Monday, September 29, 2014

Minced Pork and Shitake over Steamed Tofu

This is a variation of the basic steamed tofu dish (which is just steamed tofu topped with thick soya sauce).  A bit more complicated than the Century Eggs over Steamed Tofu but delicious all the same.

Here's the recipe:

2 blocks of tofu
2 thin slices of ginger
1 small onion, sliced
2 cloved garlic, minced
1 teaspoon XO sauce
4 pieces dried shitake, rehydrated and diced
200 grams ground pork
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1 tablespoon oyster sauce
cornstarch slurry

Steam the tofu (I do this in the rice cooker, on top of cooking rice!  Saves on energy!).

Saute the ginger until lightly browned; then discard.  Saute the onions and garlic until soft and fragrant.  Add the XO sauce and stir-fry until fragrant.  Put in the mushrooms and ground pork.  Season with soy sauce and oyster sauce.  The mixture should exude some liquid, if not, add a few tablespoons of stock or water.  Adjust seasonings to your taste (hubby likes a bit of chili for some heat!).  Thicken with cornstarch slurry.  Pour over steamed tofu.

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Chai Po Omelette (菜脯蛋)

Chai po (菜脯) is crunchy, salty preserved radish.  When I was little, I would eat chai po with congee, especially when I was sick.  But in an omelette, it is such a treat, much more so when fresh shrimps are added!

It's not really difficult to make...  here's the main cast of characters...

from the top left - minced garlic (2 cloves), 30 grams chai po (minced into fine bits, and rinsed and squeezed dry), 1 stalk of leeks (sliced diagonally, white and green parts separated), and 80 grams shrimp (rinsed then shelled then sliced into "cubes")...

and of course, 2 eggs with a splash of milk (lightly beaten)...

Saute the garlic and the white part of the leeks.  Add the chai po and about half of the green leeks; stir fry several seconds.  Add the shrimp and mix for couple of minutes, until the shrimp turns pinkish.  Pour in the eggs and stir to mix.  Turn the flame to low-medium.

Shift the edges of the omelette to the middle and let the uncooked portions slide out to the edges.  Do this at regular intervals until the omelette looks evenly cooked.  I cover the pan to encourage cooking, but do not increase the heat or the bottom will get burnt.

Use an 8-inch, non-stick pan for best results.

Sunday, September 21, 2014

Tofu-Noodles Soup

We were buying tofu for hubby's dinner when I saw a container of what looked like noodles.  My curiosity got the better of me and I asked what they were.  The saleslady said they were tofu noodles, meant to be cooked like noodles whether stir-fried or in soup.  She warned me though, that the "noodles" would not be soft like regular egg noodles.  These "tofu" noodles were chewy all the way.

Hubby was interested in the idea of tofu noodles so we bought some.  We decided to make tofu-noodles soup.

It was pretty easy to make...

5 cups chicken stock
6 pieces siomai
2 cups fresh tofu noodles
salt and pepper, to taste
handful of Baguio pechay leaves

Boil the chicken stock.  Add the siomai (or substitute a mix of meat, squid, or fish balls) and when they float, add the noodles.  Season to taste.  Bring to a boil again and add the pechay leaves.  Serve hot!

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Minced Chicken and Corn Cups

This was originally intended to be (Thai) krathong thong,  but I didn't want to make the pastry "cups".  I found several recipes but they all seemed so complicated that I nearly backed out.  Well, I did back out of making the cups but I still wanted to make something like krathong thong.

So I decided to use those ready-made wonton wrappers that were available in the supermarket.  But I quickly realized that I needed something to form the wonton wrappers into a "cup" or "bowl" shape, otherwise it would be a flat shell with filling piled on top.

The only thing that I could find which could work was a an individual mold for puto (rice cake).  I used it in a similar way to a krathong thong mold.  As can be seen, it's not perfect (I've read that the mold is really crucial to achieve the shape) but it could contain a couple of tablespoons of filling (and yes, it is rather big for a krathong thong because the ones I've eaten are smaller than a mini muffin cup!)

Still, our guests found their snacks delicious!  In fact, someone asked for more... :)

This is how the filling was made...

Marinate, for 20 minutes or so, a cup of ground chicken with a teaspoon of rice wine, 2 teaspoons soy sauce and a teaspoon of hoisin sauce, as well as a small piece of ginger (grated).

The rest is easy - saute minced onions (a medium onion) and then add the chicken.  Add half a cup of drained corn kernels and cook until all liquid has evaporated.  Adjust seasonings as desired (a little chili or curry is good!).  Sprinkle chopped parsley and spoon into the cups!

I based my recipe for the filling from the book "Authentic Recipes of Thailand" (page 32) but I used more soy sauce and less salt, more corn and no carrots, parsley instead of coriander... and I added some chili!

Saturday, September 13, 2014

(Bastardized) Eggs Florentine

Traditionally, eggs florentine is a dish comprised of a poached egg on wilted spinach, on toast, and served with mornay or hollandaise sauce.  It's a variation of eggs benedict.  And quite delicious!


But, it's a bit too complicated to make, especially when we're in a bit of a rush at breakfast time. 


Keep the main ingredients and bastardize it.


1. Serve the toast on the side
2. Skip the sauce and use grated cheese
3. Skip poaching and "fry" the egg with the spinach.
4. Eat in about 15 minutes.

(I actually saw this dish in one of my cookbooks, but now that I'm trying to find it, I can't remember which cookbook!  So I'm winging it!)

Here is the recipe:

1 large onion, sliced
300 to 400 grams spinach
2 eggs, medium or large
salt and pepper, to taste
parmesan cheese, grated

In an 8-inch non-stick pan, saute the onion until soft and fragrant.  Add the spinach and a pinch of salt and toss.  Cover the pan, cook until spinach is wilted (check occasionally and stir; add a tablespoon or two of water IF necessary).  Move the spinach around to make 2 "holes".  Pour an egg in each "hole"; sprinkle salt and pepper (to taste, with a light hand!!!)  Cover and cook until the eggs are of desired doneness.  Sprinkle parmesan (and/or bacon bits...) on top.

Breakfast is served!

(I specify medium or large size eggs because I used the super large and as the dish shows, the eggs are a bit too big!)

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Fresh Passionfruit Juice

My all-time favorite bubble tea variant is the milk tea.  The next on the list is passionfruit tea slush.  So when I saw fresh passionfruit in the market, I thought of making passionfruit juice!

Truth is, I've never seen passionfruit before, but I've been told that it's common in tropical countries.  In fact, we have a couple of plants in the food garden that (have flowers now so) we're really hoping to harvest some home-grown, organic fruits! 

Anyway, hubby said it smelled (and tasted) a lot like guava!!!

Here's how to make the juice -

Open up 3 pieces of (really ripe) passionfruit and scraped the seeds and juice into a measuring cup.  This batch yielded a little under 3/4 of a cup.  Add 2-1/2 cups of cold water.  Pulse 2 to 4 times (do not blend, just pulse to remove the black seeds, otherwise, the seeds will be pulverized and the juice will be gritty and not very pleasant - trust me, I know what I'm talking about!!!)

Strain the mixture into a juice pitcher and add about another 2-1/2 to 3 cups of cold water.  Add the sweetener of your choice, to your taste.  I added agave to the pitcher, about 1/3 cup or so (but I like mine on the tangy side).  I used manuka honey for the little girl's cup (she loves manuka honey!).

Passion fruit is said to be cooling to the body and very good for the body.  It is rich in antioxidants, minerals, vitamins and fiber.  It has lots of Vitamin C and A, as well as potassium.

Friday, September 5, 2014

Tomiyao with Garlic

My first taste of this vegetable was in a famous (local) Chinese restaurant.  I found it really tasty - they tasted a bit like bean sprouts but more delicious (my opinion!).  I asked the waiter what kind of vegetable it was.  He said it was a different kind of bean sprouts.  Hmmm.... (felt skeptical and unbelieving since bean sprouts are bean sprouts... might be more logical if they were some kind of sprouts...)

Anyway, I tried to find some at various markets but there was none to be found... until recently!  I found several packs in the supermarket nearby!  And I asked the "promodiser" what they were.  Imagine my surprise when I discovered they were actually pea sprouts (or pea shoots) because I do not like peas at all.

They're easy to cook too!

200 grams of tomiyao, rinsed and dried
8 to 10 cloves of garlic, smashed
salt, to taste

Saute the garlic in some oil, taking care not to burn the garlic.  Throw in the tomiyao and some salt (season to taste).  Stir fry until just done, to keep the crunch of the shoots.  Serve immediately.

That's it!!!

Monday, September 1, 2014

Bistek Tagalog, regular

Bistek Tagalog is the local version of beefsteak, sauteed in soy sauce and calamansi, with caramelized onion rings.

Usually I like my bistek chunky, but this time I decided to make it with really thin slices of beef. 

The cooking method is pretty pretty much the same, with a few variations.

400 grams very thinly sliced beef (I used sirloin)
6 tablespoons light soy sauce
3 tablespoons calamansi juice
5 tablespoons low fat milk
1 to 2 teaspoons black peppercorns, lightly smashed

1 medium sweet onion (Vidalia), sliced into rings
water, as preferred
salt and pepper, to taste
cornstarch slurry

Marinate the tenderloin pieces in soy sauce, calamansi juice, milk and peppercorns about 15 to 20 minutes.

Heat oil gently and caramelize the onion rings (this may take some time over a gentle heat so as not to burn the onions).  Remove the onions and increase heat to medium or medium-high.  Using a slotted spoon, lift the meat pieces and place into the frying pan.  Stir fry a few seconds (they will cook fast since they're sliced thinly).  Pour in the marinade and cook until simmering.  Adjust the seasonings, as preferred.  I like a saucy dish so I almost always add a little water then  thicken with cornstarch slurry.  Add in the onions and toss to coat everything in sauce.  Remove from heat and serve immediately.