Monday, April 30, 2007

Steamed bitter gourd or bittermelon, stuffed with minced pork

Steamed bitter gourd or bittermelon, stuffed with minced pork (serves 4)
- 3 medium sized bitter gourd, washed, seeds removed, cut into chunks, as shown
- 1/3 to 1/2 lbs minced pork
- handful of black fungus, washed and chopped finely
- 2 stalks scallions or handful of cilantro leaves, chopped finely

marinade/seasoning (for the pork):
-1tbsp shaoxing cooking wine
-2tsp dark soy sauce
-1tsp sesame oil
-dashes of pepper
-dashes of salt
-2tsp cornflour

1. To the pork, add black fungus, scallions(or cilantro), mix well
2. Then add the marinade/seasoning to the pork, mix well. Set aside.
3. Meanwhile, core the bitter gourd as shown

4. Scoop up pork and stuff into the hollow of the bitter gourd, as shown.
Note: For excess pork, can just roll them into mini pork balls and steam them together with the stuffed bitter gourd. It will only add more flavor to the gravy. No harm.

5. Steam for 15-20mins
Note: The longer you steam, the softer the bitter gourd becomes, and you get more "gravy"from the moisture in the bitter gourd, and the seasoned pork
Note: To prevent steam condensation on the bitter gourd dish, you can cover the plate of stuffed bitter gourd with a saran wrap before steaming
Note: If you prefer a soup version of this, you could. Just drop the stuffed bitter gourd into a slow-cooker, top with some water/broth and slow-cook as a soup.

Other posts:
Steamed chicken with mushrooms, ginger and spring onions
Tofu with spinach and minced pork soup

Steaming is healthy - let the natural flavors of bitter gourd and lightly seasoned pork infuse. No oil required other the the sesame oil used for seasoning.

Steaming is easy - as easy as slow-cooking. This case, you just need a steamer (I used the traditional wok for steaming), not much attention required after you put the dish into the steamer. Of course, if more than 20-25mins, you need to make sure the water used for steaming does not dry out! And do you realize if you cook it this way, there are lesser plates, and no oily pan to wash ? The plate you place your raw ingredients (i.e uncooked stuffed bitter gourds), is the plate you place into the steamer, and is the plate of food you serve and dig into.

More posts:
Bitter gourd soup
Nyonya Chap Chai - Vegetables Stew or Braised Vegetables

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Sunday, April 29, 2007

Fish kebab or kabob

Sockeye salmon kebab or kabob, with sauted long beans and carrots (serves 2)
Ingredients: (Note: no quantity provided - just base it on what you see from the picture about portions and proportions)
- medium-sized salmon fillets, dab dry with paper towel, season with salt and pepper, cut into chunks, some blanched broccoli, some bell peppers, pineapples (option) ; (for skewer)
- long beans, carrots, some ginger and garlic, pinches of herbs (for saute)

1. Skewer the salmon, broccoli, bell peppers, drizzle some olive oil on the kebab
2. Bake in oven at 395F for about 8-10 mins (Note: Eyeball the baking process to check for white "beads"* appearing on the salmon. Once the white beads* forms, the salmon is cooked. Do adjust the baking time accordingly, depending how thick your salmon fillets or fillet chunks are)
3. Meantime, heat up some oil in a saute pan, fry some crushed ginger and garlic at low heat, then add in the long beans and carrots. Fry lightly for about 5mins, till long beans and carrots are cooked till tender. Add in dried oregano, and mix well
4. Lay them on a plate

5. By this time, the fish kebab is already cooked. Remove from oven, place on bed of vegetables, and eat immediately while warm

This is my antioxidant-rich serving to Sweetnicks ARF/5-a-day.

Other posts:
Fish curry
Grilled fish in banana leaves - otak otak
Pan fried garlic shrimps
Pan fried fish with homemade pesto
Grilled chicken in skewers -satay

Having white "beads" on a baked salmon is normal - but usually only happens when salmon is fully cooked through (errr....over cooked?). It's completely edible. These "beads" that foams up is albumin protein (the same stuff found in egg whites), not fats!

Note: This also has to do with whether the fish was cold from the fridge or was at room temperature before cooking is done. Typically, the colder the salmon to begin with, the more white stuff or "beads" appear.

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Thursday, April 26, 2007

Bittergourd soup

Bittergourd/Bitter Melon/Kerala soup (serves 2)
-1 medium-sized bitter melon; washed, seeds removed then cut into thin strips
-1 egg, whisked
- vegetable stock (or any stock you prefer)
- dried anchovies (option)
- salt, to taste (if you are not using dried anchovies, you can add more salt)

~ can cut into bigger chunks first, scoop out the seeds with a spoon, then cut into thinner strips(julienned)
~ bitter melon is an acquired taste for some, because it is bitter. They are not named without valid reasons. To reduce bitterness, you can add some salt into water, and soak the thin strips in the water
(~5mins). I guess the longer you soak, the less bitter it will be. But I like bitter I just lightly rinse water over the bitter melon that I sprinkled some salt over

1. Boil a pot of water. When boiling, add in dried anchovies(option), then add in bittergourd
2. Since in thin strips, it does not take long for the bittergourd to cook. Approx ~ 10-15mins for the bittergourd to soften (Note: It depends. If you like some crunch to be retained, do not boil it for too long)
3. Salt, to taste
4. When ready to serve, turn off the heat, and add in the egg slowly into the soup, stir slightly

Other soup posts:
Wakame soup
Cream of mushroom soup
Tofu soup
Doubled boiled soup
Cabbage pork ball soup

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Lemon linguine

This is my entry for Presto Pasta Night.

Lemon linguine (appetizer servings, serves 4)
-1/2lbs linguine (if you use angel hair, or thinner pasta, would be even better)
-1tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
-2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
-1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
-1 lemons, zested and juiced
-Handful cilantro, finely chopped
-salt, to taste

1. Cook linguine till al-dente
2. In a small saute pan, add extra-virgin olive oil, garlic and crushed red pepper flakes
3. Add lemon juice and a ladle of the cooking water from the pasta to the garlic and oil mixture in the pan, when the pasta has been cooking for about 5mins
4. Drain pasta, add pasta to pan and turn off heat, add lemon zest and cilantro
5. Toss the pasta well with the sauce, allowing it time to soak up the "juice"

(Note: You can have the option of NOT using the pan. Just toss in the cooked pasta in the mixture of olive oil, garlic, crushed pepper flakes, lemon juice, and cilantro. Can be served cold, even!)

Related pasta posts:
Penne mushroom
Penne beef bolognese
Linguine vongole

Related noodles posts:
Teppanyaki style stir fry udon
Wat dan hor - rice noodles with seafood and egg gravy sauce
Beef kway teow - fried rice noodles with beef

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Friday, April 20, 2007

Thin-Crust Hawaiian Pizza

Thin-Crust Hawaiian Pizza (serves 2-3)
Ingredients: Whole wheat pita bread, sun-dried tomato & basil chicken sausage, pineapples (cubed), tomato paste (Note: this is actually the leftover paste or puree of a can of whole tomatoes; you can use any of your convenient choice of tomato-based paste or sauce); and mozzarella cheese (or any cheese that melts lusciously in mooey-ness and gooey-ness at high temperature. I had some Pepper Jack Cheese and it worked too!)

Refer to slide show here

Edible Flowers of Fruits and Chocolate

Edible Flowers of Fruits and Chocolate
Step 1. Combine 100% cacao unsweetened chocolate with some dark chocolate truffle (half-half ratio) for the melted chocolate. (Note: Melt the chocolate in a heat-proof container/cup/bowl, above a pot of hot, non-simmering/non-boiling water - double boiler method, over the stove top).
Stir chocolate until smooth.

Step 2. Give the strawberries a light rinse and dab dry with paper towel
Step 3. Then just half-dip the strawberries in the deep dark melted chocolate. Pure indulgence, once again. What does it look like?

Step 4. Cut up some kiwis and decorate as shown. What does it look like now?

Other sweet and fruity stuff:
Luscious red strawberries in deep dark chocolate
Snow fungus with gingko and barley
Lychee chicken

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Thursday, April 19, 2007

Easy spicy fried chicken rummettes, drumlets or wings

Easy spicy fried chicken (drummettes, drumlets or wings serves 2)
-6 small chicken drummettes (make 2-3 incisions per drummette for marinating)
-1tsp crushed ginger
-1tbsp curry powder
-1tsp turmeric powder
-1tsp sambal belachan chilli paste
-1tbsp cornflour
-dash of salt
-1tsp brown cane sugar

Related posts:
Lychee chicken - Fruity style
Chicken satay - Skewer style
Basil chicken - Thai style

1. Mix all the ingredients and marinade for one hour(in the fridge).
2. Heat oil to medium-high in a frying pan, deep fry marinated chicken 3-5mins each side.
3. Serve hot to warm

Related posts:
Coriander Chicken -Baba style
Steamed chicken with ginger and spring onions - Pizza style
Braised chicken - Homestyle

Which style do you like ?

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Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Fish curry with naan

Fish curry with naan (serves 2-3)
-4 fish fillets, each fillet cut into halves (The tilapia fillets I use tend to disintegrate while cooking in the curry, so it's best not to cut them into small pieces before adding them into the curry gravy)
- 1 small onion, finely diced
- 12 cherry tomatoes
- 1 tsp crushed garlic
- 2 cups coconut milk
- 1/2 tsp curry powder
- 1/2 tsp turmeric powder
- 1/4 tsp red chili powder
- 1/2 tsp coriander powder
- dashes of black pepper powder
- salt to taste

The burst of spice flavors must have come from the curry powder, turmeric powder, coriander powder, chilli powder (the masala mix)

1. In a pot with 1tbsp cooking oil at low-medium heat, saute the garlic and onions till fragrant and when onions turn translucent. Add curry powder, chili powder, coriander powder, turmeric and black pepper and fry quickly.

2. Add in coconut milk, stirring to mix witht the spices. Allow it to come to a simmer, and then add fish pieces and cherry tomatoes.
3. Cook till till fish is done (about 10mins or so)

4. Serve with steamed rice; or for's a dipping curry for my naan

Related posts:
Assam prawns - Spicy prawns with pineapples and tamarind
Otak Otak - Baked spiced fish paste wrapped in banana leaves
Laksa - Rice noodles in coconut-based curry gravy
Sayur Lodeh - Vegetables in coconut-based curry gravy
Cheat sheet chilli crab - Seafood in spicy gravy

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Monday, April 16, 2007

Cider Jelly Drink/Beverage

Cider Jelly Drink/Beverage

Use the cider juice to make and flavor some jelly. Pour into wide-shaped wine glass to set. Then, use remaining jelly powder to make the "normal" jelly and pour on top of the "hardened" cider layer. Add raisins, bite-size apples, sliced kiwis to the top layer and allow the top layer to set. Allow cool in fridge.
Option: Add in some crushed ice on top of hardened top layer, and pour in a wee bit of cider juice. There, you have a drink-cum-dessert.
Another option: Alternatively, you can use jelly molds to make some fruit-jelly cubes, cut them up to smaller pieces and drop into your cold cider drink. A drink with textures! Very refreshing.

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Mini sausage burger

Mini hot dog, mini sausage burger
Ingredients: sausage (cooked or grilled), raw baby spinach(rinsed and dabbed dry with paper towel) and pita bread. Check ingredients here.

Simple assembling: Slice up the grilled sausage about 3cm(1inch), tear up the pita bread to sizes as shown in picture, and assemble. Secure with toothpick or short bamboo skewers.
Bite size. One bite, no mess!

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Sunday, April 15, 2007

Strawberries coated in Deep Dark Chocolate and Deep Dark Chocolate Stacks

Dark chocolates: antioxidant - flavonoids/flavanols
Strawberries: antioxidant - polyphenols, flavonoids and anthocyanins
Cereals (especially whole-grain-wheat- and oat-based): antioxidants - phenolics

Have a variety of each; and a combination of them like this:

Luscious Red Strawberries coated in Deep Dark Chocolate
Ingredients: strawberries, dark chocolates(at least 70% dark-type), and cereals (Note: remember to keep those remaining crumbs when you finished that pack of cereals. Don't waste! Start accumulating today!)

1. The only time- and effort- worthy step you need here is the melting of the chocolates
(Note: Melt the chocolate in a heat-proof container/cup/bowl, above a pot of hot, non-simmering/non-boiling water - double boiler method, over the stove top. Stir chocolate until smooth, then remove from heat).
2. Combine 100% cacao unsweetened chocolate with some dark chocolate truffle (half-half ratio) for the melted chocolate.
(Note: This was one way to salvage that unsweetened chocolate - by adding another dark (but not 100%, at least 70% will do) chocolate to revive that hint of sweet!)
3. Get ready some of your favorite breakfast cereals
(Note: preferably whole-grain, whole-wheat); and crush them in a Ziploc bag if the cereals are in chucks. Next, give the strawberries a light rinse and dab dry with paper towel.
4. Dip the strawberries in the melted chocolate (whole-dipped or half-dipped, your preference) and when the coated chocolate on the strawberries start to turn less viscous (define as: no-dripping no matter how you hold the strawberry), dip the chocolate-coated strawberries in the cereals and then fridge immediately for cooling and hardening of the chocolate.

This dessert or even snack is an antioxidant rich food(ARF) and it's going to Sweetnicks ARF/5-a-day.

Deep Dark Chocolate Stacks
Of course, you could also make some chocolate stacks using just cereals and remaining chocolate. While chocolate is still in melted stage, stir in the cereals slowly till the cereals get clumped up in chocolate! With a teaspoon, scoop the cereals up (teaspoon size), then fridge immediately.

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Monday, April 09, 2007

Teppanyaki-Style Udon, or Stir-Fry Udon

Teppanyaki-Style Udon, or Stir-Fry Udon (serves 2)
-1 pack fresh udon, 1lb or less; blanched before frying
-6oz, less than 1/2lbs ground beef (substitute with ground turkey or other meats you wish)
-1 small pack buma shimeji mushrooms
-1 piece ginger, small sized, julienned into finger lengths
-2 stalks scallions/spring onions, bias-cut into finger lengths
-black pepper, to taste
-dark soy sauce, to taste

1.Heat oil in pan, and fry all the ingredients EXCEPT the udon. This will take about 5-7mins for all flavors to be released, interact and fuse
2. You can dish up and serve it now with your steamed rice

3. You can add in udon noodles for mix-in and stir fry as a noodle dish

Saturday, April 07, 2007

Kong Bak-Braised Pork Belly Slices and Kong Bak Pau

Kong Bak for the burger challenge -

Can you see the tiny bits of yam?

I thought of Pac-Man all of a sudden. Don't know why!

Kong Bak/Kong Bak Pau - Braised Pork Belly Slices with Yam (serves 2-3)
-1/2lb pork belly
-water for blanching
-6-8 cooked yam slices (~1.5cm width each)

-tbsp dark soya sauce
-1tsp oyster sauce
-1tsp cane sugar
-1tsp tomato ketchup
-1/2tsp white peppercorns
-1/2tsp five spice powder
-1/2tsp salt
-1tsp chinese cooking wine
-4cloves (from 1 bulb) of garlic, peeled and crushed

1. Blanch pork belly in hot boiling water for about 30-45secs. Remove from water and drain
2. Cut the pork belly into 1 to 1.5cm-width slices, and mix in marinade and leave it in the fridge, at least 2 hours or more
3. After marination, add in the yam slices, arranging them in between the marinated pork belly slices, then pour remaining marinade to drench the pork belly slices and yam
4. Steam marinated pork belly slices and yam for 1hr, then transfer them to slow-cooker
5. Cook in slow-cooker on low and continue braising (should take another ~2hrs) till pork belly slices are cooked to soft tenderness, as with the yam. By this time, the kitchen is smelling a whole lot like cooked Kong Bak!

Can you see the disintegrated yam bits on the pork belly slices ?

Notes: The yam acts like a "thickener"...just like what a potato does in stews. If you want your Kong Bak gravy slightly thick(or starchy), you can add in some yam to do the trick. Also, the yam has a hint of sweet that flavors the Kong Bak as well.

Is this the Chinese KB burger?

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Thursday, April 05, 2007

Spinach frittata, spinach omelette

Spinach frittata, spinach omelette
The ingredients are simple - just egg and baby spinach, with salt and pepper to taste.

Steps: Heat oil in frying pan while whisking the egg. Pour the egg onto the pan and let one-side cook on medium heat. Do not turn or disturb the egg for 1-2mins. Add in the spinach, by handfuls, till you feel it's sufficient. You may use a turnover spatula to help you press down the spinach to reduce the volume. It may look heapful but spinach reduces by almost half the amount when cooked, so don't worry by adding in more.

Turn to the other side once the underside of the egg is cooked and lightly browned.

Get your cookie cutter to shape them for breakfast or brunch portions.

Related posts:
Green green vegetables of home - Stir fry long beans and celery
Real spinach, fake fish cake - Stir fry Chinese spinach
Dear okra, don't try to be funny with me - Okra or lady fingers with sambal chilli
Kang Kong's friend is your friend, Kang Kong's enemy is also your friend - Stir fry kang kong or water spinach
Snowing in fall - Stir fry snow peas
Once upon a time - Steamed brussel sprouts

Wednesday, April 04, 2007

Nyonya Chap Chai means Mixed Vegetables, Braised or Stewed

Nyonya Chap Chai - Braised or Stewed Mixed Vegetables (serves 4-6)
- 75g/3oz bean vermicelli (glass or mung bean noodles, tung hoon in hokkien)
- 1 head cabbage; washed and cut into chunky slices
- 8 caps fresh shitake mushrooms caps; cleaned with damp towel, cut into slices
- 5oz black fungus, cut to bite slices
- 1/2 cup dried lily buds (Note: read above for preparation instructions-soaking and knotting)
- 3oz fried beancurd sticks (soaked in water, then cut into finger-lengths)
- 1 tbsp salted soy beans (豆 酱, dou jiang in Chinese)
- 1tsp oyster sauce, to taste
- 1-2 pieces rock sugar (1 piece ~ half size of thumb)
- chicken broth/water

1. Heat up oil in wok, add in salted soy beans, smashing them while frying till fragrant
2. Add in cabbage and mix well for 5mins
3. Add in the rest of the vegetables (mushrooms, black fungus, lily buds, beancurd sticks) and mix well before adding enough water to cover them up. Add oyster sauce to taste and flavor.
4. Simmer on low heat, covered, for 10-15mins till all the vegetables soften

5. Next stir in bean vermicelli (glass or mung bean noodles), simmer for another 5-8mins (Note: vermicelli absorbs a lot of moisture, so you would not want to add this too early or the gravy/sauce would be reduced by too much)
6. Once the ingredients are cooked, dish up and serve. Good with rice or on its own!

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Monday, April 02, 2007

Tom Yum/Tom Yam Fried Rice

Tom Yum/Tom Yam Fried Rice (serves ~4)
-10 medium-size prawns or shrimps
-0.8lbs long beans, cut into thin slices on the bias
-2 fresh red chilli, sliced thinly
-1 stalk lemongrass, use bottom white part
-1tbsp Tom Yum Paste
- some water
(Optional: eggs, whisked and fried as plain omelette, cut into strips for garnish, frozen corn,
edamame beans, thinly sliced jalopeno peppers for that extra spice)

1. Cook rice as per normal
2. Heat some oil in frying pan, saute the prawns/shrimps on both sides till cooked. Dish out and set aside

3. Fry all the long beans, red chilli, jalopeno peppers, corn in the same oil, add Tom Yum Paste and some water(adjust according) and fry for 5-8mins

4. Add in the prawns and mix well. Make sure there is some gravy but not too wet since you do not want the rice to be too soggy

5. Add in the mixture into the rice while in the rice cooker. Mix the rice well with the Tom Yum mixture of long beans, chillis, peppers and shrimps

Note: If you have been following my blog posts, you would have noticed that I usually don't fry the rice in the wok/frying pan since I don't have a big enough wok to allow "all ingredients break loose in the wok", and more importantly, I usually don't cook more rice, intentionally for leftovers. Fried rice is typically easier to do with leftover cold rice. I have more "rice -cooker -style fried rice" featured at the bottom of this post. Easy cooking without sacrificing taste. Still yummy!

7. I want to eat now!

Related rice dishes:
Cabbage Fried Rice with Leftover Roasted Pork(Char Siew)
Curry Tonkatsu Don - Japanese Pork Cutlets with Rice and Curry
Braised Chicken Rice

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Sunday, April 01, 2007

Portobello and shitake mushroom penne

Portobello and shitake mushroom penne (serves 2-3 as main dish; 4-5 as side dish)
-1/2lb whole wheat penne pasta
-3 portobello mushroom caps, wiped clean and sliced
-1/4 pound shitake mushrooms, stems removed and thinly sliced
-2 cloves crushed garlic
-1 shallot, thinly sliced
-1/4 teaspoon five-spice or allspice (eyeball)
-pinches of dried oregano
-1-2tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
-salt and pepper, to taste
-water, or chicken stock

1. Bring water to a boil and salt it for the pasta
2. In a saute/frying pan, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the garlic, shallots, portobellos, shitakes, oregano, allspice and some black pepper
3. Cook 10-12mins till mushrooms are dark and tender. Remove half the mushrooms and place them in a food processor. Add some water/chicken broth to the processor, grind into a thick sauce and add liquid back to the pan. Season with pinches of salt, to taste

5. Drain pasta when al dente and add it to the mushroom sauce to absorb flavor.
6. Serve the pasta over simply grilled portobello (see recipe snippet below)

Recipe snippet of easy grilling portobello: Several hours before cooking, place portobello mushrooms in a large sealable plastic bag. Add some olive oil, enough to coat all mushrooms, with excess of olive oil. Pinches of salt and freshly gound black pepper goes into the bag; then add some minced or crushed garlic. Seal bag and shake. Refrigerate for a few hrs. Before serving - remove the mushrooms from the bags and place on grill for 5mins per side or longer (don't overcook them!). Flip them once every few minutes.

Related posts:
Pasta ala Bak Chor Mee - Chinese,Italian Fusion
Linguine Vongole using Chinese Shaoxing Wine - Chinese,Italian Fusion
Linguine Gamberetto
Chicken Macaroni Soup
Beef and Mushroom Bolognese Penne

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