Asian-inspired Vegetarian Eggs Benedict

Asian-inspired Vegetarian Eggs Benedict

Hello Everyone! I hope everyone has had a good start to the week so far, and of course had a great weekend celebrating Mother’s Day! We celebrated by having a delicious brunch at Le Keris (again), as it is our new favourite go-to restaurant for fine dining quality food that’s super affordable. Other than that, the week hasn’t been all that exciting but at least I have the day off to look forward to tomorrow! It’s a public holiday for the first day of Ramadhan here in Brunei and I’m probably going to spend the day updating and planning Amcarmen’s Kitchen, and also whip up a storm in the kitchen – this is, if I don’t procrastinate or fall lazy by midday *cheeky grin*

Last week I mentioned how versatile one can get with a classic Eggs Benedict dish, and I also said that I will be covering the as many options as I can for this month of May. Tonight, I will be sharing an Asian-inspired Vegetarian Eggs Benny with everyone. I drew inspiration from Jenessa over on Jenessa’s Dinners so be sure to drop a visit to her site before continuing on with the recipe below!

Crispy firm tofu, topped with deliciously soft sautéed shimeji mushies in ginger, lemongrass, and garlic, accompanied with some Asian greens and pan-fried marinated eggplant in a sesame oil mixture, tied together with liquid gold and a tom yum hollandaise sauce – if this didn’t make your mouth water, then don’t talk to me. Of course, if you’re going to try this recipe out, you don’t have to restrict yourself to the ingredients I’ve chosen, or the type of cuisine that inspired this dish, pick your favourite veggies and cuisine to fuse together and I’m almost certain that you’ll come up with something just as (guilt-free) indulgent.

Asian-inspired Vegetarian Eggs Benedict Ingredients

PREP TIME 15 MINS | COOKING TIME 30 MINS | SERVES 3

INGREDIENTS

For the eggs benedict

  • 3 large free range eggs
  • 3 medium-size eggplant, sliced thinly lenghtwise
  • 3 pcs firm tofu
  • 2-3 garlic cloves, finely minced
  • 2 stalks lemongras, finely sliced
  • 1 bunch bok choy
  • 1 pack (250g) fresh shimeji mushrooms
  • Sesame oil
  • Thumb-sized fresh ginger, peeled and grates

For the tom yum hollandaise sauce

  • 3 large free range eggs, yolks separated
  • 175g unsalted butter, cut into cubes, at room temperature
  • 2 tbsp water
  • 2 tbsp fresh lemon juice
  • 1-2 tsp tom yum paste*
  • Fresh Thyme Leaves
  • Ground salt and black pepper, to taste
  • Toasted sesame seeds, to garnish

*Adjust to your level of spice likeness

METHOD

  1. Crispy Tofu: Line a plate with a paper towel and set the tofu on top. Set a small plate on top of the tofu and weigh it down with something heavy, pressing to absorb the liquid – about 15 minutes. Remove the weight and drain off the excess liquid. Pat the tofu dry with more paper towels.
  2. Heat about a quarter cup of oil in a large frying pan over medium-high until the oil shimmers. It should not smoke. If you see a wisp of smoke, lower the heat slightly and immediately proceed with adding the tofu. Fry until all sides are golden and crispy, about 4-5 minutes. Once done, place on a cooling rack. Set aside.
  3. Vegetables: In the same frying pan, discard excess oil, leaving about a tablespoon. Sauté the garlic, ginger, and lemongrass until fragrant. Transfer half of the sautéed mixture to a small bowl with sesame oil.
  4. Add the shimeji mushrooms to the frying pan and sauté until soft, about 5 minutes. Season with a touch of salt and ground black pepper to taste. Once done, set aside.
  5. Brush the sesame oil mixture on each side of the eggplant slices and place in the frying pan to cook until soft, about 3-4 minutes per side.
  6. While the mushies and eggplants are going, bring a small pot of salted water to a boil and cook the bok choy for about 2 minutes. Once done, transfer to an iced water bath to stop the cooking process. Drain and set aside.
  7. Hollandaise Sauce: While the balsamic reduction is underway and slowly simmering, start on the Hollandaise sauce. Place a heatproof bowl over a medium saucepan that is quarter-filled with water. Make sure that the bowl should fit snugly into the pan without touching the water (lift the bowl to check and remove some water if it does). Bring the water to a boil over high heat, then reduce heat to very low so the water is barely simmering (there should be almost no movement at all). It is important that the water is barely simmering while making the sauce – if it is too hot, the egg yolks will cook too much and the sauce will curdle.
  8. Place the egg yolks and the 2 tablespoons of water in the heatproof bowl and place over the pan. Whisk the mixture constantly for 3 minutes or until it is thick and pale, has doubled in volume and a ribbon trail forms when the whisk is lifted.
  9. Add the butter a cube at a time, whisking constantly and adding another cube when the previous one is incorporated completely (about 10 minutes to add it all in). If butter is added too quickly, it won’t mix easily with the egg yolks or the sauce may lose volume. At the same time, it is important that the butter is at room temperature and added a cube at a time, so that it doesn’t take too long to be incorporated – if the sauce cooks for too long, it can curdle.
  10. Remove the bowl from the pan and place on a heatproof surface. The cooked sauce should have the consistency of very lightly whisked thickened cream. Whisk in the lemon juice, tom yum paste, fresh thyme leaves, and season with salt and pepper.
  11. Poached Eggs: Bring small saucepan of water to the boil over medium-high heat, then reduce the heat to low-medium – the water should be just simmering. Add in the vinegar and stir. Crack one egg into a small bowl and quickly, but gently pour it into the water. Repeat with the other egg. A really soft poached egg should take around 2 minutes, but if you want it a bit more firm, it will take about 4 minutes. To check if they’re cooked right, carefully remove the egg from the pan with a slotted spoon and give the yolk a gentle push (you can tell just by your instincts if it is under or over – or perfect)!
  12. Assembly: Top the crispy tofu with the sautéed mushies, followed by the poached egg. Place the bok choy to the side together with rolled slices of the eggplant. Drizzle the poached egg with a generous spoonful of the tom yum hollandaise sauce, with a bit of extra tom yum paste a top. Garnish with a pinch of toasted sesame seed. Serve and enjoy!

Asian-inspired Vegetarian Eggs Benedict

Asian-inspired Vegetarian Eggs Benedict

Of course you can plate it up any way you want, like incorporating the bok choy and eggplant slices into the stack. It’s up to you on where you creative plating skills will take you!

BON APPÉTIT

– Ally xx

myTaste.com

Congee with Minced Pork & Century Egg

Congee with Minced Pork & Century Egg

Hello Everyone! So continuing on with the idea of porridge from Tuesday’s post, I decided to whip up a classic congee dish. The origins of congee are unknown, but several historical accounts have shown that this dish was served during times of famine as a way to stretch the rice supply in order to feed more people. Despite that, congee is one of the traditional Chinese foods that has a history dating back to thousands of years in China. It is now a largely popular dish in many Asian countries and though it has many variations, its base is usually a thick porridge of rice that has been cooked in water or stock for a prolonged time. When it is eaten as a plain rice congee, you often eat it with other side dishes, but when additional ingredients such as meat and other flavourings are added, it can be a meal on its own. Depending on your cultural background, congee is eaten as a substitute for rice, but is known to be primarily eaten for breakfast or late supper. It is also considered suitable for young children or for those who are ill as it is a mild and easily digestible dish.

Now before I go on to the recipe, I thought I’d talk a little bit about what a century egg is. For those of you who don’t know, century egg (also know as a preserved egg), is a Chinese delicacy traditionally made by preserving duck, chicken, or quail eggs, in a mixture of clay, ash, salt, quicklime, and rice hulls for several weeks, or even months. Through this process, the yolk turns dark green to grey in colour, acquiring a creamy consistency and a strong flavour. On the other hand, the egg white becomes jelly-like and translucent, dark brown in colour, and salty in flavour. I know what you’re thinking, sounds disgusting right? I’ll be honest with you, it took me a while to be able to get over its looks and smell. I still don’t love it, but it’s definitely good with congee! To prepare these eggs for the congee, you simply just have to wash off the mixture of clay, ash, salt, quicklime, and rice hulls that cover the egg. I recommend washing it outside as to not clog your sink with all the residue. Tap the eggs on a countertop until covered in cracks, and then peel the shell off.

Preserved Century Egg

As mentioned before, there are many variations in which you can have your congee; plain or dressed up with your favourite ingredients – it’s all up to you really! At breakfast/brunch buffets (that’s when I usually indulge in some yummy congee), you’re given a selection of toppings to accompany your plain congee. I usually go for the whole works which included century egg, fried cha kueh (deep fried dough), crispy fried shallots, spring onion, and some sesame oil.

Congee with Minced Pork & Century Egg Ingredients

PREP TIME 10 MINS | COOKING TIME 45-60 MINS | SERVES 6-8

INGREDIENTS

  • 250g lean minced pork
  • 2.5L homemade or store-bought chicken broth
  • 2 cups rice, uncooked*
  • 2-3 century eggs
  • 2-3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2-3 shallots, sliced thinly into rings
  • 1 cha kueh**, sliced thinly
  • 1 small bunch spring onions, chopped
  • 1 thumb-szied ginger, peeled and sliced
  • 6 tbsp vegetable oil
  • Fish sauce, to taste
  • Ground salt and black pepper, to taste

*You can also start with cooked rice, adding chicken broth and adjusting the amount of liquid to achieve the desired consistency. Make sure that when the rice has swelled, mash it a bit to help it break down.

**Cha Kueh (You Cha Kueh) is a Chinese deep-fried dough that is chewy yet crispy; a delicious snack that is normally paired with coffee or tea in the mornings or afternoons. There is a certain level of skill and expertise needed to knead the dough to the right consistency, as well as deep-frying techniques, to make the perfect cha kueh. So, if you want, you can make your own cha kueh, or if it’s readily available in stores nearby, then you can just buy it already cooked. I guess croutons can also substitute if both are not an option for you, or you can leave this element out completely. I like to include it in my congee for an added texture of crunch.

METHOD

  1. Bring a large pot of the washed, uncooked  rice and chicken broth to a simmer over medium heat. Once it starts simmering, reduce the heat down to low. Stir occasionally to avoid the rice sticking to the bottom of the pot and burning. Simmer until the rice has softened, broken down, and the mixture is creamy with the consistency of a porridge, about 45 to 60 minutes. If you need to, add more chicken broth to adjust the consistency as it cooks.
  2. While the rice is cooking, you can move on to preparing the minced pork and shallots. In a medium-sized frying pan, heat the vegetable oil over medium-high and add the sliced shallots in. Cook, stirring continuously, until the shallots are golden and crispy; it should take about 5 minutes altogether. If you need to, adjust the heat so that they do not burn. Once done, transfer the shallots to a heatproof bowl.
  3. In the same pan with the oil, add in the slices of cha kueh and fry until golden and crispy, about a minute per side. Transfer to a plate lined with a paper towel to soak up the excess oils.
  4. In the same pan again with about a tablespoon of the oil, fry up the ginger slices until fragrant, then add in the garlic and sauté until golden and fragrant, about 2-3 minutes altogether. Add in the minced pork and season with a bit of salt and black pepper. Give it a good mix, breaking up the pork into small pieces as it cooks, and then leave it until cooked through and browned, about 8-10 minutes.
  5. When the porridge is ready, stir in the pork and season to taste with some fish sauce. Divide the porridge equally into individual-sized bowls and top with the century egg, fried cha kueh, crispy fried shallots, and spring onion. Serve immediately and enjoy!

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BON APPÉTIT

– Ally xx

myTaste.com

Steamed Whole Snapper

Steamed Whole Snapper

Hello Everyone! My fridge (or should I say, my part of the fridge since I share a house with about 20 other people) has been looking a bit lonely for the past week. Nothing makes me happier than going to Paddy’s Market, and coming home with bags of fresh meat, seafood, and vegetables – and a bonus development of arm muscles from carrying heavy shopping bags, but probably not good for my back in the long run. My part of the fridge is looking happier now with all that food!

Steamed Whole Snapper

I probably bought more than 5 kilos of meat ranging from beef, chicken, and yummy pork ribs. I also got 2 whole snappers for $15, one of which will be featured in today’s post, and the other probably later in the week, as well as some prawns and salmon portions. I know that this sounds like a LOT of food for a tiny girl like me, but all this will probably last me a month or so. Paddy’s is not difficult to get to from where I live, but it is quite a bit of a trek and time consuming to go to every week to shop especially when there are a few other supermarkets close by. The reason why I go to Paddy’s at least once a month is because of their meat, seafood, and vegetables – cheaper and definitely fresher and of better quality than your local Coles or Woolies. I once got sick from meat that I got from Coles… That’s all I’m going to say.

Anyway, onto the recipe – this is a dish that my mom would always make for dinner, using a different fish of course and a different method of cooking. She usually cooks it over a charcoaled barbecue and I don’t know, there’s just something about it being cooked that way that made it so much more tastier. I obviously wasn’t going to start a barbecue for just one fish, plus, I don’t actually have a barbecue in the house (well I do but it runs on gas and I kind of blew it up towards the end of last year – don’t ask). So I stuck to steaming the fish today, but if you do want to give this a try, I highly recommend my mom’s way of cooking. Lip-smacking goodness I tell you!

Steamed Whole Snapper Ingredients

PREP TIME 10 MINS | COOKING TIME 20 MINS SERVES 2

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 whole snapper, gutted, scaled, and cleaned
  • 1 thumb-sized ginger, sliced
  • 1 stalk green onion, sliced, green and white parts separated
  • 1/2 red onion, sliced
  • 1/2 tomato, sliced
  • 1/2 lemon, juiced
  • 2 tbsp light soy sauce
  • 1 tbsp sesame oil
  • 1/2 tsp whole black peppercorns
  • 1/4 tsp rock salt
  • 1 red bird’s eye chilli, sliced

METHOD

  1. Nestle the snapper on a large piece of foil and scatter the red and white parts of the onions, ginger, tomatoes, peppercorns, and salt. Drizzle the lemon juice, soy sauce and sesame oil over the fish.
  2. Loosely seal the foil to make a package, making sure that there is enough space at the top for the steam to circulate while the fish cooks.
  3. Steam for 20 minutes. If you don’t have a steamer, you can place the parcel on a heatproof plate, or a stainless steel wire steamer rack, over a pan of gently simmering water, cover with a lid and steam.
  4. Garnish with the remaining green onions and chilli slices. Serve with steamed rice.

Steamed Whole Snapper

BON APPÉTIT

– Ally xx

myTaste.com