Category Archives: asian

korean chicken wings


chicken wingsNov. 25 , 2013

I have not blogged for a long time, as you can guess I have not been trying out new dishes.  Not only that but I have been busy with my knitting  for the November craft fair.   The ladies in my club did extremely well, and this year we managed to raise $1400 for the homeless community in our area !!

Dinner for a while has become a chore, and now that knitting frenzy is over I really want to put some excitement back to it.  I have started to love Korean food, and my favorite is the short rib ! I can eat them all the time and  have coined it my “happy ribs”, any time I feel a little down the ribs will manage to pick me up.  I have also learned to appreciate the spiciness of Korean cooking, and it has taken me a while to train my taste buds.   I am fortunate to live in an area with a well stocked Korean supermarket, I found the ingredients with ease, and the best thing about the Korean chili paste is its mildness and tangyness.  I added a tsp of  brown sugar in the simmering  to bring the favor out a bit.  It is such an awesome dish to have on a cold rainy night.  Just love the taste and the color of it !!

So here is the recipe from Rasa Malaysia

Korean Spicy Chicken Stew
Adapted from the Kimchi Chronicles Cookbook


2 tablespoons oil
1 1/4 lbs chicken, cut into pieces and seasoned with some salt and pepper
1 onion, sliced
10 oz potatoes, cut into pieces
5 baby carrots
2 stalks scallions, cut into 2-in lengths


3 tablespoons Korean chili paste
1/2 cup water
1 teaspoon Korean chili powder
1 tablespoon rice wine (or sake)
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1 teaspoon anchovy sauce (or fish sauce) or to taste


Heat the oil in a large pot over high heat. Working in batches if necessary, add the chicken, skin-side down, and brown on both sides, about 6-7 minutes per side.

In a small bowl, combine all the Seasoning ingredients and mix well. Set aside.

When all the chicken is browned, add the onion, potatoes, baby carrots, and scallions. Stir a few times to combine well. Add the Seasoning into the pot, stir to blend well with all the ingredients. Cover the pot reduce the heat to medium-low, stirring now and then. Cook for about 45-60 minutes or until the chicken is cooked through and the potatoes are tender. Add some water if the stew is too dry.


pumpkin noodles


Nov 14, 2012

Tonight is one of those days I need my comfort food.  I have been craving rice vermicelli all day long and it is exactly what I would prescribe to chase those awful blues away.  This evening I need my comfort food to bring me back to my pampered childhood years. 

As I was making the pork, I got a little concerned because besides the soy sauce there is not much seasonings.  But I am totally surprised after I added the kabocha, the tangyness of the pumpkin add another layer of flavoring to this other wise bland dish.

As I expected, rice vermicelli and Survivor did the trick!

Pumpkin Rice Noodles
Serves 1 | Prep Time: 15 minutes | Cook Time: 5 minutes


100g dried rice vermicelli
2 tablespoons oil
2 cloves garlic, minced
100g pork, minced
100g pumpkin (or kabocha), diced
½ cup water
2 tablespoons soy sauce
1 tablespoon sweet soy sauce
3 dashes white pepper
100g bean sprouts, rinsed


1. Soak the dried rice vermicelli in warm water for about 20 minutes. Drain the water and set aside.
2. Heat up the oil in a wok and add the garlic. Stir-fry the garlic until aromatic before adding the pork and pumpkin.
3. Add the water, soy sauce, sweet soy sauce, white pepper and bring to boil.
4. Add the rice vermicelli into the wok, stir to combine well with the ingredients in the wok.
5. Add the bean sprouts and continue to stir fry the rice vermicelli until the sauce is dry and the vermicelli is cooked through. Dish out and serve immediately.


Saute Pork with tomatoes


I have been trying to get my middle-aged mind to look at the world with a different set of eyes these days.   I’ve got to admit that things are definitely moving in a different pace these days….who would have thought back in my youth that one day we  actually talk to people with two thumbs.  Just the mere thought of it then will get some strange looks from people! But now even this old bird is getting the hang of texting to people and engaging in long and sometimes meaningful conversations.

Here is one good example of doing things differently these days as in my old favorite”Pork chops with sautéed tomato”.  This is one of the dishes I am well acquainted with, and for years have been cooking the way I was taught by mom.   So when I came across this recipe from this website I was pretty “psyched” about how she made it.   So on to the freezer I dug and  found this pack of pork chops sitting there waiting to be experimented in a new way.  ahh yes, old wine in a new skin !

As usual, I over cooked the chops.  For some reason I never quite fully accept the idea that it is okay to have a little bit of pink in your pork ( as my foodie keeps reminding me).  But what I did to kill the chops, I made it up with the sauce. I am totally crazy about the sauce ( so different from mom’s) but who would have thought that a couple of spoon of black vinegar can bring out a different flavor in an old and familiar dish !

Here is the recipe:

Sauté Pork with Tomatoes Recipe
Adapted from Cooking Light
Serves 4 | Prep Time: 5 minutes | Cook Time: 10 minutes


4 teaspoons cooking oil
4 boneless center-cut pork loin about 1/2 inch thick
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/2 cup thinly sliced shallots
1 tablespoon minced garlic
2 tablespoons Chinkiang vinegar (black vinegar)
2 cups red and yellow grape tomatoes, halved
1/8 teaspoon sugar
3 tablespoons chopped basil


Sprinkle the pork chops evenly with 1/4 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper.

Heat up a large non-stick wok or skillet. Add in 1 teaspoon oil, coat well. Cook the pork chops until desired tenderness.

Transfer the pork chops to serving plates. Add in the remaining oil. While the oil is heating, combine and toss the tomatoes with the remaining salt, ground pepper and sugar in a bowl. Set aside.

When oil is ready, add the sliced shallots and minced garlic and cook until aromatic. Next, add in vinegar and stir well. Gently add the tomatoes into the wok and stir to combine. Cook until the tomatoes are soft, approximately 2-3 minutes.

Turn off the heat, add in 2 tablespoons chopped basil and stir well. Divide the tomato mixture equally among the pork chops and garnish with the remaining basil. Serve with warm steamed rice.

Cook’s Note:

Chinkiang vinegar can be substituted with Chinese rice vinegar but the taste may be slightly different.


Thai Shrimp Cakes


I am on a mission to boost up my tolerance for hot spicy food as I will be going to a place which is known for heat, not only in weather but also for their food. 

I love hot spicy food and in my younger days I could down a big bowl of hot sour noodles without batting my eyes.  I am talking about the ” real” hot and sour noodles with a layer of chili oil floating on the broth and nothing else.  Not the kind with the chopped up and sliced up meat and vegetables.   Some how over the years I have lost my ability to handle hot spicy food, and it is an embarrassment for me to sweat profusely while I am eating it in a restaurant.    My first step is to spice up my cooking, and as soon as I found this recipe for shrimp cakes on Rasa Malaysia website, I was inspired to make it.  To stick to my mission, I even added an extra heaping table-spoon of red curry paste, and you will be pleased to know I survived the self-imposed test. 

To accompany this dish Ariella made Poutine.  It was really sort of ” East meets West” dinner.  We were able to find some cheese curds in our local supermarket and could not wait to try it at home.  Yes, Poutine is indeed a wonderful Canadian invention ! ( I never tried it with cheese curds until last night)

My review of the supper: The shrimp cakes were superb, I strongly recommend you do  not substitute the long green beans, or even leave it out.  The chopped up long green beans make the texture of the cakes very interesting as it adds an extra crunch to the springiness.  Make sure you don’t get the long “fat” green beans and these skinny guys are not always available.

So here is the recipe from Rasa Malaysia, a food blog I discovered recently and it has a lot of delicious looking Asian recipes. 

Thai Shrimp Cake Recipe
Source: Easy Thai Cooking, Robert Danhi
Makes: 20 pieces | Preparation: 7 minutes + chilling time | Cooking: 10 minutes


8 oz (250g) peeled and deveined raw shrimp, roughly chopped
2 tablespoons red curry paste
1 large egg
2 teaspoon fish sauce
1 tablespoon sugar
2 tablespoons coconut milk
1/4 cup (25g) chopped long bean/green beans
2 tablespoons roughly chopped Thai basil leaves
2 tablespoons oil

Sweet Cilantro Sauce:

1/4 cup (65ml) Thai sweet chili sauce
1 tablespoon fresh lime juice
2 teaspoon chopped coriander leaves (cilantro)
1 teaspoon minced ginger


1. Prepare the Sweet Cilantro Sauce by whisking all the ingredients together in a small bowl and then set aside.
2. Spread the shrimp on a plate and chill the shrimp in the freezer for 15 minutes(this can ensures the springy texture of the shrimp cakes). Meanwhile get all your other ingredients ready. Combine the chilled shrimp, red curry paste, egg, fish sauce, sugar and coconut milk in a food processor or blender. Process until smooth, about 30 seconds. Transfer the mixture to a mixing bowl. Mix in the green beans and basil.
3. Because different brands of curry pastes have differing amounts of salt you’ll want to make a sample shrimp cake first by saute 1 tablespoon of the mixture in a skillet(frying pan). Taste, and if necessary, adjust the seasoning with fish sauce and salt.
4. Heat a large skillet over medium heat. First use 1 tablespoon of the oil to coat the skillet, use a measuring spoon to drop 1 tablespoon of the paste into the skillet. With a damp finger, flatten the paste slightly to about 1/2″ thick. Make about 10 of these shrimp patties in the skillet.Cook the cakes until they are golden brown on each side and cooked through, about 2 minutes per side. Wipe out the skillet with a paper towel, make more patties from the remaining paste and cook the same way. Serve with a side bowl of the Sweet Cilantro Sauce.



I don’t know which is funnier, the dog sitting on the counter next to the cook, or the voice narrating at the background.  Either way I was laughing hilariously as I watched the video, but I don’t think it was meant to be funny??  I could not help but think of what will happen if I put Jaden or Winston next to the stove while I am cooking.  I don’t think either of them will sit there impressively.  Jaden for sure with try to gobble up whatever he can get hold of, and he will be shedding his fur all over the food. Winston will be running around the counter looking for food scraps and finding a nice warm spot to nap.   Talking about which….hmmm….is it hygienic to cook with a dog sitting next to you??

I was tempted to try this dish out a while ago after I saw someone posted a picture of this on his Facebook.   I finally had the energy to do so last night, and even though the finish product is not as attractive as the one in the video, nevertheless it was quite tasty.

I did some changes in the recipe, because my frying pan is about twice the size of the one used in the video.  Secondly I tend to cook in a big volume, I guess I still have not fine tune it to cooking for two.  The problem with a big pan like mine is it is too heavy for me to flip the eggs like the cute Japanese lady in the video. The egg ended up a tad too long on the pan and it was a little over cooked. 

I found a similar recipe on Christine’s recipes and I improvised a bit with what I had on hand, and instead of using chicken I used prawns instead.

So this is my recipe, as inspired by the video and Christine’s blog:

  • 1/2 pound peeled and deveined prawns
  • 1 scallion diced
  • 2 cloves of garlic, diced
  • 4 white mushrooms, sliced to a quarter inch
  • 1 Tbsp Japanese white rice wine
  • 1 can chopped tomato, 400 gm
  • 2 Tbsp tomato ketchup
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1/2 cup of frozen green peas
  • 2 1/2 rice bowls of rice, cooked with less water

Ingredients of fried eggs:

  • 6 eggs
  • 2 tsp of whipping cream
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  1. Put frozen green peas in boiling water and drain well. Season with salt. Set aside.
  2. Heat oil in frying pan over medium heat. Add scallots and garlic  and cook until translucent. Add sliced mushroom cook until soft. 
  3.  Add tomato, ketchup, bay leaf, and cook until sauce reduces and thickens, uncovered. Season with salt and pepper to taste.  Add green peas and prawns cook briefly. Discard the bay leaf. Add rice, separate them and mix well with sauce. Put aside for later use.
  4. Beat eggs with cream and salt. Heat oil in a non-stick frying pan (skillet). Pour the egg mixture in pan , quickly stir the egg with chopsticks. Immediately, spread the egg and make a round omelet by moving the pan around. When the egg is 90% cooked, remove from heat. Place rice mixture in the middle of the omelet. Fold top and bottom sides of omelet over the rice. Tilt the pan and let the omurice slide to the side of the pan. Hold a plate next to the side of pan. Quickly turn the omurice over to the plate. Drizzle some ketchup on top of omurice before serving.

Here is my finished product, not too appealing, but it tasted delish.  Next time I will have to use a smaller fan, and maybe do the eggs in batches. I rather have several smaller omeletes than one big one.  It will be easier to handle. 

Korean Beef Short Ribs Stew


I made this dish ( again) last night for all my chickadees.  I love it when I cook for them, at this point in our busy lives, to get to eat together is a real treat and it is a blessing that I am very thankful for.

I have been suffering from allergies  for a while and  have not been updating my food blog,  my taste buds at one time were gone, eating became more a necessity than enjoyment.  But fortunately the palette is coming back slowly and I actually can taste and adjust my cooking.

We were very quiet for most of our dinner, all I could hear is “mmmm… good…..mmm…” the memory of it brought a smile to my face.  ( Even though at this point I am feeling really annoyed and anxious about that stupid racoon which came back to the attic again early this morning)

Here is the recipe I found from Allrecipes, I downloaded the app on my iphone, and it became a source of entertainment for me while waiting around. ( And it is free!)


  • 2 pounds Korean-style short ribs (beef chuck flanken), cut into 3-inch segments
  • 4 cups water
  • 6 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 8 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 small onion, sliced
  • 1 tablespoon rice wine
  • 1 tablespoon brown sugar
  • 2 carrots, cut into chunks
  • 2 small potatoes, cut into chunks
  • 1/2 cup fresh shiitake mushrooms, sliced
  • 2 tablespoons light corn syrup
  • 1 tablespoon Asian (toasted) sesame oil
  • 6 chestnuts, peeled (optional)
  • 6 dates, pitted (optional)
  • sliced green onions
  1. Cover the ribs with cold water, refrigerate, and soak for 1 hour. Drain the ribs, place in a saucepan with 4 cups of water, and bring to a boil. Cook the ribs for 10 minutes, drain, and reserve 2 cups of liquid. Place the ribs and the reserved liquid in a large pot.
  2. Mix together the soy sauce, garlic, onion, rice wine, and brown sugar in a bowl until the sugar has dissolved. Pour the mixture over the ribs and broth. Stir to combine, bring to a boil, reduce the heat, and simmer for 1 1/2 hours.
  3. Mix in the carrots, potatoes, shiitake mushrooms, corn syrup, sesame oil, chestnuts, and dates, and simmer until the meat and vegetables are very tender, about 1 more hour.
  4. Remove the beef and vegetables to a serving dish, and reduce the liquid in the pot to make a thickened gravy. Pour the sauce over the ribs and vegetables, sprinkle with sliced green onion, and serve.

My notes:

I did not use chestnuts as I do not like the taste of the canned ones.  But the red dates are a must, I have tasted a lot of Korean stew and the red dates do make a very lovely addition.  You can get them at the dried food section in most Asian food stores.

Lion’s Head


I guess this dish is named so because of its size. It is a common dish in Northern cuisine.  Basically it is one ginormous meatball on a bed of vegetables.   I had made another version of this while the girls were younger, instead of one big meat ball, I would make individual  smaller ones. I think the only reason was I could not get the meat balls to hold its shape unless I made them smaller.

I have not made this for a long time, I think the last time I cooked it was almost 7-8 years ago.  I got really nostalgic and on my way home from work the other day and I  decided to make it for old-time sake.   So many things have changed in my life and so have my cooking.  That thing about live and let learn? I guess it is only from trial and errors that one learns how to improve and make progress.

Well,  change I did, in my mind as I took the 30 minutes drive back, I was already formulating how to make one giant meatball and without it turning into a pancake on me.  I know the proper way of making it is to deep fry the meatball in seemingly ten inches of oil.  This will make the meatball stay  “round”.  I do not like to  deep fry foods, not only I find it troublesome  to handle the left over oil,  the deep-frying will really smoke up my house.  In my moment of brilliance I thought of another way, which is steaming it.  I thought in order to retain its shape I could put the meat ball in a small rice bowl and steam it until it is almost done. Of course, lots of cornstarch to hold it together as well.

My version of the lion’s head did work out. ( I have to stress on it is my version, I know for those experts, they will frown on it)  However, instead of getting a rounded meatball, mine looked more like a giant muffin.  I am not picky about it so long it tastes good.   Now, to make the texture more like the meatballs I taste in restaurant, I kneaded the meat for a long time.  You can do it in a food processor, but my concern is that the meat might be overmixed. 

The second thing that make this dish is the sauce.  Some places serve it in a thickened sauce, and other places serve it in a broth.  I did not realize I used to do the later one, until Ariella pointed it out to me. 

So here is my new and improved version of the Lion’s head:


11/2 pounds of lean ground pork

1 1/2 tsp finely chopped ginger

1 1/2 tsp finely chopped scallions ( white part)

a dash of white pepper

1 tbsp of soya sauce

1/4 tsp of five spice powder

1 tsp of sesame oil

1/2 tsp of salt

4 tbsp of cornstarch

1 head of chinese cabbage


2 cloves of crushed garlic

dark soya sauce and oyster sauce to taste

1 tbsp of cornstarch

dash of sesame oil


Mix ground pork with all the seasonings and cornstarch.  Mix well with wooden spoon.  Afterwards, use cleaned hands and start kneading the meat mixture for about 15 minutes ( like kneading dough), turn meat over in bowl  at least 3 times.   Fill a steamer with hot water and boil.  Fill a small rice bowl with the meat mixture so it resembles a giant meatball.

Steam meatball over boiling water for 20-30 minutes, until it is no longer pink when you poke it.  Take meatball out and cool.

Cut and trim chinese cabbage to about 1/2 inch long.  Blanch it in hot boiling water until they turn soft.  With a strainer, drain all water from vegetables, and put it on a plate to use  later.  Chinese cabbage do tend to sweat a lot, so make sure you get rid of all the liquid before serving.

Heat a tbsp of oil, add in garlic until it is fragrant, put in giant meat ball and gently fry on all sides until it is lightly browned.   You might want to cut a tiny piece of meatball to taste.  You can adjust the taste in the sauce.  Soya sauce will add saltness, whereas oyster sauce will be a little sweet, so adjust to your taste accordingly. 

As you add all the sauces in a boil, add about 1/4 cup of water to the liquid.  Then in a small bowl add cornstarch and mix it with a tablespoon of water, making sure that the flour is all dissolved and you end up with a smooth paste. 

Once it is a paste like, then pour the cornstarch in the boiled liquid and stir gently until the sauce is thickened.  You might end up with a very thick sauce, but remember the cabbage will continue to sweat, so by the time you serve it the sauce will not be as thick.

In a serving bowl, arrange the cooked cabbage on the bottom, then put meatball in the middle.  Finally pour the sauce over it.  Enjoy.

Quick Gado Gado


I love this dish.  Thanks Jean H. for sending this.

Quick Gado-Gado (Mixed Vegetable Salad)
Use those bits and pieces leftover in the fridge. Quick-blench the vegetables (except lettuce and cucmber) if you prefer.
French bean
Optional: (additinal for a hearty meal)
Prefried Tofu (blenched)
Hard boiled egg
Cooked potato
Dressing: (amount should be increased depnding on quantity of vegetable)
4 tablespoon of crunchy peanut butter
1 cup of hot water
1 tablespoon of chilli sauce or dash of Tabasco to taste
pinch of salt
pinch of suger
Blend well together.
Pour over prepared vegetable. Toss and serve.

Steamed Pork Ribs in Plum Bean Sauce


Ariella loves taro dishes, and I still have to learn to master the fine art of cooking taro without turning it into mush.  My mom is really good at it ( unfortunately she does not cook anymore), she always managed to cook them to the right consistency and they still hold their shape. 

I usually make taro in a stew, and thats when it usually turn too mushy for my taste.  So I tried something different, I steamed them instead and sure enough it worked better for me.  Taro goes well with pork ribs, and instead of using the black bean sauce, I decided to try something I don’t normally use, and that is the plum bean sauce.  You can get it in any Chinese groceries, just make sure you don’t get the plum sauce which is more tart, but this plum bean sauce has a totally different taste, it is saltier.

Here is my recipe, and once again I do not have the exact measurement, everything is sort of an estimation. 


1 lb of pork ribs, chopped into bite sizes

1/4 tsp of salt

dash of pepper

1 tbsp of low sodium soya sauce

1/2 tbsp of Chinese cooking wine

1 tbsp of plum bean sauce

1/2 of a taro root, sliced and cut 

2 tsp of chopped garlic

3 small red chili peppers ( sliced, and if you do not like the heat remove the seeds)

chopped green onions for garnish


  1. wash ribs and pat dry, marinade in salt and pepper, soya sauce, wine and plum bean sauce.  Let stand for about 30 minutes
  2. Get a steamer ready.
  3. Line a deep dish with taro in single layer
  4. put marinated pork ribs on top
  5. spoon chopped garlic on top of ribs, make sure it is spread evenly on the ribs
  6. add the sliced red peppers
  7. steam for about 30 minutes
  8. garnish with green onions and serve

Hot and Sour Prawn Noodle


I love Thai, and I love Vietnamese, so I combined these two tonight.  I was able to find some live spot prawns  and they made a perfectly yummy addition to my concoction. Actually I had something similar couple months ago, Jeremy  made this wonderful meal with different shell fish cooked in tom yum soup.  I sort of improvised and came up with my version.


Tom Yum soup base

1 pound of live spot prawns

2 cobs of fresh corn

2 Roma tomato

1 green lime

1 bunch of bean sprouts

2 swigs of fresh basil

a handful of cilantro

1 pkg of  fresh udon


  • make tom yum soup ( Click here)
  • while soup is boiling, put in cobs of corn ( chopped in half) and boil for 10 minutes
  • add in the quartered tomatoes
  • add udon noddles, cook until they are separated
  • and put in prawns, cook until they changed color, do not overcook
  • while soup is boiling, blanch bean sprout quickly and drain, wash and chop cilantro, basil leaves, put them on a plate to be served with noodles.
  • Serve immediately.