This is a "laterpost" (haha, instead of latergram 🤣) that I had started writing last year when the hubby and I went clamming for the first time and got a little over 2 dozen clams! Life got in the way and I completely forgot to publish it, but now that I am living in Illinois and it's hard to find "fresh" seafood, I find myself really missing the days we went crabbing and clamming in New Jersey.
It was such a fun time and also a bit of a workout--who knew raking for clams would be so tiring! My muscles were so sore the next day, but I didn't feel tired at all while digging! (Maybe that's the best kind of workout? Hahaha) We dug for clams in the shallows of New Jersey's Barnegat Bay. The water is relatively clear in the shallows and we used little gardening rakes from Home Depot. You basically rake through the sand and if you hit something, you dig it out with your hands! Sometimes it might be a rock, but if you're lucky, you get a clam! It's really a hit and miss but it's so exciting to find them, especially if you find a huge one! After the first time we went, we fell in love with clamming and went back a couple more times--and would come back with upwards of 60+ clams! They were always so sweet and fresh, and I would make dishes like stuffed clams, pasta with clams, steamed clams in wine sauce, or clam chowder with the big clams. 💗💗💗
Clamming was also a great to be away from our phones for a few hours and spend some quality time together. My family never understood why we liked to go catch our own crabs and I'm sure it's the same when it comes to clamming—they always say, "Why don't you just go buy them from the market? Less work!" But there's something that is just so satisfying and fun to be able to cook the food that you hunt for yourself. (For me, only seafood though, I could never hunt mammals in the wild like deer. To each their own I guess!) 😁
We purged the clams overnight to get rid of the sand and then enjoyed them as linguine with white wine clam sauce! Nothing like cooking your own catch! This recipe is a Japanese style recipe based on the Italian clams with white wine sauce over linguine. Of course you can always do the original Italian version, but in our house, I always like to put a little Asian spin on things 😎 Instead of white wine, I use Japanese sake and topped it with nori furikake (seaweed seasoning typically used for white rice). I found the Japanese sake to add an inherent sweetness to the dish that regular white wine doesn't provide, which also enhanced the sweet, fresh clam flavor. I also found that the clams had plenty of their own natural salty flavor (as did the bacon) and that I didn't need to add much salt if at all to the dish when cooking!
I hope that one day we can go back and go clamming and crabbing again 💗 I hope you get a chance to as well, and if not, at least enjoy this yummy clams and linguine dish 😊
JAPANESE STYLE LINGUINE WITH CLAMS
Makes 2 servings
Until next time,
If you love noodles and pasta as much as I do, be sure to check out some of my other favorite noodle recipes, like:
Air Fryer Beef Chow Mein
Dan Dan Noodles
Lobster Garlic Noodles
Braised Beef Noodle Soup
Korean Jap Chae Noodles
Shrimp Cheung Fun
Cantonese style chow mein is characterized by a bed of crispy pan fried noodles topped with a delicious brown sauce with stirfried meat and veggies—it could be seafood, beef, chicken, etc. The brown sauce is usually a base of soy sauce and oyster sauce thickened by a cornstarch slurry.
Chow mein was often a dish we ordered when we went to a Cantonese restaurant or dim sum place and got as an "add on" dish (because for us, when we went for dim sum, we ate dim sum, and any other "entree" is really just in case you aren't full, or you want to bring it home as leftovers, haha). My dad would often order the chicken chow mein for us to eat and it is a memory I often associate with whenever I see it on the menu. I love the way the pan fried noodles would crackle and crunch when you cut into them, and how tender and moist the protein always was, regardless of whether it was chicken, beef, or pork.
The reason for this is due to the marinade used for the protein and then cooking it on high heat—this is a process called 'velveting' and it locks in all the juices, making even chicken breast tender and yummy.
Since we've been craving childhood favorites lately, and because there is truly a shortage of good, authentic Asian eats where I live, I found our local mini Asian market sold chow mein in their freezer, I decided to make this restaurant favorite at home! I air fried the noodles rather than frying the noodles pan or wok of oil so it is just mildly healthier than the restaurant version! It was so crispehhhhhh 😍
The package of chow mein noodles we got had 4 servings, so we just used half and saved the other half to make again later in the week. You can always make as much as you want, but we have a small airfryer so it wouldn't have fit all of it in one go anyway, haha. Be sure to get the thin chow mein noodles--thick noodles won't crisp up the same way.
AIR FRYER BEEF CHOW MEIN
Makes 2 servings
Air Fryer Chow Mein
- 1/2 package Chow mein noodles
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 1 tbsp sesame oil
- salt* optional
Marinade for Beef
- 6 oz beef, sliced into bite sized pieces
- 2 tbsp water
- 1 tbsp cornstarch
- 1/4 tsp black pepper
- 1/2 tbsp oyster sauce
- 1/2 tsp sugar
- 3 stalks of scallions
- 1 tbsp oyster sauce
- 1 tbsp light soy sauce
- 2 tsp sugar
- 1 tsp black pepper
- 2 tbsp cornstarch
- 1 cup water or low sodium chicken broth
1. Marinate your sliced beef in 1 tbsp cornstarch, a sprinkling of salt, black pepper, sugar, oyster sauce, and 2 tbsp water. Mix well and let marinate for 10 minutes.
2. Boil the chow mein noodles briefly, about 1-2 minutes. Then drain and run through cold water to remove any excess starch, and get rid of as much liquid as possible in the strainer. Use paper towels to dry if needed.
3. Add the olive oil and sesame oil to the chow mein in a large mixing bowl and mix well to ensure the noodles are coated. You can add a pinch of salt and mix in as well, but optional.
4. Lay the noodles flat in your air fryer rack with a piece of parchment paper underneath the noodles. Airfry at 380°F for 10 minutes. Then flip the noodles and move the noodles around so that all the crispy edges are under and the non crispy noodles are exposed. Airfry again at 380°F for 7 minutes. At this point, check to see if it is crispy throughout, and if not, mix the noodles and make sure the non crispy noodles are exposed and airfry again, 3 minutes at a time until it reaches desired crispness. The time may differ based on how dry you were able to get your noodles.
5. While the noodles are airfrying, add a little oil to your fry pan and cook your beef until seared brown on all sides. Remove from the pan and cook your onions in the remaining oil until onions are brown and translucent.
6. Make your sauce mixture with cornstarch, water (or low sodium chicken broth), oyster sauce, light soy sauce, sugar, and black pepper. Add your beef back in, add scallions, and add the sauce mixture and mix. Cook until the sauce thickens and taste—add salt if needed, but if you use chicken broth, most likely do not need extra salt. Once the sauce is thickened to your desired consistency, shut off the heat.
7. Once airfried chow mein noodles reach the desired crispness, put onto a large plate and spoon the beef and onions sauce on top. Garnish with more scallions if desired and enjoy!
Until next time,
So while being at home during this pandemic, we've been craving dim sum like crazy. Dim Sum is a Cantonese tradition of breakfast or brunch food, and might be compared to Spanish tapas where all the dishes are small dishes meant to be shared. "Dim Sum" literally translates to 'dim' - to touch, and 'sum' - heart" or "to touch the heart" or "order to your heart's content". Traditionally, dim sum places involve restaurant staff, usually elderly Chinese Aunties, pushing hot steaming carts with steamers piled high and calling out what they have in their carts. (various dumplings, bao buns, mini steamed dishes of cheung fun noodles, siu mai, pork ribs and more.) You'll often hear classics like, "Ha gow! (shrimp dumplings) Siu mai! (pork dumplings), Fung Zhao! (braised chicken feet)"
Waiters will walk around with trays of freshly fried foods or fresh out of the kitchen dishes like salt and pepper shrimp, calamari, fried bacon wontons, fried taro nests, stir fried clams and dear lord my mouth is watering!! Going for dim sum is an experience--it's loud, crowded, full of families and kids running around, adults gossiping and chatting, plenty of laughter and mountains of good food to stuff your face with.
One of my favorite dishes is the Cheung Fun (Steamed Rice Noodle) with Shrimp, also known as "Ha Cheung" in Cantonese. After some research and trying out quite a few recipes from different sources, I finally found a recipe for shrimp cheung fun that tastes like restaurant quality cheung fun!
This recipe is adapted from Shashira, owner of the My Lovely Recipes food blog. Her Instagram is @my.lovelyrecipes so definitely give her a follow! This is so good! 👌👌👌 My hubby and I will now be able to enjoy our beloved cheung fun at home whenever we want 😁
Here's the link to her blog recipe for chee cheong fun: https://www.mylovelyrecipes.com/recipes/chinese-cuisine/chee-cheong-fun/
For this recipe, I use a wok and a metal rack to hold up my 8x8 metal tray to make the cheung fun. You basically make a slurry, steam it, add your raw shrimp, steam again, then fold it up! Keep the cheung fun rolls warm in a separate steamer so it's all hot when you're ready to eat. (Or microwave them all at once for about 30 seconds before eating). Best enjoyed with sweet soy sauce and chili oil or sriracha!
Now I just gotta learn the 383747483829 other dim sum recipes so we can have a real homemade dim sum brunch at home! Now, when we do dim sum at home, we steam up some ready made shrimp dumplings and siu mai, pan fry some pork & chive dumplings or make some crispy beef rolls with scallion pancakes...and of course, some tea! 😁
Silky Dim Sum Shrimp Cheung Fun
Servings: approx. 10 Cheung Fun Rolls
I use an 8x8 square metal pan and steam in a wok
Cheung fun mixture:
3 cups water
1 cup rice flour
1/2 cup tapioca starch
1/2 cup wheat starch
1/2 cup potato starch
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp sesame oil
About 1/2 lb shrimp, deveined and shells removed (you can use small shrimp or you can use larger shrimp and cut them into bite sized pieces)
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp cornstarch
1/2 tsp white pepper
8x8 metal pan
Small metal stand/rack to place pan on top in wok
Sweet soy sauce
(Can do regular soy sauce + sugar and water)
Cilantro, Scallion (optional)
Until next time,
I am up to my noodley shenanigans again! Today I am sharing a Braised Beef Noodle Soup. I feel apprehensive calling this a Taiwanese Braised Beef Noodle Soup, since the recipe is really a combination of a bunch of recipes I've tried in the past and have tweaked over time to suit our tastes, but essentially it would be best related to Taiwanese beef noodles--although I'm sure a purist would say otherwise. Bay leaves are not usually part of the recipe, but I find that it gives a little somethin' somethin' to it. I also find that other recipes have more star anise and use spicy bean paste for the telltale spice kick, but after a few times of recipe testing, we found that we weren't fond of the heavy licorice flavor of star anise in our broth, and that spicy bean paste often ended up being too spicy (at least for my husband, who is decidedly weak against spice haha). I tend to add some chili paste on top of my noodles before I eat, and it tastes just as good!
I developed a love for beef noodle soup when I stayed in Taiwan for a few weeks as a tween/teenager and again when I went on a mom and daughter trip back in 2014. I stayed with my cousins and my aunt once took me to a place not far from her home in Taipei that sold affordable, homemade and delicious beef noodle soup. I remember the steaming pots of beef broth, assorted beef cuts including brisket, shank, tripe and tendon being scooped up to be placed on top of freshly boiled noodles. You could smell the broth and beef as you approached the restaurant from outside. Taiwan is hot and humid, especially during the summer, but you will still see plenty of people queuing up for a good bowl of beef noodle soup on any day. This dish is so popular that you'll see it in restaurants, street vendors and even at the airport!
The photos below were taken back in 2014 when I went to Taiwan with my mom and we revisited the same beef noodle shop near my aunt's home! Look at all the honeycomb tripe, beef tongue and beef tendon!! Yummm! Next to it is a photo of a bowl of beef noodle soup we ate at the airport in Taipei. Even for airport food, the noodles were super nice and chewy, flavorful broth and large chunks of soft beef. Ah the memories ♥🍜
I tend to pair this recipe with my handmade noodles (super easy to make) but if I'm pressed for time or too lazy, I will use store bought (either fresh flour noodles or the dried kinds). You can even use instant noodles if you wish!
As for the beef, I truly recommend using beef shank over other cuts of beef. It is an affordable cut of meat, is fatty and has tendon throughout, so after cooking in the Instant Pot, that fat and collagen from the tendon is infused and melted into your beef stock broth to be super unctuous and delightfully beefy. No beef bones needed for an intensely flavorful broth.
INGREDIENTS: 6 servings
We make this so often at home because you can just toss everything into the pot and have it set to start on its own so that when we get home from work, we just have to boil noodles and throw everything together within minutes! Comforting, warm, and slurpy beefy noodle goodness. Enjoy!
Until next time,
Japchae is a sweet and savory Korean vermicelli noodle dish made with sweet potato starch. The noodles are usually cooked with an assortment of vegetables and served as a side dish or as an entree. Did you know, in both Korean and Chinese, the term japchae 잡채; 雜菜means mixed vegetables. As a linguaphile, I always find it so interesting to see commonalities between vastly different languages, especially that of Chinese words, phrases and their similar meanings in Korean and Japanese. Like when I found out the word for library in Japanese was toshokan 図書館, which sounds like the Chinese equivalent for tu su guan圖書館, and then in Korean it is also doseogwan 도서관! So cool!! Anyhow, moving on...
This is an easy recipe that everyone in my family enjoys. It's not oily or greasy, and packs lots of healthy veggies. Japchae has a sweet and savory profile, making it palatable for kids and seniors alike. My grandmother who is notoriously picky about all foods other than her own, also enjoys japchae! The sweetness not only comes from the sugar and soy sauce, but also from the natural sweetness of the carrots. Some japchae dishes include protein like sliced beef or chicken, but today's recipe is mainly vegetarian. Feel free to add protein as you like!
This dish is quick to pull together with a little prep for the veggies and boiling the sweet potato noodles (dangmyeon). You can buy this noodle at your local Asian supermarket or Korean market.
I used dried shiitake mushrooms and re-hydrated them, saving the mushroom broth to use when cooking the japchae instead of water. I would much rather use dried shiitakes and re-hydrate them instead of using fresh shiitakes because there is a depth of flavor from the drying process that concentrates the mushroom flavor to a whole different level of umami. Like a dry-aged steak, the flavors of the aged beef are more pronounced and richer when dried than a fresh cut. Also, the mushroom broth that comes out of rehydrating is great for cooking and replacing vegetable stock in recipes.
When I boil the noodles, I also cook the veggies at the same time, starting with the carrots. Then the garlic and mushrooms go in, and lastly the spinach. From there, the noodles are tossed in and the sauce joins the party!
With a sprinkling of sesame seeds and fresh chopped scallions, the dish is complete and ready to eat. Enjoy as a meal by itself, or cook it as a side dish to eat with Korean bbq at home--grill up some meat, serve with fresh lettuce leaves, kimchi, potato salad..the list goes on. I am seriously missing Kbbq right now. 😞
We hope you enjoy this Korean staple dish as much as we do!
Just a gal who loves to eat and cook ❤