Monday, January 14, 2013

Homemade Tamales

20 lbs Pork (Boston Butt)

Boil meat in two pots until tender. Salt water lightly add spices, carrots & celery. Retain broth to add to chopped meat, if dry. Chop meat in food processor. Cut meat into 2x2 squares to chop in food processor.
In a large pot add the chopped meat, some broth and the following spices and cook; stir frequently to keep from sticking:

2 c. chili powder
½ c cominos
1/2 c. minced garlic
1/3 c salt
2 T cayenne pepper

Place large pot of meat into refrigerator and remove 4 or 5 cups at a time. Divide into smaller pots if refrigerator room is a problem. Because it takes a while to make try to keep meat refrigerated, do not let meat set out all day while making tamales.

20 lbs Masa

Crumble (5 lbs) of masa into mixer
Melt 5 c. lard and following spices:

Use ½ of the mixture below in the 5 lbs of masa save the other ½ for next 5 lbs of masa

5 c. Lard
1/3 c. chili powder
1 T. cominos
1 t. garlic powder
1-2 T. salt

Repeat process 5 lbs of masa at a time until the 20 lbs of masa are well mixed (Use your hands to mix all 20 lbs together). Divide mixed masa in half and place damp towels over bowls to keep moist. Use out of one bowl at a time keeping masa moist.
Total 6 T. salt (4 tsp per lb of masa)

• Soak corn shucks in warm water.
• Assemble tamales by spreading masa on corn shuck, add meat and roll. Spread not too thin or too thick. Masa swells when cooked.
• Tie in bundles of 6 and place in large pot with rake in bottom. Stack and fill bundles to top of pot (Water for steaming should be 3-3 ½ inches deep in bottom below first layer)
• Steam finished tamales for 2 hours

Sunday, January 6, 2013

YuSheng - Chinese New Year Raw Fish Salad

While in Singapore I had the opportunity to experience "tossing" and eating this salad. I loved all the colors and it was great fun tossing it with chopsticks trying to get it higher and higher while wishing prosperity to those around the table. I found this recipe by searching the internet. This one looked most like the one I had out at Raffles Marina. I found it at and it has all the steps on how to prepare it laid out with photos. Looks easy to follow and Chinese New Year for 2013 is Sunday, February 10th and is the year of the Snake.

(A) Main Cast – 8 main ingredients
1) 1 carrot, skin peeled
2) 1 white radish (daikon), skin peeled
3) 1 cucumber
4) 2 tbsp Japanese red pickled ginger (In Singapore, I buy them at Sakuraya/Cold Storage Taka/Isetan Scotts Supermarket) - these are stores local to Singapore. Here in Texas I would need to go to an Asian Specialty Market. There is also a list of substitutions at the bottom of the recipe.
5) Pomelo (the pommel is a crisp citrus fruit native to South and Southeast Asia. It is usually pale green to yellow when ripe, with a sweet white flesh and very thick albedo.), peeled and sacks separated, about 50g (1-3/4 oz)
6) 1 packet of Pok Chui crackers (I used store bought ones from NTUC - another store in Singapore)
7 & 8 ) Red and green yam strips which is made with
- 1 yam, remove the skin (wear disposable gloves when handling yam)
- red and green food colouring (I use Bake King’s Cochineal/Cherry Red and Apple Green)
- vegetable oil for deep frying

(B) Supporting cast
- 1 tbsp toasted sesame seeds
- 1 tbsp roasted peanuts, chopped finely (or crushed using mortar and pestle)
- 1 tsp Chinese 5-spice powder
- 1 tsp cinnamon powder
- a small dash of Chinese white ground pepper
- 1 tbsp good quality extra virgin olive oil

 (C) Sauce
Note: Serves 2, feel free to double the quantities for 4, triple for 6, and so on
- 2.5 tbsp Chinese plum sauce
- 1 tsp sesame oil
- a tbsp of hot water to achieve the consistency of sauce to your liking (adjust according to the brand you use)

(D) Raw fish
- raw fish slices 生鱼, usually salmon sashimi slices (traditionally raw mackerel used) and/or
- abalone slices

(E) Tools

- a special vegetable peeler with “teeth” or julienne slicer or mandoline for shredding vegetables quickly and finely to long thin strips
- a round plate for assembling the main ingredients as roundness symbolises fullness


(A) Main Cast – 8 main ingredients
1) Pat dry carrot, daikon and cucumber after washing. Using a special vegetable peeler with “teeth” or a julienne slicer or a mandoline, julienne (slicing to long thin strips) 50g (1-3/4 oz) of each vegetable.
2) To prepare the yam (see photo step-by-step below), wear disposable gloves as the yam will “bite” our skin. Slice off the yam skin and then using a special vegetable peeler with “teeth” or a julienne slicer or a mandoline, julienne (cutting to long thin strips) 100g of yam. Divide yam into two equal portions in two separate bowls. Using a short straw, pick up a few drops of red colouring and dye one bowl of yam red. Use another straw, dye the other bowl of yam green. Leave to dry for a while. Heat up some vegetable oil in a wok (enough to cover the ingredients; I use about 500 ml), when the oil is hot enough turn it down to medium, add the red yam first and deep fry for about 3 minutes. Remove and drain on a plate. Repeat for green yam. It is important that the oil is hot enough but not too hot or else the yam will become too crispy. Set aside.
3) Arrange all the ingredients on a round plate.

(B) Supporting cast
1) To toast sesame seeds, heat up a dry pan or wok, then add sesame seeds. Use a spatula to stir the sesame seeds evenly and toast till the sesame seeds is a nice golden brown. Do not take your eyes off during the toasting process as it only takes a few minutes, and the seeds get from golden to burnt really quickly.
2) Arrange the ingredients in separate shallow dishes.
(C) Sauce & Raw fish
1) To prepare the sauce, just add everything in a small bowl and mix till evenly dissolved.
2) Arrange the raw fish on a separate plate. If using mackerel, you may want to marinade the fish slices with some ginger juice because some people find it more “fishy” than salmon.

When all the ingredients have been piled on the plate, then everyone, on cue, proceed to toss the shredded ingredients into the air with chopsticks while saying auspicious wishes (吉祥话 Jíxiáng Huà) out loud to mark the start of a prosperous new year. It’s believed that the higher you toss, the greater your fortunes!

Extra Sides (optional/not shown in photos)
- preserved jellyfish
- preserved papaya & melon strips
- lime slices and a bit of lime juice
- lobster sashimi slices
Ingredients substitution
- red bell pepper for red yam
- green bell pepper for green yam
- deepfried wonton skin wrappers for pok chui crackers
- grapefruit for pomelo