Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Vegetable Prawn Curry



This is not a pure vegetarian curry as it contains tofu puffs and prawns. This curry can be eaten with steamed rice or rice vermicelli. We sometimes eat  bread with the curry instead of rice...gosh, my drools are all over the keyboard just thinking of it.  I used the  fresh curry paste bought from the wet market and two spoonfuls of Alagappa curry powder to cook this curry. The fresh curry paste will give it a more vibrant red color and the aroma of the spices is more stronger than just using curry powder .  My family loves this kind of curry and I learnt how to cook the curry from my mother.  My mother would add salted fish to the curry but since I have cut down on salted fish,  I substituted with sea prawns instead.   The vegetables I used are cabbage, long beans, and eggplants. With the sea prawns added, it elevated the taste of the curry to a higher level.  Simply love it ! Notice the claypot I used here?  It is my favorite claypot :)  I used it to cook curry and stew and sometimes chicken soup. It is convenient as it is served from stove to table :)


I sauted the fresh curry paste and curry powder in a wok till fragrant
then add in the vegetable and stir fry until the vegetables and
tofu puffs has soften after which I dish out
onto the claypot to simmer together with thin
coconut milk. Add the sea prawns last together
with the thick coconut milk

























love this curry and it is truly flavorful and aromatic



Vegetable Prawn Curry

 Ingredients:

5 tbsp of fresh curry paste - from wet market
2 tbsp of Alagappa fish curry powder- mix with 1 tbsp of water to make paste
10 shallots - coarsely pounded
2 stalks of lemongrass - take the white parts and give it a light crush

1/2 kg sea prawns - cut a slit near the head and devein, leave head and shell on
10 strings of longbeans - cut into 1" length
1 large eggplant - cut into strips of  1" length
1/2 med. sized cabbage - cut  into 1" square
8 pieces of tofu puffs - cut into halves

100 ml thick coconut milk
500 ml  thin coconut milk  plus 1 cup water
1 piece of Maggi chicken stock cube
salt to taste
2 tbsp of rice bran oil

Method:

1. Heat up oil in a claypot , saute  the shallots, fresh curry paste , Alagappa curry powder paste and lemongrass until fragrant and oil has separated.  Add in the cut vegetables and continue to stir fry till the vegetable has soften.

2. Add in the thin coconut milk , chicken stock  cube water  and continue to simmer under low heat till the vegetables are cooked through and soft.  Add in the prawns and tofu puffs.  Once the prawns are cooked, add in the thick coconut milk and give it a quick boil.  Add salt to taste. Off heat  and serve hot .


Enjoy !

Saturday, March 18, 2017

Sea Clams In Glutinous Rice Wine

























If you ask me to abstain from meat, I can but not seafood.  I love seafood especially crabs and seaclams.  Whenever I see fresh big seaclams, I will not hesitate to lug back some. This time, I bought the clams with thick shells.  I have a bottle of glutinous rice wine given to me by my ex-classmate when she came back to Ipoh for a visit.  That bottle of rice wine tasted good and perfect for cooking these clams.  Simple and easy to whip up . Wild Boar and I  will have a bowl each.  The succulent meat is so sweet and the wine is sweetish too.  Just this one bowl of heavenly goodness will have me  grabbing a second helping of rice which I am trying to reduce in my diet :)  We both slurped up every drop of the sea scented soup....the clams so fresh and succulent.  This is the reason why I need to learn to ignore seafood in the future, no matter how much in love I am with them :p  But I am a person of moderation.  Eat well comes with working hard with my pairs of  1.5 kg dumbbells :) But my furkid at home hates them.  The moment I lifted them, he runs miles away.  He sees the way I hold them frightens his soul LOL!  Anyway, the fastest way to raise the HDL is weight lifting exercises and not brisk walk. 



Sea Clams In Glutinous Rice Wine

ingredients:

1/2 kg of sea clams - soak in salt water for 20 mins , wash , rinse and drain off excess water
2 to 3 slices of ginger
a clove of garlic
a pinch of sea salt
a dash of white pepper
1 tsp of rice bran oil
1/4 cup of glutinous rice wine
just enough water or broth to cover the clams
spring onions for garnishing

Method:

Heat up 1 tsp of rice bran oil in pot, add in ginger slices, garlic and saute till fragrant.  Put in the clams and stir fry for a min.  Add in water/broth just enough to cover the clams. Cover pot with lid and cook the clams under high heat.  Once the clams opens up, add in sea salt to taste and pour in 1/4 cup of glutinous rice wine. Give it a quick boil. Dish up , garnish with spring onions and a dash of white pepper and serve hot.

Enjoy!


Thursday, March 16, 2017

Gyeran Mari - Korean Egg Roll With Nori Seaweed





















  Korean egg rolls also known as Gyeran Mari in the korean language, is a great side dish and a popular lunch box menu and snack.  It is my all time favourite side dish . The rolled up presentation of this egg dish makes it attractive and interesting not only to the adults but to the children too. There are many variations, you can make simple ones with just spring onions and carrots or you can add nori seaweed , ham or even cheese to it.  For me, I love this version whereby my ingredients are just diced spring onions, diced carrots , diced red onions and nori seaweed.  It is easy to make and the texture of this egg roll is soft and smooth and packed with flavors.  The Japanese soy sauce will be a great dip for this  colorful and flavorful egg roll.

























my new rectangular non-stick pan 
perfect for making Gyeran Mari

























practice makes perfect...using a silicon spatula makes folding easier

























my  'Wildboar' likes it a bit burnt on the outside and smooth soft on the inside


once it has cool down a bit, you can slice into 3/4 inch thick slices






















I like to add a nori sheet for extra flavor and color :)


Gyeran Mari - Korean Egg Roll With Nori Seaweed

ingredients:

5 eggs - whisk and sieve
 (A)
1.5tbsp of  diced carrots
1.5 tbsp of sliced spring onions
1 tbsp of diced red onions
a shake of white pepper
a tsp of  sea salt 

rice bran oil for greasing the pan

1 nori seaweed cut to the size to fit  the non-stick pan that you are using

Method:

1. Beat up the eggs  in a bowl and  sieve it.  Add in ingredients (A) to the sieved egg . Give it a quick stir to make sure the ingredients are all well combined.

2. Heat a non-stick rectangular pan or round skillet over medium high heat; add oil and swipe with a paper towel to apply oil as thin as possible.

3.  When pan is hot, pour a ladleful of egg mixture to cover the whole pan, once the egg mixture has lightly set, place the nori sheet on surface and gently fold over and as you keep folding, shape into square, once you finish rolling, push to one end of pan,  add 3/4 ladle of egg mixture to cover the pan and reduce heat . Make sure uncooked egg mixture’s attached to the first batch of egg roll.

4. Repeat twice more with rest of uncooked egg mixture.
5.. Remove from heat and let Gyeran Mari rest in skillet about 1 to 2 minutes.

6. Slice Gyeran Mari into 3/4” wide bite size pieces and serve .


Enjoy!






Chocolate Is Everyone's Favorite

If you asked me whether I like chocolate, I will tell you of course I do, who doesn’t anyway ? Not only children love chocolate, bakers love them too.  Chocolate are used widely in all bakeries.  Chocolate boxes are popular gifts for Valentine’s Day, Birthdays  and Children Parties.  I am a home baker myself and I love to use chocolate in my bakes.  I used them in cake decorations ,  frosting  and fillings for tarts and for making chocolate buns too.  I  have sweet tooth and one of my favourite sweet is the Chocolate Bananas. Comes in a box of 100s  and  I normally add them as part of a decoration for children birthday cakes. They are  so chocolatey good that  I myself can eat two in one sitting.  Shaped like a banana..so interesting and I know children love them too.

Recently , I was asked by my daughter to help organise a children party for the orphanage home that she helps out . She has been giving free tutoring to the kids from the home for the past 6 years and this coming May 1st , the home is giving a party for the kids and the volunteers . And to celebrate Labour Day  and at the same time for the kids whose birthday falls on the month of May , June, July and August.  A brilliant idea to celebrate two events at the same time !  I suggested to my daughter to get the chocolate boxes of different varieties so that the kids can have more choices. Some of the chocolates that I recommended are the 3 kg boxes containing Giant White Jazzles, Chocolate Jazzles,  Giant Pink and White Mice, Pink Pigs, Skulls, Spinning Tops, White Drops, Chocolate Drops . Chocolate Mice and Bananas In a Box will be the main attraction for the kids.  Not only the kids will be excited seeing the many chocolate boxes , I m sure the adults will too. 

This coming party will be fun for the children as they will be spoilt for choice , for they will be  offered a delicious spread of  chocolate.  Chocolate will be the main attraction for the night.  My daughter has prepared some games for the children  too.   I will helping her to bake a large birthday cake for the birthday children . The birthday Cake will be most probably Ferrero Rocher White And Dark Chocolate Cake  .I will be making some jellies too . Kids love jellies especially the Palm Sugar Jelly.   Other teachers will be involved in the preparation of the main course.   I am looking forward to the party and am  as excited as the kids. 

Monday, March 13, 2017

Fried Rice With Egg And Crispy Fried Ginger Shreds






















Wild Boar and I used to order this fried rice with lots of crispy fried ginger shreds from our favorite shop in Canning Garden.  But sad to say this shop has since closed for business, thus leaving me no choice but to try replicating it .  I am happy to say, though it may not look exactly the same in appearance as the one served in the shopi , it is good enough to satiate our cravings for the time being.  The fried rice from the shop has the ' wok hei ' taste no doubt ,whereas homecooked doesn't have the ' wok hei ' taste but there is no denying that the aroma of sesame oil and crispy fried ginger persists even in my homecooked ones :)

I remembered my grandma cooked this for me during my confinement days when I had my first child 28 years ago :p   And I am surprised that my Wild Boar loves it too.  So whenever we crave for it, we will just have this for dinner.  A tasty and flavorful one dish meal that we both love !






















I am happy with my replication of the shop 's signature fried rice
though appearance looks different but the flavor is more or less the same :)

























a one dish meal that is easy to whip up and 
gives contentment to us home diners :)






















love the crispy fried ginger shreds and
the egg shreds give taste and character to the fried rice






















Fried Rice With Eggs And Crispy Fried Ginger Shreds

Ingredients:

2 bowls of cooked rice
2 eggs - beaten
2 tbsp of julienne ginger
1 tsp of rice bran oil
2 tsp of sesame oil
sea salt to taste

Method:
In a  wok , heat up 1 tsp of rice bran oil and 2 tsp of sesame oil .  Once the oil is heated, add in the julienned ginger and stir fry till the julienned ginger becomes crisp and golden in color.  Dish up some for toppings and leave the remnant in the wok.  Add in the cooked rice and stir fry till the rice is jumping in the wok.  Push rice to the side and add in the beaten egg. Leave to cook for a minute, push back the rice to cover the beaten egg.  Keep frying the rice till you see egg shreds in the rice are well mixed into the rice.  Add sea salt to taste.  Off heat and before serving, garnishes the top with the extra crispy fried ginger shreds.

Enjoy!






Friday, March 10, 2017

Moringa Egg Drop Soup






















A dearest sister gave me this Moringa sapling and since then , it has grown into a 5 foot plant and has given me great pleasure in making egg drop soup with the moringa leaves whenever we needed a quick and easy soup.  I grow the Moringa plant in container so as to control the height of the plant :) It can grow into a big tree if I grow them on ground. Anyway, as space is limited and my lil space allocated to me for planting has been cemented so all my edibles are grown in pots and containers :)
Anyway , back to this wonderful soup, it is easy to whip up and taste so wonderfully good even the Wild Boar loves it. The leaves are  tender, smooth and has a slight fragrant to it and lots of health benefits from the leaves.  We have this soup at least 3 times a week . Homegrown and homecooked has always been my first priority when it comes to food :)  As the saying goes, you are what you eat :p

 
garlic, seasalt and egg goes well with moringa leaves
it gives the perfect taste and flavor






















 the uncooked one is for the sister-in-law :)






















Moringa Egg Drop Soup - for two persons


ingredients:

a bunch of moringa leaves -  remove stem,wash and drip dry
a few cloves of garlic - crushed
1/2 tsp of rice bran oil
one egg 
sea salt to taste - if using chicken cube salt can be omitted
3 rice bowls of chicken broth or just water * if using just water,  add 1/2 a cube of Maggi chicken cube (optional)

Method:

Heat up 1/2 tsp oil in a pot, once hot, add in the crushed garlics and saute till fragrant.  Pour in chicken broth or water and simmer till it boils, add in the moringa leaves and give it a quick boil.  Off the heat, using a fork or spoon , gently stir in the egg.  Dish up and serve hot.

Enjoy !

Essential Items For A Follow



If you are just getting started in culinary industry, it can be difficult to land your first serious chef job.  Unlike most fields, the culinary hiring process includes a “follow”, which enables both the applicant, and the hiring manager to determine if a match has been made.  If you’ve made it this far along in the process, then the prize is within sight. However, if this is your first follow, you may be feeling a little intimidated and unsure of what to expect.  Here’s what you need (aside from skill) that will help you nail the follow and get a job offer. 


Uniform

Ideally, a chef will come to a follow with chef pants, a chef jacket, apron, non-slip shoes, and any hair coverings or ties for long hair and beards. That is a complete and professional uniform.  However, if funds are low, you can do without some of these items.  Properly covering your hair is a must and very inexpensive. Non-slip shoes are also nonnegotiable and is a basic safety precaution. Not to mention, if you do end up working there, a hilarious fall story never dies. You can do without the chef coat and pants, if necessary, but make sure you wear breathable, clean cotton that has no hanging pieces.  Now, let’s talk about aprons.
 

An apron is also an essential piece. I’d stick with a neutral color and be sure it a full bib apron, and not a server’s waist apron.  It should be made of a thick, breathable cotton, such as twill or denim. A clean and well-fitting apron can make all the difference. Your apron should also have ample pockets for small tools you’ll want to carry on hand always.  This is especially true if you will not be wearing a chef coat and pants, which boast extra pockets for carrying these tools.   


Knives

Knives are expensive tools and you may not yet have an impressive set.  That’s okay.  Plenty of chefs owning a $25 Target knife have seen much success.  What’s most important is that the knife is sharp and properly stored.  Custom knife coverings along with knife bags provide the best protection for your knives.


However, knives rolled in bar towels neatly stored in a small duffel will work in a pinch.  Also, a modest knife collection includes a chef knife (8” or 10”), a utility knife, a bread knife, and a paring knife. At the very least, be sure you arrive with a chef and utility knife.  Showing up with a $300 fillet knife, but no chef knife implies inexperience.


Miscellaneous Tools

Always carry a pocket-sized notebook.  This can be stored in the front or back pocket of your chef pants. It shows the hiring manager that you are eager to learn.  You can take notes on basic or frequently used recipes or techniques. Also, in your chef coat or apron pocket, carry a Sharpie, pencil, thermometer and a couple tasting spoons.  

Most chefs will spend a lifetime collecting tools, equipment, and books to excel at their craft.  This is a lifelong pursuit and will vary depending on the type of culinary field you wish to pursue.  These are the basic tools you should have with you on your follow to show the hiring manager you are prepared and professional.





Thursday, March 9, 2017

Hakka Yong Taufoo With Tauchu Sauce
























When I am not lazy and am in the mood to whip up something more elaborate , dinner would be something like this.  Hakka Yong Tau Foo is our all time favourite dish and WB loves homemade ones. The traditionally Hakka Yong Tau Foo stuffing is made with fish paste, minced pork and salted fish but I replaced salted fish with dried shrimps and added some chopped spring onions and red chillies for color.

To make things easier, I bought the ready made fish paste from my fishmonger .  The fish paste has dried cuttlefish in it which made it the perfect ingredient to be added to the minced pork for making the filling for the Yong Tau Foo. The secret to having a springy texture filling is to stir the filling ingredients in one direction  with a pair of chopsticks till the  mixture becomes sticky and heavy .  It involves at bit of work, preparing the filling and cutting the vegetables for stuffing takes a bit of time too.  But the end result, is a plate of delicious homecooked Hakka Yong Tau Foo!  I made Tauchu sauce for the Yong Tau Foo , for extra oomph I added some fermented black beans when cooking the tauchu sauce , Guess what, we had a hearty dinner with just this one dish. I asked WB to cook extra rice oh, yes ,he does the cooking of rice while I cooked the dishes. Fair and square ! p






 this filling is a keeper...and
the secret to a springy texture is to stir the mixture with a pair of chopsticks
in one direction till sticky and heavy

























love the assorted vegetables and tofu puff and the fillings is ready for stuffing :)






















 the Yong Tau Foo is ready to be pan-seared and cooked






















I am proud of my handiwork...the yong tau foo looks great :)





















  

Hakka Yong Tau Foo With Tauchu Sauce

ingredients for filling:

500 gms minced pork ( less fat )
250 gms fish paste ( with dried cuttlefish ) - get from the fishmonger
60 gms dried shrimps - soaked and coarsely chopped
2 pieces of fresh shiitake mushrooms - diced into small pieces
some chopped spring onions
some chopped red chillies
a dash of white pepper
a drop of fish oil or sesame oil
1 heaped tablespoon of corn flour

method:-
Put all the filling ingredients in a mixing bowl and using a spoon, mix well.  Use a pair of chopsticks and stir continously in one direction till the mixture is sticky and slightly heavy for a springy texture.  Leave aside.

Veggies for stuffing :
4 pieces square semi-firm tofu, drain well, half diagonally, make a small slit on the cut side
6 pieces tau foo pok (deep fried tofu balls), half diagonally, make a small slit on the cut side
6 pieces of fresh shiitake mushrooms - removed stem, wash and drain dry
4 red chillies- make a slit and deseed
1 small bitter melon - remove seed and slice at an angle
1 small eggplant - slice horizontally - 1/4 inch thick - cut a slit in the center for stuffing.

 Prepare the stuffed items:
  
Use a small butter knife to stuff the tofu , fresh shiitake mushrooms, tofu puff and vegetables of your choice. The amount of paste to use varies, generally chilies  and bitter melon and eggplant use up more filling. Clean up the edges and smooth out the meat paste with some salted water. Avoid overstuffing the tofu and vegetables as they may tear/break during frying. Lay out all the stuffed items on a platter/tray to prepare for frying.

In a large wok or a heavy bottomed saucepan, heat up oil over medium heat and fry the stuffed items by batches, starting with the vegetables and ending with the fresh shiitake mushrooms and fresh tofu. Lay the stuffing side down to cook the meat paste, then flip over and around to cook the vegetable/tofu, about 4-5 minutes each side.  
Tips: Ensure oil is hot enough for deep frying to avoid oil-clogged results. The tau foo puff is already cooked and will take the shortest time to cook Avoid frying the chillies and tofu puff for too long a time, they will shrink and separate from the filling. Tofu is fried last due to the loisture and eggplants tke the longest to cook.

Tauchu Sauce
3 tbsp of fermented soybean (tauchu in chinese )
2 tsp of preserved black beans ( tau si in chinese)
chopped chilli
3 cloves of garlic - chopped
1 tbsp of rice bran oil

1.5 cup of water
a pinch of sugar

thickening
1 tbsp of corn flour
3 tbsp of water

Method:
Saute the tauchu sauce ingredients with 1 tbsp of rice bran oil till fragrant.  Add in water and pinch of sugar for 6 mins , add in the fried yong tau foo and simmer for another few minutes , add in thickening sauce.  Once the sauce has thicken.  Dish out and serve hot with rice.

Enjoy!


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