Friday, June 29, 2012

Spicy Pork and Kimchi Fried Rice

Kimchi is a traditional Korean dish of spicy fermented vegetables (usually napa cabbage or radish) and is commonly eaten as an appetizer or used in cooking. I was never really a fan of kimchi. Whenever I dined at Korean restaurants and was presented with banchan (the many little dishes that are served at the start of the meal), I would just sample a few slivers of the cabbage kimchi and perhaps a piece of the radish kimchi (I havan't acquired a taste for that yet). My favourites were usually the cubed potatoes (potato jorim) and the soy bean sprouts. Over time, I actually grew to like the taste of kimchi, and I guess it also depends on how "powerful" the flavour is. Everytime we shop at the Korean supermarket and browse through the shelves of kimchi, G would remind me jokingly "Are you sure you want to try it? It's made with rotten fish/squid." We watched that episode of Bizarre Foods where Andrew Zimmern visited a traditional kimchi factory in Korea where they showed how tonnes and tonnes of cabbage were seasoned and fermented in huge vats with rotten fish or squid (or something like that). And for months too.

Friday, June 22, 2012

Malaysian Beef Soto (Soto Daging)

Soto Daging (Beef Soto) is a Malaysian dish comprising cubes of compressed rice sitting in a richly spiced beef broth, served with tender slices of beef, bean sprouts and sometimes potato croquettes (known as begedil), and then garnished with crispy fried shallots, chinese celery (or coriander leaves) and spring onions. My favourite part of the dish is the hot chilli soy sauce, which we call "kicap cili". It is a simple blend of finely chopped bird's eye chillies, garlic and soy sauce, and is usually mixed into the soup just before eating. The heat from the chillies together with the garlicky soy sauce somehow adds extra depth to the flavours of the soup and gives it the drool-factor (in fact, I am salivating right now trying to describe it).

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Nagoya Style Deep Fried Chicken Wings

I first saw the recipe for these famous Japanese deep-fried chicken wings on Just One Cookbook, and was immediately drawn to the pictures of crispy  wings coated in sweet and sticky soy sauce. I don't make deep-fried wings very often, but with this one, I had to make! Indeed, these twice-fried wings were crispy and finger-licking good. We polished off the entire 2 pound batch of wings within minutes, and we were left craving for more. They are fantastic when eaten with white rice as it counteracts some of the sweetness from the glaze on the wings.

Friday, June 15, 2012

Melting Moments with Raspberries and Cream

These melting moments are absolutely heavenly! So good. Light, buttery, creamy and melts in your mouth. The balance between the sweetness from the vanilla buttercream and the tartness of the raspberry jam is perfect. These delightful little sandwich cookies were so popular that I had to make a second batch the day after, which I brought to work the next day only to have them all devoured by everyone. I guess the main difference between this recipe and others is that this uses custard powder, which gives it a sweet scent and flavour. It also uses baking powder which results in a light and crumbly texture. I can declare that this is now my favourite melting moment recipe, and if you try it out, I bet it'll be your favourite too! Also, don't forget to check out the recipe for quick and easy Raspberry Jam in my previous post. You can prepare the jam and refrigerate it a few days ahead until you're ready to make the cookies.

Monday, June 11, 2012

Microwave Raspberry Jam

I used to have this idea that only little old ladies who live in the countryside make jam in their kitchens, which is why I have never made jam before until now! The microwave method of making jam is awesome and saves you so much time. Not only that, but it only uses 3 ingredients and there is no setting agent like pectin required either. However, it does use lemon rind during the cooking process, and that perhaps helps to set the jam, since citrus fruits contain a high concentration of pectin. The lovely thing about this jam is that it's bursting with pure fruity flavour from the raspberries, it's like eating a raspberry concentrate. It tastes so much better than commercially manufactured jams.

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Light and Creamy Japanese Cheesecake

My family and I enjoy eating Japanese cheesecake and I have made it a number of times in the past. This time, however, I wanted to make a cheesecake that was not only light and fluffy, but creamy as well and not so cake-like in texture. The typical recipe for Japanese cheesecake uses milk and flour in addition to other ingredients like cream cheese and eggs. In making this creamy version, I've substituted the milk with sour cream and omitted the flour component. I did add a scant amount of cornflour as I figured it might help bind the ingredients (that's what I think anyway) and prevent cracks from forming on top of the cake while it's baking. Whether it helped or not, I can't say for certain, but my cake came out perfect with no cracks at all. It rose nicely in the oven, and didn't collapse in the middle while it was cooling down. In fact, the top of the cake came down slowly until it was just level.

Friday, June 1, 2012

Crispy Roasted Brussel Sprouts with Maple Pecan Dressing

Brussel sprouts are DELICIOUS! I just thought I should mention that first before you skip this post. I can count on one hand the number of times I've eaten them, and it's just one of those vegetables that I just don't think about, and is easy to miss at the vegetable section of the supermarket because they don't sell a lot of them. They are also seasonal and are usually available around autumn to early winter in Australia. We were hunting high and low for brussel sprouts last December as we wanted to serve them for Christmas lunch, but they weren't in season then.  And so, when I came across them a few weeks ago at the supermarket, I was thrilled and grabbed a pack immediately.