All posts tagged: quick and easy

kimchi jjigae

Kimchi Jjigae (Pork & Kimchi Stew)

Soupy.  Hot.  Spicy.  Delicious.  Comforting.  Slurpy.  Sour. All the goodies in one pot and just perfect for an autumn/winter’s cold night.  That sourness of the cabbage kimchi, added with spiciness of gochujang sauce and sweetness of the pork belly helps to build up a perfectly balanced soupy stew for the whole family to indulge.  Best of all, ingredients can be added or omitted to suit your taste buds. To save time, I used store-bought kimchi which is as good.  Prep, cut the ingredients and chuck everything into one pot.  All in all, the prepping and cooking time doesn’t take more than 1 hour.  So easy, fast and indulgent.  This is my go-to one-pot stew when I crave for a comfort food. What’s your comfort food? Kimchi Jjigae Serves 2 Ingredient: 300 g kimchi (store-bought or home-made), drained & reserve juice 350 g chicken stock 300 g skinless & boneless pork belly, sliced into 2cm pieces 1/2 block silken tofu 3 spring onion, sliced diagonally, reserve some as garnish 1/2 onion, sliced 2 cloves garlic, peeled …

roast chicken

Roast Chicken Glazed with Tamarind and Kaffir Lime Leaf

Weeknights have been super entertaining these past 2 weeks and this has nothing to do with a new kitchen…I wish!  Instead, after a short hiatus from my couch, I am back to warm those seats, baby! All thanks to MKR (My Kitchen Rules), a reality cooking TV show which premiered just in time to feed my boredom and hunger. In MKR, each team merries-go-round to host the ultimate 3-course dinner party.  After some grand tasting, eye-piercing gaze and lots of illogical criticism, guest teams and celebrity judges score. The lowest scoring teams leave the competition and the lucky ones adjourn to the MKR kitchen HQ to battle out.  The best team wins a hundred thousand dollars and lives happily ever, building dreams with the winning prize.  The losers will be in denial for a while and tries to score cookbook deals.  It is (after all) a reality cooking show. So, with all these excitement, what’s happening in my humble kitchen?  Well, you know I love simple food and our family has big BIG appetite for roast chickens. Dear roast chicken, there’s a lot of flavours we can play with you and …

sesame crusted tofu

Sesame & Bonito Flakes-crusted Tofu

Tofu. One of the most versatile ingredient and easiest to cook, yet some may say it’s tasteless and some say it’s delicious.  It can be eaten raw, deep-fried, steamed, braised or pan-fried. During the past week, I’ve been making lots of tofu dish.  I don’t know why but I think it must have been the Chinese New Year bug 🙂 Nevertheless, this is one of the tofu dish I’d like to share with you today – as it’s becoming our official household tofu dish.  Incidentally, I found this recipe on a blog and thought that the idea of crusting tofu with sesame seeds and bonito flakes absolutely mouth watering.  And, mouth watering it was.  Interestingly by using the bonito flakes, it not only added a bit of umami-ness to the tofu, it also creates a light and feathery texture when deep-fried. Really memorable dish. Sesame & Bonito Flakes-crusted Tofu (from Cherry on a cake)  Makes about 12 pieces Ingredients: 400 g semi firm tofu (I use Evergreen original tofu) 1/4 cup cornflour 1 egg 1/4 cup white sesame …

crab toasts

Breakfast Crab Toasts with Sriracha Mayonnaise

There are so many ideas for a yummy breakfast full of goodness.  I love my breakfasts served in a quick and easy fashion.  It also has to be plainly indulgent.  I may have thrown in some fancy sphancy crabby ingredients here for a wee bit of indulgence but if you’re not in the mood for seafood breakfast, you may also serve these to entertain.  And voila! I trust your guests will enjoy them. Crab Toasts with Sriracha Mayonnaise (adapted from Jean-Georges) Serves 2 Ingredients: 2 slices freshly baked sourdough bread, toast till golden brown 200 g freshly picked blue swimmer crabmeat, prepared a day in advance 2 lemon wedges 2 tbsp Sriracha Mayonnaise (Sriracha Mayonnaise) 1 egg yolk 1 tbsp Dijon mustard 1/2 tsp salt 3/4 cup grapeseed oil 2 tsp fresh lemon juice 2 tsp Sriracha chilli sauce Method: 1. To prepare the mayonnaise – whisk the yolk, mustard and salt until well blended.  Add oil in a slow, steady stream to emulsify the mixture, while continue whisking.  Add in the lemon juice and Sriracha until …

tuna in chilli

Raw Tuna in Korean Chilli Sauce

Once a while, I crave for fresh raw seafood.  Whether it’s served in sashimi-style or lightly seared on the sides, they still taste good, in my opinion.  When I can’t find really really fresh seafood, I’d just buy off my neighbourhood sushi store.  Then refrigerate them so it’s chilled to the max before I devour them.  The feeling is glorious, just glorious. To make this dish, we need to buy the freshest, sashimi-quality tuna and consume it within the day. Fresh, sashimi-quality tuna is not a luxury that’s available at my fish monger all the time.  And when it does, I’ll make it a point to get it. For the sauce, well, gochujang is the spicy miso of Korean cooking, one of my favourite condiment to have on hand.  It is used in a wide range of Korean dishes, ranging from bibimbap to tteobokki, and also goes damn well with chicken (check out my Gochujang Roast Chicken recipe).  The flavour is concentrated and spicy.  Who doesn’t love a simple dish with great flavours, right.  What’s more, no cooking is required (serious!) and takes …

Saute Green Beans with Crispy Bacon

Bacon, bacon, bacon.  I love the smell of bacon – reminds me of a hearty weekend breakfast meal. And while I love the smell of bacon,  I love that sizzling sound of bacon on a hot pan even more. Don’t you agree? This dish itself is a super super easy side dish to make and … quick.  It doesn’t require oil and any other seasoning aside from the basic salt and pepper.  Basically, the oil comes from the bacon itself and that’s what make this dish so aromatic and just hands down YUM! Saute Green Beans with Crispy Bacon Serves 2 Ingredients: 300 g green beans, heads & tails trimmed 100 g diced bacon 100 g onions, chopped salt, to taste freshly cracked black pepper, to taste Method: 1. Boil green beans in salt water for 8 – 10 minutes, or until crunchy tender.  Drain and immediately place in a large bowl of ice cold water (to stop the cooking process). 2. Heat up a pan over medium heat.  Sauté diced bacon until crispy golden.  During this process, …

Smoked Paprika, Chilli, Lime Peanuts

G’day everyone! Are you expecting guests this Christmas weekend and the New Year weekend? Then you will need some extra special something for your guests to snack on 🙂 If you are crunch on time, perhaps some roasted peanuts, spiced with smoked paprika, chilli and lime will add to the cheer. This snack is very simple to make and so aromatic.  All you need to do is just prep and mix them all up which takes less than 5 minutes, and then, roast.  It’s very very aromatic and addictive.  This snack also keeps very well in an airtight container for up to a week. Smoked Paprika, Chilli, Lime Peanuts  (adapted from Donna Hay Magazine) Makes 1 jar Ingredients: 2 cups salted peanut 2 tsp smoked paprika 1/4 cup lime juice 1/2 tsp dried chilli flakes 1 tbsp brown sugar 1 tbsp black chia seeds 1 tsp sea salt flakes 1 tsp finely grated lime rind Method: 1. Pre heat oven t0 180 celsius. 2. Mix all ingredients except lime rind in a clean bowl.  Toss with spatula and ensure …

Chicken with black pepper sauce

Crispy Chicken with Black Pepper Sauce on Rice

How fast another week has gone by.  In just 2 short weeks, it’ll be Christmas 🎄 and I’ll be reunited with my dad, mom and sister, who will be here to spend a summery 🍺 Christmas with us.  You can’t imagine just how much I missed them! To prepare for their arrival, we have so much cleaning, scrubbing and shopping to do.   Cleaning wasn’t fun but the gifts shopping 🎁 was crazily delightful.  So after a week-long of cleaning and a day-long of gifts shopping, it was finally done.  I kid you not, but the act of buying gifts feel like a battleground especially at the gift wrapping stations.  It’s like a process where you have to plan from getting into the shopping mall and time your way up to the end.  Just a mere few minutes difference will change everything.  Have you ever felt this way when you gift shop?  It was hectic but fun and now all gifts are sitting very nicely under the Christmas tree waiting to be opened 🙂 For dinner later …

Kung pao chicken

Kung Pao Chicken (宫保鸡丁)

Hands up if you have not tried the popular Kung Pao Chicken (宫保鸡丁).  If your tolerance level towards spicy food is very low, then I forgive you.  Else, you have no reasons not to try this dish.  It is widely available in every parts of Chinatown around the world. I love Kung Pao to the MAX.  When I first arrived in Melbourne, I missed this dish so much that it was one of the first dish I attempted to make – check out my first recipe here.  While there has been some slight variations of Kung Pao Chicken across the world today, one thing remains the same and that is maintaining the hot numbing effect from the dish.  If it doesn’t give you that feeling, then it ain’t Kung Pao. The classic Chinese dish that comes from the Sichuan Province is believed to be named after Ding Baozhen, a late Qing Dynasty official, and governor of Sichuan Province. His title was called Gongbao which literally means Palace Guardian.  And that’s how Kung Pao Chicken got its name 🙂 “Authentic Kung Pao Chicken leaves you with …

Honey sesame chicken

Best Honey & Sesame Chicken, period!

As a food crazy person, I’m always on the hunt for easy, simple and delicious (must!) dishes to try for weeknight dinners.  That means googling the web and eyeballing recipe books.  It’s really timely because my current obsession is on finding the best recipes on Chinese takeouts and replicate them at home. What’s the lucky first?  Honey & Sesame Chicken has got to be the lucky first – who can resist those sticky sweet bites – makes it even more tempting to sink our teeths into, right? To be honest, I wouldn’t dare say that Honey & Sesame Chicken is actually Chinese, it’s probably more of a Chinese-American type dish and extremely popular.  So popular that when you google for Honey & Sesame Chicken, be prepared to scroll down pages and pages of recipes.  Whatever it is, it is an extremely delicious dish! Unfortunately, not many Chinese restaurants here know how to make a perfect Honey & Sesame Chicken.  They either have (1) way too much batter enclosing a tiny puny piece of chicken, (2) soggy or (3) just plain sweet.  In …

strawberries and cream

Strawberries & Cream with Wonton Crisps

Hi everyone, I hope you had a wonderful weekend so far! Weekends are so precious, don’t you think so? For today, let’s talk leftovers. Hmmm, this is the part I always NOT like to have, especially for things that are “once opened, must be used within the next 5 days” and blah blah blah, says the wording on the packaging.  Take wonton wrappers for example – the smallest packet comes in like a hundred pieces and while I adore wontons, making a hundred of them at one time is not what I would do for just a family of 3 🙂 Why don’t they come in smaller packaging? But wait, interestingly, these wonton wrappers are so versatile that you can eat them as savory or sweet.  To eat as snack – simply slather with melted butter, sprinkle with icing sugar and bake them till golden brown and crispy.  Voila, you have an easy peasy snack and it tastes bloody good too 🙂  And that solves the mystery of what to do with leftover wonton wrappers.  So, remember, don’t throw them away! Secondly, if you want …

Garlic Prawn Pasta

Speedy Lunch with Garlic Prawn Pasta

I love a good simple meal especially when I’m cooking for myself.  To say that this pasta dish is delicious is an understatement because it is extremely extremely tasty.  Donna Hay, one of my favourite Australian TV chef/personality, describes this dish as a tasty combination of two of her (and moi too!) favourite ingredients – garlic prawns and pasta.  Yummy Yum Yum! So, after watching Donna’s video, adding oil in the pasta water doesn’t really help to unstick the pasta.  Instead, it’s just making it difficult to clean the pot later 🙂  According to Donna, the trick to getting the pasta to not stick is to have a generous amount of water that’s always boiling because it’s the bubbles that’s keeping the pasta strands separate. While the dish is easy, timing is everything.  We don’t want to make the pasta cooked too early or the garlic prawns over cooked.  So, time the cooking properly. Garlic Prawn Pasta (adapted from Donna Hay’s Fast Fresh Simple)  Serves 1 Ingredients: 100 g angel hair pasta 25 g unsalted butter 1/2 tbsp …

Steamed prawns

Steamed Tiger Prawns with Minced Garlic

Recently I’ve been very much obsessed with Sam Leong’s cookbooks – yes and I bought all 3 of his cookbooks (LOL).  If you don’t know who this guy is, he’s a Chinese celebrity chef from Singapore and has won many impressive awards and accolades from the culinary world.  Trained by his Malaysian dad who was well-known as the king of shark fin years ago.  Sam is known for his modern Chinese cuisine, combining old school cantonese cuisine with modern flavours. So, it is from the cookbook A Taste of Home, that I fell in love with this recipe.  It’s not just an easy recipe to follow, the dish is super super tasty and it takes less than 15 mins to cook.  So, tell me, what’s not to like aye?  That home made soy sauce is (seriously) to die for and goes so well with rice!  Not only that sauce is tasty, it’s so versatile that you can use this to dress any steamed chicken or fish dishes. “Simple recipes are always the best policies. Even better when …

Prawn and Grapefruit salad

Prawn & Grapefruit Salad

Summer’s officially over… and I’m already missing it.  Bye bye tank tops.  Bye bye Havaianas.  While writing this post, I was enjoying a hot cuppa coffee with sweet sounds of rain fall that’s music to my ears.  What a way to finish the summer.  I love it when it always ends with a sweet note.  How surreal and relaxing, right 🙂 Living in Melbourne has its perks.  We get fresh seafood and lots of fresh farmed fruits.  How wonderful is that?  Being able to try new things is fun like eating grapefruit for the first time.  It’s one of those things that you either like it or hate it.  For me, I don’t mind eating it, but I’m also not keen with just eating the fruit itself because the flavours are just a tad bitter and very very tarty! “Thanks to Adam! I can regain my dignity now instead of being perceived a bitter fruit!”  So in this recipe, Adam Liaw has given the groove back to grapefruits.  He pairs them with rich toasted coconut, shallots, fresh prawns …

mushroom salad

Mushroom Salad with Yuzu Dressing

It’s been a while since I’ve had healthy salad for lunch as I’m not a ‘salad’ person, but more of a ‘meat’ person, if you know what I mean.  This recipe from Bon Appetit caught my eye because I love the 2 hero ingredients and that is mushroom and yuzu.  Not only that, I still have remaining 1/2 a bottle of yuzu juice sitting in the fridge, waiting to be enjoyed.  You can view my other yuzu recipe here. Good thing is, this salad is warm and juicy, so it’s really good for the soul.  But really, there is such a huge array and wonderful assortment of wild mushrooms  and nuts (if you’re not allergic to nuts) that you can add into the salad. For this recipe, I used king oyster mushroom because of their unique anise aroma, fresh shiitake mushrooms and enoki.  When lightly sautéed with neutral flavoured oil, these wonderful mushrooms let out such aromatic and rich flavour that you don’t even need any other seasoning. Mushroom Salad with Yuzu Dressing (adapted from Bon Appetit)  Serves …

Salmon carpaccio

Salmon Carpaccio with Lemon & Chilli

Coming home from a holiday really makes me lazy – basically I just want to sit around and not do anything.  But that didn’t last long because I went back to work within a day of coming home 😦 On the first day of work, my fingers were so stiff I could hardly type a sentence without any error.  Even body parts need a break! When I came home, my hubby further surprised me with a new oven – STOP – not new, but the same oven which looks like new.  He’d taken 2 days to clean the oven and made it look almost unrecognisably new.  And now, I can see ‘clearly’ through the oven glass door 🙂 Aah so sweet of him, don’t you think? So, in my absence, the refrigerator was very very empty and because my hubby didn’t do much grocery for the week, I opted for a simple and fresh lunch.  Summer brings so much versatility to any dishes because of the amount of fresh foods that we can enjoy like this dish – simple Salmon Carpaccio with Lemon …

Seared Scallops

Seared Scallops with corn puree & currant vinaigrette

I’ve been cooking Asian almost every day these past few weeks – so it’s time to change some flavour profile.  Let me re-iterate again that I’m a recipe hoarder and now, cookbook addict too! Recently, thanks to Black Friday & Cyber Monday promotions, I’ve ordered 12 cookbooks (or more, I think).  The only problem now is to make space on my book shelf to accommodate these new books :).  And I’m not even sure if I have the space. “Dear Santa,  I wish for a new book shelf – I mean a large, large one.  So large, that I will need a staircase to reach the top shelf!”  I am obsessed with scallops and that’s a fact.  It’s one of the seafood that I greatly love and I mean, GREATLY love to eat and enjoy.  Being able to find fresh juicy scallops without paying a premium price in Melbourne has spoilt me and my purse. The recipe’s adapted from our very own Australian Masterchef hottie Andy Allen’s debut cookbook The Next Element.  The simple recipes that is translated into easy-to-understand-steps …

Grilled prawn with yuzu dressing

Grilled Prawns with Yuzu dressing

You know that you’re going through a meh day when: (1) the morning was just beginning to look the same as any other day, (2) then the day just drags and drags  whilst dragging whatever remaining life force out of you and (3) just wanna lie down and don’t want to do anything.  Sounds familiar?  I was feeling un-inspired and definitely needed a quick perk-me-up and coffee didn’t help a bit (by the way, I already had 2 cups 🙂 ) So, with that little remaining life force, I walked to my pantry and rummaged through the snack box, hoping to find some sweet and sour goodies.  Then I saw a bottle of ‘something’ peeking out from a pile of dry goods that I had bought a week ago but had no time to organise.  Interesting!  Now, where did that bottle of Yuzu juice came from, I wonder? “So, there you are, my dear yuzu … you’re the secret to brighten up any ‘meh’ day.  Where have you been all my life?” Yuzu is a citrus fruit, grown in China.  It’s a commonly used ingredient …

Salmon Sushi and sashimi

Salmon Sa-sushi-mi

Do you know why the Japanese invented Japanese mayo, Kewpie?  Because fresh fish and Kewpie Japanese mayo are really the only two things you need in your fridge and pantry to create a simple delicious quick lunch.  Australia is truly blessed with fresh foods from the sea and land.  Our fishermen and farmers work hard at sea and in the farms to bring us fresh produce.  Ah, so privileged to be able to enjoy them without costing an arm and a leg 🙂 Strolling around Prahran Market gave me some inspirations on recipes to cook for lunch.  Love the fresh seafoods from Claringbold’s – that’s where I got my sushi grade salmon and quality Yarra Valley salmon caviar.  Super combination for a quick fuss-free work day lunch or party snack.  But hey, that’s indulgence in the simplest form 🙂 The recipe below is not a recipe. Haha.  It’s simply salmon slices + Kewpie japanese mayo + salmon caviar and voila, you get fresh delicious Salmon Sa-sushi-mi and no cooking required.  With fresh produce, we can create almost anything we want. …

Bang bang Chicken salad

Bang Bang Chicken Salad

Bang Bang (my baby shot me down) was by far one of the coolest song I’ve ever heard.  When a cool song like that appeared in the OST of the coolest and bloodiest Quentin Tarantino’s movie, “Kill Bill” – that’s a pretty awesome nasty combo, right?  Making the bang bang chicken is not nearly as bloody and nasty as that … LOL.  Fact is, bang bang chicken is the total opposite – little bashing with no blood and totally PG rated! Originated from the Hanyang district in China as popular street food – where the chicken was cooked, shredded and then drizzled with hot spicy sauce, the locals eat it as cold snack.  The dish got its name from the way the chicken was beaten with a stick to separate them into thin shreds.  How original 😉  This is a super easy dish to make and one of the most delicious salad I’ve ever eaten.  The combination of the hot sauce, cold salad and shredded chicken just makes my knees weak!  Definitely going to try this again next week. Go ahead – you …

Tuna sashimi with matsuhisa dressing

Tuna Sashimi with Matsuhisa Dressing

Sashimi-grade yellowfin tuna is hard to come by – so when I saw these beautifully fresh yellowfin tuna steaks on display at my local fish monger’s, I knew had to have it.  I didn’t know what to do with them yet but I know that if I have no recipe for them, I will just enjoy them in their natural state as raw sashimi to bring out their sweet flavour … and lovingly indulge in them without paying restaurant price 🙂 After going through some recipes online, I have decided to go with an adaptation from famed Nobu Matsuhisa’s Seared Tuna Sashimi dressed with Matsuhisa sauce.  The recipe was easy peasy and quick to prepare for a decadent weekday lunch. Extra dressing can be stored in an airtight container up to four days in the refrigerator and according to Nobu, it is delicious with grilled meats.  Try it and let me know if it works or not. Tuna Sashimi with Matsuhisa Dressing (adapted from Martha Stewart)   Serves 2 (as starter or to share) Ingredients: 200g sashimi-grade yellowfin tuna steak Sea …