Wednesday, June 27, 2018

Sriracha Crispy Tofu with Taiwanese Pickled Cabbage | 醬香脆皮豆腐配台式高麗泡菜

Nearly half a year since my last visit to Taiwan, I feel a sudden pang of craving for the island's renowned street food. Topping the long list of must-haves when food-crawling through Taipei's legendary night markets is the "stinky tofu" - deep-fried, fermented bean curd whose mouthwatering, funky stench seduces even from streets away. In my opinion, the stinkier the tofu the better - in which case Hong Kong's own version may sometimes prevail - yet, its scarcity and inflated prices these days make them more of a distant memory.

A major difference between the two is the additional accompaniment of pickled cabbage typically served alongside stinky tofu in Taiwan. Sweet and mildly sharp with notes of garlic and chili, the pickled vegetables give a refreshing crunch that not only balances out the lip-burning sensation of tofu fresh off the fryer and the heat of chili sauce, but also relieves the greasiness (and guilt). The pairing is so perfect I sometimes wonder if one can equally enjoy stinky tofu without pickled cabbage. Ditto that with any deep fried foods, for that matter.

Drawing inspiration from the popular Taiwanese street snack, the following recipe is a simple take on crispy tofu shallow-fried and then dressed in a sticky sweet and spicy Sriracha sauce and served with crunchy pickled cabbage. Both firm and extra-firm tofu would suit the dish brilliantly, although the former may lend even more of a silky texture underneath the crispy, golden shell. For the best results, it is essential to press and drain the tofu to extract as much liquid as possible. It may sound tedious, but I promise it is easy and will worth every effort.

Warning: this is a jar of vegetables you will NOT want to put down!
The crunchy Taiwanese pickled cabbage - perhaps as important as the tofu itself - can be made ahead of time and stored in the refrigerator for up to weeks. With so few ingredients, it is so simple and so addictive it can stand on its own as a snack throughout the day or even make a great aperitif. My first batch was gone within just a couple of days!

What you'll need...
Taiwanese Pickled Cabbage
1 small head cabbage
1 tablespoon coarse salt
1 cup rice vinegar*
3/4 cup white sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 bird's eye chili, thinly sliced
1 small carrot, shredded or thinly sliced

Note: Alternatively, use white distilled vinegar or apple cider vinegar, or a combination of both.

Sriracha Glaze
2 tablespoon water
3 tablespoon Sriracha (or to taste)
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 tablespoon yellow bean sauce or miso paste
1 tablespoon white sugar
1 teaspoon soy sauce

Crispy Tofu
1 block (450 g) firm or extra-firm tofu
1/3 cup cornstarch
Pinch of white pepper and salt
2 tablespoon oil for shallow frying

Taiwanese Pickled Cabbage
1. Remove and discard the outer layers of the cabbage. Working your way down to the core, peel and roughly tear each layer of leaves into bite-sized pieces. Place in large bowl or zip lock bag and sprinkle evenly with coarse salt and give the contents a good toss. Set aside for one hour, giving it a stir or shake every 20 minutes or so.

2. In a saucepan, combine vinegar, sugar, and salt on medium heat and stir until sugar dissolves. Turn heat off. Tip in shredded carrots, chili, and minced garlic and set aside to cool.

3. Drain the cabbage and rinse in running water to remove salt. Press leaves gently and drain as much water as possible. Place leaves into a large pickling jar, pour in vinegar mixture and ensure that the cabbage is completely submerged. Otherwise, top up with more vinegar. Store in refrigerator and the pickled cabbage will be ready in as soon as just half a day!
Sriracha Glaze
In a small saucepan, combine all ingredients and bring to a simmer, stirring until sugar dissolves. Taste and adjust seasoning.

Crispy Tofu
1. Press and drain: on a plate, sandwich tofu block in between layers of paper towels and top with another plate. Weigh it down with heavy cans or books for at least 30 minutes. Drain and pat dry. Cut into chunky cubes.

2.  In a medium bowl, whisk together cornstarch, white pepper and salt. Add tofu cubes and toss well to coat, shaking off any excess. Heat oil in pan and fry the tofu cubes until all sides are golden and crispy, about 4 mins each side. Drain tofu on paper towels.

3. On a plate, spoon Sriracha glaze over crispy tofu and top with a heap of pickled cabbage. Enjoy hot! 

世界杯深宵夜市小食!每次遠赴台灣夜市,總是鍾情香氣撲鼻、熱辣辣的臭豆腐,拌上香辣醬和清甜爽脆的高麗泡菜,實在味力無法擋!來不及飛台灣,不如自家製 — 不「臭臭」的脆皮豆腐同簡易台式泡菜!

椰菜                    1 小顆(約 600 克)
粗鹽                    1 湯匙
糯米醋               250 毫升(可用白醋或蘋果醋)
砂糖                    170 克
                       1/4 茶匙
蒜瓣                    4 瓣(剁碎)
指天椒                1 隻(切片)
甘筍                    1 小條(刨絲或切薄片)

1. 椰菜除去外層較髒的葉子,內層的葉子撕成片狀,均勻撒上粗鹽,靜置 10 分鐘後用手拌勻,其後每 15-20 分鐘輕輕翻動一次,待葉子出水及微軟後即可。椰菜最多鹽醃一小時,以保其爽脆和避免過鹹。
2. 靜置椰菜同時,把醋和砂糖煮滾,待砂糖溶化後熄火。加入甘筍絲、蒜末和辣椒放涼備用。
3. 鹽醃過的椰菜用涼開水沖洗一遍,瀝乾水分。放入玻璃容器中,再倒入糖醋,蓋上蓋子,放入冰箱半天以上既可食用。


開水                      2 湯匙
是拉差辣椒醬    3 湯匙(份量隨個人辣度喜好)
蒜瓣                      3 瓣(剁碎)
豆醬味噌         1 湯匙
砂糖                     1 湯匙
生抽                     1 茶匙

1. 把所有醬汁材料拌勻煮溶,再作適當調味。   

硬豆腐                 1 磚(約 450 克)
生粉                     40 克
白胡椒       適量
煮食油                2 湯匙

1. 豆腐先加壓出水:豆腐用吸水紙包著放在碟中,上方再蓋上盤子,以重物(如罐頭)加壓 30 分鐘或以上,內部水分便會流出。出水後用吸水紙抹乾豆腐,並切成大小一致的小塊。
2. 生粉、白胡椒和鹽拌勻。豆腐粒沾粉後下鍋煎炸至金黃色,每邊約四分鐘。盛起後用吸水紙吸取多餘油分。
3. 脆皮豆腐上淋上是拉差甜辣醬,再配上一堆爽甜高麗泡菜,即成!

[Follow me on Instagram @alvinckl and @alvin.penthousekitchen and check out my Facebook Fan Page!]

Thursday, May 24, 2018

MetroPop Issue 608:「空少的環球私房料理」新派摩洛哥素食

謝 MetroPop 的專訪 — 報導今晚見報了,在各大地鐵站免費派發,記得收工時攞番份喇!(Issue 608: 2018年5月17日)
人愛旅遊,總是對可以「周圍飛」的空中服務員投以羨慕眼光。職業為空少的 Alvin 卻告訴你,機上的空中服務員每分每秒也在作戰狀態。熱愛下廚的他,會乘工作之便,到別國拜訪地道餐廳、參與烹飪課、購買新鮮食材,好讓他回家後可藉美食沉澱思緒,逃離工作的繃緊。」
Thank you MetroPop for a special 5-page feature on the weekly publication, available now online and distributed at all major metro stations (Issue 608: 15 May 2018) - sharing the dreams, story, and passion of Alvin's Penthouse Kitchen - and a special Moroccan fusion & vegetarian tasting menu inspired by my recent travels in Marrakech!

 採訪當日,「Alvin 特意示範一系列的摩洛哥素食 small plates(小盤料理),並運用到他從摩洛哥購來的香料及食具。菜式包括紅菜頭香橙沙律 (Orange Beetroot Salad)、火燒茄子配摩洛哥醬 (Charred Baby Aubergine with Chermoula)、摩洛哥風味烤椰菜花配香草古斯米 (Ras el Hanout Roasted Cauliflower with Herbed Couscous) 及無花果拌橙花花香乳酪 (Orange Blossom Yogurt with Figs and Pistachio)。」

A taste of Morocco: a vegetarian feast bursting in bold flavors, colors, and fragrances from exotic spices

For the full article, please visit 繼續閱讀,請瀏覽 :
撰文:Tracy     攝影:Franky | Alvin

Facebook: Metropop

[Follow me on Instagram @alvinckl and @alvin.penthousekitchen and check out my Facebook Fan Page!]

Thursday, May 3, 2018

Thai Nam Jim Seafood Dip | 泰式秘制酸辣汁

Cilantro - also known as coriander - is perhaps the one herb in the entire herb kingdom that has the power to incite reactions of extremity. It has always been met with either love or despise and nothing in between. Folks in Camp Cilantrophobia would resolutely request to "skip the green stuff" (走青) when ordering a bowl of fish ball noodles - their repugnance towards those frilly, pungent green specks bordering on fear of some lethal allergic response. On the contrary, those in Camp Gimme More would shamelessly empty whole tubs of chopped cilantro onto their tacos at the taco joint. Ahem, just saying.

It is really recently that I realize there may be another Camp staking out discretely in the middle between the polar opposites. Let's call it the Camp I-don't-mind-cilantro-if-it's-mixed-with-other-stuff. Every time I have friends over for a Mexican or Moroccan feast, I would apprehensively ask if anyone's adverse to cilantro, keeping fingers tightly crossed for a negative lest someone's walking out hungry. Fortunately, I discovered this somewhat more 'liberal' Camp whose tolerance for cilantro broadens when its flavor blends and sparkles with others.

For the record, I, too, was once upon a time a radical member of Camp Cilantrophobia, but am now a proud convert that does empty whole tubs of fresh chopped cilantro onto my tacos at the taco joint. What Camp are you in?

Whichever Camp you belong to, the following recipe is guaranteed to unite us all. This Thai Nam Jim is a tangy, spicy, versatile dipping sauce that packs a punch in flavor and can liven up anything from seafood to grilled meats and even salads. Melding the fundamental tastes of sweet, sour, salty with a kick of garlic and heat, this dressing is a sure-fire solution to use up any leftover cilantro, from the leaves and stalks all the way down to the roots, with nothing going to waste. In Thailand, this Nam Jim typically pairs with fresh raw shrimps, or Kung Che Nam Pla (กุ้งแช่น้ำปลา), and is equally delicious with steamed fish, calamari, barbecued chicken, and stewed pork. So the next time you ever have too much cilantro hanging around, whip this dip up and rest assured you will be wishing you got more. Welcome to Camp Gimme More!

What you'll need...
3 cloves garlic
3 bird's eye chili
5 stalks cilantro, roots included
1/2 tablespoon palm sugar*
2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
2 tablespoons fish sauce

*Note: Gula melaka, the Malaysian palm sugar, imparts a smoky sweetness to the Nam Jim. Alternatively, substitute with coconut sugar, brown sugar, or fine white sugar. 

1. Using a small knife, scrape and clean the cilantro roots to rid of any chewy, stringy bits.

Waste not: make use of the entire stalk, from leaves to roots!
2. De-seed the chilies as desired. Finely chop the garlic, chili, and cilantro roots, stems, and leaves, or use a mortar and pestle or a blender to crush into a rough paste. Add lime juice, fish sauce, and sugar of choice in small amounts until dissolved. Adjust to taste.


蒜瓣                  3 瓣
指天椒             3 隻
芫荽                  5 棵(連根)
椰糖                  15 克*
新鮮青檸汁     2 湯匙
魚露                  2 湯匙

1. 芫荽根部用小刀刮除乾淨,露出內裡雪白幼嫩的部分。 
2. 指天椒可依個人喜好去籽。蒜頭、指天椒和芫荽剁碎,亦建議用研缽和研棒或攪拌機磨成蓉,令酸辣汁更為入味。
3. 加入椰糖、青檸汁和魚露拌勻,在作適當調味。 

*備註: 椰糖味道香濃,亦可以紅糖或砂糖代替。

[Follow me on Instagram @alvinckl and @alvin.penthousekitchen and check out my Facebook Fan Page!]