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.

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

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Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) believes that the body is in its best condition when the Yin and Yang is balanced. I am no expert in this field but being  a Chinese, I was “brainwashed” about the need to cleanse /balance your body with some foods and drinks such that your body is in the top notch condition.

Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Traditional_Chinese_medicine

One of cheapest way of “self medication” or “self balancing” about your body’s Yin and Yang is preparing some herbal drinks at home. There are many many herbs that sometimes i seriously doubt that the grass/weeds that I stepped under my feet are edible and are types of herbs.

In fact, today, one of the herb that I wanted to share with all is a common grass that can be found in many countries. But don’t simply pluck from the streets and cook it unless you are 100% sure of that is exact the plant. Eating plants that have toxins can be disastrous to your body!


WHY THIS DRINK?

Last week, I am eating a lot of baked pastry, according to TCM, it brought heat to your body. I am having a bit of sore throat and today when I am doing the marketing,  I saw these plants. It is in a store selling all sort of herbs in a wet market. Beside selling this herb, they also sell other types of “body cooling” herbs such as purple cane, rhoeo tricolour and other general cooking herbs such as Thai basil, mint leaves and etc..

I WAS TOLD THAT IT IS A COMMON ITEM AND IF YOU CAN GET THIS HERB IN ITS RAW/FRESH FORM, YOU CAN TRY THE DRIED VERSION IN THE TRADITIONAL CHINESE VERSION MEDICAL SHOP.

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This herb is called Hedyotis Diffusa (白花蛇舌草)scientifically and literally translated from Chinese language as White Flower Snake Tongue Grass! Don’t asked me why this name, Ha-ha.

As Hedyotis Diffusa sound so alien to most readers, shall we have a simpler name Snake Tongue Grass? So, from this point onwards, Hedyotis Diffusa and snake tongue grass shall be used interchangeably.

As per Wikipedia on Heydotis Diffusa, it was written that

Hedyotis diffusa (Chinese: 白花蛇舌草; pinyin: báihuā shéshécǎo; literally “white flower snake-tongue grass”, sometimes abbreviated to 蛇舌草 shéshécǎo) is a kind of herb used in traditional Chinese medicine. It is sometimes combined with Siraitia grosvenorii (simplified Chinese: 罗汉果; traditional Chinese: 羅漢果; pinyin: luóhànguǒ) to make hot drinks like Lohoguo of Guongsei (simplified Chinese: 罗汉果蛇舌草精; traditional Chinese: 羅漢果蛇舌草精; pinyin: luóhànguǒ shéshécǎo jīng) or Luohanguo Pearl and Sheshecao Beverage.

Therefore, in this illustration, I have combined with Siritia Grosvenorii (罗汉果), hereinafter refer to as Lohanguo), another common traditional Chinese medicine ingredient.  It is a natural sweetener and is used to treat diabetes in TCM. This combination is nothing raw, you can see it in Chinese Provision shops that sell in instant form.

Source: http://www.fjzzyy.cn/product.asp


BENEFITS OF SNAKE TOUNGE GRASS (HEDYOTIS DIFFUSA)

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Snake tongue grass is believed to have inflammation properties and ability to prevent tumour growth. In addition, it is used to clear heat, counteract toxins, remove damp, treatment of boils and abscesses, snake bite, sore throat etc..

If you goggled heydyotis diffusa, you will note that there are lots of research relating to studies on its role on cancer prevention. The articles below list out the major health benefits of snake tongue grass which includes mostly inhibit cancerous growth of many types of cancer- Chinese herbs in Western View – Baihuasheshecao – health benefits and side effects.

 Sourcehttp://www.baike.com/wiki/白花蛇舌草

In another study to study the anticancer properties of Oldenlandia Diffusa published by US National Library of Medicines in 2004, it was concluded that:

“Oldenlandia diffusa extract effectively inhibited the growth of all the eight cancer cell lines and induced significant increase of apoptosis. The extract exhibited minimum toxic effect on normal pancreatic cells. Furthermore, there was a significant inhibition of lung metastases in the animal model with no noticeable adverse effects. The herb extract could be a potential anticancer agent.”(Source: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/15273074)

As with other herbals, it is advisable that PREGRNANT WOMEN SHALL REFRAINED FROM DRINKING THE TEA UNLESS WITH ADVISE FROM MEDICAL PROFESSIONALS.


As with my other drink series, since this is a Chinese herbs, for the benefits of my readers who are Chinese speaking, I have specifically include this excerpt. Note that the Chinese and English versions are not the same as they are from the different source.

  • 痈肿疮毒,咽喉肿痛,毒蛇咬伤。本品苦寒,有较强的清热解毒作用,用治热毒所致诸证,内服外用均可。如单用鲜品捣烂外敷,治疗痈肿疮毒,也可以本品与金银花、连翘、野菊花等药同用;用治肠痈腹痛,常与红藤、败酱草、牡丹皮等药同用;若治咽喉肿痛,多与黄芩、玄参、板蓝根等药同用;若用治毒蛇咬伤,可单用鲜品捣烂绞汁内服或水煎服,渣敷伤口,疗效较好,亦可与半枝莲、紫花地丁、蚤休等药配伍应用。近年利用本品清热解毒消肿之功,已广泛用于各种癌证的治疗
  • 热淋涩痛。本品甘寒,有清热利湿通淋之效,单用本品治疗膀胱湿热,小便淋沥涩痛,亦常与白茅根、车前草、石韦等同用。” (Source:中医e百网页)


BENEFITS OF ARHAT FRUIT OR LUOHANGUO (SIRITIA GROSVENORII)

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Luohanguo is also called arhat fruit or monk fruits. The plant is cultivated for its fruit, whose extract is nearly 300 times sweeter than sugar and has been used in China as a natural low-calorie sweetener for cooling drinks, and in traditional Chinese medicine to treat diabetes and obesity. (Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Siraitia_grosvenorii). It is very common and you can easily purchased it in any Chinese herbal shops at a very reasonable price.


WHAT IS REQUIRED

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  • One bunch of fresh snake tongue grass of about 500 g. Usually it comes with root and cost about SGD1.20 for it (this price is for estimating the quantity of your fresh snake tongue grass)

  • 6 dried lohanguo

  • 400 gram of rock sugar (can be adjusted according to individual preference)

  • 4 litres of water.

STEPS OF PREPARATION

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  • Soak your snake tongue grass in clean water for 15 minutes

  • Clean thoroughly the grass and watch out for the root portion which may have some soils stuck to the plants.

  • Use clean water to rinse the cleaned snake tongue grass.

The soaking of the snake tongue grass is requested by my mother in law which i think it make sense. Be it commercially cultivated or “plucking” from the wild, we will never know if there are any pesticides, therefore like other vegetables, it is a precautionary steps to wash away the pesticides (if any) by soaking in the water.

You may need quite a lot of water to clean the natural herbs. It is my usual habit to recycle  these water for watering my plants! These are just muddy water and throwing away is a waste. If you do have a lot of plants at home, I would encourage to use this to water your plant or flush your toilet, if you want. You know, I am just a stingy old man! Ha-ha

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  • Break open the lohanguo and look out for any mould in the shell!

 

NOTE

Note that it is not necessary for you to break your lohanguo like the picture above. I do have the habit to break it and see what is inside. There are a few experiences that I saw mold settling insides the seeds. If it is dry with small patches, i will just wash with cold water. Otherwise, I will throw away. The usual ways of cooking this is just use some hard object to break but not open the lohanguo, throw it in the herbs that you are cooking.

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  • Put 4 litres of water in a big pot. Add in snake tongue grass and lohanguo and bring to boil under high heat!

  • Once boiled, turned to medium heat and boiled for another 15-20 minutes.

  • Add in rock sugar and let it boiled for another 5 minutes.

NOTE:

The preparation of this drink is rather flexible, be it the use of main ingredients (snake tongue grass and lohanguo) or side ingredients (rock sugar) and water, You can always adjust to suit your family’s taste buds. Personally, I will start with less water and some rock sugar. If i find it too sweet or concentrated, i will just dilute with water.

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  • Strain the herbal teas and store in a glass bottle (preferred if you have). Though it is not advisable to keep this overnight according to TCM, however, if needed, store in fridge in a clean (preferred if sterilized with hot water) bottle.


VARIATIONS

  • As the drink can be slightly bland, you can add in a small quantity of dry longan to add flavour to it. I have added this to make my kids drinking this tea.


CONCLUSION

I am eating a piece of my zebra patterned pound cake with a glass of this tea as a snack this morning. Chinese believed that all oven baked pastries are “heaty” to your body. There is a constant need to have some drinks to “cool” your body. Too much “heat” in your body will cause acne, sore throat, boils, abscesses and etc.. (In Western terms : inflammation). This is pleasant drink and is a choice among many body cooling drinks that are cooked by Chinese households. You may also interested in my other drink series here:

Have a nice day and don’t forget to cleanse your body! Hope you like the post and cheers.

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FOOD PREPARATION SERIES INDEX

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

 

 

Desserts:

 

Aloe Vera

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

Barley Peanut Soup

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

Black Glutinous Rice

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

Sweet Potato Soup

Malaysian Singaporean Chinese Food–Sweet Potato Soup Dessert

Barley/Black Glutinous Rice

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

Honey Dew Granita

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

Poached Bosc Pears & Dragon Fruits

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

Bubur Cha Cha

X5 – Bubur Cha Cha (摩摩喳喳)

 

 

Drinks:

 

Chrysanthemum Tea

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

Hawthorn Ume Tea

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

Roselle Tea

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

Rhoeo Tricolor Tea

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

Hedyotis Diffusa

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

   

Breads

 

Sarawak Style Butter Buns

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

Roast Meat Buns

P1 – Roast Meat Bun (烧肉包)

 

 

Cakes/Muffins/Scones

 

Banana Cake

P2 – Banana Cake (香蕉蛋糕)

Butter Cake/Pound Cake

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

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

Chinese Steamed Sponge Cake

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

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

Steamed Sugar Cake

P3-Steamed Sugar Cake (白糖糕)

Microwave Mug Cake

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

Sarawak Midnight Cake

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

Grapefruit Chiffon Cake

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

Carrot Muffins

Simple Carrot Muffins for Your Love Ones…

Scones

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

Tapioca Cake

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

Cake Decoration Ideas

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

 

 

Cheese Cakes

 

Ferraro Rocher Ice Cream

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

Durian Cheese Cake

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

 

 

Cookies

 

Pineapple Tarts

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

 

 

Puddings

 

Bread Puddings

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

Cake Puddings P4 – Cake Puddings (蛋糕布丁)

Cookie Puddings

Creative Food Series – Cookie Puddings 1

Cookie Puddings

Cookie Puddings – 2

 

 

Snacks

 

Nonya Chang 

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

Nonya Chang 

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

Popiah

Malaysian Singaporean Chinese Food–Popiah Sarawak Style

Kueh Pie Tee

Malaysian Singaporean Chinese Food -Kueh Pie Tee

Roasted Peanuts

C2 – Spiced Roasted Peanut (香脆花生)

 

 

Rice and Porridges

 

Chicken Rice

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

Nasi Goreng Aruk

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

Fried Rice

N1 – Nameless Fried Rice (无名炒饭)

White Gourd Braised Rice

N2 – White Gourd Braised Rice (白莆焖饭)

Pork Porridge

N3- Pork Porridge (肉粥

 

 

Noodles and Pasta Dishes

 

Kolo Beehoon

Food Preparation Series–Kolo Beehoon

Sarawak Laksa

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

Sarawak Laksa

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

Sarawak Laksa

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

Singapore Prawn Noodles

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

Tom Yam Noodles

Bachelor’s Tomyam Noodles–Quick And Nice…

Tomato Yimin Noodles

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

Pasta Sauce

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

 

 

Meat and Savoury Dishes

 

Korma Chicken

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

Grilled Chicken

M1- Chinese Style Grilled Chicken (中式烤鸡)

Ginger Chicken

M2 – Ginger Chicken (姜丝鸡)

Soya Sauce Chicken

M4- Braised Chicken with Soya Sauce (酱油鸡)

Minced Pork with Taukwa

Creative Food Series–Minced Pork Belly with Taukwa

Miso Pork Belly

M3 – Miso Pork Belly (味增五花)

Meat Rolls

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

 

 

Vegetarian Dishes

 

Tempeh

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

Vegetable fritters

Vege Vege Vegetable Fritters–Indonesian’s Bakwan Sayuran

Vegetables

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

Chinese Lettuce

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

Bitter Gourd & Chinese Mustard

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

Shark Fin Melon Soup

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

 

 

Vegetable Dishes

 

Luffa

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

Preserved Mustard

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

Winged Beans

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

Kailan with Prawns

V1 – Blanched Kailan With Prawn (芥兰虾球)

Romaine Lettuce Miso

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

 

 

Tofu and Egg Dishes

 

Minced Taukwa Omelete

D2 – Minced Taukwa Omelete (豆干蛋饼)

Braised Egg & Tofu

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

Bean Curd Omelete

D5-Beancurd Omelet (豆干蛋饼

Celery Omelete

D6- Celery Omelete (西芹蛋饼)

Steamed Tofu

D8-Steamed Tofu With Eggs (豆腐蒸蛋)

Salted Turnip Omelete

D9 – Salted Turnip Omelete (菜脯蛋饼)素

Devilled Eggs

 Devilled Egg- Simplicity Rules…

   

Soup Dishes

 

Sweet Corn Soup

S1 – Sweet Corn Pork Rib Soup 玉米排骨汤)

Carrot Soup

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

Double Mushroom Soup

S3 – Double Mushroom Chicken Soup (双菇鸡汤)

Bitter Gourd Pineapple Soup

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

Chinese Napa Soup

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

Salted Vegetable Duck Soup

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

 

 

Interesting Cooking Ingredients

 

Chilli

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

Belachan

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

Belachan

Z1 – Belachan (Shrimp Paste) – Roasting Belachan

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

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INTRODUCTION

This will be a straight forward short post.

A light, sweet and smooth desserts that will made me hard to resist whenever this dessert was served. It is a flexible dessert and if you wish, you can add in additional ingredients such as gingko nuts or lotus seeds. However, I have opt to use peanuts as I have never like the taste of gingko nuts. The peanuts blends equally well in the soup and in fact, in my humble opinion is a much better combination. The use of pressure cooker had reduce the time of preparation considerably.


 

WHAT IS REQUIRED

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  • 1/2 cup of peanuts
  • 6 pandanus leaves tied in a bunch
  • 1 packet (rather standard size) of dried bean curd sheets specially for desserts purposes.
  • 1 cup of rock sugar or granulated sugar
  • 8 cups of water

 

STEPS OF PREPARATION

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  • Wash the pandanus leaves and tie into a bundle. Set aside for later use.
  • Wash the peanuts and barley thoroughly and put in a pressure cooker and boiled for 25 minutes.
  • Release the pressure and put in the bean curd sheets, rock sugar and candied winter melons and boiled for another 10 minutes.
  • Release the pressure and preferably served hot or chilled.

Variations

Variations can include addition of gingko nuts, lotus seeds and jujubes.  Beaten eggs can also be added to thicken the sweet soup.

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CONCLUSION

  • This is a traditional Chinese desserts that I can never resists. It is easy to cook especially with the pressure cooker. It is a very light dessert, smooth, sweet and suitable for almost all occasion. Barley is researched to have the  capabilities of reducing lower cholesterol levels. Chinese believed that the sweet soup will be good and nutritional to the complexion and skin conditions. It is also believed that pregnant women who have taken this dessert regularly will give birth to a fair and chubby baby.
  • Try to make this simple desserts for your family. Remember that you can always tailor this to suit your taste buds and if you like Gingko nuts, go ahead as gingko nuts is beneficial to you brain and improved your memory.

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

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What I cooked today (家常便饭系列)- 1-8-2013

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On 1 August 2013, white rice served with:

1 Blanched broccoli and asparagus with chicken fillets 芥兰芦笋鸡柳
2 Oyster mushroom and button mushroom chicken soup 双菇鸡汤
3 Minced chicken fried with pineapple stripes 凤梨炒鸡丝

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All dishes were cooked with chicken today.

I bought a chicken, as I don’t want to keep it, I just blanched the fillet and breast for the vegetable dish, use the drumstick and other bones for making the soup and part of tights to fry with pineapples. Dish are rather common and nothing really worth mentioning it. The chicken soups looked a bit oily and if I want i can just froze it and scrap away the oil to make it clearer.

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As I have coated the chicken breast with corn flowers, it is unusual that my girl loves the meat. She is a “herbivore” and asking her to eat meat is really a challenge to me. For this dish, she fight with her brothers for the meat..Haha, gradual transition from herbivore to omnivore.

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As I have some black glutinous rice and barley that I bought over from Sarawak, I have prepared Black Glutinous Rice and Barley Sweet Porridge (血糯薏米甜粥). The way of preparing it is rather Chinese style. Red jujube were added to further increase the mineral content. This dessert is beneficial to women who are having their menstrual periods as all ingredients were packed with iron. Black glutinous rice is rather difficult to digest and therefore inclusion of barley will help to improve the digestions. To make it even smoother, you can blend the porridge, and some milk or coconut milk or cream.


Lastly, as I have some leftover bread , I make it into some simple bruschetta. I especially loved the toasted herbs bread with the freshly cut tomato seasoned with Italian herbs.

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

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

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BACKGROUND INTRODUCTION

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

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

 

WHY SUCH A HIGH PRICE PREMIUM FOR THE CHANG?

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

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

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

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

 

TRADITIONAL WAYS OF CHANG PREPARATION

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

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

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

                                 

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

 

REASONS OF MAKING YOUR OWN “CHANG”

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

The benefits of wrapping your own Chang are:

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


CHANG DEFINED

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

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

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

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

 

Type of Chang

Fillings of Chang

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

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

 IMG_4357 Chang which is bean based or no fillings at all

Shape of Chang

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

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


NONYA CHANG DEFINED

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

Nyonya chang         

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

CONCLUSION

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

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

Thank for reading.