It’s December already! freaks me out how fast 2013 has been. Been actively cooking lots of brunch at home and I’ve gone past that Eggs Ben stage, I think brunch can be more than poached eggs and hollandaise sauce.
I’ve been eyeing on Yotam Ottolenghi’s Jerusalem cookbook (christmas present for me ??). What I like about it is it has some interesting middle eastern dishes that uses lots of vegetables. Vegetables are good but we often don’t eat enough or do not have many ideas on how to cook it differently, other than throwing them into a salad or stir-frying them. So, here is a dish to fill up your vegetable quota and a healthy brunch alternative (or even dinner)
Shakshuka; is a staple of Egyptian, Tunisian, Libyan, Algerian, and Moroccan cuisines traditionally served up in a cast iron pan with bread to mop up the sauce. It is also popular in Israel, where it was introduced by Tunisian Jews. It is a dish of eggs poached in a sauce of tomatoes, chili peppers, onions, often spiced with cumin.
So yesterday I had a friend over for brunch. She’s been pestering me to cook brunch and open up for other people to come, pay me for brunch. I decided to cook the shakshuka in my cast iron Le Creuset pan, some garlic mushroom, feta and arugula salad and some toasted charcoal bread. Well, I had some of the charcoal bread at home, so why not use it. Adds some colour to it too!
Even if you don’t have a cast iron pan, it’s alright. Just get a flat ovenproof dish (like ramekins) and you can cook them individually too.
- ¼ tsp cumin seeds
- 80ml light olive oil or vegetable oil
- 1 large onions, peeled and sliced
- 1 red capsicum, diced
- 2 tsp brown sugar
- 1 bay leaf
- ½ tsp dried thyme
- 1 bunch fresh coriander, chopped
- 3 ripe tomatoes, roughly chopped
- ¼ tsp saffron strands
- Pinch of cayenne pepper
- Salt and pepper
- Up to 100ml water
- 4 free-range eggs
- In a large saucepan, dry-roast the cumin on high heat for two minutes. Add the oil and sauté the onions for two minutes.
- Add the peppers, sugar, bayleaves, thyme, and two tablespoons of coriander, and cook on high heat to get a nice colour.
- Add the tomatoes, saffron, cayenne, salt and pepper.
- Cook on low heat for 15 minutes, adding enough water to keep it the consistency of a pasta sauce. Taste and adjust the seasoning. It should be potent and flavoursome. You can prepare this mix in advance.
- Make 4 cavities in the tomato mixture. Break 1 egg into each cavity, pouring into gaps in the mixture. Sprinkle with salt, cover and cook very gently for 10-12 minutes, until the egg just sets. Sprinkle with coriander and serve with chunky white bread.
In a large saucepan, dry-roast the cumin on high heat for two minutes.
Add the oil and sauté the onions for two minutes.
Add the red capsicum, sugar, bay leaves, thyme, and two tablespoons of coriander, and cook on high heat to get a nice colour.
Add the tomatoes, saffron, cayenne, salt and pepper.
Cook on low heat for 15 minutes, adding enough water to keep it the consistency of a pasta sauce. Taste and adjust the seasoning. It should be potent and flavoursome. You can prepare this mix in advance.
Make 4 cavities on the pan, spreading the tomato aside. Break eggs into each cavity. Sprinkle with salt. If using stove top, cover the pan and cook on a low heat for about 10 minutes or until the eggs just set. If using an oven, preheat oven to 190 C and let it grill for around 10 minutes too or until eggs are whitish but still wobbly when pan is jiggled. Lastly, sprinkle with roughly chopped coriander.
Don’t forget the bread to mop up all the yummilicious sauce.
I am submitting this post to Asian Food Fest: West Asia , hosted by Shannon from Just As Delish
It was a last minute decision to make Tonkotsu Ramen last weekend. I had a bowl of Goku Ramen in Paradigm and I had a really thirsty after feeling and it was quite expensive for that tiny bowl of ramen. So then I decided to put my hands to try the utterly delicious Tonkotsu Ramen in my very own kitchen.
Ramen (ラーメン, らーめん, 拉麺) is a Japanese dish of noodles served in broth originating from China. It differs from native Japanese noodle soup dishes, in that it is served in broth based on meat such as chicken, as well as in the type of noodles and toppings used.
Ramen is served with a variety of toppings, such as sliced pork (chāshū), seaweed, kamaboko, green onions, and even corn. Almost every locality or prefecture in Japan has its own variation of ramen, from the tonkotsu ramen of Kyūshū to the miso ramen of Hokkaidō.
Tonkotsu (“pork bone”) ramen is usually cloudy white. It is a thick broth made with crushed pork bones that have been boiled for hours. It is a specialty of Kyūshū (source)
I haven’t been to Japan and I don’t know for sure, if there’s any enoki or other condiments added to a bowl or Tonkotsu Ramen. I’ve seen some had different types of toppings to go along the ramen, with chashu(pork belly), ajitsuke tamago(half boiled egg) and spring onion being really popular.
So here I am, making everything from scratch, except for the ramen itself. I have found a back up recipe just in case I couldn’t get any ready made ramen from the grocery. Luckily I found them readily available, so I hurried and bought it.
The process of making ramen is long. While the real time cooking may only take up to 2 hours, you need about 12 hours to have everything cooked properly. I started mine at 12noon on Saturday and only had the first bowl on Sunday for lunch because the broth was cooking till 12 midnight!
There are many many recipes of tonkotsu broth, all actually seemed similar with using pork bones, trotter, chicken carcass and or wings or feet. I followed Serious Eats’ recipe quite closely with little adjustment to make the tonkotsu broth. It would seem like a very hard thing to do, but it’s quite simple and I may make it whenever I or my family have any ramen cravings.
Mainly using chicken carcass, pig’s trotter, chicken feet and a slab of fat (at the back), and many hours of boiling.
First, the bones were brought to a boil. It’s when all the scum floats up. You’ve got to clear this out. So once it has come to a boil pour out everything and clean the junk.
So what you’re doing here is removing any brown-tinted things from the bones, which means blood, organs, deep marrow. Cold water and a chopstick would help. So once it’s done and cleaned, put them back into the pot and fill up with cold water. This way, you will not get the unnecessary scums and gunk in your broth.
I think there was about 6L of water in the pot. There’s no measurement markings in the pot so I can’t know fore sure.
So in goes the bones, trotter, feet, carcass. Also, in goes leek, scallions, mushroom, onion and garlic. to release the umami flavour, fry onion and garlic till its dark, it will release the sweetness of the onion and garlic while reducing it’s rawness.
I was at the butcher and they had a slab of pork fat. After boiling for 4 hours, it became so tender like jelly. It can be added to the ramen to increase it’s velvety-ness, but I didn’t add because I was too grossed out by it. I’m not kidding, althought it tasted really soft and tender.
I used an electric cooker to cook it as I had to leave the house for about 4 hours in between. I started at about noon with the first boil (to clean the bones) And it went to boil again about 12.30noon. The progress of cooking was long and the temptation to keep checking on it was hard to resist. As you can see, the colours tend to get milkier as it boils. I guess it’s good sign.
So I kinda learnt this trick from my sister’s confinement lady when she made a huge pot of stew or braised something, if your fridge is tight and limited with space, you can still keep the pot on your stove, with the condition that you DO NOT open the cover once you turn off the fire, right until you are ready to use it the following day.
I did it with this. As I finished boiling, it was about 1am, I left it on the stove top and went to sleep. The next day at 9am, I woke up and reheat the broth till it comes to a boil and strained it
The soup had the colour I was looking for, except, it was not salted in anyway.
And made a bowl to try for lunch
First bowl up, well, the broth had NO salt. So I used alot of the chashu gravy and some salt to season the broth. With the addition of Mayu, it was really yummy. Gelatinous and velvety I would say.
So what about the condiments ?? There are 2 which you need to make beforehand, the Chashu and Ajitsuke Tamago.
I made them in the afternoon and let them steep in the broth for maximum flavour. The chashu was so dark!! But the skin and fat WAS OMG SO YUMMY. It’s actually jelly like and very tender. Man, so guilty but so worth it.
Now first, to make the chashu, you would need a slab of pork belly. The butcher gave me a long piece and it still had the soft bones underneath, so I trimmed it and actually cut into 2. The long piece made a very huuuugggeee circle, so I cut to half and rolled them in semi circles instead.
The braising liquid basically consist of shoyu (Japanese Soy Sauce), Cooking Sake, Mirin, and Sugar. At mid point, I added some water. And of course, an onion, shallots, ginger and garlic.
This was easy. I had it in my Le Creuset Pot, and let it be in the oven for about 4 hours. I would say 3 hours is enough for that size. (about 1kg of pork belly) You would occasionally need to turn it so it soaks up on all sides. But I was very surprised it came up to so dark!! But it wasn’t overly salty, it tasted just nice and fragrant. I’m thinking its the Kikkoman Soy Sauce.
So anyway, once the chashu is cooked, you’ve got to chill it before slicing it. It would otherwise fall apart if sliced while its hot. Then, keep some of the liquid for the soaking liquid for Ajitsuke Tamago. It is a half boiled egg, steep in shoyu and other condiments. It has a brown exterior, fading into white and a very runny yolk. You can otherwise make up a concoction of soaking liquid for the eggs and it would work as well too. As eggs all comes in different sizes, it takes about 4 1/2 to 6 minutes depending on amount of eggs in a pot and the size of it.
To make Ajitsuke Tamago, have either the chashu liquid or make a fresh one yourself. Bring a pot of water to boil. Let it simmer and add eggs in, making sure they are all submerged in. Set a timer for 5 minutes and let it cook away. Once the time is up, pick them up and submerge them into a bowl of ice water to stop the cooking process. Then carefully peel the shells away and drop them into the soaking liquid for at least 4 hours. You would get a nice egg with runny velvety yolk with a hint of saltiness from the soaking liquid
Now that the 2 main components that you need to make ahead are done, here are some that can be prepared just before you assemble the ramen.
Mayu would be the black garlic sesame oil. It’s made by cooking pure sesame oil with grated garlic, till almost black, then blended and strained. I used a korean sesame oil for it, it smelled SO SO GOOD!
Fried Garlic, slice garlic thinly and deep fry them. I first fried them but it turned soggy, so I used the Philips Air Fryer to do so, hence some were more dark, but they kept crispy for the whole 2 days (or until they were completely gone)
Woodear Mushroom / Black Fungus, blanch them in hot water then cut into strips
Enoki mushroom and beansprouts, blanch them VERY quickly (like 5 seconds) in the boiling water before you cook the ramen.
Now to assemble, make sure you’ve got all the condiments cut and placed out.
Ladle out some of the broth into a smaller pot, add a few tablespoons of the chashu broth, bring it to a boil, add salt and white pepper if needed.
In another pot, bring water to boil, add salt to the water. blanch ramen in the water till it’s cooked. won’t be long.
Then get ready your bowl, pour 1 tbsp of chashu broth and 1 tsp mayu oil. Once the ramen is cooked and drained, pour the ramen inside and give it a stir.
Arrange sliced chashu, beansprouts, woodear mushroom, enoki and a sheet of roasted seaweed. Pour the hot tonkotsu broth over the bowl of ramen noodles, then sprinkle with spring onion, fried garlic and another teaspoon of mayu. Place ajitsuke tamago on top, and serve immediately.
So here’s the recipe (very long one)
Homemade Tonkotsu Ramen with Chashu and Ajitsuke Tamago
- 1.5kg pig trotters, split lengthwise or cut crosswise into 1-inch disks (as your butcher to do this for you)
- 900g chicken backs and carcasses, skin and excess fat removed
- 500g chicken feet
- 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
- 1 large onion, skin on, roughly chopped
- 12 garlic cloves
- One 3-inch knob ginger, cut to 2
- 2 whole leeks, washed and roughly chopped
- 2 dozen scallions, white parts only (reserve greens and light green parts for garnishing finished soup)
- 200g whole fresh shitake mushrooms or mushroom scraps
- 200g slab pork fat
- 1kg boneless pork belly, skin-on
- 1 cup water
- ½ cup soy sauce
- 1 cup sake
- 1 cup mirin
- ½ cup sugar
- 6 scallions, roughly chopped
- 6 whole garlic cloves
- One 2-inch knob ginger, roughly sliced
- 1 whole shallot, split in half (skin on)
- 6 eggs
- 1 cup water
- 1 cup sake
- ½ cup soy sauce
- ½ cup mirin
- ½ cup sugar
- (or chashu broth)
- 45ml sesame oil
- 5 cloves of garlic, grated
- Fresh ramen
- Enoki Mushroom
- Woodear Mushroom, blanched, sliced
- Scallion (spring onions), sliced thinly
- Fried Garlic slices
- Roasted Seaweed Sheets
- Fill trotter, carcass and chicken feet in a big pot. Fill with cold water and bring to a boil (takes a while) Once it comes to a boil, drain everything into the sink and wash with cold water. Wash and remove the dark brown stuffs (blood, marrow, organs) and drain them.
- Meanwhile, in a pan, pour oil and pan fry onion, ginger and garlic till almost burnt. Set them aside.
- Once they are clean, put them back into the pot (oh don’t forget to clean the pot too) add leeks, scallion, ginger, onion, garlic, mushroom and pork fat. Fill up the pot with water, till it covers everything.
- Bring to a rolling boil over high heat, skimming off any scum that appears (this should stop appearing within the first 20 minutes or so). Use a clean sponge or moist paper towels to wipe and black or gray scum off from around the rim of the pot. Reduce heat to a bare simmer and place a heavy lid on top.
- Check occasionaly if you need to add any water (I may have added just about 500ml throughout the whole process)
- At about 3-4 hours down, check on the slab of pork fat, it should be tender. Remove and mince it with your knife, imagine cutting into jelly. Set that aside till ready to use, if using.
- Let it boil for another couple of hours. I boiled mine for 12 hours. Then strain the broth into a clean pot, squeeze juices from bones and leftover meat. The broth is ready to use.
- Lay pork belly on cutting board and roll up lengthwise, with skin facing out. Using butchers twine, tightly secure pork belly at ¾-inch intervals.
- Heat oven to 135 C. Heat 1 cup water, soy sauce, sake, mirin, sugar, scallions, garlic, ginger, and shallot in a Le Creuset pot over high heat until boiling. Add pork belly (it won’t be submerged). Cover with a lid left slightly ajar. Transfer to oven and cook, turning pork occasionally, until pork is fully tender and a cake tester or thin knife inserted into its center meets little resistance, 3 to 4 hours.Transfer contents to a sealed container and refrigerate until completely cool. When it’s ready slice thinly and reheat in the tonkotsu broth. Reserve some of the chashu broth for Ajitsuke tamago.
- If not using the chashu broth, combine water, sake, soy, mirin, and sugar in a medium bowl and whisk until sugar is dissolved. Set aside
- Bring water to a boil in a medium saucepan over high heat. Carefully lower eggs into water with a wire mesh spider or slotted spoon. Reduce heat to maintain a bare simmer. Cook for exactly 5 minutes. Drain hot water and carefully peel eggs under cold running water (the whites will be quite delicate).
- Transfer eggs to a bowl that just barely fits them all. Pour marinade on top until eggs are covered or just floating. Place a double-layer of paper towels on top and press down until completely saturated in liquid to help keep eggs submerged and marinating evenly. Refrigerate and marinate at least four hours and up to 12. Discard marinade after 12 hours. Store eggs in a sealed container in the fridge for up to 3 days. Reheat in ramen soup to serve.
- Heat sesame oil and grated garlic in a small saucepan. Stir and cook until its dark brown (try not to burn it) Turn off and remove from heat. Transfer oil to a heatproof bowl. Then pout into a blender and blitz till garlic is fine. Strain and discard garlic.
- Ladle out tonkotsu broth (about 2 cups) into a small pot, add ½ tsp of salt and 3 tbsp of chashu broth. If you have kept the minced pork fat, add them here
- In another pot, bring water to boil. Add 1 tsp of salt. lightly blanch beansprouts and enoki mushroom for 5 seconds. Add ramen and cook till al dente (about 2 minutes)
- Meanwhile, in the serving bowl, add 1 tbsp chashu broth and 1 tsp mayu. Once ramen is cooked, drain water and lightly mix it in the bowl. Add condiments on top.
- Pour over hot tonkotsu broth, add a sheet of roasted seaweed and place ajitsuke tamago on top.
- Serve hot.
“I am submitting this post to Asian Food Fest #1 Oct 2013 : Japan (Link ), hosted by Alan from travelling-foodies
I was recently at the Quaker Oats for Rice media launch. Now who’s a fan of oats ? (honestly, I’m not) My mom tried adding regular oats into rice and it turned out mushy. So I was abit skeptical about this, until I tried it!
Quaker, the world’s No.1 oatmeal brand, has once again hit the right spot with Malaysians by introducing Quaker Oats for Rice, a product that is ideal for consumers who love rice and would like to power up their daily meals with more whole grain goodness.
Made from natural whole rolled oats grown in Australia, Quaker Oats for Rice is specially made to be cooked with rice, and is easy to prepare. Just add one cup of oats to two cups of rice and cook as normal. The result is an appetizing, aromatic bowl of rice with a delicious, nutty texture. Quaker Oats for Rice is high in magnesium, protein, iron and vitamin B12, and contains 7 times more fibre than white rice and three times more than brown rice.
Quaker Oats for Rice is the ideal add-on to rice for a meal rich in dietary fibre and other vitamins and minerals.
Alex Ooi, Head of Marketing for PepsiCo Malaysia Sdn Bhd, said that the company wanted to add a new twist of wholesome oats to everyday meals, while still being highly appealing to the discerning Malaysian palate.
“With Quaker Oats for Rice, we are providing a simple and convenient solution of adding whole grains to your rice. Oats, which are a good source of soluble fibre (beta glucan), help lower blood cholesterol,” said Ooi. “By adding Quaker Oats for Rice to rice, Malaysians can still enjoy their familiar rice meals and get the wholesome goodness of oats.”
Quaker Malaysia’s brand ambassador and celebrity Chef Sherson Lian launched the new Quaker product in Kuala Lumpur with a cooking demonstration of a simple yet delectable rice dish, Garlic Pilaf Rice using Quaker Oats for Rice. Other everyday rice meals which can be easily prepared at home are Hokkien Yam Rice, Tomato Seafood Rice and Tuna Rice and Oat Salad.
Chef Sherson urged more Malaysians to try Quaker Oats for Rice to experience for themselves how easy it really is to incorporate more fibre, vitamins and minerals into one’s daily diet. “Quaker Oats for Rice and rice is a marriage made in heaven. This is a brilliant way to add more fibre into your meal, and adds a delicious bite to your usual bowl of rice,” said Sherson.
During the launch, Chef Sherson showed us a little demo on how easy it is to incorporate Quaker Oats for Rice into our daily cooking. I was chosen to be the assistant (to help cut some garlic n saute them haha )
Some of the ingredients for Garlic Rice Pilaf, garlic, cashew nuts, cinnamon, cloves, cardamom, star anise, green peas (not in pic) and most importantly, rice and Quaker Oat for Rice.
(how is my hair the same colour as the apron haha)
(Oh hai, that’s me)
So first, slice garlic and shallots. Then heat up pan with butter, olive oil OR olive oil spread. Then saute garlic and shallots till nice and fragrant. Add the rest of the aromats so the aroma is released. Add in rice AND Quaker Oat for Rice and give it a nice stir so it coats well. Then add the rice into a rice cooker, add an appropriate amount of water (no water adjustment needed if you add Quaker Oat for Rice), salt and let it cook. Half way thru, add peas. When done, sprinkle the cashew nuts and give it a good stir.
Tick tock, let the rice cooker do some magic and tadah! Pilaf is ready.
It looks like a little pine nut + barley, less like the flat round oat shape. It has a nutty after taste and a little texture to bite on. It doesn’t become mushy or soapy after cooking and it holds on to its shape rather well. Interesting add to our regular rice habit I would say.
The launch also marked the introduction to the new season of “5 Rencah 5 Rasa”, a cooking programme hosted by Chef Sherson on TV3, where Quaker Oats for Rice will be featured as a staple ingredient in all 13 episodes. The show will highlight the art of fast and easy cooking without compromising on quality and taste using only five ingredients. 5 Rencah 5 Rasa is a 30-minute show in Bahasa Malaysia, and the new season will come on air starting 17 September (every Tuesday) on TV3 at 11.30am.
Quaker Oats for Rice is available at most major retail outlets at RM3.00 for a 200g pack and RM6.50 for a 600g pack
(Oh I’m on newspaper too!! lol) on Harian Metro and Utusan Malaysia (click on thumbnail for full sized image)
Quaker Oats for Rice – Rice Pilaf
- Quaker Oat for Rice – 1 cup, rinsed
- Fragrant rice – 2 cups, rinsed
- Garlic – 100 gm (5-6 clove) – peeled and finely sliced
- Cinnamon – 2 sticks
- Cloves – 5
- Star Anise – 3
- Cardamom – 4
- Olive spread – 2 tablespoons
- Roasted Cashew Nuts – 250 gm
- Fresh green peas – 200 gm
- Shallots – 10 small, peeled and finely sliced
- Pinch of salt
- In a hot pan, add the olive oil spread and sliced garlic, sauté until garlic is crispy on the edges
- Add garlic and onions and saute until soft
- Add the spices – cinnamon sticks, cloves, star anise, cardamom and stir until fragrant
- When fragrant, add in Quaker Oats for Rice and Rice, and stir until well combined
- Pour the rice mixture into the rice cooker
- Add 5 cups water, stir and add salt to taste. Cook as normal in a rice cooker.
- When half cooked, sprinkle the cashew nuts and green peas on top of the rice
- Once done, give the rice a stir to combine all ingredients and serve
Some photos by Angeline