bread

Vegetarian Banh Mi

The first time I had a banh mi was in Hong Kong.  It was a very small place near my old apartment in Wanchai.  Just the thought of it brought back a lot of memories.  Most of them weren't so pleasant actually.  I was going through a transition period in life.  I honestly don't even know if the restaurant still exists.  But the most recent and also unforgettable banh mi that I've had was in London.  

This place is called Hanoi Cafe.  I still got the name card in my wallet.  It was an unexpected visit brought by my partner in crime, Anita.  Ever since then, I've always wanted to replicate something similar.  So now that I am in Hong Kong, it is much easier to gain access to some of these ingredients which I can't get in Italy.  That's also how this recipe came to light.  

My first time of making a banh mi and there is certainly the next time because it was pretty awesome.  :)  I blended both Western and Asian ingredients to make this sandwich.  Here goes my other fusion confusion addition.  

Vegetarian Banh Mi

Servings: 2 sandwiches

Preparation Time: 10-15 minutes

Cooking Time: 5 minutes

 

Ingredients: 

For the lime yogurt-mayo dressing:

4-5 tbsp yogurt

2-3 tbsp mayonnaise

1 fresh lime juice & zest

1 small garlic clove, finely chopped

For olive tapenade: 

1 can black olives

1 garlic clove

1 bunch parsley

1 tbsp capers

1 red chili, seeded

extra-virgin olive oil

(blend all ingredients in a blender and season)

For the fresh coriander pesto: 

1 bunch fresh coriander

1 garlic

1 shallot

1 fresh lime juice

extra-virgin olive oil

(blend all ingredients in a blender and season)

For fillings: 

150-200g firm tofu, 1/2 inch slice 

2-3 tbsp soy sauce

1-2 tsp honey

1 tbsp sesame oil

(marinate tofu with 2-3 tbsp soy sauce, 1-2 tsp honey, and a drizzle of sesame oil)

1 carrot, shredded

1 cucumber, thinly sliced

3-4 tbsp rice vinegar

1 tsp brown sugar

(marinate carrot and cucumber in 3-4 tbsp rice vinegar and 1 tsp brown sugar to make these fresh pickles.  Refrigerate for 30 minutes beforehand)

4-5 tbsp olive tapenade

1-2 tbsp fresh coriander pesto

1 small baguette, sliced into two halved size sandwiches

1 small bunch fresh coriander

Instructions: 

1.  Preheat a small frying pan with olive oil on medium heat, cook the marinated tofu 2-3 minutes each side until they turn golden brown.  Heat off.  Set aside.  

2.  Start assembling the sandwiches with olive tapenade, stir-fry tofu, fresh pickles, fresh coriander pesto, and lime yogurt-mayo dressing.

3.  Garnish with some coriander before serving.  

Vegetarian Banh Mi

Vegetarian Banh Mi

Vegetarian Banh Mi

Shroom Shroom Shroommm..

This is the sound of Hong Kong.  People think fast, act fast, and talk fast.  Hey, we also eat fast.  To compensate this whole frenzied lifestyle, I choose cooking as a balance.  It is very rare that I would blog twice within the same week.  In any case, I should do it more often because practice is the only way to gain mastery.  So I just have to put myself into practice.

Note: Please don't discard the coriander stalks.  Chop them up finely and add them to make mint pesto and dumpling fillings for the two recipes below.  

Here is the list of key items I got for my 2 shroom recipes: 

1 bunch fresh coriander     HKD4

1 bunch fresh mint     HKD6

1 package baby corn     HKD6

2 bags mixed locally grown mushrooms     HKD6 each bag 

Total Spending:  HKD28

Ingredients for my two wonderful meals

First meal - garlicky mushrooms n’ egg & mozzarella crostini served with fresh mint pesto

Mint pesto recipe: 

1 bunch mint leaves

1 garlic clove

1/3 cup pine nuts

1/2 lemon zest & juice

1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil

1/4 cup finely chopped coriander stalks

Instruction: Put everything into a blender and season.  

Mushrooms and egg with mozzarella cheese crostini 

Servings: 2 persons

Preparation Time: 10 minutes

Cooking Time: 10 minutes

Ingredients: 

250g fresh chinese and button mushrooms, chopped

2 eggs, whisked and seasoned

1/4 cup milk 

1/2 cup grated mozzarella cheese

1-2 garlic cloves, finely chopped

2-3 sprigs thyme

2 tbsp butter 

1/3 cup white wine

4 toasts with butter

1-2 tbsp pine nuts

2-3 tbsp mint pesto

1-2 tbsp grated parmesan

1/4 fresh lemon juice

extra-virgin olive oil

Instructions: 

1) Preheat a frying pan with olive oil on medium-low heat, cook garlic, thyme and mushrooms for 2-3 minutes.  Add white wine.  

2) After the alcohol evaporates, turn to low heat and add butter to the mushrooms.  Cook for another 2-3 minutes.  Season.  Heat off.  Set aside.  

3) To make the scrambled egg, simply mix eggs and milk.  Season.  Preheat a frying pan with oil, cook the egg on medium low heat.  Add mozzarella cheese.  Use a fork to swirl the egg and cheese mixture to create fluffiness.  

4) Layer the toasts with scrambled egg and mixed mushrooms.  Garnish with grated parmesan and pine nuts.  Serve with a dash of mint pesto and a twist of lemon juice.  

Second Meal - Mushroom Dumplings

These delicious dumplings were made with the freshest ingredients that cost less than HKD30.  

Servings: 2 persons - around 12 pieces

Preparation Time: 20 minutes

Cooking Time: 8 - 10 minutes

Ingredients: 

 250g fresh chinese and button mushrooms, chopped into smaller bits

2 garlic cloves, finely chopped

1 tsp fresh ginger, finely chopped

1/4 cup chopped spring onion

50-80g baby corn, chopped into small bits

1 package bean curd sheets, chopped into bits

2 tbsp sesame oil

1 egg, whisked

2 tbsp soy sauce

1/4 cup rice wine

1 bunch chopped coriander stalks

12 pre-made dumpling skins

extra-virgin olive oil

 

Instructions: 

1) Preheat a frying pan with oil on medium low heat, cook garlic, spring onion, chopped coriander stalks, mushrooms, baby corn, and fresh ginger for 3-5 minutes.  

2) Add rice wine.  After the alcohol evaporates, add sesame oil, bean curd, soy sauce, and season.  Cook the vegetables for about 3 minutes on low heat.,  Heat off and set aside.  

3) Transfer the filling to a large bowl for wrapping the dumplings.  To make the dumplings, spoon 1 tbsp filling to the center of the dumpling skin, use a knife to dip into the egg mixture and spread evenly around the edge of each dumpling, then start folding the dumpling from one corner to the other.  

4) Once the dumplings are all wrapped, fry the dumplings in a preheated frying pan with oil on medium heat.  Add 1/2 cup of water and lid on to allow the dumplings to be cooked fully.  Let them cook with the lid on for about 5 minutes. 

5) Transfer the dumplings to a plate and garnish with some chopped mint leaves and coriander.  Serve with dumpling sauce and mint pesto.  

mushroom dumplings with mint pesto 

Malaysian Curry Vegetables and Homemade Scallion Naan

I recently came across an interesting article about empathy shared by Dr. LaBier on Huffington Post dated a few years ago.  The article was well written about the lack of empathy in today's America.  Dr.  LaBier clearly defined the difference between empathy and sympathy.  He also provided some useful guidance of how we can develop an empathetic practice.  

I personally feel that EDD (Empathy Deficit Disorder, a made up disorder by Dr. LaBier) sadly is apparent everywhere.  Many of us can't relate because we simply failed to recognize that at the end of the day, we are in fact interconnected and bound together.  It took me awhile to understand how important it is to know how to empathize.   I am thankful for all those sleepless nights when I had the voracious appetite for readings.  

This traditional Malaysian curry dish and naan bread is my tribute to Dr. LaBier's insightful article on empathy.  I've never been to India nor Malaysia and I would love to visit one day.  I used Malaysian curry because that's what I found in my mom's fridge.  As for the naan, I got this recipe from a blog called Half Baked Harvest, created by a beautiful young blogger called Tieghan.  The only difference is that I added some chopped scallions to my bread.  

I think last night's cooking experience was very inspiring.  I realized why curries and naans represent today's Indian cuisine.  This realization also strengthened my passion for cooking.  Cooking different cuisines enables me to feel more connected to the people in this world.  I hope my recipes can inspire some of you out there.  

Happy cooking, everyone!

With love, 

Cindy x

This curry vegetables dish is made with a traditional Malaysian curry paste.  This wonderful curry flavor gets even better overnight.  

Servings: 4 persons

Preparation Time: 15 minutes

Cook Time: 30-40 minutes 

Ingredients: 

1 eggplant, diced

1 small onion, finely chopped

1 carrot, diced

1 large potato, diced

1 tbsp minced fresh ginger

2 garlic cloves, finely chopped

1/2 can chickpeas, rinsed

1 tsp paprika powder

1 tsp cumin

1/4 cup rice wine/white wine

1/2 vegetable stock cube

2-3 tbsp curry paste

2 cups water

extra-virgin olive oil

Instructions: 

1) Preheat a saucepan with olive oil on medium heat, cook onion and eggplant for 3-5 minutes.  Stir frequently to avoid burning your vegetables.  Add carrot, garlic, fresh ginger, and potato.  Cook for another 3 minutes.  

2) Add cumin, paprika powder, and chickpeas.  Season.  Cook for another 5 minutes.  

3) Add rice wine and let the alcohol evaporates.  Keep stirring.

4) Add water, vegetable stock, and curry paste.  Bring the saucepan to boil then reduce heat and simmer with a lid on for 10-15 minutes. 

Recipe for Naan --

Servings: 8 naan

Preparation Time: 20 minutes

Cook Time: 2 minutes for each naan

Ingredients: 

4 cups all-purpose flour

1 tsp salt 

1.5 tsp baking powder

1 tsp baking soda

1 tbsp sugar

1/4 cup warm water

1 tsp dry yeast

1 cup warm milk

1 cup greek yogurt

3-4 tbsp melted butter

1/2 cup chopped spring onion

Instructions: 

1) Dissolve water, sugar, and dry yeast in a small bowl.  Let it sit for 10 minutes and allow the yeast to foam up.

2) In a large mixing bowl, mix flour, salt, baking soda, and baking powder.  Then add the yeast mixture along with greek yogurt and milk to the mixing bowl.  You may use a wooden spoon or spatula for mixing and start kneading with your hands after.  When the wet and sticky dough forms, cover the bowl with a damp towel and allow it to rise in a warm place for 1 hour.  

3) Divide the dough in 8 small balls equally.  Use a rolling pin to flatten the dough on a lightly floured surface.  

4) Brush melted butter and sprinkle scallions on each side of the flattened dough.  Sprinkle a tiny bit of sea salt if you desire.  

5) Preheat a skiller or frying pan on medium low heat, cook each side of the naan for 1-2 minutes with a lid on.  

Eating with hands......  Mary is my hand model nowadays.  Lol

Every scoop of the curry with naan is sensational.  Enjoy! :)