This is the Ho Chi Minh mausoleum ...... the first stop on arrival at Hanoi on 23rd Dec., temperature was around 15 deg C at about 10.00 am. There was security check at the entrance before we were allowed in to view the embalmed body of Ho Chi Minh.
We had a sumptuous reunion dinner at Sun Lee How Fook on 'Dong Zhi'. It was a warm and joyful reunion as this was the first time that all my 3 children were back together for a short holiday. I couldn't post this earlier as we had to go down to Kuala Lumpur very early next morning to join a tour to Hanoi.
Today is 'Winter Solstice' festival or 'Dong Zhi' and making and eating Tang Yuan/Tong Yuen in Cantonese, or glutinous rice balls, which symbolises reunion is customary. In Chinese culture, by eating Tong Yuan, you welcome in the winter and become 1 year older. Also families would gather for a sumptous dinner, celebrating the arrival of winter and the lengthening of days. According to Chinese custom, every year on 'Dong Zhi' people make these Tong Yuen as an offering to Buddha and/or their ancestors. Traditionally, Tong Yuen are just plain colourful glutinous rice balls but nowadays they are readily available with peanut, red bean paste and black sesame fillings. Personally, I still prefer the authentic plain ones.
Snow Fungus, 'Suet yee' in Cantonese ...... Tremella fuciformis and other names like Silver Tree, ear fungus, white muer, are wobbly fungus commonly found on various types of trees especially in Asian countries and other warmer climates worldwide. The name is probably derived from its white pale colour and more or less ball shape.
There are 2 types of this edible fungus, one is crunchy and the other is jelly-like, a 'poor' man's substitute of Birds Nest! The superior quality is light yellowish. It's tasteless, almost transparent, enjoyed for its jelly-like texture in savoury soups or desserts and also for its supposed medicinal benefits. Snow fungus contains iron, vitamin C, calcium, phospherous and the gum like proten in it is especially nourishing to the body. It's supposed to lower cholesterol, fight inflammation, cure dry cough, may slow the aging process, helps strengthen the respiratory system and help prevent cold. A word of caution, take it befor…
Bok Choy is a member of the cabbage family, sometimes referred to as 'Pak Choy', is low in calories, fat but high in calcium, potassium, vitamin C and A. There are 2 varieties of Bok Choy, large and small, the larger one being 10m inches in length while the 'baby bok choy' being 6 inches long and some may have small yellow flowers too. There's also the dehydrated Bok Choy, aka 'Choy Kon' in Cantonese, which is commonly used in soup but I personally prefer to make soup with fresh bok choy. The dehydrated type takes a longer time to boil to bring out the flavour, while the fresh one is best cooked for a shorter period of time in order to retain its firm, crunchy texture.
Made this simple pie, sometimes referred to as a 'peasant dish' ..... easy, just pile up mashed potatoes over a bed of cooked meat and vegetables, leftovers also can be put to good use. But, mine is not from leftover meat, or leftover mashed potatoes, all freshly cooked specially for this pie, and with a touch of Oriental flavour.
Ipoh Bean Sprouts Chicken ....... Ipoh, the capital of Perak, a northern state in peninsular Malaysia is famous for its food. Salt baked chicken/duck, Ipoh white coffee, Gunung Rapat Heong Paeng, kaya puff , Tau Foo Far and the most well known is the 'Kai See Sar Hor Fun' aka Rice noodles with shredded chicken.
Another novelty dish is the famous Bean Sprout Chicken with Hor Fun or popularly known as 'Ngah Choy Kai'..........
Made this for dinner recently ......... Pan seared Mackerel aka Ikan Tenggiri with Teriyaki marinade. In Cantonese, this is called 'Kau Yu'. Very simple and quick to make, with a minimum of ingredients and olive oil resulting in a healthy, light and nourishing meal.
Cooked this Yam dish recently ...... the meat has assumed the colour of the yam, so it's pretty difficult to distinguish the meat from the yam pieces, but nonetheless, this is a delicious dish, goes well with rice.
Double boiling is slow cooking ........ means to put a soup pot or any covered ceramic or steel pot inside a bigger pot, immerse in boiling water, and let the soup cook at a lower temperature. Hence the soup is cooked from heat generated from the boiling water and not from direct heat source.
Double boiling lets the soup ingredients slowly release their nutrients into the soup, thus making it tasty and wholesome. It's a long cooking process, roughly averaging 2 to 4 hours. The tip is not to open the cover to check on the soup as it'll bring down the temperature and affect the cooking process. The plus point is there's little evaporation and the soup will not boil over. The only thing is to monitor that there's enough water in the bigger pot and not let it run dry. Of course, nowadays, the slow cooker is another alternative to double boiling, saves the hassle of checking the water level.
Fish is best eaten steamed as it retains all the natural sweetness of the fish, more so if it's fresh. Steaming time is important. I normally steam my fish for 8 minutes, both for fillet or whole fish, but if the fish is much bigger, another minute or two will suffice. Over steamed fish is rough, tough and not tender and silky.
steamed garoupa in the steamer, ready to be served on the table
fish is done when the eyes pop out ....... mmm.... the cheeks are the best part of the fish, chewy
and for those who love to eat fish, they will say that the best part of the fish is the belly .......
Recipe for Steamed Garoupa
Ingredients 350 gm Garoupa 10 gm young ginger, chopped Salt and Light Soya sauce to taste Olive oil and pepper
Garnishing Spring onions, chopped Sprigs of Parsley
Preparation Wash and clean the fish of scales Lighly make 2 diagonal slits on the fish Season it with some sea salt, chopped ginger, inside out Add in 2 Tbsp of water And 2 Tsp of light soya sauce Steam under rapidly boiling …
This cake is suitable for morning coffee or afternoon teas, or serve warm for dessert. Even after being baked, the apples are still crunchy and yummy. This not too sweet cake can keep for 2 days.
The apples are peeled, quartered and cored, cut into thin slices but not all the way through and arranged on the batter, cored side down. Sprinkle with some brown sugar and cinnamon as soon as the cake comes out of the oven.
mmmm...... isn't it lovely
Recipe for German Apple Cake
Ingredients 120 gm Butter/Margarine4 oz Caster sugar8 oz Self-raising flour2 eggs1/2 cup milk/soymilk3 medium green apples, peeled, quartered and cored1/2 Teasp vanillaCinnamon and Brown sugar for sprinkling on top of the cakeMethod Cream butter with sugar till light, fluffy and thickAdd in eggs one at a time and beat well.Fold in sifted flour, alternating with soymilk, start with flour and end with flour.Spread batter over bottom of slightly greased and floured 21 cm, round springform tin.Cut quartered apples int…
Yam, a tuber, creamy or firm when cooked, has an earthy, hardy taste and usually a minimal amount of sweetness. It's a good source of potassium, a mineral that helps to control blood pressure, manganese, carbohydrates, fibre and vitamin C, B1 and B6. A high intake of vitamin B6 has been shown to reduce the incidence of heart disease. Also vitamin B6 has been a popular supplement with respect to premenstrual syndrome (PMS) in women, especially in conjunction with the depression that can be triggered by PMS. Being rich in fibre, yam fills you up without filling your hips and waistline! Cooked this one pot meal recently and I love yam, cooked in whatever form, including 'Poi' ... a Hawaiian word for the primary Polynesian staple food made from yam/taro. Poi is produced by mashing up the cooked yam to a highly viscous fluid. Water is added during mashing and again just before eating, to achieve a desired consistency. It's best eaten with fingers and scooping up the p…
Tofu ...... a solid form of beancurd is one of the healthiest foods that can be included in our diet. Just as cheese is derived from milk, tofu is derived from soybean milk and it was first made in China about 2,500 years ago.
Tofu is low in calories, high in protein and B vitamins, contains iron and no saturated fat. This makes it an excellent substitute for meat in many vegetarian recipes. The calcium in tofu contributes to the prevention of osteoporosis. An additional benefit of tofu is that it's extremely easy to digest, especially for the elderly and young children because the soybean's fibre is removed during the manufacturing process. It also lowers the 'bad' LDL cholesterol level, rich in isoflavones, which will reduce the risk of breast and prostate cancer.
They come in different textures, silkier or softer ones more suitable for soups while the hard or firm variety can be stir-fried, cubed or grilled.
rather bland on its own, but it has the ability of abso…
This is yet another one dish meal, Hakka Mee/Hakka Noodles. These noodles are quite similar to Won Ton Noodles, except that they have less lye water and the noodles are a bit flat and thicker. They're served with bean sprouts with a generous serving of minced meat sauce.
the noodles, ........... need to loosen them up before cooking
serve with chilli sauce topped with chopped garlic ..... that will do the trick ..... yummy!
Recipe for Hakka Mee aka Hakka Noodles
Ingredients 180 gm Minced Pork 60 gm Garlic - chopped 200 gm Bean Sprouts 4 dried Chinese mushrooms - soaked and diced 3/4 cup water 1 Tsp cornflour + 3 Tbsp of water 3 servings of Hakka noodles Oil for frying. Garnishing - Chopped spring onions
Seasoning for minced pork 1/2 Tsp Salt 1 Tsp sugar 1 Tbsp Fish sauce 1 Tsp dark soya sauce A dash of pepper
Preparation Saute the chopped garlic with 1 Tbsp oil, fry till fragrant Add in the seasoned minced pork, diced mushrooms, stir-fry Add in the water, simmer Once the meat is cooked, thicken…
Wood ear fungus or 'Muk Yi', does resemble an ear, and they grow on the trunks and barks of mostly dead trees. They are a good source of nutrients, full of vitamins, low in calories and most important, inexpensive. Besides having medicinal benefits and lowering cholesterol, the fungus also acts to prevent blood clotting, which is therefore a must have for mothers in confinement after child birth.
The fungus is flavourless, has a slightly crunchy, rubbery texture which is retained even after cooking. It is favoured in Chinese cuisine, in soups, stuffings or stir-fries. Adding wood ears to meat dishes enhance the flavour as they absorb the liquid in which they are cooked, taking on the taste of the other ingredients.
dried Wood ear fungus ...... wash, soak for about 10 mins., then rinse, soak again for another 1/2 an hour till they puff up in size. Trim off the hard parts and slice.
True to its name, these cookies are really crispy and crunchy. Have them with coffee, tea or just munching in front of the TV ..... not to worry, almonds are healthy nuts!
Recipe for Almond Crisps
Ingredients 4 oz Butter/Margarine3 oz Caster Sugar5 oz Self-Raising Flour - sifted1 egg yolk3 oz nibbed Almonds1/4 Tsp VanillaMethod Cream together butter and sugar till light and fluffy.Add in the egg yolk, vanilla, followed by the sifted self-raising flour. Mix into a soft dough.Form dough into a log shape, cut into 24 equal slices. Shape into rounds and coat with the nibbed almonds.Place about 1 inch apart on the baking sheets.Bake in preheated oven at 180 deg C for about 20 minutes or till golden brown.Cool completely on a wire rack before storing in cookie jar.Note If dough is too soft to handle, chill it in the fridge for about 1/2 an hour or until it's firm and not sticky.
The Wolfberry fruit is a red-orange berry, part of the tomato and chilli pepper family. Also known as Goji or Chinese Wolfberries, they are grown in the north west part of China. Good quality wolfberries has a natural red colour, is in good shape and do not stick together. They are mostly sold in dried form, usually consumed after cooking or chewed like raisins. The Chinese use them in dishes, soups or boiled as a tea. The berries are believed to be high in antioxidants, calcium, iron, zinc and vitamins B1, B6, C and E. They can help reduce the risk of kidney and liver conditions, strengthen teeth and bones, relieve certain eye conditions like cataract, retinopathy and help slow down the process of premature aging. Wolfberry is not for treating diseases, instead its main health benefit is to nourish our body and the following soup recipe is indeed refreshing and nourishing.
wolfberries or goji, bok choy, beancurd sheet and chicken stock make up this nourishing soup
A simple dish of chicken fillet with sweet beans, red capsicum and carrots.... stir fry. Quick and easy to whip up for lunch or dinner, goes very well with white rice.
colourful enough to whet the appetite ........
Recipe for Stir fry chicken fillet with sweet bean
Ingredients 180 gm Chicken fillet - sliced 80 gm Red Capsicum - cut 150 gm Sweet Beans 100 gm Carrots - sliced 3 pips Garlic - chopped 1 Tsp Cornflour mixed with 3 Tbsp water 2 Tsp Shaoxing Wine Oil for frying Salt to taste
Seasoning for Chicken fillet 1 Tsp Oyster sauce 1 Tsp Sugar 1 Tsp Sesame Oil 1/2 Tsp Salt Dash of Pepper
Preparation Saute the chopped garlic with 1.1/2 Tbsp oil till fragrant Toss in the seasoned chicken fillet, stir fry When the fillet is more or less cooked toss in the carrots, sweet beans and red capsicum Sprinkle with some water if the dish is dry Thicken the gravy with cornflour mixture Add salt to taste, turn off heat Add in 2 Tsp Shaoxing wine Dish out and serve hot