Posts Tagged 'dinner'

Healthy Chips?

Well, step aside deep-fried potato chips, for there’s a new recipe in town and I think it’s here to stay!

Polenta.  Never used it before.  Don’t say I liked it tonnes but I’m impartial to its taste.  I didn’t even know polenta is another term for yellow corn-meal until the colleague grabbed me a packet of these just because I wanted to whip up some corn muffins and needed some yellow corn-meal as the recipe suggested.

So, like I said, this was a first for me.  Cooking Polenta and experimenting with what I could do with it.  And I would be lying if I didn’t say that it was partly because of this recipe by Lianne over from foodmadewithlove that kinda got me all excited about using polenta!  Chips that were sorta healthy?  Well, I’m definitely willing to try!

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And I did just that!  The Man was going to roast a chicken and I was left in-charge of sides again.  Wasn’t satisfied with just greens and grilled portobello mushrooms, so I suggested Polenta Chips.  I had the Polenta and some of the ingredients needed for the recipe, so I quickly got down to work!  An 1 hour later, these golden brown polenta chips popped out on to the dining table, and I was pleased with the results.

Here’s my version of the Polenta Chips!

Polenta Chips (adapted from this recipe over at foodmadewithlove)
[Serves 4, small portions]

Ingredients:
- 100g of polenta
- 400ml of water- 25g of unsalted butter
- 50g finely grated parmesan (I used mozzarella since that was the only cheese I had at home then)
- 2 tbs chopped flat-leaf parsley
- salt & pepper, to taste and garnish

Method:

1) Line a tray with grease-proof baking paper allowing 2cm to overhang (I didn’t have sufficient baking paper so I made sure that my dish was well-buttered). Boil 400ml of water in a small pot, then reduce the heat to low. Do note that the amount of water is different for different brands of polenta, so please do check how much water is needed for the amount of polenta.

2) Stir in the polenta in a slow, steady stream, then cook and stir continuously for a couple of minutes or until it has thickened.  You’ll know it’s done when you see the mixture bubbling like a volcano.

3) Remove from the heat and stir in the butter, cheese and parsley. Season with salt and pepper and spoon it into the tray and smooth the surface. Press it down and make sure the polenta is really compact. Allow it to chill for at least an hour.

4) Remove polenta from dish and onto a board. Cut it half lengthways, then cut it into 1 1/2 cm thick chips or whatever way you desire.

5) Heat some olive oil in a large frying pan over medium heat. In batches, fry the polenta chips, turning, until golden and crisp.

6) Drain on the paper towel and keep warm in an oven or serve it immediately with a sprinkle of salt.

I served the chips with a Thai Green Chilli dip with Mayo.  We had brought back some awesome and super spicy green chilli from Bangkok.  To dial down the spiciness of the green chilli by a couple of notches, I added some low-fat mayo along with the chilli.  It still tasted superb and went really well with the chips!  :)

Sunday cook-out:: Okonomiyaki

Finally got round to posting this from one of our Sunday stay-in dinners with the in-law.  Was really itching to bring out the electric grill that we had lugged back from Geneva out to play but there never seemed to be a perfect time.  As the weather started to cool off a little, I decided to blow off the dust from this machine and bring out to play.

And the meal to christen our new electric grill with?  Home-made okonomiyaki!  Didn’t seem too difficult and the thought of having cabbage seemed pretty healthy.  Found a relatively simple recipe thanks to Lianne from Food Made with Love.  Headed straight out to purchase the ingredients for our stay-in Sunday evening dinner.

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Okonomiyaki (adapted from food made with love)

Ingredients (serves 4):
a) The Pancake Base:
- 1 whole cabbage or approximately 4 cups of green cabbage, finely shredded
- 1 clove garlic, finely chopped
- 2 cups of plain flour
- 2 tbs of corn flour
- 1 tsp of baking powder
- 1 1/2 cup of chicken stock
- 2 eggs
- salt to season

b) The fun part – adding the ingredients to the pancake depending on your creativity.  We used these:
- 6 fresh shiitake mushrooms, thinly sliced
- Cuttlefish, thinly sliced
- Pork

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Method:

1) Combine the flour, corn flour and baking powder and mix it well. Mix the cooled stock and egg together, and combine with the flour mixture. Mix until you get a thick pancake batter.

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2) Add the cabbage, shiitake mushrooms and garlic to the batter. Season with salt. Heat a non-stick frying pan on medium fire, and add some vegetable oil. Add half of the pancake mix and flatten it with a spatula.  We placed our sliced pork on top of the pancake.  For the pancake with the cuttlefish, we mixed the sliced cuttlefish into the batter.

3) Cook the pancake for about 10-15 minutes, flipping several times, until both sides are golden brown.

4) Serve it hot, drizzle the top with japanese mayonnaise and okonomiyaki sauce that you can purchase in the Japanese grocery section.

P1090621This really made for a fun and simple meal that the entire family participated in.  The batter was good for almost 8 pancakes and boy were we all stuffed, but we had fun taking turns to decorate the pancakes with mayonnaise and okonomiyaki sauce.  Check out our respective works of pancake-art!  IMG_5189

Can you take a wild guess who did which pancake?  Hehe…

Can burgers be healthy?

Well, yes, if you make them yourself. :)

I was in the mood for some home-made burgers but wanted a twist in my previous recipe.   So I surfed around and realised that I could substitute the Panko (Japanese bread-crumbs) in my recipe with tofu.  And the best part?  You won’t even know the difference.

If you like to give this recipe a try, click here and follow the steps.  Just omit the Panko and the milk if you are using tofu.  As for the type of tofu to use, I would recommend that you use the firm type of tofu and drain the moisture out of the tofu with paper-towels before throwing it into the meat mixture and mashing them up to form the hamburger patties. :)

An easy and wholesome dinner idea served alongside rice or in our case, a soup and potato gratin for a full meal.

 

A quick meal

After reading Miss Ene’s recent post on Cooking up a storm, I was inspired to whip up one of the dishes – Three Cups Chicken (三杯鸡)- that she made for dinner one evening.

It turned out to be a pretty simple recipe which made for a very tasty meal for a weeknight dinner.

Three Cups Chicken (三杯鸡) [Recipe adapted from Noobcook]

Ingredients: (Serves 2)

  • 450g chicken thighs, cut to small pieces
  • 1.5 tbsp sesame oil
  • 1 tbsp light soy sauce
  • 1.5 tbsp Chinese wine (Hua Tiao/Shao Hsing)
  • 1 tsp dark soy sauce
  • 10 cloves garlic, peeled & slightly bruised
  • 2 stalks spring onions, cut to 5cm (2 inch) lengths
  • 40ml water
  • 0.5 tsp sugar
  • 6 slices ginger & a handful of fresh sweet basil leaves (I left these out as I didn’t have them on hand)

Method:

  1. Heat sesame oil in pot and add garlic cloves, ginger, the thick bottom white ends of the spring onions. Stir fry until fragrant, about 30 seconds.
  2. Add chicken pieces and stir fry until the surface is no longer pink.
  3. Sizzle Chinese wine and add light soy sauce, dark soy sauce, water and sugar. Stir evenly, and cover the lid to simmer for about 6 minutes.
  4. Add the rest of the spring onions and continue simmering until the sauce is greatly reduced.
  5. When the dish is cooked, stir in some fresh basil leaves before serving.

I guess the next time I’m making this, I will be throwing in some dried chilli or fresh chilli padi (bird’s eye chilli) for a spicy kick in the taste-buds.

What are some of your favourite weeknight meals? I’ll love to hear what’s cooking in your kitchen. :)

Quick fix assam meal

I love my spices (alot)! One of my favourite dishes has got to be Assam Ikan Pedas (Spicy Tamarind Fish).  My family, especially my dad, loves this dish and when we have our family dinners at the Peranakan restaurant along Joo Chiat Road, we would order a huge fish and drench our rice with the spicy sauce.  Arh.. miss those days!

So armed with one precious bottle of Assam paste from Woh Hup, I tried to recreate the dish to evoke memories of home.   Obviously that didn’t work for we couldn’t get the right cut of fish and the sauce turned out to be too spicy for the Man’s taste-buds.  Half a bottle of the paste was left sitting in my refrigerator for the longest time and in a bid to clear out our sauces before we leave, I decided to make good the sauce again.

Once again, I ‘ran’ to my genius of a cook cousin for help.  After a couple of text exchanges, she helped me with this baked seafood platter with Assam sauce.

First, I boiled some water with some slices of ginger and 2 stalks of lemongrass, then I added the paste plus 2 teaspoons of sugar to reduce the spiciness of the sauce for the Man.  Once the marinade started to come to a boil, I turned the heat down and set the marinade to cool.  Then I arranged the baking dish with a cut of Salmon, some calamari, scallops and clams.  Poured the cooled marinade and set the dish into the oven for the seafood to be baked.

And what a simple but sumptuous dinner it turned out to be.. this time round, the level of spiciness was just right!  We tucked in straight away and guess what I did?  Yup, drenched my rice with the sauce, just the way I like it! :)

Simple tofu dish

Tofu – miss it loads!  Why?  Because it’s not readily available here.  You could only get it at the Asian/ Japanese supermarket and Manor.  Cost?  A lot more than what we’re used to paying back at home but arh well, shelf life of these packed tofu is also longer, so guess no complaints there.

We brought back some century eggs from Singapore.  Yeah, told you we brought back loads of stuff on our last trip home.  So to accompany our simple home-cooked fare, I whipped up this simple Tofu with Century Egg side dish.  Turns out we didn’t have black vinegar here so instead of running out to get a bottle, I substituted the recipe with Balsamic Vinegar instead.  Yes, you read right… Balsamic Vinegar!  Taste-wise, I could get away with this.  Hehe..

Tofu with Century Egg (recipe adapted from Taste Hongkong)

Ingredients:

  • 1 silken tofu (100-200g, vacuum pack preferred )
  • 1 century egg
  • Seasonings: 1 tsp Balsamic Vinegar, 1 tsp light soya sauce, 1 tsp sugar, 1 tsp sesame oil

Method:

  1. Drain off all water from the pack, if any, and mash up tofu. Arrange on a plate for serving.
  2. Shell, rinse, pat-dry and mash century egg. Mix it well with seasonings in a separate bowl .
  3. Cover prepared tofu and century egg mixture separately and chill them in fridge for 3 to 4 hours or until cold.
  4. To serve, place a layer of century egg mixture over the tofu.
  5. Note:  You could serve this dish with a handful of green onions and/or with Japanese bonito flakes.

This was really yummy so I would think you would enjoy this dish too! :)

‘Hainan Chee-Fan’ Party

Our place in Geneva isn’t too big so while we love to have more friends over, we are often constrained by the amount of space we have.  But having said that, we did host a party for 9 people using whatever plates we have and the rest with disposable cutlery (hehe).

This time round we hosted a cosy dinner party for 4 serving up another Singaporean delight – Hainan Chicken Rice.  If you’re wondering if we’re any genius, well, we ain’t.  This proudly came out from a Prima pack box.

On the menu was the Hainanese Chicken Rice and some lettuce served with oyster sauce.  For dessert, I made a Kaya Puff Pastry which was served together with another cake that our friend brought along.  And as usual, we simply had too much to drink at this dinner party.  5 incredible bottles of vino!  Thankfully, I could just crash at home after this party while the Man helped to put away the dishes. ;o


Lady J

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