Atchara (Pickled Green Papaya)

Atchara (Pickled Green Papaya)

Hello Everyone! One more day until the end of April, which means that this will be my last recipe from the Philippines on our journey through the Flavours of Southeast Asia. I most definitely had fun tackling healthier alternatives of classic and much loved Pinoy dishes, as well as celebrating Amcarmen’s Kitchen turning seven years old!

Tonight, I’ll be sharing a recipe in response to a challenge that my friend brought up in our exclusive interview. It started off with her asking me if there are any ingredients that I would never cook with on my blog, to which I responded with: raisins, cucumber, and cilantro. She then hit me with a surprise challenge which is to make a dish with at least two of the three ingredients that I listed – something that I would have to like and eat!

To quote her:

“…something that you had previously found to be a negative experience, is going to be turned into a positive experience, so I’m changing your life!”

And here’s my response; no twists or a fancy remake of this side dish, just straight up, humble atchara. Atchara (also spelled achara or atsara) is a pickle made typically out of grated unripe papaya. Other vegetables such as carrots, capsicum (bell pepper), onion, garlic, and ginger are also added to make up this pickle. Raisins may also be added, but are optional.

Atchara (Pickled Green Papaya)

All of these are then mixed together in a solution of vinegar, sugar, and salt. The key is finding the right balance of sourness and sweetness in the pickling solution. It is then placed in airtight jars where it will keep without refrigeration, however once opened it is preferably kept chilled to maintain its flavour. Ideally, you’ll want the atchara to mature for about a week before consuming it, for it to fully develop its flavour. The longer you keep it, the better it tastes. Once opened, you can keep it in the fridge for up to two months.

Atchara is usually served with grilled or fried dishes; I like to have atchara as an accompaniment to fried fish to give it a little more life. Technically it goes well with any meal that is fatty and salty, as the sharpness of the atchara helps cut through that greasy aftertaste in your mouth.

Since the challenge is to make a dish that includes two of the three ingredients that I dislike the most, the atchara that I will be sharing with everyone tonight includes cucumbers and raisins. The Southeast Asian variations of atchara, or as they collectively call it in Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore, and Brunei, acar, is mainly made of pickling cucumbers together with carrots and shallot, sometimes even daikon. I’ve had this version of acar when I was living in Brunei, and it was actually delicious as an accompaniment to various fried dishes!

Atchara (Pickled Green Papaya) Ingredients

PREP TIME 1 HOUR 30 MINS | COOKING TIME 10 MINS | MAKES 3 JARS*

*I had jars of varying sizes, but if I were to estimate, I think they’d fit into about 3 medium-sized jars.

INGREDIENTS

For the pickle

  • 1 medium unripe papaya, shredded
  • 1 small carrot, sliced
  • 1 small cucumber, sliced
  • 1 small red capsicum, sliced thinly
  • 1 packet (50g) raisins
  • 2 tbsp salt
  • Spring onion stalks

For the pickling solution

  • 1 & 1/2 cups white vinegar
  • 1 cup white granulated sugar
  • 4 garlic cloves, sliced thinly
  • 1 small-sized brown onion, sliced thinly
  • 1 thumb-sized ginger, julienned
  • 1 tbsp whole black peppercorns
  • 1 tsp salt

METHOD

  1. Combine the shredded papaya together with the salt in a medium-sized mixing bowl, setting it aside to sit for about an hour or until the papaya starts to release its liquid. Then place the shredded papaya in a cheesecloth and firmly squeeze to get rid of any excess juices.
  2. Pickling Solution: Meanwhile, in a small-sized saucepan over medium heat, combine the vinegar, sugar, and salt and bring to a simmer. Cook for about 3 to 5 minutes, or until the sugar has completely dissolved. Stir occasionally.
  3. Add the whole black peppercorns ginger, garlic, and onions. Continue to cook for a further 2 to 3 minutes. Once done, set aside to cool down slightly.
  4. Atchara: Combine the shredded papaya together with all the prepared vegetables into a large mixing bowl. Add the warm pickling solution and gently toss to combine. Cover and set aside to completely cool down.
  5. Once cool, transfer the atchara into sterilised jars with tight-fitting lids. You may keep them on the countertop or immediately place them in the fridge for about a week to let the flavours develop before serving.
  6. Serve, cold or at room temperature, with your choice of fried and/or grilled meat/seafood. Enjoy!

1888

The verdict? I definitely loved the pickled cucumbers, in fact I always scoop out for them for every serving. The raisins? I don’t know; there’s just something about them that I don’t like and I can’t explain it. I tried one and after that, I still picked them out.

Atchara (Pickled Green Papaya)

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

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: Jialing Mew

Roasted Purple Winter Vegetable Salad

“Waste not, want not.” — Jialing Mew

Short of blackened and burnt, I’ve learned from my many Auguest disasters that you can almost always save a dish on the brink of catastrophe! Just get creative, do a quick Google search, or go with your gut. I’m also a big believer of using up what you have, even if it means not quite following the recipe to a T (shoutout to anyone with random vegetable halves rotting away in their fridge!). In the same vein, ingredients can always go further than you think. Simmer bones for a flavoursome broth, that, when combined with your salvaged refrigerator produce, equals soup for supper! It’s kinder on your wallet and better for the environment.

Auguest 2020: Jialing Mew


So before we get started, I would like to explain that were it not for a HIGHLY misleading label at my local supermarket, this dish would have been much more on-theme (surely I can’t be the only one who didn’t know that ‘Purple Sweet Potato’ is in fact WHITE once peeled??). Also. Having never actually cooked with beetroot before, I was woefully unaware of how shockingly long it takes to roast in the oven, thereby obliterating whatever small amount of purple pigmentation my poor adjacent sweet potato had to begin with.

Anyway. Just your standard Auguest post featuring Food Fiascos by Jialing.

Roasted Purple Winter Vegetable Salad

Actually, though, apart from the frustrating lack of purple, I consider this to be one of my standout Auguest recipes, as it makes for a pretty fab morning meal. Feel free to skip the pomegranate if unavailable (if we’re being completely honest, that was mainly brought onboard in an effort to edge our way closer to the violet spectrum, though it did turn out to be a nice addition). I do highly recommend the candied walnuts and feta, though!

This dish comes together with fairly minimal effort, despite the lengthy roast-time. Plus, it’s warm and carb-y – the good kind of carbs, I’m told! – making it the perfect cure for your winter morning blues. P.S. keep reading until the end of the recipe for a sneaky vegan plot-twist #Auguest2016

Roasted Purple Winter Vegetable Salad Ingredients

PREP TIME 15 MINS | COOKING TIME 2 HRS 30 MINS | SERVES 4-6

INGREDIENTS

For the roasted vegetables

  • 2 tbsp balsamic vinegar
  • 2 tbsp maple syrup
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tsp thyme
  • 3 beetroots, cut into 2cm cubes
  • 3 red onions, cut into wedges
  • 1 purple sweet potato, cut into 2cm cubes
  • 1 tsp flaky sea salt (or 1/2 tsp regular salt)
  • Pepper

For the candied walnuts

  • 1 cup walnut halves
  • 2 tbsp maple syrup

For the balsamic glaze

  • 2 tbsp balsamic vinegar
  • 2 tbsp maple syrup

To assemble

  • 50g baby rocket leaves
  • 1 cup feta, crumbled
  • 1 pomegranate (arils only)

Roasted Purple Winter Vegetable Salad Ingredients

METHOD

  1. Preheat your oven to 180C (160C fan-forced), and line a baking tray with parchment (this is for the walnuts) plus a large roasting tray with parchment paper or aluminium foil (this is for the vegetables).
  2. First prepare the candied walnuts. Toss the walnuts with the 2 tbsp maple syrup until evenly coated. Spread out over your lined baking tray and place in the oven for 10 minutes (in the meantime you can begin to prepare your vegetables), then take out and turn pieces over to ensure even cooking. Return to the oven for a further 10 minutes, then transfer from parchment onto a plate for cooling.
  3. To prepare the roasted vegetables, first combine the 2 tbsp balsamic vinegar, 2 tbsp maple syrup, 2 tbsp olive oil, 1 tsp thyme in a bowl and lightly whisk with a fork until emulsified.
  4. In a large bowl, toss the beetroot, red onion, and sweet potato with the balsamic mixture until evenly coated. Transfer to a roasting tray and season generously with pepper and 1 tsp flaky sea salt. Roast in the oven for 1 hour, then turn the vegetables to make sure they cook evenly, and return to the oven for another 1 hour.
  5. In the last 15 minutes or so of roasting, you can start to arrange your rocket leaves on a serving dish, and prepare the balsamic glaze by heating the 2 tbsp of balsamic vinegar and maple syrup over low heat until it begins to bubble (about 2-5 minutes). Remove from heat after 10 seconds and let cool slightly (it will thicken as it cools).
  6. Arrange roasted vegetables on top of the rocket leaves, and top with crumbled feta and pomegranate arils. Drizzle with balsamic vinegar, serve, and enjoy!

Roasted Purple Winter Vegetable Salad

Tips:

  • To make it vegan, simply omit the feta (or use a plant-based substitute).
  • To make this dish even better (but less vegan) serve on toasted sourdough bread topped with poached eggs for the ultimate Instagram-worthy brunch!

Photo Courtesy & Recipe Copyright © 2020 | Jialing Mew (@jialingmew)

BON APPÉTIT

– Jialing Mew

myTaste.com

Auguest 2017: Jialing Mew

Curried Lentil & Vegetable Stew

Curried Lentil & Vegetable Stew

Happy Guestember everyone! I’ll be taking over Amcarmen’s kitchen this week, for my third guest appearance. Having lived in Sydney for the past few years, I’ve crossed paths with several people, all with different lifestyles, backgrounds, and interests. Amidst the social and cultural melting pot, I’ve found that food is always a common talking point and a great way to bring people together. And what’s better than food that can be enjoyed by all? I’ve certainly managed to surpass my own expectations this year – not only does my recipe use multiple ingredients from Allison’s high-blood-pressure-lowering list, but it is also gluten-free, dairy-free, and… vegan! (Read about last year’s vegan recipe struggle here MATE YOU GOTTA LINK THIS PART WHERE IT SAYS HERE TO THE RECIPE FROM LAST YEAR PLZ CUZ I DONT KNOW HOW TO DO EET AND ALL THIS TEXT IN RED PLZ REMOVE FROM POST TENKS. Yes, 2017 Jialing can laugh about it now).

[I’m sorry Jialing, I had to share the text in red for the blogging world to see because it’s just too funny!] – Ally xx

Inspired by seasonal ingredients in my kitchen, staples in my pantry, and great people in my life, this dish is something that I hope everyone can enjoy. True to my appetite, my recipe makes a LOT, so it’s best made in the largest pot or pan you can scrounge up, then shared with a small army. Or simply halve the first lot of ingredients for a more regular quantity. Enjoy!

Curried Lentil & Vegetable Stew Ingredients

PREP TIME 10 MINS | COOKING TIME 45-50 MINS | SERVES 12

INGREDIENTS

  • 500g scrubbed potatoes, cubed
  • 500g split lentils
  • 500g sweet potatoes, peeled and cubed
  • 1 can (400g) white beans, drained
  • 2 onions, diced
  • 2 tomatoes, diced
  • 1 bunch kale, roughly chopped
  • 1 head garlic, minced
  • 1 lemon, cut into wedges
  • 3 tbsp hot curry powder (use mild if less heat is preferred)
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tbsp ginger paste
  •  (optional)
  • 2 tsp coriander powder
  • A small handful of dried curry leaves
  • Salt and pepper, to taste

Optional

  • 1 tbsp cornstarch, for slurry
  • 2 tsp chilli powder
  • Lemon and coriander, to garnish

METHOD

  1. In your very large pot over high heat, fry onion in oil until browned. Add garlic and stir until fragrant. Add ginger paste and tomatoes, stirring until tomatoes are soft and start to break down (being careful not to let the garlic burn).
  2. Add curry powder, coriander powder, and chill powder if desired, stirring briefly for a few seconds.
  3. Add potatoes, sweet potatoes and lentils, increase heat to high, and add enough water to the pan to cover the potatoes and lentils. Keep covered until the water boils.
  4. Once the water boils, reduce the heat to low and add lemon wedges, stirring occasionally and topping up water until lentils and potatoes are all cooked through (may take roughly half an hour). Be sure to leave enough liquid to just cover the lentils.
  5. Add curry leaves, then salt and pepper, adjusting to your taste (I usually end up adding about 1 tbsp of salt). At this point, make the optional slurry with cornstarch and 1 tbsp of water, and add to the pan to thicken the gravy.
  6. Add drained white beans to pan, stirring until heated through. Take your pan off the heat.
  7. Toss in the kale, stirring through gently until evenly distributed. Be careful not to spill, as I always do…
  8. Garnish with fresh coriander and lemon. Serve hot with basmati rice or flat bread, chutney or fresh yogurt, or even on its own. Enjoy with friends or family 🙂

Curried Lentil & Vegetable Stew

Curried Lentil & Vegetable Stew

Recipe Copyright © 2017 | jialingmew

BON APPÉTIT

– xx Jialing

myTaste.com

Spinach, Carrot, and Zucchini Dog Treats

Spinach, Carrot, and Zucchini Dog Treats

Happy Birthday Blacky!

Hello Everyone! Wow I’m definitely on a roll here with the recipes – posting 3 back-to-back for this week! Well, the only reason for that is just because two very special days just happened to sandwich my normal Wednesday post schedule. So yes, today is indeed another special day and having read the title of this recipe, you already know who’s special day it is. Of course it is none other than my not so baby boy anymore, Blacky! Happy 6th Birthday to my Mutt Blacky, or as my friends have nicknamed him, Mr. Black and Cinnabon (because of his cinnamon scroll-like tail).

Last year a made him a batch of bacon doggie treats, and since the theme of my blog for this month is vegan, I decided to make him a healthy treat this time ’round. Okay, okay. I know. This isn’t vegan treat, but I realised a little bit too late when I was photographing the ingredients for this recipe. I guess I could’ve easily omitted the eggs from the recipe – but would that have somehow ruined the recipe altogether? Or is there a substitute for the eggs that I could’ve used instead? Any vegans out there please let me know in the comments section below. Thank you 🙂

Spinach, Carrot, and Zucchini Dog Treats

That aside, I know Blacky hates his vegetables. Whenever we feed him some soup with meat, veggies, and rice, he is able to pick out anything green that he sees in his bowl. I thought that maybe by hiding some greens into a doggie treat, he wouldn’t notice and eat them. I guess I was wrong…ish. He still ate the treat, but it looked like he was being very picky in the beginning by just playing around with them, but not actually eating them. Then after a few hours, he’d eat half of the biscuit. Then by the end of the day, once I’m home from work, he’d show off and eat the rest of them and made sure that I saw him eating it. What a clever and devilish dog he is haha!

Once again, Happy Birthday Blacky! Original recipe can be found over on Damn Delicious.

Spinach, Carrot, and Zucchini Dog Treats Ingredients

PREP TIME 5-8 MINS | COOKING TIME min. 40 MINS | SERVES 75 BISCUITS

INGREDIENTS

  • 225g pumpkin, steamed and then puréed*
  • 3 cups wholewheat flour, or more as needed
  • 1 cup baby spinach, chopped
  • 1/2 cup old fashioned oats
  • 1/4 cup peanut butter
  • 2 large free range eggs
  • 1 carrot, peeled and shredded
  • 1 zucchini, shredded

*225g of pumpkin should be able to make 1 cup of cooled pumpkin purée which is needed for this recipe

METHOD

  1. Preheat oven to 180C (350F or gas mark 4). Line a baking tray with parchment paper or a silicone baking mat and then set aside.
  2. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the cooled pumpkin purée, peanut butter, and eggs on medium-high until well combined, about 1-2 minutes.
  3. Gradually add the old fashioned oats and 2 1/2 cups flour at low speed, beating just until incorporated. Add an additional 1/4 cup flour at a time just until the dough is no longer sticky. Then, add in the carrot, zucchini, and spinach, beating just until incorporated.
  4. Working on a lightly floured surface, knead the dough 3-4 times until it comes together. Using a rolling pin, roll the dough to 1/4-inch thickness. Using cookie cutters, cut out desired shapes and place onto the prepared baking sheet.
  5. Place into oven and bake until the edges are golden brown, about 20-25 minutes.**
  6. Let cool completely. Makes about 75 biscuits.***

**Baking time will vary depending on the size and thickness of the treats.
***Serving size will also vary depending on the desired shapes and cookie cutters used.

Spinach, Carrot, and Zucchini Dog Treats

Spinach, Carrot, and Zucchini Dog Treats

So just like last year, I decided to try the biscuits for myself. Of course, they tasted really bland to me because I didn’t add any sugar or anything to sweeten it up a bit. I gave some to my Mom and sister to try, and my Mom actually liked them. Because I ended up making around 75 biscuits, I asked my Mom if I could give them to a colleague of mine who also has a dog. To which my Mom replied, “No, I will eat them” *crying laughing face emoji* Well, at least I know someone in the house will finish them if Blacky can’t! Hahaha!

BON APPÉTIT

– Ally xx

myTaste.com

Cucumber, Green Apple, & Kiwi Juice

Hello Everyone! Before I begin, I just wanted to take this opportunity to say (before I forget that is), that I am not a huge fan of cucumber. Why am I saying this? Well, it’s only because I realised that I posted a recipe last week with cucumber in it and I didn’t mention about this love/hate relationship that I have with cucumber. I actually paused for a bit there when I was trying to decide whether love/hate was the right choice of words – because it’s more hate and not even an ounce of love. I can’t exactly put my finger on why I’m not all that about cucumber, I just know that if I see it on my plate, I won’t touch it. I don’t know if it’s taste, or texture, or whatever else there is to it. I just don’t like it. However, I do realise that when it is cut up quite small and finely, and it is mixed with other foods, then I’ll eat it, but only because I’m too lazy to pick them out one by one *cheeky grin* Yes, so after all that, I still wonder why I’d drink a juice with cucumber in it. Well, I can’t exactly answer that question myself to be honest.

Cucumber, Green Apple, & Kiwi Juice

This combination of Apple + Cucumber + Kiwi helps improve skin complexion. However, after doing some research, I’m pretty sure that this combination of fruits and veggies help in many more ways that just keeping us from ageing:

In my previous post, I mentioned that cucumbers are beneficial in helping one to avoid nutrient deficiencies, especially those that are accustomed to eating a typical American diet. In addition, cucumbers contain an extraordinary amount of naturally purified water and therefore contains a higher quality of water content than that of ordinary water. It is no wonder that cucumbers should be eaten all year long. Yeah – even after all that research and knowing how good cucumber actually is for my health, it’s still a no, with the exception for this juice recipe and the previous one I guess.

Aside from the health benefits of cucumber, pair it with a kiwi or two and you’ve got your hit of vitamin C and E. It is known that two medium-sized kiwis contain a whopping amount of vitamin C (boosting up to about 230% more than the daily recommended about of vitamin C intake), that aids in boosting our immune system, fights the stress away, and helps protect our skin from ageing. It also promotes wound healing and iron absorption for healthy bones, blood vessels, and teeth. Besides the C, there’s also the E which, a kiwi carries a rare and fat-free form of it. This is a potent antioxidant said to help lower cholesterol and boost immunity. I could write a whole essay on the health benefits of kiwis as the list goes on – but I won’t *cheeky grin*

Lastly, we all know the saying “an apple a day drives the doctor away” – but what does it really mean? Well, apples are extremely rich in important antioxidants, flavanoids, and dietary fibre, and therefore may help reduce the risk of developing cancer, hypertension, diabetes, and heart disease. I mean, I guess that pretty much says it all doesn’t it? The list of benefits continue on! And here are 15 health benefits of apples.

PREP TIME 5 MINS | COOKING TIME | SERVES 1

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 large green apple, quartered and cored
  • 1 large cucumber, peeled and cut into thirds
  • 1 kiwi, peeled and halved lengthwise

METHOD

  1. Juice all the ingredients using an electric juicer. Pour into a tall glass and add ice if you want your juice cold. Serve and enjoy, especially on a hot tropical afternoon for a nice refresher!

Apple, Celery, & Cucumber Juice

Swap out the kiwi and go for a combination of Apple + Cucumber + Celery to help prevent cancer, reduce cholesterol, and eliminate stomach upset and headache. We ran out of green apples, so we used the red ones we had in the fridge – I don’t see a difference in using either, but for me it would’ve just looked visually nicer if the apple was green in the photograph hehehe. Happy Juicing!

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

Pancit Bihon Guisado (Filipino Style Stir-Fried Rice Noodles)

Pancit Bihon Guisado (Filipino Style Stir-Fried Rice Noodles)

Hello Everyone! It a whole new month and you already know what that means! A new month on Amcarmen’s Kitchen means a new theme, and for the month of November, I will be sharing with you guys some of my favourite noodle dishes of all time! But before I begin, I’d just like to apologise for my later than usual post – I’ve been super busy for the past three weeks with things I cannot say yet for security reasons, but yes, super busy that I am always mentally drained and find it difficult to just sit down and concentrate on writing for my blog. I’ll probably be able to tell you guys everything somewhere in February next year, but if you really want to know, you can ask me privately. If I don’t tell you, then you’re probably one of the reasons why I can’t talk about why I’ve been busy on any form of social media 😉

Anyway, noodles were first introduced into the Philippines by the Chinese, and since then, noodles have been adopted into local cuisine with endless variations, those popular being pancit bihon guisado, pancit palabok, pancit canton, pancit habhab, etc. The term pancit is actually derived from the Hokkien piān-ê-si̍t (pian i sit) which literally means convenient food. Tonight, I will be kicking it off with a noodle that has been served on our tables countless times over my childhood years up until now – Pancit Bihon Guisado!

Pancit Bihon Guisado (Filipino Style Stir-Fried Rice Noodles)

When one says pancit, it is usually associated with bihon, which is a recipe that uses very thin rice noodles, fried with soy sauce, some citrus, possibly with some fish sauce as well, and some variation of sliced meat and chopped vegetables. The composition of bihon varies quite a lot because it depends on your personal recipe. I can say that the recipe that I will be sharing with you today did even start out like this when my mom first made it for the family – the ingredients have definitely changed over the years! So don’t be afraid to improvise or get creative with the ingredients; s’long as you’ve got the base of the noodles covered with this recipe. You can even take all the meat out and replace the chicken stock with veggie stock for an all vegetarian pancit bihon guisado!

Pancit Bihon Guisado (Filipino Style Stir-Fried Rice Noodles) Ingredients

PREP TIME 15 MINS | COOKING TIME 30-45 MINS | SERVES 8-10

INGREDIENTS

  • 450g bihon noodles
  • 100g fish balls, halved
  • 100g thin fish cake, sliced diagonally
  • 3 pcs dried bay leaves
  • 2-3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 celery stalks, sliced
  • 2 pcs thin sliced pork belly, cut into 1cm chunks
  • 1 carrot, julienned
  • 1 chicken crown, breasts removed and sliced, bone reserved
  • 1 small brown onion, diced
  • 1/2 a head of cabbage, sliced
  • 4-5 cups chicken stock
  • 1 tbsp dark soy sauce
  • 1 tbsp fish sauce
  • 1 tbsp oyster sauce
  • Ground black pepper and salt, to taste
  • Spring onions, sliced
  • 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, fish balls, and sliced fish cakes. 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 carrots and celery. Mix well and leave to cook for a further 2-3 minutes. Lastly, add in the cabbage and spring onions, and cook until just slightly wilted. Once done, transfer to a bowl and set aside.
  4. In the same frying pan, add the chicken stock to the pan together with the soy sauce, fish sauce, and oyster sauce. Bring to a boil. Once boiling, add the bihon noodles in and cook until all the liquid has evaporated. Make sure that while cooking, you mix and untangle them periodically. Altogether this should take about 10 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!

Pancit Bihon Guisado (Filipino Style Stir-Fried Rice Noodles)

Pancit Bihon Guisado (Filipino Style Stir-Fried Rice Noodles)

BON APPÉTIT

– Ally xx

myTaste.com

Auguest 2015: Josephine Geronimo

Munggo Guisado (Sautéed Mung Bean Soup)

Hello Everyone and welcome to the final week of Auguest! If you’ve read all the way to the end of my post yesterday, you’ll know that I’ve said that week 4 of Auguest would commence today seeing as I had a special post that went up live yesterday. Today’s guest won’t be communicating with you through the write up only because she’s not that confident with her English writing skills; so instead I will be the one taking you through her story of this dish. But first, who’s my guest for this week? Of course it is none other than the woman who cooked for me throughout my years of growing up and the woman who taught me how cook. Without her, my passion for cooking would’ve probably never existed, and neither would this blog. Today’s guest blogger is none other than my Mother, Josephine, known to many as Mama G!

This dish is a delicacy from one of the Ilocanos provinces, my Mom’s hometown in the Northern part of the Philippines, Pangasinan, but her family grew in Quezon City. Once a year the whole family would travel the province to visit their farm and bring back some of their produce, one of them included one 50kg sack of munggo (mung beans). Munggo Guisado is a common lunch and dinner dish found on their table as it is a healthy and nutritious dish. Her father (my grandfather) would always remind his children that munggo contains the same amount of proteins that can be found in beef, chicken, pork, and other meats. Her father was a little bit on the stingy side, so their Munggo Guisado contain no meat at all, just pure mung beans and other vegetables such as ampalaya (bitter gourd) leaves or malunggay leaves. Her father even planted a malunngay tree so that they could pick their own leaves instead of having to go to the markets to buy it. The dish would then be flavoured with bagoong isda (anchovy sauce). It was a dish that they had for both lunch and dinner, everyday.

Munggo Guisado (Sautéed Mung Bean Soup)

This dish was introduced to my Mom since she started to eat solid foods, and has been a part of her daily meal until she came to Brunei. She stopped eating it because she wasn’t in a cooking mood since she moved out of the Philippines to work in Brunei. She started cooking it again when she had a family of her own. My Mom did the same thing by introducing this dish to me when I started to eat solid foods. To her surprise, I hated this dish and she didn’t know why. Even my two younger sisters hated it. She tried everything to make it more appetising for us by adding meat and/or prawns, but still she could not get us to eat it. So, she had no choice but to stop cooking it.

But now, after 20 years, she was able to introduce it back to us again (mainly because for this Auguest post as it has a story to tell of her roots), and apparently we love it! I kept asking my Mom why I didn’t like it in the first place, and she kept answering, “I don’t know with you!” Now Munggo Guisado has found it’s way back into our table as a regular, weekly, meal. The dish is best served with steamed rice and fried fish, as they would say “magkakambal sila” – twins, or meaning a well paired dish.

Munggo Guisado (Sautéed Mung Bean Soup) Ingredients

PREP TIME 1 HOUR | COOKING TIME 30 MINS | SERVES 6

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 cup mung beans
  • 1 cup malunggay (or ampalaya) leaves
  • 250g pork belly, sliced
  • 2-3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 large onion, diced
  • 1 large tomato, diced
  • 1 tbsp salted ziganid fish (bagoong padas, or anchovies)
  • Ground black pepper

METHOD

  1. Soak the beans in water for about an hour or two, this will help soften the beans and lessen the time required to boil and tenderise the beans when it comes to cooking them.
  2. Add the beans to a medium-sized pot together with about 1L of water and bring to a boil. Once boiling, let the beans simmer for about half an hour until soft (or about 50 minutes if you didn’t pre-soak them).
  3. In a medium-sized deep fry pan, add the sliced pork belly and fry until browned, about 3-4 minutes. Move them to one side of the frying pan and add the garlic. You shouldn’t need to add any oil and the natural oils from the pork fat should be enough to sauté the garlic. Once the garlic is golden brown in colour and is fragrant, add in the onions and cook until soft. At this point, you can mix them together with the pork. Add in the tomatoes, season with a bit of ground black pepper, and cook until softened, about 5 minutes.
  4. Pour the cooked mung beans, together with the water that it was simmered in into the pork and tomato mixture. Give it a good mix and if it’s looking a bit dry, add more water to make it more into a soup. Bring to light simmer.
  5. Add the tablespoon of anchovies to a small bowl with about a few heaped tablespoons of the munggo soup. Press on the anchovies to get the flavours out and strain the sauce/paste back into the soup. Discard the anchovies.
  6. Simmer for another 10 minutes or so and then add in the malunggay leaves. Turn the heat off and give it a good mix, until the malunggay leaves have wilted into the soup.
  7. Serve with a nice bowl of steamed rice and fried fish. Enjoy!

Munggo Guisado (Sautéed Mung Bean Soup)

Munggo Guisado (Sautéed Mung Bean Soup)

Of course this dish can be an all vegetarian dish just as how my Mom ate it when she was growing up; just remove the pork belly!

While my Mom was telling me the story of this dish, she teared up a little as it brought back many childhood memories. I hope that one day I’ll have kids of my own and share with them the many favourite dishes I grew up with and the stories that come with them 🙂

BON APPÉTIT

– Ally xx

myTaste.com