Autumn is here and it is seriously getting colder with each passing day! When it comes to food in autumn, it seems like everyyybody, and I mean EVERYBODY gets gaga for pumpkins. Pumpkin spice lattes, pumpkin donuts, pumpkin pies, pumpkin every freaking thing! I have to admit though, never had a pumpkin spiced latte, is it really as good as it is hyped up to be? I'm afraid of getting wildly disappointed lol. One thing I realized over the years was that pumpkins are very popularly eaten as a dessert—when I first started working, our office has an annual Thanksgiving potluck. Of course, me being extra when it comes to food, I decided to put a spin on cooking pumpkin by making things like Thai pumpkin laksa curry with noodles, or this past year, braised pumpkin with chicken and shiitake mushrooms. While my coworkers enjoyed my pumpkin dishes, many had never had pumpkin cooked in a savory way before, which was a surprise to me because I grew up eating pumpkin in savory dishes way more than sweets! I've had pumpkin with rice, in soups, braised with assorted meats and vegetables, and it is just so comforting and warming.
Today, I'm sharing my recipe for a braised Japanese kabocha pumpkin, chicken and shiitake mushroom stew. It's SOO good ladled over a bowl of rice and Wilson loves this dish whenever I make it! Japanese kabocha pumpkin is more dense and sweet than the pumpkins in the US and are available at most Asian supermarkets. If you don't have access to kabocha, you can substitute the recipe with a regular pumpkin, but it's definitely yummier with the Japanese kabocha.
Typically I like to cook this dish was dark meat like chicken thighs, drumettes or wings, depending on my mood. The dark meat is much more succulent in this braised dish and there is something about the way that the sauce holds onto the meat that is just so satisfying, especially when you eat the wings and suck on the bones, haha! (gotta love our wings). For this recipe, I used the chicken drumsticks and wings leftover from carving a whole chicken, using the breast meat for another dish and using the dark meat for this stew.
Sometimes if I want to make this dish with chicken breast, I do a light marinade of salt, white pepper, sesame oil and cornstarch with it and do a quick stir fry to seal in the juices and to keep the meat tender. Then, you cook the pumpkin separately and add in the chicken towards the end to prevent the chicken from overcooking.
Chicken + marinade:
We hope you like this homey and comforting dish during the chilly autumn and winter seasons!
Until next time,
I am up to my noodley shenanigans again! Today I am sharing a Braised Beef Noodle Soup. I feel apprehensive calling this a Taiwanese Braised Beef Noodle Soup, since the recipe is really a combination of a bunch of recipes I've tried in the past and have tweaked over time to suit our tastes, but essentially it would be best related to Taiwanese beef noodles--although I'm sure a purist would say otherwise. Bay leaves are not usually part of the recipe, but I find that it gives a little somethin' somethin' to it. I also find that other recipes have more star anise and use spicy bean paste for the telltale spice kick, but after a few times of recipe testing, we found that we weren't fond of the heavy licorice flavor of star anise in our broth, and that spicy bean paste often ended up being too spicy (at least for my husband, who is decidedly weak against spice haha). I tend to add some chili paste on top of my noodles before I eat, and it tastes just as good!
I developed a love for beef noodle soup when I stayed in Taiwan for a few weeks as a tween/teenager and again when I went on a mom and daughter trip back in 2014. I stayed with my cousins and my aunt once took me to a place not far from her home in Taipei that sold affordable, homemade and delicious beef noodle soup. I remember the steaming pots of beef broth, assorted beef cuts including brisket, shank, tripe and tendon being scooped up to be placed on top of freshly boiled noodles. You could smell the broth and beef as you approached the restaurant from outside. Taiwan is hot and humid, especially during the summer, but you will still see plenty of people queuing up for a good bowl of beef noodle soup on any day. This dish is so popular that you'll see it in restaurants, street vendors and even at the airport!
The photos below were taken back in 2014 when I went to Taiwan with my mom and we revisited the same beef noodle shop near my aunt's home! Look at all the honeycomb tripe, beef tongue and beef tendon!! Yummm! Next to it is a photo of a bowl of beef noodle soup we ate at the airport in Taipei. Even for airport food, the noodles were super nice and chewy, flavorful broth and large chunks of soft beef. Ah the memories ♥🍜
I tend to pair this recipe with my handmade noodles (super easy to make) but if I'm pressed for time or too lazy, I will use store bought (either fresh flour noodles or the dried kinds). You can even use instant noodles if you wish!
As for the beef, I truly recommend using beef shank over other cuts of beef. It is an affordable cut of meat, is fatty and has tendon throughout, so after cooking in the Instant Pot, that fat and collagen from the tendon is infused and melted into your beef stock broth to be super unctuous and delightfully beefy. No beef bones needed for an intensely flavorful broth.
INGREDIENTS: 6 servings
We make this so often at home because you can just toss everything into the pot and have it set to start on its own so that when we get home from work, we just have to boil noodles and throw everything together within minutes! Comforting, warm, and slurpy beefy noodle goodness. Enjoy!
Until next time,
Crispy Cantonese Roast Pork "Siu Yuhk" 燒肉 (directly translated as "roast meat") is an essential part of Chinese Canto bbq cuisine. I grew up visiting Chinatown in New York every weekend with my family. For Chinese school, for groceries. We would walk past bakeries and restaurants, and many of the restaurants would feature Chinese bbq or tanks of live seafood at their storefronts. Seeing a plump soy sauce chicken, crispy roast duck, or fatty roast pork hanging in the window is always the best advertising a restaurant can have. You tell the butcher what you want by the pound, he chops it up and gives it to you with some cups of soy sauce or ginger scallion oil. Call us barbaric, but sometimes we can't even wait to get home and we start eating the meat straight out of the box with our hands!
With the COVID19 quarantine in effect, we found ourselves craving all sorts of food that we normally get at restaurants, especially Cantonese style crispy roast pork.
I found a wonderful recipe on Pinterest from a blog called What to Cook Today and made some adjustments to the marinade to suit our tastes, but the method, time and temperature is the same. Definitely check out their food blog, there's lots of great recipes there! I can't wait to try other flavor profiles for this crispy pork recipe! You can enjoy this crispy pork with a bed of lettuce wraps, with bao buns, with rice, in sandwiches or tortillas, the list goes on!
The key to getting that crackly crispy AF skin is to make sure to pat the skin super dryyyyy before you oven it. You can honestly marinate the meat part with whatever flavor you want. We went with sweet hoisin and peppery flavors. The rest is in a salt crust that further draws out moisture to help achieve the crispy skin.
Don't worry about the salt crust making your pork too salty—once it is done baking, the loose salt forms a hard crust that comes off easily and you just have to brush off any excess before returning it to the oven to finish the roasting process.
Then it's a low broil for about 20 minutes and the pork skin begins to crackle, snap and pop!
Out comes a beautifully crackled crispy roast pork. It makes my mouth water just looking at the photos of it again. So. freaking. good. I know, I know, you've been scrolling for a while, recipe is down below!
Just look at that deliciousness. Don't you wish you could pull it right off the screen to sink your teeth into?! Be sure not to cover the meat because the steam and heat will make the skin soft and no longer crispy, which will result in sadness.
I hope you enjoy this recipe! We had this with lettuce, an assortment of sauces like sweet thai chili, peanut sauce and hoisin sauce to dip, and a side of pickled cucumbers for a nice refreshing crunch. Until next time!
Just a girl, her husband and two dogs who love food ♥❤🐶👫🐶❤♥