Lo Mai Gai (Sticky Chicken Rice)

The sticky rice parcels are always my favourite dish when I go and eat Dim Sum.

Technically these should be wrapped in lotus leaves, but I have been betrayed by every single Asian market I visited in the city. Parchment paper works fine, but you lose some of the aromas.

The packets, once cooked, can be cooled down and frozen. Then grabbed from the freezer and thrown back into the steamer for a week-night meal with zero brain power involved.

Yields 6 packets, could be stretched easily to 8.

Ingredients

4 cups sweet rice (glutinous rice)
2-3 Chinese sausages halved then sliced thinly
4 cloves of garlic, chopped
Vegetable oil
For the Chicken :
3 skinless boneless chicken thighs
1 tea spoon corn starch
2 tea spoon oyster sauce
1/2 tea spoon Mirin
2 tea spoon dark soy sauce
1/2 tea spoon fresh ground pepper
2 pinches of salt

Rice seasoning :
1 tea spoon mirin
2 tea spoon toasted sesame oil
2 tea spoon oyster sauce
2 tea spoon dark soy sauce
couple of pinches of dried mushrooms
2 shallots, chopped

ingredients

***

1. Cover the rice with water and allow to soak a minimum of 4 hours, preferable overnight.
soak

2. Combine the ingredients for the chicken marinade in a bowl.
marinade

3. Remove any gristle from the chicken thighs and cut into thin strips.
chicken1

4. Toss with the marinade, cover and put in the refrigerator for at least 2 hours.
marinade2

5. In a small bowl, combine the liquid ingredients for the rice seasoning.
sauce

6. In a different bowl, put the dried mushrooms.
mushrooms

7. And cover with hot water. Allow to soak for 15 minutes
mushrooms2

8. Drain and chop the mushrooms.
mushrooms3

9. Drain the rice. Take your time and remove as much water as possible.
drain

10. Add the seasoning mix and stir to coat the rice.
season

11. Throw in the shallots and mushrooms.
combine

12. Stir to distribute.
combine2

13. In a skillet, warm the oil and add the garlic.
stuffing1

14. Add the chicken with its marinade and cook, stirring all the while, until some caramelization starts.
stuffing2

15. Add the Chinese sausages.
stuffing3

16. As soon as the chicken is barely cooked through, remove from heat and transfer to a bowl.
stuffing4

17. Get ready to assemble! Scoop 1/2 a cup of the rice in the middle of a parchment paper sheet, closer to the bottom.
assemble1

18. Spoon some of the chicken and sausage mixture over the rice.
assemble2

19. Scoop another 1/2 cup of rice on top.
assemble3

20. Fold the bottom over the rice, then both sides in snugly (fold the edges of the right and left sides if the paper is too wide). Stand the packet straight and shake the rice to the bottom to make sure everything is compact. Fold the top part over (folding the edges if too long). Secure with kitchen twine. Repeat as needed until you run out of rice and/or stuffing.
fold

21. Put the packets in the basket of a steamer for 90 minutes. If you have bamboo steamers, go ahead and use those. Check on the water every 30 minutes to make sure it doesn’t dry out.
steamer

22. Once the time is up the rice should have plumped up nicely.
steamed

23. Cut open to reveal the delicious content. Because I stuff them on their sides one part of the packet ends up having more sauce/caramelization. If using stacked bamboo steamers, this would not be an issue.
open

24. The rice should pull away to reveal the stuffing.
open+stuffing

25. Any portions you don’t plan to eat right away can be put on a cooling rack and chilled.
cooling-tray

26. Then wrapped in plastic wrap and put into a freezer bag for future eating.
freeze

Advertisements

Pearl Couscous with Dried Fruits and Nuts

This makes for good lunches because it keeps for a while, a nice side dish, or an interesting offering in a potluck. Most importantly it’s easy and quick to get together.

Adapted from Foodiecrush.

Ingredients:
2 cups pearl couscous
1 cup dried apricot
1/2 cup dried cranberries
1 cup pistachios (roasted, unsalted)
1/4 cup pumpkin seeds (roasted, unsalted)

For the dressing:
1 french shallot
1/3 cup olive oil
2 table spoon white balsamic vinegar
2 tea spoon dijon mustard
2 tea spoon honey
salt and pepper to taste
ingredients

***

1. Combine the dressing ingredients.
dressing

2. Blend until smooth. Adjust seasoning and set aside.
smooth-dressing

3. Cook the pearl couscous (like pasta) until done but it still has a bit of texture. Drain and coat with the dressing,
add-dressing

4. Cut the dried apricots into smaller pieces. Add the cranberries. I aim for roughly 1 1/2 cup of dried fruits total.
dried-fruits

5. Add the fruits to the couscous.
add-fruits

6. Add the pistachios and pumpkin seeds.
nuts

7. Mix well to combine and transfer to a serving bowl. This can be eaten cold or warm.
serve

Duck Skewers

The duck meat turned out incredibly tender. The spices may overwhelm the taste of the meat, so adjust accordingly. The same marinade would probably work great with beef.

Ingredients :
2 duck breast
2 table spoon Sri Lanka style curry
2 shallots
2 cloves of garlic
2 tea spoon lemon juice
1/4 cup coconut milk
1 tea spoon salt
ingredients

***

1. Put the spices in a mortar and coarsely grind.
spices

2. Put the ground spices in a food processor along with the shallots, garlic, salt, and coconut milk.
blender

3. Pulse until mostly smooth.
blend

4. Cut the duck into cubes. I left the skin on thinking I might be able to crisp it up, but that didn’t work. Just remove it altogether.
cubes

5. Pour the marinade over the meat and stir to coat. Allow to marinate for at least an hour, up to overnight.
marinade

6. Thread onto skewers.
skewers

7. Pre-heat the oven to 375F. Sear the skewers in a pan to color all sides.
pan

8. Then transfer to an ovenproof dish and finish in the oven for 5-10 minutes.
cooked

9. Serve with peanut sauce.
serve

Goose breast with cranberry maple sauce

Easier than it looks and very tasty. One goose breast will feed two persons.

Ingredients
1 goose breast
1 french shallot, minced
2/3 cup fresh cranberries
1/4 cup maple syrup
1 cup veal stock
rosemary
salt and pepper
ingredients

***

1. Pre-heat the oven to 375F.
Score the fat of the goose breast in a cross-hatch pattern, bring careful not to cut the meat. Season with salt and pepper.
goose1

2. Put fat side down in a cold skillet and turn on to medium-heat. Allow the fat to render for 2 minutes, removing excess if needed.
goose2

3. Turn over and color the other side of the meat for 2 minutes.
goose3

4. Transfer to an oven safe plate and put in the oven for 15 minutes.
goose4

5. Drain most of the fat from the plate. Add the minced shallots and cook until translucent.
sauce1

6. Add the cranberries.
sauce2

7. Add the veal stock (don’t be like me, actually get your stock room temperature first).
sauce3

8. Add the maple syrup and rosemary.
sauce4

9. Bring to a boil and reduce the sauce. Adjust seasoning if needed.
sauce5

10. Take the goose breast out of the oven and allow to rest for 2-3 minutes.
goose5

11. Slice and dress with the sauce. Serve with roasted vegetables and a starch of your choice (I went with couscous).
plate

Fiddleheads amandine

Fidddleheads are the furled fronds of a young fern. They are only available for a brief period in spring (afterward they unfurl and become a proper fern). They are a tasty, different green to prepare, but can be toxic if eaten raw or under cooked.

This is a simple preparation, great as a side dish with fish.

Ingredients
220g fiddleheads
1/4 cup slivered almonds
1 table spoon butter
3 french shallots, diced
salt and pepper
ingredients

***

1. In a dry skillet, toast the almonds on medium heat, tossing often.
almonds

2. Once they have gained some color, set aside.
almonds2

3. Rinse the fiddleheads under lots of water. Make sure to remove any brown scales from them.
clean

4. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Drop the fiddleheads into the boiling water.
blanch1

5. Boil for 12-15 minutes. The water will turn a weird dark color.
blanch2

6. Drain the boiled fiddleheads, discarding the water. Rinse well, then transfer to an ice bath to stop the cooking process.
blanch3

7. In the skillet, melt the butter and add the shallots. Cook for 3 minutes or until the shallots become translucent.
shallot

8. Drain the fiddleheads from the ice water and add to the skillet. Coat well with the butter and season with salt and pepper. Saute for a further 3 minutes.
saute

9. Add the toasted almonds and continue cooking for an other 2-3 minutes.
saute2

10. Serve warm.
plate

French onion soup with beer

I had a bag full of onion and nothing to do this afternoon. I’ve also been having a craving for a good french onion soup. It was a perfect situation. Except for the cheese. I only had pre-grated Italian mix cheese. It worked but, really, you want emmental or gruyère for this.

Ingredients:
2 1/2 lb onions (about 7)
4 table spoon butter
1 table spoon white balsamic vinegar
3 french shallots
2 garlic cloves
1 bottle of dark beer
1 liter of beef broth
1/2 tea spoon dried thyme
1-2 bay leaf
baguette, cut into croutons
cheese, to taste
salt and pepper

ingredients

***

1. Peel and half all your onions.
onion1

2. Melt the butter in a large soup pot. Thinly slice the onions and throw into the pot. Stir to coat with the butter and add a generous pinch of salt.
onion2

3. Cook on medium low-heat for as long as they need to start getting some golden color. If it starts looking dry, add a bit of water and scrape the sugars from the bottom of the pot to recoat the onions.
onion3

4. When they are near the color your want (this was after a bit more than 1 hour) add the white balsamic vinegar.
onion4

5. Keep an eye on them, the extra sugar will finish caramelizing the onions very fast.
onion5

6. Add the diced shallots and the minced garlic. Cook until the garlic is fragrant.
aromates

7. Pour in the beer and make sure to scrape up all the sugary fond at the bottom of the pot.
beer

8. Add the beef broth. Simmer for 25 minutes. Taste and adjust seasoning.
broth

9. When the soup is nearly ready slice the bread into croutons.
bread1

10. Put in the oven under the broiler to toast.
bread22

11. Ladle the soup into heat resistant bowl. Add toasted croutons and cover with cheese, to taste.
cheese1

12. Put in oven under broiler until cheese is melted and started to turn golden. Serve immediately.
cheese2

Mango Chutney

A delicious condiment with grilled meats, or in a roast pork sandwich.

Yield : 5 half pints.

Ingredients
5 lb under ripe (but not green) mangoes
3 cups white sugar
1 table spoon molasses
1-2 jalapenos
1 shallot
1 clove garlic
1/2 cup apple cider vinegar
4 oz tamarind paste
2 tea spoon brown mustard seeds
1 tea spoon yellow mustard seeds
10 green cardamom pods
12 black peppercorns
1 tea spoon kalonji
10 cloves
1/2 tea spoon fenugreek
1/2 tea spoon salt

***
1. Peel and dice the mangoes. In a large bowl, combine the mangoes with the sugar, jalapenos, molasses, shallot and garlic. Allow to macerate for a minimum of 30 minutes. You can adda few pits in there as well. They will give you more pectin however, resulting in a very firm chutney.
mango1

2. Transfer into a large pot. Roughly grind all the spices with a mortar and pestle and add to the pot. Add the tamarind and vinegar. Heat on medium-low heat until the mangoes are soft.
mango2b

3. After 30-40 minutes the mangoes should be ready. Remove the pits and scrape off the flesh.
mangopits

4. Either using a potato masher or an immersion blender, break down the mangoes until no chunk remains.
mango2c

5. Scald the jars. Bring back the chutney to a boil and cook for 5 minutes (while the jars are scalding). This is a picture of teh chutney itself as I was filling the jars.
mango3

6. Process for 10 minutes.
mangos-done