Aug 29, 2023

Ponzu Chicken 橙醋雞肉

There are two types of Japanese sauces that I kept in the fridge once a while - goma (sesame) and ponzu ポン酢 (citrusy soy sauce). If you've been to a Japanese shabu shabu place before, quite often you'll find these two sauces served on the table to eat along with vegetables and meat.

But what else can I use ponzu for besides serving as a dipping sauce? That's how I came up with this recipe. Mixing ponzu together with seared chicken. Sounds like a good match, and for sure the taste is pretty delicious too, especially if you like ponzu sauce to begin with.

Ponzu chicken 橙醋雞肉 - 

Ponzu chicken


  • 480 grams boneless chicken dark meat
  • 1/2 onion
  • 1 string scallion
  • 1 garlic clove
  • 3 tablespoons ponzu sauce
  • 2 tablespoons light-tasting oil


  • 1 tablespoon corn starch
  • 2 teaspoons mirin
  • 2 teaspoons rice cooking wine
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper


Use boneless chicken leg, doesn't matter skin or without the skin. Slice the chicken to big bite size pieces. Marinate and gently massage the chicken with all the ingredients listed under the "marinade" section. 

Chicken with its light marinade

Prep the chicken first then we start working on other ingredients. The chicken needs to be marinated for at least 10 minutes.

Peel and slice the onion. Peel and slice the garlic. Chop the scallion.

Drizzle 2 tablespoons of light-tasting oil to the pan and switch to medium heat. Transfer onion slices over and cook till translucent. Add the garlic slices. Cook till aromatic but not burning the garlic.

Searing onion and garlic slices

Transfer chicken over and sear till the edge turns golden or golden brown. If use chicken with skin, sear it with skin side down first.

Making ponzu chicken

Once the chicken gets a nice sear, pour in the ponzu sauce and push around the meat till evenly blended. Cook till the sauce has been reduced slightly, about 30 seconds to 1 more minute.

Making ponzu chicken

Plate and garnish with chopped scallion on top.

Ponzu chicken

Surprisingly, that little pop of spicy note from the black pepper actually worked so well in this dish. It's like a sudden refreshing touch from the citrusy soy sauce seasoning. That said, use fresh coarsely grind black pepper whenever possible, it really makes a big difference compared to the pre-grind version.   

Other chicken recipes:

Aug 22, 2023

Toasted Baguette Served with Burrata, Serrano Ham, and Parsley Mint Pesto

The moment I saw boxes of burrata cheese sold at the grocery store, I immediately knew what I'm going to make with it. Despite its hefty price, "oh well" I thought, a little home-cooking indulgence once a while shouldn't hurt much.

By the way, I'm pairing this recipe with parsley and mint pesto that doest not contain any nuts. However, if you'd like, throwing a spoonful of pine nuts to the food processor sounds good too.  

Toasted baguette served with burrata, Serrano ham, and parsley mint pesto - 

Toasted baguette served with Burrata, Serrano ham, and parsley mint pesto


  • 1 ball/125 grams solids burrata cheese
  • 100 grams Serrano ham
  • 1 baguette
  • 1 garlic clove
  • Some olive oil
  • Some balsamic vinegar (optional)

Parsley and mint pesto:

  • 50 grams flat leaf parsley
  • 10 grams mint leaves
  • 1 garlic clove
  • 1 small chunk aged Parmigiano Reggiano
  • 1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • Few grinds black pepper


Use the leafy part only for the pesto. Perhaps you can finely chop the stems and mix in other dishes later. As for mint, maybe add the unused section to icy cold water for a refreshing touch.

Add the parsley leaves and mint leaves to the food processor. Also add 1 peeled garlic clove and a small chunk of aged Parmigiano Reggiano. The cheese is about the size of a thumbnail, no need to use too much of it. 

Also pour in 1/3 cup of extra virgin olive oil to the food processor. Season with 1/4 teaspoon of salt and few grinds of black pepper. Blend and stop, scrape down any bits sticking onto the side. Continue to blend till evenly mixed. Scoop out for later use.

Parsley and mint pesto

Slice the baguette and drizzle some olive oil over on one side. 

Baguette slices drizzled with olive oil

Use a grill pan and heat up the baguette slices, oiled side down. See if you can get some nice grill marks on it.

Once ready, use a peeled and halved garlic, rub that on the toasted side while the baguette is still hot. 

Rubbing garlic on toasted baguette slices

Bring out a serving plate, lay the Serrano ham on 2/3 side of the plate and grilled baguette slices on the other 1/3 side.

Laying out toasted baguette and Serrano ham

Transfer drained burrata on top of the ham and drizzle parsley mint pesto all over the cheese and Serrano ham. Also drizzle some balsamic vinegar if using.

Toasted baguette served with burrata, Serrano ham, and parsley mint pesto

Absolutely loving that burrata cheese, silky and milky at the same time, works so well with salty Serrano ham and refreshing pesto sauce. 

Toasted baguette served with burrata, Serrano ham, and parsley mint pesto

The burrata was gone in no time. I should have bought two boxes instead.

Toasted baguette served with burrata, Serrano ham, and parsley mint pesto

After enjoying the toasted baguette with all these other things I've prepped for, there were some unused pesto sauce afterwards. I simply mixed that with pasta sauce for the spaghetti. Even if you are using tomato-based pasta sauce, adding a bit of pesto won't hurt. In fact, it'll boost up the flavors even more.  

Extended reading:

Aug 16, 2023

Seared Salmon Chunks with Asian Aromatics

Considering salmon being one of my regularly cooked fish, I'm constantly trying to come up with new ways to enjoy it. 

Salmon can be cooked as simple as baked in western ways or steamed in Chinese ways. Perhaps a bit more complicated with blackened in western or stir-fried in Asian. Let it be an array of variations, but always leading with one single "delicious" result. Not because of my cooking, but thanks to salmon's meatiness and flavorful profile.

Seared salmon chunks with Asian aromatics -

Seared salmon chunks with Asian aromatics


  • 2 medium salmon fillets
  • 1 stalk scallion
  • 1 small chunk young ginger
  • 4 garlic cloves
  • Some flour
  • Some light cooking oil (olive oil is fine too)


  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoons oyster sauce
  • 1 to 2 teaspoons chopped red chili sauce (or use fresh chilies)
  • 1/2 teaspoon granulated sugar
  • 1/8 teaspoon black pepper


Destem and chop the scallion. We are going to use most of it in stir-fry but do save a little for garnish in the end. Peel and chop the garlic cloves. Scrape the skin then finely chop the young ginger. We will need about 1/2 teaspoon of prepped ginger. If using fresh chilies, destem and chop the remaining section.

Slice the salmon to medium bite size pieces. Pat dry with paper towel and dust with flour.

Salmon chunks dusted in flour

Mix all the ingredients listed under the "sauce" section and set aside for later use. If using fresh chilies instead, don't add that to the sauce mixture.

Asian sauce mixture for salmon

Prepare a non-stick pan. Drizzle some oil over to evenly coat the bottom of the pan plus a bit more oil. Switch to medium heat and wait till the oil gets warm.

Add in salmon and do not move them around early on. Simply let it sear till the bottom turns golden color, then you can flip the fish and continue to sear the other side. 

Searing salmon chunks

Prepare a plate lined with paper towel. Scoop the salmon over. the paper towel will help absorbing excess oil from the fish. Meanwhile let's prep the sauce.

Still using the same pan and still under medium heat. Drizzle more oil if needed. Add in chopped garlic, most of the scallion, and ginger. Also add in fresh chopped red chilies here if using. Stir-fry till aromatic but not burnt.

Cooking Asian aromatics

Pour in the sauce mixture and bring the entire thing to a boil then quickly lower the heat. Let it cook just a few seconds more.

Asian aromatics and sauce mixture for salmon

Transfer the salmon back to the pan and gently move the fish around. Make sure all sides of the fish are coated with the sauce.

Plate and garnish with the remaining chopped scallion. 

Seared salmon chunks with Asian aromatics

To sum up, if you can get a hold of chopped chili sauce, use it in the sauce mixture. However, if using fresh chilies, you sear that together with other Asian aromatics instead of adding to the sauce mixture.

Simply searing the salmon with some salt and black pepper is good enough, but I layered up more flavors with Asian aromatics and seasonings. Worry not, these ingredients will not overpower the taste of the fish, but actually create more layers of savory touch. 

Seared salmon chunks with Asian aromatics

And the best part, also perhaps the main reason why I intended to cook salmon this way, is that the sauce clinging on to the flour coating pairs really well with steamed rice. 

Other salmon recipes:

Aug 11, 2023

Curry Flavored Beehoon/Rice Vermicelli Stir-Fry 咖哩炒米粉

Mister approved. In fact, he was asking for more even weeks after.

Curry flavored beehoon/rice vermicelli stir-fry 咖哩炒米粉 - 

Curry flavored beehoon/rice vermicelli stir-fry

Ingredients (about 3 to 4 portions)?

  • 200 grams beehoon/rice vermicelli
  • 500 grams thick-cut fatty pork slices
  • 300 grams shrimps 
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 small green bell pepper
  • 1 small yellow bell pepper
  • 1 small red bell pepper
  • 1 small purple onion
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon oyster sauce
  • 1 tablespoon Chinese rice cooking wine
  • 2 teaspoons fish sauce
  • 1 tablespoon curry powder
  • 1 teaspoon turmeric powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon sugar
  • Some salt
  • Some preferred light-tasting cooking oil (olive oil is fine too)


Usually you'll get the beehoon/rice vermicelli in dried form. I'm using 100% rice-made beehoon so it's quite fragile. Be sure to only use the room temperature/chill water to soak the beehoon, not hot water. 100% rice beehoon will break easily if you soak it in hot water.

Soaking beehoon/rice vermicelli

Soak the beehoon till it spreads apart. It shouldn't take long. On top of that, we're going to stir-fry it soon after so the beehoon doesn't need to be in the water for long. Just wait till beehoon spreads out, doesn't need to be fully softened. Once ready, drain and set aside.

Cut the pork to bite size pieces. Peel and devein the shrimps. Remove the pits and stems for all the bell peppers then slice to strips. Peel and chop the garlic cloves. Peel and slice the onion.

Prepping colorful bell peppers and purple onion

Marinate the pork with 1 tablespoon of soy sauce and 1/2 teaspoon of sugar. Give it a quick massage then set aside.

Marinate the shrimps with 1 tablespoon of Chinese rice cooking wine. Also give it a quick massage and set aside. 

Marinating ingredients and beaten egg

Beat the eggs with 1/8 teaspoon of salt and set aside.

Prepare a wok, drizzle just 1 tablespoon of oil and switch to medium heat. Pour in beaten egg and make scrambled eggs. Break the eggs to smaller pieces during the process. Scoop out for later use.

Wipe the wok clean then drizzle 1 more tablespoon of oil, medium heat also. Once the oil warms up, add in the pork and cook till almost slightly browned. Add in the shrimp and stir-fry till almost cooked-through. Scoop them out for later use.

Wipe the wok clean again and drizzle 1 tablespoon of oil. Use medium heat and transfer the onion slices over. Cook till the onion turns slightly golden brown on the edges. Add in all the bell pepper strips together with 1/4 teaspoon of salt. Stir-fry for about a minute then scoop out for later use.

Precooking ingredients for beehoon/rice vermicelli stir-fry

Wipe the wok clean. This time, drizzle enough oil to evenly coat the bottom of the wok. Use medium heat and add in the garlics. Cook till aromatic but not burnt. Add 1 tablespoon of curry powder and 1 teaspoon of turmeric powder. Give it a quick stir-fry.

Cooking curry spices

Add in drained beehoon and try to mix together with the spices. It might be hard to even the spices out but it'll get better once we add back other ingredients.

Mixing beehoon/rice vermicelli with curry spices

Add the cooked veggies, pork, shrimps, and eggs to the wok and give it a few mixes.

Mixing ingredients for curry flavored beehoon/rice vermicelli stir-fry

Season with 1 tablespoon of soy sauce, 1 tablespoon of oyster sauce, and 2 teaspoons of fish sauce. Cook till evenly mixed with the beehoon. Taste and adjust the seasonings if needed.

Curry flavored beehoon/rice vermicelli stir-fry

Plate and serve. I'd like to enjoy mine with additional Sriracha sauce. Mister likes to eat it straight since the curry powder can be a bit of spicy for him already.

Curry flavored beehoon/rice vermicelli stir-fry

He really love this dish, I can totally tell by the speed Mister munched down the entire bowl of beehoon. I guess there will be more beehoon recipes in the future solely for him. Food makes him happy too.

Extended reading:

Aug 5, 2023

Manuka Honey Cookies

This recipe was derived from Sugar Spun Run but with a few modifications of my own. I changed the ingredients and the amount used. Mostly lowered the sugar but still ended up with pretty sweet cookies. So if you don't consider yourself a sweet-tooth person, here's my version of honey cookies using super high quality Manuka honey.

Manuka honey cookies -

Manuka honey cookies

Ingredients (about 36 pieces)?

Wet ingredients - 

  • 1 cup/226 grams unsalted butter
  • 1/3 cup high quality honey
  • 180 grams granulated sugar
  • 40 grams brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 egg

Dry ingredients - 

  • 3 cups all purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons corn starch
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt

Other - 

  • Some granulated sugar for rolling


Leave the butter out under room temperature till softened but not melted. Once ready, add that to a big mixing bowl. I simply use the stand mixer bowl.

Also add 180 grams of granulated sugar, 40 grams of brown sugar, 1/3 cup of Manuka honey, and 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract to the bowl.

Ingredients for Manuka honey cookies

Mix till almost blended. Add in one egg and mix till incorporated.

Blended wet ingredients for Manuka honey cookies

Take another big bowl and add in all the ingredients listed under the "dry ingredients" section.

Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients in three batches. Once adding the dry ingredients, blend a bit then continue to add more dry ingredients. Scrape down the ingredients sticking onto the sides if needed during the process. Repeat till both the dry and wet ingredients are evenly blended together. 

Form the dough into a big round ball with hands. I actually transfer the dough to another bowl instead so it can fit in my fridge. Cover the bowl with cling foil and let it chill in the fridge for 60 minutes.

Dough for Manuka honey cookies

When ready to bake, preheat the oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit/190 degrees Celsius. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Prepare a small bowl or plate on the side filled with some granulated sugar.

Take the dough out from the fridge. It'll seem too hard to work with but as soon as the dough is in contact with body temperature, the texture will be like a Play-Doh and easy to work with.

Use a scoop or simply measure by hand, pick out a smaller amount of the dough and roll into ball-shape. Roll the dough with granulated sugar then place onto the parchment paper. Leaving some space in between each dough.

Individual doughs for Manuka honey cookies

Into the oven for 10 minutes or till the cookies turn golden brown color. The cookies can be on the softer side when just taking out from the oven, let them cool on rack for 10 minutes, also allow some time for the cookies to harden.

I had to bake the cookies in two separate batches. So for my first batch, I shaped the cookies like individual balls. For the second batch, I gently pressed down and flattened the doughs instead then dip in granulated sugar.

Flattened doughs for Manuka honey cookies

Flattened doughs for Manuka honey cookies

Either shape works fine but if I had to pick, I prefer the fluffier-looking semi-sphere shaped cookies. It's slightly airier in the center. 

Manuka honey cookies

Doesn't matter the shape, both cookies turn out smelling so fine. 

Manuka honey cookies

High quality Manuka honey really played a role here acting as the main flavor agent. I stored these cookies in an air-tight container. Every time I opened it up that honey aroma just literally "pouring" right out. It's like I'm enjoying these cookies first with my nose, then soon followed with my cravings. 

Other cookie recipes: