Tuesday, April 25, 2006

Cooking Fest!

For a while now my friend Asma and I have wanted to get together and cook. Asma was born in Pakistan and raised in Saudi Arabia and makes the most fabulous Indian and Pakistani food. I have been so lucky to try her delectable tidbits, but to learn how she puts everything together was the ultimate treat for me! I was also flattered that Asma wanted me to teach her a few things that I make.

Today we made paneer (Indian Cheese), homemade yogurt (which is near impossible to find in China, anyway the stuff without sugar is hard to find) and whole wheat bread. We tried making the paneer with skim milk and used apple cider vinegar instead of distilled vinegar. It turned out alright, but the apple cider vinegar didn't work too well because the cheese had a strong vinegar taste. I think next time I will try making the paneer with low fat milk and the right type of vinegar. It is quite easy to make and not very time consuming.

Since moving to China we have found it quite difficult to find decent bread here. The whole wheat bread doesn't have a whole lot of wheat flour in it and it is packed with sugar! I found a great little recipe on the internet which we altered, but I have to say it turned our very yummy.

Here is the recipe with our modifications:

5 1/2 Cups Whole Wheat Flour
2 packages of Active Yeast
2 tsp Salt
1/2 cup Honey
1 Cup Skim Milk
1 Cup Warm Water
3 TBSP Oil


In large bowl, combine 3 cups whole wheat flour, yeast, and salt and mix well.

In saucepan, heat milk, water, honey, and oil until a thermometer reads 120-130 degrees F (warm).

Add liquid mixture to flour mixture and stir to combine. Beat this batter for 3 minutes. Then, gradually stir in rest of whole wheat flour and enough remaining all-purpose four to form a firm dough.

Sprinkle work surface with flour and knead dough, adding more flour if necessary, for 5-8 minutes until smooth and satiny. Place dough in a greased bowl, turning the dough in the bowl to grease the top. Cover and let rise in a warm place about 1 hour, until double in bulk.
Punch down dough and divide into 2 pieces. On lightly floured surface, roll or press each piece of dough to a 14x7" rectangle. Starting with shorter side, roll up tightly, pressing dough into roll with each turn. Pinch edges and ends to seal and place dough, seam-side down, into greased 9x5" bread pans, making sure short ends of bread are snugly fitted against the sides of the pans. Cover and let rise in warm place until the dough fills the corners of the pans and is double in bulk, 30-40 minutes.

Bake in preheated 375 degree oven for 35-40 minutes, until bread is golden brown. Remove from pans and cool on wire racks. I like to brush the bread with butter when it's still hot from the oven for a softer crust.

For lunch I made Lemon Chicken with Brown Basmati Rice from the Chinese cookbook I picked up in Australia called A Little Taste of China. I have made it about 3 times now and it is a hit, so I will share recipe with you.

1lb of Skinless Boneless Chicken Breast
1 TBSP Light Soy Sauce
1 TBSP Rice Wine
1 Scallion, finely chopped
1 TBSP Ginger, finely chopped
1 Egg, lightly beaten
3/4 C Cornstarch
Olive Oil for frying

Lemon Sauce
2 TBSP Lemon Juice
2 tsp Sugar
1/2 tsp Salt
1/2 tsp Roasted Sesame Oil
3 TBSP Chicken Broth
1/2 tsp Cornstarch

Cut the chicken into slices. Place in a bowl, add soy sauce, rice wine, scallion, ginger and garlic and toss lightly. Marinate in the fridge for at least 1 hour or overnight.

Add the egg to the chicken mixture and toss lightly to coat. Drain any excess egg and coat the chicken pieces with the cornstarch. The easiest way to do this is to put the chicken and cornstarch in a plastic bag and shake it.

Add olive oil to your wok and heat. Add chicken and fry for 3-4 minutes or until golden brown.

To make the lemon sauce, combine the lemon juice, sugar, salt, sesame oil, chicken stock and cornstarch.

Add the lemon sauce to the wok and stir constantly until thickened. Add the chicken and toss lightly in sauce.

I hope you enjoy this recipe. I slightly modified the recipe as asks you to deep fry the chicken, which although it tastes yummy, it isn't necessary.

The last thing we made is yogurt, which is still setting in my oven. I hope it turns out well! We are planning to do this again soon, so I can't wait to see what goodies we find to make!

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the chicken recipe I will definetly be making it. Hope you can continue to give us some Indian/Pakistan recipes since as you know, this is one of my favorite foods to eat. Jean