Sous vide cooking is new to me, a lot of my friends have already owned a Sous Vide Precision Cooker for a couple of years. I heard many good things about it but never thought about buying one until after the Thanksgiving holiday when there was a big sale. I purchased mine (Anova brand) and used it the very first time yesterday. Basically sous vide cooking is putting food in a bag and cooking it in a water bath. This technique is about bringing food up to a precisely controlled temperature to deliver super-juicy, flavor-packed results throughout the entire piece of meat. I personally don’t like the idea of cooking food in a plastic bag, but if I use those vacuum sealer bags that are BPA free, I think that is acceptable. Below is my first recipe – A Chinese soy sauce chicken – the meat was cooked just right, very tender and juicy. Please note this soy sauce chicken doesn’t need the searing step after the water bath.
||3-4 pound free range brown chicken 黃毛雞
||Light soy sauce
||Mei Kuei Lu Chiew (Cooking wine) 玫瑰露酒
Directions for making the sauce:
- Measure all ingredients and set aside (picture 1).
- Add a tablespoon of cooking oil to the frying pan, stir in ginger, garlic and green onion and cook for a minute. (pictures 2)
- Add a tablespoon of Mei Kuei Lu Chiew (cooking wine) and then add in 300 ml water. (pictures 3-4)
- Add in sugar, anise and bay leaves. (pictures 5 and 6)
- When the liquid is boiling, add a tablespoon of Mei Kuei Lu Chiew (cooking wine) and soy sauce. (pictures 7 and 8)
- Turn off fire after the sauce is slightly bubbling, transfer the sauce into a bowl and let it cool. (picture 9)
Directions for sous vide cooking:
- Bring a pot of water to a boil and put the whole chicken in for 30 seconds to 1 minute. This step will firm the chicken skin and allow the sauce to coat the chicken evenly. (picture a)
- Fill a pot of water, clip the Anova Sous Vide Precision Cooker to the side of the pot, download the app and connect Anova to your phone. Use the phone to set the temperature that you want the food to finish at. For this chicken, I set it to 155.5 for 6 hours.
- While the cooker is heating up the water, put chicken in a bag and pour sauce into the bag. Toss the chicken to make sure sauce gets on all sides. (pictures c and d)
- When water has reached the desired temperature, seal the bag using the water immersion technique (drop the bag into water slowly and air will come out, use binder clips to secure the bag). Place the bag in the water bath and let it cook for 6 hours. (pictures e and f)
- When the timer goes off, remove the bag from the water bath. Take out the chicken and let it cool. You can save the sauce and use it next time, just re-boil and freeze in the freezer.
Let the chicken rest for 10 minutes before cutting. Serve with white steamed rice.
Making ravioli with wonton wrappers?!! I got this great idea when I watched Giada De Laurentiis’ Everyday Italian show. I did not follow her recipe 100% but if you are interested in her Spinach and Mushroom ravioli recipe, it is on the food network website.
I changed the recipe quite a bit by adding chicken, using fresh spinach and making homemade pasta sauce. I like to make pasta sauce without using any canned tomatoes or tomato sauce, it’s much healthier and taste really fresh. Most of my pasta sauce is tomato based with basil and garlic.
Instead of using Mascarpone (couldn’t find any at the store), I mixed cream cheese, sour cream and heavy whipping cream and added it into the filling. My 9-year old daughter helped me make the ravioli with wonton wrappers, this is something that little kids can do without ruining your dish!
Ingredients (make 30 ravioli):
Grated Parmesan cheese
Egg (whisked with 1 teaspoon water)
1 ¼ Tablespoon
|Reduced fat cream cheese
Heavy whipping cream
* If you plan to make my pasta sauce, it’s better to start with the sauce first as it takes 45-60 minutes to bake the tomatoes and garlic.
- Cut chicken breast into small pieces and marinate with ½ teaspoon of salt and 1/8 teaspoon of pepper. (Pic 1)
- Clean and slice mushrooms. (Pic 2)
- Blanch spinach after washing it – I steamed it for five minutes, then put it in very cold water. Drain water and squeeze the spinach with your hands to remove all excess water. (Pic 3)
- In a large skillet heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil. When it’s hot, add the mushrooms and season with ¼ teaspoon of salt and 1/8 teaspoon of pepper. Cook until all the liquid has evaporated from the mushrooms, add chicken meat and stir fry until chicken meat is cooked (Pic 4).
- Add spinach and cook for 2 minutes (don’t worry about mixing all ingredients well as we will use a food processor to pulse the mixture). Taste the mixture, add salt if necessary (Pic 5).
- Place mixture into the bowl of a food processor, pulse until you get a coarse texture.
- In a bowl, combine cream cheese, heavy whipping cream and sour cream together. Mix well.
- Place chicken mixture in a bowl and stir in 3-4 tablespoon of Parmesan cheese (if you like it cheesy, add more) and 3-4 tablespoons of the cream cheese mixture. Taste to check for seasoning and set aside. (Pic 6)
- Using a pastry brush, brush the edges of the wonton wrapper with egg wash. (Pic 7)
- Place a tablespoon of filling in the center of the wrapper. (Pic 8)
- Place another wonton wrapper on top of the filling, press edges firmly and use a round cookie cutter to cut a round shape. (Pic 9)
- In a large pot, bring to a boil 4 quarts of salted and oiled water. Carefully add small batches of ravioli, about 4 at a time. Cook for 5 minutes.
Roasted garlic, tomato and basil sauce:
I have tried using cherry tomatoes for the sauce and the flavor is a huge difference. Cherry tomatoes are sweeter and will give the sauce a richer taste. Usually they are more expensive and you will need several packs to make the sauce. If you cannot find any on sale, roma tomatoes are just fine. I added shiitake mushrooms and onion to make the sauce a little thicker this time.
1 whole head
|Ripe tomatoes (Cherry tomatoes will be better)
Salt and pepper
- Prehead oven to 350 F.
- Place peeled garlic in a heat-resistant container and add olive oil (enough to fully cover all the garlic cloves).
- Bake tomatoes and garlic for an hour, you will see garlic cloves will turn brown (if cherry tomatoes are used, reduce the baking time).
- In a large skillet, brown onion and add shiitake mushrooms, cook for 5 minutes.
- Puree tomatoes, roasted garlic, basil, onion and shiitake musrhoom in a food processor, add 2 teaspoons of salt, a pinch of pepper and 5 tablespoons of the olive oil that we used to bake the garlic. You may want to add a tablespoon of brown sugar if tomatoes are not ripe enough.
- Spoon a little sauce in the bottom of the serving dish first (this keeps the ravioli from sticking to the plate), then add the ravioli with more sauce on top. Sprinkle Parmesan cheese on top.
The pasta sauce can be stored in the freezer up to 3 months.
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:
|Chicken breasts (ground)
Light soy sauce
Rice cooking wine
|Dried shiitake mushrooms (soaked and diced)
Fresh ginger (minced)
Green onions (cut into small pieces)
Small dried chilies (Optional)
Fresh water chestnuts (minced)
Light soy sauce
Rice cooking wine
Light brown sugar
- 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.
- Cover mushrooms with boiling water, let stand 30 minutes then drain. Discard woody stems and dice mushrooms, set aside.
- Mix all ingredients for cooking sauce in a bowl and set aside.
- In a medium bowl, marinate chicken with cooking wine, soy sauce, salt, pepper and cornstarch. Let it sit for 15 minutes.
- Add 3 Tbsp oil to a saucepan/wok over high heat, stir fry chicken until cooked. Set aside.
- 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.
- Turn off the fire and sprinkle green onions on top.
- Spoon chicken mixture into lettuce leaf and top with cooked vermicelli.
- 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.