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.

Green Sunday dinner – caprese fussili pasta

Let’s do green Sunday again!!!! It’s really refreshing and it’s a good idea to keep doing vegetarian dishes on Sunday, just to clean up the system. So tonight I am thinking to do a vegetarian pasta, I tried to search for ideas online, and I found this caprese salad with pasta. Yes! Why not? I love caprese salad, so why not trying make the pasta version out of it?!

This dish is basically very simple, as simple as the caprese salad, cherry tomatoes, mozzarella and basil. You just have to choose the kind of pasta that you like to go with the salad, I suggested to go with something short, like what I did with fussili or even penne. Try not to use something long, like spaghetti or linguine. If you like, you can also use broken spaghetti, but short pasta for sure make more sense for this dish.

First of all, get the fussili pasta ready by boiling them in a pot of hot water, by adding some salt in the water as well. On the other hand, get some olive oil in a hot pan, add some minced garlic, then simply fry the halved cherry tomatoes, and hand shredded mozzarella for about 30 seconds to a minute, season them with a pinch of salt. Basically, you can just eat them raw, so no need to cook them for too long. Add the basil at last, then put all the fussili into the sauce, and mix them well. You can decided to serve it hot right after you cook, or you can have them as salad by chilling them in the fridge. I like to eat it hot right after cooking, season them with some black pepper and garnish with a touch of fresh basil on top. Wala……. so simple and so quick!

Healthy Vegetarian Dinner – Creamy Tomatoes and Potatoes Soup with Mango and Bell Pepper Wrap

These days, I tried to cook more, cooking almost every night. I cooked something with meat last night, so I decided to go for vegetarian tonight.

I cooked that creamy tomatoes soup the other night, and tonight I’m trying to cook that soup by adding potatoes. Same recipe but only adding potatoes, just boil some potatoes in hot water for 20 minutes until they are soft. Peel the skin off and then smash them up into small pieces. Just add the potatoes when you add the tomatoes and follow the same procedure for the rest. The result is good and richer than tomato soup.

I also made the mango and bell pepper wrap with rice paper, very fresh and healthy with raw food diet. I prefer to have more variety and make it looks so colourful, I used fresh mango, bell pepper in three colours, red, yellow and green, carrot, cucumber, mint and some chopped coriander. Get everything ready and line up for wrapping, you need a bowl of water for the rice papers as we need to soak them in water for 10 seconds until it turns soft. Lay the rice paper on a flat surface, then put a bit of everything on it and wrap it nicely. Do not put too much filling, otherwise will be hard to wrap. 

You also need to prepare the dipping sauce, would be nice if you can get that done earlier and chill it in the fridge for at least 30 minutes. For the sauce, put fresh mango, water, pinch of salt, lemon juice, spring onion and tabasco into the food processor and blend them together, taste and adjust. The sauce tastes so different and fresh when it’s chill, it goes better with the wrap.

Serve the soup and wrap with some roasted baguette. 

Hong Kong Style fried beef flat rice noodle

乾炒牛河 is one of the most popular dish in Hong Kong, or any where you go that serves Cantonese cuisine, I guess it’s not difficult to order this in a Cantonese or Chinese restaurant. 

The most important ingredient is the flat rice noodle, as it is a bit difficult to buy the fresh one. There are shops selling freshly made noodles, rice noodles and wonton wrap, try to explore that in your neighbourhood or otherwise try to see if you can find that at the wet market. I have to say, you can only do this with the freshly made ones, if you are using those dry ones which are not good enough. Not sure where can you get this in other countries, maybe in China town? 

First of the, cut the beef in thin slices and follow the grain. Marinate them with dark soy sauce, sugar, corn stratch and some water, for at least 15 to 30 minutes. Meanwhile, make sure you separate each flat rice noodle within sticking together. When you are ready with all key ingredients, onions in strips, bean sprouts, spring onion, and get the sauce ready, light soy sauce, dark soy sauce and sugar. I also like to add a touch of spice, so I add a bit of red chilli pepper which is totally optional. 

Heat up the wok with some oil, get the beef fried quickly in hot temperature until they are almost done. Set them aside for later use. Then, get the wok ready again with some oil and fry the onions until they turn soft, then add the bean sprouts and fry until they start turning soft. Now add the flat rice noodles into the wok, stir fry them with onions and bean sprouts. Watch out after you add the mixed sauce, as there is sugar in it and things will started to get burn and sticky easily, so we have to act really quick. Add in the sauce, keep stir frying and then add in the beef, chopped chilli and spring onions. Fry until the beefs are done, and serve the noodle with some sesame seeds and a touch of chilli sauce.

I also would like to have more vegetables, so I was having that with some choy sum. Guess this fried rice noodle should be much more healthier than those ones that we used to eat at cha chang tang, this is not difficult at all, you can also try to make it at home 😉 

Shakshuka – Spicy all day breakfast 

My husband was having a gig last night, djing at one of the event, and he was out until this morning. Usually, what he loves to eat after a night like this, will be something meaty, but I would like to have something vegetarian. I think maybe it’s good to cook something like a all-day breakfast for him. 

This dish is called Shakshuka, it’s a spicy dish with eggs poached in tomato sauce and pepper. I am not sure if I can handle something that spicy for breakfast, but I guess should be fine for night time “breakfast”. This is a very easy dish, you can quickly get it done in half an hour.

Heat up the pan with some butter and olive oil, add diced onio, minced garlic and sliced mushroom into the pan. Season them with a pinch of salt and black pepper, and fry them until they turn brown and dry out. Add diced red bell pepper, chopped green pepper / jalapenos, and minced red chilli pepper. Stir fry them, and then add ground paprika, ground ceyanne pepper, ground cumin and cumin seeds. Now add chopped tomatoes in the pan, add a touch of water or chicken broth, let it simmer a bit until the sauce is thicken up. Create 4 little holes in the pan, then drop the egg into each little hole. Lower the heat and cover the lid, poach the eggs for 5 to 6 minutes. Garnish with chopped spring onion and coriander. Serve the dish with some sliced baguette or toast. 

It’s quite spicy, spicer than I thought. Maybe it’s good to have it in the morning, it definitely can wake you up!

Homemade typical Cantonese roasted style – roasted pork belly & char siu 

Usually, I cook Western food and put it on my blog. The other day, one of my best friend was asking me, why don’t I cook more Chinese food. The reason is, I used to cook Chinese food since I was a kid, and I feel Western food is more challenging for me. My friends then said that, actually there are a lot of challenging Chinese food and I should cook more on my Sunday cooking and for my blog. OK! Here you go!

I always want to make this sous vide version of char siu 叉燒, and my husband loves to eat roasted pork belly 燒肉. Let’s do both, the top selling meat at those Cantonese roasted restaurants. 

I have to get everything ready 5 hours before dinner time. First of all, it takes 4 hours to cook the sous vide pork collar butt.  For the roasted pork, it takes 1.5 hours. So, let’s get everything going right after lunch. I bought all the ingredients, back home and start getting things ready. 

I started to marinate the pork belly, make sure there is no hair on the skin. Wash it and dry it, then you have to score the skin. Use a sharp knife to score the skin diagonally, or you can use the tip of the knife to stab it. Keep stabbing and make sure it go through the entire skin. Mix some Shaoxing wine and Rose Wine, wipe them evenly all over the pork belly. Then season it with salt, pepper and five-spice powder. Let it sit in the fridge for at least 2 hours, of course the longer the better. 

Now, I go to work on the sous vide char siu. Same thing like the pork belly, mix some Shaoxing wine and Rose Wine, wipe them evenly all over the pork belly. But then season it with salt, brown sugar and five-spice powder. Place them into the vacuum bag and seal, then bathe them in the hot water under 70C for 4 hours with the sous vide slow cooker. 

1.5 hours before the pork collar butt will be done, we can start to prepare the pork belly. Place the meat on a foil with skin up, wrap the foil around the meat by leaving just the skin open. Clean the skin and wipe with some white vinegar, then cover the entire skin with kosher salt. Place the meat with foil on a tray and grill it under 210C for 45 minutes to 1 hour. Then, remove it from the oven and clear up all the salt on the skin. Stab the skin once more time, and remove the foil. Place the piece of pork belly directly on the rack in the oven under 250C for 30 minutes. When it’s done, remove it from the oven and let it sit for a while to cool down, that also help to maintain the juice inside the meat.

Now, when the pork collar butt is done with the sous vide cooking after four long hours. Coat them with a layer of char siu sauce, then a layer of honey and place them in the oven under 250C to grill for 5 to 10 minutes,  turn over the meat in-between to make sure both sides are nicely grilled.

I served them with some lettuce, as I always love the idea of Korean BBQ, eat the roasted meat with vegetables. Lovely!

Fresh vegetarian dish for Summer – tri-colour vegetable pasta in pesto sauce

Tonight I really want to cook something light and vegetarian. Well, actually I have tried to eat less meat and would love to go for more vegetable dishes, not saying that I am turning into a vegetarian or even vegan, but I don’t mind to do that one day. No matter I am going to be a vegetarian or not, for sure I think I would love to cut down the amount of meat that I am going to consume. Maybe it’s good to have meat once or twice a week, the rest of the time is just vegetarian. Therefore, instead of Green Monday, I should do Meat Monday 😉

Today I decided to cook a pasta dish, and I am thinking to make again our own pesto. I did it in the past, but it is really good if we just stop buying those ready made from the bottle and just doing our own ones. More fresh and healthy for sure! Well, definitely taste much better!!! To make our own pesto, you need a lot of green herbs, you can come up with your own combination, as long as you love the taste. If you would like to follow my version, here you go! I was using basil, two kind of parsley, the continental one and the curly one, coriander and garlic, I love spicy, so I would like to add red chilies, and I also love to add some parmesan cheese.  You can omit the chili and cheese if you prefer not spicy, but I think the cheese touch is great. Then, add around 100ml olive oil and season with some salt and pepper, and some fresh squeezed lemon juice. That touch is more like a chimicurrri sauce, but I love the touch of acidity to keep it really fresh! Place everything in a food processor and blend everything together. Now you have your own pesto ready, you can store them in the fridge for a week if you could not finish it in one go.

For the pasta, this time I bought something organic, from this Italian brand Tarall’Oro. It is Torchietti, but you can also cook with fussili or penne. Cook the pasta with the cooking time according to the package, on the other hand, get the vegetable ready. Heat up the pan with olive oil, and then put the sliced garlic and chopped onion into the pan. Sauté them until they start to turn soft, then add the chopped zucchini and yellow pepper into the pan, fry them until they turn brown. Place the halved cherry tomatoes into the pan one minute before the dish is done, fry quickly with the tomatoes, season with salt and switch off the fire I also love to add more chili but this is totally optional. You can choose other vegetable, but I think it is very nice to have three bright colours in the dish, and these three ingredients go well together.

When the pasta is ready, drain the water with the strainer and mix them well into the vegetables. Then add few tablespoons of pesto sauce into the pasta and keep mixing until you feel it’s enough. You can serve the pasta with some extra shredded cheese, and a touch more pesto. Garnish it with some parsley or basil.

I think this is really yummy and fresh for Summer time!