Baked Tonkastsu (Baked Pork Chop)烤猪排kǎo zhū pái

coverThese pork cutlets are juicy on the inside and are crispy on the outside. This is my favorite way to have pork chops. An important tip for oven-baked tonkatsu is that you can’t use thick pieces of pork loin.  It will take too long for the pork to cook through so keep in mind that the thickness of pork should be no more than 1/2 inch (1.2 cm).

Serves 4

  • 1 and half cup panko (Japanese breadcrumbs)
  • 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
  • 4 ½ inch-thick (1/2 inch = 1.2cm) boneless pork chops
  • 1 teaspoon                   kosher sea salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • ¼ cup                      all-purpose flour
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 spring onion (minced) and a few cherry tomatoes (cut into half), for garnishing, optional

For Tonkatsu sauce

  • 1 tablespoon             ketchup
  • 1 tablespoon              Worcestershire sauce
  • A half tablespoon oyster sauce
  • 1 teaspoon             sugarIMG_6422

Method

  1. Adjust an oven rack to the middle position and preheat the oven to 400F°(200C°).
  2. Combine the panko and oil in a frying pan and toast over medium heat until golden brown. Transfer panko into a shallow dish and allow to cool.
  3. Tenderize the pork chops by bashing with a meat mallet or rolling pin – this is optional. Sprinkle salt and freshly ground black pepper on the pork chops.
  4. Dredge each pork piece in the flour to coat completely and pat off the excess flour. Then dip into the beaten egg and finally coat with the toasted panko. Press on the panko flakes to make sure they adhere to the pork. Place the pork on the prepared baking pan or even better if you have an oven-safe wire rack (as air goes through on the bottom so panko won’t get crushed). Bake until the pork is no longer pink inside, about 20 minutes.
  5. Cut Tonkatsu into 1-inch pieces (so you can eat with chopsticks or fork) by pressing the knife directly down instead of moving back and forth. This way the panko will not come off. Transfer to a plate and serve immediately.
  6. To make Tonkatsu sauce, combine 1 tablespoon of ketchup, 1 tablespoon of Worcestershire sauce, a half tablespoon of oyster sauce and 1 teaspoon of sugar and whisk together. Adjust the sauce according to your liking. You can store in an airtight container and keep in the refrigerator for up to 2-3 weeks.

 

 

Bulgogi (Korean Grilled Beef)韩式烤牛柳hán shì kǎo niú liǔ

coverThis flavorful grilled beef needs to make an appearance on your summertime dinner soon! Literally speaking, bulgogi means “fire meat” in Korean.  You can grill on a barbecue or on a stove-top griddle. The thin slices of meat cooks quickly, and it’s so tender. The meat with its delicious glaze is often enjoyed with an addictively tasty dipping sauce.

 Serve 4

650g (1.5 pounds)       sirloin steak, thinly sliced

Marinade sauce

  • 2                       spring onions, thinly sliced
  • ½                      medium-size yellow onions, thinly sliced
  • 1                       large Asia pear, core and chopped into cubes
  • 2                       garlic cloves, crushed
  • 3 tablespoons  dark soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon    sesame oil
  • 2 teaspoons     lime juice
  • 1 teaspoon       freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons  caster sugar

Dipping sauce

  • 1 tablespoon               spring onions, minced
  • 1/2 tablespoon             Korean chili powder
  • ½ tablespoon              caster sugar
  • 1 tablespoon                rice vinegar
  • 1 to 1.5 tablespoon     light soy sauce (adjust the quantity to your taste and the sodium level of your soy sauce.)
  • 1 teaspoon                  sesame oil
  • 1 teaspoon                  sesame seeds, toastedIMG_6500

Method

  1. To make the marinade sauce, place the sliced spring onions and yellow onions in a large bowl. Core and chop the Asian pear, being careful to save the juices. Then add into the bowl. Combine rest of the marinade ingredients and mix well.
  2. Tenderize the steak by bashing with a meat mallet or rolling pin – this is optional. Then slice the sirloin steak into bite-size strips. The key here is to slice the meat as thin as possible. Throwing the steak in the freezer for 20-30 minutes helps with this process tremendously. Add the beef pieces to the marinade, stirring to coat them, leave to stand for 30 minutes to 2 hours to allow flavors to permeate and the meat to soften. Do not marinade it too long. The meat will become too salty.
  3. Heat a heavy griddle pan or frying pan. Add the beef slices and cook over medium heat. The meat cooks  very quickly, literally in seconds. Once the meat is cooked through, serve immediately with the dipping sauce. Garnish with the sliced green spring onion if necessary.

 

Meat Balls in Tomato Sauce

coverThe recipe makes a good use of canned or frozen vegetables and dried herbs you would already have in your well-stocked pantry. You can cook a large quantity to make a hearty meal or scoop out a few of those tender and juicy meatballs as your tapas choice.

Serves 3-4

  • 350g ground beef
  • 1 cup and half (80g) bread crumbs
  • 5 tablespoons Freshly grated Parmesan or Manchego Cheese
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 spring onions, minced
  • 2 teaspoons, fresh thyme, chopped, or ½ teaspoon, dry Thyme
  • ½ teaspoon, Turmeric powder黄姜粉
  • 2 large eggs
  • Salt and ground black peppercorn for seasoning
  • 3 tablespoons             extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 can (400g)                   plum tomato, roughly chopped
  • 3 tablespoons             dry red wine
  • 5 tablespoon, fresh basil, roughly chopped, or 1/2 teaspoon of dried basil
  • 1 tablespoon, fresh rosemary, roughly chopped, or use 1/3 dried rosemary
  • 1 cup, peas, use fresh or frozen onesIMG_7878

Method

  1. Combine the beef, bread crumbs, cheese, tomato paste, garlic, spring onions, thyme, turmeric powder, egg, salt and pepper in a bowl. Mix well. Shape the mixture into 16-18 small meatballs.
  2. Heat the oil in a large frying pan over medium-high heat, Add the meatballs and pan fry browned all over, 5-7 minutes.IMG_7882
  3. Add the canned tomatoes, wine, basil and rosemary. Simmer gently until the meatballs are cooked and the sauce is reduced. 10-15 minutes. Add the peas, cook for another 2-3 minutes. Season with salt and pepper and serve hot.

Shrimp Pad Thai泰式炒河粉tài shì chǎo hé fěn

coverPad Thai is such a tasty dish when done right, and it’s something we should be able to make reliably at home. You will want to use a wok that produces high heat to get that elusive wok flavor镬气(huò qì)or 锅气 found on the Thai street food. If you’ve got a bit of spare time, you may want to separate this shrimp pad Thai into two batches to really get the full effect of the Thai street food vendors who make pad Thai to order one serving at a time. Smaller portions, while not always practical, almost always guarantee better results when cooking at home. This Shrimp Pad Thai does require quite a bit of prep work and organization, but once everything is assembled, it really comes together quickly.

Tamarind is widely available in supermarkets. The fruit is a kind of a pod, 12 to 15 cm in length, with a hard, brown shell. The fruit has a fleshy, juicy, acidic and edible pulp. You can easily find canned Tamarind paste in Asia grocery stores. The consumption of tamarind pulp is widespread due to its central role in the cuisines of the Indian subcontinent, Southeast Asia, and the Americas, especially Mexico. In Western cuisine, tamarind pulp is found in Worcestershire Sauce and HP Sauce.

Serve 4

  • 200g dried pad Thai noodles (thin rice noodles)
  • 2/3 cup water
  • 3 tablespoons palm sugar or brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon,  caster sugar
  • 3 tablespoons  tamarind paste罗望子膏
  • 3 tablespoons  fish sauce鱼露
  • 2+2 tablespoons  cooking oil
  • 200g                       shrimp, shelled and deveined with tail on
  • 1 medium shallot or half of 1 red onion, thinly sliced
  • 3 cloves garlic, sliced
  • 2 tablespoons  salted preserved Chinese turnip or radish, washed in warm water and julienned (optional)
  • 2 pieces of extra firm tofu, cut into thin rectangles, 豆腐干
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 spring onions cut in inch long pieces
  • 1 cup  mung bean sprouts,washed and drained, 豆芽
  • 2 tablespoon roasted peanuts, crushed
  • For garnishing, use a handful of cilantro leaves, lime, or use banana bud if you are able to find them.IMG_6320

Method

STEP 1

Soak the pad thai noodles in warm water for about 20 minutes, and drain in a colander. If the noodles are in really long strands, you will want to cut them into 10- to 12-inch lengths, or you will end up with a huge noodle ball when cooking. And nobody wants a huge noodle ball.

STEP 2

Let’s prepare the pad thai sauce by combining water, tamarind paste,fish sauce and sugar in a sauce pan, and simmer over low heat for 15 minutes or till the sauce thickens. Transfer to a bowl and put aside.

STEP 3

  1. Heat a wok of 2 tablespoons of oil over high heat and sear the shrimp for 1 minute. Remove the shrimp immediately after they’ve gone opaque and are a little golden at the edges, leaving any excess oil in the wok. Set the shrimp aside.IMG_6323
  2. In the same wok, add into shallots and garlic over medium high heat and fry till aromatic. Add tofu and turn up the heat to high. Fry for 1 minute.
  3. Time to add the noodles! Add the noodles and stir-fry for about 30 seconds, or until all the ingredients are combined. Pour the pad thai sauce (made in the step 2) mixture over the noodles, and stir fry for 30 seconds or so. Push the noodles to one side of the wok to make way for the eggs. Add two tablespoons of oil to the clear area of the wok. Crack the two eggs in, stir and cook till set. Toss the eggs well with the noodles.
  4. Lastly, add the bean sprouts and spring onions. Stir fry everything at high heat until the bean sprouts are just cooked (about 1 to 2 minutes, depending upon how hot your flame can get). Toss in the cooked shrimp, and serve the Shrimp Pad Thai with crushed peanuts. Garnish with cilantro leaves and or/lime. Or even use Banana bud if you are able to find them.
  5. Serve immediately.

Sambal Eggplant叁巴茄子sān bā qié zǐ

coverTruly miss this spicy, flavorful and delicious Malaysia street food. Fortunately, we can find all the ingredients in the Asian grocery stores here in America. Jarred sambal paste (Malaysia chili paste) is available online or in the grocery store. But this Malaysia chili paste can be quickly made at home.  The sambal paste can go well with other vegetables like asparagus, cucumbers and sweet potato leaves.

Serve 2-4

  • 2-3 Asian purple eggplant (about 300g)
  • 5 tablespoons       cooking oil 
  • 3 tablespoons       Sambal paste (homemade recipe as below)
  • 1 tablespoon dried shrimp, soaked in warm water before use and drain
  • ½ teaspoon          brown sugar 
  • 1 teaspoon fish sauce
  • ½ teaspoon fresh lime juice

Homemade Sambal Paste叁巴酱

  • 8-10 red bird chilies or 4-5 long red chilies
  • 1   medium-sized tomato or 3-4 cherry tomatoes (this helps make the paste look red and bright, alternatively, you can use 4-5 red chilies based on your tolerance level of spiciness.)
  • 1 tablespoon belacan (Malaysia dry shrimp paste)
  • 3 medium-size shallots, peeled
  • 2 garlic cloves, peeled
  • 1 tablespoon brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon, cooking oil
  • ½ teaspoon, fresh lime juice
  • ¼ teaspoon saltIMG_7924

Method

  1. Cut the eggplant as you like, add 3 tablespoons of oil, fry until cooked, strain excess oil. 
  2. To make the sambal, using a blender, blend together red chilies shallots, garlic, belcacan,  salt, sugar, cooking oil and lime juice.  (add a little bit of water to help the blender motor get going.
  3. In a pan, place 2 tablespoons of oil, add the sambal paste & dried shrimp. Stir-fry over medium heat until sambal is well cooked and oil begins to appear on the surface, take about 5 mins. Sambal is done when the liquid has evaporated & the texture becomes scrambled. Adjust the seasoning, add fish sauce & sugar to taste.
  4. Add the fried eggplant, stir to mix. Cook just shortly and remove from heat. Sprinkle ½ teaspoon of lime juice. Serve hot with rice.

 

Tofu and Shrimp Casserole in Chicken Broth鲜虾豆腐煲xiān xiā dòu fǔ bāo

cover1This healthy, delicious one-pot dish can be customized with most quick-cooking vegetables — thinly sliced asparagus or radishes and brown or button mushrooms — and whatever tofu you have access to. The white peppercorn powder at the end will breathe a lot of much-needed life into this casserole dish built mostly from pantry staples, but a splash of rice wine vinegar would also do the trick.

Serves 3-4

  • 1 packet (about 400g)  firm or extra firm Tofu 北豆腐, cut into small cubes
  • 12-15 (about 200g)         medium-size shrimps, peeled and deveined
  • 1/4 teaspoon                  salt
  • ½ tablespoon                 light soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon                Chinese cooking wine
  • 1 teaspoon                    corn starch玉米淀粉
  • 1 spring onion              green and white parts separated, minced 葱白葱绿分开, 切成末
  • 2 tablespoons                 cooking oil
  • 1 cup                               chicken stock (click chinese homemade stock )
  • 1 tablespoon                   light soy sauce生抽
  • 2 tablespoons                  Chinese word-ear mushrooms (rehydrated one) or use button or brown mushroom, thinly sliced
  • 1 cup                                 frozen pea and carrot mix or any suitable vegetables of broccoli or asparagus
  • 1 teaspoon                          white sugar (optional)
  • A pinch of white peppercorn powder 白胡椒粉

Water starch

  • ¼ cup                   water in room temperature
  • 2 tablespoons        corn starch玉米淀粉IMG_6384

Method

  1. Cut tofu into square cubes (around 2cms). Bring a large amount of water to a boil and then add a pinch of salt. Slide the tofu in and cook for 1 minute. Move out and drain.
  2. Add 1/4 teaspoon of salt, ½ tablespoon of soy sauce, 1 tablespoon of cooking wine and 1 teaspoon of corn starch to the shrimp. Mix well and set aside.IMG_6386
  3. Mix 2 tablespoons of corn starch with ¼ cup of water in a small bowl to make the water starch.
  4. Get a pot and heat up around 2 tablespoons of oil, fry the minced white part of the spring onion for 1 minute over medium heat till aromatic, add into shrimp. Once the shrimp becomes translucent (50% cooked), then add the drained tofu cubes. Mix well and cook for about 2 minutes.
  5. Add into 1 cup of chicken stock and 1 tablespoon of light soy sauce and bring it to a boil. Add into mushroom, turn to low-medium heat, cover the pot and let it simmer for about 15 minutes.
  6. Now stir the water starch into the simmering pot – do this by three batches to allow tofu even coated with seasonings. Just wait for around 30 seconds before you add another 1 batch of the water starch. Taste the tofu and add pinch of salt if not salty enough. Stir into your choice of vegetables. Mix well. Cook for another 2-3 minutes.
  7. Sprinkle minced spring onions (green part).
  8. Serve immediately with steamed rice.

 

 

Thai Tom Yum Pork Stir-fry

cover1This is a twist on the famous Thai Tom Yum Soup. If you love the fresh and vibrant flavors of Thai Tom Yum Soup and want an alternative to it, give this Tom Yum Pork Stir-Fry recipe a try! The classic sour, sweet and spicy flavors of Thai Tom Yum are unmistakable in this quick and easy stir-fry.

Serve 3 to 4

  • 400g                              Pork loin, thinly sliced to bite size
  • 2+2 tablespoons          Tom Yum Paste (click here for homemade Tom Yum Paste)
  • 2 tablespoons               Cooking oil
  • 1 teaspoon                   caster sugar
  • 1 tablespoon                fish sauce
  • 50g                                 mushroom, sliced
  • ½ red bell pepper, cut into bite pieces
  • ½ onion or 2-3 shallots, cut into bite pieces
  • 4-5 Lime leaves
  • Salt to tasteIMG_6353

Method

  1. Add 2 tablespoon of Thai Tom Yum paste, 1 teaspoon of sugar, and 1 tablespoon of fish sauce to the pork. Mix well. Make sure each slice of pork is well coated with paste and seasonings. Allow the pork to sit aside for about 20 minutes.IMG_6354
  2. Add 2 tablespoons of cooking oil in the frying pan, turn to medium heat. Add into 2 tablespoons of Tom Yum paste. Stir fry till aromatic. Add into marinated pork slices. Cook for about 4-5 minutes till pork slice turn pale but not 100% cooked.
  3. Push all the ingredients to the side of the frying Pann, making way for the rest of the ingredients of mushroom, onion slices and red bell pepper. Stir fry the added veggies for another 1 minutes, then combine them with the pork until pork is well cooked.IMG_6357
  4. Finally, stir in lime leaves. Taste and add salt if needed. Give the dish one last stir to combine all the ingredients. Turn off the heat, then transfer the dish to a serving plate.IMG_6358