Monthly Archives: February 2013

Hot Spicy Rice Cake

This is the recipe that i got from Maangchi website . And this is how i learn of my korean cooking too . She had a video of how you can try making your own rice cake . To tell you the truth i am not really into rice cake . And i think i know why , because i never made my own rice cake . All the rice cake i used to cooking was always from the store . It’s a frozen store bought rice cake .

So Maangchi website teaches us how to make your own rice cake , and to my surprised it was quite easy . As long as you have what they call frozen rice flour , then you’re all set to go . But the problem is , i had a hard time finding frozen rice cake at the store everytime i visited the korean market . I finally found someone and i thought i would just ask anyway , it was there all along , hidden , underneath any other things . So i picked it up , and i bought it , and that night i decided to make them .

They’re not hard to make , all i needed was 2 cups of frozen rice flour , with 3/4 cup of boiling hot water , and pinch of salt , and as long as you have a microwave , the job is even easier !! Cover it with a plastic wrap with a little opening to let the steam out and you’re all set . Mix it out and microwave it for another 2 minutes , then it’s time to pound them . According to maangchi , the more you pound them , the chewier they get . So i pounded them about 4-5 minutes . And i kneaded them afterwards .

Now time to shape them , if you’re a perfectionist like me , it’s going to take a long time to shape them . Into the right length , right width , and everything . But it’s kinda fun , it’s like playing with dough . Anyway , as much as i wanted my rice cake to be perfect , some of them didn’t turn out as pretty as i wanted to be , mainly because i just didn’t have the patience that night , i was hungry and i was ready for dinner , although the dinner was not the rice cake !!

Anyway , here is how my rice cake turned out , it’s a cylinder shape rice cake , or as the koreans call it , Garraeddeok .

rice cake


My rice cake look pretty chubby 😀

So , all my rice cake went to the fridge that night , and stayed there for about 3 days before i remember that i had rice cake in the fridge that i probably be best to use it as soon as possible . I would think it’ll get moldy if i leave it there too long , or i can always freeze them to last longer . But i was in the mood of some cooking that afternoon . I ended up making hot and spicy rice cake for my lunch . The Koreans call this Ddeokboekki .

I have made hot spicy rice cake before and to me it wasn’t really that tasty . It was just ‘ meh’ and ‘okay’ moment . I had high expectation back then , this was a year ago when i used the store bought rice cake to make ddeokbokki . So , i kinda toned down my expectation a little bit this time , i made the anchovy broth , with 7 dried anchovy and dried kelp along with 4 cups of water , and boil for about 15 minutes . After removing them all , i added the rice cake , all the ones i made the night before , it was only about 1 lb , and i added 1/3 cup of hot pepper paste and 1 tbsp. of sugar along with 1 tbsp. of hot pepper flakes . And boil it again for 10 minutes .

Then the moment of truth .. i took a bite and to my surprised it was very delicious , the rice cake especially was chewy but not so chewy to the point where it got bigger and bigger when you’re chewing them . No , it wasn’t like that .. it is chewy and delicious and just a great texture overall . Def it makes a huge difference how i like the dish now . I loved it !! In fact i wouldn’t even care with fish cake added into the meal , it will be just great with home made rice cake itself .

SO , my suggestion for those of you who likes hot and spicy rice cake , it is def. worth to make rice cake on your own rather than buying it from the store .


Superb Chili

I didn’t really like chili a long time ago , but for some reason , my taste has changed . Before i got pregnant 8 years ago , i started liking it ,but then during pregnancy i hated it . After my son was born , chili , was something that i can have , but it’s okay if i  never had them anymore . I was always looking for a delicious recipe for chili . Ever since my son was born , i started to have interest to cook anything from scratch , and that’s how i ended up searching and searching for a good recipe for chili . Instead of depending on a pre packaged seasoning the store sells .

I ran across this recipe , a combination of beef and pork , and all the spices that i have on hand and that i used quite a bit actually . This chili turned out to be very delicious , flavorful , and overall , it’s really worth to keep !



Directions : 

8 strips of thick slice applewood smoked bacon

1 large onion , finely chopped

2 medium shallots , finely chopped

5 cloves of garlic , minced

1 red bell pepper , chopped

1 green bell pepper , chopped

3 tbsp. of chili powder

1 tbsp. of chipotle chili powder

2 tsp. of dry oregano

1 tbsp. of smoked paprika

kosher salt and fresh black pepper

1 lb of extra lean ground beef

1 lb of ground sweet sausage

1 cup  of beer , i used guiness

24 oz. crushed tomatoes

24 oz. diced tomatoes with the juice

14 oz can red kidney beans

14 oz. chili beans

green onion


1. In a heavy dutch oven , brown the bacon until crispy , and then add the chopped onion , shallot , garlic , bell peppers , and the spices . Stir and cook for few minutes until it smells really good and the vegetable is slightly tender . Add the beef and the pork , and cook about 4-5 minutes .

2. Then add bottle of beer , the crushed tomatoes , diced tomatoes , beans and stir . Bring to boil , then simmer for 1 hour and 30 minutes . Adjust the seasoning , you might want to add more salt or pepper or pinch of sugar if it’s too acidic . ‘

3. Serve hot in a bowl , and sprinkle with shredded cheese , sprinkle with green onion and sour cream if you’d like .


Braised Pork ( Babi Kecap )

My mom made this dish quite often when i was younger . She used to use pork belly to make this . I am not talking about thin bacon type pork belly , but it’s thick one . The result were very yummy pork dish .

Now , as i get older , i opted to use pork tenderloin or sometimes pork shoulder to make this dish . I have to say that pork tenderloin would be a better choice but they tend to be dry , compared to pork shoulder , obviously pork tenderloin is leaner than shoulder , but anything that you use , it’ll be good delicious and  yummy dinner . I serve this with bok choy and warm white rice . The sweet and saltiness from the pork , is a perfect balance for the slight bitter baby bok choy .

red braised pork flank


Direction : 

1-2 tbsp. of vegetable oil

2-3 tbsp. of sugar , extra fine

2,5 lbs of pork shoulder or pork tenderloin

1 cinnamon stick

2 star anise

2 inches of ginger root , slice thick

3-4 bird eye’s chili

6 tbsp. of soy sauce

3 green onions

1. Bring a pot of water to a boil , then submerge the pork meat in it , simmer for 5-6 minutes . Then take it out , and cut the pork into 2 inch bite size .

2. In a wok , heat up olive oil , add the sugar until it began to caramelize , you better watch it carefully . It probably is going to take about 2-3 minutes , then add the pork ,saute for about 5 minutes . Then add ginger root , cinnamon stick and star anise , with the soy sauce , then add enough water to cover the pork . Bring to boil , simmer and cover for an hour .

3. Once it’s done , remove the pork meat and bring the sauce to boil until it reduces and becomes a slightly thicker syrup .

4. Place the meat back into the work , and sprinkle with green onions , serve with warm rice and vegetables .

Chicken Mole

This is recipe that i tried from Jamie Oliver’s cookbook , the American cookbook of his . Well , it was also , my very first time trying a dinner meal that has chocolate in its ingredients . It was a little strange , ever since i moved here , and lived here , i learned there was this dish that was called Mole , that has chocolate in it . I never wanted to try it , because my brain just tells me , chocolate doesn’t belong in a dinner meal , well unless you’re talking about chocolate lava cake .. well that’s different , but that’s dessert . We’re talking about main dish .. with chocolate ? that seems odd .

Years and years later , now .. i thought .. i am adventurous enough with food , and why not giving it a try . Just like i keep telling my son , don’t say you don’t like the food until you try it . No matter how odd it sounds .. just give it a try . Yet , i am not willing to pay it at the restaurant to order Chicken Mole . Instead of chose to make it from the cookbook . From a brit !! LOL ..

So anyway , i told my family that i will be making chicken mole , with chocolate in it .. my 8 years old son gave me the look .. and said ” YOU’RE COOKING CHICKEN WITH CHOCOLATE ? EWWW … ”

Though he said ewww .. but he’s willing to give it a try , as long as it’s not spicy , he’s willing to try it . My son ended up loving the chicken mole , he said it is delicious . My husband said this is just how he remembers it , he had chicken mole sometimes before we got married . And he said this is just how it’s supposed to be . I , on the other hand , can’t get it past my head that the flavor actually combines good , and gives out a rich flavor , but the thought of chocolate in there .. still makes me feel strange , and i kept telling myself chocolate isn’t supposed to be there with onion , cumin , garlic .. etc ..

As for you , i don’t know , you might like it , you might not , just give it a try !! And you’ll find out !

Direction : 

For the chicken :

5 lbs of chicken , organic would be better

1 tsp. kosher salt

2 onions , peeled and quartered

2 celery stalks , roughly chopped

6 fresh bay leaves

2 cinnamon sticks

10 black peppercorns

4 cloves of garlic , peeled

Put all these ingredients in a large pot , and bring to boil , skim off all the foamy stuff floating , and cover with lid , simmer , cook for 1 hour and 30 minutes . The chicken should be very tender , falling off the bone by then . Meanwhile , prepare the mole sauce .

For the sauce :

5 large dried red chiles

olive oil

2 onions , peeled and roughly chopped

1 tsp. cumin seeds

1 tsp. cinnamon , ground

2 tsp. sesame seeds

1 -14 oz diced tomatoes

2 heaped tsp. unsweetened cocoa powder

salt and pepper

1-4oz good quality bittersweet chocolate 70% cocoa solid

1. In a large bowl , add boiling water to the 5 large dried chiles , let it soak for 15 minutes .

2. After it’s done soaking , in a medium pot , heat olive oil , add garlic , onion and the chiles , cumin seeds and cinnamon , cook about 15 minutes on low . Then add the sesame seeds and canned tomatoes , fill the can with the water from soaking chiles , add them into the pot , and bring to boil for 5 minutes . Add cocoa powder , salt and pepper stir well , cook for 5 more minutes . Then add the chocolate chunks , and stir .

3. Pour into the food processor , and start pulsing it until it’s super smooth and silky . Add a little of red wine vinegar to add a little acidity .

4. Serve it with white rice , chicken , and the sauce on top of as a dipping sauce .

Chicken Mole


Coconut Friands

Friands is similar with financier , it’s french cake . Almost like a cupcake but unlike cupcake , friand only uses egg whites with other flavorings , in this case , i added unsweetened shredded coconut . They’re quite delicious , and good with tea or coffee for afternoon snack . It is not so rich like americans cupcake , with tons of icing . Friands is easy to make , there is no special technique required , just put all the ingredients together and  you’re set for a delicious snack .

Direction : 

4 eggs whites , room temperature

1 1/2 cup of dried unsweetened coconut

2/3 cup of sugar

1/2 cup of flour

1 tsp. vanilla extract

pinch of salt

1 stick of unsalted butter , melted and cooled slightly

1. In a large mixing bowl , whisk the egg whites until foamy . Then add the ingredients one by one .

2. Use a muffin pans , line with paper cups , add about 2 tbsp. of the batter , it should make about 10 friands .

3. Bake at 350 F for about 20 minutes or so , check with toothpick for doneness .

coconut friands


Madeleine is a french cookies , though i don’t think it has a cookie like consistency , they still call it cookie . I would just call it a cake . My son loves this , my husband thinks it should be called a shell cake . Because it’s in a shell shape . Madeleine needs a special mould to bake , and it’s a shell like pan that you can get online or in a special store .

I tried making this few years back , wasn’t so successful just because i didn’t butter and flour the pan generously . It still turned out good but i didn’t look right and wasn’t beautiful at all . This time i made sure that i buttered and floured the pan generously , and they turned out beautiful !! Madeleine is not hard to make , just have to give time to let it sit for an hour or so .

Direction : 

6 Tbsp. of butter , unsalted , melted and cooled

2/3 cup of all purpose flour

3/4 tsp. of baking powder

pinch of salt

1/2 cup of sugar

zest from 1 lemon

1 tsp. of vanilla extract

2 whole eggs , room temperature

1. Melt the butter , let it sit to cool , while you prepare the rest .

2. Mix the all purpose flour and baking powder and pinch of salt , set aside .

3. In a mixer bowl , zest the lemon , and add sugar , using your fingers rub the zest with the sugar until it smells wonderful . Then add 2 eggs , and beat in high speed for about 2-3 minute . The eggs mixture should be thick and pale . Add the vanilla

4. Then , carefully using spatula FOLD in the dry ingredients , then finally once it’s all mixed , add the melted butter , fold with spatula .

5. Butter and flour the madeleine pan generously , then pour the batter all the way to the top of the pan , and cover with plastic , refridgerate for 1-2 hours , then bake at 400 F , for 11 minutes . This should make 12 large madeleines .madeleine batter





Grilled Chipotle Pork Tenderloin with Polenta

This is one of the easiest way to make yummy dish . I am not so much of a fan of pork tenderloin , although it is actually can be considered a healthy food . It’s the other white meat , i like to get pork tenderloin that has white fat on top still . It brings out the flavor to be better , compared the one that you have the skin removed . This one is super easy , as long as you have ziploc bag , spices , brown sugar , and pork , and grill .. you’ll be set and ready for a yummy quick dinner .

chipotle grilled pork tenderloin


Direction : 

2.5 lbs of pork tenderloin , either you cut them into 3-4 pieces or just leave it whole , if you leave it whole it’ll take longer to grill .

3 tbsp. of chipotle chili powder

1 tsp. of garlic powder

1 tsp. of onion powder

1 tbsp. of smoked paprika

4 tbsp. of brown sugar

Mix the spices , and add the pork , let it marinade for couple of hours . Grill , and it should be done when temperature reached 145 F . Don’t overcook it ,  or it will not juicy and become tough and dry .

Once it’s done , let it sit for 10-15 minutes before slicing them , serve with polenta , and grilled corn .

For the Polenta

Direction : 

3 cloves of garlic , chopped

1 small yellow onion , chopped

4 cups of chicken broth

1 cup of yellow cornmeal

butter and parmesan optional

Olive oil

1. Heat olive oil in a small saucepan , add the onion and salt pepper , cook for 5 minutes , then add garlic cook about a minute or so . Then add chicken broth , bring to boil . Once it’s boiling , add the cornmeal while constantly whisking to prevent lumps .

2. Preheat oven to 375 F , remove the saucepan into the oven , covered with the lid , and bake fr 35-40 minutes . Stir every 10 minutes or so .

3. Once it’s done , pour polenta into 13×9 baking dish and refrigerate , cut to your preference . Then you can deep fry this or just serve it like that . Or serve as is right from the oven .


Roasted Asparagus

Asparagus is one of our favorite vegetable . They’re widely available during early spring time , once spring is over , chances are , it’s be hard to find any fresh asparagus in the market . I never really cared about canned asparagus , just like any other vegetables , i like them thousand times better than having them straight from the can . That’s why i always get vegetables when they’re in season , if not , then find something else , that way , you don’t need to eat veggies from can .

So , since asparagus is one of our favorite , i found a super easy way to make it a yummy side dish . Asparagus comes in 2 colors , white and green . For white asparagus , i remember when i was small , during a wedding party , they always served this soup , asparagus soup with real crab meat , and it is OMG .. delicious !!! I never tried to re-create that dish yet , it’s not easy to find white asparagus . Green asparagus is super easy to find . First before you wash the asparagus , cut the thick end of the asparagus , it’s easy to break with just hand without necessary used of a knife . Then wash them , and lay them on the cookie sheet , and then sprinkle with little mix of olive oil and sesame oil , add little garlic powder and onion powder , kosher salt , and sesame seed . Mix well , and bake at 425 F for about 10-12 minutes . And your side dish is ready !!

roasted asparagus

Texas Brownies

What is Texas Brownies ? I have no clue , all i know is .. that it’s a sheet chocolate cake with chocolate icing . And in my case , it is a really moist cake !! Why do they call it brownies ? They’re not even chewy like most brownies are .. I wonder about that too sometimes . Maybe i should as a true Texan , born and raised and who knows maybe one will be able to give me the answer .

The first i made this was years and years ago , from a Taste of Home magazine that my MIL subscribed into . I thought it was quite interesting and easy . Back then , i’d do anything that is easy , the easier the better !! This happen to meet my criteria 😀 So i made them , and they turned out to be very delicious and moist . I don’t make them that often and i think after that first time i only made them 2 more times and then that it’s . In fact for the past 3 years .. i don’t think i have made one batch at all of this delicious dessert . Why ? i don’t know .. i guess because the recipe was put in a recipe box that i hardly opened ..

So , when we were invited to the super bowl party this sunday , my husband signed us up to bring Texas Brownies . We talked about it before he signed me up .. i did ask him what should i bring , and he said ‘ what about Texas Brownies ? After all .. we’re in Texas !! ” LOL .. i don’t know why he suddenly brought up that we’re in texas and let’s make texas brownies .. It seemed weird .. 😀

Fine by me though .. it was easy .. preparation is really a piece of cake and delicious result , what more could you ask ? So here it is .. the old fashioned Texas Sheet Cake , or Texas Brownies .. It was a hit in the party , they loved it and go ahead try it … let me know if you agree with me !!



Direction : 

2 cups of sugar

2 cups of all purpose flour

1 cup of very strong coffee ( dark , and bold )

1 stick of unsalted butter

1/2 cup of vegetable shortening ( crisco )

1/4 cup of unsweetened cocoa

1 tsp. of vanilla

1/2 cup of buttermilk

2 eggs

1 tsp. baking soda

For icing :

1 stick of unsalted butter

1/4 cup of milk

1/4 cup of cocoa

1 tsp. vanilla

3 1/2 cup of powdered sugar

1. In a large bowl , mix flour and sugar . In a small pot , heat up the butter , shortening and coffee and cocoa , bring to boil for a minute . Then pour this into the flour sugar mixture , beat with speed on medium .

2. Add the buttermilk , and mix well with medium speed . Add 2 eggs , and beat well . Add vanilla and baking soda . Mix well . Pour into 17.5 x 11 inch of baking sheet ( greased with vegetable shortening also )

3. Bake at 400 F for about 20 minutes or less , insert a toothpick to see if it’s done or not .

Meanwhile it’s baking , let’s make the icing :

1. Melt the butter , milk and cocoa , then mix well , and add the powdered sugar . Beat with whisk , until smooth . Pour on top of the brownies straight from the oven . Spread the icing evenly , let cool before cut and serve .

texas brownies