Saturday, 30 June 2007

Kangkong Blachan

Kangkong Blachan


I've always wanted to cook this dish ever since I saw this posted years ago by my good blogging friend Stel and Hawaiian food blogger Reid. So when I finally got hold of fresh kangkong in a local (well, not so local since it's about 20 miles away!) Chinese grocer I decided there and then to cook this. Kangkong is also called ung choi or tung choi or water spinach in other lands. Funny how vegetables so common back home that didn't merit so much as a second glance suddenly becomes like a goldmine find when you finally see it on a shop shelf.

How did the dish go? It should have been great but either the 1 tablespoon blachan is too much or the brand I bought is especially salty. It resulted in me and the husband fishing out the strands of kangkong from the salty sauce then smothering it with lots of steamed rice. And the whole house smelling like a shrimp stink bomb exploded. That's why in the recipe below I drastically reduced the blachan to just 1 teaspoon then I'll just go from there. But it's so nice to have a veg quite different from the usual ones especially when paired with hot grilled fish. Yum!



Kangkong Blachan

350 gm kangkong (ung choi, tung choi)
1 tsp blachan (belachan, shrimp paste)
2 Tbsp hibe (dried shrimps)
2 red chillies - chopped
2 cloves garlic
2 Tbsp oil
1/2 cup water
  1. Cut the kangkong into 3-inch lengths. Rinse well in water then drain.
  2. Soak the hibe in hot water for 20 minutes. Drain.
  3. Grind or pound the blachan, hibe, red chillies, and garlic until fine.
  4. Heat oil in wok and stir fry the blachan mixture for about 3 minutes.
  5. Turn up heat and add in the kangkong. Stir fry for about 2 minutes.
  6. Add the water and cook for 1 more minute.
  7. Serve immediately.

Monday, 11 June 2007

Spaghetti Carbonara

 

This is probably the 5th and last experiment we had with Spaghetti Carbonara. For the last year my family were in search for that ultimate (in our taste) non-cloying rich carbonara recipe. A lot that went through our plates and stomachs before was much too rich that often ended up in the rubbish bin. Just look at the picture below, admittedly I handled the camera better that time but notice the difference with it having a lot of creamy sauce. It was fine in the first forkful but after that oh my it was nakaka-uta (too rich).



It wasn't until I stumbled upon Angela Nielsen's recipe in the BBC GoodFood magazine that I found a carbonara without any cream! It proved to be just the right taste that we wanted aided by that technique of adding a few tablespoons of pasta water to keep it moist and glossy. You have to keep in mind that timing is essential here. It is important to keep the pan off the heat while stirring the pasta with the egg mixture otherwise the sauce will curdle. Also keep your serving bowls warm to prevent the loss of heat in the pasta while eating. Cold carbonara is not too enticing believe you me.



Spaghetti Carbonara

125 gm pancetta or streaky bacon - chopped
40 gm Parmesan cheese - finely grated
40 gm Pecorino cheese - finely grated
3 large eggs - beaten
2 garlic cloves - peeled and left whole
60 gm (1/4 cup) butter
300 gm spaghetti
salt and pepper to taste
  1. Mix the 2 cheeses together then add about 3/4 of it to the eggs mixing well. Set aside 1/4 of the cheese for garnishing.
  2. Slightly squash the garlic by pressing under the blade of a knife.
  3. Bring a big pot of water to boil then drop in the spaghetti. Cook according to package instructions (usually bring to boil then start timing for 11 minutes).
  4. While the spaghetti is cooking, heat a large wide pan and melt the butter.
  5. When the butter has melted drop in the garlic and pancetta.
  6. Fry on medium heat until pancetta is crisp and golden.
    Remove the garlic cloves. Keep the pan on low heat.
  7. When the spaghetti is ready, drain but making sure to reserve some of the pasta water.
  8. Put the spaghetti in the pan and mix well with the pancetta.
  9. Remove the pan from the heat and stir in the egg-cheese mixture.
  10. Stir to mix well adding about 2-3 tablespoons of the reserved pasta water to keep it moist and glossy.
  11. Serve immediately on warmed bowls sprinkled with the reserved grated cheese and freshly ground black pepper.