Saffron Flower Sauce

Hi!  Do you like saffron spice or is it too expensive for your budget?  Here’s an inexpensive alternative:  Saffron flowers.

If you can’t find or afford high quality saffron threads to make a sauce for your seafood dish, you can use the flowers.  It costs $3 per 20 oz. and it’s available at Asian grocers.  The taste and aroma may not be as pungent as the high-quality saffron threads and the color differentiate itself when it is placed in liquid, but you can make it  as tasty and colorful.  Here’s a super easy sauce recipe using the saffron flowers that I have been making for seafood dishes when high-quality saffron threads are not available.

Recipe Yields:  2 servings

Ingredients:

  • 1 tablespoon Extra Virgin Olive oil or butter
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons minced garlic
  • 1 tablespoon chopped onions
  • 1 tablespoon plus 1/2 teaspoon organic unbromated, unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup water (see notes)
  • 1 teaspoon chicken bouillon powder
  • 2 teaspoonful saffron flowers

Directions:

  1. In a skillet over medium heat, add the oil or butter when hot.
  2. Add the minced garlic and saute until lightly brown then add the onions and saute until translucent.
  3. Add the chicken bouillon and flour and immediately stir using a whisk to form a roux then slowly add the water while stirring; mix well until free of lumps.*
  4. Add the saffron flowers and let it come to a boil. Stir constantly until the sauce thickens about 3-5 minutes. (see notes)
  5. Pour over seafood such as fish, shrimp, scallops, and even lobster.  Enjoy!
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Oven-baked panko crusted tilapia over couscous with saffron flower sauce.

*Note:   

  • You can use chicken stock as substitute for water and chicken bouillon if you prefer.  Adjust seasoning to taste.
  • Stirring constantly when adding the flour and water and/or until the sauce thickens is important to achieve smooth sauce.
  • The longer you boil the sauce, the better.  You are extracting the flavor out of the saffron flowers this way. I let mine boiled for at least 5 minutes.
  • If you want a thicker consistency, add another 1/2 teaspoon of flour.

That is all for today.  Until next time.  If you like this post or my blog, don’t forget to Subscribe or Follow to get the latest recipes.  Please  link back to source if you use or share any of my recipes.  Thank you and have a blessed day!

~Anna

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Steamed Mini Yucca-Rice Cakes (Puto)

Yucca Cakes

Yucca-Rice Cakes-original recipe by
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Here’s another Filipino favorite that I created.  These steamed rice cakes were really good!  The brown sugar and yucca (cassava) go very well together.  They are served at parties or at any get together, especially birthdays, Christmas time and New Year’s eve or as a merienda (afternoon snack).   The flavor variations are  coconut, purple yam, mango, pineapple, and chocolate to name a few.  You can add coconut powder and coconut strings, grated purple yam, mango puree, pineapple juice and tidbits, chocolate chips and ground chocolate in the batter.

You can put them in a festive or clear plastic bags and tie with a sophisticated bow and give them away as gifts for Christmas.  Your friends will appreciate them, especially those who don’t have time to make them or own any steamer and yearn to have them.  Below are coconut and chocolate rice cakes I made last year.

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I and some people had been in quest to find the “authentic” recipe because they are just out of this world.  “Once you popped, you can’t stop” as the potato chips commercial say.  That’s how good they are.  My grandmother knew how to make them, but she passed on before I could ask her.  I tried all the recipes I could find on the web, but the results were not the same.  Moreover, the instructions were not that specific.  They don’t really give you the “secret” process on how to make them “authentic”.  Yes, I discovered there were many secrets making authentic rice cakes.  I experimented many times and almost gave up, but one day, I finally achieved it.   The rice cakes below were made with 100% rice flour and the ones above were a combination of rice flour and all-purpose flour.  My children loved them.

RICE CAKES $16 FOR 50 PCS

Rice Cakes
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I was so proud of myself.  But…guess what happened?  I lost my note in the process of tidying up.  It took me a long time to discover the “secret” and lost it that easily.  Believe me, I was extremely sad and disappointed that I stayed away from the kitchen for a very long time.  Yes, it was that important to me.   It reminded me of my childhood and my grandmother.   I miss the good old days and my beloved, gracious grandmother.  I feel comforted making the authentic  rice cakes somehow. 

My quest now is to find the recipe I created.  It’s a must!  I could not remember all the ingredients and the measurements.  So, I settled to create the yucca rice cakes for now until I find the time to do all the experimenting I did previously using the 100% rice flour.

Ingredients:

  • 1 ½ cup of rice cake flour mix (available at Asian stores)
  • 1/2 cup of frozen grated cassava or yucca root, completely thawed
  • 1 C firmly packed dark brown sugar
  • ½ C sweetened coconut flakes
  • 1 ¼ C water
  • 5 teaspoons vegetable oil
  • Butter

Note:  You will need a steamer, a mini muffin baking tin, a pastry brush, and cheese cloth

Directions:

  • Add about 1/2 of water in the steamer.  Wrap the lid of a steamer with cheesecloth to prevent water from dripping to the rice cake batter while cooking.  Cover the steamer.   Bring water over high heat to a rapid boil.
  • Add the rice cake flour, water, coconut flakes, dark brown sugar, 1/2 cup grated cassava, and oil in a large bowl.   Whisk until well mixed. Let stand for 5 minutes.
  • Scoop the batter into the buttered 12-piece mini muffin pan and steam for 15-20 minutes* or until cake is shiny and bounce back when pressed.
  • Brush the top of the steamed cakes with butter. Transfer to a serving platter or a basket lined with wilted banana leaves and serve warm or at room temperature.  When cooled, cover the mini rice cakes with a plastic wrap to prevent skin from forming.   Enjoy.

*Note:  Cooking time and achieving the crack in the center of the rice cakes varies depending how rapidly the water is boiling.  Adjust accordingly.

That is all for now.  If you like this post or my blog, don’t forget to Subscribe or Follow to get the latest recipes.  Please be kind and link back to source when you use or share any of my recipes.  Thank you for stopping by.  Until next time.  Have an awesome day!

~Anna

©annascuisine.wordpress.com (2013)   Unauthorized use and/or duplication of material herein without expressed and written consent from this blog’s author, Annabelle Bedell, is strictly and completely prohibited.

Pho At Home!

It’s noodle soup time!

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Fall is officially here.  It’s getting colder and I wanted something hot to eat.  I went to an Asian store a few days ago and discovered they sold fresh Vietnamese noodles for making Pho soups.  I had been searching for this!  I was using the dry noodles which took longer to cook.  I was so excited I wanted to go home and make a bowl of soup right away.  Talk about perfect timing since I was craving for soup that day because I felt cold.   I also found an excuse to use the meat we had in the freezer.

As I was making the soup, my children came home from school.  My youngest mentioned that he was cold, so I asked him if he wanted soup.  Both my children responded in unison and said “Oh, yes! Soup!” 🙂

The chilies you see were just a garnish.  I had to removed them because they were too spicy for my children.

Anyway, I didn’t take a picture of the noodle package because my children wanted to have the soup right away, but I changed my mind when I put it all in a bowl.   It looked so appetizing.  My children could hardly wait to have the soup, but I told them I had to take a picture first 😀   It was worth the wait.  We all enjoyed it although I had to give up the meat to them.

Cooking the meat, I used the cooking technique I learned when I was young making the popular Filipino soup, Bachoy.

Photo courtesy of www.tumbler.com

Bachoy-Filipino noodle soup
Photo courtesy of rhysjuplo @ http://www.tumbler.com

Bachoy is a noodle soup with pansit mami (similar to Japanese noodles, Yakisoba) and meat garnished with green onions and fried garlic then adding soy sauce and lime juice to flavor the broth.  The texture of Yakisoba noodles is different compared to pansit mami.   Maybe because the Yakisoba noodles I had were previously frozen.  The Pansit Mami noodles back home were made fresh.  This soup is popular among Filipinos.  It’s sold in roadside eateries and restaurants.  I remember my mother would buy each of us a bowl after Sunday mass.   It was one of my childhood memories I cherished very much.   Looking at the picture makes me crave it, Oh, my goodness!   Don’t you agree? I wouldn’t mind having soup for breakfast in a cold morning. 😀

Anyway, if you can’t find fresh Vietnamese noodles in your area, try using any noodles and just put all your favorite toppings.  Or, you can make the Bachoy soup using the technique below for the broth without adding the Shitake mushrooms, spinach, salt and pepper.

Ingredients:

  • Fresh Vietnamese noodles
  • Beef, chicken, or shrimp
  • bean sprouts
  • Thai basil leaves
  • Spinach ( optional)
  • Shitake mushrooms
  • Cardamom spice (to your taste)
  • salt and pepper to taste

Preparation Methods:

  • Before you start cooking the noodles, tenderize the meat by boiling it over medium heat for at least an hour or so.  You will need the broth for your soup, so don’t throw it away.  If you want the broth to be flavorful, add just enough water to tenderize the meat.  Make sure you have enough water as water evaporates as it cooks.  Season with salt, pepper, and Cardamom. Cover.
  • Add the Shitake mushrooms 5 minutes before end of cooking time.  Add the spinach and cook just until wilted.  Remove the Shitake mushrooms and spinach.  Set aside.
  • Follow the directions on how to cook the noodles on the back of the package.   Place the cooked noodles in a bowl.
  • Remove the cooked meat and slice thinly in bite pieces.
  • Arrange the bean sprouts, spinach, cooked beef, Shitake mushrooms, and Thai basil on top of the noodles.  Pour the steaming hot beef broth into the bowl.
  • Garnish with chillies and Thai basil leaves

Enjoy!

If you like this post or my blog, don’t forget to Subscribe or Follow to get the latest recipes.  Thank you for stopping by. Have a great day!

~A. B.

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©annascuisine.wordpress.com (2013)   Unauthorized use and/or duplication of material herein without expressed and written consent from this blog’s author, Annabelle Bedell, is strictly and completely prohibited.

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