Friday, 30 September 2011

Chicken And Vegetable Pho

Phở is a Vietnamese noodle soup that usually served with flat long rice noodles, fresh herbs and thin slices of meat(beef or chicken) cook quickly in hot broth. In Vietnam most of their dishes are typically served with lots of greens, herbs, vegetables, and various other accompaniments such as dipping sauces, hot and spicy pastes and a squeeze of lime or lemon juice to enhance the taste.

Last week while watching the Junior Master Chef series, I was attracted to one of their quick and easy demo dish is is "Chicken and Vegetable Pho". So without hesitate I search through my pantry for some necessary ingredients to try out this dish.

For my version, I omitted the Bay Leaf, Thyme and Parsley from the original recipe for the soup broth as I do not have those available in my pantry. But in a while it also make the soup for oriental flavour without those herbs.

Recipe adapted from Australia Master Chef website, HERE.
Ingredients for Quick Chicken Stock: (serves 4)
2 Chicken Breast plus 4 Chicken Wings
2.5 Liters Water
1 Small Brown Onion, cut into half
2 Stalk Celery, cut into 1" chunks
1 Medium Carrot, cut into thick slices
2 Cloves Garlic
1 Teaspoon Black Peppercorns, lightly pound

1. Trim and blanched the chicken in boiling water, rinse and set aside.

2. For the chicken stock, place all ingredients in a large stock pot, bring to boil.

3. Reduce heat and simmer for about 45 minutes, skim the fat from the top as required.

4. Strain stock through a fine sieve and set aside.

Ingredients For Broth Infusion:
1.8 Litres Chicken Stock
1 Cinnamon Quill
2 Star Anise
4cm Ginger, halved
1 Big Red Chili, sliced
3 Pieces Coriander Root, light pound

2 - 3 Tablespoons of Fish Sauce
3 Tablespoons Light Soya Sauce
Juice of half a Lime, about 1 tablespoon

1. Place all the Broth Infusion ingredients in a medium saucepan and bring to boil.

2. Reduce heat to simmer and cook for 10 minutes.

3. Season to taste with fish sauce, light soya sauce and lime juice.

Ingredients For Pho Vegetables: (serves 4)
4 Serving of Fresh Thin Rice Noodles, about 400g
1 Medium Carrot, julienned
1 Packet of Enoki Mushrooms
100g Bean Sprouts, blanched in hot water
4 Fresh Shitake Mushrooms, thinly sliced
Some Spring Onion, thinly sliced
1 Cup of shredded Chicken Meat, optional 

Some Vietnamese Mint and Coriander
1 Big Red Chili, thinly sliced
1/2 Lime, cut into quarter

~ I used the chicken breast meat from the soup stock, shred it and serve together with the noodles.

1. To serve, layer pho ingredients into separate serving bowls starting with noodles, carrot and etc from the sequence above.

2. Gently divide the broth infusion into serving bowls top with garnish, lime juice and serve immediately.

Although my version might not be the authentic Vietnamese Pho but we definitely love it's fragrant clear soup base which is loaded without lot of fresh vegetables and herbs. Overall the soup tasty and refreshing with hint of cinnamon fragrant and a bit of spicy and sourish taste from the chili and lime juice.

Monday, 26 September 2011

Orange-Scented Flourless Chocolate Cake

Flourless Chocolate Cake has being queuing in my "must-try" lists for at least more than 2 years. Whenever I saw beautiful photos and recipes from fellow bloggers who lay their hand on this delicious looking cake I will be fascinated to give it a try. But the "fate" between me and this cake only begins to spark last week while I was planning to bake something for my neighour and my boy's school teacher.

From the name "Flourless" you can more or less figure out that this recipe does not require any Flour, but somehow or rather it did call for a minimum amount of cocoa powder to enhance the taste. So in order to have better texture and taste for this cake, I would suggest you get some decent brand of cocoa powder which would give it that dark and luxury outlook.

I love this recipe because it is so easy to prepare and you can even let your kid(s) handle most of the beating and folding job with maybe a bit of help from the Adult. Furthermore those of us who tried this cake were surprised of it's taste and texture which is moist, fluffy and tasty even without any use of "BUTTER or MILK".

Ingredients: (make 4, 9cm x 9cm square disposal baking case)
4 Egg Yolks
4 Egg Whites
110g Caster Sugar
12g Valrhona Cocoa Powder
100g Valrhona(Guanaja - 70%)Dark Chocolate, melted
1 Teaspoon Grand Marine/Vanilla Essence
Zest of 1 or 2 Oranges

1. Preheat oven to 180 degree.

2. Separate egg yolks and whites in two different mixing bowl. (i use a bigger bowl for my yolks mixture in order to mix in the whites later on)

3. Whisk egg whites in a bowl with a mixer until soft peaks form. (do not over beat till stiff peak)

4. Next whisk egg yolks and sugar in another mixing bowl until pale and airy before folding in cocoa powder, orange zest and grand marine.

5. Stir in melted chocolate till well combined. Fold in 1/3 of the egg whites at a time and mix well. (since chocolate mixture will be heavier than egg whites, try to scrap and stir from the bottom when mixing to get an even texture)

6. Pour mixture into prepared cake pan or disposal baking cases. Bake in preheated oven for 18 minutes(9cm square paper case), 25 minutes(7"/15cm round cake pan) or when skewer insert and comes out clean.

7. Cool the cake completely on baking rack before sprinkle it with icing sugar and decorate with whipped cream, ice-cream or assorted fresh berries of your choice and serve.

1. You can either melt the chocolate over a double-boiler or place them in microwave safe bowl and cook on HIGH heat for about 90 seconds, stirring at an interval of 30 seconds to prevent burnt.

2. Eggs use in the recipe is 60g each in weighs.

As you can see from the photos, the top of the cake has a delicate crispy crust which gives this cake a few layers of texture such as crisp top, moist and fluffy cake with orange-scented flavour on each bites. And since this is my 1st trial, I hope I would be able to achieve a bit slightly fudgy texture perhaps with a 3 minutes under bake on the timing.

For more recipes on different type of Flourless Chocolate Cake, you can refer to the follow site which I bookmark too.
1. Flourless Chocolate Gateau from Happy Home Baking
2. Flourless Chocolate and Almond Cake from Little Teochew

Monday, 19 September 2011

Yang Sheng Le(养生乐) - Cordyceps Concentrated Herbal Soup

Last monthly, I have bought a few bottles of these Yang Sheng Le(养生乐), concentrated herbal soup from Fairprice during one of it's promotion. And for your information this concentrated soup is a collaboration by two trusted brand names Eu Yan Sang and MAGGI. Although for most of us this might be just another "instant" soup base which enables you to prepare quick and easy soup within minutes but with some extra bits of ingredients you could also turn this into a once pot dish too.

To enjoy and prepare these delicious herbal soup, what you need to do is to dilute the mixture with water and simmer it for about 20 minutes before serving. Yan Sheng Le Concentrated Herbal Soup is also endorsed as the "Healthier Choice" by the Singapore Health Promotion Board and as well with the following :-.

~ All Natural
~ No Preservatives
~ No Added MSG
~ No Added Artificial Colouring/Flavoring

Retail Price: From S$7.50 per bottle onwards

Ingredients: (serve 3 - 4)
1 Bottle of Cordyceps Concentrated Herbal Soup
1 Black Chicken (乌鸡) or 600g Chicken Pieces
1 Litre Boiling Water
Some Wolfberries and Red Dates

1. Trim and cut the black chicken into quarters, rinse and blanched in a pot of boiling water for a about 3 minutes. Remove, rinse and set aside.

2. Empty contents of herbal concentrate from bottle into 1 litre of boiling water and mix well.

3. Add chicken pieces, bring to boil.

4. Lower the heat and simmer for 20 minutes and serve hot.

These concentrated Herbal Soup comes in a few different types of flavour but we loves the American Ginseng Concentrated And Cordyceps Concentrated most. The photo shown above is Black Chicken with Cordyceps Herbal Soup in 20 minutes. The Cordyceps Concentrated Herbal Soup consist of 5 herbs such as :-  Cordyceps, Bei Shan Shen, Bei Qi, Yu Zhu and Chi Pi which provides nourishing goodness for the body.

Wednesday, 14 September 2011

Sweet and Sour Pork plus Cookbook Giveaway by Rasa Malaysia

Today I am so happy to share with you one of our family's favourite recipe from Bee's new cookbook, Easy Chinese Recipes (recipe and photos credited to Rasa Malaysia). If you still remember I did mentioned in facebook(HERE) sometime back regarding the launch of her new cookbook in Singapore. And here my friend Bee kindly offer to share with us this recipe (origin from Easy Chinese Recipes) as well as a complimentary copy of her new cookbook to one of the lucky SINGAPORE readers from this blog.

Sweet-and-Sour Pork, the ubiquitous and arguably one of the most well known Chinese pork dishes, is Cantonese in origin. The secret of an authentic Sweet-and-Sour Pork dish is in the perfect balance of the sweet versus sour flavor of the sauce. Now you can master this flavorsome dish with Bee's (Rasa Malaysia) tested recipe below and more tips on her cookbook.

Serves 4 as part of a multicourse meal 
8 oz (250 g) pork tenderloin, pork butt, or pork neck
Oil, for deep-frying
2 tablespoons oil, for stir-frying
1 clove garlic, minced
½ small red bell pepper, deseeded and cut into pieces
½ small green bell pepper, deseeded and cut into pieces
½ small onion, quartered
1 slice canned pineapple ring, cut into pieces
2 green onions (scallions), white parts only, cut into 2 in (5 cm) lengths
½ cup (125 ml) Sweet-and-Sour Sauce (page 30)

1 teaspoon soy sauce
1 teaspoon cornstarch
½ teaspoon Chinese rice wine or sherry

Frying Batter:
½ cup (65 g) all-purpose flour, sifted
¼ cup (35 g) cornstarch
½ teaspoon baking soda
1 egg white
¹/³ cup (80 ml) water
1 tablespoon oil Pinch of salt

1. Cut the pork into bite-sized pieces and marinate with the Marinade ingredients for 15 minutes.

2. Mix all the ingredients in the Frying Batter until well combined. Add the marinated pork into the Frying Batter, stir to evenly coat with the batter.

3. Heat 2 to 3 inches (5 to 7.5 cm) of the oil in a wok or stockpot to 350°F (175°C) for deep-frying.

4. Gently drop the pork into the oil and loosen them up immediately with the spatula to prevent the pork from clumping together.

5. Deep-fry them to a light golden brown or until the batter becomes crispy.

6. Dish out with a strainer or slotted spoon, draining the excess oil by laying the pork on a dish lined with paper towels. Discard or reserve the oil for use in another recipe.

7. To stir-fry, heat 2 tablespoons of the oil in a wok or skillet over high heat.

8. Add the garlic and stir-fry to a light brown before adding the peppers, onion, pineapple, and green onion.

9. Stir the ingredients a few times and then add the Sweet-and-Sour Sauce. As soon as the Sweet-and-Sour Sauce thickens, add the fried pork into the wok or skillet.

10. Stir continuously until all the ingredients are well coated with the sauce. Dish out and serve immediately with steamed rice.

Cook’s Note:
If you feel that the frying batter is too thick, add a little more water to it. To make the pork extra crispy, increase the temperature of the oil and deep-fry a second time. If you like more sauce, double the portion of the Sweet-and-Sour Sauce.

As mentioned I am so happy that Bee from Rasa Malaysia agreed to offer 1 Lucky reader from SINGAPORE a "Complimentary Copy" of her NEW cookbook Easy Chinese Recipes published by Tuttle Publishing at a retail price of S$32.00 (before GST). If you are keen in learning more about these easy Chinese Recipes, do grab a copy of this cookbook at any of the major bookstores in Singapore or order online HERE.

To enter the draw, leave a comment on why you would like to win this cookbook together with a valid email address on the comment form and the lucky winner will be randomly chosen. And in order to increase your extra chances on winning you can also choose either 1 or ALL of the bonus below:-

~ Like Rasa Malaysia on Facebook. Leave 1 extra comment for this.

~ Share this post on Tweeter. Leave 1 extra comment for this.

~ Share this post on your Facebook. Leave 1 extra comment for this.

~ Like Cuisine Paradise on Facebook. Leave 1 extra comment for this.

Closing Date for the above Giveaway will be on Sunday, 18 September 2011(2359 Hours). Result will be announce on 19 September 2011, Noon. Good luck everyone!!!! Have fun!

For OVERSEAS readers, you can join a similar giveaway of this cookbook at Rasa Malaysia and My Cooking Hut website respectively.

{Updated on 19th September 2011}


Giveaway Result Updated!!!