Monday, 2 April 2012

Bak Kut Teh

Bak kut the is a Chinese soup that is popular in Malaysia, Singapore, Taiwan and Riau- an Indonesian island. The one intriguing factor that makes people stay at Klang is this dish. The food lovers scrutinize each and every ingredient of this dish especially the herbal taste in the soup.
Bak kut the is a soup based dish comprising of different cut pork meats that are simmered in a broth of spices and herbs. In addition some ingredients like offal, varieties of mushrooms, choysum and fried tofu can be added. There are some Chinese herbs that are added to the dish to give it more flavors. There is a fragrant soup that is prepared with medicinal herbs and makes this dish worth eating. It is usually served with steamed rice and escorted by a cup of Chinese tea.
The origin of the dish has a historical background. During 19th century, Chinese who started to live in Malaysia managed to follow the recipes of their ancestors with some additional ingredients and thus set up their life approach. Bak Kut Teh becomes the signature dish of Chinese in these regions. Mostly Chinese in the Southeast Asia employed as labors and a healthy breakfast t is generally demanded because of the hard working nature of the job. That's how the dish was conceived. The exceptional taste as well as the medicinal herbs made it very popular. The recipe was passed to afterward generation and they further add in the taste, that is how it is appreciated by Malaysians as well as by the Singaporeans.
Most of the people are not familiar with the fact that there are two versions of Bak Kut Teh. One version if from Klang and the second one is from KL. The former one is served with thick soup while KL is light in taste. This dish is eaten in breakfast usually and is one of the traditional dishes served in Malaysia. Chinese donut is also served with this dish as a side dish. The taste of this dish is very unique like a combination of tea leaves and flavored soya sauce. Mostly you experience a sweet and sourly taste. The rich aroma and delicious serving makes it worth eating. You can have it either with rice or only with soup.
The best places from where it is selling in its best way are in the local streets. People also prefer it because of its healthy contents; the Chinese medicinal herbs are liked by most of the diet conscious persons as they have valuable health benefits. While visiting Malaysia, you should make it a point to taste Bak Kut Teh. 

Singapore Noodle Salad

Singapore's cuisine is influenced by Chinese, Indian, Indonesian, Malay, and western cuisines. There are also traces of Middle Eastern and Thai recipes in there. The cuisine of Singapore is probably most similar to Malaysian food because the two countries have deep historic ties. A lot of dishes are shared between the two nations, although preparation methods differ a bit.
Singapore is quite a small country and the population is large, which means that most food and produce is imported since there is not much space for farmland or agriculture. There are however a few farmers who produce poultry, fish, fruit and leafy vegetables. The country is well connected with sea transport and air routes so importing many kinds of food is not a problem.
One of the most famous Singaporean recipes has to be Singapore noodles and if you fancy making a salad instead of a hot dish, the following recipe is traditionally Singaporean and really flavorful. The various vegetables add color and flavor and the sesame seeds, garlic, chili sauce, chives, sherry and more add plenty of flavor. You can serve this in small portions as an appetizer or larger ones as a side dish to go with a marinated steak recipe or something similar.
Before you baulk at the lengthy ingredients list, rest assured that this is a fantastic tasting and impressive recipe and it is well worth making. Use spaghetti-style Chinese noodles for this dish.
What you will need:
  • 1/2 cup peanut butter
  • 1 head broccoli, in 1 inch florets
  • 1/4 cup sesame seeds
  • 1/2 cup chicken stock
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1/2 lb dried noodles
  • 2 teaspoons white sugar
  • 1/4 cup red wine vinegar
  • 1 lb asparagus, in diagonal 1 inch pieces
  • 1 tablespoon dry sherry
  • 2 tablespoons dark soy sauce
  • 1/4 cup minced scallions
  • 1 red bell pepper, in thin slices
  • 2 tablespoons minced chives
  • 1 cup bean sprouts
  • 2 tablespoons finely minced ginger
  • 1 minced clove garlic
  • 1 tablespoon sesame oil
  • 1 cup thinly sliced shiitake or button mushrooms
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons Chinese chili sauce
How to make it:
Toast the sesame seeds in a dry skillet until they are golden brown and fragrant; this will take about a minute. Cook the noodles in boiling salted water for a few minutes until they are tender. Separate them with a fork and drain them. Toss them with the vegetable oil.
Boil the broccoli for a few minutes until it is al dente, and then chill it in a bowl of ice water until cold. Drain it. Cook the asparagus in boiling water for a minute or two, then chill it in the ice water and drain it.
Bring the stock to a boil over a medium high heat, then take it off the heat and stir in the vinegar, sesame oil, peanut butter, soy sauce, sugar, sherry, garlic, toasted sesame seeds, scallions, ginger and chili sauce. Toss the noodles with the vegetables. Add the dressing and toss well. Chill for half an hour. Sprinkle the chives on top and serve. 

Traditional South African Recipe - Potjiekos

Each country has its own traditional recipes, and more than likely the ingredients are pertinent to the food available in that particular country. The fresh ingredients would probably be the fruit or vegetables grown in that country and are easily available through the seasons of the year. This South African recipe, 'Potjiekos', that uses all of the local ingredients to South Africa, is traditionally an outdoor meal, often prepared in a heavy cast iron pot over a fire. The name 'potjiekos' means 'potjie' which is pot and 'kos' means food. Food in a pot. The end result is similar to the more commonly known beef or lamb stew. But it seems that the flavour is enhanced because of the pot. Somehow it seems to keep all of the flavours and is quite different to the conventional way of preparing a stew.
The pot is made from cast iron and is very heavy. It's belly pot design seems to prevent the moisture from boiling out. It has a swing handle that drops down at the side of the pot and is design to take the heat of the open fire with it simmering away for two or three hours. The belly pot often has three cast iron legs where one can simply stand the pot over the fire, or you may hang the pot over the fire by the handle. Either way you have to use an oven glove or tea towel to lift the handle or the lid as they both become exceptionally hot. The Potjie' has to be stirred, preferable with a wooden spoon every so often to prevent the mixture from burning at the bottom. This should be done with a wooden spoon so as not to break up the dumplings.
The recipe calls for beef or lamb, onions, carrots, some peas,which is optional,seasoning, and dumplings, made from a regular dumpling recipe of flour and suet. The onions and meat are fried until brown. Finally add the rest of the ingredients listed in the recipe, add enough water to just cover the meat and vegetables and simmer for a couple of hours. 

Malva Pudding

Almost every restaurant in Cape Town has Malva Pudding on its dessert menu. It is one of those ubiquitous dishes that one has to side-step diplomatically, as a tour manager organising menus for a week of dinners for clients on walking holidays. If you're not careful you could end up with a gastronomic tour of Cape Town's Malva Puddings! That's not to say that it is not a good dessert choice. It is rich, delicious and indulgent and has to be tasted at least once on a gourmet tour of Cape Town. Along with many other traditional South African dishes it gives a nod to the Netherlands for its origins. Essentially a rather homely baked cakey pudding, its restaurant version soaks itself in a rich, creamy sauce to take on a mantle of decadence, while elegant versions serve themselves up with a few poached apricots alongside too.
No-one seems to know where the name Malva pudding came from - suggestions range from a traditional accompaniment of Malvasia wine, a heavy dessert wine, to a woman named Malva creating it back in the mists of time.
I tried out my sister-in-law's recipe to make a dessert to follow our Sunday lunch of roast chicken and roast potatoes. Hers is a home version rather than restaurant one and gives details for the cake without drenching it in the creamy sauce. It produces a comforting cross-between steamed pudding and cake, with a tantalising hint of the apricot jam that flavours it and a pleasing, almost caramelly overtone. It is served warm with custard and cream alongside. Leaving out the stage of drenching it with the sauce makes it a lot less rich and calorific, but does mean that you can eat a lot more of it!
Malva Pudding Recipe
Serves 6-8
1 heaped tablespoon butter
3 heaped tablespoons apricot jam
1 egg
1 cup flour
1 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
½ cup sugar
½ cup milk
Cream together the butter and sugar. Add the beaten egg and jam and beat together. Add the dry ingredients and milk alternately and stir into the mixture. Pour the batter into a greased round dish approx 21cm / 8 inches. Cover either with a lid or tinfoil and bake at 180C / 375F for 30 minutes until the top is browned and a skewer comes out clean. Serve warm with custard and cream.
If you would like to try the rich and more traditional version of Malva Pudding, and I think it should be done once in a while, here is a recipe for the sauce to drench it in as soon as it leaves the oven.
1 cup cream
4oz / 100g butter
½ cup sugar
60 ml hot water
Warm together the ingredients until the butter has melted and the sugar dissolved and pour over the pudding as it comes out of the oven. You can prick holes in the top to help the sauce soak in.
With the sauce incorporated into the Malva Pudding you hardly need anything else to accompany it, the cream being already inside! Just for appearances' sake though you might like to serve it with a conservative dollop of vanilla ice cream, or a few poached apricots and a drizzle of cream. The other compromise is to reserve some of the sauce to serve alongside the pudding rather than letting the whole amount soak in. 

Special Sangria Recipe From Spain

Spain is a very beautiful place and its towns and cities are very popular places for people to go on holiday; one main thing that people look forward to when they visit is the authentic Spanish food and the famous Sangria. One of the best things about Sangria drink is that there are various fruit mixtures that you can choose from when you order it from a restaurant and it a delicious non-alcoholic version can be mixed up for children to enjoy.
You can make your own Sangria drink while you are at home and become an expert at making the best Sangria drinks that anyone has ever tried. There are definitely no secrets to this recipe and many people enjoy being able to make it quickly and in large quantities for parties. You can pretty much drink Sangria whenever you feel like it, but it is really a summer drink which is when you will enjoy it the most. Some restaurants in Spain will only serve Sangria drinks during the summer time while other restaurants serve the drink all year round. Depending on where you go, you can buy Sangria with a mild amount of alcohol in them or with heavier amounts. Restaurants will normally serve mild Sangrias while bars will serve Sangrias with heavy alcohol and flavoured liquors.
Now that you know a little about the Sangria drink from Spain, it is time to make your own. You will first want to make sure that you have the right kind of pitcher to put your Sangria drink in. It's best to use either a glass pitcher or a stainless steel pitcher so that your drink will stay nice and cold and you can make a decent amount.
As for the ingredients, you will need red wine, orange liquor, orange juice, and then a variety of fruits and berries. Make sure that you choose a selection of in-season fruits and include citrus fruits to give your Sangria a refreshing edge. Blend your mixture together to taste and then add either some sparkling water or some lemonade to add a bit of fizz! To get the best taste you should let the mixture sit in your fridge overnight or at least for a few hours, this way it will not only be perfectly chilled but the flavours will have had a chance to infuse and develop, making it a delicious drink for all.

Banana Bread Recipe

Banana has a great nutritional significance. This fruit provides energy in our body because of its main composition which is water and carbohydrates. Bananas have three natural sugars such as sucrose, glucose and fructose along with fiber which was proven to give instant and substantial boost of energy. Notably bananas are rich in minerals like phosphorous which is essential for bone development and calcium.
Banana is the handiest fruit and is almost available the whole year round. Commonly the banana's fiber content makes it a superior support in restoring proper bowel movement among children and adults. Mother can always have bananas incorporated in their children's diet. A delectable banana bread recipe is no less appealing to children than having it serve naturally plain. Your kids will surely love a tasty moist banana bread recipe and beg you to make more!
One secret to have a flavorful and moist banana bread recipe is to use an overripe one and by mashing it well. You can keep your excess banana in a paper bag and have it store in your refrigerator for another enjoyable banana bread recipe in the future.
The following banana bread recipe had passed the toughest critics, chef, and mothers and from our grandmothers who love it, and surely you'll love it too.
3 overripe bananas 1 teaspoon baking soda
1 cup granulated sugar 2 cups all purpose flour
1 tablespoon milk 1 teaspoon salt
8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature)
2 large eggs 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
Cooking procedures:
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit (175 degrees Celsius). Lightly grease 9x5 inch loaf pan.
2. In a large bowl, mix flour, baking soda and salt. In a separate bowl, cream the sugar and butter until light and fluffy.
3. Stir the eggs in and mashed bananas until well blended. Stir the banana mixture with flour mixture just enough to moisten it.
4. Pour butter batter into loaf pan.
5. Finally bake in preheated oven for 60 to 65 minutes; or until toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Let the bread cool in a pan for 10 minutes, then turn out onto a wire rack, let it completely cool before slicing.
Coming up with a good moist banana bread recipe is like finding any good recipe. You can either do it yourself or you can have it from friends who made and loved it. 

Catalonia Sandwich Recipe

Barcelona is the major city located in the ever expanding region known as Catalonia. Catalonia is the first tourist destination of Spain. The main tourist destinations of Catalonia are the city of Barcelona, the beaches of the Costa Brava at Girona and the Costa Daurada at Tarragona. In the Pyrenees there are 10 ski resorts: Baqueira Beret, the Molina, Espot Ski, the Masella, Port Aine, Vall de Nuria, BoĆ­ Taull, Port of the Comte, Flat of Peguera, Tavascan and Vallter 2000. Drop into any cafe and you will be able to order this outstanding sandwich.
Catalan Spanish-Style Tuna Sandwich
Makes 2 Sandwiches
1 can tuna fish (6 ounces), well drained
2 tablespoons finely chopped onion
2 tablespoons coarsely chopped red bell pepper
1 1/2 tablespoons aioli or mayonnaise
1 tablespoon cooked green peas (optional)
1 1/2 tablespoons chopped green olives
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
French baguette bread or roll
1-2 artichoke hearts (canned or bottled), drained and sliced
1 boiled egg, sliced into 1/4-inch rounds
Ingredients for aioli:
3-4 cloves garlic, peeled
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 egg yolk
1 1/2 teaspoon lemon juice
3 tablespoons olive oil
For the aioli:
1. Smash garlic with a mortar and pestle (or against a cutting board using the back of a knife, or heavy knife blade) to make a coarse paste.
2. Add the salt and continue to mash the mixture until it is a smooth paste. Transfer the paste to a small bowl and add the egg yolk. Whisk rapidly by hand for 30 or more seconds, until the mixture is smooth and slightly frothy.
3. Slowly drizzle in the lemon juice, then the olive oil, while whisking. Continue whisking for another minute, or until it becomes a creamy sauce.
Store in a covered container and refrigerate until ready to use. The aioli will keep for several days. Makes about 1/2 cup.
For the sandwich:
1. Combine the tuna, onion, red bell pepper, aioli or mayonnaise, green peas, green olives, and black pepper and mix well.
2. Split the baguette or rolls in half and stuff with the mixture.
3. Top the tuna mixture with the artichoke heart slices and egg rounds.