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Homemade Taiwanese Food – Pork Ragu, Tomatoes and Eggs, Fried Rice

A Homemade Taiwanese Meal – Pork Ragu, Tomatoes and Eggs, and Fried Rice, by Reggie Soang

A homemade Taiwanese meal has rice, a soy sauce braised pork, and a vegetable dish. Taiwanese pork ragu is one of the most popular dishes, followed by the stir fry tomatoes and eggs. These two dishes are quintessential Taiwanese food and every family has its own version. Fried rice is often served because Taiwanese family cooks rice a few batches at a time; therefore, leftover rice is a “pantry stable”. Taiwanese meal is simple and straightforward. Taiwanese food is about using the freshest ingredients and a variety of spices. Taiwanese food is delicious and wholesome.

For the latest New Lifestyle Cooking Series:

Homemade Taiwanese Meal: Pork Ragu, Tomato and Eggs, Fried Rice
Serve: 4 to 6 people

Prep Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 45 minutes

Ingredients:
For the Taiwanese Ragu:
3 tablespoons cooking oil
1 +1/2 pound ground pork
1 cup diced onions, large dice
3 cups diced eggplant, large dice
10 cloves/1 head fresh garlic
6 button mushrooms
2 tablespoons Chinese five-spice*
1/4 cup soy sauce
2 tablespoons mirin
2 teaspoons sugar
400g chicken stock or water
More water for adjusting consistency

*Chinese five-spice bland:
2 teaspoons star anise
1 teaspoon fennel seeds
1 teaspoon cloves
1 teaspoon Szechuan peppercorn
1 stick cinnamon

Grind everything into powder form

For the Tomato Egg Stir Fry:
2 tablespoons cooking oil
1 large beefsteak tomato, diced to bite size
4 eggs, beaten
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon MSG
1/2 teaspoon sugar
2 tablespoons chopped Scallions

For the Fried Rice:
2 tablespoons cooking oil
1/2 cup chopped onions
1/4 cup chopped scallions
4 cups leftover/day-old long-grain white rice
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon MSG

  1. Add chopped onions, eggplant, garlic, and mushroom to a food processor and blitz until fine, like the size of ground pork. Set aside.
  2. To make the pork ragu, set up a medium-sized pot on high heat, add the oil. Once the oil starts to shimmer, add ground pork and break up the chunks. Cook the pork until it is no longer pink.
  3. Add the veggie blend from step 1 and continuously cook the ingredients on high heat. Once the bottom of the pot picks up a little color and it is sizzling a little louder, add the spices and cook until fragrant.
  4. Add soy sauce, mirin, chicken stock or water, and sugar, and bring the pot to a simmer. Add more water to adjust the consistency. The ragu will thicken but should still be fluid and juicy. Simmer the sauce for 30 minutes. Add more water if the ragu gets too thick and dry during the simmering.
  5. Meanwhile, make tomato egg stir fry and fried rice.
  6. Set a non-stick skillet on high heat and add oil. Once the oil shimmers, sauté tomatoes, and season with salt, sugar, and MSG. When the tomatoes start to wilt on the edge, add scallions and keep cooking on high heat until scallions are fragrant. Pour in the eggs and stir vigorously and turn off the heat. The eggs will continue to cook with the residual heat. The eggs should be barely done and soft. Set aside and make fried rice and check on the ragu; the ragu should be aromatic, sweet, and barely too salty ( the fried rice is going to balance out the flavor)
  7. Wipe down the non-stick skillet, and put it back on high heat. Add the oil and when the oil shimmers, add onions and cook until the edges are picking up some color.
  8. Add the rice and let the rice sizzle in the hot skillet for 10 seconds before tossing and flipping. Season the rice with salt and MSG. The fried rice should be a little bland because the pork ragu will add a lot of flavor to it.
  9. Toss the fried rice a couple times and let it sizzle again for another 10 seconds. Do this procedure a few times until rice is hot and fluffy.
  10. At this point, the ragu should be finished; it should be creamy, saucy, and fragrant.
  11. To serve, put some rice in a bowl and ladle pork ragu to cover it. Serve tomato egg stir fry on the side with extra chopped scallions. Bon Appétit!
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Chinese Food – Kung Pao Chicken

Kung Pao Chicken, by Reggie Soang (click on the image for YouTube video)

Kung Pao Chicken is a widely popular Chinese dish; the color is vibrant and the flavor is well balanced. A great Kung Pao chicken is salty, sweet, a little vinegary, and not too spicy; the dried and fiery looking chilies provide smokiness and a hint of heat that is pleasant and delightful. Last but not least, toasted cashews or peanuts are added for crunch and also give the dish a nice nutty complement. A bowl of steamed rice is the perfect sidekick to Kung Pao Chicken since it is flavorful and almost on the verge of being too salty…but there’s is no such a thing in Chinese cuisine!

For the latest New Lifestyle Cooking Series:

Kung Pao Chicken
Serves: 4 portions

Prep Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 30 minutes

Ingredients:
For Marinating Chicken:
2 chicken breasts, cubed
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1 teaspoon sesame oil
1 teaspoon sugar
pinch of Chinese five-spice
1/2 tablespoons corn starch

For the Kung Pao Sauce:
2 teaspoons sugar
1 tablespoon rice wine vinegar
1 + 1/2 tablespoon soy sauce
1 teaspoon tomato paste
1/4 cup of chicken stock*
1 tablespoon hoisin sauce
1/2 teaspoon mirin
1/8 teaspoon MSG

*If there is no chicken stock, water could be a substitute. And then add a bit more of everything else to make up the lost flavor.

For the stir fry:
5 tablespoons cooking oil, divided
1 + 1/2 cup (1/2 large sized onion) diced onions, medium dice
1 cup + 1/4 cup (1 pepper) diced green bell pepper, medium dice
1 tablespoon chopped garlic, finely chopped
1/4 cup sliced scallions, cut into 2-inch length
1/4 cup toasted peanuts
1 teaspoon ground Szechuan peppercorn
1 teaspoon Chinese 5-spice
1 teaspoon dried chili flakes

To serve with:
White rice, steamed

  1. To marinate the chicken, add soy sauce, sesame oil, sugar, and Chinese five-spice to the chicken and mix to combine. And then add corn starch, mix to combine. The chicken will feel a little pasty.
  2. To make Kung Pao sauce, add everything together in a mixing bowl and mix to combine. Set aside.
  3. To make Kung Pao chicken, make sure to have everything prepped and ready to go in this order: onions and peppers, chicken, garlic and scallions, sauce, spices, and toasted peanuts.
  4. Using a skillet or a wok, heat it up on high heat. Add 3 tablespoons of oil and wait until it starts to smoke, add onions and green peppers to sauté. Without moving onions and peppers too much, cook until the edges of the veggies are caramelized. If the skillet is big enough, add the rest of the oil and then add chicken. If not, set aside the onions and peppers, wipe down the skillet, and then cook the chicken in it.
  5. When the chicken is nicely colored, add garlic and scallions. Sauté garlic and scallions until fragrant, and then add the veggies back into the skillet to reheat.
  6. Pour the sauce over and coat everything evenly. Turn the heat off and keep tossing the ingredients until they look glossy and saucy. Add peanuts and toss to combine.
  7. Place Kung Pao chicken on a plate and sprinkle raw scallions and toasted peanuts on top. Serve Kung Pao Chicken with steamed white rice. Bon appétit!
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Japanese Food – Japanese Curry with Fried Eggplant

Japanese Curry with Fried Eggplant, by Reggie Soang

Japanese curry is a widely popular dish in Asian cuisine. The best way to eat a bowl of Japanese curry is to serve it with panko-breaded pork or chicken cutlet or eggplant. The crunch from the panko gives a nice contrast to the creamy and thick curry.

The curry base is made out of roux, a paste made by cooking flour and butter. Once the roux is made, it could be stored in an airtight container for up to 2 weeks. The curry base is versatile in making soup and stew.

Japanese curry is both salty and sweet. Conventionally, fruits such as apples or pears may be added for the sweetness while soy sauce is added for the savoriness. Japanese curry is could be spicy or mild, depending on personal preference, but a bit of kick does make this dish more appealing. 

For the latest New Lifestyle Home Cooking Series:

Japanese Curry with Fried Eggplant
Serves: 4 portions

Prep Time: 10 Minutes
Total Time: 50 Minutes

Ingredients:
For the Curry Base:
3 tablespoons butter
4 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon garam masala
2 tablespoon Madras curry powder
1/4 teaspoon Cayenne

For the Curry Stew:
2 tablespoons cooking oil
1 cup diced onions, medium diced
2 cups diced carrots, medium diced
2 cups diced potatoes, medium diced
2 tablespoons chopped garlic
2 teaspoons chopped ginger
1 bay leaf
3 cups chicken stock
1 tablespoon + 1 teaspoon curry paste, from the above recipe
1 teaspoon sugar
2 teaspoon soy sauce

For the Fried Eggplant:
8 pieces sliced eggplant, to 1/8-inch thick
Salt, for salting eggplant
Flour, for dredging 
1 egg, for egg wash
Japanese panko breadcrumb, 2 cups

To serve with:
White rice, steamed

  1. To make the curry base, on medium-low heat, cook the flour in melted butter until the flour turns light brown like peanut butter. Add the spices and cook them in the butter mixture until fragrant. Turn off the heat and set the curry base aside.
  2. Slice eggplant into rounds of 1/8-inch thick. Sprinkle salt on both sides of each slice and set them aside for 45 minutes to draw out moisture. Meanwhile, make the curry and cook some rice.
  3. To make the curry, prep the veggies accordingly. Heat up a medium-sized pot on medium heat. Add oil and once it starts to shimmer, add onions. Cook the onions until caramelized. Adjust the heat if necessary and cook the onions nice and slow.
  4. Add garlic and ginger and cook until they are fragrant, and then add carrots and potatoes.
  5. After adding carrots and potatoes, add chicken stock, and bay leaf. Bring the pot to a simmer and cook until carrots and potatoes are tender.
  6. While the curry is cooking, set up a breading station for the eggplant. Put each flour, a beaten egg, and Japanese panko breadcrumb in separate bowls.
  7. Pat the eggplant dry and dip each slice in the order: flour, egg wash, and panko. 
  8. Meanwhile, heat up a shallow pan of oil in a skillet. Heat the oil up to 350 F in temperature. To make sure the oil is hot enough, place a piece of bread in it and when it becomes golden brown, the oil is ready.
  9. Fry each eggplant slice until golden brown on the outside. Sprinkle with salt when they come out of the oil. 
  10. Once the carrots and potatoes are tender, mix the curry base with a ladle of the hot liquid from the pot in a separate down; dissolve the curry base into the liquid. Add the curry base liquid back in the pot and bring the curry to a simmer. The curry will start to thicken. Add soy sauce and sugar to season.
  11. To serve Japanese curry, have a bowl of rice ready and pour the curry over it generously. Finish the dish by placing a couple of slices of fried eggplant on top of the curry. Bon appétit!
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Chinese Food – Spicy Pickle Pork Noodles

Spicy Pickle Pork Noodles, by Reggie Soang

Spicy Pickle Pork Noodles is a popular dish from Yunnan, China, where pickles and spices are used abundantly to make the food delicious. Pickles give dishes a nice crunch in the texture and a pleasant sourness to balance out the flavors. A great bowl of noodles from Yunnan is salty, sweet, vinegary, and spicy. Chinese pickled mustard greens and stems are the most popular pickles used in cooking; they are first salted heavily and fermented in a ceramic container until sour, and chili powder is added sometimes in the process. In this version of Yunnan noodles, I chose to use NY-style deli pickles to mimic the texture and sourness. To add depth to the flavor, I added ground cumin, Szechuan peppercorn, and dried chilies. Last but not least, adding soy sauce, mirin, and MSG gives the dish the addicting savoriness.

For the latest New Lifestyle Cooking Series:

Spicy Pickle Pork Noodles
Serves: makes 4 bowls

Prep Time: 10 Minutes
Total Time: 30 Minutes

Ingredients:

Dried Asian wheat noodles

For the Broth:
4 + 1/2 cup water
1 chicken bouillon cube, Knorr brand
3 pieces whole dried chilies
2 pieces of sliced ginger, 1/8-inch thick
1 stalk scallion, cut into 2-inch pieces
5 pieces whole white peppercorn

For the Spicy Pickled Pork Sauce
3 tablespoons cooking oil
2 cups ground pork, roughly 1 pound
1/2 teaspoon salt
3 tablespoons (about 7 cloves) finely chopped garlic
1 tablespoon finely chopped ginger, about a thumb-sized piece
2 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon ground Szechuan peppercorn
1 teaspoon dried Thai chilies flakes (regular chilies flakes would work)
2 tablespoons chopped scallions
1/4 teaspoon MSG
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1 teaspoon mirin, or 1 teaspoon of sugar for a substitute
1/2 cup sliced NY-style deli pickles, cut into thin strips
3 tablespoons water
3 tablespoons both, from the recipe above

For setting up a bowl for the noodles (makes 1 bowl):
1 teaspoon chili oil (click on the link for chili oil recipe)
1 teaspoon sesame oil
2 tablespoons chopped scallions
small bundle of sliced NY-style deli pickles, not cooked

  1. To make the broth, heat up everything in a medium-sized pot to a boil, and turn down to simmer for 5 minutes to infuse the broth with scallions and ginger. Turn off the heat, and leave it to infuse for 30 more minutes.
  2. When the broth is ready, strain the ginger, scallions, dried chilies, and white peppercorn out. Set the broth aside. 
  3. To make the pork sauce, heat up a non-stick skillet on medium-high heat for a couple of minutes. Add oil and wait until it shimmers, and then add the ground pork. Season the pork with salt and cook until the pork is no longer pink.
  4. Add ginger and garlic, and sauté them with pork until fragrant. Add cumin, Szechuan peppercorn, dried Thai chilies, and scallions, and cook until fragrant. 
  5. Add MSG, soy sauce, mirin, pickles, water, and noodle broth, and stir to combine with the pork. Bring the sauce up to a boil and reduce for a minute until slightly thickened. Set aside the pork sauce.
  6. Set up a bowl for the noodles. Put chili oil, sesame oil, chopped scallions at the bottom of the bowl, and ladle 1 cup of broth into the bowl.
  7. Cook the noodles in boiling hot water according to the package’s instructions. Once noodles are done, rinse them in cold water to stop the cooking process. Add the noodles to the bowl prepared in the previous step. 
  8. To serve, put a few tablespoons of pork sauce on top of the noodles and garnish the bowl with more pickles, scallions, and chili oil. Pour more fresh hot broth, about 1/2 cup, onto the noodles to warm them back up. Bon appétit!
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Chinese Food – Mapo Tofu

Mapo Tofu, by Reggie Soang (click on the image for YouTube video)

Mapo tofu is a spicy Chinese stew. Mapo tofu is salty, vinegary, spicy, and a little sweet. Also, one of the most important spices in Chinese cuisine, Szechuan peppercorn, gives a nice tingly sensation in the mouth that is somewhat addicting. This dish is best eaten with rice; each grain of rice gives a nice texture contrast to the tofu. Adding raw and fresh herbs such as scallions, cilantro, or even Thai basil makes this dish even more floral, fragrant, and flavorful.

For the latest New Lifestyle Cooking Series:

Mapo Tofu with Chili Oil
Serves: 4 portions

Prep Time: 10 Minutes
Total Time: 40 Minutes

Ingredients:
4 tablespoons cooking oil
4 cups diced eggplant, medium dice
8 pieces button mushroom
2 tablespoons finely chopped ginger
3 tablespoons finely chopped garlic
1 tablespoon ground Szechuan peppercorn
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon chili flakes
2 tablespoons Hoisin
1 tablespoon sambal oelek (or any Asian hot sauce)
1/4 cup white miso
1 tablespoon + 1 teaspoon soy sauce
1/2 teaspoon MSG
2 cups water
1 package medium-firm tofu, cubed to 1-cm by 1-cm
3 teaspoons water and 1 teaspoon corn starch, mixed together
2 tablespoons sliced scallions, thinly sliced into coin shape

For the Chili Oil (make 1 cup):
1/2 cup canola oil
1/4 cup Sriracha
1/4 cup Sambal Oelek
1/2 tablespoon MSG
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon sugar
1 tablespoon soy sauce

For the Rice:
3 tablespoons cooking oil
1 cup + 1/2 cup long-grain rice
1/2 teaspoon salt
2  cup + 1/3 cup water

Served with:
Chili Oil
Chopped Scallions
Cooked white rice

  1. Using a food processor or a sharp knife, chop eggplant and button mushrooms into fine pieces.
  2. Using a food processor or a sharp knife, chop ginger and garlic into fine pieces.
  3. Put a skillet on medium heat, add oil and once oil shimmers, add ginger and garlic. Cook until fragrant.  And then add the eggplant and mushrooms, and cook them until aromatic and taking on a little bit of color.
  4. Add Szechuan peppercorn, cumin, and chili flakes, cook them until fragrant.
  5. Stir in hoisin sauce, sambal oelek (or your choice of Asian hot sauce), and miso, and then add water. Bring everything up to a simmer and add soy sauce and MSG.
  6. Add tofu and simmer for 10 minutes until tofu picks up some flavor. 
  7. Meanwhile, prepare chili oil and white rice.
  8. To make chili oil, fry Sriracha and Sambal Oelek in oil until they become jammy and thick. Turn off the heat and add the spices and seasonings. Set aside. 
  9. To make rice, toast rice in oil until smelling nutty and add water. Cover the pot and bring the water up to a boil and turn down to simmer. Simmer until water has been completely absorbed. Leave the lid on for another 10 minutes before fluffing the rice.
  10. When mapo tofu is done simmering, stir in the corn starch mixture and bring the stew up to a boil and wait until the liquid has thickened. And then turn off the heat.
  11. To finish, stir in 2 tablespoons of chopped scallions and some chili oil with the chili solids. Adjust the seasoning if necessary.
  12. To serve, add some white rice to a bowl, ladle mapo tofu on top, and garnish with chili oil and more chopped scallions. Bon Appétit!
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Hong Kong Style Egg Tarts

Hong Kong Style Egg Tarts, by Reggie Soang

Hong Kong Style Egg Tarts
Serves: makes 10 tarts

Prep Time: 20 minutes (not including inactive time)
Total Time: 1 Hour (not including inactive time)

Ingredients:
For the Dough:
11 tablespoons/5.5 oz butter, softened
1/2 cup/4 oz. sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 egg
1 + 1/2 cup/8 oz. all-purpose flour

For the Filling:
1/2 cup/4 oz. sugar
1 cup/8 oz. water
3 eggs, beaten
1/2 cup/4 oz. evaporated milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

  1. To make the dough, use a food processor to blitz butter, sugar, salt, and eggs together until spreadable. Add Flour into the butter mix and form a dough. Cover with plastic and chill the dough until firm, but not hard, about 40 to 50 minutes.
  2. Divide the dough into 30g sized portion. Roll each portion into a ball and chill the balls until firm. Fit each ball into a muffin tin and use a thumb to spread out the dough inside each cavity until all sides are covered. Chill the muffin tin for another 15 minutes until the dough is firmed. Pre-heat oven at 400F.
  3. Meanwhile, make the filling by dissolving sugar in water, set aside. Combine eggs, evaporated milk, and vanilla extract and strain the liquid through a fine sieve. When sugar mixture is cool, combine with egg mixture. Strain again.
  4. Pour the egg filling into the chilled tart shells almost all the way up, leaving about 5% of the space on top. Bake in the oven at 400F for 15 minutes, and then turn the oven down to 350F, and bake for 12 more minutes.
  5. Let the egg tarts cool down for 5 minutes and transfer them out of the muffin tins and let rest for another 5 minutes on a rack before serving them. Bon appétit!

Hong Kong Style Egg Tarts, by Reggie Soang

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Portuguese Style Egg Tarts (aka. Pastel de Nata)

Portuguese Egg Tarts (Pastel de Nata), by Reggie Soang

Portuguese Egg Tarts (aka. Pastel de Nata)
Serve: makes 6 tarts

Prep Time: 30 minutes (not including inactive time)
Total Time: 1 hour (not including inactive time)

Ingredients:
For the Puff Pastry:
1 + 1/2 stick butter, softened
2 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
2/3 cup water

For the fillings:
1 cup sugar
2/3 cup water
1 stick cinnamon stick
1 lemon zested
1 cup milk
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
6 yolks

  1. To make the dough, combine flour, salt, and water in a mixing ball and form a dough. If using a stand mixer, use the dough hook and mix the three ingredients together on low speed. The dough will be wet and tacky.
  2. Transfer the dough onto a well-floured surface. Use a floured rolling pin and roll the dough into a rectangular shape and 1/2” thick. Put the dough on a floured tray and cover with plastic, and let it rest in the fridge for 30 minutes.
  3. When the dough is ready, roll it out to 1/4” thick rectangle, about 12 inch wide. Dusting more flour if needed. Spread half of the butter on the dough 1-inch away from the side closest to you. Fold the top portion of the dough over the butter and seal the sides. Roll the dough out again to 1/4” thick.
  4. Repeat procedures on spreading the butter and folding the top over. Roll the dough to 1/8” thick rectangle, about 14-inch wide. Roll the dough into a log from the longer side. Chill the log in the fridge for 2 hours before using it.
  5. Meanwhile, make the filling. In a small pot, combine sugar, water, cinnamon stick, and lemon zest and bring the liquid to a simmer. Turn off the stove and let cinnamon and lemon zest infuse the syrup for 5 minutes.
  6. Meanwhile, whisk 1/4 cup of milk with flour together. Gently heat up the rest of the milk and pour over the flour mixture in a steady stream and whisk to combine. Pour the milk mixture back to the pot and return to the stove. Cook the milk mixture on low heat until thickened, and add vanilla extract.
  7. At this time, strain the syrup and pour it into the milk mixture in a steady stream while whisking. Cool the milk mixture for 10 minutes and then whisk in the yolks. Strain the mixture and cover it with a piece of plastic directly on top. Set aside.
  8. When the dough is chilled and firmed, divide it up to 12 portions. Place each portion inside of a muffin tin with cut-side up. Using a thumb, lightly dipped in water, and press it down on the dough and fit it into the cavity on all the sides. Put the muffin tin back in the fridge for another 30 minutes. Meanwhile, pre-heat oven to the highest setting.
  9. When the dough is chilled and firmed, pour in the filling a little more than 3/4 of the way up and bake for 17 minutes in the oven, until the fillings are barely set and the top is beautifully caramelized.
  10. Let tarts cool for a couple of minutes, un-mold and transfer them onto a rack. Let the egg tarts cool for 10 more minutes before serving. Bon appétit!

Portuguese Egg Tarts (Pastel de Nata), by Reggie Soang

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Is it a poutine or a disco fries?

Poutine…or Disco Fries with Sausage Gravy, by Reggie Soang

James, owner, chef, and barista at Watson’s Counter in Seattle invited me to be on his Instagram live video. We have been talking about different ways to make poutine delicious, and he let me share my version of poutine. Poutine reminds me of a few dishes, welsh rarebit, disco fries, and sausage gravy…therefore, I marry all of them into this version.

Guest Appearance on Watson’s Counter Instagram Live

Poutine/Disco Fries
Serves: 2 portions

Prep Time: 15 minutes
Total Time 30 minutes

Ingredients:
2 Idaho potatoes, peeled
2 tablespoons cooking oil
2 links Italian Hot Sausage
1/4 cup chopped onions
1 tablespoon butter
1 teaspoon paprika
1 teaspoon chili powder
pinch of salt
2 tablespoons AP flour
10 oz. stock
1/3 cup milk
1 tablespoon A1 steak sauce or Worcestershire
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
1/2 cup shredded mozzarella
2 tablespoons chopped scallions, on a bias
2 tablespoons chopped parsley
2 tablespoons whole-grain mustard

  1. Make the poutine sauce first. Sauté sausage until nice and caramelized and add onions. Cook until onions are nice and tender. 
  2. Add butter and spices. Cook the spices until fragrant on medium heat. Be careful not to burn the butter. 
  3. Sift the flour into the pot so you won’t have any clumps in the sauce. Cook the flour for until nice and nutty in smell. Pour in the liquid and bring the sauce to a simmer. Sauce will thicken as it is heated. 
  4. Add A1 Steak Sauce, dijon mustard, and shredded mozzarella, and stir to combine. Set the gravy aside.
  5. Set up a shallow frier with a skillet. Pour oil halfway up and turn on the heat. If using a thermometer, heat the oil to 350F. If a thermometer is not available, put a small piece, half-inch thick, of raw potato into the oil and wait until it gets golden brown on the outside, and then the frier is ready for frying. 
  6. Using a Japanese mandolin with medium teeth setting, slice peeled potatoes into thin strips. Always use a handguard when using a mandolin to avoid injury.  Rinse the shoestring fries with cold water to get rid of excess starch. 
  7. Fry the shoestring fries until golden brown and crispy. Drain the oil in a paper towel lined mixing bowl and sprinkle with salt while tossing the fries. 
  8. Plate the fries on a plate and drizzle with gravy, and then sprinkle on scallions, parsley, and whole grain mustard. Bon Appétit!
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Dinner – Vegetarian Malaysian Curry

Vegetarian Malaysian Curry, by Reggie Soang

Malaysian curry is a delicious and crowd-pleasing dish. Fresh curry paste is easy and simple to prepare; using a food processor to blend onions, garlic, ginger, and curry powder together, and it serves as a base to any type of curry. For traditional Malaysian curry, add lemongrass and kaffir lime leaves when making the curry paste. If those two ingredients are difficult to source, simply grate some lime zest and add some lime juice to the curry along with coconut milk. A great Malaysian curry should be vibrant, rich, sweet, and salty. The main seasonings for Malaysian curry are soy sauce, fish sauce, sweet soy sauce, and coconut sugar, which could be substituted with brown sugar. Though Malaysian curry is usually made with chicken, the stew is wonderful for vegetarian by supplementing eggplant for chicken and adding root vegetables for substance.

Ingredients:
For the Curry Paste:
1/2 white or red onion, large diced
5 cloves garlic
1-inch size ginger, sliced thin
1 teaspoon turmeric
2 tablespoons Madras Curry
2 tablespoons cooking oil

For the Curry:
1/4 cup cooking oil
1 medium size eggplant, medium diced
2 cup curry paste, from above
1 tablespoon Madras curry powder
2 tablespoons tomato paste
1 medium size Idaho potato, medium dice
1 medium size sweet potato, medium dice
1 cinnamon stick
3 star anise
2 cloves
1 cup water
1 cup coconut milk
2 tablespoons soy sauce
2 tablespoons fish sauce
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon sugar
2 cups chopped kale
1 stalk scallions, cut on a bias for garnish
1 cup sliced cucumbers, cut into thin strips

  1. Make the curry paste by blending all the ingredients in a food processor to a paste.
  2. To prepare the curry, put a skillet on high heat and add oil. Once the oil shimmers, add eggplant and sauté until tender and colored. Add curry paste and sauté until fragrant. Add curry powder and toast until aromatic.
  3. Stir in tomato paste, and add the rest of the ingredients, except kale, scallions, and cucumbers. Bring the curry to a boil and turn down to simmer. Meanwhile, make rice.
  4. When the curry is almost done, add kale and cook until tender and wilted.
  5. The curry is done when the potatoes are tender. If the curry gets too thick, add water to adjust the consistency and readjust seasoning.
  6. Serve Malaysian curry with rice, and garnish with scallions and cucumbers. Bon Appétit!
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Lunch – Beans ‘n Rice with Poached Eggs and Tomato Salsa

Beans and Rice with Poached Eggs and Salsa, by Reggie Soang

Beans and rice is a widely popular dish; the combination can often be seen in Latin American, American, and Asian cuisines. Beans and rice is hearty and delicious, and for health benefit, eating them together form a complete protein, which is vital to our health. Bean and rice could be done in many ways. This recipe is inspired by my fondness for Louisiana beans and rice; the beans are pureed until almost smooth and served with steamed Carolina long grain rice. Leftover chili and baked beans work brilliantly with this recipe. I topped off this dish with an egg and tomato salsa, and garnished with scallions for fresh oniony flavor.

For the latest New Lifestyle Cooking Series:

Beans ’n Rice with Poached Eggs
Serves: 2 to 3 portions

Prep Time: 5 Minutes
Total Time: 20 Minutes

Ingredients:
For the Beans:
1/4 cup cooking oil
1 teaspoon ground cumin
2 cups Mexican baked beans (click on the link for the recipe)
1/4 cup cooked pinto beans
1/4 cup cooked black beans
3 poached eggs
1 stalk scallions, sliced on a bias
1/4 cup thinly sliced radishes

For the Tomato Salsa:
2 Roma tomatoes, medium diced
1 tablespoon EVOO
1 clove fresh garlic, grated
1 stalk scallions, thinly sliced to coin shape
1 teaspoon Valentina hot sauce, or any other types of hot sauce
2 teaspoons lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
pinch of MSG

For the Rice:
3 tablespoons oil
2 tablespoons tomato paste
1 + 1/2 cup long grain rice
2 + 1/3 cup water
1/2 teaspoon salt

  1. Heat up a skillet on medium heat and add oil. Meanwhile, puree baked beans in a food processor until smooth. Once the oil is warm, add ground cumin to toast until fragrant.
  2. Turn the heat up to medium-high and add bean puree immediately to avoid burning the ground cumin. The bean puree should also be sizzling in the skillet.
  3. Cook the bean puree until aromatic and add the pinto beans and black beans. Stir to combine. Season the beans to taste. Turn off the heat and set aside
  4. To poach eggs, maintain a pot of water at simmer (in between 80 to 90 Celsius if you have a thermometer). Add a splash of vinegar (vinegar helps egg whites coagulate better) and use a whisk to create a gentle tornado in the center of the water and drop the eggs in. Set a timer for 3 minutes.
  5. To check doneness of poached eggs, gently poke around the edge of the yolks; if the whites are a little bouncy, then the eggs are done. (3 to 3 minutes and 15 seconds cooking time is usually the sweet spot)
  6. To make the tomato salsa, prepare tomatoes accordingly and mix them with the rest of the ingredients. Set aside
  7. To make aromatic rice, toast the rice until fragrant. Add tomato paste and water and stir to combine. Cover and bring the pot to a boil, and then turn down to simmer. Once the water is completely absorbed, leave the cover on for another 10 minutes and then fluff the rice with a fork.
  8. To serve, put the beans at the bottom of a bowl, top off the beans with rice and tomato salsa. Put a poached egg on top of everything and garnish with scallions and radishes, bon appétit!