March 15, 2013

at home in the curious city


Baked Seafood Cabbage 烤海鲜白菜

My dad is the undisputed chef in our family, but the truth is I grew up on mom's cooking since dad was never home. He was mostly overseas for work, but don't worry I got over any daddy complexes a long time ago. Cooking is my therapy. I do hope to share some of my dad's iron chef worthy recipes in the future but today I have for you my mom's one and only signature dish. She only makes it once a year either on Thanksgiving or Christmas.

This dish is essentially like a Chinese lasagna or casserole with many different layers. If you like Honey Walnut Shrimp, then you will like this too.

Ingredients (serves 4):
5 oz vermicelli
1 lbs seafood mix (fresh or frozen from Trader Joe's)
5 oz imitation crab sticks
1/4 head Chinese cabbage/napa cabbage
2 cups dried mushroom (like this or this)
1 white onion
3/4 cups mayonnaise
1 tbs vegetable oil
1/4 cup rice wine
2 cups water
1 tbs rice vinegar
1 tbs white pepper
1/2 tsp salt

Soak the vermicelli and dried mushrooms in separate bowls of water. Marinate the seafood in salt, rice vinegar, and rice wine (I substituted with red wine). Cut the head of cabbage in half twice to get the quarter section you need and chop it up. Chop up the onions. Remove the dried mushrooms from the water and slice. Add oil to a wok and wait until it is hot. Then add the onions. Once the onions start to become clear, add the mushrooms and cabbage. Cook for 5 minutes and then add the water and white pepper. Cover on medium heat and let it simmer for 10 minutes.

Preheat the oven to 400 F.

Layer 1: Drain the vermicelli and cut into 3-4 inch length sections.
Layer 2: Pour the cooked veggies and soup base over the vermicelli.
Layer 3: Remove seafood from marinade and place evenly over cooked veggies.
Layer 4: Cut the imitation crab into 1-2 inch sections and separate into smaller pieces.
Layer 5: Evenly spread a layer of mayonnaise on top of the imitation crab. One trick is to put the mayonnaise in a ziplock bag, cut a small hole at the bottom, and pipe it on. Then gently spread the mayo over any missed areas with a knife.
Step 6: Bake it in the oven for 20 minutes or until the mayo is browned.

Simmered Spicy Black Cod 은대구 조림

I love pork and beef so much that you would think my favorite dish would be meat based, but actually it's the most deliciously prepared fish in the world. No exaggerations here!

I went to my mom's house to learn to cook this dish, but I don't have exact measurements or directions. Maybe my mom likes being mysterious! Actually it's because she just cooks by feel and taste, rather than following a recipe. I tried my best to approximate the measurements.

1 large black cod aka sablefish (frozen or fresh) - sliced into 1 inch sections.
3 bunches of green onions, sliced thinly
2 tablespoons red pepper paste
4 tablespoons soy sauce
2/3 tablespoon of crushed garlic
1/2 tablespoon of honey powder
3/4 large yellow onion, cut into strips
1 radish, quartered and frozen previously
sesame seed oil to taste

1) If using frozen fish, thaw the fish overnight in the fridge, or remove and let it thaw out in the kitchen if it's not too hot out.

2) In a small bowl, mix together the red pepper paste, soy sauce, garlic, and honey powder.

3) Chop up the green onions.

4) Add the green onions to the marinate and set aside.

5) Over medium-high heat, lay out the cod flat on the bottom of a large nonstick pot.

6) Pour the marinade evenly across the fish.

7) Add layers of the radish and then the onions.

8) After about 5 minutes turn the heat down to medium. The marinade/sauce will start to boil. Scoop the sauce from the bottom of the pot and pour over the top of the fish to infuse the flavor into the onions and radish.

9) Continue boiling. After 10 minutes, taste and add soy sauce  and sesame seed oil if slightly bland.

10) After about 5 more minutes, the fish will be ready. Turn off the flame and use a slotted spoon to serve!


  1. Both of these dishes look so yummy! I'll have to try it some time.

  2. YUM. I'm hungry again. Junette- your mom's simmered cod looks and has almost the same flavors as a favorite simmered catfish dish that Vietnamese kids grow up on! Usually seen on restaurant menus as "caramelized catfish in clay pot." So cool how many similar dishes different countries share. :)