Tag Archives: SoCal Cooking

So Cal Cooking: Mushroom Pancit

I’ve actually only eaten pancit in my friends’ homes, usually cooked by their mothers or fathers. The recipe itself is relatively easy, since the staple ingredients of thin rice noodles, soy sauce, and citrus are the only things one really needs. Everything else is subject up change: you can add shrimp, vegetables, or beef. It’s super easy, and a perfect dish to make a huge batch of and then reheat leftovers. It can be a main dish or a side dish, and you can jazz it up by serving it with lumpia!



1 15oz pack of chinese noodles

1 head of green cabbage

1 onion, sliced

3 green onions

1 large carrot

3 tablespoons of soy sauce

2 tablespoons of oyster sauce

4 cups of sliced mushrooms

3 cloves of garlic, chopped

2 cans of vegetable broth

3 teaspoons cumin

A dash of curry

1 teaspoon of lemon juice

Mushroom Pancit


1. Chop the garlic and the onions.

2. Add one tablespoon of olive oil to a medium sized skillet on medium-high heat. Add the onions, garlic, and mushrooms and cumin.

3. Cook the onions and garlic for 3-5 minutes, or until the onions are translucent

4. Add the chopped carrots and cabbage, and continue to cook on high heat. Reduce the heat once the cabbage and carrots have softened.

5. In a separate medium sized pot, add the vegetable broth, oyster sauce, and soy sauce. Heat on medium.

6. Once the sauce mixture is boiling, add the noodles. Cook the noodles for 5-8 minutes, or until they are soft.

7. Add the noodles to the vegetable mixture. Turn up the heat to high, and fry for about 8-10 minutes, frequently stirring the noodles.

8. Remove heat, and let the pancit sit for a few minutes. Serve when ready!




SoCal Cooking: Mexican Rice

        This dish is by far the most versatile of Mexican cuisine. It makes sense, as rice is the main staple food for nearly all mexican dishes.  This recipe stays true to the original. Consisting of only the essential ingredients, this recipe does not need a lot to offer so much. It is very easy to make in large amounts, and very hard to screw up!  

Mexican Rice
The color alone should make you hungry!

You may be thinking, aren’t Mexican rice and Spanish rice the same? They are not– in fact, the crucial difference lies in the seasoning. Spanish rice tends to use saffron instead of cumin, and green herbs like oregano instead of cilantro, which is commonly found in mexican rice. The differences are small, but noticeable. If you like a smoky, spicy after taste, this is the dish for you. While it can work as a main course, this rice is usually served as a side dish. Whether the main dish is enchiladas or empanadas, the combination of garlic, cumin, and onions provides the perfect company to any other dish. Experimentation is also key in this recipe- you can add more vegetables like peas, corn, or carrots without changing the overall taste. Since this is a vegetarian post, I refrained form adding any meat, but beef is also a good addition to this dish. 


2 cups rice, cooked

2 serrano peppers, finely chopped

1 onion, finely chopped

3 cloves of garlic, finely chopped

1/2 cup of tomato sauce

3 tablespoons Cumin



1. Add oil to the pan and cook the rice and garlic. Mix the rice with the oil, cook on medium-high heat.  

2. Add onions, continue cooking for 5-6 minutes. 

3. Add peppers and cumin, mix well. 

4. Add tomato sauce.

5. Let the rice cook for 15 minutes.

6. Let cool uncovered for 6-7 minutes, and serve!

SoCal Cooking: Chickpea Picadillo

In the middle of a semester, these things called midterms that screw up students’ sleep cycles, challenge the efficiency of their work habits, and worst of all, distort their eating habits. I believe the best way to combat this stress-induced state of malnourishment (or sometimes gluttony) is to make a lot of really good food, and I mean a lot. And yes, this recipe is just that. 

Picadillo itself is a Latin American and Filipino dish, usually composed of potatoes and beef with tomato sauce as the base. Picadillo is served atop something like rice or plantains. It is essentially a spicy stew with diced vegetables. The Filipino variation, the one I made, is not as thick as a stew, but a bit more soup-like, and usually eaten atop rice. The best thing about this dish is that it serves up to  6-8 people just from 40 minutes of cooking, and, most importantly, it’s versatile! Especially during the weeks of midterms, versatility and brevity are the foundations of every college student’s meal. If the midterm stress is making you feel like you can’t accomplish as much as you want or that you’re not doing as great as you want, cook this dish. You’ll get it done, do it right, and feel good.  

Chickpea Picadillo


  1. 1 large white onion, diced
  2. 2 Green chili peppers, diced
  3. 4 large potatoes, cut into cubes
  4. 1 1/2 cup of corn
  5. 1 14oz can of chickpeas 
  6. 5 large carrots, chopped
  7. 3 green onions, chopped
  8. 1 clove of garlic
  9. 2 cups white rice
  10. 1 can tomato sauce
  11. 2 cups water
  12. 2 tablespoons of  black pepper
  13. 1 tablespoon of cumin 
  14. 2 tablespoons of red pepper flakes

1. Oil the pan with 2 tablespoons olive oil.
2. Add the garlic, cook for just a minute on medium heat.
3. Add onions, cook for 3-5 minutes.
4. Add the spices, stir well, continue cooking on medium high heat. 
6. Add the corn, carrots, chickpeas, green onions, and green chiles. Cook for 6-10 minutes.
7. Add potatoes, tomato sauce, and water
8. Cook, uncovered for 25-30 minutes, or until the potatoes are soft.

9. Spread over rice and serve!

Vegetarian Enchiladas

One of my favorite Mexican dishes is Enchiladas. They are perfect for feeding large groups and are pretty simple to make. In this installment of Mexicali cooking, I make vegetarian enchiladas, and do so in less than an hour! I know that time is a precious commodity on college campuses. Since us college students don’t have much time to put into cooking (or sleeping),  we rely on buying pre-made food or walking to Chipotle. However, if there is a Westside, there is a way! Making these enchiladas is very simple, and should take only 10 minutes to prep, and 50 minutes to actually cook and bake. While some days, our schedules necessitates packaged pre-made food, I entreat you all to try this recipe on a Sunday afternoon, because Chipotle really isn’t  Mexican food.

Vegetarian Enchiladas
They are really, really good.



5 flour tortillas (use corn if you can!)

2 cups of Sliced mushrooms

1 can of Black beans (14 oz)

1 1/2 cup of frozen corn

1 large onion, diced

3 green onions (dice both the bulb and green stalks)

6 mini bell peppers

1/2 cup of Cilantro

1 bag of Sargento’s Mexican cheese

3 cloves of garlic, diced


Enchilada sauce:

1 teaspoon of dried oregano

1 teaspoon of cumin

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 can vegetable broth (12 oz)

6 oz of tomato paste

1/4 cup chili powder

1 tablespoon flour

2 tablespoons olive oil

3/4 cup of water

1 tomato, diced 



To make the Enchilada sauce:

1. In a saucepan, heat the olive oil, then add the flour, stirring for about 35 seconds.

2. Add chili powder, continue to stir for a minute to two minutes.

3. Add vegetable broth, tomato paste, tomato, cumin, oregano, stir very well, and reduce the temperature to low heat.

4. Cook for 10-15 minutes, the sauce will thicken itself. If you want it to be less thick, just add up to 3/4 cup of water and stir well.


To make the Enchilada mix

1. In a large skillets, grill the mushrooms for about 4-6 minutes, or until they are soft and have browned.

2. Add garlic and continue to cook for 3 minutes.

3. Add onions, cook them until they are soft, not translucent.

4. Add the corn, beans, green onion bulbs, mini bell peppers, and spices.

5. Add the cilantro and cook on low heat, mixing well.

6. Grease the baking dishes with a little bit of oil.

7. Warm up each tortilla on the stove top, then place about 1/2 cup of bean mixture in the middle of the tortilla. Wrap the tortilla, and place it so that the seam side is not facing you, but on the baking dish.

8. Once you fill the baking dish, with about 5 wraps or so, spread the enchiliada sauce over them.

9. Sprinkle about 1 1/2 cups of cheese over the wraps.

10. Place the baking dish in the oven, bake for 25-35 minutes.

11. Top with the green onion stalks, and serve!