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Thai red curry mussels, stir-fried & steamed

Easy week meal, quick, healthy and tasty shellfish in a velvety Thai red curry sauce. In the fridge, I had a container of 2 kg fresh mussels which I transferred into a big bowl to soak/rinse the mussels in water plus 2 tablespoons of salt. The mussels breathe, filtering water and expelling sand. I always take a few hours to soak and change water, by doing so the beard will come loose or a lot easier to remove and the sand sinks to the bottom. The changing of water in between soaks will prevent pouring accidentally sand into the cooking vessel.

Having prepared the main ingredient in advance I was contemplating between French style Moules Mariniere or Belgian style, although I have to admit at times I get confused in discussion regarding ingredients and distinction between the two. With or without cream, wine, herbs, flour etc. Recently I discovered a recipe where I noticed for the first time mentioning ‘Trappist bier’  in Moules à la bière recipe, mussels cooked with Belgian beer of course.

Alas, no beers but Pilsner (Lager) so skipped that for another night and since the weather changed, I opted for a bit of heat and spice instead. However, was missing a few ingredients, in that case you make do with what is available at hand. I had ran out of coconut cream and coconut milk, so I replaced that by  using coconut oil and a small packet of Alpro soya cream which was given as a sample. The alternative recipe is as shown with this post photo images, but for authenticity I will mention at the bottom how to cook using fresh herbs as lemon grass, coriander etc that would have complemented the Thai flavor and as decoration (chili too for heat and color).

Thai red curry mussels, stir-fried & steamed

Improvising with a few ingredients I came up with a bit of heat and spice making it flavorful and nice 🙂

ทานให้อร่อยนะ! Thān h̄ı̂ xr̀xy na (than hi aroy na) Enjoy your meal

Thai Red Curry, Palm Sugar, Coconut oil, Soy cream

Thai Red Curry pase, Palm Sugar, Coconut oil, Soy cream

Coconut cream or milk would be preferred for taste and flavor, but soy cream was a good alternative ingredient to thicken the sauce slightly (soy milk is not an option!). If you don’t have palm sugar, regular white sugar works fine. At the background you just can see the bottle of oyster sauce (works as substitute), which I didn’t use, what is missing in this image is Thai fish sauce.

Coconut oil and red curry paste stir fried

Heat coconut oil, add red curry paste and stir-fry quickly, to mix and release flavors

Red curry paste with leeks and soy cream

Add the leeks, soy cream and stir till it starts to boil.

Thai red curry mussels, stir-fried & steamed

Thai red curry mussels, stir-fried & steamed

Thai red curry mussels, stir-fried & steamed in a velvety sauce

Thai red curry mussels, stir-fried & steamed in a velvety sauce

For a change I flat out had no herbs in my kitchen (no ginger, no galangal, no lemongrass even shallots were finished) so I used finely sliced leek instead. If you do have the aforementioned ingredients than chop it up finely, heat the oil in the wok add the ingredients and when it releases aromas add the red curry paste. Give everything a good stir than add the coconut milk to bind it all together, while rinsing off the mussels in a sieve , let it drip off all the excess water, add them into the wok. Put the lid on and let it cook steam for approximately 7-8 minutes till all shells have opened while giving it two good shakes in between. When done open the lid and tadaa! Stir around the sauce so it coats all the mussels. Wholladuh goodness,Thai red curry mussels, stir-fry & steam ! If you happen to have coriander at hand, chop a handful and scatter on top add finely sliced red pepper for color and a bit of fresh heat.

Cooking with fresh herb ingredients only intensifies the flavors, but even with the minimum I had this time it still was a great dinner. Serve on a plate with plain Jasmine rice and enjoy your Thai infused mussels.

YangMei Green smoothie with Avocado, yoghurt, chia seeds and yangmei syrup

Good morning! Made this YangMei Green smoothie in advance, last night while cooking dinner. Preparing ahead makes it easier in the morning while you are in a hurry without missing a healthy breakfast on-the-go. To put super food “Chia seeds” in to action with more healthy recipes, I’m sharing another super booster with Avocado, greek yoghurt, chia seeds and home-made 杨梅 yángméi syrup. 

YangMei Green Smoothie scroll down in the recipe box. (more…)

Silken tofu Smoothie with strawberries & banana

Energizing boost to start your workday, pre- or after workout, full of nutrients and proteins. Fresh fruits and Silken Tofu makes this a wonderful breakfast, a powerbooster and great muscle energizer after a fitness workout.

Tofu has a low calorie count, relatively large amounts of protein, and little fat. It is high in iron and depending on the coagulant used in manufacturing, may also be high in calcium or magnesium. The perfect low-fat, low-cholesterol fresh ingredient suitable for everyone in any diet.

Silken Tofu in Smoothie’s
Using tender soft-tofu has become one of my regular ingredients in my own smoothie concoctions, I prepare this for breakfast or more often after a gym workout. After having read many advices and recommendation for protein powder based shakes I thought why not use fresh soybean milk or silken tofu instead, combined with seasonal fresh fruits or frozen berries. For a sugar sweetener variation I use honey, Torani almond syrup or non-caloric substitute Stevia, you will find the preparation in the recipe box here under. If you can not find the silken tofu or unavailable in your local toko or Chinese supermarket, you can substitute silken tofu with soy yoghurt but not with blocks of dou fu (beancurds). Although both derived from soybean it has different textures.

Silken tofu information

Soft or silken tofu is named 嫩豆腐 nen dou fu in Chinese, “soft or “smooth tofu”; 絹漉し豆腐, kinugoshi tōfu in Japanese and “silk-filtered tofu”; 순두부, 純豆腐, sundubu in Korean. More recipes will follow soon from mentioned cuisines as well as healthy recipes starting with the powerboost Strawberry-Tofu smoothie. Soft tofu, a custard like appearance has a soft and very light consistency than regular tofu. In terms of firmness the very opposite of regular tofu, silken tofu crumbles immediately. Therefore an ideal ingredient for use in protein smoothies, vegetarian dishes as in dips, baking or sauce thickening agent.

Both silken and regular tofu can be found in soft, medium, firm and extra firm packaging. Dou fu also known as bean curd is derived from soy beans and a staple food in many east-Asian and south-east Asian cuisines, but they are processed slightly differently, and are not interchangeable in a recipe. Dou fu has a subtle flavour and is used in sweet and savoury dishes adaptable to almost all cooking techniques and appeals to vegan and non-vegan whether it is raw or cooked.

Note: A personal preference, I listed ice-cubes optional because all ingredients were taken straight from the refrigerator and cooled between 5°- 7°C. It’s a well known fact that blood vessels widen and narrow due to body temperature conditions. After a workout, headaches and belly cramps do not need “ice-cold”.

Over the years I have collected quite a few cooking books, several focusing on 豆腐 dou-fu, my latest purchase is a very informative and comprehensive guide titled ‘Asian Tofu‘; Discover the Best, Make Your Own, and Cook it at Home by Andrea Nguyen in English. Describing techniques for DIY home-cook in making home made dou fu or just cooking one of the featured 75 recipes.

 

 

Avocado Chia seeds healthy breakfast

Avocado

Due to its shape and leathery skin, did you know that another name for Avocado is Alligator’s pear? What’s in a name right? 🙂

A biologist calls it persea americana, but avocado derives from the Nahuatl word ahuacatl, which also refers to a certain part of the male anatomy that the fruit somewhat resembles. In English, the word has almost the same pronunciation as the Spanish abogado, “lawyer.” In Mexico it is called the aguacate. Use your imagination to understand why the Aztecs called it the fertility fruit. Legend has it that an early English description of “avocado” called it the “avogado pear,” leading to the misunderstanding of “alligator pear.”  The fact that the shell of the fruit looks vaguely crocodilian doesn’t hurt. (source: dictonary.com)

Avocado, healthy low in cholesterol and sodium

Avocado, healthy low in cholesterol and sodium

A fruit native to Mexico and Central America, much eaten as a vegetable and the main ingredient to make famous guacamole dip with tortilla chips. With great benefits to this mighty fruit, a serving size of 150 gram has 240 calories, very low in cholesterol and sodium. Rich source of Dietary Fibre, Vitamin C, Vitamin K and Folate. Supports cardiovascular health, promotes blood sugar regulation and has anti-cancer benefits. It is no wonder why Avocado is considered among the World’s healthiest foods.

Chia Seeds

Another health food native to the same region is Chia Seeds (the seeds come from a flowering plaint in the mint family) an important crop and super food for the Aztec’s it was largely unknown in North America until researcher Wayne Coates began studying Chia 29-years ago. Chia is the highest currently known plant source of omega-3 ALA, which is able to convert into both EPA and DHA. Rich in anti-inflammatory activity, has a huge nutritional profile. It contains calcium, manganese, and phosphorus as an added benefit, chia seeds can be eaten whole or milled. Or making a gel by adding liquid for instant pudding or as an egg or butter substitute. 

Avocado Chia seeds mash healthy breakfast

Avocados are regular ingredients in our fruit basket, last week there was a health products promotion at the discount chain store Action for Chia seeds and I bought two packages to add them to our diet. Half way through a hectic week, I needed a healthy boost so I came up with this preparation an Avocado and Chia seeds mash. A healthy breakfast alternative recipe, spiced up with a bit of SiChuan pepper powder and a sprinkle of red pepper flakes on toasted Corn bread. Perhaps you could use a #transformationthursday superbooster too with all these ingredients loading up energy, watch out Friday!

Avocado Chia Seeds Healthy breakfast

Avocado Chia Seeds Healthy breakfast

 

 

 

Rice with dried anchovies, quick stir-fry for lunch

With a few ingredients it is simple to make rice with dried anchovies in a tasty lunch, a quick stir-fry and your good to go. I had some leftover rice, dried anchovies and last bit of tempeh kering (Indonesian snack) to add an extra crunch to the dish. Have to make a new batch of Tempeh Kering or other dishes with tempeh, I am trying my hand to make tempeh at home. As soon as that experiment works I will post my findings accompanied with a dish.

Dried anchovies are versatile in Asian cooking, they are either used for broths like in Japanese, Korean soup and stews, appetizers. In Chinese home-cooking often combined with fatty dishes as in steamed Chinese style meatloaves. Or deep-fried called Ikan billis it accompanies Nasi Lemak, coconut infused rice wrapped in banana leaves. One of many favourite Singapore/Malaysian dishes. Sambal belacan ikan billis is another one, sambal belacan is a spicy chilli paste which can be added during cooking or eaten as condiment often served with Laksa. The more talk about food and we’re wandering away from our stir-fried rice.

image

As shown on the photo, these are all the ingredients to start the stir-fry some leftover rice, egg, shallots, garlic, shrimp sauce/paste, chilli-soy paste, soy sauce with  Chinese cooking wine and a heated wok. For the photo I scattered some celery leaves on top, but it is tastier  with coriander and green onions unfortunately all finished it sure was time to shop for groceries too.

Rice with dried anchovies

A quick and easy stir-fry, an assembled dish of various ingredients it has literally a bit of China, Indonesia in it you’ll find the recipe in the box below.

Quinoa Tabbouleh Salad Gluten-free

Many summers back we had an impromptu BBQ dinner with friends at our Taiwanese home. Our guests brought Pot Luck to our home, one of the dishes a fantastic Tabbouleh salad made with bulgur. My first attempts to remake Tabbouleh was disappointing since then I learned of my mistakes such as not squeezing hard enough to remove all liquid.

While parsley is the main herb ingredient, you can easily make adaptations with other herb options. Based on this salad but creating a different taste is by adding 1 tablespoon of sun-dried tomato tapenade instead of tomato puree for a pronounced flavour.

A healthy dish with memories, running out of bulgur gave room for another twist by preparing this salad with Quinoa seed. With every bite, the seeds will pop a little giving it an extra dimension.

 

With no fresh lemons available nor bottles of lemon juice, I substituted with Chinese rice vinegar and adjust seasonings for the olive oil based dressing. The same reason I tried Apple vinegar which would be my last resort since it has a higher acidity you need less. So start with just one tablespoon and increase with half if needed.

Last summer our youngest came back from her holiday in Morocco with student peers. She brought Aragan oil purchased from a local vendor in a small village. There’s a reason why it is called Moroccan liquid gold as one of the rarest oils in the world.

The nutty taste and fragrance is absolute heaven! I am not an exaggerating type but Aragan oil really does give an extra dimension to salad dishes. If not available you can replace with walnut oil, olive oil will work but has a different end taste.

Liquid gold, it is an unequalled and understandably rare commodity outside of Morocco. A food gem in my kitchen cabinet for as long as the treasured food gift last.

Quinoa Tabbouleh Salad, Power food

Quinoa Tabbouleh Salad


Quinoa Tabbouleh Salad

Quinoa is a basically a powerhouse full of nutritional value and a good choice on the menu. A super grain high in protein and fibre, an ancient seed re-ignited as a super food. If Aragan oil is gold liquid than the mother grain of the Inca’s are gold nuggets. Apparently, NASA sent astronauts into space with Quinoa on the menu as the power food.

Today’s Tabbouleh version has no parsley, instead, it is prepared with fresh mint and coriander. You can serve the dish for lunch with bread, dinner or barbeque as a side dish.

For other salad inspiration, try our Red Beet Salad with Orange, Feta Cheese, Mint recipe or Yum Nua Thai Beef Salad recipe.

Family favourite Thai fusion Spaghetti

Whats-for-dinner! The standard phrase coming home with the school bus in Taipei, our kids during their childhood years (14-12-8 and 6 yrs old). In random order but always the greeting came before they entered through the door, whether it was from school, sports or even now grown up and arriving from workplace or study.

Pack of hungry wolves if they brought friends along to play or finish homework, most of the time I had (healthy) snacks at hand but if I was late or not yet home they ransacked the fridge. During our years living in Taipei, I prepared this fusion dish with what I had on hand in the fridge and cupboard for a quick meal.

Which were chillies, cucumber, tomato, bell pepper, black olives, spring onion, coriander, lemon grass, galangal, lemon juice and chicken thighs (for e.g. try Chinese Chicken Wings in a soy-chili marinade). Noodles and Pasta, onion, garlic, staple items with various Asian seasoning’s which included fish sauce among many other flavourings. I just started whipping up this dish, it became an instant hit becoming a regular summer or barbeque meal side dish over the years.

After our kids moved out for studies/work they called home for recipes; advice how-to instructions to prepare comfort food in their kitchens. Our kid’s cravings and questions are what initiated to write down recipes to share and celebrate good food with family, friends around the table. Writing down one recipe snowballed into more request even outside our inner-circle. From phone calls, e-mails, newsletters, social media came around combined with my geeky interest I landed here with a website blog, sharing my in- and outside kitchen adventures.

This is one of our family favourite Thai Fusion Spaghetti, a Ching recipe fusing our European background with Asian flavours. These home-cooked dishes have a blend of ordinary and exotic ingredients, colourful with a mix of spices, fresh herbs prepared and enjoyed together.

Start cooking put your teeth in it and share your comments. I have a food picture logged somewhere will add to the post, but please feel free to upload your result. Ching Thai Spaghetti recipe follows here below, enjoy!