Sunday, December 09, 2007

Orange Ring Cake



Every morning I tried to serve fresh squeeze orange juice to my family. Normally I use local orange. They are a lot cheaper than the imported one, for example, a kilogram of good local oranges only cost me Rp. 5,500/kg ( US $ 0.60 ) and my supplier will deliver them to my front door with no extra cost since her store is so near to my home. I told her before to just deliver 20kg of oranges every Monday because I don't want to bother her too much, but she said since my home is near, she will deliver twice a week, Monday and Thursday. That way she said, I will have freshly pick oranges twice a week! I love her!!!

Personally I like local oranges more because Indonesian oranges have very little acidity and they are naturally sweet. The drawback with local oranges if I compare them to let's say Navel orange or Valencia orange is they have very little orange flavor in it. It's almost like when you dilute Navel orange with water then you add lots of sugar in it. But for cooking or baking, I still think imported oranges are more suitable because of they are pack with orange flavor.

Indonesian orange also great for baby because it has no acidity that can cause diaper rash. I gave my baby Indonesian orange juice everyday and she never has diaper rash at all. And becaues their taste is not to strong and they are very sweet, she loves it! She loves to eat it and drink it too.

The first time my dear husband drink Indonesian orange juice, he asked me why do I add a lot of sugar in it. He was very surprise when I told him that I did not add any sugar at all. The oranges are naturally sweet. Since then he request to have a big glass of freshly squeezed orange juice for his breakfast everyday.

So I love it, my husband loves it, and my baby girl loves it too. The only one that doesn't love it is..... our son. He hates it! He asked me why is Indonesian orange juice has no flavor at all? It doesn't taste like orange at all he said. So now beside Indonesian oranges, I also ordered my supplier to deliver Navel oranges too and since she is a wholesaler, she can only sell me in large amount, a 20 kg box full of New Zealand Navel oranges that cost me Rp. 280,000/box !

So when I see that big box of oranges I feel I need to make something with their zest! So many zest !!! Since I always looking for an easy but good recipe, I start searching through my cookbook library and I found this recipe below.

This recipe comes from Florence, Italy, and the book said that it is very popular with children ( perfect!!! ). The cake keeps well in an airtight container.

This recipe is easy, quick, cheap, good, and since it is not to big, it is just perfect for a small family or when you need to make a quick dessert for your guests. I think most family will have all of the ingredients in their fridge right now.

See for yourself ...


Orange Ring Cake

Serve 6 - 8

Ingredients:

140g ( 5oz ) unsalted butter
2 eggs, separated
100ml ( 3 1/2 fl oz ) milk
200g ( 7 oz ) caster sugar
finely grated zest of 2 unwaxed oranges
200g ( 7 oz ) all-purpose flour
1 tsp baking powder
icing sugar, for dusting

Methods:

  1. Preheat the oven to 180C/350F/gas mark 4. Grease and flour a 1.7 L ( 3 pint ) ring mold.
  2. Melt the butter and set aside to cool.
  3. Whisk the egg whites until stiff. Add the egg yolks, milk, sugar and orange zest, and fold in for 1 - 2 minutes
  4. Sift the flour and baking powder into a bowl ( I just use my whisk! ) and , using a metal spoon, fold in alternately with melted butter.
  5. Spoon the mixture into the prepared tin and bake for about 30 minutes, until golden and firm to touch.
  6. Leave the cake in the tin for about 5 minutes, then turn it out on to a wire rack and leave to cool. Before serving, dust with sifted icing sugar.

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Singapore Style Barbecued Stingray ( Ikan Pari Panggang )


Many many years ago, my parents took me to Singapore for the first time. I was around 10 or 11 years old at that time. Because this is my First time ever to go outside Indonesia I still remember until now how thrill I was to be in this country. And my most memorable memory about Singaporean food is when we went to Newton Food Centre to eat seafood outdoor. I remember it so well until now that night we ate Barbecued Stingray ( Ikan Pari Panggang ), the sweet crunchy baby squids ( sotong goreng ), rojak with dried squid ( juhi? ), and the famous Singapore Chili Crab. Even until now I still wish I can go back there again and order those food all over again. There are more food picture from Newton that you can see in here.

Since I came home to Indonesia, I have been hunting for a fresh stingray and baby squids. So far I have no luck yet with the baby squids but one day when I walk into Carrefour , I saw this beautiful fresh and whole stingray. I asked the seller how much and he said Rp. 48.000 for this over 3 kg of fish ( more than 7 lbs ). It's somewhere around US $ 4 ! I called my maid slash my sous-chef if she knows how to handle a stingray and if she is up to it to cook this 3 kg of fish today and after quiet for 30 seconds she said yes, hahaha.... she is just like me, very curious to try new thing even though sometimes it ends disastrously ! But... we will still keep on trying...

To show you how the fish monger butcher the fish into more manageable pieces, I video tape it with my cellphone ( I forgot to bring my digital camera! ). The result is not too great but at least you can see how it's done.



But let me tell you what happen after I started to prepare this fish for the BBQ. I found out that I really need to take the skin off because stingray is actually one of a shark family so the skin is so thick, tough and so rough. Almost like a sandpaper. Even with my Shun knife ( a very sharp knife ), I still found it so hard to skin this fish! How I wish I can buy it skinned like in one of Asian grocery store that I used to go to in Portland, Oregon, USA. If I can buy a skinned stingray/skate, this job can be done in about half an hour maybe!



Singapore Style Barbecued Stingray ( Ikan Pari Panggang )

Ingredients:

1 kg ( 2 lbs ) stingray or any other firm white fish fillets, cut into 4 serving pieces
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 tsp white pepper
2 Tbs fresh lime juice
2 large banana leaves, or aluminum foil ( 30cm/12 in square )
small limes, halved, to serve

Chili Sambal:

5 red finger-length chilies, deseeded and sliced
3 small chili, desseded and sliced
3 cloves garlic, peeled
1 Tbs oil
1/2Tbs ketchup
1/2 Tbs dried prawns, soaked to soften, then drained
1 Tbs fresh lime juice
1/4 Tbs sugar
Pinch of salt and freshly ground black pepper

Methods:

1. To make the Chili Sambal, grind the chilies and garlic to a paste in a mortar or blender, adding a little oil if necessary to keep the blade turning. Heat the oil in a wok over low heat and stir-fry the ground paste, ketchup and dried prawns for 5 - 7 minutes. Add the lime juice, sugar, salt, and pepper, and stir-fry until the sugar dissolves, about 2 minutes. Remove from the heat and set aside to cool.

2. Wash the stingray or fish fillets and pat dry with paper towels. Season with the salt, pepper and lime juice, and set aside to marinate for 15 to 20 minutes.

3. Soften the banana leaves by scalding them in boiling water in a tub or pot for 10 seconds. Drain the leaves and shake dry. Then spoon some Chili Sambal onto each banana leaves and shake dry. Then spoon some Chili Sambal onto each banana leaves ( or aluminum foil sheet ) and place 2 pieces of stingray or fish on each one. Spoon more Chili Sambal on the stingray or fish and rub it into the flesh. Fold both sides of the banana leaves ( or aluminum foil ) over to form a packet and fasten with toothpicks.


4. Grill over a low charcoal fire or under a grill for 5 minutes on each side. To serve, place the package on a plate and open. Serve hot with limes halves on the side.

Saturday, November 24, 2007

Singaporean Style Crispy Chicken With Mango Kerabu

One time when I went to a local restaurant in Surabaya, I ordered this dish. What attracted me to this dish until I ordered it is because it has sour mango in its sauce. I think most girls will love this dish because it is crispy but it also taste sweet, sour and hot too. Which Southeast Asian girls can refuse this type of dish? Then last year when I went to Singapore, while walking around the famous Orchard Road, I saw a street book seller and I found this recipe in one of his books. I tried the recipe at home and I think the result is pretty good. I hope you can try it too...


Crispy Chicken With Mango Kerabu

Ingredients A :

2 chicken thighs, boned
some corn flour/corn starch

Ingredients B :

3 Tbs mango shreds
3 Tbs cucumber shreds
3 Tbsp onion shreds
1 Tbs red chili shreds

Marinade :

1 egg
1 tsp ginger juice
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp sesame oil

Sauce :

250 ml fresh squeezed orange juice
1 tbs plum sauce
1 tbs chili sauce
2 Tbs lime juice
2 Tbs sugar
1/2 tsp salt
some corn flour / cornstarch and water for thickening

Method :

1. Mix chicken thighs with marinade and season for 3 hours. Coat with corn flour and deep-fry in hot oil until golden brown. Dish up and drain. Cut into serving pieces.

2. Bring all sauce ingredients to boil, thicken with corn flour water and add in (B). Mix well and pour over fried chicken. Serve hot.

NOTE: I think the key factor of this dish is the level of sourness of the mango that you use. It is all a matter of taste. I like to use a very sour one but off course you can always use different one. I like it very sour because the sauce is sweet so it sort of balance it out nicely.

Thai Cashew Chicken ( Gai Pad Mamuang Him Ma Pahn )

This is another one of my easy recipe collection. This is the type of dish that can be make in less time than if you call your neighborhood Thai restaurant for a delivery. When I made this the first time, I was impress with how easy yet the end result is very tasty. Since it is not spicy, even my child can eat it too.


Thai Cashew Chicken ( Gai Pad Mamuang Him Ma Phan )

Ingredients:

1/4 Tbs oil
2 cloves of garlic, minced
1/2 lb. (225gr) sliced chicken ( I like to cut them into bite size pieces )
1/2 cup roasted cashew nuts
1 green onion, chopped
1/8 cup sliced red bell pepper

Sauce:

1 Tbs fish sauce
2 Tbs oyster sauce
2 Tbs sugar
1 tsp sesame seed oil
1/8 tsp white pepper

Methods:

1. Heat pan, add oil, garlic, chicken and all sauce ingredients.
2. Turn heat to high and reduce sauce until a glaze forms. Mix in roasted cashews, garnish with green onion and bell peppers.

NOTE:
How easy is this? It only needs 2 steps to make it ...

Friday, October 05, 2007

Whole Fish Soup With Miso And Soft Tofu

Today I had an assignment from R to cook for our employee's birthday. To do that I need to buy small shelled shrimps, my mom told me I should try to go to "Pasar Genteng", another wet market that I have not visit yet since I came back. I remember that I went there once or twice when I was small. She said I can buy many different size of shrimps in there and the fishes there are fresher too. So I went there around 8 AM. My mom's driver warned me that this place is worse than "Pasar Pabean" where I sometimes go. He is right. This place is indoor, dark, the floor is very slippery and dirty, but my mom is also right. The fishes are fresher and they come in many species too. They carry many different type of shrimps too, from very small until medium-large size. They also shelled the shrimps for you if you pre-order first. I almost not able to buy the shelled shrimps because most of them are already pre-ordered first by their regular customers. At "Pasar Pabean", I can also buy shrimps from small to big but not this many sellers and at "Pasar Pabean" they also carry really large shrimps, like about 25cm in length! But "Pasar Genteng" fishes totally better than "Pasar Pabean".

I found this beautiful "Red Kakap", I tried to find the English word for it and it just makes me confuse. Some sites said it's called red seabream and another said porgy. But when I check the photos, they don't look as red as the fish I bought. So if any of you knows what fish is this, please tell me.


Actually the reason why I bought it is because I think this fish looks pretty, jeez... it's so red! Then when I showed it to R, he got excited he said this fish is great when it is cooked with miso as a soup with soft tofu.

So this is how I cook this fish ... my way, just by R's description.

Whole Fish Soup With Miso And Soft Tofu

1 fresh sea fish about 600g ( seabream, porgy, or any other type is up to you as long as it's fresh and from the sea )
4 Tbs yellow miso ( exactly the miso that you use for making miso soup in Japanese restaurant )
1.5 Liter of home-made chicken stock ( no salt )

2 tsp dashi soup stock powder

3 squares of soft tofu, cut into cubes about 1 inch
2 Tbs thinly shredded ginger
1 tsp sugar
salt as needed
2 Tbs chopped green onion

Method:

I put the miso and about 2 cups of chicken stock in my blender first to make sure that the miso has dissolved in the liquid first.
Place the fish on a soup pot that can fit it's length ( I use oval shape pot ) then add ginger , miso with the rest of the chicken stock, dashi, shredded ginger and tofu.
Season the soup with salt and a little sugar if you prefer.
Use low heat and cover the soup, don't let the soup boiling to high or the fish and the tofu will disintegrate and the soup become too messy. Be patient when you cook this soup. It's simple, but don't get tempted to use high heat to speed up the process.
When it's cook, sprinkle the chopped green onions on the soup and serve.

Enjoy!

Sunday, September 23, 2007

Food We Miss From Our Trip To Taiwan

It's been a month since we came back from Taiwan and both of us already miss some of the food that we ate there. Eating out in Taiwan is really fun because the variety are endless and they are really everywhere. Every mall will surely have a nice food court, at night time you can always go to night market, there are always a lot of food sellers on the street day and night, and when you are hungry at 3 o'clock in the morning, you can always go to 7-11 convenient stores to get food. 7-11 stores and their competitors are truly becoming a lifestyle in Taiwan. Almost on every block you can see at least one 24hr convenient store. Sometime even all 4 corners has one store. How this can become like this is because this convenient stores do not only sell stuff, they also become a post office, a bank. You can go there and download some music, you can go there to pay your parking ticket or fine, you can go there to recycle plastic bottles and glass too. If you buy something over the internet and your apartment happen not to have a security guard that can receive the package while you work, then you can send your order to the nearest 7-11 store. Even when I want to order shipping boxes to ship our stuff back to Indonesia, the shipping company employee told me that next time I can just walk to a nearby specific convenient store and get the boxes from there for free because they already have an agreement with that convenient stores to carry their boxes that are specifically built with their standard requirement for strength and size for international shipping. How convenient is that???

The food in there is also quiet decent. They have fresh bread every morning and by evening what ever they can not sell is on sale. Bentos are sold in many different types. They sell Oden, piping hot, tea eggs, sticky rice wrapped in leaves ( bak cang ), and many more other hot food.

I love also going to the wet market near my mother in law's home. Food is good and most of them cost me about US $ 1 each! Like one dollar shave ice with 3 toppings, one bowl of noodle soup, one box of small dumplings, one egg pancake with green onion, etc.

Small wonder why a lot of Taiwanese girls can not cook. They don't have to that's why!

So here are some of the photos I took of the food that we enjoy during our stay in Taipei ...

Here is the new rage in Taiwan, people get tired of oily and heavily spice food, so now they turn to this Japanese style hot pot with superior clear soup, very fresh vegetables, and high quality of meat. You eat it with dipping sauce on the side. You mix the dipping sauce yourself.


This is a new food for me. That long white strand in the soup is Pig's bone marrow. They said it is good for our health. True or not I can't answer you , but it sure is delicious. Very smooth silky texture. I tried to copy this dish at my home with very little success.... the marrow breaks everywhere and make the soup messy. The marrow also become tougher. I have no idea how to copy this dish.
Tired after shopping? Get in this restaurant where we an sip our Earl Grey tea and nibble on some sweet and savory sandwiches and cake.
To make sure that we will not brew our tea too long , they give us this small tool. Brew the tea no longer than 3 minutes.
Below is our tuna sandwich. They look nicer than my tuna sandwich at home, hahaha. What you can see is that on top of the sandwich, they put buttery pastry. So when you bite the sandwich, you get a nice crunch on the top.
And how can we resist this all-you-can-eat-buffet? For NT 700 or US $ 21 we can enjoy both hotpot and BBQ at our table. For starter they have a salad buffet with soup too. Then you can start cooking your hot pot and BBQ at your table. They have meats and seafood too. The lamb chops are imported from other country. After that you can choose what kind of dessert you want, they have a fruits buffet, ice cream buffet, and shave ice buffet. They also provide you with drinks. There is a cappuccino/espresso machine too.



Above, you can see our pile of meats waiting to be cook in our hot pot or BBQ.
Pic: With 2 brother in laws busy cooking for their big brother, we can enjoy the food faster!

Now, here are some photos of food that we ate in the food courts around Taipei.
Pic: I love this tofu dessert!!!
Pic: Japanese style curry
Pic: Steak and pasta with soup and salad on the side.

Now let me show you the food that we eat on the street of Taipei ...
Pic: The famous stinky tofu. Our visit to Taipei will not feel complete without tasting this dish!

Now, the food that we ate from Night Market near my son's summer camp...
Pic: A very cheap, large and delicious pepper steak!
Pic: I look scary but I am good for your tummy and your health!!! This is catfish cook with Chinese medicine.
Pic: Compare to the bowl, you can see this cat fish is very big!!! Yet it's cheap!!!
Pic : I love Taiwanese sausages they taste sweet and very juicy!
Now here is a giant mango. When I first saw it I was so surprise at the size. Then I told R to put it on a scale. It weight more than 2 kilogram ( 4 lbs ) each! I am even more surprise when my mother in law peel it and she showed me how thin is it's seed. No more than 1.5 cm.




video

Vid: On this video this food is called Taiwanese Hot Dog. Unlike American Hot Dog that use bread. This one use sticky rice that they split like a normal hot dog. Then they put the Taiwanese sausage in the middle with a variety of condiments and sauce.

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Barbecue Squid and Chicken Tail Bone

Many times when we walk around Taipei street we smell this wonderful barbecue smell of squid or some other food. Let me ask you, how can you resist that kind of smell? I know I can't!

On the street there are many BBQ food seller. They usually either have a single table full with choices of ingredients or they use a modified pick up truck and carry the ingredients on the back of the truck .

These kind of seller usually offer so many varieties of food that you can choose. Then they will ask you if you like them to be deep-fried and then barbecued or just plain barbecue.

Since we can't enjoy these type of BBQ here in Indonesia, we have to cook them ourselves. So I start researching for them recipes of 2 of my favorite BBQ.


Barbecued Cuttlefish

Ingredients:

2 fresh big squid

Seasonings:

3 Tbs Chinese Barbecue Sauce ( sa cha jiang )
1 Tbs cooking wine
3 Tbs soy sauce
2 tsp sugar
1 tsp mirin

Methods:

  1. Remove squid membranes, rinse, cut into long wide slices, arrange on rack, barbecue over medium heat.
  2. Mix all seasonings well, brush on cuttlefish, turn squid constantly to brown evenly and let flavor be absorbed, wait until squid slices curl up, remove and serve.


Barbecued Chicken Tail

Ingredients:

2/3 lb chicken tail bone ends ( around 16 )
3 - 5 skewers

Seasonings:

(A) 2 scallions, 2 ginger slices, 1 Tbs cooking wine
(B) 1 Tbs cooking wine, 1/2 Tbs minced garlic, 2 Tbs BBQ soy sauce ( or just soy sauce ), 1/2 Tbs Lee Kum Kee honey BBQ sauce

Methods:

  1. Rinse tail bone ends, blanch in boiling water with seasoning (A) added, remove and rinse under cold water, thread three to four tail bone ends on one skewer.
  2. Mix (B) well, brush on tail bone ends, arrange tail bone ends on rack, barbecue over medium heat for 10 minutes.
  3. Wait until tail bone ends brown and flavor is absorbed, remove and serve.
TIPS: Because the tail bone ends is so fatty, it must be blanched before barbecuing so the seasonings will stick. Do not blanch too long or it will already be cooked before barbecuing.
Barbecue on low and turn frequently to prevent it catching fire.

You can also use chicken skins with this BBQ recipe. Or some other meats or vegetables. Try to experiment with many different ingredients.

If you like hot like I do, you can sprinkle a mixture of 1 Tbs of roasted sesame seeds with 1 Tbs cayenne pepper powder on top your barbecue.

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Satisfying His Craving For Sichuan Beef Noodle Soup

2 days ago my husband was watching an annual beef noodle competition on a Taiwanese TV channel from our satellite disk. At one time I was passing him by and when he saw me walking, he told me how much he miss eating beef noodle and just like that I said " Okay, tomorrow I will cook your favorite beef noodle ".

So the next day I went to Papaya, a grocery store near my son's school because anyway I need to go to his school because he has a school performance where I need to video taped and take pictures too.

See here, to cook a good beef noodle you have to be daring. Dare to spent time and money to make it if not effort. To make it is simple enough luckily. The key to a good beef noodle is the broth, and to make a good broth, you need lots of stuff in your soup and a lot of time to cook it with a very small fire. I happen to have a big Le Creuset Stock Pot and since making this dish need a lot of time to cook I might as well make a large batch of it. I am too lazy to go down to my kitchen to check if my stock pot size is 12 Qt. or 16 Qt. I am guessing mine is the 12 Qt. When I made beef noodle I will fill up the whole stock pot to the brim.

For this size of stock pot I will buy : 1 kg beef shank cut into large chunks, 1 kg of ox tail , 1 kilogram of beef tripe cut into large chunks too, about half a kilogram of
beef tendons. That alone will fill up about 40% of the stock pot volume. Then add to this is the seasoning.

For seasoning I will use about 15 cloves of garlic, 10 green onions cut into large chunks, 10 slices of ginger, 3 Tbs of Szechuan peppercorns, 2 bottles of Chili Bean Paste ( Doubanjiang ), 1/2 cup of oil, 8 star anise, 1 cup soy sauce, 1/4 cup of rice wine, salt as needed. Then off course you need noodles, some bok choy, and if you have salted mustard or sour mustard preferably the one without leaves ( you want the stalk that will be crunchier ) you can also chopped them up and then sprinkle them on top of your beef noodles for extra crunch. I wash it first with water to make them less salty.

Since I know not everybody need to feed as many people as I do here I will give you the original recipe for this dish.

Sichuan Style Beef Noodle

Ingredients:

1.2 kg beef ( chuck or flank )
5 garlic cloves
5 green onions
5 slices ginger
3 star anise
1 Tbs brown Sichuan peppercorns
1/3 cup oil

Seasoning Sauce:

3 Tbs chili bean sauce/paste
1/2 Cup soy sauce
2 Tbs wine
1/2 Tbs salt

Methods:

  1. Cut the beef into 1 1/2" squares and cook for 1/2 minute in boiling water, remove and drain.
  2. Heat 1/2 cup of oil to stir-fry garlic cloves, add the peppercorns, star anise, and chili bean paste, stir-fry for a while. Add soy sauce, wrap all the ingredients in a piece of cheesecloth. Stir-fry beef in sauce for 1 minute. Add the cheesecloth pack and water to about 2" above beef. Cook for 1 1/2 hour until beef is soft.
  3. Season it with salt.
  4. Cook the noodles and bok choy separately.
  5. You can put on the noodle soup : 1 Tbs of chopped green onion, 1/2 tsp sesame oil and do like I did, sprinkle some chopped sour mustard on top of the soup for each individual bowl of noodle soup.
To be honest with you my way is a bit different from this original recipe. To give more body to the soup beside using more variety of meat in it, this is the different step that I do when I cook this dish:

When I make the seasoning. I stir-fry the seasonings into 2 steps. First I stir-fry garlic, ginger, green onion and then the peppercorns first. Then I put them into a cloth bag so that the soup will not be messy. Then using the same oil that is still left on the wok, I stir fry the chili bean paste. Then I put this chili bean paste and some of the water for the soup into my blender. I blend them until they are very very smooth and then I pour it into my soup pot that already has the seasoning cloth bag ( with garlic, ginger, green onions, and peppercorns in it ), the already blanched meat pieces. Add more water until it almost reach the top of the stock pot. Then I add the rice wine and the soy sauce. I let the soup simmer with the lowest heat so that they never boil over for at least 8 hours! The longer you cook it the better. Oh yes I forgot to tell you that cook the tendon only at the last 3 hours of the cooking time because they are more easily to get tender than the other meat. By at least 8 hours ( you can cook it for 12 hrs! ), all those meat will be so soft, the meat will almost fall off the bone ( ox tail ) and you will have a very flavorful broth for your soup. They will be so flavourful that even after all the meats are gone, you will not mind to eat your noodle with just the soup. They are really good.

So the key to cook this dish is really lots of meats and bones and time. The perfect tool to make this dish maybe the slow cooker.

My husband comment on my Sichuan Beef Noodle Soup was " No wonder I can not loose some weight, the food you make is always so good, better than most of the beef noodles soup that I have ever eaten in Taipei! ".... with that kind of comment , now can you understand why I love cooking for him very much?

To accompany this dish, I also create my own recipe for the appetizer.

On the same time when I bought the ingredients for the beef noodle soup, I also bought fried tofu that look almost like oily tofu that Taiwanese people like to eat. They are almost like deep fried tofu but they are a bit softer. This is what I did with the tofu that I buy.


Yohana's Tofu

Ingredients:

2 squares of tofu ( if you can get already fried is better, it is easier to cook )
1 Cup of chicken stock
1 Tbs of sesame oil
1 tsp of finely minced garlic
2 Tbs of soy paste or soy sauce
a dash of ground white pepper
1 tsp of rice wine
2 tsp of sugar
3 tsp of cornstarch mixed with 3 Tbs of water to make cornstarch slurry

Some chopped red chilies , green onions, and cilantro

Methods:

  1. On a medium-hot wok, pour the sesame oil then add minced garlic. Stir fry the garlic for just few seconds then add the chicken stock, soy sauce, rice wine, sugar, white pepper and salt as needed.
  2. Add the tofu into the soup and cook the tofu for about 10 minutes with heat on low.
  3. Add the cornstarch slurry and stir to mix until the soup thicken.
  4. Take the tofu out and place them on a plate. Pour the sauce on top then sprinkle on top of the tofu some chopped red chilies, green onions and cilantro. Serve.
EXTRA STORY:

When we were in Taipei this summer, we found a restaurant that won second place at the Annual Beef Noodle Contest. I have to admit that their broth is very good and I like to use large chunk of meat in the soup, that is why I wrote "large chunks" on my recipe above. Their beef noodle soup is very generous. They gave a lot of meat pieces and they are cut from the best part. I took a picture of my beef noodle bowl. Here it is ...

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Hong Kong Style Steam Fish

Pic: At 7 AM

Pic: At 12 PM

Have you ever been to a Cantonese Seafood Restaurant and never order their most famous Hong Kong Style Steam Fish? If yes then you really miss a good thing!

Most of the time when we went to a Cantonese seafood restaurant we will order this dish. Maybe it is the simplest thing on the menu but in this case, simple is better.

The type of fish that they like to use for this dish usually is grouper. It's delicate, fresh and flavorful flesh is really best for this dish.

Off course you can always use any grouper but if you can your hands on a live grouper than you are in for a treat.

A short background on why I wrote this entry is because my mom's friends told her about 2 new places where she can get good fish. The first being frozen John Dory fillets that is being sold at a store called " Organic ", a new store/restaurant that only offer organic food. I do admit they have good frozen John Dory fillets. I cook those fillet by sprinkling a mixture of salt, pepper, flour, bread crumbs, herbs and ground almond. Cook them with a mixture of butter and olive oil. When they are done, I spritz some lemon first before I eat them. Yum!

The second place is actually inside a Soto restaurant. Every morning my parents and R always went to walk together. I never go with them because I can't wake up at 4 AM!!!! So after they walk together, my mom told R to drive her to that new fish store.

They brought home a 1.4 Kg live Grouper in a plastic bag with no water in it. Then my father just pretty much dropped the fish to the floor at our dining room and let my kids play with it. Amazingly it still alive! It was alive long enough without water until my son has to go to school and he asked us to put the fish on a big bucket with water and salt since Grouper is a salt water fish. To placate him , we did what he asked us to do. But my maid manage to over-salting the water by throwing a very large amount of salt into the water.

The clock just keep on ticking and that fish somehow manage to stay alive from 6 AM ( when they bought it ) until 2 PM before it was finally going belly up!

So I took it off the water and place it in the fridge. When it is close to dinner time, I asked my maid to clean and gut the fish while I prepare the steaming sauce.

Steamed seafood is the most common dish in Cantonese cuisine. Basically all marine fishes can be steamed like this, whilst the freshness and size of fish would be reflected in the taste and chew directly.

Freshly dressed live fish might have blisters in the skin after steaming, which is quite normal as the flesh and the skin might shrinks to different extents. If the fish has no blisters or the flesh is not very white after steaming, it might not be very fresh.

Make sure the water is boiling vigorously when you put the fish in. The fish needs to be cooked rather quickly all over instead of warming up slowly with cold water. The freshness of the fish can be retained this way.

Steamed Hong Kong Grouper

Ingredients:
600g Grouper ( in my case it is double, so I double the sauce too )

Condiments:
Shredded spring onions, coriander/cilantro.

Seasoning:
75 g peanut oil
150 g soy sauce for steamed fish ( I double the amount into 300g of soy sauce )

Methods:

  1. Gut the grouper. Wash well. Slash on the flesh if the fish is over 900 g.
  2. Place a pair or more of bamboo chopsticks on a plate. Put the fish on top of the chopsticks. This is to ensure the bottom side of the fish gets the same heat by steam. Dribble some oil on fish for smoother texture.
  3. Bring water in a steamer to the boil. Put in fish and steam for 8 minutes. Insert a bamboo skewer into the fleshiest part of the fish. It the skewer can be inserted to the bone easily the fish is cooked. Otherwise, steam for 1 - 2 minutes more and check for doneness.
  4. Remove bamboo chopsticks under the fish. Drain the liquid on the plate. Sprinkle shredded spring onion on fish. Heat oil ( very hot! ) and pour it over the fish. Be careful when you do this because the oil can splatter. Heat up some soy sauce for steamed fish. Pour on the side of the fish ( and not over it! ). Lastly put coriander on top. Serve. ( Top quality fish has snow white flesh and it is important to present it as such to the guests. Pouring soy sauce over the fish would darken the flesh and ruin the look! ).
Soy Sauce For Steamed Fish

Ingredients:

80 ml chicken stock
2 tsp sugar
40 ml supreme light soy sauce

Method:
Bring the above ingredients to the boil. It makes enough sauce for a fish weighing 600 g.

NOTE:
The quality of soy sauce for steamed fish depends on the quality of light soy sauce. If you already spend so much money buying the fresh fish, you might as well buy the best soy sauce in the market.

INFO: I will keep this entry updated as soon as I can get the full address of the 2 fish stores. For now all I can say is that " ORGANIC " is located across of SuperMal in those expensive looking "ruko" area. I think the other fish store that is inside a soto restaurant is at Jl.Kusuma Bangsa. For the exact address please read this entry again because I will put them in here.

Tuesday, September 04, 2007

Classic Taiwanese Courses Of Flour ( Beef Roll Ups, Fried Beef Stuffed Pie, Pork Pot Stickers )


Beef Roll ups

Ingredients:
  1. 500g. beef shank.
  2. 3 stalks green onion, 1 small piece ginger, 20g. dried tangerine peel, 1 spice bag, 2 Tbs black bean paste, 1 Tbs sugar, 1 tsp MSG, 1/2 cup cooking wine, 5 cups water.
  3. 400g. all purpose flour, 1 cup boiling water, 1/3 cup cold water.
  4. 1/4 cup cooking oil
  5. 1 cup sweet bean sauce, 8 stalks green onion.
Method:
  1. Blanch beef in boiling water; drain. Heat wok with 2 Tbs. oil ; stir-fry green onions and ginger until fragrant. Add remaining ingredients of (2) and beef; simmer over low heat until beef is tender. Remove beef; cool.
  2. Combine flour and boiling water; mix well. Stir in cold water to make a dough. Roll into 12-inch wide and 1/8 inch thick rectangle. Brush with 1/4 cup cooking oil. Roll up; cut into 4 equal sections. Flatten each slice, cut side down, into disk; roll into 10-inch circle. Heat pan with a little oil; pan-fry pancakes until both sides are golden brown. Remove.
  3. Spread sweet bean paste on pancakes. Arrange sliced beef on top. Add one green onion on each pancake; roll up. Cut into sections.


Fried Beef Stuffed Pie
Ingredients:

1 portion hot water blanched dough
400 g ground beef
80g ground fatty pork
3 scallions
1 small piece ginger
50g celery
2 Tbs soy sauce
1 tsp chicken broth extract
salt as needed
1 Tbs light sesame oil

Methods:
  1. Let dough rest for some time and roll into a long strip, then divide into 15 equal portions. Roll each portion into a round thin wrapper.
  2. Mince scallions. Chop ginger finely to get about 2 Tbs. Chop celery finely.
  3. Combine beef with fatty pork well, then add soy sauce, chicken broth extract, salt and 1/4 cup of water to mix, stir in the one direction only until elastic. Then add minced scallion, ginger and celery, mix well to make filling.
  4. Place a suitable amount of filling in center of wrapper, seal the opening well to make buns.
  5. Heat 3 Tbs of oil in pan, fry buns over low heat with seal facing down until brown. Turnover and drizzle in 2 Tbs of water, then cover and continue to fry until water is absorbed. Uncover and fry until golden brown on both sides and meat on the inside is done. Serve.
NOTE: Adding water while stirring ground beef will keep the filling moist.

Hot Water Blanched Dough

Blanched dough is largely used in fried dishes or steamed desserts. Blanching prevents the skin from hardening and affecting the texture. Desserts made with blanched dough include pot stickers and steamed dumplings. Because pot stickers are fried with water added, some restaurants use ready-made cold water dumpling wrappers to make their pot stickers because it is more convenient. However, you can always tell the difference just by eating.
Ingredients:

300g all purpose flour
3/4 cup boiling water ( over 100 degree Celcius )
1/4 cup col water
1 Tbs cooking oil

Methods:

Place flour in a mixing bowl, pour the boiling water rapidly over the flour. Stir with chopsticks until evenly blended. Add cold water to mix, thn add oil. Knead into a smooth , soft dough. and let rest for about 30 minute before using.

NOTES: The hot water has to be boiling in order to blanch the gluten in the flour until done. The flour will appear translucent when the boiling water is poured in the bowl. If a softer and easier to handle dough is desired, just place the dough in the refrigerator overnight. Additionally for new flour effect, the end product will be softer when you add a little oil to increase its softness.


Pork Pot Stickers

Ingredients:

1 portion hot water blanced dough
300g ground pork
200g shelled shrimp
3 scallions
1 small piece of ginger
2 Tbs soy sauce
1 Tbs chicken broth extract
salt as needed
1 Tbs light soy sesame oil
1 tsp flour
1/2 cup water

Methods:

  1. De-veined shrimp and rinse well, then dry completely and chop until well-mashed. Mince scallions. Chop ginger finely to get about 2 Tbs.
  2. Combine ground pork and shrimp with soy sauce, chicken broth extract, salt and 1/4 cup water well. Stir in the one direction only until filling is elastic, then add minced scallion, ginger and light sesame oil to mix.
  3. Roll dough into a long strip and divide about 40 equal portions. Press each portion flat first, then roll into round thin wrapper.
  4. Place filling in center of wrapper and wrap up into a dumplings in a round circle. Fry until bottom is slightly brown, drizzle in the flour and water mixture. Cover and fry until water is dry uncover and continue to fry until brown and burnt on the bottom. Serve.
NOTES: The flour and water mixture drizzled over the sticker makes the stickers soft on top and crispy on the bottom. It is tasty and looks good too.

Most of the time people eat this pot stickers with a dipping sauce . To make the dipping sauce you can mix : 1/2 cup of soy sauce, 1 tsp minced garlic, 1 tsp minced scallions, 1 tbs thinly shredded ginger, 1 Tbs black vinegar, 2 Tbs sugar, 2 Tbs hot water, 1 tsp sesame oil, and off course you can always add chilies. You can use raw chopped chilies, "sambal oelek", or any other Asian style chilies sauce.