Lemon, Garlic and Rosemary Whole Chicken (Instant Pot)

Instant Pot chicken

Whenever I spoke to friends/relatives/co-workers about cooking the last few years, I would hear so much about how they fell in love with their IP and why they couldn’t stop using their IP.  Cooking with an IP is currently very popular, but what is an IP?  IP stands for Instant Pot which is a multifunctional electric pressure cooker.  According to The New York Times, Instant Pots currently sit in the top 10 list of Amazon best sellers in the Kitchen category.  I’ve owned one for more than a year now and I understand why people love it so much.  You can easily convert many recipes for pressure cooking.

I normally cook this chicken in a Dutch Oven with potatoes and carrots added to the pot (Dutch Oven chicken recipe will follow).  Cooking this chicken in a Dutch Oven or in a pressure cooker keeps the chicken moist and tender.  When I don’t have much time preparing dinner, I just bring out my IP.


1 (4 pounds) Whole roasting chicken
2 Tbsp Butter (melted)
2 Tbsp Lemon zest
2 Tbsp Rosemary (chopped)
3 Tbsp Minced Garlic
3 tsp Salt
a dash Cooking wine (optional)

Spices for Chicken Skin:

1 tsp Chili powder
2 tsp Paprika
2 tsp Garlic powder
1 tsp Salt

Ingredients for gravy:

1 cup Low sodium chicken broth (cooking together with the chicken in Instant Pot)
2 Tbsp Corn starch
1-2 Tbsp water

Chicken Marinade:

  1. Clean the chicken and pat dry.
  2. Melt butter in a microwave and prepare all herbs.  (picture A)
  3. Use a chopper to chop garlic, rosemary and lemon zest together.  (picture B)
  4. In a container, mix butter, salt and herb mixture.  (picture C)
  5. Rub herb mixture evenly underneath the chicken skin and cavity.  (picture D)
  6. Cover with cling wrap and let it sit in the fridge for 4 hours or overnight (you can skip this step if you don’t have time).

chicken marinade final


  1. Combine all spices for chicken skin in a bowl.  (Pictures 1 & 2)
  2. Sprinkle the skin evenly with the spice mixture.  (Picture 3)
  3. In a large frying pan, heat 3 tablespoons of oil with a sprig of rosemary.  Cook the chicken until evenly golden brown, add in cooking wine (optional).  (Picture 4)
  4. Pour 1 cup of low sodium chicken broth (or water) to your Instant Pot (pressure cooker), place the metal trivet into the pot.  Gently place chicken on top of the trivet with tongs.  (Pictures 5 & 6)
  5. Select manual setting, adjust pressure to high and set time for 20 minutes.  Turn knob to the sealing position.  When finished cooking, do a quick pressure release.  (Picture 7)

Pressure cooking steps

To make gravy:

  1. Reserve all the juice from the pot and skim the fat from the top. Transfer gravy from Instant Pot to a small pot.
  2. Place the pot on stove top on medium heat.  Dissolve 2 Tbsps of cornstarch in the minimum amount of water needed to make a thin paste.
  3. Pour the cornstarch slurry into the pot and use a spoon or whisk to mix (don’t pour in all cornstarch slurry, if gravy is still thin, add more in until it’s slightly thickened.)
  4. Transfer gravy to a sauce boat and serve hot.


Japchae (Korean Noodles)



Japchae is a classic sweet and savory Korean dish everyone loves.  It is made from sweet potato starch noodles stir fried with vegetables and you can add your choice of meat.  I have eaten at some restaurants where Japchae is served on top of rice (yes this sounds a little weird!), but most restaurants serve it as a banchan (Korean side dishes) or as a full dish.  If you are gluten intolerant, this is the dish you should consider.


1 lbs Beef (flank, sirloin or rib eye)
14 oz – 1 lbs Korean potato starch noodles (Dangmyeon)
2 medium sticks Carrots (julienne)
1 small White onion
1/2 lbs Spinach
7-8 Dried shiitake mushrooms (soaked until soft)
2 Eggs
2 Garlic cloves

Marinade for Beef:

2 Tbsp Light soy sauce
2 Tbsp Brown sugar
1 Tbsp Corn starch

Sauce for Noodles:

6 Tbsp Light soy sauce
5 Tbsp Brown sugar
4 Tbsp Sesame oil
4 tsp Roasted sesame seeds


  1. Combine all sauce ingredients in a small bowl and mix well.  (Picture 1)
  2. Soak dried mushrooms in hot water until soft.  Cut the stems off and slice into thin strips.  Season with 1 tablespoon of the sauce above.  (Picture 2)
  3. Peel and julienne carrots.  (Picture 3)
  4. Cut onion into slices. (Picture 4)
  5. Slice beef against the grain (you can cut into slices or strips).  Marinade beef with soy sauce, brown sugar and corn starch.  (Picture 5)
  6. Bring a pot of lightly salted water to a boil and blanch the spinach until they are just wilted (about 1 minute).  Drain quickly and rinse spinach under cold running water.  Squeeze excess water from spinach and set aside.  (Picture 6)
  7. Cook the noodles in a large pot of boiling water (follow the package directions for cooking time).  Drain and rinse the noodles under cold running water.  Set aside.  (Picture 7)
  8. Heat up 1 Tbsp of oil in a skillet/wok and stir fry onion until it turns brown.  Transfer onion to a plate and side aside.  (Picture 8)
  9. Add 1 Tbsp of oil and one garlic clove to the same skillet/wok and stir fry carrots for about 1 minute, then add in mushrooms.  Add 1 Tbsp of water and cook for 1 minute.  Transfer carrots and mushrooms to a plate and set aside.  (Pictures 9 and 10).
  10. Add 2 tablespoons of oil and one garlic clove to the skillet/wok and stir fry beef until it’s cooked.  Now return onion, carrots and mushrooms to the wok and mix them well with beef (just 1 minute).  Set aside.  (Pictures 11 and 12)
  11. Whisk 2 eggs in a small bowl and cook the eggs in a skillet sprayed with cooking oil in medium heat.  Cut cooked eggs into strips and set aside.  (Picture 13)
  12. Pour sauce into a medium size pot and cook on medium heat until sugar is dissolved and sauce is slightly bubbling.  Add noodles into the pot and toss well until all noodles are coated with the sauce and then add all cooked vegetables and beef, toss well. (Picture 14)
  13. Garnish with egg slices and toasted sesame.  (Picture 15)

japchae collage 2

Japchae dish 2

Char Siu (Chinese BBQ Pork)

Char Siu

I don’t remember which magazine had this recipe, but it was a recipe from the writer’s grandma so it immediately caught my eye!   We all know grandmas’ cooking is always full of delicious recipes created with ‘secret’ ingredients.

It is very important to choose a good piece of meat. For making Char Siu, the best piece is pork butt.  Choose a piece that has more marbling than others as lean pieces will be very dry and won’t be as flavorful as well.  If you still want to keep it healthy and lean, I’d recommend using pork neck since the texture is more tender yet lean (the pictures below in the collage show pork neck).


2 pounds pork butt
4 Tbsp granulated sugar
2 Tbsp light soy sauce
2 Tbsp dark soy sauce
2 Tbsp hoisin sauce
2 Tbsp Shao Hsing rice cooking wine
2 Tbsp ground bean paste
2 tsp sesame oil
¼ tsp ground white pepper
2 Tbsp honey


  1. Quarter pork butt lengthwise.  If you use pork neck, you don’t need to cut it.  In a small bowl, combine sugar, soy sauce, hoisin sauce, rice wine, ground bean paste, sesame oil, pepper, and stir to combine (save the honey for later).  Pour mixture over pork, making sure it is well coated.  Cover the container with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight, turn pork at least once.  (picture 1)
  2. When ready to roast, let pork come to room temperature and let it sit for at least 30 minutes. Preheat broiler, place a rack in a roasting pan or use a broiling pan.  Add enough hot water so that it reaches a depth of ¼ inch in the pan.  Brush the broiling pan with oil so meat won’t stick to the pan.  (Picture 2 and 3)
  3. Place pork on rack, discard marinade.  Carefully place pan under broiler (pork should be about 4 inches from broiler element), and broil until meat is just beginning to char slightly, about 15 minutes.  Brush with honey and broil for 2 more minutes (Pictures 4 and 5)
  4. Turn pork and repeat Item 3 above.

Cha Siu collage

Let the meat rest for 5 minutes and cut into slices.


Served with rice and your favorite side dishes, or you can make noodles in soup.

BBQ Pork with noodles


Ground Turkey Curry

In the 21st century, most people changed their eating habits and chose to eat healthily.  However, I found that healthy foods do not taste as good as normal foods so when I introduce healthier meals to my family, I have to make sure my children will allow me to make it again.  I found this turkey curry recipe from SimplyRecipes by Elise Bauer.  I gave it a little twist to suit our tastes and it became a popular dish for my family.


3 pounds Ground Turkey (93% lean)
1 White onion (chopped)
4 Medium Carrots (peeled and cut into big pieces)
6 Medium red potatoes (peeled and cut into 1-inch chunks)
5 Roma tomatoes (diced)
1 cup Frozen peas
4 cups Low sodium chicken broth
1 head Garlic (minced)
20g Fresh ginger (about 1-inch piece) (peeled and grated)
3 ½ Tbsps Curry Powder
1 tsp Turmeric
1 tsp Ground coriander
1 tsp Ground cumin
1 ½ tsps. Red chili powder
1 Tbsp Light brown sugar
1 tsp Salt to taste (about 1 tsp)


  1. Heat 4 tbsps. of grape seed oil over high heat in a large pan.  When the oil is hot, add ground turkey, make sure not to crowd the meat.  With 3 pounds of meat, it’s better to split the meat into 2 portions and cook separately.  Cook turkey until it begins to brown and liquid is dried up.  Set aside.  (picture 1)
  2. Brown onion in a pan, then add minced garlic and grated ginger.  Stir for about 1 minute.  (picture 2)
  3. Return ground turkey to the pan with onion, garlic and ginger.  Stir for about 1 minute.  (picture 3)
  4. Add 4 cups of chicken broth.  (picture 4)
  5. Then add in all spices (curry powder, turmeric, cumin, coriander, chili powder, sugar).  (picture 5)
  6. Add diced tomatoes, carrots, peas and potatoes.  Add salt and mix well.  (pictures 6-8)
  7. Transfer everything to a pressure cooker and press the “Meat/stew” function, press the button to choose the cooking time to 15 minutes.   Turn the venting knob to “sealing” position.  When it’s done cooking, do a quick pressure release.  (picture 9)
  8. If you don’t have a pressure cooker, you can easily cook this on the stove top.  Cover the pot and simmer the curry for about 20-30 minutes or until the potatoes are soft.
  9. Serve over rice.

curry collage


  • 3 pound of meat is enough for 2 meals for 5 people.  This dish is also very good the next day.
  • Ground turkey will release a lot of liquid when cooking.  Make sure not to crowd the meat, otherwise it will take a long time to brown the meat.


Blueberry Muffins


These muffins are so easy to make that my 13-year old can handle everything on her own.  The original recipe is from Food and Wine, however I reduced the sugar and oil amount to suit my taste.  If you have a sweet tooth, please follow the original recipe.  Although the crumb topping is a little messy, you will be very impressed with the taste and the soft texture of these muffins.

Ingredients for crumb topping:

150g All purpose flour
3 Tbsp Light brown sugar
2 Tbsp Organic cane sugar or granulated sugar
1 tsp Baking powder
Pinch of salt
85g/6 Tbsp Unsalted butter, melted

Ingredients for Muffins:

250g All purpose flour
190g Organic cane sugar or granulated sugar
2 ¼ tsp Baking powder
½ tsp Salt
2 Large eggs
75g Oil
¾ cup Milk (whole or reduced fat)
1 tsp Vanilla extract
1 ½ cup Blueberries

To make the crumb topping:

  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
  2. To make the crumb topping, combine flour, brown sugar, sugar, baking powder and salt in a bowl.  (Picture A)
  3. Stir in the melted butter.  (Picture B)
  4. Pinch the mixture until it forms pea-size clumps and set aside.  (Picture C)

collage 1.jpg

To make the muffins (12 muffins):

  1. Put eggs, sugar and oil in a mixing bowl, beat at low speed until combined.  (Picture 1)
  2. Beat in milk and vanilla extract. (Pictures 2-3)
  3. Add flour mixture (flour, baking powder and salt) to the egg batter and beat at medium speed until the batter is smooth.  (Pictures 4-5)
  4. Stir in blueberries (don’t beat it, just stir in).  (Picture 6)
  5. Line muffin pan with muffin/cupcake liners.  (Picture 7)
  6. Spoon the batter into each cup.  (Picture 8)
  7. Sprinkle the crumb topping on top of each one.  (Picture 9)
  8. Bake for about 25-30 minutes or until the muffins are golden brown. Insert a toothpick in the center to test doneness.

collage 2.jpg

  • Let the muffins cool in the pan before serving.
  • Blueberry muffins can be kept overnight, you can reheat it by microwaving it for 10 seconds.





Mahi Mahi with Onion and Capers

I surely took a long break from blogging. During the past year, I have tried many new recipes, and many of them should be added to my collection. This Mahi Mahi recipe is so fantastic that it motivates me to come back to post. Besides getting comments of having a restaurant-quality dish, I like the fact that it is effortless. I slightly modified the original recipe (which you can find here) to suit my taste.


4 pieces Mahi Mahi fillet with or without skin
1 Large white onion
3 Tbsp Capers (in brine)
3 Tbsp Water
50g Unsalted butter
3 Tbsp Fresh lemon juice
½ tsp Fresh ground black pepper
¾ tsp Salt
Chopped fresh parsley or green onions as a garnish


  1. Thinly slice onion, set aside.  (picture 1)
  2. Rinse and drain capers, coarsely chop and set aside.  (picture 2)
  3. Heat 2 tablespoons oil in a skillet over high heat, then add onion and cook until brown (stir frequently).  (picture 3)
  4. Add in water and pepper, cook for 1 minute.  (pictures 4 and 5)
  5. Add in butter, lemon juice and capers.  Stir and cook until butter is melted.  Remove from heat and cover the pan to keep warm.  (pictures 6 – 9)
  6. Preheat broiler.
  7. Wash and pat fish dry, sprinkle with salt and pepper.
  8. Heat 2 tablespoons oil in a cast iron pan over high heat, then add fish fillets to the skillet and fry for about 2 minutes depending on the thickness of the fillets.  (picture A)
  9. Flip the fillets and cook the other side for 1-2 minutes.  (picture B)
  10. Put the cast iron pan under the oven broil, about 5 inches from heat until just cooked through, about 3 minutes. (pictures C)
  11. Serve fish topped with onion mixture and sprinkled with parsley or green onions.

fish collage


  • If fillets have skin, put skin sides down when you put them under the broiler.
  • Don’t over cover the fish, the fillets should be very moist and soft.
  • I had no onions one time, so I used red and yellow bell peppers.  It also tastes very good.




Fresh Fruit Tart



I made mini fruit tarts four years ago.  Since it takes a long time to mould each tart with the dough, I wanted to try a regular size one.  I used the same recipe to make a big tart but the crust just fell apart.  Now I found Paula Deen’s recipe for the tart shell which got a lot of good reviews.  I made the tart today and the crust is so tasty, flaky and fresh!

Tart Crust:

Powdered Sugar
Unsalted Butter (softened)
All Purpose Flour

Cream Filling:

1-3/8 cups
a tiny pinch
1/2 teaspoon
Milk (could be a combination of milk and cream)
Egg yolks
Vanilla extract



  1. Combine flour, sugar and butter in a food processor and process until the mixture forms a ball.  (Picture A)
  2. With your fingers, press the dough into an 11-inch or 12-inch tart pan with a removable bottom.  Push the crust into the indentations in the sides, pat until the crust is even.  (Pictures B and C)
  3. Freeze the crust for at least 30 minutes.


4.  Preheat the oven to 350 F, bake for 20 minutes until it’s lightly browned.  Set aside to cool.

crust baked


  1. In a food processor, add milk, sugar, cornstarch, salt, and egg yolks, (in that order) to blender.  Blend 10 seconds and pour into 2-quart glass microwave-safe bowl. Microwave 3 minutes on HIGH, whisking until smooth and microwave for another 2-3 minutes.
  2. Add butter and vanilla and whisk until smooth.   Remove from heat and let it cool.
  3. Place plastic wrap on top the filling without leaving any gap.  This will prevent the filling from forming a hard layer on top.  Once it’s cool, put it in the fridge.  (see picture below)



Wash all fruits, I like apples, strawberries, blueberries, grapes and kiwis.  To keep sliced apples from turning brown, you can soak them in salt water.  Fill a bowl of water and add 1/4 teaspoon of salt.


  1. Whisk filling before applying to the crust, especially when you make it ahead of time and keep it in the fridge.  (Picture 1)
  2. Spread filling over the cooled crust.  (Picture 2)
  3. For the first layer, place apple slices.  (Picture 3)
  4. For the next circle, place strawberry slices.  (Picture 4)
  5. For the next circle, use green grapes.  (Picture 5)
  6. Add another circle of red grapes.  Filling in any spaces with blueberries and put a couple of kiwi slices in the center.  (Picture 6)

fruit tart steps

fruit tart


For the glaze:

1/2 cup Apple Jelly
1 Tbsp water


  • In a small bowl, combine apple jelly and water.
  • Heat in the microwave for 15-20 seconds until the apple jelly liquefies.
  • Let it cool for a few minutes.
  • With a pastry brush, apply apple jelly to preserve the fruits.