Jun 23, 2022

Tomato and Beef Pot 番茄牛肉鍋

Back in the days, when I first moved to California, I was still getting used to the whole new place. Everything was new, such as school, friends, even smaller things like where to eat, and where can I buy groceries. As for cooking at home, in order to keep it simple while I was still adjusting to a whole new kitchen setting, sometimes I would just toss everything into a big pot and use store-bought Chinese soup base to make a hot pot-like meal.

Most of the time it'll be spicy hot pot based stock, and once a while the plainer version but I'll prep up some sacha sauce on the side. Now that I've grown up, also much more experienced in the kitchen, I still like to prepare a hot pot based meal once a long while. However, this time around, my pot of easy meal got a little upgrade.

Tomato and beef pot 番茄牛肉鍋 - 

Tomato and beef pot


  • 2 to 3 ripe tomatoes
  • 1 can/14.5 oz diced tomatoes
  • 2 1/2 cups chicken stock
  • 1 small onion
  • 1 square/1 box fried bean curd
  • 1 pack white shimeji mushroom
  • 1/4 small cabbage
  • 1 small bundle cilantro
  • 12 slices beef
  • 2 tablespoons light-tasting cooking oil
  • 2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 corn on the cob
  • Some baby Chinese cabbage
  • Some baby corn
  • Few pumpkin slices
  • Few carrot slices
  • Other ingredients of your liking


Peel and slice the onion. Chop the tomatoes. Slice the fried bean curd to triangular shaped chunks. Trim-off the ends for the mushroom and separate them to individual pieces. Chop the corn on the cob to 3 to 4 shorter chunks.

Tear the cabbage to smaller pieces. Destem the cilantro. Also prep all the other optional ingredients. Use whichever ingredients you would normally enjoy in a hot pot or shabu shabu.

Bring out a pot or per my case, a clay pot. Drizzle 2 tablespoons of oil and turn to medium heat. Once warmed up, add in onion slices along with 1 teaspoon of salt. Sear till the onion turns translucent. 

Cooking onion slices till translucent

Add in chopped tomatoes and stir-fry till softened.

Cooking chopped tomatoes till softened

Pour in canned diced tomatoes along with its juice. Also pour in 2 1/2 cups of chicken stock. Season with extra 1 teaspoon of salt here too. Bring up the heat to a boil then lower to keep at a simmer.

Cooking chopped tomatoes and canned diced tomatoes

Arrange tougher ingredients to the pot, like corn on the cob, cabbage, carrot, and pumpkin. Put on the lid and cook for around 5 minutes while still keeping it at a slightly boiling stage.

Cooking tougher hot pot ingredients

Remove the lid and arrange all the remaining ingredients over. Transfer beef slices over too, I put them in the center. Put the lid back on and wait till the beef is nearly cooked through, about 2 minutes. 

Cooking softer ingredients and beef slices for hot pot

Note that I've only used 2 teaspoons of salt for the entire pot but you can always taste and adjust with more seasonings.

Tomato and beef pot

However, keeping it on a lighter side means you can prep up extra dipping sauce if preferred.

Tomato and beef pot

Some sauce suggestions, us Taiwanese especially love it with some sacha sauce, others like it spicy with freshly chopped chilies along with soy sauce. As for me, this simple and slightly sourish base is just what I needed at the moment.  

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Jun 16, 2022

Chicken and Gobo Takikomi Gohan (鶏ごぼうの炊き込みご飯)

The first time when I added thinly sliced gobo to rice cooker, I was surprised by the result. Basically all the gobo were gone, it's like they all melted into the rice. You can still taste it and smell it, but the actual shape no longer present. The only few remained were the ones that I didn't do a good job chopping, so these gobo were quite chunky to begin with. Even that, the gobo became soft and almost airy in a way after around one hour in the rice cooker.

I liked it. In fact, I found myself enjoying the scent of gobo with soft and delicate texture, instead of its pre-cooking woody-like appearance. However, I'll leave that option to you, either thinly sliced the gobo, or just give it a rough chop for a heartier bite.

Chicken and gobo takikomi gohan (鶏ごぼうの炊き込みご飯) - 

Chicken and gobo takikomi gohan

Ingredients (about 6 to 8 portions)?

  • 4 rice measuring cups brown rice
  • 1 gobo/burdock root (mine was about 35cm/nearly 14 inches long)
  • 370 grams/0.8 lb chicken tender
  • 1 pack/100 grams white shimeji mushroom
  • 1 small bundle baby bok choy
  • 1/2 medium carrot
  • 3/4 cup green peas
  • 2 1/2 tablespoons triple condensed Japanese tsuyu
  • 2 tablespoons mirin
  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon sake (rice cooking wine)
  • Some water


Using rice measuring cup and scoop 4 cups of rice to the inner pot of the rice cooker. Rinse the rice and drain out the liquid.

Remove the tendons from the chicken tenders and slice to bite size pieces. Marinate the chicken with 1 tablespoon of soy sauce and 1 tablespoon of sake. Mix and make sure all the pieces have been coated with the seasonings. Let it marinate while prepping other ingredients.

Marinating chicken tender

Bring a medium pot to a boil and quickly blanch the peas. Simply let it cook for about 1 minute, drain, and transfer to a bowl of icy cold water. Once cooled down, drain again and set aside for later use.

Blanching green peas

There is no need to peel the gobo, but make sure to rinse and wash away all the dirt if any. You can either slice it with a knife, or "shave" it instead. 

Shaving burdock root

The way I do it is by holding the gobo in one hand and shave it to slices using a knife on the other hand. You might get uneven thickness pieces but I think it's good to have different textures in the end. Plus nearly all the thinly sliced gobo will "disappear" after cooking. There is no need to soak the gobo in vinegar water, in which some will do that to prevent the gobo from turning brown.

Cut-off the end, peel, and julienne the carrot. Trim-off the ends then tear the baby bok choy to single leafy pieces. Trim-off the ends for the white shimeji mushroom and separate them to single pieces.

Transfer these prepped ingredients on top of brown rice, except the peas. It doesn't really matter which item goes first or goes to the bottom. Eventually they'll all be cooked and fluffed together with rice. What I did was adding gobo first, then carrot, bok choy, mushroom, and lastly the chicken.

Also pour in 2 1/2 tablespoons of Japanese tsuyu and 2 tablespoons of mirin. Pour in some water till almost reaching the edge where rice meets ingredients, like slightly below the added ingredients. Do not add too much water because these ingredients will also release some moisture during the cooking process.

Ready for takikomi gohan

Press down the cooking button and let the rice cooker do the work. 

Takikomi gohan almost ready

Once ready, take out the inner pot and add in cooked peas. Fluff the rice and blend together the ingredients with grains. Let it sit for couple more minutes, releasing some extra moisture or steam at the same time.

Scoop the takikomi gohan to serving bowls.

Chicken and gobo takikomi gohan

I really like the aroma from cooked gobo, it's woody and earthy at the same time, yet without any tough bite at all since the thinly sliced gobo were nearly gone by now. Only the smell and the taste remained. 

Carrot too, personally speaking I do prefer a softer bite for the carrot instead of crunchy ones. After nearly one hour in the rice cooker, all the julienned carrot turned exactly to my liking, also leaving a light brush of sweetness to the meal.


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