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Archive for the ‘Drink’ Category

Chocolate popsicle

I needed a chocolate fix and there was no chocolate in the house…eek! There was, however, good quality unsweetened cocoa in the pantry.  I decided to make hot chocolate and give it a whirl in the blender with some ice (it being 80+ degrees outside and all).

Well, I made more than enough super-rich hot chocolate, so I poured the rest in little plastic cups, stuck a half giant straw in each (I just happened to have those big fat straws used for bubble tea lying around), covered with plastic, and placed in the freezer.

I also put a tiny bit of sweet condensed milk on the bottom of the little cups before pouring in the chocolate.  How I love sweet condensed milk.

The popsicles turned out so amazingly rich, chocolaty, and beyond my wildest expectations, that I just had to blog about it.

I basically used what I had on hand, which was good cocoa, milk, and sweet condensed milk.  The sweet condensed milk made the hot chocolate silky and rich, and of course, sweet.  I started with the milk and cocoa over heat and kept adding more cocoa and sweet condensed milk until it was super rich and thick and tasted amazing.  That was it.

How easy is that, for a go-to chocolate fix!

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lemongrass tea

My friend Rui from Brazil introduced me to lemongrass tea a few years ago. We were in the kitchen prepping lemongrass to make Tom Yum and Tom Ka soup. Lemongrass is so cheap in Thailand that cooks typically discard the top bits and use only the bottom, more fragrant, part of the stalk.  My friend nearly passed out when he saw me  throwing away the top part.  He told me that those mild top stems are great for steeping tea.

Nowadays when I buy lemongrass, I clean the stalks and separate the top stems for making tea, and the bottom part for cooking.  And I freeze them for later use.

My favorite way of making lemongrass tea is to add a bit of fresh lemon peel.

A good rule of thumb is to use 3-4 inches of lemongrass per each cup of water.  I usually start out with 4 cups of water, with the corresponding amount of lemongrass.  Bring the lemongrass and water to a boil, reduce to a simmer and add some lemon peel (I use about 1/2 a lemon or so).  Allow it to steep on low heat until the flavors marry and concentrate to how you like it.

I prefer lemongrass tea on the gentler side (as opposed to ginger tea where I like it super strong).

When the tea is steeped to your liking, just add a little Turbinado sugar to sweeten at the end.

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It was a dark and stormy night…

Well not yet, despite my Charlie Brown opening.  However, weather.com says it’s coming, so I best be prepared.  There’s nothing like a soothing cup of hot tea to make for a cozy night in.  Tonight it shall be ginger tea.  

Ginger tea

I keep a stash of ginger in my freezer for a time like this.  I buy a few ginger roots at a time, break them up in manageable chunks, wrap them individually in plastic, and store in a ziploc bag.

When time calls for ginger tea, I take a chunk out, peel off the skin, and slice horizontally into thin-ish pieces.  I don’t really measure – it just depends on how strong you want your tea.  I like mine pretty strong, so I’d say three inches worth of ginger root.

I place the ginger pieces in a saucepan with a few cups of water, bring to a boil and reduce to a simmer.  Because I like my tea strong, I usually let it reduce to half, then I add sugar to taste. (Turbinado sugar works great with ginger tea.)

Just what the doctor ordered for a rainy night in. 😉

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Red Bean Shake

The first time I had a red bean shake was during my university days in Bangkok.  A constant mob of students parched from Thailand’s infamous heat and humidity weather cocktail, could be seen surrounding this one popular on-campus drink vendor.  Since there was no real concept of queueing,  in order to get a drink, we had to fight our way through the little crowd, one hand in the air waving cash, while semi-shouting our order (politely of course, we were Thai after all).

The reward was always worth it.

It’s been hot the last few days here in Boston, so I wanted to recreate this sweetly refreshing drink.  I needed to start with the red bean paste, which is available in most Asian marts.  I didn’t feel like using a canned paste, so I decided to make the paste from scratch.  It’s quite simple, but would take a bit of time — low maintenance time however.

Red Bean Paste

Ingredients:
  • Package of red beans (Mine was 400g, a little less than 2 cups.)
  • Sugar (I used turbinado sugar, but white sugar is fine too.)
  • Salt
Steps:
1. Rinse beans, put in a large pot, and cover with plenty of water.  I’d say start with filling it halfway.  (You’ll add more as you go along.)
2. Bring to boil – stir occasionally
3. Bring back down to a simmer
4. After an hour or so, add 1 cup of sugar and a pinch of salt
5. Continue to let simmer
6. Check back occasionally to stir and monitor the water level.  Taste – adjust sugar level to your taste.  Continue to add water and let simmer until the beans are soft and thickened.  (Mine took quite a few hours.  **Make this on an afternoon when you are staying in and doing things around the house anyway. I find it quite cozy having something simmering away in the kitchen!)
7. Let cool and place in a container to store in the fridge.

Red Bean Shake

Red Bean Shake
  • 1/2 cup of paste
  • 1/2 cup evaporated milk (Evaporated milk is typically used in these types of drinks in Thailand. Try it with regular milk, soy milk, etc.  A friend of mine even uses coconut milk.  It’s your drink – do it your way!)
  • 5-6 ice cubes (or more, however you like it)

Blend in blender till smooth.  Pour into glass, and (optional) top with a little sweet condensed milk.

Keep a jar of the red bean paste in the fridge.  You can spoon over ice cream (might have to thin it out with some water on low heat), or put in a bowl, add shaved ice, and top with sweet condensed milk for a nice summer treat.

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