Egg and Tomatoes Stir Fry

As I’ve said before you only need few simple ingredients to create the best tasting dish. I’ve had eggs and tomatoes before but never realized that this scrambled egg dish is very much a comfort food for most Chinese immigrants since it evokes memories of home. The one I am familiar with and what is served at our house differs in texture since it’s more like scrambled eggs with tomatoes thrown in and onions are sometimes added into the mix. I wasn’t overly fond of it since the tomatoes can be a bit tart too.

When I saw a recipe for Chinese egg and tomatoes stir fry I realized that we have been making it the wrong way. This egg dish just looks so creamy and luscious that I got so excited to make some myself.

You only need a few ingredients to make this : 3 eggs, one large tomato, oil, sugar, salt and tomato ketchup.

First, wash and cut your tomato into large chunks. Then take a pan and heat 2 Tablespoons vegetable oil. Add your tomatoes in the pan and let it cook over medium heat for about 2 minutes until it has released it’s juices. Season with 1/2 teaspoon salt, 1 teaspoon sugar and 1 teaspoon ketchup. Add about 2 Tablespoons water and continue cooking until tomatoes are soft and sauce a but thickened. Remove from heat and place in bowl and set aside.

Get another pan and place over medium high heat, add 2 Tablespoons oil and then add your 3 beaten eggs. When the edges are beginning to set, pour your tomato mixture in the middle of the pan then start pulling the cooked eggs towards the center like you would cooking scrambled eggs. Continue cooking until eggs are set but not dry. Remove from heat and transfer onto a plate. Serve over steamed rice, though I am tempted to try it with some crusty bread.

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Lao Gan Ma (Spicy Chili Crisp) Noodles

I learned about the Lao Gan Ma spicy chili crisp a couple of years back while food shopping at 99 Ranch, an Asian food grocer. They were doing a food demo on it and they just added this onto cooked vermicelli noodles and some shredded cabbage. The lady doing the demo assured me that I just needed this sauce to flavor it and nothing else. There was a crowd sampling it and later grabbing a bottle. So I picked up a bottle myself to take home.

I initially used this to season my Mapo Tofu and then actually forgot about it. Then my sister casually mentioned to me that is actually very popular among her Chinese friends. She was once served a noodle dish made of just this sauce and some bok choy. From then on I make sure I always have a bottle of this in the fridge since it also nicely season any stir fried dish.

A few months ago my daughter discovered this and asked me to help her make Lao Gan Ma noodles. I did a quick search on the web since I wanted to create a more saucy noodle dish and this is what I came up with. Note: For this recipe I used the Lao Gan Ma Chili Oil with Black Bean since I ran out of the spicy chili crisp.

First cook your noodles according to package directions. I used some dried soba noodles but you can use vermicelli, dried Chinese wheat noodles and I’ve also used angel hair pasta with much success for this recipe.

While noodles are cooking, prepare your sauce. Place 3 Tablespoons vegetable oil in a pan and add 3-4 minced garlic cloves. Cook until fragrant and just turning brown on the edges. Remove from heat and add a mixture of 2 Tablespoon Lao Gan Ma Chili Crisp , 1 Tablespoon dark soy sauce, 1 teaspoon Chinese black vinegar, 1 tsp. grated ginger. Stir until combined.

Take your noodles, drain and place in a bowl, then toss in a couple of tablespoons of your sauce until your noodles is evenly coated. You can season it with the sauce to suit your taste. I added spinach in mine but you can top it with some cilantro , green onions or even some steamed baby boy choy.

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Shoyu Butter Pasta with Mushrooms

This recipe is a Japanese style pasta often referred to as Wafu Pasta. The first Wafu Pasta I made had mirin, cooking sake and a bit of soy sauce with Shimeji mushrooms. This differs a bit that it has garlic and butter and soy in it as key ingredients. The Shoyu butter combination on pasta may sound unappealing at first but it does really compliment each other which rounds out the flavor of the dish really well.

To make, cook your spaghetti noodles according to package directions. I used 3/4 of a box of dried pasta.

While your pasta is cooking. Place a pan over medium high heat. To it add 3 tablespoons olive oil and 3-4 finely minced garlic cloves. Cook until fragrant and just starting to brown around the edges. Do not burn or overcook. Then add 1 1/2 cups sliced mushrooms. I used baby portobello and white mushrooms. You can also use Shimeji, oyster or shiitake. Cook until softened. You may add more olive oil if you feel it’s necessary for this step. Then place 2 tablespoons butter, 2 tablespoons soy sauce (preferably Kikkoman brand) and about 1/2 cup pasta water. Cook and stir until the sauce is thickened. Then transfer your cooked pasta straight to the pan with mushrooms. Stir until pasta is coated with the sauce. You may add more pasta water and adjust seasoning according to your liking. I added 1 tablespoon more of butter to give it a glossy finish.

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Beef Tapa Onigirazu

Onigirazu became popular about 6 years ago. I featured it in this blog that time it became a rage, you can read it here. This is my third recipe for onigirazu on my site but not necessarily the number of times I’ve made it for my family.

What’s great about it is that you can really get creative in making different combinations of meat and fillings for your sushi sandwich. You can mix and match various ingredients keeping in mind the texture, color and flavor if you want to create an appealing onigirazu. I love adding Filipino flavors to modern Japanese dishes such as this. I have previously made an adobo onigiri and this time I added shredded beef tapa.

To make you will need 1 sheet of nori, about 1/2 – 3/4 cup cooked white rice but in this case I used my 7 grain rice which turns into a lovely purple hue, shredded beef tapa, some sliced avocado, salad greens, omelet and a sheet of cling wrap.

Take your nori and lay it on top of your cling wrap. Place 1/2 a cup of rice in the center of nori and spread thin making sure not to get too close to it’s edges.  Then lay your filling starting with the omelet on top of your rice followed by the beef tapa, sliced avocado and finally some salad greens. Top all this with your remaining 1/4 cup of rice. Gather the edges of your nori in the middle like what you would do when wrapping a package. Press tightly to seal. Slice your nori parcel in the middle and serve.

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Japanese Korokke (meat and potato croquettes)

It’s been challenging to plan dinner menus lately. It feels like I have made all the dishes I can think of since the pandemic started. So I constantly try to look for new and inspiring dishes to serve my family.

Japanese Korokke is one thing I haven’t attempted to make. We have had these several times in Japanese restaurants in New York City as an appetizer not as a main course. In Japan this is mostly considered as snack since it’s sold in convenience stores and supermarkets.

To make, peel and cut into big chunks 4-5 medium sized potatoes. Place in a pot and add enough water, let boil and cover and cook until potatoes are fork tender. Drain and place back into pot and mash until smooth.

While your potatoes are cooking, get a pan and saute in a little olive oil a medium sized onion finely chopped. Cook until translucent, then add 1 lb ground beef. Cook until meat is well browned, season to taste with salt and pepper. Drain excess fat before adding it to your mashed potato.

When your meat and potato mixture is cool enough to handle form into oval or round patties.

Then prepare a light batter by mixing 1 egg, 4 Tbsp. flour, 3 Tbsp. water and 1 Tbsp. mayonnaise. Mix until smooth. Dip your potato patties into this mixture before rolling into panko bread crumbs. Place your korrokke patties in a parchment lined tray and place in refrigerator for about 15-30 minutes. I did this to set the panko so it won’t fall off while frying.

Meanwhile, heat enough oil in pan until it reaches a temperature of about 320F. Fry your korokke until brown and crisp on all sides. This will only take a couple of minutes so make sure to keep watch. Drain in paper towels and serve with finely shredded cabbage or green salad. I made a dipping sauce of 1 part ketchup and 1 part mayo with a teaspoon of sweet relish. You can also use bulldog sauce (the Japanese Tonkatsu sauce).

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Healthy Vegetable Rice Bowl

We try to eat healthy specially now that our physical activity is limited due to this pandemic. So I incorporate low fat and and vegetable filled dishes in our diet. This recipe is one of those. I think this is a much healthier version of Bibimpab since it does not contain any meat and it’s way easier to prepare too.

First, prepare your rice as you would normally do using a rice cooker or in a pot. Then add your choice of chopped vegetables on top of the uncooked rice. For this recipe I used, thinly sliced yellow squash, a couple of asparagus cut a bias and Bok Choy. You can use any kind of vegetable like kale, bean sprouts, carrots, radish, mushrooms to name a few. Amount really depends on how much can fit on your rice cooker. Just turn on the rice cooker and when rice is done, gently mix the rice and vegetables together.

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Scoop your rice onto bowls and top with a fried egg (optional if you want to make it vegetarian). Drizzle with some bibimbap sauce before serving. To make the sauce just combine the following ingredients: 2 Tablespoons gochujang, 1 Tablespoon sesame oil, 1 Tablespoon sugar, 1 teaspoon vinegar, 1 teaspoon minced garlic and 1 Tablespoon water.

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Spicy Tuna Pasta

This is a favorite pasta recipe that I can easily throw together when I am too lazy and want something fast and easy to prepare. I have several variations of this dish, and one has been featured here already.

The Filipino Century tuna is my favorite brand of canned tuna. My sisters and I have been loyal to this brand since the late 80’s. My favorite is their Spanish style tuna, which unfortunately isn’t available here in my neck of the woods. So I just make do with the hot and spicy flavor which I can get at my local Asian store.

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To make, cook your spaghetti according to package directions. While your pasta is cooking, get a large skillet and add 3-4 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil. Then add 3-4 minced garlic and let this cook until fragrant and just until it’s starting to brown on the edges. Be careful not to burn it. Then add the entire contents of your canned tuna. Let this simmer for a minute. Then add once can of diced tomatoes and a container of sliced black olives. Stir until everything is well combined. Then add your cooked pasta directly on to the skillet, no need to strain. The added water will help bind the sauce together. Season to taste with kosher salt. Add a handful of chopped parsley, toss and turn off heat. You can also add a drizzling of extra virgin olive oil towards the end of cooking to finish it off.

Serve immediately.

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Bulalo (Beef Shank Soup)

For me Bulalo is just like Nilaga, a boiled meat dish. Using beef shanks and bone marrow is what makes it Bulalo. This dish is a local specialty of the Southern Tagalog region of the Philippines. You will see numerous roadside stands and restaurants along Tagaytay going to Cavite and Batangas with big signs and advertisement offering these to eager tourist. It’s popularity in this region, may be due to the fact that Batangas is the cattle trading capital of the country. History says that cattle was brought to us from Mexico. The Spaniards identified Batangas as the sole place with proper grass fit to raise cattle then. Today it’s considered the source of prime beef in Manila.

This probably was considered a rustic dish since it’s mainly made up of bones with few meat in it. I guess that this is what rural farmers did back then with unwanted cuts of beef so nothing would go to waste, after choice and prime cut of meat are sold.

To make, place 2 lbs of beef shank in a stock pot and fill with water until it covers your meat. Boil for a couple of minutes. Then fish out your meat and quickly rinse it under running water to remove scum and set aside. Then drain your pot and thoroughly wash and clean before returning the beef shanks back in. Cover again with enough water, one roughly chopped white onion and 1 tsp. peppercorns. Let this boil then lower heat. Cook covered until meat is very tender. You may need to add water as needed. Make sure to remove scum that floats on top to ensure a nice clear broth. Season to taste with salt or patis (fish sauce).

Then add the 2 corn on the cob that has been cut into smaller pieces. Cook for about 5-8 minutes. Throw in the several bunches bok choy with leaves separated. Let the broth come to a boil again. Cover and remove from heat.

Serve with steamed white rice and a dipping sauce of calamansi and patis (fish sauce). Our family prefers a combination of calamansi and soy sauce. You can substitute lemon for calamansi.

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Stir Fried Snow Pea Leaves

I am used to having a side dish of vegetable during mealtimes, specially at dinner. This was just something that my mom and maternal grandmother have always done as far as I remember. So I picked up this habit and have always made sure we have a side of vegetables specially if our dish does not contain any type of greens.

I just don’t make elaborate or complicated vegetable dishes like my mom and grandmother. I must confess, it was too much work for me then with too small children to care for. So I resorted to just making simple steamed veggies like brocolli, asparagus and beans. But our favorite is stir fried Asian greens such as yuchoy, bok choy, Chinese brocolli to name a few. If you want to learn more about Asian greens here is an easy guide for you to read.

Stir fried snow pea leaves is something that you always see at Cantonese restaurants. It’s somewhat hard to find these here in our area, the only place I have seen these is at 99 ranch. I was lucky enough that when I was shopping for it, the lady from the grocery store helped me pick the best from the pile.

First make sure to sort and clean the snow pea leaves, separating the hard stalks from the tender leaves. Then soak this for a a few hours before washing 2 -3 times to rid of dirt and sand and set aside.

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Get a wok or a skillet and place on high heat. Then add 3 Tbsp. vegetable oil and swirl to coat the pan. Then add 3-4 cloves garlic finely chopped then the snow pea leaves taking care not to burn the garlic. Stir contanstly and season with salt and white pepper. Cook until leaves are just wilted and still a bit crisp. Serve immediately.

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Ochazuke

I have always wanted to try this dish, it’s just that I have never gotten around to making it until now. This reminds me of my Lolo Sianing (maternal grandfather), I remember when I was about five seeing him pour hot water over a bowl of cold rice with some dried fish on it. I was fascinated to say the least. I even tried to imitate what he did much to my mom’s dismay, thinking I was playing with my food. I added way too much water which in turn made it inedible. The dish that he was eating by the way was called “kanin labay”, kanin is rice in Tagalog. I also found out that labay which is a very uncommon Tagalog word means to eat with broth.

So when I discovered this dish, I thought my Lolo knew what he was doing back then. Ochazuke is a very traditional Japanese dish wherein you pour hot green tea over rice with savory toppings. Although I read water was used during the Heian period and it was just at the beginning of the Edo period that tea was used instead. This is also what they do at home with leftover rice.

To make, place a scoop of rice in a bowl. Then sprinkle some furikake or Ochazuke seasoning (freeze dried toppings) which can be found in Asian stores. Top with some flaked salmon, I used smoked salmon for this recipe. Then carefully pour hot green tea over the rice. Serve immediately. I think you can really get creative and use different types of toppings. I might even use Filipino dried fish to make it more pinoy next time.

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This is something that you can easily put together if your are in a hurry and is very light on the stomach too.

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