Friday, January 20, 2017

Easy Baked Tomato Salsa

Tomato is very healthy, but it is even better when cooked. I like to make tomato salsa just to add this nice, healthy fruit daily. This is very easy recipe. I hope it becomes your favorite.

7 Roma tomatoes
2 jalapeno peppers
5 garlic cloves
1 white onion, peeled and cut into wedges
Other ingredients:
1/4 cup olive oil
1/4 cup nonfat Italian dressing
Juice of 1 lemon
1 tsp cayenne
1/2 cup cilantro, chopped
2 green onions, chopped
Salt, pepper, and sugar to taste

Place tomatoes, jalapeno, garlic, and white onions on a baking tray. Sprinkle with 1 tsp salt, pepper and about 1 tbs oil. Bake in preheated oven set to 350° for 25 minutes.

Let them cool off. Remove some of the garlic shells.

Blend in the food processor. Start with white onions (because they are in big chunks) and blend into small pieces.

Then add the tomatoes, garlic, and jalapeno. Blend well.
Place into the container and stir in oil, Italian dressing, lemon juice, cayenne, cilantro and green onions. Adjust the seasoning to your liking, such as with more sugar, salt or hot chili.

Refrigerate for a few hours so the flavor to be immersed. Enjoy!



Terriyaki Salmon and Bok Choy

Usually, when it comes to good food and good health, we often think that we need to use a lot of ingredients and to follow time-consuming procedures to create a good recipe. I will continue to prove this assumption is false and try often to introduce dishes that are not only easy to prepare but also healthy, such as baked salmon with teriyaki sauce. This teriyaki sauce originates from Japan and is very popular in the Japanese cuisine. I suggest that the sauce should be made at home because it needs just a few ingredients. However, so many brands out there on the market sell a good teriyaki sauce to suit anyone’s taste. Teriyaki sauce can be preserved in the refrigerator and be used with so many dishes for creating wonderful meals for your loved ones, which will be very fast and healthy.

Two 6 oz. salmon fillet
1 garlic clove, minced
1/2 tsp fresh ginger, minced
1/2 cup Bok Choy, cut up or left whole
Teriyaki sauce (1/4 cup homemade* or store-bought)
Other ingredients:
Green onions and cilantro
Hot cooked rice

Combine sauce with garlic and ginger.
In a baking dish, place the vegetables and top with salmon.


 Pour the sauce over and bake in a preheated oven set to 350° for 10 to 12 minutes (the cooking time will vary depending upon each oven). 

*Homemade teriyaki sauce ingredients:
1/2 cup soy sauce
1/2 cup sake (Japanese cooking wine)
1/2 cup mirin (Japanese sweet cooking syrup)
1/4 cup sugar or more for your individual taste

Put all the ingredients on a saucepan. Bring to boil and simmer until sauce reduces by one third or one quarter. Let it cool completely before storing in a glass jar.

Healthy Crockpot Black Sesame Seeds & Black Sweet Rice Congee

Unlike the white sesame seeds, black sesame seeds have tremendous iron, fiber, and calcium, and adding these tiny seeds into our diet daily could improve our health. Throwing black sesame seeds into stir-fry dishes or sprinkling roasted sesame seeds on top of rice will help to improve protein, building strong bones, and is also good for the heart. Many people are familiar with the black sesame congee served in dim sum restaurants as a dessert dish. However, congee can be made sweet or savory. I will introduce today an easy crockpot black sesame congee for breakfast. This easy recipe is not just easy to make but will be an excellent choice for a healthy meal in the morning when we need it most to start a day.

1/4 cup black sweet rice
1/4 cup black sesame seeds
1 cup oatmeal
2 cups water
2 cups coconut milk
1/2 tsp salt
Honey to suit your taste

Soak black sweet rice for a few hours. Rinse and put in a blender with 1 cup water and blend well.
Wash the black sesame seeds and pan-roast the sesame seeds until fragrant. Place roasted sesame seeds in a blender with 1 cup of water and blend well.
Place the blended sesame-sweet black rice, oatmeal, and salt in the crock pot. Turn crockpot on to low setting and let it cook overnight.
In the morning, add coconut milk, and, if you want the congee more silky smooth looking, use a handheld blender and blend again.
This is ready to serve (as is or add honey and cinnamon).

To make dessert:
Cook the congee with about 4 oz. rock sugar. Also, watch the liquid to be either thick or thin to suit your taste.

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Baked Chicken Legs with Honey and Chili Lemongrass

Guests traveling to Vietnam agree that the honey roasted chicken dish is an indispensable dish. This dish is very special and usually is made with the natural breeding chicken or called free-range chicken. In the mountain areas of the North, the chickens are released to roam so their meats are very chewy and sweet. After cleaning the chicken, it is marinated with simple ingredients and honey and salt. The chicken is also stuffed with bruised lemongrass and lime leaves. The chicken is then grilled on charcoal by the hands of the cooks, and they work so hard to please the customers. Therefore, the honey roasted chicken dish is worthy to have a place on the good food list in the Vietnamese cuisine. However, to create a special dish like the roasted honey chicken at home, it will take a long time for the busy lifestyles that we have in America. For that, I will share a simple baked or grilled chicken dish that we can prepare in the home kitchen. The easiest method is to use chicken thighs with the ingredients that we have available and marinate within a few hours  or overnight. Chicken thighs can then be grilled on the stovetop or by using the grill function on the oven or just Bake. The taste will not be very special like the whole chicken in Vietnam, but it will please grumpy-prissy guests. We live in the age of missiles with the speedy society. Healthy eating with simple meals is the purpose of our daily routine.

3 or 4 large chicken legs
Marinade ingredients:
1 tsp salt
1 shallot
1 piece ginger
3 garlic cloves
1 Thai fresh chili
1/2 tsp chili powder
1 tbs minced lemongrass
2 tbs soy sauce
1 tsp sugar
2 tbs honey
1 tbs oil
Hone-lemon glaze:
1 tbs honey
1 tbs lemon juice

Wash the chicken legs well and pat dry with paper towel.

Place all the marinade ingredients in a mini processor and blend into paste. Add more chili for your spicy taste buds.

Spread the paste on the chicken legs and also place some under the skin as well.

Place into a Ziploc® plastic bag. Marinate the chicken legs for a few hours or overnight. Bring the chicken legs out into the room temperature 1 hour before baking
Preheat oven set to 350°. Line the baking dish with foil for easy cleaning. Place the chicken legs onto a prepared baking sheet skin side down.

 Bake for 15 minutes. Then turn and brush with more honey glaze.

Serve with rice, bread, and with some Vietnamese cabbage slaw*

To make Vietnamese slaw:
*3 cups shredded cabbage
1 carrot shredded
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp sugar
Wash shredded cabbage and carrot. Place in a colander and sprinkle with salt and sugar. Let the cabbage draw out water for about one hour.

 Squeeze out as much water as you can. Add sweet vinegar dressing, chopped cilantro, and also roasted sesame seeds.

To make sweet vinegar dressing:
1 cup vinegar
1/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup soy sauce
1/4 tsp salt
1 small bag (about 3 grams of bonito)

In a saucepan, add vinegar, sugar, soy sauce, and salt. Bring to boil for 1 minute. Turn the heat off. Add the bonito flakes. Let sit for an hour and drain. Adjust the taste to your liking with more or less sugar. I adapted this recipe from Japanese cooking. Refrigerate and use with other recipes for salads or noodles.

Lemongrass Fried Rice with Tuna

Fried rice is a dish for which every Vietnamese family has its own secret recipe. The fried rice dish has become a popular dish always get a thump up at every small or large party. It is also an easy potluck meeting dish. Fried rice is a dish that is always the most to get attention. To make a delicious fried rice dish, the rice has to be cooked from the day before, and it has to be a little drier than normal cooked rice. The ingredients used for fried rice dish are certainly endless and have no principles at all. Fried rice is a rustic dish, and it can also become the elegant main dish if expensive ingredients are changed therein. Today, I will introduce a very good fried rice dish for my blog. I use black rice and lemongrass. As studies have shown, lemongrass citronella reduces cholesterol, improves sleep, reduces blood sugar, and helps to cure the type II diabetes and also has the ability to kill cancer cells. Also, the oil in lemongrass, if used daily, will eventually reduce body odor. This is a very simple fried rice recipe, but it can be added in our meal to increase the health benefits to our bodies.

Three cups cooked black rice
2 tbs fresh chopped lemongrass
6 oz tuna*
1 egg beaten
1 shallot, chopped
1 garlic clove minced
Other ingredients:
1 cup total of diced red, green and yellow bell pepper
2 tbs oil 
Season with soy sauce, salt, sugar, pepper and mushroom seasoning powder


Drain the tuna and set aside.
Heat the oil in nonstick wok or skillet. Add shallot, garlic and half of the lemongrass. Stir and cook until fragrant (about 1 minute).

Add beaten egg and scramble the egg.Add bell peppers , tuna. Mix well.


Turn the heat off and add rice. Use a wooden spoon to break the rice and mix well with the rest of the ingredients in a wok. Season with soy sauce, sugar, seasoning powder, and pepper. Turn the heat back on and gently stir the rice and cook for another 3 to 5 minutes.

Place on a serving bowl or plate. Sprinkle with chopped cilantro or basil or green onions.

* Add fried tofu instead of tuna to make this rice for a vegetarian.

Monday, January 16, 2017

Grilled Baked Eggplant with Scallion Oil

This rustic dish is very popular in Vietnam because of the simple reason that it is very easy to make and inexpensive . It is a non-time-consuming recipe but brings the greatest benefits for the health of so many people who want to reduce cholesterol. Scented eggplant pieces with scallion oil with the natural richness of the fat from the eggplant after baking and dipped with sweet, spicy, sour sauce creates a special flavor for the eggplant. 


1 large eggplant or 2 Japanese eggplants
3 scallions finely diced
1/4 cup peanut or olive oil
Sauce ingredients:
2 garlic cloves minced
1 fresh chili, red or green
1 tbs fresh lemon juice
2 tbs fish sauce
2 tbs sugar
1 tbs hot water

Use a toothpick to prick the eggplant all over.

Place directly onto the stove and char the skin.

Place the charded eggplant on a baking dish and bake in a preheated oven set to 350° for 15 minutes or until a toothpick can easily be to pushed through the eggplant. Let cool completely and peel the skin off.

To make dipping sauce:
Combine all the sauce ingredients and set aside.
To make a scallion oil:
In a microwave-proof bowl, combine the scallion and oil. Add 1/4 tsp salt and 1/8 tsp sugar. Place into the microwave and cook for 15 seconds.

To serve:
Place eggplant on a serving plate topped with scallion oil and pour the dipping sauce on top or on the side.
Serve with hot cooked rice.


Vegetarian Porridge (Updated)

In the Vietnamese cuisine, porridge or con-gee is a very popular soup from urban to rural communities. There are many kinds of porridge -cháo lòng (Intestine porridge), chicken, beef, and all kinds of bean soup to the people under the weather. However, one of the con-gees that remains is a kind of porridge to serve during full moon days for those who are Buddhist vegetarians. Particularly, I enjoy a vegetarian porridge mixed because when we eat, we will feel very light. The sweetness of the vegetables in the broth are a very tasty mix of mushrooms and other vegetables. I prepare this soup by combining seaweed broth which adds more natural sweetness and nutrition to the broth. This is a dish that I suggest to everyone who loves to eat healthy should make this for their loved ones more often. I guarantee this will lower high blood pressure and help to fight chronic diseases that we encounter in society these days.

1/3 cup rice and sweet rice*
8 to 10 cups vegetable broth
1 carrot, diced
1 piece of daikon, diced
1/2  chayote squash, diced
1/2 cup diced jicama
1/4 cup frozen pea
1/2 cup frozen corn
1/2 cup cabbage, diced
1 cup combination of fresh mushrooms (your choice) shredded or diced
1 piece dry fungus, soaked and diced
4 shiitake mushrooms, soaked and diced
1/4 cup white onion, diced
1 tsp fresh chopped ginger
1 tsp mushroom seasoning powder
Other ingredients:
Crispy fried onions*
Salt, black pepper, and sugar to taste

Garnish with chopped green onions and cilantro

Wash rice 3-4 times and soak in water for several hours. Drain.

To prepare the porridge:
Bring vegetable broth to boil and add the soaked rice and continue to boil the rice on high heat. Occasionally, stir using a wooden spoon to prevent the rice from sticking to the bottom of the pot. It takes about 20 to 40 minutes for the rice to fully cook. Add corns, pea and cabbages.


To prepare the vegetables:

In a nonstick skillet, add 2 tbs of oil. Add onions and ginger.

Stir and cook until fragrant. Add carrot, daikon, jicama, and all the mushrooms. Season with salt, sugar, and mushrooms seasoning.

 Stir and cook for 3 minutes. Pour them into the pot of con-gee. Adjust the seasoning at this point. Simmer.

To Serve:
Ladle the porridge into individual serving bowls. Sprinkle with green onions, cilantro, crispy onions and crispy Chinese breadsticks*

* Use the 1/4 cup of rice and fill up the cup with sweet rice (your choice more or less sweet rice or rice).
* Chinese crispy cruller posted on Dec/04/11
* Use 1/4 cup of oil and fry the onions until crispy

Tips: Add fried tofu and also cooked chicken to this basic porridge