A Pot of Homemade Dal

It does not cross my mind to try cooking Indian cuisine regardless on how much I adore Indian food. I am in fact intimidated by the number of spices used in Indian cuisine. There is no surprise that a bowl of Indian curry comprises of more than 5 different types of spices.

Ms. M from Germany who loves Indian food convinced me that there are simple Indian dishes that do not required a lot of species and dal is one of it. So, I challenge myself to make my first pot of dal today.

The dal served in Indian restaurants are normally the channa dal. But in my recipe here, I am using the split mung beans from Asian supermarket. Split mung beans is also known as moong dal which is slightly smaller that chana dal, but with the same texture. 

200g dal (any type of dal)
2 medium size tomatoes (diced)
2 potatoes (cubed)
1 carrot (sliced - 1cm thick)
3-4 stalks dried chilies
2 cloves of garlic (minced)
3 shallots (diced)
2 pieces curry leaf
1/2 tbsp turmeric powder
125ml of water
cooking oil
salt and sugar to taste
chopped coriander leave (optional)

1. Wash and soak the dal overnight to soften the dal.
2. Heat up generous amount of cooking oil in a pot.
3. Add in the minced garlic, diced shallots, dried chilies, and curry leaf and stir fry till they turn aroma.
4. Add in the tomatoes cubes, cover the lid and let the tomatoes to soften.
5. Once the tomatoes are soften, add in the rest of the ingredients (turmeric powder, dal, potatoes, carrot and water) and bring to boil.
6. Constantly stir the dal, so they will not stick to the bottom of the pot. Add in more water if required.
7. Once the dal turn soft and smushy, add in salt and sugar according to personal preference.
8. Garnish the dal with some chopped coriander.

This Dal dish is worth a try as it is simple to prepare with basic ingredients from the pantry. You can eat it on its own as soup or you can pair it with rice and poppadom.

Korean Potato Pancake, Gamjajeon


I am a big fan of pancakes, especially the savory version. I usually make kimchi pancakes at home as they are so simple to make. However for this time round, I am making the Korean potato pancake, also known as gamjajeon in Korean.

I have the wrong impression that I need to boil the potatoes first, mash it before I mix it with the flour. In fact, for this recipe, we not not need to boil the potatoes, instead we just need to blend them to puree form before mixing them with the flour.

If you like savory pancakes and have high tolerance to onions or shallots, these gamjajeon will be perfect for you. The shallot has indeed added extra umami to the pancakes. These pancakes can be pretty addictive ... so be prepared to make extra batches.

Korean Potato Pancake, Gamjajeon

Let's check out the recipe now.

5 medium size potatoes
3/4 cup of all purpose flour
2 stalks of green onion
1 shallot
a pinch of salt
sufficient cooking oil for pan frying

Korean Potato Pancake

1. Cut potatoes, green onion and shallot to blend-able size that fit into your blender
2. Blend potatoes, green onion and shallot into puree form.
3. In a mixing bowl, mix the flour, salt and blended puree together to form pancake batter.
4. Heat up some cooking oil in a frying pan.
5. Scoop the batter and place in the pan and pan-fry under medium high heat.
6. Pan fry the pancake til both sides turned golden brown and dish out.

The potato pancake taste as good as it is. However if you want something extra, you can make your own dipping sauce to go with the pancake. You just need soy sauce, rice vinegar, sesame oil, honey and mix everything together in a bowl.

Simple Tofu Dish with Mori-Nu Silken Tofu

I was super excited when I first 'discovered' these Tetra Pac packaged Mori-Nu silken tofu. Masako got me these lovely tofu packets from Germany. I have not seen silken tofu in such packaging before i.e. in Tetra Pac form. The tofu which I normally purchase from the Asian grocers here are in plastic casing, with easy to tear off plastic seal.

I am curious about the tofu and did some online search. To my surprise, the manufacturer, Morinaga Nutritional Foods Inc. is actually an America based company who produced and distributed Mori-Nu tofu using the quality KAPI’s in-house developed soybeans. These packaged silken tofu was first introduced in USA in 1985 and later expanded to Europe in year 2003.

The selling point of the Mori-Nu silken tofu is its ingenious packaging.  The airtight and shelf-stable box allows the tofu to be stored longer without refrigeration. The freshness and texture of the tofu is well preserved, although no preservatives is added.

For these who are residing in EU, you may purchase the Mori-Nu silken tofu from Amazon.uk. Check out the link here

Morinaga Nutritional Foods Inc.
Mori-Nu Silken Tofu

Mori-Nu Silken Tofu
Check out the texture of the tofu out from the tetra-pac. It looks indifferent from the normal silky tofu. Taste wise, as good as the normal silky tofu. Love it.
Mori-Nu Silken Tofu

Sharing in the post is the simple recipe to make healthy tofu dish.

1 packet of Mori-Nu silken tofu
1 tsp sesame oil
1 tbsp oyster sauce
1 tbsp light soy sauce
some chopped scallions
some fried onion

1. Steam the tofu in a steamer for 5-7 minutes.
2. Drain the liquid collected during the steaming process.
3. Pour in the sauce - oyster sauce, light soy sauce and sesame oil.
4. Garnish the tofu with chopped scallions and fried onion.

Broccoli Sesame Chicken

It was love at first sight when I first saw Ryen shared this dish in his vlog. Simple reason - these three are my favourite ingredients. As an amateur cook, Ryen recommended the viewers to check out the full recipe from Epicurious website http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/quick-sesame-chicken-with-broccoli

So I did and had attempted the dish as well. First bite, BOOM ... love at first sight turns to complete love. The sauce which is made of honey, soy sauce, vinegar, Sriracha, garlic, ginger and sesame oil is the soul to this stir fry dish. The measurement stated in the recipe is for reference and of course you may feel free to adjust the taste according to your own preference.

I enjoy the dish very much and had made it many times with little twists. Every time it is getting better and better. Here are some cooking tips I would like to share:-

  • Be generous with sesame seeds as they adds the extra aroma and nutty flavor to the dish.
  • Never skip the step to boil or steam the broccoli before hand. There are 2 possibilities of adding uncooked broccoli to the pan together with the sauce and chicken - (a) broccoli may under cook or (b) chicken pieces will turn dry and hard due to over stir fry in the wok or pan
  • Instead of adding the minced garlic directly into the sauce, you can stir fry them with the cooked chicken pieces first. Once the garlic aroma is released, you can then pour in the sauce. This helps to create extra umami taste to the dish.
This quick and simple to make broccoli sesame chicken dish may beat the one served at your Chinese take-away joints. A well worth trying recipe!

Mentaiko Onigiri aka Flavored Rice Balls

Outdoor picnic has always been my favorite pastime in the summer. Sandwiches and cakes are some of the common snacks to be enjoyed during the picnics. Much inspired by the hanami  picnics in Japan, I made these mentaiko onigiri as my picnic snack.
(Hanami refers to sakura viewing, a traditional custom in Japan to enjoy the transient beauty of sakura)

These flavored rice balls are so simple to make. Basically you just need two main ingredients - cooked rice and kelp & mentaiko seasoning. No extra seasoning i.e. salt or soy sauce is required as the hydrated mentaiko (pollock roe) is salty in taste. You can adjust the saltiness of the rice balls according to your preference - more kelp & mentaiko seasoning for saltier version.

Wakame maze gohan Mentaiko konbu

A bowl of warm cooked rice
kelp & mentaiko seasoning (intake according to preference)
seaweed (optional)

1. Sprinkles kelp & mentaiko seasoning and seaweed on the warm rice. Mix well.
2. Wet your hands with some water. Scoop some rice onto your hand and shape the rice into ball shape or triangle shape.

I highly recommend the kelp & mentaiko seasoning by Hagoromo. The mentaiko are a bit spicy in taste, which added another layer of flavor to the plain rice. The seasoning can be purchased from Amazon. Just look for Wakame maze gohan Mentaiko konbu 30gx10.

Here is my little picnic's bento with onigiri, chicken nuggets and fried tempura shrimps. Let's picnic!


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