Thursday, August 28, 2008

Three Cup Chicken, or Vegetarian's Three-Cup Mushrooms

Two cups? What cups? A cup, B, C...F or G cup for Gargantuan? :P How about three cups in equal sizes? Heeee.....

Hey you, I am talking about Three-Cup Chicken (三杯鸡 San Bei Ji). And it is NOT Three Cups of Chicken, either. This is another really simple yet robust dish, making use of easy available seasonings and....tapping on the aroma of fresh basil!

Simple. First, you need chicken (wings or other parts, fresh or frozen - up to you). Not Three Cups of chicken BUT the essentials THREE CUPS - each of equal amt. dark soy sauce, rice wine, sesame oil - hence the name Three-Cup Chicken.

This dish is popular in Taiwan and so I had a go at it when I was in Taiwan. I've seen it demonstrated in some Taiwan cooking programmes but here, I have it tailored to more "homemade" cooking. Sure, use a claypot at the final stage if you wish. I don't have a claypot then, so made do without it. If you are vegetarian, you can try have a go at Three-Cup Mushrooms - easily another flavor- and fragrance- bombed dish.

Three Cup Chicken
Chicken wings(I use frozen and had it thawed), garlic, ginger, green onions, slice red chili (de-seed if you don't want too spicy), fresh basil

Seasoning: Proportion of sesame oil and dark soy sauce and cooking (rice) wine should be equal.

1. Heat up sesame oil in wok or pan
2. Add ginger to fry in sesame oil till it exudes aroma
3. Add chicken wings (that's what I use - frozen chicken wings that have been thawed), sear the chicken to brown on all sides
4. Add minced garlic, followed by dark soy sauce. Turn down heat to simmer 5-8 minutes. (Note: Taste test here - if too salty, add a little brown sugar to "tone" it down)
5.Turn heat up again when sauce is bubbling, add the Chinese wine (Note: when adding wine, do not drizzle directly on the chicken; instead slowly pour wine on the sides of the pan, allowing the heated metal to evaporate the alcohol content; this way, the fragrance of the wine is retained)
6.Cook till chicken is done and sauce has reduced (Note: At this stage, you can pre-heat a claypot on your stove, then pour the entire mixture into the claypot)
7. Add fresh basil and red chili last, mix well
8. Garnish with scallions. Best with steamed rice!


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Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Herbal Chicken Vermicelli Soup - Mee Sua Soup?

Vermicelli that is made of wheat instead of rice - 面线 (Hokkien: mee sua, Cantonese: min seen, Chinese: mian xian). While appearing similar to bee hoon (rice vermicelli), this has a very different texture, and for different culinary uses as well. If it's made of wheat, isn't it considered a kind of pasta ?

On the package, it was written buckwheat and mee sua! So...something like thin soba ?

Looks like whole wheat angel hair pasta when cooked.

However, I believe the moisture content in the making(kneading) of pasta, vermicelli and buckwheat noodles (soba) varies PLUS we tend to look for al denta in pasta but not in rice vermicelli unless you overcook the pasta to be as soft as rice vermicelli's texture. Beachlover's Kitchen also talks about somen and mee sua here.

You can substitute mee sua with angel hair pasta by slightly overcooking the latter! :D

Back home, mee sua soup is commonly seen once a year - during birthdays. A bowl of simmering mee sua soup with minced pork balls and one hard-boiled egg. Rice vermicelli (mee sua) and as the Chinese characters literally mean Noodle 面 Threads 线...threads tend to be long, so signifies longevity in birthday celebrations.

Herbal Chicken Vermicelli Soup
Chicken, chopped to pieces; 1 Chinese herbal pack; some vegetables(bok choy) blanched; mee sua (vermicelli) cooked according to instructions.

1. Boil the chicken with herbal pack according to herbal pack instructions.
2. When ready, ladle the soup over the cooked mee sua, serve immediately

It is easy to think of what you can with Chinese herbal packs. This is a one-dish meal I'm serving other than boiling the chicken with the herbs to make Herbal Chicken Soup, and steaming the chicken with the herbs to make Steamed Herbal Chicken, also known as Emperor Chicken.

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Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Popiah - Vegetables wrapped in wheat-flour crepe

Mom's popiah. Can you spot a fried one among the rest ?

In Singapore, we call it 薄饼 (po bing) whereas in Taiwan, they call it 潤餅 (roon bing) They mean the same thing - fresh spring roll. The popiah skin is a thin paper-like crepe or pancake made from wheat flour. Sweet sauce and chili is spread on the "crepe", then layer a lettuce leave on the crepe and up goes the fillings (on the lettuce - that is what I will do) which is mainly finely grated stir-fried jicama(turnips), French beans, carrots. Before wrapping and rolling it up, you garnish the fillings with bean sprouts, sometimes crushed peanuts.

Now, roll it up and eat! :D

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Sunday, August 10, 2008

Shrimp Toast - delicious Prawn Squares

Addition to the shrimp rollie toasties - bread crusted shrimp rolls and nori shrimps series, I also made some shrimps toasts or squares that made use of minced shrimps.

Once in a while, it's ok to indulge..:P

Don't be stingy with the amount of minced shrimps

Shrimp Toasts or Shrimp Squares

Ingredients: shrimps (mince to paste form), some salt and pepper, bread cut into squares
Directions: Slather the minced shrimps on the surface of the bread; deep fry in medium-hot temperature oil till shrimp filling at the top changes color

Golden delicious...and full of shrimp flavor to make me happy

You may also like
Nori seaweed coated shrimps
Shrimp rollie toasties - bread crusted shrimp rolls

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Thursday, August 07, 2008

Buckwheat Noodles in Bolognese Sauce - Soba Bolognese, anyone?

Yes. I have done something similar before. I need to put that upfront. However, I found that when I used soba (buckwheat noodles) - the results in taste, and texture are somewhat different. Soba (buckwheat) noodles tend to have a more nutty flavor compared to the normal pasta; and when you are eating the screwy-type pasta (such as fusili), you don't get to slurp and swoop as nosily as long noodles. That's a difference too!

Buckwheat Noodles Bolognese/Soba Bolognese
Ingredients: Ground beef; half a onion- sliced and chopped finely; assorted mushrooms; can of diced tomatoes; buckwheat noodles, cooked according to instructions

1. In lightly oiled pan, add in onions to saute and when slightly soften (half way to "translucence"), add in tomatoes, then ground beef and mushrooms. Will take about 3-5mins for things to "soften" a little (to be cooked)
2. Salt and black pepper to taste
3. Add some water/stock, allow it to simmer on low heat
4. Before serving, add in cooked noodles in the pan and mix well; or top meat sauce onto the noodles

Woops! Is that Japanese noodles with Western Meat Sauce and Chinese Vegetables ?

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