Oct 21, 2018

Thai Style Mint and Basil Chicken Stir-Fry

My earlier shiso chicken tenders recipe post was the result of absent mint leaves. Luckily, I finally managed to find a steady source of mint supplies at a grocery store inside a nearby department store. So here's what I intended to make before.

Thai style mint and basil chicken stir-fry -





Ingredients?


  • 240 grams chicken tenders
  • 1 cup mint leaves
  • 3/4 cup basil
  • 1 purple onion
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 2 red chilies
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons oyster sauce
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons lemon juice (plus 2 lemon wedges, optional)
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 1 teaspoon grated ginger
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon black pepper
  • Some fish sauce (optional)


How?


Remove the tendons from chicken tenders and cut the meat into smaller pieces. Destem and slice the red chilies diagonally. Peel and roughly chop the garlic cloves. Peel and dice the onion. Peel and grate the ginger. Slice the lemon into wedges and squeeze some to get about 1 1/2 tablespoons of juice. Chop the mint and basil leaves.




Drizzle some olive oil to coat the bottom of the pan. Turn to medium high heat. Add in chopped onion along with 1/8 teaspoon of salt and 1/8 teaspoon of freshly ground black pepper. Cook till the onion turns slightly translucent.




Add in garlic, chilies, and grated ginger, cook till aromatic but not burning the garlic.


Transfer the chicken over, give it a few flips and wait till about half way cooked through.


Add in 2 tablespoons oyster sauce and 1 tablespoon of sugar, cook for about 30 seconds.




Transfer chopped mint and basil over and give it a quick stir. Pour in lemon juice and cook till nearly dried up. Taste and adjust with fish sauce if a saltier taste is preferred.




Plate and sprinkle some black pepper over, and serve with lemon wedges.




Who said that mint leaves can only be used in drinks and dessert? I love how South Eastern Asian cuisine incorporate such aromatic herb to stir-fry dishes. Sourish, spicy, and salty, but yet all balanced with that refreshing touch. 



Other Asian stir-fry recipes:


Oct 15, 2018

Fileja Pasta with Chorizo and Bell Pepper Sauce

Best thing about this recipe is that you can make the sauce ahead and store in either the fridge or freezer. Perhaps prep the sauce during the weekends. When hunger calls, just heat it up and mix in cooked pasta right before meal time. For sure this recipe can save you from hassles during hectic working days.

Fileja pasta with chorizo and bell pepper sauce -





Ingredients (about 5 to 6 portions)?


  • 500 grams/1 pack tri-color fileja pasta (can be substitute with other type of short pasta)
  • 0.4 lb chorizo
  • 2 red bell peppers
  • 1 can diced tomatoes
  • 1 purple onion
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 3 tablespoon chopped basil
  • 3 tablespoons chopped parsley
  • Some aged Parmigiano Reggiano


How?


Peel and slice the onion. Peel and roughly chop the garlic cloves. Cut the chorizo into smaller pieces. Remove the seeds and ribs from bell peppers and cut into smaller pieces too. Finely chop the basil and parsley.

Bring a big pot or pan, drizzle 1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil. Add in onion, chorizo, 1 teaspoon of salt, 1/2 teaspoon of black pepper, and 1/2 teaspoon of red pepper flakes. Turn to medium high heat and sear till some of that red oil starts to render from chorizo.




Add in garlic and bell pepper, continue to sear for another minute or so.


Pour in drained dice tomatoes and cook for few more minutes.




Turn off the heat and stir in chopped basil and parsley. Let the whole thing cool down for 5 to 10 minutes.


Scoop these ingredients to the food processor. Give it a few pulses and blend till nearly smooth, small chunks are fine, which and add a rustic touch to the dish. If prepping the sauce ahead of time, simply store the sauce to the fridge and serve in three days, or store in the freezer for up to weeks.




Meanwhile, prepare a big pot of water and add in few pinches of salt. Bring to a boil and cook the pasta till almost al dente.




Back to our blended sauce, pour that back into the pot and turn to medium heat to slowly heat it up. When the pasta is ready, drain well and pour the pasta right into the red sauce. Mix till combined and cook for another minute, so the pasta and the sauce and bind together.




Plate the pasta and grate some aged Parmigiano Reggiano all over right before serving.




It's totally a western dish, but somehow after I drizzled some Tabasco sauce over the pasta, the red sauce taste very similar to a Taiwanese spicy ground pork canned food. Who would have thought such a foreign meal can bring out my Asian childhood memories?



Other pasta recipes:


Oct 9, 2018

Kill Two Birds with One Stone - Flu Fighting and Hangover Cure Abalone Porridge

Back in the days when I used to have a few drinks during the weekends in SoCal, some of us Asians like to venture to K-town and have a bowl of abalone porridge as night time comfort food. It works kind of like the hot dog from a stand adjacent to clubs and bars. The warmth and soothing feeling you get after a crazy night, there must be something magical about abalone porridge and hot dogs.

Abalone Porridge -





Ingredients (makes about one big pot)?


  • 2 1/2 cups uncooked white rice (regular cups, not the smaller rice cups)
  • 2 canned abalone (save the juice inside, about 2 1/2 cups)
  • 6 shiitake mushrooms
  • 1 small medium carrot
  • 5 cups chicken stock
  • 1 stalk scallion
  • 1 tablespoon white sesame oil
  • 1 tablespoon grated ginger
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 raw egg yolks
  • Some dried seaweed threads
  • Few dashes fish sauce (optional)


How?


My version of abalone porridge is much more condensed and packed with actual abalone slices compared to the one sold in K-town. You can always dilute it down, but since I'm making it myself, I prefer to eat like a queen.


Remove abalones from the cans and save the juice




Slice the abalone to bite size pieces.


Peel and grate the ginger. Peel and finely dice the carrot. Remove the stems from shiitake mushrooms and cube the caps. Destem and chop the scallion.


Take a clay pot, drizzle some lighter tasting white sesame oil and add in grated ginger. Turn to medium heat and wait till the surface gets hot. Wait till that gingery aroma comes out, sear for a little bit longer, but not burning the bits.


Add in carrot, shiitake, and 1 teaspoon of salt. Give it a quick stir and cook for about 30 seconds.




Add in uncooked white rice, I use basmati rice here. Give it a few flips, making sure every grain is coated with oil.




Pour in abalone juice, I've got about 2 1/2 cups here, also pour in 5 cups of chicken stock. If you can't get that much of abalone juice from the cans, just substitute with chicken stock. 




Bring to a boil then lower the heat to a simmer. Put on the lid and cook till the grains reach desired texture. Remember to check and stir once a while to prevent the bottom from browning or sticking to the pot. Add more stock if needed, especially if a more watery texture is desired.




Add the abalone slices towards the end, just leave enough time to warm up the pieces.

Fish sauce can add more depth to the porridge. So towards the end, instead of salt, use fish sauce to adjust the taste when needed. 


When the porridge is about done, turn off the heat and mix in two raw egg yolks. Gently blending the yolks together with other ingredients.




Scoop the porridge to serving bowls. Sprinkle with chopped scallion and top with some dried seaweed threads right before serving.




As shown in the pictures, my version of abalone porridge is much thicker. Use at least 2 more cups of stock for a more diluted porridge. Also once stored in the fridge, the stock can further get absorbed by the grains and dried out. So add more stock when reheating the porridge, it'll "revitalize" the porridge.


Packed with umami and easy to eat. With a more watery version, it can also be a great flu fighting meal. How about hangover cure? You bet.



Another abalone recipe:

Oct 3, 2018

Ham and Cheese Frittata (Aged Parmesan, Mozzarella, Cheddar)

Just when I was about to pull together all the ingredients, wait, do I have the right pan to make frittata?


The pan with decent depth and perfect size happened to be non-ovenproof. Luckily, there's one other option, just bigger and shallower. Well, I guess that means I'll end up with a big round frittata in the end. As long as it tastes good, I can deal with it. 

Ham and cheese frittata -




Ingredients (can break into 10 big triangular pieces)?


  • 8 eggs
  • 1 1/2 cups smoked and pepper crusted ham (cubed)
  • 1 cup red and yellow bell peppers (pitted and cubed)
  • 1 cup button mushrooms (quartered)
  • 1/3 cup diced onion
  • 1 cup mixed mozzarella and Cheddar cheese
  • 1/2 cup aged Parmesan cheese 
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1 tablespoon heavy whipping cream
  • 6 tablespoons chopped parsley
  • Some salt
  • Some black pepper



How? 


Preheat the oven with high heat.

Cube the ham, peel and cube the onion, remove pits from bell peppers and cube them too. Trim off the very bottom of the mushrooms and cut into four sections (quartered). Finely chop the parsley. Grate the aged Parmesan first, it's the most straining part to me, require tremendous amount of muscle work. 


Take a big container, crack the eggs inside and beat together with chopped parsley, 1/2 teaspoon of salt, 1/4 teaspoon of black pepper, 1 tablespoon of heavy whipping cream, and all three kinds of cheese.


Add the butter to oven-proof pan. Turn to medium heat and wait till melted.

Transfer cubed onion over along with 1/2 teaspoon of salt and 1/4 teaspoon of black pepper. Give it a quick stir, cook till the onion turns translucent. 

Add in bell pepper and cook for another 30 seconds or so.


Transfer cubed ham and quartered button mushrooms over, mix a little and cook for another 30 seconds or so.


Pour in egg mixture and cook for 4 to 5 minutes. 


The bottom should be slightly set at the moment. Transfer the whole thing to the oven to finish cooking. If uncertain, poke through the center with a chopstick or a fork see if it comes out clean, that means the frittata is ready.

Based on the bigger pan I used, it took about 5 minutes in the oven. The top and the edges of the frittata can also give out signs when it's ready. The frittata is good to go once the top and the sides turned slightly browned. That's an indication showing that the cheese has been further heated up, browned with concentrated umami.

Once ready, turn off the oven and let the frittata rest inside for another 5 minutes.

Remove from oven, slice and serve.


On a side note, when grating Parmesan cheese, do not discard the tough rind. I actually diced them into mini cubes and used in fried rice. It's a wee bit like biting into Chinese ham, still enjoyable. 


Other egg recipes: