Sunday, October 30, 2011

Ba Baw Krueng

or Rice Congee or "Kow Pee yak"

"Ba Baw Krueng" is a staple Cambodian comfort food that is usually prepared for breakfast on the weekends.  Again this recipe is inspired by my mother who loves to cook this when our out-of -state relatives are over for the weekend.  Its easy and cheap to make a large pot and most importantly, it pleases everyone.

I kind of butchered my mom's recipe as I omitted a few steps and I don't have the skills to chop meats nicely as she does.

Boil 12 Quarts of water in a large pot.  After water boils, add one boneless and skinless chicken breast and a skinless chicken thigh with bone. 
(Optional: Some people prefer boiler the skin for extra flavor, I choose not to)

Thinly slice 5 oz of pork belly.  Freeze the remainder of the pork that is unused for later use.

Remove the Boiled chicken from pot after 15 minutes.  
Set Chicken Aside to cool or wash with cold water.
Peel the chicken into small strips.
(If you are feeling generous, set aside some chicken to feed your pups!)

Wash and rinse one cup of uncooked Jasmine Rice
The extra step that I skipped but my mother recommends is toast the rice on low heat in a large skillet.  
No oil added
Add the rice into the boiling chicken stock

The ingredients below are subjective, feel free to add or omit any ingredients. These portions are based on my preferences.  Its a bit on the bland side so people can have the flexibility to add their own condiments.

3 Tablespoons of Sugar
1 Tablespoon of Salt
4 Tablespoons of Chicken Broth Powder
Dash of black pepper
2 Tablespoons of fried garlic
Dash of onion powder
Dash of fish sauce

Wash and rinse 2 tablespoons of dried shrimp.  Refrigerate the remainder.

Optional ingredient:
Since I already had some frozen wide noodles (left over from making mee ka thang last week) I decided to add it to the soup to give it some texture.

Other optional ingredients that I omitted based on my preference are pickled radishes and pork blood.
One of my favorite optional ingredients is fried red onions

Chop up cilantro and lime wedges and wash and drain bean sprouts

Serve with Fried Dough, Sriracha, Hoisen Sauce, Soy sauce
Ba Baw, Rice Congree

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Dim Sum at Lin Garden

I love dim sum...but I do not like driving 45 minutes to Boston and paying $10.00 for parking.  New China Pearl in Woburn is a great alternate to Chinatown since its only a little more than half way to Boston and the parking is free.  Sometimes we venture out to New China Pearl but dim sum is one of those meals that are only good to eat in groups so everyone can order and share the countless offerings.  It's tough to eat dim sum with only two people since I like to try different things but also don't want to over order.

View from back patio
To get a quick dim sum fix for just the two of us, we headed over to Lin Garden in Dracut, Ma where they offer a weekend dim sum buffet for $12.95.

The restaurant is situated on Route 110 with a beautiful scenery of the Merrimack River. (I know.. who would have thought the Merrimack River would be scenic?)

The clientele for the buffet today was all Chinese families with the exception of one table.

The buffet offers a variety of steamed shumai's, wontons, and buns along with other typical dishes like fried tofu, rice congee and chicken feet.

Steam Shumai and Wontons

They didn't have the steamed pork spareribs, which is one of our favorite dim sum dishes.  They did offer non-traditional dim sum entrees such as fried peppers crabs, chicken wings, fried rice, ho fun and hot and sour soup, just to name a few.  They also had an assortment of sweets including moon cakes, sesame balls and tofu in syrup.

The food was not consistent.  The shumai's and wontons were really tasty but I was disappointed with the BBQ pork buns.  The meat filling was dry and bland compared to the sweet gooey texture that I am accustomed to.  Although I didn't have any rice congee, the Mo commented that it was really good.  The other non dim sum foods were delicious.

Overall, the buffet hits the spot for a quick dim sum fix without spending much money.  I would suggest going into Woburn or Chinatown for an authentic dim sum experience with the rolling carts if time is not an issue.

Assortment of steamed goodies

The Mo's rice congee with sriracha chili sauce with fried dough

Fried Shrimp tofu roll and pork and chive wonton

Fried Rice, Fried Clams and Mai Fun

Chinese Pastries

Tofu in Syrup

You might also like:
China Star Dim Sum Lowell

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Bonchon... by Kim

So I've only had Bonchon once in my life... and not at the restaurant either...the Mo's brother brought us a takeout meal that included wings and drumsticks... I have to admit, it was pretty tasty and I would probably eat more of it if it was closer... but the thought of driving to Brighton/Allston (45 mins away), finding parking and then driving back was NOT appealing.. so I attempted to make my own version
Room Temperature wings marinated with my favorite seasonging: Adobo
After numerous google searches and youtube videos, I decided to attempt my own Bonchon wings.
Wings Coated in Corn starch and fried for 10 mins then removed from oil to cool
My own ingredients for the spicy sauce
Refry the chicken for another 10 minutes
Sauced Simmered in pan
Pan Tossed glazed Wings

Spicy Wings
Mami's "Bonchon"

Swedish Fish Martini

Inspired by the lovely Miss Alice

  • Pinnacle Vodka "Gummy"
  • Pinnacle Vodka "Cake" or vanilla will do
  • "Sugar Free" Cherry Limeade Crystal light or generic brand will do ( I used Target)
  • Optional Gummy Swedish Fish for garnish
  • Optional Red Crystal Sugar for garnish
You will need a shaker

My friend Alice and I are huge fans of flavored vodka and Crystal Light (or the imitation brands which are just as tasty and calorie free).

My concoctions are usually "half and half", half vodka and half water, straw required.  After a couple of drinks, a nice buzz kicks in.  The alcohol content resembles a martini, but we can't call it a martini since we leave the ice in the glass to help curb the bite.

We were at our friend Chuba's birthday party and she brought over Pinnacle Swedish Vodka to share.

It was love at first sight! I do like to try different flavored vodka's but I haven't seen the swedish fish flavor.  Due to copyright issues, the actual name of the vodka is Pinnacle "Gummy" with a picture of the swedish fish on it.

She made me a few drinks using the swedish fish flavored vodka and the Target brand cherry lime powder mix.  I was hooked! I loved it so much that I handed her a $20.00 bill at the end of the night and took the leftover vodka home with me.

Here I am on a Thirsty Thursday night making my own rendition of the drink.  I'm feeling a bit fancy, so I am making a martini instead.  I'm using the same drink recipe but adding a splash of Pinnacle Cake flavored vodka for extra sweetness.
I actually use my protein shaker to make martinis because it doesn't leak and the cap is easy to remove.  It also has a metal ball that mixes the powder really well.  I love my original martini shaker but it can be hard to remove the cap at times.

Swedish Fish Garnish threaded on wooden skewers
I used a lemon wedge to moisten the rim of the martini glass

Swirl the glass into a bowl of red crystals for a red sugar rim

You might also like:
Kim's Mai Tai receipe
Cambodian Eggroll Recipe
Cambodian Fried Shrimp Roll Recipe

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Mo's Birthday Feast" "Surf & Turf"

Mami Eggroll's Baked Stuffed Lobsters
The Mo didn't want to have a big extravagant bash for his 30th birthday party but I still wanted to do something nice for him.

Instead of spending tons of money on a fancy dinner in town, I attempted to whip up a Surf and Turf meal on a budget.  I was inspired by this idea by Market Basket since they were running a special this week on lobster at $4.99 a pound.

Tonight we feasted on baked stuffed lobsters, Delmonico steak, homemade crabcakes, seared scallops drizzled in lobster bisque, and Cesar salad with fresh parmesan cheese.

I also was going to bake fresh rolls, but I forgot to with all the other dishes I had to prepare. I finally realized I forgot the rolls as we were sitting down for dinner.

The cost of this meal was about $60.00 including a cheap bottle of wine.  I still could have save some money if I substituted some of the ingredients but I didn't want to trade off quality and flavor.  I looked up the prices of lower end seafood restaurants for comparison purposes and our meal at a decent restaurant would have set us back $120.00 minimum.

Of course you don't get the ambiance and waiter service of a restaurant, but I thought the savings was worth it.  We can use the $60.00 towards my birthday meal or our anniversary meal.

Baked Stuffed Lobsters
Canned Crab Meat (Found in the seafood department) roughly $13.99 for 1 lb

2 Sleeves of Ritz Crackers
Crushed Crackers for Seafood Stuffing
Combine Crabmeat, crumbled crackers and seasoning
Steam lobsters and split in the middle (without going through)
Stuff lobsters and place on broiler pan and bake for 15 minutes at 375 degrees
Garnish with lemon and fresh parsley and serve with drawn butter
Mami's Crabcakes
Same base as seafood stuffing but add onions, egg and mayonnaise
Pan fry lightly on each side for 4 minutes, serve with horseradish sauce 
Easy Caesar Salad
Romaine Heats, Cherry Tomatoes, Garlic Croutons and Fresh Shaved Parmasean 
Seared Scallops 

Blanched Baby Spinach
Legal Sea Foods Lobster Bisque
(Can be found in the seafood department)
Sear scallops in butter for 2 minutes on each side then serve on a bed of spinach.
Drizzle with lobster bisque
Delmonico Steak
Marinated with Montreal Steak seasoning, soy sauce and olive oil
I forgot to take a picture of the after product, but pretty much I seared the steak for 2 minutes on high heat on each side then placed it under the broiler for 6 minutes.  If the weather was warmer, I would have grilled it outside.

I also cheated and bought the single baked potato from Wendy's for a little over $1.00.  With so many dishes to prep, I didn't have the time to spend on baking a single potato.

I had the steak and the lobsters both in the oven at once.. gotta love the double oven.. one was on broil and the other was on convection bake.