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Pickled Assorted Vegetables 涼拌什錦泡菜

Pickled Assorted Vegetables Recipe 涼拌什錦泡菜 

Ingredients:

1 chayote
1 kohlrabi
1/2 stick carrot
5 Persian cucumbers
1/4 stick daikon
3 gloves garlic– chopped
1-2 red hot peppers– chopped
sushi vinegar
sugar
water

Method:

  1. Prepare chayote: Peel off the skin and remove the core. Rinse to remove the sliminess of the chayote. Cut into small bite size. Put in a bowl and sprinkle some salt (no more than 1/4 tsp). Rub salt into chayote with your fingers. Set aside for it to draw out the liquid. Rinse with water , then squeeze out as much water as possible. Pat dry.
  2. Prepare kohlrabi: Remove the outer skin of kohlrabi, then cut into small thin size. Put in a bowl and sprinkle some salt (no more than 1/4 tsp). Rub salt into kohlrabi with your fingers. Set aside for it to draw out the liquid. Rinse with water , then squeeze out as much water as possible. Pat dry.
  3. Prepare carrot: Peel off the skin and remove both ends. Cut into small bite size. Put in a bowl and sprinkle some salt (no more than 1/4 tsp). Rub salt into carrot with your fingers. Set aside for it to draw out the liquid. Rinse with water , then squeeze out as much water as possible. Pat dry.
  4. Prepare cucumbers: Remove both ends and the core of cucumbers. Cut into small bite size. Put in a bowl and sprinkle some salt (no more than 1/4 tsp). Rub salt into cucumbers with your fingers. Set aside for it to draw out the liquid. Rinse with water , then squeeze out as much water as possible. Pat dry.
  5. Prepare daikon: Peel off the skin and remove both ends. Cut into small bite size. Put in a bowl and sprinkle some salt (no more than 1/4 tsp). Rub salt into daikon with your fingers. Set aside for it to draw out the liquid. Rinse with water , then squeeze out as much water as possible. Pat dry.
  6. Combine all vegetables, garlic and peppers in a large bowl (non metal, non plastic). Add enough sushi vinegar to cover half of the vegetables. Then add enough water to barely cover the top of vegetables. Add sugar to taste. Stir with a spoon until sugar dissolves. Cover and let it sit in the fridge for at least 1 day for the marinade to soak in. Stir the vegetables the next day and continue chilling in the fridge. Pickled vegetables last at least 2 weeks if kept well in fridge. Be sure to use a clean dry spoon to take out a portion for consumption.

Regina’s Note:

  • How to pick kohlrabi: Pick young kohlrabi that is more greenish rather than pale color, preferably with a little green leaves on the top. Old kohlrabi will have tough, chewy fibers/roots throughout the vegetables that make it impossible to use for making dishes.
  • How to pick cucumbers: Always pick cucumbers that are firm. There should not be any wrinkles on the skin or else it’s not fresh.
  • How to pick daikon: Pick daikon with smooth skin. Check the cut stems– they should look freshly cut. Put daikon in your hand and it should feel heavy to you. If it doesn’t feel heavy the daikon might be old or hollow inside.

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Thai Ground Pork Stir Fry with Basil ‘Pad Krapow’

Like many other Thai foods, this is a very appetizing dish that goes very well with fragrant jasmine rice. I just made it a few days ago and now I’m in the mood of making it again!It’s very easy to prepare, and I guarantee  your belly will be satisfied, adding bowls and bowls of jasmine rice to go with it :-)

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Thai Ground Pork Stir Fry with Basil ‘Pad Krapow’

Thai Ground Pork Stir Fry with Basil ‘Pad Krapow’ (serves 2-3 people):

Ingredients:
1/2 ground pork (optional– lightly seasoned with little salt and ground white pepper)
1 tbsp rice cooking wine
3 cloves garlic– chopped
3-4 Thai red hot peppers– chopped
1/2 medium onion– diced
1/2 red bell pepper– diced
handful Thai basil leaves

Seasoning sauce (mix well):
2 tbsp soy sauce
2 tbsp fish sauce– “Three Crabs” brand preferred
1 tsp sugar>
juice of 1 lemon or lime

Method:

  1. Add 1 tbsp cooking oil to a hot wok. Add ground pork. Stir the meat to have a roughly even layer (not a big lump). Fry til the bottom is slightly brown. Stir around to loose up the meat. Add cooking wine (a must!) to remove any meat smell/taste.
  2. Add in garlic and red hot peppers. Stir until it gets aromatic.
  3. Add in seasoning sauce. Cook for 1-2 minutes for the pork to soak up the flavor. When the sauce is almost dry, add in diced onion and red bell pepper and stir a few times.
  4. Add in basil leaves and make a few stirs, until the basil leaves are wilted. Dish out and serve immediately with jasmine rice.

Regina’s Note:

  • Thai basil leaves– Use Thai basil, not sweet basil which is used in western cuisine. And don’t be stingy about it– it’s the soul of this dish.
  • If lime is used, you might need a little more sugar to balance the sour taste.

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Yes, century eggs! The egg white part looks like clear brown jelly sometimes with needle marks like snowflakes, and it tastes like harden jelly, a bit rubbery with a very mild flavor. The  greyish yolk, however, carries a pungent smell and more flavorful. Sometimes the yolk is a bit soft in the center, as you slice through the gooey yolk will stick to the knife. For preserved eggs, I like salted eggs better than century eggs. However, one time when I tried this cold appetizer at a Hunan restaurant and I fell in love with it. It is quite easy to make. The combination of roasted peppers (sweet and spicy) and century eggs blends pretty well; a great side dish to go with just a bowl of steam rice. If you can take spicy foods and century eggs, try it out.

Roasted Peppers with Century Eggs 燒椒皮蛋

Roasted Peppers with Century Eggs 燒椒皮蛋

Roasted Peppers with Century Eggs 燒椒皮蛋 Recipe

Ingredients:

2 red bell peppers
6 fresh jalapeno peppers
2 century eggs

seasoning:
1 tbsp black rice vinegar
2 tbsp soy sauce
1 tsp sesame oil
1 tsp peppercorn oil 花椒油

Method:

  1. Cut bell peppers in half, remove stems and seeds. Drizzle with little oil and roast in the oven at 375°F for about 30 minutes. Cool then peel off the skin. Cut into strips.
  2. Fire roast jalapeno peppers directly on top of flame until the skin turn black completely. I always put jalapeno peppers on a skewer, and roast them directly on the flame on my gas stove top. At first the skin will make little crackling sound then it will start blacken, but hardly any smoke.  When the peppers are blackened, remove from flame and cover them with a paper towel for a couple of minutes. Use the paper towel to rub off the blackened skin and remove the seeds. Cut into strips.
  3. For century eggs, remove the shells and cut into thin wedges.
  4. Put bell peppers, jalapeno peppers, century eggs and seasoning a bowl. Toss gently to mix the flavor well. Serve immediately. Do not mix in seasoning if serving the dish later as it will becomes watery.

Regina’s Note:

  • Only mix in seasoning a few minutes before serving or the dish will get watery the longer it sits in the seasoning sauce.

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I got some precooked Jonah crab claws at Safeway when it was on sale. Instead of dipping the crab meat in clarified butter or cooking it Malaysian buttery curry style, I decide to try something new~~ Singapore black pepper style! I did a very last minute recipe search online and used this recipefor reference.

OMG it was so good! For the mount of the crab claws I used, I think I put a bit too much peppercorns(on top of 4 red hot peppers in it)… It was VERY peppery and spicy, and yet I just couldn’t help licking the sauce on the shells, on my fingers (yes, it requires all ten fingers!). Now I have another delicious crab recipe on file :-). Next time I will try the recipe with fresh Dungeness crabs instead of pre cooked crab claws; I’m sure the flavor will get even better.

Black Pepper Crabs 黑椒炒蟹

Black Pepper Crabs 黑椒炒蟹

Black Pepper Crabs Recipe (adapted from here, serves 4 people)

Ingredients:
3 lbs precooked Jonah crab claws– see note below
4 slices fresh ginger– cut into thin strips
2 cloves garlic– minced
4 small red hot pepper– chopped
6-8 fresh curry leaves
3 tbsp oil
2 tbsp butter

Spices mix (combined together and grind fine, but not super fine):
1 1/2 tbsp black peppercorns
1 1/2 tbsp white peppercorns
1/4 tsp coriander seeds

Sauce mix (mix well to dissolve sugar, set aside):
3 tbsp sugar
3 tbsp oyster sauce
3 tbsp ketchap manis– see note below
4 tbsp hot water

Method:

  1. Make a few cracks on each claws if they are not cracked previously. Pat dry with a paper towel. If you prepare ahead of time, place cracked claws in bowl/container lined with paper towel. Cover and chill in the fridge. Bring to room temperature when you are ready to cook.
  2. Heat up a wok on high heat. Add oil, butter, ginger, garlic, red hot pepper and curry leaves. Fry until butter melts and the flavor comes out. Add crab claws and stir fry for a minute.
  3. Add in ground spices, stir to distribute evenly. Cook for another minute or until crab claws are heated through.
  4. Add in sauce mix, stir a few more times. Add a few more tbsp of hot water if you prefer more sauce. Dish out. Serve immediately.

Regina’s Note:

  • Crab claws: I used precooked crab claws this time because that was what I had at that time. However, I don’t suggest using frozen precooked crabs/crab claws as they usually taste nothing like crab– salty, tasteless, rubbery etc. I got lucky is time as my frozen precooked Jonah crab claws still tasted like crab. Fresh live crabs are the BEST for this recipe because of its fresh seafood flavor. If fresh crabs are used in this recipe, cut crabs into chunks, then follow the steps and cook crabs until it is just cooked through. Then add in sauce mix, stir for a few times before dishing out.
  • Ketchap manis: This can be found in Asian grocery stores, in South East Asia food section. It is a thick morsel sauce, black in color and tastes sweet (‘ketchap manis’ means sweet sauce in Malay/Indonesian)

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When I was making otak-otak #3 trial, I thought it was perfect already– until I made this version. I added an egg this time to make the otak-otak , and skipped tapioca starch and used less water. The result: the egg really makes otak-otak very tender. In terms of flavor, texture and color, this #4 trial is REALLY close to what I just had in my hometown in Malaysia over this past summer! And my two boys even can take the spice and start to love otak-otak. They were saying the other they want otak-otak for dinner!:-)

Muar "Otak-Otak" #4 麻坡乌达

Muar “Otak-Otak” #4 麻坡乌达

Muar “Otak-Otak” # 4 麻坡乌达 Recipe (serves 4-6 people)

Ingredients:
1 container (12 oz) fish paste– see note below
1 1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp sugar
3 tbsp water
1 egg
1 small can (164 ml) coconut milk– stir well

Spice paste:
1 clove garlic– minced
1 shallot– minced
6 tbsp oil
3 tbsp sambal or chili paste
2 tbsp curry powder
1/4 tsp turmeric powder

Method:

  1. In a big sauce pan, fry garlic and shallot with 6 tbsp of oil until aromatic. Add in remaining spice paste ingredients. Stir to mix well. Set aside to cool completely.
  2. Add all other ingredients into the sauce pan. Stir to blend well. Pour the mixture into a greased shallow pan, smooth the top. Steam on high heat for 10 minutes. Serve with steam rice.

Regina’s Note:

  • Fish paste: different brand of fish paste does make otak-otak taste differently. I prefer 佳发brand (see picture below)– it is frozen and can be found in Asian grocery stores. I tried 味全brand frozen fish paste, but found it is not good for making otak-otak. (1/31/12 update: I have bought 佳发brand frozen fish paste a couple of times later but they were bad both times, which was disappointing. I now use  港榮 brand fresh lady fish paste (see bottom picture). This brand is available at 99 Ranch Market, under packaged fresh seafood section.
港榮 brand fresh lady fish paste

港榮 brand fresh lady fish paste

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This is a peppery soup that for sure will warm you up during cold winter days. My mom taught me how to clean and prepare pig stomach– after cleaning, we partially cook in a dry wok until the surface is a little brown, and thus enhance the flavor. Usually restaurants don’t do the browning step, but it does make a difference in taste. If the pig stomach scares you, just use peppercorns with spare ribs or even chicken, and becomes peppery chicken soup.

Peppery Pig Stomach & Spare Rib Soup 胡椒猪肚排骨湯

Peppery Pig Stomach & Spare Rib Soup 胡椒猪肚排骨湯

Peppery Pig Stomach & Spare Rib Soup 胡椒猪肚排骨湯 (serves 4-6 people)

Ingredients:
1/2 partially cooked pig stomach– see below for preparing method
1.5 lbs pork spare ribs– cut into chunks
2 tbsp white peppercorns– crushed
1.5 gallon water
salt to taste

Method:

  1. Add water and crushed peppercorns to a deep pot and bring to a boil. Let it boil for several minutes so the flavor of peppercorn comes out. Meanwhile, blanch spare ribs in a separate pot. Remove ribs and wash off any impurities.
  2. Add ribs to the deep pot. Cover and cook on high heat for 15 minutes. Turn heat down to medium, add pig stomach. Continue cooking for another 2- 2.5 hours. Add more water if necessary. The soup should look cloudy at this point. Add salt to taste. Before serving, cut pig stomach into strips.

Preparing pig stomach:

Pig stomach from the Asian grocery stores are cleaned pretty good  and not as disgusting, but still, it requires some extra cleaning at home to make it more enjoyable:

  1. Wash pig stomach briefly and trim off any fat.
  2. Sprinkle generous amount of salt all over pig stomach, rub it with your hands. Then sprinkle generous amount of corn starch/ tapioca starch and rub with your hands again. Then use a knife to scrap off the pig stomach inside and out. Pay attention to parts where there are folds and scrap it good. Rinse well. If after rinsing the pig stomach still feels very slimy then repeat this step. It’s okay though if it feels a little slimy. Make sure the inner side (the side that looks like skin and has folds) is facing out. Drain.
  3. Heat up a dry clean wok on high heat. With the inner side out, put pig stomach to the wok– it will make a very loud noise due to water contact with high heat but don’t worry. Liquid will start to draw out for the first few minutes. Discard the liquid so the wok remains dry. Brown the surface of pig stomach, pressing down with a spatula on the parts that have folds, to prevent shrinking and promote browning. Pig stomach will stick to the wok so move it around from time to time. Flip over and brown the other side.
  4. Wash pig stomach and scrap the “skin” with a knife again. At this point the pig stomach should not feel slimy at all. Drain and it’s ready to use or keep in freezer. Please note pig stomach is only PARTIALLY COOKED and requires further cooking.

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This appetizer is even easier than cucumber appertizer that I posted before. If you like five spiced tofu, give it a try!

Five Spiced Tofu Appertizer

Five Spiced Tofu Appetizer

Five Spiced Tofu Appetizer Recipe

Ingredients:
4 pieces five spiced tofu
1 clove garlic– chopped
1/3 cup chopped cilantro
2 tbsp thick soy sauce– see note below
1 tbsp sesame oil
dash of ground white pepper
dash of chili powder

Method:

  1. Boil tofu in water for a few minutes. Remove tofu and dice into small pieces. While the tofu is hot, toss in remaining ingredients, mix well. Let it sit for 30 minutes before serving so the tofu soak in the flavors. Serve at cold or room temperature.

Regina’s Note:

  • Thick soy sauce: This Taiwanese style thick soy sauce can be found in Asian grocery stores that carry Taiwanese products. I like to use thick soy sauce for this dish because the soy sauce is not thin as regular soy sauce, less chance for diluting and more flavorful.

 

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