Nov 30, 2014

Quick Nutrition Boost - Vegetable Stew Using Instant Thai Style Red Curry Paste

You know you don't always have to follow the cooking instruction on the back of the instant sauce mix. Instead of using fruits and meat as suggested by my Thai red curry paste, I've decided use it as the base for simple vegetable red curry stew.


  • 1 packet of Thai red curry paste
  • 1 small bag of oyster mushroom
  • 1 Chinese eggplant (the long and skinny kind)
  • 1 medium broccoli
  • 1/2 cabbage
  • 1 can of coconut milk
  • 1 can of diced tomatoes
  • 1 tablespoon of fish sauce
  • 1 tablespoon of oyster sauce
  • 1/4 teaspoon of salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon of black pepper
  • Some olive oil
  • Some steamed white or brown rice (optional)


Peel and slice the onion. Chop the cabbage into large pieces. Separate the broccoli florets into smaller pieces. Cut off the tough outer section from the broccoli stem and chop the tender center into bite size pieces. Slice the eggplant diagonally.

Drizzle just enough olive oil to the pan to evenly coat the bottom, turn to medium high heat. Add in the onion along with some salt and pepper. Cook till the edge of the onion turns slightly browned.

Add in the red curry paste and heat it up a little. Add in the broccoli, mushroom, and eggplant. Stir and mix well with the curry paste. 

Add in the cabbage. It might pile up like a small mountain but will gradually wilt down once heated up. Carefully give it a quick stir once a while. Pour in one can of diced tomatoes along with its juice. Also pour in the coconut milk, add the fish sauce and oyster sauce. 

Bring to a boil then keep the pot at a gently boiling state. Cook till the broccoli reaches desired texture. Taste and adjust the saltiness level with fish sauce. I prefer my veggies on the softer side so the stew took about 30 minutes for me.  

Serve over steamed rice.

You can definitely add some protein to the stew. Dark chicken meat or pork slices are two suitable options.

Nov 23, 2014

Thanksgiving is Just Around the Corner, It's Time to Start Eating Light so We Can Feast Fearlessly Next Week! - Lettuce and Prosciutto Salad with Poached Egg

Never thought restaurant quality salad can be so easy to recreate at home until I really start serving these healthy greens this year. Sometimes I even think fancy salad is actually much easier to prepare compared to fixing up a sandwich or a quick stir fry. The keys are using fresh and a wide variety of ingredients for the salad. You can even bring it up to another level by putting in some extra work such as searing a steak or using homemade herbed croutons. 

But don't go too far yet for this recipe especially plates after plates of food will be coming up soon during Thanksgiving. Get yourself a nicely cured ham slices or prosciutto at the grocery store and let's put together a big plate of salad greens. 

Lettuce and prosciutto salad with poached egg -


  • 1 bag of organic salad greens (I used lettuce but arugula would be a good alternative)
  • 8 slices of prosciutto
  • Small handful of mozzarella balls
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 small baguette
  • Some dried cranberries
  • Some vinegar


  • 3 kumquats 
  • Some extra virgin olive oil
  • Some freshly ground black pepper
  • Small pinch of fleur de sel


Add all the salad dressing ingredients to a bowl and whisk till combined. Use few extra kumquats if a more sourish taste is preferred.

Thinly slice the baguette and transfer onto a baking dish. Slightly toast them in the oven with medium low heat till semi-crunchy. Remove from heat and set aside for later use.

Bring a small pot of water to a boil, add in few splashes of vinegar and make a swirl in the center. Lower the heat till gently bubbling. Crack the egg one at a time to a small bowl then pour  into the center of the water. Takes about few minutes, use a slotted spoon to scoop out the eggs. If there are some whites floating around, save them for other dishes, do not waste food. Transfer poached eggs to a kitchen towel, which will help drawing out excess water. 

Place the salad greens onto two serving plates. Drizzle the dressing throughout. Arrange the toasted bread slices, drained mozzarella balls, prosciutto, and dried cranberries around. 

Gently transfer the poached eggs to the center of the salad. Oops! -

At first I thought just one small bag of lettuce won't fill me up at all. However, after putting all the ingredients together plus some toasted baguette slices, it's actually quite satisfying. Especially love the bites when I got both the saltiness from the prosciutto and the sweetness from the dried cranberries!

Other salad recipes:

Nov 18, 2014

Spicy Stir Fry with Thick Cut Matsuzaka Pork and Salted Black Beans 辣炒松阪豬

Spicy food has been luring me over the past week. Not sure about the reasons behind, possibly due to my recent diet eating similar western dishes day by day - braised short ribs, bread and cheese, and salad. However, I did manage to spice up my leftover food such as serving the braised short ribs with Chinese noodles, adding lots of chili sauce, black vinegar, some soy sauce, and sesame oil. The combination between western stew and Chinese seasonings actually work pretty well.

That little twist on the stew brightened up my leftover meals, but my mind was still thinking about something truly Asian, something with a punch. Therefore, this spicy stir fry using Matsuzaka pork was born, matches perfectly with steamed rice, and definitely left me with a happy tummy, and even more leftover food to tackle with.

Spicy stir fry with thick cut Matsuzaka pork and salted black beans -


  • 1 lb of thick cut Matsuzaka pork
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons of salted black beans
  • 4 red chilies
  • 5 garlic cloves
  • 1/2 small onion
  • 1 tablespoon of soy sauce
  • 1/4 teaspoon of brown sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon of Sriracha
  • 1~2 tablespoons of olive oil
  • Tiny pinch of salt
  • Tiny pinch of black pepper


Peel and dice the onion into little squares. Discard the tips of the chilies and finely chop the remaining. Peel and roughly chop the garlic cloves. Cut the pork into big strips, about 1~1.5 inches in width.

Drizzle just a little bit of oil to the pan, not too much since the salted black beans were already stored in oil. In addition, the Matsuzaka pork contains more fat compared to other parts of the pig. 

Turn to medium high heat and add in the onion along with some salt and pepper. Give it a quick stir and cook till the onion turns translucent. Add in the garlic and chilies. Keep cooking till the edges of the onion turns slightly browned or right before the garlic starts to burn.

Pour in the sauce from the edge of the pan so it will get a direct heat contact and further release the aroma. Also add in the Sriracha and sugar. Mix well.

Add in the pork strips and mix a little bit. Add in salted black beans and cook till most of the liquid has been reduced and the pork got the brownish color from the sauce.

Other stir fry recipes:

Nov 11, 2014

Single's Day and Pocky Day Food Scene - Chocolate and Espresso Cupcakes with Almond Choco Sticks

November 11th is also known as Single's Day in China or Pocky Day in Japan. Don't we all just need more excuses to celebrate as many festivals as possible? The idea behind Single's Day is mostly due to the connection between singles and the number "1." On top of that, 1 also resembles the shape of a famous Japanese chocolate stick snack Pocky. Maybe we should have a palmier day on 8/8 then?

There's a game associated with Pocky Day on 11/11 in Japan called Pocky Tower, where you stack up chocolate sticks that looks somewhat like Jenga. As much as I would like to participate in such delicious-looking game, I do not want to open so many packs of chocolate sticks knowing that I would finish munching on the sticks until they're out of my sight instead of putting them back to the cabinet. 

To avoid such high risk of fluctuating blood sugar, let's skip the "tower" concept and toned it down to one single stick on a chocolate and espresso cupcake. 

Chocolate and espresso cupcakes with almond choco sticks -

Ingredients (for 6)?

  • 1 1/8 cups of all purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup of unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 1/4 teaspoon of baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon of salt
  • 1 large egg
  • 1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons of heavy whipping cream
  • 1 cup of brown sugar
  • 1/3 cup of freshly brewed espresso
  • 1/2 cup of unsalted butter
  • Some ganache
  • Some chocolate sticks (I used almond flavored chocolate sticks)


Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit and line the muffin tin with paper cup liners.

Sift the following dry ingredients in a large bowl: flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, and salt. Mix the following wet ingredients in a large bowl: egg and sugar first, then add in the cream, coffee, and semi-melted butter. 

Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients in two batches and mix well. Divide the mixture into the 6 paper cup liners and bake for about 15 minutes. Cracks on the cupcakes are normal.

Drizzle the ganache (simple ganache recipe can be found from my chocolate and banana bundt cake recipe) over the cupcakes -

Quick texture test. Ok fine, the truth is that the chocolaty scent overflows my kitchen, and I simply cannot resist the temptation any longer -

Velvety ganache on top and moist texture in the center.

Insert a chocolate stick to the cupcake before the ganache sets -

Don't know about you, but if I ought to "celebrate" Single's Day, I'll definitely surround myself with this cupcake and tons of chocolate sticks. 

Other chocolate related sweet treats recipes: