Homemade ramen

Adapted from Damn Delicious

Ingredients:

  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 tablespoon canola oil (peanut oil works too)
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tablespoon freshly grated ginger (missing!)
  • 4 cups chicken broth
  • 4 ounces shiitake mushrooms (also had homegrown oyster mushrooms)
  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce, sesame oil, rice wine
  • 3 (5.6-ounce) packages refrigerated Yaki-Soba, seasoning sauce packets discarded*
  • 2 bok choy
  • 8 slices Narutomaki, optional*
  • 1 carrot, grated
  • 2 tablespoons chopped scallions

Directions:

  1. Place eggs in a large saucepan and cover with cold water by 1 inch. Bring to a boil and cook for 1 minute. Cover eggs with a tight-fitting lid and remove from heat; set aside for 8-10 minutes. Drain well and let cool before peeling and halving. (I might revise and post a different soft boiled egg direction because ours came out hard boiled!)
  2. Heat olive oil in a large stockpot or Dutch oven over medium heat. Add garlic and ginger and scallions whites, and cook, stirring frequently, until fragrant, about 1-2 minutes.
  3. Whisk in chicken broth, mushrooms, soy sauce (and seasonings) and 3 cups water.
  4. Bring to a boil; reduce heat and simmer until mushrooms have softened, about 10 minutes. Stir in Yaki-Soba until loosened and cooked through, about 2-3 minutes. (I used different noodles, which got sticky! Flavor still amazing though.)
  5. Stir in bok choy, Narutomaki (wish I had, got Vietnamese hot pot pork balls instead), carrot and scallions until the greens begins to wilt, about 2 minutes.
  6. Serve immediately, garnished with eggs.

This was perfect for a cold winter’s meal. I wanted to use these fresh Chinese noodles I had, but they might have been not the most suitable. I will use real yakisoba noodles next time — although I wish I could purchase some without plastic packaging! Other classic ramen toppings I really love: Chāshū (sliced barbecued or braised pork), Seasoned Soy soft-boiled egg (“Ajitsuke Tamago“), Bean sprouts, Menma (lactate-fermented bamboo shoots), Kakuni (braised pork cubes or squares), Kikurage (wood ear mushroom), Nori (dried seaweed), Kamaboko (formed fish paste, only the pink and white spiral is called narutomaki), Corn, Butter, and Wakame (a different type of seaweed). Wiki

Next time for the eggs, I will 1) leave the eggs in the fridge until the water is boiling and 2) Prepare an ice water bath and 3) marinate them in soy sauce-sugar-mirin-sake for 2 days.

~Jessie

Shrimp fried rice

Adapted from Just One Cookbook

Ingredients:

  • 6 shrimps (100 g or 3.7 oz; shelled and deveined)
  • 1 leaf iceberg lettuce (30 g or 1 oz)
  • 1 green onion/scallion
  • 2 Tbsp neutral-flavored oil (canola, etc)
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 Tbsp sesame oil (roasted)
  • 1 tsp sake (subbed with Shaoxing wine)
  • ¼ tsp kosher/sea salt (use half for table salt)
  • 2 cups cooked Japanese short-grain rice (preferably day-old cold rice)
  • ⅛ tsp white pepper powder
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 tsp soy sauce

Directions:

  1. Cut shrimp into ½ inch (1.3 cm) pieces.
  2. Cut iceberg lettuce and scallion into small pieces.
  3. Gently whisk the egg in a small bowl.
  4. Heat wok until surface almost smoking, add the oil and spread it around till it coats the surface evenly. Add the egg and cook over high heat. The egg will not stick to the pan as long as you put enough oil. Quickly mix it with a spatula and when it’s 80% cooked, take it out and put on a plate.
  5. In the same wok, add shrimp and then sake and salt. Cook until shrimp change color outside. The inside doesn’t have to be cooked through at this time. Take shrimp out onto the plate.
  6. Add sesame oil and cook scallion, stir until nicely coated with oil.
  7. Add the rice and break up the chunks of rice. Toss the wok and mix well together.
  8. When rice is coated with oil, put the egg and shrimp back in the wok again and toss all together. Add lettuce, white pepper, freshly ground black pepper, and soy sauce. Toss the wok frequently and mix it all together. Serve immediately.

But just in case anyone forgets, limit your seafood intake (if you’re concerned about mercury, by all means), because of this: Will the ocean ever run out of fish? I’m a huge fan of TedEd videos, especially in education. Feel free to sub with chicken, or tofu instead, just make sure to marinate the chicken well ahead of time (salt and pepper, minimum), or fry the tofu. Consumer decision has huge influence on overfishing practices. I used 1/4 lb. of “sustainably farmed” shrimp (although Thai — carbon footprint) from Whole Foods, used 2 eggs instead of just one, and subbed the sake with Shaoxing rice wine. Probably could have used 2-3 lettuce leaves for more veg.

~Jessica

Chicken katsudon

Adapted from my favorite The Woks of Life

Plated

Ingredients:

  • 2x Applegate Farms chicken patty – sub for the typical pork katsu
  • 1/2 cup dashi stock or chicken stock (I used Better Than Bouillon vegetable base)
  • 2 teaspoons sugar
  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce
  • 2 teaspoons Mirin (didn’t have, subbed with rice wine)
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 medium onion, thinly sliced
  • 2 servings steamed white rice (I wanted Taiwan noodles instead)
  • 1 scallion, chopped (wish I had)

Directions:

  1. Carefully lay the chicken patty in the hot oil and cook for 5-6 minutes on one side, until golden brown. Flip and cook the other side for another 5-6 minutes. Drain on a plate lined with a paper towel.
  2. While the pork is resting, add the stock, sugar, soy sauce, and Mirin to a small bowl. In another bowl, lightly beat 2 eggs. Add a tablespoon of oil to a pan over medium heat, and add the sliced onion. Fry the onions until they’re translucent and slightly caramelized.
  3. Pour the stock mixture over the onions. Slice your tonkatsu into pieces and place on top of the onions.
  4. Drizzle the eggs over everything.
  5. Cook over medium low heat until the egg is just set. Serve over bowls of steamed rice, and garnish with scallions.

COVID-19 shopping has been wack, so I randomly picked up the not-on-sale chicken patties, because why not live a little. Chicken Katsu (チキンカツ) is probably not the same, but beggars can’t be choosers, and everywhere is closing down, or running out of supplies. I made this last week, but have been so busy with work I’m posting it now (when I’m ready to cook something new tonight!)

-Jessica

Royal milk tea

Adapted from Just One and Boba Tea Direct

Ingredients:

  • Three-quarter cups full (150 milliliter) of regular tap water
  • Two full teaspoons of golden milk tea/black tea leaves (I used one bag of Tetley Classic)
  • Half a cup (120 milliliter) of whole milk (I used fresh half and half from a glass bottle)
  • 25 milliliter of fresh honey (or 10 grams granulated sugar)

Directions:

  1. Pour the water into a small pot. Set the temperature to medium. Bring the water to the boil for one minute.
  2. Add the tea leaves into the boiling water and steep between thirty seconds to about one minute. Then, lower heat to a simmer for one minute and thirty seconds to about a full two minutes. **Do not let the tea simmer for more than two minutes, as it will become too bitter.
  3. Slowly pour in the milk into the pot. Allow the milk tea to come back to a full simmer. Do not go beyond boiling point as the milk will cook and curdle in high temperature, which will leave your milk tea lumpy. Turn the heat off.
  4. Warm your cup with hot water beforehand.
  5. Pour your tea into a cup, using a tea sieve to filter out tea leaves.
  6. Mix honey or sugar to your liking.

I was watching an episode of Meteor Garden when the hero changes his order from a cappuccino to Royal milk tea, to avoid drinking the same thing as his betrothed. It sounded delicious, so I looked it up, to find it was a Japanese drink: Roiyarumirukuti (ロイヤルミルクティー). Apparently “The Classic Blend is more of an “everyday” black tea” (FAQ), so next time I need to get the proper “British Blend is made from premium Kenyan and Assam teas” if I’m using Tetley tea bags.

~Jessica

Kombucha tea

Best summed up by The Kitchn

Ingredients to brew Kombucha:
4 cups of filtered water, then 8 cups of cool filtered water
6 bags of black tea (6 grams of loose tea)
1 cup of sugar
2 cups of “starter tea” from last kombucha brew (if you have it)
1 active Kombucha SCOBY

Equipment:
Stock pot to sterilize bottles
1 gallon glass jar
organic cotton cloth / bag
six swing-top bottles w/ caps – 16.9oz, Amber Glass
glass measuring cup

Directions:

  1. Boil four cups of water.
  2. Add the cup of sugar and dissolve it in a glass receptacle.
  3. Steep the tea bags in the sugar water for 5-7 minutes.
  4. Measure out the eight cups of cool water into your gallon glass jar (emptied and cleaned and rinsed).
  5. Add the four cups of tea to the gallon jar.
  6. If you have two cups of “starter tea” from the last kombucha brew, add it to the gallon jar.
  7. Once the gallon jar is room temperature-cool, slip your scoby into the gallon jar.
  8. Cover the jar with an organic cotton cloth, secure with twine / rubber bands, and set aside in a warm place out of direct sunlight. Ferment for 7 to 10 days.
  9. After seven days, taste the kombucha daily until the sweet-tart flavor is balanced to your preference.

Ingredients to bottle brewed Kombucha:
orange, ginger, lemon, lime, berries, mint, etc.

Directions for second fermentation/bottling:

  1. Prepare fresh tea (as directed above) for your next batch.
  2. Take out the scoby with cleaned hands (rinsed well). Remove the bottom (momma) scoby layer to give away to a friend or toss or save for back-up. Set aside the top (baby) scoby carefully for your next batch in a glass receptacle.
  3. Set aside two cups of this kombucha homebrew as “starter tea” for your next batch.
  4. Pour the fermented kombucha into your sterilized (5 minutes boiled) bottles.
  5. Add sliced flavorings (see above) to bottles — experiment! Leave 1.5 cm. head space in the bottle before capping.
  6. Prep your next batch: clean the gallon jar after emptied. Combine the 4 cups tea, 8 cups cool water, 1 cup sugar, and 2 cups of “starter tea” in the gallon jar. Slip (newest) scoby carefully into jar.
  7. Store these bottles at room temperature out of direct sunlight for 2-4 days, and pop the cap open each day to release excess carbonation.
  8. Refrigerate to stop fermentation. Drink within a month.
  9. Repeat

I picked up a scoby from a kombucha-brewing friend (Amber) and used regular Lipton tea bags and white sugar (my grandma saves them from her senior community center in Queens). Avoid any teas that contain oils, like earl grey or flavored teas. Avoid touching metal, especially aluminum. Peel off the bottom (oldest) layer every few batches. Can’t wait to try a berries and mint combination, as recommended by a friend!

~Jessica

Yakisoba

IMG-20170312-WA0005Adapted from My Korean Kitchen and Just One Cookbook and No Recipes

2 8-oz packages (400 g) fresh udon noodles
vegetable oil
1/2 onion, chopped
1 carrot, sliced into thin sticks
4-5 shiitake mushrooms, thinly sliced (I forgot to buy!)
5-6 leaves of bok choy, shredded
1/2 green bell pepper (I used up some spinach instead)
dark soy sauce, sugar, rice wine (mirin), sesame oil, salt and pepper
yakisoba sauce
2-3 scallions, chopped

Heat a wok on high, then add the oil, then the seasonings with some water and swirl (to prevent burning). Cook the onion, then carrots, then bell pepper, then bok choy, and any other vegetables. Boil udon noodles according to package (about 1 minute for pre-cooked ones). Add the udon to the wok and stir fry and mix. Cook for about 4 minutes more, until noodles are still soft but with a slight crunchy exterior (some noodles will be a light brown color). Add yakisoba sauce, turn off the heat and coat well. Transfer to a plate, top with scallions. Serve.

~Jessica

The world’s best cuisines

According to…

CNN
10. United States
9. Mexico
8. Thailand
7. Greece
6. India
5. Japan
4. Spain
3. France
2. China
1. Italy

Lonely Planet
1. Thailand
2. Greece
3. China
4. France
5. Spain
6. Mexico
7. Italy
8. India
9. Japan
10. Indonesia & Malaysia

Rough Guides
10. Singapore
9. Mexico
8. Indonesia
7. France
6. China
5. Vietnam
4. Japan
3. India
2. Thailand
1. Italy

This subjective topic came up when I found some Europeans who did not consider French food to be all that special, but most Americans think French is haute cuisine. Do you agree? Bold countries made all three lists! =)

~Jessica

References
“THE BEST CUISINE IN THE WORLD – AS VOTED BY YOU”

“Which country has the best food?”

“The best countries for food”

Japanese cheesecake

aka Japanese soufflé cheesecake

Inspired by Ochikeron’s viral Gâteau au Chocolat and Japanese Cotton Cheesecake but really… Adapted from Rasa Malaysia and Just One Cookbook

Meringue
6 eggs, separated
100 g caster sugar (I only had regular granulated)

Wet ingredients
240-400 g cream cheese, softened (I had 175 g)
100-200 ml heavy whipping cream (I used 250 g)
50 g unsalted butter, softened

Dry ingredients
20 g cornstarch + 60 g cake flour or 80 g all-purpose flour (I used latter)
Pinch of salt
10 ml lemon juice + 1 spoonful of zest
1 spoonful of rum (optional, I would have liked Bailey’s)

N.B. Keep the cream cheese, butter, egg yolks, and heavy cream all at room temperature, but chill the egg whites in the fridge (to make the meringue more stable)!

  1. If you want a chocolate cake, melt 240 g dark chocolate (broken into pieces) in a double boiler (not boiling water). Remove the bowl from the double boiler, cool the mixture. Otherwise just mix the cream cheese, butter, and heavy cream together.
  2. Fold in the flours and salt, then the egg yolks and lemon juice, and mix well.
  3. In a large bowl (make sure there’s no oil/fat in it, feel free to wipe the inside with a slice of lemon), whisk egg whites THEN whip in the sugar with an electric mixer until soft peaks form. Whipping by hand is masochistic. You know it is thick enough when you can turn the bowl upside down.
  4. Take 1/3 meringue and fold into the cheese mixture, then fold in another 1/3 of the meringue. After incorporated, pour the batter back into the remaining 1/3 meringue and FOLD GENTLY with a spatula.
  5. Preheat the oven to 170 deg C. Rub some oil/butter on parchment paper (to help prevent the cake from cracking). Line the round cake pan with the parchment paper. Pour the batter into the pan and drop the pan lightly on the counter to raise the air bubbles out of the batter.
  6. Place the cake pan on a baking sheet. Pour hot water into the baking sheet, to keep the cake moist. Bake for 15 minutes on the lowest shelf in the oven (to prevent cracks on top and over-browning), 160 deg C for 15 minutes, then turn off the oven and bake with the remaining heat for 15 minutes.
  7. When it is done, place the cake pan on a wire rack to cool slowly.
  8. Refrigerate the cake (with or without the cake tin) for at least 4 hours or overnight.

You can brush the cake with some jam syrup and/or dust with powdered sugar (confectioner’s sugar) to finish. I would prefer to serve with whipped cream ~_^

What I Messed Up: Not chilling the egg whites in their bowl enough (should chill in the same bowl they will be beaten in), not beating the eggs BEFORE adding the sugar, not rubbing lemon on the inside of the meringue bowl before beating, not having enough cream cheese, and not using caster sugar (faster to dissolve).

~Jessica

Udon with tofu and Asian greens

Udon with Tofu and Asian Greens: Cooking Dinner

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In an effort to be healthier, I’ve been experimenting with more vegetarian dishes. The recipe I found seemed fairly easy, and I had all the ingredients on hand so it was a winner for the night. I loved how crispy the tofu turned out, though I did cook it longer than the recipe called for. I’m still getting used to the electric stove in our apartment (can’t wait until we have a house with a gas stove!) and so the pan wasn’t as hot as it should have been when I first put the tofu in. I was still able to capture a crispy consistency without it getting too chewy inside.

I made a few changes to the recipe that I think worked out in the end. I didn’t add the reserved pasta water to the dish as I didn’t want the sauce to get too thinned out. Also I used 16 oz of firm tofu since that was the only size I could find at Trader Joe’s. I should have compensated with more spinach as well, so I’ll keep that in mind for the future. In the end the dish smelled delicious, probably on account of the sesame seed oil, and Josh loved it, despite it being vegetarian. A little Sriracha on the side and you’re good to go!

~Jennifer