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Sunday, June 29, 2008

Long Beans Rice 豆角饭

My mom taught me how to do this (conventional rice cooker method), but I improvised it with …. an additional egg… cos there’s always lots of oil left after frying the sausages, and the oil remains quite a lot even after cooking the beans.. So, I soaked up the oil (plus flavours)with a scrambled egg…. and I'm cooking the rice in the microwave this time.

2 cups long beans ( cut into 2cm long, I cut 13 strings of beans)
1 chinese sausage (deskinned, sliced)
1 Tbsp dried shrimp (chopped)
1 egg
2 shallots (thinly sliced)
1 Tbsp oil
1 Tbsp dark soy sauce
1 ½ tsp salt

1 ½ cups rice
2 cups water (depends on the type of rice, but reduce it slightly as long beans release some moisture)

1. Heat wok with oil
2. Saute shallots until golden, dish up and drain off excess oil.
3. With remaining oil in wok, carefully fry Chinese sausage. Be careful not to burn them. When they are cooked, remove and put on a plate.
4. There should be oil in the wok, as sausages release oil when cooked. Use the same oil to sauté dried shrimp until very fragrant.
5. Put in long beans and stir fry for 1 minute or until cooked, but not soft. Put in dark soy sauce and salt. Mix well. Dish up.
6. Pour in egg into the same wok and scramble them (u can omit the egg, but I use the egg as a method to not waste the seasonings and oil.. haha).
7. Put rice and water into a covered casserole.
8. Microwave High 4 minutes, Med 6 minutes. Give rice a stir.
9. Pour in everything (sausages, eggs and long beans) except shallots. Spreading them evenly over rice.
10. Microwave again 2 minutes on high, 8 on medium.
11. Remove from microwave and sprinkle on shallots and mix up everything.
12. The rice is ready to be served.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Silken Tofu with Oyster Sauce 蚝油水豆腐

Ever sang Pease Porridge Hot???
Some like it hot, some like it cold, some like it in the pot, nine days old...

Haha.. this is not going to a 9 day tofu..
It's just that some like the tofu steamed hot, some like it fridge cold.

My mom's side of family likes it cold... and to them, steaming somehow makes the tofu slightly tougher.. Well, as u can see, when u steam tofu..some of its water content is released..which explained their reason.

Silken Tofu with Oyster Sauce Recipe

1 pc Silken Tofu (or smooth tofu, around 300gm)
2 Shallots (thinly sliced)
1 Tbsp dried shrimp (chopped)
2 Tbsp oyster sauce
2 Tbsp oil
Green onions and red chili for garnish

1. Place silken tofu onto a dish
2. Heat wok and put in oil.
3. Saute shallots on low heat until golden and crispy. Dish out. Retain oil.
4. Put in dried shrimp and fry for a minute or until very fragrant. Then add in oyster sauce.
5. Stir for a while and pour sauce over prepared tofu.
6. Sprinkle on crispy shallots.
7. Garnish with some chopped green onions and red chili.

Chicken with Chinese Mushrooms 冬姑木耳鸡

Whenever this dish was cooked at my home (parent’s), the first thing that gets snapped up were the mushrooms and fungi. The chicken gets left behind… which is the other case when I cook this for my hubby. Different family with different taste buds..

Chicken with Chinese Mushrooms Recipe

1 chicken whole leg (cut small)
½ tsp salt

6 dried shitake mushrooms
2-3 pieces of wood ear fungi (mook yee)
2 Tbsp cloud ears fungi (wan yee)

2 inch ginger (smashed with a cleaver)
1 clove garlic (chopped)
2 tbsp oil
1 cup water

2 Tbsp light soy sauce
1 tsp dark soy sauce
½ tsp sugar

¾ tsp cornstarch mixed with ¼ cup water

1. Soak mushrooms and fungi in cold water until they soften. Clean and cut into small pieces. Cloud ears need not be cut, just trim off the ends.
2. Marinate chicken with salt for 15 minutes.
3. Heat wok and put in oil. Saute garlic and ginger until fragrant.
4. Put in chicken and stir fry until meat is browned.
5. Put in 1 cup of water and let simmer for 10 minutes.
6. Put in light and dark soy sauce and sugar.
7. Put in mushrooms and fungi. Simmer for another 5 minutes.
8. When gravy has evaporated to desired amount, put in cornstarch mixture.
9. When gravy has thickened, dish up and serve with rice.

Wood ears and cloud ears will enlarge about triple in size after being soaked.

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Watercress Soup 西洋菜汤

The Chinese boils watercress for soup or for a cooling drink (liang cha). While Westerners use raw watercress for salads and sandwiches.

Watercress in Malaysia is not suitable for use in salads or eaten raw. Because...... they are grown in water that is fertilized by sacks of chicken droppings soaked in the ponds they are grown in. This way... I don't think one will eat raw veg bathed in chicken s**t water.. hehehehe.. lots of bacteria, and they may have a few slugs stuck between the petioles..
But hey.. without those precious stuff from the chickens, u won't get those fat juicy watercress from Camerons..

Watercress Soup recipe
300gm soup bones or ribs
250 gm watercress
6 red dates, pitted
10 white peppercorns, crushed
1 tsp salt
1.5L water

1. Trim leaves and tip off the main stem of the water cress. Keep them seperately.
2. Scald soup bones or ribs.
3. Boil 1.5L water and put in the stems, bones, red dates and peppercorn and simmer on med low heat.
4. After and hour and a half of simmering, remove stems and put in the leaves and tips of watercress.
5. Simmer for another 30-45 minutes and season with salt.

Usually my grandaunt will throw the stems away after simmering, saying that they are tough to be chewed. But if I'm around, she'll leave them for me to eat.

I usually see other people cutting the water cress into 2 inches length and putting the whole watercress stems in to boil together with the leaves... hehehe.. but not the way my grandaunt taught me.. she just retained the leaves and tips to be put in at a later stage .

Friday, June 20, 2008

Sweet and Sour Fish 茄汁鱼

Black pomfret, is the usual fish of choice for most of my friends’ mothers to make this dish, and we usually call it, Tomato Sauce Fish (Keh Jup Yue). Malaysian style is done with a hint of chili in it. One of my favourite childhood dishes.

I used sole (ikan sebelah, or jor hou yue-left mouth fish) for this. It goes wonderfully well with this method of cooking.

Sweet and Sour Fish Recipe

1 piece of sole (abt the size of my palm)
½ tsp salt
1 Tbsp corn starch
½ cup cooking oil

1 red onion (halved and sliced)
1 red chili (seeded and cut into strips)
1 red tomato, cut into wedges

3 Tbsp tomato ketchup
2 Tbsp chili sauce (maggi type)
1 Tbsp sugar
1/3 tsp salt
3/4 cup water

1. Run knife across the body of fish to create cuts into flesh, but not through the bone.
2. Marinate fish with salt for 10 minutes.
3. Rub cornstarch onto fish.
4. Heat oil in wok and pan fry fish until golden. Dish up.
5. Discard some of the oil and retain about 1-2 tbsp of oil.
6. Saute red onion and chili until fragrant and soft.
7. Mix A together and pour into wok. Bring to a boil. Put in tomato wedges. If more gravy is desired, add more water and some cornstarch.
8. Put fish back in for 10 seconds each side to soak up some gravy. Dish up and serve.

Saturday, June 14, 2008

Steamed Pandan Cup Cakes

My Braun Multimix of 12 years said good bye to me recently... so, making cakes that needs lots of whipping up has to be put off until I get a new good mixer..

I made this based on my previous post of Steamed Cheese Cake.

Steamed Pandan Cup Cake Recipe

Dry ingredients

(A) 200gm cake flour
¼ tsp salt
4 tsp baking powder

80gm sugar

Wet Ingredients
100ml pandan juice (from 3 blades of pandan leaves)
100ml coconut milk
2 eggs
20gm melted butter

1. Sift A.
2. Mix sugar with (A)
3. Beat eggs and combine all wet ingredients.
4. Combine wet and dry ingredients well.
5. Spoon into paper lined cups until 2/3 full.
6. Steam on high heat for 15 minutes.

10 cup cakes

Thursday, June 5, 2008

Bak Chang (Savoury Rice Dumplings) 咸肉粽

All rice dumplings in Mandarin are called Zongzi.

I'm making savoury meat dumplings. Hokkiens call it Bak Chang, Cantonese call it Harm Yook Joong... other dialects.. no idea
I dunno whether this is cantonese style, hokkien or hakka...
But u can check the differences here at this prominent food site in Malaysia
My grandaunt came from Panyu, Guangdong province made white coloured savoury joongs, with pork, mung beans and mushrooms as fillings. She doens't put salty egg due to $$$, she finds it wasteful to throw away the whites. Hers was damn good, but I never knew how to do the seasoning... No fried shallots and stuff.. but very fragrant and yummy.
My maternal grandma of Kwongsi descent, made white joongs with soaked black eye peas and pork. She added sodium benzoate to hers and mom said it lasted for weeks w/o referigeration.
When I was in Form 6, during duan wu jie season, a bunch of us will bring a few joongs and a spoon. When it's time for break, we'll open up our joongs, each holding a spoon, will be digging into each other's parcels. It's such fun... The way our mothers did the joongs are quite similiar, except for Yoke Waie's (with peanuts, loads of garlic pips and pork)
This is the way I make it.. with marinated pork, precooked black eye peas, fried garlic pips, shitake mushrooms, chestnuts, salted egg yolks and of course, fragrant lightly fried glutinous rice. The fried garlic pips thingy came from eating Yoke Waie's mother's joongs..

It differs a bit from joongs made from other parts of Malaysia, the black eye peas are precooked and seasoned.... It's the way it's done in Kampar, Ipoh and other towns nearby.. but not Kuala Kangsar (which happens to be just 1/2 hr from Ipoh)
My Step by Step Bak Zhang recipe

Main ingredients to buy:

1 kg pork belly
50 pcs dried chestnuts
25 salted duck eggs
Dried Shitake Mushrooms
5 bulbs of garlic
600gm black eye peas
100 gm dried shrimp
300gm shallots
2kg glutinous rice


Marinated Pork Belly
Cut pork belly (w/o skin) into 50+ pieces
Add in 2 tsp salt, 2 Tbsp sugar, 2 Tbsp dark soy sauce(depends on how dark the sauce is), 2 Tbsp light soy sauce, 1 Tbsp 5 spice powder.
Mix well and marinate in the fridge for at least 8 hours, best for 2-3 days.

Black Eye Peas
Soak peas overnight. Drain.
Chop finely 3/4 cup shallots
Wash dried shirmp.
Heat a heavy bottomed pot and put in 3/4 cup oil.
Saute shallots until almost golden, add in dried shrimps and fry until very fragrant.
Put in black eye peas and fry for a while.
Put in water enough to cover peas and put in 2 Tbsp sugar, 1 1/2 Tbsp salt (adjust accordingly, dried shrimpsmay have various degrees of saltiness), 4 Tbsp light soy sauce, 1/2 tsp pepper powder.
Simmer until 90% dry and peas are soft.
Let cool down a bit.

Soak chestnuts the night before.
By using a sharp slim object (a small knife or skewer), remove membrane bits in slits.

Salted duck eggs
Clean egg shells.
Seperate yolks from whites.
Retain only yolks and cut into halves.

Dried Shitake Mushrooms (50 portions)
Soak mushrooms and prepare 50 pieces of it.
If mushroom is about the size of an oreo, soaking 25 will be enough. If dried mushrooms are as big as a marie biscuit, 13 mushrooms will be sufficient.

Peel pips of garlic carefully.
Wash and dry garlic.
Fry in oil until golden. You may do this using the oil to fry the rice.

Savoury Glutinous Rice
Soak Rice for at least 2 hours.
Drain rice in a big colander.
Finely chop 1 cup shallots and 2 pips of garlic.
Heat wok and put in 1 cup cooking oil. (at this point u may fry the whole garlic pips first)
Saute chopped shallots and chopped garlic until fragrant and 90% golden. Put in 2 Tbsp salt.
Put in drained rice and mix it evenly with the fragrant oil.
Add in 4 Tbsp light soy sauce and 2 Tbsp dark soy sauce.
Continue to fry rice until slightly sticky.

Mix rice with black eye peas (I prefer it this way to avoid having more of either at the end)

Fold bamboo leave into a cone.

Put in 1 Tbsp of rice pea mixture. Use spoon to lightly press.

Put in 1 pc mushroom, 1 pc marinated por, 1 pc chestnut, 1 fried garlic pip, and 1/2 egg yolk.

Top up with 2 Tbsp rice pea mixture. Using hands to firmly pack rice.

Fold in the bamboo leaves.

Tie with soaked grass strands or rafia strings.

Prepare all dumplings.

Cook in boiling water for 2 hours and remove from water inmmediately while still hot and hang up to air dry for 1 hour.

Yummy, yummy, yummy!! My hubby eats 2 at one go... minimum..

Video on how to wrap (updated 6/6/13)

Zongzi (粽子)

Red Bean Paste Rice Dumplings (Hong Dau Gan Sui Joong) 红豆鹵水粽

It's near Duan Wu Jie again...
I first learnt to make Gan Sui Joong when I was 16... and they were hard and stuck to every bit of the bamboo leaves...

Then my mum asked a "professional"... he told us..... "When the dumplings are cooked, leave them in the water for at least 4 hours, then hang to air dry. This way, u'll get soft dumplings."

My MIL asked me why my Gan Sui Joongs were not bouncy..... To make them bouncy... just add Boric Acid/Borax (pang sar), a type of additive for many types of comercially prepared foods and it can also make fishballs bouncy. My mom told me that my maternal grandmother used to put this into all her zongzi and they lasted for weeks w/o referigeration.

Up to u then to put or not to put, but I'd rather sacrifice the bounciness.... Even the "professional" said.. "Aiya, a bit of pang sar won't kill you la, if not, the gan sui joong will not be nice"

I only made Gan Sui Joong with fillings since last year.. requested by dear hubby..

1st attempt-2007.. soaked the red beans overnight.. and I tried steaming them... 3 hours!! Kill me...

2008.... I used my mom's pressure cooker to cook the beans.. 15 minutes of cooking after soaking overnight...but later have to reduce over fire uncovered.. another 20 minutes..but, it's nothing to be compared to steaming for 3 hours!!

So, here's how I did it, step by step

Red Beans Filling
400gm red beans (soaked overnight)
250gm sugar (adjust to ur preference, but have to be sweeter because they will loose some of their sweetness after boiling in the dumpling)
Cook beans either by steaming or boiling until soft. Add in sugar, mix well.

1 kg glutinous rice (soaked overnight, or at least 2 hours)
4 Tbsp Lye water (gan sui)
Mix rice with lye water until rice turns yellowish.

50 pieces of softened bamboo leaves
Enough grass or rafia strands tied with a hanging knot.

AssemblyHang grass strands or rafia strings on a strong hook.
Shape bamboo leave into a cone.

Put in 1 tsp rice.

Put in 2 tsp red bean paste.

Cover with 2 tsp rice.

Wrap up. Make sure rice is not compact with space left for expansion. (method below)Tie with soaked grass strands or rafia string.

Method to wrap up

4 pretty dumplings all tied up on 2 grass strands. Gan Sui Joong are rather small, so, one strand can tie up 2

CookingPut all dumplings into a big pot and cover with water.
Boil for 2 hours and turn off the heat.
Leave dumplings in water for at least 4 hours. This is best done before u sleep, so that u can leave them overnight in the water.
The next day take out dumplings and hang up to air dry for an hour. If the wrapping leaf is too dry, the dumpling will stick to the leaf.

Video on how to wrap (updated 6/6/13)

Zongzi (粽子)


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