May 12, 2024

Radish Corn and Pork Ribs Soup 蘿蔔玉米排骨湯

Usually I'll get canned corn kernels or the entire corn on the cob for my recipes. Once a while I'll use baby corn too, but never a big fan of it mainly due to the texture. However, for this Asian soup recipe, I need the corn in shorter sections. Ideally one whole corn being cut into three sections. And that, requires either professionals or some muscles at home.


Radish corn and pork ribs soup 蘿蔔玉米排骨湯 - 


Radish corn and pork ribs soup


Ingredients?

  • 3 whole corn on the cob
  • 1 medium large radish/daikon
  • 8 to 10 pork ribs
  • 1 yellow onion
  • 1 stalk skinny celery (or some cilantro)
  • 2 pieces ginger
  • Some salt
  • 12 cups water


How?

If I get the corn on the cob at the local market, like farmer's market, usually I'll ask the vendor to break the corn to sections for me. It's such an easy task to them. However, if you have to do it yourself at home, be prepared to work on your arms.


I actually had to do it myself this time. What I did was run the end of the knife, not the tip, but the part closer to the handle all the way around the corn. It'll be right on the spot where I want the corn to cut-off. 


Then try to force some part of the knife in and wiggle it. Do that for few spots along that cutting line. Lastly, knife away and I used all my force to break the corn with my hands. Sounds primitive, but it works. However, in the end, if you can get help from the vendor, it'll save so much work and no bits of corn splashing around the kitchen.


So once the corn is settled, peel and slice the radish/daikon to medium chunks. Slice the ginger to about 1mm thickness pieces. Peel and halve the onion. Wrap the onion in cheesecloth or something similar, tie it up so the onion will be able to cook in the soup without falling apart everywhere.


Prepare a pot and fill with water. Turn to medium heat and toss in pork ribs. Keep the water hot but not like full-on boiling. A bit bubbling is fine. Such temperature can help drawing out more foamy grayish bits.


Prepping pork ribs and drawing out foamy bits

Once successfully drawing out some foamy bits, drain and rinse the pork ribs.


Pork ribs preparation for Asian soup recipe

Prepare a big pot and add in prepped pork ribs. Also add in the corn, radish, onion in bag, ginger, and 12 cups of water. Use medium to medium high heat until the soup is boiling. Then lower the heat to keep it at a light bubbling stage. Continue to cook for 30 minutes.


Making radish corn and pork ribs soup

Remember to skim-off any foamy bits floating on top during the process. There should be some more during the first 10 minutes, after that just check once or twice should be good.


Towards the end, remove the onion bag and ginger slices. Flavor the soup with enough salt. I used 2 tablespoons here.


Radish corn and pork ribs soup

Chop some skinny celery or cilantro. Scoop the soup and some ingredients to serving bowls then garnish with chopped celery or cilantro.


Radish corn and pork ribs soup noodles

If using celery, instead of garnishing the soup in the end, you can also just toss them into the pot for a slight boost of aroma. Celery can be left in the soup and its texture and flavor won't change as much even after days.


Radish corn and pork ribs soup noodles

Enjoy the soup as it is. I also cooked up some noodles and turn it into soup noodles too. With additional help from homemade cilantro flavored chili sauce. The meal might look light at first, but don't underestimate the power of Asian chili sauce.


Other Asian soup recipes:


May 6, 2024

Eggplant Rollatini with Marinara and Pesto Sauce

This recipe might seem like a lot of work at first, well, that's if you're making everything from scratch. In order to keep it simple and not overworking us housewives, it's ok to use some store-bought ingredients.


Just like two of my great helpers here, store-bought marinara sauce and pesto sauce. These two alone can definitely cut down at least 30 minutes prep time, not mentioning the cleaning work involved.


To further cutting down the workload, you can use the already shredded cheese. I use packaged shredded mozzarella here. However, I have to grate my own parmesan cheese. The reason is that I always stick to aged parmigiano reggiano, and there's no pre-grating version of this. But a bit extra work in exchange for a much more complex savory note, I think it's well worth tiring my hands and my arms in grating the cheese.


Eggplant rollatini with marinara and pesto sauce - 


Eggplant rollatini with marinara and pesto sauce


Ingredients?

  • 2 big and round eggplants
  • Some salt
  • Some olive oil
  • 300 grams marinara sauce 
  • 3 tablespoons pesto sauce
  • 120 grams shredded mozzarella cheese
  • 1/4 cup grated aged parmigiano reggiano
  • Some fresh basil sprigs (for garnish/optional)

Filling:

  • 1 cup ricotta cheese
  • 1/2 cup grated aged parmigiano reggiano
  • 1 egg
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 3 tablespoons chopped basil
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper


How?

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit/200 degrees Celsius. Brush baking sheet with some olive oil. 


Cut-off both ends for the eggplants. If you can find big, round, and longer eggplants then that's your best choice. The shape makes it much easier to roll later on.


Slice the eggplant to 1/4 inch thick pieces from top down. Because the natural curvy shape of the eggplant, I'm not using the first and the last slices, only use the center part instead.


Eggplant slices

Lay out the eggplant slices and sprinkle some salt on both sides.


Sprinkle some salts over eggplant slices

Let it sit for about 10 minutes. You'll start to see some tiny water droplets forming on the eggplant. Wipe off these excess liquid while removing some of the salt on both sides.


Transfer the eggplant slices to the baking dish and into the oven for 10 minutes. Once ready, remove and let the eggplant cool-off, at least till cool enough to handle by hand. 


If you have to move the eggplant slices around while still a bit hot, better use a spatula and scoop from the ends. Otherwise some very soft part might separate while trying to pick up the eggplant with uneven force. 


While waiting for the eggplant to cool-off, prepare all the ingredients listed under the "filling" section. Peel and finely chop the garlic cloves then transfer to a mixing bowl. Break in one egg, also add all other ingredients for the filling.


Cheese filling for eggplant rollatini

Mix till all the ingredients are evenly blended together.


Have a baking dish ready, medium size with some depth should work. Pour over some marinara sauce and spoon them evenly on the bottom.


Marinara sauce as the base layer of eggplant rollatini

Check and see if the eggplant slices have cooled-off. If so, take one spoonful of the filling to the end of the eggplant slice then start rolling up. Transfer rolled up eggplant to the baking dish, with opening side down. Continue to do so till the baking dish has been fully placed by the eggplant rolls.


Eggplant rollatini before baking

Spoon some more marinara sauce all over the eggplant rolls, also spread out about 3 tablespoons of the pesto sauce.


Using marinara and pesto sauce for the eggplant rollatini

Sprinkle shredded mozzarella cheese all over first, then sprinkle 1/4 cup of that high quality aged parmigiano reggiano cheese on top too.


Mozzarella and parmigiano reggiano cheese for the eggplant rollatini

Cover the baking dish with foil then into the oven, bake for 30 minutes. Remove the foil and switch to high heat. Continue to bake till the cheese on top starts to turn slightly browned. 


Remove from the oven and garnish with fresh basil sprigs.


Eggplant rollatini with marinara and pesto sauce

Remember the edges of the eggplant slices that I didn't use in this recipe? In fact, I ended up dicing them and used in a pasta dish. Besides that, I also used all the leftover marinara sauce and pesto sauce to the pasta dish too.


Eggplant rollatini with marinara and pesto sauce

So in the end I get to enjoy a full-on pasta meal paired with this eggplant rollatini. Not bad for a dinner combo.  


May 1, 2024

Chinese Braised Noodles with Vegetables and Pork 青菜豬肉煨麵

Do you sometimes find it a bit more work to cook the noodles with another pot and taking over another stove? I do actually, especially when it means there are more stuff to wash. So this Chinese noodles recipe definitely hit the spot for me, not just about the cleaning part, but the flavor is really enjoyable. 


Chinese braised noodles with vegetables and pork 青菜豬肉煨麵 - 


Chinese braised noodles with vegetables and pork


Ingredients (about 5 portions)?

  • 5 portions fresh Asian flour noodles
  • 1 small bundle pak choi or bok choy
  • 8 shiitake mushrooms
  • 4 loosely packed cups trimmed bean sprouts
  • 1/2 medium carrot
  • 2 stalks scallion
  • 4 garlic cloves
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil

For the pork:

  • 275 grams pork threads
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon aged Shaoxing wine

For the soup:

  • 3 cups chicken stock
  • 3 cups drinkable hot water
  • 3 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoons black vinegar
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon sugar
  • 1/8 teaspoons white pepper powder


How?

Make sure to use the flour kind, the white color Asian noodles. Definitely not the yellow ones or the dried Hong Kong crispy noodles. 


Fresh Asian flour noodles

Use threaded pork but smaller pieces of matsuzaka pork can be a good substitute. Transfer the pork to a bowl and add in 2 tablespoons of soy sauce and 1 tablespoon of aged Shaoxing wine. Massage the meat with the seasonings and let it marinate while prepping other ingredients.


Marinating pork threads

Destem the pak choi or bok choy. I like to cut it in half for a shorter length, sometimes also slice lengthwise for thinner strips. 


Remove the mushroom stems then slice the cap. Trim the bean sprouts by picking out the skinny ends. Peel and julienne the carrot. Peel and chop the garlic cloves. Destem and section the scallion stalks.


Bring out a big wok and drizzle 2 tablespoons of olive oil. Use medium or medium high heat. Add in garlic and scallion, stir-fry till the scallion turns slightly charred, but make sure not to burn the garlic bits. 


Add in the pork and all the marinade. Stir-fry and cook till the meat changes to whiter color. 


Cooking pork threads with Asian aromatics

Add in carrot and cook for couple minutes. I like to cook the carrot first in order to get a softer texture in the end. If you prefer a crunchier bite, just give it a quick stir-fry instead.


Add in the leafy greens, bean sprouts, and shiitake mushrooms. Cook till the greens have been wilted. 


Cooking Asian vegetables

Add in 3 tablespoons of soy sauce, 2 tablespoons of black vinegar, 2 teaspoons of salt, 1/2 teaspoon of sugar, and 1/8 teaspoon of white pepper powder. Give it a few mixes.


Pour in 3 cups of chicken stock along with 3 cups of hot water. Bring the entire thing to a boil.


Making Chinese braised noodles

Add in fresh Asian noodles.


Adding fresh Asian noodles to the soupy ingredients

Spread out the noodles. Adjust the heat to keep these ingredients at a light bubbling stage. Cover the wok with a lid and cook for about 8 more minutes. Note that the actual time varies depending on the type of noodles you use. Basic idea is to cook the noodles till about 70% done here.


Remove the lid. Mix up the ingredients a bit, also make sure the noodles are not sticking or lumping. Continue to cook till the noodles reach desired texture.


Making Chinese braised noodles

The flour on the noodles will help thicken all the liquid inside the wok, creating a thick soup like consistency. It's also like mixing in corn starch water in the end, but turned out much more flavorful since we've been cooking the noodles with flavored soupy ingredients right from the start. 


Chinese braised noodles with vegetables and pork

Also because we added so many vegetables, on top of that there're pork and chicken stock, you can definitely get that natural sweetness, that umami taste throughout.


Chinese braised noodles with vegetables and pork

The noodles are so tasty, I didn't even add chili sauce while eating it, which I normally do for an extra spicy kick. But of course you can still pump it up with any kind of Asian chili sauce. It'll only make the already good stuff even better.


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