Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Shrimps with Crispy Rice/Barley Bits

Shrimps with Crispy Rice/Barley Bits, or Guoba prawns/shrimps, or (serve 2)

-12 medium-sized prawns/shrimps, cleaned and peeled
-1tbsp cornflour
-1 egg, whisked
- some rice or barley crisp-cracker (store-bought)

-2tbsp tomato sauce/ketchup
-dashes of Worcestershire
-1tsp black vinegar
-1-2tsp citron honey
-3tbsp water, adjust accordingly
-few slices of ginger, julienned to thin strips
-spring onions, julienned to thin strips, by the bias

Method (making the shrimps) :
1. Dab the shrimps dry with a kitchen paper towel

2. Dip the shrimps in the egg mixture, then coat lightly with flour and deep-fry till golden brown. Set aside or place on top of crackers.

Method (making the sauce) :
3. Whisk together all the sauce ingredients (except ginger and spring onions/scallions) in a bowl and set aside.
4. Heat oil in a shallow saucepan over medium heat. Add ginger and stir-fry for 1min, till fragrant. Add the sauce mixture and bring to boil.
5. Check for the sauce consistency. If not thick enough, add some cornflour to thicken.
6. Simmer the sauce for a few seconds and remove from the heat. Stir in the scallions.

7. Assembly ingredients

8. Pour the sweet and tangy sauce over the shrimp+ crispy cracker assembly. Serve immediately

Crispy shrimps with drizzles of sweet and sour sauce, who could resist that ?

Even the cracker gets drizzles of sauce, and "sizzles" in my heart

Oh, did you hear it? I could not :( ...but the cracker "tainted" with the sauce was equally good!

Do you prefer this to drunken prawns ?

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Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Assam Fish

I tried Assam fish too when the Assam prawns turned out delicious.

Anyhow, the recipe is exactly the same as Assam prawns, so I will not be posting it again. Pictures only!

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Monday, July 23, 2007

Mini fruit medley orange cups

Find peaches.

Find watermelons.

Find bing and rainier cherries.

Find blueberries.

Find paradise.

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Saturday, July 21, 2007

Fish soup

Fish soup
(serves 2)
- 2-3 Alaskan cod fish fillets (I like to stick to wild-caught, non-farm-raised fishes, where ever possible). Buy fresh or flash-frozen. Cut fish fillets into slices of about 0.7-0.8cm thickness, marinade("pat") lightly with salt and pepper
- Seafood stock* (Note: I will talk about making the stock at the bottom of the post)
- Canned straw mushrooms (option)

- any green leafy vegetables (lettuce, bok choy, bok choy sum) of your choice, blanched
- 2 stalks spring onions, julienned into thin strips at the bias
- fried shallots and red chili, garnish
- salt and pepper, to taste

1. In a soup pot, boil the seafood stock* with mushrooms. When boiling, turn to low heat, simmer
2. While simmering, add in the fish slices, in small batches; once cooked(turns opaque), remove from simmering soup and set aside (Note: Do not overcook the fish)
3. Add in spring onions, salt and pepper to taste (Note: By this time, the soup is already robustly flavored in seafood-, and fish- flavor)
4. Lay the blanched vegetables in a bowl, top with cooked fish slices, then spoon the hot soup into the bowl over the vegetables and fish slices
5. Garnished with more spring onions, fried shallots and sliced red chilli
6. Serve warm with rice

How nutritious is this...

*Making the stock for fish soup:
1. Teochew-style - boil a pot of water with pork bones, soybeans and peppercorns for about 20mins or longer. Salt to taste. Best if additionally garnished with pre-fried dried shrimp, pre-fried pork belly slices and pre-fried dried Chinese mushrooms.
2. Cantonese-style - If available, get some fish bones and marinate with a little salt. Then fry the fish bones in oil till they are fragrant, add a dash of chinese cooking wine. Pour in water (soup will turn whitish), then add ginger and simmer for 30mins. Remove the bones.
3. Short-cut/cheat-sheet style - This is more of a tip. When stir-frying seafood - shrimps, bay scallops, calamari, clam etc., you will usually get instant "seafood broth" due to the moisture content of the seafood. Most of the times, you may not need all the seafood "essence" at once(unless you are making seafood soup in which you do not want "dilution" of flavors). Keep some aside - store in air-tight container and freeze for future use.

This fish soup turned out unexpectedly good. Another "almost naked" way of tasting fresh fish. "Naked" in this meaning - minimal cooking of the fish

Quite common to dip the fish slices in a condiment of dark soy sauce with some sliced red chilli in it, or maybe some Thai chili condiment, for a change.


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Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Drunken prawns

Drunken prawns
- Live spot prawns (or any live prawns)
- dashes of cooking wine, shaoxing
- some ginger, sliced thinly
- some goji/wolberries

1. "Marinate" the prawns with some cooking wine ( other words...make them "drunk")
2. Boil some water or stock in a pot. When boiling, add slices of ginger and some goji berries.
3. Then add in the prawns, and cook till they turn pink

4. Dish out and serve (Note: Set the remaining broth/soup aside to drink, as it contains the goodness and flavors of shrimps, ginger and goji berries - nutritious)

Cooked whole, eat whole, just have to suck out the juices from the prawn head :O

Soooo succulent and this can be in my memory

Drunken prawns...the story continues: You could find this dish in most Chinese seafood restaurants, sometimes in a Chinese wedding course-dinner. In the Chinese seafood restaurant, live prawns are brought to the table in a bowl of soy and wine in which they, literally, drown. :O You will realize the prawns are still alive when they start flapping about in a transparent casserole bowl. The prawns will be cooked over the portable stove-top, right in front of you. Within a few minutes (when the prawns stop moving, or are slow and painfully dead), peel off the shell and eat immediately. Not so much of being cruel, the restaurant just wants to ensure the freshest prawns being served to their patrons. Seeing is believing, isn't it?

Well, I have here, the restaurant delicacy simplified for the home cook. The main ingredient - shrimps/prawns certainly demonstrate its nutrition benefits; and the cooking method - boiling, does not introduce any unhealthy elements to the dish. All perfect for the heart. Just maybe, the story of the drunken prawns, may not be for the weak-hearted.

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Monday, July 16, 2007

Vegetarian Beancurd Roll

Vegetarian Beancurd Roll (makes ~6 rolls)
- some beancurd sheets, and nori sheets (Note: If you cannot get beancurd sheets, you can substitute by spring roll wrappers, but you may have to deep-fry the final product)
-1 pack regular firm tofu
- 1-2 cups brown crimini mushrooms, chopped finely to small pieces (Note: Substitute with shitake mushrooms if you wish)
- 1 stalk of celery, cleaned throughly, chopped to small pieces
- 1 cup mixed (frozen) vegetables - corn, carrots, peas and/or long beans
- 1tbsp oyster sauce
- salt and pepper to taste

1. Heat a little oil in a saute pan and stir fry the mushrooms, celery and mixed vegetables. Add in oyster sauce and some salt and pepper to taste
2. Turn off heat and allow the mixture to cool.
3. Meanwhile, mash the tofu in a deep mixing bowl. When the vegetable mixture has cooled slightly, add the mixture into the mashed tofu and mix well

4. While waiting for mixture to cool, prepare the beancurd sheets (Note: available in most Asian supermarkets) and nori sheets

5. Wrap the rolls like what I did to my shrimp rolls
6. Steam the rolls for 6-8mins to soften the beancurd skin and warm up the entire tofu fillings (Note: If you have uncooked meat in the rolls, steaming is one way to cook the meat before deep-frying. Usually, the deep-frying, particularly if the rolls are big and fat, is done just to give that nice golden brown outer on the rolls, and not to cook the meat inside the rolls)

7. Before serving, bake and warm in oven, ~5-8 mins, to get some crispness on the rolls (Note: This will also ensure your guests are always served warm food)

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Friday, July 13, 2007

Citron honey chicken

Yuja is a round, lemon-like citrus fruit, also known as yuzu in Japanese and English. It has an aroma which cannot be substituted, a powerful acidity and a plentiful supply of vitamin C. Along with berries, this citrus fruit contain antioxidant- flavonoids, unique to the citrus family. In Korea, it is used to create a syrupy tea - Yuja cha. The fruit is thinly sliced (peel, pith and pulp) then soaked or cooked in honey or sugar to create a chunky syrup. This syrupy candied fruit is often mixed with hot water as fragrant tea.

The citron fruit is slow-growing and often preserved in syrup for the cold months - the citron tea made from syrup is often served as a source of fruit in winter. It's not winter in the U.S (still months and months to go...) but I've already turned to Korean honey citron tea (yujacheong) or Yuzu tea.

Citron honey does not come comforting only in winter, it is an all-rounder in my opinion, since I can use it to flavor up my savory dishes all year-all-round. If you use honey and lemon as ingredients in your cooking, citron honey is almost a perfect substitute ingredient - adding that tang factor. "Sweet and sour" poultry and meat dishes can be made a little different and special, by adding citron honey. Citron Honey Chicken. The name by itself is already so tasty. The dish itself - a covet balance of tang and sweet.

I was quite sure adding citron honey (as the substitute) would not go too wrong since I've done lychee chicken before - another sweet and tangy chicken dish.

The citron honey chicken is definitely a keeper, with the other "chicks" - herbal, satay, braised, deep-fried spicy , & ginger-steamed

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Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Steamed herbal chicken

Steamed herbal chicken
What was done differently - different herbs were used

I've done double-boiled soup before. After looking at Pea's recipe, I decided to use the only herbal pack left in my pantry, to do this- not as a herbal soup, but as this. The herbal pack has the words " 六 味汤 " (literally meaning, Six-Flavored Soup) on it. I don't really know what it tastes like when boiled as a soup. Will it have six-flavors? Six flavors but what flavors? All unknown. Naturally, I will be treading on untested grounds, risky waters, if I try recipes other than soup.

However, I reckon it harmless (at most I just waste a pack of $1.50 herbal pack, *sad*) if I turn it to a steamed herbal chicken, rather than doing the traditional herbal chicken soup. The soup pack does not have Tong Kwai (Dang Gui-当归), Tong Sum (Dang Shen-党渗), as what were used in the original, but it has other herbs which, I suspect, will infuse a completely different flavor to the chicken.

In addition, I added my own honey dates, and wolfberries (goji berries).

Left: pre-pack herbs; right: my own honey dates and wolfberries (goji berries).

Steamed herbal chicken (serves 2)
Ingredients: Pre-packed herbs, some honey dates, and wolfberries

-1tbsp sesame oil
-dashes of pepper
-1tsp brown sugar

Marinade (for chicken):
-2tsps oyster sauce
-1tsp dark soya sauce
-1-2tsp sesame oil

1. In a bowl, mix the seasoning mixture and chinese herbs.
2. Steam the ingredients for about 45mins-1hr.

3. After that, pour the seasoned herb mixture onto a aluminum foil and allow cool. Wrapped in foil, fridge overnight in air tight container (Precious Pea, you mentioned you had some leftover cooked chicken for next day's lunch and it was even tastier, right? So, I kept the steamed herbs overnight in the fridge to allow even more time for the herbs to release and infuse flavor. Just like marinating...). Am I being stupid ? :O
4. Next day, have your chicken thawed. If you are using bigger chicken parts, like a big drumsticks, make a few incisions on the chicken to ensure the chicken can be cooked through (Note: If using smaller chicken drummettes or wings, just make 1-2 incisions on the chicken)
5. Marinate lightly. Set aside.
6. Steam (reheat) foil of herbs for 5-10mins
7. Open up the foil of herbs, place marinated chicken into the herbs and make sure to mix the herbs evenly on the chicken.
8. Seal it real tight and steam for about 45min-1hr, or even longer, till the chicken is cooked through

Pain(time)stakingly, but very tasty. Thanks, Precious Pea! :)

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Fruit parfait

Bing cherries, rainier cherries, kiwi, berries...but where is mickey?

Can you see the "mickey" now? Tell me if you see it.

Use yogurt and lots of fruits.

Sweet sour prawns

This is one of them - sweet sour prawns. One of those simple and easy recipes around, that is long-forgotten in my memory. Thanks, Pablopabla...for reminding me.

Sweet and sour prawns
What was done differently - added some pineapple cubes and water chestnuts.

Goes well with steamed rice (what doesn't?)

Easy to cook, yummy to eat. Thanks Pablopabla! :)

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Tuesday, July 03, 2007

Curd Noodle Salad

Curd Noodle Salad (can be appetizer or main dish)
- a pack of curd noodles, blanched in boiling water, to soften and "loosen up" the noodles
- celery, washed/cleaned thoroughly and julienned to thin strips (Note: I use a peeler to help me achieve the "noodle-effect" in my celery. It'll be so much easier to enjoy the salad this way since the celery strips and noodle strands will not "segregate" on their own when tossed as a salad)

- some dried shrimps, soaked in warm water to soften, then chopped into small bits (Note: You can pre-fry the dried shrimps, or if you already have pre-fried dried shrimps, use them. But my objective here is to have less stove-top and oil-free cooking, thus I just use pre-soaked/soften dried shrimps)
- some sesame oil
- dashes of pepper
- pinch of salt, to taste

How to: Place ingredients in a bowl, toss and mix well. (Note: If having it later, you can keep in the fridge for up to 2 days)

There you go, a healthy, nutritious noodle salad...enjoy :)