Thursday, December 31, 2009

Soba noodles with Soy Nuggets in Tahini

At the supermarket, Rena was brave enough to buy a green bag containing something looking like dog food, with the title "Soy Goulash - Textured Soy Protein". Well, it might sound horrific but to our surprise, with the right recipe it can come out absolutely delicious! (and nutritious). Alarmed by the idea of actually making Goulash with the dog food-like nuggets, we came up with something yummy of our own.

Ingredients (enough for 3):

200 gr textured soy protein
250 soba noodles (you can also try with rice noodles or spaghetti)
1 medium onion, cubed
2 cloves of garlic, chopped
1 tbsp chopped ginger
1 tbsp vegetable oil
1/2 cup soy sauce
2/3 cup tahini paste or other sesame paste
1 tbsp sugar
1/2 cup chopped green onion
1/2 cup chopped coriander

The recipe:
Prepare the soba noodles and soy nuggets in advance. It takes 10 minutes, just follow the instructions on the back.

Saute the onion, garlic and ginger with oil in a deep pan until the onion is golden. Add the soy nuggets and mix.
Add pepper, sugar and soy sauce, stir and let cook for 2 minutes.
Pour in the tahini paste and mix well. you can add some more sugar or soy sauce to taste, a bit of lemon juice is also a good option. Continue to cook the mixture for 5 more minutes to get the flavors absorbed into the nuggets.
Finally toss in the soba noodles and herbs, mix and remove from heat.


Leftover Rice Porridge

If you're looking for something to do with your last night's rice, here's an idea.
For breakfast we took out some remaining brown rice and cooked it in a pot with soy milk for a few minutes (about 1/4 cup soy milk for every cup of rice). When the rice absorbed the milk we removed from heat, placed into bowls and sprinkled with sugar and cinnamon.

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Warm Salad of Salmon and Beets

A invited himself and G over one evening for an intimate Friday get-together. We dauntlessly addressed the issue by re-trying a recipe we had invented a few days before. The original version had tofu as its main ingredient but for A and G we tried something more elaborate, salmon. The result was even better.

(For 2 people)


500 gr salmon fillet, cut into 1 inch cubes, fresh preferred...

1 beet root sliced into small cubes (about 1/2 inch)

1 medium onion, sliced

2 cloves of garlic, finely chopped

2 tbsp finely chopped ginger

dried chili (as much as you can handle)

1 tbsp finely sliced lemon grass (optional)

1 tsp sugar

1/4 cup soy sauce

3-4 tbsp lemon juice

black pepper

vegetable oil

1/2 cup chopped fresh coriander

1/2 cup chopped fresh green onion

The recipe:

To prepare the fish, fry it in a pan for a few minutes on each side with 1 tbsp oil, salt and pepper. Put aside for later.

In a shallow frying pan saute the onion, garlic, ginger, lemon grass and chili in 1-2 tbsp oil until the onion is clear. Careful not to burn the garlic.

Add the beets and let cook for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add black pepper, sugar and soy sauce. Stir well and cover.

Cook on low heat and continue to stir once in a while until the beets are soft (but not too mushy). Add the salmon and lemon juice, mix carefully not to break the salmon apart. Let cook for another 5 minutes and remove from heat.

Finally toss in your fresh herbs, again mixing carefully.

That's it! We served it with brown rice cooked with almonds and a salad on the side.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Jerusalem Delights

A Saturday walk through the narrow streets of Old Jerusalem, around the corner from the Church of the Holy Seplecure, we discovered stalls selling localy made sweets. Prices and language vary by the tour group.

Slabs of Halva (dense sweet confection made from tahini) and mixed nut brittle.

Jerusalem bagels, date rolls and falafel.

Sweet roasted nuts and raisins.

Coconut Cream, Coconut Milk

Ever wanted to know what's the difference between coconut cream and coconut milk?
Well, we have the answer.

Coconut cream is made by soaking fresh grated coconut in water and then squeezing the fluid out. Coconut milk is the same process a second time (the result is a lighter liquid).
What's inside the coconut when it's opened is coconut juice.

Deep Fried Bananas

An all time favorite snack, deep fried bananas are easy, fun and de-licious!

To make the batter you'll need 1/2 cup shredded fresh coconut, 1/2 cup white flour, 1 cup rice flour, 1 egg, 1/2 tsp salt, 2 tsp sugar and 1 cup water.
First mix the flours with the egg. Then add salt and sugar and mix again. Finally add the shredded coconut and knead into a dough (Shredded fresh coconut may be difficult to come by outside of South East Asia. Instead, You can soak dried coconut in a few tablespoons of coconut cream to retrieve the moisture to the dried flakes).
Transfer the dough to a large shallow container. Pour water and mix with your hands until the dough is completely incorporated into the batter. For extra crunchiness you may add 3 tbsp soda water. Finally, add about 1 tbsp roasted sesame seeds and mix well.

Heat oil in a wok, slice the bananas lengthwise, 1/2 cm thick, and immediately dip in the batter. Throw the slices into the oil and fry for several minutes until golden on each side. Be sure to use low heat so the bananas won't burn.
Frying the bananas takes a bit of practice so don't feel discouraged if you don't get it right the first few times.

Not only bananas work with this recipe. The batter goes well with many vegetables like sweet potato, taro or squash. experiment!

Khao Kiab Pak Moh

After we tried Khao Kiab Pak Moh at the market in Sukhothai we craved it for weeks. The steamed dumplings filled with savory-sweet peanut mix became a culinary mystery. Lucky for us Lee knew the recipe and even though it took some time to figure out (folding the steamed batter was not easy) it turned out exactly as we remembered it. Try this at home at your own risk though, this is not an easy one.

The filling is made from a paste of shallots and coriander root crushed in a mortar and pestle and sauteed with palm sugar and finely chopped pickled radish (you can use Japanese pickled daikon). It is then mixed with crushed roasted peanuts.

The batter, made of rice flour, tapioca flour and water, is applied like a crepe on a tightly stretched cheese cloth which covers a special pot with boiling water. The steam, coming through the cloth, cooks the liquid batter into an opaque thin dough which is then folded around the filling.

Fried cloves of garlic are poured over the dumplings as garnish.
Absolutely delicious.

Monday, December 21, 2009

Khao Mun Kai, Chinese Chicken

Khao Mun Kai is one of our favorite lunch options in Bangkok, so learning how to make it (and discovering how easy it is) was a big treat. Simply a boiled chicken, it is served with steamed rice and a small bowl of chicken broth. But what makes the whole dish worth your search for the stall is the extraordinary sweet - sour - salty - spicy sauce. Yikes.

To make the chicken and rice just boil 2 cups of water with 1/4 tsp. salt and 1/4 tsp. sugar. When the water starts to boil add one chicken breast with skin and let cook for 15 minutes. That's it. The chicken is done, but leave the remaining stock as it will be used for the rice.

For the rice, first saute 1 tbsp. chopped garlic in 1 tbsp. vegetable oil. Then add 1 cup of long grain rice mixed with 1/4 cup of sticky round rice and continue to saute for a few more minutes. Add 1 1/4 cups of the remaining chicken stock and cover on low heat for 15 minutes or until done.

The broth is minimal. Two coriander roots, a garlic head, 1/4 tsp. salt, 1/4 tsp. of white pepper and chicken neck and bones boiled in 3 cups of water for 15 minutes over low heat. Make sure to skim the fat off the top while cooking.

And now for the sauce:
In a wok over low heat, pour 3 tsp. of sweet black soy sauce, 4 tsp. white vinegar and 1 1/2 tsp. soy bean paste. Mash the soybeans while stirring. When it comes to a boil, remove from the wok and into a small bowl.
Add 2 birds eye chilies (one red and one green), 1 clove of garlic and 1 1/2 tbsp. ginger, all finely chopped. Then add 1 tbsp. of lime juice and mix. Add more ginger and sugar to taste.

To serve the dish cut thin slices of chicken breast and spread them a little with the knife.

Pour the sauce and serve with the rice, sliced cucumber and chicken broth.

Cooking Again, Bangkok

Our last day in Thailand was well spend with a final cooking class conducted privately by Lee at "Cafe The Flow". We collected a list of our favorite street food dishes and presented it to her a few days before. Lee showed no hesitation. She immediately jumped into her research, asking endless family members and "hawkers" (food stall owners) and came up with a fantastic one day workshop of Thailand's best: Fish ball soup, Satay sauce, Khao Mun Kai (Chinese chicken), Khao Kiab Pak Moh (steamed dumplings), sticky rice with mango and fried bananas. Yum, yum and yum.