Matcha Swiss Roll


Matcha swiss roll

Besides adding the Matcha powder, all ingredients for this Matcha Swiss Roll and the regular Swiss Roll are the same (recipe for Swiss Roll, click here).  A couple of differences when making the Matcha cake:  (1) the bottom of the cake will be the exterior of the cake roll while the regular Swiss Roll is the opposite; (2) adding oil and milk in the beginning instead of combining them at a later step.

I believe you will be enjoying this recipe as my family is obsessed with both the Swiss Roll and the Matcha Swiss Roll.  In my next post, I will share how to add patterns (such as heart shapes, polka dots, flowers, etc. to the cake roll).

Ingredients A:
80g Egg yolk
1g Salt
35g Sugar
45g Oil
40g Milk
Ingredients B:
72g Cake flour
2 Tbsp (or 10g) Matcha powder
Ingredients C:
120g Egg white
55g Sugar

Cream filling:

1 Cup Heavy whipping cream
1 Tbsp Powdered sugar
1 Tbsp Vanilla instant pudding

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 338°F (170°C). Line bottom of a 9×13-inch pan with parchment paper.
  2. Separate the egg yolks and egg whites into two bowls.
  3. In a large bowl, add salt to egg yolks and mix well.  Add in 35g of sugar, beat until well combined.  (Pictures 1 and 2)
  4. Add oil and milk to the egg yolks and beat until the mixture is pale.  (Pictures 3-5)
  5. Sift the flour into the egg mixture and gently fold to combine.  (Pictures 6 and 7)
  6. In a mixing bowl, beat egg whites until foamy, gradually add sugar and beat until soft peaks form.  (Pictures 8 and 9)
  7. Pour the egg yolk mixture into the egg whites and gently fold to combine with a spatula.  (Picture 10)
  8. Sift Matcha powder into the batter and gently fold to combine.  (Pictures 11 and 12)
  9. Pour the batter into the prepared pan.  Spread the batter evenly and tap the pan several times.  This will remove air bubbles inside the batter.  (Picture 13)
  10. Bake for about 13 minutes, remove the cake from the pan as soon as it is ready.  Allow it to cool for about 10 mins.  Put a piece of parchment paper on top of the cake (you may want to lightly spray the parchment paper with oil to prevent the skin from sticking), and flip the pan over (now the bottom is on top).  Peel away the original parchment paper from the bottom of the cake. Trim the top and bottom edges.  Also hold the knife at a 30 degree angle and trim the right and left edges. (Pictures 14 and 15)
  11. Using a knife to score 2 vertical lines along the cake from the right edge, careful not to cut all the way into the cake (pictures can be viewed from my Swiss Roll recipe here).  Note:  optional – you can pre-roll the cake on the parchment paper now and let it cool completely, about 20 mins.
  12. Spread an even layer of whipped cream over the cake.  (Picture 16)
  13. Tightly roll the cake from the right side toward the left side.  (Picture 17)
  14. Secure the roll by putting a tape on or twisting the parchment paper at both ends.  Refrigerate for 1 hour before serving.  (Picture 18)

collages1

How to make the filling:

  1. Prepare the filling by whisking the cold whipping cream, add in 1 Tbsp of powdered sugar and whip until the cream starts to get thicker.  (Picture A)
  2. Add 1 Tbsp of vanilla instant pudding.  (Picture B)
  3. Whip until stiff peaks form.  (Picture C)

cream collage

The outside of the cake can be decorated with a layer of ganache or sprinkled powdered sugar on top.  The Chinese version is usually light and less sweet, as it tastes good without any toppings.   Perhaps if there are cracks all over the cake, a layer of ganache can hide them.

Matcha Swiss Roll 2

IMG_E0212

Swiss Roll


 

swiss roll 3

This fluffy and mildly sweet Swiss roll is my childhood favorite.  There weren’t too many choices back then, the most common ones were only chocolate, orange and plain.  The filling can be cream, butter cream, jam, red bean, etc. (you basically can put in anything you want), but I found that the whipped cream makes the best combination.  Besides this regular Swiss roll, I like the mocha, as well as the Matcha flavor (Matcha Swiss Roll recipe here).

I made this roll a few times, the first being a disaster.  The cake turned out really good; however, cracks were all over when I rolled it.  That cake was still tasty but it was just not presentable.  After making this cake a few times, I got a few tips — (i) do not over bake the cake, baking time between 10-13 minutes is the best; (ii) when whipping the egg whites, beat until soft peaks form (not stiff peaks form); (iii) cake pan cannot be too small, it’s harder to roll it up if it’s too thick; and (iv) pre-roll the cake while it’s still warm and flexible before applying the filling.  The size of my pan is 9″ x 13″, a slight bigger pan still will work but the cake will be thinner.

Ingredients A
80g Egg yolk
1g Salt
35g Sugar
Ingredients B
72g Cake flour
Ingredients C
120g Egg white
55g Sugar
Ingredients D
45g Oil
40g Milk

Cream filling:

1 Cup Heavy whipping cream
1 Tbsp Powdered sugar
1 Tbsp Vanilla instant pudding

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 338°F (170°C). Line bottom of a 9×13-inch pan with parchment paper.
  2. Separate the egg yolks and egg whites into two bowls.
  3. In a large bowl, add salt to egg yolks and mix well.  Add in 35g of sugar, beat until thick and lemon colored.  (Pictures 1-3)
  4. In a mixing bowl, beat egg whites until foamy, gradually add sugar and beat until soft peaks form.  (Pictures 4 and 5)
  5. Pour the egg yolk mixture into the egg whites and gently fold to combine with a spatula.  (Picture 6)
  6. Sift the flour into the egg mixture and gently fold to combine.  (Pictures 7 and 8)
  7. Combine oil and milk in a bowl.  Measure out 80g of the egg batter and add it into the oil and milk container, mix until combined.  (Pictures 9 and 10)
  8. Pour the oil mixture into the egg batter, gently fold to combine.  (Picture 12)
  9. Pour the batter into the prepared pan.  Spread the batter evenly and tap the pan several times.  This will remove air bubbles inside the batter.  (Picture 13)
  10. Bake for about 13 minutes, remove the cake from the pan as soon as it is ready.  Allow it to cool for about 10 mins.  (Picture 14)
  11. Put a piece of parchment paper on top of the cake (you may want to lightly spray the parchment paper with oil to prevent the skin from sticking), and flip the pan over (now the bottom is on top). Peel away the original parchment paper from the bottom of the cake. (Picture 15)
  12. Trim the top and bottom edges.  Also hold the knife at a 30 degree angle and trim the right and left edges. (Pictures 16 and 17)
  13. Using a knife to score 2 lines along the cake from the right edge, careful not to cut all the way into the cake.  (Picture 18) Note:  optional – you can pre-roll the cake on the parchment paper now and let it cool completely, about 20 mins.
  14. Spread an even layer of whipped cream over the cake.  (Picture 19)
  15. Tightly roll the cake from the right side toward the left side (see arrows from picture 20 below).
  16. Secure the roll by putting a tape on or twisting the parchment paper at both ends.  Refrigerate for 1 hour before serving.  (Picture 21)

collage

How to make the filling:

  1. Prepare the filling by whisking the cold whipping cream, add in 1 Tbsp of powdered sugar and whip until the cream starts to get thicker.  (Picture A)
  2. Add 1 Tbsp of vanilla instant pudding.  (Picture B)
  3. Whip until stiff peaks form.  (Picture C)

cream collage

The outside of the cake can be decorated with a layer of ganache or sprinkled powdered sugar on top.  The Chinese version is usually light and less sweet, as it tastes good without any toppings.   Perhaps when there are cracks all over the cake, a layer of ganache can hide them.

Swiss Roll

Swiss Roll slices

Swiss Roll 2

Raisin Cinnamon Sourdough Bread


 

Cinnamon Raisin Sourdough

Raisin sourdough

Lately, I feel like I’m hooked to sourdough baking.  Not only is the texture and the taste of the bread addictive, but the whole bread making process is addictive as well.  I just can’t describe the excitement I had when I took one successfully baked loaf out of my oven.  My friend is an amazing baker whose Instagram is yhsourdough; you can follow her to see all the amazing sourdough bread she bakes.  Although I didn’t get this Raisin Cinnamon Sourdough recipe from her, I learned from her that cinnamon breaks down gluten, and I should incorporate it to the dough towards the end of the bulk fermentation.  I still have a lot to learn, but this raisin cinnamon bread surely has a good texture and taste.

Ingredients (Hydration is about 72%):

Step 1 – Mix and rest for 1 hour

400g Bread Flour
35g Dark Rye Flour
15g Spelt Flour
320g Water

Step 2 – Mix and rest for 30  mins

10g Salt
90g Starter
3g Ground Cinnamon

Step 3 – Soak the Raisins

120g Raisin
¼ tsp Vanilla extract

½ cup

Water

If you already have your own sourdough starter, get it ready.  To make it from scratch, plan at least 7 days ahead of time (it may take up to 2 weeks if the weather is cold), please follow King Arthur’s sourdough starter recipe here.

2  Levain float test

Directions:

  1. Feed your starter with equal amount of water, flour and starter until it is active and ready to use (you will see a lot of bubbles, or you can run the float test if a levain is ready to use.  A small amount of levain is scooped out and dropped into a glass of room temperature water, and if it floats, it’s ready).  (Pictures above)
  2. In a mixing bowl, combine all flour and water.  Cover with a towel or plastic wrap and let it rest in room temperature for 1 hour.  (Pictures 1)
  3. After 1 hour, add 90g of starter, 10g of salt.  Use your hand to pinch and fold the dough over and over to get it nice and mixed.  The dough is much more wet and sloppy than it was during the first mix.  Cover the dough and set the timer for 30 minutes.  (Pictures 2 & 4)
  4. Soak 120g raisins with 1/2 cup of water (water should be enough to cover the raisins).  Add 1/4 teaspoon of vanilla extract, mix well.  (Pictures 5 & 6)
  5. Now we are going to stretch and fold the dough – Lift one side of the dough straight up until you meet resistance and fold it across the center.  Turn the bowl 90 degree and perform the stretch-and-folds (the dough is probably very relaxed in the beginning).  Once you have finished all the way around the bowl back to where you started, you have completed one set.  Cover the dough with plastic wrap and set the timer for 30 minutes.  (Pictures 7 & 8)
  6. Repeat Step 4 above three more times.
  7. After the last set of stretch-and fold, stretch the dough and sprinkle cinnamon and raisins.  Fold the dough down and sprinkle another layer of  cinnamon and raisins to the dough.  Repeat this step until you finish all the cinnamon and raisins.  (Pictures 9-12)
  8. Cover the dough with plastic wrap and let it rest for 1-2 hours.  (Picture 13)
  9. Dust your work surface with flour, fold the dough a couple of times and shape the dough to a ball.  (Pictures 14-15)
  10. Dust the banneton basket with rice flour, carefully transfer the dough to the basket. Cover with a towel and put it in the refrigerator for 5-10 hours/overnight.  (Pictures 16-18)

 

collages

Baking the bread:

  1. During the dough’s last 45 minutes of final proof, preheat the oven and the cast iron pan at 500F (preheating the pan for at least 45 minutes).
  2. Remove the basket from the fridge.  Put a piece of parchment paper on top of the banneton basket and put a chopping board on top of the parchment paper. (Picture 19)
  3. Now hold the basket and chopping board tight and flip over the banneton basket.  You can score the dough now.  (Picture 20)
  4. Remove the cast iron pan from the oven and slide the dough to the pan.  (Picture 21)
  5. Cover the cast iron pan and turn the oven temperature down to 450F and set the timer to bake for 20 minutes.  (Picture 22)
  6. After 20 minutes, uncover the pan and continue to bake for another 20 minutes.** (Picture 23)
  7. Let the bread cool down completely on a cooling rack before slicing it.

Note:  Each oven is different, you may need to adjust the cooking time for longer.

Raisin sourdough slices closeup

 

whole cinnamon raisin sourdough 2

Raisin sourdough slices

 

 

Chicken Drumsticks with Seasoned Rub


spice blend chicken

Seasoned Rub Chicken Drumsticks

I adapted this recipe from That Low Carb Life.  The spice blend is packed full of flavor and is good for chicken thighs and drumsticks.  The meat turned out juicy with crispy skin.  If you cannot eat spicy food, you can leave the peppers out, and the chicken will still be very flavorful.

Ingredients:

8 pounds Chicken drumsticks
4 tsp Smoked paprika
4 tsp Garlic powder
4 tsp Onion powder
3 tsp Salt
2 tsp Cracked pepper
1 tsp Cayenne pepper

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees.  Line a baking pan with aluminum foil.
  2. Put all ingredients to a bowl and mix well.  (Picture 1)
  3. Sprinkle the spice blend on each chicken drumstick.  (Picture 2)
  4. Arrange chicken drumsticks on the baking sheet and drizzle a little cooking oil (grape seed oil) on top.  (Picture 3)
  5. Put in the middle rack of the oven and bake for 35 minutes.  *My chicken drumsticks are pretty small; add 10 minutes of cooking time if chicken drumsticks are big. (Picture 4)
  6. Do not turn chicken, this will allow the drumsticks to have a crispy skin on the top.
  7. Serve chicken drumsticks immediately.

collage

drumsticks

 

Pork Chile Verde (Instant Pot Cooking)


chili verde final

The good thing about living in Southern California, besides the year round sunshine, is the food.  Here in Los Angeles, which is one of the most multicultural cities in the world, people from different countries allow us to taste different types of authentic cuisine.

There are many good Mexican restaurants and food trucks in East Los Angeles where you can find some of best tacos in the country.  If you go for the Taco Tuesday deals, each taco is as low as $1.  After your meal, you can walk along some streets in East LA, and there are some food trucks selling fresh churros, they are just delicious!

Just because my family loves Mexican food, I came across with this Pork Chile Verde recipe on seriouseats.com using a pressure cooker.  Simply add some homemade Mexican rice (recipe here), some beans and/or tortillas as your sides, and you will have a pretty satisfying meal.

Ingredients:

4 pounds Pork shoulder (Cut into chunks)
350g Tomatillos (quartered, papery husks removed)
300g Poblano peppers (about 2 peppers, chopped, seeds and stems discarded)
170g Anaheim peppers (about 2 peppers, chopped, seeds and stems discarded)
120g Jalapeno chilies (about 2 medium peppers, chopped, stems discarded, seeds retained)
1 medium White onion (chopped)
8 Garlic cloves (peeled)
6g Whole cumin seed (toasted and ground)
12g Kosher salt
1 Tbsp Asian fish sauce
Fresh cilantro for garnish

ingredients

Directions:

  1. Roughly chop all peppers, remember to keep the Jalapeno chili seeds.  Chop onion and peel garlic.  (Picture 1)
  2. Toast 6g of whole cumin seeds and then grind them with a mortar and pestle.  (Picture 2)
  3. Put all of the vegetables into a pressure cooker, then put meat on top.  (Pictures 3 and 4)
  4. Add ground cumin and salt to the pressure cooker, then use tongs to stir everything together.  (Pictures 5-7)
  5. Cover the lid and cook at high pressure for 30 minutes.  Turn the sealing vault to the “sealing” position.  (Picture 8)
  6. After 30 minutes, do a quick release of the pressure.
  7. Remove pork with tongs to a bowl and set aside.  (Picture 9)
  8. Use an immersion blender to blend the vegetables to a smooth puree.  (Picture 10)
  9. Add in a tablespoon of Asian fish sauce.  (Picture 11)
  10. Return pork to the pot.  (Picture 12)
  11. When serving, add a good amount of chopped cilantro.

collages

I had read some reviews about the vegetables being burned at the bottom of the pot.  The pressure cooker I’m using is an electric pressure cooker, so this problem will never happen.  If you have a traditional stovetop pressure cooker, you may want to test it out by adding a little water to the pot.

Tacos

chili verde final 2

Mexican Rice


Mexican rice 2

Rice is typically eaten to supplement meals in Asia.  I grew up eating rice almost every day when I lived in Hong Kong.  A meal without rice just feels incomplete – like something was missing.

Mexican food is not popular in Hong Kong, I never had Mexican food until I moved to Los Angeles.  I started cooking Mexican rice when one of my Hispanic co-workers gave me a recipe.  Now, whenever I make Pork Chili Verde (recipe here), my children always demand a pot of Mexican rice.  It’s not hard to make at all but it did take me several tries to get the correct water amount.  There are a lot of great recipes on the internet, but I’m recording this for my daughters because we use Jasmine rice in our household.

Ingredients:

3 cups Long grain rice / Jasmine rice
3 cups Water
2 medium Tomatoes
150g White onion
2 Tbsp Tomato paste
2 tsp Minced garlic
2 cubes (10g each) Knorr Chicken bouillon
½ tsp Salt

Directions:

  1. Chop tomatoes and onion, set aside.  (Pictures 1 & 2)
  2. Dissolve 2 cubes of chicken bouillon in 3 cups of water. (Picture 3)
  3. Add chopped tomatoes to the chicken broth.  (Picture 4)
  4. Heat a tablespoon of oil in a large saucepan over medium heat, add minced garlic and onion.  Cook until onion is slightly brown.  (Pictures 5 & 6)
  5. Add rice in to the pan and stir for about 2 minutes.  (Picture 7)
  6. Add 2 tablespoons of tomato paste and stir well.  (Picture 8)
  7. Pour the chicken broth with chopped tomatoes to the pot and add 1/2 teaspoon of salt.  (Pictures 9 & 10)
  8. When water is boiling, cover the rice and turn fire to low, cook for 20 minutes.  (Picture 11)
  9. After 20 minutes, turn off fire and leave the pot covered for about 10 minutes.
  10. Use a fork to loosen the rice.  (Picture 12)

collages

Tacos

Dutch Oven Chicken with Lemon, Garlic and Rosemary


IMG_E8458

Last summer, I posted a recipe of this chicken cooked in a pressure cooker and promised to post a recipe using a Dutch Oven.   Every time I made this chicken, either one wing or a drumstick was already eaten by my family before I took out my camera to shoot a picture for my blog.   I have to say this is one of my family’s favorite dishes.

I like to use a Dutch Oven to bake the chicken as it keeps the meat very moist and tender, and it allows me to cook the potatoes and carrots together.  Once everything is cooked, I have both a meat and a vegetable dish to serve.

The chicken is best to be marinaded overnight.  It may take some time to prep, but the work is easy after you put the pot in the oven.  Some people may not like rosemary which can be substituted with other herbs or simply be omitted.

Ingredients:

1 (3-4 pounds) Whole roasting chicken
2 Tbsp Butter (melted)
2 Tbsp Lemon zest
2 Tbsp Rosemary (chopped)
3 Tbsp Minced Garlic
3 tsp Salt

Spices for Chicken Skin:

1 tsp Chili powder
2 tsp Paprika
2 tsp Garlic powder
1 tsp Salt

Vegetables:

1 White onion (chopped)
5 Medium size carrots (cut)
1 pound Red potatoes (cut into cubes)
2/3 tsp Season salt (or salt and pepper)

Ingredients for Gravy:

2 cup Low sodium chicken broth
2 Tbsp Corn starch
2 Tbsp Cooking wine/water
  Salt to taste

Chicken Marinade:

  1. Clean the chicken and pat dry.
  2. Melt butter in a microwave and prepare all herbs.  (picture 1)
  3. Use a chopper to chop garlic, rosemary and lemon zest together.  (picture 2)
  4. Mix butter, salt and herb mixture in a container.  (picture 3)
  5. Rub herb mixture evenly underneath the chicken skin and cavity.  (picture 4)
  6. Cover with cling wrap and put the chicken in the fridge overnight.
  7. Combine all spices for chicken skin in a bowl.  (pictures 5 & 6)
  8. Remove chicken from the fridge and sprinkle the skin evenly with the spice mixture right before cooking it.  (picture 7)

collages 1

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 °F.
  2. In a large Dutch oven, heat 3 tablespoons of oil with a sprig of rosemary and 2 garlic cloves.  Brown the chicken until all sides are evenly golden brown. (pictures 8 & 9)
  3. Cut potatoes, carrots and onion into cubes, season with season salt. (picture 10)
  4. Add potatoes, carrots and onion to the Dutch oven, place them around the chicken. Chicken breast should be facing up before putting it in the oven. (picture 11)
  5. Cover with lid and transfer the Dutch Oven to the preheated oven. Bake for an hour or until the thermometer registers 165 degrees Fahrenheit when inserted in the thickest part of breast. (picture 12)
  6. Transfer the chicken to a serving dish and let it rest for 20 minutes before carving and transfer vegetables from the Dutch Oven to a big container. (picture 13)

Untitled-1

 

IMG_E8455

To make gravy:

  1. Reserve the juice from the Dutch Oven and skim the fat from the top.  Place the Dutch Oven on stove top on medium heat.  Add 2 cups of chicken broth.  (picture A)
  2. Dissolve 2 tablespoons of cornstarch in 2 tbsp of water/cooking wine.  Pour the cornstarch slurry into the pot and use a spoon or whisk to mix (don’t pour in all cornstarch slurry, if gravy is still thin, add more in until it’s slightly thickened.)  (picture B)
  3. Transfer gravy to a sauce boat and serve hot. (picture C)

Gravy

 

Mango Mousse


13

Since we all are still facing this COVID-19 pandemic, many of us reached out to help each other – younger/stronger people have been helping older people with groceries and other necessities.  When friends couldn’t find masks, hand sanitizer, toilet paper, disinfection wipes or rice, as long as one mentioned it in a group chat, everyone jumped in to donate.  This coronavirus outbreak is hard to handle, but tough times always reveal true friends.  There are so many nice people around us, and even strangers will give us a hand sometimes.  When I mentioned on FB that I had to sew my own masks, a stranger in Asia (through a private group I joined) offered to mail me two free boxes.  I’m so touched by all the nice people out there!

The same goes for my friends in Los Angeles, they always dropped off fruits/foods whenever they went to the market.  In the stack I received last week, I found two Manila mangoes so I decided to make my favorite mango mousse dessert.

Ingredients:

135g Mango puree (1 Manila mango)
1 whole Manila mango (cubed)
2 Tbsp Cane sugar
125g Heavy whipping cream
1 tsp Knox gelatin
2 Tbsp Water
Optional Mint (for garnish)

Directions:

  1. Put 1 teaspoon of gelatin in a small bowl.  Dissolve gelatin with 1 tablespoon of room temperature water, then add the 2nd tablespoon of water (HOT water) until gelatin is completely dissolved.  (Pictures 1-3).
  2. Peel and pit 1 ripe mango (135g) and cut into pieces.  In a food processor, puree mango and gelatin together on high speed.  (Pictures 4 & 5)
  3. In a stand mixer, add 2 tablespoons of sugar and 125g heavy cream and whip on high speed until soft peaks form.  (Picture 6)
  4. Slowly add puree into the whipped cream, fold it into the cream until completely mixed. (Pictures 7 & 8)
  5. Pour into individual portion cups and refrigerate for 2 hours to set.
  6. Peel and pit the 2nd mango, dice the mango and put on top of the mousse.  Garnish with fresh mint sprig. (Picture 9)

collages

I poured this into 2 big wine glasses.  The ingredients here will make 4 mini cups.

11

 

 

 

Taiwanese Taro, Sweet Potato and Purple Yam Balls (芋圓, 地瓜圓)


Taro balls

The Chinese name for these balls are 芋圓 “Taro Balls”, but they could be made from taro, sweet potato and purple yam.  You will find the texture of these balls slightly different, as sweet potato balls have an elastic texture.  The main reason is because sweet potatoes contain more liquid and need more tapioca flour to form the dough while kneading (more flour means higher elasticity).  In order to make these balls a little more chewy, I increased the water amount to make the dough more wet and add more flour during the kneading process.  Play around with it and you will get to the texture you like.

Ingredients:

Taro Balls Purple Yam Balls Sweet Potato Balls
Taro: 100g Purple yam: 100g Sweet potato: 100g
Tapioca flour: 55g* Tapioca flour: 55g* Tapioca flour: 55g*
Boiling water: 40g Boiling water: 40g Boiling water: 25g
Cane sugar: 20g Cane sugar: 20g Cane sugar: 20g

* Plus extra tapioca flour for kneading (this will give the elasticity to the balls).

Directions:

  1. Measure flour in 3 separate bowls (100g each) and set aside.
  2. Slice taro, purple yam and sweet potato, put them in separate containers and then steam for 20 minutes until soft.
  3. Bring a pot of water to a boil.
  4. Start with one type of root vegetable first.  Pour 40g of boiling water into the first bowl of flour and let it sit for 30 seconds.   (Picture 1)
  5. Mix the flour and water and then add purple yam.  Use a fork to mix yam and flour (be careful, it may be very hot).  (Picture 2)
  6. Transfer the yam mixture to a clean floured work surface, use your hand to knead the dough.  (Picture 3)
  7. The dough will be very sticky in the beginning, add tapioca flour while kneading until you get a soft and smooth texture.  (Picture 4)
  8. Cut the dough into small portions.  Take a small portion of dough and roll it out into thin long log (around 1.5cm in diameter).  (Picture 5)
  9. Repeat steps 4-8 to make the taro balls and sweet potato balls (water amount for sweet potato balls is 25g).  (Pictures 6 and 7)
  10. To cook the taro balls, bring a pot of water to a boil then add the balls in.  When the balls float to the top, they are cooked.  (Picture 8)
  11. Use a strainer to take the balls out from the pot and put them in a bowl.  Add sugar to the bowl and mix well.  If you want to freeze some uncooked balls, adjust the sugar amount.  (Picture 9)

taro collages

Note:

Dust the balls with a thin layer of tapioca flour to prevent them from sticking together. Put them in a container and store in the freezer.

6

These balls are best eaten with the (i) taro, coconut and tapioca dessert, (ii) red bean dessert, or (iii) just pure brown sugar water.

To make the red bean tapioca pearls dessert:

200g adzuki beans
130g brown sugar
6 cups water
1 cup tapioca pearls

Put all ingredients (except the tapioca pearls) in the pressure cooker and cook at high pressure for 60 minutes and then natural release the pressure.

Bring a pot of hot water to a boil, add 1 cup of small tapioca pearls and cook for 10 minutes.  Turn off the heat, cover and let the pearls soak for 10 minutes.  They will become translucent.  Drain and rinse with running water.

Add tapioca pearls and taro balls to a bowl of red bean dessert.  You can eat it hot or cold but the taro balls have to be made fresh without being refrigerated. Otherwise, the texture is very hard.

taro ball 3

To make the brown sugar drink:

2 slices of ginger
4 cups of water
1/4 cup brown sugar

Put all ingredients to a pot and bring to a boil until sugar has dissolved.  Serve taro balls and brown sugar water in a bowl.

Turmeric Sourdough


Turmeric sourdough 3

Tumeric bread cover

Turmeric, known as the Golden Spice, originated in India where it was used as a culinary spice.  It comes from the root of the Curcuma longa plant which is part of the ginger family.  It’s interesting to learn that, before it was commonly used as a spice for food, it was used to as a natural dye for skin and clothing.

Turmeric is high in antioxidants and contains powerful anti-inflammatory properties, which is why it has been used in Chinese medicine for thousands of years.  It is still used for menstrual pain, traumatic injuries, spleen, etc. and also has shown strong evidence of being a preventative herb, helping to ward off many diseases like cancer, diabetes and heart disease.

When I make curry, I usually add a teaspoon of turmeric.  Turmeric has a spicy and bitter flavor, so adding too much turmeric to your dish will probably overtake the flavor.  Today, I made my sourdough by adding just 1/4 teaspoon of turmeric.  The color is beautiful and it doesn’t affect the flavor of my sourdough.

Ingredients (Hydration is about 72%):

Step 1 – Mix and rest for 1 hour

400g Bread Flour
30g Dark Rye Flour
15g Spelt Flour
¼ tsp Turmeric
320g Water

Step 2 – Mix and rest for 30  mins

10g Salt
90g Starter

Directions:

  1. Feed your starter with equal amount of water, flour and starter until it is active and ready to use (you will see a lot of bubbles).  (Picture 1)
  2. In a mixing bowl, combine all flour, turmeric and water.  Cover with a towel or plastic wrap and let it rest in room temperature for 1 hour.  (Pictures 2-3)
  3. After 1 hour, add 90g of starter and 10g of salt.  Use your hand to pinch and fold the dough over and over to get it nice and mixed.  The dough is much more wet and sloppy than it was during the first mix.  Cover the dough and set the timer for 30 minutes.  (Pictures 4 & 5)
  4. Now we are going to stretch and fold the dough – Lift one side of the dough straight up until you meet resistance and fold it across the center.  Turn the bowl 90 degree and perform the stretch-and-folds (the dough is probably very relaxed in the beginning).  Once you have finished all the way around the bowl back to where you started, you have completed one set.  Cover the dough with plastic wrap and set the timer for 30 minutes.  (Pictures 6 & 7)
  5. Repeat Step 4 above three more times.
  6. After the last set of Stretch-And-Fold, lightly fold the dough a couple of times, cover the dough and let it rest for 1-2 hours.
  7. Dust your work surface with flour, and fold the dough a couple of times and shape the dough to a ball.  (Pictures 8-11)
  8. Dust the banneton basket with rice flour, carefully transfer the dough to the basket. Cover with a towel and put it in the refrigerator for 5-10 hours.  (Pictures 12-14)

collages

Baking the bread:

  1. During the dough’s last 45 minutes of final proof, preheat the oven and the cast iron pan at 500F (preheating the pan for at least 45 minutes).  (Picture A)
  2. Remove the basket from the fridge.  Put a piece of parchment paper on top of the banneton basket and put a chopping board on top of the parchment paper. (Picture B)
  3. Now hold the basket and chopping board tight and flip over the banneton basket.  (Picture C)
  4. You can score the dough either a line or a cross.  (Picture D)
  5. Remove the cast iron pan from the oven and slide the dough to the pan.  (Picture E)
  6. Cover the cast iron pan and turn the oven temperature down to 450F and set the timer to bake for 20 minutes.
  7. After 20 minutes, uncover the pan and continue to bake for another 20 minutes.**’
  8. Let the bread cool down completely on a cooling rack before slicing it.

Note:  Each oven is different, you may need to adjust the cooking time for longer.

collages 2

 

sliced sourdough

Turmeric sourdough 2

Turmeric sourdough slices 2

Chinese Beef Noodle Soup (Instant Pot cooking)


Beef noodle in soup

It has been raining for a few days already.  When the weather is cold and wet, a bowl of hot beef noodle soup sounds very comforting.  Noodles are very popular in China, as there are many ways of cooking noodles.  They can be served with sauce or in soup, as well as pan fried or deep fried until crispy.  My favorite way of cooking noodles is to make it in soup.

Beef stew usually takes at least 2 hours to simmer on the stove top, until tender.  However, if you use a pressure cooker, the cooking time can easily be reduced in half.  I’m using my favorite Instant Pot for this dish. Once everything is in the pressure cooker, I can sit back and relax.

Ingredients for Beef Stew (8 servings):

4 pounds Beef stew meat
6 stalks Green onion
8 slices Fresh ginger
2 whole Anise star
10 Garlic cloves
1 White onion
3 Tomatoes
5 leaves Bay leaf
2 Red chili (either fresh or dried)
3 Tbsp Brown sugar
¾ Cup Light soy sauce
¾ Cup Dark soy sauce
1 ½ Cup Rice cooking wine
1 ½ Cup Water
2 Tbsp Ground Bean Paste (磨鼓醬)
1-2 Tbsp Chili Bean paste (depending on how spicy you want)

Ingredients for noodle soup (4 servings):

8 Bundle Shrimp noodles/Rice noodles
8 Cups Chicken broth
2 Cups Bok Choy
1 tsp Salt

Directions for making Beef Stew:

  1. Slice the onion, peel the garlic, halve the red chilies, halve the green onions, slice the ginger root, rinse the star anise and bay leaves.  Set aside (Picture 1)
  2. Bring a large pot of water to a boil, put 4 slices of ginger in the water.  Add beef into the pot and cook for 5 minutes.  Discard the water and rinse beef under running tap water.  Set aside.  (Picture 2)
  3. Add a little oil to the wok, fry onion, garlic, green onion, remaining ginger and red chili. (Pictures 3 & 4)
  4. When onion is a little brown, add in beef and stir for 2 minutes. (Picture 5)
  5. Pour in cooking wine, light soy sauce, dark soy sauce and water. (Pictures 6-9)
  6. Add brown sugar, ground bean paste, chili bean paste, bay leaves and star anise.  (Pictures 10-13)
  7. Add in tomatoes and stir well. (Picture 14)
  8. After the sauce is boiled, transfer everything to the Instant Pot (Pressure Cooker).  Select “Meat Stew” and set timer for 1 hour.  Turn knob to the “sealing” position.  (Picture 15)
  9. When finished cooking, do a quick pressure release before you open the lid.

Beef noodle soup

Directions for making noodles in soup:

Noodles may be cooked from either their fresh or dry forms.  Below is a picture of the dried shrimp noodle.

IMG_7937

  1. Bring a large pot of water to a boil and cook the noodles according to the package instructions.  Remove noodles from the pot and rinse it under cold water.
  2. Add 8 cups of chicken broth to a pot and bring to a boil.  Add a teaspoon of salt for taste.  The broth can be a little light as we are going to add in a few spoons of the sauce from the beef stew.
  3. When the broth is boiling, add bok choy and cook for 1 minute.
  4. Put noodles and broth in a large bowl, lay bok choy on top and add some beef and its sauce to your bowl of noodles.  Garnish with cilantro or green onions.

Jalapeño Cheese Sourdough


sougdough

Sourdough is known to be healthier and have a more complex flavor than white bread.  Good sourdough bread should have chewy crust and an airy moist interior characterized by lots of holes.  However, it will take some practice to make a good sourdough.

To make your own sourdough starter, you can follow King Arthur Flour’s page.  I am very lucky to have a sourdough starter passed down to me from my co-worker, who is also my good friend.  She has great enthusiasm for sourdough baking.  She practiced uncountable times to make perfect sourdough and started to be creative by using different ingredients.  Her energy motivated me, but I failed many times to reach today’s result.  This is one recipe that I tested out a few times and adjusted the ingredients to suit my taste.

I’m using the “Stretch-And-Fold” technique for my sourdough as the hydration is 78%.  When the dough is very wet, the traditional kneading method is impossible to handle.  Before you make this bread, make sure you have time staying home to stretch and fold your dough every 30 minutes for 2 hours.

Jalapeno Cheese sourdough

Ingredients:

Step 1 – Mix and rest for 1 hour
445g Bread flour
320g Water
Step 2 – Mix and rest for 30 mins
10g Salt
25g Water
90g Starter

Ingredients to add before final proof:

60g Jalapeno
170g Cheddar Cheese/Mozzarella Cheese (save some for sprinkling on top of the dough)

Making the Dough:

  1. Feed your starter with equal amount of water, flour and starter until it is active and ready to use (you will see a lot of bubbles).  (Picture 1)
  2. In a mixing bowl, combine 445g of bread flour and 320g of water.  Cover with a towel or plastic wrap and let it rest in room temperature for 1 hour.  (Pictures 2-4)
  3. After 1 hour, add 90g of starter, 10g of salt and 25g of water.  Use your hand to pinch and fold the dough over and over to get it nice and mixed.  The dough is much more wet and sloppy than it was during the first mix.  Cover the dough and set the timer for 30 minutes. (Pictures 5-9)
  4. Now we are going to stretch and fold the dough – Lift one side of the dough straight up until you meet resistance and fold it across the center.  Turn the bowl 90 degree and perform the stretch-and-folds (the dough is probably very relaxed in the beginning).  Once you have finished all the way around the bowl back to where you started, you have completed one set.  Cover the dough with plastic wrap and set the timer for 30 minutes.  (Pictures 10-12)
  5. Repeat Step 4 above three more times.
  6. After the last set of Stretch-And-Fold, lightly fold the dough a couple of times, cover the dough and let it rest for 1-2 hours.
  7. Chop jalapeno in small pieces.  Leave the seeds if you like spicy food.  (Picture 13)
  8. Cut cheese into small chunks.  (Picture 14)
  9. Final proof – Lay 1/2 of the cheese and jalapeno into the middle of your dough, fold the dough and lay the second 1/2 of the cheese jalapeno onto the dough.   Dust your work surface with flour, and carefully transfer the dough and gently shape the dough to a ball.   (Pictures 15-16)
  10. Dust the banneton basket with rice flour.  Lightly flour the surface of the dough and place the dough in the banneton basket (seam side down).  (Pictures 17-18)
  11. Cover the basket with a towel and put it in the refrigerator for 5-10 hours.  Proofing the dough in the fridge will improve the gluten structure.  (Picture 19)

Collages 2a

Baking the bread:

  1. During the dough’s last 45 minutes of final proof, preheat the oven and the cast iron pan at 500F (preheating the pan for at least 45 minutes). (Picture A)
  2. Remove the basket from the fridge.  Put a piece of parchment paper on top of the banneton basket and put a chopping board on top of the parchment paper.  (Picture B)
  3. Now hold the basket and chopping board tight and flip over the banneton basket.  (Picture C)
  4. You can score the dough now and sprinkle shredded cheese on top.  Remove the cast iron pan from the oven and slide the dough to the pan.  (Pictures D and E)
  5. Cover the cast iron pan and turn the oven temperature down to 450F and set the time to bake for 20 minutes.
  6. After 20 minutes, uncover the pan and continue to bake for another 20 minutes.**
  7. Let the bread cool down completely on a cooling rack before slicing it.

Note:  Each oven is different, you may need to adjust the cooking time for longer.

Instructions

cheese sourdough

Spanish Seafood Paella


Seafood Paella

My family visited Barcelona in March 2019, which was the 2nd time I went to this beautiful city.  Besides enjoying their delicious tapas, I also love their seafood paella.  If you have a chance to visit Barcelona, make sure you stop by La Mar Salada.  They had the best seafood paella I ever ate!  Although other restaurants have good reviews on their paella, it was too salty for us.   The reason I decided to make this seafood paella at home is because I cannot find one restaurant in California that serves the paella similar to La Mar Salada’s.  I have made this several times already and it reminded my family of Barcelona.  The most important thing in making this dish is to use fresh clams, large shrimp and fresh mussels.

Ingredients:

1 lbs Shrimp with head
2 lbs Fresh clams
2 Squids
10 Fresh mussels
4 cups Spanish Paella rice
3 Medium size tomatoes
1 Large white onion
4 Garlic cloves
6 cups Chicken broth
1.5 cup Dry white wine
2 tsp Salt
2 tsp Paprika
1 tsp Brown sugar
1 pinch Saffron
Calm juice from steaming

Directions:

  1. In a small bowl, soak saffron threads in hot water for 20 minutes.  (Picture 1)
  2. Use a toothpick to remove the digestive vein along the back of the shrimp without peeling off the shell.  (Picture 2)
  3. Scrub the calms with a kitchen toothbrush and set aside.  (Picture 3)
  4. Scrub and debeard mussels, set aside.  (Picture 4)
  5. Slice squid just below the eyes, separating the tentacles from the head and reserve tentacles.  Gently pull out the head, intestines, ink sac, and clear skeleton; discard innards.  Slice body crosswise into rings.  (Picture 5)
  6. Finely chop the white onion. (Picture 6)
  7. Finely chop garlic.  (Picture 7)
  8. Chop tomatoes. (Picture 8)
  9. In a small pot, bring the chicken broth and white wine to a boil.
  10. Fry the onion in a cast iron paella pan until soft.  (Picture 9)
  11. Add in minced garlic and fry for 1 minute.  (Picture 10)
  12. Add in tomatoes.  (Picture 11)
  13. Add sugar, 1 tsp of salt and paprika (Pictures 12-14)
  14. Add saffron threads and its water, stir well and cook until tomatoes are a little pasty.  (Picture 15)
  15. Add the squid and stir for about a minute.  (Picture 16)
  16. Add rice and stir well until all the grains are coated. (Picture 17)
  17. Pour hot stock over the rice, bring to a boil, add the remaining 1 teaspoon of salt to taste.  Move the pan around and rotate it so that rice cooks evenly.  (Picture 18)
  18. Lay shrimp on top after 10 minutes of cooking the rice, and turn them when they become pink on one side.  Continue to cook the rice for another 15 minutes. (Picture 19)
  19. 5 minutes before the rice is ready, steam the mussels and calms.  Reserve the shell fish juice and pour the juice to the rice and cook the rice for 2 additional minutes.

collages

 

 

Furikake Chex Mix


Chex Mix

Furikake Chex Mix

Here I am, writing my blog again.  I have already been working remotely for 2 weeks  due to the Coronavirus outbreak.  State announced the “Safer-At-Home” order on March 19, so all of us are now home 24/7.  As of today, USA has 331,234 confirmed cases, this number is rising rapidly.  Besides purchasing necessities at the markets, cleaning, cooking or baking is a good way to kill time.

This Hawaiian-style chex mix is incredibly addictive, it is very crunchy with a combination of sweet and savory taste.  It is perfect to have for parties, gatherings and even for just the family!  Get your youngsters to bake together and have some family quality time!

Ingredients:

2 cups Rice Chex
2 cups Corn Chex
2 cups Wheat Chex*
2 cups Pretzel
1.5 cups Gardetto’s Garlic Rye chips
170g Butter
¼ cup Honey
½ cup Brown sugar
1 Tbsp Soy sauce
1 Tbsp Worcestershire sauce
1 bottle (about 2oz) Furikake seaweed

* The Chex mix could be any combination of rice/corn/wheat.  Wheat is more flat and hard in texture.

IMG_7638

Method:

  1. Preheat oven to 250 °F.
  2. Mix dry ingredients like Chex mix, pretzels and garlic rye chips together in a very large bowl.  (Picture 1)
  3. Melt butter in a pot, add in sugar, honey, soy sauce and worcestershire sauce until everything is combined.  (Pictures 2 – 6)
  4. Pour hot sauce mixture into the dry mix and mix well.  (Pictures 7-8)
  5. Add in Furikake seaweed .  (Picture 9)
  6. Line a large baking sheet with alumni foil and drizzle a little oil.  This will prevent the chex from sticking to the pan.  (Picture 10)
  7. Evenly spread the chex mix on to the baking sheet.  (Picture 11)
  8. Bake for 1 hour and 15 mins, turn Chex mix every 20 mins (Picture 12)

Hawaiian Chex Mix

You can store the Chex mix in an air tight container.

Chex Mix in the jar

 

 

 

 

Lemon, Garlic and Rosemary Whole Chicken (Instant Pot)


Instant Pot chicken

Whenever I spoke to friends/relatives/co-workers about cooking the last few years, I would hear so much about how they fell in love with their IP and why they couldn’t stop using their IP.  Cooking with an IP is currently very popular, but what is an IP?  IP stands for Instant Pot which is a multifunctional electric pressure cooker.  According to The New York Times, Instant Pots currently sit in the top 10 list of Amazon best sellers in the Kitchen category.  I’ve owned one for more than a year now and I understand why people love it so much.  You can easily convert many recipes for pressure cooking.

I normally cook this chicken in a Dutch Oven with potatoes and carrots added to the pot (Dutch Oven chicken recipe will follow).  Cooking this chicken in a Dutch Oven or in a pressure cooker keeps the chicken moist and tender.  When I don’t have much time preparing dinner, I just bring out my IP.

Ingredients:

1 (4 pounds) Whole roasting chicken
2 Tbsp Butter (melted)
2 Tbsp Lemon zest
2 Tbsp Rosemary (chopped)
3 Tbsp Minced Garlic
3 tsp Salt
a dash Cooking wine (optional)

Spices for Chicken Skin:

1 tsp Chili powder
2 tsp Paprika
2 tsp Garlic powder
1 tsp Salt

Ingredients for gravy:

1 cup Low sodium chicken broth (cooking together with the chicken in Instant Pot)
2 Tbsp Corn starch
1-2 Tbsp water

Chicken Marinade:

  1. Clean the chicken and pat dry.
  2. Melt butter in a microwave and prepare all herbs.  (picture A)
  3. Use a chopper to chop garlic, rosemary and lemon zest together.  (picture B)
  4. In a container, mix butter, salt and herb mixture.  (picture C)
  5. Rub herb mixture evenly underneath the chicken skin and cavity.  (picture D)
  6. Cover with cling wrap and let it sit in the fridge for 4 hours or overnight (you can skip this step if you don’t have time).

chicken marinade final

Direction:

  1. Combine all spices for chicken skin in a bowl.  (Pictures 1 & 2)
  2. Sprinkle the skin evenly with the spice mixture.  (Picture 3)
  3. In a large frying pan, heat 3 tablespoons of oil with a sprig of rosemary.  Cook the chicken until evenly golden brown, add in cooking wine (optional).  (Picture 4)
  4. Pour 1 cup of low sodium chicken broth (or water) to your Instant Pot (pressure cooker), place the metal trivet into the pot.  Gently place chicken on top of the trivet with tongs.  (Pictures 5 & 6)
  5. Select manual setting, adjust pressure to high and set time for 20 minutes.  Turn knob to the sealing position.  When finished cooking, do a quick pressure release.  (Picture 7)

Pressure cooking steps

To make gravy:

  1. Reserve all the juice from the pot and skim the fat from the top. Transfer gravy from Instant Pot to a small pot.
  2. Place the pot on stove top on medium heat.  Dissolve 2 Tbsps of cornstarch in the minimum amount of water needed to make a thin paste.
  3. Pour the cornstarch slurry into the pot and use a spoon or whisk to mix (don’t pour in all cornstarch slurry, if gravy is still thin, add more in until it’s slightly thickened.)
  4. Transfer gravy to a sauce boat and serve hot.
gravy

 

Japchae (Korean Noodles)


Japchae.jpg

Japchae

Japchae is a classic sweet and savory Korean dish everyone loves.  It is made from sweet potato starch noodles stir fried with vegetables and you can add your choice of meat.  I have eaten at some restaurants where Japchae is served on top of rice (yes this sounds a little weird!), but most restaurants serve it as a banchan (Korean side dishes) or as a full dish.  If you are gluten intolerant, this is the dish you should consider.

Ingredients:

1 lbs Beef (flank, sirloin or rib eye)
14 oz – 1 lbs Korean potato starch noodles (Dangmyeon)
2 medium sticks Carrots (julienne)
1 small White onion
1/2 lbs Spinach
7-8 Dried shiitake mushrooms (soaked until soft)
2 Eggs
2 Garlic cloves

Marinade for Beef:

2 Tbsp Light soy sauce
2 Tbsp Brown sugar
1 Tbsp Corn starch

Sauce for Noodles:

6 Tbsp Light soy sauce
5 Tbsp Brown sugar
4 Tbsp Sesame oil
4 tsp Roasted sesame seeds

Directions:

  1. Combine all sauce ingredients in a small bowl and mix well.  (Picture 1)
  2. Soak dried mushrooms in hot water until soft.  Cut the stems off and slice into thin strips.  Season with 1 tablespoon of the sauce above.  (Picture 2)
  3. Peel and julienne carrots.  (Picture 3)
  4. Cut onion into slices. (Picture 4)
  5. Slice beef against the grain (you can cut into slices or strips).  Marinade beef with soy sauce, brown sugar and corn starch.  (Picture 5)
  6. Bring a pot of lightly salted water to a boil and blanch the spinach until they are just wilted (about 1 minute).  Drain quickly and rinse spinach under cold running water.  Squeeze excess water from spinach and set aside.  (Picture 6)
  7. Cook the noodles in a large pot of boiling water (follow the package directions for cooking time).  Drain and rinse the noodles under cold running water.  Set aside.  (Picture 7)
  8. Heat up 1 Tbsp of oil in a skillet/wok and stir fry onion until it turns brown.  Transfer onion to a plate and side aside.  (Picture 8)
  9. Add 1 Tbsp of oil and one garlic clove to the same skillet/wok and stir fry carrots for about 1 minute, then add in mushrooms.  Add 1 Tbsp of water and cook for 1 minute.  Transfer carrots and mushrooms to a plate and set aside.  (Pictures 9 and 10).
  10. Add 2 tablespoons of oil and one garlic clove to the skillet/wok and stir fry beef until it’s cooked.  Now return onion, carrots and mushrooms to the wok and mix them well with beef (just 1 minute).  Set aside.  (Pictures 11 and 12)
  11. Whisk 2 eggs in a small bowl and cook the eggs in a skillet sprayed with cooking oil in medium heat.  Cut cooked eggs into strips and set aside.  (Picture 13)
  12. Pour sauce into a medium size pot and cook on medium heat until sugar is dissolved and sauce is slightly bubbling.  Add noodles into the pot and toss well until all noodles are coated with the sauce and then add all cooked vegetables and beef, toss well. (Picture 14)
  13. Garnish with egg slices and toasted sesame.  (Picture 15)

japchae collage 2

Japchae dish 2

Char Siu (Chinese BBQ Pork)


Char Siu

I don’t remember which magazine had this recipe, but it was a recipe from the writer’s grandma so it immediately caught my eye!   We all know grandmas’ cooking is always full of delicious recipes created with ‘secret’ ingredients.

It is very important to choose a good piece of meat. For making Char Siu, the best piece is pork butt.  Choose a piece that has more marbling than others as lean pieces will be very dry and won’t be as flavorful as well.  If you still want to keep it healthy and lean, I’d recommend using pork neck since the texture is more tender yet lean (the pictures below in the collage show pork neck).

Ingredients:

2 pounds pork butt
4 Tbsp granulated sugar
2 Tbsp light soy sauce
2 Tbsp dark soy sauce
2 Tbsp hoisin sauce
2 Tbsp Shao Hsing rice cooking wine
2 Tbsp ground bean paste
2 tsp sesame oil
¼ tsp ground white pepper
2 Tbsp honey

Directions:

  1. Quarter pork butt lengthwise.  If you use pork neck, you don’t need to cut it.  In a small bowl, combine sugar, soy sauce, hoisin sauce, rice wine, ground bean paste, sesame oil, pepper, and stir to combine (save the honey for later).  Pour mixture over pork, making sure it is well coated.  Cover the container with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight, turn pork at least once.  (picture 1)
  2. When ready to roast, let pork come to room temperature and let it sit for at least 30 minutes. Preheat broiler, place a rack in a roasting pan or use a broiling pan.  Add enough hot water so that it reaches a depth of ¼ inch in the pan.  Brush the broiling pan with oil so meat won’t stick to the pan.  (Picture 2 and 3)
  3. Place pork on rack, discard marinade.  Carefully place pan under broiler (pork should be about 4 inches from broiler element), and broil until meat is just beginning to char slightly, about 15 minutes.  Brush with honey and broil for 2 more minutes (Pictures 4 and 5)
  4. Turn pork and repeat Item 3 above.

Cha Siu collage

Let the meat rest for 5 minutes and cut into slices.

IMG_E1614

Served with rice and your favorite side dishes, or you can make noodles in soup.

BBQ Pork with noodles

 

Ground Turkey Curry


In the 21st century, most people changed their eating habits and chose to eat healthily.  However, I found that healthy foods do not taste as good as normal foods so when I introduce healthier meals to my family, I have to make sure my children will allow me to make it again.  I found this turkey curry recipe from SimplyRecipes by Elise Bauer.  I gave it a little twist to suit our tastes and it became a popular dish for my family.

Ingredients:

3 pounds Ground Turkey (93% lean)
1 White onion (chopped)
4 Medium Carrots (peeled and cut into big pieces)
6 Medium red potatoes (peeled and cut into 1-inch chunks)
5 Roma tomatoes (diced)
1 cup Frozen peas
4 cups Low sodium chicken broth
1 head Garlic (minced)
20g Fresh ginger (about 1-inch piece) (peeled and grated)
3 ½ Tbsps Curry Powder
1 tsp Turmeric
1 tsp Ground coriander
1 tsp Ground cumin
1 ½ tsps. Red chili powder
1 Tbsp Light brown sugar
1 tsp Salt to taste (about 1 tsp)

Method:

  1. Heat 4 tbsps. of grape seed oil over high heat in a large pan.  When the oil is hot, add ground turkey, make sure not to crowd the meat.  With 3 pounds of meat, it’s better to split the meat into 2 portions and cook separately.  Cook turkey until it begins to brown and liquid is dried up.  Set aside.  (picture 1)
  2. Brown onion in a pan, then add minced garlic and grated ginger.  Stir for about 1 minute.  (picture 2)
  3. Return ground turkey to the pan with onion, garlic and ginger.  Stir for about 1 minute.  (picture 3)
  4. Add 4 cups of chicken broth.  (picture 4)
  5. Then add in all spices (curry powder, turmeric, cumin, coriander, chili powder, sugar).  (picture 5)
  6. Add diced tomatoes, carrots, peas and potatoes.  Add salt and mix well.  (pictures 6-8)
  7. Transfer everything to a pressure cooker and press the “Meat/stew” function, press the button to choose the cooking time to 15 minutes.   Turn the venting knob to “sealing” position.  When it’s done cooking, do a quick pressure release.  (picture 9)
  8. If you don’t have a pressure cooker, you can easily cook this on the stove top.  Cover the pot and simmer the curry for about 20-30 minutes or until the potatoes are soft.
  9. Serve over rice.

curry collage

Notes:

  • 3 pound of meat is enough for 2 meals for 5 people.  This dish is also very good the next day.
  • Ground turkey will release a lot of liquid when cooking.  Make sure not to crowd the meat, otherwise it will take a long time to brown the meat.

 

Blueberry Muffins


IMG_8027

These muffins are so easy to make that my 13-year old can handle everything on her own.  The original recipe is from Food and Wine, however I reduced the sugar and oil amount to suit my taste.  If you have a sweet tooth, please follow the original recipe.  Although the crumb topping is a little messy, you will be very impressed with the taste and the soft texture of these muffins.

Ingredients for crumb topping:

150g All purpose flour
3 Tbsp Light brown sugar
2 Tbsp Organic cane sugar or granulated sugar
1 tsp Baking powder
Pinch of salt
85g/6 Tbsp Unsalted butter, melted

Ingredients for Muffins:

250g All purpose flour
190g Organic cane sugar or granulated sugar
2 ¼ tsp Baking powder
½ tsp Salt
2 Large eggs
75g Oil
¾ cup Milk (whole or reduced fat)
1 tsp Vanilla extract
1 ½ cup Blueberries

To make the crumb topping:

  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
  2. To make the crumb topping, combine flour, brown sugar, sugar, baking powder and salt in a bowl.  (Picture A)
  3. Stir in the melted butter.  (Picture B)
  4. Pinch the mixture until it forms pea-size clumps and set aside.  (Picture C)

collage 1.jpg

To make the muffins (12 muffins):

  1. Put eggs, sugar and oil in a mixing bowl, beat at low speed until combined.  (Picture 1)
  2. Beat in milk and vanilla extract. (Pictures 2-3)
  3. Add flour mixture (flour, baking powder and salt) to the egg batter and beat at medium speed until the batter is smooth.  (Pictures 4-5)
  4. Stir in blueberries (don’t beat it, just stir in).  (Picture 6)
  5. Line muffin pan with muffin/cupcake liners.  (Picture 7)
  6. Spoon the batter into each cup.  (Picture 8)
  7. Sprinkle the crumb topping on top of each one.  (Picture 9)
  8. Bake for about 25-30 minutes or until the muffins are golden brown. Insert a toothpick in the center to test doneness.

collage 2.jpg

  • Let the muffins cool in the pan before serving.
  • Blueberry muffins can be kept overnight, you can reheat it by microwaving it for 10 seconds.

IMG_8028.JPG

 

 

 

Mahi Mahi with Onion and Capers


Mahi-Mahi
I surely took a long break from blogging. During the past year, I have tried many new recipes, and many of them should be added to my collection. This Mahi Mahi recipe is so fantastic that it motivates me to come back to post. Besides getting comments of having a restaurant-quality dish, I like the fact that it is effortless. I slightly modified the original recipe (which you can find here) to suit my taste.

Ingredients:

4 pieces Mahi Mahi fillet with or without skin
1 Large white onion
3 Tbsp Capers (in brine)
3 Tbsp Water
50g Unsalted butter
3 Tbsp Fresh lemon juice
½ tsp Fresh ground black pepper
¾ tsp Salt
Chopped fresh parsley or green onions as a garnish

Directions:

  1. Thinly slice onion, set aside.  (picture 1)
  2. Rinse and drain capers, coarsely chop and set aside.  (picture 2)
  3. Heat 2 tablespoons oil in a skillet over high heat, then add onion and cook until brown (stir frequently).  (picture 3)
  4. Add in water and pepper, cook for 1 minute.  (pictures 4 and 5)
  5. Add in butter, lemon juice and capers.  Stir and cook until butter is melted.  Remove from heat and cover the pan to keep warm.  (pictures 6 – 9)
  6. Preheat broiler.
  7. Wash and pat fish dry, sprinkle with salt and pepper.
  8. Heat 2 tablespoons oil in a cast iron pan over high heat, then add fish fillets to the skillet and fry for about 2 minutes depending on the thickness of the fillets.  (picture A)
  9. Flip the fillets and cook the other side for 1-2 minutes.  (picture B)
  10. Put the cast iron pan under the oven broil, about 5 inches from heat until just cooked through, about 3 minutes. (pictures C)
  11. Serve fish topped with onion mixture and sprinkled with parsley or green onions.
    collages

fish collage

Notes:

  • If fillets have skin, put skin sides down when you put them under the broiler.
  • Don’t over cover the fish, the fillets should be very moist and soft.
  • I had no onions one time, so I used red and yellow bell peppers.  It also tastes very good.