Seafood Yaki Udon

Seafood Yaki Udon | Delicacious

My daughter loves noodles. Whenever we ask her what she would like to have for lunch, the answer would be either noodles or pasta. Rice would never be mentioned. It’s a pity that she does not like rice very much because for us Chinese, it is often a staple at dinner. Hence, I usually try to vary what she has for lunch.Continue Reading

Zucchini and Mushroom Pasta

I found a packet of Lemon Pepper Pappardelle sitting in my cupboard, and decided to do something with it. Rummaging through my fridge, I found a zucchini and a pack of swiss brown button mushrooms. I decided to combine the ingredients, and the result is a simple, healthy and delicious pasta. I bought my pappardelle from Euraco. They have a retail shop at ToTT called Torque. You can however, choose to replace the pappardelle with your favourite spaghetti, linguine or fettucine.

Zucchini and Mushroom Pasta
Serves 2

Ingredients:
150g lemon and pepper pappardelle

2 tbsp olive oil
3 cloves of garlic, minced
1 zucchini, thinly sliced and cut into strips
6 swiss brown mushrooms, sliced
1/4 tsp dried oregano
salt and pepper
freshly grated parmesan cheese

Method:

  1. Cook pappardelle in a large pot of boiling salted water till al dente.
  2. Heat 2 tbsp of oil in a large skillet over medium heat.
  3. Sauteed garlic till slightly soft. Add zucchini and sauteed for 3 – 4 minutes.
  4. Add in mushrooms and sauteed till vegetables are tender.
  5. Add in oregano.
  6. Turn off heat and toss pasta in vegetables.
  7. Season with salt and pepper.
  8. Serve with freshly grated parmesan cheese.

Chicken and Century Egg Porridge

Porridge is one of my comfort foods on a cold rainy day, or when I am recovery from a flu. It is simple to prepare, feeds a large number of people easily, and best of all, has a low glycemic index! Did you know that porridge has a GI index of 42-45, in comparison with steamed rice, that has a whooping GI index of 98? To find out more about the glycemic index, you can refer to my earlier post here.

There are two styles of porridge that I cook at home – Hokkien Style or Cantonese Style. Hokkien style porridge is what you usually get when you visit economic rice stalls and ask for porridge. The rice grains can still be seen, and the porridge is typically watery. Cantonese style porridge is what you get when you go to a restaurant such as Crystal Jade, or any dim sum place and ask for porridge. It is thicker and the grains are not very visible.

My mom prefers the Hokkien Style porridge with separate dishes of ingredients, while my husband prefers the Cantonese style porridge. The recipe below is for the latter.

Chicken and Century Egg porridge
Serves 4

Ingredients:
2 cups of rice, washed and drained dry
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp oil

4 cups of water
2-3 cups of chicken stock
3 dried scallops
200g chicken breast meat, sliced
3 century eggs, cubed

salt and pepper to taste
2 stalks of spring onions, chopped
sesame oil

Method:

  1. Mix salt and oil into drained rice and set aside for 20 minutes.
  2. In a large pot, bring water and chicken stock to a boil. Stir in rice and dried scallops.
  3. Allow porridge to boil over a medium high flame for 10 minutes, and add in the chicken slices.
  4. Reduce flame and allow porridge to simmer, stirring once in a while.
  5. When porridge is almost ready (approximately 20 – 30 minutes), add in century egg cubes. Porridge should be of a smooth consistency.
  6. Add salt and pepper to taste.
  7. Dish out into bowls and garnish with spring onion, pepper and sesame oil.
  8. Serve hot.

Baked Asparagus and Spinach Risotto

This simple risotto is great for nights where you feel like something fast and “meatless”. Though it is almost vegetarian (just switch the chicken stock to vegetable stock), it is chock full of flavour. A risotto dish typically requires one to stand in front of the stove patiently stirring and adding ladles of hot stock. This one does not require much patience as you just need to pop it into the oven. Both my husband and 18 month old daughter loved it!

Ingredients:
Serves 4
Adapted from Patricia Well’s Trattoria

1 tbsp olive oil
1 small onion, finely chopped
1 cup Arborio rice
2 cups low sodium chicken stock (or vegetable stock if preferred)
1 cup thawed, chopped frozen spinach, packed
10 spears fresh asparagus, cut into thin diagonal slices
salt to taste
1/2 cup freshly grated parmesan

Method:

  1. Preheat oven to 200°C.
  2. In a deep skillet, saute onion in olive oil until translucent.
  3. Add the rice, stirring to coat with the oil.
  4. Add chicken stock, spinach and asparagus and bring to simple over moderate heat.
  5. Stir in half the cheese.
  6. Add salt to taste (I don’t usually add salt)
  7. Transfer to casserole and smooth out the top.
  8. Sprinkle remaining parmesan on top.
  9. Cover the casserole
  10. Bake in the centre of the oven for 35 – 40 minutes, or until rice is cooked through.
  11. Serve immediately.

Sundried Tomato and Pine nuts Pasta

This is a really simple recipe that can be whipped up in a couple of minutes if you have the ingredients at home. I enjoyed how the sweetness of the sundried tomato complemented the woody fragrance of the pine nuts. The parmesan cheese brought it all together. I bought sundried tomatoes at the deli of Colds Storage, but I believe you can also buy them in tins or bottles, depending on the amount you wish to have. I’ve used fresh parsley in this recipe, but you can choose to substitute it with dried parsley. Reduce the amount to a third should you wish to do so.

Sundried Tomato and Pine Nuts Pasta
Serves 2

Ingredients:
5 ounces of spaghetti or linguine

2 tbsp olive oil
2 garlic cloves, minced
1/4 cup chopped drained oil-packed sundried tomatoes
2 tbsp fresh parsley, chopped
2 tbsp toasted pine nuts
salt and freshly ground black pepper
freshly grated parmesan cheese

Method:

  1. Cook the pasta according to package instructions till al-dente. Drain pasta and reserve 1/2 cup of pasta liquid.
  2. In a medium skillet, heat olive oil over medium heat.
  3. Saute garlic till tender and add in sundried tomatoes and sauteed for 2 – 3 minutes.
  4. Add in chopped parsley and sauteed for 30 seconds. Stir in pine nuts.
  5. Add in drained pasta and toss to coat.
  6. Season with salt and pepper.
  7. Top with freshly grated parmesan cheese and serve warm.

Linguine with Porcini Mushrooms

Porcini mushrooms are one of the most flavourful mushrooms, in my opinion. The flavour of dried porcini mushrooms is very strong, and is often used to add that mushroomy flavour to soups and sauces. This is a very simple recipe that I came up with one lazy morning when I was thinking of what to cook for lunch. Rummaging around the fridge, I found a bottle of half used dried porcini mushrooms and decided to do something with it. This recipe is simple, fast, healthy and definitely delicious. If you do not have porcini mushrooms, you can try substituting them for button or portabello mushrooms, though I am quite sure you would not be able to attain the same flavour. I chose to drizzle my pasta with a tsp of truffle oil for that extra oomph.

Linguine with Porcini Mushrooms
Serves 2

Ingredients:
2 tbsp olive oil
1/2 small onion, chopped
0.5 ounce dried porcini mushrooms
1 cup low sodium chicken broth
1/2 cup milk
salt and black pepper to taste
4 ounces linguine
2 tsp truffle oil (optional)

Method:

  1. Reconstitute dried porcini in 1/2 cup of warm water for 15 – 20 minutes. Drain soaking water and reserve it for later use.
  2. Sauteed onions in olive oil over a medium fire in a frying pan or skillet.
  3. Add mushrooms and mix well.
  4. Add broth, reserved porcini liquid and milk and bring to a boil.
  5. Cover and simmer for 15 minutes, or until mushrooms are tender.
  6. Meanwhile, boil pasta according to package instructions. Drain and reserve some pasta liquid.
  7. Toss pasta with sauce in the skillet, seasoning with salt and black pepper to taste.
  8. If pasta is too dry, add in some reserved pasta liquid.
  9. Drizzle with truffle oil if preferred.
  10. Serve hot.

Sushi – a fun alternative to cooking


If you have never made sushi before, I highly recommend you try. Besides cooking the rice, and making your own tamago should you wish to include it, there really isn’t much more cooking needed. What’s more, it’s fun to make and you can be as creative as you wish. The best part? Sushi, for the larger part, is very healthy. There are many fusion types of sushi now that include some “not so healthy” ingredients that you may not find in a traditional Japanese restaurant. These fusion sushi incorporate popular western choices such as Mayonnaise and spicy sauce and sometimes do increase the number of calories, though not significantly. So, why is sushi so healthy?

Sushi can largely be divided into two types – maki and nigiri. Makis are the rolled up sushi while Nigiri are the ones with ingredients on top. Nori or seaweed, an integral part of both types of sushi, is highly nutritious as it contains a great source of minerals found in the ocean such as Iron, vitamin C, vitamin A, magnesium, selenium, choline, eicosapentanoic acid, inositol and other B vitamins. In addition, nori does not contain salt and sugar. Sounds like a super food eh? Rice vinegar, used to prepare sushi rice, helps to promote cell metabolism. It is known to help lower body fat percentage.

If you are convinced to try making sushi at home, here is my favourite sushi rice recipe and some handy tips.

Sushi Rice
Yields 2 cups of rice

2 cups sushi rice
2 1/2 cups water
4 tablespoons rice vinegar
3 tablespoons sugar
2 teaspoons salt
2 tablespoons mirin

Method:

  1. Rinse rice 3 times and drain in a colander till dry.
  2. Combine vinegar, sugar, salt and mirin together in a small pot over low heat till sugar dissolves. Allow this to cool.
  3. Cook rice in rice cooker. Allow rice to rest for 10 – 15 minutes are cooking.
  4. Pour rice out into a large dish (preferably glass or porcelain, not metal).
  5. Add cooled vinegar mixture to rice, mixing carefully with a spatula.
  6. Fan the rice while adding the vinegar mixture.
  7. Allow sushi rice to cool before using.

Tips on rolling sushi

  1. Use a sushi bamboo mat to help you roll sushi. These are easily available at supermarkets, and can also be found at Daiso.
  2. Wrap the bamboo mat with cling film before rolling the sushi. This is especially useful if you are making a uramaki (inverted rice roll)
  3. Place rice on the dull side of the nori.
  4. For one large sheet of nori, approximately 1 tennis ball size of sushi rice is sufficient.
  5. Wet hands before spreading sushi rice. Remember not to crush the rice!
  6. When cutting sushi, remember to wet the knife first.
For sushi recipes, you can visit sushiday or just be creative!