Sunday, April 22, 2012

22 Apr 12 (Sun) - Cold Tofu, Potato Salad and Coco Nana Ice Cream

Today's cooking session was really therapeutic because not only were the dishes easy to do, the results and the presentations were good too! In addition, today was hot and sunny, thus eating all the cold dishes made me feel extremely happy.

Cold Tofu

Ingredients (Serves 6):
1 box silken tofu
1 tbsp light soya sauce
1 tbsp mirin
1/2 tsp oil
Bonito flakes
Spring onion, chopped

1.  Remove tofu from packaging, place on a plate and gently pour some boiling water over it to remove any impurities
2.  Drain away the excess water, cut into 6 equal pieces and refrigerate till cold
3.  Mix light soya sauce, mirin and oil in a sauce bowl
4.  Arrange the tofu pieces into serving bowls
5.  Pour sauce over the tofu pieces
6.  Top the tofu pieces with bonito flakes and spring onion

Potato Salad

Ingredients (Serves 3-4):
2 Russet potatoes
2" Japanese cucumber
2" Carrot
Salt and pepper
Japanese mayonnaise

1.  Peel and cut potatoes into bite size
2.  Boil potatoes in a pot of slightly salted water till tender
3.  Drain water and mash the potatoes with a fork
4.  Slice carrot and cucumber thinly and quartered
5.  Boil the carrot for 1 minute
6.  Mix potatoes, carrot and cucumber with some salt and pepper
7.  Add enough Japanese mayonnaise to get the desired consistency
8.  Refrigerate at least 3 hours or store in the fridge overnight for best result

What's a better way to finish off a good meal than a scoop of ice cream? The coco nana ice cream was made yesterday actually using a recipe found in a website sent by my little big sis on another dish called Braised Pork Ribs and Bitter Gourd in Black Bean Sauce. I made some modification to the original recipe and fortunately, it turned out ok.

Coco Nana Ice Cream

135ml Evaporated milk
200ml Coconut milk
7 tbsp Sugar
1 tsp Vanilla essence
1 big, ripe banana

1.  Combine coconut milk and sugar in a saucepan over low heat and stir till sugar dissolves
2.  Turn off the heat when coconut milk starts to bubble and set aside to cool
3.  Blitz the banana using a food processor
4.  Add evaporated milk, vanilla essence and coconut mixture to the pulp
5.  Whisk the mixture till they are well combined
6.  Pour the mixture into a container of your choice and put into the freezer
7.  Take out after 2 hours to churn using a spoon and repeat this step for another 2 times
8.  Leave the mixture in the freezer overnight for it to firm

---------------- Edited on 23 Apr 2012 ----------------

Brought half a tub of the ice cream to office for some of the colleagues to try. Most of them said it was yummy, of the right sweetness and texture while one of them commented that there wasn't enough coconut taste and another said the banana taste overpowered the coconut taste. Overall, this ice cream is a hit!

Recipe for Coco Nana Ice Cream submitted to Munch Ministry

Saturday, April 21, 2012

21 Apr 12 (Sat) - Chawamushi with Crabsticks

Didn't plan to do any cooking today because I thought I will go out for some shopping but it rained early in the morning and so decided to stay home instead. Saw the Cookoff Wednesday photo album on Munch Ministry Facebook page and decided to try cooking the Crab Meat Egg Custard.

The result was a not so smooth and rather dark colored egg custard. Didn't know what went wrong exactly because it seems that my recent attempts at steam milk custards also didn't give me a smooth surface. I suspect it was because I steamed the custards on a slightly higher than low heat but when I looked through my past recipes, they all called for either high or medium-high heat. Sigh...

As for the darker than usual color, I guess it was due to a slightly more than called for amount of light soya sauce used due to trembling hands and also because I was using the Japanese light soya sauce. Oh well...

Chawamushi with Crabsticks

Sunday, April 15, 2012

15 Apr 12 (Sun) - Steamed Milk Custard with Sliced Strawberries & Blueberries

Today was back to basic cooking so was just stir-fried vegetables and boiled Japanese sweet potatoes. As I had some strawberries and blueberries in the fridge so decided to do something with them. I ended up making steamed milk custard with some sliced strawberries and blueberries. Used my original steamed milk custard and the result was a not so smooth milk custard with interesting blend of red and purple colors and the sweet smell of strawberries.

Boiled Japanese Sweet Potatoes

Steamed Milk Custard with Sliced
Strawberries & Blueberries

Saturday, April 14, 2012

14 Apr 12 (Sat) - Spicy Pork BokkEum

Looked through the list of recipes that I intend to try and decided on this spicy pork bokkeum, a Korean spicy fried pork dish that I found in Aeri's Kitchen website. As I didn't want to follow the portion in the recipe so I reduced the amount of ingredients used as well as made some adjustments on my own because I didn't have certain ingredients. Instead of using apple juice, I used packet grape juice; instead of red and green chilies, I used red and green capsicums because the recipe stated red and green hot peppers so I thought it was refering to capsicums and also I added shallots which wasn't asked for.

Tried to follow the recipe closely and I made the silly mistake of adding exactly one tablespoon of light soya sauce that the recipe asked for instead of reducing the amount. Hence, I had to add more sugar to counter the effect. The recipe also asked to marinate the pork for at least 3 hours but I didn't wait for 3 hours and only marinated for about 1 hour.

Tried to cook using the Happycall Pan and the result was a very dark brown color dish. The appearance wasn't even close to the picture on Aeri's Kitchen website. Taste was a bit salty because of my silly mistake so had to eat the dish with rice.

Spicy Pork BokkEum

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

10 Apr 2012 (Tue) - Tuna Tataki with Butter Soya Sauce Pasta and Steamed Milk Custard (炖奶)

Recently read about this article on Japanese pasta, or wafu pasta in the April issue of Her World magazine and got to know that it actually meant the pairing of "Italian noodles with Nippon flavours". Looked at the few dishes recommended for the different restaurants and decided to attempt to cook something similar by combining the two of the five dishes I saw. A new term that I learnt from the article is Tataki, which means the searing of meat or fish briefly over a hot flame or pan.

Cooking the pasta and the tuna was fairly easy, the difficult part was getting the sauce right. It was only on my second attempt that I managed to get it about right. Tried to slice the tuna thinly but failed coz my knife just wasn't sharp enough. Oh well... At least the whole dish didn't taste too bad and the sliced tuna goes well with the wasabi-mayo sauce.

Tuna Tataki with Butter Soya Sauce Pasta

a bunch of angel hair pasta
some ground peppercorns
some chili flakes
1 piece tuna steak
1/4 tsp light soya sauce
30g butter
pinch of salt
pinch of sugar
some dried shaved bonito
8g mayonnaise
2g wasabi

1.  Rinse tuna steak and pat dry with kitchen towel
2.  Cover the tuna steak with ground peppercorns and chili flakes then set aside
3.  Cook the bunch of angel hair pasta in a pot of salt water till soften
4.  Drain the pasta and arrange on a plate
5.  Melt the butter and sugar in a pan over low heat
6.  After butter is melted and sugar is dissolved, add the light soya sauce and cook for 1-2 mintues
7.  Off the heat and pour the sauce over the pasta
8.  Heat up the Happycall Pan on high heat for 1-2 minutes then lower the flame
9.  Sear the tuna on all sides briefly
10.  Off the heat, remove the tuna steak and slice it thinly
11.  Arrange the sliced tuna on the pasta and top with some dried shaved bonito
12.  Mix the mayonnaise and wasabi till well combined, pour into a small bowl and serve with the pasta

Note: You can adjust the sugar and light soya sauce according to your taste

After cooking the pasta, I went on to make steamed milk custard since I haven't had that for quite some time.

Steamed Milk Custard

Recipe for Tuna Tataki with Butter Soya Sauce Pasta submitted to Munch Ministry

Friday, April 6, 2012

6 Apr 12 (Fri - Good Friday) - Chawamushi with Tofu and Steamed Salted Rice Wine Chicken

Haven't been cooking much lately due to many reasons. Today is the start of the long weekend and so decided to do some simple experimental cooking. Made modification to my original chawamushi recipe by adding mashed tofu. The result wasn't exactly bad, just that it tasted a bit bland due to the tofu and it didn't have a smooth texture like normal chawamushi. Think next time I will need to use more chicken cube and add a bit more light soy sauce.

Chawamushi with Tofu

1-2 chinese mushrooms, soaked and cut thin strips
1 crabstick, cut thin strips
1/2 box tofu, mashed
some shredded ham
1 egg
1/4 tsp sugar
1/4 tsp mirin
1/4 tsp rice wine
1/4 tbsp light soya sauce
1/4 chicken cube
100ml water

1.  Dissolve 1/4 chicken cube with 100ml water to make chicken stock
2.  Add sugar, rice wine, mirin and light soya sauce to the chicken stock
3.  Make sure the chicken stock is at room temperature before adding the egg
4.  Use a chopstick to stir the egg in a cutting motion to combine egg and chicken stock without creating too much foam
5.  Stir in the mashed tofu
6.  Arrange the mushrooms, crabstick and ham on the mixture
7.  Cover the bowl with foil
8.  Steam over high heat for 10mins
9.  Off the heat and serve hot

The other dish was steamed salted rice wine chicken, a modification of the usual steamed salted chicken by adding rice wine. Since I had some shredded ham and crabstick left so added them to the dish as well. The taste ok just that I didn't add enough rice wine.

Steamed Salted Rice Wine Chicken

4 pieces mid-joint chicken wings
3-4 chinese mushrooms, soaked
1 crabstick, cut 1cm thick
some salt for marinating
some shredded ham
1 tsp rice wine

1.  Marinate chicken wings with salt and rice wine then set aside for 30 minutes
2.  Arrange chicken wings, chinese mushrooms, crabstick and ham on a plate
3.  Pour the remaining marinating sauce over the chicken wings
4.  Cover the plate with foil
5.  Steam over high heat for 10mins
6.  Off the heat and serve hot