Japanese-style Ramen…

Actually this post is not about the soup per se but rather about the Japanese-style boiled egg…

Personally I like a well-done, hard-boiled egg.  I don’t even mind if it is overdone.  But hubby likes soft boiled eggs, and he is quite particular.  He likes a wet-ish yolk but cooked whites.  In the past, I was never successful.

But, with the recent craze of Japanese ramen and more specifically the ramen egg (which the hubby adores) I tried again.  This time, there were scores of instructional materials I could follow!

So here it my first attempt.

I followed the recipe from the Just One Cookbook.

I can’t say that it was an absolute success, but I am getting there!  And even this first try is wayyyy better than anything I’ve done before!

(The noodle bowls were “instant” noodles that we got from the Japanese specialty store.  I followed the package instructions and added crab egg balls, cheese bun balls and sukiyaki-cut meat slices.)

Feeding a Crowd

I cook for my family so I am used to preparing meals for 6, occasionally for 10 to 12 when the extended family is around. I can also feed a group of 20 to 25 people without much difficulty (the first time when I was in my 20s and I prepared paella for 20 at a friend’s house) but this is the first time I will be cooking for 50! And I don’t mean a single meal…

For Love and Affection… as well as to help hubby out when the meal provider did not materialize… I had to fix the menu and prepare the food for the staff and cast of 30 to 50, breakfast, lunch, AND dinner! On short notice at that!

At first it was only dinner, and I had that covered already since I already knew about it a good week before. But barely a day before, I was told breakfast and lunch were needed as well!

Talk about a mad rush!

Of course I didn’t have enough ingredients on hand! And to make things worse, breakfast had to be ready for ship out by 8am, and lunch by 10!!!!

I woke up wayyyyy to early and started preparations – thank goodness for an easy way to make breakfast for a crowd – the tray bake!!!

For once I was glad to have a collection of baking pans (thanks to my mom who passed to me all her baking stuff). I was also happy that I had traded in my tiny, tiny electric oven and got a decently-sized one that could fit a 14×10 pan! (Although I could always use the big gas-fired baby oven if needed!)

I was also grateful for the food processor… and a wonderful assistant, A-te J, and one of hubby’s helpers, Tita A., who was in charge of cooking the rice and packing the food into the food boxes.

For the first breakfast… Spiced Ham and Egg Bake!

30 eggs
2 cups low fat milk
700 grams spiced ham, chopped coarsely
24 slices of melty sandwich cheese
salt and pepper, to taste

Preheat the oven to 375*F. Grease, line and grease again a 14x10x2-inch baking pan.

Mix the eggs and milk but don’t beat to avoid bubbles. Stir in the coarsely chopped spiced ham. Pour half the mixture into the prepared pan. Place 12 slices of cheese over the egg mixture. Pour the remaining half of the egg-ham mixture over the cheese.

Bake for 30 minutes then rotate the pan. Bake another 20 minutes (or until done) then place the remaining 12 slices of cheese on the top. Return to the oven and use the grill function (to melt and brown the cheese) for about 5 minutes.

Cool slightly then cut into 30 rectangles. Pack into food boxes with rice.

Meanwhile, as breakfast was cooking in the oven, I started slicing the meat into strips for the lunch meal…

Egg Tofu… stir-fried

Remember the egg tofu project a couple of weeks ago?  Well, I made another batch (one for my mom and one for us) and cut the tofu into cubes after it cooled completely.  My goal was to stir-fry the tofu with ground pork to see if it would crumble as well as to check how stir-frying would affect the delicate texture of the tofu.

It was a huge success!  The tofu did not crumble and it stayed soft and delicate!!!!!!  It was soooooo delicious!

And the dish cooked in just a few minutes!

First saute garlic and onions until soft, add about 100 to 150 grams of ground pork.  Stir fry the pork with a teaspoon of oyster sauce.  Halfway to doneness, add the tofu cubes and mix gently.  I didn’t have to add salt to the dish because the tofu was already seasoned nicely.

It was sooo good as topping for steamed rice!

Baked Eggs in Peppers

I have often made baked eggs, but always in a muffin tin.  Then someone suggested I try baking the eggs in bell pepper halves.

So I did.

It wasn’t that hard to do – Halve a large bell pepper and clean out the seeds.  Brush the pepper halves in a little oil and crack an egg into each pepper half.  Sprinkle with a pinch each of salt and pepper (or as much as you desire, add herbs if you prefer…)

Bake in a preheated 375F oven until the eggs are done to your liking…

Easy!!!

Egg Tofu

If there’s one thing that we all like to eat, it’s tofu!  It is the most versatile of all!  But not all tofu is created and at least in our part of the world, I’ve managed to find a good source for good quality tofu.

Sometime ago, we ate at a prestigious Chinese restaurant where there was this luxurious tofu dish and it was egg tofu!!!  Since then I have wanted to make it.

There’s a lot of recipes and videos online about it, all having basically the same ingredients – eggs, soy milk, and salt.  The problem is the varying proportions!!!  I tested quite a few before getting the one that was perfect for me (and hubby!)

The recipe is easy but it is important to have everything ready –

1. have the steamer simmering already
2. oil the pan well (I used a silicone round baking pan, with a coating of oil, and even then a small bit still got stuck to the pan)
3. Wrap the steamer cover with a kitchen towel

The recipe –

Beat 3 eggs with about 3/4 teaspoon of salt (you can adjust based on your preference), add about 280ml of fresh soy milk. Stir to combine.

Pour the mixture into a 6 or 7-in round pan (or use a loaf pan, whichever shape you prefer), through a sieve or strainer, to remove the solid bits of egg that may remain

Steam on low to low medium heat for about 20 minutes (it may be more) depending on the height of the pan.

Let is cool completely in the pan (and even chill it) before unmolding it.

The egg tofu can be used like regular tofu from the supermarket, although it may be a bit more delicate in texture.

 

 

Egg, Ham & Cheese Pimiento Sandwich

I am not really a bread person; I like rice more.  But when (or if) I had to make sandwiches, my favorite filling is cheese pimiento, followed closely by egg mayo.

For some of hubby’s friends, I combined my 2 favorite fillings/spreads…

6 eggs, hard boiled and coarsely chopped
200 grams cooked ham, diced
1/3 cup grated cheddar cheese
1/4 to 1/3 cup diced pimientos
3/4 cup mayonnaise
1/2 tablespoon pickle relish, or to taste
salt and pepper, to taste

Stir everything together gently so as not to smash the eggs too much.  For a chunkier filling, use less mayonnaise.  Use more mayo to make the filling “wetter”.

To serve, line sliced bread (or whichever bread you prefer) with lettuce leaves. Pile on the filling ( I used a scooper and it is convenient! ) and add cucumber slices.

Enjoy!!!

Menudillo with Quail Eggs

The real dish is Menudo, and where I’m from, it is a tomato-based stew of pork and liver.  Usually it also has tomatoes, carrots, raisins, garbanzos, green peas, pimientos and red hotdogs!  It’s definitely not the Mexican menudo, which is with tripe.

My version always skips the peas (which I loathe) and the raisins (which I like on their own but not in cooked food). I always use liverspread instead of actual liver (because while I like the flavor, I do not like the texture!). I also like putting in garbanzos and red hotdogs, but since hubby does not like either of those things, they rarely make an appearance!

When I need to make a big batch in a hurry, I make menudillo, which is kinda like saying mini or baby menudo, which implies using the same recipe but smaller cuts of meat, in this case the meat was ground into mince instead of small cubes.  And, in the interest of saving more time, I shredded the carrots instead of dicing them… and to add ooomph, boiled quail eggs went into the dish!

My recipe…

800 grams lean ground pork

4 to 6 cloves garlic, minced
1 large sweet onion, minced
1 small can pork liver spread
4 largish tomatoes, diced
1 to 2 large pimientos, sliced
about 1/2 cup shredded carrots (large shred)
1/2 cup tomato sauce (optional)
3 pieces dried bay leaves
1/2 tablespoon sweet paprika
a pinch or two of crushed chili flakes
salt and pepper, to taste
18 to 24 pieces boiled quail eggs

In a hot pan, sauté the garlic and onion until soft and fragrant.  Add the liverspread and stir fry several seconds.  Add the tomatoes and pimientos. Stir fry several minutes then throw in the pork and stir fry a couple of minutes more. Add the shredded carrots then the tomato sauce, if using. Pour enough water or stock to barely cover the meat. Add seasonings, to taste. Simmer until pork is cooked and sauce is slightly thickened and reduced to a thick paste. Halfway through simmering, put in the boiled quail eggs.

Serve on top of steamed rice!

This dish was made for hubby’s friends so we packed their meal in convenient “lunch boxes”, and added mini cupcakes for their get together!

(The picture of the packed meal is not mine; I grabbed the photo from the social media account of one of the recipients – )

Of course when hubby told me that everyone liked (loved?) this dish, I was happy!!!!

Tortang Alimango

This is a simple dish, IF the crab meat has already been removed from the crabs!!!!

BTW, as opposed to the English language where the term crab encompasses everything, in our local language there are specific terms for crab – alimasag for the salt water blue crab, alimango for mud crabs, talangka for salt water shore crabs, katang for fresh water crabs.  We also have coconut crabs (dunno the local term for this one), and recently I’ve come across what was labelled “ocean crabs” whose shells are thick, and whose flavor in dishes is very pronounced but the crab itself has very little meat!  (got a couple of dishes made of these in future posts)

Anyway, the recipe for Tortang Alimango or Crabmeat Omelette is one that was given to me through oral instruction.  Any crab meat may be used and I have, on occasion, bought canned crab meat and frozen flaked crab meat to use.  Traditionally though, we collect the meat found in the “legs” because those tend to be discarded at the dinner table and it seemed a waste!

For every 3 pieces of egg, use about 1/2 cup crab meat.  For a family of 6, we use 6 eggs, which meant we had to collect 1 cup of crab meat – which is definitely NOT easy so if we were short on the crab meat we augmented with diced potatoes.  These days though, I use kani, or Japanese crab sticks (cut into smaller pieces of course) to augment…

Back to the recipe – sauté diced onions and tomatoes (should be proportionate to the size of the omelette) and add the crab meat, stir fry for several seconds.  Remove from the pan and let cool slightly.

Meanwhile, beat the eggs and season lightly with salt and pepper.  Stir in the slightly cooled sautéed crab meat.  Pour into a heated, non-stick pan.  Cook until done (both sides).

Serve hot with ketchup!

 

Sauteéd Watercress with 2 Kinds of Eggs

Watercress is a leafy vegetable that I can find usually in a Chinese restaurant, specifically a hotpot restaurant, and I just love them!  It is rare that I can find them in the local market, but once in a while, they make an appearance in the specialty market and when I see them, I just grab them!

The thing with watercress is that it does not last long, so if I get them in the morning, I have to cook them within the day.  I used to just add them to pork bone soup but this time around I thought of stir-frying them with some salted eggs and century eggs – inspired by a dish hubby and I had recently.

4 cloves garlic, minced
1 bunch watercress, about 300 to 400 grams, trimmed and cleaned
1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon salt, or according to taste
1 to 2 pieces century eggs, roughly chopped
1 to 2 pieces salted eggs, roughly chopped
dash of sesame oil

Saute the garlic in some oil (canola is what I use).  Toss in the watercress when the garlic becomes fragrant.  Season with salt (take it easy though since the salted eggs will add more saltiness).  Add the chopped eggs and stir fry until the watercress is cooked but still a bit crispy.  Garnish with a dash of sesame oil.  Serve hot.

Puffy Omelette

It wasn’t supposed to be a puffy omelette. What I wanted to do was make a souffléd omelette, which I saw online from Bon Appetit.

But as you can see, something went wrong with my dish… and I tried to follow the recipe faithfully, too!

The kid took one look and said it looked like a big mouth eating worms!

Uh… not a pretty picture!!!

But, the dish tasted ok… at least!

Hahahaha!

 

 

Sabaw Itim

When my brothers and I were kids, we called this dish “Sabaw Itim”, literally Black Soup.  To our very young minds, we called it as we saw it – soup because it was so liquid-y and black because it was so dark in color.

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It’s actually chicken braised in soy sauce with mushrooms and boiled eggs.

It was a real favorite and we had it at least once a month!  In those days, the dish was so much more soupier (after all we all wanted the soup/sauce on our rice!) and the chicken pieces were various cuts from 1 whole chicken.  These days, chicken is available by specific parts, and boneless, no less!  My favorite part?  boneless, skinless chicken thigh!

The recipe:

about 600 to 700 grams of boneless chicken thighs (about 8 to 10 pieces)

Marinade:

2 to 3 tablespoons oyster sauce
1/2 bulb garlic, smashed
a small thumb of ginger, sliced into matchsticks
2 to 3 pieces large bay leaves, crumbled
1 tablespoon mixed peppercorns
1/4 cup light soy sauce
dash of shao xing wine
1/2 tablespoon sesame oil

150 grams small fresh shitake, about 15 to 18 small pieces
(or 60 grams dried shitake, about 15 to 18 small pieces)
4 to 6 pieces boiled eggs

1/2 to 1 cup water (or mushroom soaking liquid, chicken stock)

Mix marinade ingredients together; set aside for a while.

Clean the chicken pieces and slice each piece into 2 or 3 pieces, depending on the size desired (remember that meat shrinks upon cooking so adjust accordingly).

Pour marinade over chicken and let stand for about 30 minutes.

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Meanwhile, if using dried mushrooms, soak in warm water until softened; drain but keep the soaking liquid.  Cut the stems off the mushrooms (fresh or dried ones). Rinse lightly to remove dirt and grime, if there is any.

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When we were younger, this dish was cooked on the stove-top in a clay pot; it was soupier too. The way I make this dish now is with the magic cooker and with a lot less liquid.

The traditional way:

Smash some more garlic and saute them over low fire until lightly browned and deliciously fragrant! Then dump the chicken pieces and all marinade into the pot. Throw the rehydrated mushrooms in too (IF using fresh mushrooms, add them after 15 minutes of simmering.) Add enough liquid to barely cover the chicken pieces; mix to combine everything. Cook on medium or medium low and simmer until done, about 30 minutes or so, depending on the size of chicken pieces (smaller pieces cook faster). Top up with more liquid if the sauce is reduced too much OR if a soupier dish is desired. About 5 minutes before putting off the stove fire, add the boiled eggs. Adjust seasonings to desired taste. Off fire, add a few more drops of sesame oil. Top with chopped leeks. Serve while hot!

The magic cooker way:

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Just dump the chicken pieces and marinade into the inner pot. Throw in mushrooms and boiled eggs, too. Add 1/2 cup of liquid; mix gently to combine everything (and not mutilate the eggs). Adjust seasonings. Cook on medium or medium low and simmer for 10 minutes (start counting when liquid starts bubbling). Place inner pot inside the outer chamber of the magic cooker. Leave for 30 to 45 minutes. Just before serving, add a few more drops of sesame oil. Top with chopped leeks. Serve while hot!

DISH VARIATIONS – Use firm tofu instead of mushrooms, or use a variety of fresh mushrooms – shitake, button, Korean king oyster, straw, etc.

Or, use pork cubes or ribs instead of chicken.

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PERSONAL NOTES –

The soaking liquid of the dried mushrooms is very flavorful, but some find it too strong, in which case use only 1/4 of the soaking liquid and 1/4 cup or more of water or stock. Or omit the soaking liquid altogether.

If using dried mushrooms and their soaking liquid, the sauce of the dish will have a stronger, more pronounced flavor. If using fresh mushrooms, the dish has a more subtle, delicate flavor. It’s delicious either way. Using different kinds of fresh mushrooms gives more dimension to the dish.

The original recipe (from my mom’s files) has 1/2 tablespoon sugar as an ingredient in the marinade but I’ve always skipped it. Also, dark (and salty) soy sauce was traditionally used but I’m happy with my light soya sauce (and hubby is ok with it as well) which is less salty and does not impart a dark brown (almost black) color.

 

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.