Tag Archives: asian

Clueless in the Kitchen: Review

This review is on one of the oldest books in my collection, Clueless in the Kitchen. When I was living on my own, this was one of the two books I bought. I bought this online just from the title alone.

The book claims it is a cookbook for teens, but it’s for everyone and it’s a book you can grow with. It’s aimed at individuals who are living on their own and goes over kitchen essentials, how to defrost a freezer, and how to shop for food. Throughout the book are icons to designate cheap eats, comfort food (“mom food”), vegetarian, cooking to impress, couch potato food, and quick food. I wish the index had a section for these icons so I wouldn’t have to flip through the book looking for an icon. There’s also suggested menus and a glossary at the back that is helpful.

I’ve made a ton of recipes in here and have dishes that make it into regular rotation. When my cooking skills increased and I had to figure out how to make a gravy, I turned to this book. The recipes here are simple but solid. My mom, who can make crazy good Filipino dishes, struggles with dishes that aren’t in her usual repertoire. She would use this book to make meals for when company came over and they always turned out tasty. If this book helped my mom and me out, it’s sure to help anybody else.

The book doesn’t have any photos at all. It has diagrams on how to cut up food, but no pictures of finished dishes. Please don’t let that deter you, the outcome is always turns out.

Here are a few of the (many) recipes I love:
Curry glazed chicken
– Chocolate mocha torte (back when I couldn’t bake, I made this all the time)
– Mushrooms masquerading as escargots (mushrooms drenched in garlic and butter, instant winner)

I recently tried the stir fry recipe that’s in the book and it’s also repeat worthy. And guess what? This dish was more liked than the Cook’s Illustrated recipe I tried.


Stir fry is probably the quickest and easiest way of getting more vegetables into your diet. I used marinated tofu cubes that gave it a nice punch of flavour.

Stir-Fry (adapted from Clueless in the Kitchen)
Serves 3-4

1 bunch of broccoli, florets cut and stems thinly sliced
1 red pepper, sliced lengthwise
4 green onions cut into 1″ pieces
Marinated tofu cubes
1/4 cup vegetable broth
3 cloves of garlic, minced
3 tablespoons vegetable or peanut oil

Soy sauce mixture
1 tablespoon cornstarch
1 tablespoon sherry
1 teaspoon sesame oil
1/4 cup broth

Prep everything beforehand as this is quick to cook. In a small bowl combine all the ingredients of the soy sauce mixture. Pour half the vegetable/peanut oil in a wok or large skillet over high heat. Stir-fry the tofu until it gets a bit crispy, remove and set aside.

Add the rest of the oil and when hot fry garlic until fragrant (about 10 seconds) then add the broccoli and pepper and stir-fry for 1-2 mins. Add green onions, the rest of the broth and cover the pan to steam the veggies (about 2 mins). The broccoli should be lightly cooked. Put the tofu back in, add the soy sauce mixture and stir constantly. When the sauce thickens and becomes glossy, it’s done.

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The Steamy Kitchen Cookbook: Review

While my cookbook collection isn’t as big as others, it is pretty darn big. What started out as 2 very basic (how to make a grilled cheese sandwich anyone?) cookbooks to help me not eat frozen dinners twice a day has grown to about 50 cookbooks. With that many cookbooks I could review one a week for almost the whole year. It’d also force me to try out more recipes and review ones that I made a long time ago.

First book is Jaden Hair’s The Steamy Kitchen Cookbook. I first came across her site looking for a fish recipe. Since then I’ve made her German oven pancakes and her baby back ribs with orange glaze and have many more recipes bookmarked. So when her cookbook came out I was very excited to get it.

The book is in-depth going into tools, ingredient, and basic recipes for sauces, stock, and salts. If you’re a visual learner, there are pictures for almost every single recipe in the book. It’s always nice to know if the dish you made looks similar to the one in the book. For some of the recipes how to photos are provided in case you don’t know how to make rolls or wrap wontons. And the photos? Jaden has done a fabulous job of food styling and photographing the dishes. Stunning!

Recipes are simple and quick to make. I’ve started to make my way through the book and have made the Pad Thai, Garlic Butter Noodles, and Quick Omelette with Shrimp and Peas all with excellent results. There’s many more I’d like to try.

One of my favourites in the book (so far) is the Baked Crispy Chicken with Citrus Teriyaki Sauce. It is crazy delicious and so simple to make. The temperature of the oven needs to be at 475F. My oven runs a lot cooler on higher temperatures so my oven thermometer was a big help. The timing was perfect and the chicken came out incredibly moist.

You must try this recipe.

Baked crispy chicken with citrus teriyaki sauce

Baked Crispy Chicken with Citrus Teriyaki Sauce (reprinted with permission from Jaden Hair)
Serves 4 as part of a multicourse meal

1/2 cup (50 g) all-purpose flour
2 eggs
1 cup (120 g) panko breadcrumbs
1 lb (500 g) boneless, skinless chicken breasts
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
Nonstick cooking spray

Citrus Teriyaki Dipping Sauce
3 Tablespoons soy sauce
3 tablespoons orange juice
3 tablespoons sake
3 tablespoons sugar
3 tablespoons mirin

1. In a saucepot, bring all ingredients for the Citrus Teriyaki Dipping Sauce to a boil. Turn the heat to low and let simmer for 6 minutes until slightly thickened.
2. Preheat the oven to 475F(245C).
3. Line up 3 shallow bowls. Put the flour in the first bowl, the eggs in the second (and beat with fork), and the panko in the third bowl. Also have nearby a sheet pan with a baking rack placed in it (Note: I used a broiler pan that worked fine)
4. Pound each chicken breast to 1/4 to 1/2 inch (6mm-12mm) thickness. Season each piece of chicken on both sides with salt and pepper.
5. You’ll work with one piece of chicken at a time. Lightly dredge a piece in the flour on both sides. Then dip in the beaten eggs, making sure that you coat the entire piece. Then, pat in the panko, pressing gently to adhere the crumbs. While the chicken is still in the shallow bowl with the panko, spray the topside with cooking spray. Place the chicken piece onto the baking rack with the side you’ve just sprayed facing down. Then spray the other side with cooking spray. Repeat with the remaining chicken pieces.
6. Bake for 15 minutes, until the chicken is cooked through. Let the chicken rest for 5 minutes, then cut into several pieces. To serve, lay a bed of shredded lettuce on a plate, top with the sliced chicken pieces and serve with the Citrus Teriyaki Dipping Sauce.

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Asian Spiced Chicken Wings

Asian Spiced Chicken Wings

I first tried these wings at a friend’s bbq. I was worried they would be too spicy for me because they had Sriracha in it, but it wasn’t. They were AMAZING. I wanted more and found out there was nothing left. Then I cried.

So I decided to make the recipe for my sister and brother-in-law for dinner. I bought the Costco sized package of wings. It didn’t look like the marinade was covering most of the chicken so I doubled the recipe. Including the Sriracha. After I was done mixing it all together I decided to try a very tiny amount of the hot sauce. Searing hot! After downing some milk my tastebuds are still numb. I don’t think the wings I had at the bbq had the recipe doubled and those were 30 huge meaty wings. Would I even be able to eat this meal I made?

The answer…yes. The wings did have a bit of a kick, but it wasn’t so spicy that it was inedible for me. Which is great because the wings were still good. We couldn’t fit both baking sheets in the oven so one had to be on the bbq grill. We should have grilled them directly on the bbq, but a certain person wanted to have the wings in their juices so we put the baking sheet on the grill. The wings ended up charred on one side and the aluminum foil practically fused to the pan. The pan needs to be thrown away. I’m just happy I didn’t listen to R when he suggested I use my good expensive baking pan. I would have been very upset if I had to throw it out. Next time we decide to make these wings on the bbq, they’ll be put directly on the grates to avoid untimely deaths of baking pans.

Recipe here. Ketjap Manis, a sticky sweet Indonesian condiment can be found at your local Asian grocer. There’s also a recipe here on how to make it yourself if you have trouble finding it.

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Brooklyn Pad Thai

We don’t have a lot of variety when we make dinner. It’s usually some pasta thing or potatoes or rice. We love our carbs! After months of some sort of variation of an Italian pasta, I wanted something different. I was also starting to miss the Filipino food my mom made which I got sick of having when I was growing up. I saw the Brooklyn Pad Thai from Vegan with a Vengeance and while not authentic, it looked easy which is what I wanted.

I fried up the tofu in little triangles and I think I’ve found a new favourite way to have tofu. It’s so crunchy and delicious! The dish was pretty good, but it felt like it was missing something. The next time I made it, I made a non-vegan version and used fish sauce. What a difference! It was exactly what was missing in the dish. In the recipe I didn’t use tamarind concentrate and I think if making the version vegan, it would taste more authentic than the lime juice I used. I would love to try the vegan version again with the tamarind.

The book suggests using tongs to mix everything up and it really helps to make sure everything is well mixed.

You can find the recipe here.

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My first foray into cooking

Cashew chicken sans cashews

I still get nervous cooking, it’s not really my thing yet I love to try complicated recipes that take hours to make. I’m the kind of person that needs a recipe. Movie Man just looks in the cupboard and can make something out of nothing.

When I was living on my own I armed myself with non-intimidating cookbooks titled Clueless in the Kitchen and Help! My Apartment Has a Kitchen! It was these books that helped me wean my dependence on tv dinners and the freezer full of processed food. Then channel surfing I stumbled upon her. She was funny, peppy, and made cooking look easy — she was Rachael Ray. Poor Rachael Ray, people either love her or hate her. I’m in the former group and her recipes are darn tasty. I never had Indian food until Movie Man and I made her Curry in a Hurry. We’ve made the dish so many times it’s been memorized.

The photo above is from Rachael Ray’s first book 30 minute meals. This is the dish I cooked for my friend which I happily cooked as meat is a rare item in this household.

Dessert was a flourless chocolate cake. I was in the mood for something dense and chocolate and this was it.


Recipe here.

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