Oct 27, 2016

Colorful Chicken Stir-Fry with Bamboo Shoots, Carrot, Shiitake Mushrooms, and Snow Peas

Something healthy, something colorful, and something that goes well with rice.

Colorful chicken stir-fry with bamboo shoots, carrot, shiitake mushrooms, and snow peas -


  • 1 lb chicken tender
  • 1 big bamboo shoots
  • 5 shiitake mushrooms
  • 1 medium carrot
  • 1 big handful snow peas
  • 6 garlic cloves
  • 1/2 teaspoon grated ginger
  • 2 tablespoons oyster sauce
  • 1 tablespoon Sriracha sauce
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • Some sesame oil 


Cut the chicken into bite size pieces. There is no need to marinate the meat for this recipe. Peel and roughly chop the garlic cloves. Remove the shiitake stems, quarter or halve the cap. Grate the ginger. Peel and slice the carrot. Peel and cut the bamboo shoots into bite size pieces, it should yield about 3 loosely packed cups.

A little work for the snow peas. Grab the tip of the snow pea then pull it down to remove the fibrous string on the side. I do it for both the top and the bottom ends. Blanch the peas for brighter green color in the end, but not necessary. The pictures shown here did not go through the blanching step.

Drizzle just enough olive oil to coat the bottom of the pan. Turn to medium high heat, but add in chopped garlic and salt before the oil gets hot. Cook till aromatic but not burning the garlic. 

Add in carrot, bamboo shoots, and shiitake mushrooms. Keep stir-frying them. The mixture might appear dry in the beginning but after a while the heat and the salt will drive the moisture out. You can tell when the shiitake mushrooms start to soften.

Add in the chicken and give it a quick stir. Add in grated ginger, oyster sauce, and Sriracha. Mix a little and keep stir-frying using medium to medium high heat for another 4 to 5 minutes.

Lastly, add in the snow peas, cook for about one minute. Drizzle a little bit of sesame oil to complete the dish.

Only Sriracha was used to add a spicy touch, but a couple fresh red chilies can be a great addition. 

Other Asian stir-fry recipes:

Oct 21, 2016

Avocado Toast with Poached Egg and Grated Parmigiano Reggiano (for Two)

Finding an perfectly ripe avocado at a grocery in Taiwan is kind of like winning a lottery. Usually the avocados are either hard as rock, or mushy as mud. No way I would let this rare opportunity slips away.

Avocado toast with poached egg and grated Parmigiano Reggiano - 

Ingredients (for two)?

  • 2 slices rye, sourdough, or other hearty wholesome bread
  • 1 small ripe avocado
  • 2 eggs
  • Some vinegar (I used white wine vinegar)
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • Some black pepper
  • 2 lemon wedges
  • Some Parmigiano Reggiano
  • Some sale flakes (optional)


Toast the bread slices in the oven till slightly crunchy on the edges.

Halve the avocado and remove the pit. Scoop out the avocado flesh to a bowl and mash it together with 1/4 teaspoon of salt, 1/4 teaspoon of black pepper, and some lemon juice.

Meanwhile poach two eggs. Remember to add a few splashes of vinegar to the water to help the egg better coagulate. Once ready, carefully scoop out the poached eggs and drain the liquid, a slotted spoon will do.

Spread the avocado mixture to the bread slices. Sprinkle some black pepper, perhaps some salt flakes if a saltier taste is preferred. 

Top each bread slice with one poached egg. Grate some Parmigiano Reggiano all over. 

Serve with fruit or fresh juice on the side to make it a perfect breakfast combo.

Enjoy the runny yolk.

Other sandwich recipes:

Oct 15, 2016

The Best of Both Worlds - Curry and Sacha Stir-Fry Noodles

It's actually a semi stir-fried dish made with soupy sauce. During the cooking process, the noodles fully absorbed the curry and sacha broth so no drippy sauce can be found on the plate. That means the tastiest part is not the pork, but the noodles itself, it's the final product from the best of both worlds. 

Curry and sacha stir-fry noodles -

Ingredients (for 5 to 6 portions)?

  • 400 grams alkaline ramen noodles
  • 1 lb or 20 pork slices
  • 6 bak choy
  • 1 medium carrot
  • 1/2 small cabbage 
  • 1 onion
  • 1 stalk scallion
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 2 red chilies
  • 3 to 4 Japanese curry cubes
  • 2 to 3 tablespoons sacha sauce
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 cup hot water
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon dark soy paste
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • Some pickled red ginger (beni shouga) or kimchi


Bring a pot of water to a boil then add in the noodles. It only takes a few seconds, the purpose is to wash away extra oil from the noodles. Drain well and set aside for later use. You can also substitute with other heartier noodles, but might need to cook till half way through then scoop out, perhaps mix with some olive oil to prevent the noodles from sticking together. 

Peel and slice the onion. Peel and roughly chop the garlic cloves. Trim off the stems and chop the chilies diagonally. Trim off the stems and give the scallion a few chops, about 2-inch in length. Peel and cut the carrot into strips. Chop the cabbage into bite size pieces. Peel the bak choy bunch into individual pieces.

Take a big pot or a big pan, drizzle enough olive oil to lightly coat the bottom and turn to medium high heat. Add in the onion along with salt and pepper, cook till the onion turns translucent. 

Add in the garlic, chilies, and scallion sections, sear for about 30 seconds till the garlicky aroma come out but not burnt.

Add in the pork slices and sear till about 80% cooked through. I used better quality fatty pork slices since they can withstand longer cooking time without turning tough.

Add in the carrot first followed by cabbage and bak choy. I like my carrot on the soft side, so it goes to the bottom to get the most heat from the pan. The cabbage might appear piling way above the pot or the pan, but it'll slowly cooked down, just make sure to stir once a while.

Pour in the soy sauce, dark soy paste, and sacha sauce. Mix a little.

Pour in 1 cup of hot water along with curry cubes. Bring to a boil then lower the heat to a simmer, make sure to keep stirring gently to help the cubes dissolve.

Once the soupy mixture looks smooth and even a little concentrated, pour in the noodles and mix well. The noodles should absorb all the sauces at a fairly fast rate, some prefer serving the noodles with some sauce remained. 

Serve with pickled red ginger or kimchi on the side. 

Use more or less curry cubes and sacha sauce depending on your preference. Of course you can use more of both ingredients with just a tap bit extra hot water, that way for sure you'll get some stir-fry noodles with extra juice in the end to slurp with. 

Other noodles recipes: 

Oct 9, 2016

Young Ginger on Hand, How about Japanese Ginger Pork 豚の生姜焼き for Dinner?

One thing I love about shopping at a local market is the flexibility and friendliness of the vendors there. The relationship takes some time to build, but soon you'll find that they always prefer to save the best quality stuff and even freebies for you. 

I can also call them ahead of time and reserve any special part of the pork for my stew. Instead of shopping at a grocery store where some of the ingredients are packed in bunches, I can just ask the vendor for things like 2 shiitake mushrooms and hey, how about that tiny ginger, yes, the smallest one will do. Not only it prevents food waste, but also saves some unnecessary expense. The best part? They are happy to do so.

As for this little piece of ginger on hand, it was a semi-freebie from the vegetable stalk. The auntie just tossed that piece in my grocery bag, sometimes scallion, sometimes red chilies, and once a while I ask for Chinese basil. What should I do with it? Perhaps some Japanese style stir-fry will do the trick.

Japanese Ginger Pork 豚の生姜焼き -


  • 1 lb/500 grams pork slices
  • 1/2 onion
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons grated young ginger
  • 4 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 3 tablespoons mirin
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 1 teaspoon sake (Japanese cooking wine)
  • 1 to 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • Small pinch salt
  • Some toasted white sesame seeds


  • Some cabbage
  • Some cherry tomatoes
  • Some salad dressing


If serving cabbage salad on the side, rinse the cabbage and dry well. Chop into thin slices and add some halved cherry tomatoes. Set on the plate and drizzle with salad dressing right before serving. 

Peel and slice the onion, peel and grate the young ginger.

Mix together the soy sauce, mirin, sake, sugar, and grated ginger in a bowl and make sure the sugar has dissolved. Transfer the pork over and massage with the sauce. Marinate for 10 to 15 minutes.

Drizzle just enough olive oil to evenly coat the bottom of the pan. Turn to medium high heat, add in the onion slices and a small pinch of salt. Give it a quick mix and cook till the onion turns translucent.

Pour in the pork and all the remaining marinade if any, but should all be absorbed by the meat by now. Sear and stir once a while, cook till no more juice remains and appears on the dry side. It'll take a few minutes and you can really tell that the meat slices start to brown.

Once ready, transfer the pork onto the plate and sprinkle some toasted white sesame seeds. Preferably with a bowl of steamy hot white rice on the side too.

Other Japanese food recipes:

Oct 4, 2016

On a Time Crunch? Try This Cheese Tart with Ready-Made Tart Shell

Rarely use ready-made tart shell but it sure comes in handy, especially the easier cleaning part. All the work left was blend the ingredients and spread them over the already made shell. Bake for a moment then store in the fridge. Just a shortcut that ease up the busy daily schedule.

Cheese tart with ready-made tart shell (recipe adapted from the Food Network) - 

Ingredients (for 6 slices)?

  • 1 8-inch diameter ready-made tart shell (a few smaller shells will do)
  • 1 lime

Cream cheese filling:

  • 12 oz.  cream cheese
  • 2 large eggs
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 teaspoon vanilla extract

Sour cream topping:

  • 7 oz. sour cream
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract


It might not be the most delicious option, but a good quality ready-made tart shell still holds up the flavors pretty well.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Prepare a baking dish and put the ready-made tart shell in the center.

To make the cream cheese filling, leave the cream cheese at room temperature for 10 minutes or so before mixing. Add the cream cheese, eggs, 3/4 cup of granulated sugar, and 2 teaspoons of vanilla extract to a big bowl. Use a hand-held mixer and beat till smooth. Pour the mixture into the tart shell and smooth out the surface with a spatula. 

Into the oven and bake for 15 to 20 minutes. Once ready, cool under room temperature for 5 to 10 minutes.

Sour cream topping is optional, what it does is adding a lighter and fresher touch to this recipe. If skipping the sour cream topping, simply zest one lime and sprinkle it over the cream cheese filling before serving. 

So to make the sour cream topping, beat the sour cream, 1 1/2 tablespoons of granulated sugar, and 1/2 teaspoon of vanilla extract till smooth. Spread on top of the cream cheese filling and smooth out the surface. Bake for another 10 minutes.

Once ready, cool under room temperature then add the zest of one lime throughout. Transfer to the fridge and let it rest for at least 4 hours. You can also add the lime zest right before serving for maximum zesty aroma.

If using several smaller tart shells, pour the cream cheese filling about 2/3 to the edge of the shell. The height of the cream cheese filling pretty much stays at where it is after baking. 

This recipe yields a lighter flavored cheese tart that tastes almost like a Japanese style cheesecake, but with a denser texture.

Take it seriously, the lighter flavored cheese tart means that you might finish half of the treat without noticing it. 

Other sweet treats recipes: