Choco Flan

Unmolded this☝️before chilling it completely. Notice the sunken area on the upper left.

Lesson learned: Be patient! Chill it overnight before unmolding. 😊

ChocoFlan! This is a rich, delicious chocolate cake with a beautiful layer of creamy flan sitting on top.

I first had this over a decade ago when my Cuban coworker at UCLA brought it for a potluck. It still amazes me how the layers switch when baking. You get a bit of yummy chocolate cake, a thick, creamy flan, all topped with caramelized sugar syrup…what more could you ask for?

This cake is easy to make and truly beautiful that you can bring it to any gathering and it’s sure to wow everyone lucky enough to have a slice…or two!

You’ll need a 12-cup bundt pan to make this as it rises almost to the top when baked. Most bundt pans I own have a capacity of 10 cups, so be sure to check your pan!

If you only have the 10 cup mold, set some of the cake batter aside for 2-3 cupcakes, or make a couple of small individual Choco flans in a ramekin with some of the syrup, flan, and cake mixture. The baking pan with water will also catch any overflow batter, so you should be fine.

The flan layer on this cake is thick, just the way I like it. You’ll get a good proportion of flan to chocolate cake in every bite, I promise!

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*I recently found a 6-cup bundt pan in Target made by Nordicware (https://www.target.com/p/nordic-ware-6-cup-formed-bundt-pan-navy/-/A-76431260#lnk=sametab) and I got 2 of course! If you have these smaller pans, you can split the caramel, flan, and cake batter between the 2 little bundt pans and have 2 Chocoflans – one to eat now and another for later, or to share!

Ingredients:

For the Caramel:

1 cup sugar

1/4 cup water

For the Flan:

1 can (12oz) evaporated milk

1 can (14oz) condensed milk

4 oz cream cheese (half a bar)

3 large eggs

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

For the Cake:

1 box (15.25oz) devil’s food cake mix

1/2 cup canola oil

3 eggs, separated*

1 cup water

Equipment:

1 12-cup bundt pan (or 2 6-cup bundt pans)

Saucepan

Blender

Large baking dish

Bowls

Hand mixer

Procedure:

1. Preheat oven to 425F.

2. Spray your bundt pan/s with nonstick cooking spray. Set aside.

Caramelized sugar:

3. Pour sugar and water in a heavy saucepan and cook over medium-low heat until deep brown, about 10-15 minutes. Keep swirling the pan when it starts to turn golden and remove from heat right before it reaches the color you want as it’ll keep cooking. You don’t want to burn this.

4. Using heavy oven gloves, immediately pour into prepared pan/s. Set aside.

Flan:

5. Pour all flan ingredients into a blender and pulse until well mixed.

6. Pour over caramel layer.

7. Place the bundt pan/s in a large baking dish. Fill baking dish with water halfway up the bundt pan. We are steam baking this, baine marie style!

8. Now carefully place the entire set up in the middle rack of your preheated oven. Close the oven and set your timer to 20 minutes.

9. In the meantime, prepare your Cake layer:

10. In a bowl, beat together devil’s food cake mix, oil, egg yolks, and water until blended. Set aside.

11. Grab another bowl that it is clean, dry, no traces of oil or grease, or any speck of egg yolks. Wash and clean your beaters and dry them, too. Then beat egg whites in the bowl using clean beaters until soft peaks form. Carefully fold in 1/3 into the cake mixture until mixed. Fold in another 1/3, mix and then add in the last 1/3. Fold in until no more traces of the egg white can be seen.

*If you are crunched for time, you can also just place ALL the cake ingredients in a bowl and beat for about 2 minutes on medium to high speed. The cake won’t be as light, but I’m quite sure no one will notice!*

12. Carefully remove the pan from the oven after 20 minutes.

13. Slowly pour the cake mixture over the flan. Cover with foil, lower the oven temperature to 350F, and bake for 55 minutes more, or until cake is fully baked. Check if cake is done by inserting a skewer in the middle of the cake, it should come out clean.

14. Cool completely on a wire rack. Cover and chill overnight before unmolding.

15. Place a plate on top of the bundt pan and carefully invert the whole thing. You would hear/feel the cake drop onto the plate. Carefully remove the bundt pan and serve the cake!

*You might want to fill the bundt pan with water now to facilitate removing the caramel that is stuck on the bottom. It will dissolve on it’s own, no need to scrub, but it will need time, like a day or two!*

Chocolate Chip Cookies (the Elon Musk one)

Finally, I was able to write this article. I hope you all will like it!

Tesla. Elon Musk. Bitcoin…..Chocolate Chip Cookies???

A few weeks ago, while on one of my rare break times at work, I came across this article about a Chocolate Chip Cookie that allegedly made Elon Musk go back for seconds. Wait, what? Did I read that right?

So of course, I read the whole article. The baker’s boyfriend works at Space X, and his desk is near Elon Musk’s office. So when the cookies were seen, he asked the bodyguard to get some. And then more.

I just wanted to go home and try the recipe she shared after I was done reading the article. But of course, I had to finish work before leaving.

So, a few hours later, I was able to prepare it. Lucky for me, ingredients for chocolate chip cookies are always in my pantry. 😊

I doubled the recipe so that I could share, and made it in the Thermomix so that it came together really fast.

Ingredients:

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup (1 stick) cold unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
3/4 cup tightly packed light brown sugar
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 large egg, at room temperature, lightly beaten
6 ounces bittersweet chocolate chunks

1. Place the butter in a bowl. You can use a stand mixer or a hand held one. I used the Thermomix to make life easier.

2. Add the brown sugar,

3. And the white sugar. Mix together over low speed for 3 minutes.

4. Scrape down the sides of the bowl.

5. Add the vanilla extract,

6. And the egg (eggs in the photo as I doubled the recipe).

7. Mix for about 15 seconds, low speed.

8. Scrape down the sides of the bowl.

9. Stir in the flour,

10. Baking soda,

11. And salt into the butter mixture.

12. Mix on low speed for 10-15 seconds, until just combined.

13. See the texture on the photo above.

14. Add in the chocolate chips, (love Trader Joe’s chocolate chips!)

15. And stir until incorporated.

16. Transfer dough into a container with a lid and refrigerate overnight.

17. Next day, line 2 cookie sheets with parchment paper or silpat. Preheat oven to 350F.

18. Drop 2 tablespoons of the dough onto the prepared sheets.

19. Leave 2 inches of space between the dough balls as these spread out a bit.

*You can also scoop the dough, place it on the sheets, touching is fine, and freeze them. When frozen, transfer to a freezer bag and bake as needed. See above photo.*

20. Bake in the oven for 11-13 minutes, or until edges are golden, but the middle is still soft.

21. Slide the parchment or silicone mats directly onto the counter and cool for a few minutes. When set, about 5 minutes, transfer cookies to a wire rack to cool completely. Or enjoy cookies while they’re warm and gooey!

Sourdough Focaccia

We have been making homemade pizza for a few years now and it’s become a staple that I have 2 outdoor pizza ovens at the moment.

I also make our sourdough bread every week and need to switch it up with a few varieties using different flours, inclusions, or liquid to flavor the bread. Marshmallow stout instead of water for a chocolate chip sourdough batard anyone??

Between bread and pizza, there’s also focaccia! And here is a very easy recipe complete with a timeline to guide you!

You can split this bread in half crosswise to use for sandwiches, or just cut into squares, or rectangles to eat as is! Dip in olive oil, Trader Joe’s Garlic dip, hummus, baba ganoush…..It’s crunchy and soft, salty and herby…just delicious specially when still warm from the oven.

I use really good olive oil and salt as I believe it contributes to the overall taste of the focaccia. The olives are dry cured from Trader Joe’s, tomatoes and rosemary are from the backyard.

I doubled the recipe and made 2 13”x9” focaccia to eat and have enough to trade with a dozen home grown eggs. So please don’t be confused by the discrepancy between the instructions and the photos. 😊

I hope you will like this recipe as much as we did!

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Ingredients:

423 grams all purpose flour

181 grams bread flour

460 grams water

11 grams salt, plus more for sprinkling

115 grams starter, I used one straight from the fridge

12 grams good quality olive oil, plus more for drizzling

Toppings of choice, chopped herbs, olives, tomatoes, etc.

Procedure:

1. 10 am to 11 am

In a large bowl, mix flours, water, salt and starter. Mix with a wooden spoon or rubber spatula until the dough comes together.

Set aside for about 15 to 30 minutes to allow the flour to absorb the water.

Then mix the dough thoroughly, drizzling in the olive oil and pulling the dough up until well mixed. Use a plastic bench/dough scraper to help you pull up the dough and mix the oil in.

Cover (I use a clean, unused plastic hair cover!) and set aside for 30 minutes

#1

2. Bulk 11:15-1:15

#2
#3

Perform 4 sets of stretch and fold every 30 minutes, for 2 hours.

Photos 1 – 4 are the stretch and fold in the first 30 minutes, #2 at an hour, #3 at an hour and thirty minutes, and #4 was after 2 hours, the last of 4 folds. See how stretchy and smooth the dough looks after?

#4

3. Proof 1:15- 5:15

Pour some olive oil in a 13 x 9 inch pan.

Transfer dough to the pan and cover.

Every 30 minutes on the first hour, uncover the dough and stretch gently to fill the pan.

Cover and let rest for the remainder of the 4 hours.

4. 5:15 Preheat oven to 450F.

5. Drizzle the dough with about 2 -3 tablespoons of good olive oil.

6. Wet your finger tips and dimple the dough all the way to the bottom of the pan, multiple times.

7. Sprinkle with chopped herbs, olives, capers, cherry tomatoes, sun dried tomatoes, caramelized onions, etc.

*I used halved cherry tomatoes, chopped rosemary, olives, and Maldon sea salt. The other focaccia had the same toppings except it did not have tomatoes, as I only got a handful from the garden.*

8. Sprinkle with good quality salt.

9. Bake in the preheated oven for 30 to 35 minutes, until golden brown.

*After baking, tops should be golden and edges crusty.

*Bottom should be toasted. This looks perfect!

Cut for sandwiches, this is what the crumb look like on my bake. Yummy!

Japanese Strawberry Short Cake

Strawberries are pretty tasty this time of the year. I had been purchasing them from farmer’s stands and farmer’s markets as they are always good, unlike other places where it’s hit or miss.

They’re quite expensive though, at $5 -$8 per green basket, but totally worth it as they are sweet and delicious all the way through. I like eating them just as is, after washing. No need for anything else as they are very tasty…and fragrant.

There are no green sour patches on these at all. And since they are so good, I decided to make a cake for my mom’s birthday. I have quart of whipping cream and a dozen home grown eggs in the fridge so I’m all set.

I had been trading loaves of sourdough bread for eggs with my co worker once a week, so the eggs I have are really fresh. Which is important, as the cake is a simple sponge cake recipe where in your ingredients need to be really good and fresh for it to taste great. The frosting is a simple, lightly sweetened vanilla whipped cream, and topped with the best tasting strawberries you can find, this will be a cake you will make over and over.

We had to go to a soccer game at 9 am so I baked the layers and let it cool upside down for 20 minutes while we got ready, turned them right side up to cool completely while we were gone. I then whipped the cake, sliced the strawberries, and put the cake together after lunch, then chilled it for an hour before driving it over to my mom’s. Busy day!

I did not expect a lot of requests for this recipe so I did not photograph anything while whipping up the first, full sized cake. I did not have the time to either as I was rushing to get it done before we had to leave. However, since I did get a few requests, and since there was no left overs after it was demolished at my mom’s, I decided to make another, smaller cake for our home.

I halved the recipe and baked them in two 5-inch round cake pans. They were filled and frosted the same way as the full sized 8/9 inch cake. It was just enough for 6 slices, 2 each for me, my husband, and my son.

So here it is. There are a lot of steps but it is easy and the results are more than worth it. Feel free to break the steps down like I did to fit your schedule. I promise you will be amazed with the end results.

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Ingredients:

275 grams eggs

124 grams sugar

146 grams cake flour

45 grams milk

14 grams melted unsalted butter

1 pound fresh strawberries

500 grams cold heavy whipping cream

1/3 cup sugar

1 teaspoon vanilla paste or extract

1. Preheat oven to 325F. Line 2 (8 or 9 inch) round cake pans with parchment paper cut to fit.

2. Combine eggs and sugar in a small metal bowl. You will make a makeshift double boiler using the bowl and a small saucepan.

3. Place bowl over a small pan with simmering water.

4. Cook, stirring, until a thermometer reaches 98F.

5. Transfer the mixture into the bowl of a stand mixer.

6. Using the whisk attachment, beat on high for 4 minutes.

7. Lower speed to medium and beat until ribbons form, about 5 more minutes.

8. See the videos above to determine when to stop. You should be seeing clear ribbons in the batter. This is important as this cake has no leavening, aside from the air trapped in the egg mixture.

9. Sift flour into a bowl to aerate it.

10. Place milk in a microwave safe bowl.

11. Place the butter in the bowl too.

12. Heat the mixture for 30 seconds and stir to melt butter.

13. Fold in 1/3 of the flour into the egg mixture until combined. Repeat twice more to use up the flour.

14. Slowly add the milk and butter mixture and stir to combine.

15. Do not overmix as you need the air in the mixture to make your cake light and fluffy. Mix just until combined.

16. Pour into the prepared pans. Drop the pans from about 2 inches from the counter to release any big bubbles.

17. Bake for 20 – 25 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.

18. In the meantime, slice a few of the strawberries into thin slices, about 1/8 to 1/4 inch.

19. Remove the cakes from the oven when done.

20. Invert them onto a cooling rack sprayed with nonstick spray. Let cool for at least 20 minutes.

21. Turn them right side up and cool completely.

22. Unmold and peel off the parchment paper.

23. In the meantime, pour the whipping cream in the bowl of the stand mixer. Add the sugar and vanilla and beat until stiff peaks form.

24. Wash, rinse, and dry a few strawberries left whole. Cut them in half lengthwise if desired.

25. Place on cake layer on the serving plate.

26. Spread an even layer of whipped cream over.

27. Top with sliced strawberries, trying to follow the shape of the cake. Cut the strawberries if needed.

28. Top with a little more whipped cream, just enough to cover the strawberries.

29. Top with the second cake layer and gently press down.

30. Frost the top and sides of the cake with the remaining whipped cream.

31. Top with whole or sliced strawberries. Chill until set, about an hour or so.

32. You can serve it like this or decorate with melted chocolate.

33. I used melted Hershey’s sugar free chocolate to pipe zigzags on the strawberries I used to top my mom’s cake. You can also pipe it across the top of the cake.

34. Slice it carefully, serve and enjoy!

35. See how beautiful this cake is? Yum!

The picture below is my mom’s 9 inch cake, all lit up, with the chocolate topped strawberries and chocolate greeting on the side. It was totally out of this world delicious.

Mackerel Pate

Hello my friends!

Today I’ll be making a delicious fish sandwich spread. As you might know, I make our bread at least once a week and of course, I want the best sandwich fillings to go with it.

My very favorite will always be butter and orange marmalade, but tuna salad, and BLT are close contenders.

We do have the usual Turkey and/or Ham with cheese and mayo quite often too.

My mom was taking about how she eats some canned mackerel more often now as it is very good fo your health, so imagine how excited I was when I found these at Trader Joe’s.

I was going to mix it up like my tuna salad but figured out I can make a more tasty spread using cream cheese. It makes a thicker spread that you can thin out using some mayonnaise. I hope you’ll like it!

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Ingredients:

1/4 red onion, chopped

4-6 tablespoons cream cheese, at room temperature

Pinch of garlic powder

Pinch of ground black pepper

Pinch of Salt

1 6oz can mackerel, drained

1 hard boiled egg, peeled and chopped

*you can add 1 – 2 tablespoons mayo to loosen up the pate if you like it more spreadable*

Procedure:

1. In a bowl, mix together onions and cream cheese.

2. Add garlic powder,

3. Ground black pepper,

4. And salt.

5. Open the can of mackerel and drain well.

6. Place the fillets in the bowl.

7. Mash and mix everything together.

8. Add in chopped eggs.

9. Mix well. Add mayonnaise if using.

10. Spread on a thick slice of toasted bread.

11. Enjoy!

Bunny/Heart Cake Pops

I recently got back into making cake pops, as I discovered a whole bunch of molds made of silicone and plastic.

I ordered a lot of them to start experimenting again after not making it for about 5 years. I also ordered some fondant molds and luster powders for decorating.

It was an easier process back then. Just mix up a box of cake mix and bake as directed. Cool and crumble into little pieces, mix in about half a tub of ready made frosting and make little round balls. Dip into melted candy melts and cool.

Nowadays there are an infinite number of shapes and designs, one much more detailed than another.

For this post, I am using my bunny mold and heart mold, making cake pops without sticks. I will post a photo of my other cake pop with sticks at the bottom.

If using the ELB to make a cake, follow these recipes https://athomewiththeresa.com/2020/11/01/electric-lunchbox-71-yellow-cake-and-chocolate-cake-boxed-mixes/ Add about a tablespoon of frosting to the cooled, finely crumbled cake to start, adding a bit more as needed to achieve a play dough like consistency.

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You will need the following:

A silicone mold with the shape of your choice

A box of cake mix, any flavor you like (I used chocolate)

The ingredients needed to prepare the cake (usually eggs, oil, and water)

A tub of ready made frosting (I used Butter Cream and Cream Cheese flavored frosting)

Chocolate or candy melts

Sprinkles, edible glitter, metallic spray, any other decoration as desired

1. First, you prepare the cake mix according to the directions provided on the box.

2. Pour into a greased 13×9 pan and bake as directed on the package.

3. Cool cake completely on a wire rack.

4. For these type of molds, you’ll first coat them with a layer of melted chocolate or candy melts, fill it with cake pop mix after it sets, then add another layer of chocolate or candy melts to seal.

5. To do that, melt some chocolate or candy melts in a microwave safe bowl in 30 second increments, stirring until melted and smooth. Pour about 1 tablespoon into the mold and work it up the sides with the back of a spoon. Try to coat the inside of the mold evenly. Refrigerate for 10 minutes or so to set. You can add another, thin layer to reinforce the shell if needed after it has set. Return to the fridge to set again.

6. While the shell is in the fridge, place the completely cooled cake, cut into pieces, in a food processor and pulse until finely crumbled.

7. Transfer to a bowl.

8. Add about half of the frosting and mix well. You want it to have a consistency similar to play dough.

9. Take the chocolate shells from the fridge and fill with cake pop mixture.

10. Press gently but firmly to fill throughout the mold.

11. Make sure to leave some space on top for another layer of chocolate or candy melts.

12. Spoon about 1 tablespoon of melted chocolate or candy melts over the filling.

13. Smooth out the top with the back of a spoon then a straight edged spatula to remove excess.

14. Place in the refrigerator to set, about 30 minutes or so.

15. Carefully unmold the cake pops. Tada! Aren’t they beautiful?

16. Pictures at the bottom are the traditional cake pops that have sticks.

These make the perfect birthday cake for our current Covid-19 situation. They’re individually portioned and easy to wrap up and give out.

I hope you’ll like these!

Electric Lunchbox #92: Bananas Foster Cheesecake

Bananas Foster Cheesecake! Minus the flame as I had never done it, so it’s still scary for me to light up my food and watch the flames dance on it. 😊

This cheesecake has bananas in it too so you get to taste a hint of it, but together with the caramelized sugar and bananas ever so slightly toasted in butter…pure heaven in every bite!

Making it in the ELB makes sure you only get a small portion, not too much, so that there is no need to summon much will power. 😊

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

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Ingredients for the crust:

1/2 cup graham cracker crumbs

2 tablespoons melted butter

1 tablespoon brown sugar, optional

Ingredients for the filling:

1 bar (8oz) cream cheese

1/3 cup brown sugar, packed

1 small banana

1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract or paste

1/4 teaspoon salt

1 large egg

Ingredients for the topping:

2 tablespoons butter

1/4 cup brown sugar, packed

1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1 banana, sliced

1 tablespoon Bacardi rum

Procedure:

1. For the crust: Mix the graham cracker crumbs,

2. Butter, and brown sugar (if using) together.

3. Place in the big ELB bowl. You can line the bottom with a parchment paper, cut to fit, to make it easier to remove the cheesecake later. You can also add parchment paper slings to make it even easier.

4. Press the mixture down with a spoon. Set aside.

5. Make the filling: In a bowl, place the cream cheese,

6. and brown sugar.

7. Beat well with a hand mixer until mixed.

8. In a small bowl, mash the banana for the filling.

9. I use a fork and just press down on the bananas until they look like this.

10. Add the mashed bananas to the cream cheese mixture.

11. Add the vanilla,

12. Salt,

13. And egg.

14. Beat everything together until well mixed.

15. Pour over the prepared crust and smooth the top using the back of a spoon.

16. Cover with foil and place in the ELB base. Add 3 ELB cups of water to the base, cover and let steam until it shuts off, about an hour.

17. Carefully open the ELB and set the cheesecake aside to cool while you make the topping.

18. Melt butter in a small saucepan.

19. Sprinkle the brown sugar over.

20. Add the cinnamon next.

21. Cook over medium low heat until it melts completely.

22. Place the banana slices on the mixture.

23. Lower heat and cook for a couple of minutes, flipping the bananas over once.

24. Pour the Bacardi rum over and let it heat for a few seconds.

25. Remove cheesecake from the bowl and place on a serving plate.

26. Pour the caramelized bananas over the cheesecake.

27. Serve and enjoy!

Chicken Satay

Right after I was done with college, my mom, dad, and I got into this habit of driving around without a destination, just looking to relax and unwind. In the process, we got to try a lot of different restaurants all over Luzon, in the Philippines.

One of our favorite was Thai restaurants. The delicious Chicken Satay, bagoong rice with green mangoes and scrambled eggs, and delectable peanut sauce served with it is enough to keep us dreaming till the next Thai meal. Rounded out with Thai Iced Tea and we’ve got fuel enough to take us wherever that full tank of gas can go.

Fast forward 21 years later, allergic to shrimp, I have not been able to eat this in a restaurant because of possible cross contamination. So what was I to do? Make it at home, so that I am sure of what went into my food!

This is a very delicious meal, even without the Bagoong rice. If you are not allergic to shrimp, I recommend you try this with the Bagoong fried rice. I did provide an easy guide at the very bottom of this article.

2 pounds chicken breasts, sliced into pieces about 1”x2.5”

MARINADE:

2 tablespoons fish sauce

1 tablespoon lemon juice

1 tablespoon chopped red chili, optional

2 teaspoons sugar

2 teaspoons minced ginger, or ginger paste

2 teaspoons curry powder

1 heaping teaspoon turmeric

2 tablespoons plain yogurt

SAUCE:

1/2 cup peanut butter

1 tablespoon brown sugar

1 tablespoon lemon juice

1 tablespoon soy sauce

1 tablespoon fish sauce

1 tablespoon white vinegar

1/3 cup water

Procedure:

1. In a medium sized bowl, mix together all marinade ingredients until well blended.

2. Add chicken slices and mix well to coat evenly.

3. Cover and refrigerate for at least 4 hours, up to overnight, to allow the chicken to absorb the flavors. In the meantime, soak short bamboo skewers in water.

4. Skewer 3 – 4 pieces of chicken in bamboo skewers and set aside.

5. Grill until done on one side, then turn to cook the other side. I used my stovetop griddle/grill plate as it was too cold to grill outside today.

6. Repeat with all remaining chicken skewers.

7. Place all the ingredients for the sauce in a blender or food processor and blend until smooth. *Forgot to take a picture of this sauce! Sorry! I will update once I make it again!

8. Serve with chicken and rice. Enjoy!

*This is usually served with fermented shrimp paste rice. My son and I are both allergic to shrimp so we do not serve it this way. If you do want to make it, though:

Heat a pan and add some canola oil. Saute minced garlic until golden then add chopped onions. Cook until onions are golden and soft. Add a few spoonfuls of bottled bagoong (fermented shrimp paste). Mix well and add cooked rice. Stir to heat up the rice and distribute the shrimp paste evenly. Season with salt and pepper. Serve topped with scrambled eggs sliced in long strips.