5 Ingredients is an Urban Family series where we sit down with a Shanghai-based chef and ask for a family-friendly meal using 5 Ingredients easily found in Shanghai; let us help you start the week with a simple five-step recipe!
This week we talked to Executive Chef Carlos Sotomayor. Originally from Perú, Chef Carlos has been working in kitchens since the age of 16. Initially studying computer science, he did a 360-degree change and completed a Bachelor of Hospitality Management at USIL in Peru, with a minor in Gastronomy. He also holds a Diploma in French Culinary Arts at L’Institut Paul Bocuse in Lyon, France. Over the years, Chef Carlos has worked under Michelin starred chefs to critique his culinary skills further and his eclectic style of cuisine has been nurtured through many travels and experiences, which bring Latin American, European and now Asian cuisines together.
Can you tell me about the dish you are helping us prepare this week?
I will show you how to prepare quinoa mozzarella sticks. While growing up, it was always a challenge for me to try different things. I can recall eating lentils but disliking artichokes, I was able to eat cauliflower but only when it was battered and deep fried. Quinoa is a very healthy ingredient, that is readily available in Shanghai. This dish is fun and easy to make together while introducing a new ingredient to the kids.
What five ingredients do we need?
250 grams mozzarella cheese
3 eggs, beaten and seasoned with salt
200 grams all-purpose flour
200 grams quinoa (red, white, black or mixed)
100 grams of your preferred dipping sauce (Hummus, tzatziki, yogurt)
Additional ingredients: salt and vegetable oil
What is the five-step recipe?
1. Cook the quinoa in boiling water until it blooms (approximately 8-10 minutes). Season with salt, then strain and spread it over a tray with a kitchen towel or thick paper. Let it dry overnight, or place it in the oven at 80 degrees Celsius for 2 hours.
2. Cut the mozzarella into sticks of your preferred size. You can do bite size, or even buy the small mozzarella balls.
3. Place the mozzarella sticks on a tray with a kitchen towel and air dry them inside the fridge for 20 minutes.
4. Prepare three bowls. One with the flour, another with the beaten eggs and a third with the dry quinoa. First, place the mozzarella sticks in the flour, tap the excess and then drop them into the egg bowl, and finally into the quinoa. Make sure to coat them evenly and then, let them set in the fridge for 5-10 minutes.
5. In a heavy-bottom pot, heat the vegetable oil and fry the mozzarella sticks at a medium-high temperature. Check that the center of the sticks is hot and they are ready. Quinoa doesn’t need to fry too long.
What’s your advice on your dish of the week?
Make sure you thoroughly dry the mozzarella. Excess water hinders the quinoa from evenly coating and could also make the cheese burst when deep frying. The dry quinoa can be made in advance and stored for future use; it is a great breading replacement. Finally, make sure the oil is not too hot, as it will burn the quinoa and leave a bitter taste.
For more 5 Ingredients recipes, click here.