When I am in control of the TV remote at home, everyone else will have no choice but to watch all the food related shows with me. When no one is looking, I weep with joy over how brilliant and skilful the Junior MasterChefs are on TV. When I am alone at home, I will host my own cooking show in the kitchen – Yes! Call me crazy but I will suddenly turn into this TV chef and start to verbalise every action I make, sometimes pretending that I am in the MasterChef’s Mystery Box or Pressure Test challenges. Haha! When I crave for something sweet, I have no qualm walking in the rain to go to the nearby shop when I run out of raspberries and cream to make that panna cotta and raspberry coulis I saw they made in MasterChef Masterclass. When I travel, I am constantly on the look out for must-try eateries. Oh, I love everything about food and psst! psst! I am secretly dreaming of becoming a MasterChef (and now hoping to become Malaysia's first Blogger MasterChef!). I spend a big percentage of my pay-check on cook books. I spend my spare time experimenting recipes and my food testers are people around me; family and friends. It is always a delight when they give good words about the stuff I whip up for them. (Though I hope they’re not just being nice) ;)
One thing I love making all the time is something I call Crunchy Cone Salad, a recreation of a favourite salad of mine from a California-based restaurant, but with a twist! The twist lies in the presentation, which is something I nabbed from the celeb chef Bob Blumer (whom I’ve met and lucky to be friends with now ;) ) Name dropping huh? Haha. Ok, back to the recipe. Usually, you will eat the wontons out of the crispy, crunchy salad. But now you get to eat the salad of out the crispy, crunchy wonton. Wanna know how you can make this?
What do you need?Salad dressing
- 1 tablespoon brown rice vinegar
- 2 tablespoons creamy peanut butter
- 1 tablespoon honey
- 1 1/2 teaspoons water
- 1 1/2 teaspoons soy sauce
- 1 tablespoon sugar
- 3/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
Salad and cone
- 1 tablespoon peanut oil
- 1-2 boneless skinless chicken breast(s)
- A pinch of salt
- 1 1/4 cups peanut oil
- 9-10 wonton pastry wrappers
- 2 cups sliced and finely grated romaine lettuce
- 2 cups sliced and finely grated red cabbage
- 1/2 cup coarsely chopped roasted cashews
- 1/3 cup chopped canned mandarin slices
- 2 onions
- Paper cones or use card boards to make your own 9-12 cones of 4-5 inches diameter
- Season chicken breast with salt. Cook chicken with 1 tablespoon of peanut oil for about 5 minutes per side. Reserve the cooked chicken aside.
- Preheat oven to 180°C.
- In a bowl, set out peanut oil along with a pastry brush. Brush both sides of each wrapper with peanut oil.
- If you do not have with you ready-made cones, make yours with card boards. Simply cut circles out of the card board and fold them into cones.
- Wrap 1 wrapper around each cone and press seams together. Then set out the cones on a baking sheet.
- Bake for 5 minutes, or until golden brown and crispy. When cones cool, pull them off the cones and reserve.
- Dice chicken finely. Reserve.
- Whisk together peanut butter, vinegar, honey, water and soy sauce.
- Stir in sugar, salt and cayenne pepper.
- Add oil and continue whisking until smooth.
- Drizzle the dressing on the salad.
- Assemble salad in the wonton cones. Top with sliced chicken and mandarin slices. Walla! They're now ready to be served.
Isn’t this a more fun way to serve your salad? Well, you can put virtually anything in the cones though. Imagine your curry puff fillings served in these cones or even your popiah. What else? The sky is the limit when making these!
People say everything good is free, but I’d say everything good is fried! Haha. Still on the topic of wontons, I have another recipe to share. Choc Wontons (Thanks Bob Blumer!). Deep fried wonton skins filled with dollops of peanut butter, slices of ripe bananas and chocolate. There are certain foods that make my eyes grow large and the corners of my mouth go up. Any recipe mentioning of these ingredients goes right into my “to cook” list. So, these babies are what I’ve been making every time guests come for tea. Wanna know what they taste like? Imagine this, when you bite the crispy wonton, the peanut butter, banana and chocolate just ooze out where you get to savour the sweetness of the banana and gooey chocolate with a hint of saltiness from the peanut butter. Isn’t that just divine? The recipe as follows :
What do you need?
- 15-20 wonton pastry wrappers
- 1/4 cup peanut butter
- 4 bananas, peeled and sliced into ¼-inch-thick slices
- 15-20 chocolate balls or bar segments
- Powdered sugar for dusting (optional)
- Peanut oil for deep frying
- Place a slice of banana onto the centre of a piece of wonton wrapper.
- Place 1 teaspoon of peanut butter on the banana and top with chocolate.
- Wet your finger with water and trace the wonton wrapper around the ingredients.Pinch and seal wrapper around the ingredients tightly.
- Pour oil into a pot. When oil is ready, fry the wontons for about 1 minute or until wonton wrappers are golden brown.
- Remove and place on paper towel to absorb excess oil. Dust with powdered sugar. Let cool before serving.
I first served these babies at a potluck, and guess what went missing from the plate in a blink of an eye? (Refer to the white container in the photo). Hehe.
Easy peasy right? Not only these are pleasing to the eyes, but they would tickle your taste buds with fancy. Simple recipes infused with wow! factors – these are what you call MasterChef worthy huh? ;) Speaking of which, it is now official that the reality show will be shown on TV in less than a month. Yeay! The cooking reality show which does not require viewers votes are now breaking viewership records in US and Australia (remember MasterChef Australia? MasterChef USA?) Associated with big names such as Gordon Ramsay and Gary Mehigan, MasterChef is a success because not only is food something everyone is very passionate about but the show is only opened to amateur home cooks and it is an avenue to turn home cook hopefuls into culinary stars. Now Malaysians who love cooking but never had a chance to really showcase their skills and be appreciated, get the opportunity! Guess who have been announced as the MasterChef Malaysia judges? Our own big guns in the industry, of course - Chef Riz, Chef Jo, Chef Zubir, Chef Yahaya and Priya Menon!
Yupp, you got that right, MasterChef-Malaysian style! So if you fancy some cooking throwdown the Malaysian way, do block your diary. Details as follows:
- Launch date : 22nd October 2011
- Show times : Starting from 22nd October 2011, every Saturday – Wednesday, 9pm. Master Class will be on every Friday, 9.00pm.
- Program channel – Astro Ria (Channel 104)
To find out more about the show, you can also check out :
- Official Site URL – http://www.astro.com.my/MasterChef/
- Facebook Page Link- http://www.facebook.com/MasterChefMalaysia
- Twitter Link– www.twitter.com/MasterChefMY
So, are you ready for the MasterChef phenomenon to take over the country soon? My junior chefs and I are definitely are!