Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Noodles at Rice Pea

The SG5 is growing on me. Just look at the photo of those noodles (N02)! #RicePea #Lunch #Hungry #Noodles #ChiliOil #NoodleHead #FoodPorn #Foodstagram #Instafood #SupportLocal #NoFilter #GoodEats #NoodlePorn #eeeeeats #Zomato #TasteOttawa #613eats #Ottawa

It was brought to my attention that we've only written about Rice Pea on just one other occasion. The small restaurant hidden on Carling has joined our regular restaurant rotation. Our favourite dish from this northern Chinese restaurant has to be the noodles pictured above. It's listed as 'N02' on the menu. These house made noodles are chewy and tossed in a mix of chili oil, black vinegar, roughly chopped garlic, and some dried chili. I can eat a bowl by myself. Let me correct that statement to: I have eatten a bowl by myself -- it's that good.

Steamed (housemade) noodles with chili sauce E01.  #RicePeaNoodleFest #RicePea #Dinner #NoodleHead #NoodleFest #Noodles #TasteOttawa #613eats #OttawaEats

Here's the refreshingly cold dish of the steamed noodles in hot oil we had earlier. #NoodleHead #OttawaEats #613Eats #Noodles #NorthernChineseFood
If you prefer a cold version of this, you'll want to order the "steamed noodles with chili oil" (E01). There are cucumbers and blanched beansprouts in this dish, which makes it refreshing when you eat it on a hot day. And if you're a noodle head like our family, just order both of them so you don't have to choose between them.

Other dishes we order often are the pork wontons in soy chili sauce (A06) and the spicy BBQ lamb skewers (E03).

Braised pork sparerib noodle soup N03 & Pork dumpling (wontons) in soya chili sauce A06 #RicePeaNoodleFest #RicePea #Dinner #NoodleHead #NoodleFest #NoodleSoup #613eats #OttawaEats #iLoveSoup #iLoveNoodles
It's best to dine at the restaurant with your friends and/or family. You'll get to try more things that way. On one occasion, we brought our cousin ST and enjoyed Rice Pea's pork belly cabbage stir-fry (P17) and this bowl of braised pork spareribs noodle soup (N03). Although there was nothing fantastic about the soup itself, it was comforting dish nonetheless. Other than our favourites, we've found that to be a theme of most of the northern Chinese dishes we try here.

Sunday, November 22, 2015

Japanese Beef Curry with Breaded Chicken

Need to whip up dinner in half an hour? Here's a quick meal you can make. Japanese curry with rice and breaded chicken, well, sort of.

Start off by making a pot of rice. Then take some frozen chicken burgers, which you might have in the freezer, and pop them into the oven. Now, peel and cut up some onions, carrots, and potatoes. Thought you had carrots and potatoes but can't find any? That's fine, just chop those onions. Great, now grab the Japanese curry roux cubes in your cupboard and open up half of it. Cool. Dissolve the curry roux into hot water and set aside. Your mise en place is done.

You can make your Japanese curry with just vegetables or you can add either cubed meat or ground meat. If you feel like adding meat, brown your meat in a pot with a bit of unflavoured oil. Add in your onions (and potatoes if you found some) into the pot before the meat is fully browned. Pour in the dissolved roux and bring to a simmer for about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Tidy up the mess you've made in the kitchen. Fluff the cooked rice. If you have carrots, add them into the pot of curry and cook until desired tenderness. The chicken burgers should be done. Take out the chicken burgers and slice. Now assemble and enjoy. That all made sense, right?

Badaboom, badabing!

Friday, November 20, 2015

Recipe: Homemade Coconut Snowballs


You've probably seen these in Chinese grocery stores or, if you're lucky, in pot lucks. These glutinous rice coconut snowballs can be filled with a variety of things like toasted ground peanuts, black sesame, sesame and sugar, or coconut and sugar. I've noticed that many cultures have a version of this. It's called nom plae ai in Cambodian, for instance; in Thai, it's kha nom tom; and banh bao chi in Vietnamese.

Here's the recipe Mom wrote down many years ago. She knew exactly what everything meant. I've seen her make this a few times so I'll try my best to break it down.

Glutinous Rice Cake
1 bag (400g) of glutinous rice flour
3/4 cup of sugar
3-1/2 cups water

Ratio of Filling: 
2 Parts Toasted sesame, gently crushed
2 Parts Toasted medium desiccated coconut
1 Part Brown sugar
Pinch of salt

Fine desiccated coconut for the outside
Small muffin cups

Stir the glutinous rice flour with the sugar in a microwaveable bowl. Mix in the water.

Now to cook this dough, you'll put the bowl on high for 6 minutes. Take it out and stir it. The contents will be really hot, so be careful.

After you've stirred it, put it back in the microwave for another 6 minutes. Once it's finished the second time, take it out again and stir it.

Now return it to the microwave and cook it one last time for 3 minutes. The glutinous rice dough is now finished. Take it out and stir it occasionally until the dough is warm.

To prepare the filling, toast the medium desiccated coconuts until lightly brown and fragrant. Do the same with the sesame seeds. Allow both the toasted coconut and sesame seeds to cool off. Then using a mortar and pestle, lightly crush the toasted sesame seeds to bring out the flavour and then add the sesame into a bowl. Alternatively, you can just use the back of a spoon to crush it in the bowl. Mix in the brown sugar with the sesame seeds, desiccated coconut and salt. Adjust to taste. Now in another bowl, add about half a cup of the fine desiccated coconut and set aside. The amount doesn't matter, because you'll probably need more.

Once the dough has cooled off, everything is ready to be assembled. Grab some cling film large enough to cover your hand. Using flavourless oil, add a bit and spread it on one side so that the sticky glutinous rice dough doesn't stick. Some people like using plastic disposable kitchen gloves, but we prefer the plastic wrap method.

You'll want to grab about a tablespoon of the cooked glutinous rice dough and then flatten it into a circle or oval. Add the filling into the middle. Then using the plastic wrap, seal the filling in and then form into a ball. Roll the ball in the fine coconut and then place into a muffin cup. Repeat until you're done.

- Since the ratio of the filling changes with our mood, we don't have exact measurements. The ratio is an approximation. But with everything that you cook, we recommend that you adjust it to your taste.
- For the filling, you can also use toasted ground peanuts with brown sugar.
- Do you prefer the dough to be sweeter? You can use 1 cup of sugar instead of only 3/4 cup.
- If you want to make the snowballs smaller, like what we made at the top of this post, you can use a teaspoon of the glutinous rice dough instead of a tablespoon.
- You can use the glutinous rice dough recipe to make Filipino palitaw

The fragrant filling, that our family loves, contains toasted coconut, toasted sesame seeds and brown sugar.

The dough will look similar to this after the first 6 minutes in the microwave.

Time to assemble! I accidentally put this in the coconut before the filling. No prob.


Seal the middle, seal the ends, then form into a ball.

Mmm.. that's not a ball. This isn't a very pretty one, so we'll take this for quality assurance purposes.

Aw, yeah!

There it is. Another rare recipe on the blog. If you do try out the recipe, please let us know how it turned out! What would your favourite filling be?

Saturday, October 17, 2015

Jack Astor's Lansdowne: Zomato Meetup


Have you been to the redeveloped Lansdowne Park recently? Do you remember what it used to look like? My memories are a bit foggy. I vaguely remember going down for the SuperEx and going to 67's games. Gone are the empty lots. Now there are places like Whole Foods, Lindt Chocolate Shop, Winners, and Cineplex Cinemas. Among the new shiny establishments, Jack Astor's can be found by the Aberdeen Pavilion. Earlier this week, I had the privilege to be invited to the third Zomato Meetup in Ottawa.


Once we were all introduced to one another, we went on a brief tour around the restaurant. We learned that Jack Astor's has added more of a local feel at both their Lansdowne and Hunt Club location. At this specific location, they have coasters that feature local personalities, arena lights that used to light the old Civic Centre, pictures and memorabilia of Ottawa's sports history. Don't be shy to ask the staff if you're curious about the decor.


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