Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Birds Nest (Xue Yan)

Just looking at this photo makes me drool

The best I have had in my life (so far)...

hope there is more to come later in my life.

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Lotus Leaf rice

Learnt this dish in my dim sum course. Its not difficult but requires quite a lot of preparation.

The time is spent soaking the rice, steaming the rice, cooking the chicken, cutting all ingredients into dices, soaking/washing/cutting the lotus leaf, all of this takes time. Started at around 10am in the morning, completed only at around 8pm. Took me nearly the whole day, in and out of the kitchen, whilst trying to catch the shows on TV.

Not tiring, not difficult, just needs time and patience.
In fact, i find it pretty relaxing and fruitful, definately better than being a couch potato on a sunday....

What do you need?
- 1200gm of glutinous rice
- 400gm of char siew (went to wet market and told stall owner to give me $5 worth)
- 1 chicken
- 10 dried mushroom (soaked and diced)
- 50 gm dried scrimps (soaked and chopped lightly)
- 2 chinese sausage (sliced thinly)
- 2 handful of dried scallops (soaked and chopped lightly)
- 10 pieces of lotus leaf
- minced garlic in oil
- oyster sauce, dark soya sauce, salt, pepper, chicken cube, sesame seed oil, sugar

How to do it
First, prepare all ingredients.

In 2 trays, wash and soak glutinous rice for at least 1-2 hrs. The water must be at least 1 inch above the rice grain when soaking. Drain water and set aside for steaming later.

In separate bowls, wash and soak dried mushroom, dried scrimps, dried scallops in hot water for at least 30 mins. Remember to keep the soaking water for cooking later.
Remove dried scrimps and scallops from water and chop them lightly.
Squeeze water from dried muchroom, remove stalks and diced the dried mushrooms into 1 cm by 1 cm.

Blanch chinese sausage with hot water and peel off rubber 'skin'. Slice chinese sausage diagonally across and set aside for use later.

Bring pot to boil with water, add pinch of salt and cook chicken for 15 mins. Remove chicken from pot, leave to cool, peel chicken meat from bones and dice into cubes. Keep chicken stock for cooking later.

Diced char siew into cubes.

Blanch lotus leaf with hot water, leave to soak for 15 mins, rinse thoroughly with clean water and cut into 1/6 for wrapping later. Lotus leaf is sold in whole leaf and is one full circle. When you buy it, its folded into half. Cut 1 leaf into 6 pieces (i.e. 1/6 of the circle).

This is 1/2

This is 1/6

First and foremost, stir fry the meat ingredient first.

Heat wok, add garlic in oil (around 2 tbsp of garlic) and add another 3 tbsp of cooking oil. When garlic is lightly brown, add diced mushroom and scrimps and fry until fragrant (abt 5 mins) using medium heat.

Add scallops and fry for another 3 mins. Add char siew and chicken, stir fry for a few minutes until lightly brown.

Add water until water is level with the ingredient (use the chicken stock and soaking water). Season with 2 tsp of salt, 3 tsp of sugar, 3 tbsp of oyster sauce, 1 tbsp of dark soya sauce, dash of pepper and sesame seed oil. Mix well and adjust the taste of the sauce to your liking. Bring to boil.

Mix starch powder with water, turn off heat and stir in starch powder water until u get a thick and gluey mixture. The more water you have, the more 'juice' the meat ingredients will have after steaming later.

Spread mixture out onto the tray to cool.

When the meat ingredients is cooling, bring wok to boil with water and steam glutinous rice over steaming rack for 20-30 mins until rice is cooked. As the rice is pre-soaked, there is no need to put water in the rice when steaming. Steam the rice grain on its own and u will get grainy steamed glutinous rice. If the rice is hard after steaming, sprinkle water onto rice and continue steaming.

In a separate bowl, add 1 cup water (use soaking water), 2tsp of salt, 1/2 chicken cube, 3 tsp of sugar, 1 tbsp of oyster sauce and pepper. Mix well and set seasoning water aside.

After rice is cooked, mixed the seasoning water in rice and mix well whilst the rice is still hot. Lastly, add a dash of sesame seed oil. This will season the rice and now, the rice is ready for wrapping. Keep rice covered so that rice remains warm throughout the wrapping procedure. If cooled, the rice will become hard and difficult to manage.

Using the coarse side of the lotus leaf, brush with a bit of oil, using hands, make glutinous rice into rice balls the size of ping pong balls and flatten rice ball onto lotus leaf using the palm of your hand. Make the rice as flat and as wide as possible.

Scoop 1 tbsp of meat ingredients on top of the rice, make another ball of rice and flatten it onto the leaf at the side, pick up the flatten rice and cover it over the meat ingredients. The procedure is to have 1 layer of rice, followed by 1 layer of meat and another layer of rice on top.

Fold in the sides of the leaf, using a firm grip, wrap the rice mixture tightly inside the leaf into a nice rectangular parcel.

Will yield around 54 lotus leaf rice.

Steam lotus leaf rice for 15 - 20 mins. I use big bowls and towels to cover steaming pot and wok to minimise escaping steam while steaming.

This is how the lotus leaf rice looks like after steaming. You can see the leaf is darker and have a nice glossy texture. The fragrant of the leaf is released after steaming and will be infused into the rice.
If you have leftover lotus leaf, wrap in cling wrap and keep in freezer for use next time.

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Cooling tea

Crazy weather... hot and cold and hot and cold. Plus the H1N1, flu bug in the air...

Time to make cooling tea. Last 2 attempts i only use lou han guo and chrysanthemum. Today i added another ingredient. Total of 3 ingredients...

Ginseng roots (Yang shen xu) - 1 handful - boil for 45 mins in 1 big pot of water.

2 lou han gou - Wash whole - Crush the shell, separate the seeds... Add to pot after ginseng roots has boiled for 45 min... let it boil for 20 mins.

Chrysanthemum - there are many types, this one is recommended by Fock Hua medical hall. Cost $5, use 1/5 pack...

Add to pot, bring mixture to boil and immediately turn off heat.
Cover pot with lid for at least 30 mins... let the chrysanthemum soak.
You are not suppose to cook/boil chrysanthemum.

End product after 45min + 20 min + 20 secs...
Big pot of cooling tea.

Dont be fooled by the pitch black. its actually sweet (i didnt add sugar!).
Lou han gou and chrysanthemum has natural sweetness.
Ginseng root leaves the 'gan' bitter sweet after taste. Yummy.

Dont throw the leftovers, boil a pot of hot water, pour over and cover for 1 hr.
This is be batch 2. Colour wont be black cos didnt boil the lou han gou.
See how pretty the chrysanthemum is... and how much bigger it has expanded after soaking.

Friday, July 10, 2009

Colleague Appreciation day - 10 July

Today is Colleague Appreciation day in office. Its a yearly event, the charities will come in and get u to buy chocolates and flowers for charity and give to your colleagues. I find it quite meaningful but after 2 yrs of it, people got tired of giving flowers and chocolates (those cheapo and only-left-1-mth-before-expiry type) so some went out to get their own.

So end up i have a mini cornetto (ended up eating 2 cos they have extras, one vanilla and one Oreo), a 717 durian cupcake and chocolate (2 boxes). See pic below.

Didnt take picture but i also have a Miss Chatterbox figurine and a orange gerbera...

I have very nice colleagues, but i am not so nice.
I didn't prepare anything.

So i will make something over the weekend and bring to office.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Monday, July 6, 2009

Red husk rice wine - Completion

This is how it looks like after 1 mth, on 30th June.
It tastes sweet... alcohol is not too strong though... i can drink it as a dessert wine :)
See hows its made here

Getting the clean wine bottle ready

First squeeze the mixture through the museli so that the wine drip to a container... but the museli is super thin and it broke!

So we use the sieve instead for separating the wine from the rice. And using the funnel bought from Ikea, pour the wine into the wine bottles...

Yield nearly 2 bottles of wine

And only half bottle of the red husk rice mixture is left for cooking.