Sunday, January 15, 2012

Jan 15, 2012: Daring Cooks - Green Chile Chicken Tamales

Maranda of Jolts & Jollies was our January 2012 Daring Cooks hostess with the mostess! Maranda challenged us to make traditional Mexican Tamales as our first challenge of the year!

[Eat4Fun - Happy New Years! I've been wanting to make tamales again, but didn't have a plan. Fortunately this month's challenge gave me the extra push and a new recipe to try out! I decided to try the Green Chile Chicken Tamales.]

Recipe Source: Green Chile Chicken Tamales adapted from Epicurious

Mandatory Items: You must prepare a “dough” and a filling. These must be wrapped in a corn husk, parchment paper, or plastic wrapped and steamed to cook.

Variations allowed: Creativity is highly encouraged. Be it sweet, savory or altered due to dietary preferences and restrictions.

Preparation time:
Soaking the corn husks: 3 hours or up to 1 day

Green Chile Chicken Tamales:
Makes about 24 tamales

1 – 8 ounce (225 gram) package dried corn husks (If you cannot find corn husks, you can use parchment paper or plastic wrap.)

For filling:
1 pound (455 gram) tomatillos (can sub mild green chilies – canned or fresh)
4 – 3 inch (7½ cm) serrano chiles, stemmed and chopped (can sub jalapeno)
4 large garlic cloves, chopped
1 ½ tablespoons (22½ ml) Extra Virgin Olive Oil
2 cups (480 ml) low sodium chicken broth
4 cups (960 ml) (400 gm/14 oz) cooked and shredded chicken
2/3 cup (160 ml) (30 gm/1 oz) roughly chopped fresh cilantro (also known as coriander)

For the masa dough:
1 1/3 cups (320 ml) (265 gm/9⅓ oz) lard or vegetable shortening
1 ½ teaspoons (7½ ml) (10 gm/1/3 oz) salt (omit if already in masa mixture)
1 ½ teaspoons (7½ ml) (8 gm/¼ oz) baking powder (omit if already in masa mixture)
4 cups (960 ml) (480 gm/17 oz) masa harina (corn tortilla mix), I used instant masa mix
1 ½-2 cups (360 ml – 480 ml) low sodium chicken broth


1. Place the dried corn husks in a large pot and cover with water.

2. Place a heavy plate or a smaller pot full of water on top of husks to keep them in the water. Let soak for 3 hours or up to 1 day, flipping occasionally until husks are softened.

3. Once husks are softened, boil chicken about 20 minutes or until fully cooked. [I used a whole chicken using the breast and leg meat.]

4. Immediately place hot chicken into the bowl of an electric mixer with the paddle attachment. Turn mixer on high to shred chicken (this takes about 3-5 seconds). [My preference is to dice the chicken, especially the breast, against the bias. I don't like stringy meat in tamales.]

5. Place an oven rack on the top setting. Turn the oven on broil. Peel and rinse the tomatillos.

6. Line a heavy baking sheet with foil. Place tomatillos on baking sheet and place under broiler.

7. Broil (grill) until black spots form on tomatillos, then flip and broil (grill) other side. This takes about 5-10 minutes per side depending on the strength of the broiler.

8. Place roasted tomatillos and juices from the pan into a food processor and allow to cool about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and chopped Serrano chiles and process until smooth.

9. Heat the olive oil in a medium saucepan over medium high heat.

10. Add the tomatillo puree and boil, stirring continuously, for 5 minutes (it should turn thick like a paste).

11. Add in the chicken broth, stir to mix well. Reduce heat to medium low and allow to simmer, stirring occasionally until mixture coats the back of a spoon and is reduced to about a cup (240 ml).

12. Stir in the chicken and cilantro. Salt to taste.

13. Prepare the dough. In the bowl of an electric mixer, on medium high heat, cream together the lard or vegetable shortening, baking powder and salt.

Mix in the masa harina, one cup (240 ml) at a time.

14. Reduce the mixer speed to low, gradually add in 1 ½ cups (360 ml) of the chicken broth.

15. If the mixture seems too thick (you can taste it for moistness) add up to ½ cup (120 ml) more of the broth 2 tablespoons (30 ml) at a time. (The dough should be a cookie dough like texture).

16. Take 3 large corn husks and tear them into ¼ inch (6 mm) strips. (I would suggest you put these back in the water until use because they dry out and start breaking when you try to work with them.

17. Take a large pot with a steamer attachment. Pour about 2 inches (5 cm) of water into the bottom of the pot, or enough to touch the bottom of the steamer. Line the bottom of the steamer with corn husks.

18. Unfold 2 corn husks onto a work surface. Take ¼ cup (60 ml) of dough and, starting near the top of the husk, press it out into a 4 inch (10 cm) square, leaving 2-3 inches (5 -7½ cm) at the bottom of the husk. Place a heaping tablespoon (15 ml) of the filling in a line down the center of the dough square.

19. Fold the dough into the corn husk.

20. And wrap the husk around the dough.

21. Fold up the skinny bottom part of the husk.

22. And secure it with one of the corn husk ties.

23. Stand them up in the steamer. If there aren’t enough tamales to tightly pack the steamer, place crumpled aluminum foil in the excess space.

24. Steam the tamales for about 40 minutes or until the dough deepens in color and easily pulls away from the husk. [I steamed for 90 minutes.]

[The tamales turned out different. The texture was reminiscent of an English pudding - rich and soft, probably due to the extra lard and baking powder. I'm more familiar with a firmer, denser texture.

The filing was good. The serrano chiles gave the filling a little spicy bite.

Overall, I enjoyed the results.]

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Jan 12, 2012: Daring Cooks December - Char Sui and Buns

Our Daring Cooks’ December 2011 hostess is Sara from Belly Rumbles! Sara chose awesome Char Sui Bao as our challenge, where we made the buns, Char Sui, and filling from scratch – delicious!

[Eat4Fun - Posting a month late on this one. I made all three recipes.]

Recipe Source: I looked at quite a few blogs and various websites as well as referring to various cook books. Through trial and error my recipes are a slight variation. Sara's recipe for marinade using maltose was based on Blue Apocalypse's recipe.

Mandatory Items:
Prepare char sui and then make char sui bao.

[Char Sui served with Spicy Mustard. Dijon can be used as a substitute, but you don't get the kick.]

Char Sui (Cantonese BBQ Pork)


1 pork fillet/tenderloin (roughly 1-1.5 pounds)
4 large cloves of garlic, crushed
1 teaspoon (3 gm) ginger, grated
1 tablespoon peanut oil
1 ½ tablespoons maltose (you can substitute honey)
1 ½ tablespoons honey
2 tablespoons hoisin sauce
1 tablespoon light soy sauce
1 tablespoon dark soy sauce
1 teaspoon oyster sauce
1 tablespoon shaoxing cooking wine
½ teaspoon (2 gm) ground white pepper
pinch of salt
½ teaspoon (2 gm) five spice powder
½ teaspoon sesame oil
½ teaspoon pillar box red food colouring [I left out the food coloring.]
(1 tablespoon=15 ml, 1 teaspoon=5 ml)


1) Trim the pork loin to remove fat and tendon and slice lengthways so you have two long pieces, then cut in half. By cutting the pork in to smaller pieces to marinate you will end up with more flavoursome char sui. If you want to leave the pork in one piece you can do this as well. Place in container that you will be marinating them in.

2) Combine all the other ingredients in a bowl and mix well to combine. I placed my maltose in the microwave for a few seconds to make it easier to work with. Maltose is quite a solid hard sticky substance.

3) Cover pork well with ⅔ of the marinade mixture. Marinate for a minimum of 4 hours, I find it is best left to marinate overnight. Place the reserved ⅓ portion of the marinade covered in the fridge. You will use this as a baste when cooking the pork.

Cooking Method in the oven

4) Pre-heat oven to moderate 180˚C/350°F/gas mark 4.

5) Cover a baking tray with foil or baking paper. Place on top of this a rack on which to cook the pork.

6) Place pork on the rack and place in oven.

7) Bake for approximately 10 minutes, basting and turning.

8) Turn the heat up to moderately hot 200˚C/400°F/gas mark 6 for the final 20 minutes as this will aid the charring. Cook until cooked through.

Baked Char Sui Bao (Cantonese BBQ Pork Bun)

350 gm (12 oz) char sui (finely diced)
2 green onions/spring onions (finely sliced)
1 tablespoon hoisin
1 tablespoon dark soy sauce
1 teaspoon sesame oil
¼ cup (60 ml) chicken stock
1 teaspoon (2 gm) cornflour
½ tablespoon vegetable oil
(1 tablespoon=15 ml, 1 teaspoon=5 ml)

Dough Ingredients

2½ teaspoons (8 gm/1 satchel) of dried yeast
¼ cup (55 gm/2 oz) sugar
½ cup warm water
2 cups (280 gm/10 oz) plain flour
1 egg (medium size - slightly beaten)
3 tablespoons oil
½ teaspoon (3 gm) salt
Egg wash: 1 egg beaten with a dash of water
(1 cup=240 ml, 1 tablespoon=15 ml, 1 teaspoon=5 ml)

Filling Directions:

1) Heat the vegetable oil in a wok or pan.

2) Add diced char sui to the wok/pan and stir then add spring onions, cook for 1 minute.

3) Add hoisin, dark soy sauce and sesame oil to the pork mixture, stir fry for one minute.

4) Mix cornflour and stock together and then add to the pork mixture.

5) Stir well and keep cooking until the mixture thickens, 1 or 2 minutes.

6) Remove mixture from wok/pan and place in a bowl to cool. Set aside until ready to use.

Bun Directions:

1) Place the sugar and warm water in a bowl, mix until the sugar has dissolved. Add yeast and leave it for 10 - 15 minutes until it becomes all frothy.

2) Sift flour in to a large bowl.

3) Add yeast mixture, egg, oil and salt and stir. Bring the flour mixture together with your hands.

4) Place dough on a lightly floured surface and knead for approximately 10 minutes. The dough should be smooth and slightly elastic.

5) Place in a lightly oiled bowl and cover with a damp cloth. Leave to rise until it is double in size. This will take from 1 - 2 hours depending on weather conditions.

6) Once dough has doubled in size knock back and divide in to 12 portions and shape in to round balls.

7) Place a good sized tablespoon of filling on the dough circle. Then gather the edges and seal your bun.

8) Place the bun seal side down on your baking tray. Continue with rest of dough.

9) Once all buns are complete brush surface with egg wash.

10) Place in oven for 15 minutes or until golden brown.

[Steamed bun - The buns look a little off - bubbly exterior. It should be smooth. Flavor was good.]

Steamed Char Sui Bao (Cantonese BBQ Pork Bun)

350 gm (12 oz) char sui (finely diced)
2 shallots (finely diced)
1 tablespoon dark soy sauce
2 tablespoons oyster sauce
1 teaspoon sesame oil
¼ cup (60 ml) chicken stock
1 teaspoon (3 gm) cornflour
½ tablespoon vegetable oil

Bun Ingredients
1 cup milk, scalded
¼ cup (60 gm/2 oz) sugar
1 tablespoon oil
¼ teaspoon (2 gm) salt
2½ teaspoons (8 gm/1 satchel) of dried yeast
3 cups (420 gm/15 oz) plain flour
(1 cup=240 ml, 1 tablespoon=15 ml, 1 teaspoon=5 ml)

Filling Directions:

1) Heat the vegetable oil in a wok or pan. Sauté the shallots for one or two minutes until soft.

2) Add diced char sui to the wok/pan and stir.

3) Add oyster sauce, dark soy sauce and sesame oil to the pork mixture, stir fry for one minute.

4) Mix cornflour and stock together and then add to the pork mixture.

5) Stir well and keep cooking until the mixture thickens, 1 or 2 minutes.

6) Remove mixture from wok/pan and place in a bowl to cool. Set aside until ready to use.

Bun Directions:

1) Scald milk and then stir in sugar, oil and salt, leave to cool until it is lukewarm. Once it is the right temperature add yeast, leave until yeast is activated and it becomes frothy, about 10 - 15 minutes. [I used quick yeast so this step was skipped - proofing the yeast]

2) Sift flour in to a large bowl.

3) Add milk/yeast mixture to the flour. Bring the flour mixture together with your hands.

4) Place dough on a lightly floured surface and knead for approximately 10 minutes. The dough should be smooth and slightly elastic.

5) Place in a lightly oiled bowl and cover with a damp cloth. Leave to rise until it is double in size. This will take from 1 - 2 hours depending on weather conditions.

6) Punch down dough and divide in to 20 equal portions.

7) Roll each dough portion in to a 7 – 8cm (2¾ - 3 ¼ inches) round.

8) Place 1 tablespoon of filling in the centre of the round, gather the edges together at the top and place on a 8cm (3 inch) square of baking paper. Repeat until all dough has been used.

9) Cover and let rise for 20 minutes.

10) Place buns in bamboo steamer, leaving space between the buns.

11) Heat water in a wok until it is simmering and place steamers one on top of each other in the wok.

12) Place lid on top bamboo steamer and steam for approximately 12 minutes.

I thought the char sui wasn't bad and the buns were only okay.

The texture on them was a little off. Maybe it was how I made the dough in the food processor where the dough was more bread like. The buns should be fluffy and soft, but still have a little density to them. The baked buns came out a little dry. The steamed buns came out a little airy.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Jan 10, 2012: Tofu Tuesday - Salt and Pepper Tofu

It's been awhile since I've had a Tofu Tuesday, but this one is inspired by a dish I had at a local restaurant - Salt and Pepper tofu.

The salt and pepper tofu was deep fried with a flavorful salt and pepper coating. The center of the tofu cubes were soft and custard-like.

This is my attempt at recreating the dish.
I opted to use medium firm tofu since firm would not give a custard consistency while silken may not hold up to the handling.

Salt and Pepper Tofu
1 Block of Tofu, medium firm, cut into 1 inch cubes.
1 T Cornstarch
1/2 t Salt
1/4 t White Pepper
1/4 t Black Pepper
Scant 1/4 t Sichuan Peppercorn, toasted and ground.
1/4 C oil for frying

1 Green Onion, coarse chop
1/2 Serrano Pepper, minced
1 clove garlic, minced
a few sprigs Cilantro

1) Mix salt and peppers in a bag
2) Add tofu to bag to coat
3) Heat oil and pan fry over medium heat until nicely browned on all sides
4) Drain browned cubes on a paper towel.
5) Pour out oil from the pan, leaving about 1 T.
6) Fry the garlic, green onion and Serrano for about 30 seconds to 1 minute.
7) Add tofu and mix together
8) Plate and garnish with cilantro

My YouTube Video of the effort.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Nov 14, 2011: Darking Cooks cooking with Tea

Sarah from Simply Cooked was our November Daring Cooks’ hostess and she challenged us to create something truly unique in both taste and technique! We learned how to cook using tea with recipes from Tea Cookbook by Tonia George and The New Tea Book by Sara Perry.

Mandatory Items: Prepare at least one savory recipe made with tea.

Variations allowed: Variations are encouraged. Feel free to use black, green, or white tea. Herbal teas (which are actually infusions, since they contain no tea leaves) are also allowed.

Eat4Fun - For this challenge, I used my own recipe.

Over the years, I've been working on my own Chinese BBQ sauce recipe. The following are pork spare ribs cooked in the sauce with the addition of tea.

Instead of baking, I use a method I call "braise-glaze". The ribs are braised for about an hour. As the sauce evaporates, it thickens to coat the coat the ribs.

The end result is a falling off the bone rib coated with a sweet Chinese bbq sauce.

Chinese Spare Ribs
1 Slab Spare Ribs, cleaned and trimmed to individual ribs.
1/2 C Ketchup
1/4 C Honey
1/4 C Maltose (or just use more honey)
1/4 C Hoisin Sauce
1/4 C Soy Sauce
1/4 C Onion, chopped
1/4 C Water
1 T Rice Wine
1 T Rice Wine Vinegar
1 T Brown Sugar
1 t Five Spice Powder
1 t Toasted Sesame Oil
2 Cloves Garlic, sliced
Optional: 2 to 6 tea bags (I used Jasmine Green Tea and an English Breakfast Tea)

1) Clean and trim the ribs.
2) Combine the rest of the ingredients in a large pot and heat.
Note: With the tea, you can add more or less depending upon how much tea flavor you want.
3) When the sauce has combined, add the ribs and stir to coat.
4) Simmer ribs, with the lid ajar, over low to medium low heat for about an hour - stir occasionally to ensure even coverage.
5) After an hour, you can turn up the heat to thicken the sauce, about 5 minutes. The ribs can be taken out for this step (if you feel the ribs are soft enough) or just leave in the pot to cook longer.

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Oct 15, 2011: Daring Cooks' Challenge - Moo Shu Pork

The October Daring Cooks' Challenge was hosted by Shelley of C Mom Cook and her sister Ruth of The Crafts of Mommyhood. They challenged us to bring a taste of the East into our home kitchens by making our own Moo Shu, including thin pancakes, stir fry and sauce.

Eat4Fun: My YouTube Video of the Challenge:

Shelley selected the recipe for this challenge because it is both accessible and adaptable to a variety of dietary requirements, while maintaining authenticity to what Moo Shu is supposed to be.

Deh-Ta Hsiung, a renowned authority on Chinese cuisine, published a beautiful book called The Chinese Kitchen. The book is a wonderful and encyclopedic volume containing a wealth of information about all aspects of Chinese cooking, from ingredients to process to history. The recipes are accessible, flavorful, and clearly written. His recipe for Moo Shu, like the others, is straightforward and delicious, and is what I am sharing with you for our challenge.

In preparation for this challenge, Shelly contacted Mr. Deh-Ta Hsiung, who is pleased to have his recipe as our challenge. Mr. Hsiung is widely considered an international expert on Chinese cooking, though his original work was in the arts and film-making. Chinese cooking was his passion, though, and he proceeded to take lessons from top Chinese chefs and work in professional kitchens around the world. Having written numerous books and articles, Mr. Hsiung is a respected authority in the world of Chinese cooking.

About this dish, specifically, Mr. Hsiung offered us a brief anecdote from his earliest work, regarding the origins of this dish's name. In The Home Book of CHINESE COOKERY, Mr. Hsiung discusses the dish as follows:

Some explanation is needed for the name of this dish. In China, we have a tree called kwei; according to my dictionary, kwei is called laurel in English, and it is a shrub rather than a tree; but the laurels we have in the garden of our London home never seem to flower at all, while the Chinese laurel is a large tree which produces bright yellow, fragrant flowers in the autumn. The pork in this recipe is cooked with eggs, which give a yellow colour to the dish – hence the name. But to add to the confusion, the Chinese name of this dish is mu-hsu pork, mu hsu being the classical name for laurel (are you still with me?). So you might say that calling it pork laurel is taking a poetic license.

Simply put, Moo Shu is a stir fry, containing thinly sliced or shredded vegetables, meat (traditionally) and scrambled egg. It is usually served on flat, thin, steamed pancakes, and is accompanied by a complementary sauce.

Moo Shu pork (the protein most commonly used in Moo Shu dishes) originates in Northern China (commonly attributed to the Shandong province, though sometimes attributed to Beijing), rising in popularity in Chinese restaurants in the West in the 1960's and 70's. As the dish became more popular, different restaurants adapted the recipe to meet their own styles, or to accommodate for expensive or hard-to find ingredients, so there is a lot of variation among recipes. Common among them, though, is a basis of cabbage and the inclusion of scrambled eggs.

The history and etymology of the dish are widely disputed, as indicated by Mr. Hsiung's anecdote above. There are two primary theories as to the origin of the name. Many, including the author of our challenge recipe, suggest that the Chinese characters, read as mu xi, refer to a tree that blooms with small, fragrant blossoms. They suggest that the scrambled egg in this dish is reminiscent of these blossoms, and thus a variety of egg dishes are referred to as mu xi. An alternative suggestion uses the Chinese characters reading mu xu, roughly translating to wood whiskers or wood shavings. The dish is thus named, it is said, due to the appearance of the shredded vegetables and meat, resembling wooden whiskers, or wooden shavings that were used as packing materials.

Recipe Source: The challenge recipe provided for the Moo Shu filling comes from The Chinese Kitchen by Deh-Ta Hsiung. The pancake recipe comes from the same source, though we have also provided an alternate method for preparing them, adapted from a variety of online demonstrations. The sauce recipe provided is from

Mandatory Items:
You must make Moo Shu pancakes using the provided recipe, a stir fry, and a complementary sauce.

Moo Shu Pork:

2/3 cup (1 oz) (30 gm) Dried black fungus ('wood ears')
½ lb (450 gm) pork loin or butt
¾ cup (3½ oz) (100 gm) bamboo shoots, thinly cut
3 cups (6 oz) (170 gm) Chinese cabbage (Napa cabbage), thinly cut
3 large eggs
1 teaspoon (5 ml) (6 gm) salt
4 tablespoons (60 ml) vegetable oil
2 scallions
1 tablespoon (15 ml) light soy sauce
2 teaspoons (10 ml) rice wine
A few drops sesame oil
12 thin pancakes to serve


1. Soak the fungus in warm water for 10-15 minutes, rinse and drain. Discard any hard stalks, then thinly shred.

2. Thinly cut the pork, bamboo shoots and Chinese cabbage into matchstick-sized shreds.

3. Lightly beat the eggs with a pinch of salt.

4. Heat about 1 tablespoon (15 ml) oil in a preheated wok and scramble the eggs until set, but not too hard. Remove and keep to one side.

5. Heat the remaining oil. Stir-fry the shredded pork for about 1 minute or until the color changes. Add the fungus, bamboo shoots, Chinese cabbage and scallions. Stir-fry for about 2-3 minutes, then add the remaining salt, soy sauce and wine. Blend well and continue stirring for another 2 minutes. Add the scrambled eggs, stirring to break them into small bits. Add the sesame oil and blend well.

To serve: place about 2 tablespoons (30 ml) of hot Moo Shu in the center of a warm pancake, rolling it into a parcel with the bottom end turned up to prevent the contents from falling out. Eat with your fingers. (See Final Preparation and Serving section below for more complete details.)

Thin Pancakes:

4 cups (960 ml) (560 gm) (19¾ oz) all purpose flour
About 1½ cup (300ml) (10 fl oz) boiling water
1 teaspoon (5 ml) vegetable oil
Dry flour for dusting


1. Sift the flour into a mixing bowl. Gently pour in the water, stirring as you pour, then stir in the oil. Knead the mixture into a soft but firm dough. If your dough is dry, add more water, one tablespoon at a time, to reach the right consistency. Cover with a damp towel and let stand for about 30 minutes.

2. Lightly dust the surface of a worktop with dry flour. Knead the dough for 6-8 minutes or until smooth, then divide into 3 equal portions. Roll out each portion into a long sausage and cut each sausage into 8-10 pieces. Keep the dough that you are not actively working with covered with a lightly damp dish cloth to keep it from drying out.

3. Roll each piece into a ball, then, using the palm of your hand, press each piece into a flat pancake. Dust the worktop with more dry flour. Flatten each pancake into a 6 to 8 inch (15 cm to 20 cm) circle with a rolling pin, rolling gently on both sides.

4. Place an un-greased frying pan over high heat. Once the pan is hot, lower the heat to low and place the pancakes, one at a time, in the pan. Remove when little light-brown spots appear on the underside. Cover with a damp cloth until ready to serve.

Alternate method for preparing the pancakes:
Once the dough has rested and been kneaded again, divide it into an even number of small pieces, rolling each into a ball. Working with two balls of dough at a time, dip the bottom of one ball lightly into sesame oil and press it onto the top of the second ball. Press the double layer flat, then roll the doubled pancake layers into 6 to 8 inch circles. In a dry pan, cook on each side until dry and lightly blistered (but without browning). Separate pancakes after cooking.

Alternately (I know, an alternate to the alternate...), if you would prefer not to dip the dough in the sesame oil, you can achieve a similar result with a slight modification. Again working two pieces at a time, roll each piece into a three inch pancake. Using a pastry brush, brush sesame oil onto the top of one of the pancakes, and top it with the other pancake. Further roll the doubled pancake into a 6 to 8 inch circle and cook as the above alternate method. This method was actually our favorite of the three, and yielded the best results – very thin pancakes that held up a little better and had the most authentic texture. We had the best luck brushing a bit of sesame oil on both circles of dough, then sandwiching them together. Just be careful separating the pancakes after cooking them on both sides – heat (steam) does get caught between them, so don't burn your fingers!

Hoisin Sauce:


4 tablespoons (60 ml) soy sauce
2 tablespoons (30 ml) peanut butter OR black bean paste
1 tablespoon (15 ml) honey OR molasses
2 teaspoons (10 ml) white vinegar
1/8 teaspoon (⅔ ml) garlic powder
2 teaspoons (10 ml) sesame seed oil
20 drops (¼ teaspoon) Chinese style hot sauce (optional, depending on how hot you want your hoisin sauce)
1/8 teaspoon (⅔ ml) black pepper

1. Simply mix all of the ingredients together by hand using a sturdy spoon.
2. At first it does not appear like it will mix, but keep at it just a bit longer and your sauce will come together.

Final Preparation and Serving:

Each of the three components that comprise the complete Moo Shu dish are served separately, and the diner prepares each serving on his or her own plate. Most restaurants provide four pancakes, a serving of Moo-Shu and a small dish of hoisin sauce as a single serving. To prepare each pancake for eating, the following is the most common process: a small amount of hoisin sauce is spread onto the pancake, on top of which a spoonful of the stir-fry is placed. In order to prevent (or, realistically, minimize) the filling from spilling out while eating, the bottom of the pancake is folded up, then the pancake is rolled, similarly to a soft taco. Once rolled, the prepared pancake is eaten immediately.

Eat4Fun's Closing Comments:
1. I suggest using 1/2 the salt called out in the filling recipe.

2. The pancakes is a bit of work. I suggest finding soft flour tortillas or premade thin pancakes at the Asian market, usually found in the freezer.

3. The Hoisin sauce is more like a peanut dipping sauce, but not as sweet as Hoisin.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

July 26, 2011: Daring Cooks' Homemade Noodles

Steph from Stephfood was our Daring Cooks' July hostess. Steph challenged us to make homemade noodles without the help of a motorized pasta machine. She provided us with recipes for Spätzle and Fresh Egg Pasta as well as a few delicious sauces to pair our noodles with!

This challenge is all about getting your hands dirty, by making a style of pasta or noodle without the use of motorized tools. So many cultures make flour as a method of preserving wheat and rice harvest, and then use the flour to make staple food items such as bread and noodles.

As a bonus, I want to challenge you to find examples from your cultural background!

Mandatory Items: Prepare some pasta by hand, without the use of motorized tools, and prepare the appropriate sauce/seasoning to go with it. The concept of "noodle" or "pasta" is being applied very loosely here, as some traditional recipes may seem closer to a dumpling than what you consider a noodle. Use your own judgment and creativity here.

Variations allowed: Many variations are allowed here – no strict recipe is required. It goes without saying that people with dietary requirements may substitute the "traditional" ingredients in favor of ingredients that are appropriate for them. Similarly, substitutions may be made where suggested ingredients are not readily available, or are cost prohibitive.

Steph's recipes can be found at The Daring Kitchen.

Eat4Fun: I've made traditional Italian-style pasta in the pasta for the Daring Bakers' Lasagna Challenge.

I wanted to make something that I remember from my childhood, Rice Noodles (aka Fun).
The difference between mein (as in chow mein) is that mein refers to wheat based noodles while Fun refers to non-wheat noodles.

Recipe is based upon what my mom's recipe. She doesn't measure out ingredients using cups, but this is what I've come up with.

Rice Noodles (Fun)
1 C Rice Flour
2 T Wheat Starch (or Cornstarch)
1 t Tapioca Starch (to give the noodles a little chew)
1.5 C Water (or use a 50/50 mixture of Chicken broth and water)
1/4 t Salt (can omit if using broth)

1) Mix all the ingredients to form a slurry.
2) Use a steamer and an 8 x 8 inch Pyres dish or a round pie pan.
3) Lightly oil (with an oily towel or use Pam) the glass dish.
4) Pour about 1/3 cup of batter and spread.
5) Steam about 3 to 5 minutes.

Finished Rice Noodles (Fun)

What you can make...

Chow Fun

Dim Sum: Rice noodle rolled with Shrimp

Dim Sum: Rice noodle rolled with Pork

Dim Sum: Rice Rolls (Cheung Fun)

Simple Comfort Food: Rice Noodles drizzled with Soy Sauce

Monday, July 25, 2011

July 25, 2011: Daring Cooks' Healthy Potato Salad

Jami Sorrento was our June Daring Cooks hostess and she chose to challenge us to celebrate the humble spud by making a delicious and healthy potato salad. The Daring Cooks Potato Salad Challenge was sponsored by the nice people at the United States Potato Board, who awarded prizes to the top 3 most creative and healthy potato salads. A medium-size (5.3 ounce) potato has 110 calories, no fat, no cholesterol, no sodium and includes nearly half your daily value of vitamin C and has more potassium than a banana!

This month's challenge is hosted by Jami Sorrento a two year non blogging member of Daring Cooks. What do you think of when you think about Potato Salad? A fat laden high caloric salad that you only indulge in on occasion –and even then you feel guilty? Well this month we are going to challenge you to make the most delicious and healthy Potato Salad. The possibilities of what you can do with a fresh, natural, and versatile vegetable like potatoes are limitless! Did you know that a medium-size (5.3 ounce) potato has 110 calories, no fat, no cholesterol, no sodium and includes nearly half your daily value of vitamin C and has more potassium than a banana?

Potatoes are a nutritional powerhouse and you can keep potato salad healthy by using low-fat and fresh toppings that still taste great.

For example, what other fresh and healthy vegetables or toppings do you like? Asparagus, roasted red peppers, artichoke hearts, olives? Do you have some new salts or a spice you would like to try? How about a different oil or vinegar you have been dying to taste? Here is your chance for TOTAL CREATIVITY!!! You can make your potato salad hot or cold- just come up with a yummy, healthy and fresh potato salad that looks as good as it tastes.

I am so excited about this challenge because first of all I am of Irish decent and love potatoes. Second – I get to see all the delicious creative salads you come up with. I hope we will all expand upon the normal potato salad we make and use some new ingredients or seasonings to make the best, healthy Potato Salad ever.

Mandatory Items:To make any type of potato salad – hot or cold - that is healthy and delicious. We’d love to see all kinds of ethnic and cultural variations!

[Eat4Fun: I'm posting this challenge a bit (very) late, but my take on this salad is to incorporate more vegetables (add color to a potato salad) and use a vinaigrette. One way to make a dish healthy is to cut back on the fat content. Fat has more than twice the calories of carbs and protein so by cutting back on fats you're reducing calories quite a bit.

My YouTube Video:

This is a recipe I made on the fly with ingredients I had readily available.

Healthy Potato Salad
3 Boiled potates (about 3 cups diced)
2 T Vinegar
1/4 t Salt
1/4 t Black Pepper
1/2 C Tomatoes, Diced
1/2 C Corn Kernels
1/2 C Cucumber, Diced
1/2 C Carrot Shredded
1/4 C Red Onions, Thinly Sliced {Tip - sliced onions can be soaked in cool water to tone down the spiciness.)
2 T Bacon, Crumbled (Optional)

3 T Vinegar
1 T Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1 t Dijon Mustard
1/4 t Salt
1/4 t Black Pepper
1/4 t Garlic Powder
1/4 t Dried Parsley
2 T Blue Cheese, Crumbled (Optional)

1) Boil potatoes until fork tender, about 15 to 20 minutes.
2) While still hot, peel and dice potatoes
3) Salt, pepper and sprinkle the potatoes with vinegar. Mix gently. Refrigerate to cool.
4) Top with veggies and make dressing.
5) Potato salad can be dressed a few hours before hand to let the flavors infuse.