Monday, December 30, 2013

Gon chow ngau ho / Cantonese-style fried noodles / Beef chow fun or just call it delicious !

Instead of ending the year with sweet note , I'll leave you with savoury note lol

If you've been in Hongkong , you've probably eaten this already .

Of course , this version is not really what you call authentic gon chow ngau ho / beef chow fun / Cantonese-style fried noodles since I usually add water whenever I cook it .

Well , since it's my own version , I can add anything whatever I want , right ? 

This is my 3rd post of this noodle dish . I've tried cooking it without water the second time but I like it much better with some water .   

I mean , who wants an oily version of it , which by the way , is what you usually get when you order this noodle dish at some Chinese resto here . 

Not all , mind , some makes great gon chow ngau ho , if you're lucky enough to find it !

Now , making it at home is easy enough , as long as you won't stir it vigorously .

Fresh flat rice noodles are quiet soft and will break easily , when you fry it , each strand will stick to each other like crazy . Since I haven't tried cooking chow fun by using the wok hei method , I'm using induction cooker , so I cooked it using a non-stick pan instead . The only way to separate each noodle strands is to cook it on high heat and of course , more oil . Adding water is the lesser of two evils .

I let the photos do the talking ......

So , how's your New Year's preparation going so far ? 

Serves 4 ( Yeah , right , 2 more likely ! )

1 pound ( about 500-550 grams ) fresh flat rice noodles 
200 grams thinly-sliced beef ( the one you use for Chinese hot pot ) or sirloin , sliced thinly
1 clove garlic , minced
1 small onion , cut into 1/4-inch thick
50 grams garlic chives , cut into 2-inches long or spring onion
150 grams mung bean sprouts 
2 teaspoons homemade or store-bought chili garlic sauce plus extra , if prefer

spring onion , for garnish

For the sauce : 

1/2 cup beef broth or water 
1 1/2 tablespoons dark soy sauce
1 tablespoon light soy sauce
1 teaspoon raw sugar or regular sugar

* Marinate beef slices with 1/2 teaspoon light soy sauce , a dash of ground white pepper , a dash of sesame oil and 1/2 teaspoon of tapioca or cornstarch , set aside . Separate each strands of noodles . Combine and mix ingredients for the sauce . 

* In a large non-stick pan , over medium high-heat , pour about 1 tablespoon of oil , when oil is hot , add in garlic . Fry until lightly-browned , then add in the beef slices , cook for about a minute , transfer to a plate . In the same pan , add in the onion , fry for 2 minutes then add in the chives and cook for about a minute , transfer to the plate with the beef . Add in the noodles and cook , stirring and tossing gently from time to time to prevent sticking from the bottom , for 5 minutes . Add in the beef , onion/chives mixture and the mung bean sprouts , stir gently for about 15 seconds then add in the sauce . Stir and toss for about 2-3 minutes or until sauce is absorbed . Add in the chili garlic sauce , give it a good stir , dish up . Serve hot with extra chili sauce .

Monday, December 23, 2013

Homemade hot chocolate mix / Last-minute Christmas gift idea

So that I could have something festive (?) to post  , I hastily made this chocolate mix late last night .

Of course , I could bake cookies and I did 2 days ago but it fell short of expectation .

Okay , maybe I expected too much , dreaming that the buttery spritz cookies that I'm making will taste just like the ones at Jenny Bakery .

Yeah , right ! 

If you've tasted their cookies , you know what I'm talking about .

It's just out of this world , that is , if you love butter cookies .

Now , this chocolate mix surpasses my expectations ! 

But then , I've only got the Carnation instant cocoa mix to compare it with lol

Goodbye Carnation ! 

This homemade chocolate mix is so easy to make and I'm sure the ingredients can be found in your pantry .

Make this and you'll never go back to store-bought chocolate mix again ! 

Recipe adapted from King Arthur

Makes 3 cups mix

1 cup granulated sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 1/4 cups Guittard 63 % bittersweet chocolate chips
1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons Callebaut milk chocolate chips
1/2 cup Valrhona dutch-processed cocoa
pinch of salt , optional 

marshmallows to serve 

* In a food processor . combine sugar and vanilla and pulse for 5 to 6 seconds or until well combined .

* Add in the chocolate chips to the sugar mixture , pulse in 10 seconds interval until finely ground and well combined . 

* Add in the cocoa powder and salt if using , pulse until everything is well-mixed . 

To make a cup ( 250 ml ) of hot chocolate :

* For each cup , combine 1/4 cup / 4 tablespoons with 250 ml of hot milk or 150 ml hot water plus 100 ml hot milk . Stir until all the chocolate is melted . Top with marshmallows or whipped cream .

* Store cocoa mix in an airtight container for 6 to 9 months .

                                         The so-so taro and strawberry spritz cookies 

Thursday, December 19, 2013

Thai coconut chicken noodle soup

If I have to put up a noodle shop , this noodle soup would be my specialty .

That is after , I found another soup recipe that's worth cooking , again and again .

'twas the best chicken noodle soup outside Thailand ! 

Well , according to me , that is lol 

The first time I've made this was without noodles , I had to give up photographing a bowl of it since the chicken pieces keeps dropping down at the bottom of the bowl . Note that the recipe calls for a measly 225 grams of chicken and I just can't fathom why I had to use the deepest soup bowl ugh ! Since , there's always time to make it again , the wonderful aroma  of the soup keeps getting in the way ....

This time the slices of chicken and I also used some chicken wings , stays prettily on top , so it was easy to photograph it . For sure adding the noodles makes a much more substantial fare !

Hopefully , you can find the ingredients at your local Asian store , the aroma of the soup base while you're boiling it is such a delight and it's worth searching for galangal , lemongrass and lime leaves to make this .

Recipe adapted from Ken Hom's Foolproof Thai Cooking

I've made half of the recipe with some modification

2 fresh lemongrass
1.5 liters chicken stock
2 tablespoons coarsely chopped galangal or ginger
6 Kaffir lime leaves or 2 tablespoons coarsely chopped lime zest
6 tablespoons finely sliced shallots 4 shallots
225 grams skinless , boneless chicken thigh 150 grams chicken thigh + 4 pieces mid-joint wings
3 tablespoons fish sauce 2 tablespoons
4 tablespoon lime juice
1 tablespoon sugar
1 tin /400 ml coconut milk
1 teaspoon homemade chili-garlic sauce

200 grams dried rice stick noodles
a handful of fresh Thai basil to garnish coriander leaves
lime slices to serve

* Peel off the tough outer layers of the lemongrass , leaving the tender white center , cut into 3-inch pieces and crush with the flat of a knife .

* Pour stock in a saucepan , add in the lemongrass, galangal ,lime leaves and 1/2 of the shallots . Bring to a boil keep an eye on it or it'll boil over , then reduce the heat , cover and simmer gently for an hour . Strain the mixture and discard solids . Return the stock to the pan .

* Cut chicken into bite-sized chunks and set aside , add the chicken wings to the stock , add in the fish sauce , lime juice , chillies , sugar , coconut milk and the remaining shallots . Bring to a boil then reduce heat and simmer for 10 minutes then add in the the chicken chunks and cook for another 5 minutes . Stir in chili sauce in the last few seconds and give it a good stir . If using only chicken pieces , boil for 8 minutes .

* Meanwhile , boil dried noodles for 3 minutes , drain and rinse then divide into 2 bowls , pour in the coconut-chicken soup , garnish with some cilantro leaves and serve hot . 

This post is linked to the bloghop event Cook your Books hosted by Joyce of Kitchen Flavours

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Monday, December 16, 2013

Japanese sticky sesame chicken wings

Hey guys , how's your December so far ?! 

Me ?! So far , so good ! 

Dreaming of a new Canon dslr , actually *sigh* 

I've been meaning to bake cookies these past few days but cooking a much more hearty and substantial fare is much more tempting .

Blame the cold  and rainy weather .

It's not as if you can just serve only cookies for dinner , right ?!  lol

But then cookies for dinner sounds wonderful , maybe I'll bake some cookies tomorrow ....

Onto this dish , this is actually the second time that I made these sticky wings .

I always remind myself not to take photos of food especially when I'm hungry . 

Yup , cook , have a taste ,  take some photos then eat it asap but the first time was eat and not a taste test . The first batch of sticky wings was gone in a flash !

Hey , only 6 chicken wings and I was really , really hungry lol

These wings were really good - a delicious combination of sweet , spicy with a bit of tanginess and best of all , it's roasted not fried  ^___^ ''

Recipe adapted from Bill's Everyday Asian

Serves 8 ( I made half of the recipe with my slight modification in green ) 

1.5 kg chicken wings
1 tablespoon oil 
3 garlic cloves , crushed with the flat of a knife 4 cloves 
1 long red chilli . finely chopped 3 small red chillies 
4 tablespoons mirin
4 tablespoons soy sauce
4 tablespoon sake I used a cooking sake
110 grams granulated sugar
juice of 1 lime
1 1/2 tablespoons sesame seeds , toasted 

* Preheat oven to 200°C . Line a large roasting tray or baking sheet with parchment paper . Place the wings in the tray and roast for 35-40 I cooked mine for 50 minutes or until starting to turn brown . 

* Meanwhile , heat the oil in a medium-sized saucepan over medium-high heat . Add the garlic and the chilli and cook for 1-2 minutes or until the garlic is turning golden . Add the mirin , soy sauce , sake , lime juice and sugar , cook for 5 minutes or until the liquid has reduced by half .

* Remove chicken from the oven and pour over the sticky mirin mixture . Toss to coat and return to the oven , basting occasionally , for a further 15-20 minutes . Take out the sticky wings from the oven and scatter with sesame seeds . Serve hot .

This post is linked to the bloghop event Cook like a Star organized by Zoe of Bake for Happy Kids , Mich of Eat a Piece of Cake , and Yen of Eat your Heart Out .


This post is also linked to the Cook your Books event hosted by Joyce of Kitchen flavours

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Monday, December 9, 2013

Bacon and tomato-ricotta pesto wreath bread ( part whole wheat with Tangzhong starter )

So far , we're enjoying a wonderful weather here these past few weeks . 

I told myself to make bread more often , now's great time for it .

The mind is willing but the body is not . 

 I've made this bread last year , a spin from Christine's Recipes Tangzhong wholemeal loaf . 

If you haven't tried making bread with Tangzhong yet , now is the time . 

And no complaining if you don't have a standmixer or a bread machine , I've made this bread manually.

I don't know if it was the wonderful weather when I made this bread that day , the dough is so easy to handle , I was expecting the dough to be quiet sticky at first but came out really easy to manage unlike the last time I've made it . But I had to add 1 tablespoon of warm water to make the dough a bit wet since after 5 minutes of kneading , the dough is a bit dry . 

And unlike last time , where I struggled to form a wreath , this time was such a breeze ! The trick is to make a long roll , so you need to roll the dough as long as you can . No problem with this dough since it is one of the most well-behaved dough I've ever encountered lol Okay , the rectangle is not really even , it looks more like a rough rectangle but still easier to roll without tearing . I used a silicon mat , so I didn't dust the surface with flour before rolling the dough , not even the rolling pin since the dough is not sticky at all .  

Initially , the filling is supposed to be Nutella but the bacon has been calling my name for quiet sometime so .... ^____^ '' 

Recipe adapted from Christine's Recipes

Makes a 9-inch wreath bread 

200 grams bread flour
150 grams whole wheat flour 
40 grams sugar
5 grams salt 
6 grams Saf-red instant yeast
110 grams milk , warm 
100 grams Tangzhong 
45 grams whisked egg ( from 1 egg , reserve the leftover for glazing the top of the dough ) 
40 grams unsalted butter , melted 

For the filling : 

2 tablespoons Tomato and ricotta pesto 
2 tablespoons snipped cilantro leaves and stems
2 rashers bacon , fry on both sides for few seconds , let cool then slice 

egg wash to glaze

* In a large mixing bowl , combine the 2 flours , sugar , salt and yeast , use a whisk to stir ingredients thoroughly . Make a well in the center , pour in the milk , Tangzhong , egg and butter . Use a spatula  or your hand to combine everything together until it forms a cohesive dough . 

* Tip in dough to the work surface , knead for about 15 minutes or until dough is soft and elastic .  Roll dough into a ball and transfer to a lightly-oiled bowl or container , turning once to coat the dough then cover with a plastic wrap . Leave to rest in a warm place for at least an hour , depending on the warmth of your kitchen/place , until double or triple in size . 

*  Transfer dough into the work surface , knead for few seconds then using a rolling pin , roll dough to about 18 by 12-inch rough rectangle . Spread the surface with pesto, scatter the bacon and the cilantro . Starting from the long side , roll the dough into a long log , seal the edges and both sides . 

* Cut the log/roll into two pieces , braid the two piece together , keeping the cut side up and seal the ends . Connect both ends to form a wreath .Transfer to a lightly-oiled 10-inch round pan , cover loosely with plastic wrap then let rest for about an hour , depending on the warmth of your place/kitchen , until double in size .

* Meanwhile , preheat oven at 180°C . 

* Brush the top of the dough with egg wash and bake for 30 minutes or until golden brown . Serve warm or at room temperature . 

Thursday, December 5, 2013

Vietnamese fried chicken wings

As promised , to thyself .

Hey , I haven't had a homemade deep-fried chicken wings in nearly a year lol

Making the Karaage was just a start .

I'm thinking of making Japanese , Korean and Thai fried chicken in the near future .

Clogged arteries ahead ! 

Some Vietnamese fried chicken wings that you can find online has some kind of glaze - delicious , sticky glaze but the ones I have here are just plain ol' fried chicken with big flavor ! Even the chicken bones tastes flavorful - I kid you not !

You just need to marinate the mixture overnight to get that wonderful flavor I've been bragging about ^___^

The chicken is crunchy while it's still warm , so better eat it all before it gets cold ! 

The recipe comes with the ginger sauce for dipping but I've forgotten to print it before I returned the book to the library . Instead I served it with lime and my DIY spicy sauce that consists of  soy sauce , lime juice , homemade chili sauce , ginger , garlic and spring onion .

Recipe adapted from The Songs of Sapa : Stories and recipes from Vietnam by Luke Nguyen

My modification in green

1 kg chicken wings , wing tips discarded 820 grams/19 pieces mid-joint wings 

1 large clove garlic , finely chopped  2 tablespoons 
1/4 small onion , finely chopped  85 grams shallots  
15 grams finely chopped lemongrass
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/4 teaspoon five-spice powder
1/3 cup fish sauce 4 1/2 tablespoons 
1 tablespoon granulated white sugar 1 1/2 tablespoons raw sugar
juice of 1 lime

1 cup plain flour  3/4 cup
1 cup rice flour 3/4 cup

vegetable oil , for deep-frying

* Wash chicken wings in water with a little bit of salt added , rinse and pat dry with kitchen paper/towel .

* Combine garlic , onion , pepper , five-spice , lemongrass , fish sauce and  raw sugar , add in chicken wings and use hands to mix everything together . Chill in the fridge for at least 30 minutes or better overnight , if you have time . 2 hours before I cooked the wings , I added the lime juice to the chicken mixture .

* Just before cooking , shake excess marinade off wings . Mix plain and rice flour together , then one piece at a time , coat wings in flour mixture , shake off excess flour .

* Heat oil in a large saucepan over high heat , to test whether the oil is ready , drop a sprig of any green herb and when it sizzles , you can start frying .

* Working in batches so as not to crowd the pan , fry wings for 7-8 minutes or until golden brown and cooked through . Serve fried chicken wings , hot or warm , with some chili sauce that you prefer .