Category Archives: International/Ethnic BIte

Pak Choi Kimchi :Korean Side Dish

Kimchi also spelled kimchee or gimchi, is a traditional fermented Korean Side dish made of vegetables with a variety of seasonings. In traditional preparation, kimchi was stored underground in jars to keep cool during the summer months and unfrozen during the winter months. There are hundreds of varieties of kimchi made from napa cabbage, scallion, radish, or cucumber as a main ingredient. -Excerpt from Wikipedia.

In this recipe I used Pak Choi (or Bok Choi) vegetables. Pak Choi is a type of Chinese cabbage with a smooth, dark green leaf blades. Is it popular in Southern China and Southeast Asia. This savory vegetable is typically used in salad, soup, or stir-fry. I must not forget to mention that the Pak Choi’s I used in making this kimchi are from our garden! 🙂 I consider this recipe as a basic Kimchi recipe.

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Pak Choi Kimchi :Korean Side Dish
Classification: Vegetarian

Good source of: Vitamin A, Vitamin C, fiber, and probiotics

Ingredients:

pak choi – 4 cups (stalks) quarter length cut, 4 cups (leaves) strips cut
garlic cloves – 5 pieces, minced
ginger root – 3 inch size, (about 2 tablespoon when minced)
chili flakes – 1 to 2 teaspoons (you can also use chili pepper powder, or hot pepper paste)
green onions or scallion, – 3 stalks (green onions) or 1 big piece (scallion), quarter length cut
soy sauce – 2 tablespoons
rice vinegar – 2 tablespoons
salt – 2 teaspoons
sugar – 1 tablespoon
sesame seeds, roasted – 2 tablespoons (optional, you can also use ground almond nuts)
honey – 1 tablespoon

Preparation:

1. In a big stainless or glass bowl place cut pak choi. Sprinkle 2 teaspoon salt and mix together. Let it sit for about 30 minutes until leaves are wilted.

2. Add the rest of the ingredients using hands or with mixing spoons. Note: Spicy-ness varies depending on the amount of  chili pepper flakes, hot pepper paste, or hot pepper powder you put. Adjust it according to your level of (heat) tolerance. 🙂

3. Put kimchi mixture in a glass jar (canning jar). Make sure leaves and stalks are packed tightly before pouring the remaining sauce into the jar. Let it sit at room temperature overnight for initial fermentation, then keep refrigerated afterwards.

Enjoy Pak Choi Kimchi as an appetizer, or as a side dish. 🙂

 

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Pak Choi vegetables

 

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pak choi kimchi

 

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Pak Choi Kimchi

 

 

 

Simple Pancit :Filipino Noodle Dish

It is considered as one of the “complete” meals in the Philippines… Because of the combination of noodles (carbohydrates) vegetables and meat (real or fake for protein). Taste and texture can vary depending on how you prepare your Pancit, and the type of noodles you use; fresh or dry. Noodles also come in different shapes, size, length, texture and flavor. Most pancit noodles are made from rice flour, there are other types that are made from bean flour, cornstarch, wheat and buckwheat, to name a few.

The most common type of noodles we use in making the regular pancit is the dry, thin, rice noodles but it is not uncommon to use a combination of different types. While making Pancit dish can be a little tricky, just remember a few simple tips: Do not oversoak the noodles. Cook first the tougher ingredients. Do not overcook vegetables and noodles. Stir gently… And do not be afraid to try again if your first attempt did not turn out the way you wanted it to be! Just have fun and enjoy the Pancit! It’s not that hard to make, not really! 😉

I made this simple Pancit recipe per friend’s request. For related recipe check Pancit using thick noodles.

SIMPLE (Basic) PANCIT RECIPE

Classifacation: Vegetarian, Vegan, with Gluten-free substitute

Good source of carbohydrates, fiber, protein

INGREDIENTS:

rice noodles – one 16 oz (454 g) pack dry noodles
veggie meat – 1 and 1/2 to 2 cups, strips (You may use baked or fried seasoned tofu)
coconut oil – 3 TBspoons
onion – 3/4 cups, diced
garlic – 5 large cloves or 2 TBspoons chopped
cabbage – 1/2 of a medium sized (4 cups, cut in strips)
carrots – 2 cups, strips
green beans – 2 cups
vegetable broth – 4 cup, divided (you can make homemade broth recipe using this seasoning here)
soy sauce – 1/4 cup
country-style seasoning or Chicken-style seasoning – 1 TBspoon
onion powder – 1 teaspoon
garlic powder – 1 teaspoon
mushroom seasoning powder – 1/4 teaspoon (optional)

Note: You can also use frozen mix vegetables for quicker preparation. The fresher the vegetables, the better! You can use other vegetables like snow peas, broccoli, cauliflower, mushrooms, sprouts, chayote, and other veggies of your choice.

PREPARATION:

1. Soak noodles in water for about 5 minutes. If you use warm water do not soak for more than 10 minutes as it can cause your Pancit to be mushy if you use the suggested amount of water (4 cups). Drain and cut into 3-inches length using scissors.

Note: Some noodles you can easily break/cut without using kitchen scissors before soaking in water (like the brand of noodles I use in this recipe).

2. In a big pan or wok, sautee garlic, onions and veggie meat on a medium heat setting. Cook for about 2 minutes, then add soy sauce. Stir, and cook for another minute or so.

3. Add 3 cups of vegetable broth or water. Bring to simmer before adding the noodles. Cover and cook for 5 minutes or so. If you use plain water you may need to increase the amount of your seasoning to enhance flavor.

4. Add green beans and carrots and the rest of the seasoning. Add cabbage about 3 minutes or so later so as not to over cook it. Stir thoroughly and cook until noodles are soft, but not over-cooked. Stir occasionally but gently to prevent noodles from sticking. Use your judgment: Add the last cup of water or broth if the mixture is too dry and the noodles are still tough. If the mixture is too wet don’t add anymore liquid. Add salt to taste.

Note:

Tips: The longer you soak your noodles the less you use broth in cooking. It is important to note that noodles absorbs more flavor when it’s not over-soaked in water.
– As an option, cook vegetables and noodles separately, then combine them before serving.
– Sometimes you can add the noodles first with the broth, (and a little longer) instead of vegetables especially when the noodles are thicker and tough even after soaking.
-It is OK to have firmer texture vegetables than mushy noodles.

Pancit is ready when the noodles are soft and not chewy. Garnish with green onions. Squeeze some fresh lemons for a different flavor. Enjoy!

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Ratatouille :French Vegetable Dish

Ratatouille is a Provencal stewed vegetable dish, originating in Nice, France. There are several ways to make Ratatouille; The layering method where vegetables are cooked separately from the sauce, then place it in a pan and bake it in the oven. Others cook it by combining all the ingredients in a pot, and let it simmer. Another common method is to simply saute all the vegetables together — the method I used in cooking this recipe. My family loves this dish! Try it! 🙂

Classification: Vegan

INGREDIENTS:
T – tablespoon, t – teaspoon, c – cup

2 T coconut oil,
1 c onion, strips
1 small eggplant, diced
4 large garlic cloves, minced
2 medium succini squash, half and inch sliced
2 c mock meat, strips (or any veggie meat)
2 T fresh lemon juice
1 medium red bell pepper, diced
1 medium green bell pepper, diced
3 large tomatoes, diced
1/2 c water
1/4 c fresh parsley (optional, or you may add thyme, marjoram if you want)
1/ t ground pepper (optional)
1/2 t sea salt or more to taste
1/2 t mushroom seasoning powder (no-MSG flavor enhancer)

STEPS:

1. In a pan, saute garlic cloves and onion with coconut oil.
2. Add eggplant, succini and mock meat for about 2 minutes. Add lemon juice. Stir gently.
3. Add peppers and tomatoes. Simmer for another 2 to 3 minutes. Add water 1/2 cup if needed.
4. Make sure the vegetables as not over-cooked. Then mix some fresh parsley.
5. Season with salt, pepper (optional) and mushroom seasoning powder.

Makes about 8 servings! Enjoy as a side dish. Eat with regular rice, rice pilaf or baked potatoes! 🙂

Ratatouille :French Dish

Oven Baked Falafel

One of my husband and I’s favorite Mediterranean food. Will be making this sometime when I get a chance 🙂

artandkitchen

Oven Baked Falafel

Falafel are well known as Arab and Israeli street food. Usually they are deep fried, served in flatbread and topped with chopped vegetables and tahini-sauce. For this lighter version I opted to bake them in the oven and serve on fresh salad from the garden.

You need:

Falafel

o    400 g can chickpeas, rinsed and drained

o    2 garlic cloves, chopped

o    1 small red onion, roughly chopped

o    1 small red pepper, roughly chopped (optional)

o    2 tablespoons parsley

o    1 tablespoon cilantro

o    1 teaspoon baking powder

o    1 teaspoon ground cumin

o    1 teaspoon ground coriander

o    1/2 teaspoon harissa paste or chilli powder

o    1 teaspoon tahini, to taste optional

o    2 tablespoons plain flour or breacrumbs

o    oil

To serve (suggestions)

o    toasted pitta bread

o    tomato salsa

o    yogurt sauce

o    tahini sauce

o    green salad

Procedure:

  1. Place the drained canned chickpeas on a dry tray and pat them dry with kitchen…

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Vegetarian Sushi (Japanese)

Here is another not-so-complicated, international bite that I like… Sushi! Do you like how it looks, and taste, but doesn’t know how to prepare it? All you need is vegetables, Nori wrap and bamboo mat. You can buy Nori and bamboo mat online or at an oriental/Asian store. To give you a little information about Sushi (I paraphrased Wiki’s description); Sushi is a Japanese food consisting of cooked rice with vinegar combined with other ingredients, seafood, vegetables and sometimes tropical fruits. Ingredients and forms of sushi, preparation and presentation varies, but the ingredient which all sushi have in common is rice. Traditional Sushi is often prepared with raw seafood, but some common varieties of sushi use cooked ingredients. Raw fish (or occasionally meat) sliced and served without rice is called ‘sashimi’. It can be prepared with either brown or white rice.

I have yet to try using just brown rice in making sushi. Since brown rice’s texture is harder than white rice, it is always a good idea to put a little more water when cooking it (I know it for sure because I always cook rice, brown, white, and a combination of both most of the times) :-). When I make sushi, I usually use white rice, but this time, I mixed brown and white rice. I like the texture and the outcome of it. I also made a few little tweaks from the common sushi recipe; I did not use rice vinegar, I did not put real fish, I flavored my cooked rice differently, and I put more vegetables (I was going to put more veggies if there was enough room, LOL!) and I made my simple sauce! Are you ready to experiment and enjoy some healthy, Japanese taste?

Classification: Vegan, vegetarian
Good source of: fiber, protein, calcium, iodine, pantothenic acid, vitamins A, B6, B12, C, D, E, K

MATERIAL/S NEEDED:

Bamboo sushi mat


INGREDIENTS:

cooked rice (flavored with salt, dill, kelp, garlic & onion powder)
Nori seaweed sheets
lettuce greens, cut into half horizontally
carrots, sliced thinly
avocado, sliced thinly
celery stalks, sliced thinly
fish-fillet, sliced thinly (you may use baked or fried marinated tofu)

vegetable suggestions: cucumber, spinach, bell peppers

STEPS:

1. Cook brown and white rice in a pan of boiling water, or in a rice cooker. 2 cups white rice = 2 and a half cups water. 2 cups brown = 3 1/2 cups water. Some rice requires more or less water. With 4 cups rice, put about half a teaspoon salt, dill, kelp, onion, garlic powder to taste. Mix it in rice and water as it cooks.

2. When cooked rice has cooled off some. Lay one sheet of nori (shiny-down side) at the center of the bamboo mat, and edge closest to the edge of bamboo mat.
3. Using moist fingers, or spoon and fork, spread a thin layer of rice on the nori sheet and press gently.
4. Arrange vegetables and imitation fish/meat in a line at the bottom of the rice.
5. From the bottom end, lift the end of the mat, and gently roll it over the nori sheet with the fillings, pressing tightly and firmly with bamboo mat.
6. Open the mat, dab unsealed edge of nori with a little bit of water (If the rice is warm, you don’t need water to seal as rice sticks to the nori perfectly). Roll it forward to make a complete roll. Repeat process with the remaining ingredients.
7. Transfer the sushi rolls to a plate and cover with damp paper towel or cloth. (I like my sushi roll warm)
8. Cut each roll into 5 to 6 slices using a wet, sharp knife.

Enjoy as a side dish, appetizer or as a main dish!

Sauce ingredients:

2 tablespoon soy sauce (low sodium)
1 and 1/4 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
3 garlic cloves, minced

Mix all ingredients. Sour taste should overpower the salty taste, by a little bit. You may add more spices to meet your desired taste. Pour a little bit of sauce over a piece of sushi, and savor the flavor! 🙂

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Black Beans (Mexican style)

Many years ago, a Mexican friend of ours gave me and my husband a gift bag. Inside that gift bag was a pack of black beans, some seasonings and a recipe for cooking black beans as one of her wedding gifts to us. We thought that was special because that friend of ours knew how much we like beans 🙂 And yes, as vegetarians, dishes with beans are part of our diet. It’s good and healthy! There are a lot of recipes out there that use beans. It is one of those main ingredients that you can cook in many different ways.

Mexican style of cooking black beans is simple and easy to make. Depending on the amount of ingredients you put in, your black beans can get extra hot and spicy. So if you do not like spicy food, you may want to reduce the amount of hot pepper you put in your cooking. Want to try some Mexican dish without going to a Mexican restaurant? Try this recipe out.

Classification: Vegan
Good source of: protein, fiber, molybdenum, copper, folate, manganese, vitamin B1, phosphorous, magnesium, iron

INGREDIENTS:

16 oz (1 lb or 453 grams, or about 2 cups) uncooked black beans *You may use canned black beans and adjust the amount of the ingredients.
1 TBspoon coconut oil
5 garlic cloves, minced
1 cup onion, diced
1 cup green pepper, diced
3-4 bay leaves (laurel)
1 TBspoon salt or more to taste
1/4 mushroom seasoning powder (optional) *I used it as a flavor enhancer.
2 cups vegetable broth or chicken-style broth as needed
**make instant chicken-style broth by mixing 1 TBspoon country-style vegan seasoning into 2 cups of water

2 TBspoons dried oregano leaves or 1/2 cup fresh finely chopped

1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon cayenne powder or 1 medium size jalapeño pepper
**if oregano is not available, use whatever available spice/s you have

1/2 teaspoon cumin powder (optional)
3 TBspoons lime or lemon juice, or more to taste (optional, if you want it in your taco, burrito or enchiladas)
1/2 cup diced fresh cilantro or green onion as garnish

STEPS:

1. Wash and soak beans for at least 8 hours or overnight. Drain and rinse the next day.
2. Cook beans with just enough amount of water in a crock pot (for overnight cooking) or cook in a regular pot. When the beans are soft, add 1 TBspoon of salt. *Do not add salt when cooking beans as it takes longer for beans to get soft..
3. In a pan, stir-fry garlic, onion, and pepper with coconut oil for about a minute.
4. Add cooked beans, vegetable broth and the rest of the ingredients. Cover, and cook for about 5 minutes.
5. Before serving remove bay leaves. Sprinkle garnish on top.

Serve with plain cooked rice, rice pilaf, baked/cooked potato, taco, burrito, fajita or anything you want to go with it. You may also use
grated cheese or tomato as toppings.

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Black Beans (Mexican Style)

Rice Pilaf (Mediterranean)

What is it with this colorful and tasty rice? This is the Mediterranean style of stir-fried rice. There are a lot of versions to this recipe, some versions cook the rice with the broth and other ingredients, and some calls for baking. One thing I noticed was most of them use white rice. In this recipe instead of using white rice, I used brown and wild rice. One of the common ingredients in making Rice pilaf is Saffron (a spice derived from the flower of Crocus sativus), which to me is an optional ingredient. Some rice pilaf recipes include butter, bay leaves, raisins, curry powder, or pistachios in the recipe, to name a few. And just like in any other cooking, you can experiment as to what kind of ingredients you’d like to add to make the dish more delectable.

I grew up eating rice, so venturing into new ways of cooking rice is always exciting to me. Colored rice such as brown, red, purple and black rice are better for our health. Brown rice contains high fiber, and it helps stabilize blood sugar level, therefore it’s good for those who are diabetic (and also helps prevents diabetes). As for the Rice Pilaf recipe, you can change it up by adding other vegetables of your choice, baked tofu or any veggie meat you like. So instead of it being a side dish, you can eat it as your main meal. 🙂

Classification: Vegan
Good source of Fiber, manganese, selenium, natural oils, anti-oxidants, phosphorous, copper, magnesium, vitamin B3

INGREDIENTS:

2 TBspoons coconut oil
2 TBspoons garlic, minced
3/4 cup onion, chopped
3/4 cup celery stalks, chopped (or any vegetables you like)
1/2 cup red bell pepper, finely diced
1/2 cup green bell pepper, finely diced
3 cups cooked brown rice or 1 cup uncooked brown rice
1 cup cooked wild rice or about 1/3 cup uncooked wild rice
* If brown and wild rice are not available, you may use whatever rice you have available.
1/2 cup green peas
1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley or 1 TBspoon dried parsley flakes (optional)
* you may use green onion in place of parsley.
1/2 teaspoon sea salt or more to taste
a pinch of pepper (optional)

STEPS:

To cook rice:

Cook brown rice and wild rice separately. Rinse first before cooking.
3 cups of brown rice will need about 4-5 cups of water (or vegetable stock). For 1 cup of uncooked wild rice, 1 and 1/2 cup of water (or vegetable stock). If you don’t use a rice cooker, you need to boil the water first before adding rice. Turn the heat down while it is cooking to prevent burning and sticking at the bottom. Follow rice cooking instruction if available on the package.

To cook Rice Pilaf: (the easy way)

1. Sauté garlic, onion and celery with coconut oil for about 2 minutes.
2. Add cooked brown and wild rice, peas, read and green pepper; toss to combine, breaking up any clumps of rice. Cover and cook for about 3 minutes.
3. Season with salt and pepper; add parsley (or green onion) and toss to combine.

Makes about 10 servings. Serve as a side-dish with stir-fry vegetables, tofu steak, estofado, tofu steak with sauce, Mexican black beans or anything you want to go with it.

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