Monday, July 20, 2009

Birds Nest Soup- Good for your skin




A lot of people think that birds nest soup is very difficult to prepare. As such, most of us ladies rely on our mothers to brew this special tonic for us. I am going to show you step by step here how to prepare this tonic that is nourishing and also good for the skin. If you want porcelain skinned complexion, this soup is a must. All the people I know who have the best translucent skin will tell your their secret is this soup.

Ingredients (Serves 2)
1 piece of Birds Nest
3-4 pieces of Rock Sugar
2 cups Water
American Ginseng (2 slices-Optional)

Directions:
1) Soak the birds nest for at least 2 hours or up to overnight until soften. Depending on the grade of birds nest, you may have to use a pair to tweezers to pull out the tiny feathers sometimes embedded in the nest. Very good quality birds nest will have less of this feathers. Change the soaking water twice during the entire soaking process.

2) Drain the water.
3) Put birds nest in a double boiler pot, add 2 cups of water. Add rock sugar and ginseng (optional). Cover the double boiler and put this in a stock pot.

4) Fill the stock pot with water until the level covers the double broiler half way.

5) Cover the stock pot and bring the water to a boil, and lower heat to a simmer. Simmer for 1.5 hours up to 2 hours.

6) Remove the birds nest soup from the double boiler pot and serve hot.

Wasn't that simple? I hope you enjoy this recipe. Try it! It is good for your skin and health and will keep you looking young.

Have a good week ahead.
Sincerely,

Julie

Sunday, July 5, 2009

Singapore Fried Carrot Cake

Fried carrot cake is a traditional Singaporean breakfast food, although it is now eaten as a snack at all hours of the day. I remember going through teenage angst, and in the morning, nothing would get me out of bed faster than mom coming home from the market, knowing that she bought a packet of Chai Tao Kway- Fried Carrot Cake, wrapped in laminated brown paper like a pretty present, with the oil starting to soak through the semi water proof packaging. Once I remove the rubber band holding this package together, the smell of garlic, salted radish
(chye poh) and chili would wake me up and make me so happy. To this date, I will always remember the types of chai tao kway my mommy had lovingly brought back from the market over the years: The black kind- no chili sauce (For when I was a child), The "white" kind (teenage years- my taste platelet started to change), any of the two above in a"less oily" version (when I was a young adult and started to watch my figure), this dish is always the comfort food that I grew up with.

I had a little time this last weekend and decided that I needed my fix. Here is the recipe I used to make my breakfast snack and I hope you will like it. I certainly enjoyed eating my creation.

Carrot Cake (From scratch) - This portion size serves 4
125 g radish (Shred using a vegetable shredder)
300 g rice flour
750 ml + 3/4 cup of room temperature water
1 tbsp vegetable oil
1.5 tsp salt
1 tsp sugar
1/2 tsp white pepper

1) Measure the water in a large bowl.
2) Add the rice flour to the water. Mix with a whisk to remove all lumps.
3) Heat the vegetable oil in a wok or a deep pan. Stir fry the radish until the edges are starting to turn brown.
4) Slowly add the flour-water mixture. Add the salt, sugar and pepper.
5) Continue to stir the flour rice mixture until it starts to thicken. (See picture).

6) Scoop out the mixture and pat into a greased 8 inch baking pan. Smooth the top with a metal spoon and pat the mixture down firmly.
7) Place in a steamer and steam on high for 45 mins or until the radish cake has set.

(Let this cake sit overnight before stir frying).


Frying the Carrot Cake (White, Spicy Version)

Preserved, salted radish (Available at Asian specialty food stores)- 2 tablespoon. (If buying radishes in whole, please chop until minced garlic size before using).
Sesame oil- 1 tsp
Salt and white pepper to taste
Soy sauce - 1 tbsp (or to your taste)
Fish sauce- 1/2 tsp (or to your taste)
Chili sauce -1/2 tbsp (or to your taste) - I used store bought chilli sauce from Asian specialty stores.
Garlic- 2 cloves- minced
3 eggs
Green onions (Separate white and green portions) - 2 sprigs
Oil for frying or lard- 4 tbsp

1) Cut up the radish cake into 1/4 inch cubes.
2) Mise en place - garlic, green onions (green and white portions) and eggs (beaten).
3) Heat oil in a wok or frying pan.
4) Add in garlic, preserved radish and white portion of the green onion. Stir fry until the garlic looks like it is about to brown.
5) Toss in the radish cake and with the spatula, break it down in a slight mashing/slicing motion. (This step is important because it exposes more surface area on the radish cake, allow more flavors to be absorbed).
6) Add the seasonings (soy sauce, salt, pepper, chili sauce, fish oil and sesame oil).
7) Fry until the radish cake looks browned on the edges and heated through.
8) Make a well in the center of the wok and add eggs.
9) Toss the egg mixture over the radish cake as if to coat the surface.
10) Serve hot garnished with the green portion of the green onion.

I hope you wake up happy everyday with this dish.

Have a good week ahead!

Sincerely,
Julie
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