Monday, March 28, 2011

Ginger Chicken with Homemade Wine

This is a Ginger Chicken with homemade rice wine that mostly consumed by a lady in confinement.  Chinese lady would be in a month of confinement when she gave birth to a baby.  During this month of confinement, she would be giving heaty food to eat.  Lots of ginger, sesame oil, homemade rice wine, red date tea, etc to help heal her body and to make her body strong.  I didn't get to eat the homemade rice wine while in both of my confinements but I did make sure I followed most of the traditional rules and ate lots of ginger and sesame oil.  You can say I am superstitious but I believed in natural Chinese medicine or tradition that passed down through generations.

After a bowl of this, you eat the ginger, wine stock and everything with the rice and you would be sweating afterward.  Wood-ear fungus is high in iron, protein, calcium, vitamins and said to prevent blood clotting and lower cholesterol.  The homemade glutinous rice wine has lots of benefits too.

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Homebrew Glutinous Rice Wine

What prompted me to make my own glutinous rice wine in the first place was I tasted a sweet homemade glutinous rice wine before.  It was so sweet and made the stir-fried ginger chicken so sweet and flavorful.  The sweetness that came from the rice wine couldn't be compared with the sugar you added to make it sweet.  The natural sweetness that came from it was unbeatable.  The above picture was taken in day three of fermentation.  I used my slow cooker to ferment it because I don't have a big glass jar.  You can also use the ceramic pot (Corning ware).

I tasted the rice wine and it was sweet but not much alcohol content.  The sweetest I tasted was day six.  But after day seven and when I tasted the rice wine again it was less sweet and started to taste more alcohol.  Subsequently the alcohol taste became stronger, the sweetness was gone and it turned sour.  At first I wanted to ferment it for up to 45 days but I quickly harvested it at day 22 because I was afraid that as the alcohol content went up, it would be more sour.  I might have introduce some bacteria to turn the wine sour when I played with the wine too much, I almost checked it every other day by spooning it around and tasting the wine.  Because a successful one will still produce a sweet rice wine even at day 45.  It was my first try so pardon my curiosity.  At day 22, the wine tasted dry and sourish.  A failed first attempt at wine making for me but luckily it didn't turn moldy and still very fragrant.

This was the rice residue at day 22.  I used a sieve to squeeze out the wine by pressing it with a spoon.  You can use your hand and a cheese cloth if you prefer.  If your rice wine is sweet, you can keep this in the refrigerator and use it to make a Chinese rice wine dessert by adding water, egg drop and tang yuan.  Or use it in cooking or marinate meat/poultry.  Since mine was sour, I didn't bother to reuse this.

The rice wine that I got from 4 cups of glutinous rice and 2 wine biscuits.  I got a 750ml bottle of rice wine and the one you saw below.  It was white and muddy at first, but would turn clear once you let it sit in the refrigerator (see picture below).  Keep it in the refrigerator to stop the fermentation process.

Besides the 750ml bottle, the above was the extra that I got.  I cooked the above with my ginger chicken and would share the recipe in my next post.  Since it's sourish, I need to counter it with sugar in my cooking.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Cilantro Walnut Pesto & Alexia Fries

I made this Cilantro Walnut Pesto for years.  You can see it from my old post here.  I realized that I haven't exactly really shared my pesto recipe, so I would share it now.  When walnut was on sales, I bought one big bag and kept it in the freezer.  So, I would have walnut on hands if I wanted it in making cookies, cake, or pesto.  Very convenient!  I added tuna in water into my pesto for added nutrient.  I also added a side of sweet potato fries to make it complete.

As part of the Foodbuzz Tastemaker Program, I received a free coupon to sample the Alexia product.  I wanted to try the Caroline BBQ Sweet Potato Fried initially but it was not carried in the supermarket I went to.  So, I ended up picking this Sweet Potato fries.  Alexia premium foods are all natural, delicious and free of trans fat.  You can pick from appetizer, side dishes or bread.  It is a great way to bring outstanding gourmet flavor straight from the freezer to the table in just minutes.  I tasted the sweet potato fries, I got to say it tasted just liked my homemade sweet potato fries.  I sprinkled with some Paprika before baking, but I should have used cayenne pepper because I was hoping for a little spiciness.  It was slightly crispy and the sweet potato was sweet.  If you were too busy to prepare from scratch, this all natural Alexia frozen products could be a good alternative.

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Stir Fried Burdock Root with Pork

This was my first time buying a Burdock Root or Gobo (in Japanese) and stir-frying this dish.  Lots of times, I would buy food that was said to have medicinal benefits and this was one of them.  You can read more about Burdock at Wiki.   I heard people used this to make soup but I have yet to try it.  I should have do a search but I wanted to make this dish first.  My friend gave me this recipe and I also had a privilege to try it at her house.  I quite liked it and thus prompted me to buy the Burdock root in the first place.

This root was quite harsh and fibrous and I didn't do the step as mentioned in wiki, "Burdock root is very crisp and has a sweet, mild, and pungent flavor with a little muddy harshness that can be reduced by soaking julienned or shredded roots in water for five to ten minutes."; perhaps that's why.

When my husband first saw this, he asked, "Are those gingers?"  HAHAHA.... Looked similar to ginger right?  I bet it will be delicious with ginger but probably use less than half of the amount.  This stir-fried burdock root was a bit hard to chew but I loved it though.  My girls couldn't eat this and my hubby didn't like it, so I "sapu" (finished) all. 

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

My First Roasted BrineTurkey!

This is an old post way back on New Year day. I have been here for so many years but I never did my own turkey.  I guess the pure size of it turned me off.  With a small family, the idea of roasting a turkey never cross my mind, until I tasted a brine turkey at Lily's house.  Ever since then, I always wanted to brine a turkey.  My chance came when the turkey was on sales on Thanksgiving week.  I managed to find the smallest turkey there, about 10lb.  I guess holding the smallest young turkey wasn't that intimidating.  Furthermore, this small turkey fit into my large stock pot used for the brine.

My plate of turkey breasts.  I guess instead of carving the turkey, I sliced it the Chinese way instead.  I had no idea how to carve a turkey, hahaha...  I thought the turkey smell was a bit strong. :-P   But the drumstick, wing and bone made the best soup.  I made a big pot of soup with it and served it with noodle but I forgot to take any picture.

This was an old post but I wanted to show you my first brine turkey.  :-)   I will share the brine recipe that I used in the next page.  Is there a way to get rid of the turkey smell?

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Beer Chicken with Taro

This was an interesting dish and I got the inspiration from a TV cooking show.  The taro was soft and the sauce was really fragrant.  I didn't add water in this so all the sauce came from the beer.  You won't be able to taste any alcohol in this and surprisingly the sauce was sweet with a tint of spiciness from the dried red pepper.  I would probably omit the dried red pepper so that I could taste the sauce as naturally as possible.  This is a dish that I would make again because all of us liked it.

Wednesday, March 09, 2011

Fried Nam Yu Crackers

Below was my failed attempt at making a crispy cracker for "Yee Sang".  I didn't roll it thin enough and thus it turned soft when cold.  I took some when still warm and added it with some sugar for my girls to snack on.  They loved it because it was just like fried bread with sugar.  It was good if you eat it right away.  It was crispy and soft when warm.
My girls said it's tasty!

I thought I roll it thin enough but apparently not.  I should roll this again as thin as wonton skin. 

I cut and then stretched it and placed it on a slipat ready to deep-fry.

Saturday, March 05, 2011

Mung Kuan Char or Stir-fried Jicama

 Top Left

Since a reader asked me to teach her how to stir-fry jicama, I'm sharing my recipe here.  Mine is called "mung kuan char" and not "ju hu char" because I don't add dried cutterfish/dried squid in mine.  This is my version and we really like it.

Wednesday, March 02, 2011

Waxed Meat Rice

I wanted to try this dish ever since I saw it appeared on fellow blogger's blogs.  But I couldn't try it because I couldn't find waxed duck or waxed pork belly here.  So, most of the times I could only imagine the taste.  However, my chance came when our friend who's the restaurant owner served us a plate of mixed waxed meat that her head chef prepared in her own kitchen.  Wow, lucky us!  The head chef made a combination of waxed duck, waxed pork belly and waxed sausages.  I took some leftover of the waxed duck and sausage as I found the waxed pork belly too fattening.  Alright, alright, you can say I don't know how to appreciate the best part, I agreed, I agreed.  :-P

Traditionally to until these days, waxed meat delicacies is one of the must have items to welcome the Chinese Lunar New Year.  Usually served on CNY eve on the reunion table and throughout the CNY.  Lots of shops will be selling waxed meat products in their stores during this time.  Many buy them as gift for relatives and friends as well.

 I steamed the rice in my electric steamer and once it's almost cooked, I placed the waxed meat on top.  It was so fragrant and the juices from the waxed meat seep into the rice.  I loved it!  I also loved the waxed duck that the chef prepared, very flavorful.  My little Edda loved this rice a lot too, both of us finished the most part of it as my hubby doesn't like waxed meat at all.  Hehe...more for us.