Category Archives: Lunch/Dinner

Simple Lunch

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Asian food here is very different as I know it. The other day I attended a Studio Ghibli Festival Gala at Mannheim. We just wanted to watch the movie “the Legend of Princess Kaguya” but the standard screening was sold out so we bought tickets to the gala which includes a glass of champagne, cosplay competition, Japanese buffet and the movie. My husband had said it will just be sushi. Naively, I pointed out to him that it stated “Japanese buffet”, not sushi buffet. Well, he was right and I was disappointed. I was dreaming of gyozas, assortment of Japanese desserts, yakitori and all that. Ho hum.

And so I’ve begun to wonder what folks think of, if I were to say Chinese food. Here is what I cooked for my toddler and I for lunch yesterday. The lunch consists of garlic stirfried bokchoy, black sesame tuna omelette and buttered tomato rice. Is it very different from what you would have imagined?

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Would anyone be interested to learn how to make such simple home cooked fares? ๐Ÿ€

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30 Min Homemade Rye Pizza

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These days, with a picky toddler, pizza can be my best bet sometimes. Today’s lunch was one of those days. It was not planned for so I wondered if there is such a thing as a quick pizza dough. It turned out to be a very positive “yes”. This pizza from start to end took me 30 minutes. I have substituted the bread flour with rye flour. My toddler did not mind it ๐Ÿ™‚ I think it has to do with the salami. Oh boy, I have to tell myself, too much of a good thing is really not good. Don’t mind the weird shaping too!

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The dough recipe is adapted from Allrecipes. The serving size can be changed at the Allrecipes link so you can double, triple, quadruple the amount of dough ๐Ÿ™‚

Makes 1 small pizza (Enough to feed a toddler and an adult)

Ingredients
For the dough
3g dry yeast
1 tsp sugar
60ml warm water
85g rye flour/bread flour
1/2 tsp salt
1.5 tsp olive oil
For the sauce
1 tomato, pureed (with blender)
1 tsp pizza herbs/oregano
2 tsp olive oil
For the toppings
Sliced salami
Shredded cheese of your choice
Toppings of your choice

Breadcrumbs and extra flour for dusting

Method
1. Preheat oven to 200 degrees Celcius (with fan). Gather all dry ingredients for the pizza dough and place them into a medium bowl. Stir in water and oil until a smooth dough forms. Leave it for 5 mins.
2. Prepare baking tray by sprinkling a handful of breadcrumbs all over. Prepare sauce by heating up a small saucepan and adding in olive oil. Add in the pureed tomato and herbs and bring to a boil. Simmer for 2-3 minutes till it thickens. (It’s a fairly fast process)
3. On a floured surface with floured hands, pat out the dough. If the dough looks wet and sticky sprinkle some flour over it for better handling. Pat it out as thin as possible and transfer it to the baking tray. Place the dough on top of the breadcrumbs.
4. Spoon/spread the sauce all over the dough, leaving a 1 cm or 1/4 inch border on the sides. Sprinkle as much cheese as you would like and the toppings of your choice. Bake in preheated oven on the higher rack (mine as 4 racks, I used 2nd from top rack) for 10 – 15 mins or till the cheese has melted and turn light golden brown.

That was today’s QUICK and yummy lunch ๐Ÿ˜‰

Pineapple Fried Rice

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One of my favorite dishes to order at our favorite Thai restaurant back in Singapore was pineapple fried rice. I have yet to see this dish on the menus of the Thai restaurants here so I have decided to give try making pineapple fried rice last week.

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The recipe is adapted from the blog, Guai Shu Shu. I referenced the cutting of the fruit from about.com. The detailed instructions and pictures helped a lot. And for me, a serrated knife/bread knife is the best choice not only for outside but to cut out the insides of the pineapple too. I used a regular spoon to scoop everything out and reserved the amount I needed for the fried rice while the rest went into a fruit salad. Please do not fret about getting perfect cubes out. It didn’t happen for me either.

Ingredients
2 shallots/1 small onion, finely chopped
1/4 cup raisins
1/2 cup cashew nuts
1 cup frozen green peas
1 chicken breast, cut into small cubes, lightly coated with cornflour
2 cups cooked white rice (leftover rice or freshly cooked but with slightly less water than usually called for)
1 cup pineapple cubes, with juice
1 loose tablespoon turmeric
3 tbsp fish sauce
1 tbsp soya sauce
Water
Cooking oil

Method
1. Heat a wok with medium high heat for 2 mins. Swirl in 2 tablespoons of oil. Once the oil is easily spreadable and forms “lines”, shallow fry the cashew nuts till golden. Scoop up, drain and set aside.
2. Let the wok reheat for 1 minute. Add in chicken cubes. Sear the chicken till light golden brown on both sides before removing. Sear for 1 minute on one side and flip it over with the spatula for the other side. Scoop up, drain and set aside.
3. Add 1 tablespoon of oil into the wok. Add in the shallots. Stir fry till fragrant before adding in the turmeric powder. Mix the turmeric and let it mingle among the shallots. Add in the rice. Add at this point the pineapple juice and a dash of water (about 2-3 tablespoons). Quickly push down the spatula and flatten and spread the rice. Stir fry, flatten and spread is the continuous action until all the rice are coated yellow. The juice and the water helps moisten the rice and increase the spreadability of the rice. It also helps to continue cooking the rice to render it al dente. At this point, the moisture should have nearly all been evaporated.
4. Once coated, add in the sauces, chicken, pineapple cubes and peas to mix. Stir fry and toss vigorously to get everything evenly mixed together. Once everything is heated through, add in the raisins for a couple of final tosses. Switch off the heat. Carefully fill up the pineapple boat with the fried rice and garnish with your choice of topping, coriander or store bought crispy shallots.

*Note: For the rice, I made it fresh on the day itself. Cooked the rice one hour earlier using 20% less water and once done and flaked, I let it air until I am ready to use it.
** Note: When preparing the pineapple boat, it is better to rinse the whole pineapple under water as there are always small bits everywhere.
***Note: If one prefers to have some heat in the fried rice, do add in a sliced chilli or two together with the peas.

Broccoli with Egg Sauce

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When I made the dish, Three-Cup Chicken (click here if you would like to see the recipe of Three-Cup Chicken), I also made a vegetable dish to go with it. It’s a standard practice for me. Something for protein together with something green. That night, I was inspired to try broccoli with egg sauce.

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Ingredients
1 small broccoli, trimmed to florets
1 egg, beaten
Chicken stock granules
Water

Method
1. Fill a pot with enough water to blanch the broccoli in. Bring to a boil and add in broccoli. Boil the broccoli until it has cooked to the consistency of your choice. We cook it a little bit after al dente as it is the preference of our child. That would take about 4 minutes. When unsure, fish one floret out and take a bite.
2. Once done, remove broccoli and pour away the water. Reserve only enough water for the amount of sauce you would want to have. To the same pot, add in chicken stock granules, amount per packaging instruction. I added a teaspoon.
3. When the stock returns to a boil, pour in the egg. While pouring slowly, use a fork to swirl the egg in the water. If you prefer to thicken the sauce more, dissolve a teaspoon of cornstarch with a teaspoon of water and add in. Stir to make sure the starch is incorporated. Turn the heat off.
4. Arrange florets on a circular pattern. Once a circle is established, add the florets on top to make a mini well. Pour egg sauce in the middle and serve.

Note: I did not use any extra salt in the sauce. If you prefer, do add salt or soya sauce per preference. I did not as the other dish was very flavorsome. I wanted something to balance things out.

Homemade Naan Bread with Yellow Lentil Dal

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Growing up in Malaysia, my childhood breakfast favourite is roti canai with dhal and sugar. It sounds weird but it is a favourite among many children and for some, their baby steps into the world of spices and curry. It is not surprising therefore that I occasionally still crave for something similar. Since getting my Kenwood Chef kitchen machine and the recipe book that came with it, I have been trying my hand with making bread with the recipe provided. The results have been very promising and confidence boosting. The other day, I saw that the Kenwood recipe book has a recipe for naan. Now, I love naan too, as much as I love my fluffy roti canais and capatis. So it was destined that we will be going to have naan that night. To serve naan, I needed something to go with it and I had immediately thought of dhal, a yellow lentil curry. With a bit of help from Google, I found a great recipe from the Food & Wine website.

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With much appreciation to Kenwood for empowering me in the kitchen and the Food & Wine webby for helping me along the way, I am going to write down the adapted recipes here. This blog has served as a wonderful recipe storage for me until now.

For the Naan Bread (Adapted from Kenwood Recipe Book for Kenwood Chef & Major, by Jennie Shapter)

This makes 6 pieces of naan bread

Ingredients
450g bread flour or Flour 1050 in Germany1 tsp salt, I used Himalayan pink salt
7g dried active yeast
5 tbsp plain yogurt
1 tbsp melted butter (about 15g)
Approximately 210ml warm water
4 tbsp melted butter, for brushing on naan later (about 60g)

Method
1.ย  Put in flour, salt, yeast in a large bowl. With a wooden spoon, stir in yogurt and melted butter (1 tbsp).ย  Slowly mix in water (not all but just enough, so do not pour everything in) to form a dough. If you are using a kitchen machine, use the dough hook to do this work.
2. Let the machine knead until the dough is smooth and springy. If you are kneading by hand, transfer the soft dough onto a floured surface and knead until you get the same consistency. Once done, place in bowl and cover with a kitchen cloth/cling film and place in a warm area. I left it to rise in my oven with the light switched on as it was 22 degrees Celsius. Let the dough rise until it is doubled in size, about 1 hour.
3. Preheat the grill to 200 degrees Celsius. If you plan on using the oven, preheat it to the same temperature but place it nearer to the heat element to get the char. Prepare baking sheets as required. Alternatively, once the naan as fluffed up, grill it on a very hot grill or pan.
4. Punch down the risen dough and knead it for few times. You can use the dough hook for this too, letting the machine knead for 30 seconds. Transfer the dough onto a floured surface and divide the dough into 6 balls. Working quickly, roll out the balls one by one. Roll it out to a longish shape, about 0.5cm thick. Roll out the dough as you need it. Cover up the rest with a cloth or cling film. Brush melted butter on the dough before baking/grilling.
5. Transfer the dough into the grill or oven. If using an oven, then bake it on a lined baking sheet. Please do not cluster bake. One baking sheet at a time. Bake/grill till puffed up about 4-5 minutes. Flip it to get an even char on each side.
6. Serve immediately.
(Note: We have used our gas grill for cooking the naan bread and the results have been wonderful)

For the Yellow Lentil Dal (Adapted from Food & Wine. For original recipe, please click here)
Ingredients
1 cup toor dal, yellow split lentils
4 cups chicken stock
2 tbsp fresh ginger, grated
1/2 tsp turmeric powder
1 medium zucchini, unpeeled and cut into 3cm long pieces
1 medium carrot, peeled, halved and cut into 1cm thick slices
Salt, for seasoning
2 tbsp cooking oil
1 1/2 tsp mustard seeds, black if possible, I used yellow ones
1 small onion, thinly sliced and halved
2 pips garlic, thinly sliced and chopped
Sliced fresh chili of your choice, seeded or deseeded (Optional) – I have left this out as I am feeding a toddler
2 tsp cumin powder
5 dried curry leaves
Handful of cherry tomatoes or 1 large tomato, deseeded and chopped

Method
1. Boil lentil, 3 cups of chicken stock, minced ginger and turmeric together in a medium pot. Simmer for 20 minutes until lentils are soft, partially covered. Stir often as the lentils will stick to the bottom.ย 
2. Using an immersion blender, partially blend the lentils till the whole mixture is slightly thickened. Or blend 1 cup of the mixture in a blender and mix it back together after blending. Add in the remainder cup of the stock and the vegetables. Season with salt. Simmer for 15 mins.
3. Meanwhile, heat a frying pan till hot. Add in the oil and mustard seeds. When the mustard seeds begin to splutter, add in onions. Cook till softened. Add garlic and chilli (if using). Saute for 1 minute before adding in the cumin and curry leaves. Once fragrant, add in tomatoes and cook till tomatoes are soft.
4. Stir in the tomato mixture into the dal. Simmer for another 5 mins. Taste and season accordingly. Serve.

I am very happy to have discovered these two recipes as they are both favourites of mine. There will be many repeats of these in future ๐Ÿ™‚

 

Fuss-free Fish Pot Pie and Cheesy Sticks

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This is another of my quick lunches that I dished out while trying to entertain my toddler. This is very easy and very quick to assemble with a bit of planning ahead for the thawing, of course! I came to this idea while looking in my fridge and freezer on what I have on hand. And I love pies. Although that doesn’t mean I’m good at making them but I’m learning something new everyday…

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And of course, thank you very much for the invention of ready made puff pastry!

Ingredients
For the fish pot pie (Makes 2 ramekins):
1 fillet of any white fish (about 110g), thawed – Use more if you like
1 cup of chopped spinach, thawed
1/2 cup of cheese of your choice, (grana padano, parmesan etc)
Juice of half a lemon
Seasoning to taste (Salt and pepper)
Frozen puff pastry, prepare per direction on packaging (Try to buy puff pastry sheets that you do not need to roll out)

For the cheese sticks:
Puff pastry, cut to strips
Pizza herb mix or herb mix of your choice
Cheese, grated

Equipment
2 ramekins
1 baking tray with baking paper

Method
1. Preheat oven to 180 degrees Celcius. Cut the thawed fish into cubes. Squeeze water from spinach either using a sieve and a spoon or your bare hands. Divide fish, spinach and cheese between two ramekins.
2. Season with salt and pepper and a dash of lemon juice. Stir the contents of the ramekins to get the seasoning and lemon juice incorporated.
3. Cut puff pastry to required size so that you have a lid to put over each of the ramekins. Use a sharp knife and cut using clean cuts. Do not saw. Cover ramekins and use fingers to press down the pastry to the side of the ramekins to seal.
4. For the cheese sticks, cut the remainder of the puff pastry into strips. Transfer them to a baking tray that is prelined with baking paper. Sprinkle pizza herbs and cheese over. Place ramekins on to the baking tray, if there is still space.
5. Put both pot pie and cheesy sticks in oven to bake for 20 mins or till the pastries are all puffed up and golden. Remove from oven and serve.

Happy puffing ๐Ÿ™‚

Chicken Char Siew (Chinese BBQ Meat) Noodles/ ้ธก่‚‰ๅ‰็ƒง้ข

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I have been craving for this for a while now so this thing has been on my list for as long too. I had much hesitation over it as I am not good with meats and char siew sounds terribly daunting to make. This week, I finally buckled up the courage to attempt it. It was turned out to be the most delicious char siew I have for a long, long time. By the way, in case you are wondering why it isn’t red, it is because I did not use any red coloring. I think it is really not necessary despite it being tradition.

I am very glad to have discoveredย Lily’s Wai Sek Hong and her recipe for char siew. Without this recipe, I would not get to feast on these wonderfully yummy noodles with the most succulent and flavorful char siew.

IMG_2524.JPGFor this recipe, I used a whole chicken breast so there was plenty of char siew to go around for 2 adults and a toddler. The char siew recipe is adapted from Lily’s Wai Sek Hong. Click here for the original recipe.

Ingredients
For the Char Siew
500g chicken breast
Marinate with:
2 1/2 tbsp oyster sauce/hoisin sauce
2 tsp soya sauce
1/4 cup brown sugar
1 tbsp wine, I used red wine
1/2 tsp chinese five spice powder
1/4 tsp salt
Dash of pepper
Glaze the char siew with:
1 tbsp dark soya sauce
1 tbsp honey
1 tbsp oil
For the garlic oil vegetables
2 romaine lettuces or greens of your choice, washed and cut
2 pips garlic, peeled and sliced thinly
3 tbsp of oil
Water for boiling
For the noodles
Asian noodles of your choice, preferably wanton noodles or thin egg noodles
Sauce to go with noodles (per portion):
1 tbsp kecap manis
1 tbsp soya sauce
1 tsp sesame oil
Dash of white pepper

Method
1. Prepare marinate by putting all marinate ingredients in a bowl and stirring it with a spoon to mix well. Place chicken meat in a container or a bag and cover it with marinate. Refrigerate the meat and marinate overnight. I marinated mine for 2 nights.
2. Preheat oven to 200 degrees Celcius. Place meat and marinate in a roasting pan and cover it with foil. Bake for 20 mins. Remove foil and continue baking untill the gravy has thickened and is coating the meat. Remove from oven and brush the glaze generously all over the char siew. Grill the char siew for 5 mins to give it a shine. Once done, remove from oven and let it sit for 5-10 mins before slicing.
3. While waiting for the char siew to cook, heat oil and fry garlic till golden and crispy in a saucepan. Pour everything into a bowl and set aside. Using the same saucepan, fill it up with water till 3/4 full. Bring water to boil and blanch cut lettuce for 1 min. Remove lettuce and set aside. You may season it if you prefer to. I do not as the lettuce will derive flavor from the noodles later.
4. When the char siew is done, prepare noodles per instructions on the package. I used the same saucepan with the water used for blanching lettuce. Prepare as much noodles as you need. While the noodles are cooking, prepare the sauce by putting all sauce ingredients into serving plates. The portion stated is enough sauce for 1 serving of noodles. If you have 2 persons eating, prepare the same sauce amount for every serving plate. Once noodles are done, scoop onto the prepared plates with sauce. Toss well to get the sauce coated in every strand of the noodles.
5. To plate up, arrange lettuce leaves at the side of noodles. Drizzle with garlic oil and get some of the crispy garlic on it too. Arrange sliced char siew on top and drizzle gravy from the roasting pan all over the char siew. You can also serve the remainder of the char siew gravy for those who would like an extra helping of the gravy.
6. Once done, grab your chopsticks and enjoy ๐Ÿ™‚