Millionaire Chef Recipes

Millionaire Chef Recipe: Tom Kha Kai (Thai Chicken Coconut Soup)

Tom Kha Kai is a delicious chicken soup from northeast Thailand, a region called Isan. The soup is nourishing and flavorful.

Tom Kha Kai takes a little effort to make and keeps my budget lean. The main flavors of Tom Kah Kai come from the lime zest and juice, ginger, garlic, cilantro, and coconut milk.

Tom Kha Kai could be made with water or any kind of stock. I often keep Knorr Chicken Bouillon in my pantry for making stews. Knorr chicken bouillons make a flavorful base and they keep my pantry lean without cans of chicken stock taking up space.

Prep Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 45~50 minutes, including inactive time
Portions: 4

2 chicken drumsticks and thighs, either skin-on or off, $3.50
4 Tablespoons fish sauce, $0.04
2 cups chicken stock (could use any stock or water), $1.00
* I use 1 cube of Knorr chicken bouillon for every 2 cups of water to make instant chicken stock
1 knub of ginger, about 1-inch size, sliced thin, $0.50
4 cloves garlic, sliced thin, $0.25
2 limes, zested and juiced, keep them separated, $1.00
6 button mushrooms, quartered or sliced thin, $1.00
1 teaspoon chili flakes, or use any types of dried chilies, $0.01
2 cups coconut milk, $3.50
1 red bell pepper, roasted and peeled, $0.45
1 + 1/2 teaspoons salt, $0.01
1 teaspoon black peppercorn, ground, $0.01
A few sprigs of cilantro, roughly chopped, $1.00
2 cup long grain rice, cooked according to the package’s instructions, $2.00

Total: $14.27

Cooking Instructions:
1) Place chicken, fish sauce, chicken stock, ginger, garlic, lime zest, mushrooms, and chili flakes in a pot (size of 6 to 8-quart) and bring it to a boil.
2) Turn the heat down to simmer and cook for approximately 30 to 40 minutes with a lid on. Baste chicken with the stock every 10 minutes to keep the meat juicy.
3) The chicken is done when it is tender and almost-falling-off the bones. Add coconut milk, roasted peppers, salt, black peppercorn, and cilantro, and simmer for another 5 minutes. Serve hot with rice and a lime wedge!

Roasted peppers: put red peppers on a tray and roast them in a 500F degree oven until the skins are puffed and look charred, 30 to 40 minutes. Leave them in a bowl and cover them with plastic wrap for 10 minutes. Peel off the skins and get rid of the seeds. Cut or tear them into bite-size.

Notes: you may have to spend a little more if you don’t have some of the ingredients listed above – fish sauce, black pepper, chili flakes, Knorr Chicken Bouillon, and rice. But your investment is worth it!

Millionaire Chef Recipes

Millionaire Chef: Investment Portfolio, June 2021

I have been learning about investing and saving a small amount of cash for making investments. I started investing after I paid off my credit card debts. I set up Acorns (disclosure: referral link, I get $500 when 3 of you sign up!) and Wealthfront (disclosure: referral link, I’d get $5,000 managed for free, and so will you.) and they invest with my savings (a different savings from my emergency fund).

I’ve also opened a Robinhood account (disclosure: referral link, you and I will both get a free stock, picked by Robinhood) to invest in stocks. Robinhood has had bad press because its user experience could encourage gambling behaviors. However, I invest with caution and Robinhood works perfectly well for me. I use Robinhood to trade stocks, ETFs, and Cryptocurrencies, and I pay no commissions on my trades.

First and foremost, I invest 20% ~ 23% of my income. My Investments are broken down into the categories below:

– Stocks
– ETFs – Exchange Traded Funds, an investment that tracks the performance of an index or a sector
– Real Estate
– Cryptocurrencies

My stock portfolio contains mostly mature companies that have a good track record in management and the ability to innovate. Periodically, I’d invest in small firms that are young and promising in their product development. I like investing in technology and innovations. However, investing in technology is risky; therefore, I balance my investment with safer bets on great companies such as Microsoft, Google, Amazon, Facebook, and Apple. My returns are based on 1 to 3.5 years of investment.
Besides buying individual stocks, I also invest heavily in ETFs, Exchange Traded Funds. Investing in ETFs gives me a chance to invest in a group of stocks and track their performance altogether; I invest mostly in technology and innovation ETFs. My biggest position is in WisdomTree Cloud Computing Fund, and it tracks some of the biggest names in the tech industry: Paypal, Zoom, Adobe, Square, and Dropbox. We used these apps a lot and they will be around for a while, with COVID or not. My returns are based on 1 to 3.5 years of investment.

I’ve started to invest in cryptocurrencies, Bitcoin and Ethereum, in 2021. From learning about the history of fiat currency, I believe money will be treated differently in the future given the rising in e-payment and innovation in cybersecurity. However, I invest in cryptocurrencies with caution since they are still immature and volatile. And yikes…I haven’t been doing so well in this category. My returns are based on 6-months of investment.

Last but not least, I used Fundrise to invest in real estate. Fundrise is a robo-advisor, and it invests my money according to my investment goals. I don’t invest in real estate as frequently as I do with other types of investment. I get better returns on investing in equities with cash I save; therefore, I will hold off on adding more money to my Fundrise account.

I invest with an intention to grow wealth in the long term. I have no intention of taking out any of my investments until I retire. Therefore, I practice restraint and only invest the money I have left after paying my rent, credit card, and other basics.


Apple Strudel

Apple Strudel

Prep Time: 30 minutes
Baking Time: 25 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour 30 minutes

6 sheets phyllo pastries
6 tablespoons butter, divided into 2 and 4 tablespoons
1/2 cup (40g) panko, Japanese breadcrumbs
1 & 1/2 pound chopped apples, 1/4-inch chunks
4 tablespoons sugar (52g) sugar
1 lemon, zest
1 lemon, juiced
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons of confectioner’s sugar, for dusting

  1. Defrost phyllo dough in the fridge overnight (note: must do it this in the fridge otherwise the phyllo sheets will stick to each other)
  2. Melt 2 tablespoons of butter in a pan over medium heat and toast panko in the butter until golden brown. The breadcrumbs should smell like brown butter.
  3. Peel the apples and cut them into quarters and get rid of the core. Cut the apples into 1/4-inch chunks.
  4. Mix the apples with sugar, lemon zest, lemon juice, ground cinnamon, ground ginger, and salt in a microwavable bowl. Cover the bowl with plastic and microwave for 2 minutes.
  5. Drain the apples and reserve the liquid.
  6. Take out the phillo pastries and keep them under a plastic and a clean towel. Meanwhile, melt the rest of the butter and pre-heat the oven at 375 Fahrenheit,
  7. Lay a piece of parchment paper, 16” x 12”, on a counter, and then place a sheet of the phyllo pastry on it. Brush phillo pastry lightly with melted butter and dust confectioner’s sugar, about 1/4 teaspoons worth, on top. Repeat the process with 6 sheets of phillo pastry and stack them on top of each other. Wrap up the rest of the phillo pastries and seal tight. Keep them refrigerated or frozen.
  8. Leaving 2-inch space from the sides and the bottom edge of the phillo pastries, place half of the toasted breadcrumbs in a 3-inch strip across. Add 1/3 amount of the apples (use the rest of the apples for more strudels) to the top of the breadcrumbs.

Apple strudel filling

  1. Lift one side of the parchment paper (either left or right) and fold in the phillo pastries. Use your hands to seal the dough. Do the same from the other side.
  2. Lift the bottom edge of the parchment paper and fold the phillo pastries over, leaving only half the filling exposed. Brush the edges of the pastries with the reserved apple juice. Seal the strudel by folding the other side over the top. Brush the outside with apple juice until it looks shiny and dust the top with confectioner’s sugar.

Finishing touch for the strudel

  1. Bake the apple strudel on a baking sheet with a piece of parchment paper for 25 minutes. Turn it around midway. Rest the strudel for 5 minutes before cutting it.

Let the strudel rest for 5 to 10 minutes before cutting it

  1. Cut the strudel into 2 to 3 inches wide, don’t cut them too thin because the fillings will fall out. Enjoy the strudel with more dusted sugar or drizzles of honey. Bon apptité!

Apple Strudel


Spiced Apple Bake

Spiced Apple Bake

For Apple Fillings:
1.5 pound chopped apples, into 1-inch chunks
1 lemon, zested
1 lemon, juiced
1 + 1/4 cup (205g) dark brown sugar
1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon allspice
9 tablespoons (1 stick plus 1 tablespoon, 135g) butter
2 tablespoons (13.5g) corn starch
3 tablespoons (45g) water
1/4 cup chopped dried apricot, 1/4-inch chunks
4 tablespoons shaved almonds

For the cake topping:
1/2 cup + 1/3 cup (140g) all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon (4g) baking powder
pinch of salt
2 tablespoons (25g) sugar
1/4 cup (1/2 stick) butter
1 egg
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 cup milk
1 orange zested
shaved almonds

To Finish:
Vanilla Ice Cream

  1. Pre-heat oven at 375F.
  2. To make the filling, mix chopped apples with lemon zest, lemon juice, dark brown sugar and set them aside for 10 minutes. Meanwhile, melt butter with ground cinnamon, ginger, and allspice.
  3. Add the apples to the butter mixture and gently cook them until soft, about 10 minutes. Mix the corn starch with 3 tablespoons of water, and then add to the apples. Bring the pot to a simmer and cook until the fillings are thick and saucy. Add the chopped apricot to finish.

    Apple Bake Filling
  4. To make the cake topping, add all-purpose flour, baking powder, salt, sugar, and butter into a food processor. Blend until it forms a breadcrumb consistency. Alternatively, rub the butter into the flour until it forms pebbles. Mix in orange zest.
  5. Mix eggs, milk, and vanilla extract and combine with the flour mixture. A pancake batter consistency should form.

    Cake Batter
  6. Using a ramekin or any casserole, place the apple filings at the bottom, and then top off the fillings with the cake batter, about 1/2-in thick. Sprinkle the top with shaved almonds.

    Assembling the Spiced Apple Bake
  7. Bake for 20 to 30 minutes until the top is golden brown. Dust the spiced apple bake with confectioner’s sugar and place the ice cream right on the top. Bon appétit!

    Spiced Apple Cake

Snacks: Garlic Twirls

Garlic Twirl Dough
500 grams bread flour
325 grams water
3 grams yeast
37 grams EVOO
11 grams salt

Garlic Fillings
15 grams (or 1 and 1/2 tablespoons) chopped garlic
60 grams (or 1 cup) chopped parsley
30 grams (or 1 cup) grated Parmesan
60 grams (or 6 tablespoons) EVOO


  1. Heat 50-gram of water to 90F~95F (lukewarm temperature) and dissolve the yeast in it. Set it aside for 5 minutes. Meanwhile, mix flour with the salt (the dry goods) and the rest of the water with EVOO (the wet goods). Keep the wet-goods and dry-goods separately.
  2. When the 5 minutes are up, add the yeast mixture and the wet-goods to the dry-goods in a mixing bowl. Mix the ingredients into a dough with a bare hand or a wooden spoon. The dough will be wet and sticky. Cover the dough with a plastic wrap and set it aside for 30 minutes.
  3. After 30 minutes, stretch the dough from the sides and fold it over to the top. Do the stretch-n-fold step a few times and flip the dough over, with the folds facing down. The dough should be smooth at this point. Cover the dough with a plastic wrap and set it aside for 2 hours or until it doubles in size. 
  4. Meanwhile, prepare the fillings. Mix chopped garlic, chopped parsley, and EVOO together. Keep the grated Parmesan separately.
  5. Once the dough doubles in size, portion it into 9 oz. and then shape them into balls (the result is 3 pieces of 9 oz. and 1 piece of 3 oz.). You could refrigerate the dough overnight, which will enhance the flavor, or let the dough proof for another hour or so until it doubles in size.
  6. If using a refrigerated dough, take the dough out of the fridge and let it come to a room temperature, above 68F. Roll the 9-oz. dough out to 1/8-inch thick rectangle, about 15-inch in length.
  7. Add the garlic mixture first and spread it around evenly on the dough and leave 1/2-inch space from the sides. Add the grated Parmesan on the top.
  8. Start from the longer side of the rectangle, roll up the dough into a big cigar. Cut the cigar into 1-inch segments. Flip the segments over to reveal the cross-section and then let them rest for another 30 minutes until it doubles in size. Meanwhile, pre-heat the oven to 425F.

  1. After 30 minutes of rest, drizzle extra EVOO on top of each garlic twirls and sprinkle a pinch of grated Parmesan on top. Bake in the oven for 15 minutes until golden brown.
  2. Serve garlic wheels warms with marinara sauce.

Blog Recipes

Weekly Podcast: Nick Kokonas Interview, by Tim Ferriss

After spending nearly 6 months wfh, the timeline of events has become a blur. I listened to a podcast on an interview with Nick Kokonas, one of the founders at The Alinea Group. Nick has some interesting perspective and solutions on overcoming difficulties in keeping a restaurant open in the midst of the pandemic, and also on what tactics to avoid (or to reconsider).

I have 5 highlights from this interview. (I will also give you the time slot on the podcast so you could skip around and find the segment that resonate with me the most)

8th minute and 55 seconds, and goes on for 25 minutes
Right off the bat, Nick introduces the concept of “asymmetry bets or risks” to frame the conversation around surviving the pandemic while running a business. Asymmetric bets could either give you high returns in investment or wipe your investment to zero.

In the example of hospitality, an asymmetry risk is the possibility of having zero customers, which none of us would have never imagined (except on a slow night, maybe), until the pandemic hit.

The concept of “asymmetry bets or risks” is fascinating because many of us are often willing to take an asymmetric bet and hope for the high return, while neglecting the high risks that are involved with the bets.

The first 25 minutes is about how Nick had tried to re-assess the asymmetric risk of running a restaurant business and tried to anticipate the worst if the pandemic reaches Chicago, where most of his restaurants are based.

26th minute and 35 seconds, and goes on for about 7 minutes
In the event of a crisis, leadership shapes the culture, by either reinforcing the original beliefs or reshaping the group mentality. Nick shows great leadership by putting his employees’ personal and job security first. Nick was also adamant about firing people who were not on the same page to protect the company.

One may argue that the act was unfair, yet, he and his ownership team sacrificed their pay to ensure the entire staff was getting its final pay and the added benefit of $1000 heading into the pandemic. Nick’s conviction in doing the right thing shows great leadership when many people were cynical or felt uncertain.

46th minute, and goes on for about 3 minutes
The Alinea Group immediately pivoted their business to no-contact takeout. The restaurant group was one of the first to change their business model to stay ahead of the crisis. The Alinea Group’s ability to switch on demand is worthy of notice; the hospitality industry as a whole needs to stay flexible during the uncertainties.

1 hour 9th minutes, goes on for about 1 minute
Our current commercial real estate business has been doing poorly in conjunction with restaurants shutting down. Young or aspiring chefs will have the opportunity to rent commercial spaces for cheap in the future, which brings hope to the restaurant community where it’s in the re-set mode while waiting for a vaccine.

1 hour 10th minute, and goes on for about 5 minutes
Couple of interesting perspectives on bad tactics in surviving the pandemic for restaurants. And the way to survive the current climate is to plan ahead.

  • Selling/buying gift certificates is not the most ideal solution to help a restaurant stay afloat. Gift certificates are liabilities to the restaurants. Given the current climate, the money generated by the gift certificates will be used right away; therefore, the x-amount of gift certificate could potentially be the “free meal” that the restaurant can’t afford to make for your in the future.
  • Suing an insurance company for business interruption insurance is a long process. I am not familiar with this subject, and am going to trust that the “long process” is not favorable to any business.





NYC Community Supported Agriculture: Caesar Salad with Sourdough Croutons and Anchovies

Caesar Salad with Sourdough Croutons and Anchovies, by Reggie Soang (click on the image for the YouTube video)

Caesar salad is simple and delicious. The perfect Caesar dressing is tangy, salty, and bright. The tanginess comes from the vinegar, the saltiness comes from the anchovies and Parmesan, and the brightness comes from the fresh lemon juice. Caesar salad is a salad in its simplest form: fresh romaine lettuce and crispy croutons. When the lettuce and croutons are covered in the perfect dressing, this salad is brilliant and delightful!

For the latest Chef Reggie’s Cooking Series:

Caesar Salad with Whole Wheat Sourdough Croutons and Anchovies
Serves: Enough croutons and dressing for 6 to 8 salads

For the Croutons
2 cups torn sourdough bread, into bite-size
2 tablespoons EVOO
Pinch of Salt

For the Dressing:
1 cup mayonnaise
1 tablespoon + 1 teaspoon dijon mustard
1 tablespoon Champaign vinegar
2 Tablespoons water
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
4 cloves fresh garlic
7 anchovies fillet
1/4 cup grated Parmesan

To complete:
1 head Romaine lettuce
2 tablespoons grated Parmesan
3 anchovy fillets
1 tablespoon EVOO

  1. To make the croutons, tear up the sourdough (or the bread you choose to use) into bite-size and let the bread sit on the counter and dry out for an hour
  2. Meanwhile, wash the Romaine lettuce and dry the leaves. Set them aside in the fridge until ready to use.
  3. Next, make the dressing by first grate the garlic onto the chopping board. Add the anchovies to the garlic and chop them together until forming a paste.
  4. In a bowl, whisk together mayonnaise, dijon mustard, Champaign vinegar, water, and ground black pepper.
  5. Add the garlic-anchovy paste and grated Parmesan, and stir to combine.
  6. When the sourdough croutons are nice and dry on the surface, toss them in olive oil and salt, and then toast them in a skillet on medium heat until golden brown. Cool to room temperature before using them in the salad.
  7. To make the salad, dress the lettuce with extra virgin olive oil, lemon juice, salt, and Caesar dressing, and then rub the dressing into each leaf to make sure it is distributed evenly. Add the croutons and toss them with the lettuce and the dressing.
  8. To plate, place the bigger leaves at the bottom of the plate, and then add the croutons. Repeat by layering the lettuce and the croutons, and place the smaller leaves towards the top. Add more grated Parmesan and anchovies fillets around the salad, and drizzle a little more olive oil to finish. Bon appétit!

NYC Community Supported Agriculture: Fried Rice with Pickled Cucumbers, Spring Onions, and Peas

Fried Rice, Pickled Cucumbers, Spring Onions, and Peas, by Reggie Soang (click the image for the YouTube video)

For the latest Chef Reggie’s cooking series:

Fried Rice with Pickled Cucumbers, Spring Onions, and Framed Eggs
Serves: 2 portions

Prep Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 40 minutes

2 cucumbers, thinly sliced
2 teaspoons salt, plus 1 more teaspoon
2 teaspoons sugar
1/4 cup fresh peas
1/4 cup diced carrots, medium dice
6 tablespoons cooking oil, divided in half
1/2 cup diced red onions, small to medium dice
1/2 cup chopped spring onions
4 cups cooked/day old long-grain rice
2 eggs, beaten
NY-Style Deli Pickles, thinly sliced
1 teaspoon soy sauce
Ground black pepper
Grated Parmesan, optional

  1. Make pickled cucumbers by adding 2 teaspoons of salt and sugar and mix them together. Let them sit in the fridge for 30 minutes.
  2. Meanwhile, bring a pot of water up to a boil and cook fresh peas for 10 seconds and chill them down in cold or ice water. Use the same boiling water and cook diced carrots until tender.
  3. Heat up a non-stick skillet on medium-high heat and add half of the oil (3 tablespoons). When the oil shimmers, add red onions and sauté until tender, and then add spring onions and carrots.
  4. Keep sautéing red onions, spring onions, and carrots until they are caramelized. Set them aside on a plate. Wipe off the skillet and put it back on the stove.
  5. Add the rest oil to the skillet. When the oil shimmers, add the beaten eggs. Stir up the eggs and chop them into little chunks with a wooden or rubber spatula. Add the rice into the skillet and fry the rice with the eggs.
  6. When the rice is heated and becomes fluffy, add the soy sauce and stir to combine.
  7. To finish the fried rice, add the pea and the veggies from step 4 back into the skillet and toss to combine. Grate fresh Parmesan on top, and serve hot. Bon appétit!

NYC Community Supported Agriculture: Zucchini Bruschetta with Basil and Grilled Sourdough

Zucchini Bruschetta with Basil and Grilled Sourdough, by Reggie Soang (click on the image for the YouTube video)

Zucchini in the summer is flavorful and juicy. Cook the zucchini until tender and smash it until nice and creamy, and then spread the zucchini on the grilled bread for a quick and healthy meal. Grate some Parmesan or your choice of cheese on top to make it more irresistible. You will be making this dish over and over!

For the latest Chef Reggie’s Cooking Series:

Zucchini Bruschetta with Basil and Grilled Sourdough
Serves: enough zucchini to 4 pieces of toasts

Prep Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 30 minutes

3 tablespoons cooking oil
5 cloves fresh garlic plus 1 more for rubbing the grilled sourdough
2 pieces zucchini, cut to large chunks
1 teaspoons salt plus a pinch for the sourdough
1 teaspoon dried chili
1 tablespoon lime juice
3 tablespoons chopped Italian basil
3 tablespoons chopped parsley
1 tablespoons grated cheese, such as Parmesan, Aged Cheddar, or Pecorino
2 pieces of sourdough
2 tablespoons EVOO

  1. Heat up a non-stick skillet on medium-high heat. Add the cooking oil and wait until it shimmers, and then add garlic chunks. Cook the garlic chunks until golden brown.
  2. Add zucchini when the garlic is golden brown and sprinkle the dried chili flakes on top.
  3. Cook the zucchini until tender and caramelized. Use a spatula and another tool with a flat surface to press on the spatula with zucchini underneath. Smash the zucchini until nice and creamy.
  4. Add a healthy squeeze of lime juice and basil and stir to combine.
  5. Set aside the zucchini and grill the sourdough. Grill the sourdough on the stovetop with a rack until nice and toasty. Alternatively, use the broiler in the oven or a toaster. Rub both sides of the bread with raw garlic, drizzle the olive oil on top and season with a pinch of salt.
  6. Serve the bruschetta by placing a generous amount of zucchini on top of the bread. Finish the bruschetta by adding chopped parsley, freshly grated cheese, and more EVOO. Bon appétit!

NYC Community Supported Agriculture: Pea Smash on Grilled Sourdough

Pea Smash with Grilled Sourdough, by Reggie Soang (click on the image for YouTube video)

Fresh and seasonal peas are tender and juicy. Take advantage of peas’ superb quality by blending them with basil and cheese to make a pesto, and then spread it on a piece of grilled sourdough. Tender and juicy peas don’t last very long; peas get starchier and drier as the season goes on. To keep the peas fresh for later use, cook them quickly in boiling water and chill them immediately in cold or ice water. Store the peas in a ziplock bag and freeze them.

For the latest Chef Reggie’s Cooking Series:

Pea Smash on Grilled Sourdough
Portion: serves 8 pieces of bread

Prep Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 30 minutes

3 cloves fresh garlic plus 1 more clove to rub the sourdough
1/4 cup blanched and skinless almonds
1 cup fresh peas, out of the shells
4 cups/1 bunch basil leaves
1/4 cup EVOO, plus more for the sourdough
1/4 cup grated Parmesan or Cheddar
1 tablespoon lime juice
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 slices sourdough or any crusty bread

  1. Using a food processor, blitz up almonds and garlic, using the pulse setting on the machine, until they are crumbly.
  2. Add peas and basil and blitz them up with garlic and almonds on pulse setting again until everything is homogenized. Add cheese, and repeat with the blending.
  3. Turn the food processor on full speed and stream in EVOO. Blend the pea mixture until it is spreadable.
  4. Scrape the pea smash into a bowl and stir in lime juice and more EVOO to adjust the consistency. Season with salt.
  5. Set up a rack on the stovetop to make a grill. Alternatively, turn on the broiler in the oven. Grill or toast the sourdough until nice and toasty, and rub raw garlic on both sides of the bread. Drizzle some olive oil on the sourdough and sprinkle a pinch of salt on top. Spread the pea smash generously on the toast and serve. Bon appétit!