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Moong Dal-Indian Comfort Food

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Lucky's Chili and Garlic Fish

This is such a amazing dish. It has all the spiciness of Sichuan cooking, with that sweet and sour undertone that I really enjoy. 

The story behind it is that we had a wonderful Sichuan restaurant near my old office in City of Industry, California called Lucky Dragon aka Lucky’s. We probably ate this fish accompanied with dry sautéed string beans and ma po tofu at least three times a week.
To make it simpler to prepare, I’ve divided the ingredients into stages. Additionally, any of these ingredients can easily be found at your local Asian or Korean markets. Once you buy them, they last forever in your pantry, so you will be able to prepare many meals from just one buying trip. 
In Asian cuisine, the prep time is important, as the cooking time is minimal. You want everything within reach. Try to give the fish at least an hour with the glaze to soak up the flavors. 
Note: This could easily be made as a vegetarian/vegan dish by substituting extra firm tofu slices for the fish. 
Step One, Fish

Nobu’s Miso Black Cod

There is no dish that epitomizes Nobu more than Miso Black Cod. Such a simple dish, but flawlessly prepared and finished so that is has a rich crispy caramel glaze.

I must admit finding black cod took some doing, but it was worth the wait. I was able to special order it from Whole Foods and it arrived in two days.

While I was waiting for it to arrive, I did some research and found out that Black cod is not even in the cod family. Black Cod, also known as butterfish or sablefish is an entirely different family of fish, and also when black cod is smoked, it is the deli classic known as sable.




The key to this dish is letting it marinade for a full 2-3 days. I made a slightly smaller recipe, as there were only two of us, but even with only 4 filets, I still recommend the full amount of marinade.

Ingredients

1 cup of Sake
1 cup of Mirin
8 Tbsp White Miso
1/2 cup White Sugar
6 Filets of Black Cod (Sablefish), about 1/2 lb each

Marinade:

Begin by adding the sake and mirin into an average sized saucepan…

Marcella Hazan’s Pesto, but with a twist.

Marcella Hazan is the chef that taught me how to cook authentic Italian. She was tough and demanded authentic ingredients and no short cuts, but the recipes are timeless and still work today as well as them did 20 years ago. If you want one cookbook on Italian cooking, you can’t go wrong with her classic, “Essentials of Classic Italian Cooking”.

Summer is the perfect time to make pesto. With all the rain we’re been having, my basil in pots has been going crazy.

There are many recipes for pesto, but I think Marcella gets the balance just right. I make a small change, because I’m not a huge fan of pine nuts. I’ve even seen authentic recipes from Genoa where they use walnuts, but I love pecans, so that’s my hack.

The basil, washed and patted dry, olive oil and butter

Use a food processor, with garlic, pecans and basil to begin.

Pesto, finished by hand.

Ingredients

1 lb Pasta, I think Spaghetti, linguine or spaghettini work best. But if you can’t manage that, fusilli, orecchiette or farfalle can…

Pan Fried Cod with Gochujang Glaze

This is very good recipe for any firm fish, but is particularity well suited to cod. Additionally, this would also be good on a grill.

If you are unfamiliar with gochujang, it is a Korean fermented chili paste which is packed with flavor and recently has become a very popular ingredient in the food press. Now there's gochujang catsup, mayo and potato chips.

I used a pan and it created an amazing glaze on the cod. One day I will tackle the Black Cod Miso from Nobu. Stay tuned.

Ingredients

Marinade:
1 Tbsp Gochujang Paste
1/2 cup White Wine or Rice Wine
Freshly ground Black Pepper

2 Tbsp Shallots, minced
3 Tbsp Clarified Butter
1/2 cup White Wine
4 pieces Atlantic Cod loins or evenly sized filets.

Mix up your marinade and thoroughly coat the cod loins. Cover and put into the refrigerator. I find they improve with at least an hour in the marinade.

Remove your cod from the refrigerator. Add your shallots and white wine into a small saucepan and gently simmer them for 5 minutes and set aside.

Heat y…

Pan Seared Scallops

These are so simple to make, yet people seem to shy away from preparing them. You often see them on the menu in fine restaurants. They are a popular and tasty restaurant dish, so why not learn make them at home.
I find the frozen raw Costco scallops to be very good. They are not treated with chemicals and are frozen immediately after harvesting. Just thaw them, rinse them and pat them dry and they are ready to go.

The key to getting these seared to perfection is to make sure they are absolutely dry before they go in the pan. The pan must be very hot, hence why you need to use clarified butter. Normal butter would burn before the pan got hot enough to sear.


If you do not have clarified butter use a sturdy vegetable oil, but the clarified butter gives them an amazing flavor.

Finally, and most importantly, do not over cook them. Literally, they need 2 minutes on each side.

Ingredients

10 dry Sea Scallops, 15-20 ct or slightly larger
Celery Salt
Black Pepper
2 Tbsp Clarified Butter
1/2 Lemon, juice…

Seafood Rice Pilaf - Updated

This is an interesting pilaf recipe because it uses Thai brown jasmine rice rather than normal white long grain rice. Also, I've omitted the traditional orzo, as I just don't feel it adds anything to the recipe.

I find the resulting pilaf has more flavor and when prepared with the seafood stock it’s the perfect side for any sort of fish or seafood. Or, any grilled or roasted dish for that matter.


With the seafood stock and the addition of the Thai fish sauce, I don’t find that additional salt is needed.

Ingredients

1 cup Brown Jasmine Rice
2 cups Seafood Stock. I think Imagine stock is very good.
1 tsp Thai Fish Sauce
3 Tbsp Butter
1/2 Onion, chopped
1/2 Red Bell Pepper, chopped
2 cloves Garlic, chopped
1 tsp ground Turmeric
2 Bay Leaves
Freshly ground Black Pepper
1/8 tsp Smoked Paprika

In a saucepan, add the butter and sauté the onions, red pepper and garlic. After these are translucent, add the rice and brown it until it starts to smell toasty.

Add your seafood stock, fish sauce, bay leave…