Recipe: Korean Spicy Soft Tofu Seafood Soup, Sundubu JJigae

This “umami” savory pork and seafood soup is delicious over rice or noodles.

  • Dried Kelp strips [two 6 inch strips]
  • Dried whole anchovies [about 10 — pinch off and discard the heads]
  • One turnip, sliced thinly
  • Red Korean pepper paste (Gochujang) or pepper flakes (gochugaru)
  • 6 ounces salt pork
  • 6 ounces pork loin or rump.
  • Several ounces Shiitake mushrooms (dried is ok, but hydrate them an hour first)
  • Chopped white onions
  • chopped green onions
  • Water chestnuts
  • sesame oil
  • butter
  • Vinegar
  • Kimchi, sliced
  • Extra soft tofu, 1 package

Boil the kelp, anchovies, and turnip together in about 3-4 cups of water very slowly for about 20 minutes, covered. While you do this, take the finely diced pork loin and salt pork and mix it with minced garlic and white onions, and fry it in butter and sesame oil until the onions are slightly discolored. Now strain the broth and discard the kelp, turnips, and anchovies. Mix the onion and pork mixture into the broth, plus the pepper flakes, tofu and kimchi. Continue heating slowly to a slight boil. Stir just enough to break up the tofu a little. After a few minutes, the mixture will turn red. Add the water chestnuts, chopped green onions, 1 Tbsp vinegar, and break a single egg carefully and let sit on top of the broth until it becomes translucent. Let cool and enjoy! Serve over rice. The amount of red pepper, and whether the Kimchi is spicy, will determine how spicy the result is. If you make a mistake and the stew ends up too spicy, add more vinegar and let sit for an hour, and the vinegar will neutralize some of the hotness. Enjoy! Nothing warms you up on a cold day like Sundubu Jjigae.

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Recipe: Japanese Style Beef Curry

Here is my recipe for Japanese style beef curry. I’ve made this for my family for over 30 years. My grandchildren always say “Baba, don’t forget you promised to make us curry!”


  • 3 pounds beef, preferably fine beef like New York Steaks, or TriTip
  • Box of “Golden Curry” (mild)
  • 1 can Garbanzo beans
  • 8 oz sliced shitake or brown mushrooms
  • 1 large sweet bell pepper
  • 1 can Chinese Water Chestnuts, sliced
  • 1 pound frozen baby grape-sized onions
  • chopped green onions, scallions, or Spring Onions
  • Balsamic Vinegar
  • Korean fermented red pepper paste (Gochujang) or red pepper flakes (Gochugaru)
  • Adolph’s Meat tenderizer
  • Kikkoman Soy Sauce
  • Brown sugar
  • Sesame oil

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Optional: before starting, fry the sliced mushrooms in butter.

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Cut beef into ice-cube or smaller sized pieces. Put into a large storage bag and add 3 Tbsp brown sugar, 1 oz sesame oil, 2 cups soy sauce, 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar, and 1/2 tbsp Adolph’s meat tenderizer. Remove the air from the bag and massage it for a few minutes to mix everything. Then let sit at room temperature for 1-12 hours. Preheat a large griddle or very large frying pan VERY hot with some sesame oil. Empty the liquid out of the meat bag (but save it) and brown the meat on the pan, turning and flipping frequently. Don’t add more meat at one time than your pan can accommodate, and stay hot. As the meat browns, move it aside temporarily and keep browning meat until it is all done. Then take all the browned meat and using a cleaver or other sharp knife, cut it into much smaller morsels. Add the meat, onions, mushrooms, beans, curry, and two cups of water to a large pot. Heat until the curry is all mixed. The curry should be thick and viscous, but not watery. Add more curry if watery, or add more water if too thick. Add two tablespoons of Korean red pepper paste (Gochujang), or ground Korean Red Pepper Flakes (Gochugaru) or whatever is to your taste, and stir in. Keep simmering for 20-100 minutes, stirring slowly, on very low heat. Don’t allow the bottom of the pan to dry out and burn. Keep reducing the heat to the absolute minimum which produces a very, very slow boil. Cut the sweet pepper, water chestnuts, and green onions into tiny pieces and stir in. Add 2 tablespoons of Balsamic vinegar, stir and taste. At this point you may add more vinegar, salt, pepper paste, or brown sugar, according to your judgement and taste, or just leave it as is. Serve with rice, or over bread, or as a topping for mashed potatoes. You might also try serving this in a “bread bowl” similarly to clam chowder.

Recipe: Macadamia Nut Fudge

Let me share my recipe for Macadamia Nut Fudge. This is not a creamy or sticky fudge — it is a firm, crumbly fudge that is SO rich and melt-in-the-mouth. I have spent 50 years perfecting this recipe, based on a similar recipe from my grandmother. Now it’s yours.

Fudge while cooling
  • 5 cups by volume C&H white cane sugar
  • 2 cups by volume of Hershey’s cocoa
  • 1.5 tsp salt
  • 2 cups soymilk (or whole milk)
  • Vanilla extract
  • 6 ounces butter
  • 10 oz. quartered macadamia nuts

Combine sugar, cocoa, soymilk, and salt in heavy saucepan. (Using a medium or lightweight saucepan can cause charring of the sugar near the sides of the pan, ruining the taste.) Heat while stirring to 223F, then allow to boil on lowest heat until it reaches 247F. On gas stove, flame should appear blue, not blue/white. Quarter 10 ounces of macadamias. Stir in nuts and leave on heat until it is back up to 220F. Remove from heat, add 6 ounces butter and allow to melt. Let cool without stirring until 180F. Add 4 capfuls of vanilla extract, and begin beating mixture until it becomes semi-stiff and loses its glossy sheen. For this, a great deal of muscle power will be required. Be prepared. Sometimes I sit crosslegged on the rug to wrestle with the stiff, cooling fudge. A heavy steel or wooden spoon is best — have a backup handy in case you break your first. While beating the mix, if you have put in enough effort, there will be a window of about 60 seconds when the time is right to do the pour. You must not be too late or too early. Pour quickly into final buttered sheet and allow to cool to room temperature.

After cooling and cutting, ready to eat.

Recipe: Home Made Hawaiian Style Takuan

Takuan is a pickled radish dish and is traditional Japanese cooking. It commonly is served alongside rice, or at the end of a meal, or as an appetizer. There are three styles of Takuan: Korean, Japanese, and Hawaiian. The first two are mostly brine-pickled, sometimes smoked, sometimes with a little sugar added, but both are briny and salty in varying degrees. The Hawaiian is different, in that it is much sweeter, and is both tangy and sweet. The Takuan is not simply sweet-pickled, it is also slightly cold-fermented, and the left-over ferment is useful as part of a salad dressing or other flavoring applications.

Here’s my recipe for home made Hawaiian style Takuan. Into a 5 liter jar, put 21 ounces of white sugar. Slice 3 very large Daikon radishes into thin spears, about 1 cm per side. Slide them into the jar, and fill the rest of the way with distilled vinegar. Add a tablespoon of red food coloring, or any other color you like. (Yellow is traditional.) If this is not your first batch, take a couple of ounces of the liquid from your oldest batch and add it to the new batch, to inoculate it with suitable bio-culture. Then close it up and agitate it at room temperature until the sugar is dissolved. I like to do this by rolling the big bottles around on the floor. Then put into the refrigerator for 6 weeks. Yum!

I dice these up and add them to my salads, for a crunchy sweet tangy treat.

You can buy the big jars online. I like real Italian-made Fido Jars which you can buy from Crate-and-Barrel.

There are a number of other Takuan recipes on the web, but none are quite the same as mine. Here is an example.

If you are not close to an Asian market with Daikon radish, then you can make something similar with round red American radishes. Just remove the greenery and root stem and slice the radish in half. If you keep your eyes open at your local market, they may put their radishes on sale really cheap at some point, thinking foolishly that no one is going to buy more than one or two bunches. Buy a couple dozen bunches! Clean them out! If you use red radishes, you will not need the food coloring at all, because the red from the radish will diffuse into the flesh of the radish, turning them a pretty pink. See the photo below, showing on the left the common red radishes, and on the right, the diced diakon radish, both after the required 4-6 weeks of pickling. Yum!

Initial posting.

Here’s a first posting.  Pardon me while I become accustomed to this blogging thing.

So, what’s my intent?  This will be a place for me to talk to the world.  In particular, there will be (1) demonstrations of technical tinkering, (2) opinionated postings related to almost anything, and (3) photos which bear looking at.  I would like your comments, please.

Below: my bird Zippy. He is a Solomon Island Eclectus. The Eclectus is unusual in that the males and females are so differently colored; Zippy is a male, but females of his species are bright red with purple, and black beaks. Until the late 1800’s, naturalists who studied them in the wild classified the males and females as two separate species!  No other parrot species has such extreme sexual dimorphism. In fact, most parrot owners have to have their bird undergo a DNA test to verify their sex, because the males and females are identical in most respects.

Zippy 2020-11-04 100600