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Sausage and Shrimp Penne Pasta

Sausage and Shrimp Penne Pasta

Sausage and Shrimp Penne Pasta (serves 6-8 people)

Ingredients:

1 lb penne pasta
2 tbsp olive oil
6 cloves garlic– finely chopped
1 lb spicy Italian sausage– pull to form small pieces, see note below
1 lb raw shrimps
6-10 white button mushroom– trim off the stems and cut into pieces same size as sausages
2 cups of baby spinach leaves
15 oz. (1 jar) of Classico Creamy Alfredo pasta sauce
1 tsp chili flakes
Salt to taste
5 tbsp finely grated Parmesan cheese

Method:

  1. Cook penne pasta as directed from package instructions. Reserve some pasta water.
  2. Heat olive oil in a big frying pan over medium heat then add sausages. Stir a few times to loose up the meat.
  3. When the meat is half way cooked, add garlic to sauté until aromatic. Add mushrooms and stir several times.
  4. Add in shrimps. Stir until shrimps is half way cooked. Scatter in spinach leaves and make a stir.
  5. Turn heat to medium low. Add in cooked penne pasta. Stir to combined thoroughly. Stir in Alfredo sauce, followed by chili flakes, salt and grated Parmesan cheese. The pasta should have some sauce. Add pasta water if necessary. Serve hot immediately.

Regina’s Note:

  • Pasta: I like al dente texture, so when the pasta is half way cooked (or more on the raw side), I turn off the heat and let the pasta sit in the pot. It will continue to cook in the hot pasta water. Meanwhile I work on the sautéing other ingredients. When I’m ready to transfer pasta to the pan, I scoop (scoop with holes at the bottom for straining) pasta quickly, carrying some pasta water to the pan, and thus producing creamier texture. The pasta water helps bind pasta and the sauce together and is considered liquid gold for pasta chefs.
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This dish has a very weird Chinese name; it literally translates as ants climbing up a tree… ?? I wonder if the ground pork is the ‘ants’ and noodles is the lines of a tree bark? Anyway, it’s delicious! That’s all matter!

Ground Pork Stir Fry with Clear Noodles 螞蟻上樹

Ground Pork Stir Fry with Clear Noodles 螞蟻上樹

Ground Pork Stir Fry with Clear Noodles (serves 4 people)

Ingredients:

1/2 lb ground pork
1 bundle clear noodles– soak in water to soften
2 cloves garlic– chopped
2 red hot peppers– chopped
2 tsp rice cooking wine
1/2 cups chopped Chinese celery stems– see note below

Seasoning:
2 tbsp soy sauce
2 tbsp oyster sauce
1 tbsp sugar
1/8 tsp chicken powder
1/2 cup water

Method:

  1. Season pork with typical seasoning (salt, ground white pepper, sesame oil and cornstarch, water). Set aside.
  2. Heat up a wok on medium high heat. Sauté garlic and peppers until aromatic. Add in ground pork. Keep stirring to loose it up. Add in rice wine. Stir until wine evaporates.
  3. Add all seasoning ingredients. Stir to mix well. When it boils, add in noodles. Stir to mix well. Cover, and cook until noodles almost absorb all the liquid and turn transparent. Stirring a few times in between to make sure noodles don’t stick to the wok. Add a little more water if needed. Before dishing out, add chopped Chinese celery stems and stir a few more times. Serve hot immediately with rice.

Regina’s Note:

  • Chinese celery stems: I use Chinese celery stems for its crunchy texture and color. As with regular celery, always remove the fiber ‘strings’ before use.

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My dear Chinese friends, are you tired of all the Chinese New Year foods? Want something light, healthy and simple? Look no further. This is very simple to prepare and easy on your tummy! Bonus is that you can prepare ahead of time!

Eggplant Appetizer 凉拌茄子

Eggplant Appetizer 凉拌茄子

Eggplant Appetizer 凉拌茄子 (serves 4 people)

Ingredients:
2 Chinese long eggplants

Sauce (mix together):
2 cloves garlic– minced
2 red hot peppers (optional)– minced
2 tbsp soy sauce
2 tbsp oyster sauce
2 tbsp black rice vinegar 黑糯米醋– see note below
1 tbsp sesame oil
1 tbsp chili oil
1 tsp sugar

Chopped cilantro for garnish

Method:

  1. Fill a large bowl with some water (enough to soak eggplants after they are cut), add in 2 tbsp white vinegar. Start the steamer on high heat.
  2. Wash eggplants and remove the stem caps. Cut into 3-inch length pieces, then cut in half lengthwise. Immediately soak cut eggplants in vinegar water. Since eggplants tends to float on the top, use something heavy (pot, plate, bowl etc.) on the top to press down eggplants, so they are totally submerged in vinegar water to prevent discoloration after cooking.
  3. Drain the water. Place eggplant in steamer with skin side face up. Steam on high heat for 3 minutes. Remove and let cool.
  4. Cut eggplants into strips then place in a bowl or deep dish plate. Spoon over the sauce and garnish with cilantro. Served cold or room temperature.

Regina’s Note:

  • Black rice vinegar 黑糯米醋: I like to use black rice vinegar in this recipe because it’s less acidic than typical white vinegar and has a some sweetness to it. If you use white vinegar, use less amount and increase amount of sugar.
  • To prevent eggplant from discoloration after cooking, soak in vinegar water and steam with skin side face up.

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Indian Lamb Soup ‘Sup Kambing’ 印度羊肉湯

Indian Lamb Soup ‘Sup Kambing’ 印度羊肉湯

In my hometown Muar, Malaysia, there is a famous Indian lamb soup restaurant. All these times I went back to Muar I actually didn’t get to taste the delicious soup because the weather was too hot to have this rich heaty nourishing soup. After all, I didn’t want to take the chance of a bleeding nose after taking lamb soup. This soup to Indian people is just like chicken soup to Americans when someone in the family gets sick.

But here in U.S., this soup is perfect for a cold rainy winter day. For those of you who are hesitated to taste lamb because of its smell, it has all kinds of spices that you can barely taste the ‘lamb-y’ flavor.

A side note– Malaysian lamb soup is different from Singapore lamb soup. While I searched online for recipes I found Singapore version uses more turmeric powder and soup has a more yellowish color. I tried Singapore version before but it was overpowering in certain flavors but lacked other spice… just not quite the taste I remember from that soup place in my hometown…

Indian Lamb Soup ‘Sup Kambing’ (serves 8-10 people)

Ingredients:

To grind (using coffee bean grinder):
1 tbsp black pepper
1 tbsp coriander seeds
1 tbsp fennel seeds
1 tbsp cumin seeds

To blender (using blender, adding just enough water to facilitate blending):
3 cloves garlic
3 serrano peppers
1 lemon grass– se only whitish part, chopped before blending
1 inch galangal– cut into small pieces before blending
1 inch ginger– cut into small pieces before blending

3 bay leaves
4 star anises
3 cinnamon sticks
12 green cardamoms
1/2 tsp turmeric powder
2 large onions– slice
1 boneless leg of lamb– trim off excess fat, cut into pieces
2 lamb shanks– see note below
enough water to cover the meat
salt to taste

Garnish:
Cilantro leaves

Method:

  1. Grind dried spices until very fine. Blend fresh spices. Cut lamb into pieces (except lamb shanks), then rinse under the water several times. Drain the meat.
  2. Heat a stock pot on medium heat, add in 2 tbsp of oil. Add ground dried spices, bay leaves, star anises, cinnamon sticks, cardamoms and turmeric powder. Stir until aromatic (add a little more oil if needed).
  3. Add in blended fresh spices, stir until the flavor comes out. Add sliced onions, cook until onions are soft.
  4. Add meat to the pot. Stir to mix well. Add water– water level should be 2 inches above the meat. Cover, and turn heat to medium high.
  5. When it boils again, skim off the impurities floating on the top. Continue boiling for 5 minutes, then reduce heat to low. Cover and cook for 2 hours. At this point the meat should be tender and falls apart from the bones. Add salt to taste. Garnish with cilantro leaves. Serve hot with fresh baguette.

Regina’s Note:

  • Lamb shanks: I used lamb shanks mainly for its bones because it’s the bones that gives the richness of the soup base. You can use other lamb parts as long as it contains bones.

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Butter Garlic Parmesan Shrimps with Penne Pasta

There was this butter garlic Parmesan shrimp clip showed up on my Facebook feed. It looked pretty easy so I decided to give it a try, and I also added pasta. The clip didn’t show ingredient measurement so I just came out with my own version (the fun part of cooking is you don’t have to follow recipe to the T!). The pasta turned out quite delicious and got family’s approval. Now we have one more choices for pasta dinner!

Butter Garlic Parmesan Shrimps with Penne Pasta (serves 6-8)

Ingredients:

1 lb shrimps (31-40ct, headless, shell-less, tail-on)
1 box penne pasta
4 tbsp unsalted butter
3-4 cloves garlic– minced
1/2 onion– diced
1 cup julienne sun dried tomatoes
2 handful baby spinach
1 cup whipping cream
2 cups grated Parmesan cheese
Salt and pepper to taste

Method:

  1. Cook pasta until al dente according to package instructions. Drain and set aside.
  2. Heat a frying pan over medium high heat. Add butter to melt.
  3. Sauté garlic and onion until aromatic. Add in sun dried tomatoes. Stir a few times.
  4. Add in shrimps. Stir until shrimps are partially cooked. Add in whipping cream and spinach. Cook until spinach are wilted.
  5. Add in drain pasta. Stir to coat sauce well. Add salt and pepper to taste. When the sauce thickens slightly, sprinkle in grated Parmesan cheese. Toss a few times then dish out. Serve immediately.

Regina’s Note:

  • Boiling pasta: I like to keep my cooked pasta in boiled pasta water to keep warm while I prepare the pasta sauce. But to avoid soggy pasta caused by soaking in boiled pasta water, I turn off the heat when pasta is half way cooked– this way the pasta will remain al dente when I add them to the sauce later.
  • Cheese: You can use combination of Parmesan cheese and Asiago cheese.
  • Want more garlicky? Feel free to add more garlic or granulated garlic

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This is a very easy condiment to prepare. In Malaysia, we always have this condiment for wonton noodles and flat noodles with gravy “Wah Tan Hor 滑蛋河”. Here in the States, you can also find this condiment in Thai restaurant and some Vietnamese restaurants. The pickled peppers sure will wake up your taste bud with its tangy and spicy taste, making all foods taste much better. If you want less spicy, use jalapeño peppers with round bottom tip (pointy tip ones are spicier).

Pickled Green Peppers 醃青辣椒

Pickled Green Peppers 醃青辣椒

Ingredients:

15 Serrano peppers– sliced
4 tbsp water
1/2 cup vinegar– see note below
1 tsp sugar– if needed

Method:

  1. Blanched sliced peppers quickly in boiling water (as soon as you drop them in water, scoop them up right away). Drain peppers and spread out to cool fast (I put them in fridge briefly to cool fast and stop cooking process, so the peppers will stay crunchy and not soft).
  2. Combine water and vinegar in a small sauce pan then bring to a quick boil. Taste the vinegar water, add sugar if it’s too sour, and stir to dissolve sugar. Remove from heat and cool completely.
  3. Combine peppers and vinegar water. Store in a glass jar, in the fridge. The peppers is ready the next day. It’s normal that the peppers turn yellowish color. Always use a clean dry spoon to take out peppers from the jar.

Regina’s Note:

  • Vinegar: Since I use sushi vinegar (which has added salt and sugar), I cut down on sugar. Also sushi vinegar is not as acid as rice vinegar. If you use vinegar that has stronger acid, adjust sugar accordingly.

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My family loves this Chinese soup, especially on a cold day. Ethan would always add LOTS of ground white pepper to his bowl of soup. We used to visit a local Chinese restaurant called Daimo, and we would order this soup almost every time. Too bad the restaurant changed ownership and the soup didn’t taste good. The restaurant even closed down later on. My kids are not fans of green onion and cilantro in general, but they like the green stuff in the soup!… This is good because this soup without lots of green onion and cilantro doesn’t taste right…

West Lake Beef Soup 西湖牛肉羹

West Lake Beef Soup 西湖牛肉羹

West Lake Beef Soup 西湖牛肉羹

Ingredients:

1 1/4 lb beef– chop into coarse ground with some slightly big pieces

Meat seasoning:
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp ground white pepper
1 tsp sesame oil
1 tsp tapioca/corn starch
3 tbsp water

5 cups water
3 tbsp rice cooking wine
Starch water (mix 2 tbsp tapioca/corn starch with 1 tbsp water, stir well before use)
Salt and ground white pepper to taste
3 egg whites
2 stalks green onion– chopped
1/2 bunch cilantro– chopped

Method:

  1. Season beef with meat seasoning, mix well. Cover and chill for at least 30 minutes.
  2. Bring 5 cups of water to a boil on high heat. Add in beef, stir to loose up the meat. When the soup boils again add cooking wine, followed by starch water while stirring the soup.
  3. When the soup starts boiling again, add salt and ground white pepper to taste. Pour in egg whites while stirring the soup. Turn off heat and add in green onions and cilantro. Serve immediately.

Regina’s Note:

  • Egg White: Do not whisk egg white as it will create egg white bubbles in the soup.

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