Stuffed Bitter Melon Soup

It’s been a while since I’ve made bitter melon soup. I can’t even remember the last time I made it but it was probably over a decade ago. This time I decided to follow this recipe on Youtube. I’m not a huge fan of the super bitterness of the bitter melon so to draw some of that bitterness out, after I removed the seeds, I soaked the melon in salt water for about ten minutes.

I didn’t have all the ingredients from the recipe so I used what I had on hand: lemongrass, garlic, scallions, cilantro, and mint. I had some Thai peppers on hand so I used a few of them for a touch of heat.

Everything was chopped up and mixed with ground beef before stuffing the melons which I’d cut into thirds. Whatever was leftover from the pork mix, I made into little meatballs. With the peppers, I simply cooked it with the soup.

The soup turned out pretty good. My high-schooler really liked the meatballs but didn’t care for the bitter melon. My husband and my other daughter didn’t care for the soup. I guess this is why I rarely made this dish.

There are many ways to cook bitter melon but I grew up eating it as a soup so it’s what I’m familiar with. Mom would also make it stir-fry, I believe. I’ll have to try stir-frying next time. Have you had bitter melon soup or stir-fried? What did you think?

Scallion Pepper Sauce

My mother gave me a handful of scallions from her garden and I decided to make scallion pepper sauce with it.

These were so pretty I just wanted to look at them all day, however, I didn’t want them to go bad so I had to do something quick with them. I also couldn’t think of anything else to make with them since I don’t have a lot of food in my fridge at the moment. With hot pepper sauce, I could freeze it for later.

I had an extra bag of frozen Thai peppers in the freezer and some leftover cilantro from pho last week so they went into the mix. If I didn’t have frozen peppers, I would have used dried peppers.

I chopped everything up.

And used a mortal and pestle to mash it all up. I also added salt, fish sauce, and lime juice.

This made about a cup and a half.


I put most of it in a container to freeze for later and put a little aside for the next few days.

But, my daughter and her boyfriend stopped by and her boyfriend loved it so I sent him off with a little bit. I told him he could always come back for more.

Homemade Pho

Eating up what’s in the pantry so I could make room for other dry and canned products. I’ve had these pho noodles for about six months and because herbs don’t last very long, I figured I could use up the herbs this way.

This pho is really easy to make. I pretty much boil any kind of beef (normally, I’ll use ox tail but they were out) then add beef broth and a few shakes of star anise powder along with some salt and pepper. If I have lemongrass, I’ll cut some up and throw it in there. That’s pretty much it. This is how my youngest likes her pho (with no herbs or hot sauce). She says I make the best homemade pho. She also says, I make the best kapoon, spaghetti, baked breaded chicken, baked salmon, scrambled eggs, etc.

Cuban Chicken

CUBANCHICKEN0040_800I tried my hands at making Cuban chicken and it turned out pretty good.  I first had it during the family cruise last year to the Bahamas and totally fell in love with it.  I found a recipe online but it required way too many ingredients and I remembered the flavors to be very simple yet very delicious.

It was simple to make.  For the spices, I basically used cumin, paprika, cayenne (for heat so just a pinch or two), black pepper, bay leaf, and salt.  I’ll tweak it some more before sharing a recipe.  If you want the recipe I found online (and have not tried yet), it is here.

A Culturally Mixed Dinner And A Turmeric Rice Recipe

Husband, the kids, and I, had a big dinner last night.  I was craving kimchi so we dropped by the Asian Market and I ended up getting three different type of kimchi, plus some seaweed.  Then, we headed to the regular grocery store to get some French bread and additional ingredients for the Greek salad and turmeric rice.  Husband grilled peppered chicken breasts and we ate to our delight.  The kids weren’t so much into the turmeric rice or kimchi but they loved the chicken, which was a tad try, but not bad.

MIXEDKIMCHI0005_640Kimchi: Cabbage, cucumber, and daikon.  I’m the only one in the family that LOVE kimchi so it was all for me.  I still have a lot left…should last me this whole week but I really don’t know if I can eat it all by myself.

SEAWEED0007_640I normally eat this type of seaweed at Korean restaurants but when I saw it on the shelf, I had to buy it.  The combo of seaweed with salt and what seemed like a little sugar (hope it’s not MSG) was delicious.

GREEKSALAD0001_640I got this tasty Greek salad from The Pioneer Woman’s blog but I tweaked it to my liking by omitting the chopped olives in the dressing, adding peperocinis to the salad, and marinating the sliced red onion in some red wine vinegar and olive oil to get rid of that super strong onion taste while the salad was being put together.

GRILLEDPEPCHK0008_640This was a very simple grilled chicken.  Husband just threw on some black pepper and a bit of salt and put it on the grill.

TUMRICE0003_640I got the idea to make my own turmeric rice from going to an eatery called Garbanzo Mediterranean Grill.  I did some online searching for a recipe but couldn’t find anything I liked so I decided to just figure it out on my own.  I knew turmeric was the spice that turned things yellow and that chicken broth gave it the slight flavor.  Originally, I tried it with Basmati long grain rice but I didn’t like the scent of that rice (I just don’t like my rice scented) and it also took longer to cook the Basmati rice than the normal rice I buy.  You can definitely add other things to the rice but I like mine just plain and simple with a very subtle flavor.

Turmeric Rice Recipe:


2 cups of rice

2 cups of low sodium chicken broth (add another 1/4 cup if you prefer your rice slightly soggy)

1 tbs of turmeric (turmeric does have a scent and flavor so if it’s too strong, reduce it to your liking)

1 tps vegetable oil or (you can use butter or olive oil in place)

Cooking Directions

In a pot, mix the rice, turmeric and oil together until everything is mixed.  Pour the chicken broth in and turn the stove to high.  Allow the liquid to boil for about 3 to 5 minutes or until the liquid is almost gone, stirring a couple of times.  Turn the heat to low and cover with a tight lid for 15 to 20 minutes.  Turn off stove and fluff rice with fork.

Serves 4 to 6.

Yummy Pita Bread

PITA0017_640Over the weekend, I made pita bread.  It was my first time making it so I was surprised that it turned out pretty good.

PITA0001_640For me, the fun thing about making anything is using cute measuring cups, spoons, and bowls.  I’m still on the lookout for some fun measuring cups and bowls but I think I’ve found the cutest measuring spoons ever.

PITA0002_640I don’t have a stand mixer so I did the mixing and kneading by hand but I’d love to someday have a blue, red, or yellow stand mixer.

PITA0015_640As I was rolling out the dough, I ran out of flour.  I got nervous but continued rolling and everything worked out fine.  The oil I had rolled the dough in, to keep it from sticking to the bowl when it was rising, surprisingly kept it from sticking to the rolling pin and foil wrapped counter.

PITA0012_640I also don’t have a cast iron skillet but do have a cast iron wok.  The bottom was flat enough that the pita’s were able to cook thoroughly.

TWINKC0023_640The best part, of course, was eating it.  Here my sister is feeding one of my twin nieces.  My niece also dipped it in hummus!  My own kids don’t like hummus and one doesn’t like any kind of bread (except for pumpkin bread) so I was very surprised and happy to see this.

I found the recipe on Pinterest, which took me to this blogger’s recipe, in which I used.

Bok Choy and Kabocha Squash

Mom gave me some bok choy and a kabocha squash and because my kids and husband are not fans, I have to be a little creative with what I make, otherwise most of it goes to waste.

With the bok choy, I made a stir fry with chicken and a little bit of osyter sauce.  Husband and the kids liked it but they only ate the chicken.

I also boiled some bok choy.  Husband and the kids didn’t eat any but that’s okay because I didn’t mind having it all to myself.  It was sooo good.  Especially because it reminds me of being Hmong.  You’ll find that eating boiled greens of any kind (but usually leafy greens) is a norm in the Hmong culture.  So, if you come across a friend or a neighbor who boils their greens and sets a big bowl of it on the dining table during meals, you’ll know they’re Hmong. 🙂

With the kabocha squash, I normally would just boil it and eat it the same way I do the boiled greens.  This was the only way I knew how to eat it because this was always the way I grew up eating it.

The photo above was taken of some of Mom’s larger squashes.  Mine was about the size of a small round watermelon.  It was still a lot for one person.

I tried it boiled with some cinnamon and sugar.  It was okay. I still prefer it plain or with a little sugar and mashed.

And, made a Thai red curry squash. The recipe is here.  Instead of using bell peppers (which I don’t like), I used thinly sliced bamboo shoots.  I also added one lemon grass sprig (tip and green rough parts chopped off), kaffir lime leaves, and instead of adding lime juice, I sliced a lime into quarters and set them aside with some thinly sliced scallions to be used as needed.

It was pretty good.  I loved the aroma of Thai curry and the combination of the buttery flavored squash with the crunchiness from the bamboo shoots.

Mom always toasts some of her seeds.  I think she lets them dry out in the sun and then toasts them in a pan.  I wanted to toast them in the oven so I found this recipe and it turned out pretty delicious except that I burnt them a little.

Kida ate them with me.  She liked that they were slightly burnt.