Saturday, October 27, 2007

Lunch-time Delight: The Simplest Samosa

I will not lie, I love to make things quick and easy whenever I can (that's why I'm a sad case when it comes to bread :O) So anyways, I was raiding my fridge this afternoon and wondered what to eat. I was really craving some indian-inspired spice, but wasn't about to drive down to grab it (I guess I'm lazy that way). I remembered that we had eaten mashed potatoes the other night and thought about eating it... but man, mashed potatoes are pretty bland. I through some spices and veggies into it and it smelled just like a samosa. Hmmmm.... this got my creative juices flowing. Let's whip up some healthy, easy samosas!
Simple Samosa
- 2 cups mashed potatoes
- 1 tsp salt
- 1/2 cup frozen veggies, thawed and microwaved for 1 minute
- 2 tsp cumin
- 1/2 tsp coriander
- 1/2 tsp cardamom powder
- a sprinkle of fennel flakes and some pepper ( I use cayenne, because I love the heat!)
- Four 10" flour tortillas, warmed and cut in half
1. Mix together all the ingredients except for the tortillas
2. Take one tortilla-half and roll/shape it into a cone. Fill it with your potato mixture (don't go overboard :P)
3. Seal the edges of your samosa by dabbing your fingers in water and pressing the tortilla-edge. Prepare the other samosas the same way.
4. Deep-fry in hot oil, until golden-brown; or for a healthier treat, bake in a 325˚C oven until the outside is crisp.
5. Serve with chutney, curry, tikka masala... or just eat by itself... Yum!
My sister's don't really enjoy samosas, but my mom really liked it. She and I are in this "eat healthy" stage, well... we try anyways. But my dad still prefers the real thing :P (You can't blame him)


Rating *** out of *****
Wahoo! Finally getting out of the house and going somewhere... I know, I'm surprised too :P I've been so super busy that I have hardly gotten to see the outside world? (well, aside from walking from class to class... but that doesn't count). I took a trip down to Coquitlam with the family and we were ready to try out a new restaurant.

So this time we let my younger sister pick where to eat out. She's in a real "Japanese phase" right now... watching a ton of anime on youtube, crunchyroll and veoh (to name a few). I was psyched to go to Akari because I've only heard good things about Japanese cuisine. This was the real stuff, not just sushi and tempura like at the westernized "all-you-can-eat" sushi restaurants.

Wow! Okonomiyaki... it was so good! I wanted to eat the whole thing, but sadly my stomach was too small :P

Okay, so we did order sushi... we couldn't resist

Their seafood tsunomono (It was good, but small and cost $6.95)

The Queen's dinner set, came with a ton of tasty treats.

The plain udon in soup... although plain, my sisters found it very tasty. Careful, the pot is hot!

Overall the service was really good. The food was fresh and really quickly served; and they had a wide variety of foods to choose from. My okonomiyaki did take 20mins to cook, but the server told us outright that this would be the case. I admire their honesty. The atmosphere was very quaint, it had the feel of being in a Japanese garden. There was a rock pond, bamboo fronds, and very aesthetically pleasing dining booths. The only tiff I have is with the pricing; but I guess that all fancy Japanese restaurants are pretty pricey. We'll definitely be going back again! I hope it's sometime soon :)

Pulut Inti

Okay, so here's the recipe for my Pulut Inti. It's pretty basic and doesn't use any palm sugar, instead I substituted brown sugar. I know it doesn't taste the same, but I find palm sugar a tad too sweet.

Pulut Inti

Ingredients For Rice:
- 3 cups of glutinous rice, soaked overnight and drained
- 300mL of coconut milk
- 2 tbsp sugar
- 2 tsp salt (or more, to taste)

Ingredients For Filling:
- 3/4 cup packed brown sugar
- 1/2 cup desiccated coconut
- 1 tbsp of water (add more if necessary)

-Banana leaves, washed, dried and cut into 3.5 x 3.5 inch squares

1. Steam the glutinous rice for 10 minutes, or until cooked.

2. Add in coconut milk, sugar and salt. Mix until well combined, steam for another 15 minutes. When done, set aside for assembly.

3. Mix filling ingredients together, adding enough water to make the filling "come together" but not turn into a liquified paste.

4. Take a handful of cooled glutinous rice and mold it into a "cube-like" shape. It doesn't have to be perfect.

5. Place a dollop of the filling mixture on top of the "rice cube". Then place your Pulut Inti in the center of a banana leaf.

6. Fold two sides of the banana leaf up, not completely covering the "peak" of the Pulut Inti. Then fold the remaining two sides underneath, to form a pyramid shape.

More Nonya Goodies

Seems like I've been admiring a lot of other peoples nonya cooking but have yet to venture into the depths of this culinary landscape myself... I was simple browsing Lily's website and came across her recipe for Rempah Udang. I thought I test out this recipe (but also vary it a little, because I enjoy the intense flavour of belachan). So here goes...

Rempah Udang

Ingredients For Rice:
- 3 cups of glutinous rice, soaked overnight and drained
- 300mL of coconut milk
- 2 tbsp sugar
- 2 tsp salt (or more, to taste)

Ingredients for Shrimp Filling:
- 1 large onion (or use shallots if you wish)
- 3 cloves of garlic
- 1 lemon grass stalk
- 1 tbsp oil
- 1 cup of cooked frozen shrimp, thawed and chopped into fine pieces
- 2 tsp tumeric
- 2 tsp coriander
- salt to taste
- 1/2 cup desiccated coconut
- 2 tbsp belachan paste

For Assembly:
- Banana leaves (7" by 5", washed and greased)
- Wooden skewers (for easier assembly use staples)
1. Steam the glutinous rice for 10 minutes, or until cooked.

2. Add in coconut milk, sugar and salt. Mix until well combined, steam for another 15 minutes. When done, set aside for assembly.

3. Meanwhile, dry-toast the desiccated coconut in a frying pan over medium heat, until the coconut looks light brown. Remove from heat and set aside.

4. Place onion, lemongrass and garlic in a food processor (or manually grind) until it forms a fine paste. Add in tumeric and coriander.

5. Heat oil in at frying pan, add your fine paste and fry over medium heat until aromatic. Add in the chopped shrimp and salt to taste.

6. Continue frying until the mixture dries up; then add in the toasted coconut. Add in the belachan paste and mix well. Remove from heat and prepare for assembly.

7. Take a banana leaf and spoon rice onto one end. Make a crater in the middle and fill it with the shrimp filling. Cover the crater with more rice and tightly roll up the leaf. Secure the leaf with skewer or stapler and prepare the rest of them in the same fashion.

8. Grill Rempah Udang for about 3 minutes, serve hot.

My parents loved it, but my sisters on the other hand would not touch them. Jacqeuline doesn't like shrimp and Janessa is allergic (*sniff*). So I used some of my leftover glutinous rice to make them some pulut inti. I'm always thinking :) I'll post my recipe for that later, it's so simple but soo delicious!

Saturday, October 20, 2007

Almost Bubble World

Today, I decided that since it was raining like crazy I would not brave the great outdoors. But for some strange reason I was really craving eggplant, and not just any eggplant the kind served at the bubble tea houses (like Bubble World and No. 1 Beef Noodle House). I did have an eggplant just sitting in my fridge waiting... no crying to be used and with a little extra time on my hands decided that I didn't need a bubble tea house to make food for me! I could do it on my own, after all I am a big girl :) I whipped out my copy of Savouring China: by Williams-Sonoma (an amazing book, I must say) and found just the recipe I was looking for. Sichuan-Style Braised Eggplant... the recipe can also be found here.

Looks almost like the real thing eh? I was quite impressed with myself. I served this to my parents for lunch... my sisters aren't to keen of the eggplant, I think they just won't eat any vegetable that is purple :P My parents loved it and wanted me to make it again, maybe I will when I have more time... and when eggplants go on sale (they are expensive little bugger aren't they?).

Friday, October 12, 2007

And for Thanksgiving...

Drum roll everyone. This year, I sadly did not have a chance to aid my pops in preparing the turkey... but I am determined that it will happen sometime before I graduate :P Perhaps I'll help with the Christmas turkey! But anyways, I did get to prepare the best part of a Thanksgiving meal (besides the turkey... ooh and the stuffing) the dessert. And what says Thanksgiving more than PUMPKIN PIE!?!? Why, individual pumpkin tarts of coarse! I got the recipe from, and the only variation I made was to use butter instead of shortening. I divided the pie crust amongst five mini-tart pans for each member of my family, and with the leftovers I decided to just make one regular 9-inch pie (and one small ramekin of pumpkin pudding).

Monday, October 08, 2007

OMG it's been too long!

I know, it's been almost an entire month... and I've had nothing to show for it, except a cramped writing hand and two very tired feet. Nursing is a task, I'll tell you that much. I love the occupation to pieces, but I just haven't gotten the hang of balancing school with good ol' kitchen hang-time. Funny thing is, I spend almost all my time in the kitchen. I do my work on the kitchen table and eat my meals there too (duh!), but I haven't gotten my hands dirty and I truly miss that. My parents had gone away for the long weekend (to Las Vegas) and they left me and my two sisters to fend for ourselves. So, I finally dusted off my kitchen gear and busted out the big guns... hehehe, I wish. I was kind of lazy after my 12hr shift at the hospital, so I decided to whip up something pretty simple for our dinner. Shepherd's Pie!

Shepherd's Pie (For 3)

- 3 Russet Potatoes
- 1 tbsp butter
- 1/4 cup milk
- 1 lb ground beef/pork
- 1 tbsp Wosterchire sauce
- 1 cup chopped onions
- 1/2 cup frozen mixed-vegetables, thawed
- 1 tbsp flour
- 1/3 cup chicken/beef stock

1. Preheat the oven to 350F
2. Prepare the potatoes by boiling them until soft. Mash, adding the butter and milk until the mixture is a creamy consistency. Set aside.
3. Cook beef/pork in a non-stick frying pan until meat begins to brown.
4. Add onions and thawed veggies.
5. Add Worcestershire sauce, flour and chicken/beef stock; mix until well combined. Let simmer covered for 15minutes.
6. Place meat mixture into a casserole dish, cover the meat with mashed potato mixture and spread until evenly distributed.
7. Bake dish for 30minutes, or until the potatoes begin to brown.

My sisters, love this dish. My parents hadn't made this in a long time, so I thought I give it a whirl. That way, if it wasn't as good as my parent's recipe my sisters would never know :P I'm so sneaky that way. They gobbled it down, but not before adding a butt-load of gravy... boy do they love their gravy (especially the KFC kind!)