Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Beef Steak

Eye fillet or beef fillet ($35/kg)
1 piece per person, ½” thick
Black pepper
Sprinkle to both sides of steak
Sea Salt
Sprinkle to both sides of steak
Vegetable oil and butter
1 tbs each


Oyster sauce
2 tsp
Worchester sauce
2 tsp
Balsamic vinegar
1 tsp
1 tsp
2 tbs
1/2 tsp
Soya sauce
1 tsp
Dark soya sauce
1 tsp
2 tbs
1 clove diced
Green peas
½ cup

Somehow we felt that the steak in Levin is so tender and delicious, unlike the ones in Auckland. So, we got hooked on steak here and have it every week. The fillet steak is indulgence, the scotch fillet or the porterhouse is just as good for steak. Nevertheless, the eye fillet simply melts in your mouth, so tender and juicy when cooked just right, a little pink.
Put 1 tbs of butter and 1 tbs of vegetable oil in hot heavy pan.  Sprinkle both sides of steak with sea salt and ground black pepper then slid into pan. Cook for about 1 minute on each side….when the meat turns white to about 5 mm from the bottom, it is time to turn over. When done on the second side, turn it over to the first side and cook for another minute, remove from pan and keep aside. Put in shallots and diced garlic and sauté for about 20 seconds, then add the green peas and the sauce. Let it comes to boil and return the beef back to pan and let it gets heated for about 1minute. Pour in the juice of the steak where it was resting. Remove from pan and serve. It is so tender and moist.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Yee Mee Noodles

This is Cantonese style of frying noodles and it does not take long to prepare. Good for lunch. In Cantonese it is called 'mun mien', using deep fried noodles which gives a sort of smoky flavour. In Malaysia we can get very good quality yee mee. The one we use that is available locally in NZ is from Malaysia.

The noodle is crispy and to use it, we simply dip it in water and then let it drain. This will soften it a little. About 1 piece per person would be plenty. If yee mee is not available, any other noodle such as vermicelli could be use.
Serving for 2-3 persons:
2 cups Chicken cut into bite size and marinate dash of salt, 1/2 tsp cornflour and 1 tsp soya sauce.
8 prawns marinate in 1 tsp sugar
2 pieces yee mee
1 shanghai cabbage ( cut into bite size)
3 pieces ginger slices
2 cloves garlic diced
1 egg
1 tbs Cornflour to thicken sauce
1 tbs spring onions diced
2-3 cups chicken stock
1 tbs oyster sauce
1 tsp salt
white pepper powder to garnish
Use 2 tbs of vegetable oil to saute ginger and garlic till lightly brown. Add Chicken pieces and stir fry till it changes to white, then add prawns and stir fry till the prawns turn white. Add the chicken stock, oyster sauce,   shanghai cabbage and yee mee, cover and cook for about 30 seconds till the noodle is soft. Open lid, add spring onion and stir to combine. Add salt and thicken with cornflour (1 tbs mixed with 2 tbs water).
Turn off the heat and add an egg  to it, stir to combine the egg and remove from wok immediately. Garnish with white pepper.

Friday, October 22, 2010

Meatball with Vermicelli

We love noodles or its equivalent. Spaghetti is one of them and recently we fell in love with Vermicelli which is the thinnest version of spaghetti. Some brands call it 'Angels Hair'. This recipe was inspired by Jane Lawson's book (Yoshoku). In this book she cooks western food with a twist of Japanese influence.....magic. We love her recipes and we enjoyed a lot of food from there.

Serves 6-7pp

700 g pork mince or chicken mince (about 100g per person)
2 spring onions diced
2 garlic cloves crushed
1 stick celery diced
1 egg
2 tbs sake (white wine or 1 tbs dry sherry will do as well)
2 tbs soya sauce
1/2 – 1 cup Japanese breadcrumbs (or ordinary breadcrumbs will do)
Dash of Ground white pepper
1 tbs vegetable oil
1 tsp sesame oil
1 tsp sugar
1 tsp salt

1 tbs vegetable oil
1 small onion finely diced
1 small red chilli, seeded and finely diced
2 garlic clove
1 tbs finely grated ginger and its juice
2 tbs mirin (omit if not available)
1/2 cup red wine 
800g (or 2x400g) whole peeled tomatoes
1/4 can of water use to rinse the cans.
1 tbs tomato paste
1 tsp dashi granules (or use chicken stock to substitute)
1 tbs soya sauce
1 tbs rock sugar (ordinary sugar will do as well)
1 bay leave

 Vermicelli (Diamond Brand or similar) or spaghetti : 100gm per person.
3 tbs finely chopped flat leaf parsley for garnish
2 tbs thyme leaves only for garnish (if not available, some spring onions will do)

Shaved parmesan cheese to garnish : heaps if you like or omit if not.

To make the meatballs, mix the meat and all the ingredients except the celery, onions and spring onions. With a fork, mix the meat in one direction until it is well combined and the meat gels together and become sticky. Then fold in the vegetables. Celery makes the meatball light and crunchy but if you do not like celery, then omit it. Fold in bread crumbs after that and let it rest for a while before forming balls with the help of a measuring spoon (1 Tbs measuring spoon is about the right size). You can roast the balls in the oven set at 200C after basting with oil and lining the tray with baking paper for 20 minutes or you can shallow fry the balls at medium high heat till brown. We prefer to fry the balls but it is a bit messy and a slow process but somehow the balls are crispy. The oven is easy, probably healthier with less oil used,  just put it in and set the timer. While that is going on, make the sauce.
Put 1 tbs of vegetable oil in a sauce pan and at medium high heat, saute the onions for about 1 minute till the onion is soft. Then add ginger, garlic and saute for another 1/2 min and then add in the whole peeled tomatoes and other ingredients. Bring to boil and lower heat to low to simmer for about 20 minutes. Then use a potato masher to mash the tomatoes. You can use crushed tomatoes but they usually come with skin and I do not like the skin. The sauce will thicken as it simmers. Add the cooked meatballs into the sauce and heat through for about 1 minute.
Fill a large pot with plenty of water, at least half full and bring to boil. Add 1 tbs vegetable oil and 1 tsp salt. Cook the vermicelli for about 5 minutes till al dente. When you break the vermicelli it is still a little white in the middle.  Remove from pot and run under cold water for  a few seconds and drain. 
To serve, you can reheat the vermicelli in the pot or in a microwave, pour some meat balls and sauce on top of it and then garnish with parsley, thyme and parmesan cheese. I prefer to heat a fry pan with a dash of veg oil, put in the vermicelli, the sauce and meatballs and toss till combined. Only takes a minute and not to overcook the vermicelli. I like the sauce combined well with the vermicelli.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Mee Siam (Hot and spicy)

This dish is not for the faint-hearted. Got to be chilli hot and spicy in order to be authentic. Toning it down a little is possible but too much will lose its flavour. This is very popular in Malaysia and must have its influence from Thailand (formerly known as Siam), thus its name is Mee Siam. It is a bit of a misrepresentation as it is not really mee (noodles) but meehoon (rice vermicelli). Great for lunch.

Serves 4:
2 tbs Dried shrimps soaked in hot water for 2 minutes and then drained
12 raw prawn cutlets marinate with 1 tsp sugar
10 stalks garlic chives cut in 2” length
½ packet of bean sprouts washed and drained
1 small packet (2 cakes) of meehoon soaked for about 3 minutes in warm water and drained
4 pieces (2 cups) of tauqua (fried taufoo) cut in 5mm strips
1 hard boiled egg, quartered to garnish
2 tbs sweet brown bean paste
1-2 cup water
1 tbs thai fish sauce
1 tbs soya sauce
Salt to taste (about 1/2 -1 tsp)
1-2 tsp Belachan pellets (Malaysian shrimp paste)


shallots and garlic


Dried shrimps

Garlic chives


Spice paste:
1 red onion medium roughly cut         ]
4 pips garlic roughly cut                     ]  blend together till smooth
1 tsp chilli paste or 4 hot chillies         ]
lemon zest of 1 lemon                        ]

Put 1 tbs oil in wok and fry in medium high heat dried shrimp till brown and fragrant, remove from wok. Do the same for the taukua, and then with the prawns.
Put 2 tbs oil in wok and fry for about 2 minutes in medium heat blended garlic, chillis and onions till fragrant. Add brown bean paste and belachan and fry for about 1 minute till fragrant. Then add 1 cup water and meehoon. Place bean sprouts, prawns, garlic chives, taukua and dried shrimps on top of meehoon. Add fish sauce and soya sauce. Cover and let it cook for about 1 minute. Remove cover and combine thoroughly with 2 ladels. 
Garnish with hard boiled egg and lemon/lime juice. So nice and hot, it burns the mouth. Use 2 or 3 chillis will do to reduce heat.

Raw Fish (Sashimi)

We are so blessed with fresh seafood in NZ, so lucky and we take it for granted. We buy our fish fillet from a fish shop located in Westfield Shopping Mall in Manukau City. We inform them that we wanted some salmon, snapper (terakihi is just as good) and tuna for raw fish and has to be fresh. So far we get the freshest in store and never failed. When we get home, we rinse the fish with cold water, remove the skin from the salmon (the shop can do it for you for free if you ask), remove the bones ( there are a few, about half a dozen which you can feel by running your finger through the fish) with tweezers and then slice them at an angle (about 45 degree). The slices should be about 5mm (1/4") thick and about bite size. I garnish with some grated radish, flat leaf parsley (or any green herb) and a nasturtium flower (which is bright yellow orange) when in season, glad wrap it and keep in the fridge until we are ready to eat. The grated radish was dipped in cold water for about a minute and it gets nicely curly/fluffy.

Dipping sauce:
Instead of using expensive Japanese soya sauce (and there are so many types to choose from), we use a premium sauce from Lee Kum Kee which we also use it for general cooking. Any other soya sauce will do as long as it is not too salty and suits your palate. 
Squeeze a tad (more if you like it hot) of wasabi (horse radish) into the soya sauce and stir to mix. There are also several brands of Wasabi in the grocery shop to choose from.
To Eat:
Pick up a piece of raw fish, dip it into the sauce and eat it.
Great tucker, taste the freshness, nutritious, simple and yum. Taste like heaven if you catch your own fish.
Will probably cost you an arm and a leg to eat such a big portion in the restaurant.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Crispy fried chicken

This recipe was inspired by David Chang's book (Momofuku). David is famous for his restaurants in New York and this fried chicken is an all time favourite. If I am not mistaken it costs US$100 a plate. The process is lengthy but the outcome is well worth the effort for me. To some people who could not taste the difference, it may not be worth the hassle. 
5 chicken drumsticks and 10 full wings (6-7 servings)
Brine Solution:
½ cup white sugar
¼ cup coarse salt (I thought ½ cup coarse salt would be too salty, so I reduced it to ¼ cup)
2 cups boiled water to dissolve sugar and salt in a bowl
2 cups tap water to add on after dilution to bring solution to lukewarm

Spring onions for garnishing.

Octo Vinaigrette:
2 tablespoons finely chopped garlic
2 tablespoons chopped peeled fresh ginger
2 small fresh hot green chilli seeded and chopped
1 tablespoon sweet chilli sauce
2 tbs balsamc vinegar
3 tbs  usukuchi (light soy sauce)
2 tbs olive oil
2 teaspoon Asian sesame oil
1 tablespoons sugar
Freshly ground black pepper

Marinate the chicken for 1-1.5 hour in brine solution.

Remove from brine, rinse and steam the wings for 12 minutes and drumsticks for 20 minutes.
I transfer to a large plate and place it near the window to cool down (for at least 1 hour, the longer the drier the better)  with the cold spring draft. The chicken wings look good and very appetizing.

When cooled and ready to fry, rub the chicken with some dark soy sauce to give it a nice brown colour when finished.

I used the wok and poured in about 4 cups of vegetable oil, bring it up to high heat and then slide in enough chicken to fill the oil, cover with oil splatter and cook for about 6 minutes, turning after every 2 minutes. Cook in small batches. Remove and drain on paper towel. Toss with the Octo Vinaigrette while it is still hot. Garnish with spring onions.

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Hokkien Noodles

Cooked hokkien meehoon today for lunch and it was good. Would be even better if we had pork fat with it.
Shallots – 1 piece (about 1” size) thinly sliced
Garlic – 3 pips diced
Cabbage – 1/5, the stem sliced thinly. Outer leaves test for crunchiness. Choose only crunchy leaves. Sliced in ½” thick.
Meehoon – 2 sections (1/2 packet) for 4 pp. Soaked in warm water for 4 minutes and drain.
Chicken – sliced 1 cup, marinate in 1 tsp soya sauce, 1 tsp corn flour, 1 tsp sesame oil , ½ tsp sugar.
Shrimps – 14pcs marinate in 1 tsp sugar.
Cooking oil : 2 tbs vegetable oil for each fry (fried in 2 lots instead of all at once. More fragrant.
Dark soya sauce : 2 tbs
Soya sauce : 1 tbs
Fish sauce : 1 tbs
Balsamic vinegar : 1 tbs
Sugar : 3 tsp
Salt : 1 tsp
Ikan bilis or chicken stock cube : ½ pce or 1 tbs oyster sauce
Hot Water : 2 tbs
White pepper : dash

Fresh cut green or red chillis serve with soya sauce and some lemon juice.

Set wok temperature to medium high, add cooking oil and wait till hot. Add shallots and garlic and stir till fragrant. Add chicken pieces and stir till it turns white, add shrimps and stir. Then add cabbage and a couple tbs of sauce and stir for 30 seconds. Add meehoon and stir fry for 10-20 secs. Add 2 tbs of sauce to meehoon and keep stirring. Add 1 cup hot water and cover to cook for about 30 secs. Open cover and stir till well combined. Serve.