coriander

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 

pure vegan patties with homemade sweet teriyaki sauce

I can't quite grasp what the hell is wrong with me these days.  I hate to say it out loud but I think I am slightly bored and depressed OR maybe I'm simply obsessed with my passion for food making and photography.  I would hope it is the latter because it sounded "better".  But I think it is a combination of "everything" to be honest.   

Since human mind is a rather complex mechanism, I can say I am quite perplexed by the "many things" that's happened to me.  Those unpleasant disputes between business partners and friends did some serious damage on my self-esteem.  Every decision that I've made seems to go wrong and this goes from choosing to believe in something or someone to following the path that I think it should be right for my well-being.  I've reached a point where I REALLY don't give a damn anymore.    

Everyday after my awakening, the very first thing I do is to check my emails and messages.  Then, I go straight to the kitchen and start cooking.  The following would be styling, shooting, and editing.  Yeah, this is pretty much my daily routine.  Cooking food that I like seems to be a huge part of my life these days.  I think it is the only thing that could fulfill my emptiness at this stage.  Personally speaking, I think many people overlooked the amazing things what a humble home cooked meal could do.  It's not just about the taste to some.  Cooking is the cure to our mind, body, and soul.  The entire process if I may say is therapeutic or at least it is to me.  I get an immense joy after making something that turns out good and satisfying.  I assume these feelings could only be shared with people who love food as much as I do.   I also assume that is the only reason why I can't stop cooking.   

Today, I made some vegan patties, rosemary buns, teriyaki sauce, and roasted chips.  I might've spent a little more time in the kitchen but hey, it is Sunday and it is worthwhile.  I think healthy and clean eating's very initial step starts from knowing what's in your food.   

Cindy x

Some Asian flavors to our vegan patties.  I used my homemade sweet teriyaki sauce and it was good for those who like strong flavors.  As for me, I think creme fraiche and yogurt are just as good.  

Servings: 4 patties

Preparation Time: 15 minutes

Cooking Time: 15 minutes

Ingredients: 

For the patties:

1 cup cooked quinoa

1/2 can chickpea, drained and rinsed with cold water       

a bunch fresh spring onion                                                   

a bunch fresh coriander                                                  

1/2 red onion                                                                        

1/2 red chili *optional                                                             

1-2 garlic cloves                                                                    

1/2 cup panko breadcrumbs                                       

extra-virgin olive oil    

For garnishing:

a bunch fresh greens such as arugula and cucumber

For teriyaki sauce: 

  - 1 tbsp all-purpose flour               - 1/2 tsp grated ginger

  - 1/4 cup soy sauce                       - 1/4 tsp ground pepper

  - 3 tbsp cider vinegar                   - 1/3 cup sugar

  - 1/2 clove garlic, minced             - 1/4 cup water

For rosemary bun: 

3 cups bread flour

1 tsp yeast

1 tsp salt 

1 1/4 cups warm water

1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil + 2-3 tbsp extra for brushing the dough

Remark: the excess dough can be stored in your freezer for future use.  

Instructions for the patties: 

1) Put everything in a blender except for the panko bread crumbs. 

2) Add the panko breadcrumbs to the mixture and mix well.  

3) Use your hands to form a 3 cm thick sized patties.  

4) Preheat a frying pan with olive oil on medium heat, add the patties and cook each side for about 5 minutes or less.* 

5) Place the cooked patties on a kitchen towel to soak up any excess oil.  Serve them with a bun as a veggie burger or finger food as you like. 

6) Garnish and serve with your favorite sauce.

Instructions for the teriyaki sauce: 

1) Cook all ingredients EXCEPT water on a small frying pan on low heat for 2-3 minutes until the sauce thickens.  

2) Add water to dilute and adjust taste.  

Instructions for the rosemary buns: 

1) Preheat oven at 200ºC.  

2) Get a large mixing bowl, whisk the flour and combine with salt and yeast.  Mix well. 

3) Make a well in the center, pour water and oil.  Mix together with a  wooden spoon in a circular motion until the mixture turns to a dough mass.  Add some chopped chopped rosemary herbs.  

4) Spread a half handful of flour on a work surface, start to knead the dough until it turns to a smooth ball. This took around 5-7 minutes.  Spread a little more flour if the surface gets dry up and the dough starts sticking to the surface.  

5) Add a drizzle of oil to the large bowl, put the dough back in and cover the bowl with a plastic wrap or damp kitchen towel.  Place the bowl at a warm place and let the dough rise for about 30-40 minutes.  I left it at my balcony because it is quite warm during the day here in Hong Kong.  

6) After the dough is ready, divide the dough into 8 - 10 small dough.  Fo this recipe, I only used four small doughs.  I stored the rest for future use.  

7) Make a small round ball with each dough and flatten to palm-size, add some flour to prevent sticking to your hands.  

8) Brush a little oil on the baking tray and dough's surface.  Bake for 10-12 minutes.  

I also made some rosemary chips to go with these beautiful sliders.  

Preparation Time: less than 5 minutes

ooking Time: 20-25 minutes

Ingredients: 

4-6 small new potatoes, cut in chip size                                     

1 small sprig fresh rosemary                                                                      

extra-virgin olive oil          

 For the lemon aioli:         

 1/2 garlic clove, minced         

 3-4 tbsp mayonnaise     

 1 tbsp lemon juice + 1 tsp lemon zest                                        

Instructions:                                                                                            

1) Preheat oven at 180-200ºC.                                                                

2) Get a large bowl, coat the potatoes with rosemary and 2-3 tbsp olive oil.  Season.  Transfer the potatoes to a baking tray.  

3) Roast for 20-25 minutes.