Archive for category Appetizer

Jellyfish with shredded chicken (涼拌雞絲海蜇)

Experiment:  Jellyfish with shredded chicken (涼拌雞絲海蜇)

Introduction:

I don’t like eating hot dishes in the summer, because it makes me feel a lot hotter than I should feel.  While I was looking for something cold to make, I found this shredded chicken dish in a recipe book.  I’ve made something similar to this before (click here for the post), basically you just cook the chicken, shred it,  and mix it with whatever you like.  Hmm… actually now as I’m writing this post, I’m thinking of the another “shredded chicken” dish!  haha!  I didn’t know “shredded chicken” is so popular in Chinese dishes!

Materials: (serve 6-8)

3 pieces of chicken thigh
1/2 carrot, julienned
1/2 cucumber, julienned
1 pack of ready to eat jellyfish
Sesame seeds

1 pack of Ideal Spicy Bake Mix for marinating the chicken
(Or use salt, pepper and Chinese wine to marinate)

Sauce:
1/4 cup sesame sauce
1 tbsp oyster sauce
1 tbsp fish sauce
2 tsp spicy oil
1 tsp ginger juice

Procedure:

1) Marinate the chicken using the spicy bake mix.  Marinate it for 1 hour.  (Or overnight if possible.)

2) Boil a pot of water.  Put the chicken in when water starts to boil, and then when the water boil again, cover the lid and turn off the heat.  Let it sit for 20-30 minutes until cooked.

3) Let the chicken cool and then shred.

4) Prepare the jellyfish as instructed on the package.

5) Julienne the carrot and cucumber.

6) Mix the sauce ingredients in a small bowl.

7) Put the shredded chicken, jellyfish, carrot, cucumber and sauce in a big bowl and mix well.  Sprinkle sesame seeds on top.  (Or you can mix the sesame seeds with the rest of the ingredients.)

Results:

Discussions:

1) This is the ready-to-eat jellyfish that I got from T&T.  I have bought those non-processed jellyfish before… but it took too long to prepare.  It’s easier to use ready-to-eat ones.


2) This is the Ideal Spicy Bake mix that I use.  I like to use it for marinating chicken.

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Thai Fish Cake

Experiment: Thai Fish Cake

Introductions:

I suddenly had a craving for Thai food.  I then browsed through the internet and found this recipe (which I modified a little) for Thai fish cakes!  The ingredients are easy to find in Asian supermarket, so I went to T&T to grab what I needed.  I came home and made it… ok, to be honest, I was a little bit disappointed.  Not that the recipe wasn’t good (actually I quite liked the taste), but the fish paste that I got from T&T wasn’t good.  It wasn’t “chewy” like the usual fish paste.   I’m sure they added a lot of stuff in the fish paste to make the fish paste cost cheaper.  Less fish –> not “chewy” and not enough fish taste.  Boo~  The texture wasn’t right!  Ok maybe next time I’ll substitute the fish paste with shrimp paste… Shrimp paste is not hard to make!  (Hmm… maybe I should google how to make fish paste!)

Materials:

350 g dace fish paste
1.5 tsp fish sauce
1 tsp brown sugar
2 cloves of garlic, minced
1 tbsp red curry paste
pepper
1 stalk of green onions, finely chopped
1 stalk of lemon grass, finely chopped
1 tbsp chopped cilantro

Procedure:

1) Mix everything in a medium size bowl.  Stir in one direction (only) until all the ingredients are evenly mixed and it becomes like a paste like texture.  Cover and put it in the fridge for 30 minutes for the flavour to come out.

2) Scoop a spoon of the fish cake mixture into your hands and roll it into a ball.  Flatten.  You should be able to make about 10 fish cakes.

3) Heat up a non-stick pan to medium heat.  Put the fish cakes in and pan fry for about 3-5 minutes.  Flip over and cook for another 3-5 minutes, or until cooked.  You can lightly press the fish cakes as you cook.

Results:

Discussions:

1) Well I don’t think I’ll go back to T&T for dace fish paste after this… very disappointed at T&T.

2) Definitely will try it with shrimp!  I’m sure I’ll turn out good! hehe!

Reference:

Ho, Christine. Christine’s Recipe  http://www.christinesrecipes.com/2010/05/thai-curry-fish-cakes.html?m=1

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Tofu with thousand year egg (皮蛋豆腐) Version 2

Experiment: Tofu with thousand year egg (皮蛋豆腐) Version 2

Introduction:

I haven’t updated this blog for a while.  One major major reason is that… I got braces,.  Eating has not been fun ever since… >.< If I can’t eat what I cook, it’s not as fun to cook anymore.  Hence… lazy to try new recipes.  OH well, I think from now on the recipes I try will be mostly soft food! 😦

Anyway.  When it comes to soft food, the first thing I would think of is eggs.  Even if you “hard boil” it, it’s still relatively soft enough for my teeth.  Next soft food that comes to my mind is TOFU! 🙂  So today I made tofu with thousand year egg!  Hmm I have made it and posted it before (post is here), but I wanna try another version of it.

Materials:

1 pack of soft tofu
2 thousand year eggs
1 small bunch of cilantro
Sesame (to sprinkle on top)
Sauce:
1 tbsp soy sauce paste
1 tsp sesame oil
2 tsp Chinese dark vinegar

Procedure:

1) Wash the cilantro, finely chop it.

2) Cut the tofu into small cubes.

3) Peel the eggs, and cut it into small pieces.

4) Mix the eggs and chopped cilantro together in a small bowl.

5) Mix the ingredients of the sauce together.

6).  Put the tofu on a plate, then put 4) on top of the tofu.  Sprinkle sesame on top.  Then pour 5) on top.  DONE!

Discussions:

1) This dish is very good to be eaten with rice.

2) The picture isn’t that great, because I took it with iPhone… I’m even getting lazier at taking pictures.  BAD ME!

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Shredded chicken with flat noodles (雞絲粉皮)

Experiment: Shredded chicken with flat noodles (雞絲粉皮)

Introduction:

I have always loved this dish.  I know it is super easy to make, but… I could never seem to find the “flat noodles” that are used in this dish.  The flat noodles used in this dish is not the regular rice flat noodles.  Rice flat noodles is not chewy, but this flat noodles is a little bit chewy.  Later I found out that it’s actually made out of green beans, which is the same ingredient as the vermicelli.  Then I thought of it… YEAH!  they do have the same texture!  It’s just that one is thin and the other one is flat.

Back to my flat noodle hunting story.  I have been to a few different T&Ts at different time and asked if they carry the flat noodles.  Many times the (male) staff didn’t seem to know what I was asking for, or they just said what’s on the shelf is what they have.  Not until a few weeks ago… while I was just cruising through the aisles… I SAW THE FLAT NOODLES!!!  I was SUPER EXCITED!  Of course I got a pack immediately.  So T&T DO carry the flat noodles but… maybe they go out of stock really soon, that’s why I never seem to be able to find them before.

With the flat noodles I found at T&T, I made the shredded chicken with flat noodles.  It’s a pretty “free-style” dish.

Btw… in case you didn’t know… this is an appetizer dish, not a main dish!  But of course you can have it for you main course! 🙂

Materials (serve 4-6):

Half a pack of flat noodles
4 pieces of chicken thighs
1 cucumber
Sesame
Sesame sauce
Spicy oil (optional)

1 pack of Ideal Spicy Bake Mix for marinating the chicken
(Or use salt, pepper and Chinese wine to marinate)

Procedure:
1) Marinate the chicken for at least an hour.  Then either steam the chicken or boil the chicken until it’s cooked.  Shred the chicken.  Let it cool.

2) Follow the instructions on your flat noodles package to cook the flat noodles.  Rinse with cold water after it’s cooked.  Let it cool.

3) Julienne the cucumber.  Julienne as much as you like.  Drain the cucumber.

4) Put the cucumber on a plate, then put the flat noodles on top of the cucumber, and then put the shredded chicken on top of the flat noodles.  Sprinkle some sesame on top.

5) If you like it spicy, mix the spicy oil with the sesame sauce.  Or you can skip this step.

6) Pour the sesame sauce.  Voila!  It’s done!

Discussions:
1) It’s a super simple dish… it just takes a while to get everything ready… you know, shredding and cutting cucumber takes time.

2) The very first time I cooked the flat noodles… I didn’t know that they’d expand SOOO MUCH!!!  I ended up making way too much flat noodles… so don’t be too greedy!

3) The pictures aren’t that nice in this post coz they’re taken from my iPhone… I haven’t touched my SLR for a while…..

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Chives, pork and shrimp gyoza (餃子)

Experiment: Chives, pork and shrimp gyoza

Introduction:
Mr. Clam is a HUUUUGE fan of gyoza.  I think he can have it everyday if he can.  I would love to cook gyoza as much I would like to but then… I always fail… which is very frustrating.  I don’t know about you… but my gyoza always stick onto the pan when I cook them.  For a while, I gave up pan-frying gyoza; I just boil them.  That way I will not tear the skin during cooking… what a good way of cheating! hehe!  (Well it’s still the same thing and it’s cooked, right?  It’s edible! :P)

Well until recently… I decided to give it a try again.  I searched on the internet and looked for ways to prevent gyoza from sticking.  I did follow some of the methods mentioned in forums, but still no luck.  I don’t know if it’s coz of the pan that I use or something’s wrong with the element.  ANYHOO… I found this interesting method… and it says it helps preventing the gyoza from sticking.  The trick is to use water with dissolved flour instead of plain tap water to cook the gyoza.  Well this very first time I tried this method, it worked!  Hope it’ll work next time too~

OH forgot to mention… I made chives, pork and shrimp gyoza this time.  Hope you like it! 🙂

Materials:
1 pack gyoza wrapper (the round type)
400g ground pork
200g Chinese chives, finely chopped
150~200g shrimp, peel and devein
1-2 tbsp chopped ginger

2 tbsp sake
1.5 tbsp soy sauce
1 tbsp sesame oil
white pepper – as much as you like

Cooking oil
300ml water
1 tbsp flour

1) Mince the shrimp until it becomes a paste.

2) Wash the chives, then let it dry.  Chop into small pieces.

3) Put the shrimp, chives, ground pork and ginger in a large bowl.  Then put the sake, soy sauce, sesame oil and white pepper in the same bowl.  Mix everything together until it becomes like a paste like texture.

4) Put about a table spoon of 3) onto the centre of the gyoza wrapper.  Wet the edges of half of the gyoza wrapper, then seal.  Make as much gyoza as you like.

5) Turn the stove on to the high heat.  Put some oil in the frying pan, and swirl it around to make sure that it covers every inch of the frying pan.  If you put in too much oil, pour the oil out.  You don’t want greasy gyoza… do you?

6) When the frying pan is HOT, put the gyoza in.  Let it cook for about 2-3 minutes.

7) In a small bowl, mix the 300ml of water and 1 tbsp flour together.  Mix until the flour is dissolved.

8 ) Pour 7) in the frying pan, and cover the pan with a lid.  Let it cook for about 8-10 minutes.  If there’s still water in the frying pan, just let it cook until the water evaporates.

9) Remove from heat.  You should be able to get the gyoza out without much difficulties!

 

Results:

Discussions:
1) If you wrap more gyoza than you can finish, you can store the gyoza in freezer.   Here’s how: Put a piece of tin foil on a baking tray, sprinkle corn starch on the tin foil and wipe the corn starch across the tin foil to cover every inch of the tin foil.  Put the freshly made gyoza on the tin foil.  Make sure that the gyoza doesn’t touch each other, otherwise you can’t separate them after they’re frozen.  Put them in the freezer for an hour.  When they gyoza is hard, then you can store them in zip loc bags.  (If you skip this step and just put the freshly made gyoza in a zip loc bag, they will be stuck together and you can’t separate them unless you break them – which would break the wrapper as well… not good)

2) The flour water actually makes the bottom of the gyoza golden and crispy! 

3) The flour water will become like a sheet of paper after it’s cooked.  It “binds” the gyoza together.  Some Japanese restaurants actually serve the gyoza with the gyoza stuck together with that sheet of… golden crispy thing!

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Pork Hock Jelly (豬腳凍)

Experiment: Pork Hock Jelly (豬腳凍)

Introduction:
I heard about this dish in a Taiwanese show the other day.  The guests were talking about how good it tastes, and how good it is for the skin (apparently pork hock is very rich in collagen, and it’s good for skin).  Well, I found this recipe in a forum yesterday, and it looked pretty easy to make.  So… I gave it a try.  Oh btw… I didn’t quite follow the recipe in the forum… I just put the stuff that were mentioned in the recipe in… and then add a few other stuff that I thought would taste good in it.  And… Everything was approximate… since i didn’t really measure what I put in… hehe!

OH I think I forgot to mention… this dish is supposed to be a cold appetizer! not dessert!

Materials:
1 pack of pork hock (approximately 1.5kg, bones included)
few cloves of garlic
few slices of ginger
2-3 anise
2-4tbs spice ginger powder* (沙薑粉)
2-3tbs fish sauce
3tbs sake
2tbs mirin
1tbs soy sauce
1 medium rock sugar
1tbs black sugar
1tbs salt

*I’m actually not too sure what the proper translation of 沙薑粉 is, literally it says “sand ginger powder,” but I’ve seen “spice ginger powder” in a cook book. 

Procedure:
1) Boil a big pot of water.  When the water boils, put all the pork hock in.  Let it boil for 2 -5 minutes, then turn off the eat.  You’ll see lots of dirty stuff that comes out from the pork hock.

2) Discard the water.  Wash the pork hock until no dirty stuff is still stuck on the pork hock.

3) Wash the pot.  This time boil water just enough to cover the pork hock.  When the water boils, put all the ingredients in.  Make sure that the water is enough to cover the pork hock, but not too much water.  We’ll need to use the stock later, so you don’t wanna dilute the taste too much.

4) When water boils again, turn down the heat to medium.  Let it simmer for about 1.5 hours, or until the pork hock is soft.  In the mean time, try tasting the stock to see if the taste is good.  Add whatever you like to enhance the flavour.

5) When the pork hock is done, take it out and let it cool a bit.  You’ll then need to debone the meat/skin, and cut them into small pieces.  (Oh yeah… it can take a while… thank God I had youtube, I was watching youtube and deboning at the same time). 

6) Discard everything in the stock.

7) Place the already cut up pork hock in a container of your choice, and then pour the stock in. 

8 ) Let it cool, and then put it in the refridgerator for at least a few hours.  When it becomes jelly, it’s done.  Cut it up into cubes, chunks or slices… or whatever shape you like. 

Results:

 

Discussions:
1) Turned out that 1.5kg of pork hock is a lot.  I ended up making 1 big bowl and 1 small bowl of jelly.  I’ve already cut the jelly from the big bowl into big chunks… the small bowl… I haven’t decided on what to make with it yet.  (see pictures from above)

2) I’ve seen people cut the jelly up into squarish shape, or round shape.  You can make whatever shape you like, and cut it up to whatever shape you like.  OH maybe heart shaped jelly for Valentine’s day? 😛

3) I actually took some pictures of the pork hock in a pot, and what it looks like after it’s boiled… but i think the pictures might actually scare some people… so I decided just to put the pictures of the finished products out… 🙂

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Asparagus salad

Experiment: Asparagus salad

Introduction:
I bought a box of masago the other day.  I didn’t know what to do with it, so I read through my recipe books, and I found this recipe.  So I gave it a try.  It’s super simple! 🙂

Materials:
1 bunch of asparagus
2 tbs Japanese mayonnaise
1 tbs lemon juice
Masago (as much as you like)

Procedure:
1) Wash the asparagus.  Boil a pot of water, and boil the asparagus until cooked.  Cut asparagus in half.  Place in a plate.

2) Mix the Japanese mayonnaise, lemon juice and masago together.  Pour the sauce on top of the asparagus.

Results:

 

Discussion:
1) It was really quick!  I think the whole thing took me 5 minutes.  And it’s really yummy! 🙂  Love it!

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