Shrimp Pho (faux) Noodle Soup

Shrimp Pho (faux) Noodle Soup

This is “Faux” Pho – a faster, easier weeknight version that doesn’t require hours in the kitchen! Perfect for cold and rainy nights. This turns out different every time I make it, depending on the ingredients.







8 oz rice noodles
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
1/2 teaspoon black peppercorns or 1/4 teaspoon freshly cracked
1 tablespoon sesame oil
2 tablespoons ginger root minced
1/2 tablespoon chili garlic paste
1 onion, sliced thin
8 cups seafood stock or chicken broth
2 strips lemon peel (use carrot peeler)
2 tablespoons soy sauce low sodium
2 tablespoons fish sauce
2 tablespoons lime juice
2 tablespoons hoisin sauce
1 teaspoon cinnamon
8 cups bok choy stem thinly sliced & leaves roughly chopped
1 lb shrimp raw

It is not traditional but a can of light coconut milk tastes really good in this!

Optional Garnishes
thinly sliced onion, slices jalapeno, cilantro, lime wedges, sriracha sauce, bean sprouts, Thai basil


  1. Prepare rice noodles according to package directions and set aside.
  2. In a large soup pot, warm sesame oil over medium heat for 30-60 seconds until it starts to shimmer. Add ginger and chili garlic paste then stir for 30 seconds to release flavors.
  3. Add onion and cook until tender and translucent
  4. Stir in broth, lemon peel, soy sauce, fish sauce, lime juice, hoisin, cinnamon and spices. Bring mixture to a boil then add shrimp and bok choy.
  5. Continue to simmer until shrimp turns bright pink and bok choy wilts – about 3-4 minutes. Check for seasoning and add salt/pepper/soy if necessary.
  6. Add noodles (and coconut milk if using) to soup and serve immediately.
  7. Serve with optional garnishes.
Scallops in Jade Sauce

Scallops in Jade Sauce

I used to love to go to this little shop called “Lexington Gardens” in Connecticut. I spent afternoons there with my mom and dad on visits home. They had a wonderful little cooking and cookbook section.  I found one of my favorite cookbooks there one afternoon back in the early ’90s – Pacific Flavors by Hugh Carpenter. This lovely dish is from that book. I modified slightly over the years. This is also wonderful tossed with fresh pasta and seafood.


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11/2 pounds large sea scallops
4 Tbsp butter cut into small pieces
salt to taste


1 12-oz bunch of spinach
1 Bunch chives
2 Tbsp finely minced ginger
6 Basil leaves (optional)
1/4 cup Chicken stock
1/4 Cup heavy whipping cream
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 teaspoon Chinese chili sauce
1 Tsp cornstarch


Rinse scallops and pat dry. Rub with ginger and chill until ready to use.

Make sauce. Chop spinach, chives, basil and ginger. Mince greens to a fine consistency and add stock. Process 30 seconds more and add the cream, salt and chili sauce. Process for about 15 seconds until pureed. Chill until ready to cook.

Preheat oven to the broil setting. Season with a little salt, pepper and dot each scallop with butter. Place the scallops on a baking rack. Broil, without turning until they turn white and are just firm to the touch. Cut one in half if you are unsure.

While the scallops are broiling combine the cornstarch with an equal amount of cold water. bring sauce to a low boil and stir in a little at a time to help thicken the sauce.

Glaze the dinner plates with the sauce and position the scallops in the center. serve at once.

Creamy Zucchini and Coconut Milk Soup

Creamy Zucchini and Coconut Milk Soup

This was inspired by some leftover coconut milk, zucchini in the fridge and the “Cooking Canuck” blog. I served it hot as a first course for a dinner party.







  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 medium sweet onion, finely chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 3 cups (packed) grated zucchini (about 2-3 depending on size)
  • 1 tbsp minced fresh mint leaves
  • 1/2 tsp kosher salt (plus more to taste)
  • 1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper (plus more to taste)
  • 2 3/4 cups vegetable broth
  • 2/3 cup coconut milk


  1. Heat olive oil in a large sauce pan set over medium-low heat. Add the onion and  and sweat (cook without browning) until the onion is soft and translucent, 7 to 10 minutes. Add the garlic and cook for additional 2 minutes.
  2. Turn the heat to medium, add the grated zucchini and chopped mint leaves, and cook until the zucchini is starting to soften, about 4 to 5 minutes. Season with salt and pepper.
  3. Add broth, bring to a boil, then reduce heat to medium-low. Simmer for 10 minutes.
  4. Remove soup from the heat and let cool for about 10 minutes. I used a Vitamix but a blender will do the job.
  5. Process the soup in a blender, in two batches, until the soup is almost smooth, but with a little bit of texture. Return to the saucepan, stir in coconut milk, reheat, and season to taste with salt and pepper. Serve.
  6. This soup can also be served chilled.
Red Curry Tofu and Vegetables

Red Curry Tofu and Vegetables

I love red curry. I like it best with chicken and shrimp but my husband does enjoy a vegetarian meal occasional so i made this with tofu. This was fast and easy on a week night. I am not a purist on south asian food – sometimes I just go with what works. Yummy





1 block Extra Firm Tofu, drained* and cut into large chunks
3 Tbsp Olive or peanut oil, divided
1 onion sliced thin
2 Zucchini, Julienne slices
1 can light coconut milk
1 Tbsp Fish Sauce
2 Tbsp Red Curry paste
2 Tbsp low sodium Soy Sauce


In a medium sized bowl combine Coconut milk, fish sauce and Red Curry Paste. Mix well.

In a wok or skillet heat 2 Tbsp olive oil (or peanut oil) and over high heat add the onion, stirring often about 10 minutes, add red pepper and stir quickly for a few minutes, add the zucchini and stir fry for another minute. Remove from heat to a bowl.

Heat the remaining oil and add tofu. Over high heat stir fry for a few minutes so tofu gets golden on each side. Add the soy sauce and continue to stir until golden brown. Add the Vegetable mixture back in and add curry, coconut mixture.

Serve over rice.

  • I drain my tofu, wrap in a paper towel and place a plastic covered brick on top for a few hours to make sure all the moisture is out.
Pineapple Shrimp Curry

Pineapple Shrimp Curry

I have collected James McNair cookbooks over the years and this recipe is adapted from his Southeast Asian Cookbook. It is bursting with flavor. I used fresh pineapple but you can substitute canned. If you cannot find curry paste, Trader Joe’s has a lovely Yellow Curry sauce that I have used that would work in this as well.  





2 Cups light coconut milk*
2 Tbsp Yellow Curry paste or Yellow curry sauce*
2 Tbsp Peanut or olive oil
1 pound large shrimp, peeled and deveined
3 Tbsp Fish Sauce
1 Tbsp Palm, coconut or brown Sugar
1 red Bell pepper, cut into chunks
1 Onion, halved and sliced thin
1 Cup fresh pineapple, cut into small chunks (or use canned)
1 Tbsp fresh lime juice
Whole fresh mint leaves for garnish

*If using prepared curry sauce eliminate the curry paste and coconut milk.



In a bowl combine coconut milk and curry paste and mix until smooth.

In a large wok or saucepan heat oil. Add the onions and cook on medium heat until golden and slightly caramelized, stirring to prevent burning. Add the red pepper.

Stir in the coconut milk/curry mixture. Add fish sauce, sugar and pineapple. Bring to a simmer and cook about 3 minutes.

Add the shrimp to the simmering curry and cook until the shrimp turn opaque.

Serve over rice and garnish with mint leaves.



Japanese-Style Beef Stew

Japanese-Style Beef Stew

This is just wonderful. My husband had 3 helpings. The flavors are American stew with an asian twist. The spicy ginger and sweetness of the squash are perfect together. Ultimate comfort food! This was inspired by the New York Times recipe but with my own variations. It is easy to overcook the squash so after adding it watch to make sure it does not get too overcooked and mushy.



  • 2 – 2 1/2 pounds boneless chuck in 1-inch to 1 1/2-inch chunks
  • 3-4 tablespoon olive oil, divided
  • 1/2 cup flour
  • 1 tbsp smoked paprika
  • 1 large sweet onion, thinly sliced
  • 2 cups beef stock
  • 1/2 cup soy sauce
  • 1/2 cup mirin (honey or sugar can be used – adjust to taste)
  • 10 nickel-size slices of ginger
  •  Sea salt and black pepper to taste
  • tsp cinamon (optional)
  • 1 large peeled butternut cut in 1-inch chunks (sweet potatoes would also work)


  1. In a large bowl combine flour, salt, pepper and paprika. Add meat in batches to coat.
  2. In a large stock pot heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil (you may need more or less depending on how much beef) . Over medium-high heat, sear meat until nicely browned, about 5 minutes. Transfer chunks to a medium-size bowl. I did this in 2 batches.
  3. Add mirin and soy sauce to the skillet, and cook over high heat, stirring and scraping until all the solids are integrated into the liquid, add beef stock.
  4. Add beef back into the pot. Cover, and cook on top of stove, maintaining a steady simmer. Stir after 30 minutes. Then check meat every 15 minutes.
  5. While beef is simmering, heat 1 Tablespoon of olive oil and add onions. Cook slowly over medium heat until golden brown and caramelized. Remove from heat.
  6. When meat is tender, about 45 minutes, stir in squash and onions. Continue to cook until squash is tender but not mushy, about 15 to 20 minutes. Serve over rice.

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