Monday, May 28, 2012

Tau Suan Sweet Mung Bean Soup

A bowl of Tao Suan, served with You Tiao.
Hello everybody,

This is a follow up recipe to our You Tiao or Chinese Donut recipe. There is no better way to use up your you tiao than to pair it with a bowl of good Tau Suan or Sweet Mung Bean Soup.  In Chinese Medicine, Mung Beans are also considered to be detoxifying, so it is a soup that tastes great and is good for you. The soup is also extremely easy to make and always impressive to serve to family and guests.

Now on to the correct texture of this soup. Just because the soup is easy to make doesn't mean there aren't simple cooking techniques involved. The correct texture for this dessert begins with cooking the mung beans carefully. The beans should be just about cooked and have a slight "al dente" bite to them. If the beans start to fray around their edges, you know you have over cooked the beans.  And, unfortunately, once the beans are overcooked, it will make the soup murky and grayish in color, resulting in an unattractive and incorrect presentation. The correct presentation is one where the beans are still perfectly round but soft, the soup completely clear and when you add the tapioca starch to thicken the soup in the end, the beans look like little gold specks suspended in a crystal clear solution. That is the perfect presentation for this dish.

This is a simple, sweet, comforting, thick but smooth dessert that will leave everybody craving for more.  Now let's get cooking.

Tau Suan, Sweet Mung Bean Soup
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Yield: Serves 4-6 People

Ingredients:
1 cup dried yellow mung beans, rinsed and soaked in water for 30 minutes, then drain  (These are regular green beans or mung beans, with their green skin removed).
1/3 cup tapioca starch mixed with 100 ml of cold water.  (Make sure the mixture is completely mixed)
1 to 1.5 cups sugar (I used 1 cup, but those with a sweeter tooth may add more sugar).
2-3 bundles of pandan leaves
1.5 L of water

Directions:
1. Rinse the dried yellow mung beans with water until the water runs clear.  Soak the mung beans for 30 mins, until partially softened, then drain.
2. Put the bundle of pandan leaves with 1.5L of water in a pot and boil on medium heat for 30 minutes.  Boil until the leaves have softened and the water has turned a greenish tinge of color.  Turn off the heat, remove the pandan leaves and set aside on stove.
Pandan Leaves, cooked and ready to be removed
3. In a sauce pan, add the soaked mung beans with all of the sugar and stir fry the beans for 5-10 mins.  The beans will be ready once the sugar has turned golden brown.
Stir-frying the mung beans for Tao Suan
4. Add this fried mung bean to the pandan water and cook on low heat for 20-30 minutes.  Do not overcook the beans.
5. After the beans have turned soft, turn off the heat and stir in the tapioca starch water and stir evenly to combine.
6. The soup will thicken immediately.
7. Top with cut You Tiao prior to serving and serve warm. 

For our You Tiao recipe, click here.

Source
Recipe written by Browncookie.com and was adapted by Makansutra's Tau Suan Video

Resource
Browncookie.com: Tovolo Silicon Stirring Spoon

Full disclosure:
* Browncookie.com is an official distributor of Tevolo.
The Browncookie blog is the official blog of Browncookie.com. Browncookie.com sources bakeware, baking supplies and kitchenware to bring out the chef in you. All of our suppliers must pass our strict corporate code of conduct in order to conduct business with us. Some of the products featured on this page are for only for discussion and sharing of usage opinions. Browncookie.com will fully disclose when a product endorsement is paid or advertised.

Friday, May 18, 2012

You Tiao, Chinese Donuts, Fried Dough Crullers


Hello everybody,

I hope you had a nice week. Last weekend, I made You Tiao or Chinese Dough Crullers and was pretty pleased with the results. Very few people still bother to make you tiao freshly at home, especially in Asia, where they are commonly sold at food courts, markets and restaurants. It is a pity because outside of Asia, it is quite difficult locate a fresh and crunchy one, embraced by hot oil merely seconds ago. Want to re-create this experience?  Don't worry, because you tiao is actually very easy to make.  If I had to describe the technique involved in making you tiao, I guess it would be very similar to making a beignet or a doughnut, except because you tiao has more leavening agents, when fried, it produces larger air bubbles, creating "holes" in the bread.  The final results? A you tiao that is crispy, juicy and crunchy on the outside and slightly chewy on the inside.

Here is a detailed, step by step you tiao recipe. *Just a side note, if this is your first time making you tiao, trust that this recipe will give you good results in terms of taste and texture.  But to get the you tiao perfectly straight and joined together at the "hips" without splitting holes in the middle will take some practice.  Be patient, you will get there.  Also, because you tiaos are usually cut into bite size pieces before serving, the look of the you tiao when they are whole and un-cut will matter even less.  You'll see what I mean when you actually make it. This will all make sense.

You Tiao, Chinese Doughnuts, Fried Dough Fritters

Yield: 24 Full Sized You Tiaos

Printer-Friendly Version

Ingredients
6 cups (1-1/3 lbs) bread flour
2 cups of water
1 Tablespoon baking powder
2 Tsp Baking Soda
1-1/2 Tsp Alum
1-1/2 Tsp Salt
2 Tablespoon Vegetable Oil to Coat Dough
1 Large Can Crisco for Frying

Directions:
In a large mixing bowl, add baking powder, baking soda, alum and salt. Stir to mix. Next, add water and stir with a fork until all the ingredients have dissolved.

In a separate bowl, measure the bread flour. Add the bread flour directly to the water mixture. Use a large spatula to mix the flour into the dough, scraping down the flour on the sides of the bowl as you go along.  At the point, the texture of the dough will appear rough and a little sticky- this is normal and ok.  Let the dough stand for 15-20 minutes.

Next, grab the dough around the edges and fold it back back into to the center of the dough. Repeat this step until the whole outer edge has been folded back into the center. Continue to do this 3-4 times and then let the dough rest again for 15-20 minutes.  (Note: The dough may be appear rough and sticky at this stage, again this is normal, continue.  Depending on your local climate, if the dough appears too sticky and you have already let it rest, add an additional 1/4 cup of flour and work it into the dough. Most of the time this step won't be needed.).

After resting, repeat the step above once more, pulling from the edges and folding the edges of the dough into the center and continue to do this 8-10 times.  (You will notice that the dough will get smoother and more elastic as you continue to fold).

Next, lift the dough up with your hands, drop 2 tablespoons of oil into the bowl, coat the oil all around the bottom of the bowl and return the dough back into the bowl.  Turn over once to coat completely. Allow the oil to coat the entire surface of the dough ball.  Let this oiled dough ball rest for 1 hour.

After resting the dough ball, remove the dough from the bowl and place it on a sheet of plastic wrap.  Wrap the dough up and shape it into a rectangular log shape.  Let this rest for 4 hours. Make sure the dough is covered completely or you will find dry patches.
You Tiao Dough after resting for 4 hours.  Ready to be rolled and cut.
Unwrap the dough and use a rolling pin to roll the dough out. Roll the dough into a rectangular shape, 3 inches wide and 1/16 inch thick.  This will result in a very long strip of dough.  Tip: It may be easier to gently tug on the dough to stretch the dough out in sections.  When the dough is long enough, you will find that the width of the dough will naturally become 3 inches wide and the thickness will be approximately 1/16 inch thick.
You can use a rolling pin to flatten and pull the dough out into a loooong strip.  Once the dough is 3 wide, you will notice that naturally, the thickness will be approximately 1/16 inch thick.
Cut the dough into strips.
Cut the stretched out dough into strips. Score the center of one side of the dough with a knife to create a small impression. Place two strips on top of each other and use a bamboo skewer or a pastry cutter to press lengthwise in the middle of the strip to secure.
Score the dough in the middle gently with a knife.  This will help the two dough strips to adhere to each other better.
Finally, stretch out the dough strip slightly (give it a gentle tug) before dropping it in the hot oil.
A You Tiao Dough, scretched out.
In a large skillet or wok, heat vegetable shortening on high for 2 mins. Once it has melted, turn the heat to medium.  Fry the you tiaos for about 1-2 mins on each side, flipping each over until the dough has turned a golden brown color.

Enjoy warm. If you would like to store the you tiaos, the best way to preserve their freshness is to cut them up into bite sized pieces and freeze. When you are ready to eat it, pop of a few of them into a toaster oven and they will heat and crisp up nicely. You can also use these doughnuts to top congee and other Asian desserts.
You Tiao nicely chopped up ready to be served.
Thanks for reading!  If you have other topics you would like me to research, please leave me a message in the comments.

Sincerely,
Julie

Source: Recipe adapted from Chinese Snacks Cookbook by Huang Su Huei

Resource:
Browncookie.com: Dough Scrapper
Browncookie.com: Silpat

Full disclosure:
* Browncookie.com is an official distributor of Silpat.
The Browncookie blog is the official blog of Browncookie.com. Browncookie.com sources bakeware, baking supplies and kitchenware to bring out the chef in you. All of our suppliers must pass our strict corporate code of conduct in order to conduct business with us. Some of the products featured on this page are for only for discussion and sharing of usage opinions. Browncookie.com will fully disclose when a product endorsement is paid or advertised.

Monday, May 7, 2012

{Recipe and Book Review} Easy Orzo Pasta with Tomato Vinaigrette


Orzo with tomato vinaigrette
Hello everybody!

I guess this blog post is going to read like a book review.  Last week Giada De Laurentis was in town (Isssquah, WA-Seattle Metro Area) for a book signing. Now, my normal self would try to avoid standing in line for publicity events (i.e iPad launches, Black Friday sales). Gotta respect time, time is precious. However, this time I gave in. It's Giada, and she is one of my food network idols.  So when my good friend agreed to go with me, we went and stood in line for one hour just to catch a glimpse of Giada.

Giada signing her new cookbook.  Photo credit goes to my good friend KR.
Working in the home and kitchenware industry, we get to meet many celebrity chefs, but I have never been as star-struck as I was with Giada. She enthusiastically signed copies of everybody's book and greeted each one of us cheerfully. She has a really beautiful smile.  A lot of people asked me after meeting her if I thought her head was disproportionately huge. And in case you are curious, from my personal observations, I didn't think it was big at all- her head looked pretty normal to me.

Anyway, the book did not sit for very long before I put it to good use.  I took a quick look at all the ingredients in the pantry and decided to make the Orzo Tomato Vinaigrette pasta from her cookbook.  I just happened to have all the ingredients ready. I was also especially happy to get the opportunity to use my Kampot pepper (a gift from Cambodia) because the recipe called for it. The floral flavors of the peppercorn really sit on top of all the ingredients to tie them together perfectly.  As usual, Giada's recipes are simple but taste like you spent the whole day laboring over the stove, only you haven't.  I give this cookbook a Browncookie.com stamp of approval and a buy.

Here is the recipe adapted from Giada's new cookbook, I hope you enjoy it.

Thanks for reading.
Julie

Orzo with smoky tomato vinaigrette

Printer Friendly Version
Yield: 4 people

Ingredients:
1 pound (2 pints) cherry tomatoes
Kosher Salt
1 pound orzo pasta
1/2 cup packed fresh basil leaves, finely chopped
2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon honey
Smoked Salt (Ok to substitute with regular sea salt)
Freshly ground black pepper (I used kampot pepper, which has a very strong floral flavor)
1/3 cup grated Parmesan Cheese

Directions:
Put a tablespoon of olive oil in a non-stick skillet and heat it for about 30 seconds.  Next, add the cherry tomatoes and leave them to sizzle for about 1 minute.  When the tomato skins look like they are slightly charred, use a spatula to stir the pan. 
Tomatoes getting charred but not too charred.  You want it to be smokey, not burned.
After the skin is charred, move the tomatoes occasionally until the tomatoes have softened and released their juices.  (About 8-10 minutes).  Before removing, you will notice some tomatoe skins and charred areas stuck to the bottom of the pan. Add about a tablespoon of water to the hot pan to remove the juicy bits.  Allow to cool.

Next, boil the orzo pasta according to the instruction on the package.  Most orzo pasta will cook to a perfect al dente in 8 to 10 mins.  Drain and transfer the pasta to a large serving bowl.

In a small food processor, add tomatoes, basil, vinegar, olive oil, honey, 1 tablespoon of salt and 1/4 tablespoon of freshly ground black pepper.  Blend until smooth and no large chunks are left.

Toss the pasta together with the vinaigrette and sprinkle with parmesan cheese.

Serve.  This dish is delicious when refrigerated, too. Pasta can also be chilled and served as a side salad for a picnic or outdoor event. For a weeknight dinner, you may also consider adding a piece of grilled or pan fried chicken breast on the side to round out a meal.

Source: Recipe adapted from Giada's new cookbook Weeknights with Giada

Disclosure: Browncookie.com was not paid or compensated in any way to write this blog post about Giada's new cookbook.  Her cookbook was purchased by us for reference and also to keep up with our knowledge of culinary trends.

Full Disclosure:The Browncookie blog is the official blog of Browncookie.com. Browncookie.com sources bakeware, baking supplies and kitchenware to bring out the chef in you. All of our suppliers must pass our strict corporate code of conduct in order to conduct business with us. Some of the products featured on this page are for only for discussion and sharing of usage opinions. Browncookie.com will fully disclose when a product endorsement is paid or advertised.
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