An International Pie That Will Suit Everybody’s Taste Buds–Japanese Curry Flavoured Potato Pie

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INTRODUCTION 

As a Malaysian, I loved curry but I can’t cook curry that is spicy because I have to consider the palate of my kids. Beside curry, I loved curry puffs but I do not really like the filo type of pastry or pastry that requires deep frying… and… I like the type of pastry that is usually used to make apple pies or chicken pies.  Therefore, I have decided to make “curry pie” using Japanese curry cubes. 

When I first travelled  overseas donkey years back, I always craved for Malay or Nonya curries. However, most restaurants overseas did not sell these curries. The more popular curries was the Japanese curries. Initially, I never like Japanese curries because it was sweet and not spicy hot.

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I did not “touch” these curries for many years until very recently because of my kids. My kids liked curries but they can’t take the spiciness. When we cooked curry, they will fight for the potatoes. When they know there was a curry dish, before their meals, they would take a cup of cold water with them. During the meal, they would dip the curried potatoes in the cold water and ate them. At times, they would run around the dining table because the washed curried potatoes were still too spicy hot for them.

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Two three month’s ago, my kind neighbour gave us some Japanese curries that she cooked and I am very happy to see that my kids were eating happily and requesting for more. Since then, it was quite common for us to cook Japanese curries at home and personally, I have get used to the taste and fell in love with it. Bear with me, the next post will also be another Japanese curry post and I am sure you will like it.

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This recipe incorporated both the Western and Asian cuisines ingredients. It is a normal pie crust and you have full flexibility to shape the pie crust topping to your desired pattern. It is cooked with Japanese curry cubes which was not spicy such that it will be more acceptable to Western readers. To make it creamier like Western pie, I have added fresh cream and some parmesan cheeses. The potatoes and curry should be well liked by the Asian readers as it is very common that potatoes are used curry cuisines.

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WHAT IS REQURIED

For Potatoes Fillings (Make 8 tarts)

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  • 3-4 potatoes (boiled and cut into cubes)

  • 100 grams of cauliflowers

  • 60 grams of Japanese curry cubes (about 3 curry cubes depending on brand)

  • 1/4 cups of parmesan cheese (optional)

  • 1/2 cups of double cream or whipping creams (optional)

  • Pinches of salt and sugar

  • 1 1/2 cups of water

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For Pie Pastry

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  • 50 grams egg yolks (lightly beaten)

  • 250 grams plain flour (sifted)

  • 20 grams of icing sugar (optional)

  • 125 grams of chilled butter cut into cubes

  • 50 grams of icy cold water

  • 1 egg yolk for egg washing

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STEPS OF PREPARTION

Preparation of Potato Filling

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  • In a pot, put the water and curry cubes and bring to boil under high heat. Once boiled, turn to medium heat. Add cauliflowers and let it boil for 1-2 minutes. Add in potatoes cubes and boil for 2-3 minutes. Add in cream, salt, sugar and parmesan cheese. Boil for another one minute before off the heat. Let it cool and set aside for later use.

  • It is wise that you take some cooked curried potatoes and taste whether the fillings suits your taste buds. It have to be slightly high handed with your seasonings because this pie crust is not very sweet.

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Preparation of Pie Pastry and Baking The Pastry

  • Preheat your to 180 degree Celsius.

  • Beat together one egg yolk, few drops of cooking oil and 2 tablespoon of water. Stir well and sift into a container. Set aside for later egg washing.

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  • In a big mixing bowl, put butter cubes and sifted plain flour together. Use the finger tips to rub the butter cubes and flours together until it become crumby. Add in sifted icing sugars and continue to rub until well mix. Add lightly beaten eggs and water, mix slowly until it become a dough.

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  • Have a clinging wrap on the table, place the dough on top of the clinging wrap. Put another clinging wrap on top of the dough. Use a rolling pin to roll it into a flat sheet with about 0.5 cm thickness. Transfer the dough to the pie tin and use your hand to press the dough against the sides and make it as even as possible.

  • Roll the remaining pie pastry into a flat piece, cut to small strips and set aside for later use.

  • Fill the pie tins with the curried potatoes. Place the dough strips on top of the curried potatoes in your desired pattern. (Initially, as I am unsure whether I have adequate dough to made a net pattern, therefore I have started the pie with this pattern. Subsequently, since I have some dough left, I have put additional strips to make it into a net pattern.)

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  • Use a brush to brush pie crust evenly and baked in the oven for 15 minutes .

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  • Take the pie out and perform the second egg washing. Wash thoroughly and bake for another 5 minutes.  Note that this step is optional but I like to do this for all my pastries. Should the pie have signs of burnt, lower the temperature by about 20 degrees and continue baking.

  • Transfer to the wire rack for cooling. Let it cool completely before take the pies out from the pie tins. 

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CONCLUSION

If you like curry puff, you will like this. The pies were prepared after taking into consideration the needs of both Asian and Westerner’s taste buds. Of course, if you like to make the curried potatoes using the local curry paste, it is definitely acceptable. If you like it spicy hot, add in some chilli paste… But I preferred the sweet Japanese curried potatoes with a mild taste of cheeses and creams.

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Hope you like the post today and cheers.

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

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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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Auspicious Day With Auspicious Porridge–Eight Treasure Porridge (八宝粥)

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INTRODUCTION

It is such an auspicious day that I am writing this post. I swear it is not pre-planned. Today is Mid Autumn Festival aka Moon Cake Festival, it is a festival that is celebrated by all Chinese worldwide. As request by one of the Google communities, I have written a brief write up on Mid Autumn Festivals HERE which you may want to have some casual reading.

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The cuisine that I am going to post today is a vegetarian dish called 8 treasure porridge (八宝粥). There are so many versions of this one pot dish in the internet but the recipe that I am going to share is from my kind neighbour. She liked to cook this porridge and after I tried it for the very first time, immediately I fell in love with it. Since then, I had liked to cook this dish in important festivals such as Chinese New Year Day where the whole family were supposed to be on vegetarian diet for one day.

I have cooked this yesterday not because of the festival, but because I craved for the porridge since I am still on my vegetarian diet. I gave two boxes of the porridge to my daughter’s schoolmates mother, she immediately asked for the recipe when she reached home. She commented that the taste of the porridge was totally different from what she had tasted in the vegetarian stalls.

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I did not know where my neighbour get the recipe but I found that there are certain ingredients that we used were not found in other 8 treasure porridges sold by the vegetarian stores. Both the ingredients were mock meat acceptable to all vegetarians and without these two ingredients, the taste will definitely be different.

As this was our dinner last night, I did not have much chances to take pictures and the poor lighting make the picture a bit disappointed. But trust me, this is a very different 8 treasure porridge and it is definitely good for casual dining or a presentable dish in important Buddhist religious occasions.

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WHAT IS REQUIRED

Though the name is 8 treasure porridge, however, we tend to have more than 8 ingredients and I do not think all my ingredients are in the picture.  I should have used 11-12 ingredients here. Most of the ingredients are nuts and a few ingredients and some mock meat.

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  • 1 cup of uncooked rice – not in picture (白米)

  • 1 cup of jujube (红枣)

  • 1 cup of peanuts (花生)- soaked

  • 1 cup of cashew nuts (腰豆)

  • 1 cup of lotus seeds (莲子)- soaked

  • 1 cup of gingko nuts  (白果)- soaked

  • 1 cup of red carrots (cut into cubes) (红萝卜)

  • 1 cup of dried mushrooms (soaked and cut into cubes) – not in picture (冬菇)

  • 1 cup of mock duck (must have) – (素鸭)

  • 1 small packet of “fat Choy” or “black moss” (发菜)

  • 1 packet of about 2 sheets of mock goose (素鹅)(must have)

  • 6-8 cups of plain water (if not adequate, you can add in water later)

IMG_6543 Mock Duck

IMG_6556 Mock Goose

Please do not ask me why they were called mock duck or mock goose, frankly, I do not know. While the shape is difference, the taste is nothing like duck of goose. Both are made of wheat gluten, oil, soya sauce, sugar, salt and packed with proteins. They do have their distinct flavour but I can’t describe exactly what is the flavour. They can generally found in Chinese grocery stores that sell vegetarian supplies. These two items are the two most important ingredients in this porridge and without it, the taste will be different.

 IMG_6561 “Fat Choy” or “ Black Moss”

This a type of moss now commercially cultivated in the Gobi dessert and Chinese Government do place a restriction in harvesting the moss. The meaning of having these mosses signifies prosperous since the syllables in Chinese name is the same of both “Fat Choy” and “Black Moss”. I hereby quote what Wikipedia had explained about this moss.

“Fat Choy (Nostoc flagelliforme), also known as faat Choy, fa cai, black moss, hair moss or hair weed is a terrestrial cyanobacterium (a type of photosyntheticbacteria) that is used as a vegetable in Chinese cuisine. When dried, the product has the appearance of black hair. For that reason, its name in Chinese means “hair vegetable.” When soaked, this vegetable has a very soft texture which is like very fine vermicelli.” (Source:  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fat_choy)

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STEPS OF PREPARATION

Preparing all other ingredients

  • Clean all ingredients (except mock duck and mock goose) and you may want to soak the peanuts and lotus seeds (if you buy the dry type). Cut into almost the same size as the peanuts and set aside for the later use.


Frying the mock goose

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  • In a frying pan, have some cooking oil under high heat, fry the mock goose until crispy. When cooled, cut into thumb size pieces and set aside for the later use. (Note: While it is good to have minimum oil in the cooking, however, without performing this step, the fragrance will not be there. However, you can try using “air fryer” but I am unsure whether the taste will be the same.)

  • Depending on your preference, you can use the same oil to stir fry the mock duck, gingko, lotus seeds, mushrooms, carrots etc. for a few minutes such that the mock goose and mushroom aromas blends with the other ingredients. Set aside for later use. This illustration bypassed this step to minimize the usage of cooking oil in the porridge and the taste will not be compromised much.

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  • Clean your rice and place in the rice cooker. Add in all other ingredients except “fat Choy”. Select porridge function for cooking the porridge.

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  • Just a few minutes before the porridge function was done, add in fat Choy and seasonings. Suggested seasonings are light soya sauce, salt, sugar or other flavour enhancers. Note that some of the ingredients already have some seasonings, please take some porridge out for tasting before you put the condiments.

Note that you can also use pressure cooker but remember to select the porridge function if it have. Alternatively, I have ever cooked the porridge over the stove and in this way it is easier for you to monitor the desire texture of your porridge though the cooking time may be longer. As long as all ingredients are soft, the porridge is considered as done.

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  • Best served hot with “you tiao” – a type of Chinese plain dough fritters or additional crispy “mock goose”. Both these are optional.

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CONCLUSION

As I have said earlier, I fell in love with this special porridge when I have my first bowl years back. I  am confident you will like it too. Bookmark this page for your future usage. You may want to cook it during Chinese New Year like me!

Hope you like the post today. Cheers

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If you are looking for more CHINESE NEW YEAR COOKIES,  you may want to visit this post summarizing all relevant Chinese New Year Cuisines.

Chinese New Year Cookies21


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

 

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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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Is Pavlova Originated From Australia, Russia or New Zealand?–Strawberry and Blueberry Pavlova

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INTRODUCTION

Yesterday is really a busy day for me. I have been making mayonnaise, baking pizza and this Pavlova. By the time  I have to take picture of this Pavlova, I was feeling extremely tired and after I ate one slice and kept 3 slices for other families members, I gave away the rest to my neighbour who were having some sort of house gathering. I hoped I have adequate pictures to share with readers.

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Pavlova actually sounds familiar to me. Just like Vladimir, Sergei, Liana and Nathasia, the name sounds so Russian. I have spent some times in Russian before and one of my ex-colleagues do carry the name Pavlova. In fact, I do not know it is the name of one of the famous desserts until very recently when I did a read up on meringue, macaroons and other egg whites based pastry items.

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WHAT IS PAVLOVA?

Per Wikipedia:

Pavlova is a meringue-based dessert named after the Russian ballet dancer Anna Pavlova. It is a meringue dessert with a crisp crust and soft, light inside.

The dessert is believed to have been created in honour of the dancer either during or after one of her tours to Australia and New Zealand in the 1920s. The nationality of its creator has been a source of argument between the two nations for many years, but formal research indicates New Zealand as the source.

The dessert is a popular dish and an important part of the national cuisine of both countries, and with its simple recipe, is frequently served during celebratory and holiday meals. It is a dessert most identified with the summer time, but is eaten all year round in many Australian and New Zealand homes.

(http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pavlova_(food))

Meringue based dessert will mean this dessert only utilizes egg whites and some sugar. It is not really a common dessert in Singapore and Malaysia. The challenge is to prepare a Pavlova that had a crispy outside of soft cotton liked inside. Preparation is not really that tough but patience is needed in the baking of this simple meringue.

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WHAT IS NEEDED

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  • 4 egg whites (at room temperature)

  • 1 1/4 cups of icing sugar or castor sugar

  • 2 teaspoon of potatoes starch/corn starch

  • 1 teaspoon of lemon juice

  • 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract

  • Fresh fruits of your choice. In this illustration, I have used fresh strawberry and blueberry.

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Note:

  • The egg whites have to be at room temperature. Colder egg whites are more difficult to beat to peak condition.

  • I have substituted the castor sugar with icing sugar as it will be easier for it to dissolve in the egg whites. If it is difficult for you to get icing sugar, just blend the castor sugar using a food processor.

  • Usually, corn starch is used. However, as I did not have corn starch with me, I have used potatoes starch. By the same logic, sweet potatoes starch and tapioca starch can also be used. What is needed is a small quantity of flour that is light and smooth to help holding the Pavlova structure.


STEPS OF PREPARATION

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  • In a baking tray. have a piece of baking/parchment paper. Use a 8” round baking tin and draw a big circle on the baking sheet. Set aside for later use.

  • In a mixing bowl, Add egg white and beat until soft peak form. Add in icing sugar spoon by spoon and continue to beat until the egg white is thick and glossy.

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  • To check if all sugars have been dissolved, rub a bit of the beaten egg whites (meringues) between the thumb and index fingers. If it is smooth, it means that the sugars have been dissolved. If it feels sandy, it means that the sugar has yet to be dissolved. Continue beating for another 1-2 minutes and test again.

  • Add in vanilla essence and continue beating until it is well mixed.

  • Off the machine if the meringue is glossy and in its stiff peak form. Stiff peak form means when you hold up the beater, the meringue can point upwards as shown in picture number 4.

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  • Take out the mixing bowl. Add/sprinkled the lemon juices. Sift in the potatoes/corn flours.

  • Use a spatula to fold in the flour and lemon juice quickly. Handle lightly until all the lemon juice and flour are well mixed.

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  • Place the meringue on top of the baking paper within the circle drawn. Smoothing the edges.

  • Baked in the oven at low temperature of 130 degree Celsius for about 60-90 minutes or until the outer crust are dry and pale cream colour.

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  • IMPORTANT: Leave the Pavlova inside the oven with the door ajar and let it cool inside the oven until it is completely cool. It is generally okay if the middle part of the Pavlova collapsed as we will be decorating with whipped cream.

  • PRIOR TO SERVING, beat about 200 ml of whipping cream until top peak and placed on top of the Pavlova. Place your fresh fruits on top of the Pavlova.

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CONCLUSION

Pavlova is good to be served as a dessert. It’s sweet crusty tops and sides goes well with most fruits. One can also consider using fruits such as Kiwi and mangos. The Pavlova can be prepared in advance and keep for 3-4 days in an air tight container. Of course, the size of Pavlova have to be reduced accordingly for it to store in the container. It can also be made into a one bite size.

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If you are health conscious, you can substitute the whipped cream to low fat whipped cream and slightly reduce the amount of icing sugar used. Remember whipped cream and fruit toppings shall only be used prior to serving as the whipped cream and fruit juices will make the meringue soggy if not consume on time.

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

newmarvelousmondays-button 9VwhltV

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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)- 24-7-2013

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On 24-July 2013, white rice served with:

“Three cup” chicken  三杯鸡
Bok Choi chicken soup

贸白菜鸡汤

Hokkien Style Fried Prawn Mee 福建炒虾面

For tonight’s dinner, there is nothing to shout about. When I am preparing dinner, my nice neighbour gave me a big bowl of Hokkien Style Fried Prawn Mee. As this can be a dish by itself, I have decided to stop preparing any more dish since both adults will be eating the prawn mee and the children had their favourite Bok Choi soup and some sweet chicken called “three cup” chicken.

Three Cup Chicken (三杯鸡)

The main ingredients of three cup chicken is Thai basil (九层塔)。Most people misunderstood that “3 cup” chicken is cooked with 1 cup of wine, 1 cup of soya sauce and I cup of  sesame oil. However, if we follow that assumptions strictly, it will be extremely oily with very high salt content. Therefore, to master the making of 3 cups chicken, the measurement of oil and soya sauce should be reduced accordingly. As a general rule of thumb, soya sauce volume should be half the volume of wine but twice the sugar volume. In another words, assuming that the sugar unit is 1cup, then soya sauce volume with be 2 cups and wine will be 4 cups. Note that no water is used in the cooking and medium heat is used to braise the chicken until the liquids dries up. Thai basil is added 2 minutes before you off the heat.

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Wild Hibiscus Tea (洛神花茶)

Besides the above dishes, I have boiled some Roselle/Rosella/Wild Hibiscus Tea (洛神花茶)。I usually boiled a very big pot which is very concentrated and dilute it when I want to drink. I like the drink as it is extremely thirst quenching and inhibit carbohydrates intake.

If you are interested to know how to make the drinks, its benefits and etc., you can refer to the post –

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

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I have also used some to make into some ice sticks which I usually have one after my dinner.

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When you boiled the drinks, don’t throw away the rosella flowers. The boiled flowers can be eaten as snacks but for me, I have used it to make “banana rosella” smoothies. (you can refer to the above link and see how the boiled flowers look like)

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Lastly, for lunch , I have cooked roast duck Bee Hoon from the duck bones of the roast duck that we had yesterday. I used the duck bones to make the broth, add some Bee Hoon, mushrooms, shredded duck meat, some dry bean curd sheets and egg omelettes stripes. The good thing about this dish is that there is not need to add seasoning and the broth is very sweet already. That used up all my duck bones and now left  2 drumsticks. Is it not funny that we have eaten all “bones” without eating the meat? I told readers before, both my wife and my kids do not like meat and yesterday is one of the blue moon days that I bought the whole duck. Therefore, I have to think of a way to “dispose off” the entire duck.. Haha..

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Hope you like the post today. Good night.

What I cooked today (家常便饭系列)- 2-7-2013

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On 2 July 2013, white rice served with

1. Minced Pork fried with sliced potato 土豆片炒肉碎
2. Sweet Corn Pork Rib Soup 玉米排骨汤
3. Curry chicken  咖哩鸡
4. Blanch Romaine lettuce with miso sauce 味真酱罗明旦

I usually do not cook curry chicken since there are only 2 adults in the house and whatever cooking that I prepared will be centred around the kids. The curry chicken was given by my beloved neighbour who have told me early in the morning. It is pretty often that we share our dishes and can be up to 3-4 times a week.

Picture No.4 doesn’t looks appealing because after blanching the Romaine lettuce, I have dripped the vegetable with Miso sauce which is brown in colour. However, the dish was very tasty as it resembles the Chinese fermented bean curd sauce .

I have set up a Facebook Page to communicate with readers and share some simple recipe that was discussed here. You can find the page here . You can also click the link above for the pictorial illustration.