Oyster sauce is savory with a touch of sweetness. It’s the main ingredient to add to any stir fry dish, a condiment to soups like Pho, and also a great marinating sauce to add to any meat. Because of that added touch of sweetness it adds a nice glaze to meats when grilling or broiling.
The first memory that I ever have of using oyster sauce was probably when I was about 9 years old. I was at my grandma’s house trying to cook up a storm of fried rice for me, my uncles (who were my age and younger), and cousins. I knew I needed oil, cooked rice, salt and black pepper in a hot pan. What I didn’t know was what actually made that brownish color in the fried rice that my mom usually made. I remember looking in my grandma’s kitchen cabinets, finding the oyster sauce, and thought maybe I’d give that a try and gave it a good wham for it to come out of the bottle into the hot pan. Gave it a good stir to combine everything and had a taste of it… to my surprise, it was really good. To my knowledge, that was the first tasty fried rice that I had ever made. You never forget your firsts.
Oyster sauce is another ingredient that I must always have in my kitchen and you can find it at your local Asian grocery store or Amazon.
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Fish sauce is essentially fermented fish. By itself, it’s savory and very salty and has that pungent fishy aroma. But on the contrary, it’s a perfect acidic and salty balance to any Southeast Asian cuisine. For many dishes, fish sauce is used as a substitute for salt and for adding that umami flavor.
Fish sauce if often used in pepper dipping sauces, papaya salad, pho, kao poon, stir fries and the list goes on. I, personally use fish sauce on a regular basis. It’s a must need ingredient and I never go without having this item in my kitchen.
My close friends know that I love eating salty foods so whenever we have dinner parties at their house, they always pull out fish sauce just for my use. Low key giving me side eyes that I eat too much salty foods. But I can’t help it! I love food, food is life, and what is life without fish sauce.
The following are the most common fish sauces used in Southeast Asian dishes that you can grab at your local Asian grocery store or from Amazon.
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Rice porridge (congee) also called “Mov Kua Dis” in Hmong (pronounced as moa-kua-dee in white dialect, or pronounced as moa-kua-klee in green dialect – which is the dialect I speak) is a popular dish among the asian culture. Some asian cultures eat rice porridge as breakfast, but I grew up eating it throughout the day for some days. The reason so is because usually my parents would make a large batch and we would eat it throughout the day or even days afterwards. Rice is such a staple in itself, and rice porridge was one of the ways to deliciously eat this staple.
Over the years I’ve revamped my own version of rice porridge. Traditionally, rice porridge (congee) is made with the basics of 1) uncooked short-grained white rice, 2) water, and sometimes sugar. My parents feed this simple meal to my son and they themselves still eat this version from time to time. This recipe progressed to my parents using chicken and chicken broth, for added gourmet, and that was the start to me loving this dish and quite frankly the broth base for my version.
This dish evolved using a variety of condiments such as chili oil, fish oil, soy sauce, sriracha sauce, oyster sauce, and garnishments of green onion and cilantro. The garnishments gradually progressed to avocado, fried egg, and salmon or essentially anything that I would have at hand that would go well with it.
Every now and then when I miss a sense of nostalgia of family meals, this is definitely a recipe that I turn to and I hope you do too. If you have tried this recipe, feel free to tag me or use hashtag #recipesbykayklalor. I would love to see what you’ve made.
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Crack an egg in the non-stick pan, sprinkle salt and black pepper, and cook a sunny side egg by covering with lid and cook until the egg white is no longer translucent. If would like for the yolk to be cooked more simply leave it on the stovetop for a longer period of time.
Once the egg is cooked to your liking, transfer the egg on top of the plated bowl of cooked rice congee.
Our trip to Maui was all booked with excursions and flights three months in advance prior to setting off on our adventure. My husband and I, along with 4 of our other friends were setting off on this exciting vacation together. This trip was set for six days and five nights from Wednesday, March 4, 2020 – Monday, March 9, 2020 – here’s the unraveling of our trip!
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The day finally came for us to set off on our adventure to Maui at the airport.
Sadly, we didn’t get there until a little after 9pm and ours was the last flight out of the group. The first group couple had already landed and settled in the Airbnb in Kihei and gotten ready for the night. The other couple had landed half an hour before we did and had gotten the rental car and picked us up from baggage claim. The four of us were definitely in the mood for a late-night dinner and stopped at Zippy’s Restaurant in Kahului which is near the airport. Of course, we all ordered the Korean Fried Chicken.
Dinner was done! First shut eye in Maui, couldn’t wait to see the first light in Maui the following day.
Day 1 – The Skies of Maui
From sunrise to sunset and the beautiful stars in one day. We woke up around 3:00 am in the morning to drive an hour to the Haleakala National Park. Keep in mind, temperatures were around 30-40 degrees, so we were dressed accordingly – since we were from Minnesota anyway, the cold was no problem for us. There was a $5 entrance per vehicle to the general Haleakala National Park. Most importantly, visitors were required to have viewing reservations made online up to 60 days in advance via reservation.org due to limited parking space in the summit, which we weren’t aware off until a day before. Since we were late on our reservation, we were parked in the lower parking lot of the summit and walked up an uphill road which took about 15 to 20 minutes to the summit – with a pavilion at the top to view the sunrise.
We were over 10,000 ft above sea level peering over pillowed clouds and mountains. The wait for the sunrise was just the start but the best part was taking photos that were breathtaking catching the natural sun rays.
Once sunrise peaked its exuberance, breakfast was calling our names. We stopped at Grandma’s Coffee House that was probably the nearest breakfast café to where we were. Grandma’s Coffee House is a cute local spot for the locals that has been around since 1918. Their coffee is grown on the slopes of Haleakala and it was a perfect local spot to sit and relax and have some breakfast and coffee.
Next on the agenda was beach bumming. We went back to the Airbnb and changed into our swimming outfits and headed out to Wailea Resort Beach. The beach was perfect with super soft sand on the beach with clear water and soft waves. Definitely would recommend the beach for family’s with little ones.
The ocean water was quite cold to start off but as we got use to the water temperature and went underwater, the sounds of the whales took all the cold away. As we were enjoying the waves and the sounds of the whales, my husband looked up information that our Apple iPhone 11 Pro was waterproof, which was news to me. I was a bit weary about this but my husband, being the free-spirit that he is, decided he would test it out. Shortly after, a woman and her son were swimming pass us and told us that they were following a seat turtle. Right then and there, my husband ran to the beach to grab his phone and jumped right into the water and recorded the sea turtle! It was amazing!
Beach bumming for that day was short lived as we needed to shower and eat lunch prior to our next excursion. Lunch was at Monkeypod Kitchen by Merriman Wailea. We had Mai tais (the best that we had on the whole trip) with some appetizers and meals.
Lunch was satisfying, then we were off to our hour commute back up the Haleakala National Park mountain for stargazing. We were definitely team no-sleep on this day. We booked the excursion with Maui Stargazing and our tour guide was Jan. Our excursion started around 3pm where we met Jan at a specific point to where we jumped on her tour bus and drove us to the top of the summit. At this point we had the opportunity to take photos of the late sun over the breath-taking clouds.
Next, Jan took us to another point on the side of the mountain as we watched the sunset while we snacked and drank some warm beverages.
As soon as the sun set, we were stargazing with Jan’s telescope as the night grew darker.
The night succumbed to an end with our hour commute back home. We saw the sunrise and sunset plus the stars all in one day. Truly experienced the Maui sky that day in full circle. Up before the sun and after it disappeared into the night. Longest day ever… literally – definitely looked forward to the next day with only the beach and waves, done and over with the cold. The funny thing, the group wanted to grab a bite to eat at Zippy’s Restaurant that night, but I was too exhausted that I wanted to still sleep in the car. Off they went to go eat and there I was getting some shut eye for the next day.
Day 2 – The Underwater Escape to The Triangle
The day was planned for snorkeling that we booked through Trilogy in Lahaina. We heard birds chirping from the Lahaina Harbor and decided to explore the area. We found ourselves at the Lahaina Banyan Court Park to find birds chirping in trees that were interconnected and tangled by their branches. It was so amazing!
As we sailed away to Lanai island, Kyle, one of the staff members and also the snuba instructor on the boat mentioned if anyone was signed up for snuba and if anyone was interested. Right away, our group did not hesitate to jump on the opportunity for this experience.
Breakfast and coffee was served on the boat as we sailed away to Lanai island. Our group was the first group to get the run-down of what to prepare and expect once we got on the island. Retrieved all of our gears and headed straight to the Hulopo’e Beach.
If you’re wondering what snuba is, it’s a cross between snorkeling and scuba diving. The only difference is that you’re not going underwater with a tank. There is a mouthpiece that connects to a floatation device by a 20-foot tube and the floatation device is filled with air. The breathing was hard to get use to at first as air was forced into your mouth rather than breathing it in. But after a while, most of us were able to let go of the floatation device and descend to the bottom of the ocean.
Snuba lasted for about 20 minutes. Once that was done, we explored the rocky shoreline and tidal pools for about a good 15 minutes and decided that we wanted to go back into the water again and go snorkeling for the remainder of the time.
If I had to book a snorkeling excursion again, I think I’ll prefer snorkeling off the ledge of a boat whether than from a beach shore. I did that once before and thought that the corals were much livelier and more colorful.
Lunch time finally came around and the staff members of the Trilogy boat cooked us lunch that included a side salad, stir-fried noodles, roasted chicken, and so much more. Once lunch ended, we all went back on the boat and sailed our way back to Lahaina Harbor.
Our sail back to the Lahaina Harbor was eventful in itself. We witnessed so many whales and at one point a mother whale and its calf was so close to our boat that the captain had to shut off the boat engine.
We were idling around for 15-20 minutes and in this timeframe the calf swam underneath the boat, luckily this boat had a net where we were able see the bottom of the boat, and I was able to crawl and see the calf swim in twirls. I’ve never felt so lucky to witness this right before my eyes. While this was happening, Kyle, stuck his phone in the water and was able to capture a footage of the mother whale diving vertically in the water. Kyle was kind enough to airdrop the footage to the rest of us for keepsakes.
We walked around and explored the local shops in the area and friends in my group grabbed some local ice shaved treats at Local Boys.
After our treats, we made our drive way back to the AirBnb in Kihei and made plans to check out the local night life that Kyle from Trilogy suggested, which is called The Triangle. There we danced the rest of the night away.
Day 3 – Floating Feet to the Luau
We booked our ziplining excursion with Maui Zipline Company within the beautiful Maui Tropical Plantation. This zipline excursion was perfect for beginners. I was able to capture the view with using an app called MixCam, which records both the front and back of the camera at the same time. Words were just not enough to capture all the fun and laughter we had while ziplining.
Ziplining took most of the morning, by then we worked up an appetite and was well ready for lunch. We drove by a side road food booth on our way back to our Airbnb called Huli Huli Chicken & Ribs in Kihei.
We all got ourselves chicken and ribs, walked across the street to the beach and found us a spot to sit down and grub on our BBQ. Instant picnic on the beautiful beach overlooking the beautiful midday ocean was the best eating highlight of the trip. After lunch, we went back to the Airbnb, got dressed into our swimwear and beach bummed again at Wailea beach until it was time to get ready for the Luau.
The Luau took place at the Wailea Resort. During the seating process, there were several booths for activities that included stamped tattoos and lei making headbands and necklaces. The food was served buffet style and drinks were served at the bar. Shortly after grabbing food and drinks the luau performance started. It was a beautiful performance full of hula dancers, hypnotizing trapeze and intense fire twirling performances. The night ended perfectly with all the active adventures behind us and looked forward for the following days to be more relaxed.
Day 4 – Whale Watching
Whale watching was booked through Pacific Whale. Although this day was planned for whale watching months ago, I knew that when we woke up that morning that is was not going to top our day 3 excursion with snuba/snorkeling with Trilogy… absolutely no way. But first, we had to grab breakfast and coffee.
Whale watching with Pacific Whale was more relaxed as we lounged in the interior of the boat away from the sun as we were badly burned from our days in the previous days. If we had to do it again, preferably would not book a whale watching excursion with snorkeling on the same trip as whale watching will be inevitable with the snorkeling excursion.
After whale watching that morning, we had lunch at Down the Hatch. We had some bomb food as we all ordered different dishes and had the opportunity to try everyone’s dishes.
After lunch we made a stop at Farmer’s Market Maui to grab some Acai bowls and smoothies that my friend was absolutely raving about from her last trip to Maui.
We made our way to beach bum at Kapalua Beach which was short-lived as the waves were a bit high. We decided to cut our stay there short and head back to Wailea Beach until it was ready for dinner.
Road to Hana is beautiful, but you must be prepared for the rain and the shine as this part of the island is a rainforest. Road to Hana is located on the eastern most part of the Maui island. Road to Hana is more the journey of sightseeing of the views and waterfalls and less of the city of Hana itself. We made our first stop at Ho’okipa Beach and visited wild sea turtles bumming on the beach and soon after saw a seal approach the shore, which of course we were all in awe!
After our breakfast, off we were on to the Road to Hana. We were told that Bamboo Forest is one of the attractions of the Road to Hana but as we arrived, we weren’t at all prepared and dressed for the rainy weather. It was rainy and muddy as we arrived and decided that day was not the day. So that adventure was postponed until next time in Maui.
We continued on to the Road to Hana and stopped by a cute little spot where there were multiple food booths on the side of the road. We had ourselves some Huli Huli Chicken & Ribs again, Hana Pizza made fresh and cooked in a stone fire, and some fruits from the local area.
When we finally made it to the Hana, we decided to continue the roundtrip through Kihei and to Kahului to have lunch at Da Kitchen. Da Kitchen was definitely hearty and rich and, of course, featured on Diners, Drive-Ins, and Dives – I was very much satisfied with this meal! So yum!
After lunch we went back to Ho’okipa Beach to visit the wild sea turtles again and to our surprise we saw these adorable seals beach bumming and taking naps on the same beach as the sea turtles. Who needs to go to the zoo when you’ve got nature right before your eyes and them being in their natural habitat? I should mention that this beach is secluded, visitors are not allowed to go through. We were peering over an elevated balcony observing the animals peacefully.
As the sun set and we drove our way to the airport, it was a long goodbye that we were all dreading. Maui was so beautiful and so many memories were made. I was in awe of all the sights and experiences and could also wished that I had brought my parents and children to witness this magical experience. Truly blessed and lucky to have been so close with nature and its beauty… I’ll see you again Maui!
The first time I ever heard of a homemade vegetable stock was many years ago when a former co-worker casually mentioned that she made her own vegetable stock at home with veggie scraps. The idea stuck with me as it was such a genius idea and I heard it again when I purchased a book called the The Elimination Diet by Alissa Segersten and Tom Malterre. I came across this book as I was doing my research on the correlation between my son’s Tourette’s Syndrome and his diet (feel free to check out previous post A Parent’s Journey: Raising Micah and FAQ: Tourette Syndrome & ADHD). My goal was to try to figure out what foods he may be intolerant to so that we could decrease his tic symptoms. The Elimination Diet, in summary, is essentially a guide to help figure out food intolerances in your daily food consumption to combat with various problems that you may have, which can stem from bloating to acne, or in my son’s case – his tics. The Elimination Diet also includes loads of healthy recipes, many of which I still use, and many of the recipes included vegetable stock as a base. So instead of constantly purchasing vegetable stock in cartons, it was at this point that I started making my homemade vegetable stock – it just made sense.
Not only is this recipe simple and easy, it practically costs next to nothing (if you already have the necessary materials). It’s also a peace of mind knowing what ingredients are being put into it and no need to worry about preservatives that are usually used for prolonging shelf life.
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Before you get started, you’ll need vegetables to make your vegetable stock. You can use practically any vegetables that you have at hand. I would suggest using vegetable scraps from cuttings rather than whole vegetables, as I usually use whole vegetables in my daily cooking, but whatever floats your boat. The daily vegetable scraps from cuttings, which can be from ends from onions, garlic skin, ends of leafy greens herbs, bell pepper ends and seeds, carrot ends and peels, and so on. Literally, ends of any veggie.
What You’ll Need
1. Ziploc Bag – Take these vegetable scraps and put it in a gallon Ziploc bag and freeze it. Once when you’ve collected an entire Ziploc bag full of veggies scraps, then it’s time to make your veggie stock.
2. Stock Pot – You’ll need a Stock Pot with a lid to place vegetable scraps and water. I would suggest adding the vegetable scraps first, then add water, and fill at least two-thirds of the Stock Pot. Place the lid on the Stock Pot over medium to high heat until the water starts boiling. Then turn the burner to a medium low to simmer for 20 minutes.
5. Ladle – A Ladle will come in handy as you’re transferring the hot vegetable stock.
6. Ice Cube Trays – I would suggest having multiple Ice Cube Trays when scooping the vegetable stock to freeze. You’re bound to have more stock than Ice Cube Trays, which is fine, you can do what I call a “switch-a-roo”. Where you freeze whatever you can in the Ice Cube Trays leaving the rest in Mason Jars and then as you transfer the frozen cubed vegetable stock into Ziploc Bags you can freeze the leftover vegetable stock from the Mason Jars.
One Ziploc Bag full of frozen vegetable stock cubes is good for a family size soup base (which you can always add water if it’s not enough). I use the vegetable stock for a variety of other smaller dishes such as my base for my soups such as instant noodles, green soup, and rice porridges. Most recently, I made my own fresh batch of homemade vegetable stock for my Thanksgiving Stuffing (made from scratch) and it was sooooo good! Wish you could’ve tasted it.
If you have tried this recipe, tag #recipesbykayklalor, I’d love to see what you’ve made. Follow me on Instagram, Facebook, Pinterest, and Tikok for more content just like this one.