Wednesday, December 6, 2017

Mushrooms and Eggs Cooked In Soy Sauce

If healthy living is the most important thing in your life, this recipe should be your healthiest choice.  I got the idea for creating this recipe after watching the 'Fox and Friends" on the Fox News channel yesterday. They showed a Weight Watchers® list of healthy foods, which included nonfat yogurt, beans, shellfish, and eggs. Mushrooms of all kinds are my favorite vegetables for cooking, either in stews, soups, or a stir-fry dish by itself or with a choice of meats. The Vietnamese cuisine has a recipe to cook meat and eggs with coconut water. It is called 'thit kho trung or thit kho tau”. Today, I use a similar method to create this fantastic, low calorie, but also still good protein dish.

5 hard-boil eggs, shelled
1 lb. total combination of mushrooms –king oyster, button, and shitake.
2 tbs coconut oil
Stew sauce ingredients:
1 cup coconut water
1 tsp blackstrap molasses
1 tbs honey
1 tsp salt
1 tbs soy sauce
Other ingredients:
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 shallots, sliced
2 star anise
1 stick cinnamon
Black pepper, cayenne

Prepare mushrooms by cutting the king oyster mushrooms into bite-size pieces, and the rest of other mushrooms cut in half.

Combine the stew sauce ingredients and set nearby the stove.
Heat oil in a pan and stir in garlic, shallots, star anise, and cinnamon stick. Stir and cook for 30 seconds or until fragrant.

Add cut mushrooms and cook for 2 minutes. Add eggs and sauce mixture.

Add black pepper and cayenne or any kinds of spices to give this recipe a kick.

Cover and simmer for 10 minutes. Add some chopped cilantro stems and cook 5 minutes more. Adjust the seasoning at this point with either more honey or soy sauce. Serve with rice.

Fish Cooked with Eggplant in a Clay Pot

This is a delicious and nutritious dish of the Chinese people. This dish is usually cooked and served with a clay pot. The reason the Chinese chefs cook this dish in a clay pot is to keep it hot longer and to look very attractive on the table.  However, this dish can also be made with other cooking gadgets if a clay pot is not in your kitchen. The following is a recipe from the Chinese, but depending on the taste of each cook, the eating of and processing of it can also be a bit different. In general, the main ingredients are the fish and eggplant when processing this dish will not change. However, the additions of other spices depends on each family who will be able to add or remove.

2 tilapia fillets
2 Japanese eggplants
1/2 cup total of red, green, orange, or yellow bell pepper, diced
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 knob fresh ginger, sliced
2 green onions (scallions), slice and separate the white part from the green part
1/4 cup peanut or vegetable oil
Marinade ingredients:
1 egg white
1 tsp water
1 tsp cornstarch
1/2 tsp total of salt, sugar, and white pepper
Sauce ingredients:
1/2 cup chicken stock
1 tsp oyster sauce
1 tsp soy sauce
1 tsp honey
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp blackstrap molasses
Thickening ingredients:
1 tsp cornstarch
1 tsp water
Other item:
1 tbs shaoxing wine

Slice the fish into big chunks.

Combine the marinade ingredients, and add fish chunks (mix well and refrigerate for 1 hour).

Combine the sauce ingredients and set nearby the stove to be ready to cook.
Slice the eggplants into big sticks 2 inches long by ½ inch thick (as photo shows). Soak eggplant in water for a few minutes (this soaking method will help the eggplant not to soak up a lot of oil when pan-fried and drained).

Divide oil in half. Add to a pot and start to pan-fry the eggplant just until brown. Remove from the pot.

Add the rest of the oil and pan- fry the fishes, until brown. Remove the fish

at this point (the pot still has some oil left). Add ginger, garlic, and the white part of scallions. Cook and stir until fragrant (about 1 minute). Add sweet bell peppers, eggplant, and fish back into the pot.

Add sauce mixture and make a quick stir (cover and cook for 10 to 15 minutes).
Combine the thickening ingredients and mix well.

Uncover the pot and check for the doneness of the eggplants and the fish. Stir in the thickening mixture. Adjust the seasoning at this point with more salt or soy sauce. Add the shaoxing wine and the green part of the scallions. Serve with rice.

Monday, December 4, 2017

Asian Watercress Salad

The reason I use the title for this recipe, Asian Watercress Salad, is that because the dressing for this salad uses sesame oil instead of olive oil. The health benefits of watercress is tremendous, which includes providing nutrition and boosting immunities. It prevents cancer and reduces the thyroid. This tiny leafy green vegetable is rich in vitamin C and also improves bone health. The most noticeable Asian recipes for watercress are soup and shaking beef salad. However, I always try to prepare my salads with low calories and with all the benefits of eating salad. The sesame dressing with garlic and ginger is a typical taste in the Asian world.  This salad certainly will bring all the health benefits from the watercress and more.

4 cups watercress
2 cups total of the following vegetables: cucumber, carrot, bean sprouts, jicama, and red onion
Sesame dressing ingredients:
1/4 cup sesame oil
1/4 cup white rice vinegar
1 tbs honey
1 tbs soy sauce
1/4 tsp salt
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 tsp fresh ginger
Other ingredients:
Roasted sesame seeds, roasted peanuts

I use one bunch of watercress. Remove some of the stems. Wash and spin to dry.
The other vegetables are very much your choice. I diced the red onion and julienne the rest of my vegetables mixed in with the watercress in a mixing bowl.

Combine the sesame dressing ingredients in a jar with lid and shake well.
To serve:
Place salad on a serving plate and sprinkle with roasted sesame seeds and peanuts. Toss the dressing with the salad or serve the dressing on the side.

Taro Chicken Soup

Taro is the most widely known root vegetable in Asian recipes.  I grew up with this soup in my family meals almost weekly. In a recent study, scientists indicate that taro is the healthiest root vegetable. In Vietnam, taro soup is made with pork ribs, minced pork, or fresh or dried shrimp, depending on personal tastes and budgets.  For me, I like to make taro soup with chicken because chicken is a cleaner meat.  I also Use kelp broth to make this soup the all-time healthiest soup that we should always consume.
5 cups kelp-vegetable broth
1 chicken breast, chopped or minced
3 cups taro, peeled and cut into 1 inch size cubes*
Marinade ingredients:
1 white part of scallion, sliced
1 shallot, chopped
1 garlic clove, minced
1 tsp fish sauce
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp sugar
Pinch of white pepper
Other items:
Garnish with chopped cilantro and green part of scallion
Serve with rice

Combine chicken meat and marinade ingredients and mix well.  Let marinate for 1 hour.

In a medium saucepan, heat 1 tbs peanut oil; stir in the chicken and cook for 5 minutes.

Add broth and taro. Bring to boil. Skim off the foam or residue that rises up to the surface.

Cover and simmer for 15 minutes or until the taro is tender.  Adjust the seasoning with more fish sauce or salt.
Ladle the soup into the tureen to serve as a family meal or in individual bowls. Sprinkle the chopped cilantro and green onion on top.

*If you are not familiar with taro. Go to to learn more about the history of this wonderful root vegetable.

Friday, December 1, 2017

Mackerel Stew Using a Pressure Cooker

The pressure cooker is one of my must-have gadgets in the kitchen. One of the canned foods that I allow myself to buy is mackerel in tomato sauce. I make sandwiches with this fish instead of buying the sandwiches, such as Lee sandwich or Teo sandwich, in some of the Vietnamese shops nearby.  I do not know if the shops use canned mackerel in tomato sauce or make their own. However, with the pressure cooker, I will introduce this easy recipe, which results in a healthier version of mackerel in tomato sauce. For Asian people, this version of mackerel is more inline with our tastes than the one in the can. I am happy with the results, and I hope you will be also.

2 lbs. of or 2 medium-sized mackerel
4 large tomatoes, roughly chopped
2 Tbsp coconut oil
4 shallots, chopped
1 large white onion, sliced
4 garlic cloves, chopped
4 green onions, cut into 2 inch lengths
Water solution ingredients:
5 cups water
2 tbs salt
2 tbs vinegar
2 tbs baking soda
Stew sauce ingredients:
1 cup water
2 tbs tomato paste
1 tbs blackstrap molasses
2 tbs honey
1 tsp salt
1 tbs fish sauce
1 tbs soy sauce
1/4 tsp black pepper
1/4 tsp cayenne
3 dried chili peppers

Cut the mackerel in 3 sections. Remove the intestines and soak fish in the water solution for 30 minutes; then drain. This process will remove all the odors from the mackerel.

Combine the stew sauce ingredients and mix well.

Heat oil in a pressure cooker. Add shallots, garlic cloves, and white onions. Stir and cook until fragrant (about 1 minute).

 Add mackerel and brown them with the fragrant oil.

Pour the stew sauce mixture atop the mackerel. Top with tomatoes and green onions.

Cover the lid as directed by your pressure cooker’s instruction booklet. Cook for 40 minutes on low-medium heat. Turn the heat off.  Let mackerel stew cook for another 10 minutes.

 Adjust the seasoning at the end of cooking time and cook a little more, if needed. The results will be like a can of good mackerel stew.

Wednesday, November 29, 2017

Sweet Potatoes Muffins

This recipe is created from a part of my Thanksgiving meal leftovers. The candied yams are already sweet. Use less sugar when making this recipe. However, cook the yams like making mashed potatoes. The substitute for the sweet potatoes can be pumpkin. It is an easy recipe to turn candied yams into a whole new exciting dish for breakfast. Because my candied yams are homemade, I am not sure about the canned candied yams. Experiment with this recipe on your own.

2 cups self-rising flour
1 tsp ground cinnamon
2 cups mashed sweet potatoes
1 cup milk
1/2 cup vegetable oil, butter, or coconut oil*
2 eggs
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup oatmeal

Line a 12 muffin tin with 12 small muffin paper liners.  Preheat oven set to 350°.

Combine self-rising flour with cinnamon and whisk well.  Make a well in the center.

In a Vitamix® or other blender, combine eggs, sugar, milk, and oil. Blend for 30 seconds.

Pour the egg-milk mixture into the flour and gently mix.

 Add sweet potato and stir to combine (Do not overmix the batter. Use the old traditional 50 strokes learned from Grandma to make a cake).

Use a spoon to spoon the batter 3/4 full into the paper liners. Sprinkle oatmeal on top of each muffin.

Bake the muffins for 25 to 30 minutes.
Let cool and enjoy!!

*If using butter or coconut oil, melt the butter or coconut oil and let cool before proceeding.

Monday, November 27, 2017

BBQ Pulled Turkey from Leftover Turkey Using a Crockpot®

This is another easy recipe for leftover turkey legs and bread after a Thanksgiving dinner. This recipe is an easy way to have sandwiches the day after Thanksgiving with BBQ pulled turkey.

Turkey legs*
1 cup BBQ sauce (homemade or store-bought)
1/2 onion, sliced
2 garlic cloves, chopped
Other seasonings, such as fresh thyme, mustard, and chili flakes

Discard the skin and bones from the turkey legs (about 5 cups of meat should remain).
On the bottom of a Crockpot, add the onions and garlic.
Place turkey meat on top of the onion and garlic. Pour the BBQ sauce over the turkey meat.

Close the lid and cook for 3 hours. Use a fork to shred the meat slight. Season the turkey to meat with salt and pepper. Add some lemon juice, mustard, etc. to enhance the flavor.
The turkey is now already baked. It only takes a short time to cook. Enjoy.

*Since we are on the subject of leftover turkey, the turkey bones can make a wonderful broth. Use this broth to make Pho (follow the recipe posted on 04/20/2017 or Crockpot Pho posted on 10/31/2015).