Apr 24, 2024

Eye-Caring and Vitamins Booster Juice

I guess that age has finally come. Some friends started to ask me if I have been experiencing symptoms of presbyopia. Perhaps yes, but I'm not quite sure the focusing issue and tiredness are because of that, or I just over-worked my eyes. 

For sure I need to cut back on phone time, stop checking Instagram and Facebook that often. Need to try to get some quality sleeping hours. Also start taking eye-care tablets. What else can I do, perhaps putting up an eye-caring combo while making juice at home?

Eye-caring and vitamins booster juice -

Eye-caring and vitamins booster juice

Ingredients (about 2 to 3 servings)?

  • 1 1/2 loosely packed cups papaya
  • 1 loosely packed cup carrot
  • 1 loosely paced cup spinach
  • 1 orange
  • 1 green kiwi
  • 3 cups cold water
  • Some honey (optional)
  • 2 walnuts (optional)


Only using the meaty part for the papaya, that means not the skin and not the seeds. Cut into chunks. Peel and slice the carrot to smaller pieces, destem and section the spinach, peel and separate the orange segments, scoop out the kiwi flesh and not using the skin. 

Ingredients for vitamins-packed juice

Add all the prepped ingredients to the blender. 

Along pour in 3 cups of cold water. For a sweeter taste, pour in some honey too. I actually added one tablespoon of honey here. Toss in couple walnuts if available.

Ingredients for eye-caring and vitamins booster juice

Blend, pour, and serve. Use more water for a thinner consistency. However, I'd like to see heavy pulps when having homemade juice, feel much healthier that way.

Eye-caring and vitamins booster juice

By the way, for the orange, if you can't find seedless version, use other citrus instead. Just try to get the seedless variety to save up some works in the kitchen. 

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Apr 18, 2024

Tuna Tataki Coated with Double Roasted White Sesame Seeds

Tuna tataki is like a bit fancy way to enjoy sashimi-grade fish. You take a whole log of sashi-grade tuna, give it a light seasoning then roll in toasted sesame seeds. To further bring out the flavors, a quick sear all around to get a cooked aroma on the outside paired with rare meat in the center.

After slicing and plating, some like to serve it with Japanese seasonings with sliced aromatics on top. To save some troubles, simply use store-bough ponzu sauce to complete the dish. Tuna tataki also goes hand in hand with Japanese sake (don't drink and drive), perhaps one can think of it as Japanese style tapas.

Tuna tataki coated with double roasted white sesame seeds - 

Tuna tataki coated with double roasted white sesame seeds


  • 1 log/about 180 grams sushi-grade tuna
  • Some olive oil
  • Some salt
  • 2 tablespoons toasted white sesame seeds
  • Some chives (optional)


  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon rice vinegar
  • 2 teaspoons mirin
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 2 teaspoons sesame oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon granulated sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon grated ginger


Pour some toasted white sesame seeds to a plate. I used double roasted white sesame seeds, which has a hand-ground texture like using mortar and pestle. The aroma is quite robust, so I chose to use the white sesame seeds only. If using regular toasted sesame seeds, you can mix in some black sesame seeds too if preferred. 

Sushi-grade tuna rolled in toasted white sesame seeds

Rub the sashimi-grade tuna with olive oil then roll onto the sesame seeds to get an even coating on all sides, except for both ends. 

Sushi-grade tuna rolled in toasted white sesame seeds

Use a non-stick pan and drizzle 1 tablespoon of olive oil. Switch to medium heat and wait till the oil gets hot. Not warm, we need it hot. 

It's easier to maneuver the fish with your hands, just be careful not to get burned. Transfer the fish to the pan and give it a nice sear all around, except for the ends. It happens really quickly, probably 10 seconds depending on how thick the log you're using.

What I do is by rolling and changing sides for the fish log using my hands, but again, be careful not to get burned. The tuna is ready when the outside turns cooked white color and the center still remains raw or semi-raw. 

Seared tuna coated with toasted white sesame seeds

Transfer the fish to a plate and into the freezer while we work on the sauce. It'll help firming up the meat and will be easier to slice without breaking the edges later on.

Take a chunk of the ginger and scrape the skin. Grate the ginger to get 1/2 teaspoon of it. Add that along with all other ingredients listed under the "sauce" section to a bowl. Whisk till the sugar has been fully dissolved. Taste and adjust to your liking if needed.

Take the tuna out. Use a sharp knife and slice to single-bite size pieces, like what you get for sashimi. Plate and wait a few more minutes, till the tuna has come back to room temperature, on a slightly colder side is fine.

Plating tuna tataki

Pour over the sauce. If using chives, give it a fine chop and garnish on top.

Tuna tataki coated with double roasted white sesame seeds

As good as the tuna tataki works with Japanese sake, I actually finished the dish as it is, no drinks involved. Turned out the whole plate became me and Mister's weekend morning snack. A little energy boost before we head out and grab a full late lunch couple hours after.

Tuna tataki coated with double roasted white sesame seeds

Wait, I suddenly realized that was one hella expensive "snack" and was gone in like 10 minutes.

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Apr 12, 2024

Simplified Mizutaki Using Kombu Dashi 水炊き

Mizutaki 水炊き is a type of Japanese hot pot with chicken as its main ingredients. The stock base varies, I would say using chicken stock results in a thick and umami-burst outcome. But there's also a lighter version using kombu, a type of dried kelp for the soup base. 

As far as this recipe goes, let's try the simple-tasting route but glorified with aromatic Japanese ponzu for the dipping sauce.

Simplified mizutaki using kombu dashi 水炊き -  

Simplified mizutaki using kombo dashi


  • 1 big piece boneless chicken leg
  • 10 oyster mushrooms
  • 6 shiitake mushrooms
  • 250 grams Chinese cabbage
  • 150 grams mizuna (Japanese mustard greens)
  • 1 big piece/box fried tofu (soft kind)
  • 1/2 daikon radish
  • 1/2 carrot
  • Some steamed rice (optional)


  • 1 medium piece kombu
  • Some room temperature water


  • Some ponzu sauce
  • Some grated daikon
  • Some chives or scallion


Precook the rice if decide to serve this hot pot meal with it. Otherwise you can simply enjoy the hot pot as it is, or even cook some noodles or udon in the end. 

Fill a medium pot with room temperature water and add in kombu. I used a scissor to cut the kombu to square pieces, so it'll fit inside the pot.

Making kombu dashi

Switch to medium heat and let it simmer for 15 minutes. Not boiling, but close to that temperature point. Once ready, turn-off the heat and set aside for later use.

Slice the boneless chicken leg into medium bite size pieces. I also use skin-on chicken, need some of that oil to further "smoothen" the consistency of the stock.

Destem the shiitake mushrooms, perhaps slice-off some parts on the cap to make a pattern, but not necessary though. This is more like a bit appealing to the eye. Separate the oyster mushrooms, tear them into thinner threads for larger ones.

Shiitake hanagiri

Peel and slice the carrot to smaller chunks, do the same for daikon. I would cut these two either thinner or smaller so they can turn chopstick-tender sooner during the cooking process.

Destem the leafy greens and slice to shorter sections. Quickly drench the tofu in hot water to draw out excess oil. Drain out excess liquid and set aside.

Pour the store-bought ponzu sauce to serving bowls. Grate some daikon and add to the sauce. Also finely chop some chives or scallion and add to the sauce. You can even chop up some fresh red chilies for a spicy taste.

Back to the hot pot, arrange the ingredients throughout the pot, then transfer the chicken to the center. Pour in kombu stock till just about reaching the top of the ingredients.

Simplified mizutaki with kombu dashi before cooking

Put on the lid and switch to medium heat. Bring the pot to a light bubbling stage, continue to cook for couple more minutes.

Remove the lid and let it cook for one to two more minutes, or till the chicken has been fully cooked-through then the mizutaki will be ready to serve.

Simplified mizutaki using kombu dashi

If your pot works with an induction cooker, you can even serve the mizutaki right on the spot. The induction cooker can keep the stock hot at all times, and you can only cook the tender leafy greens when needed, just like enjoying a regular shabu shabu.

Simplified mizutaki using kombu dashi

The ponzu sauce works really well with lighter stock version mizutaki. The fruity and citrusy aroma definitely brighten the natural sweetness from all the ingredients.

Simplified mizutaki using kombu dashi

In the case of mizutaki with heavier chicken stock base, I'm not so sure if ponzu will match the flavors that well. I might just keep it simple and enjoy the hot pot itself without extra dipping sauce on the side.  

Apr 7, 2024

Filipino Adobo Pork - Adding Vinegar Makes Quite a Difference

Cebu might not be the most "Filipino" place in Philippines, but during my visit there, I find myself falling for some of their national dishes, taking adobo pork as one example. The braised pork is actually pretty similar to some of the braised pork versions from Taiwan, but with a big difference in the seasonings used.

Filipino adobo pork requires vinegar, and by all means not just like one tablespoon or few drops of it. For my 425 grams of pork belly used, I actually poured in 1/4 cup of vinegar. Sounds a lot, and I'm not surprised if someone would imagine this dish to be very sourish. However, after cooking down the meat for 30 minutes or so, all that vinegary taste was gone, leaving tender pork as a result, and it was so delicious.

Filipino adobo pork - 

Filipino adobo pork


  • 425 grams pork belly
  • 4 garlic cloves
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 2 teaspoons black peppercorns
  • 1/3 cup soy sauce
  • 1/4 cup cane vinegar or rice vinegar
  • 1/2 cup water


Slice the pork belly to medium chunks. Peel and smash the garlic cloves.

Bring out a pot, add in pork belly and turn to medium heat. There's no need to drizzle any oil here, the pork belly will start rendering some fat to the pot.

Continue to sear till both sides turn slightly browned and some fats start to render.

Searing pork belly chunks

Add in smashed garlics, 2 bay leaves, and 2 teaspoons of black peppercorns. Note that we want the whole peppercorns, not the ground kind. Mix and sear for one minute.

Add in brown sugar, stir and cook for couple minutes.

Searing pork belly with bay leaves, garlics, and peppercorns

Pour in soy sauce, cane or rice vinegar, and water. Bring to a boil then lower the heat to keep the mixture at a light bubbling stage. Put the lid on and continue to cook for about 30 minutes.

Braising pork belly for Filipino adobo pork

Remove the lid and stir the mixture. Switch to higher heat if needed. The goal is to reduce and condense the sauce in order to get a slightly sticky and thickened consistency in the end. Mine took about 2 minutes only.

Reducing the sauce for Filipino adobo pork

The pork should be ready by now. I chose to serve the adobo pork with quinoa basmati rice and some steamed veggies on the side. 

Filipino adobo pork

I think the vinegar really helps in breaking in the meat here, so even after searing and braising, the pork turned out pretty tender in the end while having a concentrated seasoned crust on the outside. It has both the sweet and savory qualities with a bit lingering peppery and herbal note 

Filipino adobo pork

There's one other Filipino dish I really enjoyed while visiting Cebu. Sinigang, that's the name. After Googling it, I learnt that the soup was actually more like a stew with a distinct sourness from tamarind. No wonder I like it so much, I'm the person who always ask for tamarind juice whenever the restaurant sells it. 

Give me more time to dig into sinigang recipes, and hopefully I can put up another Filipino recipe that's at least 90% similar to the taste from my travel memories.