Sundubu Jjigae – 순두부찌개 (Soft/Silken Tofu Stew) Recipe

July 3, 2015 § Leave a comment

Don’t walk away! I know, I know. Soft….tofu….stew? 

That’s the #1 reaction I have gotten from every person who has never tasted this stew before, and you know what? I completely understand. I’ve got to admit, it does not sound appetizing. But let me try to change your mind, wait, blow your mind, with one of the most delicious dishes to have been created by the Korean people.

The second reaction I’ve received (after I’ve convinced my non-Korean friends to try soft tofu stew) is “OMG…this is one of the most amazing things I have ever tasted!”

So without further ado, here is a fool-proof, restaurant-quality-guaranteed soondooboo jjigae recipe that I created. I know that by calling this recipe “restaurant-quality”, it’s giving it a lot of hype. But trust me. Once you try making this version at home, it will be difficult to go out to eat soondubu in a restaurant because you KNOW you can make it just as well at home, maybe even better.

Notes:

1. The key to any delicious stew or soup is a deeply flavorful base broth. In the past, I never used “myul-chi” (Korean dried anchovies) or “dashima” (kombu or dried kelp) to flavor my soups, and ever since I made the change and substituted water for this broth, it has made a WORLD of a difference. I like to make a big batch at a time and freeze it, defrosting by the quart whenever I need to. For the anchovies, make sure the head and guts are removed prior to using.

2. If you don’t have these stove-safe stone bowls, no worries! Use any heavy-bottomed pot that can hold heat well and evenly. These stone pots were a lovely and generous wedding gift from our friends (thank you again, Park’s!) and they seem to make the stew taste better because they hold heat for so long (but be careful to heat them gradually, because any drastic temperature change will cause your bowls to crack). If you want to purchase them, you can do so here: http://www.amazon.com/Korean-Stone-Dolsot-Sizzling-Bibimbap/dp/B00AFLP06S/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1435969247&sr=8-1&keywords=hot+stone+bowl 

3. Use whatever toppings or add-ins you desire. My favorite are dumplings, so I always keep a bag of frozen dumplings in the freezer (my absolute go-to: Gyoza) and boil them for around 10 minutes while I’m making the jjigae. You can use clams, seafood, kimchi, vegetables, mushrooms, or whatever combination you’d like.

4. Be careful not to burn the gochukaru in the oil when toasting. They can go from toasted to burned in seconds so keep a watchful eye.

5. Korean red chili flakes – gochugaru/gochkaru – cannot be substituted with any other chili flake.

6. Since I was making 2 bowls simultaneously, I divided everything in half. If making 1 pot, use the quantities below. My husband doesn’t enjoy spice as much as I do, so I do my best to protect him from my raging spice-tolerance.

7. After adding the tofu, try not to stir it around too much. The longer it cooks/the more you stir it, the more watery the soup will get from the water that is being extracted from the tofu.

8. Make rice and eat it with the stew, there’s no better combination.

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Sundubu Jjigae – 순두부찌개 (Soft/Silken Tofu Stew) Recipe

Serves 2; 1 hour cooking time

Ingredients

  • 12 Korean dried anchovies (Myul-chi)
  • 8 small squares or 2 medium-sized pieces dashima (kombu) dried kelp
  • 3 cups water
  • 6-8 ounces sliced pork (pork butt, pork belly, pork loin)
  • 2 shallots, thinly sliced
  • 6 garlic cloves, minced finely
  • 2 tsp vegetable oil
  • 2 tsp sesame oil
  • FOR VERY SPICY – 3 tbsp gochugaru
  • FOR MEDIUM SPICY – 2 tbsp gochugaru
  • FOR MILD – 2 tsp gochugaru
  • 1/4 tsp sea salt
  • 1/2 – 1 tsp fish sauce (start with 1/2 tsp, taste, and if you need more, add up to 1/2 tsp more)
  • 1 1/2 cup dashi broth from above
  • Topping of your choice (I used 8 dumplings from my freezer that I boiled for 10 minutes)
  • 1 package sundubu cut in half
  • sea salt to taste (optional)
  • 2 egg
  • 2 green onion, sliced

Directions

  1. In a medium-sized pot, bring anchovies, dashima, and water to a boil. Once it comes to a boil, lower the heat to medium and simmer for 25 minutes.
  2. Start preheating the stone bowls (ttukgaebi) on low heat while you prepare the pork, shallots, and garlic (around 8-10 minutes).
  3. Thinly slice the pork and set aside in a bowl. Do the same for the shallots and garlic.
  4. When the pots are hot, add the vegetable oil and lightly coat the bottom of each pot with a wooden spoon.
  5. Add the sesame oil, and add the gochugaru flakes. Watch closely, they should instantly sizzle and bubble up and smell toasty. Once lightly toasted and slightly darker red in color, add the shallots and garlic.
  6. Once the shallots and garlic are lightly cooked, add the pork. Increase heat to medium, and saute until the pork becomes golden and deeply fragrant, around 5 minutes.
  7. Add the salt and fish sauce. Stir to combine.
  8. Using a strainer, measure around 1 1/2 cups of the dashi broth and add to the pots (if using 2 bowls, around 3/4 cup per pot).
  9. Increase the heat to medium-high and bring the stew to a boil. Add toppings/flavorings (if using). Add the sundubu, breaking up gently as you extract from the tube. Stir lightly into the stew and bring to a boil.
  10. Once the stew returns to a boil, around 3-4 minutes, taste and adjust for any seasonings. Turn off the heat and add green onion and egg. Serve with rice.

Tsukune Recipe

June 28, 2015 § Leave a comment

Tsukune are Japanese chicken meatballs. They are also undoubtedly one of my favorite Japanese foods. The best tsukune I have ever tasted was at Smorgasburg at our dear friend Kaoru’s yakitori stand – Yakitori Inglorious. The chicken is incredibly tender and flavorful, while being very clean and pure-tasting. I was shocked when the chef told me the short list of ingredients, but it made sense – incredible food doesn’t always have a ton of ingredients, pure flavor brings out the best in the quality of the ingredients you use.

This recipe comes very close to the amazing tsukune at Yakitori Inglorious. I incorporated some of the secrets the chef was kind enough to share with me, so trust me, this tsukune is delicious!

1. Use chicken breast. There are SO many recipes online for tsukune that recommend thighs, but chicken breasts taste cleaner and are more tender when combined with my special blend of ingredients in the recipe.

2. If you can’t find Kewpie Japanese mayonnaise, use regular mayo.

3. You can easily cook these on a stovetop if you’re not up for breaking out the oven in this summer heat. Just don’t use the skewers and use a non-stick skillet.

4. If using skewers, you’ll need between 24-30 and soak them in water for 30 minutes prior to using.

Introducing…my first video! Check it out and let me know what you think.

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Tsukune Recipe

Serves 3-4 or 12 yakitori skewers; 1 hour cooking time

Ingredients

  • 2 medium-sized chicken breast, around 1-1 1/2 lbs, ground in a food processor
  • 1 tsp vegetable oil
  • 2 medium onions, pureed in a food processor (around 1-1 1/2 cups)
  • 4 cloves of garlic, minced finely
  • 1/4 tsp of freshly grated ginger/juice
  • 4 tbsp panko bread crumbs
  • 2 tsp potato starch
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 1 tsp miso
  • 1 tsp kewpie mayonnaise
  • 1/4 tsp ground white pepper
  • Tare sauce (see below)

Directions

  1. In a large bowl, separate the ground chicken into thirds. Heat 1 tsp of oil in a non-stick skillet on medium heat and cook 1/3 of the ground chicken until fully cooked, around 2-3 minutes. Set aside in a separate bowl to cool.
  2. In the large bowl with the rest of the chicken, add the onion, garlic, ginger, bread crumbs, potato starch, sea salt, egg, miso, mayonnaise, and white pepper. Once the cooked chicken is cool, break apart any large clumps so that the mixture resembles coarse sand and mix into the ground chicken mixture. Using your hands, mix well until the mixture becomes very sticky and tacky. (It will look very unappetizing, but press on!)
  3. Fill a small bowl with water. Line two baking sheets with non-stick aluminum foil. Preheat broiler to the “low” setting. Wet your hands just before forming the meat into long oval shapes. Form ground chicken into 12 equal-sized oval shapes and place gently onto lined baking sheets.
  4. If using skewers: take the skewers out of the water and gently insert two each into each tsukune. Cover each exposed wooden skewer with foil, or else they will start smoking and ruin everything (like the first time I tried this…) Broil on low heat for 5 minutes until white and somewhat firm, then gently flip and cook for 5 minutes more on the other side. Then, baste with tare for 4 minutes, then flip them over again and baste and cook for 4 more minutes. Take them out, brush them one last time with tare, and broil on high for 1 minute and 30 seconds. They should be nicely caramelized on top.
  5. If cooking on the stovetop: heat a non-stick pan on medium heat with around 1 tbsp of vegetable oil. Slowly cook each side until they turn white and firm. Brush each side with tare once or twice, if you use too much tare, it will be too salty. Cook, flipping until each side becomes golden brown and caramelized.
  6. Eat with rice or veggies. If you have very fresh and safe eggs, break apart one egg yolk as a rich and decadent sauce. (We didn’t have super fresh or organic eggs so we did not do this.)

Tare Recipe

Yield: ~1 cup; 10 min. cooking time

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup soy sauce
  • 1/2 cup mirin (rice wine)
  • 2 tbsp sake
  • 4 cloves of garlic, minced finely
  • 1/2 tsp grated ginger
  • 1 tbsp brown sugar
  • 1 tbsp honey
  • 1/4 tsp ground pepper

Directions

  1. Mix all of the ingredients in a saucepan and bring to a boil on medium high heat.
  2. Reduce heat to medium low and simmer for 5-7 minutes, or until it’s thick enough to coat the back of your spoon.
  3. Remove from heat and cool. You can strain it if you’d like, but not necessary.

Phở Gà Recipe – Chicken Pho

March 29, 2015 § Leave a comment

I started making this pho last year when I saw a recipe for it posted on Smitten Kitchen. Chicken pho, I thought? I loved pho, but I had never ordered or even thought to order chicken pho, as my go-to was always beef. But, I had a disastrous experience trying to make beef pho a few years ago so I thought I would try my hand at this new chicken version. I AM SO GLAD I DID. This is probably one of the easiest, most delicious recipes you can introduce into your rotation (just a little time-consuming). But the broth freezes incredibly well, so you can make a huge pot of broth and enjoy it whenever you’d like.

I made my first attempt following Smitten Kitchen’s recipe to the T, and it was fabulous. And with every attempt, I’ve modified it so that it suits our taste buds and I think we’ve nailed it with this recipe.

1. I was very unsure about the quantity/selection of herbs and spices to use but the combination I found below is by far the most well-rounded and subtle mix.

2. I was alarmed by how much fish sauce I ended up using to season the broth, but don’t be as scared as I was. The broth should always taste slightly more salty than you would normally enjoy on it’s own, as after the addition of noodles, the flavor gets diluted quickly.

3. For the toppings, do whatever makes you happy. We usually use bean sprouts (my husband hates mung bean sprouts so we use soybean sprouts), basil (we actually love sweet basil instead of the Thai basil in this for some reason), fried shallots (we buy in big jars from the Asian grocery store), green onion, lime, and chilis.

4. You must use banh pho noodles. They have a very specific kind at the grocery store for pho, and you must use this. We personally like the very thin pho noodles (reminds us of ramen, maybe?) so we usually get the thinnest banh pho at the store.

5. We had an interesting experience where I realized that the “chickens” we bought from the Asian grocery store were actually roosters…with their heads and feet still intact. O_O I was too chicken (haha!) to use the heads but I did leave the feet in the stock as there is a ton of collagen and flavor in the feet so I am glad I did. But if anyone knows if it’s okay to use chicken heads in broth, please let me know.

6. This is completely optional, so if you can’t find it, no sweat! I found this “flavor enhancer” for pho ga at the grocery store (just MSG) that gave the broth another turbo boost of flavor, not that it needs it, but if you find it, use it!

(Apologies for the iPhone photos, I had some technical difficulty with my camera.)

Phở Gà

makes enough for 8 quarts of broth

adapted from Smitten Kitchen

4 large onions, quartered and outer papery layer removed
4 2-inch pieces of ginger, smashed
1 tbsp canola or vegetable oil
2 whole 4-5 lb chickens (or in our case, roosters)
2-3 lbs chicken wings/bones
10 quarts water
2 cinnamon sticks
10-12 cloves
20-24 black peppercorns
1 black cardamom pod
1/4 tsp star anise powder
1 tbsp sea salt (more to taste)
1/2 palm sugar chunk (around 1 – 1 1/2 tbsp)
1/2 cup fish sauce (more to taste, if needed)
4 green onions, white and greens removed (greens chopped thinly for garnish and whites left in tact)
banh pho noodles

Garnish:
fried shallots
chilis, sliced thinly (jalapeno, serrano, Thai bird chilis)
bean sprouts (soy or mung bean)
Basil leaves
cilantro
lime wedges
green onion (green onion from above)
sriracha
hoisin sauce

1. Preheat oven to 425. Coat onions and ginger with the oil in a bowl and spread onto a foil-lined or silpat baking sheet. Roast for 30-40 minutes, until they are browned and charred.

2. Fill a heavy-bottomed stock pot with water and bring up to a boil and add the chicken. Boil for 5 minutes, and then very carefully drain and discard the water. Wash the pot with soap and water. Rinse chicken in cold water and return back to the pot, add 10 quarts of water and bring to a bring on high heat. Add charred onions and ginger. Once it comes to a boil, reduce heat to medium and simmer for one hour. Every 10 minutes, skim the fat and scum.

3. After an hour, add spices: cinnamon sticks, cloves, peppercorns, black cardamom pod, star anise powder, salt, and palm sugar. Continue to simmer for at least 2-3 hours.

4. Remove the chicken and bones after 3 hours. They will fall apart as you take it out of the soup but try to get all the pieces. Set aside in a large bowl until cool enough to handle. Once cool, pick all the meat off in large pieces into a separate bowl and cover until needed.

5. Very carefully (this is a 2-person job), strain the broth into an 8-quart stock pot. The broth should have no chunks or pieces left and very clear.

6. Add the fish sauce and white parts of the green onion and return to a boil. Taste, and adjust seasonings if necessary and reduce heat to a simmer. After 10 minutes, remove the green onion.

7. Boil water and prepare banh pho according to package instructions. Drain, and serve immediately.

Assembly:

8. Heat up large soup bowls by putting some boiling water in them and letting them sit for a minute. This will help keep your pho hot. Discard the water.

9. On a large plate, place all the garnishes separately. In two small sauce bowls, add sriracha and hoisin. Set on the table so that people can pick and choose what they’d like in their individual bowls.

10. Add prepared noodles to hot bowls. Add reserved chicken pieces per bowl. Ladle broth into the bowl until it covers the noodles completely. Serve immediately, directing guests to add whatever toppings they would like.

Crack Pie Recipe

March 22, 2015 § Leave a comment

The first time I had the Momofuku Crack Pie at milk bar, I had one of those heavenly, out-of-body experiences. The kind where you taste something and you say “OH MY GOD, CAN SOMETHING ACTUALLY TASTE THIS GOOD?”

The only imperfection was that it was too sweet.

That might be my Korean-background talking, because traditionally, Korean desserts (and I would say most Asian-desserts and pastries) are very subtly sweet. This Crack Pie was a toothache-kind of sweet, but still so sinfully good. When I saw the recipe posted online, I knew I had to try making this at home, with modifications.

1. I cut the sugar in half. More shockingly, a little more than half. I knew that was an ambitious change and it could possibly be disastrous and end up being a waste of ingredients, but I was rewarded with the PERFECT pie. And surprisingly, it was still very sweet. Trust me on this, only use 1/2 cup of white sugar and it will be more than fine.

2. This dessert can only be made with a stand-mixer with a paddle attachment. I laughed at this at first, but I soon understood why. One of the first times I made this, I didn’t pay attention to the speed of the mixer and my pies came out too airy (which is NOT what you want for this recipe), and from then on I used the paddle attachment on the slowest speed to make a very dense, rich filling. Don’t make my mistake, even if it was still delicious, the texture is so lush and part of the reason why this pie is so good.

3. Corn powder might be hard to find so I used freeze-dried corn from Amazon and then I used a mortar and pestle to grind it into a fine powder. Ta-da! Corn powder. (http://www.amazon.com/Just-Corn-4-Ounce-Pouch/dp/B003SLQG5G/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1427077043&sr=8-2&keywords=just+corn)

4. Make the oat cookie first, then crack pie filling, and then assemble the crack pies.

This is a bit of a long-winded recipe but it’s completely worth it. The first time, it took me 3-4 hours and I did not think I would ever attempt it again, until we tried the pies and they were INCREDIBLE. They’re meant to be frozen and eaten very very cold so it’s the absolute perfect dessert to keep in the freezer for when company comes over for dinner. They’re a guaranteed crowd pleaser (or when you’re home alone, watching Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt, under a lot of blankets, with a glass of wine…).

I modified the recipe from the Momofuku website.

Without further ado, here is my recipe for a less-sweet version of the incredible Momofuku Crack Pie.

crack pie®

makes 3 (8-inch) pies; each serves 6-8 (I freeze all of them and eat them at my convenience or desire)

1 recipe oat cookie
15 g (1 tbs tightly packed) light brown sugar
1 g (1/4 tsp) salt
55 g (5 tbs) butter, melted, or as needed
1 recipe crack pie® filling
confectioners’ sugar, for dusting

1. heat the oven to 350°f.

2. put the oat cookie, brown sugar, and salt in a food processor and pulse it on and off until the cookie is broken down into a wet sand. (if you don’t have a food processor, you can fake it till you make it and crumble the oat cookie diligently with your hands.)

3. transfer the crumbs to a bowl, add the butter, and knead the butter and ground cookie mixture until moist enough to form into a ball. if it is not moist enough to do so, melt an additional 14 to 25 g (1 to 1½ tablespoons) butter and knead it in.

4. divide the oat crust evenly between 3 (8-inch) pie tins. using your fingers and the palms of your hands, press the oat cookie crust firmly into each pie tin, making sure the bottom and sides of the tin are evenly covered. use the pie shells immediately, or wrap well in plastic and store at room temperature for up to 5 days or in the fridge for up to 2 weeks.

5. put both pie shells on a sheet pan. divide the crack pie® filling evenly between the crusts; the filling should fill them three-quarters of the way full. bake for 20 minutes only. the pies should be golden brown on top but will still be very jiggly.

6. the pies should still be jiggly in the bull’s-eye center but not around the outer edges. if the filling is still too jiggly, leave the pies in the oven for an additional 5 minutes or so.

7. gently take the pan of crack pies® out of the oven and transfer to a rack to cool to room temperature. (you can speed up the cooling process by carefully transferring the pies to the fridge or freezer if you’re in a hurry.) then freeze your pies for at least 3 hours, or overnight, to condense the filling for a dense final product—freezing is the signature technique and result of a perfectly executed crack pie®.

8. if not serving the pies right away, wrap well in plastic wrap. in the fridge, they will keep fresh for 5 days; in the freezer, they will keep for 1 month. transfer the pie(s) from the freezer to the refrigerator to defrost a minimum of
1 hour before you’re ready to get in there.

9. serve your crack pie® cold! decorate your pie(s) with confectioners’ sugar, either passing it through a fine sieve or dispatching pinches with your fingers.

oat cookie recipe

makes about 1 quarter sheet pan

115 g (8 tbs) butter, at room temperature
75 g (1/3 cup tightly packed) light brown sugar
40 g (3 tbs) granulated sugar
1 egg yolk
80 g (1/2 cup) flour
120 g (1 1/2 cups) old-fashioned rolled oats
0.5 g (1/8 tsp) baking powder
0.25 g (pinch) baking soda
2 g (1/2 tsp) kosher salt
pam or other nonstick cooking spray (optional)

1. heat the oven to 350°f.

2. combine the butter and sugars in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment and cream together on medium-high for 2 to 3 minutes, until fluffy and pale yellow in color. scrape down the sides of the bowl with a spatula. on low speed, add the egg yolk and increase the speed to medium­ high and beat for 1 to 2 minutes, until the sugar granules fully dissolve and the mixture is a pale white.

3. on low speed, add the flour, oats, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. mix for a minute, until your dough comes together and any remnants of dry ingredients have been incorporated. the dough will be a slightly fluffy, fatty mixture in comparison to your average cookie dough. scrape down the sides of the bowl.

4. pam-spray a quarter sheet pan and line with parchment, or just line the pan with a silpat. plop the cookie dough in the center of the pan and, with a spatula, spread it out until it is 1/4 inch thick. the dough won’t end up covering the entire pan; this is ok.

5. bake for 15 minutes, or until it resembles an oatmeal cookie-caramelized on top and puffed slightly but set firmly. cool completely before using. wrapped well in plastic, the oat cookie will keep fresh in the fridge for up to 1 week.

crack pie® filling

makes enough for 3 (8-inch) crack pies®

you must use a stand mixer with a paddle attachment to make this filling. it only takes a minute, but it makes all the difference in the homogenization and smooth, silky final product. i repeat: a hand whisk and a bowl or a granny hand mixer will not produce the same results. also, keep the mixer on low speed through the entire mixing process. if you try to mix the filling on higher speed, you will incorporate too much air and your pie will not be dense and gooey-the essence of crack pie®.

160 g (1/2 cup + 1 tbsp) white granulated sugar
180 g (3/4 cup tightly packed) light brown sugar
20 g (1/4 cup) milk powder
24 g (1/4 cup) corn powder
6 g (1 1/2 tsp) kosher salt
225 g (16 tbs) butter, melted
160 g (3/4 cup) heavy cream
2 g (1/2 tsp) vanilla extract
8 egg yolks**

1. combine the sugar, brown sugar, milk powder, corn powder, and salt in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment and mix on low speed until evenly blended.

2. add the melted butter and paddle for 2 to 3 minutes until all the dry ingredients are moist.

3. add the heavy cream and vanilla and continue mixing on low for 2 to 3 minutes until any white streaks from the cream have completely disap­peared into the mixture. scrape down the sides of the bowl with a spatula.

4. add the egg yolks, paddling them into the mixture just to combine; be careful not to aerate the mixture, but be certain the mixture is glossy and homogenous. mix on low speed until it is.

5. use the filling right away, or store it in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 1 week.

**note: it will be the death of your wildly dense pie filling if there is any bit of egg white in the mixture. i believe the easiest, and best, way to separate an egg is to do so in your hands. you may also use the two half-shells to separate the eggs, but the cracked shells can tear the yolk open, and you may not totally separate all the white. if you do this by hand,you can feel when you get every last bit of white away from the yolk. remember to wash your hands under warm soapy water for 30 seconds or more before and after you handle raw eggs! save your egg whites for peanut butter nougat or pistachio cake, or cook them up for your doggies, for a shinier coat.

Tom Kha Gai Recipe

March 16, 2015 § Leave a comment

Tom kha gai is a Thai chicken coconut soup that I was introduced to recently within the past few years, and I have grown to love and crave it all the time.

Growing up, I never had Thai food. To our embarrassment, my family didn’t try a lot of things that we didn’t know. It was only after moving to a more diverse neighborhood when I was in high school, that we discovered many different ethnic cuisines that my family now loves as much as Korean food. We only wish that we had known about these foods sooner!

In college, my girlfriends and I were addicted to Nud Pob and Rod Dee in Boston. I STILL dream about their Star Noodles, Crispy Chicken Basil Pad Thai, and Eggplant Basil. YUM. While we were obsessed, I personally didn’t stray too far out of my comfort zone of pad thai and pad see ew (I’m so embarrassed!). Like many people, I began exploring more things and tastes only after I graduated college and moved to New York City, the perfect place to explore any curiosity.

This brings me to Thai food, in particular. I think the first “real” Thai food I had was at pok pok Brooklyn a few years back, where it changed my life! I never knew how complex and incredible these flavors were, the sour and sweet, salty and tangy, and my favorite, the SPICE. YUM. I knew I had to graduate from my elementary Thai taste buds and dive into this unknown, thrilling world. And I am so glad I have.

I love Thai food and have really come to embrace it in my own home kitchen. I’ve tried my hand at making my favorite dishes, and I have a couple more recipes to add to that list.

This soup is so delicious. It’s tangy, salty, a little sweet, and creamy, and an altogether perfect balance of these complex Thai flavors. Please try to find the kaffir lime leaves, galangal, and lemongrass (the “Holy Trinity” of Thai cooking), they truly make this dish outstanding and inimitable.

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Tom Kha Gai Recipe

Serves 2 -3 large servings; 30 minutes prep + cooking time

Ingredients

  • 1 medium-sized chicken breast, around 11/2 lbs, sliced thinly against the grain
  • 1 tbsp + 2 tbsp fish sauce, divided
  • 1 shallot, quartered (you can substitute a small onion)
  • 5 cups low-sodium chicken stock, plus 1 cup
  • 1 inch slice of galangal, sliced into thin rounds
  • 1 stalk of lemongrass, trimmed to about 1 ft, the outer tough layers removed and bruised
  • 5 kaffir lime leaves, torn and center stems removed
  • 1 tsp palm sugar
  • 8 ounces of whatever mushroom you like, we chose beech (shimeji) and shiitake mushrooms, sliced or broken into small clusters with the shiitake stems reserved for the broth
  • 1 14 oz. can unsweetened coconut milk
  • 2 tbsp lime juice
  • salt to taste, optional
  • cilantro, optional
  • red chili flakes, optional
  • green onion, sliced thinly optional

Directions

  1. Marinate chicken breast in 1 tbsp of fish sauce. While chicken is marinating, heat broiler on high and blister shallots for 4-5 minutes, or until edges are charred. Watch carefully, it’s easy to burn using the broiler.
  2. Heat chicken stock on medium-high heat until boiling gently. Add blistered shallots, galangal, lemongrass, and kaffir lime leaves. I like to put shiitake mushroom stems into my soups for more flavor so if you are using fresh shiitake, put your stems into the soup at this point. Boil for 8-10 minutes. Add palm sugar and dissolve into the stock. Strain the broth and return back to medium-high heat. Add chicken and poach in gently boiling stock until cooked through, around 5 minutes. Add mushrooms and cook through, 2-3 minutes.
  3. Lower heat to medium-low and add coconut milk. If your coconut milk is very thick, add more chicken stock if necessary.
  4. Add fish sauce and lime juice, and turn off the heat. Taste, and adjust seasoning with salt or more fish sauce or lime juice if necessary.
  5. Divide soup among bowls. Garnish with cilantro, green onion, and chili flakes.

Gyoza Recipe

March 14, 2015 § 1 Comment

When my husband Kahn and I were in Tokyo this past September, he took me to a famous restaurant in Harajuku that specializes in “gyoza”. I had never had an exceptional gyoza in my life, so I was excited. We ordered gyoza served two ways, one boiled and the other pan-fried. They were delicious. They tasted incredibly clean, perfectly seasoned, and the texture was so soft and tender. I could see why they were known for their gyoza, I can still remember how amazing they were.

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I have probably tried making a hundred different type of dumplings in my life so far. After tasting every single one of them, I’ve always been left wanting something more from the recipe, even the incredibly delicious ones. I’ve tried Korean, Chinese, Japanese, Thai, Vietnamese recipes and while it’s been very fun tasting these experiments, it has been frustrating as well. Ever since our trip, I was a little scared to attempt making another so-so dumpling recipe. And, it didn’t help when Kahn told me that many Japanese women make a special gyoza recipe for their household. No pressure, really! Why is it so hard to find “the one” recipe when it comes to dumplings?

That is…until now.

I love reading seriouseats.com, and whenever Kenji comes out with a new recipe or “Food Lab” experiment, I can’t wait to read what he has discovered. And, after trying nearly every single recipe he posts, I can trust his taste and I know I will like the dishes themselves (90% of the time, there have been a couple duds). This gyoza recipe is my favorite recipe of his so far. I adapted it only a little bit, because it really was THAT good. I didn’t use any sauce as the gyoza was perfectly seasoned, but the sauce recipe he provides sounds delicious as well.

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The Best Japanese Pork and Cabbage Dumplings (Gyoza)

Adapted from http://www.seriouseats.com/recipes/2015/03/the-best-japanese-pork-and-cabbage-dumplings-gyoza-recipe.html

YIELD: Makes 30 to 45 gyoza, serving 4-5
ACTIVE TIME: 1 hour
TOTAL TIME: 1 hour

Ingredients

  • For the Dumplings:
  • 1 1/2 pound finely minced Napa cabbage (about 1/2 a large head)
  • 1 tablespoon kosher salt, divided
  • 1 pound ground pork 
  • 1/2 teaspoon white pepper
  • 1 tablespoon minced fresh garlic (about 3 medium cloves)
  • 1 teaspoon minced fresh ginger
  • 1/2 cup of chopped scallions 
  • 2 teaspoons sugar
  • 1 package dumpling wrappers (40 to 50 wrappers)
  • Vegetable or canola oil for cooking
  • For the Sauce:
  • 1/2 cup rice vinegar
  • 1/4 cup soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoons chili oil (optional)

Procedures

  1. For the Dumplings: Combine cabbage and 2 teaspoons salt in a large bowl and toss to combine. Transfer to a fine mesh strainer and set it over the bowl. Let stand at room temperature for 15 minutes.
  2. Transfer cabbage to the center of a clean dish towel and gather up the edges. Twist the towel to squeeze the cabbage, wringing out as much excess moisture as possible. Discard the liquid.
  3. Combine pork, drained cabbage, remaining teaspoon salt, white pepper, garlic, ginger, scallions, and sugar in a large bowl and knead and turn with clean hands until the mixture is homogenous and just mixed.
  4. Set up a work station with a small bowl of water, a clean dish towel for wiping your fingers, a bowl with the dumpling filling, a parchment-lined rimmed baking sheet for the finished dumplings, and a stack of dumpling wrappers covered in plastic wrap.
  5. To form dumplings, hold one wrapper on top of a flat hand. Using a spoon, place a 2 teaspoon- to 1 tablespoon-sized amount of filling in the center of the wrapper. Use the tip of the finger on your other hand to very gently moisten the edge of the wrapper with water (do not use too much water). Wipe fingertip dry on kitchen towel.
  6. Working from one side, carefully seal the filling inside the wrapper by folding it into a crescent shape, pleating in edge as it meets the other. Transfer finished dumplings to the parchment lined baking sheet.
  7. At this point the dumplings may be frozen by placing the baking sheet in the freezer. Freeze dumplings for at least 30 minutes then transfer to a zipper-lock freezer bag for long-term storage. Dumplings can be frozen for up to 2 months and cooked directly from the freezer.
  8.  To Cook: Heat 1 tablespoon of vegetable oil in a medium non-stick skillet over medium heat until shimmering. Add as many dumplings as will fit in a single layer and cook, swirling pan, until evenly golden brown on the bottom surface, about 1 1/2 minutes.
  9. Increase heat to medium-high, add 1/2 cup of water and cover tightly with a lid. Let dumplings steam for 3 minutes (5 minutes if frozen), then remove lid. Continue cooking, swirling pan frequently and using a thin spatula to gently dislodge the dumplings if they’ve stuck to the bottom of the pan, until the water has fully evaporated and the dumplings have crisped again, about 2 minutes longer. Slide dumplings onto a plate, turning them crisped-side-up before serving with the sauce.
  10. For the Sauce: Combine vinegar, soy sauce, and chili oil.

Bacon, Cheddar, and Portobello Mini-Quiche Recipe 

March 12, 2015 § Leave a comment

I get an incredible amount of food-envy when I smell something that someone is eating around me. Usually, I succumb to my weakness and end up ordering/eating whatever that desirable food item is.

The other morning, it was this quiche that my coworker Amanda had brought in for breakfast. She sent me the recipe and I went nuts that night making my own version. And although it wasn’t quite the immediate satisfaction of eating it when I initially smelled it, it was worth the wait.

This has a ton of stuff in it, so don’t be alarmed. It works.

I’ll start posting my step-by-step photos again after I relearn how to use my camera…haha it’s not like riding a bike!

Hats off to my inspiration – http://www.healthytippingpoint.com/2011/05/moms-amazing-quiche.html


Bacon, Cheddar, and Portobello Mini-Quiche Recipe

Serves 4, with leftovers
Cooking & Prep Time: 1 hour, less if you use store-bought pie crust 
What you need: Cupcake tin, cupcake liners, food processor, rolling pin

Ingredients

 
Pie Crust (or you can use your own favorite pie-crust recipe):
  • 1 1/4 cups unbleached, all-purpose flour
  • 8 tbsp of butter (1 stick), cut into small pieces
  • 1/2 tsp sugar
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 4-5 tbsp ice-cold water
 
Quiche:
  • 4-5 slices of bacon
  • 3 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1 bundle of spinach, washed thoroughly
  • 1 tbsp butter
  • 8 ounces of baby portobello mushrooms, sliced
  • 1/2 small onion, chopped finely
  • 1/2 red bell pepper, diced finely
  • 2 green onions, chopped finely
  • 8 large eggs
  • 1 cup grated cheddar cheese
  • 1/4 tsp ground black pepper

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
  2. In a food processor, add the flour, butter, sugar, and salt and pulse together until the butter is crumbly-looking and pea-sized. 
  3. Add water, 1 tbsp at a time while pulsing. Pulse until the dough forms into a ball on the side of the bowl. Be patient and pulse very slowly, the dough will eventually come together even if it looks too dry. 
  4. Take the ball out and cover with plastic wrap, then put in the refrigerator for 30 minutes while we assemble ingredients for the quiche.
  5. Cook bacon in a skillet to however you like it. I usually love bacon slightly crispy with a little chew, usually when it’s golden brown. Set aside on a paper-towel-lined plate, and discard the bacon fat. 
  6. Heat 1 tbsp olive oil in the same skillet on medium-high heat with the garlic and heat until fragrant, around 15 seconds. 
  7. Add spinach, cook until wilted and soft, around 5 minutes. 
  8. Tilting the pan, squeeze out excess water from the spinach using your wooden spoon and remove spinach into a bowl to cool.
  9. Return skillet to the heat, add 1 tbsp of butter, and add sliced mushrooms and onions. Sprinkle lightly with salt, be careful not to oversalt because the cheese will make the quiche salty. Saute for around 5-7 minutes, or until the onions are soft and translucent and the liquid has almost evaporated completely.
  10. Add diced bell pepper to the pan and saute for a minute. 
  11. Turn off the heat, and add the chopped green onions and mix. Remove mixture to a separate bowl.
  12. Line a cupcake tin with cupcake liners. To be extra safe, I like to spray the inside of each cupcake liner lightly with PAM or other non-stick spray.
  13. Take out the chilled dough and using a knife, halve the ball and save it for another use. Using a rolling pin, roll out the dough to around a 1/4 inch thickness and use a circular stencil to cut out 12 equally shaped discs to line the bottom of each cupcake liner. (I didn’t have a stencil, but I used the top of one of my spice jars and it worked perfectly.)
  14. Drop a spoonful of spinach on top of the pie-crust, and distribute evenly. 
  15. In a large mixing bowl with a handle (I like using my 8 qt. pyrex glass measuring cup), beat 8 eggs. 
  16. Add the grated cheese and pepper to the eggs, and stir.
  17. Add the mushroom, onion, bell pepper, green onion mixture to the eggs and mix well. 
  18. Using a big spoon, spoon an equal amount of filling into each of the 12 cupcake tins. Distribute egg at the end equally to all tins.
  19. Crumble bacon with your hands and place on top of each quiche, pressing gently so they are a little submerged.
  20. Place in oven for 25 minutes, or until golden brown. 
  21. Enjoy after they have cooled a little bit, and to reheat, place in the microwave for 30 seconds. These can be frozen in zip-lock bags after they’ve been cooked and cooled for 2 weeks. Grab one on the go in the morning for a quick, easy, and delicious breakfast. 

5 Days Until Our First Anniversary…

January 23, 2012 § Leave a comment

What a whirlwind of a year it has been for CozyBogie!
I cannot believe the amazing support, kindness, and comments you’ve shown me over the past year, and I am simply floored and grateful at the response this little pet project of mine has received.

Here’s a post dedicated to “other adventures” and to my darling friends Sonia and Margaret.

Please visit http://www.blog.sonialimphotography.com/ for the fabulous photographs from our weekend. 🙂

I don’t know how she does it…because her pictures are always so so SO amazingly gorgeous. Here are the Ippufuku pork buns that I made, photographed beautifully by Sonia…I hope my guests enjoyed them as much as I enjoyed their company – our bond was strengthened by enduring the best-worst-movie of all time.

More soon…

Noodles with Black Bean Sauce – Jja Jang Myun ‘짜장면’ (Jajangmyeon)

January 15, 2012 § 6 Comments

First things first….WOOHOOOOOOOOOOOO G-MEN!

Now onto what you’re (hopefully) here for…here’s another one of my favorite dishes, Jja Jang Myeon – CozyBogie-style!

Many times, I have been unimpressed with many restaurant-versions of jjajangmyun. I found that they were either too salty, or not salty enough, too MSG-laden, or completely flavorless. I have been meaning to come up with an easy home-edition for a while, and in part two of the bachelor-pad takeover (Part 1 – “Oil Rice”), we embarked on a quest for a great jjajang sauce.

I think this is a delicious and easy recipe to make at home. This will give you a LOT of sauce and easily feed around 6-8 people, or you can freeze it and save it for later.

Notes:

1. Sugar is optional. If you like how your sauce tastes before putting the sugar in, just leave it out. I found that the rice wine marinade for the pork sweetens the sauce, so I did not think it needed any more sugar.

2. Try to use fresh pulled noodles specifically made for jja jang myun (sold in Asian grocery stores). In a bind, you can substitute with spaghetti.

3. Salt is to taste. Some people like their sauces saltier, some like it milder, especially those who are watching their sodium intake. Always start with a tiny amount because you can always add more but you can never subtract.

Noodles with Black Bean Sauce – Jja Jang Myun ‘짜장면’ (Jajangmyeon)

Ingredients

  • 1 lb pork loin, cubed into 1/2 inch pieces
  • 2 tbsp rice wine
  • 1 tbsp grated ginger
  • salt and pepper to taste, around 1/2 tsp each
  • 2 large onions, cubed into 1/2 inch pieces
  • 2 medium to large grey squash, cubed into 1/2 inch pieces
  • 2 potatoes, cubed into 1/2 inch pieces
  • 1 cup of radish, cubed into 1/2 inch pieces
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 7 tbsp (around 3/4 cup) of Korean black bean paste (chun jang)
  • 2 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 2 tbsp potato or corn-starch
  • 2 tbsp water
  • 1 tbsp soy sauce
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 tsp sugar* OPTIONAL
  • cucumber slices, to garnish
  • 1 package of hand-pulled noodles, cooked according to package instructions

Directions

  1. Marinate pork, rice wine, ginger, and salt and pepper in a bowl for 15 minutes.
  2. In 2 tbsp of vegetable oil, cook the marinated pork until golden brown on medium heat and set aside, while reserving oil and pan drippings in the pot.
  3. Saute radish and potato, cook for four minutes, add onion and squash, cook until translucent, around five minutes, all on medium-heat. Add salt and pepper to taste.
  4. Add 3 cups of water and pork and then boil for 15-20 minutes, until the onions are completely soft and radish and potatoes are cooked through.
  5. In a small pan, heat 2 tbsp of vegetable oil on medium heat and then add the black bean paste, and saute 2 minutes.
  6. Add sauteed black bean paste to the sauce, and mix well until it is all dissolved. Cook for 5 minutes.
  7. Make a slurry with potato or corn-starch and water, (this just means mix the starch and water together and mix well), and then quickly add while stirring rapidly into the sauce. Add soy sauce. Cook for 1 minute.
  8. Taste, and if necessary, add salt and pepper.
  9. Once the noodles are cooked, drain thoroughly and rinse once with water to get rid of some of the starch. Then, place noodle-servings into bowls and then add sauce on top with cucumber garnish (optional).
  10. Enjoy with some kimchi or better yet, kkakdugi! 🙂

Taiwanese Glutinous “Oil Rice” 油飯 (You Fan)

January 13, 2012 § 8 Comments

Today, I have something really special to share with you, all thanks to my beautiful, dear, dearest-love Ellen.

I have been hounding my Chinese friends to teach me their home-style recipes (ones you can only find on secret menus in Chinese restaurants) for the past couple years. I’ve been so lucky, with my friend Serena teaching me her crispy pork-and-shrimp-filled tofu, and today, a very special dish from my one and only Superspy.

This “oil rice” (it’s literal translation) is a special dish from Taiwan, something I learned from Ellen during our culinary-lesson. She told me that different areas in Taiwan have unique takes on the dish, and it’s open for personalization. (I took advantage of this and asked her to add a LOT of shitake mushrooms… 🙂

Her family’s version uses pork and fried shallots. Unfortunately, we were unable to find any fried shallots in the grocery store, but let me assure you, this dish introduced me to a new layer of food-exploration in my journey to eat all delicious things. It’s SO delicious! And REMARKABLY easy! The flavors are so pure and nuanced, the pork is a delicious meaty-addition, and the mushrooms round out the earthiness of the sesame oil and sweet rice. Love!

Thank you, Eugene, for opening up your bachelor-pad and letting us wreak havoc in your brand-new-kitchen, it is extremely-appreciated. And most of all, thank you Ellen, who was so gracious for allowing me to be a part of this amazing, personal family dish and letting me share here. I hope you enjoy this, and I hope this dish can create wonderful warm memories in your own homes as it did for me.

Notes:

1. The aforementioned fried shallots: We were unable to find  these at the H-mart in Manhattan, but Ellen tells me they can be found in most Chinese supermarkets. I will definitely look for this next time I am in Chinatown, because she tells me that the textural contrast with the crispy bits is a wonderful complement to the smooth-nature of the rice. We used an onion, which we fried, and it was still delicious. Try to find shallots, though.

2. The measurements aren’t EXACT…apologies…but again, it’s really to taste on your personal preference. Ellen told me that she knows when it’s ready when it’s a certain color when she’s mixing in the soy sauce and sesame oil at the end, so it’s really up to you if you like yours to be nuttier with sesame oil, or saltier with soy sauce. I wish I had taken exact measurements for her version though, because it was pretty amazing.

3. If using dried shitake mushrooms, as we did, rehydrate in water for at least one hour before using, and SAVE all the delicious mushroom-water.

4. All of this writing is making me hungry, so without further ado…here it is!

Taiwanese Glutinous Oil Rice 油飯 [You Fan]

Ingredients

  • 3 cups sweet rice
  • 2+ cups water
  • 2 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 1/2 lb sliced pork loin, cut into thin strips
  • 3 tbsp rice wine (mirin) or Shaoxing rice wine
  • 2 tbsp soy sauce
  • 2 tbsp corn starch
  • 1/2 tbsp grated ginger
  • 1/2 lb shitake mushrooms, soaked and squeezed (reserve mushroom water!)
  • 1 shallot, or 2 tbsp of fried shallot
  • 3+ tbsp sesame oil, to taste
  • 3+ tbsp soy sauce, to taste

Directions

  1. Cook rice according to package instructions with water. While rice is cooking, prepare pork.
  2. Marinate pork in the rice wine, soy sauce, ginger, and corn starch. Set aside in the refrigerator for 15 minutes.
  3. Remove soaked mushrooms from water, and squeeze excess into bowl. Save this water! Remove the mushroom stems and slice in thin slices and set aside.
  4. Heat 2 tbsp oil in a large wok or pan, and cook your shallots if you are using fresh shallots until they are golden, and then add pork.  (Forget the shallots if you are using fried, you will add these at the end then). Once pork is cooked through, add mushrooms. Cook until mixture is evenly cooked through.
  5. Add the sweet rice to the pan, and mix well so that all the pork and mushrooms are evenly distributed. Add the mushroom water as needed to moisten the rice. Then, one tablespoon at a time, add sesame oil and soy sauce, and taste after around the second or third tbsp-additions. Add until your desired taste is reached.
  6. If using fried shallots, add on top at the end.
  7. ENJOY!! It also tastes pretty amazing with your desired hot sauce (sriracha, tabasco, etc).