Pasta alla Vodka

pasta alla vodka

pasta alla vodka

Pasta alla vodka is one of our family staples. I also make it pretty often (once a month at least?) because it’s super easy to whip up (think less than 30 minutes) and requires ingredients I usually have in my pantry and garden. The hubs and E both love it and you always feel very satisfied after eating a huge plate of it.

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quick tomato sauce for pasta

the sauce

the sauce

So I am having problems naming this dish/recipe. It’s a recipe for a quick, simple tomato sauce which can be used for a baked (or unbaked) pasta. It’s super flexible – you can choose to add meat or not, and you can add whatever veggies you choose or have available. This is a good dish for people just learning how to cook and/or are on a budget and/or are short of time. (Okay, that was a lot of “and/or”, but you get the drift.)

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Korean Japchae

Korean japchae

I love Korean japchae and always look forward to eating it as one of the “ban chan” dishes served at Korean restaurants. I have tried a few japchae recipes but this one is probably my favorite so far. I added more garlic to the original recipe and combined it with some of the techniques/ingredients from other japchae recipes.

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chicken with orzo

chicken with orzo

This is a variation of the classic 40 cloves of garlic chicken recipe. The hubs had raved about this recipe for a long time but I have no idea what took me so long to make it. When I finally did, I tried many different ways of cooking the dish – adding (lots of) white wine, adding an onion, adding herbs etc. They all turned out pretty yummy.

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bak chor mee (minced meat noodles)

bak chor mee

Bak chor mee or minced meat noodles is one of the hub’s favorite eats. It’s something he misses from home, and I thought I would try and recreate it here. There are a few challenges when recreating this dish, one being the lack of good fish cake here. I haven’t found a good one and am not willing to make it for the sake of a bowl of noodles. Maybe one day I might be crazy enough to do it, but not now. I did find something similar at my local Asian grocer – it was even from Malaysia. But alas, the fish cake (though it looks like the stuff you get at home), was too starchy and lacked the bouncy texture of the fish cake we get back home. So if you are in South-East Asia, be thankful you can get good (or at least decent) fish cake almost anywhere. Another challenge is the chilli sauce. If you are South-East Asian, you will know that we have different chilli sauces for almost every other type of dish. The hubs and I scoured the aisles of our Asian grocer, bought a bottle of what we thought might be the closest thing and nope, it wasn’t it. I did try a mixture of sambal and chilli oil and it was so-so.

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authentic pad thai

Pad Thai with shrimp

I am always on the lookout for a good Pad Thai recipe and I think I’ve finally found “the one”. In general, I am not a fan of eating at Thai restaurants here in North America simply because I feel most of the Thai food isn’t “authentic” and the flavors too watered down or catered to the tastes of Westerners. Case in point, many Pad Thai versions I’ve seen/eaten here tend to be too soggy or saucy (eww). I’ve also had a version in Montreal where the sauce was red – yes, red. As such, I usually like to eat Thai food back home in Singapore. That being said, I’ve never been to Thailand so I can’t really tell if the Thai food in Singapore is authentic as well, but we are in South-East Asia so I think the authenticity is a lot closer than say, North America. I have had Thai people cook for me before and their food was delish. One of my favorites is a spicy chicken feet and dried flower noodle soup dish. I really need to find out the name of that dish.

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mee soto

mee soto

I’m not a huge fan of mee soto, which is a spicy noodle soup usually cooked with chicken. There are also many other variations. Wikipedia gives a quick summary. The mee soto that is commonly found in food courts in Singapore is usually too salty and laden with MSG. I often have to drink tonnes of water to quench my thirst after having a bowl of this stuff. The flavor is also very mediocre. However, I am a HUGE fan of the mee soto my friend’s mother makes. Honestly, it’s in a class of its own and it’s the ONLY mee soto I eat now, that is until she taught me how to make it. The secret is the particular spice mix she uses. Unfortunately, the spice mix is hard to find in Singapore, and sadly contains MSG. But, for some unknown reason, I’ve never felt super thirsty after eating this mee soto, so I presume the amount of MSG in the mix is minimal. Every time I go home, I always ask my friend to help me buy a few packets of this spice mix. Her mom will also lovingly make mee soto for me – and hers is still the best!

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mac and cheese

Originally posted: Feb 2011; updated April 2014

mac and cheese with crisp panko top

After attempting mac and cheese from scratch with a friend with some success, I was motivated to make it on my own – better. The first time I tried it on my own, the sauce turned out too grainy. This time round I didn’t skimp with the cheese and also made sure my ingredients were all on hand so I didn’t have to scramble for them. I used PW’s recipe but also added a few elements of Alton Brown’s recipe – the diced onion, bay leaf and crunchy Panko breadcrumbs top.

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