Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Mongolian Beef

This is my version of a mongolian beef recipe. My recipe pair with sticky rice and these are the ingredients:

For the rice:
-2 cups of short or medium grain white rice
-3 cups water
-1/2 tea spoon onion powder
-1/2 tea spoon garlic powder
-1 tea spoon salt

For the beef:
-2lb flank steak
-2 table spoons minced garlic
-2 onions chopped large
-1 cup of chopped fresh cilantro
-2 table spoons corn starch
-2 cups sliced water chestnuts
-1 tea spoon fish sauce
-2 table spons oyster sauce
-2 table spoons hoisin sauce
-1 tea spoon sesame oil
-2 table spoons soy sauce
-1 tea spoon black pepper
-salt to taste
-2 table spoons vegetable oil
-2 table spoon molasses

Here are few pics of the ingredients.

Prepare the rice about 15min prior to start cooking the beef by washing the rice on a strainer for few seconds, then add the rice to a medium size pot, add water, salt, onion and garlic powder. Mix and let it simmer at low heat with lid semi-cosed until cooked and dry.

For the beef, start trimming off any excess of fat, then cut it into 3 pieces as shown below.

Slice thin perpendicular to the meat fibers, shown here.
Mix the soy , hoisin, fish and oyster sauce.
Add the mix to the sliced beef in a ziplock bag.
Add the starch, close the bag and mix well. Let is marinate for 1h.
1h later, chop the onion in large pieces.
and add to a hot sauce pan with vegetable oil, add the garlic and saute' until golden.
Add the beef, black pepper, sesame oil and 1/2 tea spoon of salt and fry at high heat stirring constantly until most liquid from the beef has evaporated.
Add the molasses and water chestnuts and let cook for a minute or two.
For last, add the chopped cilantro and stir. Add salt to taste if necessary.
Ready to eat
Served with the sticky rice. Very juicy!

Friday, May 13, 2011

French Bread

I recently perfected this recipe and I can say now that I'm proudly making french bread that I always wanted, light on the inside and very crunchy on the outside. I have been baking french breads for few years and just recently, developed this recipe that made a huge improvement to my breads. The trick was to ferment a yeast starter for several hours (12h), then use that to build the final bread dough. This method of using yeast starter is not new, but I only used that for my panettone breads.
Making this french bread will take time. I recommend to leave the starter fermenting overnight, then resume the recipe on the next morning.

So straight to the ingredients for the starter:
-2 cups of all purpose flour
-1 cup luke warm water
-2 tea spoons dry yeast
Combine the flour and yeast.

Add water and mix to get a soft dough.

Cover with plastic film, poke few holes.
Cover that with a wet paper towel and let ferment for 12h at 80F, or ambient temperature, around 70F should be fine also.
This is after 12h.
Now to the main dough ingredients:
-yeast starter
-2 cups flour
-1 cup warm water
-2 table spoons gluten
-1 tea spoon dry yeast
-1 tea spoon of dough conditioner (optional)
-1 tea spoon non-iodized salt
-2 table spoons sugar
First, mix the dry ingredients, then add the starter and water.
I use a kitchen-aid mixer and mix the dough for 7 minutes, adding flour as needed
to keep it from sticking to the bowl. If kneading by hand, longer time may be needed to produce same results, possibly 15min or so.
Place the dough on a big bowl previously oiled, cover with a plastic film with few holes and let it raise for 1h at 80F.
Here's the dough after 1h, raised to more than double in size.
Dump the dough on a floured surface, sprinkle some more flour on top and slowly press the dough to compact.

The idea is to compress the bubbles in the dough to small sizes, not remove the bubbles. Further fermentation will add more bubbles and make a light bread.
Here's the dough, compacted to about 1/2in thick.
Form a ball and move to same bowl and let it raise for another hour at 80F.
Again, after 1h, doubled in size.
Set the dough on the table and decide on the size of you bread, divide the dough and form the shapes that you like.

I like my breads around 10in long and 3in round, after baked, so I form the bread dough into 12in long by 1.5in diameter, as seen below.
Shape loaves and lay on a baking sheet, previously oiled.
With a sharp knife of blade, cut the breads about 1/4in deep.
Spray the breads with warm water. I like topping my breads with sesame seeds, so I sprinkle that on to the wet breads.
Let it raise for 1h. This is how it would look like, ready for the oven.
Sprays the breads with warm water again, pre-heat oven to 390F and bake for 30min, if you plan to eat the bread on same day.
If you want to pre-bake the breads to freeze then for later use, bake for only 15min.
Here are 3 loaves baked for 15min.

Let it cool completely, wrap in film, then into a ziplock bag and into the freezer.
When you are ready to eat then, pre-heat oven to 390F and finish baking for 15min. Place the breads still frozen in the oven.

Here are the loaves that were baked for full 30min.
Notice the pre-baked loaves on the left (15min) and the fully baked on the right (30min).

Loaf ended with 9in long.
Let it cool and enjoy with lots of butter and a hot cup of coffee!