Aug 27, 2015

Pasta Salad with Japanese Salted Salmon, Arugula, and Orange Juice Vinaigrette

Got some leftover baby arugula after making salad with marinated octopus. The original idea was to mix the remaining arugula with risotto. However, this leafy green has a distinct peppery taste and the flavor better shines through when serving uncooked. As a result, here's one other salad recipe using baby arugula. 

Pasta salad with Japanese salted salmon, arugula, and orange juice vinaigrette -

Ingredients (for two)?

  • 1 small box baby arugula
  • 2 Japanese salted salmon/shiozake or fresh salmon steak
  • 1 cup whole wheat fusilli pasta
  • 2 tablespoons dried cranberries

Dressing -

  • 1/8 cup orange juice
  • 1/8 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/8 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper


Preheat the oven to high heat and bake the salted salmon till fully cooked through and the skin turns crunchy, about 10 minutes. Japanese salted salmon fillets can be substitute with fresh salmon steak. Simply sprinkle a thin layer of salt on both sides of the salmon and let it rest for about 10 minutes before baking. 

Japanese salted salmon sometimes comes with bones. It's better to inspect the fish with your fingertips see if any pointy bumps present. Make sure to pull out the bones before baking.

Mix all the dressing ingredients for a simple orange juice vinaigrette, pulps are welcomed. 

Bring a medium pot of water to a boil and season with some salt. Add in the pasta and cook according to the package instruction. Once ready, drain well and mix with half of the orange juice vinaigrette to prevent sticking.

Toss baby arugula with the remaining half of the vinaigrette and 2 tablespoons of dried cranberries. Gently mix together with fusilli pasta and top the salad with cooked salmon. Grind some black pepper on top right before serving. 

Other salad recipes:

Aug 22, 2015

High Quality Beef Trimmings - Seared Beef, Kimchi, and Egg Yolk Donburi

Found a pack of Snake River Farms American Kobe beef trimmings for a bargain price. The meat is about twice or three times thicker than usual beef slices, just perfect for my simple donburi (rice bowl) recipe.

Seared beef, kimchi, and egg yolk donburi -

Ingredients (for two)?

  • 0.7 lb/320 grams thick beef slices
  • 2 egg yolks
  • 4 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1 teaspoon granulated sugar
  • Tiny bit olive oil
  • Some kimchi
  • Some steamed white rice
  • Some toasted white sesame seeds
  • Some salt
  • Some freshly ground black pepper


Prepare steamed white rice for two. 

Remove the beef from the fridge and let it rest at room temperature for 5 to 10 minutes before cooking. Season both sides with some salt and freshly ground black pepper.

Drizzle just tiny bit of olive to evenly coat the bottom of the pan and turn to medium high heat. Once the pan reaches high temperature, add in the beef slices. Sear both sides till desired doneness. Slightly rare center is fine because we are using high quality beef here.

Remove the meat from heat. Continue to use the same pan and leave the heat on. Drizzle some soy sauce from the side of the pan so the direct contact of the heat can further bring out the soy sauce aroma. Add in butter and sugar then mix a little. Cook till the sauce gets slightly thicker, should take less than 30 seconds with such small amount of liquid. 

Scoop some steamed white rice to two serving bowls. Arrange the beef slices around the edge and drizzle the sauce throughout. Add store bought kimchi in the center and sprinkle some toasted white sesame seeds. Carefully transfer an egg yolk in the very center on top of kimchi.

Little trick here, make a shallow hole in the center of the kimchi pile so the yolk can stay in place without sliding down. 

I'm eating like a queen here.

Other rice bowl recipes:

Aug 16, 2015

Baby Arugula Salad with Store Bought Marinated Octopus

Arugula is quite expensive here in Taiwan, not mentioning the triple washed kind for salad. However, my urge for this peppery leafy green was growing out of control. In the end, I've decided to give up on my bucket of fried chicken in exchange for a small box of baby arugula. Talking about eating healthy.

Baby arugula salad with store bought marinated octopus -

Ingredients (smaller portion for two)?

  • 1 small can marinated octopus 
  • 1 1/2 cups baby arugula
  • 1 small tomato
  • 1 tablespoon pitted black olives
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/8 teaspoon Fleur de Sel or sea salt
  • Some extra virgin olive oil
  • Some white wine vinegar


Open up canned octopus and drain out the oil or water inside. Thinly slice the octopus if possible. Judging by the pictures, yes I failed on that part. As a result, I laid the better sliced octopus on the bottom for one batch and simply mix the not so good looking chunks with the remaining salad.

Cut the tomato in half, deseed, and then chop into smaller cubes. Halve then slice the black olives. 

Pour in equal amount of extra virgin olive oil and white wine vinegar, I used 1/4 cups each but still got some leftover dressing. Season with some salt and black pepper, whisk and give it a taste see if more salt if needed. However, there's no need to over season this simple salad dressing since the marinated octopus and black olives are both salty to a certain extent. 

Mix the salad dressing with tomato cubes, black olives, and octopus first. Lastly, gently mix with baby arugula right before plating to prevent the leaves from wilting too fast.

Decorate with more freshly ground black pepper on the plate.

Octopus can be substituted with cocktail shrimps or squid, these two other ingredients should be easier to come by at most major grocery stores. 

Other salad recipes:

Aug 10, 2015

Quick Fix but Still Kind of a Self Indulgence Meal - Simple Hawaiian Poke Bowl

It's actually my first time making Hawaiian poke bowl. Instead of mixing tuna with Japanese mayonnaise, I decided to skip this ingredient to keep it simple and clean. Stay tuned for my second try in the future, it'll be a jazzed up version topped with chunky salmon and minced tuna mixed with mayo Sriracha sauce.

Simple Hawaiian poke bowl -

Ingredients (for 2 to 3 portions)?

  • 1 lb sushi grade tuna
  • 2 cups uncooked white rice
  • 1/2 lemon juice
  • 1 stalk scallion
  • 3 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon sesame oil
  • 2 teaspoon Sriracha
  • Some toasted white sesame seeds
  • Some fresh green seaweed threads (ogonori)


Whisk Sriracha, soy sauce, and sesame oil in a bowl. Cut the tuna into bite size cubes and add into the bowl. Mix a little, cover with cling foil, and into the fridge for about 30 minutes.

Pre-seasoned fresh green seaweed threads can sometimes be found in Asian grocery stores, better luck with Korean ones. Otherwise, you can season the seaweed using small amount of white vinegar and very little amount of granulated sugar. Sea salt is optional depending on the taste of the seaweed.

Prepare the rice and try to reduce a couple spoonful of water used if cooking with rice cooker. The purpose here is to get slightly drier, bouncier bite grains. Once ready, mix in 1/2 lemon juice and 3/4 cup of fresh green seaweed threads. Do not over-mix the rice since the grains might start sticking together, like glutinous rice. 

Once the rice cools down, at least not steamy hot, scoop them to 2 to 3 serving bowls. Arrange the marinated tuna around then add more seaweed to the center. Sprinkle some white sesame seeds and chopped scallion.

Not bad for a lighter summer meal.

Other rice bowl recipes:

Aug 2, 2015

Taiwanese Dried Radish and Salted Black Beans Stir Fry - 辣炒豆鼓蘿蔔乾

Dried radish can be found in major Asian grocery stores, you can even try to DIY this Taiwanese preserved food if the weather allows. 

Basically the fresh radish needs to be cut into strips or smaller chunks, squeeze and cure with salt then sun dried for one day. Some people prefer to sun dried the radish first before curing them in salt. Use a heavy object, perhaps a rock or a brick to put on top of the radish to drive out excess liquid. Discard the liquid and sun dried the radish one more day. Repeat the steps depending on personal preference and most of the time, the weather. 

I simply use store bought organic dried radish in small chunks for this recipe. The final dish serves as a good condiment for Taiwanese stewed pork rice, curry rice, and goes exceptionally well when mixed with dry noodles.

Taiwanese dried radish and salted black beans stir fry -


  • 2 cups dried radish
  • 1/4 cup salted black beans
  • 2 red chilies
  • 4 garlic cloves
  • 3 tablespoons dried shrimps
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1/8 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 stalk scallion (optional, if plan to keep in the fridge for a longer period then skip this ingredient for quality assurance)


Rinse the dried radish or soak for 5 to 10 minutes to remove excess salt. Drain and pat dry well, chop into tiny chunks if using strip shaped dried radish.

Rinse then soak the dried shrimps in cold water for 10 to 15 minutes. Drain and pat dry well. Chop into tiny pieces. 

Peel and finely chop the garlic cloves. Discard the chili stems and finely chop the remaining.

Drizzle some olive oil to the pan and add in chopped shrimps. Turn to medium heat and sprinkle some black pepper. Cook till the mixture starts to bubble and the shrimps turned slightly darker color.

Add in garlic and chilies. Also add in finely chopped scallion if applicable. I plan to store half of this stir fry dish in the freezer so decided not to use scallion since it tends to change color and taste after a period of time. 

Cook till the garlic is about to get burned, add in radish and turn the heat up a little, cook for 30 seconds. Add in salted black beans and give it a quick stir. Cook for another minute or two. 

I also skip adding a small spoonful of granulated sugar to balance off the saltiness. The high quality salted black beans used here already carry some natural sweetness taste. As a result, there's no need to add more seasonings, just let the ingredients speak for themselves.  

Other stir fry dishes using pickled/salted ingredients: