Sunday, May 22, 2016

Pad kee mao / drunken noodles / spicy Thai stir-fried noodles

Have you heard about pad kee mao before ? No ? Me either , well , until a week ago . Saw the recipe on my newsfeed and had to ask Mr Google about it . Pad kee mao according to Wiki is a Chinese-influenced ( as most noodle dish known to mankind ) Thai noodle dish , nearly similar to pad see ew , a Thai stir-fried soy sauce noodles with meat and vegetables ( gon chow ngau ho or beef ho fun is a cousin living in Hongkong ) except for its spiciness . Pad or phat means noodles and kee mao means drunkard thus drunken noodles . There are several versions on where this dish got its name but I'll agree with one theory that the dish is so spicy that one needs to drink a beer to temper its spiciness. I don't drink beer so I just guzzled up an iced milky coffee while eating this dish .

Okay , my bowlful of noodles wasn't that spicy , I just used 2 pieces of red chillies and was perfect enough to make my taste buds tingle . The original recipe calls for 5 bird's eye chilies , that amount is not a problem if you eat chillies for breakfast !

Another tweak was reducing the amount of ground pork , 1 pound is just too much for my taste . Actually , while checking out the recipe for the first time , I thought , I bet each strand of noodles in this dish will be perfectly-covered with pork lol 

Not all Thai fish sauce are the same , some brands are more saltier than others , so keep that in mind when using it . Kecap manis is an Indonesian dark sweet soy sauce , if you can't find it , use dark soy sauce and just add enough brown sugar or granulated sugar . If fresh rice noodles is not available , use the dried one .

Simple to make and with delicious umami taste , this spicy stir-fried noodle is a must try ! 

Please check original recipe @ cooking.nytimes

Serves 2 or 3 

2 1/2 tablespoons Thai fish sauce
2 tablespoons kecap manis / Indonesian sweet soy sauce 
2 teaspoons lime juice
4 cloves garlic , coarsely chopped 
2 red chillies , coarsely chopped 
1 small onion , sliced 
150 grams ground pork
1 cup red bell pepper , sliced 
350 grams fresh wide rice noodles
2 handful of Thai basil leaves 

lime slices , to serve 

* In a small bowl , mix together fish sauce , kecap manis and lime juice , set aside . 

* In a non-stick pan , heat 1 tablespoon oil over medium heat , add in the garlic , chillies and onion , cook , stirring constantly until  garlic is light brown and fragrant ,  about 30 seconds . Add in pork and 1 teaspoon of the sauce , cook , stir to break up the meat , for about 4 minutes or until pork is cooked through . 

* Add in the bell pepper and noodles , turn heat to high , add all the sauce , cook , tossing and stirring the noodles constantly , until noodles are coated by the sauce and take on slightly-charred look , about 3 minutes , adjust taste . Toss in the basil leaves , give it a good stir , dish up and serve immediately . 

Thursday, May 19, 2016

Purple sweet potato mont blanc tartlet

I bought some purple sweet potato few days ago and had some leftover so I decided to make one recipe that I've been eyeing for quiet sometime .

Mont Blanc or chestnut cake is a dessert made from puréed , sweetened chestnuts , decorated with chestnut pastry cream and dusted with icing sugar . The name is derived from the highest mountain in the Alps , as it resembles a snow-capped mountain .

This is a Japanese-style version using purple sweet potato . It has 4 components , the tart base , almond cream , créme chantilly and sweet potato cream . It may look a bit complicated and too much work but once you've assembled all components , making it was pretty easy . Well , making the pâte sucrée or the sweet shortcrust pastry was a breeze but I had a hard time fitting each piece of pastry dough into the pastry rings and had to re-roll the dough twice . Good thing that the tart base turned out delightfully crunchy in every bite .

I had an issue with straining the mashed sweet potato as well , it took me as long as fitting all those dough into the pastry rings ! A necessary evil though as it resulted in a smooth , creamy and easily piped sweet potato cream .

As you can see the cross section of a tart below , it looks as if it only have 3 components instead of 4 . I think the pastry tart base need more baking time as the color is a bit pale at the bottom or maybe our oven is acting up again tsk ! That said , the texture of the tart base is still crunchy despite the pale color . These tarts are best eaten the day they're made , if you chill it overnight , it will lose some of its crunchiness but still delicious nonetheless .

East meets West delicate pastry with layers of wonderful flavours and texture , these pretty Japanese-style mont blanc tarts are a sure winner ! 

Pâte sucrée , recipe adapted from Bouchon Bakery cookbook via Serious Eats

Makes 837 grams tart dough ( I used half and freezes the other half for future use , hopefully ) 

375 grams all-purpose flour
46 grams icing sugar
47 grams almond flour
225 grams unsalted butter , at room temperature
94 grams icing sugar
1/2 vanilla bean ( I used 4 1/2-inch whole vanilla bean )
56 grams whisked egg

* Place flour in a medium bowl , sift in the 46 grams icing sugar and almond flour into the bowl . Break up any lumps of almond flour remaining in the sieve and add them to the bowl , whisk to combine .

* Place butter in a large mixing bowl , using an electric handmixer , beat over medium-high speed until butter is the consistency of a mayonnaise and hold a peak when beater is lifted . Sift in the remaining 94 grams icing sugar and beat on low for few seconds so that sugar won't fly around then increase to medium high and beat until mixture is fluffy , about 2 minutes . Scrape down bottom and sides of the bowl as needed . Scrape the seeds from vanilla beans and add them to the butter mixture , mix on low speed for about 1 minute to distribute seeds evenly .

* Add dry ingredients in 2 additions , mixing for about 1 minute or just until combined . Scrape the bottom of the bowl to incorporate any dry mixture that have settled . Add whisked egg and mix on low speed , about 1 minute .

* Transfer dough into the work surface , use the heel of your hand to smear the dough , maybe 6 times then gather the dough and pat it into a rough ball . Weigh the dough in half and form each half into a 4x6-inch rectangle , about an inch thick . Wrap each piece in a double later of plastic wrap . Refrigerate until firm , about 2 hours , preferably overnight .

* Roll out the 4x6 rectangle ( mine is more of an oval ) of pastry dough , about 1 cm thick , use a round cutter slightly bigger than the pastry rings that you're using . I used four 3 1/4 x 1/2-inch and two 2 3/4 x 1/2-inch round pastry rings . There were some leftover dough , maybe good for 2 more .

* Fit in dough into the pastry rings , trim the top and prick the bottom with fork , chill in the fridge until needed .

Almond cream , recipe adapted from Washoku guide / Cookpad

35 grams butter
35 grams icing sugar
35 grams whisked egg
35 grams almond meal / flour
1/2 tsp rum

* Mix all ingredients above until smooth .

Créme chantilly / whipped cream 

150 grams double cream
15 grams caster sugar

* Beat ingredients over high speed until soft peaks form . Chill in the fridge until needed .

Purple sweet potato cream 

210 grams ( steamed ) mashed purple sweet potato
30 grams caster sugar
30 grams milk
1 tsp rum , optional
60 grams créme chantilly

* Combine together sweet potato , sugar , milk and rum , mix well . Press mixture through a strainer to get rid of the lumps , it can take a while but very important . Add créme chantilly to the sweet potato mixture and mix well to combine . Place in a piping bag fitted with a plain small round tip or a mont blanc piping nozzle ( one with several small holes ) .


 * Preheat oven to 170ºC . 

* Take out pastry tarts from the fridge and divide the almond cream among them , smoothing the top .  Chill for another 10 minutes .

* Bake for 25 minutes or until pastry is golden . Take out from the oven and let cool in the wire rack completely , remove rings from the cooled pastry tarts .

To assemble Mont Blanc : 

* Place créme chantilly in a piping bag fitted with a 1 cm round nozzle . Pipe a mound of cream on top of tart then pipe the sweet potato cream around it , continue with the rest .