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… and back to school.

15 Feb

Can’t believe it’s been a week since I’ve been back in Melbourne. In the last month, I have been in Singapore, removed 2 wisdom teeth, gone to Taipei, eat amazing vegetarian food, returned to Singapore, removed another 2 wisdom teeth, celebrated Chinese New Year with congee, and back to Melbourne with bruises on my face and neck, courtesy of the surgery. And stitches in my mouth that I have no dentist or time to remove. 😦

But I managed to find time to cook tteokbokki and some ridiculously fudgey brownies with Steph on Saturday. And watch lots and lots of Gilmore Girls. 😛 Tteokbokki is so easy to make, and stores really well. A package of rice sticks feeds 4-5, depending on your preference for dessert, which in our case, was damn high.

You will also need this sticky spicy sauce from the Asian grocer, of which I paid $4.65 for, and soon find out that I already have one in the fridge. 3 months away and so must cook tteokbokki another 10 times this year. I reckon this will make a great paste for fried rice or fuscramble too.

Tteokbokki

1/2 a package of rice sticks
3 cloves garlic, minced
2-3 springs of spring onion, sliced
5 dried mushrooms, soaked and sliced
1 tbs chilli paste

Cover frozen rice sticks with hot water and let sit until slightly soften and separates.
Heat some oil in wok and fry garlic, then mushrooms for a minute. Add rice sticks and fry for a while, then chilli paste. Stir to coat everything, then a bowl of water to cover everything. Put lid on and let simmer until rice sticks have soften (pierce-able), add more water if necessary. When this is all ready, throw in spring onion and cook until just wilted. Sprinkle white sesame seeds and serve.

Hal’s Maple Chocolate Flax Brownies
(via La Dolche Vegan)

1/4c sugar
1/4c ground flax seeds (2 egg replacers)
1/2c maple syrup
1/4c oil
1/4c milk
1 tsp vanilla
1 1/2c flour
1/4c cocoa powder
1/4 tsp salt
1/4c walnuts, chopped
1/2c chocolate chips

[wet] Stir together sugar, ground flax seeds (2 “eggs”), maple syrup, oil, milk and vanilla. Let stand for 10 minutes.
[dry] Stir in flour, cocoa, salt and walnuts until “just mixed”.
Pour into 8×8″ baking pan, sprinkle top with chocolate chips, and bake for 20-25 minutes 175C, until toothpick comes out clean.
Cool before cutting into squares.

(I mixed about 1/4c chocolate chips into the batter, and baked for 25 minutes in my loaf pan. Try to eat it the next day if you can.)

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Dumplings and Wontons

11 Nov

There’s something so magical about these little parcels of tofu and mushroom goodness. Paired with lots of starch goodness on the outside and salty soy sauce, dumplings and wontons are definitely up there on my list of comfort food on a weekday night. They are incredibly easy to make, and look splendid once cooked. Everyone thinks you’re an amazing chef when you make some. Gather a group of friends, prepare the ingredients beforehand, sit at the table with some good tunes as you keep the conversation flowing, and wrap these little yummy things with your nimble fingers. You’ll be nomming on these in no time. May I also recommend frying a batch when a plate’s been filled up? You do need fuel to keep you going…

1. Gather your ingredients and cube everything!

2. Season generously! And I mean it! Then let this sit for 15 minutes as you lay your table with newsprint. No mess to clean up later!

3. Now put a teaspoon of filling in the middle of your wrapper. You don’t want to be too greedy. Exploding dumplings are not unheard/unseen of. Not speaking from personal experience.

4. Wrap! There are a few methods of doing so. I use the pea pod method as demonstrated here. My aunt’s a CHAMP at dumpling making. She taught me how to wrap them. Instead of making folds across in one direction, stop halfway and start folding from the opposite end, so that they meet in the center. Dust a plate with flour before placing dumplings.

I had 7 dumpling wrappers and so wontons with the rest of the filling. In this instance, use the “half moon” wrap as shown in the link above. I made 34 of them. Freeze the extras for a no fuss dinner.

Now that the hard work’s been done, there are a number of cooking options. Boil, steam or panfry the dumplings; deep-fry or boil the wontons.

The trick to panfrying dumplings is to add 1/4 cup of water into your pan after the bottoms had browned and put the lid on, allowing the insides to cook without burning the base.

Cook some broth and pop about 6 -8 dumplings in for a super comforting soup as you watch another episode of The Office.

Dumplings and Wontons
Ingredients:
300g of firm tofu, cubed
6 large dried mushrooms, soaked and cubed
2 large spring onions, sliced thinly

1 packet of dumpling or wonton wrappers

Seasoning:
5 tbs soy sauce
2 tbs dark soy sauce
1 tbs sesame oil
1/2 tsp ground white pepper (I know most people don’t seem to favour this, so reduce as required)

Dipping Sauce:
Soy sauce and sliced ginger or chilli sauce

Season tofu, mushrooms and spring onions for 15 minutes. Reserve mushroom liquid for broth. Add 1 tbs of liquid if season is running a bit low.

To panfry: Well grease a non-stick pan and place dumplings neatly and heat pan over large flame. As it starts sizzling, reduce to medium and watch as the bottoms start browning. When bottoms are firm, add a 1/4 cup of water and place lid on. Once most liquid has evaporated, remove lid and serve when skins are soft. You can flip it on one side and fry that too.

To make wonton soup: Bring about 2 cups of broth and reserved and strained mushroom liquid and handful of goji berries to a boil and add 1 chopped carrot and some mushrooms. When carrots are soft, plonk in wontons and cook for 5 minutes will skins are translucent. Throw in green leafy vegetables like choy sum and baby boy choy if you have on hand. This will also make a good meal if you put in some noodles. Serve with thinly sliced spring onions or coriander.

To make dipping sauce: Mix soy sauce and thinly sliced ginger together. I prefer mixing soy sauce and chilli sauce.

我爱饺子!

Weeknight congee dinner

1 Sep

Brown rice congee with carrots
//Simmer brown rice, water and carrots until softened.

Stir-fried gai choy, black fungus and mushrooms in a mixture of fermented beancurd and oyster sauce.
//Fry some minced garlic, black fungus and mushrooms for 3 minutes. // Toss in vegetables, fry and another minute. // Mix 1 cube of fermented beancurd, 3 tbs oyster sauce and a bowl of water, add into wok, put on lid, and simmer until liquid has reduced (uncover lid if there’s still too much liquid). // Season with rice wine and white pepper.

It’s September! Just 2.5 months to summer vacation!

Thai Green Curry

26 Aug

What do you do when it’s so damn cold out here?

Eat curry.

It’s the one thing that I’ve been wanting and wanting and wanting… and finally got down to making it. I stumbled upon the above can of vegan green curry paste at Minh Phat, which was the cure for my lazy bones. No pounding and additional washing up.

Thai Green Curry
serves 4

1/2 medium eggplant, cut into small chunks
1 large carrot, 1cm slices
1 potato, small chunks
1 large handful of green beans, halved
200g firm tofu, small chunks
1 onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tin of green curry paste
1 can (400ml) of coconut milk
bunch of fresh Thai basil, shredded
Raw sugar, salt and pepper to taste

1. Spend a bit of time chopping up all the ingredients. If you’ve got other veggies lying around that you need to get rid off, then use them too. (I added bean sprouts)

2. Heat 1 tbs of oil in wok, fry onions until translucent. Add the garlic and green curry paste. Fry for another 2 minutes or so.

3. Toss in the carrot, eggplant and potato, and fry for a while, until slightly browned on the edges.

4. Tip in the coconut milk, and half a tin of water, and let veggies simmer for a bit until softened to your liking.

5. Add tofu and green beans, and cook this for a little while, say a minute or two. They don’t take too long to cook. If mixture gets too dry, add more water.
6. This can get pretty spicy, so taste and adjust level with sugar to suit your preference. Season with salt and pepper.

Toss in the basil just before eating, with a side of brown rice. Roti will be pretty fantastic too.