Trader Joe’s Thai Style Yellow Curry Sauce

I love the convenience of bottled simmer sauces that are becoming available at the grocery stores. They are truly life savers for when you come home late from work and need something on the dinner table real quick. The trick is finding out which ones you like, which means trying out a few brands.

I’ve always been lucky with almost anything I get at Trader Joe’s. They’re reasonably priced and always delicious, but sometimes you get hooked but you can never get it again. I had some favorite cheeses and sauces that was not available anymore when I came back for more. Sad.

So if I see something I want to try, I usually buy a couple to start with. They do have expiration dates so I cannot really get a dozen or so as we will get tired of it if I cook it too often. 😊

So…this is my most recent find!

I’ll cook this with some cut up chicken, garlic, onions, carrots, potatoes, zucchini, mushrooms, and a couple of bell peppers from the garden.

You can definitely eyeball the amounts and adjust anything to your taste.

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Begin by preparing all of your ingredients. I used the following:

1-2 tablespoons oil

3 garlic cloves, peeled and minced

1 onion, peeled and diced

1 pound of chicken breast, cubed

1 big potato, peeled and diced

1 carrot, peeled and diced

1 zucchini, trimmed and cut into half moons

A handful of mushrooms, chopped

1 red bell pepper, diced

1 bottle of Trader Joe’s Yellow Curry Sauce


Freshly cooked rice and chopped cilantro, for serving

1. Heat oil in a saucepan. Sauté garlic and onions until lightly browned and fragrant, about 5 minutes.

2. Add the chicken and cook until lightly browned. Next add the potatoes and carrots. Stir and cook for a few minutes.

3. Add the zucchini, mushrooms, and bell pepper.

4. Pour the curry sauce over. Fill the bottle halfway with water, cover and shake to get every last bit of the delicious sauce, open the bottle then pour contents into the pan.

5. Stir the mixture and cover with a lid. Lower heat to medium low and simmer until chicken and vegetables are done, around 10-20 minutes.

6. Serve over freshly cooked, hot rice. Top with chopped cilantro. Enjoy!

Electric Lunchbox #91: Strawberry Nesquick Mochi

I always have this big can of Nesquick Strawberry mix as my son loves it mixed in his morning mug of milk. I started buying it when I was pregnant, as I didn’t like chocolate then, so was happy to see they offered it in strawberry flavor! It was the only way i could drink milk then. I guess it got passed on to my son! 😊

When I was making the mochi recipes for the ELB, I happened to see the can of Nesquick and immediately thought of using it as flavoring. And here is the result of the experiment!

I would add more Nesquick next time as the flavors and color was minimal. Otherwise, the mochi was chewy, sweet, and delicious enough for a snack.

*NOTE that this recipe uses regular sized measuring cups, NOT the tiny ELB cup, unless specified.*

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1/2 cup mochiko rice flour

1/4 cup sugar

2- 3 tablespoon Nesquick Strawberry drink powder

1/2 cup water

Katakuriko or cornstarch for dusting


1. In a bowl, mix rice flour,

2. Sugar,

3. Nesquick powder,

4. And water,

5. Mix well until blended.

6. The mixture will be thin, see photo below.

7. Spray the medium or large ELB bowl with nonstick spray.

8. Pour mochi mixture into the bowl. Cover with foil and place in the ELB base. Pour 3 ELB cups of water in the base, cover and let steam until it shuts off, about an hour.

9. Carefully open the ELB, and check if mochi is set. Add more water to the base and steam longer if needed.

10. Dust the top with katakuriko or cornstarch.

11. Turn out onto a plate dusted generously with katakuriko or cornstarch.

12. Using a plastic knife, cut mochi into bite sized pieces.

13. Dust with more katakuriko or cornstarch to prevent sticking.

14. Enjoy!

Electric Lunchbox #87: Minestrone

It’s been cold this week here in Southern California so when I told my husband that I do not have any ideas on what else to make in the ELB, he said “soup!”

He went on naming different soups he grew up eating in Peru…and I stopped him when i heard Minestrone. I love Minestrone and I haven’t made it in a long time!

When I was a high school student at Herbert Hoover High in Glendale, CA, I chose a cooking/baking as my elective class. Not only as a way to nurture a life skill/hobby, but also to rest my brain between classes. And the basic Minestrone I make all these years always comes back to the recipe I learned in Mrs. Baker’s class.

So here it is! The original recipe I scribbled down when I was 15 years old – sure brings back a lot of memories! I didn’t even have to scale it down for the big ELB bowl as it fits perfectly!

Do not feel like you have to follow the recipe to the letter. Any bean or veggie you want, or have on hand, can be used instead of the ones listed in the recipe but I do encourage you to try the recipe as it is at least once. Then you can make adjustments after you’ve tried the recipe as is.

*NOTE that this recipe uses regular sized measuring cups, NOT the tiny ELB cup, unless specified.*

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2 tablespoons onions

1 tablespoon butter

1 tablespoon cornstarch

2 tablespoons tomato paste

1 tablespoon rice

1 tablespoon small pasta

1 tablespoon canned beans

1/2 cup peeled and diced potatoes

1 tablespoon green peas (used celery as I was out of green peas)

Salt and pepper

A few rosemary leaves

3/4 cup beef broth

2/3 cup water


1. Place the chopped onions in the big ELB bowl.

2. Add the butter,

3. Cornstarch,

4. Tomato paste,

5. Rice,

6. Pasta

7. Beans,

8. Potatoes,

9. Celery or green peas

10. Add a generous pinch of salt and pepper, and the rosemary leaves,

11. Add the beef broth and water. Stir to mix everything together.

12. The butter will be a big blob but it will melt as the soup cooks the pasta and rice. It makes this soup rich and velvety!

13. Place the bowl in the ELB base. Add 3 ELB cups of water to the base, cover and let steam until it shuts off, about an hour.

14. Carefully open the ELB. Stir the soup and check the pasta and rice if it’s cooked through.

15. Serve hot! Enjoy!

Tiger Mochi Maker

One of the ladies at an ELB group I’m in mentioned a blogger making mochi like I did at the beginning of the year. Since I am making some that day, I figured I’ll just write about it too.

The holidays got a bit too busy to catch up with writing recipes (even though it was the perfect time as kitchens all over are definitely churning out yummy goodies non stop!). But I was able to snap photos (and videos!) along the way and I hope you’ll enjoy this read! Oh the beautiful chaos in the kitchen!

Mochi is traditionally eaten in Japan during New Year’s, it is added to soups like Ozoni, (made with chicken, vegetables and mochi) or Zenzai (sweet red bean soup with soft mochi pieces swimmimg around!) we also have kiri mochi, which is made from pounded sweet rice shaped into bars and dried. You toast them and dip in soy sauce. Yummy!! I like all those but I love stuffed mochi even more!

I had always used this brand of sweet rice so I’m not sure if there is any other brand out there. Filipino cuisine uses a sweet, sticky rice too but the appearance is different. These ones are almost round and the “malagkit” rice is more elongated. Not sure if they are interchangeable as I have both and never tried to replace one with another.

For my New Year’s mochi, I start the process a day before I want to cook and pound the rice.

I use 10 cups of rice. This is the maximum amount this mochi maker can handle and since I’ll be bringing some over to my mom, I figured I’ll just make a big batch. You HAVE to use the rice measuring cup that came with the mochi maker. Do not lose it!

Wash the rice thoroughly, until water runs clear. To do this, you place the measured rice in a big bowl, fill with water and run your fingers through it. I try to gently rub the grains together too. Drain and refill the bowl. Do this several times. Then fill the bowl with water one last time. Soak for at least 6 hours, ideally overnight.

After soaking, drain the rice and place in a strainer for 30 minutes. This is important as you do not want the rice too wet which will make your mochi too soft.

Add 2 1/2 cups water in the base of the mochi maker. This amount corresponds to the amount of rice you’ll cook. There is a chart in the manual. Reminder that you HAVE to use the cup that came with the machine to measure both the rice and the water.

Next, attach the bowl, twisting to set it in place. Place the impeller in the bowl turning until it settles in.

Carefully place the drained rice to the bowl.

Level out the top if needed.

Place the plastic cover over the bowl.

Press “steam”. It will steam until the reservoir runs out of water. When it is done, the buzzer beep loudly. Press “off”.

Remove cover, test rice for doneness. You should be able to crush it between two fingers.

Press “pound” and start a timer. This time, you DO NOT use the cover. It’ll take about 10-15 minutes. See the videos below to help you estimate the texture.

This is what the rice looks like in the beginning.

After a few minutes, a ball starts to form and the texture starts to look smoother.

In about 12 to 15 minutes, you would have a homogenous, smooth looking ball.

There should be no rice grains visible, just one smooth, white mass.

Sprinkle katakuriko (or cornstarch)on the cover or a clean board.

Invert the hot mochi onto the prepared surface.

Lift the hot bowl with pot holders and gently nudge all of the delicious mochi out of the bowl. Go ahead and taste some! I pinch a few pieces here and there and fill with an. See the last photo! Work (and eat!) quickly as this mochi hardens really fast.

You can roll them in the tray, sprinkling with katakuriko or cornstarch as needed.

Or you can transfer them into 2 plastic, one gallon freezer bags, snipping both sealed ends so you can roll the mochi all the way to the corners.

Leave bag open after rolling to dry the mochi a little. I leave it for several hours, turning it over and loosening the plastic a couple of times. Then remove from bag, cut into pieces and let dry a few more hours.

Store these in the freezer as it will get moldy rather fast at room temperature.

To serve, toast the squares until puffed and toasty. I use my toaster oven for this but a pan on the stove over low to medium heat, or even just microwaving till it puffs up, are both good too. Dip in lots of soy sauce and enjoy!

Mochi stuffed with An. 😋

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Electric Lunchbox #81: Daifukumochi or Daifuku

Happy New Year’s Day my friends!

Here’s to hoping 2021 will behave and allow us to go back and do what we used to do – enjoy life with people that matter, get together with family, eat together, and travel all over collecting memories to cherish forever.

Back to food…and ELB…today I will show you how to make one of my favorite sweets in the ELB.

Daifukumochi or daifuku (literally “great luck”), is a Japanese sweet made from sweet rice flour. It is formed into a round mochi then stuffed with sweet filling, most commonly anko, sweetened red bean paste made from azuki beans and sugar. Daifuku is a popular wagashi in Japan, and often served with green tea.

I made this in the ELB since mochi is traditionally served for New Year in Japan. The actual mochi for New Year’s is a block of pounded sweet rice, which cannot be made in the ELB. I do have a mochi maker, it cooks the soaked rice and pounds it perfectly so you don’t have to. All I do is pat it into a rectangle and slice. Then eat, of course! 😊

This sweet mochi is served all year round as a snack. I love eating it and I can finish a package of 6 in one sitting. It’s that good! Or bad….

You can also wrap a clean, dry, fresh strawberry with the red bean paste before wrapping in the mochi. That is a real treat specially if the strawberry is ripe and sweet.

I hope you enjoy this little Japanese dessert/snack! I tried to make it real easy using readily available ingredients. 😊

*NOTE that this recipe uses regular sized measuring cups, NOT the tiny ELB cup, unless specified.*

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1/2 cup mochiko rice flour

2 1/2 tablespoons sugar

Pinch salt

1/2 cup water

Katakuriko (Potato starch), for dusting

1/4 cup red bean paste

3 ELB cups water for the base


1. Place the rice flour in the large ELB bowl.

2. Add the sugar and salt next.

3. Pour in water.

4. Slowly stir the mixture.

5. Keep stirring until the mixture becomes thick and well blended.

6. Cover the bowl with foil and place the bowl in the ELB base. Pour 3 ELB cups of water in the base, cover and let steam until done, about 1 hour.

7. In the meantime, pour some katakuriko (potato starch) in a plate and set aside.

8. Roll up a tablespoon or so of red bean paste into balls. Make 4 of these. Set aside.

9. When the ELB shuts off, carefully open it and drain any liquid on top of the mochi.

10. While hot, divide the mochi into 4 pieces using a butter knife. D

11. Dust your fingers with katakuriko.

12. Working quickly, while the mixture is hot, scrape 1 portion of the mochi into your hands and stretch it out a little.

13. Place 1 red bean paste ball in the middle and pull edges over, pinching to seal. Roll into a ball, dusting with katakuriko as needed.

*I was rushing to leave when I made this so apologies for the irregular shapes. It took me less than 5 minutes from the time I took the mochi from the ELB to taking this final photo. I might re do the photo when I get another chance to make these leisurely *

14. Give the mochi one final roll in the katakuriko, place on a serving dish, and devour!

Electric Lunchbox #53: Beef with Eggplant

A perfect lunch for tomorrow! Mix the ingredients for the meat and eggplant in the big bowl, place the rice without the water in the top bowl and take to work. Keep cold until ready to cook. Add water to the rice and to the ELB base about an hour or so before you want to eat.

Lunch is hot and ready when you are! If you can’t get to it right away, it’ll be fine as most ELB, if not all, shuts off automatically when the water in the base is gone. It might turn on again when enough condensation reaches the heating element but it will shut off again when the water evaporates. It’s kind of like a “keep hot” function.

Yo can definitely add more spice to this by upping the amount of chili pepper flakes. It’s so good as there’s a medley of flavors going on – salty, sweet, spicy – together with the textures of the meat and eggplant. I sometimes add tofu, sugar snap peas, or mushrooms, if I have them so you can tailor this to your taste.

*NOTE that this recipe uses regular sized measuring cups, NOT the tiny Itaki cup, unless specified.*

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1/2 cup ground beef

1/2 cup diced eggplant (the small round eggplant is perfect for this! I think they’re called Indian eggplant.)

2 tablespoon chopped onions

2 tablespoon soysauce

1 tablespoon brown sugar, packed

1/2 teaspoon garlic powder

1/4 teaspoon salt

Pinch of ground black pepper

1/4 to 1/2 teaspoons chili pepper flakes

1 teaspoon cornstarch

2 ELB cups rice

2 ELB cups water

1. Place beef, eggplant, onions, soy sauce, brown sugar, garlic powder, salt , pepper, chili pepper flakes, and cornstarch in the big ELB bowl. Mix together, breaking up the ground beef into little pieces. Place bowl in the ELB base.

2. Place the rice in the smaller ELB bowl. Rinse and drain. Pour in 2 ELB cups water and stir. Place this bowl on top of the bigger bowl.

3. Add 3 ELB cups water to the base, cover and let steam until done, about 55 minutes.

4. Carefully remove the ELB cover, use a spoon to break up the ground beef and mix with the sauce.

5. Serve hot with the rice. Enjoy!

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Electric Lunchbox #51: Arroz ala Poblana

This is a delicious side for any fried or grilled meat or fish! I even eat it just like this some days. It is so good! I had tasted this dish once and knew I had to get the recipe.

Been making this on the stovetop/rice cooker regularly but decided a smaller portion in the ELB would perfect. So here it is after a few tries!

This rice dish is full of flavor, has crunchy, sweet corn, and creamy, salty cheese bits. Cilantro adds another layer of fresh, herby flavor that rounds everything perfectly!

I hope you try this dish! It’s one of my favorites prepared in the ELB!

*NOTE that this recipe uses regular sized measuring cups, NOT the tiny ELB cup, unless specified.*

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1 poblano chili

1 tablespoon canola oil

1/2 cup long grain rice

1/2 onion, diced

1/2 cup chicken broth

Pinch of salt, if needed

1/2 cup corn kernels

1/4 cup queso fresco, crumbled – mix after cooking rice

Parsley or cilantro to serve


1. Cut the poblano pepper in half, remove seeds, and roast. I do this on the stovetop until it’s charred all over. Cool for a few few minutes then place in a plastic bag to sweat and make it easier to peel. Peel carefully and dice.

Roasting the Poblano pepper on the stovetop.
Let it char the skin!

2. Place poblano in the big bowl of the ELB, add in the oil, rice, onion, chicken broth, salt, and corn kernels.

3. Set on the ELB base, add 3 ELB cups of water to the base, cover and let steam until done, about 55 minutes.

4. Carefully remove the cover, stir everything together, top with queso fresco and chopped cilantro. Serve hot!

5. Enjoy!!

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Electric Lunchbox#50: Cilantro Lime Salmon with Vegetables and Flavored Rice

So this, my friends, is the 50th recipe I’m posting for the ELB. It’s a healthy lunch recipe – not a cheesecake, or a cake, or a dip!

Salmon and veggies! My son recently asked for salmon so I bought some at Pavillions. My usual recipe is lemon pepper seasoning then either pan fry in a little oil, or baked in the oven. Love the toasty, crisp edges!

I happen to have some cilantro and a lime on hand, though and I recalled bringing in some chicken marinated in Cilantro Lime (and Teriyaki, and Italian seasoning, and Taco, and Santa Maria!) for soccer game about a year ago. So cilantro lime salmon it is!

Paired with simple vegetables mixes – any you prefer, really! – and you have yourself a healthy but delicious meal!

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*NOTE that this recipe uses regular sized measuring cups, NOT the tiny ELB cup, unless specified.*

6-ounce center cut salmon fillet

1 lime, sliced into rounds

1/2 cup zucchini and broccoli (or bell peppers, snow peas, etc.)

1/2 tablespoon olive oil

salt and ground black pepper

1 tablespoons fresh cilantro, chopped

2 ELB cups rice

2 ELB cups water

1/2 teaspoon Knorr chicken and tomato powder

1/2 teaspoon Turmeric powder

2-3 ELB cups water for the base

1. Place a couple of slices of lime on the bottom of the big ELB bowl. Top with the salmon fillet.

2. Top with a couple more lime slices, and the vegetables. Drizzle with olive oil, then sprinkle with salt and pepper. Set on the ELB base.

3. Place rice in the smaller ELB bowl. Rinse rice and drain. Add 2 ELB cups water, and the seasonings. Place on top of the bigger bowl in the ELB.

4. Add 2 ELB cups of water to the base, cover and let steam until it shuts off, about 35 minutes. Check salmon and rice for doneness, adding more water and streaming until done if needed.

5. Enjoy!!!

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