Sunday, November 29, 2009

Double Boiled Herbal Chicken Soup



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.

continue reading "Double Boiled Herbal Chicken Soup"

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Steamed Egg Custard




Steamed egg custard, Chinese style aka 'Ton Kai Tan' is one dessert that I'm extremely fond of.  Simple steamed egg custard, not too sweet, can be eaten warm or chilled  When it's warm, it's soft and smooth, once chilled, it's a  bit firm but just as delectable.

I remember that when I was little, the hawkers used to carry a pole on their shoulders and had a basket at each end and in each basket were  his products and other paraphernalia used for his sale.  The egg custards were sold warm as there was a small charcoal fire beneath the bowls of egg custard.

Eggs used to be a 'forbidden' food because the egg yolks have cholesterol in them and consuming them will raise cholesterol levels in our blood as well.  Now studies have shown that this theory is seriously flawed.  Eggs are a great source of protein and full vitamins A, B, C, D, E and K as well as iron, zinc and antioxidants.





see the marks where the knife has been inserted to test the custard





see the mini pandan/screwpine leaves, they are homegrown, don't misjudge them, tiny ones are more fragrant than those big fat ones





oops, better  snap another picture before the whole thing disappears into my tummy






Recipe for Steamed Egg Custard

Ingredients
3 eggs
320 ml water
60 gm rock sugar
3 to 4 slices young ginger
3 or 4 screwpine/pandan leaves

Preparation
Boil the water with the rock sugar, ginger slices and
pandan leaves till sugar dissolves
Let the syrup cool for about 10 mins.
Meanwhile, heat up a steamer,
once the water boils, lower to medium heat
Lightly beat the eggs and
add in the warm syrup, mix well
Strain the egg mixture into ramekins
Remove any foam from the mixture
Cover the ramekins with a piece of foil,
place them in the steamer
Steam over medium heat for about
20 to 25 minutes till custard is set
To test whether the custard is done,
insert a thin knife into the custard
The knife should come out clean.
Can be served warm or chilled





mmmm ....... heavenly, 'forbidden' food no more!

continue reading "Steamed Egg Custard"

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Steamed Garoupa




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 water for about 8 minutes
Garnish with the chopped spring onions,
parsley, a dash of pepper
Drizzle in 2 Tsp olive oil
Serve hot with rice
continue reading "Steamed Garoupa"

Monday, November 23, 2009

German Apple Cake



 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/Margarine
  • 4 oz Caster sugar
  • 8 oz Self-raising flour
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 cup milk/soymilk
  • 3 medium green apples, peeled, quartered and cored
  • 1/2  Teasp vanilla
  • Cinnamon and Brown sugar for sprinkling on top of the cake
Method
  1. Cream butter with sugar till light, fluffy and thick
  2. Add in eggs one at a time and beat well.
  3. Fold in sifted flour, alternating with soymilk, start with flour and end with flour.
  4. Spread batter over bottom of slightly greased and floured 21 cm, round springform tin.
  5. Cut quartered apples into thin slices, but not all the way through.  Place them cored side down on the batter.
  6. Bake in a preheated oven @ 180 deg C for about 1 hour or 1 hr. 5 mins.  Test with skewer till it comes out clean.
  7. Sprinkle some cinnamon and brown sugar on the cake as soon as it comes out of the oven.
  8. Leave on wire rack to cool.
Note
1.  Alternatively, you can sprinkle the cinnamon and brown sugar on the cake just before putting it into the oven.
2.  To fit a 22 cm springform pan, use a 3 egg recipe.




Also view
Apple Walnut Yoghurt Cake
continue reading "German Apple Cake"

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Yam Rice aka Wu Tau Farn




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 poi with 2 fingers is considered the best poi.









the yam and meat mixture on top of the rice, cooked, ready to be mixed and served






Recipe for Yam Rice aka Wu Tau Farn


Ingredients
250 gm Yam/Taro, cut into cubes
6 dried mushrooms, soaked and diced
150 gm chicken/pork, diced
25 gm dried shrimps, washed and drained
6 shallots, sliced
4 Tbsp oil
1 cup Taj Mahal Herba Ponni rice
3.1/4 cups water

Seasoning for the meat
1 Tbsp oyster sauce
2 Tsp light soya sauce
1 Tsp sesame oil
1 Tsp dark soya sauce
1 Tsp sugar
1/2 Tsp salt
a dash of pepper

Garnishing
Chopped spring onions
Shallot crisps
Dash of pepper
Drizzle of sesame oil

Preparation
Heat up the wok with the  4 Tbsp of oil
Lightly fry the shallots till crispy, dish out and drain
Add in the diced yam, stir-fry a while
dish out, set aside
Fry the dried shrimps for a while
Add in the diced mushrooms and meat
Toss in the prefried yam cubes
Add in 4 Tbsp water, dish out, set aside
Wash and cook rice with 3.1/4 cups water in rice cooker
After about 10 mins., pour in the yam and meat mixture
on top of the rice,  continue to cook
After the rice has been cooked 
let it rest in 'Keep Warm' mode for about 10 mins
Mix up the rice and add in soya sauce or salt to taste
Drizzle in some sesame oil
Dish out into a bowl, garnish with chopped spring onions
shallot crisps and a dash of pepper
Serve hot


Some notes on Taj Mahal Herba Ponni Rice 
This rice is from South India, planted on river banks with organic fertilisers
supposed to be cholesterol free and contains phytosterol
(active antioxidant)
This rice absorbs more water and increases in bulk when cooked
1 cup gives 4 servings
Ratio of water is 3 times to 1 cup of rice



continue reading "Yam Rice aka Wu Tau Farn"

Friday, November 20, 2009

Steamed Tofu with Fish Paste





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 absorbing the flavours of other ingredients, in this case, the fish paste and sauces .......... delicious with rice


Recipe for Steamed Tofu with Fish Paste

Ingredients
1 block soft tofu, about 340 gm
75 gm fish paste
2  Tsp cornflour
1/2  Tsp salt
1/4  Tsp sugar
1  Tsp oyster sauce
Dash of pepper

Garnishing
Spring onions  - chopped
A sprinkling of shallot crisps
Cut chilly
A dash of pepper

Preparation
Mash the tofu, add in the fish paste, mix well
Add in the cornflour, salt, sugar, oyster sauce and pepper
mix thoroughly
Steam under rapidly boiling water
for about 5 to 6 minutes
Garnish with spring onions, shallot crisps, chilly and pepper
Drizzle in some light soya sauce
Serve hot with rice
continue reading "Steamed Tofu with Fish Paste"

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Hakka Mee aka Hakka Noodles




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 the gravy
with the cornflour mixture, set aside
In a pot of boiling water, blanch the bean sprouts
dish out, drain, set aside
Bring the water to the boil again
loosen the noodles, add into the boiling water
stirring all the time for about 2 minutes
Dish out in strainer, rinse under running water
return to the boiling water, keep stirring
noodles are cooked once they are translucent
Transfer the noodles onto a serving plate
Add in 1 Tbsp of fish sauce, some bean sprouts, mix well
Top up with a generous serving of minced meat and mushrooms
Garnish with chopped spring onions
Add a dash of pepper
Serve with chilli sauce and chopped garlic





continue reading "Hakka Mee aka Hakka Noodles"

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Stir-fry chicken with wood ear fungus



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.












a very suitable dish for mothers in confinement



Recipe for stir-fry chicken with wood ear fungus

Ingredients
350 gm free range chicken, cut into bite size
10  gm Wood ears - soaked till double in size, slice
10  gm young ginger  - sliced
3/4 cup water
1 Tbsp Sesame Oil  - for frying
1  Tsp Cornflour mixed with 2 Tbsp water
Salt to taste

Seasoning for the chicken
1  Tsp Oyster sauce
1  Tsp Sesame oil
1  Tsp Light Soya sauce
1 /2  Tsp Dark Soya sauce
1/4  Tsp sugar
1/4  Tsp salt

Preparation
Saute the young ginger with the sesame oil
add in the chicken pieces, fry for a while
Add in the 3/4 cup water, simmer for a while
toss in the wood ear fungus, stir-fry
Once the chicken is cooked
thicken the gravy with the cornflour mixture
Add salt to taste, dish up
Serve




continue reading "Stir-fry chicken with wood ear fungus"

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Almond Crisps



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/Margarine
  • 3 oz Caster Sugar
  • 5 oz Self-Raising Flour - sifted
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 3 oz nibbed Almonds
  • 1/4  Tsp Vanilla
Method
  1. Cream together butter and sugar till light and fluffy.
  2. Add in the egg yolk, vanilla, followed by the sifted self-raising flour.  Mix into a soft dough.
  3. Form dough into a log shape, cut into 24 equal slices.  Shape into rounds and coat with the nibbed almonds.
  4. Place about 1 inch apart on the baking sheets.
  5. Bake in preheated oven at 180 deg C for about 20 minutes or till golden brown.
  6. 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.
continue reading "Almond Crisps"

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Bok Choy and Wolfberry Soup



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





Recipe for Bok Choy and Wolfberry Soup aka 'Seong Tong Lye Pak'

Ingredients
250 gm Chicken frame
250 gm Lye Pak Choy
10 gm wolfberries - washed and set aside
120 gm Beancurd sheet
5 cups water
Salt to taste

Preparation
Boil the chicken frame with 5 cups of water
for about 1 hour, to make stock
Soak the beancurd sheets for a while
Cut into 2.1/2 inch lengths
Add into the soup when it's boiling
Also add in the pak choy
Cook the beancurd sheets till soft
but not disintegrated
The vegetable needs to be only threequarters cooked
Add salt to taste
Turn off heat
Toss in the washed wolfberries
Dish out into a bowl
Serve hot


Note :  Get the beancurd sheets for soup and not for 'tong sui', dessert.
            Beancurd sheets for 'tong sui' tend to disintegrate easily.

If wolfberries are boiled, they will taste sour,
so add them in after the heat is turned off.


continue reading "Bok Choy and Wolfberry Soup"

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Stir fry chicken fillet with sweet bean





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



continue reading "Stir fry chicken fillet with sweet bean"

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Mango Cake



When I saw Elin's Dimply Mango Cake post in her blog, I told myself that I must try it  as mango is also one of my favourite fruits.  However, I tweaked it a bit, reduced the sugar, butter and the end result is also a yummy cake, especially  the delicious mango flavour.  It's quite a unique combination, have not seen this cake being sold commercially.  Hats off to Elin and thanks for sharing!



arranging the mango slices on the cake takes a bit of effort ......








the yellow bits are  the mashed  mango which certainly enhance the flavour of the cake





Recipe for Mango Cake


Ingredients
  • 6 oz Plain Flour
  • 2  Tsp Baking Powder
  • 1/4  Tsp Salt
  • 60 gm Butter/Margarine
  • 4  oz Brown Sugar
  • 2  eggs
  • 1/3 cup Canola Oil
  • 1.1/2  Tsp vanilla
  • 3 oz mashed mango
  • Mango slices from about  2 medium size mangoes
Method
  1. Sift the plain flour with the baking powder, salt, set aside.
  2. Beat butter and sugar till light, thick and creamy.
  3. Add in the eggs, one at a time.
  4. Slowly add in the oil, vanilla, mix well.
  5. On low speed, add in the mashed mangoes.
  6. Fold in the sifted flour and mix till fully incorporated.
  7. Pour batter into a greased and floured 8 inch round springform pan.
  8. Arrange the mango slices onto the cake.
  9. Bake in preheated oven @ 180 deg C for about 50 mins.  Test with skewer till it comes out clean.
  10. Remove cake from the oven, let cool on rack before dislodging it.

Do hop over to Elin's blog for the original recipe.


When I was making the mango cake, I was very surprised to find this  ..........



an egg with two yolks ...... twins!  I didn't add this to the butter and sugar mixture, made an omelette instead.
continue reading "Mango Cake"

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Purple Sweet Potato Cake



Has anyone seen green potatoes before?  I haven't and don't think anyone has.  But my cake turned out to be green!  There must be some metamorphosis in the baking process .......... purple plus brown sugar and egg which is yellow.  I used the purple sweet potatoes that I bought from Cameron Highlands and mistakenly used brown sugar which should have been caster.

Before I put the cake in the oven, the batter was still purplish and voila I was pleasantly surprised to find a green cake staring at me upon opening the oven door.  Nevertheless, my neighbour savoured some and he said it was  unique and tastes good.



topped with chopped walnuts








Mmmm ..........  green with envy ................. but yummy


Recipe for Purple Sweet Potato Cake

Ingredients
  • 13 oz mashed sweet potatoes (purple ones in this case)
  • 12 oz Plain Flour
  • 1 cup Canola Oil
  • 4 eggs
  • 2  Tsp Baking Powder
  • 2  Tsp Baking Soda
  • 1/2  Tsp Salt
  • 7  oz Brown/Caster sugar
  • 4 Tbsp chopped Walnuts - to put in bottom of Bundt tin
  • 1  Tsp Vanilla
  • 8 Tbsp water
Method
  1. Lighly grease and flour a Bundt tin.  Toss in the chopped walnuts and shake a bit.  Set aside.
  2. Sift the flour with the baking powder, baking soda, salt, set aside.
  3. Wash the sweet potatoes, steam till soft, remove the skin and mash it up.  Purple sweet potatoes are quite dry, so  need to add in  water at this juncture to mash it into a paste.  Leave aside.
  4. Cream the eggs and sugar  till light, creamy and thick.
  5. Slowly add in the oil and vanilla, mix well.
  6. Add in the sweet potato paste and mix thoroughly.
  7. On low speed, slowly fold in the flour mixture and mix thoroughly scraping from the bottom of the mixing bowl.      
  8. Slowly pour the batter into the Bundt tin and bake in a preheated oven at 180 deg C for about 50 to 55 mins.  Test with a skewer till it comes out clean.
  9. Remove from oven and let cool on the rack for about 5 mins, then invert the cake and let it cool completely.
continue reading "Purple Sweet Potato Cake"

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