Making Japanese Curry – From Scratch

Another part of the Young Family Dinner Challenge… Making a version of Inspired Japanese Curry with no Roux Cubes, no artificial flavorings seemed like a very long challenge.  I did my research and used the following ingredients for my Japanese Curry.

1 Pound of very very sinewy beef shank

A mix of Veggies – 1 Onion, Baby Potatoes, 3 Carrots, 20 Baby Carrots — Depending on Taste & Haricot Verts Beans quarter of a Pound & 3 Apples for the Sweetness & Sauce Thickness. Half a Pound of Chopped tomatoes – Skin Removed.

Curry Flavor – Tumeric Powder, Cumin Seeds, Mustard Seeds, Paprika, Saffron & Dark Chocolate.  I flavored as i went no measurement but roughly 2 heaping table spoons of each except for the saffron – Maybe 5 strands.

First up the beef: – Marintate with Pink Himalayian Salt and Black Kampot Pepper and lightly dust with rice flour.

Sear on High Heat with Rice Bran Oil until browned – Stir in Onions for 10 mins until softened.

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Pour off the excessive Oil.  Now it looks like soup….

Add water and simmer with apples and chopped tomatoes. – Let Simmer for 2 Hours Low Heat stirring gently.

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At this stage the apples should smash easily….

Add all the seasonings and stir to combine.  The color should now turn quite dark. Let simmer on the same low heat for another 2 hours – Try smushing the apples into the sauce after the 2 hours.  As it’s on low heat the cooking time is much longer.  I prefer the oven but this time i wanted to try using the stove which i thought worked perfectly fine.

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Gently Heat – so it doesn’t burn and everything gently cooks….

Enter into the 5th hour.  Add Carrots and Potatoes – Always cut potatoes larger ad carrots smaller to ensure similiar cooking times.  Taste after almost done – 45 minutes – At this stage i add in brewers yeast for a darker flavor and color.  You can leave this step if you prefer and add in some chicken stock if you like.  I like my curries sweet and light.

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It’s delicious – sweet, mild and you can taste the richness…. See the beef sinews?

Add in the baby corn and beans – 5 Minutes and close the lid, turn off gas and leave over night.

The Beef sinews becomes like a fatty expensive cut.  It melts and breaks in the mouth with a rich fatty mouth feel without the fat.  Really nice.

Enjoy Dinner – Young Family way…..

Homemade Egg Noodles & Fish Balls

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Very Humble Looking Store Front

Located near our new office on Pridi Road, Phrakanong is an old old shop selling clear broth noodles with either morning glory or mung bean spouts.  It doesn’t look appealing probably for caucasians but this shop has been making their own fish balls, wontons and egg noodles for many many years, kind of a fusion between chinese and thai tastes.  It costs about 50 baht for a bowl of noodles, not cheap but rather filling and delicious.

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Where they cook your noodle to order.

As you can see their cooking station, they have all the types of noodles on show in the glass showcase, from “sen lek” thinnish rice noodles, “sen mee” round super thin rice noodles, “sen yai” wide ride noodles and egg noodles or “bamee”.  You choose your noodles and your toppings which comes with a choice of fish balls, Ue Guay which is Fish Paste in a long tube with some spring onions and fried and then sliced, crispy wontons, fried taro sticks in a mound shape, spring rolls and little prawn wontons and shrimp balls.  I’m not a bean sprout fan so i always ask for other green vegetables instead.  In all those bowls of condiments that you see, there are salt, sugar, pepper, garlic oil, spring onions, preserved vegetables, msg (most likely) and the pinkish thing is called Yen Ta Fo which is a fermented bean paste which makes your soup pink and has a sweet beany tofuish taste.

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Shrimp balls, fried taro, spring rolls and shrimp wonton, a rarity nowadays.
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See the fish-balls?  Light chewy delicious no fishy smell!

Again it’s a rarity you can’t find these toppings anymore in Bangkok, I’m sure there are some left but i dont know where they are.  Fish balls are common but all these other toppings are special and must be tasted when you are in Bangkok!

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Egg Noodle Special with Broth on the Side YUM!

It’s easier to see the noodles without the soup or broth on top so we ordered it separately.  The fish balls was delicious, the spring rolls crispy and the moo daeng or red sauced roasted pork has a nice texture to it.  really Yummy, and all for 50 baht or less than 2 USD!

Pridi – Near Gas Station.  You can park at the gas station for 20 baht.

Thai Omelet…. With siracha sauce

Delish and comfort food!
Delish and comfort food!

Traveling during work always makes me homesick on the 4th or 5th day.  At nice hotels they always have egg stations which offer a choice of poached, fried, scrambled or the stuffed omelet.  Now the usual omelet if you’re not from thailand would be in a long wormy shape, nice and yellow and undercooked in the middle with a plethora of stuffings.  In thailand we have our own omelet which is everyones favorite dish, be it at home or in a restaurant this dish is emptied out first.  How to make your own?  You need a hot pan and hot oil, because you want your egg to brown and have crispy spots.  Do not put in too much stuffing because your egg would break andn it would resemble a brown scrambled egg.  Trust me i’ve fallen prey to this one too many times.  I used 3 eggs, half a tomato, 6 minced shrimps and some kale.  Beat it all up together until foamy, you want lots of air inside so it becomes nice and fluffy.  I used a table spoon of soy sauce and a sprinkle of white pepper.  Drop a few drops of egg into the oil, if it bubbles up then the oil if hot enough.  Pour everything in and let it bubble for a 2 minutes, when the bottom is firm enough quickly flip it over and cook until golden brown.  Serve with siracha sauce with congee, or hot rice.  Easy dinner.  Done… PS:  Every kid loves this… really….

So delish and moreish!

Fusion Breakfast Tortilla

So delish and moreish!
Fresh, yummy, simple to make!

Breakfast is always considered important to me, and with the luxury of working rather late i have time in the mornings to cook up something yummy.  This morning rummaging up with some odds and ends, i had a leftover white flour tortilla which i heated on the pan before frying my egg.  Notice how firm the white is, it really is simple, the fresher the egg, the better it holds it’s shape.  I mashed up an avocado with lime, garlic, birds eye chilli and come coriander.  Looking in the fridge i had some leftover parma ham… Serious it sounds so weird.. But it was delish.  The guacamole gave the creamy, limey and chilli hit, combined with the salty of the ham and piping hot egg on top. I didn’t need anymore salt, just a sprinkling of black pepper and off to work i goooo!

Craaaabbbbbb

Fresh piping hot crab.. With dark meat gravy....
Fresh piping hot crab.. With dark meat gravy….

Life’s simple… Freshly steamed crab, dig out all the yummy brown meat, some chicken stock, garlic, carmelised onions, black pepper corns and some salt. Pour everything back in the shell, arrange artfully or in my case not so artfully on a white plate.  Garnish with dill fronds and serve…  Dig in….. YUM!!!

Upscale Homey Cooking – Chef’s Table

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Comfy Leather seating

In the relatively suburban area of Pattanakarn – Bangkok Thailand, amids the plethora of street food and cheap eats stood a new restaurant called Chef’s Table.  Located on the 2nd floor of the Oasis Building it’s sophisticated interior stands out so we popped over one day for dinner just to see how it tastes..

Sophisticated yet homey feel to it...
Sophisticated yet homey feel to it…

Pricing is of course a bit fancy for your average dinner but consider it a special treat…  We started off with Onion Soup, which came piping hot, the consomme was rich with butter soft onions which was delish with the bread and hot cheese.  Not too strong and not too mild.  Good Start to the meal..  The Lobster Bisque was ok, but i felt it wasn’t rich enough, it was too thin for my liking.  Not bad, but just fell a bit short..

Melty Cheese on a crunchy baguette
Melty Cheese on a crunchy baguette
Not boozy, and creamy enough for my liking..
Not boozy, and creamy enough for my liking..

The salads wasn’t too impressive, it was ok for a salad stand point but then again it’s really hard to make salad into something that is fantastic..  The veggies were fresh and crispy but compared with the soup made them unremarkable.

Pricey...
Pricey…
so so...
so so…

When is a pasta dish not an ordinary pasta dish.. This spaghetti vongole was one of the best i have ever tasted, really, it was so amazing everyone fought for it and made up our minds to come back just for the pasta.  The noodles was cooked just right with a nice bite to it, but someone it seemed to have soaked up all the sauce.  It was so flavorful, light, clamy with a hint of white wine.  it was so good.

Mindblowing...
Mindblowing…

The other main courses weren’t as impressive, i felt although the lamb was cooked perfectly it seemed a bit naked, if you look at the plate you’d feel the same way.  Mashed potatoes tasted great but both arrived warm.  It is a pet peeve of mine i like my food piping hot, like it should be hot.  The steak was better, nice medium rare, the foie gras had a crunchy and buttery insides.  Redeemed the final course.  It was a nice meaty contrast with the pear, i’d say this place is worth coming back to just for the soup and vongole.  Overall a nice family meal…

a bit cold...
a bit cold…
Foie Gras.....
Foie Gras…..

Savoury Yummies at Tomato Noodles

Lunch Sets
Lunch Sets

Located in the same soi as Villa Sukhumvit (across Emporium), right next to the Japanese 60 baht store is this cheery looking ramen shop.  Tomato Noodle… Either the noodles are pink or the soup must have a tomato base so we decided to grab a bite.  The menu is quite extensive ranging from the different choices of Ramen, (both hot and cold), the extensive options to go with your ramen like onsen eggs, sausages, seaweed, butter, corn etc.  Side dishes range from pot stickers, stewed pork belly, fried chicken, shrimp croquettes, enoki mushrooms wraped in bacon, sweet tamago and salads and soups to choose from.  There’s also rice to choose from including curry rice, rice balls, meat topped rice bowls and even a selection of kids menu.  You can even choose from the set menus which feature a main dish, a side dish  and a drink.

We ordered a tomato ramen since it was their signature dish, a pork belly topped rice bowl with a side of gyoza.  The gyoza (pot stickers) came excellent, piping hot with a crunchy bottom and soft juicy filling.  Now some people like deep fried gyoza which to me is a mystery, but i must say it was a great balance of juicy, crunchy and soft wrapping.  Dip with the soy and vinegar was just yummy.

 

Yummy Juicy Gyoza
Yummy Juicy Gyoza
Delish!
Delish!
Melt in the Mouth!
Melt in the Mouth!
Can you taste the tomatoes?
Can you taste the tomatoes?

Now the ramen was well ramen, but strangely, i loved the soup.  It was so tomatoey in a rich porky broth.  For people who do not like tomatoes, skip this place, well come for the gyozas and the rice dishes but it was a sourish pork rich broth. hmm… yums.  Too much ramen noodles, not enough broth in my opinion.  Next up was the rice dish, suprising was very good, the pork belly was melt in the mouth a nice balance of sweet and soy and savoury without being too oily.  Slurp up the soup and it’s a great palate cleanser.  For Thai standards it is a bit pricey as a normal lunch would cost around 50 baht here it was almost 500 baht,  but come here for a special treat and indulge in a bit of tomatoey goodness.  Definitely for tomato lovers!

More Sets to Choose from...
More Sets to Choose from…
Yummy looking rice ball!
Yummy looking rice ball!
Fried Rice Choices..
Fried Rice Choices..
Wash it down with a beer!
Wash it down with a beer!

Old Fashioned Chinese Food at IATA (Bangkok)

Once in a while you feel like having traditional Chinese foods, you know the ones you grew up with when it’s a special occasion. Peking Duck, Chinese Jujube pancakes, Shanghai Noodles etc.  I had this craving for Peking Duck and last sunday i asked if everyone in the family would be willing to go for a nice lunch.  Luckily they agreed and so we set off, no traffic and we reached in ample time.  Now a history lesson, this restaurant has been open for ever since i’m a little girl maybe before, the doorman used to be in his early 20’s now he’s got grey hair so go figure!  They have limited menu but the ingredients are top notch and so is the pricing!  Here’s what we had…

Egg noodles with Shrimp
Egg noodles with Shrimp

Must say, the noodles were cooked great!  Sometimes the egg noodles (bamee) comes over done and mushy.  It was very yummy with the juicy spicy shrimp.

Shanghai Noodles
Shanghai Noodles

I admit, you must think what is that weird green goo on top?  The best explanation is like a salsa verde, but the Chinese use a pickled mustard green i think.  There will be transparent rolled up noodle sheets and at some places are flat (imagine rolled up paper) chewy, topped with sliced pork.  Now this shows the talent of the old chefs here, the sliced pork was moist and juicy.  Right???  I  mean it’s very hard to even get it right at a shabu shabu and they didn’t even use belly pork, it was all loin and very yummy.  The green goo on top was spicy, savory and sourish.  A pickled yummy goodness.  Hard to find nowadays.

Hoisin Sauce & Spring Onions & Cucumber
Hoisin Sauce & Spring Onions & Cucumber
Piping Hot Chinese Roti/Tortilla
Piping Hot Chinese Roti/Tortilla

 Now for the highlight of the lunch, Peking Duck.  Crispy, yummy paperthin slices of roasted duck skin on our roti, with chillies, spring onion, crunchy cucumber and sweet hoisin sauce.  Roll it up and eat eat eat.  A duck is too small!!!!  Usually when you order Pekin duck they will ask whether you will use the remaining duck as a soup or fried with black pepper and garlic.  We chose the latter.  Usually we wrap it up and keep to eat the next morning with plain congee. It works amazingly well that way.  Salty and plain hot congee. YUM!

Moreish!
Moreish!
Very yummy!
Very yummy!

We also ordered a 4 Chinese Veggie dish.  It’s not all veggies, it comes with a sauteed Chinese savoy cabbage, mustard green, mushrooms and Chinese moss seaweed in a light pale gravy.  The different textures work well together, it’s good topped over hot rice.

This was more than enough for 4 people, it was delicious and comforting.  A blast to the past really.  The Chinese jujube pancakes were nice, hot, crispy, savory and sweet at the same time.  Many shops are not able to get the ratio of filling to the crunchy flour right, think quesadilla, 2 thin flour pancakes and a sweet filling crunchy crispy soft oozy filling.  Very good.

Chinese Hot Pot, Cheap and Cheerful… Ruen Petch Bangkok

Diamond House!
Diamond House!
Bubbling pots!
Bubbling pots!

First, you tick off what you want from their menu, and then they serve it to your table with a hot pot bubbling in the centre.  They actually offer other ala carte items which are actually equally yummy, but we didn’t order any..

It's in english!
It’s in english!

Having a sunday family feast, us being well, Chinese, we like to have something ferociously boiling, even during the hot weather… HOTPOT!  Now, there are so many varieties of hotpot around, but this one is a traditional family favorite, it’s a simple hotpot but their meats come adorned with some sort of a marinade which is maybe fermented bean paste and an egg.  I really don’t know what they put in it since i’ve tired to replicate it so here it is.

You get a choice of their fermented pink tofu and bean sauce which is indescribable but so delish.  You flavour it with more garlic, lime and chilies to your liking or you can opt for a soy sauce.

Add at your own risk!
Add at your own risk!

It’s hearty, salty, flavourful, (due to the copious amounts of msg no doubt) even i get a rash afterwards it’s well worth it.  Not much to say but all chinese after we’re done with the meat and veggies and all that’s left is a soup pot full of boiling stock and marinade, we would pop in bowlfuls of rice to make like an instant congee and either keep with for breakfast or eat it off… Cheers!

See the bright yolk on the marinade? BEEEFFFF
See the bright yolk on the marinade? BEEEFFFF

 

Happy Family Lunch!

 

Seafood Galore!
Seafood Galore!
Veggies...
Veggies…

 

Happy Family Lunch!
Happy Family Lunch!