Being a mom is hard work. I sometimes look back and think about how my own mum managed us 2 kids (my big brother and me, who are exactly 2 years apart) while I’m learning to juggle my time with one kid and one business and one blog! Also, ever since Doll started to eat solids, initially a lot of my cooking tended to revolve around her food, and the balance time revolved around feeding her that very food! (all you moms of infants and toddler out there would totally understand what I mean!) So now I have made a concerted effort to try something new every few days, and hopefully report back here with some interesting little discoveries and stories and recipes!Starting that trend this weekend is my adaptation of wok charred udon noodles with baby pak choy and hakka aubergine/ eggplant from Myers + Chang At Home. The resultant meal was soul food – warming, sweet, sticky, spicy and savoury, in each bite! Perfect for the weekend!

Note: I did find the sauce a tad bit oversweet for my spice obsessed palate, but I’m told that “this is how American Chinese is”! So I would urge you to tone down that sugar (mostly from the hoisin) if you want to avoid that sweet aftertaste that coats your tongue – or keep it and skip dessert! 🙂 

Charred Udon Noodles with Baby Pak Choy
Serves 4
Udon noodles that are slightly charred and cooked with fresh green baby pak choy
Write a review
Print
Prep Time
20 min
Cook Time
10 min
Total Time
30 min
Prep Time
20 min
Cook Time
10 min
Total Time
30 min
Ingredients
  1. 200gm udon noodles
  2. 4 tbs vegetable/ canola oil
  3. 6-8 heads baby pak choy, root ends trimmed and the stalk separated
  4. 1/2 white onion, thinly sliced
  5. 1 tsp chilli flakes
  6. Noodle Sauce*
  7. 1tbs cornflour + 2tbs water
  8. 1/3 cup vegetarian oyster sauce
  9. 1/4 cup hoisin sauce
  10. 2 tbs shoaxing cooking wine
  11. 1 1/2 tbs rice vinegar
  12. 1 1/2 tbs sambal oelek
  13. 2 tsp light soy sauce
  14. 1 tsp sesame oil
Instructions
  1. Cook the udon noodles according to package instructions, and once done, drain in a colander, and rinse to stop the noodles from overcooking. Tip the noodles back into the cooking vessel and drop in a teaspoon worth of vegetable oil and run them through the noodles**.
  2. While the noodles are cooking, you can prepare the sauce - if you're into multi tasking and are organised enough to have everything laid out and ready. Mix together the cornflour and water to make a slurry. Set aside.
  3. In a saucepan, bring the rest of the sauce ingredients to a boil, and then add the cornflour, whisking until nice and thick and glossy. Remove from heat.
  4. In a wok, heat 2 tbs of the oil and once hot, add the onions and pak choy and cook for a 3-4 minutes. Remove from the wok.
  5. Wipe the same wok and heat the balance 2 tbs of oil. When the oil starts to smoke a bit, add the noodles but DO NOT stir - let the noodles get slightly charred and coloured, about 2-3 impatient minutes. Then add in the vegetables and sauce, mix well to coat evenly and finish the the chilly flakes.
Notes
  1. *The sauce can be made up to a week in advance and stored in the refrigerator in an airtight container.
  2. **This prevents the noodles from sticking while you prepare the other elements, or generally if you prepare the noodles an hour or so before meal time.
Adapted from Myers + Chang
Adapted from Myers + Chang
Joie De Vivre http://www.veggiejoiedevivre.com/

Hakka Eggplant
Serves 4
A deliciously sweet, sticky, spicy and aromatic dish of eggplant.
Write a review
Print
Prep Time
30 min
Cook Time
10 min
Total Time
40 min
Prep Time
30 min
Cook Time
10 min
Total Time
40 min
Ingredients
  1. 1 eggplant (approximately 400-450gm)
  2. 2 tbs extra virgin olive oil
  3. 1 tsp salt
  4. 1 tsp freshly cracked black pepper
  5. 1 tsp chilli flakes
  6. 1-2 thai birds eye chilli, to taste
  7. 1/2 cup thai basil
  8. Hakka Sauce*
  9. 1/2 cup hoisin sauce
  10. 1/2 cup light soy sauce
  11. 3 tbs shoaxing cooking wine
  12. 2 tbs rice vinegar
  13. 1 tsp chinkiang vinegar** (see notes below)
  14. 1 tsp thick soy sauce***
  15. 1 tbs cornstarch + 2 tbs water
Instructions
  1. Preheat the oven to 180*c.
  2. This dish is all about multitasking (in a non complex way). So the first step would be to clear out your countertop and lay out the ingredients for the eggplant together, and for the hakka sauce together. This makes the entire cooking process smooth sailing, so to speak!
  3. Start by cutting down the eggplant in the middle and into smaller 1 inch chunks, as pictured above. Place in an ovenproof dish.
  4. Mix together the olive oil, salt, pepper and 2-3tbs of water together in a small bowl. Pour over the eggplant and mix well (getting your hands dirty is the best way!). Bake for 15-20 minutes till tender.
  5. While the eggplant is baking, mix together the cornflour and water in a small bowl to make a slurry. Add all the sauce ingredients in a medium saucepan except the cornflour slurry and being to a boil. Once the mixture comes to a boil, add the cornflour slurry and simmer while whisking, until the sauce gets nice and thick. Remove from heat.
  6. Heat a wok or pan of choice, and add the eggplant (no need for any oil at this point). Pour over the hakka sauce, chilli flakes and chilli peppers to taste. Toss till all the eggplant wedges are coated with the sauce, and finish by folding through the thai basil. Place in a flat dish, and serve family style with some fluffy rice. Dig in!
Notes
  1. *The given recipe makes double the quantity required for the hakka eggplant. Also, the sauce can be made up to a week in advance and stored in the refrigerator in an airtight container. I used the balance sauce a couple of days later over some sautéed pak choy, baby corn, mushroom, red peppers and beansprouts finished with thai basil. I would next time try it over just some tofu for a protein rich hakka tofu to accompany some rice or noodles.
  2. **while it is obviously preferable to use the chinkiang vinegar, which incidentally, is quite inexpensive, in case you don't have it at home (most normal people wouldn't, nor did I, and I am quite the hoarder of pantry good), you can substitute it with balsamic vinegar.
  3. ***can be substituted with kepac manis or regular soy sauce
Adapted from Myers + Chang
Adapted from Myers + Chang
Joie De Vivre http://www.veggiejoiedevivre.com/

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Comment *