Korean Paella

The dry air, cooling temperature, and colorful falling leaves season is here.  My first Autumn in Milan so far has been a blessing and I am feeling extremely grateful for everything. I think what made a huge difference is the joining of our new little furry member, Junior.  He is an American Staffordshire Terrier born in June 2016.  I named him Junior in memory of my old dog, Gizmo.  I figure it would sound easier if we just call him Junior instead of Gizmo Junior.  

I didn't have time to explore any new recipes or urge to cook up any fancy dishes since Junior came into our lives.  But it's also because of him, that's how this awesome recipe came along. It's amazing how most recipes are made to adapt different environments.  Oh the wonder of food evolution. 

Normally, seafood or meat are the superstars of paella.  This Korean paella is not.  It is Gochujang that makes the difference.  The paste gives the vegetables and rice a lot more taste.  It's not too spicy because the vegetable broth would dilute the spiciness and create a much more balanced flavor wholly to the dish.  So please give it a try! x

Meet Junior. 

Korean Paella

Korean Paella

Serves: 2 persons

Prep time: 10 minutes

Cooking time: 20-25 minutes


1-2 garlic, finely chopped

1 small onion, diced

1 carrot, finely chopped

1 celery stalk, finely chopped

1 small bowl clamshell mushrooms

1 zucchini, thinly sliced

6-8 cherry tomatoes, halved

1 handful chopped coriander and some for garnishing

120-150g risotto rice

1 glass dry white wine

1 tbsp Gochujang

1 tbsp soy sauce

400ml vegetable stock

1 lemon or lime, cut into wedges

extra-virgin olive oil


  1. Heat up a large frying pan with a drizzle of olive oil on medium heat. Cook onion, carrot, and celery for 2-3 minutes.  
  2. Add garlic, mushrooms, cherry tomatoes, zucchini, rice, and white wine. Stir well.  Season.  
  3. Coat rice evenly with Gochujang and soy sauce before adding the vegetable stock.  Put a lid on. Reduce heat to low and simmer for roughly 20 minutes.  
  4. Once the rice is cooked, remove the lid and turn the heat back to medium-high for 1-2 minutes to create the golden caramelized crust aka socarrat.  
  5. Turn the heat off. Garnish with some chopped coriander, a twist of fresh lemon/lime juice, and a drizzle of olive oil before serving.  

Korean Paella

This Korean Paella with a little heat will keep you warm and cosy this fall.  

Vegan Cuts Snack Box January 2015 Review

This is my first time being appointed as an ambassador for Vegan Cuts and here I am writing a review for their amazing January's snack box.  To tell you the truth, I was pretty nervous before because I wasn't sure what I was expecting.  I was worried about writing a review that I didn't like.  A few questions immediately came to my mind like what if I don't like those snacks?  What am I gonna say about that?  I certainly don't want to lie about it... 

I went berserk for no reasons.  The snack box was really good.  I'm not gonna hard sell it.  I'm just gonna tell you the ones that I liked the most and how I developed some easy peasy recipes to go with them.  My favorite snacks amongst all are 1) rosemary baked lentil chips and 2) organic black rice ramen (wheat & gluten free).  The lentil chips could be eaten just as it is or you could create some dippings to go with that.  I happened to have an avocado at home so I whipped up some fresh guacamole.  

As for the black rice ramen, I had it elaborated into 3 easy recipes.  This ramen is a healthier choice for those who love instant noodles.  I highly recommend it to the college students who don't have time to cook a full-blown meal during the finals.  Geesh, I wish I had that when I was a student back in the old days.  

I'm so grateful to have been chosen to write this review.  It was so much fun for me.  Thank you, Vegan Cuts.  

Vegan Cuts in brief:

  • ●  7­10 vegan snacks

  • ●  Sweet and savory: Chips, cookies, bars, chocolate, crackers, tea, and more!

  • ●  Mostly gluten­free snacks

  • ●  Mix of full and sample size products

  • ●  $19.95 a month

  • ●  Cancel anytime, though we doubt you'll ever want to

  • ●  Free shipping to the U.S.

  • ●  The Vegan Cuts Snack Box ships worldwide 

These were the goodies inside of the snack box from Vegan Cuts.

First thing I opened was the two bags of chips.  :) I also whipped up a fresh guacamole to go with them.  ProTings doesn't need dipping at all because the chips itself was pretty tasty already.  

Guacamole Recipe


1 avocado 

2-3 small cherry tomatoes, chopped into small chunks

1/2 lime juice and zest

1-2 tbsp chopped red onion

1 garlic clove, finely chopped

1 tsp paprika or cayenne pepper

1 bunch coriander, chopped

extra-virgin olive oil


1) Scoop out the flesh of an avocado.  Add red onion and garlic.  Add lime juice and season.  Mix well.  

2) Add a drizzle of olive oil and sprinkle some cayenne pepper or paprika and garnish with chopped coriander before serving.  

My first attempt with the organic black rice ramen; gluten and wheat free is called "the budget ramen dish."  

Recipe for "the budget ramen dish" 

Servings: 1 person

Preparation Time: 2 minutes

Cooking Time: 3-4 minutes


1 black rice ramen cake, cooked according to the packaging label (3 minutes)

1/2 garlic clove, finely chopped

1 tsp grated fresh ginger

1 tbsp chopped spring onion

2 tbsp soy sauce

1 tbsp honey

1 tsp rice vinegar

1 tsp sesame oil

1 tsp sesame seeds

1 egg, sunny side up

hot sauce


1) To make the sauce to go with the cooked ramen, simply add sesame oil, soy sauce, honey, rice vinegar, garlic, and ginger.  Mix well.  

2) Coat the ramen with sauce and add an egg.  Garnish with sesame seeds and spring onion.  Add a dash of hot sauce to give an extra kick of this simple dish before serving.  

The second ramen recipe is with miso soup.  

Servings: 1 person

Preparation Time: 3-5 minutes

Cooking Time: 5 minutes


1 black rice ramen cake, cooked according to its packaging label (3 minutes) 

80-100g extra firm bean curd

1 small ball of cooked spinach

1 boiled egg, halved

2 buttoned mushroom, halved

80g daikon, sliced

1 handful dried seaweed

2-3 sugar snap peas

1 tbsp chopped spring onion

1 tsp sesame seeds

1 tsp sesame oil

2 tbsp white miso paste

1 tbsp soy sauce

800ml vegetable stock 


1) Preheat a small pot, bring the pot of vegetable stock to boil.  Add mushroom, daikon, and tofu.  Cook for 2-3 minutes.  Let the pot simmer for 1-2 minutes.  Add soy sauce and miso paste.  Heat off.  

2) Pour the soup into the cooked ramen.  Top with a ball of cooked spinach and a boiled egg; drizzle a little bit of sesame oil.  Garnish with sesame seeds, dried seaweed, and spring onions before serving.  

Last but not least, black rice ramen with a korean twist! 

I made my all-time favorite Momofuku's red dragon sauce to go with this ramen.  

Organic Black Rice Ramen (Wheat & Gluten Free) with shredded dried seaweed, cucumber and carrot in Momofuku's Red Dragon Sauce.  

Servings: 1 person

Preparation Time: 5 minutes

Cooking Time: 5 minutes


1 black rice ramen cake, cooked according to its packaging label (3 minutes) 

1 handful shredded cucumber

1 handful shredded carrot

1 handful shredded dried seaweed

1 tsp sesame seed

1 tbsp chopped spring onion

extra-virgin olive oil

For the Momofuku's red dragon sauce:

1/2 cup water

2 tbsp sugar

2 tbsp ssamjang

2 tbsp soy sauce

1 tsp sherry/apple cider vinegar

1 tsp sesame oil


1) Preheat a frying pan with a drizzle of olive oil, cook onion for 4-5 minutes under medium-low heat.  Add the cooked ramen to the pan.  Mix well with the caramelized onion.

2) To make the red dragon sauce, simply add all ingredients together and mix well.  Add a tablespoon of red dragon sauce to the ramen.  Mix well.  

3) Transfer the ramen to a dish.  Garnish with fresh cucumber, carrot, sesame seeds, spring onions, and seaweed.  Add a few extra tablespoon of red dragon sauce to complete the dish before serving.  

a little inspiration from my ex-colleague..

My girlfriend aka ex-colleague, Ronda, showed me a photo the other day.  She told me that one of our ex-colleagues, Clare, has recently switched to a vegetarian diet.  And that photo got stuck in my head for days and this recipe is especially dedicated to Clare.  I hope this could help her find vegetarian home cooking more enjoyable.  I actually got inspired by her cooking.  She used dry bean curd with shredded carrots and fungus.  That sounded super delicious to me.  

I haven't got time to do grocery shopping these few days.  So I just used whatever I could gather in my kitchen and I also stole some chinese kale from my mom's fridge.  Heh.  I whipped up some healthy and tasty fried brown rice to go with my tofu and chinese kale this afternoon.  I think the highlight here was my sweet and spicy lime sauce.  The fresh lime juice gave a kick and elevated the taste of the entire combination.  I really wish I could change many people's misperception about vegetarian dishes being tasteless and boring because that is absolutely not true.  There are so many ways to cook vegetables and taste good at the same time.  And I've been using the same few ingredients over and over again.  All we need is an open mind with a tiny bit of creativity. :) 

This was Clare's dinner the other night.  That bean curd looks pretty good to me.  :) With a little courage and motivation, we can definitely change a boring dish to become a vibrant meal! 

This dish is packed with flavors because I combined many fresh ingredients such as lime, honey, and ginger.  

Servings: 2 persons

Preparation Time: 5-10 minutes

Cooking Time: 15-20 minutes


For fried rice:        

2 bowls cooked brown rice

1/2 bowl cooked corn

1/2 bowl edamame

1/2 onion, finely chopped

2 tbsp minced ginger

1-2 tbsp chopped spring onion and coriander

extra-virgin olive oil

For Chinese Kale: 

100-150g Chinese Kale

1/2 vegetarian stock tablet

1 shallot

1-2 garlic cloves

extra-virgin olive oil

For crispy tofu: 

150g hard tofu, squared

1 egg* 

1/2 cup breadcrumbs

1 garlic clove, finely chopped

1/2 green chili, finely chopped

1/2 red chilli, finely chopped

* some leftover egg can be used for making the fried rice

For the sweet and spicy lime sauce:

1/2 lime juice

1-2 tsp honey

1-2 tsp mirin

2 tbsp soy sauce

1-2 tbsp chopped spring onion

1/2 garlic clove, finely chopped

1/2 red chili, finely chopped

1/2 green chili, finely chopped

Instructions for fried rice: 

1) To make the fried brown rice, heat up a frying pan on medium heat.  Add onion and ginger, cook for 3 minutes.  Reduce heat if the vegetables start to burn.  

2) Add corn and edamame, stir and cook for 1-2 minutes.  Add brown rice.  Season.  Add the remaining egg mixture that was used to make the crispy tofu to the rice*.  Cook 3-5 minutes.  Heat off .  Set aside. 

Instructions for crispy tofu: 

1) Mix breadcrumbs, chopped garlic, 1/2 chili, and sesame seeds in a medium size bowl. Season.  Mix well.  

2) Whisk an egg in another bowl, coat the tofu with egg first then follow by coating with breadcrumbs.  Set aside. 

3) Preheat a frying pan with oil on medium heat, cook the tofu for 1-2 minutes then turn to the other side and cook for 1 minute.  (Make sure you don’t burn the tofu.  If your oil is too hot, then reduce your heat) 

Instructions for chinese kale:

1) Preheat a frying pan with oil on medium heat, add garlic and shallot.  Cook 1-2 minutes. 

2) Add chinese kale and vegetable stock.  Add 1/4 cup water.  Put the lid on and let the vegetables steam for 5 minutes.  Stir a bit in mid way to make sure the vegetables are cooked evenly.  Reduce heat if necessary. 

Instructions for the sweet and spicy lime sauce:

1) Just mix everything in a small bowl.   

2) Serve it with fried rice, chinese kale, and crispy tofu.  Garnish your dish with spring onion and coriander.