Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Ramen Halu - San Jose

Tan tan ramen with minced meat topping and seaweed sheet on the side
It's been a while since we went to this restaurant.  I could see that the place had been renovated. It's a lot nicer and more decorated inside. There was a big mural that covers the whole ceiling depicting fishes (in a pond?).

Me and a couple of friends went there around 2 pm on Saturday. I got there first and decided to put my name on the wait list clipboard. There was a big group of 12 people in front of me. Good. It would take a while to seat them that way gave me time to wait for my group to arrive. *phew*

Sunday, February 24, 2013

Okami Spicy California Rolls (Trader Joe's)

One day while running errands during my lunch time, I found myself at Trader Joe's. I knew I had finish my lunch earlier in the day because I was hungry. I swung by the cooked food section. I have always known that Trader Joe's had quite a few ready to eat things on their refrigerated section. For singles who don't want to cook or easy meal during lunch time. There were wraps, salad pack, etc. I picked up a pack of California roll  from Okami. Not just roll, it's spicy California roll.

I went back to office and was excited about trying it out. I opened the pack, there were three other small packets consisted of soy sauce, pickle ginger and wasabi. I picked up one of the roll and stuffed it in my mouth couldn't wait to taste it. soon as I took a bite of it I was disappointed. The rice was so mushy it tasted like rice cake instead. Only then I paid attention to the rest of the roll and noticed that I couldn't even see the rice grain.

Nice packaging. Delicious look. Bland taste. Avoid it.

Monday, February 18, 2013

Bay Leaf - Sunnyvale

Fish cake served with cucumber pieces and yellow noodle on vinegar based sauce
Last Sunday as I was going about doing my morning activities I was suddenly hit with a strong urge to have siomay bandung and pempek. Both are Indonesian snacks and I looked up the closest Indonesian restaurant around. Bay Leaf in Sunnyvale would be the chosen one that served both of them. Yesss !!

By the time we got there it was past noon. The restaurant was quite busy with three or four tables occupied. Ordering was a breeze since we knew what we wanted. Ha..ha.. I ordered a nasi padang (rice combo with beef curry) for hubby since that's his favorite.

Saturday, February 9, 2013

Steamed Vegetable dumpling

Depends on where you found this snack, local people call them differently. In Indonesia, we call them choipan. They could be found at some traditional market sold in pack of five with chilli sauce on the side. Hubby's family known them as kokcai (not sure about the spelling). Recently we tried to recreate them in our kitchen. The dumpling skin recipe was adapted from Nasi Lemak Lover and the filling was adapted from Kumpulan Aneka Resep.

Dumpling filling :
1 tbs cooking oil for frying
5 cloves garlic, minced
3/4 medium size jicama, cut into match stick size or rough shred with a shredder. Squeeze out excess juice.
1/2 c dried shrimp, soaked in hot water, drained and ground with food processor
2 tbs sugar

Method :
Stir fry minced garlic with oil until fragrant. Put in ground dried shrimp. Stir around for about 2 minutes. Put in jicama and stir well. Stir every minute and cook for about 5 minutes or until jicama becomes  soften. Put in sugar and mix well and turn off the stove.

Dumpling skin :
100 gr har gaw flour (look at picture)
70 gr tapioca starch
1/4 ts salt
4-5 tbs cooking oil
220 gr boiling water (about 0.92 cup)
Har gow flour - found in asian grocery store - or use rice flour as subtitute

Method :
Mix the dry ingredients in a bowl and stir to combine.
Pour in the hot water and stir to combine. Add about 1 tbs of cooking oil and mix well.
Let it sit to let the flour cook and also cool off a bit so it could be handled by hand. Knead well and add extra oil a bit at a time until the dough is no longer sticky.

Garlic oil sauce :
2 tbs cooking oil
5 cloves garlic, minced.

Method :
Fry the garlic in cooking oil until golden brown. Set aside all together with the oil.

Chilli sauce :
10 big red chilli, boil in hot water for about 5 minutes, drain.
2 cloves of garlic
1/2 c of water
2 tbs vinegar
1/2 ts salt or to taste
3 tbs sugar or to taste

Method :
Using a mortar/pestle or a food processor, grind the garlic and chilli until fine. Mix the garlic chilli combination with the rest of the ingredients until stir well until become chilli sauce.

Short cut for chilli sauce :
Here in US, it's harder to find big red chilli, most of the chillies are green. So I use sriracha sauce as the base for my chilli sauce. The sriracha I use came in a glass bottle and has more acid in it already so I only need to put sugar and garlic paste accordingly. The other sriracha that has green cap has a bit thicker consistency and less acidic so vinegar and water also sugar would be needed to make it to the right taste.
Sriracha sauce - my short cut to garlic sauce

Putting all together :
Roll out the dough with a rolling pin until they become thin enough and cut into round shape. For me, it helps to work with a bit of dough at a time unless you're good at it. :) Put the filling in and fold the dough skin half and secure by pinching the dough skin together. The ending product should look like a half circle.

Put the dumpling on a well oiled plate and steam until the dumpling skin turn translucent.

Place the dumpling on the serving plate. Drizzle some garlic oil sauce and serve with chilli sauce on the side. Enjoy.

Dumpling from the market near my parents' house. Ours looked pretty close and as yummy. :)

Monday, February 4, 2013

Poor Boy Sandwich from Lucky Supermarket

One time I read a thread on a mailing list in Singapore about what they called 'economy rice meal'. It's basically a simple rice packet with sliced cucumber, fried rice noodle and a bit of chilli sauce as condiment. The meal came with options of different varieties with little or no meat. Price was very affordable hence the name economy rice meal.

A few days ago I happened to be looking around in the deli section of my neighborhood Lucky Supermarket when I came across Poor Boy Sandwich. It was in the refrigerated section next to different sort of cheeses. It was exactly what I was looking for - something not too heavy. And the price was very decent at $1.99 a pop.

The sandwich pack came with sachets of mayonaise and yellow mustard. Season it to your liking. The sandwich was packed with protein like cured pork and turkey. No greens or onions or pickle at all. I guess so the sandwich won't go soggy and last longer.