Sunday, August 8, 2010

My wife and I ate this stuff.....

Was it fate or was it coincidence that it falls in the same month and one day apart from my wife... How do you explain my sons birthday falling in the same month as his grandmother one day apart from hers? Don't you ever tell me there is no such thing as a soul mate, that there is no greater power who has written our destiny before our time and that we are living the life chapter by chapter filled with twisted plots and alternate endings. I know that sounds a little deep, perhaps it is. A soul mate offers a sense of security that brings among other security and food related items cannot bring. Speaking of this, you should really check this out. It's pretty darn awesome since in the local hole in the wall Vietnamese restaurant just got one installed to help curb the local crime in the area. Its a very nice clean place to eat, its just that nowadays, they need some kind of visual coverage to protect their delightful cuisine.
Well somewhere in one of these twisted chapters without an end in sight, I guess it was also destined for me to be a foodie, which I believe by definition means a food lover, meat packer (no bruno), eating food for sport then bragging about the orgasms in my mouth....I also think being a foodie means our eyes are bigger than our stomachs, our eyes don't know the meaning of being nauseous and then falling into a food coma delivering us to our demise....
But it is the life that we live, the story that we choose to write or that has already been written hosted here by our fine food blogs. Now with that being said, it was a birthday that looked like a Thanksgiving Dinner, Asian Thanksgiving dinner that is...Enjoy the display of food, I wish I could have invited you all, I would have cooked more but there is always next time.
Grandma's Homemade Egg Rolls(Cha Gio) Recipe coming soon

Vietnamese BBQ Pork(Thit Heo Nuong) Recipe coming soon
Thang Long Style Fish(Ca Thang Long) Recipe coming soon
Hip Pork Roast Recipe not included..Chef John Doe
Mayo Sauce Shrimp w/out the Walnuts
Original Recipe by Bee of RasaMalaysia

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Sausage stir fry w/a side of Mexican Style Corn

Growing up, I recall that I wasn't able to keep friends for very long, for some strange or odd reason, our family liked to move around a lot. No we weren't in the military, my father was already a Vietnam War vet,
and no we weren't rich, these moves I imagined were very costly.  We grew up in a one bedroom 450sq ft apartment with walls so paper thin that you could hear the neighbors arguing about their extra marital affairs among other interesting topics. I guess we can conclude that it wasn't easy for my parents to settle in anywhere, we went from the "Hood" to the "Barrio" trying to find our niche. Despite constantly moving and not being able to establish a best friend that many children growing up had, the fact that I grew up bits and pieces of my life with different cultures had a large influence on who I am today. My tolerance, my understanding and most importantly appreciation for others cultures is incomparable to the average functional family....(i.e.we were extremely dysfunctional and my father was the ring leader in a 3 ring circus,we were nuts)

That being said my neighbors were Milton Martinez and Ricardo Hernandez, Mexican and Puerto Rican respectively. While most Vietnamese kids grew up only eating rice, I was introduced to the many Latino dishes and traditions. However a snack, one snack that I would buy almost everyday for $1 from the guy pushing the cart named Ricardo that didn't speak a word of English would change my life as I know it. I knew it as Mexican Corn or "Elotes." I would literally die and go to heaven w/each bite, boiled corn on the cob slathered w/butter, parmesan cheese and chile powder... Back then I didn't speak Spanish, Milton and Ricardo's mother didn't speak English, Milton and Ricardo weren't able to translate what the dishes were but as we foodies know it, food only has one language, and two words to affiliate themselves with, good or no good.  Yes, the elements of our environment deemed it necessary to call our little neighborhood "The Barrio" which I assume is the Latino Hood and either its coincidence or ironic but why is every other guy in the "Barrio" name Ricardo? I still have yet to understand.... Anyhoo, the dishes I present to you guys today are simple, Latino inspired dishes w/an Asian twist, a fusion of sort, and I'll explain...

First we have Sausage stir fry w/bell peppers, portobello mushrooms,and red onions. (Chorizo con verduras)
and Mexican styled corn(Maiz Mexicano)

With regards to the Mexican styled corn, I didn't have corn on the cob therefore I used corn in a can which works just as well. The ladies in the trailer in front of Fiesta on Hwy 6 and Bellaire sell it this way but the corn makes it a little more fun.

2 sausage links
few slices of bell peppers
few slices of portobello mushrooms
few slices of red onion
1 can of corn
3 table spoons of butter/margarine in a bottle preferably
chile powder and Parmesan cheese

Method for cooking:
In a wok/skillet heat up 2 table spoons of cooking oil, and add your sliced sausage links...(Chorizo would be best)
Cook thoroughly tossing and covering, once cooked add your vegetables and cover....
Once cooked it's best served w/rice or Corn tortilla's

For the corn....

I used the same wok but wiped off the oil from the sausage,

  • Add corn toss
  • Add butter
  • Add chile powder toss
  •  Once it's heated up transfer to a plate and add additional butter if you wish,add your parmesan and you are now done....

I hope you enjoyed this article, take a bite out of my childhood favorites....

Monday, May 31, 2010

Chicken Mango Stir Fry

Hola my's life been? I am sorry for the hiatus, like many of us, there has been a lot going on in my life, some of us handle stress better then others while some us rather crawl under a rock and hide. Too much to explain and perhaps not the right forum to do so, some of us go shopping to alleviate the stress, some of us smoke or do drugs, but like a true foodie, I EAT! This dish I present to you is nothing fancy, it just happened by chance, and for my recent liking of Mango's. For a long time I have never eaten a mango, and the one's I did eat were the one's my wife would share with me, you know, The unripe green sour mango's dipped in spicy salt??? If you don't know where I'm coming from I guess you have to be Vietnamese to understand, and specifically a Vietnamese girl/Woman who enjoys your sours, as for me, sour...not so much...

Needless to say, I enjoy a ripen sweet mango, like no tomorrow, and chicken, it compliments my desire to move away from red meat. Here is a recipe that will tickle your toe nails, so easy that it will make you want to drop your trousers and scream hallelujah!!!!

1 chicken breat
1 mango
few pinches of black pepper
few pinches of salt
few pinches of MSG (MSG is not that bad for you M.S.G. make something good)
2 tablespoons of oyster sauce
Slice your chicken breast and season w/black pepper,salt and MSG
Slice and prep your mango,cut like a turtle shell,it'll make it easier to peel off of the skin
Heat your wok
Add 1 tablespoons of cooking oil
Add chicken and stir until the edges are slightly browned
Add your oyster sauce
Add your mangoes and toss

You are now ready to serve, best if served w/rice you could also add red bell peppers to add color.

Friday, April 23, 2010

Pineapple Fried Rice by Tran Can Cook

Its safe to say that for a very, very long time, kitchen duties and cooking have been stereotyped as a job that belonged to women. Men were to break their back from 9-5, women were to be home makers, take care of the kids and have a nice cooked meal for their hubby's upon his arrival home from work. Well like it or not, times are changing and that mentality is a far cry from the society we live in today,...well in America at least. Women are C.E.O's and holding public offices, women are doing the great things that people like my grandmother could have only imagined doing when she was growing. With that being said, it leaves a void in an everyday aspect of life, for those of us who don't have a maid, or blessed to have Grandma or retired mother cook us a meal, it's a predicament that calls for a potential disaster! Help Houston we have problem, could you imagine having to live life eating fast food or microwavable dinners everyday???(SMH)

Of course not, here to bridge the gap, and to show the face to an ever changing cultural food revolution are Kevin and Viet Tran of Tran Can Cook. 6 videos in, a 2nd placing on a popular food network, and a glossary of Vietnamese influenced recipes, Kevin and Viet are here to bring sexy back to cooking. I am honored to be able to host a recipe courtesy of Kevin and Viet not to mention the interview transcript posted below, without further due, allow me to introduce you guys to TRAN CAN COOK

Tran Can Cook:Houston's up and coming Food Network Stars
Whats in a name? 
Well how about Tran can Cook. Native Houstonians, Viet and Kevin Tran are two Vietnamese foodies that want to pass down their family recipes, but pass it down in a fun, easy, and entertaining way.

Kevin and Viet had humble beginnings with just starting a cooking show on YouTube to represent home style Vietnamese cuisine May 9th 2009. They both work full time jobs, but have always aspired to release their entrepreneurial spirit and believed that "Tran can Cook" is the key to brewing success. They have won second place out of thousands of applicants across the U.S. in Food Network's sister website (Food2) summer challenge. Although they missed the opportunity to meet the Food Network stars in NYC for the Food and Wine Festival, Food2 continued to reach out to TCC which resulted in a deal to post their web series on their website.

With the third largest Vietnamese population in the nation, Houston has a plethora  of Vietnamese restaurants to express your inner kinky with food porn. From pan-Asian to Mo Mong, or hole in the wall restaurants like Que Huong, which are a few of TCC favorites, they have become devout connoisseurs of  Vietnamese cuisines in Houston. The goal of their show is to bring great Vietnamese cuisine  to your kitchen in an entertaining way like only Tran can Cook can....

What inspired you to do such a cooking show?
Kevin: Well when Viet told me about this idea of a cooking show, I immediately knew just the name for it. I remember watching Martin Yan's Can Cook in the early 90's and always admired his show. It just made sense to pay homage to my idol and use our same last names, follow his fun and educational cooking show

What can we look forward to from you guys in 2010?
After our success with the first contest we entered, we hope to get placed in our newest contest from NBC called "America's Next Great Restaurant where the grand prize is to have a restaurant chain in three different cities in which Bobby Flay will be the investor, judge, and mentor. We also plan to dish out 10 more episodes and finalize our website with a must have products such as TShirts,Aprons,and other unique TCC products.

Favorite cuisine and favorite dish?
Vietnamese cuisine of course! Not to be biased, but we believe it is a very unique cuisine that offers fresh and light ingredients that boasts a wide variety of flavors.
Kevin: My favorite dish is Mi Kho Xa Xiu(Dried noodle w/a side of chinese bbq pork)
Viet: My favorite dish is Mi Quang (Imperial Noodles)

Lucky ladies in any of your lives?
Viet answers for Kevin: All of his fans who are under 21 haha j/k eligible bachelor
Kevin answers for Viet: His fiance 

If you could be a superhero, which superhero would best define the both of you?
Kevin: Colossus cause I'm a metal tool
Viet: Ironman-Living the capitalist lifestyle of Tony Starks and builds his own stuff.

Final Thought:   
For the die hard foodies, we wouldn't mind making a career out of what we do, because we love what we do right? Eat, cook , show off and brag about how good it was. Living in the shadows of admiration for food network/travel channel stars like Anthony Bourdain and Andrew Zimmern both of whom have traveled to Vietnam numerous times. They represent an impeccable brand however, why isn't there a Food star that represents Vietnamese cuisine? Ming Tsai specializes in Chinese food, Iron Chef Morimoto specializes in Japanese, so where is the Vietnamese star?

Viet and Kevin Tran hope to bridge that gap, to be that star and continue to hand down their recipes one show at a time.
Special thanks to Kevin and Viet Tran for the opportunity and collaboration. 

Pineapple fried Rice:
3 cloves of Garlic
1/4 cup of onions
1/2 cup of Peas/carrots
2 links of sweet chinese sausage (Recommended,not required)
1 cooked chicken breast sliced
1-2 tbsp Brown sugar
one egg
1/4 cup of steamed green beans
1/2 cup of crushed pineapple in heavy syrup
1 tsp of Mushroom seasoning
1 tsp of Tumeric (Curry powder)
1/4 cup of raisins
4-5 cups of day old rice(recommended,but can be fresh steamed)

Method for cooking

Make sure you check back for updates frequently via the Tran can Cook Blog 
Or watch their funny as all hell cooking instructional videos on YOUTUBE
Converse with them on Twitter
To Be continued........

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Curry Lime Chicken (Its Grilling Season)

If there were any season that is "a perfect time to kill" it would be Grilling season! What's more perfect then the aroma of a succulent, well seasoned,  give you that dirty feeling, that guilty feeling that something this good should be illegal, fine cut of meat. Block out any other thoughts you have for just one moment and focus on this picture I paint if you will; Your grill is prepped, charcoal is lit, you take your meat that has been marinated overnight out of the fridge, slap it on grill like a pair of hot cakes, and listen to the sound of serenity, that sizzle. Your neighbors are looking over the fence only to ask "What is that on your grill it smells so good?" With deep pride, and in your wise guy voice you respond "If I tell you, I'd have to kill you."hungry yet?

Here's a recipe that's been with my family for years! One of the few dishes that Mama Wok knows how to cook, as sad as it sounds Mama Wok doesn't know how to cook elaborate dishes,she really doesn't! Our curry lime chicken is almost indescribable other then delicious., so good it'll make a vegan want to take a bite out of your breast,chicken breast that is. However, when you think of lime, you may think sour but this is far from sour, the lime just gives it that aroma, that zing in each bite.

  • 6 pieces of chicken or preferably chicken thighs
  • 1 1/2 lime
  • 3 cloves of garlic (please dice,mince)
  • 2 tablespoons of sugar
  • 1 tablespoon and an extra pinch of salt
  • Generous amount of Curry powder (This adds color)
  • Half of jalapeno sliced the long way
  • 1/2 tea spoon of msg (not too much)
  1. Wash your chicken, I used chicken thigh because it doesn't dry out as easily as the breast
  2. Cut 2 slits into your chicken just to ensure that it is cooked all the way through
  3. Add off the above ingredients, squeeze your lime,add your garlic,sugar,salt,msg
  4. Here comes' the pain!!You should always wear gloves when you do this, with your hands, toss the chicken around adding a light squeeze to each thigh/breast.
  5. Allow the chicken to marinate 24hrs in your fridge for best results
  6. Grilling time!
After 24 hours of marinade your batch should like this below. You can use the leftover juices to brush onto your thighs/breast during grilling.

Serve w/rice, french fries, an over easy egg, this dish goes well with just about anything.
Bon Appetit!

Friday, April 9, 2010

Umma's Stuffed Peppers Korean Style by Hae Jin

(photo courtesy of Hae Jin)

It's been a little over a year since I began The HoustonWok, I've had my ups and downs,days where I contemplated the curtain call. I 've asked myself, "Why am I devoting so much energy into this for?" My writing abilities are nowhere near as perfect as Anthony Bourdain, Amy Cao or some of my local heros such as Katherine Shilcutt of HoustonPress, or Albert N. of Htownchowdown, and certainly I don't have the time to build a glossary of recipes as some of the top blogs out there.

 But it's the priceless intangibles that kept me going, the what seems to be unconditional friendships and love for food that we all share. The compelling stories that are told through food, the history of the recipes and certainly the efforts that go into earning our viewers interest.

Today, I introduce to you a special recipe from a fellow blogger and dear friend Hae Jin of    I met Ms Hae Jin some months ago through this wonderful world of Blogosphere. A genuine,sweet, person she is with a glossary of traditional Korean recipes that have been w/her family "for generations" I have cooked a few of my favorite Korean dishes using her recipes and let me tell me you, her Kalbi(Korean Bbq short ribs) are the second coming. She's got quite a compelling family story and a book on the way called "Goodbye Joe". However if you're just in the business for food, especially Korean cuisine, you've found the right lady. Ms. Hae Jin shares with us her lovely Umma's Stuffed Peppers, please give her a warm welcome. She can be reached via twitter @Haejn or her lovely blog Yobodish.

Umma’s Stuffed Peppers, Korean Style
·         25-30 green hot finger peppers, cut in half and seeded
·         1/2 Pound Lean Ground Beef
·         1/2 Pound Lean Ground Pork
·         8 Cloves garlic, minced
·         1 Medium red onion, diced
·         1 Carrot, diced
·         2 Teaspoons ground black pepper
·         1 Teaspoon beef dashida
·         1 Tablespoon salt
·         3 Scallions, chopped
·         1-2 Cup(s) all-purpose flour
·         4-5 Eggs, beaten
·         1/3 Cup vegetable 

Wash the peppers, Cut them in half and clean out the seeds. Be sure to wear plastic/disposable gloves to protect your fingers and never touch your eyes after working w/peppers. Make sure the peppers are dry,now set aside.
In a large mixing bowl, add the beef, pork, garlic, onion, carrots, black pepper, dashida and salt. Roll up your sleeves and get your hands in there. Mix until thoroughly combined. Add the scallions and fold several times.

Stuff the peppers with the mixture taking care to evenly spread the stuffing from one end of the pepper to the other. Press down gently and flatten. You don’t want to overstuff the peppers.

4.Pour the flour on a large platter. Gently roll the stuffed peppers and coat. Shake off excess flour. 

Heat a griddle or a frying pan on medium heat and coat with vegetable oil. Dip the peppers in the egg and let the excess egg drip off before placing the peppers on the griddle. Make sure the peppers are evenly spread across the griddle or pan and not touching. You don’t want them sticking to each other. Let them cook for about 2-3 minutes on one side, or until they’re golden brown. Flip and repeat.

Transfer to a plate lined with paper towels and let them rest for a few minutes. Serve with dipping sauce. 

Dipping Sauce
·         2 Tablespoons soy sauce
·         1 Teaspoon vinegar
·         1 Tablespoon red pepper powder (kochu garu) 
      1 Teaspoon toasted sesame seeds
Thank you Ms.Hae Jin for this wonderful recipe, I am honored that you would share a secret from your family vault with the Wokkies...
Meet Ms. Hae Jin,click on her photo for a direct link to her twitter page

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Vietnamese Egg Drop Soup

On a less then stellar day, the temperature is below 60, slight over cast w/a light sprinkle of rain can make even the hardest worker feel a bit sluggish. Top that off w/being away from the family in a such a depressing city, I find myself searching for my sweet surrender. In this case, I was in need or something warm, a soup that I could slurp as loudly as I wanted to as if nobody was watching me, and even if you were listening or watching, who cares, this is my life, this is my bowl of soup.

When you think of egg drop soup, I will more then guarantee that you are thinking of that really commercial, cross between pudding and yellow water in the Chinese buffets. Sorry to disappoint you but this is not that, far from it actually, this is filet mignon  compared to the other guys. Here you will find tomatoes that has been seared w/shallots, tofu, and dried shrimps. How could anyone ask for more? To my surprise this has got to be the easiest soup since opening up a can of campbells.

1 tbl spoons of cooking oil
3 tomatoes/cut in quarters
1 shallot minced
2 cans of chicken broth
1 cup of water
2 tablespoons of fish sauce
pinch of msg/flavor enhancer
2 eggs beat
2 strands of green onions sliced

Method of cooking
In a small pot add oil
add minced shallots
add your tomatoes/seer
add your chicken broth/water
allow to come to a boil
pour in your beat eggs
add,msg,fish sauce
add your tofu
add your onions

Enjoy Bon Apetit
Yours truly
Houston Hero


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