Sunday, February 28, 2010

Fried 'Nian Gao' ~ Sticky rice cake ~ CNY 2010


'Nian Gao' in Mandarin or 'Nin Ko' in Cantonese is a must-have item during CNY.  This sticky glutinous rice cake is symbolic as it carries a homonym that sounds like 'year~high/tall'.  For business people eating this will link them to prosperity and wealth and working people will look forward to career advancement, promotion.
Slice them up when they're still soft, keep them in containers and they can be stored in the fridge for months.
I normally steam and dip them in freshly grated young coconut mixed with some salt or just fry with beaten egg.  But this time around, I've decided to be a bit more 'challenging' and try out Elin's recipe.  Thanks, Elin of  Elinluv's Tidbits Corner  for sharing!

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Friday, February 26, 2010

Hungarian Coffee Cake


I don't know why this is called a cake which by right should be bread, but it certainly lives up to its name, great with a cup of hot coffee or tea!  Sweet crunchy crust with nutty almonds and soft cottony bread ....


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Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Minced pork with mixed vegetables aka 4 Heavenly Kings


Minced pork with mixed vegetables aka 4 Heavenly kings  .......... so this dish must be fit for a king!   No, no, it's only a simple stir-fry dish of mince meat and 4 types of vegetables of your choice.   The heavenly kings refer to the 4 Canto pop singers of Hong Kong and I really have no inkling  how this name came about.

This dish is normally cooked with sambal belacan and it should be slightly spicy.  However, in this case I tweaked it a bit and used preserved bean paste and served it with plain white porridge ......... simply delectable!
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Monday, February 22, 2010

2nd day of CNY ~ 'Hoi Lin'


I was in Kuala Lumpur on the 2nd day of CNY and took this picture at Mid-Valley Megamall.  All the malls are beautifully decorated during this time of the year and naturally, the auspicious colour is red.

'Hoi Lin' literally means 'Open year', which means welcoming the New Year.  Traditionally, most people will observe a vegetarian diet on the first day, so 2nd day, 'Hoi Lin', it's 'hoi jai' meaning they can have meat, seafood, etc.  I also remember that my mum used to tell us that those days, daughters-in-law will only return to their parents' home to celebrate CNY after the 'Hoi Lin' lunch. I had a sumptuous dinner with my siblings and what can we Chinese think of at family gatherings ....... obvioulsy, food and more food!


First dish on the menu was 'Yee Sang' which is a must for CNY ....... 'Sang, sang mang, mang' meaning healthy, lively and active.


Tossing the 'Yee Sang' ....... the higher the better, for prosperity, luck, health, wealth, career advancement, whatever good wishes you can think of!


Shark's fin with shredded crabmeat.  Tastes lovely with a slight tinge of balsamic vinegar and some pickled green chillies!


Roast duck ..... mmm the skin was just beautiful, crispy and not oily.



Stir-fried prawns with light soya sauce and sugar, another yummy but artery clogging dish!


Gosh, this Garoupa was big, steamed just right to taste.  Texture was chewy and of course the best part was the cheeks!


Rice ~ the staple food of the Chinese.  This is waxed meat rice .... with sausages, liver sausages and waxed duck.  This is delicious and not too heavy because it's not glutinous rice, just plain rice.


Dessert  ...... barley with lotus seeds, red dates and some ginseng roots, not overly sweet and with a slight tinge of bitterness because of the ginseng.

The servings were quite big, it's even enough to serve 12 persons!  The whole package with rice, tea and 5% Govt. tax came to RM522.90. 

Venue :  Hong Kee Tim Sum Restaurant
             106 Jalan Cerdas, Taman Connaught
             Cheras 56000, Kuala Lumpur
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Saturday, February 20, 2010

Stir-fry Sea asparagus with mixed vegetables


Cooked this Stir-fry Sea asparagus with mixed vegetables for the reunion dinner.  It's easy and quick to whip up and the young lotus root slices stayed crunchy, sweet and tasty.


Chewy, sweet sea asparagus coupled with the sweet beans, carrot and lotus root makes a light and refreshing veggie dish!

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Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Lean Chee Kang ~ Sweet Lotus seeds dessert


I served this for breakfast on the 1st day of the  lunar New Year   ...........  'Lean Chee Kang', sweet soup of lotus seeds, longan, dried ' pak hup' or lily bulb and rock sugar to usher in a 'sweetish' New Year.  Another name for this 'tong sui', sweet drink is 'Pak Lean Hoe Hup', which means, "'hundred' years of harmonious and  happy marriage". Thus, being auspicious this sweet dessert is commonly served at weddings, birthdays and New Year.  Read more on lotus seeds here.



Dried lotus seeds with skin, dried 'pak hup' or lily bulb, rock sugar and dried longan






This sweet soup is very refreshing and you can also add in some hard boiled chicken eggs or quail eggs, if desired.
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Monday, February 15, 2010

Vegetarian Dish aka 'Jai Choy'


 It's customary for my family to observe a vegetarian diet on the first day of the lunar Chinese New Year.  This mixed veggie is not a stir-fry dish but sort of 'braised' till all the ingredients, especially the mushrooms have been infused with the flavourful 'nam yee' and oyster sauce.



  

Dried shitake mushrooms that have been soaked and cut up, and softened glass vermicelli.
Bean curd puffs that have been halved, crushed ginger and 'nam yee' or preserved bean curd paste.

  

Washed and cut 'wong ngah bak', Chinese cabbage.  
Bean curd sheets that have been deep fried.


All the ingredients simmering in the wok. 


  
My favourite is the deep fried bean curd sheets.  They still maintain a bit of crunchiness even though they've been cooked and the 'juicy' bean curd puffs that have absorbed all the flavours of the sauce...... Delicious!

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Sunday, February 14, 2010

Gong Xi Fai Cai and Happy Valentine's Day



Wishing all my friends and readers

Gong Xi Fai Cai and Happy Valentine's Day

May the Year of the roaring Tiger brings you good health, wealth, joy and good tidings!
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Friday, February 12, 2010

Shark's fin melon barley drink

  
It's the norm that the CNY period is always hot and humid.  This scenario is further aggravated by the constant baking and deep frying of CNY goodies in the kitchen.  Thus, this prompted me to make this barley drink with shark's fin melon to help cool down our system as we really need plenty of this cooling drink in this hot weather.






Shark's fin melon grown in the Cameron Highlands.  Why is it called shark's fin melon?  You'll see in a minute.


Upon  cooking, the flesh of the melon can be taken out in shreds and don't they resemble shark's fin?


 This crunchy 'shark's fin' drink is indeed very refreshing and nutritious, and it can be taken warm or chilled ...... Gulp, gulp!
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Thursday, February 11, 2010

Nastar ~ Pineapple Rolls/Tarts. CNY 2010


I just made these today ...... Nastar, the Indonesian version of Pineapple Tarts/Rolls.  This is a festive must have as it's symbolic.  Pineapple which is 'wong lai' in Cantonese carries a homonym that sounds like 'good luck, good fortune coming'!
I didn't make the pineapple jam as it's a tedious task of stirring and stirring for an hour or so and in this hot weather, it's definitely not for me.   Took the easy way out, bought the pineapple paste from the baking ingredients outlet.  Nevertheless, I've posted the recipe for the pineapple jam just in case some of you may like to have this home made.



The pineapple paste made into small balls to be used as filling for the roll.  The nastar mould which is used to press out the strip of dough.  Press out out into a strip of about 3.1/2 inches in length, place a ball of jam on one end and roll up the pastry as in a Swiss roll.







This melt-in-the-mouth pastry has always been a hot favourite amongst my family members and having them home made is definitely very much more economical ........  Yummy!

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Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Pan seared Prawns


Cooked this scrumptious dinner recently.  High cholesterol, artery clogging ...... doesn't matter, pamper yourself once in a while and indulge!   After that, just need to do more exercise to burn off the calories!


Buna Shimeji mushrooms.  These mushrooms have a pleasant nutty flavour and slightly crunchy texture.  Also a good source of vitamin B1 and Lysine.  Lysine is an essential amino acid, while B1 helps with circulation, blood formation and metabolism of carbohydrates.  Also helps the nervous system and the brain.






Juicy and yummy with every bite  ................... Enjoy!
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Saturday, February 6, 2010

Hazelnut Cookies - CNY 2010



This is the first time that I'm using Hazelnuts to make cookies and was delighted with the result for they tasted good, nutty!
A little about Hazelnuts ....these nuts have been deemed to be most beneficial to heart health.  The vitamin E in them is essential for the healthy heart muscles and also necessary for the normal functioning of the reproduction system.  Vitamin E also serves as a protection against anemia, a deficiency of blood and among all the nuts, hazelnuts are the lowest in saturated fat.  Consuming 25gm of hazelnuts per day protects the body against heart disease, hence it's essential to add this nutritious item to our daily diet.




Mix all the ingredients into a mixing bowl and slowly incorporate them to form a pliable dough.
For a change, I'm using a cookie cutter to stamp out the cookies.


Place the cookies onto a baking sheet, about 1/2 an inch apart, apply egg glaze.
After about 15  mins., the sweet aroma of hazelnut cookies fills the air!





Not only can I add this recipe to my CNY collection, this heart shaped cookies make an ideal gift come this Valentine's day which is on 14th February, 2010 and which coincides with Chinese New Year ......To all of you  .........  'Happy Valentine's Day and Gong Xi Fa Cai'

continue reading "Hazelnut Cookies - CNY 2010"

Friday, February 5, 2010

Braised Pork knuckles with Sea Cucumber - CNY


 The Sea Cucumber is a seabed dwelling marine animal which feeds on microscopic algae, absorbing nutrients from the organic matter.  This oblong shaped gelatinous creature resembles a cucumber, hence the name.  It's called 'haishen' in Mandarin which literally means 'ginseng of the sea'.  From the nutritional point of view, sea cucumber is an ideal tonic food, high in protein with no calorie and no fat.  Having a cartilagenous body, the sea cucumber serves as a rich source of mucopolysacchrides, substances that are used to build cartilage and chondroitin sulfate, known for its ability to reduce arthritis.

Sea cucumber has been used for thousands of years by Asians as a culinary delicacy.  Although rather bland in taste on its own, it has the ability to absorb and accentuate the flavours and seasoning of the other ingredients in which it is cooked.  It's used in soups, stir-fry or  braised dishes, and in particular sea cucumber meals have been offered on special occasions especially New Year celebrations.  Read more on sea cucumber from Wikipedia.

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Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Coriander Chicken



I was doing some spring cleaning of my fridge the other day and stumbled upon a packet of coriander powder that was close to expiry.  Putting nothing to waste, I whipped up this dish as I had bought some chicken from the market that morning.







This dish is not  spicy  and it goes well with rice.   Mmmm ....... yummy chicken leg.   More rice?
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Monday, February 1, 2010

Hup Toh Sow aka Chinese Walnut Biscuit ~ CNY 2010




This is another biscuit which I normally make for Chinese New Year, Hup Toh Sow,..... 'hup toh' is Cantonese for walnuts.  Traditionally, this biscuit is made with lard and without walnuts.  However, I've substituted lard with margarine and added in some slightly roasted walnuts, chopped,  for that extra flavour.  This is a crunchy, nutty biscuit, and it has always been a favourite amongst my family members!

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