20 September 2017

Gnocchi Gado Gado with Peanut Sauce

[ Collaboration with Casa Rinaldi ]

Was offered 2 packets of Casa Rinaldi Gnocchi (NYOH-kee, NOH-kee) to try by GUSTOSO SG in collaboration with Singapore Home Cooks.

Prior to this, I'm totally unfamiliar with this pasta which looks like plump little lumps the size of my thumb (haha, it rhymes!). The gnocchi is made mostly of potato and wheat flour; to cook it, simply add them to salted boiling water and once they float to the surface it's considered done and ready to eat. The Italians usually eat with it pasta sauce, or sometimes they panfry the gnocchi and coat with cheese sauce.



When asked to try infusing some local flavours to the gnocchi, one of the dish that came to my mind is the (Indonesian) Gado Gado with Peanut Sauce. I'm a big Gado Gado fan and I make this salad very often as my lunch. Since the gnocchi is made mostly of potato and wheat flour, it's the perfect substitution for potato and ketupat (rice cake). Yay, I can cut down the preparation of ingredients since it's two-in-one!


This fusion Gnocchi Gado Gado is really easy to put together! My key ingredients are gnocchi, tempe and hard-boil egg along with lettuce, cucumber, carrot and bean sprouts. Feel free to add any other ingredients you prefer, like tau kwa (firm tofu) and cabbage, but these are already sufficient for me.

I chose to deep-fry the gnocchi (after boiling) because after deep-frying the gnocchi has a more chewy texture with a slightly crispy crust which I prefer. Well, I'm already deep-frying the tempe anyway.

And not to forget the Peanut Sauce which is a quick and easy version. Simply blend toasted skinless peanuts,  garlic, chilli padi (use less or omit if don't like spicy), tamarind juice, kecap manis, belachan and water to a paste, then bring to boil with water, gula melaka and lime juice to taste.


Gnocchi Gado Gado with Peanut Sauce

Ingredients
  • 200g gnocchi
  • 100g tempe, cut into thick strips
  • 1/2 pc cucumber, shredded
  • 1/2 pc carrot, shredded
  • 50g bean sprout, blanched
  • 5 leaves lettuce
  • Few sprigs of parsley
  • 1 hard-boil egg

Peanut Sauce
  • 100g peanut (skinless), toasted
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1pc chilli padi
  • 2 tbsp tamarind juice
  • 2 tbsp kecap manis
  • 1/2 tsp belachan, toasted
  • 2 tbsp gula melaka
  • 1/2 - 3/4 cup water
  • Juice from 1 lime
Steps
  1. Bring a pot of water to boil, add the gnocchi. Once all the gnocchi float, drain, pat dry and set aside. 
  2. Add cooking oil to a pot and set on medium heat, deep fry the gnocchi till they turn crusty. Drain on kitchen towel and set aside.
  3. Next deep fry the tempe till they turn golden brown. Drain on kitchen towel and set aside.
  4. Blend peanut, garlic, chilli padi, tamarind juice, kecap manis and belachan in a food chopper or processor till they turn into paste. Add some water if necessary.
  5. Add the paste, gula melaka and water to a small pot and bring to boil. Add lime juice to taste. Peanut sauce is ready.
  6. To serve, arrange lettuce, shredded cucumber and carrot, bean sprout, gnocchi, tempe and parsley in a bowl or plate. Drizzle with warm peanut sauce. Ready to serve.

 


You can choose to drizzle the peanut sauce onto the salad as you eat, or simply pour all of it and toss with all the ingredients.



Ooooh, I love love love how my Gnocchi Gado Gado turns out! The deep-fried gnocchi goes really well with the peanut sauce! In fact, it's quite addictive to munch into the crispy yet chewy gnocchi. I find myself dipping the gnocchi into the peanut sauce and popping it into my mouth non-stop.

This is definitely going to be a staple ingredient in my gado gado from now onwards!


Casa Rinaldi Gnocchi is available exclusively at NTUC finest under the pasta section. (Retail price at $9.50 per pack). Don't miss out Casa Rinaldi giveaway at http://bit.ly/2f9PfwJ

#CasaRinaldiSG

14 September 2017

Mango Sticky Rice

The kiddo has been bugging me to make Mango Sticky Rice for him.

Whenever we go to Thailand or Thai Restaurants, this is one of the few items that he enjoys (he can't take much spicy stuff), probably because mango is one of his favourite fruit and the sticky rice taste sweet and fragrant. Well, this is such a likable snack/dessert, I don't think anyone will dislike it right?


Since I have extra packets of coconut milk and I happen to have glutinous rice too, all I need is mango. Found some lovely Thai Honey Mango at the fruit stall near my place, so Mango Sticky Rice it is!

Actually this Thai street snack/dessert is very easy to make at home! Basically, rinse the glutinous rice a few times and soak them overnight first. The next day, steam the rice for 18-20 mins, make coconut sauce, mix the sauce with hot steamed rice, serve with mango and some crispy mung beans, that's it!

This is how I steam the rice - by laying a piece of cotton cloth/muslin cloth (I use those soup filter bags) on the steamer. When the rice is steamed, it will be translucent, just hold the bag/cloth at the 4 corners and pour it into a heatproof bowl. 


Mango Sticky Rice
(makes 2 servings)

Ingredients
  • 1 cup glutinous rice (about 150g)
  • 200ml coconut milk
  • 2 tbsp sugar
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 mango
  • 20-30g split mung bean *optional
Steps
  1. Wash and rinse the glutinous rice at least 4-5 times till water runs clear.
  2. Soak the rice overnight. The next day, drain the water and place the rice onto a piece of muslin cloth.
  3. Place the muslin cloth into a steamer. Steam on medium high heat for 18-20 mins.
  4. Meanwhile, add coconut milk, sugar and salt into a small pot. Heat the mixture on low heat, stir and cook till the sugar is fully dissolve. Off heat and set aside.
  5. When the glutinous rice is ready, pour it into a heatproof bowl. Add half quantity of the coconut sauce bit by bit into the rice and mix gently till fully absorbed.
  6. Slice or cut the mango into desired servings.
  7. Dry-fry the mung beans in a frying pan till golden and crispy, or air-fry.
  8. To serve, place the sticky rice and mango in a serving plate, drizzle with more coconut sauce and some crispy mung beans. 

*cover the sticky rice with clingwrap if not eating immediately, otherwise the rice will turn dry and harden.


The kiddo is a happy camper when I serve him this Mango Sticky Rice for lunch. Yep, who says this can't be lunch, it has rice, fruit and coconut milk, a totally nutritious meal :p

Ok, since I'm at it, might as well submit this entry for the Ayam Brand's Coconut Milk Cooking Contest hosted by Singapore Home Cooks :p


Check out my first entry here - Bake Coconut Cheese Tart

#AyamBrandCoconutMilk

12 September 2017

Bake Coconut Cheese Tart

I'm back with more Bake Cheese Tarts!

So far, besides the original version (Check them out - Part I, Part II, Part III, Part IV), I attempted Thai Milk Tea as well as Pandan Coconut Flavours ✌🏻

This time, decided to try a pure Coconut version where coconut lovers can enjoy the full richness and aroma of coconut along with the cheese custard 👍🏻


Well, actually I created them for Ayam Brand's Coconut Milk Cooking Contest hosted by Singapore Home Cooks :p

Initially wanted to just use the Pandan Coconut Cheese Tart (bake a new batch) for submission as I was too tired to come up with a new recipe using coconut milk. But I had created that flavour for another event (although not a contest) and if possible, I hope to do something different each time. Hence, a quick way is to tweak the recipe by a little. And hey, it turned out great!


The ingredients are almost similar to that of the Pandan Coconut version, just omit the Pandan extract, increase the amount of coconut milk and for a more intense coconut fragrance, I added a touch of virgin coconut oil (which I happen to have in my cupboard).


Can't decide whether to make petite or small ones, decided to make both sizes.

To differentiate this coconut flavour from the original Bake Cheese Tart (as they look the same), I added some dessicated coconut on top of the custard before sending them for baking 😉 I must say it turned out quite nicely as the dessicated coconut added a different texture to the tart and I could taste the little bits of coconut 👍🏻


Bake Coconut Cheese Tart
14 petite size tarts - 5cm round cutter/2.5cm base tart case
5 small size tarts, using 6cm fluted cutter/3.5cm base tart case

Ingredients

(A) Tart pastry

  • 120g plain flour
  • 10g caster sugar
  • 60g salted butter, cut into cubes, cold
  • 3-4 tsp coconut milk

(B) Coconut cheese custard
  • 100g coconut milk
  • 20g fresh milk
  • 35g cream cheese
  • 45g mascarpone cheese
  • 40g salted butter
  • 30g caster sugar
  • 10g corn starch
  • 1 egg (about 55g nett weight)
  • 1/2 tsp virgin coconut oil *optional
  • Egg wash for brushing sides of tart pastry 
Steps

(A) Tart pastry
  1. Sift plain flour into a large bowl, add caster sugar and mix well.
  2. Add cold salted butter cubes. Using finger tips, break the butter and rub the butter into the flour mixture, until it resembles bread crumbs.
  3. Add 3-4 tsp of coconut milk to the mixture, use a scrapper to help with the mixing.
  4. The mixture will come together and thereafter, use hands to form the mixture into a dough.
  5. Knead the dough gently into a ball. Place the dough between 2 pieces of plastic sheet.
  6. Roll the dough to about 4-5mm thickness and place in fridge to rest for about 1 hour.
(B) Coconut cheese custard
  1. Add coconut milk, fresh milk, cream cheese, mascarpone cheese, salted butter and caster sugar into a small pot.
  2. Place the pot into a large, shallow pan/pot with barely simmering water. This is the bain marie method, to create a gentle and uniform heat for cooking custard. Keep stirring the mixture till everything is melted.
  3. Add sifted corn starch. Mix till well-blended, the mixture will thicken slowly.
  4. Add the egg and keep stirring till well-blended, the mixture will further thicken into custard.
  5. Add 1/2 tsp virgin coconut oil and mix well.
  6. Stop cooking once the desired thickness of custard is reached (shorter cooking time - runny texture, longer cooking time - gooey texture)
  7. Sift the custard for a smoother texture (as they may be some fine lumps and grainy bits in the custard).
  8. Cover the custard with a clingwrap on the surface and let the custard cool down completely. 
  9. Fill the custard into a piping bag. Set aside.
(C) Assembly
  1. Remove the dough from fridge. Dust a baking mat (and rolling pin) with flour, use the round cutter to stamp the dough.
  2. Use a metal scrapper (dust with flour) to lift up the cut dough.
  3. Place the cut dough over the tart case and gently press it downwards.
  4. Using finger tips, gently press and mold the dough into the tart case. Use a fork to poke holes at the base of the tart pastry.
  5. Bake the tarts at 180C, fan mode for 10mins. Remove from oven and place on wire rack to cool.
  6. After the tart cases are cooled slightly, remove them from the tins and let cool completely before use.
  7. Preheat oven to 235C conventional mode. 
  8. Pipe the coconut cheese custard into the tart pastry, shape slightly domed. Use a spatula to smoothen the top if necessary. Brush the sides of the tart pastry evenly with egg wash.
  9. Sprinkle some dessicated coconut on top of each tart.
  10. Bake the tarts at 235C conventional mode, for 6-8 mins.
  11. Once baked, remove from oven and place on wire rack to cool. Best eaten warm, freshly baked.


video

I've also put together a condensed 5min video clip to show the steps. It's quite hastily put together and raining during the video taking so quality is not so good. Hope to improve on my videography skills next time!


These Bake Coconut Cheese Tart are gooey and yummy, with the rich lemak taste and aroma of coconut, and as well as the salty cheesy aftertaste. A keeper for me :)

Submitting this recipe for the contest, wish me luck!

#AyamBrandCoconutMilk

07 September 2017

Homemade Beef Burger

Before I started cooking more adventurously, I would dine at restaurants or cafes that offer good quality burgers whenever I crave for beef burgers. Have tried those pre-made/pre-seasoned beef patties sold at supermarkets, sorry but somehow they sucked! Either the seasonings weren't to my liking (too overwhelming on the palate) or the mince was so compact that the whole patty turned out very hard after cooking.

These days I prefer making my own beef patty and I realise it isn't difficult at all. All you need is some good quality mince beef and half the job is done!


Earlier this week, I received a package from The Meat Club Singapore and they have kindly offered some premium lean mince, assorted sausages as well as lamb chops for me to try!

These premium quality produce are directly imported from Australia and they arrive here fresh and chilled and not frozen. Apparently when you freeze meat, the cellular structure of the protein is compromised, causing the meat to "bleed" when cooked and thus resulting in less tender and juicy texture. The meat produce from The Meat Club are specially vacuum packed which helps seal the freshness and quality.

The Meat Club actually has an interesting subscription service where if you opt for an Auto-Pilot service, your selection of meat will be delivered in line with their import cycle (every 28 days) ensuring that you get the freshest batch of produce with a longer shelf life monthly. That said, they do offer one-off, just in time delivery for meat as well. Visit their website to find out more!


The first produce I'm trying is the premium lean mince which comes in a 500g pack.


I usually like to create mini burgers as they are cuter and easier to eat, but this time decided to go for a full-size burger, just like those gourmet ones sold at restaurants and cafes =D

I even made my own burger buns to match the size of the beef patty, so these are truly homemade beef burger!


Basically I seasoned the mince with some grated garlic, onion, shredded cheese, tonkatsu sauce (which is the Japanese version of Worcestershire sauce), ketchup, sea salt, mixed herbs and egg.

After mixing the seasonings into the mince, they are divided into 4 patties, about 160g each. Shape into rounds, flatten with a dent in the middle and chill in the fridge before cooking.


Besides the usual lettuce, tomato and cheese slice, I also added a topping of sauteed onion and portobello mushroom in teriyaki sauce. Initially was even thinking of topping with a sunny side-up with runny yolk, but I figured it's going to be overkill for my family.

Homemade Beef Burger
(makes 4 full-size burgers)

Beef Patty
  • 500g lean mince
  • 1 clove garlic, grated
  • 1/2 pc onion, grated
  • 50g shredded cheese
  • 1 tbsp Tonkatsu sauce or Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 tbsp ketchup
  • 1 tsp sea salt
  • 1 tsp mixed herbs
  • 1 egg
  1. Mix all the seasonings into the lean mince until just combined.
  2. Divide the mince into 4 portions, each about 160g. Roll into balls, flatten into patties and press a dent into the centre of each patty using the thumb. *this prevents the patty from forming a dome and shrinking when cooking.
  3. Cover and chill the patties until ready to use.

Sauteed onion and portobello mushroom in teriyaki sauce
  • 1/2pc onion, cut into thin rings
  • 1pc large portobello mushroom, sliced
  • 2 tbsp mirin
  • 2 tbsp cooking sake
  • 2 tbsp soy sauce
  • 1 tbsp sugar
  • 1/4 tsp corn starch
  • 1 tbsp water
  1. In a frying pan, heat 1 tbsp of olive oil, add onion and sauté till slightly softened.
  2. Add sliced mushroom and sauté till softened.
  3. Combine the teriyaki sauce ingredients except corn starch and water, and add the sauce to the onion and mushroom.
  4. Stir-fry sauce with onion and mushroom till fully cooked.
  5. Mix corn starch and water and add the mixture into the frying pan.
  6. Stir till sauce thickens slightly. Dish and set aside.
Homemade Burger Bun

The burger buns are made using water roux method. Please refer to recipe at this link.

Dough total weight about 320g, divide dough into 4 portions, each about 80g.

Assemble
  • 4 beef patties
  • 4 burger buns
  • 4 leaves lettuce
  • 4 slices tomato
  • 4 slices cheese
  • Sauteed onion and mushroom
  • Mayonnaise (optional)
  1. In a frying pan, heat 2 tbsp of olive oil, add the beef patties and cook for 4-5 mins on one side.
  2. Flip to the other side and cook for another 1 min. 
  3. Add 1 slice of cheese to each beef patty, cover and cook for another 30secs.
  4. Remove beef patties from pan onto a plate and let them rest.
  5. Slice the burger buns into halves, butter on both sides and toast till slightly browned.
  6. Squeeze 1-2 tsp of mayo on the bottom half of the bun, add a piece of lettuce, follow by tomato, beef patty and lastly onion and mushroom. Close with top half of the bun. Use a bamboo skewer to hold the burger in place if necessary. Repeat for the remaining burgers.
  7. Best serve warm.


So do my burgers look tantalising and can they passed off as those gourmet ones sold at restaurants and cafes?


They sure are very satisfying and yummy! Well, I enjoyed my burger very much, but it's kind of too big for me, felt really bloated after eating the full burger. Will probably make smaller size burgers next time :p

Stay tuned as I try the other products from The Meat Club!

05 September 2017

Breaded Chicken Taco with Pineapple Salsa

Another hot and humid day! Makes me crave for something light yet hearty, something tangy and sweet, oh, throw in something crispy as well :p

I love taco and burrito very much and would make it quite often for my own meal as I'm not sure if the HB and kiddo like it or not. Yesterday when I asked the HB what he would like for dinner, he said something light, so I threw him a few options such as porridge or soup but he didn't want those. Since I was craving for some taco wraps, I asked him if he would like to try it and he agreed! Yay, saves me the trouble of preparing something separately!


As Woh Hup is currently running a contest on Singapore Home Cooks FB group, I thought of killing two birds with one stone, that is, make my taco wrap and use one of the specified sauces at the same time! Heehee :p

Basically I have decided on a breaded chicken taco already, so initially I wanted to make a creamy sesame mayo sauce (using Woh Hup Sesame Sauce) to go with it. But couldn't find the sauce at the supermarkets near my place. In the end after reading through the ingredients of various sauces available, I decided to use the Pineapple Sweet & Sour Sauce to make a Pineapple Salsa! Because the sauce itself already contains tiny bits of pineapple, onion and tomato =D


Making the breaded chicken is relatively easy, simply cut deboned chicken thigh (or use chicken fillet if preferred) into strips, marinate with some salt and pepper, coat with corn starch, egg and panko breadcrumbs and finally deep-fry!

As for the Pineapple Salsa, it's even simpler. Since the Woh Hup Pineapple Sweet & Sour Sauce is already very flavourful, sweet and tangy, I simply finely chopped some pineapple, tomato, yellow bell peppers, onion, parsley and mix them together with the sauce. To enhance the tangy flavour, I added some more lime juice.

To assemble, take a piece of taco wrap, place some lettuce, shredded cucumber and carrot or any preferred vegetables, follow by a piece of breaded chicken. Finally top with 1-2 tbsp of pineapple salsa, wrap/fold and enjoy!

One point to note here, I actually trimmed the tortilla wraps slightly smaller for photography presentation purpose. Couldn't find smaller size tortilla wraps in the supermarkets; had wanted to make my own but didn't have time!



Breaded Chicken Taco with Pineapple Salsa
(makes 6 rolls)

Ingredients

(A) Breaded chicken

  • 2pcs deboned chicken thigh, cut into 6 strips
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • Dash of pepper
  • Corn starch, egg, panko breadcrumbs
  • Cooking oil 
(B) Pineapple salsa

  • 2 tbsp Woh Hup Pineapple Sweet & Sour Sauce
  • 3-4 rings canned pineapple, finely chopped
  • 1 large tomato, finely chopped 
  • 1 small yellow bellpeppers, finely chopped
  • 1/4pcs purple onion, finely chopped
  • 2 stalks parsley, finely chopped
  • Juice of 1/4 - 1/2 pc lime
(C) Assemble
  • 6pcs tortilla wrap
  • 6pcs lettuce
  • 1/2pcs cucumber, shredded
  • 1/2pcs, carrot, shredded

Steps
  1. Marinate the 6 strips of chicken thigh with salt and pepper.
  2. Coat the chicken strips with corn starch, follow by egg and finally panko breadcrumbs.
  3. In a pot/pan, heat cooking oil using medium fire. Deep-fry the chicken strips till slightly brown, drain from oil and set aside for 10 mins. 
  4. Heat the cooking oil again on high heat this time, deep-fry the chicken strips a second time till golden brown. Drain from oil and set aside.
  5. In a small mixing bowl, add sweet & sour sauce, pineapple, tomato, bell peppers, onion, parsley, lime juice and stir till well-mixed. If desired, chill the pineapple salsa in fridge before use.
  6. In a shallow frying pan, heat the tortilla wraps till slightly crispy. Remove from heat and set aside.
  7. Take a piece of tortilla wrap, place 1pc of lettuce, some shredded cucumber and carrot, follow by 1pcs of breaded chicken, top with 1-2 tbsp of pineapple salsa, fold or wrap and serve. Repeat for the remaining wraps.


Oooooh, I love the different textures, the soft and slightly crispy tortilla wrap, the crunchy vegetables, the crispy and juicy breaded chicken and best of all, the fruity, sweet and tangy Pineapple Salsa which enhances the flavour of the entire chicken taco! Yum yum yum!


The Pineapple Salsa is more than enough to make 6 wraps, so I made some more popcorn chicken to go with it! The popcorn chicken is cooked using the same method, except that the chicken pieces are cut into bite-size pieces.


This Pineapple Salsa is in fact very versatile and can be used as sauce for chicken, fish, prawn, corn chips, veggies sticks and more!


This recipe is definitely a keeper for me :)

Meanwhile, will be submitting this dish as my entry for the Woh Hup Contest! Wish me luck!

#WohHupKitchen #SingaporeHomeCooks

02 September 2017

Herb Crusted Cod Fillet and Cereal Panko Parmesan Cod Fillet

Collaboration with Sasha's Fine Food
Dish 1 - Honey mustard rosemary roasted chicken
Dish 2 - Asian chicken skewers with peanut sauce
Dish 3 & 4 - Teriyaki salmon, Chirashi Sushi

Dish 5 - Vietnamese-style Honey Pork & Rice Noodle Salad

The final product I'm sharing from Sasha's Fine Food is skinless cod fillet from Keohane's of Bantry. This is a small, award-winning fish family-run company in the town of Bantry, County Cork, nestled in the south-west of Ireland on the edge of the Atlantic coast. The fish from Keohane are sourced from the local area and the freshness secured in a unique skin-filmed packaging.

This particular cod is different from the ones we are used to locally. The one we normally see here is in fact Chilean Sea Bass or many people call it "Snow Cod". The texture is softer, more flaky and it's a very oily fish, commonly steamed or pan-fried.
 
Whereas the one from Keohane is the Atlantic Cod, where the texture is much firmer with more bite, and it's much leaner as well. It reminds me of the Bird's Eye brand of Cod Fish Fingers that I used to adore when I was young.


Recently I participated in a Cooking Contest and it got me intrigued with western cuisine as well as food plating. So what better opportunity to practise, by using the 2 pieces of cod fillet.


Herb crusted fish fillet seems to be a common way of cooking fish fillets; I've never tried it before, but it's actually very easy. Simply sprinkle the cod fillet with some sea salt and black pepper on both sides, pan fry for a minute on both sides to get some colour, top the fillet with a blended mixture of panko bread crumbs, sweet basil, parsley, parmesan and olive oil, and finally air-fry (or bake) the fillet till cooked and golden brown. I chose to serve the cod with some grilled vegetables like eggplant, zucchini, bellpeppers and cherry tomatoes, with a drizzle of olive oil and caramelised balsamic vinegar.


I like how the dish turns out, the crispy crust works very well with the cod fillet, providing a varying texture to the fish in each bite. Also love the grilled vegetables and I thought the caramelised balsamic vinegar adds a nice touch, enhancing the natural sweetness of the vegetables.

In terms of plating, I'm not satisfied with how the dish looks overall, probably the plate is a tad small and the combination of ingredients look too busy. Well, gonna try again.


Worried that my picky kiddo won't accept the herb crusted fillet, I used a different method of cooking for the other piece of cod. This is more like breaded or fish & chips style, definitely more welcomed by kids. Likewise it's pretty easy to prepare, sprinkle both sides of fillet with salt and pepper, coat the fillet with corn starch followed by egg and then a mixture of cereal, panko breadcrumbs and parmesan, finally shallow-fry till cooked and golden brown. My kiddo loves creamy potato so that's the choice of carbo for him.

For the creamy potato, first slice the potato and steam till cooked, mash the potato with some butter and whipping cream, finally add salt and pepper to taste. The cod fillet seems too dry so I also made some avocado yogurt mint sauce to go with it.


My kiddo loves the cod fillet. He doesn't like our local snow cod at all but this is accepted by him (but of course salmon is still his utmost favourite fish).

This post concludes all the 4 product features from Sasha's Fine Food. It has been great fun cooking with such excellent quality products and really an honour to be able to work with the company.

Looking forward to more cooking and baking adventures ahead!