Friday, November 20, 2009

A Dimsum Favorite - Spareribs with Black Bean Sauce

Everytime we go to a Chinese dimsum restaurant, my family tend to order our favorites: Siomai dumplings, Chicken Feet, and Steamed Spareribes in Black Bean Sauce. Tender morsels of meat clinging to ribs with tasty sauce... my mouth is watering just thinking about it.

Just in case you don't know, these black beans are the Chinese fermented black beans. They're extremely salty and should be rinsed before use. The beans have a very nice, savory taste that blends well with many foods. It is also used in the spicy Mapo Tofu dish.

Steamed Spareribs With Black Bean Sauce (Dow See Jing Pie)


1/2 kilo Spareribs
1 Clove garlic, minced fine
2 tablespoon Salted black beans
1 tablespoon Fresh ginger, minced
1 tablespoon Dark soy sauce
1 tablespoon Cornstarch
1 tablespoon Chinese rice wine or Sherry

Here's how to fix it:
1. Have your wok ready by filling it with water halfway and letting it boil. You can also use a steamer for this.
2. Cut the spareribes into into 1-inch pieces. To make it easier for you, have the butcher do this. Trim off fat.
2. Place spareribs in a heat proof dish.
3. Wash and rinse black beans 2 or 3 times, then mash them with garlic, ginger, soy sauce, cornstarch and sherry. Mix with spareribs.
4. To cook the dish, place the sparerib dish on steaming rack in wok. Cover. Steam for 30 minutes.

This is a great side dish for rice, either steamed or Chinese Fried Rice.

Authentic Chicken Afritada

I recently saw a recipe for Chicken Afritada on a Serious Eats website and was startled to see a can of Hunts Pork & Beans included in the list of ingredients. What the hey? Pork & Beans in Afritada? I don't think so. I have blogged about Afritada before, only it was Pork Afritada .

Now this time, lemme share my mom's Chicken Afritada recipe. And it does not have pork & beans in it.

Chicken Afritada Recipe

1 whole chicken, cut into pieces
2 carrots, peeled and cut into chunks 2X2 inch
2 potatoes, medium sized and cut into chunks
1 large bell pepper, cored & seeded, cut into strips
1 onion, cut into chunks
1 large tomato, cut into chunks
2 cloves of garlic, minced
1 small can of tomato paste
1/3 cup of soy sauce
5 tbsp vegetable oil
salt and pepper

1. In a large wok add the oil and heat until hot. Add the chicken pieces and fry until all the pieces get light-brown all over. Take out the chicken and set aside in a large bowl.
2. Add bell pepper slices and stir fy them for 5 minutes. Take them out and set aside.
3. Add the minced garlic and fry until golden brown. Add onion chunks and stirfry for 2 minutes. Add tomatoes and stirfry for 5-7 minutes until the tomatoes are nice and soft.
4. Add tomato paste to the wok and stirfry for 5 minutes. No short cuts, you need to fry the tomatoe paste until it almost exudes oil on the pan. This is to make sure that the paste is thoroughly cooked before the meat is added back again.
5. Add the chicken back into the wok (plus the accumulated juices) and the carrots. Stir everything until all are coated with the red sauce. Add water until it covers the meat and ingredients completely. Add soysauce too. Bring to a boil.
6. When the sauce starts to boil, lower the heat so that it simmers. Cover the wok and let it simmer for 30 minutes. You would need to stir the contents every 7-10 minutes so that nothing sticks to the bottom.
7. Add the potato chunks and the bell pepper strips. By this time the sauce has reduced to almost half level. Simmer for 15-20 minutes until the potatoes are done. Salt and pepper to taste.

To serve this, just put a couple of chicken pieces plus veggies on a plate beside a mound of rice. In my family, we usually have something like slices of cucumber to refresh the palate for every afritada bite. Pickled vegetables would also work as a side dish. Happy eating!

A Noodle with a Hundred Ingredients (Pancit Bihon)

Ok, ok, maybe not a hundred, but my family's Pancit Bihon recipe has a lot of ingredients which makes it soooo good and so special. Pancit Bihon is one of the wonderful Chinese dishes that have become Filipino. It's a staple in birthday parties and even special occasions in the office. They say that the long noodles means long life for the birthday celebrant or long success for the business.

In my family, it's a wonderful afternoon snack that my mom and my brother fix for the whole family. The noodles used are called "bihon" (hence the name) which are thin rick stick noodles. The ingredients can be as sparse as just onions, cabbage and green beans or as lavish as containing pork, chicken, chinese sausage, etc. It can be adapted as a vegetarian dish or can be a "clean-out-your-veggie-bin" dish.

Anyway, let me teach you the basics on how to do this wonderfully tasty noodle snack.

Pancit Bihon

1 package rice noodles (bihon), sometimes it would say makes 1 kilo
2 cups chicken or pork broth (a must, don't substitute water)
2 tablespoon cooking oil
1 tablespoon minced garlic
1/2 onion, thinly julienned (sliced into long, thin strips
1/2 carrots, thinly julienned
1 green bell pepper, thinly julienned
1 cup green beans, thinly julienned (beginning to get the idea?)
2 cups of cabbage, thinly shredded
1 cup cooked chicken meat, flaked
1 cup cooked pork, thinly julienned (this must have fat on it, trust me)
1 chinese sausage, thinly julienned
1/4 cup dark soy sauce
salt & pepper

1. The preparation for this dish is time consuming, thinly slicing almost everything and boiling the meat (chicken & pork). But once you get everything prepared, it takes about 20-30 minutes to cook everything in a large wok. In a large basin, soak the rice noodles in warm water for about 5 minutes. Drain and set aside.

2. Heat the oil in the wok, when hot dump the minced garlic. Stirfry for about half a minute until light golden brown. Add the sliced onions next. Again, stirfry for a minute until the onions are translucent.

3. Do this technique for the following veggies: carrots, green beans and then bell pepper. After everything is stirfried in the wok. Add the cooked meat and sausage. Stir-fry for a minute

4. Add the chicken broth to the wok. Let it come to a simmer, add the drained rice noodles. With two spatulas (or chopsticks if you prefer) start mixing the noodles and the ingredients in the wok. Continue doing this until the noodles are throughtly mixed with the veggies.

5. Add the soy sauce and the cabbage. Again, mix and stir everything up. Let the noodles cook until all the broth is absorbed by the noodles and the color is uniform all over. Salt and pepper as desired. This would take 5-7 minutes.

6. Serve hot with Puto (Filipino rice cake) or garlic toast on the side. Add a half of calamansi fruit to individual plates so that it can be squeezed over the noodles. If you don't have calamansi, add lemon wedges instead.

Enjoy your Pancit Bihon!

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Daicor's Orange Chicken

Hubby was watching a football game when an ad for Orange Chicken popped up in the side banners. Thinking it was a keeper of a recipe, he requested that I find a recipe for it. Good thing my best gal pal Daicor (from Maui) has a favorite recipe and gladly shared it with me.

Orange Chicken ingredients:

2 lbs boneless, skinless chicken breast (cut into bite-size pieces)
1 egg
salt and pepper to taste
oil (for frying)
1/2 cup plus 1 tablespoon cornstarch
1/4 cup flour
1 tablespoon minced ginger root
1 teaspoon minced garlic
a dash crushed hot red chiles
1/4 cup chopped green onions
1 tablespoon rice wine
1/4 cup water
1/2 to 1 teaspoon sesame oil


2 teaspoon Minced orange zest
1/4 cup Juice (from 1 large orange)
1/2 teaspoon Sugar
2 tablespoon Chicken stock
1 tablespoon. Light soy sauce

Combine all ingredients in small bowl and set aside.

To assemble the dish:

1. Cut chicken pieces in 2-inch squares and place in large bowl. Stir in egg,
salt, pepper, and 1 tablespoon oil and mix well. Stir cornstarch and flour
together. Add chicken pieces, stirring to coat.

2. Heat oil for deep-frying in wok or deep-fryer to 375. Add chicken pieces,
a small batch at time, and fry 3 to 4 minutes or until golden and crisp.
(Do not overcook or chicken will be tough.) Remove chicken from oil with
slotted spoon and drain on paper towels. Set aside. (Note: I omitted dredging the chicken in flour and frying it).

3. Clean wok and heat 15 seconds over high heat. Add 1 tablespoon oil. Add ginger
and garlic and stir-fry until fragrant. Add and stir-fry crushed chiles and green onions. Add rice wine and stir 3 seconds. Add Orange Sauce and bring to boil. Add cooked chicken, stirring until well mixed.

4. Stir water into remaining 1 T cornstarch until smooth. Add to chicken and heat until sauce is thick. Stir in 1 teaspoon sesame oil. Serve hot over rice.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Italian Wedding Soup (What a lovely name for a soup!)

My sister-in-law Sherry's hubby posted that they were having Italian Wedding soup one night and that got me intrigued. A soup you only serve during weddings? I found out it was simply soup with meatballs and pasta in it. I found a simple recipe from Rachel Ray and adapted it.

Mini-Meatball Soup (Italian Wedding Soup)
Recipe courtesy Rachael Ray

Prep Time: 20 min
Inactive Prep Time: --
Cook Time: 27 min
Level: Easy
Serves: 4 big servings

2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil (I used butter)
2 carrots, peeled and chopped
2 ribs celery, chopped
1 medium onion, chopped
2 bay leaves, fresh or dried
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 pound ground beef, pork and veal combined (I used 1/2 pound ground beef and 1/2 pound ground pork)
1 egg, beaten
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano or Romano, (I omitted this)
1/2 cup plain bread crumbs, a couple of handfuls
1/2 teaspoon freshly grated or ground nutmeg
6 cups chicken stock or broth
2 cups water
1-1/2 cups dried pasta, rings, broken fettuccini or ditalini (I used broken spaghetti)
1 pound triple washed fresh spinach, coarsely chopped (I used kale)

1. In a deep pot over medium heat add oil, chopped carrots, celery and onions and bay leaves. Season with salt and pepper. Cover pot and cook veggies 5 or 6 minutes, stirring occasionally.

2. While the veggies cook, in a large mixing bowl combine meat, egg, garlic, grated cheese, bread crumbs, salt, pepper, nutmeg.

3. Uncover your soup pot and add broth and water to the pot. Increase heat to high and bring soup to a boil. When soup boils, reduce heat a bit and start to roll meat mixture into small balls, dropping them straight into the pot. You are making meat dumplings that will cook in the broth. When you are done rolling the meat, add pasta to the soup and stir. Cover and simmer soup 10 minutes. When pasta is tender, stir in chopped spinach in batches. When spinach has wilted into the soup, the soup is done and ready to serve. Salt & pepper to taste.

I served this with garlic bread for the kids. It was a hit, especially with Jai who had two bowls.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Chicken Pot Pie from scratch

Some can get intimidated by chicken pot pie. It does take some work to make it, especially if you don't have access to ready made pie crust. Some thinks its a breeze by just using cream of mushroom soup, frozen veggies and canned chicken. But nothing beats the taste of homemade Chicken Pot Pie made lovingly for your family. If you want to know how to make chicken pot pie from scratch, read on.

Personally, making chicken pot from scratch can take literally a day to make. It's something I have to plan in advance. Before when I started making it, only hubby enjoyed this oven-baked goodie. But now I found a new fan - our eldest son Jai. Also, Jai has taken to eating a whole pie by himself. Now that's what I call a big thumbs-up. :)

Pie crust

1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1/2 stick of butter
4 tablespoons of lard (yes lard or else it won't be flaky)
1 tsp salt
6-8 tablespoons of ice water

Dump all the flour in a large bowl. Cut the butter into pieces, add to the flour along with the lard. Add the salt and start mixing the butter and lard into the flour, rubbing it between your fingers. Once everything is incorporated into the flour (which now resembles like oatmeal) add the ice water slowly and begin kneading the dough. Try to add water and then kneading the dough until the dough comes together into a ball and is smooth and elastic. It should have the color of golden wheat. Wrap in plastic and store in the fridge for 30 minutes to let it rest.

Chicken Pot Pie

4 chicken breasts, diced
2 potatoes, peeled and diced
1 large carrot, peeled and diced
2 celery ribs, diced
1 large onion, minced
2 cups chicken broth
1 cup milk
1/2 cup flour
salt & pepper
2 tablespoons butter

1. In a large pot, cook the carrots, onion and celery together. This is called the mirepoix. Cook this for 5-7 minutes until you see golden bits of crust form at the bottom of the pan. That is good.

2. Add the cube chicken and cook until the chicken is cooked through. (Note, you can used cooked chicken too but don't stirfry as long).

3. Add soup broth and turn the heat up to let it boil. Once it starts to boil, turn the heat down and let it simmer until the carrots are cooked through (about 20-25 minutes).

4. Add the potatoes and let cook for 7 minutes. Salt and pepper the soup to taste.

5. Add the flour to the milk and stir until everything is mixed thoroughly. Add the milk-flour mixture to the pot and stir. Cook until the chicken mixture becomes thick. Turn off the heat and let it cool.

To assemble: Get a pie pan and oil it well. Add about 2-3 cups of the cooled chicken mixture. Roll out the dough that you have chilling in the fridge. Cover the pie pan with the dough, brush it with milk and cut some slits for the steam to come out. Bake in your over, at 345 degrees F for about 40-30 minutes, or until the top is nicely golden brown all over. Take out of the oven, let it cool for about 15 minutes before serving.

Serve and watch your brood demolish the pie.

Note: You can make mini pot pies but ladling the chicken mixture into custard pots and covering each with its own pie crust cover like the picture I have up on top.

A Recipe from the early 18th Century (Meat Rolls)

Jai's Favorite Meat Rolls

I've always been a fan of recycling everything. Being a Filipina, it makes me cringe when stuff goes to waste. That's why I culled a recipe from The Old Foodie's blog (she's a fellow foodie member) that uses meat scraps and leftover veggies. The recipe is from an 18th century British cuisine for housewives.

Here's my adaptation.

2 cups of cooked meat (pork, chicken, beef and even fish)
1 cooked potato
1/2 carrot
1/2 onion
1 cup breadcrumbs
1 egg
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
salt & pepper to taste
3 slices of bacon, cut into 2 pieces each

1. Chop the onion, grate the carrot and dice the potato finely. You can use a food processor to do this to make it easier for you.
2. Shred the meat or mince using the food processor.
3. Combine all the ingredients in a large bowl. Mix very well.
4. Grab about 2-3 tablespoons of filling and shape into a mini-roll (about the length of your palm.
5. Lay a slice of bacon on top of the mini-roll and do the same with the rest of the fillings. You will be able to make about 6 mini-rolls with this recipe.
6. Heat the oven to 345 degrees F and bake the rolls for about 20-30 minutes until the bacon is crisp and the rolls are evenly golden-brown all over.

Serve rolls with your favorite gravy.