Lombok Kethok by Indonesia Eats

Monday, 29 November 2010

I have quite a lot of recipes that involve kecap manis i.e. braised sweet soy sauce chicken, kecap manis fried rice; and if it's not the main player, I use it in a lot of marinades or add a bit in my cooking to sweeten most certain dishes. It is a type of sweet soy sauce made out of palm sugar and other ingredients, and has a thick, caramel-like consistency. It is one of my favourite sauces and I'm always on the look for ways to use it. Since it is an Indonesian product, I've invited Pepy from Indonesia Eats to share an Indonesian recipe that uses this sauce. Pepy is an Indonesian living in Canada. She's the author of Indonesia Eats, formerly known as "The Art and Science of Food". She's an amazing cook as well as a great photographer. Do check out her blog for more Indonesian recipes. There, you will learn a lot about new ingredients and interesting dishes. Now, please welcome Pepy to Pig Pig's Corner as she shares her Lombok Kethok recipe with us!

Lombok Kethok For Pigpigs Corner

This is my second time to do a guest post for another Malaysian blogger. Thank you to Ann for the opportunity. Unfortunately, I kept postponing the write-up. Sorry Ann for postponing the write-up for so long.

Ann of Pigpigscorner is one of the bloggers who has made me drooled over her food pictures. I'm flattered when she asked me to be her blog's guest post. Then I asked her any suggestion for recipe that I should present. She was saying that she was thinking of Indonesian food with kecap manis. Great! Both of us love this ingredient. As we came from neighbouring countries in South East Asia, we share many same things in food.

I have explained about kecap manis on my blog before, the history of it. The food that I'm going to represent here is a Javanese dish. Many Javanese foods (especially the Central Java) include kecap manis since the people from this area typically like sweeter foods. Lombok Kethok is literally translated as Cabai Potong in Indonesian or Chili Cut in English. For the name is chili cut, surely this dish contains lots of chili. Basically this is a stir fried chilies. FYI, some people wrote the name as lombok ketok (without h in between t and o) which has a different meaning, visible chili.

In this recipe, I used green chilies only and beef. Some people add red chilies (or red cayenne peppers) as well. The beauty of this dish, you can make it straight vegan by adding tempeh or tofu. Or else you can pour the stir fried over your grilled/fried fish.
Ingredients:
  • 3 tbsp oil (I use a mixof extra virgin coconut oil and olive oil), for stir frying
  • 100 g shallots (about 4 shallots, you may use 8 for the smaller size)
  • 12 g garlics (about 3 cloves)
  • 250 g beef brisket
  • 4 tbsp kecap manis
  • 150 g green chilies (about 10 chilies, you can substitute for serano or jalapeno peppers)
  • 1-cm long galangal - halved and bruised
  • 3 salam (Indonesian bay) leaves
  • 1 lemongrass (take the white part only) - halved and bruised
  • 100 ml beef broth (this is a yield from boiling the brisket)
  • Sea salt

Directions:
  • Boil the brisket with water, halved lemongrass, 1/2 cm long galagal, and 1 salam leaf until tender. Leave and set aside 100 ml the beef boiling liquid. Then, cut the beef into slices or cubes.
  • In a wok, heat the oil and stir fry shallots and garlic until fragrant.
  • Add another halved of lemongrass, 1/2-cm long galangal, 2 salam leaves, green chilies after adding beef slices/cubes, kecap manis and beef broth. Cook until the liquid evaporates. Remove from the heat and serve with warmed cooked rice.
Note: To reduce the heat of chilies, steam them for 5 minutes before adding into stir fried.
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Butternut Squash Mushipan

Tuesday, 23 November 2010

Isn't it pretty? These were supposed to be individual mini cupcakes but they all fused into one giant flower.

Butternut Squash Mushipan 3

I don't have a mini cupcake mold, so I thought it would be ok to just arrange the cupcake liners closely in a baking dish. Little did I know that the cupcakes liners are such flimsy little things, they just collapsed when the batter expanded. I am such a cupcake noob.

Butternut Squash Mushipan 2

At least it turned out looking OK, like a flower. I should have kept quiet and told you that it was my intention heh =P

I came across this recipe at the Grub Town. The little cupcakes looked so cute I wrote down the recipe straightaway. Mushipan actually means steamed bread in Japanese. But the texture is more like a cake as it is not as dense as bread. It reminds me of Ma Lai Koh or Fatt Koh (Chinese steamed rice cake). The steamed bread/ cakes were really soft and moist.

Butternut Squash Mushipan 1

Do not underestimate these fluffy "pans", they are extremely filling.
Ingredients:
Adapted from Grub Town
  • 200 g self raising flour
  • 4 tsp baking powder 
  • 2 eggs
  • 80 g sugar
  • 180 ml milk
  • 4 tsp vegetable oil
For butternut squash paste:
  • 100 g butternut squash puree
  • 1 tbs sugar
  • 4 tbs milk
  • A pinch cinnamon powder
  • A pinch of grated nutmeg

Directions:
To prepare butternut squash puree:
  • Preheat oven to 400˚F (200˚C). Cut off stem of squash, then cut in half lengthwise. Scoop out and discard seeds from cavity of squash. Rub all surfaces with olive oil or butter. Lay the halves, cut side down on a baking sheet. Place in oven and roast squash for 45 minutes until tender. Allow squash to cool, then scoop flesh out from skin, and purée the flesh in a food processor.
  • Form a paste by combining butternut squash puree, sugar, milk, cinnamon powder and grated nutmeg.
  • Store the leftover puree in the fridge for future use.
For the bread/ cake batter:
  • Sift together self raising flour and baking powder.
  • In a clean bowl, beat the eggs.
  • Add sugar and mix.
  • Pour in milk and oil, mix to combine.
  • Add sifted ingredients to the egg batter, use a spatula to incorporate until smooth.
  • Fill the paper cups until 80-90% full.
  • Add about 1/2 tsp (or more) of butternut squash paste onto the bread/cake batter.
  • Use a bamboo skewer or a chopstick to "marble" the batter.
  • Steam over high heat for about 15 mins.

Butternut Squash Mushipan

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Honey Glazed Chorizo

Monday, 22 November 2010

I made Butternut Squash Pudding Soufflé for last month's Daring cooks and you should remember this:

Chorizo oil

I added a couple tablespoons of chorizo oil into my soufflé base and it gave the soufflé a really nice smoky flavour.

Chorizo is a type of Spanish pork sausage made by combining ground pork with either spicy or sweet Spanish paprika (pimentón). There are two types of chorizo, one is cured and air-dried and can be sliced and eaten without cooking like salami; the other type is called cooking or frying chorizo, which is softer and must be cooked before eating.

Frying chorizo
Frying chorizo from Westin Gourmet.

It has a very strong distinctive smoky flavour - extremely tasty. It is also very oily, you will notice this when you fry it. But don't even think about discarding the oil! Fats = flavour! You can bottle up the oil and save it for future use. It is really useful and versatile, you can use the oil for stir-fries, dress your pasta or salads, drizzle over soups, use as a dip for breads. It goes well with shellfish, you can use it to sear scallops, prawns...If you are health-conscious, give it to your friends or family. It makes a great gift.

pan fried chorizo

I often find the taste of chorizo a bit sharp, so I fried it with honey to balance the taste of the savoury and smoky chorizo. Easy and extremely tasty, I served it with the butternut squash souffle.

Honey Glazed Chorizo
Ingredients:
  • 250 g chorizo - sliced
  • 3 cloves garlic - sliced
  • 1 1/2 tbs honey (or more to taste)
Directions:
  • Heat up a non-stick pan.
  • Arrange chorizo slices on the pan.
  • Leave to fry until oil is released and a crust is formed. Do the same to the other side.
  • Remove chorizo from pan and leave aside for later use.
  • Pour the oil into a small bottle leaving a little bit of oil in the pan. Save the rest for future use.
  • Add garlic slices and fry until fragrant.
  • Add in fried chorizo slices and honey. Stir to mix.
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Empress of Sichuan

Friday, 19 November 2010

After a great experience at Chilli Cool, we decided to hit the winner of The 2009 Golden Restaurant Award.

Conveniently located smack dab in Chinatown, our group of a half dozen retrieved our booking and were promptly shown to our table; we had specifically asked for a round table which was provided, but we were stuck in a corner and I felt a bit squashed in the corner. The interior is pretty nice and the entrance definitely has a huge impact on people walking in with the (fish depopulated) water feature and huge racks of wine behind glass. So far so good then.

Spicy green bean with mince pork and preserved vegetable”. Hmm, not bad but not particularly interesting, still, it is one of our Sichuan favourites. We actually ordered another portion half way through the meal.

Empress of Sichuan, London 01

Fragrant chicken with dried chilli and pepper”. One of those dishes we’ve ordered in all the Sichuan restaurants because it’s something so simple but usually turns out really well. Here, they had lots of chilli and Sichuan pepper around which provided for lots of zinging numbing spiciness. Tasted great, but my only complaint is that the bone was left on. Now, normally I don’t mind eating meat with bone stuck inside, but with such small pieces of chicken, the bone (and splinters) are more of a pain. Prefer the boneless version at Chili Cool.

Empress of Sichuan, London 03

Ma po tofu”. The token tofu dish, this version is not bad (better than Chili Cool's IMO). It didn’t hold my interest for very long though.

Empress of Sichuan, London 02

Beef slices in extremely spicy soup”. Again, we just had to order this Sichuan staple. I wasn’t too impressed by this one as I didn’t like the addition of not only bean sprouts but also cabbage into the soup. More beef, less vegetables please. Providing the perforated ladle to scoop out the food from the oily soup was a nice touch though.

Empress of Sichuan, London 04

Grilled lamb skewer Sichuan style”. There was a strong smoky aroma coming off the tender pieces of well marinated lamb. It also had a quite potent spiciness to it that doesn’t become apparent till a few bites later. Quite liked this kebab.

Empress of Sichuan, London 05

Farmer’s Fish” baked fish with onion, cumin and black bean.

Empress of Sichuan, London 07

Me: Ok so we got a few dishes chosen de. Anything else you guys want?
Friend: Hey we gotta try this Farmer’s Fish thing! I read on a blog that it’s good.
Me: Huh. Which blog you read?
Friend: Dunno la. Some noodle guy.
Me: lol. Ok.

It turned out to be really good too. I was a bit hesitant at first because the best thing to do with a not-so-fresh fish is to deep fry it, then throw a lot of strong pungent sauce over it. Still, the fish itself didn’t smell or taste funny and the meat itself didn’t feel off. The sauce was just awesome and demanded lots of rice to eat it with.

Intestines with dried chilli and pepper”. Sometimes, it’s better not to think too much on what you’re eating. Specifically, I was trying hard to un-remind myself of a description I had read earlier about tripe although the term “faecal creeper” is kinda hard to forget. Still, I freaking loved this dish here. The intestines were crispy and had bags of flavour (the good type! Not faecal flavoured) from the seasonings to the Sichuan peppercorns.

Empress of Sichuan, London 06

Onwards to the desserts.

Deep fried pumpkin cake, Sichuan style”. As my friend said, “If you blindfolded me and fed this to me, I’m pretty sure my only description will be ‘fried oily dough’”. Thoroughly disappointing.

Empress of Sichuan, London 09

Black glutinous coconut ice cream”. I only had a small mouthful as I was getting quite full at this stage, but I didn’t think it was particularly amazing.

Lotus Seed and white fungus in sweet soup”. I quite liked this after a hot spicy meal, but it was a bit too sweet and strangely the soup had a quite thick consistency.

Empress of Sichuan, London 08

Sticky rice balls with sesame in sweet soup”. Hmm, not bad but I suspect this was of the frozen variety.

Needless to say, all the above desserts weren’t particularly great.

Altogether, the bill came up to £25 per person including a couple of soft drinks and soy milk but without any alcohol. Service was decent if not particularly impressive. It wasn’t too busy so they also allowed us to stay and chat at our table for a while after we finished.

Food – 5.5
Service – 5.0
Atmosphere – 6.0
Value – 5.0


Overall the food was really good. Much like Chilli Cool, there wasn’t anything fancy, just straightforward Sichuan food delivered fuss free. I think the food here was pretty comparable to Chilli Cool and I don’t think I favour one more than the other particularly much. That being said, the bill here is more expensive although you’re paying more for the location and ambience than the food itself.

Best bit: spicy tasty goodness.
Worst bit: the desserts. All of them. Oranges would have been better.

Empress of Sichuan
6 Lisle Street
Chinatown
London
WC2H 7BG
Tel:+44(020) 7734 8128

Empress of Sichuan on Urbanspoon
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Dreamfarm Kitchen Gadgets - A Giveaway!

Monday, 15 November 2010

The winner for the Hotel Chocolat Christmas giveaway is Megan! Congratulations! Thank you all for your participation, I really wish I had more chocolates to giveaway. For now, let us forget about the chocolates for awhile as I have another awesome giveaway for you!

Dreamfarm sent me a pair of kitchen tongs. I know, not another pair of tongs. You might all already have one, as do I, but I specifically asked for another pair. It's not just any tongs, it's called CLONGS from click-lock sit up tongs.

dreamfarm clongs Giveaway!

Dreamfarm is a young Australian kitchenware design company – they make tools that are simple, quirky and very very useful. "Let's grow original ideas into clever solutions and create a world we love to live in."

What I dislike about my old tongs:
  • The lock-on hinge doesn't keep the hands "close". Not sure why, it just doesn't catch, so my tongs are forever in an "open" position.
  • Tips are stainless steel, so I'm always worried it'll scratch my non-stick pans.
  • The tips touch and dirty the surface.

Dreamfarm solutions:
  • Open and lock your tongs easily with one hand thanks to the clever click-lock button mechanism. Works like a charm every time.
dreamfarm clongs click-lock Giveaway!
  • Silicone tips are safe to use on non-stick cookware and are heat resistant to 260°C/500°F.
  • Bench and counter tops stay clean and your tongs stay hygienic due to the unique bend in the handle which keeps the tips sitting up.
dreamfarm clongs sit up Giveaway!

I'm really glad I chose the clongs. I can't wait to try out the other products, currently on my
wish-list:
  • Vebo
  • Scizza
Funny names heh? What are they? Do check out Dreamfarm's website for more interesting and innovative creations. Now, for the giveaway, you can win any products (excluding the Teafu since it is out of stock at the moment) you see on the website!

Dreamfarm-Giveaway!

For a chance to win a Dreamfarm product (excluding Teafu as it is out of stock), do one or more of the following, or all to increase your chances of winning:
  • Visit Dreamfarm's website and leave a comment below telling me WHAT product you like and WHY, and remember to leave your email address as well.
  • Like my Facebook page AND leave a comment telling me you did so. Remember to tell me WHAT and WHY you like.


  • "Like" Dreamfarm on Facebook AND remember to leave a message telling me you did so. Remember to tell me WHAT and WHY you like.
  • Follow @pigpigscorner on Twitter AND tweet "Dreamfarm Kitchen Gadgets Giveaway #dreamfarm @pigpigscorner http://bit.ly/afbJJ9". Leave a comment telling me you did so.
  • Follow @WeAreDreamfarm on Twitter. Leave a comment telling me that you did it.
  • Stumble this post (see the stumble button on the left side of this post?) and leave a comment telling me you’ve done so.
The competition ends at Midnight GMT 22nd November 2010 and is open to ANYONE from ANYWHERE.

I will be sending you what you want, so, entries without stating a Dreamfarm product you want WON'T be taken into account.

Good Luck!!!
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This giveaway is now closed. The winner is:

Carolyn "The Oni knife would be AMAZING!! How convienent and useful! Tomatoes are one of my all time favorite foods, and the plastic wrap cutter would be fabulous. The Vebo veggie steamer would be so neat as well! I love that it would squish to fit into my limited number of pans. I liked your facebook page as well!!"

Congratulations and thank you all for participating!

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Daring Cooks - Butternut Squash Pudding Soufflé

Sunday, 14 November 2010

Rise and shine!

Dave and Linda from Monkeyshines in the Kitchen chose Soufflés as our November 2010 Daring Cooks’ Challenge! Dave and Linda provided two of their own delicious recipes plus a sinfully decadent chocolate soufflé recipe adapted from Gordon Ramsay’s recipe found at the BBC Good Food website.

Soufflé - one of my many culinary nightmares.

The basic formula for souffles is pretty simple: roux + egg yolk + cheese + filling + egg white. The exact formula? Not so simple. I tend to scale down recipes especially for desserts since I only cook for two. Most of the time it works but it never worked for me for soufflé recipes. I gave up after a few tries and never dreamed of making soufflé since. That was I think 3 years ago, before I started blogging. I don't cook soufflés but I ate a lot over the past few years. One of the most memorable soufflé was Le Gavroche's "Cheese Soufflé Cooked on Double Cream" a.k.a soufflé à la Suissess. I wanted to re-create that dish for Daring Cooks...until I saw the recipe:
INGREDIENTS
  • 140g butter
  • 65g flour
  • 700ml milk
  • 5 egg yolks
  • 6 egg whites
  • 1 litre double cream
  • 200g grated Gruyere or Emmental cheese
  • Freshly ground pepper
Taken from Cooks for Cooks
Oh my...I actually drank that much double cream...some things are better left unknown I guess. The wild boar straight-away gave a NO after I told him about the 1 litre double cream.

I chose this recipe mainly because it is based on the technique used for soufflé à la Suissesse.

Butternut Squash Pudding Soufflé

Unlike other soufflés, where you have to make it at the very last minute and serve it as soon as it comes out of the oven, this soufflé is "twice-baked". You bake it in advance, unmold from its ramekin and rebake later when you are ready to serve it. It is known as a pudding-soufflé as it combines the best of its parents, coming out both velvety smooth, yet light and airy. It's supposed to have a "crunchy breadcrumb-lined exterior", but not mine. I think it's because I didn't use finely ground breadcrumbs. The panko was quite coarse and didn't coat the ramekins nicely. The "first baked" soufflés didn't dislodge cleanly from the ramekins.

butternut squash souffle 2

I left the rest intact and baked them in their ramekins the second round. Overall, I was quite happy with the end result. It was smooth, creamy yet very light. Very tasty too.

P.S. There's a secret ingredient in this - chorizo oil. You will know why I added this in another post =P
Ingredients:
  • 1 small butternut squash or 1 cup puree
  • 1 tbs olive oil
  • Sea salt
  • 2 cloves garlic - peeled
  • 3 tbs unsalted butter, plus more for greasing ramekins
  • 1 cup dry breadcrumbs (I used panko) - finely ground
  • 3 tbs cake flour (I used plain flour)
  • 1 1/4 cup milk or half-and-half
  • 3 sprigs thyme
  • 1/2 tsp
  • 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper powder
  • 1/4 tsp freshly grated nutmeg
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 tbs chorizo oil
  • 1/2 cup Gruyère cheese (I used parmesan) - grated
  • Yolks from 3 eggs - lightly beaten
  • Whites from 5 eggs
Directions:
  • Preheat oven to 400˚F (200˚C). Cut off stem of squash, then cut in half lengthwise. Scoop out and discard seeds from cavity of squash. Rub all surfaces with olive oil and season with salt. Place a clove of garlic in the cavity of each half and lay the halves, cut side down, on top of a bed of thyme on a baking sheet. Place in oven and roast squash for 45 minutes until tender. Allow squash to cool, then scoop flesh out from skin, discard the skin and thyme, and purée the flesh and the garlic in a food processor. Measure out 1 cup of the purée, reserving the rest for another use, such as a soup.
Butternut Squash Pudding Soufflé 5
  • Butter six 8-ounce ramekins thoroughly. Holding ramekins one at a time over a bowl, pour some breadcrumbs into the ramekin, turn it, allowing excess crumbs to fall into bowl. Set aside buttered and crumbed ramekins and reserve the excess crumbs for later use.
  • Make a very thick béchamel sauce, which will serve as the base for the soufflés. Over medium-low heat, melt 3 tablespoons butter in a sauce pan. Add the flour and stir with a whisk. This is what is known as a roux. Continue to stir and cook for a couple of minutes, without allowing the roux to brown. I did not realise a white roux was needed until I'm writing this out NOW. Whenever I make a roux, Alton brown's "degree of roux-dom" comes into mind: the darker the roux, the more flavour, but also less thickening power. So, I tend to go for a brown roux - somewhere in between a white and black roux.
  • Slowly pour in the milk or half-and-half, a little at a time, continuing to stir constantly. Lower the heat to low, add 3 sprigs of thyme, season with ½ teaspoon of sea salt, cayenne, nutmeg and a few grindings of pepper. Allow the béchamel to cook for about 15 minutes, stirring frequently to prevent lumps, sticking and burning.
Butternut Squash Pudding Soufflé 6
  • When the béchamel is ready (above photo), turn off the heat, remove the thyme sprigs, and add the cheese. Stir until melted and incorporated. Transfer this soufflé base to a large mixing bowl. Stir in the squash purée and chorizo oil until well combined (see photo). Taste to make sure your base is well-seasoned. It is crucial to have a flavorful base. Add the egg yolks and mix again.
butternut squash souffle
  • Have ready a 9 by 12 inch baking dish with 2-inch sides. This will be the bain marie (so many great culinary terms today!) which will hold the ramekins during baking. Also, bring a tea kettle of water to a boil to fill your bain marie. From this point on, you have to work quickly.
  • Beat the egg whites until they form soft peaks.
Butternut Squash Pudding Soufflé 4
  • Using a rubber spatula, gently fold half of the beaten egg whites into the batter in the bowl to lighten and aerate it. Then gently fold the other half of the whites into the mixture. Fill the ramekins to the top with the soufflé mixture. Here's a tip: I usually transfer the mixture into a pitcher to help facilitate the filling process. Sprinkle the tops of the soufflés lightly with some of the reserved breadcrumbs (you may not use them all) totally forgot this, the only thing in my mind was "work quickly".
Butternut Squash Pudding Soufflé 3
  • Place the filled ramekins into the bain marie. Place in the middle rack of the oven, then pour the hot water into the pan around the ramekins to come up about halfway up the sides of the ramekins. Bake for about 25 minutes, until puffed up and golden brown.
Butternut Squash Pudding Soufflé 2
  • Remove from the oven and let rest in the water for 15 minutes. The soufflés will deflate slightly, but will puff up again during the second baking.
  • Run a thin knife around the edges of the ramekin to loosen the soufflés. Then, using a towel to hold the hot ramekins, gently turn over and remove each soufflé. Place it on a parchment lined baking sheet. I did this for three and gave up as they didn't some out cleanly. I left the rest in the ramekins. They can sit at room temperature for several hours (or refrigerated overnight, and brought back to room temperature before proceeding).
  • When ready to serve, put the baking sheet with the soufflés in a 400˚F (200˚C) oven and bake a second time until puffed up and deep golden brown, about 8 minutes.
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Potato-Yoghurt Bread

Thursday, 11 November 2010

I've never had much luck with bread making since the oh-so-delicious Potato Sour Cream & Chive Bread I made last year. All the breads turned out a bit stodgy and dense. There are so many things that could go wrong, not kneading it enough, not letting it rise enough, too much yeast, not treating the yeast correctly, too much water, not the correct temperature, or worse, they all go wrong at the same time.

Bread-making is just not my thing. But the wild boar doesn't seem to get it. And I don't seem to learn. He would ask for bread once every fortnight, I'd oblige and try to bake him some, he then complains about my stodgy breads but asks for more later. It's a vicious cycle.

It happened again last week and to regain my itty-bitty bread-making confidence, I decided to bake something I've had success with. I got this recipe from the culinary school at Baltimore International College. It involves potatoes and yoghurt, somewhat similar to the potato sour cream bread that I made last year.

Potato-Yoghurt Bread 1

I halved the recipe and made only one loaf. Added less flour than suggested as the dough was really dry. I had to add more water after adding about 400 g of bread flour. At this point, I got a bit discouraged and began to wonder if it's due to the greek yoghurt as it is much more viscous than normal yoghurt. But it all came together somehow and this bread got a "not bad" from the wild boar. Check out all the holes in my bread!

Potato-Yoghurt Bread

The bread is lightly tangy and really flavourful, which reminds me of sourdough.
Ingredients:
Recipe from the culinary arts college website
  • 190 g russet potatoes
  • 190 g greek yoghurt
  • 50 ml water (+ more)
  • 1 tbs honey
  • 15 g dry active yeast
  • 15 g milk powder
  • 75 g whole wheat flour
  • 400 g bread flour
  • 10 g salt

Directions:
  • Simmer the potatoes in water until tender. Drain and steam dry the potatoes on a sheet pan in a warm oven, about 5 minutes. Purée the hot potatoes using a ricer or food mill. Allow the potatoes to cool to room temperature.
  • Combine the yogurt, water, honey, yeast, and dry milk in a large mixing bowl. Mix with a dough hook until incorporated.
  • Add the potatoes, both flours, and salt. Knead with a dough hook at medium speed or by hand until a smooth, elastic dough develops, about 5 minutes. The dough should cleanly pull away from the sides of the bowl. Add more flour by spoonfuls if the dough is too wet.
  • Cover the dough with plastic wrap or a damp towel and place in a warm area. Allow the dough to rise until it is doubled in bulk and holds an impression for a few seconds when pressed with a finger, about 1 hour.
  • Turn the dough out on a lightly floured work surface. Deflate the dough by kneading it briefly. Shape into 2 loaves of equal size.
  • Cover the loaves with plastic wrap or a damp towel and place in a warm area. Allow the dough to rise again for about 1 hour.
  • Score the loaves and bake on a sheet pan in a 175°C oven until the crust is golden brown, about 1 hour.
Potato-Yoghurt Bread with curry

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Remember to check out the Hotel Chocolat giveaway. The competition is open to anyone, from anywhere and ends at Midnight GMT 14th November 2010. Good luck!

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Malaysian Chicken Curry (Kari Ayam) for My Cooking Hut

Wednesday, 10 November 2010

Malaysian Chicken Curry (Kari Ayam)

I hope you guys remember Leemei, a fellow Malaysian blogger who shared her mouthwatering Tamarind Prawns (Asam Prawns) recipe with us. Now, it is my turn to share one of her favourite Malaysian dishes - Malaysian Chicken Curry (Kari Ayam) - recipe on her blog! And no, there's no instant paste or powder mix involved, the dish is made totally from scratch! Please hop over to My Cooking Hut for the recipe! Thank you Leemei again for the invite!

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Remember to check out the Hotel Chocolat giveaway. The competition is open to anyone, from anywhere and ends at Midnight GMT 14th November 2010. Good luck!

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Momofuku's Pan-Roasted Dry-Aged Rib Eye

Monday, 8 November 2010

I was sent an insanely huge amount of meat from Westin gourmet.

IMG_7781

3.50 kg Australian 100 Day Ribeye Steak and 2.20 kg Frying Chorizo. For awhile, I thought I was standing in a restaurant's kitchen rather than my own.

IMG_7784


Westin gourmet prides itself on offering the very best cuts, naturally reared and matured to give the tastiest flavours. The site already provides meat to some of the UK's most exclusive restaurants – and now, for the first time, you can buy their very own gourmet meat directly and at an incredibly low price.


I've heard of Westin groumet before their PR contacted me. The prices seem reasonable considering their meats are of restaurant grade quality, so things shouldn't be too bad. The downside? You have to buy in bulk and you can't be sure of the quality. But convenience trumps quality. Welcome to the 21st century where anything can be just a few clicks away!

They have an extensive range of meat products available and they are currently running numerous special offers. So, if your household consume a lot of meat and if you have enough freezer space to spare, it is worth checking out the website and take advantage of their offers. All of their meats are delivered fresh to your door - unless you specify otherwise, all of their meats are delivered fresh using the latest in vacuum packing and specially hydrated ice sheets so you can use our meats the very same day they arrive!

IMG_7861

All of our steaks are from naturally reared, grass fed cows which produce the juiciest, most flavoursome steaks. I personally prefer grain fed, so I chose the 100 day grain fed Australian Ribeye Steaks. Look at all the marbling.

What to do with such a huge slab meat? Momofuku's pan roasted dry-aged rib eye came into mind. David Chang summed up the whole cooking process in a text message:

Season it.
Sear it.
Roast it.
Baste it.
Rest it.
Slice it.
Eat it.

Sounds easy enough. But it's not. Especially if a "photograph it" step is involved. Every minute is crucial. For me, the whole process was rather frantic. Once the steak hit the pan, thick smoke started to billow out of the skillet. Something I did not expect, a cast iron newbie, I know. So, remember to switch on the exhaust fan and open the windows! Since my steak has no bone and was considerably smaller, I had to adjust all the cooking times. I seared the meat for 1 1/2 mins each side instead of 2 and left it in the oven for about 5 mins instead of 8. The basting step with butter infused with garlic, thyme and shallots is ingenious. The butter coats and imparts more flavour to the meat. You are then left with an extremely flavourful and moist piece of meat and tasty pan drippings.

Momofuku's Pan-Roasted Dry-Aged Rib Eye

This was by far the best steak I've made. Tender, juicy and extremely flavourful. Be it the quality of the meat or the technique, it was magical.

Ingredients:
Recipe adapted from Momofuku cookbook by David Chang & Peter Meehan
  • One 2- to 2 1/2-pound bone-in rib-eye steak, very preferably dry-aged (I used 450 g, without bone)
  • Kosher salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 4 tbs unsalted butter (I used 2 tbs)
  • A few sprigs of thyme
  • 3 garlic cloves - crushed
  • 2 small shallots - halved
  • Maldon salt

Directions:
  • Heat oven to 400°F. 200°C on my oven.
  • Heat a 10- to 12-inch cast-iron pan over high heat. I left it on the stove on high heat for about 15 mins. While the pan is heating, season the steak liberally with salt - like you'd salt a sidewalk in New York in the winter-and then with pepper.
  • When the pan is good and hot (Remember to wear your oven mitts at all times when handling the cast iron pan)- the steak should sizzle aggresively when it touches the pan, this also sends out lots of smoke, remember to switch on the exhaust fan and open all the windows you can open - brown the steak. Put the steak in the pan and don't touch it or press it or do anything stupid like that after you add it. After 2 mins (1 1/2 mins for mine), the steak should release easily from the pan and the seared side should be on the golden side of browned. Flip it. Sear the other side for another 2 mins (1 1/2 mins for mine). Stand the steak up with the wide fatty side opposite the bone against the pan for 30 secs, then, turn it back down so the side that was seared first is against the pan.
  • Put steak in the oven and leave it untouched for 8 mins (5 mins for mine).
  • Return the pan to the stovetop over low heat. Add butter, thyme, garlic and shallots to the pan. As soon as the butter melts, start basting: Use one hand to tilt the pan up at 45-degree angle so the butter pools at the bottom, with the other hand, use a spoon to scoop up butter from the pool in the pan and spoon it over the steak. Repeat this motion constantly for 2 mins. Poke the steak to check: it should be squishy-soft, this indicates that it's rare. If you like your stead ultrarare, then transfer the steak to a plate and let it rest. For medium-rare, baste it for another min or two. Do not cook a steak like this beyond medium-rare. Please. (And do not think about dumping the fat from the pan either. Fats=flavour, reheat just before serving, it goes on everything.) The wild boar drowned his meat in this sauce. A very rare scene since he hates the taste of butter.
  • Let the steak rest. Just leave it the hell alone. No touching for at least 10 mins. This is important as resting allows the heat to transfer from the outer portions of the meat to the cooler center. When the meat begins to cool, the pressure in the meat diminishes and the meat fibers are able to hold more water, this allows the juices in the meat to distribute themselves more evenly.
  • Slice it: Cut the steak off the bone (if your steak has one), then slice it against the grain (cutting in the direction that was perpendicular to the bone) into 1/2-inch thick slabs.
  • Serve it: Put on plates and pour any juices from where it rested and the cutting board into the pan drippings. Scatter the steak with maldon salt and serve with pan drippings.
  • Eat it.
The moment of truth...

Momofuku's Pan-Roasted Dry-Aged Rib Eye

"When you get it right, it's magic. Magic to cook. Magic to eat. This is a pricey dish, yes, but it's a special one."

Overall, I'm quite impressed with the quality of the meat I got. Thanks again Westin Gourmet for the wonderful meats!

And stay tuned for more beef and chorizo recipes!

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Pioneer Woman's Cinnamon Rolls

Sunday, 7 November 2010

I lost count of how many cinnamon rolls recipes I have bookmarked, but this recipe caught my eyes because:
  • It is claimed to be "the best" cinnamon rolls recipe - call me gullible pliable
  • The pictures look amazing - call me superficial
  • Involves no kneading - call me lazy
cinnamon rolls 3

"If I had to pick one recipe of mine that I could incontrovertibly claim is the best there is, it would most definitely be cinnamon rolls.". Coming from the Pioneer Woman, these rolls must be outstanding. And I have to agree with her and all her fans, these rolls are really good, so soft and fluffy. Even without the maple frosting, these cinnamon rolls are still amazing.

cinnamon rolls 4

The original recipe makes about 50 rolls so I scaled down the recipe by a third and made 15 rolls. The dough can be quite sticky, so it's better to leave it in the fridge overnight to get a firmer dough. According to Ree, refrigerated or not, the taste won't be affected. You'd just get better looking rolls if you refrigerate the dough. Just remember to let the cold dough rise longer the next day.

cinnamon rolls 5
Ingredients: makes 15 rolls
Adapted from The pioneer woman
  • 1 1/3 cup whole milk
  • 1/3 cup vegetable oil
  • 1/3 cup caster sugar
  • 1 1/2 tsp dry yeast
  • 2 2/3 cups plain flour (+ 1/3 cup)
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/3 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 100 g unsalted butter - melted
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • Cinnamon powder
  • Sultanas (optional)
Directions:
  • Mix the milk, vegetable oil and sugar in a pan.
  • Scald the mixture (heat until just before the boiling point). Turn off heat and leave to cool for about 30 mins.
  • When the mixture is lukewarm to warm, but NOT hot, sprinkle in dry yeast. Let this sit for a min.
  • Add 2 2/3 cups of flour. Stir mixture together. Cover and let rise for at least an hour.
  • After an hour, the dough will look like this.
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  • Add 1/3 cup of flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Stir mixture together. (At this point the dough will be quite sticky, you could cover the dough and put it in the fridge until you need it – overnight or even a day or two. This will give you a firmer dough. Just keep your eye on it and if it starts to overflow out of the pan, just punch it down).
  • When ready to prepare rolls: Sprinkle rolling surface generously with flour. Form a rough rectangle with the dough. Then roll the dough thin, maintaining a general rectangular shape. Drizzle melted butter over the dough. Now sprinkle sugar over the butter followed by a generous sprinkling of cinnamon powder and sultanas.
cinnamon rolls
  • Now, starting at the opposite end, begin rolling the dough in a neat line toward you. Keep the roll relatively tight as you go. Next, pinch the seam of the roll to seal it.
  • Cut the roll to approximately 1 inch thick and lay them in a greased baking tray. Leave a little space in between the rolls for them to rise.
cinnamon rolls 1
  • Let the rolls rise for 20 to 30 mins or until they look bloated (I left it to rise for about 1 hr), then bake at a 180℃ pre-heated oven until light golden brown, about 20-25 mins.
cinnamon rolls 2
Best served warm.

Now, go make these rolls!

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Cardamom Chicken

Friday, 5 November 2010

This is an extremely easy Indian dish. When I say easy, I mean it. Unlike many other Indian recipes that involve ten thousand herbs and spices, this recipe only involves one spice - cardamom. OK, two to be specific - cardamom and black pepper. Either way, it's still an easy dish yet so rich in flavours.

cardamom chicken 1

The main player of this dish is cardamom which has a very strong and unique exotic flavour. It is a very versatile spice and is commonly used in Indian cooking to flavour curries, rice, even teas and sweets. The pods can be used whole or ground but it is recommended to buy the whole pods as cardamom quickly loses flavour once the seeds are exposed or ground. The outer shell of the pods has little flavour and it is the seeds that have intense flavour, so, when a recipe calls for whole cardamom, the pods should be lightly crushed (with seeds still intact) to extract the flavour of the spice. The seeds should be black or dark brown. If the seeds are light brown and dry, discard as they will have no flavour.

cardamom chicken

I tasted the dish after 30 mins of simmering and thought it wasn't spicy enough. So I roughly chopped 4 of the green chillies, and let it continue cooking for another 30 mins.
Ingredients:
Adapted from 3 hungry tummies
  • 1.5 kg chicken pieces (or 1 whole chicken chopped into pieces) - you can remove the skin but I left the skin on
For marinade:
  • 25 green cardamom - black seeds removed and pounded into powder
  • 1/2 bulb garlic - peeled and pressed
  • 1-inch ginger - grated
  • 300 ml Greek yoghurt
  • 1.5 tsp freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 1/2 tsp salt
  • Zest of 1 lemon
Others:
  • 2 tbs unsalted butter (or ghee if you have any)
  • 1 can (400 ml) coconut milk
  • 8 green chillies - pricked all over with a fork or knife
  • 1 cup fresh coriander - coarsely chopped
  • 1/2 tbs sugar
  • Juice of 1/2 lemon
Directions:
  • Mix together all ingredients for marinade in a mixing bowl.
  • Add chicken and mix. Leave to marinate overnight.
cardamom chicken 4
  • The next day, melt butter in a large pot.
  • Brown chicken pieces in batches.
  • Remove excess oil from the pot and place browned chicken pieces with the remaining marinade and coconut milk into the pot.
  • Bring everything to a boil then add the green chillies and chopped coriander.
  • Lower heat to simmer for about 45 mins to 1 hr or untill chicken is tender.
cardamom chicken 3
  • Season to taste (I added 1/2 tbs of sugar).
  • Stir in the lemon juice before serving.
cardamom chicken 2

Happy Diwali to all my Indian readers!

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