Tag Archives: recipe

Bubble Tea Madness!

If you’ve been reading my blog, you’ve probably noticed by now my obsession with all things green tea and taro.  On one glorious morning last week, my cousin and I happened across a new dessert spot near Ala Moana (Honolulu).  I ordered a taro milk tea with green tea bubbles.  The smiley man behind the counter at Bambu Desserts and Drinks did not disappoint.

This was, hands down, the best bubble tea I’ve ever had, and I grew up in Hawaii and lived in Asia as an adult for several years.  The people at Bambu don’t use sugary pre-made powders to make their taro bubble tea, oh no.  They actually boil taro root themselves and blend it into the tea for a healthier, richer experience.  If you’re in the ‘hood, I highly suggest checking it out!

And if you don’t happen to live in Honolulu, here’s an easy recipe for making bubble tea at home from TheKichn.com!

How to Make Boba and Bubble Tea

What You Need

Ingredients

1/4 cup dried boba tapioca pearls per serving (NOT quick-cooking boba)
1-2 tea bags per serving, any kind
1/2 cup water
1/2 cup sugar
Milk, almond milk, or sweetened condensed milk
Fruit juice or nectar (optional)

Equipment

Saucepan
Bowl for holding the cooked boba
Measuring cups

Instructions

1. Cook the Boba: Measure 2 cups of water for every 1/4 cup of boba being prepared into a saucepan. Bring the water to a boil over high heat. Add the boba and stir gently until they begin floating to the top of the water.

Turn the heat to medium and cook the boba for 12-15 minutes. Remove the pan from heat, cover, and let the pearls sit for another 12-15 minutes.

2. Prepare Sugar Syrup for the Boba: While the boba are cooking, make a simple sugar syrup to sweeten and preserve them once cooked. Bring 1/2 cup of water to a boil over high heat on the stove or in the microwave. Remove from heat and stir in 1/2 cup sugar until dissolved. Set aside to cool.

3. Prepare a Strong Cup of Tea: This can be done either while the boba are cooking or ahead of time. Allow enough time for the tea to cool completely before making the boba. Bring 1 cup of water to a boil. Remove from heat and add the tea bag. Use one tea bag for regular-strength bubble tea or two for a stronger tea flavor. Remove the tea bag after 15 minutes and chill the tea.

4. Finish the Boba: Once the boba have finished cooking, drain them from the water and transfer them to a small bowl or container. Pour the sugar syrup over top until the boba are submerged. Let sit until the boba are room temperature, at least 15 minutes, or refrigerate until ready to use. Boba are best if used within a few hours of cooking, but will keep refrigerated for several days. The boba will gradually harden and become crunchy as they sit.

5. Make the Bubble Tea: Pour the prepared tea into a tall glass and add the boba. Add milk for a creamy bubble tea, juice for a fruity tea, or leave plain and add a little extra water. Sweeten to taste with the simple syrup from soaking the boba.

Additional Notes:

Very Chilled Bubble Tea: For an extra-chilly bubble tea, combine all the tea, milk, and/or juice, but not the boba in a cocktail shaker. Add a few ice cubes and shake for 20 seconds. Pour into a tall glass and add the boba.

Shortcut Boba: If you want immediate gratification, just cook your boba until they are tender, 5 to 10 minutes, and use them as soon as they’re cool. This kind of boba don’t keep for very long (turning rock hard in a few hours), but are delicious if eaten right away.

Saving Leftover Boba and Making Boba for Later: Boba are best if used within a few hours of cooking, but will keep refrigerated with simple syrup for several days. The boba will gradually harden and become crunchy as they sit.

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Homemade Cous Cous

My arrival in Nice was marked by a mouthwatering cous cous, presented in a multitude of dishes.  Chickpeas, chilles, artichoke hearts, squash, bell peppers, tomatoes, chilli paste, raisins, fresh coriander, and of course, the cous cous itself.  Everything was served separately so we could choose just how much of everything to combine on our plates (one of us preferred to keep the cous cous separate from everything else, another mixed it all together). My hosts were clearly well-schooled on the ritual of damn fine cous cous creation; I’d never had anything like it!

If you’re into the background stories, here’s what Wikipedians have to say on cous cous history (scroll down for the recipe):

One of the first written references is from an anonymous 13th-century North Africa/Andalusian cookbook, Kitāb al-tabǐkh fǐ al-Maghrib (North Africa) wa’l-Andalus (Arabic) “The cookbook of the Maghreb and Al-Andalus“, with a recipe for couscous that was ‘known all over the world’. To this day, couscous is known as ‘the North Africa national dish’.[9] Couscous was known to the Nasrid royalty in Granada as well. And in the 13th century a Syrian historian from Aleppo includes four references for couscous. These early mentions show that couscous spread rapidly, but generally that couscous was common from Tripolitania to the west, while from Cyrenaica to the east the main cuisine was Egyptian, with couscous as an occasional dish. Today, in Egypt and the Middle East, couscous is known, but in Algeria, Morocco, Tunisia and Libya couscous is a staple. Couscous was taken from Syria to Turkey in the 16th century and is eaten in most of the southern provinces.

Couscous is a traditional meal of the cuisine from Trapani. In Rome Bartolomeo Scappi‘s culinary guide of 1570 describes a Moorish dish, succussu; in Tuscany.[10]

One of the earliest references to couscous in France is in Brittany, in a letter dated January 12, 1699. But it made an earlier appearance in Provence, where the traveler Jean Jacques Bouchard wrote of eating it in Toulon in 1630. Couscous was originally made from millet.[11] Historians have different opinions as to when wheat began to replace the use of millet. The conversion seems to have occurred sometime in the 20th century, although many regions continue to use the traditional millet. Couscous seems to have a North African origin. Archaeological evidence dating back to the 10th century, consisting of kitchen utensils needed to prepare this dish, has been found in this part of the world.

In some regions couscous is made from coarsely ground barley or pearl millet. In Brazil, the traditional couscous is made from cornmeal.[12]

This isn’t the precise menu used for my meal, but the recipe looks quite similar (and scrumptious!) .  Be warned: it’s a multi-step process and takes a considerable amount of time:

***

This is my mother-in-law’s outstanding recipe for classic Moroccan Couscous with Seven Vegetables. Steamed couscous is piled high with stewed meat and vegetables – very delicious! Omit the meat for a vegetarian couscous.

See How to Steam Couscous if you’ve never used a couscoussier. If cooking chicken, an organic, free-range bird works best due to the long cooking time.

Vary the vegetables to your family’s preferences, but try to include the full variety to achieve an authentically flavored sauce. Popular additions are listed as optional ingredients.

Buttermilk or Saycouk are traditionally offered afterward.

Prep Time: 30 minutes

Cook Time: 2 hours

Total Time: 2 hours, 30 minutes

Yield: Generously serves 6 adults

Ingredients:

  • 1 kg (2 lbs. 3 oz.) dry couscous (not instant)
  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil
  • ——————————————————————
  • 1 kg (2 lbs. 3 oz.) lamb or beef, cut into large pieces on the bone (or 1 whole chicken)
  • 1 large onion, coarsely chopped
  • 3 tomatoes, peeled and coarsely chopped
  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons salt
  • 1 tablespoon pepper
  • 2 teaspoons ginger
  • 1 teaspoon turmeric, or 1/4 teaspoon Moroccan yellow colorant
  • 1 handful of parsley and cilantro sprigs, tied into a bouquet
  • ——————————————————————
  • 1/2 of a small cabbage, cut into 2 or 3 sections
  • 3 or 4 turnips, peeled and halved
  • 10 carrots, peeled and halved
  • 1 or 2 tomatoes, peeled and quartered
  • 1 or 2 small onions, whole or halved
  • 1 small acorn squash, quartered (or a small section of pumpkin, cut into 3″ pieces)
  • 4 or 5 small zucchini (long or 8-ball round), ends removed and halved
  • 2 or 3 small sweet potatoes, peeled and halved (optional)
  • 1/4 cup dry chickpeas, soaked overnight (optional)
  • 1/2 cup fresh fava beans (optional)
  • 1 or 2 jalapeño or chili peppers (optional)*
  • ——————————————————————
  • 2 tablespoons butter (for the couscous)
  • 1 tablespoon salt (for the couscous)
  • 1 teaspoon smen (Moroccan preserved butter – optional)

Preparation:

Note: A free range chicken (djaj beldi) will require the same cooking time and procedure as indicated below for beef or lamb. If using a regular factory-raised chicken, remove it from the pot when fully cooked and set aside. Return it to the pot to reheat for a few minutes just prior to serving.

Mix the meat, onion, tomatoes, oil and spices in the bottom of a couscoussier. Cook uncovered over medium to medium-high heat, stirring occasionally, for about 15 minutes, or until the meat is browned and the onions and tomatoes have formed a thick sauce.

Add 2 1/2 liters (about 2 1/2 quarts) of water, the parsley/cilantro bouquet, and the chick peas. Cover, and bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce the heat to medium, and simmer rapidly for 25 to 30 minutes. (Note: If omitting both meat and chick peas, there’s no need to simmer for awhile before proceeding to the next step.)

First Steaming of the Couscous

See the photo tutorial How to Steam Couscous if you’ve never used a couscoussier before.

While the meat is cooking, get the couscous ready for its first steaming. Oil the steamer basket and set it aside. Empty the dry couscous into a very large bowl, and work in 1/4 cup of vegetable oil with your hands, tossing the couscous and rubbing it between your palms. (This will help prevent the couscous grains from clumping together.) Next, work in 1 cup of water in the same manner, using your hands to evenly distribute the liquid into the couscous. Transfer the couscous to the oiled steamer basket.

Add the cabbage to the broth, and place the steamer basket on top. Once you see steam rising from the couscous, steam the couscous for 15 minutes.

Note: If you see steam escaping from between the basket and couscoussier, you’ll need to seal the joint. You can do this in several ways:

  • wrap and tie a long piece of damp cloth over the joint, or
  • tightly wrap a long piece of kitchen plastic film around the joint, or
  • wrap and drape a long piece of kitchen plastic film onto the rim of the couscoussier, and then place the basket on top (this is my preferred method)

Once the couscous has steamed for 15 minutes, empty it back into your large bowl and break it apart.

Second Steaming of the Couscous

When the couscous has cooled enough to handle, gradually work in 2 cups of water and 1 tablespoon of salt with your hands. Again, toss the couscous and rub it between your palms to break up any balls or clumps. Transfer the couscous back into the steamer, taking care not to pack or compress the couscous.

Add the turnips, tomatoes, onions, carrots and fava beans (if using) to the pot. Place the steamer basket on top of the couscoussier, and steam the couscous a second time for 15 minutes, timing from when you see the steam rising from the couscous. (Again, seal the joint if you see steam escaping.)

When the couscous has steamed for 15 to 20 minutes, turn it out into the large bowl again. Break it apart, and leave to cool a few minutes.

If using pumpkin, add it to the couscoussier, and cover the pot.

Third Steaming of Couscous

Gradually work 3 cups of water into the couscous with your hands, tossing it and rubbing the grains between your palms. Taste the couscous, and add a little salt if desired.

Transfer about half of the couscous to the steamer basket. Again, try to handle the couscous lightly and avoid packing it into the steamer.

Add the squash, zucchini, and sweet potatoes to the couscoussier, and place the steamer basket on top. (Again, seal the joint if necessary.)

When you see the steam rise through the couscous, carefully add the remaining couscous to the steamer. Continue cooking, watching for the steam to rise from the couscous. Allow the couscous to steam a third time for a full 15 to 20 minutes. At this point, all of the vegetables should be cooked. Test the vegetables to be sure, cooking longer if necessary. Taste the broth – it should be salty and peppery – and adjust the seasoning if desired.

If you’re using smen, add it to the sauce in the pot.

Serving the Couscous and Vegetables

Empty the couscous into the large bowl, and break it apart. Mix in the 2 tablespoons of butter with 2 ladles of broth.

To serve the couscous, shape it into a mound with a well in the center. Put the meat into the well, and arrange the vegetables on top and all around. Distribute the broth evenly over the couscous and vegetables, reserving one or two bowlfuls to offer on the side for those who prefer more.

* If you’re serving the couscous with jalapeño peppers, simmer the peppers, covered, in a half-ladle of broth and a little water, for about 40 minutes, or until the jalapeños are tender. The peppers are typically placed on top of the couscous, and small pieces may be broken off as a condiment.

Creamy Truffle Sauce of the Gods

I just had one of the best thin crust pizzas of my life at Numero 28 in the East Village – perfectly crusty bottom, a warm soft center, loads of mushrooms, speck, and the key ingredient: a decadent creamy truffle sauce. You might just want to bathe in it, it’s just that good.

Gonna have to take a few moments to appreciate what they’ve done there.  In the meantime, if you’re feeling inspired, here’s a Truffle Cream Sauce recipe from the Food Network….

Ingredients
5 egg yolks, at room temperature
4 cups canola oil
Juice of 1 1/2 lemons
2 ounces truffle oil
1 1/4 tablespoons salt
1/2 tablespoon pepper
French fries, for serving
Grated Parmesan, for serving
Directions
Whisk the eggs yolks with 1 teaspoon water in a mixing bowl. Slowly whisk the canola oil into the eggs until an emulsion forms. Slowly add 1/2 cup lukewarm water and the lemon juice when the emulsion becomes too thick.

Make sure the sauce is creamy and fully emulsified before adding the truffle oil. Whisk in the truffle oil and add the salt and pepper. Add more water until the sauce turns off-white in color and has the consistency of ketchup. Taste for seasoning and acid, and add salt and lemon juice accordingly.

Serve on top of fresh, hot French fries tossed with a little salt and pepper, and sprinkle with grated Parmesan.

Cook’s Note: All the ingredients should be at room temperature to prevent the sauce from breaking. The sauce should be creamy and not too runny.

Food Network Kitchens suggest caution in consuming raw and lightly-cooked eggs due to the risk of Salmonella or other food-borne illness. To reduce this risk, we recommend you use only fresh, properly-refrigerated, clean, grade A or AA eggs with intact shells, and avoid contact between the yolks or whites and the shell. For recipes that call for eggs that are raw or undercooked when the dish is served use shell eggs that have been treated to destroy Salmonella, by pasteurization or another approved method.

This recipe was provided by a chef, restaurant or culinary professional and makes a large quantity. The Food Network Kitchens chefs have not tested this recipe, in the proportions indicated, and therefore, we cannot make any representation as to the results.

Read more at: http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/truffle-cream-sauce-recipe/index.html?oc=linkback

Asian Southern Greens Fusion Recipe

Today I give full thanks to this new concoction I threw together, voracious after teaching three hours of yoga.  It’s easy and full of healthful goodness, I hope you’ll enjoy …

 

1. Boil the following ingredients for about 10-15 minutes (or until the texture is just as you like it):

  • half a pound of southern greens (collard, mustard, turnip, spinach)
  • 1/4 of an onion
  • a few sprigs of chopped green onions
  • a sprinkling of jalapeno peppers
  • black sesame seeds
  • black or white pepper
  • vegetable stock (or some meaty flavor, if you prefer)
  • just enough water to boil so you won’t need to drain at the end (about 2 cups)

2. While that’s all cooking, chop up an avocado

3. Serve with the avocado on top and sprinkle with olive oil, sesame oil and hot sauce to taste.

 

Now that’s some oishii fusion 😀

Som Tum Shredder

Although I couldn’t find one today, I have a deep appreciation for a som tom (Thai green papaya) salad shredder.  They save you precious minutes and lots of effort, and always produce the ideal texture and shape for the dish.  If you don’t eat this kind of salad often, you probably don’t have this handy ‘lil tool in your kitchen.  But if you do venture into Thai cuisine-land, it’s absolutely priceless.

papaya_shredder

Although I am hooked on the traditional recipe from my teaching time there, I sometimes use agave when I can’t find palm sugar and always cut out the dried shrimp.  It’s fun to experiment with using jicama or green mango if you can’t find green papaya (surprisingly an issue for us today!).  Here are some recipe directions from ThaiTable.com:

Green papaya salad is the most popular dish among women in Thailand according to a survey I heard on TV there. It is a Northeastern food that is eaten with sticky rice and other Northeastern dishes such as laab, beef salad and bamboo shoot salad.

The two most popular types of green papaya salad have either dried shrimp or salted crab. Green papaya salad with dried shrimp and peanuts is called som tum thai. The green papaya salad with salted crab is called som tum pbooh. The majority of the ingredients are the same. My mother likes it with both dried shrimp and salted crab.

2 Servings, Prep Time: , Total Time: 10 Minutes


Tips and Techniques

  • For a vegetarian som tum, omit the dried shrimp and substitute soy sauce for fish sauce.
  • Some people use tamarind in place of lime. Regular sugar can be substituted for palm sugar. I normally omit the peanuts because I prefer it without.
  • The balance of fish sauce, lime juice, palm sugar and peppers listed here are guidelines. Som tum is an individual dish that you will find you might like yours with more, say, lime juice than what the recipe calls for.

Many Asian supermarkets have pre-shredded green papaya and that is what I use. However, if you can only find whole green papaya, the papaya can be peeled and shredded using a regular cheese grater with medium to large sized holes. Or if you can find a papaya shredder, it works wonder. When you get closer to the center, you will see the white immature seeds inside. Stop and move onto another part of the papaya. Discard any seeds that got into your bowl. If you have a food processor with grater, you can shred the papaya faster.

In Thailand, green papaya salad is made using a clay mortar, wooden pestle and a spatula. Smash a clove of garlic first. Then add green beans and halved cherry tomatoes. Pound a few times just to bruise the beans and get the juice out of the tomatoes. Add chili peppers and crush them just enough to release the hotness, unless you like your salad really hot. Add the green papaya, dried shrimp, toasted peanuts, fish sauce, lime juice and palm sugar. Use the pestle to push the mixture up in the mortar and the spatula to push it down so that the mixture is mixed well.

However, if you do not have a big enough mortar you can crush garlic, tomatoes, green beans. Set them aside in a large bowl. Add dried shrimp, fish sauce, lime juice and palm sugar to the bowl. Add green papaya and mix well. Serve with sticky rice and a sliver of cabbage, green beans and Thai basil.

For som tum pbooh, omit the dried shrimp and toasted peanuts and add salted crabs instead. I microwave the salted crabs for 30 seconds before adding them to the papaya salad to kill any residual bacteria. Add only half of the fish sauce called for because the salted crab can be quite salty.

Fresh Indian Street Food

. . . and you don’t even have to fly 15 hours to get it!

With my visitors here we’re sampling a lot of new eating holes around the city and so far everything’s been up to par, or in this case, beyond expectations.  Indian street food has a particularly high potential for greasiness, but our sampling at Thewala proved to be fresh, flavorful and ever-so-affordable.

Thewala offers a limited menu, perfect for the undecisive of the bunch (or the bleary-eyed and homeward-bound, having just emerged from one of the many clubs or bars nearby).  Using only olive oil in their preparations and antibiotic and hormone-free meat, this funky ‘lil hole in the wall delivers maximum flavor and minimum guilt.  Each of the wraps (choose from paneer, lamb, okra, egg, chicken…) are served in a parotha that has all the butteriness of the classic bread, without the half-inch girth.  Just that delicate soft flakiness, a perfect compliment to the spiced up taste sensation inside.  We also tried the bhel puri, a street food (I tried for the first time in Nepal and completely fell in love with!) that might sound easy to recreate, but getting the proportions just right is something I’m still working on myself!

Check it out:

Ingredients:
1 cup Puffed Rice (Kurmura)
1/2 cup chopped Tomato (Tamatar)
1/2 cup chopped Onion (Pyaj)
1/4 cup chopped Coriander Leaves (Dhania Patta)
1/2 cup boiled and mashed Potato (Aloo)
4 chopped Green Chilli (Hari mirch)
1 tblsp chopped Ginger(Adrak)
1 tblsp Garam Masala
6 tblsp Tamarind (Imli) Chutney
6 tblsp Coriander Leaves (Dhania Patta) And Mint Chutney
1/2 cup Nimkis
1/2 cup Sev
1/2 cup Gol gappas
2 tblsp Lime or Lemon (Nimbu) Juice
How to make bhel puri:
  • Mix the puffed rice, tomatoes, onions.
  • Drain the water from the grated potatoes and mix that as well.
  • Mix all the ingredients under seasoning and add to this.
  • Lightly crush and add the nimkis and golgappas.
  • Add the sev and kaara pusa directly and mix well.
  • Finally garnish with coriander leaves and lemon juice.
  • Serve immediately..

Hurricane (Sandy) Popcorn – Mmmmmahalo!

Big mahalos to Miss Strider for sending me this onolicious dose of hurricane popcorn – one of my favorite sniggidy snacks from home.  If you don’t have immediate access to a Hawaiian friend that’ll send you this magical ‘lil blend, you can have a whirl at making it yourself:

  • Popcorn
  • Nori (seaweed), cut into tiny wee pieces.  Consider experimenting with Korean or teriyaki flavors.
  • Kaki Mochi (Japanese rice crackers)
  • Heart Attack Sauce (some kinda buttery substance)
  • Salt ‘n sugar to taste

Notice the trees a blowin’ in the hurricane wind out there .  .

Minus the heart-attack butter, popcorn can be a pretty healthy snack.  It’s a whole grain, and if it’s been air popped, it has more antioxidancts than most fruits and vegetables (Daily Mail).  And according to Dr. David Katz of Yale University, though it’s no substitute for our tasty green friends, it could certainly be used to substitute potato chips.  It’s without a doubt one of my favorite  snacks for the soul . . . takes me right back to hittin’ up movies with mama-san 😉