Monday, 31 January 2011

Five Treasure Soup

This is the 4th random recipes that I have picked up from Philips, MyKitchen ( recipes site. Since this Thursday is Chinese New Year, I am sure most of you would like to prepare one or two simple Chinese New Year Auspicious soup to impress your guests during mealtimes. For example: The Lotus Root symbolise abundance and unity while Dried Scallop on the other hand means gold and wealth.

This is a very simple and delicious soup which requires minimum effort in preparation. As you can see from the photo there are about 4 main ingredients such as "Chicken", "Lotus Roots", "Dried Scallop" and "Shiitake Mushroom" and I make use of some ingredients that has natural sweetness and fragrant like Sweetcorn, Water Chestnut and Red Dates to flavour the soup instead of stock cubes.

Ingredients: (serves 4)
2000ml Hot Water
2 Skinless Chicken Drumstick with Thigh, washed and trim
300gm Fresh Lotus Root, cut into thick slices
6 Fresh Water Chestnuts, skin removed lightly smashed
2 Corn Cobs, washed and cut into sections
3 Dried Shiitake Mushrooms
3 Medium Dried Scallop
4 Red Dates
1/2 Tablespoon Wolfberries

To prepare this soup without running to and from the stove to check the heat and etc, it would be great if you have a Philips brand or any other suitable rice cooker that has "SOUP" cooking function. As what you need to do is just put everything in and press COOK which you can refer to a similar cooking instruction by MyKitchen below.

But don't worry if all you have is only stove or slow-cooker, you can still cook this soup by following the method shown.

1. Wash the lotus roots thoroughly, making sure there is no soil in the holes. Cut the lotus roots into 1cm thick slices. Discard the ends.
2. Wash and clean all ingredients thoroughly with tap water.
3. Blanch chicken pieces briefly into boiling water before cooking.
4. Bring 2 litres of hot water to boil in a large soup pot, add in all the ingredients except wolfberries and let it simmer on low heat over the stove for about 1 hour or so. OR
5. For slow-cooker, cook it on AUTO for about 2 hours, stirring the mixture at least twice during cooking time to make sure the ingredients are evenly cooked through.


Five Treasure Soup

Preparation Time: 15 Minutes                         Cooking Time: 1.5 hours

Ingredients: (Serves 5)
2200ml Hot Water
3 Cubes Chicken Seasoning
2 Skinless Chicken Breasts, washed and cut into quarters
300gm Fresh Lotus Root, cut into thick slices
1 Peeled Carrot, cut into wedges
2 Corn Cobs, washed and cut into sections
4 Seeded Red Dates
3 Dried Shitake Mushrooms

1. Wash the lotus roots thoroughly, making sure there is no soil in the holes. Cut the lotus roots into 1cm thick slices. Discard the ends.
2. Wash and clean all ingredients thoroughly with tap water.
3. Blanch chicken pieces briefly into boiling water before cooking.
4. Put the hot water, the chicken cubes, the blanched chicken pieces and the last 5 ingredients into the inner pot of the rice cooker. Close the lid.
5. Press the MENU button to select the SOUP cooking mode. Press TIMER and set for 1.5 hours.
6. Press COOK/REHEAT button to start the soup cooking process. At the end of the cooking process, you will hear a beep.
7. The COOK/REHEAT light will switch off and the KEEP WARM light will switch on to indicate that the rice cooker has automatically switched to the KEEP WARM mode.
8. The KEEP WARM mode ensures that the soup is kept piping hot till you serve it.

With such a quick and easy recipe above I am sure you would like to explore more recipes from Philips MyKitchen at for coming Chinese New Year too. If you are interested to find out more about Philips Rice Cookers series, you can refer to the website link HERE. Lastly you can also share with us any of your quick and easy recipes using rice cooker by leaving your tips and message at the comments post column.

Sunday, 30 January 2011

Pan-fried White Spotted Rabbitfish With Leeks

Chinese New Year is just a few days away and I believe every household is busying with preparing the food, beverage, clothing and etc before the coming New Year. Or perhaps some of you are having reunion dinner this weekend while everyone is off work and available at home. For Teochew family like us, our Chinese New Year reunion dinner can never go without this “Pan-fried White Spotted Rabbitfish With Leeks” when my dad was still around.

If you often frequent those Teochew Porridge stalls in food centre or coffee shop, I am sure you will be familiar with their signature Steam White Spotted Rabbitfish(清蒸白肚鱼) which goes well with their traditional dipping sauce make with "salted bean paste(豆豉), minced garlic and cut chilies".

As you know Leeks belong to the same category as onion family where you will link to those thick stalked European leeks that are commonly found in supermarkets which have a mild sweet flavor that is suitable for making soup or pie. But as for Chinese leeks on the other hand they are smaller and thinner which resemble thick scallion that has strong flavor, which makes them a staple ingredient in most Chinese cooking. Also most of the Chinese believe that by storing more LEEKS()at home it means you will have more money to COUNT()as both have the same pronunciation in Mandarin.

  Every year during Chinese New Year these “White Spotted Rabbitfish(白肚鱼)” will be highly in demand at both the wet and local supermarkets. And for your information the price of these fish can go as high as up to S$35.00 – S$40.00 per kilogram. These fish also has another name known as “Pei Tor” and by eating it most of the Chinese believe it brings good luck and prosper during the year. Also during this breeding period of the year, these fish are big in size and they do comes with roes that are particularly relished too.

Here is a photo of  the steps on preparing this dish.

Ingredients: (serves 2)
3 - 4 Medium Size (350g) White Spotted Rabbitfish
3 Stalks of Chinese Leeks, cut into diagonal sections
2 Slices of Ginger
1 Teaspoon of Minced Garlic
1 Teaspoon Chicken Stock Powder
80ml Hot Water

1. Clean and rinse the fish, pat dry with kitchen paper towel and set side.
2. Preheat a frying pan with 1 tablespoon of oil, pan-fry the fish on both side for about 3 minutes under medium heat or till slightly golden brown. Dish up.
3. Using the same pan add in ginger and minced garlic, sauté till fragrant before adding the sliced leeks.
4. Continue to stir-fry the leeks for another 2 – 3 minutes until soften add in 80ml of hot water and chicken stock powder to taste.
5. Place the cooked fish on top of the leeks and simmer for another 1 minute on medium low heat, carefully give it a quick stir in between to let the fish absorb the flavour from the leeks mixture.
6. When done dish up and serve with hot steamed rice.

If you do cooked this white spotted rabbitfish at home, it would be great if you would like to share with us how you prepared them. Because for us, we only cooked it with leeks or steam and eat it fresh with light soy sauce.

Saturday, 29 January 2011

Sweet And Savory Nian Gao - 双味年糕

In Singapore the most common way to eat Nian Gao(年糕) is to cut it into thin slices, sandwich it with either sweet potato, yam or both then dipped them in flour batter and deep-fried till golden and crispy. Or some of you might even just like to have it plain on it’s own with Chinese Tea. In this post I will share two different methods of eating Nian Gao which I learnt one of it from f an elderly lady selling Nian Gao near my area.

Nian Gao(年糕) or Chinese New Year's Sticky Cake is a sweet dessert/snack prepared from glutinous rice and consumed during Chinese New Year. Although this cake be eaten whole year round but it is usually consume in Chinese New Year as it symbolized good luck, harmony and raising oneself higher in each coming year. There are also different ways of preparing and cooking Nian Gao depending on the country and its culture.

Since this Nian Gao is for consuming purpose rather than "pray", the stall aunty purposely choose one that is freshly steam on that day.  She told me to reheat a portion of the sticky cake for a few minutes before coating it with some fresh grated coconut which reminds me of the Nonya Kueh Kosui.

This can be a great and fun family after meal dessert where everyone can gather around the dining table with either chopsticks or lollipop sticks to enjoy this fulfil time.

Ingredients: (serves 4)
1 Small Nian Gao, wrapped in banana leaf, 10cm wide
1 Cup Freshly Grated Coconut
A few Pandan Leaves, optional
Pinch of Salt

1. Clean and rinse the pandan leaves, tie it into a knot and set aside.
2. Put the grated coconut in a large steamer plate together with pandan leaves and Nian Gao on the side.
3. Steam it over medium heat for about 5 minutes or till Nian Gao soften.
4. When done stir in pinch of salt to the hot grated coconut and mix well.
5. Use either small teaspoon or lollipop sticks, scrap/twirl the stick till you get a some nian gao stick on it then roll/dip nian gao with grated coconut and eat warm.

If you don't like the idea of using grated coconut perhaps you could to try this western style of "Cheesy Nian Guao Puff" which I am sure it will be a great snacks for both kids and adults during Chinese New Year gathering. The ingredients for this snack is very simple and you can easily get them in supermarket too.

Ingredients: (makes 8 puffs)
8 Cubes of 1-cm  each Nian Gao
2 Sheets of Plain Prata Pastry
1/2 Cup of Shredded Mozzarella Cheese

1. Remove the plastic sheet of the prata pastry(work one sheet at a time) and cut it into 4 equal portions.
2. Place one cube of Nian Gao with some shredded mozzarella cheese on each portion then quickly fold it into a triangle parcel by using a fork to seal the edge of the parcel.
3. Working quickly to avoid the pastry to defrost and became sticky to handle.
4. Place the parcel on baking tray that is line with aluminium foil then bake it in oven toaster for about 10 minutes or till golden brown. (turn a few times during baking to get a nice and even golden brown and crispy outer skin)
5. Serve warm with a cup of hot or chilled tea.

~ You can replace Mozzarella Cheese with sandwich slice cheese by cutting each square into 4 portions.

This is indeed another new way to eat your Nian Gao where you stuff the prata parcel with cheese and nian gao instead of the usual deep-fried style with sweet potato and yam.  I remember when I was young, my dad used to fry Nian Gao together with some beaten egg to make a sweet omelette. So what about you? Do you have any special recipe of eating this auspicious sweet Nian Gao during Chinese New Year. If yes, do share with us your thoughts.

Friday, 28 January 2011

Lotus Roots And Tricolour Beans Soup

This Tricolour Beans Soup is replicated base on my memory from the “Hearty Soup” that I always ordered during my visit to “Fragrant Hong Kong Pork Rice” at Hong Lim Food Centre(behind Chinatown Point Mall). I am sure for those who frequent that food centre during lunch hours would have at least tried one of their varieties of steam rice and this homecook soup. If I remember clearly their soup consists of peanuts, black-eyed peas, chicken feets, dried mushroom, dried shellfish and etc that make it full of flavour.

As for my home consume version I have added lotus roots, red beans, red dates, wolfberries and dried tangerine peel to it. Below is my recipe for this soup.

Ingredients: (Serves 2 - 4)
1 Medium Section Lotus Roots, 150g
10 Pieces of Chicken Feets
50g Red Beans
50g Soup Peanuts
50g Black-eyed Beans
5 Pieces of Dried Shiitake Mushrooms
1 Piece of Dried Tangerine Peel, soaked till soften
4 - 6 Red Dates
1/2 Tablespoon Wolfberries
1.8 Litres Hot Water

1. Mixed all the beans together in a big bowl, add hot water and soak them for about 5 minutes till a bit soften. Rinse a few time, remove any decay beans and set aside.
2. Soak the dried tangerine peel in water till soften, use a small spoon scrapped out the white pith from the peel to prevent bitterness.
3. Blanched the chicken feets in boiling water, rinse well and get ready a soup pot with 1.8 litre of water.
4. When the water boils, add in all the ingredients except wolfberries and let it simmer over medium heat for 5 minutes before low the heat and let it simmer for about an hour or so till the beans are soften and soup is flavourful.
5. Add in wolfberries, season with salt and serve.


~ You can replace the chicken feets with chicken drumsticks, pork ribs or etc.

We loves the taste and texture of this soup especially with a hint of refreshing fragrant from the tangerine peel. But if you feel that these soup takes up too many ingredients that is not available from your pantry, you can always mix and match with your own preference according to the ingredients you have. But if you have tried and love the SOUP from "Fragrant Hong Kong Pork Rice", this recipe is worth giving a try.