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!

 

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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.

Salted Egg Prawns

Salted egg yolks are the “IN” thing right now.  salted egg yolk potato chips, waffles, vegetables, chicken, shrimp…

So here is  my take on the shrimp dish.

Let me just say that I have an issue with just using the yolks.  I keep wondering what to do with the salted egg whites!!!  So to avoid wastage or the problem of what to do with the whites, I threw them right into the dish (hence my dish is salted egg shrimp and not salted egg yolk shrimp).

Also, i kind of dislike the “creamy” or “saucy” kind…

20 pieces large shrimp
cornstarch or tapioca starch
sea salt
fresh ground pepper

3 salted eggs, organic preferred*
thumb-sized ginger, sliced
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 piece siling pansigang (green chili), sliced**

The first thing to do is to prepare the shrimp/prawn. Cut the heads from the bodies.  Trim the heads and remove the “horn”, as well as any “whiskers” and “feet”.  Set aside in its own bowl.  Sprinkle with a large pinch of sea salt and several turns of pepper grinder.  Mix lightly.

Remove the shell from the bodies.  Make a long slit at the back and remove the “vein”.  Make the slit a bit deep, but not past halfway.  Pat dry.  Place in a bowl.  Sprinkle with a large pinch of sea salt and several turns of pepper grinder.  Mix lightly.  Leave to marinate about 10 minutes.

Meanwhile, heat oil in a deep frying pan, to deep fry the shrimp.

Sprinkle the shrimp heads and shrimp bodies (in their separate bowls still) with  cornstarch or tapioca starch.  Eye-ball it, use just enough that they are coated but not thickly so.  When the oil is very hot, deep fry the shrimp heads and shrimp bodies.  In my smallish wok, it took 3 batches for the shrimp heads to cook and 4 batches for the bodies.  (The shrimp bodies should curl in a “round” shape.)  Drain on paper towels.

While the shrimp is frying, remove the shells from the salted eggs and chop coarsely.  Set aside.

Remove excess oil from the pan, leaving only about 1/2 tablespoon.  Sauté the ginger and garlic.  When fragrant, add the chili (whichever you prefer).  Add the chopped salted eggs.  Stir lightly over low-medium heat until the mixture in foamy.

Return the fried shrimp to the pan and mix lightly.  Season to taste, if desired (in my case, I felt it was not necessary).

Serve immediately.

*the salted eggs found in the supermarkets here are already cooked and ready to eat.  they are usually colored purple, but the organic ones are not colored and are of better quality.

**if a spicier dish is preferred, use the smaller, spicier bird’s eye chili (labuyo), the more, the spicier!

 

Soy Sauce Fried Eggs, v2 and v3

Breakfast is not complete if it doesn’t have an egg, specifically fried.  I guess I got used to it because it was a staple when we were growing up.

Nowadays, hubby is served eggs for breakfast too.  On most days they’re plain fried eggs, or maybe scrambled eggs.  But once in a while, he gets a special treat… like today!

These fried eggs with soy sauce is a childhood favorite.  I had forgotten the original recipe and tried to re-create it a couple of years ago. My first attempt was not bad, but something was missing.

Sometime later I tried again, and it was better.  The resulting dish had more depth –

1 tablespoon light soya sauce
1/2 tablespoon mild vinegar
1/2 tablespoon mild honey
1 tablespoon water
dash of sesame oil

The procedure is uncomplicated — fry some eggs, sunny side up.  Place in serving platter (not a flat or shallow one but not a deep bowl).  Mix the sauce ingredients and heat slightly; pour over the eggs.  My variation here is that I added a “century egg”.

[side note:  I found the cookbook sometime after (which is as old as me – it was published the year I was born!) and  I was happy to discover that my recreation was pretty close.]

Hubby liked it, but when he heard there was honey, he asked if (next time) it was possible to skip it…

Fast forward to “next time”, i.e. now – I reformulated my sauce recipe (procedure is the same) …

1 tablespoon kecap manis (sweet soya sauce)
1/2 tablespoon sinamak (local spicy sap vinegar)
1 tablespoon water
dash of sesame oil
pinch of chili powder

Hubby prefers it this way.  I did explain that the soy sauce I used is a sweet one, but he was ok with it!

Enjoy!!!

 

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)

4 Cheese Frittata

I have always been a fan of eggs.  Even when it had a bad rep (in the 90s and early  2000s) I always had an egg (sometimes even 2) for breakfast.  In fact, one my fondest memories is of me and my brother J, vying to be first to use the frying pan for breakfast.  We would have 2 eggs each, cooked sunny side up.  But while I liked mine with a soft white and a less runny yolk, my brother liked crispy-edged whites with runny yolks.  In either case, we placed our respective eggs on top of a (huge, as it seemed then) mound of rice after which we heaped tomato ketchup on top and mixed everything into a red, messy, gooey breakfast!

To this day, I still eat an egg with my breakfast.  It is mostly the same soft-edged white with a cooked yolk, with a sprinkling of fresh ground pink salt and black pepper.  Once in a while though, I vary the manner of cooking of the egg.  This is one of my favorite variations… hubby is a fan as well.

1 medium onion, minced
2 cloves garlic, minced

100 grams lean ground pork
1 pinch each sea salt, ground black pepper and Italian spice

4 eggs
2 tablespoons milk
1 pinch each of sea salt, ground pepper and Italian spice

1 medium tomato, cleaned and sliced
a handful of kangkong leaves, cleaned and torn into bits

2 tablespoons grated parmesan
2 slices sandwich cheese (the melty kind)
1/4 cup shredded cheddar cheese
1/4 cup shredded mozzarella

The very thing I do (after preparing all the ingredients) is to preheat the oven, and preheat a 6 or 7-inch cast iron pan.  The one I have is not a frying pan per se, but what is referred to as an eared pan.  Instead of a long handle on one side, the pan has 2 “ears” or handles, much like a casserole.  I use an eared cast iron pan because it is one that fits in my tiny electric oven.

Anyway, as both the oven and pan is heating up, I prepare everything…. mix the spices and the ground pork, then beat the eggs and the spices together…

As soon as the cast iron pan is hot, I sauté the onions and garlic, followed by the ground pork.  When the meat has given up most of its liquid, pour in the beaten eggs.  Stir lightly so that the egg goes underneath.  Scatter the sliced tomatoes and torn leaves, press down slightly.

Sprinkle with the grated parmesan.  Top with the sandwich cheese.  Sprinkle the shredded mozzarella and cheddar cheese on top.

Place the pan in the preheated 375*F oven and bake about 18 minutes, until the egg is fully cooked and the top is lightly browned.

Serve and enjoy hot!

 

“Benedict Muffinbatch”

Reposting a favorite…

Friend T has christened this recipe – Benedict Muffinbatch.

I suppose the inspiration came from it being similar to Eggs Benedict, but that it is radically not… combined with a wonderful play on the name of a favorite British actor playing the character of Sherlock Holmes.

But, yes, it is a variation on the same theme… something on top of an English muffin!

This time, I got inspiration from one of the breakfast items of my favorite coffee and tea cafe… Salmon Scramble… although their version is on a rosemary focaccia.

Toast an English muffin and spread lots of cream cheese over the top. Layer on 2 to 3 pieces of smoked salmon (or as many as you like!) then top with scrambled eggs. Drizzle dill sauce over and sprinkle cayenne pepper on top.

Enjoy! Hubby sure did!