asia

40. China Part 1: Hong Kong: Dim Sum

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China is simply too big to choose 1 dish, it would be cruel to choose 1 dish while China has sooo many good dishes! So I split China up in 4 parts. And I know there are 8 culinary regions in China I will start with Hong Kong!

Soooo Hong Kong… Hong Kong is the most western orientated province in China. Officially known as Hong Kong Special Administrative Region of the People’s Republic of China but that doesn’t fit on passports or official documents so let’s just keep it casual and call it Hong Kong! When people think about Hong Kong they think about: growing Chinese economy, THE foodiecity in Asia, skyscrapers, expensive hotels,… but what they seem to forget is that Hong Kong has been around for a while (5000 years). So how did Hong Kong become so businesslike? Well after the first opium war (1839-1842) the British took control of Hong Kong. That way it became sort of a European city in Asia! Only in 1997 Hong Kong became a part of China! The city became China’s first Special Administrative Region on 1 July 1997 under the principle of “one country, two systems”.

Hong KongHere are some things you didn’t know about Hong Kong:

  • Hungry? Hong Kong is home to around 11,000 restaurants – almost one for every 680 residents – In fact, there are so many eateries that you could dine at a different restaurant every night for the next 30 years.
  • Fire up your Rolls-Royce. It’s said that Hong Kong boasts more Rolls-Royces per capita than anywhere else in the world.
  • Vertical horizons. To match its thick population density, Hong Kong boasts the highest number of skyscrapers in the world by far.
  •  The fragrant harbour. Oh the irony. Hong Kong actually translates as “fragrant harbour”.

Hong Kong food or Cantonese food is enjoyed all over the world  and is closest to the flavor of Chinese takeaway food. It is the sweetest and is the most similar to the Western palate. This week I made dim sum. I love dim sum and I have been looking forward to this for a while now! My mom always has a plater of dim sum in the freezer just in case we have guests, but my brother, sister and I often eat them for lunch or a quick snack. Which she doesn’t make a fuss about because it’s pretty healthy, at least better then devouring a bag of chips. This particular type of dim sum is called siu mai. I didn’t get the shape right because my wonton sheets were round instead of square, but honestly they were delicious! I had never tasted the homemade ones because even restaurants buy them most of the time but you do actually taste the difference.

Dim SumIngredients: 150gr of king prawns, 150 gr of pork mince, 1 clove of garlic, minced, 1 chunk of ginger, grated, 1 spring onion, 2 water chestnuts, 1 tbsp roasted chopped peanuts, 2 tsp soy sauce, 1 tsp sesame oil, 2 tsp cornflour, 20 wonton wrappers, sweet chili sauce (for dipping), 1 tbsp brown sugar, 1 red chilli, 1 spring onion

Chuck the prawns, mince, garlic, ginger, spring onion, soy sauce, sesame oil,red chili,  cornflour into a food processor and pulse into a rough paste. Chop the water chestnuts and roasted peanuts as finely as possible and mix into the paste. Transfer the mixture into a bowl and cover it with clingfilm. Leave it in the fridge for 30 minutes. Lay out the wonton wrappers on a surface and place a heaped teaspoon of the mixture into the middle of each wrapper. Fold the edges up of the wrappers up around the mixture, leaving a hole in the top (brush the pastry with water if it struggles to stick). Cut away any excess wrapper. Boil a little water in a wok or saucepan. Sit your steamer over the water (You could also use a sieve over a deep saucepan). Place a square of greaseproof paper into the steamer and add the dumplings. Put the lid on the steamer and cook for 10 minutes.

 

32. Cambodia: Pork and Rice Soup

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Welcome C! I can’t believe it we have been through al the countries with an A and a B time has flown by and I have learned so much already about cooking and about the world. I have to admit it makes me little proud that it’s been going so well! Thanks to all of you! So later this week I promise I will bake a nice big cake and add the recipe :D.

But now Cambodia, when I started googling Cambodia pictures of hidden temples and statues in the rainforest came up. It reminded me a little of Indiana Jones and The Temple of Doom. But apparently that was filmed in Sri Lanka (I get distracted very easily, I have the attention span of a goldfish, it’s disturbing, we call it sdbing = studydodgingbehaviour). Cambodia seems to be known for it’s deep blue seawater, enchanting rainforests, fairytale like mangroves, great food, majestic temples, and happy people. So what else it there about Cambodia that your probably don’t know:

  • Tarantula kebabs are a popular delicacy in Cambodia.
  • Cambodia is the most unexplored country in Southeast Asia. Here tourist can really dive into the life of ancient Asia. Even today, in Cambodia it is possible to meet a person who has never watched TV.
  • The most common myths about Cambodia: There is a war, it is very dangerous here, everyone walking around with guns, kill people, hunger, poverty and unrest.
    In fact, Cambodia is certainly not a rich country, but it is so fertile that no one is starving here. The war ended 30 years ago.
  • Cambodians love to sleep outside in the hammocks.

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I love South East Asian food, it’s so light and healthy. This week I made Pork and Rice Soup! It was great, when I put the pan on the table my brother mentioned it looked like glue! But it’s sooo yummy, a great budget midnight meal!

Pork and Rice Soup
Pork and Rice Soup

Ingredients Marinate pork: 200 gram ground pork, 1 tablespoon Thai fish sauce, 2 teaspoon sugar

Ingredients Broth: 9 cups of water, 2 stalks of lemongrass (cracked), thumb size piece of ginger peeled and smashed, 4 flat anchovies (packed in oil), salt to taste, 3/4 cup of jasmine rice (rinsed in cold water and drained), 2 table spoons of peanut oil, 5 cloves of garlic,

Ingredients Toppings: 1/4 cup of Thai fish sauce, 1 bird chile (chopped), 4 shallots (peeled and diced), 2 cups of beansprouts, 1 bunch of scallions thinly sliced, 1/2 roasted unsalted peanuts, 1 lime, salt and pepper

In a small bowl stir the pork with fish sauce and sugar. Set aside. Place water, ginger, lemongrass, salt and dried shrimp (if using) in a large heavy pot and bring to a boil. Boil steadily for 5 minutes. Add rinsed rice to the pot. When it returns to a boil, lower heat and simmer gently, uncovered, until the rice is tender, about 15 minutes. While the rice is cooking, heat 2 tablespoons oil in a skillet over medium-high heat. Add shallots and cook, stirring constantly, until tender and golden, about 3 minutes, Regulate the heat so they don’t burn. Transfer shallots to a condiment bowl. Add 1 tablespoon oil to the same skillet and toss in the garlic and anchovies (if using) Stir-fry for 30 seconds, until fragrant. Add the pork and cook, stirring and breaking up any lumps, until the pork is no longer pink, about 3 minutes. Add the pork stir-fry to the soup pot, once the rice has finished cooking. Stir through. Season with salt, to taste. Mix the bird chile with ¼ cup fish sauce in a small condiment bowl. Set aside. Just before serving, gently reheat the soup. Divide the shredded cabbage or sprouts among the bowls. Add a pinch of shredded basil and a pinch of scallions to each bowl. Ladle the soup on top. Add a bit of each topping and a generous grinding of black pepper to each bowl. Serve with a lime wedges and prik nam pla on the side. Enjoy!

I found some Cambodian popmusic this videoclip is definatelly worth watching, i don’t think you can find anything more dorky on the entire internet, but it’s hilarious. If you know the lyrics you can even sing along!

23. Bhutan: Cucumbersalad

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Bhutan, a country surrounded by the enormous mountains of the Himalaya. Bhutan has always fascinated me, because it’s kind of closed off country, only a certain amount of tourists can visit Bhutan. They are the definition of a green country, they try so hard to keep the nature intact! For instance: Bhutan is the first country in the world with specific constitutional obligations on its people to protect the environment. Among its requirements: At least 60 percent of the nation must remain under forest cover at all times. I think they are the perfect example to the rest of the world, we should all care more about the environment. I’m not saying that every country should implement a law like this, but we are not doing our utmost best to stop global warming.

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So here you go some more fun facts about Bhutan:

  • The capital of Bhutan is Thimphu. It is the only capital city in the world without traffic lights! When a test set was put in place residents complained because they were too impersonal; within days they were taken down and the traditional method – men in white gloves at either end of the main street – was reinstated.
  • In Bhutan, all citizens officially become one year older on New Year’s Day.
  • Bhutan is the only country in the world that absorbs more CO2 than it gives out. It is also the only country whose largest export is renewable energy, which is hydroelectric power.
  • Healthcare and education is free in Bhutan for both residents and visitors, despite it’s poverty.
  • Television and internet was banned in Bhutan until 1999. The internet was a gift to his subjects from King Jigme Singye to celebrate his Silver Jubilee in 2000.
  • All tourists have to travel with a tour operator and pay a minimum fee of $250 per day to visit Bhutan, making it both expensive and a giant pain for backpackers to visit.

This is such an odd yet amazing country! Off course some things are ridiculous, but free healthcare and education for EVERYONE! That is just amazing and admirable! As I said I think the rest of the world can learn a lot from Bhutan! And this not even half of the amazing things I found about Bhutan! Seriously there is so much more but I can’t write down everything because that would make this post crazy long and a bit unfair to the other countries! This recipe is super simple and is mainly used as side dish next to spicy stuff.

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Ingredients: 1 Cucumber, 1 green chili, 1 red onion, feta cheese, cilantro

Dice the onion, cucumber and feta. Take the seeds out of the chili and chop it fine as you can.  Sprinkle over cilantro. That’s it! Super healthy!

16. Bangladesh: Chicken Korma

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Bangladesh a country where the difference between rich and poor is incredibly large. Apart from that Bangladesh also has a lot of positive things.

Here are some things you didn’t know about Bangladesh:

  • The worlds largest beach is located in Bangladesh
  • It is immature to smile a lot. Hence the Bangladeshis tend not to smile much. (This would not be a country for me)
  • Women love to be as colorful and shiny as possible! It is their everyday life to wear colorful saree or saluar khamiz with matching shining earrings, necklaces, bracelets, make up and shoes. Yes, everyday! Whenever you step out your home, you need to look as good as possible, because others are looking at you, you know?
  • There are two typical questions that people ask each other every day:  “What did you eat? Did you take a shower?” Here everything is about eating! (I can relate to this, the first question my little brother used to ask in the morning was: Mom what’s for dinner tonight?) They eat a lot and in every meal there are lots of items on a table. And because it’s hot here, people sweat, so personal hygiene is very important.

I already love curry but this was extreme!

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Ingredients: 1 kg chicken pieces, washed, 2 large onions, finely chopped, 1 1/2 tbsps ginger garlic paste, 1 large tomato, chopped, 1 tsp red chilli pwd, 1/4 tsp turmeric pwd1 1/2 tbsp lemon juice, salt to taste, 2-3 tbsps oil, chopped coriander leaves for garnish 

Dry roast: 1 tsp cumin seeds, 1″ cinnamon, 2 cardamoms, 5 tbsp grated fresh coconut, 8 cashew nuts, 1 tbsp roasted chickpeas

Roast: (in 2 tsps oil for 5 mts) 6-8 curry leaves, 8-10 shallots/sambar onions, 4 green chills, 3 tbsps chopped coriander leaves, 15 mint leaves

Make a paste of ingredients under ‘dry roast’ and ‘roast’ by adding a few tbsps of water and keep aside. Heat oil in a heavy bottomed vessel, add curry leaves and saute for few moments. Add the chopped onions and fry till transparent. Add ginger-garlic paste and saute for 3 mts. Add red chilli pwd, turmeric pwd and salt and combine. Add the chopped tomatoes and fry for 4-5 mts. Add the ground paste and cook over medium heat for 7-8 mts. Add lemon juice and the chicken pieces and combine. Cook without lid for 5-6 mts. Add 3 cups of water and cook with lid on simmer till the chicken is tender and the gravy thickens. Garnish with chopped coriander leaves. Turn off heat. Serve with rice