Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Japanese Beef Salad Rolls with Sesame Dressing

日式牛肉沙拉卷 配芝麻醬汁
Category: Tapas, Appetizer
Style: Fusion
Difficulty: Easy
Portion: Makes 10 rolls

4 oz thinly sliced sukiyaki beef
1 cup beef stock
1/2 carrot, cut into thin strips
1/2 zucchini, cut into thin strips
1/2 cup alfalfa sprouts
1/2 cup daikon sprouts
2 tbsp Japanese soy sauce
1/4 sweet white onion, minced
2 tbsp beef stock
2 tbsp sake or Japanese cooking wine
1 tbsp sesame paste

To make dressing: Puree all ingredients to a smooth paste using a hand blender or mortar. Set aside.
Heat beef stock in a large saucepan. Briefly blanch the beef strips in the stock, about 10 seconds each.
Place 4 to 5 strips of carrot and zucchini with some daikon and alfalfa sprounts on a strip of beef and roll it up. Repeat until all ingredients are used up.
Put sesame dressing on a plate. Serve beef rolls on top.

Coconut Panna Cotta with Lavender Jelly 椰香意大利奶酪配薰衣草果凍

Category: Dessert
Style: Fusion
Difficulty: Easy
Portion: Serves 6

Lavender Jelly
1/2 cup hot water
2 tbsp sugar
1 tsp dried lavender flowers
1/2 cup cold water
2 tsp gelatin powder
Coconut Panna Cotta
1 cup milk
1 tsp vanilla essence
2.5 tsp gelatin powder
4 tbsp sugar
1.25 cup coconut milk

To make Lavender Jelly:
Put 1/2 cup water in a small sauce pan and sprinkler gelatin powder over it. Let sit for a few minutes. Put over low heat until gelatin melts completely. Mix in sugar, stir gently until completely dissolved.
Meanwhile, Mix 1/2 cup hot water with lavender and let steep 5 minutes, or until liquid turns purple and fragrant. Strain the liquid into gelatin mixture and discard lavender. Mix thoroughly.
To make Coconut Panna Cotta:
Put milk in a small saucepan. Sprinkler gelatin powder over it and let sit for a few minutes.
Put saucepan over low heat, until gelatin melts completely. Add sugar and vanilla, mix until sugar dissolve completely. Add coconut milk. Set aside to cool.
To assemble:
Divide Lavender Jelly among 6 6-oz custard cups. Refrigerate until set, about 1 hour.
Slowly spoon coconut milk mixture on top. Refrigerate until second layer is set, about 2 hours.
To serve, dip custard cup in hot water for 5 seconds, and then invert onto serving plate.

If you want to serve the panna cotta in a cup or glass instead of inverting onto a plate, you can reduce the amount of gelatin to achieve a more delicate consistency. Try using 1 tsp gelatin powder for the Lavender Jelly and 1.5 tsp gelatin powder for the Coconut Panna Cotta. Of course, set the Coconut Panna Cotta first before you add the Lavender Jelly on top.

Roast Duck and Asparagus Vegetable Rolls

with Lemon Soy Dipping Sauce
蘆筍鴨肉卷 配檸香醮汁

Category: Tapas, Appetizer
Style: Fusion
Difficulty: Moderate
Portion: Serves 8

1 cup bean sprouts, heads and tails removed
2 fresh shitake mushrooms, stems removed and caps sliced
10 asparagus spears, cut into lengths
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 tsp sesame oil
1 tsp salt
1 tsp ground white pepper
5 large Chinese cabbage leaves
4 cups water
ice water
4 oz roast duck meat (about 1/4 roast duck)
1 tbsp hoisin sauce
1 pack chives, to garnish
Dipping Sauce
6 tbsp lemon juice
2 tbsp chili garlic sauce
1 tbsp black soy sauce
1 tbsp soy sauce
1 tbsp sugar

To make dipping sauce: combine all ingredients and mix well. Transfer to a serving bowl and set aside.
Remove thick bottom parts of Chinese cabbage leaves and reserve the leafy top parts. Slice the stems into thin shreds.
Put sesame oil in a wok over high heat. Stir fry bean sprouts, mushrooms, asparagus, cabbage stems and garlic until just done, about 2 minutes. Season with 1/2 tsp salt and 1/2 tsp white pepper Set aside.
Slice roast duck meat into long thin strips. Season the duck slices with 1 tbsp hoisin sauce and 1/2 tsp white pepper. Set aside.
Blanch the top parts of cabbage leaves in a pot of boiling water and the remaining 1/2 tsp salt for 30 seconds to barely soften, then immediately plunge into ice water to stop cooking. Spread out blanched leaves and pat dry with paper towels.
Slice each blanched cabbage leaves in half vertically and remove the stiff central stems to obtain 10 rectangular sheets. Place 1 tbsp of the vegetable mixture and 3-4 duck strips on each sheet, then tightly roll up into a cylinder and trim both ends so that the roll can stand on its end. Repeat until all ingredients are used up.
Garnish duck rolls with chives, and serve with lemon soy dipping sauce.

Summer Green Tea Soba with Mussels 夏日青蠔綠茶冷麵

Category: Tapas, Appetizer, Pasta
Style: Fusion
Difficulty: Easy
Portion: Serves 8 as appetizer

1 lb fresh mussels
8 oz dried green tea soba
2 tbsp oyster sauce
2 tbsp Japanese soy sauce
2 tbsp fine bonito flakes
1/4 cup pitted black olives, sliced
1/2 cup sun-dried tomatoes in oil, drained and sliced
4 tbsp minced celery leaves, to garnish

Clean mussels. Bring to boil a large pot of water, and add mussels. Cook covered until mussels open, about 5 minutes. Drain and remove mussels from shells. Set aside and let cool.
Boil green tea soba in a large pot of boiling water for 5-7 minutes or until al dente. Drain and rinse with cold running water until completely cooled. Drain and set aside.
Combine oyster sauce, soy sauce and bonito flakes in a small saucepan and stir to mix. Bring sauce mixture to a boil, then simmer for 5 seconds, remove from heat and set aside to cool.
Place noodles, black olives and sun-dried tomatoes in a mixing bowl. Reserve some sauce, and pour the rest into the bowl. Toss gently to mix thoroughly.
To serve, place noodle on a plate. Top with mussels, and drizzle with reserved sauce on top. Garnish with celery leaves.

Bonito flakes are shavings of dried, cured tuna fish and have a smokey taste almost like fine ham. They are available in Japanese supermarket in coarse or fine flakes. Coarse flakes are used for making dashi stock.

Steak Yakitori with Eggplant 牛扒茄子照燒串

Category: Tapas, Appetizer
Style: Fusion
Difficulty: Moderate
Portion: Serves 8

12 oz rib eye steak or prime rib steak, cut into 1-inch cube, about 18 cubes
2 tbsp sesame oil
1 large Japanese eggplant, cut into 1-inch cube
pinch of salt
bamboo skewers
1/2 tbsp butter
1/2 tbsp vegetable oil
Yakitori Marinade
4 tbsp Japanese soy sauce
2 tbsp Chinese dark say sauce
1.5 tbsp sugar
1 tbsp lemon juice or cider vinegar
1 tsp black pepper

Combine all marinade ingredients in a large mixing bowl and stir well until sugar is dissolved. Marinate beef in marinade for at least 2 hours.
Put a large skillet over high heat. Mix eggplant with sesame oil and a pinch of salt, then sear in hot skillet until softened and charred.
Thread 1 piece of eggplant, followed by 1 beef cube, then another piece of eggplant on a bamboo skewer. Repeat until all ingredients are used up.
Heat butter and oil in a non-stick skillet over high heat. Sear skewers on each side for about 30 seconds or until brown on the outside but still pink inside. Serve hot.

You can also set the skewers over the barbeque.
Pre-soak the bamboo skewers in water for 20 minutes to avoid burning the skewers.

Tiger Prawn Mango Skewers with Sweet Vanilla Chili Dressing

芒果虎蝦串 配香草甜辣醬汁
Category: Tapas, Appetizer
Style: Fusion
Difficulty: Easy
Portion: Makes 10 skewers

8 cups water
1 tsp salt
1 tsp sugar
5 star anise
1/2 lb tiger prawns, about 10
ice water
1 large ripe mango, peeled and cut into chunks, about 20 chunks
10 bamboo skewers
salad greens and lemon wedges to garnish
1 tbsp sweet chili sauce
1 tbsp tomato ketchup
1 tsp extra-virgin olive oil
1/2 tsp sesame oil
1 tbsp sugar
1 tbsp water
1 tbsp lemon juice
1 tsp minced cilantro leaves
1 tsp vanilla extract

To make dressing: Combine all ingredients. Mix well. Set aside.
Bring water to a boil in a large pot of water. Add salt, sugar and star anise. Clean and dry tiger prawns, shell but leave the tail on. Butterfly the prawns and remove dirty intestines. Poach the prawns in boiling water until done, about 3-5 minutes.
Drain prawns and plunge into ice water to cool, then drain and pat dry. Do not break the flesh.
Thread 1 prawn and 2 chunks of mango onto each skewer. Place skewers on a plate lined with salad greens. Spoon 1/2 tsp of dressing over each skewer. Serve with lemon wedges.

Sweet chili sauce can be purchased in Asian supermarket.

Green Tea Custard Pudding 綠茶燉蛋布甸

Category: Dessert
Style: Fusion
Difficulty: Moderate
Portion: Serves 8

3 cups whole milk or whipping cream, or a combination of both
1/2 cup sugar
6 large eggs
2 tsp "matcha" green tea powder
1/4 cup sugar
1/8 cup water
1 tsp "matcha" green tea powder

Preheat over to 300F.
Making Syrup: Mix green tea powder with sugar. Add water and put over medium heat until sugar is dissolved and syrupy. Remove from heat. Do not brown/caramelize sugar.
Put 1 tbsp of syrup at the bottom of each 4 oz custard cup. Let stand a few minutes or until a bit solidified.
Making custard: Mix green tea powder with sugar. Heat the milk over medium heat until it comes to a boil. Remove from heat. Mix sugar mixture in hot milk with a whisk until sugar dissolved. Let stand at least 5 minutes.
Put eggs in a stainless steel bowl and whisk until broken.
Strain milk into bowl while whisking all the time.
Pour custard mixture into prepared custard cups through a sift to remove foam.
Place custard cups into a deep roasting pan 3/4 full with hot water. Bake until set, about 30 minutes. To test doneness, insert a toothpick into centre of custard. It is done when it comes out clean.
Remove from heat and cool until room temperature. Refrigerate for at least 2 hours until custard is completely cool
To serve, loosen custard with a knife and flip onto a plate.

The viscosity of the custard depends on the proportion of milk and cream you use. If you use a larger proportion of cream, the custard will be thicker, which is more traditional. If you use a larger proportion of milk, the custard will be thinner and be more like Chinese steamed egg. Do experiment with the milk/cream proportion and find out your own perfect style and taste.

Grilled Chicken with Red Miso Glaze 赤味噌烤雞塊

Category: Entree, Meat
Style: Fusion
Difficulty: Easy
Portion: Serves 8

8 pieces chicken parts such as breast or thigh, total about 4.5 lb
6 tbsp red miso
6 tbsp honey
6 tbsp mirin
4 tbsp Japanese cooking wine
1 bunch green onion, chopped

Making marinade: mix all ingredients together.
Wash and pat dry chicken pieces. Put chicken in a plastic zipper bag. Pour in marinade. Leave in the fridge overnight.
Grill chicken with a gas barbeque or grilling pan, or roast in a 400F oven for 20 minutes for breasts (35 minutes for thighs) until done.
While grilling, put remaining marinade in a small saucepan over low heat. Bring to a boil, then turn down heat to a simmer. Simmer until sauce thickens a bit. Serve chicken with sauce.

This marinade is also good for grilling salmon. Of course, you do not need to marinade the fish overnight. Just brush the marinade on the fish at the grill.

Japanese Fish Cake and Mixed Salad with Ginger Lemon Vinaigrette

Category: Salad, Appetizer
Style: Fusion
Difficulty: Easy
Portion: Serves 8

For Fish cake:
1 lb white fish paste
3 green onions, chopped
cilantro, leaves picked and stems chopped (optional)
For Salad:
2 packs washed mixed salad leaves
For Vinaigrette:
1/2 cup olive oil
1/2 cup lemon juice
3 tbsp mirin
1 tbsp sugar
1 tbsp soy sauce
1 tbsp sesame oil
1 inch piece of fresh ginger, grated
salt and pepper to taste

To make vinaigrette, put all ingredients in a jar with a tight lid. Shake until all blended.
To make fish cake: mix fish paste with green onions and cilantro stems, if using. Divide into 8 portions, and fry in a pan over medium heat until done. Brush the fish cake with vinaigrette on both sides while frying. You can also lightly fry the fish cakes and then move to a barbeque to finish.
To serve, mix salad leaves with vinaigrette, put on a plate. Top with fish cake. Garnish with picked cilantro leaves.

You can adjust the taste of the vinaigrette by changing the amount of each ingredient. Do some experiment to create your best proportions. Try adding some honey too.

Edamamé Risotto 毛豆義大利煨飯

Category: Pasta
Style: Fusion
Difficulty: Moderate
Portion: Serves 8

3 litre water
8 tsp hondashi powder
1 tbsp Japanese soy sauce
10 tbsp olive oil
1 bunch green onion, chopped
2 cups Arborio rice
1 cup Japanese cooking wine or sake
450 g frozen edamane without pod
1/2 cup heavy cream (optional)

To make dashi stock: In a stock pot, heat 3 litre water until boiling. Add hondashi powder and soy sauce. Turn down heat to simmer.
In another pot, heat olive oil. Saute green onion until wilted. Add rice, stir until grains are glossy, about 3-4 minutes.
Add wine to rice. Cook, stirring constantly, until wine is absorbed by the rice.
Using a ladle, add about 1 cup of dashi stock to the rice. Stirring constantly at moderate speed until liquid is absorbed. Repeat this process until rice is done, about 25 minutes. You may not need to used up all the dashi stock.
At about 10 minutes before the rice is done, add edamane to rice.
Just before serving, stir in heavy cream (optional). Add salt to taste. Serve immediately.

This recipe is a Japanese version of the traditional Italian dish. To make the original version, use chicken stock instead of dashi, white wine instead of Japanese cooking wine, onion or shallot instead of green onion, butter instead of olive oil, parmesan cheese instead of heavy cream, and use any kind of vegetable you like.

Monday, September 25, 2006

Light Cream of Daikon Soup 輕奶油大根湯

Category: Soup
Style: Fusion
Difficulty: Easy
Portion: Serves 8

6 lb daikon radish (約三條), washed, skinned and cut to large chunks
1 lb russet potato (約兩個), washed, skinned and cut to large chucks
1 bunch green onion, cut to sections
2 slices fresh ginger
8 tsp hondashi powder
1 tbsp Japanese soy sauce
6 cups water
1/2 cup heavy cream
salt and pepper to taste
cilantro leaves for garnish

In a large pot over high heat, sauté green onions with a little oil. Add daikon radish and cook for 2 minutes.
Add water, hondashi powder, potato and ginger. When soup is boiled, turn down heat and simmer for 45 minutes, or until potato and daikon are both fork tender.
Reserve 2 cups of daikon chunks. Process the rest of the soup in food processor until smooth. May need to do this in batches.
Put soup back into the pot. Heat until boiled and remove from heat. Stir in 1/2 cup heavy cream. Add salt and pepper to taste. If desired, can add 1/2 tsp prepared wasabi.
To serve, put soup in individual bowls. Garnish with reserved daikon chunks and cilantro leaves.

This is a very comforting dish. The taste is fresh and mellow. To add more punch, try adding some wasabi or mint.
Adjust the time you process the soup in the food processor to control the smoothness of the soup. Some people like it more chunky, some people like it more smooth. Try for your own preference.