Thursday, December 31, 2009

Black pepper fried rice with kai lan stem

A new vegetable in town - Kai lan stem
This is basically kai lan with super big and thick stems. The stems are about 15 cm long, 3 cm thick, and it comes with no leafs or couple of leaves (which i discard). Peel off the skin to expose the light green stem that resembles sugar cane. The stems are very crunchy and sweet. For those of you who prefers stems to leaf vegetables like me, this is a keeper. Try it!

I bought this as an alternative to asparagus, as i want to wrap it in bacon. So i cut the kai lan stem and carrot into thick strips, and roll them up in half a slice of bacon. Grill in the oven for 15 minutes until crisp. Yummy.

Leftover kai lan stems are diced for today's fried rice.

What do you need?
- 3 cups of cooked cold rice
- 50g of sliced pork
- 50g of minced pork
- 1/2 chinese sausage (diced)
- 1 handful of diced kai lan stem
- 1 handful of diced carrots
- 1 small red onion (diced)
- Minced garlic in olive oil
- Chinese wine, soya sauce, pepper
- 2 tsp of black pepper sauce
- Sesame seed oil

How to do it?
In a dry pan, pan fry the chinese sausage until lightly brown and crisp. Remove and set aside.
Put 1 tbsp of minced garlic and some olive oil into the pan with the diced red onions. Fry for 1 min.
Add minced pork and sliced pork.
Break up the minced pork with the back of the spatula.

When the pork is cooked, add chinese wine, soya sauce and pepper. Mix well.
Add kai lan stem and carrot. Stir fry for 2 min.

Add cold rice, break up the lumps, mix well.

Add black pepper sauce, mix well.

Add chinese sausage and drizzle sesame seed oil onto the rice. At this point, i added some chopped parsley and fried shallots as well.

Turn off heat. Mix well and serve.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Spinach Soup

Continuation of my healthy dinner. Instead of stir fry, i experimented with this spinach soup dish.

Couple of time while dining in restaurant, i noticed that chefs like to cook spinach with lots of soup and its kind of like a soup cum vege dish.

What do you need?
- 1 pack of spinach (washed and cut into lengths of 4-5cm)
- 1 tbsp of wolfberries
- 4 dried scallops
- Garlic in oil
- 1tbsp of oyster sauce
- 1/2 tsp of sugar
- 2 cups of vegetable stock
- 1 egg (beaten)
- Corn flour mixture (1 tbsp of corn flour and 3 tbsp of water)

How to do it?
Wash wolfberries and scallop. Place in a bowl and soak in hot water for at least 10 minutes. The scallops should be soft and you should be able to break up the scallops with your fingers.

Heat pan, fry garlic until brown with minimum oil. Add spinach. Stir fry for 1 minutes. As its not a stir fry and there is no enough oil to wilt the vege, add wolfberries, scallops and the soaking water plus the stock into pan.

Cover pan and let the spinach simmer for 3 minutes. Add oyster sauce and sugar.
Add corn flour mixture to thicken the soup, stirring continuously.

Turn off heat, pour in egg. Cover pan for 3 minutes and the egg will cook in the residual heat.


Steam chicken with Prawn Paste

Wanted to cook a simple and healthly dinner.
For meat dish, i make steam chicken. For vegetable, i made spinach soup.

MIL gave me some prawn paste (xia jiang) so i decided to make steam chicken with xia jiang.

Its really simple.

What do you need?
- Chicken meat of 2 chicken drumstick and 2 thighs (Diced)
- 1 1/2 tsp of prawn paste
- Sesame seed oil, soya sauce, pepper, chinese wine
- Corn flour
- 1 thumb sized ginger (sliced)

How to do it?
Marinate chicken with prawn paste, soya sauce, pepper, chinese wine for at least 30 mins.

Before cooking, add sesame seed oil and corn flour, mix well.

Lay sliced ginger on the plate, lay chicken in a layer on top of the ginger. Steam over boiling water for 20 minutes.

 Beautiful and tasty juices will surface from the steaming. Serve with rice.

Monday, December 21, 2009

Roast Pork Belly

In my first attempt i used strips of pork belly (pre-packed at Carrefour).

This is my second attempt. I pre-ordered from the butcher at Carrefour for a big slice of pork belly and he gave me this.

Using a sharp knife, i made lots of holes in the skin.
After which, i rubbed approximately 2 tsp of salt on the skin.

On the meat side, cut the meat into half (not cutting through the skn) and score the meat diagonally, 2 cm deep, 4 cm squares.

On the left hand side, i have the chinese marinate.
- 2 piece of preserved beancurd
- 1 tsp of five spice powder
- 1 tbsp of chinese wine
- salt & pepper

On the right side, i have the western marinate:
- 1 tbsp of mustard (in vinegar)
- 1 tsp of dried rosemary
- salt and pepper

Place the meat with skin facing up onto a plate, and keep it in the fridge overnight. Do not cover as we want the air in the fridge to dry the skin.

Preheat over at 200 degrees, using the baking mode.

Put pork belly on grilling tray with skin side up, and another tray below to catch the dripping oil.
Put pork belly in the centre rack of the oven for 20 minutes.

This is after 5 minutes in the oven.

After 10 minutes, the skin begins to curl inwards.

After 20 mins in the oven, turn the cooking mode to grill (top heat only) and cook for another 45 mins.

After 30 mins of grilling.

After 45 mins of grilling, remove from oven and let meat rest for 30 mins to cool down totally.

The skin is 101% crackled and its damn crispy!
Which is better Chinese Vs Western roast pork....

Personally, i prefer the chinese one... But for my dear friend coming over for xmas, i am making the combo again ;) just for variety (and to use up the mustard)....

'Jia chang bian fan'

Every once in a while, instead of going out for dinner, i will invite my friend over for 'jia chang bian fan' (home cooked fare).

I saw some twee bak (pork leg) going at 99cents per 100gm at Carrefour and suddenly had the urge to make lor bak (braised pork). So I bought 2 packets and cook them at night, after work, thinking i will have them for dinner the next day.

Then, the girls decided to meet up, so i thought, since i already have the braised pork, i can cook up a few simple dish and we can eat at my place.

So, I went to buy 'tau pok' (fried beancurd skin) during lunch to add to my 'lor bak'. Hubby bought 2 packs of vege on the way home.

Took cab to friend's office and she drove me home. Upon reaching, we quickly put the tau pok in to braise in the sauce of the 'lor bak' until soft.

Saw some 'chye por' (preserved raddish) in the fridge so decided to make chye por omelette. I had a packed of marinated chicken wings and drums in the freezer, defrost them in the microwave and roast them in the oven.

In less than 2 hrs, we have a home cooked meal for 6.

I love cooking for my friends!

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Porky porridge with 'you tiao'

There is a prorridge stall in ABC market that will serve a you tiao sitting across the bowl. What i like about the stall is that they are serious about serving crispy you tiao. You can see that they deliberately ordered half-fried you tiao and refry when u order the porridge. And when i say re-fry, i mean they re-fry one by one, upon order, not mass refry. The result is crispy freshly fried you tiao for every bowl of hot porridge. Letting it sit on top of the bowl also means that the you tiao is not soaked into the porridge and u can just dip it into the porridge before taking a bite. Crispy you tiao in every bite with a mouthful of porridge. So clever.

Of cos, i stole the idea. Bought extra you tiao for breakfast, and then cooked pork porridge for lunch.
Mince pork with sliced pork (with egg).

Bursting with protein and carbo!

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Beef stew

My second attempt to cook from Jamie Oliver's book, Ministry of Food. I like the stew section of the book, first time i tried chicken stew with pie crust, this time i tried the beef stew. Instead of Guiness, i use ABC stout... the beef stew is fragrant, tender but has a bitter after taste. i am surprise that i can taste the stout after so many hrs of stewing!

Suppose to pour in canned tomatos but canned ones are too ex in Singapore $2+ per can. So i bought a pack of 6 and chopped them up :D

What do you need?

Basic Stew ingredients:
2 sticks of celery (i used 3)
2 medium onions
2 carrots (i used 3)
Olive oil
1 tbspn of plain flour
400g tinned tomato
Salt and Pepper

For Beef and ale stew:
3 bay leaf (i omit)
500g diced stewing beef
500ml ale, Guinness or stout (i use 1 can)

How to do it?
Fry celery, onion and carrots for about 10 mins with olive oil on medium heat. Add meat and flour, stir well. Pour in stout and tomatoes. Stir and mix well. Season with salt and pepper.
Bring to boil and turn heat down to low. Cover pot.
The ale will cause the stew to be foamy but it will evaporate after a while.
Simmer over the stove for 30 - 45 mins, checking every 15 mins.
If the stew dries up, add stock and continue cooking.

After simmering for 45 mins, check the beef for tenderness. If tender to your liking, open the lid cook for another 10 mins on medium heat. This will allow the excess water to dry up.

Serve on its own.

Leftovers became beef stew pasta!

Cook pasta in salted water, microwave beef stew.
When pasta is cooked, stir in beef stew.
Sprinkle with more coarse pepper.
Hearty and delicious pasta meal.

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Crabby dinner

Crabby business.
Bought 2 crabs from Giant (i was on leave).
Costs less than $10.
Bought 2 hairy crabs for $4.50 each... the kind uncle gave me one that has the strings loosen FREE
Cooked 1 chilli crab and 1 steam crab with tung hoon (wrapped in lotus leaf)

for hairy crab, steam on its own with few slices of ginger.
Also made a Guiness beef stew. More about it later.

This is what we had for our anniversary dinner this year.

Friday, October 16, 2009

Stir fry yellow noodles

How can something so gooey and messy taste so good?!! Another of my 1-dish-wonder for a lazy Sunday afternoon lunch. Hubby went for soccer in the morning and i promise a hearty carbo packed lunch for him. The day before i cooked up a huge pot of chicken stock (more about it next time) and want to cook a dish that uses the fantastic stock. Went to NTUC and saw the yellow noodles on sale. 2 pack for $2 i think. So went ahead to buy it. I have the option of cooking noodle soup, fried noodle or noodle swimming in gravy. All versions require the same ingredients, just different way of cooking it.
Speaking of ingredients, i dont have much to prepare as well. Frozen slice squid is leftover from a previous steamboat session i have at home. Sliced and marinated pork is always available in my fridge. Whenever i buy a piece of pork from the supermarket, i will slice them all up, marinate them, pack them in several clean pastic bags and keep them in the freezer. Whenever i need pork, i will just take 1 pack from the freezer the night before, place it in the fridge and by the next day, it will be defrozed and i can use it for cooking. There is ten thousand ways to use it. I use this to cook porridge in the morning when i am in the hurry, cook instant noodles etc.

So I 'prepared' all the ingredients, waited for hubby to come back and ask him what type of noodles he want. He is so tired he opt for something that is easy-to eat. Fried noodles then. No messy gravy,  no piping hot soup to make him feel all sweaty after a cooling afternoon bath, something that can be eaten with just a fork in front of the tv.

What do you need?
- 1 packet of yellow noodles (serves 3)
- some sliced pork
- some sliced squid
- handful of baby kailan
- 1 beaten egg
- 1/2 cup of chicken stock
- Seasoning (oyster sauce, dark soya sauce, chinese wine, pepper, sesame seed oil)
- Garlic in oil

How to do it?
Heat pan and brown garlic in oil. Add 1 tbsp of olive oil and fry pork and squid for 1 min (half cooked)
Add yellow noodles, 1 tbsp of oyster sauce, 1/2 tbsp of dark soya sauce, generous dash of pepper, 1/2 cup of chicken stock and mix well.
Cover pan with lid and let the noodles cook for 2-3 mins in medium heat.

Add kailan. Stir fry the noodles well and wait for all stock to evaporate.
Add chinese wine and fry until all wine is fully evaporated.

Pour beaten egg in cover with lid (no stirring) for 1 min. You will notice some egg will be cooked, some not.
Mix the egg into the noodle, the uncooked egg will coat the noodle into a gooey mess.
Drizzle sesame seed oil over noodles generously and serve.

Serves 2 hearty lunches, with a plateful leftover and i heat it up for lunch the next day! Yum!

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Guo Tie

Always a big fan of Guo Tie (Potstick). Love the crispy skin and the juicy meat within.

I basically use the same ingredients as the Siew Mai.
Just different proportions, heavy on parsley and dried scrimps, light on mushroom and white fungus.

What do you need?
- Mince meat 200gm
- Diced prawn 150gm
- 1 chinese dried mushroom (soaked and diced)
- 1 black fungus (i use white, soaked and diced)
- 6 stalks of parsley
- 1 handful of dried scrimps (soaked and diced)
- 1 thumb sized of ginger (minced)
- Seasoning (soya sauce, pepper, wine, sesame oil)

For the skin, i use the receipe and method from Jas's Kitchen.

How to do it?
Heat pan with oil, place the gou tie upright to brown the bottom on low heat. Turn to side to achieve browning on both sides. When done, add 1/4 cup of water into pan, close the lid immediately and let it cook for 2-4 mins until water fully evaporates.

Serve with sliced ginger in dark vinegar (dilute with water and put a dash of sugar)

Siew mai

This is a giantic siew mai, cant tell from this close up picture, scroll to the bottom and upon comparision with the saucer, u will notice its twice your average size siew mai. I am 'forced' to make it so big as the wanton skin is very big. Its actually a dumpling skin. :D Its not normal dumpling skin, its shanghai dumpling skin. Its white in colour and its chewy compared to the normal yellow ones. Another great find in Carrefour!
What do you need?
Ingredients A:
- minced pork 200gm
- diced prawns 150gm
- 2 chinese mushroom (soaked and diced)
- 2 black fungus (i ran out so i used white ones instead)
- 3 stalks of Parsley (chopped finely - put aside some parsley leaves for deco)
- 1 thumb size of ginger (minced)
- some dried scrimps (soaked and finely chopped)

Other ingredients:
- Seasoning (Soya sauce, pepper, wine, oyster sauce, sesame seed oil)
- 1 tbsp of starch flour
- 2 tbsp of stock
- Dumpling skin

How to do it?
Put ingredient A into a big bowl, mix well.
Add seasoning, mix well. Add starch flour and stock.
Mix well for 5 - 10 minutes until the mixture is sticky and starchy.
Marinate for 30 mins in the fridge.

Wrap meat in dumpling skin. Put a parsley leaf on top for deco.

Heat water in pot, place siew mai into steam when water is boiling. Steam for 15 mins.

Yield 6 giant siew mai. Haha. 

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Green curry soba noodles

Another brilliant idea of mine. Dinner for one as hubby is out for company bbq and drinks.

Plateful of leftovers...
- leftover Thai Green Curry
- leftover salad
- last handful of soba noodles

I first cook soba noodles in a pot of salted water for 3 - 5 mins until soft.
Microwave frozen green curry on high until its boiling hot.

Pour curry into plate, tear salad leaves into bit size, toss in soba noodles and mix well.....

Plate of delightful green curry soba noodles. Tastes fantastic!