flailing in my kitchen 2.1

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Something that vaguely resembles pho

August 18, 2022 10:14 PM

Every once in a while I get a sudden craving for pho. I don't know how it hits me, but I just think about that pho smell and then I want some. I'm not about to spend 6 hours simmering some broth though, so I needed a shortcut. I remembered that Budget Bytes has a "faux pho" recipe, and it has decent reviews, so I decided to give it a try.

Me in my kitchen, assembling a bowl of noodles
Trying to make the bowls all fancy

Her recipe uses chicken, and it just doesn't feel right to have chicken pho. I wanted beef. So I used beef broth instead of chicken broth and sliced beef instead of cooked chicken. I had a container of beef Better than Bouillon that expired earlier this year that I wanted to use up, and I bought the cheapest piece of beef I could find at Aldi, which was an "eye of round".

The soup is really simple. It's just broth and five spice. And so I mixed my beef broth with five spice and took a sip. It...felt like it was lacking something. I wasn't really sure what, but I ended up throwing in some bullhead barbecue sauce (hot pot sauce) and a little bit of hoisin, and, well, it didn't really taste like pho, but I guess it wasn't bad.

Bowls of pho on the table, with some sauce and fresh veggies in the background
The plate of fresh veggies is very important

I ended up squeezing a lime slice into my bowl, and that made it taste a lot better. Still didn't really taste like pho, but it was some good noodle soup. Later that day, after I got back from a walk, I remember stepping into my living room and thinking "hey it vaguely smells like pho in here!"

I had some leftover broth and fixin's so I made more the next day, but I just went completely hot pot on it, and added cooked broccoli as well.

Noodle soup, with some plain beef and broccoli on the side
I still need bigger Asian bowls

I really like noodle soup, and I want to give pho a try again. Maybe I'll actually use a recipe from an Asian person next time.


Udon noodle soup

June 1, 2022 9:41 PM

Speaking of slowly cooking, I spent a couple of hours making udon noodle soup a few nights ago. I think it was 11pm by the time I actually produced this bowl of soup.

Udon noodles with some cut scallions on the side
Scallions cut on a long bias because it's fancier that way

Worth it. So worth it.

I wanted to make some udon noodle soup because I had gone to an udon restaurant a couple of months ago, and at the time I didn't think I really wanted noodle soup so I got a rice bowl. But everyone else was ordering the udon noodles, and by the end of dinner, I really wanted those noodles.

It was also a little more appropriate a couple of months ago because it was colder. Now we're hitting 90° outside and it is definitely not soup weather anymore. But I don't care. I made the noodle soup and ate it three times and will eat it again twice more because I still have leftover noodles.

I don't know if this is normal or not, but whenever I eat noodle soup, I like to make a nice little spoonful for every single bite. A little bit of noodle, some soup, a couple of other garnishes on top, and a wonderfully flavorful experience for my mouth.

Picking up a spoonful of udon noodles
A fancy scallion in every bite!

I actually don't think I've ever had udon noodles from a restaurant before so I have no idea how they're supposed to taste, and the Woks of Life recipe I used even explicitly stated that it's not really authentic. But it is delicious.

I do know that restaurants often put soft boiled eggs in their noodle soup, so I wanted to do the same thing. I've been using this ramen egg recipe from Just One Cookbook for a while and it's always been great. I figured it would be really easy to make a few eggs to throw in my bowls of soup.

But I figured wrong. Holy crap I have never struggled so much in my life to peel boiled eggs. The ramen egg recipe calls for putting the eggs directly in boiling water, but I thought it would work just fine if I put the eggs in cold water and brought it to a boil. When I stopped cooking them and tried to peel one, it all broke apart and every piece of shell I tried to remove just ended up removing more of the egg white. I don't think I initially cooked them for long enough so I boiled more water and tried to cook them longer, but that was still a fail.

Noodle soup, garnishes, and a book
What a sad looking egg ):

Me eating noodles while reading Salt, Fat, Acid, Heat
But a happy looking me!

I can't end on a fail though, so I did some googling and was determined to make better soft boiled eggs. I made a few adjustments for the second attempt:

And it was a success! It peeled so easily! Incredible.

Closeup shot of noodle soup, ramen egg, and some scallions for garnish
Eggs are so beautiful


Noodle soup

January 20, 2021 8:24 PM

Noodle soup has been on my "to-make" list for months, and I finally made some yesterday!

Noodles

I used this Udon Noodle Soup with Chicken and Mushrooms recipe from The Woks of Life. I've made it once before, but last time I made it I didn't have any dashi. It turned out really well this time and was really easy to make.

Chicken and mushrooms

I did have to use three different pots and pans though: one to cook the noodles, one to cook the broth, and one to cook the chicken and mushrooms. So that's kind of annoying. But it was worth it. The mushrooms added a lot of flavor.

I'm not sure I'd change anything in this recipe, except next time I'll buy smaller noodles. These udon noodles were really thick, and I think I want something a little easier to fit in a chinese soup spoon.

Noodles with recipe

Noodles with youtiao

See that 油炸粿 in the corner? I didn't make that. My aunt did. She watched Youtube videos and worked on that recipe for two years perfecting it. That's above my level for now.

Filed under: noodle soup teochew words

Social Distancing: Days 30 - 32

April 27, 2020 8:00 AM

Day 30 (Friday): I don't know what it is, but work is starting to exhaust me. I'm trying to find more easy meals to make. So I decide on some Sesame Chicken.

Sesame Chicken (Budget Bytes)
Sesame Chicken (Budget Bytes)

The original recipe doesn't call for broccoli, but I figured we should have some vegetables. And contrary to the comments on Budget Bytes for this, I think there is plenty of sauce. Maybe even too much sauce. We boiled the broccoli for a few minutes before mixing it in with the chicken, but now I'm wondering if it would have been better if we roasted the broccoli first. I'll try that next time. Overall, this still tasted good.


Day 31 (Saturday): I had a virtual game night on Saturday, so I wanted to do something easy. We've had dumplings in the freezer, so this seemed like a good time to cook some of those. We also had some iceberg lettuce in the fridge, along with other various veggies, so it seemed like a good idea to make some salad. When I think of how to use iceberg, my mind immediately jumps to those salads you get at Hibachi restaurants.

Yes, we had dumplings from two different batches. Look at that color contrast.


Day 32 (Sunday): Another thought about using up lettuce is to put it in soup. So we figured, let's make some noodle soup! We were thinking we might want to make Pho since we're stuck at home all day, but that requires way too many herbs and spices that I don't currently have, so we're making Teochew Noodle Soup 粿条汤 instead.

This made me realize I don't have those large Asian bowls. We still made it work with smaller ones.

We actually never ended up putting lettuce in this. But it doesn't matter, noodle soup is always a good idea.


Stuff I cooked before Thanksgiving

January 12, 2020 8:14 AM

Happy New Year! This time I really haven't posted in a while. But I still took pictures of the food I've been making, and we're going to see how good my memory is. All of these things were made before Thanksgiving.


Bulgogi Tacos

In the previous post I made some bulgogi. Any time I make a new meat dish I have to see if it'll work well in a taco. It always works well in a taco.


Udon Noodle Soup with Chicken & Mushrooms - The Woks of Life

I may have cut that egg with a spoon.

I've been on a no-instant-noodle diet since July (and until this coming July), because at the time I ate some really spicy instant noodles and totally regretted it, and I figured I was eating way too much instant noodle already that year. The problem is sometimes I just really want some noodle soup. This isn't a dish I'm completely comfortable with yet, so I looked for a super easy noodle soup recipe I could try. This was very good and very easy to make.


Ravioli with Sage Brown Butter Sauce - Budget Bytes

I actually make this dish all the time (in fact I'm eating it right now!) so at this point I don't even take a picture every time I make it. Sometimes when I'm at Aldi I look at all the interesting raviolis they have and I buy it just to make this recipe.


Quesadillas

It's all Mexican food from here on down.

What kind of quesadillas?! I don't even know! My guess is that it's barbecue chicken, because I think I had chicken left over from those noodles, and that looks like bbq sauce reside on the side of the plate. Oh by the way, that guac is homemade too. But not the pico de gallo. I bought that from Aldi. Aldi's pico is really bad. I don't recommend. But my quesadilla and guac? I'm sure it was delicious.


Carne Asada - Damn Delicious

Burrito bowl on a plate. Because plates photograph better.

I don't know how to cook steak. I don't really know why I have so much trouble with it, but this was such an ordeal to cook. The recipe said to put it in the broiler and cook for 5 minutes on each side, and I did that and it was still way below medium-rare temperature. I just kept cooking it longer, but it wasn't helping so I moved it to the stovetop. Maybe there's something wrong with my broiler. Maybe I'm not using the broiler correctly. Anyway, at the end of it, it was still delicious, and I made some great burrito bowls (plates?).


Taco Party

Why in the world is there salt and pepper in the middle of this?

And for this last section, I had a lot of guests over, and you know what that means. Tacos! Tacos are delicious. What else can I say.


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