Friday, March 20, 2009

Chicken Soup with Chinese Yam & Almond 淮山南杏顿鸡汤

Late last month, we went to Lao Beijing to have lunch. Err... We don't really like the food there. The kids hated it. :P For the price we are paying ... I don't think we will be back there again. It's just not to our liking. But the soup my hubby ordered for me was not too bad. That was the only consolation.

I came back home and try to replicate it with what I saw and tasted. Hey, I didn't do too bad. Mine version doesn't taste exactly like the original but it's close enough. ;) At least, everyone is please with it and it had since took over this soup as the family's favourite.

Before I share the recipe, I just want to put a note that the original soup came with a few pieces of *gulp* shark's fin. I know there are a lot of people who are against eating it. And yes, I know what they did to the sharks after removing their fins. :(

To tell the truth, I had added some shark's fin here in this soup. :P We happened to have a box of dried shark's fin which was part of a gift basket given to us during Chinese New Year. It's a one time thing. I didn't go buy shark's fin to add into my soup subsequently. So please to flame me, okay? ;P

Seriously, adding shark's fins doesn't help make the soup taste any extra nicer. It's used so it would be priced higher. If you want to make the soup looks expensive and classier, vegetarian shark's fin can do the job just as good. ;)

  • 1 Whole Chicken
  • 300 lean Pork
  • 25g Huai Shan 淮山 (Radix Dioscoreae Oppositae) aka Chinese Yam
  • 20g Chinese Almond 南杏
  • 6 Hong Zao 红枣 (Red Dates)
  • 1.8 litre Water
  • Salt to taste

How to do it:
  • Blanch chicken and meat.
  • Add all ingredients, except salt, into a pot.
  • Bring to a boil and lower heat to a simmer.
  • Continue cooking for at least 2 hours.
  • Add salt to taste.
  • Serve.

  • If you must add shark's fin, real or vegetarian, just steam it for 10 - 15 minutes (shorter for vegetarian) with enough stock to cover it. Add it to the soup before serving.
  • The stock can be returned to the soup to use.
  • You can also add 1/3 tablespoon of Chinese Cooking Wine to the soup if you like.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Roast Chicken (Rice) 烧鸡饭

I have a lot of diners coming to this little cyber eatry searching for Chicken Rice 海南鸡饭. One of the diners asked if I have the recipe for the roasted version aka 烧鸡饭. I managed to asked my mother in law (she sold Chicken Rice before) how to make the roasted chicken.

And I have both good and bad news. The good news is I have the method on how it's done and the bad news is I don't have marinade and the stuffing ingredients. :P

In case you are not aware, our roasted chicken (rice) here (in Singapore) is not roasted, it's cooked with oil. You know, like deep frying. But wait a minute! Take a look at the skin (in the picture). It doesn't look fried but roasted. And the best part is the meat is moist like blanched chicken. So it's actually Fried Chicken that looks like Roasted Chicken and moist like Blanched Chicken. :P

This recipe is not complete. I'm still finding out and experimenting more on it. I'm sharing what I know so far.

  • For a start, the chicken is rubbed all over with salt, including the cavity.
  • Set the chicken aside.
  • Mix 6 tablespoon Light Soy Sauce, 5 tablespoon Maltose, 1 tablespoon Water and Juice of 1 Lime, together.
  • Bring the marinade mixture to a simmer.
  • Blanch the chicken with the marinade mixture by scooping the mixture with spoon and pour over the chicken.
  • Continue doing till the whole chicken coated with the marinade and is tinted light brown.
  • This chicken should be should be about 30% cooked on the outside.
  • Hang the chicken to air dry. I cheated by placing it in the refrigerator uncovered. :P
  • Prepare a pot of hot oil.
  • Place the whole chicken into the oil to cook it.
  • Remove when chicken is thoroughly cooked.
  • Hang to drip the chicken from excess oil.
  • Serve it with Chicken Rice, fresh cucumber or tomato and drizzle of a mixture of light soy sauce and sesame seed oil.
I didn't use that much oil which according to my mother-in-law, is a must to cook the chicken nicely. I took a much longer time, by 'bathing' the chicken like how I did when blanched it with the marinade mixture.

Accordingly to my mother-in-law, she only rub the cavity with salt. No herbs were used. However, most of the roasted chicken I have tasted were stuffed with some herbs. I'm still finding out what herbs were used. If anyone had any ideas, I would appreciate it if you could share it. :)

I'm looking forward to the day I could do the complete and proper local Singapore Roasted Chicken Rice. :D

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Lunch Box #14

This is my last lunch box I prepared for my son. He doesn't want to bring lunch box to school anymore. :( I suspect that he prefers to bring money to school so he can buy and eat whatever he likes. Noone to stop him. :/ Hmm ... I don't think I'll stop making lunch box for him. I'm just going to let him have some freedom and fun buy food from the school canteen, then start making lunch box again. This lunch was made according to my son's request. Noodles, lightly stir fried with sesame seed oil and oyster sauce. I added Kai Lan, carrots and fish cakes to it too. I actually wanted to do something with the carrots but run out of time, so I just had to leave it as it is with the hole in the middle. :P

Saturday, March 7, 2009

Grilled Squid

Do you like bbq stuff? I do! Ohh ... I missed the BBQ Stingray at my parent's place. You know I can't take spicy food but I just love the BBQ Stingray there. Each time I eat that, my face with be as red as a cooked crab and my face wet with perspiration. :P BBQ squid is one of the dishes I will order sometimes. Now occasionally, I will do it at home. It's so much cheaper. ;P

  • 5 medium Squid
  • 1 Banana Leaf, optional
  • 1 Shallot, sliced
  • 1 Lime
Chilli Paste:
  • 6 Fresh Red Chilli
  • 12 Dried Chilli
  • 8 Shallot
  • 6 clove Garlic
  • 1 stalk Lemongrass
  • 1/2 tablespoon Belacan
  • 3 petals from Pink Ginger Flower Bud
  • 1 teaspoon brown sugar
  • Salt to taste
How to do it:
  1. Remove soft bone and innards of squids.
  2. Cut squids into rings.
  3. Set aside.
  4. Grind all ingredients for chilli paste, except for sugar and salt, together.
  5. Heat wok with 1 teaspoon of oil.
  6. Stir fry chilli paste till fragrant.
  7. Add sugar and salt to taste.
  8. Leave to cool.
  9. Add in squid to marinade for at least 30 minutes.
  10. Place squid with chilli paste on banana leaf.
  11. Grill in preheated oven at 180C for 15 minutes or till cooked.
  12. Remove and top with fresh shallot sliced and drizzle with lime jucie.
  13. Serve immediately.
Note: You can pan grill if you do not have an oven. If you like it hotter, grinde in some chilli padi to the chilli paste. The pink ginger flower adds a pleasant aroma. If you can't find it, leave it out.

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Lunch Box #13

This is one of the older lunch box I did for my son. He had requested to buy his lunch from the canteen. I guess he just wants to follow his friends. The lunch box here has spinach packed rice cake. I dip a little light soy sauce and pan fried it. Carrots and sausage are steamed. I 'stick' the sausage with melted cheese. You must make sure the sausage is dry for the cheese to stick. My son asked my to pack some furikake to season the rice. :\ So that's what's in the bottle.

Monday, March 2, 2009

Fried Prawn Tofu

As promised, Part 2 of the previous Prawn Tofu dish.

For those who doesn't have an oven or toaster, I mentioned you can steam it. What you do is, brush a deep dish with oil. Then spread the mixture into the dish and level it. You oil the dish so you can easily remove the cooked tofu later for further cooking, if you like. Otherwise, the cooked tofu will stick to the dish.

Cover the dish with foil to avoid vapor from adding on to the tofu. Steam it for 15 minutes or longer if your tofu mixture is thick.

 Once it's cooked, let it cool before remove it by placing a dish on it and turning over. You can serve it as it is for a healthier choice. For a not so healthy choice :P, cut into rectangular blocks or into cubes, dust it lightly with corn flour. It will stick as the tofu is wet.

Deep fried till lightly brown. Drain on paper towels and serve hot with sauce.

So, which is for you? The healthier or not so healthy version? ;)