menchanko tei

the other day we went to try menchanko tei on keeaumoku. it used to be in waikiki; now it has moved to the location where two of our favorite restaurants once existed (taishoken, which had the yummy tsukemen and go shi go, which had the yummy udon). hopefully this place will survive! the restaurant is part of a larger chain so we can hope.

i tried the menchanko ramen:

i enjoyed it very much. it has thick noodles and a light, drinkable broth. there’s a good variety to the toppings – shrimp, pork, mochi, chives, tofu, and that tofu thing. nicely balanced bowl of noodles, not too heavy, just right!

they also have katsu, nabe, other noodles. i’m not sure if i will try those though because i really like the menchanko one… maybe cameron will try them!

they had this cute drawing to advertise the chicken nanban set too…

i love cute drawings of food…

july 4 dinner

my mom said i should try to keep up my blog… good advice, mom!

anyway, on july 4 i made a five course gluten-free meal (also dairy free and nut free) for ten people. first course: corn chex crusted fried shrimp with a basil lemon aioli and some bell pepper confetti. this dish was cameron’s idea. corn chex is an excellent gluten-free frying material. it’s good for making chicken tenders too.

second course: kalua pork taco with fresh salsa on a freshly made corn tortilla. i started making my own corn tortillas with masa harina (buy it at the store and just add water and salt). i like them a lot better than the ones you buy in the store. the kalua pork is made in the oven with some salt and liquid smoke. local cocktail tomatoes with some jalapeno, onions, cilantro, lime juice, and salt.

course three: red and green lettuces grown in maui, locally grown corn, tomatoes, and cucumbers with a strawberry lemon vinaigrette. the maui lettuce we get at costco. i like salad with all these good fresh ingredients 🙂

main course: mochiko chicken (no shoyu so gluten free) with sweet chili sauce (orange from food coloring…), tamaki gold rice, and kale with some caramelized onions and dried cranberries (if this wasn’t a nut-free meal, i like to toss in some toasted chopped pecans or other nuts). this mochiko chicken recipe is cameron’s favorite from all the gluten-free stuff we tried during his food sensitivity diet. i’ll post the recipe later.

dessert: gluten-free angel food cake with fresh strawberry sauce and a chocolate soy anglaise. the angel food cake has some tapioca flour, rice flour, corn starch, and potato starch.

anyway, it was a good meal, and i think everyone enjoyed the food. the gluten-free/dairy-free lady who came also got some new ideas to incorporate into her cooking so that’s good. i guess i learned a lot during the six months we were cooking gluten-free!

home-style bean curd 家常豆腐

this is a recipe from fuschia dunlop’s book revolutionary chinese cookbook. one of our favorites 🙂 this is a hunanese version of this dish so it’s a little spicy.

home-style-bean curd

2 dried shiitake mushrooms
1.25 lb. firm bean curd, drained
3 oz boneless lean pork, cut into fine slivers
1 t shaoxing wine
1 T chili bean paste
1 T chopped salted chiles (we didn’t have this)
1 T finely chopped garlic
1 t dried chili flakes (optional)
1 cup stock
1/4 t dark soy sauce
1/4 t potato flour mixed with 1 T cold water
3 scallions, green parts only, cut into bit-size lengths
1 t sesame oil
1/3 cup peanut oil or lard

1. prep: soak the mushrooms in hot water for 30 minutes. drain, squeeze, cut off the stems, and slice thinly. cut the bean curd into large squares, then cut them in half across the diagonal to form triangles. the thickness should be about 1/2″. use a paper towel or a kitchen towel to soak up some of the excess moisture in the tofu. put the pork in a bowl with the wine. get the other ingredients ready as well.

1_prep

2. heat your wok or pan over high heat. when hot, add some oil and swirl it around the pan (fuschia says about 3 T). make sure it’s nice and hot. you’ll want to fry the tofu in batches. carefully lay in the first batch of tofu away from you and fry on one side. shake the pan from time to time to prevent sticking.

2_tofu

once that side is golden, turn the tofu pieces over and fry on the other side until golden.

3_tofu

remove the tofu once it’s done frying and place on some paper towels to soak up the excess oil. repeat with the other batches of tofu. clean out the pan in between if necessary.

4_tofu

3. clean the pan if necessary. reheat the pan until the oil smokes. if necessary, add in a little more oil to coat the pan. add the pork and stir-fry until the slivers separate.

5_pork

add the chili bean paste and salted chiles and stir-fry until fragrant.

6_pork

add in the garlic and mushrooms and continue to stir-fry until fragrant.

7_pork

add the chili flakes if you are using them. stir-fry for a few seconds, then pour in the stock

8_sauce

4. add the bean curd back to the pan and pour in the dark soy sauce.

9_sauce

allow the mixture to come to a boil, then let it simmer until the sauce reaches the desired consistency. it tastes better with a thicker sauce. also, the tofu will soak up more of the sauce flavor the longer it simmers.

9a_simmer

5. stir the potato flour mixture and slowly add it while stirring the sauce. taste and season the sauce as necessary. the chili bean paste i used was pretty salty, so i didn’t need to add any more salt.

corn_starch_mixture

toss in the scallions. off the heat, stir in the sesame oil and serve.

9b_finish_up

time to eat!

bowl

chinese new year dinner

i haven’t really celebrated chinese new year since i’ve been in hawaii, but i’ve been cooking a lot of chinese food the past few months, so this year i decided to cook a nice chinese dinner to celebrate the year of the rabbit 🙂

mostly, i’ve been trying a lot of good recipes from fuschia dunlop’s two books, land of plenty and revolutionary chinese cookbook:
land of plentyrevolutionary chinese cookbook

land of plenty has recipes from her travels and time at a famous cooking school in sichuan. revolutionary chinese cookbook focuses on hunanese food. i really like her recipes… they’re detailed, well-written, and have delicious results. she also writes a lot of interesting side notes and stories about her experiences.

here’s the meal:
dinner

marci and craig brought the chinese chicken salad and dessert 🙂

蔥 姜 鸡 cold ginger chicken:
ginger chicken

香干肉丝 chicken with pressed tofu, bamboo, and chives
chicken tofu

鱼香茄子 fish-fragrant pork slivers with black ear fungus and bamboo
pork

彭家豆腐 peng’s home-style bean curd w/ black beans and pork
tofu

土豆煨牛肉 slow-braised beef with potatoes (spicy)
beef

渔家炒虾球 fisherman’s shrimp with chinese chives and hot peppers
shrimp

菜心 choi sum with garlic. cooked in the pot after the shrimp.
choi_sum

芥兰 steamed chinese broccoli (gai lan)
gai_lan

干煸四季豆 dry-fried green beans with ground pork and tianjin preserved vegetable.
green_beans

overall, all the dishes went pretty well. it seems like i can only buy gai lan in chinatown. gai lan’s my favorite though, so it can’t be helped. i found one place with some frozen pressed tofu, but this brand isn’t that good. next time i gotta find a better brand. it seems like the favorites were the shrimp, beef and potatoes, and the green beans. this is the first large dinner i’ve cooked since starting culinary school. i think the planning and execution went way better. hooray! no disaster! happy chinese new year!

kung pao chicken

cameron got me two chinese cookbooks for my birthday. what a smart guy…

kungpao

kung pao chicken
from chinese cuisine by su-hueu huang

2/3 lb. (300g) chicken meat
for marinade: 1/2 tbsp cooking wine, 1 tbsp each: soy sauce, corn starch
1/2 cup oil for frying
3 dried red chili peppers, diced
1 green onion, cut into 10 pieces
for sauce: 1/2 tbsp cooking wine; 2 tsp sugar; 1.5 tsp each: corn starch, vinegar; 2 tbsp each: soy sauce, water
1/3 cup fried cashews or peanuts (or roasted)

1. use the blunt edge of a cleaver to lightly tenderize the chicken meat; then cut into 1″ cubes. add marinade; mix thoroughly. before frying, add 1 tbsp oil and mix so that the meat will separate easily during frying.

2. heat a wok then add oil. stir-fry chicken until cooked; remove (precooking). remove oil from the wok. reheat the wok then add 1 tbsp oil. use low heat to stir-fry the diced red chili peppers until fragrant. add chicken, onions, and sauce mixture. turn heat to high and quickly stir-fry. add nuts and mix.

comments: this kung pao chicken was yummy. the dried red chili peppers we have are small so maybe next time i’d add another one to make it a little spicier. hmm, i don’t know what else to say.

well, this is the first recipe we’ve tried from this new book. so far so good. apparently this book was first published in 1972 and the author was principal director of the wei-chuan cooking school in taiwan.