Dan Dan Noodles

On today’s episode of Corona Cucina, we’re going to make Dan Dan Noodles.

It’s a family favorite, we had it in Chengdu (no surprises there), and is a dish that I have been craving ever since we got back home. I thought the process will be chaotic and I’ll never get it right, but when I got down actually making it, the dish came out really really well.

They’re so well rounded and yummy its unbelievable!

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All the Sichuan cooking I have been doing has been pretty close to the real thing – and this is without adding any MSG. I am a huge David Chang fan, and if he says MSG is okay to eat and the whole hate around MSG is western propaganda, and is in fact, filled with xenophobia – then I’ll buy it. So would I add a sprinkle of MSG if I had it handy? Absolutely!

These are the pictures of the OG Dan Dan Noodles I had in Chengdu at a hole-in-the-wall restaurant recommended by The Food Ranger in his Chengdu Food Guide Book – which is a life saver considering (in all honesty) it’s difficult for non-mandarin speaking tourists to navigate through must-eat spots and food menus in Chengdu. If and when you ever visit Chengdu, I highly recommend purchasing this book which totals to about INR 700.

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So, I began channeling my inner Po, used peanut butter instead of Tahini in this recipe, and, I think it tasted better than the original because of the added sesame oil which doesn’t make you miss that rounded sesame flavour.

I made a chicken version, but if you’re vegetarian you can make a mushroom / soya mince version. Just follow the same steps – make sure the mushrooms are diced finely to crisp them up faster, and please prepare the soya mince as per packet instructions – cause I have no clue how to do that. The chicken mince needs to get crispy in the wok – its more like this crispy topping (delicious, right?) than this filling protein.

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Here’s what you need: (for a portion of two)

  • 100g egg noodles
  • 1 – 2 teaspoon Chilli oil (depends on how hot you like your food)
  • 2-3 Scallions (green part only)
  • 4 Tbsp Crushed Peanuts
    • I personally didn’t think this needed any vegetables added and wanted to keep this as authentic and street style as possible. But if you’re OCD about having vegetables then you want to blanch your greens (in salted water) and add them to the bowl during assembly

For the chicken:

  • 250g chicken mince
  • 6 garlic cloves – chopped finely
  • 1/2 inch ginger – chopped finely
  • 1 teaspoon dark soy
  • 1 tablespoon light soy
  • White pepper
  • Salt
  • 1 teaspoon chilli oil
  • 3 tablespoons of oil – for cooking

Dressing:

  • 1 heaped tablespoon of Peanut Butter
  • 1 tablespoon light soy
  • 1 teaspoon sesame oil
  • 1 teaspoon black vinegar
  • Salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon sugar
  • 1 teaspoon minced garlic

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Here’s what you need to do:

The chicken came first.

Place the oil in a wok and add the garlic to cold oil. Bring the wok up to heat and let the garlic bubble away. Once the oil is sufficiently hot and the garlic is sizzling, add the ginger and cook it out for 30 seconds. Add the chicken mince – you want to cook this out till the water and juices evaporate – again, to reiterate, this is going to get crispy. Add salt and pepper to the chicken mince.

Keep breaking up any chunks which keep coming together while stirring ever so often. Once the chicken begins to dry, season with the sauces and continue to cook until the chicken and the oil begin to separate and the chicken is crispy. Simple.

Cook the noodles as per packet instructions (heavily salted), save the noodle water.

Mix all the dressing ingredients in a small bowl. It might begin to coagulate, which is absolutely normal. At this point you spoon in two tablespoons of the hot noodle water and stir till you have a nice, smooth dressing which will easily coat the noodles and hold on like a clingy partner.

Spoon the dressing in the serving bowl, followed my the hot noodles, chicken mince, scallion greens and crushed peanuts! Drizzle the bowl with chilli oil. If you make it and you like it, you may reach out to me, bend in gratitude and repeat after me – “There is no secret ingredient” 😀

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Coffee Cake with Chocolate Ganache Frosting

This Coffee Cake with Chocolate Ganache is the latest addition to my list of comfort desserts.

It’s a guilt-free dessert (if such a thing exists!). It’s not guilt-free cause it has any less sugar or anything, but it’s just quite light and sinful yet doesn’t make you feel like you’ve committed one, plus, it has almonds and a chocolate frosting and coffee.

This cake came to me at a point in time when I was seriously craving a coffee cake, something on the lines of a tiramisu or a frosted coffee cake (something slightly more richer than this – more like a birthday cake).

A definite crowd pleaser this one!

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Now coming back to how I came across this – The recipe which started this coffee chocolate madness belongs to a lovely lady – Anita. The recipe can be found on her blog. Anita also taught me how to bake sourdoughs (more of this soon! – hopefully). And I knew, that coming from Anita, this recipe is gonna be a hit.

Her recipe can be found here. If you make it – let her know how you liked it!

I made just a couple of changes to her recipe. My slightly tweaked version can be found below.

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Here is what you need:

  1. For the Cake:
  • 1 Cup Flour
  • 1 Teaspoon Baking Powder
  • 1/2 Teaspoon Salt
  • 2 Eggs
  • 3/4 Cup Butter
  • The original recipe calls for oil – but I really wanted a richer cake – so I used butter instead
  • 1 Tablespoon Coffee Powder (Instant)
  • 4 Tablespoons Milk
  • 1 Teaspoon Vanilla Extract
  • 1/2 Cup Chopped Almonds

2. For the Ganache:

  • 150g Heavy Cream
  • 250g Semi-Sweet Chocolate (Chopped)

What you need to do:

  1. Pre heat the oven to 180DegreesC
  2. Grease and prepare a cake pan – 9″ works but I baked it in a 7″ Bundt pan. In case you’re using a budnt pan – grease with butter and then dust with flour to make sure the cake comes out easily
  3. Sift together flour, salt and baking powder- set aside.
  4. Beat butter and sugar together in a stand mixer with a paddle attachment until pale and fluffy.
  5. Add in the eggs – one after the other, beating well after each addition.
  6. Once the eggs are well incorporated add in the vanilla.
  7. Simultaneously – dissolve the instant coffee powder in the milk and add that in as well.
  8. Toss the chopped almond in the flour mix.
  9. Add the flour and almond mix to the egg batter and fold gently, without over mixing the batter.
  10. Bake for 30-35 Mins until a skewer inserted – comes out clean.

For the Ganache:

  • Heat the cream in a sauce pan just until it begins to simmer around the edges.
  • Pour over the chocolate – let sit for a minute or two and then whisk it till all the chocolate is melted and you have a ganache of spreadable consistency.

To assemble the cake – Slap and slather on the chocolate all over the curves of your bundt cake and eeeeat it guilt-free 🙂

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Red Jalapeño Poppers

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My favorite favorite party snack! I have NO idea what restaurants in Delhi serve as Jalapeño Poppers, they’re  basically frozen cheese balls with NO chili in it. This my friend, is the real deal.

And the best part is that the breadcrumbs are homemade, so you can flavor it with whatever you want. Also, don’t remove the seeds from the peppers if you like extra heat.

They’re hot, crispy, spicy, cheesy and gooey all at the same time. I didn’t have any bacon on me at the time I made these bad boys. Fry the bacon and stuff it in the peppers along with the cheeses you use. You can never go wrong with bacon.

So here’s the recipe.IMG_0249-1

Red Jalapeño Poppers

Ingredients:

3 Slices of bread

Salt & Pepper

Parmesan Cheese (for the breadcrumbs)

5-6 Jalapeños

A preferred blend of cheeses. I used cream cheese, sharp cheddar and gouda.

Green onion greens finally chopped

Half a garlic clove

a  handful of Coriander leaves

Flour for dredging

2 Eggs

Oil for Frying

Method:

For the breadcrumbs:

Preheat the oven to 170 degrees.

Break the bread into chunks and throw it into a blender along with the parmesan and coriander leaves. Blitz it till it resembles breadcrumbs.

Sprinkle the crumbs in a baking tray, and bake it till the bread crumbs dehydrate (about 8-10mins). DO NOT let it brown.

Cheese Blend:

Mix the cheese blend really well together. Finely chop the garlic and add it to the cheese a long with the green onion. Season the cheese blend according to the saltiness of the cheese. Try not to over season it.

Jalapeños:

To prep the Jalapenos, make a T cut in it. Slit it down lengthwise and cut right below the stem area to form a T. Stuff the cheese blend in the peppers. Don’t worry about over stuffing it because the breading will make sure the cheese doesn’t ooze out.

Once the peppers are ready, beat the eggs in a bowl and set it aside.

Spread some flour on a plate.

Dredge the peppers first in the flour, then the eggs, followed by the breadcrumbs. If you feel the coating is too light and wouldn’t stay, then re-dip it in the egg and breadcrumbs again.

Let the peppers rest for 10 mins in the fridge until the coating firms up.

Note: When you fry the peppers, the breadcrumbs will brown really fast, so keep an eye on it, and preferably fry one pepper at a time.

Once Browned, bake the whole lot in the oven at 180 degrees, until piping hot and super crispy.

Belt it.

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