Day 24: keeping up the Asian theme

I have to admit, my knowledge of Asian cuisines in general ranks somewhere between poor and tragic, sushi being the only thing I’ve managed to master over the years (and yes, I’d eat it every day if I could). Recently, however, I’ve been increasingly drawn to try more and more dishes from cuisines streaming towards the East.

Apart from stir-fries and occasional curries (some more successful than others), salads are by far a preferred thing to explore. This particular one is an old favourite bringing together simple flavours spiced with quick preparation. The ingredient list here is only suggestive, as practically anything goes well in it: you can replace soba noodles with rice one, skip them altogether, add chinese cabbage and whatever remains in your fridge.

On the matter of the progress with concluding this month of daily meals, I remember when starting out, I made a mental note to write each day along with cooking, to keep impressions fresh and up to date, and to have posts lined up whenever I’ll need to push the publish button.

I failed at this miserably to say the least. The first week I still managed to take a few notes on the go, but as weeks passed and recipes cramped up, it all got postponed to later on.

It kind of reminds me of the days when we used to shoot up 30 dishes per weekend and a few months on, I would look at photos trying to remember what I wanted to write about them in the first place.

There’s a momentum when you’re making something and everything makes perfect sense, but later when you look back at the traces of what has been done, few words come to mind, or at least it so has been lately. My “creative juices” (as I call them) have been standing still and many hours have been spent recently staring at an empty page, waiting for a spark to hit.

Hence, whilst I’m wondering how to get them flowing again, a question to you my dears, what do you do when your creative sparks dry out?

Take a break? Do something different? I’m really looking forward hearing and discussing about it, but for now here’s the recipe and happy coming weekend!

5.0 from 2 reviews
Thai beef salad with soba noodles
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Serves: 2
  • ½ pack soba noodles
  • 1 large beef steak
  • 2 carrots
  • 1 avocado
  • 2 tomatoes
  • 2-3 small cucumbers
  • salt and pepper
  • olive oil, for drizzling
  • 1 teaspoon white sesame seeds, toasted
  • 1 teaspoon black sesame seeds, toasted
  • 1 lime, juice only (3-4 tablespoons)
  • 3 ½ teaspoons palm sugar
  • 4 ½ tablespoons soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoons fish sauce
  • 1 tablespoons sesame oil
  • 1 chilli, deseeded and chopped
  • 2 -3 tablespoons chopped coriander
  1. Cook soba noodles according to package instructions, drain and rinse with cool water.
  2. For the dressing, whisk together lime juice and sugar until dissolved, then stir in the soy sauce, fish sauce and sesame oil. Tasting is the key to making any dressing so taste and taste again. You may need to add more of any ingredients. If you want a stronger dressing add more soy, more sweet sugar or if it’s too dense then a bit more of sesame oil. Set aside.
  3. Heat a griddle pan till smoking hot. Season the beef with salt and pepper, rub with olive oil and cook 2-3 minutes on each side (depending on the size of the steak and how you like it done). When the beef is done set aside to rest for a few minutes.
  4. In the meanwhile, peel the cucumber, carrots, slice thinly and mix with soba noodles.
  5. Slice the tomatoes and avocados and add everything to the salad.
  6. Stir in the chili and coriander into the dressing and pour over the salad. Slice the beef and add to the salad, give it a good stir, sprinkle with sesame seeds and serve. Enjoy!



14 thoughts on “Day 24: keeping up the Asian theme

  1. Oh, my, does this look terrific! I love Asian noodle dishes…and this one is extraordinary!!!

  2. Sounds delicious and my boys would love a couple of thai chillies thrown in there. Sometimes I think we all have creative juice dry out. Usually I get a writers block before I have a cooking block but it does happen. I think the source for my lack of ideas is the lack of good ingredients and the best way for me to get the creative juices flowing again is to go to a good market or grocery store and that is all I need. Wishing you a super weekend. BAM

  3. Salads are a fine way to explore flavors, a bit of dipping one’s toe in to test the waters before wading in too deep. Your salad looks fabulous and refreshing for warm summer evenings, which demand quick and easy — wouldn’t want to break a sweat. :)

  4. Truly nice! I love Asian, but my knowledge of it is pretty pathetic. I take it slow and easy when learning new recipes, so I can figure out now only how and why they work, but why they make a kind of organic sense. Writer’s block can be tough, but with a blog post I always ask myself what interested me in a recipe in the first place. What attracted me to it? Answer that question, and the rest of the post flows, I find. Also, I almost always photograph dishes before I write about them, and when I plan my photos I’m also thinking of the post I plan to write. I realize most of my photos don’t look that planned – essentially I’m taking portraits of a dish or a food, and usually I have very simple compositions. But it’s similar to taking a portrait (not a snapshot) of a person – what is it that distinguishes that person from all others? And that’s what I try to photograph. When you think of food in that way, it also helps tell you what you need to write about.

  5. Great salad and great that you are exploring Asian recipes. Congrats on the month completed, even if it was hard. My advice is take a little break and cook recipes not for the blog.

  6. Gourmantine, my go-to tip during lulls is to ask myself, “What do I love about this dish?” (Or experience, or photo, or whatever.) Often times enthusiasm takes over and the words begin to flow. I soooo enjoy reading your thoughts and feelings, what you’re doing in the kitchen and out, etc. — basically “life!” That’s what makes each blog (and your blog) unique and a pleasure to read… life from another person’s perspective.

    If all else fails, take a break from it. I just returned from 10 days away and came home chomping at the bit. Sometimes it’s not lack of ideas — it’s timing. Great ideas will wait and so will blog world. xo

  7. This looks awesome! My knowledge of Asian food is also pretty sad, even though I lived before Holland. When I’m feeling flat, I talk to strangers. They always have some really interesting unbiased insight : ) Tot ziens!

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