Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Chicken Soup with Lotus Root and Red Dates

You may be familiar with the lotus flower. For the Chinese people, this pink, aquatic flower symbolizes beauty, purity and elegance. But do you know that most parts of the lotus plant are edible? The seeds can be eaten raw. The flowers (or at least the stamens) can be infused into herbal tea. The young leaves and petals can be eaten. While the mature leaves can be used to wrap food before cooking. The edible rhizomes -- the grey-brown roots can be cooked in a variety of ways.

This is how a portion of the rhizome looks like. Maybe you have already seen this in various Asian groceries. One lotus plant can have several of these "roots." It looks like a swollen elongated sweet potato. It has a crunchy texture and subtle flavor. So, we can cook it in many different ways. The young ones, naturally more tender, can be made into salads. Otherwise, they can be stir-fried, stuffed, deep fried or simmered in soup.

Chinese people have long known that Lotus roots are a very healthy food and have been using them in this way for many centuries. Recent studies confirm this - Lotus roots were found to be rich in dietary fiber, vitamin C, potassium, thiamin, riboflavin, vitamin B6, phosphorus, copper, and manganese, while very low in saturated fat. Lotus roots are believed to have "cooling" effect. This should be served often during hot summer months.

Wash the root thoroughly. Remove the thin skin by scraping or simply use a vegetable peeler. See the picture above? That is how it would look like when you cut it, cross-section, after peeling. Slice the root thinly, around 1/8 inch thick per slice. See the picture below? Don't you just love the beautiful lacy pattern? Since the root discolors easily when cut, drop it into water immediately after slicing. You may add a little lemon juice or vinegar to the water, as well.

In a pot of boiling water, add in the ff:

1 kilo chicken, chopped to serving pieces
1 lotus root, prepared and sliced
5 pcs dried red dates
a handful of Chinese Wolfberry or Gou Qi Zi

Let boil and simmer for an hour. Alternately, drop everything in the slow cooker before leaving for work, and when you come home, a nutritious soup is ready waiting for you. :)

Season with salt and pepper before serving.

Sharing this soup and the featured Lotus Root with the Weekend Herb Blogging community, headed by Kalyn of Kalyn's Kitchen. This weekly event features herb and unique plant ingredients and the dishes we make using these ingredients. This week's host is Valentina from Trembom. To see last week's wonderfully delicious round-up, please check out Haalo of Cook Almost Anything At Least Once.

Monday, September 29, 2008

Tomato Rice Baked in Bell Pepper

Hubby and I were able to taste a baked tomato rice in a popular restaurant here in the heart of Manila. It was so creamy, so delicious. Hubby wanted me to recreate it here at home!

So, this dish is my first attempt. I was preparing my ingredients when I spied my Thai basil plant growing profusely. The picture here was taken when I newly bought it from the plant nursery. It has grown more leaves since then.

I knew the rice do not have the taste of thai basil, but has sweet basil. But I so very wanted to use these leaves, so I gathered a handful and threw it in the rice as well... :)

1 1/2 C Japanese round rice, washed once
4 T olive oil
1 onion, chopped
3 tomatoes, seeded, diced
3 T tomato paste
1 bell pepper, seeded, chopped
2 1/2 C Chicken broth
salt and pepper to taste
1/2 C chopped thai basil

1. In a big skillet, or cooking pan, heat up some olive oil. Saute the onions until softened.

2. Add in the tomatoes and saute until juices come out, around 3 minutes. Add in the bell peppers, tomato paste. Mix everything up for a while, then add in the rice. Add in the chicken broth. Let boil and lower heat. Check in once in a while, stir to mix, and to make sure the rice is not burning.

3. When rice is cooked, add in chopped basil. Mix everything to let the remaining heat cook the basil leaves. You can also add in some more drops of olive oil for more flavor and shine to the rice. Season with salt and pepper.

4. You can serve as is, or bake it in a bell pepper.

I just wanted to show you the size of the bell pepper I used...

5. Clean the bell pepper well. Cut off the top portion. Remove the seeds and the insides.

6. Stuff the bell pepper with the cooked rice. Brush the skin of the bell pepper with olive oil. Bake in a preheated oven at 375F for 15 to 20 minutes.

7. Serve warm. You may actually top this with cheese (now, why didn't I do that?)

The tomato rice is flavorful, creamy and delicious. The thai basil gave the rice dish a lemony basil flavor. Delicious but a bit on the strong flavor side. Maybe next time, I should use my sweet basil instead.

Sharing this rice dish with the Grow Your Own event. This is a twice a month food event launched by Andrea of Andrea's Recipes to celebrate the plants and food we grow ourselves and the dishes we make using these homegrown produce. This edition's host is Denise of Chez Us. To see last edition's delicious entries, please check out the wonderful round-up done by Noobcook.

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Photography Practice: Mooncakes International

This is actually a belated post. The Mid-Autumn festival was last week! Oh well, better late than never...

We do not really celebrate the Mid-Autumn Festival - 15th day of the 8th month of the lunar calendar here in the Philippines. It is another regular day. But we often give mooncakes to our family, friends or neighbors.

Here are some of the mooncakes we received.

The one above is from my sweet Korean neighbor. Actually, I don't think these are mooncakes. I think these are rice balls. My Korean neighbor gave us these colorful sweets to celebrate their Autumn festival. Maybe this is their version of sweets to give during this season...

This is a mooncake from Vietnam. Our beloved President of Couples@Work Fellowship just came from Vietnam and he brought us these goodies! The picture above still in the original wrapper. The picture below is without the wrapper...

Don't you just love the lotus flower shape of this mooncake?!? I do not know why there is a number 15 stamped at the center though. More mooncakes next week... :)

Friday, September 26, 2008

Weekend Wokking : Coconuts

It is Weekend Wokking time once again! This is a monthly food event launched by Wandering Chopsticks to celebrate different ways we can cook one ingredient. The ingredient of the month is something close to my heart - and to every Filipino's heart - the wonderful COCONUT! Do you know that the Philippines is the second largest coconut producer in the world? Thank you Marija for choosing the versatile coconut!

In the Philippines, the coconut is commonly given the title "Tree of Life." It its theorized that if you were to become stranded on a desert island populated by palm trees, you could survive purely on the tree and coconut alone, as the coconut provides all of the required natural properties for survival.

Nearly all the parts of a coconut tree is useful. The juice of the nut can be used for drinking. In fact, coconut water contains sugar, fiber, proteins, anti-oxidants, vitamins and minerals. The water alone is a highly nutritious food source. The meat is edible - raw or cooked. The shell of the nut can be used to make musical instruments, or beautiful decorations, buttons or even jewelries! The husk and its fibers are used to make hemp ropes, or can be used for compost, or made into charcoal. The sap derived from the tree are made into wines (tuba). The heart of the palm is an edible delicacy. The leaves are cleaned and used to wrap food in cooking - broiling or steaming. They also provide materials for making baskets. Coconut oil is getting popularity as medicine. The roots were traditionally used as medicine as well. The trunks can be used as bridges, furnitures, or even buildings. Do you know we have a Coconut Palace here in Manila? It is an entire mansion made from coconut trees alone!

And I have only scratched the surface of the many uses of the coconut...

Anyway, since the coconut is quite abundant here. It is used in our daily cooking. Both the meat and the milk extracted are used - not just the main meals but for desserts as well. I am featuring two recipes using Coconut cream/milk for Weekend Wokking. For more information on Coconut milk and cream, please click on my first featured recipe the Maja Blanca Salad.

Many Filipino desserts usually use the fresh coconut meat. We make our fruits salad with the meat. Or we add them to jellies. But this dessert uses coconut milk for a change. It is very easy to prepare. This dessert makes a good meal-ender. It satisfies our sweet-tooth without being cloyingly sweet.

Many dishes are prepared using coconut cream/coconut milk. This dish is a simple but yummy example. Coconut cream/milk is quite versatile because we can add them to a variety of meat, fish, seafood and vegetables dishes. And the resulting dishes are quite flavorful because we usually add chillies and fish paste.

This is my entry to the Weekend Wokking event, featuring the Coconut. This month's host is Ivy of Precious Pea. Please check her cute, adorable site on Wednesday, Oct 1, for the round-up, and for the next secret ingredient. I am particularly excited for the next ingredient because next month's host will be... ME! Yay!

To see the previous round-ups and the different ways we cooked the other special ingredients, please check out the listing here.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Vietnamese Pork Chops

My kids does not really like pork chops. That's probably because my regular way of cooking them - grilled, or broiled, does not really produce super tender meat. They are juicy, flavorful, alright, but... just not super-tender enough for the kids. I mention the adjective "super-tender" because that is how my children prefer their meats - soft, falling off the bones, almost melt-in-the-mouth kind. You can tell I do not cook pork chops often.

When I read about Wandering Chopstick's Braised Pork Chops with various herbs, I knew I just have to try it. She promised these pork chops are "incredibly tender." She braised the pork chops until they become tender. Which makes sense! Why have not tried this before???

4 pcs pork chops

2 stalks lemongrass, finely minced
6 cloves garlic, finely minced
1-inch knob ginger, finely minced
1 chili pepper, finely minced
2 T honey
2 T Vietnamese Fish Sauce (I used Filipino Fish Sauce)
1 T rice wine vinegar
1/2 t ground black pepper

1. Chop the lemongrass, garlic, ginger, and chili pepper, as finely as you can. Mince everything in a food processor until everything is a fine paste. (As you can see from the picture, I simply chopped everything and did not use the food processor to make a paste.)

2. Add honey, fish sauce, rice wine vinegar, and ground black pepper. Then slather the marinade all over the pork chops.

3. In a large sauce pan on high heat, drizzle a bit of oil and quickly sear the pork chops. Add 1 cup of water, turn the heat down to medium-low and let simmer for at least 1 hour. ( I think I added 30 minutes more of braising to make the chops super tender.)

Other than not making the herbs into paste, I followed all her instructions. The result is truly a soft, melt-in-the mouth, falling off the bones pork chops. I think the taste is also the same, except that the texture of the sauce is more rough. Next time, I will make sure the herbs are minced to have a finer, and smoother sauce.

This dish goes to the Bookmarked Recipes community. Bookmarked Recipes is a world-wide foodie event....where anyone from anywhere can blog about a recipe they had bookmarked from a cook book, food magazine, food blog, food website, from TV etc, make it and submit it to a weekly roundup. It is created and regularly hosted by Ruth of Ruth's Kitchen Experiments. But since Ruth is on vacation, this week's edition will be hosted by Pam of Sidewalk Shoes. I personally made last week's round-up. You may want to check it out here. :)

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Colorful Macaroni Soup

Macaroni Soup is a family comfort food. This dish is quite versatile, too. We can eat it for breakfast. It can served as a soup dish accompanying a main entree for lunch or dinner. It can be served as an afternoon (after school) snack. Or, it can be a quick satisfying dinner as well.

This dish is also easy to prepare. You can have any soup broth of your choice, add any meat of your choice. Add in the macaroni and vegetable of your choice, and there you have it, a hearty, satisfying macaroni soup. If you prefer the soup to be creamy, you just add in a dollop or two of all-purpose cream, or even fresh milk.

This dish is also perfect for left-overs. Just shred left-over meat or fish and vegetables and throw everything in the broth! In this sense, this is a no-recipe dish!

I made macaroni soup again because I discovered some colorful vegetable pasta in the grocery last week. This would be great for the kids!

This brand is made in Vietnam. I am not sure if it has real vegetables inside the pasta as it claims in the bag. I was simply attracted by the colors. You would understand that if you have kids, you have to present similar dishes in interesting ways. :)

The pasta looks colorful and cute when not yet cooked. However, when cooked, they almost look similar! The colors of each pasta pieces were almost gone! The finished dish was not as attractive as I expected. :(

Another thing, this pasta cooks easily, and did not retain the al-dente quality of most pasta that I was used to.

And another, the pasta was salty. I do not understand why. I do not mean the soup was salty but the macaroni itself was salty.

Another lesson on : Do not judge the cover (in this case, the food) by how it looks!

Sharing this culinary misadventure with the Presto Pasta community, headed and hosted this week by Ruth of Once Upon a Feast. To see last week's fabulous round-up, please check out Giz and Psychgrad's Equal Opportunity Kitchen.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

The Quest for Bitterless Bittermelon: A Salad and A Stir-fry

Bitter melon or Bitter gourd (a green, oblong shaped gourd that is wartly looking on the outside) is truly the most unpopular vegetable. How can it be popular when it tastes so ... so... bitter!

When I was single, I do not think I am fond of this vegetable. In fact, I remember whenever my mom would cook this, (which was not so often,) she is the only one in the family who will eat this veggie! When I got married though, we lived for a few years with my in-laws and I learned to like this bitter veggie. The taste kind of 'grows' on you. Yes, it is an acquired taste. My mother-in-law believes that the Bitter Gourd is one of the super vegetables - ranked up high with broccoli and watercress. So, we would regularly have this veggie on the menu. She was proven correct when recent studies show that the bitter gourd can help regulate blood sugar level, helps digestion process, and helps regulate body functions. In fact, it is now made into tea, and capsules for those who do not enjoy this veggie.

Now that I am a mother, I would have to think of ways to cook this healthy and nutritious vegetable so that my kids would learn to like it. I have tried cooking the gourd in soup, like my friend recommended, and true enough, the bitterness was gone! But I also have to experiment and think of other ways to minimize the bitterness, so I can use this gourd in other dishes as well. So, let's start with the quest!

When we buy bitter melons, we have to choose young ones. I think it gets more bitter as it ripens. How will you know when you get more mature ones? It is not the size that matters. I have seen some baby bitter gourd and they taste even more bitter than the regular ones. See the picture above? I have already halved the gourd lengthwise in that picture and there are yellow orange spots around the seeds. That means this gourd is quite mature. If it is all white, then the gourd is still young. But the mature gourd is still very much edible.

For this quest, I purposefully bought 2 large pieces of bitter gourd, placed them in my refrigerator for 2 days, to allow them to mature. So that I can experiment on how to remove the "bitterness" of the gourd!

After halving the gourd, I removed the pith and the seeds. This is how it would look like:

Remove as much white stuff as you can with a spoon. It is not hard to do so, because all these whites are soft. Then slice each half as thinly as you can. In my case, as thinly as my "dull" knife would let me... :)

For one bitter melon, I tried the "usual" way, that is, it is how I was taught, how everybody is doing it. We put the sliced bitter melon in a bowl. Mix it with 2 tablespoon of salt and let it sit for 30 minutes. After 30 minutes, you will see some juices have oozed out, drain the juice, squeeze the bitter melon slices some more to extract more juice. Wash them well with clean water, squeeze out excess water, then it is ready to cook.

Or in this case, ready to be made into Bitter melon Salad (Ampalaya Salad). This is an easy salad to do. It will make a great side-dish to a grilled or fried meat or fish!

Chop up some onions and tomatoes. Mix together with the prepared bitter melon slices. You can also add some chopped bird's eye chillies (siling labuyo, chili padi) if you prefer more zing! Add some good quality rice vinegar, sugar, fish sauce (patis). Mix everything up together. Add the sauces, spices, salt and pepper according to taste. It should be sourish salty with a little hint of sweet... :)

For the second bitter melon, I simply put the slices of the gourd in a bowl, and added clean water until all the slices are covered. I changed the water every hour, and did this 3 times. My theory? Osmosis! (Or is it reverse osmosis?) I figured that the bitterness of the gourd (more concentration) will "transfer" to the water (less concentrated).

After three hours, I cooked the bittermelon in a stir fry. Recipe here. Only, I did not use crabmeat, but simple fish paste (bagoong).

Result of my experiment? The second version - immersing in water proved to be more efficient in removing the bitterness! Which was quite a surprise, actually! It was the easiest, cleanest and less messy way and yet more effective! The cooked dish had no hint and trace of bitterness at all. Hubby said it was the best ampalaya (Bitter melon) he had ever tasted!

I would recommend this immersing method. Not only does it effectively remove the bitterness, but I was afraid the first method, of extracting the bitterness through salt, would extract the vitamins and the other healthy benefits as well.

Sharing these two dishes with the featured Bitter melon to the Weekend Herb Blogging community. This foodie event was launched by Kalyn of Kalyn's Kitchen to feature herbs and unique plant ingredients around the world and the dishes we prepare using these ingredients. This week's host is Haalo of Cook (almost) Anything At Least Once. I like her food philosophy! To see last week's featured plants and dishes, please see Zorra's simple and elegant round-up at Kochtop.

Monday, September 22, 2008

Bookmarked Recipes 23 : My First Guest Hosting!

This is another blogging milestone - my first guest hosting! I am very honored when Ruth of Ruth's Kitchen Experiments requested me to guest-host for her baby - the Bookmarked Recipes. It is a foodie event
where anyone from anywhere can blog about a recipe they had bookmarked from a cook book, food magazine, food blog, food website, from TV etc, make it and submit it to a weekly roundup.

Thank you Ruth, for this opportunity to host, to learn how to host, thank you for your trust. :)

Thank you to the everyone who participated! You are wonderful and so generous in sharing your delicious "finds" and "discovered" recipes.

I enjoy taking part in this event and I enjoy reading all the entries. Because these are the recipes carefully picked and chosen by wonderful food bloggers around the world. The recipes have been tried and tested in real kitchens, commented and improved. In other words, these are the weekly compilation of the best recipes in the blogosphere!

I hope you enjoy the dishes as much as I enjoyed doing the round-up and bookmarking everyone's dishes! Let's take a dip and swim around the world (12 dishes from 7 countries) to see what bloggers have been cooking in their kitchens ! (presented in the order they were received.)

Maggie (Michigan, U.S.A.) of the warm and comfy Dog Hill Kitchen sends us her version of Cookie Wrapped Figs from Clumbsy Cookies' Fig Week Celebration. It sounds so simple to make and yet you end up with awesome looking and (I'm sure) wonderful-tasting surprise inside a Chinese-spiced cookie! The wonderful thing is, I think we can change the fruit inside and adapt this recipe to whatever produce we have available.

Lovely Deeba (Gurgaon, India) of Passionate About Baking prepared this delicious and fragrant Mixed Herb Pasta taken from the Bon Appetit's recipe she found on Epicurious. She was finally able to make this long-bookmarked dish when a blogger/friend gave her a parcel of fresh herbs! Pasta lovers will surely drool over the fresh ingredients used in this dish!

TS and JS, (Vancouver, Canada) the creative sisters behind Eating Club Vancouver shares with us this mouthwatering Fried Green Tomatoes they made following a food video by Chef John of Food Wishes Video Recipes. They said that the flavors of the green tomatoes were truly fantastic and they insist that we try it!!! (With three exclamation marks!!!)

Jeanne (London, UK) of Cooksister, sends us these pretty Sun-Dried Tomato Pesto Twirls, she made from a recipe by Thyme for Cooking, the blog. And what gorgeous twirls they are indeed! They look sophisticated for a party and yet so simple to prepare! I do not think they will last long in this household :)

Giz (Ontario, Canada), the mother half of Equal Opportunity Kitchen, baked these fabulous Peach Melba Dessert Muffins. (Shhh... there's a surprise sweet inside each of those muffins!) The recipe was taken from the book "The 250 Best Muffins Recipe" by Esther Brody, a book Giz bought on sale! Its a good thing she did not pass up the cookbook, and I definitely will not pass up those mufffins!

Pam (TN, U.S.A.) of Sidewalk Shoes prepared this colorful, and scrumptuous Tomato Salad with Feta, Olives, and Mint from The Best of Fine Cooking Fresh Fall Issue 2008. With tomatoes, feta, olives, mint, need I say more? Yummy!

Arika (Biloxi, USA) of My Yummy Life (and with lots of yummy food,) prepared this vegetarian Palak Paneer, an Indian spinach curry with homemade cheese cubes. She got the recipe from cusinecuisine.com, an informative site full of Indian dishes. What a delicious way, not to mention, healthy way to get us started on Indian food!

Jin Hooi (Melbourne, Australia) of Smell and Taste Are My Memory bakes these lovely and tasty Green Tea Madeleines from a recipe she got from Chubby Hubby. Jin Hooi says these madeleines tastes great! Crispy at the edge and soft in the middle. Wow! I can taste them already!

Jen (Boston, USA) of Beantown Baker joins us again with her melt-in-the-mouth Lime Meltaways. She got the recipe from How to Eat a Cupcake, who in turn got the recipe from Martha Stewart. Wouldn't these citrusy cookies be a refreshing change from your regular chocolate cookies?

Gloria (Santiago, Chile) of Canela Kitchen's Recipes made these savory Grits, Cheese and Onion Souffles from a recipe she found on the Bon Appetit Magazine, June 2008. These versatile souffles can be served for breakfast, lunch, or as a dinner side-dish! I just love the combination of cheese and onions and eggs! Don't you?

Divya (I prefer Anudivya, it sounds sweeter :) of the healthy and nutritious site And a Little Bit More shares with us these savory Carrot and Coriander Muffins from a recipe she got from The Yum Blog. With the healthy benefits of carrots and the fragrance of coriander leaves (cilantro), these muffins are sure to win any pallete!

Here's my own (Manila, Philippines) entry - Orange Crumb Cake with Cinnamon Crumb Topping, taken from About Southern Food.com. Despite its long title, this quick dessert snack is so easy to prepare, you do not even need a mixer. It tastes lovely too! Moist and crumbly. Light and fruity.

There you have it - the Bookmarked Recipes this week! I am already bookmarking each of them myself! If you have any recipes you got from another source, you cooked it, and want to share your cooking experiences with it, please blog about it and join us in Bookmarked Recipes! This week, Pam from Sidewalk Shoes will be filling in for Ruth. Of course, this is an ongoing weekly event, so in case, you were not able to participate this week, come join us the following week or the next, or the next... :)

To take part here's what you do.......
1. Pick a recipe from a book/magazine/blog/website/tv show and make it. (Note you can only submit 1 recipe per week)
2. Blog about it
- include where you got the recipe in your blog post (including a link to their website if possible)
- include a link to this post or this blog in your blog post
- include the logo (see above) for Bookmarked Recipes in your blog post
- include a photo of your recreation on your blog post
3. Email bookmarkedrecipes[AT]gmail[DOT]com with the following information:
- Your name and where you're from
- The name of your blog
- The permalink for your entry
- A photo of your entry
- A note of where you got your recipe from

Friday, September 19, 2008

100 Chinese Food to Try Before You Die and other Food Lists

There's a lot of lists going around the food blogging world lately. I thought it started with the Omnivore's Hundred. But according to the House of Annie, this list was preceded by several others. Anyway, here are some of the list which I find interesting, and I might just get to try them:

The Omnivore's Hundred (of course!)

BBC's 50 Things to Eat Before You Die ( I figured maybe I can finish this list faster :)

American Omnivore's Hundred

100 Japanese Food to Try

The British 100 (Because the list really contains interesting things I've never heard of! Welsh Rarebit? Spotted Dick?! Stinking Bishops?)

100 Vietnamese Food to Try

Here are the 100 Chinese Foods to Try Before you Die. Courtesy of Diane from Appetite for China.

Some tweaks:

I changed the number 57 item from a Peruvian dish to this item that I think is essential to Chinese Cuisine as well. I removed egg rolls and added another item. :)

  1. Almond Milk*
  2. Ants Climbing A Tree (poetic, not literal, name) a hot and spicy dish made with ground beef and noodles, recipe here.)
  3. Asian pear*
  4. Baby bok choy*
  5. Bai Jiu (Chinese distilled liquor)*
  6. Beef brisket*
  7. Beggar's Chicken
  8. BingTang Hulu*(a street food, made with hawthorns on stick, dipped in sugar syrup)
  9. Bitter melon*
  10. Bubble tea*
  11. Buddha's Delight
  12. Cantonese roast duck*
  13. Century egg or thousand-year egg*
  14. Cha Siu (Cantonese roast pork) *
  15. Char Kway Teow (flat noodles dish popular in Singapore and Malaysia)*
  16. Chicken feet *
  17. Chinese Sausage*
  18. Chow mein *
  19. Chrysanthemum tea*
  20. Claypot rice*
  21. Congee*
  22. Conpoy* (dried scallops)
  23. Crab rangoon *
  24. Dan Dan noodles
  25. Dragonfruit*
  26. Dragon's Beard candy
  27. Dried cuttlefish*
  28. Drunken Chicken*
  29. Dry Fried Green Beans*
  30. Egg drop soup*
  31. Egg tart, Cantonese*
  32. Fresh bamboo shoots*
  33. Fortune cookies* (these are not exactly Chinese...)
  34. Fried milk
  35. Fried rice*
  36. Gai lan (Chinese broccoli)*
  37. General Tso's Chicken
  38. Ginseng*
  39. Gobi Manchurian (Fried Cauliflower in Sweet sour Spicy Sauce)
  40. Goji berries* (Chinese wolfberries)
  41. Grass jelly*
  42. Hainan chicken rice*
  43. Hand-pulled noodles*
  44. Har gau *(steamed shrimp dumplings in translucent wrappers)
  45. Haw flakes*
  46. Hibiscus tea
  47. Hong Kong-style Milk Tea *
  48. Hot and Sour Soup*
  49. Hot Coca-Cola with Ginger*
  50. Hot Pot*
  51. Iron Goddess tea *(Tieguanyin)
  52. Jellyfish*
  53. Kosher Chinese food
  54. Kung Pao Chicken
  55. Lamb skewers (yangrou chua'r)
  56. Lion's Head meatballs *
  57. Snow Fungus*
  58. Longan fruit*
  59. Lychee*
  60. Macaroni in soup with Spam*
  61. Malatang
  62. Mantou, * especially if fried and dipped in sweetened condensed milk
  63. Mapo Tofu*
  64. Mock meat*
  65. Mooncake *(bonus points for the snow-skin variety)
  66. Nor mai gai * (chicken and sticky rice in lotus leaf)
  67. Pan Fried Jiao Zi *(Dumplings)
  68. Peking Duck *
  69. Pineapple Cake*
  70. Prawn crackers*
  71. Pu'er tea *
  72. Rambutan*
  73. Red bean in dessert form*
  74. Red bayberry
  75. Red cooked pork*
  76. Roast pigeon*
  77. Rose tea*
  78. Roujiamo
  79. Scallion pancake*
  80. Shaved ice dessert*
  81. Sesame chicken*
  82. Sichuan pepper in any dish*
  83. Sichuan Preserved Vegetable*
  84. Silken tofu*
  85. Soy milk, freshly made*
  86. Steamed egg custard*
  87. Stinky tofu*
  88. Sugar cane juice*
  89. Sweet and Sour Pork, chicken, or shrimp*
  90. Taro *
  91. Tea Eggs*
  92. Tea-smoked duck*
  93. Turnip Cake*
  94. Twice Cooked Pork
  95. Water chestnut cake (mati gau)
  96. Wonton noodle soup*
  97. Wood ear Fungus*
  98. Xiaolongbao *(soup dumplings)
  99. Yuanyang (half coffee, half tea, Hong Kong style)
  100. Yunnan goat cheese

Some notes: I apologize for changing two items. I think this is a wonderful list. But the Chinese dishes encompasses a whole lot more - because of the many different regional cuisines. I would have loved to add some more even more exotic foods like:

1. Stewed Rabbits*
2. Shark's Fin Soup*
3. Abalone*
4. Abalone oysters*
5. Bird's Nest*
6. Dried oysters*
7. Shark Meat Soup*
8. Spicy Fried Eel*
9. Braised Turtles*
10. Angelica Sinensis *(Tong Gui) a Chinese herb that tonifies and invigorates the blood
11. Braised Sea Cucumber*
12. Seaweeds *(Hai Cai and Zi Cai) or laver
13. Four Herbs Soup*
14. LinZhi (ganoderma)*
15. Pig's Brain Omelet *
16. Iron bark Wine *
17. Fish Lips Soup*
18. Stir Fried Pig's Kidneys and Liver *

Ok, I better stop here or the list is going to get longer and longer... :)

I added an asterisk to the ones I have tried, or tasted. That does not mean I like them. Like pig's brain - yuck!!!

Why don't you try to check this list which items you have tried and see for yourself if you are a true Chinese foodie or not! :) I have added references to those items we might not be familiar with.

If there are still other items I might have overlooked, which you feel should be part of the list of 100 Chinese food, please let me know. :) Who knows, we might make it to Chinese 500!!! :)

Also, maybe we should start doing the Filipino 100 too!

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Scrambled Shrimp Omelette

This blog truly promotes healthy food, and healthy eating habits. As part of that, we are also for choosing fresh and organic food, if available. Fresh food, meaning, we have to consume the produce and fresh food we buy as soon as possible.

But of course, sometimes, I goof up. Sometimes, tiny little bags of 'I don't know what' gets pushed to the back of the freezer, and promptly forgotten. Just like this tiny bag of shrimps! I probably used some of the bunch a few weeks ago, and then poof! Good thing it reappeared today :) Actually, I make it a habit every week to check what else I have forgotten inside the "deep freeze." Or else, these little bags may never surface at all!

So, I am making this shrimp dish for the Deep Freeze Summer Challenge, year 2 by Chris of Mele Cotte.

When using frozen shrimp, sometimes we are not sure if they will turn "fishy" (malansa) when cooked. You know, they might not smell fresh anymore. The same may be true for other frozen seafood. So, what do we do to remove the "fishy" possibility? Let me share with you a trade secret. We can immerse the shrimps and/or the fish in Chinese cooking wine first. Take a bowl, put in the shrimps, and pour in the Chinese cooking wine. Make sure all the meat are covered. Marinate for around 15 to 30 minutes. Drain the wine and cook the seafood as usual. :) The fishy smell will be gone!

What to do with the small amount of shrimps? I turned it into an omellete. How uncreative can I be? Actually, we love omelette. Omelettes are very versatile. We can have them any time of the day. So Omelette it is.

I have shared with you our family secret regarding cooking soft, fluffy omelettes. You may want to refer to the post again. That is also the technique I used here. Only, I made a scrambled version today.

1/4 Kilo shrimps, shelled
2 T canola oil
2 eggs
2 T milk
salt and pepper to taste
4 T julienned carrots
4 T chopped green onions

1. Marinate defrosted shrimps in cooking wine, as described above.

2. Beat the eggs with the milk and salt and pepper. Beat very well and for a long time. Then add in the shrimps, carrots and green onions. Mix everything very well.

3. Heat up the oil in a non-stick skillet. Pour in the egg mixture. When the bottom (of the omelette) is starting to set, push the eggs around with a spatula. Keep pushing all the eggs while cooking, until all the eggs and shrimps are cooked.

Simple, fast, easy, yummy!

Also sharing this dish to the 101 Omelet Recipes launched by Sangeeth of the Art of Indian Cooking.
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