Braised Chicken Thighs & Eggs

This recipe is a winner! I know because the extremely picky kid ate everything on her plate!

The recipe –

about 8 thin slices of ginger, cut into thin matchsticks
5 cloves garlic, sliced thinly
about half or whole tablespoon of whole black peppercorns

8 pieces chicken thighs

12 pieces dried shitake mushroom, rehydrated, reserve soaking liquid
100 grams cooked chestnuts, optional
boiled eggs, optional

4 tablespoons light soy sauce
2 tablespoons oyster sauce
1/2 tablespoon sesame oil
2 pieces star anise
2 pieces whole cloves
1 piece cinnamon stick
1 to 2 pieces dried chili

Rinse the chicken thighs and remove the fatty membranes. Pat dry.

Sauté half the garlic, ginger and peppercorns. Add the chicken skin side down. Cook (don’t stir) chicken about 2 to 3 minutes.

Add the mushrooms on top of the chicken, and all the seasonings. Add enough water to just cover the chicken. When the sauce starts to simmer, turn the chicken over and lightly mix. Leave to simmer, uncovered, stirring occasionally, until the chicken is done (don’t overcook). If the liquid evaporates too much, add some hot water. To add more flavor, use the mushroom liquid, by tablespoons.

Don’t forget the chestnust and eggs, if using – add them in the last 5 minutes of cooking. Make sure that the eggs get enough color from the sauce.

Serve immediately and enjoy.

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Steamed Fish ala Lucille

Because it is Holy Week…

As well as for BFF, because of the steamed fish discussion we had last Saturday afternoon!

whole white fish, about 500 grams, cleaned*
about 1/2 teaspoon sea salt**
2 tablespoons tausi, rinsed and mashed, OR 4-6 pieces dried black mushrooms, rehydrated, diced finely
2 cloves garlic, minced
pinch of sugar, optional
splash of sesame oil***
splash of Shaoxing wine (or cooking rice wine)***
ground white (or black pepper)
1 tablespoon oil
1-inch knob (thumb-sized) ginger, sliced into thin matchstick size

Sauce:
1/2 tablespoon sesame oil
1/2 to 1 tablespoon water
1 tablespoon light soya sauce
ginger strips
1 piece labuyo, cut into largish pieces, optional
handful of wansoy

Garnish:
1 scallion, sliced thinly, diagonally

Rinse the fish and pat dry (use paper towels).  Make 2 to 3 diagonal slits on the body of the fish.  Rub salt on the fish; put a little inside the cavity also (through the opening on the side of the head).

Meanwhile, start the steamer and let the water boil at a gentle simmer.

Combine mashed beans OR diced mushrooms, minced garlic and sugar, if using, and sesame oil, wine pepper and a pinch of salt.  Rub the mixture on both sides of the fish; stuff some in the fish cavity also.

Place some ginger on the steaming plate.  Place the fish on top of the ginger.  Place some ginger on the top side of the fish, as well as in the cavity.

Steam the fish for 8 minutes.

Meanwhile, mix together the ingredients for the sauce; set aside while waiting for the 8 minutes to finish. Remove any liquid from the plate (drain gently).

Pour sauce over the fish and return to the steamer. Steam another 2 minutes, or until fish is done. Do not over-cook the fish.

Garnish with sliced scallions before serving.

Notes:

*I like using a fish called Kingfish, basically a red tilapia. But any white fish (lapulapu, tilapia, pompano, etc.) will do. Fish fillets will also work, but steaming time will be a bit less.

**Adjust the salt based on personal taste.

***Adjust the “splash” to personal taste.

 

 

Szechuan-style Hot and Sour Soup

My mother made a decent hot and sour soup – and despite my not liking spicy food, it was an exception.  It is unfortunate that I cannot find her recipe, nor can she remember enough to pass it on to me.

The next best thing? experiment and approximate!  But so far that has not worked for me.  Sigh.

What to do then?  Scour the cookbook library!

And, this recipe is good!  (although, as usual and always, I “personalize” the recipe – )

1.5 liters chicken stock
100 grams chicken breast fillet, julienned
8 pieces fresh shitake
handful of fresh shimenji
cloud ears, reconstituted
1 pack (50 grams) enoki mushrooms
2 blocks tofu, drained, cubed

Seasonings:
1/2 tablespoon salt
pinch of sugar, optional
1 tablespoon each light and dark soy sauce
3 to 4 tablespoon rice vinegar
1 t0 1-1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
(chopped labuyo)

2 tablespoons cornstarch, dissolved in 1/4 cup water

2 eggs, lightly beaten
wansoy

I like to simplify things (read as- I am lazy) so I boil the chicken stock and dump the chicken, mushrooms and tofu.  Season with salt and soy sauces (I skipped the sugar) and the rice vinegar and black pepper (I substituted part of it with chopped chili-labuyo).

Thicken with cornstarch slurry.  Slowly pour the beaten eggs into the soup, stirring at the same time to break the eggs.  Garnish with wansoy.

(Adjust and modify as you like!)

Bamboo Shoot-Salted Egg X.O.

Hubby and I were at the Chinese grocery store to buy soy sauce.  I chanced upon the lovely bamboo shoots that were displayed.  Not being able to resist, I picked up a 500g pack!

So what did we have for dinner???  Bamboo shoots!!!

My mother once told me that bamboo shoots should always be boiled is lightly salted water… even those that come from a can.  So that’s what I did – I boiled the bamboo shoots after slicing them into pieces.

My next problem was how to cook them.  Usually I stir-fry the shoots with some pork, shrimp. and mushrooms.  Except that I had not of those at the moment.  Upon searching the fridge, I discovered that I had… salted eggs!  And some spices, i.e. XO sauce and dried shallots.

So then I got out 2 pieces of salted eggs and removed the yolks.  The yolks were mashed, while the whites were cubed.

Heat some oil in a wok then put in the mashed yolks.  Cook the yolks until frothy, then add the whites.  Stir fry several seconds, then add a chopped up dried chili (I used dried Thai chili), about a tablespoon of dried shallots and a heaping teaspoon of XO sauce.  Mix around a bit then add the bamboo shoots.  Splash some water into the wok to prevent it from drying out.  Season with salt, to taste, if desired.  Cook a couple of minutes more.  Then it is done!

I was nervous at first that hubby would not like it, since it is an “invented” dish but he said it was very good!

(smile, smile)

Scallops and Mushrooms on Yellow and Red Peppers

This dish is a hubby-wifey compromise.  Hubby loves bell peppers and I love scallops and mushrooms.  The bonus is that it cooks up in a few minutes!

300 grams shelled Chinese scallops

1 large yellow bell pepper
1 large red bell pepper

200 grams white Shimenji mushrooms

1 large thumb-sized ginger, smashed and chopped (skin off)
sea salt
oyster sauce
shao xing wine

Clean the Chinese scallops with some sea salt and rinse; drain fully.  Marinate in 1/2 to 1 tablespoon of oyster sauce.  (personally I use the lower limit and adjust later.  this is because various brands have slight nuances in saltiness etc.)

Clean and dry the bell peppers.  Remove the top and seeds, then slice into squarish or diamond-shaped pieces.  (meanwhile, start heating the wok with about 1 tablespoon of peanut oil (or canola oil).

Cut the ends of the mushrooms; rinse and dry them.

When the wok and oil is (very) hot, put in the bell peppers and stir fry a few seconds.  Sprinkle in a large pinch of sea salt.  Stir the peppers around, and remove from the pan using a slotted spoon to a serving dish.

In the same pan, sauté half the ginger then add the mushrooms.  Add 1 teaspoon of oyster sauce and stir fry several seconds.  After a couple of minutes add the rest of the ginger and the Chinese scallops.  Splash some shao xing wine (about 1 to 1-1/2 teaspoon/s) and stir fry until the scallops are just about done (about a minute or two, depending on the size of the scallops, bigger ones take a bit longer to cook).  Adjust seasonings as desired.  Do not overcook the scallops otherwise they will be tough.

Using a slotted spoon, place the scallops and mushrooms over the bell peppers.

Reduce the liquid in the wok to about half (as preferred) then pour over the dish.  Serve immediately.

 

Braised Chicken with Chestnuts and Mushrooms

Once in a while I cook for my mom and when I do, I always try to make the dish no-salt-added.  Why?  Because she developed hypertension early (in her late 30s I think) and since then she has tried to reduce her salt intake.  So her taste buds (and ours, too because she cooked reduced salt for everyone!) favors the blander side of food.

When I cook of course I use soy sauce and other condiments to flavor the dish, but if the dish is for my mom, I would never add table salt or sea salt, or fish sauce.  Of course it goes without saying, we don’t use MSG.

It is not easy to please my mom, but somewhere along the way, I stopped trying.  I just send over the dish and if she has no complaints, then it’s good news to me!

Braised Chicken with Chestnuts and Mushrooms, no salt added.

400 grams boneless, skinless chicken wings
12 pieces dried shitake mushroom, rehydrated, reserve soaking liquid
100 grams cooked chestnuts
4 tablespoons light soy sauce
2 tablespoons oyster sauce
1/2 tablespoon sesame oil
about 8 thin slices of ginger, cut into thin matchsticks
5 cloves garlic, sliced thinly
1 medium onion, sliced thinly
2 pieces star anise
1 piece cinnamon stick
1 to 2 pieces dried chili
3 stalks leeks, sliced diagonally, white and green parts separated
boiled eggs, optional

Rinse the chicken thighs and remove the fatty membranes.  Slice each into 2 or 3 chunks.  Marinate for at least 30 minutes in the mixture of soy sauce, oyster sauce, sesame oil, 2 tablespoons of mushroom soaking liquid, half the ginger, half the garlic, star anise, and cinnamon stick.

Saute the remaining garlic and ginger, onion, dried chili, and white part of the leeks.  Add the chicken and marinade.   Add the mushrooms and chestnuts.  Bring to a boil, stirring occasionally.  If the mixture seems too dry, add reserved mushroom liquid by tablespoons.  Simmer for about 15 minutes, until the chicken is cooked through.  Add the boiled eggs in the last 3 to 5 minutes, if using.  Thicken with cornstarch slurry.  Garnish with the green part of the leeks.  Serve immediately.

The secret to the dish is the very flavorful mushroom soaking liquid!

Abalone and Scallop Nest

For special occasions, I break out the special stuff.

The occasion I’m talking about this time was hubby’s birthday… not a special numbered birthday, but for me any birthday of his a special day!

For this dish, because the ingredients are stars by themselves, no special recipe is required.  What is crucial, however, is a good (and I do mean a REALLY GOOD) can of abalone!  Of course, fresh scallops and properly prepared bamboo shoots are important too, but these 2 ingredients can be substituted with any other seafood and vegetable.  The abalone (and its sauce) is the true star of the dish.

Drain and reserve the sauce from the canned abalone.  Sauté the bamboo shoots (cleaned, sliced, boiled and drained).  Pour in a little of the abalone sauce.  Stir-fry until the shoots and coated.  Using a slotted spoon, transfer the bamboo shoots to a serving dish.

In the same pan, sauté the scallops with a little more of the abalone sauce until the scallops are almost done.  Again with a slotted spoon, transfer the scallops to the serving dish, mounding the scallops in the middle of the dish.

In the same pan, pour in all of the abalone sauce and heat until it boils gently.  Add the abalone and heat through (do not over-do it or the scallops will become tough).  Using a pair of tongs, transfer the abalone to the serving plate, arranging them decoratively in a circle.

Pour the heated abalone sauce all over the dish and splash with a few drops of black sesame oil.

Enjoy while it is hot!

 

Steamed Eggs with Shrimp

This is not the soft type of steamed eggs.

This is the type of steamed eggs – the firm type – that I grew up on!  My mother’s version had dried shitake mushrooms (rehydrated of course) and ground pork.  My take on it, this particular time, is with with shrimp.

It really is an easy dish, even if our guests were impressed by it!

5 eggs
1/3 cup water
1 tablespoon light soy sauce
salt and pepper, as desired or to taste
about 8 fresh shitake mushrooms, cleaned and sliced into strips
about 12 pieces of medium-sized shrimp, cleaned and trimmed
dash of sesame oil

Begin by readying a 9-inch pie plate and the steamer.  Bring the steamer pot to a gentle simmer.

Place the eggs in a bowl and add the water (or stock, if you prefer).  Stir gently (so that air will NOT be incorporated into the eggs).  Season to taste.

Place the mushroom slices on the bottom of the pie plate.  Pour the egg mixture in, through a sieve (this is the secret to a smooth, bubble-free dish).  Arrange the shrimp decoratively.

Steam for about 15 to 22 minutes.  Keep the heat low to low-medium. If a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, it is done.

Right before serving, splash the steamed eggs with a little sesame oil (a little really goes a long way!)

Serve immediately.

 

Minced Pork and Mushrooms, My Way…

One of the most popular dishes that my mother had in her arsenal was/is this diced pork-mushroom-tofu dish in a thick, sweet-salty sauce. I have tried to recreate it time and again but I never came close. It hasn’t stopped me from trying, and I always opt for ground pork instead of diced (less work!) but…

In any case, I prefer fresh mushrooms to dried ones, and a like a variety too, but sometimes I use dried shitakes also, when the fresh ones are unavailable.

400 grams lean ground pork
2 tablespoons oyster sauce
2 tablespoons light soya sauce
4 to 5 tablespoons dark soya sauce
2 tablespoons shao xing wine
1/2 to 1 tablespoon sesame oil

300 grams assorted fresh mushrooms
or a handful of dried shitake mushrooms, rehydrated

4 thin slices of ginger
1 small onion, minced finely
2 to 3 cloves of garlic, minced finely

fried shallots (or shallot sauce)
2 cups stock, part mushroom soaking liquid
(if using dried shitakes)
1 piece star anise
1 small piece cinnamon stick
1 small piece rock sugar, or to taste

Marinate the pork in oyster sauce, soy sauces, wine and sesame oil for at least half an hour.

Sauté the ginger, onions and garlic.

Add the pork.  Stir fry until pork is almost done.  Add the mushrooms. Stir briefly.

Add the shallots, stock and spices.

Simmer until almost all the liquid is gone.  Or, to make a real soft, mushy dish, put in a crockpot or thermal cooker.

Serve with boiled eggs, garnished with fried shallots.

 

 

 

 

Chinese-style Adobo

Adobo is the unofficial national dish of the Philippines.  But there are a thousand and one ways to make it – it seems that every one of my countrymen has his own family recipe for it.  Add to that a subculture, such as mine and another form of adobo is born!  But, how it could be legitimately called an adobo dish, I don’t really know!  For one thing, the dish does not have a drop of vinegar in it!

My recipe –

1 kilo pork belly, sliced into cubes (rinsed and cleaned)
12 to 20 pieces dried Chinese mushroom, rehydrated
2 tablespoons minced garlic
2 pieces dried chili
2 pieces star anise
2 tablespoons each oyster sauce, thick soya sauce, light soya sauce, and dried mushroom soaking liquid
additional soy sauce, optional
1-1/2 to 2 cups water, or just enough to cover the pork

Sauté the garlic until soft and fragrant.  Add the dried chili and star anise.  Stir fry several seconds.  Put in the sauces (take care the mixture may sizzle) then put in the pork cubes.  Stir the mixture around until the pork is fully coated in the sauce.

Put in mushrooms and water.  Simmer until the pork is tender.  Adjust the seasonings.  After all, various brands of seasonings have different formulations and differences in tastes.

(In my case, I use my magic cooker – thermal cooker – and leave it overnight.)

The recipe has no salt (but feel free to add to yours if you so desire) because when I cook for my mom, I avoid adding salt as much as I can.

Final note – the recipe I found in my mother’s recipe files originally specified 2 tablespoons of brown sugar.  I substituted it with the thick soya sauce, which has a sweetish profile.