Pad Krapow (Thai Basil Tofu)

Pad Krapow (Thai Basil Tofu)

Hello everyone! This will be the last recipe that I will be sharing for the year on our Flavours of Southeast Asia journey. I’ve had to cut our journey short as the holiday season syndrome took over; basically all I wanted to do was just relax and take twice as long to get the things I needed done, actually done – for example this post! I had it up and ready to go two weeks ago but I hadn’t gotten around to editing the video for this to upload on my TikTok account, not until just this afternoon *cheeky grin*. So yes, our Flavours of Southeast Asia journey for 2021 will be ending here in Thailand tonight. Maybe next year I’ll cover some Vietnamese dishes to make up for this.

Tonight’s recipe is actually something I’ve been wanting to share on the blog for a while after coming across a vegetarian/vegan-friendly version of it on Instagram several times. Pad Krapow is a dish that I have tried many times before, but with chicken or pork (this was way back when I used to eat meat), so when I came across a version of it using tofu to make it meat-free, I knew I had to try this out.

There are three main types of basil used in Thai cooking: Thai sweet basil (ใบโหระพา bai horapa), or just referred to as Thai basil, lemon basil (ใบแมงลัก bai maenglak), and holy basil (ใบกะเพรา bai kra prao). Unfortunately it can be challenging to find holy basil outside of Thailand. You can still make this recipe using other basil variants, just be weary that it won’t have the same vibrant peppery flavour that holy basil has to give this dish its authentic Thai flavour profile.

Pad Krapow (Thai Basil Tofu)

Pad Krapow is usually served with steamed rice, but if you want to make it a little fancier without the extra carbs, serve it in a lettuce leaf and top each with a fried quail egg instead. I’ve also seen versions of pad krapow as a spaghetti dish so feel free to get creative when serving this dish up!

Now, I can’t exactly make it 100% vegan because pad krapow isn’t what it is without a fried egg where the edges of the egg white are crispy and browned to give it an added nutty flavour, but the yolk is still runny and creamy. So here’s an ovo-vegetarian Pad Krapow for you!

Pad Krapow (Thai Basil Tofu) Ingredients

PREP TIME 10 MINS | COOKING TIME 15 MINS | SERVES 2-3

INGREDIENTS

For the sauce

  • 2-3 garlic cloves, finely minced
  • 1 dried red chilli, chopped
  • 1 stalk scallion (white part only), chopped
  • 1 tsp grated ginger
  • 1 tbsp light soy sauce
  • 2 tbsp sweet soy sauce

For the tofu

  • 500g firm tofu, mashed
  • 2 tbsp coconut oil
  • 1 red onion, diced
  • 1 red bird’s eye chilli, chopped
  • 1 stalk scallion (white part only), chopped
  • 100g cremini mushrooms, diced
  • Salt and black pepper, to taste
  • 1 bunch Thai basil leaves

To serve with

  • Crispy Thai basil leaves
  • Fried quail eggs
  • Lettuce leaves

METHOD

  1. Sauce: Add all the ingredients for the sauce in a small bowl and mix well to combine. Set aside.
  2. Pad Krapow: Add a tablespoon of the oil into a large pan over medium-high heat. Cook the mashed tofu until dry. Remove from the pan.
  3. Add the remaining oil and the sauté the red onion, chilli, and scallion until fragrant, about 30 seconds, before adding the cremini mushrooms and cooking for a further 30 to 45 seconds.
  4. Add the mashed tofu back into the pan and mix to combine.
  5. Season with salt and black pepper, to taste, and add the sauce mixture to the tofu. Mix until well combined into the tofu, and cook for about 5 minutes.
  6. Add the Thai basil leaves and mix it into the tofu, then remove from the heat.
  7. Add about a tablespoon or more to a piece of lettuce, then top with a fried quail egg and some crispy-fried Thai basil leaves.
  8. Plate up, serve immediately, and enjoy!

Pad Krapow (Thai Basil Tofu)

Pad Krapow (Thai Basil Tofu)

BON APPÉTIT

– Ally xx

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Tohu Thoke (Chickpea Tofu Salad)

Tohu Thoke (Chickpea Tofu Salad)

Hello Everyone! This will be the last Burmese recipe that I will be sharing on our Flavours of Southeast Asia journey throughMyanmar for the month of September. Next week we’ll be heading off to one of the remaining three Southeast Asian countries I have yet to cover for the year.

The recipe that I will be sharing tonight is a build on of the recipe for Tohu (Burmese Chickpea Tofu) that I shared last week. We’ll be turning the tohu into a delicious salad known as Tohu Thoke, or in English, Chickpea Tofu Salad. Ever since coming across this recipe, I’ve already made this salad three times this month – yes it’s THAT addicting! Not only does it taste oh-so good, it’s also very easy to put together which makes it ideal for a quick weeknight dinner, provided that you’ve made the chickpea tofu in batches and ahead of time. This salad is also perfect for vegetarians, vegans, and Meatless Mondays.

Tohu Thoke (Chickpea Tofu Salad)

Tohu Thoke is bright, tangy, refreshing, and meant to be eaten cold, therefore perfect for those hot summer days. By mixing both fresh and fried tohu together, you get creamy, silky-smooth, and crispy textures altogether. If you don’t fancy frying, then feel free to skip it. It’s nevertheless delicious with or without the fried aspect or not. Also, the triangle shape for the fried tofu pieces isn’t necessary; cut them into whatever shape you want; same goes for the fresh ones too.

The great thing about this salad is that it gives you the chance to get creative with it. As long as you keep the sour flavours of the tamarind dressing and balance with a hint of sweetness and heat (which is essential to Burmese cuisine), you can bulk up the salad with other vegetables or leafy greens to make it more substantial and a full meal on its own.

Tohu Thoke (Chickpea Tofu Salad) Ingredients

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

INGREDIENTS

For the tamarind dressing

  • 5 garlic cloves, finely minced
  • 1 stalk scallion (white part), thinly sliced
  • 2 tbsp tamarind paste
  • 1 tbsp water
  • 4 tsp coconut sugar
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp cayenne pepper powder

For the tohu thoke

  • 1 recipe for Tohu (Burmese Chickpea Tofu), fresh and fried pieces
  • 10 cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 3 kaffir lime leaves, thinly sliced
  • 1 red chilli, finely minced
  • Handful of bean sprouts, blanched
  • 3 tbsp sesame oil

To garnish

  • Crispy shallots or garlic
  • Roasted peanuts, crushed
  • Scallions (green part), thinly sliced

METHOD

  1. Dressing: Combine all the ingredients in a small bowl. Mix and adjust the dressing to your taste. Set aside. Extra dressing can keep for up to 1 month in the refrigerator.
  2. Tohu Thoke: Add all the ingredients into a large mixing bowl. Add the tamarind dressing, about a quarter cup for this recipe, and gently toss everything together.
  3. Transfer to a serving plate and top with the garnishes. Serve immediately and enjoy!

Tohu Thoke (Chickpea Tofu Salad)

Tohu Thoke (Chickpea Tofu Salad)

BON APPÉTIT

– Ally xx

myTaste.com

Tohu (Burmese Chickpea Tofu)

Tohu (Burmese Chickpea Tofu)

Hello Everyone! This is probably one of the best food discoveries that I have come across from the many years of researching for Amcarmen’s Kitchen and experimenting in the kitchen.

Tohu, or in English, Burmese Tofu, is made using chickpea (besan) flour, mixed with water, a little salt, and if you want, turmeric powder, mainly to give it a more vibrant yellow colour. The mixture is then heated and stirred constantly, until it reaches a thick and creamy consistency. It is then transferred into a tray and allowed to set.

The end result is matte yellow in colour, jelly-like but firm in consistency, therefore it does not crumble when cut or sliced. It is basically the best of both worlds between silken tofu and egg tofu – you get the silkiness of the silken tofu and firmness from the egg tofu in this Burmese tofu. The best part? It is dairy, egg, and soy-free; perfect for vegetarians, vegan, and/or anyone with soy allergies!

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Additionally, chickpea flour is high in protein, fiber, and micronutrients, while being low in carbohydrates and calories. Half a cup of chickpea flour contains an impressive 11 grams of protein, 5 grams of fiber, and nutrients like folate, iron, magnesium, and zinc. Chickpea flour is also heart-healthy, making this Burmese tofu oh-so healthy!

In Myanmar, the tofu can be eaten fresh in a salad, deep fried to make tofu fritters, or sliced very thinly and dried to make crackers for deep frying. It is also used in curries as well for added protein if meat or poultry is unaffordable (especially amongst the poorer population).

I still have some besan flour on hand after making this recipe, so I can definitely say that I will be making more of these delicious Burmese tofu and experimenting them in certain dishes outside of Burmese cuisine!

Tohu (Burmese Chickpea Tofu)

PREP TIME 1 HOUR | COOKING TIME 8 MINS | SERVES 2-3

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 cup chickpea flour (also known as garbanzo bean flour or besan flour)
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp ground turmeric (optional)
  • 3 cups water, divided
  • Oil

METHOD

  1. Lightly grease an 8-in x 8-in baking dish with a bit of neutral flavoured oil.
  2. Add the chickpea flour in a medium-sized mixing bowl together with the salt and, if using, the ground turmeric as well. Whisk to combine.
  3. Add 1 and a half cups of water to the flour and whisk until smooth.
  4. Add the remaining 1 and a half cups of water into a small saucepan and bring to a boil over high heat.
  5. Once boiling, reduce the heat to medium-high and slowly pour the chickpea flour mixture into the boiling water while continuing to whisk.
  6. Whisk over the heat until the mixture becomes really thick and glossy. This should take about 8 minutes in total.
  7. Once done, immediately pour the mixture into your prepared baking dish and leave it to cool down at room temperature for at least an hour. The longer you let it sit, the more water will drain out of the tofu and therefore firmer in texture.
  8. Cut into your desired shapes and sizes, depending on how you will use it. Enjoy it as it is, deep fried, or use it as a source of protein for other dishes.

Tohu (Burmese Chickpea Tofu)

Stay tuned next week to see what Burmese dish I will make with this Burmese Tofu!

Note: You can store the tofu in an airtight container and in the fridge for up to 3 days.

Tohu (Burmese Chickpea Tofu)

BON APPÉTIT

– Ally xx

myTaste.com

Auguest 2021: Karina Pineda

Ginataang Kalabasa (Squash with Coconut Milk)

“Take off on a food journey that is both healthy and happy.” — Karina Pineda

Auguest 2021: Karina Pineda

Hello Everyone! Karina here again returning for the second time on Amcarmen’s Kitchen! When Allison had invited me to join this year’s Auguest series, she told me that the theme would be Flavours of Southeast Asia. She also gave me the liberty to choose from a list of available countries, and fortunately, the Philippines still had an available slot and I grabbed it immediately. Aside from being Filipino, I’ve always appreciated Philippine cuisine — from the variety of flavours it has to offer, to the culture and history it’s rich in. I want to celebrate my country through my entry.

My chosen dish is Ginataang Kalabasa (Squash with Coconut Milk). I also put a twist to the traditional recipe by adding ground tofu. Following the guidelines, I decided to make something vegetarian to show that Filipino food goes beyond adobong manok, lechon kawali, balut, and other meat dishes. We, Filipinos, actually have a number of equally delicious vegetable meals!

Ginataang Kalabasa (Squash with Coconut Milk) Ingredients

PREP TIME 10 MINS | COOKING TIME 20 MINS | SERVES 2-3

INGREDIENTS

  • 500g kalabasa (squash), cubed
  • 2 to 2 1/2 cups of fresh gata (coconut milk)
  • 1/4 block of firm tofu, ground
  • Garlic cloves, minced
  • Ground black pepper (to taste)
  • Cooking oil

METHOD

  1. Mince the garlic cloves and mash the tofu until it resembles ground meat/tofu scramble.
  2. Sauté the minced garlic cloves in a deep pan until slightly roasted.
  3. Add the kalabasa (squash) cubes and cook for about 2-3 minutes.
  4. Pour the gata (coconut milk) into the pan, and sprinkle with some ground black pepper to taste.
  5. Let it boil until the kalabasa is soft and cooked through, no more than 15 minutes. Stir occasionally and allow the coconut milk to thicken.
  6. While waiting for the mixture to boil, cook the ground tofu in a separate pan until slightly roasted.
  7. Once done, add the cooked ground tofu to the kalabasa and gata.
  8. Transfer the ginataang kalabasa to a serving bowl and enjoy on its own or paired with your favorite ulam (viand)!

Ginataang Kalabasa (Squash with Coconut Milk)

Photo Courtesy & Recipe Copyright © 2021 | Karina Pineda (@wanderlittlegirl)

BON APPÉTIT

– Karina Pineda

myTaste.com

Homemade Egg Tofu

Homemade Egg Tofu

Hello Everyone! Apologies for being MIA for the past few weeks; I’ve been having some issues with accessing the photos for my recipes, along with other things that have kept me busy in the past weeks. Anyway, a new month usually means we’ll be travelling to another country on our Flavours of Southeast Asia journey, but since I was away for half of May, I already had Indonesian dishes cooked up and planned for then. I’ll continue to share them first before we fly off to another country.

Tonight’s recipe isn’t particularly Indonesian; in fact it is of Chinese origin, commonly consumed in Hong Kong and Taiwanese cuisine. Egg tofu is made from eggs and soy milk, which means it is much sturdier than silken tofu. The main difference between the two is that egg tofu is not vegan because it has eggs whereas silken tofu is typically vegan since it’s made by coagulating soy milk without curdling it. Egg tofu is vegetarian if you consume eggs as part of your vegetarian diet. You can usually find egg tofu in a tube-like shape sold in many Asian groceries, but since I could not find any at my local grocer/supermarket, I decided to do some research and found out that it’s actually super simple to make at home! All you need are eggs, soy milk, salt, and voilà!

Homemade Egg Tofu

But wait! Before I dive any further, why am I sharing a recipe for Chinese-style egg tofu when we’re supposed to be venturing in Indonesia? Well, I will be sharing a recipe that uses egg tofu in an Indonesian dish; I just decided that I want to share this recipe for egg tofu separately. It’s so versatile; you can pan/deep fry it, boil it, and braise it. Use this recipe as a base for other delicious recipes, like what I’ll be sharing tomorrow night.

Normally I would opt to make my own homemade soy milk, but because I could not source soy beans at my local grocer or supermarkets, I used store-bought soy milk instead. Now, it’s important to use unsweetened soy milk. The first time I tried this recipe out, I used slightly sweetened soy milk because that’s what I had sitting in my pantry at that moment. The result is very different, especially if you’re going to fry the egg tofu.

The result I got when I used sweetened soy milk was that the exterior of the egg tofu turned dark brown in patches, almost like it caramalised instead of fried. It wasn’t crispy at all. When I made a second batch using unsweetened soy milk, the exterior of the egg tofu was perfectly golden brown in colour when fried, and was also extra crispy. So please use unsweetened soy milk!

Homemade Egg Tofu Ingredients

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

INGREDIENTS

  • 7 large free-range eggs
  • 2 cups unsweetened soy milk, homemade or store-bought
  • 1/2 tsp salt

METHOD

  1. Whisk the eggs and salt together in a large mixing bowl until well combined. While continuing to whisk, slowly pour the soy milk into the eggs.
  2. Line a square baking dish (8-in x 8-in) with parchment paper, and sieve the egg mixture into the prepared pan. Get rid of any bubbles on the surface. Cover with aluminium foil and steam for 30 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the egg tofu comes out clean.
  3. Once done, remove from the steamer and transfer the egg tofu to a plate lined with paper towels to soak up all the excess moisture. This step is really important if you’re going to pan/deep fry these later to prevent oil splatters.
  4. Set aside to cool down completely before cutting into desired shapes and sizes. Enjoy as it is, fried, or include it in various dishes.

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Stay tuned to see what I’ve used this egg tofu for!

How to store egg tofu?

  • Store raw egg tofu in a container with water and use it within 2 days. Make sure to drain the water and pat dry before cooking with them, especially if you’re going to fry them.
  • Cooked egg tofu can last up to 3 days if refrigerated, however, it’s best to eat it freshly pan fried.

Homemade Egg Tofu

BON APPÉTIT

– Ally xx

myTaste.com

Nasi Goreng (Indonesian Fried Rice)

Nasi Goreng (Indonesian Fried Rice)

Hello everyone! Oh where did the days go; how is it that we’re already into the fifth month of 2021? Well, as you all know, a new month means we’re packing up and saying goodbye (for now) to the Philippines to venture on to our next country on our Flavours of Southeast Asia journey.

Last year, I was looking forward to travelling to Indonesia, Bali to be exact, for the very first time. I had my itinerary all planned out, jam-packed with activities down to the last minute. I signed up for an authentic cooking class that included a market and Balinese rice terrace tour. All of that was unfortunately cancelled due to the global pandemic. Our family trip was supposed to be in early April of 2020, and by mid-March our country had already gone into a national enhanced community quarantine that is still being implemented to this present day. Yes, since the later part of 2020 did quarantine restrictions ease, but we’re nevertheless, still in quarantine.

Even if I haven’t had the chance to travel to Indonesia just yet, I’ve experienced authentic Indonesian cuisine almost on a weekly basis when I was living in Brunei. Every Saturday evening after attending anticipated mass, we (my Mom, my sister, and myself) would go to our favourite Indonesian restaurant and order our favourite dishes such as nasi goreng, ayam penyet, satay, and tahu telur to name a few. I even had Indonesian food regularly when I was living in Australia; one place in particular on Kensington street, near UNSW’s main campus, that I would line up for their delicious ayam or ikan bakar (grilled chicken/fish).

Nasi Goreng (Indonesian Fried Rice)

Tonight, I will be sharing a classic favourite, nasi goreng. Nasi Goreng is considered the national dish of Indonesia, and literally translates to fried rice . It is a rice dish cooked with meat or seafood, and vegetables, however, there is no single defined recipe for it. Its composition and preparation varies greatly from household to household in all regions where the dish is native to. The key distinction though to nasi goreng is its smoky aroma, from the wok hay* as it’s fried, and the caramelised yet savoury undertones of flavour from the kecap manis**.

The version of nasi goreng that I will be sharing tonight is actually called Nasi Goreng Santri, which is vegetarian fried rice. While there are no specific vegetables that you can use to make up an authentic Indonesian vegetarian fried rice, I decided to make mine with tofu and bean sprouts. Feel free to bulk it up with your choice of vegetables to your liking. You can’t skip the fried sunny side up egg as nasi goreng is traditionally served with it to make it a complete meal.

You also cannot serve nasi goreng without a sambal of some sort on the side. I decided to make a simple sambal oelek which is a raw Indonesian chilli paste made of red chillies, vinegar, and salt. The word sambal is an Indonesian word referring to a sauce made primarily with chili peppers, while oelek refers to a mortar and pestle. Therefore, sambal oelek is Indonesian for a chilli sauce ground with a mortar and pestle.

Nasi Goreng (Indonesian Fried Rice) Ingredients

PREP TIME 20 MINS | COOKING TIME 25 MINS | SERVES 4

INGREDIENTS

For the nasi goreng

  • 1 & 1/2 tbsp cooking oil
  • 3 garlic cloves, finely minced
  • 2 red bird’s eye chillies, finely chopped
  • 1 red onion, finely minced
  • 1 stalk scallion (white part only), chopped
  • 3 pcs firm tofu, fried and cut into cubes
  • 1 cup bean sprouts
  • Salt & freshly cracked black pepper, to taste
  • 3 cups cooked white rice, day old and cold
  • 2 tbsp kecap manis

If you can’t find kecap manis at your local grocers, or don’t have any readily available in your pantry, you can simply make your own! Just combine 1/4 cup ordinary soy sauce and 1/4 cup brown sugar over medium heat. Bring to a simmer and reduce until it becomes maple syrup-like in consistency. As it cools, the mixture will thicken more.

For the sambal oelek

  • 10 pcs red bird’s eye chillies, stems removed
  • 1 tbsp white vinegar
  • 1 & 1/2 tsp salt

To serve with

  • Bok choy, blanched
  • Crispy fried shallots/onions
  • Sambal oelek
  • Scallion (green parts), chopped
  • Sunny side up egg

METHOD

  1. Sambal Oelek: Using a mortar and pestle, pound the red chillies they start to break down. Make sure not to pound too much; leave the chillies a bit coarse, not a fine paste.
  2. Add the vinegar and salt, and using a spoon, mix together until the salt has dissolved. Transfer to a small serving bowl and set aside until ready to serve.
  3. Nasi Goreng: Add oil to a large pan over high heat. Once hot, add the minced garlic and red chillies to the pan and sauté until the garlic is lightly golden and fragrant, about 30 seconds. Follow with the onions and scallions, continuing to sauté for a further 30 seconds.
  4. Add the fried tofu and sauté for about a minute or two before adding the bean sprouts. Season with salt and freshly cracked black pepper, to taste. Cook for a further minute or two.
  5. Add the cooked rice and mix well, breaking up any remaining clumps of rice. Add the kecap manis and cook, stirring constantly to ensure that every single grain of rice is coated with the sweet soy sauce and start to caramelise. Cook for 10 minutes.
  6. Once the rice is done, plate up and top with garnishes of choice, I went with crispy fried shallots/onions, and green scallions. Serve with the sambal oelek, blanched bok choy, and sunny side up egg***. Enjoy!

Nasi Goreng (Indonesian Fried Rice)

Notes:

  • *‘Wok hay’ is Cantonese phrase used to describe a particular essence and aroma that is created in a dish when authentic stir-frying is performed. ‘Hay’ means energy or breath; therefore, ‘wok hay’ means “the energy or breath of a wok”.
  • **Kecap manis is an Indonesian sweet soy sauce. Compared to mildly salty regular soy sauce, the sweet soy sauce has a slightly thicker consistency, and tastes much sweeter.
  • ***Omit the egg if you want to make this dish vegan-friendly.

Nasi Goreng (Indonesian Fried Rice)

BON APPÉTIT

– Ally xx

myTaste.com

Crispy Tofu Kare-Kare

Hello Everyone! Yes, I am here again with another recipe for you guys this week! The dish that I will be sharing tonight is a build up on the Mushroom ‘Bagoong’ recipe that I shared yesterday, which I will further explain in tonight’s post.

The word kare actually means curry, so therefore kare-kare is a thick and creamy curry, or stew that is rich in peanut flavour, cooked with your protein of choice and various vegetables. The stew gets its rich flavour from my homemade vegetable broth, ground roasted peanuts and peanut butter, together with sautéed onions, and garlic. It is coloured with annatto and can be thickened with toasted or plain ground rice. It is said that kare-kare has a similar flavour to satay because of the peanuts in the sauce.

The main protein used in a traditional kare-kare is beef, oxtail being the preferred choice of cut and often paired with either beef tripe, beef hock, or beef meat. Various cuts of pork can also be used such as, but not limited to, pork belly, hocks, and/or trotters.

Crispy Tofu Kare-Kare

Kare-kare can also be made exclusively from vegetables, known as Kare-kareng Gulay, that may include, but not limited to, eggplant, Chinese chard (pechay/bok choy), yardlong beans, banana heart/blossoms, okra, daikon, other other various greens. Now while this already is a vegetarian/vegan version of the traditional kare-kare, the condiment on the side, usually shrimp bagoong, strips it of its vegetarian or vegan title. While you can leave the bagoong to the side, kare-kare is just not the same without it. Hence, in yesterday’s post, I made a vegan alternative to bagoong to complete this dish.

I think the last meat-based kare-kare that I had before I stopped eating meat was crispy pork belly kare-kare, and to mimic that, I added crispy fried tofu to my kare-kareng gulay of fried eggplant, blanched yardlong beans and Chinese chard, and boiled banana heart. I first came across Crispy Tofu Kare-kare from various posts I had seen on Instagram last year. Since then I’ve been looking for a reason to make the dish for a blog post and finally I can do so as it fits with the theme for the month!

Crispy Tofu Kare-Kare Ingredients

PREP TIME 10 MINS | COOKING TIME 30 MINS | SERVES 6

INGREDIENTS

For the kare-kare

  • 3-4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 small red onion, diced
  • 1 cup vegetable broth (plus additional, if needed)
  • 1/2 cup + 1/2 tbsp creamy smooth peanut butter
  • 1/3 cup white rice flour
  • 1/4 cup roasted peanuts, crushed
  • 2 tbsp cooking oil
  • Salt, to taste

For the annatto mixture

  • 1 & 1/2 tsp annatto seeds
  • 1/4 cup hot water
  • Banana heart, boiled
  • Chinese chard (pechay), blanched
  • Eggplant, fried
  • Firm tofu, fried
  • Yardlong beans, blanched
  • Mushroom ‘bagoong’
  • Roasted peanuts, crushed

METHOD

  1. Annatto Mixture: Combine the annatto seeds and hot water in a cup. Leave to soak for the seeds to release their colour.
  2. Kare-Kare: Add oil in a medium-sized stockpot over medium-high heat. Once hot, sauté the garlic until golden brown and fragrant, about 30 seconds. Follow with the onions and cook for a further 30 seconds before adding the crushed peanuts. Continue to cook for a further minute.
  3. Add the peanut butter and mix well until melted before adding 1 cup on the vegetable broth. Mix and season with a pinch of salt, then turn the heat down to medium-low. Leave to simmer for about 10 minutes for the flavours to infuse.
  4. Take about a third cup of extra vegetable broth and add the white rice flour to it. Mix until the flour is incorporated into the broth.
  5. Stir the rice flour mixture into the peanut butter stew. Leave to cook until the sauce thickens, a further 10 minutes and mix every 2 to 3 minutes to make sure the sauce doesn’t stick to the bottom of the pot.
  6. Strain the annatto seeds from the water and add the annatto liquid into the stew. Mix well to incorporate its colour, and if needed, add more vegetable broth to thin out the stew. You may also need to adjust the seasoning to your liking.

At this point, you may choose to add your prepared tofu and vegetables to the stew or separate them for plating up.

  1. Serve and enjoy with steamed rice and mushroom ‘bagoong’ to complete this vegan dish!

Crispy Tofu Kare-Kare

Crispy Tofu Kare-Kare

BON APPÉTIT

– Ally xx

myTaste.com

Magic Vietnamese-style Glass Noodle Salad

Magic Vietnamese-style Glass Noodle Salad

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

Magic Vietnamese-style Glass Noodle Salad

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

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

Magic Vietnamese-style Glass Noodle Salad Ingredients

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

INGREDIENTS

For the glass noodles

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

For the dressing

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

To assemble

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

METHOD

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

Magic Vietnamese-style Glass Noodle Salad

Magic Vietnamese-style Glass Noodle Salad

BON APPÉTIT

– Ally xx

myTaste.com

Stir-fried Handmade Noodles with Spicy Tofu & Mushroom Mince

Stir-fried Handmade Noodles with Spicy Tofu & Mushroom Mince

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

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

Chinese Handmade Noodles

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

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

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

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

INGREDIENTS

Chinese Handmade Noodles Ingredients

For the handmade noodles

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

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

For the spicy tofu & mushroom mince

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

For the stir-fried noodles

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

To serve with

  • Chinese greens of choice
  • Spring onions, for garnishing

METHOD

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

Chinese Handmade Noodles

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

Stir-fried Handmade Noodles with Spicy Tofu & Mushroom Mince

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

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

Storage Tips:

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

Stir-fried Handmade Noodles with Spicy Tofu & Mushroom Mince

BON APPÉTIT

– Ally xx

myTaste.com

Auguest 2020: Melissa Delos Reyes

Crispy Orange Tofu with Broccoli

“Creating food is a therapeutic process. It’s a way for me to unwind and slow down in this fast-paced world. To see my family & friends enjoy what I create is worth all the effort.” — Melissa Delos Reyes

Auguest 2020: Melissa Delos Reyes

Ola! I’m Melissa or Mel, the smol lady behind Eats Meru on Facebook and Instagram. I am a social media associate by profession and I freelance in photography and graphic design. Ever since I was young, I’ve always enjoyed cooking, experimenting with food, and following recipes!

I created Eats Meru pre-pandemic to share my food adventures at first. Everything changed when the Covid-19 virus struck. No one was prepared. Businesses were greatly affected, especially the small/start-up local brands. Since then, I’ve converted my goal for Eats Meru as a platform where I can help local MSMEs to share their products especially now that everyone is doing their best to make a living.

For this post in the Auguest series, I chose the color orange. I’ll be sharing a healthy and plant-based version of the famous Orange Chicken that uses tofu as the protein of the dish; it’s sticky, orange-y, tangy, crispy, and tasty too! You can easily make this dish as most of the ingredients can be found in your fridge and pantry. It is also perfect for those busy weeknights as it comes together in 20 minutes.

Crispy Orange Tofu with Broccoli Ingredients

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

INGREDIENTS

For the crispy tofu

  • 2 packs firm tofu, drained and cut into 1-inch size cubes
  • 2 tbsp cornstarch
  • 1 tsp rice flour
  • 1/4 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • Vegetable oil, for frying

For the orange sauce

  • 1 cup fresh orange juice (about 3 medium-sized oranges)
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 3 tbsp sugar
  • 2 tbsp soy sauce
  • 2 tbsp white or rice vinegar
  • 1 & 1/2 tbsp cornstarch (2 tbsp for a thicker sauce)
  • 1 tsp chilli, minced
  • 1/8 tsp salt
  • 4 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 1 inch ginger, minced (or 1 tbsp grated)
  • Spring onion (for garnishing)
  • Blanched broccoli

METHOD

  1. Crispy Tofu: In a large bowl, combine the cornstarch, rice flour, garlic powder, salt, and pepper. Mix well and coat the tofu in the cornstarch mixture.
  2. In a deep, heavy-bottomed pot, heat the vegetable oil (enough to cover the tofu) over medium-high. Carefully drop the coated cubed tofu in the oil and fry until slightly golden brown. Do not overcrowd the pot; work in batches if needed.
  3. Once done, use a slotted spoon to remove the tofu and transfer to a wire rack or strainer to cool down.
  4. Orange Sauce: Combine all the ingredients for the orange sauce, except water and cornstarch in a saucepan over medium heat. Cook and bring to a boil.
  5. Mix the cornstarch in the water together to create a slurry and gradually stir it into the simmering sauce. Cook until the sauce thickens, stirring well for even thickening. Taste for salt, sweetness, flavour, etc. and adjust as you go.
  6. Turn the heat off and add the crispy tofu. Toss to evenly coat them with the sauce. Transfer to a serving bowl and garnish with the spring onions. Serve immediately while hot, with rice and blanched broccoli (or any of your favorite greens for that matter). Enjoy!

This Crispy Orange Tofu can be modified for an even healthier option. For this recipe, the tofu is deep-fried in oil, but if you prefer, and have a bit more time on your hands, you can bake the tofu instead. Additionally, you can consider serving it with some cauliflower rice and other greens of your choice.

Crispy Orange Tofu with Broccoli

Crispy Orange Tofu with Broccoli

Photo Courtesy & Recipe Copyright © 2020 | Melissa Delos Reyes (@eatsmeru)

BON APPÉTIT

– Melissa Delos Reyes

myTaste.com