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Archive for the ‘Soup Kitchen’ Category

This dish could also be called “How to Make Your Kitchen Smell Totally Drool-worthy”. It also makes your car smell rather appetizing if you have to transport it anywhere. I found this keema recipe on the BBC Good Food website and knew that my search for a truly excellent minced meat curry recipe was over… for now, at least! This is really easy to make and mild enough for anyone to eat while the depth of flavour is truly outstanding. It’s one of those dishes that you just can’t stop eating and find yourself craving after a few days without it. If you’d like to make this spicy then add chopped chillies to your taste along with the tomatoes; for once I actually like this without the extra heat. The cumin-coriander mixture makes around double what you need for the recipe, but make that amount anyway and store the extra as I reckon you’ll want to cook this curry again very quickly. Home made garam masala is tops in this dish if you have some on hand.

Unless you really dig unexpectedly biting into a clove (I am still scarred from a tragic clove-in-baked-apple experience as a child), I strongly recommend removing them before serving. I recently came across a great shortcut for doing this – rather than throwing the whole spices straight into the dish, first put them in one of those ball tea strainers. You’ll still get all the rich, fragrant flavour but at the end you can just fish out the strainer rather than go scavenging for spices. Genius!

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Yes, ok, I’m fully aware that the dish photographed is actually Hokkein Si-Iew but I do normally make this recipe with the proper wide fresh flat rice noodles, I promise! As this will be on our soup kitchen menu next week I needed to test it with noodles that I can just chuck in the wok without any prior preparation besides a quick soak, and I must say that it tastes almost as good as with the proper noodles. I know this looks like a long list of ingredients but since the first 13 are just for the marinade and you make that the night before, you actually come home to a 5 minute dinner of deliciousness with the most sweetly delectable sauce. All hail the pad!

Marinade

5 garlic cloves, finely chopped

1 tablespoon ginger, minced

1 spring onion, chopped

1 shallot, sliced

1 tablespoon cornflour

1 tablespoon shao xing rice wine

1 tablespoon fish sauce

3 tablespoons kecap manis (sweet soy sauce)

2 tablespoons oyster sauce

1 tablespoon sugar

1 tsp sesame oil

1 tsp ground black pepper

1 birds eye chilli, finely chopped (more…)

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My new measurement of a truly yummy recipe is one that is so good that I forget to take a photo of it until I’ve scoffed heaps of it and totally trashed the presentation! Dammit. You will just have to trust me that this is a delicious dish and also did look very nice initially with sesame seeds on top.  I’ve tried a few Japanese fried noodle recipes recently but this is the first one that has really hit the spot, that I would be happy to pay for. Yaki Soba is so quick and versatile as you can use any meat, veggies or noodles that you have on hand. The key to this noodle dish is the slurpable sauce, which I found on a BBC food site – you just put the sauce on to simmer while you chop the veggies and: ta da! Dinner!

Serves 2

50ml teriyaki sauce

2 tablespoons soy bean paste

1/2 tablespoon grated ginger

1 tablespoon oil

1 onion, halved and thinly sliced

1 small carrot, peeled and julienned

1 small handful of beansprouts

4 spring onions, green part only, chopped into 4cm lengths

125gm pork fillet, very thinly sliced

250gm fresh ramen noodles, boiled for 3 minutes and drained

sesame oil, for drizzling

sesame seeds, for garnish

Mix together the teriyaki sauce, soy bean paste and ginger in a small saucepan. Heat til just boiling and then lower heat; simmer for 8-10 minutes.

Meanwhile, prepare the vegetables, meat and noodles.

Heat oil in wok over high heat. Add the onion and stir fry til softened and starting to brown; add the carrots, bean sprouts and spring onions and stir fry for a minute or until spring onion is starting to wilt. Scrape the veggies off to one side in the wok so you can add the pork to the bottom of the wok; pile the veggies back on top of the pork and leave to sit for 30 seconds.

Start stir frying vigorously until pork is no longer showing pink; add the drained noodles and toss. Add the sauce mixture and toss until heated through. Remove from the heat, drizzle with sesame oil and toss again; sprinkle with sesame seeds to serve.

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Richly flavoured yet light; salty with the goodness of that elusive umami taste but tempered with a subtle bite; slippery noodles and crisp-tender veggies – this dish has it all. Like all stir fries, you do have to chop everything up before you cook, but it’s all worth it five minutes later when you have such a delicious dinner. Black Bean Chicken is what I call a safe dish – this means that you can serve it to your spice-fearing inlaws, your vegetable-hating children and your chilli-loving foodies and they will all think that it’s tops! And yes, I have road tested it all all groups – the children may not be mine but coming back for seconds is always a good sign. A big bag of fermented black beans will set you back around $1.50 from an Asian grocer and will last forever; you only need a small amount to flavour a whole dish. Don’t be tempted to be heavy handed or you’ll end up with a salty disaster! At which point you have two choices depending on your mental state: A) cook something else as you’ve just wasted all those ingredients or B) have a mildly hysterical breakdown until your resigned husband offers takeaway and a large glass of wine.

This recipe is based on Barbara’s over at Tigers and Strawberries – and that woman knows how to cook! (more…)

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I’ve made a version of this classic Taiwanese dish in the past, but I confess to getting all excited when I saw this different recipe on the drool-worthy House of Annie blog. Annie’s recipe uses my new favourite ingredient – thick soy/caramel sauce – and whenever I have a new favourite ingredient I am always dying to see what I can use it for! Plus I think that this will work beautifully for soup kitchen next week for my final cook of 2009 as well, I’ll just need to cut out the chilli. The chicken will be cooked the day before and reheated with rice to serve – perfect. My only addition to the recipe is the Thai basil, as I think it’s the most beautiful flavour and I’ve only ever had this dish with it so I can’t imagine it without. This is a truly top recipe – it’s incredibly easy, economical (the rice wine only costs $1.50 for a 640ml bottle) and full of wonderful flavour – give it a go, you really can’t go wrong! For soup kitchen I will also toss throughs some unsalted cashews right at the end for a bit of extra crunch – its not a traditional ingredient but it will go beautifully.

Interesting note: the name of this dish is quite literal as you’ll find some recipes for Three Cup Chicken whose ingredients list (besides the chicken) looks like this:

1 cup oil

1 cup soy sauce

1 cup wine

Hmm. I think I prefer the look of this one… (more…)

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This incredibly simple and monumentally tasty fried rice seems to be a hit with everyone who eats it and is an often requested recipe at Soup Kitchen. If I’m making this just for us or friends, I also throw in a diagonally sliced long red chilli in with the onion/ginger at the start. I cut down a bit on the oil that Kylie calls for in the original recipe in Simple Chinese Cooking, just because I don’t think the dish needs it. The lop cheong is my addition to the recipe (along with the peas) and I think it makes it. Lop cheong is God’s gift to cured pork. All hail the Chinese sausage! (more…)

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Every 3 weeks I cook mains at our local soup kitchen for 20-30 people. This comes with some challenges, most notably that I have no access to any cooking facilities whatsoever – so everything has to be pre-prepped and able to be cooked or reheated on site very quickly. I’ve found that noodle stir fries are a winner with all our guests and they make me happy too; they’re healthy and delicious and give me a chance to throw some new flavours at people who may not otherwise experience them. All ingredients and sauces are prepared the night before, sectioned into containers ready to cook in my electric wok the next day. Like this: Obviously with any of my SK (soup kitchen) meals, any spice component has to be turned right down or cut out to cater for everyone’s tastes; this recipe would normally have plenty of chilli thrown in with the garlic & ginger et al at the start. I just offered some of of my home made chilli oil on the side. It’s based on Terese’s recipe #96159 over at Recipezaar.

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