Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Mabo Dofu ( Mapo Tofu )

It is common to find Chinese Cuisine all over Japan nowadays. Most of these dishes are originated from China but the Japanese has somehow changed to suit the taste of the locals, often by using some of their own Japanese ingredients and are mainly prepared based on Chinese cuisine. These are called chuka dishes , Japanese style of Chinese Cuisine. One fine example is Ramen ( noodles ) which started as la mien in China and it is now much changed from the originality from China as we can see there is now miso flavoured ramen and shoyu based ramen. Gyoza, the japanese dumpling which is a very popular food in Japan and all around the world is also said to be originated from China what we called jiaozi in chinese.  While the Chinese make their jiaozi prepared boiled, steamed or pan fried, the most common and popular way of cooking Japanese gyoza is pan fried type which they are known as yaki-gyoza. What i am posting today is just another kind of chuka dishes which i think more known as 'mapo tofu', a dish originated from the Sichuan Province in China. I noticed that the mabo dofu in Japan doesnt look as red as the original Sichuan, guess they have toned down the spiciness level. You can use the plain version of doubanjian or the hot chilli version of doubanjiang here in the recipe.

Recipe ( Just One Cookbook )
serves 4
1 tbsp oil
2 cloves of garlic, minced
1 tbsp ginger, minced
160 gms ground pork
1 package silken tofu
2 stalks green onions, sliced

2.5 tbsp chilli bean paste ( doubanjiang with chilli  )
2 tbsp mirin
1 tbsp miso
1 tbsp oyster sauce
1/2 tbsp soy sauce
1 tsp sesame oil ( omitted )

Thickening solution
1tsp corn flour
1/4 cup water

1. In a large pan or skillet, heat up oil on medium high heat, saute garlic and ginger till fragrant.
2. Add the meat and break up with a wooden spoon.
3. When the meat is cooked, add the sauce mixture. Stir to combine and add the tofu. Cook until tofu is heated through. Try not to mash the too much. Pour in the cornstarch solution ( i did not use all )
4. Stir in the green onions just before taking it off the heat.

I am submitting this post to Asian Food Fest #1 - Japan ( Oct 2013 ) hosted by Alan of Travelling Foodies

Also linking it to Little Thumbs Up organised by Zoe of Bake for Happy Kids and Doreen of My Little Favourite DIY and hosted by Mich of Piece of Cake with the theme, " SOY"

Monday, October 28, 2013

Almond Tuiles

Originally from France, tuiles are thin cookies that are shaped curved like roof tiles. They can also be formed into various shapes and used as a garnsih for desserts.  Okay, so you see mine are not there are a few that i made them curve..heh..i was a little afraid that i might break them all into pieces. You see, prior to this i made a batch of chocolate tuiles from another recipe but they hardened very quickly when they were out from the oven and i had problem curving them..One tip that is being shared around is that when they get hard or crisp to shape,  put them back into the hot oven for a minute but i forgot! ..and on top of that, i underbaked them and thus they did not stay crispy as they should be.

I decided to move on to another recipe and made these almond tuiles instead. I started just baking a few pieces at the recommended oven temperature and they did not stay crispy too, therefore i adjusted it to 180C so if you are trying out this recipe, please test and decide, what doesnt work for me may work for you. What i get at 180C was nice crispy cookies and they are very addictive too! Feeling a little cowardly, i only curved 5 pieces, just 5 :)

On a related note, what i found out that these almond tuiles are actually very same as the Bienetta-Florentine Premix which i bought from a local bakery supplier shop here during early this year. I do see some of you have tried this premix, if you are wondering how's the taste of these almond tuiles, in my opinion, they are quite the same..or maybe they are the same thing. I am baking along with Joyce and Zoe and tuiles is the theme. The linky will be opened from today up till Nov06, 2013, everyone is welcomed to join. Cheers!

a few curved tuiles...

Recipe ( from Green Cilantro ), whom adapted from Pierre Herme
makes around 22, depending on the size you make them
50gm sugar
40gm egg white
few drops vanilla essence
125gm almond slices
1tbsp melted butter
10gm cake flour

1. Combine sugar, egg whites and vanilla essence in a large bowl and stir with a rubber spatula.
2. Add the almond slices into the bowl and mix gently
3. Add the melted butter into the mixture and stir to combine.
4. Cover and let this mixture at room temperature for 1 hour.
5. Sift the flour into the mixture, stir gently to incorporate fully and let the mixture sit for another 30 mins.
6. On a silpat or baking paper, spoon the almond mixture into a circle as thinly as you can, about 6cm in diameter. Bake for 12-15 mins at 160C ( i baked mine at 180C for about 11mins )

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Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Creamy Miso Pasta

This is a Japanese inspired kind of pasta where miso paste is added. Although miso paste is rather salty on its own, this pasta dish is not as salty or miso-ey ( hehe) as what we imagine. The miso paste is added to a creamy base making it just a tad salty and flavourful, making it almost like a mystery ingredient that has been added in. It is tasty and easy to prepare, you can use chicken fillets instead of salmon and you can also add in asparagus as what Honey Bee did.

It is World Pasta Day on this Oct25 and i am sending this dish over to Louise of Months of Edible Celebrations where she is hosting a Pasta Party at her blog to celebrate the event and Louise is also giving away cookbooks! Woohoo! i will see if i can be one of those lucky winners..

Also linking this post to Little Thumbs Up Event organised by Zoe of Bake for Happy Kids and Doreen of My Little Favourite DIY with the theme this month, " SOY" hosted by Mich of Piece of Cake

Recipe ( Honey Bee Sweets ) with some changes
serves 2 or 3
200gm fettucine or spaghetti
1 fillet of salmon
1/2 tbsp of olive oil
3 cloves garlic, sliced
3 brown mushrooms, sliced or chopped into small pieces
1 tbsp miso paste
200ml dairy cream
Pepper and salt to taste

1. In a pan, pan fry the salmon with some olive oil till they are cooked. Meanwhile cook the pasta according to packet instructions. Reserve a bowl of cooked pasta water. If you are using spaghetti, you may want to cook it later as we dont want the cooked pasta to sit on a bowl for too long. Reserve a bowl of cooked pasta water. When the fillet is cooked, removed to a plate , let cool for several minutes then flake the fillet, removing the skin and bones.
2. Using the same pan, saute the mushrooms till they are cooked. Pour the excess oil to a bowl and add the cream to the pan. Stir in the miso paste with a whisk and let it simmer for about 2-3 mins, stirring occasionally. Taste, and see if more miso or salt is needed.
3. Add the salmon flakes and toss in the pasta to the creamy miso sauce. If you find that the pasta is a little dry and sticks, pour in the reserved pasta water to loosen them before tossing them into the sauce. Divide the pasta into servings and sprinkle with some green onions.

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Peach Almond Coffee Cake

This is our 24th bake at The Home Bakers ( THB ), my overdue post again. This cake has been picked by Chaya of Bizzy Bakes and she is the host for this bake. Sorry Chaya, for this late posting.

I have used canned peaches as i couldnt get hold of those fresh peaches here and i have used almonds instead of cashew nuts as per in the original recipe. This is my second attempt baking this cake as my first one turned out to be uncooked at the center of the cake. Actually it is a very simple cake to bake, i suspected i didnt drain the peaches properly before adding to the cake resulting that the center of the cake was actually quite raw.

After reading Jasline's post and some of the comments on the same cake, i decided to try it again. I make sure that i pat the peaches really dry this time so that it would not further draw out much moisture from the peaches and i also noticed that Jasline sliced her peaches thin and resulting in a nice even cake surface. Look at the pic below and you will see what i mean.

first attempt..with hills and bumps..and uncooked
2nd attempt..much much beter :)

This is a nice coffee type cake and a nice cake for a coffee break. To see the rest of the members who have already baked this cake,  you can click here and being the rule of the event, only the host of the bake can post the recipe, so visit  Chaya's blog for the full recipe.

Monday, October 14, 2013

Tebasaki ( Japanese Fried Chicken )

This Tebasaki Chicken is a popular dish surrounding the areas of Nagoya, Japan...not that i have been there before and eaten it but it says so from various sources in the i guess it cant be wrong eh? heee...Tebasaki means chicken wings and it refers to the tip section of the chicken wings. They are seasoned deep fried chicken wings and coated with some glaze that is made up of soy sauce, sake and mirin.

I followed Marc's method of cooking these wings for a good crisp crunch and to stay so even after the glaze. The secret here is to deep fry them twice, first at a lower heat and then second time, a slightly higher heat. The wings must be very dry before tossing them with the flour and goes into the oil. Once they are cooked, increase the heat a little and put them back to deep fry them the second time, this will give them a distinctive nice crispy texture. Immediately toss them in the soy based glaze and it is done, Nagoya style .

Indeed they are nice and crispy and flavourful. I wished that my pictures here can do more justification that they are crispy.There were still a little glaze left and i used the remaining drummetes to finish it off on the second day. Delicious. Happy cooking!

Recipe ( from cooking with dog and No Recipes )
6 chicken wings ( i use 6 sections of the tip of the wings and 2 drumettes )
to season with :
1tsp sake
1tsp ginger juice
sprinkle of salt and pepper

2tbsp potato starch - coat for deep frying

Sauce/ Glaze
2 tbsp japanese soy sauce
2 tbsp sake
2 tbsp mirin
1tsp grated ginger
1tsp grated garlic
1/2 tsp vinegar
toasted sesame seeds
enough oil for deep frying

1. Season the chicken wings with sake, ginger juice and a sprinkle of salt and pepper and leave in the fridge for at least an hour or overnight.
2. To make the glaze, put all the ingredients except vinegar and the toasted sesame seeds in a shallow pan and bring to a boil. Remove from heat and add in the vinegar, stir and leave them aside to cool.
3. Remove the chicken from the fridge and pat them DRY with a paper or kitchen towel and toss them evenly with the potato flour.
4. Pour some oil in a heavy bottomed pan or a non stick pan , heat it up to 160C to deep fry the chicken. ( i did not use thermometer , once the oil is hot enough on medium high heat,  i put in the chicken to deep fry ) Fry the chicken till they are light golden brown,,  about 8 minutes. Can fry them in batches or all together. Remove from heat and transfer to a plate.
5. Increase the heat to 190C ( i increased the heat a little from earlier ) . Add the wings and deep fry for a further 2 minutes. Transfer the wings to the bowl of glaze and quickly toss to coat. Dont let them sit in the glaze for too long. Remove to a serving plate and sprinkle with some toasted sesame seeds.

I am submitting this post to Asian Food Fest #1( Oct 2013 ) : Japan hosted by Alan of Travelling Foodies

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Brown Sugar Raisin Bread

It is our bake along #53 and we are making bread again.  The recipe comes from Williams Sonoma and i actually find it strange that the weight volume of the bread flour from the book always different from the usual standard metric that we's is about 156gm per cup of bread flour, not just this recipe alone..i wonder what metric version it is using.i just stick to the usual 125gm per cup. I didnt soak the yeast first as usual as all along i am using instant yeast which i think doesnt require it to be hydrated first unless the yeast has been kept for a long time then i might just test the yeast with water.

The dough was easy to handle, not really sticky and within minutes after mixing the ingredients, it formed a dough. I did not bake it in a loaf pan , instead i just shaped them into sort of logs and free form out of tin.
This is quite a delicious raisin bread with brown sugar and cinnamon filling,  i think it pairs quite well , bread is soft but i find it turned a little dry the next to be consumed on the same day..ok, who doesnt know that? perhaps can make smaller loaves and keep them in the freezer.

big, black raisins within the filling....

Recipe ( from Williams Sonoma Baking Book  or here ) , slightly changed
1/2 tbsp instant yeast
1.5 tbsp sugar
150ml warm water *
1/2 cup warm milk
21gm melted butter
1tsp salt
1 small egg
375gm bread flour, or more if needed
3/4 cup dark raisins

78gm light brown sugar mixed with 2 tsp ground cinnamon

1. In the mixer bowl, put in the flour, add instant yeast, sugar and salt and stir to combine with a hook. Attach dough hook at slow speed and slowly pour in the milk, warm water, melted butter and egg and beat for about 2 mins. Add  in the raisins and increase speed and let it beat till dough is smooth and pulls away from the sides of the bowl. I let it beat for about 10-15 mins. If dough is sticky, add flour little at a time.

2. Transfer dough to a greased deep bowl and turn to coat it with oil. Cover loosely with plastic wrap or towel and let it rise until doubled in bulk.

3. Turn the dough onto a lightly floured surface, divide the dough into 2 and let it rest for 10 minutes. Roll each dough into rectangle shape , put in half of the fillings, leaving about an inch border on all sides. Roll the dough from the longer edge and shape into a log. Pinch the ends and long seam to seal in the filling. Place the dough onto prepared pan and let it rise for about 1 hour.

4. Preheat oven to 180C and bake till loaves are golden brown about 30 minutes. Turn onto racks and let cool completely.

 * i did not use all the water , left about 15ml.

do you notice that the crust of this loaf is a little different from the top shorter loaf? i put them both loaves a
little close to each other during the 2nd proofing, hence i had to pull the shorter loaf away and the dough deflated a little. 

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