Wednesday homemade dinner – Thai beef green curry with rice

I have this recipe with me for few years already, I kind of figure it out my own way by imagining how this should be. Of course, after learning some Thai recipes, I’ve adjusted it a little bit, but more or less it stays the same. The good thing about curry is you can have it with different kind of meat, seafood or even vegetable. Tonight I am doing this with beef, but as I said, you can do it with many other ingredients.

Of course the key ingredients are kaffir lime leaves, shallots, lemongrass, galangal, and red chilli pepper, you can get this as a tom yam pack in some super markets. Heat up the pan with some oil, then fry these ingredients with a medium heat, add cabbage, mini corns, mushrooms, Thai eggplant and okra in the pan and stir fry them. You have to look into the kind of vegetable you have and the combination with the meat, calculate the cooking time of each of them, and try to put them in the pan by sequence of the cooking time needed. I really don’t want to over cook the beef, of course depends on the cut of the beef, try to watch out the time and keep that in control. Put Thai green curry paste into the pan, then add coconut milk. Stir them well and let it simmer for around 10 minutes or until it’s done. Taste and season with salt as you like.

You can serve the curry with rice or bread, garnish them with some fresh coriander and squeeze of fresh lime juice.

Baked Pasta with Vegetable Sauce

Usually for pasta, I only do the simple cooking one, and I’ve never made the baked pasta before. Tonight I want to try it out, as saw this recipe the other day on the TV cooking show, would love to do it. Originally, I was planning to cook Thai food tonight, but I just find out my husband has to work and will be back a little late. Just think maybe to cook something else that he can eat later but still good, I guess baked pasta is a good option.

The ingredients of this pasta is pretty simple, rigatoni pasta, aubergine / eggplant, olives, sun-dried tomatoes; cheese is important for baked pasta, I used mozzarella, the fresh one and dry one, and parmesan cheese. You can choose the kind of cheese that you like, but for the top layer, better use parmesan cheese.

Use a big pot to boil the water, preparing to cook the rigatoni. On the other side, working on the sauce. Heat up the pan with some olive oil, put the chopped aubergine / eggplant into it and stir fry them. After 2 to 3 minutes, add the chopped olives and sun-dried tomatoes and stir fry them all together. Then add the chopped garlic and red chili, and the tomato puree into the pan, add a bit of salt and cook the sauce for about 10 minutes. When the rigatoni is done cooking in the hot water, add them in the sauce with some parmesan cheese. Basically, you can eat the pasta just like that.

Pre-heat the oven with 200C. Put the pasta into a bake tray with one layer, then add the dry and fresh mozzarella, and parmesan cheese. Then, repeat the same with another layer, make sure you cover the entire surface with cheese. Place the tray in the oven and bake for 15 minutes or until the pasta turn golden brown. Watch out that you don’t burn the pasta, otherwise it will become hard instead of crispy.

One suggestion is, no need to bake all the pasta in one go, you can just bake the portion that you are going to eat, and leave the rest of the pasta there. You just do the baking part when you want to eat the pasta and that will taste the best. So, when my husband came home, I just bake another pasta for him which takes only 10-15 minutes. And it tastes warm and freshly made.

Happy Valentine’s Day everyone! Chicken Soup for my sick Valentine

Happy Valentine’s Day everyone! I really wish everyone having a great day! To me, Valentine’s Day is a bit too commercialise, all the retailers are pushing to sell more for valentine’s gift. A dozen of roses costed HKD2,380, something like USD300, way too much!  If today is about love, we should just love our love, do something nice together and enjoy the time being together.

Unfortunately, my husband is sick today, still sick. He has been sick for few days already, and he is really craving for chicken soup, he said that’s what he used to have all the time when he was sick back in Germany. The one he was showing me, is actually an instant soup with pasta, I am just thinking how good can a can soup be? Why don’t I cook a real chicken soup? By the way, it will be impossible to find that German can soup here in Hong Kong.

I found it funny that how westerners see chicken soup compare to Chinese. For us, if we catch a flu, Chinese doctor will tell us not to have chicken, and chicken soup for sure is not good. But for westerners, chicken soup is something that you should have when you catch a flu or having fever, because chicken soup can help you to boost your immune system. I really don’t understand why Westerners and Chinese have such a big difference towards chicken, my husband said maybe because we do have a lot of problem with chicken, such as bird flu, I am not sure if that is the reason.

So, the chicken soup with pasta ended up so tasty and my husband loves it. Hope he will feel better tomorrow. The ingredients of the chicken soup are: first of all, of course the chicken! I was struggling with getting the whole chicken or just using chicken pieces, so I ended up with the whole chicken just because I found this Danish chicken at the supermarket. It will be difficult if I have to cook the soup with the local Chinese chicken, as they are all so skinny and boney. Vegetables are also important for this soup, onion, celery and carrot, as well as leek; spices are also important, as that help you to open up your nose, black pepper, red pepper, cayenne pepper, cumin and allspice. You also need herbs: chopped rosemary and parsley, get some garlic, jalapeños and red chilli pepper as well.

Chop everything and get ready, I also remove the skin of the chicken, because I think it’s better. Make sure you have a pot is big enough, because with everything in will take up lots of space. Heat up the pot with olive oil, fry the onion, celery and carrot until they start to sweat, cut the whole chicken into four big pieces and place them in the pot. Put all the herbs and spices in the pot, except parsley and leek. Pour water inside the pot that covering all ingredients and let it boil, then switch to low heat and let it boil for 90 minutes. After one and a half hour, take out the chicken, and you need to debone the chicken. It will be super easy because the meat will become so tender and so easy to remove. The only thing is too hot! You can use two forks to get that done easily. At the same time, you can boil a pot of hot water and boil the shell pasta and get it ready. Place all chicken meat back into the soup, and put the leek and parsley. I guess now you can switch off the stove. About the pasta, you can do it in two ways, either you pour everything in the soup, but they will grow and become bigger and bigger later on; or you can leave them aside, only mix them with the soup when you eat them, so they don’t soak up all the soup. Serve the soup with a squeeze of lemon juice to add some freshness and vitamin C as well.

I am happy that my husband already feel a lot better after having the soup! Happy Valentine’s Day 😉

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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