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Girls' Best Friend

Bright and sparkly. Gemstones came to my mind when I was removing this Dragon Fruit and Orange jelly from the mould. Like a combination of gemstones...rubies, amber and diamonds, all in one!

Dragon's Eyes

The literal translation for the name of a small brown, juicy exotic fruit from the lands of Asia, known as Longan in Chinese, packed into these muffins

Nostalgia

A taste from the humble beginnings, the Long Bean Rice brings back beautiful memories of the yesteryears

Light and Fluffy

Lemon, Yogurt and Cranberries~a nice blend of flavours in a light and fluffy chiffon cake

Bread Stories

Asian style buns ~ Popular as breakfast food or snack, sweet/savoury fillings wrapped in soft, cottony bread

Friday, 18 April 2014

Oriental Easter Bunny

As Good Friday begins may,
Mercy, Peace and Love be yours in Abundance ~ Jude 1:2

Bunny shaped steamed buns (or Pao in Chinese) to give it an oriental Easter mood.  It doesn't look exactly like a bunny since the ears are a bit pointy, unfortunately :(


I have made these soft and fluffy steamed buns quite a few times already with this recipe from Wendy.   You can leave them empty but i chose to fill them with some peanut butter that i needed to finish off asap.  With medium high heat, you could get some flowy peanut butter in the buns but if it's too high or re-steamed it tends to dry out.  If you leave it empty you could even eat it with some savoury dishes.

I substituted shortening with oil this time around and based on the results i think it actually taste better with shortening.

Happy Easter!


Recipe 
Source : Table for 2 or more... (this is 1/2 the portion which gave me 16 buns of around 40g each)

Ingredients
  • 250gm pau flour (cake flour)
  • 125gm steamed orange sweet potato
  • 50gm sugar
  • 1/2 Tbsp double action baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 20gm shortening, melted (30ml vegetable oil)
  • 6gm yeast 
  • 1/4 tsp sugar
  • 75ml water (start with 75ml, it depends on how moist the sweet potatoes are, mine needed 100ml water)
Method
  1. Proof yeast with 1/4 tsp sugar and water until it froths.
  2. Mix flour, baking powder, sugar and salt together. 
  3. Knead in steamed sweet potatoes. 
  4. Flour mixture will look crumbly. 
  5. Pour in frothy yeast mixture and combine to form a dough. Knead until dough no longer sticky and turns smooth. 
  6. Add more flour if it's too sticky or more water(by the teaspoon) if it's way too dry, (if unable to gather all the flour into a dough).  
  7. When dough is smooth, knead in melted shortening, until dough no longer feels oily.
  8. Leave to proof until double, about an hour.
  9. Punch down and knead for another minute. Divide dough into 40gm pieces, and shape as preferred.   
  10. Leave to proof until shaped bun doubles. 
  11. Steam on high heat for 12-15 minutes. (10 minutes)
Notes
  1. If like me, you are using a machine to knead, skip steps 1-7 but follow through step 6.  I used my breadmaker to knead the dough, I put everything in the recommended order, i.e. liquid (water, melted shortening), sugar, salt, followed by flour (sifted and mix with baking powder), mashed sweet potato and lastly yeast.  
  2. To make bunnies, form dough into oval shape.  Flatten with a rolling pin then add in 1 tsp of filling if using.  Pinch and seal well.  Just before putting them to steam, use a pair of kitchen shears to make a cut for the ears.  Use a toothpick dipped with some red food gel to make 2 dots for the eyes. 

Wednesday, 16 April 2014

Oats Undetected, Yeay!


This is one muffin that makes the cut as a healthy breakfast muffin.  Quite a loadful of healthy ingredients in there with fruits, nuts, wholemeal flour and rolled oats to help start the day on the right note.  Whenever i try out new recipes with oats, apart from excitement about the taste, i can't wait to know if it slipped by undetected by son ;-)

Although the recipe calls for wholemeal flour and rolled oats, it still turned out soft and moist.  And i am assuming it did slip by undetected because the only complaint my son had was too much nuts on top which he doesn't care much about too.  So, mums if you are also into oats hiding, you could give this recipe a try :)

This muffin also ended up with sweetness that was just nice for us after reducing 25g of sugar from the original recipe.  I think apples would work equally well for this recipe. 


Recipe

Ingredients
  • 2 small medium size pears (1 medium size Korean pear)
  • 85 grams unsalted butter, melted and cooled slightly
  • 125g natural cane sugar, such as Turbinado, light brown or granulated sugar (100g)
  • 1 cup (240 ml) buttermilk (1 tbsp lemon juice plus milk to make up 240ml left aside for 5 minutes)
  • 2 large eggs, lightly beaten
  • 1 to 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 3/4 cup (75 grams) rolled oats
  • 1 cup (125 grams) all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup (60 grams) whole wheat flour
  • 3/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon 
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg (1/2 tsp mixed spice)
  • 3/4 teaspoon kosher salt (1/2 tsp)
  • 1 cup (120 grams) toasted hazelnuts, coarsely chopped (100g pecans)
  • 1/2 cup (85 grams) bittersweet chocolate chunks (optional) (80g)
Method
  1. Heat oven to 425°F (215°C).  Butter a standard 12-cup muffin tin or line it with papers.
  2. Peel and grate pear finely.  Use 1- 1 1/4 cups of it. Stir in melted butter, sugar, buttermilk, eggs and vanilla until combined.
  3. In a separate bowl, stir together the oats, flours, baking soda, baking powder, spices, salt, all but 1/2 cup coarsely chopped hazelnuts, and chocolate chunks (if using). 
  4. Gently fold this dry ingredient mixture into the wet batter until just combined; do not overmix.
  5. Fill muffin cups almost up to the top and sprinkle with the reserved 1/2 cup hazelnuts. 
  6. Place muffins in oven and immediately reduce the heat to 375°F (190°C). Bake for 20 to 25 minutes, or until the tops are golden brown and a toothpick inserted into the center of muffins comes out batter-free.
  7. Cool muffins in pans for 10 minutes, then transfer to a cooling rack. 

Saturday, 12 April 2014

Hansik ~ Dakdoritang


It all started somewhere around the early 2000s and it's getting stronger by the day sweeping across the globe, so strong that most of us must have been hit one way or another...Hallyu or Korean wave that is what i am talking about.

Initially it was about the dramas, dramas like Winter Sonata then Dae Jang Geum (Jewel in the Palace) were so popular that you hear people talking about them all the time.   It's amazing how these dramas triggered the curiosity for many other aspects of the Korean culture, people wanted to try Korean food, follow Korean fashion, use Korean cosmetics, learn the Korean language, see the beautiful sceneries they saw in the dramas with their own eyes etc, etc, etc.  Even if the entertainment bit missed you, at one point or another you must have considered some Korean technology.

So which bit of the Korean wave hit you?   I didn't watch the 2 popular dramas but all the talk about it triggered enough curiosity to 'have' my own Winter Sonata there, we visited in winter and it was beautiful :)  It was also through this trip that we became more appreciative of their cuisine (known as Hansik in korean).  I always make it a point never to bring along our local food during holidays to foreign countries.  No instant noodles or sambal belacan to the rescue, this leaves us with no choice but to eat the local food there and learn to appreciate them.  It works and i have never regretted it so far :)

Then hubs got caught in the craze for Samsung smartphones after playing with 3 generations of Iphone.  Korea is fast becoming world leaders in cutting edge electronic products, the achievements that they have made are just amazing.

And the latest craze must have been this insanely popular Korean drama, My Love from the Star.  I couldn't help checking it out, some delicious eye candy they have there ;-D

Ok, now let's get to the food!  Asian Food Fest blogging event moves to Korea this month after Indonesia last month, so that's what all the Korean fuss was all about earlier on :)  I look around for a simple dish, something the ajummas (term used to address middle age married women) would make for their families.  Yup, i can see some of you smiling and i hear you saying 'This ajumma is looking for ajumma dishes to make lol!  And i found this chicken with potatoes stew dish.  Isn't it interesting that chicken and potatoes in a stew like dish is such a universal dish?  People around the world make them in their own unique ways, the Chinese makes them with oyster sauce, the Indians make curries out of them and in the West they are made with some herbs added into it.   For the Korean version it's the fermented hot pepper paste known as Gochujang that gave the stew it's unique taste.

There's an interesting story to this dish.  It is traditionally known as Dakdoritang which when translated means Chicken Chicken Stew.   Yes, you read it right, it's Chicken with an emphasis :)  Apparently Dak is Chicken in Korean and Dori or Tori is also Chicken but in Japanese.  This name is a lingering evidence of the Japanese occupation era there.   It is said this dish was renamed Dakbokkeumtang (where bokkeum means braised) to correct the misnomer and shed the Japanese influence in its name.

The recipe below is roughly half of the original recipe with some adaptation to suit our taste preference and slight changes in the cooking method.   Please click on the link for the original one.   You can either use the slow cook method or do it over the stove.  I did it over the stove as i didn't have enough time to allow slow cooking.

A comforting dish that goes very well with rice if you like spicy flavors.  I have reduced the amount of pepper paste to the level of intensity that is acceptable for the family.  So, the next time you are craving for chicken and potatoes, why not give this Korean version a try instead?

Recipe
Reference: Korean Bapsang

Ingredients
  • 600g bone-in chicken parts, cut into small pieces (excess fat removed)
  • 2 potatoes, cut into big chunks
  • 1 carrot, cut into big chunks
  • 1/4 large onion, cut into big chunks
  • 3 plump garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 - 3 thinly sliced ginger pieces
  • 1 scallion, cut into 2-inch lengths
Sauce
  • 1 tsp Korean red chili pepper flakes (gochugaru)
  • 1/2 tablespoon sugar
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon rice wine
  • 1/2 tablespoon honey or corn syrup
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons Korean red chili pepper paste (gochujang)
  • Pinch of pepper
  • 1 tablespoon sesame oil (omitted) 
  • 1 tablespoon sesame seeds

Slow cooker method
  1. Place everything (except scallions, sesame oil and sesame seeds) into the slow cooker.  Mix well.
  2. Cook on high heat for 4 hours.  Cook until chicken is tender.
  3. Stir in scallions, sesame oil (if using) and sesame seeds before serving.
Over the stove method
  1. Marinade chicken with sauce ingredients for 30 minutes.
  2. Heat pot with a tablespoon of oil.  Add in garlic and ginger, stir fry until fragrant.
  3. Add in chicken pieces and pan fry it until chicken turns opaque.  Add in potatoes and carrot and continue frying for 2-3 minutes.  
  4. Pour in remaining marinade and add in 1 cup of water (enough to cover chicken).  Mix well and bring it to a boil.
  5. Turn to low heat and allow it to simmer until chicken is tender and sauce is slightly thickened.
  6. Stir in scallions and sesame seeds before serving.

As they say in Korean, Mashikeh-mogo (Bon Appetit)!

I leave you with some Korean Table Etiquette that I find interesting and vastly different from the Chinese.   Something good to know, as they say in Rome do like the Romans do?

First off, a little bit on the Korean set of eating utensils which i find unique.  A set of chopsticks and spoon, they are collectively known as Sujeo in Korean.  Sujeo is the portmanteau of the word sutgarak (숟가락, "spoon") and jeotgarak (젓가락, "chopsticks"). 

Unlike the Japanese and Chinese chopsticks which are mostly made of wood and bamboo (and plastic nowadays), the Korean ones are made of stainless steel.  Apart from that theirs are flat and rectangular while the others are cylindrical.  In terms of length the Korean ones are in between the Chinese and the Japanese with Chinese being the longest. Even the spoon looks very different from the ones the Chinese or Japanese use with their chopsticks, the Korean ones are long like the Western ones.  Ever wondered why?  Apparently the use of metal (and mostly stainless steel these days) started from the time when commoners wanted to emulate their kings who used  pure silver chopsticks as silver would tarnish if anyone attempted to poison the king’s food.  The other reason is that the Koreans find metal chopsticks more practical since they are more durable and easier to clean hence more hygienic when reuse.

And 3 Korean Chopstick Etiquette that are vastly different from what we Chinese practise.

#1 - The spoon is to be used for soups and rice.  Yes, eat rice with the spoon not chopsticks.

#2 - Never lift the rice bowl off the table!

#3 - Do not use both spoon and chopsticks simultaneously.  When you need to use your chopsticks, leave the spoon on the table

More in the next post maybe? ;-)

I am submitting this post to Asian Food Fest: Korea, hosted by Sharon of Feats of Feasts

Sunday, 6 April 2014

Anytime is Coffee Time


Did you miss your morning coffee?  Let's have it with some ribs over dinner :)  Weird? Somehow coffee and ribs does sound a little strange doesn't it?   They say it's a popular dish here and across the causeway.  I have read about it a couple of times but strangely i have not tasted it, i must have been going to the wrong places! Recently, i was reminded of this dish again when i saw it at Veronica's Kitchen.

Apparently this is a dish where the ribs are deep fried then coated with a coffee sauce.    This cooking method where ribs are deep fried then coated with many different type of sauces are quite popular in Chinese restaurants.  Probably because the deep frying part can be done in advance making it something that can be done in a jiffy.  It only involves a simple stir frying and coating with the sauce for the final touch.

It may sound simple but i never fancy doing the deep frying part for health reasons and the hassle of cleaning up after.  Health can't be a better excuse for laziness!  Instead of deep frying, i marinated the ribs with the sauce then pan fried them for some crisp bits (some cheat here to mimic deep fried ones) then braised it for awhile to make it tender. 

Coffee flavor did come through, thankfully!  I used Nescafe Cap Columbie which has a fruity flavor.   There's slight bitterness coming from the coffee with a mix of sweet sourish taste and a little spiciness coming from the chilli sauce blended into the meat. Ahh, quite a mouthful trying to describe it, but it does taste quite special, something worth giving a go if you are a coffee lover :)

Recipe
Inspiration: Veronica's Kitchen

Ingredients
  • 500g pork ribs
Marinade
  • 1 1/2 tbsp oyster sauce
  • 1 tbsp light soy sauce
  • 1 tsp dark soy sauce
  • 1/2 tbsp sugar
  • 1/2 tsp pepper
  • 1 tbsp chilli sauce
  • 2 tbsp tomato sauce
  • 1 tbsp instant coffee powder with 1 tbsp hot water to dissolve coffee powder
Thickening
  • 1 tbsp corn flour
Garnish
  • Roasted sesame seeds
  • Cucumber slices and strawberry halves 

Method
  1. Mix pork ribs with marinade ingredients and set aside for an hour.
  2. Heat a deep frying pan and add 1-2 tablespoons of vegetable oil. When the oil is hot, add the spareribs (without the marinade). Cook them over medium heat until all sides are brown.
  3. Pour in remaining marinade and add water until just enough to cover the ribs.  Stir to mix well.
  4. Simmer until ribs are fully cooked and tenderized.
  5. Remove about 1 tablespoon of the sauce and allow it to cool.
  6. Dissolve corn flour with the sauce that has been removed then pour it back into the pan to  thicken the sauce.
  7. Garnish with some sesame seeds and serve hot.  Strawberries make a pretty garnish and went well with the sauce too.
Note:
  1. I cooked everything in a pressure cooker that came with a stir fry function.  I stir fried it then allow it to simmer for 15 minutes before pressurizing it for 10 minutes.
  2. The amount of coffee can be reduced according to preference and type of coffee used. 

Wednesday, 2 April 2014

Stack It Your Way!


Watching Jamie Oliver's Food Revolution has in some way influenced my son's eating habits, in a good way that is which i am thankful.  I guess it's always much easier for stars to get a message across to these children than their nagging mums :)  He was shocked to know how much sugar went into flavored milk and what kind of meat was used to make burgers in some fast food joints.  

It was school holidays last week and son asked if he could have burgers on one of the days with homemade patties and buns. And preferably how Jamie Oliver would have made them, he added! Now look who's doing the challenging these days!

I followed what Jamie named as basic burger recipe, according to him it's possible to add in more herbs and spice once this basic recipe is mastered.  It's interesting to note that the recipe calls for cream crackers to give the patties a crunch.  I substituted with wholemeal crackers instead as i didn't have any of those.  Since the recipe calls for minimum seasoning, you taste the actual flavors from the beef instead.

As for the buns, i used a sweet bun recipe that i am familiar with. We stacked our burgers to our hearts content, lettuce, carrots, cabbage, tomatoes, avocados and topped it with a grilled portobello mushroom with melted cheese on top :)


Suffice to say my young man had 3 of these in a row, mum had one though she wouldn't mind having another :)

Recipe - Patties
Source: JamieOliver.com
  • 12 Jacob's cream crackers (Wholemeal crackers)
  • 8 sprigs of fresh flat-leaf parsley
  • 500 g quality minced beef
  • 1 large free-range egg
  • Sea salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • Olive oil
Method
  1. Wrap the crackers in a tea towel and smash until fine, breaking up any big bits with your hands, and put them into a large bowl (Place crackers in a ziploc bag, press with hands and a rolling pin to smash them until fine).
  2. Finely chop the parsley, including the stalks. Add the parsley, mustard, if using, and minced beef to the bowl. Crack in the egg and add a good pinch of salt and pepper.
  3. With clean hands, scrunch and mix everything up well. Divide into 6 and pat and mould each piece into a roundish shape about 2cm thick. (Divided according to size of my buns, enough for 9 buns) 
  4. Drizzle the patties with oil, put on a plate, cover and place in the fridge until needed (this helps them to firm up).
  5. To fry patties, preheat a large griddle or frying pan for about 4 minutes on a high heat prior. Turn the heat down to medium.
  6. Place the patties on the griddle or in the pan and use a spatula to lightly press down on them, making sure the patties are in full contact. Cook them to your liking for 3 or 4 minutes on each side.
Recipe for buns here.
Note: Reduced sugar to 40g.

To make hamburgers
  1. Cut buns into half, spread on some butter and place on griddle for a 1 minute.  
  2. Stack bun with a choice of lettuce, shredded carrot/cabbages, tomato slices, avocado slices and grilled portobellos.
  3. Add on dressings like mayonnaise, mustard or tomato/chilli sauce if preferred.
I'm linking this post to Cook Like a Star, an event co-hosted by Zoe of Bake for Happy Kids, Joyce of Kitchen Flavours and Mich of Piece of Cake.

Photobucket

Wednesday, 26 March 2014

Selamat Makan~Ayam Masak Habang

Many of you would have heard about the tragedy of flight MH370 by now.  My heart is heavy, i can't imagine the sadness and grief felt by victims' loved ones.   Before you read on, may i ask that you keep the victims and their loved ones in your prayers...

Spanning across an archipelago of 18,000 thousand islands with 6,000 populated ones, Indonesian cuisine reflects the diverse culture and traditions of its people.  Each region has its own specialities influenced by local and foreign culture in that particular region.  As an example the Padang style food from the people of West Sumatra is very spicy and rich in coconut milk while Javanese food from the island of Java is simpler, not as spicy and tend to have some sweetness in them. Pork is not widely served in Indonesia except in the mystical islands of Bali.  I guess their national motto "Bhinneka Tunggal Ika" which means “Unity in Diversity” is reflected in their cuisines too.  However, despite the diversity,  Indonesian dishes are generally rich in spice.

I decided to try out this dish named Ayam Masak Habang which means Chicken cooked in Red Chilli Sauce.   I had a feeling that it will be something that will not be too far from the family's tastebuds judging from the list of ingredients.  I am quite afraid of that 'What's this you are feeding us?' which i get occasionally when i try to be a little adventurous!  This is a dish by the Banjar people in South Kalimantan.  Although this  an everyday dish it also served during festive occasions.  During celebrations, it is served with Nasi Kuning (i.e. Yellow Rice), rice cooked with herbs and coconut milk.   

This dish went very well with the fragrant herb rice, spicy but not overpowering and has a combination of sweet sourish taste.   I served it with some fresh tomato and cucumber slices plus taking a cue from how the Indonesians love serving egg omelette as a side dish, i added my chinese style crabstick omelette to complete this meal :)

There is one thing i must confess though, I am not too sure if i understood one of the ingredients correctly, recipe calls for 3 tablespoons of ground red chilli pepper to be soaked in some water. I assumed that it was chilli powder since it was measured in tablespoons.  

Selamat Makan!


Recipe - Ayam Masak Habang
Source: Indonesia Eats

Ingredients
  • 1 kg chicken pieces (thighs, drumstick, breast bone in and skin on) - (5 thighs)
  • 1 lime
  • 5 salam (Indonesian bay) leaves
  • 4 cm cinnamon stick
  • 4 cloves
  • 300ml boiled water
  • 100ml cooking oil (70ml)
Spices to be ground
  • 3 cm ginger, peeled
  • 125 grams shallots
  • 100 grams garlics
  • 3 tablespoons ground red chili pepper, soaked in a small amount of hot water (2 tbsp)
  • 4 tablespoons coconut sugar - (3 tbsp)
  • 1 teaspoon dried shrimp paste (terasi), roasted - (belacan)
  • 2 tablespoons tamarind, dissolved in small amount of water
  • seasalt
Method
  1. Drizzle lime juice over chicken pieces.  Leave in the fridge while preparing spices for grinding.
  2. Soak the roasted dried shrimp paste in tamarind liquid. 
  3. Grind all the spices that are to be ground with a food processor.
  4. Heat up your wok, add the cooking oil then stir fry the ground spices, salam leaves, cinnamon and cloves. Add coconut sugar. You can add more if you want a darker colour.
  5. Toss in the chicken pieces, keep stirring until chicken turns colour. Add the boiled water. Cook until the sauce thickens and reduce the heat to low. Once the sauce is oily and drier, remove from the heat. 
  6. Ready to serve with nasi kuning.
Note: 
  1. My variations in blue.
  2. I used the traditional pestle and mortar to pound the spice since my old blender that i used for spices chose to gave up on me at just the time i wanted to use it for this. 
  3. Mine has a lighter shade compared to the original recipe, i suspect it's probably due to lesser amount of chilli and coconut sugar used.

Recipe - Nasi Kuning
Source: Indonesia Eats

Ingredients
  • 2 cups jasmine rice, washed and drained
  • 2 1/4 cups coconut milk (50ml coconut milk plus water as per stated on rice cooker)
  • 3/4 cup chicken stock(or vegetable stock for vegetarian) (1 tsp chicken stock powder)
  • 1 salam (Indonesian bay) leaf
  • 2 lime kaffir leaves
  • 1 pandan/screwpine leaf (or few drops pandan essence) (1 pandan leaf)
  • 1 stalk lemon grass, bruised
  • 3/4 – 1 tsp turmeric powder
  • 2 cm galangal, cut in 4 lengthwise slices salt as desired (omitted salt)
Method
  1. Combine all ingredients in a rice cooker or heavy stock pot and simmer, covered, until done.
  2. Discard lemongrass, galangal, salam and kaffir lime leaves before serving.
Note:
  1. I used a rice cooker to cook it hence i am not too sure about the amount of water to be used when a pot is used instead.
  2. Hint from source for cooking with a pot- Cook the rice in a pot over high heat until the liquid starts to a boil. Turn down the heat and continue to cook gently to avoid scorching on bottom of the pot. 
I am submitting this post to Asian Food Fest: Indonesia, hosted by Alice from I Love. I Cook. I Bake

Thursday, 20 March 2014

When Taps Run Dry, Keep Calm and Cook Simple Meals

Of late we have been going on quite a number of one pot meals due to water rationing.   We have been seeing very little rain for months but it has been raining this past two days, hopefully it will continue this way and dams will get filled again.  For now, we are getting tap water on a 2 day rotational basis.  So, the lesser pots/bowls to wash the better :)


Donburi (Japanese all in one meal of a meat/vegetables dish served over rice in a bowl) inspired meals are always welcomed in my home.  Perhaps it's entwined in our culture,  the satisfaction of a even one simple dish over hot rice is just hard to describe.  The sight of each grain of rice getting coated with some heavenly looking gravy and with steam still coming out of is already a sight worth admiring for me :) 

Mapo Tofu is a dish which originated from the Szechuan province in China.   There are many interesting stories about this dish but essentially they centre around an old grandmother("Po") with pockmarked("Mazi") face, who created this dish. As in its name, Mapo Tofu is a tofu dish cooked with minced meat and chilli bean sauce.    The authentic version of this dish is fiery and some to the effect of tongue numbing with the amount of Szechuan peppercorns used in it.   The burst of flavors for this dish is quite amazing.

However, this is a Chuka (Japanese style Chinese dish) version that i am sharing here, it is not as spicy and with a tinge of sweetness coming from the use of Mirin.  Have hot steaming rice ready and just spoon the dish over when it is ready.  Throw in some steamed/blanched greens and you will have a complete meal to go in 15 minutes.

As much as we love our rice, i try not to serve rice everyday of the week.   If  pockmarked grandmother tofu earlier on was funny for you, i bet you will laugh at this one too, translated Claypot Loh Shu Fun means Claypot Rat Noodles! Worry not though, there are no rats in them!!!   It is just that the noodles look a little like a rat's wriggly tail :)


This is another fast to go dish, all you need is to have some minced meat and vegetables, the seasonings used are pretty common if you make Chinese cuisines frequently.  For some extra kick we love adding some sambal belacan (spicy prawn paste) into it.

It is not necessary to use a claypot for this but  it does seem to taste better. Heat is confined within the small little pot thus locking in all the wonderful flavors.


Recipe-Mapo Tofu
Source: Spotted on Her Frozen Wings with recipe from Just One Cookbook

Ingredients
  • 1 tbsp oil
  • 2 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1 tbsp ginger, minced
  • 160 gms ground pork
  • 1 package silken tofu
  • 2 stalks spring onions, sliced
Sauce
  • 2.5 tbsp chilli bean paste (1.5 tbsp)
  • 2 tbsp mirin
  • 1 tbsp miso
  • 1 tbsp oyster sauce
  • 1/2 tbsp soy sauce
  • 1 tsp sesame oil (omitted)
Thickening solution
  • 1tsp corn flour
  • 1/4 cup water
Method
  1. In a large pan or skillet, heat up oil on medium high heat, saute garlic and ginger till fragrant.
  2. Add the meat and break up with a wooden spoon.
  3. When the meat is cooked, add the sauce mixture. Stir to combine and add the tofu. Cook until tofu is heated through. 
  4. Mix gently and try not to mash the tofu too much or dish will become unsightly. 
  5. Pour in the cornstarch solution for sauce to thicken.
  6. Stir in the green onions just before taking it off the heat.
  7. Spoon onto hot rice or serve separately as a side dish.

Recipe - Claypot Loh Shu Fun

Ingredients (Portion for 1 pax)
  • 100-150g loh shu fun
  • 100g minced meat (pork/chicken)
  • 1/2 tsp soy sauce
  • 1 tsp corn flour
  • 2 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1 shallot, sliced
  • 3 meatballs
  • 2 shitake mushrooms, soaked in some water to soften then drain and slice
  • 2 baby corns, sliced
  • A handful of choy sum/bok choy
  • 2 stalks spring onions, sliced
Seasoning
  • 1 tbsp oyster sauce
  • 1 tbsp dark soy sauce
  • 1 tbsp cooking caramel
  • 1 tbsp soy sauce
  • 1 tsp chicken stock granules
  • 1/4 tsp sugar
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp Shaoxing wine
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1 tbsp sambal belacan (optional)
Method
  1. Marinade minced meat with soy sauce, corn flour and a dash of pepper. Set aside.
  2. Wash and drain loh shu fun.  Blanch with some hot water to remove oil then drain it.
  3. Heat up 1 tbsp of oil in the claypot.  
  4. Add in garlic and shallot.  Fry until fragrant.
  5. Add in minced meat and break up the meat with a wooden spoon.
  6. Add in mushroom slices.
  7. Add in loh shu fun and seasonings.  Stir to mix well.
  8. Add in meatballs and baby corns.
  9. Add in water and let it come to a boil.  
  10. Taste and add seasonings if required.
  11. Add in choy sum and mix well.
  12. Crack an egg on top.  At this point, some will turn off the heat, cover the pot and allow the egg to slow cook on its own.  It looks prettier this way, stir the egg in just before eating.  But to be on the safe side, i prefer to mix mine in and continue with the heat for another minute or so.
  13. Garnish with spring onions before serving.

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