Tag Archives: asian food

Crazy- Amazing Stuffed Squid



As much as I love to write about cooking, I myself am a professional cook in my everyday life (which explains why I almost never have time to post).  One of the many amazing things about my line of work is the incredible people I have met along the way.  Don’t get me wrong, the industry is crazy, and has plenty of downsides– but more on that later.  Most cooks are just people who are so obsessed with cooking that they have dedicated their lives to learning more.

One of the best ways to learn is through others– and with that, I need to explain how this beautiful recipe fell into my lap.

This is Helen.


Pictured here casually with celebrity chef Scott Conant

She’s just as lovely on the inside as she is on the outside, trust me.  She’s a cook that came to the game after already pursuing another career– and as a result, has amazing skills cooking many of the dishes she grew up with, and pays homage to her Vietnamese heritage. While she learns French cuisine along with the rest of us, she has an amazing trick up her sleeve.

Normally, Helen doesn’t do much to bring attention to her delicious recipes– just simple Instagram posts and casual dinner parties for fellow cooks and family.


Like this beauty; aka “casual dinner”


Or this gorgeous dish. She does this on her days off, people.

Her food should definitely be celebrated– the depth of flavor in her dishes and thoughtfulness to the detail is so necessary to honor a cuisine that is notoriously complex.  So, after at least a few hours of begging her while prepping at work, Helen agreed to share one of her recipes with me, and the world  suddenly seems like a happier place.


  • 20 small to medium cleaned squid with tentacles.

Pork Stuffing

  • 1/2 lb ground pork (80/20 fat is best, but any will work)
  • 2 teaspoons fish sauce
  • 3 teaspoon ground pepper
  • 2 cloves garlic (minced)
  • 1 tsp white pepper
  • 2 teaspoon sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 shallot (minced)
  • 1-2 tablespoon of oyster sauce
  • 3 stalks green onion (minced thinly)
  • 1/2 cup bean thread noodles (soaked in warm water for 10 min, drained then chopped)
  • 1/3 cup wood ear mushrooms (soaked in warm water for 10 min, drained and chopped


  1. Combine the pork, fish sauce, ground pepper, white pepper, garlic, sugar, salt, shallot, green onions, bean thread noodles and wood ear mushrooms.
  2. Let the pork mixture marinate for at least 5 minutes.
  3. Stuff the calamari using a small spoon or a piping bag. Seal the calamari by threading a toothpick at the end.
  4. In a frying pan on medium high heat, add the stuffed calamari with 1 tablespoon of water. Cover the pan with a lid and steam the calamari for 10 minutes. This will evenly and perfectly cook both the pork and calamari without drying them out.
  5. Then, remove the lid, cook uncovered with tablespoon of oil and tablespoon of oyster sauce until golden brown.
  6. Slice to the desired thickness and serve.


Hopefully I’ll be able to pick the brains of more of my fellow chefs– and share it all here.

Thanks, Helen!





Roasted Chicken Ramen Broth

Roasted Chicken Ramen Broth


Even though spring is (supposedly) around the corner, its been pretty frigid.  There was a blizzard of sorts here on the Northeast the other day.


…of sorts.

What better way to warm up than a steaming bowl of soup? I was craving ramen the other day, and so I decided to try my hand at making a deep rich broth to pair with some noodles, Law and Order SVU reruns, and throw blankets.

I’ve never made ramen before, so I was a bit nervous. Everybody and their mother is making amazing ramen these days.  Would mine hold up?  I promise you, this is simple. Scary simple.  And full of flavor.  Two of my favorite things.


I chicken, cut into 8 pieces

NOTE: you can buy this at the grocery store already cut up or have your butcher do it for you, or do it yourself.  Either way, we are looking for some chicken bones and trim here.

1 bunch scallions, trim reserved and whites/ greens thinly sliced for garnish

1 knob ginger, sliced (you can keep the skin on)

7 cloves garlic, smashed

3T sesame oil

soy sauce, mirin, and hoisin sauce- about 1/4 C each, to taste.

1 stalk lemongrass, bruised

4 C chicken stock

2 C water


Trim the chicken and reserve trim meat and bones.  Whisk together soy sauce, mirin, and hoisin to taste and set on the side.

Heat sesame oil in a medium sized pot over medium heat and add chicken bones and trim, searing to get a deep brown, roasty color on all sides.  Add ginger, garlic, and scallion trim and sweat until fragrant, about a minute or two.  Add soy sauce mixture and scrape up any chicken bits that may have stuck to the bottom and cook until a bit syrupy.  Add chicken stock and water and lemongrass stalk and bring to a simmer and let reduce and flavors concentrate, about one hour.


Strain and enjoy!

For some possible garnish, Here are some ideas:

Noodles; Lo-mein from the Asian section at the supermarket, ramen noodles for about 50 cents from any corner store, leftover cooked rice or microwave dumplings are great ideas also.

Veggies! The more the merrier, in my opinion.  I like pickled  any pickled veggie for the nice tang, radishes, arugula, kale, carrots, mushrooms.

Extra seasonings like Gochujang, Sriracha, scallions, and cilantro.

I love a poached egg as well, but who doesn’t?


Seriously, who doesn’t?

Happy Slurping!




Recipe: Shrimp and Beef Lo Mein


IMG_2346As I have mentioned before, I love Chinese take out, so of course I wanted to learn to make my own. I’ve already made dumplings, which are my favorite, so I decided to make The Russian’s favorite: shrimp and beef Lo Mein.  As usual, this is easy for my lazy butt to make and cheap as well.  Give it a try!


1 package stir fry beef [$4]

1 small package shrimp [$5]

1 head cabbage [$1]

1 small box mushrooms, sliced [$2]

1 package spaghetti, which I already had on hand, or a package usually runs less than a buck.

scallions [$1.50]

garlic (same as spaghetti)

soy sauce, oyster sauce, and Siracha, plus a touch of Hoisin.  If buying all the sauces new, they can run about $3 a bottle, but most Asian food enthusiasts such as myself have most of this stuff on hand.

Chicken broth [$1]


Make the pasta according to the package directions.  Meantime, heat veg oil in a pan over medium heat and add steak and cook til done, about 3 min per side. Put steak on a plate on the side and add shrimp to the pan, cooking until done as well, about 2 min per side. Place on the plate with the beef.

Add a little more oil to the pan and add the mushrooms for about 3 minutes and then add the cabbage, thinly sliced.  Let cook with some grated ginger if you have it and garlic.

In the meantime, whisk together soy sauce, chicken broth, hoisin, and siracha to taste.  I don’t like to say how much to do because everybody’s tastes are different, but I put about half a can of broth in, and healthy amount of soy, oyster, and hoisin, and a touch of siracha for a little heat. It’s you call. I also like to add a little corn starch to bring the sauce together.

The sauce should stick to the noodles to give it a rich flavor.

The sauce should stick to the noodles to give it a rich flavor.

After the mushrooms and cabbage start to wilt, add the shrimp, beef, and any juices back to the pan with the sauce. Let the flavors meld while you drain the pasta.  Add the meat and veggies to the pasta and mix well to combine the flavors.  Serve with chopped cilantro, if you have any.

Perfect for curling up and watching movies on the couch.

Perfect for curling up and watching movies on the couch.


Cheap Eats: Bon Me (Again!)



So I’ve written about my love of Bon Me before, but (gasp!) I had never tried their sandwich, the classic Banh Mi. I saw the sandwich in a recent issue of Food Network Magazine, and my mouth started to water and I started to look for a good time and location to find one of the Bon Me trucks. Today I’ve tried it, and it was glorious.

Firstly, the truck was busy.  It was lunch hour, so I’m not surprised.  It’s just always a good sign to see people flocking around a truck.  Means the truck is on to something.

These guys know what's up

These guys know what’s up

The sandwich had homemade pate, Chinese BBQ pork, pickled dikon and carrots, and cilantro, for about $7. Totally affordable. The bread was perfectly soft and crunchy when you bit it, and the filings really worked well together.  I had the tang of the pickles and the rich meat with the pate, all with the freshness of the cilantro.  So perfect and delicious.  With a little Sriracha on top, I thought I wouldn’t be able to finish the sandwich, but minutes later, it was gone.

and I was happy.

and I was happy.

It made me remember how much I love food trucks, and how I should try and find some more, even though the best season for eating outside is slowly coming to a close.  Either way, track down this truck to head to their brick–and–mortar location, and get your hands on some of the best sandwiches in town.



Recipe: Pork Dumplings


IMG_0422I love Chinese takeout.  It’s definitely I vice I have, and I don’t care.  I love the grease, the salty flavors and the rich meats.  I decided it’s about time I learned how to make one of my favorite Chinese takeout dishes: dumplings.  Turns out, it’s super simple and only requires few ingredients.

dat's it.

dat’s it.


1 package wonton wrappers [$3]

1 pound ground pork or beef [$4]

1 bulb ginger [.50 cents]

scallions [$2]

soy sauce [$3]

bok choy (optional) [$3]


Mix the ground pork with a few chopped scallions, soy sauce, grated ginger, and chopped garlic until well combined. take a small amount (like a teaspoon, no bigger or the dumplings will burst ) and place in the center of each wrapper.  rim the edges with water using your fingers, then fold over and seal to combine.

Mine took a little practice

Mine took a little practice

Do this until all the meat is used. This recipe makes like, 40 dumplings (The Russian and I ate them all).

All of them.

All of them.

To cook, place a few (like half ) of the dumplings in a pan with veg oil in the bottom.  Sear the bottoms of the dumplings for about 5 minutes, then add about a cup of water to the pan and cover so the dumplings can steam.


To make this a full meal, I paired the dumplings with some bok choy I sauteed with soy sauce, chopped garlic, and red pepper flakes. I also made a dipping sauce with soy sauce, sriracha, and scallions. IMG_0418Takeout at home! Just as good (or maybe better?) than the normal dumpling.







Cheap Eats: Bon Me


The other day it was gorgeous outside (much like it has been all weekend) and I was walking around Boston, starving, which is a feeling I hate more than crying. Then I saw the Bon Me food truck and all was well with the world.

Look at those options– and those prices!

Look at those options– and those prices!

I decided to get a noodle salad with chinese bbq pork.  Good choice, Lana.

I don't usually steer myself wrong

I don’t usually steer myself wrong

The meat was super tender and tasty, while the rice noodles I chose were soft yet filling.  I loved the mixed greens, cilantro, and red onion that was served with the salad.  Really brought the whole thing together and gave a nice crunch.  The dressing was a little hard to taste, but I think that is because the pork had so much flavor it just took over the dish, which isn’t a bad thing.


I sat in the park and had a lovely day just enjoying this salad and the weather.  It was some much needed relaxation, and I had been meaning to find this truck for the summertime.  Thank goodness it found me.

Bon Me has a variety of options, including sandwiches and rice bowls, and a variety of meats, so I will be walking the streets of Boston looking out for them again! In the meantime, those whose mouths are watering can check out their actual brick and mortar in Kendall Square.