Preparation Time: 1 hour 45 mins
Tuesday, September 30, 2008
Preparation Time: 1 hour 45 mins
Monday, September 29, 2008
The addition of the chinese preserved radish gives a crunch texture to this dish and I didn't need any additional salt as it is slightly salty in itself. For the stuffing, I used minced pork but minced beef can be substituted if preferred. Simply marinate it with dark soy sauce, pepper, sesame oil and chinese cooking wine just before the stuffing process. I added some minced scallion into the meat mixture while the Chinese preserved radish are diced thinly and added inside the melon cavity before the stuffing of the meat and sprinkled again some on top of the meat before the steaming. I cut the melon into thick slices of approximately 2.5 inches and used a melon scoop to make the cavity. Once steamed, the melon is softened but still holds its shape and structure and the preserved radish goes very well with the meat stuffing itself.
1 medium size fuzzy melon (cut into 8 to 9 pieces equal size of 2.5 inches each)
200 gm minced pork or minced beef
1 tbsp dark soy sauce
pinch of pepper
1 tsp corn flour
1 tsp sesame oil
1 tsp cooking wine
60gm Chinese preserved Radish (wash & cut into small dices)
1 leaf of scallion (minced)
1 garlic clove, minced
1 small piece of ginger, minced
corn flour, mixed with water to make corn starch
- Prepare the steaming water.
- Mix the dark soy sauce, pepper,corn flour, sesame oil and cooking wine into the minced meat. Add in the minced scallion.
- Scoop and make cavities inside each slice of melon. Dip finger into cornstarch and spread around the cavity.
- Fill in some of the preserved Radish. Cover with the minced meat mixture, till the surface of the melon. Sprinkle some more radish on top.
- Dip finger into cornstarch and spread around the sides of the cavity hole to seal the meat to the melon. Place all melon pieces into a deep plate to contain the gravy later.
- When the water boils in the steamer, place the plate inside and turn down the heat to medium. Steam for 25 minutes.
- Open the steamer lid and scatter the minced garlic and ginger all over on the gravy that the melon yields and steam for a further 10 minutes. Add steaming water if necessary.
- Remove and serve while hot.
Thursday, September 25, 2008
Total Time : 3 hours (Mixing, Rising to Baking)
Wednesday, September 24, 2008
Tuesday, September 23, 2008
Monday, September 22, 2008
Friday, September 19, 2008
Initially I thought of making a Bento for Missy E to cheer her up as her playdate today was also cancelled. Looking outside when the sun is brimming over the September cloud and cool breeze, I thought we venture out for a picnic at our backyard. Why let the sunshine goes to waste and lunch boxes eaten inside the house? I hate the idea of winter coming but I love autumn, when grass is still green and leaves turning brown and red. Despite all of us dressed in long pants with sweaters, the kids enjoyed their outdoor al fresco dining.
Still practising with my sushi rolling and I find easier to do if I don't emphasize too much on precision and conformity to the book. I made Futomaki sizes as Missy E seems to have more appetite for lunch than any other meal of the day. I used cut ham, pickled Japanese radish and cucumber sticks as fillings. For the second tier of her Bento box, I skewered some large green grapes and included some pieces of dried apricot. To fill up the box, I cut up some pieces of Monterey Jack cheese which is a good choice for nibbling as it is not as salty as Cheddar and a small Japanese cake, similar to the lotus paste mooncake in taste.
Monday, September 15, 2008
Back in Malaysia, we get all sorts of bananas, small, medium, plantains, red, green and milky. The much loved Banana Cake needs no introduction over there, which is quite akin to the Banana bread here. If made correctly, the soft texture of the buttery cake infused with Banana flesh is very addictive and after a few slices, the richness sets in and I would choose coffee as the accompanying beverage to wash down the sweetness that the cake yields.
I have always wanted to make this dessert but never bothered to look for the Banana Leaves and I thought they don't exist in my neck of the woods. When my mum visited me and commented that the Asian stores here have complete stocks of everything and even better than those back in Malaysia, I didn't believe her then. But after finding the Banana leaves, I surely agree with that statement. If I was in Malaysia, I would just go to my grandma's place and cut down the leaves from her Banana trees and probably get lucky too with a bunch of ripen bananas, pluck fresh from the tree itself.
The cooking of the rice paste was not difficult, just mixing the rice flour and tapioca starch which acts as a thickening agent together with lots of coconut milk and sugar. All cooked to thick and paste consistency and spooned into cleaned and cut ready banana leaves. Overall, the banana slices are there to give color and accentuate the taste of the dessert rather than being the overpowering ingredient. The coconut milk gives richness to the rice paste while the banana leaf infused it with subtle fragrant, similar to but not as powerful as the Pandan leaves.
The steaming firms up the paste and shaped each package into a square shape. The Nagasari must be left cooled to room temperature before serving and I prefer to refrigerate mine and eat like a snack.... just like peeling the Banana but I am peeling Banana leaves instead and getting something white and square rather than long and yellowish. And it is a good dessert if you like the flavors of coconut milk with banana together.
Thursday, September 11, 2008
2 to 3 large chicken breast, pounded to 1 inch thick
1/2 of a large carrot, cut into 1/4 inch thick sticks & same length as pounded meat
1 shallot, sliced
1 tbsp dried oregano
1 tbsp fresh dill leaves
1 tbsp olive oil
salt & pepper
drizzle of olive oil
- Season the chicken meat on both sides with salt, pepper and dried oregano. Let marinade for at least 1 hour.
- Mix the carrot and celery sticks together for an even distribution of color and put a handful into a piece of the pounded breast meat starting from one edge, filling to half of the meat spread.
- Sprinkle some shallot pieces and dill leaves and start to roll up from the edge nearest you.
- Cut cooking twine to the length of 12 inches and start tying from one bottom upwards in a circular motion, knotting at every turn. Continue with the rest.
- Preheat oven to 375'F.
- Turn on medium slow heat and drizzle a frying pan with a little olive oil. Add in all the rolled up chicken and pan fried on all sides for 5 to 8 minutes, to seal in the juices. Outside of the rolls will turn opaque and the inside remains uncooked.
- Drizzle some olive oil into a baking dish and transfer all pan fried Roulades into it and arrange them compactly. Sprinkle some more dill leaves on top of each Roulade.
- Bake in preheated oven for 25 minutes.
- Remove from oven and turn down temperature to 350'F. Wrap baking dish with aluminum foil, covering all sides so the chicken is contained inside and will cook through in its own steam.
- Return to oven and bake for a further 25 minutes, till chicken cooked through with all juices released.
- Once cooked, remove from oven and let the roulades sit in the same baking dish, covered for at least 15 minutes. Remove the twine and cut into 1 inch pieces.
- Arrange all parts in a shallow dish for better presentation. Drizzle the liquid juice from the baking dish all over the chicken pieces. Serve warm with warm salad of potatoes.
- For dipping sauce, mix 3 tbsp of brown mustard with 1 tbsp mayonaise, black pepper and 1 tbsp of extra virgin olive oil. Stir in chopped dill.
Serves: 3 to 4 persons (yield 12 to 15 pieces)
Monday, September 8, 2008
Friday, September 5, 2008
Thursday, September 4, 2008
I was able to get hold of taro paste and red bean paste and so I proceeded to make 2 types. And I was so surprised when I opened the taro paste can.... it was brownish color, exactly like the lotus nut paste and all this time I thought the color would be light purplish, which I thought would be very nice for a plain white skin. Fear not as I reached for my blue and red coloring, mixed them together like Missy E plays with her paint colors and I got lilac to color the skin. As I love both white and black sesame seeds, I toasted some white ones and added them to the taro paste, while I added the black ones to the plain white skin which was to cover the red bean paste fillings.
For a first timer, I think my Snow Skin mooncakes turned out successful, despite the uneven shapes and difficult rolling of a thinner skin for the white one that contains the red bean paste. My father in law tasted them and said it was good, firstly because it was not very sweet as those that he gets in HK and secondly, my addition of the toasted sesame seeds to the taro paste and also the white skin of the red bean paste mooncake, gave them a better taste together with the accentuated fragrant aroma that they gave out. I chilled them for 30 mins before serving them with hot tea. Since the sugar content is so high for these mooncakes, it is better served in small portions.
Wednesday, September 3, 2008
Monday, September 1, 2008
Jelly or 'Agar-agar' as we used to call it back in Malaysia is very easy to make. Its main ingredient is the white and translucent strip of Agar agar, which is derived from the gelatinous part of sea algae and seaweed. The strips are first soaked in water to soften it and then cook in simmering water with other ingredients and act as a setting agent. Similar to the uses of gelatin, agar agar is used mostly in Asian cuisines and desserts . Similar to kelps and seaweed, agar agar is a good supply of iodine, calcium and other minerals and a good substitute for gelatin if vegetarian dishes are to be prepared.
Making these morsels was really easy and quick but unmolding them from the molds was another story. First I ran warm water on the bottom of the molds to create the air contraction inside and slowly push each jelly out with care as not to deform or break its shape. With luck, I got most of them intact but it took me some time to extract each one.