Herb & Caper-crusted Salmon

Herb & Caper-crusted Salmon

Hello Everyone and happy first of July! If you’re a little pressed for time when it comes to preparing and cooking, this should be one of your go-to, quick yet healthy and light weeknight dinner recipes. The salmon is full of fresh flavours, tang, and heat! It could not be any simpler to make and goes from fridge to table in 20 minutes, even including all the sides you need to make this a complete meal! Simply chop up your herbs and capers, slather it onto your salmon filets, then bake. Easy peasy lemon squeezy right?

Herb & Caper-crusted Salmon

Salmon is one of the most nutritious foods you can find. This popular fatty fish is loaded with nutrients and may reduce risk factors for several diseases. It’s also super tasty, versatile, and widely available. Salmon is rich in long-chain omega-3 fatty acids, which have been shown to reduce inflammation, lower blood pressure and decrease risk factors for disease. Salmon is also rich in high-quality protein, which is needed to heal, protect bone health, and prevent muscle loss, among other benefits. The list goes on.

Before we dive into tonight’s recipe, please take the time to check out the original where I drew my inspiration from over on Iowa Girl Eats by Kristin. The original recipe crusts the salmon with a caper and dill-infused gremolata – which is just a fancy name for chopped parsley, lemon zest, and garlic. I used basil and green onions/scallions in place of the dill and parsley only because I could not find those herbs at the grocers. I think it worked well with the herb substitutes that I used, so don’t be afraid to mix up your herbs for the crust to what’s readily available at your local grocers.

Herb & Caper-crusted Salmon Ingredients

PREP TIME 10 MINS | COOKING TIME 7-9 MINS | SERVES 4

INGREDIENTS

  • 4 salmon filets, about 150g per filet
  • 2-3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 red bird’s eye chillies, minced
  • 2 stalks green onion, roughly chopped
  • 1 & 1/2 tbsp capers, drained, rinsed, and roughly chopped
  • Olive Oil
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
  • Zest of 1 lemon

METHOD

  1. Preheat oven to 200C (400F or gas mark 4), and line a baking sheet with foil. Grease with a little bit of oil or butter and set aside.
  2. Mix the chopped/minced basil, green onions, chillies, capers, lemon zest, garlic, salt, and black pepper to the centre of a large plate. Squeeze a bit of lemon juice into the mixture to moisten.
  3. Rub the salmon filets with olive oil and then season generously with salt and freshly ground black pepper. Press the top and sides of each filet into the herb and caper mixture to create an even crust.Place the filets onto the prepared baking sheet and bake for 7-9 minutes. Be careful and do not over bake them!
  4. Once done, transfer the salmon filets to individual serving plates. Serve with a squeeze of fresh lemon juice on the salmon fillets, and some creamy mashed potatoes on the side with blanched asparagus or any other greens of choice. Enjoy!

Herb & Caper-crusted Salmon

Herb & Caper-crusted Salmon

BON APPÉTIT

– Ally xx

myTaste.com

Super Green Shakshuka

Super Green Shakshuka

Hello Everyone! I can’t believe that we’re already halfway through the year! Metro Manila has now shifted from Enhanced Community Quarantine to General Community Quarantine since the beginning of this week and I honestly don’t know what’s going to happen. We haven’t even started to flatten the curve, and here we are letting people out and go back to work with positive cases rising much higher than when we were under enhanced quarantine.

I’ll unfortunately be reporting back to the office starting this coming Monday and Tuesday, twice a week while the other 3 days will be to continue working from home. I honestly don’t see the point in risking my health and my life just to go into the office two times a week when there is still so much uncertainty with the on-going pandemic, especially when it’s ten times harder to get anywhere via public transport due to capacity limitations to comply with social distancing. It was hard enough to get a ride to and from work pre-pandemic times, what more now? I remember waiting almost an hour for a ride home on many occasions, now I’ll probably be waiting 2 or even more hours just to get home, exposed in the open to the virus. While there’s a shuttle service initiated by the company I’m working for to avoid this issue, I don’t know how long they’ll be able to keep up with a door-to-door pick-up/drop-off service.

Super Green Shakshuka

Anyway, mini tangent/rant aside, a new month means it’s time to move onto the next colour of the rainbow for this year’s theme on Amcarmen’s Kitchen! The recipe that I’ll be sharing with you tonight is inspired by a dish that I had way back when I was still living and studying in Australia. It was in fact a weekend farewell brunch for me as I left the country the following day for good after having completed my degree and graduated a couple months back before this weekend brunch gathering.

I first came across the idea of a green shakshuka at SHUK North Bondi. Green shakshuka puts a healthy green spin on the classic Middle Eastern shakshuka recipe. Traditionally, a shakshuka is a mixture of simmering tomato sauce and spices, topped with gently poached eggs. Within the tomato sauce there’s diced onions, garlic and bell peppers. Lastly, it’s garnished with freshly chopped herbs such as cilantro and parsley.

The great thing about a shakshuka is its versatility. Similar to how you can toss most ingredients from your fridge into a smoothie, the same can be said for a shakshuka. For this green shakshuka, I’ll be replacing the tomato sauce and bell peppers with an abundance of sautéed green vegetables.

Super Green Shakshuka Ingredients

Whatever veggies you’ve got lying around, just throw them in! For my improvised take on this recipe, I’m going with broccoli and asparagus for some bite, and leafy greens such as locally grown kale, spinach, chilli, and malunggay leaves. I also threw in some green chillies for a kick of heat and some fresh basil and green scallions for freshness.

Super Green Shakshuka Ingredients

PREP TIME 10 MINS | COOKING TIME 30 MINS | SERVES 3

INGREDIENTS

  • 3 large free range eggs
  • 1 cup broccoli, roughly chopped
  • 1 cup kale leaves, roughly chopped
  • 1 cup spinach leaves
  • 3/4 cup chilli leaves, stemmed
  • 1/2 cup asparagus, roughly chopped
  • 1/4 cup malunggay leaves, stemmed
  • 2-3 garlic cloves, finely minced
  • 2 large green chillies, sliced
  • 2 small red onions, finely diced
  • 2 small red bird’s eye chillies, sliced
  • 1 stalk green scallions, chopped
  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 tsp black olives, sliced
  • 2 tsp capers
  • Handful basil leaves, roughly chopped
  • Salt and ground black pepper, to taste
  • Shaved parmesan cheese

Optional (to serve with)

  • 1 large avocado, peeled, pitted, and sliced (optional)
  • Crusty bread, toasted

METHOD

  1. Heat olive oil in a non-stick sauté pan over medium heat. Add the minced garlic and sauté until golden brown and fragrant, about 30 seconds. Be careful to not burn the garlic. Then add in the diced onions together with half of the sliced green chillies and the white parts of the scallions, cooking until they soften, about 1-2 minutes.
  2. Next, add in the chopped broccoli and cook for about a minute before adding the chopped asparagus in. Season with a touch of salt and freshly ground black pepper. Give it a good mix and cook for a further minute or so until they start to soften a bit.
  3. Add in the chopped kale and spinach leaves with just a touch of water. Cover for about 30 to 45 seconds to allow the steam to wilt the leaves. Add in the chilli leaves followed by the malunggay leaves and give it a good mix. Cook, uncovered, for about a minute or two; turning the heat down to low at this point so that your veggies do not overcook.
  4. Flatten the veggie mixture with a spatula and create 3 small wells. Crack an egg into each well and season with a touch of salt freshly ground black pepper. Add the sliced black olives, capers, red and green chillies, and green scallions. Cook the eggs until done to your liking. You can also cover to steam and cook the eggs faster (about two minutes for cooked whites and a lovely runny yolk). Heat off, and sprinkle with the chopped basil leaves to garnish.
  5. Serve immediately with your choice of sliced avocado or crusty bread, or ever both for a heavy brunch. Enjoy!

Super Green Shakshuka

You can easily double this recipe to serve more hungry tummies. It’s an easy, one-pan dish filled with lots of green goodies and poached eggs. Whether you eat it for breakfast or dinner, it’s a hearty, nutrient-packed meal that will last you through any season!

Super Green Shakshuka

BON APPÉTIT

– Ally xx

myTaste.com

Cayenne Shrimp & Corn Chowder

Cayenne Shrimp & Corn Chowder

Hello Everyone! I’ll keep tonight’s introduction short as I haven’t got much to say really. This Cayenne Shrimp & Corn Chowder is the perfect comfort food for the wintry days, or even just those cold, rainy nights. It’s easy, hearty, spicy, sweet, slightly creamy, incredibly smoky, and packed with tons of flavour!

Cayenne Shrimp & Corn Chowder

Shrimp is a popular choice for any meal of the day. Be sure and get the right sized shrimp for your recipe Medium-size shrimp are best for soups, for example, because they are easier to eat with a spoon. The best part of this dish though is that you can control the heat levels by adding more or less cayenne and/or paprika, to taste. If you ask me though, I’d say the more the better because that smokiness is the true star in this chowder!

As I was cooking, I realised that the dish was turning out to be more on the orange side rather than yellow. Oops! Nevertheless, before we dive into tonight’s recipe, please take the time to check out the original where I drew my inspiration from over on Gimmie Some Oven by Ali.

Cayenne Shrimp & Corn Chowder Ingredients

PREP TIME 20 MINS | COOKING TIME 1 HOUR 25 MINS | SERVES 3-4

INGREDIENTS

  • 500g shrimp, heads removed, peeled, and deveined

For the prawn head soup base

  • Shrimp heads and peels
  • 1.5L water
  • 5 garlic cloves, whole
  • 3 celery stalks, roughly chopped
  • 3 dried bay leaves
  • 2 small red onion, quartered
  • 1/2 tbsp salt
  • 1/2 tbsp whole black peppercorns

For the chowder

  • Shrimp meat
  • 400ml coconut milk
  • 1 bag (200g) frozen corn*, thawed
  • 3 celery stalks, sliced
  • 3 large potatoes, peeled and cut into medium-sized cubes
  • 2-3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 small red onion, diced
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 tsp cayenne pepper powder
  • 2 tsp smoked paprika powder
  • 1/2 tsp dried thyme
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • Salt and ground black pepper, to taste
  • Chopped spring onions, to garnish

* Alternatively, you can also use fresh corn or canned corn for this recipe; whichever is readily available for you.

METHOD

  1. Prawn Head Soup Base: Add all the ingredients to a large heavy-bottomed pot. Bring to a boil over high heat. Once boiling, turn the heat down to a slow simmer. Make sure to press down on the heads and peels as it simmers away to extract as much flavour as you can. Leave it to simmer for about 30 to 45 minutes.
  2. Once done, strain the soup base into a large mixing bowl and set aside.
  3. Chowder: In the same heavy-bottomed pot, heat olive oil over medium-high. Add the minced garlic and sauté until golden brown and fragrant, about 30 seconds. Be careful to not burn the garlic. Then add in the diced onions, cooking until they soften, about 1-2 minutes.
  4. Add the sliced celery and potatoes to the pot, together with the spices, herbs and season with ground black pepper. Stir and cook for about a minute before adding in the prawn head soup base to the mixture. Bring to a rapid boil.
  5. Once boiling, turn the heat down to low so that the soup reduces to a slow simmer. Simmer away for 10 to 15 minutes, covered. Slowly add in half of the coconut milk and bring back to a slow simmer. Check and stir occasionally to avoid curdles from forming, cooking for a further 5 to 10 minutes. Taste to check if the chowder needs more seasoning or not.
  6. Add in the prawns and thawed sweet corn. If you’re using fresh corn, add them a little earlier to ensure that they are cooked all the way through. Cook for about 5 minutes and then add in the remaining coconut milk. Turn the heat up to medium-high and bring the chowder up to a rapid boil and cook for a further 5 minutes.
  7. Turn the heat off and equally divide the chowder into individual serving bowls. Top with some freshly chopped green onions and serve immediately while hot. Best with a crusty baguette on the side. Enjoy!

Cayenne Shrimp & Corn Chowder

Cayenne Shrimp & Corn Chowder

BON APPÉTIT

– Ally xx

myTaste.com

Aloo Kadhi (Indian Potato Curry)

Aloo Kadhi (Indian Potato Curry)

Hello Everyone! If you haven’t already guessed it, or if I haven’t already told some of you (for a special project this coming August), the theme for this year on the blog is Colours of the Rainbow! Tonight, and for the rest of the month of May, I will be continuing on with the colour yellow.

Aloo Kadhi (Indian Potato Curry)

If you love simple ingredients with beautiful, massive flavours, then you’ve found the right recipe! This Aloo Kadhi, or in English, Indian Potato Curry, has incredible flavours that are hard to beat. Even though I ended up mashing almost half of the potatoes in this curry, mine didn’t turn out as thick in consistency as I would have wanted it to be, but that’s easy to fix – just mash up more potatoes!

This recipe may not have all the authentic spices found in a traditional Aloo Curry, but I can guarantee it tastes amazing! Vidhya, I know you still read my blog posts after so many years, so please don’t grill me on this dish *cheeky grin* Anyway, it’s terrific with freshly made puri, a crisp and puffy Indian bread, or with paratha, an unleavened Indian flatbread made with whole wheat flour.

Before we dive into tonight’s recipe, please take the time to check out where I drew my inspiration from. The original recipe is on Scrambled Chefs by Aena.

Aloo Kadhi (Indian Potato Curry) Ingredients

PREP TIME 10 MINS | COOKING TIME 35 MINS | SERVES 3-4

INGREDIENTS

  • 6 medium-sized potatoes, wash, peeled, and cut into small cubes
  • 3-4 pcs whole cloves
  • 2 pcs star anise
  • 1 pc cinnamon bark
  • 2-3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 thumb-sized fresh turmeric, julienned
  • 2 cups water (or vegetable stock)
  • 3 tbsp coconut oil
  • 1 & 1/2 tsp chilli flakes
  • 1 & 1/2 tsp ground paprika
  • 1/2 tsp turmeric powder
  • 1/2 tsp yellow curry powder
  • Salt, to taste
  • Handful of blanched kale leaves, to garnish (optional)

METHOD

  1. Add the coconut oil in a large heavy-bottomed pot over medium heat. When the oil starts to shimmer, add the cinnamon bark, star anise, and whole cloves; sauté until fragrant, about a minute or two. Be careful not to burn the aromatics. Then add the minced garlic and fresh turmeric and sauté until golden brown and fragrant, about 30 seconds.
  2. Add the potatoes into the pot, together with the ground paprika, chilli flakes, curry powder, and turmeric powder. Season with salt, to taste, and then give it a good mix, cooking for about a minute or two.
  3. Add the water or vegetable stock and bring to a gentle boiling. Cover the pot and leave to cook for about 15 to 20 minutes, or until the potatoes are cooked through. If desired, use a fork to mash up some of the potatoes to thicken the curry to the consistency of your liking. Let it simmer, partially covered, for 5 to 10 more minutes.
  4. Check and taste to see if the curry needs additional seasoning. If so, season with a touch more salt and freshly ground black pepper.
  5. Once done, transfer to a serving dish and top with some blanched kale. Or, if you’re not a coriander hater like myself, go ahead and top your Aloo Kadhi off with a sprinkle of chopped coriander.
  6. Serve hot with some freshly cooked Indian bread of choice. You may also choose to enjoy this dish with some freshly cooked basmati rice if you’re a starch on starch kind of person. Enjoy!

Aloo Kadhi (Indian Potato Curry)

Notes:

  1. Cut the potatoes into small-sized cubes if you want the potatoes to cook faster. The bigger the potato pieces, the longer it will take for them to cook all the way through.
  2. Cook the potato curry on low to medium heat. Potatoes are root-based starches that thicken up and soften more easily when cooked on low heat. Therefore, when you cook the curry on low heat, not only will it cook the potatoes all the way through, it will also make the curry thick and at the right consistency.

BON APPÉTIT

– Ally xx

myTaste.com

Vegan Turmeric, Chickpea, and Sweet Potato Stew

Vegan Turmeric, Chickpea, and Sweet Potato Stew

Hello Everyone! I’ll keep tonight’s introduction short, and so, on to the recipe! This glowing Turmeric, Chickpea, and Sweet Potato Stew is hearty, spicy, creamy, nutrient-rich, and delicious! The addition of pineapple juice in the stew adds a hint of sweetness and slightly enhances the flavour of the overall dish that pairs nicely with the coconut milk.

It’s the perfect comfort food for the cold weather months. Having said that, it’s probably not an ideal dish to whip up in the tropics, especially during the summer time *cheeky grin*

Vegan Turmeric, Chickpea, and Sweet Potato Stew

Before we dive into tonight’s recipe, please take the time to check out the original recipe I followed for reference, over on Yup, it’s Vegan by Shannon. It’s dairy-free, gluten-free, grain-free, and vegan/vegetarian altogether (that is if you skip the garlic-malunggay toast on the side)!

Vegan Turmeric, Chickpea, and Sweet Potato Stew Ingredients

PREP TIME 10 MINS | COOKING TIME 30 MINS | SERVES 4

INGREDIENTS

3 garlic cloves, minced
2 pcs dried bay leaves
2 small-sized sweet potato, peeled and cubed
1 small red bird’s eye chilli, finely minced
1 small red onion, diced
2 cups water or vegetable stock
1 & 1/2 cups cooked chickpeas
1 & 1/2 cups full-fat coconut milk
1/2 cup pineapple juice (fresh or if store-bought, with no added sugar)
2 tbsp freshly squeezed lime juice
1 & 1/2 tbsp fresh turmeric, grated
1 tbsp coconut oil
1 tbsp fresh ginger, grated
1/2 tbsp yellow curry powder
2 tsp light soy sauce
1 tsp turmeric powder
Blanched kale leaves, roughly chopped to garnish
Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

METHOD

  1. Add the coconut oil in a large heavy-bottomed pot over medium heat. When the oil starts to shimmer, add the minced garlic and sauté until golden brown and fragrant, about 30 seconds. Be careful to not burn the garlic. Then add in the diced onions, chillies, ginger, turmeric, and dried bay leaves, stirring often, until they soften, about 1-2 minutes.
  2. Add the sweet potatoes into the pot, together with the curry and turmeric powder. Season with salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste, and then give it a good mix, cooking for about a minute or two.
  3. Add the water or vegetable stock and bring to a gentle boiling. Once boiling, add in the pineapple juice, and half of the coconut milk and bring back to a gentle boil before reducing the heat to a steady simmer. Cover the pot and leave to cook for about 15 to 20 minutes, or until the sweet potatoes are cooked through.
  4. If desired, use a fork to mash up some of the sweet potatoes to thicken the stew slightly. Stir in the cooked chickpeas, lime juice, soy sauce, and the remaining coconut milk. Let it simmer, partially covered, for 5 to 10 more minutes.
  5. Check and taste to see if the stew needs additional seasoning. If so, season with a touch more salt, freshly ground black pepper, and lime juice.
  6. Once done, top with some blanched kale and fresh chillies. Serve hot with some garlic-malunggay bread slices on the side (optional). Enjoy!

Vegan Turmeric, Chickpea, and Sweet Potato Stew

Note: The sweet potatoes in this stew makes it nice and hearty on its own, but it is also lovely served with jasmine rice. Feel free to add other stew-friendly vegetables too, such as cauliflower or other leafy greens like how I added kale to mine.

BON APPÉTIT

– Ally xx

myTaste.com

Orange-glazed Salmon with Tarragon

Orange-glazed Salmon with Tarragon

Hello Everyone! As I stated in my very first post for the year 2020, I mentioned that I would not be revealing the theme for the year as I want to give you guys a chance to guess. I also mentioned that it might not be obvious for the first few months. But as a new month dawns upon us, this means that it’s time to change it up a little bit; to make it start to look a little clearer on where the journey of Amcarmen’s Kitchen will take us this 2020.

Tonight’s recipe is perfect for an easy weeknight meal, yet also fancy enough to impress your guests on the weekend! What’s even better is that it’s ready in under 30 minutes! It’s full of vibrant orange flavour and pairs well with the fresh tarragon. Actually, a little side note – the recipe uses fresh rosemary to pair with the salmon. I had a hard time sourcing rosemary the weekend I wanted to whip this dish up and so I ended up using the next best thing I could find – tarragon!

Orange-glazed Salmon with Tarragon

This Orange-glazed Salmon is a hearty and filling dish packed with fresh flavours and healthy fats. Sear the salmon first so that you get that delicious and slightly crisped golden-brown exterior with a tender, fall-apart interior. As this dish makes quite a bit of sauce, it is best served with a side of rice or couscous to soak up all that yummy goodness. Don’t forget a side of veggies too for some added fibre to your diet!

Before we dive into tonight’s recipe, please check out the original where I drew my inspiration from, another recipe from Jaclyn over on Cooking Classy.

Orange-glazed Salmon with Tarragon Ingredients

PREP TIME 10 MINS | COOKING TIME 15 MINS | SERVES 4

INGREDIENTS

  • 4 salmon portions (1-inch thick, skin on)
  • 2/3 cup fresh orange juice (about 2 small Navel oranges)
  • 2-3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/4 shrimp bouillon cube, dissolved in 5 tbsp of water
  • 1 & 1/2 tbsp honey
  • 1 & 1/2 tbsp orange zest
  • 1 tbsp fresh lemon juice
  • 2 & 1/2 tsp cornstarch
  • 2 & 1/2 tsp fresh tarragon, minced
  • 2 tsp olive oil
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • Tarragon sprigs, to serve

To serve

  • Blanched vegetables of choice
  • Navel orange wedges/slices
  • Steamed plain rice or couscous

METHOD

  1. Heat olive oil in a large non-stick frying pan or skillet over medium-high. Make sure that it is hot enough, but not too hot that it starts smoking.
  2. Season both sides of the salmon with salt and freshly ground black pepper before adding to the pan. Cook, skin side down first before flipping, about 3-4 minutes per side or until browned and cooked through. Once done, transfer the salmon to a plate lined with a paper towel to soak up any excess grease.
  3. With the same oil in the pan, add the garlic and minced tarragon. Sauté for about 20 seconds, taking care not to burn them, and then add 4 tablespoons of the shrimp bouillon cube dissolved in water. Simmer until mostly reduced. Stir in the orange zest, orange juice, lemon juice, and honey.
  4. In a small bowl, whisk together the remaining tablespoon of the shrimp bouillon cube dissolved in water with the cornstarch. Pour into the pan and whisk until thickened. Season the sauce with salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste. Allow to simmer for about a minute while constantly whisking.
  5. Return the salmon to the pan and spoon the sauce over. Remove from the heat.
  6. Serve with vegetables of choice, in this case I used mustard leaves, on the side with extra slices of fresh oranges and steamed rice (optional). Enjoy!

Orange-glazed Salmon with Tarragon

Orange-glazed Salmon with Tarragon

BON APPÉTIT

– Ally xx

myTaste.com

Singapore Chilli Crab with Fried Mantou

Singapore Chilli Crab with Fried Mantou

Hello Everyone! As I said in my very first post for the year, I wanted to see how many of you will be able to guess the theme for this year. As of now, you probably have enough information for an idea, and to be honest, it’ll only get clearer (maybe) in April. So for now, I’ll keep you guys guessing!

Chilli Crab is a Southeast Asian seafood dish, popularised and promoted in Singapore as its national dish. The dish dates back to 1956 where a husband and wife started selling an improvised recipe of stir-fried crabs mixed with bottled chilli and tomato sauce from a pushcart.

Despite its name, it is actually not a very spicy dish at all. It is a dish where mud crabs, or any other species of crab, are stir-fried in a semi-thick, sweet and savoury tomato and chilli based sauce. The sauce is described as sensuous, sweet yet savoury, and fluffy in texture.

Singapore Chilli Crab with Fried Mantou

When it comes to eating Chilli Crab, forget about cutlery. It is traditionally eaten with bare hands as a means to savour the juicy crab meat. Restaurants that serve this each often provide wet towels or a small washing bowl with lime for diners to clean their hands after their meal. Additionally, don’t be shy. Ask for a bib. Or wear a bib when eating at home. Seriously. It will keep your clothes free from stains and sauce drops.

Chilli Crab is commonly ordered with a side dish of plain or fried rice, vegetables, or other seafood dishes such as fish. Regardless of those, there’s one thing that can’t be left out when you order Chilli Crab that contrasts so deliciously with the sauce: Bright Golden Pillows. Or simply, fried mantou buns. These crispy and greasy little nuggets are used to soak up the sauce from the Chilli Crab. They are sweet, soft, and sinful.

Before we dive into tonight’s recipe, check out the original recipe over on Serious Eats by Yvonne Ruperti.

Singapore Chilli Crab Ingredients

PREP TIME 15 MINS | COOKING TIME 10-12 MINS | SERVES 3-4

INGREDIENTS

  • 2 whole Mud or Dungeness Crabs (about 600g – 800g in weight for each)*
  • 6 garlic cloves, minced
  • 3 red bird’s eye chillies, minced
  • 1 half-inch knob ginger, grated
  • 1 large free-range egg, beaten
  • 1 small red onion, minced
  • 1 stalk green onions, thinly sliced
  • 1 shrimp bouillon cube
  • 2 cups water
  • 1/4 cup tomato paste
  • 1/2 cup hot-sweet chilli sauce
  • 4 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tbsp cornstarch, mixed with 2 tbsp of water to make a slurry
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

To serve on the side

  • Steamed rice
  • Fried mantou (Chinese Buns)**

* Check out this YouTube video by Sydney Fish Market on how to choose, clean, and prepare your crabs; best to keep the fat and creamy part inside the top shell for the extra crab flavour that it’ll lend to the dish.
** You can make your own mantou buns by following this recipe over on China Sichuan Food. Alternatively, you may also find them at your local grocer or supermarket, if available.

Frozen Mantou Buns

METHOD

  1. In a large wok or Dutch oven, heat olive oil over medium until shimmering. Add in the garlic, onion, ginger, and chillies. Cook until lightly browned and fragrant for about a minute.
  2. Add the crab pieces, water, and shrimp bouillon cube. Increase the heat to medium-high, cover loosely, and bring to a gentle boil. Decrease the heat if necessary. Cook for about 6 minutes, until the crab has turned red and is nearly cooked through.
  3. Stir in the tomato paste and chilli sauce. Simmer for about a minute and then season to taste with salt and freshly cracked black pepper. Stir in the cornstarch slurry and bring back to a boil for the sauce to thicken.
  4. Remove from the heat and stir in beaten egg. Transfer to a serving dish and top with sliced green onions and fresh chillies.
  5. Serve with steamed rice and/or fried mantou buns. Take care when eating the sauce – it may have bits of shell in it from the crab. Enjoy!

Singapore Chilli Crab with Fried Mantou

BON APPÉTIT

– Ally xx

myTaste.com

Crispy Sweet & Sour Tofu

Crispy Sweet & Sour Tofu

Hello Everyone and Happy Hump Day! How is it that we’re already halfway into the first month of the year? I know I’ve said this in probably 80% of my posts from last year, and I will most definitely say it again… Time sure does fly by so quickly!

Tofu, or also known as bean curd, is made by curdling fresh soy milk, pressing it into a solid block, and then cooling it – the same traditional way in which dairy cheese is made. It is a good source of plant-based protein and contains all nine essential amino acids. It is also a valuable plant source of iron, calcium, and minerals such as manganese and phosphorus. In addition to this, it also contains magnesium, copper, zinc, and vitamin B1.

Sadly, tofu sometimes get a bad reputation from omnivores, and it’s probably because they are eating tofu that wasn’t cooked or seasoned well in the first place! Tofu is a popular staple ingredient in Thai and Chinese cuisines where it can be cooked in different ways to change its texture from smooth and soft, to crisp and crunchy.

Crispy Sweet & Sour Tofu

Given its neutral taste and range of consistency, tofu has an amazing ability to work with almost all types of flavours and foods. Extra firm tofu is best for baking, grilling, and stir-fries. On the other hand, soft tofu is suitable for sauces, desserts, shakes, and salad dressings. The possibilities are endless and of course, it’s all down to you and your creativity to see where your adventures and experiments take you with tofu!

Tonight I’ll be sharing a super delicious vegetarian dish that’s super simple and quick to put together. You can also easily make this dish vegan by substituting the wild honey for white granulated sugar or maple syrup in the irresistible sweet and sour sauce that will coat the crispy tofu. The trick to getting it nice and crispy? Get rid of the excess moisture and fry it up real nice! No one likes soggy tofu! As always, do head on over to Hot For Food by Lauren Toyota for the original recipe where I drew my inspiration from.

Crispy Sweet & Sour Tofu Ingredients

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

INGREDIENTS

For the sweet and sour sauce

  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1/3 cup unseasoned rice vinegar
  • 1/4 cup wild honey*
  • 2 tbsp light soy sauce
  • 2 tbsp tomato paste
  • 2 tsp cornstarch, mixed with 2 tsp water
  • 2 tsp vegetable oil
  • 1/2 tsp freshly grated ginger
  • 1/2 tsp chilli flakes/ground, or fresh chilli
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

For the tofu batter

  • 1 block of medium-firm tofu
  • 1 cup all purpose flour
  • 1 cup cold soda water
  • 1 tbsp cornstarch
  • 2 tsp sesame oil
  • 1 tsp toasted sesame seeds
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper
  • 3 cups vegetable oil, for frying
  • Thinly sliced green onions, to garnish
  • Toasted sesame seeds, to garnish

* Substitute wild honey for white granulated sugar or maple syrup for a vegan option.

METHOD

  1. Preparing the Tofu: If using tofu from a package, drain and cut into bite-sized cubes. Allow the cubes to sit on a clean tea towel or paper towel to get rid of any excess water. Set aside and in the meantime, prepare the sauce.
  2. Sweet & Sour Sauce: Mix the cornstarch and water in a small bowl. Set aside. Whisk all the sauce ingredients together (except for the garlic, ginger, and chilli), in a small mixing bowl as set aside.
  3. In a small saucepan, heat the vegetable oil over medium-low. Add the minced garlic, grated ginger, and chilli. Sauté for about 30 seconds, until golden and fragrant, being careful not to burn the garlic and ginger.
  4. Add the sauce mixture to the saucepan and whisk together until just bubbling. Once bubbling, whisk in the cornstarch and water mixture to the sauce. Continue to whisk frequently for 10 to 12 minutes until the sauce has thickened and reduced. Once done, remove from the heat and set aside while preparing the crispy tofu.
  5. Crispy Tofu: In a heavy-bottomed pot, heat the 3 cups of vegetable oil to about 180C to 185C (or 355F to 365F).
  6. Prepare the batter by whisking the flour, cornstarch, sea salt, garlic powder, sesame seeds, and black pepper in a large mixing bowl. Do not add the cold soda water until your frying oil is ready. When you’re ready to fry, stir in the cold soda water to the flour mixture and mix well. If the mixture is too thin, add a little bit more flour and combine. The batter should have a smooth and slightly thick consistency – like pancake batter. You want it to stick and coat the cubes of tofu.
  7. Place the tofu cubes in the batter and toss to coat evenly. Delicately drop each cube one at a time into the frying oil. Fry in batches of 5 to 6 pieces (more or less depending on the size of your pot), just be careful to not overcrowd the pot. Fry for 2 to 2.5 minutes, until golden. If some stick together, your can gently separate them in the frying oil using a slotted fryer spoon. Once done, let them sit on a paper towel to absorb the excess oil. Continue this process with the remaining tofu cubes.
  8. Serve: Heat up the sauce again if needed before serving. In 2 to 3 batches, you can evenly coat the crispy tofu with the sauce by tossing them together in a large bowl. Plate up, drizzle with a touch of sesame oil, and garnish with spring onion.
  9. Serve and enjoy immediately over steamed rice or any vegetables of your choice!

Crispy Sweet & Sour Tofu

Notes:
If you’d rather bake the tofu instead of frying for a healthier alternative, toss the cubes in about 2 tablespoons of cornstarch in a large bowl. Lay them out evenly on a large parchment-lined baking sheet and bake in a preheated oven (425F, 220C or gas mark 7), for 30 to 40 minutes, until crispy and golden brown. Finish by coating in warm sweet and sour sauce right before serving.

Crispy Sweet & Sour Tofu

BON APPÉTIT

– Ally xx

myTaste.com

Spicy Chipotle Vegetarian Mafalde Soup

Spicy Chipotle Vegetarian Mafalde Soup

Hello Everyone! Unfortunately it’s snap back to reality, (oh there goes gravity) for all (some?) of us. I hope everyone enjoyed their Christmas and New Year break, and y’all are ready to tackle what 2020 has in store for you! I’m going to keep the introduction short only because I saved a little something for last in this post for tonight. It has become a tradition that I do every beginning of year on the blog, for you guys to get the chance to know more about me on a personal level. So if you want to go ahead and read it, continue scrolling after you’ve had a read through the recipe of course!

Since towards the end of 2019, I have been slowly cutting down on my meat intake, specifically beef and pork (with very rare cheat/naughty days). I still ate chicken and seafood though and this year I am going to attempt to, if not completely cut out then, at least reduce my intake of chicken. I don’t think I’ll ever be able to fully go vegetarian, ever, but I think I can survive a couple of days a week of being completely vegetarian.

Spicy Chipotle Vegetarian Mafalde Soup

The original recipe by Rachael Ray over on Rachael Ray Mag, that inspired me to make and share this dish with you tonight is far from being vegetarian. I painfully ditched the ground beef and Italian sausages from the recipe and instead loaded the dish up with hearty and flavourful vegetables such as portobello or swiss brown mushrooms, eggplant, celery, and carrots. Just as delicious as Italian sausages *cries internally*! Of course, don’t forget to substitute the chicken stock out for veggie stock instead. However, if you’re a meat lover, then by all means go ahead and follow Rachael Ray’s recipe.

(Apologies, the intro ended up being much longer than I had anticipated when I said that I’d keep it short *cheeky grin*)

Spicy Chipotle Vegetarian Mafalde Soup Ingredients

PREP TIME 15 MINS | COOKING TIME 30 MINS | SERVES 4*

* Serves 4 as a main, 8 as a side dish or starter.

INGREDIENTS

For the soup

  • 250g Mafalde pasta**
  • 250g portobello or swiss brown mushrooms, sliced
  • 1L vegetable stock
  • 1 can (400g) whole tomatoes
  • 2 cups passata or tomato purée
  • 3 chipotle peppers in adobo sauce, sliced or minced
  • 2-3 dried bay leaves
  • 2-3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 celery stalk, sliced
  • 1 large Lebanese eggplant, diced
  • 1 small carrot, peeled and diced
  • 1 small red onion, sliced
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tsp dried thyme
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

For the cheese mixture

  • 1 cup mascarpone cheese
  • 1/4 cup heavy cream, or crème fraîche
  • Freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano

To garnish & serve with

  • Handful of fresh basil leaves, torn
  • Garlic bread, on the side

** Mafaldine, also known as Reginette or simply Mafalda or Mafalde, is a type of ribbon-shaped pasta. It is flat and wide, usually about 1cm in width, with wavy edges on both sides. It is prepared similarly to other ribbon-based pasta such as linguine and fettuccine. If not available in your local grocers, then by all means you can use lasagna sheets as stated in the original recipe, or any other shaped pasta.

METHOD

  1. Pasta: Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil over high heat. Add the pasta to the boiling water and cook until a few minutes shy of the package directions. In my case, package states 13 minutes, so I cooked them for 10 minutes. Drain, rinse under cold water, and then set aside.
  2. Cheese Mixture: In a medium-sized mixing bowl, mix the mascarpone, parm, and cream together. Season with a touch of salt and then set aside.
  3. Soup: In a soup pot or heavy duty Dutch oven, heat olive oil over medium-high. Sauté the minced garlic until golden brown and fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add the sliced onions and cook until soft, a further 30 to 45 seconds. Add the chopped celery stalks and carrots, and season with salt and pepper to taste. Cook for a further 2 minutes. Add the mushrooms and eggplant in together with the dried thyme, dried bay leaves, and chipotle peppers. Cook for a further minute.
  4. Pour the canned tomatoes, passata, and vegetable stock over the sautéd vegetables, and give it a good stir. Reduce the heat down to medium-low. Cover and leave to simmer for about 15 minutes to allow the flavours to meld. Check and stir occasionally. After about 15 minutes, add the cooked Mafalde pasta to the pot and cook until al dente, about 3 minutes.
  5. Serve: Once done transfer to individual soup bowls. Top each serving with a fat dollop of the cheese mixture and garnish with basil leaves.
  6. Serve with hot, steamy, and crusty garlic bread on the side. I used leftover wholemeal bread slices that was sitting in our pantry and made a garlic-malunggay butter spread for it. Enjoy!

Spicy Chipotle Vegetarian Mafalde Soup

Spicy Chipotle Vegetarian Mafalde Soup

BON APPÉTIT

Now as promised at the beginning of this post:

Most people make resolutions and either keep them or forget about them after the first month. I personally have never made any resolutions ever only because, knowing myself, I’d never stick to them. It was only until recently (two years ago to be exact), that I started living by an intention in mind on how I would go about to tackle the year ahead. Last year, it was to:

Go with the flow. Force nothing. Let it happen.
Trusting that whichever way it goes, it’s for the best.

Sometimes I scare myself for how true my intention played out for the year. I entered 2019 with challenges I hadn’t overcome from the previous year, and in time, with this intention I had set, I overcame those challenges. It may not have turned out the way I had originally planned, but I believe that it was for the best.

You see, when I left my job in Brunei, it was because I had a job waiting for me in Australia. Unfortunately I fell short when it came to acquiring a visa to go and work there. With that, I gave up my opportunity to go to Australia. I decided to just go with the flow and see where I’d go next; maybe Australia wasn’t meant for me. Just yet.

I decided to find work here in the Philippines. It wasn’t easy. I was unemployed for 7-8 months and running on the little savings that I had to support not only myself, but my Mom and my sister. It was hard because we were basically starting from scratch having just moved away for good from Brunei. I was starting to fall into a bad place, mentally. I questioned myself and my abilities. I questioned why I couldn’t land a job. Every interview I went to had such promising things to say, not only about my skills and abilities, but my personality as well. But I always fell short in the end. There was always the better candidate. But by God’s grace, I finally landed a job after more than a hundred applications. Finally someone who believed in my capabilities rather than being threatened by them.

I was finally back on my feet. But nothing, nothing. Nothing could have prepared me for the ultimate challenge that was unexpectedly thrown at me. The heavens gained a warm and kind-hearted angel. That angel is Mother. I’m not going to get into much detail on this topic, but all I can say is that it wasn’t until this that I realised why I ended up not going to Australia for work and landed a job here instead. It was so that I could spend the remaining time my Mom had left in this world with her, by her side, up to her last breath.

Towards the end of 2019 (actually just about 2 weeks ago), I was scrolling through Facebook one day and came across this post that my cousin shared:

2020

It really resonated with me. God did make me strong for the challenges I faced this 2019. Even though losing a loved one, especially a mother, comes with so much pain, He has already blessed me with a very unexpected gift before 2019 ended. So I believe and trust that He will push through with His plans for me, to make me happy for 2020.

And now I also truly believe that ending up here in the Philippines instead of going to Australia, was the for the best.

My goal for 2020 is to be happy, no matter what.

– Ally xx

myTaste.com

Tilapia with Spicy Red Pepper Sauce

Tilapia with Spicy Red Pepper Sauce

Hello Everyone and a very Happy New Year to all! I’m pleased to let everyone know that Amcarmen’s Kitchen is officially back from its hiatus to bring you some exciting recipes and dishes for 2020! As you know, or I guess, as my loyal/long-time followers know, every year I set a new theme for the blog.

Last year was all about cooking with fruits, be it a savoury or sweet dish; and then every month I’d feature a different fruit. What I absolutely enjoyed about last year’s theme was discovering unique ways of cooking with fruit in savoury dishes. My favourite dish from last year would have to be the very latest post I shared: Mangosteen Vermicelli Salad with Steamed Prawns & Snow Peas. I just love the tang and sweetness the mangosteen fruit brought to the dish!

Tilapia with Spicy Red Pepper Sauce

For now, I won’t reveal the overall theme for this year to you guys just yet, only because I want to see how many of you out there can guess it. I’m honestly not too sure if it will be that obvious, so I’ll give it a few months or so before I actually let you guys in, on the theme.

Tonight’s recipe is something that you can whip up in 30 minutes (or less really), which means that it’s great for a hearty and warm weeknight dinner at home if time isn’t on your side. It can be served over steamed rice or pasta – the choice is yours! But before we dive into tonight’s recipe, please take the time to check out the original where I adapted my take on this recipe by Rachael Ray over on Rachael Ray Mag.

Tilapia with Spicy Red Pepper Sauce Ingredients

PREP TIME 15 MINS | COOKING TIME 30 MINS | SERVES 6

INGREDIENTS

  • 6 tilapia fillets (about 150g per fillet)
  • 1 can (400g) diced tomatoes
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 red bird’s eye chillies, minced
  • 1 large brown onion, halved and thinly sliced
  • 1 large red bell pepper (capsicum), thinly sliced
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 & 1/2 tbsp baby capers in brine, rinsed and drained
  • 1 tbsp sliced black olives in brine, rinsed and drained
  • 1 tbsp dried thyme
  • 2 tsp turmeric powder
  • Freshly squeezed lemon juice (about half a lemon’s worth)
  • Parsley or spring onion, to garnish
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

METHOD

  1. Season the fish with salt, pepper, turmeric powder, and lemon juice. Set aside.
  2. In a large nonstick skillet, heat olive oil over medium-high. Sauté the minced garlic until golden brown and fragrant, about 30 seconds. Be careful to not burn the garlic. Then add in the sliced onions, chillies, and bell pepper. Cook, stirring often, until the vegetables soften, about 5 minutes.
  3. Add the canned tomatoes and its juices, together with the capers, olives, and thyme. Season with salt and pepper according to taste. Reduce the heat down to medium-low. Cover and leave to simmer for about 15 minutes to allow the flavours to meld. Check and stir occasionally.
  4. After about 15 minutes, nestle the seasoned fish fillets into the red pepper sauce. Cover and cook until the fish flakes easily, about 5 minutes. Once done, turn the heat off and serve immediately with rice or pasta.
  5. Garnish with fresh parsley or sliced spring onions. Enjoy!

Tilapia with Spicy Red Pepper Sauce

Tilapia with Spicy Red Pepper Sauce

BON APPÉTIT

– Ally xx

myTaste.com