Thursday, April 26, 2012

Chinese Mustard Green Flavorful Mixed Rice (芥菜饭)

This ONE POT dish is actually the same as the Long Bean Flavorful Mixed Rice that I cooked last month. But this time round, I used Chinese Mustard Green (芥菜). We called it "Gay-Choy" in cantonese or "Jie-Cai" in Mandarin.

Another version of flavorful rice that my grandma used to cook when she knew she need to feed the whole village family with limited budget.

This is a strong flavor vegetable. Some people might not like it's natural bitterness taste. It contains large amounts of beta carotene and vitamin C that are important antioxidants. There are people out there mentioned that Chinese Mustard Green have cancer-preventive properties. Not sure about that. It is also a source of calcium that can be important to lactose intolerant individuals. Mustard greens also contain a significant amount of iron. In summary, it is a cheap and good veggie.

Night Blooming Cereus Soup (霸王花老火靓汤)

I just came back from Hong Kong last week. I basically buy nothing much. The thing that I bought are food related stuffs. The dried seafood, chinese herbs & etcs in Hong Kong is cheaper and better in quality. 

This week, I wanted to introduce you this soup. The soup that might sounds not familiar to you, but it is the soup that is refreshing and you may want to give it a try.

Night Blooming Cereus Soup (霸王花老火靓汤)

I spotted Night Blooming Cereus Soup Pack in Hong Kong. So, I've got myself 2 pack of it. Everything is in there, except pork ribs and dried cuttlefish that I need to add in. Reason? I'm lazy. So, since I saw a convi pack selling there, why not?

Monday, April 9, 2012

Dried Fish Peanut Porridge (柴鱼花生粥)

I don't know what is the exact name of this dried fish 柴鱼"cai yu" in english. I tried to google it, but still, I couldn't find any clue. Anyway, it's okay. It's a dried fish that you can get it from sundries store that sell lots of dried foodstuffs.

This dried fish peanut porridge is one of my childhood food. During my primary school period, we could easily get a bowl of porridge at the roadside stall, located at the corner of our village near to our school. The stall owner is a very friendly middle aged aunt. It cost us only 10cts a bowl. We will have a bowl of porridge for breakfast before we head to the school. Ahhh.... Memory!

And I think the unbeatable part about the one that I had during childhood time is that, stall owner use charcoal to cook the porridge, while mine in a easier way, but... shamefully, Rice Cooker.

This dried fish peanut porridge can be seen in a common nutritious babyfood recipe book. This porridge supposed to be slightly watery than the usual thick porridge that Cantonese used to cook. The taste of this porridge is that, it has the fragrance of the soft peanut when you chew on it, while the dried fish gives it a mild saltiness & sweetness. Heavenly!

This porridge said to promote urination, and it is also a good source of iron, especially for kids.

Sunday, April 8, 2012

Simple Fried Rice Vermicelli (炒米粉)

I love cooking Rice Vermicelli (Beehoon) over the weekend. It's just simple and welcoming. I prefer to keep my fried Rice Vermicelli simple. I usually don't use meat in there. But if it is meant for a party or something, I probably will add some shredded fish cakes. It depends on my mood.

This is another cooking without recipe for me. But fret not, I can write out the ingredients easily without referring to anything.

You can eat this as breakfast, brunch, lunch, hi-tea, dinner, supper... or something in-between, or whatever. It's up to you. Fried Rice Vermicelli is just another common food in Asia that I absolutely adore. It's yummy, easy, cheap, healthy, and it can be cooked 2 to 3 hours in advance without any problem!

I'm quite fussy about the type of Rice Vermicelli I use. I usually buy Tai Sun Rice Vermicelli (太山米粉) - Singaporean always recognize the the two chilli on the package. But I think there’s a imitated one. So, please don’t just see got chilli on the package & grab em’. See carefully.

I would try my best to use up the entire pack of Rice Vermicelli at one go. I hate it when I know I have to keep half of them, worrying that there might not be enough to feed the rest of the people. Because individual eating portion for fried Rice Vermicelli can be quite subjective sometimes. People tends to eat more that what they should. Especially my husband. He can swallow two big plate infront of me, rubbing his belly and say "Oh so yummy!", followed with a loud burp!

Cannot take it.

Unagi Rice (Unadon) 鰻鱼丼

3 weeks ago, Max requested for Unagi Rice. But I was like "Hell! This is something difficult can?!"....  But still, I will do it lah. Maybe in a easier way? I'm quite good at cheating you know? Hahas!

Unadon is s a popular donburi (rice bowl) dish made with unagi kabayaki (grilled eel coated with a sweet sauce). I like it alot. But I always refrain from ordering this when I visit Japanese Restaurant. Because they always gives me miserable portion of Unagi!

Since I've promised him to do it, he will also have to put in effort to assist me to get my mission accomplished lah. So, I get him to drive me to Chinatown to hunt for fresh eel.

Review : Swiss Rosti with Smoked Bratwurst

It's random weekend. I open the fridge and cooked Swiss Rosti for weekend lunch.

Upon Max request, I bought Swiss Rosti two days ago at Plaza Singapura. It comes in a promo price of S$10 for two pack. And I thought it was okay, since Max wanted to eat it. And I walked to Carrefour and grab a pack of his favorite Smoked Brats to go along with.

Saturday, April 7, 2012

Stir-Fried Roasted Pork with Garlic (蒜香爆烧肉)

I mentioned this Stir Fried Roasted Pork - bao-siu-yuk (爆烧肉) before in my Long Bean Flavorful Mixed Rice post earlier. It is the same thing. But since today I'm cooking this again, I really can't help posting it again. This time, it's more garlicky, which I like it alot.

With this flavorful dish alone, I can finish a big bowl of rice! My love for this dish has developed since young. I spent my childhood time living in Kampar, a small town that takes about 25 to 30mins drive away from Ipoh Town. When it comes to festive seasons, or whoever is getting married, we definitely will have a big portion of roasted pork lying on the dining table. 

On the 1st day, we will eat the fresh roasted pork. Just cut them into bite size and eat with rice. Usually, we won't be able to finish it within a day. So, we will wrap them up, keep the left-over in the fridge for the next day. Grandma will heat up the roasted pork by stir-frying it, and add some flavors to enhance it. 

And this is what I'm gonna do.

Beef Soup with White Radish & Waterchestnut (萝卜马蹄牛肉汤)

Adapted the soup idea from Wendy's blog. But I slightly modified it to suit my own.

My Mother-In-Law loves cooking beef soup for us. But her's is thicker, and very savory. I love it alot. While the one I cooked now, it is much lighter and sweeter. This soup is good if you wanna clear heat and detoxify your body. Because there's Couch Grass in there, and promotes urination too.

Beef Soup
A month ago, I bought a pack of Cane and ArrowRoot Stock (甘蔗粉葛汤料) from medical hall and I don't have the opportunity to use it. Until when I read Wendy's blog, then, I know this comes in handy!

Content : Sugar Cane (甘蔗),Arrowroot (粉葛),Couchgrass (白茅根),Carrot (红萝卜).

Total about 200grams in a pack. But I don't think I will use up the whole pack. I just need half of them, and keep the balance for next time. 

And here's what I've prepared...

beef soup

 (Recipe adapted from Wendy's blog, but slight modified. Click here for reference)

Ingredients (Serves 3 - 4)
  • 300 grams of fresh beef cubes 
  • 300 grams of white radish
  • 200 grams of carrot
  • 8 to 10 pcs of waterchestnuts, washed, peeled. Should weight about 150 grams
  • 100 grams of dried Sugar Cane
  • 10 grams of dried couchgrass 
  • a slice of dried arrowroot 
  • 10 grams of "Nan Xing" Sweet Chinese almonds (南杏)
  • About 2L water
  • Pinch of sea salt to taste
  • some chopped coriander to garnish before serve.
There are two types of Chinese almonds. "Nan Xing" and "Bei Xing". Usually, people buy both at the same time. But it really depends on you. And the difference is as follows :-

南杏 "Nan Xing" = Sweet in taste. (补肺润燥止咳喘)
北杏 "Bei Xing" = Bitter in taste. (宣降肺气而止咳喘)

You can use both almonds together if you want. Or any of them. It's up to you.

Actually the amount of the Couch grass in that pack of 甘蔗粉葛汤料 is miserable. I think it only has 5 grams of it. I do have Couch grass at home, as it is one of the common herbs that Chinese family keep stock at home. So, I make the Couch Grass into 10 grams. 

Couch grass It is effective in alleviating the occurrence as well as the soreness of urination - an effectual medication for UTI - Urinary Tract Infection (difficult and painful urination and a condition marked by slow, painful urination, caused by muscular spasms of the urethra and bladder). 

Beef Soup

  1. Rinse beef cubes scald in boiling water for awhile, remove and rinse. (Refer to this if you are unsure on how to scald your meat) 
  2. Wash all the rest of the ingredients, and do all the necessary cutting.
  3. In a soup pot (I'm using slow cooker this time), put everything in (except salt & coriander). Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer the soup over low heat for 2 to 3 hours. I let it sit in the slow cooker for 4 hours! Woohoo! The soup is has the Power!!!
  4. Sprinkle salt to taste, give it a good stir. Dish up, sprinkle some coriander as garnishing and serve.
Take a look at the soup. It's light, clear and sweet. No bluff!

Beef Soup
I love this soup!

Wendy is true, it only has a mild beef taste. It doesn't over-powered the taste of the rest of the ingredients. The soup itself is sweet. It's not meant to be savory meaty end. And yep! There's no dried seafood ingredients in there, so I put a lil' more salt for this soup. Most of the dried seafood ingredients are a lil' salty.

Beef Soup
If you don't eat beef, you can substitute with the usual pork ribs or lean meat. I should work fine, but I'm sure it taste different, as the beef taste is stronger than pork. 

Because of it's sweetness, I think children will love it. Do give it a try. I'm sure you will love it!


This post had been featured in Asian Food Channel (AFC) Facebook 

Beef Soup AFC

Review : Takahi Slow Cooker

I had been wanting to get a soup pot for the past 1 month. Cooking soup using gas stove for 3 hours can be quite expensive actually. If I look at a long term basis, I think getting a slow cooker is better. But since I had purchased my rice cooker, so, I won't wanna make so much purchase within a month.

Initially, I wanted to get Toyomi brand 3.2L Slow Cooker. Two weeks ago, I saw it somewhere else, and I think it cost about S$69.90. But when I walked into OG today, I get convinced by the sales lady, telling me that Toyomi imitate Takahi, and Toyomi is made in Taiwan, and she claimed that Takahi is the so-called "original brand" for slow cooker, and all their slow cooker is assembled in Japan.

Comparing with both real thing, both looks similar, but when I hold it, I prefer Takahi, as the parts they used is kinda better. So, I bought this. OG is having 10% discount, and I paid S$67.50 for this medium sized (3.5L) pot. It's good enough for a family of 3 or 4.

Initially, I picked the one in blue. The older version. But after I read some online review, I immediately tell the sales lady that I wanted to change to this latest floral version. What is the difference between this version and the old version? It is said that this model is created to use low power consumption while giving the same required heat. The electricity bills in Singapore is equivalently high. So, I think I should get this.

Review : My Zojirushi NP-HBQ10 Rice Cooker (Part 3) - Porridge

Using my Zojirushi rice cooker, cooked some white porridge few days ago.

This time, I used Koshihikari Rice alone. Didn't mix with any other grains because I wanted to test the machine, and ensure every single grain breakdown is even.

Half cups of Koshihikari Rice into the rice cooker, put in water according to the level indicator. It takes about 1 hour to cook. And yes, it doesn't disappoint me.

The porridge turned out beautifully shiny and soft.

Japanese Rice

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

SPAM Fried Rice (Using Koshihikari Rice)

Last night, I supposed to cook a dinner. But I was unwell and feeling exhausted. And so, I think I will only have energy to toss some fried rice. I simply don't have the strength to walk to the nearby supermarket to get fresh ingredients. Since I intend to write a review on the Niigata Koshihikari rice that I'd purchased, I think I should just do it.

And so, before I talk about my SPAM Fried Rice, allow me to side track abit here, and give some review on my Koshihikari Rice.

This is a bowl of freshly cooked Koshihikari Rice, using my Zojirushi rice cooker.

Japanese Rice

There's a thing about cooking Japanese rice that you need to know. You need to rinse the rice until the water runs clear. With this, the result of your rice would be better and kinda less sticky in a way, as I do believe that the white & milky substance that we see during rice washing is probably, somehow.... starch?

Monday, April 2, 2012

Japanese (Japonica) Rice

Somebody ever told me that if I have a pack of good quality rice, but if don't have a good rice cooker, I might end up not able to cook the best rice. Since I've got myself a mighty Zojirushi Rice Cooker, I am now more determined to buy some better quality rice to give it a try. I could eat better too, in a way. 

Ever since I've got my rice cooker, I had been reading alot about rice. There are an incredible number of varieties of rice in the world. What caught my attention is the varieties of rice that is available in Japan. And I will streamline to that.  What I'm gonna share here are all my summarized understanding about Japanese Rice after a few reading & findings online.

Japanese loves rice. So do I. Obviously. Urgh!
Here is a list of some of the popular ones, imported from Japan, that can be found in Singapore...
  • Koshihikari (I just bought this. Haha! Read on!)
  • Akitakomachi
  • Hitomebore
  • Hinohikari
  • Nanatsuboshi
  • Mochi rice / Sweet rice 
Other than defining the quality by it's variety, the quality of rice are also very much depends on which region that the rice is grown. When buying rice, you must consider two factors - the variety and place of production. For example, Koshihikari rice produced in the Uonuma district in Niigata prefecture is considered Japan's best Koshihikari rice and is very expensive, while Koshihikari rice produced in Chiba prefecture in the Kanto Plain is much less expensive. Something like that.
Those that you usually see in NTUC, Prime Mart, or Cold Storage, it is usually not imported from Japan. They are the same variety of grain, but harvested in USA or other places. Therefore, there is a difference in grades, taste, color and it's texture. And of course, the price is a big difference lah! :)

Japanese Rice
<< I had been eating this Hitomebore rice for the past without complain. It cost me S$19.90 for this 2kg bag. Got it at Shaw House at promo price. I would say, it taste decent and good. Has it's chewy texture and easy to handle.

Few weeks ago, I saw this at Jusco Tebrau City JB. They are selling at RM56.00!!! This is crazy can? How would a Malaysian spend such price for a pack 2kg rice? Well, maybe?

I believe that the Kokuho Rose and Calrose brands are at the low end in quality, though I can't recall specifically buying Calrose at any time. Yes, there is a difference. The color, the texture, the taste... It's just different. Calrose is a type of Japanese rice that was developed in California. Botan, Kokuho Rose, Nishiki, Shirakiku, etc. are brands of rice.

Japanese Rice
I had been wanting to try Koshihikari rice. It's just that I do not want to buy a pack of new rice without finishing my Hitomebore rice.

I'm eyeing on this pack of Koshihikari rice >>
for the past 2 weeks. Finally, I've got a pack over the weekend. It's labelled as Niigata Obaachan ("Obaachan" means Grandma) Osusume Koshihikari.

Koshihikari Rice
Koshikari is a super-premium Japanese rice that costs more than standard premium brands. Some brands are grown in California; some are imported from Japan. Koshihikari is grown not only in Niigata prefecture but also in other parts of the country such as Chiba prefecture, and even in the United States.

The Uonuma district in Niigata prefecture is famous for producing Koshihikari of top quality, and this is why Koshihikari produced in this district, or Uonuma-san Koshihikari ("san" means "produce"), is called "burando mai" (brand rice). Uonuma-san Koshihikari is ranked as Toku A. (Toku means Special).

Japanese Rice
Generally, rice is considered good if it is white, shiny, aromatic, sweet (becomes sweet when you chew it), sticky, and resilient. This is what I called good rice.

Mine is not specifically from Uonuma district. But still, it is from Niigata prefecture. The price is already very expensive loh. This bag of 5kg rice cost me S$77.40. It is the most expensive pack of rice that I've ever bought so far.

I really feel the pinch. And I was talking to this pack of rice while I carry em' up... "You bloody expensive rice! You'd better worth the price and don't dissapoint me I tell you!"


Sunday, April 1, 2012

My Grandma's Garlic Fried Rice (外婆的蒜米炒饭)

I dig this out from my old file. I suddenly miss my Grandma so much!

I spent most of my childhood time together with my Grandma. She is a humble lady who always left with less than RM10 in her pocket. But still, it doesn't really matter to her. Even tho she left with 20cts in her pocket, she will still be able to make me a meal.

I remember Sakae Sushi serve Garlic Fried Rice last time. It cost S$3.00 for a small miserable portion. I have to agree that it taste kinda simillar to the one that my grandma cook. They are good. But of course, Sakae Sushi use is using a mixture of Jasmine rice and calrose rice. For my grandma, of course she is using 100% jasmine rice. The usual rice that every chinese family is eating. Calrose rice is very expensive not easily available during my younger days.

This is the ORIGINAL version of my grandma’s Garlic Fried Rice. The taste that I will never forget.

I still remember how precious a bowl of Garlic Fried Rice is when nanny left 20cts in her pocket. Grandma used to hold my little hand, walked to the nearby grocery store with her weak knee. Holding the 20cts in another hand, we're getting the fresh egg for our fried rice. Once we got the egg, we just need some left-over overnight rice, some chopped garlic and soy sauce. These are all we need to make our lunch. There’s nothing fantastic in this bowl of rice, but… I can taste the real love, and the real garlic fragrance.