Thursday, March 29, 2012

Double Chocolate Potato Chips Cookies

Having potato chips in a cookie may sound like a crazy idea ..... but, it sure tastes good.  It's an interesting combination of sweet and salty, just like when you're having a mix of cheese and caramel popcorn.  

(makes about 60 cookies)

150g unsalted butter
70g fine sugar
30g brown sugar

1 egg
1 tsp vanilla essence

200g self-raising flour
4 tbsp corn flour
100g chocolate chips
1 cup coarsely crushed potato chips

1) Beat ingredients (A) till smooth, pale and fluffy.
2) Add in (B) and continue to beat for another few minutes.
3) Add in (C) and mix to combine.
4) Keep in plastic wrap and chill for 30 minutes for easy handling.
5) Take about 1 heaped tsp of dough each and place on lined baking trays.  Press it down a little for thinner, crispier cookies.
6) Bake in preheated oven at 175C for about 12 to 15 minutes, till golden brown.
7) Cool on rack before storing in airtight container.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Chicken Wrap (五彩鸡扎)

"Hmmm .... this smells so good, Mummy".  My little girl quickly helped herself to a piece of chicken winglet.  Within seconds, she gave me a thumbs up with a satisfying smile on her face :)    I knew this was worth all the time and effort that I put into preparing this dish.

This is an adaption from a Cantonese dim sum, 四宝滑鸡扎 or 鸡扎 (chicken wrap), as it is usually known.  Briefly, the preparation involves taking a piece of Chinese mushroom, Chinese yam (淮山), fish maw etc and wrap these with a piece of chicken thigh meat.  Then, you wrap each chicken parcel with a piece of fried bean curd skin and steam on high.

For my 五彩鸡扎, I used Chinese mushroom, carrot, celery, Chinese sausage and enoki mushroom (I wanted to use fresh Chinese yam, but can't get hold of it at the last minute) as the filling.  Instead of using chicken thigh meat, I used chicken winglets, removed the two small bones in each wing, so that I can stuff the filling inside each wing.

To remove the bones, you can use either a pair of kitchen scissors or a small paring knife.  Cut around the bones to separate the bones from the meat.  Slowly slide the bones out as you push the meat away from the bones.  Use the bones for making soup or stock.

Basic ingredients
Chicken winglets, carrot, celery, Chinese mushroom, Chinese sausage, enoki mushrooms, bean curd skin (腐皮).

1) Marinate the chicken wings with the usual soy sauce, oyster sauce, sesame oil, cooking wine, pepper, corn starch etc for a few hours before putting in the filling.

2) Filling: Cut the ingredients into thin strips.  Blanch the carrots and celery, let them cool.  Marinate the mushrooms with a little soy sauce, shallot oil and a pinch of sugar.  Take a piece of each ingredient and put them into each chicken winglet.  

3) Cut the bean curd skin into rectangular pieces (big enough to wrap each chicken winglet).  Briefly fried the bean curd skin, then soak in water to soften it, as well as to remove excess oil and salt from the bean curd skin (Note: The bean curd skin cracks easily after frying, so handle with care).  Remove bean curd skin from water and discard water.

4) Wrap each winglet with a piece of bean curd skin and steam on high till cooked (about 7 to 8 minutes).

This dish is simply delicious!  Try it.

Monday, March 26, 2012

Beef Stew with Radish

I'm into cooking radish (白萝卜) quite often recently.  In the past, I only buy radish when I want to cook three-colour carrot soup or for making steamed radish cake.  Somehow, I dislike the mild bitter taste in the radish after cooking.  But hey... the recent batch of radish tastes so good and has no bitter taste at all!  Just last week, I prepared this beef stew with radish.  I kept the leftover beef stock in the freezer, and used it as a stock base to prepare more radish stew for another day.  And last night for dinner, I prepared pork knuckle, mushroom and radish stew.  The radish was so delicious, after soaking up the flavours from the pork knuckle and mushroom.

For this beef stew:
* Two basic ingredients: beef and carrots/radish (I used beef short ribs).  
* Spices: Ginger (few slices), few shallots (crushed with chopper), 1 star anise, 1 piece mandarin peel.
* Seasoning: Soy sauce, sukiyaki sauce (I happen to have at home, so use it.  Else, use oyster sauce plus a little sugar), cooking wine.

To prepare: 
1) Add oil into hot wok, stir fry ginger slices and crushed shallots.  
2) Add beef and stir fry till fragrant.  
3) Add soy sauce, cooking wine.  Stir well.
4) Add in carrot, sukiyaki sauce (or oyster sauce) and water (enough to cover plus some more).  Bring to boil and simmer on low heat till beef is almost tender (gently poke a piece of beef with a chopstick to test).   You can also check the taste and add more seasoning if needed.
5) Add radish and cook for another 30 minutes or till radish has softened.  Remove from heat, keep cover for another 30 minutes before serving.

I served the beef stew with noodles:

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Mango Ice Cream Roll

Recently, saw quite a handful of homemade mango ice cream postings on Facebook.  Thanks to Wokkingmum for sharing her homemade ice cream recipe.  In a few simple steps. you can have mango ice cream made with real mangoes!  

After enjoying half a tub of mango ice cream with my family, I used the remaining to make this mango ice cream roll.

For the Swiss roll:
(make one 30cm x 20cm cake pan)

(A) 4 egg yolks + 1 tbsp sugar + pinch of salt
(B) 3 egg whites + 3 tbsp sugar
(C) 50 plain flour, sifted
(D) 40g melted butter + 1/2 tsp mango essence

1) Whisk (A) till pale and creamy.
2) Whisk (B) till stiff peak.  Fold into (A) in 3 batches.
3) Fold in (C) in 3 batches and pour in melted butter.  Fold batter till well-incorporated.
4) Pour into lined pan and bake in preheated oven of 190C for around 12 minutes.
5) Remove from pan and cool on rack.
6) Spread a thin layer of whipped cream on cake.  Place the ice cream block on the cake and roll it up.
7) Wrap the cake roll in plastic wraps and freeze till set.

I poured softened mango ice cream into a round sushi maker to get a round block of ice cream. 

Friday, March 23, 2012

Braised Yam with Choy Sum

My initial plan is to do a simple stir-fry choy sum (菜心) with minced garlic and oyster sauce.  Then, I was browsing through Wendy's Table for 2 recipe index and found this interesting dish, Braised Taro with Kai Lan.  And  I just happened to have a piece of yam!  I have never thought of using taro (we called it "yam" locally) with leafy greens.  Since yam works for Kai Lan, it should taste good with choy sum too!

Instead of blanching the choy sum in oil/salt water, I prefer to do a quick stir-fry, before adding in the braised yam.  In addition to the dried shrimp in the recipe, I added some leftover beef stew gravy for added flavour to the dish.

I'm glad I tried this new twist to my usual garlic & oyster sauce stir-fry choy sum! 

(adapted from Table for 2, sourced from Elin)

Yam (mine's about 200g after peeling the skin), cut into thumb-sized strips
1 to 2 tbsp dried shrimps, soaked and minced
2 cloves garlic, minced
A little beef gravy/broth (optional) - or replace with 1 tbsp oyster sauce
Salt & pepper to taste

A packet of choy sum (cook the quantity that you need)
A few slices of ginger
Dash of soy sauce and cooking wine
1 tbsp fried shallots with oil 

1) Heat up a wok over moderate heat.  Add oil, stir fry the minced dried shrimps and garlic till fragrant.
2) Add the yam, stir briefly and add about a cup of water, salt and beef gravy.  Cover and let it simmer over medium heat till yam turns soft and the gravy thickens.  Set aside.
3)  Clean and heat up the wok again over high heat.  Add oil and ginger slices, followed by choy sum.  Give it a few quick stirs and add a dash of soy sauce and cooking wine from the side of the wok. 
4) Add in the braised yam from step 2.  Stir and let the flavours of the choy sum and braised yam blend well together (add a little more water if it's too dry or if you like to have more gravy).
5) Just before dishing up, add in the fried shallots.  Serve.

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Pan-Fried Dumplings (三鲜锅贴)


I was watching 李梅仙老师的 “三鲜锅贴” over YouTube the other day.  I enjoy watching Taiwan and Hong Kong cooking shows, as the chefs and hosts always have lots of interesting conversation while cooking.  李梅仙老师 cooking show is one of my favorite.    She cooks effortlessly, free and easy style and offers many cooking/food preparation tips.

Recipe (adapted from 李梅仙 三鲜锅贴”)

(makes about 12 pieces)

1 cup plain flour
1/2 cup warm water (may not use all)
Pinch of salt

250g minced pork
150g fish paste (or you can use minced prawn or chicken)
1 cup chopped spring onion (or you can use Chinese chives)
1 tbsp finely minced ginger

1 tbsp soy sauce
1 tbsp cooking wine
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp sugar
1/2 tbsp sesame oil
Ground pepper to taste

1/2 tbsp plain flour + 3/4 cup water (flour solution)

1) Filling: Place all filling ingredients together in a mixing bowl.  Add in seasoning and stir in one direction (with your hand or a pair of chopsticks) for about 2 to 3 minutes till all the ingredients bind together.  Cover and chill in fridge for an hour before using.

2) Dough:  Place flour and a pinch of salt in mixing bowl and gradually add in the warm water.  Mix & knead briefly till you get a soft dough.  Place dough in a lightly-oiled plastic bag and set aside for about 30 minutes.

3) Generously dust table-top with plain flour.  Divide dough into 12 portions.  Flatten each portion and roll into a thin round wrapper.  

4) Fill each wrapper with about 1 heaped tbsp of prepared filling.  Pinch the edge of the wrapper together to form a long rectangular shape dumpling, leaving both ends open.

5) Heat up a non-stick pan over medium heat and add about 2 tbsp oil.  Place the dumplings in the pan, close to each other.  Pour in the flour solution, cover the pan and cook the dumpling over medium-low heat for about 8 to 10 minutes.  

6) When flour solution has almost dries up, drizzle 1 tsp sesame oil and sprinkle some chopped spring onion over the dumplings.

7) Continue to pan-fry the dumpling till the flour solution dries up.  Carefully tilt the side of the dumplings to check if the bottom has turned golden brown.  

8) Serve hot with chili sauce and black vinegar with thinly shredded ginger.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

One Fish Head ... 3 Dishes (鱼头三吃)

Fish Head Assam Curry

Bought one big garoupa fish head from the wet market.  How big?  The above Fish Head Assam Curry was served in a deep CorningWare casserole and that's half fish head with assortment of veggies (ladies fingers, brinjal, tomatoes, onions etc).  For the curry sauce, I used a combination of A1 Fish curry sauce, finely chopped shallots, lemongrass, home-made sambal sauce, tamarind juice and a little diluted coconut milk.

For the other half fish head, I've got the fishmonger to help me to chop it into smaller pieces.  We can't possibly chop up the fish head at home with our home-use cleaver.  I divided the fish head pieces into two portions:  "meaty" portion and "less-meat more-bones" portion.

Salted Fish Head Tofu Soup

I used the "less-meat more bones portion" plus an equal portion of salted fish head for this Salted Fish Head Tofu Soup.  Went for a holiday at Cherating, Malaysia last year and bought some salted fish at Kuantan on my way back.  Here's another dish  prepared with salted fish head.

The salted fish head adds an uniquely rich flavour to this soup, which tastes different from the ordinary fresh fish head tofu soup.

To cook the salted fish head tofu soup:  

1) Soak the salted fish head in water for an hour to two (depends on how salty you want your soup to be) and discard the water.

2) Pan-fry the salted fish head with slices of ginger over high heat.  When you can smell the fragrance of the salted fish head, add in the fresh fish head pieces.  Continue to pan-fry to brown the fish head slightly.

3) Add a dash of cooking wine, stir and add sufficient water.  Cover and bring the soup to boil.  Simmer over medium-low heat for about an hour.  

4) Add in other ingredients (I added tomatoes, yam, tofu) and let it simmer further for another 10 minutes before serving.  I added some lettuce just before serving.  

5) Add a dash of pepper and some chopped spring onion.

One dish meal - Fish Head Bee Hoon Soup

The "meaty portion" of the other half fish head went into this one-dish meal -  Fish Head Bee Hoon Soup.  Similar to the salted fish head soup, the crucial step in getting the milky white soup is the high-heat pan-fry cum a little stir-fry of the fish head.  I have also added some homemade fish bone stock for added sweetness to the soup.  Since this is a one-dish meal, I included some greens for a balanced diet.

Ingredients for my bee hoon soup

Friday, March 16, 2012

Pomfret Steamboat (鲳鱼炉)

I love to cook and drink soups.  Sometimes simple boiled soup with vegetables/meat/fish etc... and sometimes long-simmering soup.  This steamboat is somewhat in between a boiled soup and simmering soup.  First, you need to prepare some fish stock.  I used some garoupa fish bones (really huge and fresh), which I got them free from a fishmonger when I bought some other fish from him :)

You will need ginger (I used about 6 or 7 slices) for the fish stock.  Heat up the wok till smoking hot and add a little oil.  Fry the ginger slices and fish bones (add a small pinch of salt) to brown the bones slightly.  Add a dash of cooking wine --- very aromatic by now, stir fry a little, and add in the water.  Transfer to soup pot and simmer the stock over medium-low heat for about an hour.  To stretch your dollar further, sieve the fish soup to remove bones.  Place the bones back to the soup pot and break it up a little with a ladle.  Add water, bring it to boil and cook over medium heat for another 20 minutes to get the 2nd-round stock.  While the flavour is not as rich as the 1st round, I still managed to get milky white fish stock from this 2nd-round stock.  And since I am adding other ingredients, like the Chinese cabbage, sweet corn and pomfret to the steamboat, which will add to the sweetness of the soup, I used this 2nd-round stock for preparing the steamboat.

All ready for the steamboat!

This is simple and healthy one-pot meal that can be easily prepared at home.  Love this dish, especially on cold, rainy weather.

Monday, March 12, 2012

The Versatile Minced Pork Stew

This is one dish that can go with rice, noodles, porridge and yes, even with bread!  I mixed some minced pork stew with mashed hard-boiled eggs as the filling for the bun and they made good breakfast.  Recipe for the pork stew over here.

Friday, March 9, 2012

Mango Marshmallow Cheese Cake (Non-Baked)

Another mango dessert from the mango lover .... light and refreshing, almost like eating ice-cream.

(8" cake)

Biscuit base:
50g butter, melted
8 to 9 pieces of digestive biscuits, finely crushed

(A): 200ml milk + 70g marshmallows
(B): 100g cream cheese + 1 tbsp lemon juice
(C): 3 to 4 tsp gelatin powder + 3 tbsp water
(D): 1 mango + 1/3 cup mango juice (pureed to yield approximately 250g)
(E): 200g non-diary whipping cream (sweetened)
(F): Mango cubes
(G): 1/2 tsp mango essence (optional)

Jelly layer:
1 mango, thinly sliced
100ml water
100ml mango juice
1 tbsp instant jelly powder

Finger sponge (optional):
2 egg yolks + 25g sugar + pinch of salt
2 egg whites + 25g sugar + 1/8 tsp cream of tartar
60g plain flour, sifted

1) Combine biscuit base ingredients, press onto the base of a loose-bottom 8" cake pan.  Place in freezer to harden.

2) Filling
a) Melt milk and marshmallow over a pot of water till marshmallow fully dissolves.  Set aside to cool.
b) Beat cream cheese (remove from fridge to let it soften slightly) with lemon juice till smooth.
c) Melt gelatin powder with water.  
d) Combine prepared ingredients from 2a to 2c, mango puree and essence (if using).  Mix well.
e) Whisk whipping cream till peak.
f) Fold whipping cream to step 2d.  Add in the mango cubes. 

3) Pour prepared filling onto hardened biscuit base (leave about 1.5cm allowance on top for the jelly layer).  Place the cake in freezer to set the filling (set will do, no need to freeze till hardened).

4) Jelly layer: Combine water, mango juice, instant jelly powder and boil till jelly dissolves.  Set aside to cool (do not pour over the cake filling when it's hot). 

5) Place mango slices on top of filling and pour the jelly solution on top.  Place in fridge for the jelly to set.

6) Remove cake from pan and line with finger sponge (method over here).   

7) Place in fridge for another few hours to fully set the cake.  Serve chill.

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Steamed Scallop Tofu with Fermented Black Beans

Fermented black beans (豆豉), paired with chopped garlic and chilies is a commonly used condiment in Cantonese cooking, such as for steamed spare ribs or braised spare ribs with bitter gourd.  The salty and strong aroma from the fermented black beans gives the dish an interesting and rich flavour.  

1 tube of silken tofu
3 to 4 big scallops, sliced horizontally (briefly marinate with a pinch of salt & corn flour, 1 tsp shallot oil)
Pinch of corn flour (for dusting)

1 tsp fermented black beans
1 tsp hoisin sauce
1 tsp soy sauce
2 to 3 garlic, finely chopped
Chopped chilies (optional)
1 tbsp shallot oil

Garnish: Spring onion, chopped

1) Prepare the sauce by mixing all the sauce ingredients together.  Microwave on high for about 45 seconds.  Set aside.
2) Cut tofu tube into 7 or 8 round pieces.
3) Sprinkle a small pinch of corn flour over the tofu.  Place a slice of marinated scallop on each tofu.
4) Pour sauce over tofu/scallop and steam on high for about 8 minutes.
5) Garnish with chopped spring onion and serve hot immediately.

Monday, March 5, 2012

Pear & Cranberry Crumble

How I missed this yummy dessert! Quick to prepare and simply satisfying.  I used poached pear for this crumble, but you can always use apples, plums, peaches, cherries, mixed berries etc.  Be careful, the fruit fillings are piping hot!

(serves 3)

3 pears, poached* (see here for method
2 to 3 tbsp dried cranberries, soaked briefly in a little rum (or orange juice)

*alternatively, cut the pear into small pieces and cook with a little water and sugar in a pot over low heat till softened.  Thicken with cornstarch.

Crumble topping:
100g plain flour
20g ground almond, toasted (I toast in frying pan till light brown)
1 tbsp fine sugar
1 tsp molasses sugar (or brown sugar)
50g butter

1) Grease baking dish or ramekins with butter.  Set aside

2) Cut pear into small pieces.  Combine with soaked cranberries (discard liquid).  Pour into baking dish/ramekins.  Add dots of butter to the pear mixture.

3) Crumble topping:  Using finger tips, rub the butter into the flour/almond/sugar mixture till it resembles fine breadcrumbs.

4) Spoon the crumble over the pear.  Bake in preheated oven at 175C for about 25 minutes.

Saturday, March 3, 2012

30 minutes meal: Stir-Fry Noodles


Back from an outing to the Science Centre, I wanted a quick and easy dinner.  A quick look in the fridge, I took out the frozen prawns and minced pork.  Grab a stick of carrot and the remaining cai xin.  

Read my papers, check Facebook.......... and oops, it's already 6 plus in the evening!  I have not even shelled the prawns!  Marinate the minced pork and shell the prawns.  Crush some ginger, heat the wok and stir fry the prawn shells for a quick tasty stock.  While waiting for the prawn stock, sliced an onion, minced a few cloves of garlic, washed & cut the veggies.  I'm using dried bean mee (豆签), hence need to boil the noodles briefly in hot water to soften it a little before stir-frying.

To cook:
1) Heat wok on high heat.  Add some oil and stir-fry the sliced onion, minced pork, garlic till fragrant. 

2) Add the carrot, noodles and prawn stock.  Cover and let it cook for about 2 minutes.

3) Check seasoning.  Add caixin and prawn.  Cover and cook for another minute.

4) Stir in a little cornstarch solution (optional) and a beaten egg.  Stir and remove from heat.

5) Garnish with Chinese parsley and serve hot immediately.

Check.......... 7pm and dinner is ready ;)

Friday, March 2, 2012

Mango & Avocado Rice Paper Rolls

My favorite Thai honey mango is in season again!  Thai mango is so sweet to eat on its own and makes wonderful desserts.  Here, I combine mango and avocado for a light and healthy fruit salad paper rolls.  

You will need:
A few pieces of rice papers
Avocado, mango, cucumber, crab sticks etc 
Mayo sauce: Mayo + a little lemon juice + cod's roe powder (or just season with salt)

1) Cut all ingredients into thin strips (see picture).
2) Immerse a piece of rice paper into water for about 10 seconds.  Remove and place it on a clean tea towel (to absorb excess liquid).
3) Place a piece of lettuce and arrange the ingredients on top.  Add a little prepared mayo sauce.  Fold and roll up the rice paper.
4) Serve chill.

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