Turkey Congee in the Instant Pot

After Christmas dinner was done, the remains of an 18 lb turkey were begging for some inspiration. Being a little lazy and needing a meal that could cope with frozen leftovers, turkey congee seemed like a suitable choice. I sort of defrosted the turkey carcass in the oven (at the same time roasting it) and it turned out beautifully.

Prior to roasting the turkey, I dried brined it for a few days and threw some kosher salt, black pepper and lemons into the cavity. I didn’t have to season the congee much after it was done cooking, as all the wonderful flavours from inside the carcass and the umami from roasting the bones did the job.

It seems to be, like all congee that I’ve made in the Instant Pot, a little thick. To make it less thick, add some hot water prior to serving or cold water before reheating in the microwave or on the stovetop.

My toddlers were begging for seconds. I knew then, it was a winner!

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Roasted turkey
Roasted turkey congee
Roasted turkey congee

 

Print Recipe
Turkey Congee in the Instant Pot
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 90 minutes
Passive Time 75 minutes
Servings
cups
Ingredients
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 90 minutes
Passive Time 75 minutes
Servings
cups
Ingredients
Instructions
  1. Add rice to pot.
  2. Roast turkey carcass in the oven at 400 F for 30 minutes or until aroma develops. Let cool and break it up into pieces to fit the pot. Add to pot.
  3. Peel and julienne ginger. Add to pot.
  4. Add water and sesame oil.
  5. Cover and set to porridge for 40 minutes. 15 minutes NPR and then vent if preferred or NPR until float drops.
  6. Remove the carcass. Peel the meat off and add back to pot if desired. Stir in the extra turkey meat. Add salt to taste. Mind the bones that might be left!
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Chinese Stuffed Eggplant (Yeung Nhi Gwa)

I’ve always wondered how to make this delicious recipe that is served at dim sum. Here is my take on my Mom’s recipe.

2                              Japanese eggplants

1¼ lbs                    fish paste

1/4 C                     Cornstarch

1                              green onion

Oil for frying

Slice the eggplant diagonally, about an inch thick. Then again in the middle, but not all the way to the edge. Smear inside of eggplant with cornstarch. Stuff with 1 tbs of fish paste. Finely chop green onion and set aside. Heat oil in a frying pan to cover ½ inch on the bottom. Brush eggplant with oil and fry until golden.

Gravy

200 ml                   water

2 tbs                      cornstarch

1 tsp                      soy sauce

1 tsp                      oyster sauce

¼ tsp                     sugar

¼ tsp                     salt

Combine all ingredients, mix well. Cook over medium low heat until mixture thickens. Pour over eggplant. Garnish with green onion.

The ingredients
The ingredients
Stuffed and ready to go
Stuffed and ready to go
Pan frying works pretty well
Pan frying works pretty well
Making the gravy
Making the gravy
Ready for the sauce
Ready for the sauce
All finished!
All finished!

303 Fusion Kitchen

I had a chance to go out with my family for lunch. Five of us went to 303 Fusion Kitchen. I’ve always been interested in trying the few Taiwanese restaurants in town. This one caught my attention as a friend seems to visit frequently. Chinese food isn’t just one thing; there are many different areas in China with a subculture. Taiwan is one of them. My parents had visited Taiwan long ago, and still hold fast to memories of being there.

First up was the yam fries. For the sauce, a plum sauce from Taiwan was used. Crsip and sweet, the sauce went with the fries quite well. Next came the calamari, equally crisp and with a nice change up: tentacles instead of rings.

I wondered what the crystal dumplings were. They were pork and ginger potstickers pan fried in a flour paste to make the bottoms look extra crisp.

The oyster pancake was soft and fluffy with a rich gravy over top. Mom recalled that the oyster pancakes in Taiwan weren’t sauced, so this must be the fusion aspect.

The fried tofu with salted pork was really nice. I love how tofu can be accented with the taste of anything. The pork belly rice was full of flavour too.

All of the above were their specials. Next time I come back, I’ll have to try the beef noodle soup.

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Sweet Yam Fries with Plum Spice

 

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Calamari

 

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Crystal Dumplings

 

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Oyster Pancake

 

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Pork Belly Rice

 

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Mongolian Style Beef
Tofu with Salted Pork
Tofu with Salted Pork

 

303 Fusion Kitchen on Urbanspoon

Chinese New Year’s Eve Dinner

Chinese New Year was last month. It’s been a long time since I sat down to dinner cooked by my Mom. We always have had a special meal such as this on new year’s eve. The dishes often have a connection with Chinese traditions.

We started with a cream style corn egg drop soup. Not traditional, but it was easy.  Then we had stir fry BBQ pork with assorted vegetables. In Cantonese, it’s called yew gor yuk ding.  Roughly translated as cashews with diced meat cubes and vegetables.

The next dish is similar to shiitake mushroom with dried oyster and seaweed dish. This version has king mushrooms, shiitake mushrooms and bok choy. Traditionally it contains dried oysters and seaweed. In Cantonese, it’s called ho see fat choy. Ho see sounds like prosperous and fat choy sounds like hair and means healthy.

The last dish is a chicken, ham, and broccoli dish. It is called kum wah yuk shi kai.  Kum sounds like gold in CantoneseKum wah (jinhua) is also a famous ham in China. Yuk shi means jade. Kai is chicken. It’s a homestyle Cantonese dish.

Oh and white rice, which we had, but not in the photos. In Cantonese, everything is about how it sounds and what it resembles.

Thanks Mom, for the food and the memories!

Cream style corn soup
Cream style corn soup
Chicken and cashews with assorted vegetables
Chicken and cashews with assorted vegetables
Mushroom and bok choy
Mushroom and bok choy
Chicken and ham with broccoli
Chicken and ham with broccoli
Chinese New Year's Eve Dinner
Chinese New Year’s Eve Dinner

Singapore Style Noodles

I had the hankering to make these recently. I’m not sure why. Maybe the ramen craze is driving me to make noodles. Oh well, when I used to make this more often, it was a reliable, comfort food standby. Also good for potlucks.

(sing chou chow mei)

1 pkg (454g) rice vermicelli
1 ½ C sliced chicken or pork
½ C raw peeled, small shrimp
2-3 tbs soybean and sesame oil, or vegetable oil
1   small onion, cut in half and sliced
1 C  sliced Chinese mushrooms (reconstituted from dried)
1 C  grated carrot
1 small red pepper, sliced
2 C fresh bean sprouts
3   green onions, sliced diagonally
2 tsp salt
2 tbs madras curry
4 tbs soy sauce
dash, dried chili pepper flakes to taste
drizzle, sesame oil

Servings: Makes a lot, like 20 servings

Soak the vermicelli in hot water until soft (10 min). Drain and coat with 1 tbsp of oil. Grease a wok with oil. Turn heat to medium low. Cook meat until almost done. Add mushrooms, onion, shrimp and red pepper. Cook until done. Add vermicelli. Add salt, curry, soy sauce and chili pepper flakes to taste. Warning: this already makes a medium hot dish. Be careful with the chili pepper. Stir fry until seasonings are mixed through. If it starts to stick to the pan add more oil until it doesn’t. Add carrot, bean sprouts and green onion. Stir fry until heated through. Remove from heat and add sesame oil to taste before serving.

 

Singapore Style Noodles
Singapore Style Noodles

Additions: This dish traditionally contains sliced omelet if so inclined. Can also be vegetarian if meat is omitted.

Peanut Butter Chocolate Bao

After my visit to the St Laurent Cake House last week, I decided to make some adjustments to my bao recipe. I used the recipe from Honey and Spice Blog. This time, I actually followed the recipe to the letter, including the overnight proof.

The dough had a different consistency than my normal bao dough. Like what I saw at the bakery, it was soft, pliable, and stretchy. The dough was very easy to handle and naturally formed a uniform round shape.  The water added to egg wash makes for a smoother topping.

The peanut butter paste was made with lentils to obtain the paste consistency texture so familiar with bao.  Chocolate chips can be used, but I prefer the unsweetened, natural flavour of the cacao nib. These are heavy on the protein; great for a snack if you are active.

Peanut Butter Paste

½ C green lentils

2 C water, plus extra

¾ C creamy peanut butter, peanuts only

2 Tbs sugar

Soak lentils in water for an hour. Cook lentils until tender. Puree. Add peanut butter and mix by hand. Add a little more water if too thick to stir. Add sugar. Adjust seasoning to taste.

Bao

Follow Honey and Spice Blog’s recipe for the dough. For the second proofing in my oven at 100F with a pan of hot water.  Add 1-2 tbs of the peanut butter paste. Throw on top a few chocolate chips or some cacao nibs. Add 1-2 tbs of water to egg wash to thin it out. Change baking temp to 360F and time to 16 minutes.

20140419_152940 (640x412)

Stretchy, pliable dough
Stretchy, pliable dough
Filling the bao
Filling the bao
Soft and chewy bao
Soft and chewy bao

Peanut Butter Chocolate Bao

After my visit to the St Laurent Cake House last week, I decided to make some adjustments to my bao recipe. I used the recipe from Honey and Spice Blog. This time, I actually followed the recipe to the letter, including the overnight proof.

The dough had a different consistency than my normal bao dough. Like what I saw at the bakery, it was soft, pliable, and stretchy. The dough was very easy to handle and naturally formed a uniform round shape.  The water added to egg wash makes for a smoother topping.

The peanut butter paste was made with lentils to obtain the paste consistency texture so familiar with bao.  Chocolate chips can be used, but I prefer the unsweetened, natural flavour of the cacao nib. These are heavy on the protein; great for a snack if you are active.

Peanut Butter Paste

½ C green lentils

2 C water, plus extra

¾ C creamy peanut butter, peanuts only

2 Tbs sugar

Soak lentils in water for an hour. Cook lentils until tender. Puree. Add peanut butter and mix by hand. Add a little more water if too thick to stir. Add sugar. Adjust seasoning to taste.

Bao

Follow Honey and Spice Blog’s recipe for the dough. For the second proofing in my oven at 100F with a pan of hot water.  Add 1-2 tbs of the peanut butter paste. Throw on top a few chocolate chips or some cacao nibs. Add 1-2 tbs of water to egg wash to thin it out. Change baking temp to 360F and time to 16 minutes.

20140419_152940 (640x412)

Stretchy, pliable dough
Stretchy, pliable dough
Filling the bao
Filling the bao
Soft and chewy bao
Soft and chewy bao

St Laurent Cake House Tour

I was lucky enough to get a behind the scenes look at the St Laurent Cake House. One of my co-workers is a co-owner of the bakery and this is how I stumbled upon this opportunity. The owner has also worked as a baker in China and at Maxim’s in Vancouver.

My friend Joanne, and I managed to fit ourselves awkwardly in the tiny space that was the bakery. The first thing that came out of the oven was the Chinese style “pigs in a blanket”. I love the taste of fresh from the oven baking. The taste of a freshly baked bao right out of the oven is indescribable. I sampled the BBQ pork, hotdog bun and egg tart.

Being a baker is hard work. The owner typically works from 7am to 10pm. The prep for the next day, which includes fillings and dough is done the previous day. They are fast, and they are efficient. All the baking is done by noon so that is the best time to head down.

In the morning, the items are fresh baked. For the second proofing, they use a specialty oven that maintains humidity at 70%. I think I need something like that for my kitchen, as my buns are never as light and fluffy as they are from a bakery.

They have a large variety of buns and items for a 1-2 person shop. They are known for their delicious cakes which are also made fresh the day they are picked up. Their mango cream cake is super good. The egg tarts are delish, and they are also known for raisin twists.

I also sampled their peanut butter napoleon. The light creamy peanut custard was a nice foil for the layers of puff pastry. There was huge pasta roller like machine for rolling dough to an even thickness, as you would need for this type of pastry.

Their other offerings included: BBQ pork bun, meat roll (pork), curry beef bun, chicken pie, coconut tart, red bean paste bun, taro buns, pineapple custard bun, cocktail bun, walnut bread, sponge cake and an assortment of other pastries similar to a napoleon.

Enjoy the baking while it lasts, as the owners are looking to sell the bakery. It has a put a lot of demand on their life outside of work.

I give credit to Joanne for some of the lovely photography.

Egg tarts
Egg tarts
Pig in a blanket, Chinese style
Pig in a blanket, Chinese style, photo by Joanne
Hotdog buns
Hotdog buns, photo by Joanne
Doh!
Doh!
Kneading doh!
Kneading doh!
Painting egg wash on BBQ pork buns
Painting egg wash on BBQ pork buns
Coconut tart shells, photo by Joanne
Coconut tart shells, photo by Joanne
It's all in the scoop
It’s all in the scoop, photo by Joanne
Raisin twists
Raisin twists, photo by Joanne
Yum.
Yum. Photo by Joanne
Taro bao
Taro bao
An assortment of goodies - egg tart, chicken pie, peanut butter napolean, meat roll and BBQ pork buns
An assortment of goodies – egg tart, chicken pie, peanut butter napolean, meat roll and BBQ pork buns, photo by Joanne
Storefront
Storefront

St Laurent Cake House on Urbanspoon
 

Black Sesame Lentil Bao

I love making bao. So I decided to try something a little different for the Canadian Lentil Recipe Revelations Challenge. I used the Asian flavours of black sesame, and combined them with green lentils to make a filling for my bao.

I used the bao recipe from my red bean paste buns post.

For the sesame paste mixture, I used a sweetened black sesame powder. This can be homemade or bought at an Asian grocery store. I say sweetened as this would be the base for black sesame soup.

Black Sesame Lentil Filling

3/4 C  sweetened black sesame powder

1/2 C   green lentils

2 C      water

Pre-soak the lentils in water in a pot for at least an hour. Bring the water to boiling and cook lentils until tender. Puree the lentils in a blender or immersion blender. They will be a little liquid, that’s ok. Gradually add the black sesame powder. The mixture should form a thick paste. If too watery, add more powder. If too dry, add more water. Allow mixture to cool to room temperature before using.

Follow the recipe for making bao as listed above. For steaming, place the bao on parchment paper in a steamer basket. Boil the water and steam until the texture changes to a glossy sponge. You can’t overcook these.

Sweetened black sesame powder and green lentils
Sweetened black sesame powder and green lentils
Pureed green lentils
Pureed green lentils
Filling the bao
Filling the bao
Steamed bao
Steamed bao
Baked bao
Baked bao

T.Pot China Bistro

I was looking for a place for some good dim sum when a friend recommended T.Pot. I was a bit skeptical because of the rating on Urbanspoon, but sometimes you just trust the source. Dim sum recommended; dinner not so much. We made a reservation; the lineup was out the door. We waited about 15 minutes for a table. Which would have been longer if we didn’t have one. It’s one of those places where speaking a little bit of the language goes a long way.

The food came out hot and in a reasonable amount of time considering that the restaurant was packed. It was at times difficult to flag down a server. We asked for so many chili sauce refills that we should have asked for the bottle.

The char sui so (BBQ pork puff pastry) was good. I also liked the ja leung (fried dough wrapped in rice crepe) that came with satay, hoisin and soy sauces. The har gow (shrimp dumpling) and fried shrimp pastries were tasty.

A+ for the food, expect Chinese style service, which is hurried, loud and at times not good.

L-R: Shrimp pastry, eggplant stuffed with shrimp, fried donut rolled in rice crepe, snow pea shoots in pork broth, Chui Chow fried rice
L-R: Shrimp pastry, eggplant stuffed with shrimp, fried donut rolled in rice crepe, snow pea shoots in pork broth, Chui Chow fried rice

 

T.Pot China Bistro on Urbanspoon