Getting Around Yobodish

Saturday, April 12, 2014

Simply Single: Last Minute Shrimp with Vermicelli Noodles

After a 10-hour workday, the last thing I want to do is spend an hour in the kitchen dicing, slicing and washing. I still want a tasty dinner. Take out flattens my wallet and fattens my thighs.  My solution: simply single recipes. I’m working on recipes that are super easy to make and even easier to clean up. It’s better for my bottom line as well as my waistline.  Last Minute Shrimp with Vermicelli Noodles is a 20-minute, one-bowl recipe.

Happy eating!

  • 2 Tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 Tofu block, cubed
  • 1/2 Onion, sliced
  • 2 Cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 Teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 5-8 Shrimp (If using frozen shrimp, thaw before cooking.)
  • 5 Asparagus stalks, cut into thirds or halved depending on size
  • 2 Stalks scallions, cut into thirds
  • 1 Tablespoon oyster Sauce
  • 1 Tablespoon hoison Sauce
  • 1 Teaspoon soy sauce
  • 1 Teaspoon sugar
  • Black pepper and salt to taste
  • 1 Bundle vermicelli noodles
  • Sriracha sauce (Optional)

In a large bowl, soak noodles in cold water for about 10 minutes.

Boil hot water in a teapot. Line a plate with paper towel. Set aside.

In the meantime, heat a wok or large frying pan and drizzle with 1 tablespoon olive oil. Add tofu, salt and pepper.  Cook until golden. Remove from pan and set on top of plate lined with paper towel.
In the same pan or wok, add 1 tablespoon olive oil, garlic, onions and red pepper flakes Saute until onions are opaque. Add shrimp. Cook until shrimp is slightly opaque. Add asparagus. Cook until shrimp is pink. Add scallions, all sauces and sugar. Season with black pepper and salt.

Putting It All Together
Back to the noodles. Drain the water from the bowl. Add the boiling water and let it sit for about 2 minutes. Watch it carefully so that it’s not overdone. Once the noodles are al dente, drain the water. Add the noodles to the shrimp. Add tofu. Toss and serve.

Add sriracha if you’re the spicy the type.

Sunday, March 30, 2014

Sooth My Soul Jook (Korean porridge)

My parents' answer to a cold, stomachache, toothache or whatever ailment is jook. As a kid, I didn’t like the mushy texture and associated it with being sick. As an adult, I love the soothing, warm texture of the smooth rice, and the rich flavors of the broth make me feel whole again.

The best part about this dish is its versatility. You can top it off with grilled pork, chicken, beef or veggies, and flavor the stock with beef granules, scallions, garlic, no garlic, ginger… the options are endless. Oh yeah, and it’s super easy to make.

Can’t beat that. Happy eating! 

  • 1 Cup white rice, uncooked
  • 4 Cups water
  • 1 32-ounce carton chicken broth
  • 6 Cloves garlic, peeled and smashed
  • 1-Inch ginger, peeled
  • 1 Tablespoon salt
  • 1 Tablespoon sesame oil
  • 1/4 Cup frozen peas
  • 2 Eggs, fried and julienned
  • 2 Chicken sausages, grilled and sliced. (You can top it off with meat of your choice. I also top it with Spam or Jimmy Dean’s breakfast sausage.)
Rinse the rice until the water is clear. In a large pot, add all the ingredients except the peas and toppings. Mix gently.

Bring the pot to boil. Turn the heat to low and cook uncovered for a about an hour and half or until the rice is the consistency of oatmeal. Take out the ginger.

Add the peas and cook for another 5 minutes.

That's it! Top with eggs and chicken.

Serves 4

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Summer Soba Noodles

What's up with the freezing temperature and snow in late March? I'm breaking spring out from Mother Nature's sequester of sun, flowers and all things springy with my Summer Soba Noodles. This is my favorite, goes-with-everything side, especially for picnics. I love the vibrant green of the snow peas, coolness of the noodles and the fresh zing of the sesame seed dressing. Pair this up with bul go gi and get the spring fest started.

Happy eating!

  • 2 Bundles soba noodles (Follow package directions... cook for about 2 minutes)
  • 1 Cup baby carrots, julienne
  • 2 Stalks scallions, shredded and cut into 1-inch strips
  • 2 Cups snow peas, blanched and cooled
Grilled Veggies
  • 1 Tablespoon extra virgin olive oil 
  • 1 Large portobello mushroom, halved and sliced
  • 3 Shallots, sliced 
  • 1 Tablespoon garlic powder
  • 1 Tablespoon black pepper
  • 1/4 Tablespoons soy sauce
  • 1/4 Cup rice wine vinegar
  • 1/4 Cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 Tablespoons sesame seed oil  
  • 3 Tablespoons brown sugar
  • 1 Tablespoon ginger, minced
  • 2 Cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 Tablespoon red pepper flakes
  • 1 Teaspoon black pepper powder
  • 1 Teaspoon salt
  • 3 Tablespoons toasted sesame seeds
Cook noodles according to direction but al dente, about 2 minutes.  Drain and rinse thoroughly with cold water. Set aside.

In a large bowl, add the carrots, scallions and peas. Set aside.

Heat a large frying pan. Add oil. Stir in onions. Sautee until onions are opaque. Add mushrooms. Season with black pepper and garlic powder. Sautee until onions are nice and golden. You have to have that wonderful aroma of grilled onions puffing around you. Let it cool.

Add all dressing ingredients in a jar with a lid. Shake vigorously until all ingredients are dissolved and dressing looks smooth.

Add the noodles, mushrooms and onions to the rest of the mixture. Drizzle with dressing and toss g gently and in big scoops. Sprinkle with sesame seeds.

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Ramen Noodles with Mushrooms

Captain James T. Kirk and crew teleported me to a parallel universe. I'm certain of this. When I walked out of my condo three days ago, crazy cold wind slapped me across the face, and darkness was everywhere.

When I stepped out of the office today, I was folded into a warm embrace by a beautiful breeze as the sun gently kissed my forehead.

I couldn't waste a moment of this beautiful weather. I threw the leash on my dog and headed for the park. After a few hours of reading and people watching, I was ready for a quick meal.

It took me 10 minutes to whip up this slurpy goodness.

Happy eating!

  • 1 Tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 4 Cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 Tablespoon vegetable dashida
  • 1 Tablespoon soy sauce
  • 1/4 Cup shallot, diced
  • 1 Stalk king mushroom, sliced
  • 1 Bunch oyster mushroom, sliced
  • 1 Package of ramen noodles
  • 1 Teaspoon sesame seed oil
  • 2 Teaspoons black pepper powder
  • 1 1/2 Teaspoon salt

In a small pot, add 2 cups water, 2 cloves of garlic, dashida, soy sauce, 1 teaspoon black pepper powder and 1/2 teaspoon salt. Bring to a boil. Lower heat and let it simmer.

In the meantime, heat a skillet on high. Add vegetable oil, 2 cloves of garlic and shallots. Quickly stir and cook until shallots start turning golden brown , about 3 minutes. Add mushrooms. Season with 1 teaspoon black pepper powder and 1 teaspoon salt. Stirring occasionally, cook until mushrooms are nice and brown, about 4-6 minutes. Drizzle with sesame oil and mix thoroughly.

While the mushrooms are cooking, add the ramen noodles to the broth. Cook for about 3 minutes or until the noodle is al dente.

Pour into a huge bowl. Top with mushrooms.

You're done. Now slurp away.

Monday, March 3, 2014

Quick Whole Wheat Pasta with Portobello Mushrooms and Tomatoes

This is a quick pasta dish. Here is what we threw together in about 20 minutes.


  • 2 Tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 5 Garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/2 Cup diced onions
  • 1 Tablespoon red pepper flakes (less if you don't like it too spicy)
    1 Teaspoon black pepper powder
  • 1 Teaspoon oregano, dried
  • 1 Can of diced tomatoes
  • 1 Cup vegetable broth
  • About 6 giant olives halved (had some olives from Whole Foods olive bar) 
  • About 10 cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 1/4 Cup basil (I used about 1 tablespoon from those herb tubes... gasp
  • 6-10 Pieces of shrimp (Go vegetarian and leave out the shrimp. I used frozen... again, gasp.)
  • 2 Tablespoons kosher salt
  • 6.5 Ounces whole wheat linguine

In a large pot, add enough water to cook pasta. Bring water to a boil. Add the kosher salt. Let it boil for another 3 minutes. Add the pasta. Cook for about 3 minutes.

Save about 1/4 cup of the water. Set aside. Finish cooking the pasta with the mixture.
  1. Heat a large skillet on medium heat. Add oil, garlic and onions. Let it cook for about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally and making sure the garlic does not brown. 
  2. Add red pepper flakes and black pepper powder. Cook for about a minute or so.
  3. Add the oregano and the can of tomatoes. Cook for about 3 minutes. 
  4. Add the pasta and the vegetable broth. Let it cook for about 2 minutes. If necessary, add the 1/4 cup of the pasta water.
  5. Add olives and cherry tomatoes. Mix until combined. Cook for about 3 minutes. 
  6. Add the basil and shrimp. Cook for about 3 minutes or until the shrimp is nice and pink.
That's it. Serve and stuff.

Sunday, March 2, 2014

The Graduate

In 2005, my aunt graduated from Kyonggi University. At 53 years old, she was the oldest on campus to don a cap and gown, and the first in her family to do so. 

Two years later, she suffered a major stroke that left her paralyzed and unable to speak. After extensive therapy, and months of tears, tantrums and frustrations, she is talking and has regained about 70 percent of her motor skills.

The Kyonggi grad is my mom’s little sister. She is 10 years younger; and after their dad died and their mother left, they only had each other. 

At 12 years old, my mom was mom to a two-year old. Together, they survived childhood; and stood by each other during adulthood. To this day, their bond is unbreakable.

The fight, the will, the strength exemplify the traits of the women in my life. I wish I had even a teaspoon of it.

I was in Korea in 2012 for work, and had only one day to visit my aunt. Not only did she have the traditional Korean breakfast spread waiting for me, she had one of my favorite bon chons, doenjang jjigae.

This traditional Korean dish is one of my favorites, and I have yet to taste doenjang jjigae that’s better than my grandmother’s. I tried to capture her recipe but without the fresh, homemade tofu and soy paste, it’s just not the same... but it's close.

Here is my grandmother’s doenjang jjigae, the dish that always reminds me of her and her legacy that lives on through my mom and my aunt. This is "old country Korea".

  • 3-4 Cups water
  • 1/4 Cup dried anchovies (You can also use 1 tablespoon of anchovies flavored dashida)
  • 1 Tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 5 Cloves garlic, minced
  • 4 Tablespoons doenjang (Korean soybean paste)
  • 1 1/2 Cups Korean radish, cubed
  • 1 Medium onion, cut into large pieces
  • Half of a Korean squash, cut into 1-inch strips
  • 1 Korean green pepper, diagonally cut
  • 9 Ounces firm tofu, cut into 1-inch squares (I use half of an 18 ounce carton)
  • 3 Scallions, diagonally cut
  • Salt and black pepper to taste

In a medium-size pot, add 3 cups of water and anchovies (or dashida). Cover and let simmer for 10 minutes.

In the meantime, in a medium-size dolsot pot (a small pot works), add oil and garlic. On medium heat, saute until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add the radish cubes and onions. Season with black pepper. Stir about 3 minutes.

Using a hand-held strainer, slowly add the broth to the radish and onion mixture. Discard the anchovies.

Add doenjang and let it simmer. This is a good time to taste the broth. If you want a stronger soy bean taste, add more soy bean paste. If it’s too strong, add more water.

Cover and let it simmer for about 20 minutes.

Add the pepper, squash, tofu and if needed more water. You want the broth to cover everything. Simmer on medium heat for 10 minutes.  Drop in the scallions and cook for another 5 minutes.


Korean meals usually consist of several small side dishes (bon chan) and one "feature" dish. Deonjang jjigae (dang jang jigae) is a feature dish. Rice is the main dish and is served with most meals. Depending on how many side dishes you have and how much rice you serve, this recipe can serve up to six people.

Sunday, February 23, 2014

Ramen Noodles, Grandma's Souped Up Version

The Yoda Effect

A friend once observed that most Asian women look younger than their age… right up until their 70th birthday, when all of a sudden they turn into Yoda overnight.

From what I can remember, my grandmother did look like Yoda, and even waddled like the Jedi Master. She had snowy patches of thinning white hair, and always wore Genie-like pants or long skirts that looked like pajamas.

Most memories I have of her are when she visited the States. It was the first and the last time she traveled outside of Korea.

She stayed with us for three months, and during that time, grandma always had a big bowl of noodles waiting when we got home after school.

After she went back to Korea, I spoke to her only a few times before she passed away in 1998.

While our time together was short, her effect on me is more than a flutter. She pops up everywhere in my life, including when I crave my comfort food.

After going eight days without a proper Asian meal, I needed an Asian food fix, and whipped up Grandma’s Souped-Up Noodles. It not only satisfied my comfort-food craving, it made me nostalgic for those days when my sisters and I flew home after school to slurp down a big bowl of grandma’s noodle soup while watching the Bradys brilliantly resolve yet another family crisis with potato sack races.

Here is the recipe for Grandma's Souped Up Ramen Noodles. 

Happy eating!
  • 1 Packet of Ichiban original flavor ramen noodles
  • 2 Cups water
  • 1 Teaspoon canola oil
  • 3 Cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 Cup pork tenderloin, sliced thin
  • 1 Teaspoon rice wine vinegar
  • 1 Tablespoon soy sauce
  • Half yellow onion, sliced
  • 5-7 Thin slices of Kamaboko fish cakes (Pink and white Japanese fish cakes found in frozen section.)
  • 4 Shitake mushrooms, sliced
  • 2 Pieces of fried bean curd, sliced (Found in refrigerated section. It usually comes in a plastic carton and has 8-10 pieces of light, crispy fried tofu.)
  • 1 Scallion, diagonally cut in thin strips
  • 1 Egg, fried and julienned
  • 1 Tablespoon Sriracha sauce (Reduce the amount if you don’t like it too spicy)
  • Ground black pepper to taste

Whisk rice wine vinegar and soy sauce. Set aside.

Heat a medium-size pot and add oil. Stir in the garlic and pork and cook until the pork is no longer pink. Add water, noodles soup base and vinegar mix. Bring to a boil. Add the onions, fish cakes, and mushrooms. Season with pepper. Cook for 2 minutes. Add the Ramen noodles and bean curd. Cook for 3 minutes. Top with scallions and egg.

Pass the Dish

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