Thursday, 21 October 2010

Stir-fried Shiitake with Lean Pork

We love to have some mushroom in corporate into our weekly menu. Usually I would just stir-fry it with some olive oil and garlic cloves to retain its nature flavour. But for today’s mushroom menu, I decided to add in some pork fillet and chili to spice up its taste and flavour.

Shiitake mushrooms are originate from China where it has been successfully cultivated for more than a thousand years. With a long history of medicinal use, Shiitake mushrooms are rich in vitamins and minerals. This mushroom is also known to enhance the immune system whereby it aids the body to fight infection and disease.

Shiitake mushroom has a rich and “woody” flavour, with a meaty texture and a distinctive aroma. This versatile mushroom is best used for braises, stir fries, soups and etc.

Here are some of the ingredients used for this dish. You can omit or change the pork fillet to chicken fillet according to your own preference.

Ingredients: (serves 2)
150g Pork Fillet, cut into strips
250g Shiitake Mushroom, cut into thick slices
3 Cloves of garlic, skin removed
1 Red Onion, cut into wedges
2 Stall of Spring Onion, cut into sections
2 Small Chili, optional
3/4 Tablespoon of Oyster Sauce

1. Rinse and cut the pork fillet into long strips and marinate it with 1/2 teaspoon each of light soya sauce, sesame oil, corn flour and a dash of white pepper for at least 15 minutes.
2. Heat up the wok with 1/2 tablespoon of oil and sauté HALF of the onion wedges and, spring onion together with the garlic and chili (cut into diagonal section) till fragrant.
3. Add in the pork fillet and give it a quick stir for about 1 minute until the meat is almost cooked through, dish up and set aside.
4. Using the same wok, add in another 1/2 tablespoon of oil, add in the remaining onion and spring onion and sauté for 20 seconds then add in the mushroom and continue to stir-fry for another 1 minute till it soften.
5. Transfer the pork fillet back into wok with the mushroom, add in oyster sauce and cooked for another 30 seconds or so.
6. Remove and serve with steam rice.

Adding extra chili bring up the flavour of this dish which gives it a spicy taste. But if this is a family dish for kids, perhaps you would like to omit chili and add in dash of black pepper before remove it from the wok.

Wednesday, 20 October 2010

Double-Boiled Pork Muscle with Burdock Soup

What do you need most during these humid and scorching days? I am sure lot of fluid intake in any form such as drinks, soup, dessert and etc becomes the most important task in our daily life. Today I would like to share with you a new ingredient that I have used only once for making the Korean Chicken Soup.

This is a very nutritious and popular soup for kids as the sweetness from the sweet corn and gaint red dates could actually mask off most of the "root" taste from the burdock. You can either serve this soup before or together with your meal.

Burdock comes as a long tapering, soil-covered root, also known as niu bang (牛蒡) by the Chinese. There are many reasons why you should include this root vegetable in your diet. This root is high in fibre and low in calories, rich in potassium and it is also a moderate source of iron and calcium.

The root is often peeled and shredded or cut into chunks, and prepared in soups, porridge, rice and pickled and stuffed into sushi rice. Once the skin is removed, the flesh oxidises quickly so be sure to have a bowl of lightly salted water to prevent browning if you wish to use it for salad.

Here are some of the ingredients used for the soup. Using of pork muscle for a double-boiled soup is always a good choice, as it will retain the flavour of the soup and also usually the meat is discard and we drinks only the soup.

Ingredients: (serves 2 - 3)
250g Burdock, cut into thick chunks
2 - 3 Pieces of Pork Muscle
1 Sweet Corn, cut into section
6-8 Red Dates
1/2 Tablespoon Wolfberries, optional
1.5 Liter of Boiling Water

1. Trim, clean and place the pork muscle in boiling water for about 2 minutes, remove and rinse well. Set aside for later use.
2. Wash and scrab the burdock with a brush then cut in into thick chunk, alternatively you can use a vegetable peeler to remove the outer skin before cutting it into thick chunk.
3. Remove the husk and leaves of the corn, rinse and cut it into 3 sections and halves.
4. Bring 1.5 Litre of water to boil in a medium soup pot, add in all the above ingredients except wolfberries.
5. When the mixture comes to boil again, lower the heat and simmer for about 45 minutes to an hour or alternatively you can transfer the soup to a slow cooker and cook it on AUTO for about 2.5 hours or so. (add in wolfberries 15 minutes before cooking time)

Often Burdock is used together with other herbs to treat a variety of illness such as colds, throat infections, pneumonia and tonsillitis. This root vegetable is also a great blood-cleansing ingredient that makes it indispensable in treatment for skin disorders. So if you have not try using this wonder ingredient perhaps this soup might gives you a good head start with it.

Lastly, thanks to all the lovely readers from Cuisine Paradise facebook page (link) for their suggestions on using burdock. Here are some of their suggestions which you might be interested to take a look.

Monday, 18 October 2010

Porn's ~ The Charm of Sexy Thai Food

This is our 4th food gathering and each month we will venture a new restaurant together with our group of food lover friends. From the above photo, you can roughly make a guess on our what is our October theme.

Yes! You are right! Our October theme is the hot and spicy exotic Thai cuisines that used lots of fresh herbs and spices to enhance the aroma and taste of their dishes.

For your information Porn’s is opened by one of the MediaCorp’s most popular host, Pornsak Prajakwit who host the recent “Food Source - 食在好源头” (click HERE to watch) TV program that draws tremendous feedback from viewers. And according to some patrons, sometime you might be lucky to bump into Pornsak who will take and serve your orders in certain days too. The above photo shows the the translation of Porn on one side of the wall near the back siting area which mean "blessings" and "good wishes" to everyone who visit Porn's .

Bright and simple menu with black and blue prints descriptions, bundle up together with blue ribbon that gives the feeling of old school day scrapbook look.

If you think of adding some extra condiments to enhance the taste of your dish, you can feel free to choose from any of these 4 items that is provided on each table. These 4 complimented condiments are:- cut red chilli with light soya sauce, chilli flakes, crash peanuts and white sugar that are mostly used on fried rice or noodle dish.

Prawn Cakes (Tod Mun Goong) are usually one of the all times favorite appetizers for both children and adults. The one serves at Porn’s has a very lovely golden breaded outer crust, moist and juicy minced prawns filling that goes well with their special Thai sweet and sour chili dipping sauce. Worth trying if you don’t wish to get yourself oily from all the deep-fry hassles in the kitchen.
Price: S$8.50 for 3 pieces

Guess most of us who frequent the Cze Char stalls would have tried at least once on their Egg Foo Yong. So even when we are at the Thai restaurant, Fried Omelette with prawn (Kai Jiew Goong) is also one of the items which most of us would like to try. I remember having good encounter with the Thai fried oyster omelette that I had during one of my trip to Bangkok which I can never forget the taste and fragrant of their fried omelette.

The one we ate at Porn’s was relatively small in serving and slightly more expensive compared to those from the Cze Char stall. Taste wise; nothing really special about this dish as I can’t really taste any fish sauce in it too. (or perhaps they didn’t add even add any to enhance the taste)
Price: S$7.90 per plate

I am sure for those of you who have being to Thailand would have tried this common foodcourt or street food dish which is known as “Minced pork with basil leaves” that is usually served with steam white rice. And this is always a must eat dish whenever my brother goes for his Bangkok trip.

Before ordering this “Fried Minced Pork With Basil Leaves (Kapow Moo)”, we have heard and read some bad reviews on this dish. As from the photo you can see that there is a pool of red chili oil that makes you feel spicy and greasy by the look of it. (the pool of oil is one of the bad comments from some patrons) Secondly, most of us agreed that the minced pork is rather too tiny and scattered which makes it look and taste like “salted turnips”. I remembered those we had in Bangkok has more fresh and lovely fragrant basil compared to the wilted and black strands shown above. I think unless you are those who prefer spicy gravy to go with their rice or else you would consider giving this a try.
Price: S$8.50 per plate

Out of all the dishes we have ordered, this Pineapple Fried Rice (Khao Pad Sapparod) has the most pleasant presentation where the pineapple rice is served in a hollowed out pineapple, sprinkled with generous amount of pork floss and cashew nuts. When you scooped out the rice, you can even find hidden treasures of small cubes of pineapple, raisin and shrimps hidden in between the grains of rice. Although this is not the best Pineapple Rice that most of us had but overall this is still acceptable if you would like to go for something mild in spices and sweet in taste.
Price: S$10.90 per serving

I always discourage people ordering Fried Rice at any restaurant or Cze Char stall because I find that it is simply too expensive to pay that amount just for Rice and Egg or maybe some extra small shrimps or so. The Thai Seafood Fried Rice (Khao Pad Talay) at Porn’s was just a rice bowl serving that consists less than 5 medium size shrimp, egg and a bit of frozen mixed vegetables. Nothing fancy about the taste and I would rather choose the Fish Roe Fried Rice from Café De Hong Kong (here) for the same price but with a definitely bigger serving for at 4 – 5 persons.
Price: S$9.90 per serving

Thai Green Curry (Gang Keaw Wan) is always one of the dish that I would ordered during our family eat out at our frequent Thai Restaurant. And since Alvin and Audrey are also keen to try out, we decided to get a bowl so that everyone can sample this special green curry that is different from our local curry.

When the Green Curry is served it gives out a very fragrant aroma, which we believed is from the Basil leaves and coconut gravy. We are all very excited to try this dish and most of us find the taste was rather good with the amount of coconut milk added. The bowl also consists of generous amount of chicken fillet, thai egg plants, and basil leaves. Overall we are quiet satisfy with the taste which blends well with the sweet and salty combination which I am sure it will goes well with a bowl or two of steam white rice where you can make full use of the curry gravy.
Price: S$10.90 per bowl; (steam white rice at S$1.00 per bowl)

We ordered one each of their Tom Yum Soup With Prawn (Tom Yum Goong) and Tom Yum Soup With Seafood (Tom Yum Talay) but for the price that we are paying we can’t really find a lot of ingredients compared to what is shown on the recent review at I-Weekly. We are kind of disappointed with the Seafood pot as it taste rather sour compare to the Prawn Pot and you don’t really find many seafood in it too. The most is a few slices of squid, straw mushrooms, tomatoes and a few shrimp.

Most of us prefer their Tom Yum Soup with Prawn which taste slightly better in terms of flavour but it has a bad setback as the soup taste really spicy and it covers most of the taste of the ingredients such as lemongrass, kaffir lime leaves and galangal. The only thing we taste is “SPICY” which leaves us having “burning” tongues. Maybe this is more suitable for those who loves hot and spicy soup or can consider order this during cold raining day.
Price: S$10.90 per bowl; S$12.90 per hot pot

These are some of the drinks that we ordered:

1. Freshly Brewed Thai Rosele & Lime (Nam Ga Jeab) @ S$3.90 (Red Drink)
2. Lemongrass Drink (Nam Takai) @ S$4.50 (light brown drink)
3. Homemade Barley @ S$3.00
4. Thai Ice Tea(Cha Yen) @ S$3.90 (orange drink behind)

If you like the taste of Milk Tea, you should try their Thai Ice Tea which has a colour similar to Carrot Juice(which we mistaken). This drink has a very special fragrant and the icy cold feeling that gust down your throat makes it prefect to go with their Tom Yum Soup.

For dessert the waitress recommends us this Sticky Rice With Mango (Khao Niaw Mamuang) as our preferred Red Ruby with Snow Ice is not available on that day. When the dessert came we were all surprised by it's setting. The glutinous rice is shaped into two small rice balls, which is served separately in a bowl with some black and white sesame seeds and coconut milk drizzle on it. We find the glutinous rice is kind of dry and chewy in texture compared to those soft and sticky types served in most Thai restaurant. And we also agreed that we would not pay for this pricing again for this quality of dessert.
Price: S$8.50 per serving

Despite of the slightly over pricing and small portion of dishes, Porn’s charm definitely can be justify with it’s daily never ending lines of customers dining or queuing at the restaurant just to sample their homecook Thai dishes. And according to the counter staff, reservation at Porn’s has being fully made for the next few months till mid December 2010.

Although this is NOT those “must try” restaurant with something really fancy but you if you want to know what charm it has to lure so many patrons perhaps you can always try your luck and drop-by their outlet and start queuing for a seat or two. A good way to avoid the crowds and secured a place is to go after peak hour meal time. For more reviews on this outing, you can read it from "miss tam chiak", "lobsterpaint" and "susan" blogpost.

~ Overall our dining experience with Porn’s was fairly good. Although their dishes are not those with “WOW” factors but for a change in taste if you don’t mind spending slightly more there is no harm trying certain items on their menu.

BAD Experience:
~ I would like to highlight their service attitude, particular to one of their senior staff that kept asking us to place our order even though half of our friends have not arrived. And the way she asked us to place our order is like she kept coming back to our table at least 4 times within the 10 minutes with the same excuse as “please make your order fast to avoid the lunch crowds” with that kind of “black face”.

It makes us feel that she is trying to chase us for the orders so that we can eat and leave immediately without taking up the seats so that they can make more business. The way she handle this makes us feel very uneasy and annoyed that she is trying to be rude in serving customers. And when I ask her to introduce some signature dishes for us to try she can’t bother and ask us to take 2 each of the fried rice and pineapple rice instead of suggesting us to try different varieties of their rice and noodles dishes.

Lastly while helping us to take the group photographs, she even shows “faces” in front of us which reflects that she is very impatient with our act and delay. Hope she is just moody on that day and won’t treat other customers the same as what she had treated us. Or else soon or later she will either loose her job or Porn’s will loose valuable customers.

28 Liang Seah Street
Singapore 189049
Telephone: +65 6337 5535
Facebook Page: Porn's

Opening hours:
Mon-Sat: 12.00pm - 3.00pm, 6.00pm - 10.00pm
Sun: 6.00pm - 10.00pm

Sakae Unagi Dishes

Since July this year, Sakae sushi has being having this monthly theme promotion on its new dishes. And for this October month, the theme is using “Unagi” where they launch 5 new dishes using unagi as one of the ingredient. So as a regular customer of Sakae, I always look forward to their monthly theme and these two unagi dishes such as “Unagi Sushi Cake” and “Unagi Cheesy Kushlyaki” are we have tried from the list.

Before meal, let's try some of this lovely sweet Japanese Plum Wine (梅酒) that goes pretty well with Sushi, Salad and appetiser. It has a very refreshing and sweet fruity taste that can be served at lunch or dinner during hot summer months. So do give it a try if you like something sweet and fruity to complete your meal for a relaxing weekend.
Price: S$12.00++ per bottle.

As usually these are my boy's favourite "Tamago Sushi" that he would always picked them from sushi belt.
Price: S$1.99 per plate of 2 sushi

This cold "Potato Salad" appetiser goes well with the plum wine above.
Price: S$4.99 per serving

The Unagi Sushi Cake comes with a few slices of unagi serving on top of the rice cake together with some diced mango, avocado and a little spoonful of fish roes. Although the portion might be slightly bigger for a mouthful bite but I am sure this is a healthy dish that combines the goodness of fish and fresh fruits.
Price: S$5.99 per serving

On the other hand, Unagi Cheesy Kushlyaki might be quite a disappointment because the deep-fried bread is simply soak with oil stain that makes this appetizer dish so oily for consuming. Guess this is either over fried or the staffs need to really drain or soak up all the oil from the bread before serving to the customers.
Price: S$8.99 per serving of 4 sticks

As you can refer to the photo the bread are kind of over fried and there is only a tiny bites of unagi sandwich in it together with some mayonnaise cream. Unless they do something to this dish or else I don't think I will pay S$9.00 to eat such oily bread with miserable unagi fillings.

We also have Tempura Udon that serves with a generous amount of soup udon and two tempura ebi. Luckily the prawns are not over cooked or too oily with soggy batter, it is still hot and crispy while served to us.
Price: S$10.99 per bowl