Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Petola (Luffa/Ridged Gourd) with Egg

When I first saw the petola, I was like "what is that?" It is such an ugly gourd! It is ridged, has really rough skin, and really doesn't look quite that edible at all. However, my grandmother just peeled the rough skin with an apple/potato peeler and voila! The inside was just like sponge, and while cooking, it just sucks up any sauce or seasoning that goes in the dish. In a way, it's like flavored sponge, but it is so so so good! As such, this has now been a pretty staple dish in family dinners (considering these 'staple dishes' rotate every five years or so...)

  • 1 petola (luffa/ridged gourd), peeled and sliced into 1 inch pieces
  • 1 egg
  • 2/3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tablespoon cooking oil
  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce
  • 1/4 teaspoon chicken stock powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon sesame oil
  • [optional/if needed] 1/2 tablespoons water

  • In a heated pan, add oil and fry garlic until fragrant.
  • Add petola, and fry until water starts to seep out of the gourd.

  • Add the egg, then fry the egg with the petola until cooked.
  • Add the stock powder, soy sauce and sesame oil. Fry until everything is combined.
  • If this is too dry, or if you want some gravy for spooning over rice, add some water.
  • If not, serve and enjoy!

Sunday, July 29, 2012

Shanghai Mixed Vegetable Bao

Seriously, I've never had these baos/buns before, but the idea struck me when I went to Din Tai Feng for lunch, and had their mixed vegetable appetizer. I decided that the mixed vegetable appetizer was so awesome, that it would make an awesome bao

And so I did it, I made the mixed vegetable appetizer and stuffed it in a bao. Pure genius I think, pure genius! That's pretty much all I have to say right now, while I swim in this awesome bao-ness. :)

Ingredients for Bao skin
  • 8g instant dry yeast
  • 160ml lukewarm water
  • 280g low-protein flour (Hong Kong flour)
  • 100g wheat starch
  • 90g icing sugar
  • 30g vegetable oil
Ingredients for Bao filling
  • 4 large dried shiitake mushrooms, soaked in warm water then sliced
  • 120g minced pork
  • 2 small packets mung bean vermicelli, soaked in warm water
  • approx. 30g dried black fungus, soaked in warm water
  • [optional] 1/4 cup warm water 
Seasoning for Bao filling
  • 3 tablespoons Chinese black vinegar
  • 4 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoons sesame oil
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon white pepper powder

  • In a bowl, mix the warm water and yeast, then set aside this mixture for 10 minutes. 
  • After this time, the mixture should be frothy. Add the low-protein flour, wheat starch, icing sugar and oil.

  • Knead this mixture for about 10 minutes, until a smooth dough is formed.
  • Cover with a plastic sheet, and let rise for between 40 minutes to an hour, until the dough has doubled in size.

  • In a heated pan, add oil and fry the minced pork until half cooked.
  • Add shiitake mushrooms, and fry until fragrant. 

  • Add mung bean vermicelli and black fungus. Fry until the vermicelli is tender and cooked. (Add water if needed.)
  • Add the ingredients for seasoning, and fry until evenly mixed. 

  • Cut out 16 3"x3" squares of wax paper.
  • When the dough mixture has doubled in size, punch down the dough mixture, and divide the dough mixture into 16 equal portions.
  • Roll out each portion into a flat and round piece of dough.
  • Place about 2 tablespoons of filling in the middle of the dough, and pinch the corners to seal.
  • Do the same for the remaining 16 portions.

  • Steam the buns in a steamer for about 10 minutes.
  • Serve and enjoy!

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Tropical Hawaiian Pizza

When I was growing up in Singapore, having pizza is a huge deal. This is because anything Western seemed high class, and was not easy to find and was also expensive. The only pizza place we had was Pizza Hut, and the only reason us kids knew about it was because they had the most catchy ads on TV (remember 2353535? That was the phone number for Pizza Hut.)

Anyway, on that rare occasion we ordered pizza, it was from Pizza Hut (I know... I cringe at that thought now too, but seriously, that was the only option we had back in the early 90s.) and it was a $30 a pizza! For some reason, people never order cheese pizzas, ever. We had the Super Supreme (beef, pepperoni, onions, green peppers), various other meat variations of the Super Supreme (mostly chicken, sometimes curry chicken) and the Hawaiian (ham and pineapple, sometimes salami). As a kid, the thought of having green peppers and onions was the most revolting thing ever, so we only ever had Hawaiian.

Ahh, the Hawaiian - my childhood pizza. These days, I'd pick the supreme. A pizza with peppers and onions seem so good. Also, my favorite pizza in the world is even more atas. It has goat cheese - whoah! Low and behold, meet my favorite pizza, the caramelized onion and sausage pizza with goat cheese. It is to die for!

Ingredients for dough (2 servings) 

  • 3 cups flour 
  • 1 cup warm water 
  • 1 teaspoon sugar 
  • 2 teaspoons yeast 
  • 1 teaspoon salt 
  • 2 tablespoons oil
  • 2 cups shredded cheese (mozzarella or whatever you like)
  • 1 can pineapple, diced
  • 300g ham (whatever kind you like)
  • 1 cup pizza sauce (I cooked down my pasta sauce so it is not so watery, but store-bought pizza sauce is fine.)

  • In a bowl, mix the yeast and warm water, and let stand for 10 minutes. (It should be slightly frothy by then.)
  • Add flour, salt, sugar and oil, and knead into a dough. Form the dough into a ball and cover the mixing bowl with plastic wrap.
  • Let rise for 45 minutes to an hour, until the dough has doubled in size.

  • Punch down the dough and knead it again.
  • Cut the dough into two balls and form one pizza crust from each ball.

  • Roll out one of the dough balls into a circle.
  • Add about 1/2 cup pizza sauce to the dough.

  • Top with ham (we bought an assorted pack) and pineapples.

  • Top with about 1 cup of cheese.
  • Bake in the oven for between 8-10 minutes (varies based on the oven.)
  • Slice, serve and enjoy!

Monday, July 23, 2012

Char Kuay Teow (Singapore Fried Black Rice Noodles) 炒粿条

Char Kuay Teow is one Singaporean dish that everyone loves to have, but can never have enough. It is literally a heart-stopping dish, since it is usually made with a ton of pork lard (oh so delicious pork lard). I would love a plate of Char Kuay Teow from the Bedok South market near my parents' house in Singapore, but living halfway across the world just robs luxuries like this away from you. I guess that's the trade off for having free 2-day shipping from Amazon, or living in an apartment the size of a 4 room flat in Singapore with one other person just 20mins away from Boston.

 Oh well, I'll stop griping and get back to Char Kuay Teow. Obviously, I can't have my Bedok South Char Kuay Teow (the very thought of it makes my mouth water!) And obviously, this part of the world doesn't constantly stock yellow noodles (I did make a run yesterday looking for it), or even stocks the fat kuay teow noodles. There is no hum (blood cockles - my favorite part of Char Kuay Teow) in this part of the world, and somehow, lard is not popular here either.

 Against the odds, I decided that I had to make Char Kuay Teow. Its the quintessential Singaporean dish, and being the Singaporean foodie I am, there was no way Char Kuay Teow is escaping my grasps, even from this far away. I'm making a Char Kuay Teow recipe that is skimmed - no hum, no lard, no fat kuay teow noodles and no yellow noodles. I apologize that is not as authentic as it can be, but it is as authentic as it gets around here. Still, despite everything, it was delicious! Yes! I'm not talking American standard delicious. I'm saying, my Singaporean-bred taste buds thought it was delicious. Therefore, it is delicious!

Visit the recipe at http://www.emylogues.wordpress.com!

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Basil Green Beans

Last Saturday, we headed to the farmers' market and got some really fresh green beans, as well as a basil plant. Yup, you heard it, plant. I'd have gotten all sorts of herb plants, but it doesn't seem like there were any left int he late summer. What a bummer! I'd have to make sure to get some early next summer. I love fresh herbs. I mean, who doesn't?

Anyway, since I just got back from my Scandinavian/Baltics trip, I haven't cooked real food in three weeks. Of course, there's the frozen pizza and sandwiches I made at the hostel, but nothing with an open flame, pots and pans. I couldn't wait to start cooking again, and figured that less is more when fresh veggies are concerned, and that this would be a really delicious recipe.

We had this as a side with steamed corn, with the baked spicy Asian chicken thighs as the main star of the plate. It was so yummy! I'm definitely doing this again. 

  • 1/2 pound green beans, tips chopped off
  • 4 basil leaves, chopped
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • some cracked black pepper
  • 1/4 cup water

  • In a heated pan, add olive oil, then add green beans.
  • Add water, then cover for 3-4 minutes, or until beans are tender.

  • Add chopped basil, then fry for about a minute.
  • Add salt and pepper, then toss to combine.
  • Serve and enjoy!

Monday, July 16, 2012

Spinach with Triple (Century, Salted and Regular) Eggs in Stock

This is a dish that sounds fancy (oh three different types of eggs!?), looks fancy (how many colors are in a the dish?) but really isn't all that hard to make. It's the kinda thing that everyone likes - looks sophisticated, but is actually so simple.

More often than not, this dish is found in restaurants, and they would happily charge you $12, $15 or $20 for something as simple as eggs and veggies. Here's how you do it, and you will never spend such money on 'fancy' vegetable dishes again. :)

Recipe moved here! Change your links!

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Shrimp and Onion Omelette

I love fried eggs! :) In the three days I spent back in Boston (came from Singapore, left for Helsinki), I used up more than a dozen eggs. That dozen eggs were probably in the fridge when I left Boston for Singapore about five weeks ago. *haha* 

Anyway, I do believe that most things taste good in an omelette, and I grew up eating omelettes of all kinds - especially shrimp omelette, onion omelette, chaipo omelette, string bean omelette. I would be so very happy to have two fried eggs with rice and soy sauce for a meal. Yes, I grew up with the omelette. I love it.

So, I used to have shrimp omelettes and onion omelettes, so I decided to put the two together and make shrimp and onion omelette! :) It's super easy too!

Ingredients (as part of a larger meal)
  • 3 eggs
  • 3-4 oz shrimp, peeled, cleaned and deveined
  • 1/2 white onion, sliced
  • white pepper to taste
  • 1 teaspoon soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoons oil

  • Crack the eggs in a bowl and beat them until the whites and yolks are combined.
  • Add the sliced onions and shrimp to the eggs.
  • Add soy sauce and white pepper, then mix to combine.
  • In a large heated frying pan, add the oil, then pour the egg mixture into the pan.
  • Let cook on one side until it is golden brown, then flip and cook the other side. (I had to cut it into smaller pieces because it was too big for me to flip.)
  • Share and enjoy.