Egg-Fried Rice

This rice dish is normally made with leftover rice but it can just as easily be made expressly for whenever you want it. I normally make the rice in the microwave as it is the quickest and most hassle-free method. All you need to do is cover the rice with water (don’t need to measure exactly as long as the water completely covers the rice) and cook for 10-12 minutes. Times may vary according to the type of rice you use. Wash the cooked rice and let it cool. It is paramount that the rice is cold otherwise the dish will become mush.

Ingredients

Rice, cold.

2 eggs, beaten

1 Tbsp. milk

Salt and pepper

3 garlic cloves, sliced

Method

1 Make rice in advance and keep in the fridge until ready to use.

2 Whisk eggs, milk, salt and pepper.

3 Heat oil and fry garlic and then the egg mixture.

4 When the egg is practically cooked, break it up and add the rice and combine well. Season with salt and pepper.

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UPDATE OCTOBER 2016: If you want to elevate this dish to new heights use Ninniku-Shoyu (Japanese Soy Sauce Infused Garlic) instead of normal garlic cloves; it really makes a difference!

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Sukjunamul (Korean Beansprout Salad)

Simple, refreshing and delicious.

Ingredients

A large bunch of mung bean sprouts

1 large carrot, julienned

2 spring onions, strips

1 Tbsp. sesame oil

1 ½ Tbsp. sesame seeds

1 garlic clove, minced

2 Tbsp light soy sauce

Method

1 Blanch mung bean sprouts in salted water for 2-3 mins and then rinse in cold water. Gently squeeze out as much water as possible.

2 Place bean sprouts, carrots and spring onion in a bowl and dress with sesame oil, garlic, sesame seeds and light soy sauce. Toss well.

Sukjunamul

Korean-Style Kimchi & Gochujang Pork

I had this pork in a restaurant and it was amazing. Unfortunately the restaurant wasn’t willing to part with the recipe so I tried to recreate it at home. I must say it was better than the restaurant version but then again I am rather biased…

Ingredients

6 pork neck fillets

Marinade

1½ Tbsp. light Soy Sauce

3 Tbsp. fish or chicken stock

1 Tbsp. Gochugaru (Korean chilli powder)

4 Tbsp. Gochujang paste

3 cloves of garlic

2½ Tbsp. sesame oil

4 Tbsp. Kimchi

2 Tbsp. Mirin (or Shaoxing Wine + 1 tsp. sugar)

Method

1 Blitz all marinade ingredients into a smooth sauce and marinade the pork overnight.

2 Bake pork in the oven for 20-30 minutes.

Korean Style Kimchi and Gochujang Porkk

Serving suggestion: Sukjunamul & rice

Chinese-Style Chicken Wings

I could eat a bucket of these in one sitting!

Ingredients

8 chicken wings

2cm piece of fresh ginger

4-5 garlic cloves, whole (skin on)

1 ½ tsp. Chinese 5 Spice

1 ½ tsp. chilli powder

2 Tbsp. honey

1 Tbsp. fish sauce

2 Tbsp. Dark Soy Sauce

1 Tbsp. Hoisin (optional)

Drizzle of sesame oil

1 Tbsp. Shaoxing rice wine (can substitute for dry sherry)

3 Tbsp. water

Method

1 Marinade the wings using all the ingredients and leave for at least 1 hour, preferably overnight.

2 Put in an oven dish and add a bit more water. Reserve some of the marinade to baste later on.

3 Cook in the oven for 20mins, baste and cook for a further 20 minutes.

Chinese-Style Wings

Caldereta de bacalao fresco y gambas (Cod and Prawn Caldereta)

This traditional Spanish fish stew uses two techniques that you may be unfamiliar with: “majado” and chascar”.

The “majado” is a paste, most commonly consisting of fried bread, almonds and garlic, which is pounded in a pestle and mortar. Apart from flavour it also helps to thicken up the stew. This majado is also good in meat & poultry stews especially if the liver is also pounded into the majado.

“Chascar” is a technique whereby a potato is cut in a way that helps it to release its starch during the cooking process. To chascar you need to hold the whole potato in your hand and start to cut a chunk but stop a little bit before you get to the end. At this point you can use the knife as a lever to rip off the potato chunk towards you. This means that the potato will have an uneven surface, which apparently aids the potato to release more starch during the cooking process and by consequence will thicken the stew. I don’t know if scientifically this makes any sense but this is how my mother and her mother and countless other generations have typically cut potatoes for stews, and so I follow suit. To see how to chascar follow this link. Alternatively, you can just cut the potato however you prefer .

Ingredients

Fish stock:

Cod head and/or other fish scraps

Prawn shells

3 cloves

2 bay leaves

½ onion

Majado:

Olive oil

1 bread slice, crusts removed

2 garlic cloves

5 almonds

1-2 Tbsp. fish stock

Caldereta:

2 ripe tomatoes, grated

1 tsp. sweet pimenton (or paprika)

3 dried cayenne chillies

2 garlic cloves, sliced

3 potatoes, chascadas or cut into chunks

1 bunch of fresh parsley, coarsely chopped

4 slices cod

A few peeled prawns

Method

Make a stock with the cod head and other fish scraps, cloves, bay leaves and ½ an onion. Bring to the boil, skim off the impurities and then simmer for 10 minutes. Sieve and reserve.

Make the majado by toasting the almonds in a dry frying pan and then frying the bread in oil until toasted. Transfer to a pestle and mortar along with the garlic and pound into a paste. Add a bit of the previously made fish stock and combine well. Set aside.

1 Fry garlic and chillies. Add the pimenton and quickly add the grated tomatoes so that the pimenton doesn’t burn. Fry for 2-3 minutes.

2 Add the stock and majado and simmer on low for 10 minutes.

3 Add the potatoes (chascadas or not) and cook for a further 10 minutes.

4 Add the fish and cook for 5 minutes.

5 Add the prawns and cook for 3-4 minutes.

6 Remove from the heat, add the fresh parsley, cover and let it rest for 5-minutes.

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Sepia con patatas (Baked Cuttlefish with Potatoes)

In the UK, squid is very popular but I have hardly ever seen its relative the cuttlefish, except for in my mother’s kitchen, on many menus. The cuttlefish itself is an amazing creature known as the “chameleon of the sea” because of its impressive camouflage capabilities. This doesn’t mean however that I do not enjoy eating it…

Ingredients

3 potatoes, unpeeled and sliced into rounds

1 medium cuttlefish, cleaned and cut into chunks

1 onion, cut into half moons

5 cloves of garlic, whole

2 Tbsp. Ajo y perejil

2 Tbsp. sweet pimenton (or paprika)

4 tsp. chilli powder

4 tsp. mixed herbs

2 tsp. Thyme

Salt and pepper, to taste

A good glug of olive oil

½ lemon, juice

1 glass white wine

1 small glass water

Method

1 Marinade the cuttlefish chunks with the ajo y perejil marinade, pimenton, thyme, chilli, mixed herbs, salt and pepper. Set aside.

Place potato slices on the bottom of an ovenproof dish and add salt, pepper, pimenton, chilli, thyme and mixed herbs. Drizzle with olive oil and coat well. 

3 Add the cuttlefish on top of the potatoes and drizzle with olive oil and lemon juice. Add a glass of white wine and a small glass of water.
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4 Bake in a hot oven for 30 minutes.
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Fideuà de bacallà i ceba (Salt Cod & Onion Fideua)

My initial intention was to make a traditional paella eaten during lent but when I was about to add the rice to the paella pan, I realised I didn’t have any. I did, however have some fideua pasta so I improvised and made this traditional paella into a fideua instead.

I can imagine Valencian purists having a field day with me and trying to tell me how I have messed up their precious cuisine but frankly I really don’t care. I think it is important to experiment with food especially if the end result is finger licking good.

I’d say that Fideua is the pasta version of paella and outside of the Valencian Community it is not as well known. It was first created in Gandia, a coastal town in Valencia.

It pairs perfectly with ajoaceite

Ingredients

5 pieces of salt cod, desalted*

2 bay leaves

1 onion, half moon slices

2 garlic cloves, smashed

1 large ripe tomato, grated

1 tsp. sweet pimenton (or paprika)

Few strands of saffron**

Fideua pasta***

Method

1 Make a stock with the salt cod, bay leaves and garlic. When it comes to a boil, skim off the impurities and simmer on low for 10 minutes. When time is up, strain the stock and remove the cod. Flake the cod and reserve.

2 In a paella pan fry the onion until translucent. Make a well in the centre and fry the pimenton for a few seconds before quickly adding the tomato to prevent the pimenton from burning. Fry for 1 – 2 minutes.

3 Add the fish stock and saffron to the paella pan along with the flaked fish. Add the stock and extra water if needed just above the two nails on either side of the paella dish.

4 When the stock has reduced to just below the nails add the fideua pasta. To add the pasta, it is best to sprinkle it in a line spanning the width of the pan and then distributing it with a spatula. Simmer on low for 8 minutes or until the pasta has soaked up most of the water and the pasta is al dente.

4 Take the pan off the flame, cover with a kitchen towel and let it rest for 5 minutes before serving.

Suggestion: If you can get your hands on paella rice, you can make the intended paella instead. Instead of adding pasta, add the rice and cook for 20 minutes.

Fideuà de bacallà i ceba

* You need to desalt the cod well in advance, at least 48 – 72 hours depending on the thickness. First you need to wash the fillets under running water to remove the visible salt and then soak them in water for the required time. Remember to change the water every 12 hours.

** To prepare the saffron: dry roast the strands in a frying pan for a few seconds, crush with a pestle and mortar and then dilute in warm stock.

*** Fideua pasta comes in varying thicknesses. If you can’t find fideua pasta in your country of residence you could substitute for vermicelli noodles.