Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Braised Daikon and Carrots

Here I go on another food adventure...

In the middle of the forest of vegetables in the country of Ralphs, I found a foreign plant that I have never handled before: the DAIKON RADISH! Though I know it was the middle of a mild summer, I was craving for them. I could not wait for winter to harvest these white roots*. I hurried to Ralphs' border and paid off the customs fees at the automated self-checkout for my flight back home.

*Note: Daikons are in season and sweetest in the winter or in colder weather. They will be slightly bitter out of season, but for this dish, the bitterness is eliminated by the sweetness of miso and soy sauce.

Braised Daikon and Carrots

1 Daikon radish
4 Organic carrots
3/4 cup Water
1/4 cup Soy sauce
1/4 cup Rice wine
1 tsp Rice vinegar
1 tbs White miso paste
1 tbs Rock sugar (about big enough to fit in a tablespoon)
Dash sesame oil

Prepwork of slashing vegetation
1. Peel daikon and carrots
2. Chop them into wedge chunks
3. Mix soy sauce, rice wine, and water together

1. Heat canola oil in a pot
2. Throw in daikon and carrots to brown, occasionally stirring (5-7 minutes)
3. Add in soy sauce mixture.
4. Wait until the mixture begins to boil and throw in rock sugar.
5. Stir occasionally until the sugar dissolves.
6. Add in miso paste, rice vinegar, and stir.
7. Turn heat on low to simmer.
8. Cover and cook for 30 minutes or until daikon is soft and the flavor has seeped in.
9. Finish by drizzling a little sesame oil on top.

Yea... this is my first time using daikon radishes in a dish. I see my aunts and parents make daikon radishes and carrots all the time with beef or some sort of meat. I guess I decided to be healthy today and leave out the meat.

Hong Kong Style Swiss Wings (瑞士雞翼)

At work, I was looking at different styles of Chinese cuisine and stumbled upon Swiss chicken wings. That has to be one of the weirdest names for a Chinese dish. Apparently, as rumors say, the name came from a Westerner interpreting "sweet chicken" as "Swiss chicken" from waiter/waitress at a restaurant in Hong Kong; thus the name stuck.

This style of chicken is one thing that I miss from Hong Kong. It is so delicious with a sweet aroma and hint of spiciness that dances on your tongue.

Hong Kong Style Swiss Wings (瑞士雞翼)

2-3 lbs Wings
1/2 cup Soy sauce
1 cup Water
5 Star anise
2 Red chili peppers
1 tbs Rice wine
2 tbs Rock sugar (about 1 1/2 inch diameter spherical chunk of rock)
3 Green onions
1 inch Ginger piece
Sesame oil
White pepper

1. Wash and pat dry wings
2. Remove wings from drumlets
3. Season with a little white pepper
4. Mix chicken with rice wine
5. Let the chicken marinate for 10 minutes
6. Slice ginger into 4 parts
7. Mix soy sauce and water

1. Heat up canola oil in a pot
2. Toss in chicken and lightly brown the skin of the chicken (about 5 minutes)
3. Add in ginger, break red chili peppers, and star anise into the pan and stir around for a minute or until slight aroma comes out
4. Add soy sauce mixture and rock sugar
5. Wait until the liquid boils and the rock sugar dissolves
6. Turn down heat to simmer, add in green onions and a dash of sesame oil on the wings.
7. Cover and cook for 30-45 minutes on low heat. (if the liquid does not fully cover the wings, remember to turn the wings over every 10 minutes)

You can store this overnight and reheat it on the stove again for even greater flavor.

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Taiwanese Beef Noodle Soup (牛肉麵 niu rou mian)

The other day, I was having a huge craving for Taiwanese beef noodle soup after I ordered a ticket for Taiwan, where I will be in August. With that being said, will anyone be in Taiwan August through September that wants to go eat yummies with me?

For my beef noodle soup, it takes quite a lot of time to make because I love lots of beef flavor from beef marrow bones and beef itself. The main component of this dish is beef shank, which gives the soup a meaty flavor and also it has a lot of meat. It's cheap and is only $2.49 per pound. You can ask the butcher at Whole Foods or at 99 Ranch for this cut of meat.

The bones were obtained at Whole Foods and can be found in the frozen meat section. I only trust Whole Foods for marrow bones and maybe Ralphs too because I had a horrible experience with the bones from 99 Ranch.

Taiwanese Beef Noodles Soup (牛肉麵 niu rou mian)

2 lbs Beef shank
1 lb Stew beef
2 lbs Beef marrow bones
2 tbs Chili bean paste (find in Asian markets)
3 cloves Garlic
2 large Onion (I used Maui Hawaiian onions from Trader Joes)
2 Roma Tomatoes
2 Organic carrots
1 inch Ginger
1/2 cup Soy sauce
1/4 cup Rice wine
1/4 cup Brown sugar
3 Star anise
1 tbs Rock sugar
Green onions
Baby bok choy

Prep work for the stock
1. Slice 1 onion in half
2. Slice 1/2 inch ginger and smash it with the blade of the knife
3. Heat oven for 400F.
4. Pat Bones dry and roast in the oven for 15-20 minutes or until bones are brown.
5. Put bones, onion, ginger, and stew beef in a 6 Quart stock pot and fill up the pot almost to the top with water.
6. Bring to a boil and reduce heat.
7. Simmer the water for 5 hours covered.
8. Strain the stock and pick out the stew beef.
9. Chill until fat solidifies and remove the fat (I used the fat to brown the beef shank)

Prep work for the beef noodle soup
1. Peel and slice the carrots into three parts
2. Cut the tomatoes into quarters
3. Take the other 1/2 inch of the ginger and smash with the blade of the knife
4. Smash garlic and peel the skin off
5. Boil water in a large pot.
6. Throw in beef shank until it looks like the surface of the beef has been cooked (2-3 minutes)

1. Heat up a large pot so that it can support the whole beef shank.
2. Put in beef lard from the stock or 2 tbs of oil in the pot.
3. Brown the sides of the beef shank 2-3 minutes)
4. Add in brown sugar and chili bean paste to coat the beef shank and cook for another 1-2 minutes.
5. Add ginger, star anise, and garlic and stir around the beef shank and cook for another 1-2 minutes.
6. Add the rice wine and cover for 3-5 minutes.
7. Add the hot stock, including the stew beef, soy sauce, rock sugar, carrots, 1 onion, and tomatoes.
8. Simmer covered for 4-5 hours on low heat.
9. Taste the soup. It should be relatively spicy and sweet with a hint of soy flavor. If it is too salty, add a little more water. Not enough flavor, add a little bit of salt.
10. Take out the large beef shank
11. Wait until it cools then slice it into thin pieces. (These pieces can also be used for cold appetizer with greens onions, soy sauce, and sesame oil)
12. Cook some Asian wheat noodles or udon noodles according to instructions.
13. Cook baby bok choy in water.
14. Finely chop the green onion
15. Put noodles in a bowl and spoon soup into it.
16. Add slices of beef and the green onions.

I haven't had good beef noodle soup in awhile. I guess this will be my Taiwanese treat in America before I venture into Taiwan.

Also, one of the blogs I follow, Tasty Eats at Home, is giving away coconut oil. I hope I win it. Time to do lots of experimentation with this oil xD.

Taiwanese Braised Pork (滷肉)

This summer, I guess I am on a trend of making Chinese/Taiwanese food. Sometimes it is great to go back and cook food that is my culture, such as going back to play the original Starcraft for several hours. Not to mention, the food is beyond delicious.

When I am in Taiwan, braise pork (滷肉: lu rou) is found in many households and also severed in many lunchboxes. It is quite simple to make in a large quantity enough to last you for several years like how instant ramen can last an engineer for his 4-5 years as an undergrad.

Taiwanese Braised Pork (滷肉)

1 lb Ground pork
5 Shittake mushrooms
1/2 inch Ginger
2 Green onions
4 cloves Garlic
1/3 cup Fried shallots
1 tbs Rock sugar
1 tbs Dark brown sugar
1/3 cup Rice wine
1/2 cup Soy sauce
1 cup Water
1 tsp Asian five spice powder

Prep work of mass cutting
1. Dice garlic.
2. Dice mushrooms
3. Slice ginger into three pieces
4. Slice green onion stalks into 1 inch pieces

Cooking to make your apartment smell
1. Heat a pot with a little bit of oil.
2. Toss in the garlic, ginger, and ground pork.
3. Stir the meat until all sides look like it is about half cooked.
4. Add in fried shallots, five spice powder, and brown sugar and mix well to incorporate evenly
5. Cook for additional 1-2 minutes.
6. Add in the rest of the liquid components and rock sugar, and stir well.
7. Add enough water to cover the meat (should be about 1 cup or more).
8. Cook covered for 1-2 hours.
9. Taste to see if it is flavorful, add more soy sauce if there isn't enough flavor and more water if it is too salty.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Rootbeer Baked Beans

For July 4th, there has to be sides for the BBQ. What is a BBQ without sides? It'll just be a giant meat fest that is unbalanced and super unhealthy for you (not saying that the sides are any healthier xD). I guess it'll be a balance of flavors.

Root Beer Baked Beans

6 slices Applewood-smoked bacon
2 1/2 cups Chopped onions
2 Garlic cloves
4 15 oz cans Cannellini (white kidney beans)
1 bottle Root beer (12 oz) or (1 1/2 cups) (I use Trader Joes brand)
3 tbs Rice vinegar
3 tbs Molasses
1 can Tomato paste
2 tbs Dijon mustard
1 1/2 tsp Chili powder
Salt and pepper

1. Preheat oven 400F.
2. Cook bacon in a large pot until crispy.
3. Remove bacon and add to paper towel to dry fat.
4. Add onions and cook until translucent.
5. Add garlic and cook for another 1 minute.
6. Add the rest of the ingredients and mix.
7. Chop the bacon and add to the pot.
8. Stir occasionally until boil.
9. Bake uncovered until it thickens.

Enjoy this with meaty goodness.

All Purpose BBQ Sauce

I just love this BBQ sauce. I use it for everything from burgers to hotdogs to chicken to dipping my fries in it. For your next BBQ, you should add this sauce to your ingredients for marinating meat or a condiment.

All Purpose BBQ Sauce


1/2 cup Ketchup
2 tbs Molasses
2 tbs Brown sugar
1 tbs Cider vinegar
1 tbs Worcestershire sauce
1 tbs Soy sauce
2 tsp Dijon mustard
1 tsp Liquid smoke
1 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp Onion powder
1/2 cup Dark beer (like Blue Moon)

1. Mix all the ingredients in a bowl
2. Put the mix in a saucepan and bring to a boil and stir occasionally.
3. Turn down the heat and simmer to reduce down to a about a cup or until sauce thick-like consistency.
4. Chill and store for up to a week.

Beef Ribs with Chipotle Cheery BBQ Sauce

I was reading through Bon Appetite magazine and saw a recipe for Dinosaur Bones with Chipotle-Cherry Barbecue Sauce and decided that this dish would be an excellent addition for my July 4th BBQ. What is a BBQ without something with BBQ sauce and of course ribs. I made a few changes to the Bon Appetite recipe because GOD DAMN the one they had is super spicy and unbalanced, sorry for whoever wrote that recipe.

Chipotle-Cheery Barbecue Sauce adapted from Bon Appetit Magazine July 2010

1 cup ketchup
3/4 cup Cheery preserves
2 tbs Fresh lemon juice
2 tbs Molasses
3 tbs Golden brown sugar
1 tbs Worcestershire sauce
1 tbs Soy sauce
1/2-1 can Chipotle chiles in adobo sauce and 1 tablespoon adobo sauce from can. (HOT HOT SPICY and I have a spicy tolerance of the sun)
1 tsp Liquid smoke (I found this at the top shelf at Ralphs after no one knew what I was talking about)
1 tsp Onion powder
1 tsp Garlic powder
1 tsp Unsweetened cocoa powder

Directions of pretty simpleness
1. Mix everything in a bowl and bring to a simmer in a sauce pan and remember to stir occasionally.
2. Set aside and can be stored for a week in the fridge.

Beef Ribs with BBQ Sauce
3 lbs Beef rib rack
1/4 cup Paprika
1/4 cup Brown sugar
3 tbs Kosher salt
1 1/2 tbs Onion powder
1 1/2 tbs Garlic powder
1 1/2 tbs White pepper
1 1/2 tsp Ground cinnamon
1 tsp Cardamom
Cherry juice or apple cider enough to fill spray bottle

Prep work
1. Mix all the dry ingredients together
2. Rub spice mix on the ribs
3. Fill spray bottle with cherry juice or apple cider
4. Heat up grill and line grill rack with aluminum foil (beacuse I'm Asian and I like to save the trouble of cleaning)
5. Place ribs on top of the foil and cover grill
6. Turn ribs and spray with juice or cider
7. Grill ribs until browned and repeat spraying every 15 minutes. (Note: the meat will shrink away when cooking)
8. After 1 hour or so the ribs will be cooked.
9. Brush ribs with the BBQ sauce and turn ribs over to fire side
10.Heat ribs until the sauce will make it slightly charred.
11. Cut the ribs into individual pieces and serve.

Oven method
Something that Bon Appetite did not mention was an oven method. I also tried making these ribs with the oven.

1. Rub spice rub on the ribs
2. Heat oven to 325F and cook in the oven for 15 minutes
3. Take it out of the oven and spray with cherry juice or cider
4. Put back into the oven for 30 minutes and rotate
5. Repeat process of spraying every 30 minutes for 3 hours
6. Brush BBQ sauce on top of the ribs and cook for another 10 minutes
7. Rotate and brush with BBQ sauce again and cook for another 10 minutes
8. The ribs should be done by then.

Monday, July 5, 2010

Sage Rosemary Burgers

Fourth of July was yesterday. Didn't really do much except had a decent sized BBQ party at my apartment. It was quite fun, but we didn't watch any fireworks because we were all too busy doing other stuff more fun and exciting than watching fireworks aka. manning the grill and keeping my guests entertained.

I made quite a lot of food. I will start with burgers, the true American food. No matter where you travel in the world, the word "burger" is associated with fat, greasy, American food. What a great way to celebrate America with hard core American food full of grease. Yes, this burger I made is pretty greasy, but it tastes so good!

Sage Rosemary Burgers
1 lb Ground sirloin
1 stick Butter at room temperature
2 tbs Freshly chopped sage
2 tbs Freshly chopped Italian parsley
2 tbs Freshly chopped rosemary
1/2 lemon
1 tbs sugar
Salt and peppers
Hamburger buns
Pepper jack cheese

Prep for things better than fireworks
1. Chop all the herbs using knife or food processor
2. Add to softened butter and mix well
3. Squeeze lemon juice into the butter and mix well
4. Wet hands with water and take a handful of meat and form into a ball
5. Form a thumb indent in the center of the ball and stuff enough butter in there
6. Then fold corners of the indent to fold inward and flatten to form patty
7. Slice onions, tomatoes just like how it is found in any American burger.
8. Spread remaining butter on burger buns

Grill work
1. Heat up grill to normal grill like manner
2. Put beef patty on top and grill on both sides for 5 minutes each
4. Put cheese on top
5. Toast burger buns on grill
6. Put together the burger the way you like it.

Saturday, July 3, 2010

Moo Shu Pork (木樨肉)

My nice friend decided to make a 99 Ranch or Ranch 99 (however people want to call it) run to get me my Chinese specialty cuts of meat and various other Asian vegetables. I guess there was some misinterpretation or error in communication that can be calculated as 50% error because she missed half of what I said. Instead of getting pork bones from the shank, she got me pork shank without the bones.

Meh... What do I do with this giant chunk of meat and fatty goodness... I guess I had a craving for moo shu pork after eating it last week at The First Szechuan Wok in Westwood. The only decent Chinese restaurant in Westwood that caters American Chinese food.

Moo Shu Pork (木樨肉)

Pork portion
1 lb Pork shank (I would use tenderloin because it is easier to chop)
1/4 cup Corn starch
2 tbs Rice wine for the pork
3 tbs Soy Sauce
2 cups Cabbage
1 cup Carrots
1/2 inch Ginger
3 cloves Garlic
5 Shiitake mushrooms
3 Green onions (scallions)
1/3 cup Oyster sauce
1/4 cup Rice wine for the sauce
1 tbs Sugar
2 tsp Sesame oil
2 eggs
Hoison sauce
Green Onions for garnish

Prep work
1. Slice the pork into cubes after removing fat and skin
2. Add corn starch in a bowl and put pork in and lightly coat the pork in the corn starch
3. Add 3 tbs soy sauce and 2 tbs rice wine and mix with the pork
4. Marinate for 10-15 minutse
5. On a clean cutting board, shred the cabbage, carrots, and mushrooms
6. Peel and mince ginger and garlic
7. Julienne Green onions.
8. In a bowl, mix oyster sauce, 1/4 cup rice wine, sugar, and 2 tsp sesame oil for the sauce mix
9, Beat two eggs
10. Scramble the eggs in a pan and set aside

1. In a pan, heat about 2 tbs oil
2. Add garlic and ginger and cook for 20-30 seconds on medium high heat
3. Add pork in the pan and cook for 5-7 minutes stirring occasionally until pork is browned and almost cooked.
4. Add cabbage, scrambled, carrots, green onions, and mushrooms and stir until everything is well mixed for about 1-2 minutes.
5. Add sauce mix and scrambled eggs and mix well with everything
6. Cover and cook for 1-2 minutes
7. Taste for flavoring, if it is not enough flavor, add some more oyster sauce.
8. Garnish with green onions and serve with rice or Chinese pancakes

Friday, July 2, 2010

Red Bean Shaved Ice

It's summer. It's hot. It's boring. I'm being lazy. I decided to buy another kitchen toy, a shaved ice machine. Having shaved ice is the best thing ever invented. I am not talking about Hawaiian shaved ice with all that artificial crap. I am talking about Taiwanese shaved ice with mangoes or red beans etc. On a hot summer day, it is so refreshing to eat shaved ice, while baking the skin until cancer forms.

Red Bean Shaved Ice

12 oz pack Azuki red beans
2 tbs Brown sugar
5 tbs Granuated sugar
Condensed milk
Ice block
1 tbs corn starch
3/4 cup water

Cooking the red beans
1. Soak the red beans in cold water overnight
2. Wash and drain the red beans
3. Add enough water to cover the red beans in the pot and 4 inches more
4. Boil the red beans for 1 hour and add brown and granulated sugar
5. Boil for an additional 15-30 minutes until the red beans split open or are cooked.
6. Drain the liquid into another pot.
7. Reduce the liquid in half
8. In a separate container, mix corn starch and water
9. Add slurry mix to the red bean liquid
10. Add liquid to the red beans
11. Set in a cool place and move to the refrigerator to cool
12. After red bean is cooled, begin shaving the ice into fluffiness
13. Scoop red beans on top of the ice and add condensed milk

Enjoy some coolness xD