Seafood Night – Fish, Prawn and Crab

This Sunday dinner, I am thinking to work on seafood. I’ve been thinking to do a dinner with Fish, Prawn / Shrimp and Crab (魚蝦蟹). I was thinking to work on my presentation, and do something closer to a fine dining approach. But then, I lost my enthusiasm totally, because I did not manage to defrost the pastry. By the time I need to work on the pastry, I have to come up with a solution quickly, so I decided to use the bread instead. Forget about fine dining presentation…

I started it off with the Prawn Rolled Toast, as I said, my original idea was to wrap them with pastry and bake it. I might try it out again later on, but let’s make it with bread for the time being. The pack of frozen prawn is with 9 pieces of prawn, let’s cook them first in a pan with a bit of water. Remove them from the pan when they are 80% done, and we will cook them through in the oven later on. Remove the shell but keep the tail part on,  devein the prawn and sit them aside and let them cool down. To use the bread to wrap, we have to use a roller to flatten the bread. Use half of a sandwich bread, and coat both side with butter. Lay Swiss cheese, cucumber strips and a piece of prawn on top of the bread, add some wasabi mayonnaise or just mayonnaise, and then roll up the bread and close it tight. Add a layer of egg wash on the surface, and place them in the oven to grill under 200C for 10 minutes.

I’ve used only 4 pieces of prawn for the toast, so I use the rest of them to add into the Crabmeat Salad. Chop the prawn into small dices and get a large salad bowl ready, chop the rest of the ingredients into dices and add them in the bowl. I am using cucumber, tomato, onion, avocado and crabmeat, mix everything well in the salad bowl. Then, add lemon juice, a touch of salt and plain yogurt into it, mix them well and adjust the taste. Keep them cold in the fringe to serve later with the tuna, or you can have them separately as long as they are cold enough to serve.

For the Seared Tuna, let’s work on the dressing first. Mix sesame oil, soy sauce, grated ginger, minced garlic, red chilli and lemon juice, taste it and adjust. I did not manage to get a thick piece of tuna steak here, what I’ve got is only 2 cm thick, but ideally we should work with something around 3 to 4 cm thick. For what I have, I could not have the tuna cooked in a way like cooked on the surface but still raw in the middle. What I’ve got was the entire tuna steak is cooked, because it is too thin. Cut the tuna steak into rectangle shape, coat the entire surface with sesame seeds. Heat up the pan with a mix of sesame oil and olive oil, fry some sliced garlic until golden brown and set them aside for later use. Fry the tuna each side around 15 seconds, you can see how much it’s been cooking on the section, and you can decide on how much you want that to be cooked. When the fish is done, slice them into thick pieces and serve with some mixed green salad together with the crabmeat salad.

Having snacks as appetiser for our home party

Last night we have some friends coming over for dinner, they are my uni friends, 5 adults and 3 teenagers, totally 10 of us. Originally we are thinking to have dinner outside, but I don’t want to break my Sunday cooking routine. That’s how we ended up with eating at at our place, so they can also have a taste of my cooking.

In order not to drive myself crazy, I planned to cook something that I’ve been cooking before, except one new dish from me and my husband also helps to cook this chicken wings. So, we ended up with 6 dishes, 2-way chicken wings, chicken sous vide Thai salad, prawn & avocado on toast, Thai pork ribs, grilled potatoes, and jalepanos with bacon wrap. I’m glad that they love everything, and here is the highlight of the two new dishes.

2-Way Chicken Wings, my husband did 2 version of chicken wings because some like it hot and some cannot eat spicy. For the spicy version, mix the breadcrumbs, plain flour, sesame seeds, a bit of salt and a lot of ceyanne pepper in a bowl. Dip the chicken wings in the egg wash, then dip them in the mix until the entire chicken wing is fully covered with the breadcrumbs mix. For the non-spicy version, mix soy sauce and honey in a bowl, marinate the chicken wings in the sauce. Place all chicken wings in the baking tray, and drizzle with olive oil. Grill the wings under 180C for 30 to 40 minutes, then brush honey on the honey version and sprinkle them with sesame seeds. Grill under 210C for 10 more minutes, and they will be ready for serving. 

Prawn and avocado on toast, I guess this should be good to replace prawn with tuna fish, crab meat or similar seafood as well. Cook the prawns on a pan with a bit of water, let them cool down. Cut the prawn in small cubes, place them in a bowl. Add cubed avocado, diced tomato, finely chopped spring onion, lemon juice, some mayonnaise and season it with ground paprika, salt and pepper. Mix everything well together, then serve them on a small toast. Add some ground paprika and parsley flakes as topping when you serve. 

Thai homemade dinner – Spring rolls with prawn and Chicken Thai salad

I bought this Thai cook book for quite some time, but never follow it to cook some dishes. Today, I tried to find some inspiration from the book and I ended up picking 3 dishes to cook for tonight. Unfortunately, I can only made two as we are already full after the second dish.

I always want to cook Spring rolls but I’ve never tried, so I really want to try it out today. I am not sure the Spring roll sheets that I found is the same as the one they used in Thai cuisine, this one is for Chinese and I’m not sure if there is any difference. I feel the sheet is quite thin and some how is hard to manage, and it breaks easily during wrapping. Maybe double up the sheet can help, but I haven’t tried.

First of all, have to prepare the filling. Boil a pot of hot water, and put the vermicelli in until they turn soft. Remove them and rinse with cold water. Chop the vermicelli around 3 to 4 cm long. For the prawn, cook them in hot water until they turn pink, and then slice them in two pieces right in the middle. Get a big bowl ready and just put all ingredients in after chopping, including the vermicelli and prawn. Finely chop the garlic, fungus mushroom, carrot, and some beansprouts. Season them with some light soy sauce and pepper, mix them well. Use Spring roll sheet to wrap the filling and close it with some cornflour mixed with water. It is hard to wrap every Spring roll in the same size, and please don’t be greedy, try to stay with a smaller piece instead of filling it up. Bigger Spring roll is with a higher chance to break and you will be ending up with re-wrapping. Deep fry all the spring rolls in a pot and serve them with the sweet chilli sauce. For the sauce, it’s with some white vinegar, some sugar, a touch of salt, some red chilli and some coriander. 

The best dish to go with Spring rolls is actually a salad! I’m making a chicken Thai salad, and I would like to do the chicken with sous vide cooking. Cook the chicken breast in vacuum bag without any seasoning under 61C for one hour. Remove the chicken breast from the bag and let them cool down. Use your hand to tear the chicken breast into thin strips, and place them in a large bowl. Then, chop the rest of the ingredients in the bowl, thin strips cucumber, finely chopped onion and ladyfingers, beansprouts, mint leaves and chopped red chillies. Mix everything well together, and put them in the fringe to chill. Now get the dressing ready, mix some fish sauce, light soy sauce, brown sugar and some lime juice, taste and adjust the way you like. When you are ready to serve, drizzle the salad with the dressing and add some roasted peanuts and sesame seeds for serving.

The main course I’ve planned to cook is steamed mussels with galangal. Thai way of steamed mussels, would like to try it out! Maybe tomorrow night…..

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.