Thursday, January 19, 2012

Less is More

There were two special cod dishes I made in November 2010. One was Grilled cod with orange sauce created by me. It was a dish that I was very proud of, because it was featured in Group Recipes, Petite Chef and made it to the Top 9 at Foodbuzz. 

Another is Crispy Code Fish with Mango and Sweet Chilli sauce also being featured at Group Recipes and selected for the Top 9 at Foodbuzz. The recipe was adapted from Chef Sam Leong's cookbook.

I suspect that some of my new blogger friends and readers have missed these two posts. These two dishes are an easy way to impress your guests this Chinese New Year because they are visually stunning and taste luscious. I also like the idea of offering a little more healthy and delicious seafood during a time when we tend to overeat red meat, roasted fowl and other more rich and fatty proteins during Christmas. Get ready for lots of compliments, oohs and aahs when serving, to the last delicious bite.  

For a long time, I have used the photo of the Grilled Cod with orange sauce photo to be Quay Po Cooks’ blog header and I have received lots of compliments, some said the dish looked like a piece of artwork. I will gladly accept the compliment.  Come to think of it, this is a perfect dish for Chinese New Year which is just around the corner. The ingredients used were Bean sprouts shoots, (豆芽; dòu yá, literally "bean sprout/germ" 芽菜; yá cài, literally "sprout vegetable" or 银芽; yín yá, literally "silver sprouts") - 'to your heart's content', positive start into the new year, Orange (柑橘; gānjú) - wealth, good fortune, gold and Fish, the word 魚 (yú), meaning "fish", has the same pronunciation as the word 餘, which is "remain or surplus", i.e.'having surplus money' in a more modern connotation but generally; an increase in prosperity. Have I convinced you to try either of the cod dishes for Chinese New Year reunion dinner? If yes, please click on the photos to get the recipes. 

Yesterday, I made another dish with cod but this time an extremely easy-to-do dish, and not quite as fancy. The recipe calls for only a few ingredients but with a little careful attention, you can create a very impressive and tasty dish. The caramelization makes the cod looks gorgeous. It is a slightly braised cod in superior light soya sauce with honey. So simple to do right? Simple is the BEST and SOMETIMES LESS IS MORE. This phrase reminded me of someone extraordinary.

Nick Vujicic has so much less but see how his less is more? As the holiday season starts and the end of the lunar year approaches, it’s a good time to take stock of what we have and count our blessings. When I count my blessings, I count my family, my relatives and friends, my readers, my blogger friends and my pets, TWICE!

Braised Cod in superior light soy sauce
Adapted from Chef Sam Leong’s recipe

200gm Cod fish fillet

    8 tsp Light soy sauce
    8 tsp water
    4 tsp dark soy sauce
    2 tsp sugar
    2 tsp Maggie seasoning

  Egg White Garnish:
    1 tsp cooking oil
    40 ml. chicken stock
    ¼ tsp salt
    a dash of ground white pepper
    1 tsp corn starch mixed with 2 tsp water
    1 egg white

Combine marinade ingredients. Place cod into the marinade for 30 mins before transferring to baking tray. Bake cod in an preheated oven at 150C or 300F for 10 mins. Reduce to 100C or 200F and bake for another 8 mins. To prepare the egg garnish, heat oil in pan and add chicken stock, salt, ground white pepper and then thicken with corn starch mixture. Pour in egg white and stir until cooked. Serve cod with the egg white garnish.


  1. Life is a "funny" thing.... when you have "less", you will achieve in that "less" in life. I read there's a lady who was born with no fingers and she is an excellent pianist! Anyway, your this dish looks really delicious. Got to make this some time as it is easy. Thanks!

  2. I like that. Less is more....Will try the recipe over the weekend.

  3. What a clever presentation of the braised cod, Lucy. Looks delicious and simple enough for me not to screw up. I love cod. This is definitely a nice change from how we usually have them.
    You've caused me some swollen eyes with this post. I've seen this guy before and he's such an inspiration. Makes one appreciate what they have a lot more and to never take themselves for granted. I'm sending this link over to a friend who really needs some inspiration at a difficult point in her life right now. Thanks so much for sharing this at the right time. Hugs.

  4. Veronica...Firstly, I would like to wish you and family a Happy Dragon Year and secondly I would like to congratulate you on your cod fish recipes being featured at Group Recipes and selected for the Top 9 Foodbuzz...I owe up.,,,:p I am the guilty one...must have missed out the posts at Foodbuzz. They are truly gorgeous and great to serve to family with this coming reunion dinner ...surely they will enjoy this delicious fish dish. Thanks for sharing with us. Great piece of art no doubt ! Well done and I love all the photos...well taken :)

    Have a wonderful time this CNY with your family and friends,


  5. Congrats on the features, Veron! I'm a huge fan of cod fish; this is probably d only fish I eat other than Ikan Kuning. lol! I hate to eat fish but cod is so smooth & I love the texture. Thks for this lovely recipe!

  6. You made it sound easy. For me , I most probably be "chicken hand, duck legs" hahaha

  7. Your cod looks delicious on those rolls of cinnamon!

  8. Oh I missed the braised cod but not the first one, both versions look so delicious! Ya, I so agreed with you less is more:D speaking from experience here!

  9. Thank you for sharing Nick's story - what an inspiration. All your cod recipes look fabulous and although I am not sure I can make my cod look as artistic and lovely as yours, I sure won't mind trying.

  10. wow, wonderful job, how lucky to become ur family members to always enjoy homecook dishes.

    wishing u a happy n prosperous new year, god bless!

  11. Drool! Drool! Ya...sometimes, the simple dishes with fresh ingredients are the ones that taste the best - no need to go overboard.

  12. Wah! Creative way of cooking cod. Must try it out someday!

  13. The orange cod fish making me drooling ! And it is really a piece of art!

  14. Yes, my son and i watched Nick's motivation video, in fact, he told me to watch it.. he is really encouraging.. I guess most of the students were speechless.. what to say but to give him a BIG hug!
    Another Yes to your cod fish creativity, they do look like art and such neatness too!
    By the way, Cod fish is now selling at RM119 per kg in Jaya Jusco!!

  15. Very nice food presentation....looks very delicous too~

  16. Congrats on all the features ! Yummy cod and great presentation , too ;)

  17. @Mel
    Yes, life always throw curve balls at us. Sometimes, we are able to duck it but sometimes not. So when we get hit to the ground, we must know how to get up.

    Are you well yet?

    You are such a great friend. I am sorry that your friend is going through difficult times. Time like this will made easier to bear with caring friends like you.

    Thanks Baur

    Thanks Sonia. Looking forward to see you and the rest of the cooking and baking Divas:D

    Thank you for your greetings. Me too, I want to wish you and your family A Very Happy Dragon Year. You too have a blast with your family this new year.

    Thanks Shirley. Me too, I LOVE cod and so is my son, Nick but my Quay Lo prefers tuna.

  18. @Small Kucing
    hahaha… chicken hand, duck legs or the other way around can do this.

    Yes, sometimes the presentation of food do effect the taste psychologically.

    I am sure we all go through our own experience and learn that. It is just that we need frequent reminder so that we do not short change ourselves.

    No need to do the presentation if you don't feel like it. Sometimes, when I am not i the mood, I will just serve it simple. What is important is the taste itself.

    I am lucky to have my family to cook for:D

    Yes simple is the best. Less is more. When we age, we want things simple and less for we just cannot handle too many complicated stuff.

    Glad you would try it.

  19. @mNhL
    Thanks. Shall I framed it on my wall? hehe

    OMG? Why so expensive? I think the cod in B.I.G. is cheaper.

    Hello my friend, long time no see. How are you doing? Thanks for the compliment.

    Thanks Anne.

  20. You have a clever way with food! real talent.
    I agree. Less is More- try to follow it and life is much easier to cope.Gong Xi fa Cai!

  21. that's a very nice presentation of the dish! The prices of cod fish really soar up these days..just a small slice of fillet costs around RM30! less is more..let us all look forward to a less stressful year, less headaches, less worries and may the dragon brings us all a merrier, healthier and a prosperous year!!

  22. The presentation in the first two pictures is excellent. The meat looks really inviting. In Belgium, we have a three star Michelin chef who also claims less is more.


  23. @Keats
    Thank you. I am trying very hard to follow:D

    Hey the price of cod at B.I.G. is so much cheaper. You are right I want less of everything you mentioned.

    Many thanks.

    Thank you Filip. It is nice to know a 3 Star Michelin chef shares the same view.

  24. I agree less is more, especially in CNY. I sure put on few kgs after the festive.

  25. Oh~ I love the juicy-looking cod fish. This dish is a must during CNY, wishing everyone will have the yú and get prosperous in the upcoming dragon year~

    Happy Chinese New Year, quay po!

    1. Thanks and Happy Dragon Year to you and your family too.

  26. Oh, Veronica, you make everything sounds so easy. I should move to your side :D Love your presentation. You sure deserve to be recognised for your dishes. I love them....beautiful garnishing. I hardly garnish my food. I think I must learn this year. I love cod and cook them often....usually baked. Thanks for sharing about Nick. He is a TOTAL inspiration! Wishing you and your family, including your pets, a most fantastic Chinese New Year! MaryMoh at

    1. Mary, I am getting lazy on food styling lately. As you can see that all my latest food photos are mostly close up or just shots of the food itself. Food styling can take up 2 to 3 hours to take a good shot, needs a lot of props. By the time the photos are done, the food will be cold and won't be as delicious. Certain food had to be half cooked in order to look good in photos. Then, the food had to be cooked again after that before we can eat them. By then taste is not the same anymore. Very troublesome lah hehe. I reckon, I am not a chef or a food stylist. I am just a home cook who wants to feed my family and friends tasty food and share tasted and tested recipes with people who love to cook and bake. However, when I have the time with no distraction and in the right mood, I will still play with food styling, just for the fun of it:D Happy Dragon Year to you and your family. Hugs.

  27. Always loved your presentation skills. Well done for the cinnamon sticks lineup ;)

    1. Thanks but the cinnamon sticks lineup is not my own idea. I followed Sam Leong's cookbook:D

  28. Looks amazing. It is indeed right, each photo of yours is a work of art in itself. Thanx for dropping by my site. It led me to yours and now I am so in love with your blog.! Thanx . :)


    1. Thanks for dropping by too. I am so happy that you enjoy your time here. There is so much to share, let's visit often.

  29. Your presentation is gorgeous and this dish looks so delicious! A dish I would love to try in the New Year! Have a great weekend!

    1. Thank you. All three cod dishes are appropriate for the New Year. You too have wonderful weekend.

  30. All three cod dishes look exquisite! They will be perfect for the CNY. Kong Hei Fatt Choy!

    1. Thanks Biren. Happy Dragon Year to you and your family.

  31. I can't believe it! I just bought fresh cod for dinner tonight. Marion is going to LOVE this dish. Your pictures are always so stunningly beautiful, Veronica. I can see how that first one would be perfect for the New Year. (I learned today colorful is a good thing for Chinese New Year:)

    Thank you so very much for sharing and a very Happy New Year to YOU and Yours!!!

  32. Louise, I must have sixth sense hehe. Thanks for the compliment and CNY greetings.


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