MAKING IT BLISSFUL

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Simple Stir Fry Everyday #003 : Dak Bulgogi

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Meat dishes that are on the sweet savory side are always a hit with the kids.   Here’s something fast and easy to make, Korean Dak Bulgogi, (BBQ chicken).

RECIPE : DAK BULGOGI
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1 pound boneless chicken breast or thigh, skin removed, cut into small slices
3 tablespoons soy sauce
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 tablespoon brown sugar
1 tablespoon honey
1 tablespoon rice wine or mirin
1 tablespoon minced garlic
1 teaspoon grated ginger
1 tablespoon sesame oil
dash of black pepper
1 teaspoon sesame seeds

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01. Combine all the items except the chicken meat together in a medium bowl, whisk till brown sugar dissolves.

02. Add chicken meat pieces, making sure they are well coated with the sauce, marinate for about 30 minutes.

03. When ready to cook, preheat skillet over medium heat.

04. Add chicken meat into the skillet, save the marinating sauce aside.

05. When the chicken meat turns white/opaque and cooks through, pour in the reserved sauce, and stir quickly around to coat the meat with the sauce.

06.  Serve immediately.


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ABin5 : A Refresher

claypotbread006 claypotbread005claypotbread003 claypotbread004

While drafting the previous pizza recipe post, where I used the ‘Artisan Bread in Five Minutes’ (ABin5) way for preparing the pizza dough, I realized that I have been making changes to this method since I adopted it two years ago.  A new edition of the book has also been released, so here’s a refresher post on baking bread this way.

First, the 3 major changes I have adopted:

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/ Earlier, I was weary of adding too much salt into the mixture for fear of, firstly, it will affect the level of rise in the dough (what if I put too much and kill the yeast?), and secondly, it will be more healthy to have lesser salt in the bread.  However, I have noticed that there is a difference in the taste when I added up to a full tablespoon of salt into my dough, depending on what salt is used.

/ I have been using ONLY the weighing method to get the amount of flour right, achieving a consistent level of hydration for the dough for every batch.  I have noticed with my earlier trials that the ABin5 master recipe is really a very forgiving recipe; no matter how wet the dough is, it still rises predictably, and the bread still come out pretty well.  Nowadays, I prefer the dough made with the weighing method, as it is a lot easier to handle, not too runny, allowing me to shape the bread better; most of the dough should go into the bread, not on my hands only to be washed away!

/  I have been using the steam trap method with a simple claypot, instead of the broiler in the oven method.  The authors of the book have also mentioned this method as a more convenient one.  I do not preheat my claypot though, as my claypot manufacturer’s instruction specifically states that the claypot should not be heated without any liquids in it.  So I proofed my bread dough in it (covered with clean, damp tea towel), and bake it in a preheated oven for 30 minutes with lid on, and then another 15-20 minutes without the lid.

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RECIPE FOR ARTISAN BREAD IN 5 MINUTES
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3 cups lukewarm water
1 tablespoon instant yeast
1 tablespoon salt
2lb or 910g of plain flour

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01. Place water, salt and yeast in a plastic container that is big enough for the dough.  This container preferably with lid (if not, cover with cling wrap will do too) will also be the storage container for the dough to be placed in the fridge.  Make sure your fridge has a space for it.  A 6-quart container is recommended in the book.

02. Add in the flour all at once.  Stir with a pair of long chopsticks until the dough comes together, it should be a wet and shapeless one.  If yours can be kneaded into a ball at this stage, you have probably used too much flour.  You can still save the dough by adding water slowly, till you get the dough to its rightful consistency.

03.  Cover the container loosely, saving a gap for the gases to escape as the dough proof.

04. Allow the dough to rise to double its bulk, anything from 2 hours to 4 hours, depending on the room temperature.

05. Once the dough has risen to its max, it will start to settle down, sink a little and form a flat top.  This dough is now ready to be used, or it can be stored in the fridge when you are ready to bake a bread or pizza.  I prefer keeping it in the chiller for a few hours so that the dough is easier to handle.

06. On baking day, take out the dough from the fridge, and dust the surface with some flour, so that it won’t stick to your hands when retrieving the dough.

07. Pull out a piece of dough and cut out about the size of a grapefruit , or weigh 1lb.  Return the rest of the dough into the fridge.

08. Form the dough into a ball, gluten coated.  Sprinkle flour on surface as you go for easier handling, but take care not to incorporate the flour into the dough.  Handle the dough gently at this stage, do not knead, press or squeeze out the air that has expanded inside the dough.

09. Rest the shaped dough by placing it in a claypot (lightly dusted with flour),  from 40 minutes (according to the book’s instructions) or 90 minutes.  I let it stand longer till the dough returns to room temperature.

10.  Preheat the oven to 230C (450F).  When the oven is ready, pour some flour on the bread surface, and slash the loaf with a clean knife or scissors (I have to admit that I find the scissors easier to manage! Just make 3 to 4 decisive fast snips…) so that it does not split at the bottom during baking.

11.  Cover the claypot, and quickly place it into the oven, bake for 30 minutes.

12. After 30 minutes, continue to bake at the same temperature for 15-20 minutes, without the cover.

13. When done, remove the claypot from the oven, and let it cool on a rack.

14. Allow the loaf to cool completely on a rack to room temperature before slicing it.  Otherwise, the bread will end up with a hard crust and a gummy interior.


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Easy Handmade Pizza with ABin5 dough

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The hunger pang came after watching a pizza ad, showing a pair of pretty hands kneading the floured pizza dough, sprinkling herbs and toppings, before presenting 5 rectangular pizzas, each with a different flavor.

Not too difficult, if you ask me, once you have this bread dough and this tomato pasta sauce ready.  I had to settle with frozen beef meatballs, canned button mushrooms and cheddar cheese as toppings as I do not have much items in my pantry, being a Friday, aka empty fridge day; I make it a point to clear out my groceries by Fridays, and start afresh on Saturdays.  But you can easily “upgrade” with a simple switch of toppings to fresh ingredients such as mozzarella cheese and basil.

*Hint*  Those delivery menus from pizza shops have lotsa great ideas!

RECIPE FOR PIZZA DOUGH
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3 cups lukewarm water
1 tablespoon instant yeast
1 tablespoon salt
2lb or 910g of plain flour*

* I have since drop the “scoop-and-level method” as I am really terrible at scopping consistently! But if you are, feel free to use 6 1/2 cup of plain flour for this recipe.

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01. Place water, salt and yeast in a plastic container that is big enough for the dough.  This container preferably with lid (if not, cover with cling wrap will do too) will also be the storage container for the dough to be placed in the fridge.  Make sure your fridge has a space for it.  A 6-quart container is recommended in the book.

02. Add in the flour all at once.  Stir until the dough comes together, it should be a wet and shapeless one.  If yours can be kneaded into a ball, you have probably used too much flour.  You can still save the dough by adding water slowly, till you get the dough to its rightful consistency.

03.  Cover the container loosely, saving a gap for the gases to escape as the dough proof.

04. Allow the dough to rise to double its bulk, anything from 2 hours to 4 hours, depending on the room temperature.

05. Once the dough has risen to its max, it will start to settle down, sink a little and form a flat top.  This dough is now ready to be used, or it can be stored in the fridge when you are ready to bake a bread or pizza.  I prefer keeping it in the chiller for a few hours so that the dough is easier to handle.

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/ To bake pizza (Get your choice of topping ready, I used sliced button mushrooms, sliced ikea beef beatballs, and cheddar cheese)

01. When you are ready to make pizza, take out the dough from the fridge, sprinkle some plain flour on top of the dough and grab a handful of it and cut it out with a pair of scissors.

02. Roughly shape it into a ball with floured hands, and press it down on a baking parchment paper placed on a baking tray.  Stretch out the dough to create a really thin crust (the pizza crust will still rise through the baking process, so I am not worried about the dough being too thin).

03. Spread some garlic butter, or this tomato paste over the dough.

04.  Place sliced button mushrooms and meatballs on top of the butter or tomato sauce.  Drizzle with some olive oil.

05.  In a preheated oven 240C (460F), bake for 8 -10 minutes.  When pizza is cooked, placed sliced cheddar cheese on top, and leave it in the warm oven for another 1 minute to melt the cheese.  If you are using mozzarella cheese, you may add it before baking the pizza.  I ran out of mozzarella and didn’t want my cheddar cheese to brown during baking.

06.  Serve immediately.


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Baked Salty Crispy Chicken 盐酥鸡

Baked Salty Crispy Chicken Baked Salty Crispy Chicken 盐酥鸡 Baked Salty Crispy Chicken

The Taiwan street food culture is constantly evolving, with new menu items popping up all the time at the night markets.  But this snack is really evergreen : 盐酥鸡 , salted cripy chicken.  This baked version is healthier and cleaning up after cooking is easier with only the baking tray to wash.

RECIPE : BAKED SALTY CRIPSY CHICKEN
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chicken meat, diced to bite-sized
1 teaspoon garlic, minced
1 teaspoon five-spice powder
1 teaspoon pepper
1 tablespoon salt
1 tablespoon sugar
tapioca starch, to coat

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01. Mix diced chicken meat with garlic, five-spice powder, pepper, salt and sugar.
02. Chill in fridge to marinate for at least 1 hour.
03. Coat chicken meat lightly with tapioca starch.  Arrange them on a baking tray, do not overlap.
04. Bake in preheated oven at 220C (425F) for 15 minutes, or till golden brown.


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Japanese Sesame Dressing

// japanese sesame dressing // japanese sesame dressing // japanese sesame dressing // japanese sesame dressing

There is only so much space in the fridge.  So I’ll rather it’s the fresh vegetables and fruits that are taking up most of the spaces, than bottles and bottles of sauces or premixes.  This sets me thinking, which consumes more electricity : an empty or a full fridge?

After discovering that I can easily concoct sushi vinegar at home, I went on my search for more condiment recipes.  This DIY Japanese sesame dressing is great:  I make only as much as I need, with some everyday pantry items.  No need to make space for one more unfinished bottle, or go through the haste to finish it before it hits the expiry date.

RECIPE : JAPANESE SESAME DRESSING
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3 tablespoon roasted white sesame seeds
2 tablespoon japanese mayonnaise
2 tablespoon rice vinegar
1 & 1/2 tablespoon soy sauce
1 teaspoon sugar
1/2 teaspoon mirin
1/2 teaspoon sesame oil

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01. To roast sesame seeds, put them on frying pan on low heat, remove heat immediately when sesame seeds start popping.
02. Place cooled sesame seeds in a mortar and pestle, grind into powder.
03. Whisk all ingredients in a small bowl.
04. Drizzle on noodle or salad.
05.  Store remaining unused portion in the fridge, for up to one week.


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Korean Fried Chicken 韩式炸鸡

// korean fried chicken, baked // korean fried chicken, baked

Never mind the miserable tiny batch of 5 chicken wings I photographed above.  It was the chilli sauce that I’m after.

I am imagining this sauce with fried battered shitake mushrooms or maybe baked potato wedges now….

+++ Notes.001 // the sauce recipe is meant for about 12-16 chicken wings.  I made the full serving for the sauce, scoop enough to coat the drumettes, serve some as dip for the mid wings and saved the rest in the fridge for future use.

RECIPE: KOREAN FRIED CHICKEN
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/ For the Chicken

2 lb chicken wings, about 12-16 qty, separate mid wings from the drumettes
1 teaspoon fine sea salt
2 egg whites
1 teaspoon baking soda

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01. Place egg white, baking soda and salt in a large mixing bowl, whisk till baking soda and salt dissolves completely.
02. Add chicken wings into the bowl to coat wings with egg white mixture completely.
03. Pick up the wings from the bowl, drip off excess coating, arrange on a flat plate or baking tray, do not overlap.
04. Chill wings in fridge, uncovered, preferably overnight, to dry out the coating.  Flip wings halfway through to dry both sides.
05. Preheat oven to 230C (450F).
06. Bake chicken wings for 15 minutes, flip and bake for another 10 minutes, till golden brown.  Cool slightly on rack.

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/ For the Chilli Sauce

4 garlic cloves, minced
1 inch knob ginger, finely grated
1/4 cup gochujang (Korean chilli paste)
2 tablespoons dark soy sauce
1 tablespoon rice wine vinegar
3 tablespoon dark brown sugar
1 tablespoon asian fish sauce
1 tablespoon toasted sesame oil

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01. Mix all sauce ingredients together in a saucepan.
02.  Cook over low heat for about 3-5 minutes, till sauce slightly thicken.

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/ Assembling

01. When the sauce starts to thicken, toss in baked chicken wings to coat.
02.  Serve immediately.

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