Sunday, January 30, 2011


Oli, here's how you make tonkatsu.  Yes, fried stuff, you're favorite!  I know you're planning on making this soon since you bought a lot of pork at Costco.  So here's an easy recipe for you to follow.

1. Ingredients:  Pork (usually tenderloin - at the Korean/Japanese markets it's labeled for tonkatsu), panko (Japanese bread crumbs), eggs, flour, salt, oil.

2.  First, you have to pound the pork to flatten them.  The thinner they are, the quicker they cook.  But you don't want them super thin because that's just silly.  So like that recipe you read, maybe pound the pork to about a half inch thick.  Then lightly season each piece with salt on both sides.

3.  Next get your coating ready.  First comes the flour dredge, then the egg wash, then the panko.  What, you say?  The flour and egg help to make the panko crust nice and crispy, duh.  For my recipe, I used 3 pieces of pork.  So for the coating, I used about a half cup of flour, 2 eggs (beaten and seasoned with salt and pepper), and 2 cups of panko.  Use more or less depending on how many piece of pork you intend to cook. 

4.  Put the pork in the flour and coat evenly on both sides.

5.  Then put the pork in the egg wash and coat evenly on both sides.

6.  Then put the pork in panko and make sure it's completely and evenly coated.

7.  Heat up the oil.  Use vegetable or canola oil or some other oil that is flavorless, not olive oil.  Put about a half inch of oil in the pan on medium heat.  You asked me how I know the oil is hot enough.  Well, let it heat up for like 7-8 minutes then drop a little bit of the panko in the pan.  It should fry up immediately and brown within a minute.  If it does, you know the oil is hot enough!  The oil needs to be hot or your tonkatsu will taste greasy.  Blech.

8. You only need to cook the tonkatsu a couple of minutes on each side.  You'll notice the sides start to brown so that's when you need to flip.  It's done when it's browned and crispy. 

9. Take the tonkatsu out of the oil and drain on a paper towel if you want.  Then enjoy when hot!  Good luck!

Friday, January 21, 2011

Spaghetti with Marinara

Oli, here's a super easy recipe for spaghetti with marinara sauce. Yes, I know you said you know how to cook spaghetti. But in case you actually want to try something different, here you go. This recipe doesn't have any meat but you are free to add ground meat or sausage to the sauce.

1. Ingredients: Whole, peeled San Marzano canned tomatoes, spaghetti, garlic, onions, olive oil, basil, salt.

2. So I took a cue from Nigella Lawson and sped up the prep process.  Normally if I was making a marinara sauce, I would dice the onions, saute them, blahblahblah.  It can be very labor intensive!  So this time, I used a mini food processor to really mince up the onions.  No chopping involved!  Then I sauteed that in some olive oil and of course, add salt.

3.  Saute the onions on low-medium heat for about 5 minutes until they're soft and translucent.  Then add some chopped garlic (yeah I chopped that) and saute for a few more minutes.  Then add the whole can of tomatoes.

4. Break up the tomatoes a little with your wooden spoon and bring the sauce up to a simmer.  Add some chopped basil.  Then get out your handy dandy hand blender.  You probably don't have one of those, but you should get one - add that to the list of kitchen tools you need! 

5. Blitz the whole thing in pulses so you don't splatter hot tomato sauce everywhere.  It should turn into a relatively smooth sauce (sorry for the not so great photos).

5. Let the sauce simmer on low heat for about 20-30 minutes so all the flavors blend together.  Add salt and pepper to your taste.  When you feel like the sauce is done and tastes right, cook the pasta (1 lb. should be plenty for the sauce) in salted water.  Drain the pasta and add to the pot with the sauce.  Stir and cook the pasta with the sauce for like 30 seconds so the pasta can absorb some of the sauce.  Then serve and enjoy!

Monday, January 17, 2011

Spam Musubi

Oli, you know you loves the Spam! Here's my easy recipe - I like when the "teriyaki" sauce that the spam is coated in soaks into the rice a little bit. You get the sweetness from the sauce and the saltiness from the Spam, all balanced out by rice.

1. Ingredients: Spam (I buy the lite kind so I don't feel too guilty that I'm eating meat of undetermined origin), white rice (sure you can probably use brown rice or mixed or rice or even fried rice), soy sauce, mirin, sugar, pepper, roasted seaweed (you can find the half-sheet size or if you get the full-size sheets, just cut in half with scissors - and don't buy the toasted, salted kind).

2. Slice the spam horizontally, about a 1/4 or 1/3 of an inch thick, depending on how Spamlicious you want your musubis.  Cook the spam in a pan until both sides are browned.  No need to add oil, cuz you know Spam can be oily.

3.  In a separate bowl, add about a half cup of soy sauce, quarter cup of mirin,  teaspoon of sugar, couple pinches of pepper.  You can also add some rice vinegar or pineapple juice to this "teriyaki" sauce.  Add this sauce to the hot pan with Spam (about medium heat).

4. The sauce will reduce because of the sugars, but just keep an eye on it so it doesn't burn!  After the Spam has been coated on both sides and the sauce has thickened a bit, take it out an put it on a plate.  You don't have to use all the sauce.

5. By the time the Spam is ready, the rice should be cooked right?  Make sure to use hot/warm rice so that the seaweed will stick.  Put a half sheet down with the musubi mold at the bottom.

6. Put a small scoop of rice at the bottom of the mold and spread it evenly.  Then place a slice of Spam and then another small scoop rice on top. 

6. Press everything into the mold tightly and wrap with the seaweed.  If the rice is too sticky or you have trouble unmolding the rice and Spam, wet the mold and press with some water first.  Let the musubis cool down a bit, slice in half, and enjoy!

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Beef Curry Rice

Oli, I know you know how to make curry rice.  And i know fo sho you're not using extra hot curry.  But here's how I do it - just as a point of reference for you.  I like chunky veggies in my curry and don't use any cornstarch like how mom does to thicken the sauce.  Instead I like to cut the potatoes a little large so they they'll dissolve a little of their starch and naturally thicken the sauce as the whole thing cooks.

1.) Ingredients: beef (at the korean market they have beef that's already cubed specifically for curry - weird I know), carrots, onions, frozen corn and peas, potatoes, curry, rice.

2. Brown the meat in some oil in a hot pot on medium heat.  Don't forget to season with salt and pepper.

3. When the meat has browned, take it out and drain any excess fat.  Add in some more olive oil and then saute the onions.  Add some salt.  After you've cooked the onions for a couple of minutes, add the carrots and the potatoes and toss everything so it's coated with the oil.

3.  After the veggies have cooked for a few minutes, add the beef back in and saute a couple more minutes so all the flavors can meld.  So you know the curry sauce comes in like solid blocks - dissolve the blocks in some warm water (like a cup) before you add it to the pot.  Also add about 3-4 cups of water (depending on how much curry you want to use and how much veggies you have in the pot).

4. So I know it looks watery but it's ok!  Just let the whole pot simmer for 15-20 minutes, stirring occasionally until the carrots become tender and the potatoes are almost falling apart.  At that point, add in your frozen corn and peas.

5. After a couple more minutes, the frozen veg will be nicely incorporated and the sauce should have thickened considerably.  Ladle over some rice and enjoy!

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Orecchiette with Spicy Sausage and Kale

Oli, this is one of my favorite pasta dishes to eat and it's super easy to make...yes, even you can't mess this up!  I know you can't eat the spicy food, so I guess you can use mild Italian sausage.  But this dish just isn't the same without spicy sausage and a few pinches of crushed red pepper.  Suck it up!

1. Ingredients:  Orecchiette (little ear pasta), spicy Italian sausage, kale, parmesan, olive oil, garlic, red pepper, salt.

2. So first, take the sausage out of the casing.  Just cut down length-wise, deep enough to just pierce the casing.  Break apart the meat and put it in the pan with a little a olive oil.

3. Cook the sausage until browned and some of the fat has rendered out.

4. Take the cooked sausage out of the pan and drain out some of the sausage fat.  Put a little olive oil in the pan and add the sliced garlic.  Saute the garlic on low heat for a couple minutes until they soften - don't let them burn!

5. When the garlic is cooked a little, put in a little more olive oil and the chopped and washed kale.  I only used the greens and not the stems.  But if I was going to put the kale in a soup or braise it, I would definitely use the stalks too. 

6. Toss the kale in the pan and season with a pinch of salt.  Cook the kale until it wilts and is bright green, but the cooking time will depend on how crunchy you want it - I like the kale to have some bite so I cook it for about 10 minutes.  Add back the sausage and toss all together.  Sorry I didin't take a picture of it! 

Hopefully during this time, you cooked the pasta in salted water.  Before you drain the pasta, save some of that pasta water for the sauce, about a cup.  After you drain it, toss it back in the pan with the sausage, garlic, and kale.  Fold all the ingredients together.  You can use some more olive oil to coat the ingredients and add another pinch of salt and some crushed red pepper.  Also grate in a lot of parmesan cheese and fold that in as well.  Then pour the pasta water into the dish so everything comes together to form a sauce for the pasta.  This recipe is pretty foolproof...just keep throwing things in and mixing it up!  If you mess it up, I really can't help you.  Enjoy!