Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Fried Arrowhead Chips 炸慈菇脆片

Chinese New Year is just a month away. Nothing much for us to do this year as we have strict orders not to celebrate due to the demise of my father-in-law. No visiting, no ang pow, etc.

However, my parents have given us the green light to go to their place for reunion dinner. "Just having dinner together with the family. You got to eat, don't you? Not celebrating what." That was what my father said to me =D It's going the first time since I got married to go back home for reunion dinner and I'm looking forward to it. I can hear your "Huhs?!!". Haiz! It's a long story. Not going into that story. :P

Anyway, other than all the food (捞鱼生!!) and the people we get to meet (sometimes really only during Chinese New Year), what I like about Chinese New Year are the assorted plants, flowers, fruits and vegetables that we get to see sometimes only during this period.

Arrowhead (慈菇) or Ngaku is one of them. You can only get them during Chinese New Year period. Last year, they were all sold out by the eve of Chinese New Year at my place.

Arrowhead Plant, taken from my parents' place during last year's Chinese New Year

I see my parents growing these water-chestnut look alike in a deep dish decorated with pebbles each year. It grows arrow shaped leaves which I guess is how it gets its name. The 'arrow' points upwards which symbolised continuous improvement (步步高升). So start growing them for your family members if you want their careers or studies to have continuous improvement. ;)

I remembered my mother-in-law cooking it years ago but she stop cooking it as noone eats it as it has a strong smells when it's cooked. I never would have know that it tasted so much different as a chips if a friend hasn't gave me some to try. In fact, it tasted so much better than potato chips!

Now, arrowhead chips is a must for me to make every year. They are super addictive and are eaten almost as soon as they are fried. :P

To make these chips, you just need to slice the top and bottom off and skin it. Soak it in salt water for an hour (longer if you like) before setting it aside to dry. Then slice it thinly and deep fry them. Don't put them in all at once as they will stick together. You have to put them into the oil, slice by slice.

Remove the chips when they are lightly golden brown.  Drain the chips from excess oil and cool them completely before storing in airtight container. You can sprinkle some salt while draining the chips from oil.

If you don't find it troublesome, you can soak them in salt water after slicing them. This was what my friend did. However, you will need a bigger area to dry the sliced arrowhead. The fried chips has a slight salty taste which doesn't need further seasoning with salt.

Go get some arrowhead before they are gone. Once you miss it, you will have to wait for a year before you can see it again.


Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Steamed Stuffed Tofu

This is one of the many earlier dishes I wanted to share last year.

It's really easy and fast to prepare. There's an alternative which I will be sharing too. This is one of the dishes I had consider making for Chinese New Year but it is one of the dishes that my MIL refused to even taste when she was staying with us. Haiz. I didn't want to put her in a difficult position so I didn't ask her why she didn't try it when she said, 很好吃 (tasty). Haiz.

Cooking for adults are so much more difficult that cooking for children. Especially, when the person used to cook really well.

Here's my recipe if you are interested to try out.

  • 100g Minced Pork or Chicken
  • 100g Minced Prawn
  • 2 tubes Egg Tofu
  • 1 teaspoon Light Soy Sauce
  • 1 teaspoon Chinese Cooking Wine
  • 1/3 teaspoon Sugar
  • A dash of Sesame Seed Oil
  • Tobiko (optional)

Sauce to mix well:
  • 2 tablespoon Water or Chicken Stock
  • 1/3 tablespoon Oyster Sauce
  • 2 teaspoon Chinese Cooking Wine

How to do it:
  1. Slice tofu into 6 pieces.
  2. Gently scoop some tofu out from the center.
  3. Mix the scooped out tofu, minced pork and prawn together.
  4. Add in 1/2 teaspoon sugar, 1 teaspoon of light soy sauce and Chinese cooking wine each into the meat and mix well.
  5. Top tofu with a heap of minced meat.
  6. Sprinkle on some tobiko if you like. Use finely chopped  carrot if tobiko is not available.
  7. Steam for 7 minutes.
  8. Remove and carefully drain away the liquid.
  9. Pour over the sauce and continue steaming for another 5 minutes or till meat is cooked.
  10. Drizzle on some sesame seed oil and immediately.

  • Replace minced prawn with whole prawn sliced on the backed. Use half a prawn if it's too big.
  • After adding the minced pork or chicken to the tofu, place the prawn on top of the meat. Remember to cut down the seasoning for the meat since you are using only minced meat without prawn.
  • You can thicken the sauce with cornflour and pour it over the the dish instead of using it to re-steam the dish.
  • Replace Step 7 onwards with the followings steps.
  • Steam till meat is completely cooked.
  • Drain away 2/3 of the liquid from the dish.
  • While steaming the dish, combine 5 tablespoon of Stock or Water, 1 tablespoon of Oyster Sauce and 1/3 tablespoon of Chinese Cooking Wine and bring to a simmer.
  • Thicken with Cornflour Mixture.
  • Pour sauce over the dish and drizzle on sesame seed oil.
  • Serve immediately.

Saturday, January 9, 2010

Cereal Chicken Fingers

I'm back!!! This is my longest absence, 3 months. So many things happened during the end of last year.

I initially took a break from blogging to help my son  with his examinations. When everything was over, my father in law became seriously ill and passed away. Then my mother in law moved in with us. *gasp* I knew it was not going to be easy but didn't realise it was going to be nightmare for me.

To summarized, she wears a full corset 24 hours a day, drinks an average of 700ml of water an hour, eats only 1 meal a day and that was not my cooking. She hardly eat what I cook. Even my daughter eats more than her. For the first time, cooking to me became a chore. I think I would have totally give up cooking if she had carrying on staying with us.

Then she starts commenting my house is dusty (we stay very near the MRT track). This is despite after I had did the cleaning earlier. She will go on with the windows, toilets, furniture, etc. The only time I sat down was when I was having dinner. On top of all these, she kept complaining about having pains or problems (for more than half a year) which miraculously disappeared after the doctor told her that there isn't any problem with her medical report. She now has a new aliment. Anyway, I was so stressed, I had insomnia. I was so tired but I just couldn't sleep. Imagine I had to lie to go to a neighbour's house to rest. Hai!

She decided to move back to her home a week later. However, that started another series of problems. It's a never ending story. For now, I'm going to enjoy my life till she moves back with us again. When that happens, I'll change from being WokkingMum to Iron Maid. LOL

I'm still hoping 2010 will be a better year me, even though I doubt it will be *pessimistic me*. But I do hope it will be a good year for you. ^_^


This is one of the dishes I did earlier. I used instant cereal instead of the usual breadcrumb to coat the chicken strips.

I used skinless chicken breast meat here. I marinaded the chicken strips with some salt, pepper and some light soy sauce. You can use your own marinade.

For the coating, I dusted it with cornflour, dip in beaten egg, then coat it with the instant cereal. Just deep fry it till golden brown. Drain off excess oil and serve.

You can also crush the cereal a little before use. For this one you see here, I use the cereal as it is as I wanted the crunch.

Hope you will enjoy this.