Braised Black Cod with Sauteed Spinach and Mushrooms

January 27, 2013 § 4 Comments

Some time last October, Trader Joe’s had black cod on sale. I never bought frozen seafood from TJ before but it was the perfect opportunity to final try Morimoto’s braised cod recipe from his book Morimoto: The New Art of Japanese Cooking. You can actually find a copy of his recipe here if you don’t have a copy of the cookbook.

I love braised fish dishes. And since I’ve had one of the braised fish dishes at one of Morimoto’s restaurant before, I was pretty sure this was going to be delicious. Yup, it was wonderfully delicious, one of those where we could just kept eating until our bellies popped. I only had 1.5 pounds of black cod so I decided to half the remaining ingredients in the recipe. There was plenty of yummy sauce with lots to spare (drizzle that over some steamy white rice, yum!). Made me wish I bought an extra piece or two of black cod.

As a side, I just used what I had in the fridge. Some sauteed mushrooms and spinach with garlic. Very quick to throw together.

You’ll need:

  • Rinsed spinach (about a bunch), make sure all the grit and dirt is gone
  • sliced button mushrooms (about 8-10, more if you like, Creminis are nice too)
  • 1 Tablespoon unsalted butter
  • 1 Tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
  • pinch of salt
  • 1 teaspoon minced garlic
  • 1/2 teaspoon of Tamari
  • 1 Tablespoon low sodium chicken broth (optional)

In a skillet on medium heat, butter and EVOO. Add mushrooms and salt, saute until mushroom is brown. Add garlic and cook for about a minute. Add spinach, Tamari,  and chicken broth (optional) and cook until spinach is wilted. Taste and adjust seasoning as needed. Serve immediately.

My mouth is watering now just thinking about this. Oh yeah, one other thing, I julienned some green onions (soaked in ice water for a few minutes to make them curl) and fresh ginger to garnish the top of the black cod. Purely optional. As a matter of fact, I remembered about these just as we were about to scarf enjoy our dinner. It didn’t add a whole lot to the dish IMO but it did make it look prettier.


Spicy Garlic Dry-Fried Long Beans with Pork

March 27, 2012 § 7 Comments

I haven’t made any stir-fries in a while but on a recent trip to the store, I saw some long beans that looked good. I originally had planned on making green papaya salad with it but I never got around to getting the papaya. So instead, I made a dry-fried dish with it. I was actually surprised I’ve never posted on this dish before so I made an effort this time to actually take a picture of it before it was completely consumed.

This recipe can also be easily converted to a Sichuan dry-fried green beans dish, and it can be completely vegetarian, if you prefer. This is so good over a hot bowl of steamed white rice!

I love the addition of Sichuan preserved vegetable (zha cai), which actually is pickled mustard plant. You’ve probably eaten some of this before, like in Tan Tan Mein (dan dan noodles) or even niu rou mein. You can find it in most Asian markets. I like to buy the kind that’s already been cut into shreds since I think it tastes a little different than the whole vegetable. The can looks like this (the word “SHREDDED” is underneath in the “Preserved Vegetable”):


Even if you don’t want to add the preserved vegetable or can’t find it, this dish is still worth making.


  • 3/4 to 1 pound long beans (or substitute with green beans)
  • 1/2 cup canola oil
  • 1/4 to 1/2 pound ground pork, depending on your preference)
  • 2 Tablespoons Sichuan preserved vegetable, finely chopped
  • 1 Tablespoon minced garlic
  • 1 teaspoon minced or grated ginger
  • 3 scallions, white parts only, chopped
  • 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes (optional)
  • 1 teaspoon soy sauce
  • salt to taste
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground white pepper (optional)


  • 1/2 Tablespoon Chinese rice wine or dry sherry
  • 1/2 Tablespoon chili bean sauce
  • 1 Tablespoon garlic chili paste (I use 2 Tbsp since I like it really spicy)
  • 1/2 teaspoon sesame oil
  • 1 teaspoon sugar


Rinse the green beans and dry them very well. Cut the ends off and then cut the beans into 2-inch lengths.

Prepare the sauce: stir together the wine, chili bean sauce, garlic chili paste, sesame oil, and sugar until the sugar is dissolved. Set aside.

Heat a large wok or skillet over medium-high heat. Add the oil and swirl to coat the sides. Add green beans and stir-fry for about 7 minutes, keeping the beans constantly moving. Stir-fry beans until the outsides begin to blister and the beans start to look wilted. The beans should not burn. Remove the green beans and set them on paper towels to drain.

Remove all but 1 tablespoon of oil and reheat the wok. Add ground pork and stir-fry until no more pink can be seen.

Add soy sauce, Sichuan preserved vegetable, red pepper flakes (optional), garlic, ginger, scallions and ground white pepper (optional),  stir-fry until fragrant, about 1 minute.

Add sauce mixture and cook for another minute.

Add long beans back in and stir to combine everything. Adjust the seasoning with salt, if necessary. Serve hot with some steamed white rice.

Hong Kong Fried Noodles – Revisited

January 9, 2012 § 10 Comments

For New Year’s Day, I decided to make Hong Kong style fried noodles with seafood. The original post with the recipe can be found here. I’ve updated the recipe since that first time and I think the sauce is much better now. As with most stir-fry recipes, you can add just about any kind of protein and vegetables to this dish. I typically like to have at least shrimp and squid in this. But it’s great with  pork, beef, chicken, fish, even tofu.

I did a couple of things different this time. I blanched the noodles a few hours ahead and them laid out two (very large) servings on a baking sheet to dry out the noodles. I thought this might help with the frying of the noodles and although the noodles didn’t fry any faster, it did make the noodles more crunchy throughout.  The previous method left some of the noodles in the middle softer. So depending on whether you like crunchy noodles like I do or a mixture of soft and crunchy, pick the method to your liking.. Here are the fried noodle cakes resting. BTW, the majority of the pictures in this post was taken by the Mister. I was kind of up to my ears in prep so I asked him to be my photographer and just take pictures as he saw fit.

I decided to use some shrimp and baby squid this time, about a pound of shrimp (shelled and deveined) and about half a pound of baby squid, already cleaned. I had both seafood marinading together but in hindsight I should have done these two separately since the shrimp was so large, it took longer for them to cook through. I removed the squid from the wok as it cooked but was kind of a pain in the ass. Would have been much easier if I had thought it through in the beginning.

I also bought a humungo lobster from 99 Ranch (that sucker was 4.5 lbs), which I steamed ahead of time, which took about 30 minutes to steam. That big boy was going to be 2 meals! Here’s the size of the lobster tail, about 1 lb of meat. I saved that for our meal the next night. The meat in the bowl was all claw meat.

For the fried noodles, I used only claw meat. Here’s an action shot of the chaos of removing lobster meat. Most of the lobster shell is in the freezer for when I need to make some lobster stock.

I doubled the sauce ingredients on this one since I was doing 2 noodle cakes. Since I was going through all the trouble of de-meating the lobster, I wanted to make sure I had leftovers. Other things I had in this version were bok choy and shiitake mushrooms. I had sliced sweet onions but completely forgot to add those but we didn’t miss them.  Here’s the only shot I took, my plate. Yum!

This would have easily fed 4 hungry people but the leftovers made 2 delicious lunches for me! Dang, now I want some more…

Char Siu Chicken

August 13, 2011 § 6 Comments

I grilled some free range quarter chickens a couple of weeks ago that turned out to be the best char siu chicken to date. Since these were chicken quarters (thigh + drumstick +a bit of back bone), I didn’t marinate in the char siu sauce like I do with chicken wings. Why? The pieces are much thicker and bigger and would require a longer grilling time. And with all that sugar in the char siu sauce, the quarters would most likely burn before it cooked through. Hey, I like a little charred chicken skin as much as the next guy but that still is a lot of sugar grilling for a rather long time.  Instead, I grilled the chicken first and then mopped several times for the last 15 minutes of grilling. Lightly seasoned with salt & pepper then onto a medium-high heat charcoal grill.You can, of course, do this on a gas grill too. I seared the chicken over hot natural charcoals to start and then used indirect heat to finish.

While the chicken grilled, I made the sauce. Main ingredients are as follows:

I don’t use exact amounts for the sauce but probably around 3:1 ration of char siu sauce to chili garlic sauce. I add a bit of soy sauce (Tamari in this case), around 2-3 tablespoonful. Mix and taste, adjust to your preference of salty to sweetness liking. When the chicken’s internal temperature reaches about 160 degrees F, I start mopping. Coat one side, flip. Repeat on the topside and grill for about 2 minutes. Then flip and coat the top side again, repeat several more time until the internal meat temperature reaches 170 degrees F.

Once I start mopping, that’s when I put the veggies on. I used the new grill pan again, this time adding some cherry tomatoes from the garden. Here’s a shot of the pan without the handle. Fits nicely on the grill with the lid on.

If you’re interested in a grill pan like this (and I highly recommend it for anyone who loves grilled vegetables), I just saw the exact same pan at Costco. It was around $29 and it also came with a larger rectangular grill pan without a lid. The set was cheaper than I what I bought single pan for so definitely an excellent deal. The rectangular pan would be great for grilling anything that might fall through the grill grates. This has become the Mister’s new summer favorite way to eat his veggies and chicken.

Hope everyone is having a great weekend!

Eggplant in Garlic Sauce

July 12, 2011 § 2 Comments

Yes, yet another eggplant post.  This one is also a Grace Young recipe from The Wisdom of the Chinese Kitchen. Since this recipe is very similar to Mrs. Chiang’s Szechuan Cookbook (out of print) recipe, both being Sichuan-style dishes, I decided to modify Young’s recipe a bit with more readily available ingredients. Both uses the chili garlic sauce (yum!) and the flavor between the two are very similar but I think I like this version a little better, probably because of the addition of vinegar. But I’ll take either on any given day. The ground pork can be substituted with ground beef or chicken. I’ve tried it with ground beef and it’s just as yummy.

This post is dedicated to Sandy. Another variant on the eggplant dish for you to try. 🙂

Adapted from Grace Young’s “The Wisdom of the Chinese Kitchen”


  • 1/2 lb ground pork
  • 1 lb Asian eggplants
  • 2 tablespoon chili garlic sauce
  • 2 tablespoon soy sauce (I used low sodium)
  • 2 tablespoon Black Vinegar (or substitute with 1 tablespoon white vinegar)
  • 2 tablespoon Shao Hsing wine
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 1/3 cup water
  • 7 tablespoon vegetable oil (or more)
  • 2 tablespoon finely minced garlic
  • 1 tablespoon finely minced ginger
  • 2 green scallions, chopped


Cut off the stem and ends of the eggplants. Cut the unpeeled eggplants lengthwise in half, then quarters. If the eggplants are thick, you might want to cut the quarters in half again so that each slice is about 1″ thick. Cut each slice to about 3″ lengths.

In a medium bowl, combine chili garlic sauce, soy sauce, vinegar, rice wine, sugar and water.

Heat wok or large skillet on high heat until hot but not smoking. Add 3 tablespoons of oil and half the eggplant, stir fry for 2 minutes until some of the eggplant begins to brown and soften. The eggplant will absorb all the oil very quickly. If eggplant starts to stick to wok, add a bit more oil. Transfer the eggplant to a plate. Repeat with remaining eggplant and another 3 tablespoons of oil. Set eggplant aside.

Add remaining 1 tablespoon of oil to wok. Add pork, garlic and ginger, stir fry until the meat has lost most of its pink color (about 2 minutes), break up the meat with spatula. Return eggplant to the wok. Swirl in the chili sauce mixture and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium, cover wok and cook for 6-8 minutes or until the eggplant is tender. Stir occasionally to make sure all the eggplant pieces get equal cooking time. Stir in scallions and serve.

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