Sunday, February 24, 2013

Good and Simple Roasted Sweet Potato variety

Roasted yam or sweet potatoes is a very popular street food in Asian during the winter. You will find those Yaki Imo is one of the favorite in Japan. Korea, Taipei has a similar version. I still remember the sweet potato man with his charcoal cart on the street of Hong Kong, I can still remember that aroma. Here is a little YouTube video you may find interesting of a street vendor in Hong Kong: Hong Kong Street food

What you find here is 2 variety of sweet potato/yam. Coming from Hawaii, I love purple Okinawa Sweet potato. It is also know as Ube in Pinoy cooking, very popular as a dessert ingredient. There are some misunderstanding that Ube is taro, they are actually completely different. Taro is from Aracea family, while Ube is from the Dioscorea family, part of the yam family. They both are tuberous root vegetable, but completely different end use and taste.

I also got some red yam at the coop yesterday, I love the contrast of the color. With vegetable that taste so good on it's own, I just want to give it a little help and highlight that simple sweetness with a dash of simple sea salt. If you don't have black lava salt, just the plain sea salt. I just like color contrast!

I am making a roasted cauliflower recipe. I just put the sweet potato with it and roast them together.

Roasted sweet potatoes (Yaki Imo)
2 small Okinawa purple sweet potatoes (purple Yam)
2 small red yam
1 tbsp vegetable oil
Course sea salt, Hawaiian course salt and black lava finishing salt
Clean and scrub the yam
Dry with paper towel
Toss the yam with oil in a large bowl.
Place in the roast pan
Roast at 375F for an hour till tender.
Place 1 of each of yam on a serving plate. Split the yam on the top, push on both end to "open" the yam, sprinkle with salt.

A great side dish, or I love it as a dessert or snack with  spoon on the side!


Sunday, February 17, 2013

"Wet Lemon Peel" Simple Preserved Lemon

This is a very simple recipe for preserved lemon that I adapted from a Greek recipe. The classic Hawaiian/Chinese method is a bit more work and with our winter here, I need to make it simple with no sunshine! Here is the original recipe for  Hawaiian Wet Lemon Peel.
I am using Meyer lemon, I love the flavor and this is closest to the classic Asian lemon we have in Hawai'i.
You can use the lemon everyday cooking, with chicken or fish. I don't make this often, it's very simple, I should have some on hand. It's a great ingredient! It's great with soar throat, just put a couple slices in hot water, let it steep, enjoy the lemony salty drink

Preserved Lemon & Kumquat
2-3 Meyer Lemon
5-6 Kumquat
1 lb Hawaiian course sea salt
In a large bowl pour boiling water over the lemon and kumquat. the purpose is to remove the "oil" from the skin.
 Let the fruit sit for 5 mins.
 Drain and add 1/2 cup of salt
 Rub/massage (Lomi lomi) the fruit with the salt
 Pack the fruit in a sterilized wide mouth jar, by alternating the salt and the fruit
 Place a piece of waxed paper between the cover and the jar. This will prevent the metal cover from rusting.
Rotate the jar every few days. You can lay it on the side and roll it.
Let it sit for 5 weeks. The salt will start to melt.

Post note:
I forgot to mention, you may have leftover salt once you used you lemon. I do keep the leftover salt in a airtight plastic container.  Mr Wonderful loves using the salt in his Margarita, and I use in my cooking, especially with seafood or chicken. Store the salt in the fridge.

I usually start over with new jar and salt whenever I make a new batch!


Hawaiian Prune Mui to celebrate 100th recipe

Prune Mui is an unique Hawaiian dried fruit local snack. It is basically marinaded dried fruit.  This is one of those local favorite with Chinese root. Mui in Chinese refers to preserved fruit.  The fruit consist of prune (of course), mixture of dried fruit such as apricot, cherry, dried berries. One of the key ingredient is "Wet lemon peel" it is preserved lemon. You can get it in a bag in Hawaiian on the snack isle. It is not available here, so I need to make my own. With not all the ingredients  are ready available on mainland, I adapted this recipe to what we can easily find in the grocery stores. I also have to adjust the method a little for our winter season here.
Prune Mui is very popular around the Holidays, great to share with friends and family. Give this a try!
I made my own preserved lemon here. It is very simple, just need some patience. Recipe is included at the end.

Hawaiian Prune Mui (Marinaded dried fruit snack)
1 lb dried pitted prunes
1 lb dried apricot
Make 3 cups of dried fruit of your choice:
Suggestion: dried tart cherries
                   dried blueberry
                   candied ginger, but into small pieces.
1 Preserved lemon
5-6 preserved Kumquat (optional)
2 cups brown sugar
2 tbsp Hawaiian Alaea salt (red salt)
1 tsp Li Hing powder
1/2 tsp five spice powder
1 tsp whole cloves
Juice of 1 lemon
2 tbsp whisky, scotch or brandy
Chopped preserved lemon into small pieces, make sure  all the seeds were removed. Set aside
Add brown sugar in a large bowl, add Hawaiian salt
Li Hing Powder
Five spice powder
Add all the dried fruit
Top with the preserved lemon, mix well.
Drizzle with lemon juice. Mix well
Add clove
Top with whisky, make sure everything is mixed it and all the fruit is coated with the seasoning
At this point, we can pack the fruit into a large sterilized jar or jars. Let the fruit sit at room temperature for 2-3 days, the sugar will start to melt and combine with the fruit.
Since I am in MN and we are in the middle of the winter, the sugar will not melt in this temperature.
Here is the alternative method
Transfer all mixed fruit to a large pot over low heat till the sugar melt
Pack the fruit into the jar once the sugar melted and the fruit is well combined
Pack the fruit into 1 large jar, or 4 pt size jars.

Let the fruit "sit" for 2-3 days to develop the flavor.  The fruit will be sticky with a sweet and salt taste. Traditionally, you don't need to refrigerate this since it is dried fruit, however if you live in a humid climate, I would store the jar in the fridge.

You will find the Preserved lemon recipe next.


Sunday, February 10, 2013

Chinese New Year time for some Braised Vegetarian Yi Mein (Chinese Longevity noodles) with mushrooms and leek

Happy Chinese New Year!

There are many traditions for Chinese New Year and each family has their own version. Mine is a mixture of a few cultures. My mother is a very traditional Singapore Chinese, while my father was raised colonial in Hong Kong with another side of traditions. As with me, I follow what I called Mother's rules for most part.

I made a few traditional dishes, kept a New Year basket for good luck and good fortune and honored a few traditions here and there. I am keeping it quite simple this year. I was in New York for work last week and I knew a storm on the way, Mr Wonderful would stay back at his place up north. He had to deal with the snow at his house. Unlike being in the city, if he does not clear out the snow in batches and leaves the house for a few days, he will not be able to get into his property. The pros and cons of living in the country.

I was going to post my Jai - Buddha's Delight vegetarian recipe, I decide not too. It's a bit complicated and there were about 20 different ingredients. It is also a bit of an acquired taste. I thought the noodle recipe may be a better choice. This is my favorite noodle dish since I was a child. Yi Mein  (伊麵) is a variety of Chinese dried egg noodle. This is not a vegan dish. The is a version of the  classic Dried Fried Yi Mein (乾炒伊麵), usually with straw mushrooms and chives. I am using leek, since we are in the middle of winter and chive is not ready available, I kept the straw mushroom, but adding a package of Enoki. for some variety. I am working on another version without mushroom so that non-mushroom eater will get to enjoy the noodle too!

Braised Vegetarian Yi Mein (Chinese Longevity noodles) with mushrooms and leek
1 12oz Packet of Chinese Yi Mein, also called E-Fu Noodle sometimes.
1 can of Straw mushroom, drained and sliced in half vertically
1 package of fresh Enoki Mushroom, root removed, clean and rinse, then separate the mushrooms
1 small leek, cleaned, outside layer moved, cut in 1/2 vertically, rinse between the layers and slice
1 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
1 1/2 cup Vegetable stock
4 tbsp shoyu
3 tbsp Vegetarian Oyster sauce
1/2 tsp brown sugar of palm sugar
Dish of salt and pepper
Prepare the season. Mix shoyu, Vegetarian Oyster sauce and palm sugar together. Set aside.
Boil a large pot of water. Drop the whole noodle cake into the water, one at time. Do not break it up, it's bad luck for Chinese folks.
Gently fold and turn the noodle, the noodle will deflat once it hit the boiling water. Be careful not to break up the noodle too much. Let it cook for about 2 mins.
Remove from heat and drain. Risen/wash the noodle in cold water to remove the excess oil and starch.
Drain well and set aside
In a large pot or wok. Heat 3-4 tbsp of vegetable till hot, saute the garlic till fragrant.
Add leek and let it cook till the vegetable starts to wilt. 
Add mushrooms and let it cook for  a couple of min, till it is tender. 
Remove from the pot and set aside.
In the same pot, add the vegetable stock and bring the stock to a boil. 
Add seasoning. 
Once the broth comes to a boil, add noodle and lower heat to med, let the noodle stew in the broth for a few mins. 
Top it with leek and mushroom mix, Fold in the vegetable.
Let the noodle gently braised till all the broth is almost all absorbed. I like to leave a little liquor to keep the noodle saucy.
Plate and ready to serve.

Serve 8-10 as entree or part of a Chinese dinner.

Here is a few of our family Chinese New year Traditio
A big pot of Jai (Buddha's delight) for New Years Eve Reunion dinner and for the 1st day of New Year. 
We have Jai for breakfast, lunch and dinner for 1st day of the year, as a symbol of cleansing and kindness (no meat).
 The good luck New Year baskets with symbolic items.
 A whole chicken for Reunion Dinner, it is actually our "Thanksgiving" to give thanks to a good year and prepare for the next. I am practicing my mother's shoyu chicken recipe.
Fresh vibrant blooms symbolize a good year, good business. It is also the sign of Spring. Chinese New Year is also referred as the Spring Festival.
Lucky Money - we call it Ang Pow(Red envelope) in Singapore
Last, but not least - got to have new slippers

Happy Lunar New Year!