Tuesday, November 30, 2021

My Hot Pot Cookbook For Beginners Officially Launches Today!...

  Just in time for hot pot weather !

My cookbook officially launches today on Amazon and is also available online Chapters-Indigo!

To understand passion, one must find its roots or humble beginnings... I wrote a book Hot Pot Cookbook For Beginners, and it was a tasty omen from yesteryear as my first ever article as a food writer in my first magazine was on hot pots (Bloom 2001).

Hi, everyone, my name is Susan. I am a chef and passionate culinary instructor teaching Asian cuisines in Toronto. I grew up enjoying Chinese hot pot, and to me it is the ultimate comfort food. My most memorable childhood dinners were gathered around the family table (as soon as it got cold out) to feast on a variety of meat and vegetables simmering flavorfully together in a hot pot. The heaping platters of food, the noise of utensils clinking and constant chatter, the aromas, and flavors—these meals always ended with a satisfied full belly and were precious moments of family bonding. My early foray into other hot pot styles were during my travels visiting family, sukiyaki in Japan and lแบฉu hot pot in Vietnam. I just love how each Asian cuisine has its own unique flavors that tantalize the senses in the universal setting of hot pot ๐Ÿ’ž.

The seduction of hot pot boils down to the broth. In this book, I cover popular hot pot broth flavors from an array of East and Southeast Asian cuisines. I have also included some signature soups that can easily be turned into a hot pot broth base ๐Ÿฒ๐Ÿฅฃ.

With each cultural influence, there are certain ingredients that are best enjoyed in those broths, which you will find in the straightforward recipes. Hot pot caters to everyone’s tastes. I encourage you to have fun, try new foods, and customize the experience to your preferences.

The adventure all lies in the experimenting! 

The foundation of hot potting boils down to the broth. #hotpotcookbookforbeginners My cookbook format is paperback, 8 x 8 handy and practical for easy flipping and keeping opened. It is not meant to be glamourous or sitting unused on the coffee table. Pages should be splattered on and cooked from in the kitchen ๐Ÿ”ช๐Ÿ“–๐Ÿ’ข.

I have collaborated with Rockridge Press, a US Publisher that has over 4000 educational books in the market. They operate on the foundation that knowledge should be made accessible to all who seeks it regardless of socio-economic status, and thus their affordable pricing. Aligned with my food education and 'Knowledge is Power' for all, this was a coming together of a beautiful relationship ๐Ÿ™. Just an incredible team from the numerous copy editors, foodstylist, photographer and marketing coordinator who got me through seamlessly to the finish line.

This beginner’s guide will teach you how to properly shop for, cook, and share delicious hot pot recipes from all over Asia. In my Asian Cooking Program we made Filipino Fish Sinigang Hot Pot, a tangy and savoury brew over the stove with layers of vegetables and bite sized pieces of salmon. 

One recent weekend my best friend's family was here for her early birthday celeb, and we had a duo split hot pot of soup goodness- Spicy Ma La vegetarian broth on one side and Chicken (all-purpose) broth with Chinese herbs goji berries and dried red dates in the other enjoyed communal-style ๐Ÿ’ž.

What is your favourite broth for hot pot ๐Ÿฅ˜Spicy๐ŸŒถ or Non-spicy?

PAIRING TIP: Counter the spiciness with a tall glass of icy iced tea. For a popular drink pairing with Chinese hot pot, look for Wong Lo Kat or Jia Duo Bao herbal teas sold in cans in the beverage section of Asian supermarkets. Herbal tea is noncaffeinated and sweet, made of traditional Chinese medicine dating from the Qing dynasty that brings down the internal body heat and refreshes, especially during a spicy meal.

Hot Pot with 7UP ๐Ÿฅค? Yup, you saw right...

In this unique Vietnamese hot pot style, Bรฒ nhรบng dแบฉm translates to “beef vinegar dip,” but also used to cook veggies that is irresistibly appetite-whetting! The dining experience is likened to Japanese sukiyaki, in that you cook ingredients in liquid meant to flavour the ingredients, not enjoyed like a soup. This tangy and sweet profile is the go-to hot pot my husband’s Vietnamese family makes to enjoy with beef. It’s simply water (variations can include fresh coconut juice or even beer), rice vinegar, sugar, salt, and some aromatics. My father-in-law liked to use 7UP instead of sugar, and it was always a hit ๐Ÿ‘! 

I love adding sweet pineapple chunks as a counterpoint to the tang. So reminiscent of sweet and sour dishes, all rolled in one bite ๐Ÿ! The finale lesson to my TDSB Asian Cooking Program with seniors this Fall term, and perfect for the cold weather to come ❄๐Ÿฅ˜!

Chopsticks are used to cook instead of ladles. The fun part is wrapping the cooked beef, noodles, accompanying vegetables and herbs in rice paper and lettuce into parcels, then dipping in seasoned fish sauce. All other hot pot items are eaten on the side.

Visit Asia from your kitchen with my easy and delicious hot pot recipes from 11 Asian Countries in Hot Pot Cookbook For Beginners.

"Hot pot cooking is enjoyed all over Asia (and the world) for its unique flavors, hearty broths, and the way it brings friends and family together. Hot pot newcomers will love the Hot Pot Cookbook for Beginners and its accessible introduction to this traditional cooking method. Discover a melting pot of Asian cuisines and how to properly prepare them at home."- Amazon

I will be sharing some pages from my book in the weeks to come. Stay Tuned ๐Ÿ’ฅ!

Tuesday, November 2, 2021

Announcement: My New Hot Pot Cookbook For Beginners...

After a LOT of hard work behind the scenes for the past several months, I'm so thrilled to officially release the cover and title of my new cookbook, Hot Pot Cookbook For Beginners. It covers 11 Asian countries with 50 recipes on 138 pages and will be available on Amazon (US, & Canada, later in Europe) November 30th, just in time for hot pot weather ๐Ÿฅ˜♨️. 

Amazon incerpt: "Hot pot cooking is enjoyed all over Asia (and the world) for its unique flavors, hearty broths, and the way it brings friends and family together. Hot pot newcomers will love the Hot Pot Cookbook for Beginners and its accessible introduction to this traditional cooking method. Discover a melting pot of Asian cuisines and how to properly prepare them at home..."

With the growing importance of health, nutrition and home cooking, there really is no better way to reap these benefits than with soul replenishing hot pot ๐Ÿค—. I would love you to support my book. You can pre-order your copy with more deets on ๐Ÿ’•๐Ÿ™: https://amzn.to/30n5qya

Stay tuned for sneak peeks, hot pot insights and my project journey on the next blog post! 

#susanssavourit #bookrelease #cookbook #cookbookauthor #rockridgepress #amazon #hotpot #asianhotpots #easternfondue #diy #beginner #ingredienteducation #guidetodiy

Tuesday, October 5, 2021

A New School Year, A New Set of Projects...

Back to work began around Harvest Moon Festival ๐ŸŒ•๐Ÿฎ with celebrations kickstarted in my first online class with @learn4lifetdsb Asian Cooking Fall Program with seniors! We made Cantonese chow mein and egg drop mushroom soup, with a discussion on moon cakes that are ubiquitous ๐Ÿ˜ฏ in all Asian supermarkets leading up to the occasion.

Aka Mid-Autumn Festival or Lantern Festival (this year on Sept 21st, 2021)
is one of the most important annual festivals for the Chinese including the Vietnamese, dating back over 3500 years. A reunion dinner feast with family and gifting of gorgeous moon cakes is part of the tradition. Moon cakes are eaten and exchanged as gifts because they symbolize the roundness of the moon (at its fullest tonight). Moon cakes have a distinctive chrysanthemum pattern, embossed Chinese characters and are conventionally filled with a myriad of variations from red adzuki bean, date, chestnut or lotus paste. The prized ones include a salted duck egg yolk or two.

These days,
 moon cakes have become a competitive market food with brands out packaging, out flavour-innovating the next. More sophisticated, gourmet and creative with fillings such as fruit jellies, ice cream, savoury beef and even caviar to ante tradition to modern for all moon cake enthusiasts and newbies! ๐Ÿฅฎ๐Ÿฅฎ๐Ÿฅฎ

If you ask me, I still prefer the traditional kind- lotus seed paste with duck egg yolk- a little wedge to enjoy with tea. I suppose I am traditional in the things that matter, and modern in the things that don't ๐Ÿฅฐ. And preserving tradition through food and culture is one I value innately.

For Koreans, they celebrated Thanksgiving (Chuseok) on the same day as Chinese Harvest Moon Festival. In my following cooking class, we made the classic chewy chap chae sweet potato noodles with a melange of vibrant vegetables and egg ribbons (often served on Chuseok) and nutritious seaweed soup. This is traditionally served during birthdays because nursing moms ate this to recover and to aid in milk production, thus pays homage and respect to your mom enjoying it on your ๐ŸŽ‰ day and of course with a side of kimchi ๐Ÿฅฃ๐Ÿฒ!

The next week, we flew into Japan. We prepared classic miso soup with kombu, bonito flakes cooked delicately and miso paste added at the end (to avoid bitterness) with wakame and tofu, miso-cured cod and baked tofu namero (a plant-based rendition to chopped raw fish) served over rice with green tea and toppings (ochazuke) ๐Ÿš๐Ÿต.

My other ongoing project -  the first of a new series of cooking demo videos in collaboration with Child/Maternal and Diabetes Care Departments at Toronto's Michael Garron Hospital.

"Hi there, my name is Susan Ng. I am a Chef, Food Educator, Cooking Instructor and a mom to 3 boys. I will be sharing with you material and learnings from Healthy Together. Healthy Together is an innovative and unique family education program that brings together families to learn to make healthier choices and build healthier relationships.

Today, we will cover Breakfast and Better-For-You Drinks. Breakfast is the most important meal of the day. We will look at some healthy food ideas and tips to start your family's day off right. We will make crunchy fruit and nut granola, yogurt parfait and breakfast burrito. For drinks, we will look at some simple healthy choices you can make that are delicious and reduce buying sugary prepared drinks on the market such as smoothies and real fruit-infused water!"๐ŸŒ๐Ÿ“๐Ÿฅ๐ŸŽ๐Ÿฅš๐Ÿณ๐ŸŒฏ๐Ÿฅฅ๐Ÿฅ› 

Indigenous educators say children must learn truth before reconciliation. And it goes beyond just one day! On September 30th, TDSB acknowledged the history and legacy of residential schools across this country with the first annual National Day for Truth and Reconciliation and the 8th annual Orange Shirt Day๐Ÿงก.  

As a Culinary Consultant and Instructor with TDSB's Newcomer Services, I believe in addition to reeducating our children about the truth of our country's past, we need to be changing our Canadian food conversation to preserve the original way of life of our indigenous communites. Because food. Is. Life. I am happy to share that TDSB is hiring Urban Indigenous Food Sovereignty Instructor/Chefs to impart that knowledge and we have a designated portal with resources from Indigenous Peoples, Elders and Knowledge Keepers for educators and staff.

I had the great opportunity a few years back to attend a Change The Conversation event @foodshareto. For more read my post. The natives original diet was presented to us by Patrick, an aboriginal native. His people were forced into adopting western foods that drastically altered their diets that were dependent on the natural habitats of the forest, fields and water. Game meats were reduced and pollutants contaminated the resources they relied on to obtain their food. Adapting to things like white flour and refined sugars increased their rate of diabetes. And the important tradition of interplanting corn, beans and squash to help sustain the soil diminished. 

With all that's going on about Global Climate Change, preserving soils and waters, aboriginal leaders are being consulted on to create solutions on restoring Mother Earth.  Although we can not change the historical events that occurred on our land, we can only hope together with our leaders they could work to develop a system of mutual aid and support in the struggle for the preservation of our environment and for the maintenance of life. We have indeed so much to learn from our native sisters and brothers ๐Ÿ™

Let us move beyond words and into action and truly commit ourselves to learning and understanding the importance of truth, reconciliation and reparation. #everychildmatters๐Ÿงก 

Last but not least- what I have been working steadily on...
It's becoming super real. STAY Tuned!

For the back story, read the end of my post

Tuesday, September 14, 2021

Fall Update...

What would have been a bustling community kitchen here teaching culinary to parents at Fraser Mustard Early Learning School had it not been for covid in its third year. 

Hi everyone ๐Ÿ‘‹! I took a much needed break to fully immerse in my summer. I also didn't dabble as much as I usually do in the kitchen and kept meals simple and cooking casual. I have to be honest, I felt overwhelmed with kids going back to school last week. Not only cause the twins were switching to new schools, with double the bus transport for them and my youngest but feeling a lot of anxiety getting back to teaching again. It took 2 weeks after last year's programs ended for me to fully unwind and let go of being busy. But now after having this big break, it feels nerve wracking to get back to it ๐Ÿ˜ฌ. 

Feeling better as I have been gradually doing some pre planning. My first class since June starts tmrw with @learn4life Asian Cooking with seniors, and also producing Healthy Together cooking demo videos for young families in partnership with Michael Garron Hospital. When my culinary program ceased at Fraser Mustard, I thought how else I could help families stay healthy at home and we pivoted to cooking videos. I just got the green light to do another series ๐Ÿค—. I was super delighted this morning when my previous collegue contacted me to conduct a Corporate Wellness cooking class to support diversity and inclusion at her work but also multicultural month. Something I told myself I wanted to get more involved in this new year. 

I had been asked by TDSB Newcomer Services if I would like to teach inclass to youths come October. I am open to it but with cases going up as we all move indoors more, I feel virtual activities will be more realistic when winter is over. Whichever the case, I will do my best as always. 

So with that, “Life isn't about waiting for the storm to pass. It's about learning how to dance in the rain.”-- Vivian Greene

Have an AmaZing week! I have seen some similar posts on social about feeling anxious and nervous with BTS which always feels like a brand new year. You Are Not Alone. Big hugs to you all ❤๐Ÿ™!

Tuesday, August 31, 2021

Chicken Wings, Camping and Cookbook...

๐Ÿ‘‹ I hope you all are doing well... September starts tomorrow and we can already feel it with the cool breeze and shorter days. Our pool may have a few more runs over the month (glad we used it to the max), but needless to say closing time is imminent. My head is now wrapped around getting my kids ready to going back to school (the twins heading to a new school porting uniforms), and my Fall projects (teaching Asian Cuisines with TDSB Learn4Life to seniors, and producing Healthy Together cooking demo videos for young families in partnership with Michael Garron Hospital). I was so grateful for this Summer break, but looking forward to getting back to it ๐Ÿค—!

Riding the coattails of summer with a batch of fried extra crunchy chicken wings, coating courtesy of coarse sweet potato flour (whole split wings marinated in Shaoxing wine, grated ginger, grated garlic, salt and black pepper) ๐Ÿ—๐Ÿ—๐Ÿ—! What foods are on your summer coattails?

First time overnight camping or should I say glamping ever... over at Sibbald Point Provincial Park.

"Sleeping over at Mother Nature's place" says son #2. 

I add "There's no wi-fi, but you'll find no better connection." ๐ŸŒฟ๐Ÿƒ๐Ÿƒ #recharge #reboot

It was so nice to see the kids immerse in the beauty and serenity of nature at it's finest... I truly thought it was soul-replenishing but found it completely difficult to sleep being very sensitive to noise. Other campers nearby, cars passing through and the natural hums of outdoor caused me not to sleep a wink. Would I do it again? You bet... but can I go home to my own bed, pretty please :).

What a Persian feast of a long August weekend with family then friends (lots to go around back to back days)- kebabs: delish koobideh, barg and joojeh, saffron rice with barberries and grilled tomatoes from @superparsian. Rounded it out with homemade hummus, bruschetta, tabbouleh and Caesar salads and spicy jalapeno bacon poppers! 

Last but not least.... my cookbook in the works! 132 pages. 50 recipes. Launch date Fall TBA.

The design pages have come in, and the photography is stunning (attaching my TOC page for a preview)! I just completed my latest bout of editing and it's becoming more and more real. Once Marketing contacts me, I will be able to share solid details of what my Asian cuisines cookbook is about. It's been a labour of love. I super can't wait!

Enjoy the last bit of Summer to the fullest and stay safe always!

Wednesday, July 14, 2021

Cookbook Update and Summer Fun...

Hi all ๐Ÿ‘‹๐Ÿ‘‹๐Ÿ‘‹... It's been a very long time! I had finished teaching mid June and spent a few weeks intensely writing up the 50 recipes for my upcoming Asian Cuisines cookbook ๐Ÿฒ๐Ÿ“–! I am happy to say that I submitted my draft final manuscript and its in the development editing stage ๐Ÿค—. I will be taking a break to get things done around the house and to immerse myself in yoga practice again. I miss that!

I won't be able to share the focus of my book or title until September. We have a marketing plan in place and to optimize its promotion, this will take place several weeks prior to the launch date. So stay tuned ๐Ÿ˜Š!

Looking forward to hanging out by the pool and swimming...

Spending time with mainly my family and a close friend or two...

Isn't this butcher block in dark walnut a beaute? A custom piece to replace a poor quality counter top that came with this island. What craftmanship ๐Ÿ˜! I love the natural wood grain and colour gradation. I can chop directly on it but I will preserve it longer by not. There will be lots of activity in the horizon- prep, knead, roll, chop, slice, dice and everything nice on it! I highly recommend Knotty's Woodwork in Mississauga for DIY kitchen projects ๐Ÿ’ฅ! 

Inaugurated the counter that very weekend we were able to entertain again. And it was with Filipino Kamayan al fresco.

I have never been good at taking care of plants and flowers. With these gorgeous perennials in my back and front yards, how lucky am I not having to, although I am beginning to take more care by paying attention to the few planters and flowers that were newly added.

Moved in towards the end of last summer, we have been delightfully surprised every couple of weeks with the pops of beauty since spring ๐ŸŒท๐ŸŒฟ๐ŸŒธ. 

Every day has been "stop to smell the roses". To appreciate their fine beauty, and both a mental and inspiring break between my cooking classes and writing. Just sitting and looking around me replenishes and invigorates without having to leave the house. For that I am grateful and feel blessed ๐Ÿ™.

I hope you all can tap into your happy place ๐ŸŒž⚘ and enjoy the best of this year's summer!

Sunday, May 30, 2021

Wrapping Up Asian Heritage Month and Then Some...


Dumplings ๐ŸฅŸ and Noodles ๐Ÿœ, two beloved staples that transcends Asian cultures, with each country having their own nuances and specialties. 

Two wonderful events to celebrate Asian Heritage Month with a deep dive conversation on cuisine, culture and contribution with @tdsb_cs newcomer youths! It was a small group but nonetheless impactful ๐Ÿ’ฅ๐Ÿ’—! 

Thank you to Fatma and Derek from Welcoming Communities for your support in taking up on my idea to promote this to our students and to our incredible guest and my friend Jennifer Uy @happy.naturalproducts for your stories of trials and tribulations as an immigrant, a singer and entrepreneur. 

Jennifer Uy is a strong advocate for beauty from within for all colours, orientation and sizes. Being an immigrant, local woman entrepreneur, professional singer, and of Asian descent, she knows all too well the emphasis society places on looks and fitting in. 

Jennifer was inspired by her grandmother's daily rituals and founded and developed Happy Natural Products with modalities of Traditional Chinese Medicine practiced by her great grandfather who is a doctor of TCM.  She joined me to talk about her challenges of assimilation, balancing cultural roots and societal expectations and eventual empowerment coming into her own ๐ŸŒท.

Kickstarted Asian Heritage Month of May with a Chinese classic fried rice and chicken lettuce wraps with youths in my after school cook along program.

Then with Korean chapchae noodles...

A captivating cuisine tradition in Japan called Yoshoku marries Japanese and Western ingredients & flavours to create delicious mouthwatering dishes such as tender hambagu (bunless hamburger steak). Simply served with steamed ๐Ÿฅ•๐Ÿฅฆ, ๐Ÿš and homemade teriyaki sauce (mirin, soy sauce and suga' ๐Ÿ˜‹๐Ÿคค๐Ÿคค) this is a homestyle fave!

Ahhh... bringing in the tropics ๐ŸŒž๐Ÿฅญ instantly with Filipino Kamayan- the experience of eating with your hands ๐Ÿ‘, often called a Boodle Fight to finish the Asian cuisine series with youths ! Shout out to VJ for her gorgeous platter ๐Ÿ’—๐ŸŒบ! 

At Casa Manila restaurant where I had my first  experience years ago so beautifully describes, "imagine having a picnic in a tropical setting where you're free to taste, touch and savour a feast of textures laid on top of fragrant rice. Picture yourself using your hand to feed yourself from a bed of banana leaves as your plate while quenching your thirst drinking fresh juice from a coconut." And that is the "Mabuhay spirit" of the Filipino islands, which means long live and welcome. Classical family-style home cooking and entertaining is celebrated with unforgettable hospitality and like a fiesta with the freshest ingredients. #restaurantinspiredhomecooking

Today, my banana leaf covered platter consists of grilled shrimps, adobo kalbi ribs, turmeric chicken, over garlic fried rice and lightened with a simple green and tomato salad, fresh mango slices and crunchy chicarron. Soy garlic vinegar and sriracha lime sauces for dip and of course, a fresh coconut to cheers - TaGay ๐Ÿฅฅ❤!

Celebrating Asian Heritage Month with a united passion for food ๐Ÿฅข๐Ÿ’— with huge Shout Outs to these fine respected chefs for their contributions to Asian culture elevating Asian cuisines over decades of cooking, teaching and sharing it forward... 

From top left clockwise to centre. 

Chef Joseph Ho, a well-respected powerhouse Executive Chef at Lee Kum Kee and prominent member of the Chinese Culinary Association to preserve and promote Chinese cuisine. 

Chef Frederick Oh founded Richmond Hill Culinary Arts Centre. Over the years, he has represented Canada in the Culinary Olympics and Expo Gast Culinary World Cup.

Chef Smita Chandra, a respected authority on South Asian cuisines, is a renowned Indian cookbook author and cooking instructor.

Chef Oliver Li, @oliver_li_cmc is a Certified Master Chef (CMC) which is the highest possible culinary credential attainable in Canada! He tenured as Chef de Cuisine at George Brown College's student-training restaurant "Siegfried's" for 15 years.

Chef Florence Kwok, specializes in authentic Asian cuisines and has been featured on TV and Chinese channels. I don't know if she is still teaching, but I admire her tremendously as a noteable woman chef who has elevated the diverse multi-cuisines of Asian home cooking in Toronto. 

Chef Tim Chen @timchen4485 Executive Chef at Markham's Lanna Cuisine offering Northern Thai cuisine, delivering exquisite and authentic flavours.

Chef Sang Kim, @chefsangkim conducts Sushi Making For the Soul, Canada's most popular hands-on sushi and gimbap-making workshop, which is lauded for the charitable work. He appears regularly on CTV's daytime talk show, The Social.

Chef Susu Han @hansommchef is classically trained in Italian cuisine and a Certified Sommelier. She is a reputable Korean cuisine instructor at George Brown College and a local entrepreneur producing small batch, hand-crafted organic kimchi including pickled beets. 

Chef Martin Yan is a famous Master chef of Chinese cuisine, public figure, and an author of a dozen Chinese cookbooks. He has hosted his award-winning PBS-TV cooking show Yan Can Cook since 1982. 

And lastly *Announcement* Wrapping up Asian Heritage Month with a contribution of my own in the works- I am writing a cookbook ✍๐Ÿ“–๐Ÿค—!!!!

Halfway through the chapter milestones, I will share details when the final manuscript is delivered. Feeling incredibly ecstatic!

There is a bittersweet story: I received the exciting news by my Publisher that my project was approved, and an hour later we were notified of my husband's father passing in Montreal. From one moment of elation to the extreme end of sadness ๐Ÿ˜ฏ๐Ÿ˜ช. A week prior, I was on the fence whether to take on the project considering he was hospitalized (not covid related) and that my husband would have to travel. Also with my multi spring cooking programs to start, and just the emotions of what's to come, but it became crystal clear (as I stared out the window to that brief bit of snowfall that late April day) that I will write this book and dedicate it to him ๐Ÿ’—. To remember happy and healthier times over meals shared together, his legacy will live on through the food pages in my book. Can't wait to launch it #familymomento

I'll keep you posted when I can reveal more on the project!