Monday, 30 July 2007

Water chestnut Pudding

This dim sum is known as Ma Thai Ko (馬蹄糕). It is a golden brown fried sweet see-through pudding with crunchy bits of water chestnuts. Same as the claypot pudding, the sugar defines the colour of the pudding. If you use brown sugar, the pudding will turn brown, use white sugar and the pudding will be white. As simple as that.

  • Water chestnut powder - 250 grams
  • Water - 500 ml (to Mix with Water chestnut powder)
  • Water chestnut - if fresh peeled 250 grams, if from can 300 grams
  • Water - 500 ml (to cook with water chestnut)
  • Sugar - 300 grams
  • Oil to fry the pudding
  • Ideally use a cake mould 30cm x 30cm (any other cake molds will do, this one only helps with cutting into squares)

Peel the water chestnuts (in case you are using fresh ones). I used the food processor to shred them.

Mix the water chestnut powder with 500ml water in a bowl. Set aside.

Bring 500ml water to boil and add the shredded water chestnuts to the water. Add the sugar to the pan and bring to boil.

Give the batter that you have set aside a little stir, than pour the batter into the pan. Stir the mixture in the pan while you are pouring to avoid lumps.

Line your cake mould with plastic wrap. Lightly grease the wrap with oil. Pour the mixture into the mould. Steam over high heat for 30 minutes.

Let the pudding cool down. This will take at least an hour. After it cooled down the pudding should be very firm.

Slice the pudding. Heat 2 tbsp oil in the pan and fry the pudding till golden brown on both sides. Serve hot!

Cream Corn Soup

Cream corn soup is an easy soup to have as lunch. The ingredients are simple. I always have a couple of cream corn cans in stock just in case. Try it out and let me know how you liked it :-).

  • Cream Corn - 1 can
  • Water - 150 ml
  • Eggs - 2
  • Chicken or Artificial Crabsticks (surimi) - 200 grams
  • Cornstarch - 1,5 tbsp
  • Salt & pepper to taste
  • Chicken bouillon cube (optional)

Bring the cream corn with the water to boiling point.

Add the chicken (or crabsticks) and let it boil for 3 minutes on medium heat. Add 2 eggs to the soup and stir. You will see white strings from the eggwhite.

Disolve the cornstarch with a little bit of cold water and add it to the soup to thicken it a bit. Optional: Add the chicken bouillon cube.

Taste the soup and if necessary add half tbsp of salt in the soup and taste it again. Repeat until you are satisfied wih the taste. Add few dashes of pepper and serve hot.

Tuesday, 24 July 2007

Wagamama - Zuid/WTC Amsterdam

Wagamama is an Asian noodle chain restaurant. I guess they are fusion Asian. The biggest influence should be Japanese. The names of the dishes are all in Japanese, but mixed with a western flavour. Some of the times the dishes look more Thai though..

The interior is modern.. It actually looks like a canteen. Long wooden tables.. A Japanese canteen. Green tea is complementary.

I was in my healthy mood so I ordered a carrot juice. Just too try. I was wondering what it would taste like. Could have guessed that it would taste like carrot huh? It was sweeter than I thought it would be. Good choice! My SG friend (HJ) ordered an orange/apple juice... She couldn't taste the apple though.

Before we ordered we stared at the menu for at least 15 minutes. We have been here before and the dishes are either really good or really disappointing. We don't come here often anymore so we wanted to make our choice very carefully... (thinking back, yes we sound silly, I know).

My Indonesian friend (D) had the Chicken Chilli Men. It looked very good. I think she was happy with her Chilli Men until the Cha Han of HJ arrived. HJ explained that Cha Han is the Japanese way to say "chow fan"(fried rice). D called it Nasi Goreng, she tasted the Cha Han and said it was good... and D is our fried rice expert... haha

I always have the same thing here. My Yasai Katsu Curry number 72. It is fried sweet potato, aubergine and squash, with non spicy curry sauce. So nice... Also my safe choice. A bit boring. Rather be bored than disappointed.

The lovely chocolate fudge cake with vanilla ice cream and chocolate sauce. Actually we were too full to have dessert, but it looked so nice. I can never refuse dessert. I skip my starters to have dessert. I actually craved for green tea & red bean ice cream, but another table had this dessert. It looked much too good... All three of us ordered the same dessert.

The bill came to a total of €55 incl. tip (we had discount vouchers). They have chain restaurants worldwide. Check out their website.

Monday, 23 July 2007

Potstickers a.k.a. Gyoza a.k.a. Jiaozi a.k.a. Gao Ji a.k.a. Mandu

These dumplings are known by many different names: Potstickers, Gyoza (Japanese), Jiaozi (Mandarin), Gao Ji (Cantonese), Mandu (Korean -with pickled veg -kimchi). It should not be confused with the Chinese wontons. The skin of this dumpling is thicker and wontons are normally boiled and served in a soup (with noodles), while Gao Ji's 餃子are normally fried and served with a vinegar dipping.

Ingredient (makes +/- 50 pieces)

  • Minced Pork - 500 grams
  • Cabbage - 500 grams (Nappa cabbage/Dutch transl. Chinese Kool, Bok Choy)
  • Spring Onion - 150 grams
  • Sesame oil - 6 tbsp
  • Sugar - 2 tbsp
  • Pepper - 1/4 tbsp
  • Salt - 3/4 tbsp (for the minced pork)
  • Salt - 1 tbsp (for cabbage)
  • Ready made dumpling skin - 2 packs of 25 pcs

Chop the spring onions. Use the foodprocessor to shred the cabbage. Mix cabbage with 1 tablespoon salt and let it sit for 10 minutes. Squeeze the excess water out.

Mix the ground pork with the sesame oil, sugar and 3/4 tbsp salt. Mix the pork with the cabbage and spring onions.

Use 1 tablespoon of filling per dumpling skin. Follow the instructions of the picture above. Only plead one side of the dumpling. Use water to pinch and seal the edges.

Heat 2 tablespoon of oil in the pan. Fry the dumplings till golden brown (about 2 minutes). Add 100ml water to the pan, move the dumplings around to prevent sticking, and cover the pan. Cook for 5 minutes or until the water has almost evaporated. Serve with vinegar, soy sauce or chilli sauce.

Tip 1: You can also boil the dumplings as an healthier option than frying. Preparing it this way the dumplings are better known as Sui Gaw 水餃. Bring water to boil, turn the heat low and cook dumplings for 6 min. Remember to stir when to prevent the dumplings sticking together.

Tip 2: You can deep freeze the extra dumplings. Put them in a plastic container, do not let the dumplings touch other, cover with sheet of plastic foil and put a couple of dumplings in again, repeat till the container is full. Cover with the lid and put in freezer. When you want to prepare the deep frozen dumplings: Frying method - add 200ml water instead of 100ml / Boiling method - cook for 10 min instead of 6 min.

Sunday, 22 July 2007

A taste of Culture - Lee Ka Chu

Me, Kelvin and my family went to the restaurant called A taste of Culture (Chinese name: Lee Ka Chu - Family Lee's Kitchen) on the Korte Leidsedwarsstraat 139 in Amsterdam

The restaurant is rather small. The walls are up for a paint job, but are decorated with the menu written in calligraphy. The tables are small and wobbly, but the staff is kind en the food is good.

As most Chinese restaurants you get complimentary Chinese Tea. We also ordered cold milk tea as we often do in Chinese restaurants. After we made our choice and ordered our dishes, the waitress came with a complimentary pot of soup. As it is summer, they served a light refreshing soup made of carrots and cabbage. I like that they have these soups as I don't drink much Chinese soup since I'm not living with my parents any more..

The large steamed oysters were very nice although I missed the glass noodles that normally are on top of the oyster. The blanched duck and the white fish in creamy corn sauce was a special offer. We paid 1 euro for the duck and I think 8 euros for the fish. Nice to try out.

My mom is a Buddhist, and does not eat meat or fish on the 1st and 15th of the Chinese calendar. As it was the 1st that day, we had two vegetarian dishes. One was a clay pot with bean curd and season vegetables. Other one is blanched Gai Larn (Chinese Broccoli) with soy sauce (instead of oyster sauce) on the side.

For the non Buddhists we had Gu Lo Yuk (Sweet Sour Fried Pork) and Phey Pah Ngap (Marinated Roast Duck). This duck dish needs to be ordered a day in advance so the kitchen can prepare it. The taste is great. Skin crispy and the meat is tender.

The final dish was tofu stuffed with fish (shrimp?)balls. I wouldn't order this dish again as it was quite dull. The complimentary dessertsoup (Thong Seu) was white fungus with red dates. Nice finish :).

The price here is very reasonable. The bill came up to 100 euros including tips. We were with a party of 5 and all pretty full. Try their clay pot dishes!

Saturday, 21 July 2007

Stir-Fried Glutinous Rice - Saan Chaw Loh Mai Faan

How did we get this recipe for stir-fried glutinous rice (Saan Chaw Loh Mai Faan, lit. trans.= raw glutinous rice stir-fried)? It was not from my parents. Actually Kelvin saw this on a Hong Kong tv show. His favourite Hong Kong star Ella Koon was challenged to make this dish. Since it was Ella, he paid attention very well :D.. Result was that he copied the dish with good results.

Here we go, Saan Chaw Loh Mai Faan by Kelvin copying Ella Koon.

Ingredients (makes for 2-3 people)

  • Glutinous rice - 1,5 cup (soaked over night)
  • Chinese Sausage (Laap Cheung) - 2 pieces
  • Chinese Mushroom - 3 medium size
  • Dried Shrimp - 30 grams
  • Egg - 1
  • Coriander - 1/4 cup (chopped finely- or subsitude w/ spring onions)
  • Dark Soy Sauce - 4 tbsp
  • Oyster Sauce - 2 tbsp
  • Salt - to taste
  • Pepper - few dashes
  • Cooking Oil for stir-fry

First dice/slice the sausage and the mushrooms. Heat 1 tbsp oil and stir-fry untill fragant, set aside.

Rinse the rice you have soaked overnight. After you rinsed the rice, pour the rice with sufficient water into a wok. The rice should be totally covered in water. Cook the rice on medium heat, but do not let the water boil. Stir well so the rice does not stick to each other. This will take about 8 to 10 minutes. Drain the rice.

Tip: The rice should be almost cooked, but not too soft. It would be hard to stir-fry the rice if you overcook it as it sticks together and will form a lump.

Heat 2 tbsp of oil in the wok and scramble the egg. Add the drained rice to the egg, mix well. Add the shrimps, sausage, mushrooms and coriander to the wok and mix it all together.

Add the salt, pepper, oyster sauce and dark soy sauce to the rice. Taste if it needs more salt, ifso add 1/2 tbsp salt. Repeat this untill you are happy with the taste.

Hope you like it!