Nachos

Man is like pepper — you only know him when you’ve ground him.
~ Nigerian Proverb

I’ve never paid much attention to Mexican food. Maybe it’s because the names are so hard to remember and pronounce — or maybe there are too many syllables to those Mexican names! Maybe too, it’s because that I don’t really care much about dishes with beans. Beans makes the guys at home fart a lot!

I learn a little bit about Mexican food the past week when the Richmond Cooking Club featured simple Mexican food — salsa, guacomole, tortilla, enchiladas and nachos. This piqued my interests now on Mexican food and will try to learn more about it.

Today, I am going to blog on a very simple snack which I believe is a favourite with almost everyone. Nanchos in its simplest form is tortilla chips covered in melted cheese. You can add additional toppings such as salsa, sour cream, olives, jalapeno and what nots.

Here is an interesting story I found out about Nachos in Wikipedia:

Nachos were created in Coahuila, Mexico by Ignacio “Nacho” Anaya in 1943. The story goes that the wives of American airmen came to his restaurant after the kitchen had closed. Anaya quickly prepared the dish and later added it to his menu. The term “nachos” came from Anaya’s original name for the dish, which was “Nacho’s Especiales,” or “Nacho’s Special Dish.” Nacho Anaya’s original nachos consisted of fried tortilla chips covered with melted cheese and jalape?o peppers.

BIG_IMG_3685_edited-1Ingredients

  • A bag of Tostitos tortilla chips
  • Shredded cheese
  • A bottle of salsa, we prefer the hot and chunky type
  • Pickle pepper, optional

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Cinnamon Buns

Make bread while the oven is hot.
~ Iranian Proverb

I love cinnamon buns with cream cheese frosting, so does the others in the family. Everytime I walk past the bakeries or the bakery section in grocery stores I can’t help eyeing the yummy looking cinnamon buns (WITH CREAM CHEESE FROSTING) on the shelves. They are too expensive and costs a dollar or more each. Naw, I can make it much cheaper and tastes just equally as good.

This is my masterpiece — looks good? 🙂

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It’s very simple to make … provided you have a bread machine to make the dough. If you do that manually, there is so many factors that contributes to a perfect dough — kneading, water temperature, proofing the yeast, etc. With the machine, you just need to throw in all the ingredients and let the machine spin it’s magic — all done and prep’ed in two hours. Invest in a bread machine if you don’t have one.

I make this at least once a month. Nothing beats freshly made cinnamon buns when it comes out smelling nice and the soft, fluffy insides that nearly melts in your mouth. Perfect with a cup of fresh brewed coffee.

Ingredients

The ingredients below is used to make 12 cinnamon buns:

  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/4 cup butter or margarine, cut up
  • 3 cups bread flour
  • 3 tablespoons sugar
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1.25 teaspoons active dry yeast or bread machine yeast
  • 2 tablespoons butter or margarine, melted

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Bah Kut Teh (Pork Rib Tea)

No matter if you eat a little or a lot of garlic, the smell is just as strong.
~ Tibetan Proverb

Bah Kut Teh (Hokkien for “pork rib tea”) is a soup served in Malaysia and Singapore. Story has it that it originated from a town in Malaysia called Port Klang. Generally it is cooked in a clay pot with various parts of the pig, varieties of mushroom, lettuce, and dried tofu sheets or tofu puff. The soup itself is a broth which consists of several herbs and spices (including star anise, cinnamon, cloves and garlic) which have been boiled together with meat for many hours. Light and dark soy sauce are also added to the soup during cooking, with varying amounts depending on the variant.

Bah Kut Teh is commonly eaten with rice, and particularly in Malaysia, often served with strips of fried dough called Yau Char Kwai (or Youtiao in Mandarin). Dark soy sauce is used as a condiment, sometimes accompanied with chopped chilli padi, which is ultra hot that it can kill your taste buds! Tea is also usually served in the belief that it dilutes or dissolves the copious amounts of fat which are consumed in the eating of this dish.

This dish is normally served as breakfast or brunch but over time has gained acceptance as a dinner dish.

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Ingredients
  • 1 kg of pork meat
  • 1 package of fried tofu puff
  • 1 package of dried bean curd stick
  • 8 pieces of dried shiitake mushroom
  • 1 bulb of garlic
  • 1 package of Bah Kut Teh seasoning mix

The ingredients above is sufficient to make 8 servings. Be warned, this is a lot of food. We normally make it once and eat them over two days. You can use chicken to substitute the pork but not beef. For this time, I use pork shoulder meat but if you prefer something leaner, you can use pork ribs instead.

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Condiments
  1. 1 pair of fried dough (you may find this in Chinese Bakery)
  2. Garlic
  3. Thai chilli

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Glutinous Rice Ball (Tangyuan) with Sesame Peanuts

Words that come from the heart stay warm three winters long.
~ Chinese Proverb

Today’s blog is about Winnie’s recipe which she shared on our Cooking Club. There are many steps to making this but are pretty simple. We took 1 hour to make this including cooking time.

Tangyuan can be unfilled or filled, fillings can include red bean paste, chopped peanuts and sugar, sesame paste (ground black sesame seeds mixed with lard), rock sugar (which would create a hot, melting caramel-like filling), etc. We used peanut butter and instant sesame powder which gives a strong peanut butter taste.

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To the Chinese, Glutinous rice ball (tangyuan) is eaten all year round, although it is commonly associated with the Chinese New Year, and the Lantern Festival. Glutinous rice ball is made by mixing glutinous rice flour with a small amount of water and form into balls and is then cooked in boiling water and served in syrup water.

Ingredients

These ingredients is sufficient to make about 20 rice balls — good enough serving for 4-5 people.

For the glutinous rice balls:

  • Peanut Butter: 3 tablespoon
  • Instant Sesame Powder: 2 tablespoon (buy them from Asian stores)
  • Icing Sugar: 2 tablespoon
  • Roasted Sesame Seeds: 3 tablespoon
  • Glutinous Rice Flour: 400g

For the syrup:

  • Ginger: 1 piece
  • Brown Sugar: 150g
  • Mandarin Orange Peel: 1 piece

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Egg Custard Tarts

Better an egg this year than a chicken next year.
~ Ethiopian Proverb

I made a small batch of Egg Custard Tarts. The boys love the tarts and can eat three at a go. This is a sure-fire way to get them snacking frequently. It takes about 35 minutes to make a small batch of eight tarts.

If you like this recipe, you should also check out the recipe on Kuejadas (Portuguese Tart).

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Ingredients:

Here are the ingredients to make 8 tarts:

  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 1 tablespoon + 2 teaspoon superfine (castor) sugar
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 8 tart shell

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Korean Style BBQ Beef on Dried Shrimp Pancake

When the big fish fight the shrimps must lie low.
~ Creole Proverb

The Richmond Community Kitchen, coincidentally, showed Korean BBQ beef for the session this week. The lesson today was led by Tanni Lee. I like Tanni because she is soooo cheerful and have a smile all the time for everyone.

Tanni made two separate dishes that complements each other. The Korean Style BBQ Beef goes very well with the dried shrimp pancake. For garnishing, she used kiwi fruit. She also used the kiwi fruit juice to marinate and tenderize the beef.

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Korean Style BBQ Beef

Ingredients:

  • 1.5 lb Beef
  • 1.5 tablespoon sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 2 tablespoon kiwi juice
  • 1.5 tablespoon green onions
  • 2.5 tablespoon korean soya sauce
  • 1 tablespoon chopped garlic
  • 1/2 tablespoon chopped ginger
  • 2 teaspoon dark soy
  • 1.5 tablespoon sesame oil

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Cinnamon Coffee Cake

He who goes to bed hungry dreams of pancakes.
~ Maltese Proverb

I made Cinnamon Coffee Cake today. I normally make cakes at least once a week for breakfast and snacks for the boys. Ben likes cakes with coffee in the mornings too. It goes very well with coffee.

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Cinnamon is a small evergreen tree 10-15 m tall native to Sri Lanka and Southern India. The bark is widely used as a spice. It is principally employed in cookery as a condiment and flavouring material, being largely used in the preparation of some kinds of desserts, chocolate and spicy candies and liqueurs. In the Middle East, it is often used in savory dishes of chicken and lamb. In North America, cinnamon and sugar are often used to flavor cereals and fruits, especially apples.

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To prepare the cinnamon coffee cake, I use the following ingredients:

  • 2 cups flour (if using self-rising, eliminate next 2 ingredients)
  • 2 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/3 cup chopped walnuts (or pecans if you prefer)
  • 1 stick margarine or butter, melted
  • 2/3 cup sugar
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 cup sour cream

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Chinese Sponge Cake

To the Chinese, cakes are normally steamed rather than baked. Today, I steamed a very simple Chinese sponge cake made primarily from eggs. Total time taken to prepare this cake is less than an hour with 25 minutes for steaming.

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Here are the ingredients:

  • 4 eggs
  • 1 cup flour
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon almond extract (can substitute vanilla if desired)
  • 1/2 cup evaporated milk (can substitute regular milk if desired)
  • 4 tablespoons butter or margarine, melted

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I made a Green Tea Sponge Cake with the addition of one tablespoon of green tea powder (which was shifted with the dry ingredients). The colour turned out to be brown rather than green. I wonder why. Nevertheless, I like the green tea flavour. (more…)

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