Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Shrimp Tempura

This Lenten season, when millions of Catholics and members of other denominations abstain from meat, shrimp is a perfect menu choice either for dining in or eating out. Shrimp always tastes great especially if it is fresh.  It's affordable, easy to prepare and there is lot's of variety in shrimp recipes you can choose from. Shrimp Tempura is an easy "go to" recipe during Lent season.This famous Japanese deep fried dish is very simple, fast and easy. The secret to perfect tempura? A deep pot, plenty of oil, high cooking temperature and good batter. I made this Semi-homemade Shrimp Tempura using ready made Tempura Batter Mix and it turned out really good. It was cooked to golden perfection. This can be a great appetizer with your favorite dipping sauce; or a great filling meal when it is served with steamed rice.

Shrimp Tempura ( Semi-Homemade)


2 lbs large shrimp or prawns, shelled and deveined
store bought tempura batter mix ( I used Krusteaz Tempura Batter Mix)
vegetable oil or peanut oil for deep frying

Cooking Directions:

  • Clean and prepare seafood. Dry thoroughly.
  • Pour 2 inches ( minimum ) vegetable oil into deep frying pan,wok or electric fryer. Pre-heat to 375°F.
  • Prepare tempura batter mix as per package directions.
  • Dip shrimp or prawns into batter. Drain off excess batter. Gently drop the shrimp in the preheated oil.
  • Deep fry for 2-4 minutes,until brown. Drain on paper towels. Serve hot and Enjoy!
Note: This recipe can be used for vegetable tempura. Follow similar directions except the cooking time. Vegetable tempura should be deep fried 1-2 minutes.
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Monday, March 29, 2010

Pumpkin Roll

This pumpkin roll recipe consists of sweet and moist pumpkin-flavored sponge roll wrapped around a  silky rich cream cheese filling. It is rolled up like a pinwheel.  It makes a great dessert, especially for holidays. Serve and impress your guests anytime of the year with this pinwheel cake. It is so easy to make if you follow the step by step directions. I made this amazing Pumpkin Roll cake from my leftover pumpkin puree. It was my first time to make sponge roll cake and I was quite nervous but it turned out pretty good. This recipe might sound difficult but it was really so easy to make. Give it a try.

Pumpkin Roll Recipe
Adapted from Realmomkitchen

Ingredients :
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 3 large eggs
  • 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 2/3 cup pumpkin puree

Cooking Directions:

  • Mix together all ingredients.
  • Cover a 10×15 inch cookie sheet with a piece of parchment paper, wider and longer than the cookie sheet.
  • Pour batter onto parchment paper and spread evenly, making sure to get into the corners of the cookie sheet.
  • Bake at 375 degrees for 12-15 minutes (less if the edges start to get really dark – it should look like cake and feel spongy to the touch).
  • Next, turn onto a towel that has been generously covered with powdered sugar. Allow to cool for a couple of minutes and remove the parchment paper.
  • Roll the cake up, jelly roll style, in the towel starting with the short end. Allow to cool for ten minutes. (This helps the cake to keep the roll form. If you did this when it was cooled the cake would crack and not keep the nice form)
  • While cake cools mix filling ingredients.
Filling Recipe

  • 8 oz of cream cheese, softened (reduced fat work fine)
  • 2 Tbsp. vanilla
  • 1 cup powdered sugar
  • 2 Tbsp butter, softened

Cooking Directions:
  • Mix filling ingredients with a mixer until smooth.
  • Unroll cake from towel and spread with filling
  • Re-roll with out the towel, wrap in foil and refrigerate for at least 1-2 hours.
  • Cut into slices and serve. Enjoy!
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Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Pumpkin Muffins - The Best !!

I had some leftover pumpkin from Thanksgiving and was looking for a way to use it. I stumbled on a muffin recipe with great reviews by Tasty Kitchen.  I checked the ingredients needed and made a little tweaking by substituting the vegetable oil with butter and adding nutmeg. I am not a big fan of pumpkin desserts but these pumpkin muffins were delicious.  And I was quite surprised I really loved them. They have nice pumpkin spice flavor, perfectly  moist and tasty. My husband said it is the best tasting pumpkin muffins he ever had. Give it a try, it is really easy and fast.

  • 1-½ cup All-purpose Flour
  • 1 teaspoon Baking Powder
  • 1 cup Pumpkin Puree (from A 15oz Can)
  • ⅓ cups Vegetable Oil
  • 2 whole Large Eggs
  • 1 teaspoon Pumpkin Pie Spice
  • 1-¼ cup Granulated Sugar
  • ½ teaspoons Baking Soda 
  • ½ teaspoons Salt 
  • 1 Tablespoon Sugar (for The Topping)
  • ½ teaspoons Cinnamon (for Topping)

Cooking Directions:
  • Place muffin liners inside the muffin cups. I used the silicon muffin cups so no need to put muffin liners.
  • Pre-heat oven to 350°F.
  • In a small bowl, whisk together flour and baking powder. (Here’s the deal with pumpkin-pie spice: they sell it at most grocery stores right now. But I’m not a fan of a one-purpose type of spice, so I put in 1/8 of a teaspoon each of cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, ginger, and allspice. So if you don’t have pumpkin-pie spice, you can just do what I did.)
  • Whisk together pumpkin puree, oil, eggs, pumpkin-pie spice, 1 1/4 cups sugar, baking soda, and salt in a large bowl until smooth. Then whisk in the flour mixture until just combined.
  • In another bowl, stir together cinnamon and remaining 1 tablespoon sugar.
  • Divide batter among muffin cups (each should be about 3/4 full), then sprinkle the tops with the cinnamon-sugar mixture. Bake until puffed and golden brown and a wooden pick or skewer inserted into center of a muffin comes out clean, about 25 to 30 minutes.
  • Cool in the pan on a rack for 5 minutes, then transfer muffins from the pan to the rack and cool to warm or room temperature.
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Thursday, March 18, 2010

Shaking Beef ( Bo Luc Lac )

Shaking Beef ( Bo Luc Lac ) is a traditional Vietnamese dish. This recipe makes a great appetizer and, when paired with white steamed rice, can be a satisfying entree as well. I had my first  taste of this dish at Red Door Pan Asia restaurant in Vancouver. I knew then that I would order it again next time I dined at a Vietnamese restaurant. The second time I had this was at The Slanted Door restaurant in San Francisco. Again, I got that amazing flavor that captivated me the very first time I tasted it. The tender cubes of  flash seared filet mignon or beef tenderloin, sautéed with red onions and a soy vinaigrette, and then served with black pepper lime juice dipping sauce. It is  fantastic!  I could not resist giving it a try. Lucky me, I found the original recipe of Vietnamese Shaking Beef posted by Charles Phan, The Slanted Door restaurant owner. I did a little tweaking on the recipe to cater to the ingredients I had available at the time. Result: Absolutely delicious! I encourage you to give it a try. It is very simple, and easy to make. But the flavor, hmmm amazing!

Original Recipe by Charles Phan, The Slanted Door
Resource: San Francisco Gourmet

Ingredients :

The Meat

2 tablespoon chopped garlic
1 teaspoon sugar
1-½ teaspoon salt
¾ teaspoon fresh black pepper
2 tablespoon neutral cooking oil, canola oil or corn oil
1-½ lbs filet mignon, cut into 1” cubes

The Vinaigrette

¼ cup rice vinegar
1 tablespoon sugar
¼ cup rice wine
4 tablespoon light soy sauce
1 tablespoon dark soy sauce
1 tablespoon fish sauce

The Dipping Sauce

 Juice of 1 lime
½ teaspoon  kosher salt
¼ teaspoon  fresh black pepper

 The Stir-Fry

4 tablespoon neutral cooking oil, such as canola or corn oil
3 stalks green onion, cut into 1” pieces
 ½ small red onion, thinly sliced
 1 Tablespoon butter
2 bunches watercress, for garnish

 Cooking Directions:
  • Prepare marinade by combining garlic, sugar, salt, pepper and oil in a large non-metal bowl. Add filet mignon, combine and marinate, covered, in the refrigerator for two hours.
  • Prepare vinaigrette by combining rice vinegar, sugar, rice wine, light soy sauce, dark soy sauce and fish sauce. Set aside.
  • Heat a wok over high heat. Divide beef, green onions and red onions in half, as you will cook in two batches.
  • Add 2 tablespoon of oil to the wok. When the oil starts to smoke, add first portion of the beef in an even layer. Let it sit until a forms a brown crust, about 2 minutes. With a spatula, flip the beef over to brown the other side, about 1 minute.
  • Add first portion of the green onions and red onions and cook for 1 more minute. Pour half of vinaigrette down the side of the wok, and then shake pan to release the beef and toss with the vinaigrette. Add 1 teaspoon of  butter and continue to shake pan until butter melts. Remove the meat and onions from the wok. Keep warm.
  • Repeat steps 4 and 5 with second portion of meat, green onions and red onions. Place the watercress in the middle of the serving plate and spoon hot beef and onions on top.
  • Prepare dipping sauce by putting salt and pepper in small ramekin and squeezing lime juice over it. Serve alongside the beef. Serves 4. Share and Enjoy !
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Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Asparagus Bacon Maki

One night I was wondering what I could make for dinner. I asked my husband and he said, just make something light as we were both not that hungry. So I looked at what ingredients I had available inside the fridge. I had a fresh asparagus, chicken wings and bacon. I asked myself, what can I make with these 3 ingredients? I decided to make Asparagus Bacon Maki which is a popular modern Japanese dish. This Asian dish is made from fresh green asparagus rolled in bacon. It is very fast and easy, but delicious. Give this a try and please let me know how it goes.


1 lb of fresh asparagus ( 12-15 pieces)
1 lb of bacon
salt and pepper

Cooking Directions:

  • On a medium sauce pan. Bring 3-4 cups of salted water to boil. Prepare shock bath (ice and cold water).
  • Clean asparagus by snapping off about an inch of the bottom part, trim the ends.
  • Blanch asparagus on the boiling water for 30 seconds up to 1 minute and drop to the prepared ice bath. Drain the asparagus and pat dry with paper towel.
  • Take 3-4 pieces of the asparagus and wrap a 2-3 slices of bacon.
  • Heat pan under medium high heat. Pan fry the asparagus bacon wrap until bacon is cooked enough.
  • Serve with other appetizer of your choice. Share and Enjoy !

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Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Bistek Tagalog (Filipino Beef Steak)

Bistek Tagalog or Filipino Beef Steak is one of my husbands favorite Filipino dish next to Chicken Adobo. It is made with thinly sliced beef marinated in calamansi or lemon juice, soy sauce and garnished with caramelized onion rings. It is truly amazing how so few ingredients can make something so very good. Give this a try because this is definitely a winner.


1 lb of beef sirloin, thinly sliced and tenderized
¼ cup of soy sauce
1 tablespoon of oyster sauce (optional)
1 large onion (sliced into rings)
1 lemon (zest and juice) or 4 pieces of calamansi juice
1 teaspoon of black pepper
3 cloves garlic (crushed)
3 tablespoon cooking oil
salt and pepper to taste

Cooking Directions:

  • Marinade the beef in soy sauce, oyster sauce, calamansi or lemon juice and crushed garlic  for several hours or overnight.
  • Heat pan with  vegetable oil. Add the onion rings and fry for 1 minute. Drain in a paper towel and set aside.
  • Remove beef from marinade. Using the same pan, under medium high heat, fry the marinated beef until brown about 3 minutes each side. Set aside.
  • Pour the marinade mixture on the pan. Allow to simmer until reduced. Then add the fried beef. Cook for 1 more minute.
  • Serve over white steam rice. Garnished with caramelized onion rings. Enjoy !

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Monday, March 15, 2010

Black & White Brownie Cupcakes

I made these cupcakes for a potluck party we attended and it was a big hit. I only made a few and everybody is requesting me to make them more next time. Yes, it was that good. These brownies are so great, not only they are so easy to make but also because it is a fantastic twist on the classic brownie. This is definitely a "must make" if you want to try something different. I got the recipe from Ghirardelli Recipe Box.


1 pouch (20 oz) Ghirardelli Double Chocolate Brownie Mix
1/3 cup water
1/3 cup vegetable oil
2 eggs
1 cup (8 oz) cream cheese, softened
1/3 cup sugar

Cooking Directions:

  • Pre-heat oven to 350°F.
  • In a medium mixing bowl, stir together the Ghirardelli Double Chocolate Brownie Mix, 1 egg, water and oil until moistened (about 40 stokes).
  • In a separate mixing bowl, using an electric mixer, mix cream cheese and sugar on medium speed until smooth. Add 1 egg and continue to mix on medium speed for 1 minute or until smooth.
  • Spoon the chocolate batter into a lightly greased or paper-lined muffin tin, filling 2/3 full.
  • For each cupcake, place 1 tablespoon of cream cheese mixture on top of the batter.
  • Bake for 28 - 32 minutes. Makes 12 cupcakes. Enjoy!
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Friday, March 12, 2010

Tandoori Chicken Wings



Tandoori Chicken is the most famous Indian dish that it is embraced by most people in the world. This classic Indian recipe is really easy to make and the spices you need are available in almost every grocery store. If not go to any Asian or Indian grocery.  So in search for the most authentic Tandoori Chicken recipe, I turn to my favorite guru online Chef Vah. Who can cook a more authentic Indian dish than the people from India itself? So here, I gave it a try with my own twist of the recipe. I brought this dish to a potluck party and everyone loved it. The spices are in perfect compliment with each other. This is definitely a keeper, this is one of the most authentic-tasting recipes I've tried.
2 lbs of chicken wings
½ teaspoon of dried red chillies
1 tablespoon of vegetable oil
1 tablespoon of crushed ginger
1 tablespoon of minced garlic
2 tablespoon of red chilli powder
1 tablespoon of pepper powder
2 tablespoon of fresh lime or lemon juice
1 teaspoon of turmeric powder
1 teaspoon of ground cumin
1 teaspoon of garam masala powder
½ teaspoon of cayenne pepper
½ cup plain yogurt
3 tablespoon rice flour
oil for deep frying
salt and pepper to taste
Cooking Directions:

  • Using a fork, prick holes in the chicken wings so that marinade soaks into the chicken.
  • Place the chicken wings in a ziploc bag or non-reactive bowl.
  • In a blender, combine all the ingredients except the chicken. Process until well blended.
  • Pour the marinade over the chicken wings. Make sure chicken is well coated.
  • Refrigerate for at least 2 hours up to 4 hours.
  • Pre-heat oil or deep fryer to 350°F.
  • In a mixing bowl, season the rice flour with salt and pepper. Drain the chicken wings and toss in rice flour mixture until well coated.
  • Deep fry wings until crispy and cooked through ( juices run clear ). Drain on paper towels and serve.
  • Enjoy and share!
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How to get started with Asian Cooking

Asian cooking is all about balance.  Just like yin and yang, the key to great Asian food is to balance out opposites.  All you need to do to understand this concept is look at a menu in an Asian restaurant.

One of the first things you are going to learn about Asian cooking is it is about 90% preparation and 10% cooking.  You will have to learn how to chop.

Also, in most cases, all you are really going to need in the way of cooking is one good skillet .  Preferably, you will use a special type of skillet called a wok.

Once your ingredients are prepared, the wok is heated and a small amount of oil is added.  A few seconds later, you are all done.

The staples of Asian cooking are easy to find.  Because of the migration of Asian people, supermarkets catering to this demographic are common.  But most of your ingredients can be found in any supermarket or fresh food store.

Then it’s just a matter of learning how to manipulate the ingredients with spices herbs and seasoning.  There are several cookbooks available, and there are many websites and blogs that will actually give you Asian recipes.  Soon, you will start having fun manipulating the recipes to your own tastes.

Adding Asian cooking to your diet will be a healthy lifestyle choice for your family.

Try a few asian recipes on this blog today.  You will be glad you did.  And let us know how it goes.
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