Phở Gà (Vietnamese Chicken Noodle Soup) using my homegrown Bean Sprouts

The best part of growing your own sprouts is the day you harvest.  There are a number of family favorite recipes where I can use my bean sprout harvest but I decided to make hubby’s favorite comfort soup, Chicken Phở.

HarvestsBean Sprouts

Since we used our own harvested bean sprouts (grown in my Le Creuset Stock pot) and fresh basil from my garden, our children craved and dug into the pile of their choice toppings to fill their chicken noodle soup bowls.  Phở is one of the most vibrant, comforting and delicate flavors I’ve ever tasted.  I got hooked with this soup because of the many fresh ingredients mixed all together.  I learned my recipe from reading Vietnamese cook books, asking around Vietnamese friends and following Helen and learning her easy Phở recipe online.  Here it is:

Pho Ga

 

Wash a whole chicken (I only use organic chicken when making soup) very well.  Rub it with salt to remove the smell then rinse completely.  Add chicken into a big pot and fill it with water until water is covering chicken itself.  Add 1 tbsp. of salt and 1 medium whole peeled onion.  Bring to boil and carefully and consistently skim off the foam.  When all the foam are gone, continue simmering until chicken is tender, around 30-45 minutes depending on the size of your chicken.

I purchase a Phở packet from our local Vietnamese market and I added it to the stock 10 minutes before the soup is done.  This gives the soup the authentic Phở aroma.

When chicken is cooked, remove from stock, wash and cool down.  Slice the chicken meat depending on the size you like or shred it into chunks.

On a large serving bowl,  place a handful of blanched Vietnamese Phở Noodles (I buy the “802 Brand Rice Sticks at 99 Ranch Market).  Top with chicken, sliced lime leaves, chopped green onions, thinly sliced onions (soaked in cold water), basil and bean sprouts.  Serve the hot stock onto the bowl then serve the Phở with these optional ingredients:  cilantro leaves, fish sauce, hoisin sauce, and/or chili sauce.

Enjoy!!

Basa Fish Fillet cooked in Lemon sauce

Something smells fishy and savory…

I love fish.  Don’t you?

Instead of eating red meat or poultry, I’d rather eat seafood.  I enjoy the light flavor and the variety of dishes I can make out of the many kind of seafood in the market.

I grew up eating fish because my Dad loves to eat fish.  Growing up, I remember going to the “Palengke” or wet market.  Fresh caught fish, shellfish, octopus, crustaceans and even sea cucumbers and sea urchins can be bought.  It’s simply a delight learning easy fish recipes but what makes me extra happy about this particular recipe is that my family gave me a high score on this 🙂

Ingredients:

  • 3 pcs. Basa fish fillet
  • 3 tbsp. Capers, washed and drained
  • 1 Lemon
  • Ginger, julienned
  • Shallots. thinly sliced
  • Olive oil
  • Salt and pepper

Cut the Basa fish fillet into bite sizes.  Cut the lemon in half.  Juice half of the lemon while slicing the other half into very thin round slices.

Into a non-stick pan, heat 1 teaspoon of olive oil.  Saute the ginger and shallots until fragrant.  Add the fish, some salt and pepper, the capers and the sliced lemon.  Cook for 2-3 minutes on medium high heat.  Add in the lemon juice and drizzle with some more olive oil.  Cover the pan and cook for another minute.

Very easy!!!!

Kale Stir-Fry

I first learned about Kale when I was reading recipes for baby food back in 2004 when our eldest daughter was still a baby.  It was intimidating at first because I never used or tasted this type of vegetable which was not available at the local markets when I was growing up in Manila.  That’s why in my many years of learning to cook, I barely had any interest with Kale.

Making baby food out of Kale was challenging.  At first, we thought the kids will not like it but actually, they did!  They really did and it was their favorite homemade baby food and since our children like it so much, we should learn to eat it too.  This is the start of my Kale challenge:

Here’s an easy recipe that’s not only appealing to the taste, but also appetizing to the eyes.

Ingredients:

1 Block firm tofu

1 lb. Kale

1/2 Large eggplant (North American Variety)

1/4 cup Low sodium vegetable stock

Sliced garlic

Olive oil

Chili pepper flakes

Salt and Pepper

Heat olive oil on medium low heat.  Sauté garlic with a dash of salt until light brown and crispy.  Add chili pepper flakes.  Add a little more olive oil then cook the eggplant and tofu.  Stir in the vegetable stock then turn up the heat to medium high.  Lastly, add the kale and cook for a few minutes until cooked to desired texture.  Salt and pepper to taste.

 

Related Articles:

The Truth about Kale

The World’s Healthiest Foods dot ORG

 

Samgyetang (Korean/Chinese) Ginseng Chicken Soup

Samgyetang (Ginseng Chicken Soup)_4604902853_l

I’m sure most of you will like this recipe because it’s one of the easiest, nutritious and delicious soup of all time.

I consider this as one of our family’s comfort-soup aside from our classic Sinigang and Tinola.

This soup is made with Ginseng or other Traditional Vegetable Root Tea available in your Asian Market. It is believed by a lot of Asians to help cure and prevent ailments.

If and only “IF” your closest Asian Market do not have fresh or dehydrated ginseng, you can also use a couple of pure ginseng tea bags as a replacement.

Here’s how to make Korean/Chinese Ginseng Chicken Soup:

INGREDIENTS:

1 Whole medium size Chicken (or large cornish hen)

2 Stalks of Green Onion

1/4 cup of Garlic Cloves

1/3 cup of Glutinous Rice

7-10 pieces of Red Dates (Jujube)

Ginger

Ginseng (Fresh or Dehydrated)

5 pieces of Chestnuts

Cold Water

Salt and Pepper (optional)

Prepare all ingredients. Soak Glutinous Rice for 5 hours or overnight.

Wash your chicken and remove any excess fatty skin. Stuff the cavity of the chicken with the soaked glutinous rice, some garlic, half of the dates and chestnuts and some ginseng. Don’t forget to crush the ginger and add it as well.

Close the opening of the chicken with toothpicks. If you don’t have toothpicks, you can keep it open but place the chicken in a big pot carefully. Put in the extra garlic, ginseng, dates and chestnuts with the whole chicken then pour water enough to cover all the ingredients.

Start to boil for 20 minutes with a foil on top of the pot to cover. When boiling, make sure to remove all the scum to keep the soup clean and clear. Add more water if necessary. When it boils back, cover again with foil then simmer the soup for another 40 minutes to an hour on medium to medium high heat (depending on the kind of pot you’re using).

Before serving, you may add some freshly ground pepper and sea salt and some minced green onion.

Enjoy each slurp of this nutritious soup and each bite of the ginseng, dates, chestnuts, and tender young chicken. I love to eat the garlic on this soup because it melts in your mouth 🙂

If you have questions, feel free to comment and I will be glad to help answer your question/s so you can make your own version of this recipe.

Thanks for reading!!!

Homemade Kimch’i (김치)

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This is one of my favorite recipes and I’ve been saving to write about this on a special day like today.  But before I start, I want to thank Maangchi, my favorite cooking mentor for teaching me how to make this.

Not all people like Kimchi because of the strong sour smell.  I cannot blame them but a lot of other people (like me) love that smell anyway.  Years before, I honestly did not mind about what Kimchi is all about but when I started reading about Korean dishes, I became curious.

I first tried Kimchi at Korean restaurants as a side-dish.  It was appetizing to me because of the savory kick of spicy and sour sauce.  Then slowly, I appreciated the taste of the sauce and my palate started to want for more.

I only like the ones from the restaurant because it tastes more fresh.  I never had a store-bought Kimchi in our home and because of that, I realized I had to learn to make my own Kimchi 🙂  To me, it’s comforting to know what ingredients I have used on my recipes.  Then I am more confident serving food to my family knowing that they are eating homemade dishes by me.

I hope you enjoy learning this recipe as much as I did.  I will make a new batch this weekend 🙂

INGREDIENTS:

  • 2 medium Napa Cabbages
  • 2 medium Korean Radishes (Daikon), cut into 1 inch cubes (leave some for the porridge, julienned)
  • Sea Salt
  • 1 big Onion
  • Ginger
  • 10-15 pieces of Garlic (I like to use a lot!)
  • Green Onions
  • Asian Chives
  • Hot Pepper Powder (pick a nice one that’s bright red)
  • Fish Sauce
  • Sweet Rice Powder

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Cut the cabbages in half, then slit each half through the core, but NOT through the rest of the leaves.  Soak each piece in cold water and liberally sprinkle some salt (about 3/4 cup of Sea Salt per medium cabbage), then set aside for 2 hours.

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Salt the diced radishes too and leave for 2 hours as well.  After 2 hours, turn the pieces of cabbage and radishes over so they are salted evenly. Leave for another 2 hours (Total of 4 hours of salting).

Prepare the porridge.  Put 1/2 cup sweet rice powder and 3 cups of water in a sauce pan and cook over medium high heat while stirring constantly.  Add 1/4 cup sugar then cool it down.  After 4 hours, wash the cabbages and radishes in a cold tub of water… wash 3-4 times making sure you soak it well in water to REMOVE ALL the salt.

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To the porridge, add 1 cup good quality fish sauce, 2-6 cups of hot pepper flakes (depending on your taste), 1 cup of crushed garlic, 1-3 tbsp. of minced ginger, 1 large minced onion. (I use my food processor to mince and crush the ingredients on this part)

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Mix the porridge and continue washing the cabbages and radishes.

Take a look at my photos and see how I soak the cabbages in water to make sure all the salt is removed.

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Prepare the following:

  • 7-12 diagonally sliced green onions
  • 2 cups asian chives cut into 2 inches in length
  • 2 cups of shredded korean radish (left-over from the cubes that you used before)

Combine the porridge and the ingredients above.

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Make sure the water from the cabbages drip off before starting to spread the paste on the leaves.  You will see on my slideshow how my paste looks like (it will make you salivate if you love Kimchi like me – LOL!)

Start spreading the paste on the leaves and leave some paste for your cubed radishes (Kaktugi).  Put your homemade Kimchi into an air-tight sealed container or glass jar.

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Make sure you use a clean spoon each time you get a portion of your Kimchi when you eat. Also, press down on your Kimchi after getting your serving to make sure there is no air in between your cabbages. Eat this fresh or wait until it’s bubbly and fermented.

Put the Kimchi container at room temperature for a day then keep it in the refrigerator after the first day of fermentation. In a few days, you will see some bubbles and you will start smelling the sour Kimchi. That means it’s ready being fermented.

Enjoy your Kimchi!!!!

 

Related Articles:

MAANGCHI where I learned how to make Kimchi

 


Japchae Recipe (jabchae, chapch’ae, 잡채, 雜菜)

 

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I first tasted this as a side-dish at a local Korean restaurant here in Irvine. Then back in 2008 after downloading the podcasts at Maangchi’s website, I tried her version of Japchae and loved it!

My family loves noodles and we cannot live without it.  After eating all rice as our staple, we often crave for noodles for a change.

This recipe I am sharing is a recipe I got from the backside of a pack of my favorite Korean Vermicelli and I’d like to share it to you with a few of my personalized touch.

INGREDIENTS:

300 g. of Korean Vermicelli

1 medium Carrot

150 g. of Beef or Pork (you may adjust the amount)

1 medium Onion

5-8 pieces of Dried Shiitake Mushrooms

1 Egg (I use egg substitute)

1 bunch of Spinach (to me, the more the merrier!)

Olive Oil

Slice meat into bite sizes or strips and mix well with the meat seasoning (see below). Slice the re-hydrated mushrooms and season with soy sauce and sugar.  Wash and blanch spinach in boiling water, drain and squeeze the excess water.  Season with sesame oil and salt.

Slice the onion and the carrot into strips, stir fry with a pinch of salt.  Since I use an egg-substitute, just spread the mixture into a frying pan with oil on medium heat to make a thin flat egg crepe.  When done, fold and slice into thin long strips.  Stir fry the seasoned meat and mushroom separately on the frying pan.  Cook the dry vermicelli in boiling water for 6 minutes (or depending on the package instructions of the brand you are cooking).  Rinse in cold water and drain.  Boil 3 tbsp. of soy sauce, 1/4 cup water, 4 tbsp. of sugar (splenda), 1/2 tbsp. of sesame oil, 1/4 tsp. black pepper, 1/2 tsp. grounded roasted sesame seed on the deep frying pan and add the cooked vermicelli and stir well under low heat until it is shiny.

Mix all ingredients prepared separately.  Garnish with the strips of egg and some chopped green onions.

*** Meat Seasoning – 1 Tbsp. Soy Sauce, 1 Tsp. Sugar, 1 Tsp. minced Garlic, 1 Tsp. Sesame Oil, Black Pepper and Salt

Stuffed Squid

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STUFFED SQUID IS ONE OF MY HUSBAND’S FAVORITE DISH.  WE USED TO EAT THIS AT A SMALL OUTDOOR CHINESE RESTAURANT IN AN AREA AT QUEZON CITY, MANILA ALSO KNOWN AS DELTA.  FUNNY I JUST ASKED MY HUSBAND NOW AND HE STILL REMEMBERS THE NAME OF THAT PLACE, “ONGPIN’S DELIGHT.”  I WONDER IF IT’S STILL IN BUSINESS TO DATE.
WE USED TO EAT THERE DURING OUR LUNCH BREAK FROM OUR WORK AT WEST AVENUE.  THIS WAS AT MY FIRST JOB AFTER GRADUATING FROM COLLEGE, AND THE PLACE WHERE MY HUSBAND AND I FIRST MET 🙂  ANYWAY, THIS IS MY VERSION OF THE STUFFED SQUID:
INGREDIENTS:
  • 1 MEDIUM TO LARGE SIZE SQUID (DEPENDING ON HOW BIG YOU WANT IT)
  • BUNCH OF GREEN ONIONS
  • FLOUR
  • EGG
  • COLD WATER
CLEAN THE SQUID.  REMOVE EVERYTHING INSIDE.  FOLD THE GREEN ONIONS IN HALF AND PUSH THEM INTO
THE SQUID.  MAKE A TEMPURA BATTER WITH FLOUR, ONE EGG AND COLD WATER.  DO NOT OVER MIX THE BATTER.
DIP THE ENTIRE STUFFED SQUID AND FRY IN OLIVE OIL ON MEDIUM HEAT.  MAKE SURE ALL SIDES ARE WELL DONE
BEFORE SERVING.  SLICE THE COOKED SQUID AND TOP WITH YOUR FAVORITE SAUCE.  NOTE THAT I DO NOT PUT ANY SALT BECAUSE I ALREADY PUT SOY SAUCE INTO MY CLASSIC BROWN SAUCE COOKED WITH CRISPY FRIED GARLIC, WATER, SOY SAUCE, SALT AND PEPPER, SPLENDA (OR SUGAR) AND CORNSTARCH WITH WATER TO THICKEN THE SAUCE.
THIS RECIPE IS VERY EASY TO MAKE AND REFRESHING TO EAT.

More vegetables please Mommy!!!! (Buchujeon)





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I can’t believe it myself but you’re reading it right. My title says “more vegetables please Mommy!” My daughter is an addict! She loves this recipe so much she can’t get enough and will even ask for more and not leave anything for her Dad. 

This is Maangchi’s Korean Vegetable Pancake recipe called Buchujeon in Korean. You can see her recipe at her website but as always, I give my version a personal touch. 

Here’s what I do: 

INGREDIENTS: 

Small Korean Zucchini (or italian zucchini) 

5-8 Stalks of Green Onions 

1 Korean Chili (I use this because it’s not hot/spicy – good for kid-friendly recipes) 

1 Egg 

 A piece of small Carrot 

3 Garlic cloves 

Fresh Oysters (optional: or shrimp and try scallops) 

Chop and julienne the carrots and zucchini. Add in the thinly chopped green onions and korean chili. In a separate bowl, mix in 1/2 cup flour, salt and 2/3 cup water or sometimes I use a store-bought korean vegetable pancake mix and follow the package instructions. 

Chopped vegetables should be around 3 cups. Mix the vegetables with the batter and mix it up with your hands to spread evenly.Chop 3-6 pieces of fresh oysters and set aside. 

In a big heated non-stick pan, put some olive oil and spread the vegetable pancake mixture. Put your heat to medium. Top the raw side of the cooking pancake with fresh oysters and one beaten egg. Wait about 5-8 minutes before flipping the pancake. 

After 8 minutes, flip the pancake and add more olive oil (if needed) to make it crunchy (a cooking tip from Maangchi). Press the pancake down with a spatula and check once in a while to see if it’s getting cooked the way you want it to be. 

My secret dipping sauce that really makes my daughter eat this pancake a lot is a mixture of 1/4 cup rice vinegar, 2 tablespoon of light soy sauce and a pack of splenda. You can use sugar if you want but I don’t have that in my pantry 🙂 

Use other vegetables if you want to explore it! I’ve tried, sweet potato with green onions, chives and red peppers, I even tried bean sprouts with oysters as suggested by my husband. 

Enjoy and let me know about your version!

The Art of Miso Ramen

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I wish I can make this everyday but I feel like it’s too much work even if it’s really simple.  Making a warm bowl of miso ramen is a lot of work for me just like many of my other favorite japanese food. Because of it’s precision process, sometimes having a bowl of this from a small authentic jap restaurant is better than making your own. Here, I will share how I made this beautiful work of art so you can try your own version too.

INGREDIENTS:

  • Fresh ramen noodles
  • Some pork belly
  • 4-5 cups water
  • 2-4 tablespoons miso paste (depending on taste and kind you like, I use white miso)
  • 2-4 teaspoons chili oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon hondashi
  • hard boiledeggs  and sweet corn kernels
  • Narutomaki(fish cake with pink swirl)
  • 1 stalk green onion (finely chopped)
  • 1 tablespoon white sesame seeds (pounded until fine)
  • Light soy sauce to taste (optional)
  • Seasoned laver/seaweed (cut into strips)

METHOD:

Bring water to boil with the cleaned whole piece of pork. Let it simmer for a while then remove the pork and skim remaining stock. Add in the miso paste, hondashi, eggs and sesame seeds. Bring the soup base to boil. Add in the chili oil and light soy sauce to taste (optional). Blanch the fresh noodles in a pot of boiling water until they are cooked. Rinse with cold water, drain and set aside. I rub the noodles with a little bit if vegetable oil to keep it moist. In a serving bowl, add the noodles then top with the hard-boiled egg, sliced pork, narutomaki, corn kernels and chopped green onions. Pour the miso soup base into the bowl and add the roasted seaweed to top then serve immediately. Look at my photo gallery to be inspired and get hungry!

Note: I added preserved bamboo shoots to my soup because my favorite bowl of ramen from a japanese ramen restaurant serves theirs with some.