Category Archives: food

udon noodle soup

Happy Friday!

If you live in Seattle (or somewhere else in the world) and the weather is still soooo cold in Spring–especially in the morning, here’s a hot and comforting noodle soup recipe for you to try this weekend (serves 1):

Udon Noodle Soup w/ Shrimp & Mushrooms

a few shiitake mushrooms
a few bunashimeji mushrooms
3-5 pieces of raw shrimp, peeled
2 nappa (the leaves)
1/4 onion, sliced
cilantro, chopped
green onion, sliced
a few sprigs of shingiku (garland chrysanthemum)
1 pack of udon noodles
dashi (one 4 grams package of dashi flavors 4 cups of water for stock)
4 cups of water
1 egg, beaten (optional)
ichimi pepper flakes

1. To make the stock, add about 1 tablespoon shoyu (adds saltiness) and mirin (adds sweetness) to the water.

Note: adjust the seasoning when you’re almost done, because the vegetables will add a lot to your stock. If you like the soup stronger, use a little less water. Or a little more dashi.

2. Add the mushrooms, onions, noodles, nappa and then the shrimps to the stock.

3. When the noodles boil, you can add a beaten egg. Let the egg sit in the pot for 20 to 30 seconds before giving it a light stir.

4. Add your quick cooking greens and stir gently.

5. Taste and adjust the seasoning, then turn off the heat.

***If you want miso flavoring or a miso broth, add the miso after turning off the heat.

Miso: mix about a tablespoon of miso with a little water to make it easier to mix into the broth.

Serve in a bowl and sprinkle some ichimi pepper. Enjoy!

{Image and recipe from FOODjimoto}

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scallion & ginger noodles

Happy Friday, everyone.

If you don’t know already…I’m not much of a cook. So I ALWAYS shy away from complicated recipes/dishes with a lot of ingredients. Maybe once I move back in with my mom, she can teach me her amazing cooking skills.

If you’re looking for something to make this weekend, try this really simple recipe in 5 easy steps:

Scallion & Ginger Noodles

15 oz dried yellow noodles (cooked from package instructions)
2 tbsp ginger, finely chopped
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 bunch scallions, thinly sliced
3 tbsp soy sauce
½ tsp sea salt
6–8 tbsp peanut oil

1. Heat the oil in a large pan or wok until smoking and remove from the heat.
2. Add in the ginger, garlic and scallions.
3. Give the mixture a quick stir and toss in the noodles.
4. Season the noodles with soy sauce and sea salt.
5. Serve warm (with your choice of toppings–in this case, a sunny-side up egg).*

*Serves 4

{Image and recipe from Angie of seasaltwithfood}

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By the way, today is the last day to make your purchase in my shop and have 30% of the sales go towards AmeriCares to help the Japanese earthquake and tsunami victims!

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a frog legs weekend

I hope everyone had a lovely weekend, probably with more sun and warmth than us folks in Seattle!

Ever since I came back from Vietnam, I feel like my weekends have been more and more unproductive {but very relaxing}. Maybe I’m just preparing myself for ANOTHER move at the end of May, which basically means there’s going to be another big change in mine and N’s lifestyle.

So I didn’t get as much done as I thought/hoped I would. I did watch a very sweet and touching Italian movie Life is Beautiful, though. The main character really moved me, and watching him brought back memories of my dad {again}. But what doesn’t nowadays? Anyway, I highly recommend this movie for everyone. :-)

I also tried cooking with frog legs (albeit the recipe I found online turned out to be a not-so-great one) over the weekend. I wanted to fry the frozen frog legs I bought from the local Asian supermarket. Unfortunately, they only come frozen around here, so that was probably the first sign telling me it wasn’t going to be as good (also considering how tricky frog {legs} meat can be).


Marinade: flour, beaten eggs, chopped green onions + garlic, salt, pepper (sit for 1 hour)


Cooking: fried in oil until brown (in this case, I should have deep-fried the legs instead so the batter is evenly coated)


Results: the meat was a little tough and the batter marinade + frying method added no flavor or crispness to the legs.

I will have to try a different recipe next time! I still love frog legs, though. And I’ll always remember the best frog legs salad I’ve ever had in Vietnam several years ago.

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parsley & pesto soba noodles

Parsley & Pesto Soba Noodles

12 oz dried soba noodles
¾ cup italian parsley, roughly chopped
2 tbsp pine nuts, toasted (optional)
2 cloves garlic
1 tbsp fresh lemon juice
½ tbsp sesame oil
1 ½ tbsp soy sauce
3 tbsp grape seed oil, or other neutral tasting oil

Heat a large pot of water to a boil. Add soba noodles, stir as they soften, and bring water back up to a simmer (not a boil). Simmer for 6-7 minutes or according to package directions. Noodles should still have a slight firmness, and not be mushy. Strain soba and rinse well using the correct water temperature. If serving warm, rinse under hot water, if serving soba at room temperature, rinse under cold water.

While soba cooks, make parsley sauce. Combine parsley, pine nuts, garlic, lemon juice, sesame oil, soy sauce, and grape seed oil in a food processor and blend ingredients together until smooth. Toss noodles with sauce and serve.*

*Serves approx. 4

NOTE: The sauce would also be great for dressing chicken, fish, or on salads. If you have raw pine nuts, to toast, heat a dry pan over medium heat, add pine nuts and toast until golden, shaking the pan frequently to help pine nuts toast evenly. Can be served at warm or at room temperature, depending on your preference. If serving warm, make sauce first.

{Image and recipe from Todd and Diane of White On Rice Couple}

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And please don’t forget to continue praying for Japan!

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rice noodle rolls w/ pork & mushrooms

If you like exploring new {noodles} recipes, try making this Vietnamese homemade rice noodle rolls. I’ve never made them because my aunt just makes them for us instead. =) And they’re so good! You can also substitute the pork filling with (minced) shrimp or other types of meat/mushrooms. My aunt usually makes the rolls with fried shallots topped with Vietnamese ham called cha lua, along with fresh herbs. Very simple, but very tasty.

This recipe comes from Luke Nguyen, an acclaimed Vietnamese-Australian chef and owner of Red Lantern in Sydney. I enjoy watching his cooking show, Luke Nguyen’s Vietnam, where he travels across the country to explore and cook local Vietnamese cuisine. He is also the co-founder of Little Lantern Foundation, a non-proft organization that helps disadvantaged and under-educated youths in central Vietnam improve their lives through vocational training programs in the restaurant, hospitality and tourism industry.

Rice Noodle Rolls Filled w/ Pork & Wood Ear Mushrooms

4 dried wood ear mushrooms
1 tsp fish sauce
1/2 lb rice flour
1/4 tapioca flour
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 cup vegetable oil
4 cloves garlic, minced
4 red asian shallots, diced
1/2 lb minced pork
1/2 tsp sugar
1 lb pork terrine, finely sliced
2 lebanese (short) cucumbers, sliced into batons
1 bunch fresh vietnamese mint, leaves plucked
1 bunch fresh mint, leaves plucked
1/2 lb mung bean sprouts
2 tbsp fried red asian shallots
1 cup fish sauce
2 bird’s eye chili, sliced

Put the mushrooms in a bowl, cover with water and soak for 20 minutes, then drain and slice thinly.

To make the batter, combine rice flour, tapioca flour and salt with 2 1/2 cup of cold water. Whisk until the flour dissolves and forms a smooth batter.

Heat a nonstick frying pan over medium heat, then add 2 tbsp oil. Fry the garlic and shallots until fragrant, then add the pork, mushrooms, fish sauce, sugar, and pinch of salt and pepper. Stir-fry for 4 minutes, then transfer to a bowl and set aside.

Brush a round tray with oil and place beside the stove. Heat a large nonstick frying pan over medium heat, and add enough oil to coat the base of the pan. Pour a small ladle-size (2 to 3 tbsp) batter into the pan, turning the pan in a circular motion to cover the base with a thin layer of batter. Cover the pan with a lid and cook for 30 seconds.

Remove the lid and slide the thin noodle sheet onto your oiled tray. Scoop 1 tbsp pork mixture onto the noodle sheet, fold 2 sides in, then fold over to form a roll. Transfer to a plate. Repeat this process using the remaining batter and pork mixture, adding oil to the pan as necessary.

Top the rolls with pork terrine, fresh herbs, bean sprouts, fried shallots, and cucumber. Dress with fish sauce and serve with sliced chili.

{Image and recipe from Cooking Channel: Luke Nguyen}

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pad thai + happy friday

Happy friday, everyone!
Don’t forget to check out my shop on Etsy today!

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Yep, one of my favorite Thai dishes is pad thai. Preferably with tofu or shrimp. And 3 or 4 stars spicy–depending on the restaurant. We had some pad thai takeout the other night in Auburn, and it was actually decent + cheap. I feel like making pad thai is kind of tricky because of the noodles you’re working with and the right kind of sauce.

Well, I found a great recipe (below) that seems pretty close to the “right” pad thai you’ll get at authentic Thai restaurants. I think I’ll share this recipe with my mom as she’s been wanting to try making some at home.

Pim’s Pad Thai

vegetable oil (for frying)
12 oz. chicken (2 oz. per serving)
4 cloves (10g) minced garlic (about 1/2+ clove per serving)
sauce (see below) (about 1/4 cup per serving)
1 lb. (500g) rice noodles, soaked in warm water to soften (but not too soft)
6 eggs (1 egg per serving)
1 lb. shrimp, peeled and deveined (4-6 shrimp per serving)
1 cup (155g) ground peanuts (1-2 tbsps per serving)
3-4 cups bean sprouts (1/2 cup per serving)
1/2 cup (75g) pickled turnips, chopped (1+ tbsp per serving)
1 cup garlic chives or green onions, chopped (2 tbsps per serving)
more sprouts (garnish)
fresh limes (garnish)

sauce
1/2 cup (130g) tamarind paste
1/2 cup (120g) fish sauce
1/3 cup (75g) brown sugar
1 tbsp (9g) chili powder (to taste)

Over a low flame, heat the tamarind, fish sauce, and brown sugar together until the sugar is dissolved. Stir in the chili powder a teaspoon at a time to desired spiciness. Bring the sauce to a simmer. Turn off the heat (keep sauce warm).

The key is to cook up 1-2 servings at a time! Heat 2-3 tablespoons of oil in wok or large frying pan over high heat.

Add 2 ounces of chicken and stir-fry until it is half cooked. Add 1-2 tablespoons of sauce, and a pinch of garlic. Stir around and add about 2 cups of loosely packed (for me, a big handful) of rice noodles plus 1/4 cup of sauce to the pan and stir vigorously until the noodles soften. If it dries out, you can add some water. Push the noodles to the side and crack an egg into the pan. Let the egg cook for 10 seconds and then toss the noodles and egg together in the pan.

Drop 4-6 shrimp, a couple of tablespoons of ground peanuts, a heaping tablespoon of turnip, and 1/2 cup of sprouts into the pan. Stir fry until the shrimp are just cooked (very fast – about a minute).

Toss in the green onions or garlic chives and remove from heat. Serve hot with more sprouts, ground peanuts, and lime wedges for garnish.

{Image and recipe above from use real butter}
{Original recipe from chez pim}

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soba salad w/ eggplant

Soba Noodles Salad w/ Roasted Eggplant
Serves 1

1 medium eggplant, diced
1/2 tsp salt
1 tbsp toasted sesame oil
1 bundle of soba noodles
2 tsp sesame seeds
1 tsp peanut oil
1 garlic clove, crushed
pinch of sea salt
1 tsp minced fresh ginger
2 tsp soya sauce
1 tsp dark brown sugar
1 tsp clear rice wine
1/4 cup fresh cilantro, chopped

1. Place the diced eggplant in a bowl, toss with salt and leave to stand for 15-20 minutes to leach out water and bitterness before roasting. Rinse shortly under cold water, drain and pat dry with paper towel.

2. Preheat the oven to 170C. Put the eggplant on a baking sheet and toss with some sesame oil. Bake for 20-25 minutes. Take the baking sheet out of the oven after 15 minutes and push around the eggplant so that they bake evenly.

3. While the eggplant is baking, heat the sesame seeds in a wide frying pan over medium heat, shaking the pan occasionally. Remove them when they darken and become fragrant, about 2-3 minutes, and let them cool.

4. Cook the soba noodles according to the package directions. Once the noodles are cooked, rinse them under cold water and drain well. Transfer to a medium bowl and toss with 1 tsp of oil to prevent noodles from sticking.

5. With a knife, mash the garlic and salt into a paste. In a small bowl, combine the garlic paste, ginger, soya sauce, sugar and rice wine and whisk until blended.

6. Add the roasted eggplant to the bowl with noodles, combine with the dressing and toasted sesame seeds. Toss well and garnish with chopped cilantro.

{Image and recipe from Šárka of Cook Your Dream}

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