Aug 26, 2013

Thai Style Softly Scrambled Eggs - 泰式九層塔烘蛋

Sometimes it's kind of tricky to translate the name of Asian style dishes into English, especially when trying to keep the name as simple and short as possible. Softly scrambled eggs might be the closest translation for the recipe here. What I mean by "softly" is not to stir the eggs too much. The scrambled eggs should be in large pieces, which will hold the Thai sauce well and easy to pick up with chopsticks.

Thai style softly scrambled eggs -


  • 4 large eggs
  • 3 garlic cloves
  • 3 red chilies
  • 2 stalks of scallion
  • 2 tablespoons of well chopped Thai basil (plus extra leaves for garnish)
  • 1 tablespoon of fish sauce
  • 1/2 tablespoon of soy sauce
  • 1 teaspoon of brown sugar
  • Some already boiled room temperature water
  • Some olive oil
  • Some salt


Peel and give the garlic a good chop. Discard the stems of the scallions and red chilies, chop the remaining into smaller pieces. Take the basil leaves and chop into smaller pieces, we need about 2 tablespoons of chopped Thai basil for this recipe.

Break 4 eggs into a big bowl. Add about 1 tablespoon of water along with one small pinch of salt, beat well and set aside for later use.

Drizzle about 2 tablespoons of olive oil into the pan and turn to medium high heat. Quickly add in chopped garlic, chilies, and scallion. Cook till the aroma comes out but not burning the garlic. Pour in the soy sauce along the side of the pan, the heat on the sides will further enhance the aroma. Also add in the fish sauce, 1 tablespoon of hot water, and brown sugar.

Cook till the sauce has been reduced a little bit then add in chopped Thai basil. Give it a quick stir and cook for about another 20 seconds. Pour the sauce to a container and let's start making the eggs.

Add about 2 more tablespoons of olive oil to the same pan and wait till the oil gets pretty hot. Pour in the egg mixture and let it sear for a little bit first before start stirring the mixture. Gently scramble the eggs till both sides get a slightly browned color. You can even just sear the eggs as one big piece, like an omelet, but be careful when flipping the eggs to the other side.

Once done, slide the eggs onto a plate and pour the Thai basil sauce all over. Lastly, garnish this pungent, rice-killing food with some fresh Thai basil leaves.

Be sure to have some extra steamed white rice on the side. You can also use the sauce with other ingredients such as seared fish fillet or shabu beef slices. It can even be used with steamed broccoli, making a rather bland vegetable full of pungent Asian kicks!

Other eggs related recipes:
Seared zucchini and scallion eggs
Scrambled eggs stir fry with oyster mushroom and pork slices
Omelet with Taiwanese style pickled winter melon

Aug 19, 2013

Guacamole with a Secret Flavor Kick

If you've been flowing my daily Instagram (foodmakesmehappy) update, you might notice some wine pictures over the past few weeks. Those are the images taken during WSET Level 1 and Level 2 - basically wine and spirits classes. In order to gain better understanding of alcoholic beverages with emphasis in wine, I've been taking classes this summer. For a food blogger, it's fun to see how wine and food interacts with each other and what kind of new flavors can evolved when pairing these two individual items together.

Every week, besides different types of wines, there are also food and snacks of all kinds. I brought this guacamole to class few weeks ago, not for pairing with wine but for satisfying the urge of snacking around while consuming alcohol. Here's the recipe:

Guacamole with a secret flavor kick -


  • 2 ripe avocados
  • 2 ripe tomatoes
  • 1 lime
  • 1/2 medium sized onion
  • 1 garlic clove
  • 1 red chili
  • 1 small bundle/about 1 tablespoon when chopped cilantro
  • 1 teaspoon of sea salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon of ground cumin
  • Few dashes of Tabasco sauce
  • Served with: tortilla chips, plain/slightly salted cookies, of toasts


It's fairly easy to make a yummy guacamole. If time is constrained, you can simply use store bought salsa and mix it with ripe avocado. However, if you want guacamole with more customized flavors, try making it from the scratch and the result will be much more satisfying.

Cut the tomatoes in half and remove the seeds. Chop the remaining into small cubes. Peel and chop the onion into small cubes too. Peel and finely chop the garlic cloves till almost to paste form. Discard the stem and seeds, then finely chop the red chili. Finely chop the cilantro and save a few leaves for garnish.

Here's one trick to make the onion less spicy - Simply soak the chopped onion cubes in icy cold water for about five minutes. Drain the liquid and dry well with kitchen towel before mixing with other ingredients. However, this step is optional since some people like the spicy kick from the onion.

Put the tomato cubes, onion, cilantro, garlic, and chili in a big bowl. Add 1 teaspoon of salt and mix well, let it sit for about 1 minute and discard any excess liquid.

Squeeze in 1 lime juice and some grated lime skin. Add a few dashes of Tabasco. The key to our secret flavor kick is ground cumin. Add about 1/2 teaspoon of ground cumin to the bowl and mix well.

You won't even know there's cumin in the guacamole but this spice surely boost up that exotic flare, a little goes a long way. 

Halve the avocados and remove the pits. Scoop out the avocado and add into the salsa mixture. Use a fork to blend the avocado with salsa. If a slightly chunky texture is preferred, try not to over-mix it, otherwise the guacamole will get a more thick paste-like consistency instead. Taste and see if more salt is needed.

You can serve the guacamole with the most classic option - tortilla chips. However, I used toast and Ritz crackers instead. The guacamole is surprisingly good with these slightly salty crackers. On the other hand, when serving with toast, it becomes my hearty breakfast or afternoon snack.

Don't forget to garnish with cilantro leaves!

Maybe one day I'll be able to include a few wine pairing suggestions along with my recipes, think it'll be a good idea for this blog?

Aug 12, 2013

Spicy Chicken and Broccoli Spaghetti, Topped with Grated Pecorino Romano and Poached Egg

Jamie Oliver was on TV showing how to easily poach an egg with cling foil. Basically he laid the cling foil over a cup, brushed with some oil to prevent sticking, cracked an egg inside the cup, then he tied a knot with the foil. On the side was a small pot filled with slightly simmering water. Chef Oliver dumped the cling foil egg into the water and just waited till the egg whites are cooked. Once done, carefully remove this little packet and cut off the knot, then a perfectly poached egg will come right off the cling foil.

Everything looked so easy and hassle free. There were no vinegar and no stirring motion required while poaching the egg. The only thing was to watch closely to see when the egg whites are set. Curiously, I've decided to test out Chef Oliver's trick with my spicy spaghetti recipe.

Spicy chicken and broccoli spaghetti, topped with grated Pecorino Romano and poached egg -

Ingredients (for 2 to 3 people)?

  • 250 grams of spaghetti
  • 3 slices of bacon
  • 6 chicken tenders
  • 1 smaller broccoli
  • 2 to 3 eggs (1 egg per serving)
  • 4 to 6 garlic cloves
  • 1 tablespoon of unsalted butter
  • 3 teaspoons of red chili flakes
  • 1/2 cup of dry white wine
  • 1 tablespoon of olive oil
  • Some sea salt
  • Some freshly ground black pepper
  • Some Pecorino Romano cheese


Bring a big pot of water to a boil and add a generous amount of salt, about 1 big spoonful. Add in the pasta and cook till al dente. Once done, drain well and set aside.

In the meantime, chop the bacon slices and chicken tenders into bite sizes. Peel and slice the garlic cloves. For garlic lovers, just be brave and use 6 cloves, even 8 works as well. I know it sounds like a lot, but the cloves will only enhance the flavor without giving you a vampire repellent breadth.

Thoroughly rinse and soak the broccoli. Shake off excess water and slice into thinner pieces.

Drizzle one tablespoon of olive oil along with about 1 teaspoon of sea salt, 1 teaspoon of freshly ground pepper, and 3 teaspoons of red chili flakes to the pan.

Add in chopped bacon and turn to medium high heat. Cook till some bacon fat has been rendered but not burning the garlic slices.

Toss in the broccoli along with small amount of salt. Give it a quick stir. Cook for about two minutes or till the edges of the broccoli florets are about to burn,but be careful not to burn the garlic slices. If the mixture appears too dry, add in one tablespoon of butter first, otherwise add the butter right before pouring the spaghetti to the pan.

Add the chicken and cook for about one minute. Pour in dry white wine and and cook till the meat is about 90% doneness and the liquid has been reduced a bit. Taste and see if the mixture needs more salt. Transfer the pasta to the pan and mix well, cook for another minute so the pasta can better absorb the flavors.  

Here's Jamie Oliver's way of poaching the egg using cling foil. Bring a small pot of water to a boil and keep it slightly simmered. Lay the cling foil onto a small cup or a small bowl. Brush with some oil and crack an egg on it.

Grab the edges of the cling foil and tie a knot so the egg will not spread all over.

Transfer the egg packet to the hot water and cook till the whites are set. At least till it looks solid enough to hold up the runny egg yolk inside. Remove from water and cut off the knot. Carefully remove the foil and you'll get a nicely poached egg - supposedly.

I have to admit that my first attempt was a bit overcooked. So I tested with the second egg and it was way too runny, which later made a mess in the kitchen...Oh well, it's all part of the fun!

Chef Oliver might have mentioned something about how many minutes the egg has to be in the water. However, everyone is using different kitchen tools with various types of stoves. So the right timing can be a bit tricky, especially to such a delicate ingredient. Trial and error and reply on experiences will be your best bet. After all, we can always think of some delicious ways to finish off not so good looking poached egg accidents right?

Top the spaghetti with generous amount of grated Pecorino Romano or Parmigiano Reggiano and serve with a poached egg. If you really can't get the egg consistency right, just add a fresh, uncooked egg yolk to the spaghetti and the remaining heat will still help bringing out the rich flavor of the yolk.

Other pasta recipes:
Spaghetti Saffron Style with Prawns, Smoked Bacon, and Asparagus
Thai Style Stir Fry Ground Pork with spaghetti and Lots of Pecorino Romano
Spaghetti with Creamy Fava Bean Sauce and Rosemary Infused Grilled Shrimps

Aug 5, 2013

Avocado and Milk Puree / Avocado Milkshake - My Dad's Nutrition Booster Creation

My dad rarely cooks nowadays, but accordingly to my mom, he can actually recreate quite a few classic Asian dishes that taste just like the ones from the restaurants. Unfortunately, only my mom had the chance to savor these foods from who knows how many years ago.

As time passes by, my mom became the master chef in charge of our household's daily meals. As for my dad, it seems like he's only willing to prepare all sorts of "liquid" form items such as soup, dipping sauces, and juice blends. Even though I might never find out how good his actual cooking is, but at least I can say that the deliciousness of all these liquidy creations are guaranteed.

Dad's nutrition booster - Avocado and milk puree/avocado milkshake -


  • 4 ripe avocados
  • 1 cup of mixed walnuts and almonds
  • Some organic whole milk
  • Some honey
  • Some fresh dragon fruit/pitaya or pear


I'm not quite sure how should I name this recipe. It's not as runny as milkshake and not as thick as puree. So I've decided to leave both names up there. You can simply adjust the number of avocados used to achieve the consistency of your likeness.

In a regular sized blender, add in 4 avocados, 1 cup of mixed nuts, 1 to 2 tablespoons of honey, and pour in the milk all the way to the top. Blend till smooth. Taste and see if more honey is needed.

Use only 2 avocados if you prefer a more milkshake-like consistency. The recipe here yields a more puree formed avocado and milk blend, which is better served with a spoon and eat like a healthy afternoon treat.

Top the mixture with some freshly chopped white meat dragon fruit/pitaya. If you can't find fresh pitaya, a nice and crunchy pear will do the same trick.

This puree/milkshake can also be served as a breakfast item. Just pair with some toasted bread, lettuce, and turkey slices. What a way to start a healthy day!