Monday, January 26, 2009

Long & Short Soup

Gōngxĭ fācái!

Apparently Long & Short Soup is named for the long thin egg noodles and the short fat pork won tons it contains. Tonight's version contained fresh egg noodles, blanched kai-lan, and pork and shitake won tons cooked in a tangy soup. To save another call to the Accountant so she can read me the recipe, this is the soup base I like to use. The dumpling are cooked in the soup, then the dumplings and soup are spooned over blanched fresh egg noodles (70 - 100 g per person) and Asian greens (blanch if the vegetable has dense stems, otherwise it will cook easily in the soup) in large bowl. Garnish with scallions, coriander and/or garlic chives.

Long & Short Soup Soup
Serves 2 as a main
Adapted from Takeaway by Les Huynh

1.25 L chicken stock
2 tbsp light soy sauce
2 tbsp saoxing rice wine
1 tbsp Chinese black vinegar
1/2 tsp white pepper

To make the soup bring the stock to the boil in a large saucepan. Add the soy sauce, rice wine, vinegar and white pepper. Cook fresh dumplings in the soup for 4-5 minutes.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Fine Slice Ratatouille

Ratatouille made with fresh eggplant, green and red capsicums, zucchini, and onions cut into fine slices. Crushed garlic and tomatoes, salt and freshly cracked black pepper.

The finely sliced veges make this version of the Provençal classic a great pizza topping and the prep is super easy when you use Benriner slicer. The Benriner has been getting a lot of use this summer for slaws, it's really simple to use - especially if you are a rebel like myself and discard the useless finger guard. People seem to harp on about the dangers of this device, but as long as you pay some attention it's fairly difficult to cut yourself.

The blades are carbon steel, so make sure you dry the Beriner off completely before you pack it away. I sewed an ugly towel pouch to keep the slicer and the blades safely confined in the utensil drawer.

Sunday, January 11, 2009

A Persian Experiment

Gözleme filled with silverbeet and feta, the soup was not so photogenic

I've recently been reading a lot about the Food of Turkey, Lebanon and the Middle East and was inspired by this post from the Canberra Cook to try and make gözleme. Gözleme is a super-thin, filled Turkish pastry. I checked my copy of turquoise by Greg and Lucy Malouf, they list yufka as the ideal wrapping, filo as a substitute (further reading leads me to believe that gözleme dough is different to both these pastry's). I thought the photo on looked pretty good, so I lazily used their recipe with leavened dough. A wet leavened dough is not easy to roll thin, the Archivist tried his best, but the resulting pastries turned out more like a tasty pide than the gözleme I had imagined. Where the dough was thin, the siverbeet and feta were enhanced with a squeeze of lemon and tasted sublime. Those hints of the real thing make me want to try again, next time I will try this version.

The unmitigated success of the meal was the accompanying soup, from New Flavours of the Lebanese Table by Nada Saleh. This lemony green lentil soup is rich, sour and oddly compelling.

Adas Bi-Hamud
Serves 4
Adapted from New Flavours of the Lebanese Table by Nada Saleh

225 g green lentils
1.5 L water or stock
1 large onion (200g and over), peel and finely diced
2 medium potatoes (350-400 g), washed and diced into 1.5 cm cubes
6-7 large silverbeet or swiss chard leaves, remove the main rib and cut into fine ribbons
6 sprigs of fresh coriander
4 garlic cloves, skin removed and crushed
1/2 tsp of salt or to taste
1/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper
1 tbsp olive oil
4 tbsp lemon juice

Put the lentils in a medium saucepan, add the water or stock and bring to the boil. Add the onion, potatoes, greens and bring to the boil again. Reduce the heat to medium and leave to simmer for 15 minutes. Add the garlic, coriander, salt and pepper and simmer over a low heat for 20 minutes or until the lentils are soft. Add the oil in the last 5 minutes (you can omit the oil if you have used a stock that contains some fat). Remove from the heat and stir in the lemon juice.

Saturday, January 3, 2009

Indian Summer

Tonight we threw together a summery Indian vegan meal for our visiting Auditor. I picked all the dishes from Indian Cookery by Madhur Jaffery, I've had this book for a few years and have appreciated most of the recipes that I've cooked from it; her recipes can be a bit generous with the oil and salt, but these quantities can be easily adjusted to taste. One food blogger is reviewing his experience with all the recipes in the book here. As a general Indian cooking text I think that Indian Cookery is notable for the variety of vegetable and pulse dishes and other accompaniment recipes it contains; here we've made a light, invigorating vegan Indian meal with minimum effort that's perfect for a mid-summer evening. The dishes prepared were:

Aromatic yellow rice, peelay chaaval
Flat bread, chapati
Red split lentils with cumin seeds, masoor dal
'Dry okra', sookhi bhindi
Beetroot with onions, shorvedar chukander
Tomato, onion and green coriander relish, cachumber

It's the first time I've cooked okra and I was surprised how much I liked it. This easy dry preparation allows you to fully appreciate the texture and flavour of this pod. Besides okra, amchoor is probably the only exotic ingredient in this recipe - amchoor is a seasoning of powdered dried green mangoes. It adds a sour note to Indian food, a small amount of lemon or lime juice could be used as a substitute. If you make this dish as a part of a larger meal make it last, since the texture of the okra is best straight out of the pan, I suspect that keeping this dish warm or reheating it would turn the okra to mush.

Madhur Jaffery's Dry Okra
Serves 4 as a side
Adapted from Indian Cookery by Madhur Jaffery

450 g fresh okra
4 tbsp vegetable oil
1/2 tsp cumin seed
200 g onions, peeled and cut into a large dice
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp ground cumin
1/4 tsp ground coriander
1 tsp amchoor powder
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper

Wash the okra, then wipe it dry with towel. Cut the stem and tips from the pods, then cut crosswise into 1 cm pieces.

Heat the oil in a large cast iron frypan (at least 28 cm) and set over a medium-high heat. When the pan is hot add the whole cumin seed and let them sizzle for 10 seconds. Put the onions and okra in the pan and spread the mixture evenly, ideally into a single layer. Fry the onion and okra mix for 10 minutes stirring occasionally, both the onions and okra should be browning at this point.

Turn the temperature to medium and cook for a further 5 minutes, stir gently to avoid mashing the okra. Add the salt, ground cumin and coriander, amchoor and cayenne and cook for an additional 5 minutes. Serve hot.