Ginger cookies are my absolute favorite! There is no such thing as too many when it comes to these spicy, delicious morsels. Reminds me of candied ginger from hawkers on bus rides long ago :)
photo
The original recipe is from the all recipes website. To make two dozen of these golden beauties, you will need:

  • 2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons ground ginger (I always add 1-2 teaspoons extra)
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 cup softened unsalted butter
  • 1 cup white sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tablespoon water
  • 1/4 cup molasses
  • 2 tablespoons granulated white sugar (optional, for a sugar crusted cookie)
  • 2 teaspoons grated fresh/candied ginger (optional, but highly recommended for added gingeriness)

The recipe itself is a pretty straightforward cookie recipe. Preheat the oven to 350 F or 175 C.

Sift together the dry ingredients i.e flour, ginger, baking soda, cinnamon, cloves, and salt.  Cream the butter and 1 cup sugar until it’s light and fluffy. Beat the egg in and then stir in the water and molasses. Gradually fold the sifted ingredients into the wet mixture. Shape dough into balls, and roll them in the granulated sugar if you are in the mood for some sugar encrusted cookie goodness. Place the dough balls about 2 inches apart onto an ungreased cookie sheet, and flatten slightly. Bake for 8 to 10 minutes.  Allow cookies to cool on baking sheet before removing to a wire rack to cool before shoving them in your mouth or storing them in an airtight container.

photo (1)

What I love about this cookies apart from their inherent gingeriness? They last super long in an airtight container and make excellent gifts, they make the perfect accompaniment to some tea.

The first time I made them, they came out perfect, except they didn’t have the cracks I had come to expect from these types of cookies. After a bit of reading and poking around, I found that the solution is to refridgerate the dough before you bake it. That way, the crust develops before the insides of the cookies cook fully and you get these beautiful fault lines.

The original recipe calls for margarine, but I couldn’t bear to get myself to use the vile stuff, so I used unsalted butter and the cookies tasted all the better for it. Keep an eye on the cookies and if your oven is prone to hot spots like mine, you will need to rotate the baking tray halfway through the cooking time to prevent some from burning.

These cookies aren’t ginger snaps, so end up slightly chewy in the center. If you want a recipe for ginger snaps, you’ll have to wait another day :)

Happy baking!

Advertisements

My predominantly hate-love relationship with Asian food is now getting more balanced. Recently I braved the sights and smells of an Asian grocery store to buy the ingredients for vegetarian potstickers.

Most places do not have good veg. potstickers because they don’t know what filling to use. They just throw in a bunch of veggies which they have at hand, which more often than not has very distracting and often mismatched textures and flavor profiles.

The recipe I tried sidesteps this by using simple vegetables with a soy based filling(not tofu, I still don’t quite like tofu). It was chewy and slightly crunchy, with a huge hit of umami, just the way I want my dumplings to taste.

Gyoza pre-cooking

Someone went so far as to say that it tasted very much like what they had at a restaurant. Yay me! If anyone wants to try it, here’s the recipe: http://herbivoracious.com/2010/03/vegetarian-potstickers-gyoza-recipe.html. Like Micheal says, don’t forget to the dumplings separately before bagging them. I froze them in a bag and ended up a lot of broken ones :(

Finished potstickers with a tacky Sriracha sun :)

Another happy risk I took was trying Pho. I used to pronounce it the same as ‘faux’ till I realised it’s actually ‘fuh’. I’m usually the creamy tomato soup with garlic bread kind of person. I could not stand this watery broth nonsense. Being vegetarian, the broth usually

tasted just like water :/ Adding slimy noodles to it didn’t do anything to attract me either. What convinced me to try pho? The accompaniments. Basil, cilantro, bean sprouts, lime and chillies? Count me in.

I love lime and chillies and cilantro. Plus I reasoned, armed with Sriracha, I could probably take on the worst Asian food. Pho is usually in beef broth, so I was careful to order it in a Vegan restaurant.

I was initially apprehensive about my choice because the restaurant did not have Sriracha sauce, my backup. The broth tasted mild, but was surprisingly flavorful. I squeezed a generous amount of lemon, added some chilli paste and wow, it just blew my mind.

The noodles were just as slimy as I feared but the veggies were well steamed. It took me a long time to embrace Asian food, but now I do like it. For the people like me, who don’t like Asian food because it is too slimy/mild/just plain gross, try the following:

1. Start off with good thai food. It’s coconut-y, peanuty flavors are more familiar to an Indian palate and will open you up to Asian food.

2. A lot of places have fish/oyster sauce which can add to the weird flavor. Make sure that’s not the case. If the food isn’t that good, add Sriracha sauce or equivalent. The heat will more than make up for any lack of flavor. It’s not called the Savior of Asian Take out for nothing.

3. Go to a place known for it’s vegetarian/vegan dishes. A lot of restaurants do not know how to modify a meat based dish to vegetarian successfully.

4. Fried rice and scallion pancakes are a great start into Chinese food.

5. Remember that there are a gazillion types of soy sauce and that one will never taste like another.

6. Go on to things like pho and Ma po tofu and save sushi for last. It’s not very vegetarian friendly.

7. If you don’t like Tofu, don’t despair. I hate squishy tofu, but still manage to eat amazing food.

I still beleive that if I ever go to hell, one of my personalized rooms will be an Asian grocery store, but their food is pretty good :)

Happy eating.

So we went camping. Everyone involved knew my propensity for violence (and generally being insufferable) when confronted with extreme hunger, and so we packed crazy amounts of food. We could have fed a whole herd of people with the ridiculous amount of fodder we had packed in our rental Mazda3.

Weather forecast predicted a 60% chance of rain, so we packed lots of fruit, nuts and bread, not to forget candy to satiate us if we couldn’t afford the luxury of campfires. Luckily the rain gods smiled on us. They decided it was enough to leave us with a slightly damp ground and barely flammable firewood. I think it was their idea of fun to watch us struggle with a very very smoky, very hard to light campfire.

So here are the top camp foods to try out if you are vegetarian:

1. Corn on the Cob – Just pop them in the embers of your dying fire complete with husk and wait till they are charred. Sit around the fire, play games and chit-chat while things cook. Then remove them from the fire and tear of the remnants of the husk, add salt/lime/butter/chilli powder and enjoy. The corn grown in the US is the soft, juicy, mildly sweet variety and will be deliciously chewy.

Pro tip: You can throw the corn in after your dinner and stow it away for an awesome, no hassle breakfast.

Image

2. Potatoes in foil – For our take on the camp potato, we double-wrapped coarsely cut up potatoes, onions and green peppers, added some butter, salt and pepper in aluminium foil and threw them on the grill. After about fifteen-ish minutes, it was done. We made two batches with different condiments. One was pepper-salt and the other was curry-chilli-salt. Both were gone in minutes.

Pro tip: Remember to use some butter/oil so that the veggies don’t dry up in the heat. And get creative with the condiments.

Image

3. Burgers – Once we got the fire going long enough, we popped on the grill and made ourselves some Indian style masala potato burgers. Grilled some canned pineapple slices, added relish, mustard and ketchup and had the best burgers I’ve had in a long while.

Pro tip: Even though they were super ultra delicious, the potato patties tended to break apart since it didn’t have much gluten to hold it together, so if you don’t mind soy based burgers, I’d say go for them to avoid a mess.

Image

4. Smores – This one is a no brainer. Toast your marshmallow, sandwich it with graham crackers and chocolate and you have got the perfect end to your perfect campfire meal. Though of course, we started our meal with smores (That the fire wasn’t hot enough to cook anything else for a long while is a whole other story).

Pro tip: The ideal ratio is 2 marshamallows to 1/2 bar of Hershey’s milk chocolate sandwiched between two halves of a graham cracker.

 Image

So you should go camping. The scenery is great, the exercise will do you good and all that jazz, but campfire food is something else altogether. The sheer variety of food you can cook without proper utensils or a fully stocked kitchen is insane. Next time, I plan to outfit myself with a cast iron pan and cook up dutch apple pancakes and more on the fire. Anyone wants to come with?