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Easy Korean Beef and Broccoli with Garlic Pickled Cucumber

This Korean Beef and Broccoli is my new savoury favourite – the juicy beef mince takes on the perfect blend of sweet, salty and spicy and goes so well with a bowl of rice! It takes the simplest Asian cooking approach and has the aroma from garlic, ginger and spring onions. If that doesn’t sound good enough yet, let me tell you it uses the simplest ingredients (mostly staple) and takes only 15 mins to whip up as a super quick dinner! If you like simple Asian dishes like this, do check out my most popular Japanese Salmon Fried Rice.

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Korean Beef and Broccoli Rice Bowl

Born and raised in Hong Kong, I was lucky enough to try cuisines from all over the world easily in the “Food Paradise”. Korean is one of my favourite Asian cuisines as I realised that their savoury dishes tend to lean towards the sweet side, which definitely hits the spot for me. The sauce for this Korean Beef and Broccoli is intense and packed with flavours. I modified the recipe so that it is well-balanced that the sweetness, and saltiness and spiciness can work together without being overpowering. Spoon the sauce over your fragrant, fluffy rice and I guarantee you will keep coming back for more because the sauce is THAT good. To keep the beef tender and soft, try to just cook the beef just enough in the saucepan to let it absorb the goodness of the sauce without being overcooked.

Korean Beef and Broccoli Rice Bowl

Korean Beef and Broccoli Rice Bowl

Chilli Garlic Pickled Cucumber

To pair the main dish, I made a garlic chilli pickled cucumber salad that is THE perfect side dish – it is so refreshing that it got the right kick from the garlic and chilli but still cuts through the intensity of the meat. This side dish is usually available in traditional Chinese restaurants but I thought it’s a good fusion idea. All you have to do is to mix all the ingredients to make the sauce and coat your cucumber well with it. It is best to prepare this dish the night before to let the flavours sink in. I hope you will enjoy this easy recipe. Please let me know your thoughts! Cheers.

Ingredients:

Korean Beef

  • 1 kg regular beef mince
  • 3 garlic colves, minced
  • 1 tbsp ginger, minced
  • 1/3 cup soy sauce
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1 tbsp sesame oil
  • 1/2 cup light brown sugar
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper
  • 1 tsp dried chili flakes
  • 1 – 1.5 spring onion, thinly sliced
  • Sesame seeds, for garnishes

1 Broccoli Floret, cut into pieces

Garlic Chilli Pickled Cucumber 

  • 1 cucumber, cut into pieces
  • 2 tbsp Laoganma Chilli Sauce (you can substitute with other brand’s chilli sauce found in asian groceries store if not available) 
  • 2 tbsp chilli oil
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2 tbsp soy sauce
  • 1 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
  • 2 tbsp sesame oil

Instructions:

Korean Beef with Broccoli

  1. In a small bowl, mix soy sauce, water, sesame oil, light brown sugar, black pepper, dried chilli flakes. Set aside.
  2. Wash and cut the broccoli into pieces. Prepare a pot of hot water with 1 tsp of salt to cook the broccoli.
  3. In a large sauce pan, heat up 3 tbsp of oil on medium high heat and cook ginger and garlic until fragrant. Around 2 mins. Be careful not to burn the garlic.
  4. Turn the stove to high heat, add the beef mince in one go and continuously break the meat down with your spatular or wooden spoon while cooking.
  5. Add in the pre-mixed sauce and bring to boil. Turn the stove to medium heat and simmer for 2 mins.
  6. Now it’s the time to cook the broccoli. Boil the broccoli pieces in the prepared hot water for around 3-4 mins, depending on your preferences. I like to reserve the crunchiness of vegetables. Drain and set aside to serve.
  7. Add in spring onions and sesame seeds to the beef before serving.

Garlic Chilli Pickled Cucumber 

1. Mix all ingredients together and refrigerate for at least 30 mins, preferably overnight.

Korean Beef and Broccoli Rice Bowl

Korean Beef and Broccoli Rice Bowl

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Greek-Inspired Halloumi Lamb Sausage Tomato Stew

This hearty, greek-inspired halloumi lamb sausage tomato stew beautifully combines all the familiar greek cuisines flavours – lamb, halloumi, olives, oregano – and it is possibly the best dinner recipe to warm your body (AND SOUL) on a cold night. Cook the sauce in a pan and finish it off in the oven – EASY. The best part of this stew? It definitely is the golden brown, crispy halloumi that tastes divine when perfectly grilled. 

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This recipe was inspired by the Sausage Halloumi Bake by Lucy Loves.  The moment I saw the recipe my mind already went crazy thinking about how good it would taste. If you know me well, you’d know that Greek food is my favourite cuisine and lamb is my favourite meat type at all times, so yeah, I’d kill for a souvlaki lamb wrap right now. Anyway, I wrote this recipe with the three main ingredients in mind – lamb sausage, halloumi and tomato – and I added some twists to it. I always like working with red sauce because it simply never goes wrong; so flavourful and nutritious at the same time. To accentuate the mediterranean theme and to give a little sweetness for taste balance, I added some dried oregano and olives to the sauce as well. 

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You can basically do anything with this stew – eat it on its own, mix it with pasta, or dip it in bread etc. And of course, feel free to use your own imagination and creativity to make changes to the recipe – play with the sausage type and throw in whatever ingredients you like to make it your own best stew. I promise you that you’re going to love it! And again, thanks for reading my blog and have a good weekend! 

Ingredients:

  • 500g lamb sausage, cut into small pieces
  • 200g Halloumi, sliced
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 2 garlic cloves, choped  
  • 3 tomato, diced
  • ¼ cup tomato paste
  • 1 tsp balsamic vinegar
  • ¼ cup pitted green olives
  • 1 tsp dried oregano
  • 2 tsp raw sugar (you can adjust the amount of sugar to your taste)
  • 1/2 cup water (optional, if the sauce becomes too dry)
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Handful of baby spinach
  • Fresh basil leaves to garnish

Instructions:

  1. Preheat your oven to 180C.
  2. In a large sauce pan, heat olive oil over medium heat. Add sausages and cook until golden brown (they don’t have to be fully cooked as they will continue cooking in the oven). Take them out and set aside.
  3. In the same pan, add onions and saute until translucent, about 3-4 mins. Add garlic and cook for another 1 minute (be careful not to burn the garlics). Add tomatoes, tomato paste, sugar, olives, and dried oregano. Cook for about 3 mins until tomato starts to release juice. Add ½ cup of water if the sauce becomes too dry. Add baby spinach and stir and let it wilt. Reduce heat to low, add sausages back to the pan and let it simmer for about 2 minutes. Add salt and pepper to taste.
  4. Transfer the stew mixture to a baking dish, evenly put the halloumi cheese slices on top. Grill for 15 mins until golden brown.
  5. Garnish with fresh basil leaves. Serve immediately.

Yum




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Creamy Avocado Pesto Pasta with Crispy Prosciutto




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This avocado pesto pasta with crispy prosciutto is super creamy, delicious, and full of nutritional values; basically, the addition of avocado takes the pesto game to a whole new level.

This avocado pesto pasta with crispy prosciutto is super creamy, delicious, and full of nutritional values; basically, the addition of avocado takes the pesto game to a whole new level. The buttery, sweet taste of avocado goes incredibly well with the salty parmesan cheese, and of course, a generous amount of basil leaves would freshen up the overall taste. I made this pasta a while ago but never got the chance to photography it properly. Luckily, this Sunday afternoon, I got my own personal space without school and work and simply enjoyed playing with food in the kitchen (although my peace of mind got disrupted when I accidentally broke my wok’s lid and all the all the glass shattered into a million of pieces..). Oh well.



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When it comes to savoury, I am all about taste and efficiency, and this pasta dish is no exception. To make the avocado pesto sauce, all you have to do is blend all the ingredients in a food processor until it reaches the consistency you want. I personally wouldn’t go too far on that, because I want to have some texture left to bite on. Toss the sauce with the cooked pasta and you are good to go. To give my pasta little bit of crunch, I also made some crispy prosciutto that complements well with the sauce. Yeap, that’s pretty much it. So if you’re quick, this pasta can be done in 15 mins. Try this recipe and let me know about your thoughts! 🙂 Thanks for reading.

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Ingredients:

  • 2 servings of bowtie pasta

Toppings

  • a few pieces of prosciutto
  • Fresh basil leaves to garnish

Pesto

  • 1 avocado
  • 1/2 lemon, juice of
  • 1 garlic cloves
  • 1/3 cup parmesan cheese
  • 1/3 cup toasted pine nut
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • salt and pepper to taste

Instructions:

  1. Cook the pasta in salted boiling water according to package instruction. Reserve some pasta water. Drain and set aside.
  2. While the pasta is cooking, cook the prosciutto in a sauce pan on medium-high heat until fragrant and crispy. Set aside.
  3. Meanwhile, put all the pesto ingredients (except salt and pepper) in a food processor or blender. Blend until generally smooth (you can retain some texture if you want). Season with salt and pepper to taste.
  4. Toss the cooked pasta with the sauce in the sauce pan. If the sauce is too thick, thin it out by adding some reserved pasta water. Serve immediately with the crispy prosciutto and some fresh basil leaves.

Yum




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Sundried-tomato Basil Sausage Pasta in White Wine Cream Sauce




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This sundried-tomato basil sausage pasta in white wine cream sauce is deliciously creamy, cheesy, and full of the beloved Italian flavours – I guarantee you that it’s gonna be your new favourite pasta recipe! The flavours of basil, mozzarella, and sun-dried tomatoes marry perfectly together as you can imagine, and the indulgent meaty white wine cream sauce  is just spot on. And what is the best part of all these? This pasta recipe literally takes minimum effort to make – start to finish 20 mins – so it could save your life in one of those tiring days.

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I made this pasta a couple days ago as my lunch before I headed to school, which means that I had to cook something as simple as possible. I don’t know about you, but I am the kind of person who feels on top of the world when a recipe idea pops up in my mind and realise I have all the ingredients I need. BEST FEELING EVER. But now things got reversed – as I am living on my own now, I always try to finish everything in my fridge to minimise wastage; that said, I come up with my recipe with the ingredients I got in hand. Surprising, cooking spontaneously gives me a sense of satisfaction and achievement that I didn’t experience before, and it definitely improves my cooking skills and creativity. So, I guess  I should be thankful about living on a budge ey.

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Try this easy recipe out and I hope you will like it!

Ingredients:

  • 200g pasta of your choice
  • 2 sausages of your choice,cut into small pieces
  • 3 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 1 onions, diced
  • 1 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • 1/2 cup white wine
  • 1/4 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
  • 1/4 cup sundried tomato strips
  • 1 cup fresh basil leaves, washed and drained  
  • 1/4 tsp paprika
  • 1/4 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp dried basil leaves
  • salt and pepper to taste

Instructions:

  1. Bring a large pot of salted water to boil. Add pasta and cook for time per packet 2 mins less than the required time (as the pasta will continue cooking when you cook it with the sauce).
  2. Reserve 1/4 cup of pasta cooking water, then drain the pasta for laster use.
  3. Meanwhile, in a pan, sauté the sausages on medium-high heat until golden brown and the sausage’s fat comes out. Keep the fat in the pan.
  4. Turn the heat to medium. Add onions and garlic. Cook for 3-4 mins until onions become translucent.
  5. Add cream, and white wine, sun dried tomatoes and mozzarella cheese. Stir to help the cheese melt, let it simmer for 2 minutes until it reduces slightly.
  6. Add basil leaves, paprika, garlic powder, dried basil leaves. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
  7. Add pasta and toss gently in the sauce for about 1-2 mins. Evenly coat the pasta with the sauce as it thickens. If the sauce gets too thick, add a little reserve pasta water. Enjoy!

Yum




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Japanese Salmon Fried Rice




Happy Mother’s Day!



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With the aroma of spring onions, garlic and ginger, this salmon fried rice is packed with Asian flavours and it is so flavourful, delicious, and deeply satisfying as a quick-mix meal. Also, it uses minimal ingredients and takes little time to make – excluding the time to cook rice, it takes literally less than 30 mins to finish. Funny enough, this Japanese Salmon Fried Rice was made because I overcooked my salmon fillets one night; just before I surrendered and decided to eat the salmon anyway, my body refused and the idea of breaking the salmon into small pieces to make fried rice popped up. That’s when magic happened.  

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I came up with this recipe taking reference from Just One Cook Book. People usually say it’s best to use leftover rice to make fried rice so that all the grains can remain separated. However, let’s face it – sometimes making fried rice is a last-min decision just because WE CRAVE FRIED RICE AND WE WANT IT TODAY. If that’s the case, you can simply reduce the amount of water used to cook rice ( 85% water :  100% rice) and quickly pop them in the refrigerator while you prepare the rest of ingredients.



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To me, the essence of the seasoning of this fried rice has to be sesame oil. Confession: I love adding sesame oil whenever I make Asian dishes, because its strong nutty taste enriches and brings out all the flavours of the dish. Also, I’d recommend using tamari soy sauce as it comes with a stronger taste and aroma.

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If you are an international student like me who loves food, you’d understand how essential it is to do meal prep cost-effectively without sacrificing taste. In Australia, a pack of salmon fillet costs me approximately AUD13. Yes, compared to other meat types like chicken, salmon still remains a luxurious option. But when you think about it, this salmon fried rice can possibly be splitted into 4-5 portions to freeze, so budget-wise it’s not too bad at all :). Thanks for reading and have a great week ahead!

Ingredients :

  • 3 cup cooked rice
  • 460g salmon fillet
    • Marinade: 1 tbsp honey, 1 tbsp soy sauce, 1 tsp rice wine vinegar, salt and pepper)  
  • 4 eggs, beaten
  • 2 spring onions, thinly sliced  
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 inch ginger, minced
  • 2 tbsp sesame oil
  • 1 tbsp soy sauce
  • salt
  • black pepper
  • white pepper

Instructions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 180C and line the baking pan with aluminum foil. Prepare the marinade and coat the salmon fillets evenly with it. Place the salmon on the foil and loosely wrap it to prevent it from drying out in the oven. Bake for 15-20 mins until cooked through. Let cool and break the salmon into small pieces for later use.
  2. While the salmon is cooking, add 1 tbsp of oil to the wok and heat the wok over medium high heat. When the wok is hot, add the eggs and mix with a spatula until the eggs are almost cooked. Take the eggs out and set aside.
  3. Add another tbsp oil to the wok, add spring onions, ginger, and garlic. Stir-fry until they’re nicely coated with oil and you can smell their aroma.
  4. Add the rice and break the chunk of rice with your spatula. Stir fry until the rice is nicely separated and well mixed.
  5. Add the prepared eggs and salmon pieces to the rice and break them into smaller pieces as you continue to stir fry.
  6. Season the fried rice with sesame oil, soy sauce, white pepper, black pepper and salt. Enjoy while it’s hot.






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First Week of LCB, Sydney (ft. Sun dried tomato, olive, caper pasta)




SO, I’ve officially embarked on my baking journey and I just had my the first week of studying at LCB, Sydney as a patisserie student. How exciting! Honestly, I hadn’t experienced such a hectic schedule since I graduated from uni. It was quite an overwhelming week during which I was poured with tons of new information that I literally walked home like a zombie every day (especially with all the tools I had to carry). The long school hours was out of my expectations too – 7:30 or 8:30am to 6pm – but luckily I can feel that my biological clock is slowly adjusting to this new lifestyle, because I start to wake up by 9am no matter what.

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On the plus side, I feel blessed that now I get to be surrounded with amazing, knowledgeable chefs and classmates of common interests the moment I enter the campus. This week, we were taught to make several basic French desserts, namely scones, friand, pound cake, victoria sponge cake. I must confess that I also struggled a bit with making these “relatively easy” cakes because I predictably got nervous and disorientated working in a new kitchen. The photos I took of them don’t look nice enough (without my proper camera), so please pardon me that I don’t show my works here yet haha. But I promise that I will show you guys my bakes made in LCB kitchen later.

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Funny enough, for the past few weeks, I’ve been cooking more savory than sweet at home as I have to feed my own tummy. So I decided to share with you my favourite pasta recipe – it’s so easy, nutritious, and bursting with flavours that I’d make it every time I crave pasta for a quick dinner. I am in love with this pasta dish for its flexibility, for I consider it the base that I can feel free to twist around based on the ingredients available at home. For examples, sometimes I’d also add mushroom or tuna to the dish when I feel like it. Therefore, be as creative with this simple recipe as you can, and surprise yourself with the result!

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Ingredients (serve 2):

  • 200g spaghetti (or other pasta)
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 medium sized onion, diced
  • 1 medium sized tomato, diced
  • 2 tbsp sun dried tomato, sliced into strips
  • 2 tbsp tomato paste
  • 1 tbsp raw sugar
  • 1 tsp dried italian herbs
  • a handful of olives , each cut in half
  • 1 tbsp capers
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Fresh parsley, for garnish
  • Toasted Pine nut, for garnish

Instructions:

  1. In a large pot of boiling salted water, cook pasta according to package instructions until al dente, about 13 minutes. Drain and set aside.
  2. Meanwhile, in a pan, heat olive oil over medium heat. Add onions and saute until translucent, about 4-5 mins. Add garlic and cook for another 1 minute (be careful not to burn the garlics). Add tomatoes, sun-dried tomatoes, tomato paste, and sugar, and dried herbs. Reduce heat to low, and let it simmer for about 5 minutes.
  3. Add the cooked pasta, olives, capers and toss well to combine. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Garnish with fresh parsley leaves and pine nuts. Serve immediately.

Yum




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Chinkiang Vinegar Sweet and Sour Spare Ribs (鎮江糖醋排)




TIME FOR SAVORY! I know, I know, I’ve been sharing dessert recipes to the point that my life appeared to consist of nothing but sugar and butter (aka a standard baker’s life). Well, I do cook as well. So if you’re looking for an easy Chinese dinner recipe for a family feast, you found the right place.

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The reason why I finally decided to post a savory dish on my blog is that it means something more than just one of my favourite chinese dishes. It is a dish that represents the start of my true cooking journey. This dish was among the very first dishes I made on my own for a purpose: international dinner, a “tradition” that everyone had to follow in our shared student apartment to showcase our own home cuisines way back during my exchange. I had panicked so much due to my lack of cooking experiences at the time (I tried to look up as many Chinese/HK recipes as I could online and I felt as f lots of my brains cells died in the process haha). But, phew, I did a pretty good job in the end and my friends were all impressed! Many had asked me why I became so passionate about cooking, and now you know why.

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Back to the actual food. To me, hands down, the thing that I like the most about Chinese cooking is its extensive use of “Sweet & Sour” – I know you feel it too, it is truly addictive. The proof is its popularity in the Chinese take-outs in foreign countries. Honestly, as someone who was born and raised in Hong Kong, I still can’t resist ordering sweet and sour pork every single time I dine in a Chinese restaurant.

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Regarding the dish, please don’t worry about the sauce being overly sour, because the sourness of the Chinkiang (or Zhenjiang) vinegar will be nicely balanced by the sweetness of sugar to become the yummiest sauce ever. Just prepare yourself a bowl of rice to have with it and you’re so good to go. I made this for my family and fingers crossed that they’ll like it. Enjoy!

Ingredients:

  • 2 pork ribs, each cut into 3 pieces
    • Marinade:
      • 2 tbsp corn flour
      • 2 tbsp light soy sauce
      • 1/2 tsp white pepper
  • 1 small ginger piece, cut into thin slices
  • 4 garlic cloves, cut into thin slices
  • 2 shallots, cut into thin slices
  • 1 large onion (or 2 small onions), cut into small chunks
  • 1 1/2  tbsp Shaoxing cooking wine
  • 1 tbsp dark soy sauce
  • 1 tbsp raw sugar
  • 3/4 cup (180ml) Chinkiang  vinegar  
  • 1/4 cup (60ml) water
  • 1 rock sugar (but if you don’t have it, use 4 tbsp raw sugar instead)
  • some roasted white sesame seeds

Instructions:

  1. Wash the spare ribs under running water, drain and dry well with kitchen towel.
  2. Cut each spare rib into 3 sections
  3. Marinade the spare ribs with corn flour, light soy sauce and white pepper for at least an hour.  
  4. Heat your pan with medium high heat. Add in spare ribs, cook each side for 2 mins until golden brown.
  5. Add in gingers, garlic, and shallots, stir well and sauté until they become fragrant.
  6. Add Shaoxing cooking wine, dark soy sauce, and sugar, stir well.
  7. Add Chinkiang vinegar, water, and sugar, stir well.
  8. Bring to boil, braise over low heat for 30-45 mins until ribs become tender and sauce thickens.
  9. When served, sprinkle roasted white sesame seeds on top.
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Pumpkin ginger soup with pumpkin slice
Creamy Pumpkin Ginger Soup in Le Creuset PotI love pumpkin, it’s sweet, bright in colour, and appetising too. Its inherent sweetness and creaminess make the perfect centre point for any take of a heart-warming soup. With many kinds of veggies blended together, this particular pumpkin soup recipe is naturally nourishing for your body, and soothing for the soul. Best of all, even if you dig into it you won’t feel that you’re eating anything heavy at all.  

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