Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Korean Seafood Pancake (Haemul Pajeon)

Korean pancakes (pajeon) are a common appetizer. There are a variety of pancakes, such as kimchi or scallions, but seafood (haemul pajeon) is my personal favorite!
I used frozen precooked seafood here, but the original recipe from The Kitchn called for fresh. I think next time I would use fresh (because frozen precooked seafood can taste rubbery) but cook it somewhat beforehand to make sure it's fully cooked for eating. I did not have korean dried hot chili pepper flakes, so I substituted crushed red peppers and took some sauce from a jar of kimchi I had.
I have seen variations that called for part rice flour, part all purpose flour, which I think matches the pancakes made in restaurants or from Haemul Pajeon mixes you get in Korean groceries. I used only all purpose flour which is still pretty good; it doesn't have that same texture, but is denser and quite filling.

1 cups all-purpose flour
1 cups water
1 egg
1 bunch scallions
vegetable oil
2 cups mixed seafood (oysters, shrimp, clams, octopus, squid)

Dipping Sauce:
¼ cup soy sauce
½ tbsp rice vinegar
1 stalk scallion, minced
1 clove garlic, minced
½ tsp Korean dried hot chili pepper flakes (optional)
½ tsp sugar
1 tsp sesame oil

Mix the ingredients for the dipping sauce and set aside. In a large bowl, mix the flour and water together, then beat in the egg. The batter should have the same consistency as pancake batter. Add the scallions and seafood.

Heat a griddle, skillet, or frying pan over medium high heat and add a thin layer of oil to the bottom. I prefer to use a spray can. Pour about ¾ cup batter into the skillet in a circle. Cook for 6-8 minutes or until the top stops bubbling and the bottom is browned. Flip over and cook another 6-8 minutes. Transfer to a serving plate.

Notes: You make the sauce first so that you can eat the pancake immediately when it's done since they're best when eaten fresh. If you want to have leftovers, refrigerate the batter and cook the pancake at your next meal.
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Friday, July 26, 2013

Almond Jelly

I wasn't ever a huge fan of American Jell-O, but I was always down for almond jelly. Luckily, this is super easy to make. You can eat it as is, or mix it with a variety of ingredients.
Add black sesame seeds on top to garnish
Mix with fruit cocktail and lychees

Almond Jelly:
almond agar mix
1 cup coconut milk
1/2 cup milk
1/2 cup almond milk
2 1/4 cups water

Additional mix ins:
1 can fruit cocktail
azuki beans

mix according to directions (1 package to 4 1/4 cups liquid) and bring to boil on stovetop. Remove from heat and pour into your container. Let cool at room temperature for 10 minutes then refrigerate.

Once set you can eat it as it, or cut it into cubes and add fruits or other mix ins.

Variations: Before gelatin sets, add azuki beans so when it hardens, the beans are inside. Or once set you could add a second layer of gelatin using a different flavor, such as black sesame.
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Saturday, July 20, 2013

Strawberry Lime Sorbet with Red Wine

Strawberries were cheap at the Asian market, but they started to get overripe and mushy quickly. A sorbet is the perfect way way to use them up!
Although I dislike the taste of alcohol, I'm trying to incorporate red wine into my diet, so I just poured some into the sorbet mixture. I hoped the alcohol would make the sorbet texture less icy by lowering the freezing was still pretty icy when I took it out, even after stirring it frequently over the next several hours.

If you want it to be creamier, you could add yogurt. Technically that would make this a sherbet not a sorbet, as sorbet does not contain dairy products.  Sherbet (also sherbert) contains 1 percent to 3 percent milkfat from milk or cream. Anything above 3 percent is generally labeled ice cream; anything below 1 percent is referred to as water ice (Cookthink)
1 cup ice, crushed
1 lb container of strawberries
1 lime, squeezed
1/8 cup red wine
1/8 cup sugar
yogurt (optional)
honey, to taste

Blend ice until finely crushed. Add strawberries, lime juice, red wine, sugar and honey and blend.

Pour into a shallow glass dish and freeze. Every hour take out sorbet and stir with a whisk. After a few hours the sorbet should be solid but fluffy.  Scoop into cup and serve with fresh strawberries.
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Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Azuki (Red Bean) Shake

Red beans (also known as azuki or adzuki or aduki) are often used in Asian desserts. I would eat them in sesame balls, in soups, in buns, in pancakes, in popsicles, or even just in sugar water.

Ironically enough, I was introduced to red bean shakes by one of my non Asian friends. In fact, he was as all American you could get, a white boy from St. Louis, but he had quite the case of yellow fever ;)
When I saw red beans at the grocery, I wanted to try it out. I have never used red beans before, and even my mom didn't know how to cook them. I just tested them out in a rice cooker. The first time, I didn't add enough water and they were hard as rocks, causing me quite a toothache. After I cooked them again, it turned out much better.
With this recipe, you could also freeze the shake to make popsicles as well.

3/4 cup azuki beans
1 cup crushed ice
1 cup milk (regular, almond, or soy)
3/4 cup coconut milk
1/4 cup sugar

Put red beans in rice cooker (2.5 to 3 cups water for every 1 cup beans) to cook. Crush ice in blender, and add azuki beans, milks, and sugar. Blend. To increase thickness add coconut milk.
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Sunday, July 14, 2013

Salmon with Brown Sugar and Mustard Glaze

I had some dijon mustard I wanted to use up, so I adapted this tasty salmon recipe from Bobby Flay. I don't normally have ginger on hand, relying on powder, but after grating some fresh ginger, I have realized my folly. Nothing compares to the sharp flavor of the real deal.
The salmon was grilled on my little Foreman Grill because Texas heat is just lovely during the summer, and I wanted to avoid heating up the entire apartment using the oven or stove. I got my Foreman Grill at the beginning of school but never used it. Ever. I actually didn't know what it was....Bryan just gave it to me since it was sitting in his parents' garage.

But for the first time, twelve months later (after 1st year of med school ended), I used it to grill something...and I can't help but wonder where has this machine been my whole life.

3 tablespoons light brown sugar
3 tablespoon honey
1/4 cup Dijon mustard
2 tablespoons soy sauce
2 tablespoons olive oil
finely grated ginger
salt and freshly ground black pepper
salmon fillets
thyme, for garnish

Mix the sugar, honey, mustard, soy sauce, and olive oil. Grate the ginger.

Turn grill on. Rub salmon with olive oil and season with salt and pepper to taste. Place the salmon fillets on the grill, and coat with some of the brown sugar mixture. Grill for 6 to 8 minutes to medium doneness, turning once after 5 to 6 minutes.

Transfer to plate and pour the rest of the brown sugar mixture. Garnish with thyme.
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Saturday, July 13, 2013

Yellow Mango Shake

Whenever I go to the Philippines, you know what I dream of? Yellow mango shake.  

At every restaurant, I wanted to order a yellow mango shake, but the Manila water would get me sick, so I had to wait a few weeks until I acclimated. All the while I'd hungrily eye the shake my native cousins ordered. 
Mangoes are the Philippines's national fruit!
My grandma (amah) would buy them by the bushel, and my grandpa (angkong) would cut them diagonally then turn them inside out, like a hedgehog, for me. I would eat 3 mangoes for breakfast, then some more after lunch, then have some mango related pastry/cake/ice cream for an afternoon snack, and have a mango shake at dinner. (Then we would lug pounds of dried mangoes and mango nectar back to the US).  

Philippine (aka Atulfo) mangoes are smaller, golden yellow, and more slender than the larger red and green (Tommy Atkins) kind commonly seen in the US. The nice thing about Philippine mangos is they aren't fibrous and they're SUPER sweet.

Green mangos are also commonly eaten straight up, or with salt or fish paste (bagoong). They're also made into a green mango shake. But I like my sugar. 

1 cup ice
1 1/2 cups mango
1/2 cup milk (or almond milk)
sugar, to taste

Crush ice in blender. Peel mangoes and scoop flesh into the blender. Add milk and blend. Add sugar and adjust to taste.
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Tuesday, July 9, 2013

BFF Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies

Two of my awesome girl friends, Jo and Cristina, came to visit me in Houston post exam weekend. We had a blast watching movies, modeling for Cristina's fashion photography portfolio, shopping, eating out, and baking (per Jo's request) at midnight. Slightly modified from Allrecipes.

I like chocolate chip oatmeal cookies, but raisin oatmeal cookies....meh. I always think of that quote, "Raisin cookies that look like chocolate chip cookies are the main reason I have trust issues." All the more reason to make my own!

It's important to cream the butter and sugar until it's fluffy. After you add flour mixture, mix by hand to reduce overbeating, which gives flat cookies. When you first take them out of the oven, they appear soft, but as it cools, it hardens nicely since the cookies continue to bake after you take them out.  I also prefer a crunchier cookie, so I'd bake it the full 12 min, but many people like chewy oatmeal cookies.

Next time, I would increase the oats:flour ratio since I like oats rather than dough as a personal preference. I'd also reduce the sugar. Some comments suggested adding more baking soda so the cookies aren't flat, but they were fine for me. 

1/2 cup butter, softened
1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
1/4 cup white sugar
1 eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
slightly less than 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cups old fashioned oats
3/4 cup semisweet chocolate chips

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F.

In a large bowl, cream together the butter, brown sugar, and white sugar until smooth. Beat in eggs, then stir in vanilla. 

Combine the flour, baking soda, and salt; stir into the creamed mixture until just blended. Mix in the oats, and chocolate chips. Roll dough into balls and flatten them onto foil.

Bake for 12 minutes in the preheated oven. Allow cookies to cool on baking sheet for 5 minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely.
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Sunday, July 7, 2013

Gentleman's Fish Tacos and Guacamole

One of the best things to come home to after a long day at school is having a gentleman waiting at the bus stop for you with a full dinner prepared at home.

Chef Uy: I'm coming home from school now.
*30 min later*
B: *text* Are you almost home?
Chef Uy: Sorry...missed the bus and there's traffic. *arrives* Oh you've been waiting for me at the bus stop the whole time!? Oh dear, you're sweating so much. You don't look so good.
B: I hate Houston and its stupid heat!!!!!

Anyways, he had lovingly fried cod, chopped the filling for the tacos, made his famous roasted corn and black bean mango salad, and guacamole. Bryan had made this fish tacos recipe before (from Allrecipes) and raved about its white cream sauce, so he really wanted me to enjoy it.

B: I think there's something missing in this white sauce, can you taste it? 
Chef Uy: Erm, it's very....interesting. Why is it so sweet? Did you add honey?
B: No, I just used your Greek yogurt and mayo with limes and these spices.
Chef Uy: But I don't have any Greek yogurt right now. 

B: Eh?
Chef Uy: Eek, did you use up all my roommate's honey Greek yogurt!?

Alas, we had to toss that out. But everything else tasted great.

Gentleman's Fish Tacos with White Sauce

Fish Tacos:
1 cup all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons cornstarch
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 egg
1 cup water

oil for frying
1 pound cod fillets, cut into 2 to 3 ounce portions
1 (12 ounce) package corn tortillas

White Sauce:
1/2 cup plain yogurt
1/2 cup mayonnaise
1 lime, juiced
1 jalapeno pepper, minced
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon dried dill
1 teaspoon ground cayenne pepper

In a large bowl, combine flour, cornstarch, baking powder, and salt. Blend egg and water

To make white sauce: In a medium bowl, mix together yogurt and mayonnaise. Gradually stir in fresh lime juice until consistency is slightly runny. Season with jalapeno, capers, oregano, cumin, dill, and cayenne.

Coat fish pieces lightly with flour and sear in a pan with hot oil until crispy golden brown. Drain excess oil on paper towels.

Put tortillas on plate covered with paper towel and microwave for 30 seconds. To serve, place fried fish in a tortilla.


I asked Bryan to post his recipe for his guacamole as well. Of course, he can't resist his jab at my bland taste (what's wrong with having sensitive taste buds? I swear, his are all burnt off by eating so much spicy foods!)

3 Haas avocados, halved, seeded and peeled
1 lime, juiced
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon cayenne
1/2 medium onion, diced
1/2 jalapeno pepper, seeded and minced
2 Roma tomatoes, seeded and diced
1 tablespoon chopped cilantro
1 clove garlic, minced

In a large bowl, smash avocado and add the salt, cumin, and cayenne. Add in the onions, jalapeno, tomatoes, cilantro, and garlic. Now add in lime.

Now adjust the taste. If it tastes just right, you are probably Chef Uy, which means it is too bland and you need to add stuff. If it's too sweet or bland, add lime. Otherwise, if there is anything else wrong with it add cumin. Cumin is the secret ingredient. Enjoy! -- The Gentleman
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