The Yellow Curry

The Chef made a super yummy yellow chicken curry tonight! Being the usual me, I tried to promote the possibility of adding some kind of veggies (e.g., green peas) to the curry, but I wasn’t permitted to because the Chef in the house likes to stick to recipes à la lettre. :) For a vegetarian version of this curry, I think roasted cauliflower would be a great substitute for chicken!

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Ingredients:

  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 teaspoon grated fresh ginger
  • 3 tablespoons curry powder
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1/2 teaspoon white sugar
  • Salt to taste
  • 2 skinless, boneless chicken breast halves, cut into bite-size pieces
  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste
  • 1 cup plain yoghurt
  • 3/4 cup coconut milk
  • 1/2 lemon, juiced
  • 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper

Directions:

  • Heat olive oil in a pan over medium heat.
  • Sauté onion until lightly browned.
  • Stir in garlic, ginger, curry powder, paprika, bay leaf, sugar and salt.
  • Continue stirring for 2 minutes.
  • Add chicken pieces, tomato paste, yoghurt and coconut milk.
  • Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer for 20 – 25 minutes.
  • Remove the bay leaf.
  • Stir in lemon juice and cayenne pepper.
  • Let it simmer for 5 additional minutes.
  • It’s now ready to be served – with rice, bread or Naan.

Note: The whole thing takes 25-30 to cook.

Bon Apetit!

Sweet Potato Nachos

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2015 is here and I thought I would try ‘making a comeback’ by posting more regularly (maybe weekly or bi-weekly). In the past year or so, I have been posting my food pictures mainly on Instagram (among all other photos I take in my daily life). That said, with the new year come the New Year’s resolutions, including eating healthier, being more organized and disciplined.

The first recipe of the year is “Sweet Potato Nachos” inspired by one of Oh My Veggies‘ weekly meatless plans. I first made this last year, and I remember it was quite flavourful. Then I kind of forgot about it, until recently. This is a very easy dish to make, as a snack, or a simple meal. You can customize it with your preferred toppings, and you can also decide on how much topping you want to use.

Ingredients

  • 2 large sweet potatoes, peeled and sliced into thin rounds
  • Olive oil
  • Salt and pepper
  • Shredded cheddar cheese
  • A can of black beans
  • Celery, chopped
  • Avocado, diced
  • Green onions, chopped
  • Sour cream

Instructions

  • Preheat the oven to 400° F.
  • Toss the thinly sliced sweet potatoes in a bowl with olive oil, salt and pepper.
  • Place the sweet potatoes (in single layer preferably) in a baking pan and put it in the oven for 20-25 minutes.
  • Once the sweet potatoes turn brown and crispy, you can flip them so that the other side also cooks well.
  • Remove the pan from the oven and add the celery, black beans and cheese on top.
  • Bake for another 5-7 minutes.
  • Take the pan out and top with remaining shredded cheese, avocado, green onions and sour cream.

Enjoy and Happy New Year!

Black Bean (flour-less) Brownies

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When I stumbled on this brownies recipe on one of the favourite food blogs, my instant reaction was –> (O.o) Then I thought… well maybe this is not so weird because I know my Mom uses black/red beans to make Chinese pastries. Since I’m a beginner in baking, and only learned how to bake muffins so far, I thought why not give this a try and see how they turn out. I had nothing to lose really, apart from perhaps making some odd tasting brownies for my boyfriend and colleagues in honour of Valentine’s day! :P

Well, the verdict is that the brownies turned out very decent; they tasted very much like brownies, and you don’t even have to use flour or butter – just a tiny bit of oil! And it’s super easy to make! So if you’ve never made this kind of brownies before, why don’t you give it a try sometime? :)

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Ingredients:

  • 1 canned black beans, rinsed and drained
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1/2 cup cocoa powder
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1 tbsp milk
  • 1 tsp balsamic vinegar
  • 1/2 tsp oil
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp ground/instant coffee
  • 1 cup chocolate chips

Instructions:

  • Preheat the over to 350° F
  • Grease a non-stick baking pan with some baking spray
  • Line the pan with parchment paper

For the next steps, you can use a blender to mix all the ingredients, but if you don’t have one like me:

  • Pour the black beans in a mixing bowl and smash them well
  • Add the eggs, cocoa powder, sugar, milk, balsamic vinegar, oil, baking powder, baking soda and ground/instant coffee
  • Mix everything together well
  • Add in 1/2 cup of chocolate chips and combine
  • Pour the brownie batter into the pan
  • Sprinkle the other 1/2 cup of chocolate chips on top
  • Bake for about 30 minutes
  • Use a toothpick to see if it comes out (quite) clean
  • Remove the pan from the oven to let them cool
  • Slice them into squares

Voilà!!!

Quinoa Black Beans Salad

This year, winter lasted forever, spring just settled in with sun-rain-rain-sun-rain-hot-cold-hot-cold-cold-cold and summer might last for a month! But that’s ok as the shorter it is, the more we will cherish it, right? =)

Spring and summer mean less cravings for comfy food, at least in my case, and more determination to stick to healthy diets. And also, we bought a healthy meal plan this week which tells us what to eat every day at every meal. This makes it sooo easy as we don’t need to think so hard about what to cook every day. Being organized and having a plan for the whole week with easy to prepare dishes is all it takes to eat healthier. It’s easy to say “let’s just eat out” when you are starving after work, and have nothing in the fridge and no idea what to cook!

So today I made a simple and quick salad using boiled quinoa, black beans, corn and zucchini.

Quinoa is known to be a superfood, filled with protein, various vitamins and minerals and the seeds look so pretty, but I don’t consume it enough. I think I still have the pack that I bought a year ago… I just forgot about it, until lately when I told myself repeatedly that I’m going to use it more in my recipes.

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So here it goes!

Ingredients

  • 1 cup cooked quinoa
  • 1 cup cooked corn
  • 1 cup chopped zucchini
  • 1/2 cup black beans rinsed from can
  • 1 green onion, chopped
  • 1 jalapeno, chopped
  • 1/8 cup cilantro, chopped
  • Freshly squeezed lime to taste

Instructions

  • Boil water and cook the quinoa for 20 minutes or until you see the grains uncoil and they are soft.
  • Combine all ingredients with the cooked quinoa and mix.
  • Squeeze lime on top as desired
  • Salt and pepper and other spices (I used a bit of cayenne pepper, paprika and a little bit of tumeric) to taste!

Enjoy!

My First: Pork and Pickled Vegetable Dumplings

Since last year, I’ve experienced 3 “Ahaa I wanna make dumplings!!” moments.

1. One Summer night, I watched “The Road Home“, a great love drama where Zhang Ziyi made yummy-looking dumplings for the man she loved, and that inspired me to try making dumplings. But I didn’t and eventually forgot about it.

2. In December, when I went back home to visit, my Mom made some great dumplings, and I made a mental note to myself that I would attempt making my own when I come back. But I still didn’t and again forgot about it.

3. Last Friday, I went to one of the best dumplings restaurants in town and I finally decided that I wasn’t going to wait and forget about it again. So I rushed to the Chinese store the next day and got all the ingredients.

Perhaps I always thought that making dumplings is complicated and takes a long time, but it’s actually easier than we think. But I also didn’t make my own dumpling wrappers. I just bought them at the store for $2. I’m not a big fan of using flour and making dough… and I don’t know if I will ever be. :P

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Ingredients

  • 30 round dumpling wrappers
  • 1 lb ground pork
  • 1 pack pickled vegetables, finely chopped
  • 1 cup mini Bok Choy, finely chopped (optional, for veggie lovers)
  • 1/2 cup of green onions
  • 1/2 tsp grated ginger, minced
  • 3 gloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tbsp cornstarch
  • 1 tbsp soya sauce
  • 1 tsp sesame oil
  • 1/2 tsp white and black pepper

Instructions

  • Put ground pork in a big bowl with soya sauce, sesame oil, pickled vegetables, mini Bok Choy, green onion, ginger, garlic, cornstarch, pepper and mix all ingredients well together.
  • Place a dumpling wrapper in your palm and spoon about a teaspoon of filling in the middle. Dip one finger into a bowl of water and cornstarch mix and wet the edge of the wrapper.
  • Bring up the bottom side of the wrapper, fold up and press to seal the dumpling. This blog explains the folding process really well, with close up images for each step.
  • Place the dumpling on a plate and repeat the process until the filing is over.
  • There are 4 ways to cook the dumplings.
  1. You can steam the dumplings for 20 minutes.
  2. You can cook them for 8-10 minutes in hot boiling water.
  3. You can pan-fry the dumplings in a pan with a little bit of oil for about 2 minutes per side, then pour 1 cup of water, cover and cook until tender, for about 5-7 minutes. Serve with soya sauce mixture, or hot chilli sauce.
  4. You can also make a soup with the dumplings and add some green leaves or noodles in.

Note: The pickled vegetable adds a very nice flavour to the dumplings! Since it is quite salty in nature, be careful not to use too much soya sauce or salt in the dumpling mixture. Anyway you can dip the dumplings in soya sauce before eating if they lack a bit of taste.

Cheers! =)

Stir-Fried Rice

On a nice Saturday morning, you wake up late, when the sun is so high in the sky and you feel unbelievably hungry. You open the fridge to see what good food you could have and realize there’s just nothing… You see a few eggs left, some mushrooms, a cucumber and some leftover plain rice from the night before. You open the freezer and see a little bit of frozen Edamame and corn. Then it all clicks in your head, and you know exactly what you should make for a comforting quick and easy brunch: STIR-FRIED RICE! ;)

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Ingredients

  • Rice
  • Minced garlic
  • Chopped cucumber
  • Chopped mushrooms
  • Spring onion
  • 3 eggs
  • Frozen Edamame beans
  • Frozen corn
  • Salt and pepper
  • Oil
  • Soy sauce

Instructions

  • Fill a small pot of water and wait till it boils
  • Add the frozen Edamame beans with some salt and cook for 3-4 minutes
  • When done, let it cool a bit, then remove the beans from their pods(shells) and keep them in a bowl
  • Lightly beat the eggs with salt and pepper in a bowl
  • Heat your wok and add 2 tablespoons of oil, and when hot enough, pour the egg in to make an omelette
  • Tear the omelette with your spatula into small pieces and remove from wok
  • Turn the heat up on the stove; add oil again and fry your garlic until lightly brown (garlic is optional)
  • Toss the frozen corn, mushrooms, cucumber in the wok and stir fry for a few minutes
  • Add some salt and pepper
  • Add the cooked rice, preferably from the night before and mix everything thoroughly together with some soy sauce until all ingredients and rice are well blended
  • Add the omelette egg back into the pan. Mix again and spread some minced spring onions on the rice.

Tadaaaaaaaaaaa! :D

How to make good rice:
Bring 2 1/4 cups water to boil in medium saucepan. Add rice and bring to boil. Reduce heat to low, cover and cook until water is absorbed, for about 20 minutes.
It’s best to use rice that was made the day/night before because freshly cooked rice would be too hot, soft and sticky… unless you like your stir-fried rice mushy :P

Ants Climbing a Tree

Well well well… Haven’t been cooking much lately because of my hectic schedule; and when I did, I didn’t spend time writing down the recipe or taking any pictures. So, to make up for it, here’s another simple and easy recipe. It’s called Ants Climbing a Tree in one of my recipe books, but it’s essentially stir-fried vermicelli with ground meat and chilli bean paste.

On another note, I’m going back home for a month in a few weeks, and I plan to learn a lot recipes from my Dad, who is a great Chef and my Mom who is a “health freak”! :D I definitely will be documenting everything in photos and in writing and hope to publish more posts in the next few months to share with the world!

Ingredients:

  • 4 oz/115 g ground pork
  • 4oz/115 g ground beef
  • 3 tsp light soy sauce
  • pinch of salt
  • 1 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 1 tbsp chilli bean sauce
  • 1 tbsp dark soy sauce
  • 3/4 cup hot chicken stock
  • 5 oz/140 g thin rice noodles, soaked in warm water for 20 minutes and drained
  • 2 scallions, finely chopped

Instructions:

  • Combine the ground meats with 1 teaspoon of the light soy sauce and the salt.
  • In a preheated wok or deep pan, heat the oil and cook the ground meats until they begin to brown.
  • Add the chilli bean paste and stir rapidly.
  • Stir in the dark soy sauce.
  • Pour in the chicken stock, noodles and remaining light soy sauce.
  • Cover the work or pan and simmer for about 5-8 minutes, or until the pan is dry.
  • Shake the pan but do not stir.
  • Toss in the scallions and serve.