Turnip Cake (Law Bak Gow) 蘿蔔糕


ftb_4957

Turnip cake is my husband’s favorite dim sum dish which can be found in Chinese dim sum restaurants throughout the year.  Turnip cake is traditionally made during the Chinese New Year since turnip is a homophone for “good fortune”, so people would make 10 plus containers and give them to friends and relatives.

The difference between homemade one and restaurant one is the amount of filling.  Even you find an authentic Chinese dim sum restaurant, you still won’t be satisfied with the filling (quite stingy).  This recipe requires a lot of chopping, but you will appreciate every effort you put on making this.

Ingredients for filling:

550g
2½ cups
220g
250g
2 links
80 g
30 g
15g
5-6 pieces
2 stalks
Grated turnip
Turnip juice
Rice flour
Cornstarch
Chinese preserved sausage (chopped)
Chinese preserved bacon (chopped)
Dried shrimp
Dried scallops (soaked and chopped)
Shittake mushrooms (chopped)
Green onion (chopped)

Marinate for filling:

1 teaspoon
1 teaspoon
1 Tablespoon
Light soy sauce
Light brown sugar
Rice cooking wine

Seasoning for grated turnip:

2 Tablespoon
1 teaspoon
1 Tablespoon
½ teaspoon
½ cup
½ cup
Chicken powder
Salt
Light brown sugar
White pepper
Chicken broth
liquid from soaking the dried scallops

turnip cake ingredients

Directions:

  • In a large bowl, shred turnip with a grater or you can use a food processor.  Separate turnip liquid and grated turnip.  You should have about 2½ cups of liquid, if not, add water to make 2½ cups.  Save about 550g of grated turnip for later use.
  • Soak shiitake mushrooms until softened.  Squeeze the mushrooms to drain all water.  Chop and set aside.
  • Soak dried scallops until softened, reserve the water for later use, chop and set aside.
  • Rinse all ingredients, chop Chinese sausage, bacon, dried shrimp and green onion, set aside.

How to cook turnip cake

  • In a large mixing bowl, combine the rice flour, cornstarch and turnip liquid, stir with a spatula until well blended.
  • Combine chopped sausage, bacon, dried shrimp, mushrooms and scallops in a large bowl and marinate with soy sauce, sugar and cooking wine.  Add 1 tablespoon of oil to a frying pan, stir fry for 2 minutes.  Set aside.
  • Add two tablespoons of oil and a clove of garlic to a large skillet, when garlic turns slightly brown, discard garlic and pour grated turnip into the skillet, stir fry for 2 minutes and add in chicken broth, liquid saved from soaking dried scallops, chicken powder, salt, sugar and pepper, mix well.  Cover and cook for 5 minutes over medium low heat.
  • After 5 minutes, add ingredients listed in item 6 to the skillet, stir fry until everything is combined.  Gradually add liquid mixture and chopped green onion to the pan and mix well.
  • Transfer the batter to two 8-inch pie pans.  Steam the batter for 40 minutes over medium high heat.

ftb_4949

  • The most common way to eat this turnip cake is to slice to 3/4″ thick pieces and pan fry until both sides are golden brown.  Served with hot sauce.

Shrimp and Scallop Linguini


Shrimp and Scallop Linguini

I cooked this dish with a Chinese wok and the wok flavor was so strong and made this dish so delicious.  It’s a very easy and quick dish, it can be done in 30 minutes.

Adapted from Jamie Oliver

Ingredients:

20
8
1 box (16 oz)
1
2 Tbsp
1-2
16 oz
2 Tbsp
1 Tbsp
A pinch
A pinch
Medium Tiger Shrimp (peeled and deveined)
Jumbo scallops
Dried linguini
Small bunch Fresh basil
Garlic (minced)
Fresh red chili (optional)
Ripe cherry tomatoes
Extra virgin olive oil
Butter
Sea salt
Black pepper (freshly ground)

Directions:

  1. Cook linguini in boiling salted water according to packet instructions.  Reserve some of the pasta cooking water before draining the cooked pasta.
  2. Peel and minced the garlic.  Deseed and finely slice the chili (if you don’t like your pasta spicy, omit the chili).
  3. Remove the basil leaves from the stalks and finely chop the basil stalks.  Cut the cherry tomatoes in half.  Set aside.
  4. Marinate scallops with a pinch of salt, place 1 tablespoon of butter to a small frying pan and pan fry the scallops until both sides are slightly brown.
  5. In a large frying pan, add 2 tablespoons of olive oil and then add garlic, chili, basil stalks and shrimp, cook over high heat.  Fry and stir everything together for about two minutes.
  6. Add cherry tomatoes to the pan with a pinch of salt and pepper.  Keep stirring.
  7. After about 3 minutes when the shrimp are pink and cooked through, return scallops and pasta to the frying pan.  Toss everything together, and if the sauce is a bit thick, add a little of your reserved cooking water to thin it out slightly.
  8. Have a taste then season with a good pinch of salt and pepper.
  9. Sprinkle basil leaves on the top.

Note:  Do not overcook the shrimp.  The Linguini should be cooked to the al dente stage, do not cook it too soft.

Chicken Lettuce Wraps


Chicken Lettuce Wraps

When it comes to Chinese cooking, we spend quite a lot of time in preparation (to cut, dice, mince, julienne, chop, etc.).  As a working mom, lettuce wraps is only a weekend dish as I don’t have enough time to cook it after work.  People may find this recipe complicated but it’s worth your time and once you get a handle on it, it is pretty easy.  There are a lot of 30 minute meal recipes, but sometimes we just need to slow down and enjoy cooking and eating.

Marinate for Chicken:

2 pounds
1 tsp
1 Tbsp
2 tsp
1 tsp
Chicken breasts (ground)
Cornstarch
Light soy sauce
Rice cooking wine
Salt

Ingredients:

8
5 Tbsp
1 Tbsp
1 Tbsp
2 stalks
2-3
10
1 package
1 head
Dried shiitake mushrooms (soaked and diced)
Oil
Fresh ginger (minced)
Garlic (minced)
Green onions (cut into small pieces)
Small dried chilies (Optional)
Fresh water chestnuts (minced)
Chinese vermicelli
Iceberg Lettuce

Cooking Sauce:

3 Tbsp
3 Tbsp
3 Tbsp
6 Tbsp
6 Tbsp
3 tsp
3 tsp
6 tsp
Hoisin sauce
Light soy sauce
Rice cooking wine
Oyster sauce
Water
Sesame oil
Light brown sugar
Cornstarch

Directions:

  1. To deep fry the vermicelli, pour 1 cup of oil into a saucepan over medium low heat.  Make sure the oil is hot enough by dropping one noodle into the oil. If the noodle immediately puffs and turns white, the oil is ready.  Fry the noodles in batches, make sure you won’t crowd the pan. Remove the noodles as they puff, and drain them on paper towels.
  2. Cover mushrooms with boiling water, let stand 30 minutes then drain.  Discard woody stems and dice mushrooms, set aside.
  3. Mix all ingredients for cooking sauce in a bowl and set aside.
  4. In a medium bowl, marinate chicken with cooking wine, soy sauce, salt, pepper and cornstarch.  Let it sit for 15 minutes.
  5. Add 3 Tbsp oil to a saucepan/wok over high heat, stir fry chicken until cooked.  Set aside.
  6. Add 2 Tbsp oil to a clean saucepan/wok, add ginger, garlic and chilies.  When garlic is slightly brown, stir in water chestnuts and mushrooms (about 2 minutes).  Return chicken to pan, add 1/3 of the cooking sauce and keep stirring.  The chicken should have a nice coat of sauce, if you see any white part (without a coat of sauce), add more sauce in.
  7. Turn off the fire and sprinkle green onions on top.
  8. Spoon chicken mixture into lettuce leaf and top with cooked vermicelli.
  9. The remaining sauce can be saved and served on the side with the lettuce wraps.  I normally like to bring the sauce to a boil or you can just serve it without cooking.

Note:  To save time, you can buy ground chicken at the market.  I like to rinse the meat before cooking and ground it myself with a food processor.

Rainbow Jello


Rainbow Jello

These rainbow jello cubes are one of our family’s favorite treats.  The process is pretty simple but it takes a couple of hours to assemble.  I had tried using different jello flavors and thought the grape flavor was way too strong and would ruin the whole combination.  So my suggestion is to stick with the basic flavors (strawberry, orange, lime, lemon or cherry).  You will be surprised how fast these cubes will be gone especially when you have kids at a party.

Ingredients:

1    3 oz. box strawberry Jello
1    3 oz. box lime Jello
1    3 oz. box orange Jello
1    3 oz. box lemon Jello
4    Envelopes unflavored gelatin
4    Cups water

Filling:

2    Cups water
3    Envelopes unflavored gelatin
1    Can Condensed milk

Directions:

  1. Dissolve 1 envelope of unflavored gelatin in a pot with 1 cup of water, bring to a boil and add one jello flavor.  Let cool.  Repeat this step for other 3 jello flavors.
  2. Mix and dissolve 3 envelopes of unflavored gelatin in another pot, bring to a boil and add condensed milk.  Stir occasionally until mixture is boiling.  Let cool.
  3. Place your Pyrex glass container (about 9″ x 13″) in the freezer, pour in first flavor of jello, let set until Jello is lightly set.
  4. Pour 2/3 cup filling over set Jello, let set about 5 minutes.  Repeat layers with other flavors Jello and filling.

Note:  Be sure jello and filling layers are cool before adding next layer.  You can test it by touching the Jello with your finger tip, if nothing sticks, it’s ready for the next layer.

Rosemary, Roasted Garlic and Lemon No-Knead Bread in Dutch Oven


Rosemary, Roasted Garlic and Lemon No-Knead Bread in Dutch Oven

Over-kneaded dough tends to turn the loaves tough and chewy, and under kneaded-dough will make the loaves flat and dense in texture.  To get a loaf of light and fluffy bread, practice is important.  Of course if you use a bread machine to knead your dough, you will never over knead it.   Baking bread is really all about technique, I neither practiced nor read enough.  So I chose the no-knead version.  Is this cheating?  Not really, it’s just another way to make your bread and it’s effortless :-).  All you need to do is to plan ahead of time as this bread needs at least 12-18 hours to rise.

Adapted from Williams-Sonoma.

Ingreditents:

3 cups
¼ teaspoon
1¾ teaspoons
2 teaspoons
6 cloves
2 teaspoons
Cornmeal as needed
All-purpose flour
Active dry yeast
Salt
Chopped fresh rosemary
Roasted garlic (roughly chopped)
Chopped lemon zest

Directions:

  1. In a large bowl, combine the flour, yeast, salt, rosemary, roasted garlic and lemon zest.  Add 1 5/8 cups water and stir until blended; the dough will be shaggy and very sticky.  Cover the bowl with plastic wrap.  Let the dough rest at warm room temperature (about 70°F) until the surface is dotted with bubbles, 12 to 18 hours.
  2. Place the dough on a lightly floured work surface. Sprinkle the dough with a little flour and fold the dough over onto itself once or twice. Cover loosely with plastic wrap and let rest for 15 minutes.
  3. Using just enough flour to keep the dough from sticking to the work surface or your fingers, gently and quickly shape the dough into a ball.  Generously coat a cotton towel, preferably a flour sack towel (not terry cloth), with cornmeal. Put the dough, seam side down, on the towel and dust with more flour or cornmeal. Cover with another cotton towel and let rise until the dough is more than double in size and does not readily spring back when poked with a finger, about 2 hours.
  4. At least 30 minutes before the dough is ready, put a 2 3/4-quart cast-iron pot in the oven and preheat the oven to 450°F.
  5. Carefully remove the pot from the oven. Slide your hand under the towel and turn the dough over, seam side up, into the pot; it may look like a mess, but that is OK. Shake the pan once or twice if the dough is unevenly distributed; it will straighten out as it bakes. Cover with the lid and bake for 30 minutes. Uncover and continue baking until the loaf is browned, 15 to 30 minutes more.
  6. Transfer the pot to a wire rack and let cool for 10 minutes.  Using oven mitts, turn the pot on its side and gently turn the bread; it will release easily. Makes one 1 1/2-lb. loaf.

Mini Fruit Tarts


mini fruit tarts

My favorite fruit tarts are from Porto’s Bakery in Glendale, Los Angeles.  I used to go there during my lunch time to pick up an 11″ fruit tart for my husband’s birthday.  With traffic, it sometimes took me more than an hour to go back to work.  Dealing with traffic and long queue, it was still worth my time until I spot a recipe online.  I made these bite-size fruit tarts when families gathered to celebrate mother’s day.   It was a big hit.   I highly recommend this recipe — easy and delicious!  Recipe adaped from “Salad in a Jar“.

Ingredients:

Tart Crust:

180g
50g
1/4 teaspoon
110g
1
All purpose flour
Superfine sugar
Salt
Butter (1 stick), chilled
Whole egg

Cream Filling:

1-3/8 cups
60g
15g
a tiny pinch
2
30g
1/2 teaspoon
Milk (could be a combination of milk and cream)
Sugar
Cornstarch
Salt
Egg yolks
Butter
Vanilla extract

Directions:

Crust:

  1. Combine flour, sugar and salt in food processor.  Cut butter into small cubes and add to flour, pulsing several times until mixture resembles oatmeal.  Add whisked whole egg and pulse until all ingredients are moistened but not yet a solid ball.  Lightly press into a ball, wrap in plastic and chill for 30 minutes.  If dough in food processor seems too dry to press into a ball, add a teaspoon or two of milk.
  2. Pull off small amount of dough and press into molds with fingers being careful to keep thickness consistent. Use a knife to trim off any extra at the top.  Freeze for at least 30 minutes.
  3. Place frozen tart shells on cookie sheet and cook at 350 degrees for 20-25 minutes or until golden. Watch carefully as the time can vary according to the thickness of the crust.

Fruit Tart Shells

Cream Filling:

  1. Add milk, sugar, cornstarch, salt, and egg yolks, (in that order) to blender. Blend 5 seconds and pour into 2-quart glass microwave-safe bowl. Microwave 6 minutes on HIGH, whisking until smooth after 3 minutes, then every minute thereafter.
  2. Add butter and vanilla and whisk until smooth.   Remove from heat and let it cool.
  3. If you do not want to use a microwave, after blending everything, pour into a pot and cook over medium heat on the stovetop, bring to a boil until mixture starts to get thicker.  Add butter and vanilla and mix well.  Remove from heat and let it cool.

fruit tart filling

Assembly:

  1. Fill each baked tart shell with cream filling.  Top with fruits of your choice. Melt 1/4 cup currant jelly and use a brush to dab some shininess on each piece of fruit.

Notes:

Crust can be made ahead of time and put in an air tight container.  Assembling your fruit tarts a couple hours before the party.

Homemade Fresh Pasta


Homemade Pasta

Making your own pasta is truly a fun thing.  Although the dough can be made in a food processor, a more traditional method for making pasta is to use your hands and a hand cranked pasta machine.  A month ago, I had a plate of shrimp fettuccine in white sauce at Colori Kitchen.  OMG, the pasta was heavenly!  When I had my first bite, I immediately could tell they made their pasta fresh.  Its texture is more tender and the difference is out of this world!

Ingredients:

300 g
3 large
15 ml
¼ tsp (a pinch)
Italian 00 flour or All purpose flour
Eggs
Olive Oil (optional)
Salt (optional)

Directions:

  1. Mound the flour on a work surface and then make a well in the center.
  2. Break the eggs into the well and add oil and a pinch of salt, if using.  Beginning to whisk the eggs and oil together with a fork, incorporating a little of the flour as you do so.  Gradually blend the flour with the eggs, you can add a little water if you think the dough is too dry.  Knead the dough on a lightly floured surface until you have a nice dough which is not too sticky and not too dry.
  3. It will take at least 6 minutes kneading to achieve a smooth and elastic texture with a slightly glossy appearance.
  4. Wrap the dough loosely in plastic and let rest for 30 minutes.
  5. After the pasta has rested, run through pasta rollers on widest setting, crank the dough through two or three times.  Fold it in thirds, turn the dough 90 degrees and feed through again.  If the dough feels sticky, lightly flour the outside surfaces each time it is rolled.  Repeat this folding and rolling process eight to ten times.
  6. Reduce the width of the rollers by one setting and pass the dough through, at this point, the dough is not folded.  Repeat, setting the rollers one notch closer each time until you have rolled the desired thickness.
  7. To cook the pasta, boil it for only about 2 minutes in a large pot of salted water.