Posts tagged spicy
Coconut Sesame Ramen
Coconut Sesame Ramen - Eat Cho Food

If you’ve been reading this blog for a while, then you know that instant ramen is one of my favorite foods. I’ve literally been consuming it since I could conquer solid foods! My mom would make instant beef flavored ramen topped with spam and a fried egg pretty regularly. It was a quick, easy, and tasty meal that we always enjoyed. When I went to architecture school, I was sort of shocked that no one ever put toppings on their ramen. 

“How could you not even fry an egg to put on top?!”

“You’re literally going to eat ramen out of the styrofoam?!”

“What do you mean you don’t have your own personal noodle soup bowl complete with chopsticks and a soup spoon?!”

I had a lot of questions… and I felt like I needed to educate everyone who would listen to me about the endless possibilities of instant ramen. So, I had like 1 person who was interested. Still to this day, I ALWAYS have a few packages of instant ramen in our kitchen. They are perfect for quick breakfasts, a lazy lunch, or a salty late night treat after staying out late to go see a bluegrass concert. Okay, that last situation might only apply to Reuben and me. I always need to add toppings though. An egg at least to make it feel like a well rounded meal. You can add practically whatever you have in your pantry or fridge. For a complete bowl of ramen you need a protein and a vegetable (or something green) to compliment the noodles and soup.

Coconut Sesame Ramen - Eat Cho Food
Coconut Sesame Ramen - Eat Cho Food
Coconut Sesame Ramen - Eat Cho Food

Here are Some of My Favorite Ramen Toppings!

Proteins:

Spam - classic topping, don’t be afraid of the canned meat
Soft boiled egg - 6-7 minutes is perfect in my book
Fried Egg - The crispy edges are a great texture with the soft chewy noodles and soup!
Char Siu - expert level topping
Fish Tofu - sounds weird, but go buy some from your local asian market and thank me later
Regular Tofu - silken tofu is wonderful in soup!
Leftover rotisserie chicken - throw that leftover breast right in there!
Shrimp - might be my favorite!

Veggies:
Chinese Broccoli
Spinach
Carrots
Corn - I guess that’s a grain… but it’s still tasty!
Edamame
Mushrooms
Radishes 
Kale

For most of these veggies, you can just boil them in the broth to cook them!

Extras:

Nori Sheets - I always have some in my pantry
Furikake - also always in my pantry
Scallions - everything is better with scallions!
Sesame Seeds
Crushed Roasted Peanuts or Cashew - adds a nice texture
Citrus slices- only if it works with your soup flavor
Sambal/Chili Oil

Options are endless!

Coconut Sesame Ramen - Eat Cho Food
Coconut Sesame Ramen - Eat Cho Food
Coconut Sesame Ramen - Eat Cho Food

How to Make Your Instant Ramen Fancy! 

Choose your noodle.

For this Coconut Sesame Ramen, I started by using Ottogi Sesame Ramen, which is a brand from South Korea! Their noodles are probably the chewiest and most satisfying instant noodles I’ve ever encountered! It is always so disappointing when there are barely any noodles in the package and they end up tasting like limp cardboard. These are great! I encourage you to take a few minutes studying the instant ramen aisle of your local asian market. There are so many great options there!

Cook the noodles and the soup in separate pots.

It may seem like an unnecessary extra step for such a simple recipe, but trust me. Cooking the noodles in a separate pot and rinsing them under cold water will allow your noodles to stay super al dente. Once the noodles are combined with the broth they will continue to cook and we don’t want soggy noodles.

To make your soup broth, boil water, coconut milk, and the dried soup mix. Then add in your protein. In this case, we’re going to add some shrimp. The shrimp will impart a lot of great seafood flavor in your soup! If you’re going to add a vegetable that needs to soften, you would add it now too. Cook until all the contents are at your desired doneness.

Assemble your noodle bowl.

Place your noodle bundle in a bowl. Carefully pour the soup over the noodles. Then top with your protein, veggies, and extra toppings. You can either just throw everything in there or take an extra minute to compose everything for a quick Instagram! 

This Ottogi Coconut Sesame Ramen is something I wish I knew about when I was in college! The noodles have such a great texture. The soup is spicy, rich, and a little creamy from the coconut milk. And lastly, the toppings are fun and diverse, which make taking each bite of this ramen feel like a little flavor adventure! 

Coconut Sesame Ramen - Eat Cho Food
Coconut Sesame Ramen - Eat Cho Food
Coconut Sesame Ramen - Eat Cho Food

Coconut Sesame Ramen

serves 1

Materials:

1 package of Ottogi Sesame Ramen
1 ½ cup water - for soup
½ cup canned coconut milk
3 shrimps - peeled, but with tails and head still on 
Purple Daikon - thinly sliced
Radishes - thinly sliced
Lime wedge - for garnish
Nori Sheets - for topping
Scallion Greens - for topping

Steps:

  1. Bring a medium pot of water to a boil. Once boiling, add the ramen noodles into the water and cook for 2 minutes, until al dente. Drain and rinse noodles under cold water. Place drained noodles in a bowl.

  2. While the water is boiling in step 1, bring 1 ½ cups of water and coconut milk to a simmer. Add in dried soup mix and the shrimp. Boil for 5 minutes.

  3. Pour the soup over the cooked ramen noodles. Top with thinly sliced daikon and radishes, scallions, cooked shrimp, nori sheets. Finish with a squeeze of lime.

Thanks, Ottogi for sponsoring this post!

Cumin Lamb Skewers
Cumin Lamb Skewers - Eat Cho Food

I’ve been working from home for a little over 2 months now and haven’t had too many complaints so far. My coworkers are quite and respectful (I glance over at the plants in my living room), there’s always free food around, I can wear soft pants everyday, and my commute time is so quick! The only downside is that we don’t have any outdoor space, which is super unfortunate. We have the landing of our fire escape, that has our growing pepper plants and our neighbor’s grill, which has left some questionable char marks on our wooden railing. When I used to work in SOMA, our office had a nice outdoor space with picnic tables. It was our oasis in a sea of stinky SOMA smells and colorful people. So many smells. I loved taking a coffee break outside there and feeling the warmth of the sun. That’s probably the ONLY THING I miss about working down there.

I’m jealous of people’s backyards. Even if it’s just a small patch of grass, at least it’s your patch of grass! I’d love just a little space to grow a few vegetables and herbs, with a table and some chairs for al fresco dining, and a grill! I guess I could knock on our neighbor’s door and ask if we could use their grill, but I’m weary of the idea of grilling on a wooden fire escape. For now, we have a newly acquired cast iron grill pan that does the trick! However, our apartment is so old that we don’t have an exhaust fan in our kitchen, so whenever we use the grill pan this is what you see: Reuben tending to the meat on the grill pan with the door open to our fire escape and me with a kitchen towel fanning the smoke away from our smoke detector like a maniac. It’s a good arm workout. Grilling ain’t easy around here, but it’s worth it!

Cumin Lamb Skewers - Eat Cho Food
Cumin Lamb Skewers - Eat Cho Food
Cumin Lamb Skewers - Eat Cho Food
Cumin Lamb Skewers - Eat Cho Food
Cumin Lamb Skewers - Eat Cho Food

Cumin Lamb Skewers in Northern China

These cumin lamb skewers have been a favorite of mine for a few years now! I interned in Beijing 6 years ago and spent all my free time exploring the city and eating all the food! I remember thinking that living in China wouldn’t be such a culture shock to me. I was wrong. Everything was so different. The food was so different compared to the Cantonese food I was used to eating. Food was spicy and funky in Beijing. Some of it even made your mouth go numb - hello, Sichuan peppercorns! It was so fun and exciting to discover and learn about all these other types of Chinese food.

It was summer time when I was there, and one of my favorite meals was bbq lamb skewers! These spicy and cumin-y meat skewers are a popular street snack in Northern China. The dish was originated by the ethnically Uighur people, who are religiously muslim. Once you taste one for the first time you’ll pick up on the similarities to Mediterranean kabobs. You either grabbed a few skewers to go or grabbed a little table on the street with mopeds whizzing by in every direction. Typically, the skewers are relatively small and you would order 6-8 skewers per person. The meat is always tender and perfectly crispy on the edges. The lamb is encrusted with chili flakes and whole cumin seeds. If you only have ground cumin, that’s totally fine. BUT the whole cumin seeds have a fresher and more well rounded flavor that lends itself to the meat. It’s the perfect summer time meal to enjoy with a super cold beer!

Cumin Lamb Skewers - Eat Cho Food
Cumin Lamb Skewers - Eat Cho Food
Cumin Lamb Skewers - Eat Cho Food
Cumin Lamb Skewers - Eat Cho Food

How To Make Cumin Lamb Skewers At Home

Making these skewers at home is actually quite easy. I admit that I’m not making them super traditionally. The street stalls would cut up the lamb into much smaller pieces so they would cook and char quicker. I’ve cut the lamb into slightly larger 1” cubes because I like my lamb to still be juicy and medium rare inside. But you do you.

First step is to locate your lamb! I like to purchase lamb shoulder for these skewers. Look for a cut that has some nice fat, because fat equals flavor and extra juiciness. You can either ask your butcher to cut the lamb into small pieces for you or take it home to cut up yourself. I like to take it home to cut myself. Make sure to trim off any tough sinewy pieces. You’re not going to be able to chew through those! I like to save any lamb scraps and stick them in the freezer for future lamb broth.

Next you season the meat! I’ve kept the seasoning pretty simple. Chili flakes, whole cumin seeds, salt and pepper. That’s all you really need! i also used La Tourangelle Garlic and Walnut oils in the marinade. I’m not just saying this, but their oils make everything taste good. The garlic oil is full of beautiful garlic flavor. The walnut oil might be pure magic though. I like to just toss veggies in the walnut oil to roast with salt and pepper and it comes out tasting so nutty and much more complex for the lack of ingredients. It adds a wonderful savory flavor to the lamb. If you don’t have walnut oil or garlic oil, just use olive oil and a 1/2 teaspoon of garlic powder to the marinade. I highly recommend you get some La Tourangelle in your pantry though!

When cooking the skewers you’ll want your grill or grill pan to be relatively hot. If you have a charcoal grill that’s even better because all the street side grills in Beijing were powered by charcoal. Place the skewers directly on the grill and rotate every few minutes so that every edge has the chance to sear and char. It should take take 5-6 minutes for medium rare doneness, but cook longer if you prefer it more well done. Allow the skewers to cool slightly so you don’t burn your tongue. Then crack a few beers (or sparkling fruity water) and dig in!


Cumin Lamb Skewers

makes 4 skewers - easily scalable

materials:

1lb lamb shoulder
1 tbsp La Tourangelle Garlic Oil
2 tbsp La Tourangelle Walnut Oil
2 tsp chili flakes
1 tbsp whole cumin seeds
1 tsp salt
1/2 white pepper
1 tbsp cornstarch
2 scallion stalks - cut into 1- 1.5” pieces

Metal skewers or bamboo skewers soaked in water

Steps:

  1. Cut lamb into 1” cubes and place in a bowl.

  2. Add garlic oil, walnut oil, chili flakes, cumin seeds, salt, white pepper, and cornstarch to the lamb. Mix until lamb is evenly coated. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and allow to marinate for at least 1 hour in the refrigerator. 

  3. Preheat your grill to medium high heat.

  4. Assemble skewers by placing 2 pieces of lamb on a skewer, then 1 piece of scallion stalk, and continue until the skewer is complete.

  5. Grill skewers for a few minutes on each side until medium rare or desired doneness.

thanks, La Tourangelle for sponsoring this post!

Cheesy Sambal Milk Bread
Cheesy Sambal Milk Bread - Eat Cho Food
Cheesy Sambal Milk Bread - Eat Cho Food
Cheesy Sambal Milk Bread - Eat Cho Food
Cheesy Sambal Milk Bread - Eat Cho Food
Cheesy Sambal Milk Bread - Eat Cho Food
Cheesy Sambal Milk Bread - Eat Cho Food
Cheesy Sambal Milk Bread - Eat Cho Food
Cheesy Sambal Milk Bread - Eat Cho Food
Cheesy Sambal Milk Bread - Eat Cho Food
Cheesy Sambal Milk Bread - Eat Cho Food
Cheesy Sambal Milk Bread - Eat Cho Food
Cheesy Sambal Milk Bread - Eat Cho Food
Cheesy Sambal Milk Bread - Eat Cho Food
Cheesy Sambal Milk Bread - Eat Cho Food
Cheesy Sambal Milk Bread - Eat Cho Food

I’ve never ran a marathon before and I don’t really see myself completing one EVER. But after a month of constant workshops I think I can imagine what running one would feel like. Okay maybe a half marathon. At least a 10k! Each weekend for the last month I’ve been practicing my public speaking skills and praying to the dumpling gods that my dough was going to be workable that day. We went up all the way to Sea Ranch and back into the city, lugging bins and SO MANY tote bags filled with essentially a pop up dumpling restaurant. I haven’t had a gym membership since I left my full time job, but I’ve been making up for it by carrying that damn cooler everywhere and standing for hours. I can’t tell if that’s why my back hurts or if I’m finally transitioning into my grandma self.

I’m now on a little dumpling hiatus. My next workshop is not until August 10th, but you should totally buy your tickets now! It’s going to be a wonton party! In the meantime I’m going to spend some quality time with bread dough and work on some easy week night meals! My pleating fingers could use a break and our freezer is literally bursting at the seams with dumplings from recipe testing and workshop leftovers. Someone come over and help me eat all of them! Oh, yeah! Reuben’s parent’s are coming into town this week! So I’ll have some extra taste testers and bellies to fill with dumplings!

I better get working on their welcome treat! Should it be bread???! Milk bread is without a doubt my favorite bread. It probably was before and I never officially declared it until now. Close second is an excellent sourdough, but I could eat milk bread all day everyday. There is something so lovely about it’s airiness and softness that other breads just don’t compare. Challah? Brioche? Maybe. Those breads are like cousins to the milk bread. I haven’t done a side by side comparison… yet. But I’m pretty sure MB would come out on top!

There are a whole bunch of ways to make milk bread. There is the tangzhong method, which requires you to create a quick started by cooking flour and water into a paste. I used in this recipe. And some people like to use dry milk powder in place of some of the actual dairy - planning on trying out that method soon! I’ve grown super fond of the recipe I’m sharing today because you literally throw all the dough ingredients in the bowl of your stand mixer, walk away for 15 minutes while it does all the work for you, and that’s pretty much it! Easy peasy. Flavor-wise, it’s pretty comparable to other methods I’ve tried. However, the key to a better bread flavor is to allow your dough to rest longer. You can either let the dough rest at room temperature for 1-2 hours or pop it in the fridge overnight for it to cold ferment. The result is a bread that tastes less yeasty and has a softer and fluffier texture.

Once you’ve mastered the art of milk bread, the world of flavor combinations is limitless! Today I’m sharing a version filled with cheese and spicy sambal. Are you drooling yet?! Cheese and sambal sound like an unlikely couple, but if you think about it, sambal is just a spicy chili and garlic paste that’s quite similar to Calabrian chilis. Italians pair Calabrian chilis with cheese and carbs all the time! So it’s not surprising that when you roll milk bread dough up with cheese and sambal it ends up tasting like an amazing spicy pizza bread. I’m obsessed with it. The best part is tearing off a chunk while it’s still warm and slathering on some salted butter. OMG. I want to make another one now! Imagine an avocado toast or and egg in a hole using this bread! WOW. I wish I thought of that sooner! Hurry! Bake a loaf and test those carby ideas for me : )


Cheesy Sambal Milk Bread

makes 2 loaves

materials:

1 cup heavy cream
1 cup milk
1 egg
1/2 cup white sugar
1/2 cup cornstarch
2 cups all purpose flour
2 cups bread flour
1 package of instant yeast (2 1/4 tsp)
1 tsp salt
1/2 cup sambal
1 1/2 cups shredded cheddar cheese + more for topping

to make the buns:

  1. Combine heavy cream, milk, egg, sugar, cornstarch, flours, yeast, and salt in the bowl of your standmixer fitted with a dough hook. Mix at medium speed (speed setting 4 for KitchenAid) for 15 minutes until a smooth and slightly sticky dough is formed. Stop to scrape down the sides every few minutes. Once dough is form, place in a large bowl lightly greased with oil. Cover with a damp kitchen towel and allow to rest in a warm place for 2 hours or in the fridge overnight, until the dough has doubled.

  2. Line 2 loaf pans with parchment paper.

  3. Scrape out the dough onto a lightly floured surface. Divide into 8 equal pieces. Take one piece of dough and roll it out into a roughly 5”x7” rectangle. Spread 1 tablespoon of sambal on the dough, keeping a 1/2” clean border around the edges. Sprinkle some cheese on the sambal. Fold both the 7” long edges over towards the center and roll the dough into a log. See photos above. Place log in the loaf pan. Repeat process with remaining pieces of dough until each loaf pan is fill with 4 logs. Cover loaves with a damp kitchen towel and allow to proof one last time for 1 hour.

  4. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Brush the tops of the loaves with milk and sprinkle on or grate a bit of cheese on top. Bake in the oven for 45-50 minutes until the tops are deeply golden brown.

  5. Remove the loaves from the oven. Allow to cool in the pans for 10 minutes and then remove to allow to fully cool on a wire rack.

  6. Enjoy with a slice of butter or plain as is!