Friday, 26 February 2010

Sakae Kid's Bento

This coming Sunday 28 February 2010 will mark the last day of Chinese New Year which lasted for 15 days. And according to Chinese Tradition, the 15th Day of Chinese New Year is also known as the "Yuan Xiao Jie - 元宵节" where all the family members will get together and have a bowl of sweet glutinous rice ball brewed in soup which is called "汤圆" to symbolise the harmony of the family. So before the ending of the Chinese New Year, Joyce and us decided to go for another round of our favourite "荣" Yu Sheng - 鱼生 at Sakae before it ends on Sunday.

While waiting for our "Yusheng - 鱼生" to be served, Rey ordered a set of Train Bento from the Kiddy Menu after much consideration on what to choose. This is the 2nd time we have tried their kid's bento since the 1st time in a few years back. The Train set that rey ordered consists of a Elmo Rice Ball that is filled with sandwich tuna, Fries, Tempura and Chicken Karaage. And all kiddy meals are served with a bottle of Yakult. But when the bento arrived, all of us were shocked on the outlook of the Elmo. It seems like the set shown on the menu is very different from what we get....... and the Chicken Karaage are also over cooked as it is sort of tough and cold to taste. End up, Rey didn't eat much of the bento instead he picked up two plate of his favourite Tamago Sushi to fill his tummy and leave the Train Set for me and Joyce to finish up.

Finally our STAR for today's lunch is here...... This is my either 5th or 6th "Rong Yusheng" for this year..... and today's ingredients are very fresh on look as well as taste. After this, we will have to wait till next year Chinese New Year in 2011 before we will have another chance to taste "Yu Sheng" again..........So once again, I wish everyone a Happy and Prosper Chinese New Year!!!! Huat ah!!!! Lastly I wish to thank Candice and Sakae Sushi for giving me a chance to be part of their e-journalist for the past 6 months too. Posted by Picasa

Double-Boiled Tian Qi With Pork Muscle

Mum's hand is still not recovering quiet well despite of the doctors/methods that she tried to speed up the recovery. She often felt that her right hand fingers are not as flexible as what they are before the injury. She has being visiting one of this famous Chinese Physician in Chinatown area and according to the Physician, she advised my mum to boil this "Tian Qi With Pork Muscle" soup to regulate the blood, heals bruises and alleviating pain.

Since Mum's hand is still not well to lift heavy things or doing the washing and etc, I volunteer to help her prepare the soup according to what the Chinese Physician suggested. Since "Tian Qi - 田七" is usually consumed by man instead of woman due to it's nature of medical value. And for my mum's age of 50+, the physician advised her to divide 38g( 一两) into 3 cooking portion.

"Tian Qi - 田七" is sweet in taste but with a hint of bitterness and it is also warm in nature. This herb helps to promotes blood circulation, stops bleeding, ease bruises and swelling while killing pain. It is commonly prescribed to cure external swelling, bruises or sprains which is just the correct symptom that my mum is facing at the moment.

This soup might contain a lot of side ingredients in order to neutralized the taste of the Tian Qi. According to the Medical Store owner where I bought the Tian Qi from, she advised me to add in around 1/2 Tablespoon of "American Ginseng/Pao Shen - 泡参片" in order to build up the "QI" regulation in her body.

Ingredients: (serves 2)
3 Pork Muscles
9g Tian Qi(田七片)
1/2 Tablespoon Pao Shen(泡参片)
5g YuZhu(玉竹)
5g Huai Shan(淮山)
4 Large Red Dates (红枣)
1 Tablespoon Dried Longan(龙眼干)
1/2 Tablespoon Wolfberries(枸杞子)
750ml Water

1. Trim the pork muscles, rinse and blanched in boiling water for about 3 minutes, remove, rinse and set a side.
2. Rinse the herbs, except the wolfberries and set aside.
3. Next bring the 750ml water to boil in a small saucepan, add in the herbs(except wolfberries) and the pork muscles. When the water come to boil again, lower the heat and simmer for another 5 minutes.
4. Transfer all the ingredients and soup to a double-boiler which you have placed in the slow-cooker(remember to fill hot water in the inner-pot of the slow-cooker to at least 3/4 high, you can refer to the photos on how I placed the pot in the slow-cooker HERE).
5. Let the soup cooked in the slow-cooker on AUTO mode for about 3 hours, add in wolfberries in the last 20 minutes or so.
6. You can served this soup before meal or before bedtime.

Overall, this is a very flavour soup which can be consumed at least once a month or so. The adding of dried longan and red dates helps to lift up the tired soul and makes you more refreshing. By adding these two ingredients and wolfberries together they make this soup taste sweet from the hint of bitterness of the "Tian Qi" and "Pao Shen". Posted by Picasa

Preserved Sausage & Chicken Claypot Rice

Preparing "One Pot" dish is always the best and most convenient cooking method for working mum like me. Sometime when I am running out of ideas on what to cook or too lazy to do all the preparation/washing for cooking I will start thinking of my favourite one pot dish which is "Preserved Sausage & Chicken Claypot Rice".

This dish is preferred to be cooked in a claypot rather than rice-cooker or etc. Only with the claypot it will brings out the flavour and burning effect of the rice at the bottom of the pot which add on that special aroma to this dish.

Since now it is still within the Chinese New Year period (usually it last for 15 days), you can find all kinds of waxed meat/preserved sausages around some supermarket or those dried grocery stalls in the wet market. Out from the few range of "Preserved Sausage - 腊肠", I was attracted to this "XO Charcoal Sausage" which I wonder whether the sausage will have any "XO" liquor taste in it.

Ingredients: (serves 2 - 3)
1 1/2 Cup Uncooked Rice
3 Cup Water
3 Boneless Chicken Drumsticks with Thighs
1 Pair of Preserved Sausage
Some Shredded Ginger
A Few Section of Spring Onion

Marinade For Chicken:
1 Teaspoon of Light Soy Sauce
1 Teaspoon of Corn Flour
1/2 Teaspoon Sesame Oil
1/2 Teaspoon Cooking Wine
1/2 Teaspoon Dark Soy Sauce
Dash of Pepper

For Garnish:
Spring Onion, cut diagonal rings
Chilli, cut into rings

1. Rinse the uncooked rice a few times and soak it with 3 cups of water (usually the amount of water is twice the amount of uncooked rice) in the claypot for about an hour or so.
2. Washed, trim away the fats and skin of the chicken, cut into bite-size pieces and marinate it with the above marinade for at least 20 minutes.
3. Cut off a little slice from the top of the preserved sausage, peel off the outer layer of the skin (we always removed the outer layer of the plastic skin before eating), cut the sausage into 0.5cm thin slices and set aside.
4. Preheat a small saucepan and saute the shredded ginger and spring onion with 1 teaspoon of oil till fragrance, add in the marinated chicken pieces and fry for about 30 second on each side or till it turn slightly brown in colour.
5. Removed and set aside for later use.
6. Cook the rice over medium heat, when the water begins to boil, lower the heat and let it cooked till the water level is almost the same as the rice, arrange the sausage on top of the rice with the half cooked chicken in the center. (you have to work fast so that the water will not dry out before you finished add the ingredients)
7. Cover the lid of the claypot and simmer the rice and meat over very low heat for about 5 - 7 minutes till the meat is cooked through.
8. When done, garnish it with extra spring onion, cut chilli and drizzle of dark soy sauce and served hot.

~ The reason that I pan-fry the chicken pieces is to shorten the cooking time and at the same time enhance the flavour of the chicken.

For those who love one pot dish, I am sure this will be a quick and easy dish for you. And instead of having this all-time flavour at those stalls outside, why not try to grab some fresh ingredients and prepare this dish for you and your family instead. Posted by Picasa

Thursday, 25 February 2010

Simmered Bitter Gourd & Chicken In Casserole

This "Simmer Bitter Gourd & Chicken In Casserole" is one of our favourite dish and I will be very excited whenever my mum told me that she is going to cook this for dinner. Every since my mum started to look after my boy while I was at work, she was very keen in experiment new dishes from the "Taiwan Cooking Series" which she will never missed an Episode from her Mio TV. So today, I am going to try cooking this dish with some guidelines and instructions from my mum......... :)

As you can see from the photos, you only required very basic ingredients which you can easily grab from the supermarket or some of them are even available in your fridge/pantry. The KEY ingredients for this dish are "Bitter gourd/Bitter Melon - 苦瓜" and "Fermented Black Beans - 豆豉" which both combined to bring out a cross between bitter and salty fragrance. For the meat portion, you can either used chicken wing/chicken pieces, pork ribs or even deep-fried fish slices. After all cooking is something that you can play around with the ingredients to come out with different varieties of dishes according to your liking. So for the above main ingredients and seasonings, you can whipped up at least 3 different dishes using pork, fish and chicken.

In order to have some extra flavour for the meat, it's always good to marinate it at least 20 - 30 minutes before cooking. For this simmered dish, I have pan-fried the chicken wings till slightly golden before adding them to simmer so as to pretend them from breaking up easily during simmering. The adding of chilli is to spice up and enhance the flavour of this dish, but if some of your family members cannot take spicy food, perhaps you can consider to leave chilli out or add less.

Ingredient: (serves 2 - 3)
6 Chicken Wings
1 Medium Bitter Gourd
1/2 Tablespoon Fermented Black Beans(豆豉)
1 Small Red Chilli, cut into rings
2 Slices Ginger
1 Clove Garlic, finely chopped
1 Tablespoon Cooking Wine

80ml Water
1 Teaspoon Oyster Sauce
1/2 Teaspoon Sugar
1/2 Teaspoon Dark Soy Sauce
1/2 Teaspoon Sesame Oil

1. Trim the chicken wings, rinse and wipe dry. Marinate the chicken wings with 1 teaspoon each of light soy sauce, oyster sauce, corn flour and some pepper and sesame oil. (leave it in the fridge for at least 20 - 30 minutes before cooking)
2. Rinse bitter gourd, cut into vertical halves, scrape off the white pith and cut into about 2" long vertical pieces. (Rub the bitter gourd pieces with 1 teaspoon of salt for about 30 seconds and rinse off as the salt will help to reduce the bitterness)
3. Heat 1 teaspoon of oil in the wok, pan-fry the marinated chicken wings on both side till slightly golden, removed and set aside.
4. Next add in the chopped garlic, ginger, chilli(optional) and fermented black bean, give it a quick stir and saute them till fragrance, add in the bitter gourd pieces.
5. Keep on stirring the bitter gourd mixture for a few seconds then add in the chicken and seasoning when the mixture comes to boil, lower the heat and let it simmer(remember to cover the pot) for about 10 minutes or so till then chicken wings are cook through.
6. Removed and serve warm with rice.

I must admit, this is a very tempting dish especially it's "Sauce". I can have two bowls of rice just with this dish alone whenever my mum cooked it. And now mum is kind of jealous that I can also whipped out the same dish as her :p Posted by Picasa

Bitter Gourds are very low in calories but rich with precious nutrients such as an excellent source of vitamins, folic acid, zinc and also it has high dietary fiber. This fruit is rich in iron which contains twice the beta-carotene of broccoli and twice the calcium of spinach. If you don't like to eat the fruit perhaps you can considering boiling some "Bitter Gourd Pork Ribs Soup - 苦瓜排骨汤" for this hot weather.....