Saturday, 31 October 2009

Roasted chestnut rice ( Kuri-gohan rice)

As promised, here is a delicious Japanese dish I made with the picked chestnuts for lunch today. I really like having roasted chestnut especially in autumn/winter. The warmth smoky aroma and sweetness of the roasted nut on it's own is already a delicacies for me. This is my first attempt on cooking Kuri-gohan and it did turn out well. :-)
The only tedious part of this recipes is peeling the chestnut skin after roasting, the rest is as easy as ABC. But the effort is well worth it..... so healthy and so simply smoky delicious.

Kuri-gohan Rice(Roasted chestnut rice)
Ingredients (good for 2 persons)
  • 1.5 cup Japanese short grain rice
  • 1.5 - 2 cups of water
  • 20 chestnuts roasted and peeled
  • 1 tbsp of mirin
  • 2 tbsp sake
  • 1 tsp salt
  • Some steamed carrot/pumpkin/sweet potato (optional)
  • Claypot/ Nabe pot
  1. First of all make a crossing on the flat side of chestnut before roasting. This will elliminate the chestnut from exploding during roasting. Place on a roasting tin and roast in an oven for 30-40minutes at 200C.
  2. Once the chestnut is nicely roasted, peeled the skin when it's still hot and this will be so much easier compared when it is cold.
  3. Wash the uncooked rice, then put them onto the pot. Add water, mirin, sake and salt. Cook on high heat until the water is boiling. Turn to low heat, and add in chestnut on top of the rice. Close the lid. Let it cook on low heat for 35minutes until the rice is cook. You can use rice cooker as well but I prefer claypot as it create a crispy rice crust that is smoky on top of the smoky sweetness of chestnut.
  4. Served hot with carrot/pumpkin/sweet potato.
  5. Enjoy of course :-)
Stay tuned for more autumn colors...............

Nutritional Tips:
Most people don't think of nuts as a low-fat food, but chestnuts are the exception. Low in fat, 100 grams or 3.5 ounces of cooked chestnuts, contain a mere 1 to 3 grams of total fat compared to the same quantity of almonds with about 50.6 grams of fat. You've probably guessed they're also low in calories with that same measure of cooked chestnuts containing between 57 and 153 calories depending on the variety. The Chinese chestnuts tip the scale with the higher figure.

Protein is not a highpoint for chestnuts that contain only minimal amounts, ranging from 0.82 to 2.88 grams for 3.5 ounces. However, unlike their other nut counterparts, they are very starchy, making them a little higher in energy-boosting carbohydrates. The Chinese chestnut tops the other varieties with 33.64 grams of carbohydrates for 3.5 ounces, while the Japanese variety measures 12.64 grams. It's their carbohydrates that make chestnuts, once dried and ground, into an excellent, highly nutritious flour.

Of all the nuts, chestnuts are the only ones that contain Vitamin C. One ounce of boiled or steamed chestnuts delivers between 9.5 mg and 26.7 mg of the vitamin, while the dried variety has double the vitamin totaling 15.1 mg to 61.3 mg for 3.5 ounces.

All three varieties, the Chinese, Japanese, and European, contain B vitamins including folacin. All have significant amounts of trace minerals including calcium, iron, magnesium, phosphorous, manganese, copper, selenium, and zinc and are an especially rich source of potassium ranging from 119 mg to 715 mg for 3.5 ounces.

Wednesday, 21 October 2009

Spaghetti with mussels in white wine sauce

Oh yes! Oh yes! Months ended with 'er' is in (i.e September, October, November and December) which indicate fresh, succulent and juicy mussels is bountiful. I bought some fresh Scottish mussels and decided to whip up a simple, quick and yet delicious pasta meal for dinner. The combination of mussels with white wine is just superb...... anyone disagree? :-)

Spaghetti with mussels in white wine sauce
Ingredients (for 2 persons)
  • 400 gm fresh mussels
  • 1 glass of white wine
  • 1/4 cup of stock/water
  • 200 gm spaghetti
  • 1/2 tbsp butter
  • 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • dash of sea salt
  • 6 cloves of garlic-finely minced
  • bunchful of chives- finely chopped
  • dash of black pepper
  • dash of red chilli flakes (optional)
  1. Clean, de-beard the mussels and place them in a pot . Boil a kettle of water. Pour into the mussels in the pot. You'll notice that the shell of mussels will open slightly. Put on the gas stove and continue to boil for a minute or so and most of the mussels should open to reveal their orangy flesh. Drained into a colander. Discard any tightly clad shells as they're bad.
  2. Cook the spaghetti as per the instruction on the package. Once al-dante, drained.
  3. In a pan, seared the butter until fragant, add in half of the minced garlic and fry till aromatic. Add in the mussels and stir. Then pour in the wine, stock, turn to low heat, close the lid and let it simmer, this takes about 5minutes. Off the heat.
  4. In another pan, pour in the olive oil and fry the garlic till fragant. Then add in the spaghetti and coat well. Pour the mussels and the white wine sauce into the spaghetti. Mix well. Add in the salt, black pepper and chives. Turn off the heat and mix well.
  5. Scoop onto a plate and garnish with some red chilli flakes to give a kick to this meal. Served hot.
P/S: You can drizzle more olive oil onto your spaghetti if you like.

I'm looking forward to a trip to Wells next to Sea this Sunday in search for fresh mussels and oysters.

Sunday, 18 October 2009

Chips in a Pot

I can't deny that UK produces variety of really nice potatoes, be it for roasting, boiling, mashing, frying etc. On the whole, if you ever visit a pub in UK, most of the dishes come with a side serving of potatoes, like it or not.... refer to the comic below and you'll understand why British people are rather apologetic about their food :-) . Now you would understand what I call ''British sense of humor''.
I do like British potatoes, better still, locally grown. They tasted so good, these humble potatoes. I'm going to make the versatile fun food that everyone like. I got these tips from a friend of mine on how to make the perfect chips (or better known as French Fries), crispy on the outside and soft and moist on the inside.

Potato Chips
  • 3-4 large potatoes (use variety that s good for frying - i.e King Edward)
  • oil for frying (I use olive oil [health conscious], but tasted better with some goose fat
  • salt and vinegar
  1. Clean and peel the potatoes.
  2. Cut the potatoes about the size of your index finger.
  3. Boil the potatoes for 5minutes just slightly soft. Drain until dry.
  4. Place the potatoes into a plastic container and frozen them (preferably 24hrs)
  5. Remove from freezer when you need to fry them. You might find that the potatoes are stuck together, thaw but not fully thawed until you're able to separate them.
  6. Heat oil in the deep fat fryer, once is hot and ready, drop in a small batch of potatoes, this will ensure that the frying temperature doesn't drop drastically and avoid the chip being soggy.
  7. Once it's lightly golden brown, remove and drain with an oil absorbing paper. Drizzle with pinch of salt and vinegar. Served hot.
  8. Served in a pot-and it's called chips in a pot. :-)
You'll like it's crispiness on the outside and moist on the inside.

Friday, 16 October 2009

Japanese Chikin Kare (Chicken Curry)

My first experience of Japanese Chicken Curry was like 5 years ago at a Japanese restaurant in Singapore. It is very different from the type of curry that I'm used to, the Japanese curry is milder, sweeter, more like a stew and one would not feel guilty of indulging in it as I think it's rather healthy type of curry, no traces of coconut cream or cream in it. It's so comforting meal for a cold nite and nevertheless easy to prepare.

The Japanese golden curry cube

Japanese Chikin Kare (Chicken Curry)
Ingredients (serves 4)
  • 400 gm chicken breast meat cut into bite size
  • 2 big onions diced
  • 2 big potatoes diced
  • 3 big carrots diced
  • 750 ml chicken stock/water
  • 3 golden curry cube
  • 2 tbsp cooking oil
  • 1 tbsp honey
  • Spring onion for garnishing
  1. In a pan, heat the oil and sweat the onion. Then add in the chicken and stir fry for 3 minutes or so. Then add in the carrots, potatoes and the chicken stock. On high heat bring it to a boil, then turn the heat to medium to low and let it simmer for approximately 25-30mins until soft.
  2. Then add in the cube and continue to stir until it completely melts. Continue to stir to ensure it mixes well. Add in the honey. Simmer for additional 10minutes or so.
  3. Turn off heat. Scoop and serve warm on rice.
You will be back asking for second :-)

I use this S&B brand-there are total of 8 cubes in the packing

Monday, 12 October 2009

Foochow Sweet & Sour Fish Maw

Some of you might wonder what is fish maw? This is consider a delicacies in Chinese cuisine, known for it's spongy texture and beneficial for health. Typically you can buy fish maw in Chinese dry goods shop. Then you need to chop them into small pieces and deep fry to puff them up before using them in your cooking. I brought these fish maw back from my recent trip back to far east, my mum prepared the deep fried fish maw for me.

Deep fried fish maw

Sweet and sour fish maw
Ingredients (2 persons)
  • 40 gm fish maw which already been deep fried
  • 250 gm tomatoes - remove seed and puree (you can use tomato sauce instead), I find that using tomato puree gives a very nice color to the dish.
  • 2 tbsp hot chilli garlic sauce- best to have Kampung Koh chilli sauce
  • 2-3 tbsp white vinegar/lime juice
  • 1/2 -1 tbsp sugar
  • 1 tsp of salt
  • 1/2 tsp sesame oil
  • 50 gm lean pork - sliced thinly
  • 50 gm bamboo shoot-sliced thinly
  • 1 celery stalk-sliced diagonally
  • 1 shallot-sliced thinly
  • 2 cloves garlic-minced
  • 1 bird eye chilli
  • some shredded ginger
  • 2 tsp tapioca starch with 1 tbsp of water
  • 600ml chicken stock/anchovy stock
  • 1 tbsp of cooking oil
  • 1 egg white
  • coriander for garnishing
  1. Soak the puffed fish maw in water till soft. Rinse and press the oil out. In a wok, boil some water and put in the fish maw to blanch for 5 minutes or so to remove excess oil. This step will ensure you don't have the deep fried oily taste to the fish maw. Drained and press dry.
  2. In a wok on high heat, add in the cooking oil and fry the shallot, garlic, chilli and ginger till fragant. Then add in the pork and stir fry till slightly cook, add in fish maw and continue to stir fry.
  3. Add in celery, bamboo shoot, tomato puree, chilli sauce and stir fry. Then add in the chicken/anchovy stock. Lower the heat, add in the sugar, salt and vinegar and close the lid let it simmer for 10-15 minutes or so. Then add in beaten egg white and stir. Add in tapioca starch thickening liquid and mix, the soup should thicken now. Add in sesame oil and stir, off the heat and transfer it to a serving bowl. Garnish with coriander/spring onion. Served hot with rice.

Isn't it a nice bowl of sweet and sour fish maw?

Thursday, 8 October 2009

Clay Pot Chicken Rice

As weather getting cooler by the day, I always find it comforting to have warm food. Recently I brought a claypot over from Malaysia. Cooking with claypot can reserve the heat of your food, and stay warm for awhile after cooking. I used it quite a lot for cooking soup, curry and of course a piping hot clay pot rice. The thought of it, get me salivating and yearning for this one dish meal again....

Clay Pot Rice
Ingredients (good for 2 persons)
  • 1 cup rice
  • 1 1/4 cup of chicken stock/water
  • 4-5 chicken wing drumlets
  • 3 dry shitake mushrooms-soaked till soft
  • some fried shallots
  • 1 bird eye chillis
  • 1/2 lap cheong-Chinese sausage-sliced thinly
  • one small slice of salted fish (optional)
  • spring onion for garnishing
Marinating for chicken
  • 1 tbsp of ginger juice-extracted from pounded thumbsize ginger+1tbsp of water
  • 1/2 tbsp of sesame oil
  • 1/2 tbsp of shaoxing wine
  • 1/2 tbsp of light soya sauce
  • 1 tsp dark soya sauce
  • dash of white pepper
Sauce for rice
  • 1/2 tbsp dark soya sauce
  • 1/2 tsp sesame oil
  • 1 tbsp of light soya sauce
  • 1 tsp of garlic/shallot oil
  1. Marinate the chicken and shitake mushroom with the marinating ingredients and leave aside for around 30minutes or so.
  2. Cover rice with water/chicken stock in the clay pot and let it cook over medium heat until half the water has evaporated. This roughly takes about 10-15minutes. Then add in the lap cheong, marinated chicken and mushroom and continue to steam over the rice. Cover the lid and cook till rice is cook, this take about another 10-15minutes. Add additional cooking time of 5 more minutes on low heat to get a charred and crispy rice at the bottom of the pot. Remove from heat.
  3. Drizzle the rice sauce onto it and garnish with fried shallots, bird eye chillis and spring onion.
  4. Served piping hot with some sambal sauce too.
What a comforting food for autumn :-)

Tuesday, 6 October 2009

Stir fry black bean pork

I don't know whether any of you have this kind of feeling when daylight are getting shorter as one progressing through autumn and winter. I have a fake sense of time, i.e it gives me feeling that it's really late when I got back home from work. I tend to prepare simple one dish meal, eat it quickly and settle in front of my TV just to realise I've done all that in about 30minutes.... how can that be? Super efficient? Or was it really a super simple meal? :-)
Here it goes with my stir fry black bean pork recipes......

Stir fry black bean pork
  • 150gm pork fillet-sliced thinly-marinate with 1/2 tbsp of sesame oil, 1tbsp of shaoxing wine, 1 tsp of white pepper, 1 tbsp of soya sauce, 1/2 tbsp of corn flour.
  • 1 tbsp cooking oil
  • 1 tbsp Ching Kiang black vinegar
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • 1 tbsp black bean sauce
  • 5 tbsp of water/stock
  • 1/2 big onion-sliced thinly
  • 2 cloves of garlic
  • few slices of ginger
  • 1 bird eye chillis-deseeded
  • spring onion for garnishing
  1. In a wok, heat the cooking oil till slightly smoky, add in garlic, ginger and chilli and let it fry till aromatic. Add in the onion an stir fry for awhile, then add in the marinated pork, black bean sauce, vinegar and continue to stir fry till lightly cook.
  2. Add in the water and turn the heat to medium to low. Add in the sugar and let it simmer for 5 minutes or so till cook. If the gravy is too thick you can add in another 2 tbsp of water.
  3. Served on top of fragant Jasmine rice. Simple yet nice.

Friday, 2 October 2009

Foochow Red Wine Chicken

As the weather is getting cooler, officially we're in autumn now, gosh how time flies, it's October now. So I'm yearning for revitalizing and warmth food for the cooler evening/nites, at least to be warm before I turn on the heater comes winter. Still remember the Foochow red glutinous rice wine that my mum made in my previous post? Typically we use the wine to cook the fame Foochow Red Wine Chicken serve with longevity noodle (mian xian). As a Foochow, this is the signature dish that we grew up with.

Foochow Red Wine Chicken with longevity noodle
  • Half free range chicken (kampung chicken is the best)
  • 1 cup of Ang Chiew (red wine)
  • 1 tbsp of Ang Zhao (red wine sediment)
  • 80-100 gm of ginger-julienned
  • 3 tbsp of sesame oil
  • salt to taste
  • 1/2 tbsp of sugar
  • 1 litre of water
  • 3 bunches of longevity noodle (if you can find the Sitiawan mian xian-they taste really good)
  1. Cut the chicken into bite size. Marinate it with the ang zhao, leave it for 30minutes or so.
  2. In a wok, heat up the sesame oil. Once it is smoky, throw in the julienned ginger and stir fry till fragance. I love this aroma.
  3. Then pour in the chicken and stir fry continuosly till slightly cook. Add in the and chiew and stir fry again. Add in the salt and sugar and continue to stir fry for a minute or so. Pour in the water and close with a lid. Let it simmer for 10-15minutes till cook.
  4. While the dish is simmering, prepare a pot and boil some water to cook the longevity noodle. When it is boiling, add in the noodle and let it cook on high heat. Remember to use a chopstick to stir the noodle so that it doesn't stick together during the cooking process. Once the noodle is cook, it will float. Drained. In a bowl, place the noodle and laddle some red wine chicken and soup onto it.
  5. Serve while it's still piping hot.
I'm enjoying this dish :-)