Chicken Corn Soup 鸡茸玉米羹jī róng yù mǐ gēng

coverThis light and healthy dish uses all the ingredients you would have in your pantry.  The contrast of natural sweetness from the corn and savoriness from the chicken is so obvious and truly delightful. It can be served as soup all year around or can be a perfect main course for young children.

Serve 2-4

  •  5 cups   chicken stock (click here for homemade chicken stock)
  • 150g    any leftover chicken meat, minced or diced. If you do not have any leftover chicken, just use chicken tenderloin
  • 250g     sweet corn by cutting the kennels off the cobs, those store-bought frozen whole kennel corn works perfectly fine too
  • ½ teaspoon, salt
  • 2 tablespoons, corn flour or potato flour + 4 tablespoons, water
  • 2 eggs, lightly beaten
  • ½ teaspoon  sesame oil
  • a pinch      white peppercorn powder白胡椒粉
  • 1 teaspoon    light soy sauce (optional)
  • Spring onions, sliced, for garnish (optional)IMG_6564

Method

  1. Pour in the chicken stock, stir and cook to the boiling. Reduce to low heat, add in chicken tenderloin or cooked chicken and cook until done. Add sweet corn, continue simmering until everything is cooked through. Add salt and stir to combine. Mix corn flour with water to obtain batter and stir in. This mixture will help thicken the soup.
  2. This step needs a bit attention and technique. Turn to low-medium heat. Use a spoon to remix your water starch (as indicated in step 2) in the bowl so it’s well combined. Use your soup ladle or spatula and stir the simmering soup at the center of the pot in a steady and circular motion to make a whirlpool while slowly pouring the water starch in a thin stream. This prevents the corn starch from clumping. Stop when you are about ¾ of the way done with your water starch to check the consistency of the soup. It should be thick enough to coat your spatula or ladle.
  3. Now let’s add in the beaten eggs. Keep the soup simmering and use the same technique with the beaten eggs and again, make sure the motion is fast enough so it will result in the beautiful swirls or egg “flowers” 蛋花instead of end up egg clumps.
  4. Season the soup with sesame oil and white peppercorn powder.
  5. Ladle into a soup bowl and garnish with spring onion. Serve hot.

Three-ingredient Duck Confit法式油封鸭fǎ shì yóu fēng yā

coverThis recipe and method will yield restaurant-worthy duck leg confit as well as a supply of duck fat to keep on hand for future duck leg confit experiments. This duck leg confit recipe bucks tradition, calling for three ingredients and three hours of time. You don’t need a supply of duck fat; you don’t need to devote three days of your life.

Serve 2-4

  • 4  duck legs
  • 1 tablespoon   kosher salt
  • 450g                  unsalted butter

Method:

Bake the duck in fat in low temperature

  1. Preheat the oven to 325ºF.
  2. Place duck legs in a 9×13-inch or other similarly sized baking pan — you want them to fit somewhat snuggly (more snug than what you see in the pictures is just fine). Sprinkle with the tablespoon of kosher salt. Cover legs with sticks of butter, breaking the sticks in half if necessary. Cover pan tightly with aluminum foil — use a couple of sheets of foil if necessary. Be sure to wrap tightly.
  3. Bake for 2.5 hours. Remove pan from oven. Let cool briefly, then remove foil to cool completely. Once cool enough to handle, transfer legs to a plate. Label it duck fat. Store in fridge indefinitely. When you make confit again, use this fat in place of butter. (Note: You may need to pop your vat of duck fat in the microwave so that you can pour it out of its container. Alternatively, plop the container into hot water, or let it sit at room temperature for a few hours.)IMG_6343
  4. If possible, bring the cooked duck legs to room temperature an hour before cooking. If you feel like being fancy, use the heel of your knife to whack off the top half of the bone nub at the end of each duck leg. Also, trim off any fat extending up the bone. Note: this is purely for presentation purposes and truly is not necessary.

Right before you serve the meal,

5. When you are ready to serve the meal, heat a cast iron skillet over medium heat. You should not need to add any fat to the pan — the duck legs should have enough fat clinging to their skin sides. Once hot, add duck legs skin side down. Let them crisp undisturbed for a minute or two. Shake the pan to make sure the skin isn’t sticking. If it is, use a spatula to gently separate the legs from the pan, being careful not to tear the skin. Continue crisping, repositioning the legs if necessary to ensure the skin is browning evenly, about 5 to 8 minutes total. Then flip the legs over and cooking for one minute skin side up. You don’t want to cook the legs too much on the flesh side or the meat will get too tough.

 

 

 

Homemade Bagels全麦面包圈quán mài miàn bāo quān

cover2Bagels seem really complicated to make at home, but secretly couldn’t be easier. Homemade bagels taste fresher and are cheaper. This easy homemade bagels recipe proves that you can make deliciously chewy bagels in your own kitchen with only a few basic ingredients and baking tools!

Yield: 8 bagels

  • 320g                 lukewarm water (between 100-110°F, 38-43°C)
  • 1 tablespoon     instant or active dry yeast*酵母
  • 432g                    bread flour, plus more for work surface and hands, bagels require a high protein flour. Largely using bread flour is a must.高筋面粉
  • 48g                      wholemeal flour全麦面粉
  • 1 tablespoon     brown sugar (or barley malt syrup)*红糖
  • 1 teaspoon       salt
  • coating the bowl: 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • egg wash: 1 egg white beaten with 1 tablespoon water

For Boiling

  • 2 quarts         water
  • 60g                 honey (or barley malt syrup)IMG_6401.jpg

Method

Prepare the Dough

  1. Whisk the lukewarm water and yeast together in a big mixing bowl Allow to sit for 5 minutes.
  2. Add into the bowl the bread flour and whole meal flour, brown sugar, and salt. Mix well. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface. With lightly floured hands, knead the dough for 4-5 minutes.
  3. Lightly grease the mixing bowl with olive oil. Place the dough in the bowl, turning it to coat all sides in the oil. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap, or a clean kitchen towel.  Allow the dough to rise at room temperature for 60-90 minutes or until double in size.
  4. Line two large baking sheets with parchment paper or silicone baking mats.

Shape the Bagels 

  1. When the dough is ready, punch it down to release any air bubbles. Divide the dough into 8 equal pieces. (Just eyeball it– doesn’t need to be perfect!) Shape each piece into a ball.
  2. Press your index finger through the center of each ball to make a hole about 1.5 – 2 inches in diameter. Loosely cover the shaped bagels with kitchen towel and rest for 15-20 minutes as you prepare the water bath.
  3. Preheat oven to 425°F (218°C).

Water Bath

8. Fill a large, wide pot with 2 quarts of water. Whisk in the honey. Bring water to a boil, then reduce heat to medium-high. Drop bagels in, 2-4 at a time, making sure they have enough room to float around. Cook the bagels for 1 minute on each side.

Bake

9. Using a pastry brush, brush the egg wash on top and around the sides of each bagel. Place 4 bagels onto each lined baking sheet. Bake for about 20 minutes, rotating the pan halfway through. You want the bagels to be a dark golden brown. Remove from the oven and allow bagels to cool on the baking sheets for 20 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

10. Slice, toast, top, whatever you want! Cover leftover bagels tightly and store at room temperature for a few days or in the refrigerator for up to 1 week.

Notes

  1. Overnight Make Ahead Instructions:Prepare the dough through step 4, but allow the dough to rise overnight in the refrigerator. The slow rise gives the bagels wonderful flavor! In the morning, remove the dough from the refrigerator and let the dough rise for 45 minutes at room temperature. Continue with step 5. I don’t recommend shaping the bagels the night before as they may puff up too much overnight.
  2. Bagel Varieties: Note that the toppings are added after the egg wash in step 9. You can use this bagel recipe to make 100% bread-flour bagels or adding more wholemeal flour by replacing 10% to up to 20%.

 

Thai-style Baby Eggplant Salad泰式茄子沙拉tài shì qié zǐ shā lā

cover.JPGWhen thinly-skinned Asia eggplants are difficult to come by, I turn to their American cousin to make this simple yet irresistible salad. It makes a fine appetizer, or a perfect little side salad when you’re serving Asia food. Sometimes, at lunch, I’ll just eat the eggplant over rice.

Serves 2-4,

1 ½ pound           (650g)              Baby Eggplants or long, thin Asian eggplants

Dressing

  • 3 tablespoons                    fish sauce
  • 1.5 tablespoons                brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons                    Lime juice
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 big or 2 small   shallots, thinly sliced
  • A few Thai Bird Chili, finely sliced
  • A few cilantro or mint leaves for garnishIMG_5977.jpg

 Method

  1. Pre-heat the oven to 400°F (or 200°C)
  2. Cut the eggplant into half, prick the eggplants all over with a fork and place them in a baking tray. Bake for 20-25 minutes till the flesh becomes soft and the skin is charred.IMG_5978.jpg
  3. In the meantime, let’s prepare the dressing. In a mixing bowl, combine all the ingredients except cilantro.
  4. Carefully peel the skin from the eggplant (this can be fussy, and you want to get the skin off.) Pull the eggplant into strips and lay them in a shallow bowl.IMG_5981.jpg
  5. Pour the dressing over the eggplant and marinate in the fridge for a few hours. When ready to serve, garnish with a few leaves of chopped cilantro or mint.

Barbecued Bone-in Beef Short Ribs 韩式烤牛仔骨hán shì kǎo niú zǎi gǔ

IMG_5920An easy, different and quick way to enjoy the bone-in beef short ribs. Different from the time-consuming braising method, the flavourful Asian recipe requires little effort in both cooking and after-cooking cleaning. The key to the dish, is to marinade the beef ribs long enough to help tenderize the meat and allow the flavour to infuse. The fat is largely rendered while the flavour and moisture of the meat is retained.

Serves 3-4

  • 3 to 4  pounds (1.5 to 1.8 kilograms)  bone-in beef short ribs
  • 1 teaspoon     sea salt
  • 1 teaspoon       freshly ground black pepper

Marinade

  • ½                      medium-size yellow onions, thinly sliced
  • 1 teaspoon      ginger, thinly sliced
  • 2                       garlic cloves, crushed
  • 1 tablespoon    light soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon    dark soy sauce (optional)
  • 1 tablespoon    sesame oil
  • 1 tablespoon   Japanese sake or high-quality Chinese cooking wine
  • 1                       large Asia pear, core and chopped into cubes (optional)

Dipping sauce (optional)

  • 2                      Spring onions, minced
  • 1 tablespoon    Korean chili powder
  • 1 tablespoon    rice vinegarIMG_5900

Method

  1. Pat dry the ribs with kitchen towel. Generously season the short ribs with salt and ground black peppercorn and let is stand for about 10-15 minutes. Place the beef ribs in a large bowl.IMG_5902
  2. Place the ingredients of the Marinade into a separate bowl. Mix well. Pour them into the large short ribs bowl. Make sure each piece of short ribs is coated with marinade ingredients/sauce. Leave the ribs rest for at least 2 hours to allow flavours to permeate and tenderize the meat.IMG_5903.jpg
  3. When ready to cook, remove the marinade ingredients from the ribs. Broil the ribs in the oven (use double aluminium foil lined baking tray) or grill them in a barbeque grill. Cook two sides of the beef ribs respective 6 and 5 minutes for medium rare, or 8 and 6 minutes if you prefer medium/well done.

 

Spicy Cucumber Salad韩式辣黄瓜hán shì là huáng guā

coverAn easy cucumber salad or an appetizer that’s a little spicy, slightly sweet and tangy. It’ll be an excellent complement to any of your barbeque dishes. You’ll need to lightly salt the cucumber slices first and let them stand for a while to draw out water. This process gives the cucumbers an extra crunch.

Serves 3-4

  • 4-5 Aka Kirby Cucumbers (about 400g)    remove both ends and thinly sliced (use any Persian, English, Chinese or Japanese cucumbers. These varieties are less seedy, very crispy and tasty.)
  • 1/2 teaspoon     table salt食盐
  • 150g                   Kimchi韩国辣白菜, minced, for better taste, try homemade kimchi
  • ½ tablespoon     garlic, minced (optional)
  • 1 tablespoon      spring onions, minced葱花
  • 1 teaspoon          rice vinegar 米醋
  • 1 teaspoon           sesame oil 香油
  • 1 teaspoon            caster sugar白糖
  • 1 teaspoon         white sesame seeds, toasted ideallyIMG_5862

Method

  1. Thinly slice the cucumber (1/8 to 1/4-inch thick). Place slices in a salad bowl. Toss gently with salt and set aside for about 15 minutes. In the meantime, toast the white sesame seeds over medium heat for about 10 minutes. 

  2. Drain excess liquid from the salad bowl. Avoid squeezing them because they will bruise. Mix well with all of the remaining ingredients. It is ready to serve.IMG_5866.jpg
  3. Or you can place the salad bowl in the fridge and let the salad sit for about 30 mins.

 

Beef Rendang印尼仁当牛肉yìn ní rén dāng niú ròu

cover7.JPGThe spicy, rich and creamy Indonesia beef stew is known for an insane amount of flavour because of its generous use of a myriad of spices and herbs cooking for a few hours until meat fork-tender.

The flavours of Beef Rendang unfolds in layers. First there’s the zingy flavours of lemongrass and ginger, then comes the savoury beef along with a torrent of chili, finally, as you continue to chew you start tasting the creamy coconut milk towards the back of your tongue.

Rendang always tastes better the second day.

Serve 4

Ingredients:

  • 700g boneless beef, short ribs or beef shank, cut into large cubes
  • 3 tablespoons  cooking oil
  • 1 cinnamon stick, about 2-inch length
  • 3 cloves
  • 3 star anise
  • 3 cardamom pods
  • 1 lemongrass, cut into 4-inch length and pounded
  • 1 cup  thick coconut milk
  • 1 cup  water
  • 2 teaspoons tamarind pulp, soaked in some warm water for the juice and discard the seeds
  • 6 kaffir lime leaves
  • 4 tablespoons kerisik, toasted coconut
  • 1 tablespoon sugar or palm sugar to taste
  • 1 ½ teaspoon salt to taste

Spice Paste:

  • 5 shallots
  • 1 inch  galangal
  • 3 lemongrass, white part only
  • 5 cloves  garlic
  • 1 inch  ginger
  • 10-12 dried chilies, soaked in warm water and seededIMG_5133.jpg

 Method

  1. Chop the spice paste ingredients and then blend it in a food processor until fine. Add 1 cup of water to make the blending easier.
  2. Heat the oil in a heavy bottomed stew pot, add the spice paste, cinnamon, cloves, star anise, and cardamom and stir-fry until aromatic. Add the beef and the pounded lemongrass and stir for 1 minute. Add the coconut milk, tamarind juice, water, and simmer on medium heat, stirring frequently until the meat is well coated. Add the kaffir lime leaves, kerisik (toasted coconut), sugar or palm sugar, stirring to blend well with the meat.
  3. Lower the heat to low, cover the lid, and simmer for 1 to 1 1/2 hours or until the meat is really tender and the gravy has dried up. Add more salt and sugar to taste. Serve immediately with steamed rice and save some for overnight.

Recipe Notes

To prepare the kerisik or toasted coconut, just add the grated coconut to a dry wok and stir continuously until they turn golden brown.