Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Grilled Stuffed Mini Portobellas With Sake

It's mushrooms again! I know some people said mushrooms are boring besides in soup, salad, stew or stir-fry with other vegetables. I don't find them boring! They are so delicious, versatile and able to absorb wonderful juices and gravy that you threw them into. Simple as that! These mushrooms are big brother to little brown mushrooms. When grilled it has 'meaty texture - a welcome 'vegetarian  meat' by vegetarians and are great for baking, oven roasted and sauté.

Prepared stuffed mushrooms, ready for grilling and below, the mushrooms waiting to be tuck away in tummy!

Grilled Stuffed Mini Portobellas With Sake

6 pcs Mini Portobella Mushrooms
100 g Minced Beef - enough to stuff the mushroom caps
1/2 pc Carrrot - julienne
Few Sprigs of Italian Parsley - chopped finely
1 nos medium size Big Onion - chopped finely
20 - 40 ml Sake (more if you like)
L & P Worcestershire Sauce to taste
Salt & Pepper to taste
1 clove garlic - minced finely (optional)
Olive oil for frying

Good melting cheese of your choice - Enough cheese to cover the mushrooms
(I used grated hard Mozzarella... that's what was left in fridge :-D )

1. Remove the grits and clean the mushrooms. Cut or separate the stem from the caps. You can chopped the stem and mix in the stuffing as well if you want. ( I normally cut off any bruised and hard part of the stem. Chopped it up and mix into the mushroom stuffing).

2. Heat your oven to Grill Mode about 200 ºC using the upper heat (that will be about 20-25 minutes depends on the model of your oven).

3. Mix the minced meat with carrot, Italian Flat Parsley and onion. Give it a good stir until the minced meat mixed thoroughly with the spices and herbs. Add in salt, sake, Worcestershire Sauce and pepper to taste. ( I mixed some freshly grounded Szechuan pepper with the black pepper. I love the lemony hint and tingly numbness sensation these berries gave to your palate. It's frequently used in meat dishes in Chinese culinary - of course, the most in Szechuan cuisine.)

3.Heat some olive oil and fry the chopped garlic and onions;when the garlic and onions are fragrant, add the minced meat mixture and fry until just cook. Dish it out and set aside. Let the mixture cools a bit before stuffing the mushrooms.

4. Take a mushroom cap and spoon about 1 tablespoon of cooked meat mixture. Form it nicely so that the mixture not overflowing the caps. Sprinkle on top your favourite cheese. You can add some chopped parlesy or grinded fresh black pepper on top. Complete the rest of the mushroom caps.

Arrange them nicely on a tray/deep dish and drizzle some olive oil over the batch. Now, it's ready for the grill!

Note: Sometimes, the mushrooms grey/black 'gills' of portobellas (and some other types of button mushrooms) are removed if you want a nice and not blackish juice mingled into some white sauce/gravy. Use a spoon and scrap out the black gills of mushroom before the stuffings.

5. When the oven reached the required temperature, put in the oven and grill for 15 -  20 minutes or until the mushrooms caps wilted and cheese slightly browned. Depends on the size of the portobellas it may require less or more time to cook. So, you may need to watch out when the dish is grilling...

6. Serve as appetiser or side dish.


Note: The longer you cook you cook the portobellas/ portobellos, the 'firmer texture'  the mushroom gets.

Saturday, July 12, 2008

Stir-fry Fresh Lily Bulbs With Brown Mushrooms

I was looking around at the vegetable shelves of a local supermarket the other day and saw some packs fresh Lily bulbs from China on display. Known as Pak Hup (Cantonese) or Baihe (Mandarin) which means 'hundred together,' refering to the many 'scales' or petals forming the bulbs ~ it's a species of genus Lilium, mostly Westerners thought as beautiful ornamentals yet it has many usage not only in culinary but also in tradtional medicines...

Various bulbs of edible lilies have long been consumed by humans in Eastern Asia and other parts of the world. Besides eating them fresh or raw in cooking, this humble Lily bulb also have medicinal properties used in Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) mostly in dried lily petals to be boil together with other herbs in a special traditional clay pot over a stove or double-boiler) to treat certain ailments in our body. 

It's one of my favourite plant that's quite difficult to find if it's not in the season. I tried to find better ones among the packs but sometimes (most of time actually) the exporter purposely arranged the bulbs in such a way that you won't be able to peek at the conditions of the bulbs! Well, I tried my best as you can see from the pics below... :-( The craving to eat them got the better of me though... I salvaged as much as I could from this pack I bought. What's interesting about this bulbs are it can be cook in savoury or sweet as dessert. Some cooks parboil the bulbs to remove the bitterness before adding to dishes which I think unnecessary because it's not that bitter compared to bitter gourd. The petals/bulbs became mushy very quickly if parboil first and then cook again. A bit of bitterness is good to keep our pancreas in healthy condition ... :-)

Packed Fresh Lily Bulbs in 2 portions

Peeled petals of Lily Bulbs

Stir-fry Fresh Lily Bulbs with Brown Mushrooms in Sake
Serves 1-2

1 pack Fresh lily bulbs (a pack comes with 2 Lily bulbs) - cleaned, 
separate into petals & remove any bruised part on petals.

20 g Fresh Green peas
200 g Brown Mushrooms - cleaned and sliced
15 ml Shoyu/Light Soya Sauce or accordingly to your taste
2 pips Garlic-minced
20 ml Cooking oil of your choice
20 ml Sake to taste (more if you like :-P )

1. Heat up a deep pan or a wok with cooking oil.
2. When oil is hot, add in the minced garlic. Fry until it's fragrant but not burnt.

Note: To know when the oil is hot; You will see smoke coming out from the oil or dip a wooden skewer/chopstick into the oil, if there are bubbles appeared at the dipped end-the oil is ready!

3. Add in the sliced Brown mushrooms and cook until slightly wilted or shrink. Add in the green peas. Stir for few minutes...
4. Add in the fresh Lily bulb petals; Stir the petals gently so as not to break apart the soften petals (you would see that the petals became transparent after cooking.) 
5. Add in shoyu and sake to taste. Mix the ingredients well. 

Note: If you don't have sake, you can also use Shaoxing Wine or Dry Sherry. Only differencs between Sake and Shaoxing Wine are the flavour intensity and colour.

6. Dish out and serve with hot rice/noodles as side dish or appetiser with sake/beer... :-) 


Friday, July 4, 2008

Home is where my heart is...

Just back from short holidays :-) and I have few cooking ideas on the line up but first, I want to share with my wonderful foodie friends some scenes from my home town- an island in Southeast Asia :-D. It's a small island with quality food and average temperature but her unique cultures and wonderful islanders of multi nationalities made up the lost of what she don't have compared to other famous islands on earth.Hope you enjoy it and thank you for viewing them :-)

Click to play ... where my heart is...
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