Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Okithaindian Curry

Curry Kim-stye is different every time, but apparently this time gets a nod of superiority from the eaters, so I shall attempt to record what odds and ends made it into the pot this time. Since my stint in Okinawa, I've always used my huge + deep skillet that's half frying pan, half wok, and half giant nonstick pot. And my favorite knife to this day is the one left by my predecessor in my apartment: not too big, not too small, the perfect shape, and super-sharp! With these tools and a cutting board, this is what I put in m Oki/Japanese Thai Indian Curry today:

1 small Okinawan Purple Beniimo Sweet Potato, sliced thin and skinned
1 Onion, chopped/sliced
5 cloves garlic, roughly chopped
Peanut Oil, about 4 tbsp
1 can Coconut Milk
1 can water chestnut
costco-size box of mushrooms, coarsely sliced
2 chicken breast, cubed
small handful mixed party nuts
handful spinach
half red bell pepper, chopped
half bag frozen peas
1.5 cups jasmine rice
handful baby carrots
sour cream (hey, it was in the fridge!)
1/4 cabbage, sliced

1 box Hot Golden Curry paste (or other Japanese curry paste)
mirin, a few dashes
1 spoon cumin seeds
a big pinch each of coriander, cardamom, cloves, garam masala, mustard powder, tumeric
2" fresh ginger, skin cut off
a few spoons of Caldo chicken powder, to taste, if wanted
garlic salt, if wanted

  1. Heat peanut oil in your big pot/skillet on med high. Put in some garlic. Put garlic salt on chicken if desired. Brown the chicken on all sides, being careful not to overcrowd the chicken. Make sure it gets yummy and brown. Store in separate bowl.
  2. Reusing skillet, on med heat brown the garlic, throw in some whole cumin seeds (Indian influence). Add onion. Let halfway cook.  
  3. Use some of this garlic oil onion mixture to make jasmine rice in separate pot. Add pinch each of coriander, cardamom, cloves, garam masala, mustard powder, tumeric. Add rice and some chopped carrot.  heat. Add equal parts water to rice. bring to boil, cover, let cook. 
  4. Cook mushroom and beniimo and cabbage with onion. Add splash of mirin. Add can of coconut milk (the Thai influence!)  + 1 can water. Add all  powdered spices (that's where the Indian part comes in) beforehand. Let cook a few minutes until potatoes are almost done but still retain hard texture. 
  5. Add curry paste. Add water chestnuts, peas, let cook until done. Add chicken back in. Bring to boil. You're done! Garnish with chopped red bell pepper. Booyah! 
It took over an hour for me to make this, but it turned out very tasty!

Monday, June 22, 2009

Corn on the Cob with Garlic Butter

Now that corn is in season, I make this for myself as a snack (and, on more than one occasion, as a meal) at least once a week. It is ridiculously simple to prepare and requires only three ingredients. It's also pretty hard to mess up--just don't overcook the corn. Total time: less than 10 minutes!

Sweet corn on the cob, husked and de-silked
garlic salt (the kind with a green cap, big garlic chunks, and parsley flakes)
slivers of pats of butter, or a big chunk of butter.

Put an inch or two of water in the bottom of a big pot, and place a steamer rack in it. Don't boil the corn directly in water--it loses flavor and nutrients! Sometimes I add a bay leaf or a lemon to the water before putting in the steamer tray. Put the corn in, turn it to high heat, cover, and steam until you smell the corn from across the room or until it changes color slightly and looks done, but still crispy and firm. I never time it...maybe five minutes? a little more?

Put a few pats of butter on a plate about the diameter of the length of the corn cobs, and roll the hot cobs in the butter pats, covering nicely. You might want to use tongs or a fork since the corn will be very hot. Sprinkle garlic salt to taste on your corn. EAT!

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Wonder Bars

In Haleiwa on the north shore, there is a small bakery (Waialua Bakery?) that serves the BEST smoothies and the BEST wonder bars I've ever had. The smoothies are made with REAL, live, delicous tropical fruits, such as passion fruit, guava, mango, and yummy honey. There really is nothing better on a hot day. They also make amazingly delectable wonder bars. Also known as 7 layer bars or magic bars. I had most of the ingredients on hand, so I thought I'd make them. I had to pick up some butterscotch chips, and I admit that this is my first experience with them, but what the heck, right?

I baked this in 2 pie pans so I can give one to my dad tomorrow for Father's Day in a pretty glass dish.

I took my recipe from after seeing the luscious photo on It had to be slightly modified, I think because of the 2 pie pans.

The 7 Magic Ingredients (Makes 2 "pies")
  1. 2 sticks butter (1/2 lb.)
  2. 1 cup walnuts
  3. 1 can condensed milk
  4. 30 graham crackers (how the original recipe called for just 7, I will never know)
  5. 1 cup semisweet chocolate chips
  6. 3/4 cup white chocolate chips
  7. 3/4 cup butterscotch chips
  8. 1 1/2 cup flaked coconut
How to do the wonder bar
  1. Preheat oven to 350. Put graham crackers in a plastic bag and smash them with a rolling pin. Or do what I did and use a bowl and a big dowel like a giant pestle and mortar. It takes forever!! Melt the butter. Mix with graham crumbs in the bowl. Grease your pie pans with oil. Press graham crust into bottom.
  2. Smash walnuts using the same procedure. Sprinkle on top of crust.
  3. Sprinkle on all the chocolate/white/butterscotch chips. Top with coconut.
  4. Pour condensed milk over the whole thing.
  5. Bake at 350 degrees for 25 minutes, or until top is golden brown.
Next time, I will add more condensed milk. Perhaps an entire can. And eat half before baking. I cannot get enough of the stuff.

Bacon Corn Potato Chowder

I have become a good cook! Foods I create come out edible! Of course, I feel like this every time I make a success . . . but the success rate is really about 50/50. Last time I cooked, I created a roasted eggplant/hummus/yogurt/sesameoil/oliveoil salt monstrosity that lacked in taste, texture, color, and every possible scale of food meritocracy. Good thing I made it on the same night as the seared alaskan sea scallops with seashell pasta.

Anyway, this time, I made a winner. Sometimes, a disregard for all the fancy spices and flavor enhancers actually detract from the heady natural flavors of fresh produce. Corn chowder has always been one of my favorite things to eat. It was actually the very first thing I ever cooked all by myself. I was about ten and I think I used the JOy of Cooking book. I had to walk to the store and ask my mother for money. Those were interesting days.

The success of this chowder comes from the enormous amount of fresh vegetables, and the enormous amount of thick sliced, slow-fried, crispy bacon. I used an entire pack of bacon, minus 4 slices that were mysteriously eaten beforehand....

You also have to give credit to the dubiously large amount of onions. When I added them, my big ole soup pot was literally half full of onions and bacon. But never fear, little dears. I drained the bacon fat before getting dirty with my chowder. If I ate this in a restaurant, I would have no qualms about licking the bowl.

1 pack of bacon
1 big russet potato, cubed
1 red potato, cubed
1 jumbo-sized onion (the size of 2 normal), chopped
1/2 bunch celery (about 7 stalks? including the heart?), sliced/chopped
1 can creamed corn
8 mini bell peppers, diced (about 1 cup)
1/2 bunch parsley, chopped
organic chicken broth to cover, about 3-4 cups
1 cup whole milk
plain yogurt for garnish
cheddar cheese for topping
garlic salt, cayenne, and black pepper

  1. With scissors, cut the bacon into strips (1/2") into a big fat soup pot. Turn on medium heat. Let sizzle until crispy, draining liquid when it gathers. I drained it twice. Bacon should be carmelized and crisp crisp.
  2. Add onions. Stir occassionally and let cook. Add celery, potato, bell peppers. Let them get about halfway done. Then add corn and broth to just cover ingredients. Simmer or boil until potatoes are done. Turn off heat. Add parsley, pepper, garlic salt to taste, and milk. Stir. Serve with shredded cheese and/or yogurt. I eat it with both.

Friday, June 19, 2009

North Indian Potatoes

Adapted from this aesthetically unappealing recipe,, I ended up making enough food for 8 people that 2 people gladly ate all by themselves. It's a little like mashed potatoes, but with all the Indian spices you love, plus some extra vegetables for color, texture, and nutrients!

I didn't take any pictures because the consistency is nothing to brag about. It looks like tumeric-colored mashed potatoes with chunks of vegetable. The real secret is in the taste.

First, place eggplants (I used Japanese) right under the broiler on some foil. Don't remove anything, just rinse them, prick them with a fork, and stick them under there. Wait about ten minutes until the skin is black, then turn them over to get the other side. They're done when they smell delicious and when the skin is blackened. Be sure to prick them, or they will quite literally explode in your oven! Remove when done and set aside to cool. When cool, peel skin off easily. Chop.

At the same time, boil a big pot of water. Cut 2 potatoes in half. Salt the water. Add potatoes. Boil for half an hour or until a fork goes all the way through the potatoes easily. This always takes longer than I expect. Remove and peel potatoes. Mash.

Whilst the eggplant and potatoes and cooking, heat some olive oil in a pan with a whole chopped onion and several minced cloves of garlic. Add about half an inch of minced or mushed ginger, as well. Proceed to dump in 2 generous heaping teaspoons cumin, 1.4 teaspoons coriander, 1 teaspoon garam masala, 1/2 teaspoon cloves, 1 spoon tumeric, cayenne pepper to taste. Add four coarsely chopped mushrooms and a handful of chopped carrots. Cook til tender. Shake a few generous shakes of garlic salt. Add the eggplant.

Mash potatoes with a masher and add the vegetable ingredients. Add chopped or shredded cheddar cheese. Continue mashing. Add crumbled feta cheese, if desired. Add salt and pepper to taste. Serve the gloriousness!

Garden in the City

We started a vegetable garden! It has neat rows and everything! I've never had a real garden before, and this one is quite promising.

What do we have? Parsley, cilantro, jalapenos, thyme, rosemary, chives, green onions, spinach, basil, mint!


I love big, burstingly beautiful sandwiches. Here are a few I've made recently:

Start with good ingredients and everything wonderful is possible.

super onion bagel toasted, grilled onions, bacon, avocado, smoked salmon, lettuce, cream cheese, vine-ripened grape tomato.
toothpicks required

Sundried-tomato roasted turkey breast, feta cheese, avocado, grilled msurhooms and onions, lettuce, tomato, milton's bread, plain yogurt, taro and sweet potato chips.