Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Kab Yob/Eggrolls

Eggrolls...everyone has their own recipes. Some may even have a secret ingredient or two. Unfortunately, I don't have any secret ingredients...yet. When I was little, my mother would make eggrolls using her memory and taste. She never measured anything and there was never any recipes written. When she's done mixing up the filling, she'll taste it raw and spit out. I can't be a taster like her so I sniff the filling. So far, my smelling technique works for me. I grew up making eggrolls like my mother...with no recipes. Every ingredient needed was all in my head and how much ingredient needed was all in my smell. If I could smell the key ingredients then it was good. But I knew one day I'll have to have a written recipe and  a secret ingredient. I've been experimenting on eggrolls, though there isn't much ways to experiment on them. I've added different spices and sauces, but still couldn't find my secret ingredient. Also, I had to learn how to make smaller batches. One thing about making eggrolls is that I always made them in huge batches. Coming from a big family, my mom always made everything in huge batches so I learned the same thing. Everytime I made eggrolls for my husband and I, it would take me almost the whole day. Making the filling, rolling up the eggrolls, and deep frying the eggrolls took a lot of time for one person. My husband would help out, but he's not that great at it. Finally, after so many hard work, I went with my original recipe that I always make...and this time I wrote down measurements and made a smaller batch. I know many other people may have a similar recipes, but that's because we're asians. Most of our recipes will be similar. A lot of people like their eggrolls plain with salt and black pepper, but I like mines with alittle more flavor. I love my eggrolls dipped in a spicy pepper sauce and my husband loves his with a peanut sauce. But it's safe to say, everyone loves eggrolls.

Eat them while nice and hot...
But be careful!!

My package of noodles came in little bags like this.
If you can't find this brand just use half of any noodle package.
More noodles won't hurt.
4 (1.3 oz) bags bean thread noodles
1 (1 oz) bag wood fungus strips
3 cups shredded carrots
1/2 head of cabbage, shredded
1/2 bag of frozen peas
1 lbs ground pork
4 eggs
1 1/2 Tbsp salt
2 tsp black pepper
2 tsp sugar
2 Tbsp Maggi seasoning sauce or soy sauce
1/2 cup dark sweet soy sauce
2 tsp grated ginger
1 onion, diced
1 pack (25) spring roll wraps, frozen
1 egg yolk

Luckily, my grocery store sells the perfect amount of dried
fungus for my filling.
***Mushrooms are optionals. If you can't find fungus strips, just use any dried mushrooms. After hydrating them, just cut them into thin strips. Add alittle or a lot. If you're not sure, add a cup of fungus for the first try. Also, if it's too much time to shred carrots and cabbage, just use half a bag of cole slaw mix. I personally like more carrots than cabbage and the freshness of the vegetables.

Prepare ahead of time:
Soak noodles and fungus in hot water for about 30 minutes. Diced onions. Shred carrots and cabbage. (Can add more cabbage if desired) Grate ginger using microplane and set aside. Defrost wraps on counter.

Drain noodles and chop them into smaller strands. Drain fungus and throw away any hard pieces.

Add all ingredients together except the one egg yolk. Mix with hands first to evenly break apart the ground pork. You can sniff it at this point and see if it needs more of something, if you know what you're doing. This is the part where my mother would taste it.

I use a fork to measure out the right amount of filling. I'm also very good at using my eyes to figure out the right amount, but the key is to have about the same amount of filling in each eggroll.

By now the wraps should be perfectly defrosted and easy to peel. Face one corner of the wrap towards you...kind of like a squared out diamond. Add the filling alittle bit below the mid point of the wrap. Shape it like a log, not too long and not too fat. Take the corner that's towards you (that would be the bottom corner according to the picture) and gently roll it over the filling. Very carefully, but tightly, roll the eggrolls upward until aligned with the side corners. Tuck in the corners (the more you tuck in, the shorter the eggroll) and continue rolling tightly until you're near the the top corner. Remember to be gentle while rolling as tight as you can. It's okay if the eggroll isn't tight, but it won't look pretty. Dab alittle bit of the egg yolk to the top corner and roll all the way until sealing the eggroll. Lay finished eggroll on its sealed side and continue making eggrolls until all fillings or wraps are done. I was able to make about 30 eggrolls which required 2 packs of wraps.

Deep Fry:
Heat up lots of oil in a deep fryer on medium heat. Fry about 4-5 eggrolls at a time so they can evenly cook and so that the oil temperature won't drop. Fry them until they're golden brown, about 5-7 minutes. Set them on paper towels to drain excess oil and eat.

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Korean Sushi

I love japanese sushi as much as the next guy, but when I found out about korean sushi I was hooked. Very similar to japanese sushi, but warmer and more fulfilling. Also, no raw fish which I'm not a big fan of. Korean sushi is like eating a meal wrapped up in a nori. I love making this for my husband, it's his favorite. He prefers this over japanese sushi. Traditional korean sushi or kimbap is made with pickled daikon, blanched spinach, and sauteed carrots. I didn't have pickled daikons, spinach, or carrots in hand so I substituted with dou chua which is vietnamese pickled daikon and carrots. It's very easy to assemble and all ingredients can be found at your local supermarket.

All the ingredients for the marinade
thinly sliced beef
1 tsp minced garlic
1 tsp minced ginger
2 tsp sesame oil
1 Tbsp dark sweet soy sauce
1 Tbsp sugar
2 Tbsp soy sauce

Mix all ingredients together very well. Cover with saran wrap and refridgerate for about 1 hr or over night.

* I used beef chuck sliced thinly across the grains. You can use any beef. Also, I used minced ginger and garlic from a tube which made life so much easier. If you can't find dark sweet soy sauce....eliminate it and use honey.

2 cups uncooked rice
1 Tbsp sesame oil
1 Tbsp roasted sesame seeds
4 eggs, beaten
Salt and pepper
Dou Chua (check my recipe: easy banh mi)
Nori wraps

Rice: If you are using instant rice then follow the directions on the box. If not, scoop up 2 cups of uncooked rice. Wash out the rice with water until the water is becomes clearer. Cook the rice according to your rice cooker. My rice cooker says for every cup of rice add 1 1/4 cup of water. When rice is cooked, dish it out onto a bowl. Add the sesame oil and roasted sesame seeds. Mix well, but don't smash the rice and set it aside.

My husband is not a big fan of sesame oil and sesame seeds
so I added enough to give it flavor but you can always add more
Eggs: Beat the eggs. Add salt and black pepper to your desire (about a pinch of salt and pepper per egg) and cook on a oiled skillet. Keep it round...not scrambled. Push in the edges of the egg omelet towards the center while tilting the pan so other raw egg parts can  be cooked. Keep as round as possible. When majority of raw eggs are partially cooked, carefully flipped the whole thing over and let cook for a few minutes. Dish out onto a cutting board and slice in 1/2 inch strips. Set aside.

It's a bit tricky to flip this whole thing, but practice makes perfect.
Meat: Take out the marinated beef and cook in medium heat. Cook until sauce has reduced or until beef is fully cooked and sauce is thickened.

I think it's best to cook the beef until all the liquid has disappeared,
that way the sauce won't interfere with the rice.
It's okay if there's a little sauce.
Lay grid side of nori wrap facing up. Spoon a few spoonfuls of rice onto the nori and flatten evenly as much as you can. Add a layer of beef strips, a strip of egg, and some duo chua. Roll up nori wrap, tightening as you roll but being careful not to tear the wrap, and seal with water.

Lay all ingredients just below the half way point of the wrap.
Viola!! Then slice about 1/2 inch thick and server with soy sauce diluted with either vinegar or water. Making it sure took quite a bit of time, but it was well worth the time and effort.

I was able to make 6 fat sushi with all ingredients...woot hoot!

Friday, August 19, 2011

Wedding Anniversary Picnic 2011


Kimbap, korean sushi, made with flavored rice, eggs,
do chua, and marinated beef.
My husband and I had just recently spent our 6 year wedding anniversary together. This year was extra special because we had our son to celebrate with us. Every anniversary, we would do something different and something special to the both of us. In the past, he has surprised me with little meaningful gifts in a special location. They were all special and memorable so this year we decided to do something simple. Lately, my husband's been very busy at work so it was important for the both of us to have a good relaxing time. We decided to do a picnic at the beach. The picnic menu was easy to make. I just had to go through my recipes that didn't require reheating. I came up with all my husband's favorite dishes: korean sushi, fresh summer rolls with a peanut dipping sauce, bun bo xao with nuoc cham, chocolate mouse cake, and watermelons.

Fresh Spring Rolls

Fresh rolls: vermicelli noodles, lettuce, cilantro,
and honey roasted ham

Fresh spring rolls were the first to come into mind when planning a picnic outdoors. It's easy and simple to make and can be eaten at room temperature. My husband loves fresh rolls because we can make it as healthy as we want. Fresh rolls can be filled with anything you want that doesn't require a microwave. I love the fresh rolls for the noodles...I stuffed mines with lots of noodles. Also, it doesn't require spoons or forks. Fresh spring rolls originated from Vietnam, but now you can find them with a chinese, thai, and even french twist. There are even some fresh spring rolls made for desserts!
Bun Bo Xao

Bun Bo Xao: lemon grass marinated beef, vermicelli noodles,
and nuoc cham (chili fish sauce)

Bun bo xao with nuoc cham is a vietnamese dish that's eaten cold and very simple to make. Bun bo xao is simply a bed of noodles with marinated beef and toppings. Nuoc cham is the chili fish sauce that combines everything favorite sauce. You can add toppings like bean sprouts, mint, cilantro, peanuts, and shredded carrots. I only used what I had, but it's very delicious without toppings. I grew up eating this dish. I remember going into a vietnamese store and they would have it already made to eat. I forgot about this dish until I came to Hawaii. My husband fell inlove with it too. It's like a cold noodle salad...perfect for the beach!

Nuoc Cham

Nuoc cham: fish sauce, sugar, water, chili peppers, lime juice
I love nuoc cham! I make it to eat with almost everything. I can make it really spicy or less spicy for my husband. It's great with all kinds of spring rolls, egg rolls, cabbage rolls, or as a pepper dip for beef, pork, chicken, etc. Very simple to make and doesn't require much effort. Alittle of this sauce goes a long way. You only need a few spoonfuls of this sauce over your bun bo xao and it will taste great already. This sauce is a very thin sauce so the flavor spreads very easily. I packed this in a seperate container and off to the beach we went!! Had a great picnic with my little family!! Recipes coming soon...

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

One Dinner Night

A nicely seared juicy medium well flank steak with a side of creamy buttery mashed potatoes...delicious!! Unfortunately, there are no recipes. I was going through my photo albums and found these pictures.  All I can remember is that they were so delicious that I still crave for them. I cooked these on special nights when I feel like my husband deserves an extra special meal...but I think it's time for me to cook whenever I crave for a nice juicey streak. I was never a steak eater until I was pregnant with my son. The first and second trimester...I was all about fuji apples. Then in my third trimester, I was all about steaks.  

I used a skirt flank steak...seasoned it and seared it
Obviously...I didn't let it sit long enough...too eager to slice it up
What's better paired with steaks than mashed potatoes...
I also added steamed vegetables but no pictures
When I was pregnant with my son, I had this strong craving for purple sticky rice. Sadly, I couldn't find it anywhere not even the ingredients to make it. Luckily, my mom sent me the ingredients and my cravings were fulfilled. Purple sticky rice is just like sweet sticky rice, but with a blend of black sweet rice. (I know, it's says black but the color is purple) You may have seen the black sweet rice made in a chinese soup dish with red beans. It's acutally a favorite dish of mines...perfect on cold school nights and late studying. Basically, the white sticky rice is dyed with the liquid from the purple sticky rice. The taste is a bit different than just plain white sticky rice.

I love eating the purple sticky rice by itself, with larb, fried eggs, or (my husband's favorite) sardines.

I mixed some purple sticky rice with the white sticky rice
both cooked perfectly...fresh out of the steamer
I love the smell of fresh cooked rice!!
Lau Lau, an Hawaiian dish consisting of pork wrapped in Taro leaves then wrapped in Ti leaves. This specific lau lau is made up of pork belly and purple potatoes. You can find a variety of lau laus. Some made with chicken, beef, salted butterfish, and no potatoes. For some, the smell of the Ti leaves is a bit too strong but don't won't be eating the Ti leaf. I've had authentic lau laus and I actually can't even taste the salted butterfish. I guess it's there to bring a bit of a flavor to the pork since they don't flavor the pork. Getting authentic lau laus is sometimes a challenge...traffic is way too crazy sometimes so I buy mines already made at the supermarket. All I have to do is steam them. I love the purple potatoes....kind of like sweet potatoes but purple. It's now one of my favorite dish and I plan to make my own versions of a lau lau soon.

The big tough leaves around the lau lau is the Ti leaf that it was wrapped in
Here you can see the purple potato snuggled in pork belly meat
all covered in taro leaves.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Creamy Khaub Poob Fawm/Creamy Kapong Pho

I love Nqaub Poob (kapong). It's a curry noodle soup dish made with chicken and coconut as well as other Thai ingredients. It is a Thai dish, but has become a traditional dish in many Hmong families. It comes in a variety of spicyness: mild, medium, and hot. I also love Fawm (pho) which is a Vietnamese dish that has become a traditional dish to many Hmong families also. I've combined some ingredients from Pho/Fawm and some from Kapong/Nquab Poob. I couldn't figure out what I really wanted to eat that day...I craved for some curry and craved for beef at the same time. So this recipe came to me at the last minute. I added peanut butter because my husband loves adding peanut butter to his kapong and I fell in love with it too. I didn't have any toppings to make this dish really great...I used what I had on hand only. But feel free to add mint leaves, bean sprouts, and thinly sliced cabbage as toppings.

My Pho and Kapong combination creation.
The beef and onions are from the pho recipe.
The curry and peanut butter is from the kapong recipe.
(I will post up the kapong recipe soon) 
Beef chuck roast, thin slices
2 tsp soy sauce
¼ tsp magi’s seasoning sauce
½ tsp sugar
1 Tbsp corn starch
1 garlic clove, minced

1 lbs oriental style vermicelli noodles
¼ tsp grated garlic
¼ tsp grated ginger
1 onion, sliced
3-4 lime leaves
2 star anise
½ stalk lemon grass
4 oz can curry paste
½ cup peanut butter (I used crunchy peanut butter)
5 cups water
2 Tbsp sugar

Start with the meat. Use as much or as little beef as you like, but be sure they're thinly sliced. Mix all ingredients together and set aside.
Meanwhile, boil a huge pot of water to cook the noodles. The noodles will take about 10 minutes to cook, but this depends on the thickness of the noodles. They are done when you try one and it’s not chewy. Constantly stir to prevent stickiness from one another and the pot. When noodles are cooked, immediately drain out some of the hot water and add cold water to stop the cooking process. Repeat this process until the water is cooler. Drain and set aside.

Heat up a pot with 1 tsp of oil. Add in the beef mixture, the grated garlic and ginger, and stir until beef starts to brown. Then slowly add the curry paste and onions. (Curry paste comes in a mild, medium, and hot flavor. Choose which ever flavor you desire. I’m using a medium flavor.) Cook the curry until it darkens in color. Next, you will add the 5 cups of water and bring to a boil. Then add the peanut butter, sugar, lime leaves, star anise, and lemon grass. Stir and let simmer for about 30-45 minutes.

Grab some noodles into a bowl and spoon some of the creamy curry over your noodles. Top off with bean sprouts and mint leaves. Serve.

It was delicious!! Tastes like kapong and pho, but it was too spicy for my hubby.
Next time, I will have to go with mild. It's lighter in color and not spicy.
The peanut butter is just delicious with curry.

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