Sunday, October 31, 2010

Kuih Kodok (Deep fried banana balls) - Featured in Group Recipes, Dishfolio & TOP 9 at FOODBUZZ

Talking about bananas, I have a funny story to tell. This happened on my first visit to Hong Kong. My girlfriend, Corine and I were shopping at a night market and Corine wanted to buy some bananas. We managed to find a store that had many types of bananas. It was manned by an old lady who was probably in her late 60s. Corine then asked her for the price of a bunch of "kung jiu" (banana in cantonese). "kung" means "male" in cantonese. Malaysians call banana "kung jiu", whereas the Hong Kong people call it "heong jiu" ("heong" means fragrant). We didn't know that. So, when Corine asked the old lady to give her a nice bunch of "kung jiu", she looked at her in disbelief and replied in a very serious tone of voice. She said, "I have been selling "hiong jiu" (bananas) for 50 years but I have never heard of "kung" (male) or "na" (female) for "hiong jiu". We laughed so hard together that we could barely conclude the purchase.

This recipe is good for over-riped bananas. Here, locally, I will not make this if I cannot get pisang raja (banana raja). These are small plantation bananas, grown and consumed here, that are very sweet, and most who make this treat do so only when they are available. However, don't let this stop you from making this lovely banana fritter, the perfect accompaniment to a cup of tea or coffee in the afternoon.

180 gm plain flour
½ ts baking powder
pinch of salt
500 gm slightly overripe bananas, mashed
2 cups of desiccated coconut (optional)
oil for deep frying

Sift A, add mashed bananas and mix well into a soft batter.
Heat oil in a wok until hot and drop tablespoonful of batter in. Remove with slotted ladle when golden brown and drain on absorbent paper.

For those who prefer this to be a little sweeter, coat the banana balls with icing sugar or cinnamon sugar. My family love it.

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Taucu sliced pork with chilli

Each time my Mum cooks this dish, I always go back for second helping.  This is one of those dishes that will taste better the next day. For me, I don't any other side dish to go with steamed rice when I have this one.

150gm thinly sliced pork
3 green chilli
1 red chilli
4 chilly padi (optional)
2 tbs tau cu paste
1 ts chopped garlic
3 tbs water
1 tbs sugar

1 ts corn starch
1 ts sesame oil
½ ts ground white pepper
1 ts mashed bullion chicken stock

Marinate sliced pork in (A) for at least 2 hours.  Heat oil in wok and fry garlic till fragrance.  Add tau cu and fry for 1 min or so.  Add slice pork and stir fry till pork is whitish in color.  Add green chilly and chilly padi.  Stir fry for another min and add water and sugar and let it simmer till pork is completely cooked.

Friday, October 29, 2010

Seared scallops with asparagus cream - Featured in Group Recipes

This is Chef Sam Leong’s recipe and the only thing I changed is using chicken stock instead of water.  I served this with freshly baked crusty baguette.  The sauce is indeed an epicurean delight! It was an awesome lunch for us.  We can serve this to our guests anytime and know that they will be pleased and impressed.

1 tbs cooking
3 scallops
1 tomato, skinned, seeded and finely diced

Asparagus cream sauce:
50 gm asparagus, chopped and poached
20 gm whipping cream
200 ml chicken stock
50 ml white wine
½ salt
a dash of ground white pepper
1 sheet nori (seaweed), toasted and ground

Combine asparagus, cream sauce ingredients and bring to boil for 1 hour until sauce is reduced.  Process in a blender and strain.   Heat oil and sear scallops on both sides until golden brown.  Pour some of the asparagus cream sauce on a serving plate.  Arrange the seared scallops on top and sprinkle diced tomato over.  Garnish with ground nori.

Chef’s Notes:
Store excess ground nori in a clean airtight container for future use.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Stir fry roast pork with dark soy sauce, garlic and mint leaves - Featured in Group Recipes

Roast pork is always served during a Chinese Wedding. It is most important to have a roast pig as part of the gifts for the bride. “Ju” or Pig is the sign of virginity for the bride. If the bridegroom is satisfied that his wife is a virgin, he will send her home to visit her parents with a roast pig complete with tail and ears to show his satisfaction. If not, he will break the pig’s tail and ears to announce that his wife is not a virgin. This, I do not understand. I thought we Chinese are afraid to lose face, so how could a man in those older times be willing to announce to the world that his bride is not a virgin? Go figure!

For a long time, I ate roast pork as it is, simply roasted over a spit to a crusty fat layer over the lean meat. It was my sister in law, Jeanie, who introduced me to stir frying the roasted pork with dark soy sauce, garlic and chili. I love the way she cooks it. In my opinion, this is a better way to eat it because we consume less fat which gets rendered in the frying process. Moreover, the garlic and chili add extra flavor that seem perfectly complimentary and, of course, the frying puts a lovely caramelization on the meat to add even more flavor depth. Still, as I am always tinkering with recipes, I thought of something to add that worked out well. The new ingredient - mint leaves - give this dish a whole new dimension!

250 gm roast pork
2 cups mint leaves
3 tbs chopped garlic
1 tbs sugar 
1 tsp soy sauce
1 tbs dark soy sauce 
3 chili padi (bird chilli), finely diced

Note: (measurements of the ingredients are just a guide, you can add or lessen to your own preference)

Heat the work and add 1 tbs garlic and the roast pork. Stir fry till you see some oil in wok and add 2 more tbs of garlic. Stir fry to get more oil out of the roast pork for about 5 mins. Add dark soy sauce, soy sauce and chilly padi. Stir fry for another another 5 mins. Add sugar and mints leaves and stir fry another 5 mins. Transfer to serving plate and serve hot.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Herb Pork sausages, apple and sauerkraut (My hubby's recipe) - featured in Group Recipes

I call this my “half past six” meal.  Meaning?  Half of the ingredients are ready made and the other half added by me, haha.  We had a busy day yesterday running errands and busy eating Chinese hawker food.  By the time we returned home, it was too late to cook a meal that needs a lot of preparation.  It takes only 20 mins and Wala! dinner is ready!  The picture does not do justice to the dish, so please don't judge the book by the cover.  Although I call it "half past six", the taste is not.  Try it and let me know your view.

Serving: 1

3 herb pork sausages (you can use any type of sausages)
2 cups bottled purple sauerkraut
1 tbs caraway seeds
1 tsp cinnamon
1 apple, (skin and core removed and diced)
1 medium onion , cut into rings
2 tb brown sugar
1 tb butter

Use a fork to pork some holes in the sausages and boil it for 10 mins.  Spray the frying pan with a bit of oil and brown the sausages. Set aside. Add butter to pan and fry the apple and onion till onion is translucent and add brown sugar.  Add  sauerkraut and caraway seeds and cinnamon and fry till you can smell the fragance of the spices.  Place sausages on top of the sauerkraut.  Serve with crusty bread and potato chips.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Choy Geok (Mustard leaves left over soup) - featured in Group Recipes

According to my Mum, there is a story about this dish in Chinese legend. It seems that Emperor Qianlong disguised himself as a commoner and was on a mission to see how his citizens lived especially the poor farmers. Then, he came across this young chicken farmer who had a sick old mother. He was impressed with the young farmer for being hardworking and at the same time took good care of his sick mother. He became good friends with him and through him he got to know the hardships faced by his poor citizens. The young and innocent farmer, not knowing that his new friend was Emperor Qianlong had invited him to his home for dinner. When he could not find any decent ingredients to cook for his guest, he regretted the invitation, but it was too late to back out. What he had were just some left overs. So what he did was gather some mustard leaves from his neighbors mustard farm, and came home and threw everything inside the big clay pot with the left overs, along with some dried chilly, assam, and water. He cooked it all slowly. He served the dish to his new acquaintance worrying that he would not like the taste, but to his surprise, his new friend enjoyed the dish so much and wanted to know it's name. As he was too embarrassed to tell the truth, that the dish was made out of left overs, he invented a sophiscated name – “Yat Pun Woh” which literally means, the No.1 tasty dish! So when Emperor Qianlong returned to his kingdom and ordered his chefs to make the dish called “Yat Pun Woh”, none of them had a clue what the Emperor was talking about! I guess Emperor Qianlong had to return to the poor farmer’s home to have this dish, or he sent someone to ask about the recipe. Whether or not this legend is true, it is not important, but I have to say, this is one of my “DIE FOR” dishes! I can eat this dish continuously for a week and still want more!  Chinese cuisine,  just like everyday life, is full of legends like this.  

4.5 kg of mustard leaves
water, enough to cover all ingredients
2 roast pork trotter
25 gm assam slices (adjust according to your own taste)
20 gm dried chilly (adjust according to your own taste)
2 cubes bullion chicken stock
3 tbs lard (optional)

Wash mustard leaves and cut them in big pieces. Separate the stalk from the leaves. Add mustard stalk and (A) in a big pot and enough water to cover all the ingredients. Bring to a boil. Let it boil for 30 mnst before you add the mustard leaves and let it boil for 15 mins and turn down heat to simmer for 1- 2 hours until vegetables are soft and you can smell the aroma of the dish. This dish tastes better the next day.

Lettuce cup with minced Pork croquettes and salsa - Featured in Petitchef

Usually when hubby returned from a long biz trip, he has no stomach for any rich food.  He usually request for a simple sandwich and some greens.  My intention was to prepare for him a grill cheese and grill vegetables sandwich and serve with a small bowl of salsa two nights ago.  When I was preparing the meal, I was hungry.  Then, I saw a plate of minced pork croquettes which my Mum made on the kitchen table.  I took a croquette, plucked a leaf of Romanian lettuce and spoon a little salsa on the croquette and eat.  It was SOOOO delicious! The flavors blend so well together and I immediately told Mum that I have discovered a great appetizer by accident!  Then, I assembled another one for her to taste.  She totally agreed with me.  I served the same to my hubby before I serve him the sandwich. The moment he took a bite of the appetizer, I can see that he likes it.  His expression told me so. Like I said before, good things should be shared. This new appetizer is worth sharing! One caution though, you have, I repeat, you have to lay the croquette on the lettuce cup and spoon some salsa on top of the croquette and eat it altogether to get the UMAMI!  Trust me, it is worth the try!

Ingredients for minced pork croquettes:
½ cup vegetable oil
1 head of small Romanian lettuce

150 gm minced pork
80 gm diced chives
3 water chestnuts, chopped
1 tbs sweet choy poh (come to packet form)
3 eggs lightly beaten

Ingredients for Mango Salsa:
3 plum tomatoes diced
½ mango diced
1 pc Japanese cucumber, diced
1 cup choped parsley
½ red capsicum diced
½ yellow capsicum diced
½ orange capsicum diced
½ lemon (squeezed out the juice)
2 tb extra virgin olive oil
½  medium white onion diced
1 ts sugar
Salt and black pepper to taste

Method of making the salsa:
In a big bowl put all the above ingredient together and mix well and put it into fridge for at least 1 hour before serving. It taste better eating cold.  Taste even better the next day.

Method of making the croquettes:
Mix A together and let it marinate for about 30 mins.  Heat oil in a frying pan and take 1 tablespoonful of mixture A and fry till both sides of croquettes are golden brown. 

Method of of assembly :
Please refer to the picture but you can always create your own presentation because there is no fix rule.

Bad foods should be shared too!

Pork Kebab by Miss "M"
Bad food should be shared too but not the recipe, we share what is wrong with the food so that others won’t make the same mistake.

Tonight I was lazy to cook a full meal so I let Miss “M” do part of the job for me. You must be wondering who is Miss “M”. Me and my group of line dancing mates call money Miss “M”. We used to have tea after our dancing class and we take turns to bring some snacks so when someone in our group whom we know does not cook, bring a nice snack, it must be Miss “M” who did it. LOL!

My food critic was very disappointed with Miss “M” for using the part of pork that is chewy for the kebab but he likes the kunyit (tumeric) raisin fried rice that I made and complimented on the honey garlic rosemary gravy that I poured over the kebab. He advised that if I were to make pork kebab, I should use pork tenderloin.
Look at the picture of the kebab, the meat looks tough too right? We live and learn and the best lesson here is pick your ingredients wisely.

Monday, October 25, 2010

Mein Sin or mee sua in chicken soup

Everyone in my family love noodles. The are so many different type of Chinese noodles. Mein sin is just one of them. Most Chinese mothers cook mein sin with chicken soup when a loved one is not well. We have mein sin available in our pantry all the time because it is so handy and easy to make. On days that we wanted something light and simple for lunch, we just have a bowl of mein sin in chicken soup and we are very happy. However, there is another elaborate way of cooking mein sin. Mein sin with chicken in Chinese red wine! If I can convince my neighbor to share her recipe with me, I will get it posted here soon. Her recipe is out of this world! For now., let me share the simpler version below. Thisis truly "comfort" food.

Serving : 1
10 thinly sliced pork
50 gm mein sin
3 fish balls
5 leafs of lettuce
½ ts garlic
1 tb vegetable oil
1 ts soy sauce
¼ ts ground white pepper
½ ts corn starch
1 cube bullion chicken stock, mashed
2 cups water
1 or 2 drops of sesame oil
Marinate sliced pork with soy sauce, ground white pepper and corn starch. Set aside. Heat oil in wok and fry garlic till fragrant, add sliced pork and stir fry till pork turn whitish. Add water, mashed bullion chicken stock and bring to boil. Add fish balls, lettuce and mein sin. Cook till mein sin is slightly limp and turn color. Add sesame oil and serve hot.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Ba Chang (rice dumplings ) - Featured in Group Recipes

I dedicate this post to my Mum’s best friend, whom I call her “Ah Sum” (aunty). She is 85 years old, very healthy and alert and still cooks and sews fabulously!  One of her specialty is Ba Chang which she makes every year on Ba Chang festival which falls on 5th day of the 5th month of the Chinese lunar calendar. According my Mum, this festival is to commemorate the death of a famous Chinese poet called Qu Yuan who lived during the warring states period in China. He drowned himself because he failed to warn his king of the expansionism of their Qin neighbor who eventually took over their capital city.  According to legend, people throw packets of rice into the river where he was drowned to prevent fish from eating his body.

It is not difficult to prepare the rice but the difficult part is the wrapping of the rice.  “Ah Sum” is the expert.  She make it look so easy but when I do it, everything falls apart.. haha. 

Here is the link to a video to show you the ba chang chronicles.

Serving : 10 ba chang


300 g Belly Pork
200 g mei dou, (black eye pea)
10 Preserved egg yolks
600 g Glutinous rice
10 pieces dried shitake mushrooms
2 tsps Five-spice powder
100 gm dried shrimps
10 roasted chestnuts
black sauce, according to taste
3 tbsp garlic
3 tbsp shallots
rice wine according taste


2 tbs Spicy salt
1 Chicken cube
¼ ts Pepper
1 tbs Sugar
2 tb Oil
¼ ts Salt
1 tbs Oil
1 tsp Sugar

Wrapping Materials:

10 Dried lotus leaves
20 Straws
30 Bamboo leaves

In a wok, heat oil and stir fry garlic and shallots until fragrant. Add rice and continue to fry for 5 to 7 minutes. Add black sauce and five spice powder and continue to fry for 5 to 7 minutes and set aside. Cut the belly pork into 10 large chunks and marinate for 2 days with 2 ts five-spice powder and 1 ts salt. Wash and drain the glutinous rice. Mix well with ½ tbsp sugar, chicken cube, oil and pepper. Soak the mei dou (black eye pea) in water to for 3 hours. Drain and set aside. Soak the dried shitake mushrooms in warm water for 1 hours. Squeeze dry and cut slices and set aside. Steam for 10 minutes. Wash and boil the lotus and bamboo leaves until soft. Drain and towel-dry. Place 3 bamboo leaves on a lotus leaf. Put a layer of glutinous rice on the bamboo leaves and add a layer of mei dou. Top with a preserved egg yolk, a piece each of belly pork, 2 slices of cooked shitake mushroom and 1 piece of roasted chestnut. Cover with a layer of mei dou and another layer of glutinous rice. Fold in the leaves to form a triangle dumpling, then tie firmly with straw. Prepare a deep saucepan and line with several bamboo leaves. Put in the rice dumplings, then fill with enough water to cover them. Use high heat to bring the water to a boil, then reduce to moderate heat and continue to boil for 6 hours. R emove and drain. Serve hot.

Saturday, October 23, 2010

QPC grilled vegetables in balsamic vinegar and basil - Featured in Group Recipes

I post this recipe specially for my very good friend, Seok Eng. She is the kindest person I have ever known. I am so blessed to have a friend like her. Her youngest daughter is now studying in London and like all mothers, she is always thinking of how to ensure that her children eat well and stay healthy. So, the other day, when I was with her, we talked about what food she can cook that can be frozen when she visits her daughter next week. Her love and devotion for her children led me to think of the following quote by Washington Irving.

“A mother is the truest friend we have, when trials heavy and sudden, fall upon us; when adversity takes the place of prosperity; when friends who rejoice with us in our sunshine desert us; when trouble thickens around us, still will she cling to us, and endeavor by her kind precepts and counsels to dissipate the clouds of darkness, and cause peace to return to our hearts.”
-- Washington Irving

Although this is a common dish, everyone has their own version, and this is the QPC version. Once you make a batch of grilled vegetables, you can use it in so many ways. For example, it can be used as the filling for grilled cheese sandwiches, it can be tossed with pasta, or served simply as an anti pasto with an Italian meal. Grilled vegetables can be frozen and it will stay good for at least 3 months. A favorite of mine is a grilled vegetable omellete. It is delicious if you add some to your green leafy salad. Put it in a nice bottle and it makes a great gift. Grilled vegetables are tasty, pretty, and healthy. What more can you ask for?

1 yellow squash
1 green capsicum
1 orange capsicum
2 red capsicum
4 heads of garlic with skin
1 medium white onion 3 tbs balsamic vinegar (can be more according to individual taste)
½ cup extra virgin olive oil
1 ts salt
½ ts freshly grinded black pepper
½ ts dried basil

Wash and dry all the vege. Grill all the capsicum in whole in a microwave oven set to grill for 20 mins. After 15 mins, put in the garlic. Leave them in the oven till they are cold enough to touch before removing the skin and seeds. Grill yellow squash in a grill pan for about 8 mins till it is soft but not mushy. On a frying pan sautee white onion till they are translucent and put them in a mixing bowl. In a sauce pan simmer the balsamic vinegar from 3 tbs to 2tbs and set aside to let it cool. Put all grilled vegetables in a big mixing bowl. In another medium bowl add reduced balsamic vinegar and (A). Whisky slightly to be ready to pour over the grilled vegetables. This dish taste better the next day. To be served at room temperature.