Wednesday, March 31, 2010
It was a fabulous Indian food fest weekend at my home. I am excited to share some of these fantastic recipes with you, adapted from Vij’s Elegant And Inspired Indian Cuisine by Vikram Vij and Meeru Dhalwala. Starting off today, here is a post for a really delicious creamy Vij Family’s Chicken Curry recipe. Please note that the cookbook had suggested using all chicken thighs; but, I used a mix of chicken breasts and thighs for this curry which ultimately pleased everyone. :-)
Recipe adapted from Vij's Elegant And Inspired Indian Cuisine by Vikram Vij & Meeru Dhalwala
Vij Family's Chicken Curry
½ Cup Canola Oil
2 Cups Finely Chopped Onions (2 Large)
3-inch Stick of Cinnamon
3 Tbsp Finely Chopped Garlic
2 Tbsp Chopped Ginger
2 Cups Chopped Tomatoes (2 Large)
1 Tbsp Sea Salt
½ tsp Ground Black Pepper
1 tsp Turmeric
1 Tbsp Ground Cumin
1 Tbsp Ground Coriander
1 Tbsp Garam Masala
½ tsp Ground Cayenne Pepper (I used 1 ½ tsp)
3 lbs Chicken Thighs, bone in
1 Cup Sour Cream, stirred
2 Cups Water
½ Cup Chopped Cilantro (including stems)
In a large pan, heat oil on medium heat for 1 minute. Add onions and cinnamon, and sauté for 5 to 8 minutes, until onions are golden. Add garlic and sauté for another 4 minutes. Add ginger, tomatoes, salt, black pepper, turmeric, cumin, coriander, garam masala and cayenne. Cook this masala for 5 minutes, or until the oil separates from the masala.
Remove and discard skin from the chicken thighs. Wash thighs and add to the masala. Stir well. Cook chicken for 10 minutes, until the chicken looks cooked on the outside. Add sour cream and water and stir well. Increase the heat medium-high. When curry starts to boil, reduce the heat to medium, cover and cook for another 15 to 20 minutes, stirring 2 or 3 times, until chicken is completely cooked. Poke the thighs with a knife. If the meat is still pink, cook for 5 more minutes. Remove and discard the cinnamon stick. Cool curry for at least half an hour.
Transfer cooled chicken to a mixing bowl. Wearing latex gloves, peel chicken meat off the bones. Discard bones and stir chicken back into the curry. Just before serving, heat the curry on medium heat until it starts to boil lightly. Stir in cilantro.
Monday, March 29, 2010
Have you ever considered trying to make Roasted Pork Belly at home? Well, I’d like to encourage you to have a go at it using my simple and easy recipe. Only a few ingredients are required i.e. 5-spice powder, salt, white pepper, and a few cloves of garlic. Bet you will enjoy the succulent meat and crackling pork skin. :-)
The crackling pork skin can sometimes be a bit tricky to achieve, as the oven temperature or the thickness of the pork belly skin affects the end result. So, if the crackling did not meet to your satisfaction during roasting, just heat up a wok or a pan on medium to high heat. Then, place the roasted pork belly, skin-side down, and soon, the skin will start crackling. Scrape off any charred bits with a knife and enjoy the meat with some beer or my favorite, some French red wine.
Roasted Pork Belly-Siu Yok
1 Pc (about 1.4 kg) Pork Belly, skin on
1 Tbsp Sea Salt
½ tsp Freshly Ground White Pepper
2 tsp 5 Spice Powder
4 Cloves Garlic, peeled and lightly crushed
In a small bowl, combine the sea salt, white pepper, and 5-spice powder, mix well.
Carefully pour some boiling water onto the pork belly skin. The skin will shrink slightly and pat dry.
Make a few score on the meat with a sharp knife. Rub the meat all over with the sea salt mixture. Then push in the garlic into the meat. Refrigerate the meat, skin side up for at least 5 hours, or overnight. (Do not cover the meat.)
Preheat the oven to 200˚C (400˚F).
Make a few score on the skin and spread some coarse salt all over the skin. Roast the meat in the oven skin side up for about 40 minutes, and then remove the meat from the oven. Scrape off all the coarse salt and continue to roast the meat in the oven for another 25 to 30 minutes, or until the skin is crispy.
Let cool slightly before serving.
Sunday, March 28, 2010
Kaya or also known as Coconut Jam is a very popular breakfast toast spread, especially in Malaysia and Singapore. This sweet coconut jam is made with just coconut milk, eggs, sugar, and pandan leaves. A bit of patience for the simple fresh ingredients concoction to thicken up and the reward will be a really yummy coconut jam to enjoy with your toast.
On this recipe, I had to apply a slight tweak to this age old traditional recipe to suit my taste. The traditional recipe calls for an equal portion of the coconut milk, eggs, and sugar to be used. Too sweet for my taste, so, I halved the amount of sugar called for, added in a bit of Demerara sugar for coloring, and some flour to thicken. Here’s the result. Well, if you are into coconut jam or is curious about it, do give this recipe a go and please let me know how it turned out and what you think of Kaya!
250 ml 100 % Coconut Milk (Arroy-D brand, if available)
250 ml Eggs or 4 Large Eggs
110 g or 125 ml Granulated Sugar
2 tsp All Purpose Flour
2 Tbsp Demerara Sugar
3 Pandan (Screw Pine) Leaves, washed, dry and knotted
In a large bowl, whisk the coconut milk, eggs, sugar, and flour until well combine. Strain the coconut milk mixture into a double boiler or any heat resistant bowl that rests snugly on one of your saucepans, leaving about 3 inches of between the bottom of the bowl and the bottom of the pan.
Heat the water to a gentle simmer and add the Demerara sugar into the strained coconut mixture. Stirring constantly but gently with a heatproof rubber spatula or a wooden spoon for about 20 minutes and put in the pandan leaves. Continue to stir for about 30 to 35 minutes or until the mixture is thickened and with a spreadable consistency. Remove immediately, discard pandan leaves, and let cool before storing into a clean airtight jar.
Makes about 250ml coconut jam.
Friday, March 26, 2010
Have a go at making this fantastic tasting Orange Chicken recipe. A cinch to make, marinate it and roast it in the oven. Can’t get any easier, right? Bet you will love the taste of this chicken, slightly tangy, juicy, tender, spicy, and the right amount of sweetness from the orange juice and fragrance from the orange zest. So, do try the recipe and enjoy!
8 Pieces Chicken Drumsticks
8 Tbsp Orange Juice (from 1 large-sized orange)
1 ½ tsp Orange Zest (from 1 large-sized orange)
2 tsp Minced Ginger
1 Clove of Garlic, minced
2 Stalks Scallions, finely sliced
1 Tbsp Chili Flakes
¼ tsp Sea Salt
1 Tbsp Sugar
1 Tbsp Soy Sauce
1 Tbsp Dark Soy Sauce (Caramel Soy Sauce, if available)
½ tsp Mei Kuei Lu (Chinese Rose wine)
1 tsp Chinese White Rice Vinegar
½ tsp Sesame Oil
2 Tbsp Peanut Oil
Rinse the chicken pieces and pat dry.
In a medium bowl, whisk together the orange juice, orange zest, ginger, garlic, scallions, chili flakes, sugar, soy sauce, dark soy sauce, rose wine, vinegar, sesame oil, and peanut oil. Mix well. Set aside half of the mixture, and pour the remainder over the chicken.
Place the chicken in the refrigerator and marinate for 4 to 5 hours, turning pieces every hour.
Preheat the oven to 400˚F.
Remove the chicken from the marinade, place in a roasting pan, and roast, turning to brown on all sides. Spoon the reserved marinate mixture over the chicken as it roasts. Test for doneness by piercing with a knife; chicken will be done when juices run clear and the meat is tender, about 45 minutes.
Wednesday, March 24, 2010
This is a very delicious Lemon Bars recipe. It has a perfect balance of tart and sweetness. The tart’s base is made with shortbread crust and the filling has lots of lemon juice and lemon zest. So, if you like lemon then you will probably want to make these easy lemon bars.
Recipe adapted from The Joy Of Baking
½ Cup (1 Stick) (113 g) Unsalted Butter, room temperature
¼ Cup (25 g) Confectioner’s Sugar
1 Cup (130 g) All Purpose Flour
1/8 tsp Sea Salt
1 Cup (200 g) Granulated Sugar (I used 180 g)
2 Large Eggs
1/3 Cup (80 ml) Fresh Lemon Juice (approximately 2 large lemons)
1 Tbsp (5 g) Lemon Zest
2 Tbsp (25 g) All Purpose Flour
Preheat oven to 350˚F (177˚C) and place the oven rack in the center of the oven. Butter, or spray with a non-stick vegetable oil, an 8 x 8 inch (20 x 20 cm) pan.
Shortbread Crust: In the bowl of your electric mixer, or with a hand mixer, cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add the flour and salt and beat until the dough just comes together. Press onto the bottom of the prepared pan and bake for about 20 minutes, or until lightly browner. Remove from the oven and place on a wire rack to cool while you make the filling.
Lemon Filling: In your electric mixer, or with a hand mixer, beat the sugar and eggs until nice and smooth. Add the lemon juice and zest and stir to combine. Fold in the flour. Pour the filling over the shortbread crust and bake for about 20 minutes, or until the filling has set. Remove from the oven and place on a wire rack to cool.
To serve: Cut into squares and dust with confectioner’s sugar. These are best eaten the day hey are made but can be covered and stored in the refrigerator for a day or two.
Makes 16 (2 inch-5 cm) Bars.
Tuesday, March 23, 2010
I like Savoury Clams cooked in Chinese style. This is a recipe for Stir-Fry Savoury Clams With Black Bean Sauce. The clams are sweet and a little salty, from the fermented black beans. It’s simply delicious with just some steamed rice. Try it!
Stir-Fry Savoury Clams With Black Bean Sauce
1 Kg Savoury Clams, soaked and scrubbed
2 Tbsp Peanut or Cooking Oil
1/4 inch Ginger, finely chopped
1 Tbsp Fermented Black Beans, rinsed and coarsely chopped
3 Scallions, cut into ½-inch segments
6 to 8 Thai Bird's Eye Chilies, chopped
1 Tbsp Oyster Sauce
1/4 Cup Water mixed with 1 tsp Corn Starch
Sea Salt to taste
Heat the oil in a wok on high heat and cook the garlic and ginger until fragrant. Add the fermented black beans, chilies, and give it a quick stir and toss in the clams and oyster sauce. Cook briefly before adding the scallions.
Then mix in the water and cover the wok with a lid until all the clams are open. Season the clams with salt if necessary. Serve immediately.
Sunday, March 21, 2010
Sticky Rice With Mango or Khao Neaw Mamuang in Thai is arguably the most famous dessert in Thailand. This dessert is rich with coconut infused glutinous rice and the natural sweetness of Thai mangoes. A great dessert to finish with any Thai meal. So, if you are going to try making this dessert, then, I’d recommend you use the “Nam Dawk Mai” mango variety which are in season now. If you are in Vancouver, you can get these mangoes from most local produce grocers in Chinatown. Please find a picture of this mango variety at the bottom of this post.
Recipe adapted from Thai’s Fabulous by Karnjana Leder
Sticky Rice With Mango-Khao Neaw Mamuang
3 Ripe Mangoes (sliced or diced)
250 g Glutinous Rice, soaked overnight and drained
1 ½ Cups Coconut Milk
1 ½ tsp Sea Salt
½ Cup Sugar (I used ¼ Cup)
1 tsp Rice Flour
Toasted Mung Beans, optional
Put the glutinous rice in a steamer lined with a piece of thin linen cloth and steam for 30 minutes.
Blend rice flour in ¾ cup of the coconut milk. Cook over a low heat. Stirring constantly (do not let it boil) till thickens. Remove from the heat and reserve.
Mix remaining coconut milk with sugar and salt. Bring it to a boil, stirring constantly. Add in the coconut milk mixture into the cooked glutinous rice. Cover the rice mixture for 20 to 25 minutes before serving.
Arrange the mangoes to one side of the plate, place the glutinous rice to another side and serve with the reserved coconut milk and some toasted mung beans, if desired.
"Nam Dawk Mai” Mango
Friday, March 19, 2010
With the leftover barbecued pork, I used it as filling for my Baked Barbecued Pork Puffs. I cut up some ready made puff pastry into rectangle pieces and sprinkled some sesame seeds on top just before baking. Besides making the puffs look prettier, the sesame seeds also ensured the puffs will have a lovely fragrance when it’s done!
Baked Barbecued Pork Puffs-Char Siu Puffs
1 Packet Frozen Puff Pastry, thawed and cut into 4” x 5” pieces
1 Egg + 1 Tbsp Of Water, lightly beaten
300 g Chinese Barbecued Pork, diced
80 g Frozen Green Peas, thawed
½ Red Onion, diced
1 Tbsp Oyster Sauce
2 Tbsp Soy Sauce
1 Tbsp Dark Soy Sauce
¼ Cup Water
2 tsp Sesame Oil
2 tsp Peanut Oil
2 tsp Cornstarch mixed with 1 Tbsp of Water
A few dashes of White Pepper
Make the filling: In a small saucepan, heat the peanut oil on moderate heat. Add the onion and cook until translucent. Then mix in the pork, oyster sauce, soy sauce, dark soy sauce, sesame oil, pepper, and give it a quick stir. Toss in the green peas and mix in the water. Bring the mixture to a boil and add the cornstarch solution. Cook until the sauce is thickens. Let the mixture cool slightly before using
Preheat the oven to 425˚F (220˚C).
Divide the meat mixture equally (about 2 Tbsp) onto the center of the pastry. Brush all the edges of the pastry lightly with the egg-wash. Then seal the edges and press the edges with a fork. Brush the top of the pastry with egg-wash and sprinkle some sesame seeds.
Bake the pastry for 5 minutes, then reduce the heat to 375˚F and continue to bake for another 15 to 20 minutes or until the pastry is golden in color. Serve immediately
Makes 12 puffs.
Wednesday, March 17, 2010
Making Chinese Barbecued Pork at home is rather easy. The meat is marinated with lots of sugar, dark caramel sauce (or dark soy sauce), and rose cooking wine. It’s then roasted in the oven and finished with some maltose solution to give the meat a shiny coat. There are several ways to serve the meat. You can enjoy it with some steamed rice/noodles, or use it as filling for steamed or baked buns. Here, I served the barbecued pork with some steamed rice and a sweet sauce, which also has a slight hint of saltiness from the Hoisin sauce.
Chinese Barbecued Pork - Char Siu
1.4 Kg Pork Butt or Belly w/o Skin (preferably with a little fat attached)
200 g Granulated Sugar
1 ½ Tbsp Rose Cooking Wine (Mei Kuei Lu Chiew)
3 Tbsp Dark Caramel Sauce or Dark Soy Sauce
5 to 6 Tbsp Maltose mixed with ½ cup of warm water or Honey
6 Tbsp Soy Sauce
5 Tbsp Dark Caramel Sauce or Dark Soy Sauce
3 Tbsp Sugar
2 Tbsp Hoisin Sauce
¼ Cup Water
Cut the pork butt into 2 to 2 ½ -inch strips. In a large bowl, combine the sugar, cooking wine, and dark caramel sauce. Marinate the pork for at least 6 hours or overnight.
Preheat the oven to 400˚F. Let the pork come to a room temperature. Place the pork on the rack of a roasting pan. Roast the pork for about 35-40 and baste with the remaining marinate every 8 to 10 minutes.
When the meat is just beginning to char, brush with some maltose solution or honey, and roast until the meat is lightly char, about 10 to 15 minutes.
Remove the meat from the oven and let cool slightly before serving.
For the sauce: Bring the sauce to a boil and let simmer until the sauce has a thicker consistency. Serve warm.
Monday, March 15, 2010
Fancy snacking on some fried bananas? This is Thai style Deep Fried Bananas. The bananas are coated with desiccated coconut and sesame seeds batter. Then, fried until light golden brown in color. The coating gives these fried bananas the crunchy fritters outside, whilst the fruit remains creamy and sweet inside. Here, I am using the natural sweet Burro banana variety. This particular variety of bananas are popular for making fritters and other desserts. If you can’t get hold of them, then do substitute with ripe plantain. I am sure they will taste just as good especially for deep-frying.
Thai Style Deep-Fried Bananas
12 Ripe Bananas, peeled, halved lengthwise and cut into 2 pieces
Peanut or Vegetable Oil for deep-frying
120 g All Purpose Flour
1 tsp Baking Powder
1 tsp Sugar
½ tsp Sea Salt
25 g Desiccated Coconut
2 Tbsp Sesame Seeds
300 ml Water
Combine all the ingredients for batter and mix well.
Pour enough oil into a saucepan or a in deep-fry on medium to high heat. Coat the bananas with the batter and fry until golden brown in color. Remove the fried bananas with a slotted spoon and drain on papers and serve warm.
Saturday, March 13, 2010
These hearty Irish Stout-Braised Short Ribs are filled with the rich flavors from the famous dark bittersweet beer. They can be cooked in a slow cooker or in an oven. So, I opted to use the oven method. I also added some beef stock to enhance the taste of the sauce. Anyway, do try making these great tasting ribs and the Colcannon, which I posted earlier. It’s a great tasting combination!
Recipe adapted from Williams-Sonoma Kitchen
Stout-Braised Short Ribs
4 lbs Beef Short Ribs
Sea Salt and Freshly Ground Pepper, to taste
3 Tbsp Canola Oil
2 Yellow Onions, diced
3 Carrots, peeled and diced
2 Celery Stalks, diced
6 Garlic Cloves, sliced
2 Cups Stout
8 Fresh Flat-Leaf Parsley Sprigs (optional)
Season the short ribs generously on all sides with salt and pepper. In a large fry pan over medium-high heat, warm the oil until almost smoking. Working in batches (do not overcrowd), brown the ribs on all sides, 5 to 5 minutes per side. Transfer to a plate.
In the same pan over medium heat, add the onions, carrots, celery and garlic and cook, stirring occasionally, until softened, about 5 minutes. Season the mixture with salt and pepper.
Slow Cooker Method: Transfer the short ribs and vegetables to a slow cooker and add the stout. Cover and cook according to the manufacturer’s instructions until the meat is very tender, about 6 hours.
Oven Method: Preheat the oven to 300˚F. Transfer the short ribs and vegetables to a Dutch oven and add stout. Cover the pot with aluminum foil and place the lid on top. Transfer to the oven and bake until the meat is very tender, about 4 hours.
Transfer the ribs to a large bowl and cover with aluminum foil. Skim the fat of the sauce. Using an immersion blender, puree the sauce until smooth.
Transfer the ribs to individual bowls. Spoon the sauce on top and garnish each serving with a parsley sprig. Serve immediately.
Friday, March 12, 2010
Next Wednesday is St Patrick’s Day and I thought it would be a good idea for me to post my two favorites Irish comfort food recipes. They are Stout Braised Short Ribs and Colcannon. Today, I am posting a recipe for Colcannon, which is mashed potatoes mixed with cream, butter, sautéed cabbage, kale, leeks, onions, garlic, and bacon. I like the combination of the creamy mash potatoes, the crunchiness of the bacon, and the tender-crisps vegetables in this recipe. Do try this recipe. The addition of vegetables to the usual mash potatoes does make this unique!
Recipe adapted from Williams-Sonoma Kitchen
2 ½ lb Russet Potatoes, peeled and quartered
Sea Salt and freshly Ground Black Pepper, to taste
8 Tbsp (1 Stick) Unsalted Butter
¾ Cup Milk
4 Bacon Slices, cut into ½ inch dice
4 Large Shallots, thinly sliced
1 Large Leek, white and light green portions, halved lengthwise, rinsed well and thinly sliced
1 Bunch Curly Kale, about ¾ lb, stemmed and coarsely chopped
1 Small Head Napa Cabbage, about 1 lb, cored and coarsely chopped (I used Savoy Cabbage)
1/8 tsp Mace or Freshly Grated Nutmeg
Put the potatoes in a large pot, add water to cover the potatoes by 2 inches and generously salt the water. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat, reduce the heat to medium and cook until the potatoes are tender when pierced with a knife, about 15 minutes. Drain well in a colander.
Meanwhile, in a small saucepan over low heat, combine the butter and milk and heat until the butter melts and the mixture is hot, 8 to 10 minutes.
Set a potato ricer over a large bowl and press the potatoes through in batches. Fold in the milk mixture in two additions. Season the mixture with salt and pepper. Cover the bowl with aluminum foil and set over a large saucepan of barely simmering water to keep warm.
Heat a heavy pot or Dutch oven over medium heat until hot. Add the bacon and cook, stirring occasionally, until browned and crisp, about 5 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the bacon to a paper tower-lined plate. Set aside.
Pour off all but 3 Tbsp of the fat from the pot. Return the pot to medium heat, add the shallots and leek and cook, stirring occasionally, until softened, about 5 minutes. Add the kale and toss just well wilted but still bright green, about 3 minutes. Add the cabbage and toss until tender-crisp, about 8 minutes. Sprinkle with the mace and the bacon, and season with salt and pepper. Stir the potatoes into the cabbage mixture and serve warm.
Thursday, March 11, 2010
This is my first attempt at baking Pineapple Upside-Down Cake and I was extremely pleased with the end result. I had adapted this recipe from Thomas Keller’s “ad hoc at home” cookbook. The cake turned out nice and soft, moist, and had just the right sweetness.
Recipe adapted from Ad Hoc at Home by Thomas Keller
Pineapple Upside-Down Cake
8 Tbsp (1 Stick; 4 oz) Unsalted Butter, at room temperature
1 ½ Tbsp Honey
½ tsp Dark Rum
1 Cup Packed Light Brown Sugar
¼ tsp Vanilla Paste or Pure Vanilla Extract
1 Gold (Extra-Sweet) Pineapple
1 1/3 Cups Cake Flour
2 tsp Baking Powder
8 Tbsp (1 Stick; 4 oz) Unsalted Butter, at room temperature
½ Cup Plus 2 Tbsp Granulated Sugar
½ tsp Vanilla Paste or Pure Vanilla Extract
2 Large Eggs
1 Tbsp Plus 1 tsp Milk
Preheat the oven to 350˚F.
In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle, combine the butter, honey, rum, brown sugar, and vanilla and beat until smooth and well blended. Spread 1/3 cup of the schmear over the bottom of a 9-inch silicone cake pan. Sprinkle lightly with salt. (The remaining schmear can be refrigerated for up to 2 weeks or frozen for up to 1 month; bring to room temperature before using.)
Cut the top and bottom from the pineapple and cut away the peel. Cut the pineapple lengthwise into quarters, and cut off the core from each section. Cut each piece crosswise into ¼-inch thick slices. Beginning at the perimeter of the pan, make an overlapping ring of pineapple slices with the curved side facing out. Make a second ring inside the first one, overlapping the slices in the opposite direction, working toward the center of the pan.
Sift the flour and baking powder together; set aside.
Put the butter and sugar in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle and mix on low speed to combine, then beat on medium speed for about 3 minutes, until light and creamy, stopping to scrape down the sides as necessary. Mix in the vanilla. Add the eggs one at a time, beating until the first one is incorporated before adding the second and scraping down the sides as necessary. Beat in the milk. Add the flour mixture in 3 batches, beating until combined.
Pour the batter into the pan and spread over the pineapple. Bake for 15 minutes. Rotate the pan for even browning and bake for another 20 to 25 minutes, until a cake tester or wooden skewer inserted in the center of the cake comes out clean. Cool the cake in the pan on a cooling rack for 20 to 40 minutes.
Run a knife around the edges of the cake, invert onto a serving platter, and serve warm. (Leftover can be stored at room temperature for up to 2 days.)