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Saute Spicy Chicken Hearts 酱爆鸡心

Saute Spicy Chicken Hearts 酱爆鸡心

Saute Spicy Chicken Hearts 酱爆鸡心 Recipe

Ingredients:
1 lb chicken hearts
3 stalks celery
3 cloves garlic– chopped
2-3 hot red peppers– chopped
1 inch ginger– peeled and shredded
1 piece five spice press tofu 五香豆干 (optional)– cut into strips

seasoning:
3 tbsp thick soy sauce 酱油膏
1 tbsp oyster sauce
1/4 tsp chicken bouillon powder
1 tbsp rice wine

Method:

  1. Trim off excess fat and the top part of chicken hearts. Butterfly and make some slits on exterior side of the hearts.
  2. Remove stringy fiber of celery, and cut into slightly less than 1/4 inch slices.
  3. Poach celery in boiling water for a few seconds to remove the celery flavor, drain. Then poach chicken hearts for 30 seconds, adding 1 tbsp rice wine (extra) to the poaching water. Drain.
  4. Heat up 1 tbsp oil in a wok on high heat. Saute tofu strips until slightly brown. Move to the side of the wok but remain the heat.
  5. Add in 2 tbsp oil, saute ginger, red peppers and garlic until aromatic and spicy. Add in chicken hearts and seasoning. Stir everything to mix well, until the chicken hearts are just cooked. Add in celery, make a quick stir then dish out. Serve immediately.

Regina’s Note:

  • The wok must be very hot while sauteing this dish in order taste the “flavor/spirit of the wok 镬气” . If cooked right, the chicken heats taste tender almost like pork kidney. Don’t over cook or it will be tough.
  • If you cook chicken hearts without poaching ahead, this dish will become watery as the liquid draws out from chicken hearts during cooking process.
  • Just like sauteing other internal organs, rice wine is always a must and seasoning is always heavier than average to yield a very flavorful dish.
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Before I forget, I better write down the kimchi recipe. I learned this kimchi from my neighbor Aunty Wang. The main difference from the normal kimchi is that this recipe uses green cabbage, the American type shaped like a ball and not the Taiwan cabbage which is flatter. The result is a much crunchier texture. As long as the cabbage (and other veggies like cucumber or daikon, if used)  is air dried long enough before marinating, the kimchi will remain crunchy for a couple of weeks.

Cabbage Kimchi

Cabbage Kimchi

Cabbage Kimchi Recipe

Ingredients:
1 small green cabbage (about 2 lbs)
1 small daikon
1 carrot
2-3 stalks green onion

Marinating sauce :
1-2 tbsp finely minced garlic
1 tbsp finely minced ginger
3-5 tbsp fish sauce
2-3 tbsp sugar
1 tbsp chili powder
1 tbsp sesame oil
2 tbsp toasted sesame seeds

Methods:

  1. Take out the core of cabbage and tear the leafs into big pieces, cut a slit at the thick stem if necessary for the sauce to penetrate through. Pour in good amount of salt and toss around. Set aside.
  2. Peel off the skin of daikon and cut into 2 inch strips. Pour in good amount of salt and toss around. Set aside.
  3. When the cabbage and daikon has soften and liquid drains out, rinse them under water a couple of times. Lay them evenly on a big tray and air dry for few hours– the longer the better because the kimchi will remain crunchy longer.
  4. While the cabbage and daikon are drying, peel and julienne carrot. Cut green onions into 1 inch long. Set aside.
  5. In a bowl combine all sauce ingredients and mix well. I like mine a bit garlicky and spicier but adjust the seasoning to suit your taste.
  6. Mix all veggies in a big container/bowl with the sauce. Use your hand to toss around to coat evenly. The sauce will look dry but over the marinating process a little more liquid will come out.  Transfer the marinated kimchi to a air tight container (glassware preferred), pat the veggies down tightly. Use plastic wrap before closing the lid to prevent the smell get to the lid. Let it sit on cool spot at room temperature for 1 1/2 days (no more than 2 days).
  7. Transfer kimchi to clean glass jars, pack tightly. Wrap the jar opening with plastic wrap before closing the lid so the smell won’t penetrate to the lid as much. Keep refrigerated. Kimchi is ready when chilled. Best to consume within 2-3 weeks. When taking kimchi out of the jar, always be sure the utensil is dry and clean.

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In the past the only way I cook lotus root is making black bean, lotus root & spareribs soup. So I am glad to find a new way to enjoy this root vegetable. This is yet another recipe I learned from my neighbor Auntie Wang. The key is to choose young  fresh lotus roots (they are lighter in weigh than those you use for soup) that have clean holes– when you see the sides of lotus root, the holes should be free of mud and flesh is whitish in color. Don’t buy the processed/bleached lotus roots that come in a can or vacuum pack.

The flavor of this dish is sweet, sour and also spicy at the same time. The texture of the ingredients are all crunchy to the taste. For those can’t take the heat, skip hot peppers and make the dish into sweet and sour version (I made some non-spicy lotus root for Ethan)– it’s just as good. This is a very appetizing side dish, and especially good on hot summer days as it is served as a cold dish.

Spicy Lotus Roots

Spicy Lotus Roots

Spicy Lotus Roots Recipe

Ingredients:
1 lb fresh young lotus root (free of mud in the holes and flesh is whitish in color)
1/2 red bell pepper (optional– for texture and color)
1-2 young tender celery sticks (optional– for texture and color)
3-4 cloves garlic– finely chopped
6-8 hot peppers– chopped

Seasoning (adjust to taste):
salt
sugar
rice vinegar
chicken bouillon powder (optional)

Method:

  1. Prepare lotus roots: Cut off both ends and peel off the skin. Thinly slice. Then rinse a few times with water. Transfer lotus root to a pot filled with boiling water, let it boil on high heat for 5 minutes. Drain and set aside. According to Auntie Wang, rinsing and boiling lotus root will prevent it from getting dark.
  2. Clean, remove seed and stem of bell pepper. Cut into strips. For celery, clean and remove any fiber on the stem, cut into strips. Then blanch in boiling water, drain and set aside.
  3. When the wok is hot and ready, add little oil and quick saute celery. Dish out. Repeat with bell pepper and dish out.
  4. Add little more oil to the hot wok, saute garlic and pepper until aromatic. Add lotus roots and seasoning to taste (there should be a little liquid in the wok from rice vinegar). Return bell pepper and celery to the wok, stir quickly and dish out. (Note: The 1st time I used my iron wok to saute lotus root, I guess the acid from the vinegar react with the meta and so my lotus root turns blueish in color after cooking. The 2nd time I use Corning cookware (as I don’t have non-stick pan in my house) to saute lotus root and it turned out perfect– of course non-stick pan is okay too).

Notes:

  • For sweet & sour version, omit hot peppers.
  • This is a cold dish but you can eat it hot or room temperature. Any extras should be kept in the fridge and would last about 1-2 weeks.

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Baked Curry Puffs

Baked Curry Puffs

I made curry puffs and Chinese steamed savory cake for my son’s year-end potluck party at his Chinese school, and both of them were big hits! This is a baked version of curry puff. I’m not sure if it’s any healthier than the fried version, but at least it’s convenient as the puff pastry dough is available in American grocery stores, in frozen foods section. So all I do is just cook the filling, assemble and bake!

Curry Puffs: before baking

Curry Puffs: before baking

Curry Puffs after baking: all puffed up nicely!

Curry Puffs after baking: all puffed up nicely!

Baked Curry Puffs Recipe (makes 36 puffs)

Ingredients:
2 packs of frozen Pepperidge Farm ready-to-bake puff pastry (4 sheets total)
1 1/2 lb potatoes
1/2 small yellow onion– diced into pea size
1 chicken breast– diced into pea size, seasoned with salt, pepper and sesame oil

Seasoning to taste:
curry powder and/or curry paste
chicken essence powder
chili powder (optional– for extra kick in flavor)
salt

egg wash (optional)

Method:

  1. Thaw puff pastry according to package instructions. Cut each sheet of pastry into 9 small squares, for a total of 36 squares. Roll out each square to size of 4″ x 3.5″. Cover and chill all pastry dough in the fridge until ready to wrap in the filling.
  2. In a big pot boil potatoes (skin on) until just cooked. Drained and cool. Remove the skin and dice into pea size.
  3. Heat up pan, fry onion with some oil until fragrant. Add chicken and stir until chicken is cooked. Add potatoes and seasoning to taste. Cook until all seasoned evenly, adding a little water if it gets too dry. Dish out and cool.
  4. To assemble: Scoop a heap tablespoon of the filling and place along the short side of pastry. Fold the dough over, use a fork to press along 3 edges to seal. Pastry dough contains lots of butter so it can’t be at room  temperature for a long time. Chill all the puffs until you’re ready to bake.
  5. Make 1-2 slits on top of the puff to let the air out, brush with egg wash and bake at preheated 400°F oven until they puff up and golden brown, about 15-20 minutes. Cool on the rack.

Notes:

  1. Since the puffs are not very big, I have to cut  ingredients into pea size to make wrapping easier.
  2. You can substitute chicken with ground beef and make it beef curry puffs, or skip the meat for a vegetarian version.

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I made this dish for dinner the other night. While my boys were having diced chicken, shrimp and corn kennel medley, Richard and I were enjoying rendang chicken. It was so mouth watering good with a bowl of steamed rice! Rendang chicken was one of the dishes I learned from a cooking class couple of years ago. I am proud of it as I made it all from scratch including the rendang paste. Just like many other Southeast Asian food, it took me quite some time to cook the chicken, mainly because to thicken the sauce and to cook the meat throughly… the result is worthy nevertheless.

Rendang Chicken

Rendang Chicken

Rendang Chicken Recipe (serves 4-6 people)

Ingredients:

8 pieces chicken pieces (legs, thighs, wings, breasts)– trim off extra fat

1 can coconut milk (14oz)

salt to taste

2 stalks lemon grass– use only the white part, bruise or cut into 2 inch length with some slits

2-3 tbsp tamarind juice

Rendang paste:

3-4 tbsp sambal chili paste ( or use 20-30 red dried chilies pre-soaked in water)

15 small shallots

1/2 inch galangal

1 inch ginger

6-8 cloves garlic

Method:

  1. Make rendang paste: grind all paste ingredients in blender until smooth, adding enough water to facilitate blending.
  2. Heat oil in deep frying pan and fry rendang paste  and lemon grass until fragrant and the paste is quite dry. Add 1/4 can of coconut milk and salt and cook until the paste is bubbly and oil starts to come out. (Do not attempt to fry paste with lots of oil even it looks a little dry because more oil will form later when chicken is cooking in coconut milk).
  3. Add in chicken, stir till the meat is lightly brown on the outside. Add remaining coconut milk and cook until the gravy is thick and chicken is cooked thoroughly. Stir occasionally to prevent burning. Add tamarind juice and cook until oil appears. Dish out and serve hot with steamed rice.

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Laksa is a spicy noodle soup with coconut milk used in the soup base. It is one of street vendor food commonly found in Malaysia whether for breakfast, lunch or dinner. There are 2 types of laksa in Malaysia: Assam laksa uses tamarind juice. It is more common in Northern Malaysia. The one I’m making is laksa lemak, which uses coconut milk in the soup base and is more common in Southern Malaysia.

I forgot to take pictures again this time! 😦 I will try to remember to take some photos next time when I cook laksa. With all that extra laksa paste in my freezer, next laksa meal should be a breeze.

5/22/09 update: Doesn’t take me long to be back again with laksa does it? I did remember to take a pic this time… hehe 🙂

Laksa Noodle Soup

Laksa Noodle Soup

Laksa Paste

Laksa Paste

Laksa Noodle Soup Recipe (serve 4-6 people)

Ingredients:
1/2 cup laksa paste (recipe below)
4 stalks of curry leaves– remove the stems
1 littre chicken broth
1 littre thick coconut milk
cooked noodles (yellow noodles or rice noodles)
bean sprouts– blanched and drained
fish balls– cut in half and boiled for few minutes, drained
tofu puffs– cut in half and boiled for few minutes, drained
cooked chicken breast– shredded
egg omelet– cook it like you would with crepe, cool and cut into strips

Method:

  1. Heat up the pot with some oil and stir fry laksa paste with curry leaves until fragrant and curry leaves soak up the oil and turn dark green.
  2. Add in chicken broth, coconut milk and bring to a boil. Add salt to taste. (I like my laksa more spicy and slightly thicker broth, so I added in 2 tbsp of sambal chili, and half pack of coconut powder– use the laksa soup in the pot to dissolve the powder). The laksa soup base is ready for use.
  3. Fill another pot with water and bring to a boil. Cook noodles, bean sprouts, shrimps and fish balls separately.
  4. To serve, put some noodles in a bowl and arrange all ingredients on the top, pour some laksa soup over it and serve hot.

Laksa Paste Recipe (this recipe made 5 servings– 1 serving is for laksa soup for 4-6 people. You can freeze the extras for future use):

Ingredients:
20 shallots
2 garlic
3 stalks of lemon grass– use only the white part
1/2 inch galangal
6 buah keras or candlenuts
2 tbsp dried shrimp– soaked
2 tbsp ground coriander seeds
20 fresh red thai peppers
2 tsp balancan– roasted balancan preferred
3 tbsp sambal chili– for the color and extra kick

Method:

  1. Blend all ingredients in a blender with water until fine ( I use blender instead of food processor for more fine texture). Add more water if necessary to make blending easy.
  2. Heat up a wok and add 1/2 cup of oil, stir fry the mixture until water evaporate on medium high heat. Then continue to cook on medium heat until it gets thick like a paste consistency. Stir constantly to prevent burn. By now the aroma should come out and the paste is darker in color. Add salt to taste. . Dish out to cool.

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