October 27, 2009

Organic Beef Broth

Our son, Kwan got me into purchasing a quarter portion of grass-fed beef from a farm in Marin. We had to borrowed a friend's large cooler to bring all those beef home. I have never seen so much meat in my life! We have enough bones to make this wholesome broth that is nutritious and easy to prepare. If your only experience with soup involves opening a can, it's time to take this soup a little more seriously.
3 lbs beef bones
2 carrots, cut in chunks (unpeeled)
4 celery ribs, cut in chunks
1 large or 2 medium onions, quartered (unpeeled)
1 small yam, quartered (unpeeled)
4 bay leaves
3 cloves garlic
10 peppercorns
2 tsp. parsley
2 tsp. bouquet garni (thyme, rosemary, marjoram, oregano)
3-4 quarts water
2 tsp. olive oil
1. Heat oil in a large, heavy saucepan and brown bones to provide favor.  Add water, salt and bring to a boil. Skim off excess froth off the top and discard.
2. Add vegetables and rest of ingredients. Reduce heat to low and cover to boil slowly for about 4-5 hours.
3. Strain liquid with a fine sieve and use as soup base. Freeze the rest for later.
Note: To remove most of the fat, I would freeze it and gently remove the layer of fat on top. Broth can be kept in the refrigerator for up to 3 days or 4 months in the freezer.
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October 22, 2009

Sweet Potato and Yam in Coconut Cream/Bubor Cha Cha

Bubor Cha Cha is a popular Nyonya dessert in Malaysia. It can be served both warm or cold. There are many variations to the recipe, but the key ingredients are: sweet potatoes, yam/taro, and tapioca simmered in rich coconut milk. The other optional ingredients that can be added are colorful cooked starch, or bananas. Here's how I like mine.
1 medium sized sweet potato, peeled and cut into bite-sized cubes.
1 medium sized yam, peeled and cut into bite-sized cubes
Ingredients (B)
2 cans coconut cream/milk
2 pieces cane sugar, or 1/2 cup light brown, or plain sugar
3-4 fragrant pandan leaves (screwpine)
1/4 cup tapioca pearl, presoaked in water (optional)
 a pinch of salt
Coloured Cooked Starch (This is a abit messy to make, but it is really nice as it has a springy texture)
4 oz. tapioca flour/starch
a pinch of salt
1/4 cup boiling water
red, yellow, and green food coloring
1. Bring water to boil on high in a steamer, add in ingredients A and steam for 15-20 minutes until cook but not soft or mushy. Remove from heat and let cool.
2. Colored starch: Put tapioca flour, salt in a bowl, then pour in boiling water and stir well. The water must be boiling hot in order to pre-cook the starch. Stir to mix, the texture will resembles like white crumbs. Cover and set aside for 10 minutes.
3. Mix and knead mixture into a non-stick dough. Divide dough into portions, and color with food coloring. On a lightly floured board, roll each portion into a long strip and cut into small pieces diagonally to resemble a triangle. There is no strict rule to the shapes and size to this dough.
4. Filled a pot of water halfway to a boil, and add in the cut starch and cook till it floats up. Dish up and dip in ice water to keep it from further cooking.
5. In a large pot mix together 1 and 1/2 cans of coconut milk with enough water to make about 6-7 cups of water. Add the pandan leaves, 2 pieces of cane sugar (if used), salt and bring to a boil. Cook until the sugar has dissolved completely, season to taste for sweetness.
6. Stir in the yam, sweet potatoes, and cooked starch and simmer for about a minute. Lastly stir in the rest of the coconut milk, add sliced bananas (if used) and give it a good stir. Do not overcook the coconut milk. Remove the fragrant leaves and turn off heat. Serve hot or cold.
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October 17, 2009

Sweet and Sour Pork

Sweet and Sour Pork or "goo lou yok" in Cantonese dialect is a classic dish served in many Chinese restaurants. It is crispy fried pork glazed with a sweet and tangy sauce and bell peppers or pineapple. I find the sauce in the restaurant abit too sweet and too much coloring to my taste--here's my version.
¾ lbs. pork tenderloin or shoulder pork, trimmed and cut into 1" cubes
1½ tsp. light soy sauce
1 Tbsp. cornstarch
Oil for deep frying
¼ cup light brown sugar
3 Tbsp. ketchup
2 Tbsp. plum sauce
2 Tbsp. Thai Sweet Chilli sauce, optional
1/8 cup apple cider vinegar
2 Tbsp. cornstarch, dissolved in some water
½ cup flour
½ cup cornstarch
1 egg white, lightly beaten
½ cup warm water, as needed
1 carrot, sliced thinly
1 medium sized onion, sliced thinly
1 of each red and green pepper, sliced
1. Marinate meat in soy sauce and cornstarch for 20 minutes.
2. In a bowl, combine brown sugar, ketchup, plum sauce, vinegar ingredients together, and season to taste. For a spicy sauce, add the chilli sauce if desired. Set aside.
3. For the batter, mix flour and constarch. Add in the egg white and enough warm water to form a thick batter that is not too dry or too moist. (The batter should not be runny, and should slide off the back of the spoon)
4. Heat enough oil for deep frying. Dip the marinated pork in the batter. Deep fry in small batches until golden brown. Remove and drain on paper towels.
5. In a pan over medium heat, add enough oil and stir fry the onions, carrots, and bell peppers. Add the sauce and bring to fast boil and thicken with the cornstarch mixture, stirring and adjust seasonings, adding more salt, sugar and/or vinegar if desired.
6. Ladle hot sauce over pork and serve with rice.
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October 16, 2009

Chicken Pie

I had opened a can of golden mushroom by accident thinking that it was something else. An idea came to mind and hence, this version of my chicken pie. It is simple to prepare and to save time, I used ready-made pie crust.
6 pieces skinless chicken thighs, cut into bite-sized.
2 cans Campbell's Golden Mushroom Condensed Soup
3 medium sized potatoes, cut into bite-sized
½ cup chopped carrots
½ cup peas
½ medium onion, minced
2 tsp. dried rosemary
1 tsp. dried thyme
1-2 Tbsps. flour
1 box frozen pie crust, thawed
A deep glass pie dish
salt and pepper to taste
1 Tbsp. butter
1 egg, beaten
1. Pre-heat oven to 400°F. Bring a pot of water to boil, pre-cooked potatoes and carrots. Drain and set aside.
2. Pat meat dry with paper towels, season with some pepper and salt.
3. Melt butter in medium heat, add onions and rosemary and cook unitl onions is soft and transparent. Add the meat, golden mushroom soup. Mix well and cook on medium heat until chicken is cooked through. Stir in the rest of the vegetables and mix well.
4. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Remove from heat and mix in the flour to thicken mixture. Set aside to cool.
5. Pour into prepared pie dish and brush egg wash on top of crust. Bake in oven for about an hour, or until crust is golden brown. Note: I would put a pan under the pie on the lower shelf to catch any drippings.
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