April 30, 2010

Lemon Squares

The secret to great Lemon Squares are freshly squeezed lemon juice and utilizing the oils in lemon zest.

2 cups flour, sifted
1/2 cup confectioner's sugar
1 cup butter or margarine, softened
1/2 teaspoon salt

4 large eggs
2 cups sugar
1/4 cup flour, sifted
1/2 cup lemon juice
1 tablespoon lemon zest
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
Confectioner's sugar (for dusting on top)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a food processor, mix ingredient A. Line the pan with aluminum foil so that it's easier to get out of the pan. Spread batter on the bottom of a 13x9 inch non-stick pan. Bake for 20 minutes, until it starts to brown.

In a bowl, beat eggs with sugar. Add in the rest of the ingredient B except confectioner's sugar. Mix well and pour on top of cooked crust.

Bake for another 25 minutes or until the top sets.

Let it cool completely before sprinkling confectioner's sugar on top. Cut into squares.

April 19, 2010

Easy Curry Puffs

I'm not really that into baking and I hate measuring ingredients so anything that calls for making a dough, rolling the dough flat and cutting them into discs is basically a deal breaker for me.

Then there's frozen empanada skins to the rescue! If you can find frozen empanada skins in your supermarket then making these "puffs" are a breeze. They are usually found in the frozen aisle (d'oh!) and usually by the Mexican products. Here I used Goya frozen empanada skins. The filling for curry puff is easy to make. Grandma likes her curry puffs really spicy and Vance sure wouldn't mind spicy curry puffs so I actually added more curry powder into the paste. You can, of course, adjust the spiciness of the filling to your liking by adding more or using less curry powder. Make sure to cool your filling to room temperature before pleating them with the dough.

For the filling:
3 potatoes, cut into small cubes
1/2 cup chopped onions
1 tablespoon chopped garlic
1/2 cup oil
1 cup water
Salt and pepper

For the curry paste:
1/2 cup curry powder
1 tablespoon turmeric powder
1 tablespoon coriander powder
2 tablespoon water

1 packet Goya  frozen empanada skins (10 discs), thawed
Enough oil for frying

Combine curry powder, turmeric powder, coriander powder and  2 tablespoon water to form a curry paste. Heat 1/2 cup oil in a pot. Add in onions and fry until it starts to brown under medium heat. Add in garlic. Fry for another minute and then add in the curry paste. Fry until the paste is fragrant, about 2 -3 minutes. Add in potatoes. Mix well. Add in 1 cup of water and let it start to simmer. Lower the heat and cook for about 15 minutes covered or until the potatoes are tender. Stir potatoes occasionally. Add salt and pepper to taste. Let the filling cool to room temperature before using.

To make the curry puffs, put 1 tablespoonful of filling on the middle of the dough.

Then, fold the dough into a semi circle. (picture below)

Pleat the edges. Don't worry, if you don't know how to do it check out the video I posted.

Once you pleated all the curry puffs, deep fry them in hot oil until golden brown. Serve warm and enjoy!

April 18, 2010

Baked Soy Sauce Wings

This is an easy wings recipe. You just need to marinade the wings the day before and then pop it in the oven for about 35 minutes. 

2 lb. chicken wings (cut in the section)
1/4 cup soy sauce
2 tablespoon oyster sauce
2 tablespoon dark soy sauce
2 tablespoon honey
1 tablespoon sesame oil
2 teaspoon white pepper
2 inch ginger (grated)

Put everything in a large Ziploc bag. Squeeze out the air and mix chicken with the marinate, massaging them a few times. Store in the fridge and let ingredients marinate for at least 6 hours, a day preferably.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a shallow baking sheet, arrange wings on top of non-stick aluminum foil. Bake for 30 minutes. Turn oven up to broil for another 5 minutes for a darker color.

April 15, 2010

Chicken Waller Court

I came up with this recipe more than 10 years ago although I haven't made it for a very long time as well. My mum absolutely loves this dish, being the peanut fiend that she is. The name of this dish comes from the place I used to live in with my grandma in Malaysia. I felt that it is only appropriate to name it where it was created.

This is an easy dish to make. It goes well with rice, eaten as is or even as an appetizer. This dish is similar to General Tso's chicken but more flavorful and tastier! At least that's what I think. If you can't find sweet chili sauce, you can substitute it using regular chili sauce and some sugar.

2 chicken breasts (about 2 lbs.), cut into cubes
1 tablespoon curry powder
1 teaspoon turmeric powder
2 tablespoons corn starch
1 tablespoon oil
1 egg (beaten)
Salt and pepper
Enough oil for frying

3/4 cup sweet chili sauce (I used Mae Ploy sweet chili sauce)
1/2 cup ketchup
1 tablespoon oil
1 cup peanut, roasted and chopped

Marinate chicken cubes with curry powder, turmeric powder, corn starch, oil, egg, salt and pepper for an hour.

Heat oil on medium flame and deep fry marinated chicken cubes until golden brown. Drain and set aside.

Heat 1 tablespoon of oil. Add sweet chili sauce and ketchup. Cook until sauce thickens. It should be enough to just coat the chicken pieces. If sauce gets too thick, add a splash of water to dilute it.

Add chicken pieces into the sauce. Mix to coat evenly.

Turn off the heat and add in peanuts. Mix thoroughly. Serve hot.

April 11, 2010

Braised Chicken Feet With Mushroom

I haven't ate chicken feet for almost 10 years now. It used to be one of grandma's favorite food and she makes a really good chicken feet dish. However, the preparation work for this dish can sometimes be painful, literally. To make this dish, the chicken feet are cleaned, pat dried, fried in hot oil and then soak in cold water. Chicken feet have a tendency to splatter when fried so I'd suggest frying them in a covered pot. Some Chinese believes that eating chicken feet enhances their joint due to the food's gelatinous properties. Some, like my grandma, just likes how it taste. This used to be a pretty common dish served during Chinese holidays but I have a suspicion that it's probably losing its appeal among the younger generations. I can already hear a few "EWWWWWWW"s behind me as I update this blog.

Chicken feet can be easily purchased in Asian grocery stores. Don't forget to cut the nails off the feet if they haven't done so. Biting on chicken nail is not cute or tasty ;) To those that doesn't know what "bruised ginger" means in culinary lingo, it's when you use the flat side of the knife to press down on the ginger so you "bruise" it but doesn't break it apart. When using dried shiitake mushroom, reserve the liquid you soak them in. This impart tremendous amount of flavor when used in the dish. Using rock sugar makes the chicken feet and shiitake mushroom more tender, at least that's what grandma told me. This dish can be served with white rice or eaten with wonton noodle (a common dish in Malaysia).

In memory of grandma, I made this dish yesterday. Here is grandma's braised chicken feet with mushroom or "Dong gu gai geok" in Cantonese.

For chicken feet prep:
2 lbs. chicken feet
5 cups oil
Cold water

Remaining ingredients:
5 cups of shiitake mushroom (soaked in 10 cups of water for about 2 hours)
10 cups shiitake mushroom liquid (from soaking the mushrooms)
3 inch ginger (cut into pieces and bruised)
6 cloves garlic
8 star anise
1/2 cup oyster sauce
1/4 cup soy sauce
1 tablespoon dark soy sauce
1 tablespoon sesame oil
1/4 cup oil
1 teaspoon white pepper
Salt to taste
Small handful of white rock sugar (optional)
Scallions and/or cilantro for garnish (optional)

We'll start with the chicken feet prep work. Chop off the nails on the feet if they haven't done so. Just cut past the nail so you don't throw away half of the feet. Clean thoroughly and pat dry with paper towels. It is important to make the chicken feet really dry before you fry them to minimize splattering. On medium flame, heat oil in a pot with a see through lid (so you know when the feet are turning brown). Add chicken feet in small batches into the oil. Cover immediately. Fry for about 5 minutes or you see that the feet are turning brown and stopped splattering.

Turn off the fire and wait for another minute before opening the lid. Do not open the lid in between or you'll have some nasty oil splatters on your hands. Remove the chicken feet from the oil and soak in a bowl of cold water for about an hour.

Drain the chicken feet and set them aside.

In a separate pot, heat oil on medium flame. Add garlic, ginger and star anise. Fry until garlic starts to brown. Add in oyster sauce and shiitake mushroom. Cook for about two minutes, stirring constantly. Add in chicken feet, soy sauce, dark soy sauce, white pepper, salt, sesame oil, white rock sugar and mushroom liquid.

When it comes to a rolling boil, turn the heat to low. Cover and let it simmer. Stir occasionally. If it gets too dry, add more water. Braise for an hour. Top with scallions and/or cilantro.