All posts by Soo Kim

Soo Kim is a freelance recipe developer and food stylist who has worked and eaten around the globe from Moscow to London. She is a food content media specialist and the former food director of Canadian Living and Chatelaine magazine. A firm believer in flavour first, she curates meals with a balanced palate and a keen curiosity.

This 10-Ingredient Japanese Grilled Chicken is the Easy BBQ Recipe You Need

Yakitori is a Japanese recipe that simply translates to “grilled chicken” and it’s so popular in Japan, restaurants specialize in this seriously delicious protein on a stick. Traditionally, chicken thighs are best, they’re forgiving and still juicy if you accidentally overcook the skewers. Serve as an appetizer or as a main course with steamed rice or a fresh salad. I recommend serving with grilled shishito peppers!

Japanese yakitori grilled on serving platter

Yakitori

Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 25 minutes
Servings: 4 to 6

Ingredients:

½ cup Japanese soy sauce or soy sauce
½ cup mirin (a syrupy, sweet Japanese cooking wine low in alcohol content used for seasoning and glazing. Look for it in the cultural food aisle in your local supermarket or Asian grocery store)
¼ cup sake or Chinese rice wine
¼ cup packed brown sugar
1 Tbsp water
8 pieces green scallion + 8 scallions cut into 1-inch pieces, divided
8 boneless, skinless chicken thighs, cut into 1-inch pieces
2 Tbsp vegetable oil
½ tsp kosher salt and freshly ground pepper

Equipment:

12-16 bamboo skewers or 8-10 metal skewers

Japanese yakitori ingredients on countertop

Directions:

1. Submerge bamboo skewers in a casserole dish half-filled of water for 20 minutes or up to overnight.

2. Make the glaze: combine soy sauce, mirin, sake, brown sugar, water and 8 green onion pieces in a small saucepan and stir. Cook over medium-high heat and bring to a rolling boil. Reduce heat to medium and simmer, uncovered until thickened and reduced to by half, about 15 minutes. Discard the green onion and let cool, glaze should be syrupy. (You can store the glaze in an airtight container and refrigerate for up to 2 months).

Related: Our Most Popular Skewer Recipes for Summer Grilling

3. In a bowl, stir together the chicken, oil, salt and pepper. Working with 1 chicken piece at a time, fold in half and thread onto a skewer tightly together, repeat with 1 more chicken piece alternating with a scallion. Repeat with 2 chicken pieces and 1 scallion making sure they’re tightly packed. Repeat.

Japanese yakitori being skewered before hitting the grill

4. Preheat a grill to medium-high then clean and oil the grate. Place skewers over the heat and cook, covered. Turn after browned on each side, about 4 minutes per side. Brush the chicken and scallion with some of the glaze and cook for 30 seconds, turn and repeat with more glaze for another 30 seconds. Brush with more glaze and place on a serving platter. Serve with skewered and grilled shishito peppers, it takes about 1 minute per side for the most deliciously blistered accompaniment.

Tip: Don’t have a BBQ? Line a heavy baking sheet with foil and top with a greased cooling rack and broil for 6-7 minutes. Brush with glaze and broil until nicely charred and caramelized.

Like Soo’s yakitori recipe? Try her pan-fried pork chops with roasted cabbage wedges or pork banh mi burgers with grilled pineapple.

duck ragu on serving plate

This Pappardelle Duck Ragu is the Winter Comfort Food You Deserve

What is the most delicious comfort food you can make at home to fight the dropping temperature outside your cozy kitchen? This pappardelle duck ragu! With luxurious fall-apart duck legs, yummy pasta and plenty of veggies, this may be your go-to recipe all winter long. Also, this is a hearty make-ahead dish: it improves over time and lends a richness to the noodles that keep you wanting more.

duck ragu on serving plate

Pappardelle Duck Ragu

Prep Time: 5 minutes (but you can prep all your ingredients while the duck is browning)
Cook Time: 2 hours
Total Time: 2 hours
Servings: 4

Ingredients:

1 ½ tsp kosher salt, divided
2 duck legs, pat dried
1 Tbsp olive oil
1 onion, chopped
1 sweet bell pepper, chopped
1 celery rib, chopped
4 cloves garlic, minced
2 bay leaves
1 tsp cracked black pepper
3 Tbsp tomato paste
½ cup red wine
1 can (796 ml/28 oz) San Marzano tomatoes or plum tomatoes, chopped
1 cup chicken broth
400 g pappardelle pasta or other pasta
Grated Parmesan

duck ragu ingredients

Directions:

1. Sprinkle duck legs all over with 1 tsp of the salt. Heat the oil in a large Dutch oven over medium-low heat and arrange the duck, skin side down. Cook and render the fat for 10 to 12 minutes so the skin browns and crisps, flip and cook until browned on the other side. Transfer to a plate and drain all but 2 Tbsp fat from the pot.

Tip: The remaining rendered duck fat should be saved and refrigerated or frozen to make the most gloriously crispy potatoes or brushed on a whole chicken for a succulent roast chicken.

2. Add the onion and cook on medium, stirring for 5 minutes. Stir in bell pepper, celery, garlic, bay leaves, remaining ½ tsp salt and pepper; cook until translucent, about 5 minutes.

duck ragu cooking in pot

3. Push vegetables to one side and stir in tomato paste, cooking for 30 seconds. Stir in the wine and cook for 1 minute to allow alcohol to evaporate. Add the tomatoes and broth. Bring the mixture up to a simmer and return the duck legs (with any juices) to the pot.

4. Cook partially uncovered over low heat, making sure the sauce is simmering until the duck meat falls off the bone, about 1 ½ hours. Skim excess fat using a spoon if desired.

Related: Quick and Easy One-Pot Recipes

5. Remove duck legs and using two forks, shred the meat off bones, discarding the skin if unwanted. Stir shredded duck into the sauce.

Tip: Make the ragu up to 4 days ahead of time, refrigerate covered and warm in a pot over medium-low heat.

duck ragu cooking in pot

6. Cook pasta according to package instructions; drain and stir into duck ragout. To serve, sprinkle pasta with Parmesan.

Like Soo’s duck ragu? Try her pan-fried pork chops and Chinese stir-fried eggplant.

Baked brie with nuts and dried fruit

This Baked Brie With Nuts and Dried Fruit is the Perfect Holiday Appetizer (or Easy Dinner Idea!)

With five minutes of prep time, this incredibly easy appetizer is a favourite around the holidays — or any day for that matter. You don’t even need to splurge on a fancy Brie, a budget choice is just as delicious with every sweet and savoury bite. And while this holiday recipe calls for walnuts or hazelnuts, as well as cranberries or cherries, feel free to add in whatever nuts and dried fruit you prefer. Almond and pecans are always tasty, alongside apricots or figs. You can also swap out the herbs for a strip of orange or lemon zest too.

Baked brie with nuts and dried fruit

Baked Brie With Nuts and Dried Fruit

Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 20 minutes
Servings: 4

Ingredients:

200 g double cream Brie
3 Tbsp packed brown sugar
3 Tbsp maple syrup
1 Tbsp butter
2 sprigs thyme or rosemary
½ cup toasted walnuts or hazelnuts
¼ cup dried cranberries or dried cherries

Baked brie with nuts and dried fruit ingredients on table

Directions:

1. Preheat the oven to 375°F (190°C). Place the Brie in a small oven-safe skillet or a parchment paper-lined baking tray. Score the top with a paring knife for the cheese to quickly warm. Bake until softened and slightly puffed all around about 15 minutes.

Related: Best Edible Gifts Under $20 That’ll Make Anyone’s Holiday Sweeter

2. While the Brie is in the oven, make the topping: combine the brown sugar, maple syrup, butter and thyme in a small saucepan over medium heat. Bring to a low boil; cook, stirring until brown sugar is dissolved, about 1 minute. Stir in nuts and dried cranberries.

Making baked brie with nuts and dried fruit

3. Immediately top warm Brie with hot pecan cranberry mixture and serve with crackers and fresh fruit if desired.

Tip: If using a heat-safe small skillet or ceramic dish, the Brie will stay warm for up to 15 minutes. It can also be reheated in the microwave until warm, about 30 seconds. If you’re a fan of toasted nuts, feel free to toast them before adding to the brown sugar mixture. Do so over medium heat, stirring until lightly browned, 3-5 minutes.

Serving of baked brie with nuts and dried fruit

Like Soo’s baked Brie recipe? Try her Chinese scallion pancakes or pan-fried pork chops with roast cabbage wedges.

These Pan-Fried Pork Chops With Roast Cabbage Wedges Will Help Your “What’s for Dinner?” Woes

Healthy and budget-friendly, cabbage is one of the most delicious and versatile cruciferous veggies. Anyone who is “on the fence” about cabbage will be converted with this roasted variety — promise! High heat cooking caramelizes the outer cabbage layers and opens up the nutty sweetness, while maintaining a tender, textured crunch. With the addition of the quick and easy pan-fried pork chops, this meal ticks off all the boxes and will become a family favourite.

Pan-fried pork chops and roasted cabbage on white plate

Pan-Fried Pork Chops With Roast Cabbage Wedges

Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 25 minutes
Total Time: 35 minutes
Servings: 4

Ingredients:

Cabbage
1 red cabbage (feel free to swap out red cabbage with white cabbage or a medium Savoy cabbage)
¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil
¾ tsp kosher salt
½ tsp freshly ground pepper
2 Tbsp lemon juice or red wine vinegar

Pork Chops
2 bone-in pork chops (1 ¼ to1 ½-inch thick) (approx. 1 ½ lbs)
½ tsp each kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
2 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
2 Tbsp unsalted butter
6 thyme sprigs
3 cloves garlic, smashed
4 green olives (optional)

Garnish
Chopped parsley
Finely grated Parmesan

Ingredients for pan-fried pork chops and roasted cabbage

Directions:

1. Preheat the oven to 450°F. Cut cabbage in half and then each half into 6-8 equal wedges, keeping the core and stem intact. Arrange on a rimmed baking sheet; brush with ¼ cup of the oil all over and sprinkle with salt and pepper.

2. Roast until browned and slightly charred on bottom, about 10 to 15 minutes. Flip and continue roasting until lightly browned, about 10 minutes. Drizzle with lemon juice or vinegar.

Cabbage roasting on pan

3. While the cabbage is cooking, sprinkle pork chops with salt and pepper on both sides. Heat a large heavy skillet over medium-high heat. Add oil and cook pork chops until golden brown on one side, 1 to 2 minutes. Flip and cook for another 1 to 2 minutes; repeat flipping and cooking until browned and instant-read thermometer inserted into the thickest part reads 135°F, about 8 minutes total.

Related: 12 Must-Try Fall Cocktails to Give Thanks for This Autumn

4. Remove pan from heat. Add butter, thyme, olives (if using) and garlic to pan, tilting and spooning the butter mixture over chops, basting the fat cap to brown.

Pork chops in pan

5. Transfer chops to a cutting board; cover and rest for 5 minutes. Cut into thick slices, reserving juices. Sprinkle with parsley or grated Parmesan (if using). Serve with cabbage.

Pork chops and roasted cabbage

Like Soo’s pan-fried pork chops with roast cabbage wedges? Then try her Chinese stir-fried eggplant or pork banh mi burgers.

Forget Takeout and Make This Easy Chinese Stir-Fried Eggplant for Dinner Tonight

This umami-rich vegetarian dish gets tons of flavour from light soy sauce, Shaoxing wine (the key to authentic Chinese cooking), ginger and a healthy sum of garlic for an easy-to-prepare dinner rivalling any takeout. Though mastering the cookery of eggplant can be tricky, we’ve unlocked the mystery with a simple soaking and salting technique for the right texture and overall balanced flavour. Added bonus: this vegetarian dish will be ready in just over 30 minutes.

Chinese Stir-Fried Eggplant

Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 35 minutes
Servings: 2 to 4

Ingredients:

3 Chinese eggplants (they are slightly smaller and shorter than Japanese eggplants and can be purchased in Asian markets)
1 tsp kosher salt
2 Tbsp light soy sauce or regular soy sauce
2 Tbsp water
1 Tbsp granulated sugar
1 Tbsp Shaoxing wine
5 ½ tsp cornstarch, divided
1 ¼ tsp dark soy sauce or light soy sauce
3 Tbsp peanut oil or vegetable oil, divided
2 tsp minced ginger
4 cloves garlic, minced
2-3 dried chilies (optional)
Green onions for garnish

Directions:

1. Halve eggplant lengthwise and then cut into 2-inch pieces. Transfer to a large bowl and fill with enough water to cover; sprinkle with salt and swish around to dissolve salt. Cover with plate to keep eggplant submerged for at least 15 minutes. Drain and pat dry. Transfer to a large bowl.

2. Make the sauce by stirring together the light soy, water, sugar, wine, 4 tsp of cornstarch and dark soy sauce until smooth. Set aside.

Tip: Shaoxing wine is a fermented rice wine used to add depth of flavour and complexity to marinating meat, to add flavour to stir-fries, sauces and braises in Chinese cooking.

Related: These 25 Simple Stir-Fry Recipes Will Convince You to Cook More

3. Sprinkle remaining cornstarch over eggplant and toss to coat. Heat 2 ½ Tbsp of the oil in a wok or large skillet over medium-high heat until very hot. Add eggplant in one layer and cook until dark brown, 6 to 8 minutes, flipping after halfway. Move to a large plate.

4. Add remaining oil to pan and add ginger, garlic and dried chilies (if using), stirring for 10 seconds. Return eggplant to pan and stir quickly until warmed, about 30 seconds. Stir in sauce and bring to a boil. Cook until sauce thickens and coats eggplant, 1 to 2 minutes.

5. To serve, scrape eggplant mixture onto platter and sprinkle with green onions if desired.

Tip: For a non-vegetarian version, marinate ½ cup ground pork with 1 Tbsp Shaoxing wine, 2 tsp minced ginger and garlic and 1 tsp light soy sauce. Stir into pan at the beginning of step 4 and cook until browned. Push to one side of the pan and continue with recipe, adding the oil, ginger, garlic and chilies.

Like Soo’s stir-fried eggplant? Try her pork banh mi burgers, gochujang cauliflower popcorn or asparagus and mushroom udon.

This Fiery Korean Gochujang Cauliflower Popcorn is Comfort Food at Its Finest

Gochujang, the fermented Korean hot pepper paste, has gained popularity by way of recipes featuring grilled proteins, like chicken, beef and pork. However, this recipe brings you that umami bite of sweet and spicy flavour with a veggie spin: lightly battered cauliflower popcorn bites. No hard and fast rules apply here, serve this on game night, as an appetizer or side dish.

Korean Gochujang Cauliflower Popcorn

Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 35 minutes
Servings: 4 to 6

Ingredients:

2 tsp vegetable oil (plus more for frying)
2 cloves garlic, minced
¼ cup gochujang (Korean hot pepper paste)
3 Tbsp ketchup
2 Tbsp white vinegar or cider vinegar
2 Tbsp honey
2 Tbsp water
1 cup all-purpose flour
⅓ cup potato starch or cornstarch
¼ cup rice flour
1 tsp kosher salt
1 tsp baking soda
¾ cup water (approx.)
2 eggs, whisked
1 small head cauliflower, cut into small florets (8 cups)
1 tsp toasted sesame seeds (optional)
Greek yogurt or sour cream for dipping (optional)

Tip: Rice flour and potato starch are common ingredients in a Korean pantry, the combination will lighten and aerate the batter. Look for them in an Asian market or bulk store.

Tip: Gochujang is a fermented Korean hot pepper paste; and while shelf-stable when you purchase it, please refrigerate after opening.

Directions:

1. Heat enough oil in your largest and widest pot to reach 1-inch high over medium to medium-high heat until a deep-fry thermometer reaches 350°F. Don’t have a deep-fry thermometer? Either add a cube of bread to test the oil (it should fry quickly to golden) or dip end of a wooden spoon to see if bubbles start forming.

2. Meanwhile, make the sauce. Heat 2 tsp oil in a small saucepan. Add garlic and cook, stirring for 30 seconds. Stir in gochujang, ketchup, vinegar, honey and water and simmer for 1 minute; set aside.

Related: Eddie Jackson’s Gochujang Short Ribs Are Your New All-Star Dish

3. Whisk flour, potato starch, rice flour, salt and baking soda. Whisk in water and eggs, to make a slightly thickened batter. Add all the cauliflower, stirring to coat; the batter should be just thick enough to coat, while easily dripping off the floret. Add more water if needed.

4. Carefully drop lightly battered cauliflower into the hot oil using a fork, one at a time to achieve popcorn-sized bites (dropping them in groups will create lumps and will not produce a crispy batter).

Tip: Cauliflower is made up of a ton of water and continues to steam when cooked and needs to be fried twice. The first fry steams, while the second fry will lighten and crisp the combination of potato starch and rice flour.

5. Fry, with a spider or slotted spoon, turning until golden and crispy, 2-3 minutes. Drain on a wire rack set over a baking sheet. Repeat with the remaining cauliflower. Once everything had been fried, fry again until browned and crispy, 3-4 minutes and drain on a rack.

Related: This Korean Sweet and Sour Seaweed Salad is the Perfect BBQ Side Dish

6. Rewarm the sauce until loosened. Transfer half of the cauliflower in a large bowl and drizzle with enough sauce to just lightly coat, tossing quickly. Transfer to a serving plate and repeat with the remaining cauliflower and gochujang sauce mixture. Sprinkle with sesame seeds and serve with sour cream or Greek yogurt if desired.

Tip: Serve at room temperature and avoid reheating in the oven; it will steam and soften the cauliflower.

Like Soo’s fiery gochujang cauliflower popcorn? Try her pork banh mi burgers or asparagus and mushroom udon.

This Korean Sweet and Sour Seaweed Salad is the Perfect BBQ Side Dish

Naturally briny, yet subtly sweet, miyeok (seaweed) is a Korean pantry staple used in soups and salads for that perfect umami taste. Miyeok muchim (seaweed salad) is often served with other banchan (Korean side dishes) — however, BBQ fare is the quintessential accompaniment to the vinegary, crunchy and cold flavours of the sea. Pair this sweet and sour seaweed salad (say that three times fast!) with any grilled protein or with noodles and leafy greens.

Korean Sweet and Sour Seaweed Salad

Prep Time: 10 minutes
Chill Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 30 minutes
Servings: 4 to 6

Ingredients:

1 ¾ cups dried seaweed
¼ cup distilled white vinegar
4 tsp sugar or honey
½ onion, thinly sliced
2 tsp sesame oil
1 clove garlic, minced
1 tsp soy sauce
¼ tsp sea salt or Kosher salt
1 Tbsp sesame seeds
1 mini cucumber, thinly sliced
¼ English cucumber, julienned (use a Japanese mandoline if you can!)
1 tsp toasted sesame seeds
¼ tsp Korean hot pepper flakes (optional)

Tip: Look for large, clear packages of dried seaweed in Korean/Asian grocery store or order online. In its raw form, it’s dried, almost black and turns green after soaking or blanching in boiling water.

Directions:

1. Place dried seaweed in a large bowl and cover with cold water until fully expanded and supple (about 20 minutes). Drain and rinse twice, swishing it around to remove the salt used in the drying process.

2. While the seaweed is blooming in the cold water, make the vinaigrette. In a large bowl, stir the vinegar and sugar until dissolved. Stir in the onion and let it pickle for 5 minutes before adding the sesame oil, garlic, soy sauce, sea salt and sesame seeds.

3. Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add the seaweed and blanch for 30 seconds; drain and cover in cold, running water until cooled. Drain and squeeze excess water with both hands. Roughly chop the seaweed and let stand in a colander or sieve.

Related: 14 Tasty Korean Recipes to Make Tonight

4. Add the cucumbers and seaweed to the vinaigrette mixture. Cover and refrigerate until cold. Sprinkle with toasted sesame seeds and Korean hot pepper flakes before serving.

Tip: You can cover and refrigerate for up to 4 days. If you’re planning ahead, toss in the cucumbers a few hours before serving. The cucumbers and seaweed will continue to release water, so toss and taste the salad, adding more vinegar or a pinch of sugar if needed.

Like Soo’s seaweed salad recipe? Try your hand at her pork banh mi burgers or restaurant-worthy Chinese scallion pancakes.

banh mi burgers

Pork Banh Mi Burgers With Grilled Pineapple Will Be Your Go-To Summer Recipe

The ingredients and flavours in a Vietnamese banh mi sandwich is an umami and sensory dream: a light and crispy mini baguette loaded with richly marinated meat, tangy and crunchy pickled veggies, fragrant and fresh cilantro, creamy mayo and pate. We’ve added our own twist of caramelized pineapple and a squishy bun to complement the patty, while honouring the original ingredients. Canada: this juicy burger is your summertime BBQ must-try.

Grilled Pork Banh Mi Burgers With Grilled Pineapple

Prep Time: 25 minutes
Rest Time: 60 minutes
Cook Time: 5 minutes
Total Time: 90 minutes
Servings: 4

Ingredients:

Pickles
1 carrot, peeled and cut into matchsticks
¼ daikon, peeled and cut into matchsticks
1 tsp kosher salt
¼ cup warm water
3 Tbsp granulated sugar
½ cup distilled white vinegar or rice vinegar
1 jalapeño, thinly sliced and divided

Burger
3 slices bacon, roughly chopped
1 cup of cilantro leaves and tender stems
1/3 cup chopped shallots or onion
2 Tbsp granulated sugar
1 ½ Tbsp fish sauce
1 ½ Tbsp minced garlic
2 tsp soy sauce
½ tsp ground black pepper
1 stalk lemongrass, trimmed, pounded and minced
1 pound medium or lean ground pork

Other
4 thick pineapple ring slices
4 hamburger buns, halved horizontally
2 mini cucumbers, thinly sliced
Cilantro
Mayonnaise (optional)

banh mi burgers ingredients

Directions:

1. In large bowl, toss together the carrots, daikon and salt. Let stand for 30 minutes. Drain in colander and squeeze excess liquid.

Tip: To cut carrots and daikon into long, even matchsticks, a Japanese mandoline (benriner) is an affordable secret tool favoured by home cooks and professional chefs.

Related: Vietnamese Dishes to Make at Home, From Pho to Banh Mi

2. In a small bowl, whisk together the warm water and sugar until dissolved, then stir in the vinegar. Add reserved carrot mixture and half of the jalapeño; let pickle for 30 to 60 minutes and refrigerate.

Tip: You can store your pickled carrots and daikon in a covered jar in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.

banh mi burgers veggies

3. Meanwhile, you can make the burger patties. In a food processor, combine the bacon, cilantro leaves and tender stems, shallots, sugar, fish sauce, garlic, soy sauce, pepper and lemongrass. Pulse to combine. In a large bowl, add the pork and bacon mixture until combined.

Tip: To use lemongrass, trim the base and top. Remove the outer woody and dry layers and crush 4 inches from the bottom using the base of a chef’s knife to release the oils. Cut into 1-inch pieces and use in marinades and pastes.

banh mi burgers ingredients in food processor

4. Divide patty mixture into 4 equal portions and form each into 4 ½-inch rounds; place on squares of parchment paper and refrigerate until firm, about 1 hour or up to 24 hours.

5. Preheat grill to medium-high; brush and oil grill. Press centre of each patty with thumb to make a shallow indent to help keep their shape during cooking. BBQ the patties with lid closed until browned and cooked through, 3 to 5 minutes per side. Grill pineapple until slightly charred and caramelized, 1 to 2 minute per side.

6. To assemble, top bun with patty, pineapple, pickled vegetables, cucumbers and cilantro. Serve with mayo if desired.

three banh mi burgers ready to serve

Want more summertime grilling recipes? These stuffed zucchini boats and grilled salmon recipes will surely do the trick.

Strawberry Rhubarb Dessert Empanadas with Quick Salsa

Strawberry Rhubarb Dessert Empanadas With a Quick Fruit Salsa

Empanadas are those wildly popular half-moon shaped pastries seen throughout Latin America, and commonly stuffed with savoury ingredients like seafood, meat and cheese, and that’s just the beginning. These portable pies are the original “hot pockets”, and can also be filled with beautiful seasonal fruit and enjoyed on-the-go.

Strawberry Rhubarb Dessert Empanadas with Quick Salsa

Strawberry Rhubarb Dessert Empanadas with Quick Salsa

Prep Time: 25 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 2 hours (accounts for chill time)
Servings: 10

Ingredients:

Dough
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 Tbsp granulated sugar
tsp salt
½ cup cold unsalted butter, cubed
⅓ cup 2% Greek yogurt or Balkan-style yogurt
2-3 Tbsp ice water
1 egg, beaten
1 tsp water

Filling
1 ¼ cups chopped rhubarb, cut in ½-inch pieces
½ cup hulled strawberries, cut in ½-inch pieces
½ cup granulated sugar
2 Tbsp cornstarch
2 tsp granulated sugar (optional)

Rhubarb Strawberry Salsa
⅓ cup finely chopped rhubarb
3 strawberries, hulled and finely chopped
1 Tbsp finely chopped mint
1 tsp granulated sugar

Kitchen Tip: To freeze your overflowing rhubarb bounty, peel off excess tough fibres and trim the ends. Wash, dry and cut in 1-inch pieces and freeze on a tray. Store in small resealable freezer bags, removing excess air for up to 6 months, and enjoy the blushing fruit throughout the year.

Directions:

Dough
1. In a large bowl, whisk flour, sugar and salt. Add butter; using hands, rub together until coarse crumbs form. Stir in yogurt and cold water until ragged dough forms.
2. Transfer to a floured surface; gather and lightly knead into a ball. Wrap in plastic wrap and flatten into disc. Refrigerate until firm, 1 hour or up to 2 days.
3. On a floured surface, roll out dough to ¼-inch thickness. Using a 5-inch round cookie cutter, cut out 10 rounds, re-rolling scraps. Refrigerate until firm, if needed.
4. Preheat oven to 400°F and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

Filling
1. In a bowl, toss rhubarb, strawberries, sugar and cornstarch until combined.
2. Spoon 2 rounded Tbsp of the rhubarb mixture onto centre of each round. Fold dough over the filling to form a half moon, starting at pointed edges, pressing well to seal.
3. Crimp edge with a fork; return to prepared baking sheet and refrigerate for 15 minutes.
4. Cut steam vents on top of each pie. Whisk together egg and water to make egg wash; brush over empanada and sprinkle with sugar (if using).
5. Bake until puffed up and golden brown, 18 to 20 minutes. Let cool on a rack.

Rhubarb Strawberry Salsa
Meanwhile, stir together rhubarb, strawberries, mint and sugar in a small bowl. Serve with empanadas.

Kitchen Tip: Don’t worry if the filling bubbles out during the cooking process, it’s the nature of fruit pies to generously drip out, and it’s a good indicator that the thickener is thoroughly cooked.

Strawberry and rhubarb are an unbeatable summer duo, and these 20 Spectacular Strawberry Rhubarb Desserts are here to prove it.

scallion pancakes on white and blue plate

Restaurant-Worthy Chinese Scallion Pancakes You Can Make at Home

We’re all spending more time indoors (and in the kitchen) these days, so it would come as no surprise if you’re missing restaurant-worthy cuisine. And the secret ingredient to making these savoury Chinese scallion pancakes worthy of appearing on a menu? Boiling water! It creates the softest, forgiving dough. Plus, the beauty of this recipe lies within a super easy, double roll and coil technique to produce endless, flaky layers, that are so crispy — we’re obsessed!

Scallion pancakes on white and blue plate

Chinese Scallion Pancakes

Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes
Rest Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour, 15 minutes
Servings: 6

Ingredients:

Dough
2 cups all-purpose flour
½ cup cake and pastry flour or all-purpose flour
1 tsp salt
1 cup boiling water
¼ cup cold water
6 Tbsp vegetable oil for frying (approx.)

Filling
2 Tbsp all-purpose flour
¼ cup melted lard or melted shortening
3 Tbsp vegetable oil
1 tsp salt
6 scallions (green onions), finely chopped
1 tsp crushed Szechuan peppercorns or hot pepper flakes (optional)

Dipping Sauce
1 Tbsp soy sauce
1 Tbsp Chinkiang vinegar or rice wine vinegar
1 tsp toasted sesame seeds or julienned ginger (optional)
Pinch granulated sugar
1 scallion (green onion), finely chopped

Scallion pancakes ingredients


Directions:

1. To make the dough: stir together the all-purpose flour, pastry flour and salt in a large bowl. Using a fork, gradually mix in the boiling water in a circular motion. Stir in the cold water to form a shaggy, wet dough. Turn out onto work surface; knead, scraping and dusting with additional flour until smooth and very soft, 3 to 5 minutes. Place on floured surface and loosely cover with plastic wrap or a kitchen towel to prevent crust from forming. Let it rest for 30 minutes.

Person mixing scallion pancakes dough

Note: The combination of boiling water produces a soft, easy to roll pancake, while the cold water creates a chewy texture, while also cooling the mixture for easy handling.

Related: This is How to Make The Perfect Chinese Hot Pot at Home

2. Meanwhile, make the filling: in a small bowl, stir the flour, lard, oil and salt until combined. Gently warm in the microwave for 15 to 20 seconds to loosen if mixture solidifies. While you’re waiting for the dough to rest, you can also make the dipping sauce: in a ramekin, stir together soy sauce, vinegar, sesame seeds, sugar and scallion.

3. Divide dough into 6 even pieces and roll each into a ball, tucking at the bottom and then covering with a kitchen towel. Roll one ball into an 8 to 9-inch circle, dusting with flour to prevent sticking. Using a pastry brush, paint a thin layer of the filling. Roll up like a jelly roll and twist into a tight spiral, tucking the end underneath. Flatten with hand then roll again into 8-inch circle. Cover with kitchen towel. Repeat with remaining dough.

Scallion pancakes dough on countertop

Tip: To prevent drying out, be sure to cover each rolled dough with a damp cloth or plastic and don’t layer each on top of each other, they will stick together.

4. Working with one rolled dough, brush a thin layer of the filling and sprinkle with 1/6 of the scallions and Szechuan pepper (if using). Roll up like a jelly roll and twist into a tight spiral, tucking the end underneath. Flatten with hand then roll into 6-inch circle and cover with a kitchen towel. This is now ready for frying. Repeat with remaining dough.

Scallion pancakes being made on kitchen countertop

Tip: If you want to make these ahead of time, you can freeze uncooked rolled pancakes for up to 1 month. Defrost, pat dry with paper towel and cook with the following instructions.

Scallion pancakes rolled out on countertop

5. Heat a skillet over medium heat; add 1 Tbsp of the vegetable oil. Carefully add one pancake and cook, swirling to distribute oil until golden brown, 2 to 3 minutes. Flip, swirling pancake to absorb oil and cover with a lid. Cook until second side is an even golden brown, 2 to 3 minutes, adding more oil as needed. Transfer to a paper-towel lined serving plate and repeat with remaining dough and cooking oil.

6. To serve, don’t cut into wedges, these pancakes need to be torn to fully enjoy the flaky coating. Don’t forget the dipping sauce.

Tip: Reheat pancakes in a skillet with a drizzle of oil and enjoy with a sunny-side up egg, a popular Chinese breakfast.

Craving more comfort food? This asparagus and mushroom yaki udon or this one-pot pasta and chickpea stew might just do the trick.

confetti cake with pink icing

This Confetti Sheet Cake With Pastel Frosting is Straight-Up Magical

We’re not lying when we say this dessert is magical. The cake recipe is absurdly moist and tender. And the pastel frosting? It’s basically the silky smooth love child of Swiss meringue buttercream and whipped cream. Also, the icing is substantially less sweet than the traditional butter and icing sugar mixture, so you can eat more than one slice. Plus those rainbow sprinkles! So, yeah, it’s straight-up magical.

confetti cake with pink icing

 

Confetti Sheet Cake With Magic Pastel Frosting

Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 45 minutes
Cool Time: 1 hour
Total Time: 2 hours
Servings: 10 to 12

Ingredients:

Cake
2 1/3 cups all-purpose flour
2 ¼ tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
3 eggs, room temperature
3 egg whites (here’s an idea on what to do with the extra 3 yolks!)
1 ¾ cups granulated sugar
2 tsp vanilla
1 cup whole milk or 2% milk
½ cup unsalted butter, cubed
¼ cup vegetable oil
4 Tbsp rainbow sprinkles

Frosting
1/3 cup all-purpose flour
¾ cup whole milk or 2% milk
2/3 cup granulated sugar
¼ tsp salt
¾ cup unsalted butter, cubed and softened
Gel food colouring
2 tsp rainbow sprinkles

confetti cake with pink icing ingredients

Directions:

1. Preheat oven to 325°F. Spray a 9 x 13-inch baking pan with cooking spray and line with parchment paper with slight overhang on the long sides.

2. In bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder and salt.

3. In bowl of stand mixer fitted with a whisk attachment, beat eggs, egg whites, sugar and vanilla on medium-high speed until thick and batter falls into a ribbon pattern, 3 to 4 minutes. Stir in flour mixture until just combined.

Related: The Easiest Sheet Pan Dessert Recipes to Feed Your Family

4. Meanwhile, heat milk in small saucepan over medium-low heat until just hot. Remove from heat; stir in butter and oil until melted. Stir into flour mixture until just combined. Stir in sprinkles.

batter for confetti cake with pink icing

5. Scrape batter into prepared pan, spreading evenly. Bake until edges are lightly brown and a toothpick inserted into centre of the cake comes out clean, about 45 minutes. Let cool in pan 15 minutes. Transfer to rack right side up and let cool completely, 45 minutes.

6. In medium saucepan, whisk together flour and milk for the frosting, until smooth. Place over medium heat and whisk constantly until thickened, about 2 minutes. Remove from heat; whisk in sugar and salt. Scrape into a wide shallow plate to cool (stir until slightly warm).

Related: The Price of a Slice: Breaking Down the Costs of Cake

7. Beat butter in bowl of standing mixer fitted with paddle attachment on medium-low for about 5 minutes. Scrape the bottom; beat 1 minute. Gradually add cooled flour mixture, 2 spoonfuls at a time on medium-low until combined. Scrape bottom; beat until smooth.

confetti cake icing in mixing bowl

8. Switch to whisk attachment and whip on low just to combine. Increase speed to medium-high and whip until silky and light. Frosting should have an airy consistency. Add desired food colour, stirring until incorporated. Spread on cake immediately with offset spatula to create swoops and pipe shapes (if desired) using a piping bag fitted with a star or crown piping tip. Add rainbow sprinkles.

Tip: Don’t be alarmed if the frosting feels stiff or looks curdled, your flour mixture was likely too cold. To warm, set the mixing bowl over a pot of simmering water until the edges start to melt; then rewhip. If the frosting looks loose, it’s likely too warm. Refrigerate for 10 minutes, stir and then rewhip until silky.

confetti cake with pink icing

Tip: When using gel food colouring, use the end of a toothpick to dip into colour and then into frosting. Stir or whip until combined and repeat if needed for desired colour. A little goes a long way.

Want more fun, colourful baking recipes? Try these white chocolate funfetti cookies or these perfect lemon meringue cupcakes.

mushroom yaki udon

Whip up This Bright Asparagus and Mushroom Yaki Udon in Just 15 Minutes

We’re all spending more time indoors these days, relying on our pantry staples for dinnertime inspiration. Say goodbye to pasta and tuna and hello to instant noodles and soy sauce with this fast and insanely delicious Japanese stir-fried udon. We love the delightfully chewy and thick whole-wheat noodle and meaty king oyster mushrooms (but feel free to play, mixing your favourite varietals). And the best part? You can whip this up in just over 15 minutes!

mushroom yaki udon

Asparagus and Mushroom Yaki Udon

Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 6 minutes
Total Time: 16 minutes
Servings: 4

Ingredients:
2 packages frozen udon noodles or instant udon noodles
3 Tbsp soy sauce
2 Tbsp packed brown sugar
1 Tbsp minced ginger
1 Tbsp rice vinegar or cider vinegar
1 Tbsp water
3 Tbsp vegetable oil, divided
4 green onions, thinly sliced (white and green parts separated)
1 lb asparagus, trimmed and cut into chunks
1 cup frozen edamame, thawed (you can substitute with frozen peas or corn)
2 packages (150g each) baby king oyster mushrooms, shiitake mushrooms, button mushrooms or oyster mushrooms, sliced
Pinch each salt and pepper
2 tsp sesame oil (optional)
Pinch hot pepper flakes (optional)

Optional garnish: toasted sesame seeds, chopped green onions

mushroom yaki udon ingredients on counterop

Directions:

1. Place udon in a large bowl and cover with warm water to thaw; break up with hands and drain in a colander.

udon noodles in strainer

2. In a small bowl, stir together the soy sauce, brown sugar, ginger, vinegar and water. Set aside.

Tip: Don’t have ginger? No worries, the soy mixture will still be just as delicious.

3. Heat 1 Tbsp of the vegetable oil in a wok or a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the white parts of the green onion and cook, stirring for 30 seconds. Add asparagus and edamame and stir fry until slightly tender, about 1 minute. Remove to a plate.

Related: 20 Easy Dinner Recipes Ready in 15 Minutes or Less

4. Heat 4 tsp of the remaining oil in the wok. Add the mushrooms, reserved green onions and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring until tender and golden, 2 to 3 minutes. Reserve to asparagus plate.

5. Heat remaining 2 tsp of oil in the wok. Add the udon and stir fry for 30 seconds. Add the reserved soy sauce mixture and vegetables. Stir fry until liquid comes to a boil, the noodles are coated in sauce and is slightly reduced, 30 to 45 seconds. Drizzle with sesame oil (if using) and sprinkle with hot pepper flakes (if using).

mushroom yaki udon in wok

6. Divide among plates and sprinkle with sesame seeds or chopped green onions (if desired).

Want to cook more meals in 15 minutes or less? These weekend BBQ recipes and brunch recipes will surely do the trick.

Kedgeree With Flaked Smoked Trout Will Be Your New Favourite Dish

Kedgeree, an East Indian dish composed of lentils, rice, fried onions, spices and ginger, was promptly adopted (and adapted) by the English in the 18th century and transformed into what is now a popular British breakfast. Here, we’ve swapped the traditional English smoked haddock in favour of tender, flaky smoked trout, and we swear by this recipe for brunch, lunch or any dinner occasion.

The Perfect Kedgeree: Smoked Fish With Rice, Fried Onions and Eggs

Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 35 minutes (includes rice cooling time)
Servings: 4 to 6

Ingredients:

1 cup basmati rice
3 cooked eggs, shelled and quartered (see tip)
3 Tbsp ghee or unsalted butter or vegetable oil
1 small onion, finely chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 Tbsp minced ginger
1 Tbsp medium curry powder or mild curry powder
1 tsp cumin seeds (or 1 tsp each cumin seeds, kosher salt and turmeric)
1 tsp kosher salt
1 tsp turmeric
2 ripe tomatoes, quartered, seeded and chopped
½ cup frozen peas, thawed
190g hot smoked trout or salmon, flaked into chunks (1 ½ cups)
3 green onions, thinly sliced
½ cup torn cilantro leaves
lemon wedges (optional)

Directions:

1. Wash the rice in a bowl covered with cold water, swishing with your hand, or until the water runs clear.

Tip: For the fluffiest grains of rice, wash and drain the rice 3x then cover with cold water for 20 minutes or until the grains are pearly white. Strain through a fine-mesh sieve and continue with the recipe.

2. Combine rice and two cups water to a medium saucepan; bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low and simmer, covered for 10-12 minutes. Remove from heat and let stand 10 minutes; fluff with a fork and spread on a large platter or baking sheet. Let cool.

3. Meanwhile, heat a large skillet over medium heat. Add butter to melt. Add onions and cook, stirring until almost softened, about 4 minutes. Add garlic, ginger, curry, cumin, salt and turmeric, and cook until fragrant, 1-2 minutes. Add tomatoes and cook, stirring until softened, 2-3 minutes.

4. Crumble in half of the cooled rice and all the peas. Stir just enough to incorporate the rice; stir in remaining rice, and cook until flavours are combined and just hot. Sprinkle with green onions and cilantro.

Related: I Cooked With 6 Trending Spices to See if They’re Actually Worth the Hype

5. Scrape onto a serving platter and top with quartered eggs and lemon wedges for squeezing (if using).

Tip: To cook eggs, bring a small pot of water to a boil. Using a spoon, gently drop the eggs and cook over a medium boil for 9 minutes. Drain and immerse under cold running water until cool. Remove shells and set aside.

Try these 25 Indian Recipes That Are Even Better Than Takeout or these 20 Healthy Mediterranean Recipes to Bookmark Right Now.

This Cozy One-Pot Pasta and Chickpea Stew = Love at First Bite

Don’t be surprised if you instantly become smitten with this alarmingly simple, yet charming, comfort food – it really is love at first bite. The kid in you will delight in the pasta and chickpea combo, with the fun shapes making it all the more scrumptious.

Related: 25 Comforting One-Pot Recipes That Will Warm Your Belly

One-Pot Pasta and Chickpea Stew

Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 20 minutes
Servings: 4 (6 cups)

Related: 30 Recipes That Will Make You Rethink Canned Beans

Ingredients:

3 Tbsp olive oil
Half onion, chopped
1 rib celery, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 sprigs rosemary
¾ tsp salt
½ tsp pepper
2 ½ Tbsp tomato paste
1 cup small pasta such as baby shells or ditalini
2 cups drained and rinsed can chickpeas
1 cup can cherry tomatoes (optional)
4 cups water or no-salt added vegetable broth
Olive oil and Parmesan for garnish

Directions:

1. Heat olive oil in a large pot over medium heat. Add onion, celery, and rosemary, and cook, stirring until softened, 4 to 5 minutes. Add garlic, rosemary, salt and pepper, and cook 1 minute.

2. Push onion mixture to one side of pan. Add tomato paste on other side, and cook, stirring until colour deepens, 30 seconds. Add chickpeas, cherry tomatoes (if using) and water and stir to combine.

3. Add pasta; bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer, stirring occasionally to prevent sticking until pasta is al dente, following package directions.

4. Divide among bowls; drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with Parmesan.

Tip: Add 1 chopped carrot to the onion mixture for a vegetable hearty stew.



Tip:
If you don’t have can cherry tomatoes, increase the tomato paste to 3 Tbsp and adjust the seasoning after adding the water.

For more quick and breezy comfort food inspiration, try these easy stuffed pasta recipes that start with store-bought noodles or this healthy three-cheese cacio e pepe in spaghetti squash form.

Comforting Three-Cheese Cacio e Pepe in Spaghetti Squash Form

Cacio e Pepe translates to “cheese and pepper”, and is the ultimate no-nonsense pantry pasta consisting of freshly ground pepper, noodles, and good quality cheese. Spaghetti squash presents much like spaghetti noodles and is generally available all year-round, making for an excellent alternative for gluten-intolerants (more gluten-free dinner inspiration here) or those looking for a healthy low-carb twist on the classic. So grab your cheese grater, and start prepping tonight’s dinner.

Three-Cheese Cacio e Pepe Baked Spaghetti Squash

Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 80 minutes (includes squash roasting time)
Servings: 4 (raw veg = 5 cups before mixing in cheese)

Ingredients:

1 spaghetti squash
1 Tbsp olive oil
½ tsp salt
1 ½  tsp coarsely ground black pepper, divided
2 Tbsp olive oil or butter
¾ cup finely grated Parmesan cheese
½ cup finely grated Pecorino Romano cheese
¼ cup mascarpone cheese or smooth ricotta (optional)
Chopped parsley or basil

Directions:

1. Preheat oven to 375°F and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

2. Cut squash in half lengthwise and scoop out seeds and strands with a spoon. Brush inside with 1 Tbsp oil and sprinkle with ¼ tsp each salt and pepper. Place cut side down on the prepared pan.

Tip: Don’t forget to save the squash seeds and roast them as a snack. Here’s how to roast tamari and sea salt pumpkin seeds (follow the same instructions).

3. Roast until a paring knife is easily inserted in the centre, about 45 minutes. Let cool.

4. Using a large spoon, spoon out and shred into long strands. Spread on a double layer of paper towel or clean kitchen towel to absorb any liquid.

5. Heat a large skillet over medium heat. Add oil and then the squash, remaining ¼ tsp salt and remaining 1 ¼ tsp pepper and toss. Stir in mascarpone (if using), stirring until just melted and combined. Remove from heat and sprinkle with the Parmesan and Pecorino cheese, tossing to combine.

Tip: Like its namesake, this dish is all about pepper and cheese. For the best pepper flavour, toast whole black peppercorns in a skillet over medium-low heat until fragrant, shaking the pan, 2 to 3 minutes. Let cool and crush with the bottom of a heavy bottom pot or skillet.

6. Divide among plates and sprinkle with parsley and more cheese, if desired.

Another cheesy pasta recipe with a twist: this winter greens mac & cheese will make you feel healthy. You’ll also devour this vegetarian spaghetti puttanesca with cauliflower. Lastly, test out these weeknight dinners where veggies replace carbs.

This 20-Minute Tuscan White Bean Skillet is a Dinner Winner

Tuscan cuisine is known for humble and delicious food, relying on impeccable regional ingredients. Don’t let this super quick vegetarian dinner recipe fool you: it’s substantial and nutritious, and the trick is to let the flavours of the marinated vegetables meld and intensify the kale and beans.

When it comes to the veggies starring in this vibrant dish, tuscan kale (often called cavolo nero or dinosaur kale or even lacinato kale) is more tender than the curly variety and is enriched with an abiding sweet and earthy flavour. Its versatility is highlighted in this quick sauté with marinated artichokes and sundried tomatoes, turning simple ingredients into a most satisfying supper.

Related: Our Easiest 5-Ingredient Dinner Ideas

20-Minute Tuscan White Bean Skillet Dinner

Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 20 minutes
Servings: 4

Ingredients:

2 ½ Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil, divided
6 cups torn Tuscan kale (see tip)
Pinch each salt and pepper
½ onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
5 oil-packed sundried tomatoes, thinly sliced
1 ½ cups cherry tomatoes or can cherry tomatoes, drained
170 ml jar artichokes in oil, drained
540 ml/19 oz can cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
⅓ cup shaved Pecorino cheese or Parmesan cheese

Chopped parsley (optional)
Extra-virgin olive oil for drizzling
Artisanal loaf (optional)

Directions:

1. Heat 1 ½ tsp of the oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add kale, and using tongs, toss to coat. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Sprinkle with 2 tsp water to steam, tossing until wilted, about 1 minute. Transfer to a bowl.

Tip: To prepare kale, wash and drain. Tear kale away from the rib.

2. Add the remaining 2 Tbsp of oil to the pan; add onions and cook, stirring until softened, 3 minutes. Stir in garlic and sundried tomatoes and cook for 1 minute. Add cherry tomatoes and cook until almost softened, 3 minutes.

Variation Tip: Swap out sundried tomatoes in oil for roasted red peppers or marinated eggplant and swap out Pecorino cheese for feta or goat cheese.

3. Stir in beans and artichokes; cook, stirring to combine. Return the kale and cook until warmed. Top with cheese and sprinkle with parsley and drizzle with more olive oil.

4. Serve with crusty bread to round out the meal.

Dinner doesn’t have to be daunting. Here are Alton Brown’s quickest dinner ideas, 20+ tasty mains ready in 15 minutes and the most affordable healthy suppers to make at home.

The Trick to Mastering the Best-Ever Instant Pot Crispy Rice

What’s better than a bowl of flawlessly cooked rice? It should be tender yet fluffy with each pearly grain separated and peaked. How to cook the perfect pot of rice is as baffling as there are methods, and yes, it’s easy to mess up, but we’ve mastered the technique with the Instant Pot and added a crispy, crunchy top (arguably the only way to improve rice). Here are the tricks to mastering the glorious crispy crown every time using an Instant Pot.

How to Make The Best Instant Pot Crispy Rice

Ingredients:
2 cups basmati rice (makes 6 cups of cooked rice)
5 Tbsp ghee or unsalted butter, divided (1 ½ Tbsp softened)
1 ¼ tsp kosher salt
½ tsp saffron threads (optional)
3 Tbsp olive oil or neutral oil

1. Wash Don’t Rinse

Wash the rice 3x in a bowl covered with cold water, swishing with your hand or until the water runs clear. Tip the bowl to drain the cloudy water and repeat. Rinsing the rice in a fine-mesh sieve isn’t enough to thoroughly wash away any loose starch, dirt or debris that has accumulated from storage or the field, and it tastes so much better.

2. Good Soak

Place the rice in a bowl and cover with cold water for 20-30 minutes until the grains are pearly white, then strain through a fine-mesh sieve. (Yes, this is when you can rinse through a sieve!) The rice will absorb some of the water, resulting in elongated, perfectly separate grains, and it shortens the cooking time.

3. Prep the Pot

Evenly spread 1 ½ Tbsp of softened ghee on the bottom of the Instant Pot, making sure to cover. Melted ghee will trickle down from the centre of the pot since there is a slope. Softened ghee, on the other hand, will stay in place while preventing the rice from sticking.

Tip: We like using ghee for its golden hue, and it’s a pure fat with a high smoke point. It’s basically unsalted butter with the milk solids removed after separating from the butter fat (a cousin to clarified butter). Learn how to make your own ghee at home.

4. Under Pressure

Add the strained rice to the prepared pot, spreading evenly over top. Sprinkle with salt and 2 cups of cold water. Press the Pressure function and cook on high for 5 minutes. Release the pressure, remove the lid and cover with a kitchen towel. Let rest for 10 minutes.

5. Grind and Bloom

*This step is optional. Skip the grinding if you’re not using saffron.*
Meanwhile, grind saffron in a mortar and pestle or finely rub between fingers and stir into a measuring glass with the olive oil. Melt the remaining ghee, then stir into the oil mixture to allow the saffron to bloom.

6. Poke Poke

Using the end of a wooden spoon, poke the rice to the bottom to make many holes. These holes will be the tunnels for the ghee saffron mixture to reach the bottom and create the signature crispy top.

Drizzle the saffron mixture over the rice, concentrating in the centre (the slope will pool the ghee to the edge of the pot).

7. Crispy Sauté

Remove the kitchen towel and press the Sauté function, and cook until the rice is golden brown and crispy on the bottom, 10-12 minutes. Using an offset spatula or rubber spatula, loosen the edge of rice and lightly pack.

Tip: If you’re afraid of the inverting, scoop the rice onto the centre of the platter, then carefully remove the crispy top and transfer. You won’t have a single piece, but you can hide the cracks with parsley or chopped pistachios or pomegranate seeds.

Using kitchen towels, remove the pot. Place a large platter over top and quickly invert it, so the rice falls onto the platter with the crispy side up. Be patient, you may have to wait up to 30 seconds for the bottom to fall, and you may have to scrape and patch any bits left behind. You did it! Now crunch, crunch and enjoy!

Note: Crispy rice is often called Tahdig (tah-DEEG), the Persian word that translates as “the bottom of the pot” and is the golden, crispy crust coveted by everyone at the table.

Looking for more inspiration? See here for easy and tasty ways to use leftover rice, plus 20+ creative stir-fry recipes and seasonal risotto ideas for spring.

This is How to Make The Perfect Chinese Hot Pot at Home

Chinese hot pot is a broth set on a table meant for sharing, and is a social dining experience where people huddle around a simmering pot of broth with a variety of proteins, veggies, spices and a string of incredibly diverse dipping sauces. In short, you make a personalized dipping sauce, dunk some ingredients into the broth and scoop it out into your bowl. Much like cheese fondue, hot pot is a buffet of mix-and-match ingredients perfect for customized social gatherings.

Depending on the region of China, the broth and chosen protein will vary, with Northern China favouring lamb, and Cantonese hot pot commonly filled with fresh seafood. To make at home, you don’t need to choose a region. It just involves a bit of preparation.

Hot Pot Tips and Tricks

Equipment 101: To keep the broth simmering on the table, you need a portable burner. Whether you choose a butane burner or portable induction stove, look for butane burners in camping stores or online, and be sure to purchase the fuel every few hot pot dinners.

The Right Pot: The ideal pot has a divider in the centre to allow for two different broths (cool, right?) and is often called a shabu-shabu hot pot with divider. I have a wide, shallow pot with a fitted lid that accommodates a selection of protein, vegetables and broth while cooking quickly.

Tool Time: You’ll need chopsticks or forks/small tongs for dipping in the pot and eating. Strainers, spoons and small plates or shallow bowls for eating, and small bowls for dipping sauces. Remember, you are dipping into a communal pot, so you will need separate tools to dip the ingredients, retrieve and eat. No one likes double dippers!

Spice is Nice: Decide on the type of broth you will serve, whether you make your own from scratch or purchase the many flavoured packages offered in Asian grocery stores. Choose from a basic chicken broth with mild flavouring agents i.e. onion, ginger, daikon, or a tomato-based, mushroom-based or spicy broth (it’s called Hot Pot for a reason!).

Ingredient Buffet: The choice of ingredients fit for a hot pot is too long to list, and with no hard and fast rules, it’s a mix-and-match game. You want a little bit of everything, and balance is critical when it comes to vegetables. You want texture, satiating veggies and complementary choices for the remaining ingredients.

Hot Pot Ingredient List

Greens
Hearty and leafy, look for greens that retain texture after cooking like bok choy, watercress, snow pea leaves, Napa cabbage, Chinese spinach, gai lan and green onions.

Root Vegetables
Look for daikon, carrots, small potatoes and either cut into cubes or thinly sliced. For larger pieces, let them simmer in the broth to flavour it, and thinly slice for a slight crunch.

Mushrooms
More than an umami-rich flavour agent, reach for enokis, small cremini or shimeji mushrooms for quick cooking and sliced king oysters for a meaty choice. Add the small mushrooms the last minute of cooking; they’re ready as soon as they start to wilt, and king oysters can handle a longer cooking time.

Tomatoes
Tomatoes are a staple in many Asian soups and stews. Cut tomatoes into quarters and simmer until softened for the acidity to balance the spice.

Squash
Kabocha squash is my first choice for its bright hue, rich texture and sweetness to balance the stew. Winter melon, also known as bitter melon, is wildly popular in Asia for soups and stews with a mild flavour and absorbs the characteristics of the other ingredients. The skin and seeds must be removed, and while the flesh is firm, it can become mush if overcooked.

Other Vegetables:
Broccoli, cauliflower, carrots, zucchini, bean sprouts, corn, green beans.

Dipping Sauces
Often, the hot pot is not the source of big flavours; it’s the personalized dipping sauce that sings and heightens the experience. You drop your protein and vegetables into the broth, or allow them to cook for a few minutes, scoop them out onto a plate or bowl, then sink the protein/veggie into the dipping sauce before eating. Choices of sauces include: Soy sauce, fish sauce, oyster sauce, Chinese black vinegar, Hoisin sauce, Chinese chili oil and Chinese sesame paste.

Soup Base
The broth is the foundation of any hot pot, and you can make your own with prepared chicken, beef or vegetable broth, then layer with flavour agents such as fresh or dried chilies, fish sauce, Chinese rice wine, garlic, soy sauce and vinegar. The easy solution is to venture out into your local Asian market and look for the many Hot Pot Soup Bases. You will be spoiled for choice: Tomato Broth, Mushroom Broth, Sichuan Pepper Broth, Mild Broth, Spicy Broth, Vegetable Broth.

For a homemade spicy broth, fry dried whole chilies in vegetable oil until they turn red. Scrape into the hot pot with prepared chicken broth with star anise, sliced ginger and chunks of green onions.

Protein
Just about any protein will be utterly delicious in a hot pot. Buy thinly sliced lamb, beef or pork belly (often found frozen in Asian grocery stores) for pure ease of enjoyment. Dip a slice of your chosen protein a few times in the hot pot and, it’s done in about 30 seconds. For chicken, look for chicken cutlets and thinly slice into strips.

Seafood
Shellfish additions are as endless as the sea and promise to add even more flavour to the pot. The current favourite is shrimp, and don’t be afraid to leave the shell and head on. Scallops come in all sizes, oysters should be shucked and can be purchased frozen, shucked. Mussels are sustainable, and you need only to remove the beards and cleaned, clams need a good scrubbing too, and the littlenecks are best for hot pot for their quick cooking time, and they take up little room.

Fish Balls and Fish Cakes
Fish of all varieties when thinly sliced are great in a hot pot. Place salmon, halibut, and bass in the strainer during the cooking process to catch all the flaky pieces.

Fish balls are pressed fish paste, cuttlefish, shrimp and lobster and can be round, square, oval and even come in a variety of colours from white to brown to pink. Look for them in the freezer section of any Asian grocery store, when they’re already cooked and frozen and need a minute or two in the hot pot to thaw. When they float to the surface, they’re ready for dipping.

Tofu
Medium-firm or firm will work, the soft or silken variety won’t survive the jostling dippers from all angles. Fried tofu is pre-cooked and needs only warming.

Noodles
Traditionally, rice noodles are an excellent choice for its quick and clean cooking. Wheat noodles will thicken the broth and leave a cloudy soup.

From a party of two to an elaborate gathering, hot pot is a warming, fun and creative dinner idea, and the most deliciously entertaining.

We’ve also rounded up last-minute party appetizers that are beyond easy. You should also try your hand at this easy, cheesy fondue board for entertaining.

The Best Slow Cooker Short Ribs With a Delectable Red Wine Sauce

Richly satisfying and beefy, our easy short ribs are also deeply comforting with a reduced wine sauce and loads of veggies to stave off any guilt you may hold while hibernating from the frigid winter temperatures. Sear your short ribs and vegetables, transfer to your slow cooker and tuck in.

Slow Cooker Short Ribs with Reduced Wine Sauce and Vegetables

Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 30 minutes (plus 3-6 hours in the slow cooker)
Servings: 4

Ingredients:
4 lbs short ribs cut into 2- to 4-inch pieces
1 ½ tsp each kosher salt and coarsely ground black pepper, divided
1 Tbsp canola oil
2 carrots, cut in thirds
2 onions, quartered
1 head garlic, halved crosswise
2 Tbsp tomato paste
3 cups full-bodied red wine (like Cabernet Sauvignon)
2 sprigs rosemary
6 sprigs thyme
2 bay leaves
2 cups no-salt added beef broth
12-14 small cremini mushrooms


Directions:
1. Sprinkle short ribs with salt and pepper on both sides. Heat oil in large Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add ribs and cook in batches, turning to brown all over, 6 to 8 minutes. Transfer to slow cooker insert.

2. Add carrots, onions, garlic, rosemary, thyme and bay leaves to same Dutch oven and cook, turning carefully until browned, 4 minutes. Add tomato paste in centre of pan and cook, stirring until fragrant, 30 seconds. Stir in wine and broth; bring to a boil.

Tip: For a tomato based short rib ragout, add 1 can of good-quality plum tomatoes in place of beef broth. Remove the bones after removing from slow cooker and use 2 forks to shred the meat for a lovely rich ragout.

3. Pour vegetable mixture over ribs. Cover and cook on low until meat is very tender, on low for 6 to 8 hours or on high for 3 to 5 hours, adding mushrooms the last hour (if using).

4. Remove short ribs and vegetables to a large bowl and cover. Strain sauce into medium pot and skim fat. Add mushrooms and bring to a boil over medium-high heat and reduce to half, about 2 cups. Add short ribs and vegetables to pot and serve with mashed potatoes or potato gratin.

Tip: For ease of skimming, let the wine sauce and fat sit overnight in the refrigerator. Pour remaining wine sauce over ribs.

Stay cozy all season with these 15 Dutch-oven recipes made for winter, our best slow cooker soups and stews, and 10 slow cooker casseroles that’ll warm you right up.

Lazy One-Pan 30-Minute Chicken Parmigiana Your Weeknight Needs

Breaded chicken parmigiana is quickly regaining its nostalgic magic and has stirred up real excitement as a sexy date-night option. Whether you’re whipping up this easy and soul-satisfying dish for a family or planning for an intimate weeknight meal, the main course’s classic old-world Italian flavours and simplicity will quickly make its way into your dinner rotation.

One-Pan 30-Minute Chicken Parmigiana

Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 30 minutes
Servings: 4

Ingredients:

½ cup all-purpose flour
2 eggs, beaten
1 cup panko or seasoned breadcrumbs
¾ cup finely grated Parmesan cheese, divided
½ tsp each salt and pepper
2 skinless, boneless chicken breasts, halved lengthwise and pounded to ¼-inch thickness (see tip) or 4 chicken cutlets
½ cup olive oil, divided
2 cups passata or Marinara sauce
1 clove garlic, minced
Pinch hot pepper flakes (optional)
⅓ cup basil leaves, divided (optional)
Half 340g mozzarella ball cut in 8 thin slices
Salt and pepper
300g spaghetti (optional)

Directions:

1. Preheat oven to 400°F. Arrange three plates or pie plates on work surface. Fill one with flour and season with salt and pepper. Fill other plate with egg whisked with 2 tsp water and season with salt and pepper, and the last plate with panko and ½ cup of the Parmesan cheese.

2. Dip chicken cutlet into flour mixture, turning to coat; shake off excess. Dip into egg mixture, shaking off excess then into panko mixture, turning and pressing to coat. Place on a parchment paper-lined baking sheet and repeat with remaining chicken.

Tip: To make your chicken cutlets, arrange halved skinless, boneless chicken breasts between plastic wrap and pound to ¼-inch thickness with a mallet,  bottom of a small skillet or even a rolling pin.

3. Heat 2 Tbsp of the oil in large heat-proof skillet over medium heat; cook two pieces chicken, turning once, until browned, about four minutes. Transfer to baking sheet. Wipe skillet clean with paper towel and repeat with 2 Tbsp oil and remaining chicken pieces. Wipe skillet.

4. Heat remaining 2 Tbsp oil in skillet over medium heat; add garlic and hot pepper flakes and cook for 30 seconds. Add passata, ⅓ cup water, 6 basil leaves and cook for 2 minutes. Nestle in chicken pieces to fit and spoon some of the sauce over chicken. Sprinkle with remaining ¼ cup Parmesan and top with mozzarella.

Tip: Passata or tomato passata is uncooked strained tomatoes. Free from seeds and skin, it’s fresh and packed with pure tomato flavour and is an ideal solution for quick weeknight sauces, soups or stews.

5. Bake in oven until cheese is melted and bubbling and chicken is no longer pink inside, 6 to 8 minutes. Garnish with remaining basil (if desired).

Tip: Meanwhile, in saucepan of boiling salted water, cook pasta according to package instructions. Drain and return to pot. Drizzle with olive oil, salt and pepper and serve with chicken if desired. Alternatively, you can enjoy on a toasted sub roll or Kaiser bun topped with hot pickled peppers.

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