Friday, December 30, 2011

Korean Barbecue Meal

I have this electric grill for about 13 years.  This is by far the best home shopping network product that I had bought.  I used to sit at home and watch the home shopping network all day, I didn't know what got into me at that time but I seriously watched it all the times and knew the names of the hosts!!  Of course, I got tempted and bought some things from them and this was one of them.  But this was the best buy ever, the rest I didn't even want to talk about it. :D

I used it to grill our Malaysian satay and now I used it for my Korean BBQ too.  How convenient!  As you can see, I went all out for my banchan.  I wanted to make pa muchim (scallion salad) too but decided not because I got lazy.  :P

Banchan from top right clockwise, unless otherwise noted:  pickled radish, cucumber & carrot, seasoned spinach, seasoned mungbean sprout, spicy Korean radish, seasoned spicy chayote, spicy cucumber salad, red pepper sauce (for dipping), stir-fried soy sauce anchovies, red leaf lettuces (for wrapping).  Served with barley brown rice. 

Recipes for the new banchan and barley brown rice will be shared in my blog later.  Otherwise, look under the label Korean, you will see the recipes I have already posted.  I marinated some thinly sliced chicken breast in my special sauce for this grill.

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Ching's Tutti-Frutti Cookies

Long ago back in 2006, I tried Pusiva's Tutti-Frutti cookie recipe, you can see the post here.   It was similar to Icebox cookie as it was shaped, refrigerate until firm, thinly sliced and then baked.  Her version included desiccated coconut to create a light and crispy texture.  This time around, I played with my own little version by adding slightly more flour, reduce sugar slightly (I remembered I noted it was too sweet before) and also added the sweeten coconut flakes in addition to desiccated coconut for a fun twist.  I just realized I shouldn't call it tutti-frutti as tutti-frutti means candied peels and I used none of it in this recipe.  Oops!

This cookie is light and crispy with coconut fragrant and totally irresistible.  Try it!  I gave some to my friends on X'mas, I hope they like it. 

I also want to take this opportunity to wish my readers a Happy New Year 2012, may you have a happy and healthy new year! :)

I'm submitting these cookies to  Aspiring Bakers #14: Creative Christmas Bakes (December 2011) hosted by Hankerie. 

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Easy Apple Raisin Tart (苹果葡萄干馅饼)

I was in the mood for experiment.  When I was making a pie crust for my sweet potato pie for Thanksgiving, I made an extra pie crust and freeze.  And then Granny Smith (green apple) was on sales for 3 for $1 and I couldn't pass it out so I bought 3.  But I only used 2 for this recipe.  With the ready made defroze pie crust and Granny Smith, I set to work.  It was really easy to put together (see instruction on next page) and when I was finished, it looks kind of blank.  So, I scattered some raisins on top and finally it looked presentable.

It turned out great too!  We all liked the flaky crispy crust with the sweet apple filling.  Keep any leftover in an air-tight container and toast it in a toaster oven for 5 minutes to crisp it up.

Monday, December 19, 2011

Easy Oven Baked Spiced Salmon (易烤香料三文鱼)

This is one super duper easy oven baked salmon dish.  Even a busy working mom can easily make this at home.  Just thaw the frozen salmon overnight in the fridge and when you come home, the salmon is ready for you to use.  To create a balance meal, buy some washed and cut broccoli, green bean, cauliflower, baby carrot and mushroom, season with extra virgin olive oil and a little salt and put it in the oven to bake together with the salmon (for the harder to cook veggie, just microwave for 2 minutes before roasting).  Serve it with store-bought Hawaiian sweet buns (or whole wheat buns) and you have a complete meal.

I served this salmon with turmeric brown rice, stir fried pumpkin and crimini mushrooms.  Both my girls praised this baked spiced salmon and Evy even requested to save some for her lunch box the next day at school.   Guess I will make this often from now on.

Friday, December 16, 2011

Png Kuih/ Png Kueh (饭桃/桃粿)

This kuih is also called Teochew Png Kuih, but I can't call mine that because I didn't use boiled peanuts in my filling, I also out of dried shrimps.  Also I just used my steamed glutinous rice with chicken and shiitake as the filling.  I wanted to kill two birds in one stone you see so that I would have dinner ready as well as afternoon snack or even breakfast the next day.  Because my steamer was small, I had to steam it twice.

My method was unconventional as well as I used a microwave to make the skin.  So, if you are a traditional cook who wants authentic recipe and the traditional way of cooking, skip this post!  This post is for people who loves short-cut and who don't want to spend too much time in the kitchen.

I used the cheap pink plastic png kuih mold to make this instead of the more expensive wood png kuih mold.  Not bad at all as it fell off easily and didn't get stuck to the mold, furthermore, I could still see the print after it's steamed.  For own consumption, I'm happy with it.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

The Winner of LCOM t-shirt is....

Congratulations to Mochachocolata Rita!!
You are the winner of my t-shirt giveaway!  Please e-mail me your home address at and I will get it ship to you asap!  :)

The lucky name that she picked!

Thank you again for those who had entered into this giveaway, much appreciated.  Sorry that you didn't win this time but I hope all your wishes for the coming holidays will come true, that's the most important right?  Happy Holidays and Merry Christmas!!

Monday, December 12, 2011

Spiced Holiday Cookies

This spiced holiday cookies is like a gingerbread cookie without the molasses.  I created this recipe because I don't buy molasses.  But yet I wanted to make a ginger based cookies with other spices and thus this was the result.  My girls had been bugging me to make gingerbread man cookies ever since they seen the Christmas lights in my neighborhood.  My youngest almost ask me every day is it Christmas yet?  How many days away is Christmas?  etc.

That's all the motivation I needed as I know my youngest loved to help me decorate the cookies.  She helped decorated more than half of the cookies, it was fun for her and easier for me.  This cookie is crispy with the fragrant of spices.  I hope you like it!

I'm submitting these cookies to  Aspiring Bakers #14: Creative Christmas Bakes (December 2011) hosted by Hankerie.

Friday, December 09, 2011

Stir-Fried Curry Shrimps (炒咖喱虾)

The inspiration of this dish came from chatting with my mom on instant messenger.  While chatting, she happened to mention that to whip out a prawn (we call it prawn in Malaysia and not shrimp) dish is very easy for her, just need to slice onion and add curry powder.  And it sorts of stick to my mind and I want to make it too.  I kicked mine up a notch by adding more spices and bay leaves and this easy shrimps dish was really delicious.  See the black gooey stuff there?  It was really flavorful and little Edda kept picking on that black gooey stuff to put on her rice.  Hahaha...she even ate 5 of these shrimps, usually she only had 2 or 3 the max.  Thanks mom for this great dish!!  :)

Did you notice that I started to cook shrimps dish again?  The last shrimp dish I cooked was back in April, 2011.  I very seldom prepare a shrimps dish, I just use it in fried rice or add it in a noodle dish.

Monday, December 05, 2011

Korean Meal 2

My second set of Korean meal.  Except my potsticker is a Chinese version without any kimchi, not the Korean mandu. Banchan, clockwise from top:  candied lotus root, seasoned spinach, seasoned mung bean sprouts with chili powder, seasoned spicy chayote and lastly Chinese chicken chives potstickers.  Not very authentic as it was served without kimchi as I believe all Korean meal has to include some sort of kimchi.  I am still not a fan of kimchi yet so I don't even attempt to make that.  :P  So, I usually would just prepared the banchan that I like to eat.

Chicken Chives Potstickers/ pan-fried dumplings

I made a big bag of chicken chives dumplings and freeze it.  On the day when I don't have any leftover for my girl to bring for her school lunch, I just boil (healthier and faster) this dumplings and let her bring to school.  She loved boiled dumplings and she always finished it.  If I had some cut broccoli, I would par-boil that and added in with the dumplings for her to bring to school.  Easy for me and delicious for her.

Thursday, December 01, 2011

Candied Lotus Root (yeongeun-jeonggwa)


Jeonggwa is a traditional Korean confectionery made by boiling/ simmering plant roots, fruits and seeds in sweet syrupy sauce.  Usually served along side other banchan, as a dessert, snack or appetizer.  The one I have here is yeongeun or lotus root (served as side dish), there are ueong jeonggwa made with burdock (served as dessert), saenggang jeonggwa made with boiling down ginger, danggeun jeonggwa made with carrot just to list a few.

This candied lotus root keeps well in the refrigerator.  Edda liked it a lot, both of us had the most of it.  Love the chewy bite and sweet flavor!

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

OoShirts and a Giveaway!!

First of all, I would like to thanks ooShirts, a rapidly growing customized apparel company located in Berkeley, California for sponsoring this t-shirt for my giveaway.  They strive to provide the best quality product at the lowest price, and to make sure the ordering process is fun and easy.  And I got to test it myself.  The website is very user friendly and I had no problem finding a t-shirt and make a design on it.  I wanted to upload my logo on the t-shirt at first but it failed to pass the ooShirts graphic artist as my resolution was not high enough.  I received a call from them on the same day and they were helpful as in explaining that for a full color print I needed at least a 150-300dpi resolution.  My logo resolution was only 72 dpi and I couldn't find a replacement, hence I just used the texts and colors provided by their website.  My design got approved on the same day and they sent me the artwork proof two days later before it went into printing.  Overall, the customer service was excellent, I had a problem and they worked with me on the same day until it got resolved.  It said that my t-shirt would be ready on the 23rd and it was shipped on the 23rd.  I received it 5 days later.

If you are looking for a customized apparel company for your office, school, event, family, sport team, marketing, holidays, give ooShirts a try.  They have a user friendly and easy to use website and great customer service to answer all your questions.  If you are a first time user at ooShirts and intend to order 12 or more t-shirts, please use my referrer code: qyuyevh when checkout so that I could get the credit and you would get a slightly expedited shipping.  Thank you and hope you would have the same good ordering experience as me.


Now on to the GIVEAWAY!!  This giveaway is open to all my readers around the world, except family members and relatives.  All you need to do is to leave a comment and tell me what you would love to receive as a Christmas present.  One comment per person please and for an additional entry, like my Facebook page and leave a comment under the giveaway post on my Facebook page that I created just for this.


This is a white unisex t-shirt size Large, front and back as seen on the photos. 100% cotton preshrunk.  I would run this for 2 weeks until December 13th mountain time 11:59pm.  Entry older than this would not be accepted.  I will have one of my daughters to draw the lucky winner on the 14th and winner will be announced on the 15th.  I hope to get it ship out to you asap.  Okay, GOOD LUCK to those who enter! :-)

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Steamed Glutinous Rice with Chicken and Shiitake Mushroom (蒸香菇糯米鸡)

I don't know who wouldn't love a bowl of steamed glutinous rice.  I ate this while growing up in Malaysia and now I passing this dish to my daughters.  I hope when they grow up, they will learn how to cook this and pass it down to the next generation as well and let the tradition continue.

Instead of the usual waxed sausages, I substituted it with the waxed pork belly that was given to me.   I was out of dried shrimps so this was without it.  But this dish won't be as flavorful without the dried shrimps.  Best to serve it with chopped scallion, crispy fried shallots and chili padi.

Waxed pork belly courtesy of a Chinese chef who works in our friend's restaurant.  His departure gift as he will be leaving here for good and back to China to be with his daughter.   A bit sad as no more special treat from him.  :(

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Stir Fried Lo Mein with Pumpkin (南瓜炒捞面)

As you know, I love stir-fried pumpkin!!   I created a recipe last year and still love it to pieces.  Do check out my stir-fried pumpkin with eggs!  This year, I stir-fried the pumpkin with yellow noodle or lo mein.  Can you spot the pieces of pumpkin on my noodle?  It went so well together too.

Again, I had some yellow noodle left, not enough to feed my hubby, so I cooked it for my girls and me for lunch.  Sorry hub, you had to miss out on this yummy.  :P  This was one colorful dish too, I added in all the colors I could think of.

I would love to share my Lo Mein Pumpkin with Presto Pasta Nights created by Ruth and this week host is Simona of Briciole.  Check out her blog on Friday for the full roundup! 

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Stir Fried Pumpkin with Dried Anchovies (干尾鱼炒南瓜)

I love stir fried pumpkin but I am also not someone who would cook the same dish over and over.  I need variation!  So I thought instead of dried shrimps and eggs, it should go well with dried anchovies and chili and I was not disappointed.  I still keep the fish sauce with this dish though because to me pairing of pumpkin and fish sauce is a winner.  So, don't go substitute the fish sauce with soy sauce, it might ruin the dish.

Pumpkin has many health benefits, it has anti-inflammatory properties, antioxidant, low in calories, high in fiber, high in carotenoid which help protect your vision, improve joint health and protect against lung and prostate cancers.  And don't forget to save your pumpkin seeds and roast it yourself, it's packed with nutrients too.

Tired of pumpkin soup?  Roasted pumpkin?  Give this stir-frying a try!

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Healthy Olive Oil Cookies with Sunflower & Sesame Seeds

This is the extension of my healthy cookies attempt.  In 2008, I created a Healthy Cookies which I shared the recipe in 2009.  Today, I make it healthier with extra virgin olive oil and increase the energy of this cookie by adding oats, walnuts, sunflower seeds and sesame seeds (all these are health boosting food).

I grew up from eating cookies as a snack so it will be very hard to ask me to give up on cookies.  Most of the cookies selling at the supermarkets today have trans-fat (partially hydrogenated oil, hydrogenated oil or shortening) listed in their ingredients list.  So, the choices I have were limited unless I pay more for all natural or organic cookies.  Even the cookies selling at Asian markets have trans-fat or shortening, imagine I have to give out the Asian cookies that I grew up eating and loved.  It was heart breaking to take down the cookies that I loved and had to put it back on the shelf when I read the ingredients list.  It happened to me so very often.  I am someone who is very careful about trans-fat because I realized over the years I had been eating trans-fat laden cookies, cakes, donuts, or bakes when I grew up when trans-fat was not listed in the label and people were not aware of it.  But now we know, it is all a choice and it is your choice to decide what you want to put in your body and how you want to raise your kids.  It is hard to avoid trans-fat food all the times but I am trying very hard to. 

So, these days I try to bake cookies and cake as best as I can.  I baked this cookies for my girl's school snack and also my afternoon snack, limit to 2 a day.  As this is a healthy cookies, it's only suitable for those that are eating for their health, love the taste of extra virgin olive oil and whole wheat flour and won't miss the smell of butter in a cookie.  This is not an indulgent cookies that when you sink your teeth in it, you taste butter and extreme sweetness.  This is a crispy cookie that when you bite into it, you would taste olive oil, whole wheat flour and walnut.  This is not a super sweet cookie too.  Of course you can use canola oil for the neutral taste and cheaper alternative, just change the extra virgin olive oil to canola oil.  Seriously, if you are a little health conscious and love to snack on cookies, it's worth a try.  Did I also mention that it's super easy to make and put together?

I am also submitting this recipe to Dr. Oz Healthy Holiday Cookie Challenge.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Korean Spicy Chayote Squash Muchim

While I was slicing the chayote preparing for my Stir-Fried Chicken Breast with Chayote,  I remembered that it can be eaten raw.  So, I took a piece and tried it and immediately fell in love.  It was really good when eaten raw.  Hence, I was figuring out what to make of it and I thought that it would go well with Korean muchim preparation and serve as a banchan/side dish.  I saved half of the chayote for experiment, therefore my recipe only had half chayote.  It turned out delicious as the refreshing and crisp chayote made such a good banchan.  I thought I might be the first one to thought of this as I really thought of this combination while slicing the chayote for another dish.  So later, I did a search on Google and I found out that other actually made this before, as I saw a picture of this dish being served in a Korean restaurant (no recipe though).  What a surprise, as I figure chayote is not common in south Korea and seriously thought that I invented a new Korean recipe, but realized that Korean American would probably know of this.  Please tell me if this is common in Korea?  Or just an adaptation dish for Korean American?

I am sharing my spicy chayote banchan recipe with you and strongly recommend you to try it.  It's going to be my regular banchan now.  Chayote can be bought at Asian and Hispanic supermarkets.  It has become my regular buy at the Asian market now, I just love it!

Thursday, November 10, 2011

White Fungus Mung Bean Sweet Dessert Soup (银耳绿豆甜品汤)

White fungus or white wood ear fungus (白木耳) or snow fungus (雪耳) or silver ear fungus (银耳), whatever you called it is a species of fungus that grows on dead tree.  This fungus is white with a gelatinous fruit bodies and said to have medicinal benefits.  In Chinese cuisine, we mostly cook it in sweet soup or herbal savory soup.  You can even stir-fry with it.

I wanted to make split mung bean soup because it was quick and easy as it cooked really fast without  much prior soaking required.  Then, I remembered I made a nagaimo mung bean soup before which made me think what else could I used instead of nagaimo that I had at home.  Which came out to be white fungus.  I thought the crunchy white fungus would go well with my mung bean soup and hence this soup was created.  Got to say, it was good!  What a great way to trick my girls into eating the white fungus.

Oh, I had lots of broken bits of white fungus in my packet and thus that was what I used for this soup.  If your white fungus are in pieces, just take one and soften it in water and then cut it into smaller pieces.

Monday, November 07, 2011

Stir Fried Chicken Breast with Chayote (佛手瓜炒鸡胸肉)

I first read about chayote at Tigerfish's blog in 2009.  Since then, she had been cooking up a few dishes with chayote.  I saw chayote in the Asian market often but I just didn't pick it up because it was unfamiliar to me.  Also, I was afraid that my family would not like it.  Finally, almost 2 years since I last learned about it, I decided to pick it up at my last Asian market's shopping.

Chayote also known as 佛手瓜 (Buddha hand melon) or 合掌瓜 (closed palm melon) in Mandarin and can be eaten raw or cooked.  The fruit has very mild flavor and it has a crisp and crunchy bite to it.  It doesn't have to be peeled, just wash it clean with water, cut into half and scoop out the seeds.  Then, thinly sliced it for salad or just slice it however you want for the dish that you are intended to cook.  Chayote is rich in amino acids and vitamin C and have diuretic, cardiovascular and anti-inflammatory properties.  It is also very affordable.  It only cost me about 38 cent each.

Friday, November 04, 2011

Steamed Pumpkin Kuih 2 (蒸南瓜糕点)

This makes a delicious breakfast, afternoon snack, dessert, supper or even lunch.  With the abundance of pumpkin this holidays season, why not give this a try?  I used my old recipe here but this time I used fresh pumpkin to make this.  I steamed the cut pumpkin for 30 minutes and then just chopped it into small pieces with my cleaver.  You can squeeze some water out before adding into the rice flour batter for firmer texture.

Since the steamed pumpkin contained more water, the resulted pumpkin kuih is moist and soft unlike the steamed taro kuih even though the methods are the same.  Serve this with crispy fried shallots, chopped scallion and sriracha sauce.

The undress pumpkin kuih

Wednesday, November 02, 2011

Halloween 2011

My two princesses!

Got dress and ready to head out

She said this is how I'm going to say trick or treating at the door

Tuesday, November 01, 2011

My Experience with Common Warts and Curcumin

I found an interesting connection or an epiphany recently that I wanted to share with you.  On and off I have been a common warts sufferer for years.  But the most I had was about 1 or 2 warts in one hand and it would disappear after a year or so.  Common warts are small lesions on the skin, usually on the top part of your back fingers or under your fingernails that are caused by HPV, or human papilloma virus.  It is harmless but might leave an unsightly view on your fingers.

In the beginning of this year, I found warts on my fingers again, it started with one, and then it gotten worst and spread to other fingers on my hand.  I had a total of 6 warts on my fingers and 2 more under my fingernails and it looked utterly awful.  I was pretty good at hiding my ugly warts and tough it out until I went to see my OB/GYN (I had this for 4-5 months now), I showed her my hands and of course she recommended the over-the-counter freezing thing to remove it but she said it would be painful.  She said it would never go away.  But I knew it would go away on its own since I had it on and off for years before this.  Just that this time I got it bad, really bad that even I felt disgusted looking at it, it was like another living things attached to my fingers.  Remember during this time, my thyroid hormone was out of whack, I had low metabolism and I believed my immune system was pretty bad as well.  It was still as bad when I went to see my family physician 3 months later, I showed her my warts too and she suggested I try duct tape.  I didn't have duct tape at home at that time and so I didn't bother with it.

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Happy Halloween!!!

I want to wish my readers a Happy Halloween!!  Have a safe and fun time trick-or-treating!!  And keep the kids warm!

These spider cookies are very easy to make.  All you need are some round shape cookies, thin pretzels, Nutella/ peanut butter (I used Nutella) and mini M&M or raisins for the eyes.   Take one round cookie, spread it with Nutella/ peanut butter as a glue, then top with 8 broken pretzels as legs.  Spread the other half of cookie with more Nutella/ peanut butter, glue it together.  Take one M&M or raisin, dip with some Nutella/ peanut butter and glue it on top of the cookie as eye, finish the other eye.  There you have it!  Evy took this as her afternoon snack at school and she had a fun time eating it.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Korean Style Spicy Chicken (韩国辣子鸡)

This is one fingers licking good chicken!  Spicy, sweet and sticky, it will beg you to have more.  Very suitable for any party that you are throwing or bring it to a potluck party.  I believe it would be a hit!  I took a short-cut on this as I had some leftover fried chicken wings and drumettes.  If you don't have the leftover store-bought fried chicken wings, just make your own.  Marinate the wings and drumettes with salt and pepper.  Coat it with corn starch or corn flour and deep-fry in hot oil until cook.

As for the sauce, if you like it spicier, you are welcome to add the Korean red pepper powder or substitute it with cayenne pepper powder.  That would be an extra kick for you!

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Sardines Fried Brown Rice (沙丁鱼炒糙米饭)

Sardine?  Have you been eating enough of this?  I certainly not!  But I would love to include it more into our diets.  Sardine in tomato sauce or spicy tomato sauce is very popular in South East Asia, I remembered my mom cooked it for us pretty often, according to her, it was packed with calcium and thus good for our bone.  Sardine is actually another power food because not only it's good to our bone, it's good to our heart and overall health as well.  It has the most concentrated sources of the omega-3 fatty acids EPA and DHA, which have been found to lower triglycerides and cholesterol levels.  It's an excellent source of Vitamin B-12 (promote hearth health), Vitamin D (aid in calcium absorption), phosphorus (strengthen bone matrix), selenium (antioxidant), protein and niacin (vitamin B3).

You can also buy sardine packed in water or olive oil.  I just preferred it packed in tomato sauce, tastier to me.  Anyway, for this recipe I recommended one packed in tomato sauce as the flavor goes well with the chili sauce.  If you don't have chili sauce, you can substitute it with ketchup.  This is definitely one bowl of healthy and nutrients packed brown rice!  Hope you enjoy this as much as we did.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Dried Bread Snack

Before picture

I had a thing for dried bread.  I remembered when I was little, my mom used to buy the dried bread that was hanging at the back of a motorcycle from our Indian bread delivery man.  I remembered liking it and like my mom, I loved to dunk it in coffee.  I published my recipe before in 2005, in which I spread it with butter, top it with sugar and even Milo before baking.  This time, I made it healthier without any added butter nor sugar.  It really made a healthy and crunchy snack.

Monday, October 17, 2011

Bibimbap/ Korean Mixed Rice

Bibimbap is a Korean mixed meal or mixed rice, either serve warm or cold.  Usually consists of few banchan (Korean side dishes), raw or fried egg, beef (or pork/chicken) and mixed with gochujang (Korean red pepper paste), sesame oil and toasted sesame seeds.   "Dolsot Bibimbap" is mixed rice in a hot stone pot.  The stone pot will keep the rice warm.  I had some leftover from the Korean meal that I prepared earlier so I made bibimbap out of it.  I didn't add any gochujang, sesame oil or sesame seeds because my banchan and the dak-galbi already flavored with those.  

Mixed well together

It did not look too appetizing when mixed together but it was delicious!  To me, the vegetarian bibimbap that consists of all the veggies side dishes, mixed with gochujang, sesame oil and toasted sesame seeds is actually quite healthy.

Friday, October 14, 2011

Godiva Coffee

This post is part of a Foodbuzz Tastemaker program with Godiva Coffee.  I received two bags of Godiva Coffee's latest seasonal flavors - Pumpkin Spice which is featuring here and Caramel pecan Bark, which is available nationwide for a limited time only.

These indulgent flavors are inspired by Godiva's most popular chocolates and crafted with high quality, medium-roasted, 100% Arabica beans for a rich, smooth taste.  Check out their website for exciting new ideas and recipes for serving up your fall-inspired coffee or incorporate it into your fall festivities.

I am sharing here a method that Malaysian loved in their coffee.  I used a fat-free condensed milk here (you don't have to use fat-free) and you can add half and half to make it richer.  This Godiva's Pumpkin Spice coffee is rich and smooth with a hint of pumpkin, really reminded me of fall and fall festivities.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

My Experience with Hypothyroidism

Hypothyroidism, a medical term that was unfamiliar to me until recently.  When I went for my yearly physical check up at my OB/GYN office, I would request her to get me some blood tests done, such as cholesterol and glucose.  I asked her whether there was any other test that she could do for me and she suggested a thyroid (TSH) test, which I gladly accepted.  The result of my first thyroid test was on the high end of normal based on the chart but since I looked fine and my cholesterol and glucose tests came out normal, my OB said I probably shouldn't be worried about it and just go back for a follow up test in 3 months.   Since she phased it like that I didn't do much to change.  Then, about 2 months down, I started to gain weight, even though I had been killing myself at the gym.  So, I started to do a little more research on hypothyroidism (under active thyroid) and started to take my BBT (basal body temperature) every morning upon waking up.  The normal BBT should read 97.5'F and above.  If you were measured consistently below 97.5'F, from 2nd day of your menstrual cycle up to 5 days later.  You might be suffered from hypothyroidism (low metabolism).  My BBT temp. were consistently lower and in addition to gaining weight, I started to feel sore joints on my hands and legs (I thought it might be due to my stair master and track mile exercises that I did in the gym).  My hands would feel cold to the touch even though my daughter's hands were warm to the touch. I started to think I might have hypothyroidism!!!  Even though I didn't have most of the other beginning symptoms.

My Ob/Gyn office called me for the follow up blood test 3 months later and I went.  The blood test was much higher than my previous one (much higher than the normal range) and she referred me to see my family doctor.  I started to get serious about this and did a lot of reading on the web.  I came to a conclusion that my diet was messing up my thyroid!  First let me explain what is thyroid.  Thyroid is a small butterfly shape gland (under Adam's apple) in your throat that makes hormones called thyroxine (T4) and triiodothyronine (T3) that your body needs.  These hormones help control the function of almost all of your body's cells, tissues, organs such as heart, brain, and skin.  The thyroid stores iodine from food and uses it to create T4 and T3.  Not enough T4 made will signal your pituitary gland to release more Thyroid-stimulating hormone (TSH). Therefore, high TSH equal to low T3 and T4 which means under active thyroid or hypothyroidism.  Under active thyroid also means low metabolism.  To learn more about hypothyroidism, symptoms and causes of hypothyroidism, read here and here.  Some of the common symptoms are unexplained weight gain, swollen face, hair loss, constipation, irregular period, heavier period, memory loss, joint pain, brittle nails, and fatigue.  After reading a lot of the articles, I came to the conclusion that I had iodine deficiency, even though it was common around the world but very unlikely in the U.S.  Why?  Because I stopped using iodized salt 4-5 years ago when I switched to kosher salt and sea salt because Food Network chefs use these salts in their shows.  Little did I know that my body was screwed by watching the Food Network and all the food magazines out there that listed kosher/sea salt as the salt used instead of iodized salt.  Another reason was I mostly cooked at home and in Asian cooking, we used a lot of soy sauce, oyster sauce, bottle sauces and fish sauce instead of salt.  And all these sauces were not supplemented with iodine.  My table salt was sea salt without iodized and the cooking salt that I used was kosher salt without iodized (I found out that you can actually buy iodized kosher and sea salt now, so please do so if you want to use kosher salt and sea salt, go check your label).  I hardly eat crustacean (shrimp and crab) and egg yolk and I didn't supplement with multivitamins and minerals.  So, where the heck was I going to get enough iodine in my diet? 

Sunday, October 09, 2011

Turmeric Brown Rice (黄姜糙米饭)

If you look through the prevention and health magazines these days, you would notice that turmeric has always been a spot light as one of the super food.  Turmeric has been said to be antioxidant, anti-cancer, anti-inflammatory, antibacterial, stomach-soothing (prevent indigestion), reduce blood-clot (protect against the heart), protect the liver from certain toxins, aids in treatment for arthritis and rheumatoid arthritis, increase metabolism and so on.  And the active ingredient that provided turmeric with all these health benefits lies in a compound called curcumin.  Turmeric is also high in fiber, iron, potassium, manganese and small amount of folate, niacin, zinc, vitamin B6 and choline. You can read in more detail through this link here.

Turmeric has been used for thousand of years in India and China as a medicinal treatment for certain illness and also in cooking.  In India, it has also been used as dye or coloring.  Therefore, the downside of this spice to me is that it stain.  If you accidentally touch it, it can stain your fingernails, but it will come off after a few days.  If it stain your countertop, try cleaning it baking soda and water solution or bleach or wipe it with Magic Eraser sponge.  If you cook your rice like me with a rice cooker, it can stain your rice cooker as well.

I read that small amount used in cooking should have not much impact as a cure for certain diseases, but I think as a prevention it should be alright.  If you want to take it as a supplement (as with any supplement), you need to consult with your doctor first as turmeric has to be taken in caution with pregnant women, people with gallstones, stomach ulcers, bile duct obstruction, serious heart and liver conditions. 

I have a friend whose mother (who is Indonesian) drink her daily milk with a teaspoon of turmeric powder mixed in.  When I first heard it, I was like that was a great way to incorporate turmeric in your daily diet for prevention but it was not for me as I don't drink milk.  And then while researching on turmeric, I chance upon this recipe, it is a turmeric milk recipe for cough, colds and sore throat!  Wow, isn't it interesting and it is said to be an ancient remedy for treating cough, colds and sore throat. 

As for me, I finally thought of a way of adding turmeric in my daily diet, that is to add it in my brown rice.  In South East Asia, we have a common turmeric coconut rice that is served with chicken curry or rendang.  But I have limit my coconut milk intake due to its high fat content.  So, I gladly omitted the coconut milk so that I can have turmeric brown rice every weekdays.  I normally eat out on weekends.  I think my girls are pretty adaptable, they were fine when I switched to all brown rice, they were fine when I added garlic and ginger in cooking my brown rice and they are even fine with this yellow color turmeric brown rice.

Thursday, October 06, 2011

Korean Fish Patties/ Saeng Son Jon

When I saw this recipe in a Korean cookbook that I borrowed from the library, I found it intriguing.  I never thought of adding chopped fish into a pan-fry eggs before.  But after I gave it a thought, actually Chinese also have our version, we called it "Egg Foo Yong", but instead of fish, we used shrimps and BBQ pork.  Since this recipe intriguing me, of course I wanted to see how it would taste like and made it myself.  Chopped fish went so well in fried eggs and this fish patties were actually scrumptious.  But I wouldn't recommend to eat it often as it was a little oily, as with all fried food.  Later I asked my elder girl whether she knew what was in the patties that she loved so much and she had no clue.  After I told her it was fish, she was like ewww.  Well, I didn't know why that was her respond because she is not a fish hater.  I guess if you want to encourage or trick your little fish hater to eat fish, you can make this dish.  Hahaha...

Making an all Korean meal took a lot of work.  So I actually served this with Belacan sweet potato leaves and mint egg drop soup.

Monday, October 03, 2011

Mungbean Sprout MuChim/ SukJu MuChim

Another simple Korean banchan (side dish) that I liked.  When I started to make Korean food, I realized why their food are considered healthy.  They eat lots of banchan which were mainly vegetable either pickled or boiled and seasoned with mainly salt, sesame oil, sesame seeds, red pepper powder, minced garlic and light soy sauce.  As you know, garlic, sesame seeds, sesame oil, red pepper powder are all considered good for us, so I could see generally Korean food is healthier.  This recipe works well with spinach and soybean sprout too.  Just par-boiled the spinach and squeeze the water out before adding the seasonings, but omit the green onion.

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Tamarind Chicken/ Assam Ayam

This is a variation of the Babi Assam that I tried many years ago.  Since I am going to cut down on buying pork these days and just stick to chicken or turkey from now on, unless that is a particular pork dish that I really wanted to cook, I will refrain from buying pork.  There is no special reason just that I want to switch to my original diet plan before I started slacking and buying more pork few years back.

The Babi Assam kept calling me as I remembered I liked the sauce and flavor a lot.  So, I attempted to recreate this dish with drumsticks and with the ingredients I have at home.  This sauce went so well with rice even my girls enjoyed this slightly spicy sourish sauce with their rice.  If you want to cook something different with chicken, give this dish a try!

Monday, September 26, 2011

Korean Tofu BuChim/ Dubu BuChim

This recipe caught my eyes when I was browsing Aeri's Kitchen for some Korean recipe ideas.  It caught my eyes because it looked exactly like a tofu dish my friend served at her house recently.  So, I added this dish because it was so simple to make and I have the organic firm tofu at home.  This tofu buchim didn't fail me, the sauce was delicious and did I say it was so easy to make?  Give it a try if you are having a lazy night and want a quick and delicious side dish for your dinner.  Oh, I liked Aeri's website for Korean food as she also made the trouble of making videos of her preparing the dishes.  I really kudo to those who did the extra step.

Friday, September 23, 2011

Korean Spicy Chicken/ Dak-Galbi

I didn't know what gotten into me, I just felt like having a Korean meal.  When I got that planned, I didn't know what I gotten myself into.  I made three out of four banchan (side dish) before and everything seem simple on the surface.  Only when I started working on it, only did I realize that it was actually quite a lot of work when making it all in a day, like slicing the Korean radish and scallions.  Then, the different methods of cooking the anchovies and bean sprouts.  Anyway, to cut it short, I spent the whole afternoon preparing and washing and ended with a sore back, that's mean I stood for too long.  Hahaha....  I have to admit, I like to take my time in the kitchen, that's why I cannot work in a restaurant setting, I would be so slow that all the customers would walk away and I would be left stressful. 

For the banchan recipes, I provided the links below:

Korean Scallion Salad (Pa-Muchim)

Mu- Saengchae (Spicy Korean Radish)

Myulchi Bokkeum (Stirfried Anchovies)

Mungbean Sprout MuChim/ SukJu MuChim 

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Stir Fried Yam Leaves

My family loved yam leaves and sweet potato leaves.  So when shopping in the Asian market, I often would buy this veggie.  Usually I would cook it with the shrimp paste in soy bean oil but today I wanted to try something different.  I wanted to cook it without the paste and just seasoned it with some fish sauce and fragrant it with bird eye chili and garlic.  You might be familiar with this way of cooking too.  I had to cut the stem with kitchen scissor after I done cooking for easy swallowing.

This picture did not do the veggie justice.  It definitely taste better than it looks.

Friday, September 16, 2011

Chinese Scallion Ginger Chicken (葱姜油鸡)

This recipe was inspired by a Chinese cooking show that I watched, called 美女私房菜.  Her recipe called for cooking the chicken in a spice soy sauce broth and then deep-fry the chicken until crispy before adding the scallion ginger fragrant sauce on top.  I bookmarked it because it seem so interesting.  My chance came when I had some leftover oven roasted chicken wings and drumettes.   While I was thinking of what to make of this leftover wings, her recipe came to mind.  So, I pan-fried my wings and drumettes and then cooked this scallion ginger fragrant and put it on top of the chicken to serve.  I truly loved this scallion ginger fragrant sauce and it can easily be used to top with fried fish, deep-fried pork ribs, shrimps, or anything you can think of.  My attempt at recreating a leftover to another new dish.