Saturday 14 April 2018

Hokkien Western Fusion Prawn Pasta

*in collaboration with San Remo

I like the idea that San Remo has established a theme for this collaboration - "Because We All Want the Best for Our Family!" This' my maiden experience cooking in a theme specific plus product specific style in any collaboration and I'm loving it! Because of my love for my family, I was banging on cooking a communal dish which every family member could just dig in and have fun together at the dining table! I wanted it to be a one pot dish so that nobody (including myself) would be left behind in the kitchen preparing other dishes while the rest are eating. In my family, my 80-year old parents adore local and Chinese dishes whilst my husband and I enjoy Western. It could be tricky to cook for all at the same time. This yummy Hokkien Western Fusion Prawn Pasta's well received by all! The Hokkien Western Fusion Prawn Pasta's really a melting pot of flavours where not only the East meets West, but tantalising to our tongues in a cohesive manner. Imagine....having cheesy and creamy pasta infused in tasty rich prawn heads broth that we traditionally use for Hokkien Prawn Mee! Then bake the entire pan at high temperature for the smokey touch, especially so for the seafood! Plus the pork lard, the sambal chili or/and chili flakes, together with squeezed lime juice! It's just KAbooooom lah! 

Flavours aside, we all know how sinful it could be when a dish is laden with cream, cheese and lard. I just couldn't the temptation once in a while. Because We All Want the Best for Our Family, I had no hesitation to use quality ingredients and that included San Remo's gluten free  penne. It's not only gluten free, but dairy free, egg free and 98% fat free! 

This Hokkien Western Fusion Prawn Pasta's no fine dining dish. In fact, it's rustic in presentation and flavours! I even prepared a set of banana leaves to be used on everybody's serving plate! It's this rustic charm that reminded me of our family! No frills, rustic yet comfortable. And that's how our family connects!

Main Ingredients (enough for 4 pax) :
  • 12 mid sized prawns (deveined but keep heads and shells intact)
  • 2 squids/sotong (cleaned and cut to rings)
  • 1 box San Remo's Gluten Free Original Penne (about 300 to 350 gm)
  • 4 garlic cloves (thinly sliced)
  • 1 cup cooking cream
  • 1 cup grated/shredded mozzarella cheese
  • a dash of chili or cayenne powder (to marinate seafood)
  • parsley flakes (for garnishing)
  • salt and sugar (to adjust to taste before serve)
  • 2 to 3 tbsp pork lard oil or other cooking oil (cut pork lard to small cubes)(blanched and deep fried to extract lard oil 猪油)(set aside deep fried crispy pork lard croutons 猪油渣 as condiments) or use other cooking oil of your choice
  • 4 limes (cut to halves)(to be served as condiments)
  • sambal chili (to be served as condiments)
  • chili flakes (to be served as condiments)

For Simplified Prawn Heads Stock Base 
(Click here for instructions to cook a large pot to keep in stock)
  • 1 box prawn heads & shells (lunch box size)
  • 250 ml homemade or store bought chicken stock
  • 500 ml water
  • 1 pc ikan bills stock cube
  • 5 ginger slices (crushed)
  • 5 cloves garlic (crushed)
  • 1 mid-sized onion (diced)
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 4 star anise
  • 2 orange peel (available at Chinese medicinal halls)
  • 3 bay leaves
  • a dash of fish sauce (or to taste)
  • a dash of chili or cayenne powder (or to taste)
  • salt and sugar (to adjust to taste accordingly)
  • cooking oil (for browning and aromatics)

    (tsp = teaspoon; tbsp = tablespoon)    

    Method : 
    1. Marinade seafood with a dash of salt, sugar and chili/cayenne powder for 30 minutes. Set aside.
    2. Heat a little oil and lightly sauté all aromatic ingredients (i.e. ginger, onions, garlic, cinnamon stick, star anise, orange peel, bay leaves)  in soup pot at medium heat till aromatic. 
    3. Add prawn heads and shells into the pot and sauté till fragrant. 
    4. Add chicken stock and water into soup pot, cover lid and allow to simmer at medium heat till boiled.
    5. Upon boiling point, turn to low heat and continue to simmer for 45 to 60 minutes or to your satisfied richness. 
    6. Adjust with salt, sugar and seasonings to your desired taste. 
    7. Remove scums and strain stock. Set aside.
    8. In a saucepan, add penne pasta to boiling water (not cold or warm water). Add a little cooking oil (so that pasta would not lump together) and a pinch of salt. Allow pasta to cook and rid excess starch for 1 minute at low-medium heat. At this stage, pasta is not softened and still inedible. Drain and set aside. 
    9. Pre-heat oven at 230C.
    10. Heat pork lard oil (or other cooking oil) in pan at medium heat. Toss in garlic slices and sauté till fragrant. 
    11. Fold in seafood, pasta, prawn heads stock and cooking cream. Lightly stir and turn off heat immediately. Allow pasta and ingredient to be 3/4 immersed in soup mixture. 
    12. Drizzle mozzarella cheese generously atop. 
    13. Bake whole pan in oven for 10 to 15 minutes or till all ingredients are cooked with cheese melted and slightly browned.
    14. Remove from oven, taste test and adjust with salt and seasonings to your satisfaction. At this stage, pasta should be al dente, seafood would be cooked with smokey touch and broth's still moist and rich underneath. 
    15. Garnish with parsley flakes and serve hot immediately with deep fried crispy pork lard croutons, cut limes, sambal chili or/and chili flakes. Best served on banana leaves for the South East Asian tropical touch. 

    Note : 
    *Do serve immediately after removal from oven. As the pasta's still immersed in broth, cream and cheese,the longer the wait, the more soggy the pasta would turn. My plate of pasta turned slightly soggy after a 15 minutes photoshoot session for the dish whilst my family members enjoyed the al dente ones. 😂😂😂

    Thursday 12 April 2018

    Cantonese Stewed Beef & Pork Tendon Noodles 广式牛腩猪筋干拉面

    I'm a true blue Cantonese that grew up playing and eating in Chinatown. The Cantonese Stewed Beef & Tendon Noodles 广式牛腩牛筋面 was one of my childhood dishes that I truly enjoyed. However, I realise that this dish has fast become a rare sight in hawker centres/coffee shops nowadays. I certainly hope it's not a vanishing dish in our generation. Slightly deviated from tradition, this' my rendition of this dish using my favourite wholegrain La Mien (noodles) and I also used pork tendons instead of beef tendons. This Cantonese Stewed Beef & Pork Tendon Noodles 广式牛腩猪筋干拉面 was really oh delicious! Beef's tender and the tendons were just great!

    Main Ingredients (enough for 3 to 4 pax) :
    • About 1 kg beef chuck or briskets (cut to chunky cubes of about 1.5 inch)
    • 500 gm pork tendons (you may use beef tendons, but that would require different cooking duration as pork tendons)
    • 3 to 4 carrots (chopped to about 1-inch thickness)
    • 5 garlic cloves (crushed)
    • 5 ginger slices
    • 1 cinnamon stick
    • 4 star anise
    • 2 orange peel (available at Chinese medicinal halls)
    • 3 to 4 bay leaves
    • cooking oil (for browning and aromatics)
    • 2 to 3 packets noodles (I used Prima Wholegrain La Mien)
    • a handful of green vegetables (blanch before use)
    • salt and sugar (to adjust to taste before serve)
    • shallot oil (to be used before serve)
    • chopped spring onions (garnishing)
    • sambal chili (to taste)(optional)

    Seasonings :
    • 2 tbsp Hoisin sauce (or to taste)
    • 2 tbsp Chu Hou sauce (or to taste)
    • 1 tbsp oyster sauce (or to taste) 
    • 1 pc chicken stock cube (or to taste)
    • 1 pc beef stock cube (or to taste)
    • 2 to 3 tbsp rock sugar (or to taste)
    • 1/2 cup Hua Diao cooking wine (or to taste)
    • 1 tbsp sesame oil
    • 1 to 2 cup water (enough to cover all meats and tendons in the pressure cooker/pot)

    (tsp = teaspoon; tbsp = tablespoon)    

    Method : 
    1. Blanch beef cubes and tendons in a pot to remove scums. After that, rinse and clean in running water. Set aside.
    2. Heat cooking oil in a pan, add ginger then garlic and sauté till aromatic. 
    3. Fold in beef cubes and sauté till brown on all sides. Remove from pan and set aside.
    4. Fold in tendons and sauté till light golden colour. Remove from pan and set aside. 
    5. Transfer cooking oil and aromatics from pan to a stove top pressure cooker pot, Top up a little cooking oil (if necessary). 
    6. Heat cooking oil in pot. Toss in cinnamon stick, bay leaves, orange peels and star anise.  Sauté for about a minute. 
    7. Fold in beef cubes and all sauce seasonings. 
    8. Cover lid and allow pressure cook for 1.5 to 2 hours (or till beef are fork tender) at low heat. Start checking meat texture once in a while after 1 hour of cooking time, top up more water if necessary).  
    9. Fold in carrots towards last 15 minutes of cooking time.
    10. When you're satisfied with the beef tenderness, taste test and adjust with salt & sugar if necessary. Fold in tendons and allow to simmer for 10 minutes till flavourful. Do not need to cover lid. Pork tendons should be tender and a little chewy to be ready. 
    11. Meanwhile, blanch wholemeal La Mien as per box instruction. Drain and toss with a little shallot oil. 
    12. Blanch a handful of green vegetables.
    13. Dish out by arranging cooked La Mien, vegetables, stewed beef, carrots, tendons and sambal chili in bowls. Scoop beef stew gravy generously over the noodles and ingredients. Garnish with chopped spring onions and drizzle with a little shallot oil before serve.
    14. Serve whilst hot.

    Note : 

    *Do note that if you're cooking beef tendons instead of pork tendons, much longer cooking time is required. You may fold in beef tendons together with beef cubes at the beginning of pressure cooking. Do adjust cooking time accordingly.

    * You may still cook without pressure cooker, just lengthen the cook time till beef and tendons are to your desired texture.

    Sunday 8 April 2018

    Japanese Curry with Beef (From Scratch) 日式牛肉咖喱

    *in collaboration with Tramontina

    I used to buy instant Japanese curry paste in-a-box to cook whenever I wanted to cook Japanese Curry with Beef 日式牛肉咖喱 in the past. If I didn't remember wrongly, each box of instant paste costs between S$4+ to S$7. I came to realisation that it's not difficult to cook this curry roux on my own. If you go through my list of ingredients below, you'll understand the very substantial cost savings to cook on your own. I like it that we can choose to avoid MSG and preservatives when it's home-cooked! More importantly, husband said it tasted great and identical to the real stuff! Yes, you'll need to buy a few types of spices at about S$1+ each. However, each packet of spice would at least last you to cook few times more on the same dish or other dishes!

    I cooked the curry roux, shallow fried the potatoes and browned the beef in my new Tramontina 24cm Stainless Steel Frying Pan with internal Starflon Plus Coating. The light weight frying pan really make cooking enjoyable as it's easy for me to toss the ingredients. I was also impressed by the even distribution of heat that resulted in faster and uniform cooking. My beef cheek cubes were browning very nicely in the pan. After cooking, the stainless steel exterior made the pan so presentable to be served on my dining table too!

    About Tramontina Stainless Steel Frying Pan with Internal Starflon Plus Coating

    • 24cm Stainless Steel Frying Pan with internal Starflon Plus Coating
    • Product Code: 62376247
    • Product Dimensions: 44.2(length) x 26.7(width) x 6(height)cm
    • Diameter: 24cm
    • Capacity: 2.1L
    • Material: Premium 18/10 Stainless Steel
    • Internal Starflon Non-stick Coating prevents food from sticking to the pan and maintains food moisture. (Coating does not release any residues on food with proper care).
    • Promotes Healthy Cooking with less use of oil.
    • 3-ply Base (Stainless Steel + Aluminum + Stainless Steel) distributes heat evenly, resulting in Faster and Uniform Cooking.
    • Compatible with Induction/Gas/Electric Stoves/Vitroceramic Glass Stoves & Oven. (up to 260 degrees)
    • Made and Quality-controlled in Brazil.

    • Care Instructions:
      • Do not cook with sharp pointed utensils.
      • Do not wash with scratchy sponges.
      • First Use: - When using the frying pan for the first time, wash, dry and grease the interior with cooking oil. Next, heat it up on a low temperature for two to three minutes, depending on the frying pan size. Leave it to cool, then wash it with a soft sponge and mild detergent in lukewarm water. Rinse and dry as usual. Repeat the first use procedure whenever the dishwasher is used. Repeat this procedure periodically to better conserve the lining.

    *Product Information provided by Tramontina.

    Main Ingredients (enough for 4 pax) :
    • 500 to 600 gm beef cheeks (cut to cubes)(you may use chicken if you prefer)
    • 2 to 3 carrots (chopped to about 1-inch thickness)
    • 3 potatoes (cut to cubes)
    • 1 medium sized onion (julienned)
    • 3 garlic cloves (minced)
    • 1 tsp minced ginger
    • parsley flakes (for garnishing)(optional)
    • cooking oil (for shallow fry)
    • steamed rice

    Curry Roux :
    • 60 gm unsalted butter
    • 1/3 cup plain flour
    • 2 tbsp curry powder (I used Madras curry powder from Mustafa @ S$1.10/100 gm packet). (Use SB brand curry powder if you prefer Japanese authentic.)
    • 1 tbsp garam masala (I used garam masala from Mustafa @ S$1.50/100 gm packet)
    • 1 tsp cayenne powder (optional)(omit this if you do not want your curry spicy, I prefer to add this)

    Other Curry Gravy Seasonings (exclude curry roux) :
    • 1 tbsp soy sauce (or to taste)
    • 2 tbsp tomato ketchup (or to taste)
    • 1 tbsp Worcestershire sauce (or to taste)
    • 2 tbsp honey (or to taste)
    • 1 tsp salt (or to taste)
    • 250 ml home-made or store bought chicken broth (if really no choice, dissolve 1-2 tsp ikan bills stock powder with 250 ml water)
    • 2 to 3 cups water (subject to your preferred thickness for the curry)

    (tsp = teaspoon; tbsp = tablespoon)    

    Method : 
    1. Heat pan and melt butter at low-medium heat.  
    2. Add plain flour when butter's melted. Stir to blend butter and flour for few minutes till even.
    3. Fold in curry powder, garam masala and cayenne powder. Stir and mix the roux evenly. If the roux get too dry, add water 1 tsp at a time and continue stirring. After about a minute, the curry roux is ready. Scoop and set aside.
    4. Heat a little cooking oil in frying pan again. Fold in potato cubes and fry till all sides are slightly golden brown. Remove from pan and set aside.
    5. Fold in beef/chicken cubes and pan sear on all sides till browned. Remove from pan and set aside.
    6. In a deeper pot, heat a little cooking and stir fry onions till they turn translucent. 
    7. Toss in minced garlic and ginger and sauté till aromatic.  
    8. Add all curry gravy seasonings into pot and lightly stir.
    9. Fold in curry roux. Stir till curry roux is dissolved and blended into mixture.
    10. When curry starts bubbling, fold in beef/chicken cubes again.
    11. Cover lid and allow to simmer at low heat for min. 1 hour or till beef cubes turn tender. Towards last 20 minutes, fold in potatoes and carrots, continue to simmer till all's cooked and to your desired texture. Add more water if curry turns too thick. If necessary, add salt/honey in accordance to your taste preference.
    12. Turn off heat, leave the lid covered for another 10 minutes before dish out, garnish and serve hot immediately with steamed rice.


    *Do note that if you're cooking with chicken instead of beef, much shorter simmering time is required. Do adjust cooking time accordingly.

    * Simmering time required for beef is subject to cut and sizes. Adjust duration accordingly.

    * Check curry occasionally while simmering. Add more water if curry turns too thick. Otherwise, curry may burn at the bottom.

    (scroll to bottom of page, click on "Print" or "PDF" icon for printer friendly recipe)