Spinach Salad (Sigeumchi Namul) and Kimbap

Sigeumchi Namul

Leafy spinach is my all-time-favourite. Spinach is so versatile and can easily turn into delicious dish just by simply stir-frying it. In today's recipe, I am going to show you the simplest method to prepare spinach, the Korean way without heating up your pan. It is known as Sigeumchi Namul in Korean or in spinach salad in English.

Ingredients: 1 bag of spinach, sesame oil, sesame seeds, rice vinegar and salt.
Instruction: Boil the spinach in hot water for 30 second. Drain the spinach and cool the spinach under the cold running water. Squeeze out the excess water. In a bowl, mix the sesame oil, rice vinegar and salt to taste. Mix the dressing with the spinach and sprinkle some toasted sesame seeds before serving.

The delicious spinach salad goes super well with my home baked chicken breast and potato wedges.

Not only I eat it as a side dish for my baked chicken and potato wedges, I even have it in my kimbap (Korean seaweed roll).
Korean seaweed rice roll Seaweed, rice, sesame oil, rice vinegar are the main ingredients for the kimbap. For the rests, you may have any of your favourite ingredients. For me, sigeumchi namul, cocktail sausage, carrot stripe, egg roll cut into stripes are all that is required.

The kimbap rice is a bit under seasoned for this first attempt. Perhaps, some soy-source may help to enhance the taste. I will remember to add it in the next time.

Summer Fruits

Summer fruits
Who could resist the great Summer in Europe? Sunshine in the Summer always shed away all the depression mainly causes by the often rainy and gloomy autumn plus winter. I can safely bet that 9 out of 10 Europeans will tell you they LOVE summer to bits.

No doubt Summer is the best time to enjoy the sunshine and embrace tons of outdoor activities. One should also not miss relishing some great summer fruits too such as berries, melons, peaches etc.

My weekly shopping cart were full of summer fruits and I even pluck some from the garden. Check out the pic above - a handful of wonderfully delicious homegrown berries i.e. raspberries, red current and strawberries. Lovely color ... (p/s: Sorry about the half-ripe strawberries as the ripe ones have been eaten by birds or insects.)

The small round shape, smooth skin red currents were surprisingly sweet. I enjoy the the sourness of the bright-red raspberries. These fresh berries are powerful natural antioxidant and are an excellent source of vitamin C, plus there are low in calories especially for raspberries.

With Autumn quickly being usher in, perhaps I will need to wait till the next Summer for some homegrown "berries power". The song Wake Me Up When September Ends from Green Day starts to play:

Summer has come and passed
The innocent can never last
Wake me up when September ends
Hope everyone had a great Summer. See you in the next Summer!

Garoeda Indonesisch Restaurant @ The Hague

Tea with Dutch butter cookie
For almost a year, I have always mistaken Garoeda Indonesian restaurant as a western restaurant although it is indeed an Indonesian restaurant. Neither the exterior nor the interior correspond to the typical Asian restaurant feel (maybe a little giveaway by the wood carving). Perhaps you will have the same thought too if you happen to pass by the restaurant at the corner of a busy shopping street.

The restaurant serves a wide array of tasty yet affordable Indonesian cuisine, nasi rames, bami, rijsttafel etc. However, what sets this restaurant apart from other Indonesian restaurant in town is its unique ambiance.
Garoeda Indonesisch Restaurant

Garoeda Indonesisch Restaurant

Garoeda Indonesisch Restaurant
The whole restaurant is brilliantly illuminated by natural sunlight, thanks to the wide window panels around the restaurant. Wooden yet not too bulky furniture, complete but not too elaborate table settings make the restaurant extra cosy and comfortable. Even if I am not here for food, I could spend a relaxing afternoon here, sipping through a cup of tea while enjoying a novel.

The afternoon when we popped by for lunch, there was a TV shooting going on in the restaurant by local TV production company. I was pretty sure it was the great decor that brought them here.

It is indeed worthwhile to check out the restaurant even if you are not keen to try out the food. A pint of Bintang beer or a glass of wine at the bar corner will surely light up your evening.
Address: Kneuterdijk 18 A, 2514 EN Den Haag, Netherlands
Phone: +31 70 346 5319

Best Japanese Treat in The Hague, SET Genki Tei

Best Japanese Treat in The Hague, Genki Tei

A colleague from home country happened to be in town for a conference plus workshop. Being a good host, I offered to bring her for a food hunt around The Hague. Perhaps gotten tired with sandwiches, cold cuts, cheeses, croquettes, pancakes etc for the past few days from the workshop, she specifically requested for Asian food. Plus an additional request for something light but can fill the stomach at the same time.

I know exactly where to bring her for a good treat, it is non other than my favorite SET Genki Tei Japanese Restaurant! Instead of ordering the usual bento lunch sets, we went for the Ala-carte sushi and assorted Japanese side dishes, okonomiyaki (Japanese pancake) and Gyoza (meat dumpling).

We enjoyed the tamago roll (egg roll) wrapped in seaweed as the complimentary appetizer. The green edamame provided a contrasting texture in the egg roll. They were indeed beautifully wrapped and just looked like a sushi ... but without the rice.
Best Japanese Treat in The Hague, Genki Tei
Tamago wrapped in seaweed

The sushi platter we ordered consists of 3 types of sushi - the scallop sushi, shrimp sushi and Unagi eel sushi. Oh boy, the scallop was fresh and instantly melt in my mouth. I do believe the scallop had been lightly torched instead of being grilled since it was moist and juicy. Kudos to the chef for a well executed dish. The scallop went well with the Ikura (salmon roe) too. Salty roe paired with sweet scallop is simply perfection!
Best Japanese Treat in The Hague, Genki Tei
Scallop sushi

The shrimp sushi was equally good as well. Instead of Ikura, the shrimp sushi was topped with Tobiko (flying fish roe) which are smaller in size. It has different texture as compare to Ikura which are slightly more fishy in taste. I especially like the sushi rice as there were avocado cubes in it. Thumbs up!
Best Japanese Treat in The Hague, Genki Tei
Shrimp sushi

Being a big fan of Unagi (grilled eel), this Unagi sushi really made my day. Usually the Unagi bento sets are quite expensive, so I was pleased to at least get a bite of the Unagi I craved. How I wish the unagi slice could be a bit thicker. I do appreciate the small details by the Chef, check out the the sesame seed sprinkled on top of the eel. I do not recall having something like this back home as the Unagi usually served plain, just with the teriyaki sauce smear on top.
Best Japanese Treat in The Hague, Genki Tei
Unagi (eel) sushi

Chicken karaage is also my all time favorite. Perfect side dish for ramen. Don't they look appetizing?
Best Japanese Treat in The Hague, Genki Tei
Chicken karaage

Fried fish cake was one of the dish from the fried dish platter. This was my least favorite as it was merely the processed/frozen fishcake you can get from the Asian grocers, which were coated in batter and deep-fried.
Best Japanese Treat in The Hague, Genki Tei
Fried fish cake
These fried shrimps were good. Well coated breadcrumb batter and well controlled frying temperature helped to "lock down" the freshness and juiciness of the shrimps.
Best Japanese Treat in The Hague, Genki Tei
Crispy fried shrimps

The Okonomiyaki is another highly recommended dish. I have tried it for several times but still not bored with it. Check out my earlier post. Perhaps it is the tasty bonito flakes that tempted me to keep coming back for the okonomiyaki. Check out how generous the bonite flakes on it, simply irresistible.
Best Japanese Treat in The Hague, Genki Tei
We ended the hearty meal with pan fried gyoza (meat dumpling). Yes, they tasted as good as they looked, crispy on the outside and juicy inside.
Best Japanese Treat in The Hague, Genki Tei
Some quick burps and big smile after the meal signified how satisfied my colleague was with today's Japanese' treat in Genki Tei. I know I scored ... opps, it should be Genki Tei scored!

Address: Schoolstraat 4, 2511 AX Den Haag, Netherlands

Fabulous Pontian Style Instant Noodle

Instant noodles with ketchup
Instant Noodles Pontian style with egg roll

Tired of breads, perhaps it's time for something different. Let's have instant noodle with some homestyle twist.

This instant noodle recipe is actually originated from my dear aunt who hails from Johor, the Southern part of Peninsular Malaysia. I believe her recipe is inspired by the Pontian style wanton noodle. Unlike the wanton noodle in KL, the so called Pontian style wanton noodle in Johor is tossed in ketchup (or tomato sauce) instead of black soy sauce. Hence, the noodle coated in red looks really appetizing.

The noodles
Pontian style instant noodle in ketchup sauce
Instant noodle in ketchup sauce
For the instant noodle, any type will do as we are not going to use the seasoning, instead we will be preparing our own sauce. The recipe for the sauce is as simple as ABC. All you need are sesame oil, ketchup (tomato sauce), sweet sauce, dash of water, fried shallots and pepper. Mix everything together to form the sauce. Drizzle the sauce over the cooked instant noodles and toss well until all the noodles are well coated. Sprinkle some diced scallions on top of the noodle as the finishing touch.

The egg rolls
Egg roll wrapped with scallions
Egg rolls
It can be pretty boring to have noodle alone. So, I made some egg rolls to go with my Pontain style instant noodle. It is just a simple omelet rolls with fillings of baby Romania lettuce and scallion stripes.

A simple yet complete meal. Yum!!

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