Saturday 9 February 2013

Chinese New Year Cooking Demo @ ToTT by Chef Eric Low

Last Sunday, I was invited by OpenRice (Singapore) to attend their first cooking demo class with ToTT (Tools of the Trade) on the Chinese New Year Workshop - Good Fortune, conducted by Chef Eric Low. Despite of the gloomy and raining weather, all participants were still very excited about the class and everyone were also eager to pick up some tips and cooking skill from Chef Eric.

The three hours cooking class was indeed a fun and fruitful one with Chef Eric whom is humorous and knowledgeable with his answers during the class. Although there was no hands-on but Chef Eric makes every little details visible thru two big TV screen in front of the class where we could get a good view of the ingredients plus steps during cooking process.


During that day, all OpenRice members who signed up for the cooking class were entitled to a complimentary lunch at ToTT Bistro before the class. And during Chinese Lunar New Year period they also offers New Year menu starting from S$7.90 each.

For appetizer: Chicken Wing And Mushroom Medley Spring Roll

Main Course: Pan Fried Dory With Sauteed Mushrooms, Vegetables and Spicy Tomato Sauce

Main Course: Chicken Chop With Mushroom Sauce, Fries and Coleslaw

Dessert: Tempura Durian and Lemongrass Jelly

Before the demo class, Chef Eric Low gives a brief introduction of himself plus a description of the three dishes that he is sharing during the class.

There is also a cozy beverage corner at the back of the class for participants to enjoy complimentary coffee/tea during the break or class.


The first dish that Chef Eric starts with was "Crispy Fish Fillet with Caramelized Shallots and Basil Leaves". It was something simple and yet full of flavour where you get a nice aromatic taste from the Thai Basil used.

Chef Eric also shared with us that if Thai Basil is not available, the next closer herbs to replace would be "curry leave". And if you wish to get a nice golden crispy crust on the fish, add in some egg whites to marinate the fillet together with ground pepper and salt before dusting it with corn starch and deep-fried.

Recipe by Chef Eric Low | Serves: 4

420g Fish Fillets (Sea Bass / Dory Fish)
1/2 Teaspoon Salt
1 Teaspoon Coarse Ground Black Pepper
Potato Starch for dusting
Oil for Deep-frying

3 Tablespoons Extra Oil
40g Whole Garlic, thickly sliced
100g Whole Shallots
20g Ginger
5g Dried Chilies
15g Sugar
4 Tablespoons Water
1 Tablespoon Oyster Sauce
2 Tablespoons Light Soy Sauce
1/2 Teaspoon Dark Soya Sauce
10g Thai Basil Leaves

1. Dust sea bass fillet with potato starch and deep-fry in hot oil till crispy

2. Heat oil in pan and saute garlic and shallots till golden brown. Add ginger, dried chilies and sugar. Cook till aromatic and sugar caramelizes slightly.

3. Pour in oyster sauce, two soya sauces and add fish fillets and basil. Toss evenly and transfer to heated claypot and serve.


Dish 2 had two of my favourite ingredients such as Chicken Leg and Mushrooms that sandwich in between a slice of "Jin Hua Ham (金华火腿)" which is the most famous dry-cured meat product in Asian ingredients. Jin Hua Ham can be very salty but on the other hand it has an unique flavour that helps to enhance the dish. If you can't find Jin Hua Ham (which most properly available only during Chinese New Year) the next alternative replacement would be the Italian Parma Ham.

My mum suggested since she is not a fan of any "ham" products, she would replicate this dish using Chinese Perserved Sausage (腊肠) instead of Jin Hua Ham.

Recipe by Chef Eric Low | Serves: 4

1 Tablespoon Oyster Sauce
1 Teaspoon Dark Soya Sauce
12 Slices Ginger, finely sliced
400g Boneless Chicken Leg, cut into 4cm dices
1/2 Teaspoon Coarse Ground Black Pepper
1 Tablespoon Corn Starch

For Assembly:
12 Pieces Jin Hua Ham (金华火腿), sliced
12 Pieces Chinese Dried Mushrooms, soaked and stalks trimmed
Dried Lotus Leaves, soaked in warm water for 10 minutes

For Garnishing:
Dash of Shaoxing Huatiao Wine (花雕酒)
Coriander Leaves (芫荽)

1. Marinate chicken with the rest of ingredients for an hour.

2. Arrange chicken on a steaming plate lined with lotus leaves. Alternate each piece of chicken with a slice of ham and a piece of mushroom.

3. Steam chicken for 20 minutes. Serve chicken with a dash of wine and coriander leaves over rice.


Longevity Noodles is one of my favourite noodle dish during Chinese New Year or Lunar Birthday (recipe) where we cook it in sweet version and served together with hardboiled eggs. Here Chef Eric's Longevity Noodles with Superior stock and Quail Eggs is something different from how we usually cooked it at home. He actually cooks the sauce and noodles separately which makes it a great ideas to serve this dish during Chinese New Year where most of  guests would arrive in different timing. In this way, the accompany sauce would not dry up easily and also the noodles won't get soggy too.

Mum and I already bookmark this recipe to cook for our guest during Chinese New Year but instead of Longevity Noodles, we replace it with Ee Fu Noodles for majority preference.

Recipe by Chef Eric Low | Serves: 4

400g Longevity Noodles
6 Tablespoons Oil For Cooking
1 Teaspoon Chopped Garlic
200g Pork Loin/Fillet, sliced
30g Dried Shitake Mushrooms, sliced
100g Chinese Yellow Chives (韭黃), cut into 2cm lengths
1 Litre Water
3 Tablespoons Concentrated Chicken Or Scallop Stock
2 Tablespoon Oyster Sauce
12 Pieces Prawns, peeled
200g Bean Sprouts
Cornstarch for Thickening
12 Pieces Quail Eggs, hard boiled and peeled

1. In a large pot of boiling water, blanch noodles for 5 - 10 minutes until tender. Refresh in cold water and set aside.

2. Heat oil in wok, saute garlic till fragrant. Add pre-marinated pork slices (marinate with dash of MAGGI Seasoning Sauce and 1 tablespoon cornstarch) and cook briefly. Stir in mushrooms and Chinese Chives and saute for 2 minutes.

3. Pour in water and bring to boil. Season with concentrated stock and oyster sauce. Add prawns and bean sprouts. Thicken sauce slightly with some cornstarch.

4. Return noodles and quail eggs to boiling for a quick blanch. Transfer to serving plate and pour sauce over noodles.

ToTT Store
896 Dunearn Road #01-01A,
Singapore 589472
Telephone: (65)6219 7077

Operation Hours:
11.00am - 9.00pm (Monday - Friday)
10.00am - 9.00pm (Weekends And Public Holidays)

Lastly I would like to thank Estelle from OpenRice (Singapore) and ToTT for the demo cooking invitation. For more cooking class and discount through OpenRice Members, you could take a look at their website here. Or you could also browse through ToTT cooking class schedules at their website here.


  1. Hi Ellena, Here wishing you Good health, good luck and much happiness throughout the lunar year. 恭祝健康、幸运,新年快乐!

    1. Thanks Ann. I also wish you and your family a prosperous Lunar New Year with good health, happiness, luck and many more too......新年快乐!

  2. Hi Ellena, all dishes look so yummy!
    Gong Xi Fa Cai :)

    1. Thanks Alice! Happy Lunar New Year to you too!!! Huat!!!

  3. Replies
    1. Thanks Margaret! Wishing you a prosperous and happy Lunar New Year too!!!!

  4. 新年快乐, Ellena! Looking forward to your delicious recipes this year as well. :)

    1. Thanks Nami! I wish you and your loved ones a prosperous Lunar New Year too!

  5. Thanks SSB!
    我和 Rey也祝你和家人身体健康,万事如意,心想事成~


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Ellena (Cuisine Paradise)