Saturday, April 25

Chinese Broccoli & Shrimp w/ Oyster Sauce

This delicious and easy dish is one of my all time favorites. I have made it with shrimp, pork, and beef, and with and without Thai yellow bean sauce -- it's good either way. The trick is to not overcook the Chinese broccoli, so make sure everything else is finished (rice, whatever else you're making) and cook it just before serving. My mom always makes all her vegetable stir-fry dishes when we all are at the dinner table, ready to eat.


Chinese broccoli is a dark green leafty vegetable; also known as Gai Lan. It's eaten widely in Chinese and Thai cuisines. In this recipe, Oyster Sauce and garlic nicely compliment the bittersweet taste of this vegetable.


You will need:

  • 3 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 4 garlic cloves, chopped
  • peeled and deveined raw shrimp
  • 1 lb Chinese broccoli, cut into 1 1/2-inch pieces
  • 1/2 cup chicken broth
  • 1 tablespoons Thai yellow bean sauce, use just the beans
  • 2 tablespoons oyster sauce
  • 1 teaspoons sugar
  • freshly grounded black pepper, or white pepper powder

Directions:

  1. Heat oil in wok over high heat until hot but not smoking, then stir-fry garlic until lightly browned.
  2. Add shrimp and stir-fry until the color starts to change.
  3. Add broccoli and stock and stir-fry, about 2 minutes, until the leaves become dark green and wilted. The stems should turn medium green when done.
  4. Add bean sauce, oyster sauce, and sugar and stir-fry until broccoli is crisp-tender, 4 to 5 minutes.
  5. Add pepper, and adjust the seasoning to taste. Serve with rice.

Thursday, April 23

Buca di Beppo

One of the restaurants we visited and had a great time, while we were in Chicago for my son's Spring break trip, was Buca di Beppo. As you have probably heard, their food portions are very generous and served family style. And it's a chain restaurant, as well as pretty touristy. However, I still think the place has a lovely atmosphere and the food are pretty good.

We requested a "kitchen table", yes, a table right in the kitchen. We could see a lots of actions going on there, the chefs and staffs were very friendly that we had their visits through our whole meal.

We odered way too many dishes for four people even though the server had warned us. My favorite was Apple Gorgonzola Salad: tart Granny Smith apples, spiced walnuts, dried cranberries and Gorgonzola cheese were tossed with fresh Romaine lettuce and their Italian vinaigrette. It was very refreshing and tasty!

Definitely, Buca di Beppo is a place for a crowd. Before being seated, you will get a tour of the restaurant - all the rooms and even through the kitchen. The overall decor are very entertaining, especially The Pope Room.

Buca di Beppo:
521 N. Rush St.
Chicago, IL 60611
(312) 396-0001

Wednesday, April 22

Panang Curry

Panang is another one of my favorite Thai curry dishes, that is simple to make using prepared curry paste. It is rather a thick curry, than a soupy one like Red, Yellow, or Green curries. You can use beef, pork, chicken, or tofu, as the main ingredient. I personally prefer beef..

You will need:
  • 1 can (4 oz.) Panang Curry paste, preferably Mae Sri brand
  • 1 can (14 oz.) coconut milk (Chao Kao or Aroy-D brand)
  • 2 lb Chuck Eye steak or roast, thinly sliced
  • 1 TBSP palm sugar
  • 2 TBSP Thai fish sauce (Nam Pla)
  • 2-3 Kaffir Lime leaves, chiffonade
Directions:
  1. Fry Panang curry paste in 1/2 cup coconut milk in a pot until fragrant, using medium heat and keep stirring until you see the red oil bubbling up.
  2. Add beef slices and fry until beef are mostly cooked.
  3. Add the rest of coconut milk, then bring it to a boil. Then, lower the heat to medium and let it simmer for about 10-15 minutes.
  4. Add Lime leave shreds, stir to mix.
  5. Add palm sugar and fish sauce. Simmer for another 5 minutes so that all the flavors blend. You can adjust the seasonings to your taste before turning the heat off. Served over rice.

Tuesday, April 21

Mango with Sticky Rice

It's mango season now! You can enjoy it when ripe and sweet, or you can make smoothie, ice cream, sherbetand, and so on. For me, the best way to enjoy them is pairing it with sweet sticky rice, soaked up with coconut milk. This is an authentic Thai dessert enjoyed by Thais and foreigners.


In Thailand, the best kind of mango to use for this dish is the one called Flower Nactar (Nam Dok Mai). In the U.S., I found Ataulfo Mango, from Mexico, is the best substitute. It is quite sweet thought not as fragant as Thai mango.


The sweet sticky rice is made using long grain glutinous rice, also called Thai sweet rice. It is a kind of rice that becomes sticky when cooked, but has no gluten in it.


You will need:
  • 2 cups uncooked glutinous rice
  • 1 can (14 oz.) coconut milk (I use Aroy-D brand's "For Dessert")
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 ripe mango
  • toasted sesame seeds for garnish

Directions:

  1. Soak rice overnight, or at least about 4 hours. Drain and rinse.
  2. Steam over medium-high heat in a steamer for 25-30 minutes.
  3. Meanwhile, in a small sauce pan, gently heat up coconut milk, sugar, and salt, until dissolved. Keep warm.
  4. When rice is cooked, spread out in a shallow bowl ,or baking pan. Set aside 1/3 cup of coconut milk mixture for topping later. Pour the rest of coconut milk over the rice, and fold gently to thoroughly mix. Cover and set aside for about 20 minutes to let the rice absorb the coconut milk.
  5. Peel and slice mango just before serving. Spoon stricky rice and arrange mangoes on a plate. Drizzle some coconut milk mixture on top of sticky rice, and sprinkle with toasted sesame seeds (couldn't find mine today so I used the toasted pecan bits). Enjoy!

Monday, April 20

Tonight's Dinner: Turbot Fish

Turbot fish has bright white flesh that retains its appearance when cooked. it has mild and delicate flavor. Steam it, or pan-fry it, either way... it works well with this fish.


I usually like to serve whole fish, but Turbot I got from Oriental Mart today was too big to fit in my pan. After cutting it up into 3 pieces, I dredged them in flour, and then pan-fried them until golden brown and crispy outside. Chinese celery, thinly sliced ginger, and green onion finished up the bean sauce, and oyster flavor sauce -- before the fish pieces being mixed in.

Sunday, April 19

Omi Sushi

A trendy sushi restuarant with bright blue wall and hip decor, Omi Sushi is pretty Tokyo chic. The ingredients are fresh, and tasty. The chefs know how to roll perfect roll, that you can see and feel in your mouth the grain of the vinigar-seasoned rice.., not the texture of Mochi, or Japanese-style rice cake.
I love the Spider Roll, the crunch of the tempura softshell crab inside the rolls always gives me the "Hmmm...so good!! "

Omi Sushi:
210 M.A.C. Ave.
East Lansing, MI 48823
(517) 337-2222

Sunday, April 5

Chapelure

A hang-out or studying coffee shop is usually where I am working. And by working I mean updating my blog, brownsing other foodie's blogs, catching up with my favorite food blogs, doing some research, Facebooking, and Twittering. I checked out most of the coffee places in the area, my usual is Biggby coffee shop. But once in a while, I would stop by at this latest so-called Asian Bakery: Chapelure, in Hannah Plaza.

There, you will find European pastries with an Asian twist; great selections of both European and Asian bakery items. Everything here is made from scratch. The display of the assortments is quite a feast for the eyes. You will fine items like Asian sweet red bean buns, green tea madeleines, tiramisu, almond cookies, mochi, quiches, choux, ganache cakes, sweet potato cake, torts, green tea chiffon cake and many more. By the door, you will also find a counter of breads you can take home. The choices include chestnut bread, blueberry cream bread, and more. And if you look for a deal, some items are 30% off after 7:00 pm.

Chapelure:
Suite 10
4750 S. Hagadorn Rd
East Lansing, MI 48823
(517) 333-7172

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