Seasoning my wok

This is a long overdue post. I haven’t posted in months!

I bought a wok from Taobao and I love it. I don’t use it enough though. Washing it is quite a pain to be honest.

Here it is! I chose one with a fish scale design in the wok. Isn’t it beautiful? The colours in the wok are fascinating. The fish scales are supposed to distribute heat more unevenly. I really love my wok. It came with a free spatula and they claim that I don’t even have to buy another spatula. I do believe it. It’s super sturdy.

Photo 10-10-17, 12 24 06 PM

The weight of the wok is a bitch though. I don’t recommend too big a wok. Well you don’t know till you try right? Now I know that I actually don’t have the strength to handle a wok well.

I consulted several youtube videos to learn how to season my wok. But just search for “how to season a wok” and you should have it!

  1. Wash and scrub the wok with a steel sponge to scrape off factory oil. My wok came pre-seasoned but I still want to do a proper seasoning.
  2. Use high heat to evaporate all the water in the wok.
  3. Heat up the oil. After that turn down to medium heat.
  4. Stir fry your choice of vegetables in the wok till they are burnt. This will take about 20 minutes or so. While frying them also press them around in the wok and try to cover all corners.

I chose a combination of chives and ginger and canola oil for the seasoning.

Frying:

Photo 10-10-17, 7 57 12 PMPhoto 10-10-17, 8 07 36 PM

 

The burnt product of my seasoning!Photo 10-10-17, 8 16 17 PM

After that, wash and dry off the water on the stove by heating the wok again!

 

 

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Easy baked salmon recipe

I use a toaster oven which is enough for 2. Do I call toasting my food baking my food? Haha.

Baked salmon is really easy and I guess there are many variations to it. Just saw one recipe with mango today!

Anyway, this is my version.

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Baked Salmon

Ingredients:

  1. Salmon
  2. Potatoes
  3. Carrots
  4. Salt
  5. Pepper
  6. Herbs (off the shelf herbs)
  7. Olive oil

You can add any vegetables. Broccoli and  mushrooms work too.

Steps:

  1. Mix olive oil, salt, pepper and herbs in a small bowl.
  2. Spread aluminium foil over the tray.
  3. Spread some olive oil mixture on the foil. I use a silicon pastry brush.
  4. Arrange all the food on the tray. Spread olive oil mixture over them.
  5. Bake for about 20 mins.

I added a few more minutes so that the salmon skin can be crispier. I used frozen salmon straight from the freezer.

Other variations I could think of are butter + soy sauce. I think I shall try that next time!

 

 

 

Meatball recipe

I made meatballs! I used BBC’s as a base (see bottom for the link). I bought panko (Japanese bread crumbs) long ago to wanna try to make them but it was sitting in my cabinet for the longest time.

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panko bought from a Japanese mart

I don’t exactly use a measuring cup nor a kitchen scale; I go a lot by guesstimate now and I remember to taste my food as I go along now! The bad thing about this my food sometimes still end up being overly salty. Oops. So much for healthy living.

No particular reason on the proportion of beef to lamb, just so happen I had half a packet of minced beef left. I use a lot of frozen meat, well, I just need to thaw when I need to use them. The thing is I usually can’t finish that one packet. I think a good use would be to do meal-preps with them!

I also usually mass-crush my garlic all at once for easy cooking using a garlic crusher. Garlic is good for Chinese stir-frys and fried rice so I use it all the time when I cook. Just realized this helps to keep my hands from being garlic-smell free for weeks too but I have to deal with garlic-smell hands for a few days.

 

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refrigerated meatballs

 

Ingredients:

  1. Minced Beef (125 g)
  2. Minced Lamb (150 g)
  3. 1 onion
  4. 1 tsp crushed garlic
  5. 1 egg
  6. 4 tbsp of panko (could be more)
  7. 1 tsp sea salt
  8. 1/2 tsp black pepper
  9. 1 tsp turmeric powder

Steps:

  1. Mix all the ingredients together evenly. I used my hands.
  2. Take some of the mixture and roll it into a ball.
  3. Refrigerate them for an hour or so before using them.

 

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browned meatballs

I used a toaster oven to brown them before cooking them. I kept half of this in the freezer for future weekday meals. Getting quite sick of buying take-outs. Hope this meal preps work!

Meatballs were a bit crumbly when I didn’t brown them and just pan-fried them. So I guess baking them really helps!

Recipes I referred to:

http://www.bbc.co.uk/food/recipes/meatballswithtomatos_74759

http://www.thekitchn.com/how-to-make-meatballs-cooking-lessons-from-the-kitchn-108048

http://www.thekitchn.com/recipe-spiced-lamb-meatballs-142317

http://allrecipes.com/recipe/40399/the-best-meatballs/

French Toast Recipe

This is one of the very first thing I learnt how to cook successfully wayyy back – even before I knew how to fry an egg! I don’t think this is really French though?

It’s really simple anyway!

It’s way easier to use a non-stick pan for eggs and butter. At least I know that if in any case I burn the food I can easily wash them off!

This was my breakfast today and I totally enjoyed it! I had coffee to go along with it. 😀

Photo 26-4-17, 9 44 00 AM

French Toast

Ingredients:

  1. Eggs x 2 (actually 1 is enough)
  2. Bread x 3 (2 slices is more ideal?)
  3. Butter – 2 thin slices off a slab

Note: I had more than enough egg mixture left over so I just kept coating the bread with layers of egg mixture to finish it up.

Seasoning:

  1. Sugar – one teaspoon (optional)
  2. Salt – a dash
  3. Pepper – a dash

Steps:

  1. Beat the eggs in a small bowl using a fork.
  2. Add in the seasoning and whisk the mixture so that it’s even.
  3. Melt the butter on low heat in a non-stick pan.
  4. Soak the bread in the egg mixture.
  5. Swirl the butter around the pan so that it’s evenly spread out (well try your best to spread it out)
  6. Put the egg-soaked bread on the pan and flip it every few minutes.
  7. When both sides are slightly browned they are ready!

 

 

 

Choosing a Chopping Board

Who knew choosing a chopping board is such an arduous task? After discovering 1 million and 1 (I’m exaggerating) types of chopping boards, I had to do some research on them. After a few days or weeks? of extensive reading and shopping on Taobao I have narrowed down my options to either plastic or wood or both. I am thinking of getting plastic ones first then wooden ones later on.
I am considering these aspects:

1. Aesthetics

2. Cost

3. Cleanliness

4. Materials

Aesthetics

I honestly love the wooden ones. They are beautiful!


When it comes to plastic ones they are more vibrant and colorful.

Cost

Plastic ones are definitely cheaper. Depending on how often I use it I might have to change them every one or 2 years?

Wooden ones will definitely cost more upfront but if they last a lot longer (30 years!) as sellers claim and if I maintain it regularly the cost over the years would definitely be lower. The cost of the oil which I need to maintain the board should be relatively low. I don’t think I will need to keep buying bottles and bottles of it.

Cleanliness

As I researched on boards my concern grew over bacteria and cross contamination from raw food, cooked food and all. For plastic, bacteria will collect in the cuts and it will be hard to clean. I read that you have to use bleach to clean the boards and this doesn’t really sound like a good idea to me! The idea of possibly consuming bleach sounds really toxic and bleach is terrible on the skin.

Wood is supposedly self-healing for cuts. And I’ve also read that bacteria is unable to grow inside the wood so it should be cleaner.

Materials

What is holding me back from choosing a wooden board is really the maintenance I have to do. I am also worried about it turning moldy. More importantly I fret over the oil I have to buy to maintain the board. Problem solved when I finally found reasonably priced cutting board oil on Amazon (less than USD10). I will have to decide on shipping options and all later on. I tried searching on iherb but they don’t seem to sell food grade mineral oil. Took me some googling to figure out what is food-grade mineral oil. Taobao is not that helpful when they mention that you have to use 食用油 to maintain the board but from what I read you can’t use edible vegetable oils if not the oils will turn rancid! Olive oil will be a no-no! Maintenance has to be done every week or so from most of the websites I see.

Well I believe that natural materials are much better. Now I’ve to decide which type of wood to get. Acacia, 越南铁木, maple?

Size does matter here. I used the tiny one from Daiso and it is really difficult to chop stuff. I will probably just dedicate that for fruit cutting.

Decision

I will get a wooden one for sure but I will get plastic ones too. I will use the plastic ones for raw meat which I will discard after every year or so? For pungent food like garlic and onions I will have to use a plastic one too in case the smell lingers on the wooden board. I will have to have a separate one for fruits. So my wooden board will probably be used for vegetables until maybe much later when I have added more food to cook to my repertoire.

Some links I’ve read in case you are interested:

http://www.cookingforengineers.com/article/17/Cutting-Boards

https://food.thefuntimesguide.com/2008/08/kitchen_cutting_board.php

http://www.thekitchn.com/which-kind-of-cutting-board-is-51821

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/03/12/cutting-boards-to-avoid_n_1335613.html

https://news.ncsu.edu/2014/09/cutting-boards-food-safety/

http://www.seriouseats.com/2015/09/how-to-season-and-maintain-a-wood-cutting-board.html

http://www.wisegeek.com/what-are-the-different-types-of-chopping-boards.htm

http://kitchenknifeguru.com/cutting-boards/cutting-board-cleanliness/

http://www.nea.gov.sg/docs/default-source/public-health/food-hygiene/guidelines-on-proper-usage-and-cleaning-of-chopping-boards.pdf

https://www.cuttingboard.com/blog/why-some-woods-are-better-than-others-in-the-kitchen/

http://foodal.com/best-of-foodal/choose-best-wood-chopping-block-kitchen/

https://www.thecitycook.com/articles/2011-11-03-the-essential-kitchen-cutting-boards