Meat Floss Steamed Sponge Cake (肉松鸡蛋糕)

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INTRODUCTION

I have always wanted to prepare this savoury steamed sponge cake after a member in my Facebook Group asked if any one have the recipe.. I have the recipe from a book but I did not have a chance to try out..

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Today, while scrolling my cook book, I found the recipe and decided to try preparing it. It is a Taiwanese cook book and apparently this is a common roadside snack for the Taiwanese..

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The recipe required the preparation using minced meat . However, I am rather lazy to prepare the minced meat early in the morning, I have decided to use pork floss instead. Whether pork floss or minced meat, I believed the taste will blend well..

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Feeling guilty after steaming the cake and as a respect of traditional cuisines, i have stir fry some minced meat for purpose of this illustration so that readers can have a choice of using pork floss or minced meat.

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This is a rather healthy recipe.. very little fats were used. The cake is fluffy and definitely a good breakfast item.

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WHAT IS REQUIRED

Servings: An 8” round baking tray of steamed sponge cake

Recipe adapted from: 面点新手, 胡娟娟, 2013年3月 肉燥蒸蛋糕 Page 269

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  • 100 grams of meat floss (or minced meat as follows)
  • 160 grams of self raising flour
  • 160 grams of castor sugar
  • 30 grams of cooking oil
  • 5 eggs

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  • 100 grams of minced meat
  • 1 tablespoon of minced garlic
  • 1 tablespoon of minced Chinese celery or spring onion
  • 1.5 tablespoon of dark soya sauce
  • 1 tablespoon of sugar
  • 1 tablespoon of Chinese cooking wine
  • 1 tablespoon of cooking oil
  • Dashes of white pepper

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STEPS OF PREPARATION

  • Lightly greased a baking tin with cooking oil.and get ready a steamer with enough water capable of steaming at high heat for at least 30 minutes.

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  • Sauté the minced garlic until fragrant, add the minced meat and stir fry for 3-4 minutes until the minced meat is cooked. Add the Chinese cooking wine, chopped Chinese celery or spring onion, dark soya sauce and white pepper. Let it simmer for 1-2 minutes until dry. Dish up and set aside . (Note that this step is optional if meat floss was used)

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  • In a whisking bowl of a standing mixer, crack the eggs and beat until foamy (1-2 minutes). Add the sugar tablespoon by tablespoon. Beat the egg until volume expands to at least 2 times and reach ribbon stage which took about 8-10 minutes at high speed. Ribbon stage means when you took out the whisker, the beaten eggs drip slowly instead of flowing down. Take out the beaten eggs, add the cooking oil slowly and use a spatula to lightly and swiftly mix the batter until well combined.

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  • Sift the self raising flour in 3 stages, use a spatula to fold the batter swiftly and lightly until the batter is well combine. Transfer half of the batter into the baking tray. Steam the cake for 10 minutes. Prior to steaming, make sure that water in the steamer is boiling.

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  • Take out the steamed cake, layer with half of the meat floss or all minced meat above. Pour the other half of the batter on top. Sprinkle again the remaining half of the meat floss (note that minced meat cannot sprinkle on top as it will sink down). Steamed for at least 20 minutes or until a skewer inserts into the centre of the cake comes out clean. Best served warm as a snack.

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CONCLUSION

Remember that you have a choice of either using minced meat or meat floss.. I would think that minced meat will be a better choice as it is moister but I leave the decision to you.

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Hope you like the post today.. Cheers and have a nice day.

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Shredded Chicken Braised E-Fu Noodles (鸡丝韭黄伊府面)

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INTRODUCTION

I am happy to have found this set of images that I have taken in December 2014.. I thought it was corrupted . Then, I was busy preparing new year cookies until I totally forgot about this recipe.

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This is another dish that was requested by my wife. Every time when we went for wedding reception, she will mumble and say why we never cook this dish at home… This noodle dish has never been appeared in our noodle menu possibly because both of us are not Cantonese. But like many other families, we shall be all  very familiar with the dish because the noodle dish was usually served as the last hot dish in a wedding reception.

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I swore I never buy this special Cantonese noodles if I am not preparing it  for this illustration. But I think I will continue to buy the noodle after my first attempt of preparing this. As per Wikipedia:

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“Yi mein (also called e-fu noodles, yee-fu noodles, yi noodles, or yifu noodles) is a variety of flat Cantonese egg noodles made from wheat flour. They are known for their golden yellow color and chewy characteristics. The slightly chewy and slightly spongy texture of the noodles is due to the soda water used in making the dough (as opposed to regular non-carbonated water), which was then fried and dried into flat patty-like dried bricks. The noodles may be cooked a number of ways. They are boiled first, then can be stir fried, or used in soups or salads. Good noodles maintain their elasticity, allowing the noodles to stretch and remain chewy.”  (Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Yi_mein)

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In Cantonese preparation, there is another rather unique ingredient that I seldom cooked. This vegetable is usually cooked together with E-Fu noodles and it is called yellow Chinese chives (韭黄)。It is the normal green garlic chives that were planted in dark, avoiding this vegetable to have direct contact with sunlight and hence produce chlorophyll.  In www.foodmayhem.com , it was written that:

“They are the same plant as garlic chives, only grown without direct sunlight, which prevents them from turning green. Garlic chives and yellow chives are more pungent than American chives with a distinct garlicky flavour. They have flat (not hollow) leaves, and are used as a vegetable in Chinese cooking as opposed to the sprinkling use of herbs. It seems that some people love them and some people find them too stinky (in a garlicky way).” (Source: http://www.foodmayhem.com/2009/05/pork-bean-curd-and-yellow-chives.html,)

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WHAT IS REQUIRED

Servings: 4-6 adult servings

Recipe adapted from: Braised E-Fu Noodles with Straw Mushrooms | Hong Kong …

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  • 500 grams of chicken breast
  • 300 grams of e-fu noodles
  • 200 grams of yellow chives , cut into 2-3 cm length
  • one packet of straw mushrooms

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  • 3 dried shitake mushrooms , soaked and cut into pieces)
  • 1 tablespoon of minced garlics
  • 2 tablespoons of oyster sauce
  • 2 tablespoons of light soya sauce
  • 2 tablespoons of cooking oil
  • 1 tablespoon of corn starch (mix with 2 tablespoons of water) – optional
  • 1/2 tablespoon of sesame oil
  • Sugar to taste
  • Dashes of white pepper
  • Pinches of salt

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STEPS OF PREPARATION

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  • In a pot with adequate water to cover the chicken breast, bring to boil. Cut the chicken breast into small pieces. Add the chicken breast and poach the chicken until cooked. Drain and set aside the chicken stock. When the chicken is cooled, use hand to shred the chicken until floss like. You can also use a fork to assist in the shredding.

  • In another pot, put some water and 1 tablespoon of cooking oil. Bring to boil. Add the E-fu noodles. Blanch the noodles until soft which took about 5 minutes. Drain and set aside. It is best that you read the cooking instruction in the plastic packaging. Every brand will have different cooking time.

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  • In a wok, sauté the garlic and mushrooms until fragrant and slight brownish, add the yellow chives followed by straw mushrooms. Stir fry for 1-2 minutes. Add about 2-3 cups of chicken stock from cooking the chicken breast  (estimation) and bring to boil. Add all the seasonings (oyster sauce, light soya sauce, sugar, salt, white pepper and sesame oil). 

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  • Add the starch solution followed by the blanched E-fu noodles. Stir until well mixed and let it simmer for about 5 minutes. If it is too dry, add more water just enough to cover the noodles. Off the heat and let it rest in the wok for at least 5-10 minutes before dishing up. Flavour will continue to develop during this 5-10 minutes.. Topped with shredded chicken before serving.

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CONCLUSION

The colour of the noodles will very much depends on the noodles you bought. Some looks very pale  yellowish whereas some looks darker brown. I loved my noodles to be a bit soupy and starchy if you prefer drier, add less water and omit the starch… The whole family like this adventure and finished off the noodles in seconds.

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This recipe was included in Page 45-47 of the “One Pot Noodle E-book”. For more One Pot Noodle Dishes, you can have a copy of Easy One Pot Noodles  – A step by step guide” that was packed with 30 recipes, 60 pages at a reasonable convenience fee of USD5.00. The recipes covered various recipes from curry laksa, prawn noodles to fish head beehoon and etc. Of course not forgetting the well like Economy Bee hoon and Mee Rebus . You can purchase by clicking the link above.You can either pay using Pay Pal or Credit card account. Please ensure that you have an PDF reader like Acrobat or iBooks in your mobile phone or iPad if you intended to read it in your ipad or mobile phone. Should there be any problems of purchasing, feel free to contact me at kengls@singnet.com.sg and separate arrangement can be made.

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Hope you like the post today. Cheers and have a nice day.

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Cuttlefish Like Kangkong, Is It Not Weird? Sotong Kangkong (鱿鱼蕹菜)

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INTRODUCTION

I totally have no idea as to why water spinach or Chinese convolvulus, or kangkong (as in Malay) are teamed up with Chinese style dry cuttlefish… I cannot seems to trace the origin of this dish… I am also unsure the dish belong which races.

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Some said that it is a Penang and Ipoh well known snack but I have to object that as it was found in many parts of Malaysia and Singapore.including Sarawak. I also understand that Rujak Bandung is also quite similar in terms of the ingredients used.

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It is also one of  my childhood snack in Sarawak and was usually sold in the Rojak stalls.. However, it was an occasional treat this as it was a rather costly dish because of the soaked cuttlefish. Those who have purchased dried cuttlefish will know that it is not cheap as with other dried seafoods.

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But I was surprised to find that these soaked cuttlefish are rather cheap in Singapore. I bought a whole cuttlefish for only S$3.50.

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The dish is very simple, just some blanched kangkong, some blanched soaked cuttlefish and served with a special sweet and tangy sauce. The dish was sprinkled generously with some peanut powder and sesame seeds.

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WHAT IS REQUIRED

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  • 1 bundle of kangkong (washed and cut into about 5 cm in length) (空心菜)
  • 1 medium size soaked cuttlefish (发好鱿鱼)
  • 3 tablespoons of petis udang (Hae Ko) (虾膏)
  • 3 tablespoons of Hoisin sauce (海鲜酱)
  • 2 tablespoons of plum sauce (酸梅酱)
  • 1 tablespoons of white sugar (白糖)
  • 1 tablespoon of chilli flakes or chilli powder (辣椒粉)
  • 1 tablespoon of plain water (白水)
  • Some toasted sesame seeds (芝麻)
  • Some ground peanuts (花生)

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STEPS OF PREPARATION

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  • Wash the cuttlefish and cut into small pieces. Note that cuttlefish when blanched will shrunk in size. At such, the ideal size will be about 2cm x 1 cm. Wash and cut the kangkong into your desired size.

  • In a pot, put the thick shrimp sauce (Hae Ko), Hoisin sauce, plum sauce, white sugar, chilli powder and plain water. Stir until well mix and bring to boil under medium heat. The main purpose of this step is to integrate the sauce and the boiling will help to thicken the sauce. It took about 2-3 minutes.

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  • In a pot of hot boiling water, put few drops of oil, blanched the kangkong for about 1-2 minutes. Drain, squeeze dry and transfer to your serving plate. Blanch the cuttlefish for 1-2 minutes, drain adequately (at least 1/2 minute to ensure no water in the cuttlefish) and put on top of the blanched kangkong. Pour the sauce on top of the cuttlefish and dust sparingly with the sesame seeds and grounded peanuts. Best served immediately with calamansi (optional) after it was prepared.

Note:

  • Timings of blanching kangkong and cuttlefish are the critical success factors of this dish. Over blanched kangkong will make the kangkong looked yellowish and lack of crunchiness. Over blanched cuttlefish will make the cuttlefish shrunk in size and become chewy.

  • Blanched kangkong will secrete water after it was blanched. Therefore, before transferring to the serving plate, it is imperative that the kangkong have to be as dry as possible. Otherwise, the sauce will become very dilute when pour on top of the kangkong.

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CONCLUSION

I am generally happy with the sauce as I find that it is delicious. However, it is still slightly different from what I have tasted before in Kuching when young and  I am unsure of the reasons. Well there are many recipes in the internet and every stalls will have its own version of sauce and it is definitely difficult to crack their secret code.. But trust me, it is definitely a delicious and pleasant sauce.

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Hope you like the post today. Cheers and have a nice day.

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Chinese Sweet Potatoes Pancake (地瓜烧饼, 番薯饼)

 

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INTRODUCTION

I have a weak point for this type  Chinese pancake.. I love the yeasted flavour of the crust and the soft sweet fillings.

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I have recently just issued a recipe: Glutinous Rice Flour Red Bean Pancake (豆沙烧饼-糯米皮), but the crust is made with glutinous rice flour.

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This crust lacks the yeasted flavour that I liked.. Therefore I have searched for another recipe that have a yeasted crust.. Since the last recipe is using the red bean paste, therefore for this recipe, i have decided to use homemade sweet potatoes paste..

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Unlike the type of sweet potatoes pancake (番薯饼)sold in the market, this recipe uses glutinous rice flour to soften the filling. In addition, condensed milk were added to sweeten and smoothen the paste.

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For readers, you can always mix and match in between the crust and and fillings. More fillings will be lined up to give readers a choice..

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WHAT IS REQUIRED

Dough recipe adapted from: 萱妈的烘焙厨房: 豆沙烧饼

Servings : Prepared about 10 big sweet potatoes pancake

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Fillings

  • 400 grams of sweet potatoes (mashed)
  • 100 grams of glutinous rice flour
  • 4 tablespoons of condensed milk

For dough

  • 250 grams of plain flour
  • 60 grams of white sugar
  • 6 grams of instant yeast
  • 30 grams of vegetable shortening or cooking oil
  • 60 grams of lukewarm water

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STEPS OF PREARATION

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  • Steamed the sweet potatoes until soft. Transfer to a blender, blend until as find as possible. Add the condensed milk and glutinous rice flour . Blend until it form a pliable dough, Divide the filling into 10 equal pieces. Shape round and set aside.

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  • In a mixing bowl, add all the dough ingredients. Knead until the dough is smooth. Transfer out and let it rest for about 15 minutes. Divide into 10 pieces.

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  • Take a dough, shape round, flatten the dough, put a filling on top of the dough , seal the edges and shape round again. Put the ball in a 8 or 9 cm round shape cutter, press to get the even round shape. This step is optional, if you do not have the cutter, you can just use the palm to press down.

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  • Let it proof until double in size. In a lightly greased non stick pan, pan fry until golden brown, Turn and pan fry another side until golden brown. Best served warm as a snack to go with Chinese tea.

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Note:

  • The pancake is rather big  with a diameter of about 8 cm. You can also divide the dough into filling into 15 or 20 pieces to make a smaller pancake. Smaller pancake are easier to pan fry and get cook.

  • If you do not wish to pan fry, you can bake in the oven at 180 degree Celsius for about 8 minutes one side. Put another baking tray on top of the pancake while baking to ensure flat top pan cake.

  • During the pan frying, if both sides (top and bottom) are cooked but the sides are still sticky, you will need to pan fry the side slightly.

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CONCLUSION

This is a simple and fast recipe and personally, I really love the pancake. Remember if you do not like the sweet potatoes fillings, you can always change to red bean paste.

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Hope you like the post today. Cheers and have a nice day.

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Siamese Laksa (Laksa Thai, Laksa Siam or 暹罗辣沙)

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INTRODUCTION

About 10 years before my mum passed away in late 80’s, a family friend from Penang taught her to cook this dish in Sarawak.. It is a yellowish colour of Laksa that was made with fish broth and served with shredded pineapple and cucumber.. I loved this dish and since my mum passed away, I have not eaten this dish for more than 20 years as it was not sold in Singapore and Malaysia..

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I do not know the exact name of the noodle dish but I can remember that she called it Siam Lo Laksa.. Well I hope that I do not remember wrongly but a search of Siam Laksa do not yield many recipes. After my issuance of my Assam Laksa recipe, I found that the main ingredients are very similar. Being in Sarawak, Bunga Kantan and daun Kesom is not popular at all, I believed that due to this reason, my Penang family friends who based in Kuching also did not use this.. However, for this recipe, I have decided to include this..

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The main difference with Assam Laksa is the creaminess of Laksa. It is milky because of the coconut milk used. My first bite immediately told me that this is very close to my late mum’s version. 

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I remembered there are friends that told me that there is a variant of Assam Laksa  with coconut milk which they called it Laksa lemak..Some say that it resembles Johor Laksa and another member of my Facebook Group says that she had eaten this type of Laksa cooked by Myanmar friends… Looking at Wiki’s definition, I am even more confused under the variants of curry Laksa and Assam Laksa. It seems that they are all intertwined. Well whatever name it is, I shall let the reader decide..For purpose of this post, I shall name it as Siamese Laksa.

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I will not claim that this Laksa recipe as authentic but it is what I am looking for. The recipe is exactly the same as Assam Laksa but the rempah or spice mix were first sauté until fragrance and the addition of coconut milk. Therefore, for those who are interested in Assam Laksa recipe, you can refer to this post: Penang Assam Laksa (亚参叻沙).

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For this illustration, since I did not have bunga kantan and cucumber, I have omitted bunga kantan and substitute cucumber with lettuces.

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WHAT IS REQUIRED

Servings: 4-6 adult servings

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Spice paste (rempah)

  • 6 shallots
  • 5 cloves of garlic
  • 5 cm of fresh turmeric
  • 3 cm of galangal
  • 3 stalks of lemon grass
  • 10 dried chillies , soaked
  • 2 red chillies
  • 1/2 bud of bunga kantan
  • 2 tablespoons of shrimp paste (belachan)

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  • 5-6 mackerel (Ikan kembong)
  • 4-5 stalks of Vietnamese mint (daun kesum)
  • 2 tablespoons of tamarind paste
  • 3 pieces of tamarind peel (Assam keping)
  • 8-10 cups of plain water
  • 400 ml or grams of thick coconut milk (not in picture) – About 2 packets
  • Pinches of salt or 2 tablespoons of fish sauce
  • 2 tablespoons of white sugar
  • 2 tablespoons of cooking oil

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Assembly and garnishing

  • 500 grams of Laksa noodles or thick rice vermicelli , blanched
  • 1 small pineapple , cut into small pieces
  • 1 red big onion – sliced thinly
  • a handful of mint leaves
  • 1 cucumber , julienned into small stripes
  • 1 red chilli  or 2-3 bird eye chillies, cut into small pieces
  • Some lettuces , sliced thinly

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STEPS OF PREPARATION

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  • Put all spice mix or rempah ingredients in a blender. Add adequate water to cover the herbs. Blend as fine as possible. Set aside.

  • Put the tamarind paste in a bowl, add 1-2 cups of water, use the hand to squeeze the tamarind paste in the water until all the seeds comes out. Drain the Assam juices and sift them onto another bowl. Throw away the seeds and set aside.

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  • Put the water in a pot. Bring to boil. Once it boils, add the fishes. Boil the fish until cooked which took about 10 minutes.  Off the heat. Take out the fish and keep the fish stock. Debone and mash the fish.

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  • Heat up a wok and add cooking oil. Sauté the rempah or spice mix until fragrant and oil starts to separate from the spice mix.  Transfer the rempah to the fish stock earlier. Add the daun kesum,  tamarind juice and tamarind peel. .

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  • Add the fish meat and bring to boil. Once it boils, let it simmer at low heat for 15-20 minutes for the flavour to develop. Once it is done, add the coconut milk followed by seasoning (fish sauce or salt and sugar).  Bring to boil and off the heat.

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  • For assembly, have a bowl. Placed some Laksa noodles. Pour some soup until it covers the noodles. Garnish with mint leaves, pineapple slices, red chilli, shredded cucumber, sliced red onions and lettuces. Best served warm as a one dish noodle meal.

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CONCLUSION

As I have mentioned before, I am unsure whether  or not this is authentic but what I know is that it suits my family’s taste buds. Laksa is such a big category of South East Asian cuisine  well liked by many people in the region. It is therefore not surprising that there are many variants and crossovers between the 2 main category of Laksa: Assam Laksa and Curry Laksa..Such crossovers have resulted in many regional Laksa like Thai Laksa, Perlis Laksa, Kelantan Laksa, Johor Laksa, Kedah Laksa, Ipoh Laksa and many many more. Not to mention the nonya Laksa lemak, Sarawak Laksa and Katong Laksa. They all taste goods, looks a bit similar with a bit of differences…Who claims who is authentic, in my humble opinion, is unfounded..If you found that this Laksa do not fit the Siamese Laksa that you know, you can always changed it to the name that you like.. and I would be glad if one can tell me what is the Laksa that my late mum have cooked..

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Hope you like the post today, cheers and have a nice day.

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Preserved Long Beans (酸豆角)

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INTRODUCTION

“酸豆角是指腌制过的豆角。豆角含有丰富的优质蛋白质、碳水化合物及多种维生素、微量元素等,可补充机体的招牌营养素。其中所含B族维生素能维持正常的消化腺分泌和胃肠道蠕动的功能,抑制胆碱酶活性,可帮助消化,增进食欲。” (Source:http://baike.baidu.com/view/1184819.htm

Literally translated from Chinese Baike Wikipedia, preserved long beans refer to marinated long beans. The beans are rich in proteins, carbohydrates, minerals and vitamins that are beneficial and provide nutrients for the body. Among which is Vitamin B that helps to maintain a normal digestive gland secretion, gastrointestinal motility function, inhibition of cholinergic activity, aids in digestions and increase appetite.。

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This is a dish that I have never forget to order when I dined in Hunan restaurants in China. The preserved long beans are sour and crunchy. Most of the time it was stir fried with minced meat and chillies. It is definitely a very appetizing dish.

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Last year when I was dining with my wife in a Hunan restaurant in Singapore, I ordered this dish and my wife, who love any types of preserved vegetable like kiam chai (preserved mustard), Sichuan vegetable etc. immediately “hooked” on it. She loved the tanginess and crunchiness of the preserved beans. She requested me to search for a recipe and prepare this.. I never promised her but on the next day, she bought one bundle of long beans and asked me to prepare..

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Since she is very serious wanting to have some homemade preserved long bean, I have “no choice” but to search for a recipe.. Well, there are plenty of recipes in the Chinese website and basically are the same…. Since I do not have any pottery urn in my house, I have used a glass bottle to preserved these vegetable.

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It is considered as a successful attempt though the crunchiness was not as good as what I tasted in the restaurant.. Since member in my Facebook group are asking for my recipe , I have decided to share this recipe after almost one year of delay.. I will like to the take this opportunity to convey my apology to Ms. Cathryn who have been waiting for the recipe..

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WHAT IS REQUIRED

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  • 10-15 stalks of long beans
  • 2 red chillies 
  • 10 Sichuan peppercorns (花椒) – optional
  • 5-10 cloves of garlic
  • Adequate boiled water or unopened mineral water to cover the bean
  • 4 tablespoons of coarse sea salt
  • Some cooking wine to cover the top

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STEPS OF PREPARATION

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  • Wash the vegetables and wind dry or sun dry under the sun until the vegetables are dry to touch. You can wipe the vegetables first before drying for at least 4-5 hours..

  • Meanwhile, get ready a metal bowl. Put the salt and pour boiling hot water on the salt and let the salt dissolved. Cool completely before the next step. If you are using bottled mineral water, this step can be omitted.

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  • Get ready a STERILIZED glassed container. You can sterilize the container by pouring some hot water and use a clean towel to wipe dry the container. The container must be totally dry before the next step.

  • Stuff the dry long bean into the glass container. Add the chillies. garlics and Sichuan peppercorns. Pour the cooled saline solution until it completely covered the vegetables. pour some cooking wine to seal the top the the vegetable. Close the lid tight and place in a cool airy area without sun exposure if possible.

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  • Marinate the long beans for a period of at least 7 days. The longer you marinate, the more sour it will be.

Notes:

  • When you purchase long beans, select those that are firm to touch. A bit skinny is okay . Do not buy those that are fluffy to touch. Those type of long beans will not give you a good texture.

  • The long beans, container and other vegetables shall be free of any oil and raw water  . If there is any oil in the long bean, the long bean will not be crunchy. Instead, it will become rotten.

  • Once the preserved long beans are taken out from the bottle, it is best to consume as soon as possible. Otherwise, it will have to be kept in the fridge in Singapore’s weather.

  • To prepare this long beans, just cut into small pieces and stir fry with minced pork and red cut chilli. It is sour and very appetizing to go with porridges and white rice. It taste very much like salted vegetable.


CONCLUSION

This is a niche recipe, meaning I do not expect many readers will try in this region. For those who have never try the dish before, in the even that you have a chance to try the dish in the Hunan or other Chinese restaurant and you like it, you can come back here and try preparing yourself.

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Hope you like the post today. Cheers and have a nice day.

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Penang Assam Laksa (亚参叻沙)

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INTRODUCTION

I have been holding on the preparation of Assam laksa because of 3 herbs and 2 of which create the distinctive flavour as compared to other laksa. These three herbs are laksa leaves (daun kesom) , torch ginger (bunga kantan) and normal mint leaves. Usually, the supermarket are selling a bundle or a package and other than this recipe, I have no idea what to use for the leftover laksa leaves and torch ginger.

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After blogging so many one pot noodle dishes, I have no other reasons to further delay the sharing of this famous Assam laksa.

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If you look at the definition of laksa in Wikipedia, one will know that laksa basically belong to 2 broad categories – tamarind based as in Assam laksa or coconut milk based laksa as in curry laksa. The third category is the Sarawak laksa which is both tamarind and coconut milk based laksa..If you are interested in learning Sarawak laksa you can refer to this post: Hi, Let Start Cooking the Laksa …. An In Depth Analysis and Pictorial Procedural Description Of The Famous Sarawak Laksa (Part III)

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If you are interested in the curry based laksa, you can refer to this post: Another Hawker Centre Noodle Dish–Curry Laksa or Curry Mee (咖喱叻沙, 咖喱面)

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This post is to detail the recipe of Assam laksa. Assam is tamarind in Malay and as the name suggest, the noodle dish is slightly tangy and balanced by the sweetness from the fish broth. Unlike the curry laksa of which the broth is mainly prepared from chicken stock, Assam laksa’s tasty broth is prepared from fish.. Besides tamarind, assam laksa will not be much difference from other laksa if not because of the following 2 special herbs. One of them is the bunga kantan or ginger torch  or Etlingera elatior as follows. If you are interested to read more about this aromatic flower, you can refer to : Etlingera elatior – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia .

Another special herb for this laksa is what is called laksa leaves or daun kesum. Per Wikipedia, it was written that :

Persicaria odorata, the Vietnamese coriander, is a herb whose leaves are used in Southeast Asian cooking. Other English names for the herb include Vietnamese mint, Vietnamese cilantro, Cambodian mint, hot mint, and laksa leaf.In Singapore and Malaysia, the shredded leaf is an essential ingredient of laksa, a spicy noodle soup, so much so that the Malay namedaun laksa means “laksa leaf.”

Since Wikipedia have a very detailed description of Assam laksa, I am rather reluctant to rephrase the well written description of this unique laksa dish. As per Wikipedia,

“Asam laksa is a sour, fish-based soup. It is listed at number 7 on World’s 50 most delicious foods complied by CNN Go in 2011. Asam is the Malay word for anything that makes a dish sour (e.g. tamarind or kokum). Laksa typically uses asam keping, known as kokum in the English speaking world), which is a type of dried slices of sour mangosteens. The modern Malay spelling is asam, though the spelling assam is still frequently used. The main ingredients for asam laksa include shredded fish, normally kembung fish or mackerel, and finely sliced vegetables including cucumber, onions, red chillies, pineapple, lettuce, common mint, “daun kesum” (Vietnamese mint or laksa mint) and pink bunga kantan (torch ginger). Asam laksa is normally served with either thick rice noodles or thin rice noodles (vermicelli). And topped off with “petis udang” or “hae ko” (蝦羔), a thick sweet prawn/shrimp paste.”

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Though I seldom ordered Assam laksa when I dined out, but it is my wife’s favourite dish as she was educated in the Penang, Malaysia where the state is famous forits Assam laksa…

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The outcome of this adventure is very satisfactory.. I have asked my wife to taste and give objectives comments to the dish as I am afraid that I will be prejudiced.. Asking her if there is anything wrong, her comments was “good”..otherwise, she would not have finished two bowls for dinner.. But I am very happy that my kids who are never exposed to this dish also like the noodle dish.. Of course minus all the garnishes that kids will not like at their age such as big onions, calamansi etc.. Eventually, they only ate the noodles with the gravy and some cucumber.. Haha.

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WHAT IS REQUIRED

Recipe adapted from: Family Recipe for Asam Laksa – Season with Spice

Servings: 4-6 adult servings

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Spice paste (rempah)

  • 6 shallots
  • 5 cloves of garlic
  • 5 cm of fresh turmeric
  • 3 cm of galangal
  • 3 stalks of lemon grass
  • 10 dried chillies , soaked
  • 2 red chillies
  • 1/2 bud of bunga kantan
  • 2 tablespoons of shrimp paste (belachan)

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  • 5-6 mackerel (Ikan kembong)
  • 4-5 stalks of Vietnamese mint (daun kesum)
  • 2 tablespoons of tamarind paste
  • 3 pieces of tamarind peel (Assam keping)
  • 12-15 cups of plain water
  • Pinches of salt
  • 2 tablespoons of white sugar

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Assembly and garnishing

  • 500 grams of laksa noodles or thick rice vermicelli , blanched
  • 1 small pineapple , cut into small pieces
  • 1 red big onion – sliced thinly
  • a handful of mint leaves
  • 1 cucumber , julienned into small stripes
  • 1 red chilli  or 2-3 bird eye chillies, cut into small pieces
  • 5 tablespoons of Heko (Sweetened thick shrimp sauce)
  • 3 calamansi, cut into half
  • Some lettuces , sliced thinly
  • half a bunga kantan, sliced thinly

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STEPS OF PREPARATION

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  • Put all spice mix or rempah ingredients in a blender. Add adequate water to cover the herbs. Blend as fine as possible. Set aside.

  • Put the tamarind paste in a bowl, add 1-2 cups of water, use the hand to squeeze the tamarind paste in the water until all the seeds comes out. Drain the Assam juices and sift them onto another bowl. Throw away the seeds and set aside.

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  • Put the water in a pot. Bring to boil. Once it boils, add the fishes. Boil the fish until cooked which took about 10 minutes.  Off the heat. Take out the fish and keep the fish stock. Debone the fish.

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  • Put the spice mix into the fish stalk followed by tamarind juice, daun kesom and fish meat. Bring to boil. Once it boils, lower the heat to medium and let it simmer for about 20-30 minutes. Add the salt and sugar. Off the heat.

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  • For assembly, have a bowl. Placed some laksa noodles. Pour some soup until it covers the noodles. Garnish with mint leaves, pineapple slices, red chilli, shredded cucumber, sliced red onions, lettuces, bunga kanatan, calamansi and drizzle with the thick shrimp sauce (Heko). Best served warm as a one dish noodle meal.

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CONCLUSION

This is a rather long post. I am happy that my family have finished it all. If these pictures entice your appetite, why not give it a try? Remember that this is a savoury dish, do feel free to adjust to the one that used to eat locally. How about adding a hard boiled egg? 

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This recipe was included in Page 1-3 of the “One Pot Noodle E-book”. For more One Pot Noodle Dishes, you can have a copy of Easy One Pot Noodles  – A step by step guide” that was packed with 30 recipes, 60 pages at a reasonable convenience fee of USD5.00. The recipes covered various recipes from curry laksa, prawn noodles to fish head beehoon and etc. Of course not forgetting the well like Economy Bee hoon and Mee Rebus . You can purchase by clicking the link above.You can either pay using Pay Pal or Credit card account. Please ensure that you have an PDF reader like Acrobat or iBooks in your mobile phone or iPad if you intended to read it in your ipad or mobile phone. Should there be any problems of purchasing, feel free to contact me at kengls@singnet.com.sg and separate arrangement can be made.

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Hope you like the post today. Cheers and have a nice day.

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