Pad See Ew

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Hey ya’ll! This is what I made with whatever I had in the fridge. I had leftover flat rice noodles from when I made pad kee mao and didn’t want to waste the noodles. I happened to have a block of firm tofu and some Chinese broccoli in the fridge and wah-lah, a delicious heaping bowl of pad see ew.

Pad see ew is one of my favorite Thai noodle dishes. It’s simple with minimal ingredients, but still flavorful at the same time. It’s a popular street food in Thailand and is great for a quick meal.

Hope you enjoy.

Pad See Ew
2 large servings

Sauce:
2 Tbsp. water
1 Tbsp. fish sauce
1 Tbsp. oyster sauce
1 heaping Tbsp. of granulated sugar
2 Tbsp. less sodium soy sauce

For the Noodles:
Canola oil
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 block firm tofu, medium diced
10 oz. fresh flat rice noodles
7 stems of Chinese broccoli (gai lan, cut into 2 inch pieces)
2 eggs, scrambled

Dry tofu out by placing the entire block of tofu in between two paper towels then setting something heavy on top, such as a plate. Let the towels soak in the excess liquid from the tofu for about 10 minutes. Then medium dice the tofu to bite sized pieces. Set aside.

In a small boil, combine sauce ingredients. Stir until the sugar has dissolved and set aside.

In a large heavy skillet or wok, heat about 3 Tbsp of oil over medium high heat. When the oil is hot, add the tofu and let each side brown. Transfer the tofu from the pan to a bowl and set aside.

Add 2 Tbsp. of oil into the pan and add the Chinese broccoli and garlic. Stir-fry for about two minutes and until the broccoli becomes a bright green. Add the flat rice noodles, tofu, and the entire mixture of sauce.

Let the tofu and noodles absorb some of the sauce and continuously stir for about 3 minutes.

Push the noodles to the side of the pan to create a hole in the middle. Pour the beaten eggs into the hole and stir until the eggs are cooked through. Mix the noodles into the cooked eggs.

Serve immediately.

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Scallion and Steak Rice Cakes

Chinese cooking is usually very simple to make with the key ingredients on hand and is cooked in just minutes in a very hot wok. We don’t eat very much beef in our home, but this dish is one that brings me back to my childhood. Several versions of this has been kept in our rotation of regular dishes whether it be scallions and beef with flat rice noodles, over rice, or in this case, with rice cakes. It just takes minutes to prepare and the outcome tastes like Chinese takeout.

I like using rice cakes when I’m feeling extra hungry. They’re more dense and filling than flat rice noodles, and I just really enjoy its bouncy chewy texture! You can find these in the refrigerator section of any Asian market. Sometimes it can also be found fresh wrapped in flat trays – I’ve seen this at my local Korean market.

Anyways, let’s get started cause I’m getting hungry and can’t wait much longer. Good thing the cooking time is under 10 minutes! Have everything already prepared.

Scallion and Beef Rice Cakes
Servings: 4

About 1 lb. sirloin steak, sliced. Don’t use anymore than 1 lb or you’ll have ALOT of beef.
2 tsp. low sodium soy sauce
2 tsp. cornstarch
1 Tbsp. canola oil + more for cooking.
6 scallions, cut into 2-3 inch pieces.
1 half in slice of ginger
1 lb rice cakes (I used the flat oval shaped rice cakes)
2 Tsp. shaoxing wine

Sauce:
1 Tbsp. dark soy sauce
1/2 tsp. sesame oil
1 Tbsp. sambal olek, optional)
salt and pepper to taste

1. Put your thinly sliced steak in a medium sized bowl and add the low sodium soy sauce, corn starch and canola oil. Mix and massage soy sauce, corn starch, and oil into the beef using your fingers or a spoon. Set aside for about 30 minutes.

2. In a separate small bowl, add the ingredients for the sauce and stiry. Set aside.

3. In a wok or a large thick frying pan over high heat, add a couple of tablespoons of oil and heat until the oil is hot. Add the beef and cook until the beef just turns brown, about 1 minute, and set aside in a bowl.

4. Now add the slice of ginger and scallions. Toss and stir in the pan for about a minute.

5. Quickly add the rice cakes and stir fry for another minute. Add the shaoxing wine around the perimeter of the wok or pan. Cover with a lid and cooke for about 1 minute. The rice cakes should now be pliable and is starting to get soft.

6. Add the beef and stir to evenly mix the beef in with the rice cakes. Pour the sauce into the wok or pan and stir fry until all of the rice cakes are covered with sauce. If the rice cakes aren’t chewy at this point, cook for a bit longer until they are.

7. Lastly, find that piece of ginger and remove it! Nobody enjoys biting into a whole piece of ginger!

Serve immediately!

Oxtail Pho

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Hello there! For the past couple of months, my mind has been focused on work, studying, and no play whatsoever. If we were able to see into each other’s minds, you’d probably see either a tornado or a block of mush, in mine.

I came across Steph’s recipe of oxtail pho on iamafoodblog. It happened I was reading her post while standing in Costco. I looked over my shoulder and saw about 100 lbs. of oxtail sitting there right before my eyes. How could I not buy a couple of pounds and not make oxtail pho, right??

Steph simmered her soup stock for about 4 hours.  Keeping in mind I’m completely mentally drained, I just threw everything into a slow cooker. That was probably the best decision I made that day. Slow-cooking the oxtail ensures fall-off-the-bone tender meat and also means stress-free no fuss cooking. I literally slept while the soup cooked. I woke up to a house that had the spicy aroma of pho broth flooding down the hallway. Almost as good as the smell of mom’s baking in the early morning. Right before serving, I heated the oxtail in a pan to create a crust and lightly sprinkled it with salt to create another dimension of flavor. I also tried to keep as much of the meat on the bone as I fully believe that one of the best ways to enjoy oxtail is to suck all of the meat and tendon off from the bone! Hey, no shame here.

This entire process took two days to make and about 10 minutes to eat, but it took very little effort and 98% of the time was waiting. Anyways, keep reading to see what I did. Thanks Steph for posting this awesome recipe!

First and foremost, take out your slow-cooker!

Oxtail Pho

Original recipe here
Servings: About 6 bowls of pho

Spices:

1 cinnamon stick
1 heaping tsp. of whole coriander
1 heaping tsp. of whole cloves
5 star anise

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Stock:

2 large onions, cut in half, keep outer skin
3/4″ knob of ginger
medium sized daikon radish, peeled and cut into large chunks
1 large carrot, peeled and cut into large chunks
3 lbs. oxtail
3 quarts water
2 quarts beef broth
1/4 C. fish sauce

Pho noodles (this time I used fresh flat rice noodles)

Garnish:

thai basil
bean sprouts
green onions, thinly sliced
sriracha
sliced jalapeños
cilantro

1. Place halved onions and ginger into a 400 F oven or toaster oven on broil. Toast until the outside of the onions are charred. About 15 minutes.

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2. While the onions and ginger are toasting, trim the fat from the oxtail. Place the trimmed oxtail into a large pot. Fill the pot up with cold water until all of the oxtail is covered about an inch. Place the pot onto the stove and bring the water up to a rolling boil. Boil the oxtail for about 10 minutes to remove all of the impurities. Pour the dirty water out and rinse the oxtail. Transfer the oxtail into the slow cooker. This is key to making a clear broth. DO NOT SKIP THIS STEP!

3. in a small hot pan, toast the coriander seeds, cloves, and star anise until fragrant. Put the toasted spices and cinnamon stick into the slow cooker. Also add the carrots and daikon radish.

4. Add the 3 quarts of water to the slow cooker. If you can’t fit the beef broth, no worries. You can add this in later.

5. Turn on your slow-cooker to low and slow cook for 10 hours.

6. After 10 hours, separate the onions, daikon, carrots, and oxtail from the stock then strain the broth into a clean large pot. Simmer the stock for at least another hour or until your desired taste. The longer it boils, the richer the stock will become. If you couldnt fit all if the liquid into your slowcooker earlier, this is the time to add it now. Add fish sauce and taste. If you want the srock saltier, add more fish sauce. Discard the onions, carrots and daikon or save for later to eat.

7. Let the stock cool then transfer the pot into the refrigerator. When the broth gets cold, a layer of fat will form on the surface. Remove the fat.

8. When you’re ready to eat, heat the stock until boiling.

9. Heat a frying pan and fry the oxtail meat and lightly sprinkle the meat with salt.

10. To prepare a bowl of pho, add a handful of noodles and a few chunks of meat to a large bowl. Spoon the hot broth over the noodles and oxtail then finish with your choice of garnish.

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Happy slurping!

Seafood with Noodle Soup

I was in China for the past three weeks and had my fair share of noodle soups. Food in China was overall very cheap and delicious. I paid an average of 3 big buckaroos for a bowl of bomb A$$ noodles… noodles I’d probably pay at least $6 for here at home. After all the noodles I ate, I oddly craved for soup and noodles when I got back into the states. Luckily, Father’s Day was only a day away and one of my Dad’s favorite things to eat is noodles in soup! Of course I took advantage of this and knocked two birds with one stone.

Most Chinese based soups are clear and are very light in flavor accompanied by ingredients that highlight the lightness of the broth. It’s not surprising to see bok choy that is crispy and slightly sweet or a few pork and shrimp wontons that are meaty and slight salty, in a bowl of noodle soup. Since I ate a bunch of curried fishballs from street vendors during my stay in Hong Kong, I decided to reminisce and add fishballs into this soup. I also went with flat rice noodles since I personally think rice noodles goes best with this soup.

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If Asian cuisine is very popular in your house, you should have all of the ingredients on-hand. In fact, I can count the number of soup ingredients on one hand. This recipe is so easy and inexpensive to make. Give it a try!

Seafood with Noodle Soup
Servings: 4

8 cups low sodium chicken broth
2 cups water
5 Tbsp. fish sauce or to taste
few dashes of white pepper

1/2 lb. ground lean pork

flat rice noodles

Condiments:
fish balls
imitation crab
green onions
fried onions or garlic
hot sauce
Or anything else you please.

In a large pot, bring the chicken broth and water to a boil. Add the fish sauce and pepper then stir. Taste the soup and add more fish sauce and pepper if needed. Add the fishballs and heat for about 5 minutes. Add the ground pork and break apart as you’re stirring (about 5 minutes) then add the imitation crab. When the soup boils, put the noodles into a small noodle strainer and heat the noodles in the boiling soup. Place noodles in the bowl and spoon in the fishballs, pork, imitation crab, and soup. Top with sliced green onions and fried garlic. You can also top it off with cilantro.

Enjoy on a rainy day!

Duck Noodle Soup

It’s been cold, I WANT SOUP!

I wanna make something I’ve never made before, LET’S ROAST A DUCK!

And that’s exactly what I did…

My cousin just got married and of course had a Chinese banquet style meal like every Chinese newlywed does. What usually comes in these banquet dinners is honey walnut prawns, long egg noodles (which represents long life), and peking duck that comes with crispy skin and steamed buns to create a peking duck sandwich. The duck and bread is so delish when made fresh to eat!

I went to Costco and was browsing the meat section when something different caught my eye (I’m a frequent visitor to Costco). It looked too small and long to be a chicken but too large to be a cornish hen. Turns out it was a duck! Weird thing was, I had mentioned to my mom a couple of weeks before that I wanted to try making peking duck. PERFECT!
I started doing some crazy research on how to even prepare a duck as I was totally clueless. Turns out the most important thing for crispy skin is to make sure the skin is as dry as can be and seperated from the meat. I read about some interesting techniques on how to dry the skin, such as hanging the entire duck from the ceiling in front of a fan or hanging it outside of your doorway after dunking the duck in a liquid mixture a couple of times. What a funny sight that would be to be taking a walk and seeing a featherless bird hanging from a rope! I didn’t want to do all that so I just placed my duck on a vertical roasting pan and let it sit out in the kitchen for two hours after patting it dry with paper towels and pumping air between the skin and meat using a turkey baster.

After looking at a few online recipes, I realized there weren’t many ingredients to make peking duck. I noticed that 5 spice powder was included in all of the recipes so it was time to dig that 5 spice powder out of the back corner of the spice rack! As Fall aproaches, the days in San Francisco have been getting colder and more gloomy. Originally I wanted to make the steamed buns but I got too lazy and decided to make soup since the weather was so ugly.

By all means you can go to your local Chinese butcher and purchase a roasted duck!

Duck

1-5 lb. duck (with neck)
1 Tbsp. 5 spice powder
salt
1 medium onion
3 sprigs green onions

Rinse and pat dry your duck. With a turkey baster, pump air under the skin. I did this by inserting the needle under the skin from the bottom side (near the opening) of the duck. Once air is pumped under the skin, you should see an air bubble immediately form. If not, you may be inserting the needle into the meat. After doing this silly thing, rub salt onto the skin, a little under the skin, and generously in the cavity of the duck. Now rub the 5 spice powder all over the duck making it look like you just gave it a tan.

Place the duck on a vertical roaster (along with the neck). If you don’t have one, place a heavy cup on a plate and plate the opening on the duck over the cup so that it’s sitting up. Let it dry for about 4 hours. If you want to, you can place it in front of the fan.

When you feel the duck is dry enough, preheat the oven to 350F. Place the onions into the cavity of the duck and place it back onto the vertical roaster and bake for about two hours. If you’re not using the vertical roaster, sew the duck up with twine to keep the onions from falling out. Place on a roaster (rack inside of a pan). Using a fork, poke holes all over the skin.

Poking holes into the skin is a step you MUST NOT skip! During baking, the duck fat seeps out of the holes (AKA rendering duck fat) and helps make the skin crispier as it bakes.

When juices run clear, the duck is cooked. Set aside to cool. Cut into chunks when cooled.

Duck Soup

2 Tbsp. oil
1 inch fresh ginger, skin removed
1 garlic bulb, cloves smashed and skins removed
1/2 tsp. ground cloves
2 star anise
1 Tbsp. black peppercorn (about 10 peppercorns)
1 stick cinnamon
1 onion, cut in half and sliced into crescents
neck and half of the bones from roasted duck
5 C. water
1 Tbsp. sugar
2 Tbsp. fish sauce
3 Tbsp. soy sauce

2 packages ho fun (flat rice noodles) or 10 sheets of rice noodles, sliced
vegetables such as bok choy or mustard greens
hot sauce like siracha

Heat oil in a large heavy pot over medium high heat. Add the ginger, garlic, cloves, star anise, black peppercorns, and cinnamon and cook until frangrant. Add the onions and coat with the spiced up oil and cook for about a minute. Add the duck neck and bones. Stir and cook for about 5 minutes. Add the water and sugar and bring to a boil. When the water comes up to a rolling boil, turn the heat down and simmer. Simmer for 1.5-2 hours.

Taste the soup. At this point, if you feel that the soup has a strong enough base flavor, add the fish and soy sauces. If not, simmer until desired taste.

In a seperate pot, cook your veggies. Heat the noodles in the soup then transfer to your bowls. Top the noodles with veggies and duck and finish it with the soup.

I like to add siracha and fried garlic. SO YUM! Happy eating! Teehee

Curry Soup with Udon and Vegetables

One thing I love about working in the downtown area of San Francisco is the Farmer’s Market held every Wednesday at the UN Plaza.  For some reason, the sun always comes out in time for lunch.  It’s like the sun knows there’s plenty of yummy food at the market and somehow encourages people to come out and eat!

The Farmer’s Market has expanded quite a bit since I started working in downtown.  Just to name a few things, one can find goodies such as bay area honey, which is supposed to help with allergies, Belgium waffles, rotisserie chicken, and herbs still in a pot that can be planted in your garden.

Since I’ve gone back to work on Wednesdays, I’ve been reminded on how much I love the Farmer’s market.  Maybe it’s something about a place that brings all types of people together, the colors of the seasonal fruits and vegetables, or the wonderful smells as you walk past each food stand.  One thing I love about the summertime is the huge tables of cherries and peaches!  I can rarely walk past without wanting to buy a bunch to snack on during my afternoon break.

The bright colors of all the fruits and vegetables inspired me to make some very yellow curry with a bunch of veggies!  Curry is one of my favorite spices as it is very easy to cook with and adds such a wonderful flavor without even trying.  Of course coconut milk is the perfect pairing with it!

Curry Soup with Udon and Vegetables

Broth:

1 Tbsp. oil

1 clove garlic, minced

1 small onion, sliced

4 C. low sodium chicken broth

1 can light coconut milk

1 Tbsp. curry

1 tsp. dried lemongrass

1 tsp. dried chili flakes (optional)

1 tsp. fish sauce

Eggplant:

2 Tbsp. oil

2 japanese eggplants, diced into bite size chunks

Salt

1 clove garlic, minced

1 Tbsp. ginger, minced

2 Tbsp. water

2 Tbsp. soy sauce

1 C. broccoli florets

8 oz. mushrooms, sliced

Handful of cherry tomatoes, sliced in half

4 packets of udon

Cut eggplant lengthwise then cut each piece vertically into bite size pieces.  Put in a bowl and add enough salt so that the eggplant is slightly coated.  Put the eggplant aside.  Letting the salt set into the eggplant will take the moisture out of the eggplant so you will notice that the eggplant gets wet.  When the eggplant turns a little brown, thoroughly rinse it and squeeze the water out.  Set aside.

In a medium pot, heat oil and add onions and garlic.  When fragrant, add the chicken broth, curry, lemongrass, and chili flakes. Bring to a boil then turn the heat down to simmer for about 15 minutes.

As the soup is simmering, add oil, ginger, and garlic to a hot wok or a heavy skillet.  When fragrant, add the eggplant and sauté for a couple of minutes.  Add the water, cover and cook for about 15 minutes, depending on how large the chunks are.  When the eggplant is soft, add the soy sauce and stir for a couple of minutes.  Turn the heat off and set aside.

In a small pot, boil water. 

Add in the can of coconut milk and stir.  Add salt to taste.  Throw the mushrooms and tomatoes into the simmering soup and cook for about 5 minutes.  Next add the broccoli and cook for 2 minutes.  Add the eggplant into the soup.

When the water in the small pot is boiling, add the udon noodles into the water to warm them up.  The noodles just take about 2 minutes.  Put the noodles into their separate bowls.  Add the soup and vegetables to the udon.

Happy eating!