Sunday, December 8, 2013

Chinese Red Eggs (红鸡蛋)

Happy Birthday to me!!!

Yes! Today is my birthday. Haha. So, I made some red eggs (红鸡蛋) for myself.

These bright red colored cooked chicken eggs are first hard boiled and then wet red color is smeared over the eggs to create a red coloring. Nothing fanciful, but it is the significant food instead.

In Chinese culture, it is common to find red eggs at the baby's full month or baby's 1st birthday. Eggs symbolize birth or a new start. Hence, for eggs to be served to guests during an important birthday is very significant. The red color means prosperity and good fortune to the Chinese. And this explains why Chinese eat red eggs during birthday :)

When I was a kid, my grandma used to make these red eggs for me on my birthday. Sometimes she will reserve a huge L shaped chicken tight for me too. What a feast! Ever since I moved away from my grandma, no one makes red eggs for me anymore :(

I still, follow the most basic way of making red eggs as what my grandma did. Used red coloring powder instead of the modern liquid coloring. A very small amount of coloring powder will do the work.


  • 4 fresh eggs (or more)
  • a tsp of salt
  • small amount of red coloring powder
  • a tsp of water to mix with the red coloring powder


  1. To make hard boiled eggs. In a stock pot, add enough water, a tsp of salt, and gently add in eggs. Bring to a boil in medium heat. 
  2. Once eggs are boiled, remove and set aside to let the eggs cool down for 5mins or more. 
  3. In a bowl, mix red coloring powder with a tsp of water. 
  4. Put the egg on the red coloring, roll the eggs around to let the red coloring smear all over the eggs. Do this one at a time. If you find the eggs are not red enough, you could roll the eggs on the red coloring to let it dye one more time.  

Do use a spoon or gloves if you don't want your hands and nails to be dyed in the process. To me, getting your hands and nails dyed is kinda fun! It's part of the process!

I love the peeling part! It will dyed the egg white a little during peeling. And that makes this hard boiled eggs special. One way or another, our traditions usually revolve around food and the symbols they represent in life.

Beautiful mess :)

These red eggs symbolize luck, good fortune and blessing. It is my birthday, and I'm sharing this blessing in my house. Kuan Lok (my tenant) get to eat red eggs too! He's having hard time peeling his red eggs. Hahaha...

So, is your birthday coming soon? Make some red eggs! :)

Once again, Happy Birthday to me!!! :)

Sunday, November 17, 2013

Pad Thai (ผัดไทย) / Thai Stir-Fried Rice Noodle - (AFF - Thailand)

Time flies really fast. It's November already and it's Thailand month for Asian Food Fest.

This stir-fried rice noodle dish is commonly found along the street or at casual local eateries everywhere in Thailand. Pad Thai is also one of the Thailand's national dishes and has become popular in many countries. Just walk into any of the Thai restaurant or eateries, they definitely have Pad Thai in the menu.

Other than the usual Tom Yum Goong (Thai sour and spicy soup), Pad Thai is one of my favorite food. 5 years ago, I went Bangkok, and I didn't get to eat any good Pad Thai. 3 months ago, Max brought me, my MIL and friends to Phuket for vacation. And he brought us to one Thai fine dining restaurant beside JW Marriott for some authentic thai food. I ordered Pad Thai, and I'd say, that's the best Pad Thai ever! I still remember how it taste, but I didn't take photo of it.

Pad Thai is indeed a significant street food that I personally adore so much. Traditionally, prawns are used in Pad Thai. However, chicken or pork Pad Thai is also found commonly nowadays. If I were to describe the taste of this dish, the tang from the tamarind pulp, the special saltiness from fish sauce (Nam pla น้ำปลา), the sweetness from the palm sugar and the hot from the red chilli pepper. Fwoooh!!! I love it!!!

It may looked simple, but I have to confess that, to make a good serving of Pad Thai do need abit of patience here.

The list of ingredients here is quite long. If you are looking more into traditional Pad Thai recipe, this is it. However, in such modern days, people do tends to modify or forgo some of the ingredients when they cook it at home. Hence, it's eventually up to you to decide what kind of Pad Thai you want to serve.

Ingredients (Serves 3 to 4)
(Source : She Simmers, with modification)

  • 200g Thai Dried Rice Noodles
  • 4 tbsp Ground Nut Oil or Cooking Oil
  • 100ml Pad Thai Sauce *See below for recipe, also see Note
  • 2 cloves Garlic (8g), peeled and finely chopped
  • 1 medium Shallot (20g), peeled and finely chopped
  • 24g Chopped Preserved Radishes (a.k.a 菜圃)
  • 8g Shell-On Dried Krill
  • 100g Firmest Tofu you can find *See Note
  • 220g Large prawns, peeled and deveined
  • 2 Large Eggs
  • 110g Bean Sprout
  • 5 stalks of Chinese Chives (韭菜), about 50g

For Pad Thai Sauce
  • 36g Fish Sauce
  • 45g Palm Sugar (I used Gula Melaka)
  • 12g Brown Sugar
  • 30g Tamarind Paste rub in 40g Water, discard the seed
For Garnishing
  • Sugar
  • Dried red pepper flakes
  • Fresh Lime wedges
  • Chopped roasted peanuts
  • Extra tofu
  • Extra bean sprouts, soaked in water to keep them fresh and crunchy
  • Chinese chive stalks
  • Red Chilli (Optional)
  • Coriander (Optional)
  1. Soak Dried Rice Noodles with water for 1 hour or until it is completely soften, drained.
  2. In a small saucepan, put all Pad Thai sauce ingredients in and cook over medium heat. Stir constantly until the sugars have dissolved. Once the sauce is boiled, remove sauce from heat and let it cool down for later use.
  3. Cut the chive blades into 1-inch pieces, reserve the bottom parts of the stalks to eat with the finished dish. And also, prepare all the necessary ingredients and ensure everything is in place before you start cooking, included the garnishing.
Note : 
  1. Just one thing that you have to take note. Get the firmest tofu that you can get. Thai style firm tofu (used for Pad Thai) is yellow on the surface. I asked one of the Thai lady who run a Thai eatery in Golden Mile, as I want to know where to get it. She smiled and say "It is just tofu. If you cannot get it, you can just rub some turmeric powder on it and make it yellow. Color doesn't matter. It just looks nicer only". I'm glad to have her assurance. So, I go ahead to get a block of ordinary firm tofu and rub it with turmeric powder. However, I think this is absolutely optional :)
  2. The Pad Thai sauce can be made in advance. It freezes well. You can also cook the sauce in bigger batch, freeze the sauce in an ice cube tray, then pop out the frozen cubes and keep them in a freezer bag. Thaw out only what you need at a time. 
  1. In a flat non-stick pan, set over medium-high heat. When the pan is hot enough, add 2 tablespoons of ground nut oil.
  2. Once the oil is hot, immediately add the noodles in, followed by the sauce. Stir constantly. I used a spatula and a pair of chopsticks to keep the noodles moving all the time.
  3. about 40 seconds, you should be able to feel that the noodles have softened up considerably. Pls go ahead and taste the noodles to see if it is soft enough to your liking. If it doesn't, continue to cook further. Do splash some water to the noodles to soften it further if needed. Reduce the heat if needed too.
  4. Push the noodles to one side of the pan and add the remaining ground nut oil to the empty side of the pan.
  5. Add in garlic, shallot, preserved radishes, dried krill, tofu and fresh prawns.
  6. This is the critical point of process - Do whatever you can to keep the noodles moving almost constantly to keep them from burning or forming excessive crust at the bottom, at the same time, get the shrimp to cook about half way through, AND keep the small bits of the stuff in the pan from burning.
  7. Once the fresh prawns is turning abit opague on both sides and all the small bits are getting brown, make a well in the middle into which you add the eggs.
  8. Break and scramble the eggs with the tip of your spatulas; let them cook undisturbed on one side before flipping and breaking them into smaller pieces, keeping an eye on the other members of the pan the whole time, especially the noodles.
  9. By the time the eggs are cooked, the prawns should be fully, but not overly cooked. The noodles are soft and chewy and the sauce has been entirely absorbed into the noodles. You will also noticed that the little bits has crisped up and kinda caramelized. Heat off immediately.
  10. Add in the 1-inch Chinese chives and bean sprouts to the pan and give it a quick but gentle stir. The intention is to wilt the bean sprout and chives while getting all the bits thoroughly interspersed into the noodles. Serve the Pad Thai immediately, or you can let it cool for 8 to 10 minutes in the pan. I did rest my Pad Thai for awhile, and I think it is at its best when the noodles gets to rest awhile :) 
  11. To serve - Refer to my photo and you will know what are the condiments and garnishing to go along with Pad Thai. Do season with extra fish sauce if you wish. I'd highly recommend you to add dried red pepper flakes for extra kick. I love it!
This is exactly how it looked like (I mean the amount of condiments and garnishes to go along with) when I had my Pad Thai at Ginja Restaurant Phuket :)

On a note, I source all my ingredients at two location. One is at Golden Mile Complex, Beach Road. And another one is at Sheng Siong, Chin Swee Road.

The Thai Dried Rice Noodles : I got it from Golden Mile Complex. They have a Thai super-mart there. They sell everything about Thailand and Vietnam stuffs. Do remember that this Thai dried rice noodles has different thickness. You may choose the thinner ones for shorter cooking time (I assume). However, I'd chosen the thicker version because this is the exact thickness of rice noodles that I had when I'm in Phuket :)

The dried krill : I have it at home. I got mine during my trip to Tokyo last year. It looked very much the same as the one I saw in Thailand last time. So, I decided to go ahead to use it without buying. However, I strongly believe that Golden Mile Complex Thai super-mart do carry this. Do ask around.

The rest of the ingredients : I just make a trip to Sheng Siong and I've got everything I want. No stress at all.

These are all the condiment and garnishing needed for Pad Thai. So, do prepare way ahead. Once your Pad Thai is cooked, you can use it immediately.

If you never try Thai food before, this might be a good dish to start with to introduce yourself to Thai food. It has a good combination of classic flavors and it is mild and not so spicy.

This Pad Thai recipe is quite delicious and the recipe is not difficult to follow. The key is to read every single steps, draft out the shopping list to ensure you didn't miss out anything when you shop for ingredients. Get everything ready before you start cooking. If you follow this, you won't go wrong.

So, don't feel stressed. Keep calm and get cooking! :)

Like Pad Thai? You don't have to go to Thailand. Cook it at home over the weekend!

Today marked a very significant day in my life. After I struggled and neglected my blog for a year, I finally completed my program and I can now spend more time cooking, baking and for myself. Oh..Happy Day!!!! :)

I am submitting this post to Asian Food Fest ( Thailand ) – November Month hosted by Lena of frozen wings

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Chicken Teriyaki Don (照り焼き丼) - (AFF - Japan #4)

I have special love over Chicken Teriyaki. Especially when I'm visiting Yoshinoya (吉野家) for a quick donburi when I'm hungry, I will definitely order Chicken Teriyaki-Don(照り焼き丼), and Gyūdon (牛丼) was my second choice. 

This recipe is absolutely fast, delicious and sexy looking kinda meal that you won't wanna miss!    

Don (丼) literally means "bowl", while Donburi means Japanese rice bowl dish, usually a bowl filled with rice, and topped with fish, or meat, or vegetables or other ingredients.

Donburi started to appear in the Edo era (江戸時代 Edo jidai - 1603-1867). The first donburi dish was Unadon (鰻丼) . Since the meal was very easy to prepare and taste good, it becomes very popular in such a short time. Dishes such as Oyakodon (親子丼), Tendon (天丼) and Gyūdon (牛丼) was later introduced and becomes popular donburi dishes after Meiji era (明治時代 Meiji-jidai - 1868-1912) in Japan.

If you've heard Yoshinoya's history before, in 1899, Eikichi Matsuda (松田栄吉) opened his 1st Yoshinoya (吉野家restaurant, featuring wholesome and delicious meals with the convenience of modern-day fast food. It was a new concept in Japanese culture back then and they serves their original Gyūdon, and it was an instant hit. 

Marinated chicken tights are broiled or grilled in the oven, then it is brushed with Teriyaki sauce, grill it again, and brush it with Teriyaki sauce again to give it a finishing. This cooking technique means yaki (焼き). The shine or luster sauce means teri (照り). And that's what Teriyaki (照り焼き).

Alan cooked Gyūdon for AFF. Do hop over to his blog to look at his awesome recipe. I wanted to cook Gyūdon initially, because that's Max request. But I have no luck in getting any good marbled beef slices. And so, I decided to cook Chicken Teriyaki-Don then.

Ingredients (Serves 2)
(Source : No Recipes with modification)
  • 230 grams Japanese Rice, preferably Koshihikari, cook it accordingly
  • 2 boneless chicken tights, skin on. Preferably fresh chicken. 
  • some par-boiled vegetables of your choice (Carrots, Brocolli, Cabbages, it's up to you)
  • some toasted sesame seeds for garnishing
Brine for marinating
  • 60ml Water
  • 1½ tbsp Japanese Soy Sauce
  • 1½ tbsp Dark Brown Sugar
  • 1½ tbsp Mirin (味醂
Teriyaki Sauce
  • 1½ tbsp Honey, preferably mild flavored (or Maltose)
  • 1½ tbsp Dark Soy Sauce
  • 1½ tbsp Mirin (味醂)
  • 1½ tbsp Sake (日本清酒)
  • 1½ tsp Ginger Juice or ½ tsp Ginger Powder
  • 1 tsp Corn Flour + 2 tbsp Water, to thicken the sauce (Optional)  
  1. Combine all brine ingredients into a ziploc bag. Add in the chicken tights. Press out the air and seal the bag. Let it sit in the fridge for at least 1 hour, preferably 2 hours or more. 
  2. To make Teriyaki sauce - In a small saucepan, add all Teriyaki sauce ingredients and boil over medium heat until the sauce is glossy and slightly viscous. The sauce won't get thick, unless you thicken it with corn flour + water. It should take on a caramelized taste, but don't to burn it.
  3. When chicken is ready to grill, turn the broiler on and move the oven rack up to the upper position. Put a wire rack on a baking sheet or foil paper. Put the chicken tights skin side down onto the rack (so as to keep the meat elevated off the pan).
  4. Grill the chicken tight until brown, then flip to the skin side face up. Baste the skin side with Teriyaki sauce and continue to broil until the skin is golden brown.
  5. Take the chicken out of the oven, baste another layer of Teriyaki sauce, grill it again, until you see a few charred spots.
  6. Give the chicken one final baste with Teriyaki sauce, let the chicken rest for 3 to 5mins. Chop them into 4 pieces. 
  7. To serve - with an over-sized bowl, add a portion of japanese rice, a portion of Chicken Teriyaki, a portion of par-boiled vegetables. Drizzle with some extra Teriyaki sauce, topped with some toasted sesame seed and serve.

For those who doesn't know me in person, I'm actually allergic to Broccoli. Yes! You hear me! It's Broccoli! It may sounds like I'm just joking, but no. Broccoli  is a poisonous food. I love Broccoli, but hell! I can't eat em'. When my friend saw this photo, she asked "Ehh!! You eat BROCCOLI?! "....... Hahaha! Nope! I didn't! Those green freak are for Max only. 

Look at this chicken tights. It looked pretty good eh? Always remember to line foil paper at the bottom. It will makes your washing easier :)

I'm only cooking for two. So, it's pretty easy work. Japanese donburi usually served in over-sized rice bowl. For my case, I did the same. Guarantee gives 100% satisfaction with just one bowl of rice. Easy meal :)

Oh! My best Chicken Teriyaki Don recipe!!! Haha... I hope you like it. Do give it a try!

I am submitting this post to Asian Food Fest #1 Oct 2013 : Japan, hosted by Alan from travelling-foodies 

Saturday, October 19, 2013

Sakuramochi (桜餅の関西風) - (AFF - Japan #3)

My 3rd Japanese dish post for Asian Food Fest.

When I saw Alan's Sakuramochi, I knew I really wanna make this. He brought me some pickled Sakura leaves and pickled Sakura blossoms from Japan earlier this year and I finally have the opportunity to use it.

Sakuramochi is one of the well known variety of Wagashi. This sweet pink mochi, filled with sweet red bean paste, and then wrapped with pickled sakura leaf and pickled sakura blossom.

The ingredients looked simple. But living in Singapore, I don't think it's easy to get. So, here's the shopping list for your reference :
  • For dōmyōji-ko, I get it from Meidi-Ya.
  • For sweet red bean paste, I conveniently used canned Hokkaido red bean paste, available at Meidi-Ya, or Isetan Scotts or Yamazaki convenient store at The Central. However, if you want to cook your own red bean paste, you can. Do refer to Alan's blog.
  • Pickled Sakura Leaves, I don't see any of them in Singapore. Alan got it for me from Japan.
  • Pickled Sakura Blossoms, Alan got it for me from Japan too. But I saw it at Ichiban Boshi Great World City outlet a week ago.  

This Sakuramochi is Kansai style, that uses dōmyōji-ko (道明寺粉) literally glutinous rice flour/grain in Japanese for this mochi. I got it from Meidi-Ya, and it's really expensive. I got this pack of dōmyōji-ko from Meidi-Ya, and it's really expensive. For a small pack of 150g, it cost S$7 odd. Fwoh!!! 

The pickled sakura leaves and pickled sakura blossoms from Japan.

This recipe makes 12 mochi's, but I make it 10 instead. Simply because the pack of pickled sakura leaves that Alan gave me, only contain 10 leaves. So... it's up to you. You want to make it 10 or make it 12? Up to you :) 

(Source : Alan's Sakuramochi)
  • 150g dōmyōji-ko (道明寺粉)
  • 150g Caster Sugar
  • 250g anko red bean paste (tsubushi’an or koshi’an)
  • 150g Warm water
  • Pink food coloring (I used Wilton pink)
  • 10 Pickled sakura leaves
  • 10 Pickled sakura blossoms
  1. Rinse dōmyōji-ko with water.
  2. To a shallow metal dish, add dōmyōji-ko  caster sugar and warm water. Stir well with a fork to dissolve sugar.The dōmyōji-ko should begin to reconstitute and start to get sticky and clumpy.
  3. Add a pinch of pink food coloring and mix thoroughly. You just need teeny weeny amount is required. Better to use less from the start and adjust subsequently than to make it all gaudy to a point beyond resuscitation.
  4. Spread out the dōmyōji-ko over metal dish and steam it at high heat for about 10 min or until the grains have completely soften, stirring the mixture periodically with a fork. Never use a spoon over hot and soft rice as it would invariably compress the grains, causing them to lose their structure.
  5. Let the cooked dōmyōji-ko cool down completely.

To assemble
  1. Soak the pickled sakura leaves and blossoms separately to remove excess brine and salt respectively. Pat dry with kitchen towel. Retain the soaking water for the pickled sakura leaves.
  2. When the dōmyōji-ko has cooled down, divide into 10 equal portions and roll into balls. Likewise, divide red bean paste into 10 equal portions and roll into balls
  3. Using the sakura leaves soaking water, moisten palms and fingers. Flatten a portion of dōmyōji-ko with either fingers of heel of the palm.
  4. Carefully place a ball of red bean paste in the centre of the flattened glutinous rice disc and work the side to seal it up carefully.
  5. Place the glutinous rice ball over the broader end of the sakura leaves and cover by pulling over the narrower pointed end.
  6. Embellish with pickled sakura blossoms.
  7. Repeat process until all the ingredients are used up. Remember to wet fingers and palms with soaking liquid as required.
  8. Serve immediately with Japanese tea.

The dōmyōji-ko is not easy to handle. If you are making this, you need to ensure that you are not adding excess water. Because the more water you add into the dōmyōji-ko, the softer your mochi would become. And so, it would be more difficult to handle. I won't wanna elaborate further on this. Do hop over to Alan's blog for more reference ok? :)


Max waiting patiently at the living room while I'm preparing Sakuramochi. He even asked me twice "Are you done yet?" After I finished making, I serve him the Sakuramochi, his face looked EXACTLY the same as this kitty!!!

(Photo Credit : Bits of Rock)

And he says "I don't like it wo" :(


Oh well, Max is getting old. He probably prefer some traditional food. Such traditional Japanese Wagashi is pretty new to him. I'm not surprised. But all in all, it is a good experience making this Sakuramochi. Thanks to Alan for the guidance :)

I am submitting this post to Asian Food Fest #1 Oct 2013 : Japan, hosted by Alan from travelling-foodies 

Saturday, October 12, 2013

Taiyaki (鯛焼き) - (AFF - Japan #2)

I'm having crazy schedule this month. But despite such, I very much wanted to support AFF, especially Alan is hosting the 1st AFF, which is Japan month.

I can't afford to come up with any complicated Japanese dishes for now, and my heart for cooking and baking is not deteriorating. Please don't worry.

I come up with this Japanese fish-shaped cake called Taiyaki  (鯛焼き), one of the Japanese favorite street snack, traditionally filled with red bean paste made with sweetened azuki beans. Of course there are other types of fillings sold commercially in modern days, that includes custard, chocolate, cheese, sweet potatoes, or even sausage fillings. However, I'd prefer the common filling for it's originality.

Taiyaki is made using regular pancake or waffle batter. I love using Morinaga pancake mix during normal days. But for AFF Japan, I tried doing it from scratch this time, following this recipe.

(Source : Eugenie Kitchen, with modification)

  • 120g Cake Flour
  • 2 tsp Baking Powder
  • 1 large Egg
  • 55g Granulated Sugar
  • 180ml Fresh Milk, but I'd seriously think 100ml is enough
  • Pinch of salt
  • 1 can of Sweetened whole red bean paste, or anko (餡子), that's about 200g
  • Vegetable oil for cooking

Note : With 180ml Milk, the batter is really too watery. I'd highly recommend to reduce into 100ml. In my opinion, this 180ml ratio is not right. And silly me... I follow it blindly :(


  1. Sift cake flour and 2 teaspoons of baking powder, set aside. 
  2. In a mixing bowl, crack eggs, granulated sugar and milk. Whisk until combined. 
  3. Preheat the taiyaki pan under low low heat. Really really low heat. 
  4. Pour flour mixture into wet mixture and fold until homogeneously mixed. I rest the batter for 30mins before using it. I think this helps the batter to give better result in texture.  
  5. Brush the taiyaki pan with vegetable oil. 
  6. Fill the mold half full with batter. Spoon 1 tablespoon of sweet red bean paste, and then pour the batter in the mold until it is full. Close the pan and turn it over. 
  7. Cook for 1 minute, turn the pan over, cook for another minute. 
  8. Turn the pan over again, cook for another 2 minutes, and then another 2 minutes on the other side. That's total of 3 minutes for each side. But be careful, your fire control might be different from mine. Do check the fish, so as not to burnt it. As long as the fish is cooked on both sides until golden brown, it is fine.  

It's pretty easy. Just batter, and a can of sweetened red bean. You could cook your own red bean paste of course, but for me, I won't want to do that, since I'm only making a few pieces of fish :)

Fill the mold half full with batter. Spoon 1 tablespoon of sweet red bean paste, and then pour the batter in the mold until it is full.

I got the Taiyaki pan from Meidi-Ya a year ago. But they don't have stock all the time. It's seasonal. You could call them to check if they have stock or not before you make a trip there. My friend told me, sometimes Giant do bring in stock too. But again, it's seasonal stuff :)

Look at my Taiyaki. I'm pretty generous with the filling.

Because the batter is too runny, the result of the fish skin looked really thin, which I'd prefer it to be thicker (just like the time when I use Morinaga pancake mix), so as the fish shape could look better in overall.

As you could see, the fish stomach is will deflate due to the runny batter that couldn't hold it's shape well.

It takes abit of practice to get the tactic and the fire control right. Your first Taiyaki might not achieve even color. However, once you manage the fire control (really low fire), it would be fine.

I do feels irritated when I made my first batch last time, because it is either the filling kept sticking out of the fish or I'm too greedy with the batter. But slowly, I master it. This batch of Taiyaki is not the perfect batch. Compared to the usual one's that I made (using Morinaga), I don't feel impressed with the result. Although the recipe doesn't 'wow-ed' me, still, I think it is good to blog about it, so as to share with fellow readers the difference in batter ratio as part of the learning and sharing of experience :)

Now that I've tried, experienced the Taiyaki making from scratch using the said online recipe above. My conclusion is that, it is a good experience. But I'd still personally prefer Morinaga pancake mix. It gives the closest texture to the shop-bought Taiyaki that I had in Japan back then. Even Wikipedia mentioned that Taiyaki is made using regular pancake or waffle batter. Hence, a lazy person like me, would prefer pancake premix for better result and hassle-free job :)

I am submitting this post to Asian Food Fest #1 Oct 2013 : Japan, hosted by Alan from travelling-foodies 

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Kurigohan / Japanese Chestnut Rice (栗ご飯) - (AFF - Japan #1)

Malaysian Food Fest (MFF) has ended last month, and Asian Food Fest (AFF) kicked in this month. If time allows, I will definitely give my full support to Asian Food Fest.

In October, fresh chestnuts appear in Japanese market, and Kurigohan (栗ご飯) is one of the way to enjoy Chestnuts. It's autumn now, and this steaming hot bowlful of kurigohan is perfect autumn flavors that made my kitchen smells really great! :)

Kuri means Chestnuts in Japanese. Today I'm gonna introduce you this popular Japanese autumn dish. Autumn is Kuri's season. And this probably explains why this dish is so popular in Japan. It is simple home cooking, basically a flavored steamed rice with chestnuts. Japanese home cooked food is all about cooking with what's in season, and it can be cooked in a variety ways.

I had been wanting to cook this for the longest time. But I have always no luck in getting Japanese Kuri at Japanese store because Japanese kuri only appears somewhere autumn. Disappointing. So, one fine day (that's few months ago), I saw some nice chestnuts from the wet market. Having fresh chestnuts selling at the wet market is not common here. I can't help but to buy first, and think later. No Japanese chestnuts, normal chestnuts also good la :)

(Recipe Source :, with slight modification)
  • 420g or 2 cups Japanese Rice. Preferably Koshihikari
  • 52g or 1/4 cups Glutinous Rice
  • 20pcs Small Chestnuts / Kuri
  • 1 pc Dried Konbu
  • 1 tsp Soy Sauce
  • 1 tbsp Mirin
  • 1 tbsp Sake
  • 1 tsp Sugar
  • 583ml or 2 2/3 cup Water
Garnishing option
  • Some black sesame seeds
  • Some spring onions
  1. Soak kuri in hot water for about 30 minutes. Crack open the chestnuts and discard the shells. Soak peeled chestnuts in hot water for another 10 minutes. Drain the chestnut in a colander.
  2. Wash and soak dried konbu for 10mins or until the konbu is soft. 
  3. Wash rice till water turns clear and soak the rice in room temperature water for 30 minutes and then drain it in a colander. The preparation is just like how you usually cook Japanese rice. Not difficult.
  4. Put rice, water, soy sauce, mirin, soft konbu, sugar and sake in a rice cooker. Lightly mix them. Place chestnuts on top and start cooking. 
  5. When rice is cooked, keep the rice warm in the rice cooker for about 10 minutes before opening the lid. Garnish and serve.
If you have all the ingredients ready, it's really easy to make Kurigohan at home.

The rice is cooked with chestnut, sake, mirin, soya sauce, konbu and abit of sugar. I used my mighty Zojirushi rice cooker to do the work. It cooks up perfectly! This is total life-saver for me. If you don't have one, go get it. Immediately!

As the rice is cooking, you'll start to smell a heavenly nutty aroma. At that moment, I start to understand why this dish is such a popular dish during chestnut season in Japan.

The existence of konbu and soy sauce makes the rice really umami. A pinch of sugar is to add a touch to bring out the flavor of the chestnuts and to contrast the salty soy flavor. Yumms~!!!

Chewing the soft and bouncy rice grain texture, taking that bite of soft and nutty chestnut is an incredibly satisfying and comforting moment. Look at the nice color. Isn't it beautiful?

I definitely will cook this again. I love it! :)

I am submitting this post to Asian Food Fest #1 Oct 2013 : Japan, hosted by Alan from travelling-foodies 

Thursday, September 5, 2013

Cheddar Cheese Biscuits

While I'm doing my typing for this post, I'm actually munching a piece of biscuit. And you know what? I just can't stop! Ohhh... *nom~nom~nom~* THIS IS SO YUMMY!!!

I totally have no intention of baking this. Until I found a block of cheddar cheese in my fridge and it's expiring soon. So, I gotta get rid of it fast. I did a quick google and I found this recipe. I'm so so so so glad that I did it!

Before I bake this biscuit, I already started to imagine.... cheddar cheese, garlic, milk, butter. They are all perfect combination! This is probably one of the best cheddar cheese biscuit!

The texture is very similar to those buttermilk biscuit that we had in Texas Chicken. Soft, fluffy and flaky. They go great as a side for any meal!

(Source : Forty Something, with modification)
Yield : a dozen of biscuits, about 55 grams each

For the biscuits
  • 250g All Purpose Flour (I used cake flour)
  • 3 tbsp Baking Powder
  • 1 tsp Salt (optional)
  • 1/4 tsp Garlic Powder (I used 1 tsp finely minced garlic)
  • 80g Cold Butter, cut into chunks
  • 2 tbsp Corn Oil 
  • 150g Cheddar Cheese, grated
  • 125ml Fresh Milk
for the butter topping
  • 3 tbsp Butter, melted
  • 1 tsp Minced Garlic
  • some parsley flakes
  1. I wanted lighter texture. So, I bravely used cake flour instead. 
  2. Kraft cheddar cheese is salty. If you are using Kraft cheddar, I'd highly recommend you to omit the salt. The result of my cheddar cheese biscuit is at the salty side as I follow the recipe blindly. But if you are using better quality cheddar (preferably sharp cheddar), do add some salt in it.
  3. The recipe ask for 1/4 tsp garlic powder. I don't have it at home. I substitute it with finely minced garlic. And I like it!
  4. Using good butter for this recipe is really important. Cut the butter into chunks. Freeze it. Only take it out when you want to use it.
  1. Preheat oven 400 degree. Top and bottom heat, fan ON.
  2. In a large bowl, combine flour, baking powder, salt and garlic. Mix well.
  3. Add in butter chunks. Using two forks or a pastry cutter, cut and press the butter into flour until it is coarsely binded together.
  4. Set aside about 4 tbsp grated cheese for topping. Add the rest of the grated cheese into the flour mixture. Mix well. 
  5. Add the 2 tbsp oil to the milk. And then, pour the mixture to the dough. Stir until the dough is moistened and no longer dry and powdery. It shouldn't be sticky. Just moist enough to hold together. Add more milk if dough is dry. 
  6. Divide the dough into 8 equal portions (Should be about 55 grams), and drop it freely on the baking pan. Go ahead and make your biscuit smaller if you want. Slightly press it to shape them into the equal size and thickness if needed. There's no strict rules on how to shape the biscuit. I don't shape it. 
  7. Bake the biscuit for 15 mins (if your biscuits are small) or 17 mins (if your biscuit is large, like mine, 55 grams)
  8. While biscuits are baking, melt 3 tbsp butter in a small bowl, add in minced garlic to let the butter infused with garlic fragrant. 
  9. Once the biscuits come out of the oven, use a brush to spread the garlic butter the top of all the biscuits. Use up all the butter. Sprinkle with parsley flakes. Serve warm. 

On its own, room temperature butter won't create the light, airy texture you want from biscuits. So, cold butter is important. The trick of making this biscuit is not to overwork the dough. Just everything together and you are done. No more working on the dough.

Sprinkle some parsley flakes at the end of the process. You could use scallion as substitute.

Look at this. It's indeed yumms! But due to the poor light situation in my kitchen, I failed to capture it's perfect look.

These tender biscuits are best eaten right from the oven. And like me, I can't wait.

This is the first time I made these, and I think I'm hooked! I will definitely buy better cheddar for my cheddar cheese biscuits next time.

This is a very tasty and easy bread to make. It makes great as breakfast, part of lunch and dinner as a side.

Happy Baking!