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Friday, April 29, 2016

Taiwan style beef noodles, the short version

Taste of Taiwan, anyone?
My long search for the real Taiwanese beef noodle stock is finally over, thanks to this blogger. Her recipe is very long but through her post, the taste of this dish from Kaoshiung from eons ago all came back to me.

It was lip smacking good even though I cut short her process. Imagine what it will taste like if I had followed every single procedure – it will be mind blowing delicious!

Everything about the recipe is good but ladling the broth with the meat to the noodles is quite challenging with the loose spices swirling around. If possible, in the process of transferring the broth to the slow cooker, aggregate the spices in a stock net so that less of it will be caught up in the ladle.

Recipe adapted according to my situation. For the full blown recipe, visit ladyandpups here.

For 2

Ingredients :

A)
2 pieces of beef ( palm sized ), cut to ½ inch strips across the grain
1 handful of brown molasses

B)
1 medium onion, skinned and halved
5 pieces of ginger, medium thickness
1 clove of garlic
1 handful of peppercorn, lightly cracked with a mallet
1 Tbsp cumin
1 Tbsp fennel
4 star anise
1 cinnamon stick
4 bay leaves
pinch of 5 spice
1 Tbsp brown sugar

C)
5-6 cups of stock or water
1  Tbsp tomato paste
1 Tbsp Taiwan BBQ paste ( shachajiang )
1 Tbsp miso or Chinese fermented beanpaste
1 dash of curry powder
1/4 cup light soy sauce
1/2 cup Shaoxin wine
1/2 handful of rock sugar


Method :

Rub the molasses into the beef.
With a little oil, sear the beef until the sugar is caramelized.
Reserve.

In the same pot, heat 1 Tbsp of oil on medium heat.
Sear the onion, cut side down until the cut surface is caramelized.
Add the ginger and all the other ingredients in (B) in the order written.
Lastly add the sugar and stir everything through until the sugar is caramelized.

Add the contents listed in ( C ) and cook until everything is combined, about 10 minutes.
Transfer the soup to a slow cooker, set to high. If possible, consolidate the spices in a net and cook with the liquid.
Add the beef.
Cook until beef is tender but not falling apart.

Serve with blanched noodles and vegetables.
Garnish with pickled vegetables and sesame oil.





Monday, April 25, 2016

Lemony cheesecake ( Japanese style )

Oops! A manhandled cheesecake ! The brown streaks are due to the watery patterns
I first saw the recipe here but tweaked it down ( factor of 2 ) because the 2 of us at home will never undo the full portion. That said, it looks so good when it was done that I was a bit regretful of not ‘seizing the day’.

Since this cake is quite a bit of work, I made one with the full recipe before this shown on the post. Unfortunately, my eyes failed me and I ended up baking the cake at 160C which resulted in a cake with pockmarks and a dense structure. The low temperature caused the meringue to be ‘unstable’ .  I realized my mistake too late and completed the baking process with the ‘damaged’ cake for another   18 minutes at 200C. Yup! It was all upside down topsy turvy wrong. The result was unflattering.

All in all, listen to the OP ! Clearly, a high temperature cooks the batter and seals the shape and surface of the cake while a second lower baking temperature supports and firms up the cake structure so that it does not collapse.

This is the peril of baking with ‘compromised’ eyesight even when there was a lot of care given. But it was a very good learning moment.

Credits : adapted from ieatishootipost

Ingredients :

Logistics : 7 inch square cake pan, removable bottom
Foil the pan for baking in a water bath later
Pot of steaming water to seat the mixing bowl ( 1 inch high )

Main batter

A)
125g cream cheese
3 yolks
30g caster sugar

B)
30g butter, softened
50ml milk, warm

C)
1/8 tsp salt
½  Tbsp vanilla extract
½ tsp lime juice
½ tsp lime zest

D)
30g cake flour
10g corn flour

White batter –

3 whites
1/8 tsp cream of tartar
35g caster sugar

Method :

Hardware

Place a low baking rack in the oven. Preheat oven to 200C.
Add warm water to a water bath that is big enough to accommodate the baking pan later.
               
Main batter

Place the pot over the steaming pot of water , whisk the cream cheese, yolks and sugar in this order until well combined.

Combine milk and butter. Warm the contents for 20 sec in a microwave.

Whisk in the milk-butter.

Combine the salt, vanilla extract, lime juice and zest.

Add into the main batter and whisk.

Sift the flours into the mixing bowl. Fold first and whisk to combine. Set aside.

Meringue

Whisk whites until coarse bubbles form.

Whisk in cream of tartar ane sugar in this order.

Stop when the meringue form soft peaks.

Combining

In 3 portions, fold the meringue to the main batter.

Reserve 1 – 2 Tbsp of batter. This is for piping patterns.

Pour the batter into the prepared pan.

Add a tiny amount of cocoa to the reserved batter. ( do not use liquid color as much as possible as viscosity difference caused the pattern to sink into the cake )

Pipe patterns on the batter in the pan.

Put the pan on the water bath.

Baking

Bake in the preheated oven at 200C for 15 minutes.

Reduce the temperature to 160C.

Bake for another 10 minutes.

Cake is ready when skewer poked into the cake center comes out clean.

Leave the cake to rest in the closed oven for 15-20 minutes.

Open the oven ajar and leave the cake in the oven for another 10 minutes.

Finally , cool the cake on a rack for 30 minutes or when cake is not hot to handle.

Remove the mould or pan and leave to cool completely.

Chill before eating.







Friday, March 25, 2016

Snacks in a sandwich

Crispy pulses in a sandwich

Tiny finger food

It can’t be helped, me sweeping everything from the snacks to the spice section in Mustafa. It also didn’t help that it was a Thursday evening when the crowd was thin and the inviting aisles were spilling every sort of snacks imaginable in full view before my eyes. Some, I didn’t even know they exist!

One of the exotic snack that is possibly found only in Mustafa is this assortment of pulses. It looks good in theory until I tried to eat the tiny bits of puffed beans with the hand. This is no finger food! Eating them by the spoonful seems way wrong either, so I did the next best thing.

The bean snack found its way in between 2 slices of smoked cheese and 4 pieces of shaved ham. The  2 slices of 12 grain wholemeal bread sealed the deal and made it look a lot healthier than it was.

I felt I was eating the whole world – it’s an amalgam of east, west and something in between. If only the world is like this – coming together for a better good …

OK, you get my drift. But seriously, ham cheese sandwich with a tangy, spicy, crunchy filling is really something. This 200g pack at $1.70 is going to make lots of sandwiches so I have better start thinking beyond ham and cheese.

Gotta go. Lots of thinking to do.


Friday, March 18, 2016

Matcha chiffon cake



As a chiffon novice, this recipe is robust even with my clumsiest effort. This is a very good recipe from the very prolific justonecookbook which every post never fails to excite my imagination.

In between preparing the yolk base batter and white meringue, remember to clean the whisk so that the whites can foam properly.

Ingredients :

A- 75g cake flour, 1 tsp baking powder, 1 Tbsp matcha
B- 3 egg yolks, 25g caster sugar, 50ml oil, 50 ml water
C- 3 egg whites, 50g caster sugar

Combine and sift these : 75g cake flour, 1 tsp baking powder, 1 Tbsp matcha powder. Set aside.

Adapted from here

Method :

Preheat the oven to 170C.

Whisk these until frothy :
3 egg yolks, 25g caster sugar, 50ml oil, 50 ml water.
Sift in flour mixture and whisk, in 3 batches.

Whisk these until stiff peaks form :
3 egg whites, 50g caster sugar

Add 1/3 of white foam to the egg batter. Fold in.
Add the rest of the foam in small batches. Fold in.

Transfer the batter to ungreased chiffon flute pan with removable base.
Bake in a preheated oven at 170C for 30 minutes.

When done, invert the pan, cake and all, to cool on a heavy can.
Remove the chiffon cake from the pan.
Keeps well for 2 days.