Another Uniquely Chinese Cuisine–Chinese Style Barbecue Pork–Char Siu (蜜汁叉烧)

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FOR AN UPDATED POST 21-SEPTEMBER 2014, PLEASE SCROLL DOWN TOWARDS THE END OF THE POST

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INTRODUCTION

This post is concerning about CHAR SIU – CHINESE STYLE BARBECUE PORK (叉烧).

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Before I start my post, as usual, for the benefits of my international readers, I shall take the liberty to let Wikipedia to have a brief and concise description of this particular Chinese barbecue meat:

“Char siu (Chinese: 叉燒 caa1 siu1literally “fork-roast”; also Romanised chasu, cha siu, cha shao, char siew) is a popular way to flavor and prepare barbecued pork in Cantonese cuisine. It is classified as a type of siu mei (燒味), Cantonese roasted meat. It is listed at number 28 on the “world’s 50 most delicious foods” readers’ poll compiled by CNN Go in 2011.”

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POPULARITY OF CHAR SIU OR CHINESE BARBECUE PORKS

I doubt if there is any Chinese worldwide who have never tasted barbecue pork or Char Siu. I have eaten this as long as I can remember. Whenever I went, I saw Char Siu being sold in local Chinese restaurants. When I was in Douala Cameroon, Africa, I can remember clearly that the Chinese restaurant in Douala is selling wonton noodles with Char Siu. Even when I travelled to Siberian cities like Irkutsk, Krasnoyarsk, Khabarovsk, Char Siu is also one of the must have items in  their Chinese restaurants. Most Char Siu overseas is the Cantonese version, which is sweet and slightly glossy. This type of Chinese barbecue pork had gain popularity and acceptance because of its sweet taste, nice fragrance and tender meat. Char Siu is quite an international taste and can generally suit international foodies’ taste buds since it resembles honey roasted pork.

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WHY THIS DISH

It is another dish that I have prepared out of my cooking passion and own challenge. I have chosen the more commonly accepted Cantonese style of barbecue pork. There are many, many, many recipes in the internet both in English and Chinese languages. Of course I am not capable to read every one of them, and this recipe is the first and only recipe that I read. 

I “digest” this blogger’s article (in Chinese) with great interest as she is very detailed in her approach. Though I have materially modified her recipe, I still want my readers who understand Chinese to read her article and credits have to go Jennifer, a Taiwanese whom in 2011 lives in San Diego. In her post 自己做….廣式蜜汁叉燒肉, she had a detail analysis in how she combined several recipes to come out with her own recipes. It is a rather long post but please take sometimes to read her post. From her post, I come out with my own recipe and modified my approach along the way.

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RED YEAST RICE WINE AND RED FERMENTED BEAN CURDS

I think that the following 2 natural colouring agents deserves special mention in the post. One is red yeast rice wine (红糟酒)and the other red fermented bean curd (红腐乳)。Red yeast rice (红曲米)is also called koji in Japanese and is a bright reddish purple fermented rice, which acquires its colour from being cultivated with the mold Monascus purpureus. (Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Red_yeast_rice).  Red yeast rice wine is the glutinous rice wine made using red yeast rice. You can easily obtain red yeast rice in Chinese medical shops and as for red yeast rice wine, I got some from my neighbour. However, if you can’t obtain red yeast rice wine, you can substitute with normal Chinese cooking wine and red yeast rice residue (红糟)from the making of the wine. The red rice residue can be easily obtained from the supermarket under condiments sections. For more understanding on red yeast rice, please refer to HERE.

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Red fermented bean curd is a type of Chinese fermented bean curds and coloured using red yeast rice above. It is used in a number of Chinese cuisines or it can be eaten with porridge. It is salty and can be easily bought in Chinese provision shops or supermarkets.

However, both these ingredients are  optional. If you do not want your barbecue pork to have reddish colour, you can just straight away substitute the red yeast rice wine with normal Chinese cooking wine and the red fermented bean curd with cream coloured fermented bean curd.

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WHAT IS REQUIRED

Recipe adapted from: 自己做….廣式蜜汁叉燒肉

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Ingredients A (at day of marinating)

  • 1 kg of pork (not in picture) -cut into 5 cm x 15 cm x 3 cm (note below)

  • 2 tablespoons of chopped garlic

  • 2 tablespoons of honey

  • 2 tablespoons of oyster sauce

  • 1 tablespoon of dark soya sauce

  • 5 tablespoons of red yeast rice wine or cooking wine

  • 3 tablespoons of white sugar

  • 10 tablespoons of plain water

  • 1 teaspoon of 5 spice powder

  • 1/4 teaspoon of salt

  • 1 cube of red fermented bean curd plus some fermented bean curd sauce (optional)

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Ingredients B (at day of roasting)

  • 1 tablespoon of honey

  • 5 tablespoons of sugar

  • 5 tablespoons of water

  • 1 tablespoon of dark soya sauce

  • 2 tablespoons of red fermented bean curd sauces

Others

  • Some iron wires to hang the meat or some big size paperclip

Note: For the meat, you can ask the butcher to cut for you and even ask them to recommend the best type of meat for the preparation of barbecue pork. They will be able to offer good advises.

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STEPS OF PREPARATION

Marinating the Meat

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  • Pour all Ingredients A into a big plastic box. Stir well and ensure that all the pork were coated with the sauce. Marinate for at least 1-3 days in the refrigerator. For this illustration, I have marinated for about 2 days.


Preparing for Grilling

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  • Arrange the wire rack of the oven to sit at the highest level of the oven possible. Put a big piece of aluminium foil on top of the baking tray and put it at the lowest level of the oven. Preheat the oven to 180 degree Celsius.

  • Wash the wire with clean water and pierce the wire into the marinated meat and making it into a S hooked shape.


The Grilling Starts

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  • Mix all Ingredients B together and set aside.

  • BE CAREFUL NOT THE TOUCH THE OVEN RACK AS IT IS HOT. Hang your meat in the oven rack and grilled for 15 minutes. You may have some marinating sauces left in the plastic box, add it to Ingredients B above. In the grilling, you will witness the meat juices and some marinating sauces start to drip down to the aluminium foil. If you want, you can scoop out the meat juices or sauces and put it together with ingredients B. If you note that some of meat juices or sauces in the aluminium foil start to get burnt, add some water to the aluminium foil.

  • After 15 minutes, open the oven door and take out the meat and it is okay if the colour of the meat is very faint. Coat the meat thoroughly  with Ingredient B sauces. Hang it back in the oven rack (BE CAREFUL!). Do the same for all the meat strips.

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  • Grilled for another 5 minutes and repeat the same at the interval of 5 minutes until all the sauces are used. I have repeated 3-4 cycles and you will gradually see the meat glossier and glossier. For the last cycle, let it grilled for 10 minutes before taking the barbecue pork out of the oven.

  • After you take out the meat, you may have a lot of sauces of meat juices in the aluminium foil. Slight shape the aluminium foil to reduce the surface area and continue grilling until the barbecue sauce thickens. Once you see lots of bubbles in the aluminium foil, it means that sugar has started to caramelize and barbecue sauce is almost done.  Once done, take it out and pour on the serving bowl for later dipping. It took me about 2-3 minutes to thicken the meat juices and sauces.

  • Cut into slices and can be served with wanton noodles, white rice, porridges or as a meat dish on its own.

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CONCLUSION

Making this is not really difficult but slightly laborious. Via this exercise, I found that the final part of re-coating with the sauces is the most important. After 15 minutes, the meat is almost cooked. The final exercise is to “cosmetically decorated” the meat before serving. Via this way of preparation, your barbecue pork with be glossy and juicy.

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Depending on your preference, the type of meat is of prime importance. I have to admit that I do not really know which part of meat I have bought. I am telling the butcher that I want to make barbecue pork and he gave me these meats. “Post mortem” showed that it was slightly lean and not as juicy as in the restaurant. Obviously, it was due to the wrong type of meats used. Therefore, butchers right recommendation is very important.

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I have to say that the taste of the meat is much better than what I have expected. Forgive me if I am not humble enough to say that it was like what I usually purchased in the stores.  Though there are many sauces and seasonings used, however, I am of the opinion that the most important ingredients are garlic, red fermented bean curd sauces, dark soya sauce and most important of all sugar or honey. Meat has its own flavour and even if your marinating is not long enough, you can still make good the taste at the last 15 minutes of grilling.

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

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UPDATED POST ON 21-9-2014


I have prepared some barbecue pork today. Since I cannot get hold of the red glutinous rice wine and do not have red fermented bean curd with me, I have substitute with red yeast rice powder. Red yeast rice powder (红曲粉) can be easily obtained in Singapore bakeries. Just sharing some photo for this batch of Char Siu. Plan to use these char siu to prepared some barbecue buns etc..

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  • 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.  

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How I Wish This World Is As Colourful As A Rainbow–Cranberries Raisins Rainbow Loaf

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INTRODUCTION

Guaishushu told himself, once in a while playing with colouring is okay since he did not have a chance to colour since after schooling.

Two months ago, he “accidentally’ brought a full set of colouring intended for icing decoration for about SGD 30 and he thought that it’s only SGD3. By hook and by crook, he wanted to use up some of his colouring and he knew that the only colour that he really needed and always used is the red colour for the preparation of red eggs during his kids’ Lunar calendar birthday celebration. Besides making the red eggs, he really don’t know what to do with these colourings!

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One day, when he was browsing his Flipboard application in iPhone, he saw some rainbow loaf which is extremely beautiful but he is hesitant whether or not he should proceed to prepare this since it will need a lot of colourings.

Though it is generally not encouraged to consume too much food with colouring, but there should be government regulations that governed the import of permitted food colourings. If it is hazardous to health, he shouldn’t be able to get it in this “efficiently administered” country, Singapore. He searched the manufacturer Wilton LLC, apparently, it is an USA well established company set up in 1929. He told himself he is just a commoner, if this company had been established for so many years, their products must have been used by many people in the world and he should not casting doubt on its product reliability! In this thinking process, he gradually convinced himself that it is acceptable for him to prepare the bread!

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He knew that if he bake the bread, he will have nothing to worry about the “marketability” of his rainbow loaf as his kids will definitely fight for the bread. While he was struggling to make a decision, he certainly thought of a blog “Bake for Happy Kids” by Ms. Zoe. Her blog title is correct, he should bake to make his kids happy!

This post is about rainbow raisin and cranberry loaf. Guaishushu aims are to share about the making of rainbow loaf and raisin loaf. Therefore if readers are not fond of making the rainbow loaf, he can just make the raisin loaf instead.



WHAT IS REQUIRED

This recipe was adopted from the Sarawak buns recipe here and some of the picture are in the above mentioned post.

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  • 360 g of bread flour (you can substitute 10 g of bread flour with milk powder, in that case you need only 350 g of bread flour)

  • 70 g of beaten egg

  • 60 g of sugar

  • 40 g of butter – soften

  • 90 g of tangzhong (refer below)

  • 110 ml of fresh milk

  • 11 g of instant dry yeast ( 1 package)

  • 7 different types of colour gel or colouring (refer below)

  • 100 g of raisins and/or cranberry soaked in water/rum.

  • Pinches of salt

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THE PROCESS OF MAKING RAISIN AND CRANBERRY RAINBOW LOAF

This illustration will use the Tangzhong method of bread making and it involved 4 stages in the following orders:

Part 1 – Making the Tanzhong (Water Roux)

Part 2 – Preparing and Colouring the Dough for the 1st Proofing

Part 3 – Wrapping of Cranberries and Raisins and 2nd Proofing

Part 4 – The Baking Process



Part 1 – Making the Tanzhong (Water Roux)

PLEASE REFER TO THIS POST for the making of Tanzhong and reasons and history of Tanzhong.



Part 2 – Preparing and Colouring the Dough for the 1st Proofing

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  • 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.

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  • In a 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.
  • Weigh the ball and divide into 7 equal portions.

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  • Take one dough and place some colour gel and knead until all the colour are even. Keep in a lightly greased bowl and covered with lightly greased cling wrap to prevent moisture loss.
  • Do the same for the remaining 6 dough with your desired colours.
  • Leave it to proof until almost double in size. This should be about 30-45 minutes depending on the day’s weather.

Colour Selection

For this pictorial illustration, the colours that I have selected was in this order (from left to right and eventually from the top level to the bottom level):

Lemon YellowGolden yellowPink”No-taste” RedKelly GreenRoyal BlueViolet

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Part 3 – Wrapping of Cranberries and Raisins and 2nd Proofing

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  • Lightly grease a loaf tin with a cover.

  • Get ready a small bowl of water and the raisins and/or cranberries to be wrapped in the dough.

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  • Start with the lowest layer, take out the violet dough and use a roller to roll into roughly the size of the loaf tin.

  • Brush slightly with some water on the surface and place your raisins/cranberries.

  • Get the royal blue dough (second bottom layer) and use the roller to roll into roughly the size of the loaf tin.

  • Place the royal blue dough on top of the violet dough. Press the sides and ensure that the royal blue dough and the violet dough stick together.

  • Brush slightly with some water on the surface and place some raisins and/or cranberries.

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  • Get the Kelly green dough (third bottom layer) and use the roller to roll into roughly the size of the loaf tin.

  • Place the Kelly green dough on top of the royal blue dough. Press the sides and ensure that the Kelly green dough and the royal blue dough stick together on the sides.

  • Repeat the same for all the other layers and finished with the lemon yellow dough on the top.


Part 4 – The Baking Process

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  • Place the dough into the lightly greased loaf tin and let it proof until it is double in size. How long it will take depend very much on the weather and today, it took me another 45 minutes to reach the desired size I want.

  • Set the oven temperature to 200 degree Celsius

  • When the second proofing is done, i.e when the dough have double the size, bake in the oven for 30 –45 minutes..

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  • At about 35 minutes or when you start to smell the aroma of the bread, use an oven thermometer and insert into the bread and see if the temperature inside the loaf is more than 90 degrees Celsius. If it is less than 90 degrees Celsius, your bread will not be cooked and it is likely that when you take out the thermometer, there will be some wet dough stick with your thermometer. In this case, continue baking until when you inserted again the oven thermometer, the thermometer shows at least 90 degrees Celsius. If you find that the top starts to turn brownish, you can lower the temperature by 10 degree Celsius. General rule of thumb is that if you are unsure, rather bake slightly longer than under cooked.

  • If you don’t have an oven thermometer, one way of testing is after about 45 minutes (which is a reasonable timing for this size of loaf), take out the loaf from the loaf tin and try to use your finger to knock the bottom of the loaf. If it is a hollow sound, your loaf is cooked, otherwise, the loaf is uncooked. Put it back into the loaf tin and continue baking for another 10-15 minutes until you are certain that the dough is cooked. Again, if the top layer has signs of getting burnt, lower the temperature slightly.

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Note that the LOAF IS NOT BURNT. The dark brown color is the color of the violet dough on the side of the loaf.

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CONCLUSION

While too much food colouring is not advisable, I choose to believe the Government’s stand on permitted food colouring. As long as consumption is not too often, such colouring shall not post a/any serious health hazard to our body.

While I am making this loaf, the kids were schooling. When they were back, I asked them to close their eyes and show it to them, “wow” are their reactions! They can’t believe that I am baking this loaf. They have requested to eat a piece of the bread but rejected by me because dinner is to start in 10 minutes time. In their mind, the loaf will definitely much tastier! Once in a while, why not bake your kids something “extraordinary” and joined them for a rainbow breakfast! Trust me, it will definitely a “colourful” and “fruitful” breakfast!

Hope you like this post on Cranberries and Raisins Rainbow Loaf. Have a nice day ahead and cheers.

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I am submitting this to Welcome To All My Bloggy Friends and #Recipeoftheweek

8646468202_0880f459d1   Link up your recipe of the week

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What I cooked today (家常便饭系列)- 25-7-2013

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On 25-7-2013, Chicken rice served with sweet kernel corn and mushroom soup.

As I have not cook chicken rice for quite a while, I have decided just to have a one dish dinner – Hainanese Chicken Rice. You can refer here for my detailed write up on the preparation of Chicken rice. Alternatively, you can refer to Guaishushu’s Facebook page for simple pictorial instructions.

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If you really observe the first picture, do you realize something are missing? Yes, two things were missing!  A very important garnish vegetables, cucumber slice. I always find that without cucumber slice, the whole chicken rice is missing something. Do you agree with me?

Secondly, there is a lack of green vegetable today. Usually, I would have a plate of blanched vegetable to go with it but because today is Friday, I have finished all the green vegetables in the fridge, Haha. I have said before in my earlier post, usually Sunday to Tuesday or Wednesday are leafy green vegetables and Thursday to Saturday are usually beans, melons or roots type of vegetables because it can be kept longer. We do marketing once a week and I am a rational cooker, I cooked based on First In First Out principle… I don’t usually cook impulsively..

 

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As I have additional chicken stock from simmering the chicken, I have decided to open a canned kernel corn and turned it into a corn soup. When I made the cake yesterday, I have some egg whites left and I just stir and “throw” inside the soup. It become a simple soup like the one you have in the chicken rice store.

Usually, when I cooked chicken rice, I will cook more than what is required. The rationale is that it take some efforts to prepare chicken rice, why not prepare some more. In addition, any left over chicken rice can be “recycled” and is a top choice for fried rice. Since it is already “marinated” rice and you need not to add much condiments and oil when you fried it.

Other than frying overnight chicken rice, we used to make it into chicken porridge for next day’s breakfast. After simmering the chicken, if you still have the chicken stock left, just keep it. In the next morning, just throw in the left over chicken rice, any chicken meat left (of course de-boned and possibly shredded into floss), add in a bit of condiments, it will become a bowl of chicken porridge.

Will it harm you to eat overnight food?  I do not want to think about it and as long as it is properly kept with no possibility of contamination, it should be ok. How about how grandparents or parents? Is it not the Westerners used to heat up frozen foods that were prepared well in advance?


Other than the above, the project of the day included the following:

 

Impromptu Ixora Birthday “Cup Cake”

Preparing an impromptu birthday cake for one of my internet friends who “requested” me to “bake” a birthday cake for her and wish her happy birthday over the internet. This cake is decorated with ixora flowers which is abundant in Malaysia and Singapore.. Do you mind if someone posted this cake to your timeline wishing you happy birthday?

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Butterfly Cupcake

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This is an extremely simple cup cake recipe. Add all ingredients and mixed well, bake and you get the cake. It was served with cream and strawberry jam as the basic cup cake have very little sugar. it was dusted with sugar powder. Do you think it will taste nice?


Rose Cake

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This should be a celebration cake but need further modifications. I am doing  in a rush and therefore  the workmanship is really terrible. Haha.


Modified Version of Raas Malai

This is a dessert originated from India and an extremely popular in South Asia. It was served in wedding ceremony and other important festival occasions. Traditionally, the raw ingredients are paneer (Indian Cheese) and milk. The recipe is adopted from http://free-advertising-ey.blogspot.it/2013/07/raas-malai-sweet-from-bangladesh.htmlk with some modifications to suit the Chinese taste buds. Modifications include reducing the use of spices such as cinnamon, cardamon and etc.. In addition, strawberry were added.

 
As this dessert look milky and cheesy, I have decided to let my kids try out the dessert exposing them to more international cuisines. The preparation are rather coincidence. This afternoon when I have over whipped my cream, I thought I might as well used this over whipped cream to make the dessert. I added fresh milk to the over whipped cream and heat until it boiled. Knowing that my kids will not really like spices like cardamon, cinnamon , I have decided to tailor it to a more Chinese taste buds. I meshed 5 ripe strawberries and add to the milk and let them boiled together with the milk.

As for the cheese balls, I have used mozarella cheese to make it instead of paneer or cheddar cheese. I meshed 2 strawberries, added to the cheese, added 1 tablespoon of water and shaped it into small balls. My balls are rather small compared to the authentic because I know my kids wouldn’t be able to take such a big cheesy ball.  I dropped the balls to the cool milk and put in the fridge. During serving, I found it too creamy (possibly due to my over whipped cream), I have further diluted with cold fresh milk and cut slices of fresh strawberry to go with it.

 

Verdict: Extremely nice sweet milky soup with strawberry flavour. As long as you like milk, I do not think you have any reasons not to like it.

As for the cheese balls, my girls can take all but my boys feels a bit too rich and salty to him. As for me, I loved the cold milk but for the cheese balls, one or two should be Ok but not too much as when I was young, Chinese were not exposed to ” cheesy things”…. Haha.. I will say those who like cheese, go ahead and make this milky desserts.. It is just delicious.
 

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LASTLY, HOPE YOU LIKE THE POST TODAY!  AND HAVE A NICE WEEK END.

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What I cooked today (家常便饭系列)- 11-7-2013

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On 11-7-2013, White rice served with:

1 Cabbage Pork Rib Soup 包菜排骨汤
2 Braised Bitter Gourd with Roast Meat 苦瓜焖烧肉 
3 Braised pork slice with pickled lettuce 香菜心炆肉片
4 Foochow Preserved Mustard Bee Hoon 福州糟菜米粉汤

As I am making some pastry this afternoon, I am rather busy and again simple meal. I cooked the cabbage soup in the afternoon and tonight I just add a simple dish, pork slices cooked with canned pickled lettuce. Just bring some water to boil, add pork slice, canned pickles, garlic slice and the cooked for 15 minutes and the dish is ready. I know it is my kids favourite dish, therefore no further dish required.

The braised bitter gourd with roast meat is cooked by my wife’s god mother. My wife loves bitter gourd and she will always cooked this for us as an additional dish. It is fun to note that now both my kids are “brave” enough to bitter gourd at their age. As I have bought a bitter gourd without knowing that there another bitter gourd dish today, therefore, expect to see another bitter gourd soup in the table..

I know not many Chinese family cooked cabbage soup including my mother in law, but I love to cook this. Most elders do not like to cook cabbage soup because at times, the vegetable will have some “funny” taste. However, in my humble opinion, to avoid that “funny” taste,  at the time when you put the cabbage, the water must be boiling under high heat.

Today, there is no pictorial illustration for the dish at the dish are rather simple. However, you can still visit Guaishushu’s Facebook Page for other dishes.

LETTING THE KIDS EXPLORING NEW DISHES

I would like to share with readers how I get my child accustomed to what I cooked and explore new dishes.

For any new dishes that are not “kids unfriendly” meaning too sour, too spicy etc, they have to taste at least taste 1-2 tablespoons and tell me why they don’t like it. They are not supposed to throw away the food in their month as long as the food do not have bones and etc. If what they said make sense, I will not cook that particular dish or cook a smaller quantity. At times, I will still cook the dish that they initially don’t like but add in some new ingredients that they like so that everybody is happy. For example, if I cooked bitter gourd, I will usually add in some canned mushrooms. I will tell them the “ratio” of bitter gourd to canned mushrooms is say 1:3 meaning eating 1 pieces of bitter gourd will entitled them 3 pieces of mushrooms. It really helps and sorry for being mean to my kids…Haha

They are rather polite at their age. They have “forced” themselves to eat the bitter gourd knowing that this is their mother’s favourite vegetables. Deep in my heart, I appreciate their thoughtfulness and hope that this will continue when they are independent in the future.

HOPE YOU LIKE THE POST TODAY AND HAVE A NICE DAY.

 

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