Sunday, 30 August 2009

Chocolate Chip Cookies

Making choc-chip cookies is so easy, even somebody like me, who often thinks that baking is such a bother, can do it.



Ingredients
(makes 35)
  • 15 tbs butter
  • 10 tbs brown sugar
  • 1 tbs vanilla extract
  • 2 eggs
  • 36 tbs flour
  • 1/2 tbs baking soda
  • 100 gr chocolate chips



Mix all ingredients in a bowl using a mixer (or a spoon, if you're too lazy getting out the mixer like me). To make the choc-chip cookies: Take a tablespoon of the dough and shape it into a ball. Make sure you leave some space in between the cookies, as they will grow in size when baked.
Bake each batch for 12 minutes.



Serve the cookies with a glass of cold milk.




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Saturday, 29 August 2009

Szechuan Wontons



I have been eating wontons all my life, so they are not a novelty to me. I have been eating them in different varieties, such as in soups, as accompaniments for other dishes or deep fried. When I saw Szechuan Wontons recipe in my Wei Chuan Chinese Rice and Noodles cooking book, I got so curious, especially because spicy Szechuan dishes normally suit my tastebud. So I thought trying to make Szechuan wontons cannot be wrong. And... I wasn't wrong, the wontons turned out delicious!

What makes Szechuan wontons different is the sauce - the Szechuan style sauce, poured over the boiled wontons. I had made this dish twice and the second time I adjusted and added a few ingredients for the sauce to my liking.

Ingredients

Wontons
  • 40 wonton skins
  • 200 gr ground pork
  • 100 gr chopped prawns
  • 1 tbs minced ginger (optional)
  • 2 tbs oyster sauce
  • 1 tbs fish sauce
  • 1 tbs sesame oil
  • 1 tbs cooking wine
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • 1/4 tsp pepper
  • 2-3 tbs chopped green onions
Mix all ingredients (except the wonton skins of course ;-)). Put a teaspoon of filling in the centre of the wonton skin. You can look at how I fold my wontons here. You can also stop in step 4, instead of going to step 6. Boil the wontons.

Szechuan Sauce
  • 5 tbs chilli oil
  • 4 tbs Chinkiang vinegar (black rice vinegar)
  • 1 tbs minced garlic (or fried garlic)
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • 2 tbs chopped green onion
  • 1 tsp red pepper flakes (optional)
  • 1 tsp minced ginger (optional)
Simply mix all ingredients for the sauce, and then pour over the boiled wontons. Serve.





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Thursday, 27 August 2009

Spaghetti Bolognese with Sauteed Garlic Shrimps



Combining seafood and red meat for a pasta dish? Does it work? Oh, yes, it does! It can actually even work wonders! I love using red wine for my Bolognese sauce, but for the sauteed garlic shrimps I usually use white wine, because I feel that white wine brings out the flavour more for seafood. Here's my recipe:

Ingredients
  • 250 gr spaghetti, boiled till al dente
Sauteed Garlic Shrimps
  • 10-15 shrimps
  • 1 tsp oil
  • 1 tbs minced garlic
  • 5 tbs white wine
  • Salt and black pepper to taste
Bolognese Sauce
  • 300 gr ground beef/pork
  • 2 tbs oil
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 1 carrot, finely chopped
  • 1 can peeled tomatoes (240 gr)
  • 2 tbs tomato paste
  • 200 gr cream
  • 1 cup red wine
  • Chopped basil and oregano
  • Chicken stock, pepper and sugar to taste
  • Grated parmesan cheese





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Wednesday, 26 August 2009

Ginger Beef Stew

Yesterday's weather was quite dark and gloomy. The sky was a sulky blue and the temperature was somewhat cool. When my two little precious bunnies looked up delightfully into the sky, I could see how their beautiful, button-shaped eyes sparkled. They love grey, dusky weather. Cheery sunny weather is much too warm for them. I saw them jump and bounce joyfully. It warms my heart to see them healthy and happy :).


Like my treasured pet rabbits, I also prefer cool, melancholic weather. Such weather also gives me the chance to "warm up my soul" through comfort food - soup and stew :). Rich or light, it doesn't really matter.


I always hated the smell and taste of ginger. It was too pungent for my fussy tastebud. But growing up, I've learned to accept more differences and to try something completely new. Over the years I've grown to love the aromatic smell of ginger in various types of dishes. I start to appreciate its medicinal value and spicy fragrance.

My ginger beef stew is another simple experimentation from my small kitchen. I wanted something soupy but gingery. Ginger was to be the highlight, the heart and soul of this dish, so I didn't really want to use other herbs which might overpower the gingery taste.

Ingredients
  • 5 cups water
  • 300 gr beef, cubed
  • 1 carrot, sliced
  • 50 gr ginger, sliced
  • 1 onion quartered
  • 10 dried dates
  • 1/4 cup fish sauce
  • 1 Green onion, cut into 2.5 cm length
  • Pepper and sugar to taste
  • 1 boiled egg, for garnish
What to do
  • In boiling water, cook beef together with all other ingredients over low heat, skimming occasionally, for 40 minutes.
  • Serve with rice and garnish with boiled egg.



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Baileys Milkshake

Baileys Irish Cream is my most favourite alcoholic drink, maybe because its creamy taste just somehow reminds me of ice-cream :). My preferred way to drink Baileys is to mix it with milk, so that it has a milder flavour. I also like to drink it ice-cold. My Baileys milkshake recipe is extremely effortless to make and it's a perfect drink for a warm summery night.



Ingredients

  • 200 ml Milk
  • 100 ml Baileys (original)
  • 25-30 ice cubes
Mix all ingredients in your mixer. Finish!





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Tuesday, 25 August 2009

Katsudon - Pork cutlet with egg and sweet sauce

Making katsudon is very similar to making chicken/pork katsu. The only difference is you have to add the egg+sweet sauce toppings on top of the deep fried pork cutlet, and the rice is directly served under the pork and egg combo.



Ingredients (for 1 serving)
Sauce
  • 50 ml water
  • 1/2 tsp dashi
  • 1 tbs soy sauce
  • 1 tbs mirin
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • 1/2 onion, sliced
  • 1 egg
  • Spring onions and chived for garnish

Add the deep fried pork cutlet on top of a bowl of hot piping rice.

Add the egg+sweet sauce combo on top of the pork cutlet.

Katsudon is ready to be served. Garnish with slices of spring onions and chives.



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Saturday, 22 August 2009

Mie Ayam Swikiau - Noodles with Chicken and Sui Kow

Mie ayam (a noodle dish with savoury diced/ground chicken) is a very popular Chinese-Indonesian cuisine in Indonesia. You would find a mie ayam stall in almost every corner of Jakarta (and I believe also in a lot of other cities in Indonesia). Mie ayam is a comfort food for a lot of Indonesians. Spending my childhood in Jakarta, I have had a love affair with this dish since I was just a toddler. It's my absolute absolute favourite food, even until now.



Mie ayam is very versatile, that's why every mie ayam stall would likely have its own version of toppings for the noodles. The most basic topping is diced chicken seasoned with savoury sauce. Some other addition of toppings could include something like savoury button mushrooms, slices of BBQ pork, richly seasoned ground pork, boiled/fried pangsit (wonton), swikiaw (Sui Kow - prawn+pork+water chesnut dumplings), beef/fish balls or soy sauce coated egg. The list would actually go on following the creativity of the mie ayam maker.

I've heard again and again that the most crucial key to make tasty mie ayam is the oil used to zest and aromatise the boiled noodles, and also of course the texture of the noodles itself. I nevertheless assume that everybody has his or her own opinion about good noodle texture. Some like it very curly and chewy, some like it thin and smooth and some like it thick and broad. Whatever kind of shape or texture people like their noodles, I believe very good mie ayam have to use mie basah (fresh egg/wheat noodles) - which I unfortuntely can hardly get here, and even if I could, the quality is often quite disappointing. That's why for my mie ayam today, I resolved to go on and use dried wheat noodles instead, which still don't taste as good as real fresh noodles but fortunately almost as good.

Ingredients (for 1 portion)

Noodles
  • 110 gr dried wheat/egg noodles (boil according to package instructions)
  • 1 tbs pork oil or chicken oil *
  • 1 tbs fish sauce
  • 1 tbs oyster sauce
  • 1/4 tbs sweet soy sauce
  • Pepper
Savoury ground chicken
  • 100 gr ground chicken/pork
  • 1 tbs pork oil or chicken oil *
  • 1 tbs cooking wine
  • 1 tbs oyster sauce
  • 1 tbs fish sauce
  • 1 tbs sweet soy sauce
  • Chopped spring onions
  • Pepper
Soy sauced chicken slices
  • 50 gr chicken breast
  • 1/2 tbs oil
  • 1 tbs soy sauce
  • 1 tbs cooking wine
  • 1/2 tbs sugar
Swikiaw
  • Use the guo tie recipe, but use ready made dumpling wrappers. Omit the ginger, add 100 gr diced prawns and 50 gr chopped water chestnuts (or more if you like it very crunchy).
* Chicken Oil
  • Heat 3 tbs oil, add some chicken skin and 1 tbs minced garlic. Stir under medium heat until the garlic is golden brown and submerged to the bottom of the saucepan. Remove the chicken skin.
* Pork Oil
  • Heat some pork fat until oil comes out from the lard. (Optional: you can also add a bit of minced garlic).

Toppings for mie ayam: boiled swikiaw, savoury ground chicken, soy sauced chicken slices, boiled bok choy.

What to do:
  • Boil the dried noodles. Remove when cooked and put in a bowl. Add the pork oil/chicken oil, fish sauce, oyster sauce, sweet soy sauce and pepper. Mix well.
  • Add savoury ground chicken, soy sauced chicken slices, boiled swikiaw and boiled bok choy on top of the noodles. Serve with chilli of your choice and chicken broth (can be made by boiling chicken bones/ chicken thighs + salt and pepper).
  • Garnish with spring onions and fried onions.







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Glutinous Coconut Balls

If you like mochi and you like coconut, you would probably also like this sweet dessert, which is often found in a yum cha restaurant. I made these coconut balls ages ago, even before I start blogging - not that I have blogged for a very long time...;-).



I made these coconut balls based on a recipe from my Dim Sum coobook from the Wei Chuan series - Wei Chuan is a cooking school in Taipei, and they have great series of cooking books with step-by-step pictures. Their newer books are also mostly bilingual - Chinese and English.

These coconut balls are normally filled with red bean paste, egg custard or sweet mixture of peanuts and coconut flakes. I like mine filled with egg custard the most, although in this recipe the filling is a mixture of egg custard and coconut flakes.

Ingredients

Dough
  • 300 gr glutinous rice flour
  • 1 1/2 cups boiling water
Filling
  • 150 gr coconut flakes
  • 75 gr sugar
  • 37 gr butter
  • 1 egg
  • 75 gr desiccated coconut ( for coating )
What to do
  • Knead the dough ingredients until smooth. Divide into 20 equally sized portions.
  • Mix the filling ingredients. Freeze until partially solid.
  • Press each portion of dough flat, fill it in with 1 tbs of filling. Close the dough and make it into a ball.
  • Bring a pot of water to boil. Drop in the balls and cook for 5 minutes. Remove from boiling water after they have expanded in size. Roll the balls in the desiccated coconut .





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Wednesday, 19 August 2009

Dorayaki - Doraemon's favourite pancake




If you have lived in Asia, the chance that you know Doraemon is quite high. It's a television series based on the Japanese manga Doraemon by Fujiko F.Fujio. Doraemon is a cat robot from the 22nd century who travels back in time to assist Nobita, a silly lazy boy, who's not good in school. He's got a magic pocket, from which he can grab futuristic gadgets to help Nobita face some problems.

The Doraemon series have been there since as long as I can remember, I used to watch it when I was a little girl in Jakarta. I think Doraemon is even still on air there every Sunday morning... :-).

When I saw Angie's Dorayaki recipe, Doraemon directly came into my mind, because Dorayaki is Doraemon's favourite pancake - I have always thought that dorayaki is a cute looking Japanese pancake, but never tried it until two years ago.

Dorayaki is traditionally filled with anko or japanese sweet red bean paste, but it can also be filled in with cheese, chocolate or even mung bean paste, like what Angie did. I filled my dorayaki with nutella, because it's just at my fingertips, and also because I like nutella.

I had no idea how to make dorayaki, so I just followed Angie's recipe religiously. And tadaa... it worked...:), so thanks Angie for the nice recipe, especially because it's just the right amount for our household. I got 4 dorayakis by following Angie's recipe.


Ingredients
  • 2 eggs
  • 120 gr flour
  • 80 gr sugar
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp baking soda
  • 30 ml milk
  • 1 tbs honey (I don't have caramel syrup)
Basically, you just need to mix the flour with baking powder and baking soda. In another bowl, whip the egg and sugar until foamy. Sift the flour + baking powder + baking soda mixture to the egg mixture. Add milk and honey and stir. Let it rest for 30 minutes.

Well, now you just need to have your non-stick pan ready to make the pancakes. I didn't use oil at all and it worked well. I got an even brown colour for my dorayaki.

Fill in your dorayaki with anything that you want (normally something sweet and pasty).





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Tuesday, 18 August 2009

Steamed Shao Mai

Just a short post. Yesterday I also made steamed shao mai besides prawn and chives dumplings. It was a very pleasing and easy cooking process for me, because I didn't have to make the shao mai skins myself - I used ready made gyoza skins.




I wanted to make my shao mai looking like the ones from Din Tai Fung, a popular dumpling restaurant chain from Taiwan, because I think that they just look quite unique (for shao mai). The look of my shao mai turned out to be a far cry from the Ding Tai Fung shao mai, I guess it's also because the dumpling skins were too thick (I should try wonton skins next time), although I have no complain about how they taste. I nevertheless still think that my shao mai look cute, even though they look more like a slightly opened, thick-skinned xiao long bao ;-).

Ingredients

Skin
  • 1 package round gyoza/wonton wrappers
Filling
  • 1 cup Chinese cabbage, finely chopped
  • 500 gr ground pork
  • 125 gr prawns, diced
  • 2 tsp chicken broth
  • 2 tbs sesame oil
  • 2 tbs oyster sauce
  • 1 tbs Shao Xing wine
  • 1 tbs tapioca starch
  • 1 tbs finely chopped gingerroot
  • 1 scallion, finely chopped
  • 1/2 tsp sugar
  • A dash of pepper



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Prawn and Chives Dumplings

I LOVE yum cha (dim sum), I just can't get enough of it. It's a pity that the good yum cha restaurant that I know here is not located around the corner where I live. I have visited a few yum cha restaurants in Frankfurt - the dumplings there taste alright, but only one restaurant actually serves really authentic dumplings like what I've tasted in Sydney or Hong Kong.

Everytime I go to a yum cha restaurant, I always order har gao (shrimp dumplings), shao mai (open-faced shrimp/pork dumpling), prawn chee cheong fun (steamed rice rolls) and pan-fried potstickers, just to name a few. My favourite dumpling of all time is har gao - I just cannot resist its translucent, slightly chewy skin of goodness, and of course it's also because I adore prawns...

I had tried making har gao before, but I failed, because the skin turned out hard and non-transparent and the prawn filling unsatisfyingly tasteless - this is the result of following a bad recipe. Since then I had always dreaded trying to make har gao skin. But I've finally got over my shock after I bought a dim sum cooking book, called Dim Sum Made Easy by Lucille Liang. The book is small with nice dim sum pictures and easy-to-follow instructions. Not the most complete dim sum recipe book, but enough for pushing me to try making har gao again, because the recipe sounds reliable and authentic.

But..., I also just bought a pot of chives a few days ago, waiting for its long fresh leaves to be cut and used for delicious cooking - so I thought, why not adding chives to my har gao and make prawn and chives dumplings instead, they would also taste as good, wouldn't they? Well, just as the post title has stated, my mindgame finally resulted in yummy har gao plus chives.



I was very happy with how the skin turned out, it's just the right chewiness and it's translucent too...! The filling also tasted good, but making the dumplings really required caution and skill (something that I lack, but managed to overcome). The skin might tear easily, so you really need to roll the dough to the right thickness, not too thick, but also not too thin. In addition, the filling must NOT be wet, or the skin would tear. I also learned not to be too greedy and put in less filling, because the more filling, the easier it's for the skin to tear.

Ingredients

Dough

  • 1 1/2 cups wheat starch
  • 1/2 cup tapioca starch
  • 1 1/2 cups hot water
  • 2 tbs oil


Always the same technique (look at my Guo Tie post) - Combine all the ingredients for the dough and knead until smooth and pliable. Roll into a sausage-like shape and cut into into equal pieces. Roll each dough-piece into a ball and flatten it with a rolling pin.



Fill in the skin with the prawn mixture. It's very hard to get fresh prawns here. I only can get them frozen.

Filling

  • 500 gr prawns, chopped
  • 250 gr chives, chopped
  • 1 egg white
  • 2 tbs chopped pork fat (optional, if you don't want to feel guilty after eating this delicacy)
  • 1 tbs scallions, finely chopped (white part only)
  • 1.5 tbs oyster sauce
  • t tbs Shao Xing wine
  • 1 tbs tapioca starch
  • Dash of salt and pepper


Scrumptious translucent dumplings ready to be served.



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Monday, 17 August 2009

Roast Stuffed Chicken

I finally made stuffed chicken!! Those pictures of mouthwatering Thanksgiving roasted turkey or just pictures of roasted whole chicken had been in my mind for quite some time. I nevertheless never tried to make this type of chicken/turkey, because in my household there are only two people. Even though we both love eating, and it's one of our biggest passions, roasting a whole chicken for two just seemed to be exaggerating.

Geesh...but I bought a whole chicken a few days ago - and thought about making it into soup. But since I had made herbal chicken soup yesterday anyway, making another soup dish for today would be somehow boring... That's why I thought, why not giving it a try? Making roasted whole chicken, I mean. So, here you go, below you can see the picture of my roast stuffed chicken from today.




This stuffed chicken is a result of experimentation. I didn't have much in my pantry and even if I wanted to buy some more ingredients, I wouldn't be able to, since today is Sunday. So, I imagined what kind of stuffing might taste good for roast chicken. I decided on cream cheese, onion, garlic, chives, smoked pork chop, thyme and bread crumbs. I think that adding apples or other fruits like grapes would add more of a kick, but I only have bananas...and I don't think that bananas would taste good together with roast chicken...;-b).



Ingredients
  • 1 whole chicken
  • Salt and Pepper
  • 2-3 tbs chicken stock powder
  • 2 cups of red wine
  • 1 cup of orange juice/apple juice
  • 3 bay leaves
  • Wild mushrooms - for garnish
Stuffing
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 3 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 2 tbs cream cheese
  • 3-4 slices Kassler (smoked pork chop) - optional
  • 3 tbs bread crumbs
  • Chives and thyme
What to do
  • Preheat oven to 180°C.
  • In a bowl, mix the onion, garlic, cream cheese, Kassler, chives and thyme. Stuff the chicken with this mixture.
  • Rub the chicken with salt and pepper. Place the chicken in a casserole dish. Add red wine, orange juice, chicken stock powder and bay leaves. (If you have leftover slices of onion, chives or thyme, just toss them in the casserole dish)
  • Bake the chicken for 1.5-2 hours.
  • After 2 hours, remove the chicken to a platter.
  • To make the sauce: Pour the chicken juice into a saucepan, add 2 tsp of flour (mixed with a bit of water) to thicken the sauce. Add salt/pepper/sugar to taste.
  • Stir-fried Mushrooms for garnish: heat your skillet and add 1 tbs of olive oil. Add some slices of onion and mushrooms, then stir until slightly golden brown. Give a dash of salt and pepper. To be served with the roast chicken as garnish (but they taste good too!)



You can serve the roast chicken with oven baked potatoes, mashed potatoes, or just any kind of carbohydrates of your choice. I served mine with pan-fried potato dumplings and German red cabbage. I can imagine, stir fried green beans with a hint of garlic would also be a good accompaniment, but I didn't have green beans in my pantry, so had to make do with the red cabbage.




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Sunday, 16 August 2009

Chinese Herbal Chicken Soup

I was inspired to make this herbal chicken soup after I saw Noobcook's delicious looking Steamed Chicken with D.O.M Liquor posting. A real comfort food, full of memories. My mum also used to cook me herbal chicken soups when I was younger. Sometimes the soups were black due to some Chinese herbs that she used and I have no idea about, and sometimes the soups were very clear. The black soups tend to be sweeter and the clear soups tend to be more bitter. I myself prefer the more bitter clear soup. My mum told me that chicken herbal soups are very healthy and nutritious: the wolfberries for the eyes, the Angelica roots for the blood circulation, the Solomon's Seal lowers the blood sugar levels, and so on and so on.



Chinese Herbal Soup is actually quite simple to prepare. You just need to boil the chicken with the Chinese herbs under low heat for about an hour and the only type of seasoning that you need to add is simply salt. Some people prefer to steam the chicken with the herbs, but I prefer to boil it and have it as soup. I added some oyster sauce to my herbal soup (I can somehow hear my mum scolding me already....!) - I just can't help it, I am just not a purist in any food preparation and production...! Here is my recipe if you dare to follow it:

Ingredients:
  • 2 Chicken thighs
  • 3 cups of water
  • 20 red dates
  • 3 small garlic cloves, crushed
  • 10 dried longan
  • 2 tbs wolfberrries
  • 1 small stack of ginseng
  • 3 slices of ginger
  • 8 angelica roots (I like my soup somehow bitter)
  • 1-2 tbs oyster sauce (VERY optional -if you're a purist)
  • A dash of salt
  • 3 tbs Shao Xing Wine (optional - to be added when the soup is ready to be served)


Red dates, garlic, dried longan, ginger, wolfberries, ginseng and angelica roots.



Serve the soup with a bowl of warm, fluffy rice and garnish with spring onions or chives.

The pictures don't look so fabulous, but at least I liked the soup - even my husband did too. It's very aromatic and hopefully nourishing too.




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