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Sep 14, 2012

Balsamic Onions Quinoa Patties & Quinoa Salad

(Guest post at Just As Delish)

Whoo! My first time doing a guest post!
Thank you Shannon, for asking. I'm excited! I'm nervous! I'm panicking!

Shannon asked. I'd said ok. I'd be honored. I asked Shannon if there is anything specific she'd like. She'd said no, no specific recipe. I asked if there are any special requests. And she'd said yes! It needs to be simple and healthy (ie. no deep frying, no loads of sugar/butter/cream). All of the above is what I am ... unhealthy. Now you see why I'm panicking? I'm doomed!
Ok, ok, I'm calm, I'm calm. I just need to see this as a challenge to my high-fat-cream-infused brain. 

Wait. What's this packet of healthy looking thing doing in my pantry? It stuck out like a sore thumb. The mother of all grains, Quinoa! (Well, according to the Incas, anyway).
How healthy is that? 
And when I told Shannon it's going to be quinoa, she said, "Quinoa? Isn't that too healthy for you?". Does she know me or what?

Like what you see? Want to find out more? Head over to Just As Delish and say hi to Shannon.

Thanks again, Shannon, for making me come up with something healthy. It's not as difficult as I thought it would be.

Sep 6, 2012

Lotus Leaf Glutinous Rice Packets

(adapted from here and there)

Not exactly Birkin, Coach or LV .. but far yummier 

It does look like fine leather, doesn't it?

Ever since making my first and last attempt of the glutinous rice dumpling (bacang/chung) wrapped with bamboo leaves, I vowed never again after an agonizing 2 weeks of suffering from a major rash breakout. Who'd have thunk I'd be allergic to the little fine, prickly fuzz on the leaves? 
I'd found some dried lotus leaves tucked away in my pantry from god-knows-when, and decided to use them instead to make these little rice packets. 
The flavor is a little different from the bacangs, a small part of it due to the different types of leaves used, a little less intense. More like Lor Mai Fun ... or is this Lor Mai Fun? Do I know my Chinese dishes or what?

You can prepare this ahead of time. Keep the bundles in the freezer and steam it when you want it.

(makes 4 small-ish packets)

1 cup glutinous rice, washed & soaked for a couple of hours

1 small onion diced
2 large cloves garlic, chopped
1 small knob young ginger, julienned

4 -5 medium sized, dried shitake mushrooms, soaked until soft & sliced
1/4 cup dried shrimps, soaked to soften, drained and coarsely chopped
1/4 cup diced char siew / chinese bbq pork
1/8 cup Chinese preserved sausage (lap cheong), diced
1 cup diced chicken meat, marinade with 1/2 tsp white pepper, dash of Chinese rice wine & 1 tsp cornstarch

chopped scallions, for garnish

2 double-layered halves lotus leaves, cut into quarters.
(That means you'll get 4 double-layered quarters)
*Note: The leaves usually come folded in halves. Do not separate the 2 layers. Having a double layer ensures the holes (if any) are plugged up.

Seasoning Ingredients
Mix everything in a bowl:

1/4 tsp sesame oil
3 tsp light soy sauce
2 tsp oyster sauce
1 tsp Chinese rice wine
1/8 tsp sugar
1/2 tsp 5-spice powder


Drain glutinous rice. Put into rice cooker with 1/2 cup water and a pinch of salt. Cook and cool.

While the rice is cooking, saute the dried shrimp in a little oil until fragrant and slightly crispy. Remove from pan.
Heat another tbs of oil in the same pan and saute the chopped garlic, onions and ginger until lightly browned and onions are soft.
Toss in the diced, marinaded chicken and cook until browned.
Stir in the mushrooms, preserved sausage and bbq pork.
Add in the cooked glutinous rice, fluff it out a bit, add in the seasoning mix and stir everything together to combine evenly.
Leave aside while you prepare the lotus leaves.

Put a wide pot of water to boil. Soak the leaves in for about 10 minutes, turning them over if needed.

Remove the softened leaves gently, pat dry and trim off the hard tip as illustrated below. 

Divide the rice into 4 portions. Put one portion onto the lower center of one leaf and wrap according to the diagram, tucking in the end securely.
(*Note: I have come across some suggestions where it's done the opposite of how I wrap this but I've found it easier to tuck in the narrow end. Wrap it any which way you like as long as it doesn't accidentally open up in the midst of steaming. Or tie it with vine if you wish).

Steam packets over high heat for 10 mins.
To serve, make a diagonal cross cut on the top of the packet and fold the flaps outwards. Sprinkle with chopped scallions.
Eat while hot.