Monday, February 28, 2011

Steak With Grilled Tomatoes, French Beans And Salsa Verde

Once in a while the other tummy would ask for a simple piece of steak for dinner. I love such requests as I will need to spend very little time in the kitchen. One of our favourite condiments to go with a good piece of steak is of course salsa verde (green sauce in Italian). You may use any type of green herbs for the salsa verde but I personally like this particular combination. Don't be disappointed if you are not a beef lover as the sauce will go equally well with grilled chicken or fish. It's time to head home to cook our dinner, please come back tomorrow for my Malaysian Monday post.

serves 2 as a one dish meal
you'll need;
2 pieces of steak of your choice, excess fat trimmed
cherry tomatoes on the vine
a handful of green beans, topped and tailed
a handful of yellow beans, topped and tailed
salt and pepper
good olive oil

for the salsa verde;
half a bunch of continental parsley
half a bunch of basil
half a bunch of chives
4 anchovy fillets
1.5 tbs of capers
4 garlic cloves
1.5 tbs of English mustard
1.5 tbs of white wine vinegar
about 150 ml of good olive oil

Chop herbs, anchovy fillets, garlic and capers until well combined.

Place chopped ingredients in a bowl and add mix in the rest of the ingredients. 

Place cherry tomatoes on the vine in a roasting dish, season well and drizzle with some good olive oil. Roast in the preheated oven for 10 to 15 minutes.

Grill steaks on a hot griddle or bbq to your liking, just not well done please! Be sure to rest the meat before serving.

Blanch beans briefly and drain well while the steaks are resting.

Serve steak with roasted tomatoes, beans and a generous spoonful of salsa verde.

This is how we like our steak cooked.

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Tonkatsu 豚カツ Japanese Crumbed Pork Cutlet

This is a dish that we both adore at the tummies' household. A popular Japanese yoshoku (western cuisine) dish that doesn't need much introduction. It is absolutely delicious and so simple to prepare, perfect on those days when one doesn't feel like doing too much in the kitchen. If you want a more substantial meal with rice why not try katsu don (crumbed cutlet rice bowl) instead? Use veal loin or chicken breast for an equally delicious halal version.
P.S A 3 week wait for the internet connection and I am looking forward to blog from the comfort of our home. Enjoy your Sunday and happy cooking!

serves 4 as a one dish meal
you'll need;
600 g of pork or veal loin, cut into 1.5 cm cutlets
salt and pepper to taste
2 eggs, lightly beaten
flour for crumbing
panko (Japanese breadcrumbs) for crumbing
oil for deep frying
1/2 a cabbage, finely shredded
tonkatsu* sauce to serve
* a fruit base sauce similar to Worcestershire sauce available at Asian grocers

Finely shred cabbage with a very sharp knife and set aside.

Cut loin into 1.5 cm and pound with a kitchen mallet on both sides and you should be left with cutlets with the thickness of roughly 1 cm. Season generously with salt and pepper.

Crumb cutlets (flour - beaten eggs - panko).

Deep fry cutlets until golden and crispy. Drain well and rest for 5 minutes before slicing.

Serve immediately with shredded cabbage and a good drizzle of tonkatsu sauce.

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Ning Meng Ji 檸檬雞 Lemon Chicken

Together with black pepper beef and sweet and sour pork, lemon chicken is one of the most bastardized Cantonese dishes in the western world. I am appalled by the thickly battered chicken swimming in a pool of gluggy fluorescent yellow sauce served at most Chinese restaurants here in Melbourne. This is my family recipe that I grew up with; no thick batter and certainly no gluggy yellow sauce here, instead there are golden pieces of chicken lightly glazed with a sweet and tart lemony sauce. Give it a try and you might be wondering why restaurants still insist on serving us that dumped down version? 
I am again using my favourite chicken spareribs in this recipe, you can of course use any cut that suits your taste. For a similar recipe, check out my citrus chicken ribs.

serves 4 as part of a Chinese meal
you'll need;
1/2 kg of chicken ribs with skin on
5 cm knob of ginger, grated
1 spring onion (white part only), finely minced
1 tbs of light soy
1 tsp of sesame oil
1 tbs of Chinese cooking wine
dash of white pepper
1 egg, lightly beaten
corn flour for coating
peanut oil for frying
2 spring onions for garnish
1/2 lemon, thinly sliced for garnish

for the lemon sauce;
juice from half a lemon (about 5 tbs)
4 tbs of sugar
1 tsp of sesame oil
6 tbs of chicken stock
1 tsp of salt
1 tsp of corn flour

Marinate chicken with ginger, spring onion, soy, sesame oil, white pepper, Chinese cooking wine, beaten egg for at least an hour or overnight.

Coat chicken pieces with corn flour, shake off access flour and set aside.

Prepare the sauce by mixing all sauce ingredients in a bowl and set aside. Give it a little stir just before using.

For the garnish - prepare some thinly sliced lemon slices. Cut spring onions into sections, thinly slice lengthwise and refresh in a bowl of cold water.

Fry chicken pieces in batches on medium heat till light golden, remove and drain well. Turn the heat up and fry chicken pieces a second time until golden and crispy, drain well and set aside.

Add the sauce mixture to a wok and cook on medium heat until thick and syrupy.

Add chicken to the wok, turn off the flame and coat chicken pieces evenly in the tasty lemon sauce.

Serve immediately with the garnishes as part of a Chinese meal.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Yong Tau Fu 釀豆腐 Stuffed Bean Curd And Vegetables - "Malaysian Monday 29"

This is a Hakka (客家) classic with a 500 year old history; made popular in Malaysia by Hakka migrants and can now be found in every corner of our beautiful country. Yong Tau Fu (or niang tiaw fu in the Hakka dialet) meaning stuffed bean curd is often served alongside a selection of stuffed vegetables as well. The most commonly used vegetables are red and green chillies, eggplants, okras, bitter melon and Chinese mushrooms. They are many variations for the stuffing, sometimes salted fish, dried shrimps or dried cuttle fish is also added. I am using shop bought fish paste available from most Asian butchers, it can also be found at the frozen department of any good Asian grocer. Serve this as part of a Chinese meal or use them as toppings for noodles. Also do try it with some of the other vegetables mentioned above.
P.S A big thank you to my friend Shaz from Test With A Skewer for suggesting this very delicious dish when I was struggling to come up with something exciting for this week's Malaysian Monday. 

serves 4 as part of a Chinese meal (makes roughly 20 pieces)
I am using;
4 oriental eggplants, halved diagonally
3 banana chillies, made a slit lengthwise and seeds removed
1 tub of firm tofu, cut into 9 pieces
oil for frying
corn flour solution for thickening
2 spring onions, chopped

for the stuffing;
500 g of fish paste*
500 g of pork mince (use veal mince for a halal version)
dash of light soy
dash of sesame oil
salt and white pepper to taste
* shop bought fish paste is already seasoned so go easy on the final seasoning.

for the sauce;
3 garlic cloves, chopped
5 cm knob of ginger, chopped
4 tbs of fermented soy bean paste
3 tbs of oyster sauce
2 tbs of sugar
1 tsp of sesame oil
dash of Chinese cooking wine
white pepper to taste
1.5 l of stock

For the stuffing - place fish paste and pork mince in a large bowl and mix well. Add seasonings and set aside.

To prepare the bean curd for stuffing - make a small cavity using a teaspoon, repeat the rest.

To prepare the eggplants for stuffing - make a cut lengthwise with one end still attached.

To prepare the chillies for stuffing - make a slit lengthwise and remove all membranes and seeds.

Stuff bean curd and vegetables using a butter knife.

Deep fry stuffed bean curd and vegetables in batches until golden and drain well. These can be use as toppings for noodles at this stage.

Saute garlic and ginger with a little oil for 30 seconds before adding the fermented bean paste. Continue to saute for a minute then add in the rest of the ingredients. Simmer for 2 minutes and check for seasonings. 

Arrange stuffed bean curd and vegetable neatly in the pan and simmer for 15 minutes with the lid on. Thicken the sauce a little with corn flour solution just before serving.

Serve with plenty of steamed rice and chili sauce on the side.

I am hosting the March event so please send all your entries to For more informations about MMM please click Here.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Caesar Salad With Grilled Chicken

Again nothing ground breaking but just another one of our summer favourites. I have added grilled chicken to make it more substantial to serve at dinner, forgo the chicken if you want to serve it as a light lunch instead. This is one of those simple dish that can go horribly wrong; too much dressing, over cooked chicken and a badly made dressing can all turn this into a horrible nightmare! 
I am making this a very short post as I have got my food shopping with me, please come back tomorrow for my Malaysian Monday post.

serve 2 as a one dish meal
you'll need;
2 free range chicken breasts
1 tbs of olive oil
2 garlic cloves, chopped
1 sprig of rosemary, chopped
salt and pepper to taste
2 baby cos lettuce, cut into large pieces
2 rashes of bacon, rinds removed and fried til crispy
1/2 a loaf of ciabatta bread, cut into pieces
2 very fresh free range eggs, soft poached and drained well
8 anchovy filets
parmesan shavings

for the dressing;
1 garlic cloves
3 anchovy fillets
2 very fresh free range eggs
1/2 tbs of Dijon mustard
juice from 1/2 a lemon
15 g of grated parmesan cheese
250 ml of olive oil
salt to taste

Marinate the chicken breasts for at least an hour.

To prepare the dressing - Pound garlic and anchovy fillets to a paste. Place the paste in a bowl and slowly whisk in the eggs, dijon mustard, lemon juice and olive oil. Finally season with sea salt.

Grill chicken on a hot griddle for 5 minutes each side then finish off in the preheated oven for 10 to 15 minutes depending on the size of the breasts. Rest for at least 5 minutes before slicing.

Drizzle some olive oil over the ciabatta pieces and toast until golden and crispy. Allow to cool.

Toss ciabatta and lettuce with 4 tbs of the dressing and divide into 2 equal portions.

Place the sliced chicken breast, crispy bacon, anchovy fillets and a poached egg over the dressed leaves. Season the poached egg, shave some parmesan cheese over and drizzle a little more dressing over.

Monday, February 21, 2011

Salad Niçoise With Poached Salmon

This is one of our favourite salads during the hot summer months; quite often some quick seared tuna (never canned tuna :)) is used instead of the poached salmon. Although we haven't had too many hot days this summer but it hasn't stopped me from making this delicious and healthy dish either. I am being a little safe here with the choice of vegetables used but feel free to add whatever vegetable that is in season at the moment.
P.S I am planning a Malaysian Monday post for Wednesday, request anyone?

serves 2 as a one dish meal
you'll need;
2 salmon fillets (200 to 250g each), poached and flaked
2 free range eggs, soft boiled and halved (4 minutes)
a handful of green beans, topped and tailed, blanched and refreshed
a handful of yellow beans, topped and tailed, blanched and refreshed
1 bunch of asparagus, halved, blanched and refreshed
2 kifller potato, boiled and cut into 1 cm rounds
1 punnet of cherry tomatoes, halved
20 black olives, pitted
2 shallots, sliced into rings
2 tbs of capers
a handful of basil, picked
homemade or good quality shop bought mayo to serve

for the poaching liquor;
1.5 litres of water
1 sprig of fresh thyme
a few basil stalks
2 to 3 slices of lemon
6 pepper corns
pinch of sea salt

for the dressing;
150 ml of good olive oil
50 ml of white wine vinegar
salt and pepper to taste

Prepare the vegetables and boil the potatoes until tender.

Blanch beans and asparagus and refresh under a running tap.

Bring the poaching liquor to a boil then simmer for 15 minutes before adding the salmon fillets. Cook the fish on very low heat for 4 to 5 minutes, remove leave to cool before flaking into large pieces.

Place all ingredients (except for the eggs and salmon) into a large salad bowl and dress with half of the dressing.

Divide salad into 2 portions and top with the poached salmon pieces and eggs and serve with some homemade or good quality shop bought mayo.

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