Japanese Soup Curry – Laura’s Recipe

With covid not allowing anyone to fly you have to make do and cook things yourself that you are craving. I was craving the Japanese Soup Curry! Simple, easy to make without the added need for Roux and the addition of oil and flour in your diet. I also feel that the Hokkaido Soup Curry contains lots of veggies never seen in curry such as lotus root, eggplants and pumpkin. So i decided to make mine!

Homemade Japanese Soup Curry

Elevating the Humble Egg Sandwich with Dashi

Spending many covid enforced lockdown at home has proved to watching too many Youtube videos. Had the urge to search – Egg Sandwiches at 2 am. You name it, fried, scrambled, boiled, LA’s finest, New York’s hottest egg sandwich or now as it seems to be trending Tamago Sando as it’s called in Japan. I would really love to give credit where it’s due but at 2 am I seemed to remember only the important part. Soaking the boiled eggs – not too over cooked mind u in a liquid of kombu and dashi.

Waking up at 9 and the insane urge to have not the usual Egg Sandwich but the Tamago Sando — Note: YAY to the Asian household in the 2020’s… I have both instant dashi and kombu so nothing to prepare really – I boiled the eggs slightly over the half boiled mark still having some liquidy yolks and threw them in the tupperware with the dashi and kombu broth. After 3 hours i seperated the yolks and the whites – Dunno why…. Mashed it up, mixed it up with a bit of korean mayo, mustard, salt and pepper.

Result – The underlining savory umami flavor of the kombu and dashi is like hidden at the back somewhere giving it a certain dimension of tastes. The slight undercooked yolks help make the filling light and creamy. Honestly next time more pictures but all in all soft – delicious yumminess.

Egg Sandwich with Dashi & Kombu.  The Japanese Tamago Sando.
9 Gain Bread lightly toasted…. Very yummy!

What is Hunan Cuisine? Our first experience into Hunan.

Me and my sister have a disturbing Mala Addiction. For those in the Know it’s a beautiful balance of Chillies – Spicy – Sichuan Peppercorns – Numbing – Garlic – MSG – Salt – Sesame – and alot of other herbs and spices depending on the menu. Stuck in a Traffic Jam in a really quiet awkward area of Condos, Roads and pretty much nothing else we noticed some restaurants in front of the Entrance to several Condominiums. We were surprised by the amount of Chinese Restaurants within a few meters of each other. Our eyes widen as we saw pictures of fish swimming in red colored oil. Szechuan FOOD!!! Without any hesitation we walked in and was greeted by that familiar smell of pungent mala oil.

Upon opening the menu and trying to communicate with the waitress we found out that we stumbled into a rather big Hunan Community in Bangkok. All the restaurants and people eating here were Hunan. I’ve never really had an experience with Hunan Food but it looked and smelled like Sichuan Cuisine. So where is Hunan?

Credit: Wikipedia

Just on the upper right is Chongqing and Sichuan so i believe that’s why the close proximity has the influence in the cuisine. Will try to learn more but lets take a look at the food. First we ordered the popular and everybody’s favorite Mapo Tofu.

Mapu Tofu Hunan Style is more Spicy than Sichuan Mapo Tofu
Less Gravy but waaay Spicer!

Nice firm chunks of tofu with bits of minced pork – The star really was tofu and what i noticed was there was really less sauce or oil / gravy. I didn’t feel so much of the bean paste here because usually you taste bean paste with the mala but this one was very very spicy. Less emphasis on the MA or the numb but a lot of heat. I do think it was still nicely flavored although intensely hot, you need to eat it with rice and my spice level is quite high. Then the next craving we had was for boiled fish in Mala. They actually had like 3 types so we just picked one. I guess we picked the less spicy one or the Mapo Tofu was just like a nuclear blast of spicy.

Boiled Fish Slices in Mala Oil Hunan Style
Boiled Fish Sliced in Mala Oil & Broth

The fish was perfectly cooked delicate and not over at all – Strangely it was quite brothy and with the oil it was a nice balance of oily and spicy. Underneath there was enoki mushrooms and the sesame provided a nice creaminess to the overall dish. I can’t put my finger on it yet but there is a definite difference to the Szechuan Style and the Hunan Style. I feel that this dish had a more simpler flavor than the usual Szechuan Style. I feel there’s more layers to the Szechuan style.

In “some” chinese restaurants they have these cold salty chicken feet. I’m really not sure which province is the heritage but they would be a bit yellow and mostly served cold. If anyone knows please let me know. It’s rally fun to nibble on the cold and salty gelatinous feet however here they serve it warm and very plump and juicy not dry and chewy like i mostly have had it. For those who have never tried chicken feet it’s quite a yummy snack. It’s like nibbling on a jerky that’s paper thing with tiny bones. A jellyish jerky.

cold salty chicken feet
Cold, Salty and quite yummy! Have to try at least once!

Since we are on feet and gelatinous food – I had to order non spicy food for my parents who my dad’s strictly cantonese – He doesn’t really like spicy food as Cantonese food is quite bland compared to other chinese cuisine and my palate actually leans to the Cantonese Side (Aside from Mala) The Pigs trotters was full of gelatin the and sauce was thick with porky flavours and sticky from all the collagen and marrow that boiled in the sauce. Quite similiar to many trotters i had before with a slight spice which we all thought it was white pepper as we can’t see much in the sauce. Good with piping hot rice as it came with ample sauce.

Juicy Pigs Trotters
Peanuts gave a lovely crunch!

Definitely a must for every table is vegetables. This dish is also popular in many Chinese Restaurants not sure of the heritage although it came with smoked ham and sausage which i’ve never seen before. I did read that Hunan cuisine involved alot of these ingredients so it could be a signature twist to the normal Spinach, Salted Egg, Century Egg and soupy vegetable dish. The taste wasn’t really different elsewhere due the the power of the salted egg and century egg flavors but this dish was definitely milder (Again maby the mapo tofu was so strong) I like this vegetables as it’s a good stepping stone to those wanting to try Century Egg .

Century & Salted Egg spinach Chinese Cuisine
Garlicky, delicate flavours!

Last but not least every Cantonese meal cannot start, last and end without soup. I have never seen a chinese soup with a kombu like seaweed before. It didn’t have the same strong taste but somehow the soup was actually a creamy mouthfeel and a umami taste of the sea flavour with the creaminess of pork “fat”? It was quite a good bowl of soup. The pork spareribs were falling off the bone. It was really good mixed with rice and chinese level boiling hot soup. A really good meal and a great introduction into the world of Hunan Food. Maybe next time we will try those skewers not in the menu that other people were eating.

Hunan Pork Bone and Kelp Seaweed Soup
Really delicious hearty soup!

Please leave any comments and more knowledge for me would love to learn more about Hunan Cuisine. Thank you!

Fusion Vegan Dinner Experiment

Continuing with trying to go Vegan, one of the dishes I can’t live without is Nam Prik. Originally Thais eat alot of Nam Prik which literally translate to “Water of or from Chillies”. People would pound chillies, garlic, shallots, with either shrimp paste or Pla Rah – Thai anchovies to make a dip which is eaten with rice or sticky rice and an assortment of boiled and raw vegetables. I love Nam Phrik Pla Rah even more than cheese. I can almost give up cheese but i can’t give up my Nam Prik. On a Sunday with no one to feed but myself i went on an experiement of making a Vegan Nam Prik that i would be ok. First with no charcoal grill i used to oven to roast an assortment of Thai Long eggplant, chilies, garlic, shallots and tomatoes.

Roasting Vegetables for vegan dip
45 Mins roasting at about 200 Degrees

After peeling the veggies and shredding the eggplants and chilies i started to pound my dip.

Vegan Dip Recipe
The veggies were piping hot! Smelled delicious!
Vegan Dip Thai Style
Ready to Pound in my Thai Stone Mortar

I added some Pink Salt, white pepper and a tiny tiny amount of sugar and pounded.

Vegan Thai Dip Nam Prik
Less than a minute of pounding

I felt it lacked the umami taste of fish sauce and the fermented anchovy “Pla Rah”. Right now it tasted spicy, garlicky and sour with the limes. The eggplant has a nice mouth feel to it. But i felt it needed a savory aspect to it. So i added some vegan miso to it. It didn’t replace the Pla Rah but it gave i that savory kick i was looking for. Now what to eat it with as it was a hot day and i didn’t feel like rice. So i used a Konyakky seaweed noodle. Completely vegan as well. After poaching it briefly in hot water and rinsing it this is what it looked like.

Vegan Konyakky Noodle
A strange crispy and crunchy noodle

It is a very strange noodle. It feels like an over set jelly with too much gelatin. But it has an interesting texture i felt will offset the soft Nam Prik Veggie Dip. So now let’s arrange our plate.

Vegan Dinner - Konyakky noodle and Thai Nam Prik Inspired Recipe.
Added some boiled chives to give it a pop of color.

Now mix it all together and eat.

Vegan Noodle Salad with Eggplant Nam Prik
Spicy, Sour, Crispy, Crunchy. Delicious!

A great dish for a hot day. Simple to make and nothing complicated. A good solid Vegan dish 🙂 Maybe it’s easier to eat alot less meat with more weird experiments. Anyone with ideas please feel free to share them!

Road to Veganism – Mushroom Tempura – Leather Stuff?

Since the last post I have been quite successful in keeping meat and diary products to the minimum, some days 100% some days 1 meal a day. This is more complicated than i thought considering the whole point of this is empathy and no waste. I am not sure that throwing my my leather goods makes sense, I dont think i will be purchasing any more leather products and since gaining a sense of “Enoughism? I stood in front of my closest and actually agree that i’m content in this lifetime not buying anything more – Branded goods etc… However i dont think i’m going to toss away my Chanel that i spent years saving for…. My Dr. Martens they still fit as well as all the good quality leather that was bought years ago. There seems so much debate on the internet. Anyways if anyone has some advice or a thought please let me know or what to do about this transition. Anyways – Mushroom Tempura – If you are not using oyster mushrooms where there are slits for the batter to hold on too ) ! had a big lot of Eringi Mushrooms as i was experimenting with a “Creamy Carbonara” made entirely of Eringi Mushrooms and salted crispy tofu skin as the “Bacon” the batter would slide right off. So i cut slits into my mushrooms, coated it with a salt and pepper flour and then a batter that was a total fluke. It made totally no sense to mix glutinous rice flour with corn flour. It was a fluke mistake that turned out totally perfect.

See all the fluffy transparent batter?


Eringi Mushroom Tempura Batter:

No measurements whatsoever – 1 Part Glutinous Rice Flour to 4 Parts Corn Starch.

COLD COLD Soda Water just enough until mixed well. Salt and Pepper to Taste.

That’s it…. Opps – Sweet Soy Dipping Sauce

1 Table Spoon Light Soy Sauce or Dark if you have – it’s fine

1 Teaspoon Honey or Maple Syrup

1 Table Spoon Grated Turnip and Ginger if you have it. 3 Tablespoons of Hot water or more to taste. Let me know how it goes!

Going Veggie – My Journey trying to reduce meat.

During one of those endless sleepless nights and you tube surfing. I came upon a vegan talking about how he/she converted when they reasoned the fact that they have pets but kinda eating “other” types of “pets. I have 3 dogs and 1 cat and that started this journey of thinking how do people “turn” vegan” from a meat eater? Now i eat my steaks rare and i love my tartars. So I started more research and just looking at many points of views – Health – Ethics – Save the Earth and so forth. How does a one try to go veggie or vegan in an Asian meat eating family? I firmly believe in going the middle ground, do what you want but dont force or impose things on others. I then told myself let’s try things step by step. Let’s try to limit meat to one meat to one meal a day and limit my dairy intake. So i figured for my first meal i wanted to cook (i’m the cook of the family) something that can be vegetarian and then added the other stuff for my family.

One of the first meals was a pasta dish which i was made of spinach pasta – homemade hummus and avocado. It sounds disgusting but actually creamy and yummy. Then i added bacon and cheese for my family.

Not so bad after all. I survived the first meal. Then i got to thinking – Vegetarian meals aren’t so bad but i still couldn’t cut all my love for cheese but i could still try to reduce meat.

Peanut Butter + Tomato Sauce with Zucchini & Minced Pork Omelette on whole grain Toast.

A very gross sounding combination: Sesame & Peanuts for a homemade peanut butter flavored with a hint of wild honey. Low sodium and honey tomato compote or sauce on top of a zucchini and minced pork omelette on whole grain toast.

Quick and easy snack 🙂 70 Percent Zucchini and 30 Percent Pork.

Now there was bits of leftover homemade sesame peanut butter and tomato sauce. Somehow it turned out delicious!

Peanut Butter & Tomato Sauce actually works!

Yum Cha @ TST — Cute – Cheerful -Pricey

On a work trip to Hongkong and seeing so many cute bloggers eating the most adorable dim sum i was determined to give it a go myself.

Yum Cha means to drink tea which is sort of a slang for let’s have dim sum or lunch.  This quaintly cute restaurant is on top a hotel in the TST granville road.  Perfect for girfriend chatting, first date and maybe a sibling day. 

Here is what we ate:

Cute Looking custard Buns!
Too cute to eat!

Even the menu is cute and cheerful.

There’s a little fake fish in the bowl! Tooo cute!
Char Siu Bao? Pork Bun!
Lo Pa Ko – Savory Turnip Cake

Served in a different version from what i’m used to here it’s served in little cubes with a chilli sauce and fried lotus root. Very pretty to look at and quite delicious.

Savory Rice Rolls
Piping hot, garlicky calamari – Delicious
Boiled fish in Mala – Deliciously Spicy
Interesting Green Bean with Light battered Coating – A bit oily but yum

All in all this is a pricey little establishment but maybe not for Hongkong standards but food is decent and ambiance is quite cute.

Stir Fried Beef in a hot metal pan. Tender chunks of beet in oyster sauce. Quite good.
Tumeric fried rice with beef. Interesting small grained rice but not sticky like japanese rice.

Yum Cha TST – 3rd Floor (On top of the hotel) 20 – 22 Granville Road Tsim Tsah Shui