Monday, November 30, 2009

Peek Kai Yad Sai ปีกไก่สอดไส้ Thai Stuffed Chicken Wings

I haven't met anyone who doesn't like this dish just yet; it is deep fried boneless (did I hear boneless?) chicken wings with lots of goodies stuffed into those little bodies! This is my first attempt and I must say it is a lot easier than I thought, although I do really appreciate all the ladies who used to make this for me when I was a little adorable child. You'll need a very sharp paring knife for this and after you have done the first one, you will be on a roll! They charged $6 each in a restaurant for a rather lack lustre one but I only spent $7 for all 7 fat stuffed wings - you do the calculation. I made a lemon chili sauce to go with the stuffed wings, if you have children at home they will be very quiet for a little while until they fight for the very last piece :)
P.S I started using sweet potato flour for coating whenever I'm doing deep frying food (after making Taiwanese fried chicken). Give it a try and see how much crunchier everything turns out!

you'll need;
8 chicken wings, drumlets removed (save it for boxing chicken) and bones removed from winglets
sweet potato flour for coating
oil for deep frying

for the stuffing you'll also need;
100g of pork mince
50g of prawn mince
half a carrot, shredded finely
25g of mung bean noodles, soaked and drained
2 spring onions, chopped
2 cloves of garlic, 3 coriander roots and 1/2 tbs of white pepper, pounded
dash of fish sauce
1/2 tbs of sugar
2 tbs of corn flour
mix everything well and work til you get a firm paste.

Start off with breaking all the connecting joints by twisting the wings.

Separate the winglets from the drumlets.

With a small sharp knife, loosen the meat and connecting tissues from the bones and carefully remove the bones.

Stuff the wings with filling.

Steam for 10 minutes on low heat, some filling might burst out during the steaming process.

Remove wings from the steamer when they are cool enough to handle, gently reshape whichever wings that need repair. Chuck it into the fridge to firm up. Just before frying dust it with sweet potato flour.

Fry in hot fat til golden.

Drain well and serve with lemon chili sauce.

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Salt And Pepper Pork Patties 椒鹽肉餅

It was one of those nights! I opened the fridge and stared at everything in it hoping something would suggest to me what I should do with them, if I remember correctly they never once did! I took everything needed to be used before the weekend out and put them neatly on the kitchen table, here's the list of 'use me now or I'll be off to the bin items' I found:
  1. 500g of minced pork shoulder
  2. 1/2 a bag of carrot
  3. 5 cups of cooked rice 
  4. 200g of beef fillet
  5. 1/2 a Chinese cabbage
"Another steamed pork dish might be way too soon, maybe some fried patties instead?" "Definitely some fried rice with the rest of the beef! and oh, how about a stir fried Chinese cabbage with egg sauce?" I murmured to myself. Menu was sorted within seconds, thank god it was a lot easier than I had imagined!!! now I just have to start cooking, do I have to?
I was extremely pleased with how all the dishes turned out, of course able to use up bits and pieces of meat and vegetables that otherwise might have gone to the bin was a big big plus!!

you'll need;
500g of minced pork
2 carrots, peeled and shredded
2 spring onions, chopped
handful of wood fungus, soaked and drained
dash of sesame oil
dash of soy
dash of Chinese cooking wine
1/2 tbs of grated ginger
1 egg
3 tbs of corn flour
sweet potato flour for dusting
oil for frying

Mix everything very well til you get a firm mixture.

Divide mixture into patties and dust them with sweet potato flour. (6 to 8 pieces depending of the size  of the patties)

Shallow fry meat patties til golden brown on both side and transfer to a preheated oven (180 C) for 10 minutes

After ten minutes in the oven you should have these crispy golden nuggets. You can serve these right away or..

Fry chopped garlic, chilies and spring onions with a little oil til golden, return patties to wok and mix through, sprinkle some sea salt over.

Dinner is served!

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Green Bean And Prawns Omelet 青豆蝦粒煎蛋

Since there was still half a pot of fish curry left from the previous night, I decided a simple omelet might go very well with that for tonight's dinner. This is one of the many versions of omelet that appear on our dinner table on a regular basis; sometimes white bait or preserved turnips are added - you can basically add whatever you think might work. I cooked the prawns and beans first to avoid crowding the wok too much (not the strongest burner on the block here!), not overcooking any of the components is the key to success here. It might be a very humble dish but a very delicious one, the different textures and flavours will sure to please the fussiest eater!
P.S goes well with rice porridge or just over plain rice as a packed lunch.

serves 4 as part of a Chinese meal;
500g of green beans, picked and cut into 1/2 cm pieces, fried a few minutes with a sprinkle of salt
5 free range eggs, beaten with dash of sesame oil, light soy, salt and white pepper
1/2 an onion, chopped
10 tiger prawns, shelled and cut into 1 cm pieces, fried with chopped onions and set aside

Have everything ready and heat up the wok.

Add a little oil in a hot wok, chuck bean and prawn mixture in, mix and spread it evenly then pour in the beaten eggs.

Wait for the egg to set, that will take a few minutes and turn the omelet over.

Serve hot as part of your Chinese meal.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Gulai Ikan 娘惹咖喱魚 Nyonya Fish Curry

My blog is almost 2 months old and I just realised I have posted only one curry recipe, namely the very lonely Malaysian chicken curry mee . My family and friends back home are wondering why being a huge curry fan, there is such a lame effort in my curry department. With left over spices and herbs (used for asam laksa ) like lemongrass, turmeric, shallots, ginger flower and Vietnamese mint saying hello to me every time I open the fridge, I thought it might be a very good time to cook some fish curry tonight.
They are many fish curry recipes out there with slight differences; some are heavily influenced by Indian cooking, this is more a Malay/Nyonya version. I have been eating this since I was very little and started making the spice paste as soon as I was strong enough to work the mortar and pestel!. As more wet spices are used in this curry, the taste is naturally lighter and fresher than an Indian curry, one of the reasons why I used snapper fillets as oppose to stronger fish like spanish mackeral. With all the added vegetables in the dish all you need is plenty of plain rice or some roti to mop up the very tasty gravy!!
I kept thinking how lucky I am to grow up with not just the freshest produce but also the endless array of cuisines to choose from. I think Malaysian cuisine is such a unique and exciting one because people are forever so willing to adopt new ingredients and ideas from others, this dish is a great example of that openness!!
P.S Quite lavish when it comes to the preparation, this is also to celebrate one of the tummies promotion at work.

serves 4 with plenty of plain rice
for the curry paste you'll need;
a knob of ginger, sliced
10 shallots, sliced
3 cloves of garlic
5 red chilies, sliced
1 knob of galangal, sliced
10 dried chilies, soaked and cut into pieces (remove seeds for a milder curry)
2 stalks of lemongrass, chopped (white part only)
a small piece of turmeric (or 2 tbs of turmeric powder)
1 tbs of cumin powder
3 tbs of coriander powder
a small piece of shrimp paste (toasted)
Blend everything til you get a wet paste

you'll also need;
1 kg of snapper fillet cut into large pieces, mixed with a dash of turmeric powder, pan fried
15 okras, blanched and refreshed
10 long beans, cut into 2.5" pieces, blanched and refreshed
1 eggplant or 3 Japanese eggplant, cut into bite size pieces
1 can (400ml) of coconut milk
3 tamarind peels
3 tbs of tamarind paste
half a ginger flower
2.5 l of water
half a ginger flower, thinly sliced
1 red chili, thinly sliced
mint leaves

Fry curry paste with 4 tbs of cooking oil til oil separate.

Add water, coconut milk, ginger flower, vietnamese mint, tamarind paste and peels and water and simmer for 20 minutes

Cook eggplants til tender and add blanched long beans, okras and tomato pieces follow by the fish.

Bring it back to a boil and check for seasoning.

Serve it in a large bowl, garnish with sliced ginger flower, chilies and mint. Oh plenty of plain rice please!!

Candied Winter Melon And Barley Drink 冬瓜糖薏米水

A very popular drink served at most Malaysian coffee shops; while adults are having their coffee or tea sweetened by condensed milk, kids are happily sipping this while waiting for their wanton soup  or lo mai kai  to arrive. I decided to place this in the same catagory of leong cha as it has the same "miracle power" of removing excessive heat from our body. This is another drink being made regularly back home when the weather turns hot and humid or too much fried food is consumed.

you'll need;
100g of rock sugar
200g of barley, washed
150g of candied winter melon
2 l of water

Simmer for 40 minutes, serve it warm or chilled.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Friendship And An Early Christmas Gift From Hong Kong

A parcel arrived today from Hong Kong containing a beautiful cookbook and a Christmas card from my wonderful new friend Kenny Ting!!  He is a seasoned foodie who operates food blogs in both English  and Chinese . His love affair with food, his humour and the importance of family and friendships are all evidenced in his blogs. If you are planning a trip to Hong Kong soon, these 2 blogs would be your best friend when it comes to finding good restaurants and eating places. I especially love his Chinese blog as the writing often makes me laugh so much I end up in tears.
When I started my blog, forging friendships was not one of the reasons, but I'm most fortunate to have made a new friend like you! Thank you Kenny!!!

Monday, November 23, 2009

Steamed Pork With Sichuan Preserve Vegetable 榨菜蒸肉餅

Another very delicious everyday dish that I grew up with and it takes only a few minutes to prepare, chuck it in the steamer for 20 minutes and it is ready. The preserve vegetable in chili oil gives the finished dish the extra kick needed, another new ingredient for you perhaps but you'll never know if you never try it! Do get your butcher to mince the pork for you, I personally think pork butt is the best.
This is my first time cooking this (and I'm not sure why I haven't done this before) and I'm extremely happy with the result; The salty and crunchy Sichuan preserved vegetable goes wonderfully well with the velvety sweet mince underneath. I wonder if this dish is going to cause screaming and shouting in the comment box like the mint omelet broth?? :)
P.S there are many variations of steamed pork you can do; with beaten egg and salted duck egg is one, or mix in some preserves turnips into the mince is another. I will post them when I make them next.

serves 4 as part of a Chinese meal;
you'll need;
150g of sichuan preserved vegetable in chili oil
500g of minced pork, marinated with dash of soy, sesame oil, Chinese cooking wine, pepper, an egg and corn flour
1/2 cup of water

Work the pork!

Add the preserved vegetable evenly over the pork, pour in the water and steam it for 25 minutes.

Serve hot with plenty of steamed rice.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Just A Little Prettiness 4

I adopted all of G's lily plants in pots when he left for Vietnam for a working holiday a few years back. The lily of the valley and the pineapple lily have had the most wonderful displays this spring. These little beauties that normally only show up in midsummer gave us an early visit this year, global warming perhaps? I simply adore the shape and colour of this beautiful flower and I want to share with you this once a year joy of mine. I can't remember what is the name of this flower, if you do please leave me a note!!
P.S a cool change finally arrived after a rather hot 2 weeks and it has been raining non stop here in Melbourne for the last 24 hours! In fact the heaviest 24 hours of rain in 5 years!!! yay!!!

They last a little longer indoors :)

Friday, November 20, 2009

Mint Omelet Broth 薄荷蛋湯

I hear you say "mint omelet in anchovies broth dirty bastard!" and see the disgusted expression that goes with that too! That was exactly what one of the tummies did - the disbelief and agony followed, thinking he would be eating some strange food tonight (he loved it straight away after the first taste! :). The temperature has continued to rise and we experienced the hottest night ever recorded for the month of November. I remembered this wonderfully refreshing childhood dish that takes only minutes to make might just take the edge off the heat a little, the result is this strange sounding but absolutely delicious dish (we often have tiny white baits added in the omelet, omit the anchovies if white baits are being used). I strongly urge everyone to give it a try, if you like it fantastic and if you don't it will only waste 20 minutes of your time!! This is also my oldest and dearest friend H's favourite dish.
P.S I also made a steamed pork with Sichuan preserved vegetable and a quick stir fried juicy asparagus with homemade chili oil.

serves 4 as part of a Chinese meal;
for the broth you'll need;
2 l of water
100g of dried anchovies, washed
salt and pepper to taste
simmer anchovies in boiling water for 30 minutes, strained
*or use 2 l of chicken stock if you wish

for the mint omelet you'll need;
4 free range eggs, add a dash of pepper, light soy sesame oil and a little grated ginger, beaten
2 bunches of mint, picked

Saute mint with a little oil for 30 seconds and pour beaten eggs over.

Lightly scramble til 70% cooked.

Add mint omelet into the prepared anchovies broth, simmer for 15 minutes.

Serve hot as part of your Chinese meal.

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melbourne, victoria, Australia