Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Braised Pork in Dark Soya Sauce (Tau You Bah)

Updated on 17/09/10 with fotos of Tau You Bah cooked using fatty pork
I have been cooking pork for 2 days in a row. This is quite rare, cos I have always preferred cooking chicken to pork. That's because I have more chicken recipes than pork recipes, hahaha. I often have to crack my head on how to cook pork. But I have a good recipe on hand today. Something I wanted to try for some time. Not sweet and sour pork nor hainanese pork chop, I don't like to dirty my kitchen today....but braised pork in dark soya sauce, yeah! This is what we hokkiens call "tau-you-bah", but I didn't add enough water so the gravy was a bit too dry. And I used lean pork, so it was not oily enough either. I thought it tasted a bit different from the regular "tau-you-bah" recipe. Maybe this is the peranakan/straits chinese style of braising pork since the author of the cookbook is well-known for her peranakan recipes. Still it is a good dish, everything was finished and we wished we had more rice to go with the braised pork. :)

[17/09/10: I cooked the same dish using fatty pork with lots of fats oozing and the verdict was much much better than lean pork. The taste was very close to my mum's version of tau you bah.]
The recipe I copied was also accompanied by a recipe for buns. Buns for braised pork, yummy yummy! Nothing beats eating "tau-you-bah" with buns. "Kong-bah-bao" is what we call these buns. But it takes too much time and effort and I don't have time, maybe I will make the buns to go along with the braised pork another day. :)

Recipe adapted from The Best of Singapore Cooking by Mrs Leong Yee Soo.

INGREDIENTS (for 3 persons)

Ingred A
1 tbsp dark soya sauce
1 tsp honey
1/2 tsp chinese 5-spice powder

Ingred B
2 cloves garlic, pounded
4 shallots, pounded
3 segments of star anise 
(or 1/2 tsp star anise powder)
1 tbsp sugar

Ingred C
1 tbsp dark soya sauce
1/2 tsp salt

Rest of ingredients
500g pork, with skin and some fats
220ml water

1. Marinate whole piece of pork with ingredients A for at least 30 min.

2. Heat 2 tbsp oil in wok, then fry ingredients B til light brown.

3. Reduce heat to moderate, add marinated pork and cook til brown on all sides. Add ingredients C and half of the water. Cover and cook for 10 min.

4. Remove lid, turn pork over and continue boiling gently until sauce is thick. 

5. Add rest of the water and bring to a boil, stirring constantly to prevent sauce from sticking to bottom of the wok.

6. Remove meat and sauce to a heavy-bottom saucepan. Cover and let simmer til meat is tender, approx 1 hour. Add a little water if sauce thickens before meat is tender. Leave to cool. Slice pork and add hot sauce. Serve hot with steamed rice.

Note: The original recipe used 2 tbsp dark soya sauce, 1 tsp salt and 1 tsp msg under ingredients C for 900g pork. I halved the dark soya sauce and salt and omitted the msg, for obvious reasons.

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Roast Pork with Onions and Mustard (Varkensgebraad met Zilveruitjes en Mosterd)

I made a typical belgian dish again today, roast pork with onions and mustard. Dijon mustard, to be precise. This was really simple, and although it took more than 1 hour in total, it was well worth the time and effort. I am not a big fan of mustard, but I must say the Dijon mustard played an important role in this dish. The Dijon mustard combined with cider vinegar gave the roast pork a tangy flavour and made it so succulent. And I love the taste of the shallots in this dish, they were so soft and sweet and they went very well with the cider vinegar sauce and the mustard-flavoured pork. This is really a dish that you should try, the ingredients are readily available and the taste is simply delicious...

Recipe adapted from "Everybody Eats Well in Belgium" by Ruth Van Waerebeek.

Roast Pork with Onions and Mustard (Varkensgebraad met Zilveruitjes en Mosterd)

INGREDIENTS (for 3 persons)
1 boneless pork loin or pork shoulder, or 1 fresh ham (600g)
1 clove garlic, peeled and halved
1.5 tbsp Dijon or Tierenteyn mustard, plus additional for serving
1 tbsp unsalted butter
1 tbsp veg oil
8 pearl onions or small shallots, peeled
1 tbsp fresh thyme, or 1.5 tsp dried thyme
salt and pepper to taste
1/2 + 1/4 cup water, plus additional if needed
1 tbsp cornstarch
3 tbsp red wine vinegar or cider vinegar
2 tbsp fresh, minced parsley, for garnish (optional)

1. Rub the roast with the cut side of the garlic. Spread the mustard evenly over the roast. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 30 min or longer.

2. Preheat the oven to 450F (230C).

3. Place the meat in a flameproof roasting pan. Dot with butter and drizzle with oil. Brown in the hot oven, turning the meat several times to brown all sides, about 15 min.

4. Reduce the oven temp to 350F (175C). Scatter the onions around the roast, sprinkle with thyme, and season with salt and pepper. Pour 1/2 cup of water into the pan.

5. Roast until the internal temperature registers 155 to 160F (70C) on an instant-read thermometer, about 1 hour. Baste the roast every 10 to 15 min with the drippings. Add a little more water if needed to keep the onions from burning. (Although the recipe asks for a baking thermometer but it is actually not necessary, just bake it for about 1 hour will do.)

6. Remove the roast to a cutting board and let rest for 15 min before carving.

7. Place the roasting pan with the onions (but without the pork) on the stovetop over medium heat. Deglaze with the remaining 1/4 up water, scraping all the browned bits from the bottom of the pan. Dissolve the cornstarch in the vinegar and add it to the pan. Bring to a quick boil, stirring constantly, and remove from the heat. 

8. Cut the meat into thin slices and arrange on a warmed platter. Spoon the onions around the meat. Sprinkle generously with the parsley and serve with additional mustard on the side. 

Smakelijk eten!

Flemish Yeast Dough

This Flemish Yeast Dough is a recipe from the book that I often refered to, "Everybody Eats Well in Belgium" by Ruth Van Waerebeek. It forms the basis for many belgian tarts that appear in the book. I used it for making the crust pastry for my Belgian Chocolate Ganache Tart.

INGREDIENTS (makes one 12-inch or 8-inch crust)
½ ounce (14g) fresh cake yeast or 1 packet active dry yeast
¼ cup (60ml) milk, warmed to 100F (38C)
1.5 cup (188g) all purpose flour, plus additional ½  cup (62g) if needed
¼ cup (56g) sugar
pinch of salt
1 large egg, lightly beaten
2.5 tbsp unsalted butter, melted

By Hand 
1. Sprinkle the yeast over the milk in a small bowl. Let it sit until foamy, about 5 min. Stir well. 

2. Sift the flour into a large mixing bowl. Add the sugar and salt and combine the dry ingredients with a whisk. Make a well in the centre. Pour in the eggs, yeast mixt and butter. Use your fingertips to gradually work the flour into the liq ingredients until you have a smooth, soft dough that holds together. Add just enough flour to make a dough that doesn't stick to your fingers and can be rolled out easily. Do not knead or overwork this dough or it will become tough. 

3. Form the dough into a ball and place in a large lightly oiled bowl. Cover with a kitchen towel or plastic wrap and let rise in a warm spot until doubled in volume, abt 1 hr. (or preheat your oven for about 10 min with the lowest possible setting and turn it off)

By food processor 
1. Proof the yeast as described above in step 1. 

2. Fit the food processor with the plastic blade. Place the flour, sugar, salt in the food processor and pulse a few times to combine the ingredients. With the motor running, add the egg, yeast mixt and melted butter. Stop and remove the dough as soon as it forms a ball. Knead it briefly and gently on a lightly floured surface, adding just enough flour so that it does not stick to your fingers and can be rolled out easily. 

3. Form the dough into a ball and place in a lightly oiled bowl. Cover with a kitchen towel or plastic wrap and let rise in a warm place until doubled in volume, about 1 hr.

Rolling out the dough 
1. Generously butter and flour one 12-inch or 8-inch tart pan. 

2. Punch down the dough and remove to a lightly floured surface. Roll the dough into a round, about ¼ inch thick. For a thinner crust, divide the roll into half and roll out into 2 rounds, 1/8 inch thick. 

3. Drape the dough over your rolling pin and transfer to the prepared tart pan. Fit the dough into the pan, trim and crimp the edges. Prick holes onto the bottom of the tart with a fork. Cover with a kitchen towel and let the dough rise again for 20-30 min before filling and baking.

Variation : add 1 tsp cinnamon to the dry ingredients for a cinnamon-scented crust.

PS: Pls refer to  my belgian chocolate ganache tart for pictures of the dough.

Belgian Chocolate Ganache Tart


My oven has enjoyed a well-deserved rest from baking for the past 2 weeks. Yesterday I decided to bake a very very decadent belgian chocolate ganache tart, which is definitely not for the weight-watchers. I followed the recipe from Ruth Van Waerebeek's cookbook, and used Callebaut chocolate which I bought from Colruyt to make the chocolate ganache. My hubby said the chocolate ganache tasted like fondant and was a bit sweet. Well, it is fondant. At least that is what the Callebaut packaging says, fondant chocolate, which can be melted in microwave or bain-marie to make chocolate mousse, ice-cream or desserts. It is made in Belgium, and is very conveniently sold in a box which contains 4 packs of 100g each, and only costs about 4 euro or so per box.

This was my first attempt at making this chocolate ganache tart. I think I made the mistake of over-browning the tart pastry, my oven tempature was a bit too high but otherwise the tart was good. However this is not a tart that I will make again soon, because it is so decadent, and it makes me feel very guilty after eating. Not so good for the waistline either, hehehe...
Anyway here is the recipe of Belgian Chocolate Ganache Tart, adapted from "Everybody Eats Well in Belgium" by Ruth Van Waerebeek

Basic Flemish Pie Crust (pls refer to Flemish Yeast Dough recipe)
8 ounces (227g) bittersweet chocolate, preferably Callebaut, chopped into small pieces
1 cup heavy or whipping cream
1 tbsp expresso powder
1/3 cup (42g) confectioners’ sugar
2 large eggs
2 large egg yolks
1 large egg yolk mixed with 1 tbsp water (egg wash)
cocoa powder, for garnish
confectioners’ sugar, for garnish
whipped cream, for serving

1. Generously butter a 9-inch tart pan with a removable bottom. Roll out the dough on a slightly floured surface into a circle, ¼ inch thick. Line the tart pan with the dough, trim the edges and prick the bottom evenly with a fork. Refrigerate for 20 min. 

2. Preheat the oven to 425F (220C). 

3. Line the bottom of the tart pan with aluminium foil. Fill 2/3 full with dry rice or beans. (This is called blind baking.) Bake 10 min. Reduce heat to 375F (190C) and bake until the pastry is lightly browned, 5 to 8 min longer. Remove the rice/beans and foil and let the crust cool completely. Leave the oven on. 

4. Meanwhile, prepare the chocolate filling : place the chocolate pieces in a mixing bowl. In a medium-sized saucepan, bring the cream, expresso, and confectioners’ sugar to a quick boil. Immediately pour the hot cream mixture over the chopped chocolates and stir with a wooden spoon until the chocolate is melted and smooth. Beat in the eggs and egg yolks, one at a time, until thoroughly combined. While mixing the chocolate mixture, I placed the bowl over a bain-marie (pan of boiling water on the stove) so that it would melt more easily.

5. Brush the bottom and sides of the pastry with the egg wash. Pour in the chocolate ganache and bake in the preheated 375F (190C) oven until set, 12 to 15min. Transfer to a wire rack to cool. When cool enough to handle, remove the side of the pan and let cool completely. Chill in the refrigerator for several hours, before serving. 

6. (Optional) For garnish, use a fine sieve to sprinkle the cocoa evenly over the surface of the tart, place a doily on top of the cocoa and sift a layer of confectioners’ sugar on top. Very carefully remove the doily. Or simply serve the tart cold with a bowl of freshly whipped cream.

Smakelijk eten!

              Wednesday, June 2, 2010

              Sweet and Sour Chicken

              I am in a sweet and sour mood today. I wanted to make hainanese pork chop but I didn't have any pork chops in my freezer so I decided to do sweet and sour chicken instead. I tried out a recipe which I have copied quite some time ago, but never had a chance to try bcos I don't really like deep-frying. You know how it is, the oil from deep-frying sometimes splatters onto your arms and onto the floor and the smell lingers on your clothes and your hair for ages. I absolutely hate it. Do I sound like the type of girl who stays clear of the kitchen? Yah right, until 2 years ago. :)

              Anyway, back to this Sweet and Sour Chicken. I followed the recipe to a T, but I replaced the worchester sauce and plum sauce (which I don't currently stock in my kitchen) with sweet and sour sauce from "Lee Kum Kee". The sauce was really good and the chicken pieces remained crunchy after deep-frying due to the addition of baking soda in the batter. That is the trick, now you can say bye bye to soggy fried chicken! I regretted not throwing in some onions and pineapple cubes as I recalled eating them as part of sweet and sour chicken. Nevermind, I will include them for the next time! But the next time, I think I will make hainanese pork chop instead, I miss them so much....

              Recipe adapted from RasaMalaysia, reproduced here for easy reference.

              600g boneless, skinless chicken breast (cut into bite-size cubes)
              1 tbsp shaoxing wine
              1 bowl of red and green bell peppers (cut into strips)
              2 cloves garlic (finely chopped)
              Oil for frying

              4 tbsp all-purpose flour
              4 tbsp corn starch
              1/2 cup water
              1/2 teaspoon baking soda

              Sweet and Sour Sauce
              3 tbsp ketchup
              3 tbsp chili sauce
              1 tsp plum sauce
              1/2 tsp worcestershire sauce

              1 tbsp sweet and sour sauce (Lee Kum Kee)
              1/4 tsp chinese rice vinegar
              1/2 tsp oyster sauce
              3 tbsp water
              1/2 tsp corn starch
              3 dashes white pepper powder
              2 tbsp oil

              1. Cut the chicken breast meat into bite-size cubes and marinate with 1 tablespoon of wine for 10 minutes. Mix the batter in a bowl and add the chicken cubes into the batter. Mix the sweet and sour sauce in a small bowl and set aside.

              2. Heat up cooking oil in a wok and deep fry the chicken cubes. (Shake off the extra batter before frying). Transfer the chicken out on a plate lined with paper towels to soak up the excess oil. Transfer the cooking oil out and leave only 2 tablespoons oil in the wok.

              3. Add garlic and saute the garlic until light brown and then follow by the bell peppers. Stir-fry until you smell the aroma. Add the sweet and sour sauce into the wok and bring it to boil. Toss in the chicken, do a few quick stirs, dish out and serve immediately with steamed white rice.

              Stuffed Tomatoes with Grey Shrimps (Tomaten met Grijze Garnaaltjes)

              This is a typical starter or appetizer served in many belgian homes. It looks luxurious but is actually very easy to prepare. This dish is known as "Tomaten met Grijze Garnaaltjes" in Dutch and "Tomates Crevettes" in French. The key ingredients are North Sea shrimps (also known as grey shrimps) and tomatoes, not to forget mayonnaise. The shrimps are actually "crangon crangon", a species of shrimps which are fished mainly from the North Sea. It is called "grijze garnaalen" in Dutch and "crevettes grises" in French, both of which translate literally to "grey shrimps" in English.

              This is how the shrimps look like, but they have already been peeled and cooked when I bought them in the supermarket, so they don't look very grey. :)

              INGREDIENTS (for 3 persons)
              6 big firm tomatoes
              300g grey shrimps (North Sea shrimps)
              5 tbsp mayonnaise
              1 tbsp lemon juice
              salt and pepper to taste

              1. Slice off the top of each tomato with a sharp knife. Reserve the tomato lids for later. Use a teaspoon to scoop out the tomato flesh and sprinkle the inside of each tomato with a pinch of salt and pepper. Turn the tomatoes upside down to drain away the tomato juice.

              2. Mix the shrimps and mayonnaise in a bowl. If you wish, you may add a tbsp of lemon juice to the mayonnaise to give it a tangy flavour.

              3. Fill the insides of each tomato generously with the shrimp and mayo filling until the tomato practically overflows with shrimps. Cover with the tomato lids and place them in the fridge to chill. Best served when chilled.

              Smakelijk eten!

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