Wasabi Beef Cubes

wasabi beef cubes (1 of 1).jpgThe combination of steak, wasabi and garlic is too compelling of a concoction to miss.

I love Japanese-inspired dishes so and came up with this wasabi beef cube recipe using Wagyu beef from Japan (but feel free to use a rib-eye or sirloin cut too).

Don’t worry, the wasabi is not that overpowering. It just adds a little ‘kick’ factor to the beef. Then add a dollop of mustard and the rest of the ingredients – diced garlic, sesame oil and some light soy sauce – for an Asian marinade that complements beef very well.

P.S. Remember to take the steak 30 mins out of the refrigerator before cooking.

wasabi beef cubes (2 of 2)

Wasabi Beef Cubes

TIME: 20 mins | SERVES: 2

INGREDIENTS:

  • 380g wagyu beef cubes (can substitute with ribeye or sirloin)
  • ~8g of wasabi paste (3 small 2.5g packs)
  • 2 teaspoons of light soy sauce
  • 2 teaspoons of sesame oil
  • 1 teaspoon of dijon mustard
  • 4 garlic cloves, sliced
  • canola oil
  • butter (optional, for frying)
  • spring onions, diced (for garnish)

METHOD:

  1. Wash and pat dry wagyu beef cubes. In a bowl, marinade beef cubes with wasabi, sesame oil, mustard, and soy sauce. Wasabi Beef Cubes (11 of 15)
  2. Make garlic chips (for garnish). Heat pan on medium heat, add a dollop of canola oil and take one clove of sliced garlic to pan-fry until golden brown. Set aside to cool for use later.Wasabi Beef Cubes (10 of 15)
  3.  While pan is still hot add a knob of butter and throw in rest of the sliced garlic. Add the beef cubes and fry until colour changes and cubes give off a golden brown hue (~5-6 minutes). Wasabi Beef Cubes (8 of 15)Wasabi Beef Cubes (7 of 15)
  4. Once cooked to your desired ‘wellness’ factor for beef, remove from the pan and transfer to serving dish. To serve, garnish with the garlic chips set aside and sprinkle the chopped spring onions.Wasabi Beef Cubes (5 of 15)Wasabi Beef Cubes (6 of 15)
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Jerk Chicken Quinoa Citrus Salad

Jerk Chicken Citrus Quinoa Salad (1 of 21)

PROTEIN PACKED SALAD | A hearty and healthy chicken salad with creamy avocado, nutty quinoa, fresh parsley and lots of bright citrus flavours.

Fancy a touch of the Carribean? Well, look no further than Jerk Chicken. First, let’s clarify: “Jerk” doesn’t mean what you think it means. It means Jamaican BBQ. This well rounded flavour of sweet, hot, herbal and spicy chicken can be served with rice, beans or pasta. In this particular instance, I chose quinoa as I fancied a light dinner after the repetitive days of gluttony over the recent Lunar New Year.

I love quinoa not only due to its health benefits, but because it is so versatile and easy to prepare. Did you know that quinoa is one of the most protein-rich foods we can eat? It is a complete protein containing all nine essential amino acids. Furthermore, it is chock full of fibre (good for relieving constipation) and is high in iron and magnesium. For more information about the health benefits of quinoa, click here.

The prime burst of flavor in this salad comes from the jerk chicken. Jerk seasoning boasts elements of sweetness, hotness, herbal-ness and spicy-ness – what a terrific combination to titillate your taste buds. Now, many of you may be wondering whether you can make your own jerk seasoning? Short answer, yes. Can I be bothered tonight? No. Problem with Hong Kong is that jerk seasoning is not easy to find. Thanks to my dear friend Noah though, he managed to grab me some on one of his (many) business trips to the British Virgin Islands.

Jerk Chicken Citrus Quinoa Salad (17 of 21)

Jerk Seasoning…not for “jerks”. Jerk seasoning typically comprises of a mixture of onion, vinegar, cayenne pepper, all spice, cinnamon, black pepper and oil.

As for how I chose to cook the chicken, I opted for the sous vide (my latest cooking gadget addiction) which inevitably takes longer (but results in chicken that is more moist and juicy). Feel free to pan-fry your chicken tenderloins/breast instead if you only have 10-15 minutes to spare (after you marinade it).

Now, for a little light dressing, simply whisk together lime juice, orange juice, olive oil, and a dash of honey. This citrus dressing is so refreshing and light that it won’t overpower the intense flavours from the jerk chicken.

Jerk Chicken Citrus Quinoa Salad (3 of 21)

Jerk Chicken Quinoa Citrus Salad

INACTIVE TIME: 1.5 hours | ACTIVE TIME: 4 minutes | SERVES: 1

INGREDIENTS:

  • 2 small chicken tenderloin fillets (or 0.5 pound chicken breast fillet if you prefer)
  • 1 tablespoon jerk seasoning
  • 1 bunch of Italian parsley
  • 1 limes
  • 1 orange
  • 1/2 tablespoon of liquid honey
  • 1/2 cup uncooked quinoaJerk Chicken Citrus Quinoa Salad (13 of 21)

METHOD:

  1. Preheat pot of water with the sous vide to the desired temperature. In this case, I set it to 140°F/60°C for cooking the chicken tenderloins. Jerk Chicken Citrus Quinoa Salad (11 of 21)
  2. Marinade chicken tenderloins with the jerk seasoning and place in zip-lock bag. Jerk Chicken Citrus Quinoa Salad (19 of 21)Jerk Chicken Citrus Quinoa Salad (18 of 21)
  3. Once desired temperature is reached, immerse zip lock bag into the pot of water, removing all air via the water immersion method. Leave in the water for 1-1.5 hours.
  4. While chicken is cooking via the sous vide method, prepare the quinoa. Simply place half a cup of uncooked quinoa into a pot set on medium-high and pour in 1 cup of water. Leave to boil, stirring occasionally for 10-15 minutes until cooked. Set aside and leave to cool.Jerk Chicken Citrus Quinoa Salad (12 of 21)Jerk Chicken Citrus Quinoa Salad (9 of 21)
  5. Prepare the salad dressing. Juice one lime and half an orange. In a small bowl, combine these juices together and whisk in half a tablespoon of honey. Set aside.Jerk Chicken Citrus Quinoa Salad (8 of 21)Jerk Chicken Citrus Quinoa Salad (7 of 21)
  6. Chop up the coriander and the remaining half of the orange into small chunks. Dice the avocado into small bite sized chunks. Combine everything with the cooled down quinoa, mixing in the salad dressing.
  7. Once chicken is done in the sous vide, remove from the zip lock bag and pat dry. Heat a heavy cast iron skillet or pan on medium-high heat and coat with a light drizzle of oil. Once oil shimmers throw the chicken tenderloins in and pan-fry until golden brown (~2 minutes each side).  Jerk Chicken Citrus Quinoa Salad (6 of 21)
  8. Remove chicken from pan and slice into smaller bite-sized pieces.Jerk Chicken Citrus Quinoa Salad (14 of 21)
  9. Transfer quinoa salad base into a bowl for serving. Top with the freshly cooked chicken slices and serve while warm.Jerk Chicken Citrus Quinoa Salad (4 of 21)

Sous vide Chicken Breast with Herbes de Provence

Sous Vide Chicken with Herbs de Provence (14 of 14)

Thanks to sous vide cooking, no longer do you have to tolerate bland and tough chicken breasts.

Chicken breasts are the classic lean muscle-building protein. But don’t get stuck in the routine of pan-frying the breasts, which often results in producing a tough, bland and dry texture.

Tonight, I was feeling rather experimental and had some time to spare. Consequently, I opted to cook chicken breast sous vide style. All it requires is extreme “hands off” patience.

The secret to perfect chicken? Temperature control. The kind of down-to-the-degree type of control that sous vide cooking can attain.

If we’re to believe what our parents told us, chicken should be cooked to a temperature of 165°F; anything below 140°F then you tread into the “danger” zone, the temperature zone in which bacteria supposedly thrives. The ideal temperature for cooking chicken rests between 140-145°F. Once you get pass the 155°F mark, sous-vide chicken starts to take on an unpleasant chalky, tacky texture.

I set up the dial on my Anova precision cooker to 60°C/140°F. Chicken cooked at 140°F has a very tender, extremely juicy texture that is firm and completely opaque. No signs of stringiness or tackiness. It melts between your teeth. At two hours the chicken has a nice resilient chew to it, while retaining its juiciness.

The problem with traditionally cooked chicken is that the meat is penetrated by higher heat from the outside in, making it very difficult to gauge exactly what temperature it is from the edges to the centre. Common sense dictates that we often overcook the outer layers inevitably, leading to that all too familiar dry and stringy texture. Sous vide cooking allows one to control precisely the temperature at which one desires to serve them eat. This effectively means that by the time we’re done, the chicken is cooked perfectly from edge to centre without compromising on its juiciness.

The results? The chicken breast is tender enough to cut with a butter knife and glistens with flavourful juices.

Sous vide chicken with herbes de Provence (1 of 1).jpg

Not your ordinary bland and dry chicken breast.

Sous vide Chicken with Herbes de Provence

INACTIVE TIME: 2 hours | ACTIVE TIME: 4 minutes | SERVES: 1

INGREDIENTS:

  • One chicken breast (palm size)
  • 1 tablespoon of herbes de Provence.
  • 1 tablespoon of olive oil
  • Sea salt and black pepper, to taste

Sous Vide Chicken with Herbs de Provence (9 of 14)

METHOD:

  1. Preheat precision cooker to 140°F/60°C. Allow the water bath to come to the right temperature before dowsing your chicken in the bag inside.Sous Vide Chicken with Herbs de Provence (7 of 14)
  2. Season the chicken breast with a coating of olive oil followed by the herbes de Provence, salt and pepper. Bag the chicken in zip lock bag or vacuum bag (if using).Sous Vide Chicken with Herbs de Provence (3 of 14)Sous Vide Chicken with Herbs de Provence (5 of 14)
  3. Immerse the chicken in the bag into the water bath. It should sink. Set timer to 2 hours. Feel free to run some errands, go for a jog, or take a shower while the chicken is cooking (this is what I mean by “hands-free” cooking).Sous Vide Chicken with Herbs de Provence (8 of 14)
  4. Once time is up, pre-heat a cast iron pan or skillet on medium-high heat, coated with a thin layer of oil. Remove chicken breast from zip lock bag and pat dry. Once oil starts to shimmer, place chicken breast on the pan and hold down flat with a spatula to ensure maximum contact between chicken breast and pan. Pan-fry for 2 minutes on each side to produce a beautiful brown and crisp sear.Sous Vide Chicken with Herbs de Provence (9 of 14)
  5. Once seared, remove chicken from pan and slice to serve. Sous Vide Chicken with Herbs de Provence (10 of 14)Sous Vide Chicken with Herbs de Provence (12 of 14)

Sous Vide Steak

Sous Vide Steak (3 of 19)

First time experimenting with the Anova sous vide and decided I’ll test it out by making a rib eye steak, courtesy of Farmers Kitchen. Naturally farmed and grass fed, the Black Angus Beef comes from the far south eastern corner of Australia.  The meat can be ordered online, and comes chilled (never been frozen before) in a vacuum sealed pack.

So what exactly is Sous vide? Simply put, “Sous vide” is French for “under vacuum” and refers to the process of vacuum-sealing food and cooking it in temperature controlled water bath. However, that’s a bit of a misnomer. You don’t need to vacuum seal your food to cook sous vide. Instead, this technique is really about bringing food to a very precise temperature and holding it there for a period of time, which is why some people refer to the technique as “precision cooking.”

So why should one opt for the “sous vide” method of cooking?

If you are tired of overcooking your fish, chicken or steak then sous vide could be the right solution for you. After all, the most obvious benefit of sous vide cooking is that you can prepare perfectly cooked food every time you step into the kitchen — all with very little effort.

But that’s not the only reason to cook sous vide. The gentle, oxygen-free cooking environment helps to retain your foods’ valuable nutrients. Plus, foods cooked in a vacuum-sealed bag are far more shelf stable than those cooked on the stovetop — this means you can cook countless meals ahead of time without worrying about your dinner spoiling.

Another benefit? When cooking sous vide, proteins like chicken and pork can be served at lower temperatures than when following traditional cooking methods. The increased minimum cook time for the sous vide cooking process essentially pasteurizes the meat, which means that medium-rare pork chops and subtly pink chicken are perfectly safe to eat.Sous Vide Steak (2 of 19)

Even better — sous vide cooking is truly a “set it and forget it” method of cooking. Seal your food, place it in your water bath, and walk away. Since the water bath will never get above the desired temperature, the food will never exceed your preferred level of doneness. What does this mean? You can throw dinner parties with ease — that juicy ribeye or pork tenderloin can be made hours ahead of time and finished right before serving, leaving you plenty of time to socialize with your guests.

Sous Vide Steak

INACTIVE TIME: 45 minutes | ACTIVE TIME: 2 minutes | SERVES: 1

INGREDIENTS:

  • 300g sirloin steak (feel free to choose the “cut” of your choice)
  • salt and pepper to taste (I used some “Salt with Attitude”, thanks to the kind compliments of Farmers Kitchen)

Sous Vide Steak (19 of 19)Sous Vide Steak (7 of 19)

 

METHOD:

  1. Place sous vide immersion circulator into a pot of water and adjust temperature to 57°C for steak down medium (assuming steak is roughly 1 inch thick).
  2. Drop the steak inside a vacuum sealed bag or zip lock bag.Sous Vide Steak (17 of 19)
  3. Once water reaches the desired temperature, use the water dispersion method to remove air from the zip lock bag and clip bag onto the side of the pot.  Set timer for 45 minutes.Sous Vide Steak (14 of 19)
  4. Once 45 minutes is over, heat a cast iron skillet or grill pan on high heat. Remove steak from ziplock bag and sear both sides – roughly 1 minute each side – to get a nice crusty exterior.Sous Vide Steak (12 of 19)Sous Vide Steak (11 of 19)Sous Vide Steak (10 of 19)
  5. Remember to gently sear the sides of the steak too (~30 seconds) on the hot pan too.Sous Vide Steak (9 of 19)
  6. Layer steak on a plate. Allow the steak to rest for 5 minutes before consuming. To serve, sprinkle some salt to taste. Here, I used Salt with Attitude thanks to courtesy of Farmers Kitchen.  Sous Vide Steak (5 of 19)Sous Vide Steak (8 of 19)Sous Vide Steak (6 of 19)

 

 

 

Roast Rosemary Rack of Lamb

Roast Rosemary and Garlic Rack of Lamb (4 of 13)

Hosting a dinner party for friends but can’t think of what to make in a short amount of time? In situations like these, a quick and easy solution would be to roast a rack of lamb. Roasting is the ideal way to cook a rack of lamb. The process can basically be broken down further into three distinct parts: preparation, roasting and resting.

First, the prep work. Prepare a combination of fresh or dried herbs and spices or create a paste by combining the herbs and spices with a little bit of olive oil and rubbing it over the lamb. For best results, use the following steps for preparation:

  1. Score the fat covering the meat using a crisscross pattern across the surface of the lamb.
  2. Season both sides of the rack with salt and pepper.
  3. Rub the lamb with single herbs, mixtures or herb paste.
  4. Allow to sit at room temperature for 30 minutes before cooking.

What’s the best temperature to roast a lamb rack? Ideally, the best roasting temperatures are between 425 and 450 ° F (about 230°C ). Cooking lamb at high heat preserves the tender and juicy nature of the meat. The lamb rack should cook to a medium pinkish rare in about 12-18 minutes.

For me, I like to sear the lamb before roasting to get a nice brown finishing. This can simply be achieved by heating a salute pan with olive oil until the oil shimmers. Season the lamb generously with salt and pepper, and sear the meaty side for 3-4 minutes until a golden brown colour emerges. If you elect to pan sear before roasting, add herbs, crust or herb paste after searing and before roasting to ensure the lamb remains juicy and succulent.

Roast Rosemary and Garlic Rack of Lamb (10 of 13)

Roast Rosemary Rack of Lamb

Total time: 25 minutes | Serves: 6 (roughly 3 chops each)

INGREDIENTS:

  • Two baby back lamb ribs
  • Few sprigs of fresh rosemary
  • Few sprigs of fresh thyme
  • 2 tablespoons of freshly minced garlic
  • 3 tablespoons of olive oil, to rub
  • Salt and black pepper, to season

Roast Rosemary and Garlic Rack of Lamb (2 of 13)

METHOD:

  1. Season the lamb racks first by generously rubbing them all over with olive oil, black pepper, garlic, thyme, and rosemary. Leave to marinade for a few hours, or overnight if desired.Roast Rosemary and Garlic Rack of Lamb (5 of 13)
  2. Preheat oven to 230 degrees celsius and line roasting tray with parchment paper.
  3. Heat sauce pan on medium high. Pour some olive oil to coat and once oil starts shimmering, throw the lamb racks in and brown evenly on both side (roughly 2-3 minutes each side).Roast Rosemary and Garlic Rack of Lamb (7 of 13)Roast Rosemary and Garlic Rack of Lamb (3 of 13)
  4. Transfer browned racks to the preheated oven and roast for 12-15 minutes depending on how “rare” you like your lamb.Roast Rosemary and Garlic Rack of Lamb (8 of 13)
  5. Let the rack sit for a few minutes (can cover with an aluminium tent foil) to let the juices run so that the lamb chops will be tender upon serving.Roast Rosemary and Garlic Rack of Lamb (12 of 13)
    Roast Rosemary and Garlic Rack of Lamb (1 of 13)

Sumac grilled lamb chops with lemon pea mash

Sumac lamb chops with pea mash (1 of 3)

After having disappeared mysteriously for a month (I got caught up with work amongst other things), the girl is back in the kitchen. This time, she is back experimenting with sumac and lamb chops. Some of you may be wondering “what the heck is sumac?”. So before I digress into the finer details of the recipe, let me give you a brief description of what sumac is, its origins, and more importantly, why you should have it in your spice cabinet!

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Sumac is one of the most ancient spices that one should readily have at their disposal

The sumac bush, native to the Middle East, produces deep red berries, which are dried and ground into coarse powder. While it’s less common, the berries may also be sold whole. Ground sumac is a versatile spice with a tangy lemony flavor, although more balanced and less tart than lemon juice. A small sprinkle also adds a beautiful pop of color to any dish.

Sumac is a widely used, essential spice in Middle Eastern and Mediterranean cooking. It’s used in everything from dry rubs, marinades, and dressing. But its best use is sprinkled over food before serving.

It’s great over vegetables, grilled lamb, chicken and fish. Ground sumac also makes a nice, flavorful topping on dips like hummus.

Thanks to the recommendation from my Iranian friend (who I highly respect when it comes to the culinary scene), I’ve decided to experiment with sumac and grilled lamb chops tonight. Given how busy I am, in order to save time, I opted to create a quick and simple lemon pea mash as a side. The two complement each other harmoniously, both in flavours and in colours.

INGREDIENTS: (serves one)

  • 2 lamb cutlets
  • 2 teaspoons of sumac
  • 1 teaspoon of garlic powder
  • 1 cup frozen peas
  • 1 knob of butter
  • Juice of half a lemon
  • 1 tablespoon of olive oil
  • Sea salt

METHOD:

  1. Place cutlets in a non-reactive bowl. Drizzle with olive oil and generously sprinkle sumac, garlic powder, and salt all over.
  2. Sumac lamb chops with pea mash (18 of 18)Cook the peas in a saucepan of boiling water (~1.5 cups) and boil for roughly 10 minutes until soft. Stir in the knob of butter, the lemon juice, and a dash of sea salt.

Sumac lamb chops with pea mash (16 of 18)3. With a potato masher or fork, lightly crush the pea mixture until it resembles a mash.

Sumac lamb chops with pea mash (13 of 18)4. Meanwhile, coat a cast iron pan with olive oil and turn the hob to a high heat. Pan-fry the lamb chops 2-3 minutes on both sides depending on how well done you like your lamb. Cover with foil and set aside for 5 minutes to rest.

Sumac lamb chops with pea mash (12 of 18)5. Layer the pea mash on a plate and stack the lamb chops neatly on top. Serve immediately.

Sumac lamb chops with pea mash (2 of 3)

Sumac lamb chops with pea mash (3 of 18)

Baked Salmon with Lemon-Dill Yoghurt Sauce

Oven Baked Salmon with Yoghurt Dill Sauce (14 of 18)

Salmon is one of the most nutritious types of fish to add to your diet. It supplies iron, zinc, niacin, vitamin B6 and vitamin B12, in addition to a whole host of other nutrients you need for good health. As you may all know, salmon contains a specific type of unsaturated fat called omega-3 fatty acids which helps lower your risk of dying from heart disease. Choosing salmon over red meat can help lower your cholesterol because salmon is much lower in saturated fat than beef, pork and some cuts of poultry.

There are many ways you can serve your salmon. With just a hint of seasoning, the amateur cook can make salmon taste delicious. That said, salmon fillets are traditionally prepared with dill. You can’t go wrong by baking your salmon fillet(s) in a heated oven then dressing them with a dollop of creamy lemon and dill yoghurt sauce.

Oven Baked Salmon with Yoghurt Dill Sauce (15 of 18)

INGREDIENTS:

(1 fillet palm size ~ serves one)

Marinade:

  • 1 salmon fillet (~4 ounce)
  • 1/2 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1/2 tablespoon of fresh chopped dill weed
  • 1/2 teaspoon of grated lemon zest
  • 1/2 tablespoon of freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/2 tablespoon honey
  • Pinch of cracked black pepper and salt

Yoghurt-dill sauce:

  • 1 tablespoon of greek yoghurt
  • 1/2 tablespoon of fresh chopped dill weed
  • 1/4 teaspoon grated lemon zest
  • 1/2 teaspoon of freshly squeezed lemon juice

Oven Baked Salmon with Yoghurt Dill Sauce (1 of 18)

METHOD:

1) Preheat oven to 200 degrees celsius. Line roasting tray with parchment paper. Marinade salmon all over with the marinade ingredients for 10-20 minutes.

Oven Baked Salmon with Yoghurt Dill Sauce (2 of 18)

2) Remove salmon from marinade and place on roasting tray. Shove in the oven and roast for ~15 minutes until skin changes colour and flakes easily with a fork.

3) In the meantime, make the yoghurt-dill sauce by mixing together all the sauce ingredients.

Oven Baked Salmon with Yoghurt Dill Sauce (4 of 18) Oven Baked Salmon with Yoghurt Dill Sauce (5 of 18)

4) Remove salmon from oven and spoon over a dollop of the yoghurt sauce to serve.

Oven Baked Salmon with Yoghurt Dill Sauce (16 of 18)