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Chinese Stir-Fried Glutinous Rice 生炒糯米饭 (Mom's Recipe)

Monday, October 31, 2011 | Labels: , , , | 33 Comments »

Fried glutinous rice is one of my favourite indulgences - glutinous rice or also known as sticky rice is almost glue-like in texture when cooked and when raw, the grains are almost fully opaque instead of other rice varieties which are typically slightly translucent.  Glutinous rice is not a 'daily rice' if you will, but is used deliciously in many popular dishes like today's fried rice dish or made into Chinese rice dumplings (zhongzhi).  Due to the gluey and sticky consistency, this rice is usually not served on its' own unlike the usual white or brown rice you see at most Chinese meals.  Frying glutinous rice is also different from the usual fried rice dishes where the rice grains are already cooked before you fry them but for glutinous rice, you use raw grains that have been soaked and actually add water as you stir-fry them for the rice to be fully cooked.


I am featuring my mom's simple recipe for today and she usually just adds Chinese waxed sausage, dried shrimp and some green onion slices.  Other popular additions include shitake mushroom slices, peanuts and dried scallops.  For this, I actually recommend using a non-stick flat-based pan (really!) as it is important for you to be able to 'lay' the rice in one layer after you add water each time for equal cooking between the grains.  The sausage slices should be sauteed until lightly browned and removed before you start cooking the rice.  Stir-fried glutinous rice is also a classic dim sum favourite and you may recall seeing glutinous rice on those dim sum carts.  Anyhow, I hope you give this a try sometime soon and admittedly, I myself was amazed and delighted at how easy it was to recreate this classic Chinese favourite at home.


Quick and Healthy Soba Noodles with Smoked Salmon Recipe

Sunday, October 30, 2011 | Labels: , , , | 10 Comments »

Sometimes you just want something fast, fresh and easy don't you? I love noodles although I admit that most of the time noodles don't not make the lightest meals.  Soba or buckwheat noodles are one of the exceptions, these incredibly good-for-you noodles make refreshing yet satisfying meals and are delicious dressed simply in some soy sauce and mirin.  I came up with  today's feature as I was craving for a light lunch and soba seemed like the perfect answer.  The soba was simply tossed in a savoury dressing of light soy sauce, mirin and then brightened up with some squirts of fresh lemon juice.  If you don't like smoked salmon, you can skip them and substitute with some tofu for a vegetarian dish.  As the smoked salmon is already salty, I did not add salt to the noodles and I used the soy sauce sparingly so do adjust the dressing accordingly if you decide to skip the smoked salmon.


I love cooking but sometimes easy dishes like today's feature are incredibly welcome  The only time you need to spend at the stove is for the boiling of the noodles and with minimal prepping, this dish was finished in under 15 minutes - perfect on a lazy Saturday afternoon.


Spicy Soy-Glazed Pork Soft Tacos (Flour Tortillas) with Photo Tutorial

Friday, October 28, 2011 | Labels: , , , , | 8 Comments »

When I first moved to San Diego, I was both fascinated and curious with the abundance of Mexican food everywhere.  I remember being confused about the various Spanish words that I pronounced wrongly at first - La Jolla where my office was located is pronounced 'La-Ho-ya' and of course tortillas are pronounced 'tor-ti-ya' instead of literal pronunciations.  Gradually, I got used to it and instinctively knew how to pronounce most names of the places and food around and in San Diego.  I have to admit that I am not a big fan of burritos; I just could not appreciate the beans and rice wrapped together with a flour or corn tortilla.  But I do like tacos and my preference is for soft tacos and made with just a plain flour tortilla instead of corn tortillas.  This was my first attempt at making tortillas at home and the homemade variety really trumps store-bought (not surprisingly!) although store-bought ones make for much quicker preparation.


Today's feature is a Chinese-Mexican fusion dish where the filling is simply pork marinated in some thick caramel sauce, chili and garlic powder.  The caramel sauce gave the pork the gorgeous sheen and is really a very versatile sauce to have around the kitchen.  You can usually find this sauce in the soy sauce sections at most Asian grocery stores.  I served the pork with some arugula or also known as rocket and topped everything off with some bird's eye chili peppers for even more heat.  Arugula is one of my favourite vegetables especially for salads but because of its' slightly bitter and sharp taste, not everyone is a fan.  If you are not, please feel free to substitute the arugula with other salad greens of your choice.  I really loved my fusion attempt this time around and I hope you'll give this a try soon or even better, experiment with different fillings and have fun.


This post is part of my Yuen Chun Recipes, an ongoing project on this blog.

Shrimp and Brussel Sprouts Fettucine Recipe

Wednesday, October 26, 2011 | Labels: , , , , , | 10 Comments »

Do you like brussel sprouts?  I've heard that brussel sprouts belong to the category of foods that require an acquired taste as it does have a slight bitter taste which I find delicious incidentally.  Interestingly, brussel sprouts remind me of a very popular vegetable used in Chinese cooking namely, 'kai lan' (also known as Chinese broccoli) which also has a slight bitter taste.  I find that fresh brussel sprouts trump the frozen variety so when I saw some nice-looking ones at the local grocery store, I knew I had to do something with it.  I decided on a quick pasta dish as for some inexplicable reason, I have been yearning for a good bowl of pasta lately and since I have not cooked fettucine in a long while, shrimp and brussel sprouts fettucine it is.


You have two options with today's easy dish where the cream is entirely optional, for a lighter dish skip it of course - pasta cooked together with the shrimp, brussel sprouts and garlic in some olive oil is great on its' own.   I blanched the brussel sprouts first in some salted water before adding them to the pasta as you have to make sure the insides of the brussel sprouts cook well and since the ones I got were rather large, I halved them as well.  Shrimp is so versatile and not surprisingly went really well with the brussel sprouts in this easy pasta dish.  You'll probably have most of the other required ingredients already in your pantry, namely garlic, some wine, salt (of course!) and finally some cream if you do opt for the more indulgent option.  


I am also sending this as an entry for Presto Pasta Nights hosted by Theresa of Food Hunter's Guide to Cuisine this week.  Presto Pasta Nights is a weekly event created by Ruth of Once Upon A Feast of which I had the pleasure of hosting quite a few months ago.  Click on the links if you want to join in the fun.  This is a basic recipe which you can tailor to suit your preferences, this would work very well with clams instead of shrimp as well.  Finally, I want to wish all of you celebrating Deepavali tomorrow a very Happy Deepavali!

Chinese Roast Pork Recipe with Step-by-Step Photos (烤肉)

Monday, October 24, 2011 | Labels: , , , , | 29 Comments »

I am not entirely sure what took me this long to feature this very classic and extremely delicious Chinese way of roasting pork or more popularly known as 'siu yuk' in Cantonese.  Siu Yuk is a popular Chinese dish enjoyed both on special occasions and well, even non-occasions.  When we were little, weekends usually meant longer breakfasts and no, lazy breakfasts did not consist of bacon and eggs but instead we would be digging into freshly made stir-fried rice noodles served with crispy-skinned roast pork on many Saturday mornings.   I always had space for 'just another piece' no matter how full I thought I was and the same applied to my siblings, so you can probably imagine that leftover roast pork is a rare occurrence in our household.   Anyway, what I never discovered till very recently was that my mom actually has her own recipe for homemade roast pork and to think of all those times I was pining for some good roast pork while I was living in the US (most sold over there at least in San Diego were either too dry or with soggy skin) - I wished I knew earlier but nevertheless, better late than never right?


What I am sharing today is a very simple method of making Chinese roast pork at home and all you need is pork belly meat (the 3 layer kind, pictured below), coarse salt, some vinegar, some five-spice powder and er of course an oven.  This even works in toaster ovens as long as the tray is large enough to hold the piece of pork you're using.  If you are getting your pork from an Asian grocer, all the better - just tell the butcher that you want to make Chinese roast pork and he will select the appropriate cut of pork for you.  By the way, even my dear sister who cooks only when absolutely necessary is looking forward to trying out this incredibly easy recipe which also happens to have a surprisingly short list of ingredients.  Just be sure to get the right cut of pork with the skin on and you'll be ready for some homemade crispy-skinned roast pork.


Chinese roast pork is also one of my favourite Chinese comfort foods as it probably reminds me of the many lazy Saturday breakfasts we had in our blissful childhood days :O.

Sake and Salt Grilled White Snapper Recipe

Saturday, October 22, 2011 | Labels: , , , | 10 Comments »

Sometimes, less is really more.  I actually got a free white snapper today as a replacement from my very kind fishmonger as I mentioned that the last red snapper I bought from him was not the freshest.  I have tried steaming snappers before on the request of a client but honestly, I much prefer to grill snappers as I think steaming or at least the Cantonese style of steaming requires other kinds of fish.  For today, I decided on a fusion route and rubbed the white snapper with some sake and rock salt before grilling.  I used Himalayan pink rock salt but honestly you can just use regular (preferably) coarse salt.  This reminds me of something I read somewhere earlier that claims one who uses Himalayan rock salts or other 'fancy' salts is of a pretentious sort, hmm I don't consider myself pretentious at all but I could be wrong, admittedly I was rather attracted by the pink salt's' photogenic properties and it is Pink October :O.  


The salt helped to retain the moisture in the fish and while the amount of salt used was nowhere near the amount for a salt crust, it still did the job pretty well.  The sake meanwhile provided additional fragrance while the garlic cloves basically got rid of the 'fishiness' factor.  At the final minute, I added some rosemary leaves but this is optional or you could substitute with your  favourite herb.  I thought the fish was tasty enough without a dipping or serving sauce but I find that snapper does go particularly well with browned butter sauce.  This easy and sumptuous grilled dish is excellent when you don't have a lot of time to spend in the kitchen and is quite low in calories to boot so this is definitely on my remake list.  By the way, I served the snapper with steamed rice and some plum tomatoes tossed in olive oil and balsamic vinegar on the side - altogether a very  healthy fusion dinner.


Note: This was my first time cooking and eating white snapper, I found that I preferred white snapper over red snapper a little bit as the fish tasted a little 'sweeter'.

Nectarine Puff Tarts (Short-Cut) and Props from Sydney...

Friday, October 21, 2011 | Labels: , , , | 16 Comments »

I thought that my prop-fever had subsided earlier but I was wrong, in fact very wrong, just ask anyone who knows me, really. When I heard that Donna Hay had a new line of dinnerware with Royal Doulton, I was so excited and yet frustrated at the same time since I could not just saunter into her store and pick some up for clear and unfortunate geographical reasons. Fast forward a few weeks,  I was so elated when my sister who happened to be visiting Sydney picked up a few dishes for me fully knowing the prop-freak in me and hey it was my birthday...thanks sis!  Anyway, I really loved this plate in particular and I thought this particular shade of blue was incredibly soothing and just so gorgeous.  By the way, my sister (and most other people I know 'in real life') seriously think I'm nuts to be drooling over plates, they could be right but there are worse things to drool over in life, I feel and I'm sure my fellow food bloggers totally understand my 'condition'.  Alright, enough about props - today's easy tarts or puffs are another short-cut of mine, baked with store-bought puff pastry sheets, a little sacrilegious perhaps but incredibly time-saving and arguably produces very good results especially when you compare the results with the 'work' involved.


For today's offering, I merely sliced up some fresh nectarines, tossed them in some lemon juice and sugar and arranged them on top of the puff pastry rectangles for baking.  I added a quick glaze of apricot jam as well after they were baked for some sheen on the nectarine slices.  I love making my own puff pastry at home when I have the time and the inclination but when you're in a pinch or if you're having one of those lazy days, store-bought puff pastry sheets are very welcome indeed.  

The little blue square dish that the nectarines are on is from Gordon Ramsay's line, selected by my lovely sister as part of my 'prop presents' :O

Just in case you're interested, Donna's Royal Doulton line is available for purchase on her official website.  I am very tempted to order more online now that I have seen how gorgeous they are but my shelf-space begs to differ...we shall see!

Thai Creamy Chicken Soup Recipe (Tom Kha Gai) and some news....

Wednesday, October 19, 2011 | Labels: , , , , , , | 20 Comments »

If you like Thai flavours and would welcome a bit of comfort food, I'm pretty sure you will like tom kha gai. Today's indulgently creamy and comforting chicken soup is quite a new discovery to me as I have always opted for the clearer soups like the extremely popular tom yum soup whenever I have Thai food.  Tom kha gai is made creamy with the addition of fragrant coconut milk while lemongrass, kaffir lime leaves and galangal make up most of the Thai flavours.  Extremely comforting, this is perfect for the cooler season and yes, this even applies to us in Malaysia since it's monsoon season - so comforting to have this when it's raining cats and dogs outside.  Although not exactly the most calorie-friendly, this soup is good for the occasional indulgence but in the interest of lesser calories, you can try substituting the coconut milk with low-fat milk for a more waistline-friendly dish.  This was extremely easy to whip up and literally took just about 20 minutes to complete so that's another plus point in my books.


In other news, I am very pleased and flattered to share that my salmon spaghetti was featured on Glamour Magazine's website today and I sold my first photo off Getty Images - quite a good birthday month 'blog-speaking' I must say.  Oh and also, Jamie's perfect roasted potatoes made it onto both Foodgawker's most favourited and Tastespotting's most popular list for the past week.  Very happy!  Last but not least, a big thank you to my dear readers for the kind birthday wishes, comments and generally for supporting Smoky Wok.  Have a great week ahead! :)


Thai Spicy Pasta Salad

Monday, October 17, 2011 | Labels: , , , , , | 4 Comments »

On hot days, I do crave a refreshing salad and since I still had an unopened packet of bow-tie pasta in my kitchen, I thought it was time to put it to good use.  Today's pasta salad combines spicy, tangy and altogether refreshingly appetizing flavours and is also extremely easy for you to put together.  I simply tossed the bow-tie pasta with a tangy and spicy Thai stir-fry sauce, added some plum tomatoes, red chili pepper slices and topped everything off with some cilantro.  To increase the tangy flavours in the dish, I added some smoky balsamic vinegar which rounded everything off nicely.  This dish was something I created on the fly and I think you would probably have most of the ingredients in your pantry already, hence I shall call this a low-maintenance salad dish :O.

Another thing I loved about this dish is that it is equally delicious served warm or chilled.  If you don't have balsamic vinegar, rice vinegar makes a great substitute although the balsamic does add a tinge of smokiness that I really love.  I hope you'll give this a try the next time you're craving for a refreshing salad dish!


This recipe is part of my Yuen Chun Recipes, an ongoing project on this blog.

Jamie Oliver's Perfect Roasted Potatoes

Saturday, October 15, 2011 | Labels: , , | 13 Comments »

Most of the time, I don't feature side-dishes at least not as one post on its' own.  This time, I thought these roasted potatoes perfected by none other than Jamie Oliver warranted a blog post of its' own.  These turned out perfectly crispy on the outside while maintaining a soft and tender center, they were quite perfect to be honest.  My sister was back from Singapore and I wanted to make Thomas Keller's roast chicken  for dinner so naturally I was looking for some ideas for a side dish too.  She requested potatoes and I thought it would be good to practice and try to perfect my own roasted potatoes recipe.  I then stumbled upon Jamie Oliver's recipe and since he claims his recipe was perfect, I knew I had to give it a try.


I am not sure how perfect these would be for you but they were very well-received and made a perfect side dish to Keller's crispy-skinned yet tender roast chicken.  According to Oliver, it is quite crucial to toss the potato slices against each other after they are parboiled as this helps to create an additional layer when the potatoes bump against each other that crisps up in the oven.  I am not sure of the science behind this, but the additional step or two didn't seem too much against the premise of some perfectly roasted potatoes!  I flavoured my roast potatoes with some sprigs of rosemary and dashes of olive oil, mixed in with some unpeeled garlic cloves.  The possibilities for the flavourings are endless and another that comes to mind is possibly a combination of thyme and butter.  Apart from some additional steps, this is still a very low-maintenance side dish as you can just roast it in the oven while the chicken is roasting as well.  Prepare another side dish of vegetables or mushrooms and you've got a full dinner waiting for your guests.  For today, I whipped up an easy dish of sauteed mushrooms in garlic butter and red wine to serve together with some salad, these potatoes and the roast chicken.


Creamy Salmon Spaghetti Recipe and Happy Birthday to Me!

Thursday, October 13, 2011 | Labels: , , , | 13 Comments »

I decided on this pretty pasta dish to feature since it's Pink October and also October is my birthday month, I thought featuring a dish with salmon would be fitting.  To be honest, I am always slightly miffed that October is also Halloween month as I just never got into the Halloween thing hmm, ghouls and garish costumes don't seem very birthday-like to me.  Autumn however is my favourite time of the year, especially when I was living in a four-season country (I mean, it's summer all-year in Malaysia!), there is just something slightly pensive yet beautiful about autumn to me.  Anyhow, I digress.  Now, back to the food - spaghetti cooked with salmon is always a favourite of mine, and for today I am presenting a creamy version mixed in with some spinach and simply cooked with garlic, white wine and seasoned with some sea salt and black pepper.


While not exactly authentic, this pretty and decadent pasta dish is something that you can whip up quickly and easily whenever you have unexpected company or just for yourself when you feel like it.  Warm and creamy pasta is always comforting, is it not and for salmon lovers, this is the perfect combination.   The salmon chunks were also pan-fried with the garlic and white wine before the cream was added which made the sauce taste a little more fragrant I thought.  I do hope you'll give this dish a try soon!


Braised E-Fu Noodles (Yee Mee) with Pork and Shimeji Mushrooms Recipe - 焖伊麵

Wednesday, October 12, 2011 | Labels: , , , | 4 Comments »

I am always fascinated whenever I walk down the noodle aisle at an Asian grocery store, the huge variety of noodles is simply astounding and the culinary possibilities endless.  E-Fu noodles or yee mee (伊麵) as it is more popularly known in Malaysia are a constant favourite at a lot of Chinese festive occasions (the thicker version as presented today which is usually uncut). 伊麵 is also referred to as 壽麵 (longevity noodles) when eaten as a celebratory dish on birthdays where the long noodle strands are symbolic of a full and long life.  E-fu noodles are first fried, dried and usually sold in large 'patties'.  The texture of the noodles is quite toothsome and are especially suitable for braising. For today, I am featuring an easy braised version with pork slices, shimeji mushrooms and Nappa cabbage strips all braised/ simmered in a flavouful chicken broth and abalone sauce mixture.


Noodles make up a significant part of my cooking repertoire, fry them, put them in broth, braise them, mix them up together - there is something for everyone, don't you think?  If you have yet to try this kind of noodles, do note that they taste 'stronger' as they have already been fried and retain a slight 'smokiness' which many find pleasing.   However, I do think that e-fu noodles are not as light as some other varieties of noodles like say rice noodles and definitely fills you up more.  Apart from braising, these noodles also taste great in soups or simply stir-fried. 


This recipe is part of the Yuen Chun Recipes series.

Teochew (Chiu Chou) Steamed Fish (Pomfret) - 潮州蒸鱼

Monday, October 10, 2011 | Labels: , , , , , | 13 Comments »

Teochew or Chiu Chou cuisine offers a lot of healthy steamed, stir-fried and braised dishes.  Seafood is featured heavily as it is a coastal region and one of my favourite methods of eating crabs is the famous Teochew Cold Crabs which I shall attempt one day at home.  Today's feature is steamed pomfret Teochew style which differs from the usual Cantonese style steamed fish one sees in a lot Chinese restaurants.  Fish is steamed with tomatoes, salted plums, salted vegetables, chilli peppers, ginger and green onions (mushroom slices can be added as well) so the flavours are savoury, sour, spicy and altogether very appetising.  The resulting dish is also more watery than the Cantonese version where fish is steamed with ginger and green onions and then a soy-based sauce is made separately for pouring over the fish right after the fish is steamed.


Although I am a big fan of the Cantonese style of steaming, it is nice to have an alternative sometimes.  Most recipes call for simply steaming the fish together with the vegetables until cooked, I added an extra step on mum's suggestion by steaming the fish lightly with the ginger and green onions first, then discarding the liquid and then adding all the other vegetables for steaming until cooked.  I find that this removes any fishiness from the fish, perhaps this is an influence from my usual Cantonese steamed fish as the liquid from the steaming of the fish is discarded.  Then, again this is just my personal preference.  All in all, this is an easy, quick and healthy way of cooking fish and I hope you'll give this a try soon.


Winner of GIVEAWAY!

Sunday, October 09, 2011 | Labels: , | No Comment »

The winner of my name-change celebration Giveaway for the "Breath of a Wok" cookbook by Grace Young is Kim! Congratulations!

Kim, please contact me via email on jann[at]smokywok[dot]com.  Thanks to everyone else who participated and of course, thanks for supporting 'Smoky Wok'.

Vegetables and Spare Ribs Soup Recipe

Saturday, October 08, 2011 | Labels: , , , | No Comment »

Apart from being a self-confessed noodle freak fan, I am also a huge lover of soups, especially Chinese soups probably also due to the comfort factor.  In terms of comfort food however, soups are still top on my list and I love both the rich slow-cooked soups and quick soups such as today's feature.  Today's soup is very easy to fix up and the ingredients can be found easily in regular grocery stores.  I used daikon (radish), carrots, onions for the vegetables and my protein of choice were some spareribs.  Oh and I added some tomatoes for a little hint of tartness, altogether a very nutritious, easy and appetising soup.


This soup may be reminiscent of the popular Malaysian ABC Soup as the main differences are that potatoes are included in the latter while today's feature has daikon instead.  The Chinese believe that daikon has cooling properties and as I was in need of some cooling down, I used it in today's soup.  However, as always feel free to add your favourite vegetables to this basic recipe.  By the way, if you have any idea why ABC soup is named as such, please do enlighten me - I don't seem to have a proper answer, is it because making the soup is as easy as A-B-C? :O


Ginger Scallion (Green Onions) Beef Noodles Recipe 姜葱牛肉面

Thursday, October 06, 2011 | Labels: , , , | 1 Comment »

Beef stir-fried with ginger and scallions (green onions) is a definite Chinese stir-fry classic and also makes a great topping on noodles for a simple and comforting meal.  For this easy dish, I would recommend a Chinese wok as the slight 'smokiness' from the wok breath is what makes this dish special.  If you've been around for a while, it's probably no secret that I am a HUGE noodle fan so I thought it would be good to combine one of my favourite stir-frys with some simple wheat noodles for a deliciously comforting meal.


In other news, I am in the midst of completing my second official assignment which involves recipe design, cooking, styling and shooting and although a little exhausting is something that I am enjoying immensely.  Funnily enough, this blog has opened up certain avenues for me which if you had asked me a year earlier, I probably would never have imagined getting such a project.  So I guess what I'm getting at is that anything is really possible and for me, this is a world beyond share prices, quarterly reports, conference calls and the like (did I hear a yawn?):O.  I'm keeping it quite short today but please don't forget to enter my little cookbook giveaway for "The Breath of a Wok" by Grace Young that closes on October 8th. 


Japchae (Korean Sweet Potato Noodles) with Fish Cakes Recipe ~ 잡채

Wednesday, October 05, 2011 | Labels: , , | No Comment »

I've been craving for some japchae lately and although I wished a plate would appear out of the blue for me, obviously that was not going to happen.  So, in order to satisfy my inexplicable craving that just would not go away, I went about it the hard way and made some for myself.  The thing with japchae is that it is not difficult to make at all, but it can be a little time-consuming considering all the slicing, chopping and separate stir-frying involved.  I always have to include spinach in my japchae and for today, I added some fish cakes for a slightly different twist - usually beef is the most popular protein of choice.  If I am not mistaken, seafood japchae is more popular in the Northern regions of Korea.  I loved the savoury fish cakes with the slightly sweet stir-fried noodles (dangmyun) which also added some different texture.


Generous amounts of sesame oil is used and I added the usual ingredients like spinach, carrots, garlic, some sliced omelette and topped it all off with some fragrant toasted sesame seeds.  Japchae is almost a must-have dish at festive occasions and it's not hard to see why.  Apart from the delicious flavours, japchae is a vibrantly colourful dish, pleasing to the eye and to the palate.  Dangmyun or sweet potato noodles are also gluten-free and can be found in most Asian grocery stores.  Uncooked dangmyun is usually transparent with a greyish tinge and once cooked, the noodles take on the colours of soy sauce and sesame oil.


Also, don't forget to enter my cookbook giveaway for a chance to win "The Breath of Wok" by Grace Young, closing end of this week!

Spicy Belacan (Shrimp Paste) Eggplant/ Brinjal Stir-fry Recipe

Monday, October 03, 2011 | Labels: , , , | 2 Comments »

I almost forgot about this dish that I have been wanting to feature until I was looking through my flickr photo stream - this is an easy and spicy vegetarian  vegetables (almost meatless) dish that is made with one of Malaysia's culinary icons, belacan or shrimp paste.  Belacan is essentially fermented shrimp paste and as you can probably gather, is very pungent, aromatic and just all-round delicious to belacan lovers.  For the uninitiated, it will probably take a little or rather a lot of getting used to.  I have seen various reactions to this Malaysian culinary icon, from slight wrinkling of noses to an all-out leaving/ running out of the kitchen. So, consider yourself warned if you do venture to get some shrimp paste from the Asian grocery store to try out any of my belacan recipes.

Spicy Eggplant/ Brinjal in Belacan (Shrimp Paste)

For today's vegetarian dish, I added some dried chilli peppers, shallots, candle nuts and some turmeric powder.  The belacan itself has to be toasted, either dry-fried in a wok or toasted in a toaster oven.  This step is essential for maximum fragrance and although you can use a food processor or blender to make the spice paste, I suggest that you use a mortar and pestle at least once and you'll probably really see/ taste the difference for yourself.  Whenever I make spice pastes, I always use a mortar and pestle as apart from the superior texture and flavours from the traditional method, I find washing up much easier - I hate washing blenders/ food processors :O.


Kimchi Fried Rice with Mushrooms Recipe - Beosot Kimchi Bokkeumbap 버섯김치볶음밥

Saturday, October 01, 2011 | Labels: , , , , , | 10 Comments »

Just another easy and satisfying dish - kimchi fried rice this time with mushrooms.  Simple, delicious and totally addictive kimchi fried rice is one of my favourite Asian comfort foods.  As always, fried rice is usually made with leftover rice (day old is preferred) and in this case is a great way of using up slightly overripe kimchi.  Apart from kimchi fried rice, overripe kimchi is also popularly used in spicy stews like this.  I have been craving kimchi fried rice for a bit and finally got my fix today. For the uninitiated, kimchi might take a little getting used to, it is basically fermented vegetables (in this case cabbage) in a pungent brine of gochujang (fermented chilli bean paste), gochugaru (Korean chilli pepper powder), anchovies and a host of other fermenting ingredients which vary according to recipes.


As I wanted a quick fix, I only used ingredients I had in my kitchen to save myself a trip to the grocery store but as with all fried rice, feel free to add whatever other ingredients that you fancy.  For today, I used some fresh shitake mushrooms, sesame seeds and red chilli peppers for an easy vegetarian meal.  It is also customary to serve kimchi bokkeumbap with a fried egg on top but since I was feeling a little lethargic, I skipped that, I did add some toasted sesame seeds and green onions as garnish which added to the fragrance of the dish.  This fried rice is easy to make, filled with spicy flavours and just so addictive.  You'll probably have to try it to know what I'm raving about :O.  Oh, and if you don't usually cook Korean food, you'll need to get some gochugaru (Korean red chilli pepper powder) to complete the dish.  Just like gochujang (fermented red pepper bean paste), gochugaru is indispensable in a lot of Korean cooking. 


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