Month: November 2014

Superior fried rice

Superior Fried Rice

In my household, hubby’s nick name is the Tai Chow Lou aka Stir-fried master.  Do you know why?  Answer is very simple – sometimes, when I’m tired of cooking, hubby will take over the kitchen and make his famous dish that doesn’t require a lot of kung fu – his simple and tasty fried rice. Everyone knows how to make fried rice and it doesn’t need to be a boring dish. There are many ways to make fried rice interesting and appealing – like adding touches of seafood for more luxe, chicken for more protein or preserved ingredients like salty radish for bold flavours.  Lots of ideas for simple fried rice, right?  Then, I saw Billy Law’s special fried rice recipe from his cookbook, Have You Eaten and immediately liked the idea of adding scallops and tobiko roe to instantly turn a simple fried rice to superior fried rice – so luxe, decadent and fancy. “Yay! Don’t need to pay premium for fried rice anymore! Let’s see, maybe I’ll add abalone, king prawns, century eggs … and the list goes on and on and …

Cantonese steamed fish

Cantonese Steamed Fish

Steamed fish is yum! Home-cooked steamed fish is even more yum!  If you haven’t dare try to steam fish at home, then I dare you to try it now because steamed fish is easy to prepare, fast, healthy and super simple to cook. The Chinese loves steamed fish (yu) 鱼 because yu means abundance and traditionally, we believe that fish brings abundance of wealth.  The phrase nin nin yau yu 年年有余 (May you have surplus for many many years) has always been part of our well wishes especially during Chinese New Year’s dinner celebration.  We don’t just eat fish during CNY’s dinner celebration but fish is also a must-serve dish during Chinese wedding dinners or birthdays. Normally a steamed fish dish uses whole fish with head and tail but just for the 3 of us, we decided to go with fish fillet which taste equally awesome.  The key thing about steaming fish is to watch out for the time because overcooked fish taste like rubber and doesn’t taste good at all!   This recipe is adapted from My Cooking …

Drunken herbal prawns

Drunken Herbal Prawns

The Chinese loves anything with the name ‘drunken’ LOL – not in a bad way though – let’s see, there’s Drunken Master (a popular kungfu movie), Drunken Fist (a Kungfu style when the more drunk you get, the stronger you can fight) and Drunken Chicken (popular chinese cuisine that uses alcoholic beverages to cook the chicken). And the prawns say, “Thank you for not shaking me to death!” LOL Here, I introduce to you another Drunken dish that is very enlightening and genuine – the Drunken Prawns (Zhui Ha)! Traditionally drunken prawns are cooked while the prawns are still alive to retain their freshness.  The prawns are placed in a claypot and are then ‘shocked and shaken to death’ when strong liquor is poured into the claypot and covered, thus ‘cooking’ the prawns.  Whilst the flavours are punchy with liquor and tastes absolutely delicious, I personally found this way a little cruel. Because this dish relies solely on a few ingredients, it is therefore important to ensure that ingredients used are of most fresh.  This dish really outlines the beauty of natural …

Chicken and corn soup

Chicken & Corn Soup for the soul

My family loves to drink soup.  I guess it’s because of the way we were brought up to appreciate and love soup.  As a Chinese Malaysian, soup is a staple dish for dinner.  Home-cook soups are the tastiest because it’s made with love, patience and attention using the best, healthiest and simplest ingredients – without the usual overdose of MSG like the commercial-made soups in restaurants. The Chinese believe that if you are a married woman, you must know how to make soup because it will make our husbands happy when they come home from a long day’s work.  Thus, they will come home every night to drink that special soup – we call it yam tong (drink soup).  Of course, that was the old wives tale that my mum used to tell me.  In the current day, I, for example don’t even know how to make a decent bowl of soup until much much later. “Yea, my hubby’s very happy with this soup.  My mom and Grand mama will be proud of me!” I grew up with simple chicken & …

Char kuey teow

Homesick with Malaysian Char Kuey Teow

Jeng jeng jeng jeng – I introduce to you my homesick dish – the Char Kuey Teow (CKT) – the dish that rules my foodie world and one of the most popular dish in Malaysia, I dare say, definitely as popular as nasi lemak, penang laksa, chicken rice and assam laksa.  But if you ask me to rank, I would rank them all as my no.1 favourites!  So hard to choose sides, you know especially when I love to eat so much and they taste equally good 🙂 CKT is not just a plate of friendly fried flat noodles (kuey teow) with soy sauce.  It’s a dish that’s packed with taste and flavour using only the simplest ingredients.  Not forgetting, the sweat too!  So, how did they do it?  3 things – breath of the wok (wok hei), constant cling clang sound between the wok and the wok chan (wok spatula) or wok hoak (wok ladle) and lastly, the speed of frying. I tried to copycat the style of frying this dish (the non stop cling clang sound and the …

beef teriyaki

Beef Teriyaki with Sesame Cucumber Salad

I seek delight in simple recipes that satisfy and thrill my tastebuds without putting much effort.  A good example would be this dish.  Everybody knows what a teriyaki is – thanks to the introduction and exposure to Japanese cuisine all over the world – it’s simply a form of cooking used by Japanese to grill or broil the meats, glazed with soy sauce, mirin and sugar. The glaze, made up of soy sauce, mirin and sugar, gives the meat that beautiful shine and lustre that makes it so mouthwatering and beautiful to photograph 🙂 It also has a balanced sweet salty taste which adds depth to the grilled meat.  Any meats can be ‘teriyaki-ed’ like fish, chicken and beef. When cooking beef, I like to use premium grade beef to bring out that buttery flavour, searing up to the right level to preserve the tenderness and juiciness of the beautiful meat. The addition of fresh salad helps to cut through that rich fattiness of the beef, making them a truly perfect marriage. Beef Teriyaki and Sesame Cucumber Salad (adapted from Christine …

Grilled prawn with yuzu dressing

Grilled Prawns with Yuzu dressing

You know that you’re going through a meh day when: (1) the morning was just beginning to look the same as any other day, (2) then the day just drags and drags  whilst dragging whatever remaining life force out of you and (3) just wanna lie down and don’t want to do anything.  Sounds familiar?  I was feeling un-inspired and definitely needed a quick perk-me-up and coffee didn’t help a bit (by the way, I already had 2 cups 🙂 ) So, with that little remaining life force, I walked to my pantry and rummaged through the snack box, hoping to find some sweet and sour goodies.  Then I saw a bottle of ‘something’ peeking out from a pile of dry goods that I had bought a week ago but had no time to organise.  Interesting!  Now, where did that bottle of Yuzu juice came from, I wonder? “So, there you are, my dear yuzu … you’re the secret to brighten up any ‘meh’ day.  Where have you been all my life?” Yuzu is a citrus fruit, grown in China.  It’s a commonly used ingredient …