Ube Champorado

Ube Champorado

Hello Everyone! Everything is about ube these days; ube ice cream, cakes, and desserts and all that. ‘New’ recipes are being developed all the time – new meaning adding an ube twist to already classic favourites. The latest ube trend/craze to come out of this quarantine is of course none other than the overrated Ube Cheese Pandesal.

Ube Champorado

Like this Ube Champorado, it is as good as our favourite original chocolate version. Almost two years ago (just shy of a few days actually), I made the classic version of this champorado using tablea chocolate. In that post, I talked about pairing a sweet rice pudding with dried, salted fish. I remember getting messages from friends when I posted a photo of the dish on IG; all with the same “wow, that’s interesting!” reaction. There are a lot of desserts out there that embrace the salty-sweet combination; salted caramel and salted chocolate being the top two favourite bases to endless dessert options!

This Ube Champorado with dried salted fish is no exception. It adds pops of salty surprises to each spoonful of the sweet ube rice porridge that you take. If the combination is off putting for you, then you could get away with adding a pinch of rock salt into your champorado – but it won’t be the same. For all the ube lovers out there, this is an ideal breakfast, snack, or dessert for any occasion!

Ube Champorado Ingredients

PREP TIME 5 MINS | COOKING TIME 25 MINS | SERVES 6

INGREDIENTS

  • 4 cups filtered water
  • 1 cup (250g) white glutinous rice, rinsed
  • 1 cup ube jam/halaya
  • 1/2 cup coconut milk
  • 1 tsp ube extract
  • Pinch of salt

METHOD

  1. Add the rinsed glutinous rice together with the water in a medium-sized stockpot over medium heat. Bring to a boil and then lower the heat down to a simmer. Cook until the rice is almost tender, about 15 minutes. Stir regularly to avoid scorching and sticking. Add more water if necessary to achieve your desired consistency.
  2. Stir in the ube jam/halaya, ube extract, coconut milk, and season with a pinch of salt. Taste and adjust if needed. Cook, still continuously stirring, until tender and the ube is mixed in well with the rice, a further 10 minutes or so.
  3. Once done, ladle the champorado into individual serving bowls and top with a swirl each of the ube condensada and coconut milk. You may also top them with fried boneless dilis if you’re feeling adventurous.
  4. Enjoy immediately while steaming hot on a chilly and crisp morning!

Ube Champorado

You may use fresh/raw ube for this recipe, however, so using store-bought ube jam/halaya, ube extract, or ube powder is just as good; quick and hassle free as how champorado should be. Having to work with fresh Ube will totally ruin that aspect of a no-fuss champorado for me.

Ube Champorado

BON APPÉTIT

– Ally xx

myTaste.com

Purple Sweet Potato Crisps with Easy Roasted Garlic & Chive Aïoli

Purple Sweet Potato Crisps with Easy Roasted Garlic & Chive Aïoli

Hello Everyone! Now this is a recipe I’ve been so eager to make since forever. I first came across this dish from a café across the road from my campus when I was still studying in Australia for my design degree. The café is known as Ampersand Café & Bookstore. I did a review of the café back in 2015, so if you have some free time up your sleeves, go and have a read, or just a look at the lovely ambiance of the café and the delicious food served there.

Purple Sweet Potato Crisps with Easy Roasted Garlic & Chive Aïoli

The one thing I would never fail to order off their blackboard menu? That’s right, their sweet potato crisps with aïoli. I even remember going there several times and not being able to order this dish because their deep fryer had been broken for a couple of months. At times I would even ask them “is your deep fryer still broken?” and then make a sad face later when they would unfortunately say yes.

The crisps from the café are made using orange sweet potatoes, and since we’re sharing violet recipes for this month, I decided to use purple sweet potatoes that I sourced from PruTazan. The sweet, crispy, and caramelised sweet potatoes pair really well with the slightly tangy, spicy, and garlicky aïoli. It’s a perfect side dish to your main meal, or even just a light snack on its own. Either way, it’s a whole new experience of enjoying sweet potatoes!

Purple Sweet Potato Crisps with Easy Roasted Garlic & Chive Aïoli

PREP TIME 10 MINS | COOKING TIME 5 MINS* | SERVES 4

* Plus additional 40 minutes for the roasted garlic (if not made in advance).

INGREDIENTS

For the sweet potato crisps

  • 2 small (100-200g) purple sweet potatoes, washed
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste

For the roasted garlic

  • 1 bulb garlic
  • Dried thyme leaves
  • Ground paprika
  • Olive oil
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste

For the easy roasted garlic and chive aïoli

  • Roasted Garlic (see above)
  • 1 stalk chives, finely chopped
  • 1/2 cup Japanese mayonnaise
  • 1/4 tsp ground cayenne pepper powder, plus more if needed (optional)
  • Juice of 1/2 a lemon
  • Cooking oil, for deep frying

METHOD

  1. Roasted Garlic: Preheat oven to 200C (400F or gas mark 6).
  2. Use your fingers to peel away all the loose, papery, outer layers around the head of the garlic. Leave the head itself intact with all the cloves connected.
  3. Trim about 1/4 inch off the top of the head of garlic to expose the tops of the garlic cloves.
  4. Drizzle 1 to 2 teaspoons of olive oil over the exposed surface of the garlic, letting the oil sink down into the cloves. Season with salt and freshly ground pepper, and flavour with your favourite herbs and spices as well (optional).
  5. Wrap the garlic in aluminum foil and roast in the oven for 40 minutes. After 40 minutes, begin checking the garlic. The garlic is done when a center clove is completely soft when pierced with a knife.

Note: Even once soft, you can continue roasting until deeply golden for a more caramelised flavor — check the garlic every 10 minutes. Exact roasting time will depend on the size of your garlic, the variety, and its age.

  1. Let the garlic cool slightly, and then press on the bottom of a clove to push it out of its paper.

Tip: Roasting a single bulb of garlic in an oven for 40 minutes sounds a bit excessive doesn’t it? Well, what I usually like to do is whenever I use my oven for something, be it baking a delicious sweet treat or roasting away some beautiful salmon portions, I always throw a couple of garlic heads wrapped in foil into the oven as well. That way I’m killing two birds with one stone. I then keep the roasted garlic in a jar together with olive oil to preserve and use it when I need to. Roasted garlic can be refrigerated for up to 2 weeks or frozen for up to 3 months.

  1. Roasted Garlic and Chive Aïoli: Add all the ingredients into a small bowl and mix well. Add ground cayenne pepper if you want a bit of heat to your aïoli, otherwise you may omit. Taste and adjust the seasonings to your liking. Set aside to chill until ready to serve.
  2. Sweet Potato Crisps: Using a peeler, peel off the skins of the sweet potato. Continue peeling into the flesh of the sweet potato to make long and thin strips. Place on top of a kitchen towel and pat dry to remove any excess moisture from them.
  3. Pour cooking oil in a large, heavy pan to a depth of about 2 inches, and heat the oil to 165C/325F. Working in small batches, fry the sweet potatoes for about 45 seconds to a minute. Stir them a few times to keep them from sticking together. Using a metal slotted spoon, lift them out onto paper towels to remove excess oil.
  4. Season the crisps with a touch of salt and serve immediately while hot and crispy with the roasted garlic aïoli. Squeeze a touch of lemon juice onto the crisps before eating. Enjoy!

Purple Sweet Potato Crisps with Easy Roasted Garlic & Chive Aïoli

Purple Sweet Potato Crisps with Easy Roasted Garlic & Chive Aïoli

BON APPÉTIT

– Ally xx

myTaste.com

Ube Biscoff Cheesecake

Ube Biscoff Cheesecake

Hello Everyone and a Happy belated Birthday to me! I was supposed to get this recipe up on the day of my birthday, but only having baked this Ube Biscoff Cheesecake the night before, I didn’t have time to edit the photos and videos for uploading and for my Instagram posts. Nevertheless, to make up for that, I have a special announcement to make, which you can read at the end of this post!

If you had asked me where or how I would be spending my birthday this year at the start of our country-wide Enhanced Community Quarantine due to the on-going pandemic, I would’ve never guessed that 8 months later, we’d still be celebrating birthdays in quarantine. Nevertheless, I’m still super thankful that even with the virus still spreading, my family, friends, and myself included, are all safe and healthy.

Ube Biscoff Cheesecake

So to be perfectly honest, this wasn’t the cake I had intended to make for my birthday. I only made the last minute decision (as in the morning before my actual birthday) to make an Ube Biscoff Cheesecake, inspired by an Instagram post I saw about a week or two ago. Well okay, the plan was to still push through with the cake I originally had in mind, and then bake mini Ube Biscoff Cheesecakes to share with my workmates, but baking two cakes in one day sounded daunting. I could already foresee the countless mishaps that are bound to happen juggling two recipes at the same time.

This Ube Biscoff Cheesecake is the perfect recipe for all the ube, biscoff, and cheesecake lovers. If you’ve never tried biscoff before, you should definitely try this dessert! This is utterly delicious and different to my other cheesecakes I’ve made in the past – the biscoff spread on top gives a nice rich addition to the cheesecake and creates a delicious spiced cookie flavour. The biscoff crust is buttery and sweet, and the cheesecake filling is thick and rich with ube that just melts-in-your-mouth with every bite. Honestly, it’s everything a cheesecake should be, and you may opt to do a no-bake or baked cheesecake with this recipe.

Ube Biscoff Cheesecake Ingredients

PREP TIME 15 MINS | COOKING TIME 1 HOUR | SERVES 6-8

INGREDIENTS

For the ube cheesecake mixture

  • 450g cream cheese
  • 250ml all purpose cream
  • 2 large free-range egg
  • 1 cup ube halaya (or ube jam)
  • 1/4 cup white or brown sugar
  • 1 tsp ube extract

For the biscoff crumb base

  • 200g Lotus biscoff cookies, crushed
  • 75g unsalted margarine, melted
  • Pinch of salt

For the biscoff spread

  • 50g Lotus biscoff cookies, crushed
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1/8 cup coconut oil
  • 2 tbsp unsalted margarine, melted
  • Dash of vanilla extract
  • Pinch of ground cinnamon

METHOD

  1. Preheat oven to 130C (250F or gas mark 1).
  2. Biscoff Crumb Base: Add the crushed biscoff cookies, salt, and melted butter together in a small mixing bowl. Mix together until well combined.
  3. Grease an 8” spring-form pan with a bit of margarine and line the bottom and sides it with parchment paper. Cover the outside of the pan with tin foil. Press the crumb into the base of the cake pan and set aside in the fridge for about 15 minutes to set.
  4. Ube Cheesecake Mixture: Using an electric handheld mixer, beat, on medium speed, the cream cheese and sugar together in a medium-sized bowl until smooth.
  5. With the mixer running, add in the eggs, all purpose cream cream, ube halaya, and ube extract, mixing for a further 2 minutes.
  6. Pour the mixture into the prepared spring-form cake pan, evenly covering the biscuit base.
  7. Place the cake pan in a water bath and bake for 1 hour, or until just set.
  8. Allow to cool down to room temperature and then chill in the fridge for about half an hour before serving.
  9. Biscoff Spread: While the cake is chilling in the fridge, add the crushed biscoff cookies, ground cinnamon, vanilla extract, coconut oil, and butter into an immersion blender cup. Blend until the ingredients are well incorporated.
  10. Add the water and blend further until you have a nice, smooth, and creamy spread. Set aside until ready to use.
  11. Assemble: Carefully remove the cheesecake from the spring-form pan. Top the cheesecake with the biscoff spread and a biscoff cookie. Serve a slice or two… maybe three, immediately! *cheeky grin* Enjoy!

Ube Biscoff Cheesecake

Ube Biscoff Cheesecake

And now, here’s the announcement that I promised to share with you guys. One of my Auguesters, known as Karina Pineda a.k.a. @wanderlittlegirl, partnered up for my birthday to launch our very first Instagram Giveaway! The giveaway was launched on Monday and will run through until November 20. Further details of the giveaway are specified on my Instagram post which you can find here on @amcarmenskitchen. The giveaway is only open to residents in Metro Manila, but if you have family or friends living in the area, feel free to share the giveaway with them. My goal is to help my lovely friend promote her smol home-grown business (@madebywanderlittlegirl) and also in return, treat two (2) lucky winners with some home-baked goodies!

#AMCxMADE Cookie Giveaway

#AMCxMADE Cookie Giveaway

BON APPÉTIT

– Ally xx

myTaste.com

Purple Sweet Potato Gnocchi with Creamy Parmesan Sauce, Danablu & Pistachios

Purple Sweet Potato Gnocchi with Creamy Parmesan Sauce, Danablu & Pistachios

Hello Everyone and a Happy November to all! I honestly didn’t think that I would be spending my birth month still under general community quarantine, but at least it means that we’re still taking safety precautions… Or are we really? I went grocery shopping over the weekend, and it seemed like people weren’t keeping their distances. I was queuing up at the pharmacy and though there were evident markings on the floors on where you should stand, this one lady behind me kept standing right behind me. The security guard had to tell her to follow the markings.

Mini introductory tangent aside, gnocchi (pronounced ni-yok-ee; singular gnocco) are a variety of pasta consisting of various thick, small, and pillow soft dough dumplings that are primarily made by combining potatoes, flour, and egg, but may also be made from semolina, ordinary wheat flour, breadcrumbs, cornmeal, or similar ingredients. The dough for gnocchi is most often rolled out before it is cut into small pieces about the size of a wine cork. The little dumplings are then pressed with a fork or a cheese grater to make ridges that can hold sauce. Alternatively, they are simply cut into little pillows.

Purple Sweet Potato Gnocchi with Creamy Parmesan Sauce, Danablu & Pistachios

Gnocchi are generally homemade in Italian and Italian-immigrant households. They may also be bought fresh from specialty stores. Packaged gnocchi are widely available either refrigerated, dried, or frozen, if industrially produced. Like many Italian dishes, gnocchi have considerable variation in recipes and names across different regions. Gnocchi are commonly cooked on their own in salted boiling water and then dressed with various sauces depending on the type of gnocchi and recipe used. Common accompaniments of gnocchi include melted butter with sage, and pesto.

For tonight’s recipe, I decided to put a little spin to it by using sweet potatoes instead or regular potatoes. In addition, since it’s a new month and therefore a new colour theme on Amcarmen’s Kitchen, I specifically used Japanese purple sweet potatoes that I sourced from PruTazan, for my last colours of the rainbow theme for the year! That’s right, for the month of November and December, I will be sharing violet recipes with you guys.

Also known as Murasaki Imo, which means “purple potato” in Japanese, contains dietary fiber, vitamins A and C, and minerals like calcium, magnesium, potassium, and zinc. The flesh also contains anthocyanin, a naturally occurring antioxidant that gives the tuber its purple hue. They are used in a variety of culinary applications including desserts and snack foods and are valued for their sweet flavour and high antioxidant content. They are also commonly dried and turned into powder for use as a natural food colouring.

Purple Sweet Potato Gnocchi with Creamy Parmesan Sauce, Danablu & Pistachios Ingredients

PREP TIME 20 MINS | COOKING TIME 1 HOUR | SERVES 4

INGREDIENTS

For the sweet potato gnocchi

  • 1 kg purple sweet potatoes
  • 3/4 cup all purpose flour, plus more if needed as well as for dusting
  • 1 large free-range egg
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste

For the creamy parmesan sauce

  • 250ml all purpose cream
  • 3 garlic cloves, finely minced
  • 1 small red onion, finely minced
  • 1/4 cup parmesan cheese, grated
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
  • Chives, finely chopped
  • Danablu Cheese, crumbled
  • Pistachios, roughly chopped

METHOD

  1. Sweet Potato Gnocchi: Bake the sweet potatoes in a preheated oven at 230C (450F or gas mark 8), for 45 minutes or until completely tender when pierce with a fork. Once done, set aside to cool.

Note: Japanese purple sweet potatoes are best steamed or roasted. When boiled, they will lose their purple hue. So to retain their vibrant colour, they should be roasted or steamed.

  1. Once cool enough to handle, peel the skins off the sweet potatoes and in a large mixing bowl, roughly mash them using a fork. Add the flour, egg and season with a touch of salt and freshly ground black pepper. Bring the mixture together to form a dough.
  2. Gently fold and press the dough a couple of times, adding flour as necessary if the dough feels sticky. Turn the dough out onto a work surface lightly dusted with flour. Cut the dough into four equal parts and form each quarter into a ½-inch diameter log using the palm of your hands.
  3. Cut each log into 1-inch pieces and then press over the tine of a fork to create ridges. Transfer to a baking sheet dusted with flour and repeat with the remaining dough. I managed to make about 76 pieces of gnocchi with this recipe, more or less depending on how you roll them out/cut them.

Purple Sweet Potato Gnocchi

  1. Bring a large pot of generously salted water to a boil. Working in batches, add the gnocchi to the pot, gently stirring once or twice to prevent them from sticking. Cook until the gnocchi floats to the surface, about 3-5 minutes, and then cook for an additional 30 seconds. Remove using a slotted spoon and transfer to a tray lightly drizzled with oil. Set aside.
  2. Creamy Parmesan Sauce: Heat about a tablespoon of cooking oil over medium-high, in a medium-sized pan. Add garlic and sauté until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Immediately add in the onions and continue to sauté until fragrant and slightly golden in colour and onions have softened and begin to go translucent, a further 45 seconds.
  3. Add the cream and season with a touch of salt and freshly ground pepper. Mix and bring to a gentle simmer. Once simmering, add in the parmesan cheese. Mix until the cheese has melted and then remove from the heat.
  4. Assemble: Heat 2 tablespoons of cooking oil in a large frying pan over medium-high. Working in batches again, add the gnocchi to the pan and lightly fry until golden brown in colour.
  5. Spread the creamy parmesan sauce on a serving dish, and place the pieces of fried gnocchi on top. Add crumbles of Danablu cheese* (or any other type of blue cheese) and top with roughly chopped pistachios, and chives.
  6. Serve immediately and enjoy!

Purple Sweet Potato Gnocchi with Creamy Parmesan Sauce, Danablu & Pistachios

This recipe for Purple Sweet Potato Gnocchi creates a vibrant and eye-catching dish that is as visually pleasing as it is delicious. You get the best of both worlds with the light, soft-pillowy interior and golden-crispy exterior in every mouthful. These gnocchi are a touch sweeter than those made from regular potatoes, and therefore are best complimented by salty and savoury flavours, like a Creamy Parmesan Sauce. Sharp, rich, and bold especially with the danablu cheese. Balance it out with a fresh squeeze of lemon juice to cut through the creaminess, and you’ve got yourself a killer dish!

Purple Sweet Potato Gnocchi with Creamy Parmesan Sauce, Danablu & Pistachios

BON APPÉTIT

– Ally xx

myTaste.com

Magic Butterfly Pea Lemonade

Magic Butterfly Pea Lemonade

Hello Everyone! Tonight I’ll be sharing my last blue recipe for the year! I honestly thought that this would be a difficult colour to feature when I was first planning dishes for this theme, but I enjoyed cooking up the blue dishes that I shared with you guys over the past two months! I don’t think I ever talked about the butterfly pea flower and its many benefits in any of my posts so I thought I’d share them here to wrap up my blue theme.

Butterfly Pea Flower Health Benefits

Also known as Clitoria Ternatea, they have been consumed for centuries as a memory enhancer, brain booster, anti-stress and calmative agent. It is an amazing brain boosting herb native to tropical equatorial Asia. It is jam-packed with health promoting antioxidants, flavonoids, and peptides, and has shown considerable promise in studies as a natural remedy for a range of health complaints.

Butterfly Pea FlowerSource: Freepik

In studies to date, Butterfly Pea has shown to act on several key systems of the body:

  • The Nervous System – it has a calming effect on the brain.
  • The Digestive System – it is an antiemetic (anti-nausea), anti-dyspeptic (anti-indigestion), mild-laxative, and stimulates flow of bile from the liver.
  • The Circulatory System – it helps stop bleeding and is a blood purifier.
  • The Respiratory System – it acts as an expectorant and has shown to reduce the irritation of respiratory organs, and is useful in treating colds, coughs and even asthma.
  • The Urinary System – it is a diuretic, helping promote normal urination and can be used for difficulty in urinating.
  • The Reproductive System – it is reported to be spermatogenic, aiding in normal sperm production
  • The Integumentary System – pre-maturing ageing is often a problem of the skin. Flavonoids present in the butterfly pea flower haa been found to boost collagen production, increasing the skin elasticity…

…And that’s only just naming a few of its health benefits.

Butterfly Pea Flower in Food

Butterfly Pea FlowerSource: Freepik

Known for its luminous indigo colour, the butterfly pea flower is traditionally used as a vegetable in cooking, to colour desserts, or to make a strikingly vibrant coloured tea. In traditional Thai cooking, butterfly pea flowers are squeezed for their blue extract, which is then mixed with coconut milk and other base ingredients to naturally colour Thai desserts blue and purple.

Traditional butterfly pea flower tea is made from the ternatea flowers and dried lemongrass. One of the most distinctive characteristics of butterfly pea flower tea, and indeed other drinks that use the butterfly-pea flower extract, is that it will change color when the pH balance changes. A deep blue tea will turn purple with the addition of lemon juice, turning a deeper shade of purple the more lemon juice is added. If mixed with fuchsia roselle hibiscus leaves, the tea will turn a bright red colour.

Magic Butterfly Pea Lemonade

Similar to the recipe that I shared last week, the magic in this recipe comes from this little blue flower and the addition of lemon juice. Like most magic tricks, this one is based resoundingly on science. The magical colour changing effect comes when these two components are mixed: the blue tea turns purple and eventually magenta the more acid is added. I think we can all agree this is quite possibly the prettiest (and most entertaining) lemonade ever.

To make this magic lemonade, you’ll need to get your hands on some fresh or dried butterfly pea flowers. These are steeped along with sugar and hot water to make a vibrant blue sugar syrup, which makes up half the final lemonade. The other half is simply lemon juice and soda water. You may also use sparkling or just plain water.

Magic Butterfly Pea Lemonade Ingredients

PREP TIME <10 MINS | COOKING TIME 10-15 MINS | SERVES 4-6

INGREDIENTS

For the blue sugar syrup

  • 3 cups water
  • 1 cup white granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup dried butterfly pea flowers
  • 1 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice (about 8-10 large lemons)
  • Ice cubes
  • Mint leaves (optional)
  • Sparkling soda water

METHOD

  1. Combine all the ingredients for the blue sugar syrup in a medium-sized saucepan. Bring to a rapid simmer and then remove from heat.
  2. Cover and let it steep for about 10 minutes. Strain through a fine mesh sieve, discarding solids, and then set aside to cool.
  3. Fill individual serving glasses with ice and pour the cooled butterfly pea flower sugar syrup, filling the glass to about a third of the way.
  4. Add the juice of about 1 lemon together with some mint leaves. At this point, you’ll start to see some colour changes happening.
  5. Pour the soda water and watch the magic happen! Enjoy!

Magic Butterfly Pea Lemonade

BON APPÉTIT

– Ally xx

myTaste.com

Magic Vietnamese-style Glass Noodle Salad

Magic Vietnamese-style Glass Noodle Salad

Hello Everyone! This bowl as a whole reminds me of a deconstructed version of Vietnamese spring rolls – vibrant in flavour as they are in colour, topped with poached prawns, fried tofu, snow peas, fresh carrots and mint leaves, and a sprinkle of crushed roasted peanuts.

Magic Vietnamese-style Glass Noodle Salad

In fact, the recipe for the sauce/dressing used for this dish is based off of a Vietnamese spring roll dipping sauce. It is made with lemon juice, fish sauce, sugar, and a bit of fresh garlic and chillies. The sauce is very acidic, which is exactly what you need to trigger the color changing properties of the butterfly pea flower. These striking blue and violet glass noodles, steeped in butterfly pea flowers to achieve their rich colour, transform before your eyes when mixed with the acidic sauce.

It’s cool, refreshing and perfect for the warmer days of spring and summer! But before we dive into tonight’s recipe, please take the time to check out the original recipe where I drew my inspiration from over on Love and Olive Oil by Lindsay.

Magic Vietnamese-style Glass Noodle Salad Ingredients

PREP TIME 15 MINS | COOKING TIME 15 MINS | SERVES 4-6

INGREDIENTS

For the glass noodles

  • 3 packets (80g per pack) glass noodles
  • 1 & 1/2 cups water
  • 1/4 cup dried butterfly pea flowers
  • Pinch of salt

For the dressing

  • 1/4 cup water
  • 3 tbsp lemon juice
  • 2 tbsp granulated sugar
  • 1 tbsp sesame oil
  • 2 tsp fish sauce (or more, to taste)
  • 2 garlic cloves, finely minced
  • 2 red bird’s eye chillies, finely minced

To assemble

  • Carrots, shredded
  • Firm tofu, fried
  • Mint leaves
  • Prawns, poached
  • Roasted peanuts, crushed
  • Snow peas, blanched

METHOD

  1. Dressing: Combine all the ingredients in a small to medium-sized bowl and mix well. Adjust taste to your liking by adding more fish sauce, lemon juice, or chillies. Set aside.
  2. Glass Noodles: Combine the dried butterfly pea flowers in a small saucepan together with the water and salt. Bring to a boil over high heat. Once boiling, turn the heat off and leave to steep for about 10-15 minutes. Discard the flowers.
  3. Place the glass noodles in a large mixing bowl and pour the blue-infused water over the noodles. Give it a good mix, making sure that the noodles are covered with water. Place a clean tea towel over the bowl and set aside for the noodles to soak and cook, about 5 minutes.
  4. Once the noodles are cooked through, drain and separate into two batches in bowls. Drizzle half of the prepared dressing in one of the bowls and give it a good mix. You’ll see that the colour will change from blue to violet in a matter of seconds.
  5. Assemble: Place an equal amount of the blue and violet noodles into individual serving dishes and top with vegetables and meat of your choice. I kept mine pescatarian so went with poached shrimp and bulked it up with tofu as well. I added vegetables such as shredded carrots, snow peas, mint leaves, and topped it off with some roasted peanuts.
  6. Add more dressing as you wish and enjoy as a room temperature or cold dish on a hot summer’s day!

Magic Vietnamese-style Glass Noodle Salad

Magic Vietnamese-style Glass Noodle Salad

BON APPÉTIT

– Ally xx

myTaste.com

Pulut Tai Tai (Blue Glutinous Rice Cakes)

Pulut Tai Tai (Blue Glutinous Rice Cakes)

Hello Everyone! Pulut Tai Tai is a Nyonya kuih made of fluffy glutinous rice that is steamed in coconut milk, and tinted with a beautiful natural blue colour from butterfly pea flowers. You can leave it out if you can’t find butterfly pea flowers, as it’s mostly for the colour, but it wouldn’t be as elegant-looking without it.

It is typically served with a coconut-pandan spread where the contrasting colours of green together with the vibrant blue and white of the glutinous rice makes the kuih all the more delightful and pleasing to the eyes of the beholder. In addition to colour, the slight tinge of saltiness of the glutinous rice coupled with the sweetness of the kaya makes this kuih a delight to savour.

Pulut Tai Tai (Blue Glutinous Rice Cakes)

Tai Tai refers to a rich man’s wife who enjoys a life of leisure. It is said that this specific kuih was only served to the wives of rich men back then. This kuih is also known as Pulut Tekan which literally translates to ‘pressed glutinous rice.’

Before we dive into tonight’s recipe, please take the time to check out the original recipe for these Blue Glutinous Rice Cakes over on Bake with Paws by Yeanley.

Before I tackled this recipe, I read that soaking the glutinous rice with the addition of vinegar or lemon juice will reduce the phytic acid found in the grain. It also helps in breaking down the gluten and aids for better absorption of the blue colour from the butterfly pea flowers. Now, while I included lemon in the ingredients shot below, I in fact did not use the lemon at all for one main reason – the addition of acidity to the butterfly pea flower infused water would make it turn violet in colour. Since I am all about sharing blue recipes for this month, that’s definitely not what I want. I found that the glutinous rice absorbed the blue colour well anyway without the need for vinegar or lemon juice.

Pulut Tai Tai (Blue Glutinous Rice Cakes) Ingredients

PREP TIME 20 MINS* | COOKING TIME 30-45 MINS | SERVES 4-6

* Additional 4 hours min. overnight max. for soaking time

INGREDIENTS

  • 2 cups white glutinous rice
  • 1 cup coconut milk
  • 2/3 cups water
  • 3/4 tsp salt
  • 25 pcs dried butterfly pea flowers
  • Banana leaves
  • Pandan (screwpine) leaves
  • Lemon juice (optional)

METHOD

  1. Bring a small saucepan of water and the dried butterfly pea flowers to a boil, over high heat. Let it simmer for a few minutes and then remove from the heat. Cover and leave to steep for 10 minutes before straining. Press down on the flowers to extract the blue colour from the flowers. Set aside to cool.
  2. Wash the glutinous rice until the water is clear. Soak 1/3 of the glutinous rice with the blue-infused water and the remaining 2/3 in water. Soak for at least 4 hours or overnight. After 4 hours or the next day, drain them both separately.
  3. Prepare your steamer by lining with clean banana leaves. Light grease with a touch of coconut oil and top with pandan leaves followed by the glutinous rice; blue rice on one side and white on the other.
  4. Mix the coconut milk and salt together. Pour half of the coconut milk mixture over the rice and mix well. Steam over high heat for 20 minutes. After 20 minutes, remove from the steam and fluff the rice. Add the remaining coconut milk mixture and then return it to the steamer to cook for a further 10 to 15 minutes.
  5. Line a square pan with banana leaves and lightly grease with coconut oil. Transfer the cooked rice to the pan, alternating between the white and the blue rice. Level the surface and cover with more banana leaves. Place another pan on top of it and weigh it down with heavy objects to compress the rice. Set aside to cool.
  6. Cut into small rectangular pieces and serve with some homemade Nyonya-style kaya. Enjoy it as a mid-afternoon snack!

This kuih can be kept for a couple of days if stored in the refrigerator. Before consuming it again, steam or heat it in a preheated oven at 70C for 10 minutes to soften it.

Pulut Tai Tai (Blue Glutinous Rice Cakes)

PS: Before I end tonight’s post, let’s see if a particular someone actually reads my blog from start to finish *cheeky grin* I would like to take this opportunity to wish a special person in my life, a Happy Birthday! I hope you like the little gift I had sent to you earlier this afternoon. I wish you an abundance of happiness, good health, peace, and prosperity in life. To many more birthdays and hopefully I can spend them all with you by your side!

BON APPÉTIT

– Ally xx

myTaste.com

Stir-fried Handmade Noodles with Spicy Tofu & Mushroom Mince

Stir-fried Handmade Noodles with Spicy Tofu & Mushroom Mince

Hello Everyone! I can’t believe that it’s already October – how did the months in quarantine fly by so fast? I felt like March was just last week! I hope everyone is staying safe at home, and only going out when necessary, for work or essentials. I still haven’t reported back to the office since our country declared enhanced community quarantine, and I hope that I won’t have to go back until this pandemic is under control.

That aside, I will continue sharing blue-inspired dishes for the month of October, and what better way than to kick things off with this recipe for Stir-fried Handmade Noodle with Spicy Tofu & Mushroom Mince. I initially drew my inspiration for this recipe by Blue Willow, a thematic bar and bistro located in Singapore that derives its inspiration from one of our favourite science-fiction movies of 2009 – Avatar.. Now, I haven’t been there myself, but when I was doing research earlier on this year to look for blue-inspired dishes, I came across Blue Willow’s Eywa Natural Blue Carbonara, where pasta dough is naturally coloured using butterfly pea flowers.

Chinese Handmade Noodles

My initial idea was to recreate this exactly as it is, a blue carbonara. As the months went by and drew closer to tackling this dish, paired with hours of research for new recipes (not necessarily just for this dish in particular), my idea shifted to making Chinese-style handmade noodles instead of pasta. To be honest, this was actually a recipe that I had initially planned for the third week of September, to serve with the Chinese Blue Tea Eggs (茶叶蛋) that I had also made earlier last month. However, I wasn’t happy with how the dish was put together, in terms of how I dressed the noodles. I didn’t want to share something that I wasn’t happy with, visually and taste wise, so it wasn’t until I did more research and tackled this dish once again towards the end of September – and finally something that I am happy to share with you guys!

Before we dive into tonight’s recipe, please take the time to check out the original recipe for Handmade Noodles over on The Woks of Life by Sarah, one of a family of four cooks. Also, check out the original recipe for Tofu and Mushroom Mince over on Scruff And Steph by Scruff.

The making of the noodles really tired me out for they were kneaded, rolled, and cut from scratch, and all by hand. If you have a mixer with a dough hook attachment, it’ll be a piece of cake! If not, you need a bit (lot) of elbow grease, and you’ll be making noodles the same way cooks have been making them in China for centuries.

PREP TIME 1 HOUR | COOKING TIME 30 MINS | SERVES 4

INGREDIENTS

Chinese Handmade Noodles Ingredients

For the handmade noodles

  • 3 cups all purpose flour
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 & 1/2 tsp loose dried butterfly pea flowers
  • 1/4 tsp salt

Stir-fried Handmade Noodles with Spicy Tofu & Mushroom Mince Ingredients

For the spicy tofu & mushroom mince

  • 250g firm tofu, mashed
  • 1/2 cup dried sliced shiitake mushrooms, rehydrated finely minced
  • 1/2 cup dried wood ear mushroom, rehydrated and roughly chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 red bird’s eye chillies, minced
  • 1 small red onion, minced
  • 1 thumb-sized ginger, julienned
  • 2 tbsp coconut oil
  • 2 tbsp sesame oil
  • 1 tbsp light soy sauce
  • 1 tbsp sweet soy sauce
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

For the stir-fried noodles

  • 3 tbsp sesame oil
  • Spring onion stalks, white part only

To serve with

  • Chinese greens of choice
  • Spring onions, for garnishing

METHOD

  1. Handmade Noodles: Combine the dried butterfly pea flowers in a small saucepan together with the water and salt. Bring to a boil over high heat. Once boiling, turn the heat off and leave to steep for about 10-15 minutes. Discard the flowers and set aside to cool down completely.
  2. Add the all purpose flour to a large plate (or even directly onto your clean kitchen countertop). Create a well in the middle and bit by bit, pour the blue water into the flour, mixing with a pair of chopsticks, spatula, or even just your hand as you go. Once all the water is added, the dough should be in shaggy threads with little/no dry flour in the bowl.
  3. Begin pressing the dough together. Avoid the temptation to add additional water, as this will affect the texture of your noodles. If you find the dough is too dry and there’s still dry flour that’s hard to incorporate into the dough, drizzle just enough water until there’s no dry flour left. Knead the dough for about 15 minutes.
  4. Cover the dough with plastic wrap and set aside to rest for about 30 minutes. During this time, it will continue to absorb moisture, and become more pliable and elastic.
  5. Spicy Tofu & Mushroom Mince: While the dough is resting, heat oil in a large frying pan over medium. Add in the ginger together with the red bird’s eye chillies and sauté until fragrant, about 45 seconds. Immediately add in the garlic, continuing to sauté until fragrant and slightly golden in colour before adding the onions. Cook until the onions have softened and begin to go translucent, a further 45 seconds.
  6. Add the mashed tofu, shiitake and wood ear mushrooms. Continue to stir and cook for 5 minutes and then add in the light and sweet soy sauce. Season with salt and freshly ground black pepper, and stir the tofu-mushroom mixture around for a further 10 minutes. Taste and adjust the seasoning to your liking. Set aside and cook your noodles.

Chinese Handmade Noodles

  1. Stir-fry Noodles: After the dough has rested, knead it a few more times to get any air bubbles out of it, about 2-3 minutes. Form into a ball and cut it in half.
  2. On a floured surface, roll one half of the dough into a thin sheet, about 2mm thick. Flour the surface of the sheet thoroughly, flip over, and thoroughly flour the other side. Once floured, fold the dough so you have 4 layers. Slice the noodles with a sharp knife to your desired thickness. As you’re cutting the noodles, gently separate them out with your hands and toss them in flour so they don’t stick.
  3. Bring a pot of water to a boil and cook the noodles for 1 to 3 minutes, depending on the thickness. Keep an eye on the noodles as they cook and taste them to determine when they’re cooked. There is a lot of variation depending on how thinly they were rolled and cut, so test in real time to determine when they’re done. Drain and rinse under cold water. Set aside.
  4. Add sesame oil in a separate frying pan over high heat until smoking. Add the spring onion stalks together with the boiled noodles and fry for about 3-4 minutes.
  5. Transfer to individual serving dishes and top with the Spicy Tofu & Mushroom Mince. Garnish with spring onions and serve with Chinese Greens of your choice. Enjoy!

Stir-fried Handmade Noodles with Spicy Tofu & Mushroom Mince

You can also follow the recipe for Chinese Handmade Noodles and basically make anything and everything with them! These deliciously chewy, springy noodles can be served in soup or mixed with whatever tasty sauces and toppings you can dream up for a delicious meal. Here are just some key tips for success:

  • Use bread flour (high gluten flour): The way to get a good chew in your noodles is to develop the gluten in the dough. Using flour with high gluten content makes a big difference. That being said though, all purpose flour works fine too.
  • Don’t add too much water: The dough will look rather dry and lumpy at first, but do resist the temptation to add additional water. Too much water will make the noodles gummy rather than springy. You just have to have faith and give the flour enough time to absorb moisture through kneading.
  • Use lots of flour when rolling and cutting: The action of cutting the noodles with a knife will press the layers of dough together. To prevent them from sticking, be sure to thoroughly flour both sides of the dough before folding and cutting. This is another reason to avoid using too much water in the dough – to prevent it from sticking.
  • Be mindful of thickness: The noodles will expand when cooked, so whatever thickness you see when cutting the raw dough, the cooked noodles will be significantly thicker. Keep this in mind when rolling and cutting. You may want to roll the dough out thinner and cut the noodles thinner than you initially think.

Storage Tips:

  • Cooked Noodles: If you plan on reheating, you can slightly undercook the noodles (to al dente) to create a better texture once reheated. Store the noodles in an airtight container or a ziplock bag in the fridge for up to 3 days or in the freezer for up to 3 months.
  • Frozen Dough: Let the frozen dough thaw in the fridge overnight. Transfer the refrigerated dough to room temperature and let it rest for 2 hours. The dough will become super soft and can be gently shaped, rested for another 10 minutes or so, and rolled. Follow the method stated above to cook.

Stir-fried Handmade Noodles with Spicy Tofu & Mushroom Mince

BON APPÉTIT

– Ally xx

myTaste.com

Black Sticky Rice with Grilled Mango & Blue Coconut Sauce

Black Sticky Rice with Grilled Mango & Blue Coconut Sauce

The combination of mango and black sticky rice is fairly common in Thailand. Black sticky rice, a delicious whole-grain alternative to white rice, is purplish black in colour and has a chewy texture. It is naturally sweet, contains fibre, and is loaded with antioxidants, which makes this dessert all the more healthy and guilt-free to eat!

Black Sticky Rice with Grilled Mango & Blue Coconut Sauce

The black sticky rice is served alongside sliced mango, and a sauce of sweet and salty coconut milk is usually added. I had initially decided to purée the mango, but when I took a photo of the final plate up, I wasn’t happy with how it aesthetically turned out. So the following week, I thought of serving it with fresh mango on the side. It wasn’t until an idea popped into mind when I thought back to my Grilled Pineapple Dessert – I thought, why not grill the mango to further enhance its flavour?

Before we dive into tonight’s recipe, please take the time to check out the original recipe where I drew my inspiration from over on Breakfast With Flowers by Katja. This was where I took the inspiration from into making the coconut sauce for this dish blue by simmering and steeping dried butterfly pea flowers in the coconut milk.

Black Sticky Rice with Grilled Mango & Blue Coconut Sauce Ingredients

PREP TIME 10 MINS* | COOKING TIME 45 MINS | SERVES 6

* Plus 4 hours (or overnight) to soak the rice

INGREDIENTS

For the black sticky rice

  • 2 cups black glutinous rice, pre-soaked
  • 4 & 1/2 cups water
  • Pinch of salt

For the blue coconut sauce

  • 200ml coconut milk
  • 1 tbsp loose dried butterfly pea flowers
  • 2 tbsp white granulated sugar
  • 1/2 tsp salt

To serve with

  • Grilled Mango
  • Shredded fresh coconut
  • Cornflakes (optional)

METHOD

  1. Black Sticky Rice: Wash the black glutinous soaked rice well in several changes of cold water and then drain thoroughly.
  2. Place the rice together with the 4 & 1/2 cups of water and salt in a rice cooker. Let it work its magic. Optional: If available, you can cook the rice with a pandan leaf for fragrance.
  3. Alternatively, you may use a heavy pot with a tight-fitting lid. Bring to a vigorous boil over high heat. Cover, then reduce heat to maintain a gentle simmer and cook until the rice is tender (but still a little chewy in the center) and the liquid is absorbed, about 45 to 50 minutes. Remove from heat and let it stand, covered, for 10 minutes.
  4. Blue Coconut Sauce: While the rice is cooking prepare your coconut sauce. Add the dried butterfly pea flowers to a small saucepan together with the coconut milk, sugar, and salt.
  5. Gently heat on medium-low for about 10 minutes or until you get the hue of blue that you want infused into the coconut milk.
  6. Once done, remove from the heat and strain out the butterfly pea flowers. Press on the flowers to extract more colour out of them.
  7. Serve the black sticky rice together with grilled mango, and shredded fresh coconut. Top the rice with the blue coconut sauce and sprinkle with some crushed cornflakes for that extra added crunch. Enjoy as a warm dessert!

Black Sticky Rice with Grilled Mango & Blue Coconut Sauce

BON APPÉTIT

– Ally xx

myTaste.com

Magic Salmon Sushi Bake

Magic Salmon Sushi Bake

Sushi Bake is one of the latest gastronomic trends to pop up during the community quarantine period. It is basically a deconstructed version of the original Japanese rolled sushi; a quick and easy way to make in a large batch.

Hand making sushi rolls requires special skills to do, but this sushi bake recipe takes the hard work and time out of rolling each piece individually. With sushi bake, all you have to do is scoop a portion of it and wrap it in a small sheet of roasted seaweed, and then eat; making it a great option for larger parties or gatherings.

The basic ingredients you need to make this dish is sushi rice (or short/medium-grained rice), Japanese mayonnaise, cream cheese, sriracha for heat, ebiko (shrimp roe), Furikake, and your choice of seafood from salmon, to kani (imitation crab sticks), to tuna, or even unagi (eel). Furikake is a mixture of dry ingredients that is used as seasoning and sprinkled on top of cooked rice, fish, and vegetables. Since the sushi bake wave hit, it’s relatively easy to find Furikake in stores, online, or from small local businesses. If you can’t seem to find Furikake, then you can easily make it at home with roasted sesame seeds, Korean roasted seaweed flakes, salt, and sugar.

Magic Salmon Sushi Bake

Being a person who doesn’t immediately hop on the trendy bandwagon, here is my take on it four months later. For the sushi bake that I will be sharing tonight, I decided to add a little twist to it since this month is all about cooking with or showing off the colour blue. I threw in some dried butterfly pea flowers into the rice cooker to give the sushi rice a blue (almost violet) hue. Thus, my Magic Salmon Sushi Bake!

I sourced my salmon, Furikake bonito, ebiko (shrimp roe), and roasted nori sheets from seabites.ph. They basically have all the sushi bake needs including mirin and Japanese mayonnaise that you can get as a kit. I just happen to have the latter already in my pantry as well as the other ingredients to support my dish. Bottom line, go and support small local businesses especially during this pandemic!

Magic Salmon Sushi Bake Ingredients

PREP TIME 30 MINS | COOKING TIME 40-55 MINS | SERVES 6-8

INGREDIENTS

For the sushi rice

  • 2 cups white sushi-grade rice (short or medium-grained rice will also do)
  • 2 cups water
  • 1 tbsp loose dried butterfly pea flowers
  • 1 tbsp red wine vinegar
  • 2 tsp light brown sugar
  • 1 tsp salt

For the creamy topping

  • 100g cream cheese, softened
  • 1/2 cup Japanese mayonnaise, plus extra
  • 1/2 cup sriracha, plus extra
  • 1 tbsp Furikake bonito

For the topping

  • 500g sashimi-grade salmon, sliced
  • Ebiko (shrimp roe)
  • Furikake bonito
  • Korean roasted nori sheets

METHOD

  1. Sushi Rice: Rinse the rice with cold water to wash away the excess starch, until the water runs clear, and then drain. Soak the rice in 2 cups of its cooking water for about 20-30 minutes. This is said to give the rice extra time to moisten and cook more evenly. Place it into your rice cooker and let it work its magic.
  2. Once done, set aside to cool down slightly. Remove the butterfly pea flowers and then season the rice with the red wine vinegar, salt, and sugar. Mix well and set aside until ready to use.
  3. Preheat oven to 200C (400F or gas mark 6).
  4. Creamy Topping: In a medium-sized mixing bowl, combine the cream cheese, Japanese mayonnaise, sriracha, and the Furikake bonito. Optional: dice some of the salmon slices and then add them into the bowl too. Mix well and then set aside.
  5. Magic Salmon Sushi Bake: In a heat-proof rectangular baking dish, spread the sushi rice evenly then lightly press down. Sprinkle a thin layer of the Furikake bonito on top of rice until fully covered.
  6. Spread the creamy topping on top of the rice, and top with the sliced salmon. Top with more Furikake bonito, ebiko, extra Japanese mayonnaise, and extra sriracha.
  7. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes or until the top just starts to brown and bubble.
  8. Scoop and serve immediately with a sheet of roasted nori. Enjoy!

Magic Salmon Sushi Bake

Notes:

  • How do I store sushi bake?
    If you happen to have leftovers it is best stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator.
  • How long does sushi bake last?
    About 3 days in an airtight container in the refrigerator.
  • How can I reheat my leftover sushi bake?
    You can easily reheat your sushi bake in the microwave or oven until heated through.

Magic Salmon Sushi Bake

BON APPÉTIT

– Ally xx

myTaste.com