Korean Spicy (Fire) Noodle Challenge

The internet is a gloriously crazy place. Recently, countless of youtube videos have been posted about a “Spicy Noodle Challenge” aka Fire Noodles, and many online articles have been written about it. Koreans, other Asians, Americans and basically people from all around the world have jumped on this bandwagon. Just for some reference, you can read/watch some of them here:

http://iamkoream.com/korean-fire-noodle-challenge-spreads-online/

http://oogeewoogee.com/americans-try-the-super-spicy-korean-ramen-challenge/

So, being the crazy adventurous soul I am, I decided I had to give it a go to see what the fuss is about. I grew up in South East Asia, and our cuisine is largely spicy. Having moved to the United States, nothing is ever really spicy to me. I try to get restaurants to up their spice level by saying “please make it as spicy as you can” but never really get a satisfactory spice level.

My frustration has led to… well, this. I went on Amazon (gotta love the 2-day free shipping for Prime members) and in 2 days, this happy package arrived at our doorstep. I couldn’t wait to break into it, explaining disjointedly to S about the Spicy Noodle Challenging and getting a pot boiling at the same time. Here it is:

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Our curious kitten came to check out the commotion. Here is the famous Samyang Ramen. It is chicken flavored, and comes with a liquid sauce pack.

Cooking instructions are simple:

1) Boil 600ml of water

2) cook the noodles in boiling water for 5 mins,

3) Drain the excess water such that only about 8 tablespoons of water remain.

4) Add the super spicy sauce pack & garnish pack (sesame seeds & seaweed) to the noodles, and toss in pan till most of the liquid is gone.

5) Serve! (Prepare tissues for tears, sweat, and snot that follows)

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Ta-dah!! Here is the final product. I could not wait! The first bite told me that yes, this is definitely spicy. After half the bowl is gone, I start to feel the heat building. I tried sharing it with S, but he gave his unfinished portion back to me.

I finished the entire bowl of noodles in 1 sitting, and this is very important, because I did not dare to stop eating (the spice will build), drink anything (in fear that the spice will spread) or talk while eating (choking on this will not be fun). I only dared to start doing those things when I am well and done with the noodles, while I sip some water quietly with a flushed face.

The whole experience was pretty awesome. I got my spicy fix, and was so excited by it. The noodles were also pretty tasty and flavor packed, even without the jazz of the spice. I have since finished the entire packet of 5, and will be getting more soon. I have started eating it for a late night snack, or when I am too lazy to cook/get take out or just crave something really spicy (which happens very regularly).

This is NOT for anyone who finds the average spicy American food spicy. It is for spice junkies who cannot get enough of tongue numbing spiciness, and especially anyone like me who craves wayyyyy spicier food from places that really do spicy food well. S loves spicy food and he can handle a good heat from his dishes, for sure, but this was slightly too much for him still. It might be fun to get a couple bites here and there, but he was not interested in finishing even half of it. So, if you do not enjoy the (slightly painful) feeling that spicy foods give you, stay well away from the Samyang Ramen. If not, grab a pack from Amazon and try it for yourself!

Let me know in the comments if you have tried the Spicy Noodle Challenge too, and what you thought of it!

❤ Joy

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Lazy Homecooked Dinner

Last night, the Mr was craving Tikka Masala (*sense of achievement from successfully introducing him to a new dish*) and I was feeling lazy, so I whipped up something quick for dinner. We have store bought Tikka Masala, but I always think it lacks real flavor/spice and so I almost always jazz it up my own way. It is super easy and a quick meal for those lazy nights when you crave a bit of modern Indian food (nothing authentic or traditional about this, I’m afraid). Here’s the result from last night and a rough recipe:

Lazy Night Tikka Masala

Ingredients (Feel free to adjust to your own taste):

  1. Store Bought Tikka Masala Sauce (Have tried different brands and they are all pretty much the same to me)
  2. 1pc Chicken Breast
  3. 1/2 Onion – chopped
  4. 1pc potato
  5. 3 cloves garlic – minced
  6. Madras Curry Powder
  7. Smoked Paprika
  8. Ginger Powder
  9. Tumeric
  10. Olive Oil
  11. Butter
  12. Salt
  13. Chili Pepper
  14. Sriracha powder
  15. 1/4 – 1/2 cup milk

Steps:

  1. Cut chicken breast into cubes, place in bowl and marinate in a mixture of approx. 1 tsp olive oil, 1/2 tsp smoked paprika, 2 cloves of minced garlic, a dash of Sriracha powder and 1-2 tsp Madras curry powder (adjust amounts to your own taste). Seal bowl with cling film.
  2. Boil potato for 15-20 mins and remove skin (I use this method which is really easy: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xTdwWLN0yXM)
  3. Cut cooked and peeled potato into small cubes.
  4. Saute chopped onion & 1 clove of minced garlic in some butter, toss in the marinated chicken cubes and cook till slightly brown. Add chili pepper, salt, tumeric, and ginger powder to taste. Add in milk and cook for a few mins.
  5. Pour in store bought Tikka Masala sauce. Add in cubed cooked potatoes. Stir well.
  6. Bring to low heat and simmer for 15mins.
  7. Serve with fluffy Basmati Rice & any bread for dipping! 🙂

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Simmering Tikka Masala. Smells yummy.

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Dinner is served! 🙂

Cooking does not have to be all complicated and it’s not too difficult to whip up something quick and yummy even if you are not a chef. Especially now, with all the options of pre-made sauces, it cuts down the steps needed to put together a meal when you are feeling lazy or tired after a long day at work.

I am one of those people who cooks with no precision, and continuously taste my food and adjust the ingredients as I wish. I seem unable to follow a recipe because I want to switch it up my way. I want to think this has something to do with my late grandmother, as she is the first person I watch cook amazing meals every day of her life, but whom estimates absolutely everything she puts into those dishes. When I ask her for a recipe, she will be unable to give me amounts of each ingredients as she never processed it that way, and also because she has cooked those dishes so many times that it is like second nature to her and she doesn’t know how to recite out the ingredients or steps out in technical terms.

So the amounts of each ingredient above is simply suggestive, and happens to be an estimation of what I used in last night’s dish. I encourage you to play around with them and definitely not take them as the law. Everyone has such different tastes, that something that tastes too bland to you, might be too strong tasting for others. So who am I to say what your perfect amount is? Experiment and have fun with it! The process is almost more exciting than the result!

❤ Joy

Sleepless Cooking

Two nights ago, I was having trouble sleeping. I laid awake before the sun came up and was so frustrated. I decided to put my sleeplessness to good use, and got out of bed and started cooking. I cut some chicken breast up into small cubes, tossed it in a marinade of orange juice, lemon juice, extra virgin olive oil, sweet Thai chili sauce, rosemary and fresh garlic and cooked it up in a pan. In the meantime, I made some yummy fluffy rice in the rice cooker and ran the coffee maker. The result was a nice homemade lunch for the Mr to bring into work. Also, a morning coffee & an additional coffee cup to bring in to work with him. I was exhausted, but pleased that I made use of that time, instead of lying in bed just feeling frustrated and miserable.

There is something special about a homemade lunch that warms the heart. So if you find the time, it’s not a bad surprise once in a while! The citrusy fresh chicken and rice dish described above is so easy to make and came back with good reviews from the Mr. He loves the tangy sour taste and that dish hit the spot. You can adjust the amount of each ingredient based on your tastes, if you need it sweeter, try adding honey or maple syrup, if you need it more tangy, toss in some apple cider vinegar. I made the sauce thicker with some corn starch, but you could leave it as is too.

Hope everyone gets some good sleep tonight!

❤ Joy

Updates!

Wow, I just realized that I have not posted in 10 days, so this can be a longer post. 🙂

So, updates:

1) I ran off with the circus! I have started circus classes in aerial fabric, and it’s been fun but also really really difficult. Next time I go to the big top and see people climbing and dancing in the air with fabric, I will appreciate what hard work it truly is. I am aching all over from my first class, but have more or less decided to stick with it for the rest of the year because it is a really complete workout, and let’s face it, how cool is it? I have access to what may be the best circus school in this country, so I’m going to take advantage of it. Bonus, now I can officially tell people I ran off with the circus! 😛

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2) Work at the art studio has been a lot of fun. I have found a slightly OCD side of me while sorting paintbrushes. I also enjoy the art studio vibe very much and love being around the people who work there. I am excited for Fall classes to begin so I can start my artistic pursuits and work with kids again!

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3) Cooking! I haven’t done a whole bunch of it lately, but I did make this simple dish the other day for lunch. I was craving sunny side up eggs and decided to cook a little. I made butter rice (really fragrant and yummy on its own), Asian chicken stew (turned out better than expected mostly because I had no idea what I was making even while I was making it! I sort of made it up as I went), and the sunny side up egg. It was a simple but delicious meal that I had plenty of leftovers that I could eat over the next few days, and I scarfed everything up really quickly. I would eat it beyond meal times too, and that’s how I know I really like a dish – when I start eating it as a snack and/or comfort food and prefer it over chocolate, ice cream or chips.

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Tonight, I made myself some Jamaican jerk shrimp and whole wheat and white cheddar mac and cheese. Mmmm. Two things that don’t seem to go together but totally do. I am glad I don’t eat a whole lot, so I always have leftovers, even of dishes I loved (I simply cannot ingest that much food at once).

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And that’s it for now, folks. The weather is really starting to cool down here in the Northeast and my friends/neighbors have started pulling out the space heaters, sweaters and jackets. I wore a cape last night and my new boots for the first time this season. I love the changing of seasons, even though it usually comes pretty suddenly (yesterday was summer, today we’re in a Fall coat). Hope it’s beautiful wherever you may be too.

❤ Joy

Sunny Side Up

Woke up craving a real breakfast… so i did what I could and made myself eggs sunny side up and some yakisoba. I know I am guilty of not putting in effort for breakfast, always eating something small and random and never really cooking a real meal. It does cheer me up a little, having real food for breakfast. 🙂

2014-08-30 12.06.37-1It’s the long weekend because of labor day. Enjoy it! 

❤ Joy

 

Chili Crab Pasta

I have been too lazy to cook for the past week. I have some new people in my life, so time was spent getting to know them and that means eating out, coffee dates, hanging out… One of the new friends I’ve made was shocked when I told her I was Singaporean because she had assumed I was American the entire time and spent the rest of our conversation trying to figure out why I didn’t have a foreign accent. To be fair, I think I still have an accent and I’m still pretty self-conscious about it, but I guess it is becoming harder and harder to notice as time goes by.

Anyway, the whole conversation prompted me to to cook something representative of Singapore today. So I made chili crab pasta. Yes, we do fusion pretty well. I didn’t have the usual ingredients, so instead of a whole crab, I got shredded crab meat (which is awesome – no shelling to do!). I also tossed in some shrimp just because I like seafood. 🙂 It was yummy~ and this photo was taken when it was still steaming. 🙂

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Happy lunchtime!

❤ Joy

Home-made Dinner On Movie Night

I had my usual day with the little man, which was fun and exhausting, as always. He refused to leave the library and then he clung on to my jeans and jet-ski-ed himself behind me. Brattleboro has horrible traffic, and so there is almost always people sitting in traffic down that road we take. Thus, whatever he does, he has an audience. I ended up piggyback-ing him home to speed up the process because we were already late. But his dad is great and is pretty laid back about such things. But it did set me back a little bit, as I thought I had 2 hours to prepare dinner, but it ended up being less time. I didn’t get to do everything I wanted to, but I did do most of it. I think sometimes I am too critical of myself, and too much of a perfectionist.

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Homemade Dinner on movie night!

All in all, the night ended well, was a lot of fun and I saw the movie The Illusionist. It was pretty interesting and mysterious, though I kept asking questions about it hahaha. And the rice balls were a hit, I think!

Hope everyone else had a good start to the week. 

❤ Joy

Bumble Bee

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I prepared Japanese curry for dinner and decided to try my hand at tamagoyaki again. I love tamagoyaki and always wanted to learn how to make it from scratch. I made some the other day and it turned out alright, so I decided to do something cute with it this time. Ta-dah! Bumble Bees. They looked so happy it made me happy. 

Happy cooking, everyone. Hope your Monday wasn’t blue! ^^

❤ Joy

Surprise!

Waking up at 4am to prepare more than 30 riceballs for my little kiddos allowed me to experience a little bit of the sacrifice mothers make for their children. The Japanese moms who would wake up before the crack of dawn every single day to prepare adorable bentos for their children have now earned my respect. I thought about making the rice balls the night before, but decided day old rice is just not a good idea and so I set my alarm for 4am. 

I am definitely still learning, which was why it took me an average of two tries for every single face I tried to create on the rice balls. It took a lot of patience and all I had in my mind were the happy faces of the kids. It was their last day at art camp and I wanted to do something special for them, give them my little surprise. At the same time, I made some extra for lunch since I was meeting J and thought he might appreciate some home made food too (he did). 🙂 I am just so glad I managed to pull this off and still get to work on time! 

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It was a good day, I had a little surprise of my own on the way to work and the surprise for the kids went really well. I made enough to share them with the other teachers as well. I took the opportunity to tell the kids a little bit about Japan and about the bento mums (that’s what I call them). Someone asked if I saw Godzilla or Wolverine while I was living in Japan. ;P

Have a great weekend, y’all.

❤ Joy