intrigue in everybody as it does me, but it really is a delicious condiment that is quickly starting to be a staple in my kitchen. It is very versatile - from traditional Korean dishes such as Dwaejibulgogi (Korean Spicy Pork) and Korean Spicy Cucumber Salad, to a slightly non-traditional Gochujang Tofu Noodle Soup to more non-traditional uses such as Korean Gochujang Pasta Salad and Gochujang Fried Rice. I look forward to many years of discovering the powers of Gochujang. Thank you Korea!
Vietnamese Inspired Beef Stew is one of my favorite stews. It combines fragrant spices such as ginger, lemon grass, star anise, cinnamon with a hearty beef stew. Its history is a difficult one to trace - it has French and Chinese as well as Vietnamese influences. In Vietnam, it is enjoyed all day long, for breakfast, lunch or dinner. It can be enjoyed by itself, with bread, noodles or rice. To add heat, I add Sichuan Hot Chili Oil to it as a condiment- I find the Sichuan peppercorns accentuate the flavors of this stew. This soup goes well with basil on top. It is quickly becoming a pressure cooker favorite dinner in my house after a day of hiking.
I love the lightness of Thai lettuce wraps. I also love the richness of Korean Gochujang paste - so I thought why not combine them? My first attempt at lettuce wraps, I used some leftover stir fried ground pork, fried up some rice with Gochujang, sliced some boiled egg, pan-fried some shrimp, ground some peanuts and cut up some green onions and cilantro. That version worked well. (This meal works best when you have small amounts of leftovers of different dishes - perhaps on leftover day to finish off all the leftovers.) In my second go-around with lettuce wraps, I stir fried some thinly cut jicama (known as bang kwang in Malaysia) in Gochujang paste as a substitute for the rice I had in my previous version - Malaysian Popiah Inspired. I kept the rest of the recipe pretty much the same. Feel free to use leftover curries or grilled/baked meat with the lettuce wraps. I can visualize a Caribbean version of this recipe working using Jerk meats, potatoes, and oven baked sweet red peppers. Or a curried version, with Tikka Masala Chicken or any curried meat and potatoes, and cilantro. Go ahead, be creative! That's what fusion cooking is all about... Perhaps surprise your party guests with something they can put together themselves.
After making Spicy Curry Hummus, I thought that it would make a good filing for a bread - a Quesadilla or Roti. Here is a lunch item we do often at my house - Spicy Hummus Roti or Quesadilla. Simple, if you have leftover Spicy Curry Hummus available - Pan fry the Roti or Tortilla, Spread some Spicy Hummus in the middle, and Voila! A quick, hearty and delicious lunch! (FYI, Indian Curry Eggplant works very well for a filling too. )
I have a few chocolate lovers in my life. I have tried countless chocolate cake recipes, but have found most of them to be lacking the richness that I look for in a chocolate cake, especially when the cake is warm (my favorite way to eat Chocolate Cake). So I decided to give chocolate cake a try from a brownie perspective. This is what I came up with, and what we will be celebrating Valentine's Day with. Rich, moist and chocolatey, everything I look for in a Chocolate Cake. Happy Valentine's Day!
Sometimes in the middle of winter, I like to make something that reminds me of the summer. Warm sandwiches are my favorite go-to recipes. My kids love BBQ pulled pork sandwiches, so I decided to experiment to come up with an Asian version. I use homemade pickled vegetables and Sriracha Mayo. I love that I can use the pressure cooker (or crockpot - with a little planning) so that I can attend to the kids while dinner is being made.
Every so often, we get a day off from activities and appointments that seem to rule all our free time. Here's a dinner at our house on one such day… Homemade Tomato Sauce over spaghetti with a side of Paprika Lime Pork and Kale and Leek Stirfry. A fusion of a few cultures in one plate… my favorite kind of meal.. A toast to sit-down family dinners!
On cold winter nights, all I want is a soup that warms me up. Of course, having been born in Asia and spending most of my childhood there, my idea of a comfort soup is very much Asian influenced. Being an enthusiast of noodles and strong flavors, I embarked to make a spicy braised pork noodle soup. Here is my version of Taiwanese Braised Pork Noodle Soup. My second-born, my compadre in the world of spicy noodle soups, was right there cheering me on with approving smiles shot my way between slurps. I hope this will satisfy the noodle lover in your family!
One of our family's favorite fusion Indian dishes is Tikka Masala. We love how rich, sweet and spicy Tikka Masala is, all in the same bite. Tikka Masala was born as a fusion dish, to accustom the British to Indian curries. Fifty years later, it is still alive and kicking, at least in restaurants in United States. Making it at home has enabled me to adjust to the different spice needs of our different family members. I add a little more chili powder to the curry after I remove the kids' portion. To simplify the curry, I use Garam Masala (easily available at Indian stores or can be home made using different spice powders) as a base spice powder. Unwilling to discard the flavorful chicken marinade, I add the cooked marinade to rice to make Yogurt Lime Rice. Tikka Masala Chicken works well as a wrap, as a filling in quesadilla and empanadas, as a dipping sauce for various flatbreads or just as a side to rice. I hope to try Tikka Masala with lamb in the near future. Stay tuned!
Spicy Sriracha Pasta Sausage Stirfry is a quick pull-together of any meat and vegetables that you might have on hand. It is somewhat of a one-pot meal that works well with Ham, Vietnamese ham, fish paste or any pre-cooked meat that you may have on hand. This recipe is a variation of Pasta and Ground Beef Stirfry, a recipe my dad used to make while I was growing up.
Growing up in Malaysia, pineapple tarts are a treat that I looked forward to around the holidays. I love the crispy, yet chewy pastry, topped by a sweet, yet tart pineapple jam filling. Nowadays, I make these for my kids to enjoy. One batch is usually gone within the day. They do take a little longer to make, but I have found that segmenting the preparation helps a lot. I make the pineapple jam ahead of time, so whenever I have a moment, I can make the pastry and assemble the tarts. I use 1 inch Pineapple Tart Molds to make the job easier. Pineapple tarts can take on many different forms. Some come in a roll with jam inside the roll, others, like the one I grew up on, is a bite sized pastry shell with pineapple jam on top. The prettier ones have a lattice on top. I did away with the lattice, using any extra pastry I have to make more tarts...
My dearest husband got me an early Christmas present. A Pressure Cooker. A 7 in 1 Stainless Steel Instant Pot. It Sautees, Steams, Rice Cooks, Slow Cooks, Makes Yogurt, Makes Glutinous Rice and of course Pressure Cooks. I had heard so much about pressure cookers, but hadn't had the pleasure of using one.... until now. So far I have tried making Taiwanese Inspired Three Cup Chicken, Crockpot Italian Creamy Sausage Soup, Burmese Inspired Pork Curry and am in the process of testing out a Beef Stew Noodle Soup recipe. The Beef Stew Soup took about an hour and the the others took about 15 to 30 minutes. It's amazing how much this little machine of a cooker can cut cooking times to just a fraction of what it normally takes. Gone are the days of babysitting a pot of chicken soup on the stove for 3 to 4 hours waiting for all the meat to fall off the bones, having to come back the entire time to stir to prevent burning or boiling over. I have also used the Sautee function several times. I have always wanted to brown onions and meats before placing in the slow cooker .... without dirtying another pot. Now I can, all in ONE pot. Exciting news for a busy mom! I hope to try making more curries in it too. I will keep you posted!
On a cold winter's day, I have always enjoyed a good Korean Tofu Soon Soup. Being without anchovies and kelp to make an authentic broth however, I improvised, using Gochujang to provide the layers of flavor that come with a good Tofu Soon Soup. I have also added ingredients not typically Korean, such as fish balls and boiled eggs to accommodate to the tastes and needs of my family. Noodles I added, just because I am a noodle lover and I think noodles make a great partner for this sophisticated soup. I hope it warms you up deliciously on your cold nights as it did my family!
With the cold weather upon us, nothing warms the soul like a warm bowl of chili to heat from the inside out. I had always thought that chili was somehow Mexican in origin, hence the previous name of this recipe, but research tells me that it is not terribly clear where it had its beginnings. From what I can tell, a Spanish nun came up with the recipe. She states that she got it from the Native Americans that she had been teaching through an out-of-body experience. Whatever its origins, chili is a delicious way to warm up on a cold winter's day. Works well in a crockpot too, a ready meal when you arrive home.
My husband is a big fan of hummus. I like Indian chickpea curry. One day, I thought, while having chickpea curry, I bet this chickpea curry would taste awesome as a hummus. So, I went ahead and made Spicy Curry Hummus, the hummus for those of us who like everything with a kick of spice. I actually liked it better than the chickpeas whole; mashing the chickpeas somehow allowed the delicious flavors of the chickpeas to be released. Served with a side of warmed pita, it's a nice twist to the traditional hummus. It's a great addition to your Thanksgiving appetizer menu! Leftovers work well in a quesadilla or stuffed in a roti. It makes a hearty and nutritious lunch or snack.
I fell in love with Arrabbiata Sauce while vacationing in Italy. "Arrabbiata" means angry in Italian, possibly indicating one's reactiion to the spicy pasta sauce. In this recipe, I use fresh tomatoes as my only source of tomatoes. I have always found that fresh tomatoes has just the right amount of tang to deliciously flavor any meal. Canned tomatoes, though may be convenient, just doesn't have that fresh flavor. You may use frozen tomatoes to substitute, without detracting too much from the natural tomato flavor. Here, with calamari and fresh basil, a very light tasting meal is born. My family enjoyed it! Hope yours does too.
My kids have always been huge fans of curried potatoes in a curried meat dish. So I thought, why not let it have a unique identity? So here it is. Curried Mash Potatoes. I served it alongside Paprika Lime Pork Chops, but it could be served alongside any dish, whether spicy or not. I think it would go well with Thanksgiving turkey too!
While in Germany last summer, my family got a taste of Germany's popular street food, currywurst. Currywurst is usually eaten with a side of fries. My kids were huge fans of it. So, for a taste of our vacation at home, I added a few ingredients to make currywurst part of a sandwich. The kids still love it!
For those of you who have not tried Roti Canai, as it is called in Malaysia, it is a flatbread with many puffy layers and a subtle sweetness. In Malaysia, it is dipped into a side of curry, as part of breakfast. In North America, you can find it in the frozen food section of many Asian grocery stores. Roti Canai has always been my favorite flat bread, but add a thin layer of cheese and chili peppers, it makes a hearty afternoon snack or a quick lunch. I hope you enjoy it, as I did, when my Mom introduced it to me. Thanks Mom!
You can find the recipe for Korean Inspired Spicy Pork and other delicious recipes on yummly.com . Yummly is a search engine for recipes. Many of our recipes are found on yummly. Please feel free to use the yum button near the top of the recipe to save the recipe to your box in yummly for later review and use. Happy cooking!
Sichuan Dan Dan noodles is one of our favorite noodle dishes on a hot summer day. Tangy from the black vinegar, and rich from the sesame seed and soybean pastes. We have the noodles luke warm, topped with cool cucumbers and cilantro,and of course more hot chili oil on top. My version omits the hot stock sometimes added at the end, so that it is a drier version. It also omits the preserved vegetables sometimes added in more traditional versions, to accommodate the more picky members of my family.
As a curry lover, I enjoy trying all the different curries the world has to offer. This recipe caught my eye the second I came across it. As a mom trying to bridge the hot spicy flavors that the adults in my family crave, and the milder flavors that my kids desire, I have tweaked the recipe slightly to fit with my cooking style and tastes. I have added some potatoes to help thicken the curry, soak up all the good flavors that the gravy has to offer and to satisfy the kids' love for potatoes. I have also added whole chilies to the curry just as I remove it from heat, for my husband and I, to increase the spice level of the curry as a whole, without spicing up the curry too much. It's one of our favorite meat and potato dishes in our house, served over steamed rice of course!
Jamaican Jerk is one of my favorite seasonings. It is strong, sweet and spicy all at the same time. Feel free to use a less spicy chilli if you'd like; though for me, habanero and scotch bonnet peppers make this dish unique and gives it its characteristic flavors. This marinade balances out the strong flavors of lamb perfectly, in my opinion. In this recipe, I have added potatoes to make a hearty meal. Serve it with steamed rice or as part of a sandwich. Enjoy!
This is one my favorite banchans in a Korean restaurant. Cooling and fiery, with a bit of sweet to the round out the flavors. The Gochujang grounds the flavors with its fermented chilli and bean flavors. This side dish works very well as part of a Korean meal, as part of a VIetnamese Style Fresh Roll Wrap (see recipe) or as part of a summer barbecue or picnic. My family enjoys this dish, and I hope yours will too!
With the warm weather upon us, these come in handy to keep cool. I use it as an after-school snack, but could also be used as a dessert or as a heavy drink during dinner. I omitted the ginger usually used in a pineapple lassi, since that is my family's preference. I also use frozen pineapple chunks, so I can omit the ice, which helps concentrate the flavor. Enjoy!
I love shrimps and hot peppers! I also love Jamaican food. This recipe is a combination of all of the things I love. Shrimps, Scotch bonnets and Jamaican style cooking. Here I use the dish Jamaican Pepper Shrimp, which is usually enjoyed as an appetizer, and add a few vegetables to make it part of a meal. A little sweet, a little spicy and a little tangy, this dish is a nice light pairing with steamed rice as part of a lunch or dinner. Enjoy!
Gochujang is one of my favorite sauces. Traditionally Korean, it is made of fermented soybean, red chilli and glutinous rice powders. It has so many layers of flavors, from sweet to spicy to salty. It imparts these exact flavors in pasta salad as well. Served warm or cold, this pasta salad can work great as a quick snack, a potluck dish or a part of a picnic. It is also a quick meal idea, using ingredients that are readlily available in stores. Give this fusion recipe idea a try!
In Malaysia around Chinese New Year, peanut puffs are a treat that I have always looked forward to. Traditionally, it was deep fried, but I've changed it so that it can be baked, to reduce preparation time. Filled with sweet ground peanuts inside and crispy on the outside, it is one of my family's favorite treats. In Malaysia, there are mini peanut puff molds that you can purchase to cut down on the preparation time. I have obtained one myself, and it has really made it easier to make (though the picture is of the ones I made without a mold). Give it a try this Chinese New Year!
I love shrimps! I also love Habanero peppers. Now I get to combine the flavors. The sweetness of the shrimp and the heat of the Habaneros make this dish irresistible. The thyme, grounds the flavors ever so slightly, and also makes it uniquely Caribbean. Traditionally this dish uses Scotch Bonnet peppers, but I haven't had any luck finding them where I am. Both Scotch Bonnets and Habaneros are very hot, so feel free to de-seed them (use extreme caution when handling them) or use a milder pepper such as Jalapeno or Thai chillies. Enjoy!
I first got the idea to make Jamaican Jerk Pork Sandwiches when I had leftovers of Jerk Pork from dinner. This dish is so strong in flavor, both in spice and heat, that it brings plain bread to life when it is used as the meat of the sandwich. Sweet red peppers and onions add some sweetness to even out the hot flavors coming from the very hot habanero or scotch bonnet peppers. Enjoy with a cold glass of milk close by....
With the cooler weather upon us, I’ve been craving something warm and cozy for dinner. Looking around to my distant Portuguese roots, I found this dish to fit the bill - Braised Peas and Eggs – Portuguese Style. I like it saucy so I used more tomatoes than usually called for. I also omitted the smoky sausage, since I did not have any on hand. It tasted great vegetarian style! We had ours with garlic bread but you could use any crusty bread to go with it. Braised Peas and Eggs – Portuguese Style –wholesome and delicious - was such wonderful comfort food for a cool winter’s dinner.
I had been craving for some eggplant, tender and saucy, the kind you get at a Chinese restaurant. My friend Nancy whose family is from Cambodia gave me some tips years ago, on how to make tender eggplant withOUT having to fry it first. Spray the intact eggplant (skin on) with cooking oil, and cook in the oven until it is tender. Then remove from oven, remove skin, cut into bite sized pieces, and mix it into a stir fry. What a wonderful idea, thanks Nance! Years later it’s still a hit at my house. Cambodian Inspired Spicy Shrimp and Eggplant. Cambodian Inspired Spicy Shrimp and Eggplant – what makes this dish different from the traditional dish is that I do not use ground pork. I really like the lightness of the shrimps and didn’t want to weigh it down with pork. I also used hot chilli oil and chilli paste in order to add color to the sauce. I added some basil on top as a garnish, which really imparted a lot of flavor to the meal as a whole, in my opinion. I hope you will like it. It is my favorite eggplant dish!