Category Archives: Entree

Unseasonal Goya Champloo (Sautéed Bitter Melon)

Recipe inspired by: Lucky byproduct of my complete negligence

goya champloo

Nothing says summer like goya, “bitter melon” which is one of typical ingredients used in cuisines from Okinawa, the most Southern and hottest island in Japan.

So imagine my surprise when I finally stepped out to the yard to check up on my vegetables this past weekend after a particularly busy month, and found a bunch of shiny bitter melons hanging behind the thick, green vines in a plot (where they self-seeded themselves from the previous year) that I haven’t even watered after summer squashes were all gone.

Amazed, both by my own obliviousness and the resilience of the plant, I decided to pay unseasonal respect to these survivors that they deserve with probably the most well-known Okinawa dish. After all, I feel strange affinity towards this relatively unknown vegetable – Seriously tough, seriously Asian and, seriously and unforgivingly, bitter. It’s basically like all the old people in my family (and I suppose I’m on my way to get there – Mean, crazy cat lady who never takes sick days. Wait. I kind of AM there already).  Continue reading

Mushroom Ma Po Tofu

Recipe slightly modified from: http://www.eatingwell.com

mushroom ma po tofu

Sometimes I wonder just how many vegetarian conversions mushrooms have been responsible for. People may decide to omit meat from their diet for ethical or health reasons  – But I know a friend who one day completely stopped eating meat, and what convinced him (yes, it was a guy, too) that he could live without meat for the rest of his life was mushroom cannelloni he ate that day.

I don’t plan to become a herbivore any time soon, but if any dish was to makes me seriously question whether I ever need to eat meat again or not, this would be it.  Continue reading

Pozole (A love story)

Recipe modified from: Believe it or not, I found the original recipe in special edition of Self magazine (“Healthy Eating Made Easy”) – Apparently hominy is a “good carb” that helps you reduce waistline. I’ll go with that.

pozole

There is a big Latino supermarket around the corner from my house and their deli section is always busy whenever I stop by. It also has the small food court next to it where people can sit down and eat what they bought, and I noticed there is this one dish that everybody seems to be having. It’s not usual Mexican fare like Tacos or Enchilladas – It looks like a kind of meaty stew or soup. Kids are excited, women are giggly, and I have seen even toughest-looking men crack a smile on their leathery face over this steamy magical bowl of something.

For the longest time I have been dying to know which item on the menu that is. I would stalk people when they were making orders while pretending to check out the meat section nearby, but that didn’t quite work out as pretty much 100% of the time the exchange between customers and a server was in Spanish, which I don’t speak. Then I tried more straight forward approach where I walked up to the counter and attempted to order the dish myself, but somehow ended up with a bag of beef taquitos (they were delicious, nevertheless – although I’m still unsettled by the fact that my hand gesture of “bowl” could be interpretted as a long, cylinderical object). Continue reading

Tempeh and Eggplant Ragu with Quinoa

Recipe trying to imitate: Eggplant Ragu from Granville Cafe

Eggplant Ragu

Upon hearing a phrase “fermented soy beans,” we Japanese are probably the only people who would go “Mmmmm…. Now THAT sounds delicious” and even truely mean it.  But why not?  They have given us critical foundation for traditional Japanese flavors that we simply should not live without – Soy sauce is made of fermented soy beans, for instance, and so is miso.  And let’s not forget that dreaded but addictive natto.  Mmmmmm.

So as you can imagine, I think quite highly of fermented soy beans and believe anything that comes from them, even if it is originated outside of Japan like tempeh, cannot be not awesome.  But all these make it kind of ironic that my favorite tempeh recipe couldn’t be farther away from any Asian flavor.  Continue reading

Chinese Five-Spice Chicken Wings (Bonus: Super delicious homemade soup stock)

Recipe By Courtesy of: My Mom – It’s one of our family favorites!

chinese chicken wings

tomato egg drop soupAndrew and Justin are a 20-something programmer duo that I work with and they were not impressed when I passed on the URL for this blog. Upon reviewing the entries so far, Andrew declares: “I refuse to acknowledge any blog as “cooking blog” if they don’t have meat recipes.” But the chickpea stew is delicious – And people liked the tofu recipes I posted, too! “You need real food, woman. Tofu is disgusting,” says Justin. “Oh, and some of your photos are out of focus.”

Although the quality of the photos is my artistic choice (obviously), it’s true I have fewer recipes using meat as I eat it only once or twice a week these days. I’m not trying to make a statement – Rich, greasy food in general doesn’t get along with my stomach lately and I find plant-based meals easier to digest. But now that I think about it, this non-meat-eating habit seems to have come to me with other behavioral changes in recent years; I get up much earlier than I used to. I collect coupons before I go grocery shopping. And I spend significant amount of time watching Animal Planet where they advertise a medication to prevent osteoporosis between my favorite shows.

After all, maybe Andrew and Justin are onto something. Maybe I lost my edge. I mean – Since when have I become a Prius-driving, NPR-listening, vegetable-growing sensible professional adult? It’s time to reconnect with my fun, rebellious self. And nothing says I’m young and care-free and have high metabolism like chicken wings. Continue reading