Daikon Miso Ramen

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This was inspired by a miso ramen recipe with a sundubu jjigae base, and the garlicky trumpet mushrooms come from my recent paella attempt. It’s a winner. Get your bib out, this is a slurper.

There’s so much going on in this dish, and all the flavors are married pretty well. My favorite parts:

  • the garlicky trumpet mushrooms stand out despite being immersed in a soupy broth because they were browned in a separate skillet
  • the daikon adds tremendous depth to the broth
  • there’s something about well cooked green onions that really gets my goat (maybe because it reminds me of eating Vietnamese scallions in oil)
  • the chili oil at the end is a serendipitous spicy spoof

Servings: 2



  • 500 ml water
  • 1 cup of diced daikon
  • 1 tbsp capers
  • 3-4 tbsp miso paste
  • 1/2 a sheet of kombu, cut into strips
  • 4-5 dried shiitake mushrooms
  • 3 tbsp soy sauce
  • salt to taste


  • 6 trumpet mushrooms, diced
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 tsp sesame oil
  • 2 green onions, sliced

Toppings, etc.

  • fried tofu
  • chopped coriander
  • 2 portions of cooked ramen noodles
  • chili oil (good god, I love this stuff)


  1. Combine all ingredients for the base in a stock pot. Simmer this on medium heat, covered. This should cook for about 30 minutes.
  2. In a skillet, heat the sesame oil on medium-high heat. Add the mushrooms and sautee until the water evaporates.
  3. Add the garlic to the skillet. Turn the mushrooms a few times to get an even browning on all sides.
  4. Add the green onions to the skillet and cook until they wilt and a nice fond develops on the pan.
  5. Add the vegetables to the stock pot. Ladle a bit of broth into the skillet to loosen the fond and pour that brilliant flavor back into the stock pot.
  6. Simmer all ingredients for another 10 minutes.
  7. Ladle the vegetables and broth over a portion of cooked noodles.
  8. Top with whatever toppings you fancy.

Buttery dal

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I’m usually not one for dal, but even I can’t resist the buttery goodness in this dish.

Serves: 3-4


  • 250 g dry lentils (soak this in water for about 4-6 hours)
  • 2 onions, diced
  • 5 garlic cloves, minced
  • 20 g ginger, minced
  • 500 g tomatoes (I used canned tomatoes)
  • 60 g butter
  • 1/2 tbsp chili powder (adjust to your liking)
  • 1/2 tsp garam masala
  • chopped cilantro, to garnish


  1. In a covered pot on medium heat, bring the lentils and water to a boil. Cook for about 90 minutes.
  2. In a hot skillet, lightly fry the garlic and ginger.
  3. Add the onion and half of the butter just before the garlic starts to brown. Cook for 10 minutes.
  4. Add the tomatoes, salt, and chili powder. Cook for another 10 minutes.
  5. Strain the lentils, and add them directly to the tomato mixture.
  6. Fold in the remaining butter and add the garam masala. Simmer for another 20 minutes.
  7. Serve with a sprinkling of cilantro over some rice or naan.


Chickpeas in tamarind sauce

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This recipe blew my socks off; I had severe doubts and hopes regarding its success and was entirely elated when I tasted the composition. Normally, I’m tasting things as I’m going along, adjusting here and there. As I was taste testing the sauce, my worries set in – the tamarind comes across incredibly strong. I was afraid it was too overpoweringly sour and thought I’d have to bin the dish… Somehow I had the idea to roll one little chickpea in the sauce before sending this pot to the trash. It was the best thing I could have done!

The creamy, nutty chickpeas balance the sweet tartness from the tamarind. This dish is creamy, tart, savory, and spicy. I can’t wait to make it again.

Servings: 3-4


  • 200 g dried chickpeas (after measuring, soak them in water for 6 hours)
  • 40 g tamarind (simmer this on the stovetop for about 30 minutes in about 3/4 cup of water)
  • 4 shallots, sliced into half rings
  • 10 g ginger, minced
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 bird’s eye chili, sliced
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 tsp ground coriander
  • 1 tbsp brown sugar
  • 4 tomatoes, diced
  • 1/2 tsp salt, adding more to taste


  1. These three things can be done on three burners, simultaneously.
    1. Boil the chickpeas for about 90 minutes. Strain and set aside.
    2. Once the tamarind is quite soft, strain it, reserving the water. Remove any seeds, and do what you can to mash up the solids. We’ll be using the water and the mashed up solids in the sauce.
    3. Caramelize the shallots in a skillet with a bit of oil. Set aside.
  2. In a skillet on medium-high heat, fry the ginger, garlic, and chili until the garlic is fragrant but not browned.
  3. Add the cumin and coriander, stirring for about 1 minute.
  4. Add the tomatoes and tamarind juices/solids. Combine with the sugar and salt. Let this simmer for about 10 minutes.
  5. Take one cooked chickpea, roll it in the sauce and taste it. Adjust the sugar and salt to taste.
  6. Fold the chickpeas and shallots in the sauce.
  7. Serve with your choice of naan or rice.


Saffron rice with toasted almonds and raisins

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A very North Indian dish with a lot going on for it – floral notes from the saffron and cardamom (magnified if you use Ceylon cinnamon), toasty nuttiness from the almonds, and a juicy, sweet surprise from the raisins.

Servings: 3-4


  • 2 cups of white rice (Basmati, if you can)
  • 2 cups of water
  • a generous pinch of saffron
  • 2 cardamom pods, lightly crushed
  • one finger length piece of cinnamon bark (Ceylon, if you can)
  • 2 tbsp ghee or coconut oil
  • 1/4 cup of raisins
  • 1/3 cup of sliced almonds
  • 1/2 tsp salt


  1. On the stove top in a covered pot, bring the rice and water to boil.
  2. Simultaneously in a separate vessel (I used a small sauce pan), lightly fry the cardamom and cinnamon in 1 tbsp of your chosen lipid.
  3. When the rice is boiling, add the saffron and turn the heat down to low.
  4. When the cardamom and cinnamon start to become fragrant, add the almonds. Toast until they become golden.
  5. Then add the raisins. Cook for about 1-2 more minutes.
  6. Fluff the rice with the salt, additional 1 tbsp of lipid, and the spice-almond-raisin mixture. Continue cooking until most of the water has been absorbed.
  7. Turn off the heat and leave the pot covered for another 10 minutes.
  8. Serve with any number of Indian dishes.

Tomato Tofu

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Official name:  (Đậu hũ sốt cà)

My mom swears she gave me the recipe. However, her version tastes mighty different from each of my attempts. I have not figured out what she’s doing differently… The quest continues!


  • 1 package of medium firm tofu, sliced and patted dry
  • oil for lightly frying

Stir fry

  • 5 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 bird’s eye chili, sliced
  • 1 tsp minced ginger
  • mushrooms, sliced
  • 1 diced onion


  • 1 tbsp tomato paste, or to taste
  • 3-4 tomatoes, diced
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • 1 tbsp soy sauce
  • chili oil, to taste


  • 2 green onions, sliced
  • optional: chopped cilantro


  1. Heat some oil in a skillet on medium-high heat. Lightly fry the tofu, and set it aside.
  2. In a hot skillet or wok, fry the garlic, ginger and chili until fragrant. Don’t let the garlic brown.
  3. Add the onions and mushrooms.
  4. Once the onions are slightly translucent, add the sauce ingredients. Mix well.
  5. Taste, and adjust the seasonings. Fold in the toppings.
  6. Serve with white rice.


Spicy Basil Tofu


This hot little number is frequently requested in this household.

There’s no such thing as too much basil.

Yield: 4 servings


  • cooked white rice
  • 1 package of medium tofu, diced and patted dry
  • oil for lightly frying
  • a lot of basil, washed and sliced

Stir fry

  • mushrooms, sliced
  • 1 bell pepper, diced
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 5 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1 tbsp ginger, minced
  • 1 sliced bird’s eye chili


  • chili oil
  • 2 tbsp soy sauce
  • 1 tbsp fermented black bean sauce
  • 1 tbsp chili bean sauce
  • 1 tbsp mirin
  • 1 tsp rice vinegar
  • 1 tsp sugar


  1. In a small bowl, stir the sauce ingredients well. Set it aside.
  2. Heat some oil in a skillet on medium-high heat. Lightly fry the tofu and set it aside.
  3. In a hot skillet or wok, fry the ginger, bird’s eye chili and garlic until they become fragrant. Don’t let the garlic brown.
  4. Add the diced onions.
  5. Once the onions become soft, add the bell peppers and mushrooms.
  6. Mix the sauce, stir fried vegetables and tofu together. Adjust the seasonings to taste. Let it continue to cook for another 2 minutes.
  7. Fold the basil into the mixture, and allow it to wilt for 2-3 minutes.
  8. Serve with white rice, topped with a little more chili oil.

Inari sushi with mushroom rice

My sweet sister sent me a recipe via email with the subject line, “10/10 Mushroom Rice,” and only one sentence in the body: “If you make this with sticky rice and wrap it in shiso/sesame leaves, you can make little rice balls for lunch. I like to stuff mine with sautéed garlic-chili spinach or roasted carrots and toasted sesame seeds.”

The email also included this video:

Of course, I had my own ideas (obviously we need a replacement for Dashi).

Serves: 12 Inari sushi


  • 1 package of Inari sushi tofu pockets (can be had from your local Asian grocer, look in the Japanese section)
  • 1 cup of sushi rice, uncooked
  • cleaned and sliced mushrooms
  • 2 tbsp soy sauce (add more to taste)
  • 2 cups of vegetable broth
  • toasted sesame seeds
  • shredded nori
  • 1/4 cup rice vinegar
  • 1/8 cup sugar
  • 1 tbsp sesame oil


  1. Make the rice. Two options:
    1. Use a rice cooker. Rinse the rice, dump the water, then add the vegetable broth. The cooker does all the work.
    2. [how I do it] Cook it over the stove top. Rinse the rice, dump the water, then add the vegetable broth. Cover with a lid, bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to medium-low. When the liquid has been absorbed, turn off the heat. The stove does all the work.
  2. Separately combine the sugar, vinegar and soy sauce in a small bowl. Set aside.
  3. While the rice is cooking, sautee the mushrooms in a pan with sesame oil.
  4. Once the rice is done cooking, fold the sugar mixture into the rice. Then add the mushrooms and sesame seeds.
  5. Fill each tofu pocket with the mushroom rice.
  6. Optional: add wasabi or pickled ginger and wash it down with some Kirin beer.