October 20, 2008

Pumpkin Bread

Here's a recipe for Pumpkin Bread that I got from the "Pumpkin lady" we met when we were in upstate NY. One of the best ways to utilize the homemade pumpkin puree. This recipes makes two 9 x 5"loaves.

2 cups homemade pumpkin puree (or 1 can 16 oz. can pumpkin puree)
3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoon baking soda
2 1/2 cups sugar
4 eggs (beaten)
1 cup vegetable oil
1 1/2 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoon cinnamon
2 teaspoon nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon allspice
1/2 cup raisins
1/2 cup water (or 2/3 cup water if using canned pumpkin)

Combine flour, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg and allspice in a mixing bowl. Add pumpkin puree, sugar, oil, egg and water. Mix until a smooth batter is formed. Add in raisins. Mix.

Preheat oven to 350°F. Grease two loaf pans. Pour batter into the pans and bake for about 1 hour. Check to see if it is done, you might have to bake for a few more minutes. Cool on a wire rack.

Wrap with plastic wrap and refrigerate. It taste better overnight. Stay relatively good in fridge or freeze for a few weeks.

October 19, 2008

Homemade Pumpkin Puree

We've all used Libby's canned pumpkin puree and we've all often pondered if we can make our own pumpkin puree. Some of us might have even been tempted to buy those pumpkins they see in the supermarket but the only thing they knew what to do with it is carve it into a Jack-O-Lantern. Guess what, your fear is over! Making homemade pumpkin puree is as easy as using a microwave oven ... I'm not joking. Just make sure you buy "pie" pumpkins, they are round and darker in color.

I got some organic pumpkins when I was upstate with Lonnie and this might be the best way to use up the pumpkins before they go bad. You can use the puree to make pies, breads, cheesecakes, cookies, soups, etc. Freeze the puree inside ziplock bags or plastic containers. Also save the seeds for roasting, it makes a good quick snack! Thanks "Pumpkin lady" for giving me the link for some great pumpkin recipes. Check out more Pumpkin recipes at Pumpkin Patches and More

Cut 1 medium sized "pie" pumpkin into quarters. I find using a serrated knife much easier to cut pumpkins, I used my pumpkin carver for that. Scrape the insides with a big spoon. Save the seeds for roasting and discard the stringy stuff.

Line pumpkin skin side up in a microwaveable bowl. Cover with plastic wrap or if the bowl has a cover, cover it. Microwave on high for 25-30 minutes. Check to see if it's fully cooked, if not microwave for another 5-10 minutes. Skin should slide right off when it is thoroughly cooked. Let it cool for about 5 minutes.

Beat the cooked pumpkin with a hand mixer or a hand blender until it turns into a smooth consistency. The puree is now ready to use.

October 18, 2008

Fried Stuffed Tofu Pok

This is one of my favorites, and I remember grandma used to slave over herself making those fish paste from scratch. It's good that they sell ready made fish paste nowadays or I'd be the one slaving over it. Most Chinese supermarkets in New York City have them, either fresh or frozen. Make sure you read the label or ask if there are salt added (there usually is) so you don't over salt the fish paste. This is an easy recipe to make, stuffing fish paste into tofu pockets. It's THAT easy. There are different techniques to stuffing tofu pok and this is what my grandma taught me.

2 packets of tofu pok (2 oz. each)
1 lbs. fish paste
1 teaspoon white pepper
1 teaspoon salt (if fish paste is not salted, omit if it is)
Enough oil for frying

Cut tofu pok as shown below. Invert to make a pocket.

Stuff a teaspoonful of fish paste into tofu pok.

Heat oil. Fry tofu pok stuffed side first. Fry until golden brown, a few minutes on each sides.

Drain on paper towel. Serve with chili sauce.

Sweet Baked Butternut Squash

I got some butternut squash with Lonnie last week when we were vacationing in upstate NY. They look really nice and they were organic so I couldn't stop myself from not buying any. Vance told me that his favorite butternut squash recipe is to bake them with brown sugar and butter. This is an easy recipe. You can make this as a side dish or an entree. I'm planning to make this again for Thanksgiving.

2 medium sized butternut squash, cut lengthwise
6 tablespoon butter (or margarine for vegan)
1/2 cup brown sugar

Line baking sheet with aluminum foil, non stick preferably if not spray some cooking spray to prevent it from sticking. Place squash cut side down and bake for 30 minutes on 350 °F.

Combine butter with brown sugar. Turn squash over and glaze with brown sugar mixture. Bake for another 30 minutes, baste regularly.

October 8, 2008

Minced Chicken with Basil (Gai Pad Gra Pow)

This is a quick and easy recipe that only takes minutes to prepare. I used to make this for my mum and we would serve it with white rice and fried eggs.

1 lbs. minced chicken
1 tablespoon chopped Thai chili peppers
1 tablespoon chopped garlic
1 small onion, sliced
2 cups holy basil leaves
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1 tablespoon fish sauce
1 teaspoon dark soy sauce
1 teaspoon sugar
1 teaspoon white pepper
2 tablespoon oil

Heat oil on high flame. Add garlic, Thai chili peppers and onion. Fry for about a minute, be careful not to burn the garlic. Add minced chicken. Fry until chicken is dry, about five minutes on high heat. Add fish sauce, soy sauce, dark soy sauce, sugar and white pepper. Continue frying for a few minutes minute. Add in holy basil. Stir and mix well. Cook for another minute. Remove from heat. Serve hot with white rice and fried eggs (optional).

October 5, 2008

Curry Noodle Soup (Mi Kari)

This is an all time Malaysian favorite, a bowl of piping hot curry soup served with noodles and toppings such as chicken, pork, cockles, shrimp and tofu. It goes with the name Mi Kari or Laksa Kari. I used to eat it at least once a week and I see that Vance is catching on with my childhood craze. While this is not a traditional recipe, it's the closest I can get without buying a plane ticket back to Malaysia. This recipe is quite easy to make, the hardest part is to stop eating it! I've only tasted Ipoh style Curry Noodle Soup so there might be some other variations out there.

Ingredient A:
1 onion, sliced
1 cup red chillies, sliced
1/2 cup dried chillies
4 cloves garlic
1/2 cup water

1 cup curry powder
1/2 cup Massaman curry paste
1/2 cup oil
1 cinnamon stick
2 sticks lemongrass, halved
3 cans coconut milk (400mL)
2 vegetable or chicken bouillon (2 1/8 oz.)
2 1/2 qts. water
Salt to taste

Chicken breast, poached and shredded
Shrimp, shelled and cooked
Fried tofu cakes, sliced

Yellow noodles, blanched
Bean sprouts, blanched
Mint leaves
Lime, cut into wedges
Fried Onions

Add ingredient A into a food processor or blender and puree into a paste. Mix curry powder and curry paste into the puree. Set aside.

Heat oil in a large pot. When it's hot, add in cinnamon stick and lemongrass. Fry for a minute. Turn heat to low. Add in the pureed spices and fry until it is fragrant, for about 20 minutes. Make sure you stir constantly or the spice would burn. Add in water, coconut milk and bouillon. Turn the heat back up to high. Cover the pot and let it boil. Turn the heat to medium when soup is in rolling boil. Simmer for about an hour and add salt to taste.

To serve, put enough yellow noodle and bean sprouts in a bowl. Top with toppings of your choice (omit chicken and shrimp for vegetarian option) and mint leaves. Pour enough curry soup into the bowl. Sprinkle some fried onions on top. Serve hot with lime wedges.