【美食天堂】Aldea Portuguese & Slik Cake Cupcakes 型男主厨的葡式料理
Today let’s learn to cook youtiao! Youtiao (said yo-tee-ow) are also called Chinese doughnuts or fried breadsticks. The ingredients are fairly simple—flour, baking powder, baking soda, sugar, salt, and water—but the process is quite time consuming. It can take up to 9 hours. But regardless, the results are priceless.
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What comes to your mind when I say fried chicken? Fried chicken has always been one of my favorite comfort foods. I know what you are thinking, looking at my size, you probably don’t believe me. But what can I say? It’s true! Fried chicken has accompanied me through many ups and downs, especially during my college years at Santa Clara University in California.
I could be biased, but to me Santa Clara University has the most mesmerizing college campus. The Mission church is at the heart of the campus. As you walk around the grounds, the tall palm trees stand straight and green grass waves in the breeze. The pleasant sunlight that falls on your face feels like a warm kiss on the cheek. Blue sky is the vividly painted backdrop. Occasionally squirrels run around you playfully. These are some of my signature memories of Santa Clara University.
Throughout my college years we had a lot of fun times, with lots of parties and game nights. We usually dressed in very casual clothes. Pajama pants, sweatshirts, and flip-flops were popular fashion trends. We played games and chatted over drinks, snacks, pizza, and fried chicken.
I also had some stressful times, like during midterms and finals when my textbooks and notebooks were sprawled across the cafeteria table. I would also have a bottle of water and a large cup of coffee on the table, as well as snacks that helped release my stress—sour candies, chocolates, and of course, fried chicken!
I remember when my roommate had her wisdom teeth pulled. She was in so much pain that she could barely talk or even move around. And guess what was for dinner that night? Fried chicken!
Yep. These are some of my fried chicken memories. Fried chicken helped me cope with the best and worst times during my college years. After moving back to New York City, my craving for fried chicken hasn’t subdued. Instead, I have fallen in love with several Korean Fried Chicken places in New York City.
One of my favorite places for Korean Fried Chicken is called Hell’s Chicken. Their fried chicken is super crispy and crunchy on the outside, and juicy and succulent on the inside.
Korean fried chicken is typically fried twice, resulting in the skin being crunchier and less greasy. The chicken is usually seasoned with salt prior to being fried. Korean fried chicken is often served with pickled radishes, beer, and soju.
“Korean fried chicken was brought to Korea by American, and we created our own sauces to go with the fried chicken”, said Jeong S. Lee, the manager of Hell’s Chicken. It’s so popular in Korea now that you literary see fried chicken shops in every corner. An average person would eat at least one meal of fried chicken per week.
Now let’s learn how to make Soy Garlic Korean Fried Chicken!
2 lbs of chicken wings and drumsticks
4 oz of rice flour
4 cups of vegetable oil
Soy Garlic Sauce
2 tablespoons of soy sauce
2 tablespoons of water
2 tablespoons of minced garlic
1 teaspoon of garlic powder
2 tablespoons of brown sugar
2 tablespoons of syrup
1. To brine the chicken, in a big bowl add all the chicken pieces, 1 gallon of water and 1/2 cup of kosher salt, and make sure salt dissolves. Then cover the bowl and put it in the refrigerator for 6 hours.
2. To make the sauce, put soy sauce, water, minced garlic, garlic powder, sugar, and syrup in a saucepan and simmer at a low heat for about 5 minutes until everything is dissolved. Put it aside.
3. After 6 hours, drain the chicken pieces, and cover them with rice flour.
4. In your frying pan, add oil, preheat your pan to 350 degrees, then put the chicken pieces in and fry for about 9 minutes. Take the chicken pieces out and let them cool for about 40 seconds. Fry the chicken one more time for about 5 minutes. Take the chicken out and apply the sauce with a brush.
After eating Hell’s Chicken’s Soy Garlic Fried Chicken, all my college memories came flooding back to me, both the ups and the downs. Everything! It’s just so heavenly. Let me know how this recipe works for you. Happy cooking and eating!
Pad Thai: A Popular but Forgotten Dish!
So, I am Chinese born, live in the US, but would you believe it, my first language was Thai? I am sure you are asking the question, “Well how did that happen?”
The story goes, that after being born in China, I moved to Thailand—at the age of two—and lived there for eight years. Thus, my nostalgic memories of my childhood are infused with all things Thai/Thailand.
Yet my memory does seem to be selective, in its own right. Some of the Thai language has escaped me, and some of those childhood memories seem to have odd gaps.
What I do remember is Thailand as it was then, and for the most part still is today; an endless sea of cars and motorcycles, honking of car horns, and barking of dogs. In Bangkok, where I lived, there were the silhouettes of Pagodas set against the background of a cityscape horizon.
The Thai people were always so kind, and always greeted me with a smile. It was four seasons of sun, and most all had a dark-tan complexions, and dressed in light colored flower patterned clothing.
They walked with an even pace with many colorful billboards and signs one visual rung up from the pedestrial view. The weather was sunny, but unbearably hot, like a sauna room round the year.
And there were also food carts selling a variety of Thai food on most every block and most every street corner. One could find tropical fresh fruit, skewered meat and fish balls, papaya salad, noodle soup, grilled chicken with sticky rice.
Oddly enough, what I don’t remember is seeing or eating any Pad Thai.
At the age of eight, I would eventually move here to New York City—who could live anywhere else? And amidst the massive scope of a multitude of cultural cuisines, Thai cuisine was a New York City staple, and with it one of the favorites of Thai cuisine, Pad Thai.
This would be my first remembrance of the dish. Most all of us order or have ordered it and since I don’t recall seeing Pad Thai in Thailand when I was a child, it made me wonder, is it really authentic Thai food, or is it American Thai food—an Americanization of Thai cuisine. Or is it that I was just forgetful in my mind on this specific memory?
So, what is Pad Thai? Well, Pad Thai generally consists of rice noodles, eggs, brown tofu, leeks, peanuts, and bean sprouts. It is flavored with tamarind, plum sugar, fish sauce, vinegar, and red chili pepper, and served with shrimp, chicken, or beef. The ideal Pad Thai has a balance of sweet, sour, and salt in its composition.
Continuing on my quest for clarity on Pad Thai and its origins, I went to see my friend Jack Wachara Nittayarot.
Jack is the owner of two Thai restaurants in New York City: Thai Soup on the Upper East Side and Tom & Yum on the Upper West Side.
According to many Thai mothers, Jack has a very typical Thai celebrity look, and is well liked and recognized in the community here. To me, Jack is a great friend, and a true gentleman who loves food and wants to promote Thai food and culture to the locals.
I asked Jack, “Is Pad Thai really an authentic Thai food or is it an American Thai dish?” Jack confirmed, “Pad Thai is an authentic Thai dish.” Not only is it an authentic Thai dish, but it is also recognized as one of Thailand’s national dishes. It has been one of the most popular street foods since World War II and is sold it in every night market.
So it is true Thai cusine. Maybe I had it many, many times during my childhood years and/or I was too young to remember. Maybe it’s like my Thai language skills… forgotten because of a lack of use. Or much like a forgotten language which begins to be used and remembered again, maybe my Thai Pad memories will all come back if we prepare and cook the entree.
Let’s give it a try, and learn to make Pad Thai with Jack Wachara Nittayarot from Thai Soup!
1 tablespoon of tamarind sauce
1 1/2 tablespoons of plum sugar
1/2 tablespoon of vinegar
1 tablespoon of fish sauce
1 tablespoon of sugar
A pinch of salt
Pad Thai Noodles and Other Ingrediencts:
4 oz of dry rice noodles
1/3 cup of bean sprouts
1 tablespoon of brown tofu, diced
2 whole eggs
1 oz of leek
2 tablespoons of ground peanuts
1/2 teaspoon of chili powder or red paprika
1 tablespoon of preserved radish
1 lemon wedge
When I was in Taipei three years ago, I had the most memorable spicy red braised beef noodle soup at a hole in the wall place. The noodle shop had three round tables, with roughly12 chairs, and an old fashioned fan on the ceiling. I could hear the sound of the fan moving in a circular motion on and on as the smell of beef broth permeated the air.
Spicy red braised beef noodle soup was all they sold yet the entire shop was packed with customers with more lining up outside. I recall asking one of the waiting staff for a glass of water. She looked at me like I was an alien and replied, “They sell water at the 7/11 right across the street.” It was an odd experience, but I must admit that the red braised beef noodle soup was shockingly delicious. After coming back to New York City, I have never had anything as good as that bowl of red braised beef noodle soup.
So what exactly is red braised beef noodle soup? It’s a bowl of hot steaming noodle soup with sliced red braised beef shank. When soy sauce is added it’s called “red braised.” Chinese red braised beef noodle soup is also a celebratory dish for the Chinese New Year because the long noodles symbolize longevity. Since the Chinese New Year is coming up on February 19th, I’m on a quest to learn to cook the best red braised beef noodle soup myself.
I’m certain that Chef Zizhao Luo of Radiance Fine Asian Cuisine in Midtown East is just the right person to teach me this recipe. Chef Luo is Cantonese, in his late 40s, with an affectionate smile that always makes you feel at ease. In his 30 years as a chef, he has won countless awards and carries numerous burn marks on his arms.
According to Chef Luo, the Cantonese version of red braised beef noodle soup is the best. So that’s what he’s going to teach me. But what’s the difference? Many regions like Taiwan, Sichuan, and Canton, all have red braised beef noodle soup with subtle differences. Taiwanese and Sichuan’s red braised beef noodle soup can be spicy and sometimes they add tomatoes to their broth. However, the Cantonese version is never spicy and much lighter in taste.
I asked Chef Luo, “So what’s the secret to making delicious red braised beef noodle soup?” He relied calmly, “The quality of a chef’s work is a strong reflection of their state of mind. The calmer the mind, the tastier the dishes will be. The same with red braised beef noodle soup.”
He also thinks that every other step is important. One must use fresh ingredients, and boil the beef shank first to remove any gamey flavors. Stir-frying the ginger, garlic, and scallions first, before braising the beef, will add extra dimensions to the beef shank and gravy’s taste, and make the beef noodle soup unforgettable!
Many of the ingredients that we are using can only be found at Chinese supermarkets. These are common ingredients in Chinese cooking, so you can ask someone in the store for help if you can’t find them. This recipe is good for 2 people.
10 oz beef shank
8 oz of Chinese wheat noodles
4 Chinese bok choy
1 scallion, sliced
3 ginger, sliced
3 cilantros, chopped
2 dried red peppers
3 cloves of garlic
2 tablespoons of Chinese five-spice powder
3 tablespoons of brown cooking soy sauce
1 tablespoon of chu hou paste
1 tablespoon of dark soy sauce
1 piece of sugar cane
1 tablespoon of shaoxing wine
1 box of beef stock
A pinch of salt
A pinch of sugar
A pinch of white pepper
A dash of sesame oil
4 cups of water
1. Blanch the beef in boiling water for 5 minutes to remove extra fat and blood. Take the beef out and allow it to cool for about 5 minutes—it’s easier to cut when the beef is cool. Then cut the beef shank in half, and then slice it into 10 pieces.
2. Heat up a pot, add 2 tablespoons of oil, the ginger, scallions, and red peppers, and cook until their aroma comes out. Then add chu hou paste, brown cooking soy sauce, shaoxing wine, beef slices, and stir fry for about 20 seconds until everything is coated. Then add 4 cups of water, the dark soy sauce, sugar cane, sesame oil, salt, pepper, and Chinese five-spice powder. Cook for 60 minutes over a low heat.
3. After the braised beef shank is ready, in a separate pot, heat the beef stock, with a pinch of salt, sugar, and white pepper, until boiled.
4. In another pot, boil the noodles in hot water for 5 minutes. Test with chopsticks to see if they break. If they break they are ready. Transfer the noodles to a bowl. Then place the beef and some gravy on top of the noodles. Pour the soup into the bowl. Lastly, garnish with cilantro and scallions.
So what’s the conclusion? Between Taiwanese and the Cantonese red braised beef noodle soup, which one do I think is better? I think it’s debatable in both ways. The Taiwanese one that I had in Taipei, the soup was spicy, rich, and with a hint of sweetness. Chef Luo’s Cantonese version is light, satisfying, and with many dimensions of taste. They are both heavenly delicious. How about you? Which one do you think it’s better? Let me know! Happy cooking and eating!
What first comes to your mind when I say Valentine’s Day? Some people automatically associate Valentine’s Day with pink and red roses and hearts, cupids, and lovebirds. My brain automatically conjures images of chocolates–I love those heavenly goodies, so rich, luscious, and silky.
Today I’m going to meet up with chef Christophe Toury of Voilà Chocolat on the Upper West Side. Christophe has been named one of the 10 Best Pastry Chefs in America by Pastry Art & Design Magazine. He loves working with chocolate because he loves the distinct way chocolate responds to human creativity and ingenuity, almost as if it were alive. I love his passion toward chocolate! So today Christophe will teach us how to make heart-shaped chocolate lollipops for Valentine’s Day!
Here’s what we’ll need:
2 chocolate bars, broken into small pieces
6 heart-shaped chocolate molds
6 lollipop sticks
A variety of toppings
A medium sized ziplock bag
1. Break 2 chocolate bars into small pieces and place in a medium bowl. Put the bowl in a microwave and heat it for 20 seconds. Take it out and stir it to even out the heat. Put it in the microwave for another 20 seconds. Take it out and stir to again even out the heat. Put it in the microwave for another 20 seconds. Take it out and stir continuously until everything is melted and tempered. At this point the chocolate’s temperature should be around 90°F.
2. Use a spatula to scrape the tempered chocolate into a ziplock bag and use your fingers to squeeze it to a corner. Use scissors to cut the corner off the bag.
3. Decorate the molds with toppings. Then squeeze the bag from the top down to push the chocolate on to the molds. Fill every mold and then add the lollipop sticks. Transfer the chocolate molds into the fridge for 10 minutes. Your heart shaped lollipops will be ready in just 10 minutes!
Special Thanks to Voilà Chocolat
221 West 79th Street
New York, NY 10022