Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Random : Treasure hunt in the kitchen

I had been busy packing up and gotta move over to my new residence by end of this week.

While both me and my Mother in law busy packing up, we found alot of "treasures" that is hidden beneath the kitchen cupboard. Those are my mother in law's stuffs. But she herself didn't even know she has all these "treasure"!!!

I won't post every single treasure here. They are really... too much. But these two item, it's CLASSIC~!!!

Treasure 1 : Childhood old-fashioned mini fork.

Looks familiar?

Yes! This is what we used to eat cakes and fruits during our childhood times! I took a photo of this, and then I sent it to Wendy. And then, my mother in law threw it away. She said no point keeping em'. I told Wendy "This is 20 years old!!!".... Wendy responded "Noooo!!! This is 30 years old!!!".

Ok. I think I should keep it. I go to the dustbin and dig it out again. Next time, when I have my own child, I should show this mini fork to my child. Hehe... Even Edith told me that she wants it.

Another treasure....

Treasure 2 : Grandma's style old earthen pot.
Ok, I don't know how old is this pot. But my Mother in law also not sure, but she says this should be around 9 to 10 years old. Somebody pass this pot to her, and there, she continue to use it. She wanted to threw this away. But when I saw it, I said "Noooo!!! Cannot throw!!! This is good stuff!!!".... She looked at me with her two big eyes... hahahaha...

I tested, no leakage. Still in good condition! I'm gonna use this pot to boil a pot of good soup using charcoal when my new residence settled down! Or maybe Vinegared Pig's Trotter? Hehehe...

Actually, there are more treasures, not only these two item. The good old days stuffs that not all younger generation know how to appreciate it. Just like the earthen pot. It can really cook up the unforgettable flavor that makes us reminds of the real traditional taste. My grandma's cooking.... You get what I mean?

But the house is in a mess, sometimes, I just don't have the time to take picture of those stuffs. Anyway, nevermind... Do stay tuned! I hope I can show u more! :D

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Chicken Feet Peanut Soup (花生鸡脚汤)

There's a reader requesting for Chicken Feet Peanut Soup (花生鸡脚汤) the other day. I cooked this 2 weeks ago, but I don't have the time to write about it.

This is a common soup during my childhood time. My deceased aunt always cook this for me when I was small. But no more now. Whenever I wanna drink this soup, I will have to cook it myself.

The ingredients are easily available. You could get chicken feet from wet market or even supermarket too. No need to elaborate further. But for the conch (Sea snails), it might looks not common to some people.

When you want to cook this soup, please be generous on the chicken feet. If you are stingy, thinking that you wants a pot of nice soup by just adding 5 pairs chicken feets for 2.2L water, forget it. You want nice soup, you will have to be generous.

1 pack of chicken feet (5 pairs) cost only S$1.00 at the wet market. Put more chicken feet, and you will get really collagen-rich and thick soup.

  • 200g Raw Peanut 花生
  • 10 pairs Chicken Feet 鸡脚
  • 200g Pork Ribs 排骨
  • 5pcs Dried Conch (Sea Snails) 海螺肉
  • 2.2L Water
  • Salt to taste
Note : Please go ahead and substitute the Conch into dried octopus or dried cuttlefish. It would taste even better. Read on, and I'll tell you why I used Conch for this soup.

  1. Remove peanut skin by rubbing it hard with each other. The reason is because I would prefer my soup to have a clearer broth. Don't bother if you are lazy. It's just that peanut skins gives your soup darker color. That's all. Pre-soak the peanuts overnight (or at least 5 hours) before use.
  2. Rinse pork ribs, scald in boiling water for awhile, remove and rinse.
  3. Rinse chicken feet, check if all toe nails from the feet are removed. Cut away any bad part (if any). Parboil the chicken feet for 5mins, remove and rinse. 
  4. Pre-soak dried conch (sea snails) for at least 2 days. This is to ensure the conch is really soft enough to use.
  5. If you are using dried octopus or cuttlefish, wash and snip them into smaller pieces.
  6. In a soup pot, add pork ribs, peanut,conch and water. Bring to a boil for 10mins. And then, add chicken feet. Boil another 10mins again. Then reduce heat and simmer the soup over low heat for 4 hours, until the peanut turns really soft.
  7. Your soup will definitely have the Umph! after 4 hours! Woohoo!!! Remember to add salt to taste before serve.
This is one of the way to remove peanut skin by rubbing them hard. You could see the dark color of the peanut water. If you didn't pre-soak your peanut and wash them, these water is going to be in your soup.

Parboil your chicken feet is a must. This is to ensure that your chicken feet soup has nicer broth.

I'm not supposed to use conch for this soup actually. But my mother-in-law pre-soaked a few pieces of conch and she told me she don't know what to do with it. When she knew I wanna cook soup, she ask me to use conch instead of the usual dried cuttlefish / octopus. Although I knew that conch will not gives this soup really good seafood taste, but then, I'll just use it.

I dig out one of my nutritional cookbook, and realized that conch is quite nutritious. And the book says - It is warm in nature and taste bittersweet, living inbetween the rocks in the shallow sea-bed. It is rich in Vitamin A, protein, iron and calcium, amino acid and trace elements. It treats conjunctivitis 红眼症, jaundice 黄疸, athelete's foot hemorrhoids 脚气 Piles 痔疮 and so on.
Not bad eh? Hahaha...

See my soup again. It has nice and clear broth. That is because I soak and wash my peanut several times. Don't judge the soup by it's pale look. This soup is reall really thick and nice. How thick it would be? Take a bowl of soup and put it in the fridge, it will turn jelly. Haha... You could imagine now?

This is a super collagen soup. My grandma once told me that this really good for complexion and knees cartilage problem. This is when you hear ’squeaky’ noise if you walked long distance or some seniors who have weak knees.

So, this is another beauty soup. Please drink more. Haha...

Monday, August 13, 2012

Babi Pongteh / Nyonya Braised Pork - (MFF - Melaka)

This is my 2nd submission to Malaysian Food Fest (MFF) for Melaka month.

Babi Pongteh is known as braised pork with fermented soya bean. This is a signature Nyonya dish that every Baba Nyonya family cook.

How would I describe this? I don't know. To me, this is a flavorful melt-in-your-mouth pork belly, and when you see this, you will definitely ask for a bowl of steamed rice, and then, drizzle the sauce over the rice. You know what I'm trying to say?

And then, all our self-realization is gone, cuz you're gonna ask for another bowl of rice without even feeling guilty. Hahahahahaa!!!

My 1st submission was Ikan Gerang Asam earlier, and I'm happy that my friends likes it. And it's been featured in AFC (Asian Food Channel) facebook, which I really don't know what is actually happening. But nevermind. It's happiness!!! Haha...

I'm recreating Babi Pongteh using the recipe Alan posted here. The recipe that Alan is sharing is extracted from Cooking for the President – Reflections & Recipes by Wee Eng Hwa, the daughter of Dr.Wee Kim Wee, the late former Singapore's President. It is said that the book compiled all the recipes which Mrs.Wee cooked for Dr.Wee Kim Wee. I didn't knew the book was so great until I'm done with my Babi Pongteh and tasted it on my own. Seriously, I feel like buying the book. I love every single instruction and details in the book. I have to thank Alan for recommending me this, but.... it's selling S$115 at Kinokuniya. The book is too atas (pricey / high class) for me to invest for now. Haha.. Maybe next time? But I really like the book loh!!!

Okay... Come back to the dish.

This dish is really rich in flavor and it could easily make you eat 2 bowls of rice easily. It also tastes good the next day when all the flavours have melded together.

Friday, August 10, 2012

Basic Onigri - The real taste of Akitakomachi Rice

Does Japan grown rice taste more delicious? I don't even need to hold my breath and I could straightaway give you the answer. It is a big YES!

I had been eating Koshihikari rice recently, and I really love it to the bit. I love Koshihikari more than Hitomebore, and more than any other grains. But I never had a chance to give Akitakomachi rice a try, not until recently.

In this post, I'll share with you how to make basic Onigri and also my verdict on the real taste of Akitakomachi.

Monday, August 6, 2012

Ikan Gerang Asam / Nyonya Tamarind Fish (MFF - Melaka)

In conjunction of Malaysian Food Fest (MFF), as a Malaysian, I don't find any reason for not supporting this. A group of bloggers (included myself) would like to introduce culinary specialties of all states in Malaysia, and wished to encourage readers to give a try replicating state dishes at home. I think this is really fun and interesting.

We will have different state specialties in different month. This month is about Melaka. So, Nyonya dishes :)

As my 1st submission to MFF for Melaka month, I'm recreating the Ikan Gerang Asam (Nyonya Tamarind Fish) recipe that Wendy posted.

Ikan Gerang Asam / Nyonya Tamarind Fish
I'm not a Nyonya person. And I know not much about their dishes. I only know how to eat. Haha. Nyonya Cuisines is about combination of Chinese and Malay cooking. I really adore the ingredients they used, especially their perfect spices combination. And this a kind of dish that usually make you eat more rice.

I feel stressed when I knew I'm gonna recreate this dish. Not on the cooking part, but the part when I knew I have to gather all these ingredients. Living in Singapore, not all markets sell everything that you wanted. Some important traditional ingredients has obsolete in some places because modern people doesn't really use such ingredients for their cooking.

Something missing in the picture. Yes! Galangal is missing. Read on... and you will know about "The tale of galangal" later part.

I have hard time looking for kaffir lime leaf. I showed the picture of kaffir lime leaf to my mother-in-law, and also my colleague. They argue with me, says that this is Pomelo leaf wo. This is so... Fail! Haha! I went to the wet market, I asked the curry powder stall owner, he told me that this is lemon leaf, they don't sell. I was like... "Urgh! Ok, thank you uncle", and I walked away. In the end, I found my kaffir lime leaf at a veggie stall. But with that small amount of leaf, they asked me for 30cts! Expensive can?! I show my super unhappy face while I so unwillingly digging my coins from my pouch, and end up, he ask me for 20cts only. Hahaha!

Now, prepare the ingredients 1st. All the ingredients I used is exactly the same. But for the ratio, it's slightly different. Because I adopt the "agak-agak" (estimation) logic here. Hehe..

Ingredients (Recipe Source : Wendyinkk / Original recipe from Florence Tan)
  • 400gm Mackerel (Tenggiri)
  • 38gm Tamarind Pulp + 380ml Water
  • 10 Young Okra, trimmed
  • 2 pcs Kaffir Lime Leaf / 枫柑叶
  • 5 tbsp Cooking Oil
  • ½ tsp Salt
  • 3 tsp Sugar
Spice Paste - Grind everything into a paste
  • 10gm Dried Chilli / 辣椒干, remove seeds and soak for 10 mins.
  • 100gm Shallots
  • 3 cloves Garlic
  • 2½ Candle Nut / Buah Keras / 石栗
  • 5gm Tumeric Root 黄姜, cleaned weight
  • 10gm Galangal / 南姜, cleaned weight
  • 2 Lemongrass / 香茅, 4 inches from the base
  • 5gm Belachan / Dried shrimp paste
  1. Prepare spice paste and grind everything together. You could prepare this 2 to 3 hours in advance. Clingwrap it and keep it aside or in the fridge if you want. No problem at all.
  2. Scoop Tamarind into a bowl of 380ml water. With both hands, rub the tamarind pulp, strain the water and discard the seed. We only need the water.
  3. Heat oil in a wok, under medium heat, add in spice paste. Fry it for awhile, and lower the fire to medium low heat. Continue to fry until the paste is ready. Be patient. You will know it is ready when the paste looks slight glossy and the oil seems to ooze out. As if the oil started to separate with the spice paste. And the spice paste aroma is all over your kitchen by now.
  4. Add tamarind water and bring to a boil. Lower to a simmer for 4 minutes. Add salt and sugar. Taste and adjust to your individual liking. If you find it too spicy, you could add more sugar to neutralize it.
  5. Add in fish and kaffir lime leaf, gently scoop the sauce to cover the kaffir lime leaf and fish. Still under low heat, let it simmer for 2 to 3 minutes.
  6. Flip the fish gently. Add in okra, simmer for another 2 to 3 minutes. Heat off and dish up.
Note : Incase you have problem removing seed from the dried chillis. Here, use a scissor cut the dried chilli into half, and remove the chilli. Don't bother about the shape of the dried chilli, because you are going to grind them into paste anyway.

And it's now ready to cook? At 1st, I thought so. But actually, not...

Before I start cooking, I did a quick revision by reading Wendy's blog one more time. To my horror, I realized that missed out something!!! I missed out Galangal!!! *Arrgh!!*

My heart sunken..... like a Titanic. I thought I have to give up this dish.

I screamed and I wanna bang my head to the wall. I kept asking myself how could I left this ingredient out??!! For instance, my mind turned blank and don't know what to do.
Okays, I cooled down. I tell my husband about it. He asked if I could proceed without galangal. I'm not too sure. So, I text Wendy and I text Alan too. Both Wendy and Alan told me that galangal is important for this dish. But it is already late. All wet markets are closed. NTUC and Cold Storage won't have galangal loh.


I asked my mother in law where to get galangal at this hour. She say "Oh! Use ginger lah! Same mah!"

. . . . . Seriously (*__*)

Okays, nobody could understand how I feel. I think I wanna go and hunt for galangal. But I don't know where to head to. Max is so supportive to this mission and he suggested to go Sheng Siong Supermart to give it a try. So, he drove me there...

And I found my galangal!!!! MISSION ACCOMPLISHED... Yay~!!! 老公万岁!!! :D

I couldn't imagine how would my Ikan Gerang Asam taste without galangal. But I'm pretty sure that it will taste totally different. The aroma of the galangal gives this dish a twist from the usual asam pedas that I had out there. And here, let's see what they say.

Verdict (Husband) : The dish is really nice in overall. But he commented that it is not sour and spicy enough to his liking. Maybe he compare with those asam pedas that is selling outside. He asked if I could double up the Tamarind for more asam (sour) taste, and make it more spicy too.

Verdict (Mother-In-Law) : She seems to love this dish very much. She is a person who can't take too sour and too spicy food. But she likes this dish, and had two bowls of rice.

Verdict (Myself) : I love the thickness of the sauce and the taste of the spices combination. It taste so so so so Malaysia! Hehe... I think I will repeat this dish in future, and increase more Tamarind and dried chilli as per my husband's request. Well, this is really very much depends on individual tastebud.

When I'm stir-frying the spice paste, I already knew I would love this dish like mad. I took the okra and a small portion of fish. I scoop two big tablespoons of the sauce and drizzle it straight on top of my white rice. Yea, 1 bowl of rice is gone! Wuuahahahahaa!!!

Although this dish require some effort. But when I see them enjoyed the dish, I think all my effort is really worthwhile :)

I am submitting this to Malaysian Food Fest, Melaka Month
Hosted by Cindy of Yummy Little Cooks

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