Sunday, November 28, 2010

Thai Green Chicken curry - week 47 of 52

Continuing with the Asian theme, wanted to make some Thai green curry. My dad makes a mean Indonesian curry, but I prefer Thai curry. I made everything except the curry sauce below – this I found at the local asian supermarket. I used probably about 2 tablespoons of the curry – you can adjust to taste.

I also added veggies to the dish to make it a little more complete. I added carrots, broccoli, green beans and eggplant. I threw this in along with the chicken. You can add whatever veggies you like. Note - eggplant apparently takes long to cook than the other veggies - you may want to saute until almost cooked before putting into the curry.

Later in the week I made a vegetarian option with tofu (firm) instead of the chicken and added veggies above along with baby corn and red peppers. That was my favourite! You must find lime leaves - it makes such a difference and will add an authetic touch to the curry. Lime leaves are from the kaffir lime bush - a plant native to Indonesia, Malaysia and Thailand. Becareful - they have some sharp thorns (I found out the hard way!)

It’s incredibly easy (as long as your buy the green curry sauce at the store) and if you prep the night before you’ll have a tasty tasty curry in 15 minutes! Curry in a hurry - love it!

Bon appetit!

Thai Green Curry Chicken courtesy of The Canadian Living Test Kitchen
4 servings
Cost $
Rating (out of 5) ****

4 boneless skinless chicken breasts
1 tbsp (15 mL) vegetable oil
2 tbsp (25 mL) finely chopped shallots
5 garlic cloves, minced
1 tbsp (15 mL) finely chopped gingerroot
3 tbsp (45 mL) green curry paste, (see recipe below)
1 tbsp (15 mL) fish sauce
4 lime leaves
1 can coconut milk
1 cup (250 mL) Thai basil leaves
2 tsp (10 mL) lime juice

Cut chicken into 1-inch (2.5 cm) pieces; set aside.
In large skillet, heat oil over medium heat; cook shallots, garlic and ginger, stirring, for about 2 minutes or until softened. Stir in green curry paste, fish sauce, lime leaves and coconut milk until combined.
Add chicken to pan; simmer for about 8 minutes or until slightly thickened and chicken is no longer pink inside. Stir in basil leaves and lime juice.

Additional Information:
Green Curry Paste:
8 small green chilies, seed and chopped
1/2 cup (125 mL) chopped fresh coriander (stems and roots included)
1/2 cup (125 mL) chopped shallots
1/4 cup (50 mL) trimmed and chopped lemongrass
5 cloves garlic, chopped
1 piece galangal, peeled (1 inch/2.5 cm)
2 tsp (10 mL) ground coriander
2 tsp (10 mL) vegetable oil
1 tsp (5 ml) each ground cumin, turmeric and shrimp paste
1/2 tsp (2 mL) each salt and pepper
In blender, puree together chilies, coriander, shallots, lemongrass, garlic, galangal, coriander, oil, cumin, turmeric, shrimp paste, salt and pepper.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Chinese Almond Cookies - week 46 of 52

I was recently at my friend’s “Moon Yuet” – where a new baby, at least one month old, is introduced to friends and family at a banquet. In ancient China, infant mortality rates were quite high, and a baby who reached one month would likely survive and that was celebrated.

The parents will have red-dyed eggs which symbolize happiness and renewal of life. There is also a many many course dinner, at the end of which they serve dessert, including almond cookies. These are crisp almond cookies with a crackled top, and are also sold at Chinese supermarkets.

I wanted to make some to share with my friends at work. I found this recipe on and they generally have great recipes (and the picture looked really pretty!)
These were very easy to make and I discovered what gives the cookies a crackled look – once the cookies rise, the egg yolk that’s brushed onto the cookies “crackles”.
Although the cookies were yummy, they tasted more like almond shortbread than crispy almond cookies. I will have to find another almond cookie recipe and try again! However, as you can see from the picture below, I might be better off to buy them for $2.49

Bon appétit!

Chinese Almond Cookies
Rating (out of 5) ***
Cost $

3/4 cup (175 mL) butter, softened
3/4 cup (175 mL) shortening
3/4 cup (175 mL) granulated sugar
1 egg
2 tsp (10 mL) almond extract
1/2 tsp (2 mL) vanilla
3 cups (750 mL) all-purpose flour
1/2 cup (125 mL) ground almonds
1-1/4 tsp (6 mL) baking powder
70 blanched whole almonds, (about 2/3 cup/150 mL)
1 egg yolk

In large bowl, beat together butter, shortening and sugar until fluffy. Beat in egg, almond extract and vanilla. In separate bowl, whisk together flour, ground almonds and baking powder; add to butter mixture and stir to form stiff dough.

Roll dough by tablespoonfuls (15 mL) into balls. Place, 2 inches (5 cm) apart, on greased or parchment paper?lined rimless baking sheet; top each with whole almond, pressing into dough. Mix egg yolk with 1 tsp (5 mL) water; brush over cookies.

Bake in centre of 350°F (180°C) oven until edges are light golden, about 15 minutes. Transfer to rack; let cool completely. (Make-ahead: Layer between waxed paper in airtight container and store at room temperature for up to 5 days or freeze for up to 2 weeks.)

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Mu shu pork - week 45 of 52

This week I had a craving for Chinese food – after being on the road for 3 weeks, just wanted a good home cooked meal. Mu shu pork is one of my favourites – Chinese fajitas!

Mu shu pork is a northern Chinese dish generally made of shredded or sliced pork, eggs and Chinese black mushrooms and shredded bok choy. These are stir fried together and wrapped in a thin pancake.

I went to T&T to get most of these ingredients. Some changes to the recipe-
- Used ground pork instead of shredded pork
- Added fresh shitake mushrooms (about 5)

The mu shu pork is very easy to make – just takes some patience with the chopping. One thing about the black mushrooms is you buy them dried and they expand to about 5 times the size once you rehydrate them! They are an acquired taste, as they have a texture that you may not like (think a little rubbery, like the seaweed in wakame salad).

I wanted to make fresh pancakes – those are a little time consuming – so you may want to just serve the mu shu pork as a stir fry if you don’t have the patience.
I’ve always wondered how they got them so thin! You only need two ingredients – boiling water and flour. Knead until smooth and then let rest for about 20 minutes. Then you take small pieces, brush the tops of two of the pieces with sesame oil and then roll out into a flat pancake. These are then cooked in a non-stick pan and then removed from the heat. The sesame oil between the pancakes allow them to be peeled apart – becareful – the pancakes are really hot and release some steam. It’s really neat though!

I really enjoyed the mu shu pork and pancakes – the pancakes didn’t turn out perfectly round, but still turned out super tasty! Time consuming but definitely worth it!

Enjoy! Bon appetit!

Mu Shu Pork – serves 4 – courtesy of
Rating (out of 5) ****
Cost **

• 2 tablespoons soy sauce
• 1 tablespoon dry sherry
• 1 teaspoon hoisin sauce
• 1/2 pound boneless lean pork, shredded
• 4 dried black mushrooms
• 2 cups finely shredded Napa cabbage
• 1 carrot, julienned
• 3 scallions, white and light green parts, slivered
• 1 cup bean sprouts
• 3 tablespoons peanut oil
• 2 eggs, lightly beaten with 1/2 teaspoon salt
• 3 cloves garlic, minced
• 3 teaspoons freshly grated ginger
• 3 tablespoons chicken stock
• 2 tablespoons soy sauce
• 1 tablespoon dry sherry
• 2 teaspoons sesame oil
• 1 teaspoon sugar
• Hoisin sauce

Combine soy sauce, sherry and hoisin sauce in a bowl. Add the pork, toss to coat evenly, cover, refrigerate and marinate for 30 minutes.

Meanwhile, soak the mushrooms in enough hot water to cover for 20 minutes. Drain and thinly slice. Set aside on a plate, along with the cabbage, carrot and scallions.
Heat a wok or large skillet over medium/high heat. Add 1 tablespoon of the peanut oil and swirl to coat. Pour in the eggs, swirling and tilting the wok to form a thin film. Cook just until the eggs are set and feel dry on top, about 1 minute. Transfer to a platter, let cool slightly and cut into 1 inch strips.

Return the wok to high heat, and swirl in the remaining 2 tablespoons oil. Add the garlic, and ginger, and stir-fry to release the aromas, about 1 minute. Add the pork and stirfry until lightly browned, about 2 minutes. Add the reserved mushrooms, cabbage, carrot, bean sprouts, and scallions, along with the chicken stock, and stir-fry another 2 minutes. Stir in soy sauce, sherry, sesame oil, and sugar, and cook, stirring until sauce boils, about 1 minute. Add egg strips and mix well. To serve, spread a small amount of hoisin sauce on a warm Mandarin Pancake. Spoon about 1/2 cup mu shu mixture in center of pancake, wrap like a burrito, folding the ends to close, and serve.

• 2 cups sifted flour
• 3/4 cup boiling water
• 1 to 2 tablespoons sesame oil

Place flour in a medium bowl, making a well in the center. Pour in the boiling water, and use a wooden spoon or chopsticks to mix until a soft dough is formed. On a lightly floured surface, knead the dough gently until it is smooth and elastic, about 5 minutes. Cover with a damp towel and let rest for 20 minutes.

On a lightly floured surface, roll dough into a log, 16 inches long. Cut the log crosswise into 1 inch pieces, shape each piece into a ball, then use your hands to flatten each ball into a pancake. Brush the tops of the pancakes lightly with the sesame oil. Then, place one pancake on top of a second pancake, oiled sides together, so that there are 8 pairs. With a rolling pin, flatten each pair into a 6 inch circle. (A tortilla press also works well for this.) Cover the pancakes with a damp towel to rest.

Heat an ungreased, nonstick skillet over medium heat. Cook the pancakes, one at a time, turning them once as they puff and little bubbles appear on the surface, until lightly browned, about 2 minutes on each side. As each pancake is finished, remove from pan and gently separate the halves into 2 pancakes while still hot. Stack cooked pancakes on a plate while cooking the remaining pancakes.
Serve pancakes while still warm with Mu Shu Pork. Or, pancakes may be prepared up to 1 day in advance, wrapped in plastic, and refrigerated. Pancakes may also be frozen. Reheat them by steaming for 5 minutes, or warming them in a 350 degree F oven, wrapped in foil, for 10 minutes.

Yield: 16 pancakes

Sunday, November 7, 2010

NYC - food bites week 44 of 52

Hi everyone – I just got back from a week away for work and this week will fill you in on the NYC food bites! Recipe next week – stay tuned!

I went to Iron Chef Morimoto’s restaurant in New York City when I was there for work – I walked in and was seated at the sushi bar. I ordered the toro tartare because Duff Goldman had put it on an episode of “Best Thing I Ever Ate” - it was incredible!

The dish was visually stunning! Minced toro is served in a tray with a mini scoop – the way to eat it is to take the scoop and take some of the toro and dip into one of 6 sides: crème fraiche, avocado, seaweed sauce, rice crakers, sprout or fresh wasabi. Not only was the dish beautiful, it was one of the best things I’ve ever eaten!

I ordered several other dishes, including soft shell crab roll, gyoza in an interesting bacon foam and lobster fritters – they were all good but the toro tartare was hands down the best thing ever! Note: If you’re on a business trip by yourself, definitely get a seat at the sushi bar, that way you get dinner and a show! The chefs make it look so easy – it was mesmerizing to watch them prepare the dishes – it looked almost effortless! Next time will go back for the omakase!
Bon appetit!