Tuesday, 5 August 2008

Chicken in gochujang sauce with rice paper or What I did with Wandering Chopsticks' rice paper

A few months ago I won a prize in a draw and accordingly received two packets of banh trang (rice paper) from Wandering Chopsticks.
The first packet (tapioca rice paper) were gone within a week so I didn't have a chance to take any photos...
OK I admit that's a lie. Truth is, I haven't rolled rice paper for a wee while so my expertise has gone downhill. My practice rolls were either so fat that the fillings burst out half way or too thin that there is virtually no fillings at all. Besides, the hubby kept laughing at my attempt of making a decent roll to be photographed so I thought I'd rather wait until I make a photograph-able decent-ish roll.

This lunch time, whilst browsing for recipes, an idea came to my mind. I love Korean food and obviously Vietnamese food, why not combine the two and make a fusion.

So this is what I came up with.

Recipe for dakgalbi (chicken in gochujang sauce) was inspired by Sue from My Korean Kitchen's dakgalbi

Sue's recipe includes sesame leaves and rice cake, which can only be found in Korean shop so I came up with my own adapted version of dakgalbi

Gochujang - 2tbsp
Water - 2tbsp
Sugar - 1/2 tbsp
Chopped Garlic - 1 clove
Honey - 1tbsp
Soy sauce - 1tsp

Mix all ingredients together and leave aside

Ingredients (for 1)
Chicken breast - 1, sliced into thin strips
Chinese cooking wine - 1tbsp
Assorted veg - anything you fancy really, I use 1 courgette, 1 stick of celery, 1 carrot, all chopped into thin strips
Lettuce and mixed herbs (I use mint and coriander from the garden)

Marinate chicken in cooking wine, a pinch of salt and pepper and set aside for 15 minutes
Mix sauce with chicken.
Turn heat on medium high, pour 1tbsp olive oil into a pan, pour chicken and sauce in the pan, stir and put lid back on for 5 mins
Stir again after 5 minutes to make sure chicken pieces are not stuck to the bottom of the pan and put lid back on for another 5 mins.
Mix veg in the pan with a splash of water and stir fry until done (should take a couple more minutes max.)

Serve with hot rice or you can make it into cigar-shaped rolls like I do (a layer of lettuce and mixed herbs then chicken on top, roll it and dip in the sauce from the pan)

Maybe it's a case of 'grass is greener on the other side', I don't know, I still think W.C's banh trang taste much better than the ones I bought.
So thank you for your generosity ($11 postage doesn't go to waste I did promise you). Now that I can make a decent roll I shall attempt at some other rice paper dishes in the near future.
For now...good night and enjoy!

Thursday, 31 July 2008

Noodle soup with fish balls

My MIL who spent her childhood in Singapore told me about her fondness for deep-fried fish balls so I went and bought some for her last weekend. Since my eyes are bigger than my stomach (gulp), I bought the biggest bag available that day. MIL seemed to enjoy it, the hubby wasn't so impressed (it tastes like deep-fried crab sticks, only a little more chewy, he complained)
Anyway I had so much fish balls that I need to use it up in as many ways as possible. This is something I made up and it actually turns out quite good so here it is.

Fish balls (4-5)
egg noodle (cooked as per instruction on packet)
kai lan (or pak choi) (a small bunch - chopped)
2 chopped spring onions to garnish
good stock

Fry fish balls for 5-10 minutes until golden
Cook egg noodle in boiling water for 2-3 minutes, take care not to let it go mushy
Boil stock, place kai lan (or pak choi) into the boiling pot and turn heat down
Add cooked fish balls into the pot.
Put noodle in last and heat it all up for a few minutes.
Sprinkle with chopped spring onions and serve.


P.S: the white bits on my photo are turnips. I love turnips in noodle soup so I just put turnips in the boiling stocks and let it cook before adding kai lan.

Sunday, 6 July 2008

Dau Hu Mam Tom (Vietnamese Fried Tofu with Shrimp Paste Dipping Sauce)

I've been a bit busy recently, what with work, family and the new puppy. This is one of the recipes that I meant to post for ages but never got round to. Incredibly simple! The shrimp paste sauce is a bit pungent so if you're not used to it I suggest a dipping of soy sauce and chilli sauce mixed together.
I first had this dish when visiting Hanoi in 1997. There it was served with fresh thin rice noodles and herbs. Since Vietnamese herbs are hard to come by (or expensive to buy) here, I serve it with steamed rice.
A block of tofu, cut into 2-inch cubes
rice flour
oil for frying (deep-frying is best but I shallowed fry mine with half an inch of oil in a pan)

Sauce: 1 lime, 1tsp sugar, 1tbsp shrimp paste (mam tom), 2 chopped your-ass-will-hate-you-for-it chillies (any small type chillies would do :)

Drain the tofu, I put the tofu in a colander with a heavy jar on top to drain off excess water.
Dip the pieces in rice flour to coat. I used to use all purpose flour but it seems like rice flour makes the tofu a bit crispier (Thanks Wandering Chopsticks
Deep-fry or fry til golden.

Sauce: squeeze the lime juice over shrimp paste, mix chopped chillies in and then sugar. Keep mixing until almost frothy, test taste and adjust. I think as long as you achieve a balance of sweet, sour, savoury and spicy then that's pretty it.


Wednesday, 2 July 2008

Fried Rice with Hot Dog, Carrot and Kimchee

This is a cross between Fried rice with hot dogs and Fried rice with kimchee and spam
Both recipes are fromWandering Chopsticks

The hubby was very reluctant to eat hot dog with rice (It's just not right - he said). I, on the other hand, am not as fussy.

This dish is handy for Friday night when your fridge is likely to be empty (or when you're skint at the end of the month and you have to make do with what you have in the cupboard)


Cooked rice (enough for 2 - sorry I hardly ever measure rice)
1 carrot - diced
1 onion - chopped
kimchee (as much as you like really)
8 4 hot dogs (or 8 mini dogs)- chopped into bite-size pieces (Am I being greedy here???)
1 egg

Heat 1tbsp oil, throw diced carrot and onion and hot dog pieces into the wok. Fry for a few minutes.
Season with a bit of salt and pepper.
Put the cooked rice in the wok and mix thoroughly for a few minutes, take care not to let it stick onto the bottom.
Make a well in the middle of the wok and crack an egg into it, then mix together with the rest of the ingredients in there for a few minutes.
Lastly, put kimchee in, mix together and serve hot.


Friday, 13 June 2008

pan fried lamb with cous cous

The hubby's creation.
Recipe will be posted later...

Friday, 30 May 2008

Canh cai soong and canh trung ca chua (Vietnamese watercress soup and Tomato and Eggdrop soup)

Canh cai soong (watercress soup with shitake mushroom and chopped bacon)

Canh trung ca chua (tomato and eggdrop soup)

I am not a big fan of canh (Vietnamese soup). I normally find it too watery to be poured over steamed rice. The hubby finds it too bland in general so I rarely make it. Admittedly though, when I'm too tired to cook I tend to crave for a bowl of steaming hot canh. Served on its own, it is a wonderfully light snack and a kind of pick-me-up that I need now and then.
To make a decent bowl of canh you need decent broth and decent broth, in my opinion, definitely needs some proper pork bones in it (Wandering Chopsticks has a good post on how to make broth for canh)
If you are lazy (like me), a simple broth can be made by frying some ginger and then adding ready made chicken/vegetable stock.

Below are the most basic canh you can conjure up in a matter of minutes.

Canh Cai Soong (Watercress Soup - my version)
My adopted granddad Muoi (my grandma's 10th brother) loved this soup when he was alive. He was a bachelor all his life so he spent quite a few years living with my family. He doted on me when I was little and obviously he was like a granddad to me. He's gone for quite a few years now but I still miss him dearly every time I make this soup.
Ingredients:(serves 1)
Watercress (100g)
Bacon (1 slice - cut into thin strips)
1 cup of chicken stock
3 chopped shiitake mushrooms

Fry bacon in a bit of oil until the meat has changed colour.
Pour hot stock and shiitake mushrooms in the pot
Let it boil for 5 minutes, taste and adjust if necessary.
Quickly blanch watercress in the boiling broth, turn the heat off

Canh trung ca chua (Tomato and eggdrop soup)
I make this soup fairly often as a student (since it costs next to nothing to make). It's guaranteed to be fool-proof :)

Ingredients (serves 1)
3 tomatoes, chopped into 8 chunks each
1 egg
chopped spring onion to garnish
chicken stock (1 and a half cup)

Fry tomatoes in a bit of oil (5 mins would do)
Pour hot stock into the pan and wait until it starts boiling
Turn the heat down 1 notch and crack the egg into the pan, stir it around, make sure you pierce the yolk as well because you don't want to end up eating a boiled egg yolk in your canh.
Garnish with a bit of spring onions and serve (take care when eating the tomatoes since they stay hot for quite a long time - FYI I burnt my tongue last time trying to eat it too fast D'oh)


Roasted Trout with Spring Onion Oil

Another wonderful recipe from Wandering Chopsticks
I would prefer to use catfish but unfortunately where I live one can only find catfish in China Town. So I substituted catfish with trout and it turned out just fine.
I didn't change anything else from W.C's recipe and it can be found here
The mo hanh (spring onion oil) makes this dish so worth-while. It feels sooo bad to see the chopped spring onions swimming in what seems like a sea of oil (I use nut oil) but boy, it tastes sooooo good.
I think I must have left the fish in the oven for a wee bit too long so I didn't have as much 'gravy' as W.C. It is still gorgeous though. I served it with some chilli sauce, sliced cucumber and rice.