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Archive for October, 2009

Stir Fry Bitter Guard with Shrimps

Stir Fry Bitter Melon with Shrimps

Growing up, I always hate bitter melon and don’t understand why people would eat it. But since some not so bad bitter melon tasting last year, I start to accept this vegetable– what can I say with me and the family eating lots of “heaty” food all the time, I need the “ying” of this vegetable to cool down :). This summer I pretty much had a bitter melon dish once a week– what a big change to my diet! Since Richard and Alexander don’t take bitter melon, I only cook it for lunch. When Ethan first saw me eating bitter melon, he wanted some too and so I gave him a bite. Surprisingly, he didn’t spit it out– he ate it followed with a drink of water. Since then he will want a bite or two of bitter melon every time I cook it.

One of the popular way to cook bitter melon is using fermented black bean. My friend Amy suggested using fish sauce and shrimp. If you have fish sauce in your pantry, do give it a try. When I want shrimp in the dish, I would stir fry with fish sauce, or add an egg and make it scrambled egg style. If it’s just stir frying bitter melon alone, I would use fermented black bean. My mom cook it with tomatoes and thus adds tangy flavor to the dish– quite refreshing taste. Hochiak! Delicious Asian Food have it fried with salted egg— hmmm… sounds delicious. I would have to try it next time.

Stir Fry Bitter Melon with Shrimps Recipe

Ingredients:
1 medium bitter melon–cut in 1/2 vertically, discard seeds and inner spongy stuff with a spoon, then thin slice
8-10 small shrimps– shelled and deveined, lightly seasoned with salt
2 cloves garlic– finely chopped
few drops of fish sauce
1/2 to 1 cup hot water
salt and pepper to taste

Method:

  1. Put sliced bitter melon in a bowl and sprinkle with some salt and little water. Rub salt into bitter melon. Let it sit for a while to draw out bitter juice. Rinse under water 2 times. Drain.
  2. Heat wok on high heat. Add 1 tbsp oil and quick saute shrimps until just cooked. Dish out.
  3. Add 1 tbsp oil to  the hot wok. Stir fry garlic until aromatic, add bitter melon and keep stirring. Add enough hot water, little at a time, and cook bitter melon until tender. Add fish sauce, salt and pepper and stir well. Return shrimps to wok. Quick stir and dish out.

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This is my family version of Russian Soup. I grow up taking this soup a lot of time. I know I know… this is not what a Russian Soup should be, but I am just so get used to the name and the taste of it that whenever people said Russian Soup, I just think of my family version’s. Well, regardless of what it is called, the soup is very good especially for cold days that’s coming up. The peppery taste will warm up your stomach, and potatoes and carrots adds comfy homey touch to the soup.

My family version of Russian Soup

My family version of Russian Soup

Khern’s Russian Soup Recipe

Ingredients:
1 1/2 lbs spareribs, cut into 2-inch pieces
1/2 yellow onion– finely chopped
1 tbsp white peppercorn– crushed using back of a knife
4 medium yellow potatoes– peeled, cut into big chucks
2 carrots– peeled, cut into big chucks
1 1/2 gallon water

Method:

  1. Add water, yellow onion and crushed peppercorn in a big pot and bring to a boil.
  2. While waiting for the water to boil, prepare spareribs: add water in a different pot and bring to a boil. Add ribs and blanch. Remove from heat. Discard the water and rinse ribs under running water to remove any bloody impurities.
  3. When the water in big pot is boiling, add blanched ribs. Cover and cook on high heat for 15-20 minutes. Turn heat down to medium, continue to cook for 1.5 hours.
  4. Add potatoes and carrots to the soup, cover then turn heat back to high and let it boil again. Then turn down to medium heat and cook for another hour. Add salt to taste before serving.

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I haven’t touched cake decorating for about 2 years because it takes lots of time and energy which I don’t have with 3 kids at home. However, my little princess was turning one so I decided to bake a cake for her birthday party, to mark this special milestone. I had never heard of chocolate plastic until I was looking for chocolate recipe to make the dress (I didn’t want to use fondant because it’s good on the look but not for the taste). Based upon reviews chocolate plastic works just like fondant but tastes like tootsie. A lot of people said they like it much better than fondant.

The plastic icing was very easy to make, but I failed making my very first batch of plastic icing because I over stirred– it became very sticky and the fat was separated from the mixture. When I made it the second time, I made a quick stir and it turned out perfect. Scroll down to see the recipe.

Dress Cake

Dress Cake

Dress details…

Dress Cake

Dress Cake

Horrible writing… It was a very difficult angle to write the words as I had to be careful not letting my body or my elbows touch the cake while writing.

Dress Cake

Dress Cake

Here are my paper drafts… I always draw the design on the paper before decorating.

Drawing for the cake design

Draft: Drawing for the cake design

Top and bottom border design

Draft: Top and bottom border design

Ta daa…: may I present you The Dress!

The dress-- made of chocolate plastic

The dress-- made of chocolate plastic

Chocolate Plastic Recipe

Ingredients:

1 pound semisweet chocolate, chopped
3/4 cup light corn syrup (use 1/2 cup if use white chocolate)

Method:

  1. Melt chocolate in a large metal bowl over a pan of simmering water. Stir occasionally until smooth. Remove from heat, and quickly stir in the corn syrup until smooth. Do not over stir as it will get very sticky.
  2. Spoon onto a piece of plastic wrap, and wrap tightly. Let stand at room temperature until firm before using. Overnight is best. Use unsweetened cocoa powder (if using chocolate) or icing sugar (if using white chocolate) on work surfaces to prevent sticking.

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