Shio Koji 塩糀

Updated 30th April 2022.

I stumbled upon the world of koji (糀 or 麹) a year ago while I was researching the traditional method of soy sauce making. One thing led to another and here I am 10 months later an avid fan of shio koji. While my dream of making traditional fermented soy sauce is on a halt, I am learning to make other Japanese fermented food that utilizes koji. Shio koji is one of the easiest fermented food you can make at home.

Shio Koji 塩糀 (Salt Koji)
Shio koji 塩糀 is ❤️❤️❤️

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Cookies, French

Christmas Sablés – Sablés De Noël

Christmas sablés or sablés de Noël are traditional Christmas cookies from the Alsace region in France. These Christmas sablés come in the shapes of angels, stars, snowflakes, Christmas trees, snowmen, etc. They can be tied to the Christmas tree as decoration by making a hole on the cookie pre-bake using the end of the chopstick and string with ribbon later. This is a wonderful holiday project for the family to gather, bake together and decorate the Christmas tree. 🎄

Thes Christmas sablé is unlike any I’ve tried. It’s rich and savory thanks to the use of some ground almond. Definitely feels like a piece of heaven as Jacquy Pfeiffer (pastry chef & for which this recipe is adapted from) mom’s experienced when she was little.

Christmas Sablés - Sablés De Noël
Christmas sablés or sablés de Noël ready to be gobbled up. 🤤❄️☃️❤️🎄🎅🤤
In fact I already did.

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Jatjuk – Pine Nut Porridge

One fine day, I came across jatjuk 잣죽 at Maangchi’s website. What else? I quickly added it to my to-try list. Jatjuk 잣죽 means pine nut porridge. Jat 잣 is pine nut while juk 죽 is porridge. And yes, porridge in Cantonese is chuk/juk. It immediately got me wondering about its taste (combination of pine nuts & rice is new to me). Hmm… 🤔 What kind of experience will it evoke? Are you curious too? Keep on reading.

Jatjuk 잣죽 - Pine Nut Porridge
Jatjuk 잣죽 or pine nut porridge is comfort food. It’ll warm you inside out.

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Baesuk – Korean Steamed Pear

A couple of years ago, I made baesuk 배숙 to help clear an oncoming cold. Safe to said that I was as healthy as a pear 🍐 after that. This amazing steamed concoction has been in my mind ever since then. I never make it again until now that is and I can assure you I will be making it more frequently. Baesuk 배숙 is not only eaten for curing a cold but a wonderful dessert as well.

According to Maangchi, baesuk 배숙 has two types; steamed whole pear and cooked pair punch. Obviously, in this recipe case, 배숙 is referring to steamed whole pear. 배 is pear and 숙 suk means cooked. Baesuk is also known as baejjim 배찜 whereby 찜 jjim means steamed.

Baesuk 배숙 - Korean Steamed Pear
Baesuk 배숙 is 짱 jjang! 👍 Must try yo.

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Chinese, Side Dish

Stir-Fried Green Dragon Vegetables With Prawns & White Crab Mushrooms

Have you heard of green dragon vegetables before? I’ve never heard of this vegetable, not until perhaps over a decade ago when it makes its appearance at the wet markets, supermarkets and Chinese restaurants. Green dragon vegetable is a direct literal translation of 青龍菜. It is called qing long cai in Mandarin and cheng loong choy in Cantonese. From what I’d gathered around the internet, green dragon vegetables (and yellow chives) are actually Chinese chives but grown using different techniques. Chinese chives, also known as garlic chives or 韭菜 or jiu cai (Mandarin) or gau choy (Cantonese) or ku chai (Hokkien) has flat green leaves.

The technique of growing green dragon vegetables actually borrows from yellow chives [韭黃 or jiu huang (Mandarin) or gau wong (Cantonese)]. To produce yellow chives (flat yellowish-whitish leaves due to lack of chlorophyll), the Chinese chives are covered totally without any sunlight. To grow Chinese chives into green dragon vegetables which have flat light green leaves, the chives are covered with thick nets to limit the sunlight. As a result of limiting the sunlight, the green dragon vegetable has fewer fibers, is tenderer and is very mild. It has its own distinctive fragrance when cooked.

I very very rarely cook green dragon vegetables even though I love them. Whenever I saw them at the market or supermarket, my mind will go into this stingy state which resulted in me not buying any in the end. How stingy? This stingy: “Aiyo, it’s expensive. Skip” or “RM5+ for so few strands/one vegetable? Why not spend the RM5+ on two/three different vegetables instead.” Well, recently I decided to spend more on good things that I like. But what do you know? A few weeks back, I found green dragon vegetables at Tesco (now Lotus’s) selling at RM2.99 @ 100g. Whooooo, win!

This dish is a result of it.

Stir-Fried Green Dragon Vegetables With Prawns & White Crab Mushrooms
Stir-fried green dragon vegetables with prawns & white crab mushrooms is amazing. Give it a try!

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