Gu Long Stewed Pork Slices with Rice Porridge


First and foremost, yes yes I know I am slightly obsessed with spring onions and seem to overload most of my Asian dishes with what seems to look like too much spring onion topping... my bad!

Every once in a while, eating something that comes out of a can is not the end of the world. Quite the contrary with a select few cans that can ONLY be found at Asian Grocers. I grew up eating rice porridge - whenever I'm sick and unwell, my mom or dad would make me a bowl of porridge. Sometimes it's just plain porridge with salted egg or century egg. Other times I get a lovely bowl of "bak moi" or pork porridge. Either way, a good bowl of porridge can be the ultimate comfort food!


Which is why I'd like to share this product with my readers - Gu Long Stewed Pork Slices - available at most Asian Grocers in Australia and supermarkets everywhere in Malaysia.

To cook plain rice porridge, just boil 1 cup of white rice in 6 cups of water until rice is soft and forms a smooth, creamy porridge. Serve porridge in a bowl. Remove half of the contents of the Stewed Pork Slices can and heat in a separate bowl for 1 min in the microwave. Top the heated pork slices (and its juices for flavor) on top of the porridge and sprinkle chopped spring onions. Enjoy while it's hot!


Easy Spanakopita Recipe


In order to cook one of my previous blog posts Pumpkin and Spinach Casserole, I bought some spinach from CostCo. To those of you who may not know, if you buy spinach from CostCo, you end up buying 1kg worth of spinach. That is A LOT of spinach.

I don't normally cook vegetarian dishes, so I had no idea what to do with that much spinach! So I sent a message to my sister in law who IS a vegetarian and she recommended this Spanakopita recipe. Since then I have done some Google searches to find out more about this dish, and turns out it is a Greek classic so I decided to give it a go!

By the time I cooked this dish, a few weeks have actually passed since I bought that massive bag of spinach so I had frozen spinach to work with. Very different to the recipe my sister in law gave me, so I had to make some slight changes. Obviously, frozen spinach once thawed becomes blanched spinach and therefore I had to squeeze out any excess water before finely chopping it. I also decided to COOK the spinach with the onion and garlic to make sure any excess water evaporates and the spinach is as dry as possible. Anyway, all method will be revealed in the recipe below :-)


Ingredients:
750g spinach, finely chopped
500g feta cheese, crumbled
6 eggs
1 tbsp olive oil
1 large red onion, chopped
1 tsp minced garlic
1 packet frozen filo pastry sheets
250g butter, melted

Method:
If your spinach is frozen, make sure it is thawed completely. Squeeze excess water from spinach and chop finely. Heat olive oil in a frypan and saute red onion, minced garlic and spinach until fragrant. In a bowl, mix together feta cheese and eggs, then add the sauteed onion and spinach mixture into the bowl and mix well. 

Meanwhile, brush a rectangular casserole dish with some melted butter using a brush. Start by lining the dish with one single sheet of thawed filo pastry, with its sides hanging on the edges of the dish. Brush the filo sheet with butter and layer another sheet on top. Keep repeating this process until the bottom pastry layers is about 10 sheets thick. Make sure it is well buttered between each layer.

Pour the filling mixture onto the sheets and fold excess filo on the sides over the filling. Top with at least 5 layers of filo pastry, also making sure it is well brushed with melted butter between each layer and especially at the top layer for a nice, brown and crispy finish.

Bake at 180C for approx. 30-40 minutes.


Kimba's Notes: This was my first time fiddling with Filo Pastry so I found it quite challenging! The sheets were sooo fragile and super thin. Do not stress if it keeps tearing though, just keep layering them and use the butter to keep them together. I have no idea where my bottom layers of pastry disappeared to, so I would suggest layering them much thicker at the bottom. The top layers of pastry though, delicious and crispy!



Simple Homemade Curry Puffs


Here's a really simple idea on how to best use those potatoes you include in your Chicken Curry that no one seems to want to eat (well, most of the time the actual chicken in the curry tastes so good people would eat less of the potatoes to avoid "filling up" their tummies too quickly).

This brilliant idea was suggested to me by a friend whose grandmother does this all the time. It is GENIUS! Plus it is so simple. It makes me want to include MORE potatoes in my future Chicken Curries just so I can have more filling for my Curry Puffs, lol.

Chicken Curry recipe here: http://www.kimbaskitchen.com/2010/05/chicken-and-vegetable-curry-recipe.html
Basically, all you do is extract the leftover potatoes from your Chicken Curry, leave just enough curry sauce to add to the flavor and mash the potatoes. You may conveniently use Frozen Puff Pastry from the supermarket, defrost them, then cut them into circles. Spoon potato filling onto the centre of the puff pastry and seal well on its sides using the "rope method" (a good YouTube instruction on how to fold curry puffs here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FZ-lKp6qtK4).


The result is ready to be cooked in the oven at 180C for approx. 15 minutes, or you may freeze them uncooked, ready to be cooked anytime later on! Enjoy!


Homemade Kolo Mee with Minced Pork & Wontons


Anyone born and raised in Sarawak and have moved overseas like me would understand this when I say... "Sometimes we just want a big bowl of KOLO MEE!!". Sarawak Kolo Mee is one of the most common noodle dish from Kuching, Sarawak - and nowhere else in the world does it like the locals from my hometown in Kuching. It is basically a noodle dish cooked in a special sauce topped with char siu, minced pork, sometimes fish cakes and spring onions. I like my Kolo Mee also topped with "kiaw" or most people would know them as wontons.

This recipe probably doesn't taste anywhere near the real deal, but for now it will do. It satisfies my craving for dry noodles and I'm very happy with the soft wontons and texture of the dry, slightly oily noodles. For something relatively simple to prepare, it is really as close as I can get to the real Kolo Mee!

Ingredients:
1kg minced pork
5 tbsp sesame oil
5 tbsp light soy sauce
3 tbsp fish sauce
Salt and pepper to taste
1 packet wonton skins
1 packet dried noodles
3 tbsp chicken bouillon powder
3 litres water, for boiling
Chopped spring onions, for topping

Noodle seasoning:
Char Siu sauce
Light soy sauce
White pepper
Oil
Fried onions


Method:
To prepare the wontons, mix the minced pork with sesame oil, light soy sauce, fish sauce, and season well with salt and pepper. Place a small teaspoon of meat onto wonton skins, wet the sides and press them together onto a triangle shaped wonton to seal the filling.

Meanwhile, heat a frypan with a bit of oil and fry some of the minced pork until it turns brown.

To prepare the broth for boiling the noodles and wontons, cook the water and chicken bouillon powder in a big pot until it starts to boil.

Meanwhile, prepare the noodle seasoning in a bowl by adding 1 tsp of char siu sauce, 1 tbsp light soy sauce, a dash of white pepper and a teaspoon fried onions.

Cook the dried noodles in the pot of boiling broth for a few minutes until noodles are soft. Remove the noodles from the broth using a strainer and toss / mix well in bowl with prepared seasoning.

Cook the wontons in the pot of boiling broth for a few minutes until the wontons are soft and filling cooked through. Remove the wontons from the broth using a strainer and place on top of noodles. Top also with cooked mince and spring onions.


Foochow "Mee Sua" Recipe


Once again I find myself getting "hit" with a craving for food from home. It's really amazing because just when I thought I have attempted all the dishes there is to learn to cook from Malaysia, there's always a few more dishes I have yet to attempt for the very first time. I am so thankful that Asian Grocers in Australia have a pretty comprehensive range of ingredients readily available to purchase so I can try cooking these dishes! I cannot imagine how deprived I would feel if I didn't have access to these ingredients. Yes, I have to drive at least 20 minutes to get to the nearest Asian Grocer, but it is so worth the trip!!

This noodle dish is no stranger to the Chinese community, particularly the Foochows in Malaysia. It's actually really simple to cook... you just need the right ingredients, especially the right noodles. Usually this dish is cooked with Chinese Red Wine, but because I can't seem to find the right wine - I have substituted this recipe with just a little bit of scotch whiskey from hubby's liquor collection, hehe!


Ingredients (Serves 2-3):
5 tbsp sesame oil
1 inch cubed ginger, julienned
6 chicken drumsticks
1 litre chicken liquid stock
1 tbsp whiskey
"Mee Suah" noodles
10 pieces of Dried Tea Mushrooms
Salt and pepper to taste

Method:
Heat a non stick pot, add sesame oil, ginger and chicken and fry until chicken turns brown.

Add chicken liquid stock, whiskey and dried tea mushrooms. Season well with salt and pepper. Simmer until the mushrooms are soft and chicken is thoroughly cooked. You may want to simmer for approx. 1 hour for the chicken to be deliciously soft and tender. Add extra water if required.

Meanwhile, prepare a pot of boiling water. Cook "Mee Suah" noodles for just a few seconds in boiling water, as it softens very quickly. Strain noodles and place in a bowl. Serve broth over the cooked noodles with some chicken and mushrooms. Enjoy while it's still hot!


Pumpkin and Spinach Casserole

Pumpkin & Spinach Casserole

Well, believe it or not this is my first time ever attempt in cooking a 100% vegetarian casserole! I figured I should have something vegetarian stocked up in my freezer for when the baby arrives, just to add to the variety. Again, I googled several recipes and came up with this one. Very happy with the result! I mean, how can you go wrong with pumpkin right?? It's like eating roasted pumpkin by the mouthful. I think I overcooked the pumpkin a little too (so be careful not to overboil your pumpkin) so my casserole had a very mushy texture almost like eating pumpkin soup! It was still delicious though, so enjoy!

Ingredients:
1 Kent Pumpkin, peeled and chopped into cubes
1 tbsp oil
1 red onion, thinly sliced
3 tbsp plain flour
100ml chicken stock
Salt and pepper
1 tsp cumin
1/2 tsp ground coriander seed
200g baby spinach, roughly chopped
1 cup grated cheese

Pumpkin & Spinach Casserole 2

Method:
Boil the pumpkin in boiling water for 8 minutes or until tender.

Heat oil in a saucepan and saute red onions until fragrant and tender. Set aside.

Add chicken stock into the saucepan, season with salt and pepper, cumin and ground coriander seed. Gradually add plain flour and stir constantly until sauce thickens. If sauce gets too thick, add more chicken stock.

In a bowl, mix together cooked pumpkin, sauteed onions, spinach and 1/4 cup grated cheese.

Prepare a large casserole dish by spraying oil onto its surface. Spoon pumpkin mixture onto the casserole dish, top with sauce followed by sprinkling the remaining grated cheese over it.
Bake in preheated oven at 190C  for approx. 15 minutes or until the cheese is golden brown. Let stand for at least 10 minutes before serving.

Kimba's Shepherd's Pie

Shepherd's Pie

I am currently approaching Week 37 of my pregnancy so I thought I should really get onto the cooking and freezing meals stage of my preparation for the baby before the he decides to pop out!!

This whole "Cooking and Freezing Frenzy" I call it involved quite a bit of preparation. Leading up to today (I cooked 4 dishes today and freezed them all, but will post recipe one at a time) I had to:
  1. Convince hubby to let me buy a Chest Freezer - DONE
  2. Write a list of dishes I'd like to cook and freeze - DONE
  3. Do a massive shop for groceries at CostCo and buy meat in bulk - DONE
  4. Stock up my new Chest Freezer - DONE
  5. Stock up my pantry - DONE
  6. Get over the fact that my belly is huge and my back gets sore easily and my feet get swollen from standing up too long and JUST COOK THE MEALS - getting there!
To kick start this series of "Maternity Friendly Frozen Meals" I'd like to share this recipe for Shepherd's Pie - it is one of the easiest casseroles you can ever make and so yummy! I surfed the net for several ideas on how a Shepherd's Pie is meant to be cooked and combined those ideas to come up with this recipe. I have to admit I am not always 100% accurate with my measurements for ingredients but I try my best! I usually tend to taste as I cook so I easily lose track of how much ingredients I actually use.
Ingredients:
1 tbsp oil
150g minced beef
150g minced pork
100g lamb, chopped into small dices
1 cup frozen peas
1 cup carrots, chopped into small dices
1 red onion, thinly sliced
1 tsp garlic paste
1 tsp parsley paste
1/2 cup liquid chicken stock
4 tbsp tomato sauce
2 tbsp caster sugar
4 tbsp Worchestershire sauce
1 tbsp plain flour
Salt and pepper to taste
1kg potatoes, peeled
25g butter
1/4 cup milk
1 cup grated cheese

Method:
To make mashed potato topping, place peeled potatoes in a large pot and cover with water. Place lid on pot and bring to boil. Reduce heat to medium and let it simmer gently until potatoes are very tender and soft.

Drain potatoes and mash with butter and milk, adding salt to taste. Add 1/4 cup of the grated cheese into the potato mixture. Set aside.

Meanwhile, heat a large saucepan, add oil and gently fry sliced red onions until fragrant. Add minced garlic, minced parsley and fry for another 1 minute. Add the minced beef, pork and lamb and stirfry until meat is no longer pink. Add peas and carrots and stirfry for another few minutes. Add chicken stock, tomato sauce, caster sugar and Worchestershire sauce. Season well with salt and pepper. Add plain flour and gently allow to simmer until the sauce thickens.

Prepare a large casserole dish by spraying the surface with oil. Scoop out the meat mixture from the saucepan onto the casserole dish until half full. Top with mashed potato mixture, making sure the sides are well sealed. Top with the remaining grated cheese.

Place casserole dish on a baking tray just in case the sauce boils over the dish (so it won't make a mess in your oven). Cook in preheated oven at 180C for approx. 25 - 30 minutes, or until the topping is nice and golden brown.

Serve immediately or divide into portions and freeze for later (like me!)


Chocolate Banana Cupcakes Recipe


I've decided to bake these cupcakes today for two very simple reasons:
  1. Now that I am officially on Maternity Leave, I have all the time in the world to do whatever I want e.g. go swimming, shopping, watch TV shows, clean the house, go out to lunch, take naps, cook and BAKE! Otherwise I usually can't be bothered baking...
  2. Prices of bananas are finally coming back down in Australia. Ever since the cyclone hit Queensland, where most of the bananas come from, prices of bananas have been ridiculously expensive (at one point it was $16 per kg!) making bananas the "luxury fruit" in Australia for almost a full year. I saw bananas for only $3.98 per kg at Coles the other day, so finally I can indulge in bananas again and bake my favorite banana cake using the Best Ever Banana Cake Recipe.
Of course this time around I didn't just bake my usual Banana Cake. I used the ever reliable banana cake mix I am all so familiar with to make the base of this recipe.

 
I start by preheating the oven at 160C. Cream 125g butter and 1 cup slightly packed brown sugar together with the electric mixer. Add three eggs, beating well between each one. Fold in 1 3/4 cup self raising flour and stir in 3 mashed bananas, 1/2 cup milk and 1 teaspoon vanilla essence. Pour into individual cupcake cups (only halfway as they will rise).


Here comes the little "surprise". Insert a small "square" of dark chocolate into the centre of the cupcake mix. Then bake in the oven for approx. 15 minutes or until a skewer comes out clean.


Meanwhile, to make the icing mixture just mix 2 cups of icing sugar with 2 teaspoons of softened butter and 2 tablespoons of milk. Give the mixture a good stir until properly mixed through and allow to set, adding more icing sugar if it appears too runny.


Allow cupcakes to completely cool before piping the icing and sprinkle / decorate as you please.


The best part of this cupcake is the moist banana cake and the gooey chocolate centre! Mmm...

Oh wait, some would probably argue the best part of this cupcake is the icing... lol, can't beat the yummy factor of just plain and simple, SUGAR!!


Yum Cha at Golden Orient, Narre Warren


It feels like I haven't food blogged in ages! Getting ready for this baby has taken over my life, all the childbirth education classes and the reading up on baby things and the check ups and appointments, etc. Life is also busy as always, and when you're busy AND pregnant the last thing you want to do is spend hours cooking something blogworthy in the kitchen.

So that's exactly why when the opportunity presented itself today and I was heading off to a local Yum Cha restaurant close to home to catch up with an old friend, I thought why not take my camera along!


Golden Orient is the closest, REAL Chinese Restaurant in my area. I live literally 5 minutes away from this restaurant. Yet, I don't know why I've only been here twice - once for a Chinese New Year dinner (which I actually thought was GREAT!) and another time for dinner with friends. Technically, there is nothing wrong with this restaurant!! They actually make really decent Chinese food, and quite authentic - especially compared to all the other "Chinese" takeaway restaurants in the Berwick / Narre Warren area that are nowhere near authentic. Not if you count Lemon Chicken and Combination Noodles authentic... no no, I love Lemon Chicken but I would never consider it an authentic Chinese dish UNLESS I am eating in a Chinese Restaurant in Malaysia where Lemon Chicken is actually cooked quite differently and tastes absolutely amazing! But that's an entirely different story...

I think the main reasons why I don't eat here very often is because the restaurant is hardly ever buzzing with customers! It always seems so lonely, and at night, for some reason the lights are not very bright (are they trying to cut down on electricity costs??!!) therefore not very welcoming...

This needs to change. People need to come here more often. Perhaps it is purely because of the low Asian population numbers in the area. Not enough Asian diners - too much other competition from really good Aussie restaurants in the area that non-Asians prefer to dine at.

I need to get my Chinese food fix from here more often. Perhaps I will from now on, as I begin my maternity leave in November I will be fully local and will no longer have easy access to restaurants near work (South Melbourne) and the surroundings. I will be staying local, and this place is conveniently close. I have rambled too much, onto the food!


We started off with the Fried Wontons - sorry, there WERE 3 in each serving, but I have become a "rusty" food blogger and believe it or not, have FORGOTTEN to take photos until I was halfway eating and realised that I have forgotten. These fried wontons were really good. The filling was generous (unlike some Yum Cha places who serve really "skinny" fried wontons) and the wonton was fried crisp to perfection.


Then there was the Fried Prawn Roll, which was also quite generous in terms of size of the roll itself as well as the prawn filling. You know how some rolls just taste starchy and you hardly ever get enough prawns in them? This was packed with prawns and full of prawn flavour. Very satisfying.


Of course I had to try the Chicken Feet. This was just as good as any other Chicken Feet from any other Yum Cha places in the city - see?? Who needs to go all the way into the city or areas such as Glen Waverley or Box Hill or Springvale to have decent Yum Cha and Chicken Feet?! I was very pleased to know now (finally!) that if I ever get a Yum Cha craving ever again, I just need to drive 5 minutes down the road and hopefully someone to have Yum Cha with me locally!!


The Pork Dim Sim was fairly standard. Again, I am impressed by the size of the dim sim themselves. It is a standard portion, but for some reason everything seemed nice and big and generous. I really like!


This Pork Filling Pastry thing is one of my favorites at Yum Cha restaurants. I normally go for the Yam Puffs, but the Pork Puffs are equally as good. I just love the soft, crispy deep fried pastry... I know it's probably really bad and fatty, but it is so delicious! And these were absolutely delicious. I am salivating just at the thought of these and I've just had lunch there!


My friend is a huge fan of Steamed Pork Buns so we ordered some. Unfortunately I didn't get a taste - and I mostly didn't feel I needed to anyway because I was so busy tucking into the other food that were on the table that I felt I wanted to keep eating more than the standard pork buns!


We've decided to try the Sugarcane Prawn dumplings because none of us have ever tried these before - but really they were just fried prawn dumplings with a bit of sugarcane sticking out of it. It didn't really taste very sugarcaney but it was okay.


Finally, of course we had to finish off with the ever popular dessert - Mango Pudding! Again, just as good as any other Mango Pudding at Yum Cha places in the city or anywhere else that serve decent Yum Cha in Melbourne. It was so satisfying to be able to walk into a quiet Chinese Restaurant in NARRE WARREN on a Friday afternoon, and whilst we were there thankfully some other people did rock up, but you know what.. they probably only had approx. 20 customers that whole lunch period and it's a Friday afternoon. That's NOT a lot of customers! Come on people, we need to keep supporting this restaurant so it doesn't shut down. They really do serve DECENT Chinese food, and I would hate to see this restaurant which is so close and conveniently located in my local area to disappear... I don't want to have to drive at least 25 minutes to get to Glen Waverley the next time I have a craving!!!

So if you're reading this and you're wondering if Golden Orient is any good because you have driven past a few times and live in the Casey area... give it a go! It is as good as ANY city restaurant just sadly hasn't had much word of mouth and possibly not enough regular customers in the local area to keep supporting it. I am doing my bit now. GIVE IT A GO!!

Oh, and I also ordered some Sesame Balls for takeaway.. and just had a bite.. DIVINE!! The pastry is soooo soft and light and fluffy and the red bean paste inside... absolute heaven. I need more. Maybe I'll go back tomorrow... heheee.



Guest Post: Macarons by Pink Cupcake Possum

Hello everyone! Sorry I have almost completely "disappeared" since my last post two weeks ago.. life has been hectic and I have been busy cleaning the house and working and getting some good exercise (swimming) in preparation for the baby's arrival in December. Which is why today's blog post is especially brought to you by my Guest Blogger for the day - the lovely Seah Ho from Pink Cupcake Possum aka @pinkcpossum on Twitter. Enjoy!

It was almost like, 7 months ago when Kimba asked me if I could do this guest post thing.

Well, at first I said yes, but then though 'Errrr... How am I going to do this? Where am I gonna start?' So yes, it took me over half a year to decide to write about my macarons. (Thanks for having me on your blog, Kimba!!)

Firstly, I'm not a macaron master or anything, I am just a typical woman who likes baking. Oh... wait, let me fix it a bit here. I'm just a typical woman who is obsessed with baking. I LOVE baking. I wouldn't say I am good at it but I can say yes, I am a bit crazy when it comes to baking.

That doesn't mean whatever I bake comes out beautifully like a picture from a magazine. I sometimes struggle with all kinds of baking disasters. I sometimes look at my cakes and cry. Trust me, I'm not a patient person, but the good thing about baking is if you don't see the perfect result in front of you, you can just eat it and give it another go!!

Luckily, I struggled only twice with these babies. I'm not saying this recipe is the best to try but this one works for me. When you deal with macarons you should be gentle with the temperature of your oven and mindful of the humidity in the house. Okay, I am sure there are some people saying “What about all the gorgeous macarons that we can buy from shops even after 100 days of rain!!” Honestly, I don't know...

There are a lot of recipes out there for macarons but they will all fall into one of two categories, French or Italian meringue. I prefer the French meringue, it's simpler, easier, and tastes better to me.

As a starting tip before I use egg whites for macarons I separate the egg whites then leave them on the bench for two days. This thins the egg white and works best for meringue.

Recipe
Egg white 60g + Sugar 30g
Almond powder 60g + Icing sugar 100g

Preheat the oven to 200 degrees
Place baking paper on 3-4 trays before you start. (You don't want to muck around with those things when your macaron batch is ready to sit beautifully on the tray!)
Prepare a piping back with a nozzle (I used a 1cm one). 
  1. Mix the almond powder and icing sugar then blend them for a few minutes and sift at least three times. 
  2. Make a French meringue. Simply whip the egg white and sugar until it is firm and glossy. (If you want to add any food colouring or flavour add it at this stage, but not too much) 
  3. Mix the meringue into the icing sugar and almond powder mixture until it's quite runny, but be careful. If you get rid of too much air from your meringue mixture it won’t rise and you will end up with one big flat slab of macaron. It’ll still be yummm though, just not quite what you’re after :P It should be runny but hold together. 
  4. Pipe the mixture onto a sheet of baking paper into pools of about 3cm diameter with some space between each macaron (they will spread a bit as time passes). Hopefully it will look like this:
  
Now it's drying time. At this stage the macarons will form a crust (or feet).

Let them dry until when you touch the surface of the macarons gently you don't get anything on your finger.

It will take about 1-2 hours depends how humid your house is, but remember it doesn't matter how long it takes you should be patient until they dry.

After drying them out put the macarons into the oven then turn the temperature down to 140-150 degrees and bake for 15-20 mins. The time depends on your oven it might take less or more time to bake.
Make sure they don't burn and don’t take them out undercooked. It's all about oven temperature. You can take them off the baking paper once they have completely cooled down otherwise they will all stick to the paper. 


While you are drying your macarons you can make filling for the. You can simply sandwich Nutella between macarons, easy and heavenly yummy!! or you could  whip some whiped cream with coco powder or coffee then sandwhich it between the macarons or whip some cream cheese with lemon zest, a little lemon juice and icing sugar. It's a great chance to be creative. If you want to try something different you could go with pig's blood filling like Andriano Zumbo :)

So far I've made lemon, chocolate, salted caramel, green tea, white chocolate, Korean cereal, coffee, strawberry flavours.

Once you get that right feeling of macaron mixture then you will be a champ!



 

Steamed Egg Custard with Minced Chicken / Pork


Growing up, my parents have a list of "simple meals" which I have always taken for granted. It's funny how when you're away from home and settled in your new home and start to have your own list of "simple meals" for a busy weeknight, you start to randomly reminisce those little dishes you used to have as a child growing up in your parents house.

This dish is definitely one of them - it just randomly popped up one night and I thought "Hey! Haven't had THAT dish in ages! I wonder if I can cook it.. seemed simple enough".

Of course, my first attempt was an ultimate failure. Not only did I get impatient and did not wait for my dad to reply my text message asking him for directions, I completely messed up and wasted 8 eggs. I was stupid enough to not have one of the core ingredients of this dish.... WATER.

Okay, so there is more to this dish than it looks. After my 2nd and 3rd attempt I think I've finally mastered the balance of egg and water, and be careful not to overseason it. The photo posted above looks a bit runny with too much water, but that's actually how I like it. I like the egg custard super soft and smooth, and I like the water being in there like a "clear soup". Enjoy!


Ingredients (for a small bowl serves 2):
3 eggs
1 1/2 cup of water
1 tsp sesame oil
100g minced pork / chicken
Salt and pepper to taste
Chopped spring onions for garnish

Method:
In a fry pan, cook minced pork / chicken and season well with salt and pepper. Once cooked, set aside.

In a steaming bowl, beat 3 eggs thoroughly and add water and sesame oil. Season very lightly with salt and pepper.. be careful not to overseason, as the minced meat already adds to its flavoring. Add cooked minced meat into the egg and water mixture and place bowl in a steamer.

Steam for approx. 10 minutes, then turn the heat off and let it sit in the steamer for another 6-7 minutes. Garnish with chopped spring onions before serving. Enjoy on its own or with a bowl of steamed white rice.


Sarawak Tomato Kuay Teow


In my hometown Kuching, Sarawak (in Malaysia) the "Tomato Kuay Teow" is a very common hawker styled food sold in almost every "kopitiam" aka coffee shops in town. Do not be fooled by the term "coffee shop" it is actually the term we use to describe local styled "simple" restaurants where you get freshly cooked food at the cheapest prices.

Tomato Kuay Teow is a very common late night supper takeaway dish for me back in my childhood days. Our culture was used to late night eating and the kopitiams are still very much active after 10pm. After all, it's hard NOT to get hungry again by 10pm when growing up, dinner was as early as 5pm back in those days!!

Inspired by Leona's blog post and recipe (and thanks to a friend who posted the link on Facebook) my craving for authentic food from my original home intensified so I decided to try this recipe myself. It looked fairly simple - and I made some slight changes to her recipe by using chicken instead of prawns - and by adding sugar to balance out the flavors in the sauce. The result? A true Kuching Tomato Kuay Teow tastes 90% like the real thing! I had the same challenge Leona had - I didn't know how to prevent the kuay teow from turning a bit soggy and retain its firmness and shape. Perhaps my wok needed to be the real Chinese wok and I needed a really hot heat when frying it. Despite the kuay teow looking like it's falling apart, it still retained it silky texture so as long as it tasted good I didn't really care! Enjoy :)

Ingredients:
400g fresh kuay teow
2 tbsp kicap manis (sweet soy sauce)
Oil for frying
5 chicken drumsticks - meat stripped and chopped into pieces
50g cuttlefish
4 stalks spring onions, chopped into 1-inch pieces
2 small carrots, sliced thinly diagonally
1 tbsp chicken stock powder mixed with 1 cup of water
1 tbsp cornflour mixed with 1 cup of water
Tomato sauce to taste
2 tbsp caster sugar
1 tsp oyster sauce
White pepper to taste
Extra water as required

Method:
Prepare the kuay teow by separating them using cold water. Heat wok and fry kuay teow in hot oil. Add kicap manis for the brown color. When cooked, remove from wok and set aside.

In a separate clean pot add liquid chicken stock, liquid cornflour and tomato sauce to taste. Add white pepper, oyster sauce and sugar. Add extra water (or any of the sauce ingredients mentioned) as required according to taste. Bring sauce to boil.

Add chicken, cuttlefish, carrots and spring onions into sauce. Cook for another 6-8 minutes (chicken should cook very quickly in boiling sauce) if not slightly longer.

(Note: You may also use prawns and fish cakes instead of chicken)

Pour sauce over cooked kuay teow and serve.

This is what Tomato Kuay Teow from a Kuching kopitiam looks like

Steamed Fish Head Cooked with Ginger


Even after one whole week of eating to my heart's content in Malaysia, I came back to Melbourne refusing to let go. I was dwelling at the thought of that beautifully steamed fresh tilapia I had at New Restaurant Ipoh Chicken Rice, and also that super soft freshly steamed fish head cooked with ginger I had at Sun Fong Bak Kut Teh!

Aahhh how convenient it was to just go to a restaurant in Malaysia and order a good meal and know you're getting good value for money and great tasting authentic food. In Melbourne, I'm sure there are many Chinese restaurants in town that serve equally delicious dishes - but they are so much more expensive! Eating out is expensive in Melbourne, which is one of the reasons why I do less reviews and more cooking on this blog.

So here comes more cooking - a simple version of my very own steamed fish with ginger. I went to a seafood shop in Glen Waverley and picked the biggest whole fish I could find. I also double checked with the seafood shop owner to make sure this fish was good for steaming. She had her thumbs up. She was Asian. I trust her judgement, hehe.

Ingredients:
Half of a whole fish (the head half)
2 tbsp minced ginger
3 tbsp light soy sauce
1/4 cup water
Chopped spring onions and fresh coriander leaves for garnish

Method:
Prepare the fish by placing it on a steaming dish. Smear minced ginger evenly across the top of the fish. Drizzle light soy sauce over the ginger. Drizzle water over the ginger and soy mix. Place steaming dish onto a rack placed in a wok already filled with water ready to steam. Cover the wok / steamer with the lid and steam for approx. 20 minutes.

(Be careful not to steam the fish too long otherwise the meat gets a bit chewy and dry. Fish meat is best when steamed just right and the fish is just cooked)

A wonderful home cooked meal - Steamed Fish Head with Ginger and Japanese Tofu and Chinese Vegetables with Minced Pork in Oyster Sauce - serve dishes with rice. Mm mmm!
Dessert was a delightful Chinese steamed glutinous rice cake aka "Ang Ku Kueh" with delicious sweet bean paste filling - courtesy of Asian Grocer in Glen Waverley :p


New Restaurant Ipoh Chicken Rice, Sri Petaling

This is review #13 out of a 13-Part Food Blog Post Series from my recent trip to Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia from the 4th - 9th August 2011 :)


I skipped blog post #12 not because I got lazy - I've decided the photos I had and the experience I didn't really have (e.g. I didn't really eat most of the food I took photos of, and the photos weren't that great as I took them clumsily and too quickly and they weren't even on MY plate - they were still on display at the quiet Malay food shops at The Mall) so I've decided not to post #12 for that very reason.

Also, today being the 31st of August - last day of the month - also Malaysia's Independence Day - I thought it would be a great idea to end my Malaysian Food Adventure Blog Series all within the same month of August (for archiving purposes) and celebrate "Merdeka!" aka Independence Day and the fact that I have successfully finished writing these blog posts which initially seemed like a neverending task!!

Task or no task, it was a fun task and I am so glad to end it on a really happy note with this last post!


Chicken Rice is one of my ultimate favorite Malaysian dishes. It is so simple (steamed chicken) and healthy yet so delicious! As soon as my cousin and I arrived at this restaurant just around the corner from her place, and I was presented with the menu, I started salivating and could not wait to dig in! This was going to be my last meal in Malaysia for a very long time, this dinner was just hours before I had to hop on a plane back to Melbourne! I had to savor every minute, every taste, every piece of chicken, every little grain of beautifully steamed chicken rice (the really good type, with the Hainanese smell and knowing it's been cooked with the flavors it rightfully should have!) and it was truly a bittersweet feeling. I was sad to leave Kuala Lumpur and all the yummy (and cheap) food it had to offer - but at the same time I was looking forward to going home to my husband :)


We started our meal with a plate of freshly cooked bean shoots aka "taugeh". The bean shoots were nice and fat, and crunchy, and beautifully cooked to retain its firmness without going too soggy. This simple dish cooked in light soy sauce, with some chilli and spring onions, is the perfect side dish (along with the plain soup) for the steamed chicken we're about to be served...

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Mmm... and then came the Steamed Chicken. If I was ever going to go on a healthy diet and eat only steamed food - I can totally live off eating steamed chicken every day. The chicken is always beautifully cooked and the meat is soft and melts in your mouth. I admit I'm a huge fan of the chicken skin and bits of fat stuck to the meat - and yes I very much prefer the leg and thigh pieces of the chicken and not a big fan of breast meat.


Together, the dishes we've had so far seems to have made me fully content and satisfied and ready to hop on that plane back to Melbourne...


But wait! It seems Steamed Tilapia Fish was also on the menu and looking at the aquarium full of tilapia fish I wondered if this could be my last opportunity (for a long time, at least) to indulge in freshly steamed, freshly killed tilapia fish! There is something about this fish when steamed... it is the perfect fish to steam and we don't have this breed of fish in Australia, so even if it was only my cousin and I, just had to have it!


So we ordered the smallest Tilapia Fish in the aquarium and within 25 minutes or so, the fish has gone from swimming happily in the aquarium to our table ready to be devoured. I feel kind of bad for the little fishy, but nothing beats the taste of freshly steamed tilapia fish! The restaurant has done a fantastic job at steaming it perfectly, just until it's cooked, not overdone, so the meat is so soft and tender and you can still taste the freshness coming through the flavors. Of course, I went and finished the fish with its head - and it was just perfect! Soft textured and just so satisfying.

Now, my last meal in Malaysia is complete. I'm ready to hop on that plane back to Melbourne and knowing I won't be traveling back to Malaysia anytime soon with a newborn baby. Maybe when the baby is at least 2 years old - but then again, we never know if I will then be expecting our 2nd child, would we? So, it feels a little bit sad but it's not too bad knowing Melbourne has some great Malaysian restaurants to fix my occasional cravings if I ever get desperate. Plus, all the more reason to improve my Malaysian cooking and indulge at home!

I really do hope you've enjoyed reading my Malaysian Food Blog Series. Be sure to expect more Malaysian cooking goodness on my blog for sure! You can take the girl out of Malaysia, but you cannot take the Malaysian out of the girl... haha. Until next time!



Durian Buffet @ SS2, Petaling Jaya

This is review #11 out of a 13-Part Food Blog Post Series from my recent trip to Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia from the 4th - 9th August 2011 :)


Bearing in mind that this was the same night I had a full dinner at Sun Fong Bak Kut Teh followed by supper at Jalan Imbi Chinese Hawker Stalls - you are probably wondering HOW that one eat so much, and HOW does one eat 3 times in one night aka 5th meal of the day?!!

The decision to drive 30 minutes to SS2 just for durians was of course a spontaneous decision. No way we could've planned to stuff our face this irresponsibly, haha. It was while we were having supper at the hawker stalls, and I was surrounded by family members who were just about as good as I am at the art of eating, that we decided "let's GO!". So irresponsible, so naughty and yet no regrets! Best decision ever!!

In case you were not familiar with the Durian aka King of all Fruits (in Asia, anyway) - it is an acquired taste. Celebrity Chef Anthony Bourdain once quoted the Durian's smell as“It smelled like you'd buried somebody holding a big wheel of Stilton in his arms, then dug him up a few weeks later.”

And again he went on to say "Your breath will smell as if you'd been french-kissing your dead grandmother." - Anthony Bourdain.

Aahhh... doesn't sound appealing at all, does it?! Yes, I do admit the durian has quite a horrendous smell. But, again I must stress it is an ACQUIRED taste and I happen to quite happily enjoy the stinky smell of durians and the taste itself! When presented with a good, in season, ripe and sweet durian - it is "to die for" and I couldn't get enough while I was at SS2! The durians were top-notch best quality durians I have ever had - and my dad agrees - and my cousins ate as much as I did, and we had a great time.


There are different types and breeds of durians - all which I cannot go in further detail to explain because I am no expect. The durian stall we went to has a website - so go check them out for more info.

Pricing wise - dirt cheap. RM 9 per person (approx. AUD 3) for all-you-can-eat "kampung" durians. We opted for the RM 15 per person (approx. AUD 5) for all-you-can-eat higher quality, tastier, juicier durians. It was so worth it. It was still very cheap. We could eat as many as we want! And we got to choose the better durians which were sweeter and yellower and juicier and just tastier in general!


I am having quite a difficult time trying to describe what a durian tastes like. The thing is, it is so unique you either love it or hate it. So I don't know if it makes any difference if I describe it or not. You just need to try it for yourself to decide if you like it.


If you are a first timer, definitely ask for the yellower and sweeter kind, they are more first-time friendly. The paler durians have a stronger bitter taste which even I myself don't fancy that much.


We left SS2 just after midnight. By then, all the durian stalls were winding down for the night. Just an hour ago when we arrived, it was still buzzing and full of people! Aahhh gotta love the late night eating culture in Malaysia.

Oh, and yes... there is a whole STREET of durian stalls. Selling just durians. Smelling like durians - you can smell from a few blocks away. It's incredible really. I love Malaysia :)