Cooking Journal


A cooking journal. Lightweight. Portable. Semantically versioned.

View the Project on GitHub mookerzhou/cooking_journal




Lemongrass Chile Sate Sauce

Post date: 04 Feb 2018

This is a recipe for the lemongrass-chile sauce similar to what’s available at Mau in SF. It’s modified from Viet World Kitchen’s recipe online.

  • Mince:
    • 30g garlic
    • 30g shallots
    • 90g lemongrass
    • 10g fresh Thai bird chilis, deseeded
    • 30g dried red chili
    • 2 tbsp dried shrimp, rehydrated in hot water
  • In a wok, start 1 cup of grapeseed oil at medium low and add the garlic. Once frothing, lower heat to low (a gentle tremble) until the garlic sinks (about 5 minutes). Repeat with shallots and lemongrass (~10 minutes).
  • Add dried shrimp, fresh, and dried chiles, frying each separately for 5 minutes each.
  • Add:
    • 2 1/2 teaspoons sugar
    • 3 tablespoons fish sauce
    • 1/2 tsp kosher salt
  • Cook for a few minutes more. Cool and food process.


Habanero Piri Piri

Post date: 04 Feb 2018

We frequently refer to any olive oil-citrus-based chili sauce as ‘Piri Piri’, even if the eponymous chilies aren’t involved. This recipe uses lactofermented Habaneros, which have great depth, but any other hot pepper could work just as well.

Food process until fully emulsified:

  • 5 - 8 pickled habaneros, stemmed and deseeded
  • 2 - 3 garlic cloves
  • 5 tbsp olive oil
  • 4 tbsp lemon juice
  • 1 tbsp sherry vinegar
  • 1 tsp salt


Roasted, Salted Almonds

Post date: 04 Feb 2018

For hikes and backpacking trips! It’s based on this recipe. We frequently use huā jiāo, but really, lots of flavor profiles can work here.

For each 4 1/2 cups raw almonds:

  • Dissolve in 1 1/2 tsp salt in 1 1/2 tbsp boiling water.
  • Mix/coat almonds with salt water.
  • Spread out on silpat on a baking sheet.
  • Cook for 15-20 minutes (until browned inside and out) at 375F, stirring halfway through for even cooking.
  • Mix/coat almonds with 2 tbsp olive oil, coating with additional salt, sugar, and seasonings as desired.
  • Spread out to cool for at least an hour.

Do not burn the almonds! 375F might simply be too hot.


Shortrib stew

Post date: 26 Jan 2018

I make this soup at least 2-3x a year, especially when it’s cold or foggy out. Can be doubled or quadrupled for a crowd (or your freezer).

Adapted from beef / leek / barley soup recipe on Smitten Kitchen


  • 4 meaty short ribs
  • 4 leeks, sliced thinly cross-wise
  • 4-6 cloves garlic, minced coarsley
  • 2 carrots chopped coarsley
  • 4 ribs celery chopped coarsley
  • 1 cup barley
  • 12 cups water / chicken stock / beef stock (I frequently use some better than bouillon here)
  1. Sear beef short ribs in oil in a cast iron (or other) pan until each side is dark brown.

  2. Once seared on each side, add to pot with rest of ingredients. Simmer on low for 4-5 hours or until the short ribs fall away from the bone entirely and the barley is soft.

At this point, salt to taste. Don’t salt earlier, or your soup won’t come together the same way (it’ll be hard for the beef to soften). If I’m making it for a crowd, I’ll take the ribs out and chop them coarsley as the sinew on the back edge of the short rib can be hard to chew. It’s possible to overcook it and completely remove all flavor from the short rib, so watch out for that too.

Beans, potatoes, more carrots, etc. are great things to add to this stew. The leeks are critical, but other things can be ommitted if you’re missing them.

Lacto-Fermented Butternut Squash Spread

Post date: 03 Jan 2018

This attempts to reproduce a fermented squash spread I had at at Bar Tartine forever ago. It’s also a great way to procrastinate on CSA squash.

For the cultured squash:

  • Peel a butternut squash and cut into ribbons or 1-inch blocks.
  • In a large sealable jar, add cut pieces and the squash top to a 5% salt brine (~800g total brine probably). Weigh down so that squash is submerged.
  • Wait!

After a month or more, when sample squash is sour and savory:

  • Peel and steam until tender a second butternut squash.
  • Add fermented squash, steamed squash, and 1/2 cup tahini (optional) to a food processor and process until smooth.
  • Add squash brine as needed for salt and texture.

Any remaining seeds here can be toasted in a neutral oil.


Fish Sauce Vinaigrette

Post date: 03 Jan 2018

From David Chang and Peter Meehan in the Momofuku Cookbook.

  • 1/2 cup fish sauce
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 2 tbsp rice wine vinegar
  • 1 lime, juiced
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1 to 3 red bird’s-eye chiles, sliced

Some reminders:

  • Don’t forget to wear gloves while handling the bird chilis!
  • In a pinch, apple cider vinegar can be used instead.