Saturday, October 30, 2010

Pork Ramen Noodle Soup

I don't think I know any college students who don't have at least one or two packages of ramen noodles in their cupboards.  But the seasoning packets, in my opinion. are too boring!!  So I decided to spice things up and make the soup more satisfying by adding two kinds of pork, vegetables, and a real broth--not some salty, nasty seasoning packet!  This is ramen, a little closer to the real stuff you would get at a Japanese restaurant.


Pork Ramen Noodle Soup

1/2 block dried ramen noodles
1/2 cooked, frozen corn cob, thawed (or use roughly 1/4 c. bagged frozen corn)
1/2 carrot, pealed
1 oz. pork belly
1 oz. char sui pork
1 spring onion
1 c. turkey stock (or use chicken stock)
2 tsp. shaoxing rice wine
2 tsp. soy sauce

Cook the ramen according to package directions.  Drain and rinse with cold water.  Set aside.

Cut the pork belly into 1/2 in. cubes.  Heat a pot over medium heat and add the pork belly.  Do not add oil.  Cook 3-4 minutes until the meat has cooked through.

Dice the carrot into 1/4 in. pieces and add to the pot.  Stir into the pork belly pieces and cook 1-2 minutes.  The carrot should brown slightly.

Mix the turkey stock, rice wine, and soy sauce.  Add to the pot and bring to a boil.  Simmer 2 minutes to cook the carrot.

Using a sharp knife, cut the corn kernels from the cob.  Slice the char sui into 1/8 in. slices.  Add the corn and char sui to the soup.  Simmer 2-3 minutes, until the pork is well heated through.

Slice the spring onion into 1/2 in. pieces on the diagonal, and add to the soup.  Simmer 1 more minute.

To serve, put the noodles in the bottom of a serving bowl and spoon the soup over top.

Friday, October 29, 2010

Teriyaki Chicken & Vegetables with Diakon Rice and Sweet Egg

Whooo!!  I'm back!  Sorry for all the delay.  Two posts this time because of my forgetfulness.  I'm actually posting these from the Pratt library because I'm looking up stuff about bookbinding for my portfolio, but that's another story.  What I can say is that they somehow still have the A/C on (goodness knows why), and it's blowing just about right at me and I'm cold.  *teeth chattering*  I can't feel my fingers, so if there are typos here, I'm blaming it all on that.

More chicken teriyaki??  Yes.  It's delicious.  Just because I'm posting my eating habits to the world doesn't mean I can't make something over again.  This wasn't my best version of diakon rice.  I think I should soak the diakon in the soy sauce instead of just pour it over top.  The diakon flavor was a little stronger than I would have liked.  The chicken and veggies in the teriyaki sauce is heavenly.


Teriyaki Chicken & Vegetables with Diakon Rice and Sweet Egg

Ingredients:

1/3 c. rice (rinse if white rice)
1/2 c. water
1/2 in. diakon, pealed
1 Tbsp. bonito flakes
1 tsp. soy sauce
1 chicken thigh
2 dried shiitake mushrooms, reconstituted
2 spears asparagus, blanched
for teriyaki sauce: 
     1 Tbsp. soy sauce
     1 Tbsp. sake
     1 Tbsp. mirin
     2 tsp. water
     1 tsp. brown sugar
1 egg, lightly beaten
1/2 tsp. brown sugar
pinch of salt
6 snowpeas, trimmed
sesame seeds (optional, to serve)

Put the rice in a pot with a tight-fitting lid and cover with the measured water.  Boil until the liquid has been absorbed.  Remove from heat, but leave the lid on for an additional 10 minutes.

Using kitchen shears, cut the bone out of the chicken thigh and snip the meat into bite-sized pieces.  Heat a large pan over medium-high heat and add the chicken pieces.  (note:  if your chicken has skin on, do not add any vegetable oil.  If your chicken is skinless, add a little oil.)  Saute 5-6 minutes, or until the chicken is cooked through.  Remove the chicken from the pan temporarily.

Beat the sugar and salt into the egg and add to the pan.  Using slicing motions with a spatula, cook the egg until it forms little pieces.  Remove from the pan.

Add the chicken back to the pan.  Slice the mushrooms into 1/2 in. slices and cut the asparagus spears into thirds.  Add the mushrooms and asparagus the the pan.  Cook 2-3 minutes, or until the vegetables are cooked.

Mix the ingredients for the teriyaki sauce or use 1/4 c. pre-made teriyaki sauce.  Add to the pan.  It should get fairly frothy.  Cook and stir occasionally until the sauce has cooked down and coated the chicken and vegetables in a glaze.  Be careful not to let it burn.  Remove from heat.

Chop the diakon into 1/2 in. cubes.  Lift the lid from the rice and gently fluff with a spatula.  Add the diakon pieces, bonito flakes, and soy sauce to the rice and fold in.

To serve, put the diakon rice in a rice bowl.  Put the egg and snow peas together in another small bowl, and put the teriyaki chicken and vegetables on a small plate.  Sprinkle with sesame seeds.

Pork & Vegetables with Rice Noodles

I just grabbed the first foil-wrapped thing out of the freezer, and it turned out to be ground pork.  (Just a note, you should wrap your meats with aluminum foil for the freezer, and NOT plastic wrap.  Plastic wrap doesn't get as good of a seal and your stuff has a much, much, much higher potential of getting freezer burned.  Plus, foil can be labeled and dated on the outside with a sharpie marker for easy reference.)  At any rate, I wasn't sure how this would turn out (so what else is new?), but I got the basic idea of ground pork, mushroom, and spring onion with an oyster sauce from one of my other cookbooks, so I thought I'd give it a shot.  Mind you, I didn't do this from the cookbook.  I left the book in the other room and made it up as I went along.  It came out quite delicious, so I encourage you to try it.  If you don't have rice noodles, though, you can just use rice.  It tastes just about the same, it's just one's the grains and the other has been pounded into submission and extruded into noodle-ishness.


Pork & Vegetables with Rice Noodles

Ingredients:

2-3 oz. rice stick noodles (or just make some rice)
1/4 lb. ground pork
3 dried shiitake mushrooms
2 large handfuls of baby spinach
2 spring onions
4 tsp. oyster suace
1 tsp. fish sauce
1 tsp. soy sauce
sesame seeds (optional, to serve)

Place the mushrooms in a small bowl and cover with boiling water.  Let stand until reconstituted, then squeeze out the excess liquid and chop into roughly 1/4 in. pieces.  Set aside.

Boil water in a pot and add the rice noodles.  Cook according to package directions and drain, but don't rinse.  Set aside.

Heat a dry large skillet over medium-high heat and add the ground pork.  Using a spatula or wooden spoon, stir the pork with slicing motions to break the pork up into little pieces.  Continue to cook until the pork is all cooked and browned.

Mince the spring onions into little pieces.  Add the spring onions and mushroom to the pan and stir into the pork.  Cook an additional 1-2 minutes, or until the mushrooms are cooked.

Rinse the spinach and add to the pan.  Cook, stirring occasionally, until the spinach has wilted.  (I know it looks like a lot of spinach, but it won't be when it wilts down.)

Mix the oyster sauce, fish sauce, and soy sauce together.  Add to the pan.  Stir into the mixture and cook 1-2 more minutes until the mixture is well coated and the sauce is heated through. 

To serve, lay down a bed of the rice noodles on a serving plate and add the pork mixture over top.  Sprinkle with sesame seeds.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Lup Cheong & Vegetable Stir Fry

Well, I don't have a whole lot to say about this one.  It wasn't my worst, but it wasn't my best, either.  I realize I've been kind of failing at this lately, but I'm going to try to do my best to get back on schedule.  I've been really exhausted lately, which is decreasing my energy and appetite--and probably not in a good way.  I'll do my best to get back on top of things, but in the meantime this is what's happening.


Lup Cheong & Vegetable Stir Fry

1 lup cheong
1 carrot, pealed
handful of blanched/frozen broccoli
handful of blanched/frozen green beans
2 blanched/frozen asparagus spears
1/4 satsuma-imo
scant 1/4 c. turkey stock (or chicken stock)
1 tsp. shaoxing rice wine
yasai fumi furikake (optional, to serve)

Chop the satsuma-imo into roughly 1/2 in. cubes.  Boil water in a pot and add the sweet potato cubes.  Boil 6-8 minutes until the potato pieces can be easily pierced with a fork.  Drain and set aside.

Chop the carrot into 1/4 in. slices on the diagonal, the green beans in half, the asparagus into 2 in. pieces, and the broccoli into bite-sized pieces. 

Mix the turkey stock and rice wine in the pot and bring to a boil.  Add the carrot, broccoli, green beans, and asparagus.  Simmer 4-5 minutes, or until the frozen vegetables have thawed and heated through, and the carrot is slightly tender.  Add the sweet potato and simmer 1-2 more minutes.

Sprinkle with yasai fumi furikake and serve.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Green Noodle Bowl

So, Emily.  Did you have any idea what you were doing when you made this last night?  No.  Will you ever make this recipe again?  NO.  Yeah... let's just say that I thought it would sort of work, but it was an epic fail.  My deepest apologies for anyone who is appalled at the way I butchered these delicious matcha somen noodles.  For real, too.  I'm not trying to make a joke.


Green Noodle Bowl

Ingredients:

3 oz. matcha green tea somen noodles
2 dried shiitake mushrooms
1 c. water
1/2 tsp. dashi granules
1/2 tsp. soy sauce
1/2 tsp. mirin
1/2 tsp. sake
handful of baby spinach
8 snowpeas, trimmed
sesame seeds

Boil water in a pot, then add the somen noodles.  Cook for 1-2 minutes, until soft.  Drain, but do not rinse.

Put the mushrooms in a small bowl, then cover them with boiling water.  When reconstituted, squeeze the excess liquid from the mushrooms and cut them into 1/2 in. slices.

Pour the measured water in the pot and bring to a boil.  Add the dashi granules, soy sauce, mirin, and sake.  Stir until the dashi granules dissolve.

Add the spinach and mushrooms and cook until the leaves have wilted.  Add the noodles and snowpeas (sliced in half on the diagonal) and cook 1 minute more.  Sprinkle with sesame seeds and serve.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Pork & Pepper Noodle Soup

Why all the soups?  Well, soup is just one of those things that's super easy to make.  Generally, only one pot is needed to cook the entire thing, and you're basically just adding ingredients in steps to a hot broth, which makes it so simple.  I don't know what it's like in your part of the world, but here in New York, it's getting chilly (and, I might add, my dorm room--probably like many others--is quite drafty).  A hot bowl of soup is welcome when it's cold out. 

What a surprise, I didn't thaw out meat again, so I pulled something out of the freezer that would thaw easily enough:  pork belly pieces.  When I bought it, it was already cut up into manageable pieces, so a hot pot was all that was needed to thaw and cook them.  Pork belly is fatty, though, so I'll just say off the bat that this isn't a calorie-conscious meal.  But yesterday (when I made this) I had only a bowl of instant oatmeal for breakfast, and then didn't eat again until nearly 11:00pm.  In other words, I hadn't eaten in over 12 hours (an I'm hypoglycemic, mind you) and I'm pretty sure I could have done with the calories, so I didn't mind.  After I made this soup, it sort of reminded me of fall leaves from the yellow and red peppers, the amber color of the broth, the tan of the noodles, and the little contrast of green from the spring onion.  It was pretty, in my mind.  I guess it fit the season?  Whether or not you agree, it's delicious!

Side note:  This is officially the last of my shanghai noodles, so if you're annoyed with the frequency that I've been using them, rejoice.  I probably won't get them for a little while until I can get back over to Chinatown.  I've been so incredibly busy that I haven't been able to go.


Pork & Pepper Noodle Soup

Ingredients:

2 oz. shanghai noodles
1 oz. pork belly
2 small sweet peppers (one red, one yellow; or use 1/4 each of bell pepper), seeded
2 spring onions
1 1/2 c. turkey stock (or use chicken stock)
1 tsp. tom yum paste
sesame seeds (optional, to serve)

Boil water in a pot and add the noodles.  Boil 5-6 minutes until they are plump and tender.  Drain well and rinse with cold water.  Using kitchen shears, snip the noodles into roughly 3 in. lengths.

Cut the pork belly into 1/2 in. cubes.  Heat the pot over medium heat and add the pork belly.  Do not add any oil!  Saute the pork belly for 4-5 minutes, or until thawed (if frozen) and golden brown.  (At this point, if you feel there is too much oil in the bottom of the pot, you can remove the pork and drain off the fat.  Then put the pork pieces back in the pot.)

Add the tom yum paste and saute until fragrant.  Pour the turkey stock over the pork and tom yum paste.  Bring to a boil.

Slice the peppers into 1/4 in. strips and cut the spring onions into 1 in. lengths.  Add the peppers only to the pot and boil for 4-5 minutes, or until the peppers are tender.  They'll still have a little crunch to them, but if you like your peppers softer, just boil longer.  Add the spring onions and boil 1-2 minutes more. 

To serve, put the noodles in the bottom of a serving bowl and spoon the soup over top.  Sprinkle with sesame seeds, if desired.

Friday, October 22, 2010

Lup Cheong Noodle Soup

Mashing up kabocha in soup?  It's a little funky in texture in the soup, but it still tastes pretty good.  Why?  Well.... OK, so my kabocha had a tiny bit of mold on the skin.  I'm just one of those people who will eat off the floor (as in if I just drop a piece of popcorn on the floor or something), and the rest of it looked fine, so I just rinsed it pretty good and cut off the rind.  (I call it strengthening my immune system.)  Usually you don't peal kabocha, but what the hey.  I'm also trying to use up these shanghai noodles because I don't know how much longer they'll last, so this is a bit of a clean-out-the-refrigerator soup.  (The satsuma-imo was juuuuust starting to get mold, too.  Call me gross, but that's how I roll.)


Lup Cheong Noodle Soup

Ingredients:

3-4 oz. kabocha, pealed and seeded
2 oz. shanghai noodles
1/2 satsuma-imo
1 c. turkey stock (or use chicken stock)
3 dried shiitake mushrooms
2 tsp. shaoxing rice wine
2 tsp. soy sauce

Boil water in a pot.  Add the shanghai noodles and boil for 3-4 minutes, or until plump and soft.  Drain and rinse with cold water.  Using kitchen shears, snip the noodles into roughly 3 in. lengths.

Put the shiitake mushrooms in a small bowl and cover with boiling water.  When reconstituted, squeeze out the excess liquid and slice into 1/2 in. slices.  Set aside.

Dice the kabocha into very small pieces (say around 1/4 in. cubes--they don't have to be perfect because you're going to mash it up anyway) and boil for 6-8 minutes, or until the squash is very soft.  Drain well.  Then, using a fork, mash the cooked kabocha into a paste.  Set aside.

Chop the satsuma-imo into roughly 1 cm cubes.  In a pot, bring the turkey stock, rice wine, and soy sauce to a boil.  Add the satsuma-imo and boil for 6-8 minutes, or until a fork easily pierces the satsuma-imo pieces.

Slice the lup cheong into 1/4 in. pieces on the diagonal.  Add the lup cheong and mushrooms to the soup and simmer for another 2-3 minutes, until the lup cheong has cooked/heated through.  Stir in the mashed kabocha and simmer for 1 more minute to heat through.

To serve, put the noodles in a serving bowl, then spoon the soup over top.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Sweet & Salty Miso Chicken

For all those times you can't decide whether you want miso or teriyaki... how 'bout both?  Seriously.  I know it sounds a little odd, and I didn't know how it was going to turn out, but this miso and teriyaki-like glaze is a lovely blend of sweet and salty.  Unfortunately, it takes a little bit longer to cook (probably about an hour start to finish, but just guessing) because the sauce has to cook down, but trust me, it's worth it.

For the chicken in this recipe, I recommend using dark meat (I used thigh meat) that still has the skin on because it doesn't dry out and has a better flavor in my opinion.  Not only does it keep you from having to add any excess oils, the chicken fat from the skin adds a wonderful flavor the rest of the vegetables and the sauce.  But if you're trying to count calories or anything, you can certainly do this with skinless bird.  Just make sure to add a smidgen of oil to the pan or else you'll be scraping burnt chicken off your pan for the next ten years... and I don't know about you, but I'll pass on scraping a pan if I can help it.


Sweet & Salty Miso Chicken

1/3 c. rice (rinse white rice before cooking)
1/2 c. water
1 chicken thigh, skin on
1/2 carrot, pealed
small handful of broccoli
1 spring onion
2 dried shiitake mushrooms
2 small sweet peppers (or 1/4 bell pepper), seeded
8 snowpeas, trimmed
1 Tbsp. miso
1 Tbsp. soy sauce
1 Tbsp. mirin
1 Tbsp. sake
2 tsp. water
sesame seeds (optional, to serve)
yasai fumi furikake (optional, to serve--rice seasoning)

Mix the rice and 1/2 c. water together in a pot with a tight-fitting lid and bring to a boil.  Continue to boil until all the liquid has been absorbed.  Remove from heat, but leave the lid on for an additional 10 minutes minimum.

Put the mushrooms in a small bowl and cover with boiling water.  After they are reconstituted, squeeze out the excess liquid and slice into 1/2 in. slices.  Set aside.

Using kitchen shears, snip the bone out of the chicken thigh, then cut the chicken into bite-sized chunks, keeping the skin on as best as possible.  Heat a dry skillet over medium heat, then add the chicken chunks, skin side down.  Cook 2-3 minutes until the skin has browned and the oils are released, then turn the chicken pieces over.  Cook for an additional 3-4 minutes.

Chop the carrot into 1/2 in. thick semi-circles, the broccoli into bite-sized pieces, and the peppers into 1/4 in. slices.  Add all three vegetables plus the mushrooms to the pan and cook 2-3 minutes until the chicken is cooked through and the vegetables have softened and cooked.

Mix together the soy sauce, mirin, sake, and 2 tsp. water.  Whisk in the miso until the sauce is smooth.  Add to the pan and bring to a simmer.  Continue to cook the meat, veggies, and sauce, stirring occasionally, for about 10-12 minutes, until the sauce cooks down and thickens.

Slice the spring onions into 1 in. pieces and add to the pan along with the snowpeas.  Stir and cook an additional 1-2 minutes until the snow peas and spring onions are heated through and well coated in the sauce.  Sprinkle with sesame seeds and serve with the rice, sprinkled with yasai fumi furikake.

Rice with Shrimp, Spinach, and Egg Sprinkles & Mushroom

Oh my!  I'm so sorry!  I actually made this last night, but I completely forgot to post it up until this morning.  I'm blaming it all on visiting the kitties in the engine room.  At least Kirby, Tubby, and Niki were grateful for the treats, and Willy got a good dinner last night....and Tubby.  But enough about kitties--I felt like having rice last night, and I always wanted to try making these "sprinkles" to put on it.  This is a modification of a classic bento lunch that moms often make for their kids in Japan.  Of course, mine's not in a box and I used shrimp instead of fish, and I added mushrooms, but who's counting?  It's the same idea, anyway.  This is super easy and just about everyone should have the ingredients for this.  The only thing you might not be able to find readily is the mirin, but I think you should just be able to substitute a little sugar water, and you can use any sort of mushroom you want if you don't like or can't find shiitake.  I know this looks like a lot of work, but each item only takes a minute or two to cook, so it's actually done faster than you would think.  (And if anyone is wondering why my egg looks a little funny colored, I used the same spatula the whole time and I had some of the sticky soy sauce mixture stuck on the spatula after cooking the mushrooms.  It tastes just fine, it's just stained from the soy sauce.)


Rice with Shrimp, Spinach, and Egg Sprinkles & Mushroom

Ingredients:

1/3 c. rice (rinse it if you're using white rice)
1/2 c. water
2 dried shiitake mushrooms
3 raw shrimp, pealed and de-veined
large handful of baby spinach
1 egg, lightly beaten
1/4 tsp. brown sugar (you can use white sugar, too)
pinch of salt
1 Tbsp. soy sauce
1/2 tsp. mirin (or use 1/4 tsp. sugar with 1/2 tsp. water)
vegetable oil
sesame seeds (optional, to serve)
nori seaweed, cut into 1/4 in. strips (optional, to serve)

Mix the rice and measured water in a pot with a tight-fitting lid on the stove and bring the water to a boil.  Continue to cook the rice until all the liquid is absorbed, but don't let the rice burn.  Remove from heat, but leave the lid on for an additional 10 minutes minimum.

Put the shiitake mushrooms in a small bowl and cover with boiling water.  When reconstituted, slice into 1/2 in. strips and set aside.

Rinse the spinach and drain.  Heat a dry small frying pan and add the spinach.  The water still clinging to the leaves should be enough moisture.  Cook until the spinach has wilted.  Remove from the pan and set aside to cool.  When cool, mince the spinach into little pieces (sprinkles).

Heat a little oil in the pan, then add the shrimp.  Cook until the shrimp turns pink, then remove from the pan and mince into little pieces (sprinkles). 

There should be enough oil residue in the pan, so add the mushrooms along with the soy sauce and mirin.  It should come to a frothy boil.  Continue to cook and stir the mushrooms until nearly all the liquid has boiled away and the mushrooms are well glazed.  Be careful not to let it burn.  Remove the mushrooms from the pan. 

At this point, you could just cook the egg in the glaze in the pan, or you can pour water in the pan to deglaze it, then dump out the liquid.  It's up to you.

Beat the sugar and salt into the egg.  Add just a little more oil to the pan, and add the egg.  (Egg butcher-ers unite!!)  Stir the egg around as much as possible and use a slicing motion with your spatula to fully cook the egg and form it into little granules (sprinkles, about 1/8 in. diameter or so).  Remove from heat.

To serve, lay down a bed with the rice on a serving plate.  On one third, sprinkle the shrimp; on another third, sprinkle the spinach, and on the last third, add the egg sprinkles.  Top the egg with the mushrooms, the shrimp with the nori slices, and the spinach with sesame seeds.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Vegetables with Flour Slice

What a surprise... I forgot to thaw out meat again.  Veggies it is!  That's OK, though, because the produce I bought the other day is just excellent.  This is a good "clean out the vegetable bin" meal for when you've got a bin-full of veggies; low in fat and high in vitamins.  I'm using those flour slice noodles again, which I inherited from my suitemates last year.  You can certainly use any noodle you want if they're impossible to find--I'm not even sure where to get them.  Turkey stock really gives this meal a wonderful flavor, but you can always use chicken stock, or, if you really want this to be a vegetarian dish, you can certainly use vegetable stock.  Any flavor of stock with work--just use your favorite!


Vegetables with Flour Slice

Ingredients:

1/2 carrot, pealed
small handful of broccoli
1/2 in. diakon, pealed
8 snowpeas, trimmed
1-2 spring onions
2 small sweet peppers (or 1/4 - 1/3 bell pepper), seeded
vegetable oil
large handful (or 2 small handfuls) of flour slice noodles
1/4 c. turkey stock
1 tsp. shaoxing rice wine
yasai fumi furikake (optional, to serve)

First, chop up all the vegetables:  Slice the carrot into 1/8 in. slices on the diagonal, the diakon into 1/8 in. slices, the spring onions into 1 in. pieces, the broccoli into bit-sized pieces, and the peppers into 1/4 in. slices.

Heat a little oil in a pan, then add the carrot, broccoli, and peppers.  Saute for 2-3 minutes until the vegetables are softened.  Add the snowpeas, diakon, and spring onions.  Saute for another 1-2 minutes.

Mix the turkey stock and rice wine.  Add to the pan and bring to a simmer.  Add the flour slice noodles to the mixture and simmer 4-5 minutes, or until the noodles are cooked through.  Sprinkle with yasai fumi furikake and serve.

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Asian Style Chicken Soup

I was so excited because I got fresh vegetables at the store today (and none of them are moldy!.... yet).  I didn't go shopping in Chinatown today, though, because I didn't really have time to.  So, patronizing the locals today.  The lady at the fruit market actually asked me if I was out of town because I used to shop their all the time before I started shopping for produce in Chinatown, then when I told her about my blog, she told me I was crazy because even she doesn't know what to make for dinner on a nightly basis!  She's so cute.  I love going there.  One of those typical Brooklyn mom & pop places that's little more than a hole in the wall, but they've got some decent stuff.  At one point (they still may, actually) they had this adorable little cat named Mi Mi (sp?), whose job I suppose was to get rid of mice.  She was so cute.  One minute she'd be rubbing up against your legs, then as soon as you paid her any attention, she'd scramble underneath the tables, which had sides on them that left only maybe 3-4 in. space between them and the floor.  I still don't know how she managed to squeeze herself so effortlessly under there, but I digress.  (BTW - anyone who knows me personally knows I'm a sucker for kitties.  For you Pratt folks:  WILLY!!!!!!!  to the nth degree)

What's up with this soup?  Well, I picked up some turkey stock today, along with chicken, these little sweet peppers (of which I'm now in love), and lemongrass, so why not?  Now, I don't think I'd recommend this as an "I'm sick and I want chicken soup" chicken soup, but it turned out pretty well.  Turkey stock.  It's sort of a seasonal thing, but when I saw it on sale I couldn't pass it up.  I think it tastes pretty good, but the flavor is a bit masked by the coconut milk and Thai chili in this recipe.  I'll probably come up with another soup that showcases its flavor a bit more later.  After I made this soup, though, I thought it was missing something:  sugar.  Just a teaspoon or so.  I think it would counteract the heat of the chili nicely.  I'll give the recipe without, but you can always add it yourself.


Asian Style Chicken Soup

Ingredients:

1 c. turkey stock (you can certainly use chicken stock)
1/4 c. coconut milk
1/2 stalk lemongrass
1/4 satsumi-imo (Japanese sweet potato)
1 chicken thigh
1 spring onion
1 small sweet pepper (or use 1/4 bell pepper)
1 Thai chili, seeded

Mix together the turkey stock and coconut milk, and bring to a simmer in a pot. Finely shred the lemongrass and add to the pot.

Chop the satsumi-imo into roughly 1/2 in. cubes (doesn't have to be perfect, just small pieces) and add to the soup.  Continue to simmer for 4-5 minutes, or until you can easily pierce the sweet potato pieces with a fork.

Using kitchen shears, snip the meat of the chicken away from the bone.  Discard the bone and any skin.  Snip the meat into bite-sized pieces, then add to the soup.  Cook 2-3 minutes.  The chicken should cook through.

Seed the sweet pepper and slice into 1/8 in. slices, chop the spring onion into 1 in. lengths, and finely shred the chili.  Add all three to the soup and simmer 2-3 minutes more.  Serve.

Pork, Konnyaku, & Flour Slice Stir-Fry

Oh, was I annoyed when I went to the fridge tonight!  It seemed like every last thing I had went moldy!  My hokkien noodles were moldy, my tofu puffs were moldy, my kamaboko fishcake was moldy, and my bamboo shoots were moldy!!!  Grrrrrrrr!!!  I think I should freeze things more often and maybe I could prevent this from happening.  So what I thought I was going to make didn't happen, but I think I did a pretty good job of creating something with what I had left.

I used what's called "flour slice" for the noodles tonight.  Basically, they're large, thin, flat noodles made from only two ingredients:  wheat flour and water (and since they're dried, probably just wheat flour).  Where do you get them?  Well, I'm actually not sure.  The only reason I have them is because one of my suitemates left them after moving out at the end of the year last year, so I took them.  I suppose you could use any noodle you have lying around--udon noodles are wheat flour noodles, so that might taste similar, anyway.



Pork, Konnyaku, & Flour Slice Stir-Fry

Ingredients:

2 oz. char sui (see Char Sui)
1/8 konnyaku cake (devil's tongue jelly/yam cake)
vegetable oil
2 spring onions
2 leaves bok choy
handful of flour slice noodles
5 tsp. soy sauce
1 Tbsp. shaoxing rice wine
2 tsp. water
yasai fumi furikake (to serve, see Note below)

Slice the char sui and konnyaku into 1/8 in. slices.  Heat a little oil in a pan and add the pork and yam cake.  Stir-fry 1-2 minutes until the pork has browned and the konnyaku heats through.

Cut the spring onions into 1 in. pieces and the bok choy into 1 in. square pieces.  Add both vegetables to the pan and stir-fry 1-2 minutes, or until the vegetables have softened and cooked.

Mix the soy sauce, rice wine, and water.  Add the sauce to the pan, then add the flour slice noodles.  Continue to cook and boil for 3-4 minutes, or until the noodles have softened well.  Sprinkle with yasai fumi furikake and serve.

Note:  What is yasai fumi furikake??  Some of you have been asking me about it.  Yasai fumi furikake is a rice seasoning that consists of dried vegetables such as spinach, mustard greens, sesame seeds, and nori seaweed, as well as dried granules of egg yolk.  It sounds a little odd, but it's quite delicious and looks pretty when sprinkled on food.  It's really an optional thing in my recipes because I just use it as a little garnishing thing, so you don't need it if you can't find it, but it really does add a nice flavoring.

 

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Tom Yum Vegetable Soup

Yaaaaayyy!!  I got around to cooking tonight.  Things have been pretty hectic for me lately, but since I don't have classes on Fridays, I was able to cook something tonight.  Lots of veggies!  (Veggies are good for you, though.) This was sort of a "clean-out-the-vegetable-bin" sort of soup, which now means that I have to pick up produce at the store tomorrow.  I don't have time to go to Chinatown, however, so I'll just have to shop locally.

When I was rooting around the fridge this evening, I just had so many vegetables, and I had also forgotten to thaw out the red snapper I bought last week, so veggies it was!  I really had no idea how this was going to turn out, but I just tried to put together flavors that I thought would go well together and look kind of colorful with one another.  (It's sometimes nice when your food looks pretty.)  So I was pleasantly surprised when it turned out really good tasting.  I think it's that tom yum paste--whenever I use it in soups it tends to always taste good.  This soup does require a little more time (roughly about 60 minutes start to finish) because you have to cook the noodles and simmer the kabocha and satsumi-imo for several minutes, but cutting them in small pieces helps to make them cook faster.


Tom Yum Vegetable Soup

1-2 oz. shanghai noodles
1 c. good chicken stock
1/4 c. coconut milk
2 tsp. tom yum paste
1/4 satsumi-imo (Japanese sweet potato)
1 oz. kabocha (Japanese squash), seeded
1/2 leek
1 spring onion
1/2 in. diakon, pealed

Boil water in a pot.  Add the shanghai noodles and cook for 3-4 minutes, or until plump and cooked through.  Drain and rinse with cold water.  Using kitchen shears, cut the noodles into roughly 3 in. lengths.

Heat the tom yum paste in the pot until fragrant.  Add the chicken stock and coconut milk, and bring to a simmer. 

Dice the satsumi-imo and kabocha into roughly 1 cm cubes.  (I know this sounds like it takes a long time, but just start cutting them up while the noodles are boiling and you won't be wasting any time.)  Add the cubes to the soup base and simmer 5-6 minutes, or until the vegetables are soft when pierced with a fork.

Chop the leek into 1/2 in. strips and cut the spring onion into 1 in. lengths.  Add both to the soup and simmer 1-2 more minutes, or until the leeks are nice and green and cooked.  Chop the diakon in half (into two semi-circles), then slice into 1/8 in. slices.  Add to the soup and cook only for roughly 30 seconds longer.  Remove from heat.

To serve, put the noodles in the bottom of a serving bowl, and spoon the vegetables and soup over top.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Busy, busy, busy!!  Canned soup tonight.  I promise I'll have something delicious to share with yinz tomorrow!!

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Well, Take Out Tonight. *sigh*

I didn't have the greatest day today (will not go into details) and I'm falling fantastically behind schedule and doing my very best to catch up.  Take out Chinese tonight.  For those of you in Brooklyn, when all else fails:  New Grace. 

Dumplings & Mixed Vegetables

I got lazy with this one.  I mean really, really, really lazy.  I've been absolutely swamped these last few days, and I just didn't want to deal with making an elaborate meal.  I didn't time myself, but I'm willing to bet I whipped this out in 20 minutes or so, but that's because I used frozen dumplings.  I've made homemade dumplings in the past, and they're delicious, but making dumplings at home is a pain and is definitely not something to do on a tight time schedule.  Homemade dumplings are something you do during the summer, or spring break, or over the holidays when you have time to be dealing with all of those little gyoza or wonton wrappers.  Let's face it, if you have time to be making dumplings during the college school year, then you probably aren't working hard enough.  Frozen dumplings really aren't that bad at all, and come in lots of different flavors and fillings, including beef, pork, shrimp, chicken, and vegetable.  They're quick and easy to just toss in a pan, and very easy to eat if you're doing something else at the same time.  In my opinion, you should always keep a package of frozen dumplings in the freezer for emergency situations or when you have no energy to be making a meal.  

Just because: when I was eating my dumplings, I accidently dropped one in my soy sauce, which in turn splattered all over my desk, sprinkling my shirt, and nearly (but didn't quite reach that far) my packaging piece I had spent all yesterday working on.  Note to self and everyone else:  be careful what you have sitting around you while you're eating.  Professors tend to not like soy sauce-splattered homework.  hee hee.

Laziness can be delicious!
Dumplings & Mixed Vegetables

Ingredients:

8 frozen dumplings (any flavor, but I used beef)
vegetable oil
1 carrot, pealed
several pieces of broccoli
1 spring onion
3/4 in. cucumber, seeded
1 Tbsp. oyster sauce
1 tsp. soy sauce
1/2 tsp. lemon juice
2 tsp. fish sauce
yasai fumi fuikake (optional, to serve - rice seasoning)
soy sauce (to serve)

Heat a little oil in a pan that has a tight-fitting lid, and add the dumplings.  Try not to let them touch each other.  Cook until the dumplings have browned on the bottoms.  Add enough water to cover the bottom of the pan by 1/8 in., then cover the pan with the lid.

Slice the carrot on the diagonal into 1/8 in. slices, the broccoli into chunks, the spring onion into 1 in. lengths, and the cucumber into chunks.

After the dumpling skins have turned translucent after 5-6 minutes, remove the lid from the pan and let the rest of the liquid boil away.  Remove the dumplings from the pan.

Add a little more oil to the pan, then add the broccoli and carrot.  Stir to cover with the oil, then add water and cover as you did to the dumplings.  Steam the vegetables 1-2 minutes until softened.  Remove the lid and add the cucumber and spring onion.  Saute 1-2 more minutes until everything has softened.

Mix together the oyster sauce, soy sauce, fish sauce, and lemon juice.  Add the vegetables and stir to coat evenly.  Cook one last 1-2 minutes until everything has been thoroughly cooked and the sauce thickens just slightly. 

Serve the dumplings with soy sauce and sprinkle the vegetables with the yasai fumi fuikake.

Monday, October 11, 2010

Chicken Teriyaki & Simmered Vegetables

Lately I've been really falling behind on my homework (not necessarily from cooking, though), so I've only really been eating two meals a day, usually skipping breakfast and wolfing something down for lunch.  For someone who's hypoglycemic, that's not so good, but I'm going to blame it all on school.  I didn't get really all that creative with this one since I didn't have much time to be cooking all that much in the midst of my desperate attempts to get caught up (and my first breakdown of the school year), so it's good ol' chicken teriyaki with lots of nice veggies in attempts to lift my spirits and get some energy for the long haul of senior projects I have to be working on.  I'm not sure about anyone else, but teriyaki can be a comfort food for me because it's salty, sweet, sticky, warm, and satisfying.  I just thawed out some chicken, pre-blanched asparagus spears, and rice package and threw some kabocha and satsuma-imo in a pot.  Not rocket science tonight, so this is a good hearty meal for when you're just not feeling up to snuff.   ...I work almost constantly, so I don't know how I have this lovely talent for falling behind!!!   T_T  *cries*


Chicken Teriyaki & Simmered Vegetables

1 chicken thigh, skin on
2 Tbsp. soy sauce (see Note)
2 Tbsp. sake (see Note)
2 tsp. mirin (see Note)
1 tsp. brown sugar (see Note)
3 asparagus spears, blanched (I had blanched and frozen a bunch yesterday, so I just thawed out 3 spears)
1/2 satsuma-imo (Japanese sweet potato)
1-2 oz. kabocha (Japanese squash), seeded
3/4 c. cooked rice, reheated if frozen or left over (I had a pre-measured frozen rice packet I made a while ago, so I just thawed that out)
sesame seeds (optional, to serve)

Note:  If you don't have all these ingredients for the teriyaki sauce or if you want to save a little time (by say, 30 seconds) you can use pre-made teriyaki sauce, but the homemade stuff tastes better.

Cut the satsuma-imo into 1/2 in. chunks and slice the kabocha into 1/4 in. slices.  Put both vegetables into a pot of boiling water and cook until soft enough for a fork to pierce easily.  Drain.

Cut the bone out of the chicken thigh (kitchen shears makes this a breeze, but you can use a knife if you like).  Heat a dry pan and add the chicken, skin side down.  (You don't need any oil if your chicken has skin on--the fat from the skin will provide well more than enough oil.  However, if you do happen to be using skinless chicken, you may need to add a little oil to your pan.)  Cook until the skin has browned, then flip over.  Cook until the bottom has browned, then flip the chicken back to skin side down.  Put a lid on the chicken and cook 2-3 minutes, flip the chicken over, put the lid back on, and cook another 2-3 minutes.

Mix the soy sauce, sake, mirin, and brown sugar.  Remove the lid from the chicken and add the sauce.  It should start to froth, but be careful to not let it burn.  Continue to cook the chicken, turning every 2-3 minutes until the juices from the meat are no longer pink and the meat is nicely glazed in the sauce.  Remove the chicken from the pan, but do not cut yet.

Cut the asparagus spears into four pieces each and add to the remaining teriyaki sauce in the pan.  Cook until the asparagus is thoroughly reheated/cooked and glazed in the sauce. 

Cut the chicken into four pieces.  Sprinkle the rice with sesame seeds.  Serve with the asparagus and simmered vegetables.  Pour the remaining sauce in the pan over the chicken and asparagus, if desired.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Chili Squid with Vegetables

Squid?  Eewwwww!!  Well, then you don't know what your missing.  Squid actually has a rather mild taste, but I'm willing to bet it's the concept of a slippery, squiggling, tentacle-ly invertebrate that gets people.  And, squid sounds expensive.  Well, I guess it could be depending on where you live.  I picked up a bunch of baby squid (already cleaned and ready to go) for only $3.80 a pound.  That's comparable to chicken, even.  I noticed that squid that weren't cleaned yet were $3.00 a pound, but seriously, I'll pay the extra 80 cents just so I don't have to deal with the skin, eyes, beak, and guts (although even cleaned squid might have some bits of gut left behind).  It cuts down on the preparation time by a lot, especially when you don't have much time on your hands.  If your squid does have some guts left in, yes, it's slippery and gross, but man-up and just pull it out!!  Then make sure you rinse everything out really well and peal as much excess membrane off as possible.  You also might need to take out the clear "bone" in the body/head/hood (whichever you prefer).  Trust me, though, it's all worth it because perfectly cleaned squid is delicious.

Squid delicious and cheaper than you would expect.
Chili Squid with Vegetables

1 baby squid, cleaned
3 asparagus spears
small handful of broccoli
1 spring onion
2 leaves boc choy
vegetable oil
1 Tbsp. sweet chili sauce (with or without garlic)
2 tsp. fish sauce
1/4 tsp. red pepper flakes
1/4 tsp. lemon juice
yasai fumi fuikake (optional, to serve - rice seasoning)

Snap off the woody ends from the asparagus.  Simmer water in a large frying pan, then blanch the asparagus and broccoli until just softened.  Remove the vegetables from the water and plunge into ice water to stop the cooking.  (You certainly don't have to do all this work for 3 spears of asparagus.  I actually blanched an entire bunch of asparagus at once, freezing all the spears that I didn't use for this recipe.)

After you have thoroughly cleaned the squid, insert a knife into the hood and slice it open lengthwise, so that you can spread it out onto a cutting surface flat.  Score the squid in a checkerboard pattern, but be careful not to cut all the way through.  Then, cut the squid hood into six roughly equal-sized pieces.  Remove the long tentacles from the ball of tentacles, then cut the remaining ball of short tentacles in half.

Cut the spring onion into 1 in. lengths and the boc choy into roughly 1 in. square pieces.

Heat a little oil in the same pan you used for blanching (after you've dumped the water out), then add the squid.  Cook until the scored pieces curl up into tubes and begin to turn more opaque white.  Add the vegetables and cook for another 2-3 minutes, until the vegetables have softened.

Mix the chili sauce, fish sauce, lemon juice, and red pepper flakes.  Add this sauce to the pan and stir to evenly coat the squid and vegetables.  Cook an additional 2-3 minutes, or until everything is heated and sufficiently cooked.

Sprinkle with yasai fumi fuikake and serve.

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Vegetable & Noodle Stir-Fry

My favorite TV show was coming on, so I whipped this meal out in 20 minutes (start to finish) because I was so hungry and I didn't want to wait another hour to eat.  (By the way, in case anyone is wondering what show, I'm a big fan of Ghost Adventures and the new episodes come on Friday nights on the Travel Channel.)  At any rate, I went into Chinatown this morning and picked up a bunch of fruit, vegetables, and fish--all for less than $15!  That's why I bother go all the way into Manhattan from Brooklyn:  the prices are good and, in my opinion, the produce is often much fresher than what I can get in the regular grocery store.  Except for maybe the cabbages... I always find the cabbage in Chinatown is wilted, so I pick that up at M2M.  This noodle stir-fry is very easy to make and is one of my "just boil the noodles, chop the veggies, and toss it together in a pan" meals that doesn't take very long.


Vegetable & Noodle Stir-Fry

Ingredients:

2 oz. shanghai noodles
2 dried shiitake mushrooms
1 scallion
1/2  leftover satsuma-imo (Japanese sweet potato - I had some left over from the Ginger Beef & Satsuma-Imo Bento recipe)
several small leaves napa cabbage
3 tofu puffs
small handful of canned bamboo shoots
vegetable oil
1 Tbsp. oyster sauce
2 tsp. fish sauce
1 tsp. shaoxing rice wine
yasai fumi fuikake (optional, to serve - rice seasoning)

Place the shiitake in a small bowl and add boiling water to cover.  Soak until the mushrooms are reconstituted, then squeeze out the excess liquid and slice into 3/8 in. slices.

Boil water in a pot and add the shanghai noodles.  Cook 4-5 minutes, or until soft and plump.  Drain and rinse with cold water.  Using kitchen shears, snip the noodles into roughly 3 in. lengths.

Chop the scallion into 1 in. lengths, the cabbage leaves into 1 in. squares, and the tofu puffs into 4 slices each.

Heat a little oil in a pan, then add the scallion, cabbage leaves, tofu puffs, satsuma-imo, and bamboo shoots.  Stir-fry 3-4 minutes, or until the vegetables are cooked.

Mix together the oyster sauce, fish sauce, and rice wine.  Add the noodles and the sauce to the pan.  Stir until well-coated in the sauce and the noodles are heated through.  Sprinkle with yasai fumi fuikake and serve.

Friday, October 8, 2010

Shrimp & Leek Miso Soup

Tonight I didn't feel like cooking very much, so I whipped up a bowl of miso soup with veggies I found in the fridge.  I had a leek in there, which is on the verge of starting to go bad, so I tried to start using it up, and I quickly thawed out some shrimp.  Leek, shrimp, diakon, and miso sounded really good in my head.  And it even sort of looks pretty.  But this turned out to be not one of my most flavorful soups.  I think I didn't like the acidic flavor of the diakon in the soup, and I've found out the miso and shrimp is not my favorite combination.  Good flavors, just not together in my opinion.  I should probably just make a good old-fashioned wakame and tofu miso soup to share with all of yinz.  Will do, but first I need to get my hands on some tofu!


Shrimp & Leek Miso Soup

Ingredients:

4 shrimp, pealed and deveined
1/2 leek (cut the leek down the middle lengthwise), well rinsed
1/2 in. diakon, pealed
2 dried shiitake mushrooms
1 1/4 c. water
1 tsp. dashi granules
2 tsp. soy sauce
1 tsp. sake
2 tsp. red miso (white miso will work, too)
sesame seeds (optional, to serve)

Put the mushrooms in a small bowl and cover with boiling water.  When reconstituted, squeeze the excess liquid from the shiitake and slice into 3/8 in. strips.

Chop the leek into 1/2 in. strips and the diakon into 1/8 in. strips.

Boil the measured water in a pot and add the dashi granules, soy sauce, and sake.  Stir to dissolve the dashi granules.  Add the leek and cook for 1-2 minutes until softened.

Add the diakon, shiitake, and shrimp to the soup and cook until the shrimp turn pink/red.

Add the miso and turn off the heat.  Stir until the miso has been dissolved.  Sprinkle with sesame seeds and serve.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Ginger Beef & Satsuma-Imo Bento

Technically, a bento is a Japanese lunch that is served in a box (hence bento).  I didn't put mine in a bento box, but you could use this recipe as a room-temperature lunch.  This is also the first time I have ever cooked satsuma-imo, which is a Japanese sweet potato.  Unlike the orange-ish sweet potatoes you're probably accustomed to seeing on the Thanksgiving table covered in marshmallows, satsuma-imo are a creamy yellow color and are, in my opinion, much sweeter.  They're also much smaller than your average sweet potato, unless I somehow picked up little ones when they're really honkin' huge.  In this recipe I didn't add any sauce to the sweet potatoes, but they almost taste as though they've been cooked with sugar.  It was unexpected, but I think I liked it.  Knowing that, however, I think next time I might nix the added sugar in the beef's sauce.  Try it first with the sugar, but if you find it too sweet, you can leave the sugar out next time.


Ginger Beef & Satsuma-Imo Bento

Ingredients:

3-4 oz. beef, cut into 3/4 in. cubes
1/4 in. ginger root, pealed and shredded
1 tsp. brown sugar
5 tsp. soy sauce
1 tsp. mirin
vegetable oil
2 leaves bok choy
1 satsuma-imo
1/4 in. cucumber, seeded
cooked rice
handful of broccoli
sesame seeds (optional, to serve)

Cut the satsuma-imo into 1/2 in. cubes, but don't peel it.  Boil water in a pot, then add the sweet potato.  Boil for 5-6 minutes, or until soft enough for a fork to pierce easily.  Add the broccoli to the pot and boil 1-2 more minutes.  Drain well, but don't rinse.

Heat a little oil in a pan, then add the beef cubes.  Cook for a minute or so, just until the outside changes color.  Mix together the soy sauce, brown sugar, ginger, and mirin.  Add the sauce to the beef and continue to cook until nearly all of the liquid is absorbed.  The sauce should reduce into a thin glaze on the beef.

Cut the cucumber into 1/4 in. pieces.  Heat up your rice if it is leftover or frozen rice.

To serve, spoon the beef on top of the bok choy leaves, and add the broccoli, sweet potato, and rice.  Separate the broccoli from the satsuma-imo, if desired.  Sprinkle the beef with sesame seeds.

Hajiki & Chicken

All right, I'll be the first to admit that this looks gross.  Sort of reminds you of a beef stew you left in the dutch oven for a few hours too long and the meat and veggies have started to disintegrate.  But trust me on this one, it tastes 1000 times better than it looks!  If you've never heard of hajiki, it's a type of seaweed--specifically an edible brown algae.  Its appearance sort of reminds you of the seaweed you would see slathered on huge boulders in Maine when the tide has gone out (minus all the nasty snails and razor sharp barnacles that I always seem to have a talent for slipping on), but unlike wakame, hajiki doesn't get slimy, which makes it very pleasant for those who don't care for slimy food.  As for the taste, it's somewhere crossed between rice and vegetables, which also makes it quite palatable.  In grocery stores, it's usually sold dried in packages.  You don't need very much--hajiki when soaked will quintuple in size!

This particular dish takes longer than my usual recipes since it needs to simmer for nearly half an hour.  However, this is one that doesn't need to be watched like a hawk, so you can go do something else (like catching up on your homework!) while it's cooking.  Now, that doesn't mean you can put the pot on the stove, bring it to a boil, then skip down the hall to hang out with your best buds for half an hour.  Food does tend to burn when you leave it for too long.  But, this does mean that you can leave the kitchen and go back to your desk, provided you're within smelling distance in case something goes awry and you check on the pot, oh, say every 5 - 7 minutes.

Gross looking, but good tasting!
Hajiki & Chicken  (Serves 2)

1/4 c. dried hajiki
1 chicken breast
3 tofu puffs
1 carrot, pealed
1/2 in. diakon, pealed
vegetable oil
1 1/2 c. water
1 tsp. dashi granules
2 Tbsp. soy sauce
2 tsp. mirin
1 1/2 tsp. brown sugar (although white sugar will work, too)
red pepper flakes (optional, to serve)

Put the dried hajiki in a bowl and cover with cold water.  Leave stand for 30 min., or until quintupled in size.  Drain and rinse really, really well.

Cut the chicken breast into 1/2 in. strips, the tofu puffs into 1/4 in. slices, the carrot into 1/4 in. slices on the diagonal, and the diakon into 1/8 in. strips.

Heat a little oil in a pot (not a pan!!) and add the chicken, tofu, carrot, and diakon.  Stir until coated in the oil and slightly heated.  Add the hajiki to the pot.

Pour the measured water over the contents of the pot (the water should just about cover everything; if not, add a little more water).  Add the dashi granules and stir until dissolved.  Add the soy sauce, mirin, and sugar.  Bring the "soup" to a boil.

Continue to simmer the mixture, stirring occasionally, until almost all the liquid is absorbed, but don't let it boil dry.  This will probably take about 30 minutes, but you should check on it and give it a stir every 5 - 7 minutes.

After the liquid has just about been absorbed/boiled away, turn the heat off and serve.  Sprinkle with red pepper flakes, if desired.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Pork and Hokkien Noodle Stir Fry

What to do with char sui?  You did make some char sui, right?  You didn't burn yourself in the process, right?  Well, so now you have a whole pound of delicious barbecued pork.  What to do with it?  Well, you certainly don't have to eat char sui on its own like yesterday.  It is absolutely delicious in other recipes!  Since I didn't have any meat thawed out today, I had char sui both at lunch and dinner, and I thought I'd share my creations with the world.  I had almost zippo time to be cooking today, so both of these recipes are uber quick and simple.

I used those hokkien noodles again today.  They seem to really be great for stir fries.  This particular recipe didn't make quite as much as I would have liked (either that or I was just really hungry tonight), so if it looks like it's not a lot, just add a little more noodles and/or veggies and pork.  The sauce amount should be fine and dandy.

And if you didn't make your char sui yet, either pick some up in Chinatown, your local Asian market, or get cookin'!!


Pork and Hokkien Noodle Stir Fry

Ingredients:

2 oz. char sui (see Char Sui Pork)
1-2 oz. hokkien noodles
large handful of baby spinach
small handful of canned bamboo shoots
vegetable oil
4 Tbsp. chicken stock
1 Tbsp. soy sauce
2 tsp. shaoxing rice wine
1 tsp. brown sugar

Put the noodles in a bowl and cover them with boiling water.  Leave stand for a few minutes to soften them up and soak some of the grease off. 

Wash the spinach and bamboo shoots.  Drain the vegetables and noodles separately.  Rinse the noodles under cold water and drain again.  Cut the char sui into 1/8 in. slices.

Heat a little oil in a frying pan and add the spinach and bamboo.  Saute until the spinach starts to wilt.  Add the pork and noodles.

Mix together the chicken stock, soy sauce, rice wine, and sugar.  Add the sauce to the frying pan.  Continue to cook 4 - 5 min. until everything is well heated and the sauce is slightly absorbed/reduces a little.  Remove from heat and serve.

Pork and Tofu Puff Noodle Soup

Another recipe for char sui.  This soup also includes tofu puffs that I picked up at the store the other day.  What's that?  You don't like tofu?  Don't be too hasty!  Tofu puffs are deep fried tofu that are very airy, very tasty, and have none of the jiggly, gelatinous texture that some people don't like in tofu. They're about 1.5 in. cubes, nicely golden brown and wonderful in soups.  I look forward to putting them in more recipes, so get your butts over to the grocery store and pick them up!


Pork and Tofu Puff Noodle Soup

Ingredients:

1 oz prepared char sui (see Char Sui Pork)
2 tofu puffs
4 snowpeas, trimmed
1-2 oz fresh shanghai noodles (if you can't find them, any other kind of egg noodle will do)
2 small leaves napa cabbage
1 c. good chicken stock
1 Tbsp. soy sauce
2 tsp. shaoxing rice wine

Boil water in a pot, then add the noodles.  Cook 4 - 5 min. until plump and tender.  Drain and rinse under cold water.  Cut the noodles into roughly 2 - 3 in. lengths. (this isn't absolutely necessary, but it makes it easier to eat in a soup.)

Cut the char sui into 1/8 in. thick slices, the snowpeas in half on the diagonal, the cabbage into 1 in. squares, and the tofu puffs into quarters.

Bring the chicken stock, soy sauce, and rice wine to a boil.  Add the veggies, pork, and tofu.  Cook 2 - 3 min. until the pork is warmed and the vegetables are cooked.

To serve, put the noodles in a serving boil, then spoon the soup over top.

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Char Sui Pork

Char sui.  If you've never heard of it, it's Chinese barbecued pork.  And it is one of the most wonderful things I have every stumbled upon.  I have a recipe for it, but it's a pain to make because the char sui sauce includes no less than eight ingredients, some of which I'll never use for anything other than char sui.  I'm in college.  I'm not doing that!  However, I came across pre-made char sui sauce in an Asian market in Chinatown, which had everything all ready to go--just marinade, bake, and eat.  I can do that!  And it was well worth it, even with my little excursion of burning myself.  I burnt myself?  Sure I did.  Not horribly, but it hurt enough for me to be yelling "SHIT, SHIT, SHIT!" in the kitchen and for my suitemate to come out and ask me if I was OK.  Now my fingers burn when I wash my hands.

OK, so I guess I'll bite and tell you the story:  My oven is tiny.  No, I mean reeeeally tiny.  So tiny that my 9" x 13" baking pan nearly takes up the whole thing.  If you read my recipe, you have to fill this pan with water while the pork is baking, so, naturally, the water gets damn hot.  So about 10 min. into the baking process, I decide that I'm going to pull the pork out and have a little peek.  Well, my oven is so tiny that I can't really see in it, so that requires me to pull the rack out.  I had 1 1/2 in. of piping hot water in this pan, and my racks don't slide easily.  The water, all 9000 degrees of it as far as I'm concerned, sloshed out onto my hand.  Sure, I was wearing an oven mitt, but the water soaked right through it and down to my hand.  Can we say it hurt just a little bit?  *cough cough*  Cue me swearing in the kitchen.  But here's the thing.  Even though the water has worked its way down to my skin and is now allowing the searing heat of the oven rack to get to my fingertips, I CAN'T LET GO!  If I let go of the rack, it will tip forward and spill more water on me.  So I gritted my teeth and as quickly and carefully as possible pushed the rack back in the oven and shut the door, whipping off the oven mitts and plunging my hands into ice water.  So there.  I'll tell you right now, don't fill your pan that much.  Just don't do it.

Here's a tip if you've got an oven like mine and your pork's done baking:  Don't remove the pan, don't touch the over rack.  Just pull out the rack the pork is on.  Turn off the oven and leave the door open for everything to cool.  Only if and when the oven and everything in it is cool should you attempt to remove the pan, and you'll probably end up spilling it anyway.  Although, this should be the case only if you're an idiot like me and use some obnoxious amount of water, but I digress.

OK, so I'll shut up and give you the recipe.  You should try this because it's awesome, and makes the most flavorful and tender pork you've ever had!

char sui has a lovely salty/sweet caramel-like glaze
Char Sui Pork

1 lb. pork (pork loin or shoulder is best), cut into quarters
6 Tbsp. char sui sauce, divided
hot cooked rice (either make it fresh or use a frozen rice packet)
vegetables (I used baby bok choy and baby spinach)

Put the pork pieces in a bowl and add 5 Tbsp. of the char sui sauce.  Using your hands, toss the pork around in the sauce to coat well.  Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and put in the refrigerator to marinate.  Marinate for MIN. 2 HOURS, up to overnight.  (I let mine marinate between 4 and 5 hours).

Heat your oven to 350 degrees.  Take a large baking pan and fill it no more than 1/2 in. with water (more than that, and your story will sound like mine above.)  Place a rack (a cooling rack works well) on top of the pan of water and add the pork pieces, well coated in the sauce, on top.  Yes, some of the sauce will drip into the water.  That's OK, just don't let the pork dangle into the water.  Put the whole thing into the oven and bake for 30 minutes.  (If you don't have rice already made, start cooking your rice now.)

After 30 minutes, check to see if the pork is done by slicing a piece open at the very thickest part of the thickest piece.  It should be all white on the inside--no pink!  If it needs more cooking, return the pork to the oven and keep checking it every so often (maybe 5-7 min. at a time depending on how raw it was at the first check) until the pork is done cooking.  It should be very juicy.  Remove the pork from the oven and let stand at least 10 minutes.  This helps it suck all the juices back into itself.  DON'T CUT IT YET!!!

Heat the last Tbsp. of char sui sauce in the microwave, just until it's fluid.  Brush this extra sauce all over the cooked pork.

Heat up your rice if you're using leftover rice or a frozen packet, and boil water in a pot for the vegetables.  Add the spinach and bok choy and boil until tender.  Drain well.

Cut your pork into 1/4 in. slices and serve with the rice and vegetables.

Hokkien Noodle & Fish Cake Stir Fry

I got to Chinatown today, and so picked up lots of fresh veggies and two new types of noodles:  hokkien and shanghai noodles.  Essentially, as far as I know, both noodles are very similar except for the fact that hokkien noodles are cooked and oiled.  They're perfect for stir frying, though.  In a normal grocery store, though, they might be just called 'stir fry noodles.'  The sauce I used for this dish is very light and easy, and all the ingredients should be very easy to find.


Hokkien Noodle & Fish Cake Stir Fry

1-2 oz fish cake (any kind of fish cake will do)
2 oz hokkien noodles
1/2 in. diakon, pealed
2 dried shiitake mushrooms
small bunch of broccoli
1/2 carrot pealed
2 small leaves napa cabbage
vegetable oil
1 Tbsp. oyster sauce
2 tsp. fish sauce
1/4 tsp. sesame oil
sesame seeds (optional, to serve)

Put the mushrooms in a small bowl and the noodles in another bowl, and cover both with boiling water.  Soak the mushrooms until they are reconstituted, then squeeze out the excess liquid and cut into strips.  After the noodles have softened, drain the water, rinse with cold water, and drain again.

Cut the fish cake into bite-sized pieces.  Pull the broccoli into pieces, and slice the carrot into 1/2 pieces on the diagonal.  Heat a little oil in a frying pan and saute the fish cake, broccoli, and carrot until browned and softened.

Cut the cabbage into 1 in. squares and slice the diakon into 1/8 in. slices.  Add both to the pan and stir fry 1-2 minutes.  Then add the noodles and cook until heated through.

Stir together the oyster sauce, fish sauce, and sesame oil.  Add the sauce to the pan and stir until coated and heated through.  Sprinkle with sesame seeds and serve.

Friday, October 1, 2010

Udon with Sweet Chili Peanut Sauce

Peanut sauce is always so delicious, but unless you've got a food processor lying around or have all the time in the world to be crushing peanuts by hand, making peanut sauce is a pain in the you-know-what!  So I cheat.  Hey, I'm living in a college dorm--I don't have time for that kind of stuff!  What's my secret?  The one thing that's probably on every college kid's menu and within a tight budget:  peanut butter.  Yes, peanut butter.  Melt it down with some water, mix it with some other sauces, and you're good to go!  This recipe should be something that everyone can try.  I'm pretty sure all the ingredients are at least fairly easy to pick up at the local grocery store, but if you can't find diakon, it'll still taste good without it.


Udon with Sweet Chili Peanut Sauce

Ingredients:

1-2 oz dried udon noodles
5 snowpeas
1/2 large carrot or 1 small carrot, pealed
1/2 in. diakon, pealed
vegetable oil
1 Tbsp. peanut butter (either chunky or smooth will work beautifully)
4 tsp. hot water
1 Tbsp. sweet chili sauce (with or without garlic will work)
2 tsp. soy sauce
sesame seeds (optional, to serve)

Cook the udon according to package directions, then drain and rinse with cold water.  Set aside.

Cut the carrot into 1/8 in. slices on the diagonal and the diakon into 1/8 in. thick sticks.  Trim the stems from the snow peas, then slice them in half on the diagonal.

Combine the peanut butter, hot water, chili sauce, and soy sauce together in a small bowl.  Stir well until the peanut butter has dissolved and a smooth paste is formed.  Set aside.

Heat a little oil in a pan, then add the vegetables and cook for 2 minutes.  After the veggies have softened a bit, add the noodles and stir to combine.  Add the peanut sauce and stir until well coated and heated through.  Serve.  Sprinkle with sesame seeds if desired.