Venezuelan Cuisine: Fried Plaintain Slices (Tajadas)

The last element in the Pabellon Criollo dish is the Fried Plaintain Slices. Plaintain is generally used for cooking. Unripe plaintain is starchy and not suitable to be eaten raw. Plantain also has a firmer texture than sweet banana. That’s why they are usually steam, boil or fry before eaten.


When buying plantain, you want to pick those with brownish skin for a more ripe plantain which tends to be sweeter.


  • 3 plantains, peel and cut into long slices
  • Mozzarella cheese, grated
  • oil for frying


Source: Maria

Prep time: 5 minutes;  Cook time: 10 minutes;  Serve 4 to 6



Simply fry the plantain with a couple tablespoons of oil until both sides are golden brown. Serve plantain with grated mozzarella cheese.


This will complete the series for the Venezuelan national dish, Pabellon Criollo con Barandas. Maria, thank you for sharing with us.

Venezuelan Cuisine: Sauteed Black Beans (Caraotas Negras Fritas)

The third element in the Pabellon Criollo dish (Venezuelan’s national dish) is black beans. If you want to learn more about bean, check out the post ”All About Beans’ here.


Maria prefers her Caraotas Negras Fritas to be sauteed to almost dry and not soggy.


  • 1 large can black beans
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 1 red pepper, finely chopped
  • oil for sauteeing
  • 3 green onions, chopped
  • salt and pepper to taste


Source: Maria

Prep time: 15 minutes;  Cook time: 20 minutes;  Serve 4 to 6

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Venezuelan Cuisine: Beef Meatballs (Carne Albondigas)

Typically, shredded beef is served in the Pabellon Criollo, Venezuelan’s national dish. However, Maria substituted the shredded beef with beef meatballs.


Maria made giant beef meatballs, almost the size of golf ball. These Carne Albondigas is great and it can be served with spaghetti or in a sub too.


  • 1 kilogram ground beef
  • 2 onions, chopped
  • 1 red pepper, finely diced
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 large can crushed tomatoes
  • 3/4 cup breadcrumbs, more or less
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 bay leaves
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • Worcestershire sauce to taste, optional
  • 1 carrot, finely grated
  • 1 or 2 beef bouillon, optional
  • 1 to 2 teaspoons sugar
  • oil for frying


Source: Maria

Prep time: 30 minutes;  Cook time: 40 minutes;  Serve 8 to 10

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Venezuelan Cuisine: Vanezuelan National Dish (Pabellon Criollo Con Barandas)

Maria from Venezuela demonstrated Venezeula’s natioanal dish in the Caring Place Community Kitlchen. We were so excited to learn about this dish.


Venezuela’s national dish is called Pabellon Criollo. It is has rice, beans and beef. Maria made a version called Pabellon Criollo con Barandas which also include fried plantain. Branda is Spanish for guard rail. The long fried plantain slices are placed on the sides to keep food from falling off the plate. Fried plaintain slices are called tajadas.

Panellon Criollo is one of the most representative of Venezuelan cuisine. It is full of colours and flavours which shows represent the union and integrity of the country.


This dish is made up of a few elements. The first item is the rice which is called Arroz. The rice may look plain but it has lots of flavour in it. I will blog about the other elements in following posts.


  • 1 kilogram of white rice (about 4 cups)
  • 1 onion, peeled and cut into quarters
  • 2 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1 green or red pepper, cut into quarters
  • 1/2 cup oil
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • green onion, sliced (optional)
  • 6 cups water
  • Arroz-20-600x400

Source: Maria

Prep time: 10 minutes; Cook time: 30 minutes;  Serve 8 to 10

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Weekend Musings — May 22nd, 2010

Oh Boy! Am I glad this is a long weekend. I had been running on fumes for the past two weeks. That is why I did not post any weekend musings last week. I really look forward to catching up on the millions of to-dos over this long weekend.

The boys are away in camp this long weekend too. So Suanne and I are home alone. It is so quiet around the house this morning. I already missed Nanzaro interrupting me with his random questions while I am in the middle of writing a blog post. He always does that which annoys me. LOL!

GoDaddy Go!

Remember we were told by our hosting company ( that chowtimes is causing an overload to their servers? They told us to fix it or they will have no choice but to kick us out. Alternatively, we need to move to a $165 a month plan! Gosh … from a $16 plan to a $165 plan … we can’t afford that!


Well, I am glad to tell you that the worst is over. We did a lot of changes on chowtimes. Most of it is under the hood and they are not really visible to you. The good thing is, GoDaddy re-examined chowtimes on May 15th … and they gave us the thumbs up. The changes we had made are good enough, at least for now. The site is lighter in many ways.

Whew! For a moment we were so worried they will kick us out like the dastradly folks did to us last year. They did not give us any notice and just shut our site down. No warning at all that our site is overloading their CPU!

At least GoDaddy gave us one month to sort this out. So … GoDaddy Go!

Chowtimes v1.0

One of the blog post I really love to follow is Tana’s blog called the Cheap Appetite. In his post about Fried Chicken in Chinatown, someone brought up the link to our old chowtimes blog.


I had completely forgotten about that first chowtimes blog. Looking back at chowtimes in 2006, I can’t help but to think how … Continue reading

Jin Chuan Restaurant on Kingsway with Wessex, Burnaby

Update 28-Apr-2011: This restaurant had closed for some time already.

So I was out with the 8GTCC boys and girls. We had just gone to the Shanghai Village restaurant meeting with Chef Ming and finalizing the plans for the 8GTCC Jiangsu dinner. You know, if you think that the 8GTCC team has perks from the restaurants, you are mistaken. Even when the 8GTCC project brings recognition to the restaurant concerned, we do not get a free meal out of the restaurant at all. At best, the restaurant serves us Chinese tea. That is why I am so thankful for the sacrifices demonstrated by the team.

After we met Chef Ming, the plan was to go for a dinner at a restaurant called City Temple of Shanghai on Main Street. When we got there, it was closed! Dylan said that he checked the day before and was told they will be opened. However, when we got there, the restaurant was locked. The sign outside says that they were supposed to open that day. Strange.

Anyway, without a real Plan B, we quickly coordinated between the few cars to drive across town to Spicy Legend for hot pot on Kingsway and Joyce. After driving all the way, we found to our chagrin that we need a reservation in that restaurant. Wow. This is the first time I had seen a hole-in-the-wall eatery requiring a reservation. That restaurant is so small and can fit maybe 15 people (?). I gotta check that place out sometime.

So instead of driving to another location and forced to drop our standards, we walked down Kingsway looking for Plan C …


The Jin Chuan Restaurant looked promising. None of us noticed this restaurant before. It looked new. If I remember correctly, this is the spot where the Popular Chinese Cuisine used to be. We loved that restaurant.


Apparently, Jin Chuan is new, really new. They had just opened for five days. Interesting. We thought maybe perhaps this place would be a “find” if the food turns out great.


We noticed that their chopstick wrapper has Meishan Restaurant name printed on it. Meishan is a restaurant in Crystal Mall. The logo of Meishan and Jin Chuan is almost identical.


I like their menu. I thought it was one of the better looking ones except it would be great with a few pictures of their specialties.

If you take a close look at their prices (click above to see larger image), the lunch specials are very good too … $6 to $7. I am going to go back one of these days to try their lunch special since my office is just a short drive away.


Ordering was left to the experts. I do not know what some of the dishes are called. It’s the kind of dinner I like — no brain work involved.

I am beginning to see a pattern having dined with the 8GTCC team. It seems they like mainland Chinese food with spicy bolder dishes and exotic meat and stuff.


The spicy water boiled zebra meat was delicious. I never had this before. I was … Continue reading

Gingeri Chinese Cuisine in Lansdowne Mall, Richmond

This is a long overdue post. This was another dim sum meeting with Michelle, a reader of chowtimes. We met up for the first time at Red Star Seafood Restaurant. Before she left Vancouver, I managed to meet up with her again. This time we had dim sum at Gingeri Chinese Cuisine in Lansdowne Mall, Richmond.


Gingeri offers a 20% discount if you dine between 9am and 11am.


We were there past noon, and the place was buzzing with people.  I like the high ceiling and cleanliness of the cutleries, even the bamboo baskets look new unlike some dim sum place where the bamboo baskets are really worn out. The waiter/waitress is friendly and helpful.



The price of the dim sum ranges from $3.75 to $6.80. Click on the images above to have a larger view.


We ordered Chrysanthemum tea for a change.


The above is called Seafood Salad Tarts with Thin Gold on top. This one costs $5.20. It has corn, crab meat, large prawn and the salad dressing imparts richness to the already sweetish tart.


We were enticed to order this by the ‘Gold’ on top.  This is a delicate piece of dim sum. One thing we noticed is that… Continue reading

Toyotomi Japanese Restaurant on Anderson Road, Richmond

Alright. Time for me to get excited … again.

I really am dying to tell you about this new restaurant in Richmond which I am quite sure will make some of you want to sit up to take note of.


Look at the food above. Guess how much all the above costs.

In the first picture is congee and noodles.

In the second picture is yam fries, squid, panko scallop and miso soup.

In the third picture is beef noodle soup, egg, toast and tuna salad.

Guess how much. Just guess.

Less than $15? Less than $10? Less than $5?

If you guess less than $5, you are right … not for each of them. It is less than $5 for ALL of them!


Toyotomi is located on Anderson Road. That is the small deserted road just across from the Richmond City Hall. When we visited them, they were opened for only the second day. They opened the day before for dinner only. We were there for their breakfast because we wanted to see what a Japanese breakfast is.

He he he … technically speaking Suanne and I were their first breakfast customer. We were the … Continue reading

Exclusive Dinner Event at Miki Japanese Ramen House

Well, this is it … another event organized by chowtimes.  This time it is with Miki Japanese Ramen.

A few weeks ago, Miki Japanese Restaurant contacted us to help them in promoting a ramen slurping event. That event was covered by the local TV station (Global TV, I think) and was very well attended. Unfortunately, Suanne and I could not attend but instead we bounced off the idea of creating another event for chowtimes readers.

We were glad that Miki was not only supportive of the idea but they had also gracious giving us a deal that is going to be hard for you to pass up. Not that it matters to most of you, but Suanne and I want to say that we are not paid to do this. As in all events, we just wanted to do this for fun and put together events that we think our readers will enjoy.


Not only will you get to try any of Miki’s ramen, but you will be the first to taste the new specialties created by Chef Ben. [Chef Ben is not the same as Chowtimes Ben, mind you. Chowtimes Ben cannot stand the heat and stays out of the kitchen.]

Chef Ben wants you to try his new range of BBQ dishes among other dishes. Here is the menu …


This special menu is put together only for this event. Chef Ben wanted chowtimes readers to taste it and get your honest feedback. The estimated value of this menu is $21 but for this event, you are expected to pay a token sum of $5 (plus taxes and tips) only! It is not easy to get a better dinner deal than this.

For the ramen, you get the usual choices of broth like shio, shoyu, miso and others. I never have the chance to taste and differentiate between these broth at the same time. Well, in this event, you will be able to … Continue reading

Creamed Kale with Caramelized Shallots

The last kale recipe in the kale feast at the Gilmore Park Church Community Kitchen is a side dish.


This Creamed Kale with Caramelized Shallots is absolutely delicious, almost like a dessert. It’s creamy and sweet from the caramelized shallots.


  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 3 tablespoons finely chopped Spanish onion
  • 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 3 cups milk
  • pinch of freshly grated nutmeg
  • salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 3 pounds kale, center stalk removed, and coarsely torn into pieces

Ingredients for Caramelized Shallots

  • 6 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 10 shallots, peeled and sliced, or 40 baby onions, peeled
  • salt and freshly ground pepper


Source: this recipe is adapted from Food Network, Bobby Flay

Prep time: 30 minutes;  Cook time: 30 minutes;  Serve 6 to 8

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