Monday, October 20, 2014

Cross Bridge Rice Noodles

Cross bridge rice noodles.
Long ago, just south of the Yunnan city of Mengzixian (蒙自县)…. There was a beautiful lake with water as clear as jade. In the center of the lake, there was a small island covered in green bamboo saplings and giant trees whose ancient stalks reached the heavens.

Known for its natural beauty and pleasant atmosphere, the small island drew many neighboring scholars seeking a tranquil place to study for the imperial exams. Among these scholars was a particularly diligent student who spent many days studying on the island. Every day, his wife made the long walk to the lake, crossing the bridge to the island to bring him his midday meal.

However, he was frequently so engrossed in his studies that he only remembered to eat long after the food had grown cold. Due to his irregular eating habits, the scholar became noticeably thin and his warmhearted wife grew very worried.
One day, she had an idea. She butchered a plump hen to make a hot chicken soup, and separately prepared her husband’s favorite local rice noodles, seasonings, and ingredients. She brought them over the bridge in different bowls, combining them just before he was ready to eat.

On it’s own, the chicken broth stayed hot enough to cook the noodles and other ingredients, and created a thin layer of oil that kept the whole bowl piping hot. It worked. The scholar loved the hot noodle soup, and the wife started crossing the bridge everyday with these bowls. Eventually, the scholar succeeded in passing the imperial exams and, remembering his wife’s great kindness and hospitality, joked that it was his wife’s wonderful noodles that helped him pass the prestigious and famously difficult exams.

Cross Bridge Rice Noodles

Today, guoqiao mixian (过桥米线) is still considered a Yunnan specialty—and it still comes in separate bowls, allowing you to pick your ingredients and add the hot soup yourself.
In Yunnan, this dish is so popular that there are restaurant chains that specialize exclusively in varieties of guoqiao mixian. It can be found anywhere from street-side noodle shops to high-end banquet-style restaurants.

Yunnan province has the largest ethnic minorities in China. In addition to the Han nationality, it is also inhabited by 26 other ethnic groups. The province’s ethnic minority population accounts for nearly one-third of the total population.

My version of Cross Bridge Rice Noodles ( Serve 4 - 5 )
Ingredients for the broth
1 piece chicken breast meat
6 pieces chicken wings
1 chicken carcass - chopped
1 in ginger
1 stalk spring onion
2 cloves garlic
1 tsp salt

1/  Wash the chicken wings, breast meat and chicken carcass.
2/  Bring  1/ 2 pot of water to boil, put in the chicken meat and bone, let it boil for 5 mins.
3/  Remove from stove, discard the water and rinse the chicken meat and bone.
4/  Boil 6 to 8 cups of water, add salt, ginger, garlic, spring onion and chicken meat. In between skim off the foam.

Chicken wings, bones and meat produce a rich stock with great flavor and gelatin.

5/  Boil the chicken wings and breast meat for 20 mins. Scoop out the chicken wings and keep aside. Shred the chicken breast meat, keep aside.
6/  For the broth, add 2 tbsp shaoxing wine, dash of pepper, salt and pepper to taste. ( Add more water if not enough broth. )

Lijiang Old Town

Lijiang old town canal restaurants.

Ingredients for the noodles
1/2 packet dried rice noodles
400gm medium size prawn
4 slices of ham
150gm pork
1 packet fish balls
1 tube of egg tofu - cut
6 leaves of chinese cabbage
2 bunch of lettuce
50gm bean sprout
1 piece Sichuan preserves vegetable ( Za chai )
1 stalk spring onion - chopped coarsely

Fried shallots for garnishing.

1/  Peel the prawn and devine. Season with 1 tsp sugar, 1 tsp soya sauce, 1 tsp shauxing wine and dash of pepper. Chill in fridge.
2/  Blanch the fish ball in hot water for 2 mins. Drain off the water and keep aside.
3/  Wash the ham with hot water and slice thinly.
4/  Slice the pork thinly, season with 1/2 tsp corn flour and 1 tsp soya sauce. Keep aside.
5/  Pluck off the bean sprout tail, wash and drain.
6/  Cut the Chinese cabbage to about 1/2 in wide.

7/  Wash the Sichuan preserved vege and slice thinly. Soak in water for 30 mins and drain off the water.
8/  Scoop out some broth to a smaller pot, bring to boil. Throw in the slice pork, give a quick stir and boil for 30 seconds. Scoop out the cooked pork and keep aside. Then boil the prawn for 1 min, scoop out and keep aside.
9/ Bring half pot of water to boil, blanch the noodles until cook. Drain off the water and keep aside.

Dried rice noodles

Cooked rice noddles

10/  Arrange all the ingredients in serving plate.

Fish balls, slice pork, prawn, shredded chicken meat and ham.

Bean sprout, lettuce, Chinese cabbage and Sichuan preserved vege,

Garnishing ingredients, spring onion, shredded pickle ginger, fried shallots and soft tofu.

Dipping sauce, chopped the red chillies and garlic finely. Add sugar, vinegar and soya sauce to taste.

 Bring the soup to boil again, scoop the hot soup into a gigantic clay bowl or porcelain bowl.

Cart the bowl of soup and others ingredients across a bridge to a small island to enjoy your Cross Bridge Rice Noodles.

Or from your kitchen to your dining table.

Add them in sequence with meat going first to the piping hot broth, followed by bean sprouts, Chinese cabbage, lettuce, Sichuan vege and tofu.

Then followed by a handful of noodles.

Garnish with pickled ginger, fried shallots and chopped spring onion.

 Then add the cooked chicken wing.

Stir and mixed well......then slurrrp to enjoy the cross bridge rice noodles.

Having a giant bowl of cross bridge rice noodles is highly satisfying and immensely fun.

If you like you can add quail eggs and mushroom or any of your favorite topping.

After dinner, if nothing better to do enjoy Lychee ice cream

A light and refreshing lychee ice cream, best to add extra lychee for extra kick.

2 cups milk
1 canned lychee
1 cup lychee syrup from the can
1 egg
1/4 cup sugar
1 1/2 tbsp corn flour
3/4 cup fresh cream
1 tsp lychee essence

Life is uncertain. Eat dessert first.

1/  Mix 1 cup of milk, lychee syrup and corn flour to make a smooth paste.
2/  Next combine another cup of milk and sugar in a pot and bring it to boil.
3/  Beat the egg lightly, pour the hot milk slowly to temper the egg and mix well.
4/  Add the number 1 mixture to the egg mixture and cook for 5-7 minutes, on a simmer flame.
5/  When the mixture starts to coat at the back of the spoon, remove from heat and let it cool.

6/ Add lychee essence and fresh cream and blend well.
7/ Now, pour this mixture in a shallow container, cover it and let it freeze till it is almost set.
8/ When it is set, add the lychee and blend in food processor/ blender till it is smooth.
9/ Now, put this mixture back in the shallow container and freeze again till 50% set, take out from freezer and blend again. Repeat 3 times to break the ice crystal.
10/ Freeze until set, scoop out in a serving glass, top with extra lychee and enjoy.

I scream, you scream.......everybody love ice cream.

Cross bridge rice noodles is very nutritious and tasty. The pure chicken soup is good to the last drop.

Have a fabulous week ahead. Cheers!

Monday, October 6, 2014

When having friends over for dinner...........

When having friends over for dinner,if you want to spice up your evening dinner. Start of with an appetizers to stimulates the appetite. The variation for appetizers are endless, its sure to impress your friends.

An appetizer........
 Shrimp on crackers........

Shrimp On Crackers
(Recipe adapt from Ritz Crackers with modification.)

Ice Bath
A) 1 tbsp sea salt
     2 tbsp lemon juice
     1 tbsp cayenne pepper
     1 bowl water    
     1/2 cup ice cubes
Mix all the ingredients together and chill in the fridge till ready to use.

Bathe the shrimp in ice bath till ready to be serve.

To cook the shrimp.
B) 1 tbsp sea salt
     2 tbsp lemon juice
     1 tbsp cayenne pepper
     2 cups water
     1 bay leave
     12 medium size shrimp

Fresh shrimp from the wet market.

1/  Peel off the shrimp shell, wash and pat dry. Marinate shrimp with 1 tsp sugar and dash of pepper.
2/ Mix all the (B) ingredients together and bring to boil. Add in the shrimp and boil the shrimp till turn pink.
3/ Remove the shrimp and soak in the ice bath (from A mixture)

C)  1 tbsp cream cheese ( room temperature)
      1.5 tbsp mayonnaise
      1 tsp chopped spring onion
      1 tsp chopped celery
      Pinch of salt
      Dash of cayenne pepper
      1 to 2 tsp of lemon juice

Mix all the(C) ingredients together and chill in the fridge till ready to serve.

D) Ritz crackers or any cheese crackers
I use this Lee brand Spray cheese crackers.

E) Garnishing
 Chopped celery

 Chopped carrot

Chopped coriander

Place crackers on a platter. Half the cooked shrimp lengthwise. Top each cracker with shrimp and scoop a teaspoon of cream cheese mixture on top the shrimp. Garnish with celery, carrot and coriander leaves.

If you prefer something more cheesy, add a slice of cheese on the cracker. This is sure eyes rolling for those who love cheese.

A eye catching, pretty plated appetizer to wow your friends.

Or perhaps a poolside dinner, there is nothing more romantic than planing something special just for your loved one, boyfriend, lover or sweetheart.

Imaging dining in total privacy while enjoying the stunning view with your loved one.

You don't have to spent hours in the kitchen to impress your friends. This quick and easy one pot meal is eye catching and sure to wow your friends.

Pineapple Shrimp Coconut Rice

Some interesting facts about pineapple.

Pineapples are thought to have originated in Brazil and Paraguay in South America. They were first discovered by Europeans in 1493 on the Caribbean Island now known as Guadeloupe.
Pineapples arrived in the Caribbean after centuries of Indian migration and commerce.

When Christopher Columbus and other discoverers brought pineapples back to Europe, attempts were made to cultivate the sweet, prized fruit until it was realized that the fruit’s need for a tropical climate inhibited its ability to flourish outside of the tropics.

Although originally from South America, most of the world's pineapples now come from Southeast Asia. Thailand is said to be the biggest producer of pineapples in the region.

By the end of the 16th century, Portuguese and Spanish explorers introduced pineapples into many of their Asian, African and South Pacific colonies – countries in which pineapples are still grown today.

Lutheran missionaries introduced the pineapple to Australia in the 1830’s and it now grows predominantly along the coast of Queensland.

Did you know pineapple is good for colds and coughs? Pineapples are packed with Vitamin C and all the flu fighting goodness you'd expect to get from oranges except pineapples have something EXTRA special!

Bromelain, an enzyme which is found in pineapples, is excellent for digestion and has been found to help suppress coughs and loosen mucus. Pineapple canneries use every bit of the pineapple. The skins, core and end portions are used to make a variety of products including vinegar, alcohol and animal food.

Pineapple Shrimp Coconut Rice
1/2 cup rice
100 mls thick coconut milk
3/4 to 1 bowl water
2 cloves garlic
1 small onion
1 tbsp oil
1/2 bowl chopped pineapple
10 pieces of medium size shrimp
1 small ripe pineapple

1/  Peel off the shrimp shell and devine. Wash and pat dry, season with 1 tsp sugar, dash of pepper and 1 tsp soya sauce. Chill in fridge.
2/  Wash the rice and toss dry.
3/  Chopped the onion and garlic coarsely.
4/  Heat up a heavy bottom pot or saucepan with oil. Saute the garlic and onion till slightly brown.
5/  Add the shrimp and stir fry until shrimp turn pink. Dish out the shrimp only and keep aside.

6/  Add the rice, coconut milk and water. Stir occasionally to prevent burn.
7/  Cook until water evaporate and check if the rice is cook. If rice not cook, add a bit more water to continue cooking.
8/  Switch off the stove, keep the rice in the pot for 20 mins.

9/  Meanwhile prepare the pineapple. Cut off the top part of the pineapple and scoop out the pineapple flesh.
10/ Wrap the bottom of the pineapple with aluminum foil and put on the baking tin.

11/  Fluff up the cooked rice, add chopped pineapple and 1/2 tbsp of cheddar cheese.

12/  Scoop the rice into the pineapple bowl and put the shrimp in between the rice.

13/  Blanket the rice with some cheddar cheese and mozzarella cheese.
14/  Bake in preheat oven at 180 deg  for 20 mns.
15/  Serve immediately.

The pineapple shrimp coconut rice is ready to serve.

One of this day when I invite anyone of you over for lunch or dinner, I hope you will enjoy this simple Pineapple Shrimp Coconut Rice. Fast to cook, good to eat and still have ample of time for gossip and chit chat. LOL

Fluff up the rice with a pair of chopsticks or fork.

My pineapple parrot. LOL
Cut a 1 inch cube pineapple, carve it into round shape. Use a toothpick to secure it to the pineapple crown. Cut a small piece of carrot for the beak and use raisin or chocolate chip for the eyes.

Pineapple parrot is ready to be present as centre piece for the dinning table.

If you don't want the rice to be too mushy, put less water.

 Enjoy this wonderful pineapple shrimp rice with a cup of coffee.

Have a wonderful week ahead.