Saturday, May 24, 2014

Japchae / Korean stir-fried noodles

I made this for lunch yesterday and often wonder why I seldom cook Jap chae . Now that I don't have to search far and wide to find dangmyeon or sweet potato noodles in our neck of the woods , all I need is time or the inclination to whip up this fantastic and colorful one-pot meal . This is even far easier to make than my fave gon chow ngau ho ! 

Jap chae is a Korean noodle dish made from sweet potato noodles called dangmyeon , stir-fried in sesame oil with various kinds of vegetables and sometimes with beef and seasoned with soy sauce and sugar . This dish is commonly served at Korean parties and special occasions , either hot or cold , as a side or some served this as a main dish .

I borrowed a Korean cookbook by Chung Jae Lee a month ago and saw his recipe on how to make the traditional way of making Jap chae , each ingredients is cooked separately then mixed together at the end . It's time consuming and too many dishes to wash after so it makes sense to stir fry everything especially if you're pressed for time or if you're a lazybones like me .

I used pork instead of beef but you can omit it if you want a meat-free dish . You can even go crazy by adding more veggies lol  In this recipe , sesame oil is used for stir-frying the ingredients but I'm afraid the flavor of the sesame oil will be too much since you'll also use it for the sauce so I used my usual cooking oil instead . If you can find wood ear mushroom so much the better , it will add a nice layer of texture to this dish . Wood ear is pretty tasteless but when cooked it absorbs the flavor of the food and it has a wonderful crunchy texture .

Please check original recipe @  Fresh Tastes / Marc of No Recipes

200 grams dangmyeon / sweet potato noodles 

120 grams pork ( jowl ) , thinly sliced
1/2 teaspoon minced ginger
2 cloves garlic , minced
1 teaspoon light soy sauce 
1/4 teaspoon sesame oil
1 teaspoon tapioca starch
a pinch of salt 
a dash of ground white pepper

1 small onion , sliced
100 grams carrots , cut into matchsticks 
3 dried shiitake mushrooms , soaked until soft then boil for 5 minutes , slice thinly 
1 small yellow pepper , sliced
120 grams spinach , blanch briefly then squeeze off excess water , form into a ball then cut in half
salt , to taste

3 tablespoon light soy sauce
2 tablespoons sugar 
1 tablespoon sesame oil 
1/3 cup water 

some toasted sesame seeds to garnish 

* Combine pork , soy sauce , sesame oil . salt , pepper and starch , mix well , set aside . 

* Mix together soy sauce , sugar , sesame oil and water , set aside .

* Boil water and cook noodles for 4-5 minutes , drain and rinse briefly , sprinkle few drops of sesame oil and set aside .

* Heat a wok or a large pan , over medium-high heat , add oil when oil is hot , add garlic and ginger , cook until fragrant . Add in the pork mixture and cook for 3-4 minutes , transfer to a plate . In the same pan , add in the onion , cook for 3 minutes then add in the carrots and mushrooms , stir-fry for another 2 minutes . Add in the noodles , pepper , spinach , pork and soy-sesame sauce , cook over medium heat for another 2 minutes , mixing well until noodles are heated through and the sauce is absorbed , give it a good stir , sprinkle with sesame seeds and serve immediately . 

Friday, May 23, 2014

Chicken sausage , corn and cheese bread/rolls ( $ 5000 bread recipe )

I was thinking of posting this recipe for quiet sometime . This is actually my 3rd time using the same recipe , the same one that some blogging friends is raving about more than a month ago . Nobody can't resist a soft and pillow-y bread and this bread lives up to its hype ! Why the name $ 5000 bread or maybe it's renminbi instead of a dollar ?! According to Victoria , the sifu/chef/master spent a staggering amount of money , 5000 yuan/renminbi  to be exact , to find ways  how to make the perfect bread texture , to suit some Asian palate , perhaps ? What's the perfect bread texture anyway ? Don't know , as long as it's soft as a pillow and delicious , I'm sold ! The story seems so far fetched , right ?! Imagine using that much money in developing one bread recipe alone but it's one great conversation starters .

Why make it thrice with the same recipe ?! It was that good ! Since I'm one of those who love filled breads , the first time I've made the bread , I filled it with some orange-lime curd but not too happy with the boring photos and there were some blisters on top , over-mixed dough or long proving , perhaps ? But the texture and the addition of my homemade curd was so wonderful that I told myself , just make it again next time . Well , the second time , I used ham turkey and cheese filling but I was just too lazy to take photos . This time because I need to post something so I made these sort-of  pizza bread and rolls .  The former is not as fluffy as the latter but still got a nice texture , I think this recipe , no matter what you'll do with it , it will still yield a wonderful result that will suit everyone , that is , if you dig Asian-style soft bread .

Some tips : You can use all-purpose flour instead of bread flour in this recipe . If the size of the egg you're using is small and less than the amount called for in this recipe , instead of using another egg , you can add milk or cream or water instead . If you bake it as a loaf and using the counter top oven , place the pan at the lowest rack and keep an eye on the top part esp if using all-purpose flour , it'll turn light brown rapidly in less than 5 minutes , wait for another 5 minutes to open the oven and tent the the top with foil .

Recipe spotted from Victoria Bakes , Vivian Pang and Jeannie's , please check original recipe here

Makes 10 rolls or one 8 by 3-inch loaf  

Starter :

105 grams all-purpose flour
45 grams cake flour
12 grams sugar
3 grams instant yeast
120 ml lukewarm water 

Main dough :

125 grams all-purpose flour
45 grams cake four
48 grams sugar 
1/4 teaspoon salt 
12 grams milk powder
57 grams egg , lightly beaten
10 ml lukewarm water 

36 grams butter , cut into 1 cm cubes at room temperature

For the toppings / filling :

1 cup fresh ( steamed ) corn kernels
5 pieces chicken sausages , cut into 1/2 cm 
1 1/2 cups grated cheddar cheese 

* Combine starter in a mixing bowl , use a spatula or a wooden spoon and mix until well combined , about a minute . Cover with plastic wrap and let rise for 3 hours at room temperature . Or you can prepare the starter overnight , mix the ingredients as usual , cover with plastic wrap and leave to rise for 30 minutes at room temperature then place in the fridge overnight . Take out from the fridge an hour before using . 

*  Add the main dough ingredients except the butter to the starter , mix until it forms a cohesive dough then tip dough into the work surface . Knead for 3 to 4 minutes , the dough will be sticky , stretch the dough into a rough circle or square , about 6-inch , then scatter butter on top , fold dough . Knead until butter is thoroughly incorporated into the dough , use a plastic scraper to help gather the dough as the dough is sticky yet silky , continue kneading or use a slap and fold method until dough is smooth and elastic , about 15 minutes . Place dough into a lightly-greased bowl , turn once to coat then cover with plastic wrap , let rise in a warm place until tripled in size . 

* Tip dough into the work surface , knead , stretch and fold for a minute , then divide dough into 10 pieces , my final dough is 590 grams ( you can shape it according to preference , please click the recipe link  for some different bread shapes ) , let rest for 5 minutes , covered with plastic wrap or a tea towel . For the sort-of pizza bread , roll 1 portion into 6 by about 3 1/2-inch rough rectangle , scatter some sausage slices , corn kernels and cheese on top , transfer into a lightly-grease baking sheets and cover with plastic wrap/tea towel , repeat with the rest . Or shape the dough then into the baking sheet and put the toppings right there , easier than transferring each piece with toppings . For the rolls , roll 1 portion of the dough into 9 by 2 1/2 -inch  , scatter toppings on top , starting on the short side , roll dough and gently pinch the end , transfer to a lightly-greased baking sheet then repeat with the rest . Let rise in a warm place until doubled in size . 

* 1 hour before baking , preheat oven to 180°C . Bake for 23 minutes ( internal temperature is 190°F ) . If baking a loaf bread , bake for 30 to 35 minutes . Transfer to a wire rack , brush top of the rolls with softened butter and let rest for few minutes before attacking it .   

Friday, May 16, 2014

Tebasaki /Japanese fried chicken

It's kinda slow quiet over here , right ?! The summer heat is to blame .

Hah ! 

Anyway , I'm making a dent on my to-do fried food list . I spotted this recipe from Lena  last year but never get around to it until now .

I think I'm getting addicted to this fried junk 

Tebasaki means fried wing tips and is quiet popular as a bar food in Japan , notably in Nagoya  . Usually serve in Izakaya or Japanese-style pub , these wings and some other appetizers are serve together with beer or sake .
Not only it is easy to make but very appetizing as well ! It's the coating that makes this fried chicken special . The simple glaze which consist of sake , mirin , vinegar and some other spices blended deliciously together , wonderful not only with chicken but some other meat , too .

I marinated the wings overnight , put them in a wire rack and let them sit inside the fridge for another 2 hours after patting them thoroughly with paper towels . According to Marc of No Recipes , the wings should be very dry before frying and then it should be double-fried to achieve that wonderful crispness . How to make the wings stay crisp a bit longer after it is coated with glaze ? The trick is to dunk the wings straight into the glaze as they come out from the hot oil but don't let them sit in the glaze for too long least it'll go soggy .

I'm thinking of trying the Korean chicken wings , let's see if it'll top this Japanese version . 

Spotted at Lena's , original recipe from No Recipes

600 grams chicken wings 
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
generous 1/4 teaspoon coarse salt

For the glaze :

2 tablespoons light brown sugar , packed
2 tablespoons soy sauce
2 tablespoon sake 
2 tablespoon mirin
1 teaspoon ginger juice
1 clove garlic , grated
1/2 teaspoon chilli flakes
2 teaspoons balsamic vinegar

1 tablespoon potato starch

* Rinse and pat dry chicken wings with paper towels . Place wings in a mixing bowl , add in the salt and pepper , mix well . Refrigerate for at least an hour or overnight .  

* To make the glaze , in a shallow pan , combine the sugar , soy sauce , sake , mirin , ginger juice ,  garlic and chilli flakes . Cook over medium-high heat  and bring it to a rolling boil , stirring well until thickens , add in the vinegar , give it a good stir and transfer glaze to a heat-proof bowl that's big enough to hold the chicken wings , let cool completely . 

* About 20 minutes before cooking , take out chicken from the fridge , pat dry chicken wings thoroughly with paper towels and evenly sprinkle them with potato starch .

* Meanwhile , in a wok or in a heavy-bottomed pot , heat enough oil over medium heat , when oil is hot , add in the wings , in batches , cook for 10 minutes . Transfer to a plate and cook the remaining batch . Increase heat to high and fry wings , again in batches , until golden brown , 2 to 3 minutes . Once the first batch is cooked , place them into the bowl with the glaze and toss until well coated , don't let them sit in the glaze for too long . Transfer to a serving platter and continue to cook the remaining wings . Serve immediately .