Thursday, March 19, 2009

Fish Tacos

From the NYTIMES

2 medium tomatoes, seeded and finely chopped

1 small red onion, peeled and finely chopped

1 clove garlic, minced

1/2 cup roughly chopped cilantro

1 jalapeño, halved lengthwise, seeded and cut crosswise into half moons (optional)

1/4 cup mayonnaise

1/2 cup sour cream

2 limes, 1 halved and 1 cut into wedges

Kosher salt

Freshly ground black pepper

1 tablespoon canned chipotle pepper, finely chopped (optional)

1/2 cup flour, preferably Wondra or other fine-milled flour

1 1/2 teaspoons chili powder

1/2 cup milk

1/4 cup peanut oil, plus a splash more for greasing pan

Pat of butter

1 pound flounder or any firm white-fleshed fish, cut across the grain of the flesh into strips about 1/2 inch wide by 3 inches long

12 6-inch fresh corn tortillas

2 cups shredded green cabbage

A saucy hot sauce, like Tapatio or Frank’s.

1. In a medium bowl, combine the tomatoes, onion, garlic, cilantro and jalapeño (if using).

2. In a small bowl, whisk the mayonnaise and sour cream until combined. Season to taste with the halved lime, salt, pepper and chipotle (if using).

3. In a medium bowl, mix together the flour, chili powder and 1 1/2 teaspoons each of kosher salt and black pepper. Pour the milk into another medium bowl, and place the fish into it.

4. Pour 1/4 cup of the peanut oil into a 12-inch frying pan and place over medium-high heat until it shimmers and is about to smoke. Remove the fish pieces from the milk bath and dredge them lightly through the flour mixture, shaking to remove excess. Add the butter to the pan. Place some fish pieces in the oil, without crowding them, and cook until deep golden brown on one side, 3 to 4 minutes. Turn carefully and cook for 1 minute more. Remove to a warmed, paper-towel-lined plate and sprinkle with salt. Repeat with the remaining fish.

5. Meanwhile, lightly grease a skillet with a drizzle of oil and set over medium heat. Heat the tortillas, one or two at a time, until they are soft and hot. Keep them warm, wrapped in a dish towel.

6. Fill each tortilla with 3 pieces of fish, browned side up, followed by tomato salsa and a pinch of cabbage. Drizzle with the cream sauce. Serve 2 to 3 tacos per person, with lime wedges and hot sauce on the side. Serves 4 to 6.

Saturday, March 7, 2009

Gai Pad Krapow

- serves 2 -
Ideally, this dish should be made with holy basil, which is not to be confused with sweet basil or even the purple-stemmed Thai basil. You'll know it by its scalloped edges and clove-like aroma, but you may have a hard time tracking it down. Regular sweet basil tastes just as good in this dish, if not quite so "authentic."
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
Chilis, finely chopped (use 2-3 serrano peppers for a very mild heat; 2-3 bird's eye chilis for a medium heat)
1 large shallot, finely sliced
3 cloves garlic, minced
1/3 pound green beans, trimmed, chopped in 1¼-inch lengths
1/2 pound ground chicken
2 tablespoons fish sauce
2 teaspoons sugar
1 bunch basil, leaves only
To serve:
Boiled rice
Fried eggs, 1 per person (optional)
Nam pla prik (recipe follows) or fresh lime wedges
1. Heat the oil over high heat in a wok or large frying pan. When you can see waves forming in the hot oil, add the chilis, shallots, and garlic and stir-fry until golden, about 30 seconds.

2. Add the green beans and stir-fry until cooked but still crunchy, 3 to 4 minutes.
3. Add the ground chicken, using a wooden spoon or spatula to break up the meat into small pieces. Stir-fry until chicken is cooked through.

4. Add the fish sauce and sugar to the pan, and stir to distribute. Taste, and add more fish sauce or sugar if desired.

5. Reduce heat to medium-low. Add the basil leaves and stir-fry until completely wilted. Remove from heat.
6. Serve with boiled rice, fried egg (optional), and nam pla prik or lime wedges.

Nam Pla Prik (Chili Fish Sauce)

No Thai table is complete without this all-purpose condiment. Drizzle it over rice and noodles, pour it over grilled meats and seafood, or use it in place of plain fish sauce in recipes.
Fish sauce
Fresh lime juice
Chilis, finely chopped
Shallots, finely sliced
Mix fish sauce and lime juice to taste (a typical ratio is 3-4 parts fish sauce to 1 part lime juice) and pour over chilis and shallots. Consume immediately, or pour into a clean jar and store in refrigerator for up to two weeks.


serves 4

1 1/2 pounds of fish fillets. Good choices are halibut, cod, pollock or blue snapper
Old Bay seasoning
1/2 cup flour
1 egg, beaten
1 cup panko
olive oil

for special sauce -
1/2 cup mayonnaise
2 tablespoons sweet pickle relish
squeeze of lemon juice

4 sandwich buns, sliced
4 slices of American cheese

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Place a baking sheet in the oven to heat up.

Cut the fish into 4 pieces and generously sprinkle with Old Bay seasoning. Set aside. Place flour, egg , and panko in three separate shallow dishes. Dip each piece of fish first in the flour, then the egg, and lastly the panko. Place the coated fish on a tray to let the coating set for about 5 minutes.

Meanwhile, drizzle about 1 tablespoon of olive oil on the heated baking sheet. Place the panko-coated fish on the sheet and drizzle with a little olive oil. Bake for 16 - 20 minutes or until the fish is cooked through and are lightly browned. Place the bun halves on another baking sheet and put a slice of American cheese on each of the bottom bun halves. During the last minute or 2 of baking time, place the buns in the oven to warm and just melt the cheese. Remove fish and buns from oven.

To make special sauce, combine mayonnaise, pickle relish and lemon juice in a small bowl; set aside.

To assemble sandwiches, place a piece of the fish on top of the bottom bun with the melted cheese. Slather the top of each bun half with the special sauce and place on top of the fish. Enjoy!

Friday, February 27, 2009

Beets With Garlic-Walnut Sauce

Time: 1 hour 20 minutes

2 pounds red beets, about 4 large, trimmed of greens

1/4 cup olive oil

6 cloves garlic, peeled

1/2 cup walnuts

2 tablespoons to 1/4 cup freshly squeezed orange juice

Salt and black pepper to taste

1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley leaves, for garnish.

1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Wash beets well. While still wet, wrap them individually in foil and place on a cookie sheet or roasting pan. Bake beets, undisturbed, for 60 to 90 minutes, until a thin-bladed knife pierces each with little resistance. (They may cook at different rates; remove each one when it is done.)

2. Meanwhile, put oil in a skillet over medium-low heat. When it is warm, add garlic and cook until fragrant and beginning to soften, about 6 minutes. Add walnuts and continue to cook until they begin to color, about another 4 minutes. Let mixture cool slightly and then put it in a small food processor; process until you have a relatively smooth paste. Add orange juice to taste and sprinkle with salt and lots of pepper.

3. After beets have cooled, peel off skins. Slice beets into wedges or cubes and toss with dressing. Taste and adjust seasoning, garnish with parsley, and serve.

Yield: 4 servings.

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Kumi’s Gyoza

Makes 96 gyoza

300g round cabbage, finely chopped
1 teaspoon salt
500g minced pork
50g Chinese chives, finely chopped
50g spring onions/scallions, finely chopped
1 tablespoon minced young ginger
1 tablespoon minced garlic
2½ teaspoons light soy sauce
1 tablespoon cooking sake
2 tablespoons sesame oil
1 tablespoon chilli bean paste (dou ban jiang)
96 gyoza wrappers

Julienned young ginger
Rice vinegar
Light soy sauce
Chilli bean paste (optional)

The flavour of these dumplings highly depends upon the provenance of your ingredients. The cabbage we use is circular, but flat rather than dome-shaped. Whenever possible, we try to use Japanese cabbage as it tends to be sweeter. Alternatively, we tell the green grocer at our local wet market that we want the sweetest cabbage he can find—specifically the sort you would serve raw with certain Thai dishes. While you can use any sort of minced pork (or mix it with chicken if you like), we prefer a combination of pork shoulder and pork belly for flavour. Opt for whatever you prefer. If you can’t get Chinese chives, just substitute with more spring onions. Again, we try to use Japanese negi. We also prefer Japanese made soy sauce (shoyu) for this dish as it isn’t as straightforwardly salty. But it doesn’t make sense to buy a whole bottle of it just for this recipe. Use what you have handy. The flavour and quality of store-bought dou ban jiang varies. Pick one that appeals to you. One day soon, we hope to find the time to make wrappers from scratch. For the moment, we opt to purchase wrappers made in Japan as they seem to be a little more pliable than the ones made elsewhere.

Toss the chopped cabbage in a bowl with the salt. Set aside for 30 minutes then squeeze the cabbage to extract water. Discard the water.

Combine the cabbage, minced pork, chives (if using), spring onions, ginger, garlic, light soy sauce, sake, sesame oil and chilli bean paste in a large bowl. Mix well and refrigerate for 30 minutes.

To wrap the gyoza, have a small bowl of water handy. The frozen wrappers should be defrosted in the fridge and kept under a damp towel as you work. Place approximately 1 tablespoon of filling onto a gyoza wrapper (a No.100 ice cream scoop is useful for this). Place it slightly off-centre. Dip a clean finger into the bowl of water and use it to moisten the rim of the wrapper (see photograph). Fold it over so that you end up with a semicircle, crimping only the layer facing you as you press it down to seal. Six pleats are usually just about right. Place the completed dumplings on a tray dusted with flour. Repeat with remaining filling and wrappers.

At this point, the gyoza can be dusted with more flour and frozen. We don’t know how long they can be safely stored this way. We usually get though ours in a fortnight or so.

To cook the gyoza, preheat a shallow pan filled with just enough oil to thinly coat its base. Use a pan that has a lid. A non-stick surface also makes the whole process much easier. Place the gyoza in the pan (frozen ones go in frozen). Be careful not to overcrowd the pan or they will stick together. Fry them until they develop a crisp, golden brown base. Drizzle some water into the pan and cover it immediately. (Add just enough water to cover the base of the pan, and be sure to drizzle some onto the gyoza themselves so that the crimped edges don’t get crispy.) Let the dumplings steam until their skins become somewhat translucent. Uncover the pan and continue to cook until the water has evaporated.

Serve immediately with julienned ginger, rice vinegar, soy sauce and chilli bean paste (if using) combined to taste.

Japanese Hambaaga

Disgustingly Good Hambaaga
makes 8 patties

650g minced wagyu rump
350g minced pork belly, preferably Berkshire
1 small onion, finely chopped
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
3 teaspoons finely grated ginger and its juice
1 egg, beaten
60 ml Japanese soy sauce
40 ml mirin
30 ml Worchestire sauce
40g Panko (Japanese breadcrumbs)
salt and pepper

Combine all of the above ingredients (save the salt and pepper) in a bowl. Mix by hand until everything is mixed thoroughly. Taste and season with salt and pepper. You want the meat to have a nice savouriness.

Make eight oval patties from the mixture and set aside on a tray lined with baking paper. Cover with clingwrap and pop the tray into the fridge. You really shouldn’t keep these in the fridge for more than a day or so, so the best thing is to make them the day you want to serve them. That said, you will need to let the patties rest in the fridge for at least 2-3 hours so that the flavours in the meat mixture can develop.

To cook these, slide them into a hot pan in which you have heated both some vegetable oil and sesame oil. You want these burgers to cook completely through. If you’ve used wagyu and berkshire pork, the patties will release a lot of fat during the cooking process.

To serve, put some hot rice (preferably Japanese) on a plate, place the Hambaaga patty on top or next to it and sauce the patty with some Japanese Hambaaga sauce. This you can find at any Japanese supermarket. The sauce is usually a rich, very thick soy-vinegar-meat glace that is sweetened with tomatoes and fruits, sometimes peaches or pineapple.

Ropa Vieja

Many recipes call for flank steak or skirt steak, although I've happily used chuck roast when it was on sale, and just discard the fat after it's cooked.

This is adapted from the wonderful cookbook MMMiami, which I fear may be out of print.

1 1/2 lbs.skirt, flank or chuck
2 stalks celery, washed and cut in chunks
1 medium onion, peeled and quartered
1 bay leaf
1 Tbs. kosher salt.

Cut the meat in half is necessary, and place in large soup pot., Add about 2 quarts water and bring to a boil over high heat. Drop the heat to very low. Skim off the foam and add the onion, celery, bay leaf and carrot. Cover and simmer at barely a bubble for 1 1/2-2 hours until meat is beginning to shread.

Remove from heat and set aside to cool Keep 1 cup of the broth and use the rest for soup or whatever. (It freezes well.)

Shred the meat with your fingers, discarding fat and connective tissue. If it starts to look a little dry, dribble some of the broth over it.

Then prepare the vegetables:
1 Tbs. olive oil
1 medium onion, thinly sliced
1 green or red bell pepper, seeded, cored and thinly sliced
2 cloves garlic, minced
about 1 1/4 c. canned tomatoes with their juice or tomato puree.
1 trsp. dried oregano
1 tsp. ground cumin
1/4 tsp cinnamon
`/4 tsp. cloves
1/4 tsp cayenne
2 tsp lime juice (I've used wine vinegar when no limes were on hand.)

Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium heat and saute the onions, bell pepper and garlic until soft. Stir in the tomato, oregano, cumin, cinnamon, cloves and cayenne. Lower the heat and simmer, stirring occasionally, until slightly thickened, about 5 minutes. Stir in the lime juice, meat and the 1 cup of broth. Simmer for about 10- minutes, stirring occasionally, to blend flavors. Taste. Salt? Pepper? Add as needed.

Serves about 4, but of course you never know. Better made the day before, like so many things.

Saturday, February 21, 2009


Serves 4

Ingredients for the beef stock:

* 3 medium onion, keep as whole piece
* 2 shallots
* 2 small carrots, cut into halves
* 1 big white radish (daikon), peel & cut into big pieces
* 5 stalks of celery (discard the leaves), cut into big pieces
* 5 cloves of garlic, bashed
* big bulb of ginger, ~100g, peeled & bashed
* 1 kg oxtail pieces
* 500g beef bone marrow
* 1 piece of rock sugar

Spices to add to the beef stock:

* 2 cinnamon sticks
* 1 tsp whole cloves
* 1 tsp cardamom
* 1 1/2 tsp fennel seeds
* 5 star anise
* 2 tsp coriander seeds
* 1 tsp coriander powder
* 2 tsp black peppercorns
* 4 bay leaves

Final seasoning:

* 2 tbsp fish sauce,
* salt
* freshly ground black pepper
* sesame oil
* 1 - 16 oz. package of pho/phad thai rice noodles
* 300g of filet mignon, thinly sliced

Accompanies on side:

* 1 spring onion, cut into small piece
* 1/2 Onion, cut into thin strips
* sprigs of fresh cilantro/ coriander
* fresh basil leaves ( I skipped it this time)
* fresh mint leave
* bean sprouts, plug out the ends ( tedious work but make the noodle looks much neat and nicer)
* lime wedges
* 1 fresh red chili cut into thin slices
Dipping sauces (optional):

* hoisin sauce
* sriracha hot chili sauce
* fish sauce with red chili pieces


1. Using a a large soup pan, bring water to boil (about 3 litres).
2. Add oxtail & bone marrow into the pan, bring to boil, keep boiling for a few mins and then simmer at medium high heat for 10 mins or so.
3. Discard the liquid as you will see the scum floating on top, rinse the meat pieces in tap water.
4. Pour in new hot water (approx 4 litres) into the soup pan, bring to boil, and add in the celery, carrots, daikon, onions, garlic, ginger, cinnamon sticks, bay leaves and star anise (after tossed, see point 5).
5. Toss the rest of the spices in a small pan to let the flavours come out. Don’t over heat or they will get burnt. You can stop when you can smell the frangrant of the spices.
6. The spices which are smaller in pieces or in powder form (cloves, cardarmon, fennel seeds, coriander seeds, coriander powder), I put them in 2 disposable Japanese green tea bags, the second teabag is inserted in another direction after the first one so the spices will not leak out (you can use cheese cloth or cotton bag instead of tea bags).
7. Simmer at medium heat for about 3 hours and then add in the daikon, cook this for another 2-3 hours or until an hour before you are ready to prepare the pho rice noodles.
8. Skim off the fat from time to time and stir gently just to avoid sticking.
9. After 5-6 hours of cooking, your stock is now ready remove the ingredients from the soupbase and season with fish sauce, salt, some fresh ground black pepper & sesame oil as desired.***
10. 40 mins before you want to serve, in a separate deep pan, boil water and cook the rice noodles, unwind the noodles with wooden chopsticks, remove them from the water as soon as they just become soft, transfer to a colander, quickly rinse in cold tap water, drain and set aside. The purpose of this is to cool the noodles immediately and not to let them further cook when warm and not to get soggy. Follow the instructions behind the pack or it should not take more than 2-3 mins. (If you can find fresh pho rice noodles in your neighbourhood, that’s even better.)
11. Prepare the accompanied side dish as mentioned above. Place them onto one plate.
12. Prepare the hoisin sauce, sriracha hot chili sauce or you can prepare a third sauce like the Vietnamese restaurant by adding some chili pieces into some fish sauce.
13. Cut the filet mignon into thin slices****.
14. Transfer enough soup for 4 portion into a pan, bring to boil, place the noodles into the soup, and quickly divide the noodle into 4 soup bowls (this warms up the noodle again). Line the raw beef slices on top of the noodle, add some onion, spring onion as well and then pour the hot soup over on the beef & noodles.
15. Serve immediately. Add some bean sprouts, Thai basil leaves, mint & coriander leaves, chili, lime & dipping sauce***** from the accompanied side dish according to your personal taste.
16. Feel free to finish the last drop of soup.
17. Any leftover stock can be frozen for later use.

Enjoy the real & great stuff!!!

Notes & Tips:

*As usual, not all pho recipes are identical, but I observed one ingredient is also very important, apart from the beef and spices, white radish (daikon) is very absolutely essential. I recalled that the Chinese brisket Noodle and the Korean Beef Soup also use white radishes. So I think I should not miss this out. White radish gives a sweet taste and blends with the beef very well. With the daikon, you will not need more stock powder or MSG!

**If you have a cleaver (either Chinese or American ones), bash on the garlic and ginger pieces with the knife blade. I learnt this from my mom that the flavor can come out more easily.

***You can prepare the stock a day in advance which I will certainly do next time, it will save you time from running around the kitchen the whole day, my feet were tired last night after dinner, also I found the taste of the soup was even better the following day.

****Tip to cut the beef filet into very thin slices: freeze the meat in the freezer, partially defrost and cut them when it is still fairly hard, you will find this is much easier to cut into thin slices, evenly and nicely. These thinly sliced beef is also suitable for chinese hotpot or fondue chinoise (can’t help to mention, I am a hotpot monster!)

***** Our dipping sauces were left almost untouched as the soup was already very tasty that it did not really need additional flavoring.

Tuscan Kale Chips


* 12 large Tuscan kale leaves, rinsed, dried, cut lengthwise in half, center ribs and stems removed
* 1 tablespoon olive oil


Preheat oven to 250°F. Toss kale with oil in large bowl. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Arrange leaves in single layer on 2 large baking sheets. Bake until crisp, about 30 minutes for flat leaves and up to 33 minutes for wrinkled leaves. Transfer leaves to rack to cool.

Seared Salmon with Balsamic Glaze and Watercress


For the Salmon:
1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
1/4 cup water
1 1/2 tablespoons brown sugar
1 1/2 tablespoons fresh lemon or lime juice
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
Four 4-ounce wild Alaskan salmon fillets with skin
Salt and freshly ground pepper

For the Watercress:
1 large bunch watercress, large stems removed, washed and dried well
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1/2 of a lemon lemon or lime (use what you use in the balsamic glaze)
Salt and freshly ground pepper

Serves: 2-4 (one to two fillets per person)


For the Salmon:

1. In a small bowl, mix the vinegar, water, brown sugar, and lemon or lime juice.
2. Dry the salmon very, very well with paper towels (this is critical!). Salt and pepper the flesh side of the fillets. Don’t be afraid to season the fish well - I used a very generous pinch of kosher salt per fillet.
3. In a large non-stick pan, heat the olive oil over high heat until it is very hot (but not smoking). Add the salmon fillets skin side up and sear 2-3 minutes for medium rare (this will depend on the thickness of your fish - my fillets were about an inch and a half thick), or longer for medium (even longer for well-done).
4. Gently flip the fillets and sear on the skin-side for another 1-2 minutes (for medium rare).
5. Remove the salmon fillets to a plate.
6. Very carefully add the vinegar mixture to the pan - it will sputter and splatter, so be careful! Boil over high heat until the sauce has reduced to a medium-thick glaze (reduce by about 1/3).

For the Watercress:

1. In a medium bowl, toss the watercress, the olive oil, the salt, and the pepper.
2. Add a few squeezes of lemon or lime juice. Taste and correct for salt and acid.

To Plate:

1. Place a piece (or two, if you’re hungry!) of salmon on a plate. Top with the balsamic glaze and a pile of the dressed watercress.

Friday, February 20, 2009

Spicy Linguine w/ Chorizo, Baby Squid & Smoked Paprika

* 1/2 pound linguine
* 4 tbs extra virgin olive oil
* 2 cups sliced chorizo
* 4 garlic cloves
* 1/4 teaspoon hot pepper flakes, or to taste
* 1/4 teaspoon smoked paprika
* 3/4 pound squid, cleaned and cut into rings and freaky little legs
* 1/2 lemon, juiced
* 2 tablespoons flat-leaf parsley, chopped
* salt & black pepper to taste

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add the linguine and cook to al dente.
Meanwhile, in a large skillet over medium-low heat, warm the olive oil and add the chorizo and cook until brown and crisp. Add the garlic, salt, hot pepper flakes and the smoked paprika and cook for 1 minute. Add the squid and continue cooking for 2 minutes.Drain the pasta and toss it into the pan. Toss to coat. Season with salt and pepper. Add the lemon juice and chopped parsley. Toss and serve immediately. Enjoy!

Sunday, February 8, 2009

Chicken Liver Fry


Chicken liver 1 lb
Medium sized onion chopped 1
Ginger paste 1 tsp
Garlic paste 1 tsp
Turmeric 1/2 tsp
Salt to taste
Coriander powder 1 tsp
Cumin powder 1/2 tsp
Garam masala powder 1/2 tsp
Medium sized tomato 1
Fresh coriander leaves
Oil 5 tbsp
Red chili powder 1 tsp


# Clean the chicken livers and pressure cook it along with some salt & water. Four whistles on high heat should be enough.
# Take the livers out from the cooker but retain the water separately.
# Now in a frying pan heat the oil and fry the onion and garlic paste till golden brown.
# Then add the ginger paste and fry for another 2 minutes.
# Add the garam masala powder, chili powder, tomato, cumin powder, coriander powder, salt and turmeric powder to the onion paste and keep frying till you get the aroma of the fried spices.
# Now add the cooked livers to the pan and fry for another 2 to 3 minutes.
# Garnish with coriander leaves.
# Serve hot with rotis or rice.

Saturday, February 7, 2009

Japanese Hiking Doughnuts

Makes: about 15.

3/4 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup plain yogurt
2 eggs
Juice of 1 lemon
1 heaping tablespoon honey
1 tablespoon vegetable oil plus more for frying
2 cups flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
Pinch salt
1/4 cup confectioners' sugar

1. Put granulated sugar, yogurt, eggs, lemon juice, honey and 1 tablespoon of the oil in medium bowl and stir until smooth. Gradually sift flour, baking powder and salt over yogurt mixture, beating with a wooden spoon until batter is smooth. Cover bowl with plastic wrap and refrigerate until batter is chilled, 30 to 60 minutes.

2. Pour oil into a wide medium heavy-bottomed pot to a depth of 2 inches and heat over medium heat until temperature reaches 300° on a candy thermometer. Working in batches to avoid crowding with the pot, carefully spoon a scant 1/4 cup of the batter into hot oil and fry, turning occasionally, until doughnuts are deep golden brown all over and cooked through, 5 to 7 minutes per batch. Transfer doughnuts with a slotted spoon to paper towels to drain. Dust with confectioners' sugar.

Grilled Korean-Style Steaks with Spicy Cilantro Sauce

Adapted from Gourmet
- serves 6 -

3/4 cup plus 3 tablespoons soy sauce
1/4 cup medium-dry sherry
3 tablespoons sugar
1 1/2 tablespoons plus 1 1/2 teaspoons minced garlic
1 tablespoon plus 1/2 teaspoon Asian sesame oil
1 teaspoon dried hot red pepper flakes
6 (1-inch-thick) boneless beef top loin (strip) steaks, about 3/4 pound each
3/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro (including roots and stems)
1/3 cup vegetable oil
1 tablespoon fresh lime juice
1/2 teaspoon minced seeded fresh habanero or serrano chile (optional)
1 (4-inch-long) fresh hot red chile, chopped (optional)

1. Stir together 3/4 cup soy sauce, sherry, sugar, 1 1/2 tablespoons garlic, 1 tablespoon sesame oil, and red pepper flakes in a 13 by 9 by 2-inch baking dish until sugar is dissolved, then add steaks, turning to coat. Marinate steaks, turning once, for 1 hour.

2. While the steaks marinate, mix together cilantro, vegetable oil, lime juice, remaining 3 tablespoons soy sauce, remaining 1 1/2 teaspoons garlic, remaining 1/2 teaspoon sesame oil, and chile if using. Set aside.

3. Heat grill to high heat, and when ready, grill steaks 3 to 4 minutes per each side for medium-rare. Transfer steaks to a cutting board and let stand for 5 minutes. Slice crosswise into 3/4-inch-thick slices and then top with some sauce. Serve remaining sauce on the side.

Sunday, February 1, 2009

Oatmeal Cookies

From the M and M Cookbook

1 cup butter
1 cup brown sugar
1 cup white sugar
1 tsp salt (scant)
2 eggs, beaten
2 tsp vanilla
1/2 tsp cloves
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp baking soda
2 T unsweetened cocoa powder
3 cups oats (not instant)
1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1/2 cup nuts, chopped (optional)
1/2 cup raisins

Mix all ingredients in order in a bowl. Chill at least 1 hour, then make little balls. Bake at 325 for 10-12 minutes, let cool on cookie sheet for a minute before cooling on a rack.

Makes 10 dozen tiny cookies.

Sichuan Sirloin Salad

- makes 4 servings; zest factor: medium -

1/2 teaspoon extra-virgin olive oil
1 cup jicama, peeled and cut into matchsticks
1 cup butternut squash, peeled, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
4 cups shredded Napa cabbage
2 plum tomatoes, sliced
1/2 red bell pepper, diced
4 (4-ounce) portions Sichuan Sirloin (recipe follows)
1/2 cup Honey Mustard Vinaigrette (recipe follows)
Freshly ground Sichuan peppercorns

1. In a sauté pan over medium heat, warm the oil. When hot, sauté the jicama and squash, tossing for 2 minutes. Remove from heat. In a bowl, combine the cabbage, tomatoes and bell pepper with the jicama mixture.

2. On a plate, mound 1 cup of the cabbage salad in the center. Top the salad with the Sichuan Sirloin, sprinkle with a grind of Sichuan pepper and a drizzle of vinaigrette. Repeat with remaining ingredients.

Sichuan Sirloin

- makes 4 servings, zest factor: medium -

1/2 cup beef stock
2 tablespoons low-sodium soy sauce
2 tablespoons minced garlic
2 tablespoons minced ginger
1 teaspoon crushed green peppercorns
1/2 teaspoon crushed black peppercorns
1 teaspoon crushed pink peppercorns
1 scallion, sliced
2 tablespoons rock sugar, crushed
1 teaspoon sesame oil
1/2 cup finely chopped cilantro
4 (4-ounce) portions beef sirloin
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground Sichuan peppercorns, for garnish

1. In a bowl, combine stock, soy, garlic, ginger, peppercorns, scallion, sugar, oil and cilantro, and mix well. Add the sirloin, and marinate the steaks for 30 minutes to 2 hours.

2. Preheat a grill to medium-high heat. Sear the sirloin for 2 minutes. Turn steaks 180 degrees, and grill 2 minutes. Turn over, and grill 3 more minutes. Remove steaks from grill, and let sit for 5 minutes. Cut each steak across the grain into equal strips. Sprinkle pepper equally over the grilled steak.

Honey Mustard Vinaigrette

- makes 2 cups, zest factor: medium -

1/4 cup rice vinegar
2 tablespoons honey
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1 dried chile piquin, crushed
1 tablespoon toasted sunflower seeds
1 small red onion, finely diced
salt and freshly ground pepper

In a blender, combine all ingredients.

Spinach and Cheese Strata

Yield: Makes 6 to 8 servings
Active Time: 30 min
Total Time: 10 hr
1 (10-oz) package frozen spinach, thawed
1 1/2 cups finely chopped onion (1 large)
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
8 cups cubed (1 inch) French or Italian bread (1/2 lb)
6 oz coarsely grated Gruyère (2 cups)
2 oz finely grated Parmigiano-Reggiano (1 cup)
2 3/4 cups milk
9 large eggs
2 tablespoons Dijon mustard

Squeeze handfuls of spinach to remove as much liquid as possible, then finely chop.

Cook onion in butter in a large heavy skillet over moderate heat, stirring, until soft, 4 to 5 minutes. Add 1/2 teaspoon salt, 1/4 teaspoon pepper, and nutmeg and cook, stirring, 1 minute. Stir in spinach, then remove from heat.

Spread one third of bread cubes in a buttered 3-quart gratin dish or other shallow ceramic baking dish and top evenly with one third of spinach mixture. Sprinkle with one third of each cheese. Repeat layering twice (ending with cheeses).

Whisk together milk, eggs, mustard, and remaining 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper in a large bowl and pour evenly over strata. Chill strata, covered with plastic wrap, at least 8 hours (for bread to absorb custard).

Preheat oven to 350°F. Let strata stand at room temperature 30 minutes.

Bake strata, uncovered, in middle of oven until puffed, golden brown, and cooked through, 45 to 55 minutes. Let stand 5 minutes before serving.

Pepper-Roasted Cauliflower


* 16 cups cauliflower, cut into small, even-size florets (from 2 large heads)
* 1/4 cup soy sauce
* 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
* 1 teaspoon coarsely ground black pepper
* 2 teaspoons granulated sugar


1. Heat the oven to 450°F and arrange a rack in the middle. Combine all ingredients in a large bowl and toss to coat. Allow to marinate for 20 minutes, tossing cauliflower occasionally.
2. Arrange 1/2 of the cauliflower in a single layer on a baking sheet. Roast until tender and slightly blackened, about 20 minutes.
3. Remove from the oven and repeat with remaining cauliflower. Serve hot or at room temperature.

Saturday, January 31, 2009


1 cup sugar
1 cup kosher salt
1/2 water or stock
pork belly
couple tbsp oil
hoisin sauce

mix sugar and salt and pour all over pork belly. Allow to sit at room temp or fridge for up to two hours. You may drain off liquid as it seeps out of pork. Rinse off sugar and salt. Pat dry and brush with a few tablespoons neutral oil. Roast at 400 degree for between 2 and 3 hours. Add stock or water to keep bottom from scorching. Slice, baste with hoisin, and top buns. Add sliced cucumber and scallion.

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Toffee Bars

1 cup sifted flour
1/4 tsp salt
1 package chocolate chips
1 egg yolk
1 cup butter
1 cup brown sugar
chopped nuts

Cream sugar, butter, egg yolk. Mix flour and salt and stir with creamed mixture. Spread on 10x15 cookie sheet with sides. Bake at 325 degrees for 20-25 minutes. Spring chocolate chips immediately and spread. Can sprinkle with nuts if desired. Cool and then break into bars.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Stir Fried Edamame with Garlic and Chile

Serves 2-4 (depending on how much you like to share!)
Recipe from Gourmet Magazine

1 lb. frozen edamame (soybeans in shell)
2 Tablespoons soy sauce
2 Tablespoons oyster sauce
1 teaspoon Asian sesame oil
1/4 teaspoon dried hot red-pepper flakes
2 teaspoons vegetable oil
2 teaspoons minced peeled fresh ginger
2 teaspoons minced garlic

Cook soybeans in a 5-6 quart pot of boiling unsalted water for 5 minutes, then drain in a colander.

Stir together soy sauce, oyster sauce, sesame oil, and red-pepper flakes in a small bowl.

Heat wok over high heat until a drop of water evaporates immediately. Add vegetable oil, swirling it to coat wok. Add ginger and garlic and stir fry until fragrant, about 15 seconds, then add soybeans, and stir fry until pods are lightly charred, 2 to 3 minutes. Add soy sauce mixture and stir-fry until soybeans are well coated and most of liquid is evaporated, about 1 minute.

Monday, January 26, 2009


1 Tbsp. vegetable oil
1 small onion, diced
4 cloves garlic, minced
2 lbs. lean ground beef (ground pork, or heck, even ground turkey can be used)
1 cup (approx.) julienned potatoes
1 cup (approx.) julienned carrots
1 cup (approx.) julienned green beans (can be frozen French-cut)
1 cup (approx.) bean sprouts
Salt and pepper to taste
1 package lumpia wrappers (these can be found in Asian markets)
Water for sealing wrappers
Vegetable oil for frying

Heat the vegetable oil in a large pot over medium high heat, 1-2 minutes. Add the onion and sweat until translucent, 5-8 minutes. Add the garlic and cook until fragrant, 1-2 minutes. Add the ground beef to the pot and cook until completely browned through.

Add the potatoes, carrots, green beans, and alfalfa sprouts to the pot, stirring occasionally until the vegetables are cooked through. Season with salt and pepper.

Transfer the filling from the pot to a colander or sieve. Drain and set aside until filling is cool enough to handle. Transfer cooled filling to a large bowl.

How We Roll:

1. Place a single lumpia wrapper, with one of its corners pointing at you, on a work surface. Place about 2 Tbsp. of the filling ¼ of the way up from the corner closest to you.

2. Grasping the corner closest to you, roll it up and over the filling until about half of the wrapper remains.

3. Fold in the right and left corners of the wrapper.

4. Continue to roll the lumpia until the final corner remains.

5. Using a pastry brush, or your fingers, wet the final corner of the lumpia with water and then roll and seal.

Repeat steps 1-5 until all the filling is gone, or until you run out of lumpia wrappers (like I said, this recipe isn’t exact).

This recipe makes a lot of lumpia, so you can place the extras in a freezer bag and then into the freezer for future use.

To cook the lumpia, heat some vegetable oil in a frying pan over medium-high heat. Add lumpia (freshly made or frozen) to hot oil and fry until golden brown on all sides.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Keema Matar

SERVES 4 – 6

Like many Northern Indian recipes, keema matar calls for a technique known as tarka: that is, frying whole spices and aromatics—such as coriander, cumin, and dried chiles—in clarified butter, or ghee, to enhance their flavor.

6 cloves garlic
1 3 1⁄2" piece fresh ginger, peeled
(2" sliced, 1 1⁄2" julienned)
2 tsp. plus 1 tbsp. garam masala
2 tsp. turmeric
1⁄3 cup ghee (like Sagar Pure Ghee)
1 tsp. coriander seeds
1⁄2 tsp. cumin seeds
3 whole dried chiles de árbol
1 bay leaf
1 medium red onion, chopped
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper,
to taste
2 tbsp. tomato paste
1 1⁄2 lbs. ground lamb or beef
3 medium plum tomatoes, cored and
quartered lengthwise
1 cup whole-milk yogurt
1 1⁄2 cups frozen peas, thawed
1⁄2 cup roughly chopped cilantro

1. Put garlic, sliced ginger, 2 tsp. garam masala, turmeric, and 1⁄2 cup water into a blender and purée to a wet paste. Set spice paste aside.

2. Heat the ghee in a large cast-iron skillet over medium-high heat. Add the coriander, cumin, chiles, and bay leaf; stir until fragrant and beginning to brown, about 1 minute. Stir in the onion, season with salt and pepper, and cook until lightly golden, 6–7 minutes. Add the reserved spice paste and tomato paste and cook, stirring constantly, until the mixture is caramelized, 3–4 minutes. Add lamb (or beef, if using) and cook, stirring and breaking it up into small pieces, until browned and cooked through, about 5 minutes. Add the plum tomatoes and cook, stirring occasionally, until softened, about 3 minutes more.

3. Remove the skillet from the heat and stir in the julienned ginger, remaining garam masala, yogurt, peas, and cilantro. Season with salt and pepper and serve immediately with rice or flatbread, if you like.

Sunday, January 4, 2009

Rava dosa

1/2 cup each flour, whole wheat flour, rice flour and cream of wheat.

Cumin seeds

Chillie peppers



Tomato Bhaath

1/2 cup rulau (cream of wheat)
1 medium onion, finely chopped
1 carrot grated
1/4 cup peas
minced ginger
1 tomato chopped
corander leaves
1/2 teaspoon rasam powder
1/2 tsp sugar

1 Tblsp ghee and oil mixed
1/2 teaspoon mustard seed
1 tsp urad daal
4 green chillies, slit in half
1-2 Tbslp cashews

Dry roast cream of wheat until you get a nice aroma. Remove from kadai. In the same pan add oil, mustard seeds and urad daal. When mustard seeds stops spluttering, add cashews. When they turn a little brown add green chillies and chopped onions. When the onions become translucent add rasam powder, carrots, peas, and ginger. Add 1 1/4 cup water, salt to taste and 1/2 tsp sugar. Cover and cook on low flame until vegetables are done. Add coriander leaves. Mix well. While stirring slowly add cream of wheat. Let the water get absorbed. Now it is ready to eat. Add more water if the cream of wheat is not cooked.

Amma's Sambhar

Roast 5 red chillies
1 Tblsp coriander seeds
1/2 tsp methi (fenugreek)
1 tsp toor dal

then grind with 1/2 tsp tamarind and water

Boil sliced onion, tomato, eggplant (any vegetable) in enough water to cover.

Cook 1/2 cup toor dal. Add toor dal to vegetables. Add masala.

Bring to a boil.

Add oil, mustard seeds, curry leaves and hing.

Saturday, January 3, 2009

Mexican Wedding Cakes

1/2 cup pecan halves
1 cup powdered sugar, spooned into the cup
Pinch of salt
1 cup butter
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1 3/4 cups flour - dip and sweet method

Powdered sugar (what else?)

For a Food Processor

Fit your food processor with the metal blade and process the sugar with the pecans and salt until the mixture is powder fine. Cut the butter into a few pieces and add it to the processor while it is running. Continue to process until the mixture is smooth and creamy. Scrape down the sides of the bowl as needed. Add the vanilla and pulse until it is combined. Add in the flour and pulse until the dough begins to come together.

Refrigerate the dough for at least 1 hour, but for no more than 3. Using a scant tablespoon, scoop out the dough and roll it in your palms to form a ball. On ungreased cookie sheets, place the balls 1 1/2" apart. In a oven preheated to 350, bake the cookies for 15 - 20 minutes until barely brown.

Cool the cookies on the sheets for a few minutes, then roll them in powdered sugar while they're still hot. You can do several rollings to create the coating. Cool the cookies completely, then give them one more roll.

Friday, January 2, 2009

Fish Curry Recipe


* Trout (You can use fish filets as well) 1 lb
* Turmeric powder 1/2 tsp
* Green chilies 5
* Cumin 1tsp
* Fenugreek seeds 1tsp
* Mustard seeds 1/2 tsp
* Tomatoes 2 medium sized
* Tamarind paste 1tsp
* Curry Leaves 1 bunch

To Grind

* Shallots 1 cup
* Black pepper seeds 1tbsp
* Fennel seeds 1tbsp
* Red chili powder 3 tbsp
* Coriander powder 1/2 tsp


Clean and cut the fish into 1/4 ” steak pieces. Marinate with a 1/4 tsp red chili powder and salt. Heat oil in a pan and flash fry the fish pieces and keep aside.
Grind all the ingredients in the second set to a smooth paste and keep aside.

Heat oil and fry fenugreek seeds, mustard seeds and cumin. When the mustard seeds start to splutter, add split green chilies and fry. Add tomatoes cut into small
pieces and fry , mash the tomatoes while frying. Add the ground masala paste, curry leaves and turmeric powder to the pan and fry till the masala is cooked .
Add enough water and tamarind paste to the pan and bring to a boil. Add fish pieces and cook for 10 minutes till the desired thickness.