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.





Baked Tempeh

Vegetable Recipes

tempeh TCP

Baked Tempeh. My parents would probably chuckle when they read this post’s title. You see, tempeh is one of Indonesia’s staple food and a favorite of mine. Typically, we’d just sprinkle salt on it and brown it in a pan with a little bit of oil. It is delicious, simple, and humble. Now, as much as I love having tempeh, I loathe getting oil splatter all over my stove, kitchen, skin, and clothes. So, my solution to avoid such a mess: bake them in the oven. Why not, right?

Tempeh absorbs seasonings and marinades quite well. So, we could just salt it OR add more flavors to it. I like to do a dry rub with a few spices for mine. Here’s how I prepare the baked tempeh:

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees F
  • I slice tempeh into thin rectangular cuts
  • Drizzle a tablespoon of olive oil on the tempeh cuts and brush to coat evenly
  • Sprinkle a little bit of salt, cayenne pepper powder, turmeric powder, and coriander powder
  • Mix these spices with the tempeh cuts and make sure each is well coated
  • Bake for 15 minutes or until they turn golden brown

They are still that delicious, simple, and humble tempeh that I like so much, even with the added ingredients and steps.

Great to serve alongside a vegetable dish and rice

Hope you like it.


For Eggplant Lovers

Vegetable Recipes

Many people I’ve talked to about food seemed to have strong opinions about eggplants. Most of them either love it or hate it. It’s quite interesting how a fruit/vegetable could arouse such strong feelings.

I happen to like eggplant very much. One of my favorite recipes is Spicy Eggplant. I love the soft and meaty texture of eggplant once it is cooked. The mild flavor makes it ideal to be a blank canvas in cooking too. So combining it with spices, chilies and either shrimp, beef, tempeh, or even tofu, could easily transform this purple beauty to be a fantastic meal. I must admit, though, that in the past I have tasted badly cooked eggplant, but I forgave, moved on, and said, “Maybe it wasn’t the eggplant, but the way it was cooked.” I’ve learned that with certain vegetables, many times, they could be even more appetizing and desirable when they get cooked and seasoned the right way.

Anyway, the other day I happened to be talking to a friend who is a vegetarian. She mentioned that she loved grilled veggies. For some reason I immediately thought about grilled eggplants (and mushrooms). By chance, minutes after the conversation, I saw  12 Recipes for Grilled Eggplant from the NYTimes. Check out the different countries’ styles!

I tried the Chinese Style with a little tweak of my own:

In a bowl, I mixed a tablespoon of sesame oil, one tablespoons of soy sauce, one tablespoon of apple cider vinegar (I didn’t have the rice vinegar that the recipe called for), four tablespoons of oyster sauce (the recipe called for Hoisin sauce that I didn’t have), a dash of cayenne pepper powder, a dash of ginger powder, and two chopped garlic. Then I cut up one long eggplant (I am sure the big eggplant we normally see in many grocery stores work well too for this recipe) and marinated them in the sauce for 5-10 minutes.

Then I placed an aluminum foil that I have greased lightly with olive oil on the grill, fired the grill up, and cook the eggplants for 5 minutes on each side. (I could also grill them on the stove top using a nonstick cookware coated with a tiny bit of oil.) The result? Mmm…super tasty and meaty eggplant dish! It’s got a lot of wonderful flavors going on: savory, spicy, and a bit of smokiness too. Jeff and I liked it very much. I served them along with fried tofu and rice. Another yummy meatless menu!

Here are the pictures. They came out blurry, sorry! I think I was too excited to try this recipe.

Roast Chicken with Turmeric and Spices

Poultry Recipes

The quest to have a collection of easy and flavorful roast chicken recipes continues.

I definitely have been on a roast chicken kick lately. I love the crispy exterior, but tender interior, and flavorful roast chicken. Now, the goal is to have a few different versions. So I play with the seasonings each time I roast. Last month I did a dry-rub with rosemary and thyme. This time, I’ll do a wet-rub with turmeric and other spices!

My recipe below is inspired by a traditional Javanese yellow fried chicken or ayam goreng kuning (the yellow coloring comes from turmeric). When you travel to Java Island, this is the kind of fried chicken you’d find at local restaurants. The chicken tend to be much smaller, so flavorful and aromatic, crispy on the outside but so tender in the inside. It is usually served with white rice, some green vegetables, and chilies. I am a huge fan!

For my version though, I opt out of frying and choose to roast instead. I find roasting to be a lot “friendlier” than frying on many levels. With roasting, I get to just place the chicken in the oven, set the timer, and leave it alone for a while. Also, I would not have to deal with the oil splattering onto my skin, my clothes, and my whole kitchen. Less mess, less stress. Most importantly, roasting does the job. The chicken comes out with that beautiful golden color and the crispy and tender texture that I expect.

So here’s how we do it. We will need:

  • A whole chicken (cut up into 12 pieces—I like smaller cuts)
  • 5 shallots (chopped)
  • 1 tablespoon of minced garlic
  • 1 tablespoon of coriander powder
  • 1 teaspoon of turmeric powder
  • 1 teaspoon of ginger powder
  • Salt
  • Black pepper
  • An inch of galangal root (smashed)
  • One lemongrass (the white part only, smashed)
  • You may substitute the galangal root and lemongrass with lemon zest and juice from two lemons.


  • In a large and deep cooking pan, boil 3 cups of water, and then turn the heat off.
  • Add all of the spices into the water and mix it well. Let it cool down. Taste and add salt if necessary.
  • Place the chicken into the spice mixture.
  • Once the liquid is cool enough, using your clean hands, rub the chicken with the spice mixture. Make sure that the chicken is well coated. (Would be good if the chicken is submerged.)
  • Cover with a lid and store in the fridge overnight or at least half a day.


  • Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
  • Place chicken on an oven rack set on top of a tray (to collect the juices)
  • Cook for 40-45 minutes (until chicken temperature reaches 165 degrees F).
  • For golden color on the outer part, I turn on the broiler and let the chicken brown for 2-5 minutes. To avoid charring, leave the oven door slightly ajar (a couple of inches) and please don’t wander off too far 🙂
  • Serve with rice

Serve 4 generously

Mini Burger Series – Turkey Burger with Spicy Mayonnaise Sauce

Burger, Poultry Recipes

I think food variety is key to exciting meals. So I try to expand our home-cooking menus. Thankfully, Jeff and I are pretty open to enjoying various types of food. It definitely makes cooking and eating to be a lot more fun.

One day the mood for burgers happened to strike me. Jeff and I both love a good burger. This time though, instead of going to our usual burger joint that night, I decided to make the burger. We just had a beef dish the day before so I thought of other meat alternatives to make a delicious burger. Turkey immediately came to mind followed by a meaty fish, like halibut. Couldn’t choose which one to make, I decided to do two mini burgers: turkey and halibut. I added roasted sweet peppers with artichoke hearts as the side salad. (Next posts: Halibut Burger and Roasted Sweet Peppers with Artichoke Hearts)

Ingredients for Turkey Burger:

  • 1 ½ pounds of lean ground turkey
  • Ginger powder
  • Chili powder
  • A teaspoon of minced garlic
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • Green onions (chopped the white area and discard the green part)

We will also need:

  • 7 burger buns or dinner rolls
  • 7 slices of cheddar cheese

Ingredients for the sauce:

  • 2 tablespoon of mayonnaise
  • 1 tablespoon of dijon mustard
  • A sprinkle of dill leaves
  • 1 teaspoon of Sriracha hot sauce


  • In a big bowl, mix all of the ingredients for the burger and make five to seven patties from the mixture (depending on how big you want the patties to be)
  • In a smaller bowl, mix the ingredients for the sauce. Cover with a plastic wrap and keep in the refrigerator until the burgers are ready to serve.
  • Grill the patties for seven minutes on each side.
  • Place the cheese on top of the patties when they’re almost done.
  • Warm up the buns or rolls on the grill for a minute or two.
  • Spread the sauce on the top and the bottom of the buns, drizzle a little on the patties, and stack the burgers.
  • Serve with roasted sweet peppers and artichoke hearts salad.

Braised and Broiled Chicken Thighs

Poultry Recipes

As a big-flavor food enthusiast, I see chicken as a great “blank canvas” in my cooking. The meat has great potential for many delicious dishes. With the right blend of spices and a little patience anyone can create their own far-from-boring signature chicken dish. For me, braised and broiled chicken has been an all-time favorite and specialty.

Inspired by a version (out of many) of traditional Javanese grilled chicken, I learned to cook this meal by trying on different recipes years ago. I tweaked the technique and ingredients many times to get to my own version. We evolved with time, the recipe and I. Now that I have reached my satisfactory level with this dish I feel more confident in sharing the recipe with others. 

Chicken thighs with their succulence and tender texture work best for this particular recipe. The meat doesn’t turn dry even after being cooked twice. In this recipe I braise the chicken to tenderize the meat and infuse it with flavors of my choosing. Then I broil the braised meat to get that crispy golden brown effect on the chicken’s exterior. (During the warmer months I’d brown the braised chicken on a grill outside.)

Here are the must-haves and the steps to cook the chicken:

  • 4-6 bone-in and skin-on chicken thighs. (Worry not about the fat. A lot of it will be cooked out of the meat.)
For the lemon-like aroma, smash:
  • 1 inch of galangal
  • 1 lemongrass
  • 2 kaffir lime leaves (optional)

For the flavor, mix and puree in a food processor:

  • 1 inch of ginger
  • 1 tablespoon of minced garlic
  • 4-5 shallots
  • 5-6 candlenuts
  • 1 teaspoon of coriander powder
  • ½ teaspoon of turmeric powder
  • ½ teaspoon of black pepper powder
  • 1 tablespoon of cayenne pepper powder
  • Salt (be generous)

Heat up a tablespoon of canola oil in a large pot (over medium heat). Brown the blended spices along with the galangal and the lemongrass. Add the chicken and two or three cups of water (until the chicken is almost, not completely, covered by the liquid). Stir and mix well. Throw in the kaffir lemon leaves. Cover with a lid and let it cook for an hour to an hour and a half until the meat gets tender. Taste before broiling. Add more salt if necessary. (Leaving the chicken in its braising liquid overnight, and broil the next day, would amplify the taste.)

Final step:

Set oven to broil. Place the chicken thighs on an oven rack set over a tray (so that any leftover juice has a place to go). Broil each side for 4-5 minutes until the color turn to golden brown. Be careful, it’s super hot!

Great with steamed white rice, chilies, and a vegetable soup side dish (coming up on the blog soon).

Serve two generously