Nov 25, 2008

Hearty Ma La (Spicy) Soup with Korean Chili Paste

Eating never seemed so hard to me in my life.
I have to carefully open my mouth half wide,
Slowly grinding the food with my left side of teeth, and then painfully swallowing half-chewed food down.
What happened?
My bottom right wisdom tooth is popping out of my flesh,
Well, I have no problem if my tiny tooth wants to come out and say hi to me,
But its surrounding gum is swollen,
I guess the little guy was too excited to see the world and hurt my gum...

In order to make myself feel better,
I made some soup so that I don't have to exhaust myself chewing on things-


12 pork belly slice
15 medium sized shrimps (deveined and peeled)
1 onion (chopped into long strips)
3 stalks of scallion (chopped into approximately 2 inches in length)
10 dry chili
1 small chunk of fresh ginger (about the size of your thumb)
2 cups of bean sprouts
2 small bundles of enoki mushroom
1 box of medium firm tofu (diced into bite size pieces)
4 tablespoons of Korean chili paste 韓式辣醬
2 tablespoons of Chinese bean paste 豆瓣醬
2 tablespoon of Japanese spicy miso paste
2 tablespoons of soy sauce
Extra virgin olive oil (regular olive oil is fine too)
6 cups of water
4 cups of unsalted chicken stock


Drizzle some olive oil in a soup pot and toss in one whole chopped onion,
Sprinkle about 1 tablespoon of salt, stir and cook for about 1 minute.
After that, add the dry chili, ginger, and chopped scallions and cook for another 2 minutes.

Add the Korean chili paste, Chinese bean paste, and Japanese spicy miso paste into the pot,
Cook till the aroma comes out, about 2 minutes.
Remember to stir constantly, otherwise the sauce will get burned on the bottom of the pot.

Pour in 4 cups of chicken stock and 6 cups of water,
Bring to a boil and turn to medium heat.
Scoop out the excess red chili oil and the foamy bubbles before adding more ingredients.

After that step is done, add the tofu, bean sprouts, and enoki mushroom into the pot.
Let it simmer for about 20 minutes.
Remember to constantly check on the soup, scoop out all the excess oil and foam.
Be careful here, don't keep the soup boiling after adding the ingredients,
Just let it simmer.

Add the pork belly slices into the soup,
When the pork is cooked through, toss in the shrimps,
The soup is ready when the shrimps turned red.

Noodles or rice can be a good option that goes along with this soup.
I personally prefer making it into a soup noodles dish,
Udon, ramen, or glass noodle are all good candidates,
Please enjoy!

So how do I feel now?
Let's put it this way,
Everything just got better after few doses of antibiotics.
But tomorrow is the real deal though,
My dentist is going to pull that naughty little guy out,
Wish me luck..

*As a result, I gonna have my early Thanksgiving dinner tonight.
I'll post the pictures after recovering from wisdom tooth trauma!

Cindy's Rating: 7

Nov 19, 2008

Classic Chinese Dish - Mapo Tofu 麻婆豆腐

I was surprised that after more than one year of writing this blog,
There is no single recipe about mapo tofu!
What a shame for me (well, cz I eat like at least twice a month),
So here you go,
Cindy's homemade mapo tofu!-


1 box of organic soft tofu (or silken)
1 lb of ground pork
2 stalks of scallion (chopped)
5 garlic cloves (minced)
1 teaspoon of grounded Sichuan peppercorn
(I used 2 teaspoons cz I love that numbness sensation when it touches my tongue)
1 tablespoon of chili paste (any kind of Chinese chili paste will do)
3 tablespoons of spicy bean paste 豆瓣醬
3 tablespoons of soy sauce
Some freshly grounded black pepper
Corn starch
Olive oil


Drizzle some olive oil in the pan, toss in about 3/4 of the chopped scallion,
Let it cook for a little bit, about 20 seconds, toss in the Sichuan peppercorn and garlic.

Careful don't let the garlic get burned,
Before the tragedy happens, let's add the spicy bean paste, chili sauce, and soy sauce.
Give it a quick stir then toss in the meat.
Stir it once a while and let it cook till at least 2/3 of the sauce is absorbed by the pork.

Meanwhile, take the tofu out and cut into 1 cm cubes,
Sometimes I get lazy then I'll just cut them during the cooking process,
Kind of fun to break them apart with my spatula!

Transfer the cubed tofu (if you decided not to perform the spatula massacre) into the mixture,
Add hot water till all the ingredients are submerged under the liquid.
Bring to a boil then turn to medium/low heat.

Have a small bowl ready, pour some corn starch in it.
Add some water, I only added about 3 tablespoons of water for lots of corn starch.
Mix it well so no lumps are present.

Slowly pour the corn starch mixture into your almost finished mapo tofu,
Keep stirring there,
If you get lazy and stop stirring, you gonna get mapo tofu lumps for dinner!

Everything looks good now,
Sprinkle some black pepper and chopped scallion before serving.
Some people also add some sesame oil, I'm not a big fan of that though.

Cindy's Rating: 7

Nov 11, 2008

Kimchi Hambagu - 泡菜肉餅

The weather's getting cold!
Ok, maybe I don't have the right to complain about the dropping temperature,
What do I know about winter time?
I live in California, all Californians are not allowed to complain about cold weather!
I can try to keep my mouth shut, but my body is shaking,
Getting out the house is getting rougher and tougher each day (am I being too dramatic here?)
I ought to figure something to feed on that will warm up my stomach.
Kimchi it is.

Ingredients? (for 8)

1 lb of ground pork
1/2 medium size onion (finely chopped)
2 stalks of scallion (finely chopped)
1 1/3 cup of kimchi (finely chopped)
1 tablespoon of roasted sesame
1 egg
1/2 cup of all purpose flour
Extra virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon of soy sauce
Freshly ground black pepper


Have a big bowl ready,
Please pay attention here, I mean BIG bowl.
I was running out of clean big container while making this dish,
Mysteriously, I managed a way to convince myself that this medium sized bowl will still be a good candidate for me to stir in the ingredients,
And yes,...I know I can simply head to another direction and wash the dishes,
But somehow that thought didn't even come across my mind,Or maybe I was just being lazy,
I Ended up having bits of kimchi..ground pork..and scallion flying everywhere..
Lesson learned.

So let's have a big bowl here,
Mix in the scallion, onion, ground pork, kimchi, all purpose flour, roasted sesame, soy sauce, small pinch of salt, some black pepper, and one egg.

Combine all the ingredients till well blended.

This is our main ingredient that makes this dish spicy. Perfect snack during this cold weather!-

Turn on your oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit.
Use your palm and form the mixture into oval shaped patties,
You might want to "slap" them around,
I mean by tossing the meat patties back and forth between your palms,
This helps to get rid of the air inside the patties.
Prepare a skillet and drizzle some olive oil,
Turn to high heat and sear both sides of burger patties till slightly brown,
About 2 minutes each side.

Have a baking dish ready,
Drizzle some olive oil and transfer the patties onto the baking dish.
In to the oven for 20 to 25 minutes, or till the top turns slightly brown color.
After taking the backing dish out from the oven,
Remember to let it sit for 10 minutes before serving.

Final product!-

Those burger patties have a slightly sourish hint from the kimchi,
And they sure are pretty SPICY!

Cindy's Rating: 7

Nov 3, 2008

West Hollywood Halloween Carnival 2008

How was your Halloween night?
Trick or treat? Clubbing? House party?
I went to West Hollywood for its annual Halloween parade.

It wasn't an easy task to get there,
First, we had to deal with the infamous California traffic,
Second, there were tons of people heading to Los Angeles for their Halloween parties.
So after driving for more than 3 hours and walking for more than 15 blocks,
We're finally there,
Santa Monica Boulevard!
Walking next to us were thousands and thousands of...
Monsters..cartoon characters..politicians..cheer leaders..entertainers..anything you can think of!

Here we were,
Ash, one friendly stranger, and Pikachu-

And let's look at some PG-13 pictures of the night,

Uma Thurman from Kill Bill-

2 Pac-

Keanu Reeves from Matrix-

Michael Phelp-

Since it's a food blog,
Of course we need to see some food related costumes.

Our all time favorite fast food icons-

Sashimi couple-


Frylock and Master Shake-

Let me know if you guys wanna see the whole album for this Halloween parade,
However, one condition must be met,
You have to be 18 years or older!
(Shoot me an email for the album)