Thursday, August 22, 2013

Xôi Khúc

I made xôi cúc for the first time today using a combination of various recipes.  I meant to do proper measurements to create my own recipe, but once I started, I completely forgot about measuring.  So this is one of "those" recipes that you just have to "eyeball" it.

I also wanted to make the vegetarian version, not expecting much.  Surprisingly, it was so good, better than some of the meaty ones I've had in the stores.

First, the filling.

Soak 400g of mung bean overnight.  Drain.  Steam for about 30 minutes until cook and soft.
Smash the bean with salt, ground pepper (lots of it).  Add vegetable broth to make a soft paste, but not so much that it'd be soupy.

In a saucepan, heat up the oil (3 Tbsp) and saute diced shallot (7-8 small), diced onion (1 small), the white part of green onion (6 heads) in medium heat until soften but not brown, about 6 minutes.  Add diced garlic (5 cloves) and saute for another 2 minutes.

Add the smashed mung bean, mix well.  Taste, and adjust seasonings. I added more ground pepper and some mushroom seasoning.  Add about 1/4 cup of green onions at the end so it still retains color.

The shell.

Soften (microwave, saute with a bit of water) the 6 ounces baby spinach until wilted, about 1 minute (optional).  Puree the spinach with vegetable broth (not more than 150ml).  Cook the puree mixture.

Mix the 450g glutinous rice flour (bột gạo nếp) with 90g rice flour (bột gạo tẻ)  (Note:  5:1 ratio).  Add some mushroom seasoning (1/2 tsp).  Use the mixer with dough attachment, pour the boiling spinach mixture into the flour, mix in low speed until combined.  At this point, I just warmed more vegetable broth and keep mix more in a bit at a time until a soft dough form.  Let the dough rest in a greased, covered bowl for about an hour.

My dough was a bit dry after an hour rest since it kept breaking when I stretched it out.  It should be pliable.  I just put it back in the mixer and added more hot water until the dough is pliable enough that I can stretch it out.  I think I used somewhere between 200ml - 300ml.  You can see the consistency in the picture below.

Double the recipe for the dough, as I only had enough shell for half of the filling.  Portion the dough into 1.5 ounces ball.  I had enough dough for 24 balls, but I had about 42 balls of mung bean filling.

Flatten and stretch the dough into a circular shape, wrap the mung bean balls, and form a ball.  (My dough was soft enough for hand stretching, but I couldn't roll it as the dough would stick on the mat.  However, this doesn't have to be perfect.  Just something circular is good enough).

Soak 500g of glutinous rice in water overnight.  (Might want to double this).  Drain.
Soak the rice in boiling water for about 10 minutes.  Drain again.

(Someone told me that soaking or blanching the rice in boiling water will make it sticky.  This would help to get more rice stick to the balls in the next step.  But I'm not sure it helped much.  My balls are quite bald.  :-)

Mix with 1tsp salt.

Once the balls are shaped, roll them in the soaked and drained glutinous rice.

This was how they looked after rolling in the rice.  It had a nice coverage, but not much sticking out.

To steam, put a small layer of rice in the steamer.  Put the balls on top of the rice.  Spread, pat, paste, do whatever you can to get some more rice stick onto the balls.  Whatever I did, I couldn't get more rice sticking to the balls, thus, they were bald.

Steam for 20 minutes.

Voila!  See how much darker the shell became.  It was a light green.  After steaming, it had a very deep green color.  I want to know how to get more rice to cover the ball.

And I didn't wrap the shell tightly enough, so there was a lot of air pocket between the shell and the filling.  But maybe that's why they tasted so awesome!

Thursday, August 1, 2013

Beef Patty Melt with Pimento Cheese

10 ounces ground sirloin
6 ounces ground beef short ribs
Kosher salt and cracked black pepper to taste
1/4 cup vegetable oil
2 Spanish onions, thinly sliced
8 slices (1/2 inch thick) rye bread, buttered on one side

8 ounces sharp cheddar, coarsely shredded
1/2 cup mayonnaise
1/2 cup finely chopped Vidalia onion
3-1/2 ounces jarred pimentos, drained and diced
1 garlic clove, grated
Dash of hot sauce

Prepare the homemade pimento cheese:  Blend the cheddar, mayonnaise, onion, pimentos, garlic and hot sauce in a food processor until well combined.  Transfer the pimento cheese to a glass jar or bowl and refrigerate until firm, at least 1 hour.  Makes 1-3/4 cups.

Prepare the burgers:  Blend the ground sirloin and ground short ribs and sprinkle with salt and pepper.  Loosely form the meat into 4 equal 4-ounce patties about 1/2 inch thick.  Create a small well in the center of each patty, using your thumb.

Heat 2 tablespoons of the oil in a small saute pan over medium heat.  Cook the onions, sprinkling with salt and stirring occasionally, until caramelized, brown and soft, 25 to 30 minutes.

Season beef patties with salt and pepper to taste.  Heat a large cast-iron skillet or griddle pan over high heat and add 1 to 2 tablespoons of the oil.  Cook the burgers, well side up first, until browned on both sides, 3 to 4 minutes per side.  Transfer to a plate.

Spread the homemade pimento cheese on the non-buttered side of each slice of bread.  Top half of the bread slices with a pile of onions, then add the burger patties and top with the remaining bread slices.

Place the sandwich on the griddle and toast until the bread is golden brown and he cheese is beginning to melt, 2 minutes per side.

Serves 4.

Asian Chicken Burgers with Spicy Lemongrass Mayo and Pickled Asian Slaw

Recipe courtesy of Kelsey Nixon

1-1/2 pounds ground chicken, half dark and half white meat (ground turkey, optional)
2 Tbsp hoisin sauce
1 Tbsp toasted sesame oil
1 Tbsp soy sauce
4 garlic cloves, minced
4 scallions, green and white parts, minced
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
4 sesame-seed hamburger buns, halved and buttered

1 cup mayonnaise
1 to 2 Tbsp chili sauce, such as Sriracha
Zest and juice of 1 lime
1 Tbsp bruised and finely minced lemongrass
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper to taste

1/4 cup rice vinegar
2 Tbsp toasted sesame oil
2 garlic cloves, minced
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
2 Tbsp thinly sliced pickled ginger
1/4 small head napa cabbage, finely shredded (about 3 cups)
1/4 red bell pepper, thinly sliced

Prepare the spicy lemongrass mayo:  Mix together the mayonnaise, chili sauce, lime zest and juice, and lemongrass in a small bowl.  Season with salt and pepper, and set aside.  Makes 1 cup.

Prepare the pickled Asian slaw:  Pour the rice wine vinegar into a mixing bowl and whisk in the sesame oil and garlic.  Season with salt and pepper.  Add the ginger, cabbage and bell pepper, and toss to coat with the dressing.  Adjust the seasoning and let sit 20 minutes to let the flavors meld together before serving.
Makes 2 cups.

Prepare the burgers:  Combine the chicken, hoisin, sesame oil, soy sauce, garlic and scallions in a large bowl.  Mix and form into 4 equal patties about 1/2 inch thick and 4 inches wide.  These patties will be a bit wetter than your average patty because of the sauces and flavor in there.  Sprinkle each side of the patties generously with salt and pepper.  Create a small well in the center of each patty, using your thumb.

Cook the patties on the griddle over medium heat until golden brown on each side and 160F internal temperature, 4 to 5 minutes per side.  Because of the sugar content in these patties, they burn easily, so watch the heat.  Let rest 5 minutes.  Place the buns on the griddle buttered side down and toast them.

Spread some of the spicy lemongrass mayo on each half of the buns.  Add the chicken patties and top with pickled Asian slaw.  Finish with the top bun and server with additional slaw and mayo on the side.

Serves 4.