Sunday homemade dinner – Tandoori shrimps skewer with long grain rice

Tonight I would like to cook seafood, was thinking to cook something with shrimps. What can I do with shrimps? Searching online for idea, and I found something with tandoori shrimps, sounds like a good idea to me! A touch of Indian and a bit of spice. I think the best thing to go with the shrimps is the long grain rice that my husband likes, he do prefer long grain rice much more than the Chinese one. After my last trip to India, I always would like to cook something Indian, why not trying it tonight?

The ingredient for tandoori shrimps is not complicated at all, I almost have all the herbs at home, just missing turmeric powder because I finished up with it and need to buy a new one. The first thing to do for this dish is to marinate the shrimps, make sure you’ve spend enough time to marinate them before cooking. At least marinate the shrimps for half an hour, the best at least up to two hours. Remove the head and shell of the shrimp but leave the tail on, and make sure you devein them nicely. Use a large bowl to put all the ingredients for marination, around 300ml of Greek yogurt, together with some olive oil, pinch of salt, lime juice, minced garlic, Garam Masala, turmeric powder and chili powder. Please go for your taste, as there is not a fixed formula because the level of spice that each of us like or can take is very different. Mixed all the ingredients well, and check out the taste always, then place all the shrimps into the bowl and let them sit inside the fringe for around 1 to 2 hours.

Meanwhile, you can prepare the rest, getting things chopped up and ready. I would like to put also onion, red pepper and pineapple to the skewer, so I need to chop them into pieces. For the long grain rice, I would like to cook with carrot and broccoli, so I have to chop them into small cubes as well. You might want to use green pea instead of broccoli, but I really do not like green pea, so I rather go with broccoli. You can choose other green vegetable as you like, for example other kind of beans or even chopped celery. If you are using wooden skewers, please make sure you’ve soaked in water at least for 15 minutes before cooking, as you do not want them to burn later on. I do have some stainless steel skewers, so I do not have to do that.

Let’s start cooking the rice before starting to cook the skewers. I am not sure what are you using to cook the rice, but I am using the rice cooker, as each Chinese should have one at home which is very convenient. If you do not have one, just put the rice with double portion of water and boil them. Add a pinch of salt, and the chopped carrot and broccoli into the rice just right before the rice is done, mix them well together and let them sit into the rice cooker or pot for at least 10 to 15 minutes before serving.

I was cooking the skewers in the oven, but you can do it by frying. Pre-heat the oven under 210C, and get a tray ready covered by foil. Put one piece of onion, red pepper, shrimp, onion, pineapple, shrimp, and so on, alternatively on the skewer until it’s filled up. Repeat the same until you finish with all the ingredients. Place them nicely on the tray and put some olive oil on each single piece, and place them in the oven and grill them for around 15 to 20 minutes. Turn them over in the middle of the way, but the oven is hot enough to cook for both side.

Serve the skewers with the long grain rice, and garnish the skewers with finely chopped coriander and a touch of lime juice. My husband feels that the rice is a bit blend, but I love it with vegetables and actually the touch of carrot is adding some good flavour into the rice. Maybe you can try to use the marinade to make a source for the rice or the overall dish. The dish is not spicy at all for us, I guess next time I will try to add more spice.

Grilled Mussel with Penne Pasta


Long time no see is a Chinese idiom, so long time no cook……. I was away two weeks for business trip, I miss my cooking, of course can’t wait to cook something tonight!

I watched Jamie Oliver’s show the other time, and he was cooking this grilled mussels that go with tomato soup. I was thinking to cook that a while ago, but I guess today I want to do it, but instead of tomato soup, I will make it with pasta.

In order to grill the mussels and penne pasta at the same time, I tried to get both ready almost at the same time. Before cooking anything, it’s better to get everything chopped and ready. First of all, let’s prepare the breadcrumbs for grilling. Mix the breadcrumbs, some Parmesan cheese, basil, garlic, some olive oil and a pinch of salt in a food processor. So that’s ready for the grilling part later on. Now to chop everything, garlic, red chilli, onion, celery, tomatoes and coriander, and ready for cooking.

To boil a pot of hot water and cook the penne first, because the cooking time is around 11 minutes. On the other hand, heat up the sauce pan with butter, and put the minced garlic, then chopped onion, fry until the onion turn slightly brown, then add chopped celery and tomatoes and red chilli. When everything is kind of cooked, pour some white wine in, and then add some water or you can add chicken stock. I always think water is good enough already. Then, put the mussels in the sauce pan, and cook for 4 minutes with lid on, then cook it without lid for another 2 to 3 minutes. When all the mussels are opened up, that means all cooked.

Now put the cooked pasta in a bake tray, and pour some stock from the mussels in the tray and mix with the pasta. Then, remove one of the shell from the mussel and let it just sit on the other half of the shell and place it on top of the pasta in the tray to create a layer of mussel. You can let those onion, tomato and celery sit inside of the mussel. After putting all mussels on top of the pasta, then put the breadcrumbs on top of each mussels. And place the tray inside of the pre-heat oven under 190C for around 15 to 20 minutes, or until the breadcrumbs turn brown.

Thai Shrimp Salad

I want to do a Thai salad tonight, the thing that I am not sure is, should I do a beef salad or a shrimp one? I guess I had enough meat for the last few days, maybe it’s better to go for shrimp.

The ingredients of this salad are, shrimps, cucumber, red pepper, mint, coriander, mixed greens, red chili, shallots, pomelo, pomegranate, vermicelli, cashew nuts and shredded coconut. For the salad dressing, we need fish sauce, soy sauce, lime juice, brown sugar and minced red chili.

The first thing to get ready is the shrimps, boil a pot of water, and cook the shrimp in the hot water until they turn into red meaning cooked. Put the shrimps aside until they cool down. Repeat the same thing for the vermicelli, cook them quickly in the hot water, not to overcook them, then put them aside until they cool down. On the other hand, we need to get two things done as well. Heat up the pan and then put the shredded coconut in the dry pan, fry them until they turn into brown colour. The next thing to get ready is to grind some cashew nuts with the mortar.

Let’s start to get all the chopping done, cut the cucumber and red pepper into thin strips, chop the shallots, mint and coriander, then mixed them into a large bowl. Put the pomelo, shrimp and vermicelli into the bowl as well when they are both cool down, then mix everything together. You can either add the mixed greens here or lay them on the plate as a base when you serve the salad, it’s up to you. What I did is lay the mixed greens on the plate as a base, then put the mixed salad on top of the mixed greens, and now put the salad dressing on the salad. Sprinkle some shredded coconuts and cashew nuts on top of the salad, and do the final touch with the pomegranate.  I also serve the salad with some garlic breads.

Fish Fillet and King Prawn with Potato & Lettuce Salad

My husband told me the other day, we eat far less salad. That’s true, I eat a good amount of vegetable everyday, but more in a Chinese way. Those typical boiled, steamed or fried vegetables. But when I cook a Western dinner, I seldom consider a salad dish, maybe too focusing on the main dish, and forget about the side dish. So, for tonight I am thinking about a salad to start with, and see what to go best with the salad.

My husband always loves cucumber salad with sour sauce or dressing, I saw this potato salad with yogurt and dill sauce at one of the cooking show. Thinking to do the same kind of sauce with a cucumber salad. What is the best to go with this salad? Instead of salmon, let’s see what kind of fish I can get at the supermarket. Eventually, I’ve got the catfish fillet and a prawn for each of us, should be good enough to go with the salad.

Let’s get the salad prepared, so that I can get it chilled in the fringe for a while to keep it cooler before serving. I would like to have a little bit of potatoes in the salad, but not a lot, as I would like to keep the cucumber as the major ingredients. I started with cooking the potatoes into boiling water, part of it for the salad, part of it for our doggies for their usual Sunday dinner with salmon. When the potatoes are done, let them sit aside and reduce the heat. On the other hand, let’s get the rest of the salad prepared. Chop half of an onion in really thin slices, chop cucumber into thin slides, and some romaine lettuce. Put all of them into a big salad bowl, mix them well together and put the bowl into the fringe. You can add the potatoes back in when they are not hot any more.  Let the salad chill until it’s time to serve. You can also get the salad dressing ready, and chill it in the fringe as well. Open the Greek yogurt and pour them into a bowl, season with some salt and pepper, add white vinegar and then mix them well together. As I don’t like too sour, I prefer to add some honey so balance out the taste a bit. It’s up to you to add honey or not. The key of this source is dill, finely chop a handful of dill, and mix them with the sauce. Let the salad dressing sit in the fringe, you can decide to serve the salad with the dressing already add in, or serve it separately. I tend to serve it separately, because we do have a different preference on the amount of dressing that we like to add into our salad.

Time to prepare the fish and prawn. Add a bit of corn flour on the fish for both side in the beginning, to make sure we will keep it nicer together when frying them. Season both the fish and prawn with salt, pepper, ground coriander, paprika and parsley on both side. Heat up the pan with olive oil, fry the fish and prawn and add a bit of garlic and red chili for the flavour. Make sure one side is already done before flipping the fish, and watch out the prawn because the cooking time should be a lot faster than the fish. When one side of the prawn turned red, just flip it and remove them from the pan when both side turned red. After flipping the fish, add some chopped tomatoes and spring onion on top of the fish. Serve the fish when it’s done, together with the prawn as a seafood plate and have the salad on the side.

 

Fun girlie trip with fun thing to do – Cooking class at Blue Elephant

It is hard to organise a trip with your girl friends BFF many years after school, as each of us is having our own agenda. Some married, some with kids, some busy with work, some  living in other countries, and etc. But the 4 of us somehow still managed to go for our second girlie trip last year, and to make it more fun, we tried to line up with fun thing to do. Four of us ended up with an agreement to go for a cooking class, our destination is Phuket in Thailand, and we found this nice place called Blue Elephant, it is a well known restaurant, and they also do cooking class.

a corner inside the Blue Elephant

 

 

Arrived to this beautiful building, and actually the entire building with old Chinese-colonial style is the Blue Elephant Restaurant, with a huge lawn and very old trees. I heard that it was a government building, and the owner bought the whole building and keep the look for the restaurant, it is nicely decorated and I love the style! The restaurant itself is quite well-known, with brunches all over the world in different countries, for example London, Paris, Brussels, Dubai, and etc.

The first thing we need to do is a tour to the wet market nearby, not really doing shopping, but in order to understand the ingredients of Thai food or how do they look like, the best place to go is the market. It’s actually quite interesting to go around the market, and having someone can speak with the locals with you is great. I’ve learned different kind of vegetables and herbs that are originated in Thailand. It was definitely a nice experience.

wet market in Phuket, Thailand. Those yellow chicken are marinated with turmeric.

So, let’s start cooking! Basically, they prepared all ingredients for you, you just need to cook. Our class is to learn 4 dishes, the first one is Keang Ka-Ree Koong Subparod (Yellow Curry with Prawns and Pineapple). The most important thing to learn is how to make the curry paste, everything is about grinding with the mortar. So, you need to work out your muscle in order to grind the curry paste. Basically, the red curry paste is the base, and to make the yellow curry paste is using the red curry paste to add yellow curry powder and turmeric powder. The ingredients are garlic, coriander root, yellow curry powder, turmeric powder, red curry paste, vegetable oil, coconut milk, prawns, pineapple in thinly sliced, cherry tomato cut in half, sweet pepper and onion. This dish is not difficult, most of the work is about making the red curry paste.

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Yellow Curry with Prawns and Pineapple, mine one is number 2 😉

The second dish is Hor Mok Poo Tod (Fried Crab Soufflé), for this one you need to whisk a lot, another way to build muscle. For this dish, we have to mix the ingredients in a big bowl, first to mix the paste, egg yolk and coconut milk, then have to mix the minced chicken, minced prawn, steamed crab meat, kaffir lime leaf, sweet basil leaves, then add fish sauce and sugar. Place the mixture into crab shells or containers, and steam that for 15 minutes. Dip with beaten egg, then coat with breadcrumbs, and deep fry.

 

Hor Mok Poo Tod (Fried Crab Soufflé)

The teacher said that this Phad Ka-praow Nua (Stir-fried beef with holy basil) is one of the most popular, cheap and cheerful dish in Thailand. Basically is to fry the sliced beef with holy basil, with the garlic and chili paste, kaffir lime leaf, green peppercorn, sliced of red and yellow chilies, chicken stock, young baby corns and long bean. Season it with light soya sauce, fish sauce, oyster sauce, sugar and sweet dark soya sauce.

Phad Ka-praow Nua (Stir-fried beef with holy basil)

 

The last dish is the Yam Som O (Pomelo Salad), always love to eat this one, let’s see how to make it. The salad ingredients are pomelo, cooked prawns, chicken, ground dried shrimps, roasted peanuts and desiccated coconut. Mixed the ingredients together and add the dressing, chilli paste, tamarind juice, palm sugar, fish sauce and lime juice mixed well together. Garnish it with deep fried shallot, deep fried dried red chili and boiled quail’s eggs.

Yam Som O (Pomelo Salad)

 

 

Some Thai ingredients that I learned and it’s quite new to me, holy basic leaves, kaffir lime leaf, galangal, tamarind, coriander root (don’t know you can cook with the root). Each of us got a certificate and some gifts home, few ingredients to bring with us, such as fish sauce, curry paste and kaffir lime leaves. We also got to sit down and have lunch together and enjoyed what we cooked.

 

 

 

CNY’s Eve dinner, good to go for fish – Salmon and Scallop with Avocado Dips


Tonight is Chinese New Year’s Eve, I am thinking to cook a salmon dinner for the two of us. For the 團年飯 (Tuen Lin Fan), dinner for the whole family to get together, it’s an important dinner  during the year. Traditionally, we need to make sure we are having certain dishes for dinner, such as fish, shrimp and meat. Fish (魚 pronounce as yu), that represent good fortune and money, shrimp (蝦 pronounce as ha), that represent a lot of laughter and happiness. So, I guess for just the two of us, salmon is a good choice.

I would say, this dish is all about the avocado dip. That is not like guacamole, because that will be too strong for salmon, the trick for this one is with Greek yogurt. So, this dish is salmon and scallop with zucchini and cauliflower, served with avocado dip.

To get everything prepared before starting to cook. Cut the cauliflower in pieces and steam them until almost done, I will finish them later pan fry with butter and seasoning. Cut the zucchini in slices. Cut two avocados in half, and smash them into a large bowl. Then, add minced garlic, some Greek yogurt and a bit of lemon juice into it, and mix them well together. Season it with the amount of salt and pepper that you like. Now, heat the oven in 190C, place a foil and then salmon on the tray, season the salmon will salt and pepper, a bit of lemon juice and put some dill directly on the salmon. Drizzle some olive oil on the salmon and the tray, and put it in the oven and grill for 15 minutes. Turn the salmon upside down when it’s half way done, that helps to cook it more evenly. Sometimes I do prefer to grill the salmon with fully wrap of foil, in order to keep it moist. But today, I guess it’s fine to grill it just like that.

When the salmon is in the oven, we can get the grill pan to fry the zucchini with olive oil. On the other hand, we can heat up another pan with butter, and fry the cauliflower, and season them with salt and pepper. Then, we heat the pan with butter, and fry the scallops. Please remember, do not overcook them, otherwise they will become too dry and chewy. Don’t forget to turn your salmon once in the middle. When the salmon is done, take them out and serve it with the scallop, some zucchini and cauliflower, of course with the avocado dip. The avocado dip tastes better if you have chance to let it chill in the fringe a little bit.

Just to make the entire family happy, I’ve also made some salmon with potatoes for our two doggies. Salmon is always good for dogs, this is actually what our vet asked is to feed one of our dog when she was having allergy. Good for skin and joint as well.

Happy Chinese New Year everyone! Kung Hei Fat Choy! 恭喜發財!年年有餘!

Mussels with White Wine Sauce

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Mussels are something nice to eat at the restaurant, and you might think it is difficult to make, which is totally wrong. It is super easy and you can easily achieve a good result. You can give a try, quick and easy, maybe a dish to finish in 20 minutes starting from chopping.

Let’s get all the ingredients chopped nicely, garlic, red chili pepper, onion, tomatoes, celery, parsley and spring onion. It’s up to you, as it all depends on what do you like to eat, feel free to explore, but main ingredients, I would say, they are onion, parsley and some garlic for sure.

Heat the sauce pan with some butter, then put onion and garlic, fry them until they start to turn brown. Then, add the celery and tomatoes, you can add the red chili pepper now, or if you want it more spicy, can add from the beginning together with the garlic. Then, you can put either chicken broth or just water to boil it, also add a bit of white wine. Personality, I think water is good enough and it also turned out tasty, even without chicken broth. Now, you get ready with  the pack of mussels that you bought from the supermarket or food market. I’ve tried different brands, and they are all good. The best thing is, they are just not expensive at all, you save a great deal than eating mussels at the restaurant. For the frozen mussels, you don’t need to defrost them, you just pour them in the sauce right after you took them out from the freezer. Then, cook it around 5 minutes with the lid until shell open, then maybe cook 1 more minute without the lid. Finally put parsley and spring onion, then serve it with some slices of baguette.

The best thing is to dip the baguette with the sauce. So yummy! One thing to remember, no need to put salt, because the mussels should be salty enough.

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