Asian flavors: egg noodles stir-fry with chicken and bok choy

It has been a really really long time since the last time I posted a new recipe up here. But the good news is I’m back in Foodie Town. This one is dedicated to all those who love a nice asian noodle wok but hate that greasy, fatty chinese take away. With only a few ingredients, it’s simple, healthy and delicious. And by the way, it takes only 15 minutes in total to do this, what’s better than quick and tasty? Anyway, this is how to make it:

*Ingredients: (1 portion)

– Chicken breast – 100g
– Dried shiitake mushrooms – 30g + 2 tbsp minced shallots/garlic for stir-frying + Oil 1-2 tbsp
– Light/dark soy sauce + oyster sauce to taste
– 1 tbsp Shaoxing wine + 1 tbsp oyster sauce + 1 tbsp soy sauce to marinate the chicken
– 2 large Shanghai bok choy
– Dried egg noodles – 100g
– A little water for the sauce

*Method:

1. Soak the shiitake mushrooms in water at least 1 hour before cooking

2. Slice the chicken breast into long thin strips and marinate for at least 15 minutes.

3. In a wok, turn up the heat and sweat the shallots and garlic until they are fragrant.

4. Now, turn the heat to max, add the chicken, mushroom and extra soy/oyster sauce. The fire should be burning like you’re in hell right now. That’s called “breath of the dragon”.

5. Slice the bok choy into long and thin strips as well, blanch in water for 1 min. Add them to the wok with the chicken.

6. Blanch the egg noodles in hot water for 3-4 minutes then drain, then add immediately to the wok.

7. Add some more seasoning and water to the noodle.

8. Continue cooking for about 3 minutes, then plate it up and serve!

DONE.

 

Le Degustationator.

577894_10200490205484847_1609294327_n

Penne with steak and creamy mushroom

Hi guys!

Long time no see really! How is everyone doing? (including my blog, hehe). I’ve been really really lazy but busy as well lately and unfortunately food blogging just isn’t the top priority. But after a good friend of my told me that I should get started with the blog again (Thanks Trang!) and by the way, she has an awesome blog too, hehe. But hey, I’m back again with a new recipe! Wooohoooo!!!

Well actually… It was no real recipe and was pure creativity in the first place. Saw some nice steaks, marinated it with onion powder, salt and pepper, some chilli flakes and seared it until it was medium rare. Pasta cooked till al dente, stirred in a nice thick, creamy sauce with wild mushroom. The flavors were in just beautiful, the steak was nice and juicy, still pink in the middle and it was perfect for a dinner 🙂

*Ingredients: (1 portion)
– Flank steak (dry-rubbed with some onion and chilli powder) – 150g
– Wild mushrooms – 50g + 1 tbsp minced shallots for stir-frying + Olive oil 1 tbsp
– Salt and pepper to taste
– Cream – approx. 30ml
– Parmesan cheese – just not too much!
– Penne pasta – 100g
– Parsley to garnish

*Method:

1. Cook the steak to rare or medium/rare. Let it rest on the chopping board for 5 min.

2. Cook the pasta al dente, 8-10 min. Keep it hot.

3. Heat up the pan, add oil, shallots. Add in the mushrooms when the pan is nice and hot. Stir-fry for a few minutes and season generously with salt and pepper.

4. Slice your steak into thin, long strips.

5. Add the pasta and a bit of the starchy water that you cooked the pasta into the pan. Season again.

6. Add the cream and steak. Stir-fry for another 1 min.

7. Plate and garnish with chopper parsley.

DONE! BON APPETIT!!!!!

Image

Warm family dinner: Fettucine with spicy meatballs!

I dare not call this an Italian dish because I don’t really know if they have “spaghetti and meatballs” in any authentic Italian kitchen or not (I guess it’s more of an American “invention”). Nevertheless, this is my own take on this “classic” dish and I promise this is a recipe that even Italians would love 😀 What’s brilliant about this dish is that the meat is so soft and succulent, the sauce well balanced and… it’s easy to make! You can do it in a big batch and just reheat when you need, so it saves a lot of cooking time as well. Now let’s get to the point.

*Ingredients: serves 4 people

– Meatballs:

  • 200 g minced pork
  • 200 g minced beef
  • 50 g bread crumbs
  • enough milk to soak the bread crumbs
  • 50 g parmesan cheese
  • 1 tbsp cayenne pepper
  • 1 tsp basil
  • 1 tsp thyme
  • 1 tsp onion powder
  • 1 small shallot diced
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • olive oil
  • 300-400 g fettucine
  • fresh basil to garnish

– Tomato sauce:

  • 400 g canned chopped tomatoes
  • 100 ml of beef stock
  • 1 diced shallot
  • 1 chopped garlic
  • 1 tsp basil, oregano, thyme

*Methods:

1. Warm the milk and soak the bread crumbs for 10-15 minutes.

2. Mix the meat well together with the spices, cheese and 1/2 of the diced shallots in a large bowl.

3. Add the soaked breadcrumbs and mixed thoroughly again.

4. Cover the bowl with clingfilm and let rest in the fridge for 30-45 minutes.

5. Uncover the clingfilm and start forming the meatballs (the size is your choice)

6. Heat a non-stick pan with olive oil and start browning the meat.

7. In another pot, heat olive oil and stir-fry the garlic and shallots until fragrant.

8. Add the canned tomatoes and herbs.

9. Add the stock and turn heat on low , only simmering.

10. Add the meatballs to the sauce and cook until the sauce is reduced to the right thickness!

11. Served with fresh fettucine. DONE!

Enjoy your meal!

 

Le Degustationator.

Authentic Italian cooking: Bucatini alla Bolognese (Mì ống sốt bò băm)

Okay, okay, for those who are real Italians (potential critics), I’m sorry that I used Bucatini but not Fettucine or Penne for this reach Ragu sauce but I just love Bucatini so much ! 😀 And for all my blog viewers, I’ve been really busy and lazy lately so it’s only until today that I’m updating my blog with a new post, I hope I can really make up for my laziness. I hope this point won’t disappoint you and I believe it definitely won’t!

Almost everyone has had a taste of some sort of pasta with the red sauce everyone calls “bolognese sauce” at some point in their lives, but how many of you had a real bolognese sauce? Do you in fact know what are the ingredients in a Bolognese sauce? And surprise surprise, a real Bolognese ragu uses very little tomato and the sauce supposed to be rich and velvety with a red/brown color from the meat juices. This is NOT a tomato sauce with a bit of minced meat. The authentic recipe also doesn’t require any spice at all, only the “mirepoix” vegetables (onion,carrot,celery) and there’s MILK in this essay as well (surprise again!) Oh and lastly, if you’re going to plan having this dish for dinner, I advise you to make it after lunch because it’s going to take a good 4-5 hours to get the best flavor out of the sauce. Okay, enough talking, let’s get to the point!

*Ingredients: serves 6 people

  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 100 g ‘pancetta’ (bacon NOT smoked bacon if you can’t find pancetta), diced
  • 200 g onions, diced
  • 150 g carrots, diced
  • 150 g of celery
  • 250 g lean minced beef
  • 250 g lean minced pork
  • 250 g lean minced veal
  • 150 ml white wine
  • 400g canned chopped tomatoes
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 800g-1kg dried tagliatelle/fettucine/parpadelle/penne/rigatoni
  • 150 ml of milk or 100 ml of light cream
  • freshly grated parmigiano reggiano, to serve

*Methods:

1. Preferably a heavy-based cooking pot, set the fire on medium-high and render the pancetta/bacon.

2. Add the diced onion,carrot and celery to the pot. Turn the heat down to medium and stir-fry until soft.

3. Turn up the heat and add the meat gradually so they can brown a bit. Season generously with salt and pepper.

4. After the meat has been browned evenly, add the white wine. Turn heat on very high so that the alcohol can be evaporated.

5. After 2 minutes, add the canned tomatoes and turn the heat on very low.

6. Cover the pot. Stir the sauce every 30-45 minutes to ensure there’s no burning in the bottom.

7. After 3-4 hours, open the lid and add the milk and adjust the seasoning. Turn the heat on medium-high.

8. Cook the pasta according to the instructions on the package and serve with the Bolognese ragu and parmigiano reggiano cheese. DONE!

Enjoy!

Le Degustationator.

Street of Hanoi: warm and crunchy eel vermicelli (Miến Lươn Trộn)

Hi all!

Have you been to Vietnam? If you’ve been there and if you’re observant, you will probably see some small street vendors selling this dish called “Miến Lươn” in Vietnamese which basically means “Eel Vermicelli” if translated literally. The dish comes in three main versions: stir-fry (I love that one), soup (popular but doesn’t really suit my taste because the soup destroys the crunchiness of the eel) and finally, the third version, which is very modern and is loved by all Vietnamese teenager, is sort of in between, it has a very thin sauce but it’s not stir fried or a soup. That’s the one I’m gonna show you how to make today. So what to know about this beautiful dish? I guess vermicelli (some call it “glass noodle”) isn’t too common outside of some Asian countries (not so sure though). It’s a transparent sort of spaghetti, quite thin, and comes in two versions: brown and white. The brown one is normally made from “Arrowroot” but then it can be processed so it turns white (I hate that…), I think brown is sexier 😀 And there is the white one that is made from mung beans, they don’t taste so different from each other but the brown one is just better ^^ (because I said so!) I also admit that the “eel” sounds kinda gooey and disgusting but it’s not! (Well the fresh and alive ones are really slippery and annoying, looks ugly as well :D) The eel that is used for this dish is crunchy  (you can buy these fried/crunchy eels or make them yourselves, I didn’t make them myself). It’s just so amazing! Let’s see how we should proceed.

*Ingredients: serves 2

– 200 gr vermicelli

– (100 gr bean sprouts to add some crunch if you want, I didn’t have that day so…)

– 120 gr fried eel

– 3 tbsp light soy sauce (or Maggi)

– 2 tbsp oyster sauce

– 1 tbsp fish sauce

– 1 tsp sesame oil

– spring onion (as much as you like)

– 1 tsp sugar

– Vietnamese fresh herbs (Vietnamese coriander or Persicaria odorata is a MUST!)

– 1 tsp fried onions/shallots for garnish

– 1-2 tbsp of pork/chicken/beef/eel stock

– 1 tsp chili oil*

*You can find the recipe for making this sauce in my Snail noodle soup post at:

https://foodloverguy94.wordpress.com/2012/06/29/a-taste-of-home-vietnamese-snail-noodle-soup/

*Methods:

1. Soak the dry vermicelli in cold water for 20-30 minutes. Blanch the vermicelli in hot water for few minutes until it’s cooked (you gotta taste). Make sure it’s not overcooked. Drain and set aside.

2. Put the stock in a sauce pan. Add all the sauce together. Add the fresh herbs. Add spring onions last.

3. Mix the vermicelli in the sauce, transfer to a plate.

4. Mix the fried eel in the vermicelli.

5. Garnish with some more fresh herbs and fried shallots. Dress with a little of chili oil.

!!!SERVE IMMEDIATELY!!!

Have fun!

Le Degustationator.

A taste of Home: Vietnamese Snail Noodle Soup (Bún Ốc)

You visit Hanoi and you will definitely see this dish being sold literally everywhere, it’s a big hit with the locals and maybe the tourists as well !? The key is to get over the “snail” part which sounds kinda scary but actually tastes quite nice if done properly. The snails have to be fresh, not gooey, slightly chewy (Vietnamese people love chewy food 😀 ) but it must never be so firm as giving the person eating it the feeling of chewing on a bullet!!! But the tough part is the soup which the dish totally depends on for it’s success or failure. The perfect soup should not be too oily, too cloudy, too sour or too sweet/salty. It’s all about a delicate balance. The subtle sweetness and flavour of the broth comes from the snail borth in combination with the juice of the pork ribs which are slow cooked for hours prior to making the soup. Now let’s fine out how to make this traditional Vietnamese favourite… MY WAY!

*Ingredients: (everything must be cooked to taste, I don’t have the exact amount)

a) Main ingredients: serves 4-5

– 2 medium shallots, chopped
– 4-6 fresh tomatoes, seeds removed, quartered
– 300 gr canned tomatoes
– 400 gr fresh snails (w/o shells)
– fish sauce to taste
– salt to taste
– 100 ml of special rice wine vinegar (in Vietnamese we call it “giấm bỗng”)*
– vegetable oil
– 400-500 gr rice noodles
– 10 cups of pork broth (recipe follows)

b) Broth:

– salt to taste
– pork ribs 400 gr
– pork belly 500 gr
– 1 medium shallot
– 1 small ginger

c) Chili oil:

– salt to taste
– 1 tsp sugar
– 200 ml neutral oil
– spring onion: as much as you want!
– chili powder 3 tbsp
– 1 clove of garlic, chopped
– 4-5 fresh red chilies

d) Garnishes:

– morning glory (Rau Muong, aka Chinese Spinach ‘ong choy’), stems only, thinly sliced or curled
– bean sprouts
– Vietnamese coriander (rau ram)
– Perilla leaves
– Fried tofu
– shrimp paste (if you will, it has a very strong smell and pungent taste)
– fresh Chilies
– lemon/lime

*This type of vinegar is difficult to find if you’re not in Vietnam, it’s not the common rice wine vinegar you find, it has a very nice and subtle acidic flavour and quite unfortunately, it is extremely crucial for a successful “Bún ốc”. I don’t even know how it is actually made 😀 Sorry!!!

*Method:

1. Cook the rice noodles according to instructions on the package. Shock in cold water afterwards.

2. Put pork ribs and pork belly, water, ginger and shallots into a pot. Bring to a boil and reduce to medium low. Simmer for 3 hours, skim any scum as it appears. Reserve the pork belly, we’ll use them later.

3. Add vegetable oil to turn on on medium heat. Sautee  shallots until translucent about 2 mins. Throw in fresh tomatoes and season liberally with salt and sauteed until soft about 5 mins.

4. Pour in canned tomatoes including the juices and pork broth and bring to a boil.  Turn down to low heat and simmer until ground pork is cooked. Season with fish sauce, salt and sugar (shrimp paste if you will)

5. Stir fry the snails in some shallots, season with salt.

6. Pour the 200 ml of oil in a sauce pan, turn on medium heat. Add the white parts of the spring onion and stir fry until fragrant. Add chopped garlic. Add chili powder and fresh chili. Finish off with the rest of the spring onions. Season with salt and a bit of sugar. Transfer to a jar to use later.

7. Blanch the rice noodles in hot water to heat the noodles up.

8. Slice the pork belly into thin slices.

9. Plate the dish up and serve with fresh herbs!!!

Leave comments if you love it 😀

Le Degustationator.

A little nostalgia with Southern-style beef noodle salad (Bún bò Nam Bộ)

Just 3 days ago, I and my girlfriend celebrated the anniversary of our first real date 😀 We’ve been together for a several years, there are ups and downs but we still love each other and … we both love food!!! This dish is so special because it brings me back to the day when I came to her house to prep some food for a party the next day, wearing a chef’s jacket. No doubt it was a beautiful moment. In fact, the photo you see is taken at her house about a year ago, made by me and my girlfriend with a lot of love. She did some prep and help out cooking as well (by the way she makes some awesome cakes and pies, gotta try them out some time 😉 ). So what to know about this dish? Southern-style beef noodle salad is a typical Vietnamese dish, it’s a street food but you can also find it in restaurants. The bottom line is that the dish is comfort food for us Vietnamese, and it’s so typical because of that delicate balance between sweet, sour, hot and salty in combination with the freshness and crunch of the beautiful fresh herbs you can find in Vietnam. Every mouthful has to be full of different textures and has to be unforgettable. If you have a chance to visit Vietnam, it’s the dish to try. But why not try this at home and impress your family and friends? (maybe cook with your girlfriend like me? 😀 )

*Ingredients: (approx.) serves 2

– Rice noodle 220 gr (Bún tươi/khô)
– Beef (tender cuts would be great) 200 gr (Bò)
– 2 asian shallots finely chopped (hành ta)
– Minced garlic 3 tbsp (tỏi)
– Roasted peanuts (unsalted) 3 tbsp (lạc rang)
– Fried shallots 2 tbsp (hành phi)
– Fish sauce + Rice vinegar + Sugar = Sweet sour sauce (Nước mắm chua ngọt)
– Light soy + Oyster sauce = 3 tbsp (Magi + Dầu hào)

– Non-aromatic oil (do not use olive oil) 3 tbsp (Dầu ăn)
– Green/red chilies to taste (Ớt xanh/đỏ)
– Been sprouts (100 gr) (giá đỗ)

– Salt and pepper (Muối + Tiêu)
– Cucumbers (Dưa chuột)
– An array of fresh herbs: lettuce, coriander, mint, spearmint,… (xà lách, mùi, bạc hà, húng, kinh giới, etc.)

*Methods:

1. Cook the rice noodles according to instructions on package. Immediately shock in ice-cold water afterwards to stop it from cooking. Rinse and put aside.

TIP! In Vietnam, you can go straight to the market and get the rice noodle done for you 😀

2. Slice the beef into thin slices and marinate in some garlic, shallots, 1 tsp of sugar, the oyster and soy sauce. Set aside for 15 minutes.

TIP! In order to slice the beef thinly, you need to froze it beforehand until it is quite firm (but not hard), and please get an extremely sharp chef knife otherwise it would be 99,99% impossible to cut it thinly.

3. Add sugar and water in a bowl and mix well. This is the base for the sweet source sauce that will give the distinctive taste for the dish. After the sugar has dissolved, add fish sauce (nước mắm) and rice vinegar. The catch here is that I didn’t put any measure for the sauce since I’ve never made it according to any recipe but just taste and adjustment. You should try that out too! Just add everything (even more water and sugar) until you hit the right balance between sweet, sour and saltiness. Lastly, add minced garlic and some finely chopped chilies.

4. Wash the fresh herbs carefully, drain all the excess water out, slice into smaller pieces and set aside.

5. Put the flame on highest possible, make sure your pan is hot, add oil, garlic, shallots to the pan. Add the beef and bean sprouts, stir-fry until just done. Set aside.

6. Use a peeler and peel the cucumbers into thin, long pieces. Wrap it around your finger to make a ring for plating up later.

7. Assembling the dish: put a generous handful of herbs at the bottom. Put some sauce on top. Add the rice noodle and then the stir-fried beef. Spoon more sauce on top. Put the cucumber rings on the edges of the plate. Sprink some peanuts and fried shallots on top. DONE!

This is how it looks like when I made it

Image

*Pressure points:

– Don’t over cook the rice noodle. Mushy rice noodle is …

– Don’t over cook the beef. Chewy and stringy beef is …

– Always taste and adjust along the way, there’s no recipe that fits everyone’s taste.

Hope you enjoy it!

Le Degustationator.

Summer is coming!!! Soba noodle salad (Mì Soba trộn)

So it was midsummer yesterday, what could be a better dish to kick start a wonderful summer party than this bright, flavourful Soba noodle salad with fresh herb sauce and marinated tofu. It’s cool, it’s fresh, it’s summer, doesn’t get much better than that seriously. And the good news is that this beautiful side-dish is extremely simple to prepare, no jokes.

*Ingredients: serves 2 (not necessary to follow the exact amounts)

– Soba noodle 120 gr (Mì Soba)
– Tofu 100 gr (Đậu phụ)
– Dark soy sauce : 1tbsp (Xì dầu đặc)
– Light soy sauce : 2 tbsp (Xì dầu loãng/ Magi)
– Yakisoba sauce : 1 tbsp (Sốt Yakisoba)
– Red/green bird eyes chilli: 3-4 depends on taste (Ớt xanh/đỏ)
– Sugar 1 tsp (Đường)
– Oyster sauce 2 tbsp (Dầu hào)
– Rice wine vinegar 1 tsp (Giấm gạo)
– Sesame oil 1 tbsp (Dầu vừng)
– Coriander (cilantro): a small bunch (mostly leaves if you want, the stem has a stronger taste) (Mùi ta)
– Grated ginger : 1 tsp (Gừng)
– Green onion: as much as you like (Hành lá)

*Methods:

1. Cook the noodles according to the instructions on the package. Immediately chill in ice water to shock the noodle -> stop it from being over-cooked.

2. Slice the tofu into bite-size pieces. Fry in hot oil until golden (hot or not, stick your chopstick in the oil and see if the oil starts to bubble). Drain excess oil off.

3. Mix the sauces, ginger, chili and coriander in a blender. Blend until unified, smooth dressing.

4. Mix all the ingredients together and chill in the fridge for about 30 minutes.

5. Serve cold with barbecued meat!

NOTE!

– No matter how accurate the recipe is, always taste when you’re cooking. Even Gordon Ramsay tastes.

– Feel free to adjust the recipe according to your taste, be creative!

Love to hear from you guys 😀

Le Degustationator.