Steamed Buns with Crispy Calamari & Korean Sauce

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Fried calamari is one of my favorite summer meals. And it is very cheap and easy to make at home. I must admit that cleaning squid is not favorite cooking activity but it doesn’t take very long and the finish product is well worth it. If you don’t feel like doing it, you can always buy them cleaned. The cornmeal and panko coating make the calamari rings extra crispy, just how I love them! For the buns, I just got them frozen at my local Asian store. Just 5 minutes in the steamer since they are quite small and I was done. No need to thaw them.

For the sauce, this time I went for Korean. For some freshness, I added a cucumber and radish salad in a sesame dressing. It is such a great combination with the crispy calamari. My hubby and I finished everything in no time.

This recipe makes 10 small sandwiches.

Ingredients:

10 small steamed buns, I get the frozen ones.

500grs of squid, about 8 small ones (cleaned)

For the coating:

2 cups of all-purpose flour

2 cups of panko

1 cup of cornmeal

½ teaspoon of onion powder

½ teaspoon of garlic powder

Salt

4 eggs, beaten

For the Korean sauce:

4 tablespoons of sesame oil

1 ½ tablespoons of minced ginger

3 cloves of garlic, minced

2 tablespoons of Korean chili paste

1 tablespoon of brown sugar

2 tablespoons of honey

1/3 of a cup of soy sauce

1 tablespoon of white vinegar

For the cucumber and radish salad with sesame dressing:

1 cucumber, thinly sliced

10 radishes, thinly sliced

¼ of a cup of sesame oil

1/3 of a cup of white vinegar

3 tablespoons of honey

2 tablespoons of soy sauce

1 tablespoon of ginger syrup (if you can’t find it, just add 1 teaspoon of grated ginger)

Juice of 1 lime

1 teaspoon of black sesame seeds

1 teaspoon of white sesame seeds

Extra:

1 litter of vegetable oil

Coriander for garnish

 

Start by making the sauce. Place the sesame oil in a medium pan over medium heat. Once the oil is hot, add the minced ginger, garlic and Korean chili paste. Cook while stirring for about 1 minute. Then add the brown sugar, honey, soy sauce and white vinegar. Stir until everything is well mixed and the sugar has dissolved. Once the sauce is ready, set it aside in a bowl.

To make the cucumber and radish salad, whisk all of the ingredients for the dressing until evenly combined. Then add the sliced cucumber and radish and mix well. Set it aside.

Then start to prepare the squid. You can ask your fishmonger to clean them for you or you can do it yourself. If you have never cleaned a squid before, start by slicing the tentacles off. Just slice it below the eyes. Reserve the tentacles but discard of the beak.

Then holding the body, pull out the head and the inner parts. Also remove the flaps. What I like to do is pull the squid inside out so I can rinse it properly under cold water, don’t forget to also rinse the tentacles. Then pull it back to normal and peel the thin skin so that you are left with only white meat. Pat the squid dry with some paper towels and then slice it into small rings. Repeat for all.

Once all your squid are cleaned, start making the coating. In a medium bowl, mix the panko, cornmeal, onion powder, garlic powder and a pinch of salt. Have another bowl ready with the beaten eggs and another one with the flour.

Dip each squid ring and tentacle in the flour, then the eggs and finally in the panko/cornmeal mixture. Repeat for all. Once all the calamari is well coated, place it on a tray in a single layer and keep it in the fridge until ready to fry.

In the meanwhile, start prepping your steamed buns. I got them frozen and they went into my steamer for 5 minutes without thawing. The time will depend on the instructions in the package.

Then place the vegetable oil in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Once the oil is hot, fry he calamari in batches until they are golden. This will only take a few minutes per batch. Just make sure the oil is not too hot that it burns them quickly.

Serve each bun with some of the cucumber and radish salad, calamari and drizzle some of the Korean sauce. Serve straight away. Enjoy!

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Cucumber “Noodle” & Radish Salad with Miso Salmon

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I love to making oven-roasted miso salmon. This miso sauce adds so much flavor and I love to pair it with a cucumber and radish salad. This time I made the cucumber into noodles by using my mandoline with the julienne attachment. A very easy and flavorsome meal.

This recipe serves 2.

Ingredients:

For the salmon:

320 grs of Salmon, pin bones removed and sliced into 2 fillets

2 tablespoons of red miso paste

2 tablespoons of brown sugar

¼ cup of soy sauce

2 tablespoons of peeled and grated fresh ginger

2 tablespoons of white vinegar

2 tablespoons of sesame oil

2 teaspoons of white sesame seeds

For the cucumber noodles:

3 cucumbers, washed

10 radishes, thinly sliced

2 tablespoons of black sesame seeds

For the sesame dressing:

¼ of a cup of sesame oil

1/3 of a cup of white vinegar

3 tablespoons of honey

2 tablespoons of soy sauce

1 tablespoon of ginger syrup (if you can’t find it, just add 1 teaspoon of grated ginger)

Juice of 1 lime

 

To prepare the cucumber and radish salad. You can use a mandoline or a spiralizer. I used my mandoline with the julienne attachment. I sliced the cucumber into noddles, but I stopped when I got to the seed part (discard the core). For the radishes, I just thinly sliced them.

Place the cucumber noodles in a large sieve with a bowl underneath to catch all of the water. Let it stand like these to loose the moisture until ready to serve.

To make the vinaigrette, place all of the ingredients in a jar with a lid, seal it and shake it. Set aside.

To prepare the salmon, whisk the vinegar, miso, brown sugar, sesame oil, soy sauce and ginger in a bowl until combined.

Put the salmon on a plate and add the miso sauce. Make sure to coat the salmon pieces well in the marinade. Cover with plastic film and refrigerate for 20 minutes.

Preheat the oven to 180C.

Remove the salmon from the fridge and place it on an oven dish lined with parchment paper. Pour some of the sauce on top and cook for about 10 minutes.

After 10 minutes, turn on the broiler on for about 2 minutes. Check constantly so it doesn’t burn. It should be a bit browned.

Remove the salmon from the oven.

Press on the cucumber noodles to try to get most of the moisture out. Then place the cucumber noodles in a bowl, add the radishes, black sesame seeds and the sesame dressing. Mix well.

Divide the salad among 2 bowls and add the roasted salmon. Sprinkle some white sesame seeds over the salmon. Enjoy!

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Shrimp Wonton Soup

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I could live off dumplings. These are also nice fried. You can just fry them in a pan till golden without having to use too much oil. This soup is super simple to make, this time I added choy sum but you can add any veggies that you like.

This recipe makes 12 large wontons and serves 2-3 people.

Ingredients:

For the shrimp wontons:

250gr of shrimp, (peeled and deveined)

½ cup of finely chop Napa cabbage (green part only)

1 tablespoon of chopped ginger

1 teaspoon of Chinese five spice powder

1 tablespoon of soy sauce

1 tablespoon of sesame oil

Pinch of salt

2 tablespoons of chopped chives

12 wonton wrappers

For the soup:

8 cups of stock of your choice

1 small piece of ginger

3 tablespoons of sesame oil

1 spring onion, chopped

1 tablespoon of soy sauce

1 tablespoon of rice wine vinegar

The white part of the Napa cabbage left over from making the wontons

Extra:

1 small bunch of choy sum, cleaned and leaves separated

Soy sauce for serving

Spring onion for serving

Chili oil for serving

 

 

Mince the shrimp and then mix it with the rest of the ingredients for the filling.

Have a small bowl with cold water ready, use it to seal the edges of the wontons.

Place about 1 tablespoon of the filling in the middle of the wrapper. Dip your finger in the cold water and draw a line over the edges of the wrapper. Then fold it in half, forming a triangle. Press to seal it with your fingers, make sure there are no air bubbles. Then grab the two opposite corners and press to seal them together. Repeat for all.

To make the soup, just simmer the stock for 10 minutes with the ginger, sesame oil, spring onion, soy sauce, Napa cabbage and rice wine vinegar. Then remove the piece of ginger.

In a different pot, boil some water. Once the water is boiling, cook the wontons in batches. This will take about 5 minutes per batch. Once they start floating, they are cooked. The only reason to cook the wontons in a different pot is because if you cook them in the soup, they will cloud the stock because of the starch in the wrappers. If you don’t mind it, you can just boil them in the same pot as the stock.

Then add the choy sum to the soup and let it cook for about 2-3 minutes.

Serve with some soy sauce, chili oil and spring onions on the side.

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Korean-Style Pork Meatballs with Stir-fried Noodles

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This is an Asian version of spaghetti and meatballs. Juicy meatballs are coated in a sauce made with Korean chili paste, grated pear and other Asian ingredients. Because of the thick sauce for the meatballs, I kept the stir-fried noodles very simple.

This recipe makes about 19 meatballs and serves 3.

Ingredients:

For the meatballs:

500gr of minced pork

1 spring onion, finely sliced

1 tablespoon of minced ginger

1 teaspoon of garlic powder

1 teaspoon of onion powder

1 tablespoon of sesame oil

¾ cup of panko

Salt

1 tablespoon of vegetable oil

For the Korean-style sauce:

1 tablespoon of Korean chili paste (Gochujang)

1 pear, peeled & shredded

1 tablespoon of brown sugar

2 tablespoons of soy sauce

1 tablespoon of minced ginger

2 tablespoons of sesame oil

1 tablespoon of hoisin

Juice of ½ a lime

Pinch of salt

For the stir-fried noodles:

200gr of noodles of your choice (I used glass noodles)

3 ½ tablespoons of oyster sauce

3 tablespoons of soy sauce

2 tablespoons of sesame oil

1 spring onion, chopped

1 tablespoon of ginger syrup (if you can’t find it, you can use some minced ginger and some honey, or make a simple syrup infused with fresh ginger)

Extras:

Chopped chives

Sesame seeds

 

Start by making the meatballs. In a bowl, mix the minced pork with the spring onion, ginger, garlic powder, onion powder, sesame oil, panko and salt. Then using your hands, shape the mixture into meatballs. This will make about 19 meatballs; just don’t make them too big otherwise they will take longer to cook.

Place 1 tablespoon of vegetable oil in a non-stick pan over medium-high heat. Once the oil is hot, brown the meatballs. Try to brown them evenly.  Then transfer them to a plate and set them aside. Don’t clean the pan.

Blend all of the ingredients for the Korean-style sauce until smooth. Pour the sauce in the same pan where you browned the meatballs over medium heat. Add the meatballs and cook for about 5 minutes, stirring carefully so each meatball is evenly coated in the sauce.

Cook the noodles as instructed on the package. Heat up a pan or wok over medium heat. Once it is hot add the oyster sauce, soy sauce, sesame oil, spring onion and ginger syrup. Stir to mix it and then add the noodles. Stir-fry it for 1 to 2 minutes.

Divide the noodles among 3 plates. Then add the meatballs and the sauce. Finish it with some chopped chives and sesame seeds. Enjoy!

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Thai Red Curry with Shrimp & Sugar Snaps Peas

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This flavorsome meal with store bought curry is perfect for a weeknight. Easy and ready in under 30 minutes. I added sugar snap peas to have an extra crunchy texture in the curry.

This recipe serves 3 small bowls or 2 large ones.

Ingredients:

2 tablespoons of vegetable oil

1 clove of garlic, minced

1 ½ tablespoons of minced ginger

1 lemongrass, (white part only) finely chopped

50grs of red curry paste

1 ½ teaspoons of brown sugar or palm sugar

2 tablespoons of fish sauce

600ml of coconut milk

1 sweet pepper, finely chopped

250grs of shrimp, cleaned and deveined

Juice of ½ a lime

For the sugar snaps:

150grs of sugar snaps

1 tablespoon of vegetable oil

Salt

Extras:

Cooked white rice

Coriander leaves

Lime wedges

 

Pour one tablespoon of vegetable oil in a large pan over medium heat. Once the pan is hot, add the sugar snap peas and cook them for about 1 minute, while stirring. Add salt and set them aside.

In the same pan, add 2 tablespoons of vegetable oil. Once the oil is hot, add the garlic, ginger and lemongrass. Cook for about 1 minute until it becomes fragrant. Then add the sugar, curry paste and fish sauce. Cook for another minute while stirring. Then add the coconut milk, mix it well and let it simmer for about 10 minutes on medium-low heat until it thickens.

Then add the sweet peppers and shrimps. Cook until the shrimp are pink and cooked through. This will take about 3 to5 minutes. Turn off the heat and add the sugar snap peas and the juice of half a lime. Mix well.

Serve with white rice, coriander leaves and lime wedges.

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Vegetarian Banh Mi-Style Nachos

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I’ve been craving nachos lately so I made these banh mi-style. I made quickly pickled carrots, but you can also add daikon if you want. Instead of tortilla chips, I used spring roll wrappers which I cut into squares and then deep fried. And for the sauce, I made a Greek yogurt and Sriracha sauce with lime juice.  These “nachos” are slightly sweet, sour, spicy and very crunchy. A very addictive snack!

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This recipe serves 2.

Ingredients:

125gr of square frozen spring rolls wrappers for frying (I got the small ones of about 10x10cm), thawed

1 litter of vegetable oil

1 red chili, thinly sliced

A handful of coriander leaves

For the quickly pickled carrots:

1 cup of shredded carrots (you can also make it with half carrots and half daikon)

½ cup of vinegar

¼ cup of sugar

1 teaspoon of salt

For the Greek yogurt – Sriracha sauce:

1/3 cup of Sriracha

1/3 cup of Greek yogurt

Juice of ½ lime

1 teaspoon of white vinegar

Salt to taste

 

The night before, place the frozen spring roll wrappers in the fridge to thaw.

In a medium bowl, mix the vinegar, sugar and salt to pickle the carrots. Add the carrots and mix well. Keep it in the fridge until ready to serve (Let it pickle for at least 15 minutes).

I find that just one sheet of the spring rolls is too thin, you can do it like this but I prefer to leave 2 sheets sticking together because they hold the toppings better. I used kitchen scissors to cut each double sheet into 4 squares. Repeat until you are done with all of the wrappers.

Pour the oil into a medium saucepan over medium heat. Once the oil is hot, start frying the wrappers in small batches. Fry them until they are golden. Then place them in a large plate lined with paper towels. Repeat until all of them are fried.

To make the Greek yogurt-Sriracha sauce, just mix all of the ingredients in a bowl. Add salt to taste. Pour it into a zip lock bag.

Drain the pickled carrots.

To serve, place the fried wrappers on a large plate. Spread the pickled carrots all over. Then slice off the tip of the zip lock bag with the sauce, and drizzle it over the nachos. Finish it by adding fresh coriander leaves and finely sliced chili. Enjoy!

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Breakfast Ramen with Kimchi & Avocado

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I made this ramen with a very simple pork stock but you can adjust it to your liking. If you want a creamier consistency, you can add chopped pigs trotters. I prepared the stock the night before so for breakfast there was not much to be done. I love avocado on tortilla soup so why not on ramen? I topped it with wasabi Furikake to keep the Asian flavors going.

This recipe serves 2.

Ingredients:

250grs of ramen noodles

1 avocado, thinly sliced

½ cup of kimchi

1 egg

For the pork stock:

1 kilo of pigs ribs, chopped into chunks

2 cloves of garlic, peeled and smashed

1 piece of ginger, about the size of your thumb

1 white onion, peeled and cut in half

1 medium carrot, chopped

2 litters of boiling water

1 tablespoon of vegetable oil

To serve:

Wasabi Furikake

Chopped chives

Black sesame seeds

Sesame oil

Soy sauce

Chili oil

Lime wedges (optional)

 

Place the vegetable oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add the pig’s bones and brown them. Then add the garlic, onion, ginger, carrot. Stir for 1 minute and then add the boiling water. Let it simmer for about 1 hour, removing the foam from time to time. Strain the stock and discard of the solids. Let it cool down before covering it and placing it in the fridge overnight.

The next morning, remove the stock from the fridge. I like to scoop out the fat from the top and discard of it. Then heat up the stock in a saucepan.

Cook the ramen noodles as instructed on the package. Then drain them.

Place the egg in a saucepan over medium heat and add boiling water. Boil it for 7 minutes. Remove the shell and slice it in half.

To plate up, divide the ramen noodles in between two bowls. Add the stock, avocado, kimchi and egg. Sprinkle some wasabi Furikake over the avocado, and some black sesame seeds and chopped chives over the soup. I like to serve it with sesame oil, soy sauce, chili oil and a wedge of lime on the side.

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Thai-Inspired Steak Salad

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On the weekends, I prefer to keep my meals simple and not time-consuming. It’s not always the case but I try. And a steak is always welcome, it cooks quiet quickly and both my husband and I go gaga for it. It’s not something we could eat everyday but when we do, it is really a treat. And lately our favorite way to eat it is in a salad. This time I made a Thai-style dressing. And I added Thai basil, coriander and mint to the salad. So you have all these mini explosions of flavors in every bite. I used a mandoline to slice the carrots and cucumber into thin ribbons, but you can just shred the carrots and thinly slice the cucumber with a knife.

This recipe serves 2.

Ingredients:

For the steak:

500gr of Flank steak

Vegetable oil for brushing the steak

Salt

Pepper

For the salad:

½ cucumber, sliced into thin ribbons using a mandoline

½ red onion, thinly sliced

1 medium yellow carrot, sliced into thin ribbons using a mandoline

1 medium purple carrot, sliced into thin ribbons using a mandoline

10 cherry tomatoes, halved or quartered depending on their size

4 tablespoons of chopped coriander

8 Thai basil leaved, finely chopped

8 mint leaves, finely chopped

About 100grs of a lettuce mix of your choice (I used lamb’s lettuce, baby spinach, baby Swiss chard and baby red tatsoi)

For the dressing:

Juice of 1 big lime

2 tablespoons of fish sauce

1 tablespoon of brown sugar

2 tablespoons of soy sauce

1 small bird’s eye chili, finely chopped

¼ cup of vegetable oil

1 teaspoon of minced ginger

1 small clove of garlic, minced

Optional:

1 spring onion, thinly sliced

½ red chili, thinly sliced

 

To make the dressing, just place all of the ingredients in a jar with a lid. Cover it and shake it. Set it aside until ready to use.

Prepare all your veggies.

To cook the meat, heat up a large pan over medium heat. Brush the steak with some vegetable oil. Add salt and pepper on both sides.

Once the pan is hot, place the meat and cook it to your liking. For medium rare, it takes about 5 minutes per side but it will also depend on the thickness of the steak. My steak was a bit thick in the middle so it took about 1 extra minute.

Let the steak rest for 5 minutes and then thinly slice it.

Once the steak is done and sliced, place all the vegetables and lettuce in a large bowl. Give the dressing another shake and add it to the salad. Mix it well so everything is well coated, I just used my hands.

Serve the salad and then add the steak slices. Sprinkle some of the sliced spring onion and chili over the steak. Finally pour the remaining dressing from the bowl on top of the steak. Enjoy!

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Miso Roasted Eggplant Gyoza

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I can’t go too long without having some dumplings. I mixed a finely chopped eggplant with miso sauce and used it as the filling. Very simple but packed with flavor. I normally let them steam but this time I pan-fried them. They are crispy little delights.

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This recipe makes about 30 gyoza.

Ingredients:

1 large eggplant, chopped into very small cubes

About 30 gyoza wrappers, defrosted

For the miso sauce:

1 tablespoon of aka miso

1 teaspoon of honey

3 tablespoons of soy sauce

1 tablespoon of white vinegar

1 tablespoon of ginger syrup

1 tablespoon of sesame oil

2 tablespoons of sesame seeds

For the dipping sauce:

1 tablespoon of chopped fresh ginger

3 tablespoons of chopped chives

Juice of 1 lime

1 bird’s eye chili, finely chopped

1 tablespoon of sesame oil

1/3 cup of soy sauce

Extra:

Vegetable oil for pan–frying the gyoza

 

Preheat your oven to 180C/350F and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

To make the dipping sauce, just mix all of the ingredients in a bowl. Set it aside.

Thinly slice the eggplant and then chop it into very small cubes.Since the wrappers are quite small, you want the eggplant chopped as finely as possible.

Place all of the ingredients for the miso sauce in a large bowl and whisk until everything is well combined. Add the eggplant and mix well.  Spread it evenly on the prepared baking sheet. Roast it for 30 minutes, stirring halfway through the cooking time. Then allow it to cool down.

Once the eggplant has cooled down, start to assemble the gyoza. Place about 2 teaspoons of the filling in the center of the wrapper, brush the edges of the wrapper with some water and then fold it into a half moon shape. Starting at one end, fold/pinch the wrapper tightly together. Keep going until it is completely sealed, trying to get rid of any air bubbles. Repeat for all.

Once the gyoza are ready, pour about 1 cup of vegetable oil in a large pan over medium heat. Once the oil is hot, fry the gyoza in batches until golden on both sides. This will only take a few minutes and since the filling is already cooked, it goes quite fast. Place the gyoza on a plate lined with parchment paper to absorb any excess oil.

Serve them right away with the dipping sauce. Enjoy!

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BBQ Kimchi Baked Wings with Wasabi Peanuts

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Yes, I know I am on a kimchi phase. I think I’m trying to make up for all the years that it was missing from the life. This dish is inspired by my friend Chi from Pocha Factory. She made the most delicious Asian Inspired burger for the Final Burger Battle which took place last year, and which she won. Besides the kimchi and her secret sauce, she added chopped wasabi peanuts to her burger. This added a nice extra crunch and spiciness that went very well with the meat.

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This serves 3-4 people.

Ingredients:

800grs of chicken wings

For the sauce:

½ cup of BBQ sauce

½ cup of kimchi

1 teaspoon of Worcestershire sauce

2 tablespoons of ginger syrup

1 tablespoon of sesame oil

2 tablespoons of brown sugar

2 tablespoons of balsamic vinegar

½ teaspoon of salt

Juice of ½ a lime

1 tablespoon of honey

Extra:

½ cup of wasabi peanuts, chopped

3 tablespoons of chopped chives

 

Preheat the oven to 200C/390F and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

Blend all of the ingredients for the sauce until smooth. Taste it and adjust the salt to your liking. Pour the sauce into a large bowl and add the chicken wings. Toss to coat them well.

Spread the wings on a single layer over the prepared baking sheet.

Bake them for 1 hour until the wings are caramelized.

Sprinkle the chopped wasabi peanuts and chives over the wings. Enjoy!

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