Category Archives: Cooking

Taiwanese Nougat

This is really easy to make provided that your mom mails pre-portioned ingredients and sends video instructions via text. Hehe.

Taiwanese Nougat

  • Melt some marshmallows, a knob of butter, a bit white chocolate chips.
  • Take off heat. Fold in some milk powder, tons of nuts, a few dried fruits.
  • On parchment paper, slam/roll/shape. Cool 3 hours. 
  • Cut. Optionally dry out overnight.

If you want the actual proportions, ask!

Vietnamese Pork Chops and Pickles

I got a cast iron skillet. It sears meat well. 

Pork chops from this resource, but with sugar cut down.

Viet Pork Chop

  • 2 pork chops, thick cut, bone in. Score sides, pierce all over with fork
  • 2 tbsp fish sauce, 1 tbsp rice vinegar, 1 tbsp light brown sugar, 1 small shallot minced, 1/2 tsp pepper
  • Marinate 20 min room-temp or overnight in fridge
  • Scrape off excess marinade and boil 4 minute to make sauce
  • Cook pork in oil about 4 minutes per side. Rest 10 minutes.

Daikon is easy to julienne (cut into matchstick-size strips). Carrots? Non-trivial.

Pickled Carrots and Daikon

  • ½ lb carrots, ½ lb daikon julienned
  • 3 tbsp sugar, 2 tbsp salt, ⅓ cup (rice or white) vinegar, 4 cups warm water
  • Pickle for 3 days in fridge.

Butternut Squash

You know how carrots are like kind of tough to cut? Well imagine if it were just as dense, had a skin that was twice as tough, and was the size of a butternut squash. That’s how much a pain in the ass butternut squashes are to cut when raw. Goodness grief!

butternut squash “dicing”

Roasted butternut squash

  • 2-lb butternut squash, peeled and diced
  • 4 medium shallots, peeled and quartered; 1 tsp fresh rosemary, chopped, 1 tsp salt, 1/2 tsp pepper, 1/2 tsp sugar, in 2 tbsp olive oil.
  • 450 F, 20 minutes, stir, 15 minutes.


Originally we sourced a recipe for healthier scones from which called for sour cream, except I didn’t have sour cream, so now I just make it with yogurt anyway.

It’s all in cutting the butter, and I take a shortcut by basically mincing the butter before dumping it into the powder.

Rosemary Cranberry Scones

  • 2 cups flour, ¼ cup sugar, 1 tbsp baking powder, ½ tsp salt. Whisk.
  • 6 tbsp cold butter. Cut up with knives into little chunks and incorporate into powder.
  • ¾ cup craisins, 2 tbsp fresh rosemary, chopped. Mix in. (or 1 cup chocolate chips)
  • 1 egg, ⅔ cup yogurt, 1 tsp vanilla extract. Whisk, then add. Don’t overbeat.
  • On floured surface, shape into 1-inch thick round. Cut into 8 slices.
  • 425 F, 12-14 minutes, until golden brown.


Soondubu Jjigae

In my mind, Korean food is always so red. Turns out, there’s a simple trick to that: gochugaru. Red chili powder. The Korean grocer just sells very large quantities of it. The smallest package is 7 oz, which means I now have more gochugaru than all other spices combined.

Soondubu Jjigae (Korean spicy tofu stew)

To make a stew, I want to start right at the source: an anchovy and seaweed stock. Sourced from chowdivine and zenkimchi and kimchimom.


  • 2″x3″ strip kombu (or dashima), 1/2  onion, 3 garlic cloves in 8 cups water. Boil for 10 minutes.
  • 10 large dried anchovies, gutted. Add, then boil on low uncovered for 15 minutes.
  • Scoop out solid ingredients, leaving golden broth.

Soondubu with beef:

  • Marinate 10 oz thinly sliced steak in 2 tbsp gochugaru (pepper powder), 1/2 tbsp minced garlic, 1 tbsp sesame oil, 1 tbsp soju (or cooking wine), 1.5 tbsp soy sauce, 1 tsp salt, pinch pepper.
  • In pot, saute 1/2 onion. Add beef and ladle of stock, and cook beef.
  • Add enough (how much?) broth. Adjust seasoning.
  • Add 11-oz tube of soondubu (silken tofu) and 1/2 zucchini, and simmer for at most 3-5 more minutes, or else will draw water from tofu.
  • Serve with room-temp egg, scallions, and steamed rice.


Murgh Makhani (Butter Chicken)

This project was meant to push comfort zones, and venturing into Indian curries from scratch definitely did that. Exotic spices from a specialty store, hand-mincing ginger and garlic as finely as I can, marinating chicken in yogurt and lemon, frying whole spices, pretending a hot wok is a tandoor oven.

Turns out that butter chicken is like a global interpretation of Indian cuisine, but it still starts with tandoori chicken, a bunch of spices (many which I hadn’t heard of before), and — of course — butter. Preferably ghee, or clarified butter, but I was baking too!

Sourced from, with input from so many other resources that I lost track.


Murgh Makhani (Butter Chicken)

  • In 1.5 tbsp butter, fry 5 green cardamom pods crushed, 1 cinnamon stick crushed, and 4 cloves until fragrant
  • Add 1 small onion finely diced. Cook 5-7 minutes, until light brown.
  • Add 1” ginger grated, 2 green chilies sliced lengthwise, 1 tsp paprika, 1/2 tsp garam masala, 3 tbsp tomato paste (or 2 tomatoes diced).
  • Add 1/2 cup heavy cream, simmer 2-3 minutes.
  • Add 1 tbsp fenugreek leaf powder, some sugar if tomatoes were tangy, water to desired thickness. Salt to taste.
  • Add chicken, simmer for 15 minutes.
  • Garnish with cilantro. Serve with basmati rice or Indian breads.

Updated 3/20, with bolded ingredients, fresh tomatoes, and a new photo (now featuring cilantro and skillet!)

with mood lighting


Tandoori Chicken Tikka

  • Marinate 1 lb chicken thighs overnight in 2 tbsp thick yogurt (e.g. Greek), juice of 1/2 lemon, 4 cloves garlic minced, 1” ginger grated, 1 green chili minced, 1/2 tsp garam masala, 1 tsp ground coriander, 1 tsp mild paprika, pinch chili powder, pinch cinnamon powder.
  • Skewer, then roast on hot grill, basting in butter, turning frequently, or stir fry in butter.

A Japanese meal

Despite being Taiwanese, my family is probably more into Japanese food. Time to make some.


Oyakodon (chicken and egg on rice)

I like this dish so much that I used to order it at all sorts of Japanese restaurants, even forgoing other delicacies. Last year, my mom taught me her version, which is like a Taiwan/Japan hybrid with lots of egg. This time, I’m aiming for more traditional: steaming in the sukiyaki broth, following (last updated 8/29/17)


    • In a small pan, 1/4 cup dashi (1/8 tsp hondashi in boiling water), 1 tbsp mirin, (1 tsp sake), 1/2 tbsp soy sauce, 1/2 tsp sugar.
    • Add 1/2 small onion thinly sliced in single layer.
    • Add on top 1-1.5 chicken thighs cut into bites obliquely and seasoned with salt and pepper.
    • Simmer covered on medium for 10 minutes.
    • Drizzle in 1 egg. Stir around to distribute. Garnish with scallions/mitsuba. Simmer for 2-3 minutes, until egg is just set.
    • Slide onto bowl of white rice.


Chawanmushi (savory egg custard)

My mom makes it with chicken broth instead of dashi. Huh?! Tracking this recipe, with input from here and here.


  • 3 eggs, beat gently
  • 1 cup dashi (1/2 tsp hondashi powder in 1 cup boiling water), 1 tsp soy sauce, 1 tsp mirin, 1 tsp sugar, pinch salt.
    • can substitute with about 1 cup (equivalent of 1.5x volume of eggs) warm chicken broth.
  • Mix into egg slowly. strain through fine sieve.
    • Can add shiitake mushrooms, kamaboko fish cake, carrots, marinated strips chicken shrimp. arrange in bowl and pour egg around.
  • steam 5 minutes medium bowl, then open pot to let out steam, then steam 3 more minutes, until clean toothpick.
    • Can garnish with scallions/mitsuba at halfway point of steaming.


Miso Soup

Following instructions on the miso packaging, haha


  • miso paste, sugar, dashi (ratio?), water.
  • serve with scallions, tofu, kombu.

I also stir fried lotus root.


For the grand finale:

Castella (Japanese Honey Cake)

I followed this recipe from to the letter. Paraphrased here.


  • 3 eggs, at room temp. Beat thoroughly.
  • Add 1/2 cup sugar, with electric hand mixer beat at highest speed for 7+ minutes, until quadruples in volume.
  • 2.5 tbsp honey, diluted with ~2 tbsp warm water, mix in for 30 sec at low speed.
  • 3/4 cup bread flour, double sifted. add in thirds, mixing 15 sec at low speed in between, 1 min at end. Don’t overmix.
  • Pour batter into parchment paper-lined 9×5 metal pan. Dredge with toothpick to break large air bubbles. Drop on counter to level.
  • 325 F, 35 minutes, until clean toothpick.
  • Wrap tightly in plastic, refrigerate overnight upside down.
  • Cut off sides, serve in slices.

updated 3/25, fixing a typo.


Happy New Year! Woo, roosters!

Appropriately, we made chicken cabbage dumplings. Also, pork and chive potstickers. Flashback to my Harvard Taiwanese Cultural Society days and our Dumpling Workshops, where we would buy huge bags pork and other ingredients, mix it with our hands, teach 100+ people how to wrap 1000+ dumplings, boil in three vats of water, and just have a great big happy family.

left bowl experimenting with alternate wrapping shapes
  • combine 1 lb ground meat, like 1oz chives, tiny bit of minced ginger and scallions, a splash of soy sauce, some cooking wine, dash of sesame oil.
  • with friends, wrap around 40 dumplings.
  • in a big wok with some oil, steam off a thin layer of water, then fry two surfaces.

Sorry, there’s no way to write an intelligible terse recipe, haha