Tag Archives: Asian Food

(Supposedly A) Tom Yam

I am not Thai, but I LOVE Thai Food. I love Tom Yam, Papaya Salad, Gelatin Rice with Mango and Coconut Milk, Pat Thai, Thai Duck Soup, you name it.

Right now I live USD 2000 away from Thailand and there’s no Thai restaurant exists in this most expensive city (for expats) in the world. Thus, home-made (supposedly a) Tom Yam is always in order. Of course my Tom Yam will be a laughing stock to Thai people, as westerners’ version of Satay to me. Still, it’s better than nothing. Besides, I always believe that if you want to get the authentic dish, don’t be a cheap and fly to the respective country.

Ingredients for soup

  • 15 medium size shrimps (remove head, skin and tail)
  • 500 gr fish fillet (I use Corvina), dice in cubes then fry
  • 300 gr button mushroom
  • 2 liter water
Spices for soup
  • 9 shallots
  • 9 garlic
  • 3 red chilis (or more if you’re brave)
  • 1 tbs of dried shrimp*
  • 1 tsp of shrimp paste
  • 2 sticks of (smashed) lemon grass root**
  • 9 kaffir lime leaves***
  • one thumb size of galangal (smashed)
  • chopped coriander leaves
  • 1 tsp tamarind paste****
  • 3 tbs fish sauce
  • 1 tbs lime juice
  • 1 tsp pepper
  • 1 tbs sugar
  • 1 tbs salt (add more if needed)
  • 2 tbs cooking oil

Tamarind paste, lemon grass, kaffir lime leaves and galangal

Ingredients for serving

  • chopped coriander leaves
  • sliced spring onion

Prepare the soup

  • With a blender, mix together shallots, garlic, red chili, dried shrimp & shrimp paste
  • In a big pot (with cooking oil) stir fry the mixed spices until fragrant
  • Add the head, skin and tail of the shrimp until color turns red
  • Add water
  • Add lime leaves, lemon grass, coriander leaves, galangal, tamarind paste, fish sauce, lime juice, pepper, sugar and salt
  • Taste (add salt, sugar, lime juice as needed and preferred)
  • Let it boil, turn down the heat and let it simmer for an hour
  • Strain the soup leaving only the cloudy reddish liquid
  • Into the strained soup, add shrimps, mushrooms and fried fish
  • Bring to boil, until shrimp and mushroom cooked
  • Add fresh chopped coriander and sliced spring onion before serving

Notes:

  • *If you don’t have dried shrimp, you can make them by putting shrimps in the oven 200 C, until shrimps dried and crispy
  • ** You can use dried lemon grass roots (you need the roots, not the leaves)
  • *** This cannot be substituted with dried ones. Most Asian stores should have freshly-frozen leaves, so look in the frozen section
  • ****Tamarind paste can be substituted with vinegar. Don’t go overboard, try add little by little until you get the preferred acidity
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Stir Fried Beef with Oyster Sauce

Still not in the mood of any heavy cooking today. After my success (according to my non paying customers) on the Stir Fried Fish with Sweet and Sour Sauce, I felt like doing something similar for beef.

One thing I like the most about these oriental type of food is, I can mix protein with veggies in the same dish. Especially with my little one, I have to constantly think on how to sneak veggies onto her plate.

For Beef

  • 500 gr meat (try to find fat-less type, i.e. tenderloin), cut into size bites
  • 3 tbs teriyaki sauce (can be replaced with mixture of oyster sauce and light soy sauce)
  • 2 tbs cornstarch (maizena)
  • ½ cup of cooking oil for frying

For Sauce

  • 1 red pepper bell (or green or yellow), cut into small dice
  • 1 green Chili, sliced thinly diagonally
  • ½ onion, sliced thinly
  • 5 cloves of garlic, sliced thinly
  • Ginger (the size of a thumb), sliced thinly
  • 1 stalk of spring onion, sliced diagonally
  • 2 carrots (peeled and sliced thinly – tooth-pick like)
  • 3 tbs oyster sauce
  • 1 tbs sesame oil
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • 2 tbs cup of water

Prepare the Beef

  • Marinate the cut beef with teriyaki sauce, at least for 30 minutes
  • Add the cornstarch and with your hands mix them all well
  • Let sit for at least 10 minutes (do not skip this step)
  • In a wok, put cooking oil and heat it up
  • Fry the beef cuts lightly, around 2 minutes in hot oil
  • Remove them from oil, set aside (do not put them on kitchen towel)

Prepare the Sauce

  • Leave 2 tbs of the oil used for frying the fish in the wok
  • Stir fry red pepper, chili, onion, garlic, spring onion, ginger and carrot
  • Add oyster sauce and sesame oil
  • Add salt and sugar (taste it, if needed add more)
  • Add water, stir a while then put back the beef cuts into the sauce
  • Stir until all mixed
  • Serve hot

Tips:

  • Unlike with fish, where the function of cornstarch to give crispy result, with beef the function is just to retain moisture in the beef, thus don’t go overboard with it.
  • When frying the beef, do it in few batches. That way each batch can be cooked in minimum time so beef will stay soft and juicy
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Stir Fried Fish with Sweet and Sour Sauce

Nothing better than last minute cooking, still sizzling hot food served on the table. Unfortunately my need to always in control often forbids me to do last minute cooking. I enjoy the calm feeling of knowing that food is ready (to be heated) when everyone’s ready to eat.

Many dishes from my country are actually best served NOT immediately after cooked. Gulai (a type of curry) for example, I often cooked it the day before so that the spices are truly absorbed by the meat and the gravy.  This rule of course cannot be applied to most Chinese (inspired) dishes. If you remember Wok With Yan (my after school guilty pleasure), the dishes were always sizzling hot and they looked so yum!

The other day, I remembered I had frozen sole fillet that had been sitting in my (double coffin size) freezer for quite sometimes. Suddenly I was in the mood for some Chinese inspired last minute dish.

For the fish

  • 2 sole fillets
  • 1 tbs lime juice
  • 1 tbs salt
  • 1 tbs pepper
  • ½ cup of corn starch (maizena)
  • Cooking oil to fry

For the sauce

  • 1 green Chili, sliced thinly diagonally
  • ½ onion, sliced thinly
  • Ginger (the size of a thumb), crushed
  • 5 cloves of garlic, sliced thinly
  • 1 carrot (peeled and sliced thinly – tooth-pick like)
  • ½ cup frozen peas
  • 3 tbs sweet and sour sauce
  • 1 tbs chili sauce (if liked)
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • 1/3 cup of water

Prepare the fish

  •  Cut the fillets to bite size
  • Add limejuice, salt and pepper to cut fillets and marinate for at least 15 minutes
  • Shake off excess liquid then fully coat each fillet cut with cornstarch
  • Sit them for at least 10 minutes (don’t skip this step)
  • Fry the fillet cuts until golden brown
  • Set aside

Prepare the sauce

  • Leave 2 tbs of the oil used for frying the fish in the wok
  • Stir fry red pepper, chili, onion, garlic, ginger, carrot and peas
  • Add sweet & sour sauce and chili sauce
  • Add salt and sugar (taste it, if needed add more)
  • Add water and cooked until water reduced, producing a rather thick sauce
  • Remove ginger and pour the sauce over the fried fillets

Tips:

  • Sauce can be prepared ahead of time, but it’s best to prepare the fish right before serving
  • You may opt to use different kinds of (non leafy) veggies to replace carrot and peas.

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