Friday, March 30, 2007

Snow Fungus, Ginkgo and Barley Drink Dessert

Snow Fungus, Ginkgo and Barley Drink Dessert (serves 2-3)
-About 2-3 pieces snow fungus, soaked in water before usage
-About 1 cup pearl barley, washed
-Few pieces of ginkgo nuts, fresh or canned, with inner seeds removed
-Honey dates and/or rock sugar (ratio adjusted accordingly to your ingredient availability or liking)
-Pandan leaves, knotted (option)
-Water, quantity based on ingredients

1. Place all the ingredients in slow-cooker, and pour in water till ingredients are submerged
2. On high heat ~45mins-1hr till barley and fungus are cooked, then turn to low heat 1-2hrs to allow ingredients and textures to soften and flavors to infuse. If not sweet, add in more rock sugar, to taste
3. Can be served warm or cold

More about the ingredients
All three ingredients (snow fungus, ginkgo and barley) can be used in sweet and savory cuisines.

Snow fungus :Practically tasteless, but prized for its jelly-like and crunchy texture. You can see them in sweet soups and desserts such as doubled boiled papaya and snow fungus (木瓜炖雪耳 ); and savory dishes such as doubled-boiled chicken soups. The wood ear/black fungus is another fungus species that can be used in stir-frys.

Barley: Pearl barley(above) or pearled barley is hulled barley which has been processed further to remove the bran. It may be polished, a process known as "pearling". Barley can be used in savory stews and soups, such as chicken stew and minestrone soup. But more common is the sweet barley drink/water- a good diuretic which is known to quench the thirst and expel toxins from the body.

Ginkgo : Expensive ingredient (due to labor intensiveness to crack the hard shell of each nut, removing the thin skin, and removing the young shoot that is usually bitter. So, usually what you eat is just the sweet flesh of ginkgo nuts. There are claims that ginkgo improves memory (it remains to be proven), and there are side-effects too. Usually used in sweet desserts - a popular dessert is barley, soya beancurd sheets(a.k.a foo chuk, in Cantonese) and ginkgo nut drink (can be almond-milky-based, or clear soup-like base). Due to their hint of sweetness, it complements well in a savory dish like this too. And it can be real yummy refreshing!

Related savory dishes:
Stir fry scallops and asparagus with ginkgo
Stir fry vegetables medley

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Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Assam Prawns, Tamarind Prawns, Pineapple Prawns

My Tamarind Assam Prawns adapted the base concoction (of spice paste, and tamarind) from Rasa Malaysia. Ingredients are almost similar except:

-Substituted fish, with prawns (felt like eating prawns)
-Substiuted okra, with pineapples (easier, directly from the can)
-Omitted daun kesum -Vietnamese mint/Vietnames coriander (since I don't have)

The result is heavenly, as I would describe it; and "...extraordinarily satisfying...", quote Rasa Malaysia.

Definitely a perfect match with steaming white rice! The gravy...

Related posts:
Cereal Prawns
Pan-Grilled Prawns or Shrimps
Prawns or Shrimps with Spicy Milk Saure
Cheat Sheet "Chilli Crab" - Spicy seafood medley

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Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Pork and Cilantro Omelette

Cilantro and Pork Omelette (serves 2-3)
-~150g(1/3lbs) ground pork
-1cup chopped cilantro
-2 medium size eggs, whisked in a bowl
-salt and pepper, to taste

1. Heat oil in frying pan on low-medium heat
2. Fry the ground pork for few minutes till cooked, salt and pepper to taste
3. Slightly cool the ground pork before adding to the whisked egg in a bowl; and to the same egg mixture, add the cilantro. Stir in (gently) the pork and cilantro to the egg mixture
4. Add a little more oil to the frying pan, and add in the egg mixture
5. Allow the underside of the egg omelette to cook at low heat for 2-3mins

6. Once the underside is cooked(just turned light golden brown), flip the egg over with a large surface turnover spatula and cook the other side (Note: just do what you normally would do when you fry an omelette since the pork is already cooked, so no worries about getting a overdone egg omelette with some uncooked fillings)

The result is a yummy pork and cilantro omelette! Porko-Omo, and that cilantro!

Related egg-cellent posts:
HumptyDumpty - Sambal Chilli Eggs
Wat Dan Hor-Fried Rice Noodle with Egg Gravy

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Monday, March 26, 2007

Curry pie

Curry pie (makes ~5 mini pies)
In your grocer's basket or preparation bowl: Get ready ~100g (1/4 lb) ground beef (can be ground turkey, chicken, pork) , a small-medium yellow russet potato (boiled), and 1/4cup finely diced onions. It's a pie, so don't forget to stock up on pastry making ingredients; and for me, it's got to be time saver Betty Crocker Pie Crust Mix (half of the standard 11oz pack), 1tbsp butter, and some cold water (The pie crust mix pack would have ready instructions for you to make the dough, don't worry).

In a saute pan: ...lightly oiled, fry the ground beef for a 2-3 mins; then add in cubed potatoes(already boiled as whole then cubed) and fry for few more mins, till meat is cooked.

Then, add 2 tsp curry powder, and pinches(eyeball quantity, to taste) of five spice powder (allspice will do as well) to the mixture and continue saute on low heat. If you are using ground turkey or chicken, the mixture may be dry (so add some chicken broth or water). To thicken mixture and enhance the "creamy" texture, add cornflour-water mixture(of about 1tsp cornflour mixed with 2tbsp water). Turn off heat when mixture is ready. Allow cool.

On a flat board/floured surface: Roll the dough flat and cut into ~8 round sections (~5 rounds for the base crust, and 2-3 rounds-to be "flatten" further using the rolling pin, and cut into 5 rounds for the top crust)

In the muffin pan: Line the dough-crust base on buttered muffin pan surface, add the filling(of meat+potatoes+onions), then top with top dough-crust.

In the preheated oven: Bake the pies @400F for about 20 minutes.

In the easter basket:...finally...these finger-friendly baked pies.

Related posts:
Chicken strudel
Mini chicken pie
Curry puffs/pasties

Sunday, March 25, 2007

Coffee Haupia

Coffee Haupia (2 small servings)
-2tsp instant coffee (I used Nescafe Tasters Choice)
-1-2tbsp cornstarch/cornflour, to thicken
-2-3tbsp brown sugar, to taste
-leftover coconut milk (about 1-2cups will do)

1.Combine all ingredients in a saucepan and continuously stir over low heat till thick. Do not let the mixture boil.
2.Adjust coffee and sugar ratio, to taste
3.Pour into individual serving cups or for me, the muffin pan. Chill.

Took the picture before chilling in the fridge, but I forgot to take the pictures after chilling :(

Thursday, March 22, 2007

Otak otak- fish cake in banana leaves

Otak B (makes ~3-4 otak)
-1/4lb fish paste(1/8lb dace fish paste-imported from China+ 1/8lb fish paste-San Jose, local)
-1/4 cup thick coconut milk
-1 egg white
-2tbsp belachan paste (that's where the "heat" came from)
-1/2 small shallot
-1/2 of one small ginger
-1/3tsp cane sugar
-banana leaves,and bamboo skewers
(Note: No tom yum paste and no galangal used here in Otak B, but much more belachan paste)

1.Blend shallot and ginger in food processor
2.Add all the ingredients to the fish paste. Mix evenly until it becomes smooth
3.Place fish paste mixture in the center of a banana leaf, adjusted according to size of banana leaf

4.Fold and secure both ends with short bamboo skewers

5.Preheat oven to 450F and bake the otak for 20-25mins.
6 Ready !

Of course, I set aside some "play time" in this serious experiment. Played around with shapes...using . HA!

More notes:
1. Mixing two types of fish paste improves the texture since dace fish paste is more "lumpy" and the other fish paste is smoother.
2. Using more sambal belachan paste improves the color of the otak, and increases the "spice" level as well. I like the spicy version. The use of more sambal belachan paste does not overpower the otak (as in, the otak otak still taste like otak otak)
3.Not using galangal in Otak B works as well. This short-cut works in case you still want to make your otak but does not have this ingredient (Don't worry, PROVEN, by me the "guinea pig")

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Penne mushroom and beef bolognese

Penne mushroom and beef bolognese (serves 2-3)
-1/2lb penne pasta
-1/2lb ground beef(substitute: ground turkey)
-4oz white mushrooms, sliced
-3tbsp chopped onions
- Classico Triple Mushroom sauce (with portobello & crimini mushroom chucks...yum yum)
-olive oil

1. Boil pasta in boiling water, with some salt. Takes about 7-9mins.
2.Heat oil in frying pan, add mushrooms, and onions and cook till soften
3.Add in ground beef, and cook till beef changes color
4.Add in sauce and stir well

5. By this time, the penne pasta is cooked in the boiling water. Drain pasta and add to the sauce mixture, stir and mix well

6.Dish up and serve

Pasta shapes are designed not to only look attractive but to "pick up" and convey" sauce to your mouth. A simple key to pasta shape and sauce matching :
-Long thin pasta go with sauces that are thin or have finely-cut ingredients(eg. spaghettini or angel hair with lemon and cream suace);
-Long flat pasta suit slightly heavier sauces;
-Short pasta with indentations and cavities are tailored for thick chucky sauces (eg. penne-quills or fusilli - twists, with chucky mushroom bolognese sauce)

Friday, March 16, 2007

Stir fry long beans and celery

Stir fry long beans and celery (ingredients quantity depends on servings required)
Have the long beans and celery cleaned, and cut into bite-size lengths respectively. Rinse the the dried anchovies and dried shrimps in water to soften.

More simply: Heat up some oil in the fry pan; add in dried anchovies and dried shrimps and fry till fragrant. Add in long beans and celery and fry (5-7mins) till cooked (crunchy and tender is the way to go here). Serve over rice.

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Friday, March 09, 2007

Potato cutlet/potato patties

Potato cutlet/potato patties (makes ~8 pieces)

-1lb potatoes, boiled and peeled
-0.5lb ground beef (substitute with other ground meat you wish, if you don't take beef)
-8-10 stalks cilantro, cleaned and chopped
-2tbsp fried shallots
-2 eggs,
-salt and pepper to taste
-cooking oil

1. Mash up the boiled and peeled potatoes
2. Heat oil in pan at medium heat and fry the ground beef for a while
3. Mix mashed potatoes, fried beef, cilantro, fried shallots together (except the eggs), till evenly mixed

4.Shape into a ball as seen in the picture

5. Separately beat the eggs.
6. Heat oil in a pan on medium-high, and dip the begedil(potato cakes) individually in the beaten eggs and drop into the hot oil (can fry 3-4 at a time, depending on size of pan)

Begedil. Begedelicious!

Tuesday, March 06, 2007

Baba coriander chicken

Baba coriander chicken (serves 4)
Main ingredient:
-2/3 lb chicken (I've used a mix of thigh meat and drummettes)

Chicken marinade:
-sprinke of salt
-1tsp sugar
-drizzle of sesame oil

Ingredients A:
- 2-3 cloves shallots, peeled
-1 small piece young ginger
- 2-3 cloves garlic, skinned

Ingredients B:
-1 stalk lemon grass, bruised(use bottom 5cm only, white part)
-1tbsp coriander powder
-1tsp white peppercorns, pounded coarsely
-1/2tbsp oyster sauce
-1tsp dark soy sauce
-some water

1.Marinate chicken with salt, sugar and sesame oil for 15 mins. Meanwhile, use food processor to chop shallots, ginger, garlic coarsely
2.Heat oil in wok at medium het. When hot, stir fry lemongrass and chopped Ingredients A till aromatic
3.Add in remaining Ingredients B including marinate chicken, bring to boil
4.As soon as mixture starts to bubble, lower fire to simmer till chicken is tender and gravy thickens

Sunday, March 04, 2007

Gado Gado - Vegetables in peanut sauce dressing

Gado Gado - Vegetables in peanut sauce dressing (serves 2-3)

-3cups cabbage, shredded
-3cups long beans, cut into 5cm lengths
-2cups baby carrots
-1 medium-size potato, boiled in its skin, then peeled and cubed
-1/2 a block of firm beancurd, cubed and deep-fried
-1/2 cucumber, thinly sliced
-1 hard-boiled eggs, halved
-1tsp fried shallots

-Blanch long beans, carrots and cabbage till just tender (Note: Add the cabbage 5-8mins after the long beans and carrots, since cabbage takes shorter time to cook)
-Heat up the peanut sauce
-Toss all the vegetables in peanut sauce
-Tuck in!

Oh, wait, wait wait...there is one missing ingredient here. Can anybody guess what is it ?

Friday, March 02, 2007

Thai Style Hot and Spicy Fried Tofu/Bean Curd

Thai Style Hot and Spicy Fried Tofu/Bean Curd (serves 2)

-1 block firm beancurd/tofu, cut into bite sized cubes
-oil for deep frying
-100g ground pork
-1stalk lemon grass chopped finely
-1tsp chopped chilli padi or dashes of red chilli pepper flakes

-2tbsp lime juice
-1tbsp sugar

1. Heat up oil for deep-frying, deep fry bean curd till golden brown. Dish and drain, set aside

2.Heat up oil and saute all ingredients till fragrant
3. Add in ground pork, stir well, add in seasoning and bring to boil. Add in fried bean curd, mix well and serve immediately

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Thursday, March 01, 2007

Mui Fun - Rice with seafood and egg gravy

Mui Fun - Rice with seafood and egg gravy (serves 2)
-2 rice bowls cooked rice
-6 medium-sized prawns; shelled and deveined - marinated with a pinch of salt, pepper
-4 scallops - marinated with a pinch of salt, pepper
-1 piece chicken thigh meat; sliced to bite-size -marinated with drizzle of sesame oil
-0.8-1lbs bok choy and bok choy-sum , washed and cut into sections of stalks/stems and leaves
-straw and button mushrooms, drained - if whole mushrooms, cut into halves

-1/2tsp crushed garlic
-1/2tsp crushed ginger
-1 tbsp cornflour mixed with 1/2 cup water
-1/2cup chicken broth
-2 eggs
-pepper and salt to taste
-oil for cooking

1.Heat oil and saute scallops till cooked, set aside (for jumbo big scallops, cut into bite-size after saute)
2.Continue to saute prawns till cooked, set aside
3.Add more oil into frying pan and fry the chicken till cooked. Add in garlic, ginger and fry until fragrant.
4.Pour in broth and bring to the boil. Simmer 5mins.
5. Add in mushrooms, and vegetables and when gravy comes to a boil, add in the cornflour mixture. Bring gravy back to boil
6.Add in the cooked prawns and scallops. Season to taste.
7.Turn off heat and crack in the 2 eggs, stir to cook the eggs
8.Dish gravy onto the rice

Tuck in !

Not enough egg gravy? Ok, give you more gravy. Enough ?