Thursday, March 9, 2017

Cha Sau Pork Ribs - 叉燒排骨

Have you ever wondered how Chinese BBQ Pork or spare ribs get that nice sticky texture? Growing up, I always thought the natural color of the Chines BBQ is bright red. Actually - that's food coloring! The natural color is a brownish color with slight charr. Feeling intinidated by Chinese BBQ? No need anymore! It is actually VERY easy!

Since I've been trying to use the InstantPot more, I decided to use the InstantPot to make my Cha Sau Pork Ribs!

Cha Sau Sauce: (I tripled this recipe so I have extra sauce to brush on the ribs when it was in the oven and left overs for chicken legs, etc)

3 TBS Soy Sauce
1.5 TBS Oyster Sauce
1.5 TBS Hoisin Sauce
2 TBS Chinese cooking wine
4.5 TBS Sugar (I used coconut palm sugar)
4 TBS Honey (I used local honey but any would be okay)
1.5 TBS Garlic Powder
1 TSP Salt
1 TSP Five Spice Powder
2 pieces Fermented Tofu

Cooking Instructions:

1. Mix all of the above ingredients together to create your homemade Chinese BBQ sauce.
2. Cover and marinate the pork (pork butt, ribs, etc) for at least 2 hours in the fridge.
3. With Ribs, I used the InstantPot to initially steam and used the steamer basket. Slater the sauce all over the ribs before you steam, that will ensure extra tastiness!
4. Cooktime - 18 min High Pressure on Steam, 12 min Natural Release (At 18 min, the mean was already fall off the bone, I think maybe 12-15 min would have been better)
5. Once the ribs have been finished steaming, place ribs on a foil tray for the oven. Brush additional sauce and broil. Watch carefully as you broil so the ribs do not over cook. As it finished up, you'll find yourself with beautifully glazed pork ribs!

Wednesday, February 8, 2017

Sujiko to Ikura

Ever wonder how cured or marinated salmon roe gets to be the way it is?

I never did until I saw a beautiful orange sack of salmon roe at the Japanese Market. I took a closer look and to my surprise, it was an entire encased sack of it! First time I tried to make this was almost two years ago and since then I wasnt able to find it at the market again. Only recently (within the last 4-5 months) did I find some more. It is an extremely laborious process as the membranes need to be separated cleanly.


- Sujiko
- Light Soy Sauce
- Mirin
- Sake

1. While soaking the salmon roe in about 35°C water - about nearly hot water from the faucet , separate the skin/membrane from the eggs so they disperse. Once the membrane touches the warm water, it will turn white allowing it to be more visually effective to separate

2. Drain in a colander and gently use a knife to cut off and remove the remaining membrane. I ran my hands through this multiple times until the water had cleared and all I had left was the roe. The color of the roe will change slightly and decrease in size. Dont worry, this is normal - once you begin the marinade, osmosis will allow for the roe to plump back up and change colors.

3. Place the roe in a dish, add the mariade, and marinate for at least 5 hours. I would be conscious to use less salty marinade since I do keep it in the marinade over night. Watch as the color changes from a white-ish/pink roe to a clear brilliant roe color that you are used to seeing. 
(Osmosis in the process)

4. Once marinating is complete, enjoy over white rice with avocado, wasabi, shisho leaf and seaweed!
The texture of the freshly made ikura is different than the ones you'll find at the store or restuarants. They pop in your mouth and they're quite fun to eat! If you are unable to finish them, they're good in the refrigerator for about a week but also hold great in the freezer. It does not change the taste or texture. Enjoy!

Monday, January 30, 2017

Happy Year of the Rooster!

Goodbye to the Monkey and hello Rooster!

For those that dont know, Chinese New Year (also known as Lunar New Year) is a huge holiday filled with festivities and lots of superstitions!

Growing up in NY, we were lucky enough that we were able to celebrate with other Chinese and Asian folks. We had access to all the decorations and the parades, lion dances, red envelopes, and more! Our family follows the basic rituals and traiditons but we don't follow them all. If we did, we probably would need the two weeks off that the Asian countries have! This was and still is always a time where my sister and I looked forward to. Nowadays, we really enjoy meal planning and throwing the party!

This year, my sister decided to host and about two weeks before the CNY dinner, we began to furiously plan. We knew we needed an entire chicken, a whole fish, noodles, meat, and dessert. We ended up with Hainanese chicken, whole steamed fish, Turnip cakes, Taiwanese mee fun, sweet and sour pork ribs, salt and pepper fried head on shrimp, fish cake soup, pan fried bottarga from Taiwan, and Taro tapioca dessert. Believe it or not, we made all of this from scratch!

Few days before the dinner, we were debating on where to order the Turnip cakes from. At the end of our debate... we just decided to make our own!

Let me just preface and say... turnips do not smell the best! My apartment smelled like turnip for a few hours... but it was so worth it!

I knew that getting the consistency of the turnip cakes was the most important part so I had to very careful in all my measurements. Another pro to this recipe is that I used the Instantpot to steam the turnip cakes. Here is my recipe and ingredient list:

2lbs coarsely shredded Daikon/Turnip, about 2.5- 3C (always buy a bit more because of water weight and you wont want to shred your fingers)
1 Chinese Sausage steamed and finely diced
Handful of Dried Shrimp
5 dried Shiitake Musrooms, finely diced
2.5 C Rice Flour (do not use glutionous rice flour)
2 C water (split into 2 1 cups)
Salt to taste
White Pepper to taste

Cooking Instructions:
- Rehydrate the mushrooms and dried shrimp in lukewarm water. You can do this in the same or separate bowls.
- Peel and shred daikon. I used a scale to measure grams to pound which is 453.5g to 1 pound
- Mix the rice flour with  1 cup water and make sure the mix is smooth and not lumpy
- Heat oil in a pan/wok/skillet, and stir fry the sausage, mushrooms, shrimp for a few minutes. Add the daikon, 1 c water, salt, white pepper.
- Once the daikon starts to cook down and the liquid is bubbling/boiling, turn off the heat.
- Since my pan wasnt big enough, I moved my daikon mix into a bowl and began to add the rice flour mixture. Stir thoroughly.
- Grease lightly an aluminum loaf pan and pour the mixture in the pan.
- Add two cups water to the Instantpot, make sure the steam rack is in the pot and place the loaf pan on top of the steam rack. I was able to fit two loaf pans criss crossed.
- I steamed in the Instantpot for 40 minutes with a natural release (10 min)
- After I took them out, I let it cool down and harden a bit.

The best would be to prepare this in advance and let the turnip cakes harden so it would be easier to pan fry. I found that the results two days after it was made  was the best!

Once pan fried, garnish with cilantro and enjoy with soy paste!

Of course, photos below!