It’s finally the last working day of the week ! Although it has been a short working week for me, but it was still a tiring one, considering that I had spent most of the off days in the hospital again. So I guess I really need to de-stress myself, and cooking and retail therapy is hard at work now !! LOL.
It’s the double 11 day today where online sales are going like frenzy. I always thought that double 11 is a symbolic day for couples, since it sounded like 一心一意 or 全心全意 that kind of verses. And what’s more many couples like to tie the knot on such days as well. But someone actually wished me a “Happy Singles Day” today which dawned on me that, it’s actually a day for singles as well ! LOL !! No wonder all the online platforms are going on huge sales discounts. For couples, they find all the reason to shop for each other on this special day, for singles it’s a day to splurge on yourselves to “commemorate” the day ! Hahaha !! All the marketing gimmicks and all sorts of excuses for retail therapy all right !!
Regardless of which, it’s still a great day to shop shop shop and shop !! I have my fair share of online shopping already. Have you had yours too ? Hehe !! Friends always say I am “evil” because I always encourage them to buy buy and buy things. Better to get it than have regrets later and then keep harping on it right ? 😀
Ok, let’s hop back to the Lemon Garlic Chicken. It’s a very refreshing dish as the tangy taste of the lemon paired with savoury garlics and tad of sweetness together with ginger juice makes an ideal combination. And pan frying it with olive oil adds the extra fragrance all together. Fresh boneless chicken thighs from PurelyFresh online is best used for this dish !
Hope everyone has a great weekend ahead ! Enjoy !!
Lemon Garlic Chicken 柠檬蒜蓉鸡
Recipe type: Main
4 pcs of boneless chicken thigh
1 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp light soya sauce
2 tbsp ginger juice (grate some ginger and squeeze out the juice by hand)
Recently I attended a course and one of the lessons was actually steaming a huat kueh using Phoon Huat’s premix. As we all know premix is relatively brainless, just follow the instructions on the packaging and that’s it. And because premix already contain all the necessary to ensure the cake or whatever will be a success, so it’s an essentially a fool proof recipe. But quite surprisingly, several of the huat kuehs that were attempted did not even “open up” at all after steaming. It’s like getting a round and bald dome which we do not know whether to laugh or cry after looking at it !
So whilst I was steaming this Traditional Egg Cake, I was telling the mom at the same time that I wondered if mine egg cake will end up having a bald dome again ! LOL. She chided me and said it’s very jinx to talk about such cakes being not “opening up” during the steaming process. Hahaha.
But fortunately with a tweak of luck, my Traditional Steamed Egg Cake manage to live up to my expectations and opened up quite beautifully too !! So I have had to share some of these very precious traditional pointers that’s brought down from the old folks !
Grab some fresh large eggs from PurelyFresh online to prepare this traditional family favourite today ! And with the extra tips, you are bound to have a successful egg cake too !! But remember to keep away from all the jinx words during steaming !! Haha !!
Traditional Steamed Egg Cake 传统蒸鸡蛋糕
Recipe type: Chinese
4 large eggs, room temperature
150g castor sugar, with some extra for lining the surface
180g self raising flour, sifted
50ml ice-cream soda / Sprite / F&N Orange
½ tsp vanilla extract (optional)
2 4-inch bamboo baskets
Tip 1 : Cling film are generally heat resistant and they do not stick to the cake, so they can be used to hang over the bamboo baskets. Tip 2 : The purpose of sprinkling extra sugar in a “+” pattern on the surface of the egg batter ensures that the cake will “open up” beautifully just like a “+” pattern during steaming. Tip 3 : Covering the cover of the steaming wok ensures no steam is escaped during steaming and allows for the cake to “open up” nicely too. Extra : Remember no jinx words whilst steaming !! ^-^
I remember when I was a kid, I used to enjoy going to the swimming complex near my place. Well, definitely not for the swimming, but because the small canteen at the complex sells some very good fried spring rolls. And I used to enjoy dabbing the spring rolls in some sweet dark sauce which till date, I still love it that way.
And probably because of the “hard work” involved in preparing for the traditional spring rolls where you have to peel, cut and grate the yam bean by hand, I haven’t found a good match for a good one till I visited a temple at the Big Buddha at Lantau Island Hong Kong earlier in the year. Perhaps it’s a vegetarian place, hence the spring rolls they serve are really fabulous !!
Why I said I haven’t been able to find a good match thus far, is that I realise some of the stalls selling this has been replacing the traditional yam bean with cabbage which I reckon should be easier to prepare. It’s just slicing if you are to use cabbage, save the extra tasks in having to peel or grate the yam bean.
So when I decide to prepare this on my own, I make sure yam bean has had to be used. Ok, you might as well say I should make the popiah skin myself too, but then that’s really beyond my means. So set that aside, the rest are still tactfully prepared by hand, including all the mincing, slicing, grating, etc.
And if you notice, I also added some mushrooms to the filling of the spring rolls to enhance the taste further. That’s the beauty of home cooked food, isn’t it ? Everything can be customised. Also, if you desire really really crunchy spring rolls, you are recommended to use an extra piece of the popiah skin to wrap the filling or you can use a larger size to make sure the spring rolls are rolled till the filling is almost non visible when viewed through the popiah skin.
Get your fresh ingredients from PurelyFresh online for all your cooking needs today !
Fried Spring Rolls 炸春卷
Recipe type: Appetizer
20 pcs of 5-inch size popiah (spring roll) skin (or 40 pcs if you intend to wrap double layer)
2 tbsp cooking oil, and more for deep frying
2 tbsp minced garlic
700g yam bean (bang kuang), shredded
100g carrots, shredded
7-8 pcs shitake mushroom, diced
1 tsp salt
1 tsp chicken powder
½ tsp pepper
1 tsp sesame oil
2 tsp corn flour mixed with 2 tbsp of water
1 tsp corn flour with a few drops of water to mix into a sticky solution, like “glue”
For extra crunchiness, wrap the filling in double layer of spring roll skin or use a larger size one to ensure the filling is almost non visible when viewed through the skin.
Tired of Kung Po Chicken already ? This Szechuan Peppercorn Chilli Chicken with Shaoxing wine makes a perfect replacement for it ! It’s much more aromatic in terms of fragrance because of the Szechuan peppercorn and the blend of spices and seasoning used makes this dish a perfect companion with plain rice or congee.
I think I am rather a “chap cai peng” person, as in I love a variety of dishes to go along with whenever I had rice or congee. I always enjoy looking at the spread of food served at the mixed vegetable rice stalls because of its vast varieties and also the reason why it’s so popular is probably its closest resemblance to home cooked food.
And this Szechuan Peppercorn Chilli Chicken with Shaoxing wine should make it to one of my favourite home cooked dishes so far. If the stalls were to present this as one of their “chap cai” dishes, I am sure it will be quite a hit too !
The peppercorn aroma that fills the house whilst cooking, is so tempting that members of the household were already sitting around with rice and congee, whilst waiting impatiently for the dish to be served ! In fact, I have to separate a portion for indulgence first while I prepare another serving for photo taking ! LOL.
Get some fresh boneless chicken from PurelyFresh online to prepare this delightful home cooked dish ! Very much fuss free and noob proof, this dish can be served up in less than half an hour too ! Enjoy !!
Szechuan Peppercorn Chilli Chicken with Shaoxing Wine 酒香花椒辣鸡丁
Recipe type: Main
3 pcs of boneless chicken thighs, cut into small pieces and marinate with 1 tbsp of light soya sauce for half an hour
1 tbsp Szechuan peppercorns, crushed (you can crushed them with the back of the spoon until it “burst”.)
5 dried chillies (soaked in water till soft and cut into small slices with the seeds removed. However, if you prefer very spicy, you can keep the seeds.)
As the name implies, this cake looks and tastes as light as an angel !! Looking very “angelic” and pure, this cake is bound to win the hearts of fans who are in search of soft tenderly cakes like myself !! As compared to chiffon cakes, angel cake uses only egg whites and hence, they are even lighter in texture.
And because fresh fruits ingredients are used in the making of this cake, the citrus taste is pretty prominent and refreshing. In fact, I quite adores the way the cake is being presented after baking. The pretty flat tops and purely white texture is certainly some eyes pleaser !
And without the use of egg yolks, this cake certainly has some calories savings attempts too ! LOL. So when life gives you devils, have a perfect angel cake ! Well, I definitely am going through some dry patches in life now, hence this angel cake is here to give me a boast just in time !! ^-^
Get your fresh fruits and other ingredients from PurelyFresh online to enjoy this angelic looking cake !!
Orange Angel Cake 香橙天使蛋糕
Author: adapted from Kevin Chai (taste the smooth and fluffy Angel cake) with modifications
I think I am very kiasu lor. Christmas is not even here yet, but I am already starting to prepare for CNY dishes !! But because Corningware is having a year end sale, so what’s better than not taking this opportunity to grab a few of their very versatile and classic pots and transforming them into ideas for the festive dishes !
The upcoming CNY comes earlier this year in January and that’s like 2 months away only. So after all the Christmas baking, the CNY preparation should come at almost instantaneous without a break. Hence, I felt the need to start early now, at least having the time and purpose to make sure every recipe works out fine and when the actual preparation starts, I won’t be all apprehensive and rushing through everything which often results in pitfalls.
Pen Cai （盆菜） is a very traditional Chinese festive dish where we gathered all the most “luxurious” ingredients and delicately presenting them in a huge pot. The types of ingredients used are numerous and in fact you are free to serve up anything you liked in this all in one-pot dish. The most typical foods that are commonly used are abalone, sea cucumber, scallops, prawns, roast pork and fish maw just to name a few.
So you can imagine the “weight” of the dish, whether it is in terms of price or the food itself. It’s definitely a pricey dish if you were to purchase it commercially. However if you choose to DIY it at home, this dish isn’t that tough to churn up with either and the best of it all, you can customize it exactly to your needs and preferences. Just like if you love abalone more than the other stuffs, simply chuck the whole can of it or even more as you desire and less of the other stuffs to make up for the extra !!
In my humble opinion, I find the Corningware pots are very versatile in terms of cooking and presentation. As compared to the traditional clay pots used in presenting Pen Cai which is much much heavier, and more especially so with the tons of food placed in it, the lighter weight Corningware pots are definitely more classic looking and can easily caters for even small families when a mini Pen Cai is desired. What’s more, the leftovers can be set aside in the pot itself and re-heating is done in a breeze as all you gotta do is to lift out the entire pot and sent it to the microwave.
And what’s more, from 24 November 216 till 3 January 2017, not only do you get to enjoy gifts with purchase when you purchase Corningware and Corelle products, there are also massive savings from the usual retail price. The upcoming festive are perfect reasons to revamp your kitchens with new cook and dinner ware whilst they also make brilliant gift ideas for anyone who loves to create a storm with food !
Enjoy feasting on this Pen Cai !!
Pen Cai 盆菜
Recipe type: Main
1 tbsp minced ginger
1 tbsp minced garlic
1 onion, sliced
1 pc white radish, approximately 400-500g cut into pieces
5 pcs fresh prawns (trim away the feeders and make a slit on the shells on both sides to remove the thread of dirt but leaving the shells intact)
5 pcs fresh scallops
5 pcs Chinese mushrooms (soaked in water until soft and drained)
5 pcs dried scallops
1 pc fish maw (soaked in water overnight until soft and drained before cutting into pieces)
1 pc sea cucumber, cut into pieces
1 can abalone, thinly sliced (reserve the abalone brine in the can)
few pcs of pacific clams
some roast pork (recipe can be found here)
some roasted duck (recipe can be found here)
1 tbsp cooking oil
1 litre chicken stock (can be store bought or home made)
1 tsp oyster sauce
1 tsp sesame oil
1 tsp dark soya sauce
2 tbsp hua diao wine
dash of pepper
1) Sea cucumber should be removed from the broth once softened to prevent it from disintegration if being cooked for too long. 2) If a casserole is used, keep stirring to prevent the ingredients from sticking to the bottom of the pot, which will often happen after the fish maw start to “disintegrate”.Adding the stock and abalone brine at different stages help to prevent this as well. 3) If store bought chicken stock is used which can be slightly saltier, adjust with some water accordingly after taste. 4) The step of adding the roast pork and duck into the broth is optional. I included that as I wanted the meat to absorb the flavours of the broth as well. Otherwise, you can just arrange it as per they are in the pen cai at the end of it.
Wanted to bake some cakes today but sadly the attempts failed. So I had to turn to cooking instead and make myself a nice comforting dinner to make up for it. Fortunately the dinner was a blessing and all of the homely dishes were nicely presented.
The chilling weather calls for something refreshing and spicy ! Hence, what’s better than going for a Tom Yum + Assam + Seafood ! Refreshingly spicy and the twinge of sourish paired with fresh squids that’s ordered from PurelyFresh were so good that it helps to compensate for the foul mood from the failed baking earlier.
And best of it all, it’s pretty easy and convenient to beef up. Making it a good one-pot dish, this Tom Yum Assam Squids will work well for other kinds of seafood such as prawns or fish as well. With some greens and fruits as well in this dish, nothing is gonna beat serving this fuss-free all in one dish on a busy day.
Tom Yum Assam Squids 东炎亚三鲜苏东
Recipe type: Main
3 fresh squids, scored and cut into pieces
4 long beans, blanched in some hot oil, drained and cut into strips
12 pcs of diced pineapples (from canned pineapples)
1 tbsp cooking oil
½ tbsp minced garlic
½ tbsp minced ginger
3 red chillies, deseeded and cut into pieces
1 onion, sliced
1 pc assam slice （亚三片）
1 lemongrass, used only the bottom part and cut into pieces
2 tbsp tom yum paste
2 tbsp tamarind paste, mixed with 400ml water and drained away the seeds, reserving the liquid
2 tsp sugar
½ tsp salt
1) Blanching the long beans in hot oil prior to cooking helps to preserve the greenish colour of the beans and prevent them from darkening in colour. 2) Over cooking the squids will cause it to turn rubbery. Hence, off the flame once the squids are cooked to maintain its texture.
Decide to give the usual lemon chicken a twist and replace it with orange sauce instead as I happen to have just bought some fresh orange juice ! In fact, I love anything fried chicken and I am sure whether adults or kids alike, no one can resist a crispy fried chicken anytime. And that’s probably why you see such fried chicken chains are sprouting out like nobody business in this small island. Be it korean brands or fast food chains, crispy deep fried chicken are always irresistible. I am no exception when it comes to this delectable dish !!
But today, I decide to churn it into something very local and chinese instead. Dunk the crispy chicken in thick orangey sauce and enjoy it with some starch, like what you gonna see from the economical rice stall kind. Even though I do have my korean, japanese or other indulgence at times, but most of my food cravings are still local and very asian generally.
The tangy and slightly sweet sourish sauce complements the chicken well and provides a very refreshing tune to the fried chicken. The marinade was well entrenched into the chicken and if you are lazy to cook the sauce, eating the crispy fried chicken on its own can be pretty enjoyable too ! Fresh boneless chicken thighs are a good match with this dish as they stayed succulent and moist throughout. So do remember to grab some from PurelyFresh online !
Finally we are into the last month of the year which also signifies the coming of a brand new year. Well, the mood has been very much jittery nowadays as there have been much trials and hiccups in life. But with the onset of a new year, I certainly do hope that there can be greater positivity and motivations instilled to allow for greater heights in all the pursuits that I am seeking for and of it all, definitely also wishes for the well being of everyone in the family as well. And I hope that this will also apply in favour to anyone who’s reading this !
Last but not least, the recipe ! Enjoy !!
Crispy Orange Chicken Chop 香橙脆鸡排
Recipe type: Main
4 pcs boneless chicken thighs
some cooking oil for deep frying
1 tbsp light soya sauce
1 tsp sesame oil
¼ tsp pepper
2 tsp custard powder
4 tbsp corn flour
350ml orange juice
3 tsp sugar
3 tsp corn flour + 2 tbsp water
I deep fried the chicken piece by piece to ensure the temperature of the oil does not drop too much to retain the crispiness. Also, lesser oil is needed if you cook in small batch.
LOL. Wondering why it’s called lazy man meatballs ? Well, I specially name it that way! In most or should I say all of our asian meatballs recipes, most of the times we couldn’t do without water chestnuts or diced carrots in them to give that extra taste and crunch.
And to me, water chestnuts though good, but often pose a challenge with all the peeling as there’s seldom a time I manage to get all properly peeled without cutting my hand. And wastage is often high as there’s often quite a few rotten ones in probably a whole batch that was bought. Yet those that are sold ready-peeled are often too big a bag to finish consuming. After all, it’s just a small portion we need for meatballs.
So set that idea aside, I really love meatballs, asian kind of meatballs I mean. I wanted something that’s really easy to prepare, save aside the tedious peeling of water chestnuts. And carrots aren’t exactly my favourite. Hence, after some trials, I manage to come off with these LazyMan meatballs which maybe should “professionally” be termed Tofu Meatballs, is a mixture of minced meat and tofu together with the perfect marinade and stuffs to attain a smooth meatball texture.
It’s a totally brainless recipe. Crush the tofu into the minced, wrap in all the seasonings, set aside and deep frying them till golden brown. And I absolutely love the golden hue of these meatballs. It’s like you cannot help but popping a few into your mouth as you walk past them because they look so irresistible !
So kudos to these LazyMan Meatballs, I can finally “escape” from the challenge of peeling water chestnuts now !! LOLs.
Tofu Meatballs or LazyMan Meatballs 豆腐肉圆 ／ 懒人肉圆
Recipe type: Chinese
Cuisine: Light Bites
140g minced meat (pork or chicken)
1 egg tofu
1 tsp light soya sauce
½ tsp onion powder
½ tsp garlic powder
4 tsp corn flour
¼ tsp sesame oil
dash of pepper
Some cooking oil for deep frying
Mix the minced meat together with the egg tofu, egg and all the rest of the ingredients using hand. Throw the mixture into the mixing bowl several times before setting aside for at least 3 hours in the fridge.
Heat up some cooking oil for deep frying. Roll the minced mixture into balls and drop them gently into the hot oil.
Deep fry till golden brown. Drain on paper towels to soak up excess oil before serving.
1) Using hand to throw the minced mixture into the mixing bowl increases the “stickiness” of the mixture and the meatballs will be more bouncy in texture also. 2) Test the hotness of the oil by putting a chopstick into the oil. If bubbles sizzle around the chopstick, the oil is ready for deep frying. 3) For an extra kick, you can add some seafood such as minced prawns or fish/sotong paste.
I always thought that the madeleines are a kind of “鸡蛋糕 ji dan gao”, simply prepare the batter and bake off. Doesn’t really have to bother about its shape or whatsoever, as long as It turns out nice, puffy and soft. But I was browsing through for some recipes when I read that madeleines are actually a kind of French desserts that though tasted very similar to our “鸡蛋糕 ji dan gao” (in my opinion), but the very distinctive difference between the both, is the signature “hump” that’s found on one side of the madeleines. Gosh, so I have always been assuming and making madeleines the wrong way !! LOLs.
Okok, so I have to rectify it. In fact, I prepared the madeleines 3 times in a day to determine how to achieve that very pretty dome that’s humped up perfectly. The conclusion of it all lies in the length of time in which the batter is allowed to be chilled and how cold the madeleines pan is when it is being used for baking.
As you know, madeleines come in very petite sizes. And that somehow gave me the impression that it should be something relatively fast to prepare. Though I knew the batter had to be chilled, my initial thoughts was that one hour or so chilling time should be good enough as long as it is cold to touch. So on my first attempt, I used a batter that was chilled for an hour. There were some domes for sure but strange enough, it wasn’t for all in the same pan !
My 2nd attempt was done on both a batter and pan that’s chilled for half an hour. Needless to say, not only were they missing domes, it somehow also took a longer than usual time to be cooked. And on my last attempt, I had the batter chilled for 4 hours and the pan in the freezer this time for the same amount of time ! And guess what ?? The perfect hump was bustling up high and it stayed its shape throughout !! The colour of the madeleines were equally perfect as well, with a golden brown hue all along the edges of it !! All these are the so-called signature iconic features of the classic French dessert. And as compared to the first try, the dome was many times more distinctive and the colour and texture wise were all notably better.
What I have used is a MINI madeleines pan that can be used to make 20 pcs at one go. It’s really a bite-sized thing and can easily be finished up with one mouthful. And baking time was an approximately 7 minutes only. Fast to bake but even quicker to gobble up !!
Now that I knew the trick to doing it, I had to tell myself to stay patient whilst waiting for the stuffs to be chilled. Perhaps I should just prepare everything overnight the next time to drain away the waiting time !! And since the festive is around the corner, what’s better than not to prepare these fast baking and delicate tea cakes for the party menu. Enjoy !!
Classic Madeleines 马德琳蛋糕
110g butter, melted (I use the microwave to melt the butter using 300W for around 1.5 minutes, making intervals of every 20 to 30 seconds)
3 large eggs, at room temperature
30g light brown sugar (if you do not have light brown sugar, you can replace with normal sugar)
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
130g self raising flour (if you do not have self raising flour, you can use plain flour + ½ tsp baking powder)
¼ teaspoon salt
1) The timing to microwave the butter is an estimate. To prevent the butter from splashing all over when melting, do it at intervals and use a microwavable cover to cover the bowl when heating. 2) The longer the batter is kept chilled and the pan is being kept cold, the more distinctive the “hump” will appear to be during baking. 3) Depending on individual’s preferences, you may want to bake this slightly longer than the stipulated timing if you prefer a drier and crispy texture. 4) These madeleines are ideally to be eaten on its own or served with a dust of icing sugar.