Category Archives: Vegetarian

Ginger Scallion Noodles

When I think of Chinese food, I think of the quintessential flavours of ginger, scallions (spring onions) and soy sauce. They’re really the building blocks of so many Chinese dishes. These ginger scallion noodles are no exception.

Last night, I was experiencing a bad case of the midnight munchies. Ordinarily when I’m back home somewhere in Asia, all I have to do is walk to a nearby hawker centre and I have my pick of fried noodles, Indian roti prata, or fish congee, and I have great food anytime of the night.

Killer Sauce

Seeing as I have no such option here in Melbourne, it was up to me to do something about my hunger pangs. Not one to ignore to calls of my stomach, I remembered this post I read on userealbutter. Ginger scallion noodles – the perfect late-night supper slash snack.

The only change I made to the original recipe was using sesame oil instead of vegetable oil for the killer sauce. Sesame oil is my favourite Chinese ingredient. It came together really easily, and was so darn satisfying.

p.s. please excuse the stodgy photos – it was 2am, people!

Ginger Scallion Noodles
Momofuku by David Chang

the sauce

2 1/2 cups scallions, thinly sliced
1/2 cup fresh ginger, peeled and minced fine
1/4 cup vegetable oil (i used sesame oil)
1 1/2 tsps light soy sauce
3/4 tsp sherry vinegar
3/4 tsp kosher salt plus more to taste

Mix together in a bowl and let sit for 20 minutes.

the rest

12 oz ramen noodles
2 tbsps vegetable oil
3 cups cabbage, shredded
2 cups sprouts
2 stalks green onions, sliced thin on the diagonal
1 cup bamboo shoots
hoisin sauce (optional)

While the sauce is sitting, bring a large pot of water to a boil and cook the noodles. When the noodles are ready, drain them. Dry the pot and pour in the vegetable oil. Heat on high flame and add the green onions when the oil is hot. Stir the green onions for 15 seconds then add the cabbage. Stir-fry the cabbage until it begins to wilt then add the sprouts. When the sprouts begin to wilt, toss in the bamboo shoots and stir-fry for another minute then remove from heat. Place the noodles and the sauce in a large bowl together and toss to coat the noodles evenly. Top or toss in the stir-fried vegetables and top with hoisin sauce.

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Green Bean Omelette

I am unashamedly a rice girl. This delicious omelette is perfect with rice and is a staple in my family. My grandma whips this up pretty often because it’s just one of those super quick and easy dishes.

I think I love this more now than when I was growing up because I really appreciate the simplicity of the dish. To me, comfort food is anything my grandma cooks. She is my inspiration in the kitchen and the reason I have such a love for food. ‘Comfort food’ may be a clichéd description, but this is really what this dish means to me, especially when I start to miss home.

My grandma starts by heating oil in a hot wok. Then she adds chopped garlic, green beans and preserved turnip, keeping the wok moving constantly. She beats eggs in a bowl with some salt, and pours it into the hot wok, like you would any omelette. When browned on one side, the omelette is flipped and seconds later, dished out.

This simple egg-dish should be in every cook’s repertoire. I replicated exactly how my grandma cooks it. It was really good, but never as good as when she does it.

p.s. Apologies for the lousy photograph at the end. It was past 6pm and daylight was disappearing fast.

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Burnt Onions

Beautiful Burnt Onions

I never thought one of my previous kitchen ‘mishaps’ would be covered in a nyt article. Caramelised onions are something I make all the time. Of course, when the cooking goes slightly past caramelised, parts of the onions take on a blackish tinge. In the past, when burnt onions happened to me, I’d still eat them anyway, but they were never the ‘final destination’.

There isn’t a recipe for this, more like a method, a la Mark Bittman. For caramelised onions, I would go low and slow all the way, and add flavour bit by bit, like a touch of sugar, salt, dried herbs, pepper… But Bittman says to start on a medium-high heat so that the onions sizzle when they hit the pan.

There’s something about the burnt, literally bitter-sweet bits. These are so versatile – over pasta, rice, in a burger, or do like I did and use them to bulk up a salad. Next time I’ll burn those a touch more.

Caramelised onions are so yesterday. Burn ‘em!

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Korean Scallion Pancake and Bean Sprouts

I had a craving for Korean food today. I love the stuff, and not just their famous charcoal barbeque. I had a bunch of scallions (green onions) in the fridge so Pajeon (scallion pancake) seemed fitting. I’d say it’s sort of a cross between a crepe and an omelette.

To me, the best thing about Korean food is the banchan. Even if you only order a bowl of noodles, there will always be an abundance of it on the table. Banchan is like the Korean equivalent of tapas. There are plates and plates of goodies like the most famous one – kimchi – and others such as sweet potato, spinach, cucumbers and bean sprouts.

Kongnamul (I’m sure there are hundreds of different spellings for this) is one of the most quintessential banchan and is always used in bibimbap. It’s really just blanched bean sprouts which are then seasoned with sesame oil, a touch of soy sauce, finely chopped scallions, finely minced garlic and sesame seeds. Sometimes sugar is added too.

No recipe is needed because you adjust the seasoning according to taste. I chilled mine because I like it cold and crunchy. As the recipe for Pajeon suggests, I cooled it to room temperature and served it with the bean sprouts and a squidgen of Korean mayonnaise. Perfect for a simple summer lunch for one.

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Cold Pad Thai or Cold Tamarind Noodles

The residual heat of summer is still lingering here in Melbourne. Not that I’m languishing in the heat but today, the mercury hit 32ºC (90ºF) so I could only fathom having cold food. Considering last night’s dinner was ice cream, I opted for cold noodles.

Cold Pad Thai sounds very unglamorous. I should say this isn’t really Pad Thai. Since, “pad” means “fried”, I think it’s more appropriate to call this cold tamarind noodles. I made Pad Thai a few nights ago and had some sauce left over. It’s really just tamarind pulp, fish sauce and sugar.

Bean Sprouts, Cucumber and Cilantro

Here’s what else I used: rice noodles, lots of cilantro (coriander), bean sprouts and cucumber. I also topped the noodles with sliced of fried firm tofu, toasted peanuts and Thai dried chilli flakes. Did I mention there isn’t a drop of oil in this dish? Oh, and it’s vegetarian. Shoot, if I didn’t know better, I’d think I was being health conscious.

Not.

This is good enough to make again, and not just as a by-product of leftover Pad Thai sauce. It wasn’t a stroke of culinary genius but it was an adequate amount of deliciousness for me.

Now if only I had a green velvet cupcake for St. Patty’s Day.

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Avocado Toast

Avocados have been very expensive lately, which is why I jumped at the chance when I saw them going for $1.72 each at my local market. Come to think of it, it doesn’t seem like such a steal as I’m writing this. But hey, compared to $3 or $4, I consider my buy a decent one. I know, I need validation once in a while.

I love, love, love avocado on some good bread, with just a little salt and pepper, and drizzled with lemon juice. I’m a firm believer in buying the best you can afford. If the ingredients are good, they really need little adornment.

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