Honorary mention – real chinese street food

1 Jun

Asia is undeniably the birthplace of street food. In Europe we are not used to this kind of eating culture but I quickly got used to it. How convenient is it to just go downstairs and get yourself a bowl of fresh made noodles for the equivalent of 50 cents? So today I will introduce my favorite Chinese street food, the lanzhou style noodles, lanzhou lamian (translated to something like “pulled noodle” lanzhou style).

Here we see the cook working the dough, which is worked with aggressively. It is pulled in straight, quick, tugs with no twisting or waving. The cook will slam the dough against their prep boards to ensure even stretching and uniform thickness. While he will pull the dough and fold it over and over, he finally will start splitting the dough when he pulls it apart. The dough will get thinner and thinner and finally he will end up with something like spaghetti sized noodles. You can order your lamian in a bowl of soup or you can get them fried with beef or vegetables. All that for the price of below one USD.

Most lamian shops are run by Chinese Muslims so this street treat works perfect for a Hallal treat on the road side. Enjoy…

Advertisements

spicy shredded fusion chicken balls

15 May

This recipe has its roots in Bali, Indonesian islands of gods as well as in Germany. The German part roots from my favorite meatballs in a white roux, also called meatballs Königsberg style (Königsberger Klopse). I only discovered the Indonesian part of this recipe when I first visited Bali. There, next to a the most beautiful island in the world, I was able to discover new spices and unknown but inspiring tastes and smells. The spiciness of the food first gave my European pallet as well my European stomach a great challenge to overcome at first, but in the end, when I got used to it, I think it was well worth it. The spiciness is something that was completely new to me but that I would not miss it any more. I surprise myself more and more often putting chili paddies into my European recipes. Anyhow there was this dish, it was a fried shredded chicken recipe where the shredded chicken had a coating / marinade with all kinds of different roots, which the locals like to use for their cooking (there was ginger and galangal, I am sure there was some turmeric but I guess there were many others as well), lots of chili paddies that gave the dish a healthy red color and some kind of crust, I guess it must have been a breadcrumb or flour based coating.
Anyway, the dish was so rich in flavors so it inspired me to recreate the dish with a twist. As I try to avoid frying as cooking method (I don’t like to use too much oil as I am never can sure were the oil is actually coming from – I will write more about this in another blog post about food scandals in China, later) I tried to make this recipe fried meatball style but it was too dry. Then, after I successfully tried to make it “Königsberger” style and added some of the European flavors (such as capers…) and rounded everything off with a rich, silky textured roux that binds all the flavors together and gives it a creamy wetness, I had a real winner on hand. This dish came out full of flavors, I can find most of the ingredients easily in China but be warned, it’s not something for the fainted hearted and quite spicy for some. If you are European and you would like to try this recipe, I suggest you half the chili content of this recipe.

Fusion style shredded chicken balls

3 parts recipe:

  1. The soup and the chicken:

½ onion, 1 carrot, 1 strung of celery, 1 leak, 2 big chicken breasts

Heat up ¾ liter of water, put all the ingredients and let it cook on medium heat for 45 minutes

  1. The broth and the roux

Table spoon full of capers, 1 – 2 table spoon of vinegar (up to your pallet), salt and pepper to season off, 1 tea spoon of paprika powder, 3 small hot chili

Now you filter the veggies from the broth, squeeze out all veggies to get the juices, put the clear broth back on medium heat, all the above ingredients and let everything cook on medium heat so the tastes can blend nicely in and you have a tasteful roux later

  1. The chicken balls

Grated zest of one lemon, the juice of half a lemon, 2 cloves of garlic, ½ big diced onion, 1 table spoon of paprika powder, salt and knorr fondor base to season, 1 tea spoon of Cumming powder,  1 tea spoon of dried coriander, one thumbnail sized piece of turmeric and ginger, chopped fine, 4 red small hot chili chopped, 2 cups of bread crumbs, 1 egg

Now you take the tender cooked chicken breasts and start to shred them. After you shredded to chicken to small pieces, fry the onions, garlic, turmeric, ginger and chili in a pan, fry them fast and hot. The onions can turn transparent colored, which is exactly when you take the pan off the heat. Now you add all of the above mentioned ingredients together in a bowl and mix them well. Best is if you have a good hour where you can let everything marinade through, but that is not necessary if you are in a hurry and very hungry. Now you form nice sized chicken balls out of the mix, after rolling them, press them well together so they stick together and won’t fall apart in the broth. Now you place the chicken balls in the hot broth and cook everything together for 15 – 20 minutes on medium heat, so the chicken balls will be cooked well through. Now you can filter out the broth and start making a roux, using this rich flavored broth. Don’t make the roux to watery, stop adding broth when the roux is nice, creamy, rich and silky.

Swabian potato salad

8 May

Kartoffelsalat, eternal kartoffelsalat. One of my favorite Swabian dishes that absolutely belongs to this blog as much as it belongs to every BBQ, and as a side dish to many other dishes that I like to make is the original swabian potato salad (thinking about meatballs, minced meat pie, meat loaf and many others here). As far as I can remember back in my youth, I always will remember the fun fairs we had in our small village, organized by the local social clubs such as the football club for example. We children especially enjoyed the fresh grilled German sausages, Sauerkraut and of course a healthy portion of potato salad.

Actually, in Germany there is a variety of different versions of this salad recipe but the two main directions are different as In the north they are mixing mayonnaise in the salad which makes it a bit on the heavier side, in the south, where I come from, it’s a more light version based on vegetable stock and oil. This is an easy to make dish, even here in China I can find every necessary ingredient everywhere and even if normally back in Germany I would make this dish with special hard boiling salad potatoes, it also can be done with any other ole potato.

So here we go, enjoy this recipe (<- by day and by night – that one is just for you hehe)


 

Potato salad at the BBQ

Recipe

1 kg potatoes, 1 onion, 2 table spoons of white wine vinegar, 1 cup of veggie stock, 1 table spoon salt, 3 table spoons of sun flower oil, 2 tea spoon of mustard, 1 clove of garlic

Boil the potatoes till they are just softening inside, peal them and put them aside till they are colder, therefore easier to cut. Heat up the veggie stock and let it boil for a short time, then switch the fire of and let the stock cool down. Now dice the onions and squeeze the garlic through the garlic press and let those swim in the veggie stock. Now put the sliced potatoes in a bowl, season with salt and pepper, put the stock with the onions on top. Now you mix the mustard with the vinegar, stir it in till it is dissolved and pour this mix with the oil to the potatoes. Put it in the fridge or a cold place, best is if it can stay there overnight so the potatoes can soak up all the nice liquids around. The salad has to be glistening wet, if its not, add some more oil over it until it has a nice and shiny texture.

Eggplant Parmagiana

1 May

So, there it is, the eggplant parmagiana. Unlike most other recipes, I have no story to tell about this one. It is one of my favorite Italian dish, certainly not as well known as other Italian dishes, far from being as famous as a pizza, spaghetti, Ravioli or many other recipes from Italy. But it is such a flavorful dish and there is no meat in it, I just love this dish. You should not make this dish if you want to watch your weight or if you are on a diet and even if its not the easiest dish to make and it’s actually quite time intensive to make, I still love it so much, so to cut the story short, here comes the recipe for you to try it yourself:

parmigiana

2 eggplants, 500 gram fresh mushrooms, 2 eggs, 500 gram peeled tomatoes, 250 gram mozzarella, some grated Parmesan cheese, cumming, olive oil, 1 diced onion, salt and pepper to season, dried basil, coriander powder, lemon juice, 1 garlic clove

Cut the eggplant in slices of about 1 cm thickness. Salt them on both sides and put them on some kitchen paper and cover them with another sheet of kitchen paper and put some weight on them so all the water will be pressed out. Let the paper suck up all the water from the eggplant. Put some oil in a pan and heat it up real good put a clove of garlic for a minute in the oil so the oil will get the taste from the garlic. Fry the eggplant slices in the hot oil real good so they get nice and golden brown. The eggplant is very dry now so the slices will suck up a lot of oil, make sure there is always enough oil in the pan. Now you take the peeled tomatoe in a bowl and season with the cumming, salt, pepper, coriander and the basil. Boil the two eggs till they are hard and cut them in slices. Then you slice the mushrooms very thin. Fry some oil in a pan, fry the onions in it till they are transparent, add the mushrooms. and pour some lemon juice all over the mushrooms. Now take a casserole and start putting one layer of eggplant.; put a layer of mushrooms on top and then put a layer of tomatoe sauce and a layer of mozzarella. Do all of that one more time and on top you put the slices of egg and take a handful of the grated parmesan cheese on top of the sliced eggs. Put everything in a preheated oven and cook it for 30 minutes at 180 ° (Celsius that is of course). Enjoy…

Spinach “Cupcake” parfait – Popeye sure would love that one…

24 Apr

Last time when we went back to my hometown, I was very happy to meet up with my godmother who I have not seen in a very long time. A surprise that was skilfully prepared by my mom. She had the great idea to present my wife with a pictured cookbook: Germany – a culinary tour. The book contains a good number of typical German dishes alongside with some pictures and their recipes (sounds a bit like this blog, doesn’t it? haha). Maybe my godmother made this gift in the hope that my wife would take this book as a motivating moment and so she would start to cook some those dishes for me. By now, all that know me, already can have a good guess how the story ended up? Right, I ended up using it and cook some of those dishes for my wife. She still enjoys the book very much by looking at the pictures and telling me what she would like me to cook for her.

In that book there is a Broccoli parfait that is really delicious but I changed it the broccoli to spinach that i prefer over broccoli anyway (alongside with some other minor modifications) and, long story short, here I would like to present you this dish that I usually serve as a veggie side dish.

Spinatkuchen

1 good kg of spinach (if you use raw spinach buy 1.5 kg fresh spinach) 1 carrot, 5 eggs, 250 ml of cream (cream is one of the things that are very hard to get here, so I skip this one most of the time but if you have some, add it, it’s really worth it, makes everything just so much better), 4 table spoons of grated Swiss cheese (I recommend Emmental or Gruyere), Nutmeg, pepper and salt for seasoning and butter for greasing.

If you got fresh spinach, just as me, first you got to clean the spinach well as spinach grows on sandy soil and you don’t want to have the sandy sensations added to your pallet. Soak the spinach a good 10 – 20 minutes in water. After that you cut of the stem of the spinach and steam it with a little water for a very short time to keep most of the good stuff (Vitamines A and B, Iron, Calcium, Magnesium etc…) inside the plant. Then you take it out and put it in a blender, alongside with all the other ingredients. Blend everything together until you got a consistent light green color spinach cream. This is the time that you start to heat the oven at 180 C. In the meantime you grease up some little cupcake forms in which we will make our little spinach cupcakes. Then you pour the spinach cream in the greased forms. This ones, we will put on a bigger ove tray in which we will fill water, so that the cupcake forms will be baking in this water bath. Now we put the waterbath with the forms in the oven and bake the spinach pies for about 60 – 70 minutes. After that, just shake the pies out of the cupcake forms and enjoy the spinach meal :).

Chilli con carne – caramba

19 Apr

Chili, maybe among my top ten of favorite dishes. Easy to make, great flavors getting better the longer you keep it. Actually the very best is to eat it only a day after you first made it, the flavors will really have developed so much more in the dish, you won’t stop eating it But make no mistake, this dish is not for the fainthearted. It only is really good if it’s hot and spicy. So don’t go too easy on the hot stuff in this dish (I usually take 4 or 5 fresh small red chills, the hot ones)

Actually, I always make a HUGE pot full of it, it lasts us at least a few days after i made some. The only downturn, once the pot is empty, you want to go immediately about making another one :). Ay caramba, a nice chili with a cold beer from the fridge, it’s the cheapskate version of a trip to Mexico indeed. There is no one source original recipe for the chili con carne, but without doubt it is made out of beef cubes or chopped beef instead of minced meat. I am too lazy bum to stroll around for some good beef, but I always have some stock of minced (mixed) meat in the fridge so I will use that instead, tastes just as nice I tell ya.

Chilli con carne

Ingriedients:

500g minced meat, 3 big onions, 500 g. tomatoes (the ones from the tin, the pizza ones, got just more flavor), 500 g. kidney beans, 1 tin of corn, 3 bell peppers (red would be best for the color  but green / yellow works just as fine) – diced, some oil, cayenne pepper, 3 dice (I do not have a press but if you have one, press it rather then dicing it) garlic cloves, chili powder / 3- 5 fresh diced chills, 500 ml beefstock 1 tea spoon of paprika powder, cumming, salt and pepper to season

how to make it?

Put oil in a stock pot or a fire proof casserole and heat it up. Add diced onions, diced bell pepper and the garlic and simmer everything till its starting to get soft, now the casserole should be pretty hot already. Then you add the meat and cook everything on high heat until the meat lost all its juices and starts to get a bit brown. Add the stock, and everything else, exept the pepper and salt. Now cover your casserole and let the whole thing simmer for about 90 – 120 minutes on low heat. Don’t forget to season to taste before serving. Again, i cook it a day before I actually eat it, all the flavors will mix nicely and the hotness will get into every piece of the chili.

Best served with rice or even pure with a few pieces of bread… Enjoy

Roux

15 Apr

The roux, or “Mehlschwitze” how we call it, is a way to thicken sauces that my Aunt has been teaching me in my youth, while I was watching her cooking all those delicious swabian recipes Boy she was a cook like you will not find another one any more these days. Her cakes and pies, homemade noodles, cookies and deserts will be missed dearly. Anyhow, this is the recipe to make roux, its quick and easy and a good way to thicken sauces when cooking. All you need is:

2 table spoons of butter, 2 table spoons of flour

Melt the butter, add the flour and stir with constantly, with a roux its advisable never to stop steering. Now you let everything fry until its “burns” to a slight chocolate brown color, but it cannot burn for real of course. Then you add the stock that you would like to turn into a viscid sauce spoon by spoon to the roux and continue to stir constantly. You will see how the liquids will mix with the roux and turn into something like a mash. That is the sign to add another spoon of liquid until everything slowly turns into a viscid sauce. Don’t add too much liquid and never forget the steering to avoid the formation of clumps.