hot pot soup at home

hot pot 1

Hot Pot is a traditional chinese concept in which a boiling bowl of stock is placed in the middle of the dinner table.  The pot is kept simmering and  guests around the table place raw meat or vegetables into the pot. The ingredients cook quickly and enjoyed by the diners.

It’s a unique experience that J and I have been able to partake it at a few restaurants, but our favorite was in Hawaii.  J actually went to the restaurant while I stayed behind and caught some rays (can you blame me?), and enjoyed it so much that he brought me with him a couple days later.  Just like Poke, we enjoyed it so much that I was determined to bring the hot pot soup home with me. I might not have a setup to keep a large bowl boiling in the middle of the dining table, but I’ve been able to adapt the recipe to a bowl of soup.  With the cooling temperatures, it’s a cozy meal.

I love the flexibility I have with this soup.  The base is pretty simple and I add whatever is available at home to the broth.  I try to always put some sort of starch  (noodles, udon, or rice cakes), protein (thin shredded beef, chicken, or tofu), hearty vegetables (cabbage, bok choy, even kale).  If you like eggs, add one towards the end of the cooking process.  A soft yolk makes an awesome addition to gulps of hot, spicy, broth.

zoom hot pot

Hot pot soup at home
(makes 4 servings)

1 1/2 quarts water
1/4 cup kimchi paste
1 1/2 tbs Bouillon chicken stock
3 chicken breasts, cut into 1 inch strips
1 medium sized bok choy, sliced into 3 inch slices
3 leaves kale, sliced into 3 inch slices
1 cup shredded carrots
1 jalepano pepper, thinly sliced
6 ounces noodles
2 eggs, if desired

In a large pot, add water, kimchi paste and chicken stock. Bring liquid to boil.  Once boiling, reduce heat so that broth is simmering and add vegetables and meat.  Cook until ingredients are cooked, about 5 minutes.  Add noodles and cook based on package directions.  With approximately 2 minutes to go until the noodles are ready, add eggs if desired.  When noodles are cooked, Serve and Enjoy!

hot pot 2

Soup on,
– shirley


philly cheesesteaks


It’s not like I didn’t like a philly cheesesteak before I moved to philadelphia.  But since I’ve been living here for the last 5 years, I have had my fair share of cheesesteaks.  For the most part, I do prefer these out, in some of the best places in the city (although they are so popular that most corner pizza and sub shops make a great one).  But, every so often I give these a shot at home.  At home, I can choose the veggies, the quality of the meat and ingredients, and who doesn’t like a filling, meaty and cheesy sandwich at the middle of the week to call dinner.

I love the thin sliced beef they sell at trader joe’s and have used it before as a good substitute in Korean style soup, but decided it would do the trick here too.  There are some varieties in cheesesteaks, including an assortment of veggies – mushrooms, peppers, and onions being the most popular, and a number of acceptable (or not acceptable) cheeses – it really depends who you ask.  The typical ones are american or cheese whiz (dont ask, it just works).  And some people prefer marinara on it too.  I went fairly simple on this one, with a couple types of peppers and mozarella cheese.

And if you are ever in philly, check out some of the popular cheesesteak spots – Jim’s, John’s, Pat’s or Geno’s and make sure you order fast and right 🙂

Philly Cheesesteaks
(makes 2-3 servings)

1/2 pound thinly cut beef steaks
1/2 tbs garlic powder
2-3 soft rolls
1 large red pepper
1 sweet pepper
salt and pepper, to taste
1 1/2 cups mozzarella cheese

In a saute pan with a little olive oil, saute the beef until fully cooked, adding the garlic powder about halfway through the cooking process.  Remove meat from pan.  Add vegetables to the pan and cook until they brighten and are cooked, approximately 5-6 minutes.  Add the meat back to the pan and mix all the ingredients together.  Add salt and pepper to taste.  Open up the rolls, add meat and vegetable mix and top with cheese.  Place into an oven safe dish and place in the oven, with the broiler set to high.  Bake until cheese is melted, approximately 6-8 minutes.


philly on
– shirley



About six months ago, J and I traveled to Hawaii.  While both of us had been there before, we were lucky enough to have some amazing hosts while we were there.  Brandon and his wife Jen are some of the most giving and wonderful people we have had the pleasure of spending time with.  They were amazing hosts.  And not to mention I’m pretty sure I wanted to take their (beyond) cute 2 daughters home with us at the end of the trip.

Between workouts (J was teaching judo in Hawaii and I tagged along), hikes, and laying on the beach, Brandon and Jen showed us a great time and took us to all the local hangouts.  This is just like why I like venturing off the beaten path when we travel – we got to taste some amazing, truly local cuisine and favorites.  One of the things that we ate was poke.  Poke is a japanese dish – raw tuna seasoned with spices, soy sauce, etc. and it tastes amazing.  It’s a great new way to enjoy Japanese food when eating sushi and sashimi gets boring.

While I’ve had Poke before, I returned from the trip missing the amazing flavors of Hawaii and inspired to recreate some myself.  Mission accomplished!  The tuna should be sashimi grade to make sure it’s fresh enough to eat raw.  The best bet for this is either a fish market, or for me, the asian supermarket that has a seafood section I could spend hours wandering through.  I also like to make this the day before to let the flavors marinate together.

(makes 2 servings)

1 pound sashimi grade tuna
2 cloves garlic, minced
1-2 green onion, cut into small slices
1/2 tsp grated ginger
3 tbs soy sauce
1 tbs sesame seeds
1/2 tsp red pepper flakes
1/2 tbs sesame chili oil
3 cups white or brown rice, cooked

Cut tuna into small, 1 inch cubes.  In a large bowl, combine the rest of the ingredients.  Add tuna and mix carefully using a spoon to completely cover the tuna.  Refrigerate overnight. Serve over rice, if desired.


food on

sunday funday: fish tacos

fish tacos

A few years ago, J and I took a vacation to Cabo San Lucas.  To say that I love Cabo would be an understatement.  It’s a beautiful town (the very southern town/tip of Baja California), the sights are gorgeous, the water is beautiful, and the locals are incredible hosts.  The city is definitely tourist driven, so J and I quickly ventured outside the main streets to find some more local and authentic spots.  We are always in the hunt for these when we travel because it usually means that the food is more reasonbly priced, tastier, and we’re able to experience the true local culture and flair.

In cabo, I remember two places that were exactly like this.  The first was a taco stand right next to the fishing wharf, and the second was a small restaurant a few blocks from the main street. Both had some great tasting, seafood tacos.  And of course, in both, tacos were about a dollar a pop.  Can’t beat that.

So when we got back from Cabo I knew I had a new mission: Recreate those tacos pescados (fish tacos).  I did some digging around and have been making these ever since. I’ve made them with both tilapia and mahi mahi and it’s really a toss up.  Add a little cheese, cabbage, salsa, guac, sour cream, and a squeeze of lemon juice, and I’m instantly back on the warm, beautiful streets of Cabo.

fried fish - tacos

Fish tacos
(serves 3)

2 filets of white fish, tilapia or mahi mahi work best
1/2 cup flour
1/2 cup your favorite beer, mexican beers work great
3-4 cups vegetable oil
1/4 head cabbage, shredded
1/4 cup cheese
8-10 corn tortillas
favorite garnishes, including guacamole, salsa, and sour cream
a squeeze of lemon

In a bowl, mix together the flour and beer.  The consistency should be like that of pancakes.  I’ve found that I usually end up with a little more liquid than flour to get to the right consistency.  Be patient when mixing because of the foaming of the beer.

Rinse the white fish with a little water and dry on a paper towel.  Add a pinch of salt and a squeeze of lemon to each side of the fish, and slice into one inch wide segments.

Heat a pan with the oil on medium-high.  Add a little drop of batter into the oil to ensure it is hot enough – the batter should immediately float to the top and sizzle.  Once the oil is hot, place the fish strips into the batter, ensure each piece of fully coated.  Lift out of the batter and allow to drip for a couple seconds, then place into the hot oil.  Cook for approximately 3 minutes, or until browned.

Assemble the tacos by placing one to two pieces of fish, a little cheese, shredded cabbage, and as desired, guacamole, salsa, and sour cream.  Finish with a squeeze of lemon.

food on,
– Shirley