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Wednesday, March 31, 2010

For someone Spätzle!

Probably the only type of Pasta that exists in German cuisine :-)
I am really really proud of this one! I made it the old fashioned way. The technique was difficult and I feel it came out quite decent :-)

(makes 4 servings)
(prep time 10 mins - making the pasta however takes a lot of time specially if you are new and gadget-less)


Flour 1 cup
Eggs 2 large
Whole milk 1/3 cup
Unsalted butter 2 Tbs (melted)
Chives 1 Tbs (chopped fine)
Nutmeg 1/8 tsp
Pepper 1/8 tsp


Gently fold in all the ingredients listed above in a large bowl.
Make sure that the batter is lump free. Let the batter rest for about 15 mins.

The video explains how to make it.
The pasta should immediately rise to the surface of the water.
If the batter dissolves into the boiling water or seems too soft you need to thicken the batter by adding more flour.
Boil for five minutes and use a slotted spatula to fish out the pasta.
Reheat the pasta with some butter in a frying pan!

Below is a video of my first time making it :-)
I should warn you, the way I held the board above the pot is probably not the best way to do it, because the steam really gets your arm.. ouch! But since it was my first time and that was the only way it felt comfortable to me.

I am sure you will notice that I am incredibly slow at this :-) Making this pasta was no easy task! I tried using a large colander and a spoon to push the batter through. That method wasn't very effective because the pasta that was formed was not long and thready instead looked more like chubby teardrops.

We had this with Rouladen.
A very German meal it was!
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Friday, March 26, 2010


Recently I have been craving for some hearty German food. After spending some time on the German cuisine page on wikipedia I decided that I was going to make Rouladen also called Rinderroulade. I have never had this before but everything about it sounds so darn good! Slow cooked meat that melts in your mouth always makes me drool!

The most important part of getting this right was getting the right cut of meat, a very thin top round steak. I was very excited to find a wonderful German deli right in my neighbourhood called Liebchen Delicatessen. They ordered the meat for me and saved me a trip to Pike place or Burien. The lady there was an absolute sweetheart, when I told her that it was going to be my first time making Rouladen she was happy to give me some helpful tips and even shared her recipe for the mustard dressing :-)

(prep time 2 1/2 hours)
(serves 2)

Rouladen meat 4 slices (about 1 lbs)
Fatty bacon 2 strips per steak (I used turkey bacon and 1/4 Tbs of butter for each steak)
Gherkins 2 med
White onions 1/2 med
Mustard 1/4 cup
Garlic powder 1/3 tsp
Coarse pepper 1/2 tsp
Sweet paprika 1 tsp
No salt the pickles are salty enough
Butter 2 Tbs

* I stuck to the basics but many recipes that I found used chopped up dried fruits, mushrooms, leeks, spinach for the filling.

All of the above ingredients will go over each steak in layers.
First the seasonings, then some mustard, afterwards bacon and the last layer would be the onions and pickles.
Start by slicing the onions and the pickles into thin equal size strips or chopping them into small chunks. First I tried with the sliced vegetables but found it difficult to roll and they would stick out too much so for the rest I used chopped and was much happier.
Season the meat on both sides with pepper, garlic powder and sweet paprika.
Paint some mustard on one side of the steak and arrange the bacon over it (since I used turkey bacon I also added 1/4 Tbs chopped up cold butter at this point)
Spread the onions and pickles over the bacon and roll it up like a jelly roll, tie and secure with some twine (you can also use a toothpick but I really feel that twine holds the shape better)
Melt and heat some butter in a frying pan.
Quickly brown your meat rolls for a few minutes. Keep turning to ensure even color on all sides.
Remove from the heat and keep aside. These fellas will simmer for 2 hours in the sauce so don't try to cook them completely. The above step is just for color.


Chicken broth 1 1/2 cup
Red Wine 1/2 cup (Optional) (Use only 1 cup broth if using wine)
Tomato paste 1Tbs
Leeks 4" chunk
Celery about two 4" chucks
Carrots 3-4 baby carrots
Garlic 1/2 tsp
Cream 1/3 cup (Optional)
Roux ( brown 2 Tbs of flour in 2 Tbs of butter this will be used to thicken the sauce at the end)
Dried thyme 1/2 tsp
Bay leaf 1
No salt if using store bought chicken broth

You will need to use a heavy base pot for the sauce. It shouldn't be very wide, just enough for the meat rolls to fit snugly at the bottom.
Arrange the meat so that they are tight and close to each other.
Gently pour the chicken broth and the vino over it.
Add the garlic and the herbs too.
Bring to a soft boil.
Close the lid, reduce heat to low and simmer for 2 hours.
Turn sides once in between.
After your meat has cooked remove it from the sauce.
Strain it through a sieve to remove the large pieces of vegetables.
Skim the fat accumulated on the surface.
Add the tomato paste and reduce the sauce.
The roux is added to thicken the sauce. You might not use all of it just add a little bit at a time until you have a nice velvety consistency similar to heavy cream.
Mix in the cream towards the very end.
Put the meat rolls back into the sauce.
Takes a while... but totally worth it.
We had it over boiled potatoes and buttery Spätzle.
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Monday, March 22, 2010

Sui Mai (Shu Mai)

I am a sucker for dim sum! I mean why shouldn't I be? Teeny tiny mouthfuls of perfection! Unfortunately the ones you get in restaurants around here almost always has pork or shellfish in them. And since I am not really fond of either, I just end up drooling over the carts as they roll by. Not fair!

So I consider it a responsibility to try and make pork and shellfish free dim sum for my kind :-)

(prep time 15 mins + cook time 15 mins)
(makes 24-30)


Ground chicken meat 1 Lbs
Shiitake mushrooms 1/2 cup (sliced into thin threads)
Green onions 1/3 cup (chopped fine)
Garlic 1/2 tsp
Ginger 1/2 tsp
Soy sauce 1 tsp
Large Egg 1
Szechuan Pepper 1/3 tsp
Pepper 1/4 tsp
Round wonton wrappers
Peas for garnish

Gently fold in all the above ingredients (minus peas) together in a bowl. Your mixture is ready. Wasn't that easy? :-)
The video below explains the wrapping procedure. Takes a little practice but not too hard. I had big time stage fright couldn't speak a word. But you can clearly see how it's done :-)

The stuffing itself is sticky enough so you don't have to moisten the wonton wrappers. Basically just squeeze and pinch the dim sum into shape between your index finger and thumb. Hmmm.... maybe for next time I won't put so many peas on the top.

Whatever steamer you use, bamboo or steel, it is a good idea to spread some shred carrots or cabbage on the bottom of your utensil to prevent the wonton wrapper from sticking to the surface.

For a bamboo steamer you can also use liners. Cut either aluminum foil or wax paper in a circular shape equal to the size of your steamer, punch a few holes in it, spray PAM on the surface, place the dim sum over these and steam. If using a steel one you won't need liners, use either shred veggies or PAM.
Steam for 10 mins and they are ready to devour :-)
These freeze well. I always make a huge batch. And you don't have to defrost, just steam them a couple of minutes extra.
I hope you make these :-)
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Friday, March 12, 2010

Murgh Pulao

Another good one from Pakistan! This is a very flavorful way of preparing rice. Basically rice is cooked in a perfectly aromatic and garlicky chicken broth and caramelised onions are added towards the end. You can eat this with some chutney or raita. And since it's not as spicy as Biryani, it's a good choice with all sorts of curries.
A great recipe for biryani here and here is one for a wonderful curry.

FYI my mom makes the best pulao!! No arguing that!
She taught it to my sister and my sis taught it to me :-)
(i tawt a taw a puddy tat)
I don't know where that came from. Maybe because its 3am and I need to sleep except I can't. A mild case of insomnia is the culprit and man these infomercials.
(i did, i did taw a puddy tat!)

Anyhoo... here is how it's made.

(Prep time 30 mins + 2 hours for broth)
(Enough for 3-4 people)

For the broth:
Chicken wings 8
Garlic 1/2 head
Green cardamom 3 whole pods
Black cardamom 3 whole pods
Cilantro/coriander seeds 1 Tbs whole
Cinnamon 1" stick
Cumin seeds 1 tsp
Black peppercorn 1 tsp
Water 4 cups

For later:
Basmati rice 3 cups
Red onion slices 1/3 cup
Butter 2 Tbs
Oil for frying onions

Combine all the ingredients under broth in a large pot (don't add the stuff listed under "For later").
Bring to a boil.
Reduce heat to med high. Continue to boil covered for 2 hours.
Afterwards use a strainer and collect just the broth.
You should have four cups. You can add more water if you don't :-)
Allow the wings to cool down. You can pick the meat from the wings to add back to the rice later if you wish (I do this).
Heat some oil in a frying pan. Brown the onion until they are dark in color. This will be mixed with the rice at the very end.
Bring the broth to a boil and add rice.
Partially cover your pot and cook for 10-12 mins on med heat.
Reduce to low heat and cook completely covered for another 10 mins or until rice is fluffy.
Add the butter, caramelised onions and the meat from the wings.
Toss well. Ready!

Ta da!
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Sunday, March 7, 2010

Mochi Ice cream

The first of this month was one of those days... you know the ones when an old old friend you haven't heard from in ages, fifteen years to be exact, calls you right out of the blues.

What an over whelming feeling it is. Left me smiling all day long :-) Something sweet and decadent today. Here's to life's little indulgences! This one is for you Afshan, a beautiful mom of a precious baby boy. Thanks for totally making my day :-)

Mochi is a rice cake that is eaten in Japan specially around new year. They are stuffed with all sorts fruits and almost always anko (sweet red bean paste) however the ice cream filling is a relatively new concept. Mochi is traditionally made by pounding steamed sweet rice in a large wooden bowl. Here is a neat little video I found on YouTube that shows how its done!

Following is a recipe for basic sweet mochi sometimes coconut milk or green tea is used instead of water. Most recipes that I found used only rice flour. I added a bit of tapioca starch so that it will stay soft longer at room temp and also freeze well.


All of these were available from Uwajimaya.
1 cup glutinous rice flour (Mochiko)
1/2 cup tapioca flour or starch
Potato starch (Katakuri) for dusting purposes. You can use corn starch instead if you want
1/4 cup sugar
3/4 cup + 2 Tbs of water
Food colors red and green (optional)
Green tea ice cream 1 pint
Adzuki bean ice cream 1 pint

The above amounts would make enough mochi for one pint of ice cream.
I made two batches. The first I colored green for the Adzuki bean ice cream and the second I colored pink for the green tea ice cream.

The first step would be to scoop out the ice cream on a plate in eight equal portions and refreeze. Once they are hard you can round them off with your hands and freeze again.

Now lets make mochi :-)
The mixture will be steamed so use a steel mixing bowl that can fit inside a larger pot.
Fill the larger pot with about 1" of water. Since we are steaming this, it is important that the bottom of the bowl containing the mixture should never touch the water. Therefore place a stand or an inverted cup inside the large pot so that the small bowl can sit on top of it. You should be able to put a lid or a plate and seal the larger pot.
Sounds complicated? :-)
The rest is easier :-)
Combine the rice flour, tapioca starch, sugar and water. Mix really well don't want any lumps. Add food coloring just 2 drops were enough for a pastel shade.
Carefully place this bowl inside the steamer. Cover and steam on med heat for 15-18 mins. That's it.
It will be really really sticky :-)
Take out the dough on a clean surface which is dusted quite liberally with potato starch.
Knead it gently and roll it out in a log. Cut into eight equal parts.
Below is a picture of the frozen ice cream balls next to the mochi. I love the color contrast :-)

When the mochi is cold, roll out each section into a round disc about 5" diameter and roughly 1/4" thick. Place the ice cream ball in the center. Bring the sides up - twist, seal and break off the extra mochi in one sassy move.

Here is a lil video that explains it :-)
Let the mochi ice cream sit out for 5-8 minutes before biting into it!

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