Thursday, December 15, 2011

Something Vietnamese

Actually you can also make it Chinese, just use the normal fresh popia or frozen spring roll skins. For Vietnamese rice paper rolls, buy some dry rice paper wafers at the Asian sundry shop or supermarket. You can even fry some egg skins with some egg, water, pinch of salt.

To prepare :

1. Prepare all the filling ingredients and arrange on the table before you
moisten the Vietnamese rice paper .
2. Lay a lightly moistened small towel on your clean table or perhaps silicon
lining surface (I have not tried that out but it may work)
3. Have a shallow bowl of warm water next to you. Does not have to be hot.
4. Dip one piece of stiff round rice paper into the warm water. Let it soften
slightly and remove it before it gets soft and sticky.
5. After a few tries you will know just when to take it out. Do not let it soften
completely as it will stick together.
6. Lay rice paper flat on towel and quickly arrange the filling neatly. Do not
let it be too much or too wide, you need to tuck in the sides and roll up.
7. You can use the towel to aid in rolling but I just roll it tightly and seal
up the end with a little flour and water paste if you plan to deep fry it.
8. For deep frying do not use ingredients that are too wet.
9. I like fried rolls but its equally nice and healthier to eat them freshly
rolled, dipped in sauce.

Some suggestions for fillings :

blanched or fresh beansprouts
boiled and drained bean vermicilli
blanched or steamed prawns
finely sliced/julienned carrot, chillies,
spring onions, coriander, bamboo shoots
ginger, capsicum etc

Chinese spring roll filling:

finely julienned turnip fried in garlic and
a little soysauce, small shrimps, salt and pepper
topped with finely sliced spring onions, crabmeat
fried shallots, garlic, chilli sauce, bean sprouts

Alternative fusion ingredients

shredded steamed chicken
minced meat fried in shallot and garlic
shredded egg omelette
flaked fresh crabmeat
Steamed spinach and cheese

Can top with fried garlic and shallots

Dipping Sauce

Vietnames fish sauce
with lime, garlic, sugar, chilli bits and dash of fish sauce
Hot chilli sauce
black vinegar garlic sauce
light quality soya sauce with chopped chillies
yoghurt sauce
spicy fruit sauce

Just remember we can no longer use HP sauce and Tabasco as the
religious dept has confirmed it is not halal.

So far LP sauce is still alright insha Allah.

These rolls are very quick to prepare and we can even use leftovers for the fillings. I think I may want to make some savoury minced beef fillings with onions and black pepper. How about a dash of LP Worcestershire sauce or Maggi sauce?

Note: Chinese springrolls can be frozen and deep fried. Be careful not to overfill or make it damp or the skin will tear and burst. Rice paper rolls are very tiny and to my experience does not keep well in the fridge as it will dry out unless sealed in a box. Happy trying.

Hope you will enjoy trying this recipe. I added the extras as I type along. Do you know we will get new ideas and inspirations when we try to share it with others?

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Cooking Away

Pumpkin Soup and Parboiled Rice

Last Sunday made creamy but light pumpkin soup for dinner. Served it with some leftover chicken curry and few slices of tomato.

Tuna Mash

Also tried a recipe I found in my friend's FB - Arab recipe : tuna with mashed potatoes, egg and mozzarella cheese. Very quick and easy. Just spice it up with chopped green chillies or chili padi. Or brown some sliced onions and some curry powder.

Baked Tuna Macaroni in White Sauce

Just stir everything into the tuna and egg, cooking lightly. Very cheezy and good with toast. I imagine it can be mixed into a shallow baking dish with some boiled macaroni and milk or white sauce.

I love Prawn Sambal

Made my usual quick prawn sambal on Monday for dinner. For the side dish, I boiled some organic chick peas (garbanzo beans) (soaked overnight) and they tasted so sweet and tasty without any seasoning except a pinch of rock salt.

Served melon, radish and carrot chicken soup and made a quick fresh lettuce salad with red baby tomatoes, thick yoghurt.

How to make do with what you have in the fridge

The next day I made fried bihun (rice vermicelli) with the prawn sambal, browning some onions to create a thick fragrant base. Added some tomato sauce to make it a little tangy. We also had leftover quiche bought from a fund raising food sale on Sunday.

Just imagine throwing away all the excess food just because we did not bother to spend a few minutes to plan our meals. Just check what is in the fridge or larder. We just need to be creative and try to make some quick changes to make our meals more nutritious and enjoyable. So many people are starving because of famine and war. We have to be truly thankful for our sustenance. Allah is most kind to us.

Chinese Fried Rice

We enjoy simple fried rice. It goes well with fried egg or just a fresh salad or some prawn crackers or poppadom.

Just brown lots of garlic until aromatic. Then add some frozen mixed vegetables (Watties brand). Add pepper and rock salt.

Push the rice aside and add a bit of oil. Break two eggs , add a dash of salt and pepper and let it set a little.

Quickly add in the cooked rice and give it a quick stir. Its ready!!

This is authentic basic Chinese fried rice, not the recipes that teach us to add weird stuff like bean sprouts and other fanciful stuff. All that wet ingredients take away the fiery aroma.The secret is the pan must be very very hot.

I used steamed parboil rice from the fridge and it turned out just nice without being too dry and hard. You can add a dash of light soya sauce or even dark soya for a dark fried rice.

Fish sauce can also be sprinkled for a bit of variety, like the Thai fried rice where you can also add cut chillies and flossed dried prawns. like rice with kapi. Serve with a slice of fresh lime or chili sambal.

No Need to use too much oil

I use very little oil in my cooking. The only time I use excess oil is when I suddenly feel like having some fried food, like poppadam, keropok or ikan bilis. Or bull's eye fried eggs. Its not always easy to cook low fat. Good to use palm oil for frying. Light cooking with grapeseed oil , butter, ghee and olive oil. Add sesame oil to Oriental dishes for flavour and nutrients.

Flaxseed is a great oil to use but keep it in the fridge or freezer. Do not buy it off supermarket shelves as they should be kept cold. It will not harden and great for the heart.

Do try the fried rice, it can be served in 15 minutes to half an hour, depending on your ingredients. Serve hot garnished with fried shallots, fresh spring onions, chives, herbs and even toasted cashew nuts or almonds.

Happy Cooking!