Posts Tagged ‘seafood’

Homemade Prawn Balls

Homemade Prawn Balls

I think that at some point in time, most of us have openly defied our parents. When I was growing up I had friends who would skip school, or go out with boys their parents banned them from seeing. Some of them take up drinking and go out past their curfews.

Me? My form of rebellion was eating fish balls from the street vendors outside my school.

Because she worried that the stalls were not clean and the food was not sanitary, my Mom explicitly banned all of us from buying any food from the vendors who lined the streets outside the school walls. Every afternoon I would watch as my classmates would spend whatever was left of their daily allowance buying snacks from the vendors. Sometimes they would buy boiled peanuts or green mangoes… but I was always most envious when they’d buy the deep fried fish balls.

The fish balls were served on a barbecue stick and served a sweet and sour dipping sauce. Sometimes, I’d ask my friends for a bite which was always a mistake as it would make me want even more. Finally, one day the little rebel in me decided enough was enough. I decided to sneak out one afternoon with a friend to buy the fish balls. In fact, I bought three sticks and those five minutes it took me to finish eating them, was pure bliss.

When I saw these homemade prawn balls from Indochine Kitchen’s blog, it brought back memories of the days I’d sneak out to buy the fish balls. I had always wondered how to get that crunchy on the outside, chewy on the inside texture from these deep fried balls made from seafood (whether it be prawns, fish or squid) and Jun’s recipe was simple enough to try.

Not only did making them take me back to that afternoon I snuck out to eat the forbidden fish balls, but these prawn balls were better – and so incredibly easy to make. In fact, I’ve made these twice already. The first time I made them plain similar to the recipe on Jun’s blog. The second time I added a bit more flavours like coriander, ginger, garlic and soy sauce. Both version were definite crowd pleasers, especially with some sweet chili sauce.

Homemade Prawn Balls

Homemade Prawn Balls

Homemade Prawn Balls

Adapted from Indochine Kitchen

  • 500 grams prawn meat, veins removed
  • 2 tablespoons cornstarch or tapioca flour
  • 2 tablespoons chopped coriander leaves
  • 1 teaspoon ginger, grated
  • 1 stalk spring (green) onion, sliced
  • 2 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper
  • 2 teaspoons soy sauce
  • Oil for frying
  1. Mix all the ingredients together in a food processor and blend well.
  2. Take a rounded spoonful of the prawn mixture and shape it into a ball. It helps the shaping if you wet the spoon with cold water.
  3. Heat a wok or pan with oil for frying. When hot enough, gently drop the prawn balls in the oil and fry for around 3 to 5 minutes. Drain on absorbent paper before serving with some sweet chili sauce.

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Bechamel and Prawn Stuffed Mussels

Bechamel and Prawn Stuffed Mussels

Is it any surprise that my most favourite presents to give (and receive) during Christmas are cookbooks?  I consider myself a pretty good judge cookbook character.  For example, my brother who is a bachelor loves the four ingredients or less series and his idea of cooking is to buy a chicken, buy a packet of spices and chuck everything in the oven. For one of my sisters, I am always on the look out for cookbooks that have recipes that can be completed in thirty minutes or less.  She is so keen on saving time (in fairness to her, she does have a four month old baby), that we call her “Miss Shortcut”.

My Mom is getting a book I bought a few weeks back, Miguel Maestre’s first cookbook, Miguel’s Tapas.

Born in Murcia Spain, Miguel has worked in many celebrated restaurants including Bather’s Pavillion and Bilson’s in Sydney and even Ferran Adria’s El Bulli in Roses, Spain. He has also been on a number of TV shows including the popular Boy’s Weekend.  Today Miguel owns two restaurants in Sydney, El Toro Loco and Argyle Bazar.

The cookbook is divided into seven sections based on the times of day the tapas are meant to be eaten. Breakfast, morning tea, lunch, dessert, afternoon tea, dinner, and evening snacks. Hmmm… the Spanish seem to love their tapas anytime of the day!  There is also a section at the very end covering basics and sauces which includes among other things, a variety of stocks, flavoured oils and vinaigrettes.

Miguel has managed to strike a balance between the classic tapas such as the tortilla (potato omelette), paella and churros (his chocolate sauce is made with condensed milk!) and some tapas he gives a contemporary twist.  For instance, Wild Rice Popcorn and a Deconstructed Spanish Omelette inspired by his time at El Bulli.

I’ll be honest, the reason I’m giving my Mom this book isn’t so much that I want her to enjoy it (well, that’s part of it), but mainly because I want her to cook many of the dishes from it while she’s here for a visit.  Top of the list would be the Flamenca Eggs, Manchego Bread Rolls (inspired by the very popular Brazilian cheese bread), Salted Cod Croquettes, and Wagyu and Chorizo Meat Pie.  For dessert, I’m thinking she could make Bombe Alaska Fruit Skewers, Santiago’s Tart and Bread and Butter Pudding…

Like his TV shows, Miguel has a light hearted approach to cooking tapas.  As he shares his recipes, he also shares stories behind the recipes, in particular about his childhood growing up with a large family from where he got his love for cooking from.

So yes, this book’s going to my Mom for Christmas… unless of course… I decide to keep the book for myself…


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Basmati Risotto with Grilled Prawns

Basmati Risotto with Grilled Prawns (Tomislav Restaurant)

Is it persistence or stubbornness? Maybe both?

When I have an idea in my head, I’ll do whatever it takes to get it (all within legal means of course!) and I never back down from a dare.  Ever.

Every now and again these two traits can get me into trouble.  Like the time I confidently told my sister that I could get ourselves into the Qantas First Class lounge only to be evicted twenty minutes later as we were about to take a sip of our coffees (she never has forgiven me for that).

But more often than not, I try to channel these traits more noble pursuits.  Like finding a way to get a recipe for a dish I really enjoy, or getting a seat at a restaurant that is booked months in advance or experimenting with food or gadgets I’ve never used.

Introducing: Dare me…

This idea was born out of a conversation between me and my husband.   We were having dinner at Tomislav Restaurant the other night and I was blown away with the Basmati Risotto with Yamba Prawns.  “I wish there was a way to get my hands on this recipe.”  I told him.

“I dare you ask the chef for it.”  He said.  “You seem to get your hands on many of the recipes you like.” he added.  I wasn’t able to ask Chef Tomislav for the recipe that night (he had not yet arrived) but I managed to find the recipe anyway.  I made this dish twice in two days.  Yes, it was that good.  The first time I made it over the stove top, adding the chicken stock gradually as you would a regular risotto.  The next day I made the basmati risotto using the thermomix.  I’m pleased to report both techniques work as well as each other.

So here’s the first of hopefully a series of posts called : Dare me.

If you’re looking for a recipe that you really love – then dare me to find it for you. Just drop me an email or a comment at the end of this post and I’ll turn your craving into a fun challenge and get you that coveted recipe!

Tomislav’s Basmati Risotto with Prawns

  • 250 grams good quality Basmati Rice
  • 1000 to 1500 ml good quality hot chicken stock (homemade is best)
  • 125 grams unsalted butter
  • 10 ml soy sauce
  • 40 grams acidulated butter (see below)
  • 2 tablespoons mascarpone
  • Lemon Juice
  • Chopped Nori roll (1 sheet)
  • 1 tablespoon chopped chives
  • 200 grams prawns, chopped

Regular Method

  1. Place the butter in a wide surfaced pan and melt. Add the rice and toast for around 3 minutes until the butter is slightly browned and nutty. Season with salt and pepper.
  2. Add the chicken stock (I only used 1000 ml but the recipe calls for 1500 ml) a little at a time and stir continuously for around 15 minutes. The rice will still have a little bite and remember that the dish will not be as creamy as a risotto using regular risotto rice.
  3. Once the rice is cooked, finish the dish by stirring in the soy sauce, acidulated butter, mascarpone, lemon juice, chopped nori roll and chives. Season with more salt and pepper if needed
  4. Grill the prawns and top the risotto with grilled prawns and grated lemon zest.

Using the Thermomix
FYI: I halved the recipe on the Thermomix

  1. Heat the butter at 100c on speed 3 for 2 minutes.
  2. Add the rice and heat for 5 minutes using the butterfly attachment on reverse and speed soft.
  3. Add the stock (I added 500 ml for 125 grams rice but feel free to add more stock if necessary towards the end of the cooking time) and continue to cook (butterfly attachment, reverse, speed soft) for 15 minutes.
  4. Add the soy, acidulated butter, mascarpone, lemon juice, nori and chives and give it another stir for 5 or so seconds on reverse, speed soft.
  5. Top with grilled prawns and lemon zest and serve immediately.

Acidulated Butter

  • 100 grams unsalted butter
  • 50 grams basmati rice

In a pan, melt the butter and add the rice and cook until nutty brown flavour is released. Pass this through a sieve. Set aside.

  • 90 ml white wine
  • 90 ml white wine vinegar
  • 1/2 finely chopped onion
  • 100 grams butter

Combine the onion, white wine and white wine vinegar and heat in a pan and reduce until the pan is almost dry. Take this off the heat and whisk in the butter until the butter is emulsified. Pass through a sieve.

Mix both butters and leave to set in the fridge for around 8 hours. You will have enough for several batches and this lasts a few days in the fridge.

Stumble It!

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Prawns Thermidor

Noche Buena is a traditional celebration in the Philippines.  Literally meaning “Good Night”, this usually entails families gathering on the eve of Christmas for a late family meal.  Growing up, I had two Noche Buenas.  The first one was celebrated with my Dad’s family and the second and later one, with my Mom’s. For Noche Buena with my Dad’s relatives we would spend each year in his sister’s house.  My Tita Bebe (my father’s elder sister) would prepare a fantastic feast but the one dish that really stood out for me were the Prawns Thermidor.  I’ve always associated this dish as being so decadent and festive.  She would prepare this dish by

  1. removing the prawn meat but keeping the shells whole
  2. preparing the thermidor sauce and adding  the prawn meat
  3. stuffing the prawn thermidor into the shells
  4. and finally baking them

You can imagine what a laborious process, especially when feeding her family and friends, but I guess she really only had to do it once a year!

Prawns Thermidor

When I moved to Sydney and was going to spend our first Christmas away from Manila, I immediately emailed my Aunt for the recipe.  Since then, it has been one of my staple dishes – it’s a sure crowd pleaser and if you are not inclined to stuff the prawns, just place it in a festive serving dish.  So here’s my favourite Noche Buena dish.  Enjoy!  And as we say in the Philippines – Maligayang Pasko at Manigong Bagong Taon (Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!)

Recipe (serves 5 as part of several main dishes)

  • 10 king prawns
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 small onion, finely diced
  • 1 small carrot, finely diced
  • 1 celery stalk, finely diced
  • 1/2 red pepper, finely diced
  • 5 to 10 button mushrooms (depending on size), diced
  • 1/4 cup white wine
  • 3 tablespoons flour
  • 1 1/2 cup milk
  • 1 cup cheese (I used parmesan and gruyere)
  • salt and pepper to taste
  1. Remove the prawn meat from the prawns by placing the prawn on a chopping board (eyes facing upwards), cutting the prawns in the middle with knife, or use scissors.  Carefully remove the prawn meat, keeping the shells intact.

    Prawn Shells

  2. Once the meat is removed, cut into bite sized pieces.
  3. Heat the olive oil and saute the onion until translucent.  Add the carrot and celery stalk and cook until soft, around 5 minutes.
  4. Next, add the red pepper and saute until soft, around 10 minutes.
  5. Add the mushrooms and cook for around 5 minutes.
  6. Deglaze the pan with the while wine and let cook until most of the liquid has evaporated.
  7. Add in the flour and cook out for 3 to 5 minutes.  Slowly add in the milk until the mixture thickens.
  8. Lastly, add the prawn meat and heat until just cooked.
  9. Cool the mixture and then stuff the prawn shells with the cooled prawn thermidor sauce (if you are not stuffing shells, just place in a serving dish)

    Prawn Thermidor Filling

  10. Top with cheese and bake in a preheated oven at 180c (fan forced for 15 minutes).

Prawns prior to baking

Kulinarya was started by a group of Filipino foodies living in Sydney, who are passionate about the Filipino culture and its colourful cuisine.

Each month we will showcase a new dish along with their family recipes. By sharing these recipes, we hope you find the same passion and love for Filipino Food as we do.

If you’re interested in joining our Kulinarya Cooking Club, please feel free to drop by our foodblogs and leave a comment – we would love to hear from you!

Trissa, Kath and Trish



Welcome new Kulinarya Members (if I have missed anyone out PLEASE email me!)

Olive http://www.latestrecipes.net/
Caroline http://whenadobometfeijoada.blogspot.com/
Peachy http://www.thepeachkitchen.com/

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The Spanish Pasta Dish to Rival Paella

Fideos (“Toasted Pasta” Paella)

It must be difficult being a noodle in Spain.  How can you stand up to the wonderful rice dishes that the Spaniards are known for.  Almost every Spanish cookbook I own will have a section on Paellas*, and at the back of the section is maybe one (if lucky) recipe on the fideos.  It doesn’t even get its own section!   It’s a pity that fideos tends to take second place to the Paella when I think it is just as delicious – and for me, a much more forgiving dish!

Fideos, translated into english, refers to noodles – they are thin pieces of noodles, no longer than your thumb.  Many recipes call for fideo noodles, there is no reason why you can’t use thin spaghetti or angel hair noodles, broken into 1.5 to 2 inch lengths.  In my Mom’s restaurant they used to bake their fideos with pork spareribs and sausages but today I’ve decided to share with you my version – with mussels and prawns.  A little bit healthier and just as good!

I like to think of fideos as the rebel dish.  It breaks a lot of rules!  Let me explain… with most pasta dishes you throw your noodles into a large pot of boiling water, enough water so that the pasta has enough space to float around.  With fideos, traditionally they are made in a paella pan and only enough liquid is placed so that the noodles absorb the cooking broth resulting in a rich, and flavourful dish.  When making a paella, I’ve been taught, once you add the broth, do not stir rice around.  How many of us have been tempted to STIR when we were told NOT TO STIR?!  Well, as I said, fideos is more forgiving – you stir the dish often enough until you see that the liquid has coated the noodles and seafood in an almost syrup like coating.

Traditionally fideos has been made with saffron.  If you aren’t willing to spend on good quality saffron, I wouldn’t even bother putting it as inferior quality saffron will hardly make a dent in the taste.  If you can’t get a hold of saffron, or don’t wish to shell out the money for it, I suggest you omit it completely.

Also, this is traditionally made in a paella pan.  Tonight, I couldn’t be bothered and  used a heavy based pan instead.  It turned out just as well!

As I said – this dish breaks a lot of rules!

Prawn and Mussel Fideos

Recipe (for two)

  • 120 grams fideos or dried angel hair pasta, broken into 2 inch lenghts
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1/2 onion, finely diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 1 teaspoon sweet paprika
  • 2oo grams canned tomatoes,  crushed
  • 375 ml fish or chicken stock (good quality store bought is fine)
  • 70 ml dry white wine
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 6 large prawns, peeled and deveined
  • a handful of mussels, cleaned and debearded OR you can use clams or a combination
  • salt and pepper to taste
  1. Heat a pan with one tablespoon of olive oil and lightly fry the fideos noodles until golden brown but not burned.   This should take around 5 minutes.
  2. Remove the noodles from the pan and set aside
  3. Next, add more olive oil and saute the onion and garlic until translucent.
  4. Add the sweet paprika and the canned tomatoes and cook until the tomato sauce is thick, this will take around 10 to 15 minutes.
  5. In a separate pan, heat the stock, white wine and the bay leaf.    Once boiling, add this to the tomato sauce.
  6. Immediately add the noodles and stir frequently until the noodles have absorbed the liquid.  This took me around 15 minutes.
  7. When you can see that the noodles are almost done, add the seafood and simmer gently for a minute or two until the prawns are cooked through and the mussels have fully opened.
  8. Serve immediately.


*Interestingly enough, what we have come to know as Paella the rice dish made with all sorts of wonderful toppings from seafood, chorizo, rabbit etc., actually refers to the pan in which they are made in.  Over time however, people have started referring to the dish inself and not the pan as Paella.

Stumble It!

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