Veggie Fried Rice and Wasabi Pea-crusted Tilapia

Veggie Fried Rice and Wasabi Pea-crusted Tilapia

This is a recipe that I just made up, while getting over a learning and coding-induced headache this evening. :-) I’d been meaning to use dried wasabi peas in a dish, and found that many people online had also thought of it, such as to coat fish or to season popcorn.

Fish: small tilapia fillets, dipped in an egg wash and in a mixture of powdered wasabi peas (crushed with a mortar and pestle) and a bit of rice flour, then pan-fried in peanut oil.

Rice: canola oil, sliced carrot and scallion, sticky rice, green peas, soy sauce, fish sauce, rice vinegar, minced garlic, chili garlic sauce, black pepper, scallion greens, and egg scrambled (in advance, then added to the rice at the end) in a bit of peanut and sesame oils.

Surprisingly, the fish wasn’t particularly spicy. I added plenty of additional chili sauce when eating this one. Next time I’d add a couple other seasonings to the fish as well or just mix pieces into the fried rice.

Shiitake and Bok Choy Soup, Broiled Tilapia, and Sesame Sautéed Baby Bok Choy

Shiitake and Bok Choy Soup, Broiled Tilapia, and Sesame Sautéed Baby Bok Choy

I found some dried shiitake mushrooms in the cupboard that my mom gave me some ten years ago (they were grown in Arkansas, of all places), so I decided to finally reconstituted them for this soup. To the best of my recollection, this is the first soup I’ve made from scratch. :-)

Here are the recipes I used for this healthy meal:

“Chicken, Shiitake and Bok Choy Soup”
(The water used to reconstitute the mushrooms was used, in part, to make chicken bouillon.)

“Asian-Style Grilled Tilapia”
(I substituted chili garlic sauce for red pepper flakes, added minced cilantro to the marinade, and served this atop sticky rice. While broiling, I reduced the marinade and served it over the tilapia.)

The sesame bok choy was prepared similarly to my earlier sesame swiss chard, but spiced up with a spoonful of chili garlic sauce.

Spicy Cornmeal-crusted Catfish

Spicy Cornmeal-crusted Catfish

Pan-fried catfish fillets are one of my favorites. Here the catfish is dipped in an egg/milk wash and coated with cornmeal, seasoned with crushed rosemary, oregano, thyme, turkish paprika, cayenne powder, salt and pepper and pan-fried. Topped with a sauce of mayonnaise, hot pepper sauce, minced cilantro leaves, and lime juice.

Accompanied by roasted potato stacks (sweet and russet potato, with olive oil, garlic, salt and peper, sprinked with thyme leaves) and sautéed red cabbage and spinach, with pine nuts, and tossed with a mustard vinaigrette dressing (olive oil, balsamic vinegar, dijon mustard, honey, garlic, and black pepper).

Here are some related recipes:
“Roasted Potato Stacks”

“Red Cabbage and Warm Spinach Salad” 

Certified Yummly Recipes on

UPDATE: The recipe search site Yummly selected this recipe of mine and dubbed my blog “Certified yummly.” :)

“Kickin’ Catfish Recipes for National Catfish Day”

UPDATE (March, 2014): Here’s another nice version from!
Southern-Style Fried Catfish

Ginger Catfish

Ginger Catfish

I wanted to use the fresh ginger root and catfish I had on hand and found this, apparently popular, Vietnamese dish.

Here I prepared it much as describe in the following recipe, except I added diced eggplant (at the same time as the catfish) rather than bell pepper and substituted brown sugar for white. Also, cutting thicker catfish strips, as in the video below, will keep them from disintegrating during cooking. Instead of fillets, you can use the less expensive catfish chunks sold at, Hy-Vee, for instance.
Optionally, you can carmelize the ginger and add water to make a browner sauce.

“Ginger Catfish (Trey Cha K’nyei)”

“ginger catfish” video:

I served it on sticky Calrose rice ( and with sesame rainbow chard.

Interestingly, the Vietnamese fish is likely to be “basa”, a catfish but not so closely related to those in the U.S.

Spicy Curry with Catfish

Spicy Curry with Catfish

Tonight I made a hot curry spiced with one fresh habanero chili.

This curry was prepared similarly to an earlier curry, with garam masala, cumin powder, toasted cumin seed, turmeric, nutmeg, star anise, cinnamon, a spicy chili powder, a thinly-sliced fresh habanero and these vegetables and fruits: onion, garlic, red potatoes, acorn squash, apple, eggplant, rainbow chard, a yellow tomato, and cilantro. I also added a can of coconut milk, some honey, and peanuts. The large catfish fillet was splashed with lemon juice, seasoned with salt and pepper and pan-fried in canola oil, then divided into smaller pieces to serve.

I’ve definitely overcome my aversion to cooking things with very many ingredients since this dish has more than twenty-five!

Whole Red Snapper in Spicy Sauce

Whole Red Snapper in Spicy Sauce

If you haven’t eaten anything with a face on it lately, you might like to try this.

Tonight I finally rose to the occassion and made this Chinese dish using the star anise I bought months ago. My Chinese friend made snapper something like this – in his dorm room, no less – when I visited him years ago and it was great, so I’ve been meaning to try it myself.

To prepare: remove the scales from the cleaned fish (it’s a good idea to do this out in the yard :-), and cut some slits in each side and fill them and the cavity with coarsely chopped fresh ginger and garlic.
For the sauce, mix the following in bowl: water (perhaps 1/2 cup), a couple tablespoons vegetable oil, apple cider vineger, soy sauce, fish sauce, brown sugar, chopped ginger and garlic, black pepper, five spice powder, perhaps 5 star anise pieces, 4 hot red thai bird peppers (finely sliced), minced onion (I used red onion because I didn’t have scallions), and bring this mixture to boil in a hot pan. Next, reduce the heat and place the fish in the pan, and cover with a slightly vented lid, cooking the fish until it is opaque and flakes easy, flipping it once half way through (perhaps 5 minutes per side on medium high heat). Move the fish to a serving platter; in the pan, add some corn starch to the sauce and return it to a boil to thicken it.

Lastly, I sprinkled the dish with sesame seeds and garnished with cilantro leaves and served it with steamed brocolli and white rice.

I also made a similar video recipe for Chinese Red Snapper:

Here’s one recipe I consulted for hints:

Fish Tacos

Fish Tacos

Fish Tacos are one of my favorite dishes at restaurants, so lately I’ve been preparing them myself!

Red Cabbage Slaw: Toss finely sliced red cabbage with a citrus onion vinegrette dressing. Prepare dressing, in a blender, by pureeing ingredients: sweet onion pieces, apple cider vinegar, extra virgin olive oil, lemon juice, brown sugar, garlic, salt, pepper, celery seed. (Alternatively use orange juice rather than lemon and reduce amount of sugar.)

Pico de Gallo: Mix diced tomato, finely diced sweet onion, diced ripe avocado, finely diced jalapeno or serrano pepper (seeds removed), lime juice, mexican oregano, salt.

Fish: Here I used catfish chunks; tilapia, salmon, or shrimp are also good choices. Dip either strips of fillet or slightly larger-than-bite-sized fish pieces in an egg wash and coat with a spiced flour mixture, e.g. spiced with: salt, pepper, garlic powder, oregano, perhaps a touch of cayenne. (I like to use Morton brand “Nature’s Seasons” which is a salt blend including onion, celery, and parsley as well. This time I also used a touch of a spice blend called Vulcan’s Fire Salt: Be sure to limit additional salt if you use salt-based blends.)
Alternatively, you can use a cajun blackening spice rub rather than an egg/flour batter.
Pan fry and place on paper towels to draw oil.

Assemble tacos in warmed corn tortillas at the table to your liking.
Here I also added sour cream; you may like cheese instead.

Jambalaya and Cornbread

Jambalaya and Cornbread

Mon cheri belle!

This dish is a fusion of my usual simple bachelor-style mock Jambalaya (packaged Vigo brand red beans and rice prepared as directed, adding sauteed peppers and onions and hot italian sausage, hot sauce) with Emeril Lagasse’ proper Cajun Jambalaya:

Prepare packaged red beans and rice with about 2 tsp Worcestershire sauce added. (Yes, I know beans are not a usual ingredient in Jambalaya. :-) While that is cooking, sautee celery, onion, green pepper, one serrano pepper, tomato, and 2 cloves garlic in olive oil. Combine meats, e.g., two sliced hot italian sausage (cooked) and about 1/2 pound of cooked Langostino tails (cooked) with seasonings: smoked paprika, salt, black pepper, cayenne (sparingly), oregano, thyme. Mix everything together for about 4 reasonably generous servings.

The Langostino is a prawn or shrimp-like crustacean that I used instead of shrimp or crawfish:
The corn bread was from Trader Joe’s mix. It’s good (moist, yet crusty at edges), but on the sweet side.

Pan-Seared Cod with Creamy Fennel Ragoût and Quinoa

Pan-Seared Cod with Creamy Fennel Ragoût and Quinoa

This one is not my own recipe nor variation, but from here:

Tips: You can get everything at Trader Joes (currently), and if you use their Dijon mustard, that happens to be very sharp, I think it’s a bit better for this recipe than, say, Grey Poupon Country Dijon, a staple I always have in my kitchen.

Quinoa can be easily prepared in a rice cooker.
I use this one, that cost only about $15:
One downside of this super-cheap, small model is that the plastic handles on the lid and steamer tray aren’t dishwasher-safe.  Also, if you fill it to prepare its maximum capacity, the water will occassionally spit out the vent hole when it’s boiling, until some of it is absorbed.  This can be avoided by always placing the included steamer tray on top, even when you have nothing to steam. :)