Tag Archives: rice

Vietnamese Caramelized Pork – Thit Kho

Vietnamese Caramelized Pork

Fish sauce is one of my favourite weapons to have in the pantry. It packs a powerful umami punch and can be used from simple dressings or to bring dimension to soups and braises. Today, I’m gonna show you a simple Vietnamese pork recipe that combines fish sauce and caramelized sugar to achieve an incredible flavour in a short amount of time. Get ready because it’s gonna happen right now on The Aimless Cook!

Serves 4

You will need:

  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 tablespoon fish sauce
  • 1 pound pork belly or boneless pork shoulder (skinless or skin-on), cut-into 1-inch cubes
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 large shallots, chopped
  • 1 scallion, green part only, thinly sliced
  • rice for serving

Line the bottom of a medium sauce pot with the sugar. Place the pot over medium low heat. When the sugar melts and becomes amber-colored, add the water and fish sauce. The darker the sugar turns, the more bitter the caramel will taste so be watchful. Add the cubed pork belly or shoulder and stir until coated.

Add a pinch of salt. Simmer on medium-low heat for at least 25 minutes or until the pork is fork tender.

Stir in a couple chopped shallots and and cook until translucent, another 5 to 7 minutes. The sauce should now be thickened. If that’s not the case, turn the heat up a little and simmer for another few minutes.

Serve on steamed rice and top with chopped green onion and fresh cilantro. This dish goes well with rice vinegar pickles to cut the richness of the pork.
What’s your favourite dish with fish sauce?

J’s Nasi Goreng – Indonesian Inspired Fried Rice

J's Nasi Goreng

Red curry paste is a great ingredient to have handy. It lasts practically forever in the fridge and is extremely versatile. I use it in many different recipes, including this one for my version of the famous Indonesian fried rice, Nasi Goreng. There are so many varieties of Nasi Goreng depending where you go and who’s making it.

I love this dish because it’s flavourful, aromatic, spicy, and it’s the perfect way to use up leftover vegetables. Throw in some bacon lardons or sausage, top with a fried egg, and you have yourself a delicious breakfast. So what are we waiting for? Let’s cook Nasi Goreng!


For the sauce, you will need:

  • 1 tablespoon of red curry paste
  • 1 tablespoon kecap manis (sweet soy sauce, ABC brand is the best)
  • 1 teaspoon (or more to taste) sambal oelek (garlic chili paste)
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 1 teaspoon fresh minced garlic
  • 1 teaspoon fish sauce


For the rest:

  • 2 – 3 cups of cold leftover rice
  • 2 tablespoons fresh minced garlic
  • 2 tablespoons chopped shallots or red onion
  • some vegetables (julienned carrots, mushrooms, etc)
  • some leftover meat (bacon lardons, sausage, bbq pork, prawns)
  • fresh cilantro or chopped green onion
  • lime wedges
  • a touch of salt


In a bowl, combine the ingredients for the sauce and set aside.

In a hot wok, add a couple tablespoons of oil. When it starts to smoke, add the garlic and shallot and fry for about 30 seconds. Add the rice and continue to cook, breaking up the clumps with your spatula. Cook for a minute or 2, before adding the sauce.

Once you add the sauce, continue to mix everything until the sauce is well distributed. At this point you can add your vegetables and meat (totally optional) and cook until they’re done.

Top with fresh chopped green onion or cilantro and squeeze some fresh lime juice over top just before serving.

Also, dont forget to top your nasi goreng with a sunny side up fried egg. There’s nothing like digging into that first bite with that lovely runny yolk. Enjoy!
What is your favourite rice dish?


Tonkatsudon by The Aimless Cook

Tonkatsudon is another delicious style of Japanese donburi, or rice bowl meal. Very simply, it’s a crispy pork cutlet which is then simmered in a broth of soy, dashi and mirin til it becomes slightly sweet and savoury. Add thinly sliced onions and a beaten egg and you have a meal in a bowl that you can make anytime you’re feeling the craving for something Japanese. Have fun in the kitchen!

You will need:

  • 100ml dashi
  • 2 tbsp Soy Sauce
  • 2 tbsp Mirin
  • 2 tsp Sugar
  • 1 teaspoon grated ginger
  • 1 medium onion, thinly sliced
  • 2 eggs, beaten (for cooking)
  • 2 pork chops, boneless
  • all purpose flour
  • 1 egg, beaten (for breading)
  • panko, or rice crispies
  • green onion, or furikake

Start by flattening the pork chops between 2 layers of kitchen wrap by pounding it with a mallet or a rolling pin. Dredge the chops in the flour, followed by a coating of egg, then a coating of panko or rice crispies. Set aside.

Combine the dashi, soy sauce, mirin and sugar in a small bowl or measuring cup and then mix until the sugar is dissolved. Set aside.

Heat a few inches of oil in a pot to about 350F. You can test the oil by putting in a chopstick. If it starts to bubble from the bottom of the pot, then you’re good to go. Carefully place the pork cutlets into the oil and cook until golden brown on both sides. This should only take a couple minutes since the cutlets are thin. When they’re done, drain on a rack or on some kitchen paper then set aside.

In a 10 inch skillet on medium high heat, add the sliced onions and just enough of the sauce mixture to cover the bottom of the pan. Squeeze in the juice of ½ of the grated ginger and let simmer until the onions are start to turn soft.

Slice the cutlets into bite-sized strips and using a spatula, lay a cutlet carefully onto the simmering sauce and onions. Immediately pour on half a beaten egg and cover, letting simmer for about a minute. Take off the cover and pour on the remaining egg, letting set for about 30 seconds.

Carefully lay the contents of the pan onto a bowl of freshly steamed rice. Top with fresh chopped green onion or furikake. Now grab a pair of chopsticks and enjoy!

Have you ever had to make an ingredient substitution in the kitchen?

Matcha Mochi Cakes

Matcha Mochi by The Aimless Cook

Adapted from Lemonpi

These are some tasty green tea cakes that make a delicious snack or dessert. They are moist and chewy with a slightly crispy exterior and not to overly sweet like regular cupcakes. Try them for yourself. You won’t be disappointed.

You will need:

  • 220g mochiko rice flour
  • 5g matcha powder (green tea)
  • 85g unsalted butter, melted
  • 155g caster sugar
  • ¾ cup evaporated milk
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • black and white sesame seeds

Preheat the oven to 350F. Grease and flour a cupcake pan.

In a large mixing bowl, whisk together 220g of mochiko, 5g of matcha and a teaspoon of baking powder.

In an electric mixer, whisk 2 eggs and 155g of caster sugar until light and fluffy. Add in 85g of melted butter, then ¾ cup of evaporated milk. Next, add in the dry ingredients and continue to mix til smooth.

Pour the batter into your cupcake pan, using about ¼ cup per cake. Sprinkle the tops with black and white sesame seeds.

Bake for 20 – 25 minutes in a preheated 350F oven or until a skewer inserted into the middle comes out clean. Cool on a rack, then remove from the pan.

What is your favourite tea-infused food or drink?

Natto Gohan (Fermented Soybeans on Rice)

Natto Gohan by The Aimless Cook

This particular Japanese style breakfast is one of the simplest to make. In fact, I make this whenever I need a quick snack. This is natto gohan.

You will need:

  • a couple packs of natto (available in the Asian grocer’s freezer)
  • some steamed rice
  • 2 eggs (raw, or soft poached)
  • furikake
  • chopped green onions
  • soy sauce

Natto is fermented soybeans which, like miso, are rich in protein. They are, however, an acquired taste since they have a powerful smell and slimy consistency. If you like stinky cheese, It’s nothing you haven’t experienced before and I highly recommend you try it.


Natto is sold in the freezer section of the local Asian grocery and is packaged in foam containers like these. They usually come with packets of tare (a tiny stock flavouring) and karashi mustard. The moment you open it, you’ll know what I mean about the slimy texture. To prepare the natto, just add the 2 packets and mix well with chopsticks.

Now grab a bowl ‘cause it’s time to put everything together.

Start with a large bowl with enough room to mix. Put in a couple scoops of freshly steamed rice and top with the natto. Make some room on the other side of the bowl for your egg. In this case, I’m using a fresh raw egg. If you don’t do raw eggs, you can use a soft poached egg instead. Lastly, I’m adding furikake to finish. Chopped green onions are are delicious as well so use them if you got them.

To enjoy, simply season with a little soy sauce and mix everything together. That’s it!

Natto gohan can be enjoyed on its own or with a nice bowl of miso soup. You can make natto gohan even better with some diced avocado or some raw tuna. Take this recipe, make it yours and have fun in the kitchen!

Do you like natto? Would you ever try it?

Vegan-bap – Easy Korean Cooking

Vegan-bap by The Aimless Cook

This week, I made a vegan version of one of my favourite Korean dishes – Bibimbap, or in this case, Vegan-bap! Bibimbap takes a lot of prep, but you can make extra ahead of time and have enough for whenever you get a craving.

The elements:

The Shiitake:

Take about 10 – 12 dried shiitakes and reconstitute them in a bowl with boiling water to cover. When they’re done, drain and squeeze out the excess moisture with kitchen paper then slice them, discarding the woody stems.

Put the slices into a small saucepan with about 2 tablespoons each of soy sauce, shaoxing cooking wine and brown sugar. Add a splash of hot water and stir it up to get things going on medium heat and simmer til the liquid is absorbed. When that’s done, take off the heat and set aside.

The Spinach:

Take a bunch of fresh spinach, washed and rinsed and blanch in boiling salted water for about 30 seconds. Shock in cold water, drain and squeeze out the excess moisture. Put into a large mixing bowl and season with soy sauce and sesame oil. Add a pinch of salt to taste, garnish with sesame seeds then set aside.

Gochujang sauce:

In a mixing bowl, combine a teaspoon of sesame oil with a tablespoon of gochujang and a teaspoon of soy sauce. To that, add a teaspoon and a half of honey and a splash of hot water. Whisk together to combine and give it a taste. It should be spicy at this point, but will balance out when combined with all the other ingredients. Add some sesame seeds, mix well and then set aside.

Cilantro Garlic sauce:

In a food processor or blender, add a half a bunch of fresh cilantro and a tablespoon of roasted garlic puree (you can check out how I made this by clicking on the link in the annotation). To that, put in the juice of 1 lime and blend to a nice paste. When you have your paste, keep blending on low speed and slowly drizzle in ¼ cup of canola oil til you have yourself a nice emulsion. Season with a pinch of salt and then set aside.

Carrots and sprouts:

Lightly stirfry some julienned carrots and fresh sprouts separately in a little bit of sesame oil. You only need to cook them for about 30 seconds. Set aside.

The Protein:

You can easily make this with either ground beef or pork, but today we’re using some smoked tofu. Simply dice and stirfry briefly to heat through.


For a little texture contrast and added goodness, I added some julienned English cucumber and some sliced avocado. So good!

Start with a nice big bowl. You will need room to mix everything together when you serve. Put in a couple scoops of steamed rice, then drizzle the gochujang sauce and cilantro garlic sauce on each side. After that, assemble the vegetables on top, arranging neatly like a clock. Keep an eye on your colours to keep everything vibrant. Lastly, put the tofu in the center and top with more gochujang sauce and sesame seeds.

To enjoy, simply mix everything together well. Like I said before, bibimbap is one of my all-time favourite Korean dishes. Bibimbap literally means “mixed rice” in Korean. What is your favourite vegetarian dish? Let me know in the comments below and see you next time!

Loco Moco – Hawaiian Classics

loco moco feature

Loco Moco is a popular Hawaiian comfort food consisting of 4 quintessential elements:

  • steamed rice
  • a hamburger patty
  • a rich brown gravy
  • a fried egg

Served in a bowl or as part of a Hawaiian style plate lunch with macaroni salad, loco moco can tame the most serious hunger. So if you’re ready to take on this hearty Island soul food favourite, let’s get started.

You will need:

  • 1 lb of really good quality ground beef or pork (or a 50/50 mix called ‘aibiki’ in Japanese)
  • soy sauce
  • worcestershire sauce
  • karashi mustard
  • an egg
  • salt & pepper
  • ½ yellow onion, diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • some panko breadcrumbs

for the gravy:

  • a teaspoon of flour
  • 500ml of water
  • 2 tablespoons of red miso
  • soy sauce
  • karashi mustard
  • salt and pepper

for the rice:

  • furikake
  • steamed rice

Start by heating a skillet on medium heat with a tablespoon of oil and gently saute ½ a diced onion and 2 cloves of minced garlic for about 8 minutes until translucent. When that’s done, set aside.

In a large mixing bowl, combine 1 lb of really good quality ground beef with a tablespoon of soy sauce, ½ a tablespoon of worcestershire, ½ teaspoon of karashi mustard (or prepared mustard), an egg and ¼ cup of panko breadcrumbs. Mix really well with your hands and continue to knead, scooping up the meat in your hand, then tossing it back into the bowl.

*This technique is a lot different then when you prepare Western style ground meat. When you knead the meat like this, you are transforming the texture of the meat into a smooth and uniform consistency.

When the meat’s texture is nice and smooth, form into patties making sure that the center is indented. This insures that the outer edges are done at the same time as the middle.

In a hot cast iron skillet, cook the patties for 3-4 minutes per side. A flat top is one of the best places to grill a burger since all that contact with the heat source will form a delicious brown crust. When the patties are done take them out and set aside.

Immediately sprinkle some flour to cover the reserved juices from the meat you just cooked and combine them over medium heat til you make a roux. To that, add 2 cups of cold water and whisk until the roux is fully incorporated. Next, add 2 tablespoons of red miso and continue to whisk. By now, your mixture is at a nice boil. Season your gravy with more mustard, soy, worcestershire and s&p to taste. When your gravy has thickened to the desired consistency, set aside.

Now take some freshly steamed rice and sprinkle on your favourite furikake. I love the kind with just nori and sesame seeds since it’s so versatile. If you want to season with some shichimi togarashi for a hint of spice, go for it. Use the rice paddle to cut the seasoning into the rice until combined then get ready to assemble.

To assemble, simple start with a scoop or two of rice, top with the beef patty, ladle on the gravy, then a nice sunny side up fried egg. Finish with more furikake on top then enjoy. There is something to be said when you cut into that egg yolk for the first time and watch it slowly cascade down the rest of the dish, but then again, maybe that moment is just beyond words.

Miso Maple Glazed Salmon Rice Bowl

Miso Maple Glazed Salmon Rice Bowl

The Rice Bowl is the epitome of Asian comfort food and this recipe takes Canadian and Japanese flavours and puts them together in this beautiful marriage of sweet caramelized maple syrup and savoury umami-rich red miso. Paired with the fragrant sesame seasoned brown rice and some simple grilled asparagus, this is happiness in a bowl.

You will need:

  • 1 tablespoon red miso paste
  • 1 teaspoon mirin
  • 1 teaspoon rice vinegar
  • 1/2 teaspoon grated ginger juice
  • 2 tablespoons maple syrup

Whisk into a smooth paste and set aside.

For the rice seasoning:

  • 1/4 cup soy sauce
  • 1/4 cup rice vinegar
  • 3 tablespoons sesame oil
  • 2 tablespoons roasted black sesame seeds (or regular sesame seeds)
  • a dash of honey if you prefer

Mix together in a container and set aside.

The rest:

  • a bunch of fresh asparagus
  • olive oil
  • kosher salt
  • 2 cups cooked brown short grain rice
  • 2 portions of salmon fillet

Start by preheating the broiler. On the stove, heat a large skillet on high heat with a couple tablespoons of canola oil. When it starts to smoke, add the salmon. Cook on the heat until the edges start to turn opaque, then spoon on the glaze. You will only need about a couple tablespoons per piece. Once the glaze is on the salmon, immediately put under the broiler (about 7-8 inches above the salmon). Depending on the thickness of the salmon, you will only have to leave it cook for about 3-4 minutes. At this point, the glaze should be starting to caramelize and brown. When the salmon is done, take out and set aside.

For the asparagus, simply toss in olive oil til coated then season with kosher salt. Put on the grill on medium heat and cook for a couple minutes until lightly coloured. Take off the grill and set aside.

In a large mixing bowl, add the freshly steamed brown rice and slowly drizzle in the seasoning sauce. With a slicing motion, mix the rice and seasoning together until well combined. Taste and season with salt if you need to.

To serve, simply arrange the salmon and asparagus on the bowl of seasoned sesame rice. If you like, you can also add a fried or poached egg, some sauteed shiitake mushrooms or some diced avocado. Be creative and have fun in the kitchen!


Horchata de Arroz Recipe

horchata feature

Horchata de Arroz is a popular Mexican summer drink made with ground rice, milk and cinnamon. This is a very tasty and refreshing traditional drink that is also very easy to make.

  • You will need:
  • 1 cup white rice
  • 3 cups warm water
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • ¾ cup sugar
  • 2 cups milk
  • ground cinnamon, to serve

Using a spice grinder, finely grind up the rice til you get a powdery sand consistency. Next, in a large container or jug, add the rice powder, the water and a cinnamon stick. Stir and refigerate overnight.

The next day, take out the rice mixture and strain through a cheesecloth into another large container, making sure to squeeze the leftover rice of all its excess liquid. At this point, the rice has done its job. You can throw it away.

Now put the strained liquid back in the jug and to that, add the milk and sugar. Stir well to dissolve and pour into a large glass over ice. Garnish with ground cinnamon and serve.


In Spain, this is called horchata de chufa and is made with tigernuts instead of rice. Other versions of this Mexican recipe may also include almonds for an even more creamy consistency and a touch of vanilla.

So that is the recipe for horchata. Take this recipe, make it yours and have fun in the kitchen!

Red Creole Jambalaya Recipe


Jambalaya is a classic New Orleans dish that is a signature to Creole and Cajun cuisine. This red jambalaya is a Creole version with French and Spanish influences. In fact, this recipe is thought to be a regional variation of a Spanish paella using tomatoes in place of saffron. The cooking styles of Creole and Cajun are both rich with history, classic French technique and signature flavours. This is a very simple and rewarding one-pot recipe that I’m sure you are going to love.

You will need:

  • 2 links andouille sausage, sliced into ½ inch pieces
  • 1 cup each (onion, celery, bell pepper), diced
  • 500ml pureed tomatoes
  • 2 cups chicken stock
  • a splash of red wine
  • 8 oz chicken thighs, cut into bit-sized pieces
  • 6 large shrimp, peeled and de-veined
  • 2 cups rice, rinsed and drained
  • 1 teaspoon thyme
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 1.5 teaspoons cajun seasoning (or 1 teaspoon cayenne)
  • 1 bay leaf
  • salt and pepper

In a large dutch oven or heavy pot, start by sauteing the sausage on medium high heat til you render out some of the fat. Add the onion and continue to cook until they are translucent. Once the onions are done, add the rest of the vegetables. Continue to cook for a couple minutes, then deglaze with a touch of red wine. Add the tomatoes, thyme, cumin, cajun seasoning and bay leaf. Mix until combined then add the chicken stock and the chicken. When the mixture comes to a boil, stir in the rice, cover and simmer on medium low heat for 15-20 minutes, or until the rice is done. *Do not take the lid of the pot during the simmer.


After the 15-20 minutes, take off the lid and stir well. You should have the consistency of a thick rice stew. Give it a taste and season with salt and pepper. Stir in the shrimp, cover again and let cook for about 3 minutes until they are just done. Give it a final mix and taste for seasoning, plate up and serve with hot sauce. Enjoy!