I made this wonderful lunch with my boyfriend yesterday. We picked out some of the freshest vegetables from a farmer market. Together we made barbecue chicken, pico de gallo, sautéed kale, and yellow rice. So much yumminess! And look at the colors!

I made this wonderful lunch with my boyfriend yesterday. We picked out some of the freshest vegetables from a farmer market. Together we made barbecue chicken, pico de gallo, sautéed kale, and yellow rice. So much yumminess! And look at the colors!

Stir-Fry Asparagus and Ground Beef in Spicy Basil Sauce

Ingredients:

-1/2 lb ground beef

-1 bunch asparagus or about 3 cups, chopped into 1” pieces or julienned

-1 cup basil leaves 

-2 tablespoon bird eyes chili, jalapeños, or serraño, chopped finely

-2 tablespoon or about 5 large garlic cloves, chopped finely

-1/2 tablespoon canola or vegetable oil

-2 tablespoon mushroom sauce or oyster sauce

-1 tablespoon light or dark soy sauce

-1 tablespoon fish sauce

-1/2 teaspoon brown sugar (optional) 

Instruction:

1) In a small bowl, mix soy sauce, oyster sauce, fish sauce, and sugar together to be ready for the stir-fry. 

2) Heat the oil in medium heat in a wok or a skillet. Test the temperature of the oil by adding a tiny bit of garlic; the oil is ready when the garlic sizzles. Add the rest of the garlic and hot peppers and stir until fragrant.

3) Immediately add the beef before the garlic and the chili burn. Turn the heat to high. Add the sauces you previously mixed into the beef, it should take about 3 minutes until the beef is cooked.

4) Add the asparagus, stir-fry until it cooks, but keep it crispy.  Add the basil at the end and cook it lightly until wilted. Serve it on top of some warm jasmine rice or brown rice. 

Content: All literary works and photos (even if they don’t have my signature) are my original works otherwise stated. They cannot be reproduce in part or in whole unless prior consent from me, or mention of the sourceThank you!

Salmon Bath in Peanut-y Red Curry Sauce and Bell Peppers

Hello! As promised, I’m back with a recipe for the salmon dish that I made about three weeks ago. Because salmon tastes good by itself, I was worried that adding too much flavor to it would ruin the experience of eating it. It turned out that the flavor of the red curry paste and the peanut butter did not overwhelmed the flavor of the salmon. In fact, you will taste all of the three flavors as they melted away in your mount. 

Ingredients:

-1 piece salmon fillet

-1/2 tablespoon canola, vegetable, olive oil

-1/2 cup unsweetened coconut milk, shake the can before use

-1/2 cup bell peppers, thinly sliced

-1 tablespoon red curry paste

-1 tablespoon peanut butter

-1/3 tablespoon fish sauce

-1 tablespoon minced cilantro

- a wedge of lime

Cooking Instruction:

1) In a pan, warm canola or vegetable oil over medium heat, then add the curry paste. Stir until it fragrants. 

2) Once they are fragrant, add the coconut milk and peanut butter. Stir until they mix well and wait until the fat (which looks like oil from peanut butter, coconut milk, and canola oil) to settles on the surface. The fat should look like orange oily dots on the surface.

3) Add all the flavors and the salmon! Simmer the salmon in the sauce until cooked. 

Salmon with Penut-ty Curry Sauce

Its late (4:45am). I just spent an hour writing the recipe to a salmon curry dish that I made for lunch today and I forgot to save it! So I will leave you guys with two mouthwatering pictures for now, and I will come back with the recipe soon! 

Fried Rice with Shrimp, Zucchini, and Basil Leaves

Any household in Thailand would make fried rice when they found themselves having leftover rice in the fridge. At my house in Thailand, we never cook rice just to make fried rice, and we don’t reheat the rice that was left in the fridge for our meal. I follow the same practice under the mango tree.

Old rice is preferred when cooking Thai-style fried rice. This is because the rice loses some of its moisture (it gets dry!) when left in the fridge, so it absorbs the flavors fully when cooked in a new sauce without turning into “wet” fried rice! Dryer rice also helps to prevent it from sticking to the bottom of the pan. The rice grains are looser so they won’t make sticky clumps like fresh cooked rice does. 

TIme: 25 minutes

Serving:  2

Ingredients:

-8 large frozen shrimp, defrost, washed, and deveined

-2 cups cooked rice

-1 tablespoon canola or vegetable oil

- about 15 basil leaves, roughly chopped

-4 garlic cloves, minced

-1 tablespoon finely chopped bird’s eye chili, jalapeno, basque fryer, or any suitable chili for stir fry, adjust accordingly

-1 small zucchini, diced

-1 tablespoon fish sauce, or adjust according to your liking

-1 tablespoon light or dark soy sauce or more, or adjust according to your liking

-2 tablespoon oyster sauce or mushroom sauce

-1 teaspoon paprika

-wedges of lime (optional)

Cooking Instruction:

1) Combine the fish sauce, oyster sauce, soy sauce, and paprika into a small cup.

2) Heat the oil in a wok over medium heat, then lightly cook the garlic and the chili for about 5 seconds until they are fragrant. Do not brown them because it will bring out more of the garlic flavor and that would reduce the basil fragrance. 

3) Add shrimp, zucchini, and the sauce that combined in #1. Slightly cook them together then add the cooked rice. Timing is really important in stir-fry dishes, do not try to cook the shrimp and the zucchini all the way now because they will be cooked more when the rice is added. 

4) Add the rice and stir continuously. Make sure there are no clumps. Add the basil leaves and stir until everything is cooked and the rice is heated thoroughly. Serve with fresh cut wedges of lime. 

Make You Go Crazy: Soba Salad

This effortless dish hides complex flavors of fresh ginger and toasty sesame oil.  Me and my boyfriend made this together during our midterm, it took us less than 20 minutes. 

Serving: 2-4 ( We eat a lot so it makes only two servings for us)

Ingredients:

1 pack soba buckwheat noodle ( about 8-9 oz)

2 bok choy, cut horizontally as in the picture (also see below for other varieties)

1 tablespoon ginger, minced

1 tablespoon scallion, minced (use cilantro if you don’t have scallion, or use both)

2 teaspoon toasted sesame oil

1 tablespoon rice vinegar (optional)

2 tablespoon kikkoman soy sauce or tamari

1 teaspoon chili flake, jalapeno, or serrano, chopped finely  (optional)

How to:

1) To cook buckwheat noodles, it is best to follow the instructions from the back of the package. Bring water to a boil, then add the noodles. Uncover the pot. Allow the noodles to simmer in a low heat, for about 6 to 10 minutes.* Stir occasionally. Drain and rinse with cold water. 

2) *In this recipe, right before the soba is completely cooked, immerse bok choy in the same pot. Then drain and rinse them together. 

3) Chop your vegetables while you wait for the noodle. In a large salad bowl or a tableware, whisk together ginger, scallions, cilantro, rice vinegar, soy sauce, chili flakes, and sesame oil. 

3) Throughly combine the noodle and bok choy into the sauce.

Tips: Always simmer soba noodles over low heat after you bring the water to  a boil. Soba likes to be slow cooked for a tenderly firm texture. If you cook the soba noodle in boiling water throughout in the same way you prepare pasta your soba will be overcooked, sticky, and starchy. ( I made this mistakes twice because I didn’t read the instruction)

For Variety: Feel free to replace bok choy with your choice of vegetables such as asparagus, string beans, bell peppers, snow peas, bean sprouts, or eggplant. You can also grill the vegetables like eggplant, asparagus, bell peppers, and perhaps some portobello mushrooms. 

"

The Cook’s Memory by Ashley VanDoorn

I want a recipe stripped of unnecessary ingredients,
body pared to its flavors—the metallic salt between
your breasts, the earlobe’s sourness, the bitter
back of your knee and sugary fingertips. I love
even the silky blandness of your eyelids. O this
sweetness I can’t get rid of—bowl of my hands held out
to catch the loss that spills from you, whip it to pleasure
then grate it onto your tongue. Skin’s become a furnace.
The measure of beauty is the duration of mmm….
MInutes dice my hands into forgetting one good
grid of your hips could stretch that sounds forever.
Memory’s first bite is more delicious than an dish.
Tenderly I cupped your burning face. Tenderly
you shackled my sizzling heart to the flame.

"

— Literary Lunch edited by Jeannette Brown with Flossie McNabb (p. 199)

Quick Lunch: Bok Choy & Sesame Chicken over Spaghetti Noodles.

Having afternoon classes means that I have time to  cook my own lunch! This is one of the dishes I have made.

This dish took about 20 minutes. I marinated the chicken with hoisin sauce, salt, sesame oil, garlic, green onions, and a little bit of sesame seed. Hoisin sauce and sesame oil have such strong flavors that you don’t need to marinate them for a long time. I only allowed five minutes this time. The flavors will mostly stay coated on the surface, which is satisfying for this quick lunch.  While letting the chicken marinate, I started to boil some water for the spaghetti noodles and bok choy. I immersed the bok choy in the hot water quickly then start cooking the noodles. I pan fried the chicken on a non-stick pan with a little bit of canola oil.

Mango Tree in the Process...

I have never blogged before.  Before this blog got started, my friend from Berkeley, Veronica helped me plan out the blog and taught me different blogging tools. That night I also cooked a wonderful dinner for us, my sister, and her buddy. I made broiled stuffed green Anaheim peppers with marinated ground chicken, Haw Mok shrimps, fried quail eggs, and (heavenly) sweet beef jerky (pictures go from left to right).

The stuffed chili dish took me a long time to make (about 30 minutes). I should have kept the Anaheim chili whole and then stuffed the chicken instead of cutting it in small chucks. I used ground chicken thigh because it gives stronger flavor and it has more moisture so that the chicken doesn’t dry out after grilling. I marinated the chicken with minced fresh cilantro, garlic, salt, and pepper.

For fried quail egg, much like most stir fry dishes in Thailand and China, I prefer to use high heat to get the bottom of the eggs golden and crispy quickly while the yoke uncooked. Before dinning, I lightly tossed some salt and pepper on top for flavor. Soy sauce would also give a nice taste.

The sweet beef jerky is best to prepare over night. I got the recipe from my favorite online Thai cooking website at thaitable.com, and I also found a another similar recipe at Chow!

In Thailand, you steam Haw Mok in banana leaf by making a little basket container for the dish. I find aluminum foil or metal baking pans to be a perfect substitute although it won’t give the same fragrance to the food. This time I used the recipe from The Original Thai Cookbook by Jennifer Brennan. I highly recommend this cookbook to anyone out there who is hungry for a real home cooked Thai meal. In this book, the author includes dishes that most Thai families would make at home and most of the time you cannot find them in the Thai restaurants here.

 After all the dishes were prepared, the kitchen was a mess. Veronica made an artistic move to capture some of the wonderful chaos.

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