What I cooked today (家常便饭系列)- 13-5-2013

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On  13-May-2013

White rice served with:

  1. Meat Stuffed Tofu Puffs and Fish Cake Soup (豆卜肉丸鱼饼汤)
  2. Braised tofu and egg in Chinese Black Vinegar(黑醋焖蛋及豆干)
  3. Celery Egg Omelets (西芹蛋饼)

As a Chinese of traditional upbringings, I seldom throw away food. We continue to eat some of the leftover food from last evening. In order to make it appetizing, we usually re-invented the dish. The second dish was prepared using the gravy from yesterday’s black vinegar pig trotter. Today, I have added most members of the “soya bean” family – Tau Kwa, Tau Pok, “Tau meat” (Vegetarian meat), “Tau Kee”..and additional eggs. For non Chinese speaking readers, Tau here basically means bean. Usually, foodie like to eat the black vinegar but just eating the gravy will be too sour, therefore these items were added to “absorb” all the gravy because it blends well with these items.

Celery is not a common vegetable used in traditional Chinese cooking and in fact you seldom find it in the food stalls. My wife have “invented” this dish to tailor the taste of the Chinese origins and I am considering to write a post on this and share with readers.

Cheers

What I cooked today (家常便饭系列)- 12-5-2013

 

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Yesterday, I am not cooking and we decided to dine outside.

Today is Mother’s day and I have invited my nephew and his wife to join us for dinner,

On 12-May-2013

White rice served with:

  1. Bok Choy Pork Rib Soup (大白菜排骨汤)
  2. Grilled Chicken Teriyaki Style(日式烤鸡)
  3. Steam Golden Promfret Teochew Style(潮州蒸金鲳)
  4. Pig Trotter cooked with Chinese black vinegar (猪脚醋/甜黑醋焖蹄膀)
  5. Kailan fried with Ginger (姜片炒芥兰)
  6. Curry chicken (咖哩鸡)

The curry chicken was cooked by my neighbor and she was kind enough to give us a big bowl together with some roti prata. As the dish portion we cooked today was quite a lot, therefore it is likely that tomorrow we will  continue to have these dishes for meals.

Thanks for reading.

Why Not Cook Your Mother A Meal Of Chicken Rice This Coming Mother’s Day?

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Hainanese chicken rice is a dish of Chinese origin, and is most commonly associated with Hainanese, Malaysian and Singaporean cuisines, although it is also commonly sold in Thailand. It is based on the well-known Hainanese dish called Wenchang chicken (文昌雞), due to its roots in Hainan cuisine and its adoption by the Hainanese overseas Chinese population in the Nanyang area (present-day Southeast Asia). Hainanese chicken also appears as a specialty in Vietnamese cuisine. Mother’s day is approaching and it would be a bad idea to prepare some dishes for her and why not consider Chicken Rice. (Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hainanese_chicken_rice)

As explained above, chicken rice is a common household dish and hawker’s saleable item. It is welcomed by population of all age groups in Singapore and Malaysia, be it children, teens or adults and all levels from workers to top executives. Singapore is famous for its chicken rice (actually, I am not sure about the reasons behind this since places like Ipoh, Malaysia are also famous for their chicken rice) and is deemed to be a “national dish”. It is also one of the items served by Singapore Airlines for its business class and first class customers.

My kids loved chicken rice and I decided to cook chicken rice yesterday since they have been mentioning it for quite a while. In fact, they are having chicken rice at least one to twice a week at the school canteen.

IS CHICKEN RICE DIFFICULT TO PREPARE? – Simplified version of chicken rice preparation

Chicken rice is basically “chicken” plus “rice”. If you are not fussy and able to forgo a lot of minute details in the dish preparations, you will score possibly a pass in your preparation.

If I am not having meals at home, my mother in law can cook a pot of chicken rice serving our family (2 adults and 2 kids; 2 women, 1 girl, 1 boy) with just two drumsticks. This was how she did it. She cleaned the drumsticks; mixed the uncooked rice with a few spoons of chicken rice sauces sold in the supermarket; added a few sticks of pandan leaves; put it in the rice cooker; put the drumstick on top of the rice and in the rice cooker. This is a super quick way to cook, my mother in law was using the steam generated from cooking the rice to cook the chicken and let the juices drip into the rice. It took her only 20 minutes to cook. There was no complaint from her daughters and grandchildren as the three women family members don’t really like to consume meat. They just want “chicken-rice flavored white rice”  and they are more than happy to give all the drumsticks to my son. HOW BRILLIANT IS MY MOTHER IN LAW!

However, if you and your family members are food critics, then you may take a while for you to prepare an entire dish until the level acceptable by the foodies. The next question would logically be what differentiates a plate of delicious chicken rice from the “yucky” one.

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WHAT CONSTITUTES A GOOD PLATE OF CHICKEN RICE ?

Usually, the chicken rice was assessed based on the following criteria:

RICE
Fragrance Should emit a nice aroma which basically is a mixture of fragrances from pandan leaves, ginger and garlic
Texture The rice should be soft but still maintain the original grain shape. It should not be soggy (meaning too much water added) and greasy.
Color Color should be slightly yellowish that and not plain white. Yellowish color makes the rice looks more presentable and appetizing.
CHICKEN
Texture Should be soft and juicy. Therefore, simmering/poaching of chicken is one of the critical processes in this dish preparation.
Appearance A bit glazy, skin should not be broken. However, most households will throw away the skin and de-bone the chicken before serving it.
Fragrance As original as possible
CONDIMENTS
Chili sauce Beside spicy, chili sauce must also have the fragrance of sesame oil, ginger, garlic and lime.
Specially made soya sauce The soya sauce should be thick and slightly sweet
Ginger sauce Gingers were freshly ground and overall sauce must be tasty enough

Before I go ahead, I have to caution that my recipe is the healthy version but the outputs resemble those chicken rice sold in hawker centers or posh hotels or restaurants. You got the hint? Smile  If you found my ingredients are not that healthy, just substitute with what you usually use. Of course, not  the chicken and rice!!! I will justify the usage of my ingredients.

PREPARATION PROCESS

Getting Ready….
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One medium sized chicken.

When you buy the chicken, you have to make sure that you have a pot big enough to submerge the whole chicken. I have used a smaller chicken because I only have 4 persons for the meals.  For your reference, I have paid SGD 4.80 for chicken, therefore, it is rather small. I do not recommend to use frozen chicken as the taste would not be the same.

Additional chicken feet in preparation of chicken stock (may be SGD 1 for 10 chicken feet) and keep the chicken fats for frying the garlics and gingers.

One cube of ready made chicken stock (optional).

Lots of garlics, gingers and bits of fresh tumeric (optional).

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2 bundles of pandan leaves. It is definitely recommended if you are in Malaysia and Singapore but if you cannot get it in your countries, you can go without it but use more gingers and garlics instead.

Some coriander leaves, tomatoes and cucumbers for garnishing.

Light soya sauce, thick dark soya sauce, cooking oil, sesame oil for condiments. If you can’t get the thick dark soya sauce, you can use the normal dark soya sauce and add in some rock sugar

Preparing the ingredients….
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Pound the garlics and gingers as fine as possible. Add in a bit of tumeric if desired. Set aside for future use. Note that I have included a small slice of tumeric for the purpose of color the rice. Tumeric is a good coloring agent and in fact, it blends quite well with ginger and garlic. You can see from the second picture that the pounded mixture is a big yellowish. But do not add too much until it covers up the fragrance of garlic and ginger.

In a bowl, get ready some chicken stock cubes, dissolved in hot water and set aside for later use.This step is optional but I opt to do it because I need not to add a lot of condiments such as light soya sauce, salt etc. to the chicken rice later. Sliced some cucumbers and tomatoes and set aside for later use.

Personally, I would think that a plate of chicken rice is incomplete without slices of cucumber in it. The role of cucumbers and tomatoes is to negate the greasiness of the rice and chickens since it is just “chicken plus rice” without any vegetables. Size and shape of cucumber is up to individual and here, I have slice it into funny shapes for future garnishing. Tomatoes are optional but I love the color and it blends well with the chicken rice.

Preparing the chicken ….

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Clean the chickens and pluck off any feathers and hairs found. Chop off the heads and legs. The legs can be used for preparing the chicken stocks. If any chicken fats were found, wash and keep these fats for future use. You may consider to use coarse sea salts to rub on the chicken skin such that you have a smooth polished chicken skin. I did not perform this step as I did not have any coarse salts with me.

I have purposely bought some additional legs for the preparation of chicken stock as I found that one chicken is just not adequate to bring out the fragrance of the chicken rice.

The garlics and gingers quantities in this picture were for reference only.

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Get ready a pot of water. Throw some garlics, gingers, pandan leaves and bring to boil on high heat.

When the water is boiling , submerge the whole chicken into the water with its back facing up. Add in the chicken bones and feet. You can also consider to stuff the chicken with the garlic, pandan leaves and some spring onions before you poached the chicken.

The reason letting the chicken having its back facing up is because chicken breast takes longer time to cook  and positioning chicken this way will make sure that breast are fully cooked

Lower heat and simmer for approximately 30 minutes

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Get ready a pot of water. Throw some garlics, gingers, pandan leaves and bring to boil on high heat.

When the water is boiling , submerge the whole chicken into the water with its back facing up. Add in the chicken bones and feet. You can also consider to stuff the chicken with the garlics, pandan leaves and some spring onions before you poached the chicken.

The reason letting the chicken having its back facing up is because chicken breast takes longer time to cook  and positioning chicken this way will make sure that breast are fully cooked

Lower heat and simmer for approximately 30 minutes.

Cooking the rice…..
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Use some type of measuring cups (be it the cooking measuring cups or your rice cooker cups)  and  pour adequate quantities chicken stocks (from simmering/poaching  the chicken earlier) to the rice and make sure that it is just adequate to cover the rice.

Note: How much liquid (in this case chicken stock) is needed to cook the rice is very much depends on the types of rice you have. Some rice may need more water to cook than the others.

On the rice cooker and when cooked, fluff rice gently with chopsticks (while loosening rice and avoid rice burnt at the bottom of the rice cooker. Leave at “keep warm” settings for about 10-15 minutes and a plate of chicken rice is ready.

Serving your chicken rice…
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Get ready a bowl, add some light soya sauce, sesame oils, and a bit of left over chicken stocks and mix well, set aside.

Cut your chicken into parts, arrange on platter over a bed of sliced tomatoes and cucumbers.
Pour sesame soya sauce oil over the chicken and garnish with coriander leaves. In this picture, I have deboned the chicken and the whole plate of chicken are boneless

In separate condiments bowls, serve chili sauce, ginger sauce and thick soya sauce as dips.

Serve with warm rice and some chicken soups. There should be some chicken stocks left after you used it to cook the rice. I just throw in some tomatoes, chye shim, and tofu to make some soups for my kids to eat along with the rice.

Here is the chicken rice and does it look appealing to you? Overall, I think I spent less than SGD 10 for the entire dish for a meal of 4 family members. This price is not adequate for you to have a plate of chicken rice at a posh restaurant outlet. At a local food court, if we order one whole chicken plus four plates of rice, one plate of vegetables, plain chicken soup, you will need at least SGD to have that.  We can’t really finished the meals and we still have half a pot of rice left and about one third of chicken left.

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The “aftermaths”…..….CHICKEN PORRIDGE

I used the left over chicken “stock” from submerging the poached chicken in the ice water, throw the chicken rice, the meat into the water and boil for about 15 minutes. Add condiments and garnished with fried onion, coriander leaves and chopped onion and a bowl of chicken porridge is ready for breakfast.

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WHY NOT COOK SOME CHICKEN RICE FOR YOUR MOTHER THIS MOTHER DAY? IF YOU CANNOT COOKED FOR HER, WHY NOT FORWARD THIS POST TO HER AND SAY.

“ MUMMY, HAPPY MOTHERS DAY,

Mom, You’ve cooked for me with love all this while and how I wish I could prepare this dish for you this Sunday to assure you that your kid have grown up and able to take care of themselves.  However, since I am not free to cook this Sunday,  why not we  have the most famous Chicken Rice  in Singapore  at the famous Mandar…. Hotel  in Orchard Road instead? Mom, I love you….. “

Just joking!!!

HAPPY MOTHERS DAY TO ALL MOTHERS;

HAPPY MOTHERS DAY TO MY  WIFE – MY KID’S MOTHER ; AND

HAPPY MOTHERS DAY TO MY WIFE’S MOTHER – MY MOTHER IN LAW………

Enjoy reading and look out for my National Flower Series – Spain (Red Carnation).

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What I cooked today (家常便饭系列)- 10-5-2013

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On 10-May-2013

  1. Hainanese Chicken Rice (海南鸡饭)
  2. Chicken Soup with Tofu and Vegetable (青菜豆腐鸡汤)

We have Hainanese chicken rice today and a post on process of chicken rice will be released soon. Please check food preparation series where I will detail out the steps to prepare the chicken rice. As there were some chicken stock left after I simmer the chicken, I just threw some Chye Shims, tomatoes and tofu to make a soup to go with the chicken rice.

Happy reading.

What I cooked today (家常便饭系列)- 9-5-2013

 

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On 9-May-2013

White rice served with:

  1. Lotus Root Pork Rib Soup (莲藕排骨汤)
  2. Chinese Styled Smoked Chicken (中式薰鸡腿)
  3. Chinese Spinach braised with Century Eggs (皮蛋烩苋菜)

In the picture, you can find one plate of noodles. This is the fried egg noodles that I have prepared for lunch. Therefore, I intentionally cooked less for dinner.

The smoked chicken is actually prepared by one of my brothers back in Kuching and it is a specialty dish for our Chawan (诏安) clan. It was brought to me by my niece when she visited me about a month ago and I have kept it in the freezer it until today. This smoked chicken is unique in the sense that it was smoked with sugar and sugar cane instead of the salty version that I tasted in China and western countries . I would not do it in Singapore as it will be very smoky (like barbeque inside an apartment) and would definitely attract criticisms or complains from neighbors.

Today’s vegetable is not actually stir fried but more of a form of short braising. Century egg is added to enhance the taste though the final dish did not look that nice.  In the restaurant, they have also include salted eggs and called it Chinese spinach braised with double eggs.

What I cooked today (家常便饭系列)- 8-5-2013

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On 8-May-2013

White rice served with:

  1. Watercress meatball soup (西洋菜肉丸汤)
  2. Green pepper stir-fried with chicken fillet (鸡柳炒青椒)
  3. Terriyaki chicken cooked with potato and onion (日式红烧鸡)

Today, our dinner is rather simple as I have prepared some Kueh Pie Tee for snacks after the dinner. A post will be released soon on the Kueh Pie Tee that was prepared by me this afternoon.

Today’s soup is considered a quick soup as I need only to prepare soup for one meal. Therefore, instead of using pork ribs for the soup, I have prepared some meatballs. As usual, my kids fought over the water cress and apparently, they like meatballs more than pork ribs.

As for the Terriyaki chicken, instead of cooking from fresh chicken, I have used frozen glazed Terriyaki chicken that we bought in the supermarket. As the portion of one packet of Terriyaki chicken were rather small, it will not be enough for the dinner. Therefore, in order to boost the serving portion of the dish,  I have included one onion and three potatoes when I heat up the Terriyaki chicken.

Happy reading.

 

Food Preparation Series–Kolo Beehoon

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This is our breakfast today and is prepared by my wife and not me. Why I decided to write this is because I found that it is easy to prepare and delicious and is uncommon among my circles of friends.

Looking at the picture, you may think that it is some sort of fried beehoon, in fact, it is not. It is quite healthy as it is using blanched ingredients (including beehoon) and no frying is needed. My wife prepared this at around 5:45 am for the eldest daughter for breakfast before she board the school bus at 6:30 am.

WHY THIS NAME?

Beehoon is a type of dried rice noodles which is very common among the Chinese Communities in Singapore and Malaysia. Kolo in Chinese is called “干捞”, a process of cooking whereby you blanched all your ingredients and mixed it together to become a dish.

In Kuching, Sarawak, Malaysia, we do have our famous delicacies Kolo-mee and the Sarawakians are having Kolo-mee for all meals from breakfasts to lunches to dinners and suppers. Usually, stalls that sold kolomee do have some variations for the noodles such as kolo beehoon, kolo kway tiao etc.… However, it was seldom prepared at home, at least, not at my parent’s home. Only after my two kids was born that my wife told us that she knows how to prepare this dish and claimed that it is very simple. Since then, occasionally, she prepared this when we are running out of breakfast ideas.

WHAT IS REQUIRED

Must Haves
Noodles Any type of noodles, be rice or wheat noodles (Kway tiao, Bee Hoon, Coarse Bee Hoon, Egg Noodles) etc. These noodles are very common in markets where there are huge Chinese populations. It is as popular as pasta in Western countries
Garlic and onion flavored vegetable oil We usually fried some garlic and onion in some oil and once turn golden brownish color, we will keep it in a bottle and let the fried garlic and onion submerged in the oil. We usually used it for dishes that we don’t wish to stir fry. Traditional way of preparation is using lard which is much tastier. However, this is considered as not healthy in the present context.
Condiments Salt, light soya sauce and some flavor enhances that you used at home like mushroom concentrate etc. In Kuching, they have variations like adding tomato ketchup, lard from Char Siew (叉烧油), black soya sauce, white vinegar and is served with freshly cut red chili submerged in vinegar.
Optional
Fresh leafy vegetables We usually add vegetables like Chye Shim, Bok Choi etc. Healthy to include this and have to role of negating the oiliness after taste if the noodle is too oily.
Spring onions To enhance taste and garnishing
Carrots For taste and garnishing
Fish cakes /Crab sticks Both fish cake and crab stick were used because we have it readily in the fridge and the kids loved it.
Minced meats A bit of minced meat for meaty flavor and can be substituted with Char Siew.
Note: if you are vegetarian, just opt out of all meaty items. As for garlic oil, fried chop mushrooms in the oil instead. You can add taupok, vegetarian char siew etc..

STEPS OF PREPARATION

Have a pot of hot water, blanched the minced meat, fish cake, crab stick, carrot and leafy vegetable (in this order) and set aside. Note: you can prepare this in advance and keep it in the fridge and heat it up when you want to use it)

Use the same pot of water to blanch the beehoon (water conservation! By the way, it make no sense as all you ingredients will be mixed together and boil water for individual ingredients will only increase your water and gas bills).

In a big bowl, put some garlic oil but not too much if you are health conscious. However,  I opt to believe that some oils are needed to smooth out the final texture of the mixed beehoon. Is it not the same principle applies to having olive oils when you prepare your salad greens?

Put in the blanched minced meat and condiments such as salt, light soya sauce, mushroom concentrate, pepper, tomato ketchup etc. and stir until well mixed. You can add a bit of water to dissolve the salt and my wife likes to put a bit of Chinese black vinegar which is optional.

Pour your blanched beehoon into the above and mixed it well. Add in all other remaining blanched ingredients, garnished with spring onion and the Kolo beehoon is ready.

Cheap and tasty. Why not prepared it for tomorrow breakfast? Enjoy reading.

 

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What I cooked today (家常便饭系列)- 7-5-2013

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On 7-May-2013

White rice served with:

  1. Minced Pork Belly fried with Taukwa (豆干炒卤肉碎) – please refer to Creative Food Series which detailed the rationale behind cooking this dish;
  2. Fried Bok Choy with garlic (小白菜炒蒜茸);
  3. Pork Rib cabbage soup (包菜排骨汤)

As explained in creative food series, my kids  are happy with the combination of white rice served with minced pork belly and do not mind eating the same dish for dinner. I rejected their request of having a serving of fried eggs and instead include a green vegetable dish.

Not many Chinese families used cabbage to cook soup as they do not like the taste if not properly cooked.  For me , I have boiled my soup with pork ribs, dried scallops, dried squids, red dates, honey dates and not forgetting a piece of ginger. As the seafood may cause the soup to become “fishy”, white papers were sprinkled over the soup and putting some cloves of garlics in the soup. My kids really love the soft cabbage and serving one bowl during dinner will definitely not adequate. Therefore, soups for  my family were usually cooked using a big pot.

Creative Food Series–Minced Pork Belly with Taukwa

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GENERAL

I have lots of topics on the pipeline, I am lagging behind “my house plant series” and “national flower series” but I cannot help but to write this post for fierce that it will slipped away from my mind. Am I right in saying that “blog is best written when you idea is fresh”?

Well, creative food series is a series that basically outlined the foods that I prepared out of no where. Based on the ingredients that  I have on my house, based on the ideas that I have my mind, I mixed and matched and I came out with some new dishes that I would think edible and accepted by my family members.

Since young, I  do not like rules, I always think out of the box, I do something that my peers are not doing and it ended up being termed as radical, self centered, anti-social and is explained here WHO IS GUAI SHU SHU? The same applies to cooking, I have never accede the do and don’t in cooking but I do appreciate such guidelines (not rules or laws  that you have to abide) and treasure very much about  traditional ways of cooking believing that there are reasons behind each recipe provided by our forefathers.

In the event that in this series, there are recipes on the internet that are similar to mine, swell to God, I am not copying and I can only be happy as someone out somewhere in the world have the same thinking as mine! May be “Wiseman think alike…”

MINCED PORK BELLY FRIED WITH TAUKWA

Usually, for Chinese, we usually cooked more than we would otherwise have consumed within a day for some important reasons.

Rationale of intentional braising for more

Braising requires a lot of condiments like various types of  soya sauces and spices such that the meat will be well covered.  It is impossible to consume all the sauces within one day and naturally more meat were being braised using the same amount of sauce (is it economies of scales? smile). 

As the braising condiments and spices by nature are good preservatives, that also contribute to the rationale behind braising for more because the braised meats will not turn bad easily. 

Lastly, braising process is actually quite laborious and braising (or other longer method of cooking like smoking) for one meal is something that I would never do (not “cost-beneficial” to do so – cost is not in monetary terms  but the amount of efforts you put in”).

Put aside the health conscious and food contamination issues, I would definitely braised for more and  if my ancestors can consume these foods until they died of old age why not me?

The above also explained why braised duck, meat and etc. were usually one of the items prepared for festivals and ancestors offering among the Chinese Community in Singapore and Malaysia.  Traditional offerings to ancestors or gods need to be grand and usually involved offerings of three ducks, four chickens etc. (Number of chickens and ducks  indicated here are what we usually offered to my ancestors  when I was young).

Why this dish?

If you have read my post earlier,  a few days ago, I have braised some eggs and pork belly as my kids want to eat braised eggs. The next day, I used the left over sauce to make the “lor mee” or noodles with braised sauce, a popular hawker items in West Malaysia and Singapore. As my wife and kids are not in favor of the meat, I have quite a lot of leftover braised meat. Throwing away these meats is a waste and a torture to me. To market my leftover braised me, I have to think of a way and the dish “BRAISED PORK BELLY FRIED WITH TAUKWA” is born.

Before I proceed, a bit about taukwa for those who is not residing in the Asian countries. It is a type of soft, jelly like bean curds called “tofu” but have a firmer texture because there are less water content and ideal for popiah, Yong Tau Fu, braising etc..

STEPS OF PREPARATION

Mincing of braised meat — meshing of taukwa – frying onion and garlics – add in minced meat – add in taukwa – add in some eggs – add in condiments – add in spring onions and chopped chili as garnishing item – Done!

Firstly, I minced my braised meat until very fine. As my family members don’t fancy meat that are slightly hard and “fibrous”, if I just heat up and serve on the table, they will give me back the same thing. Therefore, I decided to mince my braised meat very fine until they cannot tell what is this. Angry smile

Again, realizing the meat texture may be slightly harder, I went to the fridge, found a piece of taukwa and meshed it coarsely. I believed that taukwa will be able to cover up the meat elements and since it is pork belly, meshed taukwa will help to absorb some levels of fats excreted when frying the minced meat.

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I take a wok, put some oils, some chopped garlic and onion, some pepper and salt  until the fragrant spread in the house. Sorry, I can’t help but still doing this traditional Chinese cooking step to make your dish smell nicer  and in Chinese, it is called “Baoxiang”. It is  also the step  that made Westerners perceived Chinese cooking and the dishes are too oily! Actually, since it is pork belly, I should be more adventurous by using the fats excreted by the pork belly to fry the onions and garlics.

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After the chopped garlic and onion turned slightly brownish, I add in my minced pork belly until I smell the aroma and followed by adding the meshed taukwa. I started to get excited about my new dish as it really smell nice especially the new type of fragrance variegated from a mixture of pepper and braised meat flavor.

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Still concerning that my kids may not like it and I know they are egg fanatic, I decided to throw two eggs to add to the flavor and again assumed the role of fat absorption. Yes, that is, the eggs negated the meaty flavor and reduced the fibrous texture. The “mixture”, I decided that no further improvement is necessary except with a little bit of some traditional condiments such as light soya sauce, oyster sauce and again pepper. I then garnished with some chopped red pepper (chili as is commonly called here) and spring onions. I take a spoon and tasted it, I told myself, well done and no regret in cooking this dish.

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Prior to cooking this dish, I have no idea what is the “output” going to be like.  After preparing, I will give credit to this “mixture” because of the new texture and new taste. Well, that is not the end, whether the dish is successful of not is still subject to the tasting of my two kids especially my girl who is very particular any things that cooked with pork.

Food Critic Tests

My boy is eating his lunch with a plate of white rice, this dish and a bowl of cabbage soup. He immediately thumbs up Thumbs up signaling me that the dish is nice and ended with two plates of white rice.

My girl coming back from school and as usual, she asked me what is today’s soup in the lift before reaching the house. I just told her that it is cabbage soup and  a dish that her brother likes it. She kept guessing the common dishes that we cooked but I refused to leak out a word. Immediately when I reached my apartment, I took a plate of white rice and mixed with the new dish and stuffed a spoon of rice into her mouth. She yelled and complained that it is too hot. I insisted and she took my spoon and scoped one for herself. She yelled again but this time is not complaining but complemented that this was “exceptionally nice”. I asked her to guess what were the ingredients, she managed to guess correctly the eggs and the taukwa.

I hinted to her that she have forgotten one important item that I usually braised together with the eggs. She started to guess from taukwa, taupo, eggs…. and I told her the item’s name have no “tau” (meaning bean) in it. Lastly, she said is  braised meat. I laughed and say yes. She screamed and said, goodness me, I have eaten meats that I hated most and reluctant to proceed with her lunch.

I brushed aside her comments and told her whatever it is , as long as it is nice, just finished it. Towards the end of her lunch, she told me, “Daddy, for tonight’s dinner, maybe you don’t need to cook anything. We can eat the same dish as lunch but plus one additional fried egg (another evidence of eggs fanatic) because the lunch is so delicious.”

I keep quiet and smile in my heart without properly replying her comments. Instead, I asked her to check my blog again in the late afternoon. (Note: my wife is in the office and do not have the chance to taste the new dish). I told myself: “yes, you have passed the most critical food test, quick, go and finish your blog and get it publish as fast as you can.”

SUGGESTED VARIATIONS

I have to be fair that the dish should not be constrained by the ingredients I used above. They can be a lot of variations that I can think off depending what you have in your kitchen. Why not adding some glass noodles for fat absorption instead of using taukwa or just wrap this filling in some types of spring roll skins and add in some julienned cucumbers  or …… 

Don’t be shy to try your own version. If you are foodie, you should use your own sense of smell and logic and create some versions that tailored to your family member’s taste. Is it not what our forefathers or restaurant chefs have done when creating their very own “signature dish”.

Happy reading and trying!

What I cooked today (家常便饭系列) –6-5-2013

 

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On 6-May-2013

  1. Grilled Saba (mackerel) with lemon (柠檬烤鲭鱼)
  2. Fried Bok Choi with sliced fish cake (贸白菜炒鱼饼)
  3. Braised Bamboo shoot with chicken(竹笋焖鸡)
  4. Double mushroom lettuce soup(双菇生菜汤)

The mushrooms refers to the oyster mushrooms and abalone mushrooms. These two mushrooms were first boiled in diluted chicken stock and prior to serving, fresh local lettuce was added .

NAMING OF DISHES

I really have difficulty in naming the dishes. However, I viewed this as a challenge to name all these common household dishes into mouth watering names in recognition of the food preparers at home. Is it not pricey restaurant also used beautiful, appetizing names in their menu for dishes that your wife or your mother is cooking every day? It is just marketing gimmicks and such approach shall be extended for the use of  household chefs.

Enjoy reading and cheers for a better day ahead.