Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Gua Bao with Tofu (Taiwanese Folded Bun)

Purchase Gua bao buns at your local Asian market.  They are refrigerated or frozen and look like fat tacos.

Photo from http://www.eatingclubvancouver.com/2010/03/gua-bao-taiwanese-burger-or-pork-belly.html

About 15 minutes before you plan to eat, place the buns in a steamer for approx. 10 minutes unitl fluffy and soft.  (It helps prevent sticking if you spray Pam on the steamer and the buns prior to steaming.  I use my double boiler steamer which is metal, so foods really can stick to it.)

To assemble your Gua Bao, place two slices of fried tofu with some thinly sliced cucumber, sliced lenthwise scallions, cilantro leaves, some finely chopped jalapeno (without the seeds), and a topping of about a TB of Peanut Sriracha Sauce.
I served the sandwich with a side of sliced mango topped with a little lime juice ( Nellie & Joe's Famous Key West Lime Juice is the best.)

Marinated Tofu
8 servings (98kcal each) 

10 oz of firm tofu cut in rectangles
8 servings (98kcal each)
1/4 cup soy sauce
1/2 cup plus 1 TB water
1 TB molasses
2 TB agave 
1 tsp Chinese 5 Spice powder
dash of sesame oil and 1 tsp peanut oil

Slice tofu into about 16 rectangles. In a separate bowl, whisk together all ingreadients for the marinade.  Place the tofu int he marinade and cover.  Let sit for about an hour. 
After the tofu has marinated, drain the pieces and fry in a pan with sesame and peanut oil until browned on both sides. 

Peanut - Sriracha Sauce
 Approx. 20 servings ( 23kcal each)

2 TB natural no sugar added peanut butter (smooth)
4TB agave syrup
1/2 tsp - 1 tsp Sriracha sauce (depending upon how hot you want it)
dash of salt
1/2 tsp each of garlic powder and onion powder
1/4 cup of water
Slowly add the water tot he remainder of the ingredients and whisk until smooth.  I store mine in a 12 oz. plastic squeeze bottle (you can find them often in the cake decorating section of a craft store).  Refrigerate until use. 

Saturday, January 19, 2013

Tropical Bubble Smoothie

You can purchase tapioca pearls in various sizes and colors at an Asian market.  They also have some that are filled with different flavors.  The ones below were different colors (although did not look exactly like the picture on the bag), but tasted like nothing, really. I was told by the lady working at the market though, that you can purchase tapioca pearls with flavorings added.  The kids weren't too wild about the flavorless ones, so we'll probably try the flavored next time. 

The bag says to boil until soft and then let sit for 5 minutes.   I boiled them for around 15 minutes and then let them sit covered for 5.  In the meantime, make a simple syrup - 1:1 ratio sugar to water and heat to dissolve.    After the tapioca pearls are soft, drain and rinse in cold water.  Drop them in the sugar water solution (cooled).  
For the smoothie, we used a mango, orange, guava juice from a carton and blended it with some crushed ice and about 1/4 cup milk per glass.  Add a couple of spoonfuls of tapioca pearls with a little of the sugar water, then pour the smoothie mixture over them.  

 To complete the bubble smoothie, add a bubble tea straw (we purchased a large package at the Asian market.)  These straws are large enough for you to drink the tapioca pearls through.

* Other ideas for tapioca bubble drinks - 
- black tea or coffee with creamer and ice blended (traditional version)
- juice with carbonated flavored waters (pineapple juice with lemon or lime?)
- champagne with flavored simple syrup (champagne with some marachino cherry juice)  I would think the carbonation would make the tapioca pearls bounce up and down in the drink which would be fun.