Stella was insistent that I get my recipe for vegetable pancakes on the blog right away so she could make them at home with Hayley! Such a quick, easy and delicious way to have a meal on the table in minutes, these are great for lunch, dinner or snacking. I usually make a pile and they warm up quickly in the toaster oven. They are a bit of a mash up of Korean pajeon, Japanese Okonomiyaki and Chinese scallion pancakes (even a bit like my zucchini fritters!)
1/2 cup all purpose flour
1/2 cup potato starch or cornstarch
½ tsp baking powder
1 tsp sea salt
3/4 cup very cold water
4 cups very thinly sliced or julienned vegetables
oil for frying
Whisk dry ingredients together, then stir in egg and water. Add in all your vegetables and stir just to combine.
Preheat oven to 300 to keep the pancakes warm as you cook them.
Heat oil in frying pan, and drop in 1/4 cup amounts, flattening them out slightly. Cook for 3-5 minutes on each side until golden brown and crispy. You will have to do this in batches, so keep them warm in a 300 oven until you have them all fried. Don’t crowd the pan or they will steam rather than fry.
I first tried this recipe as Korean pancakes, adding some chopped kimchi as well as a bit of the juice, but ended up using it for many different vegetables.
Serve with dipping sauce:
1/4 cup soya sauce
1 tbsp vinegar
1/2 tsp sesame oil (I like toasted)
1/2 tsp sugar
1/2 tsp hot sauce (such as sriracha)
Stir together and set aside for service. Taste and adjust for your personal preference.
Need a quick, easy but delicious dinner idea? Here you go – this broth is amazingly flavorful for so few ingredients and can be packed with whatever you have in your fridge.
6 cups chicken broth (use veg broth if you. are looking for a vegetarian night!)
4 flattened but not minced garlic cloves – left whole
1 inch piece of ginger, sliced
4 green onion ends, white part only
3 tbsp light soy sauce (or low sodium soy sauce)
1 tbsp sugar
3 tbsp Shaoxing (chinese cooking wine)
1 tsp sesame oil
This is one of the quickest broth recipes I’ve ever made, and it is absolutely delicious. Ready in only 30 minutes, that gives you enough time to prep all the delightful ingredients you want to complete your lunch or dinner.
Heat a little neutral oil in a deep pot and lightly toast the garlic cloves, ginger slices and white parts of green (spring) onions. As soon as they are lightly roasted, add the broth, soy sauce, sugar, Shaoxing, and sesame oil. Bring to a gentle boil, and then turn down and simmer for 30 minutes. You can do this as early as you like and just keep it warm until you are ready to eat. When ready to serve scoop out the aromatics and you have a lovely clear broth to enjoy with as many fill ins as your bowl can hold.
Serve with: Any or all of the following!
Cooked ramen, udon or egg noodles
Vegetables (cooked in the broth if you like!)
Fresh bean sprouts
Garnish your bowl with the slivered green onion tops, toasted sesame seeds and cilantro. Serve alongside hot sauce and hoisin sauce if anybody wants to add a bit more punch.
I usually have another pot of boiling water on the go that I first cook the noodles in, then lightly blanch vegetables (bok choy, spinach, bell peppers, zucchini, snap peas). Frozen wontons (purchased or homemade) can also be cooked in this water. I find that if you cook everything in your seasoned broth it dilutes the seasoning and results in a cloudy broth. Both still good, but you may need to adjust seasonings.
Cooking the bright flavours of Vietnam are the only way we can travel there right now and this one bowl was packed with lightly carmelized pork patties, tender rice, sautéed vegetables and the crunch of pickled vegetables. Finish it all off with fresh vibrant herbs and peanut crumbles. Don’t forget the nuoc cham to drizzle over! In Vietnam this is often served with enough of the nuoc cham to make you think it is a soup, here I just drizzle enough to make each bite sing! You can easily serve with rice noodles instead of the rice, but we sure do miss fresh rice noodles in Vietnam, so we often use rice. I guess I have to figure out how to make fresh rice noodles at home…
8-10 ounces ground pork
1 tbsp fish sauce
2 tsp white sugar
1/3 cup finely sliced green onions
1 clove minced garlic
1/4 tsp each freshly ground white pepper and sea salt
Oil – for frying.
3 tbsp white sugar
3 tbsp fish sauce
2 tbsp rice vinegar
2 tbsp freshly squeezed lime juice
1/3 cup warm water
3 cloves minced garlic
1 small birds eye chili (or 1/2 tsp chili pepper flakes)
This is really just a guideline – use whatever vegetables you think complement the vegetables that you are sautéing.
2 cups very thinly sliced vegetables – use a mandolin if possible
In a bowl mix up the vegetables, and toss with 1/2 tbsp each salt and sugar, then pour over:
3/4 cup white vinegar
1/2 cup warm water
Make this at least an hour before dinner to allow the quick pickling to work.
Mix all the nuoc cham ingredients together and set aside to allow those flavours to get to know each other.
Mix all the meatball ingredients together and form meatballs, then pat down into little patties.
In a lightly oiled fry pan fry all the patties until they are golden brown and slightly sticky.
Sautéed vegetables of your choice
Cooked rice or rice noodles
roughly chopped roasted peanuts, basil, cilantro & mint
Centre the rice or noodles in the bowl, and circle that with the pork patties, sautéed vegetables, pickled vegetables and drizzle with the nuoc cham. Finish with a sprinkle of fresh herbs and peanuts. Dig in! Serve with a little bowl of the nuoc cham to dip your pork into for a little extra juiciness.
I love a full meal deal salad! This tangle of vegetables, both fresh and grilled, served mixed with noodles and garnished with steak and nuts is just the best. It’s on repeat around here. Go ahead and splurge for the best steak – you don’t need much to make it a complete meal.
This dressing is the star of the show – it is light and bright with just the perfect amount of zing.
1/2 cup rice wine vinegar
2 tsp fresh lime juice
2-3 tbsp chili garlic sauce
2 tbsp soy sauce (reduced sodium)
1 tbsp fish sauce
1 1/2 tsp raw sugar (or honey)
1 tsp minced ginger
1 tsp minced garlic
1 tbsp fresh Thai basil, roughly chopped
1 tbsp fresh mint, roughly chopped
1 tbsp fresh cilantro, roughly chopped
1/2 tsp black pepper, freshly ground
2 tsp toasted sesame seeds **
1/2 tsp ground coriander
1 tbsp toasted sesame oil
1/3 cup peanut oil
kosher salt to taste
** I’m a big fan of toasting nuts or seeds as it adds so much flavour. Watch closely because they go from deeply toasted (my personal favourite) to black …. beware. (yes, I speak from experience)
Whisk all the ingredients, except the oils, together in a bowl. Once combined, slowly drizzle in the oils and continue to whisk until well blended. This is the part where you taste, and adjust if needed – sometimes you need a bit more lime juice, salt or sweetener. If you prefer your dressing on the spicy side, add in a bit of Thai chili or chili flakes.
This recipe is just as versatile as whatever you have on hand. Tonight this dish included:
Chinese wheat noodles (cooked)
grilled red pepper
steamed baby bok choy
grilled beef tenderloin
toasted sesame seeds
I like to make a salad out of the cold cooked noodles and fresh vegetables, and pile that in the bottom of my bowl. Arrange the cooked vegetables around the sides along with the grilled steak. Drizzle with the dressing and sprinkle the cashews and sesame seeds over.
If you have time, and have a steak that needs marinating, just use a bit of the dressing. This works equally well with chicken, pork or tofu. If you want to use shrimp make sure to only give it a quick marinade.
When grilling the vegetables, drizzle with a little of the dressing before and after grilling.
One of the dishes (among many) that we loved on our travels through Vietnam and Cambodia was Salt & Pepper squid. Naturally, that squid was ultra fresh, and so very tender it literally melted in your mouth. Typically served with a bowl of rice, and a pile of greens it is the perfect light dinner. I love the combination of flavours found in most Vietnamese dishes – fish sauce, lime juice and pepper. Those show up in so many tasty dishes – makes my mouth water just thinking about it!
SALT & PEPPER SQUID
400 gr squid **
1 tbsp coarse salt
1 tbsp whole black peppercorns
1/4 cup all purpose flour
1/4 cup rice flour (you can substitute corn starch)
OIL – to use for frying – make sure you use a high smoke point oil such as peanut, canola or vegetable. – heat to 350 degrees. If you don’t have a thermometer, stick a chopstick in there …. once it bubbles all around the chopstick it is ready.
SALAD OR GREENS TO SERVE
Prep whatever fresh vegetables or salad you want to serve.
1 clove garlic, minced
1 tsp ginger, minced
1-2 tbsp fresh red chili, seeded and finely chopped (or chili flakes to taste)
2 spring onions, thinly sliced
2 tbsp freshly squeezed lime juice
1-2 tbsp sugar (I usually stick with 1)
4 tbsp fish sauce
4 tbsp water
If you try anything – make it this dressing! I use it for salads all the time and it is so light and refreshing while adding so much flavour to a simple salad.
** Squid – if you can get it fresh then clean it and slice into rings – leaving tentacles whole. I’ve only used frozen at this point but you know I will be sourcing some fresh squid!!
Once your squid is prepped, bash up the salt and pepper in a mortar and pestle – bash until cracked and broken but don’t turn it in to a fine grind. Sprinkle a little directly onto the prepared squid. Pour the rest into a bowl with the flours and stir until combined.
When oil is hot enough, put a handful of the squid into the salt/pepper/flour mix and toss to coat lightly and cook in batches in the hot oil. Do not overcrowd your oil or it will cool down and your squid will absorb more of the oil.
Remove from oil and sprinkle lightly with salt and pepper.
If you like a dipping sauce – just bash up a bit more salt and pepper, mixing it with fresh lime juice.
The dressing couldn’t be easier! Again, the mortar and pestle comes into action so I hope you didn’t clean it after bashing salt and pepper …… Drop in garlic, ginger, spring onion and chili …give it a good bit of action until you have created a paste. Add lime juice, sugar, fish sauce and water. TASTE. TASTE IT AGAIN. Every single item can be a slightly different taste profile from what I am using and for your individual tastes. Adjust if necessary. It should be slightly sweet, slightly salty, slightly hot and slightly tangy.
If you don’t have a mortar and pestle then just chop everything quite fine and add in the other ingredients … I have about 3 of them so I love using them but don’t run out and buy one if you don’t love the process!
To serve lightly dress your salad with the dressing, pile the squid on and serve with a side of rice if you like, just the way it is served in Cambodia & Vietnam ….. oh take me back! We bought our pepper from the Kampot Pepper Plantation in Cambodia. Touted as the best pepper in the world we had no choice. It really does make a difference when the pepper is that fresh.
I love making scallion pancakes, really wanted something that could be a whole meal deal, and ended up with this – a bit of mash up between Korean Pajeon pancakes, Japanese Okonomiyaki and Chinese scallion pancakes. This gojuchang dipping sauce makes it slightly more Korean influenced, but if you don’t have gojuchang in your fridge then you could easily make a dipping sauce of soy sauce and rice vinegar. (or buy something!)
1 1/2 cup all purpose flour
1/3 cup potato starch (could sub corn starch if this isn’t one of your staples)
1 1/2 tsp sugar
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp freshly ground pepper
1/4 tsp salt
1 1/2 cups ice water
2 garlic cloves, minced
Oil for cooking
slivers of spinach
very thinly sliced cauliflower
minced red onion
very thinly sliced red pepper
lots of thinly sliced scallions (spring onions)
Prepare all your vegetables and set aside
If you are inclined to do so, go ahead and add shrimp or cooked shredded chicken to make it a heartier pancake.If you do – I’d add it as soon as the batter is spread out in the pan so you can distribute evenly.
1/4 cup light soy sauce (I use reduced sodium)
1 tbsp rice vinegar
2 tsp toasted sesame oil
1 tsp sugar
2 tsp gojuchang
1/2 tsp finely slivered ginger
1 minced garlic clove
1 finely sliced spring onion
1 tbsp toasted sesame seeds
Mix well and taste. NO REALLY, SERIOUSLY, TASTE!!! Every different product has a slightly different flavour profile, and you have your own taste preferences so make sure this dipping sauce hits all the notes you are looking for and adjust as needed. Of course, if you aren’t a cooking nut like myself, you may not have all that in your pantry so just buy a jar of dumpling/gyoza dipping sauce! ha ha
Whisk together dry ingredients until well combined. Make a well in the centre of the flour mixture and stir in the ice water and minced garlic. Stir just until combined, then add in the vegetables.
I haven’t specified any amounts for the vegetables, so feel free to experiment with how you like the pancakes. This amount of batter will make 4 good size pancakes with a generous serving of vegetables in each one – feel free to pack in as many veg as you like – you literally only need enough batter to hold it all together in the fry pan.
In a non stick pan, heat about 3 tbsp oil until quite hot – stick a wooden chopstick in, and if it sizzles you are ready!
Scoop in about 1 cup of batter and quickly spread it out so it resembles a pancake. Gently swirl the pan allowing the oil to circulate so the pancake gets crispy bits and nicely browned. Like any pancake, only flip it once you start to see bubbles popping on the surface.
Flip, drizzle another tablespoon or so of oil around the edges and swirl so this second side also gets crispy around the edges.
When nicely browned on both sides, remove to paper towel lined plate and keep warm. As soon as you remove it from the heat sprinkle with toasted sesame seeds, and a fresh grate of salt.
If you have never tried gojuchang, then do so! I love it. My first foray into cooking with it was for KFC, Korean Fried Cauliflower and was immediately hooked. It is a Korean chili paste that has so much flavour – slightly tangy and not too spicy.
Longer brighter days are coming and I can’t wait. We have a salad almost every night, and with the warmer weather approaching they often take the form of a “meal in a salad”. This dressing hits it out of the park for a delicious flavour bomb to dress pretty much anything with. Give it a try, I guarantee you’ll be hooked.
1/4 cup tamari (can sub soy sauce)
1/4 cup water
2 tbsp rice vinegar
2 tbsp toasted sesame oil
1 tbsp chili garlic sauce
1 tbsp miso paste
2 tbsp toasted sesame seeds
1 tsp salt
1 tsp pepper
dash of fish sauce (optional but highly recommended)
1 garlic clove, grated (unless they are home grown, then maybe 1/4-1/2 a clove) :o)
1″ ginger, grated
thinly sliced scallions
Put everything in a jar and shake vigorously – really vigorously. If you use warm water it will help loosen up the miso if it’s straight out of the fridge.
This recipe came from our friend Alex – she is an amazing cook, and agreed to let me post it! #abcooks
One of our favourites to order in a Japanese restaurant, this is just as good as restaurant quality. Don’t get me wrong, whenever we can go out to restaurants again (post Covid) I will still be delighted to sit in a booth and order ….. but for now I can at least satisfy my cravings. It is also one of Sloan and Stella’s favourites to order and I just know when we can gather around the Sunday dinner table again this will be requested.
1 lb chicken thighs cut 1 inch pieces
1/4 cup corn starch or potato starch
1/4 cup flour
4 cups canola oil
3 tbsp soy sauce
4 tbsp mirin (sub Sake if you have it)
2 tbsp minced garlic
2 tbsp minced ginger
Reserve the starch and flour for just prior to frying up. Combine soy sauce, miring, garlic and ginger in either a sealable plastic bag or bowl with lid. Stir in the chicken pieces and set aside. You can either do this earlier in the day or at late as 20 minutes before dinner – I find it very flexible.
Heat your oil to 350, if you don’t have a thermometer, just stick a chopstick in – if it sizzles happily, then it is time to add your chicken.
Toss the starch and flour together, then toss with chicken. It doesn’t matter if the coating is uneven, it just means more texture.
Add about 1/3 of the chicken at a time to wok – do not overcrowd. Any time you overcrowd when you are frying it reduces the temperature of the oil and that leads to greasy fried food! Keep the chicken moving while in the wok, and remove when golden brown. Sprinkle immediately with salt. Keeping the cooked pieces in a 200 degree oven allows them to retain their crispness while you do the remaining 2 batches.
DIPPING SAUCES – I’ve given two options because that’s the way I like it!
2 green onions, sliced diagonally into 1/2 inch piece
In a medium saucepan over medium-high heat, combine dashi granules and water; bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium, and whisk in the miso paste. Stir in tofu. Separate the layers of the green onions, and add them to the soup. Simmer gently for 2 to 3 minutes before serving.
I think the key to this is the dashi. You can easily make your own dashi at home – just look up a few YouTube videos, but for the amount I use, keep some granules in the freezer and it is ready whenever I need it.
I often serve Miso soup to accompany a few other dishes, and this makes it very easy to prep a bit earlier and just leave it simmering – don’t add the tofu or green onions until closer to serving time.
Just like you get in the tropics….. minus the palm trees and ocean breeze. That dang Covid thing is still keeping us at home, during a time of the year when we’d so much rather be in the land of palm trees & sunshine, ocean bobbing and munching coconut shrimp. Never mind the beach, I’d happily settle for just being able to cuddle my granddaughters!!! Enough whining, here is the perfect recipe to make you feel like you’ve escaped to the beach.
2 cups vegetable oil
1 cup Panko bread crumbs
1 cup unsweetened shredded coconut
1 pound medium shrimp, peeled & deveined
1/2 cup all purpose flour
2 large eggs, beaten well (can just use egg white if you like)
salt and pepper to taste
Heat the oil in a large skillet or dutch oven over medium high heat (350-360 degrees)
Set up 3 dredging bowls:
Season shrimp with salt and pepper, then working with one shrimp at a time, dredge through flour, then egg, then panko/coconut. Press into the panko mixture to make sure the shrimp are well coated. Set aside until you have them all coated.
Working in batches, add shrimp to hot oil and fry until golden brown, turning as necessary until they are crunchy and looking irresistible – around 3 minutes. Transfer to a paper towel lined plate.
Serve immediately with dipping sauce.
1/2 cup mayonnaise
1/4 cup sweet chili sauce
1-2 tbsp sriracha (or to taste)
juice of 1 lime
salt and pepper to taste
Mix well to combine. If you think of it, mix this ahead of time and set in fridge to allow flavours to meld beautifully.
I can’t promise you will smell the ocean when you make these, but it might make you feel a little better about staying home!
I originally got this recipe off Damn Delicious website, and she’s right – they are damn delicious! The dipping sauce is my own concoction and it’s yummy!!