Archive for Author AnniesChamorroKitchen

About the Author: AnniesChamorroKitchen
Hafa adam means "hello" in Chamorro, the native language of my island home, Guam U.S.A. Guam is the proverbial melting pot, abounding with cultural diversity that is aptly displayed in the variety of food we eat and share. The focal point of most Chamorro families centers around family gatherings and cooking. In my home, most of my guests congregate in my kitchen. It is where we do our best catching up, and whee lasting emories aremade. Browse through my selection of Chamorro and other recipes m and please leave me a comment if you try my recipes to let me know what you think of them. I hope you enjoyed your time in my kitchen. Come back soon! This site is work-in-progress, so please bear with me as I grow this site to a place where you'll love to visit. Happy Cooking! ~ Annie

Thai Milk Tea with Boba

Thai tea is not to be confused with Indian Chai.  It’s a quite fragrant tea made with black tea leaves and mixed with ground star anise, orange blossoms, ground cloves, and ground cinnamon.  Once brewed, a few drops of vanilla extract adds an additional depth to the already quite fragrant and flavorful tea.

It can be served hot or cold, and with or without milk, cream, or like I prefer it, with half-&-half.

Thai tea is usually served sweetened.  I sweeten my tea with a sugar syrup made with water, brown and white sugar.  You can also use sweetened condensed milk instead of syrup, and evaporated milk instead of cream or half-&-half.  Coconut milk is delicious with this too.

Adding cooked tapioca pearls is not part of the way traditional Thai tea is served.  The addition of the chewy black pearls, or boba, is thought to be of Taiwanese influence.  Black tea with milk and boba pearls added is commonly called “bubble milk tea.”

I’ve only found two establishments that sell bubble milk tea, or Thai milk tea — with boba — that I liked.  One was in Washington state and the other in Nevada.  There is a restaurant here in Colorado where I live that sells good Thai tea as well, but their boba is always too hard and almost inedible.

I wanted to create my own version of Thai milk tea with boba, mainly to control how much sugar and cream (or in my case, half-&-half) I add to it, and to cook the boba just how I like it–soft and chewy, and slightly sweet.

I used to prefer a slushy drink, which is easy enough to do by blending your sweetened milk tea with some ice.  Lately, though, I’ve come to prefer an iced version, cold but not blended with the ice.  I also found that adding boba to a slushy drink causes the boba to harden faster, which I’m not too keen on since I like the boba soft and chewy.  Both versions are good, though.  I’ve included some directions on making the slushy version at the bottom of my post.

Give my recipe a try.  It’s quite easy to make, and economical too.  Why go out and buy it when you can make it yourself right in your very own home.

My recipe below makes enough for 4 servings (in a tall glass).

Thai Milk Tea with Boba

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Ingredients for the boba:

  • 3 quarts water
  • 1 1/2 cups dry tapioca pearls
  • 1/2 cup sugar syrup (for soaking the pearls AFTER cooking)

Ingredients for the sugar syrup:

  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup white granulated sugar
  • 1 cup water

*Note: You’ll use 1/2 cup of sugar syrup to soak the cooked boba and the remaining syrup to sweeten the tea.

Ingredients for the tea:

  • 4 tablespoons loose (dry) Thai tea mix
  • 4 cups water
  • 2 cups sugar syrup
  • 1/2 cup half-&-half
  • ice

This is the brand of loose Thai tea mix and tapioca pearls I use.  I tried several brands of instant milk tea mixes and I found them either too sweet or too bland, or too chalky-tasting.

I like Pantai brand Thai Tea Mix (shown below on the left) — it’s a loose tea mix that you must steep in hot water.  When I first bought this brand, I knew it was a winner just from the delicious aroma of the dry tea leaves.

I also tried countless brands of tapioca pearls.  My first endeavor making boba was a complete failure because of the brand of tapioca pearls I used.  The “pearls” completely dissolved in the boiling water after only a few minutes of cooking!  I looked at the ingredient list AFTER the fact and discovered they were made from lots of ingredients OTHER THAN tapioca, most of which I couldn’t pronounce.  The brand pictured below has three simple ingredients: tapioca starch, water and caramel syrup. That’s it.  And it turns into soft, chewy and delicious boba.

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Directions:

Cook the Boba.

Place the water in a large pot over high heat then bring to a boil.  Add the boba to the pot all at once.  Cover the pot, keeping the lid slightly ajar.  Reduce the heat to medium and continue to cook (boil) the boba for 35 minutes.  Stir the boba occasionally.

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After 35 minutes, turn off the heat.  Stir the boba then cover the pot, placing the lid on completely.  Let the boba steep in the hot water for 25 minutes.  Do NOT uncover the pot.

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While the boba is steeping in the hot water, make the sugar syrup.

Place both sugars and water in a microwave-safe bowl.  Microwave on high for 3 minutes. Carefully remove the bowl from the microwave; stir the mixture, ensuring the sugar is completely dissolved.

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Pour out 1/2 cup of syrup in a small bowl; this will be used to soak the cooked boba.  Set the remaining syrup aside to sweeten the tea.  (I know, I know, the photo below shows only 1/4 cup, but I added more syrup later.)

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After steeping the boba for 25 minutes, it’s ready to be sweetened.  Pour the boba out into a strainer or colander.  DO NOT RINSE THE BOBA.

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Place the warm boba in the small bowl with 1/2 cup of syrup.  Soak the boba in the syrup for 15 minutes.  While you’re waiting, make the tea.

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Bring 4 cups of water to a boil.  Place the tea mix into a tea infuser/basket.  If you have a tea sack, you can use that as well.

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Seal the basket and place into the hot water.  Let the tea steep for 15 minutes.  If you want stronger tea, prepare this first to allow the tea mixture to steep longer, up to an hour.

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When the tea is done steeping, you’ll need to strain out any tea leaves that got into the liquid.  I use a coffee filter placed into a small strainer to filter out the leaves.

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Pour the tea through the coffee filter-lined strainer.

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This is what the filtered tea looks like.

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Sweeten the tea by mixing the remaining sugar syrup with the tea.

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Place a few tablespoons of sweetened boba in the bottom of a tall glass.

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Fill the glass about halfway with the sweetened tea.

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Add ice.

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Pour 1/8 cup of half-&-half into the glass.  You can also use coconut milk or evaporated milk rather than half-&-half.

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Stir the tea, insert a large straw into the glass, and ENJOY! 🙂

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To make a blended tea, place two cups of ice in a blender.  Add three cups of sweetened tea and 1/2 cup half-&-half.   Blend until slushy.  Add cooked boba in the bottom of a glass then pour in the slushy tea.  Add a large straw and ENJOY!

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Ube Cheesecake

Who doesn’t love cheesecake?  And for those of us who grew up in the islands, who doesn’t love ube-anything?  If you haven’t tried ube, or taro, now’s the time.

While vacationing on Guam not too long ago, I went to a restaurant that featured a taro cheesecake as one of their signature desserts.  It was to-die for!  The cheesecake was rich, creamy, and topped with a crispy caramelized sugar topping that took this dessert to an entirely new level!

I decided then and there that I would try my hand at making this cheesecake.  I decided to use steamed and puréed fresh purple yams instead of ube jam.  Ube jam is good, don’t get me wrong; I just wanted to control the amount of sugar I put into the cheesecake and ube jam is already sweetened.

I’m forewarning you…this cheesecake takes a while to prepare.  The mixing of the batter doesn’t take that long at all.  There are, however, several steps in making this cheesecake, but it’s worth it in the end.  The cooling process takes a very long time as well, about 4-6 hours, preferably overnight.  But don’t let all that discourage you from giving my recipe a try.  While there are a lot of steps, it’s a very easy recipe to make.

Give it a try and let me know how it turned out for you.

Ube Cheesecake

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Make the Crust:

  • 18 graham cracker squares
  • 3 tablespoons white, granulated sugar
  • 6 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted

This is a photo of graham cracker “squares.”  Depending on the brand, some graham crackers are rectangular shaped.  I used plain graham crackers for this recipe.  I do not recommend using graham crackers that have sugar and cinnamon on them.

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Break the squares into small pieces and place into a food processor.

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Pulse until you get fine crumbs.

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Pour the crumbs in a bowl, stir in the sugar, then fold in the melted butter.

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Spread the crust mixture in the bottom of a 9-inch springform pan that has been sprayed with non-stick cooking spray.

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Press the crumbs into the bottom of the pan and just slightly up the side.  I use a measuring cup to press down on the crust to really compress it.

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Bake for 15 minutes at 325 degrees, or until the crust turns a nice rich brown.

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Make the Cheesecake Batter:

  • 1 1/3 cups white granulated sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 packages cream cheese, softened at room temperature
  • 2 cups steamed and puréed purple yam or taro (about 1 large or 2 medium ones)
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 5 large eggs
  • 1 cup heavy cream

Cook the yams:

There are many ways to cook yams.  You can roast them in your oven, bake, boil or steam them.  I prefer to roast yams if I’m eating them by itself as part of my meal.  However, for this recipe, I decided to steam them.

Fill a pot with just enough water so that the water does not touch the steam basket when it’s placed into the pot.  Bring the water to a boil.

Wash the yams throughly.  Use a dish scrubber to remove any dirt. Cut out any dark, rough spots.

Peel the yams. Cut the yams into large chunks.

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Place the yams into the steamer basket then place the basket over the pot of boiling water.

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Cover the pot and let the yams steam for 25-30 minutes. The yams are ready when they are tender when pierced with a fork.

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Place the yams into a blender or food processor.  Pulse until the yams are smooth and creamy.  Set aside for now.

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Make the Filling:

Before getting started on the filling, I need to say a word or two about the cream cheese…you really want to use full fat cream cheese in this recipe.  Reduced fat cream cheese doesn’t bake well, especially in cheesecakes.  I like Philadelphia brand cream cheese over other brands, but use the brand you like.

You’ll also notice I used heavy cream in my recipe instead of sour cream.  The sour cream is traditionally used in recipes for New York style cheesecake, making for a tangier dessert.  I didn’t want to overpower the yams so I opted for the milder heavy cream.

Alright, back to the filling.  Whisk the sugar and salt together in a small bowl.  Set aside.

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Spread the puréed yam on a triple layer of paper towels.  Place another triple layer of paper towels on top of the yam.  Press down on the paper towels to soak up as much moisture as possible.  If you don’t press out the liquid, your cheesecake will turn out too wet and you’ll end up with a fall-apart, mousse-like pie.

Because I steamed the yams rather than boiled them, there wasn’t that much water to squeeze out.

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Place the softened cream cheese in a stand mixer on medium low speed; mix for a minute or two.  Scrape down the sides of the bowl.

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Mix 1/3 of the sugar mixture with the cheese.  Mix on medium speed for a minute until the sugar is incorporated.  Scrape down the bowl and paddle then add another 1/3 of the sugar.  Mix again then scrape down the bowl and paddle.  Add the remaining sugar; mix until creamy.

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Add the pureed yam to the bowl, along with the vanilla extract.  Mix on medium speed for a minute.  Scrape the sides of the bowl again.

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Add 3 eggs to the bowl, mix for a minute, scrape down the sides, then add the last 2 eggs, mix and scrape.

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Add the heavy cream.  Mix for another minute.

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Bake the Cheesecake:

Pour the filling into the cooled crust.

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I decided to bake this cheesecake in a water bath.  This prevents the top of the cheesecake from cracking during baking. You could also place a pan filled with water in the rack beneath the cheesecake.  If using a water bath, place two layers of foil beneath the springform pan.  Wrap the foil around the sides of the pan.  This keeps the water from the water bath from seeping into the pan.

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Place the foil-covered springform pan into a large roasting pan.

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Place the roasting pan with the cheesecake inside it into a pre-heated 325 degree oven.  Pour hot water into the roasting pan (be sure to wait until AFTER you place the pan into the oven to pour in the hot water).  The water should come about halfway up the side of the springform pan.

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Bake for 1 1/2 hours.  If you have a thermometer, take the temperature at the edge of the cheesecake to see if it is done.  The cheesecake is done when the temperature reaches between 145 and 150 degrees. Or, do what I do and use the “jiggle method” to check for doneness.  If you move the pan, the center of the cheesecake should move or jiggle only slightly.  Too much jiggle in the middle means you need to cook it a bit longer (10-15 minutes should do it).

When the cheesecake is done, remove the roasting pan and cheesecake from the oven.  CAUTION!  Be very careful taking the pan out of the oven!  You don’t want to spill hot water on yourself!!  Leave the cheesecake in the pan of hot water for 1 hour before removing it from the roasting pan.

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After an hour of cooling at room temperature, the cheesecake needs to now cool in the refrigerator.  Cover the cheesecake with plastic wrap and chill for 4-6 more hours in the refrigerator; chilling overnight is even better.

NOTE:  After chilling for just 4 hours, I cut a slice of the cheesecake.  The middle was still a bit softer and creamier than the edges.  It appeared that the cheesecake was underdone, but it was cooked the right amount of time.  All I needed to do was refrigerate it for a few more hours (overnight cooling did the trick).  In the morning, the cheesecake was PERFECTLY set.

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Caramelized Sugar Topping:

  • 4 tablespoons superfine sugar

Before serving, sprinkle the superfine sugar all over the top of the slice of cheesecake.

NOTE:  4 tablespoons of sugar covers the ENTIRE cheesecake.  You’ll need about one teaspoon of sugar per slice.

If you can’t find superfine sugar at your grocery store, just blend regular white, granulated sugar for a minute or two until you get superfine granules.

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Use a creme brûlée torch to melt and caramelize the sugar.  Allow the caramelized sugar to harden then  serve.

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For presentation purposes (for pretty pictures 😉 ), I caramelized sugar on top of the entire cheesecake.  However, I recommend you slice individual pieces of cheesecake BEFORE caramelizing sugar on top.

The melted sugar hardens and makes cutting clean slices a challenge if you caramelize sugar on top of the ENTIRE cheesecake rather than just one slice at a time.

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Here’s a tip for an easy way to cleanly slice the cheesecake.  Dip a knife (a carving knife works well since it has a narrow blade) into a glass or pitcher of very hot water.  Dry off the knife before slicing.

Serve and ENJOY!

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Panko Crusted Fried Fish & Shrimp

Our family loves seafood.  One of our favorite ways to serve fish and shrimp is to coat them in panko breadcrumbs and fry them until golden brown and crispy.

Serve this with hot steamed rice, some sweet dipping sauce (similar to honey walnut shrimp sauce), and fina’denne’ and you’ve got yourself an amazing seafood meal.

Give my sister-in-law Min’s recipe a try.  I think you’ll like it. 🙂

This recipe makes enough for a family of 4 plus leftover for lunch the next day.

Panko Crusted Fried Fish & Shrimp

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Ingredients for the Fried Shrimp:

  • 1 cup Korean batter mix (Tuigim or Twigim Garu); see photo below
  • 1 tablespoon Dashida Korean seasoning
  • 1 tablespoon onion powder
  • 1 tablespoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 30 ounces raw shrimp, peeled and deveined
  • 1 bag panko crumbs

 

Ingredients for the Fried Fish:

  • 1 cup Korean batter mix (Tuigim or Twigim Garu); see photo below
  • 1 tablespoon Dashida Korean seasoning
  • 1 tablespoon onion powder
  • 1 tablespoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 cup milk
  • 24 ounces fish filets (tilapia, basa, and orange roughy work well)
  • 1 bag panko crumbs

 

Ingredients for the Dipping Sauce:

  • 2 tablespoons sweetened condensed milk
  • 3 tablespoons pineapple juice
  • 2 tablespoons kewpie mayo

 

Other Ingredients:

  • Oil, for frying

 

Tuigim Garu, Korean batter mix, is used to make a batter to coat the shrimp and fish for frying.  This is what the package looks like (the bag on the left).

The bag on the right is called Pang Garu, and is a type of panko breadcrumbs.  The shrimp and fish are coated in breadcrumbs after coating it in the batter.  You can use this or any other brand of panko breadcrumbs.

Directions:

Rinse and clean the shrimp and fish filets, then set them aside in separate, shallow dishes.  I like using meaty white fish such as  basa or tilapia; orange roughy is good too.

Add the dry batter mix and seasonings directly over the shrimp.  Toss the shrimp and dry ingredients together then add the milk.  Keep tossing it all together until the dry ingredients are no longer lumpy and a thick batter coats the shrimp.  Set aside.

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In another pan, place the remaining batter mix and dry ingredients; this will be mixed into a batter to coat the fish filets.  You don’t want to create the batter WITH the fish as you do with the shrimp because you don’t want to break up the fish filets.  Instead, mix the batter in a separate pan and dip the fish into the batter before coating with panko.

Add the milk to the dry batter mixture, mixing until you get a smooth batter.

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Place the fish filets into the batter.  Ensure each filet is coated with batter.

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Create an assembly line with the shrimp, fish, and the breadcrumbs.

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Designate one hand as the “wet hand” and the other as the “dry hand.”  Use the wet hand to place the shrimp and fish into the pan of breadcrumbs.  Use the dry hand to cover the shrimp and fish with breadcrumbs.

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Be sure to generously pat the breadcrumbs into the batter-covered fish and shrimp.

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Carefully drop the coated fish and shrimp into hot oil.  Do not overcrowd the pan.

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Fry the fish about 3 minutes on each side or until golden brown.  Fry the shrimp until golden brown all over.

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Make the dipping sauce.

In small microwave-safe bowl, mix together the sweetened condensed milk, pineapple juice and kewpie mayonnaise.  You can use regular mayonnaise if you don’t find any kewpie.

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Heat the mixture in the microwave for 20 seconds or until it starts to bubble.  Remove from the microwave and stir until creamy.  Serve with fried shrimp and fish.

ENJOY!

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Authentic Korean Cabbage Kimchi

My Korean sister-in-law, Min, is an excellent cook.  She’s the one who taught me how to make all my favorite Korean dishes, like Jap Chae, Bulgogi,  Denjang Chigae, Kimchi Chigae, Kim Bap, Kimchi Fried Rice and lots more!

This is Min’s cabbage kimchi recipe.  She makes different kinds of kimchi — cabbage, radish (my personal favorite), and cucumber — and they are all better than the cheap jarred stuff you buy in your grocery store.

It’s a bit labor-intensive, but it’s worth it in the end.  Eat it as a side dish with your favorite meals, or let it ferment a little longer and use it in Kimchi Chigae.  A small note about kimchi fermentation — kimchi stored at room temperature will ferment faster than refrigerated kimchi.  Refrigerated kimchi still ferments, but at a slower rate.

The photos below make it appear that this makes a ton of kimchi.  Once the leaves wilt, however, you’ll end up with enough kimchi to fill a large bowl or jar (like the size of large pickle jars that are sold in wholesale grocery stores such as COSTCO).  There is a Korean store here that sells homemade kimchi in those large jars, but they are so expensive!  It’s so much more economical to make your own at home.

Don’t worry about the quantity this makes.  The great thing about kimchi is that it lasts a long time (just keep it stored in an airtight container)! 😉 Or, you can be a nice friend, family member or neighbor and share some!

Give Min’s recipe a try.  I think you’ll like it. 🙂

Authentic Korean Cabbage Kimchi

Ingredients:

Rice Glue:

  • 2 cups sweet rice grains
  • 4 cups water

Cabbage plus brine:

  • 3 large heads nappa cabbage
  • 4 cups coarse sea salt
  • 8 cups water

Kimchi sauce:

  • 4 bunches green onions (about 12-16 stalks), cut into pieces about 1 1/2″ long
  • 1 bunch chives, cut the same size as the green onions (1 1/2″ long)
  • 3- or 4-inch piece of ginger, peeled and grated
  • 18 cloves fresh garlic, mashed or very finely minced
  • 6 tablespoons anchovy sauce
  • 6 tablespoons salted shrimp or shrimp sauce
  • 6 cups Korean red pepper flakes

This is what the salted shrimp and anchovy sauce look like:

salted shrimp and anchovy sauce

Directions:

Place the grains of rice in a small bowl. Cover the rice with water (use 2 cups of water; save the other 2 cups for later). Let the rice soak for several minutes while you prepare the cabbage.  Eventually you’ll make a rice paste or glue of sorts with the soaked rice grains.  This is a necessary ingredient to help the kimchi sauce ingredients stick to the cabbage leaves.

sweet rice  sweet rice

Separate and rinse the cabbage leaves.  Remove the core at the bottom of each head of cabbage.  Cut the leaves into pieces about 2″x4″.

Generously salt the cabbage leaves with the coarse sea salt.  Pour the water over the salted cabbage leaves.  Soak the leaves in the brine for about 30 minutes until the leaves wilt.  After the leaves have wilted, drain out all of the water.  Place the cabbage in a large strainer basket and rinse thoroughly.

salt the cabbage  cabbage brine

Now, let’s get back to making the rice glue.  Place the rice and water into a blender.  Min uses a VitaMix, but you can use any blender.  Here’s a tip: if your blender can grind ice (for slushy drinks), then it can probably grind rice with no issues.

You will need to add about 2 more cups of water to the blender.

soaked rice  rice and water

Grind the rice-water mixture until you get a smooth consistency.  Pour the rice mixture back into the bowl.

grind the rice  rice puree

Microwave the rice mixture for 2 minutes on High.  Set it aside to cool.  The rice paste will thicken slightly as it cools.

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Place the onions, chives, garlic and ginger into the bowl of drained and rinsed cabbage leaves.

add onions chives garlic ginger

Sprinkle the ground pepper flakes into the bowl.

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Add the anchovy sauce and salted shrimp paste.

anchovy sauce  shrimp paste

Min also adds some ajinomoto (MSG), but this is optional.  If you choose to add it, sprinkle about 2 tablespoons into the bowl.

ajinomoto

Add the cooled rice paste to the bowl.

add the rice paste

Now this is important:  Put on a pair of CLEAN plastic gloves.  Don’t even think about using the same gloves you use to wash dishes with!  Buy a new pair or better yet, buy a box of disposable cooking gloves.  You are going to mix this by hand and you don’t want to get any hot pepper on your hands (trust me).  Mix it thoroughly, ensuring each piece of cabbage is covered with the kimchi sauce.

mix  mix

Place the kimchi into a resealable container.  Let the kimchi ferment for at least a day and a half before serving.  Remember, kimchi ferments faster at room temperature than if refrigerated.  The longer the fermentation time, the more sour the kimchi becomes.  I like my kimchi on the sour side, so I let mine ferment for about a week before eating.

This will keep for several weeks in the refrigerator.

ENJOY!

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How to Cut Open Månha (Young Coconuts)

Månha is the Chamorro word for young coconuts.  The sweet juice (commonly called “coconut water) and tender coconut meat are used to make delicious Chamorro dishes — desserts, mainly — such as månha pie, sweet tamåles, apigigi’, månha titiyas and åhu.

Click on the video link below for a demonstration of cutting open the young coconuts to extract the juice and meat.

 

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