General Tso inspired Fish

I came across this recipe which is quite famous in American-Chinese cuisine, the General Tso’s Chicken. I had all the ingredients and fresh fish fingers on hand so i thought, why not. So i simply replaced the chicken with the fish and it turned out delicious. I could have probably devoured the entire dish myself if given the chance.

Oh and you know, according to wikipedia the dish is named after Tso Tsung-t’ang, a Qing dynasty military leader. But guess what?! there is no recorded connection to him nor is the dish known in Tso’s home province. Ha! well in my 10 minute research about him i did learn that he was a successful leader and was admired by the generals that came after him. Great!

Lets get down to admiring this delicious dish now. You should really try this recipe for a quick, easy meal and yet so flavorful.

General Tso's fish

I know, i know i took a quick shot because i was too hungry and couldn’t resist eating this any longer. I have no self control, sigh!

INGREDIENTS:
1. fish fingers, cubed – 1/2 kg
Marinate with:  1/2 tsp salt, 1/2 tsp pepper, 1 tsp soya sauce, 1 tsp lemon juice, beaten egg and 1 tblsp cornflour

For the sauce:
1. soya sauce – 2 tblsp
2. tomato ketchup – 2 tblsp
3. vinegar – 1 tblsp
4. brown sugar – 1 tsp
5. red chilli flakes – 1 tsp
6. chinese salt – 1/2 tsp
7. chicken stock/fish stock OR water – 1/2 cup
8. spring onions – 2 stalks, chopped up
9. garlic cloves – 2, minced
10. ginger, 1 tblsp, finely chopped
11. oil – 2-3 tblsp
12. cornflour – 1 tblsp, for thickening if required
13. toasted sesame seeds for garnish

DIRECTIONS:
– marinate the fish for about 30 mins.
– Fry it in shallow oil. Just cook until both sides are colored, dont over cook it. It should only take a minute or 2. Drain and set aside.
– to make the sauce: combine soya sauce, ketchup, vinegar, brown sugar, red chilli flakes, chinese salt in a bowl. mix it up, add water, mix and set aside.
– Heat oil in a wok or any pan you want to use. Add in the garlic and ginger. saute for a few seconds until aromatic, dont let it turn golden. Add the sauce mix and let it simmer and cook until it thickens up a bit.
– Add the spring onions. If you thick the sauce is too watery add some cornflour mixed in water. once you think the consistency is right, add the fried fish and mix to coat it up.
– Let it simmer for a minute and then dish it out.
– Garnish with sesame seeds and serve with rice.

Advertisements

The case of disappearing crackers

PF1

You wont believe what happened! I actually witnessed a platter full of appetizing buttery crackers disappear in the blink of an eye. Really, its a true story.

If you like snacking and munching as much as i do, you would know exactly what I’m talking about. These humble yet delicious crackers have a tendency of disappearing real quick. Just cant have one! You know what Im talking about right? Crisp, buttery, flaky and salty with a hint of sweetness. Yes, butter puffs ofcourse.

PF2

Over this weekend my brain cells were set in motion and taste buds were activated when i received 2 packs of Peek Freans Butter Puff. I didn’t know Butter Puff came in a veggie flavor too, did you? So with these two half roll packs i was thinking…hmm, that’s interesting (with a smile on my face and ideas running through my head). Ofcourse, the universally loved cheese and cracker pairing is my all time favorite snack. But, trust me you cant stop at that. And If you think you don’t like them much then you are just not eating them right. You’re actually missing out on some seriously addictive stuff.

Butter Puff recently introduced the #14WaysToButterPuff . Which by the way is an awesome source for any foodie looking for some creative party food. So now if you brew me some coffee and give me a pack of these crisp golden Butter Puff crackers, you can count on me to turn them into a delicious party for your tastebuds. Wanna know how? Here’s how:

Butter Puff 3 ways

PF3

This is my take on Butter Puff hors d’oeuvres. Feel free to get inspired and create your own delicious treats with the flavors you like. For more inspiration and ideas, do check out the Peek Freans Butter Puff page and get snacking.

WHAT YOU NEED:

For Pizza Bites

  • 1 pack (half-roll) Butter Puff Veggie Crackers
  • Pizza sauce
  • Pepperoni
  • Mozzarella cheese, grated
  • Olives

To prepare the pizza bites – Place all the Butter Puff Veggie Crackers on a baking sheet, lined up nicely. Top with a teaspoon of pizza sauce, a pepperoni slice, olives of your choice and then almost a teaspoon of the grated cheese. (I also added a dash of oregano and red chili flakes) Then pop the baking sheet into the oven under the hot broiler. Leave it in for a few minutes, just enough to melt the cheese on top. That’s it, they are done and ready to serve.

For Peanut Butter Treat

  • 1 pack (half-roll) Butter Puff Original Crackers
  • Peanut butter mousse
  • Bananas, sliced
  • chocolate, grated

To prepare the peanut butter treat – Make the peanut butter mousse ahead of time. It keeps well refrigerated for 2-3 days. You can follow the following recipe to make the mousse:

Ingredients

  • 6 tablespoon heavy cream
  • 1/2 cup powdered sugar
  • 1/4 cup creamy peanut butter
  • a tablespoons of milk
  • 1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract

Directions

  1. In a glass bowl, beat heavy cream using any kind of electric beater until it begins to thicken and holds a stiff peak. Refrigerate.
  2. In another bowl add peanut butter and beat until fully. Slowly add the powdered sugar. Add milk and vanilla. Beat until all ingredients are fully incorporated.
  3. Fold in whipped cream, using a spatula. Refrigerate until ready to use.

Once you have the mousse ready, all you have to do is line up the Butter Puff Original Crackers in your serving platter and begin with spooning a heaped teaspoon of the mousse onto it, followed by 2 slices of banana and then sprinkle with grated chocolate. Done.

For Hot Salsa Bites

  • 1 pack (half-roll) Butter Puff Crackers
  • Salsa, homemade or store bought
  • Jalapeno
  • Sour Cream
  • Olives

To prepare the hot salsa bites – You can use any of the 2 Butter Puff flavors. I opted for the Butter Puff Original Crackers since there’s already complex delicious flavors in the salsa topping i used. Make these right before serving by lining them up on the platter. Top with a teaspoon of the salsa (make sure to drain it a bit if its too watery). Then add a single piece of sliced jalapeno for that extra kick, followed by a drizzle of sour cream and then an olive on top. Yum. The adults at your party will be all over it.

Simple stuff but taste so good. So, get the party started and get snacking.

Makes approximately 70 individual bites.

* Not ideal for making ahead of time. Prepare these hors d’oeuvres just before serving. It hardly takes 10-15 minutes so nothing to worry about.

PF5

peanutbutter and banana

PF4

P.S. amidst all this cracking affair i discovered the most amazing stuff. I did, i did. Oh boy, it’s addictive, its sugary and you wont be able to stop gobbling it all up. It’s my new favorite and i want to be selfish and not share. Hmm.

Nahh…don’t worry, the generous me kicked out the selfish me. I’m all about sharing. So stay tuned It’s coming up next and if you have an active sweet tooth, you don’t wanna miss it.

Happy Munching!

* This is a sponsored post and contains affiliate links *

Chicken Teriyaki Noodles

There’s nothing like home-cooked food that’s easy to make and deliciously comforting too. These Teriyaki noodles fit the bill perfectly.

Before you dive into this recipe, you might want to know that the base of this delicious recipe is a Japanese sauce. The Teriyaki Sauce! It’s basically a traditional Japanese cooking sauce that was originally used as a marinade for grilling or broiling fish and other meat. Recently this sauce has picked up popularity all over the world and is used as a flavor that brings magic to so many dishes. This sauce is pretty much made up of salty soya sauce, sugar and ginger, so when cooking with it be careful not to add too much additional salt. Although feel free to spike the spice level if that’s what you like.

teriyaki noodles

INGREDIENTS:

Boneless chicken, julienned/bite size strips – 200 grams, roughly 1 cup

(for the marinade)

Soya sauce – 1/2 tsp

Red chili flakes – 1/2 tsp

Ginger, freshly grated – 1/4 tsp

Egg Noodles – 100 gms (half pack)

Teriyaki sauce – 2 tblsp

Soya sauce – 1 tsp

Brown sugar – 1 tsp

Chicken stock – ½ cup

Crushed black pepper – ½ tsp

Red chili flakes – ½ tsp

Cornflour – 1 tsp

Oil – 4 tblsp

Garlic, finely chopped – 4 cloves

Sesame seeds – 1 tsp

Carrots – 1 medium, julienned

Mushrooms – ¼ cup

Green chillies – 2, slit into 2

Spring onions, chopped 1 inch long  – 2 stalks

Lemon juice – 1-2 tblsp

DIRECTIONS:

  1. Marinate the chicken with soya sauce, red chilli flakes and grated ginger for 30-60 mins.
  2. Heat a teaspoon of oil in a pan, and cook the chicken until tender. Do not overcook or the chicken will turn out too dry.
  3. Now in a small bowl, mix together Teriyaki sauce, soya sauce, brown sugar, red chili, black pepper and chicken stock (or plain water). Set aside.
  4. Boil the egg noodles in salted water as per the directions on the pack.
  5. Next, heat up a wok. Add 4 tblsp oil and garlic and saute until fragnant.
  6. Add the carrots, mushrooms and sesame seeds and stir fry for a minute.
  7. Add in the green chillies and spring onions. Toss to heat them up.
  8. Now add the prepared sauce mixture and mix to combine with the veggies.
  9. Dissolve cornflour in a little amount of water and slowly add to the sauce mix. Once it starts thickening up, toss in the chicken strips and boiled noodles.
  10. To finish it up add fresh lemon juice for that extra zing. Mix it well and dish up.

Top Tip: Your most important utensil in the kitchen is a spoon. Always taste while you cook at every step so you can adjust the taste perfectly as per your liking.

COOK WITH US: A recipe and heaps of inspiration

I love watching Masterchef Australia. It’s intense, it’s entertaining and the best part is that you get to learn so much from it. For me it’s a lot more than just a cooking competition show. Honestly, when its airing I am completely hooked to it and this is where i get most of my inspiration from. It enhances and takes my love of food to the next level. I can go on and on, all praises for this mouthwatering fascinating show, but lets get to the point quickly. I recently found George and Gary’s cookbook “Cook With Us” in a local bookstore and instantly grabbed it of course. (FYI, this is their second cookbook together) I simple adore these guys, so you can well imagine my excitement. The three hosts, George, Gary and Matt seem like the most wonderful people on-screen, who know exactly what they are doing. And ain’t George just hilarious?! So, being an avid MasterChef Australia fan, while i was reading the introduction of their cookbook, I could actually hear their voices in my head (and no, trust me not creepy at all) just simply heart warming. It’s like having a good conversation with them. And that surely is a treat. I’ve been indulging into their cookbook obsessively over the past week, and I thought i should share this love for food and flavors with all the other cooking enthusiasts out there. There’s tons of good cooking advice in here, which is just what any novice cook needs. What i love and appreciate most is that the recipes are true to them – If you have been following the show all seasons you get to know these people well, so even by just reading the recipe I can tell whose it is. That i believe is the most amazing thing about cooking and food; It reflects your personality and who you are. cb8   cb1 cb4 Oh and the photos in this cookbook are equally enticing with a simplistic theme. No clutter, no extra props, just simple, delicious looking food. Definitely makes you go WOW! There are a few recipes in here that I’m particularly excited to try. But today I’m going to share the very first recipe i’ve tried from their book. It’s simple yet delicious and doesn’t require laborious hours in the kitchen. It’s Gary’s Tahini & Yoghurt Dressing. It can be served with fish, chicken or as a salad dressing (or just about anything you may like).

mc2

TAHINI AND YOGHURT DRESSING

[Makes about 250ml]

INGREDIENTS:

– 200g Greek yoghurt

– 1/4 cup tahini

– finely grated zest and juice of 1 lemon

– 1 clove garlic, crushed and finely chopped

salt, to taste

– 1 tblsp extra virgin olive oil

DIRECTIONS:

1. Drain yoghurt in a fine mesh sieve lined with muslin cloth. leaveto drain over a bowl for about 4 hours in the fridge. (I used regular yoghurt that we get here and drained it in a muslin until it stopped dripping – about 30-45 mins). Set the liquid (whey) aside in case you want to thin the dressing later.

2. place this thick yoghurt in a bowl, mix in the tahini, lemon zest and juice, garlic, salt and olive oil. mix all together until smooth. Taste and adjust seasoning if required.

3. It’s ready to serve. You can store leftover dressing in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 1 week. I served this with grilled chicken skewers…more like a dip than a dressing. mc1 Cooking Tip: Recipes aren’t set in stone, they’re only guidelines. – George Calombaris

Pinterest Recipe Challenge #8

HOMEMADE CLASSIC WHITE BREAD

Nothing can beat the delicious aroma of bread baking in the oven. Nothing at all. Just imagine popping the fresh dough into the oven first thing in the morning and waiting for it to bake while you enjoy a hot cuppa coffee. Aah, the perfect start to a day.

Homemade just tastes so much better, duh right!

I was really thinking this would be challenging. Baking bread at home! But guess what, its the easiest homemade goody you can make…you just gotta make sure all your ingredients are right. The crucial ingredient, Yeast does all the hard work for you, minus the kneading of course (if you are doing that by hand). But you would hear this from a lot of bakers that kneading is the best part about baking bread (and the aromatic kitchen while it bakes). The whole process really helps make you a better person or momma in my case. Trust me!

So i finally see this Pinterest addiction paying off. Im hooked on bread making now, no more bread from the store for me. You gotta try it to believe it!

Here is the link to the pin. Save it, you wont regret it. It’s the famous recipe from the King Arthur Flour website.

Classic White Bread

Makes 1 large loaf

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 1/3 to 1 1/2 cups lukewarm water*
  • 1 heaping tablespoon honey
  • 2 1/4 teaspoons instant yeast
  • 1 3/4 teaspoons salt
  • 2 tablespoons soft butter
  • 4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/3 cup dry milk powder

*Use the lesser amount in summer or humid climates; the greater amount in winter or drier climates.

DIRECTIONS:

1) Mix all of the ingredients in the order listed, and mix and knead — by hand, or using a dough hook. It won’t be particularly soft nor stiff; it should be smooth and feel bouncy and elastic under your hands.

2) Place the dough in a lightly greased bowl. Cover it, and let it rise at room temperature until it’s very puffy, 1 to 2 hours.

3) Gently deflate the dough, and shape it into a fat 9″ log. Place it in a lightly greased 9″ x 5″ loaf pan.

4) Cover the pan, and let the dough rise for 60 to 90 minutes, till it’s nicely crowned over the rim of the pan. Towards the end of the rising time, preheat the oven to 350°F.

5) Bake the bread for 20 minutes. Tent it lightly with aluminum foil, and bake for an additional 15 to 20 minutes, till it’s golden brown. Tap the top, if it sounds hollow its done.

6) Remove the bread from the oven, and turn it out onto a rack to cool. When completely cool, wrap in plastic, and store at room temperature.

My Verdict:

This was a soft and fluffy bread, great for sandwiches or just toasted and slathered with butter. I only wish it was more crustier but oh look at the shape of that sliced bread…totally digging it 🙂 Of course its homemade which means no preservatives. So this will stay fresh and at its best for a day or so, but you must keep it at room temperature not in the refrigerator. If you haven’t managed to devour it all in a day, you can make french toast next morning. Just the ideal thing to do. And if you still have some leftover – make breadcrumbs!

Happy Baking!

Pinterest Recipe Challenge #5

HOMEMADE WHOLEWHEAT PASTA

There’s something about homemade, making something from scratch makes me feel totally on top of the word. I seriously get a kick out of it…yup, that’s me!

So of course like most other kids mine are big pasta and noodle fans too, and so i thought why not try the whole wheat version…healthier and better for their tummies. Looked up few recipes on Pinterest and decided on making this one. The recipe is originally posted on a blog called One Couple’s Kitchen.

I absolutely loved making this pasta. It’s a simple recipe with the very basic ingredients with delicious results. you MUST try this.

pasta dough

whole wheat pasta

INGREDIENTS:

  • 2 cups Whole Wheat Flour
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/4 teaspoon of salt
  • Water as needed.

DIRECTIONS:

1. Place your flour on a clean counter or a large wide bowl. Make a well in the middle large enough to hold the eggs.
2. Using a fork or your fingers, break the yolks and start swirling the eggs around the well. With your other hand, start spooning in the flour a little at a time. Slowly the dough will start to mix together and form.
3. Now add water 1 tablespoon at a time until your dough begins to feel smooth and is no longer sticky. It should not be too soft like pizza/bread dough. And since we are using whole wheat flour here, the elasticity will be much less than regular flour.
4. Keep kneading the dough by hand for about 5 minutes.
5. After kneading, once the dough is nice and smooth, let it rest for about 30 minutes. After resting, cut the dough in half and you can work with a smaller more manageable amount.
 6. Now lightly flour your counter top and begin the rolling process. If you’ve kneaded properly, your dough won’t shrink back after each roll, and the gluten will have developed enough that you’ll be able to get really thin dough without tearing it.
7. Roll your dough as thin as you would like your pasta to be. Just slice straight strips with a knife or a pizza roller/cutter (approx 1/2 cm wide). After boiling they tend to puff up a bit, so thinner the better.
8. Toss your pasta noodles lightly with flour to keep them from sticking. You can cook immediately or let dry. Freshly made pasta will cook much faster than store bought pasta – it will only need between 5-7 minutes. The best way to check their if they are done is by tasting it. if you don’t get the raw floury taste, then you are good.
9. Strain out the water like you normally do when cooking pasta,, run under cold water.
10. To flavor it, i simply tossed my pasta in some marinara sauce. But of course you can add any and as much flavor as you prefer.
 homemade pasta
Notes:
  • I made half the recipe and the pasta was more than enough for 2 servings.
  • If you are used to working with dough, you will find the whole process easy peasy and very fulfilling 🙂
  • If you find working with whole wheat flour a little difficult, you can substitute half of the whole wheat flour quantity with regular white flour.
  • I cooked my pasta al dente…so in order to get that just keep a close eye and keep testing it.
  • Refrigerate any left over dough covered in cling film. But prefer to use within 24 hrs.

My Verdict:

YAY! This is a good, simple recipe. Definitely a keeper.

I had a great therapeutic experience making these. I find working with any kind of dough makes me feel relaxed and focused. Just what i need after a sleepless night and a rushy morning.

Happy Cooking!

Creamy Potato Soup

I don’t particularly love winters, nor do i hate them. I have mixed feelings. There are days when i don’t feel like getting out of bed all day (yeah, like that can ever happen…sigh!) but that’s not how life works right? So i grab a cuppa joe (or many) and it keeps me going. All last week, besides craving caffeine, i was craving some comforting hot potato soup.

Off to the kitchen! making the soup is actually quite simple and easy but takes a lot of patience. Basically, you just chop things up and throw them in a pot. Then let it simmer away. I didn’t have a prepared broth before hand, so i first made the chicken broth and then loaded it with veggies and potatoes. And all things yummy.

This potato soup is thick, sumptuous and heart warming. It’s comfort food at its best, and don’t even bother figuring out the calorie count. Just enjoy the warmth and richness. For me soups are definitely the nicest part of winter!

ps2

CREAMY POTATO SOUP

Adapted this recipe from the Pioneer Woman Cooks

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 tblsp butter + 1 tblsp oil
  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 medium carrot, peeled and diced
  • 5 medium potatoes, peeled and diced
  • 6-8 cups chicken broth
  • 3 tblsp flour
  • 1 cup milk
  • salt to taste
  • black pepper to taste
  • 1/2 teaspoon red chilli flakes (optional)
  • 1/4 cup cream
  • 1/4 cup grated cheese (I used cheddar)

DIRECTIONS:

  1. In a large soup pot, heat the butter and oil. Add in garlic and diced onion. Saute just enough to soften the onions up a bit, dont let them get any color.
  2. Add in the carrots and potatoes. Pour in the chicken broth and let it come to a boil.
  3. Let it simmer and cook until the potatoes are soft.
  4. whisk together the flour and milk and add to the soup. mix well and let it simmer for another 5 mintues. Turn of the heat, let soup cool slightly before blending it in a food processor/blender.
  5. Blend 3/4 of the soup to a smooth texture. Pour back into the pan.
  6. Now add seasoning and taste.
  7. Heat it back up and stir in the cream and cheese. Mix until all is well combines.
  8. serve hot garnished with green onions, crispy fried sausage/chicken bits, shredded cheese or croutons.

ps3