Stir Fried Miso Mushrooms

stirfriedmisomushrooms001

A meat free dish packed with powerful umami punch.  I cooked this with two of my favorite mushrooms : Oyster and Bai Ling mushrooms.


STIR FRIED MISO MUSHROOMS
Source
INGREDIENTS :
- 1 packet of fresh oyster mushrooms
- 1 large head of canned Bai Ling mushrooms, sliced
- 2 tablespoons of cooking oil
- 1 tablespoon of butter
- 2 large cloves of garlic, minced
- 2 heap tablespoons of miso paste
- 3 tablespoons of water
- For garnish: spring onions, chopped

INSTRUCTIONS :

01. In a heated wok, add oil and butter.
02. Add garlic and fry till fragrant.
03. Add miso paste, flatten the miso paste with a spatula to mix it well with the garlic and oil.
04. Add in both types of mushrooms.
05. Toss around,  allowing the miso paste to coat the mushrooms evenly.
06. Add water, one tablespoon at a time, with just enough water to produce a steaming effect to cook the mushrooms, but not too much to dilute the gravy.
07. Once the mushrooms are cooked, transfer them to a serving dish and garnish with chopped spring onions.


++ Notes to Self ++
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Butter can be salted or non salted, I find that it doesn’t really matter after adding miso paste.
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Some miso paste can taste saltier than others, I use the white+low sodium version of miso paste, adjust amount of miso according to one’s taste preference and the type of miso used.
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Chinese Chicken Potato Stew

basicchickenstew001 basicchickenstew002

My version of chicken stew has more vegetables than meat.  Actually, it is more of a potato stew.  The kids love their potatoes.  If preparing for serious carnivores, top up more meat.  I honestly think that the amount of meat here is pathetic, but I also hate to have leftovers.

Stews are particularly great to make for Friday dinners; using whatever is left in the fridge, empty it out and start a brand new week with fresh stock of groceries.  The base ingredients are carrots, potatoes and chicken meat.  I have also tried clearing celery, firm tofu, zucchini and lotus roots with this dish, they tweak the taste of the finished product slightly, but all in a nice way.

On this particular day, I happened to have some shitake mushrooms.  So into the stew they go.


BASIC CHICKEN STEW
INGREDIENTS :
- 1 chicken breast, chopped into bite size
- 4 medium potatoes, peel + cut into cubes
- 1/2 small carrot, peel + cut into cubes
- 4 shitake mushrooms, wash + chop into quarters
- 3 cloves garlic, chopped finely
- 2 tablespoons cooking oil
- 2 cup hot water
- 1.5 tablespoon light soy sauce
- 2 tablespoon oyster sauce
- dash of pepper + sesame oil, to taste
- for garnish: green portion of spring onion, chopped

INSTRUCTIONS

01. Heat up a french oven over medium fire, pour in the oil and fry chopped garlic until fragrant.
02. Add in the chicken breast meat, and cook until they turn white and opaque.
03. Add in chopped potatoes and carrots, stir fry for about 1 minute.
04. Pour in the soy sauce and oyster sauce, and mix the sauce with the ingredients well with a large spoon.
05. Add in the hot water, and bring to a rolling boil.
06. Reduce heat to low, cover the french oven and let simmer for about 30 minutes, or until the water is reduced to a thick gravy.
07. 5 minutes before turning off the fire, sprinkle the shitake mushrooms on top and let the steam cook the mushroom.*
08. Turn off heat, add a dash of pepper and sesame oil, garnish with chopped spring onions, serve immediately.


++ NOTES TO SELF ++
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Fresh shitake mushrooms shrink to an impossible size during simmering. So I only add them towards the end of cooking, usually 5 minutes before the stew is done.
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Tea Tree Mushroom + Tofu

teatreemushroomtofu001 teatreemushroomtofu005 teatreemushroomtofu006
I am not sure what these 茶树菇/柳松茸 are called in English, but “velvet pioppini” popped up under wiki.  They look like shimeji mushrooms with longer stems and flatter caps.  I usually get the dried ones for stews and soups because of the rich umami flavor.

These fresh ones were found at a Taiwan produce fair.  Since the mushrooms are already full of flavor, I simply stir fry them with oyster sauce, and top them on silken tofu to make a dish for pairing with my staple white rice.


TEA TREE MUSHROOMS TOFU
INGREDIENTS :
- 1 small handful of tea tree mushrooms, about 100g
- 1 clove of garlic, chopped finely
- 1 package of silken tofu
- 1 tablespoon cooking oil
- 1.5 tablespoon oyster sauce
- 1/2 cup of water
- white pepper, to taste
- few drops of sesame oil
- 1/2 teaspoon of corn flour, mixed with 2 tablespoon of water.
- for garnish: chopped spring onion

INSTRUCTIONS :

01. Trim off the ends of the mushrooms, and wash them thoroughly.  Drain, set aside.
02. Heat up the tofu by steaming it for 10 minutes, drain water released from the steamed tofu and place it on a serving dish.
03. Mix oyster sauce and water in a bowl.
04. Add a tablespoon of cooking oil in a heated wok, once it smoke, add in chopped garlic and cook till soft, but not brown.
05. Add in tea tree mushrooms, stir fry for about 30 seconds with medium heat.
06. Pour in oyster sauce and water mixture, continue to stir, till the sauce starts to boil and bubble, about 2-3 minutes, for the mushrooms to be cooked.
07. Add a dash of pepper and sesame oil.  Turn down the fire to low, taste, and adjust to preference.
08. Mix the corn flour solution well, before adding it to the mushrooms to thicken the sauce, stirring to cook all the while.
09. Simmer till the sauce thickens, then pour it over the steamed tofu.
10. Garnish with chopped spring onions. Serve immediately.

DIY Popsicle #009 : Blueberry Banana Yogurt Popsicle

diypopsicle9_blueberryyogurt001 diypopsicle9_blueberryyogurt002 diypopsicle9_blueberryyogurt003

The yogurt pops are just as easy to make as it is satisfying to consume.  I have mentioned before, that the flavored yogurts are your best bet for an (almost)-instant popsicle treat.  Just fill up your popsicle molds with ready yogurt and freeze.

But I still feel guilty for its sugar content.  The frozen yogurt sometimes can taste just as good as they are straight off the tubs from the chiller compartment.  If you have made enough ice cream, you’ll know that more sugar/ sweetener is required for the recipe because the ice cream (or anything desserts frozen) will taste blander when frozen.  I have to disregard all my diet concerns when making ice cream at home, but it’s good to know how much sugar you are getting, and what commercial joints are adding in, this sort of deter me from binging on ice cream when I am feeling for a sweet fix.  The hot days lately aren’t exactly helping with my curbs either.

So enter plain/greek/greek-style yogurts as the base for today’s popsicle recipe,  plus bananas and blueberries as the natural sweetener.  Here’s roughly how:


Blueberry Banana Yogurt Popiscle
INGREDIENTS
- Plain yogurt (I used full fat version for a creamier texture)
- 1 large banana (the riper, the sweeter, the better)
- 1/4 cup blueberries (fresh or thaw them if frozen)

INSTRUCTIONS

– In a food processor, blend banana and blueberries until smooth.
– Measure this banana/blueberry mixture in a measuring cup, and fold into twice as much yogurt till it is well mixed.  The more yogurt you have in the mixture, the more creamy and less icy it will be.  My own preference for the banana to yogurt ratio is 1 : 2.  Feel free to adjust.
– Taste the mixture, and add some honey if it is not sweet enough.
– Scoop mixture into the mold.  I added 2-3 blueberries first into mold to make the popsicle look nicer, totally optional.
– Tap the mold on the table a few times before freezing, to get rid of air pockets within the mixture.
– Freeze till popsicle is set, at least 3 hours.


++ Notes To Self ++
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I use full fat yogurt for a creamier texture end result.
///
The riper the banana, the sweeter it is.
///
Fresh or thawed frozen blueberries are both okay for this recipe.
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ABin5 : A Refresher

claypotbread // mono+co claypotbread // mono+coclaypotbread // mono+co claypotbread // mono+co

While drafting the previous pizza recipe post, where I used the ‘Artisan Bread in Five Minutes’ (ABin5) way for preparing the pizza dough, I realized that I have been making changes to this method since I adopted it two years ago.  A new edition of the book has also been released, so here’s a refresher post on baking bread this way.

First, the 3 major changes I have adopted:

____________

/ Earlier, I was weary of adding too much salt into the mixture for fear of, firstly, it will affect the level of rise in the dough (what if I put too much and kill the yeast?), and secondly, it will be more healthy to have lesser salt in the bread.  However, I have noticed that there is a difference in the taste when I added up to a full tablespoon of salt into my dough, depending on what salt is used.

/ I have been using ONLY the weighing method to get the amount of flour right, achieving a consistent level of hydration for the dough for every batch.  I have noticed with my earlier trials that the ABin5 master recipe is really a very forgiving recipe; no matter how wet the dough is, it still rises predictably, and the bread still come out pretty well.  Nowadays, I prefer the dough made with the weighing method, as it is a lot easier to handle, not too runny, allowing me to shape the bread better; most of the dough should go into the bread, not on my hands only to be washed away!

/  I have been using the steam trap method with a simple claypot, instead of the broiler in the oven method.  The authors of the book have also mentioned this method as a more convenient one.  I do not preheat my claypot though, as my claypot manufacturer’s instruction specifically states that the claypot should not be heated without any liquids in it.  So I proofed my bread dough in it (covered with clean, damp tea towel), and bake it in a preheated oven for 30 minutes with lid on, and then another 15-20 minutes without the lid.

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RECIPE FOR ARTISAN BREAD IN 5 MINUTES
/Source

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3 cups lukewarm water
1 tablespoon instant yeast
1 tablespoon salt
2lb or 910g of plain flour

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01. Place water, salt and yeast in a plastic container that is big enough for the dough.  This container preferably with lid (if not, cover with cling wrap will do too) will also be the storage container for the dough to be placed in the fridge.  Make sure your fridge has a space for it.  A 6-quart container is recommended in the book.

02. Add in the flour all at once.  Stir with a pair of long chopsticks until the dough comes together, it should be a wet and shapeless one.  If yours can be kneaded into a ball at this stage, you have probably used too much flour.  You can still save the dough by adding water slowly, till you get the dough to its rightful consistency.

03.  Cover the container loosely, saving a gap for the gases to escape as the dough proof.

04. Allow the dough to rise to double its bulk, anything from 2 hours to 4 hours, depending on the room temperature.

05. Once the dough has risen to its max, it will start to settle down, sink a little and form a flat top.  This dough is now ready to be used, or it can be stored in the fridge when you are ready to bake a bread or pizza.  I prefer keeping it in the chiller for a few hours so that the dough is easier to handle.

06. On baking day, take out the dough from the fridge, and dust the surface with some flour, so that it won’t stick to your hands when retrieving the dough.

07. Pull out a piece of dough and cut out about the size of a grapefruit , or weigh 1lb.  Return the rest of the dough into the fridge.

08. Form the dough into a ball, gluten coated.  Sprinkle flour on surface as you go for easier handling, but take care not to incorporate the flour into the dough.  Handle the dough gently at this stage, do not knead, press or squeeze out the air that has expanded inside the dough.

09. Rest the shaped dough by placing it in a claypot (lightly dusted with flour),  from 40 minutes (according to the book’s instructions) or 90 minutes.  I let it stand longer till the dough returns to room temperature.

10.  Preheat the oven to 230C (450F).  When the oven is ready, pour some flour on the bread surface, and slash the loaf with a clean knife or scissors (I have to admit that I find the scissors easier to manage! Just make 3 to 4 decisive fast snips…) so that it does not split at the bottom during baking.

11.  Cover the claypot, and quickly place it into the oven, bake for 30 minutes.

12. After 30 minutes, continue to bake at the same temperature for 15-20 minutes, without the cover.

13. When done, remove the claypot from the oven, and let it cool on a rack.

14. Allow the loaf to cool completely on a rack to room temperature before slicing it.  Otherwise, the bread will end up with a hard crust and a gummy interior.

Dark Soy Chicken

darksoychicken // makingitblissful

If my “stir fry everyday” dishes seem skewed towards pleasing the palates of young children, that’s because I picked up cooking for my two young girls.  This recipe is adapted from Billy Law’s Dark Soy Pork Spare Ribs (老抽炒排骨).  The dark soy gravy teamed with jasmine white rice is a hit with my kids, but they have not picked up the taste for spare ribs; fats, bones and all.  That’s why I use skinless chicken breasts for this dish instead.

++Notes.001 // Original recipe uses 3 tablespoons of white sugar, I reduced it to 2.

++Notes.002 // Original recipe uses 3 tablespoons of water, I increased it to about 5-6, so that I can yield more gravy to go with rice.

RECIPE : DARK SOY CHICKEN
/ Source

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1 piece of skin+boneless chicken breast, diced
2 Tablespoons cooking oil
1 Tablespoon dark soy thick caramel sauce
2 Tablespoons light soy sauce
2 Tablespoons white sugar
5-6 Tablespoons water
1 clove of garlic, sliced (optional)
1 stalk of spring onion, cut into 5 cm length (optional)

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01. Mix the dark soy sauce, light soy sauce, sugar, water together in a small bowl, and give it a good stir to loosen up the thick caramel sauce in the mixture.  Set aside.

02. In a heated wok, add oil.

03. Once the oil starts to smoke,  add diced chicken meat, and stir fry quickly till meat is cooked and turns white and opaque.

04. Pour the sauce mixture in, keep stirring for about 2-3 minutes, ensuring every piece of meat gets covered by the dark sauce.

05. The sauce should start to thicken and caramelize.  At this point, turn off the fire, add the optional sliced garlic and spring onion, give it another good stir, before transferring to a plate.  Serve hot.

Onion Chicken Stir Fry

sweetonionchickenstirfry003 sweetonionstirfry002This recipe from AllRecipes.com is rated 4.5/5 stars.  I simplified it by stir-frying just the chicken meat and onion with the seasonings.

RECIPE : ONION CHICKEN STIR FRY
/ Source

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1 piece chicken breast, about 250g, diced
1/2 onion, sliced thinly
2 tablespoons peanut oil
1/2 cup water
1 tablespoons soy sauce
1 tablespoon sugar
1 tablespoon cornstarch
1 stalk spring onion , for garnish (optional)

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01. Mix water, soy sauce, sugar and cornstarch well in a small bowl, set aside.

02. In a heated wok, add peanut oil.  Once the oil starts to smoke, add onion slices, and fry till they turn translucent.

03. Add chicken meat, and continue to fry till they turn white.

04. Stir the bowl of sauce to mix well again (cornstarch will settle to the bottom when set aside) and pour into the wok.

05. Keep stirring till the sauce is reduced and thickened to coat the chicken meat.

06. Transfer onto a plate, garnish with spring onions, and serve immediately with steamed white rice.

Muah Chee

muahchee003a muahchee009 muahchee008 muahchee005 muahchee006 muahchee007 muahchee001 muahchee002Every time I order muah chee, I wish that the seller would snip off from the white slab, a bigger piece of the steamed glutinous rice cake for me.  But it’s always the same miserable portion, it could have even gotten smaller over the years with inflation, but I’m not sure.

She would then proceed to cut it further into smaller and smaller (and smaller!) pieces, before finally coating them with peanut grounds (Good thing that they are still pretty generous with the peanuts).  All these, packed into the tiniest palm sized clear plastic box, and I am off to enjoy my 2 minutes of heaven.  Yup, that’s how fast I can chomp them down.

My wish for a larger serving, with bigger chunks, was finally granted after I found the numerous Muah Chee recipes online.  There is the Happy Call Pan method, the Microwave method, the Pan Fry method, and finally, the traditional Steamer method, which I adapted below.

Here’s how:

RECIPE : MUAH CHEE
/ Source

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For Dough:

200g glutinous rice flour
1 tablespoon shallot oil
2 teaspoons fine sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
250 ml water

For Peanut Ground Mix:

150g roasted unsalted peanuts
75g fine sugar

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01. Mix the flour, shallot oil, sugar, salt and water in a big mixing bowl.  Stir well to make sure that there are no lumps.

02. Pour mixture into a greased 6 inch pan, steam over medium heat for 25 minutes.

03. Once the mixture is cooked though, brush some shallot oil over the surface, and allow it to cool.

04. Prepare peanut ground mix by blending peanuts and sugar in a food processor.  Do not over blend, or you’ll get peanut butter.  Put this mixture into a food tray/pan.

05. Now the fun part.  Cut the cooked dough into bite size pieces with a pair of kitchen scissors, the dough will be sticky.  Place the cut dough bits in the peanut mixture, coat well. Once coated, these tiny morsels won’t be as sticky.  Place on plate, top with more peanut ground mix, serve immediately.

Fried Shallots and Shallot Oil

shallotoil001 shallotoil002

A must in my pantry.  A pot of shallot oil and a container with the crispy fried shallot bits are always at the corner of my kitchen counter.

Too lazy? Drizzle shallot oil with light soy sauce over blanched vegetables to make a simple dish.
Too boring?  Add a few drops over a bowl of clear hot soup, it will smell instantly better.
Too hungry?  Dry tossed egg noodles with shallot oil and kecap manis makes a fast and fulfilling meal, better than eating instant noodles.
It’s also my choice condiment over a plate of steaming hot chee cheong fun (猪肠粉), instead of the sweet sesame sauce that the breakfast stalls usually provide me with.

You can choose to make as much or as little as you want,  simply adjust the quantity of shallots and oil.  Just make sure that the amount of oil used is enough for the sliced shallots to be fully submerged.  If you are a die-hard-shallot-oil-fan like me, have a dedicated small covered pot just for frying shallot oil, and use it as the storage container after preparing.  That’s one less greasy utensil to wash later!

I don’t store the oil and fried shallots in fridge, as some recipes suggested, I find it too troublesome to return the oil to room temperature every time I use it.  I have been leaving them covered in a cool dark corner, this method has been working so far for me.  But try to finish them within one week, that should not be too difficult if you cook everyday, otherwise, keeping them in the fridge might be a safer idea.

FRIED SHALLOT OIL

INGREDIENTS

  • 200g shallots, remove peel and sliced thinly, about 2-3mm
  • Peanut or vegetable oil, enough to cover the sliced shallots

METHOD

01. Set a small pot over high heat, add oil and bring it to hot.  To test oil temperature, drop a shallot slice, oil is ready when it bubbles right away.
02. Add shallot slices, stir occasionally with a pair of wooden chopsticks.  The oil temperature will dip when the shallots are first added, watch for the oil temperature to return to high.
03. Once you notice that the temperature of the oil has returned to high, turn the heat slightly lower, and maintain this gentle sizzle, keep stirring.  Frying the shallots over high heat will shorten the cooking time, but may lead to burnt shallots and a bitter taste in the oil : a no-no.
04. At the first sight of the shallots turning from light purple to light brown –
// A. If you are using the cooking pot as the storage container for the shallot oil : shut down the fire and start to pick out the ones turning golden brown first with chopsticks or slotted spoon (the sizzling/cooking process will still go on even after turning off the heat). Drain them over a plate lined with paper towels.  The shallots will continue to cook even after being scooped out from the oil, and will turn a shade darker after they have cooled down.  Do not wait till them have turned golden/dark brown to drain them from the oil, or they will be burnt by the end of the cooling process.  There will be some shallot bits left at the bottom of the oil with this ‘picking’ method, but I am not too concerned with it; the heat has been turned down long before these bits can become charred.  Treat them as extra bonuses when you scoop them out with the oil!
// B. If you are not using the pot as the storage container : when the shallots has turned golden brown, turn off the heat and strain the hot oil over a clean, dry strainer.  Make sure you use a HEATPROOF container to collect the oil, as it is very hot.  Drain the fried shallots over paper towels to remove excess oil.
06.  Cool fried shallots and shallot oil completely before storing.  Use an air-tight container for fried shallots, crispy ones are very much preferred!