Monday, July 25, 2011

[Low-Fat] Tangerine Raspberry Muffins

  • 1 large egg
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/3 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • zest from 1 tangerine
  • 1/2 cup non-fat plain Greek yogurt
  • 1/2 cup tangerine juice
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 1/2 cup fresh raspberries
  • Pre-heat the oven to 400 degree. Coat 12 large muffin cups with butter and flour (or line with paper liners). Combine zest and sugar in a food processor, pulse until the zest is finely chopped into the sugar. In a large mixing bowl and using hand mixer, whisk together egg, yogurt, oil and vanilla until creamy. Add sugar zest mixture and blend. Remove bowl from the mixer.
  • Gradually add flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt into the bowl, and fold using rubber spatula until blended. Gently fold raspberries into the batter. Divide the batter among the muffin cups, filling up to about 2/3 of the muffin cup.
  • Bake the muffins until the edges and tops are golden brown, 20-25 minutes. Let cool a little bit before removing from the pan. Serve warm.
Make 12 muffins

Friday, July 22, 2011

Indonesian Fried Rice with Smoked Sausages and Green Peas

  • 4 red shallots, thinly sliced (or 1 medium sized onion)
  • 1 clove of garlic
  • 2 red peppers, seeded and chopped
  • 1/2 teaspoon terasi/belacan (fermented shrimp paste)
  • 1 tablespoon cooking oil
  • 4 cups of steamed white rice (preferably medium grain)
  • 2 smoked sausages, sliced
  • 1/2 cup of frozen green peas
  • 2 tablespoons kecap manis (dark sweet soy sauce)
  • salt and white pepper to taste
  • 2 fried eggs, sunny side up
  • 1 tablespoon fried shallots (optional)
  • sliced cucumber and tomato (optional)
  • prawn crackers (optional)
  • With mortar and pestle, ground the first 4 ingredients until it forms spice paste. Heat cooking oil in a wok or large skillet over high heat. Add the spice paste, cook until fragrant, then add sausages and green peas. Continue cooking for another 1-2 minutes or until the peas are completely thawed.
  • Throw in rice and kecap manis, season with rice and pepper. Stir constantly to make sure that all the ingredients are evenly distributes and that none of ingredients stick to the wok.
  • Serve immediately with fried egg, fried shallots, cucumber, tomato and prawn crackers.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Spicy Jicama and Red Pepper Salad

  • 1 pound fresh Jicama, peeled and julienned
  • 5 sweet baby red peppers, seeded and juliened
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro
  • 2 tablespoon fresh lime juice
  • 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
Mix together Jicama, red peppers, cilantro, cayenne pepper and salt in a large bowl. Sprinkle lime juice and toss to coat. Cover and refrigerate until ready to serve.

Stewed Plantains in Coconut Palm Sugar Sauce

It's almost Ramadhan again. Time to reminisce and crave all those delicious seasonal dishes that Indonesians love to consume during the month of Ramadhan. This one in particular, called 'kolak pisang' is very easy to make, with the ingredients that (I believe) are widely available in most part of the US. Substitute dark palm sugar with regular brown sugar if you can't find any.

  • 2 large ripe plantains, peeled and sliced (1 inch thickness) diagonally
  • 250 grams dark palm sugar
  • 150 ml coconut milk
  • 500 ml water
  • 1/4 teaspoon of salt
  • 2 pandanus leaves (optional)
  • In a large saucepan, boil water, pandanus leaves, palm sugar and salt together over medium heat until the liquid is slightly reduced, about 15 minutes.
  • Add coconut milk and sliced plantains. Continue cooking for another 5-10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat.
  • Serve warm or chilled.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Pan-Fried Flounder with Thai Coconut sauce

  • 1 can unsweetened coconut milk
  • 1 8-ounce bottle clam juice
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
  • 4 tablespoons minced peeled fresh ginger
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 teaspoon fish sauce
  • 1 to 2 seeded and minced serrano chilies
  • 3 tablespoons tomato sauce
  • 2 kaffir-lime leaves
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro
  • 2 tablespoons slivered green onions
  • 4 6-ounce flounder fillets (other kind of fish can also be used in this recipe, such as mahi-mahi or red snapper)
  • Combine the first 9 ingredients in a medium skillet. Boil until sauce thickens slightly and reduced to about 1 cup. Remove from heat, season with salt and pepper.
  • Brush fish all over with 1/4 cup of sauce, sprinkle with salt and pepper. In a very hot skillet, pan fry fish until opaque in the center and golden brown crust forms on the fish. Divide the remaining sauce among 4 plates, top with fish. Sprinkle with cilantro and green onions.

Vanilla Cream Cheese in Pastry Shells

Dessert in 10 minutes or less!

  • 1 package (10 ounces) frozen puff pastry shells
  • 4 ounces (1/2 package) cream cheese, softened
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup heavy whipping cream
  • Fresh berries for garnish
  • Prepare and bake the pastry shells as directed on package. Cool completely.
  • Whip heavy cream in a medium bowl until stiff peak forms. In another bowl, using electric mixer, whisk cream cheese, sugar and vanilla extract until smooth and creamy. Fold in whipped cream into cream cheese mixture and stir gently. Cover and refrigerate until ready to use.
  • Fill or pipe cream mixture into the shells just before serving. Garnish with fresh berries.

Soon Doo Boo Jigae (Korean Spicy Tofu Soup)

This is one dish that I love, love, love but none in my family does (although they love Korean food!). So I always end up with a big pot of the soup, all for myself, that I can heat and re-heat for several days. 
My love affair with this dish started many years ago, when we still lived in Seattle. There was this amazing Korean restaurant in Edmonds called Ho Soon Yi, where they serve this absolutely delicious soup along with other equally scrumptious Korean delicacies. Needless to say, I have not looked back and have since attempted to cook them myself several times. 
After trying so many recipes, to me anyway, this one is the best. 

  • 2 cups of water
  • 1 small package of Dashima (dried kelp)
  • 1 small package of dried anchovies
  • 1/2 cup of thinly sliced beef
  • 1/2 cup of mixed seafood (I used shrimp and baby clams without shells)
  • 1 tbsp sesame oil
  • 1 tbsp finely minced garlic
  • 1/2 cup of sliced Kimchi,plus 3 tbsp of Kimchi juice
  • 1 tbsp red pepper powder
  • 1 package silken/ extra soft tofu
  • salt to taste
  • 1 egg
  • 1/4 cup of chopped green onions
  • In a saucepan, boil water, anchovies and Dashima until the stock is reduced to half. Set aside. Alternatively, if you don't have access to good Asian store, you can substitute the stock with 1 cup of clam juice.
  • Heat the sesame oil in the large saucepan, add beef and garlic, saute until the beef is no longer pink. Add 1 tbsp of red pepper powder, Kimchi and Kimchi juice. Stir well.
  • Pour anchovi/Dashima stock into the saucepan , bring to boil. Add tofu and seafood into the soup, gently breaking up the tofu with the spatula, but be careful not to completely mash the tofu.  Season with salt if necessary. Continue cooking until all the ingredients are done.
  • Transfer to pre-heated Ttukbaegi (or regular bowl) immediately. Break the egg over the soup and sprinkle with chopped green onions. Serve with steamed rice.

Monday, July 18, 2011

Salpicon de Res (Cental American Shredded Beef Salad)

  • 2 1/2 lbs beef shanks or skirt steak
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1/3 cup olive oil
  • 1/4 cup lemon juice
  • 2 tsp oregano
  • 1/2 cup fresh cilantro, chopped
  • 2 large tomatoes, seeded and chopped
  • 1 onion, thinly sliced
  • 3 Serrano chillies, minced
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • Add beef, chopped onion, bay leaves and salt into a large pot and and add water to cover. Bring to boil, then reduce the heat to medium low and shimmer for 1 1/2 to 2 hours or until the meat is very tender. Remove the meat from the pot (stock can be reserved for other dishes), shred the meat with hands when they're cool enough to handle.
  • Whisk together olive oil, lemon juice, oregano, salt and pepper in a large bowl. Add chopped tomatoes, sliced onions, chilies and cilantro. Blend together and set aside for about 10 minutes to let the vegetables marinate.
  • Gently toss the shredded beef into vegetable marinate, adjust seasoning if necessary. Serve cold or at room temperature as topping for Tostadas, or wrapped in corn Tortillas, or serve with rice and black beans.

Friday, July 15, 2011

Sugar Cookies

I feel like I have too much on my plate lately. We're in the process of moving to the different house, kids are off school and arguing non-stop (I mean, really, non-stop!), J's old car suddenly decided it's time to retire, and our house in Washington needs brand new roof. TOO MUCH!
So I need to stop, take a deep breath and get my mind of off things for a little while. How do I do that? I get busy in the kitchen. This time I spent 2 full days baking and decorating sugar cookies, I have enough to feed a small country. 
Just using my old plain sugar cookie recipe, decorated with royal icing, I attempted to go with simple Mehndi inspired designs.

Sugar Cookie Recipe
Ingredients (in Metrics):
  • 200 grams butter, room temperature
  • 1 egg
  • 200 grams granulated sugar
  • 400 grams all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • Preheat oven to 350 degree. Line the baking sheets with parchment paper and set aside. In a large mixing bowl and using hand mixer, cream together butter and sugar. Beat in egg and vanilla extract. Using hand, gradually blend in sifted flour, until it forms a dough. Roll the dough into the ball, wrap in the plastic and put in refrigerator for at least 30 minutes.
  • On the floured surface, roll the dough using rolling pin until it reaches 1/4 inch in thickness. Cut into shapes using cookie cutter. Transfer to lined baking sheets and bake in the over for 8-10 minutes or until golden brown. Cool down completely before decorating.

Royal Icing Recipe (with egg whites)
  • 2 egg whites
  • 2 tsp lemon juice
  • 375 grams confectioners sugar (for lining) or 315 grams (for flooding)
  • Gel food colorings
In a large mixing bowl, beat the egg whites and lemon juice until stiff. Add the sifted powdered sugar into the bowl and mix until smooth. Test the consistency using 10 second rule (when you lift the beater, the ribbon of icing that fall back into the bowl should remain on the surface for 5-10 seconds before becomes smooth. If it disappear before 5 seconds, the icing is too thin, add more sugar. If it remains on the surface for more than 10 seconds, it's too thick, add a few drops of water). 
Royal icing hardens fast, so use immediately and always cover the bowl with plastic wrap to prevent crusting. Also, use gel food coloring so it does not thin the icing.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Golubtsy (Russian Stuffed Cabbage Rolls)

  • 1 large head of cabbage
  • 1/2 lb ground pork
  • 1 lb ground beef
  • 1 cup long-grain rice, parboiled
  • 2 onions, minced
  • 1 egg, lightly beaten
  • 1 tbsp Italian parsley, minced
  • 1 tbsp fresh dill, minced
  • 15 Roma tomatoes, peeled, seeded and chopped
  • 2 cups chicken stock
  • 1/2 cup dry white wine
  • 3 cloves of garlic, thinly sliced
  • 1 tbsp kosher salt
  • vegetable oil
  • butter
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1/2 tsp red pepper flakes
  • sour cream for garnish
  • Bring 10 cups of water to a boil and add 1 tbsp kosher salt. Separate the cabbage head into leaves, wash and pat dry. Immerse the cabbage leaves into boiling brine for 3 minutes. Drain and set aside to cool. 
  • Heat some vegetable oil and butter in a skillet and saute the onions until golden brown. Add beef, pork, rice, egg, parsley and dill into the skillet, season with salt and pepper, mix well. Place 3-4 tablespoons of meat mixture in the middle of cabbage leaf, and fold the leaf from 4 sides, like an envelope. Repeat until all ingredients are used up. Lay the rolls seam side down in a dutch oven (may be arrange in layers).
  • In another skillet, saute garlics and red pepper flakes in some vegetable oil for approximately 2 minutes. Add tomatoes and saute for another 10-15 minutes. Add chicken stock and wine and bring to boil. Pour the sauce over the cabbage rolls. The liquid should immerse them. Set the dutch oven over low flame and let simmer, covered, for 2 hours. Serve the rolls in their broth in soup plates. Garnish with additional fresh parsley and dill and top with sour cream.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Stir Fry Banana Blossoms and Pork

For Indonesians, banana blossoms are no delicacy. It's plentiful, very affordable, and available almost all year round. Growing up, this dish appeared so many times on our family dinner table and always a crowd pleaser. Lucky for me, banana blossoms are also available in my local Asian stores here in Bay Area, so I can re-create this dish any time I feel inspired.

  • 6 shallots
  • 6 cloves of garlic
  • 1 inch fresh ginger
  • 2-4 Thai red chili peppers
  • 1/2 tsp terasi (fermented shrimp paste). If not available, substitute with 1 tbsp fish sauce
  • 1 stalk of lemongrass, white part only, bruised
  • 1/2 lb pork (or chicken, or beef), thinly sliced
  • 1 large banana blossom, or 2 small ones
  • 1/4 cup chicken stock
  • 1/2 tsp sugar
  • 2 tbsp cooking oil
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • Green onions for garnish
  • Peel the outer layers of the banana blossom, getting rid as much as possible of the dark purple layers. Cut the banana blossom in half, lengthwise, from the tip to the bottom. Lay one half, flat side down on the cutting board, and cut crosswise into 1/2 inch strips. Repeat with the other half. Put them in a colander and rinse well under running water. In a large saucepan, boil banana blossoms in water until they turn soft, about 30-45 minutes. Remove from heat and drain.
  • Using mortar and pestle, grind shallots, garlics, chili peppers and ginger until it forms paste. Heat the oil in a wok or skillet over medium heat, add spice paste into the oil and cook until fragrant. Add pork, lemongrass, shrimp paste and sugar into the skillet, cook until the pork is done and no longer pink.
  • Add banana blossoms and chicken stock into the pork mixture, stir and blend together. Season with salt and pepper. Cook for another 5 minutes and remove from heat. Serve with steamed rice, garnish with green onions.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Baked Wonton Cups

Crunchy wontons, normally deep fried, is one of my favorite snacks. But as I grow a little bit older (along with my expanding waistline), I tend to stay away from deep-fried food. So I attempted to make this no-fry version of pork and shrimp wontons, simply by baking them in the oven.  The result is delicious, crunchy and satisfying goodness that got quite raving reviews from hundreds of people (OK, just my husband and 2 kids..., but they're tough critics!). Serve with condiments of your choice, such as plum sauce, Chinese sweet and sour sauce, Sriracha hot sauce (my fave) or even ginger soy chicken broth to serve as soup.

  • 1/2 lb ground pork loin
  • 3 oz peeled shrimp, finely chopped
  • 1 oz dried ear mushrooms, soaked in boiling water until soft, then slice thinly
  • 1 tbsp corn starch
  • 1 tsp finely chopped fresh ginger
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp white pepper
  • 2 tbsp chopped green onions
  • 24 wonton wrappers
  • In a large bowl, combine pork, shrimp, mushrooms, starch, ginger, salt and pepper. Blend well and set aside.
  • Preheat oven to 350 degree. Press wonton wrappers onto greased mini muffin cups, pleating each to form a small cup. Spoon 1 teaspoon of pork and shrimp filling into each wonton cup (make sure you don't put too much filling into the cups. Wrappers bake quickly and we don't want to end up with undercooked filling or burnt wrappers). Sprinkle a little bit of green onion on the tops.
  • Bake for 10-15 minutes, until the filling is done and the wrappers turn golden brown. Remove from the oven and cool down on the rack before serving.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Black Rice Pudding Popsicles

It's too hot nowadays to enjoy nice warm black rice pudding, but we don't have to sacrifice the craving if we can turn it into popsicles. Classic black rice pudding recipe, add some milk to thin, pour into the molds and freeze.


  • 250 grams black glutinous rice
  • 250 grams dark palm sugar (can be substituted with brown sugar)
  • 2 pandanus leaves (optional)
  • 1500 ml water
  • pinch of salt
For the coconut milk sauce:
  • 750 ml coconut milk
  • 1 pandanus leaf (optional)
  • pinch of salt
  • 500 ml milk
  • To make coconut milk sauce, heat coconut milk, pandanus leaf and salt in a saucepan over low heat until the sauce is reduced to about 300 ml.
  • Wash the rice thoroughly. Cook in a large pot with water and pandanus leaves over low heat, stirring occasionally, until cooked through and thickens. Add sugar and salt. Continue to cook until the sugar is completely dissolved. Remove from heat and cool down completely.
  • Add coconut milk sauce and milk into the rice mixture, mix until well blended. Pour the pudding mixture into popsicle molds, insert popsicle sticks into each mold and freeze until solid (about 4 hours).
  • Let them sit in room temperature for a few minutes before taking them out of the molds.

Asian Noodles with Black Garlic

We just got back from our mini vacation at Lake Shasta. 3 days in the sun, over a long holiday weekend, doing pretty much nothing other that being on the boat, fishing, a little bit of swimming and oh, yeah...eating mediocre ( and I'm sure not so healthy) food from whatever establishments we decided to step in. Scrapple for breakfast, soggy Reuben sandwich for lunch, BBQ tri-tip and pulled pork with mac and cheese for dinner. Ugh!
So now that we're back, the family's demands for home-cooked meals are running high. After doing a little ransacking in the kitchen, this is what I come up with.

  • 1 tbsp cooking oil
  • 1 tbsp sesame oil
  • 3 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1 chicken breast, thinly sliced
  • 1 cup of sliced fried tofu
  • 20 shrimp, shelled and veined
  • 1/2 cup of frozen peas
  • 5-6 black garlics, thinly sliced
  • 1 green onion, slivered
  • 1 tsp of oyster sauce (optional)
  • 1 tbsp of soy sauce
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 package of rice vermicelli noodle, cooked and drained
  • In a wok or large pan, heat the oil over medium heat. Toss in garlic, stir and cook until fragrant. Add chicken meat, tofu and frozen peas and cook until the chicken is no longer pink. Add shrimp, oyster sauce, soy sauce into the wok. Cook until well done.
  • Add cooked noodles into the wok, season with salt and pepper. Mix together until well blended. Remove from heat.
  • To serve, put noodles on a plate, sprinkle with sliced black garlic and slivered green onion.

Chorizo and Potato Empanadas

For the filling:
  • 3 potatoes, peeled and cubed
  • 1 lb chorizo sausage, casing removed
  • 1 tbsp cooking oil
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 4 cloves of garlic
  • 1 tsp dried oregano
  • 1/2 tsp cumin
  • 1/2 tsp turmeric powder
  • salt and pepper to taste
For the shell:
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup butter (1 stick), room temperature
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tbsp sugar
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 egg, beaten with 1 tbsp milk, for egg wash
  • Put flour, 2 eggs, butter, sugar, salt, baking powder and water in a food processor until it forms a dough. Form the dough into a ball, wrap it in plastic and chill for 30 minutes.
  • In the meantime, heat a large skillet over medium heat. Add oil, onion and garlic into the skillet, cook until fragrant. Add potatoes and cook until they are soft and almost done. Add Chorizo and stir for about 5 minutes, then season with oregano, cumin, turmeric, salt and pepper. Continue to cook for another 5 minutes. Remove from heat and cool down.
  • Lightly flour counter and rolling pin. Work in batches to make it easier, roll the dough out to 1/8 inch thickness. Using cookie or biscuit cutter, cut out 24 circles of dough. Spoon generous 1 tablespoon of filling into the center or each dough circle, leaving 1/2 inch border. Brush the edges with egg wash and fold the dough circle in half to form a semi circle. Seal the edges by crimping it with hand or with fork. Chill for another 30 minutes before baking.
  • Preheat the oven to 375 degree. Place the empanadas on greased baking sheet, brush the tops with the remaining egg wash, and prick a couple of holes on the top with a fork to let the steam to escape. Bake for 30 minutes until the pastry is golden brown.
Make 24 servings