I’ve had lots of great eating experiences in the past couple of weeks, but I need to mentally digest them and sort through the photos. So here’s a terribly delayed post with pretty food pictures to start off the weekend instead.
You may remember a previous Cooking the Books post where a group of us food bloggers caught up and cooked a meal using recipes from Bill Granger’s Holiday. This post is about Cooking the Books 3, where we all cooked recipes out of Thai Street Food. (We’re already planning CTB 6, which just goes to show how far behind I am.) (more…)
Recipe: Chinese Chive Cakes From: Thai Street Food
Second recipe: Son in law eggs From: The Cook’s Companion
It’s Thai week for the Cookbook Challenge! I received a copy of Thai Street Food for Christmas, and it is a rather large, but gorgeously presented tome. I read it cover to cover last night in preparation for the Thai challenge (obviously I’m still having issues with being better organised) and I want to eat everything that’s in there!
I really wanted to make something from Thai Street Food this week, but all the recipes seem very complicated. They all have big blocks of text and specialised ingredients, and many of them need to be started the night before. So I choose the easiest recipe I could find, which was Chinese Chive Cakes…….. I know, I know, it’s THAI week, but it’s in Thai Street Food and they’re commonly sold in Thailand, so I think I’m still good with the theme.
If you have a look at the recipe down below, it’s rather long, even though I did simplify it a lot. I must say that the recipe looked more complicated than it actually was. I made the dough, then the filling, then placed the filling into the dough, similar to making dumplings. After the chive cakes were made, they were steamed – they could have been eaten at this point or shallow fried. You can guess which option I took, can’t you? I fried the suckers!
The chive cakes have a chewy pastry, and fried you get little firm, crisp parts. My filling had a fair amount of pepper, so they were salty and peppery and rather tasty. I can definitely see myself making these again.
My second recipe was from the always reliable Cook’s Companion – son-in-law eggs. They are just basically deep fried hard boiled eggs, with a sweetish, sour, salty sauce that’s made of fish sauce, palm sugar, tamarind water and lime juice. After I made the sauce, Alastair walked downstairs into the kitchen and exclaimed, “It smells like Asian cooking in here!” and Bro asked if I had used shrimp paste. I blame the fish sauce – it was pretty pungent!
The sauce was great though, quite strong, but addictive. But I wonder if the recipe would work with a soft boiled egg – it would be nice to have the eggs with a still slightly squishy yolk. I’ll have to keep that in mind for next time!
1 cup rice flour 1/4 cup tapioca flour, plus a couple extra tablespoons for dusting 2 tablespoons sticky rice flour large pinch of salt 3 tablespoons vegetable oil
400g Chinese Chives, cut into 1cm lengths 4 tablespoons oil 1-2 tablespoons finely chopped garlic pinch of salt 1 teaspoon sugar 2-3 tablespoons light soy sauce pinch of ground white pepper
Making the pastry:
In a bowl, mix together the flours and salt. Work in the oil, and then add enough water to make a thick but wet dough (the book specifies 1 & 1/2 cups water but when I added all the water I had a very thin batter rather than dough and had to start again! Mine took about half that amount of water.)
Place a frying pan or wok on a low heat and add the pastry, stirring constantly (you may need to use a whisk). When the pastry is half cooked, it will be very sticky and have an opaque sheen. Take it off the heat and set aside for a couple of minutes.
On a clean working surface, sprinkle on the extra tablespoons of tapioca flour. Add the dough on to it, and work the flour into the warm pastry. Knead for about five minutes, until it is firmish and clean to the touch. Roll the pastry into ten balls and rest for at least ten minutes under a clean, damp cloth.
Next, make the filling. Give the Chinese chives a good wash, and drain well. In a wok or pan, heat the oil and fry the garlic with the pinch of salt until beginning to colour. Add the chives and cook until wilted. Season with the sugar, soy sauce and white pepper. Taste to make sure it is well seasoned but not too salty. Transfer to a sieve or colander to drain and cool. You don’t want too much liquid, so give the filling a squeeze with your hands after it’s cooled a little to get rid of some of the juice.
Give the pastry balls a light knead, then press out into thin discs that are slightly thinner at the edges and about 10cm in diameter. Place a pastry disc into the palm of one hand and spoon 2 heaped tablespoons of filling into the centre. Light the edges of the pastry up and fold and crimp together, pushing the edges up into the centre. Custom says that there should be ten folds! Pinch the edges together in the middle, twist them together and then press down and seal. Repeat with the remaining pastry balls and filling, keeping them covered with a damp cloth as you make them.
Steam the cakes for about 15 minutes on a banana leaf or baking paper. Either cool for a moment before serving – or you could pan fry them (YES).
If pan frying, let the cakes cool for a bit after steaming. Heat a heavy frying pan until quite hot. Add a couple of tablespoons of oil and then add the cakes, shallow frying over a low-medium heat. Turn them a couple of times until they are golden on all sides. Remove and drain on a paper towel.
Serve with soy sauce and chilli.
Son-in-law eggs From The Cook’s Companion
1/2 cup palm sugar 1/4 cup fish sauce 1 tablespoon Tamarind water juice of 1 lime vegetable oil 4 hardboiled eggs, peeled 1 tablespoon friend sliced garlic fresh coriander leaves
In a saucepan, combine the palm sugar, fish sauce and tamarind water. Simmer, stirring, until all the sugar has dissolved. Stir in the lime juice and taste – it should have a balance of sweet, salty and sour. Adjust the seasoning to taste.
Heat the vegetable oil and deep fry the eggs for several minutes until they are golden brown. Drain on paper towels, cut into quarters, and dip into sauce and eat with the fried garlic
Recipe: Sticky rice with mango From: Ballymaloe Cookery Course
The theme for this week’s Cookbook Challenge is “rice”. Being Chinese, I eat a lot of rice, so I wanted to make something that I wouldn’t normally try and decided on sticky black rice. I read the recipe this morning, just as we were about to go out and purchase black rice, and realised that I was meant to soak the rice overnight. Gaaaah. So much for my intentions of being better organised!
That led me to flick through several of my other cookbooks to find a new recipe – and I came across this recipe for white sticky rice with mango that didn’t need overnight soaking. As a bonus, I already had glutinous rice in the pantry as I normally use it to make a savoury one pot dish with Chinese sausage and shiitake mushrooms.
After the hour of soaking, I put the rice on to cook. At the same time, I started baking a cake and was gathering ingredients, when the phone rang. It was my mum and dad, so I was juggling flour, sugar and butter while chatting to them on the phone. This meant that I totally forgot that I had the rice on the stove! Fortunately, I remembered it just in time, and managed to get to it just as all the water had absorbed. Phew!
Since it’s no longer mango season, I served the sticky rice with peaches instead and poured over some extra coconut milk. Tastewise, the rice was okay – it was mildly sweet, and had a faint fragrance and flavour of coconut. I would have preferred it sweeter, as it mostly just tasted like glutinous rice and it all seemed a bit wrong.
I doubt I’d make it again. I guess I like my glutinous rice to be savoury!
400g of white glutinous rice 285ml coconut milk pinch of salt 2 tablespoons caster sugar (I would recommend more sugar. Double it!) 300ml water
4 small or 2 large mangoes, peeled and diced (I used peaches) lime juice and sugar mint leaves to decorate
Soak the rice in cold water for at least an hour and drain. In a saucepan, place the rice, coconut milk, salt, sugar and water and bring to the boil. Turn down the heat to a simmer, and let it simmer uncovered until all the water has been absorbed.
Remove from the heat, place the lid back on the pot, and let stand for five minutes.
Transfer the rice to a steamer or a double saucepan and steam for 15-20 minutes.
Serve with the diced mango sprinkled with lime juice and a little sugar. Decorate with mint.