Four Clan Kitchen

What we eat everyday

Hot and Sour Soup

Posted by fourclankitchen on October 17, 2015


This hot and sour soup by Boston chef Joanne Chang is the best I have had  It is super quick and a very good weeknight meal.  I made some changes to it, mainly because of what I had on hand.  The only major changes I made were to increase the garlic, add sautéed cabbage, reduce the vinegar and omit the salt.



  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1 garlic clove, smashed and minced
  • 1 tablespoon minced fresh ginger
  • 4 scallions, white and green parts, minced, plus more for garnish (I omitted because I did not have it on hand)
  • 8 ounces ground pork  (you can use ground chicken or omit entirely)
  • 4-5 cups homemade chicken stock or canned chicken broth (I used Better than bullion).
  • 1 pound firm tofu cut into 1/2-inch cubes
  • Half a head of cabbage shredded finely (the original recipe calls for 4 or 5 medium button mushrooms, sliced thin
  • 1 teaspoon granulated sugar (I omitted, seems unnecessary)
  • 1/3 cup rice vinegar, or to taste  (the original recipe calls for 2/3 cup)
  • 3 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon sesame oil, plus more for garnish
  • 2 tablespoon Sriracha sauce, or to taste
  • 2 large eggs
  • White or black pepper for garnish
  • cilantro for garnish



  • In a saucepan, heat 1 tbs of the vegetable oil over medium-high heat until hot. Add the garlic, ginger, scallions, and pork and cook, stirring occasionally till the pork is browned. Break up the pork as you stir.
  • Remove the pork etc from the pan.  Add the remaining vegetable oil to the sauce pan and heat up.  Saute the cabbage with a bit of salt at high heat, 3-4 min. till cabbage wilts and browns.  Do not add too much water into the pan along with the cabbage or the cabbage will steam and taste mushy.
  • Add the stock  to the cabbage, then add the tofu and pork along with the garlic, ginger and scallions.


  • In a small bowl, mix sugar (if using), vinegar, soy sauce, black pepper, sesame oil, and Sriracha sauce and add to the soup.
  •  Bring the soup back to a simmer over medium-high heat. Taste the soup and adjust the flavors.
  • In a small bowl, whisk the eggs until blended. With the soup at a steady simmer, slowly whisk in the eggs so they form strands. Bring the soup back to a simmer. Ladle into bowls and garnish with scallion and cilantro.  For a more substantial meal,  serve on rice.
  • Instead of adding the cabbage to the soup,  I think it would work really well as a garnish.


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Hot Pepper Jam/Thai Chili sauce)

Posted by fourclankitchen on April 19, 2015


I love the Asian chili garlic sauce because it goes with everything from a samosa, to noodles, to empanadas to a marinade for chicken or fish.  It can make your whole day if you have this around.  I have looked at a lot of these recipes and wanted to make one that did not have dried shrimp (I am allergic) or fish sauce.  A common complaint about the home-made versions is that using corn starch just not give it the gel-like constancy of the commercially available sauces.  To sort this problem out, I liberally adapted this recipe from the hot pepper jam recipe on the Kraft Sure-Jell website.  I use only hot peppers,  I added salt and I drastically reduced the amount of sugar.  With the pectin being boiled with the peppers, this is a one-pot deal and literally takes 5-10 min to be ready.

I always make jams in small batches so I don’t have to be bothered with canning.  I freeze whatever I don’t use and the frozen stuff seems to be good for a year or so.  But if you make a larger batch, please play it safe and learn how to can from any number of websites.



1 cup  chopped red, hot peppers (I used cascabels,  but fresnos, serranos or jalapeños are other choices; if you cannot tolerate heat, substitute some of these peppers for red bell peppers).

1/2 cup cider vinegar  (This really is part of the flavor so try to stick with this vinegar. I would guess that if you needed to substitute this, the best option would be rice vinegar or some other mild vinegar).

1 pkg. powder Fruit Pectin (I used Sure-Jell)

Salt to taste

2 cups sugar (or a little bit less)


1. Coarsely pulse your peppers in the food processor and place them in a medium sized pan. Add vinegar and salt. Stir in pectin. Bring mixture to a boil  on high heat, stirring constantly.

2. Stir in sugar. Return to full rolling boil and boil exactly 1 min., stirring constantly. Remove from heat. Skim off any foam.

3. Taste and adjust the salt.

3. Ladle into clean jars.   Let the jars sit on the counter for several hours.  You will get 2 jars out of this.  Put one in the fridge and the other in the freezer.


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Posted by fourclankitchen on March 28, 2015

IMG_0892 I frequently mean to make granola and it seems relatively easy.  It’s the ingredient list that is daunting and causes me to move on to other dishes.  This time I decided to go with what I had by liberally adapting a granola recipe (Melissa Clark) from the New York Times.  I reduced the amount of oatmeal, swapped most of the maple syrup with honey and changed the type and the proportion of nuts based on  what I had on hand.  I omitted the dried fruits entirely (these are basically candy) and did not find this to be a glaring omission. IMG_0891



1.  2 cups oatmeal (I used McCann’s quick cooking oatmeal).

2. Total seeds (3.5 cups) as follows:

a. 1 cup pistachios

b.. 1/2 cup cup slivered, blanched almonds

c. 1 cup sesame seeds.

d. 1 cup pecans

3. 1 cup desiccated, shredded coconuts (flakes would have been nicer).

4. 1/2 cup olive oil

5.  Sweetners: honey, maple syrup, brown sugar

a.  1/2 cup honey

b/ 1/4 cup maple syrup

c. 1/2 cup packed brown sugar

6. 1 tsp Diamond kosher salt (1/2 tsp is using regular table salt or other kosher salt)

7. 1/2 tsp cinnamon, ground IMG_0893


1. Preheat oven to 300˚F.

2.  Coat the bottom of a 18×12″ jelly roll pan with oil (I regretably did not do this).

3. Mix all ingredients and spread evenly in the pan.

4. Cook, uncovered for ~45 min (start checking at 30 min, when the granola tastes toasty and starts to clump).

5. Allow granola to cool for a 10-15 min in the pan.  Break into lumps before the granola hardens further and store in an air-tight container.

Note:  You could add dried fruits (apricots, raisins) to this, but should do it after the baking process.

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Thai Beef Curry

Posted by fourclankitchen on March 15, 2015

IMG_0879I have been working on a grant proposal for the last month and today is my first day off.  I was looking for a meal that would make me forget about the take-outs and the pantry meals that we have been consuming for the past month.  But of course I have not been to the grocery store yet.  So I became very fixated on producing a Thai style beef curry with what I had on hand.  I wanted a Massaman curry, but only had Panang paste at home. So that is what I used but added some spices that I think go into Massaman.  What resulted was pretty darn good and tasted like a cross between Massaman, Panang and the Indonesian Rendang.  I am writing it down before I forget.



1 1/2 lb beef chuck, cut into 1 to 1 1/2 sized pieces

2 Red potatoes cut into 1″ to 1.5″ pieces (leave the skin on)

1 large onion sliced onions (cut the onion in half, place it cut side down and slice top to bottom, not too thin)

1 can coconut milk, full fat (According to the latest,  Coconut fat is now a desired food item because it contains medium chain fatty acids!)

1/4-1/3  cup Massaman or Panang paste (I used the Mae Ploy brand)

4 black cardamoms (available at any Indian Grocery Store, use regular cardamoms if you can’t find these)

1 stick cinnamon

Zest of 1 lemon

Juice of 1/2 lemon or lime

3- tbs. brown sugar, adjust to taste

3 tbs. fish sauce

Salt if needed


1 tsp Thai basil dry (A bun of fresh basil would be better)

A handful of cilantro, minced



1. Place an oven rack in the lower third of your oven and pre-heat to 325˚F.  Your rack should be low enough to fit the pot you use to cook the curry.

2.  Heat an oven-safe heavy bottomed pot (a 6 qt Dutch oven works best) on medium high.

3.  Remove the fatty, solid part  (fat) of the coconut milk from the can and heat in the pot.

4. When the fat has melted,  add the cardamom and cinnamon and about 1/4-1/3 cup of Panang or Massaman curry paste (this is super hot, so adjust to taste.  Adding to little will make a flavorless curry).

5. Add the beef and a generous pinch of salt and stir to coat the beef.

6. Add the potatoes and onions and the remaining coconut milk.  Then add enough water to just cover the curry.

7. Cover tightly and place in oven for 1.5 hours.
8. Remove from oven,  add the lemon zest, lemon juice, sugar and fish sauce and taste and adjust the broth.  Add more salt if needed.

9. Return to the oven and cook for another 1.5 to 2.5 hours until the beef is meltingly tender and falls apart if you look at it cross-eyed.  For the last hour, take the lid of so that the gravy is reduced and the beef picks up a bit of that roasted flavor.

10. Remove from oven, taste and adjust the flavors again if needed.  Sprinkle cilantro.

11.  Eat with rice and a vegetable on the side.


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Small batch Pomegranate Jam

Posted by fourclankitchen on March 7, 2015

IMG_0873I have taken to making small batch jams (1 jar at a time) using frozen fruit and whatever fresh fruit I have left in the fridge at the end of the week.  These taste better than the store bought stuff, have a fraction of the sugar and once made, will work on a piece of toast or a cracker as well as they work as a sauce or relish thrown over chicken. Also, you bypass the canning process.  This pomegranate jam, which actually also contains an apple and an orange,  would be a great replacement for pomegranate molasses in the Persian chicken stew, Fesenjan.  So give it a try,  all you need is a frozen bag of fruit and half an hour on a weekend.



1 lb bag of frozen pomegranate

1 orange

1 apple

3 strawberries (optional)

1/2 cup of sugar

1/4 cup of water (as needed)

Juice of 1/2 lemon or to taste (optional).



1.  Cut and core an apple to small bite sized pieces (no need to peel).

2.  Peel the orange part of the orange rind using a vegetable peeler and chop to little bits.  Then peel and discard  the while pith (too bitter) and chop the orange into bite sized pieces.

3. Halve the strawberries.

4. Now throw all of the fruit slog with the frozen pomegranate into a medium sized pot and cook uncovered  on low heat for 15 min.

5.  Now add the sugar and cook for another 20-30 min on low heat, stirring on and off till the  consistency of the jam is to your liking.  Do not walk away during this time or your jam could burn.   Taste your jam and add the lemon juice if the jam tastes too sweet to you.

6.  Blend the jam with a stick blender  till you have the consistency you like.  You may need to add the water at this stage.

7. Place in a mason jar and store in the fridge or freezer.  I do not know how to can, but if you make a jar at a time, you don’t have to.  The jam is great in the freezer for several months.


Posted in Breakfast, Brunch, condiments, vegan, Vegetarian | Tagged: , , , , , , | 2 Comments »


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