After discovering the beauty of chilli bean sauce, I use it practically for all my spicy stir-fry dishes, including the Szechuan Eggplants, Mapotofu, and this dish that I’m about to share with you.

Green beans with minced pork is a classic stir-fry in Asian cooking. Of course, if you don’t like spicy stuff, you can omit the chilli and just use fish sauce and pepper. But this dish is so quick and easy, it’s perfect for weekday cooking. Especially when it’s cold outside!

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This month’s books are all about nonfiction.

I read two memoirs and one medical/health nonfiction book, and I honestly would only recommend one out of the three. But before I dive in to talk about those books, I do have a confession: for the first time ever, I DNF (did not finish) a book.

I’m quite… a finisher, in terms of books. No matter how boring, or how I detest a book’s subject, once I started I would make an effort to finish it. Lately, though, I feel like time is such a precious commodity that I decided not to finish a book. And that book goes to Mary Roach’s Packing for Mars.

I honestly love Mary Roach, and my reason for not finishing the book is simple: I do not care about the subject that much. I’m interested, but not too much. I guess space life only interests me if it’s science fiction. So instead of being bored and forgetting everything anyway after I finish a book, I shelved it, probably forever, and that’s okay.

So let’s talk about September’s books.

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When I’m too lazy to do stir-fries, but in need of some meat, nyupiang is the way to go!

It’s too easy: mix minced pork, egg, pickled lettuce, fish sauce, pepper, and sesame oil and steam ’em until they’re done (about 20 minutes or so, depending on how much you’re making them). It’s one of my favourite dishes growing up.

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I was watching TV with Tjok—my husband—when he started to annoy me. He nudged me, made funny faces, and asked me questions on unrelated topics.

“Hun,” I said to him, “Korean moment.”

I was still staring intently at the TV, being in the zone where the super cute, nice Korean guy professed his love to the nice, slightly prideful Korean girl with supet smooth white skin. She previously said she didn’t like him that way, but it’s a K-drama, of course he persevered. Cue in the emotional soundtrack with the word sarang repeated over and over.

Tjok stood up and pretended that he had a violin and started moving his right hand back and forth.

“Hunny,” I gave him a look, “my Korean moment. Why do you annoy me every time I’m having my Korean moment.”

“It’s too over the top,” he said, “too cheesy.”

“You’re the one who introduces me to K-drama,” I said. “Your fault.”

“Yah, it’s good,” he sat on the sofa again. “Just too cheesy sometimes I can’t stand it.”

“Doesn’t mean you need to ruin my Korean moment.”

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I rarely cook steak. In this case, I define rarely as: once every four months kind of thing. Yes, it’s that rare.

But when I cook steak, it’s always Japanese Beef Steak. My friend asked me yesterday when I was having this for dinner: what’s the difference between normal steak and Japanese steak?

Well, the answer is simple: the sauce.

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I actually don’t know the formal name of this dish. A quick Google search shows a lot of variation, including Pek Cam Kee, Pek Cham Kee, Pacamke, and others. But Pakcamke is how my mother says it, so here you go.

In essence, pakcamke chicken is an Asian/Chinese dish that means steamed chicken served with garlic-ginger sauce. It’s so easy, and so delicious. I make this dish every two weeks just because of the craving!

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Have you ever went to one of those Chinese restaurants and ordered this dish? They are so good. The eggplants are hot (both literally and spicy-hot), but soft. The minced pork add extra meaty depth to the dish (I just love pork). It’s oily, for sure, but it’s such a hearty dish that I keep on going back for more. Perfect when eaten with a bowl of rice.

For the longest time, I can never replicate this dish at home. The first time I cooked this, the eggplants are still half-raw. And when they are still raw, eggplants have this strong, pungent (I’m not sure if pungent is the right word) smell that are just not nice. Luckily, the husband still gobbles up the food, raw eggplants and all.

The key to making this dish is patience. You need to fry the eggplants in batches to make sure that they are actually cooked.

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I’m actually not sure what to call this dish. I mean, I know the Indonesian: my mother named this simply as Udang Goreng Tepung. Loosely translated, it means ‘floured fried prawns’. Erm, that doesn’t sound very appetising.

My friend told me that the dish has another name: bakwan udang, which translated into prawn fritters. That seems straightforward, and sounds quite correct!

Growing up, I eat prawn fritters almost every week. It’s my favourite dish when I was little—partly because I was such a picky eater that I would not eat anything else but prawns. When my family and I went to eat yumcha, my parents would older one serve of hakao, which I would eat with rice, minus the wrappings (which are eaten by my sisters). In summary, I really, really love prawns.

This dish is my mom’s recipe. It’s really easy—only slightly troublesome as you actually need to fry them (which uses quite a lot of oil). But I do think it’s worth it!

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Another lazy green veggie dish!

To say that bok choy makes a regular appearance in my kitchen is an understatement—it’s one of those veggies that’s almost always there in my fridge, all the time. Both the husband and I love it—the husband actually does love the taste of bok choy, and I love them as they’re easy to cook and relatively cheap too.

This dish is another lazy cooking as it doesn’t require any stir-frying.

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Sesame spinach is the recipe you’d make when you’re feeling lazy.

In my household, there’s always some sort of green veggie served every night, but at times I can’t be bothered to stir-fry them (which is my default mode in cooking vegetables). When I have spinach at home, I almost always make this recipe.
It’s actually a Korean dish, and the original recipe calls for toasted sesame seed. I almost never use it because it’s never in my pantry. Some variations also call for spring onion for garnish, which I sometimes use when I have them at home. Most of the time, though, the spinach will be served as is.

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