Category Archives: Asian

East to West, India is the Best!

Whenever anyone mentions India, this ^^^ is literally the first thing that pops into my head! It’s a chant that I’ve heard so many avid cricket fans sing simultaneously while they watch their home team play a match. It’s dorky but super catchy, you’ve got to admit.

Ok, super random, but seeing that today is India’s Independence Day, I thought it would be fun to do a post on the Indian food the husbo and I (ok, who am I kidding, it’s really just him) have been cooking. It started out with him making his mother’s mattar paneer recipe, and then he wanted to make one of his favorite’s: lamb keema.

My major participation was ensuring we ate yummy parathas with our meal, and also making sure we had some great rosé. The parathas are the ones that I used to eat as a kid – they’re super flakey, frozen parathas from Malaysia, and I was beyond excited when I realized you can find them at any Asian grocery store (hello, HMART!)  

A few weeks ago, randomly on a weekend, we were craving samosas (that makes me laugh out loud!) so we turned to Yelp and found out that IndAroma – a place that we almost used to cater our wedding – is so close to our home, like 10 minutes down the road! So we drive over, stop at Starbucks for iced tea, and then I suggest that the husbo race me to the other side of the parking lot (me walking, him driving at “parking lot” speed, ha!) I win – duh – so while I wait for his little turtle butt to drive over, I discovered I was standing next to this cute little Indian grocery. I was so excited about it! No more driving 13 miles to the dinky, not so cute, other Indian store. I immediately spotted the dhokla mix and picked up a bunch of packets, took it home, and whipped up that deliciousness, complete with sauteed mustard seeds & cilantro to garnish #yummmm

Fast forward to a couple of nights ago, the husbo was craving mushroom sabzi and so he made it. It turned out great! I made dhokla again, but this time messed it up a little (I didn’t grease the dish properly so everything crumbled and stuck to the bottom, noooo.) The cilantro & mint chutney was super easy – it’s literally cilantro, tomatoes (from our herb garden!), yellow onion, jalapeno, mint, salt & pepper to taste, and lime juice. Then you mush with a hand blender and ta-da!

just realized I spelled dhokla wrong. oops.

I’ll be honest, the husbo & I don’t consider ourselves to be very traditional when it comes to a lot of things Indian, but it turns out we’re kind of obsessed with the food. Go figure.

BBQ S’17

In the past, the husbo & I have had summer BBQs on our rooftop at whatever apartment community we lived at – but since our last building didn’t have a rooftop, we haven’t had a cookout the past couple of years. Now that we’ve lived in our town home for a year, and have recently renovated our outdoor areas, we decided it was about time to have a housewarming/ my birthday celebration BBQ, so we could reignite our summer tradition.

Usually we would go to Costco for ingredient shopping, and buy everything in bulk – burger patties, hotdogs, buns, beer, chips, etc. but I wanted to do something different. I wanted us to embrace the (amateur) chefies we have become, and attempt a gourmet BBQ.

This was our spread below. We had originally set up everything outdoors and I had a beautiful palm leaf print tablecloth, but we had to bring everything indoors because it was wayyy too hot. That, and everyone was hanging out indoors, in the AC.

btw, that’s my half eaten falafel that I put down to take the photo! lol.

We found the recipes on the interwebs, and then customized them to our liking. 

  • saucy asian meatballs — we used ground lamb instead
  • baby spinach/ strawberry/ goat cheese/ candied pecan salad — don’t have a recipe for this but it’s pretty straightforward to prepare
  • watermelon/ feta/ blackberry skewers w/ balsamic reduction drizzle — the balsamic reduction was courtesy of a friend, who taught me how to make it (all you do is boil down balsamic until it thickens! who knew!)
  • meatless meatballs from trader joe’s w/ same ginger hoisin marinade
  • stacy’s multigrain pita chips 
  • kettle brand korean BBQ chips — these chips are the BEST and totally remind me of chips from HK
  • chocolate chip cookies
  • gourmet franks w/ herbed goat cheese/ sautéed onions/ jalapeño slices
  • vanilla/ chocolate/ nutella cakepops — didn’t find this recipe on the interwebs and can’t share it with you guys because it’s a secret, sorry homes!
  • buttered corn on the cob
  • gourmet franks w/ pesto smear/ mozzarella pearls/ heirloom tomatoes/ balsamic drizzle
  • grilled vegetable cajun pasta salad — tweaked the recipe since we wanted to serve it cold, with rotini instead, and no chicken/ sausage
  • assorted mediterranean dips
  • trader joe’s falafel
  • rosé champagne jello squares  — these were so yummy! thank goodness we did a trial run of this recipe a couple of weeks ago, but the first time round they came out super strong. see photo below!
  • rosé & watermelon ice lollies not pictured because we totally forgot to put them out; also we didn’t use orange liqueur like the recipe called for

It was so much fun making all the food for the party; we spent days preparing for it, and put together an excel spreadsheet with everything that needed to be done. We even forced my bff4l, who was visiting from NY, to help with the mis en place (sorry, Avita!) but we seriously underestimated how much there was to do! And how much food we had left over! It’s been three days since the party and we’re still eating the food.

I also want to share the fun peony petal ice cubes that I made for the champagne bin. I first saw the idea somewhere on facebook, and thought it was absolutely brilliant! It was so easy, and a cheap way to dress up the party. I usually buy flowers for the home on a weekly basis anyway, and would have thrown them out once the petals fall off- so it was a win-win for me. This is definitely going to become my thing anytime we have a party!

photo cred: bff4l 

rosé champagne jello shots || awesome sushi plate is from cb2


 

Feeling Peckish

When I was little I used to get hungry a LOT, and the running joke in my family was that I needed to be fed every hour. At one point, my mum seriously thought I had parasites or some strange stomach virus that caused perpetual hunger. Omg, touch wood I don’t.

Now I would love to tell you that things have since changed and I eat like a regular person… alas, I cannot tell a lie.

My family, friends, and husband (oh! in-laws, too) know all too well that this beast of a stomach cannot be tamed… unless fed! Ha. It is beyond silly when I think about it, but I’ve just come to accept that food will always be a big part of my life, and ain’t nothing wrong with that. Also, it really doesn’t help that growing up in Hong Kong you are surrounded by a culture that, quite literally, lives to eat! A prime example is one of the first things a person asks in polite conversation – “leih sihk jo faahn mei ar?No prizes for guessing what my answer always is!

Anyway, because I am constantly peckish I very much enjoy snacking! These days it’s generally something on the boring healthier side: carrot sticks, sliced fruit, granola bars, etc. but I’m not gonna lie, it’s challenging to find something that will really satiate me.

Dude, when I’m in Hong Kong my snacking is on a whole’nother level… legit, it’s out of control.  Ja Leung, Ga Dan Zai, Yue Dan, Dan-Dan Mein, Calbee Hot & Spicy chips (aka. chili chips, holla!), Vita Lemon Tea, Hello Panda, Pocky, Pretz, Egg Tarts, McWings, that peanut butter waffle thing …ahh, I could literally go on forever. So now you can only imagine my dismay when I moved to the US  and had to say goodbye to all my “friends”…

Hello PandaAll of that changed the day someone introduced me to Super 88!  I must’ve squealed with delight because I had gone two loooong years without anything good to eat, in Providence. Then when I moved to NY, I was smart enough to realize that Chinatown was the place to be. Dim sum restaurants, Hong Kong supermarkets… even street food! It. was. great.

The same goes for living here in Arlington, VA. I quickly Yelped the local Asian grocery and the Indian store (can’t forget about the Haldirams!) so we would be all set. It’s a little bit of a journey to get out there, do your shopping and head back, but it’s totes worth it.

Just like most stories I like to tell, this one ends on a good note! I’m happy to tell you that snack time has been revived, and I’ll even say that it’s better now than ever… with a little bit of this and a little bit of that.