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The funny thing about tastes is that for things that you absolutely loath as a kid may yet turn out to be one of your favorites as an adult – such is the case for me with bitter gourd, and to be frank, quite a few other items.

So for those of you who dislike durian, petai, asparagus, Guinness, and more, perhaps ya’ll just need more doses of them until you like it!

bitter gourd tofu soup recipe

Anyway, here’s one of the recipes I did with bitter gourd over the course of this Covid-19 season.

Bitter Gourd Tofu and Pork Soup Recipe

Ingredients:

  • 1 bitter gourd, cut in chunks
  • 3 carrots
  • 300 gram pork belly, cut into bit size chunks
  • 1 block of soft tofu
  • 2 tomato
  • 1 inch ginger
  • a handful of salted vege (optional, you can replace with salt to taste)

Instructions:

  • boil pork belly for a couple minutes and remove from pot, throw away the scummy water
  • use a bigger pot, boil 4-5 bowls of water with everything except tofu for about an hour or so in low heat
  • add tofu just before serving
  • salt (optional) and pepper to taste

Comfort food especially on rainy days, I usually have it with steamed rice and some soya sauce + cili padi as condiment.

Since Covid-19 season is still not over, cooking at home remains a feature even though dining out is slowly becoming an option due to the slight relaxation of government movement control order. The latest ingredient I got to experiment was this bag of frozen oysters.

I was initially looking for some recipes for Taiwanese style oyster mee suah, but at the end decided to invent one of my own with the inspiration from the awesome lala meehun at Lai Foong kopitiam which I sorely missed.

oyster mee suah recipe

There isn’t exactly an official name for this dish, I’d simply call it my oyster mee suah. A surprisingly simple recipe that you can make at home with ingredients you probably already have in the pantry.

Ingredients for 2 bowls:

  • 2 tablespoon sesame oil
  • 6-8 bulb garlic, smashed
  • 1 inch ginger, sliced
  • 12-18 pieces of oysters (the more the merrier)
  • 3 bunches of mee suah
  • 3 tablespoon rice wine
  • salt/soya sauce to taste
  • chicken bullion (1 cube), or chicken stock
  • cilantro (optional)

oyster mee suah recipe 2

Cooking Instructions:

  • heat up sesame oil, then saute garlic and ginger till fragrant
  • add water and chicken bullion, bring to boil (optionally use chicken stock)
  • add mee suah, cook for 2 mins
  • add oyster, cook for 1 min,  add xiao xing rice wine at last
  • Salt n pepper to taste too
  • Top up with some cilantro
  • You can add an egg as well

Pretty simple dish isn’t it? Love the spiciness from ginger, if you want it spicy, add some cilipadi too!

I have a story..

You know, when you’re in a group and someone farts and no one owns up, there is usually no solution.. until one of my friends came up with a solution – “It’s you! I recognize the smell of your fart!”, while pointing to any one person. I mean, how do you even have a come back?

Anyway, the relevance of this story is that .. personally, I will have more air expulsion from my body via the rear end whenever too much milk is consumed, like some over 70% Asians, I suffer from lactose intolerance, thankfully a mild-ish version.

To avoid surprised nostril invasion to the unsuspecting parties, I do try to limit my consumption of milk, and one such solution is by having milk substitutes for latte.

Many cafes do offer such alternative in the form of soy or almond milk, but I often find them too sweet, or diluted, or just straight out tasting terrible. The solution – homemade almond milk, and this is how you do it:

homemade almond milk latte, with a single shot of espresso
homemade almond milk latte, with a single shot of espresso

Ingredients:

  • raw almond – 1 cup (around 110 grams)
  • 500 ml water
  • a pinch of salt

Instructions:

  • soak almond in warm water for 1-2 hours, or cold water overnight in fridge
  • remove the water, blend the almond with 500 ml clean water for at least 2-3 mintues
  • sieve the almond milk using sieve (or even better, cheese cloth)

blend or a good 2-3 minutes, sieve out the pulp
blend or a good 2-3 minutes, sieve out the pulp

You’ll end up with a little more than 500 ml of almond milk at around 10-15% almond in weight instead of the 2-3% you get from store bought variety. A shot of espresso and there you have it – homemade almond milk latte.

P/S: you can use the same method for many other nuts, my favorite is actually with raw cashew nuts, doesn’t even need to be sieved and it’ll be so creamy and flavorful. Try it!

I haven’t had any Korean food this Corona lockdown period, so naturally it calls for a home made affair to satisfy the cravings. Since there’s no easy way to install an exhaust fan in the dining room to simulate that Korean BBQ experience, I thought kimchi jiggae (kimchi soup) should make a decent replacement, which it did!

So without further ado, here’s my homemade kimchi soup recipe, if you decide to DIY at home too.

kimchi soup homecooked

Ingredients:

  • 1000 ml soup stock – i used leftover pork bone soup
  • 3-4 bulb garlic
  • 1 inch ginger, sliced
  • 2-300 gram pork belly
  • 1-2 tube Japanese tofu
  • 2 eggs
  • 3-4 tablespoon Gochujang (Korean red chili paste)
  • 200 gram kimchi
  • spring onion & cilantro

Instructions:

  • heat up soup stock and add garlic and ginger
  • add pork and boil till pork is soft on low heat (depends on thickness, 20-40 mins)
  • add gochujang & kimchi, boil for another 10 mins
  • add spring onion, egg & tofu for the last 3 mins
  • serve with cilantro on top

Simple, wholesome, and great for rainy day, you can have this soup as is or with a bowl of steamed rice.

Check out more simple recipe here.

Who doesn’t love a bowl of good unagi rice? This was something that I sometimes treat myself at Japanese restaurants, the sweetness of eel with it’s soft, creamy texture on a bed of steamed rice, yums. They can get a bit pricey at the restaurants, but here’s an idea – why not make this at home?!

To be honest, this was more of an assembling of food rather than actual cooking, since you can get these eels frozen and ready to eat upon heated up from your favorite grocer or online shops. Anyway, here goes –

unagi rice homecooked

Ingredients:

  • a slab of frozen unagi
  • an egg
  • spring onion
  • a piece of seaweed (optional)
  • for extra sauce – brown sugar & mirin (or chinese rice wine)
  • rice

Instructions:

  • unagi really needs to just be soaked in hot water, or microwave for a couple minutes
  • onsen egg – 63 degree for an hour on sous vide
  • sauce – on low heat, stir 3-4 tablespoon brown sugar into 1/2 cup rice wine, until thickens
  • spring onion & seaweed are for deco, see pics above

As a bonus, did you know that these eels have a life cycle complete opposite of salmon? They were all born in a very specific yet unknown location somewhere in the pacific ocean near Guam, then swam up to the various rivers in Taiwan, Japan, and such to live their entire lives until a time when they go back to that specific spot in the ocean again to have an orgy.. that or end up on our stomach.

Yums.