What I cooked today (家常便饭系列)- 2-8-2013

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On 2-August 2013,

SIAMESE LAKSA

Today, we are having Siamese Laksa for dinner.

First of all, I have to clarify that Siamese Laksa is different from Mee Siam, another common noodle dish in Singapore and Malaysia.

This noodle dish is rather common in Northern Peninsular Malaysia near the border of Thailand. However, it is not common in Southern Peninsular Malaysia, East Malaysia and Singapore. I come from the State of Sarawak, East Malaysia, theoretically I shouldn’t know about this dish. However, it is such a coincidence that one of my secondary school teacher who is also a friend of my late mother is from Penang. She taught my mother how to cook this. Before my mother passed away, she cooked this laksa pretty often and I really love it. If you like Assam Laksa and Curry Laksa, it is something like a mixture of both, creamy and slightly sour and spicy. It is both tamarind base and coconut milk based.

As this dish is not popular in Kuala Lumpur and Singapore, I don’t really ever eaten it besides those that were cooked by my mum. When I do a recipe check, I found out that the ingredients used are common ingredients that were also used by my mum, therefore, the taste should be quite close and similar. My wife who has never eaten this noodle dish before also concurred that the dish is delicious.

What puzzled me now is why is it not popular in Southern Peninsular Malaysia as the taste is not uniquely special. In fact, there is not much information on this laksa’s origin. I am still contemplating whether or not I should share my own recipe. If on the grounds that as long as the food is delicious, whether authentic or not, recipe should be shared then I should share and may be shall I called it Guaishushu’s Siamese Laksa. Haha

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Very briefly, fishes were boiled and flaked. After slow frying the spice mix (galangal, turmeric, lemon grass, shallots, ginger, garlics), fish broth , kafir lime leaves, daun kesom and rojak flower were added and bring to boil under high heat. Belachan, tamarind juice and fish meat were then added to the broth. When boiled, coconut milk were added. It was usually thick rice vermicelli served with julienned cucumbers, pineapples, beansprouts and garnished with mint leaves and lime.


SARAWAK BEAN SPROUT NOODLES

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For lunch, I have cooked this noodle dish for my kids as it is easier to prepare and I knew they would like it. They like it because it is sweet and that is also the reason I like it…Haha

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Sarawak have a very unique noodle dish called bean sprout noodles (豆芽面)。

The basic ingredients can be as simple as only yellow noodles, bean sprout, sweet thickened dark soya sauce, garlic. The thick sweetened dark soya sauce were made of dark soya sauce and nipah palm sugar (Gula Apong). Minced garlic was stir fried until brownish, add in dark sweet soya sauce. Stirred fried until well mixed, add in bean sprout just 1 minutes before you off the heat!

That is the simplest form we have and is called Tauge Mee Kosong (Plain Bean Sprout Noodles). However, with the affluence of the society and influence from West Malaysia, there are more and more variations of the noodles that include eggs, cockles, fish cakes and etc. It resemble the Penang Char Kway tiao. The only difference is that Penang char Kway teow is a savory dish whereas Sarawak Tauge Mee is a sweet noodle dish.


MRS. NGSK’S BUTTER CAKE

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My third cooking adventure of the day is making a butter cake, or more precise Mrs. NgSK’s butter cake from http://wendyinkk.blogspot.sg. This name is rather funny right? Well, most bakers are not able to make a butter cake following traditional butter cake recipes that yields a flat top non crack butter cake. This rather famous blogger take the courage to ask one of her church members why every time her cake is so perfect,  flat and  without any cracks. Apparently, the church member (Mrs. NgSK) is very helpful and provide her the recipe. She followed the recipe and come out the perfect  cake that she wanted. She therefore shared the recipe on her blog and requested this recipe be named as Mrs. NgSK’s butter cake. She concluded that:

“Obviously, I am not jinxed for butter crack cakes. It is the recipe, not me, LOL”

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Early in the day when I looked at my friend’s timeline, one of my blogger friends mentioned about this Mrs. NgSK’s butter cake and the funny name of the cake caught my immediate attention. So, I goggled and find the above blog. I did not read in detail but what really impressed me is her cake, cake that is flat and crack  less. I read the ingredients, nothing special and I want to try whether or not this preparation method can give me a butter cake that I admired.

In the afternoon, I start the preparation but I have chosen not to follow her recipe exactly. I alter the volume of raw  ingredients used. I used the very basic traditional pound cake recipe of 1 butter: 1 egg ; 1 flour : 1 sugar.  However, for the preparation method, I have follow her method by separate beating of egg whites and egg yolks. Everything look perfect even the uncooked batter. From my experience, it is going to be a good cake.

I send the cake into the oven and everything goes well in the first 15 minutes, then it suddenly start to shape like a volcano and with small cracks. The colour is perfect and I thought it is gone because I can’t get a flat top butter cake without cracks. I tested the batter, obviously it is not cooked since the middle is still very wet.  As the middle is still uncooked, I make a wrong decision to up the temperature hopefully it can speed up the process of baking the cake. 5 minutes after when I looked at the cake, the cake was slightly burn in the top, I tested again and it is cooked.

I become very disappointed as I have wasted my half day’s effort. I took it out from the oven and in a matter of 15 minutes, it start to “shrink” and become a flat cake. I shouldn’t have increased the temperature. I am not confident enough that the cake will turn out good. Overall, the cake looks ok, I scrapped off some of the burnt skin and I have decided to share my simple recipe in Guaishushu’s Facebook page later. What do you think? Shall I share the recipe?

Cheers and have a nice day ahead.

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What I cooked today (家常便饭系列)- 25-7-2013

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On 25-7-2013, Chicken rice served with sweet kernel corn and mushroom soup.

As I have not cook chicken rice for quite a while, I have decided just to have a one dish dinner – Hainanese Chicken Rice. You can refer here for my detailed write up on the preparation of Chicken rice. Alternatively, you can refer to Guaishushu’s Facebook page for simple pictorial instructions.

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If you really observe the first picture, do you realize something are missing? Yes, two things were missing!  A very important garnish vegetables, cucumber slice. I always find that without cucumber slice, the whole chicken rice is missing something. Do you agree with me?

Secondly, there is a lack of green vegetable today. Usually, I would have a plate of blanched vegetable to go with it but because today is Friday, I have finished all the green vegetables in the fridge, Haha. I have said before in my earlier post, usually Sunday to Tuesday or Wednesday are leafy green vegetables and Thursday to Saturday are usually beans, melons or roots type of vegetables because it can be kept longer. We do marketing once a week and I am a rational cooker, I cooked based on First In First Out principle… I don’t usually cook impulsively..

 

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As I have additional chicken stock from simmering the chicken, I have decided to open a canned kernel corn and turned it into a corn soup. When I made the cake yesterday, I have some egg whites left and I just stir and “throw” inside the soup. It become a simple soup like the one you have in the chicken rice store.

Usually, when I cooked chicken rice, I will cook more than what is required. The rationale is that it take some efforts to prepare chicken rice, why not prepare some more. In addition, any left over chicken rice can be “recycled” and is a top choice for fried rice. Since it is already “marinated” rice and you need not to add much condiments and oil when you fried it.

Other than frying overnight chicken rice, we used to make it into chicken porridge for next day’s breakfast. After simmering the chicken, if you still have the chicken stock left, just keep it. In the next morning, just throw in the left over chicken rice, any chicken meat left (of course de-boned and possibly shredded into floss), add in a bit of condiments, it will become a bowl of chicken porridge.

Will it harm you to eat overnight food?  I do not want to think about it and as long as it is properly kept with no possibility of contamination, it should be ok. How about how grandparents or parents? Is it not the Westerners used to heat up frozen foods that were prepared well in advance?


Other than the above, the project of the day included the following:

 

Impromptu Ixora Birthday “Cup Cake”

Preparing an impromptu birthday cake for one of my internet friends who “requested” me to “bake” a birthday cake for her and wish her happy birthday over the internet. This cake is decorated with ixora flowers which is abundant in Malaysia and Singapore.. Do you mind if someone posted this cake to your timeline wishing you happy birthday?

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Butterfly Cupcake

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This is an extremely simple cup cake recipe. Add all ingredients and mixed well, bake and you get the cake. It was served with cream and strawberry jam as the basic cup cake have very little sugar. it was dusted with sugar powder. Do you think it will taste nice?


Rose Cake

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This should be a celebration cake but need further modifications. I am doing  in a rush and therefore  the workmanship is really terrible. Haha.


Modified Version of Raas Malai

This is a dessert originated from India and an extremely popular in South Asia. It was served in wedding ceremony and other important festival occasions. Traditionally, the raw ingredients are paneer (Indian Cheese) and milk. The recipe is adopted from http://free-advertising-ey.blogspot.it/2013/07/raas-malai-sweet-from-bangladesh.htmlk with some modifications to suit the Chinese taste buds. Modifications include reducing the use of spices such as cinnamon, cardamon and etc.. In addition, strawberry were added.

 
As this dessert look milky and cheesy, I have decided to let my kids try out the dessert exposing them to more international cuisines. The preparation are rather coincidence. This afternoon when I have over whipped my cream, I thought I might as well used this over whipped cream to make the dessert. I added fresh milk to the over whipped cream and heat until it boiled. Knowing that my kids will not really like spices like cardamon, cinnamon , I have decided to tailor it to a more Chinese taste buds. I meshed 5 ripe strawberries and add to the milk and let them boiled together with the milk.

As for the cheese balls, I have used mozarella cheese to make it instead of paneer or cheddar cheese. I meshed 2 strawberries, added to the cheese, added 1 tablespoon of water and shaped it into small balls. My balls are rather small compared to the authentic because I know my kids wouldn’t be able to take such a big cheesy ball.  I dropped the balls to the cool milk and put in the fridge. During serving, I found it too creamy (possibly due to my over whipped cream), I have further diluted with cold fresh milk and cut slices of fresh strawberry to go with it.

 

Verdict: Extremely nice sweet milky soup with strawberry flavour. As long as you like milk, I do not think you have any reasons not to like it.

As for the cheese balls, my girls can take all but my boys feels a bit too rich and salty to him. As for me, I loved the cold milk but for the cheese balls, one or two should be Ok but not too much as when I was young, Chinese were not exposed to ” cheesy things”…. Haha.. I will say those who like cheese, go ahead and make this milky desserts.. It is just delicious.
 

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LASTLY, HOPE YOU LIKE THE POST TODAY!  AND HAVE A NICE WEEK END.

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