Friday, August 21, 2009

Stir-fried Brussels sprout with Garlic

I love these cute little green cabbages. They are so green and crunchy and yummyyyy. Shame that they cannot grow in hot weather like Thailand. It was here, in the state, that I had the first taste of them, and I was hooked since.

At first I didn't really know how to cook these guys, so I just thought that since they are tiny cabbages, I'll cook them just like how I cook big cabbages - Stir-fried, and I wasn't disappointed. They taste better than big cabbages.

Wok is the best thing to stir-fry vegetable

I was watching one of the cooking show, the guy was talking about woks, comparing the benefit of woks and saute pans, which one keeps the heat better during the process of stir-fry, and then he concluded that wok can't do a good job because of its lack of to be able to keep the heat during stir-frying according to the shape of the wok.

After that show, he came back again and said that he got a lot of letters and emails, (well, he should) saying that he was so wrong about woks, and that he doesn't know what he is doing, so he had to come back and cleared it out that he meant woks are not good for using with the regular gas stoves because, according to the shape of the wok, the heat will lose anyway.....Again, he's still wrong about that.

Working with wok
You can stir-fry vegetable with wok with regular gas stoves and get the best stir-fried vegetable still.

The tip is.....
the wok has to be really really really Hot....before adding oil. Once wok gets really hot it will keep the heat through out the stir-fly process. Keep in mind that stir-fry is a quick cooking process, you only need 2-3 minutes to do it, so it preserves the crunchiness and taste of vegetable. To say that, with a very hot wok and only 2-3 minutes of stir-fly, the wok will not lose the heat that bad as some might think it will, and they do an excellent job as we all know.

How hot is the wok?
The heavy stainless steel wok is the ideal for stir-fly cooking though. Forget about those non-stick wok, since you need to heat it up to the extreme. I usually heat the empty wok until I can see the hot air dancing over the wok, that tells me that the wok is heated up all over then I'll add oil and, right away, start to stir-fry.

Now, let's get Brussels sprout stir-fried

- Fresh Brussels sprout
- 3 cloves of garlic, smashed
- ground black pepper
- 1 1/2 tbsp. Oyster sauce or Soy sauce
- 1 tsp. fish sauce
- 2 tsp. sugar
- oil
- 4 tbsp. water

1. Rinse vegetable to clean a few times, cut them into a half.
2. If seasoning with oyster sauce like I do, pour oyster sauce over the raw vegetable before hitting a wok.
3. Heat up the wok until you can see the hot air dancing over the wok then add the oil.
4. In goes garlic and Brussels sprout.
5. Add some water, give a few quick stir, add fish sauce and sugar, stir. (* add more water if the wok's getting to dry because of the heat*)
6. Turn off the heat, sprinkle with black pepper.

Hot and Sour Salmon Soup, Tom Yum Pla Salmon

This recipe is another delicious choice you can cook with fresh Salmon. It is very light and flavorful yet easy to cook. The tangy soup full with the freshness from Asian herbs complements the taste of fresh Salmon perfectly.

Fresh from the market
- Salmon
- 2 stalks of lemongrass
- bunch of kaffir lime leaves
- 1 tube of fresh Galangal
- Thai chilies
- 6 button mushrooms
- cilantro leaves
- 1 lime


- 1 1/2 tbsp. fish sauce
- 2 tbsp. fresh lime juice
- (optional) 2 tbsp. tapioca flour mixed with 1 tbsp water

fresh galangal and fresh kaffir lime leaves


First part of herbs.

1. cut 1 stalk of lemongrass into 2 inches, and smash to break them.
2. slice galangal into tin pieces - about 4-5 pieces.
3. 4 leaves of kaffir lime.

Second part of herbs

4. finely slice another stalk of lemongrass.
5. finely chop more galangal.
6. julienne kaffir lime leaves.
7. finely chop Thai chilies.

5 minutes cooking
1. Boil 1 1/2 cup of water with the first part of herbs.
2. In the boiling water, add Salmon, after 2 minutes, season it with fish sauce.
3. Use a fork to check if the fish is cooked then take the fish out of the soup, put the fish in to the serving bowl, let it sit.
4. reduce the heat to medium low, use a slot spoon to spoon all the chunky herbs out of the soup, leave the soup clear. These part of the herbs are no longer used.

5. In goes mushroom and the second part herbs.
6. Add in the tapioca flour mixture ( this will give the soup more soupy body)
7. Turn off the heat.
8. Add in fresh lime juice, stir.
9. Pour the soup over the fish sitting in a serving bowl, top with fresh cilantro leaves.
10 Serve.

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Oh! Taisho, gimme Yakitori!!

After a long walk of the day, we decided to have something to eat in the neighborhood before climbing back to the apartment. We ended up ten steps away from our apartment at Oh! Taisho, the Japanese Izayaka style restaurant, a type of Japanese street food place that served foods to accompany the drinks . The place is on Saint Marks Place and 3 Avenue, Manhattan.

I don't drink,...Really!! my aim was the Yakitori, grilled meats and vegetables on sticks.
B set Yakitori

Seaweed Salad

Even though I have not yet had a real Izayaka experience in Japan, growing up reading Japanese comics my eyes out, I can say that this Oh! Taisho is exactly what I always see in Japanese comic books, a tiny stall with a long counter attached to the stall as a long table for customers to sit and have hot Ramen.
Grilled Squid

The place is so tiny, and always cramped and bustling. We don't come here as often as we did before anymore, for a while we just get tired of a lot of people and long waiting line.

It is a fun place to hang out with a gang of friends though....for a date?...I won't recommend. With the bustling, yelling for the foods from very busy waiters and waitresses, I don't think it's romantic at all.
Steamed Rice Ball with Spicy Cod Roe inside

Japanese Sausages

Over a past year or two, we I've noticed a drop in quality - the Yakitory most of the time comes out cold when it supposes to be hot from the grill. I believe they are too busy to keep the quality of the food stable, and that's might be one reason that we step back a little.

But, it's not that bad, after a long break, I still enjoy my favorite Yakitori even though, again, it came out a little bit cold instead of hot from the grill.
Grilled Green Onion

This time we sat at the counter because we didn't want to wait for a table inside, and that we realized that it was a bad idea for our appetite to be able to see how they handle the foods with their hands.

I used to work in the restaurant, I understand the nature of a kitchen frenzy, when you have to be on top of a pile of orders. That's why we prefer not to see it to be able to eat out.
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