What I “Ate” Today (家常便饭系列)…. 17 August 2013- Special

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You may be surprised about this title! In fact, the title is not correct either. What I am going to post is not “what I cooked today” or “what I ate today”. It was a gathering at one of my relative’s house and she had cooked some Chinese dishes that are not common among Fujian or Guangdong Province.

My relative is from Jiangxi Province and therefore the food that she cooked were rather different! As you all know, Singaporean and Malaysian Chinese are descendants of immigrants mainly from the South Eastern Coastal Fujian and Guangdong Province.


JIANGXI CUISINES

Per Wikipedia:

Jiangxi (Chinese: 江西; pinyin: Jiāngxī; Wade–Giles: Chiang-hsi; Postal map spelling: Kiangsi, Gan: Kongsi) is a province in the People’s Republic of China, located in the southeast of the country. Spanning from the banks of the Yangtze River in the north into hillier areas in the south and east, it shares a border with Anhui to the north, Zhejiang to the northeast, Fujian to the east, Guangdong to the south, Hunan to the west, and Hubei to the northwest. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jiangxi)

As compared to Nanyang Chinese (Malaysian and Singaporean Chinese), in a household meal, they are more dishes but with a smaller portion. For us, we will usually serve 3 dishes and 1 soup, for them the dishes can be as many as 6-12 dishes. Today, the host is kind enough to cook us 7 dishes (excluding desserts and sweet soups). Jiangxi dishes were rather spicy (chilli hot) and as my kids were having meals with us, for some dishes, they have to prepare both the spicy and non spicy version.

Note than I am currently on a vegetarian  diet and since I did not told them in advance, I have taken my meals before joining them.  Therefore, I did not join them for meals.


SPICY AND SOUR SHREDDED POTATOES (酸辣土豆丝)

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Yes, this is my favourite. Potatoes were julienned into thin strips. There were then soaked in cold water until all the starch were gone. This will make the potatoes “crunchy” and water have to be changed regularly. Look at the thin strips, these were all manually done. They were then stir fried with spring onions, black vinegars and chilli. This is something that I have yet to share the cooking illustrations with readers but I can assure you it is something simple yet the taste is superb. Kids are fighting for this.


BRAISED BEEF (酱牛肉)

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I do not know if there is any translation of this dish. It is basically beef braised in dark soya sauce (and herbs and spices). It was then air dried. If it was kiln dried, it will become smoked beef. This is a form of meat preservation that can be commonly found in many parts of China. My relatives have prepared these meat in China and brought it over.

I still remembered  when I was stationed in Changchun, China about 10 years ago, one of the past time is to buy some braised chicken drumsticks and ate it in the hotel. It is delicious and thinking about it make me drooling. Depending on the regions, the preservations can be sugar based or salt based.


TOMATOES FRIED WITH EGGS (番茄炒蛋)

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A common household dish in China. Besides stir frying, another way of cooking this combination is making it into a soup.

Tomato is not a common vegetable in my  traditional house cooking. Tomatoes are considered vegetables imported from other countries (though this may not be true any more). This is evidenced in its Chinese name literately translated as Western Persimmon (西红柿)or Foreign brinjal (番茄)。In Hokkien dialects, it was called Caucasian Brinjal (angmokio)!  Therefore, my mom seldom cooked tomatoes in the house.

As my girl is a tomato fanatic, this will definitely her top choice. However, as my boy is tomato phobia, this is definitely a good dish to make my boy eating tomato.  Though he is a tomato phobia but he is an egg fanatic. I usually requested that if he wanted to eat 2 tablespoons of eggs, he will need to finish 1 tablespoon of tomatoes. Haha


STEAMED CHINESE SAUSAGE WITH CHINESE BLACK FERMENTED BEANS (腊肠蒸豆豉)

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The Chinese sausages were prepared by my relatives in China and brought it over. You can hardly find any fats in the Chinese sausages. Before I am on my vegetarian diet, I have tried the sausages before and it is delicious.

The Chinese sausages were cut into slices, steamed with Chinese black fermented beans and chopped garlics. May be after my vegetarian diets end, I shall cook this. Good thing about having this post is that it can remind me of what I should cooked when I run out of ideas.


PIGTAILS PORK BELLIES SOUP (猪尾猪肚汤)

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I never have this combination before, pork bellies plus pigtails. The reason is because both meats have different cooking times. You know pork bellies are rather difficult to cook until soft. So, it is not easy to cook this soup. Even if you used pressure cooker, both items will have to be cooked separately. There is no vegetables or white peppers. It is pure meat broth!

If you ask me whether it is yummy or not, of course, I can’t tell you directly because I did not taste it. However, from my years of cooking experience, I can tell you that it is a good soup because the soup had turn milky meaning all the gelatine from the meat have been dissolved in the soup/broth.

Don’t believe me, freeze it and you will see that it become jellish and you can use a knife to cut it into small pieces. Teochew dialect group also have a dish that after braising certain meat for a long time, they cut the meat into very small pieces, freeze the broth and become a jelly. The jelly was then cut into small pieces and served as cold dish (猪头粽)


STIR FRIED CHINESE WATER CRESS (清炒西洋菜)

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I remembered when I told my mother in law and wife to stir fry water cress previously, they are against it as they always used water cress to cook soup. It is generally true that most Chinese dialect groups like to boil soup with this vegetable. However, when I travelled to China, I always have stir fried water cress in restaurants. Usually, this vegetable were stir fried using garlic without any other ingredients.

Try and tell me whether it is nice or not! Remember that you have to stir fry the vegetables using high heat, otherwise, it may be bitter.


STEAMED KUDZU FLOUR COATED PORK WITH PUMPKIN (南瓜米粉肉)

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When I asked for the name of the dish, I was told  “namguamifenrou”. However, I can’t find any rice vermicelli or Beehoon. Later she explained the 米粉 is not rice vermicelli, it means “rice flour”. Though the name is called rice flour, the coating of the meat can be any types of flour. It can be corn flour, sweet potato flour, potato flour and etc.…But today the flour that she used is kudzu flour (葛根粉). Again this is brought from Jiangxi and she disclosed that this was made from wild kudzu roots.

Kudzu has many health benefits and among them are relief symptoms of postmenopausal women, reducing alcohol intake, alleviating cluster headaches, managed metabolic syndromes etc. etc. etc. In Singapore, we do have a type of Chinese instant flu medicine called Kudzu soup (葛根汤) that you consumed when you have a fever and it is believed that it will help to reduce your body temperature. You may want to know more about kudzu from here.

Coming back to the dish. Meat were seasoned and coated with kudzu flour. The meat was then placed on top of the pumpkins and steamed under high heat until the pumpkins were soft. The purpose of the flour is to retain the meat juiciness in the process of steaming. Any meat juices that escaped will dripped into the pumpkins those flavoured the pumpkins.

Lastly, I want to convey my sincere thanks to my relatives who cooked us a sumptuous meal and we really appreciate that.

Hope you like the post today and I find this post is meaningful to share with readers about other different types of Chinese cuisines.

Have a nice day and cheers.

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

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INTRODUCTION

I like to simplify my recipe. When I cooked or when I baked, i usually think of bachelor who are kitchen phobia and who do not like to cook. With this in mind, I always modify my recipe to the extent that it is simplest possible.

This is a modified traditional recipe for cheese cake. Instead of using cream, ice-cream was used. No gelatine were used to keep the cheese cake in shape, Therefore this chilled cake is suitable for those that are out of time and wanted an equally delicious presentable cheesecake.


WHAT IS REQUIRED

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  • 350 g of any sweet or plain biscuits
  • You can use biscuits of any type and I have used 3 types of biscuits (inclusive of oreo biscuits) and some Ferrero Roche chocolates.  It is advisable to have some sweetened biscuits as it will make the base tastier and there is no need to add additional sugar. Search you kitchen for some biscuits that have been with you for a while and use these instead of throwing it away..smile.

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  • 2 blocks of 250 g cream cheese at room temperature
  • 150 grams of sweetened beverage creamer or condensed milk
  • 200 g of unsalted butter
  • 100 g of Oreo ice cream – melted at room temperature (can change to any flavour that you like)
  • 100 g of chocolate ice cream – melted at room temperature

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  • A 8” diameter spring-form tin – This is a special non stick baking tin with a spring on the side. It is not a must but if you have the tin, it will make your life much easier especially when you detach the cheesecake from the tin. Otherwise, try to use a baking tin whereby you can detach the bottom as in the third picture. If you wanted to cut your cheese cake into small finger sizes, you can use a detachable square tin, which is easier to cut and maximize your “recovery rates”.

STEPS OF PREPARATION

 

Getting Ready the biscuit crust

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  • Melt the butter either directly over small heat or using a microwave oven and heat for 1 minutes. Set aside for later use.
  • Grease a round 20cm (8 inch) spring-form tin with melted butter and line the base and side with baking paper.
  • IF YOU ARE USING A NON STICK SPRING-FORM BAKING TIN as in this illustration, there is no need to grease and line with baking paper. This illustration have by pass this step. Otherwise, you have to do the greasing and lining This step is important to ensure that when you open your “fragile” cheese cake, it would not break the size or base.
  • Finely crushed all the biscuits and chocolates using a food processor until very fine. If you do not have or do not wish to use a food processor, place them in a sealed plastic bag and crush them with something heavy like a rolling spin.
  • In the above illustration, the second picture is the plain crushed plain biscuits and the third picture is after additions of crushed  Oreo biscuits and Ferrero Rocher chocolates.

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  • Transfer to the bowl , add melted butter, stir until the biscuit crumbs are moist.
  • Press firmly over the base and up the side of the tin to create an even shell.
  • Refrigerate for about 20 minutes or until firm.
  • This biscuit crust is a rich and aromatic crust after the addition of Oreo biscuits and most important of all, Ferrero Rocher chocolates and it blends well with the cheesy fillings.

Making the fillings..

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  • Beat the softened cream cheese in a bowl for about 3 minutes, or until smooth.
  • Add in the condensed milk and continued to beat for another 1 minutes or until smooth.

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  • Separate the beaten cream cheese into two portions. Leave one portion in the mixing bowl.
  • Add the melted Oreo ice cream to the portion in the mixing bowl, beat for another one minute or until smooth. Set aside for later use.

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  • Place the other portion of beaten cream cheese in the bowl.
  • Add the melted chocolate ice cream, beat for one minutes or until smooth and the color is consistent. You have to scope up the cream cheese stick to the bottom of the mixing bowl and ensure there were no cream cheese left in mixing bowl.

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  • Pour both portions into the tin and dust with some crushed Ferrero Rocher and Oreo biscuit.
  • Chilled overnight decorate with fruits or extra cream.
  • Best serve directly from the fridge.

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VARIATIONS

There are many variations to this recipe. Do consider the following variations to suit your own taste buds. This recipe had used chocolate based flavour putting together Ferrero Rocher and Oreo Biscuit. However, you can always use other flavour like strawberry ice cream with strawberry flavoured biscuits, coconut ice cream with plain biscuit based (added shredded coconuts), Mocha ice cream with coffee flavoured biscuits etc. … Or you can just used plain biscuits using vanilla ice creams.

As this is an ice cream based cheesecake, therefore, the texture will be slightly soft but very creamy. If you like a firmer texture like the type that you seen in the pastry shops, you can add some gelatine to the batter.

To add gelatine, put about 3 tablespoons of plain water/lemon juice/orange juice, sprinkle some gelatine powder in an even layer over the surface and leave to go spongy. Bring a large pan filled with water to the boil, then remove from heat. Carefully lower the gelatine bowl into the water (at least halfway up the side of the bowl) then stir until the gelatine has dissolved. When the cream cheese batter is ready, fold in these melted gelatine to the mixture.

 


CONCLUSONS

  • This is a chilled cheesecake and no baking is required.
  • The replacement of normal cream in the making of cheesecake with ice creams make the cheese cake more aromatic.
  • It is a fusion of normal ice cream cake and traditional cheesecake that provides a cheesy yet creamy taste.
  • The recipe is fully flexible and you can easily tailor to the type of flavor that you preferred.
  • At the right temperature, it is very easy for you cut into your desired size. It is good to serve as a small house gathering snack.

Hope you like it and make a step towards making the cake. It is nothing difficult to make. Kitchen phobia bachelors, make this cake to surprise your loved ones.  Cheers

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