Archive for the ‘Carrots’ Category

* Acar

Posted on July 21st, 2011 by Linda. Filed under Cabbage, Carrots, Cauliflower, Chili Peppers, Cucumber, Eggplant, Entree, Malaysian, Nyonya, Salads, Sides, Stir Fry, Vegan, Vegetarian.


Ah Ma, my father’s mother, made the most delicious acar.  She learned from her nyonya mother-in-law, Ah Chor, the lady we thought looked like the little old lady in the 1960’s sitcom, Beverly Hillbillies, in a kebaya!  Ah Ma’s acar is so well pickled, it could have lasted for months if we didn’t devour it all in a week!  Her trick was to wring the blanched vegetables real dry.  I never really appreciated the nyonya heritage in my dad’s family until much later when I got interested in cooking and realized that my grandmother was probably one of the best nyonya cooks around.  Since then, it’s been an endless effort to recreate many of her recipes from the memory of taste.  This is one of them.

Chef’s tip: Use a salad spinner to remove as much water as possible from the blanched vegetables.  Pack acar tightly in a glass jar and keep refrigerated.  Like kimchi, it will keep for several weeks.

Spice Paste:
10 dried long Asian chilies, rehydrated in water or fresh Fresno chilies, seeded
2 stalks lemongrass, sliced thinly
2 slices galangal
1 piece fresh turmeric, about 1 Tablespoon, sliced
8 shallots
3 cloves garlic
1 Tablespoon roasted belachan
4 candlenuts

2 carrots peeled
¼ head cauliflower
1 Japanese Eggplant
½ small savoy cabbage
12 Chinese long yard beans
1 English Cucumber, seeded

½ cup canola oil
1 cup white vinegar
½ cup of sugar
1 Tablespoon kosher salt

1 cup roasted peanuts, crushed
1/4 cup sesame seeds, toasted

1. In a food processor or blender, grind chilies, lemongrass and galangal till fine. Add remaining spice paste ingredients and process till smooth. Add a little water if needed. Set aside.
2. Cut all vegetables into 1 inch juliennes. Cut cauliflower into small florets.
3. Blanch vegetables. Blanched carrots, cauliflower and eggplant till tender, about 3 minutes, and cabbage and long beans two minutes. Spin and squeeze vegetables very dry. Add in cucumber.
4. Heat oil on medium high. Fry spice paste till fragrant, red and oil has separated, about 7-10 minutes. Add vinegar, sugar and salt. Fry till fragrant about 10 minutes. Taste for seasoning. Remove from heat.
5. Mix in vegetables and toss to mix. Add peanuts and sesame seeds and mix to combine.  Let it sit for at last 30 mins for flavors to come together.  Can be prepared in advance.  Serve room temperature or chilled.

Serves: 6

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* Vietnamese Chicken Mini Banh Mi

Posted on September 7th, 2008 by Linda. Filed under Appetizer, Carrots, Chicken, Cilantro, Daikon, Green onions, Vietnamese.

The Vietnamese sandwich gets its heritage from French croques.  The traditional banh mi includes a smearing of liver pate. But the signature part of a banh mi is really the sweet and sour crunchy pickles.

Chef’s tip: Removing some of the bread from the middle allows you to stuff more of the goodness into the sandwich. Store-bought rotiserrie chicken will help you reduce the time to prepare the sandwich by half!

Chicken and Marinade:
1 large chicken breast, bone-in, skin-on
1 teaspoons kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
2 teaspoons canola oil

½ medium carrot, julienne thin
½ medium daikon, julienne thin
½ teaspoon kosher salt
3 Tablespoons sugar
½ cup white vinegar
¼ cup warm water
¼ English cucumber, julienne thin
1 jalapeno, seeded, julienne thin
½ cup cilantro leaves

2 egg yolk
2 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
1/2 cup canola oil
1 tablespoons lemon juice
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
1 1/2  teaspoon finely grated lemon zest
2 tablespoons fresh coriander, minced

1 French baguettes or 5 mini dinner rolls
1 tablespoons liquid amino
¼ pound fine-textured chicken pâté, thinly sliced (optional)

Preparing the chicken:
1.    Preheat oven 350F
2.    Place chicken breast on a baking sheet, rub skin with salt, pepper and oil.  Roast for 35-40 minutes until chicken is just cooked (190F).
3.    Remove the meat from the bones, discard skin and shred the chicken.
Preparing the pickles and vegetables:
4.    Julienne the carrot and daikon into shoe-string strips about 1/8 x 1/8 x 3 inches
5.    Sprinkle salt and 1 tablespoons sugar over the carrots and daikon, mix well and let it sit for 5 mins.
6.    Rinse with cool water, pat dry.
7.    Dissolve the sugar with the warm water, then add the vinegar.  Pour vinegar mix over the carrot daikon mix and let sit at least 1 hour.
8.    In the meantime, remove seeds from cucumber and slice cucumber into thin long strips.
9.    Remove seeds from jalapeno and make thin juliennes.  Remove tough stems from cilantro.
Preparing the mayonnaise:
10.    In a medium bowl, whisk the yolk, mustard and 1 tablespoon olive oil together until an emulsion is formed.
11.    Combine the olive oil and the canola oil in a measuring cup.  While whisking the egg emulsion, add the oil mixture in a steady, thin stream.  Make sure not to add the oil too quickly – add enough to the emulsion and make sure it is blended smoothly before adding more oil.  Continue to add the oil in a steady stream, whisking, until all of the oil has been added.
12.    Add lemon juice, salt and pepper to taste.  Stir in the chopped coriander and lemon zest.
13.    Split the baguette, then remove a little of the bread centers.
14.    Spread the cut sides of the bread with mayonnaise and layer the sliced pâté on the bottom halves, sprinkle on some liquid amino, then stuff with the shredded chicken, pickles, cucumber, cilantro and a strip or two of jalapeno.
15.    Cut baguette into 3 inch pieces, or if using dinner rolls, cut into 2.

Makes 10 mini sandwiches

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* Yu Sang – Chinese New Year Raw Fish Salad Green

Posted on September 6th, 2008 by Linda. Filed under Appetizer, Asian five spice, Carrots, Cilantro, Daikon, Fish, Green onions, Malaysian, Peanuts, Pomelo, Salads.

When Chinese New Year comes around in Malaysia and Singapore, one cannot escape the symbolic dish of Yu Sang. When I was a corporate banker in Kuala Lumpur (in my previous life), we would take our customers out for Yu Sang lunch, and Yu Sang dinner during CNY. If it was served for breakfast, we would have taken them out for Yu Sang breakfast, too! When I got home, my mom would ask “We have to have Yu Sang!” Yu Sang, Yu Sang everywhere!

In the Cantonese dialect, “Yu Sang” is literally translated as raw fish. The words sound like the words for “abundance and growth”. This dish is also sometimes referred to as “Lo Hei” which sounds like “growth in business undertaking”. So when we do the “Yu Sang”, we are wishing our colleagues, friends and family, at the start of a new year, lots of prosperity, good luck and good business.

PS: Don’t forget the red packet!

Chef’s tip: To create the beautiful vegetable julienne spirals, use a Benriner Japanese spiral mandoline.


Special equipment needed A Japanese mandolin/ vegetable shredder

2 cups medium sized carrots
2 cups large white radish/ daikon
1 cup of small green papaya*
1 cup of spring onions
1 cup of cilantro leaves
½ cup pickled shallots*
½ cup of pickled ginger
1 pomelo or 1 grapefruit

½ lb fresh ahi tuna – sashimi grade
1 cup of Asian plum sauce* (Lee Kum Kee brand)
½ cup of grapeseed oil or other mild flavored oil
½ lime

½ cup of roasted peanuts, crushed
1 tablespoon black sesame seeds, toasted
1 tablespoon white sesame seeds, toasted
1 tablespoon Asian 5 spice powder
6 pieces of wonton skin
1 cup of canola oil for frying
1 red envelope

Preparing the crunchy topping
1.    Cut wonton skin into juliennes.
2.    Heat oil in pan.  Fry wonton skin till golden brown.  Drain.
3.    Roast peanuts in an oven 350F till golden brown.  About 7 minutes.
4.    Coarsely crush with a mortar and pestle.
5.    Dry roast sesame seeds till fragrant.
Preparing the vegetables and fish
6.    Shred all vegetables into thin long strips using a Japanese mandolin.
7.    Cut scallions into 2 inch long juliennes, and then slice lengthwise thinly.  Soak in cold water 10  minutes, then drain.
8.    Slice pickled shallots and pickled ginger finely.  Remove tough stems from cilantro.
9.    Remove skin and membranes from pomelo to obtain the fruit sac.
10.    Arrange all vegetables on a large platter in a circle, taking care to alternate colors.
11.    Slice fish about ¼ X 2 x 1 inch and place in the middle.
12.    Just prior to serving, drizzle with oil and plum dressing
13.    Sprinkle on peanuts, sesame seeds, wonton skin crisps
14.    At the table, sprinkle Asian 5 spice (served out of the red envelope).
15.    Squeeze lime over fish.
16.    Toss for good luck

Serves: 6-8

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