Tag Archives: diy

Honey Garlic Scallion Noodles

Honey Garlic Scallion Noodles

Here’s a great recipe that’s really delicious and easy to do. It’s a honey garlic scallion stir-fried noodle that’s sweet, with a touch of spice. If the flavour looks familiar, you’re right. It’s the same sauce from the Hawaiian chicken we did a few months ago. I added fresh chopped scallions for contrast and a splash of colour. You’re going to love this recipe!

You will need:

  • 1/4 cup soy sauce
  • 1/2 cup mirin
  • 1 teaspoon sesame oil
  • 1 teaspoon chili flake
  • 1 teaspoon sesame seeds
  • 2 tablespoons minced garlic
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 454 g chow mein noodles
  • 1 bunch green onions (scallions) chopped
  • 1 tablespoon fresh ginger, finely chopped

In a large mixing bowl, combine the soy sauce, mirin, sesame oil, Korean chili flakes and sesame seeds. To that, add a couple tablespoons of minced garlic and a tablespoon of honey. Whisk to combine and give it a little taste. Adjust to taste and set aside.

Next, take the chow mein noodles and blanch them in boiling water for about 30 seconds. Drain well then set aside.

Heat up a couple tablespoons of oil in a pan or wok on high heat. Add the noodles and a tablespoon of finely chopped ginger and stirfry for a couple minutes. Add half a bunch of chopped scallions and continue cooking for another 30 seconds.

When that’s done, add your sauce and continue to stirfry for another minute or so. Immediately plate up into bowls and garnish with more scallions for colour and fresh contrast. This is a quick dish to make and serve up alone or with grilled meat. Try it at home and enjoy!

 

When was the last time you had green onions?

Kabocha Ratatouille

kabocha feature

This is a simmered kabocha ratatouille – the best way to describe what I’m making today. I’m taking a couple of my favourite vegetable dishes, ratatouille and kabocha no nimono, and putting them together in this awesome new recipe. Enjoy and have fun in the kitchen!

This is a viewer request from Rajaa in Morocco. Thanks for watching, Rajaa. This one’s for you!

You will need:

  • ½ kabocha (Japanese pumpkin), cut into bite-sized pieces
  • 1 red bell pepper, diced
  • 2 large carrots, diced
  • 1 small onion, coarsely chopped
  • 5 small tomatoes, coarsely chopped
  • 1 cup fresh corn
  • 350 ml dashi
  • 1 ½ tablespoons soy sauce
  • 1 ½ tablespoons mirin
  • salt

Start by scooping out the seeds from ½ a kabocha and cutting into bite-sized pieces.

In a heavy pot on medium heat, add a couple tablespoons of oil and add a roughly chopped onion. Cook for about 6 minutes til translucent. When the onions are done, add 2 diced carrots, 1 diced red bell pepper and the kabocha and continue cooking for another 5 minutes.

Next, add 5 roughly chopped tomatoes and 350 ml of dashi, turn up the heat until everything comes to a boil, then back down to medium. Cover and simmer until the kabocha is fork tender.

When that’s done, add 1 ½ tablespoons each of mirin and soy sauce and a tablespoon of brown sugar and continue to cook uncovered on medium high to reduce slightly.

Lastly, add 1 cup of fresh corn and get ready to serve.

You can serve this dish on rice or whatever pasta you have, but If you wanna try something really good, cut up some mochi and roast it under the broiler til crispy. When they’re done, add them to the bottom of the bowl, spoon the vegetables over them, then add more mochi on the top. You can thank me later…

What is your favourite pumpkin dish?

Curanto Night

Curanto Style Leg of Lamb by The Aimless Cook

Curanto is an old-school cooking method still used today in Argentina. It uses heated rocks that cook food in a pit, very similar to Polynesian pit cooking. The food is placed on leaves or a blanket, which is laid on the hot rocks, then buried for several hours until the food is cooked. Of course, if you don’t want to dig a huge pit you can use what we used – a wheelbarrow. This was a lot of fun and I hope you try it out one day too!

You will need:

  • a wheelbarrow
  • some dry rocks (about 8 inches in diameter)
  • plenty of firewood (about 12 logs)
  • a shovel
  • a muslin, burlap or cotton sheet (dense enough to shield the food from the earth)
  • a whole leg of lamb (chickens work too, ribs, pork butt, etc)
  • some whole butternut squash
  • some whole russet potatoes
  • whatever root veg you want (carrots, beets, fennel bulbs etc)
  • time

for the spice rub:

  • equal parts (50g each) of fenugreek seeds, black mustard seeds, nigella seeds, fennel seeds and cumin seeds
  • some smoked paprika (10-15%)
  • some dried Kashmiri chiles (to taste)

Start a fire with 6 logs and a layer of rocks. Let it burn down for an hour and then add another 6 logs and another layer of rocks. While that fire burns down, let’s make a spice rub for the lamb.

The spice rub we’re gonna make is called paanch phoron, also known as Indian 5-spice. Take equal portions (100g each) of fenugreek seeds, black mustard seeds, nigella seeds, fennel seeds and cumin seeds and combine them in a large container or mixing bowl. You can also add about 15% of smoked sweet paprika for a little colour and punch. If you like a little spice, add some dried Kashmiri chilies to taste. You can store this mixture in an airtight container for months and take some out whenever you need it.

When you’re ready to use, simply roast the seeds in a dry cast iron skillet until fragrant then coarsely grind them in a mortar and pestle or spice grinder.

Once the rocks are ready and the fire has burned down, shovel a 2 – 3 inch layer of earth in the bottom of the wheelbarrow. Carefully cover that layer with your hot rocks with hot embers to fill in the gaps. Cover again with more earth as an insulating layer.

We’re gonna use a cotton sheet to lay the food on. You can also use banana leaves, burlap or muslin. Just make sure that the layer you use is dense enough to shield the food from the earth.

Cover the food with another layer of cloth, then follow that with more earth. You want to have at least a couple inches above the rim of the wheelbarrow. Once everything is good and buried, just let it sit for about 5 hours.

After 5 hours, take off the cloth layer, being careful not to get any dirt on the food. At this point in time, your lamb should be around 145F and your veg should be nicely cooked.

Cooking outdoors is a lot of fun and very easy to do, just keep it safe and make sure your fire is completely out when you’re done. Take this recipe, make it yours and have fun out there!

QOTD:

What is your favourite food to cook outdoors?

J’s Pancit Bihon

Pancit Bihon by The Aimless Cook

Pancit Bihon is a very popular Filipino noodle dish throughout the world. It’s made with thin, rice noodles, or bihon and tossed with shredded meat and lightly sauteed vegetables. Today, we’re gonna make our pancit using some flavourful leftover Chinese steamed chicken and some cooked shrimp from the Asian market. We’re also gonna use that aromatic green onion and ginger sauce that came with the chicken in our base. So get ready for a really fun and easy recipe for Pancit Bihon!

You will need:

  • 250g leftover cooked chicken (Chinese, or one of those rotisserie chickens work well)
  • 150g cooked shrimp
  • 8oz bihon noodles (rice stick)
  • 200g shredded cabbage
  • 125g shredded carrot
  • 125g sliced onion (1 medium)
  • 2 cloves sliced garlic
  • 75g snow peas (or green beans)
  • 750ml good chicken stock
  • 2 ½ tablespoons soy sauce
  • some oil
  • S&P, to season

Start by soaking the bihon noodles in cold water for about 10 minutes. When that’s done, strain and set aside.

In a large pot on medium heat, heat up a couple tablespoons of oil and add the onions and garlic. Gently saute until the onions are starting to look translucent. One the onions are done, add the shredded cabbage, carrot, snow peas and cooked chicken. Cook and stir on medium high for about 5 minutes. When that’s done, season with salt and pepper and put all the ingredients in a large bowl and set aside.

Using the same pot, add the chicken stock and soy sauce. Turn the heat up to high and then add the bihon noodles. Let the noodles boil on high heat until the liquid is almost evaporated. When that’s done, put back the ingredients from the bowl and mix to combine. Serve warm with calamansi or lime wedges and fish sauce (patis) and enjoy!

Pancit bihon has a refreshing flavour with the calamansi and fresh, crisp vegetables. The better your leftover chicken, the more flavour it will impart to the finished dish. Experiment with different ones to see what you like the most. Take this recipe, make it yours and have fun in the kitchen!

Do you like Filipino food? Let me know what Filipino dish you’d like to see on The Aimless Cook and we’ll make it happen!

Panfried Pickerel with Cannellini Bean Salad

Panfried Pickerel by The Aimless Cook

Pickerel, or walleye as its sometimes known as, is a freshwater fish native to Canada and parts of the Northern US. It has a nice white meat that is flaky and tender, perfect for pan-frying. Today, I’m going to show you a simple pan-fry recipe and make a nice beurre noisette (brown butter) sauce in the same pan. To go with our pickerel, I’m making a nice cannellini bean salad. This makes for a nice and easy weekday dinner, so let’s get cooking!

For the salad, you will need:

  • 1 English cucumber, diced
  • 1 handful of grape tomatoes, halved
  • ½ package mixed greens
  • 375g Cannellini beans (white kidney, drained and rinsed)
  • 1 handful parsley (flatleaf if you got it, chopped)
  • ¼ cup dried cranberries
  • Extra virgin olive oil
  • the juice of 1 lemon
  • S&P

For the rest:

  • 2 pickerel fillets, skin on
  • 2 tablespoons, butter
  • olive oil
  • parsley, chopped
  • the juice of 1 lemon
  • S&P

To make the salad, start by making a dressing with 3 tablespoons of a good quality extra virgin olive oil with 1 tablespoon of lemon juice. Add a pinch of salt to season and mix well to emulsify.

In a large bowl, add the cucumber, 75g of mixed greens, a handful of halved grape tomatoes, a three finger pinch of chopped parsley and the cannellini beans. Add the dressing and toss lightly to combine. Give it a taste and season with salt and pepper. Put a nice generous serving on each plate and set aside.

For the rest, start by scoring the skin of 2 pickerel fillets and seasoning with salt and pepper on both sides. Heat up a pan on high heat and add a tablespoon of oil and a tablespoon of butter. When the pan is hot, add the pickerel, skin side down to the pan and cook for about 2 or 3 minutes, or until the fish comes free from the pan. You need to build that beautiful crust.

Turn the fish over and cook the other side for an additional 2-3 minutes. When the fish is done, take out of the pan and set a piece on each of the plates of salad.

In the same pan, melt another pat of butter on medium low heat and cook until it starts to brown. When you start to see the brown particles in the butter, remove from the heat, add the juice of 1 lemon and half a handful of chopped parsley. Season with a pinch of salt and spoon the brown butter sauce over the cooked fish and salad. Enjoy!

The cannellini beans brings a nice creaminess to the whole dish and complements the acidity of the dressing. The dried cranberries are a nice bit of sweetness that adds a touch of colour to the whole dish. If you don’t have pickerel, any white fish will do, including cod, halibut or even catfish. This dish is light, yet hearty enough with the beans to fill you up without having to make rice. Take this recipe, make it yours and have fun in the kitchen.

Pickerel or Walleye – what do you call it where you come from?
Special thanks to my friends over at Dor-Bel Fine Foods and Mustafa from Nefiss Lezziz

Sesame Shrimp Toast

Sesame Shrimp Toast

We’re making a popular item from the dim sum cart. You can also find this item if you’ve ever found yourself at a snack house late at night with your friends. I’m talking about shrimp toast, and this Thai version of sesame shrimp toast features the flavours of fish sauce, lemongrass and fresh limes for a bit of a cool twist. Enjoy this as a nice, crispy snack with an ice cold beer or serve as a fancy appetizer for your next party. Your friends are gonna love this one!

You will need:

  • 14 oz. raw shrimp, peeled and de-veined
  • 1 tablespoon fish sauce
  • 1 teaspoon minced lemongrass
  • 2 garlic cloves, finely minced
  • 1 or 2 red Thai chilies, finely minced
  • 1 teaspoon grated ginger
  • 1 egg
  • a pinch of salt
  • 1 teaspoon corn starch
  • 8 thick slices of white bread, crusts cut off
  • ½ cup sesame seeds
  • ½ bunch fresh cilantro
  • fresh limes, to garnish
  • oil for frying (canola or peanut)
  • sweet Thai chili sauce, for dipping

Start by putting the shrimp in a food processor. To that, add 1 egg, lemongrass, garlic cloves, Thai chilies, fish sauce, the juice from the grated ginger and a pinch of salt. Process until the mixture forms a thick paste. Check the mix. If it’s too thin, add the cornstarch to tighten up the mixture. When that’s done, set aside.

Cut the crusts off the bread. Spread about a tablespoon of the shrimp mixture on the bread slices and dip the shrimp side into a saucer of sesame seeds.

In a cast iron skillet, heat up a couple inches of oil until you can fry a small piece of bread in about 30 seconds (350F). If it cooks too fast, carefully take off the heat and wait until it’s the right temperature. If the oil is too hot, the shrimp won’t cook. If the oil is too cool, the bread will absorb the oil and you’ll get greasy toast.

When the oil is ready, carefully place the toast in the oil, shrimp side down. Cook for about 30-45 seconds or until its golden brown. Turn over and cook the other side for the same amount of time. When done, gently take it out and drain on a tray with paper towels.

To serve, cut into triangles or sticks, garnish with chopped cilantro leaves and enjoy with Spicy Thai Chili sauce and fresh lime wedges.

Shrimp toast is one of my favourite Asian snacks and I hope you enjoy it too. Take this recipe with you, make it yours and have fun in the kitchen!

What is your favourite dim sum item?

Nam Prik Ong – Spicy Thai Pork Dip

Nam Prik Ong

Nam Prik Ong is a spicy Thai ground pork dip served with pork rinds and fresh vegetables. The textures and contrasts going on here are intense for such an unassuming dish. It’s an incredibly refreshing and tasty starter or snack that you can make at home fairly easily. The flavour is complex with the classic Thai flavour combinations that I have come to love. Let’s get started!

  • 1 thumb sized piece galangal, finely julienned
  • 1/2 medium red onion, diced
  • 4 or 5 red Thai chilies
  • 5 cloves fresh garlic
  • 1 dozen cherry tomatoes, halved
  • juice from 1 lime
  • 1 Tbsp kapi (fermented shrimp paste)*
  • 1 stalk lemongrass, minced
  • 1 lb ground pork
  • palm sugar, or brown sugar
  • 1/2 bunch fresh cilantro, finely chopped
  • 1 English cucumber, sliced
  • pork rinds

With a mortar and pestle, start by pounding the galangal then add the garlic, onion, chilies. You want to make yourself a nice paste. Next, put in the tomatoes (watch for flying juice!), kapi and lemongrass. That is your paste. Let’s start cooking!

Heat up a wok on high heat with a Tbsp of oil and add the paste. Stir fry until the paste is aromatic, then add the ground pork. Continue to cook until the pork is done and add lime juice and sugar to balance. You shouldn’t need salt since the kapi is salty, but give it a taste and see for yourself. Toss in the cilantro to finish and serve in a nice big bowl for dipping with sliced cucumbers and pork rinds. 

You will be amazed by the refreshing taste and contrast of the spicy dip with the cool and crisp cucumber. Nam Prik Ong is great for sharing and perfect for potlucks and parties. Have fun in the kitchen and take care!

Tips:

*kapi, or belacan is very punguent. Use sparingly if you never used it before. If you don’t have it, you can also use fish sauce.

Some recipes for Nam Prik Ong have you pound the pork in the mortar with the paste. This adds even more flavour into the meat.

If you don’t have a mortar and pestle, you can make your paste in a food processor. If you enjoy making Southeast Asian food though, I recommend you get one. The bigger the better!

Recipe Video: Bunny Chow

Bunny Chow

Last week, I wrote a post about the famous Durban dish, Bunny Chow. Today I will share with you a recipe for the curry I prepared for the cooking video. It is similar to the ingredients that I used in the wild buffalo version of the dish I did in test kitchen, but this time around, I am using some leftover rotisserie chicken to save time. The results are a solid, hearty curry with a fragrant tomato gravy that you are going to love. Let’s see what we need!

For the curry mix:

  • 1 t coriander seeds, toasted and ground
  • 1 t cumin seeds, toasted and ground
  • 2 t garam masala 
  • 1 t tumeric
  • *a cinnamon stick, bay leaf

*if you want to use a premade curry powder, you can. Just use a couple Tablespoons

This is a basic curry mixture. For the best results, use whole seeds and toast them to release the fragrant aroma. If you love making fresh curry, use an electric spice grinder to save time. You can pick them up cheap at any department store.

For the rest:

  • half a medium onion, pureed
  • 2 garlic cloves and a thumb of ginger, minced
  • 1 can of crushed tomatoes 398ml
  • 2 cups water
  • 1/2 leftover rotisserie chicken meat, shredded
  • 2 medium potatoes, diced
  • 1 cup frozen or fresh green peas
  • fresh cilantro or green onion to garnish
  • a loaf of your favorite bread, unsliced (or a couple nice buns)

I started by gently cooking the onion puree in a skillet for a couple minutes to get rid of the raw onion taste. You want it slightly golden. Add the ginger and garlic and continue to cook for about a minute. To that, add the curry mix and make a nice, fragrant paste. This will be the flavour base.

Add the tomato, the chicken, potatoes and combine. If you need to, add a little water so you can simmer the whole mixture on medium heat with a cover for about 10 minutes. After the chicken is warmed through, take off the cover and add the peas. Continue simmering for about 2 minutes, then give it a taste. Season with salt and pepper to taste. If you like a little spice, you can add some sambal oelek or some chopped fresh chilies. 

If you’re using a bread loaf, cut into quarters and scoop the bread out, making a nice hollow bowl. Keep the scooped out bread to put on top. This is called the ‘virgin’ and it is typically used to dip into the gravy. Fill your bread with the curry and top with the virgin. Garnish with green onion or cilantro and enjoy!

Buns make a great bunny. They are portable and can be eaten like a sandwich and not as messy as eating from a loaf. The challenge of eating a bunny is to eat it from a loaf using only your hands. You must tear away the bread, keeping it above the gravy line so you don’t get it all over you. Good times!

J

Oyakodon

Oyakodon is a great dish that is very easy to put together when you are craving some authentic Japanese food. Oyako means “mother and child” or in this case, the chicken and egg. I have had this dish before working in the restaurant, but it was always made in a large volume for a group of people. I prefer to prepare this dish in single servings. It turns out much better as you have much more control over the timing of the eggs. Let’s get started.

For the base, you will need:

  • 300 ml dashi
  • 150 ml mirin
  • 100 ml soy sauce
  • a dash of sake (optional)

With this base, you can adjust sweetness with a little sugar. If you have leftover, you can store in the fridge for a couple days.

You will also need:

  • 2 chicken thighs, boneless and skinless, cut into bite-sized pieces
  • 1/2 medium onion, sliced
  • 1 large egg, beaten

Start with a small skillet (about 10 inches) and heat on med high. Add the chicken and onion, then ladle some of the base into the mixture. When it starts to boil, turn the heat down to med and cover. What you want to do is poach the meat, which won’t take long since its cut so small. After a couple minutes, take the cover off and pour half the egg over the chicken. Put the cover back on and cook for another minute. Now get yourself a bowl of steamed rice ready. After the minute is up, take off the lid and pour the remaining egg on the chicken. Remove from the heat and place on the bowl of rice finishing with some finely chopped green onion. Traditionally oyakodon is served in a lidded lacquered bowl. Once you serve, the lid is put immediately on the bowl and brought to the diner. The remaining egg cooks in the bowl through the residual heat. What you get is a fluffy and custard-like finish with the poached chicken which is just awesome. Enjoy this recipe and have fun in the kitchen!

Nam Khao (Laotian Crispy Rice Salad)

Nam Khao

Nam Khao is a fragrant and flavorful pork and crispy rice salad from Laos which is gaining popularity in North America. Like many recipes, there are many ways to make it and I encourage you to explore and try different variations of this dish. This recipe takes a little bit of prep, but is so worthwhile. I hope you enjoy it.

For the crispy rice patties (kao tod), you will need:

  • 1T galangal, finely chopped
  • 1t thai chilies, seeded and chopped
  • 3T lemongrass, finely chopped
  • 2T shallots, finely chopped
  • 2T garlic, finely chopped
  • 2C cooked jasmine rice
  • 2T fish sauce
  • 1 egg

For the pork balls (nam sod):

  • 4T garlic, finely chopped
  • 1 lb ground pork
  • 1/2 C cooked jasmine rice
  • 2t salt

To finish:

  • 10 shallots, diced
  • 3T cilantro, chopped
  • 1T green onion, finely chopped
  • 1/2 C ginger, julienned
  • 6T lime juice (3 limes worth)
  • 1/2 C crushed roasted peanuts
  • 10-15 dried chilies
  • 2-3T fish sauce
  • 2  more limes, wedged for garnish

Prep the rice patties:

Pound or pulse the galangal, chilies, lemongrass, shallots and garlic in a mortar and pestle or food processor til you achieve a nice thick paste. Add a dash of oil to bring everything together. In a mixing bowl, mix together the rice, paste, egg and fish sauce until combined. Cover and set aside.

The pork party:

Pound the garlic into a fine paste. In a large bowl, use your hands to combine the pork, garlic paste and salt. Knead well until the texture of the meat is smooth. Roll into about 16 equal size meatballs. They should be roughly golf ball sized.

Cooking:

For the pork balls, just pop into a steamer for about 10 minutes until they are just cooked. To make sure, just cut one in half to check.

With the rice, preheat a skillet with a couple tablespoons of canola oil. Wet your hands and form the rice into nice patties. You want them to be like little sliders. Put them in the skillet and fry them until they are golden brown and crispy on the outside. In the restaurant, they make the rice into balls and pop them into the deep fryer. What you’re looking for is a nice contrast of crispy outside and fluffy insides.

Putting it all together:

In a large mixing bowl, break up the pork patties into rough chunks. Add the shallots, cilantro, green onion, ginger, lime juice and fish sauce. Break up the crispy rice into large chunks and add to the bowl. Mix everything together and serve on a large serving dish with a side of dried chilies, some green lettuce leaves and lime wedges.

You can enjoy this dish straight from a bowl, or use the lettuce leaves as wraps. This dish smells incredible and tastes even better. Enjoy!