Deep Fried Cauliflower

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Hardly deep fry anything at home, but rave reviews on deep fried cauliflowers got me thinking how nice it would be if my kids were half as enthusiastic about cauliflowers as they are with broccoli.  To further entice them, I served the fried florets in paper bags, a la 鹽酥雞 style, an occasional Taiwanese snack treat that they like.

They finished up the cooked cauliflowers pretty fast.  Maybe it is the seasoning mix, or maybe because deep frying significantly altered the taste of the cauliflower, to almost chicken like.  I would like to be creative with the seasoning next time : parmesan cheese, five spice powder, garlic powder…. condiments that are usually sprinkle on fries and popcorn chicken.

This is really interesting, roasted cauliflower head is next on my list to try.  Kids, you are finally eating cauliflowers!

DEEP FRIED CAULIFLOWER
INGREDIENTS

1 small cauliflower, cut into bite sized florets
Rice flour, for dusting
Peanut oil for deep frying
1 stalk spring onion, green portion chopped finely
1/2 teaspoon crushed red chilli flakes
Old Bay Seasoning, for seasoning

METHOD

01. Fill a small saucepan with enough peanut oil to keep the the cauliflower florets fully submerged during deep frying.  To use the least amount of oil, I used my smallest 14cm pot and fry the florets in a few batches. Heat up the oil over medium heat.

02. Coat cauliflower florets lightly with rice flour. Deep fry each batch of the florets till golden brown.  Drain them on paper towel to absorb excess grease.

03. Toss Old Bay Seasoning to taste.  Sprinkle with spring onions and chilli flakes.  Serve immediately.

Kimchi Fried Rice : Risotto Method

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This dish is a great way to use up the kimchi juice, the liquid released from the cabbage during fermentation. According to here : “the one milliliter of the juice from well-ripened kimchi contains roughly 100 million lactic acid bacteria, up to four times more than the same weight of yogurt.” Good stuff!

It would be a waste to discard them away, as they make great seasoning for soup and stew dishes.  I happen to have quite a lot (more than 2 cups) at the bottom of container with my homemade kimchi, the level of liquid will increase over time, as fermention continues to take place daily.

I decided to make kimchi fried rice using risotto cooking style, i.e. stirring in the kimchi juice into uncooked rice bit by bit, till the liquid is fully absorbed and the rice is cooked.  This would be a great way to use up as much of the kimchi juice as possible.  With cooked rice, adding too much liquid while frying will only end up with a plate of soggy rice, not my type of fried rice.

Other than chopped kimchi, I added fresh button mushrooms, baby corn and eggplant to make the one-dish meal even more fulfilling. This recipe is on the spicy side.  Use lesser kimchi juice and replace balance liquid addition with broth/water if a less spicy version is preferred.

KIMCHI FRIED RICE : RISOTTO METHOD
INGREDIENTS
SERVES 1

½ cup uncooked short grain rice 
2 tablespoons of olive oil
1 small onion, chopped 
2 button mushrooms, sliced 
1 baby corn, sliced
½ cup of chopped kimchi
1 small eggplace, cut thick slices 
2 cups of kimchi juice 
hot water
mozzarella cheese,optional
nori seaweed, for garnish

METHOD

01. Arrange eggplant slices on a baking tray and drizzle olive oil on top.  Roast till tender, I grill mine in a toaster oven for 15 minutes.

02. Wash rice and drain. Set aside.

03. Pour olive oil on a heated pan, add chopped onions and cook till soften.

04. Add button mushrooms, baby corn and chopped kimchi, mix and fry well, until the kimchi turns fragrant.

05. Add rice, fry and coat the grains with rest of ingredients, about 1 minute.

06. Add enough kimchi juice to cover the rice in the pan and bring to boil.  Reduce heat to simmer, stir with a wooden spoon to prevent rice from getting burnt at the bottom.

07. When the water is all absorbed by the rice, add remaining kimchi juice/hot water/broth.  Again: just enough to cover the rice, and repeat with a few more liquid additions till the rice is cooked.

08. When the rice is thoroughly cooked, throw in a few cubes of mozzarella cheese and let the heat from the cooked rice soften the cheese.

09. Transfer to serving plate.  Top with roasted eggplant slices and nori seaweed, eat immediately.

Kimchi Spaghetti

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This kimchi pasta sauce is even easier to make than the usual tomato sauce, as it requires no simmering.  I pan fried some erynglii mushrooms to replace the meat in the original recipe, and cook everything under 20 minutes.  That’s my kind of instant noodles!

KIMCHI PASTA
ADAPTED FROM : NO RECIPES
INGREDIENTS
SERVING : 1


100g uncooked spaghetti
2 pieces eryngii mushrooms
1 tablespoon olive oil
¼ small yellow onion, chopped
½ cup chopped kimchi
1 teaspoon gochujang/korean hot pepper paste
1 tablespoon hot water
optional for garnishing : black sesame seeds and coriander leaves

METHOD

01. Cook spaghetti, al dente style, according to package instructions, drain and set aside.  I usually dump the cooked pasta back in its cooking pot that has been drained of liquid but still hot enough to keep the pasta warm.

02. Clean and pat dry eryngii mushrooms.  Slice each mushroom, cross section, into 4 pieces.  On a heated pan, place the mushroom slices and cook over medium heat.  Liquid will soon be released from the mushrooms as you cook, keep cooking till the liquid evaporates and when the bottom of the mushroom turns slightly charred, flip and repeat on the other side.  Remove from pan, set aside.  Wipe the pan dry, and use the same pan to cook the kimchi pasta next.

03. To make kimchi pasta sauce, heat olive oil in the pan, add chopped onions and cook till them turn soft and translucent.

04. Add chopped kimchi, and cook till fragrant.

05. Mix gochijang with hot water to dilute the sticky paste.  Pour in the mixture into the kimchi sauce.  Stir around to mix well.  If the kimchi sauce is on the dry side, add one or two tablespoons of water.

06. Add in the cooked spaghetti, and stir around to coat the pasta with the sauce well.

07. Transfer to serving plate, top with pan fried mushroom slices, and garnish with a dash of black sesame seeds and coriander leaves.  Enjoy!

Black Rice Bibimbap

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I love rice, any rice. Long grain/ Short grain. Polished/ Unpolished. White/Red/Brown/Black. High GI/ Low GI. That how much I like them.

I also substitute rice recipes with a variety of grains, such as this Bibimbap, made with black rice.  It is really tempting to make Bibimbap whenever I see cucumbers and carrots in my fridge.

For a meatless version, I add mushrooms, spinach, and a fried egg.  Otherwise, simply replace one vegetable with a stir fried meat of any kind.

I used to fry the individual vegetables with cooking oil, and then mix with some sesame oil.  Recently, I came across a Korean recipe book that stated cooking the vegetables in sesame oil instead.  I thought that could reduce the total amount of oil used in this dish, and have been using this method since.  I still add a small quantity, about a teaspoon and a half, of sesame oil before serving as I like that distinctive sesame fragrance that tend to get lost after cooking.

BLACK RICE BIBIMBAP
ADAPTED FROM MAANGCHI
SERVES 2 GENEROUS PORTIONS
INGREDIENTS


2 cups black rice, wash and soak overnight
1 bunch of spinach*
1 small cucmber, julienned
1/2 carrot, julienned
5 fresh shitake mushrooms, sliced
2 fried eggs
Sesame oil
Korean hot pepper paste
For garnish :sesame seeds

INSTRUCTIONS

01. Cook black rice with 2 cups of water, till they turn soft but remain chewy.

02. On a pan over medium heat, pour enough sesame oil to cook the bunch of spinach till they wilt.  Transfer spinach to a plate, set aside.

03. Repeat step 2 to cook the rest of the vegetables and mushrooms, separately.  Set them all aside on individual plates.

04. To assemble, put rice first in a serving bowl and arrange cooked vegetables/mushrooms neatly on top to cover the rice.  Drizzle a bit of sesame oil.  Place the fried egg,  sprinkle with sesame seeds, and finally a tablespoon of hot pepper paste.

05.  Stir to mix and eat immediately.


NOTES TO SELF

* I prefer leafy spinach variety to make this dish.
* I do not add salt or soy sauce as I derive most of my Bibimbap kick from the hot pepper paste, which to me is salty enough.
* More on black rice here.  Do not be confused with black glutinous rice used in Pulut Hitam.

Stove Top Basmati Rice (Nasi Biryani)

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The easiest spiced biryani rice recipe I have come across.

For days when the other plain boiling and simmering version just won’t do.

On a side note, I always do the following before cooking most variety of rice:
1. Wash and rinse the basmati rice till water runs relatively clear.  This step removes the unwanted starch coating that could stick the cooked rice together, leading to bleh biryani.
2. Soak rice in water for about 30 minutes before a final drain.  Cook according to instructions on package.


STOVE TOP NASI BIRYANI
SOURCE
INGREDIENTS :
- 3 cups basmati rice
- 1/2 small onion, julienned
- 3 whole cloves
- 2 cardamom pods, cracked
- 1 bay leaf
- 2 tablespoons ghee
- 5.5 cups of water
- pinch of salt

INSTRUCTIONS :

01. Get a pot that is big enough to cook 3 cups of rice.  Saute julienned onions, cloves, cardamom pods, bay leaf and ghee in the pot for a few minutes, or until the onions turn soft.

02. Add basmati rice, mix evenly with the sauteed spices.  Continue to fry the rice for a few minutes.

03. Stir in water and salt, cover the pot and let the rice cook over a small-medium fire.

04. Turn off the heat when all the water has been absorbed by the rice.  Let the pot of rice sit undisturbed in the covered pot for another 10 minutes before serving.


++ Notes To Self ++
///
Soak basmati rice in water  for at least 30 minutes before cooking.
This will prevent the rice from breaking during the cooking process.
///

Try not to run of ghee, if no choice, substitute with butter.
///
Ratio to make plain basmati rice, 1 cup of rice to 1 & 3/4 cups water.

Asian Cucumber Salad

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Another easy recipe found.

// To keep the cleaning job simple, I mix everything in an Ikea’s Korken glass jar, close the lid and shake the container to mix the salad.

RECIPE : ASIAN CUCUMBER SALAD
/ Source

____________

2 medium japanese cucumbers, sliced thinly
1 tablespoon honey
3 tablespoons rice vinegar
2 tablespoons soy sauce
1 tablespoon sesame oil
1 tablespoon toasted sesame seeds

____________

01. Whisk honey, rice vinegar, soy sauce, sesame oil together in a medium bowl.
02. Toss in the cucumber slices and add the toasted sesame seeds.
03.  Let salad sit for at least 30minutes before serving or chill overnight.

Szechuan Peppercorns Braised Tofu

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This was supposed to be a Korean dish (Dubu Jorim), but I substituted the Korean Red Pepper Flakes in the recipe with Szechuan peppercorns, as I have been fixated by these fiery seeds in my cooking lately.

It’s still as tasty, and goes just as well with steamed white rice.

RECIPE : SZECHUAN PEPPERCORNS BRAISED TOFU
/ Adapted from this Source

____________

1 large firm tofu (about 280gram)
1 tablespoon peanut oil

Sauce:
2 tablespoons soy sauce
4 tablespoons water
1 tablespoon sesame oil
1 teaspoon sugar
1 teaspoon Szechuan peppercorns
1 teaspoon sesame seeds
1 clove garlic, minced
1 stalk scallions, finely chopped

____________

01. Cut firm tofu into large pieces.

02. Combine the sauce ingredients in a small bowl, set aside.

03. Add 1-2 tablespoons of cooking oil in a hot skillet or wok.

03. Place tofu pieces on the wok, sear till light golden brown on both sides.

04. Pour the sauce mix over the cooked tofu, turning heat down and simmer for a few minutes.

05. Before the sauce dries up, turn the cooked tofu and allow the other side to cook in the sauce as well.

06. Place tofu on serving plate, topped with more sesame seeds and scallions if preferred.

07. Served immediately, with steamed white rice.

Creamy Creamless Pumpkin And Cauliflower Soup

creamypumpkinsoup003 creamypumpkinsoup001 creamypumpkinsoup002How many times have I been “creative” with this creamy soup without cream recipe?  I am not stopping yet! 🙂

CREAMY CREAMLESS PUMPKIN & CAULIFLOWER SOUP
// Adapted from : The Amateur Gourmet
// Yields a generous bowl

INGREDIENTS

  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 medium yellow onion, sliced thin
  • 1 head cauliflower, chopped
  • 1/4 of a small pumpkin, cut into cubes
  • Salt, to taste
  • Hot boiling water

01. Heat the olive oil in a pot on medium heat. Add the onions, cook them over low fire until they turn soft and translucent.  Ensure that they don’t turn brown, stir occasionally.
02. Add the chopped cauliflower and pumpkins just enough hot water to cover the ingredients.  Increase the heat slightly, add salt and allow soup to boil.  Once the soup starts to boil, turn heat lower and simmer for about 15 -20 minutes, till cauliflower and pumpkins are cooked and have turned soft.  Let soup cool aside till lukewarm.
03. Pour the mixture in batches into a blender and blend.  When the soup is fully blended, pour it back to the pot and reheat it.
04. Season with salt and pepper.  Serve immediately.

Easy Fried Bee Hoon

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I am not sure who is happier after the exams, my kids or me.  Anyway, to free up my precious afternoon time for some movies and a proper tea time, I prepared an easy bee hoon (rice vermicelli) dish that can last from lunch to dinner, kept hot in a thermal cooker.

Fried bee hoon is great as a one pot meal, it’s also equally versatile, replacing jasmine rice to pair with other dishes, which is what I intend to do for dinner.  If you want to make it real plain, just fry the been hoon with soy sauce mixture will do.

EASY FRIED BEE HOON
// Adapted from Noobcook
// Serves 6

INGREDIENTS

  • 400g dried bee hoon (that’s one pack)
  • 5 cloves garlic, chopped finely
  • 500ml water, mixed well with the 2 kind of sauces below, set aside
  • 2 tablespoons dark soy sauce
  • 6 tablespoons light soy sauce

Optional

  • 4-6 shitake mushroom, sliced
  • A handful of bean sprouts, both ends removed
  • Omelette, made from large 3 eggs, sliced

METHOD

01. Fully submerge dried bee hoon in a pot of tap water, soak till softened, about 40 minutes.  Drain away water, set aside.
02. Add oil to a heated wok, over high heat, saute chopped garlic till fragrant.
03. Add in optional ingredients (except omelette), and fry for a few minutes.
04. Add in bee hoon, and mix briefly all ingredients.
05. Pour in the soy sauce mixture, cook till the bee hoon soaked up the liquid, stirring all while to prevent been hoon from getting charred.
06. Serve immediately, garnish with sliced omelette.