Chicken Gohan (rice)

One of the surest thing that Ken and I would do while travelling is to visit bookstores. Bookstores are to the Queks what museums are to history buffs. As usual, Ken could most commonly be found at the Fantasy section while I at the Cookbook section.

So that day in D.C., we were tired from walking down National Mall where our last stop was the Natural History Museum. It was still early and we need to bum somewhere. Barnes and Nobles came to mind.

Browsing through the cookbooks, I found a Japanese one and the following recipe which is easy. All I need is 1 tbsp of sake and soy sauce each and 1 tsp of grated ginger juice and sugar for the chicken bites marinade. The rest is up to my improvisation…because I couldn’t remember the rest of the ingredients/steps. =p

Then I remember Oyako-Don and decided to throw in eggs (with mirin) and onions. It’s a simple meal, the way I like it.

Beef Bulgogi

This Korean dish us usually eaten wrapped in lettuce leaves, but you could serve it over white rice instead. I added Dou Miao stir-fried with garlic to this one-dish meal.

Serves 2

3/4 pounds rib-eye steak, trimmed of excess fat
1/8 cup soy sauce
1/2 tbsp hot chile sesame oil*
1 tbsp dark brown sugar
3 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 tbsp finely grated peeled fresh ginger
1 medium red onions, halved and cut lengthwise into 1-inch wedges
1/2 green bell pepper, seeds and ribs removed, sliced into 1/2-inch strips
2 tsp vegetable oil
1 small head Boston lettuce, separated into leaves

1. Slice diagonally (across the grain) into 1/8-inch-thick strips. In a small bowl, whisk together the soy sauce, sesame oil, brown sugar, garlic, and ginger. Place the onions and peppers in a small bowl; toss with half the soy marinade. Toss the steak in the remaining marinade; let stand for 15 minutes.

2. Heat 1 tsp of the vegetable oil in a large nonstick skillet over  medium-high heat. Add the onions and peppers; cook until softened, about 5 minutes. Transfer to a plate. Wipe the skillet clean with a paper towel.

3. Heat the remaining 1 tbsp vegetable oil over high heat. Cook the meat, turning often, until browned, about 2 minutes. Add the onion mixture. Cook, tossing, until heated through, about 1 minute. Serve with rice and vegetables on the side.

* If you can’t find hot chile sesame oil, add a dash of red pepper flakes to 1/2 tbsp toasted sesame oil.

Sauteed chicken in mustard-cream sauce

This dish uses the classic French sauce which also makes an excellent topping for fish, such as seared salmon or trout. The original recipe calls for chicken breast but I prefer the tenderness of the thigh. Complement with roasted baby potatoes and steamed trimmed asparagus to make a full meal.

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Matcha Red Bean Buns

Something healthy and Japanese? Why not try matcha red bean buns? My buns came out real soft after cooling! Love it! They have very strong taste of matcha but the overall taste is not sweet. I did my own red bean paste and was careful not to add too much sugar during the process. I wonder if I should add more sugar to the dough so as to achieve a sweeter version of the buns. Room for improvement.
Anyway, ohayo gozaimasu!

Steamed chicken with coriander & Ginger dressing

I need a bigger kitchen and cool weather too! These days, Mr Sun has been shining so brightly and fiercely that one could easily be sapped of energy. We felt lethargic and even running for a mere 2km was a feat. It was too hot!

We did a 5km in the morning and upon returning home, I was hungry. It was 11am, just the right time to prepare lunch. I had wanted to prepare the steamed chicken with coriander and ginger dressing, a recipe I had kept in the blog for months. It was pretty easy to execute but it’s not just this dish that I’m preparing…I’m also stir-frying my favourite kang kong. So, my small stove-top can only accommodate small pans. Once the wok is in use, the other pots have to ‘squeeze’ in. My countertop is small too and while attempting mise en place, frustration set in.

I fully know I should be contented with this space since it’s considered relatively comfortable in apartments of this region. But it’s a far cry from the one back home. The real kitchen space is about 1/3 of the one at home and countertop space is soooooo limited! I know I shouldn’t complain but today I just wanted to rant! The hot weather didn’t help, nor did the very empty stomach. =p A hungry man is an angry man. Indeed!

But the dish is marvelicious! I…LOVE it! You would have extra sauce with the recipe and I think I would do a liang mian with it. Just nice for a summer day!

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Lotus root soup

Expect more soup since the weather is so cold.
This would be my second attempt at cooking this soup and I basically am comfortable with this outcome. This recipe is made for 2 but will take you 2 days to finish, especially if your other partner does not like lotus root. =p

500g pork bone, blanched
1 lotus root
80g peanuts (washed and soaked for 30 minutes)
10 red dates (soaked for about 5 minutes)
6 cups of water
salt and soy sauce to taste

Place all ingredients into a large pot (I used a 3 qt dutch oven). Bring to boil and simmer for 2-3 hours. Remove scum if necessary. Season to taste.

* The soup tastes better the following day.

Asparagus tips in clear broth with wantons

It’s getting colder with the temperature in the negatives every day now. We couldn’t be clear whether it is still Autumn or we are approaching winter but it is definite that harsher weather condition is here to stay. Right now, being out in the cold night for more than 5 minutes is like having your face slapped a thousand times. Okay! I’m exaggerating but it’s really quite painful! Oh my poor face…

In response to this, more recipes for soups are expected to appear at this platform. After days of eating potato chips and heaty stuff, it’s time that I cook more soup. I like this particular one because I can get to eat my greens and it’s really a one pot dish – so convenient and healthy. I don’t think I have added any amount of cooking oil apart from a small drop of sesame oil when marinating the minced pork mixture to be wrapped into wontons, or should I say, the Chinese version of Ravioli.


Serves 2
For the broth:

500g asparagus
1 whole tomato
1 celery stalk, cut into 4 pieces
salt and ground black pepper

Main ingredients:
14 x 2 wonton skins (Ken and I can eat 7 each)
1 egg white, lightly beaten, to seal
Corainder leaves, to garnish
light soy sauce, to serve

For the filling:
minced pork
shrimps, deveined and cut into small portions
water chestnut, chopped into small pieces
finely chopped fresh gingerroot
light soy sauce
Shaoxing cooking wine
Sesame oil
salt & pepper

1. To make the broth, trim the asparagus tips off about 2.5 inches from the top and set aside. Put the rest of the stalks, tomato and celery into a pot with 1.5 quarts of water and bring to a boil. Cover the pot and simmer for 30 minutes, then break up the tomato and continue to simmer for 5 minutes longer. Strain this stock into another pot.

2. Marinate the filling. Mix the minced pork with the rest of the filling ingredients. Knead the mixture for a few minutes, then add salt and pepper, soy sauce and Shaoxing cooking wine to taste and mix in thoroughly. I usuallydo this step first and place it in the fridge for at least 30 minutes.

3. Divide the filling into the portions that you have for wonton skins. Put one portion in the centre of a wonton skin. Brush the edges of the skin with lightly beaten egg white and then seal the wonton skin with another, on top of it.

4. Heat a saucepan of water and add 1 tsp of salt. Bring to a boil and drop in some wontons (depending on the size of your saucepan) to cook them. Boil for 4 – 5 minutes, then transfer with a draining spoon to a strainer to drain. Cook the remaining wontons in the same way ( You may want to cover the cooked wontons with some hot water/broth so that they do not stick together).

5. Just before serving, bring the broth to a boil. Taste and adjust the seasoning. Add the asparagus tips and simmer for 4 – 5 minutes or until they are just tender.

6. Pour the broth into the bowls and divide the asparagus tips and wontons between the bowls. Serve piping hot and garnish with coriander leaves.

Meal combination: Braised Chicken Wings with Oyster Sauce + Stir-Fried Bean Sprouts with Garlic & Carrots

My latest project, apart from reading up and experiment with cooking and baking various recipes, is to attempt to try out the recipes found in Kylie Kwong’s Simple Chinese Cooking. Her recipes are pleasantly familiar and I intend to cook through the recipes in the cookbook, but making changes to the servings such that they would be appropriate for TWO and to tweak the ingredients and the method of cooking to suit my style; I suspect it would largely resemble my mom’s cooking.

The project is called Eats for 2 and I’ll start with Chinese cuisine, although at times I would attempt other cuisine too.

Today’s meal is Steamed rice + Braised Chicken Wings with Oyster Sauce + Stir-Fried Bean Sprouts with Garlic & Carrots. You could top it up with a bowl of soup to make it more complete. =p The total time taken for them to be cooked excluding steamed rice is about 35 minutes. I used dutch oven to cook the chicken and wok to stir-fry the bean sprouts. In this way, I can cook two dishes simultaneously rather to have to wait for the first dish to be completed and then risk having them served cold. I’ve tried cooking the chicken using the wok too and I find both methods work well though I very much prefer the dutch oven since the food stays warm even after the heat has been turned off.

As with most cooking, the recipes are just a guide. Sometimes, you might not find that they suit your tastebuds and that’s why it is important to experiment with them. Oh! I forgot to mention. The portion here might be a tad little for some as both Ken and I are small eaters. As a gauge, we share a meal when we eat out.


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