Monday, November 29, 2010

Kai lan with stewed mushroom and mini abalone and a conversation with a lonely old lady - Featured in Group Recipes

My Mum and I go to the market together every morning and then after marketing, we will go have our breakfast. A few mornings ago, we went to buy Hong Kong kai lan and some other vegetables. After we finished marketing, we went to our usual hawker center in the market for curry noodles. There, we met this old lady, probably in her eighties, eating her breakfast alone, the fragrant bowl of curry noodles in front of her. I noticed that she was watching me and Mum chatting while we were waiting for our order. Looking at Mum she asked, “Is this your daughter?” My mum answered “Yes, she is my daughter”. The old lady continued to ask, “How many children have you?”. Mum said, “She is my only child and I have a step son.” The old lady, with tears welling up in her eyes, answered “How lucky you are. I have nine children and none of them is with me. I am living alone and they only send me money and come see me once a year.” I could not believe what I heard! This is so sad. It breaks my heart to hear that. This is what is happening to a lot of old folks nowadays. Their children are too busy with their lives and have no time for them. Money is not what our old folks want from us, all they ask is for us to spend a little time with them and let them know we are okay. I can hardly imagine not sharing a meal with my mother. She is the inspiration for this blog, and has been a "foodie" as long as I can remember. I can still recall how, at a very young age, I would accompany her to market and subsequently watch the transformation of fresh ingredients into something irresistable. I can not know all of this lady's, or her chidren's circumstances. However, if what she told us was true, then I know that there are several people who are cheating themselves out of some of the fondest memories a person can have.

Perhaps you might want to try this recipe and prepare a simple meal for your old folks today? I know this will bring them much joy!

250gm Hong Kong kai lan
1 can 140 gm canned mini abalone (optional)
6 big shitake mushroom
1 ½ tbsp vegetable oil
3 bibs garlic, sliced
2 tbsp oysters sauce
1 tsp dark black sauce
1 tsp light soya sauce (optional)
½ tsp sugar
¾ tsp ground white pepper
1 tsp corn starch
1 tsp water
1 tsp salt
water to boil kai lan

Wash and soak mushroom in a bowl of warm water for 30 mins. Squeeze dry the mushroom and set aside. Retain the mushroom water. Add salt and ½ ts of vegetable oil in a pot of water and bring it to boil. Add kai lan and cook till the color is dark green. Remove from pot, drain and set aside. Heat 1 tb oil in the wok and sauté the garlic till fragrant. Add mushroom, abalone, oysters sauce, dark black sauce, light soya sauce and sugar and stir fry till mushroom and abalone are well mix with the sauce. Add the mushroom water and turn heat to low and it stew till both mushroom and abalone are soft. Mix in ground white pepper. Dissolve the corn starch in 1 ts water and add into the gravy to thicken it. Lay the kai lan on the serving plate and pour stew over the vegetable and serve.

Friday, November 26, 2010

Clam Soup on a quiet Thanksgiving

My hubby had gone on a business trip and returned late last evening so while everyone was having a big feast for Thanksgiving, we had ham sandwich with clam soup and white wine.  Although we did not celebrate Thanksgiving in a big way like all the past years, we do not feel deprived at all.  In fact, it is kind of nice to spend a quiet Thanksgiving evening with simple food and watch a movie and be very thankful that we have each other.

1 kg medium hard shell clams
1 tbsp olive oil
3 garlic cloves, sliced
¾  cup sake
½  tsp salt
4 cups chicken stock
4 tbsp Italian parsley, chopped
½ tsp chopped rosemary
½ tsp chopped thyme
20 gms young ginger julienned


Scrub the clams and rinse carefully under running water. In a large soup pot, heat the olive oil over a medium heat. Add the garlic and 10 gms ginger. Sauté till fragrant. Add chicken stock and wine and lower the heat to low. Cook for 10 minutes. Add the clams and the salt, cover, and cook for 5 - 10 minutes over a medium-high heat. (The shells should be open after this cooking period. Do not eat any clams that have not opened.) Add parsley and balance of 10gm ginger, stir, and serve.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Deep fried eggplants

I got this recipe from my hubby and he in turn, found it on the internet. The type of eggplant to use in this dish is globe eggplant. The problem with eggplant is that it's flesh is permeated with water. In order to get good flavors and texture in this preparation, salting it is very important. Salting accomplishes two goals. First, it pulls out the natural waters that carry bitter flavors and it collapses the air pockets in the eggplant's sponge-like flesh. The result prevents it from absorbing too much oil and getting greasy later when deep fried.

This dish was featured in Asian Food Channel (Official) Facebook page 
on 22 October 2012

Largely adapted from
2 medium globe eggplants
1 1/2 cup flour
¼ tsp ground clove
¼ tsp ground coriander
2 cups vegetable oil
½ cup salt
2 cups shredded cheddar ( or mozarella cheese, whatever you prefer)
Method to salt the eggplant:
To salt eggplant, peel and slice the eggplant into 1/4 inch slices. Sprinkle the pieces generously with salt and let them sit in a colander for an hour (you'll usually see a lot of liquid beading on the surface). Rinse the eggplant in running water to remove the salt, firmly squeeze a few pieces at a time in the palm of your hand to draw out almost all the moisture, and then pat the them dry with lots of absorbent paper towels. The rinsing will take longer then you think so be careful to thoroughly rinse and re-rinse until the salt is thoroughly washed away. Also, thorough drying is important. Squeezing out excess moisture will give you a less greasy result. The slices of eggplant will lose volume if you have done these steps correctly.
Method of cooking:
Mix flour, clove and coriander. Lightly coat eggplant with mixture. Heat oil till very hot. To test if the oil is hot enough, put a chopstick in the oil and if bubbles form around it, it is ready to add the eggplants in. Deep fry eggplants till golden brown and put them on absorbent paper towels to get rid of all the oil. Preheat oven at 200 degree C or 400 degree F. Lay eggplant slices flat on a baking dish. Add shredded cheese on top and bake just till cheese melts. Remove from oven and transfer to serving plate and serve immediately.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Chocolate Croissants Pudding with Whiskey Sauce - a nice dessert to include in Thanksgiving and X'mas menu - featured in Group Recipes

My hubby made this pudding for a dinner we hosted last week. Since Thanksgiving and Christmas are approaching, this is a nice dessert to be included in the menu. The whiskey sauce compliments the chocolate pudding perfectly. This dessert is sinful but irresistable!
Largely adapted from Stonewood’s recipe
Ingredients for Whiskey Sauce:
¼ cup water
1 cup sugar
⅛ tsp. vanilla extract
1 oz. Bourbon Whiskey
1 egg
2.5 ounces butter
Ingredients for Pudding:
8 pcs frozen large croissants
2 c. half and half
2 c. whole low fat milk
2 c. semisweet chocolate chips
4 lrg Large eggs at room temperature
1/2 c. sugar
2 tsp vanilla extract
Method to make Whiskey Sauce:
Bring water to a boil. Add sugar and stir constantly until completely dissolved. Add vanilla and bourbon & bring back to a boil. Beat eggs in a stainless bowl, put half of the syrup into eggs and stir continuously. Pour eggs back into syrup.Cut butter into small pieces and stir until fully melted into sauce. Cool down in ice bath and store in proper container.
Method to make chocolate pudding:
Heat oven to 325F or 160C. Generously grease an 11 3/4 x 7 1/3 x 1 3/4-in. baking dish or possibly other shallow 2-qt baking dish. Slice top third off each croissant and reserve. Cut or possibly tear rest of croissants in small pcs. Heat half and half and low fat milk till steaming (take care it doesn't boil over). Remove from heat, add in 1 3/4 c. chocolate chips. Let stand till melted. Stir to mix (there will be specks of chocolate throughout). Whisk Large eggs, sugar and vanilla in a large bowl. Slowly whisk in warm chocolate mix. Add in croissant pcs, pushing them down into the custard. Pour into prepared baking dish. Arrange reserved croissant tops on top. Scatter remaining 1/4 c. chocolate chips on top. Bake 25 to 35 min till center of custard is still soft and jiggles slightly when dish is shaken. Serve hot or possibly at room temperature.

Happy Thanksgiving Week! - Grill zuchinni, yellow squash & Pomegranates salad - featured in Group Recipes

This is a good week to reflect and be thankful for what we have. I am thankful for having a mum who unconditionally love me, a loving and caring hubby, an honest and creative son, a step-daughter who is beautiful inside and outside, a wonderful step-son-in-law and a courageous step grandson.  I am thankful to have a generous step brother, a kind sister-in- law, a lovely niece and two handsome nephews who will always be there for me when I need them.  I am thankful for having many good friends who will not hesitate to lend a helping hand when needed. This year, I am most thankful for being able to document my mum's and hubby's recipes on my blog and share the joy. I am thankful for getting better at cooking and photography and get so much joy from it. I am thankful that through my blog and other bloggers communities, I get to meet with many wonderful people from all over the world who are now part of my culinary adventure.

This is a new salad that I made up for Thanksgiving.  I wish to dedicate this dish to all the wonderful people out there. In this dish I have chosen three colors and this is what I wish you all:
Green: I wish you growth and harmony.
Yellow: I wish you hope, joy and happiness.
Pink: I send you all my love.  A pink carnations means, " I will never forget you". I picked the pomegranates for this salad because when I was a little girl, my mum always buy me this fruit as a treat. This will always be a special fruit for me.

Main Ingredients:
1 zucchini, sliced
1 yellow squash sliced
½ pomegranate, remove the skin and separate the fruits.

Ingredients for the salad dressing:
¾ cup balsamic vinegar
1 tbsp extra virgin oil
1 tbsp maple syrup
½ tsp ground black pepper
¼ tsp salt

Grill zucchini and yellow squash without oil.  Set aside. Heat balasamic vineger and bring to boil. Lower heat and simmer to reduce to 1/2 cup.  Add all other salad dressing ingredients and whisk till all combined.  Toss grilled zucchini yellow squash in dressing. Let it sit overnight in the fridge. When ready to serve, add pomegranates and mix well.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Braised carrots & grapes - Thanksgiving & Christmas side dish - Featured at Group Recipes

This is always one of our Christmas side dishes. The first year of Christmas that my hubby spent in Malaysia, he made this side dish for our Christmas dinner with my family and they all loved it. It quickly became a tradition and there has never been a Christmas that there are any leftovers. The color and the fragrance of this dish fits perfectly into Thanksgiving and Christmas celebration feasts. My hubby told me that he learned this dish from a young sous chef who was a neighbor when he lived in an apartment in Chicago many years ago.


250 gm baby carrots

250 gm red and green seedless grapes

1 tbsp butter

¼ tsp salt
1 tbsp brown sugar

¼ tsp ground cinnamon


Wash and peel carrots. Blanch the carrots in boiling water for 5 mins, drain and put aside. Heat butter to a slight sizzle in a pan, (be careful not to burn) add carrots, turning them to completely coat with butter. Sprinkle with salt. Cover pan and cook on low heat for about 10 minutes or until carrots are almost tender; turning them occasionally. Add grapes, brown sugar and cinnamon. Stir and cook slowly for an additional 5 minutes on medium heat. Taste for extra seasoning if necessary. Serve hot.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Stir fry soy bean sprouts and minced pork

This dish brings me back to my school days where we were asked to grow some bean sprout during our biology class.  It was interesting to see how they grow.  Of all the three science subjects, I love biology the most.  Probably the reason is because I was neither good at chemistry or physics . 

Bean spouts are nutritious and it is popular among restaurants and salad bars.  It has high concentration of essential vitamins, protein and starches.  They can be used in making soups, stir fry with salted fish and many more.  Being an "Ipoh Mali" girl (a girl from Ipoh), it is easy to love bean sprouts because Ipoh bean sprouts are the best!


270gm soy bean sprouts, chopped
270gm minced pork
1 tbsp vegetable oil
1 tsp chopped garlic
½ cube bullion chicken stock, mashed.


Heat oil in wok and sauté garlic till fragrant.  Add minced pork and sauté till whitish in color and add soy bean sprouts and stir fry till pork is light brownish and completely cooked.  Add chicken bullion and mixed well. Serve hot.

Friday, November 19, 2010

One of TOP 9 at FOODBUZZ - 19 Nov 2010

Another of my dish made it to TOP 9 at FOODBUZZ today!  Yay!! Thank you to all for your support and love!

Crispy cod with mango and sweet chilli sauce - Crispy Cod Fish with Mango & Sweet Chilli sauce
Check it out :

The best of 4,522 posts from the Foodbuzz Community, as chosen by our editors and users. 
You're looking at #6!

Pecan Pie

Like the Chinese idiom: "Yow yuen chin lay lung seong wui, moe yuen tui mien pat seong foong”, literally means if you are fated to know each other, you will meet despite the miles apart, if you are not fated to meet, even if you find yourselves sitting opposite each other, you remain strangers and that's true about how we met John and Diana. We were at the Bangsar Village supermarket a few months ago looking at beef at the meat counter. John and Diana were there too. Then, my hubby and John started a conversation about beef the next thing we know, Diana and I were exchanging hand phone numbers. A few weeks later, we met for dinner and became good friends. Isn’t it amazing?

Last evening, we had them over for dinner again. My hubby, mum and I jointly prepared a fusion dinner for them. Here is our Dinner Menu for the evening:

Sui kow (Chinese Dumplings) with wasabi, mayo red pepper sauce - prepared by me
Crispy crab claws with black pepper sauce on sweet melon and grilled beef on skewers - prepared by hubby and me.

 Main Course: 
Pan fried ground black pepper, ground coriander and parika coated tuna steak on ginger fried rice - prepared by mum and me (recipe for the tuna given to me by hubby)
Grilled vegetables salad with beef jerky in balsamic maple syrup dressing - prepared by me. 

Dessert: Pecan Pie - prepared by me

We served a bottle of really fine cold sake with our food. It was a wonderful evening! Happiness to me is seeing people enjoy the food and have their plates empty for every course. Most of the above recipes were posted except for beef on the stick, crispy crab claws in black pepper sauce and pecan pie, I would like to share with you the recipe for the pecan pie first and post the recipe for the other two later. Here you go!

The dining table setting for the evening

Pecan Pie
Largely adapted from Karo Pecan Pie recipe

Ingredients for one 9 in. pie crust:

1-1/2 cups all-purpose flour 1/2 teaspoon salt 1/2 cup butter, chilled 1/4 cup ice water
Ingredients for the filling:
1 cup dark corn syrup
3 eggs
1 cup sugar
2 tbsp butter, melted
1 tsp vanilla extract
30 whole pecan
1 cup broken pecan

Method for making the crust:

In a medium bowl, combine flour. Cut butter into flour mixture until it resembles coarse crumbs. Gradually sprinkle the water over the dry mixture, stirring until dough comes together enough to form a ball. On a floured surface flatten dough ball with rolling pin. Roll out into a circle that is one inch larger than pie dish. Place pie shell into dish and refrigerate until pie filling is complete.

Method to make the filling:

Stir all the filling ingredients (A) together thoroughly.
Method of assembiling the pie:
Spread out 1 cup of broken pecan into the pie crust. Pour in the (A) mixture. Arrange 5 flowers with the whole pecans. Bake in a preheated oven at 175 degrees C or 350 degrees F for 55 – 60m mins.

Note: Tap the center surface of the pie lightly, It should spring back when it is done.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Crispy Cod Fish with Mango & Sweet Chilli sauce - FOODBUZZ TOP 9 & featured in Group Recipes

Largely adapted from Chef Sam Leong’s recipe
Do not underestimate this simple recipe. Before I submitted this dish to my food critic, I ate my share in the kitchen. So, do I need to elaborate further how delectable this is?
Serving: 2

2 pc 100 gm cod fillet
Tapioca flour
Cooking oil for deep frying
Thai sweet chilli sauce (easily available at any supermarket)

10 gm green mango, julienned
5 gm carrot, julienned
2 stalks mint leaf

Score fish fillet diagonally and repeat in the opposite direction, leaving the skin to hold the resulting cubes together. Dust fillet with tapioca flour. Heat oil for deep frying and deep fry the fish fillet until skin turns crisp and golden brown. Drain and place on serving plate. Spoon some sweet chilli sauce over the fish fillet. Garnish with mint leaf, mango and carrot and serve.

Note : You must eat the fish together with the mango and carrot with each bite to get the intended taste for this dish.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Barley ginkgo nut with foo chuk & quail eggs dessert - Featured in Group Recipes

The Cantonese speaking Chinese call their sweet soup dessert “tong sui”. There is a wide variety of tong sui in Malaysia. There are stores that devote themselves just to selling different types of sweet soups.  We do not have a specific time to take “tong sui”,  some people even take it for supper but in the Chinese restaurants, they usually served “tong sui” at the end of a meal as dessert.  Traditionally, sweet soup is usually served hot but like things changes with time, nowadays, it can be served hot or cold.  For me, having a bowl of ice cold barley ginkgo nuts, foo chuk sweet soup is divine especially when the weather is so hot here.

Featured on Asian Food Channel (Official) Facebook
on 16th July 2012


20 gm barley
20 pcs ginkgo nuts, remove shell and skin
2 sheets of foo chuk (flat sheet type)
4 pcs pandan leaves
rock sugar (up to individual taste)
1.2 litre water
8 hard boiled quail eggs, remove shell (optional)
1 egg white

Note: Please mention to the vendor that you want the flat sheet type of foo chuk and is for making "tong sui" because they have various kind of foo chuk and if you buy the wrong type it will not dissolve easily.


Add water, barley and ginkgo nuts  and pandan leaves into the pot and bring it boil. Turn heat to medium and let it boil till ginkgo nuts are soft, about 30 to 35 mins.  Add foo chuk and sugar and boil till sugar dissolved and foo chuk is broken up, about 15 mins.  Lightly whisk egg white and pour in slowly and stir at the same time.  Turn off heat and remove the pandan leaves.  Can be serve hot or cold.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Stir fry baby bok choy with dried shrimps and yam - Featured in Group Recipes

It is very hard to come by a good piece of yam, one that is very starchy.  When you see one, it is like striking a lottery.  Caution: Yams, unlike sweet potatoes, are toxic so don’t eat it raw. Cooking helps to destroy its toxin. There are many variations of cooking yam but seldom with green leafy vegetables. The flavor of this dish is unique and unpronounced.  


300 gm yam, cut into small cubes
400 gm baby bak choy
20 gm dried shrimps
1 tb vegetable oil
1 ts chopped garlic
1 cube bullion chicken stock
3 cups water
1 ts ground white pepper
2 tb fish sauce


Dissolve a cube of bullion chicken stock in 3 cups of warm water and set aside. Wash and blanch baby bak choy in salt water.  Deep in cold bath, drain and set aside.  Wash and soak dried shrimps in warm water for 30 mins. Drain dried shrimps and set aside.  Retain the  shrimp water.  Steam yam for 25 mins.  Heat oil in wok and sauté dried shrimps till it is soft. Add yam, fish sauce and chicken stock. Reduce heat to medium and let it simmer till yam is very soft and gravy reduced.  Add baby bak choy and mix well for about 2 mins. Transfer to serving plate and serve hot.

Watercress pork rib soup - featured in Group Recipes

Chinese soups are so easy to make.  I think most of the recipes are “idiot proof”.  This one is for sure.  The outcome usually cannot go wrong and almost every Chinese soup has some benefits to your health.  To name a few for watercress soup:

It helps to protect the eyes because it contains a high level of two carotenoids, lutein and zeaxanthin.

It helps increase production of breast milk so lactating mum should drink lots of watercress soup. 

If you do not mind the bitterness of raw watercress, chewing raw watercress leaves will help stop bleeding gums.

Watercress leaves are used as a poultice for the relief of enlarged prostate gland. The poultice can also treat swollen feet and sprained ankles.

On top of all the above, the taste of the soup is soothing and pleasant, not like some herb soup that is bitter and hard to swallow.


600 gm watercress, wash and cut
500 gm pork rib
5 pcs big red dates,
6 pcs honey dates
80 ml water

Blanch pork ribs and drain.  Add all ingredients into the pot and bring to boil for 15 mins and turn heat to low and simmer for 3 hours.

Friday, November 12, 2010

Stew beef brisket - My hubby's recipe - featured in Group Recipes

I was out the whole day yesterday and when I returned home, I could smell that something good was cooking, the moment I opened the door. My hubby had made a pot of sumptuous stewed beef brisket for dinner! I don’t need to elaborate how delicious this dish is because from the ingredients he put in, you will be able to  imagine how flavorful it is. It is rather difficult to photograph stews, especially with dark gravy like this one. I don’t think the picture I have below does justice to the dish but please don’t judge the book by its cover, I promise you will not regret trying this. It definitely taste far better than it looks!

Serving: 4
500 gm beef brisket
4 tbs corn or canola oil or rapeseed oil
Juice of ½ lemon strained
4 medium size carrots, cut in chunks
1 large fennel bulb, with greens removed – retain the greens for attractive plating
2 large  white onions, peeled and quartered
1 can whole plum tomatos, discard juice and cut tomatoes in chunks
3 tb chopped garlic
2 oz. sweet saki
2 tb red wine vinegar
5 slices of ginger
1 teaspoon, ground nutmeg
20 gm rock sugar
1 tablespoon thick black sauce
350 ml beef broth
2 large potatoes,  Russet or Yellow, peeled and cut into 8 chunks each
ground black pepper (to taste)

Trim fat from the brisket. Rinse the meat under a fast flowing tap  and pat completely dry with paper towels
Combine two tbs of frying oil, lemon juice, in a small bowl and rub liberally over the entire brisket. Grind black pepper sprinkling over the entire surface.

Heat large frying pan with remaining frying oil over medium high flame until it reaches frying temperature (350F or 180C).

Note: To test oil, drop a single grain of rice into it. If it bobs to the surface and bubbles the oil is ready. Alternatively, place a wooden spoon, handle end, into the oil and watch for bubbles to form at the surface around the handle.)  
Place the brisket into the frying pan and cook until golden brown on all surfaces. All that caramelization is loaded with flavor.

Remove brisket from the frying pan and place into the slow cooker.

Return to the frying pan and bring back to heat. Carefully add red wine vinegar and sweet sake, and two tbs of beef broth, to the pan, scraping and stirring the bottom of the pan so as to “deglaze” the pan. Remove from flame and pour the contents of the frying pan over the brisket  in the slow cooker.

Add all remaining ingredients except the potato to the slow cooker and set for HIGH heat.
Bring the contents to a visible simmer (This usually takes between 35 – 50 minutes depending on your cooker, so begin checking at 30 minutes.)
Re-set the heat to LOW temperature and allow to cook for three hours. Visit the pot a couple of times to lift the meat with a fork and using a spoon in your other hand, stir and redistribute the vegetables and liquid before setting the meat back on top.

After the contents have cooked for three hours, peel and cut potatoes into eight chunks each. Place into the slow cooker, pushing the chunks down into the liquid and repositioning the brisket back on top.

Allow to cook five  more hours. Use a fork to test the potatoes for doneness

Carefully remove the brisket from the cooker, and allow to rest on a cutting board for at least fifteen minutes. (The collagen in the beef will have been rendered almost completely so that the meat should be handled carefully to avoid breakage.)

Using a very sharp butcher knife carefully make thick slices of brisket.

Optional: While the meat is resting, check the liquid in your pot. If you wish to have a thicker gravy, remove the vegetables with a slotted spoon and retain in a lidded casserole covered with a kitchen towel. Remove the liquid to the frying pan and bring to a simmer. Stirring frequently reduce the liquid according to your wishes. Alternatively, you can add ½ a tsp of corn flower to a quarter cup of cold water and stir until well blended together into a cloudy liquid. Add this mixture to the frying pan and stir constantly until the juices thicken.

Recombine vegetables and gravy, and place in soup plates.
Carefully lift brisket slices and place on top of the vegetables. Decorate with a sprig fennel greens, and serve with crusty baguette or a rustic loaf.