Taho (Silken Tofu with Syrup & Tapioca Pearls)

Taho (Silken Tofu with Syrup & Tapioca Pearls)

Hello Everyone! So usually a new month on the blog means a new theme as well, but this time around I’ve decided to continue sharing Filipino breakfast favourites as there are so much more to cover than just the –silog dishes!

Tonight I will be sharing with you a popular breakfast protein in a cup known as Taho, pronounced tah-ho. It is basically warm bland silken tofu that is sweetened with a caramelised sugar syrup known as arnibal, and is topped with tiny sago (tapioca) pearls. The tofu base is as fine as custard that practically disintegrates into your mouth at every slurp. The arnibal imparts a warm, molasses-like aroma, and addition to the sweetness it brings to lift the tofu, it also gives it an earthy dimension. The sago? Ties the whole cup together by giving it some bite. It is a perfect breakfast to-go that warms your insides, is filling, and has enough sugar to get you through the morning.

Traditionally, taho vendors hawk their product using a yoke-and-bucket system that is hundreds of years old. Two aluminium buckets are suspended from each end of a bamboo pole – one containing the silken tofu, and the other carrying the arnibal, sago, and other necessities like plastic cups, spoons, and the day’s takings. Taho vendors balance their signature contraption on one shoulder and walk the streets in the mornings calling out “tahhoooooo” drawing out the second syllable for as long as their breath can handle.

As easy as it is to get taho from vendors, it is also just as easy to make it at home yourself with either store-bought silken tofu, or by making your own at home with instant or Homemade Soy Milk with a coagulant agent to help aid in the curdling of the soy milk to form taho – in this case, the recipe uses Epsom salt. Original recipe can be found over on Foxy Folksy.

Taho (Silken Tofu with Syrup & Tapioca Pearls)

PREP TIME 5 MINS | COOKING TIME 20 MINS | SERVES 4

INGREDIENTS

For the silken tofu

  • 2 cups unsweetened soy milk, instant or homemade
  • 1/8 cup water
  • 1 tbsp + 1 tsp cornstarch
  • 2 & 1/2 tsp (leveled) Epsom salt

For the arnibal

  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 1 cup water
  • 1/4 cup small-sized tapioca pearls, uncooked

METHOD

If using store-bought silken tofu, skip ahead to step

  1. Taho: In a large cooking pot over the stove, place a heat-proof bowl that is big enough to hold at least 500ml of liquid in it.
  2. Dissolve the cornstarch in 1/8 cup of water in a small bowl. Add the Epsom salt to the mixture and then stir until dissolved.
  3. Pour the mixture into the prepared bowl in the cooking pot. Then slowly pour in the instant/homemade soy milk to the cornstarch and Epsom salt mixture. DO NOT STIR! Once both mixtures are combined, try not to agitate it otherwise it will not curdle smoothly.
  4. Pour boiling water into the pot just enough to be on the same level of the soy milk mixture in the bowl. Cover the pot with the lid wrapped with a clean cloth to absorb the steam and prevent the droplets formed from dripping into the taho mixture.
  5. Turn the heat to medium-low and let the taho cook for about 15 to 20 minutes or until it is firm to the touch but still wiggly. While waiting for the taho to cook, you can prepare the arnibal and tapioca pearls.
  6. Arnibal: Combine equal parts of brown sugar and water .n a small pot and bring it to a boil over medium heat. Stir occasionally and let it simmer until it thickens into a syrup, about 7 to 10 minutes
  7. Tapioca Pearls: In a small pot, bring to a boil about a half litre of water before adding the tapioca pearls in. Leave to cook for about 10 minutes. Cooking time may vary depending on the size of your pearls.
  8. Place a colander or strainer in a bowl or pot and pour the pearls through to separate them from the water. Pour the same water used back into the cooking pot and bring the water to a boil again.
  9. Wash the strained tapioca pearls thoroughly with tap water and then place it back into the pot of boiling water again. Cook further until they become completely translucent ensuring that there are no white spots at the core.
  10. Serve: Using a wide spoon or ladle, make thin scoops of taho and transfer to a glass or mug. Top with the arnibal syrup and tapioca pearls. Enjoy while it’s warm!

Taho (Silken Tofu with Syrup & Tapioca Pearls)

You can find taho vendors almost in every corner – everywhere! There’s usually a vendor just outside the entrance to the weekend market where my Mom and I do our weekly groceries. I also remember coming across a taho vendor on the beach as well. In fact, we have our own taho vendor who comes on his bicycle every morning around 9am yodeling “tahhoooooo” on our street. Occasionally we’d call out to him for a cup (or two) of delicious taho, and since he comes right to our doorstep, we opt to use our own ceramic cups/mugs instead of the plastic cups he usually serves them in – we need to do what we can to reduce plastic waste!

In Baguio City, Strawberry Taho is a big hit where locally grown strawberries from the region are preserved as chunky jam and then added to the bland tofu instead of arnibal. Make you own chucky strawberry jam at home with my Homemade Strawberry Jam to bring the City of Baguio into your kitchen!

BON APPÉTIT

– Ally xx

myTaste.com

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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

Malaysian Curry Laksa (Spicy Noodle Soup)

Malaysian Curry Laksa (Spicy Noodle Soup)

Hello Everyone! So, I’ve been told that I don’t write as much as I used to, and that’s only because there’s really nothing much to tell. Well okay, maybe a part of the reason is also that I’m always mentally tired by the end of the day when I get around to writing my blog posts. I try to write them in advance so that I could at least add some enthusiasm to my posts, but I always end up procrastinating – and I’m sorry for that! Just bare with me until the end of the year and hopefully my content will be much better when the New Year kicks in 🙂

Anyway, let’s get down to business for tonight’s post; the last week of Noodle Month! Again, the month just flew right by! December is just around the corner, and sooner or later it’ll be Christmas and then the New Year! Tonight, I am sharing with you a popular dish in Brunei, Singapore, Indonesia, and Malaysia – Laksa! I wouldn’t say that this dish is at the top of my favourite noodle dish (only because there are many other noodle dishes that I prefer than laksa), but if I want it, I’ll have it!

The plan was to make my own laksa paste from scratch, and I know it’s no excuse, but time was short on my hands and I just made the decision to buy a ready-made, packeted paste from the stores. Also, if I made my own paste, we’d have a lot of left over ingredients (that is, if we didn’t end up using all of it), or a surplus of paste that would’ve ended up sitting in the freezer for a long time, and eventually in the trash since we don’t eat laksa that often at home. However, feel free to make your own paste and just follow the ingredients from the recipe below 🙂

Before I dive into the recipe, I’ll just talk a little bit about what Laksa is for those of you who don’t know what it is. Laksa is actually a combination of Chinese and Malaysian cuisine that consists of rice noodles/vermicelli served as a spicy soup dish with various meats such as chicken, prawn, or fish. The soup is either based on a rich and spicy curry with coconut milk, or a sour tamarind soup. The elements of a curry laksa can be distinguished by the following:

  • Coconut milk is used
  • Curry-like soup (includes curry as one of its ingredients)
  • Except for bean sprouts, no other vegetable is used
  • Bean curd puff is used
  • Served with thick or thin rice vermicelli (usually thick); occasionally served with yellow mee
  • Hard-boiled egg may be added
  • Slices of fish cake and either prawns or chicken is used

The original recipe can be found over on Serious Eats.

Malaysian Curry Laksa (Spicy Noodle Soup) Ingredients

 

PREP TIME 10 MINS | COOKING TIME 30-45 MINS | SERVES 4-5

INGREDIENTS

  • 250g thick rice vermicelli noodles
  • 200g coconut milk
  • 100g beansprouts
  • 100g prawns, peeled and deveined
  • 4-5 cups chicken stock
  • 3 pcs dried bay leaves
  • 2-3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 large free range eggs, hard-boiled
  • 1 chicken crown, breasts removed and sliced, bone reserved
  • 1 packet (200g) Malaysian Curry Laksa Paste
  • 1 pc firm tofu, deep fried and cut into chunks
  • 1 pc fish cake, sliced diagonally
  • 1 small brown onion, diced
  • Salt
  • Spring onions
  • Whole black peppercorns

To serve

  • Sambal

METHOD

  1. Add the reserved chicken bone, chicken breast 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. After about 15 minutes, remove the chicken breast from the stock and set aside to rest and cool down before slicing into it.
  2. While the stock is boiling away, quickly blanch the sliced fish cakes and prawns in the stock, about 2-3 minutes. Remove and set aside.
  3. Meanwhile, bring a large pot of water to a boil. Once boiling, add the rice vermicelli noodles in and cook according to packet instructions, about 15 minutes for mine.
  4. Drain and then divide the noodles equally into 4-5 individual serving bowls. Top with the beansprouts, chicken slices, fish cake slices, fried tofu, hard-boiled egg slices, and prawns. Set aside.
  5. Heat a bit of oil in a medium-sized frying pan over medium-high. Sauté the garlic until fragrant and golden brown, and then add in the onions and cook until soft, about 2-3 minutes in total.
  6. Add the laksa paste and fry for about a minute or two before adding the chicken stock in. Give it a goo mix and then bring to a boil. Once boiling, turn the heat down to a slow simmer and then add in the coconut milk. Leave to simmer for about 15 minutes.
  7. Once the soup is done, ladle it into the prepared bowls and garnish with some spring onion. Serve immediately with some sambal and calamansi on the and enjoy!

Malaysian Curry Laksa (Spicy Noodle Soup)

Malaysian Curry Laksa (Spicy Noodle Soup)

BON APPÉTIT

– Ally xx

myTaste.com