Monday 26 October 2015

Egg Noodle in Herbal and Abalone Soup 真的有鲍鱼汤面

My mother-in-law bought us the A1 Abalone Instant Noodle last week. Both my husband and I liked the taste of the soup, especially with the rather strong infusion of Chinese herbs. However,  we were somehow disappointed by the size of the 2 mini abalones in the packet - ultra small and ultra-thin.  Due to my illness, I rarely consume instant noodle (no more than twice a year). Instant noodle's really not for me. I was quite confident that i could replicate something close. I promised my husband that I would cook him a bowl of Egg Noodle in Herbal and Abalone Soup 真的有鲍鱼汤面 real soon.....

Ingredients (enough for 2 pax) :

  • 2 pcs of dried egg noodle (approx. 50 gm per pax)(soak in water till softened)
  • 8 pcs of canned baby abalone 
  • 1 cup of canned abalone juice (retained from the canned baby abalone)
  • 4 pcs of pork ribs or loins (blanch in boiling water for 5 minutes to remove scum beforehand). Each piece about a half-fist size.
  • 4 pcs Bei Qi (Radix Astragali) 北芪
  • 4 pcs Dang Gui (Chinese Angelica Root) 当归
  • 4 pcs Dang Shen (Codonopsis Root) 党参
  • 2 pcs Huai Shan (Dried Chinese Yam) 淮山 
  • 8 pcs of small dried scallops 干瑤柱
  • 4 pcs Big Red Dates 大红枣
  • 2 tsp Wolfberries 枸杞子 
  • 2 tsp chicken stock powder 
  • coriander/cilantro (for garnishing)
  • 1.2 litre water (for soup)
  • water to boil (to blanch noodle)

(tsp = teaspoon; tbsp = tablespoon)    

Tip : Do not use whole can of abalone juice. 1 cup is approximately 1/2 can of juice from canned baby abalone. Too much of it would result in fishy smell.

Method :

Add all ingredients into soup pot except noodle and water. Keep half portion of wolfberries for later use.
Add 1.2 litre water into soup pot.
Bring to boil at high heat. Turn to medium-low heat and continue to brew soup for another 2 to 3 hours. If you are using a pressure cooker like me, boil in 'low' mode at medium-low heat for 1.5 hour.
Fold in the other half portion of wolfberries 10 minutes before serve. 
When soup is ready, start boiling a separate pot of water. Blanch abalones in boiling water for 1 minute. Remove and set aside.
Blanch dried egg noodle in boiling water till softened and cooked.
Transfer noodle to serving bowls when cooked.
Assemble noodle, abalones, pork loins/ribs and soup. 
Garnish with coriander/cilantro and serve hot.  

The taste of this Egg Noodle in Herbal and Abalone Soup 真的有鲍鱼汤面 may not be 100% similar to the packet instant noodle, it still come close in taste and feel with the aromatic herbal soup. I could still smell the Dang Gui (Chinese Angelica Root) 当归 from far. If I have the time and efforts to spend, I would prefer this version - being the healthier choice. 

Sunday 25 October 2015

Grilled Stuffed Portobello with Fresh Tomatoes, Herbs and Mozzarella Cheese

I sent my husband to replenish shredded salmon for our dog and he came back with some nice and big Portobellos as well. I was delighted! I thought the Portobellos could go perfectly with the freshly harvested herbs from my roof terrace. I knew my fresh greens would not go wrong with this Grilled Stuffed Portobello with Fresh Tomatoes, Herbs and Mozzarella Cheese.

Grilled Stuffed Portobello with Fresh Tomatoes, Herbs and Mozzarella Cheese can be served as an appetiser or side dish. It is relatively simple to prepare. It involves few steps and does not require open fire cooking. The best part? The recipe is so versatile that you could create different versions (and even a salad with the same dressings and seasonings) out of it. 

Ingredients (enough for 6 pcs of portobello mushrooms) :
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  • 6 pcs of portobello mushrooms (portobello to be approximately 4-inches wide)(scrape brown gills on the inside of mushroom caps with a spoon and remove stem)
  • 2 large tomatoes (diced)
  • 8 tbsp mozzarella cheese (grated) 
  • 1 yellow onion (finely chopped) 
  • 6 cloves garlic (finely chopped)
  • 2 sprigs of rosemary (finely chop leaves only)
  • 3 stalks of English parsley (finely chopped)
  • 6 mini-sized cherry tomatoes (optional)(for garnishing)
  • cooking spray or oil

Seasonings : 

  • squeezed lime juice from 3 limes
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tbsp light soy sauce
  • 2 tsp sugar
  • 1/4 tsp grounded black pepper

(tsp = teaspoon; tbsp = tablespoon)    

Method :

Grease baking tray with cooking spray or oil.
Mix seasonings in a bowl.
Add diced tomatoes to seasonings.
Add finely chopped garlic.
Add finely chopped onions.
Add finely chopped rosemary leaves.
Add grated mozzarella cheese.
Mix all ingredients evenly and set aside.
Pre-heat oven at 180 degrees celsius (356 degrees fahrenheit). Arrange portobellos on greased baking tray. Grill the mushroom stem side down first.
Grill portobellos in oven for 5 minutes at 180 degrees celsius (356 degrees fahrenheit).
Remove baking tray from oven after 5 minutes and flip the portobellos.
Spoon tomatoes, herbs and cheese mixture (that was set aside earlier) on the cap of each portobello. 
Cover with foil and grill for 10 to 15 minutes (larger sized portobellos would take longer grill time) till cheese melted. 
Remove baking tray from oven when time's due.
Transfer grilled portobellos to serving plates.
Sprinkle finely chopped English parsley on top, garnish and serve hot. This is the refreshing version (with less cheese). My husband's favourite.
The sinful version with lots of mozzarella cheese. Less healthy but yummy too....
If you have leftover tomatoes, herbs and mozzarella cheese dressing/mixture, simply toss in some rocket leaves or greens and you have a refreshing salad!

Grilled Stuffed Portobello with Fresh Tomatoes, Herbs and Mozzarella Cheese -  We liked it so much that it became our entrée as we no longer needed other dishes for the meal.

Sunday 18 October 2015

Stir Fry Ginger & Peanut Butter Chicken 花生酱姜炒鸡块

I see Stir Fry Ginger & Peanut Butter Chicken 花生酱姜炒鸡块 being labelled as an Asian dish by many American bloggers. This puzzles me. Except for the ginger and stir frying, I think it is quite rare for us to associate cooking with peanut butter. Well, at least not in Singapore and Malaysia. Nevertheless, I was still game enough to cook this dish for my family today.

Let me forewarn you - Stir Fry Ginger & Peanut Butter Chicken 花生酱姜炒鸡块 is rather rich and heavy. The unique combination of ginger and peanut butter, however, would suffice to stir your appetite. Since it is supposed to be an Asian dish, I added my own Chinese elements such as sesame oil, chili paste etc. It is not a common home-cooked dish for us but it has turned out to be a pleasant surprise. This alone already made it special.  

Ingredients (enough for 4 pax with steamed rice) :

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  • 2 pcs of boneless chicken thighs (chopped to bite size)(pre-marinated with 1/2 tsp salt and few drops of sesame oil)
  • 10 slices ginger (finely chopped)
  • 6 cloves garlic (finely chopped)
  • thinly sliced chilis for garnishing
  • cooking oil

Peanut Butter Mix :

  • 2 to 3 tbsp chunky peanut butter (subject to size of chicken thigh meat)
  • 2 tbsp rice vinegar
  • 1 tbsp light soy sauce
  • 1 tsp sesame oil
  • 2 tsp brown sugar
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp chili paste/sauce

(tsp = teaspoon; tbsp = tablespoon)    

Tip : Be generous with ginger. Do not stinge. Otherwise, the dish would taste too peanut buttery. 

Method :

Add peanut butter and chili paste/sauce to seasonings.
Stir well to make a nice peanut butter mix.
Heat cooking oil in skillet/wok and add finely chopped ginger.
Add garlic and lightly sauté.
Fold in marinated chicken pieces.
Stir fry till 90% cooked at medium-high heat.
Add peanut butter mix.
Turn to high heat and continue to stir fry till chicken pieces are fully cooked and evenly coated with peanut butter sauce.
Transfer to serving bowl and garnish. Serve hot with steamed rice.

Stir Fry Ginger & Peanut Butter Chicken 花生酱姜炒鸡块 - uniquely tasty. Do eat in moderation as it is heavy for the stomach.

Tuesday 13 October 2015

Rosemary & Lemon Baked Fish 迷迭香柠檬烤鱼

Unlike Asians, Westerners do not cook whole fish as often. Whilst Asians can eat up even the fish bones, fish dishes are typically served boneless or as fillets in the west. In America and some parts of Europe, it is almost an offence to find bones in a fish fillet dish. 

I first tasted Rosemary & Lemon Baked Fish 迷迭香柠檬烤鱼 years ago in an Italian restaurant in Singapore. I was pleasantly surprised that the whole fish was served to the table. However, we were charged a bomb for it. Fortunately, my boss was the one footing the bill. Since then, I could not get the taste of it out of my mind.

I am not saying that my version of Rosemary & Lemon Baked Fish 迷迭香柠檬烤鱼 would be any better than those from restaurants. At the very least, I know I do not have to pay an exorbitant price. It is definitely budget friendly, healthy and tasty.

Rosemary & Lemon Baked Fish 迷迭香柠檬烤鱼 is very simple to prepare and involves very few steps. The key to making this a successful dish is very much dependent on the freshness of the fish....

Ingredients (enough for 2 pax) :

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  • 1 whole fish of your choice
  • 4 sprigs of rosemary (leave 1/2 sprig for garnishing)
  • 2 lemons (cut to wedges)(leave 2 thin slices for garnishing)
  • 10 cloves garlic (peeled and pressed)
  • 1 large yellow onion (peeled and sliced)
  • 2 slices ginger
  • 10 tbsp white wine
  • salt (to taste)
  • grounded black pepper (to taste)
  • 4 tbsp olive oil

(tsp = teaspoon; tbsp = tablespoon)    

Tip 1 : Fish must be fresh.

Tip 2 : Finely chop rosemary leaves if you prefer a richer herbal flavour.

Method :

Cut 3 slits on each side of the fish at 45 degree angle. Rub fish evenly with 1/2 tsp salt.
Place fish in a roaster or baking tray. Lay garlic, ginger, onions and rosemary in roaster/baking tray.
Squeeze lemon juice (from all wedges) on fish and the base of the roaster/baking tray.
Lay all squeezed lemon wedges into roaster/baking tray. Add olive oil, white wine, salt and pepper. Ensure both sides of the fish are immersed with flavourings.
Cover roaster/baking tray and chill in refrigerator for 20 to 30 minutes. Use foil to cover if you are using baking tray. Meanwhile, preheat oven at 180 degrees celsius (356 degrees fahrenheit).
Place roaster/baking tray into oven when time's due. Bake at 180 degrees celsius (356 degrees fahrenheit) for 25 minutes. Adjust timing in accordance to fish size.
When timer sounds off, remove roaster/baking tray from oven. Do not open lid. Let the fish 'steam' in roaster/baking tray for another 10 minutes. 
Remove lid/foil after 10 minutes, the fish would be fully cooked and nicely infused with aromas from rosemary and all ingredients.  

Rosemary & Lemon Baked Fish 迷迭香柠檬烤鱼 - a dish that received big thumbs up from my husband. Fish meat was so smooth and tender, refreshing and well balanced with lemon and herbal tastes. He was already asking me when I'd cook the same dish again.....