Sunday, November 29, 2009
Siu Mai, Shao Mai, or Steamed Meat Dumplings is one of the most popular Dim Sum dumpling. The main ingredients for this dumpling consists of pork, prawns, MSG, lard, and dried sole fish powder. In my home made recipe, I decided to omit the unhealthy bits, i.e. lard and MSG. As for the dried sole fish powder, you can purchase the dried sole fish from any Chinese medicinal shop; but, you would then have to grill and grind it to a fine powder yourself. If that’s clearly too much work, then I think a good substitute for it would be fish sauce.
Anyway, the bottom layer of the dumpling consists of the pork and prawns mixture, and the top layer is usually filled with prawns and topped off with some fish or prawn roe and/or green peas for garnishing. So, I have included two “home-style” pictorial guides to wrap the dumplings. The picture quality is not as good due to the gloomy Fall weather in Vancouver and the normal lightings in my kitchen. Nevertheless, I think you will get the basic idea. This is a “home-style” recipe after all, right? :-)
Siu Mai, Shao Mai - Steamed Meat Dumplings
1 Packet Wonton Wrappers (40 pcs)
Shrimp or Fish Roe
Fresh or Frozen Green Peas
Meat Filling – Bottom Layer
300 g Ground Pork (preferably with 15% fat)
150 g Peeled White Prawns, minced
2 Water Chestnuts, finely or chopped
2 Tbsp Soy Sauce
1 Tbsp Shaoxing Rice Wine
2 tsp Sesame Oil
1 ½ Tbsp Sugar
1 ½ tsp Dried Sole Fish Powder or 2 tsp Fish Sauce
½ tsp White Pepper
1 tsp Sea Salt
1 Tbsp Corn Flour
½ of Egg White
Prawn Filling – Top Layer
250 g Peeled White Prawns, minced
1 tsp Sesame Oil
2 tsp Sugar
2 tsp Corn Flour
¼ tsp Sea Salt
½ of Egg White
Mix the filling mixture in a blender with a paddle attachment until well combine or mix with your hand. (Using a rubber glove) Refrigerate both filling mixtures for at least 4 hours or overnight.
Step 1: Cut the wonton wrapper with a cookie cutter or trim the edges with a small knife.
Step 2: Place the wonton wrapper into a small tea cup and place about 2 ½ tsp to 1 Tbsp of meat filling into the center of the wrapper. Then top with 1 ½ tsp of Prawn filling.
Step 3: Remove the dumpling from the tea cup and gather the edges together with your thumb and index finger, lightly squeeze it to form a “waist” (Siu Mai shape) and press down so that the filling is compact.
Place 1 Tbsp of meat filling in the center of a square wonton wrapper. Then top with 1 ½ tsp of prawn filling. Gather the edges of the wrapper with your thumb and index finger to make a waist. Press down so that the filling is compact.
Step 4: Use your finger or small knife to smooth the surface with a little water. Then place green pea or shrimp roe on top of the surface.
Step 5: Place the dumplings in a steamer lined with greaseproof paper and steam for about 15 minutes. Serve immediately.
Saturday, November 28, 2009
Just for a change from the usual, I baked some savory muffins instead this time. These Sour Cream and Dill muffins makes a great breakfast treat. I would suggest baking the muffins a day ahead before serving as this will allow the flavor to develop and they taste so much better the next day. Then, lightly toast the muffins before serving with some butter or cream cheese. Try it.
Sour Cream And Dill Muffins
2 ¼ Cups All Purpose Flour
2 ½ tsp Baking Powder
1 tsp Baking Soda
1 ¼ tsp Sea Salt
½ Cup Finely Chopped Fresh Dill
4 Tbsp Unsalted Butter, melted
1 ¼ Cups Sour Cream
1/3 Cup Whole Milk
Dill Seeds for garnish (optional)
Preheat the oven to 350˚F. Butter and flour the muffin cups. Combine the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and sea salt in a large bowl and gently sir together.
In another bowl, combine the chopped dill, eggs, melted butter, sour cream, and milk and whisk until the mixture is well combine.
Then, pour the wet mixture into the flour mixture and gently blend together to form a soft dough.
Divide the batter evenly between each muffin cup and sprinkle some dill seeds on top, if desired. Bake the muffin for about 20 to 25 minutes or until the tops spring back when gently touched in the center.
Remove the pan from the oven and place on a cooling rack. When the muffins are cool, turn the pan upside down and tap the corner of the pan on the countertop to release each muffin. These muffins will last up to 1 week if well wrapped and store in an airtight container, then refrigerated as soon as they are cool.
Friday, November 27, 2009
Fancy whipping up some good old-fashioned Chocolate Mousse for dessert? Well, try this light and velvety mousse recipe which I had adapted from The Harry’s Bar Cookbook. The recipe suggests serving the chocolate mousse with some chocolate sauce, however, I personally prefer pairing the fantastic mousse with raspberry coulis. The slight tartness from the raspberry provides that perfect balance with the chocolate mousse. I love it. Anyway, I have included both the chocolate sauce and the raspberry coulis recipes here. You take your pick, enjoy! :-)
Chocolate Mousse- Mousse Gelata Di Cioccolato
1 Egg White, at room temperature
1/4 Cup (55 g) Sugar
2 oz (60 g) Unsweetened Chocolate, cut into bits
1/4 (60 ml) Water
3 Egg Yolks
1/4 (55 g) Cup Sugar
1 Cup (250 ml) Heavy Cream
Chocolate Sauce (recipe to follow)
Raspberry Coulis (recipe to follow)
For the meringue: In a medium size bowl, beat the egg whites until they are almost stiff. Gradually beat in the sugar. Beat until the meringue is very thick and glossy.
For the chocolate mousse: Put the chocolate in top of a double boiler with water. Heat over simmering water, stirring occasionally, until the chocolate is melted and smooth. remove it from the heat.
Using an electric beater, beat the yolks with the sugar until they are thick and pale. Whisk the chocolate into the mixture until thoroughly combined.
Fold the meringue gently but thoroughly into the chocolate mixture. Beat the cream until stiff and gently fold into the mixture. Put the mousse in small serving dishes and chill it. Serve with chocolate sauce or raspberry coulis.
2/3 Cup (160 ml) Water
3/4 Cup (165 g) Sugar
1/4 Cup (15 g) Unsweetened Cocoa Powder
1 oz (30 g) Unsweetened Chocolate, cut into bits
Combine the water and sugar in a saucepan and bring it to a boil. Whisk in the cocoa and return to the boil. Off the heat, whisk in the chocolate until it is melted.
2 Cups Frozen Raspberry, lightly thawed
2 to 3 Tbsp Sugar
Blend the raspberry and sugar in a blender or food processor until pureed. Add more sugar, if desired. Then press the mixture through a strainer to eliminate the seeds.
Thursday, November 26, 2009
Steamed Clams With Rice Wine is one of my favorite seafood dishes. A simple dish that is yummy on it’s own or eaten with some steamed rice. The combination of the wine, fresh clams, and chopped ginger makes this dish so addictive. Try it.
Steamed Clams With Rice Wine
750 to 800 grams(1 3/4 lbs) of Savoury Clams or about 1 Kg of Manila Clams, washed and drained well
2 Thai Bird's Eye Chilies, smashed or chopped
1/2 inch Ginger, julienned or chopped
1/2 Cup Shaoxing Rice Wine
1 Tbsp Peanut Oil
Sea Salt to taste
2 Scallions, chopped
In a large wok over high heat, add peanut oil and ginger. Stir briefly until fragrant and toss in the chili and clams. Give it a quick stir and mix in the rice wine. Close the lid and cook until all the clams’ shells are open. Season the clams lightly with sea salt, if desired and top with some chopped scallions. Serve immediately.
Tuesday, November 24, 2009
Another tapas I made the other night was Chicken With Garlic Sauce. It’s definitely one of my favorites as the sauce is just fantastic, made out of either sherry or white wine. I used the former in this recipe. Anyway, it’s very easy to make this tapas, so do try the recipe.
Chicken With Garlic Sauce
2 Chicken Breast, boneless, skinless and cubed
2 Tbsp Olive Oil
1 Tbsp Butter
½ Large Yellow Onion, chopped
3 Cloves Garlic, chopped
1 Bay Leaf
¼ Cup Sherry
¾ Cup Chicken Stock
A pinch of Paprika
Freshly Ground Black Pepper
In a large skillet over high heat, add 1 Tbsp of Olive oil and butter. When the butter has melted, brown the chicken in two batches. Remove and set aside.
Lower the heat and add the remaining oil. Mix in the onion and garlic. Sauté until the mixture becomes translucent.
Then turn the heat back on high and toss in the chicken, bay leaf and give it a quick stir. Add the sherry and bring it to a boil, then mix in the chicken stock. Bring the mixture to a boil again and reduce to a simmer. Cook the chicken for about 4 to 5 minutes until the sauce has thicken and season with sea salt and pepper. Remove from the heat and sprinkle some paprika and serve immediately.
Sunday, November 22, 2009
Last evening, I prepared a no fuss Spanish theme dinner. The kids absolutely loved it. Several simple mouth watering tapas before the main course, a great tasting seafood paella. You can find the paella recipe over here. One of the tapas I made was a simply and delicious Garlic Prawns. I am posting the recipe here for you to consider trying. It’s really easy to make, just prepare lots of toasted baguette or bread to dip into the addictive olive oil. This recipe serves 2. Enjoy!
8 Large Prawns, peeled and tail intact
6 Cloves Garlic, light crushed
5 Tbsp Olive Oil
1 tsp Dried Pepper Flakes
Sea Salt to taste
Preheat oven to 400˚F.
Place 2 ramekins on baking sheet. Divide the oil, garlic and pepper flakes equally into the ramekins. Place in the oven for about 6 to 8 minutes or until the oil are hot and the garlic is fragrant.
Remove from the oven and place add the prawns in the hot oil. Return to the oven and bake for another 5 to 6 minutes or until the prawns are just cook. Season the prawns lightly with sea salt if necessary and top with a pinch of paprika. Serve immediately with lightly toasted bread.
Friday, November 20, 2009
If you like to add a bit of extra “kick” to your burger, than you will definitely enjoy my Mini Burger With Green Chilies. Not to worry, the green chilies are not spicy at all. I used a combination of Anaheim and Serrano chilies. They were perfect, only a slight taste of hotness which does not over power the taste of the meat at all. The mini burgers were really good and guess what? You don’t even need the usual ketchup or mustard! Anyway, I hope you will try to make them at home. Enjoy!
Mini Burger With Green Chilies
5 Large (400 g) Anaheim Chilies/Pepper
2 Serrano Chilies/Pepper
1 Large White Onion, halved and sliced
1 Clove Garlic, minced or finely chopped
900 g Ground Beef (preferably with 20% fat)
4 to 5 Medium size Heirloom or any ripe Tomato, sliced
A bunch of Green Leaf Lettuce, washed
6 Slices Cheddar Cheese, quartered
12 Mini Hamburger Buns
1 Tbsp Olive Oil
A splash (about 1 Tbsp) of Balsamic Vinegar
Freshly Ground Black Pepper
Season the ground beef with sea salt and black pepper. Divide the meat into 12 equal patties. Shape the patties to about the size of the mini buns and set aside.
Roast the chilies over open flame or under a broiler. Turn the chilies to charred evenly. When chilies are charred, place in a bowl and cover with plastic wrap and let sit for 20 minutes. Then wipe the charred skins off with paper towel or wear gloves and remove with your fingers.
Cut the chili in half (lengthwise) and carefully remove and discard the seeds. Then slice the chili, about ¼ inch wide.
In a medium skillet over moderate to high heat, sauté the onion with olive oil for about 2 to 3 minutes and toss in the garlic and chilies. Continue to sauté until the onion is caramelized. Then drizzle the balsamic vinegar and season lightly with sea salt and pepper.
Prepare the grill for direct cooking over high heat. Grill the patties until cooked, turning only once and place 2 pieces of cheddar cheese on top of each patty. Meanwhile, toast the buns lightly and set side.
When the cheese melted, remove the patty with a wide spatula and serve immediately with lettuce, tomato and top with green chilies.
Thursday, November 19, 2009
These savory snacks are called Pulot Panggang, another popular street food in Malaysia. It’s made of steamed glutinous rice with a mild spicy coconut filling in the center. All wrapped with banana leaves, they are then slowly grilled to get all that wonderful flavors. This recipe does call for some patience and a bit of work; but, I think it’s well worth it. I used a sushi contraption, as shown below, to make it easier and less tedious to roll up the rice. Try it.
Pulot Panggang- Glutinous Rice Rolls With Spicy Coconut
300 g Glutinous Rice, soaked overnight and drained
250 ml Coconut Milk
¾ tsp Sea Salt
3 Pandan Leaves, knotted
4 Tbsp Dried Prawns, soaked and pounded
100 g Desiccated Coconut
5 Tbsp Peanut Oil
½ tsp Sea Salt or to taste
1 Tbsp Sugar
15 Dried Chilies
½ tsp Ground Turmeric
2 (35 g) Red Chilies
4 Small (55 g) Shallots
2 stalks Lemongrass
20 – 25 pcs (12 x 16 cm) Banana Leaves, scalded and cleaned
Combine glutinous rice, coconut milk, salt and Pandan leaves. Steam over high heat for about 25 to 30 minutes or until the rice are fully cooked.
Prepare the filling: Heat oil and fry the sambal until fragrant. Add the dried prawns and continue to cook for about 5 minutes and mix in the desiccated coconut. Cook until the filling mixtures are dry but still moist and season with sugar and salt. Dish out and set aside to cool.
To assemble the rice rolls: Place 2 to 3 Tbsp of Glutinous rice onto the banana leaf. Spread the rice and press well to a rectangle.
Add the filling along the middle of the rice and roll from one side to form a cylindrical shape.
Secure both side with toothpick or using a staple.
Grill the rice rolls on a low heat for about 12 to 15 minutes. Serve warm.
Tuesday, November 17, 2009
This is a light salad recipe. The apple, pamelo, and scallops gives this salad a delicious sweet, sour, and crunchy taste with a hint of spiciness from the Thai inspired dressing. This salad can be prepared ahead and chilled. Just before serving, cook the scallops, toss in the salad and drizzle some dressing over it. You are all set! :-)
Apple, Pamelo, And Scallops Salad
12 Sea Scallops, seasoned lightly with freshly ground black pepper
2 Granny Smith Apples, peeled, cored and shredded
1 Cup Peeled Pamelo,
2 Small Shallots, thinly sliced
¼ Cup Mixed Fresh Beans (Sprouts)
3 Tbsp Chopped Coriander Leaves
2 – 3 Tbsp Chopped Mint leaves
1 Tbsp Olive Oil
4 Tbsp Fish Sauce
3 ½ Tbsp Palm Sugar or White Sugar
3 Tbsp Lime Juice
2 Thai Bird’s Eye Chilies, chopped
Soaked the shredded apples in ice water with ½ tsp of sea salt for 15 minutes. Drain and combine the apple with pamelo, shallots, mixed fresh beans, coriander and mint leaves. Chill the salad mixture and in the refrigerator until ready to serve.
In a medium cast-iron pan over high heat, add the oil and sear the scallops. Turn the scallops once, and remove from the heat when scallops are just cooked, about 1 minute per side.
Divide the salad and top with scallops and drizzle with the salad dressing. Serve immediately.
Monday, November 16, 2009
This is a recipe for Crispy Chicken Wingettes, marinated with Peri-Peri Sauce. So, how did I make the chicken crispy? I coated the chicken with sweet potato powder before deep-frying them. I had learnt this secret from one of my friends who operates a Vietnamese restaurant. Anyway, the chicken wings turned out really crispy indeed. Try it.
Crispy Chicken Wingettes
30 pcs (about 1.2 kg) Wingettes
2 Bottles Peri-Peri Sauce
200 g Sweet Potato Powder
2 Tbsp Lemon Juice
Freshly Ground Black Pepper
Put the chicken pieces in a large bowl. Add the Peri-Peri sauce, lemon juice and season with sea salt and black pepper. Cover with plastic wrap and put into the fridge for at least 4 hours. Turn the chicken once or twice to distribute the flavors.
Pour at least 5 cm (2 inches) of oil into a large frying pan over medium heat. Heat until the oil is hot. Pat the chicken in the sweet potato powder to coat it on all sides, making sure that all the nooks and crannies are covered.
Add the chicken to the hot oil and fry until it is crispy and golden. It is important that the chicken is cooked right through to the bone - use tongs to turn the pieces over a couple of times until you are satisfied that they are deep golden and cooked through. Lift out onto a plate lined with kitchen paper to absorb the excess oil. Serve immediately, with some lemon wedges to squeeze over the top, if desired.
Saturday, November 14, 2009
Ever tried having bacon in your dessert? A bizarre combination I have to admit, therefore, I am sure the majority of the response to the question will be a big “no” :-) The recipe consists of Banana, Chocolate, and of course, Bacon. The end result was surprising indeed, very tasty, a fusion of sweet and salty flavors! Do try this unusual recipe and please give me your feedback :-)
Banana Chocolate, And Bacon Spring Rolls
8 Strips of cooked Bacon, crumbled
4 Medium Ripe Bananas, halved
6 - 8 Tbsp Chocolate Chips
8 Sheets of Spring Roll Wrappers
Oil for deep-frying
Combine the banana, bacon and chocolate chips on the corner of a wrapper and fold, roll up and press to secure with a little water.
Heat the oil on moderate heat and cook the spring rolls in 2 batches until golden brown in color. Drain on a paper towel. Serve warm.
Friday, November 13, 2009
This is a great French Macarons recipe for pistachio lovers. I must admit, I did have more than 3 of these little cuties. So, do check out Canelle et Vanille’s blog for the full recipe.
Recipe adapted from Cannelle et Vanille
1 Recipe Pistachio Macarons
50 g Egg Whites
100 g Sugar
150 g Unsalted Butter, softened
50 g Pistachio Paste
Mix the egg whites and the sugar and place them over a double boiler while you whisk them together. The sugar will start to dissolve and the egg whites will start to turn white and fluffy. Continue whisking until the egg whites feel hot to the touch.
Transfer the bowl to the electric mixer and whip in high speed until light and fluffy and the bottom of the bowl doesn't feel hot anymore. About 3-5 minutes.
Start adding the softened butter by the tablespoon. Keep adding more butter as it is incorporated into the meringue. It might look like it is curdling but don't worry, keep mixing. When is well mixed, add the pistachio paste.
Wednesday, November 11, 2009
This is a fantastic Baked Penne with Chorizo. I used some fresh chorizo which are full of flavors and they tastes really good with the penne. I added the penne with mozzarella cheese after cooking the meat mixture, and topped it with some freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese. Hmmm…sounds like a good comfort food, doesn’t it?
Baked Penne With Chorizo
1 Box (500g) Penne
500 g Fresh Spicy (Hot) Pork Chorizo, casing removed
1 Small Yellow Onion, diced
1 Can 28oz Diced Tomato, drained
2 Cloves Garlic, chopped
½ tsp Dried Oregano
2 tsp Dried Basil
1 tsp Red Pepper Flakes
3 Tbsp Tomato Paste
½ Cup White Wine
300 g Mozzarella Cheese, grated
120 g Parmigiano-Reggiano Cheese, grated
5 Tbsp Olive Oil
Freshly Ground Black Pepper
Sea Salt to taste
Preheat the oven to 400˚F.
Cook the penne as per manufacturer instructions. Drain the pasta and set aside.
In a large pan over moderate to high heat, cook the chorizo with olive oil. Break the meat apart with a spatula and reduce the heat to low. Then toss in the onion and garlic. Season the mixture with oregano, basil, pepper flakes, sea salt and some freshly ground black pepper.
Add diced tomato, tomato paste, and white wine and bring the mixture to a boil, reduce the heat and cook until the sauce is fairly thick.
Mix the meat mixture with pasta, mozzarella cheese and half of the Parmigiano- Reggiano cheese and stir until well combine. Transfer the mixture to baking dish and top with Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese and bake in the oven for about 20 minutes or until golden brown on top. Serve warm.