Vietnamese Noodle Soup

3 cups chicken stock
1+1/2 chicken breast (cubed)
1/2 tsp. turmeric powder
4 tbsp. fish sauce
2 garlic cloves (minced)
1 small chili (chopped)
1 tsp. muscovado sugar
165 ml (like 3/4 cup) coconut milk
2 tbsp. lime juice
1 spring onion (sliced)
2 tbsp. chopped peanuts
150 g rice noodles (cooked)
1 tsp. sesame oil
salt
white pepper
bean sprouts (blanched)

Add turmeric, fish sauce, garlic, chili, sugar and coconut milk to the stock. Bring to a boil, add cubed chicken breast and cook for 5 minutes. Reduce heat and add sesame oil and peanuts.
Assembly – place rice noodles in a bowl, add some bean sprouts, cover with soup and garnish with spring onion.

Singaporean laksa soup

Singaporean laksa soup

Laksa is a popular spicy noodle soup found in many Asian regions, especially Malaysia and Singapore. There is no one specific way to make Laksa, for it has been altered over hundreds of years, and each culture – and even person – has a unique signature recipe.

The most important step is to make your own spice paste – unique to your own liking! I don’t like it too spicy, so i cut the amount of chilies in half and we are using olive oil instead of peanut oil.

 Spice paste 
3 stalks of lemon grass (tender, white hearts minced)
2 hot red chili peppers (deseeded, minced)
4 tsp. galangal (or 4 slices of fresh ginger)
1 tbsp. fresh ginger (chopped)
1 tsp. shrimp paste
3 shallots (roughly chopped)
4 large cloves garlic
4 tbsp. olive oil
1/4 cup fresh cilantro leaves (chopped)
1 tsp. ground turmeric
1 tsp. sugar
1/4 cup tamarind paste

Directions to make spice paste:
Combine lemongrass, chile peppers, galangal, ginger, shrimp paste, shallots, garlic and peanut oil to a blender or food processor. Pulse until well combined. Blend in the cilantro, turmeric, sugar and tamarind and pulse until it has made a paste. Reserve until ready to use. Make paste one day ahead of time for flavors to blend.

Laksa paste

Broth: 
2 tbsp. olive oil
spice paste from recipe above
4 cups homemade chicken stock
1/4 cup fresh cilantro (chopped)
1/4 cup sweet Thai basil (chopped)
1/4 cup fish sauce

To assemble:
200 g thin rice noodles (cooked, drained)
1 can coconut milk
3 cups cooked cubed chicken or whole cooked shrimp

Directions for broth and assembling soup:
Heat oil in a large pot over medium heat. Stir spice paste into oil and heat for a few minutes. Add chicken stock and let it come to a boil. Lower heat to low and add in cilantro, basil and fish sauce and let gently simmer.

When ready to serve, stir the coconut milk into the hot broth. Place precooked noodles in a large bowl and top with chicken or shrimp and pour broth around noodles.

Garnish:
hard boiled eggs
cucumber (deseeded, cut in strips)
1 cup bean sprouts (blanched)
freshly squeezed lime or lemon juice
fresh cilantro leaves

Top the soup with garnishes and squeeze a lime over soup.

Basil pesto

Homemade basil pesto

2 cups fresh basil leaves
2 cloves garlic
1/4 cup pine nuts (toasted)
2/3 cup olive oil
salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
1/2 cup freshly grated parmesan cheese

Combine the basil, garlic, and pine nuts in a food processor and pulse until coarsely chopped. Add 1/2 cup of the oil and process until fully incorporated and smooth. Season with salt and pepper.
If using immediately, add all the remaining oil and pulse until smooth. Transfer the pesto to a bowl and mix in the cheese.
Cook some pasta (reserve some of cooking water before draining) and stir in the pesto. If the mixture is to dry add a splash or two of cooking starchy liquid and mix well.

Homemade basil pesto pasta

Refrigerated, in an airtight container, and with a layer of olive oil on top pesto can last up to one week.
If freezing, transfer to an air-tight container and drizzle remaining oil over the top. Freeze for up to 3 months. Thaw and stir in cheese.

The Story of dim sum

Dim Sum

Dim sum and tea make a charming combination not just on our tables, but in the tale of Chinese history.
While journeying the famous Silk Road, weary travelers and farmers would stop at teahouse for Yum Cha, or “sipping tea”, for some hot tea and relaxing conversation. As the tea’s ability in aiding digestion become known, a variety of light dish were served together with the tea.
This gave birth to the custom of Dim Sum or “a bit of heart”.

My story with dim sum is always the same, I go home with my pants unbuttoned.

pants down
If dim sum is well prepared with high quality ingredients there is nothing better to eat in this world.

Dim Sum has a bit of my heart too.

Aloo Gobi

Aloo Gobi

Aloo gobi, in India that simply means: “potato cauliflower”. You can modify this recipe using sweet potatoes.

2 large potatoes (peeled and cut into 1-inch chunks)
1 head cauliflower (cut into florets)
2 onion (diced)
1 tbsp. whole cumin seeds
2 tsp. ground cinnamon
2 tbsp. homemade curry powder 
salt
1/2 cup water
1 bunch cilantro (chopped )
butter and olive oil

Melt the butter in a large skillet over medium heat, adding some oil will prevent butter from overheating. Add the cumin seeds and gently fry them for a minute or two to heat them through (remove staleness and brighten their flavour).

Add the onions and sauté until they soften. Add the cinnamon and curry powder and stir well for another minute or so.

Add the potato and cauliflower and stir well to coat them with the spices.

Season with salt, add a splash or two of water, cover with a tight-fitting lid and lower the heat. Continue cooking until the potatoes are tender, another 20 minutes or so.

Just before serving, sprinkle with fresh cilantro.

Green peas pancake

Green peas pancakes

1 cup of frozen peas (thawed)
1 egg
1 onion (chopped)
1 clove garlic (minced)
1 tbsp. cilantro (chopped)
2 tbsp. water
1 cup chickpea flour
1 cup white flour
1 tsp. of baking powder
1 tsp. of homemade curry powder
1 tsp. of salt
splash of olive oil for baking

Put peas, egg, onion and garlic, cilantro, water and oil into a food processor and puree.
Add flour, baking powder, curry powder and salt and puree until a smooth batter forms.
Heat a skillet over medium heat and add oil. Using a small ladle, add batter to the hot pan to make small pancakes. Cook on the first side until bubbles form on top, flip and cook the other side until golden brown.

Green pancakes with sauce

Candid Ginger

Homemade Candid ginger

David Lebovitz’s recipe:

500 g fresh ginger, peeled
4 cups sugar (around 800 g), plus plus additional sugar for coating the ginger slices
4 cups (1L) water
pinch of salt

1. Slice the ginger as thinly as possible. It can’t be too thin, so use a sharp knife.

Fresh ginger

2. Put the ginger slices in a pot, add enough water to cover the ginger, and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and let ginger simmer for ten minutes. Drain, and repeat, simmering the ginger slices one more time.

3. Mix the sugar and 4 cups (1l) water in the pot, along with a pinch of salt and the ginger slices, and cook until the temperature reaches 106C. (You don’t need a candy thermometer to make this. Simply keep an eye on the pot and when the liquid is the consistency of thin honey, it’s done and ready to go.)

4. Remove from heat and let stand for at least an hour, drain very well while the ginger is hot, so the syrup will drain away better.

5. Toss the drained ginger slices in granulated sugar. Shake off excess sugar, and spread the ginger slices on a cooling rack overnight, until they’re somewhat dry. The sugar can be reused in a batter or ice cream base, or for another purpose.

It takes few days for ginger to be dry completely.

Dried ginger

If tossed in sugar, the pieces can be stored at room temperature for a few months.