Brinjal Clay Pot Stew or Sichuan Braised Eggplant (鱼香茄子煲)

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INTRODUCTION

Before you read the post, I seek you kind understanding and not to argue whether there should be any salted fish in the the dish.. While I knew they may be regional variation but throughout my dining experience of this dish in Cantonese restaurants, I can’t remember tasted anything fishy like salted fish etc.

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I have looked through many Chinese recipes and most  of the recipe calls for any salted fish .. The confusion possibly because of the Chinese wording “鱼香“ literally translated as “fish aroma”.. As you will read later, this is a standard sauce  originally prepare for the cooking of seafood but now extended to  many Sichuan dishes and Hunan dishes and some speculated that the old name of “鱼香” is actually “豫湘“ representing the Henan and Hunan Provinces of which the sauces originates.

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As per Wikipedia:

“Yuxiang (simplified Chinese: 鱼香; traditional Chinese: 魚香; pinyin: yú xiāng; literally: “fish fragrance”) is a seasoning mixture in Chinese cuisine, and also refers to the resulting sauce in which meat or vegetables are cooked. It is said to have originated in Sichuan cuisine, but has since spread to other regional Chinese cuisines. Proper preparation of the yuxiang seasoning includes finely minced pao la jiao, white scallion, ginger and garlic. They are mixed in more or less equal portions, though some prefer to include more scallions than ginger and garlic. The mixture is then fried in oil till fragrant, then adding water, starch, sugar and vinegar to create the basic sauce.  Despite the term literally meaning “fish fragrance” in Chinese, yuxiang contains no seafood, is typically not used in seafood, but rather for dishes often containing beef, pork, or chicken, as well as vegetarian recipes “ (Source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Yuxiang)

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When one talked about eggplant recipes in Chinese household or restaurant dishes, most will thought of this dish. It is such a common dish in Sichuan and Cantonese restaurant resembling the Kangkong belachan in Chi Char stores. The brinjal are soft, sauces or gravy are a bit spicy with some bits of minced meat. Most of the time, fermented soya beans was used in the preparation.

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As for the brinjal, in order to preserve the colour, you can either deep fried in hot oil with the face facing down for 2-3 minutes or you can used water blanch method as I have shared with you in this post: Chinese Eggplant Salad (凉拌茄子)

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Per Chinese Wikipedia:

“鱼香茄子是一道常見川菜魚香是川菜主要傳統味型之一。成菜具有魚香味,但其味並不来自,而是泡红辣椒醬油調味品調制而成。此法源出於四川民間獨具特色的烹魚調味方法,而今已廣泛用於川味的熟菜中,具有鹹、酸、甜、辣、香、鲜和濃郁的葱、薑、蒜味的特色。魚香茄子的主料為茄子。配料為豬肉、泡红椒、薑、蒜等適量。調味料:食用油豆瓣酱、鹽、、糖等各適量。 製作時,先將茄子切片,小火煸軟,盛出備用。豬肉切成肉末,翻炒後備用。然後,鍋内倒入適量食用油,加葱、薑、泡椒翻炒,待炒出香味後放入豆瓣酱,炒至七分熟時將煸好的茄子和肉末下鍋,稍稍炖煮,最後臨出鍋時勾芡即完成。” (Source: https://zh.wikipedia.org/wiki/%E9%AD%9A%E9%A6%99%E8%8C%84%E5%AD%90)

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WHAT IS REQUIRED

Servings: 4-6 adults

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  • 3 small eggplants or 1 normal egg plants
  • 5 chilli padi , chopped
  • 50 grams of minced meat
  • 10 grams of black fungus, soaked and cut into stripes (optional)
  • 50 grams of bamboo shoots, cut into thin stripes (optional)
  • 1 tablespoon of minced garlic
  • 1 tablespoon of minced ginger
  • 1 tablespoon of fermented soya beans or Szechuan spicy fermented soya beans

Seasoning

  • 2 teaspoons of light soya sauce
  • 1 teaspoon of sugar
  • 1 teaspoon of black vinegar
  • Seasonings such as mushroom concentrate or chicken stock to taste
  • 1 tablespoon of corn starch mixed with 3 tablespoons of water
  • 2 tablespoons of red chilli oil (optional)

Note: I have totally omitted these chilli padi and chilli oil as I am cooking for my kids.

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STEPS OF PREPARATON

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  • Cut the egg plant into quarter and your desired length. Set aside.

  • In a pot, put adequate water enough to cover the egg plant. Bring to boil. Once it boils, add the egg plant and quickly using something heavy to press the egg plant such that all the eggplants were submerged in the hot water. Blanch for 7-8 minutes. Transfer out to a pot of icy cold water. Let it soaked in the cold water for 2-3 minutes. Take out and placed on the serving plate. Alternately, you can use deep fried the egg plants in hot oil for 2-3 minutes.

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  • In a pot, put two tablespoons of cooking oil or chilli oil, sauté the minced garlic, minced ginger, chopped chilli and fermented soya beans until fragrant. Add the minced meat and stir fry for 1-2 minutes until the flavour incorporated.  Add the bamboo shoots, shredded black fungus and blanched egg plant. Stir fry for 2-3 minutes. If it is too dry, you can add some water to facilitate the stir frying. Add the starch solution, seasoning, sugar and  black vinegar. Stir fry until the sauce thickens.  Off the heat and best let it rest in wok before serving.

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CONCLUSION

if you feel that the dish must add salted fish, go ahead and add to the dish. My humble understanding is that this concoction of seasonings and herbs were initially used to cook seafood especially fish in Sichuan cuisines ..However, it was extended to the cooking of non-seafood dishes including vegetables or even meat stripes. Let’s not argue about that and without salted fish, the taste also blend well. In the event you add salted fish, you have to increase the sugar amount as both salted fish and fermented soya beans are salty..

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

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Chinese “Osmanthus” Eggs (桂花蛋)

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INTRODUCTION

Egg is one of the most common cooking ingredients but it is rather difficult to master it perfectly. It seems easy but without some pointers, it may be difficult to use the imagination to cook to what it looks likes in the restaurant dinner table..

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One of them is the Chinese style of scrambled egg called Osmanthus fried eggs. Don’t be misled by the term osmanthus.. No osmanthus flower were used in the preparation.. It was called as such because it resembles the tiny yellowish osmanthus. flower The scrambled egg is in tiny  yellow bits of the size slightly bigger than small bees. The authentic osmanthus fried eggs shall be the size of osmanthus flower, however, in restaurant, the size can be much bigger. Looking at the picture above, do the eggs look like smaller yellow flowers?

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One of the most common dishes for this type of fried eggs is in the Chinese cold dish or hot dish where it was stir fried together with shark fin and the name of the dish is 桂花翅 or literally translated “osmanthus shark fin”. It can be rather costly and is a presentable dish during Chinese new year dinner..Another less costly alternative is the use of crab meat and for household version, usually just glass noodles was used to substitute the real shark fin..

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My main purpose of this recipe is not to teach you how to cook shark fin but is to share with all how to make this style of Chinese scramble egg.  I have learned the technique when one of my Facebook friends Ms. Maggie Chan share her technique with member of Facebook Group and friends. I saw her video and immediately capture my attention.

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Soon after I saw her video, I headed over the kitchen and try it out. It worked beautifully and I shall say that it is one of the most beautiful Gui Hua eggs I have ever prepared. It does not stick together, it is moist and the round shape is very natural as compared to if you cut it using a knife.. Ms. Chan jokingly say that I am a “捣蛋鬼” or “trouble maker” because I have successful “捣蛋” or “scramble the eggs” .She joked over the action of preparing the eggs. I would also like to take this opportunity to thank Ms. Maggie Chan for teaching me how to do this scrambled egg.

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WHAT IS REQUIRED

Servings: 3-4 adult servings

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Scrambled eggs

  • 3 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon of corn starch mix with 3 teaspoons of water
  • 3 tablespoons of cooking oil
  • Seasonings to taste

Others

  • 50 grams of glass noodles or shark fin
  • 50 grams of minced meat
  • 3-4 mushrooms, soaked and sliced thinly
  • 2 sprigs of spring onion or coriander
  • Some crab meat (optional)

Seasonings

  • Pinches of salt
  • Dashes of white paper
  • Sugar to taste

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STEPS OF PREPARATION

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  • Crack the eggs,  add 1 tablespoon of oil, the corn starch solution, and pinches of salt. Whisk until well combined.

  • Heat up a pot with the remaining 2 tablespoons of oil, add the egg and do not stir it for about 1 minute。Once the sights slightly set, use a chopstick to scramble the eggs as fast as possible. Remember to scramble the part near the side. Cook for another 1 minute or until the eggs are slightly set. Off the heat and continue to scramble for another 1/2 minute. Set aside for later use.

Note:

  • The scrambling action has to be as fast as possible before the egg is set. Once the egg is set, you will have difficulty to break the eggs. The eggs shall not be over cooked. Over cooked eggs are hard and making the dish very dry.

  • Use a pot rather a frying pan to do the action. the pot of have tall walls that will facilitate the scrambling. Vigorous scrambling in a frying pan will send your eggs all over the place..

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  • Soak the glass noodles until soft. Cut the noodles 1-2 times and drained.

  • In a pot, put some cooking oil, add the minced meat and mushrooms, sauté until fragrant. If you wish, you can sauté with some minced garlic as well. Add the glass noodles and scramble eggs. Stir fry for 1-2 minutes until well mixed. Add seasonings  (salt, pepper, sugar to taste) of your choice before dishing up for serving.

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CONCLUSION

This recipe is  to be classified under simple house hold dishes series. Remember that this dish is famous to be stir fried with shark fin. What I am sharing is not the shark fin dish but how you can get tiny bits of scrambled eggs in a pot.  As for the shark fin dish, you can use the same concept and add in more ingredients like crab meat, carrot etc. to enhance the colour combination.  It will then ideal for your Chinese reunion dishes. Should i prepare such a dish, I will share with all..

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

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food bloggers[4]

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  • If you are a Pinterest user and you are interested to have more recipes, you can join or follow this Pinterest Board set up by me  where there are more than 2600 recipes worldwide and pinned by various bloggers: FOOD BLOGGERS AND FOODIES UNITED PINTEREST BOARD.

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Chinese Prawn Omelette (滑蛋虾仁)

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INTRODUCTION

Some home cooked dishes looks easy but I can never get it right if there are no pointers.. One of the dish is this Chinese prawn omelette..

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We cooked based on what our mothers used to cook .. We cooked based on our experiences dealing with the heat and the gadgets that we have in our kitchen… But the output that comes out is always different from what we saw from those posted in the internet or social media.. House chefs always bound by the various experiences accumulated throughout the years.. Some may not be correct..

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What is so great about prawn omelette? Essentially it is prawn cooked together with eggs. When I cooked, the prawns always looked rather dry and the eggs are hard.. What is in the social media look juicy for both prawns and the omelette.. I therefore Google the recipe and I found out a few mistakes that I have.

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One of the them is over cooking and the cooking time for both prawns and omelette were much shorter than I thought. I did not add starches to the solution and hence the egg coagulates very fast… Since there are water in the egg solution, the water moisturizes the harden eggs..

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Well, i learned together with every one of my readers .. I learned and I share with new house chefs who may be interested to know how to better prepare the dish.

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WHAT IS REQUIRED

Servings: 3-4 adult servings

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  • 250 grams of shrimps
  • 4 eggs
  • 3 sprigs of spring onion
  • 1 tablespoon of corn starch mixed with 3 tablespoons of water

Prawn marinating ingredients

  • 1 tablespoon of corn starch
  • 1 teaspoon of Chinese cooking wine
  • Pinches of salt
  • Dashes of white pepper
  • 1 egg white

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STEPS OF PREPARATION

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  • Sprinkle some salt in the prawns and let it marinate for 5 minutes. After 5 minutes, wash away the salt under running water, drained and pat dry using a kitchen towel. Add the marinating ingredients for 15 minutes. The main purpose of this steps is to draw out the moisture form the prawns and the prawns will be crunchier.

  • Meanwhile, get ready the starch solution and chopped the spring onion.

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  • Heat up a pot of water. When it boils, add in the marinating prawns, blanch the prawns until 70% cooked (about 30-45 seconds) , drained and set aside.

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  • Crack and lightly beat the eggs. Add the blanched prawns, chopped spring onion and the starch solution.

  • In a pot, add about 2 big tablespoons of oil under high heat. Once ready, add the egg solution and let the sides coagulates slightly. Once the side is set, use a ladle to do  a few quick stirs  until all the remaining eggs are set. The whole process will took only 1-2 minutes depending on your heat and the dish is ready to be served.

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CONCLUSION

This dish will be classified as simple home cooked food series aimed to help new house chefs. Experienced house chefs, I am sure you can cook better than me and I would appreciate that you can share some tips and pointer with me and the readers. Remember that the effective cooking time of this dish is very short and that will help to ensure a moist and creamy prawn omelette.

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

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Braised Pomelo Pith (卤柚子皮)

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INTRODUCTION

Whenever friends have wanted to get old traditional recipes that they do not know how to replicate, they will ask me.. They always said that they missed their late grandparents or parents cooking on certain dishes and they did not have a chance to get the recipe from them…They will ask for the recipe.

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This is one of the most common recipe that friends requested from me.. They have eaten it before, they know it is a waste to throw the pomelo pith away but they do not know how to cook.. They will describe as a very nice dish that walked them down the memory lane.

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Hmmm, unsure which dialect dish is that but I have never tasted it before.. I suspected. it is related to Cantonese cuisines since Hong Kong Facebook groups seems to recall such dish whereas Taiwanese food group have never seen the dish before Since there are request for the recipe, I tried to search for recipe and it seems there are quite a lot of recipes in the  Chinese website..

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I tried and I seriously like it.. It is soft and flavourful. As to the flavour, you can choose the type of braising sauce that you want. Essentially, it was treated as a vegetable . You can cook in 1001 ways. Since I am still on my vegetarian diet, I have decided to braise it on a vegetarian sweet sauce. That goes well with the pomelo pith, in my humble opinion.

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The preparation is not difficult but it take time and patience. I have expedite the cooking part by using pressure cooker to cook the pomelo pith. The challenge of this recipe is to get rid of bitterness associated with the skin.  My end product still have slight bitterness but I can take it as it is. I especially loved the texture.

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If you do not know how to skin the pomelo beautifully, you can refer to this post: Pomelo Honey Jam (柚子蜂蜜酱)

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WHAT IS REQUIRED

Servings: 6-8 adults

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  • 1 pomelo crust

Braising sauce

  • 3 tablespoons of dark soya sauce
  • 3 tablespoons of sesame oil
  • 1 teaspoon of five spice powder
  • 3 slices of ginger
  • 1 medium piece of rock sugar

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STEPS OF PREPARATION

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  • Wash the pomelo crust and skin off the pomelo rind leaving the white spongy pomelo pith.  Cut into big pieces and transfer to a pressure cooker pot. Add adequate water to cover the pomelo pith.

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  • Pressure cook the pith for 20 minutes . If you do not have a pressure cooker, you can boil over the stove until the skin can be pierced through by a chopstick.

  • Drain and squeeze away the water trap in the spongy pith. Transfer this pith to a container of cold water. Soaked the partially cooked pith in cold water overnight. Change water 2-3 times. For every changes of water, ensure that the water trapped in the pith is squeezed out.

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  • In  a pot, put all the braising sauce ingredients and adequate water to cover the pith. Bring to boil. Cut the pith into desired sizes and put in the braising sauce. Turn the heat to medium and let it simmer for 10-15 minutes. Let the pith rest in the pot for at least one hour before servings.  Timing of cooking will depend on your desired texture of the pith.

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CONCLUSION

Well, the basic recipe is shared in this post but what is most important is your braising sauce. The cooked pomelo skin is tasteless and it depends very much on your sauce. This recipe serves as a guideline, after pressure cooking the pomeo pith, you can either stir fried it in your style, or even braised with your favourite recipe. Meat can be added to enhance the taste and some recipes suggested to braise the pith with duck as well..There are also recipes that called for steamed pork ribs with these pomelo pith.  Leap out from this recipe, just take this as another vegetable and feel free to cook in the manner that you like.

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

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Beer Shredded Chicken (啤酒手丝鸡)

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INTRODUCTION

If your spouse is drunk and he or she insisted that he or she did not drink any alcohol, I think you will not believe him or her because there are some alcoholic smell in the shirts or body… The alcoholic smell can be rather strong and it is the same when you use alcohol to cook a dish.. This beer chicken is flavoured by alcohol instead of the normal spices that we used.

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Do not worry, the flavour is there but the alcohol will be evaporated in the process of cooking. I get this extremely simple recipe from one Taiwanese Facebook Group… About a month ago, the Group’s timeline were flooded with the same type of beer braising posts.

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The original recipe appeared to use beer to braise the duck, subsequently, more and more variants come out from pork belly to lamb to chicken to beef… The picture did caught my attention as it looks glossy and juicy and I also believed that it will be a nice dish.

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I have decided to try and braise the chicken using beer too… Since I have kids, I decided to shred my chicken and prepare another dish, shredded chicken cold dish.This is optional as the chicken can be served like poached chicken after it was braised. The dish was well liked by family members as expected as it is sweet and aromatic.

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I have used pressure cooker to prepare the dish which took me only 15 minutes to cook and another 15 minutes for the submersion in the braise sauce. If you do not have the pressure cooker, you can braise over the stove but you have watch over the heat…

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WHAT IS REQUIRED

Servings: 5-6 adult servings

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  • 1 medium size chicken
  • 1 can of beer (about 330 ml)
  • 1/3- 1/2 cup of golden syrup or maltose or brown sugar (depends on personal preferences)
  • 1/2 cup of dark soya sauce
  • 1 cup of water

* The measurement are very flexible and very much depend on the size of your chicken and the size of the pot. You may need to adjust the water level subsequently to at least cover 3/4 of your chicken.

Shredded Chicken Sauce

  • 2 tablespoons of light soya sauce
  • 2 tablespoons of sesame oil
  • 2 tablespoons of dark vinegar
  • 1/2 tablespoon of sugar
  • 1 tablespoon of chilli oil (optional)
  • Some sesame seed
  • Some shredded cucumber
  • Some shredded carrots

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STEPS OF PREPARATION

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  • Use part of dark soya sauce to marinate the chicken for at least 15 minutes. This will help to have a darker colour .

  • Transfer the marinated chicken to the pressure cooker pot, add the beer , remaining dark soya sauce, brown sugar or maltose. Add the water and adjust the water to at least 3/4 height of the chicken. Pressure cook the chicken for 15 minutes. Once it is done, turn the chicken around and let the other side submerge in the braising liquid. Let it rest in the pot for at least 30 minutes for colour consistency.

  • For the braising sauce, if it is too watery, transfer it to a pot and boil the sauce over the stove until the sauce thickens. Timing depends on the quantity of your braising liquid.

  • Shred the chicken if preferred and set aside. In a bowl, mix sesame oil, dark vinegar, chilli oil, sugar and light soya sauce. Stir until well combined. In a plate, place the shredded chicken, cucumbers and carrots. Drizzle the sauce and dust sparingly with toasted sesame seeds. Toss well and best served chilled as an appetizer. Alternatively, the shredded chicken can be drizzle with the braising sauce.

Note:

  • If you do not have a pressure cooker, you can always braise the chicken using a wok or pot over the stove. However, you will need to monitor the timing. An estimated timing will be about 30-45 minutes.

  • If you preferred, garlics and ginger or even spices like cinnamon can be added. However, it will not have the original beer smell as the smell was masked by the spices.

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CONCLUSION

This is a flexible recipe and again, it very much depends on your personal liking, your pot size and your chicken size. You have to exercise judgement and do some adjustment to suit your family members’ taste buds. The left over sauce can be thickened or it can be used as broth for cooking noodles and etc.  Lastly, you can also braised with pork belly, pig maw , pork knuckles , duck and etc..

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

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Tofu Burger (豆腐汉堡)

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INTRODUCTION

I blog what I ate and I prepared some tofu burger for my family and that is why I take this opportunity to blog this recipe…

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I am not the one who started this concept of tofu burger, there are many many websites in the Internet that have such recipes and notably in the Western website…It was designed for vegan or vegetarians who like meatless dish..

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Is the tofu burger tasty? I have tried some vegetarian burger in a vegan bar and it is very nice and that is why I have decided to blog this recipe. A Google of vegetarian burger will give you a number of restaurants that served this and prices can be rather steep..

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The challenge of vegetarian burger is more on the texture and not really on the flavour itself since one mouthful of the burger will have lots of mix aroma from mayonnaise, vegetables, chilli sauce, cheeses and you can hardly differentiate if it is a real meaty burger or vegetarian burger. Nobody in my family complain about such burger since it was eaten as whole.

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This recipe is for octo and lacto vegetarians meaning those vegetarians that can consume diary and egg products. I will share the basic recipe of the burger patty and for the assembly, I will leave it to the readers to design your own . Even for the patty, only the cereal, tofu and eggs are compulsory , there are many alternatives for other ingredients and you can always flavoured your burger differently for each attempt.

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As per Wikipedia:

“A veggie burger is a hamburger-style, or chicken-style, patty that does not contain meat, but may contain animal products such as egg or milk. The patty of a veggie burger may be made from vegetables (like corn), textured vegetable protein (like soy), legumes(beans), tofu, nuts, mushrooms, or grains or seeds, like wheat and flax. The patties that are the essence of a veggie burger have existed in various Eurasian cuisines for millennia, including in the form of disc-shaped grilled or fried meatballs or askoftas, a commonplace item in Indian cuisine. Some fast food companies have been offering vegetarian foods increasingly since the beginning of the 21st century. In the United States as of April 2005, veggie burgers were available in Burger King restaurants and those of its franchise Hungry Jack’s. As of that same time, they were also available in certain Subways and Harvey’s, as well as many chain restaurants, such as Red Robin, Chili’s, Denny’s, Friendly’s, Culvers, Johnny Rockets, and Hard Rock Cafe. Occasionally the veggie burger option will appear at the bottom of a menu as a possible substitution for beef or turkey burgers, rather than as an individual menu item.’ (Source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Veggie_burger)

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WHAT IS REQUIRED

Servings: Prepare 6-8 tofu patties

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  • 200 grams of firm tofu or taukwa
  • 100 grams of instant oatmeal
  • 50 grams of green capsicum
  • 50 grams of red capsicum
  • 50 grams of shitake mushrooms
  • 50 grams of cashew nuts (optional)
  • 1 tablespoon of sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoons of black pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoons of dried oregano
  • 1 tablespoons of dark soya sauce  (optional if you want lighter patty)
  • Pinches of salt
  • 1 egg

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STEPS OF PREPARATION

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  • Pulse blend cashew nuts, capsicums, and shitake mushrooms until coarse form. Add the firm tofu, dark soya sauce, black better, sugar, oregano, salts, instant oatmeal and eggs. Blend until well mixed. Take a small teaspoon and taste the raw batter. Adjust the seasoning if necessary.

  • In a non stick pan with some oil, put 1-2 tablespoons of tofu patties, pan fry the patties until both side are well cooked and reached your desired tone. The batter will harden when cook, it is considered as cook when a tooth pick insert into the centre of patties come out clean.

  • To assemble, you can consider added cheese, mayonnaise, lettuce, tomato and cucumber to the veggie burger.

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CONCLUSION

This is my own recipe and I like the taste very much. Having said that, variations are many, you can add whatever things you liked such as basil, celery or other types of ingredients and come out your unique version. It is advisable that you do not change the instant oatmeal, egg and tofu ratio so as to maintain a texture that is like the real meat patty.

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

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Stir Fried Mantou (炒馒头)

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INTRODUCTION

I believed not many members will appreciate this dish but what I am sharing is a rather traditional snack, not in this region but in China and Taiwan. It was classified as a cuisine in Chinese Henan province or 豫菜系

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It is definitely not my creation and a Google of this recipe name will yield lots of recipes. Even English website have such recipes being captured.

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I have prepared these for at 4least  times and all the family members like this snack very much.. It is aromatic, additive and easily tailored to one’s taste buds.

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If you have never eaten this before and cannot imagine the taste… Try to think that it is a Chinese style French Toast. In fact, the way of preparation is very similar except Chinese ingredients were used.. French toast is sweet flavoured by butter but this is savoury flavoured by spring onion or vegetable. Texture is the same except it was cut in cubes. Similarly, if you do not have mantou or Chinese steamed bread, normal stale bread can be used too..

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Every time I posted this in Facebook Group, there are many members who are curious about this recipe and therefore I have decided to blog this for records since I have a lot of mantou at home from my “experiment” of modifying my recipes.

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WHAT IS REQUIRED

Servings: 3-4 adult servings

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  • 4-5 stale mantou or bread
  • 2 sprigs of spring onion
  • 2-3 eggs
  • 1-2 tablespoons of cooking oil

Seasonings

  • Dashes of white pepper
  • Pinches of salt
  • 1 tablespoon of light soya sauce or fish sauce
  • Sugar to taste

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STEPS OF PREPARATION

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  • Chop the onion and cut the mantou or bread in small cubes of about 1 cm x 1 cm x 1 cm. Set aside.

  • Crack 2-3 eggs, beat well and add the cut mantou. Coat the mantou fully with eggs.

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  • In a stir frying pan, put some cooking oil, sauté the white part of spring onion until fragrant. Add the egg coated mantou, use medium heat to pan fry the mantou until the eggs are set and turn golden brown. Add dashes of white pepper, chopped spring onion,  pinches of salt, sugar to taste and the fish sauce or light soya sauce. Stir fry until well combined. Served hot as a snack.

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Note:

  • Capsicum , carrot cubes can be added to enhance flavour. Other spices such as fennel powder can be used too. If preferred, minced meat can be added.

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CONCLUSION

Preparation is easy, ingredients are simple but taste is great.. Don’t doubt, do give it a try and let me know if it suits your taste buds. Remember that you can always used stale bread for the snack..

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

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Food paradize[8]

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  • If you are a Pinterest user and you are interested to have more recipes, you can join or follow this Pinterest Board set up by me  where there are more than 2600 recipes worldwide and pinned by various bloggers: FOOD BLOGGERS AND FOODIES UNITED PINTEREST BOARD.
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Century Egg Pork Congee (皮蛋瘦肉粥)

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INTRODUCTION

I have to be frank that I do not really want to issue this type of simple home recipe..One reader PM me asking me if i have porridge recipe.. After pondering a while, i have decided to issue a porridge recipe which is commonly sold in the stores and I hope it will benefit those readers who are really in need of such recipes..

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This recipe is rather famous with minced meat and century egg as 2 main ingredients. It is very commonly sold in Hong Kong Porridge stores and obviously is a famous Cantonese cuisines. As per Wikipedia:

“Century egg or pidan (Chinese: 皮蛋; pinyin: pídàn), also known as preserved egg, hundred-year egg, thousand-year egg,thousand-year-old egg, and millennium egg, is a Chinese delicacy made by preserving duck, chicken or quail eggs in a mixture ofclay, ash, salt, quicklime, and rice hulls for several weeks to several months, depending on the method of processing. Some Chinese households cut them up into small chunks and cook them with rice porridge to create “century egg and lean pork congee” (Chinese: 皮蛋瘦肉粥; pinyin: pídàn shòuròu zhōu). This is sometimes served in dim sum restaurants. Rice congee, lean pork, and century egg are the main ingredients. Peeled century eggs are cut into quarters or eighths and simmered with the seasoned marinated lean slivers of pork until both ingredients are cooked into the rice congee. Fried dough sticks known as youtiao are commonly eaten with century egg congee.” (Source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Century_egg)

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Cooking porridge is nothing more than boiling  raw rice in water and water quantities used is usually more than the rice quantities. As a guideline, one cup of rice needs one cup of water, therefore, for porridge or congee, it is one cup of rice may requires 3-4 cups of water depending on how fluid you want your porridge to be.

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Boiling porridge is simple and the challenge is to boil the porridge as fast as possible and as mushy as it can..There are many ways of boiling porridge and I believed most households will have their own ways of boiling the porridge.. Some said that freeze the washed raw rice in the freezer and it took 1o minutes to boil into very fine and mushy porridge. Some said put a porcelain spoon in the process of boiling. There is no right and wrong, how about blending your rice becoming the porridge like those prepared to nurse the baby? What about pressure cooking the rice and I can guarantee that within 15 minutes, the porridge is like those sold in the store..

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What I am sharing is what I usually did for my family.. It is not my mother’s way of preparation as there is no such kitchen gadget available. This recipe shall be for your reference and you can always refer to the aforementioned paragraph for better porridge preparation.

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My rice cooker has a quick cook function facilitating busy parents who have no time to prepare the rice. It took about 10-15 minutes to cook the rice. While cooking the rice, using this 10-15 minutes, I started to boil the meat broth for the porridge, by the time the rice is ready, dump in and boil for another 10-15 minutes, the thick mushy porridge is ready.. It is rather fast and easy too. .

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WHAT IS REQUIRED

Servings : 3-4 adults

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  • 1 cup of cooked rice
  • 4-5 cups of plain water
  • 100 grams of minced meat
  • 3-4 pork ribs (optional)
  • 2-3 sprigs of spring onion
  • 4 cm young ginger
  • 1-2 century egg
  • 1 tablespoon of sesame oil or cooking oil
  • Pinches of salt
  • Dashes of white pepper
  • 1 Chinese cullers (youtiao) (optional)

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STEPS OF PREPARATION

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  • Shred the ginger until fine , chopped the spring onion and cut the century egg until fine pieces. Set aside.

  • Cook the rice using rice cooker using “QUICK COOK” function if available.  Once it done, add the sesame oil and pinches of salt, stir until well mixed.

  • While the rice is cooking, have a pot of water, boil the pork ribs for as long as you can affordable. Pork rib is optional and serve the role of taste enhancing. For this illustration, I have boiled for about 15 minutes. Blanch the minced meat using the same pot of water and dish out the blanched minced meat.

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  • Add the cooked rice and use high heat, without lids on, boil for another 10 minutes. Occasionally give it a quick stir. After 10 minutes, add the blanched minced meat, ginger and century egg, let it simmer for another 5-10 minutes or until your desired texture. In this 5-10 minutes, constant stirring is required to avoid the porridge stick to the bottom of the pot. While doing the stirring, you may want to use the big spoon to “grind” the porridge also.

  • Before off the heat, taste the porridge, add additional seasoning such as sesame oil, mushroom concentrate or salt. Stir until well combined. Let the porridge rest in the pot for another 10 minutes before serving. Add additional water if necessary.   Add you tiao and dust with additional chopped century eggs, white pepper, sesame oil and chopped onion before serving.

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Notes:

  • There should not be a fixed and fast recipe for cooking porridge or congee. Variations are many, you can always add or delete certain ingredients or increase or reduce the quantities stated.

  • When preparing porridge, never ever put on the lid of the pot. Always open the lid to avoid over flow.

  • For the first 10 minutes, no stirring is required, stirring is only required at the last 5-10 minutes.

  • If porridge too dry, add more water. If too watery, boil longer. Even when you stop cooking, cooked rice will continue absorb the water and expand. Less water will expedite the process. But you have to gradually add water for the cooked rice to absorb.

  • New rice and old rice will have different water absorbing properties. Jasmine and basmati rice will have different water absorbing properties too. Always refer to the rice packaging for a rough guideline. Chef discretion is needed in the preparation. If you are unsure, add water cautiously and gradually ..

  • If by the end of cooking, the rice is still grainy, use the big spoon to grind it slightly, it will help to turn mushy.

  • I always planned in advance. If I want to cook congee on the next day, I will cook extra rice for dinner tonight. I always used leftover rice to boil porridge.

  • If you have kids, you may want to consider not adding century eggs to the porridge. You can only add the eggs during serving.

  • The same method can be used to cook shredded chicken. As for fish porridge, add the fish slices 5 minutes before you off the heat and the fish have to be sliced a bit thicker and preferably coat with some corn flour.

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CONCLUSION

As what I said before, there are million ways of cooking porridge. Each dialect will have different expectations on their porridge. Like Teochew, they may prefer the watery grainy type of porridge. This recipe is a traditional Cantonese style that is commonly served in Hong Kong porridge stores.. Whatever method you used, as long as you can get what you desired, it is considered as the correct method. I seriously hope that this post will give inspiration to new house chefs who are struggling to cook porridges.

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

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food bloggers[4]

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pinterest[4]

  • If you are a Pinterest user and you are interested to have more recipes, you can join or follow this Pinterest Board set up by me  where there are more than 2600 recipes worldwide and pinned by various bloggers: FOOD BLOGGERS AND FOODIES UNITED PINTEREST BOARD.

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Three Cups Chicken or Sanbeiji (三杯鸡)

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INTRODUCTION

“Sanbeiji (simplified Chinese: 三杯鸡; traditional Chinese: 三杯雞; pinyin: sān bēi jī; Pe̍h-ōe-jī: sam-poe-ke; literally: “three-cup chicken”) is a popular chicken dish in Chinese cuisine. The dish originates from the Jiangxi province of southern China, is a specialty of Ningdu, and has become especially popular in Taiwan. The dish derives its name from the three cups of sauces required. For each chicken, a cup each of soy sauce, rice wine (usually mijiu although it may be mixed with Shaoxing jiu), and sesame oil are added. Lin Shangquan, a famous chef in Taiwan, believes that the traditional recipe called for a cup each of soy sauce, sesame oil, and sugar, with added ginger, garlic, and basil. The chicken, together with the sauces, is cooked in an earthenware pot on high heat for ten minutes, then on low heat to allow the sauces to be absorbed by the meat. The dish is usually served in its cooking pot when the sauce has 80-90% reduced. Sanbeiji is served with no sauce; the dish is cooked until all the sauce evaporates and is absorbed by the chicken”. (Source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sanbeiji)

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This is a famous Taiwanese dish that I flopped a few times… I was always mislead by the belief that it is one chicken will need one cup of soya sauce , one cup of wine and one cup of sesame oil. It is my fault and was interpreted based on my wild imagination. Based on these literal interpretation, what I got is an extremely dark, salty and oily chicken… Not only unappetizing, the meat is overly soft by the time all the sauces thicken…

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I have therefore decided to locate a recipe . I subsequently learnt that though the name suggested to be in that ratio, it does not work that way  due to current health trends. In addition, as every brand of soya sauce will taste and look differently,  some form of chef judgement is therefore needed.

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I stumbled across a Taiwanese recipe which convinced me that I shall try his or her recipe.. At least what he or she presented capture my attention and the meat looked tender, glossy, tasty and beautiful.. I  decided to give a try after I saw some Thai basil leaves being sold in the market.

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Thai basil leaves is the main ingredient that differentiate this dish with other similar dishes. Without these prime ingredient, the dish will not qualify to be called three cups chicken. It will be just normal sesame oil chicken. Per Wikipedia:

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“Thai basil (Thai: โหระพา, rtgs: horapha, ISO: h̄oraphā, pronounced [hǒː.rá(ʔ).pʰāː]; Vietnamese: húng quế) is a type of basil native to Southeast Asia that has been cultivated to provide distinctive traits. Widely used throughout Southeast Asia, its flavor, described asanise– and licorice-like and slightly spicy, is more stable under high or extended cooking temperatures than that of sweet basil. Thai basil has small, narrow leaves, purple stems, and pink-purple flowers.”

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WHAT IS REQUIRED

Recipe adapted from: [零失敗食譜] 三杯雞作法!!!

Servings: About 3-4 adults

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  • 500 grams of chicken meat (cut into small pieces)*
  • 4 stalks of Thai basil
  • 8 cloves of garlics
  • 8 slices of ginger
  • 1 tablespoon of rock sugar or maltose
  • 3 tablespoons of dark soya sauce
  • 3 tablespoons of Chinese rice wine
  • 2 tablespoons of sesame oil

Note:

  • I have used about 8 chicken mid wings and 2 deboned chicken drumsticks. Chicken meat are supposed to cut into small chunks of about 3cm x 3 cm
  • Maltose can be used to enhance the colour and flavour

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STEPS OF PREPARATION

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  • In a non stick pan, pan fried the chicken under medium heat until the exterior are golden brown. There is no need to cook the chicken and the main purpose of this step is to preserve the outlook of the chicken after cooking. Dish up and set aside.

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  • In the same frying pan and using high heat, add the sesame oil follow by the garlic and ginger. Sauté until fragrance. Add in the maltose or rock sugar, stir fry until sugar melts. Add the pan fried chicken, stir fry 1-2 minutes until flavour incorporated, add the rice wine and dark soya sauce. Bring to boil. Once it boils, reduce the heat to medium. Let it simmer until the sauce thickens.  Give a quick stir once in a while. Before dishing up for serving, add the Thai basil leaves , stir until well mixed. Best served hot with a plate of steaming white rice or white porridge.

Note:

  • Traditionally, this dish is braised in clay pot but for convenience sake, I have used non stick pan for the preparation.

  • For rock sugar, you may need to pound the sugar into powder if it is too large piece.such that it is easier to melt. If you have maltose, it will be a better choice to provide colour and sweetness.

  • Generally, the dish shall not have too much gravy or sauces left. It is supposed to be rather dry. However, if you prefer, you can add more rice wine or water to have gravy to go with the rice.  If you find that the dish is too salty, just dilute with some more rice wine.

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CONCLUSION

Hmmm, though the dish is said to be originated in Jiangxi, China, why is Thai basil being used? Is it really because of the Taiwanese chef that introduce the herbs to the dish? Whatever the reasons, it is really a nice dish that both children and adult will like. Please do not make the same mistake as me , the literal interpretation of the cuisine name will not be able to produce this tasty dish, it will be overly oily and salty for current taste buds.. Lastly, you can always used the same recipes for other meat like pork belly .

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

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food bloggers[4]

Food paradize[8]

pinterest[4]

  • If you are a Pinterest user and you are interested to have more recipes, you can join or follow this Pinterest Board set up by me  where there are more than 2600 recipes worldwide and pinned by various bloggers: FOOD BLOGGERS AND FOODIES UNITED PINTEREST BOARD.

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Chinese Eggplant Salad (凉拌茄子)

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INTRODUCTION

Two weeks ago, when I prepared a brinjal or eggplant dish, I was “bombarded” by my family members that the look of my cooked eggplant looked extremely disgusting… Yes, I agreed because I did not deep fried the egg plant before I proceeded to other cooking… That prompted me to search for ways to preserve the eggplant purplish colour without the use of deep frying method..

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It took me a few trials to get this colour and it is still not perfect yet. In fact, one of the reasons is I am trying to find my best cooking utensils to cook this dish such that the eggplant will not floated upwards and hence discoloured. You shall know later in the post that eggplants floated up and any surface area that touches the air will turn brownish.

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As per Wikipedia:

“Eggplant (Solanum melongena) or aubergine is a species of nightshade grown for its edible fruit. It is known in South Asia, Southeast Asia and South Africa as brinjal.[While “eggplant” is the common name in American, Canadian, and Australian English, “aubergine” is much more common in British English. Other common names are melongene, garden egg, or guinea squash. Nutritionally, eggplant is low in fat, protein, and carbohydrates. It also contains relatively low amounts of most important vitamins and minerals. A 1998 study at the Institute of Biology of São Paulo State University, Brazil, found eggplant juice to significantly reduce weight, plasma cholesterol levels, and aortic cholesterol content in hyper cholesterol emic rabbits. “ (Source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eggplant)

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Experienced cook will know that cut brinjal turned brown due to oxidation due to enzyme known as polyphenol oxidase. All the purplish colour will become brownish when it was exposed to oxygen during the process of cooking. Traditionally, deep frying was used as there is no oxygen in the hot oil and hence the colour was preserved and it serves to explain why restaurant cooked eggplant dishes was always oil but looked nice.

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If cooked in water, one has to ensure that the water has no oxygen and cooked water will have no oxygen. Therefore, a healthier method will be to submerge the eggplant into the hot boiling water. Eggplants float in water, therefore, one has to find a way such that the eggplant remain in the hot water without touching the air . Any parts that was exposed to the air will be brownish…

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I have two recipes using this method and what I am sharing is a type of Chinese salad dish called “liang ban 凉拌” or literally translated as “chilled and stirred”. It is common in restaurant as an appetizer and it can  be used for cucumber , tomatoes and etc. For eggplant, it needs to be cooked first before it was prepared as a salad dish.

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WHAT IS REQUIRED

Servings: 3-4 adults as an appetizer

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  • 1 medium size egg plant
  • 1 tablespoon of minced garlic
  • 1-2sprigs of coriander
  • 1 small size red chilli
  • 2 tablespoons of dark vinegar
  • 1/2 tablespoon of sugar
  • 1 tablespoon of light soya sauce
  • 1 tablespoon of sesame oil
  • Pinches of salt

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STEPS OF PREPARATION

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  • Cut the egg plant into quarter and your desired length. Set aside.

  • In a pot, put adequate water enough to cover the egg plant. Bring to boil. Once it boils, add the egg plant and quickly using something heavy to press the egg plant such that all the eggplants were submerged in the hot water. Blanch for 7-8 minutes. Transfer out to a pot of icy cold water. Let it soaked in the cold water for 2-3 minutes. Take out and placed on the serving plate.

  • Minced the garlic, chilli and coriander until fine. In a bowl, put the black vinegar, sesame oil, light soya sauce, sugar , pinches of salt and minced herbs. Stir until well combined. Drizzle on top of the blanched eggplant and best served chilled as an appetizer in a Chinese meal.

Note:

  • Timing of the blanching will depends on your preferred texture and the size of the eggplant.

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  • Steaming method can be used and the timing is the same. It must be steamed under strong heat and with the skin placed downwards.

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CONCLUSION

This is a healthy dish with very low calories. It is a delicious appetizer that will impress your guess. Remember to find some kitchen utensils that can do the job of pressing the eggplant downwards. Once it floated up, the colour will be different. Please stay tune for the upcoming dish on stew eggplant clay pot dish (鱼香茄子煲)。

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

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