Feb 24, 2019

Baked Polenta Fries with Cajun Aioli Sauce

Adapted from two sources Tastemade and Salted plains, here's my first try on baked polenta fries. The result was not bad, but if doing it all over again, I'd make the fries a little bit thicker and cut out a minute of two baking time. As for the sauce, it was easy and delish, pretty happy about it.

Baked polenta fries with Cajun aioli sauce -


  • 1 1/2 cups polenta/cornmeal
  • 2 cups chicken stock
  • 1/2 cup whole milk
  • 1/2 cup grated aged Parmigiano Reggiano
  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon chopped dried thyme
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • Some olive oil

Sauce -

  • 3 tablespoons mayonnaise
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 1 teaspoon Cajon seasoning
  • Some lemon juice (just a slight touch)


Line a baking sheet or baking dish with parchment paper. Take a bigger baking sheet or baking dish, brush with melted butter.

Prepare a pot, pour in chicken stock and milk. Using low heat to slowly warm up the mixture then add in cornmeal. Keep whisking and cook till the liquid has been absorbed, about 10 minutes.

Turn the heat off and mix in grated cheese, 1 tablespoon of lemon juice, 1 teaspoon of chopped dried thyme, 1 teaspoon of salt, and 1/4 teaspoon of black pepper.

Take the smaller baking sheet and pour in cooked cornmeal. Spread out evenly, about 1/2 inch thickness, but again, I would make it a little thicker next time. Transfer the sheet to the fridge and wait for the cornmeal to firm up a little, at least 2 hours.

When the cornmeal is about ready, remove from fridge. Preheat the oven to 450 degrees Fahrenheit/232 degrees Celsius. 

Cut the polenta into thick fries-like strips and carefully transfer that to the bigger baking sheet one by one. Drizzle some olive oil on top and into the oven, bake for about 13 to 15 minutes. Flip and bake again for about 10 minutes, or till the edge of the fries turn crispy browned.

As for the Cajun aioli sauce, simply mix peeled/chopped garlic cloves with mayonnaise , Cajun seasoning, and a touch of lemon juice to brighten up the flavor.

First time around, these baked polenta fries were on the tougher side. But after adjusting the thickness and cooking time, for sure second time around will be much more delicious.

By the way, I used the leftover Cajun aioli sauce as sandwich spread, a great flavor boost indeed.

Other recipes using grits:

Feb 18, 2019

Sweet and Sour Salmon with Colorful Bell Peppers

Been cooking dark colored Chinese food, that means dishes flavored with soy sauce, maybe some spicy bean paste, with reduced sauce to enhance the flavors. To me, darker food mostly translate into even more delicious result. But once in a while, I'd love to have something bright and colorful on the table, like this sweet and sour salmon with multi-color bell peppers.

Sweet and sour salmon with colorful bell peppers -


  • 3 medium or 2 large colorful bell peppers
  • 2 salmon fillets
  • 1/2 onion
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 1 stalk scallion
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons ketchup
  • 1 tablespoon black vinegar
  • 1/2 teaspoon sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon tomato paste
  • 1/4 teaspoon grated ginger
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon black pepper
  • Some olive oil
  • Some corn starch


Slice the salmon fillets into smaller chunks and dust with corn starch.

Peel and cube the onion. Peel and finely chop the garlic cloves. Cut the bell peppers into smaller chunks too, remember to remove pith and seeds. Destem and chop the scallion.

Combine below ingredients in a container for the sauce mixture: 2 tablespoons soy sauce, 1 1/2 tablespoons ketchup, 1 tablespoon black vinegar, 1/4 teaspoon tomato paste, 1/4 teaspoon grated ginger, and 1/2 teaspoon sugar. 

Drizzle some oil in the pan and turn to medium high heat, wait till the surface gets hot. Carefully transfer salmon chunks over and sear till all sides are slightly colored. Scoop out and set aside first.

Using the same pan, add in onion along with salt and black pepper. Drizzle more oil if appears too dry and hard to stir-fry. Cook till the onion turns translucent, then add in garlic and cook for another 30 seconds or so.

Add in bell peppers and cook for another minute.

Pour in pre-mixed sauce and pre-seared salmon chunks. Cook till the sauce has been reduced, more so condensed, it'll appear slightly sticky due to the corn starch dusted on salmon.

Plate and garnish with chopped scallion.

Some yellow, some orange, plus a pop of green. Hope that such colorful combinations can further brightens up your day.

And my day too (I'm searching for a rainbow).

Other salmon recipes:

Feb 12, 2019

Pickled Tea Oil Chilies and Chicken Stir-Fry 茶油剝皮辣椒炒雞丁

A gift from my dad, a jar of pickled green chilies. But this time, it's not just regular pickled chilies, but further infused in Chinese tea oil, which has a slight grassy aroma, providing a wee bit of refreshing touch from its sourish spicy kick.

Pickled tea oil chilies and chicken stir-fry 茶油剝皮辣椒炒雞丁 -


  • 1/2 cup pickled tea oil chilies
  • 1 lb chicken tenders
  • 1/2 onion
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 1 stalk scallion
  • Small pinch salt
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon Chinese rice cooking wine
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce


Remove the tendons from chicken tenders, then cut the meat into smaller chunks. Use 1 tablespoon of Chinese rice cooking wine and 2 tablespoons of soy sauce to marinate the chicken for 5 to 10 minutes.

Peel and dice the onion. Peel and finely chop the garlic cloves. Destem and chop the scallion. Also chop the pickled chilies.

Drizzle a little olive oil to the pan, 1 tablespoon is enough, since the pickled chilies used here were already coated with tea oil. Turn to medium high heat. Once warmed up, add in onion along with salt. Give it a quick stir and cook till the onion turns translucent or slightly colored.

Add in garlic and cook for another 30 seconds or so, till aromatic but not burnt.

Transfer marinated chicken over, cook for another minute.

Then add in chopped pickled chilies, and cook till all the sauce has been reduced and nearly all dried up.

Garnish with chopped scallion.

Pickled but not too sourish, chilies but not too spicy either. In fact, the chilies more so enhance the marinade, together with onion and garlic, this can be a rice-killing dish. Thanks dad~!

Other recent Asian stir-fry recipes:

Feb 6, 2019

No Fuss Cooking Recipe - Baked Tarragon Salmon Fillets

Simple, but somewhat heartwarming.

Baked tarragon salmon fillets -

Ingredients (4 portions)?

  • 4 salmon fillets
  • 1 lemon
  • 4 to 5 sprigs fresh tarragon
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • Some salt
  • Some black pepper
  • Some olive oil


Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Brush some oil to the baking dish to prevent sticking.

Season salmon fillets with some salt and pepper on both sides. Peel and finely chop the garlic cloves. Slice the lemon.

Lay the salmon fillets into baking dish. Sprinkle chopped garlic and some dried thyme over. Also put a few sprigs of fresh tarragon on top.

Top the fillets with lemon slices and put 1 tablespoon of butter on each fillet.

Into the oven and bake for about 25 minutes or so, actual time varies depending on the thickness of the fish.

I think it works well with rice pilaf, otherwise mashed potatoes will do. Keep it simple and comforting.

By the way, this entire week is Chinese New Year holiday, so Happy New Year folks! Also if you're wondering, it's pig's turn based on Chinese Zodiac. Perhaps I should cook up some more pork recipes this year.

Other salmon recipes: