Sunday, March 20, 2011

Cauliflower with Water Chestnut and Black Olive

This cauliflower dish is very simple and mild in taste.  It is inspired by Momofuku Ko's skate dish. They used this cauliflower/olive/water chestnut combination as the side dish. I was blown away - the crispy texture of water chestnut works perfectly with the soft and earthy taste of the cauliflower.

Cauliflower with Water Chestnut and Black Olive
Prep time 5 mins
Cooking time 10 mins

- 1/2 cauliflower
- 1 small can of sliced black olives (3 oz)
- 1 can of sliced water chestnut (8 oz)
- 1 glove garlic, minced

- Cut the cauliflower into big chunks. Boil water in a medium pot, add 1 tsp of salt. Boil cauliflower for 2 mins then wash with cold water.
- Cut the cooked cauliflower into bite-size chunks.
- In a large skillet, drizzle some olive oil. Saute the garlic for 30 seconds.
- Cook cauliflower on high heat for 1 min. Add in olives and water chestnuts.
- Add 1/2 cup of broth or water. Cook on high heat until the liquid vaporizes.
- Add salt and black pepper to taste.

Monday, March 14, 2011

Japanese Rice with Chicken and Vegetables - Takikomi Gohan

This rice dish is very easy. It is healthy and flavorful. I highly recommend it!

Serving size: 2
Cooking time: 45 mins
Prep time: 60 mins

- 1/2 cup Japanese short grain rice
- 2 skinless boneless chicken thigh (about 1/2 lb)
- 1 - 2 carrots
- 2 fresh Shiitake mushrooms (or hydrate dry Shiitake mushrooms)
- 3 oz oyster mushrooms
- 3 oz Buna-Shimeji mushrooms
- 1 tsp finely minced ginger
- 1 scallion, chopped

- 1/2 Dashi or chicken stock
- 1 tbsp Sake
- 1 tbsp Mirin
- 1 tbsp Usukuchi Shoyu (Light color soy sauce, can be replaced by regular all purpose soy sauce) 

- Rinse the rice for about 5 times until the water is clear.
- Let the rice soak in cold water for at least 1 hour.
- Cut the chicken thighs into 1/2-inch cubes.
- Cut the carrots in matchstick, about 1/2 cup.
- Thinly slice Shiitake mushrooms.
- Use your hands to break apart oyster mushrooms.
- Remove the stem of Buna-Shimeji mushrooms.
- In a bowl, mix sake + mirin + soy sauce + stock + a pinch of salt.
- Drain the rice, place the chicken on top of the rice. Then evenly spread mushrooms, carrots, ginger, scallion on top of the chicken. Do not mix.
- Pour the stock over the veggies.

a) Using a rice cooker
- Depends on the rice cooker, it took 40 mins to cook on my cooker.

b) Using a regular pot on the stove
- Bring the mixture to boil, cook for 3 mins on medium heat. Simmer for 20 mins or until cooked.

- Let the rice rest for 5 mins. Mix before serving.

The rice turns white from transparent after soaked in water.

Monday, March 7, 2011

Grandma's Pork and Egg Stew

This was my favorite dish growing up. The recipe was learned from my grandma. She used to make this stew often. Now it is a regular dish on my dinner table.   Grandma is a great cook. She cooks effortlessly, yet everything tastes so good.

This is the ultimate comfort food for me.

Pork and Egg Stew
Serves 4 people
Prep time: 5 mins
Cooking time: 1.5 hr

- 2 lb pork shoulder or pork butt
- 4 eggs
- 1 Chinese cinnamon stick (Cassia bark)
- 2 star anises
- 5 tbsp dark soy sauce 
- 3 tbsp light soy sauce
- 2 tbsp Shaoxing rice cooking wine
- 1 chunk of ginger
- 1 scallion – roughly chopped
- 5-8 pieces rock sugar (You can use regular sugar (2 tablespoon), but rock sugar gives it a better color)


- Cut the pork into 1-inch cubes, wash the meat with hot water
- Lightly drizzle the pot with canola oil, add ginger, scallion, and sauté for 10 secs
- Add in the pork and sear the meat on high heat for 1-2 mins
- Add cooking wine and sugar, cook for 1 min. Then add dark and light soy sauce, cinnamon stick and anise stars. When the sauce starts to boil, add about 1 cup of warm water (the water should barely covers the meat). After all the sauce is well mixed and boiling, cover the pot and simmer for 40 mins.
- In a separate pot, boil the eggs for about 7 mins till they are completely cooked. Peel of the shell.
- Add hard boiled eggs in the pork stew. Gently mix so that the eggs are bathing in the sauce. Cook on high heat till boil, then cover and simmer for 40 mins. 
- Remove the cover, cook on high heat for 5 mins to reduce the sauce.

** Serving suggestion: white rice and a simple veggie dish.