wasabi

more simple asian cooking...

Here are the few dishes that I often make for my family.  They are really simple home cooking.  I don't usually go too fancy or make complicated dishes because I just don't have the patience.  BUT I do use mostly fresh ingredients because I love the freshness and original flavor that the vegetables give to my cooking.  I think making Asian food is really easy.  The few key items that one must have in the kitchen are soy sauce, sesame oil, mirin, miso, gochujang, and soju/sake.  These few gems are good to go and make tons of different Asian dishes.  

If you are craving a light and healthy Korean or Japanese meal, try out my no brainer recipes here.  The great thing about these dishes is that you don't need expensive ingredients to make them tasty.  You can use whatever you have in your fridge and use up the leftovers.  

Have an awesome weekend!  Bye bye July and hello August! :) 

vegetables bibimbap - the key is the sauce you put to the dish.  You can use any vegetables you like such as cucumber, carrots, bean sprouts, spinach, and etc.  What I used here is: tofu, edamame, cucumber, carrot, mushroom, and an egg on brown rice.

To make the sauce: 2 tbsp gochujang, 1 tsbp rice vinegar, 1 tsp honey, 1-2 tbsp sesame oil, 1-2 tbsp water

Another super easy dish - the highlight here is the wasabi mayonnaise.  

To make the wasabi mayonnaise, all you need is to mix 1 tsp wasabi and 3-4 tbsp mayonnaise.  Mix well.  

The key is to add a bit of wasabi mayonnaise on the rice while laying the chopped cucumbers on the rice.  Then roll the sushi with a sushi mat.  

This is a light and presentable appetizer.  So easy and so healthy.  

Soup noodle is another common Asian dish that we must have every now and then.  I usually crave it when I'm not feeling well. 

Servings: 2 persons

Preparation Time: 10 minutes

Cooking Time: 10 minutes

Ingredients: 

50-80g soft/hard tofu, squared

80g mushroom, thinly sliced

80g baby bok choy

1 egg, boiled, halved

1 handful chopped spring onion

1-2 tsp sesame seed

1 tsp paprika 

1 tsp sesame oil 

1 tbsp soy sauce

2-3 tbsp white miso

150g - 200g udon

750 mL water

Instructions: 

1) Bring a pot of water to boil, cook the udon according to the package label.  Drain.  Transfer to a big bowl.

2) Bring another pot of 750mL water to boil, add mushroom, tofu, and bok choy.  Cook for 3-5 minutes, add miso and soy sauce.  Simmer for 2-3 minutes.  Heat off.   

3) Add the miso soup and vegetables to the bowl of udon.  

4) Add boiled egg, sesame oil, paprika, spring onion, and sesame seeds.  Serve HOT :) 

Miso soup base is much healthier and tastier.  All you need to add is some fresh greens.  You can always substitute for your favorite Asian noodle.  

the power of color...

Do you know what gives fruits and vegetables their color?  What are the benefits of their color?  Do you know what colors are missing in your diet?  Well, come meet Ashley Spivak from re-color the palate.  re-color the palate is a nutritional consultating practice and education laboratory run by Ashley in the US.  The purpose is to use color as a guide to enable us to consume food in a much healthier and more colorful way.  If you would like to learn more about re-color the palate, please go to blog.recolorthepalate.com and follow Ashley on Instagram @recolorthepalate   

So I found out that cabbage is one of the ingredients that Ashley is currently working with.  I came up with this simple and delicious "street food" recipe with an Asian and healthy twist to it! ;)  The combination of all the simplest ingredients is refreshing.  I was inspired by one of Chef Gordon Ramsey's recipes.  He used beef in his original recipe.  I swapped the meat with tofu instead.  The outcome was spectacular!   I highly recommend everyone to try it.  

Before I go on with my recipe and "colorful" photos(wink-wink),  I'm thankful to get the chance to ask Ashley a few questions about food color and herself.  And I'd be delighted to share with you here.  

C: Cindy and A: Ashley

Cindy:  Is the belief of re-coloring the palate a new food trend or it’s been around for quite sometime? 

Ashley:  Well the idea of "eating your colors" isn't novel but the research around phytochemicals (what give fruits and veggies their color) is pretty new and definitely expanding-- which is very exciting.  One of the goals of re-color the palate is to get people to move away from packaged, processed foods and focus on integrating more real, nutrient-dense foods into their daily routine.  Instead of focusing on calorie counts, we ask people to think about what a canvas would look like if they were to paint it with the colors that correspond to the food they've recently eaten (processed foods, sugary foods, and inflammatory oils are all considered grey).  The goal is to have a vibrant canvas with many different colors and hues (think raw vs. cooked foods--maybe your steamed kale is a darker shade of green than your raw kale salad) and very little grey. 

C:  Do you have your favorite color of food and why?

A:  Purple-- especially when found with green, like on purple kale.  It blows my mind that the stuff grows from the earth.  If I were a designer I would for sure use produce patterns as inspiration-- foodpalates!

C:  How many colors of food does a person require to consume per day?

A:  I don't think there's a set number.  Take a second to paint that canvas in your head and notice what colors are missing.  Maybe you haven't had anything blue in a while so next time you're at the market, pick the blueberries over the apple. Maybe you realize you've had chicken for both lunch and dinner, so maybe choose organic beef tomorrow.  But, the goal should always be to decrease the grey. 

C:  What was the most inspirational experience you’ve ever had throughout your career in food education/nutrition?

A:  It always makes me excited when I hear from past clients that they've kept certain routines going long past us working together.  This is the whole point- sustainable, habitual changes, not quick fixes. 

C:  Would you like to recommend a few special tips for choosing our food colors? 

A:  Challenge yourself.  Go to your local market and pick produce you've never worked with before-- you may find your new favorite!  People tend to steer clear of foods they don't know because it feels time consuming to figure out what to do with them.  I think this is one of the biggest myths! Eating well doesn't have to be time consuming at all. It just takes commitment and a willingness to try. 

C:  Any words you would like to share with all of us?

A:  Thanks so much Cindy! We are excited to announce that we are in the process of putting together a Month of Meals educational experience where you can learn how to best integrate nutrient-dense foods into your everyday routine while having your own personal nutrition consultant from the comfort of your couch.  There will be a foundational course as well as a prepping for pregnancy course. Should be out in fall. Please sign up on re-color the palate if you are interested in learning more!

Here are some of the colorful ingredients I used for this recipe.  :) 

Here are some of the colorful ingredients I used for this recipe.  :) 

Servings: 2 persons (2 tortillas each)

Preparation Time: 10-15 minutes

Cooking Time: 5 minutes

Ingredients: 

150-200g chinese cabbage/cabbage, thinly chopped

100g extra-firm tofu, thin squared

2 tbsp miso

3-4 tbsp rice vinegar

2 tbsp sesame oil

1/2 chili, seeded and finely chopped

1 tbsp brown sugar

1 tsp wasabi

1/2 small cup mayonnaise

1 bunch chopped spring onion

1 bunch chopped coriander (optional) 

4 tortilla wraps

extra-virgin olive oil

Romie aka Romeo was trying to photobomb while I was taking the cooking steps shots.

Instructions: 

1) Preheat a frying pan on medium heat with olive oil, panfry the tofu until they turn golden.  Heat off.  Set aside. 

2) To make the spicy chinese cabbage pickle, get a large bowl, add cabbage, chili, 2-3 tbsp rice vinegar, and sesame oil.  Mix well and set aside.  

3) To make the miso sauce, get a small bowl, add miso, sugar, 1 tbsp rice vinegar, 1-2 tbsp olive oil and mix well.  

4) To make the wasabi mayonnaise, simply add the wasabi and mayonnaise and mix together. 

5) To make the tortilla wrap, heat each side of the wrap for less than 1 minute on a frying pan on medium heat, use a rolling pin to hold the wrap for 30 seconds so it remains in its "scoopy" shape.  

To make each wrap, add a dollop of wasabi mayonnaise, smear evenly on the base of each tortilla wrap, then add the spicy chinese cabbage pickle.  Dip the tofu in the miso sauce and transfer 2-3 tofu cubes to each tortilla wrap.  Add another drop of wasabi mayonnaise on top.  Garnish with chopped spring onion and coriander.  Add a twist of lime juice if you like.  

Here is the colorful, delicious and healthy tortilla for ya' all!  ;) 

This tortilla got a refreshing and spicy kick to it.  It is pretty addictive.  Must try! 

think outside of the box...

We've been sooo blessed with such nice weather this past week.  The heat is inspiring me to think outside of the box.  I want to quickly share this recipe before I head out to enjoy the sun.  I've added a lot of "extra-ordinary" Asian flavors to my ordinary quinoa salad.  Perhaps that is my root doing the speaking.  This salad is super nutty, light, and delicious.  Enjoy it with this beautiful weather, peeps!  :) 

here is my extra-ordinary ordinary quinoa salad

Servings: 1-2 persons 

Preparation Time: 5-10 minutes

Ingredients:

1 cup quinoa, cooked according to the package label*

1/2 vegetable stock tablet

1 bowl mixed greens

10 cherry tomatoes, halved

1 small radish, shaved

1 shallot, finely chopped

100-150g cooked edamame

a handful crushed walnuts

1 bunch chopped coriander

1 lime zest and juice

1 tbsp sesame seeds

1 tsp wasabi

1 tbsp soy sauce

1 tbsp honey

1 tbsp sesame oil

2 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil

Instructions for the dressing: 

1) Mix lime zest, lime juice, wasabi, soy sauce, honey, sesame oil, and olive oil in a small bowl.