Saturday, April 16, 2011

Childhood Memories: Stir-fried Seafood Udon (Yaki-Don)

Something you might not know about me. I grew up in Hong Kong and I went to a Catholic Girls School from Grade 4 through to Grade 10. That's why I also use British words like "compulsory", the "lift" or the "cinema" from time to time when I don't catch myself quick enough. =D

find me? Hint: one of the taller ones in class

I remember those days as a Catholic schoolgirl (haha) fondly. I remember the mornings when we said our morning blessings and prayers and also the days when the teachers measured our skirts to make sure they're not to short. Lunch was always my favorite time of the day. I remember opening my little pink thermal lunchbox that our Philipino helper helped prepare in the morning with anticipation. There was always one dish that I hoped she made for us that day --- Stir-Fried Seafood Udon, Japanese- style. 

 The chewiness of the udon, the crunchiness of the shrimp and the sweet-saltiness of the soy-mirin based sauce makes this a simple but yummy meal, whether it's lunch or dinner. (I've even had it for breakfast on some days, hell ya :D). I was hoping to measure out the exact measurements for the sauce this time but alas, I improvised. The recipe below is a good estimate of what the amounts of the sauce. Adjust as needed!

Recipe for Stir-Fried Seafood Udon:

Serve: 2 people (4-5 servings)
200g fresh shanghai style udon (1 packet) - already cooked and available at most asian markets. 
~15 shrimps, peeled and devined
1 bag of frozen tiny scallops, rinsed and dried.
1 carrot, julienned 
5 bak choy, cleaned and separated into leaves.
1/2 onion, sliced
3 cloves garlic (minced)
ginger, minced 
1 tbsp black bean sauce
1 tbsp light soy sauce
½ tbsp dark soy sauce
2 tsp Chinese cooking rice wine (shao xing hua tiao)
1 tsp of Japanese Mirin
½ tsp sugar
Dash of black pepper
80ml water
2tsp of cornstarch
1 tsp of sesame oil
Seasonings for prawns:
Dash of salt, sugar and cornflour
  1. For prawns, peel, devein and rinse under a running water. I used frozen shrimps by Artica, devined and EZ peel. Pat dry. Season with prawn seasoning, cover with clingwrap and refrigerate for 1/2 hour.
  2. Blanch (烫一烫) udon lightly over boiling water ~3 min and drain. Set aside.
  3. Heat up some oil under high heat. Layout all the prawns and let them fry untouched until they turn pink. Flip over the other side and continue frying until they turn pink and curl up. Add scallops, cook for another 2 min and set aside.
  4. Heat up some oil again. Stir-fry half of the ginger/garlic, onions, carrots and bak choy. set aside.
  5. Heat up some oil again. Sautee remaining garlic/ginger and pour in seasonings. Stir till it boils. Add in blanched udon. Stir fry for 2-3 min until al-dante.
  6. Add in ingredients from (3) and (4). Toss all the ingredients until well combined. Turn heat off. Add pepper to taste. Enjoy!
Note: Other ingredient substitutions include fishballs, fish, baby corn, snow peas, shitake mushrooms, enoki mushrooms, chicken, beef, egg, or just plain vegetarian :D

We also paired the meal with this 2009 German Riesling from Wholefoods for $6.99. It was sweet and tangy and according to the bottle, " an ideal match for Asian cuisine". I'm going to try to include a wine pairing with my posts now when available. Any thoughts about that?

P.S. Stay tune for tomorrow's brunch post on The Rachel (Turkey Reuben) Sandwich! 
P.P.S. Did you find me in the photo? Second on the left, last row. =P

Thanks for reading! What are some of your favorite childhood recipes? 

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Love Is Where my Stomach is....

 Happy (late) Valentine's Day everyone! ]. I'm not a personal fan of going out on the big Vday so I had my Baby attempt to cook me a fancy meal at home. This is our second Valentine's day together so we decided to kick it up a notch. This means I dress up and put on fancy perfume and we enjoy a quiet and private dinner complete with appetizers, main course, good wine and of course, a phenomenal dessert....

Valentine's Day Dinner for Two
February 14, 2011
Main Chef: Jerry 
Dessert Chef: Patricia

First course
Insulata Caprese
A Fresh Combination of Mozzarella, Tomatoes and Basil

Second course
Cream of Potato Soup 
garnished with crispy bacon and sharp cheddar

Main Course
Garlic and Rosemary Roast Lamb Chops

White Chocolate and Raspberry Souffle 
Best souffle I've had. Must try for the Chocolate Lover - sink your teeth into a crunchy yet fluffy white chocolate topping to find a hidden tart raspberry dark chocolate molten center in the middle 

Wine pairing
Pirot Syrah 2009 California
Whole Foods 
- smooth, plum flavors perfectly paired with the hearty lamb we had

White Chocolate Souffle with Raspberry Chocolate Sauce
Courtesy of the Fumbling Foodie
Raspberry Chocolate Sauce:
1/4 cup fresh raspberries
3 oz Ghirardelli 60% cocoa semi-sweet chocolate chips
2 tablespoons European unsalted butter
3 large eggs
3 tablespoons flour
1/8 tablespoon iodized salt. (don't use kosher salt, the granuals are too big)
3/4 cup whole milk
6 oz Ghirardelli white chocolate chips
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar
2 Tablespoons granulated sugar
Additional butter and sugar for the ramekins
Put a pie pan in the freezer for several hours to chill. You are going to be pouring hot liquid into it so metal or pyrex are preferred.
lightly butter six 4.5 oz ramekins. Mine are 3 inches in diameter and 1.5 inches deep. Coat the inside of each buttered ramekin with granulated sugar. Invert and pour out the excess.
Puree the raspberries in a blender. Pour the pureed raspberries through a sieve into a small bowl, using a spatula to squeegee the liquid through and leave the seeds behind (discard the seeds).
In a double-boiler or small saucepan set in a larger pan of simmering water, combine the raspberry puree, semisweet chocolate chips, butter, and sugar. Stir frequently until melted together and smooth. Grab the ice cold pie pan out of the freezer and pour this mixture into it. Tilt the pan as needed to get the mixture spread evenly over the bottom surface of the pie pan. Return the pie pan to the freezer. When the mixture has set up, divide it into six equal portions and use your hands to form each portion into a little ball. Put the balls back into the pie pan and put the pan in the refrigerator.
Seperate the egg yolks from the whites (you will need both). The whites should go into a large clean bowl big enough to be used with your hand mixer (or put them in the mixing bowl of your stand mixer).
Combine the flour and salt in a saucepan. Add a small amount of milk and combine. You want a smooth paste. Then add the rest of the milk, combine, and place the saucepan over medium heat, stirring constantly. When the mixture has thickened a bit (like a cream sauce, about 4 minutes), remove a bit of it from the saucepan, add it to the egg yolk,s and whisk gently. (This allows the yolks to warm up without cooking them). Add the yolk mixture back into the saucepan, cook for 1-2 minutes, stirring constantly. When it is about the consistency of mayonnaise, remove it from the heat, place it into another bowl along with the white chocolate chips. Stir or whisk until the white chocolate chips are fully melted and combined. Add the vanilla. Set aside
Beat the egg whites in their own bowl( mentioned above). Add the cream of tartar until soft peaks form. Gradually beat in the sugar and continue meating until medium-firm peaks form.
Gently fold a heaping spatula load of egg whites into the white chocolate mixture, then add the remaining egg whites. Fold gently to preserve the air in the egg whites.
Take the chocolate balls out of the refridgerator. Place one in the center of the bottom of each ramekin. Fill each ramekin with the white chocolate/egg white mixture until it is no higher than level with the top of the ramekin. (1/8 inch below the top of the ramekin works well for me.)
At this point you can cover each ramekin with plastic wrap and put it in the refridgerator, awaiting dinner time.
When it is time for dessert, preheat the oven to 375F, remove the plastic wrap and pop them into the oven for 15-20 minutes, or until portions of the top have turned a light golden brown.
Serve immediately.

Feeling the love of friendship, romance and family all together these last two weeks. I feel so blessed to be surrounded with people who are so down to earth and so supportive <3. 
Thank you...

Friday, November 5, 2010

What's for Dinner Tonight? A Peek into my Childhood

No time for a long post so here's a  quick little peek into some basic Cantonese dishes I made for dinner  the other night. Enjoy :) 

 Steamed Egg with Pork and Mushrooms 

Chinese Chives with Sliced Beancurd and Mushroom
1 pack of Chinese Chives (flower buds cut off)
1 pack of Five Spice Bean Curd (sliced)
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 small red chili pepper, deseeded and dsliced
1 green spring onion, sliced
4/5 chinese mushrooms, soaked till soft and sliced

2 tbsp of canola oil
1tbsp Chinese Shaoxing Wine
1 tsp of salt
1 tsp soy sauce

Heat up frying pan with oil. Add garlic, green onions, ginger and chili pepper until sizzling. Slide the chives, mushrooms in and stirfry. Add wine and keep stirfrying. Put beancurd in and add salt and soysauce to taste.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Sweet Dessert Dumplings (Tang Yuan) 湯圓

"Sweet Reunion". This is what this classic Chinese dessert represents. As a kid, these chewy delights were served at every festive occasion or family gatherings. I don't know what came over me the other day when I had the sudden craving for these late at night --- maybe my brain is impatiently awaiting that sweet reunion come December when I head home for Christmas.

The more popular and common version of these sweet dumplings are filled with red bean or sesame paste, but the traditional plain version serves well with a sweet gingery soup. Ginger is well known to keep skin well-hydrated and plump when the weather gets dry, which is what every girl wants as the years roll along, right?

 A little food coloring creates more fun in the kitchen :)

Sweet Chewy Roundness. NOM NOM NOM

Can't wait for December :)

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Back with a Bang: Best Chicken Salad

I'm back and I'm still trying to forgive myself for having left this blog sad and lonely for the last four and a half months. Life is great and productive and I have never felt more fatigued but satisfied with what I'm doing. I'm officially a third year medical student and more than half way to getting that degree and long white coat I have always been so envious of. 

With all the fatigue and time in the hospital, I still find solitary bliss in my home kitchen. With Neurology finishing up and a free weekend before my Pediatric Rotation, my girlfriends and I decided to utilize the warm breezy weather for a picnic out at New Kent Vineyards. 

I've always had a romanticized view of picnics and it's not a picnic without an awesome chicken salad sandwiches and a good pesto pasta salad. I searched for endless chicken salad recipes online and this is the one I decided to settle for. Not only does it have the crunch of almonds, the sweetness of fresh grapes add a special touch to this chicken salad. Top it off on a slice of Italian Loaf from Trader's Joe and a bottle of Chardonnay and you got yourself the perfect afternoon.

Best Chicken Salad Recipe
  • 2 cans Premium White Chunky Chicken from Trader Joes 
  • 1 or 2 stalks celery, chopped- about 3/4 cup
  • 1/2 cup seedless grapes, halves
  • 3/4 cup salad dressing, such as Miracle Whip brand
  • 2 Tablespoons coleslaw dressing (Marzetti's is good)
  • 1 teaspoon  paprika
  • 1 tsp Ground Mustard (optional)
  • Coarsely ground black pepper, to taste
Simply mix everything together well. Chill for at least one hour before serving. It tastes much better if allowed to chill overnight. Top it on a slice of fresh italian loaf or ciabatta. Enjoy :)