Recipe: Bean Sprout Ponzu Salad

The other day Tara and I stopped by a sushi restaurant and were served a bean sprout salad. Although we did not ask what was inside of it, we put together this recipe based on what we thought it could have been made out of. You can always buy ponzu from the store, but I have included how to make it from scratch. Also, it has to rest for a couple hours, so keep that in mind if you’re hoping to eat this immediately.

Bean sprout ponzu salad

Bean sprout ponzu salad


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Baking Recipe: Pear Cranberry Ginger Pie

I prefer to cook than bake. I look at a recipe and feel like I can improvise more when it comes to cooking on a stove than in an oven. The creative side of my brain works better when something calls for a pinch or a dash versus exact measurements, temperatures, and times. So when I came into a box of Harry and David pears, I knew I was going to make a pie. Starting with a family apple pie recipe in my head, this is my take on a pear pie – plus ginger and cranberry for some added zest.

Pear Cranberry Ginger Pie

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Vietnamese Recipe: Sugarcane Shrimp (Chao Tom) Spring Roll

Of the many cuisines I encountered around the world, this is one of the rare recipes that I enjoy making as much as I enjoy eating. It is a fun process and a very interactive dish. The end product is a fresh spring roll with shrimp. It takes a bit of work – about an hour – but it is totally worth it! The real recipe calls for pork fat, but since we don’t eat meat we used an egg instead.

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Thai Cooking: Tom Kha Gai Recipe

Tom Kha Goong

Enjoying Tom Kha Goong in Thailand.

We weren’t going to give away any more of Chef Aon’s recipes from our cooking class in Chiang Mai, Thailand, but this ubiquitous Thai soup is just too good not to share. We have used Chef Aon’s recipe to make this soup a couple times since returning to the States. The delicious flavors immediately bring us right back to Thailand. Enjoy!

For this recipe, you can make tom kha gai or tom kha goong. Gai means chicken and goong means shrimp. Some of these ingredients may be difficult for Westerners to find fresh (like galangal and lime leaves) unless you go to an Asian grocery store. If your local supermarket has an international section, you may be able to find these items preserved in jars. Just don’t buy them pickled! Continue reading

Vietnamese Recipe: Grilled Fish in Banana Leaves

This is a delicious fish recipe I learned to cook in Hoi An, Vietnam. Mouthwatering goodness! If you can’t buy ingredients like turmeric and banana leaves at your local grocery store, seek out an Asian grocery store. You can ask them to order the ingredients you can’t find. If you absolutely cannot get banana leaves, try using corn husks (but you will need to soak them in water so they don’t burn on the grill). Wrapping the fish inside banana leaves or corn husks steams the fish and cooks it more evenly. At the bottom of this post I give a short review of the cooking class I attended in case you find yourself in Hoi An. I hope you enjoy the recipe. More to come!

Grilled Fish in Banana Leaves, serves 2

Grilled Fish in Banana Leaf

Delicious Vietnamese-style fish!

2 pieces, 8 oz each fresh mackerel
2 tbsp lemongrass, chopped finely (tip: smash it first with the knife blade to make it easier to chop)
4 three-inch pieces of lemongrass, smashed with the knife blade
8 thin slices of carrot (optional)
2 tsp shallots, diced finely
2 tsp garlic, diced finely (tip: smash with knife blade first, then dice)
2 tbsp turmeric, chopped
1 tsp salt
1 tsp pepper
2 tsp sugar
2 tbsp soy sauce
2 tbsp rice vinegar Continue reading

How to Make Delicious Vietnamese Coffee

What you’ll need:
•1 single-cup coffee filter
•1 tea kettle (or a pot, something to boil water in)
•1 coffee mug
•2 tablespoons bold coffee grounds
•1/2 cup water (you’re boiling more than you’ll use)
•1 tablespoon condensed milk
•3/4 cup of ice

Making Vietnamese Coffee

The coffee filter sits on top of your glass.

Heat water to a boil. While it is heating, grab your coffee mug and pour the condensed milk in. Assemble your filter so it sits on top of the mug. Add the coffee grounds and place the press inside the filter (on top of the grounds). Once the water is boiling, pour 1/3 cup into the filter and quickly cap it. Continue reading

Spicing Up Our Cooking Skills

It took 22 days before we put down our chopsticks and asked, “Why have we not learned how to make this delicious food yet?” Tara had a hand in making som tam in the streets of Bangkok, but it was finally in Chiang Mai that we decided enough was enough — we needed to know how to make other mouthwatering Thai dishes.

Mike, Aon and Tara

Tara and Mike with Chef Aon.

There is no shortage of cooking classes in this Chiang Mai, but we are picky when it comes to learning new cuisines. Two boring and non-interactive culinary lessons in India made us very choosey when it came to selecting a class in Thailand. We wanted something with more pizzazz, and we found it in Red Chili Thai Cooking School.

Chef Aon has been operating Red Chili since the beginning of 2013 but already has a reputation as an enthusiastic newcomer to the Chiang Mai cookery school scene. As soon as we met him, we could see why: he’s young, gregarious and passionate about food. We immediately knew this was not going to be another uninspiring class. Continue reading