Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Thai-Style Beef Ribs

What is your favorite cooking method for ribs? Do you have any suggestions of a marinade? My Taiwanese friend, Chris, loves to cook ribs whether it is barbecued, oven baked, pan fried, used as an ingredient to flavor up soups, he did most of them. I wished he has a slow cooker, I bet it would even be messier, yummier and flavorful. Here are some of his past dishes: Kalbi and Bulgogi,  Pan Fried Marinated Spareribs, Sukiyaki, Daikon Soup with Short Ribs. This time, he used Thai flavors to marinate the ribs and then cook in the oven. This recipe is adapted from Martha Stewart. There is also a Thai dipping sauce that is served with the ribs, but I don't feel that it is necessary since the ribs have lots of flavors from the marinade. I wrote down the recipe anyways.

Serves 4
Preparation Time: 10 mins
Marinade Time: Overnight
Baking Time: 1 hr 30 mins
Printable Recipe


6-8 beef ribs

1/2 cup fish sauce
1/2 cup cilantro, chopped
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1/4 cup lime juice
4 garlic cloves, minced
4 stalks lemongrass, outer leaves removed and thinly sliced tender part
1/4 cup sugar
2 tbsp ginger, minced
4 tbsp sesame oil

Thai Dipping Sauce
2 tbsp lime juice
2 tbsp rice wine vinegar
1 tbsp soy sauce
1 tsp red pepper flakes
1 tbsp sugar
1 tsp garlic
1/2 tsp sesame oil
2 tbsp cilantro, chopped


1. In a bowl, combine all ingredients for the marinade. Place ribs in a ziploc bag and pour the marinade. Refrigerate and let it marinate overnight.

2. Preheat oven to 300F.

3. Remove ribs from refrigerator 30 minutes before cooking. Remove ribs from marinade and place it in roasting pan with aluminium foil. Pour half of the marinade over the ribs. Reserve remaining marinade.

4. Bake for 1 hr 30 mins until meat begins to pull out from the bone or until the internal temperature reaches 160F. Turn ribs every 30 mins. Baste occasionally with reserved marinade.

5. Meanwhile, combine all ingredients for the dipping sauce, stir until sugar has dissolved.

6. Remove from oven and let it rest for 10 mins. Serve with dipping sauce.

Friday, October 22, 2010

Tuna Samosas

After 8 months of waiting, I finally got this recipe in my disposal from my friend from l'Ile de la Réunion. This recipe could have been the 150th post on Random Cuisine, still the Maltese Pudina-Chocolate Bread Pudding is an excellent dessert and we recommend you to try it out if you haven't done so.

Have you ever made samosas? Do you have a suggestion for a filling? If not, here's your chance to impress your friends. I can guarantee you that eating one samosa won't satisfy your appetite. Samosas are so versatile, you can use any fillings: mashed potatoes, cheese, ground meat and even chocolate!!! Here we used tuna mixed with onion and seasoned with a bit of curry powder and turmeric. Making samosas can be tricky at first, so I took step-by-step pictures to help you out. The recipe is inspired from Goutanou.

Serves 8
Preparation Time: 3 hours
Cooking Time: 2 mins per samosa


1 medium onion, chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
3 tbsp coriander, finely chopped
2 tsp curry powder
1/4 tsp turmeric
3 cans tuna, drained
16-20 spring roll sheets


1. In a skillet, heat oil over medium heat. Cook onions until transparent. Add in garlic and half of the coriander, cook until fragrant, about 1 min. Mix in curry powder and turmeric. Season with salt and pepper.

2. Remove from heat. Mix together cooked onions with tuna and add the remaining coriander.

3. Transfer filling to a bowl.

4. Cut spring rolls sheets into thirds (4cm x 20cm). Wrap the spring roll sheets with a damp towel for several minutes or until humid enough to handle it. Too much moisture can break it apart. Be careful!

5. In a small bowl, add flour and enough cold water to reach a "glue" texture.

6. Use two spring roll sheets. Fold one corner and bring it to the opposite side of the strip.

7. Take the other corner and bring it on the opposite side of the strip to form a pocket.

8. Stuff the pocket with a teaspoonful of filling.

9. Apply flour mix on the strip end.

10. Fold it to form a triangle.

11. In a pot, heat vegetable or canola oil for deep-frying. Fry samosas until golden brown, about 2 mins.

12. Remove excess oil with a paper towel. Serve.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Spicy Angel Hair Pasta with Crab and Lime

I have to admit that the presentation picture is not pleasing to the eye. The one from Gordan Ramsay is much more vibrant and colorful. By nature, we usually judge food by its cover. We can "see" whether it tastes good or not. Pretty much like searching through cookbooks and food blogs, you decide to cook a dish based on how mouthwatering the pictures look. If I added some greens and reds, I would probably convince you to try this dish out. This dish has lots of flavors. The pasta is mixed with crab, white wine and olive oil along with a kick of acidity and spiciness, making this dish pleasant to eat.

Serves 6
Preparation Time: 5 mins
Cooking Time: 15 mins
Printable Recipe


200g angel hair pasta
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 red chilli, seeded and thinly sliced
4 spring onions, chopped
1/3 cup dry white wine
1 lime
250g white crab meat
Salt and pepper
Olive oil


1. Bring a large pot of salted water to boil. Add the pasta and cook according to pack instructions until al dente, about 3-4 minutes.

2. In large skillet, heat oil over medium-high heat. Sauté for 1-2 minutes and season with salt and pepper.

3. Add white wine to pan and cook until it reduces to half. Stir in crab meat.

4. Drain the pasta, drizzle with olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Add the pasta to the crab mixture, chop the parsley and toss the ingredients to combine.

5. Serve immediately with a generous squeeze of lime juice.

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Butternut Squash Crème Brûlée

You might or might not have noticed that my last post on Thanksgiving Dinner 2010 does not have any dessert. Well, there is in fact one and I was saving this dessert as an independent post. It is not your traditional Pumpkin Pie nor a Pumpkin Rice Pudding nor a Pumpkin Cheesecake. What is "better" than these dessert? A crème brûlée. A few months ago, my Mexican friend tried to make vanilla crème brûlée, but it was not a great succes. Now, my Australian friend attempted of making one with butternut squash and I was surprised how good it tasted. I can even say that this is one of the best crème brûlée I have ever eaten. I'm so glad that he shared this recipe.

Preparation Time: 30 mins
Cooking Time: 1 hr 30 mins
Cooling Time: at least 2 hours or overnight
Printable Recipe


½ butternut squash, peeled

6 egg yolks
4 tbsp brown sugar
2 ½ cups heavy cream
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp ginger
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1/2 tsp ground cloves

2 tbsp raw sugar + 2 tbsp white sugar


1. Cut butternut squash in cubes. Roast in oven for 60 mins at 350F. Purée.

2. Beat egg yolks and 4 tablespoons of sugar until thick and creamy. 

3. In a saucepan, heat cream over low heat, stirring, until it almost comes to a boil.

4. Add a little of the cream to the egg mixture, whisking briskly, then pour the mixture into the hot cream and whisk. 

5. Stir mixture and spices into squash purée. Adjust spices and sweetness to taste.

6. Preheat oven to 375F.

7. Pour mixture into individual ramekins or a large oven-proof dish. Put in a baking dish or tray, with hot water halfway up the side. 

8. Bake in the water bath at 375 F for 20-30 minutes. When it's done, it should have a jelly-like jiggle when you shake the dish slightly. Cool in the water bath for about 15 minutes, then chill in the fridge at least 2 hours or overnight.

9. Before serving, combine raw sugar and white sugar and sprinkle on top. Shake to remove/redistribute excess sugar.

10. Caramelize with kitchen torch or broiler, taking care not to burn the sugar.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Thanksgiving Dinner 2010

Happy Thanksgiving! Finally, this is the time to enjoy great meal with great company. This year, one of my friend was lending his place to cook a full Thanksgiving meal with colleagues. As can be seen on the plate, the meal includes the traditional turkey stuffed with bread and raisin, tofurkey for the vegetarian (and non-vegetarian) and homemade cranberry sauce. We also have candied yams even though it is a dish found in American Thanksgiving. In total, we were 12 people and we had lots of leftovers at the end of the evening. Here are a couple of recipes that are not found in this blog.

For the first time, I made cranberry sauce from scratch and I was amazed how the taste differs from canned cranberries. A hint of orange juice is used instead of water.

Cranberry Orange Sauce

Makes 4 cups of sauce
Cooking Time: 15 mins
Printable Recipe


1 12oz. bag of fresh or frozen cranberries, pale ones removed
1/2 cup sugar
2 oranges, juiced and zested
1 cinnamon stick


1. Place all ingredients in a saucepan over medium-low heat. Simmer until cranberries burst and sauce thickens, about 15 mins. Adjust sweetness if necessary.

2. Cool and refrigerate or serve at room temperature. Remove cinnamon stick.

What can I say more about this dish, it was yummy and gooey. You can find a quick Candied Yams recipe from one of my past post. Here is a not-so-long version of candied yams. Thanks to my friend for providing pictures of his dish.

Candied Yams

Serves 12
Preparation Time: 10 mins
Cooking Time: 40 mins


4 lb sweet potatoes, peeled and cubed
1 1/4 cups margarine
1/4 cup brown sugar
3 cups marshmallows
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp nutmeg


1. Preheat oven to 400F. Grease a 13''x9'' baking pan.

2. Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add sweet potatoes and boil until slightly undercooked, about 15 mins. Drain and cool.

3. In a large saucepan, heat margarine over medium heat. Add in brown sugar, 2 cups marshmallows, cinnamon, and nutmeg. Cook until marshmallows are melted, stir occasionally.

4. Mash half of sweet potatoes. Stir in mashed and chunk-sized potatoes into marshmallow sauce. Pour into baking pan.

5. Bake for 15 mins. Remove from oven and cover evenly with marshmallows. Return to oven, bake until marshmallows are golden brown.

This dish is made by a Paraguayan friend. Don't get fooled by its name as it is not a soup, but a Paraguayan version of cornbread. A fun story is found on wiki where this dish is designated as a "solid soup". I think what special about this cornbread is that cheese are mixed with the batter to give a cheesy bite. I'm not sure if that is the case for other variations of cornbread.  

Sopa Paraguaya (Paraguayan Soup)

Serves 12
Preparation Time: 15 mins
Baking Time: 40 mins
Printable Recipe


2 large onions, chopped
1 tbsp salt
6 eggs
2 lb corn flour
4 cups milk
1 can corn kernels
500g mild cheese, grated (gouda, cheddar and/or ricotta)


1. Preheat oven to 350F.

2. In a skillet, heat oil over medium heat. Cook onions until soft but not brown, add a bit of water if necessary. Season with salt. Set aside.

3. In a large bowl, beat eggs and mix in onions, corn flour, milk, corn kernels and cheese.

4. The mixture should be liquid. Add milk if necessary. Pour batter to a greased 13''x9'' baking pan.

5. Bake for 40 mins or until it passes the toothpick test.


When I watch Thanksgiving event on Food Network, it is all about roasting or deep fried the turkey. I was shocked that there is a "turkey" version for vegetarian made out of tofu stuffed with whole wheat bread crumb and wild rice. I really enjoyed it and tasted strangely like turkey. This tofurkey is bought from the Tofurky brand.
Here is how it looks like once cooked, it resembles a lot like a roast.

This is how it looks inside when carved. If you want an alternative to turkey for the next Thanksgiving, this is it!

Finally, for the meatarians, I have to admit that this is my first attempt of roasting a turkey. It is also my first time carving a turkey. Usually, in every Thanksgiving, my mother roasts the turkey and always ended to be very juicy and flavorful. For the first time, Thanksgiving happens at my friend's place, I have to conquer the fear of roasting and carving the turkey. For a fully cooked and tasty turkey, the rule is to roast for 15 mins/pound and baste the turkey every 20 mins. This recipe is inspired from allrecipes.com. To carve the turkey or any poultry, the easiest way is to use a sharp knife and carve along the bones.

Perfect Turkey with Apple Stuffing

Preparation Time: 30 mins
Roasting Time: 3 hours for 12lb turkey
Printable Recipe


1 whole turkey, neck and giblets removed
3-4 tbsp salt
1/2 cup butter or olive oil
1/2 cup water
Vegetables (carrots, onions, celery), cut in half or in quarters

4 cups sweet apples, peeled, cored and chopped
3 cups sliced almonds
1 1/2 cups chopped onions
1 1/2 cups chopped celery
1/2 cup margarine
2 tsp salt
2 tsp ground cinnamon
2 tsp zaatar
6-8 slices whole wheat bread, cubed
2 cups raisins
1 cup apple juice
2 eggs, beaten


1. Preheat oven to 350F.

2. In a large skillet, sauté apples, almonds, onion and celery in margarine for 5 mins. Remove from heat. Add in salt, cinnamon and zaatar.

3. In a large bowl, combine bread cubes, raisins and apple mixture. Mix in apple juice and eggs.

4. Season turkey inside and out with salt. Rub turkey with butter or olive oil. Place breast side down in a roasting pan. Use half of the stuffing and place it inside the turkey cavity. Pour water and scatter vegetables at the bottom of the roasting pan.

5. Cover with aluminium foil and roast for 3 hours or until the internal temperature reaches 180F. Carefully turn the turkey breast side up at about 2/3 of its roasting time. Baste turkey every 20 mins. Let it rest for 30 mins before carving.

6. Bake remaining stuffing, covered, for 30 mins. Uncover, bake for an additional 10 mins until lightly golden brown. 

This is pretty much all of it. Happy Thanksgiving!

Wednesday, October 6, 2010


The name bouillabaisse is divided into 2 French verbs : bouillir  means to boil and abaisser means to reduce, together it means to reduce by evaporation. Bouillabaisse is a fish stew which originates from the city of Marseille in France. This is also known as a fisherman's soup using the remains of the day's catch. It consists of a variety of herbs and spices mainly saffron, garlic and bay leaf as well as a variety of white fishes and seafood. You can imagine the amount of seafood flavors in this stew. It is like eating a paella where you can't stop eating until you are full. Try it out, use any seafood and white fishes and let me know the results. Bon appétit!

Serves 6-8
Preparation Time: 15 mins
Cooking Time: 50 mins
Printable Recipe


3 tbsp olive oil
1 medium onion, chopped
5 garlic cloves, minced
1 can (28 oz.) diced tomatoes with juice
4-5 cups vegetable or fish stock
1 1/2 cup white wine
5 fresh bay leaves
1/2 tsp saffron threads
200g mussels, cleaned
250g cod, cut into 2-inch pieces
250g haddock fillets, cut into 2-inch pieces
1/2 lb shrimps, peeled and deveined
100g scallops


1. Heat oil over medium heat. Add onions and garlic, cook for 5 mins. Stir in tomatoes, stock, wine, bay leaves, and saffron. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to simmer for 30 mins.

2. Put in mussels in the pot. Cover bring to a boil for 4 mins.

3. Turn heat to medium-low, add in fish and cook for 3 mins. Simmer for 2 mins. Afterwards, add in scallop and shrimps until the shrimp changes colour, about 3-4 mins. Make sure that the liquid is covering the seafood, add more stock if necessary.

4. Remove from heat. Discard bay leaves, and ladle into serving bowls.


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