Jan 15, 2018

Mixed Veggie Strips Stir-Fry with Aromatic Dried Shrimps

Dried shrimps hold the key to success for this mixed veggies stir-fry. Make sure to sear the finely chopped shrimps till almost burnt before adding all the veggie strips. The flavored oil will permeate these healthy ingredients, adding some sparks to a rather plain dish. 

Mixed Veggie strips stir-fry -



Ingredients?

  • 175 grams string beans
  • 150 grams wood ear 
  • 150 grams king oyster mushroom
  • 8 baby corn
  • 3 tablespoons dried shrimps
  • 2 to 3 garlic cloves
  • 1 to 2 red chilies
  • 1 small onion
  • 2 to 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon black vinegar
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper


How?

Rinse the dried shrimps and soak in cold water for about 10 minutes. Dry well with a kitchen towel first then give it a fine chop. Set aside for later use.

Bring a small pot of water to a boil then add in the wood ear, use moist wood ear, not the dried version. Cook for about 10 seconds then drain out the liquid. Remove the tougher center then slice the remaining section.

Peel and finely chop the garlic cloves. Destem the red chilies and finely chop the remaining section. Peel and slice the onion. Slice the baby corn and king oyster mushrooms into thinner strips. Cut the string beans into shorter sections, about 2 inches in length.


Drizzle some olive oil to evenly coat the bottom of the pan. Turn to medium heat and add in dried shrimps along with 1/4 teaspoon of salt and 1/4 teaspoon of black pepper. Sear till bubbling and the dried shrimps gradually turn to darker color.


Change to medium high heat. Add in onion, garlic, and chilies. Cook till the onion turns translucent.


Add in string beans first and cook for 1 to 2 minutes. Then add in the remaining veggie strips. Mix well and cook for another minute or so. Add in 1 tablespoon of soy sauce and 1 tablespoon of black vinegar. Keep stir-frying till the sauce nearly dried up. Taste and adjust with salt if needed.


The reason why the string beans are added to the pan first is to help stripping away that raw grassy taste. Never a big fan of it. But of course you can still cook all the veggie strips at the same time. Be free and adjust the ingredients per your preference. Recipes should act as a guide, instead of a definite rule to follow.


Other stir-fry veggies recipe:



Jan 8, 2018

Cod Fillets with Colorful Tomato Basil Sauce

One common way to cook cod the Chinese way is by steaming it with some fermented black beans and soy sauce, some might like it with crunchy fermented soybeans sprinkle on top. But I want something juicy this time, something I can drizzle the sauce all over starchy sides. So here it is, cod fillets served with juicy, sourish, and slightly sweet tomato basil sauce.

Cod fillets with colorful tomato basil sauce -



Ingredients (about 2 servings)?

  • 2 medium cod fillets (skin removed)
  • 1 to 1 1/2 cups colorful cherry tomatoes
  • 1 cup basil 
  • 1/2 cup dry white wine
  • 1/2 lemon
  • 4 garlic cloves
  • 1 red chili
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • Some salt
  • Some freshly ground black pepper


How?

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit. Line a baking dish with foil.

Colorful cherry tomatoes can be a rare find in Taiwan. I've been passing by these beauties many times since the price tag is not so adorable. However, since I'm already using such high quality cod fillets, I know these tomatoes will not disappoint, and it won't hurt that bad to indulge a little once a while.


Halve these tomatoes. 

Peel and finely chop the garlic cloves. Destem the chili and finely chop the remaining section. Sprinkle some salt and black pepper on both sides of the cod fillets. Finely chop the basil leaves. Zest and juice half lemon.

Drizzle some oil to the pan and turn to medium high heat. Once warmed, add in the fish fillets and sear till colored, should be golden to slightly browned. Flip and sear the other side till colored.

Transfer the fillets to prepared baking dish and into the oven for 5 minutes or longer depending on the thickness of the fish. 

Using the same pan with medium heat, add in garlic and chili along with 1/4 teaspoon of salt. Give it a quick sear then add in halved tomatoes. Cook till softened but not mushed. Turn to medium high heat. Add in the lemon juice, lemon zest, and dry white wine to deglaze the pan. Cook till the sauce has been reduced by about half.


Mix in chopped basil leaves and cook for another 10 seconds or so.

Remove the fish fillets from the oven and transfer onto the serving plate/s. Scoop the tomato basil sauce over and it's ready to serve. 

This fish recipe is sturdy enough to be the main dish itself. Maybe serve it with other starchy ingredients such as potatoes or steamed white rice. 


Even though it's more of a western dish, but trust me, the sauce tastes even better when spooned over the rice. These two make a powerful combo. 


Other fish recipes:

Jan 3, 2018

Stir-Fried Mushi Noodles 木須炒麵 (Large Serving)

No, it's not a typo, it's not mushy, it's "mushi" noodles. It's a type of Chinese stir-fried noodles with some strip-shaped ingredients like carrot and wood ear. But the most important of them all is strips of seared eggs. 


A very simplified Chinese lesson here. Mushi = 木須. And Mu = 木 = literally means wood in English. So you might relate mushi as wood ear since they both have this wood element. However, mushi is actually referring to the egg strips. Why? Well, one saying is that back in the old days where emperor rules and served by eunuchs, they do not want to call it noodles with eggs, hopefully you can feel their pain and reasons why trying to avoid anything related to "eggs." Since the color of this cooked egg is similar to a type of flower named "musi," so over time the pronunciation transformed into "mushi." 

Got it? Mushi means the yellowish seared eggs. Not anything woody, and certainly not wood ear. 


Stir-fried mushi noodles 木須炒麵 -





Ingredients (about 8 portions)?



  • 1350 grams/about 48 oz Chinese yellow noodles
  • 1 lb pork strips
  • 3 large eggs
  • 8 heads Chinese cabbage (long and small kind)
  • 8 heads bok choy
  • 3 large pieces wood ear
  • 1 onion
  • 1 medium carrot
  • 4 garlic cloves
  • 1 to 2 red chilies
  • 1 stalk scallion
  • 1 small bundle cilantro
  • 1 cup chicken stock
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoons oyster sauce
  • 1 tablespoon black vinegar
  • 2 slices ginger
  • Some olive oil
  • Some sesame oil
  • Some salt
  • Some white pepper powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper


How?

Remove the stems of Chinese cabbage, bok choy, and scallion. Cut them into shorter strips, about 2 inches in length. 


Peel and slice the ginger. Two thicker slices to flavor the oil, not going to eat the ginger. Peel and slice the onion. Peel and chop the garlic cloves. Destem the red chilies and finely chop the remaining section. Finely chop the cilantro. 


Peel and julienne the carrot. Bring a medium pot of water to a boil then quickly cook the wood ear pieces. No more than 3o seconds. Drain and set aside till cool enough to handle by hand. Remove the tougher center knot and slice the remaining section into strips.




I actually use better quality large piece of Matsuzaka pork and slice against the grain into strips myself. Try to source pork with some fats throughout. If the meat itself is tender enough, there is no need to pre-marinate it, and definitely save some workload in the kitchen.


Also bring a big pot of water to a boil and quickly cook the noodles, just a quick dip into the hot water and not overcooking it. Drain well and set aside for later use. These noodles will finish cooking in the sauce later on.


Take a big pan and drizzle some oil to coat the bottom. Turn to medium heat. Beat 3 eggs in a bowl and pour onto the warm pan. Swirl the pan a little bit so the egg can spread out into a large circle. You can see that the thin edges of the egg starts to "peel away" from the pan, that means the egg is about ready. It shouldn't stick to the pan, but rather easily slide down to a plate or cutting board. 




Once the egg cools down, roll it up and slice into strips, like chiffonade basil leaves. Set aside for later use.




Drizzle 2 more tablespoons of oil to the pan and turn to medium high heat or just keep it at high heat if you're a quick mover in the kitchen. Add in onion along with ginger slices, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon of black pepper. Cook till the onion turns slightly browned on the edges.


Remove ginger slices but add in garlic, scallion, and chilies. Continue to cook till aromatic but not burning the garlic.




Add in wood ear and carrot strips. Cook for about 1 minute. Then add in pork strips along with 2 tablespoons soy sauce, 2 tablespoons oyster sauce, and 1 tablespoon black vinegar. The vinegar won't make the noodles sourish, but more like a scent to brighten up the flavors.



Some people like to use add some sugar too. But I already add some oyster sauce, which is kind of sweet in a way, so there is no need to add extra sweet element to this dish. 


Once the pork strips cooked-through, add in Chinese cabbage and bok choy. Cook till wilted, it might take a few minutes depend on the heat used. 


Mix in most of the egg strips and all the chopped cilantro.


Pour in chicken stock and bring the whole mixture to a boil. Taste and adjust with salt if needed. Transfer the noodles to the pan and cook till it reaches desired texture. Should be soft but not "mushy." Also most of the juice in the pan should be absorbed by the noodles when they're about ready.


Drizzle some sesame oil, about 1 teaspoon. Sprinkle some white pepper powder throughout. Give it a final mix.




Plate the noodles and garnish with remaining "mushi." You should know by now, add the egg strips saved earlier, nothing woody and definitely not wood ear.


Other Chinese noodles recipes: