Friday, 14 August 2009

Stuffed aubergine 元寶茄子


I can't stop buying aubergines lately. It's so cheap in Lidl.

Here is another nice and easy recipe. It's stuffed aubergine with minced pork. In Chinese this is called 'yuan bao qie zi' 元寶茄子, loosely translated as Chinese gold ingot aubergine.

Make a pork mince mix with about 150 - 180g of minced pork (depending on the size of the aubergine), mix this with 2 - 3 large soaked and finely chopped shitake mushrooms, 1 tbsp of chopped ginger, 2 tsp of light soy, 1 tbsp shaoshing wine, pinch of ground pepper, 1 heap tbsp of cornflour and 1 tsp of sesame oil. Leave this to marinate for about 15 minutes.

Then take one large aubergine, cut off the stalk and slice the aubergine into fan shape about 7 - 8 mm thick slices, taking care not to cut through leaving about 0.5cm underneath uncut.

Using a butter/serving knife, gently stuff the pork mixture in between the cuts. When done, smooth the surface and gently squeeze both ends towards the centre to firm up the meat.


Then either steam the aubergine or bake. Steaming is the traditional method since most Chinese kitchens do not have an oven, this will take about 20 - 25 minutes. Or I much preferred to put the aubergine in a roasting tray or loaf tin, add in few tbsp of water and cover the tray or tin with foil then bake at around 180deg C for about 1 hour or a bit more till cooked through. Test with a skewer into the centre layer of aubergine if it pierces through easily it's cooked.

Then carefully transfer the aubergine onto a dish, save the cooking liquid. Now make the sauce. Fry a little of chopped garlic (1 clove) with around 2 tsp of chopped ginger with some cooking oil, then add in 1.5 - 2 tbsp of oyster sauce, the aubergine cooking juice, 1.5 tbsp shaoshing wine, a little light soy sauce (optional), pinch of ground pepper. Stir then add in 1/2 cup of water mixed with 1 heap tsp of cornflour, stir till hot and thickened. Finally add in a dash of sesame oil. Pour the sauce over the aubergine.

Then garnish with chopped spring onion.

Sunday, 9 August 2009

Cantonese Lo Bak Goh 蘿蔔糕


I have posted the recipe for Malaysian/Singaporean style stir fried lo bak goh or commonly known as chai tow kway, here is a similar recipe for Cantonese style with added meat and other ingredients to make it more savoury and flavoursome.

Lo bak goh 蘿蔔糕 is also called turnip cake, daikon cake or radish cake. It is a steamed stodgy cake made with rice flour and mooli/daikon. Usually seen or served pan fried in slices. This cake is a Cantonese favourite for Chinese new year and is available in all Cantonese dim sum restaurants all year round. This fried cake in dim sum restaurant normally looks pure white and quite plain with few minute pieces of Chinese sausage etc, the seasoning is usually msg, salt and some sugar. Homemade lo bak goh usually without msg and contains more 料 'lieu' or added ingredients, also the adding of soy sauce can make the cake looks not as white as those in restaurant. Chinese 'wax' meat or preserved meat like lap cheong (sausage) or lap yuk (bacon), minced pork, dried shrimps or dried scallops are common ingredients added for flavour and texture.


Here is how I normally make this savoury cake.

Ingredients:

2 - 2.5 stick lap cheong (chinese sausage)
100g skinless lap yuk (chinese bacon) or 100 -125g minced pork
2 tbsp dried shrimps, soaked
about 3 dried shitake mushroom (about 10g), soaked removed stalk
2 dried scallop, soaked and shredded (optional)
2 - 3 walnut size shallots
2 decent size clove garlic
pinch of ground pepper
0.5 - 1 tsp salt or to taste
1 - 2 tsp light soy sauce

about 750 - 800g peeled mooli or daikon
about 250ml water (can use the soaking water for dried shrimps and dried scallop to replace this water)

280g rice flour
50g tapioca starch or potato starch
300ml room temp. homemade chicken stock (or water with added chicken stock granules about 1 heap tsp)
1 tsp sesame oil

cooking oil


Method:
  1. Soak the lap cheong and lap yuk (if using) in boiling liquid for few minutes till soften then finely chopped.
  2. Finely chopped garlic, shallot, soaked mushrooms and dried shrimps.
  3. Grate mooli/daikon. I used the food processor grater, saves a lot of work. For a very fine cake texture and save cooking time can also puree the mooli using the food processor.
  4. Mix rice flour, starch, sesame oil and stock together.
  5. Heat wok with few tbsp oil and fry shallot and garlic till soften. Then add sausage, bacon (or minced pork), dried shrimps, mushroom and scallop (if using). Fry till fragrant, and make sure meat does not clump together then add remaining seasoning ingredients. Remove to one side. Check if the wok has any brown sticky bits, if yes wash before proceeding to next step. Browning bits can make the cake looks greyish or brownish.
  6. Stir fry mooli with a little oil for about 2 minutes then add 250ml water and cook for few minutes till the mooli is softened.
  7. Stir in flour mixture, taste to check if more seasoning is needed and cook at low heat stirring all the time for till the mixture started to thicken like runny porridge before it gets too thick heat off.
  8. Grease a large casserole dish or non loose base aluminium baking tin or 2 - 3 disposable foil oblong/round containers. Pour cake mixture into dish/container, smooth the top with dampen fingers lightly touching the surface. Ready for steaming. For one large cake this will take about 1.5 hour, for a smaller cake about 1 hour. Test with a skewer into the centre to see there is no whitish paste to ensure it is thoroughly cooked through. Once cooked, take the cake out cover loosely and leave to cool. If without a large enough steamer can cook the cake in the oven using a water bath (large roasting tray filled with some boiling water) covered with foil.
  9. Can be eaten while warm as it is or cut into slices when cooled and fry with a little oil till both sides are golden brown. It is much easier to slice if the cake is cooled in the fridge for few hours or overnight.

Serve the cake with or without frying with Cantonese chilli oil, XO sauce, soy sauce or any favourite chilli sauce.

This cake will keep in the fridge for 4 - 5 days or frozen in chunk. If frozen, defrost before frying.



17 Feb 2010

Attached is a picture from PlumLeaf who has followed this recipe. She got it wrong using hot stock to mix the dry flour but the cakes did turn out looking good.







If you like this type of cake you may also like taro cake.


Thursday, 6 August 2009

Hong Shao aubergine 紅燒茄子


Hong Shao or braised aubergine is a nice simple dish. I like it without meat. Normally the aubergine is deep fried first before braising, but deep frying can absorb a lot of oil. Here is a method that does not need too much oil and the aubergine is still very soft and silky. Do use freshest aubergine if you can, aubergine that has been sitting around in the fridge for over 5 - 6 days tends to be a bit tough to soften, I don't know why but had found out the hard way several times.


Ingredients:

2 medium size aubergine (eggplant), peel and cut into irregular slices see picture below
2 medium size mixed pepper (any colour you like), cut into bitesize
2 tbsp chopped ginger, about thumb size piece
1 rounded tbsp chopped garlic, about 2 - 3 cloves
Cooking oil

Seasoning sauce:
2 tbsp yellow bean sauce or sweet yellow bean sauce or a mixture of both
1.5 tbsp vegetarian oyster sauce or 1 tbsp soy sauce
1 tbsp Chinkiang black rice vinegar
2 tbsp shaoshing or cooking wine
pinch of ground pepper
1.25 cup water

soy sauce to taste (optional)


Thickener:
1 level tbsp cornflour mixed with some water


Garnish:
some chopped coriander
some chopped ginger
dash of sesame oil



Method:
  1. It is easier to cook the aubergine if cut in this shape like picture above. Just rotate the aubergine as you slice, you will then get this irregular triangular thin slices. You can leave the skin on if you like, I find without the skin, the mouth feel of the aubergine is much silkier.
  2. Stir fry the sweet pepper with 1/3 of the garlic and ginger with 1 tbsp oil till softened. Take out and leave aside.
  3. In the same wok without washing it again, top up with about 4 tbsp oil and the remaining garlic and ginger, chuck in the aubergine straight away, with medium heat keep stirring, you will see all the oil is absorbed by the aubergine very quickly and aubergine getting browner at the same time. Do not panic and add any more oil just keep stirring till the aubergine pieces have become soften and moistened on the surface.
  4. Mix all the sauce ingredients (except soy) together, pour into the aubergine, stir and let this braise till the aubergine pieces are really soft.
  5. Add in the sweet pepper and continue cooking for another minute or two, then thicken with cornflour, taste if salty enough if not add dash of light soy. Add a bit more water if the sauce is too thick for you.
  6. Plate up. For a fresher taste, sprinkle with coriander and more chopped ginger then drizzle on some sesame oil.

* If you don't like sweet pepper you can leave it out.
** If you like the aubergine spicy, you can either add chopped chilli or chilli oil.

Tuesday, 4 August 2009

Drunken chicken wings (醉雞翼)


Drunken chicken wings are really nice with cold beer or as a nice appetiser/starter. The chicken wings are full of flavour after the long marination. Can use other parts of chicken like whole wing, wing drumlets, drumsticks or use half /whole chicken. If using bigger piece of chicken or half/whole chicken poaching time is longer and needs more wine marinade.


Very easy recipe.

Ingredients:

A. Poaching the chicken
15 - 18 chicken wings (middle section)
2 - 3 slices of ginger
1 stalk of spring onion (cut into 5 -6 cm long)
1 tbsp shaoshing wine
1 heap tsp salt

B. Wine marinade

1 cup (250ml) shaoshing wine*
2 tbsp light soy sauce
1 tbsp fish sauce
1 walnut size rock sugar (crushed) or 1 heap tbsp sugar (rock sugar is better if you have some)
1 chunk of ginger, cut into 6 - 8 slices.
1 tbsp fragrant toasted sesame oil


* For the shaoshing wine do use one which has a nice flavour. See this picture below, the square bottle is made in Taiwan and I find it tastes like medicine. The blue label bottle is Shaoshing Hua Diao Wine 紹興花雕酒 is what I like to use, it is available in many large Chinese supermarket like Lung Fung (London) or Wing Yip.






Method:
  1. Poach the chicken wings. Put ingredients A in a saucepan, cover with boiling water. Bring the liquid to the boil, let this boils briskly for about 1 minute. Turn the heat off. Cover and let the remaining heat of the water to finish cooking the chicken wings, poach for 5 minutes. Drain and bin ginger slices and spring onion.
  2. Plunge the wings into icy cold water, let the wings cool down very quickly. Drain again. Shake off excess water.
  3. Put the wine marinade ingredients in a zippy or freezer bag, add in the wings and mix. Put the bag in a container with the sealed side on top to prevent leaking. Leave this in the fridge for 1 - 2 days, turning 2 - 3 times a day. Marinate in a plastic bag needs less wine marinade and easy to turnover the wings.
  4. Take the wings out, serve cold or at room temperature.
The leftover wine marinade can be reused or for other Chinese cooking.

Sunday, 2 August 2009

Sayur lodeh (vegetable curry stew)


Sayur lodeh is a Malaysian/Indonesian spicy vegetable stew. This is not strictly vegetarian because of the fishy ingredients like dried shrimps and shrimp paste to give the curry stew its unique savoury taste.

I love to cook it the Nyonya style with some fried tofu. I always cook a big pot and save some for freezing. This stew is actually better left in the fridge the next day.

This is my recipe. See this slide show.



Ingredients: Quantity is quite a lot will feed 6 - 8 people. Can reduce to suit your needs.

Rempah (ground spices)
15g ginger
100g shallot
15- 18g fresh turmeric (if not use dried powder about 1 tbsp)
3 cloves garlic
2 fresh red chilli
10g (about 6) large dried chillies - more chillies if you like it hot!
4 -5 candlenuts
1 thin slice of Malaysian belacan or shrimp paste about 15g (if not use Thai shrimp paste about 2 tsp)
25g dried shrimps

Spices not ground: These are not blended into the spice paste because they are fibrous and can be difficult to blend, giving the curry a rough fibrous gravy.
2 lemongrass
25g of galangal

Vegetables:
150 - 180g white cabbage
125 - 150g carrot
1 small aubergine about 150g*
100 - 125g okra (optional if you don't like it)
100 - 125g snake beans (or other green beans like french beans or runner beans)
1 medium size red pepper
2 small courgette (zuchini)*

* Aubergine - use only freshest aubergine. If it has been sitting in the fridge for over 5 - 6 days, it will be very tough to cook and could be bitter spoiling the curry stew. Same with courgette, old courgette can taste bitter too.

** You can mix and match any vegetables you like, other vegetables like cauliflower, potato, onion, butternut squash, pumpkin etc.... Tempeh is great for this stew.


Other ingredients:
100 - 125g (about large handful) puffy tofu or about 150g normal fried tofu with soft centre
1/3 cup cooking oil
salt
a little sugar to taste
fish sauce (optional)
1 tin (400ml) coconut milk


Method:

A. For the rempah:
  1. Soak the dried shrimps just covering with water. Leave this to soak for about 15 min.
  2. Remove seeds from dried chilli, cut into small pieces and soak with warm water till softened. Drain.
  3. If using Malaysian belacan, dry roast in a dry hot pan for about 2 minutes each side. If using Thai shrimp paste, just use as it.
  4. Peel the shallot and garlic and de-seed the fresh chilli. Cut everything into small pieces.
  5. Peel ginger and turmeric, cut into small pieces
  6. Put all the rempah ingredients with the dried shrimp soaking water in a small blender or food processor, blend till very smooth. Add a bit more water if you need to make sure the machine is running smoothly.
B. For the other spices:
  1. Trim the lemongrass, bash to bruise them.
  2. Cut galangal into slices.
C. For the vegetables:
  1. Clean and cut into small pieces.
D. For the fried tofu (Puffy tofu is what I used)
  1. Cut into bite size.

Cooking:

  1. Using a wok or very large saute pan, fry the spice paste with oil and 1 heap tsp of salt for about 10 minutes at medium low heat till the paste is fragrant and oil is beginning to split around the side. Stirring most of the time to avoid the paste sticking to the pan or wok.
  2. Add in the cabbage, carrot and aubergine. Also add in galangal and lemongrass. Stir fry for about 4 - 5 minutes without adding water till the vegetables have softened.
  3. Add in the beans, okra and fried tofu. Stir fry for another few minutes without water.
  4. Add in about 1.5litres of water to cover all the vegetables. Bring this to the boil. Then simmer for about 20 -25 minutes.
  5. Then add in remaining vegetables. Simmer for another few minutes till all the vegetables are tender.
  6. Then add in 1 tin of coconut milk. Season with some sugar, salt (or fish sauce) to taste. Fish sauce is not a common ingredient for sayur lodeh but I find it tastes better than salt. Simmer the curry vegetable stew for a little while longer.
  7. Check the thickness of the curry gravy, thin it down further with water if you like a thin soupy gravy. If more water is added bring this up to boil again, then it is ready to eat. I like the gravy not too thin.
Note: Whatever vegetables you like to use, add in the toughest or longest to cook vegetables first and tender ones last.