• Location: United Kingdom
  • Favorite foods: Hakka cuisine, mei cai, abacus seeds, Singaporean food, laksa, zi char, nasi lemak, hokkien mee, beef burgers, pau, kopi roti, Taiwanese Shilin market food, matcha ice cream, pistachios, century egg, taramasalata, frijoles negros

The Baking Steel Griddle Has Arrived

@naags - I can't vouch for the safety of this on the steel itself but Coca Cola (regular) is an excellent rust remover. Cotton ball generously soaked on rust spot should do the trick in a minute with some rubbing.

The Good Bagel Manifesto

Please don't hurt me - as a Londoner I have never tasted a bagel other than the large supermarket variety of the cinnamon raisin variety. Occasionally I go for the large half-foot diameter sized ones at Sainsbury's, and liven their brick-like consistency by microwaving...

Why You Should Visit Singapore's Little India Now

I think the alcohol ban is only for open drinking on the streets or something like that, being served in premises is unaffected. This is a great resource and I can't wait to try the Indian Chinese cuisine!

Hey Chef, What Can I Do With Sumac?

I love sumac. Like powdered tart cherry skins with a hint of savoury. Tart but not juicy or wet, slightly plummy. Good on poached fish and a fruity olive oil.

Buddha's Delight: The Vegetarian Stir-Fry to Rule All Vegetarian Stir-Fries

Also known as Luo Han Zhai (if you can't google the cantonese results successfully).

The Best Way to Store Fresh Herbs

In our bar fridge we store mint at an angle in a shallow catering pan (1/4) with a inch or two of water and clingfilm. Can confirm they do last surprisingly long

How to Make Traditional Huevos Rancheros in a Flash

That bubbled and blistered fried egg I find to be definitive of tropical cuisine. I see it that way in Hawaii, Thailand and Malaysia!!! The non-stick pan style of dead fried eggs make me sad :(

This Week at Serious Eats World Headquarters

Always thought the soon-to-be-old logo to be a happy open gob. :D Under closer perusal it looks like a poorly stuffed haggis... I find most pot or fork-and spoon imagery somewhat trite and overused. I like the big mouth, not everybody on the site is a cook. Some of us just like to eat.

How to Make Flour Tortillas So Tasty You'll Want to Eat Them Alone

@Sweatin - the boiling water trick is how I make my chinese pancakes to go with duck. The dough is a little oily from a lard and scallion oil and sesame mix. I put two balls together, squish them down and roll as thin as I can manage. Fried on both sides gently in a pan on low heat. Peel into two to serve ;)

Taste Test: The Best Supermarket Bacon

Would have really liked images of the cooked product too to judge for shrinkage, textural concerns etc... I'm based in the UK so while I know my back bacon, this is "tail end" bacon to me and applications have traditionally been lardons, cooking bacon (essentially pancetta). I consider this an education in bacon!

Love XLB? Time to Make Sheng Jian Bao (Pan-Fried Pork Soup Dumplings)

Stray italics tag detected. And now closed.

How to Clean Out Your Spice Cabinet and Organize it—for Good

I have one of those plastic contraptions for cutlery and utensils that are just the right size for spice jars in rows. I have a label on top indicating what it is and some best-before date. I have two drawers of spices. It's nice because opening the drawer reveals everything at a glance (the labelled lids) and they are usually organised by spicy on the far right to herby on the far left, salts all closest to the opening.

Bulk stuff are in the 2nd drawer or in the freezer.

How to Make Uovo in Raviolo: Showstopping Runny Egg Yolk Ravioli

@Mr. Nick - sign me up for scotch egg riff. Maybe the excess egg white can serve as a binder for the pre-browned sausage? Alternatively ... perhaps the scotch uovo in raviolo can be steamed like a soup dumpling ...

2 Vegan Cheeses That Anyone Can Love

Have you tried fermented red tofu in a pot (fu ru)? While it's not cheese per se it does show that fermented vegan items are not a recent fad. The Shanghainese style "nan ru" is incredibly boozy and salty with a distinctly blue-cheese like taste. As it's wet but crumbly it smears into a very intense and stinky paste, usually used as a marinate for slow braised or roasted meats. I think a reasonable comparison is a boozy wet feta with a gorgonzola smell.

It appears in viet and thai cuisine too.

Why My Fridge Is Never Without Shirataki Noodles (and Yours Shouldn't be Either)

Kenji, I love shirataki and I tend to get them at a Chinese supermarket where they're tied into knots, perfect for clay pot braises and steamboats. Recently at an organic store (where else. ha) I saw this brand called Eat Water, which makes shirataki penne, tagliatelle and more. I rolled my eyes ... but the different shapes really do alter the bite and texture. Maybe you'd like to try them out since you're fond of it too. I make a Singapore laksa gravy because rice noodles can split if they overcook while sitting in hot temperatures (especially since what I have available are dried ones), shirataki stays bouncy.

Better Than Parm? Dried Olive and Miso May Be the Ultimate Pasta-Topper

Is there anything specific about the variety of miso? Will red miso be alright?

Recipe Update: Even Better Vegan Mushroom 'Bacon'

That is amazing!!!!!! Being one to snack on crispy bacon, I'm making this for my snack (and sandwich) stash!

How to Make the Best Deep-Fried Jalapeño Poppers

Instead of having that dipping step ... maybe a spray bottle would work so the flour doesn't get washed into the milk?

A Song of Spice and Fire: The Real Deal With Hunan Cuisine

Trying to figure out the joke ... 四川人辣不怕,贵州人不怕辣,湖南人怕不辣?
The arrangement of the last 3 words show the variance ...

This Week at Serious Eats World Headquarters

Pintchow, Yuba passed away sadly some time ago ...

Cookbook Review: 'The Kitchn Cookbook' is Your Tiny Kitchen Handbook

Came to say the same thing as JustinMa... I LOVE that blue plate! Where did you get it??

Use Your Waffle Iron for Seriously Crispy Tofu

You know what we are all thinking when we see rice... where is the grilled nori to go with that rice??? or onigiri waffled!!!

The Fastest, Freshest, Fluffiest Ice Cream Ever: 30-Minute Philadephia-Style Ice Cream

Isn't eggless simply ... gelato?

A Cookie a Day: The Porky Pleasure of Biscochitos

Funny that Chichi would have an affinity with pork lard biscuits - growing up lots of Southern Chinese biscuits and pastries were made with lard. Today it's all palm oil...

Gift Guide Spotlight: Kitchen Essentials

I've got a £50 cap on the present and I'm thinking of getting a damascus steel santoku from Eden - you can see it on here:

I've seen some good things about it but I'd love to hear SE's opinion on it as a budget friendly gift!

Any love for soggy fries?

Am I alone in my preference for limp, warm, greasy, salty blond fries, sweetly steamed in a brown paper bag or plastic carrier? Those are my absolute favourite, with soft potato innards like a pierogi.

I don't believe the whole world has an unerring, uniform standard for a 'perfect' fry... if that is perfection, I love imperfection!!!

Sous vide recipes?

Following Kenji's reviews on the immersion circulators, I've got one for my SO - a pity however that SE doesn't have more sous vide recipes!

Anybody here has ace recipes they've tried to share? There are so many different timings and amounts about the interwebs that I would really appreciate if there was a formula for calculating cooking time based on weight / protein content / temperature of water bath.

If you've done SV, do share your best recipe!

XLB technique in burgers?

Had a decent, but tad dry burger today. Came across XLB article on SE (chinese soup dumplings).

Has anybody tried applying the gelatinous soup stock mince from XLB onto burger patties to create moisture on top of fat?

Meat juices brown so well when seared, so I'm wondering if this could be an amazing idea...

The hit-or-miss nature of soft cheese

I've bought lots of brie and camembert, frequently for social functions where I prep a cheeseboard with a selection of crackers. However, some days the brie is nowhere as gooey as it ought to be, with a crumbly sour feta-like heart, other days it is amazing. Same goes for camembert - the Le Rustique wheel was almost damp to the touch and its core was utterly liquid. What gives? Why is it so inconsistent? Any way to ensure it's always soft?

Thanks :-)

Sauerkraut - live food?

Was making a sauerkraut broth when it occurred to me that the heat might have 'killed' all the goodness in it - doesn't sauerkraut have lactobacillus or something that is making the lactic acid?

Is it still nutritious? Ought I worry?

Thanks :-)

How sweet do you like your caramelised onions?

Had some jammy ones, so sweet they were onions in syrup. Is it me or are they getting sweeter? Maybe I received too large a dollop in a sandwich. I like mine less sweet and even more savoury, probably when contacting dijon mustard.

What about you? Do you reckon they're too sweet?

Missing the how-to posts

I don't know if you feel the same, but I really miss the how-to posts on SE! I love the beautiful food-porny pics, but I'm a little sad they're moving to the magazine ...

Do you feel the same?

Do you have any suggestions for how-to posts?

I'd love for a kind of classification for posts that distinguish basic skills, intermediate, and advanced skills. I'm an amateur cook that can follow recipes, but my groundwork isn't all that good - at the same time I love reading about advanced skills too.

If a sort of timeline bar graph can be made for recipes showing what prep times overlap, with the "active task" highlighted in green colour or something it would be AMAZING. For example, if something is simmering while you're prepping the garnish or cooking the pasta it would be great help. (Sorry, I'm kind of stupid.)

If recipes could also be sorted by what tools are required, it would be great too! In Japan for example, while there are lots of interesting tools (e.g. takoyaki pan, fish grill) in a usual house, there just isn't an oven... Sorry to digress

Unconventional preferences

Don't get me wrong, I love a juicy burger.

But once, after my friend did the cooking, they were totally dark-brown, Maillard-to-the-extreme discs of beef, smashed and cobbled at the side, totally well done (she pressed the edges to "make it bigger").

I loved it. Thin, salty and beefy, it was probably a third of an inch and completely crusted. She's better with woks.

I know, it goes against all the juicy burger press... some might not even call it a burger!

Anything you prefer against convention?

Your menu ordering style?

When I order from a menu, I'm nearly almost always an optimiser. It's as if there's a multiple-axis scale I want to fulfil: Craving, Healthy, Tasty, Value, Variety... etc. This means I take forever to figure out what I want at a restaurant.

I frequently go for anything slow-cooked (I may not have the time) or something cooked with specific equipment, or exotic ingredients I wouldn't be able to get or prepare on the same scale.

I tend to analyse the menu to figure out the kitchen inventory and what's special about the Specials.

Talk about analysis paralysis!

My boyfriend is the 'tried and tested', or 'utterly uncharted territory'. That's his value proposition.

What's your menu ordering style?

Do you enjoy strategising or analysing when ordering food?

Whiter than white bread in Japan

One of the interesting things I spotted in Japan was their propensity for refining food products from all over the world (and thus making it 'Japanese')

The classic sliced Wonderbread of Japan is shokupan, which comes in 6 or 8 slices without the crusted ends.

However, what really piqued my interest was a completely white loaf of shokupan - baked at a temperature without the classic brown ring!

And this wasn't all - dinner rolls, completely white too. Impossibly soft Japanese bread :-)

These buns are really popular and form a good base for other sorts of Japanese bread pastries

What's wrong with cheap spaghetti?

A flatmate tasked me to buy him some spaghetti, and being college students on a shoestring budget I naturally purchased the supermarket basics brand at 19p per pack. Now, I know not all wheat or spaghetti brands are made the same, but is there any particular glaring defects with cheap spaghetti?

He remarked, "This is very cheap spaghetti," while poking it about in the pot. Seemed to slurp down the spaghetti alla carbonara without any ill-effects and even remarked that sometimes he even surprises himself.

Is there anything wrong with cheap spaghetti? On the other hand, what are the appreciable differences with more expensive brands?

Describe the smell of natto

It's almost summer. Hot day, and I left a parcel of natto out to defrost. Forgot about it and left the house. As I was entering the flat, my elderly lady neighbour told me there was a horrible smell coming from the open kitchen window.

"I think you have a dead rat," she confided. I invited her in and lo and behold, it was the natto. She was not impressed I can tell you!

What does natto smell like to you? It smells like sweaty feet and deliciousness to me :-)

Frozen skinless salmon fillets

I bought a bag of these things and immediately regretted it after taking one out to bake. I was looking for a cheaper alternative to those lovely fat fillets with skin on ... yes, I've learnt a hard lesson about price and quality.

These turn out so dry and nasty!

Any recipes on how to make them even mildly palatable? Should I defrost them? Put them in a wellington or pot pie? I'd hate to waste the lot :( I'm on a college student budget.

P.S. I am lactose/allium/cruciferous veg intolerant.

Looking forward to your suggestions! Thanks :-)

Lactose intolerance, how to deal with it?

I'm 22 and in the span of the last 3 years, my tolerance for dairy has dramatically reduced to the point my belly gurgles and hurts (gas) about 2 hours after eating anything made with milk.

This includes:
Flat white
Creamed soups
Quiche (???)
Whey shakes
Any pastry creams

Of course, I can handle 4 squares of chocolate, but anything beyond that is giving me daily trouble! Eating out is fraught with difficulties as I believe the lactose amounts accumulates.

Does anyone suffer from lactose intolerance or have good ideas how to manage it, or look up lactose data? The effects vary in severity greatly so it is really difficult to predict the response and it's preventing me from going to social gatherings for fear I will get that dreaded gas. :(

Supermarket seafood and the meaning of Fresh

*I live in the UK, so this may not be the same as in the US*

I've been wondering lately if the 'fresh' seafood and prawns I get, (deshelled) are actually 'fresh'. I wonder that about the salmon fillets they sell in pairs in the package too. What does "fresh" mean if these produce have been frozen for transport? When does something stop being fresh by virtue of being frozen for a bit longer, and why does seafood sold in this form cost a lot more than its cousins in the freezer section?

In the UK we've got lots of ready meals - chicken tikka masala, spag bol, etc. The ready meals that are being sold 'fresh', I suspect, are no different from the ones in the freezer, albeit having been defrosted.

Are we paying a premium for the illusion of freshness? SE'ers who work in supermarkets, do you know?

What's your favourite/disliked fat?

Asking this question because I was offered a taste of my flatmate's goose-fat roasted potatoes and I had a strong response ... YUCK. Overwhelming smelly rancid sesame-oil bird poo smell for me. I had to spit it out.

I know that as humans we're all wired to enjoy fatty foods and that fat is an important contributor to mouthfeel and the solubility of complex flavour compounds. But fats aren't made equal, and our favourites differ... here's mine:

My favourite animal fats: Bacon, butter, bone marrow
My favourite vegetable fats: Coconut cream, sesame oil
Processed fats: Aioli, Kewpie mayo, chili in oil, hollandaise

Most disliked: Rancid nut oils, goose fat, 'normal' white mayonnaise, olive oil 'creamed' spinach eugh, lard cakes

What's yours? Do you reckon there's a reason for our preferences?

Recipes that use tahini helvasi (sesame halva)?

Received a kilogram of this from a friend who bought it at an ethnic market and it doesn't have a best-by date. It's plain vanilla and has no seeds or nuts in it. We've spooned enough and have about 75% left.

Any suggestions as to how I can utilise this in a cake or pudding?

Melted fudge sweets -> Brandy snaps?

I cut up some cornish dairy fudge (they look like toffees but don't stick to teeth) and put them as a topping to my pudding in hopes it would melt and glaze it. It did, but on the edges of the tin it turned to a sticky flat brandy snap-like candy.

Does anybody know if this is a shortcut to making brandy snaps?

Fizzy salsa?

A pot of salsa I made and left in the fridge for a week turned fizzy. Is it still edible? Has anybody tried salsa like this? Is it by any chance a rural Mexican delicacy?

Hamburgers. Top or bottom bun?

Do you fancy the mouthfeel of a glazed, smooth top bun with teeth sinking into it, or the bottom bun that soaks juice?

I personally really fancy the top bun, especially when melted cheese and slippery burger sauce and lettuce insulate it from disintegration. I like the mouthfeel rather than the sog. The sesame seeds are awesome too. Now if I could have two top buns ...

Novice question about puff pastry

I have some trouble with puff pastry - sometimes it's crispy and flaky (usually so when made into cheese twists), other times it is doughy and somewhat like a flat croissant. Once I tried to make coconut-jam puff-pastry easy buns they completely collapsed into a flat cookie-like creation.

Why is it so inconsistent?

(I've always used storebought supermarket own-brand puff pastry)

Comments System Upgrade?

I recently quad-posted (or perhaps quintuple) on a thread and I'm really sorry about that! I just can't actually delete them. I don't want to spam and all but it'd be great if I could correct the error there. The message-posted cgi page never loaded so I refreshed a few times...

While we're on that topic, could we have nested comments so people can reply directly to a thread? It'd make all the @soandso easier to catch up on.

I would like info on the snap of a hot dog in reviews

All the dressings and capers, chiles, bacon-bits and what-not are fine and dandy, but what really does it for me is the snap. Say no more, snap's the word. Tell me about the snap.

Having grown up in Asia my exposure to hot dogs and sausages are meagre at best. British bangers this side of the pond are crusty and juicy with a coarse grind but just not 'bouncy' in the snap like a kielbasa, but rather crunchy-crisp and rippy.

On a scale of 1-10, 1 being biting cleanly through a flaccid cold supermarket 10cent frankfurter, and 10 being ... a hot pork intestine casing cheese-filled kielbasa (apologies if I don't know how snappy things can get), I'd like a snap-o-meter rating for all the hot dog reviews.

I'm saying this because I bought a Swiss-cervelat hot dog in and it ruined my day. That was a very fat supermarket frankfurter wrapped in a bread roll.

What do you think? Is a snap-o-meter useful?

How does slow-cooked beef get so brown?

The only times I've made slow-cooked beef, they came out light greyish brown, not unlike some corned beef. Sometimes they turn a bit browner, but not by much.

I had been eating into a steak and ale shortcrust pie here (Brit!) and I realised I have no idea how to make beef that deep and brown. Think a brown between the hue of dark chocolate and milk chocolate. I've loved slow cooked beef all my life in various forms - steak pie, beef brisket rice, ribs, rendang, but somehow have no idea how it's done.

How does it get so brown? Does anyone know? The brown isn't just on the outside but through the entire chunk of meat ...

Chinese Noodles 101: Crispy Pan-Fried Noodle Cakes With Seafood

Crispy and a little saucy, egg noodles pan-fried until they form a crispy-on-the-outside, tender-in-the-middle cake is a classic Hong Kong and Guangzhou dish. A nest of egg noodles are fried in a wok until golden brown and topped with a combination of stir-fried meat, seafood, or vegetables. Here's how to make my favorite version, topped with seafood in a light gravy. More

Seared Short Rib Wraps from 'Family Table'

Today I'd like to present an argument in favor of lettuce wraps. Sure, they have a reputation for being a vehicle for ho-hum, low-carb and bland diet food, but there's no reason they need to stay in such a category. Once filled with rich and spicy short ribs, soft and sticky white rice, and potent kimchi as they are in Michael Romano and Karen Stabiner's Family Table, the humble Bibb lettuce leaf transforms into the best sort of wrap. They're strong enough to contain its filling, yet supple and mild enough to not overpower their contents. It's the best excuse to eat with your hands. These particular short rib wraps are super easy to throw together: blend up a potent marinade and let the boneless rib meat drink up its flavor for a couple of hours (or more if need be), heat a heavy pan, and sear away. More

The Food Lab Lite: Pasta with Crab, Tomato, and Chilies

It's still snowing on and off in New York, but we're on the cusp of crabbing season, which probably explains why I've got crabs on the mind. It also helps that it's my wife's favorite seafood and she's about to embark on a six month west-coast sabbatical so I'm trying to squeeze in all the brownie points I can before she takes off for the sunnier climes. This dish, based on the spaghetti with crab and sea urchin at Marea fits the bill. More

Melissa Clark's Seared Duck Breast with Garam Masala and Grapes

It'd be a shame to pass over a described as a "masterpiece." Full stop. In Secrets of the Best Chefs, Adam Roberts is totally enamored of Melissa Clark's recipe development process. And his adoration is most evident in his headnote to Clark's recipe for Seared Duck Breast with Garam Masala and Grapes. It's a relatively simple recipe (duck breast gets an hour-long rest with garam masala and salt before being seared, finished in the oven, and topped with a pan sauce of grapes, cinnamon, and balsamic vinegar) with show-stopping results. More