mama whose curiosity knows no bounds

Archive for the ‘Cooking’ Category

simple broccoli slaw

Most cole slaw is made of milky dressing that is watery. I don’t hate it, but I like my version better. Much better.

I buy a bag of “broccoli slaw” (mix of julienned broccoli, carrots, plus red cabbage and/or cauliflower). I transfer it to a bowl, wrap tightly and slit a hole with a knife and microwave. For one bag, I microwave for 4-5 minutes. It is harder than you might imagine.

After all the extra water is drained, I add equal amounts of two ingredients: 

  • roasted sesame seed oil 
  • Aji-pon“-soy sauce plus citrus vinegar. I don’t bother making it from scratch. It’s available at Asian food section of most supermarket or Asian grocery store. Even if “aji-pon” is not there, there usually is “pon-zu” just a bottle of citrus-vinegar mix. You can mix 1:1 with soy sauce.

For a bag of this broccoli, about 12 oz, I think I used about 1.5 tbsp each. But honestly I didn’t measure. I drizzled each and when I felt right, I stopped and tossed.


That’s it. This is as tasty as any namul, and as easy as bean sprout namul. This goes well in bento box. The only trick is to drain water really well before adding aji pon and oil.

I guarantee it. It’s better than regular slaw dressing!



Bean sprout namul

I love bean sprouts. I occasionally grow own but it produces only small volume. But yesterday I found a big bag of bean sprouts at Asian grocery store so I decided to make namul, Koream style salad. I believe as long as the vegetable is cooked and roasted sesame seed is used, the dish should qualify as namul, but I’m no expert on Korean cuisine, so no guarantee.

I doubled the recipe found–again–on Cookpad. It just has endless supplies of great recipes! It had the English version.

I used a little less salt and no water. I plan to use in packed lunch for tomorrow so I didn’t want to make it go stale faster. Otherwise, it may help the soup powder (I would use Not Chicken for vegan version).

I microwaved the sprouts for 5 minutes. I layer a colander and matching bowl so the water is dripped out. I guess it was about 1.5 lb. While in Japan, a bag usually means 150 g to 200 g. So I should have tripled or quadrupled the recipe, but I didn’t. I don’t like too salty stuff.

 Then after shaking off excess water, I just added:

3 tbsp roasted sesame seed oil

1/2 tsp sea salt

1 tbsp chicken stock granules

1/3 cup roasted sesame seeds

And toss it well until no granule is visible. Adding water should help dissolve.

And voila! Yummy, my favorite salad is ready!

Other variation I often make is replace about one third of sprouts with shredded carrots and add about 2-3 tbsp of vinegar.


Big fall sale on Craftsy!

I’ve been waiting for this. I already bought 4 classes today.

Decadent Chocolate Cakes 

Marcy and Katherine Tilton – The Ultimate T-Shirt: Fitting & Construction Craftsy 

Creative Serging: Beyond the Basics Class 

Online Beginner Serging Class

I also highly recommend these classes as well.

Bag-Making Basics: Drawstring Bag & Bucket Bag

Underneath It All with Linda Lee

Sewing Designer Jeans, Angela Wolf

Tailoring Ready-to-Wear

Craftsy Mastering Zipper Techniques Class

Pant Fitting Techniques

Free Sewing Pattern at Craftsy

Perfect Pizza at Home

French Pastry Shop Classics, by Colette Christian

These are classes I have taken (I’ve taken more, but some boring class I omitted from this list)

For more, like knitting and crocheting, see below. It really is a huge sale (that’s why I usually wait)



(sponsored post)

Have you heard Craftsy’s BIG Fall Course Sale is happening now? Learn from the world’s best instructors in the comfort of your home, when you shop up to 50% off ALL online classes! Once you enroll you can watch your classes anytime, anywhere, forever. Hurry, offer expires September 22, 2014 at 11:59 PM MT. Shop Craftsy‘s BIG Fall Course Sale and save.


The best way to eat avocado.

Many people love avocado and of course we know how versatile it is. I love guacamole, avocado salad, California roll…the list goes on.

But whenever I have avocado at home most of the time I eat avocado in a very simple way – just slice and pour soy sauce.  In weekend, this could be our only supper.  Too easy and too tasty to cook other avocado dishes. Even my 11- years old daughter can do it.

I highly recommend eating avocado this way.  It is the best.

Sliced avocado with soy sauce. My daughter made it for family.


Oh so easy! Scrambled eggs with garlic chives.

This is another recipe from Cookpad that I couldn’t find the English translation yet.

This was so quick and easy, and can be made vegetarian, if you choose to substitute chicken soup powder with vegetarian version like “Not Chicken” soup base. This is great for packed lunch, too.  You can obtain garlic chives at Asian grocery store, but in mid-West, it’s so easy to grow, and added benefit is that it is deer and pest resistant.

Ingredients (I made 6 servings):

2 eggs
about 200 g garlic chives, chopped
1 tbsp chicken soup powder (I used this one from Youki)
2 pinches salt
2 tbsp (roasted) sesame seed oil


  1. beat eggs and add chicken soup powder
  2. heat 1/2 (=1 tbsp) of sesame seed oil on high heat and scramble eggs only to half-cooked and set aside
  3. add the rest (=1 tbsp) of sesame seed oil and stir fry garlic chives.  Add salt.
  4. When the chives are wilted, add eggs back and stir briefly
  5. enjoy!
Scrambled egg with garlic chives

Scrambled egg with garlic chives


Green beans with garlic and anchovy

This is another quick and healthy meal. This is obviously not vegan/vegetarian. I found the original recipe on Cookpad but I couldn’t locate the English version. Original uses garlic powder and anchovy fillets. But I’ve never been able to finish a can of anchovy, so I opted for a tube of anchovy paste.  On the other hand, I usually have garlic in my fridge all the time, so I used sliced fresh garlic.

1. Steam green beans in microwave. I usually use nesting bowl and colander then covered with plastic wrap. I poke a slit with a knife.

2. Heat a large skillet, add olive oil. Stir fry garlic (I use sliced) until brown.

3. Add anchovy paste. I add only 2 tsp or so for a pound of green beans. But it will depend of brand and taste preference.

4. Stir until all the beans are coated with anchovy. And voila! Quick meal! Three of us can eat them up in one sitting!


Korean style teriyaki tofu

I recently learned that English version of Cookpad is available. I highly recommend this site!

I love tofu in teriyaki sauce plus ginger and garlic. I used marinate squeezed tofu for a whole day then baked, but it will take two days and too cumbersome. This version is so quick and taste is just as good.

The original recipe is here. Since the tofu I use is 19 oz. package, I doubled the amount of sauce, and instead of garlic, I used 1 tbsp garlic/ginger paste (available at Asian/Indian grocery store). Also, it’s so hard to get white long leek like onion (called ‘negi’), in the USA, so I used one green onion instead.

First I cut the tofu lengthwise, then sliced to about 3/8″ thick and spread on tea towel to remove excess water.

Tofu on tea towel to remove water


Then I mixed the modified sauce.

It’s important to grill the tofu well to brown.  Otherwise, the tofu will become watery later.

After tofu was browned, I added the sauce and flipped to make sure both sides were coated. Turned up the heat to evaporate all fluid and it’s done. Just about in 10 minutes!

This time, side was steamed (no, microwaved) green beans with a little bit of bonito flakes (note: vegetarian can omit this). Since the tofu has a strong flavor, I didn’t need soy sauce or anything on the bean. 

This is really healthy near-vegan menu. It does very well in packed bento lunch.  The only problem is I have to cook in two batches to have enough tofu for three people for both dinner and lunch.




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