Tag Archives: Rina Oh

Dinner Parties: Namaste, An Indian Summer Soiree hosted by Pooja Kharbanda and Rina Oh

Dining with Outlaws dinner parties

Pooja Kharbanda chatting up Gael Greene, Rina Oh to the right.

Welcome to the first installment of fabulous dinner parties I’ll be hosting with my Out-Laws. Just in case you haven’t figured it out, Dining with Out-Laws is a site dedicated to my culinary family- one I created in my home away from home. My Out-Laws represent everything I dream my actual family could be- a metamorphosis of taste buds, changing as the seasons change. Sometimes on trend, often times a little risky and dangerously curious- just like me! Unfortunately, my everyday life back at home is filled with the enslavement of making food that other people actually crave, it’s not the omakase style kitchen I’ve dreamt about where family members just eat and don’t ask or complain.

Sitar Players at dinner party hosted by Rina Oh and Pooja Kharbanda

The Sitar Players at Namaste.

In this episode of Dining with Out-Laws, my friend Pooja and I co-hosted an Indian Summer Soiree at her place in Soho. Welcome to Namaste: some people say hello, we chose to feed them as an intro. I’ve debuted a few recipes at the fashion event. When you have a room full of designers, editors, writers, stylists, producers, and icons: I’ld call that a fashion event, wouldn’t you? When friends inquired about our party after receiving their Namaste evite: I informed them it will be an “eventful fashionable dinner party”, so please come in your stylish garbs. The Sitar players filled the atmosphere with tranquil and exotic tones, perfect for our exotic Indian Summer Soiree.

Namaste Menu

Namaste Menu

Pooja’s mom and I tag-teamed the dinner menu, which looked something like this:

Butternut Squash Shorba Soup.

Butternut Squash Shorba Soup.

The starters: I made a Shorba Butternut Squash Soup.

Paneer Salad.

Paneer Salad.

Pooja’s mom made this fabulous appetizer.

Mango Lassi.

Mango Lassi.

Mango Lassi anyone?

Tamarind Goat Curry.

Tamarind Goat Curry.

We ordered this goat curry from our favorite Indian restaurant, Tamarind.

Rina Oh's Farro Salad, perfect for the Fashion crowd.

Rina Oh’s Farro Salad, perfect for the Fashion crowd.

My Summer Farro Salad with coconut chips, cranberries, and a spiced cilantro dressing. All the fashion folks raved about my bird food. They chanted for a recipe. Soon my little swans, I promise.


Pooja’s mom made this delish chick pea curry above.

Chicken Curry.

Chicken Curry.

Another delicious curry by Pooja’s mom. I am getting a one-on-one cooking lesson from Pooja’s mom you guys.

This looks like a scene from a fashion forward 70's funk movie doesn't it?

This looks like a scene from a fashion forward 70’s funk movie doesn’t it?

Pooja Kharbanda and the designers from FFS.

Pooja Kharbanda and the designers from FFS.

Our fabulous hostess Pooja Kharbanda with the designers from FFS.

Rina Oh with the designers from FFS.

Rina Oh with the designers from FFS.

Here I am with the fabulous FFS sisters

Gael Greene, our most critical judge loved Namaste and we love her!

Gael Greene, our most critical judge loved Namaste and we love her!

The godmother of food critics and writers everywhere. This was a scene I saw repeated several times during the week, first at the Citymeals Chefs Tribute where Gael Greene was greeted by every culinary icon and their offspring at the event. Now she’s greeted in the same nature by the fashion folks, just like they do it in the movies. I love it!

Rina Oh's Basil Seed and Poha Rice Pudding with Candied Ginger and Mango.

Rina Oh’s Basil Seed and Poha Rice Pudding with Candied Ginger and Mango.

Last but not least, the Basil-Seed, Poha Rice Pudding filled with candied ginger bits and fresh mango for dessert. We had a blast. The best part of the evening was getting a beautiful kaftan designed by our Indian Goddess Pooja from her line, 6Shoreroad. Till soon, I’ll see you at the next dinner party…


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Filed under Dining with Outlaws, Dinner Parties, Fashion, Indian, June 2013, Uncategorized

Patjuk, a vegan Winter Solstice Food


On Donjinal (December 22): Patjuk, a red bean porridge is cooked and eaten throughout Korea. It’s popularity stems from the seasonal scarcity of fresh meat and vegetables as a mid-winter food which eventually sustained as an entire meal minus all the side dishes one would normally consume during other seasons.

A popular mysterious belief is that the food drives evil spirits away, brings good harvest in the coming months, and of course good luck. It is typically served with glutinous rice flour cakes formed into small balls that resemble a quail’s egg.

I tweaked my recipe from the traditional method by incorporating cooked rice instead of using raw grain rice to cook the porridge. After all- tis the holidays and less work means more time for other things!


1 cup dry red beans

1 cup cooked medium grain glutinous rice

100 grams glutinous rice flour

6 tablespoons boiling water

1 teaspoons salt

6-8 cups water


Soak red beans overnight in a medium bowl with water (about 3-4 cups) to cover. Drain water before use.

Bring about 4 cups of water to a boil. Add red beans and allow to cook for about an hour uncovered on a simmer.

Stir in cooked rice, season with salt and pepper and cook for an additional 45 minutes to an hour on a simmer. Mash with a potato masher and stir in steamed rice cakes.

The beauty of this dish is that you can buy your rice cakes instead of making them yourself (which is a labor of love in itself). If you’re like me, you’ve made the rice cakes a few weeks in advance and stored them in the freezer. They’re actually very easy to make, and shouldn’t take longer than 15-20 minutes total prep and cooking time.

Combine salt and flour.

Have your boiling water handy and stir in one tablespoon at a time. Your dough shouldn’t be too mushy or too dry.

Knead your dough for about 5 minutes. Form into small quail size balls and steam them for about 15 minutes until they are completely cooked through. The center should be moist, not dry.

Transfer rice cakes into red bean porridge and serve with kimchi or other banchan on the side. You can also enjoy this on its own!

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Filed under December 2011, Holidays, Hot on the Blog, Korean Food at Home, Red Bean Porridge

Feast of the Seven Veggies: Celebrating One Year of Meatless Monday!

Being Korean born and growing up in the US was aberrant when the timely holidays rolled in. Korean holidays are virtually desolate here. My initial Thanksgiving culinary traditions began at fourteen years of age, with the help of a Betty Crocker cookbook purchased at Woolworth’s in Flushing, Queens.

I cooked my first holiday dinner for my parents, aunt, uncle, and cousins. The dishes served were mashed potatoes with gravy, buttermilk biscuits, and stuffed turkey.

Here’s my grownup version of mashed potatoes: Potato gratin. Looking back, I can’t recall serving any green vegetables that year. The tradition continued well into my twenties, where I explored traditional American holiday foods married with my Korean heritage which translated as kimchi on the side.

Patjuk is typically served as a Winter solstice food in Korea (one of very few major Korean holidays).

When I eventually married an Italian American, an entire continent of food emerged and I finally discovered how to enjoy seasonal dishes which included lots of fresh local tomatoes, fresh herbs, and really good cheese. I learned how to adjust my salt in salads according to the season, and pasta went far beyond spaghetti and meatballs. I became versed in fixing up marinara sauce discerning contrasting characteristics between marinara and Sunday sauce. Lasagna had been discovered long before the marriage of two cultures- (I have to credit myself for having perfected it thanks to a handy old copy of a NY Times cookbook I picked up from the Piermont library when I was a teen). In short, I spent the last six years exploring this new and exciting cuisine, discovering porcini mushrooms, risotto, cavetelli, pesto, and an endless repertoire of recipes from family members and cookbooks. I finally began cooking the green vegetables during this time. Our typical holidays included a marriage (literal) of Koreans and Italians. Whether it was Easter, Thanksgiving, or Christmas. It was Italian food with kimchi as its co-star.

Kimchi & soy pajeon, zucchini pajeon.

Cooking Korean food at home meant, there was much tweaking which led to the creation of newly adapted dishes for my big Italian family. I eventually became so involved in cooking that spending six hours in the kitchen seemed conventional and acceptable. To outsiders, it may have looked like I was absolutely manic about food- that’s because I was! I loved food so much that I enrolled into culinary school to really hone my kitchen skills and became a professional chef.

Roasted beets with red onion and champagne vinaigrette.

Last year, I discovered Meatless Monday and when I was asked to submit a holiday post for Food2.com, I ventured into my old handy Betty Crocker cookbook for advise and cooked up American classics with a twist. It was the beginning of a year-long relationship with seasonal vegetables. Here’s a seasonal roasted root vegetables dish: (purple potatoes, heirloom sweet potato, chippolini onions, garlic) below:

This holiday season celebrates my one-year anniversary with going Meatless one day a week! I cooked up a Christmas dinner starring Korean food served up as the Feast of the Seven Veggies! It’s my Korean version of the classic Italian Christmas Eve supper. Christmas for Koreans has become more popularized in recent years and they have a special name for it (seongtanjeol). I made seven main dishes, with matching seven side dishes (banchan) for this special occasion. Some traditional recipes originated from the Royal kitchens of the Joseon Dynasty in Korea. It was a labor of love- the nine delicacies in Gujeolpan were  a tad bit time consuming.

I suggest if you’re going to try this at home, give yourself a few days to make the dinner. Start with Gujeolpan, use the leftover veggies to make japchae, cook your vegetables ahead of time and marinade and dress them right before consumption.  When the feast is finished, you can have the leftover banchan in a mixed rice bowl (bibimbap) the following day.

No dinner is ever complete without a hot spicy soup at the end! Spicy tofu soups and stews are an absolute food staple made with gochugaru, tofu, and garlic, this version includes kimchi.

Here are the seven Korean style side dishes I made!

Acorn Starch Jelly…looks like jello, sort of tastes like jello- except it’s 100% vegan!

Assorted mushrooms with crushed sesame seeds…

Baby Bok Choy with perilla seeds and sesame oil…

Mung bean sprouts…

Braised Korean peppers with garlic…

Marinated spinach…

What kind of Korean meal is complete without kimchi?! None!

For dessert, I made Songpyeon. A sweet and savory rice cake. It’s typically served up during Chuseok (Korean Thanksgiving according to the Lunar calendar). I’m currently working on finishing up a round up of all the dishes I’ve conjured up this past year for a vegetarian cookbook! Recipes are coming shortly, stay tuned…

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Filed under December 2011, Holidays, Hot on the Blog, Korean Food at Home, Meatless Mondays