Don’t “Gaduh” over “Gado Gado”–Indonesian One Dish Salad, Gado Gado

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INTRODUCTION

I used to travel a lot when I am in the corporate world. Most of the time, I need to travel and stay in the hotel by myself and at times, the trips will stretch to weeks or months. I still remember my 2 years secondment to Hong Kong and Shanghai, more than 80% of my stay was in the hotel. Room services was very common and cafes at the hotel become my “dining hall”. During these times, one of my favourite order was the “look-alike” home cooked was gado gado since the food was served with peanut aka satay sauce. Of course, other favourites in the hotel will include Singapore Hainanese Chicken rice and Singapore Fried Bee Hoon (新洲炒米粉)。

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That is how I first got in touch with gado gado. Gado gado in essence is Indonesian’s salad with peanut sauce. However, unlike Western salad, it is a one pot dish, meaning one can have gado gado as the main meal.

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Gado gado in Indonesia means plural for “mixing” action and it shall not be confused with “gaduh gaduh” in Malaysia which means heated arguments.

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There are a few versions of Gado gado in Indonesia depending on which part of Indonesia you are in and this version is called “Gado Gado Siram” which was what I usually have in hotels and Indonesian Restaurants. Essentially, vegetables were cooked separately, put together in one plate and add some peanut sauce were poured on top, mixed and served.

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PREPARING OF PEANUT SUACE (Serving of about 5-6 adults) 

What is required

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Ingredients A

  • 50 grams of chilli powder (or dry chilli)

  • 100 grams of garlics

  • 40 grams of galangal (blue ginger)

  • 40 grams of lemon grass

  • 1 tablespoon of cumin powder

  • 1 tablespoon of coriander powder

(You can either use the powder form of the above ingredients or use its original form of raw ingredients)

Ingredients B

  • 500 grams of peanuts (coarsely ground)

  • 10 tablespoons of castor sugar or gula melaka (coconut palm sugar)

  • 5 tablespoons of cooking oils

  • Pinches of salt

  • Pinches of turmeric powder (optional)

  • 3 big tablespoons of tamarind paste (assam)

  • 5 cups of water

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Steps of Preparation

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  • Use a food processor to blend all the ingredients (except powder ingredients) in “A” until fine. Alternatively, you can use a mortar and pestle to pound the non-powder ingredients until fine as in the picture. 

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  • In  a big frying pan, add the cooking oil and stir fried the ingredients as in A until fragrance. Add in tamarind, water and remaining ingredients B (coarsely chopped peanut, sugar, salt) and bring to boil.

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  • Reduce heat and simmer until the sauce thickens and oil start to appear on top of the peanut sauce. Off the heat and stir in pinches of turmeric powder (optional) and add some hot water if the peanut sauce is too thick. Set aside for later use.

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PREPARING THE SIDE INGREDIENTS

No quantities will be stated here as it is very much depends on your personal preferences.  Most ingredients are substitutable except the most common and must have are long beans, fried tau kwa). I did not prepare all the ingredients as I am having it by myself  and I will not be able to  finish if I used all the ingredients. However, I will list out the other side ingredients.

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  • Peanut sauce (as mentioned above)

  • Some long beans (cut into 4-5 cm) – blanched

  • Some bean sprouts – blanched

  • Some kangkong (convolvulus) – blanched

  • Some hard boiled eggs – cut into half

  • Some taukwa – deep fried and cut into slices – See below

  • Some cucumbers _ julienned into small chunks

  • Some lettuce – chopped

  • Some Empiring/Melinjo crackers (Indonesian padi oats crackers)-optional

Not in the pictures above

  • Some cabbages – blanched

  • Some potatoes – boiled and cut into cubes

  • Some lontong (rice cakes) – cut into small pieces

  • Some prawn crackers  (keropok udang)

  • Some tempeh (soya bean cakes) – cut into small pieces – optional

  • Fried Shallot.

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Deep Frying the Taukwa

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  • Marinate the taukwa (drier version of bean curd) with some salt, white pepper and coriander sauces. Deep fried under medium heat until the skin is crispy yet the inside is soft. Cut into small pieces and set aside for future use.

Blanching The Vegetables

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  • In a wok or frying pan, put some water, drizzles of oil and some salt and bring the water to boil. Add in beansprouts, green beans and kangkong (convolvulus) in this order. Take out and set aside for later use.

 


ASSEMBLING THE INGREDIENTS AND SERVINGS

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  • Arrange the lettuce on the serving plate and place all blanched vegetables , taukwa, eggs on top of it.

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  • Pour the warm peanut sauce over and garnish with Melinjo or prawn crackers and additional fried shallots, if desired.

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CONCLUSION

  • This is a rather simple dish to prepare except a bit laborious. However, it is a healthy dish as it is packed with vegetables and I like to eat it as a one dish meal.

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  • Only pour sauce over the vegetables before serving otherwise, the peanut sauce may become watery due to the water excreted from the vegetables. If the sauce is too thick, add in some hot water and heat it up. Warm sauce is always preferred. For left over sauces, you can freeze it and used for other noodles dish (Satay Bee Hoon) or as dips for Satay.

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

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One Number Ratio Baking Adventures – Layered Pound Cake ………

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This is a post with no recipe. This is Guaishushu’s baking adventures.

As mentioned in Guaishushu’s zebra pattern pound cake, Guaishushu don’t like to follow recipes and remember numbers. Therefore, Guaishushu is constantly experimenting his 1 number pound cake ratio theory, that is 1 egg : 1 butter : 1 flour : 1 sugar : 1 milk (hereinafter refer to as “One number Ratio”) and today, he applied this to the famous Indonesian Layered Cake (Kek Lapis). However, as he is in the experimenting stage, he did not care much about the details on the additions of spices, control of temperature and etc.

He assured that he will publish a full post with detailed recipe and illustrations.

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The origins of Indonesian layered cakes is believed to be the Baumkuchen/Tree cake, an authentic cake in Germany and Holland. However, due to the Dutch colonization of Indonesia, the Dutch had modified the traditional version by incorporation of local spices. Therefore, the Indonesian layered cake is called the lapis legit (spiced layered cake) whereby a spice mix were added to the batters.

Based on Guaishushu’s One number cake ratio pound cake as mentioned in this post, Guaishushu believed that “one number ratio” can apply to cup cakes, fruit cakes and other cakes such as layered cake. Of course, the cakes could not be called baumkuchen but it is just  a “layered pound cake” baking using total different ingredients ratio..

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The taste of the cake is similar with the pound cake but the texture is difference, slightly denser. Putting the legit spice mix, it will taste like the Indonesia Kek Lapis Legit.

The difference with the original texture of pound cake  is because of the differences in the method of making the layered cake though ratio is the same. The constant layering of the cakes will make it dense. In addition, the temperature used is higher to make the layered cake therefore becoming drier. With slight tuning of the oven temperature, timing of layering, the cake can be as beautiful and as delicious as with other common Indonesian layered cakes.

While most common layered cakes will required about 10-30 eggs, this cake only uses 5 eggs. In addition, some recipes uses 500g butter whereas this is the pound cake that uses 250g of butter only. That could also resulted a cake that is denser and less moist than other layered cakes.

 

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Just give readers a glimpse of how to bake a layer cake, you will have to use top heat for baking. Put a few tablespoons of batter each time until the top layer turns brownish. Continue until all the batters finished.

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Well, that is Guaishushu’s experimentation with the making of layered pound cake. Do making of layered cake have  any short cut? Can the “one number ratio” applicable to a layered cake? Guaishushu believes that the answer is yes!

 

Guaishushu will continue to experiment more recipes using this “one number ratio” and this layered cake will be further modified and tested before the recipe is published.

 

Have a nice day and cheers.

 

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FOOD PREPARATION SERIES INDEX

 
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The following are temporary indices for all recipes issued by Guaishushu in both https://kwgls.wordpress.com and Guaishushu’s Facebook Page. The index shall be for temporary references only.

 

 

Desserts:

 

Aloe Vera

Some Aloe Vera Sweet Fruit Dessert Just Specially For You, Dear!

Barley Peanut Soup

Easy Peasy Barley Bean Curd Sheets Sweet Soup (腐竹薏米甜汤)

Black Glutinous Rice

What? Having Rice as A Dessert- The Nutritious Black Glutinous Rice Porridge

Sweet Potato Soup

Malaysian Singaporean Chinese Food–Sweet Potato Soup Dessert

Barley/Black Glutinous Rice

X4 – Black Glutinous Rice and Barley Sweet Porridge (血糯薏米甜粥)

Honey Dew Granita

C1 Honey Dew and Cantaloupe Granita  哈密瓜奇异果挫冰

Poached Bosc Pears & Dragon Fruits

X3-Chinese Style Poached Pear and Dragon Fruits Desserts (博斯克梨龙珠果炖冰糖)

Bubur Cha Cha

X5 – Bubur Cha Cha (摩摩喳喳)

 

 

Drinks:

 

Chrysanthemum Tea

Come and have a cup of Chrysanthemum Tea (菊花茶)

Hawthorn Ume Tea

Need A Drink To Repair Your Vocal Cord? Hawthorn Ume Is The Tea For You!

Roselle Tea

 Game To Try Some “Wild Hibiscus” Tea………….?(洛神花茶)

Rhoeo Tricolor Tea

Purple is mysterious, purple is nobly and a purple drink is definitely lovely! – Rhoeo Tricolor Tea (如意兰茶,蚌兰花茶,红竹叶茶)

Hedyotis Diffusa

 Snake Tongue Tea? Gosh.. I Am Going Away……白花蛇舌草罗汉果茶

   

Breads

 

Sarawak Style Butter Buns

Homesick Buns? Yes, I am homesick of Sarawak Style Butter Buns..

Roast Meat Buns

P1 – Roast Meat Bun (烧肉包)

 

 

Cakes/Muffins/Scones

 

Banana Cake

P2 – Banana Cake (香蕉蛋糕)

Butter Cake/Pound Cake

1 Butter + 1 Sugar + 1Egg + 1 Flour + 1 Milk = Mrs. NgSK’s Butter Cake-Guaishushu’s Version

Butter Cake/Pound Cake Hey, My Chick Want To Eat My Zebra Pound Cake !

Chinese Steamed Sponge Cake

The Plights of Kuey Neng Ko…The Traditional Chinese Steamed Sponge Cake…

Chinese Steamed Sponge Cake My Steamed Sponge Cake (Kuey Neng Ko) Is Full Of Gas。。。。 (汽水鸡蛋糕) 

Steamed Sugar Cake

P3-Steamed Sugar Cake (白糖糕)

Microwave Mug Cake

Microwaved Mug Cakes, Another Quick Alternative to Baked and Steamed Cakes…

Sarawak Midnight Cake

Where is my cake? I Can’t See!–Famous Sarawak Midnight Cake (Cake Seri kaya Sarawak) revisited..

Grapefruit Chiffon Cake

Grapefruit Chiffon with Grapefruit Citrus Glaze,… Ever Try This?

Carrot Muffins

Simple Carrot Muffins for Your Love Ones…

Scones

Basic But Presentable, Basic But Irresistible…Basic Raisin Scones Shared…

Tapioca Cake

CCC – Cheesy Cassava Cake–A Modified Version of The Traditional Nonya Kuih Bengka Ubi

Cake Decoration Ideas

From Plain to Eye Catching…From Muffins to Elegant Celebration Cakes

 

 

Cheese Cakes

 

Ferraro Rocher Ice Cream

Simple, Tasty, Elegant …Chilled Ferrero Rocher Oreo Ice Cream Cheese Cake

Durian Cheese Cake

King of Fruits + Cream Cheese = Durian Cheesecakes, Game to Try?

 

 

Cookies

 

Pineapple Tarts

What A Golf Ball Have To Do With A Pineapple? Well, It Is The Famous South East Asian Pineapple Tarts

 

 

Puddings

 

Bread Puddings

Who Said Bread Puddings Must Be Prepared As Such…..Bread Puddings “Reinvented”

Cake Puddings P4 – Cake Puddings (蛋糕布丁)

Cookie Puddings

Creative Food Series – Cookie Puddings 1

Cookie Puddings

Cookie Puddings – 2

 

 

Snacks

 

Nonya Chang 

Is there any relationship between Dragon in a boat and a Peranakan Women?….The process of making Nonya Chang revisited…(Part I)

Nonya Chang 

Is there any relationship between Dragon in a boat and a Peranakan Women?….The process of making Nonya Chang revisited…(Part II)

Popiah

Malaysian Singaporean Chinese Food–Popiah Sarawak Style

Kueh Pie Tee

Malaysian Singaporean Chinese Food -Kueh Pie Tee

Roasted Peanuts

C2 – Spiced Roasted Peanut (香脆花生)

 

 

Rice and Porridges

 

Chicken Rice

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

Nasi Goreng Aruk

 Are you kidding? You don’t need oil to fry rice?– The authentic Sarawak Cuisine–Aruk Fried Rice

Fried Rice

N1 – Nameless Fried Rice (无名炒饭)

White Gourd Braised Rice

N2 – White Gourd Braised Rice (白莆焖饭)

Pork Porridge

N3- Pork Porridge (肉粥

 

 

Noodles and Pasta Dishes

 

Kolo Beehoon

Food Preparation Series–Kolo Beehoon

Sarawak Laksa

Hey, My Laksa Secret Recipe Was Stolen!!!……… An In Depth Analysis and Pictorial Procedural Description Of The Famous Sarawak Laksa (PART I)

Sarawak Laksa

Hey, I have invented my own Sarawak Laksa Paste Recipe !!!……… An In Depth Analysis and Pictorial Procedural Description Of The Famous Sarawak Laksa (PART II)

Sarawak Laksa

Hi, Let Start Cooking the Laksa …. An In Depth Analysis and Pictorial Procedural Description Of The Famous Sarawak Laksa (Part III)

Singapore Prawn Noodles

Prawn noodles? Hokkien noodles?… No, it is Singapore Hokkien Fried Prawn Noodles (新加玻福建炒虾面)

Tom Yam Noodles

Bachelor’s Tomyam Noodles–Quick And Nice…

Tomato Yimin Noodles

What I cooked today (家常便饭系列)– 13-7-2013–Tomato Yimin Noodles (茄汁伊面)

Pasta Sauce

Let’s See How An Asian Make The Tomato Pasta Sauce From Scratch and How He Baked His Pasta….

 

 

Meat and Savoury Dishes

 

Korma Chicken

Special – What I cooked today (家常便饭系列)– 22-7-2013–Korma Chicken (科尔马鸡肉)

Grilled Chicken

M1- Chinese Style Grilled Chicken (中式烤鸡)

Ginger Chicken

M2 – Ginger Chicken (姜丝鸡)

Soya Sauce Chicken

M4- Braised Chicken with Soya Sauce (酱油鸡)

Minced Pork with Taukwa

Creative Food Series–Minced Pork Belly with Taukwa

Miso Pork Belly

M3 – Miso Pork Belly (味增五花)

Meat Rolls

Hey, This is not Italian Meat Rolls, It Is Chinese Meat Rolls Called Ngoh Hiang

 

 

Vegetarian Dishes

 

Tempeh

Tempeh Revisited – Sweet And Spicy Tempeh And Oven Baked Honey Tempeh

Vegetable fritters

Vege Vege Vegetable Fritters–Indonesian’s Bakwan Sayuran

Vegetables

Blanching Vegetables in Chinese Cooking – 利用汆烫准备可口的中式的菜”肴

Chinese Lettuce

V2 – Blanched Chinese Lettuce With Fermented Bean Curd Sauce (白腐乳生菜胆)- Vegetarian

Bitter Gourd & Chinese Mustard

V3- Braised Bitter Gourd With Chinese Mustard (苦瓜焖芥菜)

Shark Fin Melon Soup

S6 – Vegetarian Shark Fin Melon Soup (素鱼翅瓜羹)

 

 

Vegetable Dishes

 

Luffa

D1-Braised luffa/tower gourd with egg* 蛋汁炆丝瓜

Preserved Mustard

D4 – Foochow Preserved Mustard Fried With Minced Meat (福州糟菜炒肉碎)

Winged Beans

D7 – Fried Winged Beans With Minced Meat (肉碎四棱豆)

Kailan with Prawns

V1 – Blanched Kailan With Prawn (芥兰虾球)

Romaine Lettuce Miso

V4 – Blanch Romaine lettuce with miso sauce (味真酱罗明旦)

 

 

Tofu and Egg Dishes

 

Minced Taukwa Omelete

D2 – Minced Taukwa Omelete (豆干蛋饼)

Braised Egg & Tofu

D3 – Braised Eggs and Bean Curd (豆干卤蛋)

Bean Curd Omelete

D5-Beancurd Omelet (豆干蛋饼

Celery Omelete

D6- Celery Omelete (西芹蛋饼)

Steamed Tofu

D8-Steamed Tofu With Eggs (豆腐蒸蛋)

Salted Turnip Omelete

D9 – Salted Turnip Omelete (菜脯蛋饼)素

Devilled Eggs

 Devilled Egg- Simplicity Rules…

   

Soup Dishes

 

Sweet Corn Soup

S1 – Sweet Corn Pork Rib Soup 玉米排骨汤)

Carrot Soup

S2 – White Carrot Pork Rib Soup (白萝卜排骨汤

Double Mushroom Soup

S3 – Double Mushroom Chicken Soup (双菇鸡汤)

Bitter Gourd Pineapple Soup

S4-Bitter Gourd Pineapple Pork Rib Soup (苦瓜黄梨排骨汤)

Chinese Napa Soup

S5 – Chinese Cabbage (Napa) Soup ( 大白菜汤)

Salted Vegetable Duck Soup

Salted Vegetable Duck Soup (咸菜鸭)– A Quick and Easy Way to Prepare This Traditional Soup Dish

 

 

Interesting Cooking Ingredients

 

Chilli

Burnt, Hot, Spicy– I am running away!!!– Understanding Chilli Pepper and Making Of Chilli Sauce

Belachan

Can You Stand The Smell of Belachan (Shrimp Paste)?

Belachan

Z1 – Belachan (Shrimp Paste) – Roasting Belachan

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Vege Vege Vegetable Fritters–Indonesian’s Bakwan Sayuran

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INTRODUCTION

Vegetable fritter is  rather international. Almost all international cuisines will have some form of vegetable fritters. It is a  very common food item in South East Asian countries. Be it called bakwan sayuran (Indonesia), vegetable tempura (Japan), parkosa (India) or just vegetable fritters. Packed with vegetables, it can be as healthy as you want it. You can oven baked, pan fried or deep fried. Depending on which cuisine’s vegetable fritters, the dips can also be significantly different.

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WHY THIS DISH

I am having my yearly vegetarian 1-1.5 months and I am looking for some vegetarian dishes. In addition, I am preparing this dish in response to the monthly challenge organized by a Google plus food community.

This recipe is not my household recipe but an Indonesian vegetable fritter recipe obtained from Ms Karin’s blog on bakwan sayuran However, I have modified to suit my family’s taste buds.

I concurred with Ms Karin that vegetable fritter recipe has lots of flexibility especially the choice of vegetables. Ms Karin had written in Google communities that “We can make fritters out of everything. Sometimes with something as lame as cabbage and a bunch of leftover vegetables (just avoid wet ones like tomatoes)”.

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WHAT IS REQUIRED

Recipes adopted from  Ms. Karin’s blog on bakwan sayuran.

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  • 150 g of jicama (shredded)
  • 150 g of French beans (cut into small pieces)
  • 100 g of bean sprouts
  • 50 g of red carrots (shredded)
  • 50 g of peanuts

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  • 2 tablespoons of coriander powder
  • 2 tablespoons of white pepper
  • 1 tablespoon of salts
  • 2 tablespoons of sugar
  • 125 g of rice flour
  • 125 g of wheat flour
  • 200 ml of plain water
  • 5 cups of cooking oil for frying


STEPS OF PREPARATION

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  • In a big bowl, assemble all ingredients together;
  • Add in coriander powder, sugar, salt, white pepper. Stir until well mixed.
  • Add in flour (rice flour and wheat flour) and water. Stir until all the ingredients are coated with the batter.

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  • In a big pan, heat the cooking oil. The oil is considered as ready when you insert a chopstick or other wooden object into the hot oil, bubbles started to emit.
  • Put few tablespoons of batter at a time and deep fried until golden brown. You will have to keep a close eye during your frying process to ensure that your batter is not too big (otherwise it will be difficult to get cooked) and your oil temperature should not be overly hot (meaning exterior to start to get burnt and inside may not be cooked). In that case, you have to turn the heat to medium or small, it make take a bit longer but once you note that the colour start to turn golden, switched to high heat for high heat and immediately take it out. This will prevent the oil from going back to the batter!
  • Drain the fritters in oil absorbing paper.

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  • Let it cool and serve with your preferred dips.

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VARIATIONS

There are many variations to this dish. You can add in any vegetables of your choice such as Entoki mushrooms, cauliflowers and the list is endless.

Method of cooking, beside deep frying, can also be pan fried or oven baked. Though oven baked and pan fried version will not be that crispy, it is healthier and equally delicious.

Spices used can also change to include cardamom, cumin seeds, turmeric powder if you preferred.

Dips and garnishes have lots of flexibility. For my kids, I have some mayonnaise and tomato sauces which become thousand island dressings. For adults we have like to home made chilli sauce. Original Indonesian fried fritters like to go with fresh chilli or cabit as they called it. You can also garnish with cucumber or tomato slices to negate the slight greasiness of the dish!

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CONCLUSIONS

  • A simple and easy to do dish that is packed with vegetables and can be as healthy as you want it to be . It is a vegetarian dish suitable for all age groups.
  • A full flexibility dish that can be tailored to meet your family taste buds including types of vegetables, spices used, method of cooking dips and garnishes.

Hope you like the post today. Cheers.



I am submitting this post to the Monthly Challenge organized by Google Plus Singapore, Malaysia & Indonesia – Cuisine Communities in response of Ms. Karin’s Bakwan Sayuran (Vegetable Fritters)  post in her Karin’s Recipe blog. 

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

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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 1000 recipes worldwide and pinned by various bloggers: FOOD BLOGGERS AND FOODIES UNITED PINTEREST BOARD. You can also join the Food Bloggers and Foodies United Group Facebook Group to see more recipes.

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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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Is there any relationship between Dragon in a boat and a Peranakan Women?….The process of making Nonya Chang revisited…(Part I)

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BACKGROUND INTRODUCTION

Rice dumpling or “Chang” is one of the traditional delicacies that are well loved by the Malaysian Chinese and Singaporean Chinese communities. However, nowadays, most families do not really wrap their own dumplings at home. They will buy the Chang in shops, restaurants or even supermarkets.

The price of the Chang will gradually be pushed upwards by another 100% by the date of  the Rice Dumplings Festival (or Dragon Boat Festival or Duan Wu Jie 端午节). Two weeks before the Rice Dumpling Festivals, assuming the price per rice dumpling is SGD 1.50 before the increase, the seller will increase 10cents per day and it will become to SGD2.90 by the time of Festival. This price is grossly underestimated and actual prices can be in the range of SGD3-4 per rice dumpling from a more reputable shop to SGD 5-6 from posh restaurants.

 

WHY SUCH A HIGH PRICE PREMIUM FOR THE CHANG?

It was a sad fact that peoples of my age are not really keen to make the chang themselves. Chang was able to command a high price premium because of the basic economic laws of demand and supply. There are lots of demands for Chang especially near the Rice Dumpling festival. However, supplies were limited to a few Chang shops since most families are not willing to prepare their own Chang.

The next question will be to understand why families did not consider to wrap their own Chang? In my humble opinion, most people do not wish to prepare their own Chang due to the following factors and beliefs which personally, I think are misconceptions concerning Chang making:

  • It is time consuming to make the Chang (see below) as traditional ways of making Chang needs at least 1-2 days;
  • It is difficult to assemble all the ingredients;
  • It is very “challenging” to wrap the Chang as tying of ropes and shaping of Chang need times to acquire such skills;
  • Families are small eaters, they just want to eat one to two Chang and unlike traditionally, most families need lots of Chang for the praying sessions;
  • Lack of economies of scales if they only wrapped say 10-12 Chang and it is more worthwhile to purchase from outside stores;
  • The increase of household disposal income over the years and the price of Chang is just a small portion of their income.

Due to above the reasons, most families are not willing to wrap the Chang! 

 

TRADITIONAL WAYS OF CHANG PREPARATION

Traditional preparation of Chang can be a laborious process. All ladies in the family were called to help with the preparation. In fact,  families and extended families (aunt) or even neighbors may agreed on one day to prepare the Chang together. They will take 1 day for the preparation of the filing and another day for the wrapping and cooking of Chang.

The first day will usually involve the cleaning of the leaves for wrapping, soaking of glutinous rice, the dicing of meats, mushrooms and other ingredients and frying the filings for next day’s wrapping. Early in the morning (may be 4-5 am) in the morning, the wrapping will begin and  when a bunch of Chang is ready (about 20-30 Chang depending on your pot for boiling), the boiling or cooking of Chang begins This will take another 2-3 hours per bunch depending on the size of the Chang. By noon, usually, all Chang will be wrapped and all Chang will be cooked by 4pm – 5pm in the afternoon. The ladies will share the results of  their hard works (Chang) between themselves and bring their portion back to their respective families. Traditionally, they are using big biscuits tin and boil under a kerosene stove. The tin is specially made fro this purpose only.

Don’t you think so after the Chang preparation, the ladies in each families shall be closer to each other due to the need of communications. I would deemed this as a family gathering or family “unity” exercise!

                                 

pic courtesy of :http://nyonyacake.blogspot.sg/                   pic courtesy of: http://www.whatsonxiamen.com

 

REASONS OF MAKING YOUR OWN “CHANG”

Learning how to wrap the Chang is definitely something that I would like to promote among the younger generations. With the various kitchen equipment and aids, the process of preparing the Chang can be shortened considerably and I hope readers will try the short cut method that I will share with you in Part II.

The benefits of wrapping your own Chang are:

  • huge cost savings
  • more varieties of Chang can be prepared and easily tailored to the taste or special diet considerations of your family members;
  • as a gift to relatives and friends.


CHANG DEFINED

“Zongzi (or simply zong) (Chinese: ) is a traditional Chinese food, made of glutinous rice stuffed with different fillings and wrapped in bamboo, reed, or other large flat leaves. They are cooked by steaming or boiling. In the Western world, they are also known as rice dumplings or sticky rice dumplings.

Laotians, Thais, (who call them Bachang) and Cambodians (who call them nom chang) have also assimilated this dish by borrowing it from the local overseas Chinese minorities in their respective nations. In Indonesia and Malaysia, they are known as bakcang, bacang, or zang (Chinese: 肉粽; Pe̍h-ōe-jī: bah-chàng), a loanword from Hokkien, a Chinese dialect commonly used among Indonesian-Chinese, rather than Mandarin. Along the same lines, zongzi are more popularly known as machang among Chinese Filipinos in the Philippines.”

(SOURCE: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Zongzi)

Therefore, in according to the simple definition, the must have of Chang is glutinous rice and some types of fillings (though there are Changs that don’t have fillings like Kee Chang).

 

Type of Chang

Fillings of Chang

Every regions or Chinese dialects group will have their own versions of Chang. As economy are more and more affluence, the fillings were change over the years. The following 2 pictures shows Chang will a few types of fillings.

IMG_4356   Chang with meat type of fillings. Can you spot an abalone and chili padi in the filings.

 IMG_4357 Chang which is bean based or no fillings at all

Shape of Chang

IMG_4345  

You can see there are many shapes of Chang and one of them is called the Pillow Chang. But the basic shape is the triangular shaped Chang. Have you ever seen a cone shaped Chang as shown in the last picture?

Therefore, one can conclude that Chang can have many shapes and fillings and I would not insist whose Chang is genuine and whose is fake. What can be included or what cannot to be included in the Chang.


NONYA CHANG DEFINED

“Nyonya zong (娘惹粽): A specialty of Peranakan cuisine, these zongzi are made similarly as southern zongzi. However, the filling is typically minced pork with candied winter melon, ground roasted peanuts and a spice mix.”

(SOURCE: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Zongzi)

 

Nonya Chang belongs to the cuisine of Peranakan communities in Singapore and Malaysia. Peranakans are descendants of early Chinese migrants who settled in Penang, Malacca, Indonesia and Singapore, inter-marrying with local Malays. The old Malay word nonya (also spelled nyonya), a term of respect and affection for women of prominent social standing (part “madame” and part “auntie”), has come to refer to the cuisine of the Perakanans. Nonya cooking is the result of blending Chinese ingredients with spices and cooking techniques used by the Malay/Indonesian community.

The nonya Chang is also “pua kiam ti” (半咸甜粽)meaning the Chang is both sweet and salty at the same time. It is different from the Chang is Taiwan or China which are called Kiam Bak Chang (咸肉粽)。

Nonya Chang are generally accepted by all Chinese Dialects group in Singapore and Malaysia. What differentiates  a Nonya Chang and other Chang are summarize as follows:

1. The usage of coriander powder and aniseed powder in the preparation both of which were considered as Middle Eastern spice widely used by the Malay communities;

2. The inclusion of candied winter melon to make the Chang sweet and that is where the sweet components come from. This obviously is under the influence of the Chinese culture where candied winter melon are widely used in its desserts and believed to have some cooling effects;

3. The usage of screw pine leaves for the wrapping (Pandanus) as compared to the bamboo leaves generally used in other Chang. This is another indication of localization of Nonya Chang since screw pine leaves are not available in China;

4. The usage of other nonya coloring such as the pea flower to color part the Chang into blue or indigo, but part of the rice are still white or light brownish in color as compared to the dark brown color of rice in the Kiam Bak Chang.

5. The inclusion of “sambal” in the fillings and this usually comprises of minced dry shrimps cooked with numerous types Malay spices.

I hoped that via this explanation, you can draw your own conclusions as to what are the characteristics of Nonya Chang and understand why it is call “half sweet half salty’ Chang.

 

Nyonya chang         

In the above picture, please note that the usage of reed strings, Pandanus leaves, diced or minced type of fillings, blue color of rice, brown dot in the white colored rice (coriander powder), all these are rather typical of a Nonya Chang.

CONCLUSION

The fact that most families are not willing to make their own Chang is understandable and one of the main reasons is the laborious process involved. However, such process can be shortened and I will share with your the simplified steps to make “my” own version of Nonya Chang.  Though my mother in law cannot agree with my process of preparation saying that I am lazy but she never complain about the ‘”qualities” of the “final products”.

Hopefully, this post will give you another perspective of understand Chang and “design your own Chang”. In Part II, I will share with you the details process in making the Chang.

Thank for reading.