Thursday, July 31, 2008

Stir fried beef with spring onions and ginger

This is one of my favourite dish to order when we're out at the Chinese Restaurant. Its simply satisfying with a bowl of white rice. Though its a simple dish to make, it has its challenges. For this dish to turn out great, it has to have lots of 'wok hei' (breath of the wok?) aka having a damn huge flame and you'd have to have lightning quick hands to add in all the ingredients to prevent the thin slices of beef from overcooking. OK most of us at home will not have those huge flames, what you could do is cook this in very small batches and have your wok flaming hot before starting. To overcome the shortcoming in the lighting quick hands department, mix all your sauces together first before starting.

-Beef schnitzel or any other nice cuts suitable for stir frying
-1.5 inch of ginger, finely sliced
-As much spring onions as you like cut into long strips
-Corn starch mixture for thickening (mixture of corn starch/flour with water)
-4 tbsp of soy sauce
-1 tbsp of sesame sauce
-dashes of pepper
-1 tbsp of chicken granules
-1 tsp of sugar
-3 tbsp of shiaoxing Chinese cooking wine (do not mix this with the rest of the sauces)

Note: You could add in oyster sauce if you like and decrease the rest of the sauces proportion to balance out the saltiness. I do not use oyster sauce in my household out of choice and have substituted that mostly with chicken granules which has worked perfectly.

Heat up your wok (preferably, cause it can take very high temperature without damage unlike a non-stick one) still its sizzling hot and add in your cooking oil. Then add in the ginger slices and brown it on both sides and add in the beef and give it a few good toss continuously before adding in the sauces and the spring onion. It should come to a simmer in no time, at this point all the beef slices should have changed colour and that denotes that its cooked. Stir in some corn starch mixture till you get the sauce to the consistency you like. Serve immediately.
p/s: If you're not serving this dish immediately, might be a good idea to slightly under cook the beef as it'd continue to cook even after you've dished it up due to the heat.

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Chicken Sambal

This recipe came from the recipe book 'Malaysian Favourites'. Got this book before I left Malaysia, was sure that food is definitely one of the thing that I'd miss from Malaysia. But I'm not sure if I've ever came across any dish called 'Chicken Sambal' or maybe they just call it something else at the Nasi Lemak stall?But anyway I was curious when i saw this recipe, I've tempered with the proportion of everything in the original recipe though, I just used all the ingredients that they listed but to my liking. So if you do try this, feel free to tamper with my proportions as well, after all we all like our food very differently.

This is a 4S yummy, SWEET, SOUR, SPICY, SALTY! How this dish turns out tasting is totally at your mercy and I promise this is worth all the effort.

Whole chicken or chicken piece, I have 19 drumsticks here
Turmeric powder
8 dried chili soaked
2 tbsp of chili powder
2 large onions
8 cloves of garlic
1 inch of ginger
1 inch of galangal
6 tbsp of tomato sauce
7 tbsp of chili with garlic sauce
3 tbsp of plum sauce
1 cup water
4 tsp of sugar
3 tsp of salt

Mix together some turmeric powder with salt, enough to coat all your chicken pieces. How much salt you add in here is entirely up to you. Rub all the chicken pieces and leave aside to marinate for at least 1 hour.

After the marinating process, you could opt to deep fry the chicken or grill them in your oven. I went with the oven, less mess and healthier and I promise the result is just as good as having deep fried them. I used 'fan grill' at 180C and they took roughly 30-35 minutes. For good practise purposes, you should always use your grilling rack when grilling as it would prevent your chicken having to sit in any of its fats or liquid hence crispier. I always go for easy options, line the trays with tin foil. After all the chicken will be cooked in gravy later on, so it won't make much of a difference. Now that's just me being lazy :)

Looks just as good as deep fried.

Put all the spices into a blender and blend it to a fine paste i.e., dried chill, chili powder, onions, garlic, ginger and galangal. Heat up your wok, add in about 2 tbsp of oil and saute the spices till fragrant. You'll find that the spices absorbs the oil pretty quickly, just add on more oil if necessary and sparingly. Do saute the spices for at least 5 minutes, you don't want to taste the spices too raw.
In a separate bowl, mix the chili and garlic sauce, tomato sauce and plum sauce together. The portion that I've listed above is just a mere guide (take note of my large portion too), you should mix up the sauces and then taste it and adjust it to your liking. Once you're satisfied, add it into the sauteed spices together with some water (as much as it takes to achieve the sauce consistency that you prefer. Let it come to a simmer before adding in the chicken.

Thank god for my huge wok here "hehe". Let the chicken simmer on low flame, you'd want to give the chicken an opportunity to absorb all that sauces. Salt and sugar to taste and VOILA!

Enjoy this with white rice, I was actually wishing that I had some fried "mantao" to go with this.

Friday, July 25, 2008

Using healthier alternatives ingredients

As a society progresses, so does the nation's food consumption. We're all into indulgence nowadays that a lot of us especially the younger ones takes no worry about what their food actually does to their health. The wealthier a nation is, the more rich man diseases there is such as high blood pressure, high cholesterol level, heart diseases and so on. I've read the book "Japanese Women Don't Get Old Or fat" by Naomi Moriyama and William Doyle. I was very inspired by the way Japanese eat and I have to a very small degree try to practise some of their good practices into our lives.
What really strucked a chord in this book is that the author mentioned that with the Western infiltration into their society, the younger generations are getting unhealthier as they tend to go for the various Fast Food Chains that has popped up their Country.
Don't get me wrong, I'm not asking asking anyway to totally snub those Fast Food Chains, I still go for them whenever I'm out of time to cook or too tired from work. Yes I'll be a SAHM mum in a few weeks time, that's when I'll be truly tested if I could stick to eating just good eats but not compromising too much on flavors. Well who could I really kid that the healthier ingredients alternatives does not compromise on the taste or texture of a dish?
Here's a list of the substitute ingredients that I use in my kitchen in hope that my family and I will be able to enjoy food for a longer time while still having good health during our finite time on earth. Life's too precious to live too precariously indulging.

Peanut Oil - Olive oil, Canola Oil or other vegetable oil
Butter - Olive spread, margarine spread
Full Fat Cream - Fat free evaporate milk/trim milk/yogurt
Cream Cheese - Fat free/low fat cream cheese
Ice-cream - low fat options
Coconut Cream - Coconut flavored evaporated milk (fat free option) or just normal fat free evaporated milk (taste just as good in curries)
Oyster sauce - Chicken granules
Puff pastry - go for the low fat option/filo pastry
Will add to the list whenever I come across any new substitute. Good eats everyone and ohh by the way I still go for fats once in a while (but its got to be really worth it), let's just say I'm trying to go mid-way it not sideways:)

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Claypot rojak chicken

This to me is truly in the spirit of experiment or rather use up everything that's lying around in the fridge. I have no recipe for this dish as i was just mucking around with all the ingredients and sauces. I thought it came out pretty weird as in it tasted a little like Chinese and also Japanese. Only my hubby truly appreciated it with his very accomplished taste bud. Naturally my little one snubbed this. But it was rather nice served with rice as the gravy was full of flavor.

Here's a list of things that I've put into the Claypot, that's even if i recall them correctly:-

-boneless chicken thighs
-pureed spinach and carrots (these were actually meant for the tofu nuggets but i omitted it as my daughter didn't want dinner that day)
-toasted sesame seeds


-Tomato sauce
-Chili sauce
-soy sauce
-chicken granules

Just slightly brown the chicken pieces before adding in the rest of the ingredients, cook with the lid open as there is quite some gravy in this, so let it simmer down. Hey if you're up for some quirky dishes, why not experiment with your leftovers too? Groceries bill are really climbing high lately, so waste not.

Here's something to share on not wasting, the other day when I was queuing at the hyper mall to pay for my groceries, I stumbled upon this magazine Healthy Food, they have a website too. The July issue was great as it totally enlightened me on what to do with leftovers that's not appealing even to my human food disposer. It also gives advice on how to store your produce to lengthen its shelf life too and many more interesting articles that every homebody should take a peek at for some pointers. They also have lots of yummy and healthy recipes *wink wink*.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Tofu Nuggets

This is another recipe that I've adapted from 'Deceptively Delicious'. I've omitted certain items from the original recipe and came up with my version of Tofu Nuggets. This is a gorgeous dish, the downside of this dish is that it can take some time and patience in having to turn the tofu around so that all four sides browns nicely, but nevertheless its worth it. This could pass off as chicken nuggets to kids.


1 block of extra firm tofu cut into cubes
1 egg beaten
Bread crumbs
Salt and Pepper to season the crumbs
Grated Parmesan cheese (Optional)


Place the beaten egg in a separate dish. In another dish, mix the bread crumbs, cheese, salt & pepper together. Dip the tofu cubes into the egg first and then into the crumbs mix. Lightly pan fry on a non-stick skillet.

Tip: Bread crumbs tends to absorb lots of oil, to minimise oil absorption, use an oil spray to coat the pan and go on medium heat. This way the tofu nuggets have an opportunity to get crispier without taking in too much oil.

Monday, July 21, 2008

Braised Pork in Soy Sauce

This is a classic dish that my mum always makes perfectly with the gravy being lusciously smooth and gooey...This is a replica but it came no where near to my mum's, will have to have a live demo on this one but nevertheless, better than none :)

Pork Belly
Hard Boiled eggs
1 whole garlic
2 star anise
3-4 cloves

Dark soy sauce
light soy sauce
Chinese cooking wine
Chicken granules

Add in everything except the eggs into a pan, water level should be just slightly covering all ingredients, bring it to a simmer and leave it to braise for about 35minutes. Add in the eggs in the last 15 minutes of the cooking process. Season to your liking.
A little tip-the fattier the pork is, the more luscious the gravy will be.

Chinese Roast Chicken


2 tbsp of Chinese 5 spice powder
2 tbsp salt
dashed of pepper

Leave it to marinate for about 2 hours of leave overnight and grill in the oven at 180C, takes about 30-35minutes. Serve with chicken stock flavoured rice and veges or just chop some cucumbers. If you have the convection roaster, you'll be able to achieve the results pretty close to those of the chicken rice sellers, but i didn't find worth the effort to bring out the roaster and having to wash it after use. You see, using the oven needs no washing up nothing, just line the tray with some aluminium foil and's much easier :)

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Banana Loaf

I got this recipe from a recipe book by Jessica Seinfeld tittled "Deceptively Delicious". When my sister-in-law told me about it,I was all puzzled by the book name but when I did some research on it, I realised its a book that every parent with a toddler would want to have. You see I have a fussy little eater who like most other children refuses vegetables or anything bordering on the nutritious side. It gives some great recipes and ideas on how to include vegetables to their food without them realising it. Have tried a few and they're awesome, will post them when i have time.
This recipe was intended as a tea time snack for my little girl, found it to be simply too sweet for my taste as a snack, I however love this for dessert, warm the loaf in a microwave for about 20 seconds and add some vanilla ice-cream to it, totally ROCKS!
The next time I makethis, I'd half the amount of sugar as I have a sneaking suspicion that this would be really nice when toasted and spread with maybe jam or peanut butter.
Here's the original recipe:-
3/4cup wheat flour
1/2cup all purpose flour
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon (optional)
1/2 cup firmly packed brown sugar
1/4 cup canola oil or any vegetable oil
2 large egg whites
1 1/2 cups banana puree
1/2 cup cauliflower puree (cooked cauliflower)
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
Mix the flours with the baking soda, baking powder, salt, and cinnamon if using. Set aside.
In a large mixing bowl, mix the sugar and oil with a wooden spoon until well combined. Mix in the egg whites, banana, and cauliflower purees and vanilla. Add the flour mixture and mix just till combined.
Pour the batter into the load pan and bake at 160C for 55-60 minutes or till a toothpick comes out clean when inserted.
p/s: I should have mentioned that if you're not intending for this recipe to be a kid's treat, you could omit the cauliflower puree, just add another 1/2 cup of mashed banana and further reduce the sugar as the banana's are sweet itself.

Sunday, July 6, 2008

What feeds the stomach

Japanese Cotton Cheese Cake

Macoroni & Cheese

"Pan Mee"

Scrambled eggs with cauliflower and cheese with toast