Saturday, May 21, 2005

7-days Cooking course on Beef in Chinese Style

I am a stay home mom to a 5 years old boy and even though I have more time than other people who has to work and then still have to come home to cook her dinner for her family, I still like to perfecting my skills on how to save time in the kitchen so I can have more time to teach my son to draw for example. More quality time with him before he grow up and he rather spend his time with his friends than with me.

So on this entry, I will show you about how too cook Chinese food using beef or pork if you want to . You will be able to make 1 dish a day at least for under 20 minutes.

The key of doing this is "Marinade". After collecting more than 50 recipe books on Chinese food alone I found that a lot of the recipes called for marinating the meat first before you cook it fast in a hot wok. Actually if you order stir-fry dishes in the restaurant, you can bet that they marinade their meat in very large batch like I do first.

Another thing that you need to pay attention to is the right cut of the meat. I found that buying boneless rib plates really safe me tons of time and the result will always be tender because the meat has a lot of 'marbles' on it. Which means a lot of thin layers of fat between the meat that will ensure that your mate will be tasty as is and tender. So once in a while when my grocery store has sale on their boneless rib plates, I would buy several pounds of them. And when they have sale on pork belly, I will do the same and I can use thin slices of pork belly meat to replace the beef in all of the recipes below.

If you are not sure that you get the right cut of meat, you can always use tenderizer as an insurance.

INGREDIENTS :

6 lb of boneless rib plates
7 Tbs of soy sauce
4 Tbs of rice wine
1 Tbs of sugar
4 Tbs of oil
3 Tbs of corn starch

Small or medium size Ziplock bags.

PROCEDURES :

Step 1 Mixed all the seasoning into a big bowl.

Step 2 You can make 2 different cuts, some recipe called for shredding the meat which means you cut the meat about 5 cm x 1 cm. And you can also slice the meat into thin strips about 5 cm x 3 cm. I do both sometimes but if you are not that picky, you can just choose the last one. Then marinade the meat in the seasoning.

Step 3 Divide the meats into portions that you think will satisfy your family. Put each portion into the ziplock bags. In my case probably becomes 7 bags. One bag for a day. So at least one less thing you should not worry about for dinner.


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DAY 1 - BEEF IN OYSTER SAUCE


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INGREDIENTS :

1/2 lb tender beef or one package of already marinated meat
5 oz Kailan or kale
2 ginger slices

(A) 1 Tbs cooking wine
2 Tbs oyster sauce
1/2 Tbs sugar
2 Tbs water
1/2 Tbs cornstarch

PROCEDURES :

Step 1 Boil half a pot of water for blanching the vegetable.

Step 2 Rinse Kale or Kai lan then cut into small sections, blanch in boiling water, remove and rinse under cold water, drain. This will ensure that your vegetable will stay bright green even after cooking. It's all about presentation but if you don't have time for this you can skip it. No problem.

Step 3 Heat 2 Tbs of oil in medium-high heat, stir-fry the vegetables until done, remove and line on serving plate; Blanch beef through very hot oil, remove, put it on different plate.

Step 4 Heat 2 Tbs of oil to stir-fry ginger until fragrant, add beef and seasonings, cook well. Remove the beef and arrange on kale. Serve.

DAY 2 - STIR-FRIED SCALLION BEEF


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INGREDIENTS :

1/2 lb tender beef or one package of already marinated meat
5 scallions or green onions
2 ginger slices

(A) 2 Tbs soy sauce
1 Tbs rice Wine
1/2 tsp sugar
a dash of pepper


PROCEDURES :

Step 1 Rinse scallions well and cut into small sections about 4 cm in length. Heat 3 T of oil in wok and stir-fry ginger until fragrant. Add beef and stir fry rapidly over high heat until liquid is almost absorbed. Add scallion sections and stir until done. Season with seasoning (A). Mix well and remove. Serve.

NOTE : You can replace the scallion/green onions with leeks. Japanese has the best leeks that taste very sweet. If your grocery store carry this item, this would be the best one for this dish.

DAY 3 - KUNG-PAO BEEF


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INGREDIENTS :

1/2 lb tender beef or one package of already marinated meat
10 dried chili peppers
1/2 Tbs Szechwan peppercorns
1 tsp minced ginger and garlic

(A) 1/2 Tbs cooking wine
2 tsp soy sauce
1 tsp sugar
1/2 tsp vinegar
1/2 Tbs cornstarch water ( a mixture of cornstarch and water )

PROCEDURES :

Step 1
Blanch beef in oil and remove. Heat 2 T of oil in wok, stir-fry peppercorns until fragrant and slightly brown, remove and discard. Then stir-fry minced ginger and garlic as well dried chili pepper sections until flavour is released.

Step 2
Return beef to wok, season with (A) to taste. Mix well and serve.

DAY 4 - THREE CUP BEEF STRIPS


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INGREDIENTS :

1/2 lb tender beef or one package of already marinated meat
4 ginger slices
2 chili pepper
4 cloves garlic
2 stalks thai basil
2 scallions/green onions

(A) 2 Tbs sesame oil
1 Tbs cooking wine
1 Tbs soy sauce

PROCEDURES :

Step 1
Cut Ginger into small pieces. Cut chili pepper into small sections. Cut garlic into small pieces. Remove leaves from Thai basil stalks. But scallions/green onions into sections.

Step 2
Heat sesame oil in wok, stir-fry strips and stir until separated. Add scallion sections, chili pepper and garlic to mix. Season with remaining seasoning (A) to taste. Sprinkle with basil leaves. Saute rapidly and fast over high heat until well mixed. Remove and serve.

DAY 5 - STIR-FRIED BEEF WITH SHREDDED BEAN CURD


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INGREDIENTS :

1/2 lb tender beef or one package of already marinated meat
6 pieces dried bean curd
3 red chilies
1 scallion/green onion
1 Tbs minced garlic

(A) 2 Tbs soy sauce
a dash of pepper

PROCEDURES :

Step 1
Slice dried bean curd into strips; remove red chilies seeds and cut into strips; chop scallion finely.

Step 2
Stir-fry beef in 2 Tbs oil. Remove when cooked. Fry chopped scallion, garlic, dried bean curd strips in remaining oil till fragrant.

Step 3
Add beef, red chilies and seasoning (A). Sprinkle chopped scallion, then stir well and remove.

DAY 6 - SHREDDED BEEF WITH SWEET BEAN SAUCE


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INGREDIENTS :

1/2 lb tender beef or one package of already marinated meat
4 scallions/green onions

(A) 2 Tbs sweet bean paste
1 Tbs cooking wine
1/2 Tbs sugar
2 Tbs water

PROCEDURES :

Step 1
Shred scallions and soak in water

Step 2
Blanch beef through smoking oil and remove, mix seasoning (A) well and heat 2 Tbs oil in wok return beef and stir-fry.

Step 3
Remove scallions from water, drain and line evenly on serving plate, top with beef. Serve.

NOTE :

Sweet bean paste has to be stir-fried until fragrant before adding shredded beef. Soak scallions in water to decrease its hot flavor. They will curl up beautifully and look good.

DAY 7 - BEEF STRIPS IN ORANGE SAUCE


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INGREDIENTS :

1/2 lb tender beef or one package of already marinated meat
1 orange
1 egg yolk
3 Tbs corn starch

(A) 1/3 Cup orange juice
1 Tbs sugar
1/2 tsp vinegar
1/2 Tbs cornstarch water

PROCEDURES :

Step 1
mixed the beef with egg and then coat them in cornstarch. Get rid the excess cornstarch by shaking the beef in a colander

Step 2
Halve orange open and squeeze out the juice, peel off white flesh and discard, then shred the orange skin and soak in cold water.

Step 3
Heat 2 Cup of oil in wok, deep fried the beef strips until crispy, remove. Pour away the oil and stir-fry seasoning (A) with remaining oil until thick. Return beef and add shredded orange skin to mix. Stir until well mixed and serve.





Friday, May 20, 2005

Simple Chocolate Ice Cream


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In my home back in Surabaya, my father always make sure that we always has at least 2 pint of ice cream in our freezer. And when ever he come to Vancouver to visit me, he never stop hopping that I would do the same with my freezer especially I have 2 freezers here. I have space alright...

Next month, both of my parents will come to visit us again and this time I really want to give him a surprise by instead of just restocking my freezer with store-bought ice cream, this time I will make him custom ice cream myself ! So I bought this new Cuisinart ice cream maker and start using it right out from the box.

Some ice cream recipes use precooked ingredients that need to be cooled completely first before you add into your machine but since I am impatient to taste how good is home-made ice cream I use the easiest recipe from the Cuisinart manual book.

The result ?Heavenly ice cream .......

INGREDIENTS :

1 cup (250ml) unsweetened cocoa powder ( Dutch Process preffered )
2/3 cup (150ml) granulated sugar
1/2 cup (125ml) firmly packed brown sugar
1 1/2 cups (375ml) whole milk
3 1/4 cups (800ml) heavy cream
1 Tbs (15ml) pure vanilla extract

And if your refrigerator is as well stocked as mine does, I add 1 Tbs of Chocolate extract too to give it extra chocolaty taste.

PROCEDURES :

Step 1 Place the cocoa and sugars in a medium bowl; stir to combine. Add the whole milk and use a hand mixer on low speed or whisk to combine until the cocoa and sugars are dissolved, about 1 to 2 minutes. Stir in the heavy cream and vanilla extract ( and chocolate like I do ). You can refrigerate this if you are not using it right away, but I think you must be more patience than I am.

Step 2 Turn the machine on, pour the mixture into freezer bowl, and let mix until thickened, about 25-35 minutes. The ice cream will have a soft creamy texture. If a firmer consistency is desired, transfer the ice cream to an airtight container and palce in freezer for about 2 hrs.

Note : Since I do not owned a hand mixer, I use my stand mixer instead. All I do was just dump all of the ingredients there and let it mixed for 10 minute while I do my dishes. Then poured it to freezer bowl. Easy !


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Thursday, May 19, 2005

Cold Dashi Custard Tofu ( Tamago Dofu )


Cold Dashi Custard Tofu ( Tamago Dofu ) Posted by Hello

This chilled custard makes a refreshing summer appetizer, and looks as lovely as it taste when garnished with sprigs of flowers or leaves. It also great for toddlers.

INGREDIENTS :

How to make Dashi : 1/2 tsp dashi stock granules dissolved in 3/4 cup of hot water

Hot to make Cold Soba Dashi Broth : 1 cup of Basic Dashi Stock ( above )
2 Tbs Japanese soy sauce
1/4 ( 60ml) mirin
Put them in a saucepan, bring just to a boil over
medium heat and remove from the heat. This is the
sauce for Cold Soba Noodles. Keeps refrigerated
for up to 4 days. Yields 1 1/4 Cups.

3 eggs, lightly beaten
1 - 1 1/2 Tbs Japanese soy sauce
1 tsp mirin
4 medium cooked shrimps ( optional )
2/3 cup ( 150ml) Cold Soba Dashi Broth

Grated lime or lemon peel for garnish
Flowers for garnish

PROCEDURES :

Step 1 Combine the eggs, dashi stock, soy sauce and mirin in a bowl and stir the mixture gently. Pour it into a small, square or rectangular, heat-proof bowl or dish measuring about 10 cm on each side. Steam over medium heat for about 25 minutes until it sets. Set aside to cool, cover and chill until needed.

Step 2 Slice the custard into 4, and place each piece in a small glass or china bowl. Place a shrimp, if using, on top of each piece of custard and spoon the Cold Soba Dashi Broth over it. Garnish with the grated citrus peel and flowers. Serve Chilled.

Serves 4

Crispy Seasoned Whitebait ( Chirimenjako )


Crispy Seasoned Whitebait (Chirimenjako) Posted by Hello

This recipe for whitebait coated with a crispy soy-and-sugar glaze makes a wonderful snack or appetizer on its own, and it washed well with beer, sake or cocktails.

INGREDIENTS :

5 oz ( 150g ) dried whitebait or small dried anchovies
2 Tbs mirin
1 Tbs Japanese soy sauce
3 Tbs sugar
2 Tbs water
Seven-spice chili powder ( Shichimi ) to taste ( optional )
Roasted White sesame seeds, to garnish ( optional )

PROCEDURES :

Step 1 Roast the sesame seeds by placing them on a wok. Use medium heat then shake the wok until they darken slightly and you can smell them. Move them to a plate for further use.

Step 2 Place the dried Whitebait in a wok and dry-fry over medium-high heat for 10 minutes, shaking the pan frequently or stirring constantly until light brown and fragrant. Remove from the heat and set the fish aside in a small plate. If using fish more than 1 1/2 in (4cm) long, remove the heads and bones.

Step 3 Combine the mirin, soy sauce, sugar and water in a small saucepan, bring to a boil, then lower the heat and simmer until the liquid is reduced by half and has a thick syrupy consistency. Add the whitebait and stir to coat well with the sugar glaze.

Step 4 Sprinkle with the seven-spice chili powder and white sesame seeds and serve.

NOTE :
This recipe intrigue me because it allowed me to 'fry' the fish without oil. I use the right temperature and even set the timer to copy this recipe exactly to the letter and it worked beautifully. But just for added flavour, you can always add 1 tsp of sesame oil at the sugar glaze right before you add the fish to it. And to make sure that the presentation is beautiful, after I dry-fry the fish, I put them in a colander that has big holes in it then shakes all the little pieces out. So only the beautiful whole fish left. It looks more neat just like in the photo.

Japanese Recipe Books Review


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Once in a while I found a great book that has reasonably easy recipes to follow. I guess, unless you are a true Chefs, it's really not practical to buy recipe books that has too complicated ingredients, tools or procedures. This weekend, I was lucky enough to buy 3 Japanese Recipe Books. I bought that 3 books for each different reason. This one is I bought it for it's practical recipes.

Another one I bought it because it's very educational, it uses local/native ingredients and for each ingredients, it has 2-3 recipes. The author also explain everything you need to know about the ingredients like how it looks like, taste, how it grow, nutritional benefit, etc.


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Then the other book, I bought it just for knowing what high-end Japanese food looks like. The book was produce by the most famous Shunju Japanese Restaurant in Tokyo.



Beside these 3 new books, I also has others. Some are good and some are bad off course. I will show you Japanese recipe books that I think worth to buy them. Here is the list :

1. My oldest Japanese recipe book - "Japanese Cuisine"

Wei-Chuan, A taiwanese cooking school and food company. Posted by Hello

2. "Cuisine of the World - Japan" - this book consistently producing great results in my kitchen. As you can see the price tag. This book probably the cheapest Japanese Recipe Book that I have. I bought it from Costco.


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3. "Japanese Cuisine for everyone" - by Quick & Easy


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4."Recipes of Japanese Cooking"


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5. "Practical Japanese Cooking"

"Practical Japanese Cooking" Posted by Hello

Then some books that I have not try the recipes yet, most of them I buy for my own reference. Here is the list :

1 "Bento Boxes"


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2"Easy Japanese Pickling"


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3.Cafe Japan


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4. "Japanese Family-Style Recipe" - I found a great croquet recipe from this book.

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Cantonese Congee


Cantonese Congee  Posted by Hello

INGREDIENTS :

300g short grain rice ( sushi rice )
210g chicken liver
150g chicken breast
30g deep fried Chinese cruller ( Yuo Tiao )
15g dried cuttlefish/squid
12 cups stock
5T minced green onion
A dash of sesame oil

(A) 1 Tbs corn starch
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 egg

(B) 1 1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper

PROCEDURES :

Step 1 Wash chicken liver, parboil in boiling water, and dice. Wash cuttle fish, but into 5cm x 0.5cm long strips, soak in hot water for 15 minutes. Finely chop chicken breast to mashed paste, marinate with (A) for 10 minutes. Cut cruller into small service cubes.

Step 2 Rinse rice, add stock, bring to a boil over high heat. Simmer over medium-low heat for 40 minutes. Add cuttlefish/squid and cook for 10 minutes. Stir in liver, mashed chicken and (B),cook until done. Sprinkle on green onion,sesame oil, and cruller . Serve.

NOTE : I would use ground chicken, it's easier. First I put the ground in the cold water in a pan then I use my hand to break it into tiny pieces, then I put them on the stove. Boil it, strained it, then I use running cold water to clean it from any blood residue. Then when the running water ran clear, I mixed them back in the porridge. That way my congee/porridge will be clean like in the restaurant.
The reason why to use chicken breast then mixed in with corn starch, salt and egg is because this way the chicken is really softer. So, it's up to you.

Friday, May 13, 2005

Chicken Feet - Dim Sum Style


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I get this recipe from my friend's mom who is a Cantonese in Surabaya. She is a great cook and she also taught cooking class. She did not gave me a specific recipe but I think I manage to creat a more specific recipes to copy.

INGREDIENTS :

2 lb of chicken feet
1 Tbs of minced ginger
1 Tbs of minced garlic
2 red chilies,chopped
4 Tbs of Oyster sauce
1 Tbs rice wine
2 Tbs sugar
1 Tbs dark soy sauce
1 Tbs of cornstarch
1 Tbs of sesame oil
MSG

If you happen to be as lucky as me, you can buy already fried chicken feet from your grocery store. But if not, you have to deep fried the chicken feet first and then submersed them in icy water. The difference temperature from very hot and then cold can loosen up those skins off the chicken feet bones.

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PROCEDURES :

Step 1 Depending on how lucky you are, you have to deep fried the chicken feets then put them right away into a bowl of icy water.

Step 2 Mixed all the seasoning in a bowl

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Step 3 Mixed the sauce with the chicken feet then move them to a heat proof plate or bowl and then steamed it for about 20 minutes. Use medium-high heat.

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