Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Refreshing Tuna

Why do I call this the Refreshing Tuna? Because unlike normal tuna sandwich fillings, this one doesn't use any mayo or creamy base but a citrus juice instead. It's a super easy recipe, and the result is a light sandwich filling that brings out the natural flavour of the fish. It also has the added advantage of being low-fat. =D

Refreshing Tuna (sandwich filling)
1 can of tuna in mineral water
1 tsp fresh crushed black pepper
Juice of half a lime
Dash of tabasco sauce (optional)

Mix all the ingredients in a bowl and fluff with a fork. (See? I told you it was super easy.)


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Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Chicken Tikka

This is my version of the Indian tandoori dish, from scratch. Obviously, I don't have a large clay oven hanging at home, so one uses the conventional oven to bake and then broil this dish. Also, I used breast meat which is dryer, but makes it easier to cut into huge chunks. My favourite tandoor usually uses rolled up chicken thighs that are more juicier.

Noel's Chicken Tikka

1 small package of yoghurt
1 tsp cumin, ground
1 tsp coriander, ground
3 tsp tumeric, ground
5 tsp chilli powder (or to your taste)
1 tsp black pepper, ground
1 tbsp sugar
juice of one lemon
1 one-inch piece of ginger, grated with juices

Chicken pieces, cut in 2" chunks
Aluminum Foil

1. Mix all the ingredients of the marinade together, reserve 1/3 for later. Marinade chicken in remaining 2/3 portion, in the fridge for at least 2 hours.
2. Preheat oven to 180 degrees. Make a foil pouch and bake tikka in oven for 15 min.
3. Set oven to grill at 200 degrees. Remove pouch cover (we're going to put it back to the oven). Dip baked chicken in reserved marinade and grill on each side for 5 min. Serve with rice and curry! =D


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Tuesday, May 22, 2007

essential condiments

In my first year, I wanted to know what condiments to buy..but wasn't really sure...

after 2.5 years of trial and are my essentials...

For Asian cooking:
sunflower oil
light soy sauce
dark soy sauce
oyster sauce
sesame oil
white pepper
rice wine (hua diao/ shao xing)
fish sauce
corn starch
thai sweet chilli sauce
dried shitake mushroom (can be used in so many dishes....and the soaking water can be used as stock too..)
sesame seeds
rice flour

nice to have:
dark vinegar
dried chillies

'Western' cuisine: (means most of the recipes i get from Aussie magazines/ All Recipes which is US based)

olive oil (extra virgin for drizzling over salads, 'regular' for cooking)
black pepper
white wine
chicken salt
cumin powder
parprika powder
chilli powder
dried mixed herbs
dried parsley (good as garnish on most everything and helps with garlic breath too!)

nice to have:
dried dill (great with tuna and salmon dishes)
sliced black olives
sun-dried tomatoes

my messy side cupboard..herbs and spices on the top 2 racks..flours and nuts on the bottom.

for desserts and baking: (my regular stash)
Sugar: brown, white, icing + rock sugar
flour: regular + self-raising
vanilla essence (i use the imitation type; find the flavour good enough...)
baking powder
baking soda
cocoa powder
dessicated coconut
cinnamon powder
dried black dates

stuff that feature regularly in the fridge/ freezer/ pantry:
coriander greens
greek style yogurt
chicken thigh fillets
pandan leaves
frozen spinach
crumbed fish (great as backups when unexpected guests arrive, just bake and drizzle thai chilli sauce on top)
bean sprouts (just learnt that they can be FROZEN! I have been wanting to cook lasksa for the longest time...that's why they r in the freezer..)
puff pastry
mixed frozen vegetables
crabsticks! (chawan mushi, stir frys, noodles, all-rounder filler)
dried pasta
rice (Jasmine/ long grain best for chinese/ thai/ indian cooking, short grain good for korean/jap/rissotos)

canned goods:
water chestnuts
mixed fruits
coconut cream (Please note distinction between coconut cream and coconut milk. 'Cream' is from the first pressing and much richer, ie: higher in fat!!! Most recipes call for coconut milk. To make coconut milk from coconut cream, just add water to 3 tbsp of coconut cream to make up a cup. Coconut cream, unlike dairy cream, can be stored in the freezer.)

my new dried chinese foodstuffs collection for chinese desserts and soups:
nan xing/bei xing (sweet n bitter almonds)
dried red dates
huai shan
wolf berries
mandarin peel (home-made, just leave 'regular' mandarin peel out til they are dry and crispy.)
green beans
red beans
dried logan
rock sugar

These are just essentials??? Seems like alot of ingredients right....hmmm.....

So what are your cooking essentials??? :)


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Sunday, May 20, 2007

Kimchi Fried Rice

Kimchi is a pickled vegetable salad unique to and ubiquitous in Korea. The stuff is obviously salty, and generally spicy and usually served cold. A bottle of kimchi can be a little pricey, but it goes a long way because it can last a while in the fridge. It makes a great addition to the fridge as instant food, because it can be eaten with just about anything. Late night snack? Enliven your instant noodles with a side of kimchi! =D

I was walking through a food court yesterday when I saw a menu offering kimchi fried rice. Having some kimchi stored in my fridge, here's my version of the dish. You can use any meat you like, although I imagine the white meats go better with this dish than the red ones. And char siew (Chinese barbecued roast pork) might also not go well with the dish as the sweetness of the char siew will interfere with the kimchi.

Noel's Kimchi Fried Rice
(serves 2-3)

2 cups of cooked rice
2 eggs, lightly beaten
1 tomato, chopped
1 spring onion, chopped
Cooked meat: for this dish I had sliced chicken breast and roast pork.
2 servings of kimchi - bear in mind that it should be 1/3 a regular serve of vegetables because of the salt.
1 tbsp of kimchi "juice" (the liquid that is left from the kimchi)

1. Fry egg on wok. Bunch on side of wok while adding rice to heat.
2. Mix cooked scrambled egg with heated rice, add spring onions and tomatoes, followed by meat.
3. Turn off heat. Add kimchi and kimchi juice last, stir in warm wok (without the fire on). Serve.


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Wednesday, May 09, 2007

Spicy braised eggplant

recipe inspired from Umami's dish of the same name

1 onion, VERY thinly sliced
5 dried chillies (can add more or less according to personal perference)
500-600g eggplant, sliced into 2 inch strips
200g chicken mince (can use any other type of meat as well)
tbsp oyster sauce
1 tbsp dark soy sauce
1 tbsp light soy sauce
1 tbsp sugar (can adjust according to taste)
2 tbsp dark vinegar

2 tbsp corn starch w/ 4 tbs water

meat marinate: dash of sesame oil, white pepper, dash of light soy sauce, 1 tbsp corn starch

1. Marinate meat and leave for 20 minutes.
2. Add oil into pan. Wait til it's hot. Add onions. Fry til light brown.
3. Add chillies and fry til they are BLACK. There will be choking smoke, this is normal.
4. Add meat and stir fry for a while. Add eggplant and the rest of the seasoning.
5. Add 250ml of water and bring to boil.
6. Simmer for 20 minutes and add the corn starch mixture. Stir and adjust seasoning if necessary.

Serve with white rice and a sprinkling of scallions.

comments: This is really comforting and goes so well with rice...MmmmmMmmm...try it!! You'll be surprised how good it is!!!


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Tuesday, May 08, 2007

Noel's Spiced Embutido

An embutido is, strictly speaking, a sausage (complete in its intestine-encased glory) - but in the Philippines it's become more like a steamed meatloaf. I adapted this recipe from a Filipino cookbook lying around the house. It's a little more spicier, but on hindsight it could also have been a little more sweeter by adding sultanas in the mix.

Noel's Spiced Embutido

1 cup of croutons
500g minced pork
2 hard boiled eggs
Chili powder

1. Run the croutons through a blender until fine (breadcrumb) consistency. Pour enough milk to just cover the crouton-crumbs.

2. Mix pork, crumbs and spices together well. Split into two portions.

3. Spread each portion on a piece of aluminum foil. Lay sliced hard-boiled egg on each portion, the roll foil to form a meatloaf cylinder.

4. Steam for 20 min. Served warm or cold. =D


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Quick Rosti

Ah, the ubiquitous potato. What's one to do when one needs the carbs but is bored with rice? The trusty potato comes to the rescue. I was wondering what kind of carb to pack for my lunch meals this week, and instead of going for the mash, I decided to whip up a quick* rosti instead.

* err, that's quick if you have a large grater. And I only spent 20 min preparing the whole dish, so that's pretty quick - I have a policy of not spending more than half an hour preparing my pack meals every night.

Quick Rosti

2 large potatoes, grated in long strips
1/2 inch knob of butter
1 tbsp plain flour
1/2 tsp Tumeric
1/2 tsp chili powder

1. In a shallow pan, melt butter and reserve half for later.
2. Mixed grated potatoes with flour and spices.
3. Heat pan with melted butter on medium-low heat. When the butter bubbles, lay potato mixture on pan, spread and flatten.
4. After two or three minutes, use a metal spatula to scrape the bottom of the potato pancake to separate it from the pan. Fry until crispy. (Or smells a little burnt. heh.)
5. Pour the remaining butter on the uncooked side of the rosti. Flip over and fry until crispy.

Note: Two large potatoes for me work nicely with my 12" pan. You might want to experiment the amount of potatoes with your pan. Also, tumeric isn't part of the traditional rosti recipe, but I added it in the keep the pancake a nice yellow colour.


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Wednesday, May 02, 2007

Sweet & Spicy Meat Balls

This is my housemate, Kevin's recipe. I usually never like meatballs but these are the only ones I'll touch.

Sweet & Spicy Meat Balls

500g beef sausage mince
Fresh Parsley
Chilli flakes

1. Empty the beef sausage mince in a large bowl.

2. Throw in a generous handful of sultanas, some fresh parsley and chilli flakes into the beef sausage mince (there are no exact measurements for this recipe: If you like sultanas, be generous; if you love chilli, go wild. Just estimate.).

3. This is the fun part: Start mixing everything up with your hands. Hands are the way to go. It's the best way to make sure everything's mixed in.

4. Create some rough-looking balls (no need for perfect rounds). Not too big, about half the size of a tablespoon. 500g of beef sausage mince should give you about 20 balls.

5. Heat a generous amount of oil in a frying pan.

6. Fry up meatballs until the inside is cooked. Set aside on paper towels.

7. Voila!

This is a perfect snack because you can keep it for a few days and you don't need to heat it up before eating.

Big yum. Seriously addictive.

* Courtesy from Kevin *


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Spiced Indian Rice with Curry Chicken

Yes, yes...It's been a long time. So long that I actually forgot my username and password!

But it's back to business from now on. I've definitely expanded my menu now that I've become an actual uni student again.

Before I start, I apologise beforehand for all the photos that I'll post here. I think I'm the only person who still believes in film cameras and the only modern camera I have is my crappy 1.3 megapixels phone camera.

But who cares about pictures? We need to eat!

* note: I haven't put in exact measurements for how much rice or chicken to use. It really depends on how many people you're serving. Just adjust accordingly. *

Spiced Indian Rice

Basmati rice
1 red onion (huge if possible) - diced
A tiny bit of minced ginger
1 carrot - grated
1 cinnamon stick
3-4 cloves
1 teaspoon tumeric powder (a.k.a kunyit)

1. Wash the Basmati rice and drain off the water. Set aside.

2. Heat about 1-2 tablespoons of butter in a wok/frying pan, throw in the cinnamon, cloves and onion. Fry until onions are soft and fragrant but not brown.

3. Pour in the rice and carrot. Stir fry for a bit. Then add in the tumeric powder and mix well. The rice will turn yellow. Add a bit of salt.

4. Transfer the rice into a rice cooker. Flatten the rice so it sits in nicely then pour in some water. Just enough water so that there's a thin layer of water above the rice.

5. Leave the rice to cook. Once the rice is done, mix in sultanas.

6. Voila!

Curry Chicken

Chicken breast or drumstick (depends what you prefer)
1 red onion (huge if possible) - diced
1 cinnamon stick
3-4 cloves
A bit of curry leaves
1-2 teaspoons of tumeric powder (just enough to marinate chicken)
2 tablespoons dry curry powder
2 tomatoes - wedges
2 potatoes - wedges
1 zucchini - sliced
2 tablespoons santan powder mixed with water or coconut milk

1. Wash chicken, pat dry and rub chicken with tumeric powder and salt. Set aside.

2. Heat oil, throw in cinnamon stick, cloves and onions. Fry until onions are soft and fragrant but not brown.

3. Add in chicken and stir fry. Add curry powder and continue to stir fry. If chicken starts to stick to the wok, add in tomatoes or a bit of water. Throw in curry leaves.

4. Add in potatoes, zuchinni and some water. How much water depends on how much gravy you want.

5. Turn the heat down to medium and wait until the potatoes are cooked and soft.

6. When the chicken and potatoes are done, stir in santan. Add in more santan if you want your curry to be thicker.

7. Add salt to taste and serve with spiced rice.

8. Voila!


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