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Cook’s Nook: Amy Beh’s recipes for rice and rice substitutes

Cook’s Nook: Amy Beh’s recipes for rice and rice substitutes

Couscous and cauliflower rice are great alternatives to rice.

TASTY FRIED BROWN RICE

2 cups cold cooked brown rice
1 tbsp canola oil
1 tbsp sesame oil
6 shelled medium small prawns, diced
1 tbsp diced carrot
2 long beans, cut into small sections
2 tbsp diced red capsicum
2 egg whites
2 tbsp fresh sweet corn kernels

Seasoning
1 tbsp oyster sauce
1 tsp chicken stock powder
1 tsp paprika powder
Freshly cracked black pepper
Dash of pepper to taste
Sugar to taste

Heat oil and sesame oil in a large nonstick skillet. Add prawns, carrot and long beans. Saute briefly.

Add brown rice and toss over high heat. Stir in capsicum to combine. Mix and fry briskly over high heat. Season to taste.

Push rice aside and add egg white. Toss and fry until egg whites and rice are well combined.

Add sweet corn kernels and adjust taste with a little more sesame oil. Keep frying until rice grains start to “jump”.

Once done and rice is fragrant, dish out and serve at once.


Healthy Cauliflower Fried Rice

HEALTHY CAULIFLOWER FRIED RICE

1 (300g) medium head cauliflower
2 tbsp sesame oil
2 tbsp red onion, diced
1 tsp chopped garlic
1 tsp minced ginger
2 tbsp red capsicum, diced
2 tbsp green capsicum, diced
1 tbsp diced carrot
2 tbsp shiitake mushrooms, diced
2 eggs, beaten

Seasoning
2 tbsp light soy sauce
1 tbsp Sriracha sauce
freshly cracked black pepper to taste
1 tbsp canola oil

Garnish
chopped spring onion and coriander

Remove core of cauliflower. Cut off the florets and wipe them dry. Put the florets in a food processor. Pulse for 5-6 seconds until the cauliflower resembles rice or slightly larger pieces. Do not overload the processor or the cauliflower will become mushy when cooked.

Heat sesame oil in a large nonstick skillet. Add onion, garlic and ginger. Saute until fragrant.

Add capsicums and carrot. Stir-fry well till aromatic. Add cauliflower and saute until just tender but not mushy. Mix in the shiitake mushrooms. Add the beaten eggs and adjust taste with seasoning. Keep stirring until the egg coats all the cauliflower and is cooked,

Dish out and serve garnished with chopped spring onion and coriander.


Simmered Chicken with Couscous

SIMMERED CHICKEN WITH COUSCOUS

2 tbsp canola oil
2 tbsp yellow onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, crushed
500g chicken, skin removed and cut into 6 pieces
150g tomatoes, seeded and chopped
1 tbsp paprika
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1 bay leaf
½ tsp water
2 dried dates
Adequate salt and sugar to taste
½ tsp chicken stock powder

Couscous
150g couscous
1 tbsp butter
20g raisins
2 stalks coriander, finely chopped

Heat oil in a pan and saute onion and garlic till slightly browned and aromatic.

Add chicken, tomatoes, paprika, cinnamon and bay leaf, and pour in water. Cook to a boil then reduce the heat and simmer for about 20 minutes, stirring twice in between.

Add the dates and continue to simmer until chicken is tender and gravy is reduced. Add seasoning to taste.

For the couscous: Bring 600ml water to a boil then add ½ teaspoon oil and a big pinch of salt. Once water comes to a boil, take saucepan off the heat and add couscous. Whisk and cover for 3-4 minutes. When done, drain couscous and loosen the grains. Stir in butter, raisins and coriander.

Dish out couscous to serve with the chicken.

Cook’s Nook: Amy Beh makes elegant mooncakes for the mid-autumn festival

Cook’s Nook: Amy Beh makes elegant mooncakes for the mid-autumn festival

Celebrate the mid-autumn festival with mooncakes of your own creations and enjoy them with your family and friends.

SPIRAL TEOCHEW MOONCAKE

10g toasted sesame seeds
6g toasted black sesame seeds
20g melon seeds, toasted
20g toasted pumpkin seeds
300g lotus paste (store-bought)
120g red date lotus paste (store-bought)

Oil dough
125g all-purpose flour
60g shortening
15g butter
14-15ml water

Water dough
100g all-purpose flour
30g high-protein flour (bread flour)
35g shortening
15g castor sugar
55-60ml water
A little red food colouring

Glaze
1 tbsp egg white
Adequate black sesame seeds

Oil dough

Combine all oil dough ingredients and work the fats into the flour. Knead until you get a smooth dough. Cover with cling film and chill in the refrigerator for 30 minutes.

Water dough

Combine all water dough ingredients and knead into a smooth dough. Add a tinge of red food colouring to dough skin. Put aside to rest for 15 minutes.

Filling

Mix sesame seeds, black sesame seeds, melon seeds and pumpkin seeds in a mixing bowl. Add lotus paste and stir to mix till evenly blended. Divide into equal portions.

Divide red date lotus paste into small portions and roll into balls. Put a piece of red date lotus paste in the centre of mixed seeds lotus paste and wrap into a ball again.

To assemble

Divide oil and water dough into 50g portions. Wrap water dough in the oil dough and roll out with a rolling pin into a long strip. Roll the strip like a cylinder and put aside to rest for 3 hours.

Trim the ends neatly and slice the dough into two. Press down gently to flatten the dough then roll out wide enough to wrap around the filling.

Trim away any excess and shape into a smooth ball.

Brush with a little egg white and sprinkle with some black sesame seeds.

Arrange the prepared pastry on a lightly greased tray. Bake in a preheated oven at 200°C for 15 minutes.

Turn down the temperature to 180°C and continue to bake for a further 15-20 minutes or till done.


Durian Snow Skin Mooncake by Amy BehDURIAN SNOW SKIN MOONCAKE

Filling (A)
200g durian lotus paste (store-bought)

Filling (B)
80g durian flesh, mashed with a fork
1/8 tsp salt
1 tbsp koh fun (cooked glutinous flour)
1 tsp wheat starch
1 tsp santan powder
Adequate canola oil

To prepare filling

Place durian flesh in a nonstick saucepan. Fry over low heat till dry. Add salt and continue to cook until the mixture is thick.

Combine the koh fun, wheat starch and santan powder, and sprinkle the mixture over the cooked durian. Stir till a thick durian paste is achieved.

Turn off the heat and mix in a drizzle of oil. Dish out and leave to cool completely.

Scale durian lotus paste according to the size of your mooncake mould. Wrap each portion of lotus paste with a small portion of durian flesh filling.

Crystal skin dough
120g ping pei premix flour (store-bought)
1/8 tsp salt
20g icing sugar
32g shortening
100ml cold ice water
1/8 tsp durian essence (optional)
A tinge of lemon food colouring

To prepare ping pei skin

Put ping pei premix flour into a mixing bowl.

Add salt and icing sugar followed by shortening.

Rub lightly until mixture resembles breadcrumbs. Pour in cold water gradually and add essence, if using. Mix into a soft and pliable dough.

Note: The amount of water to add depends on the flour consistency. It may take all the given amount or may be less.

Scale the dough into 90g pieces (depending on the size of the mould). Wrap the dough skin around the filling and seal the end neatly. Place into mould and press lightly. Knock the mould to dislodge the ping pei mooncake and chill in the refrigerator until ready to serve.

Note: If using a 150g-capacity mould, the filling should be 90g, with the centre filling of 25g. The skin part should be 45g-50g.


Green Tea with Black Sesame Mooncake by Amy Beh

GREEN TEA WITH BLACK SESAME MOONCAKE

170g golden syrup
1 tsp alkaline water
¼ tsp bicarbonate of soda
55g canola oil
240g superfine flour
20g green tea powder
Adequate superfine flour for dusting moulds

Filling
200g lotus paste, store bought
300g black sesame lotus paste, store-bought
20g melon seeds, toasted

Egg glaze – combined and sieved twice
½ a beaten egg
1 tbsp golden syrup
1 tbsp water
1 tbsp green tea powder

To prepare mooncake skin

Combine golden syrup, alkaline water, bicarbonate of soda and oil in a mixing bowl. Mix well and set aside to rest for 1-2 hours.

Sift flour and green tea powder together. Add to the syrup mixture. Knead into a soft dough. Cover with cling film and leave to rest for 1 hour. Scale the dough according to the size of your mould.

To prepare filling

Mix toasted melon seeds with black sesame lotus paste and divide into individual portions. Divide lotus paste into smaller portions. Wrap lotus paste around black sesame lotus paste then roll into a ball.

To assemble

Flatten a portion of dough skin and place a portion of filling in the centre. Wrap the skin dough neatly around the ball of filling and seal up well.

Press into a flour-dusted mooncake mould. Knock to dislodge the mooncake onto a greased baking tray.

Bake in preheated 180°C oven for 10 minutes. Remove and allow to cool for 15 minutes then brush with glaze and return to the oven to bake for a further 10 minutes.

Allow to cool and mature well before serving.

Cook’s Nook: Amy Beh makes eggs the stars of the meal

Cook’s Nook: Amy Beh makes eggs the stars of the meal

This common source of protein takes centre stage in these three recipes from The Star columnist.

WONDER BEANCURD BALLS ON A CLOUD

1 packet Japanese egg tofu
1 tbsp diced carrot
60g potato, steamed till soft and mashed
1 tbsp diced spring onion
3 eggs (Grade B), lightly beaten then remove 1 tbsp and set aside
150ml water
¼ tsp salt
1 heaped tsp cornflour
3 pieces of imitation crab sticks, sliced

Seasoning (A)
½ tsp chicken stock powder
Pinch of salt
1/8 tsp sugar
2 tbsp cornflour
Dash of pepper

egg recipes

Sauce (B)
1 tsp concentrated chicken stock
1 tsp oyster sauce
¼ tsp sugar
4 tbsp water
Dash of pepper
½ tsp sesame oil

Mash Japanese tofu through a metal sieve and press out excess water. Mix the mashed tofu with carrot, mashed potato and diced spring onion. Add seasoning (A) and stir well to mix. Use a spoon to scoop out a ball of mixture. Shape into a neat ball and arrange in a plastic container. Chill in the refrigerator for at least an hour.

Deep-fry the tofu balls in a hot wok of oil over medium high heat till done. Dish out and set aside.

Combine the beaten eggs with water, salt and cornflour. Whisk with a pair of chopsticks. Strain the egg mixture through a sieve. Grease a couple of small ceramic plates and place in a steamer over high heat for 30 seconds. Pour the egg mixture into the small plates. Add 2-3 pieces of cut imitation crab sticks and steam over medium heat for 3 minutes with the wok cover tilted (this is to allow air to circulate in). Once the egg is smooth and set, remove the steamed eggs and top each with a ball of deep-fried tofu.

Mix the sauce ingredients (B) together and cook to a quick boil. Spoon the sauce over the steamed egg. Serve at once with garnishing.


egg recipes

FRAGRANT SPICY EGGS WITH SOFT CENTRE

5 fresh eggs, at room temperature
1 tbsp white rice vinegar
Sufficient water to cover eggs when boiling

Spice mix (A)
6 star anise
2 pieces cinnamon stick
10 dried chilies
1 packet herbal egg spices (store-bought)
1.5 litres water

Seasoning (B)
100ml light soya sauce
25g rock sugar
1 tsp dark soy sauce
1 tsp salt

Combine ingredients (A) and (B) in a pot and simmer on medium low heat for 10-15 minutes. Take the pot off the heat and allow the spicy fragrant sauce to cool completely.

Wash eggs well and set aside.

Put sufficient water, vinegar and 1/2 teaspoon salt in a pot. Bring to a rolling boil. Hold eggs in a metal sieve strainer and once the water boils, add eggs slowly to the pot and turn down the heat to low. (This is to avoid the water splattering and prevent the eggs from cracking.) Next, turn up the heat to medium high and boil the eggs for 6-8 minutes.

Remove eggs from the pot and immerse in an ice bath (a basin of water and lots of ice cubes) immediately to cool down the eggs. When the eggs are cold take the eggs out and peel them.

Add the shelled eggs to the fragrant spicy solution and soak for 2-3 hours before serving.


egg recipes

POACHED EGG ON PORTOBELLO MUSHROOM

1 slice bacon
2 tbsp vinegar
2 cups water
2 eggs
2 large portobello mushrooms, rinsed briefly
1 tsp chopped garlic
¼ cup edamame beans (cooked to packet instruction and peeled)
Adequate carrot pieces
1 tsp chilli oil

Seasoning
Pinch of salt
Dash of coarsely ground black pepper

In a frying pan sear the bacon slices till crisp. Dish out and chop till fine. Set aside.

Combine vinegar and water in a saucepan. Bring to a simmering boil.

Crack the eggs separately into 2 individual small cups.

Create a gentle whirlpool in the boiling water – this is to help the egg white wrap around the yolk. Slowly tip the eggs into the water, cover the saucepan with a lid and turn off the heat immediately. Cook the eggs for 3 minutes.

Remove poached eggs with a slotted spoon, cutting off any wispy edges using the edge of the spoon. Drain the egg on several layers of kitchen paper towels.

Arrange the portobello mushrooms on a tray and bake in preheated 180°C oven for 5 minutes. Once done remove from the oven and sprinkle lightly with the seasoning.

Place a couple of edamame beans on each mushroom cap and add a poached egg. Sprinkle lightly with crispy bacon, a dash of chilli oil and a slice or two of carrot. Serve at once.

Cook’s Nook: Amy Beh’s recipes for beancurd snacks

Cook’s Nook: Amy Beh’s recipes for beancurd snacks

These snacks are easy to prepare and great for munching on.

DEEP-FRIED SPICY SAVOURY BEANCURD

2 packs soft beancurd

Spice coating
40g rice flour
40g glutinous rice flour
1 tbsp cornflour
¼ tsp five spice powder
1 tsp baking powder
½ tsp ground white pepper
½ tsp ground black pepper
1 tsp chicken stock powder
1 tsp chilli powder
1 tbsp black sesame seeds
1 tbsp white sesame seeds

Chilli dipping sauce (combined)
3 tbsp Thai sweet chili sauce
1 heaped tbsp chopped coriander leaves

Remove beancurd from the packet carefully and cut into thick finger-size slices.

Place the beancurd slices on several pieces of paper kitchen towel to absorb the moisture and dry the beancurd. Set aside for 10-15 minutes to dry as much as possible.

If the beancurd is still too wet, dab with paper kitchen towels so that the pieces dry thoroughly. This will help them crisp up during cooking.

Mix the ingredients for the spice coating.

Heat oil in a wok till hot.

Dredge the beancurd pieces in the spice coating. Deep-fry the pieces over medium high heat until golden and crispy.

Dish out and serve the beancurd immediately with chilli dipping sauce.

beancurd

Mixed vegetable and meat date roll

MIXED VEGETABLE AND MEAT DATE BALLS

Ingredients A
150g minced meat (chicken or pork)
30g bamboo shoot (canned or fresh), chopped
50g chopped carrot
2 tbsp chopped spring onion
1 tbsp black fungus, soaked and shredded
1 dried Chinese mushroom, soaked to soften and diced
1 tsp chopped garlic
1 tbsp chopped coriander

Seasoning
1 tbsp oyster sauce
¼ tsp salt
½ tsp pepper
1 tsp sesame oil
1 tsp chicken stock powder
2 tbsp cornstarch

2 sheets dried beancurd skin, cut into 4 pieces
Oil for deep-frying

To make the filling: Mix all the ingredients with the seasoning, and stir until sticky and well-combined. Divide into two equal portions.

Place a beancurd sheet on a work surface and spray with a little water to soften it.

Place a portion of filling on one side and roll up to form a log. Repeat to make another roll.

Use a piece of kitchen string and tie the roll at 2cm intervals to shape into dates (refer to photo).

Lightly oil your palms and grease each section of the roll.

Place the two prepared rolls on a steaming plate and steam over rapid boiling water for 8-10 minutes.

Remove and cut off the strings. Leave to cool slightly.

Heat oil for deep-frying, deep-fry meat date rolls in medium high heat until golden brown and cooked through.

Dish out and drain.

Serve with chilli sauce.

beancurd

Delightful prawn meat crisps

DELIGHTFUL PRAWN MEAT CRISPS

½ sheet beancurd skin

Filling
200g shelled prawns, minced into a paste
2 tbsp chopped spring onion
2 tbsp finely diced carrot
2 tbsp chopped water chestnuts
1 tsp chopped garlic

Seasoning
¼ tsp sesame oil
¼ tsp ground pepper
½ tsp salt

Cornflour solution
2 tbsp cornflour
2 tbsp water

Combine prawn paste with spring onion, garlic and the rest of the filling ingredients, and the seasoning. Mix together until well-combined.

Keep aside in the refrigerator for 20 minutes.

Cut beancurd sheet into four squares. Divide the filling into four portions.

Spoon a portion of filling onto each beancurd square.

Wrap into a roll and seal the edge with a little cornflour solution.

Heat oil in wok and deep-fry the rolls over high heat until cooked and golden brown.

Dish out and drain. Serve piping hot.

Cook’s Nook: Amy Beh’s recipes for stuffed taco shells

Cook’s Nook: Amy Beh’s recipes for stuffed taco shells

For your next trendy party, stuff crisp taco shells with all sorts of tantalising fillings and your guests may just do the salsa!

FRIED TEMPURA FISH IN TACO

4 taco shells
120g fish fillet, cut into slices
1 egg, lightly beaten + dash of salt and sugar
¾ cup plain flour
½ cup tempura flour mixed with adequate cold water

French fries ingredients
60g frozen French fries
1 tbsp garlic, chopped
1 tbsp shallot, chopped
1 tbsp dried shrimps, rinsed and coarsely chopped
½ tsp chilli powder
Dash of MSG
Dash of pepper
½ tsp salt

Marinade (A)
Pinch of salt
Dash of pepper and ground black pepper
1 tsp Sriracha chilli sauce

Ingredients (B)
Some salad leaves
Some shredded carrot
Some shredded cucumber
Adequate sour cream
A few slices cheddar cheese (optional)

Prepare the French fries: Deep-fry the fries in hot oil until crispy then drain well.

Sauté garlic and shallot with 2-3 tablespoons oil until fragrant. Dish out. To the same oil, add the dried shrimps and fry till crispy. Add chilli powder and toss in fries, garlic and shallots. Stir in seasoning to mix.

Prepare the French fries: Cut fish fillet into thick slices. Season with marinade (A).

Dip fish slices in beaten egg then into flour. Shake off excess flour and coat with tempura batter.

Heat enough oil in a wok and deep-fry fish slices till crunchy and golden brown. Drain from oil and put on crushed paper kitchen towels.

Bake or grill taco shells in a preheated oven at 160°C for 3-4 minutes till extra crunchy.

To serve, place a piece of salad leaf on each taco shell, top with some shredded carrot and cucumber. Add a piece of fish, a slice of cheddar cheese and some sour cream on the side. Serve immediately with a little topping of French fries.

stuffed taco shells

ROAST CRISPY CHICKEN IN TACO

3 pieces crunchy taco shells
1 piece roasted chicken drumstick (store-bought)
1 tsp dark soy sauce
1 tbsp cornflour

Garnishing
2 tbsp shredded red capsicum
Adequate salad leaves, shredded
A few strips carrot and Japanese cucumber
Adequate purple cabbage, shredded

Sauce (combine)
2 tbsp mayonnaise
1 tbsp wasabi mayo sauce
Pinch of sugar and salt

Debone roast chicken drumstick and cut into 3 equal pieces. Lightly season with dark soy sauce and sprinkle with a little cornflour. Lightly pan-fry.

To serve, spread some shredded capsicum and salad leaves into the taco shells. Add a piece of prepared chicken. Top with the rest of the garnishing ingredients and serve with a drizzling of mayo wasabi sauce.

stuffed taco shells

AVOCADO SALSA IN TACO

3-4 pieces crunchy taco shells
1 medium tomato
1 medium ripe avocado
1 tbsp diced carrot
1 tbsp diced yellow capsicum
30g cucumber, diced
30g diced celery
2 tbsp fresh corn kernels
1 tbsp coarsely chopped coriander
1 tbsp chopped spring onion

Sauce ingredients
2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
¼ tsp chilli flakes
¼ tsp ground cumin
½ tsp salt or to taste
1 tsp plum sauce
2-3 tbsp fresh lime juice

Garnishing
Lettuce leaves

Cut tomato into quarters, remove the seeds and dice. Dice avocado and drizzle with a little lemon juice (to prevent oxidation).

Combine tomato and avocado with the rest of the vegetables in a bowl. Mix well.

Add sauce ingredients and toss to combine.

To get taco shells crunchy, bake them in a preheated oven at 160°C for 3-5 minutes.

Place a lettuce leaf in the taco shell. Spoon the avocado salad filling ingredients over and serve at once.

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