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Uncategorized

“Stuck in the Suez” Sea Shanty-Inspired Song

At the time of writing this post, Evergreen’s Ever Given cargo ship is still stuck in the Suez Canal. I was inspired by this incident to write a song about it.

Sail my ship on the Seven Seas
Stuck in the Suez! Stuck in the Suez!

Ship gets stuck. Trade falls to its knees.
Stuck in the Suez! Stuck in the Suez!

Help me out now, won’t you please?
Stuck in the Suez! Stuck in the Suez!

Things are always weird when you’re Taiwanese
Stuck in the Suez! Stuck in the Suez!

One, two, three, four, five, six, seven
Stuck in the Suez! Stuck in the Suez!

Nothing in Life is Ever Given
Stuck in the Suez! Stuck in the Suez!

Escape from Egypt without any Leaven
Stuck in the Suez! Stuck in the Suez!

Get me out of Hell and into Heaven
Stuck in the Suez! Stuck in the Suez!

And here is the original acapella version that started it all:

Categories
Audio Technology Video YouTube

Tula Microphone and USB Recorder

I recently made an unboxing video for my new Tula microphone and portable USB recorder. I had supported the Tula Indiegogo campaign last year, and was excited to try it out and compare it with my trusty Blue Yeti Pro microphone.

After seeing my original video, the manufacturers reached out and informed me that my lavalier mic and Tula unit might have been defective, which explains the high noise levels in the original video. I have since made a follow-up video using the replacement equipment that they sent me.

I have been really impressed by the proactiveness and responsiveness of their customer support team. The Tula itself has been a great complement to my existing gear, and has become one of my go-to mics to use for podcasting, streaming, and video production. And the built-in noise cancellation is simply amazing for my makeshift work from home studio setup.

Categories
Food Podcasting Podcasts

Easy Cook Bear Episodes 3 and 4

Easy Cook Bear is a food and culture show about how we cook, connect, and create. Host Lee-Sean Huang and guests share stories, swap recipes, and explore the creative processes of people who make art, culture, food, music, and more.

Listen and subscribe to Easy Cook Bear on Anchor.fm or on your favorite podcast platform.

Jaime Sunwoo wrote a play about SPAM. Yes, the canned meat product that brings out all kinds of conflicted, polarizing reactions in people. Specially Processed American Me, Jaime’s play, helped open up conversations about her own family’s escape from North Korea during the Korea War. Jaime also talks to Lee-Sean abut her new audio piece about Q-Anon, shares her simple family recipe for spicy soy chicken, and more.

Jaime Sunwoo is a Korean American multidisciplinary artist from Brooklyn, New York. She creates multimedia performances in galleries, theaters, and public spaces. Her works connect personal narratives to global histories through surreal storytelling. She studied art at Yale University, and is an alumni of The Laundromat Project for socially engaged art. She is currently a Ping Chong & Company Creative Fellow.

Dylan Uscher is a UX designer based in Boston, who previously ran a fashion business. He’s also a baker, stand-up comedian, and cancer survivor. Dylan opened up about how he turned his passions into a decade-long career, which he ultimately left to pursue a new career in UX design. Besides cooking, baking, and career transition stuff, Dylan also shared his trick for chocolate chip cookies and opened up about his love for Maangchi, Margaret Cho, and Helena Bonham Carter.

Categories
Cooking Japanese Recipe

Karaage (Japanese Fried Chicken)

When I worked in Japan on the JET Programme, my adopted hometown of Nakatsu took pride in the local specialty of karaage (kah-rah-ah-gay), a kind of fried chicken. Locals told me that when Kentucky Fried Chicken, which is pretty popular across Japan, opened up in Nakatsu, it couldn’t stay in business because Nakatsu residents preferred karaage. Here’s my personal take on karaage:

Ingredients

This recipe serves 2 people as the main protein in a meal, or about 4 people as a shared appetizer.

  • 400 grams (14 ounces) of chicken, cut into roughly uniform chunks, about the size of a McNugget (I don’t know how else to describe it). In Nakatsu, skin-on chicken thigh is usually used, but I used boneless skinless chicken breast for the batch in the picture and they came out great.
  • King Arthur’s Gluten-Free All-Purpose Flour, for dredging – the mix of tapioca, rice, and potato starch make for a light and crispy crust. Traditional recipes often call for katakuriko (Japanese potato starch)
  • Canola or vegetable oil for shallow-frying
  • 1 fresh lemon, lime, or kabosu

For the marinade:

  • 1 scallion, minced
  • 1-2 cloves of garlic, grated or pounded with a mortar and pestle
  • 2-3 cm (~inch) piece of peeled fresh ginger, grated or pounded
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon shichimi togarashi, Japanese mixed chili pepper powder – optional
  • 1/2 tablespoon soy sauce, Kikkoman organic is my go-to brand; Use tamari instead soy sauce and the whole recipe is gluten-free
  • 1/2 tablespoon sake, cooking sake or the cheap stuff is fine
  • 1 teaspoon mirin, I prefer the all-natural traditional method mirin from Eden Foods. The mirin is optional, you could substitute half a teaspoon of sugar instead.
  • 1/2 tablespoon Kewpie Mayonnaise, What is this mayonnaise madness you ask? It helps the marinade adhere to the chicken, helps keep the chicken moist (important if you are using breast), and adds a bit of sweetness and umami as well.

Instructions

Finely mince or pound the solid marinade ingredients in a mortar and pestle. Combine with all of the liquid marinade ingredients in a bowl and add the chicken pieces.

Coat the chicken with the marinade and let sit for 30 minutes.

Then dredge each piece of chicken in the all-purpose gluten-free flour. There is enough seasoning in the marinade itself, so there is no need to season the flour. Each piece of chicken should be lightly coated in flour.

Heat your oil in a cast iron or other sturdy pan. You only need enough oil for each chicken piece to be halfway submerged in oil. On my electric stove, I do this on medium heat. You will know when the oil is ready when you insert a wooden chopstick or skewer and it bubbles.

Fry three or four piece of chicken at a time until golden brown. Mine took about a minute and a half on each side. Be careful not to fry too many piece at a time, or you will cool down your oil too much.

Drain the chicken on a paper towel or cooling rack. Then serve with a squeeze of the lemon, lime, or kabosu. I also like to dip mine in some more Kewpie Mayo and a sprinkle of the shichimi togarashi.


To give you an idea of how serious Nakatsu is about karaage, here is a video (in Japanese) about how Nakatsu broke the Guinness World Record in 2019 for the largest serving of fried chicken made in a single day.

Categories
Cooking Japanese

Yuzu Cake

This yuzu cake features the aroma of a fragrant Japanese citrus fruit. The cake itself is a cross between an American style loaf cake and the Portuguese-inspired Japanese castella cake. It’s great on its own, or you can make it even more extra with some yuzu mezcal syrup. I just made some for my birthday. No stand mixer, creaming butter, or other advanced techniques necessary!

Ingredients

  • 200 grams all-purpose wheat flour
  • 5 grams baking soda
  • 10 grams miso
  • 5 grams vanilla extract
  • 120 grams of sugar
  • 3 large eggs
  • 100 grams creme fraiche (or sour cream)
  • 120 grams of Perfect Puree Yuzu Luxe Sour (defrosted)
  • 150 grams melted butter (warm, not hot)

If you are making this boozy, you will need a bit more of the Yuzu Luxe Sour and some mezcal or rum.

Instructions

Sift the flour and baking soda together in a bowl and set aside.

In a large bowl, dissolve the miso in the vanilla extract and stir into a paste. Then add the sugar and incorporate. Next, whisk in the eggs until combined, followed by the creme fraiche and yuzu. Then fold in the flour and baking soda and mix until combined. Be sure not to overmix.

Transfer to a loaf pan and bake for 50 to 60 minutes at 175 C / 350 F. Check to test doneness with a toothpick or skewer, which should come out clean.

You can serve the cake as is, or liven it up with some yuzu mezcal syrup, which is two parts of the defrosted Perfect Puree Yuzu Sour mix and 1 part of mezcal (or rum). Poke holes in the loaf cake with a toothpick to help the syrup permit, then drizzle the mixture onto the cake to absorb. Start with a few tablespoons of the syrup to start, you can always drizzle some extra on to make it boozier and yuzu-ier when you serve the cake.