“Clay Pot (“?”) Chicken Rice?– Cooking “Clay Pot” Chicken Rice Using Rice Cooker

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UPDATED POST ON 8-1-2015  – New image upload

 

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INTRODUCTION

I have to say that this is not the authentic clay pot chicken rice recipe. It is prepared using conventional rice cooker and I have amended the method of cooking. However, I can assure  readers that the taste will not be compromised much.

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I did not use clay pot to prepare this one pot rice dish for a few reasons. One is that I do not have a clay pot and secondly I do not have the patience and time to monitor cooking rice using clay pots. Thirdly, I believed that even if you use the clay pot but using gas stove to cook, the taste will not be very much different from if you cooked using the rice cooker. In order to have a distinct flavour as what were sold in the eating outlets, conventional stove using charcoal have to be used. Therefore I have opted to use the rice cooker to speed up the preparation.

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CLAYPOT CHICKEN RICE DEFINED

As with other post, it is good to let Wikipedia to explain to the reader this unique dish:

“Clay pot chicken rice (Chinese: 砂煲鸡饭, 瓦煲鸡饭 or 煲仔鸡饭) is usually a dinner dish in the southern regions of China, Malaysia and Singapore. It is typically served with Chinese sausage and vegetables. More often than not, the rice is cooked in the clay pot first and cooked ingredients like diced chicken and Chinese sausage are added in later. Traditionally, the cooking is done over a charcoal stove, giving the dish a distinctive flavour. Some places serve it with dark soya sauce and also dried salted fish. Salted fish enhances the taste of the clay pot chicken rice, depending on the diner’s preference. Due to the time-consuming method of preparation and slow-cooking in a clay pot, customers might have to wait a period of time (typically 15-30 minutes) before the dish is served”  (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Claypot_chicken_rice)

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WHY THIS DISH

I first try this dish when I studied in Kuala Lumpur during the late 1980’s. What I can always remembered was the long timing I have to wait for any order of clay pot chicken rice. Being a student then, I did not have the patience to wait and ended up usually eating economy rice specially catered for the students.

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When I get married, my wife is a firm supporter of clay pot chicken rice. Whenever there is a chance or when she saw there is a store that sells clay pot chicken rice, she would ordered the dish. However, there are not many clay pot chicken rice stalls in Singapore as compared to Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.

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While I was thinking of what to cook yesterday, my kids were saying that they wanted to eat chicken rice to “break my vegetarian diet fast”! I told them that may be I should let them try another type of chicken rice, but is the darker version of clay pot chicken rice.

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WHAT IS NEEDED

Serves 4-6

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  • 3 –4 cups of uncooked rice (washed and set aside) – not in picture

  • 500 grams of chicken drumstick meat or breast (cut into small pieces)

  • 4 dried Chinese mushrooms (soaked and cut into thin strips)

  • 3 shallots (cut into small pieces)

  • 3 Chinese sausages (sliced into small pieces)

  • Some spring onions – White portion – cut into small pieces and leave the green portion of later use

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  • 3 tablespoons of dark soya sauce Star

  • 3 tablespoons of light soya sauce Star

  • 3 tablespoons of oyster sauce Star

  • 3 tablespoons of sesame oilStar

  • 1 tablespoon of white pepperStar

  • 1 tablespoon of corn flour (not in the picture)

  • 30 grams of ginger

  • 50 grams of salted fish (threadfin or ikan kurau preferred) – (optional)

  • I piece of chicken stock cube

  • Pinches of salt

  • Pinches of sugar (optional)

  • Some smoked pork belly (optional)

Note that smoked pork belly, chicken stock and salted fish are optional.

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STEPS OF PREPARATION

Marinating Chicken Meat

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  • Cut the chicken meat in thin slices. Chopped or shredded the ginger until very fine pieces. Put the chicken meat in a bowl and marinate with ginger, corn flour and HALF of seasonings marked Star. Marinate for at least 1-2 hours. The longer you marinate, the tastier the chicken meat will be.


 

Deep Frying the Salted Fish (Optional)

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  • Tear the salted fish into small strips. Use medium heat to deep fry it until the salted fish become golden brown and crispy. Drain and put in a piece of oil absorbent paper. Set aside for later use.

Note that this step is optional. In this illustration, I have prepared a lot of salted fish for my other dishes. This salted fish was especially good to go with white porridges and fried rice.

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Shallow Frying the Chinese Sausage and Smoked Pork Belly

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  • In a frying pan, put a few tablespoons of cooking oils and stir fry the Chinese sausage for a few minutes under MEDIUM heat. Note that this step is also optional. As for me, I would think that this step will enhance the flavour of the Chinese sausages.

  • Using high heat, use the same oil to stir fry the mushroom slices and chopped shallots plus spring onions until fragrant.

  • At the meantime, wash your rice and dilute the chicken stock cube with some water and set aside.

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  • When the shallots and mushrooms are fragrant, add in the washed rice. Stir fry for 2-3 minutes. Add the REMAINING HALF of the seasonings marked Star to the rice. Stir fry of 2-3 minutes until the rice are evenly coated with with the seasonings such as the oyster sauce and dark soya sauce.

  • Add in chicken stock and 3-4 cups of water OR as per the rice cooking illustration in the rice packaging. As the rice had been soaked already, therefore, you may want to reduce the water slightly such that the rice will not be soggy. If you prefer, you can taste a bit of the uncooked rice and assess if there is a need to adjust the taste by adding additional condiments.

  • Cook in the conventional rice cooker using the normal rice cooking function or if you are rushing for time, cook using the “Quick Cook” function.

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  • Open your rice cooker at about 2/3 of the rice cooking cycle, or check if there are bubbles in the rice and water has started to reduce.

  • When the rice is about 2/3 cooked, put in 1 tablespoon of deep fried salted fish (optional), green portion of the spring onion, chicken strips and Chinese sausages on top of the half cooked rice. Continue cooking until the rice cooker indicates that the rice is cooked. Let it rest for 10-15 minutes before serving.

Note that every rice cooker is different. You have to occasionally open the rice cooker to check the progress of the cooking. For example, if your rice cooker’s rice cooking function is 30 minutes per cycle, you can check the rice cooker at say 20 minutes after you started the cooking. When the rice cooker function is off, the steam will continue to cook the chicken meat and therefore, served only 10-15 minutes later.

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  • Best serve hot and garnish with additional spring onions or coriander leaves. If you preferred, you can put some deep fried salted fish or shallots on top of your rice. It goes well with freshly cut chilli dip in dark soya sauce.

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CONCLUSION

This simpler way of cooking have cut short the cooking time by at least one hour as compared to the traditional cooking method using charcoal stove and clay pot with minimal compromise to the taste.  In addition, it is easier to control the texture of the rice .

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I have pre-seasoned the rice before it is cooked and unlike traditional method, some dark soya sauce was poured on top of the white rice resulting in uneven distribution of spices and soya sauces in the cooked rice. Depending on your taste buds, salted fish or even Chinese sausages are optional. The must haves in this rice dish are the chicken, ginger, sesame oil, oyster sauce and dark soya sauce. With these minimal ingredients, you can produce an equally satisfactory “clay pot” chicken rice.

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

 

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

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1 Shrimp paste chicken 虾酱鸡
2 Lotus root pork rib soup 莲藕排骨汤
3 Blanched kailan with pork slices 芥兰猪柳
4 Fresh Coriander Fried with Fish Cake and Bean Curd 鱼饼豆腐炒芫茜
5 Spicy Seaweed Stripes 香辣海带丝

Fresh Coriander Fried with Fish Cake and Bean Curd (鱼饼豆腐炒芫茜)

This is a small household dish that you can hardly find in restaurants or even recipe books. Generally, Fish cakes and Taukwa (beancurd of a lesser moisture content) were cut into small pieces. Have some oil in your wok, stir fried some chopped garlic or/and shallots until golden brown or until the aroma starts to emit. Add the cut taukwa or fish cakes and fried until well mixed. Since both taukwa and fish cakes are cooked, there is no need to stir fried very long. The objectives of stir frying is just to let the taste blends. Add in fresh coriander leaves (alternative: Chinese celery 芹菜), add seasonings of your choice and scoop out to serve. Seasoning I have chosen this time is sugar, salt and dark soya sauce. Because there are fish cakes and I hate the fishy smell, I have added some white pepper. This is a dish that should be well liked by both children and adults and I usually cooked this to go with porridges or white rice.

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Shrimp paste chicken (虾酱鸡)

This is an extremely popular Chinese dish in Singapore.  In any stall located in the coffee stops that sells dishes to order (煮炒),you will bound to find this dish in the menu. Most families include mine will order this dish when we eat out!  The recipe of this dish is adapted from  http://www.noobcook.com/prawn-paste-chicken. It is rather unusual to have a Chinese dish that were made with Belachan or shrimp paste and become so popular. So far, I have never taste such dish before even in Malaysia.

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Spicy Seaweed (香辣海带丝)

This is a dish that were my relatives brought from Kuching Sarawak. I have ever explicitly said that I do  not like seaweed dishes and I can’t stand the  smell. My relatives who come here and visit me here brought some vegetarian spicy seaweed and what surprises me is that there  were no such “funny sea smell” which I can hardly described. This is the first time I have a seaweed dishes that do not have such strange smell and I finished half of the plate. My relatives claimed that this is another species of seaweed and do not have such smell and I am in doubt whether or not this is true…

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Blanched Kailan With Pork Slices (芥兰猪柳)

A simple dish just blanced the Kailan, add seasonings and set aside. Prior to this, pork slices were marinated with light soya sauce, sesame oil, pepper and some corn flour. Blanched the pork slices and placed it on top of the vegetable, sprinkled with sesame seed. I have mentioned that I am trying to blanch my vegetable dish instead of stir fried the vegetables. So far, I have blanched most types of vegetables and apparently no complaints from the family members.

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Hope you have a nice day and cheers.

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)- 31-7-2013

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On 31 July 2013, white rice served with

1 Indonesian Ginger Chicken 印尼姜鸡
2 Japanese Fried Ginger Chicken 日本炸姜鸡
3 Blanched White Stem Pak Choy with Japanese Salad Dressing 日式沙拉酱奶白
4 Bok Choy Meat and Fish Ball Soup 贸白菜肉丸鱼丸汤

Today, this menu was a rather unusual combination with two ginger chicken dishes called Indonesian Ginger Chicken and Japanese Fried Ginger Chicken. One of the my blogger friends from http://eatapieceofcake.blogspot.hk have posted this Indonesian Ginger Chicken Recipe into a Facebook Group that I have recently created called Food Bloggers and Foodies United.

The picture in her post looks  really nice and she explicitly highlighted that only 4 ingredients were needed (ginger, garlic, honey and dark soya sauce). Based on these 4 ingredients, I have no doubt that it will taste nice because all the ingredients are common ingredients used in Chinese cooking and I am especially fond of ginger. I also noted that these ingredients were almost the same as Japanese  style fried chicken where chicken were marinated in ginger juices. Therefore I have decided to marinate the chickens together using ginger juices. After one hour, I took some marinated chicken out for Japanese fried chicken whereas for the portion remaining, I added the required honey and dark soya sauce.  I baked for about an hour. I did not let the juice dries up because I knew my kids would like to have some gravy to go with the rice which is sweet and aromatic. That was the reasons why what I cooked is different from the original blogger’s picture.

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For the Japanese ginger chicken portion, instead of adding the dark soya sauce, I have added some Japanese light soya sauces and deep fried it. After I fried it, I drip soe honey on top of the fried chicken and served with shredded pineapple. Fried chicken is a bit oily and shredded pineapple will have the effects of negating the oiliness of the dish. Slice cucumber is another good way of garnishing.

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The verdict of these two ginger chickens  competition : the Indonesian Ginger Chicken dish won because it was softer and go with sweet sauce. This was expected because of the kids’ taste buds. However, they were complaining a bit spicy because of the ginger sauce.

For the blanched vegetables, i have resorted to the use of Japanese salad dressings and sprinkled with fried shallots. This whole bottle of dressing were given by my neighbour who complained that she don’t know how to use it after she brought it. It is a nice dressing in fact and goes relatively well with the white stem pak choi.

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Well, that is my cooking adventures to day and the submission of this report will consider that my daily kitchen duties as complete. Ha ha

Yes, before I end my post, I am thinking of cooking something with these combinations tomorrow. Can you guess what noodle dish is it?

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Have a nice day ahead and cheers.


 

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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, white rice served with:

Miso Pork Belly 味增五花
Tofu, Meatballs and Glass Noodles Soup 豆腐鱼丸冬粉汤
Ginger and Chinese Fermented Bean Braised Fish 姜丝豆酱焖鱼
Blanched Choy Shym with Prawns 虾球菜心

Oh! It is time for me to submit my daily report card! Haha! Tired as I have a lot of “projects” today.

As for the dish, all are rather common dish except the miso pork belly which is a new dish “invented” by me.


Miso Pork Belly

The inspiration of this dish is from a famous Chinese dish fermented bean curd fried meat(南乳炸肉). While the fermented bean curd (腐乳)belong to Chinese and Miso is the fermented bean sauce of the Japanese. Therefore, I have decided to “invent” this dish purely using Japanese condiments. Unlike the Chinese fermented bean curd meat dish, the miso paste is much tastier and therefore this dish did not use additional condiments except some sugar to enhance the flavor. Miso is quite salty and the sugar will helps to negate its saltiness to a more balance taste. This newly created dish is a dish that utilizes Japanese ingredients but prepared using the Chinese cooking method! Therefore, shall I called it a fusion dish?

Frankly speaking, a rather unhealthy dish and I do not think I will cook it that often. I will in my next attempt try to use chicken cubes or fish slices or even prawns. I strongly believed the taste will definitely blend.

If you want to know how to prepare, you can follow this link to Guaishushu’s page’s for pictorial illustration.

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Pineapple Tarts

Besides that, today, I have made a batch of closed version of pineapple tarts. The intention is actually for the celebration of Hari Raya Aidilfitri, a Muslim festival. I always think that as a Malaysian or a Singaporean PR, I shall play my part to contribute something for this celebration.

I am not entirely satisfied with this batch because the skin have a slight crack. However, I know that the reason is because I am too “greedy”. I have used too little dough for my filling causing my tarts to crack when the pineapple jams expand. That is not a great deal and I am still likely to share the recipe with readers soon. Again, the method of preparation is totally different from what you may find in the internet as I have discovered this method unintentionally during my Chinese New Year preparation.

 

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Steamed Sugar Cake (Pak Tong Koh) or 白糖糕

I have a recipe book in the balcony where i sit and when my boy looked inside the book, he found the type of Chinese steamed cake that he liked. He immediately asked me to prepare. I have hold up this “assignment” for more than a month and as I was clearing my kitchen shelves, I found some rice flours that have been with me for quite a while. I thought why not I just prepare for him so that he will not pester me any more. I cooked the rice flour, let it fermented for 8 hours and after cooking the dinner, I steamed it and this is what i get!

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I have yet to cut it as  I want to leave it overnight and completely cooled. It looks ok and who know what is inside like. Hope everything is okay.


Okay, that is what I cooked today. For those readers who are new, I have to reiterate that this series was created with the intention for people to “peep” into my kitchen and see how I rotate my dish, create my dish and it is best that readers take this as a casual reading. Pick up something that you don’t know and share with me things that I may have done wrong. Again, long recipes will be posted in this blog and short recipes will be posted in the Guaishushu’s Facebook Page.


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

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What I cooked today (家常便饭系列)- 17-7-2013

 

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I am trying out this format whether it works or not.

On 17-July 2013, white rice served with:

1 Spinach pork rib soup 菠菜排骨汤
2 Fried Bean Curd and Fish Cake with Chinese Celery 豆干鱼饼炒芹菜
3 Pak Choi Soup 大白菜排骨汤
4 Long Bean Stir Fried with Minced Meat and egg 长豆肉碎炒蛋
5 Grilled Saba (mackerel) with lemon  柠檬烤鲭鱼

Seem like today we have a lot of food. Again, my wife’s godmother cooked the Pak Choi Soup and gave it to us.  We can’t finished most of the dish and therefore, it is likely that we will be having porridge for lunch “getting rid” of these leftover food before I cook something new for the dinner.

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Dish is nothing special that really worth mentioning. May be the bean curd and fish cake with Chinese celery. I have a lot of Chinese celery and it is unlikely that I can use all purely for garnishing purposes. I remember used to fried minced meat with Chinese celery and I thought I will try the method to fry some taukwa (bean curd of less moisture content) and fish cakes. The conclusion is it a good combination. extremely simple dish.

My kids loves Saba for its “omega 3” fatty acids. As it is very fatty, the meat are rather soft and tasty. However, for Saba, besides simple grilling, I do not have any other methods of cooking. I presumed frying is possible but not steaming. Cooking curry? I think it is a waste. I hope readers can share with me how do you usually cooked this type of fish.

Have a wonderful day ahead and cheers.

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What I cooked today (家常便饭系列)- 21-5-2013

On 21 May 2013

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1. Fried Golden Banded Scad (Ikan Selat Kuning) 生煎竹荚鱼
2. Blanched White Stem Pak Choy with anchovies 小银鱼白菜
3. Pepper pork 胡椒猪柳
4. Chinese Water Spinach Soup 蕹菜汤

 

If you looked at my post yesterday, you will noted that I have blanched my Kailan and served with oyster sauce. The response was very encouraging and my kids are fighting for it. Today, I have decided to use the same method to blanch the white stem Pak Choy and sprinkled with fried anchovies and small prawns. If they like it, I can avoid frying and it will definitely more healthy for all of us. Update: They finished the dish!

Today fish is called Golden Banded Scad fish, the type of fish for “commoner” and usually found in nasi lemak. I miss this fish and I am now gradually let my kids try other types of fish that were sold outside. Usually, we would buy fish without bones like Kurau, salmon, white prom-fret and etc. These were needed because they are young and the fish was full of bones. Recently, I discovered that they still did not know how to eat fish that have bones. I think it is time to introduce more variety of fishes.

The last dish to note is the Chinese water spinach (kangkong) soup. Have you ever use kangkong to cook soup. It is a type of quick soup and you usually boiled it with ikan billis. Once the soup is ready, just throw in the Kangkong, add condiments and the soup is ready. Well no complain from my kids!! Cheers.

Happy reading.