Archive | Asian dish

Chili Con Coco Loco | Asian Style Beef Chili with Garlic Fried Rice

And so it is, the first month of the year is almost over. The newness of 2011 has worn out and although the thrill ride of the holidays is definitely tucked beneath shadows of gift wrappers past, I couldn’t be more excited to finally let you know what’s been cooking up in my kitchen! Casey, the talented force behind Kitchen Play, organizes monthly events that bring bloggers and PR professionals together — in the name of food and all things food-related. Several weeks ago she informed me there will be an all-Canadian Kitchen Play eventand would I want to join? Uhm, yes!

I was curious to find out which company or organization we will be working with and what “secret ingredient” participants will be asked to use for the recipes. My anxiousness beefed up (hah!) while I waited for more details from Casey. A few days later, she revealed that we would be sponsored by no other than the Canadian Beef ( Smile.

Would you like to “play” along with us in the kitchen?

Try any recipe for this month’s Kitchen Play — go crazy and put your own twist!– for a chance to win $100 from Canadian Beef. So what are you waiting for?
(Please refer to the complete contest rules.)

I love beef. I love my steaks. Ribs. Even offal. My assignment was to create an original entree recipe using, yes, beef! Wheels started turning and one of my initial recipes consisted of tender cuts, but quite expensive. After testing it,  I realized that won’t fly on a regular weekday meal; not even on a weekend. The truth is, I would have filet mignon with salt and pepper cooked medium rare with some sizzling butter and sauteed mushrooms on a regular basis . I’ll also take grilled wine-marinated top blade steaks. Given a good quality piece of meat, I will just let its amazing flavor and texture dazzle me. However, this is not the time to go down the beaten path and there is definitely more to beef than grilling steaks! I wanted to create something that’s different from the norm, but still hopefully a dish that everyone can enjoy.

Heather (Travis), the Beef Information Center‘s director of Public Relations, told me that they are open to any and all ideas. I like that. If you know me, I will go there. After experimenting with one idea after another, and eating one mistake after another (yes, I end up with disappointing meals, too!), I took several deep breaths… Beef is hearty. It’s filling. When done right, it makes a world of difference between blah meat and a cleaned out plate that begs for more. I wanted that feeling from my dish. It’s odd how recipes start out in my head. For this main course, the goal was to get that feeling of eating something so good you sit back and unconsciously rub your belly out of happiness and satisfaction. Plus, it’s winter, so I was looking for that element of heat. Soup. Spice. To keep the cold away.

I decided on some chili. But what can I do to it? I sure love the different textures when I make it with ground meat and chunks to chew on, and the heartiness a good chili brings. However, given my Asian roots and upbringing, I still admittedly look for flavors of home: coconuts, coconut milk, lime (in the Philippines we have a citrus called calamansi)…

So. What if?

This isn't your usual chili.

What if, with careful manipulation of the ingredients, I can make this North American favorite with an Asian twist? Do I go there? Do I dare put coconut milk in my chili? Yes, yes yes!

Beef goes really well with coconut milk, which goes hand in hand with chili. How about a double kick from chipotle chili and sriracha? The flavor is full, but I didn’t like the taste to lose its novelty, so let’s add a burst of freshness from cilantro.

A spritz of lime.

Finish it off with warm garlic rice. I would go so far as to eat it with coconut garlic rice. Wow.

Rinse, repeat.

Was that a Chili con Coco? Chili con Coco Loco?

A creamy and refreshing hearty chili. Who knew?

Ooh, and what is that something else you taste? You can’t really figure it out, but it’s there.  You’ll just have to scroll down and check the recipe! There are a couple of things you might not expect in this chili, but trust me, they make it so good. :-)

As I sit back and relax, and enjoy a full belly of chili goodness, I hope you’ll try it. It’s now my new favorite chili.

Thank you again to our sponsor, Canadian Beef, and Kitchen Play for letting us “play” in the kitchen to bring you new ways to enjoy beef in your meals. And don’t forget, you can join us for this month’s event by cooking along for a chance to win $10o from Canadian Beef!

   Get the recipe for Asian Style Beef Chili with Garlic Fried Rice

Posted in Asian dish, beef, events, original Gourmeted recipe12 Comments

Pan-Fried Eggplant with Lemon-Soy Sauce Dip

Hmm…so much for Fuss-Free Fridays! How about Too Lazy Tuesdays? Hahaha.

I used to be a picky eater as a young child. It’s not that I won’t eat vegetables or that I will only eat burgers (McDonald’s burgers were actually a rare treat because it wasn’t a place we .). The thing is, when I likes something in particular, could you just please cook it for me everyday until I tire of it? I had a lot of phases: fried chicken, corned beef, Mah-Ling, Spam, tomatoes, green beans, peas, broad bean, mung beans, etc. My blood was also half soy sauce and calamansi juice because I will dip almost anything in that sauce. Take for example, one of my favorite Filipino dish,  Pritong Talong (PREE-tong Ta-LONG; talong = eggplant; prito = fried). It’s as simple as what the name suggests: Fried. Eggplant. No salt. No pepper. Just wash, cut, and fry in oil.

Our Philippine eggplants are long and slender, similar to the Chinese and Japanese ones, and they’re cut in half lengthwise and crosswise, leaving you four pieces per eggplant. You can also use the much plumper variety, American globe, for frying, just cut them across, about a third of an inch in thickness.

Now depending on who’s cooking, it can be very oily, and that’s one thing I avoid. The older I get, the more naturally averse I am to oily food. What I do instead is to fry them in little oil and then steam by adding a small amount of water, just like when you cook potstickers.

The Method: Put enough vegetable oil on a frying pan, just enough to coat it. Heat on medium. Place eggplant slices (about 1/3 of an inch thick) sliced side down and cook until it it begins to turn brown on the edges. Flip to the other side, and wait until the edge starts to brown. And then quickly add about a tablespoon of water per slice of eggplant in the pan and quickly cover the pan until all the water evaporated. Transfer eggplants onto a plate. Coat pan with oil with every batch of eggplants cooked.

The sauce is just soy sauce with calamansi juice, lemon or lime juice. The salty and tangy sauce with the slightly sweet eggplant is a match made in heaven. Filipinos are huge rice eaters, and the fried eggplant is one of rice’s concubines. Give me plain steamed rice with fried eggplants for breakfast and I’ll be happy. Unless you make me some Tortang Talong (Eggplant Omelette), which I also love. I’ll be posting about that soon!

What about you — How do you cook your eggplants?

Posted in Asian dish, Filipino dishes, fried, healthier choices, vegetables, vegetarian6 Comments

Pork Cutlets with Rutabagas & Green Peppers in Coconut Milk

In the course of my adventurous summer with food, when I tried ingredients I’ve never eaten or cooked before, I picked up a rutabaga. Also called swede, yellow turnip, or wax turnip, it is part smooth, part rough/hairy/bumpy, hard and so foreign to me. I laughed when I got home because I absolutely had no idea what it tasted like. I just assumed it can be boiled. Peeling it revealed what looks like a raw sweet yellow potato flesh. Trying to cut into it tested my patience. Be very careful when slicing it raw. Save your hands and fingers. They are tough little buggers that could roll off your cutting board and kitchen counter if you don’t hang on to them.

Ever since I got it, I can only think of cooking it with coconut milk.  No idea why, it just sounded delicious at the time. Then someone from Twitter asked me if I use turmeric in my cooking, and I replied ‘No’, so the next day I decided to remedy that and added the ginger-family spice. It made the rutabaga in this recipe even yellower. In Medieval Europe, turmeric was known as “Indian Saffron” due to its wide use as an alternative to the pricier saffron, and it is a significant ingredient in commercial curry powders, thus the resulting taste and color of a curry dish:

Pork Cutlets with Rutabagas & Green Peppers in Coconut Milk

It was just the right blend of subtle flavors, without overpowering the rutabagas. Biting into each chunk of rutabaga feels like biting into a vegetable that is a cross between a turnip and squash, without the latter’s mushiness but a hint of its taste. I love that it holds its shape without easily disintegrating when cooked. The peppers were a nice complement to the rutabaga and coconut milk, and the turmeric added just enough character to the taste of the dish. Having this for dinner one quiet, dreary evening brought a smile to my face. I just love it when my food experimentation works out. Mmmmm….

Pork Cutlets with Rutabagas & Green Peppers in Coconut Milk

Ingredients (serves two)Download the print-ready PDF recipe

  • 1/2 lb tenderized pork loin cutlets
  • 1 rutabaga, peeled and cut into 1- to 1.5-inch chunks
  • 1/2 small yellow onion, sliced
  • 1 clove garlic, peeled and chopped
  • 1/2 cup coconut milk
  • 1/2 green bell pepper, sliced
  • 1/8 tsp ground turmeric
  • sea salt
  • fresh ground pepper
  • canola oil
  • coconut oil


1.    In boiling water with a pinch of salt, cook the chunks of rutabaga until tender; about 25 to 30 minutes in medium heat. Strain and set aside.

2.    Heat a large frying pan, with about 1/2-tablespoon canola oil, in medium-to-high heat. Once the oil is hot, cook each side of the pork cutlet till golden brown (not burnt), about 3 to 4 minutes each side.

3.    Lower the heat to medium and add 1/2-teaspoon coconut oil. Saute the onion slices for a few minutes until they become transparent, and then add the chopped garlic and bell pepper slices. Cook for a couple more minutes before adding the rutabaga chunks. Fry until the edges of the rutabaga begin to brown.

4.    Pour coconut milk, turmeric, and a pinch of salt. Stir and wait for it to boil before adding more salt and fresh ground pepper to taste.

Serve over the pork cutlets and enjoy with steamed rice.

Posted in Asian dish, experiments, healthier choices, main dishes, original Gourmeted recipe, pork, vegetables16 Comments

Fry-Baked Tilapia

I forgot to mention that this is part of my efforts to “Eat Down The Fridge“, which simply means that I try to finish the food that I already have in the fridge and pantry before moving on to buying more. You know how we sometimes just accumulate food? Well, that’s the point of this experiment with Kim O’Donnel of The Washington Post’s A Mighty Appetite.

As a child, my absolute favorite food aside from fried chicken, was fried tilapia. I sure loved my fried stuff. When I didn’t know what to eat or our maids didn’t know what to feed me, they’d cook this because it’s sure to make me eat a lot. See, when I was younger than ten years old, I was so skinny and underweight. It wasn’t that I didn’t eat. I just need to eat more.

Everyone had their own theory as to why I was not gaining weight. My favorite and most remembered was my grandmother’s (mom’s mom) hypothesis that all the nutrients were going to my then very long hair. Ha ha.

Honestly, if I was served fried chicken and fried tilapia, I would just continue to eat until I was fat. Unfortunately (well fortunately!) I didn’t really gain weight until I was in college and that’s the time you don’t really want to gain any weight. Hahaha. I still continue to eat and enjoy tilapia, though.

Similar to the fry-baked chicken, I cooked this with the same methods but with different flavors. I went for something very (cliche?) Asian: ginger and green onions.

Fry-Bake Tilapia

Somebody told me that people don’t like looking at fish heads at the market and/or when cooking or eating. Uhm, do some people really think that the fish they eat are headless?

Ginger Tilapia

The tilapia was so darn good! Trust me, I’m a tilapia connoisseur from many years of first hand taste tests. ;-)

Fry-Bake TilapiaDownload the print-ready PDF file

•    1 med-large tilapia
•    1 onion (halved, sliced)
•    3 stalks of green onion
•    3 thin slices of ginger
•    1/2 cup chicken broth
•    1/2 cup dry white wine
•    1/2 tsp salt
•    3 cloves of garlic, mashed
•    olive oil

1.    In med-high heat, heat olive oil and wait for it to ‘ripple’ in a frying pan. Fry the  fish about 2-3 minutes each side until golden brown. Here’s the cooking test I use as a guide: It’s good to flip once the skin doesn’t stick to the frying pan anymore.
2.    Transfer the fish into a rectangular glass baking dish. Preheat oven to 375°F.
3.    In the same pan, saute the sliced onions until they become dark brown on the edges, then add on top of the fish.
4.    Still using the same pan, pour the wine and allow to boil until it’s reduced to half. Add ginger slices and chicken broth cook for a couple of minutes. Turn off the heat and transfer everything in the pan to the tilapia in the baking dish. Put fresh ground pepper on top of fish. Cover the glass dish with aluminum foil with 2 edges opposite each other is open (i.e. there is a vent).
5.    Place in the preheated oven and bake for 15 minutes. Remove foil, put green oonion, and cover again for 5 minutes before transfering on serving plate.

Posted in Asian dish, baking, dessert, experiments, fried, healthier choices, original Gourmeted recipe, reviews, seafood8 Comments

Beef Rhubarb Potstickers

Could it be that my brain is now part-rhubarb? I wouldn’t doubt it really. I have to admit that although I’ve made many dishes with rhubarb by now, they are all savory. I can’t help it if that sour stalk is so good.

Had I been more prepared, I really would have loved to make the filling with pork and shrimp, but I wasn’t. In fact, I was late for the Daring Cooks’ Challenge deadline last Sunday. After all the talk about it online, I built up a gargantuan craving for it, hence, this:


I’ve made potstickers before but failed miserably with the pleating. Now…thanks to Jen’s recipe with detailed photos, they now closely resemble the real thing! I love it! I couldn’t help but admire my handiwork. Haha.

I did follow our challenge’s dough recipe proportions and the rest are all mine. It was very, very good. If you don’t have rhubarb, just add a little more meat and 1 tbsp lemon juice.

I’ll post a more organized recipe tomorrow, including the PDF download. I just wanted to share this quickly for those of you who have been waiting for it since I posted a mobile photo. :-)

Potsticker Wrappers


  • 250 g all purpose flour (I used unbleached)
  • 113 g warm water

Preparation (How I made it)

  1. In a medium bowl, place the flour and add half of the water. Stir with a spoon. Continue to add the remaining water little by little, probably by teaspoons.
  2. Continue to mix into a cohesive ball by hand. Place on your clean counter that’s been sprinkled with flour to prevent sticking, and knead for 10 minutes.
  3. Place back inside the bowl and cover with a damp cloth for 15 minutes.
  4. After 15 minutes, shape dough into a shallow dome and cut into 1 1/2-inch thick slices. Leave one slice on the counter and place the others back into the bowl and cover with the damp towel. Slice the strip into 3/4 inch pieces and shape and flatten down with your palm into small discs. Place each disk on the counter and flatten further with your rolling pin. Continue with the rest of the dough. Be careful about putting the dough on top of each other. I made the time-consuming mistake of not putting enough flour between wrappers and my hard work went back to square one of being one big dough.

Filling the wrappers

  1. Put a wrapper on the palm of your hand and drop a tablespoon of filling at the center. Fold the wrapper in half and press firmly to attach the top-center portion.
  2. From the center, start pleating the single side of the wrapper (not both) but scrunching farther side on top of the previous pleat. Continue until you almost reach the end and you get a small teardrop-shaped hole. Simply tuck in the bottom of the ‘teardrop’ into the pointed top end of the teardrop. Each dumpling will look like the semi-circular women’s purses.

Beef Rhubarb Filling

  • 200 g ground beef (or other meat/s of your choice)
  • 1/3 cup yellow onion, chopped
  • 1/3 cup rhubarb, chopped
  • 1/3 cup button mushrooms, chopped (sauted in med heat for 2 mins to let the juices out
  • 1/3 cup celery, chopped
  • 1/3 cup carrot, chopped
  • 1 tbsp soy sauce
  • 1/4 tsp fresh ground pepper
  • 4 stalks of green onion, chopped


In a small saucepan, saute onion, rhubarb and celery for 3 minutes in medium-high heat. Set aside and let it cool before mixing with all the other ingredients.


On a frying pan with vegetable oil in high heat, cook the dumplings until the bottoms are golden brown in color. Add 1/2 cup water and cover. Let it cook until the water is almost gone. Remove the lid and let it cook for another 2 minutes.

Optional Dip: You can mix soy sauce, white vinegar with a smashed garlic. Very simple.

Posted in appetizer, Asian dish, beef, Daring Cooks, main dishes, original Gourmeted recipe, vegetables24 Comments

Asian Ginger Garlic Steak

Even before the show, “Chopped“, was conceived in the offices of the Food Network, millions of us all over the world were already facing and battling own versions of the show–right in our own kitchens–you, me, and all the other home cooks in the world. Unless you’re a complete meal planner, making each homemade meal is like a Chopped episode. It’s all up to us to make the most of what’s available and rock it, right?

I had  fresh flank steak one evening that I didn’t want to freeze and ginger roots that begged to be saved before they go to waste, so it just makes sense to use them both. I was inspired to make a beef steak with the flavors of the beef and broccoli dish I love to order at Chinese restaurants. We always make steaks with wine and some herb as a combination, but I’ve never tried it with ginger …so why not?

Oh…and how my experiment delivered! The ginger-garlic flavor seeped into the meat in 30 minutes. It was so good! At first I wanted to make sauce from the drippings, but the flavors in the meat were already intense so I didn’t find the need to.

Asian Ginger Beef Steak

The photo above is left over from dinner. I didn’t want to take photos at night and waited the next day to get decent daylight photos. It still looked good the 2nd day, huh? :) It still tasted amazing, too.

I like using flank steaks. They’re easy to find and they’re cheap. And with dishes like the one I made, it’s easy to create something nice without breaking the bank. The other ingredients I used are wallet-friendly as well and what’s more, the whole recipe is just made of 6 ingredients. I like simple. I like tasty. I like dishes that look like they took a lot of effort and worth a lot more than they do. Recessionista extraordinaire dish right there.

Asian Ginger Garlic SteakAsian Ginger Garlic Steak


  • 1 tbsp soy sauce
  • 1 tbsp oyster sauce
  • 1.5 tbsp ginger, chopped
  • 1 tbsp garlic, chopped
  • 2 tbsp canola oil
  • 400 g flank steak


  1. Mix the oil and sauces with the chopped ingredients. Soak meat in this mixture and marinate for 30 minutes in the fridge. You can marinate it in a small bowl covered with plastic wrap or in a ziploc bag. If in a bowl, turn meat after 15 minutes.
  2. Preheat your oven to 350°F then take the meat from the fridge.
  3. Roll the steak lengthwise, as if rolling like a log cake, with ends meeting at the bottom. Place on an oven-safe wire rack on a cookie sheet to catch the drippings. Bake for 20-30 minutes depending on your preferred doneness.
  4. Take the meat out of the oven and tent it with aluminum foil for about 10 minutes. Slice and serve warm with rice and steamed broccoli.

Posted in announcements, Asian dish, beef, dailies, dessert, dining, experiments, original Gourmeted recipe, quick & easy3 Comments

Igado (Filipino Pork Meat and Liver Stew)

Is it really February? Last Monday I thought it was Friday. Time is warped; I could be talking to you from 2010 and I’ll be conscious of the correct year in 5, 4, 3, 2, 1… But you do understand what I mean, right? Time zoomed forward.

A couple of weeks ago my ol’ friend visited Vancouver. We go back as far as our Geology freshmen days in 1995. It’s been a good 8 or 9 years since we last saw each other when we were fresh graduates and newly-licensed professionals. Now, we are old(er), relocated in North America, and cook and share recipes. I gave him the recipe for Food For The Gods, and he taught me how to make this Filipino dish called “Igado” (pronounced as ee-ga-DOH, as if you’re saying fa-la-LAH).

Igado is a regional Filipino delicacy with fatty pork loin meat and pork liver cooked with red bell pepper and peas, in a salty-sour sauce. I love this dish but never had the gumption to make it until my friend indulged me with their family’s Ilocano recipe. The Ilocanos are people from the northern part of the Philippines. In my home country, different regions have different traditional dishes with distinct tastes, but there’s one common characteristic about Filipino dishes — they try to make as much use of what’s available from the ingredients. Call it the Third-World Factor, not Fodder For Fear Factor. Take igado, for example, instead of throwing out the skin with fat, it is cubed and fried until crispy; and except for the excess oil, the whole pork loin is used.

Check out the crispy browned fat with skin:

I know it sounds absolutely horrible and will send nutritionists and dietitians screaming out the door, but these are SO good to eat even on their own [disclaimer: Enjoy at your own risk. Don’t even think about eating the fried fat if you have heart, high blood, cholesterol or other health-related problems]. It’s used to flavor a lot of dishes, including boiled green mung beans. Eat in moderation, I always say.

Igado is an excellent make-head viand, just like Adobo. It tastes even better the day after, just make sure to keep it cold in the fridge and re-heat before serving. If you’re not into offal, you can skip the liver, but it wouldn’t taste the same. Perhaps you’ve been on the fence about finally trying liver and you’re just waiting for the recipe, consider making this.

Download print-ready PDF recipe for Igado (Filipino Pork Meat and Liver Stew)

The following recipe is not according to my friend’s specifications because he just estimated the amounts in his head when he made it. I took it upon myself, in the spirit of accuracy (whatever excuse I can make to cook this!), to re-create the dish while measuring everything for you and for our future reference. Enjoy! Continue Reading

Posted in Asian dish, Filipino dishes, make-ahead, offal, original Gourmeted recipe22 Comments

Chinese Broccoli and Beef Stir-Fry

Just a couple of things first:

  • Please take a second to glance at our banner up there ^. I hope this will put to rest the confusion over the pronunciation of our website’s name. It’s goo r-meyd.
  • A poll regarding the step-by-step photos. We need your feedback!



    Thank you!

Here is a vegetable that goes by several name variations: kai-lan, gai-lan, Chinese broccoli, Chinese kale. This is the same leafy greens that I had kept asking my friend Alice for its name about but she didn’t know what it was in English. It’s kind of sad that I only found out about it when I went to the Chinese supermarket. I’m so good at this food-thing, you know? [grins]

According to Wikipedia, Gai-lan (English) is a “slightly bitter leaf vegetable featuring thick, flat, glossy blue-green leaves with thick stems and a small number of tiny, almost vestigial flower heads similar to those of broccoli”, as seen here in Exhibit A:

It is of the same species as broccoli and kale, hence it’s either Chinese broccoli OR kale. Its flavor is very similar to that of broccoli, but a bit sweeter. Gai-lan is widely eaten in Chinese cuisine — stir-fried with ginger and garlic or boiled served with oyster sauce, both of which I’ve tried. Unlike broccoli, where only the flowering parts are normally eaten,  the leaves and stems of the Chinese broccoli are eaten. For us Asians, the lesser the amount that needs to be thrown away, the better. We are, after all, from a culture where parents are bound to finish their kids leftovers because it would be such a waste not to.

When I cooked Gai-lan, I opted to experiment as usual, instead. Around the time that I made this, I felt like I was on the Iron Chef (for Dummies, mind you) with the “secret ingredient”: shiitake mushrooms. I bought a big bag of it and they ended up being cooked with : soy bean sprouts, chow mein (a concoction which will never make it to this site because if recipes were comedies, this would be the really bad slaptstick version), and with gai-lan and ground beef:

A la cuisine! Haha…sorry. I get carried away.

I really loved how this last-minute concoction turned out. The slight bitterness of the Chinese broccoli was counteracted by the ginger-y ground beef and soft mushrooms. Rice topped with this is perfection. Here is a simple balanced meal that is tasty and offers a lot of different textures, without an overpowering taste.

I’m not one to advocate deprivation, only moderation: a little meat, some veggies, and rice. That’s my eating logic, and I’m sticking to it. :)

If you’d like to try this, here is the recipe with step-by-step photo slideshow. Nom, nom,nom… Continue Reading

Posted in Asian dish, beef, experiments, original Gourmeted recipe, quick & easy, vegetables14 Comments

Bistek (Filipino Beef Steak)

I’m up so late because I have too much excess energy today, plus I can’t wait for Obama’s inauguration. I’m not American [Dan is, so we have a healthy dose of jokes between us about our countries], but I still share the excitement, hope, and pride in this moment — as I’m sure a lot of my fellow Canadians do. Today marks a day that inspires the rest of the world, as we all witness and celebrate a momentous occasion.

Back to the food…”Bistek” is a Filipino bastardized word of a concoction for “Beef Steak”. I’m not kidding, even though it sounds so silly. It’s made from thin and flat beef strips that’s cooked in soy sauce, calamansi (or lemon) and onions. It is another favorite of mine. It conjures up such good memories.

I still remember the first time I cooked this after watching and bugging our household help on how to cook it. I’m serious, it was memorable. It was a magical moment because I know this oh so well, I can taste it right now.

As with all simple dishes from childhood, it holds a special place in my heart. *sniff, sniff*

As an option, you can also add fried potato slices or chunks, or other veggies. I cooked mung bean sprouts in the same pan so you get the flavor without needing more salt or pepper.

Every little addition of healthy counts, right?
If you want to give this dish a try, here’s the recipe with step-by-step photos. Let us know how it goes. Enjoy!

Continue Reading

Posted in Asian dish, beef, Filipino dishes42 Comments

Soy Bean Sprouts with Shiitake Mushrooms

Going to the Chinese supermarket is like invading an assorted box of chocolates — you never know what you’re going to get. When I go to the regular grocery store, I know what to expect. That’s not the case when I go to T & T. My trip there is almost like a trip to a mall, I not only go there to get what I need but also to find something new — whether it be a snack in those attractive packages, a cute cake, a home gadget that I never thought of before, or a new vegetable (to me). Years ago I had kept asking my friend, who cooks a lot of veggies, the name of the dark green vegetable with garlic and oyster sauce and she kept saying the Chinese name because she doesn’t know the English name. I finally found it at the store — it’s called gai lan. Whew. Things like this hurt my head sometimes. Haha.

I like bean sprouts because they are a part of the Filipino cuisine. What I haven’t tried before were soy bean sprouts.  I know it sounds surprising given that I have gone all the way to a North American country to discover a really Asian ingredient.

At T & T, they put mung bean sprouts and soy bean sprouts side by side in the vegetable section that it confused me at first. After a quick look the former is twice the size as the latter but half the price and with a more attractive color — yellow and bright yellow green. I’m easily distracted and persuaded like that. I bought an equivalent of 4 generous handfuls of them and cooked it the other day with fresh shiitake mushrooms.

I like shiitake mushrooms but I detest the rubbery texture and extra pungent smell and taste of it when it’s cooked from the dried variety. However, I found fresh ones from the Chinese place and tried it. Oh, it was so good! Soft and meaty, but not too overpowering for the soy bean sprouts. It’s quite perfect with subtle bean flavor. I love the extra crunchiness of the sprouts with the bigger beans compared to the mung bean sprouts. Very good buys. Did I mention that this is such a cheap dish to make and very healthy, too?** I never considered buying groceries on a regular basis from the Chinese supermarket before, but I just might. I only spent around $50 for a week’s grocery including meats and fish. In this economy (and I really notice it with the empty malls!), it doesn’t hurt to save where you can. I love that they have a huge variety of seafood and meats, too, including all the ones that I miss about Filipino dishes.

I’ll be going back there to see what’s in store for the Chinese New Year that’s coming up in a week. We’re kind of like that here — those that are not really Chinese start to celebrate it as if it’s our own. Don’t laugh now. :p

[** I’ve read somewhere that shiitake mushrooms are expensive. I really didn’t notice or it would have jumped out at me at the checkout counter. I think the big bag that I had was less than $3.]

Alright, if you made it till here, here’s the recipe:

Soy Bean Sprouts with Shiitake Mushrooms


  • soy bean sprouts (or mung bean sprouts if you can’t find them); I’d say do a 4:1 ratio of sprouts and mushrooms
  • 6 shiitake mushrooms, sliced about 1/4″ in thickness (about 1.5 packed cups when sliced)
  • 1 cup water
  • 1/4 cup yellow onion
  • 1 tsp minced garlic
  • 1 tbsp oyster sauce
  • 1/2 tsp ground pepper
  • salt to taste
  • olive oil


  1. Saute onion with ground pepper and a pinch of salt in a medium pot (big enough for the sprouts) with oil heated in medium-low heat. Do that for about 2 minutes. Then add the garlic and saute for another minute.
  2. Add oyster sauce and sliced mushrooms, saute for a minute then add water. Turn heat up to medium and wait to boil, and allow it to do so for 2 minutes to let the mushrooms cook.
  3. Once it boils, pour in the washed soy bean sprouts. Mix it with the rest of the boiling ingredients. Toss it regularly and cook until the stems start to become translucent. You can grab a sprout and taste it for your desired crunchiness. Add salt to taste.
  4. Serve on its on or with rice.

Posted in Asian dish, dailies, healthier choices, original Gourmeted recipe, quick & easy, shoppes, vegetables12 Comments