Aug 27, 2022

Crostini with Serrano Burrata and Hot Honey

Is it just me or hot honey has becoming a trend recently? I kept seeing it online and on the menus of many fancy restaurants. Luckily, it's so easy to put together and works really well as a dressing for finger food, like the crostini we're going to make here.

Crostini with Serrano burrata and hot honey - 

Crostini with Serrano burrata and hot honey


  • 1 medium baguette
  • 10 slices Serrano ham
  • 1 ball/2-4 oz burrata cheese
  • 1/2 tomato
  • 1 garlic clove
  • Some olive oil
  • Some chopped flat leaf parsley

Hot honey:

  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • 1 tablespoon Thai sweet chili sauce
  • Some red chili flakes (optional)


Add all the ingredients under the "hot honey" section to a small saucepan. Use medium low heat to bring it to a simmer. Keep it warm for about three minutes then remove from heat for later use.

Hot honey with Thai sweet chili sauce

Usually you won't see Thai sweet chili sauce used in hot honey recipe, it's more like a variation of my own. Also some people will add a little bit vinegar in the end. Considering the crostini I'm going to put together, vinegar won't be necessary. 

Baguette slices

Slice the baguette and arrange on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Drizzle some olive oil over then transfer to the oven. Turn to high heat and wait till the edges look slightly darkened and crunchy. Take it out before the slices over-hardened.

Toasted baguette slices

Peel and halve the garlic. If using whole tomato, cut in half because we're going to use the cut side to rub against the baguette slices.

Rub the cut side of garlic to one side of baguette slices, the side with olive oil drizzled on. Make sure to apply some force while doing so, after few slices you'll notice that the garlic really gets smaller and smaller.

Rub garlic on baguette slices

Once done with garlic, use cut side of the tomato to rub the baguette slices, like adding on top of garlic. 

Rub halved tomato on baguette slices

Drain the liquid from the burrata container. Finely chop the flat leaf parsley. 

To assemble, take one prepped baguette slice and top with small chunk of burrata cheese.

Adding burrata to baguette slices

Top the cheese with 1 slice of Serrano ham and drizzle some hot honey over. Garnish with chopped parsley and serve immediately. 

Crostini with Serrano burrata and hot honey

This recipe is not hard to make and pretty delicious, at least I enjoyed it a lot. It got that savory umami from the high quality ham and luscious cheese from the burrata. These two further bound together by sweet and spicy hot honey with added pop of herbal touch from parsley. I mean, as good as it sounds, no way it doesn't taste yummy right?  

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Aug 22, 2022

Maple Glazed Salmon (No Oven Involved)

Looking for a way to utilize maple syrup at home? You know there's more than just maple syrup and pancakes right?

In fact, I was amazed how this recipe turned out. Putting maple syrup together with fish? That sounds absurd at first. But think of it as a slightly more aromatic source of sugar. You won't really notice that maple syrup was used, and it's hard not to fall for such luscious sweet and savory salmon dish.

Maple glazed salmon (no oven involved) - 

Maple glazed salmon fillets

Ingredients (for two fillets)?

Marinade - 

  • 2 tablespoons maple syrup
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoons green lemon juice (can be substitute with yellow lemon or lime)
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons chopped garlic (about 2 cloves)

Others - 

  • 2 salmon fillet
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • Some chopped cilantro
  • Some toasted white sesame seeds


Mix all the ingredients under the "marinade" section to a medium container. Transfer salmon fillets over and make sure both sides are coated with the seasonings. Cover and store in the fridge.

Let the salmon marinate for 15 minutes first. Flip to the other side and continue to marinate for another 15 minutes. When ready to cook, remove from fridge and let it rest under room temperature for few minutes.

Marinating salmon fillets

Use a non-stick pan and drizzle 2 tablespoons of olive oil. Turn to medium heat and wait till the surface temperature rises. Take out the salmon and try to wipe out the garlic bits. Add to the pan and leave the fillets untouched first.

Sear till the bottom seems to set, about couple minutes. You can now move around the salmon if needed. Cook till the bottom turns slightly browned then flip to the other side. Continue to sear till colored.

Searing salmon fillets

Still using the same pan, now it's time to pour in all the remaining marinade along with garlic bits. Flip the salmon one or two times, making sure all sides are coated with the sauce.

Add 2 tablespoons of unsalted butter and wait for it to melt. Tilt the pan and keep scooping the melted butter and the sauce to the top of both salmon fillets. Keep basting the fish till the sauce has been reduced and can't really scoop up enough sauce anymore.

Cooking salmon fillets in its maple syrup marinade

Plate and garnish with toasted white sesame seeds. Also add some chopped cilantro on top.

Maple glazed salmon fillets

I would recommend to serve this dish with steamed rice. The sweet and savory sauce is even better when enjoying together with it. 

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Aug 15, 2022

SPAM Fried Potatoes and Bell Pepper

Sometimes I would store some canned good or dried food in case of emergency. Not the out of stuff to eat kind of emergency, but more of extreme cases that might not happen at all. Things like a total lockdown or even zombie outbreak. I have to admit that there even used to be a zombie outbreak survival guide book at home, which was given to my friend years ago.

That's why I got this luncheon meat, along with other canned tuna and instant noodles. However, these items need to swap out once a long while before they hit the expiration date. And it's SPAM's turn, therefore the SPAM fried potatoes and bell pepper was born. 

SPAM fried potatoes and bell pepper - 

SPAM fried potatoes and bell pepper


  • 1 can/340 grams SPAM
  • 2 potato (peeled and cubed, about 2 cups)
  • 1 bell pepper (seeded and chopped, about 3/4 cup)
  • 2 garlic clove
  • 1/2 onion
  • 4 tablespoons ketchup
  • 2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper


Cube the SPAM. Peel and cube the potatoes. Remove the stem and the core of bell pepper, then dice the bell pepper. Peel and chop the onion. Peel and chop the garlic cloves.

SPAM cubes

Drizzle 2 tablespoons of olive oil to a pot or skillet and turn to medium heat. Add in SPAM and sear till slightly golden brown on the sides. Once done, scoop them out and set aside for later use.

Seared SPAM cubes

Still using the same pot or skillet, drizzle in more oil if needed. Make sure there's enough oil to evenly coat the bottom.

Add in onion along with 1 teaspoon of salt and 1/2 teaspoon of black pepper. Give it a quick mix and cook till the onion turns translucent.

Cooking chopped onion till translucent

Transfer garlic over and continue to cook for another 30 seconds or so.

Add in potatoes and cook till slightly colored. Stir once a while, also scrape the bottom making sure the potatoes are not sticking to the pot/skillet. It takes a bit longer here, about 5 minutes.

Cooking cubed potatoes and onion

Add in bell pepper. Mix and cook for a quick 30 seconds.

It's time to add the seasonings. Add 4 tablespoons of ketchup and 2 tablespoons of Worcestershire sauce. Mix and cook for one more minute.

Adding seasonings to SPAM fried potatoes and bell pepper

Transfer the SPAM back. Mix and taste, see if need more seasonings. Once done, plate and ready to go.

SPAM fried potatoes and bell pepper

This dish can be a satisfying addition to a steak or pork chop meal. You can also turn it into a SPAM breakfast hash by cooking a couple sunny side up eggs then add to the top. 

SPAM fried potatoes and bell pepper

Now that I've already used up the old SPAM at home, it's time for me to get a new one. The new comer will stay in the pantry either till the expiration date is near again or my cravings emerged. 

Other SPAM recipes:

Aug 9, 2022

Shaoxing Braised Pork Belly 紹興豬肉

Praise the wok! I got a new wok a while ago, despite it's a wee bit oversized for my cabinet, the wok works like wonder. It's basically a non-stick pan but in wok form. It doesn't stick, doesn't really get sticky if the sauce has been dried up, and super easy cleaning.

That also means for this Shaoxing braised pork belly, first of all I don't have to worry about the sauce gets cling on to the surface during extended braising time. Even though the sugary sauce hardens and turns sticky towards the end, just a few rinses under hot water, everything's nice and clean. Invest in a nice cookware if you may, it really unload tons of hassles in the kitchen.

Shaoxing braised pork belly 紹興豬肉 - 

Shaoxing braised pork belly


  • 750 grams skin-on pork belly
  • 3 slices ginger
  • 2 star anise
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 stalk scallion
  • 1/2 cup rock sugar/crystal sugar (use 1/3 cup for less sweet result)
  • 3 tablespoons aged Shaoxing wine
  • 3 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 3 tablespoons dark soy sauce
  • 2 1/2 cups hot water


Slice the pork belly to thicker pieces. Try to aim for partial fat, partial lean meat, and with a bit of skin on every piece. Must use skin-on pork because it's key to this recipe, otherwise the consistency and texture will be off without the collagen released from the skin.  

Skin-on pork belly

Peel and slice the ginger. Destem and slice the scallion into shorter sections, but take one string and give it a fine chop, which will be used as garnish in the end. 

Take a wok or a clay pot, add in pork along with ginger slices and scallion sections. No need to pour in any extra oil, the pork fat itself will do the work.

Turn to medium heat and cook till the fat starts to render. Continue to sear and flip half way through. Cook till the pork turns slightly browned on both sides.

Searing pork belly with aromatics

Scoop out the pork, ginger slices, and scallion. Drain out all the oil. The fat will continue to render during the braising process, so we don't want it to overflow with pork fat.

Still using the same wok or same pot, add in rock sugar or crystal sugar and pour in about 1/2 cup of hot water. Turn to medium heat and cook till all the sugar has been dissolved. The consistency will appear slightly thickened here due to the high sugar content. 

Cooking down rock sugar

Add the pork, ginger slices, and scallion back to the wok/pot. Give it a quick stir and cook for about one minute. 

Cooking pork belly in sugary water

Add in 1 bay leaf, 2 star anise, 3 tablespoons of aged Shaoxing wine, 3 tablespoons of soy sauce, and 3 tablespoons of dark soy sauce. Also pour in 2 extra cups of hot water.

Braising Shaoxing pork belly

Stir till evenly blended. Turn up the heat and wait till it starts boiling.

Lower the heat to keep it at a lightly bubbling stage. Cover with lid and cook for about one hour.

Remove the lid and check on the braise. If it appears too saucy still, turn up the heat to speed up the process. Cook till the sauce has been thickened, gooey, or more so sticky.

Reducing and condensing the sauce for Shaoxing braised pork belly

If there're more fat on the bottom, don't use it. Only scoop out the pork belly along with the sauce and garnish with chopped scallion.

Shaoxing braised pork belly

It can be very sticky. In fact, once it cools down, the meat might even cling to one another due to the glue-like sugary coating. The edge also hardens and turns slightly crunchy like brûléed sugar, which tastes amazing. 

Shaoxing braised pork belly

No worries if you're going to enjoy it the meal after. Despite that you might loss one degree of two on the crunchy coating, the sweet and savory flavor still standing strong.   

Other recipes using Shaoxing wine:

Aug 3, 2022

Avocado and Shio Kombu Shrimp Stir-Fry

This dish was inspired by a okonomiyaki flavor I saw at a local restaurant. If you're somewhat familiar with okonomiyaki, you'll know that avocado is definitely not one of the common ingredients used. That's what made an impression on me.

The flavor combo got a modern twist, somewhat fashionable too. They cook the avocado, tomatoes, and shrimps together as the main ingredients for the okonomiyaki. So I took that idea, put in some modifications, and made it into a regular stir-fry dish. Turned out pretty good, but note that this dish is better consumed at once, otherwise avocado can get darker or even bitter as time goes by.

Avocado and shio kombu shrimp stir-fry - 

Avocado and shio kombu shrimp stir-fry


  • 1 avocado (semi-ripe works best)
  • 12 shrimp
  • 1 ripe tomato
  • 50 grams shio kombu 塩昆布
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 garlic clove
  • 1 tiny pinch salt
  • Small pinch dried seaweed flakes


Peel and devein the shrimp. Peel and discard the seed of avocado, then cube it. Destem and dice the tomato. Peel and chop the garlic cloves.

Shio kombu

Take a non-stick pan, drizzle in 2 tablespoons of olive oil and turn to medium heat. Add in chopped garlic and tiny pinch of salt. Just a very small amount because the shio kombu will be the main flavor provider instead. Cook till aromatic but not burnt.

Add in tomatoes and stir once a while, cook for one minute. 

Cooking tomato and chopped garlic

Add in the shrimp and cook till just changed color. 

Cooking shrimp and tomato

Transfer cubed avocado and shio kombu and give it a quick stir-fry. It happens pretty fast here. Taste and see if it needs any more salt, adjust accordingly.

Cooking avocado and shio kombu

Plate and sprinkle some dried seaweed flakes on top. Best to consume immediately, and definitely not overnight because the taste of avocado can deteriorate soon after.

Avocado and shio kombu shrimp stir-fry

It's nice to get a sudden inspiration when dining out. It's also a fun process to me trying to recreate or modify the dishes to make it more family-friendly. How about you? Ever get the urge when seeing something at the restaurant and feel like you can totally do it at home?   

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