Spaghetti Squash with Thai Red Curry Sauce

© Qin Xie-Krieger

© Qin Xie-Krieger

Thai curry is one of my absolute favorite foods. As my trip to Thailand moves closer and closer, I get more and more in the mood for it.

Among the different versions of Thai curry, the red curry is my favorite. It is not as burning spicy as the green curry, but has a more complex flavor structure than the yellow version.

Not long ago, I still cooked with the instant red curry paste from the Asia store. Now I finally could motivate myself to try and make this labor-intensive paste myself. The effort has definitely paid off. It tasted delicious and contains no glutamate, which always causes me unbearable thirst after eating. :-)

© Qin Xie-Krieger

© Qin Xie-Krieger

This great red curry sauce is like an all-purpose sauce for me. I love to combine it with risotto and spaghetti. For now is the golden season – autumn, I developed this recipe with the spaghetti squash.

The spicy and slightly sweet taste of the curry sauce goes perfectly with the quite neutral spaghetti squash. With a bowl of wonderfully flavorsome jasmine rice: a super delicious dinner is ready!

Ingredients and preparation:

1 spaghetti squash
Salt and pepper

Preheat oven to 180 degrees. Halve and seed squash. Line the baking tray with parchment paper, bake the squash with the cut side down for about 50-60 minutes. Chill the squash briefly and scrape the flesh with a fork, season with salt and pepper and keep warm on a plate in the oven (70 degrees).

For the red curry paste:

2 stalks of lemon grass (remove the outer leaves, slice the inner leaves into very thin slices)
20g galangal (scrape the skin with knife)
30g dried red chillies (remove seeds and crush in a mortar)
4 kaffir lime leaves (cut into very thin strips)
20g Thai shallots (diced into fine chops)
4 cloves of garlic
1 tsp grated peel of organic limes
1 tsp shrimp paste (Asia Shop)
2 tbsp fish sauce (Asia Shop)

Add everything to the mortar, pound to a very fine paste (The paste can be kept in the refrigerator for several weeks).

For the red curry sauce:

2 teaspoons canola oil
1 tbsp red curry paste (see above)
2 tsp palm sugar
200ml coconut milk

Heat the canola oil in a sauce pot  briefly. Add 1 tbsp of the curry paste, fry the paste over medium heat until it starts to be fragrant.  Add 1 tsp palm sugar to the fried paste and caramelize briefly. Then pour in 200ml coconut milk and let it boil. Spread the sauce onto the spaghetti squash. Serve with rice or baguette.

I don’t want to say goodbye to the summer…

© Qin Xie-Krieger

© Qin Xie-Krieger

I stood on the farmer market in Bietigheim and realized suddenly: Summer is REALLY almost over now! The colorful presentation on the market during the last months is vanishing! More and more golden and brown colors are appearing. Suddenly I experienced a big panic: All these juicy green colors… these gorgeous red colors… I have to preserve them for my kitchen, also for the winter, which is about to knock on our door!

© Qin Xie-Krieger

© Qin Xie-Krieger

Coriander, basil, rocket, green and red chilies… All these lovely herbs and veggies, which develop their best flavors in the summer… I was like obsessed and started to stuff my basket with all these splendid beautiful colors and aromas.

© Qin Xie-Krieger

© Qin Xie-Krieger

A plan was aging in my head: I’ll preserve all these beautiful colors and flavors for the winter! With this thought, my first panic was calmed and a smile sneaked to my face. My eyes must have been glowing all the time through my shopping frenzy. Passing pedestrians looked at me slightly confused. ;-)

© Qin Xie-Krieger

© Qin Xie-Krieger

For a whole day I did nothing else except for preserving all my favorite flavors in glassware: basil pesto, rocket pesto, cilantro and green peppers salsa, chili herbs oil, rosemary garlic oil, red chili miso sauce.

© Qin Xie-Krieger

© Qin Xie-Krieger

It’s true: I do not want to say “goodbye” to summer …

© Qin Xie-Krieger

© Qin Xie-Krieger

Now, I can let summer go… ;-)

Spicy Sichuan Chicken Noodle 川味雞絲麵

© Qin Xie-Krieger

© Qin Xie-Krieger

Food is memories. For me, tastes act like memory chips for a computer. Many of my childhood memories are connected to different tastes. One of my memories of my culinary childhood was a spicy cold noodle dish with chicken, which is a very famous dish from Sichuan. In my hometown, this tasty dish is popular in the summer, when the extremely high temperature climbs up over 35 degrees celsius.

© Qin Xie-Krieger

© Qin Xie-Krieger

When I was a kid, the summer was simply the best time of the year, because of the long summer holidays, which lasted two months. All children from my large family spent days and weeks together during the holidays: we children played, learned and spent every minute together. It was like a mini-camp.

© Qin Xie-Krieger

© Qin Xie-Krieger

The adults were happy to finally have more time for their chats and also for cooking something special. They used the chance to prepare the yummy dishes, for which they didn’t have enough time and energy to cook during workaday life. One of the most popular dishes was this Sichuan chicken noodles, which appeared on our large round table every summer.

© Qin Xie-Krieger

© Qin Xie-Krieger

Even today, I can still see the pictures before my eyes: Bright sun light came through the windows … the cicadas stretched their necks and chirped to complain about the unbearable heat… My elder aunt was sitting on a small wooden stool, in front of her was a huge bamboo basket, which was fully covered with fresh hot noodles… A standing fan blew a gentle breeze on the noodles … My aunt lifted the noodles with long chopsticks. This movement she repeated again and again until all the noodles were chilled… At the same time, she poured some canola oil onto the noodles, so that they would not stick together…

© Qin Xie-Krieger

© Qin Xie-Krieger

Next to her sat my father who was preparing this wonderful spicy sauce. He seemed to be very relaxed and chatted with my aunt, who laughed a lot. This alluring fragrance, this cheerful mood … During that moment, life was simply beautiful… Now I tried to restore this unforgettable taste in my memory. Since my husband is not a fan of cold noodles, I made a warm version of it. For the currently rainy weather, it probably is the better solution anyway. ;-)

© Qin Xie-Krieger

© Qin Xie-Krieger

When I had the first bite of the noodles, the beautiful pictures came to my mind again.  Good food = wonderful memories. That’s why I love cooking! :-D Ingredients: For the noodles (2 servings): 170g semolina 30g flour type 00 1 egg 30-40ml water 1/2 teaspoon salt 1 dash of olive oil Preparation: Add all the ingredients into the mixing bowl and mix well together, knead into a ball (In case that the lump is too dry to be hold together, add some more water). Then knead the dough with a food processor for about 10 min. until you get a smooth dough. Cover with plastic wrap and let it rest in the refrigerator for 30 minutes. Cut the dough into portions, roll out with the pasta roller on level 4, cut through with the pasta cutter. For the chicken: 1 chicken breast fillet 1 piece of ginger (cut into slices) 1 leek (cut into pieces) Preparation: Wash and dry the fillet under running water. Put all ingredients into a pot. Boil everything over high heat, then reduce the heat. Simmer on low heat for about 15 min. Then remove the pan from the heat and set aside with covered lid. For the sauce: 2 tbsp light soy sauce 1 tbsp dark soy sauce 6 tablespoons dark rice vinegar 2 tsp sugar 1 tbsp chili oil 2 tbsp sesame oil 1/2 teaspoon salt Preparation: Mix all ingredients for the sauce together and set aside. Completing the dish: Remove the chicken fillet from the cooking stock, tear in thin strips with your fingers. Mix the chicken stripes with half of the sauce and set aside. Boil a large pot of water with salt. Cook the pasta until al dent (caution: fresh noodles are very quickly done. So, stay at the stove…). Drain the noodles and mix with 1 tablespoon olive oil and 1 tablespoon cooking stock of the chicken. Pour the remaining sauce on the noodles and mix well. Garnish with chicken strips and sesame seeds.

Chanterelles Risotto and Tempura Zucchini Blossoms

© Qin Xie-Krieger

© Qin Xie-Krieger

It looks like summer is turning its back on us. Last weekend I was at the Open Air Cinema in Ludwigsburg. I had imagined a very romantic warm summer night with a starry sky and a gentle summer breeze.

© Qin Xie-Krieger

© Qin Xie-Krieger

And, what happened? It rained cats and dogs for hours before the movie began! It was really freezing cold! Below 10 degrees in summer?! We sat there in thick pullovers and windproof jackets, covered from top to bottom with a blanket! Quite different from my imagination about the summer night! Though, it was kind of totally romantic. We had a starry night! :-D

© Qin Xie-Krieger

© Qin Xie-Krieger

After a few days of rain, the average temperature dropped to slightly below 20 degrees. As I saw the beautiful shining chanterelles at the farmers’ market, I knew right away that autumn was officially announced. ;-)

© Qin Xie-Krieger

© Qin Xie-Krieger

On one hand, I am mourning a little bit about the warm summer days with lovely sunshine, a big variety of vegetables, and the colorful berries being gone. On the other hand, I am also looking forward to the golden chanterelles, gorgeous pumpkins, sweet grapes and of course the new wine! :-D

© Qin Xie-Krieger

© Qin Xie-Krieger

© Qin Xie-Krieger

© Qin Xie-Krieger

For waving my slightly melancholic “Good-Bye” to the wonderful summer and at the same time giving a welcoming “Hello” to the upcoming autumn, I prepared a meal with two typical symbols of these two seasons: the zucchini flowers for the summer, and the chanterelles for the autumn.

© Qin Xie-Krieger

© Qin Xie-Krieger

Bye-Bye, summer! Welcome, autumn!!!

© Qin Xie-Krieger

© Qin Xie-Krieger

 

© Qin Xie-Krieger

© Qin Xie-Krieger

Are you also looking forward to the golden autumn now? ;-)

© Qin Xie-Krieger

© Qin Xie-Krieger

 

Ingredients (2 servings):

For the risotto:
1 onion
1 clove of garlic
200g risotto rice
200g chanterelles (clean and cut into small pieces)
50g dried mixed mushrooms
1 bunch flat-leaf parsley (chopped)
1 shot of white wine in good quality
1L beef stock (vegetable stock for vegetarians)
Olive oil
Salt and pepper
Freshly grated parmesan and pecorino cheese

For the tempura zucchini blossoms:

8 zucchini blossoms (washed and drain)
3 tbsp tempura flour (Asia shop)
1 tablespoon extra tempura flour
1 tablespoon sesame seeds
5 tablespoons ice cold water
Salt and pepper
Peanut oil for frying

Preparation:

  1. Risotto: Stak the mushrooms in warm water for about 30 minutes, then drain (save the soaking water for later). Cook the chicken broth and keep it hot on the stove. Pour the soaking water into the chicen broth. Cut onion into tiny cubes and squeeze the garlic clove. Heat the olive oil in a pan over medium heat.  Sauté  the onion and garlic until they are turning glazed.
  2. Add the risotto rice and mix well until all rice grains have absorbed the oil. Pour the wine into the rice and stir until the wine is completely absorbed. Add the soaked mushrooms, stir fry shortly. Add one big scoop of hot stock and stir constantly until the fluid is completely absorbed. Add the broth gradually until the rice grains are soft outside and still al dente in the core. Stier in the freshly grated parmesan and pecorino. Remove the risotto from heat and set aside with lid.
  3. Tempura zucchini blossoms: bread the flowers with the extra tempura flour a little, mix rest of the flour with the water. Bread the zucchini flowers with it. Add oil generously into a sauce pan and heat to 180 degrees. Add the zucchini flowers and fry till golden brown, then drain on kitchen paper.
  4. Heat 2 tablespoons olive oil in a pan, add the chanterelles and parsley, fry briefly, add salt and pepper, remove from the pan. Mix the half of chanterelles with the risotto. Garnish the risotto with the rest of chanterelles. Serve with the tempura zucchini blossoms and extra portion of freshly grated cheese.

 

Dim Sum: filled with Soup 灌湯包

© Qin Xie-Krieger

© Qin Xie-Krieger

In one of my previous articles I have already introduced my favorite dim sum – Bao. Today I have a special version of this great dim sum for you.

This version of Bao is also stuffed with a very tasty meat filling like the classic ones. But it has even more! When you bite on it, a fantastic tasting chicken soup will flow from the “bag” right into your mouth. Awesome, isn’t it? :-D

© Qin Xie-Krieger

© Qin Xie-Krieger

In China dim sum comes always with an additional soup or a cup of tea. This soup filled dim sum thus combines both dishes in one! I love this idea! :-D

© Qin Xie-Krieger

© Qin Xie-Krieger

Especially it is even easier to prepare than the classical Bao. Namely, we don’t need the tricky yeast dough for this recipe!

In Shanghai there is a famous tea house which is well known for its Bao filled with soup. It is always crowded in the tea house. Even at the take away counter there is an endless queue all the time.

© Qin Xie-Krieger

© Qin Xie-Krieger

In the traditional way of preparation for this dim sum people cook the pig skin in water so long  until a thick gelatinous mass is produced. This will be added to the filling later on. From the heat while steaming this solid mass, it will turn into liquid again.  This is how you get the soup in the dim sum. Really great idea!

 

 

© Qin Xie-Krieger

© Qin Xie-Krieger

For my version I decided for a homemade chicken soup with gelatin sheets. On one hand, the chicken soup taste adds a great aroma to the filling, on the other hand, this version has got significantly less calories. ;-)

But if you have no time to cook your own chicken soup yourself, no problem. Just take a good chicken stock from the jar.

 

© Qin Xie-Krieger

© Qin Xie-Krieger

Ingredients and preparation (about 25 pieces):

For the filling:
250g gelled chicken soup (out of homemade chicken soup or chicken stock in the jar)
made of 400ml hot chicken soup and 6 gelatin leaves: Soak the gelatin leaves in cold water for about 5 min, squeeze out gently, add to the hot chicken soup and allow to dissolve. Chill in the refrigerator overnight.

200g minced meat from the butcher
½ tsp salt
4 tablespoons water
1 egg
50g prawns without shell

Mix the minced meat with the salt and water very well (add spoon after spoon). Add the egg and mix well, too. Cut the shrimps in small cubes and also blend the gelled chicken soup in.

2 tbsp light soy sauce
1 tbsp sesame oil
2 tsp rice wine
½ tsp salt
½ teaspoon freshly grated ginger
Freshly ground pepper

Add the spices and sauce to the minced meat and shrimp mixture and mix well. Season with salt and pepper. For tasting, microwave a small portion of the filling for about 30 sec. so you can judge whether the filling is sufficiently seasoned.

For the dough:
150g flour type 405
50g boiling water
50g cold water

  1. Sieve the flour in the bowl of the food processor, distribute the boiling water on the flour.  Stir at low speed until you get tiny loose pieces of dough. Then pour the cold water to it. Keep stirring until you get a sticky dough chunk. Now take the dough out of the bowl and knead briefly and carefully with hand on a floured work surface. Then cover the dough with plastic wrap and let it rest for about 30 minutes.
  2. Roll the dough in a cylinder shaped form and cut into small pieces (ca. 1.5cm). Flatten each dough piece with your palm and roll out with a rolling pin to a thin round sheet (about 6 cm in diameter). Spread the filling on the round sheets. Pull up the edge of the dough sheet with your index finger and the thumb of the right hand, press the dough edge together until the dumpling is completely closed (important: it must be completely closed, otherwise the dim sum will loose its soup during steaming).
  3. Cut baking paper into small round pieces just the size of the Bao and put them under the Bao, place them into a bamboo steaming basket or steaming pot.
  4. Bring water to a boil in a wok. Place the bamboo steaming bowl on it, steam for 8-10 min.

Caution: Hot Soup at the first bite. ;-)