Saturday, May 31, 2008

Dinner Tonight

This is just a quickie post, I'll get to posting the recipes later.

The roommate and I decided to cook a couple dishes tonight and share. Found a nice fresh looking whole tilapia at Super 88 and decided to steam it with some ginger and scallions. Also been meaning to make Ma Po Tofu for a long time and it turned out pretty well. Could be a little saltier but it was still pretty good :)

Here's a teaser pic, I'll post one of the recipes tomorrow I hope.

Thursday, May 29, 2008

Pork Katsu-don

One of my favorite dishes to get for lunch at the Porter Exchange (most notably, Cafe Mami) is Pork cutlet-don. They have the meat pre-marinated and then fried up to order, mixed with some onions and an egg, and served steamy and hot! Quick, cheap, and very tasty!

The pork katsu-don always seemed like something that I could try my hand at making but my previous attempts weren't so great (read : failures). I never could get the sauce right, either it ended up too salty or just plain flavorless.

But then my roommate cooked it up once using a couple recipes and it tasted great, so I had to try one more time. I grabbed the recipes he used and then compared them to a couple other I found online and came up with the version I'm posting today. (This is the version I closely modeled : mmm-yoso)

Anyway, on to the food!

Pork Katsu-don

4 Pork cutlets (boneless pork chops - about 3/4 a pound)
1 medium onion, sliced
4 eggs, lightly beaten (can use more if you like)

3 tbsp sake (or other rice wine or sherry)
3 tbsp sugar
5 tbsp mirin
5 tbsp soy sauce
3/4 cup water
1/3 tsp Dashi

For Dredging
Panko Breadcrumbs
More eggs, beaten

1. Use a meat tenderizer to flatten out the cutlets.
2. Dredge the cutlets first in the flour, egg, then breadcrumbs.
3. Pan fry until almost cooked through, set aside.
4. In a small saucepan, bring the water to a boil and then add the sake, sugar, mirin, and soy sauce. Return to a boil, add the dashi and simmer.
5. Pour 1/4 of the sauce into a small frying pan and bring the sauce to a simmer under medium heat. Add 1/4 of the onion.
6. Slice a cutlet along the width (try to maintain the shape of the cutlet) and place in the pan on top of the onions. Then pour 1/4 of the eggs on either sie of the cutlet. Cover and simmer for about a minute or so.
7. Remove cover and serve over rice.
8. Repeat 4-7 for the rest of the cutlets.
9. Top with some chopped scallions

NOTE: If you really like sauce, you can add 50% more to the recipe or even double it.

Saturday, May 24, 2008

Thai Thani - Norwood MA

Thai food is one of my favorite kinds of food to eat when going out. The combination of spices, sweetness, and flavor really are great for a kick during lunch. That and I have a special affinity towards noodle dishes, they're probably my favorite style of dish too!

Thai Thani is a small 6-7 table restaurant down in Norwood that I frequent about once a week for lunch. They don't do a lot of my favorite noodles since they don't serve the wide flat (haw fun) noodles, but their curries and basil pad thai are excellent (ask for the duck!). Cheap, quick, and tasty :)

House noodle soup

Tom Yum Soup with Chicken

House Fried Rice

Basil Pad Thai

Sunday, May 18, 2008

Mixed Greens and Chicken Udon Stir Fry

I ended up with a couple different packets of noodles once, some udon and some other rice noodle that I don't have a name for. Had some watercress, chives, and scallions in the fridge so I threw those together with some marinated chicken. It was my first time putting a dish together without any real recipe and it actually turned out alright (no fires or explosions thankfully)

The Amoy Chicken Marinade is a great soy sauce, it's a little bit sweeter than normal soy sauce and works really well with chicken (hence being chicken marinade :P). I threw that in with some sesame oil, more sugar, a little fish sauce, corn starch, and some sherry and marinated it overnight.

Mixed green and chicken stir fry

3-4 tbsp Chicken Marinade
1 tsp sesame oil
1 tbsp corn starch
2 tsp sugar
1-2 tbsp sherry/rice wine
1 tsp fish sauce

1 lb Chicken, cubed
Some mixed greens (broccoli, chinese broccoli, watercress, chives, scallions, spinach...)
1 medium onion, chopped
3-4 cloves garlic
2-3 packets of rice noodles (depending how much you like noodles)

1. Mix the marinade together with the chicken. Let marinate in the fridge overnight (or a couple hours will do)
2. Heat the wok on medium-high with a little oil. Toss in the garlic for about 30 seconds, then add the chicken.
3. Stir-fry for a few minutes until the meat is browned on both sides, then add the onion and mixe greens.
4. Stir-fry a few more minutes until the greens get softer and add the noodles.
5. Make up a smaller batch of the marinade and toss it in with the noodles.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Broiled Steelhead in Teriyaki Sauce

I'd been really looking for a good recipe for homemade teriyaki sauce for quite a while. I used to get some sauce now and then from Nagoya in New Jersey but I end up there very infrequently these days. I've tried many different bottled sauces but never really grew attached to any of the different brands available. And then I found a great recipe over at Soy and Pepper, read all of the praising comments, saw a similar recipe over at Closet Cooking and figured I had to give it a go!

I ended up adding a couple other ingredients (some ground ginger and a dash of garlic powder) but it turned out very similar.

I got some really great looking Steelhead Trout from Whole Foods and threw it in with the marinade right away. Left it in the fridge for about an hour (Wanted it that night, didn't want to wait any longer!)

Broiled Steelhead in Teriyaki Sauce

2 Salmon/Steelhead fillets (about a pound)
3 tbsp light soy sauce
3 tbsp mirin or sweet sherry
2 tbsp sake or dry white wine/sherry
2 tsp sugar
1/2 tsp ground ginger
dash of garlic powder
sesame seeds to garnish

1. Mix everything but the sesame seeds and salmon together.
2. Marinate the Salmon in the sauce for at least an hour (overnight is ok)
3. Bake the fish for about 10 minutes at 350F. You may have to bake the fish a little longer depending on how thick it is.
4. After baking, turn on the broiler for about 4-5 minutes to sear and to continue cooking.

Here's a processed image of the same shot

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Gitlo's Dim Sum Bakery

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When I lived in New Jersey and attended Chinese school in New York City (Circa age 10), it was a weekly tradition to get there early and eat Dim Sum before going to class for the day. At the time, I was more amazed by the noise and the carts whizzing by than with the food.

Now that I'm older (and hopefully wiser!), I still end up in Chinatown now and then for Dim Sum. The only thing that prevents me from being there every week is the 30-40 minute travel plus any time waiting for a table, not to mention how hard it is to get parking (So I end up on the ultra-slow B line).

So when I heard about Gitlo's Dim Sum Bakery in Allston, I was ecstatic (nevermind how good the food might be, it's DIM SUM!). Gitlo's is about a 10 minute walk (max) from my condo and is right in the thick of things on Brighton Ave by the Kell's and Harper's Ferry.

The place itself is very small, maybe 7 tables or so seating a max of about 20 patrons. All of the food is made to order (No carts full of goodies steamed in bulk) and the menu consists of roughly 40 items. Most of the fare is similar to the food available in Chinatown but there are quite a few dishes with a little twist, such as the Seaweed Siu Mai (Shrimp paste wrapped with seaweed). My favorite dishes there are the Scallop Siu Mai (A small slice of scallop on top of regular pork siu mai) and the XO Sauce Daikon Cakes (Fried cubes of daikon cake served in an XO meat sauce). The dumplings are very juicy and I actually take multiple bites (a rarity for me, I usually eat the piece whole) to savor every bit. And the daikon, I like them even better than in Chinatown!

Last week I ended up there with Jason and the owner, Gitlo, was manning the tables that night. Had a great conversation with him about the restaurant and what they're trying to do. Really a nice guy and a hard worker. He told me that they deliver all across the area: Harvard, MIT, Copley Square, and even to parts of Newton!

Cantonese Dumplings (Pork, Leek)

Shrimp Dumplings with Pea Pod Stems

XO Sauce Fried Daikon Cake

Roast Pork Bun (Char Siu Bao)

Scallop Siu Mai

Shrimp Dumplings (Har Gao)

Stir-fried Satay Rice Noodle w/ Chicken

XO Sauce Pan Fried Rice Noodles

Fried Rice wrapped in Lotus Leaf

Taro Siu Mai

Saturday, May 10, 2008

Variation on a previous dish

A while back I had some leftover rice (about a day or two old) that I wanted to use. Stopped by the store and picked up the ingredients for a dish I made a couple months ago, Thai Basil Chicken, and figured I'd make a fried rice out of it.

I've never been able to master the version that most restaurants serve where the egg is nice and stringy and some of the rice is seared from the wok. Instead, I usually end up with gluey/moister fried rice, not that it's a bad thing, but it's definitely one of my goals to be able to make a Cantonese style fried rice.

Anyway, it's quick which makes it a perfect weeknight meal. Most of the time is spent chopping the chicken anyway, and when that's ready, just throw it in the wok with the other ingredients and go!

The big hint is to use leftover rice that's refrigerated at least a day. It'll dry out the rice so that when cooked again, the rice won't get soggy.

Thai Basil Chicken Fried Rice

2 tbsp vegetable oil
3-4 cloves garlic
1 tablespoon chopped fresh Thai chili peppers (Bird chillies)
8 - 16 oz Chicken Breasts/Thighs
1 tbsp sugar
1 tbsp fish sauce
1 tbsp soy sauce
2 tbsp chopped shallots
1/3 cup thai basil
1 tbsp chopped fresh cilantro
2-3 cups of rice (refrigerated overnight)
2 eggs

1 small red bell pepper
1 small yellow onion
Cold cooked rice (for a fried rice-like meal)

1. In a wok or large frying pan, add oil and stir-fry the garlic under medium-high heat.
2. When the garlic sizzles and turns golden, add chillies and chicken.
3. When the chicken is lightly browned, add the vegetables (probably after about a minute)
4. Mix in the sugar, fish sauce, soy sauce and rice (optional).
5. Add shallots, basil leaves and cilantro. Cook about another minute or so.
6. Add the eggs, give a nice stir. Break up as the egg hardens.
7. Add the rice, mix well, and cook for another couple minutes.

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Oven-roasted Potatoes

And this is the 2nd half to the meatloaf dish that I posted earlier. Very easy to make. All it takes is a little time in the oven.

These potatoes are a great compliment to most meat dishes (I need to try it with a steak or some lamb) and if they didn't take so long in the oven, I'd have them more often.

I've used both yellow and red potatoes (doesn't really make a difference) and they both came out well. The most important thing to do with this dish is to remember to flip the potatoes about halfway through, this way both sides will have the same taste.

Oven-roasted Potatoes

8 - 10 large potatoes, peeled and cut into wedges
5 cloves of garlic, minced
1/3 cup olive oil
1 cup chicken stock (water is fine too)
1 tbsp Italian Seasoning (Parsley, Oregano, Basil mix)
1 lemon, juiced
Sea salt (use more sparingly if using stock)
Black Pepper

1. Preheat oven to 440 degrees Farenheit
2. Combine the garlic, oil, stock, seasoning, and lemon juice in a baking pan large enough to hold all of the wedges comfortably (majority touching the bottom of the pan)
3. Add the wedges and season with sea salt and black pepper.
4. Hand toss the wedges.
5. Bake for 40 minutes.
6. When a nice golden crust forms on the potatoes, pull them out and flip the potatoes over and season lightly with more sea salt and pepper (can sprinkle some more italian seasoning too). Also, if the pan appears to be getting dry, add about another 1/2 cup of the stock/water.
7. Bake for another 40 minutes

Note: Don't worry about burning the potatoes, the extra crispy ones are just as delicious!

Thursday, May 1, 2008


Junior year in college, one of my buddies used to make a great meatloaf. I think I had it a couple times and bugged him for the recipe. And after 2 years, I finally was able to get the recipe from the guy! And it was worth it!

Now I make this maybe once a month or once every other month these days, it's pretty easy to put together, then throw it in the oven for about an hour and you're done! Definitely my kind of recipe :)

I made this with some roasted potatoes (Will post another time) from a recipe on Recipezaar


2.5-3 pounds ground beef (93% lean)
2 large eggs, beaten
1 cup breadcrumbs, plain
2 teaspoons thyme, fresh
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
2 teaspoons garlic powder
2 tablespoons parsley, chopped
1 medium onion, diced
1/2 cup scallions, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 slice of bread
1 tablespoon of worcestershire sauce
1/3 cup ketchup
1/4 cup brown sugar

1/2 cup ketchup
1/3 cup brown sugar, dark

-Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit
-Saute onion and scallions in olive oil until soft. Add garlic and cook for about a minute. Add the first portion of ketchup and brown sugar and heat until sugar melts. Set aside to cool.
-Mix together the eggs, breadcrumbs, slice of bread, thyme, peppers, garlic powder and parsley in a large bowl. Add beef and onion mixture and hand mix until you get a good distribution of ingredients.
-Spray a baking dish with some cooking spray, and add the meatloaf.
-Mix the rest of the sauce (ketchup and brown sugar) and spoon over top.
-Bake for about an hour at 350 degrees Fahrenheit