Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Sticky rice two ways: mango coconut, scallion mushroom

Living in the south is confusing. I know it's fall because it's been cooler ... as in it's only been in the high 80's in the morning these days. So even though it's autumn, it feels perfectly good eating mango sticky rice when I get inside from that Louisiana heat. 

I love sticky rice. It's sweet, it's got a nice bite. It's higher in calorie and more dense, but oh does it carry flavor. I called up my grandma for her basic instructions on how to steam sticky rice, and I improvised the rest to recreate my favorite Thai dessert. For the savory version I used a simple recipe from my other grandmother and it paired perfectly with my pan seared gulf drum. 

Perfect transitional post because sticky rice is eaten when the weather gets colder because it sticks to your belly and warms you up! 

My Mid-Autumn Festival dinner, complete with mooncake! 

Mango Coconut Sticky Rice
1 cup glutinous rice, presoaked in water for 30 min 
~ 6 oz coconut milk
1 ripe mango, sliced
to serve: sweetened condensed milk, mint 

1. Prepare a large pot for steaming.* 
2. Fill flat dish with presoaked rice.
3, Pour in coconut milk until it is level with the rice
4. Steam for 45 - 60 min or until rice is cooked
5. Serve with fresh sliced mango and drizzled sweetened condensed milk 

*I used a deep skillet, a wire rack, and flat dish as my steaming contraption  

Scallion Mushroom Sticky Rice
1 cup glutinous rice, presoaked in water for 30 min 
~ 6 oz water/rice wine, 2:1 ratio 
1 cup shiitake mushrooms, sliced 
1 tbsp dried shrimp 
1 tbsp soy sauce
1/2 tsp sesame oil
pinch of salt
Optional: 1 link Chinese sausage, sliced
to serve: sliced scallions, cilantro

1. Prepare a large pot for steaming.* 
2. Fill flat dish with presoaked rice
3. Pour in water/rice wine until it is level with the rice
4. Mix in mushrooms, shrimp, soy sauce, and salt
5 Steam for 45-60 min or until rice is cooked
6. Drizzle with sesame oil and top with scallions and parsley before serving 

Wednesday, September 14, 2016

On ramen

The worst part about growing up is no longer being able to go on vacations with your parents. The best part? Receiving delicious care packages in the mail once they return from their travels. 

yes, those are wasabi Kit Kats.
When my parents came back from their trip to Japan to see the cherry blossoms, they returned with lots of goodies to share. My favorite was this fresh ramen pack (not featured in the photo below) that came with this rich fatty pork based sauce packet. Though I didn't have the char siu to go with my ramen, the soup base definitely convinced me otherwise. 

So this is not a real blog post. It's just some tips on how to make your homemade packaged ramen more than just plain ramen with... and an attempt to make ramen somewhat healthier. 

My ramens of choice (for flavor and texture) are the original Nissin with sesame oil and Shin ramyun. To be honest, I've been having a love/hate relationship recently. I love ramen because who doesn't love ramen? But because I've been eating ramen way less frequently than my college days (twice a year compared to twice a week), I've recently been having very negative reactions to it. I can no longer eat an entire pack (2 servings) without having to drink a gallon of water and take a long nap right afterwards. I don't know how I did it so often in college. So now whenever I make instant ramen, I can only have half a pack at a time. Yes, I save half the seasoning pack too. 

Nutrition-wise, this is definitely the way to go. At 40 - 45 gm of carbohydrates and 900 - 1000 mg of sodium a serving, no one needs 2 servings at once. And now that I'm an adult and a real person, there's no excuse to having plain ramen. Ramen is incomplete without some sort of egg yolky egg and some greens. The greens can be as simple as some fresh scallion on top, or I love serving my ramen with a side of vegetables for the fiber and other myriad of health benefits that come with eating greens. And no need to stop there, I've also made ramen bases with shiitake mushrooms and dried shrimp fry. The possibilities are endless to make your ramen less basic and a little healthier! 

Fun fact: in Cantonese, we call instant ramen "gong zai meen," which translates to doll noodles. I'm guessing because it's curly like a doll's hair.