Homemade Collagen Stock (胶原蛋白)

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INTRODUCTION

One of the most common comments received when you posted your pork trotter pictures is there are lots of collagen and it is very beneficial to the skin.. Well, this is a true fact minus the fats under the pigskin… If you keep the pig trotter broth in the fridge, the next day, your broth may become jelly like and if you re-heated it , it will melt and become the same soup again.. The same for the fish stock that you have prepared..

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If you Google “collagen for skin care”, you are likely to see that most major cosmetic companies will have such a product to enhance your skin complexion and reduce wrinkles.. Cosmetic surgery also uses this important ingredients.

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The health supplements will also want a share of this natural protein product by introducing collagen supplements..You can easily get it in supplement stores in Singapore and Malaysia.

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Of course restaurant owners will not be left out in this trends, they will sell you a pot of collagen pack hotpot at a huge price premium and customers believed that it will transform you into a beauty and hence the name beauty hotpot (美人锅) were used. Whether or not restaurant uses the top collagen ingredients is up to everyone’s guess.. I can also cheat the readers in this illustration  by putting some milk and gelatine powder to come out to some collagen look alike ingredients..

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Well, I did not cheat in terms of my ingredients but I cheated in terms of my preparation method. Traditionally to get a very concentrated collagen stock like in this illustration, one will need lots of pork big bones, chicken bones, fish bones, fish scales and etc.. In addition, you will need very long hours of stewing until all the collagen were being extracted.. So this recipe is different from most recipes that uses chicken bones and pork big bones. with long hours of slow cooking.. It uses pigskin..and food processor and effectively, it takes less than half an hour to prepare this natural gelatine.

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In fact it is a gelatine and if you are unaware, gelatines used in cheesecake or other jelly are actually animal based. Most of them are non halal and prepared using pigskin… Of course there are halal fish gelatine that sell in speciality cake shop and generally, vegetarians are not advised to eat gelatine set cakes..

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In my humble opinion, only this method can yields such concentrated collagen and mind you, over usage of this collagen stock will render your soup a sticky soup. That also explains why it is not transparent like what you saw in most pictures and it is solid white that can be cut into squares for usage..

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Well, collagen are not fats… There may be minute quantities of fats but in this recipe, it will be discarded and it should be unnoticeable.. Long term consumption of reasonable quantities of these stock is believed to be able to improve skin complexion and inhibit wrinkles formation.

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With such a bit pot of collagen stock, how shall we used in our daily cooking.. You will be surprised that there are many usages that can be used in our daily cooking…Usages of collagen in daily cooking includes

  • Act as a starch substitute to thicken a sauce – Sauce will be easily thicken without adding any starches.. The dish will be glossy and smooth
  • Act as a soup base for most soups such as ramen, hotpot, fish head beehoon and etc.. You can always add one portion to the soup at anytime you like it..
  • Provide liquid inside the dry fillings for an enveloped dough such as the minced pork steamed buns, xiao long bao,  soup dumplings (灌汤水饺)
  • Preparation of traditional meat Jelly such as pork trotter jelly (猪脚冻) but it need to be diluted first

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I do not know how much one pays for a collagen hotpot in Singapore, but I used S$3.50 to prepare this big tub of collagen and it can definitely be used for months. Adding about 100 grams inside my soup already make the soup look thick like the broth of the hot pot..

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As per Wikipedia:

Collagen /ˈkɒlədʒɨn/ is the main structural protein in the extracellular space in the various connective tissues in animals. As the main component of connective tissue, it is the most abundant protein in mammals, making up from 25% to 35% of the whole-body protein content. Collagen, in the form of elongated fibrils, is mostly found in fibrous tissues such as tendons, ligaments and skin. It is also abundant in corneas, cartilage,bones, blood vessels, the gut, intervertebral discs and the dentin in teeth. In muscle tissue, it serves as a major component of the endomysium. Collagen constitutes one to two percent of muscle tissue, and accounts for 6% of the weight of strong, tendinous muscles. The fibroblast is the most common cell that creates collagen. Gelatin, which is used in food and industry, is collagen that has been irreversibly hydrolyzed. Collagen also has many medical uses in treating complications of the bones and skin. (Source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Collagen)

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WHAT IS REQUIRED

Servings: About 2 –3 litres of thick concentrated stocks that can be further diluted

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  • 1 kg of pigskin
  • About 3-4 times the volume of water

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STEPS OF PREPARATION

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  • In a big pot put the pigskin, add the water. The water volume shall be at least 2-3 times the volume of the pigskin. You can add water at any stage of your preparation. Bring the water to boil and let it simmer for about 5 minutes. Drain the pigskin and keep the hot water.

  • Trim away all the fats under the pigskin if any. Cut into small pieces.

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  • Transfer the cut pigskin to a food processor or blender. If using a blender, add some hot water from the pot and blend it until as fine as possible. You will witness the solution will turn whitish and that is essentially collagen. Transfer the blended solution back into the pot, let it boil for another 15 minutes.

  • Put a sift on top of a desired container, pour the hot whitish solution into the container. Collect the pigskin that are not fine enough. If dsired, you can re-blend these pigskin and boil again for the second time to maximize the recovery rate. Effectively, I have only threw away about 100 grams of the pigskin as i have blended a few time to collect more stock.

  • Cool completely and when set, cut it into small pieces for future usage. The firmness of your collagen stock will depend on the amount of water added. The more water it is, the softer it will be ..

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  • To use it, add your pre-cut collagen slices into soup or meat dishes. The soup will looked very concentrated and for meat dishes, it will be very glossy without the need to add starches.

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Note:

  • If you do not like it to be too thick, you can dilute with water before setting.

  • To wash all the cooking utensils, flush all the utensils with hot boiling water.

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CONCLSUION

As you can see, I have prepared two dishes using a small quantities of homemade collagen.. It is so satisfactory especially the shredded ginger chicken. It smoothen the meat without the need to add starches. In view of such thick concentration of collagen, it is likely that I will use it for noodle dishes. My own perception is a small quantity of additional collagen per day will replenish  the natural lost of collagen in the body and in the long run, I hope, I hope, I hope I  will have less wrinkles.. Lol

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

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Pumpkin Coconut Jam aka Pumpkin Kaya (金瓜加椰)

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INTRODUCTION

This is the long overdue recipe that I have never blog.. It was very trendy 2 years ago. I still remembered then I just started my blog and I can remember that a few bloggers started sharing recipe and it become so common that Facebook are flooded with this pumpkin kaya recipe.

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Since I have a lot of pumpkin at home, I have therefore decided to prepare some. After digesting for 3-4 recipes, I have designed my own, making it creamier and easier.

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I am happy that the adventure works, and family members like it too. Actually, the taste did not differ much from the traditional egg kaya or coconut jam. It is silky smooth and good as spreads for bread.. It is addictive too possibly because of the creaminess from the addition of condensed milk.

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Well, if you are someone who  have condensed milk phobia, I have another recipe to use castor sugar. You can choose either one but the one with condensed milk is definitely a better recipe. The illustration will show the use of condensed milk.

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WHAT IS REQUIRED

Servings: Prepare a small bottle of pumpkin coconut jam

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  • 400 grams of pumpkin
  • 8 Pandan Leaves
  • 80 grams of condensed milk or 60 grams of brown sugar
  • 200 ml or grams of thick coconut milk

Note: Both the sugar and condensed milk quantities stated here are rather conservative. Feel free to add more if you found that it is not sweet enough to your liking.

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STEPS OF PREPARATION

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  • Steam the pumpkin until soft. Put all the ingredients (except pandan leaves) into a blender and blend until as fine as possible. Transfer to to a non stick pan and add pandan leaves. Cook under low heat until it thickens. Constant stirring is required and it took me about 30 minutes of stirring.  If the jam thicken until a stage whereby when you stir, the line appeared on the jam, it is considered as done. Cool completely before storing in sterilized glass container.

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CONCLUSION

Trust me, if you have never try pumpkin kaya before, you should give it a try. If you have tried it before, do give this recipe a try and let me know if there is any differences.

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

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  • For more recipes, you can refer to my RECIPE INDEX (updated as at 13 March 2015)  here and you can follow me at 

PINTEREST or visit the blog’s FACEBOOK PAGE to keep abreast of my future posts. Also follow me at INSTAGRAM or TSU, a new social network for some more personal sharing other than recipes.

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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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Pomelo Honey Jam (柚子蜂蜜酱)

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INTRODUCTION

First of all, I have to apologize that I got confused with term Yuzu and pomelo.. I was confused because of the Japanese Kanji 柚子 is different from the Chinese character 柚子. Though both characters are the same but Yuzu in Chinese is 香橙 and 柚子 for Chinese character means pomelo.. Are you as confused as me? Well, I hope not, I do not intend to change my picture wordings as the recipe is equally applicable to the preparation of yuzu jam if you are able to get hold of it.

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This post is concerning pomelo or 柚子 or 文旦, another type of fruit in the citrus family. As per Wikipedia,

“Citrus maxima (or Citrus grandis), (Common names: shaddock, pomelo, pummelo, pommelo, pamplemousse, or shaddok) is a natural (non-hybrid) citrus fruit, with the appearance of a big grapefruit, native to South and Southeast Asia. It is usually pale green to yellow when ripe, with sweet white (or, more rarely, pink or red) flesh and very thick albedo (rind pith). It is a large citrus fruit, 15–25 centimetres (5.9–9.8 in) in diameter, usually weighing 1–2 kilograms (2.2–4.4 lb). Leaf petioles are distinctly winged. The fruit tastes like a sweet, mild grapefruit (which is itself believed to be a hybrid of Citrus maxima and the orange[6]), though the typical shaddock is much larger than the grapefruit. It has none, or very little, of the common grapefruit’s bitterness, but the enveloping membranous material around the segments is bitter, considered inedible, and thus is usually discarded. The peel is sometimes used to make marmalade, can be candied, and is sometimes dipped in chocolate. In Brazil, the thick skin is often used for making a sweet conserve, while the middle is discarded. Citrus maxima is usually grafted onto other citrus rootstocks but can be grown from seed, provided the seeds are not allowed to dry out before planting.”Source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pomelo)

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The benefits of pomelo are many and as per http://www.healthbenefitstimes.com/health-benefits-of-pomelos/, the 13 major benefits of pomelo includes the following. However, it is advised that you do some read up on the above link before you place reliance on such information,

  • Prevent urinary tract infection
  • Promote fast healing of wounds
  • Promotes healthy teeth and gums
  • Prevent anaemia
  • Prevent colds and flu
  • Regulate blood pressure levels
  • Prevent osteoporosis
  • Prevent leg cramps
  • Cure Constipation
  • Aids in weight loss
  • Fights against Cancers
  • Treats atherosclerosis:
  • Anti-aging

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This fruit is very common  during Chinese New Year and big festivals like moon cake festival. As to why moon cake festival was associated with pomelo, according to some website, it was written that the homophone of 柚子 is the same of having son (有子).  Some others believed that eating 柚子 or pomelo will lead to moon goddess’s 嫦娥 blessing 保佑平安。Some said that during the period of moon cake festivals, it is the harvesting time of pomelo in northern hemisphere. Some even believed that putting the pith of the pomelo at the head of a kid will give additional blessings during this period.

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I am also rather new to this belief as it was not common during my childhood in my small town. What I know now is that this is common in PRC when I was staying there, Hong Kong and Taiwan Facebook Groups. Singapore supermarkets was loaded with pomelo and prices can be steep before the festival. Gift sending always include moon cake and pomelo..

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I believed many families are loaded with pomelo.. Most will eat the juicy flesh in throw away the skin. What most may not know is that the skin can be churned into dishes and jam and etc. What I am sharing today is how to skin the pomelo beautifully and how to make jam from the fruits. You can use the jam for as bread spread, baking cakes or dilute with water and become a refreshing drink. . In fact, you can also use for stir frying pork ribs, chicken and etc. as a flavouring agent.

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WHAT IS REQUIRED

Servings: Prepare a small jar of pomelo jam

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  • One medium to big size pomelo
  • 500 grams of pomelo flesh
  • 120 grams of white sugar
  • 200 grams of honey or golden syrup or maltose
  • 50 grams of water

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STEPS OF PREPARATION

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  • Wash and scrub the skin of the pomelo as clean as you can. Use a sharp knife to cut shallowly a circle at the middle of the pomelo. Do not cut too deep as it will cut into the flesh. Use a spoon to push inside the pith and push around the fruit. When the cavity is big enough that your finger can go in, use your finger to push around the segments. Take out the rind and the pith. Perform the same for the bottom.

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  • Use a knife to cut lightly following the segment patterns. Use hand to lightly pull apart the segments. Use a knife to cut away the core connecting part. Use your hand to pull away the white membrane. During this process, you have to hold the pomelo segment tight to facilitate pulling. Otherwise, you are likely to break the fruits.

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  • Use a peeler to peel the rind (do not go into the white pith). If you are weary that it is bitter, you can blanch in hot water for 2-3 minutes but the fragrance will be reduce in the next step.

  • In a pot, put the pomelo flesh, sugar, pomelo rind and water. Bring to boil. Though the water seems to be very little, however, when you boil, the pomelo juices will be excreted.

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  • Once the flesh and rind has slightly softened (after boiling for 5 minutes), transfer to a blender and blend until fine. This steps is optional but it will save you at least 30 minutes of high heat boiling. You can omit this step but you will need to boil until the flesh and rind is soft which took about one hour.

  • Transfer the blended flesh back to the pan, add the honey, continue boiling under high heat until the jam thicken. Give it an occasional stirring to avoid sticking to the sides.   Cool completely before store in a sterilized glass container.

  • The jam can be used to prepare drinks , as a bread spread , baking cupcakes or chiffon cakes or as a flavour enhances in the cooking of savoury dishes.

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CONCLUSION

I hope this post will help  those who are looking for a way to fully utilize the pomelo. If you are overloaded with pomelo, you can consider this recipe.

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

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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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Eggs, Eggs, Eggs….. Join Me To Cook Eggs….

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INTRODUCTION

I doubt if any one from my generation have never try eggs and if they try, never like eggs. Of course they are some unfortunate people in this world that have egg allergy and can only have cakes or other cuisines that are eggless. Bearing this in mind, I would think that majority of the people (at least in my circles of friends) would not reject the offer of a simple fried egg dish to go with their meal.

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This is an updated post that I have issued a year ago. Due to some technical reasons, I can’t retrieve my old files and have to treat this an a new post. Hope this will benefit new house chefs who are looking for advise on cooking eggs. 


WAYS OF COOKING EGGS

There are many ways of cooking eggs and this post will by pass all the descriptive flowery languages and go straight to the following ways of cooking eggs. You may have known this better than me but just took some time to read if there are any thing that you can add to my post and constructively criticise about my ways of preparing eggs. The methods that will be covered here are:

  1. Soft Boiled Eggs (水煮蛋)

  2. Hard Boiled Eggs (水煮蛋)

  3. Coloured Eggs (上色蛋)

  4. Poached Eggs (水波蛋)

  5. Scrambled Eggs (炒蛋)

  6. Eggs Omelette (蛋饼)

  7. Braised Eggs (卤蛋)

  8. Steamed Eggs (蒸蛋)

  9. Adding eggs to Chinese Soups (蛋花)

  10. Fried Eggs (煎蛋)

  11. Lava Eggs (溏心蛋)- Ni-tamago


1。2。SOFT BOILED EGGS AND HARD BOILED EGGS (水煮蛋)

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To have perfect soft boiled eggs and hard boiled eggs, there are some timings that need to be followed An over boiled egg will have solid egg yolks slightly bluish in colour.  If it is fresh farm eggs, additional 5 minutes is needed. It is easier to boil eggs keep in the refrigerator than those keep at room temperature.

In a big pot filled with water, add in two big tablespoon of vinegar (to prevent egg whites flow out in the event the eggs crack), one teaspoon of salt and bring the water to boil under high heat. Once boiled, turn to medium heat to let the water simmer. Place the eggs using a spoon and gently lower down to the pot. The range of timing to get the desired textures of eggs are as follows (source: :adapted from http://www.wikihow.com/Make-a-Soft-Boiled-Egg)

  • 2 minutes – very soft yolk and egg whites

  • 3 minutes – the white is set and the yolk is just starting to thicken

  • 4 minutes – the white and yolk are set, with the centre of the yolk still creamy.

  • 5 minutes – the white and yolk are set with centre starting to set

  • 10 minutes – the white and yolk are all set

  • Any further timing than this will result the eggs yolks to start turning to a bluish colour.

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Please note the colour changes of the egg yolks.


3。COLOURED EGGS (上色蛋)

At birthday or other important occasions, Chinese like to colour their eggs red. If you do not colour the eggs properly, the eggs will stain your hand or when you touch it. Therefore, it is important that your eggs do not lose its colour when you hold it.

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  • In a bowl, put some colour gel or permitted food colouring. Add few drops of vinegar. Stir well.

  • When ready, transfer your hard boiled eggs directly from the pot that it was cooked and use a spoon to roll the eggs. The hotter the egg, the easier it is. Continue rolling until you get your desired colour tone. It will dry very fast because of the heat inside the eggs. Look for any areas not covered with the colouring and make sure the colour is as even as possible.

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4。POACHED EGGS (水波蛋)

As per Wikipedia:

A poached egg is an egg that has been cooked by poaching, that is, in simmering liquid. This method of preparation is favoured because a very consistent and predictable result can be attained with precise timing, as the boiling point of water removes the temperature variable from the cooking process. (Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Poached_egg)

A poached egg is consider as perfect if all the egg whites are cooked and the yolks are still runny. It is good to be served in soups or with breads.

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  • In a hot pot of water, add one teaspoon of vinegar. Let it boil under high heat and once boiled, turn down to low heat and let it simmer.

  • Crack your eggs in a bowl or some kitchen utensils, slowly place it in the water. Don’t stir the water. If you want to stir the water, it must be done in a circular motion quickly such that the egg whites would not dispersed the the near by areas. Let it simmer until all the egg whites solidify.

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5。SCRAMBLED EGGS (炒蛋)

Per Wikipedia:

Scrambled eggs is a dish made from whites and yolks of eggs (usually chicken eggs). Eggs are poured into a hot greased pan and coagulate almost immediately. The heat is turned down to low and the eggs are constantly stirred as they cook. The pan and the stirring implement, if kept in constant motion, create small and soft curds of egg. (Source:http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Scrambled_eggs)

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  • In a big mixing bowl,  put some eggs. Put in some milk and beat until the eggs are well “mixed”, The purpose of this step is just to ensure the egg yolks and the egg whites are well beaten, You can also used a hand whisk to whisk it.

  • In a frying pan, put in some butters (or other cooking oils of your choice) and melt the butter.

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  • Pour in the beaten eggs and constantly stir it. Once the eggs have solidify into smaller curds, off the heat, add in seasonings such as salt and pepper and scoop up to a plate for servings.

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6.  EGGS OMELETE (蛋饼)

Per Wikipedia:

In cuisine, an omelette or omelette is a dish made from beaten eggs quickly cooked with butter or oil in a frying pan, sometimes folded around a filling such as cheese, vegetables, meat(often ham), or some combination of the above. To obtain a fluffy texture, whole eggs or sometimes only egg whites are beaten with a small amount of milk or cream, or even water, the idea being to have “bubbles” of water vapour trapped within the rapidly cooked eggs. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Omelette)

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In this illustration, I have prepared seaweed omelette with tomatoes. An omelette is deemed perfect if both sides have solidified whereas the insides are still moist but not runny. Milk is usually used to achieve that effect. Please refer the scrambled eggs above.

  • Follow the steps as mentioned in scrambled eggs above. Add in the seaweeds to the eggs. Add seasonings or your choice.

  • In a big shallow frying pans, add in the seaweed beaten eggs. Let it fried the bottom layer start to solidify.

  • Add in cut tomatoes strips and when all the eggs are not runny in the centre, fold into half.

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7.  BRAISED EGGS (卤蛋)

Chinese like to braise eggs and usually the eggs were braised together with meat broth such as from braising of ducks, pork belly etc. It appeared in Chinese cuisines such as Kuey Chap, a Teochew type of flat broad rice sheets and served with dark braised meat broth.

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To prepare Chinese styled braised eggs:

  • In a sauce pan, stir fry big pieces of galangal, garlics and gingers until aromatic. Add cups of dark soya sauce diluted with adequate to cover the meat or eggs that are to be braised. Bring to boil under high heat.

  • Once boiled, turn to medium heat, add in five spice powder,  some rock sugars and items to be braised including eggs.

  • Depending on the items to be braised, if without meat, eggs will need about 15 minutes before the colour sets in the eggs.

  • Off the heat and let the eggs sits in the broth for another 15 minutes for the flavour to penetrate the eggs.

There is a detail pictorial instruction of preparing braised eggs and bean curd. Please refer to Guaishushu’s page recipe  D10 – Braised Eggs and Taukwa (卤蛋和豆干).

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8. STEAMED EGGS (蒸蛋)

Steamed eggs is another common household dish for Singaporean and Malaysian Chinese. It is also common in Korean and Japanese cuisines. The challenges of steamed eggs is to ensure that the eggs are flat, soft and without any bubbles or holes appearing on the eggs. In order to achieve that, one important point to note is the usage of boiled water when making the egg solution. If tap were used, the water is full of air or oxygen and this will cause the steamed eggs to have lots of holes. Cooked water are free of air and therefore when steamed, the eggs will be silky and soft.

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  • In a big bowl, crack one egg and add in about half a cup of cooked or boiled water (meat broth can also be used). If you want it softer, you can add in more water., Add in all your preferred seasonings, beat until well combined. Sieved and put in a bowl to steam at medium heat.

  • It is considered as done when the eggs are set. Drizzle with additional seasoning such as sesame oils, light soya sauce if necessary.

There is a detail pictorial instruction of preparing steamed eggs. Please refer to Guaishushu’s page recipe  D8-Steamed Tofu With Eggs (豆腐蒸蛋)

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The following is another simple recipe you can try: Crack one egg, add 1/2 teaspoon of corn flour, add one cup of warm to hot water, stir until well combined. Sift the egg mixture to a steaming bowl and steamed under medium to high heat for 15 minutes. You should have a bowl of nice smooth steamed egg.

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9. ADDING EGGS TO CHINESE SOUP (蛋花)- Egg Flower or Egg Drop Soup

Certain Chinese cuisines required soups to be thickened with egg solution. In the illustration, I have used some old images that I have photographed for the preparation of Lor Mee. A type of noodle dish where braised meat broth were first diluted and further thickened by using eggs and starches. A perfect addition of eggs should see small pieces of eggs floating in the soup or broth and there should be no lumps of eggs in the soup.

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  • Slightly beat your eggs until well mixed.

  • Use high heat to bring to boil. Once the soup is boiling, slowly add in the beaten eggs and use a ladle to stir the soup in a circular motion as quickly as possible. In that case, you will be able to break the egg solutions even before it solidifies.

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There is a detail pictorial instruction of using the same method to prepare another Chinese starchy soup. Please refer to Guaishushu’s page recipe S6 – Vegetarian Shark Fin Melon Soup (素鱼翅瓜羹)


10. FRIED EGGS (煎蛋)

Everybody how to fry an egg and there is nothing much to say about egg frying techniques except one point. In order to have a “sunny top” type of eggs, you can consider the procedures below. If you follow the procedure, your egg yolks will not be easily broken.

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  • Heat up your frying pan and put a teaspoon of oil (optional).

  • Crack your eggs and put a few drops of water around the frying pan. Cover the frying pan to capture the water vapour.

  • Open the cover as soon as the egg is set and egg white is cooked. Off the heat and transfer to a serving plate.

Note that this way of frying eggs is possible without any oils (if using a non stick pan). You can heat your frying pan under high heat, crack your eggs and off the heat immediately. Put a few drops of water around the frying pan and cover the frying pan immediately and let the water vapour cook the top part of the egg yolk. Once the egg white is cooked, the top part of the egg yolk should also have cooked while inside, the egg yolk remains runny. You may want to refer to my Nasi Goreng Aruk  post on how to fry eggs without oil.

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11.  Lava Eggs (溏心蛋)- Ni-tamago

Ni-tamago or lava egg is an Japanese style of cooking eggs usually served with ramen. It is supposed to be with a well cooked firm egg whites but with a semi cooked runny gooey yolks. To prepare this is not really difficult。

WHAT IS REQUIRED

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  • 4 eggs
  • 4 tablespoons of mirin (Japanese rice wine)
  • 4 tablespoons  of Japanese light soya sauce
  • 2 tablespoon of brown sugar
  • 2 cups of water

STEPS OF PREPARATION

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  • In a pot, heat up the water, sugar, mirin and light soya sauce until sugar dissolved. Set aside for later use.
  • In another pot, put adequate water to cover the eggs. Place the eggs in the cold water. Bring the water to boil under medium heat.Once it boil, let it boil for 30 seconds.

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  • When it reaches 30 seconds, cover the pot with the lid and 10 seconds later off the heat. Let it rest in the hot boiling water (with heat off and lid covered) for another 2 minutes. After 2 minutes, transfer the eggs to another pot of icy cold water. Let it rest in the icy water until when the egg is not hot to touch.  Peel the shell in the egg in a pool of cold water. Transferred the peeled eggs to the about marinate. Marinate the eggs for at least 4-8 hours before serving. For serving, use a dental floss to cut across the eggs carefully.

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On more other egg related dishes, you can refer here:

 

 

 

 

 

 


  • For more recipes, you can refer to my RECIPE INDEX (updated as at 28 July 2014)  here and you can follow me at PINTEREST or visit the blog’s FACEBOOK PAGE to keep abreast of my future posts.  

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Homemade Chinese Rice Noodles–Hor Fun or He Fen or Guo Tiao (沙河粉,河粉或粿条)

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INTRODUCTION

I will be shocked if any of the Malaysian or Singaporean Chinese readers who do not know about this type of noodles.. Further explanation of this noodle may insult the readers.. ha ha

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But as usual, for the sake of my international readers, let’s see what Wikipedia have written about this common type of Chinese rice noodles..

“Shahe fen or he fen is a type of wide Chinese noodle made from rice. Shahe fen noodles are white in colour, broad, and somewhat slippery. Their texture is elastic and a bit chewy. They do not freeze or dry well and are thus generally (where available) purchased fresh, in strips or sheets that may be cut to the desired width. Where fresh noodles are not available, they may also be purchased packaged in dried form, in various widths.

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While shahe fen and he fen are transliterations based on Mandarin, there are numerous other transliterations based on Cantonese, which include ho fen, hofen, ho-fen, ho fun, ho-fun, hofoen (a Dutch transliteration in Suriname), hor fun, hor fen, sar hor fun, etc. In addition, shahe fen is often synonymously called kway teow (粿條), literally “rice cake strips”, transliteration based on Min Nan Chinese, POJ: kóe-tiâu) or guotiao (pinyin: guǒtiáo; the corresponding transliteration of Mandarin), as in the name of a dish called char kway teow. However, shahe fen and kway teow are strictly and technically not the same (the latter being essentially rice cakes sliced into strips) and the Min Nans in general still consciously make a distinction between shahe fen and kway teow in their speech. Original rice cakes or its strips are very stiff in texture (even after cooking), making them unpopular with modern consumers. (Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shahe_fen)

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Though it can be easily bought in the market and not many readers may be willing to take the hassle to prepare the noodles, however, this post will benefit my overseas’ reader who have difficulty to get freshly prepared noodles…In addition, homemade version is not as oily as commercially sold.. As far as house chefs is concerned, they are likely willing to forgo the perfection of the noodles for the sake of healthiness. Oil is required to separate the noodles such that it will not become lumpy when they are  sold  in the market..

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I am exploring the recipe of hor fun because I found that it is rather interesting to find out homemade versions of certain food that we took for granted… Out of my surprise, the preparation is extremely easy…and only 3 main ingredients were needed, all are common household items…Texture of course will not be as smooth and fine as the counter bought but I can definitely accept these imperfections.  In fact, I found that I prefer the slightly thicker and coarser texture of this home made hor fun especially if it is used for stir frying.

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WHAT IS REQURIED

Servings : About half a kilo of rice noodles

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  • 200 grams of rice flour
  • 400 grams of water
  • 20 grams of potato starch or corn starch
  • Pinches of salt
  • 1 tablespoon of cooking oil
  • Additional cooking oil for brushing the cooked hor fun

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STEPS OF PREPARATION

  • Get ready a steamer and lightly grease a baking tin for steaming.

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  • In a big mixing bowl, place all the dry ingredients together, add 1 tablespoon of cooking oil and water, use a hand whisk to stir the rice solution until well mixed.

  • Put  some rice solution in the baking tin (in this illustration, I used 1/2 cup of rice solution for a 9” round baking tin and it yielded hor fun of about 1 mm thickness).  Swirl around such that it is as even as possible. Steam in a steamer at high heat for about 5-6 minutes or when the rice sheet is not sticky. Take out the baking tin, brush some cooking oil on top of the hor fun, use something sharp object such as fork to take out the big piece of hor fun. Perform the same until all the rice solutions are steamed. When cooled, cut into your desired width before stir frying.

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CONCLUSION

There is a sense of achievement to homemade these noodles that can easily be bought in the market.. Family members never complain about the texture of the hor fun and kids have finished all without knowing that this is homemade. I seriously hope that this post will benefit overseas member who have difficulty to get the commercially sold hor fun..For local members, why not trying to prepare some when time permits..

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

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  • For more recipes, you can refer to my RECIPE INDEX (updated as at 28 July 2014)  here and you can follow me at PINTEREST or visit the blog’s FACEBOOK PAGE to keep abreast of my future posts.  


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Soy, Soy, Soy, Join Me to Cook Soy Related Products

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INTRODUCTION

I doubt if any Chinese , Japanese and Koreans do not know any thing about soya beans. Some soya bean products such as bean curds are so common that the Chinese name (“Tofu” or “ 豆腐“) have been accepted as an English word. I was once told that Japanese women had one of the lowest breast cancer risk because of their long term consumption of soya beans based products. However, for this post, I did not do a detail research on this.

Soya beans have isoflavones that may inhibit the risk of breast cancers and there is an inverse relationship between the intake of isoflavones and miso soup with the risk of breast cancer.  (source: Soy, Isoflavones, and Breast Cancer Risk in Japan) . I have to be fair that there are also subsequent, contradictive research studies that rebutted its properties of inhibition and proved that “it may not necessary be able to inhibit the risk of breast cancer…”. Well, just from these two simple conclusions without going into details, in my humble opinion, soya based products are general good and nutritious to your body. If it’s able  to inhibit breast cancer, it will definitely a plus point. However, without this property, tofu are packed with vitamins and proteins which are essential for our body growth.

IMG_9573Miso Soup with Egg Tofu and Tofu Puff Meat Balls

There are really many types of soya based products which are used as Chinese cooking ingredients. This post will roughly highlight to you the various common types of soya bean related products in Chinese household cooking. Due the worldwide globalization and improve in communication systems, some of the soya bean related products originated from Japan and Korea are also being accepted by Malaysian and Singapore Chinese households. One good example will be the Miso soya bean paste.

IMG_9594Meat stuffed taukwa and tofu puffs with fermented black bean sauce.

The post will have two recipes – Tofu Puff Meat Balls In Miso Soup and  Meat Stuffed Taukwa with Sweet Black Fermented Beans Sauce. In addition, I will refer you to another few recipes that I have written on soya bean products. These recipes will use the following common type of soya beans products.

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  • Tofu puffs –  This is a type of tofu that were deep fried with a golden yellowish skin. It is fluffy and light and can withstand long hours of cooking;

  • Taukwa – This is also called hard bean curd, a type of tofu that has less moisture content than the normal silky bean curd or tofu. It is firmer and with a meaty texture. It is good for stir frying and deep frying.

  • Chinese black fermented beans – This is a type of fermented soya beans made by fermenting and salting. Usually, it is used in Chinese cuisines for flavouring and used in making the black bean sauce (as in the recipe below) for dipping or as toppings. The normal type of Chinese black fermented beans can be slightly spicy and very salty. However, today, the brand I used had a totally different taste. It is a product from Taiwan ROC, sweet and no other condiments are deemed necessary when cooking using these black beans.

  • Japanese Miso pastes – Most will know that Miso is another type of fermented soya bean paste. It is brownish and in a paste form. It is tasty in its unique way and most commonly used in the cooking of Japanese seaweed soup.

  • Egg Tofu – Egg tofu is rather common in recent years. It is just like the normal tofu except with the addition of eggs in a certain prescribed ratio. It is soft, full of egg fragrance and one of the well received dishes by kids. Egg tofu are usually used in soups or some light stir frying dishes due to its silky texture.


WHAT IS REQUIRED

These ingredients are for both recipes (servings: 3-4)

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Minced meats to be used for both dishes

  • 500 grams of minced meat
  • 200 grams of fish paste (optional)
  • 2 tablespoons of corn flour
  • 1 tablespoon of sesame oil
  • 1 teaspoon of white pepper
  • Some chopped spring onions (optional)
  • Some winter vegetables (optional) 

Tofu puff meatballs in Miso Soup*

  • 5-6 square small tofu puffs
  • 5 big tablespoons of Miso Paste
  • 1 tube of egg tofu
  • Some lettuces

Meat Stuffed Taukwa with Fermented Black Bean Sauce*

  • 1 big piece of taukwa (drier bean curd)
  • 2 big tablespoons of black fermented black beans (sweet)
  • 1 shallot minced
  • 1 cm ginger minced
  • 1 tablespoon of corn starch

* Ingredients in these two categories were not in the picture above.


STEPS OF PREPARATION

Marinating The Meat (both for recipes)

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  • In a big bowl, put all the ingredients together (fish meat, corn flour, spring onion, minced meat, sesame oil, white pepper, winter vegetables). Use a pair of chopsticks or a tablespoon to stir it until well mix. Marinate for 15 minutes.

Meat Stuffing The Tofu Puffs

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  • Take a piece of tofu puff. Cut it diagonally into two halves. Use a teaspoon to “poke” the centre and make a tofu puff boat. Put 1-2 teaspoons of the marinating meat inside the cavity. Try to stuff as many as possible until it resemble the shape of a volcano (as my kids called it). Set aside and put it in the fridge.

 My kids “insisted” they want to help before they take the bath

IMG_9500 Uncooked Meat Stuff Tofu Puffs

Meat Stuffing The Taukwa (Firm Tofu)

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  • Cut the taukwa into 4 smaller pieces. Use a knife to cut the centre a bit, use a tablespoon to dig out a cavity. Stuff as much minced meat as possible inside the taukwa. Set aside and put it in the fridge.

Making the Meat Balls

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  • Put some minced meat in your hand. Squeeze until a small ball appeared. Use a teaspoon to scoop out the balls. Set aside for later use. Store in the fridge. If it is too sticky, put some water in your hand and continue.

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TOFU PUFF MEAT BALLS IN MISO SOUP

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  • To summarize, for the dish, you should have the tofu puff meat balls, half of the meat balls, some lettuces, 2 tablespoons of miso paste, 1 egg tofu.

  • Bring a pot (about 5 cups) of water to boil under high heat. Add in tofu puff meat balls and meat balls. Let it boiled for about 3-4 minutes. The meat balls will considered to be cooked when it starts to float in the Miso soup.

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  • For the egg tofu, cut into small pieces and put in the boiling Miso soup. Add in lettuces and off the heat. No seasoning or condiment is required as the Miso soup is already very tasty.

IMG_9575Cooked Miso Soup with Tofu Puff Meat Balls and Egg Tofu

  • Best served hot as a soup item to go with a full set Chinese meal.


MEAT STUFFED TAUKWA WITH BLACK FERMENTED BLACK BEAN SAUCE

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  • To summarize, for the dish, you should have some minced ginger, minced garlics, corn starch solution (1 tablespoon of corn starch in 3 tablespoons of water), 2 tablespoons of sweet black fermented beans, half of the meat balls and the meat stuffed taukwa.

  • In a frying pan, put some oils, heat the oils under high heat. Deep fry the meat stuff taukwa and meat balls until the outer layer is golden in colour. The taukwa may take about 5 minutes but the meat balls will be cooked within 2-3 minutes. Drain and transfer to a serving plate. If you prefer, you can put these in an oil absorbing paper.

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  • In the pan, use some oil from deep frying the meat stuffed taukwa, put in minced gingers and garlics, stir fry until aromatic. Add in Chinese fermented black beans, stir fry for 2-3 minutes. Add in half cup of plain water and let it simmer for 1-2 minutes. Slowly add in the corn starch solution. Let it cook for 1-2 minutes or when the sauce is transparent (meaning not milky). Off the heat.

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  • Place the fermented black soya sauce on the serving plate. Arrange the meat stuff taukwa and meat ball in the desired pattern. Drizzle some fermented black bean sauce on the top of the meat stuffed taukwa and meatballs. Garnished with some spring onions or coriander leaves before serving.

  • Best served hot as a side dish in a full Chinese meals.

Note: If there are no black fermented beans, you can just serve the fried meat stuff taukwa with mayonnaise or Thai sweet chilli sauce, or just oyster sauce alone.

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OTHER SOYA BEAN RELATED POST

For other soya bean cuisines, you may want to refer the following post:

STEAMED EGGS WITH TOFU (Please click the link or the picture below)

HOT AND SPICY TEMPEH (Please click the link or the picture below)

SEAFOOD TOFU (Please click the link or the picture below)

GADO GADO (Indonesia Salad) (Please click the link or the picture below)

CHINESE MEAT ROLLS (Wrapped with dry bean curd sheets) (Please click the link or the picture below)

Others:


CONCLUSION

This is a rather long post. As can be seen the various recipes here, soya bean play a very important role in most Malaysian and Singapore Chinese diets and cuisines. We can easily put up a meal that are full of “tofu relatives”. What I have covered in this post may only accounted for 20-30% of the soya bean products used in our cuisines. There are many other ingredients such as the silken tofu, tofu jelly, dried bean curd stick, light soya sauce, dark soya sauce, bean curd sheets etc…

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Hopefully for my international readers, you will have a better understanding about tofu and its related products. Do try to have some simple tofu dishes at home and I am sure it wouldn’t disappoint you. Hope you like the post today.

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This post is linked to the event, Little Thumbs up organised by Doreen from my little favourite DIY and Zoe of Bake for Happy Kids, hosted by Mich of Piece of Cake at this post.

For more recipes, you can refer to my RECIPE INDEX here and you can follow me at PINTEREST or visit this blog’s FACEBOOK PAGE.

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For Four Seasons Blog Hop where I am the Co-host, please join us for the party where you can get a lot of the family related posts. Please click the above logo to enter your post.

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Prawns, Prawns, Prawns… Join Me To Cook Assam Prawns

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INTRODUCTION

This is a long awaited post on prawns and some of the picture were a few months ago. This is a special post on Chinese ways of preparing prawns for cooking purposes and including one tamarind prawn recipe.

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Prawns are one of the major ingredients in Malaysian and Singaporean Chinese cooking. Due to the countries’ proximity to the sea, seafood is plentiful abundant and prawns are used in many cuisines. We used prawns in  vegetable dishes, noodle dish, salad or a dish on its own. It can be pan fried, deep fried and baked, stir fried, steamed, blanch, poached or boiled. 

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DE SHELLING THE PRAWNS

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  • Use a kitchen scissor to cut off the head or use your hand by snapping the head and pulling the head downward. Use the hand that had pulled away the head earlier, starting from the bottom near the leg area, use your finger to pluck upwards and detach the shell from the body of the prawns.

  • If you want to keep the tail, you can leave the last segment of the shell unpluck. If you do not want to keep the tail, use your hand to squeeze the prawns near the tail area and pull it out.

  • Keep both the tails and heads of the prawn if you want to prepare prawn broth for other noodle cuisines.

1234272_10202030577588822_2039794140_n Sarawak Laksa using both shelled prawns and prawn broth

 


COOKING PRAWNS WITH SHELL

As the head and tail of a prawn is rather sharp, if I am cooking the cuisine with shelled prawns, I will use the following method.

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  • Use a kitchen scissor to cut the sharp part of the head and its tentacles. Use the scissor to cut away the legs and follow by the sharp part of the tail. This is good for cuisine that requires shelled prawns  so as to prevent the prawns from overcook. Example of cuisines are tamarind prawns or steamed prawns.

IMG_8197 Tamarind prawns with shell and heads

 


DEVEINING THE PRAWNS 

It is unsightly if the delicious cooked prawns have black intestines in its white flesh. Therefore, deveining the prawns is deemed necessary for bigger prawns. At times, the prawns are rather clean and no deveining is necessary.

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  • Use a small knife to cut along the top part following the shape of the prawns,  Use your hand to pull away the intestines. This is also a step to shape the prawns when cooked. If you cut it further inside, the “flower” shape of the cooked prawns will be more obvious.

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  • For the lower intestine, use a toothpick to pierce through the intestine near the end of the tail. Use the same toothpick to pierce under the intestine in the middle of the prawn. Take the toothpick out by cutting open the prawn fresh above the intestine. When you take the toothpick out, the intestine near the tail will follow the toothpick and comes out. Use your hand to pull away the intestine. Note that you have to be slightly careful when performing the steps so as to avoid breaking the intestines.

IMG_8368  Blanched vegetables with blanched prawns


WASHING AND FREEZING THE PRAWNS

This is how I usually freeze my prawns to avoid damaging to the meats of the prawns in the event I do not have the time to properly defrost the prawns.

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  • Wash your de-shelled prawns with clean water. Divide the prawns for individual serving and put it in the plastic bag. Add a small amount of water to the plastic bags and and keep it in the freezer. To defrost, just take out the prawns and let it defrost at room temperature. If you do not have adequate time, cut open the plastic bag, put it under running water and the prawns can be separated easily when the ice melts.

 


MAKING OF PRAWN BROTH

Prawn shells and prawn heads can be “recycled” to make prawn broths which can then be used for the making of many noodles dishes. it is also a good source of iron and calcium.

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  • Wash the prawn shells and prawn heads and set aside. In a big pot of water, add some spring onion and ginger slices (optional), prawn shells, prawn heads and bring to boil under high heat.

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  • Once boiled, drain and transfer to a food processor. Keep the broth. Blend until fine, transfer it back to the broth and let it simmer for another 15-20 minutes. Drain again, cool and keep the broth in the fridge for uses such as Hokkien Prawn Noodles, Penang Prawn Noodles, Sarawak Laksa broth and etc. You can keep in the fridge for quite a number of few weeks. Color of the broth will very much depends on the types of prawns that you bought. If it is female prawns with lots of eggs, it will be orangey in colour.

img_6339 Hokkien Fried Prawns Noodles prepared using prawn broth

 


ASSAM PRAWNS (TAMARIND PRAWNS)

This is a Peranakan dish (Nonya dish).  I am not Peranakan, however, my mum used to cook this when we are young. I have not eaten this prawn dish for quite a while and I am happy that I managed to replicate the dish without much difference in the flavour. The cooked prawns should be coated with slightly burnt and/or caramelized tamarind. It should looked dark and taste should be sour with tinges of sweetness. Tamarind is also called Assam in the Malay Language.

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WHAT IS REQUIRED

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  • 500 grams of prawns with shells (refer above)

  • 1-2 sticks of fresh lemon grass

  • 5 cloves of garlics cut into slices

  • 3 small bird eye chilli or 1-2 big chilli (optional)

  • 2 tablespoons of tamarind (or Assam paste)

  • 2 tablespoons of castor sugar (not in picture)

  • 2 tablespoons of cooking oil (not in picture)

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STEPS OF PREPARATION

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  • Put all ingredients together, stir well, ensure that all the prawns are coated with herbs and pastes. Marinate the prawns for 2-3 hours in the fridge.

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  • In a big frying pan, heat the oil using high heat. Add the marinated prawns together with the sauces and the herbs. Stir fry for one minute. Add half cup of water and bring to boil. Once boil, turn to medium heat and continue to cook until the water dries up. You will witness the colour for your prawns start to get darker and glossier as the water evaporates. It is okay if there is a slight burnt in the shells of the prawns.

  • Scoop out the cooked prawns and all the remaining sauces. Garnish with some greens such as coriander leaves if prefer. Best serve hot with white rice.

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CONCLUSION

The first part of the post is to share with readers how I prepare my prawns for cooking and the second part of the post is a recipe of tamarind prawns.

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For the tamarind prawns, don’t worry about the dark colour of the dish. The dark coloured sauce is the most tasty part of the entire dish. It is a blend of tamarind paste, herbs and caramelized sugar. It is both sweet and sour. I don’t mean to be gross, we suck the juices from the prawn head too. Once you try it, I am sure you will like it. But remember, don’t stain your cloth…… use hand to eat….and wash you hand with lemon or some cold tea to get rid of the “aroma” of the prawns. To sum up, if you eat with your hands, it should be finger licking good…

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

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 GUAI SHU SHU | Guai Shu Shu is a “shu shu” that is “guai“….


  • For more recipes, you can refer to my RECIPE INDEX (updated as at 8 June 2014)  here and you can follow me at PINTEREST or visit the blog’s FACEBOOK PAGE to keep abreast of my future posts.  

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