Passionate Home Cooking

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Wednesday, February 21, 2024

Mexican Street Corn (Elote) Love & Lemons


 

  • Mayonnaise – It creates a creamy coating for the corn and helps the other fixings stick. I love the flavor of 100% mayo on elote, but if you prefer, you can sub Mexican crema or sour cream for some or all of it.
  • Fresh lime juice and zest – For brightness.
  • Chili powder or ancho chile powder – It adds smoky flavor and a little heat.
  • Cotija cheese – For salty flavor and tang. If you have trouble finding Cotija cheese at the grocery store, a little crumbled feta cheese will work instead. It won’t taste exactly the same, but it will still be delicious!
  • Fresh cilantro – For a fresh, aromatic finishing touch. Fine minced.
  • And sea salt – To taste! Because mayo and Cotija cheese are both salty already, you may not need it. I recommend taking a bite of your elote before you sprinkle on more salt.


Tuesday, February 6, 2024

Chinese Salt-Bake Prawns aka Salt&Pepper Shrimp



Chinese salt-baked prawns are known for their crispy texture and flavorful taste. The key to achieving the crispiness lies in the salt-baking method and a few specific cooking techniques. Here's a general guide on how to make Chinese salt-baked prawns crispy:

Ingredients:

  • Large prawns (shell-on)
  • Coarse sea salt (aka kosher salt)
  • Cornstarch or potato starch ( I recommend potato starch)
  • Egg whites
  • Seasonings (garlic, ginger, green onions ( aka scallions), etc.)
  • Optionally, thin cuts of jalapeños
  • Peanut oil for frying

Instructions:

  1. Clean and prepare the prawns:

    • Rinse the prawns thoroughly and pat them dry with paper towels.
    • If you prefer, you can make a shallow cut along the back of each prawn to devein them. You may want to do this with surgeon’s scissors.
  2. Coat with cornstarch or potato starch:

    • Lightly coat the prawns with cornstarch or potato starch. This helps create a crispy outer layer when frying.
  3. Whisk egg whites:

    • In a bowl, whisk egg whites until they become frothy. Dip each prawn into the egg whites, ensuring they are well-coated.
  4. Coat with salt:

    • Roll each prawn in a generous amount of coarse sea salt, ensuring an even coating. The salt forms a crust during baking, adding to the crispy texture.
  5. Preheat the oven:

    • Preheat your oven to a high temperature (around 400°F or 200°C).
  6. Bake the prawns:

    • Place the salt-coated prawns on a baking sheet or in a baking dish. Bake them in the preheated oven for a short time, usually around 10-15 minutes. The high temperature helps the salt crust form quickly. Higher altitudes require more time.
  7. Fry for extra crispiness (optional):

    • For an extra crispy texture, you can deep-fry the prawns in hot peanut oil for a brief period after baking. This step is optional, as baking alone can produce a sufficiently crispy result.
  8. Sauté aromatics (optional):

    • In a separate pan or wok, sauté garlic, ginger, green onions, or any other preferred aromatics. Once fragrant, add the baked or fried prawns and toss them to coat in the aromatic mixture.
  9. Serve immediately:

    • Plate the crispy salt-baked prawns and serve them immediately while they are hot and crispy.

Note: Adjust the cooking times based on the size of the prawns. Do not overcook.


 

Cantonese Noodles

 


Cantonese noodles are a popular Chinese dish known for their delicious flavors and varied ingredients. One common Cantonese noodle dish is "Cantonese Chow Mein."

Cantonese Chow Mein

Ingredients:

For the Noodles:

  • 250g ( 1/2 lb) Cantonese-style egg noodles (fresh or dried)
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • Water for boiling

For the Stir-Fry:

  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 cup thinly sliced chicken, beef, or pork (or a combination)
  • 1 cup julienned carrots
  • 1 cup sliced mushrooms
  • 1 cup sliced bell peppers (different colors for visual appeal)
  • 1 cup bean sprouts*
  • 4 green onions, chopped

For the Sauce:

  • 3 tablespoons oyster sauce
  • 2 tablespoons dark soy sauce or mushroom soy
  • 1 tablespoon cornstarch mixed with 3 tablespoons water (cornstarch slurry)f
  • 2 teaspoons Marin
  • 1 teaspoon hoisin sauce
  • Optionally, hot sauce**

Instructions:

  1. Prepare the Noodles:

    • If using dried noodles, cook them according to the package instructions. If using fresh noodles, blanch them in boiling water for 1-2 minutes until al dente. Drain and toss with 1 tablespoon of vegetable oil and salt.
  2. Prepare the Sauce:

    • In a small bowl, mix the oyster sauce and soy sauce. In another small bowl, create the cornstarch slurry by mixing cornstarch with water.
  3. Stir-Fry:

    • Heat 2 tablespoons of vegetable oil in a wok or large skillet over medium-high heat. Add minced garlic and stir-fry for about 30 seconds.

    • Add your choice of protein (chicken, beef, or pork) and cook until it's no longer pink.

    • Add julienned carrots, sliced mushrooms, and bell peppers. Stir-fry for 2-3 minutes until the vegetables are slightly tender.

    • Push the ingredients to the side of the wok, creating a well in the center. Pour the sauce into the well and bring it to a quick boil.

    • Add the cooked noodles to the sauce and toss everything together. Add the bean sprouts and chopped green onions, continuing to toss until everything is well combined and heated through.

  4. Serve:

    • Plate the Cantonese chow mein and serve hot. You can garnish with additional green onions if desired.

Feel free to customize the ingredients based on your preferences and dietary restrictions. Cantonese noodles are versatile, and you can experiment with different proteins and vegetables to suit your taste.


* bean sprout are prone to the introduction of bacteria. I slice  jicama radish also known as the Mexican turnip.

** Try Sichuan sauce or black bean with chilies.