Thursday, June 30, 2016

Spicy chicken teriyaki rice

I've been decluttering the freezer lately to make way for a batch or two of homemade ice cream . Even though it's been raining on and off recently , the temperature is still rising and a stash of frozen desserts are a must .

So I found 3 pieces of boneless chicken legs under the rubble heh ! and decided to make another go at making teriyaki sauce .

Teriyaki is a cooking technique used in Japanese cuisine in which food is grilled and basted with a glaze of mirin , soy sauce and sugar ( Wiki  ) . Nowadays , in some households , the fish or meat is mostly panfried rather than grilled . Panfrying is more convenient as most people don't have a charcoal grill at home .

This dish easy and simple dish to make with only few ingredients . I've tried several online recipes before but I think I found the one that I'll cook over and over again . 

Whenever I have the urge to make chicken teriyaki , I usually paired it with sliced carrots and green beans , as you can see from the photo ,  the same way they served at Yoshinoya lol Taste wise , this homemade one taste way better than what you can have in some resto here . 

Simple meal that you can make in a flash with a big flavour payoff !

Recipe adapted from washoku guide

Serves 1 greedy person 

275 grams boneless ( skin on ) whole chicken legs 
1/2 teaspoon cooking salt 
2 tablespoons cooking sake 
2 tablespoons mirin 
2 tablespoon soy sauce 
1 tablespoon raw sugar 
1 teaspoon chilli flakes 

big bowl of cooked rice 

Toppings : optional 

sliced green beans 
slicd carrots
roasted sesame seeds
roasted nori 
soft-boiled egg(s)

* Rinse and pat dry chicken thoroughly . Season with salt , if using frozen chicken , let sit for at least 30 minutes before using . 

* Boil sliced green beans and carrots for 3 minutes , drain and rinse until cool , drain again . 

* Combine together sake , mirin , soy sauce , sugar and chilli flakes , set aside . 

* In a nonstick pan , over medium heat , add 1/2 teaspoon oil . When oil is hot , add chicken , skin side down first , fry for 6 minutes on each sides , depending on the thickness of the meat , or until golden brown . Wipe off any oil / liquid that comes out while frying . 

* Add in the teriyaki sauce , let boil , cover the pan and simmer over low heat . Cook for 2 minutes , flipping the chicken after , then cook for another 2 minutes . After the last minute of cooking , add in the veggies and stir until heat through . Transfer chicken and vegetables on the plate . Turn heat to high and let teriyaki sauce thicken further , about few seconds . 

* Slice chicken and place into a bowl with rice , add in the sliced veggies , spoon over some teriyaki sauce . Garnish with sliced egg , sesame seeds and sliced nori . Enjoy ! 

Saturday, June 25, 2016

Triple matcha mousse cake

Matcha overload ?! Bah , humbug !

I was planning to make mousse cake next week but my leftover double cream had another idea . With temperature steadily rising , it just a matter of time before it'll turn sour again . The price of cream here is not that much but with all those baking ingredients or paraphernalia that I usually buy together with the cream , yeah , yeah , you can find the cheapest price of cream along Shanghai Street ......

Making mousse cake is pretty easy , you need a base , either a sponge cake or any store-bought biscuits , the mousse itself , which is made of whipped cream , milk , sugar , meringue or sabayon and gelatin . Fresh fruits or jelly are two popular toppings but who can resist matcha-infused white chocolate ganache ? My ganache is supposed to drip but I can't get the right texture or the right white chocolate to cream ratio when I tried it on my first batch last week . This time , I just whipped the leftover and piped it on top of the cakes .

When I made it a week before ,  I used Italian meringue as stated in the recipe , this time though I tried sabayon . Sabayon or light custard is a mixture of egg yolks , milk and sugar that has been whipped until it thickens over hot water , a dessert on its own , if liqueur is used ( ? ) and also a safer way to add egg yolk(s) to no-bake desserts .

Note that the ganache topping will firm up if you chill the cakes in the fridge and it'll be a bit hard to scoop it with a spoon . It's better if you add / pipe it on top of the cakes just before serving .

You can use any mould you have on hand or you can just use some drinking glass(es) instead . I prepared several moulds when I first made it but only used 4 . For the sponge cake base ,  I only used about half of the biscuit sponge and there's enough left for another 4 pieces or 5 . If you want to use it all , double the amount of the matcha mousse recipe .

If you want to photograph these cakes , especially if it's 33ºC , try to finish it within 5 minutes . Mine took exactly 24 minutes and even though I turned the aircon at full blast , 3 out of the 4 mousse cakes wilted , see 2nd photo , left side , good thing it's out of focus lol 

Matcha or green tea powder ? Whatever you have on hand .

Special biscuit sponge cake , recipe adapted from Okashi

40 grams pastry flour ( I used cake flour )
20 grams cornstarch / cornflour
6 grams matcha powder ( my own addition ) 
30 grams unsalted butter , at room temperature
90 grams egg whites
80 grams caster sugar
80 grams egg yolks 

* Preheat oven to 200ºC . Line an 11 x 11-inch cake pan with parchment paper .

* Sift together  the 2 flours and matcha twice . Place butter in a small bowl and melt over a pan of barely simmering water .

* In a clean bowl , whip egg whites until frothy and add in sugar in 3 additions . Whip whites until stiff peaks form and glossy , add in the yolks and beat until combine . Sift in the flours-matcha mixture into the egg mixture , fold using a spatula or a balloon whisk . Pour in the melted butter and mix well  .

* Pour batter into the prepared pan , use a scraper to spread evenly . Bake for 10 - 13 minutes .

* Once cake is done , remove cake from the pan and let cool on a wire rack for 10 minutes . Cover  cake with a plastic wrap or place in a food-grade plastic bag to prevent sponge from drying out .

* Cut out 4 pieces of sponge cake using a 2- 3/4-x 2-inch mould or any mould you have on hand .

Matcha mousse :

Recipe is enough for four 2 3/4 x 2-inch mould with 1/2-inch thick sponge cake base  

6 grams gelatin powder ( I used 7 grams ) 
22 grams caster sugar
7 grams matcha powder
100 grams skimmed milk ( UHT whole milk ) 
20 grams Italian meringue** ( I used sabayon*** )
185 grams whipping cream , whipped

**Italian meringue :

10 grams caster sugar
4 grams water
15 grams egg whites

* Boil sugar and water together . Beat whites at high speed until fluffy and foamy . Add boiling sugar syrup and beat until firm and glossy .

***Sabayon :

1 egg yolk
10 grams milk
10 grams caster sugar

* Combine yolk , milk and sugar in a heat-proof bowl , place bowl over hot water . Beat until foamy and thick .

To make matcha mousse : 

* Mix together the gelatin , sugar , matcha and milk in a small bowl , dissolved mixture over a pan of hot water .

* Combine whipped cream and meringue ( or sabayon ) together , add in the matcha-gelatin mixture and mix well to combine .

* Pour mixture into the prepared moulds , smoothing the top of each . Chill in the fridge for at least 4 hours or overnight .

* Use a hairdryer  to detach mousse cake from mould and gently transfer each cake to a serving plate . Chill for another 30 minutes before adding in desired toppings .

Matcha white chocolate ganache : 

45 grams whipping cream
6 grams matcha powder
150 grams white chocolate chips , finely chopped

* Place cream into a small saucepan , add in the matcha and whisk until it dissolves  . Heat mixture over low heat , when it comes into a simmer , turn off heat and add in the white chocolate . Stir until chocolate is melted , transfer into a bowl , let cool at room temperature . Make this a day ahead .

Tuesday, June 14, 2016

Balsamic-honey dijon chicken wings

It's been raining a lot lately but the temperature's getting higher . Yup , summer is finally here and it's effin' hot and humid *sigh*

Anyway , I've checked some condiments that has been lurking at the darkest corner of our kitchen cupboard few days ago and found an expired balsamic vinegar . I think I bought it 2 years ago , thinking that I can use it before the expiry date .  There is such thing as too much balsamic vinegar dressing ....

I was lurking online , searching for some Chinese soup recipes and stumbled upon this site . 

Saw some recipes using balsamic vinegar and thought , chicken wings with balsamic vinegar ? Heck , yeah ! lol 

Good thing that I didn't give in to that urge to throw the expired vinegar the day before . 

I tweaked the recipe a bit , adding more dijon mustard and chilli flakes as it badly needs a spicy kick . Though 2 teaspoons of chilli flakes instead of one will be much better as the dijon mustard that I used is a bit more subtle in taste . The amount of the sauce is actually too much for 10 pieces of chicken wings , 20 should be perfect . I double fried the wings as I like a more crunchy skin , you can also bake or grill the wings if you don't like deep-frying . I marinated the wings for several hours , not intentionally , as I was also making bread , so no time to cook them right away . Though it seems that the flavour of the meat taste better that way .

Sticky , sweet and simply delicious , these spicy wings are a sure crowd-pleaser !

Recipe adapted from Daydaycook

10 chicken wings , half mid-joint and half drumettes 
5 cloves garlic , peeled and minced 
80 grams / ml balsamic vinegar 
80 grams honey 
80 grams raw sugar 
2 1/2 tablespoons dijon mustard 
2 tablespoons soy sauce 
1 teaspoon chilli flakes 

40 grams flour , for dredging  
some oil for deep-frying

some chopped spring onions 
some toasted sesame seeds 

* Rinse chicken wings and pat them dry thoroughly . Place in a mixing bowl and add 1/2 tsp cooking salt and a generous dash of ground white pepper , mix well to combine . If you have time , chill in the fridge for about 4 hours , let stand for 30 minutes at room temperature before frying . If not , just deep-fry them right away .   

* Mix together minced garlic , vinegar , honey , sugar , mustard , soy sauce and chilli flakes . Heat pan , pour in the vinegar-honey mixture , let boil and cook over medium-heat for about 4 minutes , stirring constantly , set aside . 

* Dredge each wings into flour , shaking off excess , set aside . 

* In a saucepan , heat oil and fry wings in batches for 8 minutes or until golden brown . When all wings are cooked , turn heat to high and deep-fry all wings in one go , about 2 minutes , transfer in a plate lined with paper towels to drain off excess oil . 

* Toss wings into the balsamic-honey sauce , transfer in a serving plate , sprinkle with sesame seeds and spring onions , serve immediately . 

Saturday, June 11, 2016

Khao phat goong / Thai-style fried rice with shrimp

Thai-style fried rice , what's not to love ? This simple hawker-style dish is easy to make with wonderful umami flavour .

I borrowed Andy Ricker's Pok Pok cookbook 2 months ago , thinking that I can cook at least 3 dishes from it . The roasted chicken , fish sauce wings , khao soi gai , Thai sausage ...... Procuring all ingredients are actually easy as there are several Thai stores all over Hongkong  . 

Easier said than done . 

But I gravitated to this simple yet very tasty dish . So far , I made this once a week since I borrowed that book from the library . You'll be glad to know that the recipe is for 1 person only , yup , I wasn't being mean when I ate it all by my lonesome lol 

According to Ricker , just about any protein can replace the pork , like ground meat , sliced chicken ,  beef , squid and shrimp .

The first time I tried this recipe , I compared my finished dish to the photo on the book and thought , mine was darker . The subsequent fried rice were almost the same color as the first so I got no problem with it . Maybe the fish sauce  and soy sauce that I used and raw sugar instead of white that made it so . That said , the color doesn't matter as this umami-rich dish was soooo good !

For a fried rice , the instructions below are a bit anal lol and you don't have to follow it , I didn't . Though it didn't have the wok hei taste because I used a nonstick pan instead of a wok , I'm pretty sure the result was just as wonderful as the one they serve at Pok Pok or maybe in Thailand , okay , that's just speculation ha ! 

This fried rice is served with fish-soaked chillies but I didn't want a salty condiment so I made my to-go side dish ,  a quick Asian-style cucumber salad which is perfect side to this dish . It looks more like a cucumber pickle but with lime juice instead of vinegar . I found the recipe or more like a list online a long time ago , had forgotten the source and no measurement of the ingredients .

Recipe adapted from Pok Pok

1 tablespoon Thai fish sauce
1 teaspoon Thai thin soy sauce I used Chinese soy sauce 
1 teaspoon granulated sugar I used raw sugar 
pinch of ground white pepper
2 tablespoon oil
1 large egg , at room temp
1 oz / 28 grams / about 1/4 cup , peeled small shallots , preferably Asian , halved lengthwise and thinly sliced with the grain
11 grams / about 1 tablespoon ,  peeled garlic , halved lengthwise and lightly crushed into small pieces in a mortar
4 oz boneless pork shoulder , sliced against the grain into approximately 1/8-inch thick bite-size pieces 120 grams peeled shrimps 
2 cups cooked Jasmine rice / Khao Hom Mali , preferably day-old
2 tablespoon thinly-sliced green onions , lightly packed plus extra for garnishing
1 tablespoon coarsely chopped cilantro ( thin stems and leaves ) , lightly-packed

8 or so 1/4-inch thick slices firm cucumber , peeled if thick-skinned
1 lime

* In a small bowl , combine fish sauce , soy sauce , sugar and pepper , mix well .

* Heat wok over very high heat , add oil and swirl to coat the sides . When it begins to smoke , crack in the egg ( it should spit and sizzle violently and the whites should bubble and puff ) and cook without messing with it until all but the center of the whites have set , about 15 seconds . Flip the egg ( it's fine if the yolk breaks ) and push it to one side of the wok . Add shallots and garlic and cook , stirring ( but not the egg ) often until lightly-browned , about 1 minute .

* Add the pork , stir everything together well and stir-fry , constantly stirring , scooping and flipping the ingredients until the pork in no longer pink on the outside , about 30 seconds .

* Add rice and stir-fry , breaking  up the egg a bit , for 30 seconds . Add the fish sauce mixture , add splash of water , if necessary to make sure nothing's left behind in the bowl ) , continue to stir-fry until pork is just cooked through and the flavours blended well , 1 minute or so .

* Turn off heat , stir in 2 tablespoons of green onions and transfer rice to a plate . Top with the cilantro and the remaining green onions and serve with cucumber and lime .  Consume immediately .

Asian-style cucumber pickles : 

palm sugar , if it is solid , shave it with a knife or use mortar
fish sauce
lime or calamansi juice
bird's eye chilli , sliced thinly
cilantro , coarsely chopped

* Rinse and slice cucumber , about 1/2 cm thick and 1-inch length . Place in a colander and sprinkle with coarse salt and let stand for about 15 minutes . Drain and rinse . Transfer in a shallow bowl , then add in palm sugar , fish sauce and lime juice , stir well to combine then toss in the chilli and cilantro , give it a good stir then chill in the fridge for at least 30 minutes .

Thursday, June 9, 2016

Strawberries and yogurt cream tarts

If not for the tart berries or if only I didn't forget to add some jam to the slightly tart homemade strawberry sauce , these tarts would be almost perfect ......

At least the amazing yogurt cream and the pâte sucrée almost made up for it lol 

Bought a pound of gorgeous fresh strawberries few days ago and thought that because it's strawberry season in the good ol' US of A , some of those delicious berries that I've seen online will trickle down here in Hongkong . But once again , your strawberries sucks , Driscoll tsk tsk ! 

Oh well , it was cheap .....  

I used the remaining half of the pâte sucrée that I made last time and it taken me more than an hour to finished doing this batch of pastry tart shell - the hot weather that day is not helping at all *sigh* I think it'll take another million tarts before I get the hang of it . The pastry dough that I rolled out and pressed into the rectangular tart tin is a bit thick that my taste tester complained that it was a bit hard to sliced it . That pesky matter aside , this shortcrust pastry recipe from Bouchon Bakery baking book is  must-try .

I was looking for an easy cream filling and not willing to task myself ha ! in making a crème patisserie or mousseline . Chantilly cream is just plain boring so I Googled yogurt cream filling for strawberry tart  and found Nigel Slater  old recipe and thought why not ?  Not only it was easy to make , it tastes amazing as well ! Just whipping cream , Greek yogurt , some sour cream because I didn't have enough of the previous 2 ingredients and 1 tablespoon caster sugar . The filling is delightfully thick and stable enough to pipe without losing its shape for about an hour at room temperature . Oh , it was about 32ºC when I made it so it's great that it can withstand the hot weather  , at least for a while , especially if you have to take billions of photos lol

Pàte sucrée , recipe adapted from Bouchon Bakery cookbook

Makes 800 grams pastry dough

375 grams all-purpose flour
46 grams powdered / icing sugar
47 grams almond flour / almond meal
94 grams powdered / icing sugar 
225 grams unsalted butter , at room temp
1/2 vanilla beans , split lengthwise
56 grams eggs

Check instructions here

Roll out the pastry : Place dough between 2 sheets of parchment then roll out dough into about 1/4 inch thick ( or 1/8-inch thick , if using individual tart rings ) , invert dough into the the pan / tin , pressing gently against sides and bottom edges , smoothing the surface , trim overhang . Prick the surface using the tines of the fork . Chill in the fridge for an hour then blind bake the tart shells . 

To bake the tart shell : Preheat oven to 180ºC , if using a 9 1/2 x 3 1/2 x 1-inch rectangular tart pan . Blind-bake for 20 minutes then remove dry beans and continue baking until tart shell is golden brown, about 15 minutes . Take out tart and place in a wire rack . let cool completely .

If using a 3 1/4 x 1/2-inch individual tart rings , preheat oven to 165ºC . Blind-bake for 16 minutes then remove the dry beans and continue to bake for another 12 minutes or until dough is golden brown . Take out tarts and place in the wire rack , let cool completely . 

Note : If the pastry dough is a bit soft while you're rolling it , place it in the fridge for few minutes to harden a bit . 

Yogurt cream filling , please check original recipe @ Nigel Slater

181 grams double cream , chilled 
174 grams honey Greek yogurt , chilled 
45 grams sour cream , chilled 
1 tablespoon caster sugar 

* Place mixing bowl so as the beaters in the fridge for at least 30 minutes . 

* Prepare an ice water bath . Pour cream , yogurt , sour cream and sugar into the chilled bowl and place bowl on top of the prepared ice water bath . Beat over high speed for about 5 minutes or until mixture is thick .  Chill in the fridge until needed . 

Strawberry sauce , please check original recipe @Washington Post

365 grams frozen strawberries 
3 tablespoons packed brown sugar
3 tablespoons water 
1 1/2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1 teaspoon cornstarch 
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract 

* Combine strawberries , sugar and water in a saucepan , cook over medium-heat . Partially cover the pan and cook until berries have defrosted then uncover . Cook berries until soft , over-all cooking time is about 20 minutes .  

* Whisk lemon juice and cornstarch together in a small bowl , add to the saucepan , stirring until mixture comes back to a low boil . Remove from heat and let cool for 10 to 15 minutes then stir in vanilla . Cool and place in the fridge until needed . Allow the sauce to come to room temperature before serving . 

Note : If your berries are tart adjust the amount of sugar or add a good-quality strawberry jam . If you want a bit thinner sauce , adjust cooking time . 

To assemble the tarts : Place yogurt cream filling into a piping bag fitted with 1-cm nozzle . Pipe  ( or spoon it ) cream onto the tart shells , top with strawberry sauce then pipe in another layer of filling . Decorate top with berries . Let chill in the fridge for at least 30 minutes before serving .