Saturday, January 31, 2009

Three Mushrooms Abalone

This is the best dish ever...maybe because of the expensive abalone...lol. Well, once in a while got to buy something good for yourself. :) The recipe only call for 3 fresh abalone (not dried). Due to the time for cooking abalone, it is best to cook 6 or more and put the left over in the freezer for later use.







Abalone Sauce

Serving 6

Ingredients:

6 Mid-size abalone (fresh or frozen)
2 1/2 lb King oyster mushrooms
15-20 Mid-size dried shiitake mushrooms
Handful of Black Fungus (large)
2 piece of dried scallops
1 Can chicken broth
12 cups water
2-3 pieces of garlic (flatten with knife)
4 slice of ginger

Seasoning for abalone w/ king oyster mushroom:

1 1/2 tbsp abalone bottle sauce (see pic)
1 tsp oyster sauce
1 tsp fish sauce
1/2 tsp dark soy sauce
dash salt
dash sugar
1 tbsp cornstarch

Method:

1. Clean the abalone by using a knife to scrap of the black stuff. Boil a pot of water. Put the abalone in for 1-2 minutes. This will help clean the abalone some more. Take it out and rinse. Boil 6 cups of water, chicken broth and dried scallop. Add in the cleaned abalone and bring to boil. Turn the fire lower to medium high and simmer for 30 minutes to1 hr. Be surprise that your abalone will shrink 1/2 its size! Afterward transfer the abalone+soup to a crock pot and add in another 6 cups of water or more. Simmer on high for at least 6 hr until abalone is soft. Add in 1 tsp salt and a small piece of brown rock sugar after 2 hr of simmering. (Best to do his at night so the abalone will be ready the next day.) Add more water if the broth reduced tremendously.

2. Soak the shiitake mushrooms in warm water for 1 hr and boil it until soft, about 30 minutes or more. The longer the better. Drain away the water and rinse the mushrooms.

3. Soak the black fungus in warm water for 30 minutes and then bring it to boil for about 5 minutes or until fungus fully expanded. Drain and use some salt to rub in the fungus to wash it. Then rinse.

4. After preparing the abalone, shiitake, and fungus, it is now ready to cook. Slice the king oyster mushrooms sideway.

5. In a pot, heat 2 tbsp oil. Add in some of the garlic and stir until brown. Add in the shiitake mushrooms, fungus, and ginger. Now add in 2 cup of the abalone broth. Cover and cook for 10-15 minutes. Add more broth if needed to cover the mushrooms. Add in a pinch of salt, sugar, fishsuace, osyter sauce, and soy sauce for taste. Just a little of each and taste.

6. In another pan, heat some oil and garlic. Add in the sliced king oyster mushrooms. Stir fry briefly and add in 1 1/4 cup of abalone broth. Let it cook for one minute and add in seasoning. Now add in the 3 sliced abalone. Let it simmer a little. Taste, if too salty then add in some water or broth. In a bowl add in 1 tbsp cornstarch and 2 tbsp water. Stir this in the pan slowly to get the sauce thicken. Turn off the heat once the sauce is thicken. (If sauce is too thick, just add in a little water and continue to cook just a little. If not thick enough then add more starch mixture)

7. Now serve by putting the shiitake mushrooms and fungus on the plate first and then add on the king oyster mushrooms and abalone...plus the sauce of course. (When placing the shiitake mushroom, do not include their sauce.) Serve with white rice.

Friday, January 30, 2009

Avocado Shake

This is a little different than the watery shake. It is creamy and best eaten with a spoon. The avocado have to be ripe but not too ripe. The avocado turns purple when ripe. Buy the green one and let it ripe...but still have to be somewhat firm. Too soft mean the avocado is too ripe. If you let the avocado overripe, you'll get roots in them...lol.



Ingredients:

1 avocado
1 tbsp condense milk
1/2 tbsp sugar
3/4 cup ice (best give it a rinse)
1 tbsp milk or water

Put everything in a blender and blend until smooth. Taste to see if you need more sugar. If you want it to be more watery, use more milk or water.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Che Khoai Mon (Sticky Rice with Taro)

Here is another good Vietnamese dessert. This serve with coconut milk...the more the better..mmmmmmm :)



Ingredients:

1 cup glutinous rice
1-2 lb taro (get the one with purple inside)
1/2 cup sugar
1 tsp pandan paste
1/2 tsp salt
6 cups water

Method:

1. Rinse the glutinous rice and add just enough water to cover the rice. Add in 1/2 tsp of the pandan paste. Let it soak for 15-30 minutes.
2. Boil 2 cups water. Add in the soaked rice including the pandan water. Cook the rice for 5 minutes.
3. Cut the taro in 1 inch cubes, don't cut too small as the taro melt. Boil 4 cups water and add in the taro. Cook the taro for 7 minutes or until kinda soft.
4. Take out 2 cups of the water from the taro. leave the water a side in case you need to add more later. Add in the sugar and salt in the taro pot. Stir and cook for another minute.
5. Add the half cooked rice in with the taro. Let it cook for another minute until rice is cooked. Add in the other half of pandan paste, add more if you want a darker color. Taste and add more sugar if necessary.
6. In a bowl, use 2 tbsp of the taro water and mix it with 2 tbsp of tapioca starch. Stir the starch mixture in with the taro rice mixture until thicken.
7. Serve with coconut milk.

Coconut Milk:

1 can coconut milk
1/2 cup water
1 tbsp tapioca starch
3 tbsp sugar
1/2 tsp salt

1. Mix everything together and cook on medium heat until thicken. Stir to prevent sticking to the pot.

Monday, January 26, 2009

Happy Chinese New Year!

Happy Chinese New Year to everyone! I've been so busy this weekend making food for CNY. We made zongzi, a traditional Chinese food, made of glutinous rice stuffed with different fillings and wrapped in bamboo leaves. We also made neen gow, a New Year's cake made of glutinous rice flour and brown candy sugar. All these are must have for New Year. Somehow this year I really want to eat them. I fried some zongzi on New Year Eve and it was very good. The long zongzi have glutinous rice, mung bean, and pork as stuffing. The triangular ones are made out of glutinous rice, peanuts, shiitake mushroom, and pork. As you can see their leaves are not as dark and shiny....that's because we forgot to wrap them while they were still wet. We were too busy gambling...LOL.









Xin Nian Kuai Le (Happy New Year)
Gong Hee Fat Choi (Wishing you Prosperity and getting Rich)

Saturday, January 24, 2009

What to do for Chinese New Year???

A lot of us living in the US and being the new generations, we don't really know what's the true meaning of Chinese New Year. Do we know what to do and how to prepare for this holiday? As usual, I was surfing the web to see what kind of recipes I can find for CNY. I came across this interesting website that talk about CNY. I find it very true and it have a lot of information we can use:FamilyCulture . Below is some content from that website.

BEFORE NEW YEAR's EVE

The celebration actually starts on New Year's Eve with the reunion dinner. By New Year’s Eve, you should have done the following:

  • Clean the entire home to get rid of all the things that are associated with the old year.
  • Put away all brooms and brushes.
  • Pay all your debts.
  • Resolve differences with family members, friends, neighbors and business associates.
  • Buy the following:

    - red money envelopes

    - oranges and/or tangerines

    - circular candy tray

    - flowers (especially plum blossom, peach blossom, water lily)

    - a new set of clothes and shoes for children, preferably something red or orange.

  • Get new dollar bills from the bank. Insert the new dollar bills into the red envelopes. Now the red envelope is called a lee see or lucky money envelope.
  • (note: Very few modern families follow all the "cleaning" traditions.)

ON NEW YEAR’s EVE:

  • Get together with close family members (not including married daughters and their families) for the "reunion" dinner.
  • Pay respect to ancestors and household gods. Acknowledge the presence of ancestors because they are responsible for the fortunes of future generations.
  • Open every door and window in your home at midnight to let go of the old year.

ON NEW YEAR’s DAY:

  • Decorate your home with symbols of good fortune. Here are some suggestions:

    - Colors: Bright red (happiness); gold/orange (wealth & happiness).

    - Fruits: Oranges and tangerines (good health & long life); tangerines with leaves intact (long lasting relationships; fruitful and multiply as in having children); persimmons (happiness and wealth).

    - Circular candy tray (candy for sweet and circular for togetherness).

    - Flowers: If flowers bloom on New Year’s Day, it will be a prosperous year.

    - Red banners or couplets with New Year wishes and symbols of good fortune in gold.

  • Here are some suggestions for food:
  • - Jai - a combination of food that represents good fortune. Jai comprises of ginkgo nut, black moss, dried bean curd, bamboo shoots, vermicelli and scallion.
  • - Fish and chicken represent prosperity. Always present the fish and chicken as a whole. Do not cut them in pieces. The head, tail and feet (for chicken) must be presented to symbolize completeness.
  • - Noodles represent longevity. Again, they should not be cut.
  • - Desserts include oranges, Chinese New Year cake (ni gao) and prosperous cakes (they look like golden nuggets).

DO’s & DON'Ts on NEW YEAR’s DAY:

- Greet others with "Gung Hey Fat Choy" which means "Wishing You Prosperity and Wealth".

- Give two lee see’s to each child. Because happiness comes in two’s, do not just give one. This is your way of passing good luck to the next generation. Business owners also give lee see’s to employees and associates.

- Wear brand new clothes - preferably in red. Children should wear new clothes and new shoes.

- Don’t wash your hair.

- Don’t sweep the floor.

- Don’t greet people who are in mourning.

- Don’t drop your chopsticks.

- Don’t say the number ‘four’ (Chinese homonym for death) or mention death.

- Don’t borrow or lend money.

As you prepare for this important holiday, think of the changes you want to make in your life ... perhaps spend more time with your family, reduce your credit card debts or pursue a new interest. Gung Hey Fat Choy ... and Happy New Year!

Friday, January 23, 2009

Banh Bo Nuong (Honey Comb Cake)

This is the Vietnamese honey comb cake. It is sweet and chewy. The edges are crispy. It have the aroma of the coconut milk and pandan flavor. Tu can eat half a cake all by himself in an hour! This is a good breakfast item as it soften after microwave. Great with coffee too!



Ingredients:

-2 cups tapioca starch
-200 ml thick coconut milk/cream (200ml = 1/2 can)
-3/4 cup sugar
-6 large eggs
-2 1/2 tsp baking powder (single acting, use Alsa or create your own with 2 tsp cream tartar + 1 tsp baking powder)
-2 pandan leaves and 1/2 tsp extract

Method:
1) Bring the coconut milk, sugar, and pandan leaves to boil. Add in the pandan extract and leave to cool. Sprain the mixture.
2) Sift the starch and baking powder together.
3) Turn on the over and preheat to 350' F. Brush some oil on the pan and heat the pan in the over for 3-5 minutes. Keep it hot until use.
4) Use a fork to stir the eggs. Remember to stir just enough to homogenize the whites and yolks.
5) Add in the coconut syrup and give it a few stir. Then sift in the tapioca mixture. Mix everything together with fork until smooth. Now Strain it in the heated pan.
6) Bake at 350'F for about 45 minutes, until golden. Turn off oven and let cake sit in there for another minute before taking it out.
7) Let it cool for a little before cutting.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Coconut Rice Hotcakes (Kanom Krok)

Another famous Thai street snack. These are delicious and addictive! It is sweet and buttery because of the coconut milk. Best when serve hot with extra coconut milk.



Makes 21 hotcakes.

Ingredients:

1 cup rice flour
1/2 cup tampura batter mix
1 cup coconut milk
1 cup water
1/4 c sugar (use 1/3 c sugar if like sweet)
1/2 tsp salt
1-2 stalks green onion

Method:

1. Mix the two flour with sugar and salt. Pour in the water and then the coconut milk. Mix well.
2. Chop the green onion in thin rounds and add to the batter. Let it sit for 10-15 minutes.
3. Heat the pancake griddle and brush with some vegetable oil.
4. Pour in the batter and cover for a few minutes. You should hear the sizzle when pouring the batter in the griddle. Open the cover and brush on some oil on the side to prevent burn. Leave it for another minute until golden brown. (Remember the heat should be on medium or the cakes will be burn.)
5. Serve cakes alone or with coconut milk sauce. The sauce should be sweet with a hint of salt. Use corn starch to thicken the coconut milk sauce.

Banh Men (Yeast Cookies)

Chinese New Year is coming up and it seem like a lot of people make these cookies for new year. Of course you can buy these at the supermarket and save all the work...but it's pleasing to know how to make them. I learn that these are also called Kuih Bangkit, which is a Malaysian cookies. Vietnamese called these cookies Banh Men, Yeast Cookies. But there is no yeast being used...don't know why.:) The main ingredients for these cookies are tapioca starch, coconut milk, sugar, and egg yolk. Got to make it right or the cookies will not give you the melt in your mouth feeling. You can find the recipe at Little Corner of Mine or Lily's Wai Sek Hong blog. My first batch was more successful as I got the dough nice and smooth so the cookies came out looking better. The second batch have cracked surface because the dough is drying up and harder to flatten. Also, I boiled the coconut milk with pandan leaves to get the pandan smell. I'm going to try making the durian flavor next time. :)

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Durian Custard Sticky Rice

This is a thai dessert. Tu said he ate this when he was in Vietnam....a long long time ago. Well, he didn't know what this was called. He just remember it have durian custard and sticky rice. So I did some research but none with durian. So here I created this and it tastes pretty good. Very similar to the egg custard sticky rice. I think the thai name for this is kueh sarlat.



Ingredients:

Rice Layer
1 1/2 cup glutinous rice (soak in water for at least 5 hours)
200 ml coconut milk
2 tbsp sugar
1/2 tsp salt

Durian Custard Layer
3 eggs
4 tbsp flour + 4 tbsp rice flour
350ml coconut milk
140g castor sugar
1/2 cup durian pulp (as much as you like)
1/4 tsp salt

Method:
1. Drain rice and steam for 20 minutes. Sprinkle some water on the rice to prevent it from drying up.
2. Remove from heat, fluff up the rice and pour in the coconut milk, sugar, and salt mixture . Mix well. Pour into pan and steam for a further 15 minutes or till cooked.
3. Press cooked glutinous rice firmly.
4. While the steaming the rice, work on the durian custard. Mix the 2 flours and add them to lightly beaten eggs. Strain mixture.
5. Combine coconut milk, durian, salt and sugar and blend until smooth. Cook over low heat till sugar dissolved. Stir in the egg mixture and cook till slightly thicken. Another way is to combine and put it in the microwave and 1 minute at a time until slightly thicken.
6. Pour this slightly thickened egg custard over the steamed glutinous rice and steam for 15 - 20 minutes.
7. Cut kueh into serving slices when cool and serve with sweet coconut milk.

Monday, January 12, 2009

Fried Pork Buns

My brother is going back to PennState so I made him fried pork buns. Too bad he said he have to much food already so in the freezer these go. Still good after frozen. Just microwave and still tastes great!



Dough:

  • 1 tablespoon active dry yeast
  • 4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 cup self-rising flour
  • 2 1/2 cup warm water
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2 tablespoons white sugar
  • 2 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder

DIRECTIONS

  1. Mix together yeast, 2 tbsp sugar, 1 cup flour, and 1 cup warm water. Allow to stand for 30 minutes until double.
  2. Mix 1 1/2 cup warm water, flour, salt, 3/4 cup sugar. Knead until dough surface is smooth and elastic. Add in the oil and knead again. Roll over in a greased bowl, and let stand until triple in size, about 2 1/2 to 3 hours. Punch down and let it stand for another hour. (overnight is better)
  3. Divide dough into 2 parts and divide each half into 12 parts. Shape each part into a ball with smooth surface up. keep the dough cover until use.
Fillings:

2 lbs ground pork
1/2 medium onion diced
5 dried shiitake mushrooms soaked and boiled then diced
2 cup cabbage chopped and squeeze water out
Couple pieces black fungus soaked and chopped
1 bundle transparent vermicelli (soaked in warm water, chop to 2 inches)
2 stalk green onion chopped
6 eggs (boiled and cut into 4 pieces each)
3 Chinese sausage (cut into 24 pieces)

2-3 pieces garlic chopped
2 tbsp oyster sauce
2 tbsp fish sauce
2 tbsp sugar
1/2 tsp ground pepper
2 tbsp oil
5 tbsp water
1 1/2 tsp salt

Method:


1. Mix the seasoning with ground pork and mix well. Mix until the meat is somewhat elastic. Now mix in the rest of the ingredients (leave out the egg and sausage). Mix well and taste. Best way to know if your meat is season well or not is to fry a piece and taste.

2. Now take a piece of dough and flatten with a roller. Remember to use some flour to prevent sticking to hand and roller.

3. Scoop some meat onto dough and add a piece of egg and sausage. Form your bun and put it on a piece of cut wax paper. Remember to have this cover while you work on more buns.

4. Add 2-3 tbsp vinegar to the water and heat it up. Steam the buns for 20 minutes for larger buns.

5. After buns are steamed, now heat a pan with some oil and fry the buns. Turn the buns to get all sides golden brown. (Remember to remove the wax paper before frying.)



Friday, January 9, 2009

My Old Time Favorite: Sloppy Joe

This is my old time favorite ever since I was in elementary school. Back then the school would serve sloppy joe once in a while in the cafeteria. I could eat two of them then....of course now I can only eat one BIG one...lol. So simple yet so messy and tasty.




Ingredients:

1 can Manwich Sloppy Joe Sauce
1 lb ground beef
1/2 onion diced
1 tsp vegetable oil
1/2 tsp sugar
dash of salt
8 Hamburger buns

1. Heat the pan with oil and add in the onion and stir for 1 minute.
2. Add in the ground beef and cook until done.
3. Strain the oil or you can just leave it in there.
4. Pour in the can of sauce and stir well. Cook until very hot.
5. Add in the salt and sugar.
6. Toast the buns until warm and pour the sloppy joe sauce in between the buns.
7. Remember to wear your apron when eating sloppy joe...lol

Note: Don't leave the sauce on the bun too long or you'll get a soggy bun.

Thursday, January 8, 2009

My Priestly Atemoya (Man Cau Dai)

I'm very happy to eat my first grown atemoya last night. It was fun sharing it with my family. Everyone seem to enjoyed it. The taste is sweet, a very slight sour, soft and chewy. Overall very refreshing. The fruit is softer than expected since it was ripe on the tree. Next time I'm going to pick it before it gets ripe. This fruit have a slight pinkish color...not sure why since this is not the red variety. It weigh about 315 grams...bigger than my hand could hold. There are more seeds than expected but it was because of no sunlight. Hopefully I will get more fruits this summer...:)







Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Banh Bo (Cow Cakes)



Banh bo is another Vietnamese steamed rice cake. Banh means cake and bo literally means cow. It was said long ago there was a poor Vietnamese man who could not feed his family. One night in his dream, a cow appeared before him and taught him how to create this cake. He then got successful by selling cow cakes. This cakes taste so great when dip in coconut sauce. If you do this right, you will see the honeycombs in the middle of the cake. These cakes have the aroma of the coconut milk and a bit chewy and sweet.




Ingredients:
1
1 bag rice flour (1 lb) (leave out 3 tbsp)
1/2 bag tapioca starch (7 oz)
60 grams fermented yeast (see below instruction)
1 tsp sugar
2 cups warm water (100F-110F)

2
1 1/2 cups sugar
1 cup water
1 can coconut milk (400ml)

1 bag vanilla


Step 1:

Ferment yeast:
***Chinese yeast ball (Ragi) pound to powder form. Use100 gm of cooled cooked rice, 1 tsp sugar, 1/2 tbsp yeast Ragi powder, 1 tbsp water. Mix everything together, cover and let it ferment for 3-4 days before using. After the fermented rice is ready, take only 60 grams out to use in step 2 below.

Step 2:

1. Add 3 tbsp of rice flour to the 60 grams fermented yeast to form a dough. Now pour the warm water into the rice flour and tapioca starch. Stir while pouring the water in. Now add in the yeast dough. Stir well.



Ferment it over night until bubbles formed. (1)


Step 3:

2. Cook sugar into boiling water and stir until dissolved. Let it cool for 2 minutes before pouring into the flour mixture. Stir well and let it ferment again until you see bubbles formed. Add in 1 can coconut milk and let it ferment again for another hour. (2)

The more bubble the more honeycomb. - Put in vanilla at the end when about to steam.



3. Divide the batter into 3 and mix in your color. Or just leave it white.



4. Heat up the water and oil the molds. Steam the molds for 1 minutes or until hot and then pour in the batter. Steam the cake until cooked....10-15 minutes. When about done, sprinkle some roasted sesame seeds on the cakes. Serve with coconut milk sauce.



Coconut Milk Sauce:


Cook 1 can coconut milk with 2-3 tbsp sugar, pinch of salt, and 1 1/2 tbsp corn starch. Remember to stir and not let it bubble up or stick to the pan. Add more sugar if needed. If you like the sauce to be thin then us less corn starch.






Sunday, January 4, 2009

Banh Xeo (Vietnamese Crepes)

Time for more Vietnamese food. This is a very crispy crepe eat with fish sauce. The recipe was adapted from pwmf blog. I modified the recipe since the batter was too thick. You can also buy the banh xeo flour at the supermarket. I used ground pork, shrimps, and jicama. You can replace the jicama with bean sprout. I prefer the jicama as it gives a sweet and crunchy taste. You can purchase all ingredients at any Asian supermarkets.



Batter:
-1 cup cooked rice
-4 cups water
-1 can coconut milk
-350g rice flour
-100g potato starch
-2 tsp turmeric powder
-1 tsp salt
-2 stalk of green onion chopped

1. Put rice and some water in a blender and blend until smooth.
2. Mix in with all the other ingredients except the onion.
3. Let it rest for ½ hour or more before making crepes. While waiting you can make the fillings.

Filling:
-1 onion sliced
-1/2lb ground pork
-1/2lb shrimp peeled and devein
-1 jicama or 2lbs bean sprouts
-2 stalks of green onion chopped

1. Slice onions making thin “rings”. Leave it a side for later use.
2. Heat the wok and add in oil then the ground pork. Add some salt, sugar, fish sauce, oyster sauce for taste. Now add in the chopped green onion.
3. Heat the wok and cook the shrimps.
4. Chop the jicama in long strips and then stir-fry with some salt, sugar, fish sauce and oyster.

5. Now heat a nonstick pan with some oil. Add in just a couple pieces of onion rings. Stir the batter well and pour in one scoop (depend on the side of your pan) and swirl the pan around to make it even. Cover with a lid for 2 minutes. Remember to watch it and don't let it burn on the bottom. Open the lid and add some oil around the crepe, and cover again for another minute. Then add in some jicama, ground pork, and shrimps to one side of the crepe. Cover and let it cook for another 2 minutes or until golden brown on the bottom of crepe. Open lid and let it cook a little more until it's crispy. Flip the side without the fillings over (like mine) and serve with fish sauce. You can also eat with lettuce and herbs.

Fish Sauce:
Chop 2 chillies, 3 pieces of garlic, squeeze in 1/2 a lemon, 3-4 tablespoon sugar. Add 1/2 cup of water to the mixture and stir well. Then add in the about 3 tablespoon fish sauce. Stir and taste. If not enough taste then add in more fish sauce. If not sweet enough then add in more sugar or lemon if not sour enough.

Thursday, January 1, 2009

Happy New Year!!!

Happy New Year! What are your new year resolutions? Here are my top 10 resolutions...

1. Make more money...wonder how am I going to do that...lol
2. Work harder with my current job...not like I'm not...LOL
3. Get back in shape...have to lose at least 20 lbs...:)
4. Stop cooking too much desserts....getting too fat..:(
5. Plan for my wedding...I'm not getting any younger..:(
6. Enjoy life more...got to go on more vacations
7. Spend more time with family
8. Finish painting my basement
9. Take care of my fruit trees
10. Save more money!!!