Jalapeno Garlic Tilapia Pasta

As I type, there is a slight stinging sensation pulsating through my fingers. Oh, how I regret not wearing cooking gloves when I diced the two jalapenos ๐Ÿ˜ฆ You would think I learned my lesson from the last time I diced four jalapenos for my chicken tikka masala recipe and ended up spending the entire night tossing in bed and getting up to google home remedies. I learned that soaking your hands in cold milk provides some relief (albeit very temporary). At least, it’s not nearly as bad as last time. Note to self: buy cooking gloves.

After reading the paragraph above, it’s probably no surprise that this recipe is spicy. It calls for two jalapenos but if you’re not into spicy foods I suggest using one jalapeno, or even just half a jalapeno depending on your tolerance. As for me, two was just the right amount of heat.


  • 2 1/2 cups gemelli pasta
  • 1/3 cup margarine, melted
  • 3 cloves garlic, finely minced
  • 4 (4 ounce) tilapia fillets (I used a frozen package of tilapia which I thawed)
  • 2/3 cup all-purpose flour
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1/4 cup heavy cream (or 1/4 cup low-fat sour cream + 3 tablespoons of water for a lighter meal version)
  • 2 1/2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 2 jalapeno peppers, finely minced
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon paprika
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 (5 ounce) package baby spinach leaves
  • 1 roma (plum) tomato, chopped


  1. Fill a large pot with water and 2 tsp of salt and bring to a rolling boil over high heat. Once the water is boiling, stir in the pasta, and return to a boil. Cook the pasta uncovered, stirring occasionally, until the pasta has cooked through, but is still firm to the bite, about 11 minutes. Drain well in a colander set in the sink.
  2. While the pasta cooks, combine the melted margarine and minced garlic in a shallow dish. Place the flour in another dish. Dip the tilapia filets in the garlic butter mixture and then immediately coat with the flour.
  3. Heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Saute the fish in the oil until golden brown, turning once, about 2.5 minutes on each side.
  4. Pour the cream, lemon juice, and remaining garlic and margarine mixture into the skillet. Stir in the diced jalapenos, salt, black pepper, cayenne pepper, paprika, and garlic powder. Bring to a simmer and allow to cook until sauce has reduced slightly and fish flakes easily with a fork; about 2 minutes.
  5. Mix the baby spinach into the sauce and cook until wilted. Stir in the chopped tomato and the cooked pasta. Cook for an extra 3-4 minutes to warm up the pasta.
  6. Sprinkle a handful of shredded mozzarella cheese on top of each serving and heat in the microwave for 1 minute so that the cheese just melts. Enjoy!

Indy’s Cosmopolitan Tastes

Good news for those of you living in Indianapolis! New Korean grocery store opening soon!

Saraga International Grocery has a well-deserved reputation for being a phantasmagoric shopping experience. It’s a massive place full of every sort of food-stuff you’ve ever heard of – and many of you probably didn’t know existed. Saraga is also testament to Indy’s emergence as a community with international reach. So it’s good news to hear that Saraga is opening a second store on the Southside, in a 15,291 square-foot space that used to be a CVS drugstore. The new Saraga will be located at Madison Ave. and Stop 11 Road and should be open by the end of the month.

source: NUVO

Spiciest Monkfish Ever!!!

Growing up on Korean food since a toddler, I feel confident in my ability to handle spicy foods. But this monkfish recipe tested my limits. The amount of red pepper flakes the recipe called for was overpowering. It was difficult enjoying my first consumption of monkfish with my head feeling warm with beads of sweat forming on my forehead. You know that burning feeling you get when you eat extra spicy food? You want to jump into the nearest pool to cool off. Half the meal was spent sloughing off the excess red pepper sauce from the fish and bean sprouts. I know, I know. I should have known better than to add that much, but I wanted to follow the recipe exactly as it was written.

For fear of causing a heatstroke from the spiciness of this recipe, I won’t post it (unless I have any brave eaters with a strong stomach who are willing to take on the challenge or creative cooks who want to modify the recipe). However, I will post the photos of what I had hoped would be a delicious meal. Hopefully, the next recipe I test out will be a success I can share with readers.

Before the red pepper flake ambush…


Korean Pork Belly (Samgyeopsal) Wrap

Try shaping bite sized portions of steamed rice with your lettuce wraps. I chose hearts in honor of the upcoming Valentineโ€™s Day โค !! I’ll get a recipe for how to make samgyeopsal, Korean pork belly, and scallion salad soon.

Spinach Banchan

This spinach side dish, or banchan, is one of the common side dishes served at a restaurant. It’s nutritious and makes a great addition to any Korean meal or packed lunch, dosirak.

What You Need:

  • 8 oz spinach (Recommend using the pre-packaged spinach bags. Makes cleaning the spinach easy and no trimming needed)
  • 8 cups water (plus 1 teaspoon salt)
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon sesame oil
  • 1 teaspoon sesame seeds
  • 1 clove minced garlic

Rinse spinach in cold water 2 to 3 times. You don’t want to end up eating gritty spinach! ๐Ÿ˜ฆ

Add teaspoon of salt to water. Bring to a boil and add spinach.ย  Cook for 30 seconds on high heat. The spinach only needs a short time to cook.

Pour spinach into a strainer and rinse under cold water several times until it’s cool to touch. Form into a ball and squeeze out the excess water.

Place spinach into a bowl with measured salt and minced garlic.

Pour 1 teaspoon of sesame oil. Mix ingredients well.

Sprinkle sesame seeds on top. Enjoy!

I LOVE Korean Pear

Depending on your grocery store, they may carry less common types of fruit such as the Korean Pear or also known as the Asian Pear. Mine carried a few in the fruit section, but they were puny in size compared to what you can get at the Korean supermarket. They were the size of a small apple when I’m used to ones as big as grapefruits. Those small ones put it to shame. No wonder why it’s not a popular fruit among Americans. Would you want to grab the big shiny apple at the top of the pyramid stack or the puny Asian pear in a small wooden crate with a few other stragglers?

Korean pears are cousins to the pears you typically see in the grocery store, but they don’t taste anything alike. I tried the common one before and was disappointed in the taste. Not the juicy, crispy, sweet (with a bit of tartness near the center) that I was expecting. Korean moms love to serve a fruit plate after dinner or as a snack to their kids or guests. Next time you’re in the mood for something sweet, give the Korean pear a try.

Above: Photo of a true Korean pear. It’s big and it was delicious ๐Ÿ™‚

MVP: Most Valuable Pet ~ GIZMO

Oops I entered Gizmo in the Voting Period 5 which starts Feb 5th. If anyone needs a steam cleaner it’s me if you get my drift. Bad Doggy!

Any animal lovers out there? Vote for my Gizmo for Bissell’s MVP Pet Contest. He’s a 2-year-old deaf miniature Australian Shepherd. I can honestly say there is only one of him around, hence MVP. He is the craziest, most hyper dog ever! ๐Ÿ™‚

You ask why is there a dog on a food blog? If you look closely at the photo below, there was a bowl filled with curry until Gizmo got a hold of it. OK…so not really relevant but I want him to win ๐Ÿ™‚

Fried Mackerel

May I recommend frying up some mackerel for your next dinner? Mackerel tastes good all on its own so you just need a dash of salt to season this delicious fish.

Now I don’t normally eat mackerel, but my dad gave me some from his recent trip to the Korean supermarket. Conveniently, the fishys were already prepped (heads, spines and tails removed). After defrosting in the fridge, the mackerel look like what’s shown below. Halves of mackerel with their skin on.

To fry up some tasty mackerel…

First, pre-heat your fry pan on medium heat and spray with non-sticking spray or lightly cover with cooking oil.

Rinse the mackerel under cold water and pat dry with paper towels.

Place all the mackerel halves facing the same side down on the fry pan. Fry mackerel for about 4-6 minutes on each side.

HINT: Use a splatter guard or paper towel while frying. The skin tends to be oily and as it cooks the oil will accumulate and splatter a bit.

Carefully flip the fish to skin side down (or else it will fall apart). It should start getting a light golden color.

Add just a dash of salt. Give another careful flip and finish cooking for another minute or two.

You’ll know the mackerel is fully cooked when the flesh is firm to the touch and golden in color. Enjoy! I eat it with steamed rice and kimchi. Oh, don’t forget to tell your family or guests to pick out the bones as they eat.

It’s Not Chirashi, It’s Hwe Dup Bap!

If you like SPICY and SUSHI, I guarantee you will love Hwe dup bap. Sometimes referred to as “Korean Chirashi“, trust me this tastes much different from Japanese Chirashi. I recently went to my favorite sushi restaraunt, Sakura, an unassuming building that looks much like a whole in the wall. You know – the type of place you wouldn’t even notice when driving past it. Despite it’s exterior and somewhat cramped seating, there are long lines during the dinner rush. It’s the type of place that has grown in popularity due to its great tasting sushi and not by overpriced food and pretentious atmosphere. Well, I usually order the soft shell crab roll and Arizona roll but I was in the mood for some spicy hwe dup bap. Unfortunately, it was missing from the menu but the waitress said they do serve it. Long story short, after an eagerly anticipated wait I was brought out a round, black lacquered bento box with an assortment of seafood carefully arranged on top rice and a side of disappointment. Where was my chogochujang (red pepper paste) sauce? Lettuce? After explaining my dilemma, the waitress was kind enough to whip up some spicy sauce in the kitchen, transferred the chirashi to a huge bowl, and mixed it up for me at my table. It wasn’t quite the hwe dup bap I’m used to but was close enough to tame my craving.

After a few days, the hwe dup bap craving crept back. Recalling the days when I went to Korean church (despite only being able to understand every 20 words or so of the sermon because I have the vocabulary of a 5 year old Korean kid) and was served delicious hwe dup bap, I was spurred to make my own at home version.

Here’s the recipe, if you can call it that. This requires no cooking unless you count rinsing rice for the rice cooker ๐Ÿ™‚

  • Cube small bite size pieces of sashimi. I used sushi grade salmon, tuna, squid, and imitation crab meat, but add or omit to your individual preferences. Keep it in the fridge until just before your ready to serve.
  • For garnish: thinly sliced red leaf lettuce, julienne carrots and cucumbers, bean sprouts (rinsed in water and drained) and a toasted nori sheet cut into thin strips. Just enough garnish for each individual’s serving.
  • For chogochujang sauce: 6 TB red pepper paste, 1.5 TB sugar, 2.5 TB vinegar, 1 TSP some sesame seeds

To assemble:

  • Scoop a cup of rice into a large bowl (per individual serving) and let it cool down.
  • Arrange the lettuce, carrots, cucumbers, and sprouts over rice.
  • Top this with the cubed sashimi.
  • Add a TB (or more to taste) of the chogochujang sauce.
  • Drizzle a TSP of sesame oil and a sprinkle of sesame seeds.
  • Place a few of the nori sheet strips as garnish.
  • Mix it all up really well and dig in.

“Don’t be ricetarded”

You noticed the package name, right? LOL. My sister managed to find this picture somewhere. I’m assuming from some Asian website. All I could think is something must have gotten lost in translation…You would think that before slapping some name on thousands, if not millions, of these packages the company would have taken a moment to think ‘now what’s a good name for a delicious treat?’. Just my opinion but whoever came up with “Ricetard” should take some remedial marketing and/or English courses.

Mmmm Ricetard.