Thursday, August 12, 2010

Asian-themed night

Inspired by a recent outting to Wagamama's, by my craving for my left cookbooks at home (oh, the time I could spend here devouring the hours-required recipes of my Momofuku and Thomas Kellar cookbooks...), and by my new friend in town who can only make cuppa noodles...I decided to try to recreate my own version of Chili Chicken Ramen. A spicy-hot brothed chicken noodle soup is perfect for a balmy night. With my Wagamama cookbook probably in storage and the nothing-exactly-what-I-was-looking-for- recipe not found online, I had to resort to making it up myself. And it turned out splendidly, I must say - and so does my new friend. At least I hope it was better than boiled water and sodium-rich noodles.

Chili Chicken Ramen

Chili Chicken Marinade:
4 breasts of chicken (yes, I splurged, after a short debated pause, and choose the Fresh Irish Free Range Chicken Breasts)
2 tablespoons of chili sauce
2 teaspoons of sugar
1 teaspoon toasted sesame oil
2 squirts of ginger puree
2 tablespoons of Jack Daniels (other online recipes called for sake, but having none, the JD seemed liked a good match, and it really added a sweet surprise to the chicken)
Light soy sauce to cover.

Blend the ingredients together to taste to see if you want to add any more of any of the ingredients (more ginger, more chili sauce...). I added mine all directly to the plastic bag with the raw chicken which made tasting the marinade a little risky. But add the ingredients and the chicken to a plastic bag, seal and remove excess air. Massage the chicken breasts to coat them and marinade in the fridge for a couple hours - mine were marinaded for at least 24 hours and turned out deliciously tender and flavorful.
1 Carrot chopped
half an onion chopped
a couple mushrooms, chopped
A large pot of Vegetable or Chicken Broth (oops, didn't measure, but used two XO cubes)
1 bay leaf
Squirts of Soy Sauce
Dash of lime juice

Sautee the vegetables with extra virgin olive oil in a large pot until soft, then add the broth and the bay leaf and simmer for about 20 minutes. Add soy sauce and lime juice to taste. Remove the vegetables and bay leaf with a strainer or slotted spoon when done.
Meanwhile, prepare any of the following toppings:
Mushrooms, sliced
Fresh leafed spinach
Red pepper, sliced
Bean sprouts
Carrots, thinly sliced
Cabbage, thinly sliced

Raw red Onion
Wedges of Lime

Cook the chicken in a pan over low heat, adding the extra marinade until it is tender and fully cooked. Prepare a large bowl with the noodles (I used Amoy Straight to Wok which don't need pre-cooking otherwise for dry noodles, quickly blanch them in the pot of heated broth) and arrange the desired toppings (except the raw onion and lime). Pour in the soup broth with a ladle and the place the chicken, raw onion and wedge of lime on top.

Leftovers: The chicken won't last long because it's delicious so for leftover broth and noodles it is possible to poach an egg in the hot broth as a source of protein and is equally delicious. Just scoop it out with a slotted spoon while pouring the broth into the bowl then gently place the egg on top.

So that satisfied my Wagamama craving. For side dishes to go along with the soup, I found inspiration from this website - momofukufor2 - to satisfy my Momofuku craving. even though the girl is trying to cook all the recipes from David Chang's cookbook, like me, she also sometimes recreates her own preferred versions. so, on top of that, my recipes are even further removed from the real recipes with my own adaptations. ehhhh internet inspiration is a grand starting point. they still turned out pretty tasty! 

Burst-Bang-Pop Tomato Salad
1 pint of cherry tomatoes
1 tablespoon light soy sauce
1 teaspoon cider or sherry vinegar
1/2 teaspoon toasted sesame oil 
sprinkle of herbs - fresh chopped basil if available, or a mix of dried herbs

First, bring a pot of water to boil. 
Cut a small X lightly into the skin of the bottom of the washed tomatoes. Then, prepare a large both with cold ice water. 
Next, prepare the dressing by whisking the ingredients together and set aside. When the water boils, add the tomatoes in batches and count to 10. Quickly remove the tomatoes before all the skins peel off and immediately dunk into the ice bath. Drain and begin to peel the skin off the tomatoes, delicately.  When done, top with the dressing and mix gently to coat the tomatoes. Place in the refrigerator until ready to serve - serve chilled. 
the peeled tomatoes not only look fascinating, but emphasize a soft texture that allows the absorbed juices to pop in your mouth as you bite into the burst tomatoes. 

Crunchy Crisp Cucumber Salad - serves 2
1/2 Cucumber 
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1/2 tablespoon toasted sesame oil
3 small garlic cloves chopped finely (i don't like using a mincer - it always seems wasteful)
pinch of sugar
sea salt
dried red pepper flakes to taste
optional: leftover grated carrot from the excess you shaved for the 1 cup called for  in the carrot cake recipe - the orange colour goes nicely with it

Cut the cucumber in half lengthwise and then into equal-sized slices. Put into a bowl and sprinkle with a little bit of salt and toss. Leave for 15 minutes then drain the expelled juices, rinse, and pat dry.    Then add the rest of the ingredients and toss well. Chill in the fridge until ready to serve - leave for a while so the cucumber can absorb the dressing, but drain any extra if desired. Its great as a snack, side salad, or can be served over vermicilli noodles.

i guess making the cucumber salad wasn't as photographically exciting as the tomato one....ha.

No comments: