Who's the Baketard?

Why Baketard? Love to cook, hate to bake. Despite having gone to cooking school and working in some top kitchens, I never learned the baking side of things. I'm building my baking and photography skills, while sharing recipes that rock my world in the mean time.

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Entries in asian (4)

Tuesday
May122015

Chef Chen Dailu's Spicy Sesame Noodles (Chen Shifu Hong You Su Mian)

I’m trying again to get my act together and share some recipes. After a couple months of chaos (we sold our house and bought a new one, moved, took three weeks of vacation, and have been back in the new house for two weeks today) we’re finally starting to get unpacked, settle in and get back to a more normal routine. As normal as it can be in our lives.

As I’ve unpacked infinite boxes of kitchenware, struggled to find everything I’m looking for, and coordinated the events moving has involved I’ve had little time for real cooking. While I’m not typically the “Dinner in 30 minutes or less” guy on the weekends, during the week it’s imperative. To be honest, we eat out far too much when we’re together because by the time we get home we’re fried and don’t feel like hassling with anything. On the nights David works, I’m ALL about simple. Like my single days, I don’t want to mess with cooking for one so my go-tos tend to be making a vat of chili, tacos, puttanesca, burritos, or a bigassed salad. Occasionally I’ll throw together some type of Asian noodle dish if I feel like I can justify the lack of nutritionally redeeming gorging I know I’ll do in a slithery, fatty plate of carbs. Last night was one of those nights.

I doubt I need to tell anyone who knows me what a Fuchsia Dunlop fan I am. I’ve posted some of her recipes in the past, and her books are the reason I went to the Sichuan Culinary Institute a few years back. I stumbled across her Spicy Sesame Noodles recipe when I was looking through Every Grain of Rice recently, and knew I had to make it. Start to finish, it took 10 minutes.

The only adaptations I made were based upon all the noodles I’ve inhaled in various trips to china, and the barrage of questions I asked the chefs and noodle shop owners during my culinary trip. You don’t need to modify this—it’s all to taste. I just added what I like, including a sprinkling of msg, about ½ tsp of sugar, 3 Tbsp chopped ya cai (Chinese pickled vegetables), the amount of garlic called for in the recipe--doubled, and I used both ground Sichuan pepper and a tiny drizzle of the oil.

 Enjoy this. If you have the ingredients on hand, it’s effortless.

Chef Chen Dailu's Spicy Sesame Noodles (Chen Shifu Hong You Su Mian)

From: Every Grain of Rice by Fuschia Dunlop

"This is a recipe taught by chef Chen Dailu of the wonderful Chengdu snack restaurant Long Chao Shou," she says. "I was interviewing him for a feature for Saveur magazine and I asked him to tell me about his favorite food. To my surprise, he came up with this scrumptious but blindingly simple vegetarian recipe."

Makes: 2 servings

Ingredients:

2 teaspoons sesame paste

1 tablespoon light soy sauce

½ teaspoon dark soy sauce

½ teaspoon Chinkiang vinegar

1 teaspoon finely chopped garlic

Good pinch of ground, roasted Sichuan pepper, or a dash of Sichuan pepper oil

1 ½ tablespoons chilli oil with sediment

7 ounces (200g) Chinese wheat or buckwheat noodles

Handful of pea shoots, green bok choy or choy sum leaves (optional)

1 tablespoon finely chopped spring onion greens

Preparation:

1. Combine all the ingredients - except for the noodles, greens, if using, and spring onions -- in a serving bowl and mix well.

2. Cook the noodles. If you are using the greens, toss them into the cooking water for the last minute to blanch them. Drain the noodles and greens and add to the serving bowl. Scatter with spring onions, mix well, and serve.

Monday
Jul232012

The Perfect Pad Thai

There are certain recipes I’ve spent years trying to make just…right: The perfect Bolognese (I’m about 95% of the way there), a flawless souffle (Thanks to Jerry Traunfeld, I’ve got that one down) and Pad Thai. I’ve made good Pad Thai. I’ve even made what I think is great Pad Thai. This is the recipe I think makes flawless Pad Thai. I tested it last week for David, and made it again for friends this weekend. It. Is. AWESOME.  Seriously, I think it is as good as the best Pad Thai I’ve had in any restaurant or even in Thailand.

The author of this book, is Thailand’s tv food celebrity. Born into the royal family, Chef McDang has cookbooks, tv shows, and lucrative consulting gigs for Thai food companies. His cookbook is broken out into basic Thai ingredients and dives deep into the spice pastes that form the core of Thai cooking. He discusses the regional differences and how they affect food, and then provides recipes to demonstrate the basic cooking techniques of boiling, grilling, salads, dips, stir-frying, deep-frying, steaming, curries and (my bane) desserts. In addition to the Pad Thai recipe, I’ve also made his Pad Grapao Nuea (Stir-Fried ground beef with chili, garlic and Thai holy basil) and it came out perfect. Again, as good as anything I’ve had in a restaurant or during my visits to Thailand.

A couple of notes on sourcing the ingredients: You need to have a good Asian grocery near you, or you will need to buy some of the more esoteric items (pickled turnip, pickled garlic, Thai chile sauce—not the sweet one) from internet sources. In Seattle, I found everything at Uwajimaya with the exception of the sweet pickled turnip, which I bought at Viet Wah. The base sauce recipe starts at about 6 quarts, and you reduce it down by half—it makes enough to last a while. The reduction took me a couple of hours, but then actually making the Pad Thai was an exercise of about 10 minutes. It’s well worth that initial time investment. You can use any protein in place of the shrimp. Because this was made as part of an asian meal already including a different shrimp preparation, I seared scallops instead.

If you’ve ever wanted to make Pad Thai, give this recipe a go. You won’t be disappointed. The measurements are metric, as this book was originally published in Thailand. Although a US Version has not been released, I found mine on Amazon.

Pad Thai Goong Sod

Adapted from The Principles of Thai Cookery, by Chef McDang

Serves 4

Ingredients:

60ml vegetable oil

3 cloves garlic, minced

250g prawns, peeled and cleaned (or other protein)

150g white bean curd, diced small

80g sweet pickled Chinese turnip (daikon), finely chopped

30g dried shrimp

300g dry Thai rice stick noodles (Chantaburi), soaked in cold water until strands are white, drained

230ml Pad Thai sauce (Recipe below)

2 eggs

150g bean sprouts

70g chives, cut into 1 ½ inch lengths

50g unsalted, toasted peanuts, chopped

Chili powder (for garnish), as required

4 lime wedges (for garnish)

Preparation:

  1. In a wok, heat 2 Tbsp of the oil over moderate heat. Add garlic and stir-fry until fragrant. Add prawns and stir-fry until pink but not cooked. Immediately take out of the wok and reserve.
  2. In the same wok, add a little more oil, then add white bean curd and dried shrimp. Stir-fry until bean curd browns.
  3. Add the noodles and stir-fry to soften. Add Pad Thai sauce, a little at a time. Stir-fry to mix quickly. The noodles will soften further and absorb the flavors of the sauce. Taste.
  4. If the flavors are not intense enough, add a little more sauce and allow it to seep into the noodles. Add the pickled Chinese turnip and more dried shrimp. Stir-fry to incorporate these ingredients.
  5. Move the noodles to once side of the wok. Add the cooked shrimp and a little oil to the bottom of the wok. Raise the temperature and crack the eggs into the bottom of the pan.
  6. Cover the eggs with the noodles. Reduce the heat a little and allow the eggs to cook.
  7. Toss all the noodles together to spread the eggs. Mix in the bean sprouts, the chopped Chinese chives, and peanuts.
  8. Serve the Pad Thai, garnished with fresh bean sprouts, Chinese chives, banana blossom and a lime wedge. If you like peanuts, add a few more to the side of the plate.

Pad Thai Sauce

Ingredients:

300g pickled garlic

100g fresh garlic, peeled and chopped

170g fresh Thai chile peppers

3 cups chili sauce (I used the Taste of Thai brand, but any chili sauce will work)

1 cup pickled garlic juice

1 kg palm sugar

375ml distilled vinegar

3 cups tamarind juice

3 Tbsp salt

½ cup fish sauce

3 liters water

Preparation:

  1. Place all the ingredients in a food processor and blend until smooth.
  2. Transfer the mixture to the saucepan, stir to mix well and bring the mixture to a boil.
  3. Reduce the heat and simer in order to allow the sauce to evaporate and thicken. Once the liquid is reduced almost by half and tastes sweet, sour and slightly salty, allow it to cool. Once cooled, transfer to an air-tight container and refrigerate ready for use when making Pad Thai.

Sauce will be enough for 12-15 servings.

Wednesday
Jan182012

Salt and Pepper Soft Shell Crab with Chile, Lime and Palm Sugar Dressing

SNOW! We have Snow!!! 

Snow means working from home. Working from home means I can work AND cook. Working and cooking means I can try new recipes from the cookbooks that have been arriving in the mail, calling my name and torturing poor David. And let's be honest....nothing says "I love you" quite like the gift of crabs.

It seems like everyone released a cookbook this fall, and there are some incredible new publications on the market. None of them were more greedily anticipated in this house than Teage Ezard’s new book, “Gingerboy.”

If you read this blog (thanks to both of you who do), you know I’m a huge Ezard fan. An Australian celebrity chef and owner of multiple restaurants, his food is the Asian-influenced, sweet/salty/spicy goodness that never ceases to pull me in. When I read about Gingerboy coming out, I scrambled to get my hands on a copy.  Well worth the effort to procure it from Australia, it is a GORGEOUS book, with beautiful pictures and recipes that will make your mouth water. Cocktails, small plates, shared plates and desserts are the format, ranging from very simple to the recipes I love where there’s a little more time investment required.

Last night my friend Becky threw an impromptu potluck, anticipating the snow (which didn’t arrive until late last night where we live). We made this soft shell crab dish as our contribution and it was a hit.  Hope you like it too!  My next attempt will be his Smoked Baby Chicken with Tomato and Eggplant Sambal. Stay tuned…

Just a note: the only adjustments we made to this recipe were to add more chile to the dressing to make it a little more atomic hot and using a bit more of the peppersalt blend than called for in the recipe. Delicious!

Thanks to Becky Selengut for styling and shooting the photo while I slaved over the hot stove. I have to do EVERYTHING around here!!!

Salt and Pepper Soft Shell Crab with Chile, Lime and Palm Sugar Dressing

Adapted from Gingerboy, by Teage Ezard

Serves 4 to share

Chile, Lime and Palm Sugar Dressing

170g light palm sugar, grated

1 Tbsp water

200 ml lime juice

4 Tbsp fish sauce

2 red bird’s eye chiles (thai chiles), finely chopped

½ tsp chile powder

3 garlic cloves finely chopped

3 kaffir lime leaves, finely chopped

Salt and Pepper Soft Shell Crab

6 soft shell crabs, quartered and cleaned

3 tsp salt and pepper mix (recipe below)

150g (1 cup) plain flour

750ml (3 cups) vegetable oil

Garnish

1 large handful coriander (cilantro)

3 garlic chives, finely chopped

1 red bird’s eye (thai) chile, thinly sliced (optional)

1 iceberg lettuce, finely shredded

Method

Chile, lime and palm sugar dressing Place the palm sugar and water in a saucepan over low heat and bring to the boil, stirring until the sugar dissolves. Remove from the heat, add the lime juice, fish sauce, chile, chile powder, garlic and kaffir lime leaf. Set aside to allow the flavors to infuse.

Salt and pepper soft shell crab Place the crabs on paper towel for 15 minutes to absorb any excess liquid. (Note from Marc: Because we bought ours frozen, we found it useful to squeeze the excess water from the crabs between layers of a towel to help it crisp up.)

Mix 2 teaspoons of the salt and pepper mix with the flour in a large bowl. Dust the crabs with the seasoned flour until completely coated.

Heat the oil in a wok to 180 degrees Celsius (350 degrees Farenheit) – you can test if the oil is the right temperature by dropping in a cube of bread; if the bread browns in 30 seconds the oil is ready. Deep-fry the crabs for 1-2 minutes. Drain on paper towel. Lightly season with the remaining salt and pepper mix.

To Serve

Combine the cilantro, garlic chives and chile, if you like it hot, in a large bowl. Add the crab and gently toss. Drizzle the dressing around the outer edge of four shallow serving bowls, place a neat pile of lettuce in the center of each plate and top with the soft shell crab.

Salt and Pepper Mix

1 tablespoon black peppercorns

1 tablespoon Sichuan peppercorns

2 tablespoons white peppercorns

1 cinnamon stick

2 whole star anise

100g sea salt

Method

Toast all of the ingredients in a wok for 2-3 minutes, or until a nice aroma is being released. Set aside to cool.

Transfer the salt and pepper mixture to a mortar and pestle and pound into a find powder. Pass through a fine sieve.

Store in an airtight container for up to a week.

Makes 1 Cup

Monday
May092011

The Best Damned Ribs You've Never Tried

I love sharing recipes, and I have a lot of them I go back to over and over. This recipe is in my top five, and I’ve never served them to anyone who didn’t beg for it afterward. (By “it” I mean the recipe, sickos). I realize this picture is kind of a big gloppy of pile of ribs, but there's a simple explanation...it's a big, gloppy pile of ribs.

Yes, they require some labor. Yes, you will need a defibrillator and a Lipitor drip. Yes, there are a lot of ingredients, but don’t be so goddamned lazy. You have to hack up some vegetables, dump them all into a pan with the ribs and let them braise for a few hours. Cry me a river. Once they cool overnight you slice ‘em, bread ‘em, fry the shit out of them and dip them into a quick-and-easy Asian-esque barbecue sauce that’ll make you slap your mama. They’re crispy, they’re tangy, and you won’t stop with just one. According to the recipe, there's enough to serve 6. Once you try them, you'll realize they serve 2. Oink.

Thanks to Food and Wine magazine for rocking our world over and over with this recipe, originally published in 2006. Thanks Kairu Yao for the photo.

Oola’s Crispy Deep-Fried Ribs 

One reason Oola's ribs are so impossibly good is that they're braised for hours and then deep-fried so they're supercrisp. The sauce—which includes ketchup and plenty of garlic—was originally concocted for chicken wings.

Ingredients

                   14 large garlic cloves—8 peeled and smashed, 6 minced

                   1/2 cup sliced fresh ginger plus 1/4 cup minced (6 ounces total)

                   6 scallions, thinly sliced, white and green parts separated

                   4 star anise pods

                   3 cups soy sauce

                   2 quarts water

                   2 cups ginger ale

                   1/2 cup dry white wine

                   Strips of zest and juice from 1 navel orange

                   1 cup granulated sugar

                   1/2 cup cilantro stems plus 1/4 cup coarsely chopped cilantro

                   3 racks of baby back ribs (5 1/2 pounds)

                   1/4 cup vegetable oil, plus more for frying

                   2 cups lightly packed brown sugar

                   1 cup ketchup

                   1 teaspoon crushed red pepper

                   1/2 cup all-purpose flour

                   1/2 cup cornstarch

Directions

1. Preheat the oven to 400°. In a large roasting pan, combine the smashed garlic with the sliced ginger, scallion whites, star anise, 1 1/2 cups of the soy sauce, the water, ginger ale, white wine, orange zest and juice, granulated sugar and cilantro stems. Set the pan over 2 burners and bring to a boil over moderately high heat.

2. Add the baby back ribs to the roasting pan, cover tightly with foil and bake for about 2 hours, or until the ribs are very tender. Let cool to room temperature, then spread the ribs out in a single layer on a baking sheet and refrigerate until chilled and firm, about 30 minutes. Discard the braising liquid.

3. Meanwhile, in a large saucepan, heat 1/4 cup of the vegetable oil. Add the minced garlic and ginger and the scallion greens and cook over moderately high heat, stirring, until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add the remaining 1 1/2 cups of soy sauce, the brown sugar, ketchup and crushed red pepper and bring to a boil. Cook over moderately high heat for 3 minutes, stirring occasionally. Remove from the heat and add the chopped cilantro. Transfer the rib sauce to a large bowl.

4. In a large, sturdy pot, heat 1 1/2 inches of vegetable oil to 375°. In a large bowl, whisk the flour with the cornstarch. Cut the racks into individual ribs. Toss the ribs in the flour mixture and shake off the excess. Working in batches, fry the ribs until the coating is lightly golden and crisp, about 2 minutes. Transfer the ribs to paper towels to drain briefly, then add them to the sauce in the bowl and toss to coat. Pile on a platter and serve hot.

MAKE AHEAD The recipe can be prepared through Step 3; refrigerate the ribs and sauce separately for up to 2 days.