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Archive for April, 2011

Bamboo Shoots Stewed Pork 竹笋烧肉

Bamboo Shoots Stewed Pork 竹笋烧肉

Bamboo Shoots Stewed Pork 竹笋烧肉 Recipe

Ingredients:
2 lbs pork butt 梅头肉– cut into chunks– see note below
1 lb frozen chunk bamboo shoots 绿竹笋

Stew sauce:
1 honey date 蜜枣
2 stalks green onion
2 inches ginger– crushed
5 cloves garlic– crushed
2 star anise 八角
1 piece cinnamon stick 桂皮
1 stick rock candy stick 冰片糖
1  hot pepper (optional– skip for non-spicy version)
1/2 cup soy sauce
1/2 tbsp dark soy sauce (optional)
3 tbsp rice cooking wine
1/2 tsp five spice powder
6 cups water

Method:

  1. Prepare stew sauce: Boil all ingredients in a pot, covered, on high heat for 15 minutes for the flavor to com out.
  2. Cut meat into 1-inch chunks. Blanch, rinse and add to the stew sauce. Cook on high heat for 5 minutes, then turn down to medium heat. Partially covered, cook for about 1 hour until the meat are tender but not falling apart. Stir occasionally. Add more water if liquid is drying too fast. Remove the meat when it is done.
  3. While the meat is stewing, Slice bamboo shoots to 1/4-inch thickness. Blanch in boiling water then strain.
  4. Add in sliced bamboo shoot to stew sauce, cook on medium heat for 15-20 minutes. The stew sauce should almost covers bamboo shoots. Add more water if necessary. Return meat to the pot and stir to combine.

Regina’s Note:

  • Pork Butt: I use combination of 2/3 pork butt and 1/3 pork belly.
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I accidentally bought some hot cocoa mix and it has been sitting in my pantry for a long time. This is a good way to use up the hot cocoa mix. The mix is hazelnut chocolate flavor but we didn’t taste hazelnut flavor at all; my kids tasted coffee flavor instead ?!… The cake came out a little dry, next time I will try add another tablespoon of water to the batter. Sugar can be down by one tablespoon too since there’s sugar in the cocoa mix already.

Hot Cocoa Mix Chiffon Cake

Hot Cocoa Mix Chiffon Cake

Cocoa Mix Chiffon Cake

Ingredients (egg yolk mixture):
4 egg yolks
4 tbsp sugar– should try 3 tbsp next time
3 tbsp water– should try 4 tbsp next time
4 tbsp cooking oil
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1 cup cake flour
3 tbsp hot cocoa mix (I used hazelnut chocolate flavor)
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt

Ingredients (egg white mixture):
4 egg whites
1/4 tsp cream of tartar
4 tbsp sugar

Method:

  1. Preheat oven 335°F. Combine flour, hot cocoa mix, baking powder and salt in a bowl.
  2. Whisk egg yolks and sugar until fluffy and pale in color. Add oil, water, and vanilla extract. Mix well.
  3. Sift in flour mixture in and mix until well blended, in 3 batches.
  4. Whip egg whites until foamy, add cream of tartar and whip for a little while. Gradually add in sugar and whip on high speed till peaks form or meringue stage (reduce to med speed later to avoid big air bubbles).
  5. FOLD IN 1/3 of egg white into egg yolk mixture gently with a rubber spatula until just blended. FOLD IN remaining 2/3 of egg white into the egg yolk mixture. Take care not to over blended.
  6. Pour the batter into a chiffon cake pan. Tap the pan on counter top 1-2 times to release big air pockets and bake for 40-45 minutes. Do not open the oven door while it’s baking or the cake won’t rise.
  7. Invert the cake IMMEDIATELY after baking to let cool. Remove the cake from the pan when it is completely cool.
Before unmolding: Hot Cocoa Mix Chiffon Cake

Before unmolding: Hot Cocoa Mix Chiffon Cake

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I learned this dish from my friend and neighbor Amy, who is Burmese Chinese. According to her, there’s a type of leafy vegetable in Burma that has sour taste on the leaves, and is traditionally used to make this dish. However, this vegetable is hard to find in U.S. so she uses fresh spinach leaves instead. Despite of its not-so-appetizing look, the dish tastes just the opposite– it is especially good with a bowl of plain porridge or steamed rice. Extras can be freeze for a quick side dish served on the table on busy days.

Burmese Style Spicy and Sour Spinach

Burmese Style Spicy and Sour Spinach

Burmese Style Spicy  and Sour Spinach (makes 2-3 servings)

Ingredients:
2.5 lbs fresh small spinach leaves– see note below
3 cans (8 oz each) shredded bamboo shoots– see note below
1 1/2 bulk garlic– chopped
5 tbsp dried shrimp– soaked until softened, chopped
10 red hot peppers– chopped
1-1/2 cup cooking oil

Seasoning:
1 tsp turmeric powder
2 tbsp paprika powder
2-3 tbsp fish sauce
2-3 tbsp tamarind powder

Method:

  1. Rinse bamboo shoots a couple of times, then blanch to remove any “can/tin” odor. Drain and set aside.
  2. Heat up 1 tbsp oil to a big pot on high heat, add in spinach (in batches if necessary) and stir. The liquid will start to draw out and the spinach will shrink down. Turn down to medium heat and cook for another 10 minutes. By this time all liquid should draw out from spinach already. Reserve about 1/2 cup of liquid in the pot and remove the extras. Stir occasionally and cook spinach until it’s very soft (mushy looking) and liquid dries out. Dish out.
  3. Turn heat back to high and add in remaining oil. Add in turmeric powder and paprika powder. Stir until the oil changes color. Add in garlic, peppers and dried shrimp. Saute until aromatic. Add in bamboo shoots and fish sauce (try 2 tbsp first). Stir for a few minutes.
  4. Return cooked spinach to the pot, adding tamarind powder(try 2 tbsp first). Stir to mix well. Taste, and add more fish sauce and tamarind powder if necessary for stronger flavor. Add a little more oil too if necessary (there should be little oil forming when it sets). Serve with steamed rice or plain porridge.  Extras can be frozen in batches.

Regina’s Note:

  • Spinach leaves— I got mine from Costco (sold in 2.5 lb bag).
  • Bamboo shoots— According to Amy, the recommended brand is Wei-Chuan 味全 as their bamboo shoots are tenderer. You can also use frozen bamboo shoots chunks if you prefer, but you’ll need to shred it.
  • Since there’s salt in fish sauce and tamarind powder, no salt is used in cooking.
  • Extras can be frozen.

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Cherry Cream Cheese Braid Bread

Cherry Cream Cheese Braid Bread

This is the first I made braided bread. As you can tell I need more practice! Don’t be intimidated by its look, it is actually quite easy to braid, and fun too. I initially wanted cream cheese filling, but added chopped tart dried cherries, hoping to break up the richness of cream cheese. After I braided the bread, I let it slow rest in the fridge overnight– and comes the problem: while those dried cherries didn’t taste too tart to me while I chopped them, but letting it sit in the fridge overnight brings out the tartness. After baking the filling tasted too tart to go well with cream cheese filling. Oh well, next time I should just skip the cherries, or go for a savory version of braided bread.

I forgot to take pictures of the braiding part, but I found this braiding pastry video that shows the braiding method.

Cherry Cream Cheese Braid Bread

Cherry Cream Cheese Braid Bread

Cherry Cream Cheese Braid Bread

Cherry Cream Cheese Braid Bread

Cherry Cream Cheese Braided Bread (makes 1 large loaf)

Ingredients:

Ingredients:

Dough:
2 1/4 cup bread flour
1/2 tsp salt
1 1/2 tbsp dry milk powder
4 tbsp sugar
2 tsp dry yeast
1 egg
125- 150 ml warm water
2 1/2 tbsp butter

cherry cream cheese filling– recipe follows
egg wash

Method:

  1. In the mixing bowl mix well the first 5 ingredients then add in egg. With dough hook attached and starts kneading, slowing add water to form a dough. Add a little more water if necessary. Drop in butter and continue to knead the dough until it doesn’t stick to the bowl and pass the “membrane” test. (pull a small piece of the dough, use two hand to stretch the dough to a very thin layer– if the layer doesn’t tear then the dough is ready to proof. Otherwise, continue kneading until it passes the test).
  2. Transfer the dough to a big bowl. Wrap the bowl and leave it on a warm spot to rest/proof until double in size.  (To speed up the resting time a little you can sit the bowl on a moist hot towel, or sit the bowl on top of a pot of hot water).
  3. Lightly knead the dough on a board a few times to punch out big air pockets trapped inside. Roll out to a 9×13 inch rectangle of 1/2 inch thickness. Spread cream cheese filling on the middle 1/3 of the dough. Make diagonal 1-inch strips on the other 2/3 of the dough. First fold both ends over the filling. Then pull strips, alternating, to the other side crossing over the filling. For the last strips, just tuck in at the bottom (as seen on braiding pastry video). Place on a large baking pan (greased or lined with parchment paper). Cover with plastic wrap and let it rest in the fridge overnight.
  4. Let the chilled dough sit in room temperature for 30 minutes to 1 hour before baking. Preheat oven to 375°F. Apply egg wash on the top of the bread. Bake in preheated 375°f oven for 15-18 minutes or until golden brown. Remove from pan and cool on a rack.

Cherry Cream Cheese Filling:
1 block cream cheese, softened
4-5 tbsp powder sugar
3 tbsp dried tart cherries– roughly chopped

Method: Whisk cream cheese and powder sugar until smooth. Stir in dried cherries.

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Stewed Beef Shank 卤牛腱

Stewed Beef Shank 卤牛腱 with stewed eggs 卤蛋

 

Stewed Beef Shank 卤牛腱 Recipe

Ingredients:

1 beef shank– cut in half lengthwise

Stew Sauce Base:
3 inch ginger– crushed
4 cloves garlic– crushed
3 stalks green onion
3 star anise 八角
1 tsp five spice powder
1 stick cinnamon bark 桂皮
1/2 stick rock sugar
1 cardamon 草果
1 tbsp salt
4 tbsp cooking wine
1 tsp chicken bouillon powder
1/2 cup soy sauce
3 tbsp dark caramel sauce 黑酱油
6 cups water
2 dashes ground white pepper

Method:

  1. Put all ingredients in stew sauce base into a deep pot. Cover and boil on high heat for 15 minutes for the flavor to come out.
  2. In a separate pot blanch beef shank briefly. Rinse and put into the stew sauce. Cover and boil beef shank on high heat for 15 minutes. Reduce heat to medium low, cover and simmer for 1–1.5 hours until the meat is slightly tender. Turn the meat several times while simmering. Turn off heat, cover and continue let the meat stay in the sauce to soak up the flavor.
  3. Cool completely, chill if necessary, before thin slicing the meat or it may fall apart.

Regina’s Note:

  • The cooking time depends on the size of the beef shank. Undercooked beef shank produces tough meat, but overcooked beef shank falls crumbly apart even when you thin slice after chilling. Use a chopstick or fork to check the doneness of the meat– it should feel slight tender as the chopstick/fork inserted into the center of the meat.
  • This stew sauce base can be kept in the freezer and reuse. Just strain and remove grease before freezing. When reuse the sauce, add a little more of each ingredients to bring out the flavor again.
  • The stew sauce is very flavorful especially after stew the meat, and thus great for stewing soy sauce eggs, tofu, tendon etc. It is best to stew each kind of food separately as each requires a different stewing time. Also, add in a little more ginger, green onion, cooking wine etc before adding each kind of food, sort to bring out the flavor.
  • For stewed kelp/seaweed 卤海带, because of its natural fishy scent, requires little more cooking wine to neutralize the flavor. Make kelp the last ingredient to stew if you’re not keeping the stew sauce, or take some sauce out and stew kelp separately if you’re planning to reuse the stew sauce. Also, since kelp cannot be stewed too long, so be sure the sauce is slightly thick before adding kelp (I would say stew kelp on high heat until it boils then simmer on medium low heat for 20-30 minutes, depending the thickness of the kelp. Again, use chopstick or fork to check for doneness).

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I saw this recipe inside the box of Challenge Butter, and decided to give it a try. The recipe yields a large loaf, but I use a 9 inch square glass pan because I was worry the batter will overfill my loaf pan. The verdict: the orange and mango flavor is very light. I used brown sugar instead of granulated sugar stated in the recipe, and the bread came out not too sweet.

Orange Mango Nut Bread

Orange Mango Nut Bread

 

Orange Mango Nut Bread (original recipe from Challenge Butter, makes 1 large loaf or one 9x9x2 inch square pan)

Ingredients:
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened
3/4 cups sugar– I used light brown sugar
2 tsp fresh orange zest– I used lemon zest from 2 lemons
2 eggs
2 cups flour
3/4 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp baking soda
1/2 salt
1 container (6 oz) plain yogurt
1/3 cup orange juice
1/2 cup chopped toasted pecans– I used toasted walnuts
1/2 cup chopped dried mangoes

Method:

  1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Grease baking pan with cooking spray. Combine flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt in a bowl.
  2. Cream butter, sugar and zest until fluffy. Beat in eggs.
  3. Add in flour mixture, alternating with yogurt and orange juice. Mix with a rubber spatula until all combined. Stir in nuts and mangoes.
  4. Pour batter into baking pan, smooth the top, Sprinkle chopped walnuts on the top (extra– optional). Bake 45-50 minutes, until toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
  5. Let stand in the baking pan for 10 minutes. Remove and cool on rack.
Orange Mango Nut Bread

Orange Mango Nut Bread

 

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I had some pumpkin soup in the past and found the soup tasted quite nice. However, I am not a big fan of American pumpkin, so I use kabocha squash instead– it is similar to pumpkin, and some Chinese recipes even refer it as pumpkin. You can boil kabocha until it is soft, but I chose to roast it with some garlic and onion. The kabocha flavor really comes out. After roasting I had a bite of the squash– the flavor really comes out and it was delicious just by itself. Hmm, maybe next time instead of roasting same old potatoes, I’ll roast kabocha for a side dish.

 

Roasted Kabocha Soup 南瓜汤

Roasted Kabocha Soup 南瓜汤 with crab meat

Roasted Kabocha Soup Recipe

Ingredients:
1 kabocha squash, 2-3 pounds
1/2 onion– cut into chunks
1 cloves garlic– roughly chopped
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp ground pepper
1 tsp cooking oil

2 cans reduce sodium chicken broth
1/4 tsp curry powder
1/3 cup heavy cream
salt and pepper to taste

Garnish:
chopped parsley or chives
crab meat, crispy bacon crumbs, or pine nuts (optional)

Method:

  1. Preheat oven to 375°F. Wash the outside of kabocha squash to remove any dirt. Remove seeds, leave the skin intact. Cut into wedges.
  2. On a large baking pan, toss squash, onion, garlic with oil, salt and pepper. Roast for 40 minutes or until tender. Let cool then scoop out the flesh. Discard the skin.
  3. Add cooled kabocha, in several batches, and enough chicken broth into a blender. Blend until your desired smoothness (I blended my squash half smooth and half slightly coarse, as I like to taste tiny pieces of kabocha in my soup). Pour blended soup and remaining chicken broth into a pot. Bring to a boil. Stir occasionally. Add curry powder, and salt and pepper to taste. For a creamy taste, add in heavy cream. Garnish and serve.

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