Beef and Onion Soup

Beef Recipes, Soup

(My version of Semur Daging. Origin: Indonesia)

Spring has been generous with its rain this year. In this cloudy, cold, and wet day, some hearty soup feels appropriate. My husband makes this wonderful Beef and Onion in Tomato-based soup. There’s a little sweetness that comes from the sauteed onions that is complemented nicely by the tomatoes. The spices add a nice punch into the soup, making the beef and potatoes flavorful. Here is his recipe, a huge favorite in our home.

Beef and Onion Soup

Beef and Onion Soup


  • 1 sweet onion (sliced)
  • 3 garlic (chopped)
  • 1 pound of rib eye cut of beef (cut into thin slices)
  • 2 medium size tomatoes (sliced)
  • 1 small potato (cut into little squares)
  • A pinch of clove powder (Really, just a little dash, please. Clove is pretty strong. A little goes a long way.)
  • 1 teaspoon of coriander powder
  • 1 teaspoon of nutmeg powder ( I like to add nutmeg to this soup)
  • A pinch of cayenne pepper powder
  • 1 tablespoon of sweet soy sauce (can be found in Asian grocery store)
  • Salt
  • Black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon of canola oil


  • Heat up a medium size pot and add oil
  • Saute the onions until they become translucent
  • Add garlic and thin sliced beef into the pot and cook them with the onions for a minute
  • Add water to fill the pot halfway and bring to a boil
  • Once it simmers, add tomato slices, potato, clove, coriander, nutmeg, cayenne, sweet soy sauce, salt, and pepper. Mix everything well. Cover the pot with a lid and let it cook for 20–30 minutes until the beef and potato are cooked thoroughly and the tomato is dissolved.





Chicken in Sesame, Ginger, and Garlic Soup

Poultry Recipes, Soup

Chicken in Sesame, Ginger, and Garlic Soup by Tiny Chili Pepper


The temperature keeps dropping in this part of the world. Looks like the cold days are really here to stay, at least for a while. Tis the perfect time for…warm soup!

Many years ago, back in college days, a good friend taught me how to do Hainan chicken rice. I remembered the fantastic fragrance that came from the dish. Sesame oil, ginger slices, and garlic infused the soup and the chicken. My friend also tossed the rice grains with a little bit of sesame oil and oyster sauce in a pan before cooking it. Ah, so wonderful!

Inspired by that memory, I recently made something similar: chicken in sesame, ginger, and garlic soup. I served it with jasmine rice, scallions, and a little bit of chili flakes on a bitter cold night. The heat from the soup, the ginger, and the spicy chili flakes warmed me right up. I think I might make it again real soon.

Here’s my easy version:

Serve 2:


  • 2 chicken breasts and 2 thighs with bones and skin (change it up according to your preference)
  • 1—1 ½ inches of fresh ginger (peeled and chopped). Fresh ginger, not powder, is one of the keys here, folks.
  • 2—3 Thai peppers (chopped), if using
  • 4 garlic (chopped)
  • 1 tablespoon of sesame oil. Sesame oil is the other key ingredient in this recipe. Trust me 😉
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • 1 bunch of scallions (minus the root part, chopped)
  • Water


  • Heat up a medium pot over medium heat
  • Add oil, ginger, peppers, and garlic. Let them cook for a minute or two.
  • Add the chicken and water. Make sure that the chicken is submerged.
  • Add salt and a little bit of pepper.
  • Cook for 30 minutes or so until the chicken is cooked through. Taste the soup and adjust.
  • Reduce the heat to low. Take the chicken out and shred them using two forks. Discard the bones.
  • Return the meat into the soup and let it sit for about 10 minutes to absorb more flavors.
  • Serve hot with chopped scallions and rice.

Hope you like it!

Have a great weekend, all.

For Maria

Super Easy Chunky Vegetable Soup – A Side Dish

Vegetable Recipes

A good friend of mine once mentioned that she didn’t like vegetables… any vegetables. Then I found out that this dear friend had what I’d call: a plain-steamed-canned-vegetables “trauma”. ¡Ay! I’d also suffer such a negative association if I had been exposed to such boring and processed vegetables only. Thankfully, now, with the help of her husband my friend has been more open to trying vegetable dishes. Much to her surprise she found a lot to like! 

I enjoy vegetables very much. I cook them as a side dish to pair with my meat or fish entrée all the time. One super easy and simple recipe that I enjoy is this chunky vegetable soup. I’d serve the soup alongside my more complex dish: braised and broiled chicken. The vegetable soup’s simplicity, wonderful flavor and texture, and warmth complete a great homemade lunch or dinner especially during these colder months.

Here’s how I do it:

  • Heat up a tablespoon of canola oil in a small pot
  • Finely chop a half of sweet onion
  • Brown the onion and a teaspoon of minced garlic in the small pot
  • Add 3-4 cups of chicken stock, bring to boil (My important ingredient in vegetable dish recipes)
  • Chop two carrots and half of cauliflower into big chunks. (Add more crunchy vegetables like green beans, celery, or broccoli if you like. Feel free to adjust the cut size to your preference too.) Avoid overcrowding the pot.
  • Add salt and pepper to taste
  • For great aroma, add a pinch of nutmeg powder (Really, just a tiny pinch. You want to avoid overpowering the soup with nutmeg’s poignant aroma.)
  • Once the chicken stock starts bubbling then the vegetables can swim in it until they are fork tender. Cover with a lid.
  • Turn of the heat and let the soup cool down before serving. That way the vegetables have more time to absorb the chicken stock flavor.

There are many ways to transform different vegetables into delicious dishes. Most require little effort and creativity. You’d be pleasantly surprised. Enjoy!

More vegetable dish recipes:

Spinach and Corn Soup

Kale Braised in Coconut Milk

Caramelized Brussel Sprouts

Spicy Eggplant

Have a favorite vegetable dish? Please share! Would love to learn more delicious vegetable recipes.

Oh the Leftovers!

Poultry Recipes

What to do with the Leftover Turkey

A couple of friends invited us to their house this past Thanksgiving for a traditional turkey dinner. And of course what’s Thanksgiving without leftovers, right? Our gracious hosts begged us to take some turkey meat home. Mind you, Jeff and I had a lunch planned and a dinner to host on the following day. So this turkey had to wait in the fridge.

After two consecutive dinner parties our fridge was full of leftovers. One morning I stared at the fridge thinking about ways to transform the extra food into new dishes. Turkey meat got my first priority. I also saw the veggie tray that a couple of friends brought for appetizer on Friday night and I still had some chicken stock.  Aha! A dish came to mind: Turkey and Vegetable Soup. But then I realized that we got quite a lot of the turkey leftovers that I could make another dish. I saw some leftover jasmine rice from yesterday’s lunch and I also found red hot finger peppers, Thai peppers, shallots, and onion too in my fridge—the perfect ingredients for fried rice. Another menu was born: Turkey Fried Rice.

Turkey and Vegetable Soup

I normally do this soup with chicken. But the turkey variation did not disappoint.  I was able to make it very flavorful. The trick was to leave the soup overnight in the fridge to be enjoyed the next day.

  • Heat up two cups of chicken stock and a half of cup of water in a pot over medium heat
  • Add salt, white pepper powder, a half of teaspoon of minced garlic, and a half of teaspoon of nutmeg powder for aroma and peppery flavor
  • Shred the leftover turkey meat and put it in the boiling soup
  • Chop the baby carrots, broccoli, and celeries from the veggie tray and mix them in the pot with the turkey
  • Let it cook together for about 15-20 minutes
  • Turn off the heat and let the soup cool down
  • Put it in the fridge overnight so that the turkey and the vegetables absorb the chicken stock and spices
  • Have the soup for lunch the next day
  • Serve with a bread on the side

Turkey Fried Rice

 First, infuse more flavors into the leftover turkey:

  • Heat up a cup of chicken stock in a pot over medium heat
  • Add salt and white pepper powder and let it simmer
  • Lower the heat and let the rest of the shredded turkey swim in the simmering chicken stock until the liquid is nearly gone

 Second, prepare the sauce for the fried rice:

  • Chop and mix five red hot finger peppers, three Thai peppers, one shallots, a teaspoon of minced garlic, and a quarter of onion in a food processor
  • Heat up a large deep skillet over medium heat
  • Add a half of tablespoon of canola oil
  • Sauté the sauce for a minute or two
  • Mix the cold (cooked) white rice with the red sauce in the skillet. For best result, make two or three cups of rice  the night before and then chill in the fridge
  • Stir until the rice is coated with the red sauce
  • Add salt
  • Drain the shredded turkey from the stock and mix them with the red rice
  • Scramble a couple of eggs in a frying pan and mix with the rice and turkey
  • Serve immediately with cut up lettuce and sliced cucumbers on the side
Note: Toppings for the fried rice may vary. You can also enjoy it with beef, chicken, or shrimp.

Warning: Spicy (Please adjust the number of chili peppers according to your spicy-tolerance level)

Spinach and Corn Soup

Vegetable Recipes

My sister and I love Spinach and Corn Soup (Sayur Bening). Recently she asked me to write the recipe for her. I thought I’d share my version of the Javanese vegetable soup here with all of you. The dish is so simple and delicious. I feel like this particular soup is a perfect buffer to other Javanese bold-flavor, strong spice-infused, and complex dishes. The combination of corn and shallots gives a little sweetness to the soup while the blend of spinach, garlic, and galangal provides a subtle but inviting aroma.  It is easy to prepare and it makes a great company for meat, chicken, or fish main courses.

Here are the must-haves:

-2 cups of water

-1/2 Bag of spinach leaves

-1 Bag of frozen corn kernels (get the smaller bag)

-3-4 Cloves of garlic (chop into tiny bits)

-3 Shallots (chop into tiny bits)

-1 inch of galangal root (or ½ teaspoon of galangal powder)


Steps to follow:

  • Bring water to boil in a small or medium pot
  • Add a pinch of salt
  • Throw in the galangal root/powder for aroma (optional)
  • Add the chopped garlic and shallots along with the corn kernels into the pot
  • Wait until the soup simmers
  • Add the spinach leaves into the bubbling soup and stir (no more than 1 minute to avoid overcooking the spinach)
  • Take out the galangal root before serving

Serve 2

For my sister across the ocean