Common Chinese Dishes For New House Chefs

Vegetable collage 

INTRODUCTION

This is a compilation of common Chinese household vegetable dishes targeted as new house chefs. Including in one post is the technique of vegetable blanching and the common sides ingredients to go with the vegetable dishes.  The list is endless and it will constantly be updated.

For recipes, click on the picture or title and go to the relevant link. If the link goes to Facebook Pages, click on individual picture, all the recipes and instructions were stated in the relevant picture.


BLANCHING VEGETABLE AS A HEALTHIER ALTERNATIVE

Vegetables_1


VEGETABLE DISHES

Braised luffa with egg 蛋汁炆丝瓜

1001847_508826269188458_1598866455_n1

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

 994206_511823292222089_547264078_n1

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

1016378_522608357810249_1328985347_n1

Blanched Kailan With Prawn (芥兰虾球)

1016249_512426902161728_1279207442_n1

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

993934_10201793676706448_1810259799_n1

Manchurian Wild Rice Fried With Chicken Strips (鸡丝炒茭白笋)

1208824_542508392486912_1417209003_n1

Hairy Gourd Fried With Minced Meat and Glass Noodles (毛瓜肉碎炒冬粉)

1186319_530276603710091_1350167083_n1

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

1001230_528285057242579_537158963_n1

Salted Vegetable Fried With Pork Strips (咸菜炒肉丝)  

1375823_551424474928637_11647081557_n

Spicy and Sour Shredded Potatoes (酸辣土豆丝)

1157575_532288513508900_758575896_n

Blanched Tri-Colour Capsicum With Prawns With Chicken Breast (虾仁鸡柳拌三色甜椒)

946052_570786789659072_611669176_n

 

Chrysanthemum Green With Chinese Black Vinegar (春菊拌浙醋)

IMG_50681

Seven Vegetable Auspicious Day For Chinese New Year (七色菜-人日)

img_80441_thumb

Hope you like the post today. Cheers.


For more recipes, you can refer to my RECIPE INDEX (updated as at 10th February 2014)  here and you can follow me at PINTEREST or visit this blog’s FACEBOOK PAGE .  

group-board-picture72222222222222222[1][2]

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 1500 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.


vegetable 2

Curried “Buttered” Meat Slices With Salted Eggs..

IMG_8894

INTRODUCTION

I have this meat dish as a side dish for yesterday’s dinner. It is a rather regional dish, cooking using the traditional Chinese cooking ingredient, salted eggs and the common Malaysian cooking ingredient, curry leaves (Murraya koenigii). In addition, to enhance the fragrance I have used clarified butter, ghee in the cooking. The dish is a nice curry butter flavoured meat slices which is a rather sinful indulgence in savoury dish.

IMG_8912

International readers, you are always on my mind, every times when I issued a post, I will think of alternatives for you to try cooking the dish considering the fact that you may not have the localized ingredients there. The taste of course will not be compromised much.

IMG_8906

It is very common that this special combination of salted egg, butter and curry leaves is used for the cooking of seafood especially cooking of prawns. It is a relatively new dish and I can’t recall I have ever eaten when I was young. I understand that it started as a restaurant dish and is now commonly prepared by Singapore and Malaysian house chefs.

For this post, I think the following ingredients worth special explanations.

IMG_8941

Curry tree is a common plant in Singapore and Malaysia. It’s leaves had a pungent smell and used in a wide varieties of cuisines especially in the cooking of curry dishes and seafood dishes that have a strong fishy smell. The smell will become more obvious after the leaves were deep fried.

“The curry tree (Murraya koenigii) is a tropical to sub-tropical tree in the family Rutaceae, which is native to India and Sri Lanka. Its leaves are used in many dishes in India and neighbouring countries. Often used in curries, the leaves generally called by the name “curry leaves”, though they are also translated as “sweet neem leaves” in most Indian languages (as opposed to ordinary neem leaves which are bitter)”. (Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Curry_tree)

Ghee is a type of clarified butter that have a higher fat content and is commonly used in the India Sub Continent’s cuisines both in bakery or normal cooking purposes. When used in the preparation of Indian Short Bread cookies (Nan Khatai), it really creates a melt in the mouth feeling whereby the cookies is crispy and crumbly in texture. You may want to read more about Ghee and my post Nan Khatai HERE.

Salted duck egg is a very common Chinese household cooking ingredient. It is used in pastry such as moon cakes as well as a variety of Chinese cuisines. It is salty and can also be eaten on its own with porridges. It had a special fragrance when cooked.

IMG_8847

“A salted duck egg is a Chinese preserved food product made by soaking duck eggs in brine, or packing each egg in damp, salted charcoal. In Asian supermarkets, these eggs are sometimes sold covered in a thick layer of salted charcoal paste. The eggs may also be sold with the salted paste removed, wrapped in plastic, and vacuum packed. From the salt curing process, the salted duck eggs have a briny aroma, a very liquid egg white and a firm-textured, round yolk that is bright orange-red in colour.” (Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Salted_duck_egg)

IMG_8934 This dish with some super quick one pot rice dish


WHAT IS REQUIRED

IMG_8849

  • 500 grams of sliced pork (alternative: chicken drumstick meats, prawns)

  • 1 salted egg (optional or use chicken egg)

  • 2 tablespoons of corn flour

  • Some curry leaves (about 30-40 leaves) (Substitute: bay leaves)

Not in picture

  • 1 tablespoon of ghee (alternatives: Butter or normal cooking oil)

  • 1 tablespoon of chopped garlics

  • Adequate cooking oil for oil blanching of sliced pork

  • Pinches of sugar

  • Pinches of salt (only if salted eggs are not used)

  • Pinches of white pepper powder

  • Additional corn starch for thickening (optional)

IMG_8892


STEPS OF PREPARATION

IMG_8870

  • Clean your meat slices. Add egg white (from the salted duck eggs whites or chicken eggs whites), corn flour, half of the curry leaves and marinate for about 1 hour in the fridge.

IMG_8876

  • Have some cooking oil, bring to high heat and oil blanching the meat slices for 2-3 minutes. Drain and set aside for next step. Depending on the thickness of the meat, you may have to blanch for a slightly shorter or longer time (plus or minus 1 minute). It is ok if the meat inside is not fully cooked as the next step will continue cooking the meat.

IMG_8881

  • Meshed the salted duck egg and get ready the other half of curry leaves and the chopped garlics.

  • In a shallow frying pan, add the ghee and stir fry the chopped garlics until fragrant. Add in curry leaves and meshed salted duck eggs, stir fry until the aroma of curry leaves start to emit and the salted eggs have start to turn slight brownish,

IMG_8886

  • Add in the blanched meat slices, white pepper, pinches of sugar and stir fry for about 2 minutes until well mixed. (Do not add any more salt as salted egg is rather salty)

  • Add 1 tablespoon of corn starch with 2-3 tablespoons of water to make a corn starch solution and pour gradually into the frying pan. Stir fry for 2-3 minutes until well mixed. If it is too sticky or you prefer to have more sauces, add some more hot water. The thickening of the sauce is OPTIONAL.

  • Best served hot as a side dish in a Chinese meals.

IMG_8902


CONCLUSION

The dish is full of flexibility in terms of its ingredients. You can cook in the same manner for prawns, fish fillets or chicken strips. If you do not want oil blanching, you can just stir fry it by passing the step but cooking time have to be slightly longer. Salted egg is optional and you can either using a chicken egg or totally not using eggs. In this case, you have to add pinches of salt or bit of light soya sauce. No curry leaves, feel free to use bay leaves.  The colour of the dishes will very much depend on the salted egg that is used. It can be a beautiful orange colour dish.

IMG_8906

Personally, I would think that the dish is tasty and presentable. Hope that you can try preparing the dish for your family members or guests.  Hope you like the post today. 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.

IMG_8919

A Cuisine With A Long Chinese History– Dongpo Meat (东波肉)

IMG_77171

 

INTRODUCTION

I love the dish but I am eating the dish in guilt. I have prepared this purely out of my passion for cooking and a challenge to myself for the ability of preparing some authentic traditional Chinese dishes. I first tried Dongpo Meat (“东波肉”) in Shanghai, China many years ago. It is slightly sweet and though very fatty, you wouldn’t feel the greasiness after eating it. In Chinese, it is called 肥而不腻. It is a very aromatic piece of meat and you may ended up having a few more pieces without noticing it.

 IMG_77291


HISTORY OF DONGPO MEAT

This is a dish with a very long Chinese history “invented” by a famous Chinese scholar and poet named Su Shi (苏轼), alias Dong Bo (东坡), (1036-1101).

I am reluctant to re-write the history of the dish but I shall refer you to a very good article (“Dongpo Pork”) which provide a very detail historical account and several recipes of this cuisine. In the article, it was written:  

“One day, he (Su Dongpo) was cooking pork when a friend dropped by. Switching the fire to gentle heat, he left the kitchen to play chess with the visitor. So engrossed was he with the game that he forgot the cooking. It was only at the end of the game he suddenly recalled the pork and rushed to the kitchen. Expecting to find the pork burnt to crisp, he was surprised by the aroma when the lid of the pot was lifted. The edible pork had a rich red colour, tender crispy but not flaky with a glutinous texture without the greasy taste. Henceforth, it became a regular dish for himself and his guests who couldn’t get enough of it. (Source: http://www.chinahistoryforum.com/index.php?/topic/1249-dongpo-pork-)

IMG_7759



WHAT IS NEEDED

 IMG_7664

  • 1 kilograms of pork belly meat

  • 50 grams of ginger cut into slices

  • 100 grams of spring onion

  • 100 grams of rock sugar

  • 50 ml of light soya sauce

  • 50 ml of dark soya sauce

  • 300 ml of Chinese cooking wine

  • Adequate water to cover meat

IMG_7727



STEPS OF PREPARATION

IMG_7670

  • Have a big pot of boiling water and blanched the meat for 2-3 minutes until the outer layer is slightly cooked and hardened. Take out and cut into 5cm x 5 cm pieces and put back to the boiling water to harden the outer layer. Take out the pork and coat with some dark soya sauces.

IMG_7675

  • In a pot or clay pot, put a layer of ginger and spring onion, put the pork on top of the ginger and spring onion. Add dark soya sauce, light soya sauce, Chinese cooking wine, rock sugar and adequate water to cover your pork.

  • Bring to boil under high heat. Once boiled, turn to smaller heat and continue boiling to about 1.5 hours. After 1.5 hours, open the lid and turn the meat to the other side and continue boiling for another 0.5 hours.

  • Let the meat rest in the pot for say 0.5 hour, take the meat out and arrange nicely in a serving plate and steamed under high heat for another 15 minutes. (note that this step is optional. Some recipes do bypass this step and I found that as my meat is a bit lean, therefore, the lean part is slightly hard, steaming will incorporate moisture to the meat and make it even softer.

IMG_7739

As the pork belly meats in Singapore were rather lean, therefore, it can be cut into pieces as shown in the picture. In the restaurant, the usual serving is one piece of 5cm x 5cm meat per guest. Secondly, in order to make the colour slightly reddish as seen in the restaurant, there are many speculations, Some claimed that red colouring were added whereas some believed that the red colour fermented bean curd was used. However, in my humble opinion, there is no need to make the dish reddish colour since beside the colouring effects, it will not affect the taste of the meats.

IMG_7745



CONCLUSION

Moderation is still the key. This is a nice dish but do not consume too often. As I have said earlier, I am eating this in guilt. As a generation that is constantly reminded not to consume too much fats,  I have to be honest that I have cut away some fats when I was having this dish with rice yesterday. One thing good about  the pork belly meat in Singapore is that , in my humble opinion, is very “lean” as compared to the pork belly meat of other countries. Therefore, the amount thrown away is very minimal and you can still taste the nice Dongpo meat. If you searched images for “Dongpo Meat” in the internet, you will understand what I mean.

IMG_7719

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

IMG_7731

 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.

IMG_77271

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

IMG_5097

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

 

IMG_7528

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.

IMG_7537

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.

IMG_5109

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)

IMG_5091

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.

IMG_5101

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.

IMG_5107

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.

IMG_7520


 

WHAT IS NEEDED

Serves 4-6

IMG_7466

  • 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

IMG_7464

  • 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.

IMG_5099


 

STEPS OF PREPARATION

Marinating Chicken Meat

IMG_7472

  • 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)

IMG_7481

  • 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.

IMG_7532


 

Shallow Frying the Chinese Sausage and Smoked Pork Belly

IMG_7489

  • 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.

IMG_7494

  • 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.

IMG_7499

  • 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.

IMG_7501

  • 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.

IMG_5095


 

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 .

IMG_7516

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.  

 

IMG_5103


 

IMG_5093


What I Cooked Today Series (Special Post)- 2013 Mid Autumn Festival

IMG_0043

INTRODUCTION

I have not forgotten about this series –  “What I Cooked Today Series”! I have discontinued for a while because I am a vegetarian and the dishes were usually cooked by my mother in law who is visiting me. Therefore, I can’t claim the credit of the dishes cooked if I posted it.

Well this series will be starting soon in one two weeks time after end of my vegetarian diet. This year, I have calculated wrongly about the starting date of my diet, therefore, I am having slightly more than 2 months of vegetarian diet and it was pointed out by my neighbour when I keep on rejecting her meat dishes. She asked curiously why the diet is so long this year, she said it cannot be ! I asked my wife to recalculate again and yes, we are wrong as both of us are not that concern about anniversary dates.

IMG_6665

Yesterday is the Mid Autumn Festival, one of the very big festivals for the Chinese worldwide. Even People’s Republic of China’s government have declared this day as a holiday in recent years. Usually, in big festivals, family gathering and get together is very important.

I only confirmed to invite my nephew’s family for dinner yesterday morning and I told them that I would only cooked what I have at home. As they are my very close relatives, I need not really concerned about what I should cooked as he have been staying with me for the past few years. I did not have the time to plan for the meal as I have to take care of the kids and I have to rush out my report for Eight Treasure Porridge.

IMG_6658

I only started cooking at 4.00 pm in the afternoon. I looked at the fridge, I have some tofu, one pumpkin, one luffa, some chicken fillets, some asparaguses, minced meats, chicken thighs, drumsticks and fish fillets.

What influenced my dish menu last night was what I perceived what my family members like to have. I know anything soft and silky will be welcomed by them, so tofu and pumpkins would be good choices.

While the family always have bitter gourd with minced meat, but luffa with minced meat is something new to them. In addition, my kids loved luffa so luffa with minced meat was in the menu.

Preparing these two dishes had resulted some mesh pumpkins, minced meat and tofu left, therefore, I have decided to turn these 3 ingredients into  a dish.


PORK STUFFED LUFFA (丝瓜酿肉碎)

IMG_6694

This is a dish adapted from pork stuffed bitter gourd (苦瓜酿肉碎). The luffa was first de-skinned, and cut into 2 cm chunks. Make a hole in the centre and set aside. Minced pork were marinated for about 10 minutes with sesame oil, corn flour, light soya sauce, flavour enhancers, sugar, pepper, chopped coriander leaves and chopped winter vegetables. Stuff the minced pork into the hole of the luffa chunks, placed it in a serving plate nicely and put a goof berry on top of minced meat for garnishing. Before steaming, put some water in the plate of the meat stuffed luffa. (A bit of water is important as it will speed up the process of cooking the luffa. The luffa will be “water bathed” causing it easier to get cooked). Steamed for about 20 minutes or until your luffa is soft.  More juices will be secreted out and these gravy was very tasty as it was essentially a meat and vegetable broth.  You can put some corn starch to thicken this juices if desirable.

IMG_6663


TOFUS SAIL IN PUMPKIN SEA (豆腐金瓜海)

IMG_6696

I have to admit that I do not know how to name this dish. Since it looks like a seas of mashed pumpkins, I  named this as “tofu sail pumpkin seas”. Firstly, I cut opened a pumpkin, de-seeded and steamed the pumpkin until the pumpkin was soft. I then scratched out the pumpkin flesh, put some sesame oils, salt, mushroom concentrate, mixed well and let the mashed pumpkin to cool.

Two packets of tofu’s were cut into 8 pieces and arrange in a serving plate. I used a teaspoon to make a hole on the tofu, put some mashed pumpkins to cover the hole. Use the remaining pumpkin to put beside the tofu and steamed for about 10 minutes. Surprisingly, the tofu and pumpkins really blends well.

 IMG_6655


MINCED PORK FRIED WITH MASHED PUMPKINS AND TOFUS (山寨蟹粉豆腐)

IMG_6676

From the above two dishes, I have some mashed pumpkin left , some tofu left (from making a hole in the tofu cubes), some minced meat left (as I have prepared one package of minced meat for the luffa dish, therefore, I still have about half of the minced meat left). With these 3 ingredients, I have decided to mash the tofu and fried these 3 ingredients together.

I first stir fried some spring onion (white part) in a frying pan of hot oil until aromatic, followed by the minced meat and once the meat was 50% cooked, add the mesh pumpkin and mesh tofu. Stir fried for another 2-3 minutes, add white pepper, sugar, light soya sauce and salt and it become a rather presentable dish..like the famous Shanghai dish, “Tofu With Hairy Crab Roe”. Therefore I have named this dish in Mandarin the “Fake Tofu With Hairy Crab Roe”.

The dish was very tasty and smooth, it is well liked by the kids because of the aromatic spring onions.  I have placed the cooked dish in the empty shell of the pumpkin for serving.

IMG_6672


BLANCHED ASPARAGUS WITH CHICKEN FILLETS (芦笋鸡柳)

IMG_6651

This is really an easy dish.

Asparagus were de-skinned (depends on whether it is too mature or not) and cut into same length. Chicken fillet were first cut into the desired sizes, marinated with sesame oil, pepper and light soya sauce for about 10 minutes,

Have a pot of boiling hot water, drizzle a few drops of cooking oil and pinches of salt. Get ready a serving plate and put some oyster sauce on the plate.  Blanched the asparagus in the hot boiling water for 3 minutes and dip in icy cold cooked water.

Place these asparagus neatly in the serving plate on top of the oyster sauce. Coated the chicken fillet with some corn flours and blanched the chicken fillets in the hot boiling water for about 5 minutes. Scoop out and placed on top of the blanched asparagus. Sprinkled some fried shallots on top of the chicken and the dish was done.

This was definitely an easy and healthier dish as it involved no frying like the traditional method. Though I did not taste the asparagus but I can tell you that it was sweet as all the juices were being sealed inside the asparagus via blanching method of cooking.

IMG_6653


CENTURY EGGS WITH PICKLED GINGER (皮蛋酸姜)

IMG_6685

This dish was usually treated an appetizer in Chinese full course dinners and did not really need any preparation. As I have quite a lot of pickled ginger left from my demonstration in Guaishushu’s Page, therefore, I have decided to prepare this dish as an appetizer. You may want to learn about how to prepare the pickled gingers HERE.


POMELO (柚子/文旦)

IMG_6681

When I was young, we did not celebrate Moon Cake Festivals with pomelo.

However, in recent years, it seemed that it is very common that pomelo became one of the festival fruit  during the  Moon Cake Festivals. I checked the internet, pomelo have the syllables as “have kids” (有子)in Mandarin, therefore, having pomelo means that it will bring you luck in conceiving a kid. Well, definitely not for me.

It is my usual way to de-skin my pomelo like what is in the picture to make it easier for my kids to eat. Therefore, all my kids loves to eat pomelo as they do not need to peel the internal white membranes separating the lobes in the fruit. They have been pampered, Unlike me, I never like to eat pomelo when I was young because of the difficulty to peel of the internal white membranes.


GREEN DATES (甜枣)

IMG_6683

This is nothing to do with this festival. I just spotted in the supermarket a few days ago and I really love these green dates. I always called it mini apples. In my humble opinion, it taste like apples and is a one bite size. I am able to finish one box within a day. I don’t know but I do believe it is a very healthy snack, much healthy than any carbohydrates and sugar loaded snacks. Yesterday, it was served together with pomelo after dinner.


MOONCAKES (月饼)

IMG_6708

I have a few boxes of moon cakes and I have decided to  serve a durian moon cake that my nephew gave me from the international “Three” Seasons Hotel.  However, I am rather disappointed with the moon cakes. Put in bluntly, it is just pure durian flesh wrapped in snow skin. When you eat the moon cakes, it is very soft and just like when one is eating fresh durian (though it don’t taste that fresh any more after so many days).

It was definitely not cheap and my nephew told me even after discount, one small moon cake cost SGD 12. I honestly believed that should I received the moon cake earlier, I will be able to replicate the moon cake  .. and how much is one durian is this season? May be 3 durians for SGD 10?  Well the one below is equally disappointing as they have incorporate orange flavour in the lotus seeds fillings.

IMG_6710

Lastly, I hoped that you like my cooking adventures today and unlike previous festivals, I have cooked something very simple. In other festivals, majority were meat dishes and I managed to locate an old picture in my Facebook to share with you. This was taken by one of my nieces in 2012 to celebrate Chap Goh Me (元宵)during Chinese New Year.

427389_2585942612116_677084321_n

Have a nice day and cheers.

IMG_6692

Eating “Rat’s Shit”? You AreTotally Gross! –Vegetarian Fried “Beethyemak” Rice Noodles

IMG_6026

INTRODUCTION

Beethyemak (“米大目”) is the name stated in the package of rice noodles that I bought from the supermarket. It is also called “Loh Su Fun” (“老鼠粉”) in Cantonese literally translated as  “Rats flour” …In my Chawan dialects group, it was called “ngiao chu sia” (”老鼠屎“) literally translated as “Rat’s shit”. My mother in law who is a Teochew, called it “ngiao chi ni” (“老鼠奶“) literally translated as “Rat’s milk”..

IMG_6041

If you ask me what is the English translation? I will just translated it into a type of rice noodles taken in different form of the shape of disgusting “worms”. Apparently, it was shaped liked a “rat” .. Does it? I don’t know! I looked for some write up for this noodle dish and I managed to get a Chinese description in http://www.baike.com , the Chinese equivalent of Wikipedia. What is written is:

“米苔目是闽南语,又叫米筛目,漳州龙海特色小吃,是用米和番薯粉做成的。制作米苔目的工序颇为复杂:先要将米浸泡磨成米浆,然后放进布袋加压脱水成“饭脆”,将“饭脆”加入番薯粉,揉搓成饭团,再把饭团做成细条状,放到锅里煮熟捞起后用冷水冲洗,使之滑嫩。米苔目加入糖水、刨冰,可以做成冰凉可口的甜品,咸吃则可以用乌醋拌食或放入柴鱼熬煮成汤,再加入爆香的作料;像河粉一般热炒的米苔目很有嚼劲。 米苔目现在是闽南地区以及台湾著名的美食。” (Source: http://baike.baidu.com/view/68002.htm)

IMG_6050

I have used Google Translation to translate and this is what I got:

“Mitai Mu is the Taiwanese language, called m mesh , Zhangzhou Longhai snacks, with rice and sweet potato flour made. Making process is quite complex Mitai Mu: Soak the rice milled rice milk first and then put into a pressure dewatering bag “rice crispy”, the “rice crispy” adding sweet potato powder , rub into balls , then made ​​into balls thin strips, into the pot boiled picked up after the rinse with cold water to make it smooth and delicate. Mi Taimu added sugar , ice, can be made ​​into delicious cold desserts , salty food, you can use the black vinegar mixed with food or put dried fish boiled into soup, then add the spices until fragrant; like rice noodles stir-fried rice general moss mesh very chewy. Mitai Mu is now southern region as well as Taiwan ‘s famous cuisine.”

IMG_6051

Well, if readers can understand, it is best. However, if you can’t, I think that is unfair to you and I will try my best to translate for you.

“ Beethyemak is the name in Mingnan (Fujian or Hokkien) and the “thye” can also be translated or treated as “sift” in Hokkien. It is a famous snack in Longhai County, Zhangzhou (People’s Republic of China) and it is made of rice and sweet potatoes flour. The manufacturing process is rather complicated. Firstly, the rice grain have to be soaked and ground into rice batter, These are then put in a bag made from cloth. A heavy object is then placed on top of the rice batter to exert pressure and squeeze out the water making it to become a drier batter. Sweet potatoes flour are then added and mixed well. It is then made into long stripes by pouring the batter into the hot water. When cooked , the noodles are immediately dip in cold water such that the texture will be smooth and springy. To serve as a dessert, syrups and crushed ices were added to beethyemak . For savoury dishes, beethyemak can be stir mixed with black vinegar。 It can also be cooked with Bonito broth, and garnished with aromatic deep fried garlics or shallots. It can also be stir fried like Horfun (Kway Tiao) and both noodles have almost similar textures. Beethyemak is now a famous cuisine in the Mingnan (Fujian) area and Taiwan.”

IMG_6023

I have been eating this noodle dish since I was young. Because of the name “Rat’s shit”, psychologically, I do not really like it. In addition, when I was young in Kuching, Sarawak, the Beethyemak is mostly made from pure rice flour. The texture is rather coarse and tasteless. It is not until when I came to Singapore that I started to like Beethyemak. The Beethyemak in Singapore is more springy and if properly cooked, it taste better than rice vermicelli or Kway Tiao (another flat type of rice noodles). 

This noodle is not easy to prepare as compare to rice vermicelli or Kway Tiao. You can either cook it in soupy version or stir fry it.

For stir frying, if you want to maintain the shape, the oil for frying will have to be quite a lot. Otherwise it will stick to your frying pan making it hard to fry. The purpose of this post is to illustrate how to stir fry this noodle dish, the ingredients can be anything from prawns to meat to the vegetables of your choice.

Again, as I am still on my vegetarian diet, this dish will be a vegetarian version. But remember, you can always add meats, prawns, fish cakes etc. of your choice. In addition, you can always used the same method to fry rice vermicelli and Kway Tiao or Horfun.

IMG_6046


WHAT IS REQUIRED

There will be no quantity stated here and you have full flexibility to change the ingredients. This illustration is the vegetarian version and please add in any other ingredients that you like.

IMG_6039

  • Some cabbage cut in slices

  • Some black fungus – soaked and cut into small slices

  • Some tofu puff – cut into small square cubes

  • 1 package of Beethyemak rice noodles (about 500 grams – servings of 4-5 adults)

IMG_6040

  • Some eggs, lightly beaten

  • Some celery – cut into small cubes

  • Some mock meat – cut into strips

  • Some dried mushrooms – soaked and cut into strips

  • Some shredded gingers and/or shallots and/or garlics

  • Condiments of your choices – light soya sauce, dark soya sauce, flavour enhancer like mushroom concentrate, white pepper, salt)


STEPS OF PREPARATION

IMG_6042

  • Put one to two tablespoons of cooking oil in the frying pan. Add in shredded gingers and mushrooms (non vegetarian version can put in shredded shallots and garlics) and stir fried under high heat until the fragrance starts to spread.

  • Add in cabbage, stir fry for one minute and follow by celery, mock meat, tofu puffs, black fungus, stir fry until well mixed. Add in half a cup of water (estimate) and let it cooked for one – two minutes.

IMG_6045

The above garnishes of spring onion for picture taking purposes, Religion vegetarian cannot have spring onion in the dish.

Note

  • The purpose of adding the water is to soften and cook the vegetables. Remember, unlike stir frying rice vermicelli, the water has to be minimal as the noodles are rather wet and will not be able to absorb any more water.

  • If your are frying with meat, meat will be the first item to be stir fried followed by hard vegetables (carrots, cabbage, celery etc.), leafy vegetables and tomatoes in this order.

IMG_6043

  • Add in the noodles and stir fry until well mixed. Add in dark soya sauce, light soya sauce, pepper, salt and flavour enhancer. Stir fry until well mixed. Add in beaten eggs and fry until all the noodles were coated with the eggs.

Note:

  • In this illustration, I have purposely used this method of adding the eggs to the noodles. The purpose is to let the eggs coating the noodles. If you do not like the moist soft egg coated noodles, you can prepare the omelette and cut it into strips. You can refer to Vegetarian Tom Yam Bee Hoon for making of omelette strips. The difference is this way of frying noodles will result in moister noodles.

IMG_6044

  • Add in tomatoes and and stir fry for another minutes before scoop out to the plate for serving. Best serve hot with your preferences of garnishes such as coriander leaves, freshly cut chilli or Chinese celery leaves.


CONCLUSION

This noodle dish looks easy to prepare but in fact, it need some practise. The challenges is to ensure the noodles are well coated with eggs and not stick to each other or soggy. To get this texture, the following points have to be taken into considerations:

  • The heat has to be high heat throughout the stir frying. Therefore action have to be fast. If you can’t handle, this, you have to use at least medium heat. High heat is required to ensure that all the fragrances of gingers/shallots/garlics mix well with the noodles and any moisture or water contents dries up quickly. With this, there is less chance for the noodles to get soggy.

IMG_6027

  • There is always a trade off between the look of your final cooked noodles and the amount of cooking oil used. You have to chose whether you want to have a healthier dish (using less oil) but an uglier dish (may be a bit out of shape as some of the noodles may stick to your frying pan). If you want to have an impressive non stick noodles, you will have to use quite a lot of oil to achieve that effect.

  • Unlike fried rice vermicelli and Kway Tiao, the water used for simmering the vegetables or side ingredients cannot be too much, otherwise, your noodles will be soggy and stick to the frying pan. If you have accidentally added too much water, you would rather let the water dry up first (meaning cook a bit longer) rather than having some soggy noodles.

IMG_6047

  • If you do not like moist egg coated noodles, you can use egg omelette strips.

  • All side ingredients in this illustrations are optional and substitutable. Please use what you like to fry the noodles. I have raid my fridge to come out with this and is a vegetarian version. Otherwise, I would have added pork belly meat, prawns and even some dry shrimps. So, use whatever that your family likes to cook the noodle dish.

  • Though all ingredients appeared to be optional, however, the selections will usually based on the colour of the side ingredients and a good combination of colour will make the dish looks appetizing. I usually used tomatoes or carrots for orange, chillies for red colour, choy shym or leafy vegetable for green, dried mushrooms or black fungus for black,  and corns or eggs for yellow colour. This minute detail of colour combination will make this simple dish becoming a presentable dish.

  • Remember that this method of cooking is equally applicable to fried yellow noodles, rice vermicelli, Kway Tiao, Pad Thai and etc..

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

IMG_6024

You Stingy Old Man, You Ruined My Mexican Coffee Buns–Polo Buns and Mexican Coffee Buns

IMG_2529

IMG_5798

INTRODUCTION

Please scroll down for the updated posts

Guaishushu is seriously regretting for his “creativities” and “stinginess”. He made a batch of Polo buns and Mexican Coffee Buns. However, as the final proofing of his bun is less than his desired diameter, he was left with some coffee pastry dough. Instead of throwing it away, half way when he baked the buns, he just took out the buns and pumped in the left over coffee pastry dough thinking it will melt and become a coffee buns with double dose of crusty coffee toppings… And the end, he found that instead of making it more beautiful, he made a bunch of ugly buns… Well, he still decided to share the recipe here as readers can just follow the recipe and get some good quality buns…… Don’t be misled by Guaishushu’s pictures.

IMG_5192

POLO BUNS AND MEXICAN COFFEE BUNS

Polo bun or pineapple bun is a type of soft, sweet bun commonly found in Asia. The word “Polo” in Mandarin literally translated to pineapple. In another word, it is supposed to be a soft bun that have skin that resembles the skin of pineapples. Usually what is being sold in the market is with fillings such as barbecue pork. However, as I am on a vegetarian diet, I have opted to make it into a plain bun for breakfast. The buns were wrapped with a soft cookie liked dough on top of the buns, when it proved for the second time, the plain dough will start to make the soft cookie liked dough to break and those resembling the skin of a pineapple. Some have used a knife to cut into a pattern of a pineapple skin.

IMG_5812

Mexican coffee buns is popularized by Rotiboy in Malaysia and it is a type of sweet bun with coffee flavoured crusty toppings. Usually, inside the buns, there is  a slice of butter which will melt when the buns are baked. Therefore the buns is full of buttery flavour.

THIS IS DEFINTELY A WORKABLE RECIPE AND IF YOU LOOK AT MY WORK IN PROGRESS PICTURES, YOU WILL SEE THE IT IS OKAY UNTIL THE VERY LAST MOMENT WHEN GUAISHUSHU IS GREEDY TO ADD ADDITIONAL COFFEE TOPPINGS.

IMG_5170


This post is a rather long post and have the following sections

Section A: Preparing the Buns

Section B: Preparing the Polo Buns Crusty Toppings

Section C: Preparing the Mexico Buns Crusty Toppings

Section D: Preparing Polo Buns for Baking

Section E: Preparing the Mexico Buns for Baking


SECTION A: PREPARING OF BUNS

What is required

IMG_5100

  • 500 g bread flour

  • 100 g castor sugar

  • Yeast one packet (about 11 grams)

  • 30 grams of butter (at room temperature)

  • Pinches of salt

  • 50 grams eggs (about 1 egg)

  • 240 grams of water


STEPS OF PREPARATION

IMG_5223

  • Mix all ingredients except softened butter and beat at slow speed for about 5 minutes.
  • Add the softened butter and continue kneading at medium high-speed for about 20-30 minutes or when the dough did not stick to the wall of your mixing bowl and do not break when you pull the dough.
  • In the flat surface dusted with normal or bread flour, take out the dough from the mixing bowl and slightly knead it using hand for 1-2 minutes and shape it into a ball.
  • lightly oil you mixing bowl and place the ball in the bowl. Cover with damp cloth or cling wrap (to prevent moisture loss).

  • Leave it to proof until almost double in size. This should be about 30-45 minutes depending on the day’s temperature.

IMG_5188


SECTION B: PREPARING THE POLO BUNS CRUSTY TOPPINGS

What is required

IMG_5118

  • 75 grams butter, melted

  • 110 grams of bread flour self raising flour, sifted

  • 50 grams of icing sugar, sifted

  • 25  40 grams of eggs, lightly beaten

  • 30 grams of milk powder
  • One egg yolk for egg washing
  • Some sugar for sprinkling


Steps of preparation

IMG_5111 

  • Melt the butter in an microwave oven for 1 minute.

  • Add in beaten eggs, sifted icing sugar, milk powder and sifted bread flours self raising flour. Mixed well until it form a soft dough.

IMG_5117

  • Divide the dough into 8 equal portions.

  • Shape in round shape and set aside for later use.


Section C: Preparing the Mexico Buns Crusty Toppings

IMG_5106

What is required

  • 100 grams of butter, melted

  • 100 grams of flour, sifted

  • 80 grams of icing sugar, sifted

  • 50 grams of eggs, lightly beaten

  • 2 tablespoons of unsweetened instant coffee dissolved in 2 tablespoons of hot water.

  • 8 pieces of 1 cm x 3cm x 0.2 cm cold cut butter (sizes is just for reference and you can just cut the butter in a small piece) – for usage in Section E. Store the butter in the fridge.


Steps of preparation

IMG_5124

  • Melt the butter in an microwave oven for 1 minute.

  • Add in beaten eggs, sifted icing sugar, instant coffee paste and sifted bread flours. Mixed well until it form a soft sticky dough and set aside.

Note that in the above illustration pictures, I only add in the instant coffee paste at a later stage.


SECTION D: PREPARING POLO BUNS FOR BAKING

* For newer detail instruction of preparing it from frozen dough, please scroll towards the end for the updated post

IMG_5224

  • Take the dough out, punch into the dough to let any trapped air escaped. Knead for one minute and divide into 2 portions. Set aside one portion for Mexico Coffee Buns in Section E.

  • Divide the dough equally into 8 portions and shape it into a round ball.

IMG_5225

  • Use a roller to flatten the “cookie liked dough” as prepared in Section B.

  • Use a brush to lightly brush some water on the plain dough so that it is easier for the cookie dough to cling on the plain dough.

  • Wrap around the plain dough and let it prove until double in size.

  • As the dough proves, you will see the cookies dough started to break. If you find you cookies dough have the tendency to drop from plain dough, spray or brush with additional water to let them stick together.

IMG_5226

  • When double in size, baked in the oven at 190 degree Celsius for about 15 minutes.

* For newer detail instruction of preparing it from frozen dough, please scroll towards the end for the updated post

IMG_5176


SECTION E: PREPARING MEXICO COFFEE BUNS FOR BAKING

IMG_5229

  • Lightly knead the other half of the dough as mentioned in Section D.

  • Divide the dough into 8 equal portions and shape into a sound ball.

  • Use a roller to roll the ball into a flat dough, place a piece of cold butter on top of the dough. Use the dough to wrap a butter and make it into a round ball.

  • Put it in the baking tray and proved until double in size.

IMG_5227

  • Put the coffee soft dough into a piping bag. Cut a small hole in the bottom.

  • Pipe the coffee soft dough on top of the proved buns in the pattern as in the above images.

IMG_5228

  • After finished piping, bake in the oven for 190 degree Celsius for about 15 minutes.

IMG_5172

 


CONCLUSIONS

In this post, I have shared two types of common sweet buns. If you have some baking basics, it is definitely not a difficult bun to prepare. The crispy toppings of both buns are rather similar except the proportion of each ingredient is different. These toppings can actually be prepared in advance to shorten the preparation time. Remember that you can always wrapped barbecue pork in the Polo buns and you can refer Guaishushu’s Facebook Page post P1 – Roast Meat Bun (烧肉餐包).

IMG_2523

Sincerely, honestly, faithfully hope you like the post today and don’t get discourage by the ugly pictures today. Guaishushu’s promise to be less stingy (at least for photo taking purposes, ha-ha) in my coming illustrations..

Have a nice day and cheers….

IMG_5822


UPDATED ON 2 AUGUST 2014


IMG_2525

 

I have prepared some Mexican Buns on today and I have decided to take some picture and update the post.

IMG_2533

As the above dough recipes uses tangzhong is rather time consuming, I have decided to use another faster dough as in my Blueberry Sweet Bread. It is definitely a faster and easier straight dough method that yields a fluffier bread.. As for the toppings, it is the same as the recipe above.

IMG_2537


UPDATED POST ON 12 SEPTEMBER 2014

With the frozen dough that I have in the fridge, I have decided to prepare some polo buns for the breakfast.

IMG_5808

There are some changes to the recipe as indicated in “red” as above as I found that this recipe for the topping is better. In addition, I have used another way of preparing the buns.

IMG_5781

  • Pre-heat the oven to 190 degree Celsius.

  • Weigh the  topping and divide into 10 equal balls. Take one topping, shape it like a ball, place a dough ball on top of the crust ball, wrap the topping around the dough ball. Use a knife to cut some lines on on top of the toppings.

IMG_5796

  • Let the dough proof until double in size, egg wash with the egg yolk followed by sprinkling some sugar on top of the crust. Bake in the pre-heated oven for 12-15 minutes or when the breads turn golden brown.

IMG_5824

IMG_5818

 


  • For more recipes, you can refer to my RECIPE INDEX (updated as at 28 July 2014)  here and you can follow me at PINTEREST or visit the blog’s FACEBOOK PAGE to keep abreast of my future posts.  

IMG_2539

IMG_5804