About Me

Here at Sensei Cooks I write about my adventures in the kitchen and sometimes in the dojo.

I have a love for cooking and want to explore all the possible facets of it. Leave no stone unturned so to speak.

I am Vegan and love all types of vegan cooking.

I love the process of cooking. Being in the moment. Sort of Zen and the Art of Cooking.

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Hake Piccata

Dylan’s favourite fish dish (minus the sauce) and a real simple meal to make. We make this dish quite a lot.
Recipe is adapted from Saveur April 2014, they used sole but Hake, Basa and Cod work just as well.

1lb of white fish fillets (we prefer hake or Basa)
1/2 cup all purpose flour
1/4 cup vegetable oil
4 tbsp unsalted butter
2 shallots, finely chopped
1 lemon, thinly sliced and seeded
1/4 cup dry white wine
1/2 cup capers
1. Dry fillets, salt and pepper them
2. Dredge in flour
3. Heat 2 tbsp oil and 1 tbsp butter in skillet over medium high heat
4. Add half the fillets, 4 minutes on one side and flip and 3 minutes on other side.
5. Remove fish to paper towels
6. Wipe out skillet and repeat with other half of fillets
7. Wipe out skillet, add remaining oil, 1 tbsp butter and the shallots and lemon slices.
8, Cook until shallots are soft (2-3 minutes), add the wine and scrape all brown bits up from skillet.
9. Add the capers, last 1 tbsp of butter and S&P if required (not usually)
10. Serve fish with sauce.
11. Enjoy!

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Pub Style Chicken Curry

This is a fantastic curry. Really easy to make and tastes even better the next day – if you ever have any leftovers (which I seldom do). I made a few changes from the original recipe like increasing the number of Thai red chilis for more heat. I also changed from vegetable oil to olive oil and from chicken breasts to chicken thighs. Also increased the garlic.

Pub Style Chkn Curry

Pub Style Chicken Curry
adapted from http://www.lifeinpleasantville.com/pub-style-chicken-curry/

1 tbsp olive oil
800gm skinless-boneless chicken thighs, chopped into bite size pieces
5 carrots, peeled and chopped into 1/4” pieces
2 medium onions, peeled and sliced very thin
1 thumb size piece of fresh ginger, peeled and finely chopped or grated
6 cloves of garlic, pressed
3 Thai red chili peppers, seeded (optional) and finely chopped
1 5oz can of tomato paste
2 tbsp mild curry powder
2 tsp all-purpose flour
3/4 tsp turmeric
3/4 tsp ground cumin
Pinch crushed red chili flakes
1 cup table cream 18%
2 cups hot chicken stock
1 tbsp sweet mango chutney (Patak’s is good)


1. Season chicken with sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
2. Heat oil over medium-high heat and cook chicken until white on all sides.
3. Add onions, carrots and chili peppers and cook over medium heat until onions are soft. Add garlic and cook 1 minute more.
4. Add tomato paste and stir to coat everything.
5. Add curry powder, flour, turmeric, cumin and ginger, cook until dry.
6. Add chicken stock, bring to a boil, add cream and after it returns to the boil, simmer uncovered for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally.
7. Just before serving, stir in the chutney.
8. Serve over rice.

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Korean Short Ribs

Great recipe for short ribs, trying to recreate a taste from a Korean Grill House restaurant. Turned out great.

Korean Short Ribs

5 lbs Beef short ribs
1 cup Brown sugar
1 cup Soy sauce
1/2 cup Water
1/4 cup Mirin
1 Small onion, peeled and finely grated
1 small Asian pear, peeled and finely grated
4 tbsp minced garlic
2 tbsp Dark sesame oil
1/4 tsp Freshly ground black pepper
2 scallions, thinly sliced


1. Combine all the ingredients together and let sit at room temperature for 10 minutes
2. Place ribs in a resealable bag, add marinade and refrigerate for 4-6 hours.
3. Remove ribs and shake off excess liquid.
4. Cook ribs over med-high heat until well done.
5. Serve with rice.

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Afghanistan Kebab Sauce

This was another “Can you recreate that meal we just had at a restaurant request”. The kebabs were filled with your choice of protein, Afghanistan Yellow Rice, a tomato salsa and this great kabob sauce. This is what we came up with and it certainly fit the bill.

Afghanistan Kebab Sauce/Marinade

2 onions, peeled and chopped
2 cups plain yogurt
1 dash rice wine vinegar
2 tsp sugar
freshly ground black pepper
2 tbsp cumin
2 tbsp ground coriander
1/2 tsp chili paste
2 tsp garlic, minced
2 tsp ginger, grated
1/2 bunch fresh cilantro, chopped
1/2 tsp turmeric


1. Place all ingredients in a blender and blend.
2. In a large saucepan, bring the sauce to a boil and then simmer 10 minutes.
3. Transfer to a large bowl and let cool.
4. Use as a marinade and sauce for chicken, beef or seafood.

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Afghanistan Yellow Rice

Friends took us to this great Afghanistan restaurant (Bamiyan Kabob) near the Ontario Science Centre. I had my doubts that Dylan would try or like anything there but he discovered their rice. It is a yellow rice and Dylan really liked it so I set out to reproduce it. I googled and checked various cookbooks and came up with this combination which seems pretty close to the restaurants.

Afghanistan Yellow Rice
1 cup rice
1 tsp onion powder
1/4 tsp garlic powder
3 strands saffron, ground
1/4 tsp turmeric
1/4 tsp cumin
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp sugar
2 cups water
1 tbsp olive oil


1. Combine all the ingredients in a pot.
2. Bring to a boil, then reduce to simmer, cover and cook 20 minutes.
3. Fluff rice and serve.

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Thai Green Chicken Curry with Rice Noodles

Belle, Sean and I all love the Green Thai Curry we get from Ginger Restaurant on Yonge Street, just north of Dundas. Great restaurant and great prices. They call this Pad Thai & Chicken/Beef/Shrimp Curry. I have tried several times to recreate their dish with no success. One more try tonight and we hit nailed it. I think it will be with beef next time and mine is a touch spicier then theirs but not by much.

Ginger's Green Thai Curry

To start we make the Green Curry Paste, partially cook the chicken, then bring them together, add the veggies and a final touch of coconut milk. I served these with flat rice noodles but rice would be perfect too.


Green Curry Paste:

1 1/2 Jalapeno chilies (or 3 green Thai Bird chilies)
1/3 cup diced shallots (about 4 large)
6 cloves of garlic
1 thumb size piece of ginger, peeled and grated ( I freeze some of my ginger  so it is easy to grate)
1 lemongrass stalk, roughly chopped
1/2 tsp gnd coriander
1/2 tsp gnd cumin
1 tsp shrimp paste
1 cup cilantro, chopped
1/2 tsp freshly ground white pepper
3 tbsp fish sauce
1 tsp brown sugar
2 tbsp lime juice



2 tbsp olive oil
1-2 lbs chicken thighs, boneless, skinless, cut into bite size pieces
4 kaffir lime leaves, middle stem removed and leaves chopped (or the zest of 1 lime)
1 red bell pepper, large dice
1 yellow zucchini, large dice
fresh basil leaves
454g/16oz Rice Stick Vermicelli noodles (Banh Pho)



1. Place all the past ingredients in a food processor and process until you have paste, scrape down sides often.
2. Heat oil in a large skillet or wok and cook chicken partially (5 minutes)
3. Add Curry paste and cook for 1-2 minutes more.
4. Add lime leaves and veggies, cook for 5 minutes.
5. Add coconut milk and cook for another 5-10 minutes.
6. Bring a large pot of water to boil and add noodles, cooking as per package (time varies by width of noodles from 1 –7 minutes)
7. Adjust seasoning
8. Serve

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Banh Mi Thit Nguoi

Belle brought this book Banh Mi home from the library and knowing how much Sean loves sandwiches I asked him to pick one so I could make it for dinner. I took a quick look first and realized most of the meat dishes required a day in advance preparation. Little did I know how much work goes into these sandwiches. After making this one (I loved the process), I understand why they are becoming very popular and why people prefer to pay for someone else to make it.

But that being said, I would and will make more of these.

Sean chose Thit Nguoi, Vietnamese-style cold cuts. I thought I would make the whole sandwich from scratch including the baguette and all the condiments that go inside. The baguettes did not turn out as planned, they required two days of making and proofing but when they were ready to bake I held off for another 4-5 hours and I believe that is where I went wrong. I should have baked them right away. They turned out okay but the risen baguettes fell in that 4-5 hours and then did not bake up light but instead they were pretty dense.

According to the assembly instructions, spread a layer of pate on one side of the bun, a layer of lime mayonnaise on the other side. Then fill it with the cold cuts (Thit Nguoi) and a sliced sausage (Cha Lau) and sliced jalapeno, cucumber and pickled condiment of your choice. I made Pickled carrots and daikon (Do Chau) all on the Banh Mi baguette.



Banh Mi Thit Nguoi
adapted from Banh Mi by Jacqueline Pham

Here is the adventure.

Banh Mi Baguette:

2 c water, divided
1 package (1/4 oz) active dry yeast (or 2 1/4 tsp)
1 tbsp honey
2 tsp baking powder
1 3/4 c rice flour
3 1/4 c all-purpose flour
2 tsp fine sea salt


1. Warm 1/4 c water to 105-120 degrees F and combine with yeast, honey and baking powder in a large bowl or mixing  bowl.

2. Add the rice flour, 1 cup of the all-purpose flour and 3/4 cup of water. Mix to form a dough, leave it covered in a warm place overnight.

3. In a mixing bowl add the starter from last night, remaining flour, salt and 1 cup of water. Knead with dough hook for about 10 minutes or until you have a soft dough. (adjust with 1-2 tablespoons of water if too dry) Cover with a a towel in a warm place for 3 hours.

4. Remove the dough and knead for 1 minute, then divide into 10 even pieces and form each piece into a oval shape about 5” long, cover with towel and let sit for 30 minutes.

5. With a razor blade, cut one long incision down the length of each oval at a 45 degree angle, proof one final time for 15 minutes.

6. Pre-heat oven to 475 degrees F. Place an oven proof dish with 1 cup of water in the oven 15 minutes prior to baking.

7. When the oven reaches  475 degrees F. remove the dish, and using a spray bottle, spray cold water on the oven walls. Reduce the oven to 425 degrees F and bake baguettes for 10 minutes.

8. Reduce the oven to 375 degrees F. and continue baking for 10-15 minutes or until golden brown.

9. Remove baguettes and let cool for 10 minutes, then make your banh mi sandwiches



Thit Nguoi (Cold Cuts):

1 1/4 lb pork belly (Ba Roi)
2 tbsp honey
3 cloves, freshly ground
1 tsp sea salt
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 tsp garlic powder
1/4 tsp red chili powder
2 tsp ginger, freshly grated
1 tbsp brown sugar
3 tbsp soy sauce
1/2 c water


1. Combine all the ingredients in a bowl. Place meat in a re-sealable bag and pour in marinade. Place bag in fridge over night.

2. Remove meat and discard marinade.

3. Place meat fat side down, pat dry and then roll into a long cylinder and secure with kitchen string in at least three places.

4. Prepare a steamer over boiling water, place roll in the steamer, cover and reduce heat to medium-high. Steam for 2 hours. (check on the water as required)

5. Remove the roll, let cool to room temperature and then chill over night in fridge.

6. remove roll, remove strings and slice very thinly


Chicken Bologna Sausage (Cha Lua Ga Chien):

2 tbsp tapioca starch
1 tbsp grated rock sugar
1 tbsp baking powder
2 tbsp luke warm water
1 tbsp plus 1 tsp olive oil
2 shallots, finely chopped
2 lb chicken thighs, boneless & skinless
1 tbsp fish sauce
1 tsp freshly ground white pepper
1 tsp sea salt
1 tsp whole white peppercorns
4 10” x 10” frozen banana leaves, thawed
3/4 tsp sea salt


1. Combine the tapioca starch, rock sugar, baking powder and the water, mix well and let sit for 15 minutes.

2. In a small skillet, cook the shallots in the 1 tbsp of oil until soft but not coloured too much.

3. Place the chicken in a food processor and process. Add the starch solution (binding agent), shallots, fish sauce, ground white pepper and salt. Process until well mixed and quite small. (add water by the tablespoon if required to make blending easier. You can also process it until it is mixed, then separate the mixture and process in two batches to make it easier.

4. Place meat in a bowl, and stir in the whole peppercorns, cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate over night.

5. Lay out the banana leaves, wipe with hot water to ensure they will be pliable. Pat dry. Divide the chicken mixture into 4 and roll each portion in a banana leaf into a cigar shape about 1” thick. Tie up the leaves with kitchen string, including end to end so the sausage mixture cannot come out.

6. Prepare a steamer over boiling water and steam the sausages, covered for 1 hour. (check on water level as required)

7. Remove from steamer, let cool a little then chill in the fridge for at least 2 hours.

8. Unwrap the sausages, discard leaver and strings, and fry in the 1 tsp of oil over high heat for a couple of minutes to get some colour.

9. Cut the sausages into thick slices.

IMG_2146  IMG_2147


Pate (Ba Te Gan Xay):

1 lb chicken livers
1 tbsp white vinegar
1 cup milk
2 tbsp olive oil
3 cloves garlic, minced
4 tbsp unsalted butter
2 shallots, chopped
1/2 white onion, sliced
2 bay leaves
2 tsp sea salt, divided
1 tsp freshly ground white pepper
1 tsp granulated sugar
1/4 c dry white wine
1/2 c water
1 tbsp brandy (or cognac)
1 cup unsalted butter at room temperature, divided
1/4 cu heavy cream
1/8 tsp red chili powder
1/8 tsp freshly ground black pepper


1. Prepare livers. If required, trim and remove any white membrane or fatty residue from each liver.

2. Place livers in a bowl and just cover with salted water and the white vinegar. Soak for 5 minutes.

3. Rinse livers, transfer to new bowl and add the milk, mix well and refrigerate for 30 minutes. Drain but do not rinse livers.

4. Cook the livers. Heat oil in wok or skillet over med-high heat add garlic for 1 minute. Add butter and shallots, onion and bay leaves.  Cook for 5 minutes.

5. Add livers, 1 tsp salt, white pepper, sugar, white wine and water. Stir well and bring to the boil. Cook for 4-5 minutes or until livers change colour but don’t overcook.

6. Add brandy, stir and cook for another 2 minutes. Turn off the heat, cover and let sit for 10 minutes. Remove and discard bay leaves.

7. Pour the mixture through a strainer (leaving everything except the liquid, or use a slotted spoon to remove solids). Place solids in a food processor. Process while slowly adding the butter a few tablespoons at a time until you have used 3/4 cup.

8. Add the cream and blend until creamy and firm.

9. Melt the remaining butter in a small pot or microwave.

10. Place the pate into a tupperware container, smooth the top and then pour the melted butter over top, sprinkle the pepper over top, cover with lid and chill to set pate in fridge for at least 4 hours.


Pickled Carrots and Daikon (Do Chua):

1 white onion, peeled and sliced
1 1/2 tsp sea salt, divided
1/2 – 3/4 c white vinegar
2 small carrots, peeled and the sliced thin with peeler, cut into 2” pieces
1 large daikon, peeled and the sliced very thin with peeler and cut into 2” pieces by 1/2”
1 1/2 tbsp granulated sugar


1. Place the sliced onion in a bowl and sprinkle with 1 tsp salt, let sit for 1 hour. Press out, drain and rinse and drain again.

2. Dissolve the remaining salt in the vinegar.

3. Place carrots and daikon in a large bowl, sprinkle with sugar. Add the vinegar & salt mixture. Let sit for 15 minutes.

4. Add onions and mix well. Drain the vegetables but reserve the liquid

5. Place the vegetables in Mason jars or in a large tupperware. Fill the jars or tupperware with the reserved liquid, topping up with water.

6. Refrigerate for at least 1 hour but for optimum flavour allow 4 days.


Lime Mayonnaise (Sot Ma Do Ne):

1 egg yolk
1/4 tsp rice vinegar
1 tsp honey
1 tsp Dijon mustard
1/3 – 1/2 c olive oil
Juice of 1 lime
1/4 tsp sea salt
1/8 tsp red chili powder (optional)
** All ingredients should be at room temperature

1. In a blender whisk the egg yolk, add the vinegar, honey, mustard and lime.

2. With the blender running, very slowly add the oil in a very slow and continuous stream.

3. Thin the mayonnaise with lime juice if required. Season with salt and chili (if using).

4. Pour mayonnaise into small bowl and cover and refrigerate for at least 1 hour.

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J.O. Salad & Ginger Dressing

This is now Belle’s favorite salad, topping it with seared Asian beef or better still spicy garlic shrimp.

The salad comes from Jamie Oliver’s 15 minute meals – brilliant book.

I changed his recipe but used his salad and added baby kale to it. The dressing is officially Belle’s favorite.

1 romaine lettuce, chiffonade/chopped
1 large carrot, peeled and grated
1 bunch radishes, sliced
1/2 cucumber, quartered and sliced
1 bunch cilantro, chopped
4 scallions, sliced
4 cups baby kale, chopped
1 pack alfalfa & radish sprouts
Sunflower seeds &
Sesame seeds

1 tbsp each of –
Lime juice, fish sauce, light soy sauce, sesame oil
5-8 pieces pickled ginger(sushi ginger)
1/2 red Chili optional

Asian Beef:
1 flank steak
1/4 c soy sauce
2 tbsp mirin
1 tbsp rice vinegar
1 tsp garlic, pressed
1 tsp ginger, minced
1 tsp red chili flakes (optional)
– marinate the flank steak in the ingredients 6 hours or better over night.

Garlic Shrimp:
454g shrimp (31-40), peeled but leave tail on
2 tbsp light soy sauce
2 tbsp chili sauce
2 tsp sesame oil
2 tsp rice wine or dry sherry
1 tsp sugar
2 tbsp olive oil
8 cloves garlic, minced
Black pepper
1 scallion sliced
– mix first 5 ingredients in a bowl and set aside.
– heat oil in fry pan, add garlic until fragrant
– add shrimp and cook until pink
– add sauces and scallions and heat up

– Posted using BlogPress

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Parker House Rolls

Parker House Rolls
  • 1 cup 2% milk, just above body temperature (105 F)
  • 1/4 cup water, just above body temperature (105 F)
  • 2 1/4 teaspoons (1 pkg) instant dry yeast
  • 1 large egg, at room temperature
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted, plus  extra for brushing
  • 3 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  1. Combine all of the ingredients in a large mixing bowl or in a stand mixer fitted with the hook attachment. Combine the dough until it comes together and then if mixing by hand, turn the dough out onto a work surface and knead until smooth, about 5 minutes – if using a mixer, knead the dough for 3 minutes. Place the dough in an oiled bowl, cover with plastic wrap and let rise until doubled in size, about 90 minutes.
  2. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured work surface and roll it out into a square 12-inches across. Brush the surface of the dough with melted butter. Cut the dough into 9 squares and then cut each square in half, to create 18 rectangles. Brush a muffin tin with melted butter. Twist each piece of dough around once and press in the muffin tin. Cover the tin loosely with plastic wrap and let rise for 30 minutes.
  3. Preheat the oven to 350 F. Unwrap the rolls and bake for 15 to 20 minutes, until they are golden brown.
  4. The rolls are best served warm, but can be re-heated for 5 minutes in a 300 F oven. The rolls are best enjoyed the day they are baked.


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Deep-fried oysters with fried kale and tomato dressing

New Year’s Eve and Belle is working on her laptop. Thought I would make a snack for her. Somehow I thought it might make the work bearable. The recipe was for 24 oysters but I only made 5 so I changed the amounts and didn’t have arugula but had her favourite kale. I picked up a jar of oysters from Costco and used these.

Deep-fried Oysters with fried Kale and Tomato dressing.
Adapted from Jamie Oliver’s “Jamie’s Kitchen”

5 oysters, shucked
2/3 cup all purpose flour
3/4 cup cold water
1 egg white, whisked until stiff
1 tbsp olive oil

1 vine ripe tomato, cored
1 tsp horseradish
1/4 clove garlic
1 tsp white wine vinegar
Tobasco, a drop(optional)
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

kale, leaves only, roughly chopped

1. Clean shells to serve on.
2. Whisk flour and water to make batter.
3. Fold in whisked egg white and olive oil.
4. In a blender or magic bullet, blend the tomato, horseradish, garlic and white wine vinegar.
5. Season with salt and pepper and optional Tobasco.
6. Heat vegetable oil for deep frying to 350 degrees F.
7. Fry the kale for a 30 seconds, remove with slotted spoon, set aside on paper towel.
8. Drop the oysters in the batter, lift out with a spoon and place in the oil.
9. Deep fry for 2 minutes, turning after 1 minute if oil does not cover the oyster completely.
10. Remove oysters to paper towel,
11. Assemble- place Kale on the clean half shell, top with fried Oyster, drizzle with tomato dressing and serve.


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