Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Roger's Shrimps

This simply delicious shrimp dish is not from my family though, I got it from my friend, Roger, so I named it after him.

Roger made this dish when he and Wan-Yi came to NYC for their business trip. We invited them to live with us, and we all had fun cooking together. Roger loves to cook and he always cooks fresh food. His foods are light, and tasty, healthy, and good looking at the same time.

Made this dish when you are planing to have a fun and friendly party where people are ready to eat with their fingers, and don't care about the messiness of the yummy sauce running through their hands. Peeling the shell and eating is a part of the dish....So, have fun with it.

As I've said, Roger's foods are light and simple, like this dish, the only seasoning he put on was a tiny bit of salt, and that amazed me because when I tasted it, I thought that it'd got to be a lot of seasoning in there.

Fresh shrimps with shell is a trick here.
Shell will lock in the natural sweetness and freshness of shrimps. The head part of shrimp helps create a tasty yummy sauce. So, let's be friend with all things with heads ;)

- 1 lb. fresh shrimp with head and shell on.
- 10 or more green onion, chopped.
- 10 small heads shallots, chopped.
- 1 tsp. salt
- black pepper
- 1/4 cup tbsp. water or stock.
- 2 tbsp. olive oil

Prepare fresh shrimp: rinse them under cold water then use kitchen shears cut off only small part of the eyes, rostrum (a sharp pointy looking thing) and long antennae, leave the whole head intact along with shell.

1. A pan on high heat, add in olive oil, shallot, green onion. Saute 1 minute.
2. In goes shrimps, stir to incorporate. Add water or stock. Stir.
3. Cover a pan with a lid for 2 minutes - until shrimps start to look opaque then season it with salt, sprinkle with black pepper.
4. Saute until all shrimps turn opaque about 2 minutes more. Taste it and adjust the taste, and if you love lots of sauce - like my husband- add more stock. Turn off the heat.
5. Serve.

This dish's become my favorite right away. I made it three times in a week. YUM!

Friday, February 18, 2011

Shrimp Paste Rice With Caramel Pork

Kao Klook Ka Pi

I love this dish. It's a chock-full of flavors and textures in one plate, well balance of sweet caramel pork and gentle salty of shrimp paste rice, touched up with a bit of tang from fresh lime, also the crunchy fried dried shrimps, the softness of egg strands, sweet pungent of fresh shallots and a kick of hot chili....I'm exhausted already.

As the name of the dish stated, Klook means Tossing in Eng. It's the idea of eating this yummy rice. Besides tossing the rice with shrimp paste, tossing the tastes and textures all together at once before eating is the way to enjoy the dish, and you will be surprise how tasty this dish brings to you.

This rice dish will be worth a million when making with good quality shrimp paste, and with all the love, my mom gave me two kilos of her top-notch *O* It's the kind of shrimp paste she's proud of.

Making this dish requires quite a preparing. But!... no need to be intimidated, I will walk you through step by step. So, sit tight and take a sip of red wi.....bull....Yep..! better Red Bull ;) It's a long post, I think.

- 6 small heads of fresh shallot, chopped.
- hot chili (as much as you think you can beat them) chopped.
- 2-3 wedges of fresh lime
- dried shrimps
- 1 cup thin sliced pork.
- 2 eggs, beaten

- 1 tsp. fish sauce
- 2 tbsp. palm sugar (or 1 piece of cake palm sugar)
- 1 tbsp. granulate sugar
- 1 tsp soy sauce
- 1 tsp. black soy sauce
- 2 tbsp. saute oil
- 1/3 cup of water

- 2 tbsp. vegetable oil or olive oil
- 1 tbsp. shrimp paste
- steamed rice, portion of two

Step One:chopping up
Chop up fresh shallots, chilies, cut the lime. Set aside.

Step Two: making egg strands.
1. A pan on low-medium heat, heat it up, drizzling in the oil, just to coat the pan.
2. Two eggs in a measuring cup for easy pouring, beat them up and seasoning with 1 tsp of fish sauce.
3. Pour the first half of the beaten egg to the pan, lift the pan up and swirl the pan around, spreading the egg to completely cover the bottom of the pan, making a thin sheet of egg.
4 Let it cooks for 3 minutes.
5. Using a spatula, flip the egg. Let it cooks for 2 minutes. Take it off the pan, let it cool down.
6. Drizzle in a bit more of oil, and do the same with the rest of the egg, making the second sheet.

Leave the sheets of egg to cool down, we'll come back and cut them into small strands later. In the meanwhile let's fry dried shrimps.

Step Three: frying dried shrimp
*Dried shrimps burn easily, so don't take your eyes off.*
1. With the same pan using for the eggs, set on the low heat, add 2 tbsp. of saute oil.
2. Add the dried shrimps, pan-fry them until fragrant and look golden. Fetch them out, and let them cool down.

Step Four: making caramel pork.
1. In the same pan and the oil left off from frying shrimps, on medium heat, (add more 1 tbsp. oil if needed) add the sliced pork. Saute until no pink left.
2. Add 1/3 cup of water, let it reaches full bubble then bring the heat down to low.
3. Add black soy sauce, soy sauce, palm sugar, granulate sugar. Stir to incorporate, and let the sauce simmering on low heat for 2-3 minutes.
4. Taste the sauce. The taste should be very sweet, caramel-ly sweet - sweet one step above the level you think it is because we need the sweet caramel pork to cut the salty rice later. So, don't be scare to be sweet at this point, add more sugar if needed.
5. Stir frequently, let it cooks until the liquid turn into thick caramel, coating all the pork. Turn off the heat.

Now the egg sheets are cool enough, it's time to cut.
1. Roll the sheets into small log, and cut them with a sharp knife into about 1/4" wide. Done!

Step Five: tossing the rice with shrimp paste.
1. Wrap 1 tbsp of shrimp paste with aluminum foil, bring to the open flame, and roast it for 2 minutes. Turn off the heat.
2. Steamed rice in a mixing bowl, add 2 tbsp. of vegetable oil, or olive oil, and roasted shrimp paste.
3. Use your hand, wearing a thin glove, or a spoon to incorporate the rice, oil and shrimp paste together. Make sure there are no lumps of shrimp paste left.

Now you can wake up!'s all done

Ready to serve.
Spoon a little of each prepared ingredients to the plate, sprinkle with lime. Now you can adjust the taste of your plate right before eating. The rice has a gentle salty taste, cut with sweet caramel pork and lime, and if you love the kick on the taste buds, don't forget hot chili.

Before eating, toss all ingredients in your plate together - like making salad. That's how you eat Kao Klook Ka Pi.

Note: In Thailand you will find this dish served with chopped sour green mango or some kind of fruits that give the sour taste instead of a wedge of lime like I did. Well, where I live has no luxury of having sour green mango. So, lime is my best friend ;)

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

First Attempt, Roll Cake

Well, it's actually not the really first time for me to make this cake. I learned to make roll cake when I was 13 at school, cooking was part of the curriculum, and promised to myself I'll never make it again.

At 13, I found myself enjoy running around town with my bike rather than trying to roll a sheet of cake. Also the teacher wasn't that my favorite one - I just didn't understand how one can look and act cranky all the times. So the roll cake I made with a group of friends at that time wasn't that pretty.

Now that I enjoy cooking and baking (and still love biking ), and have been baking for quite sometimes, but not one of roll cake still.

If I wanted to have roll cakes, I'd run to Japanese bakery nearby and buy the soft cotton Japanese style roll cake. Never attempt to try.

A day before Valentine's, I wanted to bake something for my hubby - he did mention pies, but I didn't hear it, maybe *0* I always bake pies for him, so this time I wanted to bake something I never bake before, and roll cake just POP into my mind.....It's time baby!

I went to Martha's site and choose one recipe to try on. The cake was almond cake, spread with raspberry jam, and a thick layer of whipped cream.

We both are not big fans of sweet, so we love these combination of sweet raspberry jam and thick layer of plain whipped heavy cream.

The plain whipped cream helps tone down the very sweet jam. For us, they complement each other very well.

As for the cake, I might have baked it too long, the cake came out a bit dry, and that's why it has to be a second attempt for me.

And yes!...a lot of practicing on rolling as you can see.

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Stir-Fried Instant Noodles with Italian Sausages

If you asked me, " What is Asian fast food ?"........ My answer would be Instant Noodles.

You just pour hot water over the dried noodles with the powder condiments and oil that comes with, and it'd be ready to eat in three minutes. If that isn't a fast food, I don't know what else would it be.

Korean instant noodles

So we always have these quick-life-saving noodles in our cabinet to save my lazy days. There are so many kinds of instant noodles - Japanese, Korean, Chinese, Thai and others.

Each nation has its own taste and flavors when it comes to powder condiments and oils that usually comes in the package.

And that because of these noodle becomes part of our everyday food, in Thailand, they are adapted into many different dishes.

People love to use only the dried noodle to make new dishes and toss away those condiments, re-seasoning and enjoy the texture of the noodle in a new kind of dish.

My favorite one is to stir-fired them with what ever ingredients I wanted to cook with - and most of the time it means adding vegetables and meats. This time I cooked with hot Italian sausages and vegetables...yum!

Serve 2
- two packs of instant noodles (depends on the size of the pack)
- Vegetables, such as cabbage, broccoli, carrot, green onion, baby corns, snow peas, bean sprout - just any kind of vegetable you like.
- 2 pieces of hot or sweet Italian sausages, casing removed.
- 2 Eggs

- 1 tbsp. soy sauce
- 2 tbsp sugar
- 1 tbsp. garlic oil
- 2 tbsp. oil for stir fry

Prepare the noodle
1. Put a pot of water to the full boiled.
2. Add in the dried noodle - boil for 2 minutes. (Be careful not to over-cook the noodle. Most directions on the package say cook for 3 minutes for the completely cook, but we will later stir fry the noodle, so it's better to under cook the noodle in this step.)
3 Strain the noodle and coat them lightly with garlic oil. Set aside.

Ready to stir fry.

1. Cut up all vegetables, break the sausages into small pieces.
2. heat up a wok then add the oil.
3. In goes, the sausages. Stir fry for 2 minute then add vegetables.
4. Make small room in the wok, add more oil if needed, crack 2 eggs in and slightly beat them up with a spatula then stir vegetables and sausages to incorporate with the eggs.
5. Add noodles, give a quick stir and start seasoning with soy sauce and sugar.
6. Taste it, and adjust the taste to suit you.

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