Shrimp Pad Thai


Pad Thai

This is the second dish I learned from the cooking class at The Gourmandise School.  You can use chicken, pork, beef, tofu or a combination.  People may get confused with Pad Thai and Pad See Ew – Pad Thai is thin rice noodles cooked with tamarind paste and has a little sweet and sour taste.  Pad See Ew is thick rice noodle cooked with soy sauce which is similar to Chinese Chow Fun (fried rice noodles).  Both Pad Thai and Pad See Ew are very popular dishes in Thai restaurants.  Making this dish is as easy as making the Panang Curry with Chicken.

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Ingredients: (serves 4)

8 oz Thai rice stick
¼ cup Oil
2 Shallots, chopped
4 cloves Garlic, minced
½ pound Medium shrimp cut in half
½ cup Extra firm tofu, sliced (optional)
2 Tbsps Tamarind paste
4 Tbsps Sugar
2 Tbsps Fish sauce
2 Tbsps Thin soy sauce
1 tsp Ground chili flakes
2 Eggs
2 Limes
1 cup Bean sprouts
6 Scallions cut into 1 inch pieces
½ cup Roasted peanuts, coarsely chopped

Directions:

  1. Soak the noodles in warm water while you prepare the rest of the ingredients.  (picture 1)
  2. Peel the shrimp , using a small knife to cut the back of the shrimp until you see the vein.  Remove the vein carefully and cut shrimp in half.  (picture 2)
  3. Using a wok or large saute pan, heat oil over medium high heat.  Add shallot and garlic until slightly brown.  (picture 3)
  4. Add shrimp and stir fry for a few seconds until fragrant.  (picture 4)
  5. Stir in the tamarind paste, sugar, fish sauce, soy sauce and ground chili flakes. (picture 5)
  6. With your hands, pull the noodles out of the water and add to the pan.  Toss noodles thoroughly with sauce mixture until tender.  Taste a noodle, if it’s not tender, splash in a bit of the soaking water and cook until noodles soften.  (picture 6)
  7. Make a space in the middle of the pan or on the side of the pan, add the eggs and more oil if needed.  Scramble until barely set and mix in with noodles.  (picture 7)
  8. Add lime juice.  Taste noodles, if you feel that it needs more seasoning such as fish sauce, sugar, etc. add to taste.  (picture 8)
  9. Toss with tofu (optional), bean sprouts and scallions.  (picture 9)
  10. Serve on a platter  and sprinkle chopped peanuts.

Pad Thai steps

Notes:

  • I found it easier to cook this with a wok.
  • Tamarind paste is not easy to find but can be purchased at Thai supermarkets.
  • I soaked noodles in water for at least 2 hours.

 

Tonkotsu Ramen Broth


Tonkatsu Ramen

I bought a 32-Quart stainless steel stock pot recently, thinking that one day I may deep fry a turkey in this pot. To get good use out of it, I decided to make broth for Tonkotsu ramen. This pot itself weighs 13 pounds, if I fill it with water and ingredients, it’s impossible for me to lift it.  If you have a 24-quart stock pot, it will suffice.

All Tonkotsu broth recipes require 12-18 hour cooking time (the longer the time, the more gelatin develops in the soup), but it doesn’t mean you are stuck in the house for the whole day. I cooked my broth for 6 hours the first day, let cool it and put it in the fridge, then continued to cook it the second day until the broth became thick and milky. One thing I have to mention is the pig fat “fatback”. Fatback will add nice and rich flavors to your broth, but for health concerns, I omitted it.

Ingredients:

7 pounds
5 pounds (about 6 pieces)
1
12
1 thumb size
12
1 pound
Pig trotters (cut crosswise)
Chicken carcasses (small)
Onion
Garlic cloves
Ginger (sliced)
Green onions (white parts only)
Fatback (optional)

Toppings and Garnish for ramen:

Soft boiled eggs
Chashu
Fish cake
Nori (seaweed)
Green onions
Enoki mushrooms

Directions:

  1. Bring a big pot of water to a boil, then put trotters and chicken carcasses in (should have enough water to cover all bones), cook for 5-10 minutes. (picture 1)
  2. Drain the bones and use a knife or chopstick to take out the dark marrow and rinse with cold water. (pictures 2 and 3)
  3. Wash any coagulated blood off from the chicken carcasses with cold water. (picture 4)
  4. Chop onion and peel garlic, then brown them in a pan, the browner the better.  (pictures 5 and 6)
  5. Add all ingredients into a stock pot and fill the pot with water.   Bring it to a boil, then simmer over low heat.  (picture 7)
  6. You may want to skim off the scum that appears on the top with a stainless steel skimmer. (picture 8)
  7. The pot I used is 32-quart, it is big enough to double this recipe.  After cooking the broth for 16 hours over low heat, the broth is opaque with the texture of light cream.  (pictures 9 and 10)
  8. Pour broth through a fine mesh strainer into a clean pot, discard solids.  (picture 11)
  9. Season broth with salt, taste it and adjust as needed.  (picture 12)
  10. (Optional):  If you want your broth to have a rich flavor, add pork fatback directly to your pot as the bones cook.  After an hour, take the fatback out and finely chop it, then whisk some into the soup just before serving.
Tonkatsu broth
  • I found this soy sauce at the supermarket.  Season the broth with a couple tablespoons of soy sauce can enhance the flavor.

DSC_0205

  • Also found this type of fresh ramen, cook noodles according to package directions.

ramen

3-Meat Meatballs


3-Meat Meatballs

I have tried using ground turkey to make meatballs but they tend to lack flavor.  The texture is more dense and you need to kick it up a notch by adding a lot of seasonings.  I even tried to mix turkey meat with beef – flavor was a lot better but still couldn’t satisfy my taste buds, that is until today when I made these meatballs with 3 types of meat (turkey, pork and beef).  The combination of meats create an amazing flavor and the meatballs are very juicy.  My kids finished their whole plate tonight.

Ingredients:

1 pound
1 pound
1 pound
1
1 cup
½ cup
4 Tbsp
2½ Tbsp
4 Tbsp
1 Tbsp
2 tsp
2 tsp
2 tsp
Ground Turkey
Ground Pork
Ground Beef
Beaten Egg
Ketchup
Oatmeal
Dried chopped onion
Gralic powder
Light soy sauce
Brown sugar
Dried Oregano
Salt
Black pepper

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350°F.
  2. Mix the pork, beef and turkey together thoroughly in a large mixing bowl. Stir in all seasoning, then add in beaten egg and mix well.  (pictures 1 and 2)
  3. Stirr in oatmeal, you may want to crumble oatmeal with your hands and mix well.  (picture 3)
  4. Shape meat into balls about 1 1/2 inches in diameter. Place them on a baking sheet and drizzle lightly with olive oil.  Bake for 20 minutes or until they are just barely cooked through and no longer pink inside.  Do not overbake.  (pictures 4 and 5)
  5. Return meatballs directly in your pasta sauce and simmer for 5-10 minutes.  My home made tomato basil sauce can be found here.

Meat balls steps

You can serve meatballs with spaghetti/pasta, make a meatball sandwich or just eat them with the tomato base sauce.

Meatballs

Bow Tie Pasta with Salmon and Shrimp in White Sauce


Bow Tie Pasta with Salmon

When reheating cooked salmon the next day, its texture and flavor change.  What can you do with leftover cooked salmon?  There are plenty of options, but I like to toss in bow tie pasta and cook it with creamy white sauce – it’s as good as the first day.  You can use dried pasta but I made it from scratch, please go to my “Homemade Fresh Pasta” page for the recipe.

Ingredients:

16 oz

1-2
10
1½ Cups
½ Cup
2 Tbsp
¼ Cup
1/2 Cup
3-4

Dried Bow Tie pasta
Or fresh pasta (pls see “Homemade Fresh Pasta” for recipe)
Cooked salmon filets, broken into pieces
Shrimp (peeled and deveined)
Heavy whipping cream
Non-fat milk
Minced garlic
Rice cooking wine
Grated parmesan cheese
Fresh basil leaves (Optional)
Salt and pepper to taste

Directions:

  1. Cook pasta according to package directions.  For fresh pasta, cook for 3-4 minutes only.  Drain and set aside.
  2. Peel and devein shrimp, rub shrimp with ½ teaspoon of salt, set aside.
  3. In a large skillet, heat 3 tablespoons of cooking oil over medium heat and add minced garlic.  When garlic is slightly brown, add salmon and shrimp, stir occasionally and cook for about 3 minutes.
  4. Add cooking wine, followed by whipping cream, milk and 1 teaspoon of salt (add more salt if needed).
  5. When sauce is bubbling, add bow tie pasta and basil and mix well.  Stir in parmesan cheese and gently toss to mix.  Sauce will be thickened now, if sauce is still too runny, combine one teaspoon of cornstarch with two teaspoons of water in a small bowl, stir to dissolve the cornstarch to thicken the sauce.
  6. Sprinkle black pepper and cheese over the top.

HOW TO MAKE BOW TIE PASTA:

Homemade Bow Tie Pasta

After rolling your pasta dough to the thinness you desire, cut into 1″x2″ retangles with a pastry wheel and cutter.

cutting bow tie pasta

Take one retangle and pinch in the middle.

making bow tie pasta

Place your index finger in the middle of the retangle and then bring the top and bottom to meet your finger, and press to seal the middle.

making bow tie pasta step 2

Bow Tie Pasta

Chicken, Mushroom and Spinach Ravioli with Homemade Pasta Sauce


Chicken, Mushroom and Spinach Ravioli

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):

2 packs
1 pound
½ tsp
1/8 tsp
Wonton Wrapper
Chicken breast
Salt
Black pepper
10 oz
8 oz
¼ tsp
1/8 tsp
1/3 cup
1
Fresh spinach
Button mushroom
Salt
Black pepper
Grated Parmesan cheese
Egg (whisked with 1 teaspoon water)
14 oz
1/8 cup
1 ¼ Tablespoon
Reduced fat cream cheese
Heavy whipping cream
Sour Cream

Directions:

* 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.

  1. Cut chicken breast into small pieces and marinate with ½ teaspoon of salt and 1/8 teaspoon of pepper. (Pic 1)
  2. Clean and slice mushrooms. (Pic 2)
  3. 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)
  4. 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).
  5. 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).
  6. Place mixture into the bowl of a food processor, pulse until you get a coarse texture.
  7. In a bowl, combine cream cheese, heavy whipping cream and sour cream together.  Mix well.
  8. 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)
  9. Using a pastry brush, brush the edges of the wonton wrapper with egg wash. (Pic 7)
  10. Place a tablespoon of filling in the center of the wrapper. (Pic 8)
  11. 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)
  12. 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.

How to make ravioli

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.

Ingredients:

3 pounds
1 whole head
1/2
3
6
1/4 Cup
A pinch
Ripe tomatoes (Cherry tomatoes will be better)
Garlic
White Onion
Shiitake Mushrooms
Basil leaves
Olive Oil
Salt and pepper

pasta sauce baked tomatoes

Directions:

  1. Prehead oven to 350 F.
  2. Place peeled garlic in a heat-resistant container and add olive oil (enough to fully cover all the garlic cloves).
  3. Bake tomatoes and garlic for an hour, you will see garlic cloves will turn brown (if cherry tomatoes are used, reduce the baking time).
  4. In a large skillet, brown onion and add shiitake mushrooms, cook for 5 minutes.
  5. 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.
  6. 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.

Pastasauce

The pasta sauce can be stored in the freezer up to 3 months.

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.

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.