Sunday, December 31, 2006

Pre New Year Fare - Nasi Lemak


Pre New Year Fare - Nasi Lemak
Originally uploaded by Food Trails.

So happy! Cooking nasi lemak using basmati rice was such a breeze! In my previous experiences, the rice almost always turned out a little soggy using fragrance rice! For this reason, I have not been cooking nasi lemak for a long time. Nasi lemak in Malay is coconut rice.

In a packet of S$1.50 mass produced nasi lemak sold at food stalls, there is coconut rice, a small fish, few fried ikan billis and sambal. Sometimes some fried peanuts are included.

Today, we had our nasi lemak with fried pomfret, chicken fillets, sliced cucumber and sambal ikan billis. :) Due to some delay, this lunch was served around 3 PM. Luckily, we had a good breakfast at the foodcourt.

Friday, December 29, 2006

Steamed Chicken Fillets


Steamed Chicken Fillets
Originally uploaded by Food Trails.

Frozen chicken fillets sold in a kilo pack is once again a rare sight in my neighbourhood supermarkets! The fillets I used today were bought from Cold Storage Supermarket at Kovan, a housing estate that is three MRT stations away from where I live.

Today, I thawed and sliced up some of these chicken fillets, marinated the meat with soya sauces, pepper, salt, corn flour, a little sesame oil, ajinomoto and pinch of sugar. Soaked sliced mushrooms and Chinese sausage were added in and mixed well in a metal plate. And all it took was to steam this mixture for 30 minutes before serving.

Corn Fried Rice


Corn Fried Rice
Originally uploaded by Food Trails.

Never have I used corn and scallops in fried rice. This was Rika's refreshing idea and not a bad combo at all. She had this for breakfast.

Rika wanted to cook this herself; unfortunately, she cut her palm while preparing the garlic! It had happened all because she was recalling her dream that oddly, my old neighbour had turned into a crocodile!


Friday, December 22, 2006

Seafood Rice


Seafood Rice
Originally uploaded by Food Trails.

When ER was on the phone and he asked, “Are we having home cooked dinner?” I told him, “May be we will have it at the foodcourt.”

But then, just before watching my favourite Korean serial, Story Of A Mermaid, on TV, my mind was wondering to the fresh food and basmati rice we have at home. OK, prawns and scallops without squids would also make good seafood rice, I thought. So dinner was settled.

As I have mentioned it before, cooked basmati rice if done properly is so fluffy and separates. The secret is to use the right amount of water or stock. One sure way that will produce good fluffy rice is to use less water than the recipe calls for. Add in the balance only if the rice is still uncooked and make sure that any addition of liquid later is hot. This method works well for me in cooking this dish.

Potluck Lunch


Potluck Lunch
Originally uploaded by Food Trails.

Noticed the light layer of floating oil on the curry? This was what ER wanted to have and it’s cooked without whole spices. Glad to know this curry turned out to be among the favourites of the day~

Thursday, December 21, 2006

Cabbage Rolls


Cabbage Rolls
Originally uploaded by Food Trails.

Went out to Waterloo Street with ER this morning, for lunch we had “kok kok mee”. I find this name pretty funny. But, on closer look at the display counter, we found an old fashion tool, two pieces of bamboo, which old world mobile hawkers used to create sounds in order to attract the attention of passers-by and also announced his or her presence in the vicinity. Hence, "kok kok mee" is somewhat named after that action. In the late afternoon we snacked on Indian food. We had dosai, masala chicken and ginger tea.

On the journey home, I was pondering what’s for dinner. Hmm…cabbage rolls came to mind. So with the remainder wonton mixture, I added in more prawns and some crab sticks with additional seasonings and this was filling for the cabbage rolls. The long cabbage leaves were blenched in boiling water before used.

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Fried Wonton


Fried Wonton
Originally uploaded by Food Trails.

With 1 cup of remaining fish paste, I mixed in 300 grams of minced pork, some prawns, 8 chestnuts and 6 stalks of chopped spring onions as ingredients for fried wonton. And I was left with half of this mixture.

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Fried Rice With Long Beans


Fried Rice With Long Beans
Originally uploaded by Food Trails.

With the leftover rice from last dinner, I prepared this lunch for YH. Prawns, crab sticks and long beans were used as the main ingredients. Actually, using long beans was a last minute addition as I was without spring onions.

Chicken Curry


Chicken Curry
Originally uploaded by Food Trails.

A dear one had asked for this on Saturday but only got to eat it on Sunday. I was too busy and a little tired on Saturday and forgot to thaw the bird.

While I enjoy the soupy chicken curry when eating out, somehow I am just so accustomed to cooking the dry type. Today, ER remarked that the curry has lost the simplicity that he is familiar with. For this, the taste is more intense because I have added in whole spices and lots of curry leaves. And he likes to see the layer of oil floating on top of the curry gravy. This is contradictory to my aim of reducing the amount of oil used. Anyway, I gave him a solution. That is to steam the ready cooked curry for 20 minutes to get the layer of oil.

Monday, December 18, 2006

Stir-fried Beans With Squids


Stir-fried Beans With Squids
Originally uploaded by Food Trails.

The heap of these green, slender and nice shaped beans displayed in one shop along Buffalo Road located at Little India caught our eyes as we were walking towards Tekka Market for ginger tea with YH. ER and I were curious enough to go for a closer look. We ended up buying some although not knowing its name.

On enquiry, one young Indian lady patron just told us to sauté them or use them in vegetable curry. I was told a lot of people like these legumes too.

To prepare them for cooking, I just removed the ends of each bean and cut them into short lengths. For this time, I just stir-fried them with the leftover squids, fish sauce, pepper, salt and pinch of ajinomoto. In comparison, the cooked beans were a little more chewy then French beans and had a mild bitter taste. Anyway, we ate them all.

Sunday, December 17, 2006

Pork And Liver Soup


Pork And Liver Soup
Originally uploaded by Food Trails.

When using liver, the greatest challenge is be able to choose a piece that emits a fragrance when raw and is soft and tender when cooked. I have had a few lucky buys.

Bearing in mind that liver is organ meat and it is high in cholesterol, liver and pork balls soup is an occasional treat for my family. Liver is highly nutritious too and is believed to nourish the blood, bu xue in Mandarin. Pork, a red meat, and pork liver are rich in iron. Dark green vegetables like spinach and broccoli are rich in iron too.

I know of mothers who cooked liver soup for their gals since liver helps to improve health when taken during pregnancy and for teenagers who diagnosed as anemic.

Iron deficiency anemia is common in teenage girls due to menstrual losses and can be affected further because of a lower food intake.

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Noodle Soup


Noodle Soup
Originally uploaded by Food Trails.

Few pieces of fried pork leftover from making gou lou yoke went into this simple lunch for YH. Shelled prawns and celery were blenched in the same soup to make this quick and simple meal.

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Gou Lou Yoke


Gou Lou Yoke
Originally uploaded by Food Trails.

Gou lou yoke in Cantonese means sweet and sour pork. I had this dish in mind days ago, I procrastinated in making it although I already had the ingredients. Today’s Cantonese TV programme from Hong Kong titled “du shi han cheng”, showed a similar dish. From here I learnt that the consistency of the sauce is a very important basic in making sweet and sour pork. It should not be watery or else it would ruin the dish. Another important step is to return the fried pieces of pork to the hot oil for a 2nd deep-frying to crisp them. I did not fellow this step though.

Today, I had used slices of pineapple, red and green bell peppers and onions. Other vegetables like carrots, cucumbers and tomatoes do combine well with pork and the sweet and sour sauce. The sauce ingredients include A1 or HP sauce, Worcestershire sauce, tomato ketchup, vinegar, sugar, water and chilli sauce.

In making this dish, thin slices of shoulder butt were marinated with salt, sugar, egg and sesame oil, dredged in plain flour and fried till just cooked. Vegetables were sautéed in oil and garlic till just tender and the sauce ingredients, which had been mixed in a bowl, were added in at this juncture. Bring it to a boil and add in some corn flour solution and let the sauce thickens, return pork slices to the wok, stir to coat well and it’s done.

Friday, December 08, 2006

Tomato Ketchup Prawns


Tomato Ketchup Prawns
Originally uploaded by Food Trails.

Prawns are sweet and have an enticing flavour. Undoubtedly, they are one of my favourite ingredients. They may be caught in salt water and fresh water and they are being farmed too.

There are prawn farms in Singapore. One such high-tech marine prawn farm is located at the sea front on Pulau Ubin. This farm produces both black tiger prawns and white prawns all year round. Due to intensive cultivation, black tiger prawns are harvested every 120 days at the farm. Annually there are two and a half cycles.

Usually prawns caught from salt water are more expensive. Although shelled prawns or shrimps are available from chiller or freezer of the supermarkets. I prefer to buy them fresh and raw from the wet market because more flavour is retained. When using prawns in your dishes, overcooking should be avoided as this makes the prawns tough. To avoid this, it is always better to sauté the prawns till just cooked and then set aside. Add them back to the dish at the last stage of cooking.

When purchasing prawns, look for glossy, undamaged shells, legs and tails, plump and shinny black eyes. They should be no signs of dark or discolouration. Refrigerate as soon as after purchase. For convenience, divide into quantities required for each meal or recipe and keep them in plastic bags before freezing.

Before cooking prawns, whether they are used with shells intact or shelled, remember to remove the intestinal veins. Prawns shells are segmented just bend the shells to expose the joint, make a small incision in each prawn’s back and carefully draw out the dark vein. A toothpick is a handy tool here. When recipes call for prawns to be shelled, retain the last segment of shell and the tail fins to give a more decorative appearance to the finished dish, as shown here in the picture.

Shells and heads of prawns make good stock. To obtain this, fry them in a little oil on high heat, add just enough of hot water to cover, and boil for 15 minutes. Strain, discard shells and freeze the stock if not immediately required. . This type of stock is used in our local fare, prawn noodle soup.

Thursday, December 07, 2006

Mixed Vegetables


Mixed Vegetables
Originally uploaded by Food Trails.

In terms of food value, the variety of mixture of vegetables, sweet peas, carrots, long cabbage and golden mushrooms, had made this more nutritious. To cook this dish, chopped garlic and dried shrimps were sautéed in olive oil till fragrant. Vegetables were then added in, seasonings were also added at the same time and stir-fried till veggies were just al dente.

Fishball And Meatball Soup


Fishballs And Meatballs Soup
Originally uploaded by Food Trails.

For this nutritious and delicious soup, homemade bouncy meatballs and fishballs in substantial amount was enough to made it an all-in-one meal. Besides, long cabbage leaves, sweet peas, carrots, winter melon etc may be added in. And if you like, add in some soaked glass noodles.

Stir-fried French Beans


Stir-fried French Beans
Originally uploaded by Food Trails.

There was a time when I consciously avoided buying French beans because I didn’t seem to cook it right! They were always hard. Back then I used to break them into shorter lengths of 3 cm long. Now with new varieties on the market and by slicing them thinly, they are easier to cook and the crunchiness is just right.

Monday, December 04, 2006

Mustard Brandy Chicken


Mustard Brandy Chicken
Originally uploaded by Food Trails.

There are bottles of brandy in the house and we are not drinking them. Since Rika has opened one, I decided to use it in cooking. Unlike cooking wine which is hardly detectable in this dish, brandy left a mild fragrance and taste in the meat.

Half a bird was left as both children had dinner out after work. Anyway, Rika will be using some of this meat in her tortilla wrap for breakfast tomorrow.

Tom Yam YuJiao Mian


Tom Yam YuJiao Mian
Originally uploaded by Food Trails.

A simple lunch I made for myself.

I had tried two brands of tom yam soup paste, the later brand, Savorie, from Bangkok, Thailand, I bought during a promotion is more concentrated in taste. I just used 1½ tbsp tom yam soup paste in 1½ cups of boiling water, added chilli padi, “yu jiao” made from fish paste and some green onions to the soup. Just before pouring this stock to the bowl of cooked jade noodles, juice from a slice of lemon was added in. This gave an extra punch of tangy taste to the soup, really nice~

Sunday, December 03, 2006

Potato Fish Patties


Potato Fish Patties
Originally uploaded by Food Trails.

Before leaving for work, I had asked YH to think of a name for this new concoction while he was taking his lunch. He came up with “potato fish patties” after enquiring the ingredients I used in this dish. YH remarked that this dish is unique.

Fish paste, spiced up with curry powder and seasonings was mixed with chopped chestnuts and spring onions, was made into flat rounds and coated with thin strips of potatoes. These patties were pan-fried in oil till golden brown.

Saturday, December 02, 2006

Laksa


Laksa
Originally uploaded by Food Trails.

For dinner, Rika made hard-boiled eggs to go with laksa. Authentically speaking, hard-boiled egg is not an ingredient in serving laksa. Noticeably though, when cockles were omitted in a bowl of laksa because of customer’s request, hawkers would replace them with a hard-boiled egg. Personally, I observed that I was charged S$0.50 more if a hard-boiled egg was added without my request. That was when I last had my bowl of laksa in Clementi. Hard-boiled eggs are often served with other local fares like “mee Siam” and “lontong”

Between, it was the recent disappointment of the lower standards and inconsistent in taste of the laksa gravy in three food stalls in my neighbourhood that prompted me to cook my own laksa.

Laksa


Laksa
Originally uploaded by Food Trails.

Original recipe from here: Laksa

Instead of using fishcakes, I had used fishballs in its place. I had included an extra stalk of lemon grass in the ground spice paste; used factory made coconut cream and had reduced the blachan to half a tablespoon. As the amount of water used to cook the prawns was not stated, I cooked the prawns in some water and discarded the prawn stock. I used 1.7 litres of boiling water in the laksa gravy instead. As to how creamy, or lemak as we said it locally, you want the laksa gravy to be, just adjust this by adding more or reducing the amount of coconut cream to your liking.

Though my family said this home cooked laksa was not bad, somehow I felt a little oomph was missing. May be I will test it out by adding extra dried shrimps; blachan, coriander powder and chilli powder to the remaining gravy.

Laksa ingredients I used:
30 fishballs [homemade]
300g medium prawns
10 tofu puffs
2stalks lemon grass, white stem portion, crushed
4 tbsp oil
2 packets of 200 ml coconut cream
Salt and ajinomoto to taste
1 tbsp sugar
Pepper
500g (1 lb) dried thick rice noodles
300g bean sprouts, scalded

Ground ingredients into a paste:
12 shallots, peeled
15 dried chillies, softened in hot water
3 red chillies
½ tbsp blachan (shrimp paste)
3 tbsp dried shrimp, soaked for a while in water to soften
6 buah keras (candlenuts)
1 thumb size turmeric or 1 tsp turmeric powder
½ tbsp roasted coriander powder
1 stalk lemon grass

JenzHomeKitchen Welcome to my food blog, happy browsing and enjoy!

Glad to say, due to the long period of exposure to wholesome home cooking, inherited some of my mother's skills and coupled with further enhancement of adapting to established recipes, I am delighted to be able to concoct some recipes that I named: My version, which is bundled under "assortment of recipes" in this homepage :)



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