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)

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

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

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!

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.

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!

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

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!

Breakfast – Oat Milk and Cereal

Oat Milk and Cereal, by Reggie Soang

Oat milk is a fine alternative to milk. Oat milk tastes rich and nutty. Adding a natural sweetener such as honey or maple syrup makes this drink even more enjoyable for breakfast in a cereal. Oat milk keeps well for 5 days in the fridge, and be sure to shake it well before every use. Strain oat milk if slimy texture is unpleasant, otherwise, leave the oat milk as it is. 

For the latest New Lifestyle Cooking Series:

Oat Milk with Cereal
Serves: make 4 cups 

Prep Time: 1 minute (not including non-active time)
Total Time: 5 minutes (not including non-active time)

1 cup of old-fashioned rolled oats
4 cups water
2 tablespoons maple syrup
1/4 teaspoons salt

  1. Soak the oats in water, covering the oats by 1-inch for 15 minutes. Strain the oats and run it underneath the cold for 10 seconds until water runs almost clear.
  2. Blend the oats with water for 15 seconds, and then add maple syrup and salt and blend for another 10 seconds. Strain oat milk for a smoother consistency.
  3. Use oat milk for breakfast cereal, bon appétit!

Dinner – Repurposing Minestrone, Making Budae Jjigae

Repurposing Minestrone, Making Budae Jjigae, by Reggie Soang

Minestrone could be repurposed as budae jjigae, Korean army stew, brilliantly. Both stews are made with a ton of veggies and finished with either dried pasta or instant noodles. Additionally to veggies, budae jjigae have cure meat or sausages. In this case, hot dogs work perfectly in this recipe for giving the stew a nice salty flavor. Last but not least, budae jjigae needs kimchi, the older the better. However, without kimchi, add pickled chilies (B&G pickled hot cherry peppers are the best), pickle juice, fish sauce, and miso to make up for the flavor.

For the latest New Lifestyle Cooking Series:

Repurposing Minestrone, Making Budae Jjigae
Serves: 4 to 6 portions

Prep Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 40 minutes

2 cup diced onions, large dice
2 cups quartered button mushrooms
1 cup diced red bell pepper, large dice
1 head fresh garlic, split each clove in half
5 hot dog, sliced on a bias to bite size
4 stalks scallions, cut into 2-inch long, save half for garnish
3 quarts water
3 tablespoon gochujang (Korean chili paste)
3 tablespoons miso
2 tablespoons + 1/2 teaspoon soy sauce
3 teaspoons fish sauce
1 teaspoon MSG
1 + 1/2 teaspoon mirin
3 tablespoons pickle juice from B&G Hot Cherry Peppers*
2 quarts minestrone (if not using leftover minestrone, add 1 cup crushed tomatoes and 1 more quart of water or any stock)
1 block/package tofu, cut into pinkie size chunk
2 packages of instant ramen

* substitute with other pickle juice as long as it doesn’t have other flavors, such as dill pickles.

  1. Add everything except minestrone, tofu, and instant ramen into a pot and bring it to a boil. Boil the stew for 10 to 15 minutes until all the veggies are tender and the stew is delicious.
  2. Add minestrone, tofu, and instant ramen last. Bring the stew back up to a boil and cook until instant ramen is cooked, takes about 2 minutes. Adjust seasoning and serve hot. Bon Appétit!

Lunch – Soba Noodles Salad with Ginger Scallion Sauce and Soy Vinaigrette

Soba Noodle Salad with Ginger Scallion Sauce and Soy Vinaigrette, by Reggie Soang

A delicious and healthy Asian noodle salad is the perfect choice for lunch; the salad is flavorful and vibrant. Edamame, snow peas, string beans, bean sprouts, red cabbage, or shredded carrots complement the salad brilliantly as well. Keep the salad fresh and clean, this dish deserves to be on the weekly menu.

For the Latest New Lifestyle Cooking Series:

Soba Noodle Salad with Ginger Scallions and Soy Vinaigrette
Serves: Makes 2 bowls

Prep Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 20 minutes

For Ginger Scallion Sauce:
1/4 cup sliced scallions, into a coin shape
1 tablespoon grated ginger
1/4 cup cooking oil
1/2 teaspoons MSG
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon chili flakes

For Soy Vinaigrette:
2 tablespoons soy sauce
1 teaspoon mirin
1 teaspoon rice wine vinegar
1 teaspoon cold water

For the salad:
1/4 cup sliced red bell peppers, little bigger than a matchstick
1/4 cup sliced celery, on a bias
1/2 cup sliced cucumbers, in thin strips
1 stalk scallion, thinly sliced on a bias
1/4 cup cooked or canned chickpeas
2 portions of soba noodles, according to the package
2 tablespoons dark sesame oil
1 tablespoon toasted sesame seeds

  1. Prepare all your sauces and veggies before cooking your noodles.
  2. For ginger scallion sauce, prep your scallions and ginger accordingly and mix everything together, set aside
  3. For soy vinaigrette, combine everything together and set aside
  4. Bring a pot of water to a boil to cook soba noodles. Meanwhile, prep your veggies accordingly and set aside. One tip on cutting the veggies, cut them thin but leave some crunch.
  5. Cook the soba noodles according to the package’s instructions and drain and run them underneath of cold water until completely chilled. Stir in sesame oil.
  6. To serve, scoop 1 tablespoon of soy vinaigrette per portion into a bowl and lay the noodles on top. Place red bell peppers, celery, cucumbers, scallions, and chickpeas around the bowl. Drizzle the veggies with ginger scallion sauce, as much as you like. Sprinkle on toasted sesame seeds to finish. Bon Appétit!

Breakfast – Flatbread with Honey Ricotta, Peanut Butter, and Pears

Flatbread with Honey Ricotta, Peanut Butter, and Pears, by Reggie Soang

This is a delicious, quick, and healthy breakfast all around. This dish offers many other different possibilities; apples and banana are great for complementing peanut butter and honey ricotta. Take out peanut butter and add some smashed up summer berries makes this breakfast even more attractive. The sky is the limit, as long as the flatbread is nicely toasted.

For the latest New Lifestyle Cooking Series:

Flatbread with Honey Ricotta, Peanut Butter, and Pear
Serves: makes 2 flatbread

Prep Time: 5 Minutes
Total Time: 5 Minutes

2 pieces flatbread, toasted
1/4 cup ricotta cheese
1/2 cup banana pudding (please click on the link)
2 tablespoons honey
1/4 cup peanut butter
1 pear, sliced to 1/8-inch thick

  1. Toast flatbread until nice and warm and little crispy
  2. Meanwhile, mix ricotta cheese, banana pudding, and honey
  3. Once the flatbread is ready, smear peanut butter over them, put dollops of honey ricotta on the peanut butter. Spread sliced pears around the flatbread. Drizzle the top with more honey if desired. 

Dinner – Mexican Baked Beans with Sweet Potato Fries

Mexican Baked Beans and Sweet Potato Fries, by Reggie Soang

Sweet potatoes go very well with beans; both are delicious and nutritious. Sweet potato fries are cut into shoestring size, 1/8-inch by 1/8-inch, and they are baked until crunchy. Sweet potatoes can also be baked whole and they would be just as delicious! Cumin, fennel seeds, and chili powder give the beans the depth of flavor. Crushed tomatoes add bright acidity to the dish. To keep it vegan, skip the sour cream, otherwise, a few dollops of sour cream make this dish more unresistible!

For the latest New Lifestyle:

Mexican Baked Beans and Sweet Potato Fries
Serves: 4

Prep Time: 10 Minutes
Total Time: 40 Minutes

4 tablespoons cooking oil
1/2 cup diced red bell peppers, medium dice
1/2 cup diced onions, medium dice
1/4 cup slivered garlic
3 teaspoon ground cumin
2 teaspoon ground fennel seeds
2 teaspoon chili powder
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon onion powder
2 tablespoons tomato paste
1 cup cooked pinto beans
1 + 1/2 cup cooked black beans
1 cup crushed tomatoes
3 cups water
2 Pound sweet potatoes, cut into thin strips
3 tablespoons cooking oil
2 teaspoon chili powder
1/2 teaspoon salt

  1. Pre-heat oven to 400F
  2. In a skillet, cook red bell peppers, onions, and garlic until tender. Add spices and toast until fragrant
  3. Add tomato paste, beans, crushed tomatoes, and water to combine. Bring to a boil and put the skillet into the oven and bake until the beans and sauce are nice and sticky.
  4. Meanwhile, put a roasting tray into the oven to get it hot for cooking sweet potato fries
  5. Slice sweet potatoes to 1/8-inch thick planks, and then cut the planks into thin strips, about 1/8-inch wide.
  6. Toss the sweet potatoes with cooking oil and season with salt and chili powder.
  7. Once the roasting tray is hot, lay the sweet potatoes on it and spread them out into a single layer. Bake for 20 minutes until nice and crispy. Move the fries around occasionally to prevent burning.
  8. Serve the baked beans with a couple dollops of sour cream and sprinkle scallions and sweet potato fries on top. Bon Appétit!

Lunch – Open Face Flatbread With Yogurt, Olives, and Feta Cheese

Flatbread with Yogurt, Olives, and Feta Cheese, by Reggie Soang

One of my chefs used to make me his version of this sandwich by turning it into a wrap – the flavors were brilliant; salty, tangy, earthy. This open-face sandwich is an easy and quick fix for a weekday lunch. You could also just put everything inside of a pita bread and eat it like a proper sandwich.

For the latest New Lifestyle:

Open Face Flatbread with Yogurt, Olives, and Feta Cheese
Serves: 2

Prep Time: 10 Minutes
Total Time: 20 Minutes

2 pieces flatbread
2 tablespoons  EVOO
1/2 teaspoons paprika
1/2 teaspoons dried oregano
1/3 cup Greek Yogurt
1/3 cup halved Kalamata olive
2 teaspoons chopped parsley
1/4 cup sliced cucumbers, thinly
1/4 cup crumbled Feta Cheese
EVOO, for finishing

  1. Brush the flatbread with EVOO and sprinkle on paprika and dried oregano. Put the flatbread in the cold oven and set the temperature at 275F. Once the oven reaches the temp, flatbread will be nicely toasted and still soft.
  2. Smear each piece of flatbread with yogurt. Split up the Kalamata olives, chopped parsley, sliced cucumbers, and crumbled feta cheese equally between the flatbreads. Drizzle of a little more olive oil on top to finish.
  3. The best way to eat it is to fold it up like a taco. Bon Appétit!