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

Auguest 2020: Jenel Laureta

Deconstructed Spicy Seafood Jambalaya

“Learn as much as you can through reading cookbooks, watching cooking shows, attending short cooking classes, and from other people. Then try to incorporate all these in your daily cooking.” — Jenel Laureta

Auguest 2020: Jenel Laureta

I was greatly influenced by my paternal grandfather to love food and cooking! Hands down, he was a great cook because there was not a dish I didn’t like. All his dishes were simply delicious. His cooking was not by-the-book and he had no recipes to follow. He cooked by taste and with utmost passion.

In my Lolo Pepe’s kitchen, I began with peeling garlic and onions for homemade atchara. We were busiest in the kitchen during town fiestas. Lolo Pepe would whip up his specialties: Asadong Manok, Mechadong Baka, and Adobong Hito to name a few. I would linger in the kitchen to smell the bubbling sauces and of course to get a taste of each cooked dish.

From him, I also learned how to appreciate good food. We weren’t rich but he wouldn’t settle for less than the best. I remember that he would always buy our butter from a PX store and we would always travel to a nearby city to eat good food.

A great part of my childhood memory is about food and cooking, and this may be the reason why until now I love to eat and cook! In my kitchen now, I try to replicate Lolo Pepe’s cooking. Although I do not have any recipes to follow, I just try to remember the smell, the taste, and the look of a certain dish!

Deconstructed Spicy Seafood Jambalaya

Jambalaya is a popular dish of West African, French (especially in Provençal cuisine), Spanish and Native American influence; similar to, but distinct from, other rice-and-meat dishes known in Louisiana cuisine.

An easy Jambalaya recipe is pure comfort food filled to the brim with flavor. A soffritto-like trinity of onion, bell peppers and celery are also included, along with rice, chilies, cajun spice, other seasonings, and broth. Jambalaya is a quintessential one pot recipe, usually cooked together until the rice is done, but since this is a recipe for a deconstructed Jambalaya, we’re going to need a pot/pan more or two.

Deconstructed Spicy Seafood Jambalaya Ingredients

PREP TIME 10 MINS | COOKING TIME 45 MINS | SERVES 1-2

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 pc river prawn
  • 1 pc blue swimmer crab
  • 1 pc crab claw
  • 3 pcs large prawns
  • 4 pcs mussels
  • 2 stalks celery, sliced
  • 1 whole green bell pepper, cubed
  • 1 medium-sized white onion, minced
  • 5 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1-2 pcs red chili, diced (optional)
  • 1 & 1/2 to 2 cups seafood broth or water
  • 1 to 1 & 1/2 tbsp cajun spice
  • 1 can (approx. 400g) diced tomatoes
  • Olive oil
  • Salt, to taste
  • 2 cups cooked rice
  • Cherry tomatoes, lightly fried, for garnish

METHOD

  1. Jambalaya Stew: Add olive oil in a shallow pan and start sautéing in this order: green bell pepper, celery, white onion, and then garlic. Add cajun spice and continue cooking for a further 2 minutes.
  2. Pour the can of diced tomatoes and let it cook until softened before adding a cup of seafood broth or water. Bring to a boil.
  3. Add assorted seafood and cover until cooked. Add more seafood broth or water as needed and leave to simmer, seasoning with salt according to your taste.
  4. Once the assorted seafood is cooked through, fish out into a bowl and set aside.
  5. Jambalaya Rice: In a separate pan, sauté the garlic until golden and fragrant.
  6. Ladle about a cup of the jambalaya stew and add it to the pan with sautéed garlic. Leave to simmer to allow the flavors to concentrate.
  7. Add the cooked rice and mix well. Season with salt and pepper to taste, and allow the rice to absorb all the stew.
  8. Jambalaya Soup: Add half a cup of seafood broth to the remaining jambalaya stew and simmer.
  9. Season with salt and pepper, to taste. Optional, if you want an intense jambalaya flavor, you can add a half teaspoon more of cajun spice.
  10. Purée the stew in a blender and pass it through a fine sieve.
  11. Pour soup in a bottle and keep warm.
  12. Assembly: Arrange the assorted seafood in a large shallow plate and garnish with lightly fried cherry tomatoes.
  13. Pour the warm jambalaya soup over the assorted seafood and serve with jambalaya rice. Enjoy!

Deconstructed Spicy Seafood Jambalaya

Deconstructed Spicy Seafood Jambalaya

Photo Courtesy & Recipe Copyright © 2020 | Jenel Laureta (@jenel.laureta)

BON APPÉTIT

– Jenel Laureta

myTaste.com

Mangosteen Vermicelli Salad with Steamed Prawns & Snow Peas

Mangosteen Vermicelli Salad with Steamed Prawns & Snow Peas

Hello Everyone and happy 1st of the month of December! If you’ve been following my IG page, you would’ve seen that I posted a story update on where Amcarmen’s Kitchen is at, at the moment. I informed my friends and followers that I’d be taking a hiatus and that I wasn’t sure when I’d be returning. If you want to know the real reason why I’ve been away for a while now, and will continue to be away until next year, you can read about it at the end of this post. I didn’t want to start the post off with a downer, so I saved it for last.

Now, tonight’s post does not mean that I am back from my hiatus. I just wanted to get this recipe up since I had this prepared way before my personal life spun out of control, and I didn’t want this recipe to end up in my archive of recipes that will never get posted because it doesn’t fit in with the current theme.

Mangosteen Vermicelli Salad with Steamed Prawns & Snow Peas

Before we dive into the recipe, please check out the original recipes from where I drew my inspiration from – Eat Well with Bite and Where To Eat in Phuket.

I love the sweet and tangy flavour that the mangosteen fruit adds; the chillies that bring a nice kick to it, and the mint for hint of freshness to the dish as a whole. From the original recipe, I ditched the pork since I’m slowly cutting out my meat (not including seafood) intake from my diet, and instead substituted it with juicy jumbo tiger prawns that were just as good!

PREP TIME 20 MINS | COOKING TIME 10-12 MINS | SERVES 4-5

INGREDIENTS

For the salad

  • 500g large tiger prawns, peeled and deveined
  • 100g thin rice vermicelli noodles
  • 50g snow peas
  • 4 fresh mangosteen fruit, rind removed and discarded
  • 2 sprigs fresh mint leaves, roughly chopped
  • Handful of roasted peanuts, lightly crushed
  • Salt and freshly cracked black pepper, to season

For the dressing

  • 1-2 red bird’s eye chilli, finely sliced
  • 4 tsp olive oil
  • 2 tsp fish sauce
  • 2 tsp palm sugar (or brown sugar)
  • 2 tsp sesame oil
  • Juice of 1 large lime or lemon

METHOD

  1. Dressing: Prepare the dressing by adding all of the ingredients into a small bowl. Mix well until combined. Set aside.
  2. Rice Noodles: Let the noodles soak in hot water until tender, about 5 minutes. Drain and then add to a large mixing bowl. Add a teaspoon of sesame oil just so that the noodles do not dry out and stick to each other.
  3. Snow Peas: Bring a small pot of salted water to a rapid boil. Add the snow peas into the boiling water and blanch for about 60 seconds. Remove from the heat and transfer to an ice bath. Once cool, drain and pat dry. Add to the mixing bowl together with the rice noodles.
  4. Prawns: Season the prawns with salt and freshly cracked black pepper. Arrange in a steamer basket and steam for about 5 minutes. Once done remove and set aside to cool down slightly before cutting them into smaller pieces. Add to the mixing bowl.

Mangosteen Vermicelli Salad with Steamed Prawns & Snow Peas Ingredients

Mangosteen Vermicelli Salad with Steamed Prawns & Snow Peas Ingredients

  1. Salad: Add the rest of the salad ingredients into the mixing bowl, together with the dressing and toss to combine. Season with salt and freshly cracked black pepper, to taste and adjust to your liking.
  2. Divide equally into 4-5 individual serving plates and serve immediately. Enjoy!

Mangosteen Vermicelli Salad with Steamed Prawns & Snow Peas

So as promised, here’s why Amcarmen’s Kitchen is still on a hiatus.

The week that I had this recipe scheduled to go up on my blog, which was back in mid-September for Mangosteen Month, I had about 4 to 5 hours of sleep over a span of 3 days. My Mom was admitted into the hospital and we had spent 2 nights in the emergency room waiting for a room in the intensive care unit to open up. Unfortunately my Mom passed away a week later. Though I may not show it, I am still in a constant battle between grieving and moving on. I believe that the hardest part of healing after you’ve lost someone, especially your mother, is to recover the you that went away with them. It was hard celebrating my birthday a couple of weeks ago; I couldn’t help but to shed a few tears being reminded that she was no longer here with me. And it’s only going to get harder with the Christmas season coming up.

With that being said, I am using my time off from Amcarmen’s Kitchen to plan ahead for 2020! I already have a theme set in stone and have drawn up a few recipes to match the theme! All I have to do now is to execute a bunch of them so that I’ll have the recipes ready for you by the New Year! ‘Till then, stayed tuned!

BON APPÉTIT

– Ally xx

myTaste.com

Spicy Garlic Prawn & Avocado Fettuccine

Spicy Garlic Prawn & Avocado Fettuccine

Hello Everyone! So once again, I’ve been feeling a little under the weather since towards the end of last week. I think it’s because I got rained (drizzled) on and just been feeling cold ever since. Started with an itchy throat, then a runny nose. I had a mild fever just two days ago but thank goodness I’m starting to feel a little better! Apologies in advance if this post contains a lot of typos or obvious grammatical errors – my brain is not fully functional at the moment.

But that aside, a new month can only mean one thing right? It’s time to experiment and play around with a new fruit on the blog! For the month of July, I’ll be featuring one of my favourite (well to be honest, almost everything is a favourite of mine *cheeky grin*) fruits of all time – Avocado! The last time I featured a month of avocado recipes was back in 2017 if not mistaken. You can click here to see what I got up to with avocados back then.

Avocados can be such an unpredictable b*tch at times – you can never win with them! If I knew I was going to cook/use the avocados on the same day I bought them, I would ask the lady who sells them if the ones I’ve picked are ripe and ready for that day. I still pick those that are slightly firm when gently squeezed. I never ever pick the soft ones! If I knew I was going to only use them the next day, she’d pick the ones that are a little less ripe for me – those that are still green, slightly browned. Here are some tips from Love One Today on how to check for the ripeness of avocados.

How to Differentiate the Ripeness of an Avocado

Besides being super unpredictable, avocados are known for several proven health benefits:

Avocados are Incredibly Nutritious

They contain a wide variety of nutrients, including 20 different vitamins and minerals. Here is a list of some of the most abundant nutrients found in a single 100-gram serving:

  • Vitamin K: 26% of the daily value
  • Folate: 20% of the daily value
  • Vitamin C: 17% of the daily value
  • Potassium: 14% of the daily value
  • Vitamin B5: 14% of the daily value
  • Vitamin B6: 13% of the daily value
  • Vitamin E: 10% of the daily value
  • Avocados also contain small amounts of magnesium, manganese, copper, iron, zinc, phosphorous, and vitamins A, B1 (thiamine), B2 (riboflavin), and B3 (niacin).
  • Although avocados contain carbs, 78% of those are fibre. So basically only 22% are actually carbs, making this a low-carb friendly plant food.
  • Avocados do not contain any cholesterol or sodium and are low in saturated fat.

Fat Content in Avocados may help you Absorb Nutrients from Plant Foods

When it comes to nutrients, your intake is not the only thing that matters. What’s also important is that you need to be able to absorb these nutrients into your body, where they can be used. Some nutrients are fat-soluble, meaning that they need to be combined with fat in order to be utilised.

So, not only are avocados highly nutritious, they can dramatically increase the nutrient value of other plant foods that you eat. This is all the more a very good reason to always include a healthy fat source, such as the avocado (or avocado oil), when you eat your veggies. Without it, a lot of the beneficial plant nutrients will go to waste.

Avocados are Loaded with Powerful Antioxidants that can Protect your Eyes

Not only do avocados increase antioxidant absorption from other foods, they are also high in antioxidants themselves, two of which, namely carotenoids lutein and zeaxanthin, as incredibly important for our long term eye health.

Spicy Garlic Prawn & Avocado Fettuccine

Eating Avocados may help you Lose Weight

Avocados are weight-loss friendly. They keep you full longer and may help you naturally eat fewer calories, making it easier for you to stick to healthy eating habits. As stated before, avocados are also high in fibre and very low in carbs, two attributes that should help promote healthy weight loss – if considering the context of a healthy, real-food-based diet.

And lastly for the #avocadohaters *cheeky grin*

Avocados are Delicious and Easy to Incorporate into your Diet!

Not only are they beneficial to our health, they’re also super delicious and go with many types of food. They have a creamy, rich, and fatty texture. You can easily add them to salads or pasta, spread them on toast, use as a dip for chips, or simply scoop them out with a spoon and eat them plain!

If you want to read up more on the many health benefits that avocados have to offer, you can head on over to Healthline.

But before you head on over to the recipe below, please check out the original recipe for Shrimp & Avocado Pasta by Kevin & Amanda.

Spicy Garlic Prawn & Avocado Fettuccine Ingredients

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

INGREDIENTS

For the avocado and Parmesan ‘sauce’

  • 1 medium-sized ripe avocado
  • 2 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 tbsp grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1 tbsp freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

For the spicy garlic prawns

  • 250g large tiger prawns, heads removed, deshelled, and deveined*
  • 30g unsalted butter
  • 5 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 stalks scallions, chopped
  • 1 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 tsp ground chilli, or more if you want it spicier
  • Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • 250g fettuccine pasta, uncooked**
  • 1/4 cup sun-dried tomatoes, sliced
  • 1 small ripe avocado, diced
  • Parmesan cheese, for serving (optional)

*A quarter kilo gave us 4 large tiger prawns, plus 1 extra because the lady who sells them was nice enough to add one in when my Mom asked for it *cheeky grin*. Save the heads and shells to use as a base for soups, broths, or sauces. If not using immediately, place in a zip-lock bag and pop it into the freezer. Keeps frozen for up to 3 months.

**Or you can use any type of pasta – whatever you have readily available in your pantry!

METHOD

  1. Avocado ‘Sauce’: Cut the medium-sized avocado in half, lengthwise. Remove the pit and discard – or if you have a green thumb, you’ll know what to do with it. Using a spoon, scoop out the flesh from both halves of the avocado from its skin, and place in a medium-sized mixing bowl.
  2. Add the Parmesan cheese, lemon juice, and olive oil. Smash and mix together until well combined. Season with sea salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste. Set aside.
  3. Meanwhile, bring a large pot of water with a teaspoon of sea salt to a boil. Add the fettuccine pasta and cook according to package directions until al dente.

Tip: In cases like these, I like to undercook my pasta by 2 to 3 minutes. The reason being is that I will then add the cooked pasta to the frying pan of garlic prawns, which will continue to cook the pasta. If I had pushed it to the max when boiling, I’ll end up with super soft pasta.

  1. Spicy Garlic Prawns: While the pasta is cooking away, add the butter and olive oil to a medium-sized frying pan over medium heat. Add the minced garlic and sauté for about 30 seconds until golden brown and fragrant.
  2. Add the prawns and cook until they turn pink, about 2 minutes per side, then add the chopped scallions and ground chilli. Mix to combine.
  3. Quickly add the pasta from the pot of boiling water, to the garlic prawns, followed by the avocado sauce. Give it a good mix and then throw in the sliced sun-dried tomatoes.
  4. Turn the heat off and let it cook for a further minute before plating up.
  5. Sprinkle more Parmesan cheese on top and garnish with the diced avocados. Serve hot and enjoy!

Spicy Garlic Prawn & Avocado Fettuccine

Tip: The nutrients in avocado can oxidise and turn brown soon after cutting into it and exposing its flesh. The trick to slowing down the oxidation process and preventing them from browning quickly is to add a squeeze of lemon or lime juice.

Now, this may not be one of the prettiest dishes I’ve plated up for the year – I don’t know, I just don’t like how the colour of the diced avocados blended in with the colour of the pasta. The green didn’t quite pop out as much as I would’ve liked it to. Besides the prawns, everything else looked a bit monotonous in my opinion. Nonetheless, despite its look, it was a great tasting dish! I mean, you honestly can’t go wrong with the classic taste of garlicky and lemony prawns can you? What more when it’s paired with pasta and a creamy avocado and parmesan sauce? And that added kick of spice? BOOM!

Spicy Garlic Prawn & Avocado Fettuccine

BON APPÉTIT

– Ally xx

myTaste.com

Thai-style Pineapple Fried Rice

Thai-style Pineapple Fried Rice

Hello Everyone! Oh how it has been one heck of a super hectic and stressful week! So hectic that even until today I haven’t had the time to sit down and watch the second episode of the final season of Game of Thrones! *gasp* With that being said, I do have an important announcement to make which you can read about at the end of this post.

Moving on, we’re on our last Pineapple recipe for the month! How crazy is that?! It’ll be May already next week, and in another blink of an eye, we’ll be at the halfway mark of the year! Tonight I’ll be sharing a recipe that I first tried during my travels to Thailand – now I’ve been there a couple of times already so I can’t remember when exactly was the first time I had it there, whether 6, 10, or 15 years ago.

Cooking fried rice is fun as it is super quick to make and it allows you to get creative with the choice of proteins and vegetables that go into the mix. It can easily be a sort of clean-out-the-fridge. The end result, a tasty and satisfying weeknight meal to eat!

Thai-style Pineapple Fried Rice

Thai-style Pineapple Fried Rice is a refreshing twist to a classic/normal fried rice. It is one of Thailand’s signature dishes, It is often platted in a carved-out pineapple bowl to make it, not only delectable, but even more gorgeous to look at! The slightly tangy and sweet taste of the fresh pineapple is so enticing and the combination of spices just takes it up a notch. Not only that, it is so much cheaper and healthier than take-out fried rice.

Feel free to get creative and use your favourite kind of protein in this dish, i.e. ham, chicken, pork, or prawns. You may even keep it vegetarian with just the pineapple or bulk it up with tofu! Of course, don’t forget to switch out the fish sauce with salt if you’re going vegetarian with the dish. The version that I will be sharing with you guys tonight is pescatarian-friendly. It’s a true crowd-pleaser and is sure to be a hit at the table.

Thai-style Pineapple Fried Rice Ingredients

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

INGREDIENTS

  • 3 to 4 cups cooked rice (preferably several days old)
  • 1 fresh, almost ripe pineapple (see method below on how to prepare)
  • 250g prawns, shelled with the tails left on and deveined
  • 3-4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 large free range egg, lightly beaten
  • 1 red bird’s eye chilli, sliced
  • 1 small red onion, diced
  • 1/4 cup frozen mixed vegetables (green peas, carrots, and corn kernels, thawed)
  • 1/4 cup roasted cashews or peanuts
  • 1 sprig afro parsley

For the sauce

  • 3 tbsp fish sauce
  • 1 tbsp light soy sauce
  • 1 tbsp water
  • 2 tsp Thai curry powder (or regular yellow curry powder)
  • 1/2 tsp white granulated sugar

METHOD

  1. Preparing the Pineapple: Cut the pineapple lengthwise, crown included.
  2. Take one half of the pineapple and run a sharp knife around the border of the pineapple. Make sure to leave a couple of centimeteres from the edge for a firm border.
  3. Slice the pineapple into large cubes and then carve out the flesh. Repeat for the other half of the pineapple.
  4. Cut the carved out pineapple cubed into smaller bite-sized pieces and set aside.
  5. Dry out the carved out pineapple bowls in the oven at 160C (320F or gas mark 2) for about 3-5 minutes.
  6. Fried Rice: If using old rice, oil your fingers with about a tablespoon of cooking oil and work your way through the rice with you hands. Separate any chunks back into grains and then set aside.
  7. Combine the ingredients for the sauce in a small bowl. Stir to dissolve the curry powder and sugar, and then set aside.
  8. Heat a wok or a large frying pan over medium high. Add about 2 tablespoons of cooking oil and swirl around. Add the minced garlic and sauté until golden brown and fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add in the sliced chillies and diced onions. Cook for a further minute.
  9. Add in the prawns and stir-fry until they turn pink and plump, about 2 to 3 minutes. Push the ingredients to the side of the wok/pan and then pour in the lightly beaten egg. Quickly stir the egg to cook (like scrambled eggs).
  10. Now add in the rice, pineapple chunks, and thawed mixed vegetables. Drizzle the sauce mixture over the rice and gently stir-fry to combine all the ingredients together. You want to be able to hear the rice “dance” (make popping sounds) as it fries for about 5 to 10 minutes.
  11. As it cooks, taste and adjust the flavours to you liking, i.e. if it needs more salt, add more fish sauce. Towards the end of the cooking time, add in the roasted cashews or peanuts.
  12. Remove from the heat and serve into your prepared pineapple bowls. Top with the prawns, fresh chillies, and afro parsley. Serve and enjoy!

Thai-style Pineapple Fried Rice

So yes, here’s the important update/notice I mentioned at the beginning of this post. I’m going to be taking a month off from Amcarmen’s Kitchen to plan better content for the upcoming months ahead. It has been quite a hectic month for me, as we’ll be moving houses this week. Thus, I haven’t had the time to really sit down and plan out dishes in advance for the month of May. Having said that, once we’ve settled into the new house by the end of the week, I can assure you that I will head straight back into planning and will be back again in June!

For now, TTFN – ta ta for now!

BON APPÉTIT

– Ally xx

myTaste.com

Paella de Marisco (Seafood Paella)

Paella de Marisco (Seafood Paella)

Hello Everyone! Maligayang Pasko! Joyeux Noël! ¡Feliz Navidad! Vrolijk Kerstfeest! And a very Merry Christmas to my family, friends and followers from all around the world! It’s weird knowing that Christmas  Day is coming to an end, and that the New Year is just around the corner! The year definitely went by real quick! Anyway, tonight will by my last post for the year (maybe) and it is also the very last post for my Festive Filipino Foods series for the blog. Day 12 of 12 is finally here and I have definitely saved the best for last!

If you weren’t able to guess from the hints I dropped in yesterday’s post, tonight’s dish is a Valencian rice dish with ancient roots that originated in its modern form in the mid-19th century near Albufera lagoon on the east coast of Spain adjacent to the city of Valencia. The dish is highly regarded as Spain’s National Dish with various types ranging from Vegetarian/Vegan Paella (Paella de Verduras), Seafood Paella (Paella de Marisco), Mixed Paella (Paella Mixta), and many, many more variants! From the name of this blog, you’ll already know what type of Paella I’ll be covering tonight, but now that I look back and think about my dish, it can actually be a Paella Mixta because what I will be sharing with you tonight is a free-style combination of land animals (well mainly processed pork in the form of a chorizo sausage), seafood, and vegetables.

According to tradition in Valencia, Paella is cooked over an open fire, fueled by orange and pine branches along with pine cones. This produces an aromatic smoke which infuses the Paella. It is cooked in a special wide-flat pan called a Paellera, and dinner guests traditionally eat directly out of the pan as well. Since paellera’s aren’t commonly found, or if you don’t have one handy, the recipe method below will show you how you can still make paella in a normal cooking pot. The last time I made Paella was back in 2012 if I’m not mistaken. I cooked it up together with my then housemate Vanessa and shared it with a friend of mine and her mother one cold wintery evening. We cooked it in a large frying pan and even served it up in that pan!

Paella de Marisco (Seafood Paella) Ingredients

Paella de Marisco (Seafood Paella) Ingredients

PREP TIME 20 MINS | COOKING TIME 30-40 MINS | SERVES 8-10

INGREDIENTS

  • 2 cups plain medium-grain rice, washed and drained
  • 1 cup glutinous rice, washed and drained
  • 1 cup frozen green peas
  • 300g fresh or frozen mussels
  • 200g fresh prawns, peeled and deveined, peels and heads reserved
  • 150g fresh or frozen baby clam meat
  • 100g squid, cleaned and cut into rings
  • 4-5 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2-3 dried bay leaves
  • 1 brown onion, diced
  • 1 chorizo sausage, sliced diagonally
  • 1 large tomato, diced
  • 1 lemon, cut into wedges
  • 1 yellow capsicum, sliced
  • 1 tbsp smoked paprika
  • Ground salt and black pepper, to taste
  • Pinch of Saffron threads
  • Whole black peppercorns

METHOD

  1. Start by making the broth to flavour your paella by adding the prawn heads and peels to a medium-sized pot and cover with about a litre and a half of water. Season with a bit of salt, bay leaves, and whole black peppercorns. Bring to a boil over high heat and then turn it 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 minutes. Once done, turn the heat off and set aside.
  2. Heat about 2-3 tablespoons of oil in a large pot over medium-high, and panfry the chorizo slices until browned, about a minute per side. Remove and transfer to a plate lined with a paper towel to soak up any excess oil.
  3. In the same pot, sauté the garlic until fragrant and golden brown. Add in the onions and cook until soft, about 2-3 minutes altogether. Follow with the diced tomatoes and cook until soft, a further 3-4 minutes.
  4. Add in the rice, paprika, saffron threads, and season with and bit of ground salt and black pepper. Give it a good mix before adding about 3 cups of the prawn stock. Cover and leave it to cook without stirring – at this point, you may want to turn your heat down to medium to avoid the rice sticking to the bottom of the pan. Leave it alone for about 15 minutes or once the rice has absorbed most of the liquid.
  5. Turn the heat down to low, and add the seafood (if you are going to serve it up in the pot you cooked it in, then I suggest that you arrange your seafood in a presentable way, if not, then you can just chuck them in and arrange it later when you transfer your paella to a serving dish). Cover and leave it to cook/bake for a further 15 minutes, or until the seafood is cooked through. Add the vegetables and chorizo slices and cook for a further 5 minutes, after which you can turn the heat off and leave it in the pot for a further 5-10 minutes before serving.
  6. Serve immediately with a fresh squeeze of lemon, and enjoy amongst family and friends!

Paella de Marisco (Seafood Paella)

Paella de Marisco (Seafood Paella)

Paella de Marisco (Seafood Paella)

BON APPÉTIT

– Ally xx

ps: I may or may not actually post up two more festive recipes, depending if I have time to write them up from tomorrow onwards before the New Year kicks in.

myTaste.com

Penang Char Kway Teow (Stir-fried Rice Cake Strips)

Penang Char Kway Teow (Stir-fried Rice Cake Strips)

Penang Char Kway Teow (Stir-fried Rice Cake Strips)

Hello Everyone! First off, I just want to say that this is the last noodle dish for the month of November! There’ll be one more post going up on Sunday on one of my designs, and after that I’ll be taking a 2-week break from blogging. There’s no particular reason for it – well okay, I guess you can say it’s for me to take a short break since I have been complaining for the past however so many posts about being mentally tired. It’s also mainly to go with the theme I have planned for next month; more will be revealed after my 2-week break 🙂

Okay, so before I dive into the recipe for tonight, I’d like to say sorry for a later than usual upload – I just came home from an evening with friends. We met up and did an escape room challenge together; well we split into two teams and did a different room from each other, CSI and Prison Break. Sadly I was in the losing team but they did say that CSI was definitely harder than the other one. Anyway, it was a fun night altogether but we didn’t get to talk much about our experiences over dinner because we didn’t want to ruin it for each other. Instead we vaguely talked about what we encountered and then all unanimously decided to go back again next week and do the rooms that we didn’t get to do tonight. All I can say that our brains were frazzled and scrambled after we got out of the CSI room – but in the end, we all had a great time. (I actually still can’t believe that I’m still mentally capable to write this post after a long day, and then a difficult escape room challenge).

Anyway! Back to tonight’s recipe – I don’t actually eat this dish that often, be it ordering it at a restaurant or making it at home. It’s not that I don’t like this dish, I actually enjoy it but not as much as the other noodle dishes. Char Kway Teow literally means stir-fried rice cake strips and is a national favourite in Malaysia and Singapore.

Here’s a fact that some of you may not know (I didn’t know myself too until I did my research), Char Kway Teow has a reputation of being unhealthy due to its high saturated fat content. It is this way because it made it attractive, in terms of it being a cheap source of energy and nutrients, to labourers since it was mainly served to them. When the dish was first served, it was sold by fishermen farmers and cockle-gathers who doubled as char kway teow hawkers in the evening to supplement their income.

Over time, the dish became increasingly popular and many cooks have developed their own interpretations while still using the same basic ingredients of ricecake strips/flat rice noodles fried with anything from eggs (chicken or duck), onions, garlic, prawns, cockles, Chinese sausage, chives, etc. Pork fat was predominately used to stir-fry char kway teow, but over the years, ordinary cooking oil is now used for health or religious reasons.

I based this recipe from Rasa Malaysia, so go check out the original recipe if you get the chance to!

Penang Char Kway Teow (Stir-fried Rice Cake Strips)

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

INGREDIENTS

  • 400g kway teow noodles (rice cake strips)
  • 250g prawns, peeled and deveined
  • 100g baby clam meat
  • 100g beansprouts
  • 4-6 large free range eggs, sunny side-up
  • 2-3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 Chinese sausages, sliced diagonally
  • 1 small brown onion, diced
  • Chilli paste
    • 30g dried red chillies, seeded and soaked in water until soft
    • 3 small shallots, diced
    • 2 fresh red chilies, seeded
    •  1 tsp oil
    • Pinch of salt
  • Spring onions

Sauce Mix

  • 5 tbsp soy sauce
  • 2 dashes white pepper powder
  • 1 & 1/2 tbsp dark soy sauce
  • 1 tbsp sugar
  • 1/2 tsp fish sauce
  • 1/2 tsp salt

METHOD

  1. Grind all the ingredients of the chilli paste together using a mini food processor until fine. Heat about a teaspoon of oil in a small frying pan, over medium-high. Stir-fry the chili paste until aromatic, about 3-5 minutes and then transfer to a heatproof bowl. Set aside.
  2. Mix all the ingredients for the sauce together in a small bowl and set aside.
  3. Next, heat up about a tablespoon or two of oil in a large frying pan, or wok, over medium-high. Sauté the garlic until fragrant and golden brown, then add in the onions and cook until soft, about 2 minutes altogether.
  4. Add in the Chinese sausage slices and cook until you can smell the aroma coming from the sausages. Then, add in your prawns and cook until they start to change colour, about 5 minutes altogether.
  5. Add in the baby clam meat, followed by a half portion of the beansprouts and give it a quick mix. The add in the rice cake strips, making sure that you untangle the clumps when you’re adding them to the pan, followed by the sauce mix and chilli paste. Give it a good stir and make sure that all the noodles are covered with the sauce.
  6. Turn the heat off, and then mix in the rest of the beansprouts and the spring onions. Serve immediately with or without a sunny side-up egg on top. Enjoy!

Penang Char Kway Teow (Stir-fried Rice Cake Strips)

Penang Char Kway Teow (Stir-fried Rice Cake Strips)

BON APPÉTIT

– Ally xx

myTaste.com

Singapore-style Hokkien Mee (Fried Yellow Noodle & Rice Vermicelli)

Singapore-style Hokkien Mee (Fried Yellow Noodle & Rice Vermicelli)

Hello Everyone! I’ll keep this short only because I’ve had such a busy day today and I just want my brain to relax and not have to look at a computer screen any longer (since that’s what I have been doing all say today). Then again, who am I kidding, after I write this post I will most likely end up looking at my computer screen but instead of utilising my brain and trying to get words to flow, I’ll be watching shows or random videos on Youtube until it’s time to go to bed *cheeky grin*

Anyway, enough babbling, tonight’s recipe is a dish I first experienced during one of my many travels to Singapore. When I saw a picture of it on the menu boards at a hawker centre that I was at (can’t remember where exactly), it was different to the Hokkien Mee that I usually ate back in Brunei, which apparently I have only just learnt after doing a quick Google search, is  Malaysian-styled braised in dark soy sauce. I actually quite like both, and though the ingredients are pretty much similar, I much prefer the Singapore-style Hokkien Mee.

The original recipe can be found over on Rasa Malaysia; I have tweaked the recipe slightly in terms of the order in which the ingredients go in and a few of the processes.

Singapore-style Hokkien Mee (Fried Yellow Noodle & Rice Vermicelli)

PREP TIME 10 MINS | COOKING TIME 45 MINS | SERVES 4-6

INGREDIENTS

  • 400g prawns, peeled and deveined
  • 350g squid, cleaned and cut into rings
  • 250g fresh yellow noodles
  • 250g thin rice vermicelli noodles
  • 200g pork shoulder
  • 100g bean sprouts
  • 3 large free range eggs, lightly beaten
  • 3 pcs dried bay leaves
  • 2-3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 pc fish cake, sliced diagonally
  • 1 small red onion, diced
  • Salt
  • Spring onions
  • Whole black peppercorns

Seasonings

  • 1/2 tbsp fish sauce, adjust quantity to taste
  • Dash of ground white pepper
  • Dash of sesame oil

To serve

  • Calamansi (or lemon wedge)
  • Sambal

METHOD

  1. Add the pork shoulder, dried bay leaves, about a teaspoon or two of whole black peppercorns, and salt to a large pot filled with about 2L of hot/boiling water. Turn the heat up to high and leave to boil for about 30 minutes or until tender. Once done, remove the pork from the stock and set aside to cool before slicing into it.
  2. Meanwhile, blanch the prawns and squid in the boiling stock, about 30 seconds to a minute. Remove from the stock and set aside. Then add in the rice vermicelli noodles and cook as per packet instructions or until just about tender. Once done, drain and set aside.
  3. Heat oil in a large frying pan, or wok, over medium-high and sauté the garlic until fragrant and golden brown. Add in the onions and cook until soft, about 2 minutes altogether.
  4. Turn up the heat to high and then add in the yellow and rice vermicelli noodles, frying for a few minutes until the noodles just begin to sear. Add in about a third of the pork stock and seasoning, continuing to cook until most of the stock has been absorbed by the noodles. Add another third of the stock and then bring the heat down to medium-low to allow the noodles to braise over a slow simmer, about 5 to 7 minutes.
  5. Add in the egg and give it a good mix before adding in the bean sprouts, prawns, squid, and pork slices. Give it a good toss and fry for about a minute before adding in the remaining stock.
  6. Plate up and garnish with some spring onions on top. Serve with a side of sambal and calamansi. Enjoy!

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BON APPÉTIT

– Ally xx

myTaste.com

Pancit Lucban (Filipino Style Stir-Fried Thick Flour Noodles)

Pancit Lucban (Filipino Style Stir-Fried Thick Flour Noodles)

Hello Everyone! So tonight, I’m sharing with you a dish that I think I over indulged in during my recent trip back to the Philippines earlier on the year in March/April 2015. We spent a ridiculous amount of lunches and meriendas in Buddy’s while we visited our relatives in the provincial City of Lucena. Anyway, the dish, known as Pancit Lucban or Habhab, is a version of pancit that originated in the Quezon province. This noodle dish may draw many resemblances to the traditional Pancit Canton, but there are some apparent differences. The main difference is all in the type of noodles used; Pancit Lucban/Habhab uses dried flour noodles known as miki Lucban which are not the same noodles used to make pancit canton. In addition, miki Lucban noodles that are made fresh also have a much softer texture than that of pancit canton.

Here’s a fun fact for you – well okay, it’s not really a fun fact but it is quite interesting and may be one of the reasons you’d probably go out and have a handful of Pancit Lucban. That’s right, a handful. This version of pancit is traditionally served over a piece of banana leaf and is eaten without any utensils. I know what you’re thinking, how exactly do you eat noodles without any utensils?! Well, imagine eating a sandwich. You will need to grab the banana leaf with the noodles in it and put it directly to you mouth. Don’t eat the banana leaf though! Below is a picture of my cousin and my Mom back in 2008 (I think) having some Pancit Lucban from a street food vendor during a dog show/walk in Lucena:

My Mom & Cousin eating Pancit Lucban the traditional way

It’s probably not the most glamorous way to eat your noodles, but it may be an exciting experience especially to those who find this way of eating very foreign to them. Miki Lucban is unfortunately not commonly found in stores around Brunei, not even in the Filipino section. So instead, we used Pancit Canton which actually makes calling this dish Pancit Lucban a sin! *cheeky grin*

Pancit Lucban (Filipino Style Stir-Fried Thick Flour Noodles) Ingredients

PREP TIME 10 MINS | COOKING TIME 45-50 MINS | SERVES 6-8

INGREDIENTS

  • 450g pancit canton (or miki Lucban if available)
  • 250g tiger prawns, shelled and deveined
  • 100g snow peas, topped and tailed
  • 3-4 dried bay leaves
  • 2-3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 pcs thin sliced pork belly, cut into 1cm chunks
  • 1 bunch gai lan (Chinese broccoli)
  • 1 carrot, julienned
  • 1 chicken crown, breasts removed and sliced, bone reserved
  • 1 small red onion, diced
  • 1/2 chayote, peeled and sliced
  • 5 tbsp light soy sauce
  • Ground salt and black pepper to taste
  • Whole black peppercorns

METHOD

  1. Add the reserved chicken bone, dried bay leaves, about a teaspoon or two of whole black peppercorns, and salt to a medium-sized pot filled with about 1.5L of hot/boiling water. Turn the heat up to high and leave to boil for about 30 minutes.
  2. Meanwhile heat a large frying pan over medium-high and add in the chunks of pork belly. Cook until browned. The oils released from the pork belly should be enough to sauté the garlic and cook the onions, but if needed, add a little bit more oil if there isn’t enough. Then add the minced garlic and sauté until fragrant and golden brown, about a minute, then followed by the diced onions. Cook until soft, about 2 minutes in total.
  3. Add in the sliced chicken breasts, and season with a bit of salt and ground black pepper and give it a good mix. Cook for about 5 minutes. Then add in the prawns, followed by the chayote, carrots, and snow peas. Mix well and leave to cook for a further 3-4 minutes. Lastly, add in the gai lan and cook until just slightly wilted. Once done, transfer to a bowl and set aside.
  4. In the same frying pan, add about half of the chicken stock to the pan together with the soy sauce, ground salt, and black pepper. Bring to a boil. Once boiling, add the canton noodles in and cook until all the liquid has evaporated (if the noodles are looking a bit dry, you may add more stock, a ladle at a time). Make sure that while cooking, you mix and untangle them periodically. Altogether this should take about 10-15 minutes. Halfway through, add in half of the cooked meat and vegetables to the noodles and mix well.
  5. Serve immediately topped with the extra meat and vegetables, and with calamansi, or alternatively a lemon wedge. Enjoy! Note: best served with a splash of vinegar!

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BON APPÉTIT

– Ally xx

myTaste.com

Pancit Palabok (Filipino Style Noodles with Prawn Gravy)

Pancit Palabok (Filipino Style Noodles with Prawn Gravy)

Hello Everyone! I might keep this section of the blog short (and I say might because I know that even though I’ve said that, my post will always end up being fairly long by the time I finish writing), because I am feeling a bit overworked and tired today – actually I’ve been feeling exhausted since the beginning of the week and it may be due to a mentally challenging Escape Room challenge that I did with a few friends on Monday evening. Small tangent – we all shared the spotlight on dumb blonde moments!

Tanget aside, tonight’s recipe is a dish that I, of course as all dishes I write about, love but isn’t cooked often at home. The only reason I can think of is maybe because it requires a lot of ingredients and preparation I guess. It’s not so much about how long it takes to make the sauce because in the past, my mom would just use a ready-made powdered version of the sauce that you can easily find on the shelves in the Filipino/Asian food section of your local grocers. For tonight’s post though, I will be making the sauce from scratch just because I want to 🙂 This is also the first time that I have tried making the sauce from scratch and it was a huge success! It’s actually quite easy to make, it just requires a lot of time and patience; but I know for sure that I will not be buying ready-made sauce packets ever again! Unless of course, time is not on my side. I mean, if you’re going to use fresh prawns to top your noodles off in the end, then you might as well take an extra step in salvaging the heads and peels to make a delicious sauce, right?

Pancit Palabok (Filipino Style Noodles with Prawn Gravy)

Anyway, before we jump on to the recipe, I followed Trissalicious’ recipe for making the Palabok sauce from scratch so don’t forget to check her blog out too for her take on this delicious dish!

Pancit Palabok (Filipino Style Noodles with Prawn Gravy) Ingredients

PREP TIME 15 MINS | COOKING TIME 1 HOUR | SERVES 8-10

INGREDIENTS

For the prawn stock

  • 500g fresh prawns, heads and peels reserved
  • 1.5L water
  • Ground salt
  • Whole black peppercorns

For the sauce

  • 100g thin sliced pork belly, cut into chunks
  • 3-4 cups prawn stock (see recipe below)
  • 5 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 small red onions, diced
  • 1 pc firm tofu, finely diced
  • 4 tbsp plain flour
  • 2-3 tbsp fish sauce, adjust quantity to taste
  • 1 tsp achuete powder
  • Ground salt and black pepper, to taste

Noodles and Toppings

  • 500 grams pancit luglug (cornstarch noodles)*
  • Firm tofu, deep fried and cut into chunks
  • Hard boiled egg, sliced
  • Pork crackling (chicharon), crushed
  • Prawns, poached
  • Smoked fish (tinapa), flaked
  • Squid, cut into rings and poached
  • Spring onion

*You may also use bihon (thin rice vermicelli noodles) for this dish

METHOD

  1. Make the prawn stock: Add the prawn heads and peels to a medium-sized pot and cover with about a litre and a half of water. Season with a bit of salt and whole black peppercorns. Bring to a boil over high heat and then turn it 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 minutes. While the stock is simmering away, you can get a head start in preparing your toppings for the dish. I recommend that you leave the poaching of the prawns and squid for last, when you sauce is almost ready.
  2. Make the sauce: Heat a large frying pan over medium-high and add in the chunks of pork belly. Cook until browned. The oils released from the pork belly should be enough to sauté the garlic and cook the onions, but if needed, add a little bit more oil if there isn’t enough. Then add the minced garlic and sauté until fragrant and golden brown, about a minute, then followed by the diced onions. Cook until soft, about 2 minutes in total.
  3. Add in the firm tofu and give it a good mix. Then, add in achuete powder and plain flour, followed by the prawn stock. Make sure to add the stock in a bit at a time as if making a roux and make sure to mix well after each addition. The sauce should be quite thick, resembling the consistency of a béchamel – you may add more water if you want your sauce thinner, or likewise, add more flour if the sauce is feeling a bit thin to your liking. Add the fish sauce and season with some salt and black pepper to taste. Bring the heat down to low and let it slowly simmer away for about half an hour (10-15 minutes if you are impatient); but the longer you leave it on the stove, the tastier the sauce becomes!
  4. Cook the noodles: While your sauce is simmering away, cook the noodles according to the packer instructions, about 15 minutes for the pack of noodles that I got. Once done, drain and divide the noodles equally into individual plates. Also, don’t forget to poach your prawns and squid by this point!
  5. Assemble: Top the noodles with a generous amount of sauce and add your favourite toppings! Serve immediately with a squeeze of calamansi (or lemon) juice and enjoy!

Pancit Palabok (Filipino Style Noodles with Prawn Gravy)

Pancit Palabok (Filipino Style Noodles with Prawn Gravy)

BON APPÉTIT

– Ally xx

myTaste.com