Thursday, May 28, 2009

Lobster Boil

New England shoreline is famous for its lobsters. As the weather warms up, lobsters are more abundance and the price became very reasonable too. Last month we had a chance to spend spring break in Maine and of course to feast on lobsters. We went to Portland fish market to get some fresh lobsters. The big lobster was $9.99/lb and the smaller one (1-1 1/4lb) was $7.99/lb. When I lived in the South, lobster never cost less than $11.99/lb.

Imagine my surprise when my local grocery had a sale on lobsters for $4.99/lb on memorial day weekend. Actually in my town, every Friday there is a seafood truck that sells fresh lobster and fish directly from Maine, but I have yet to check it.

Every spring I always cook some low country boil, but this year I just prepare something simpler. No sausages, crabs or potatoes, just 3 main ingredients, lobsters, shrimps and corn boiled down with old bay seasonings and we had a wonderful evening with those shellfish. Next time probably I'll cook Chinese style lobster.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Karaage - Japanese style Fried Chicken

Karaage is our all-time favorite food, very easy to prepare and tasty to the palate. I always use chicken thigh for this dish, because the result is a lot juicier than chicken breast. To save time I use ginger powder instead of ginger juice.

1 1/2 lb skinless boneless chicken thigh, cut into bite size
3 tbs low sodium soy sauce (I use Kikkoman)
2 tbs sake
1/2 tsp ginger powder
1/2 cup potato starch (approx.)
cooking oil for frying


1. Put chicken pieces in the big bowl.
2. Mix together soy sauce, sake & ginger powder and pour over chicken pieces.
3. Let chicken pieces to marinade for about an hour.
4. Drain the chicken, toss in potato starch to coat. Add more starch if needed.
5. Heat deep fryer to 330F.
6. Fry chicken in small batch until golden brown. Serve with ketchup or spicy mayo.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Jap Chae (Korean Noodle)

I accidentally stumbled on this recipe when I was blog walking to this site. This site has so many fabulous Korean recipes that I cannot wait to try, as I always love Korean Food.

The original recipe calls for thinly sliced beef, but I'm not that fond of beef in the noodle, so I just double the amount of the fish cake. I was not that sure what kind of the fish cake used in the original recipe, so I used Korean style fish cake that comes in the thin sheet, which normally rolled and wrapped in the plastic. The cooking process required you to cook each ingredient separately, which I think the best way to prevent some ingredients to be overcooked when they are cooked together.

The following is the recipe from this site that I slightly modified.


4-5 oz tang myun- soak in hot water for 30min, drain, and cut briefly with scissors
1 medium carrot- julienned
1/2 medium onion- julienned
2 stalks of green onions - diagonally sliced
1/2 bag of spinach leaves
6 dehydrated shiitake mushrooms- soak for 2hr, sliced
5 button mushrooms- sliced
2 sheets of Korean style fish cake
tang myun marinade
1/6 cup light soy sauce
4 tbsp sugar
6 tbsp water
3 tbsp sesame oil
3 cloves garlic- finely minced
3 tbsp mirin
sesame seeds
fresh ground pepper
vegetable oil


-Set pan on medium high heat. Coat pan lightly with oil. Toss in sliced fish cake and green onions, fry until they are cooked. Remove from pan and put into a large bowl.

-Reset pan on medium high heat. Add more oil if necessary. Cook button and shiitake mushrooms. Remove from pan and set aside in the same bowl as the cooked fishcake.

-Repeat and cook carrots and onions. Toss thoroughly until cooked, about 3-4min. Remove from pan and set aside in the same bowl.

-Repeat and cook spinach. Spinach will cook quickly, about 2-3min. Remove from pan and set aside in the same bowl.

-Reset pan onto medium high heat. Lightly coat pan with oil. Add tang myun to pan. Add tang myun marinade. Toss and mix thoroughly. Cover for 2min. Uncover, toss. Taste. When liquid has fully absorbed into tang myun, remove from pan and into the same bowl.

-Generously add fresh ground pepper, toss mixture thoroughly. Finish with sesame seeds.

Monday, May 11, 2009

Crispy Shrimp

This is the kids' favorite shrimps..very easy to make & taste delicious too, especially when cooked with a very fresh shrimp. I like to eat the shrimp dipped in the japanese style spicy mayo. I got the idea of the spicy mayo after having sushi in the restaurant, where they served them with the spicy mayo. Curious, I asked the waitress about it, and she said it's only a mixture of japanese mayonnaise and sriracha chili sauce. Now, the dipping sauce becomes the family favorite.


1 lb big size shrimp, remove shells, cleaned and leave tails intact.
pinch of salt & pepper

for the coating:
75 gr cornstarch (approx.)
1 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp pepper
1 tsp salt
1 egg white, whipped
100 gr panko (coarse bread crumbs)

spicy mayo: mix together:
Japanese mayo
sriracha chili sauce


1. Sprinkle the salt & pepper over shrimp, toss, and leave to marinade for 1/2 hour.
2. Mix together corn starch, salt, pepper and garlic powder.
3. Toss the shrimp to the corn starch mixture, make sure they are evenly coated.
4. Dip the shrimp into the egg white.
5. Roll the shrimp into the bread crumb, press with fingers as you go along, to make sure the bread crumbs stick to the shrimp.
6. Leave shrimp for around 2 hours (you can keep them in the fridge)
7. Heat deep fryer at 350F, and fry the shrimp until they turn golden brown.
8. Serve with spicy mayo or ketchup and finely sliced cabbage.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Gulai Pakis/Paku (Fiddlehead Ferns Curry)

The fiddlehead curry served with cubed rice cake, reminds me of my childhood. I often ate this thing as mid morning breakfast, bought from a stall in the marketplace.
I haven't had the fiddlehead ferns for over 20 years, though the memories linger, I can't really recall the exact taste.
Since we moved to New England last year, I've been looking forward to find this curly ferns, as they say, fiddlehead ferns is a delicacy of New England.
I've been searching the internet for sometimes to find some information on where to get them. I even thought of hiking on the wooded area across the street of our house to find them. The idea that my husband thinks as a dangerous one, because I could end up picking up some poisonous ferns.

Yesterday morning, to my delight, I found them in my local grocery. I almost jumped with joy to find this treasures. The fiddlehead fern that I'm familiar with, is slightly different from this one. Back home in Indonesia they are more leafy, and sold in bunches. But here, they only sell the curly tips of the fern. Anyway, for $3.99 a pound I think it's a bargain.

My husband never tried fiddlehead fern before, but when he tried that, he said, I need to buy more of this stuff (he's not a big vegetable eater, but he likes it).
For those who never tried this, the taste just like a very tender asparagus tips. Try it...if you like asparagus, you will definitely love this. Other than curry, you can cook them just like you cook asparagus.

the following is my version of fiddlehead fern curry (I don't have rice cubes, don't feel like making them today, but serve it with rice for an equally delicious dinner)

1 lb fiddlehead ferns
1/2 lb shrimp, cleaned, leave the tails intact
1 can coconut milk (400ml)
1 stalk lemon grass, bruised
5 pieces kaffir lime leaves
4 pcs kokum (asam kandis)
1-2 tbs sambal oelek (depending on the heat tolerance)
1 tsp ginger powder
1 tsp turmeric powder
1 tsp galangal powder
1 tsp shrimp paste
1 tsp sugar
3 cups chicken broth
salt & pepper to taste
1 tbs vegetable oil for stir frying

grind to paste:
1 small onion
4 garlic

1. Heat 1 tbs of cooking oil, toss it onion & garlic paste, stir fry for 1 minute.
2. Bring in shrimp paste, sambal oelek, all the powder ingredients, lime leaves, lemongrass stalk & kokum. Stir fry for another minute.
3. Pour the coconut milk & chicken broth to the pot.
4. Bring in fiddlehead fern & shrimp.
6. Season with salt, pepper & sugar.
5. Let them simmer until fiddlehead fern become soft.

Monday, May 4, 2009

Chocolate Chocolate Chips Muffins

Chocolate is the big thing in our house. Anything chocolatey will disappear in the blink of an eye.
I found this recipe here, and baked them in the evening for the next day breakfast.
However, the whole family couldn't resist the temptation to try some once they were out from the oven.

The muffins are piece of cake to make and taste very delicious..especially when they are still warm.

1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
2 tablespoons best quality cocoa powder ( I used dutch processed cocoa)
3/4 cup superfine sugar
3/4 cup semisweet chocolate chips, plus 1/4 cup for sprinkling
1 cup milk
1/3 cup plus 2 teaspoons vegetable oil
1 egg
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
Special equipment: Muffin tin with paper muffin cases

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.

Put the flour, baking powder, baking soda, cocoa, sugar, and 3/4 cup of the chocolate chips into a large bowl. Pour all the liquid ingredients into a measuring jug. Mix the dry and wet ingredients together, remembering that a lumpy batter makes the best muffins. Spoon into the prepared muffin cases. Sprinkle the remaining 1/4 cup chocolate chips on top and then bake for 20 minutes or until the muffins are dark, risen and springy.