Friday, December 30, 2011

Mushroom Dried Scallop XO Sauce

My husband had to go China every month for their company's new project and half a year ago, one of their partners in China gave him a big pack of Dried Scallop and Dried Shitake Mushroom each.

Dried Mushroom                             Dried Scallop   

One of the stuff I have been experimenting using them is the XO sauce. It's an great condiment to have. We love it with fried rice and I add it to some of the dishes I ate for dinner too. As much as I like ready-made XO sauce, they are either to spicy or too strong for the kids to handle. It's best if you can made your own XO sauce adjusted it to your own taste.

There isn't any hard and fast rule on my homemade XO sauce. If you prefer it more oily (ingredients will be softer soaked in oil), add more oil during cooking. If you want it hotter, add more Dried Chilli.

I'm using the Happy Call Pan to do this. You can use a regular non-stick pan too. The biggest difference is that the HCP cooks faster and is more moist. I used the HCP to steam cook the dried scallops too. If you do not have the pan, you will have to soak the dried scallop and steam it for an hour before you can shred them.

  • 60g Dried Scallops, soaked with 4 tablespoon water
  • 1 1/2 tablespoon Dried Shrimp, soaked to soften and chopped
  • 3 Red Chilli (replace with Dried Chilli if you want it spicy)
  • 3 tablespoon Chopped Garlic
  • 3 tablespoon Chopped Shallot
  • 5 Dried Shiitake Mushroom, soaked to soften and chopped
  • 5 Dried Shiitake Mushroom, soaked to soften and sliced
  • a dash of Pepper
  • Sugar or to taste (optional)
  • 4 tablespoon Oil

How to do it:
  1. Pour dried scallops with water into the pan after soaking it for 15 minutes.
  2. Close pan and cook it in medium low heat for 4 mins or till water is almost dry.
  3. Use the back of the spoon to press the dried scallops. They should be soft enough to break into pieces. If not, add a bit more water and cook longer.
  4. Remove the dried scallops, tear into smaller shreds if necessary or give it a pause in the blender and set aside.
  5. Heat oil in the same pan in medium low heat but not smoking.
  6. Add in the garlic and shallot and saute till fragrant.
  7. Add in the rest of the ingredient except shredded dried scallops.
  8. Saute till fragrant by covering and shaking for 2 minutes.
  9. Add a tablespoon of mushroom water.
  10. Cover and continue cooking for another 2 minutes.
  11. Add in shredded dried scallop.
  12. Stir-fry till mixed well.
  13. Cover and continue cooking for 4 minutes, shaking the pan to prevent burning. I open the pan occasionally to give it a good stir too.
  14. Add pepper and sugar to taste if necessary, stir-fry to mix well.
  15. Dish and store for later use.
  • The dried scallops I used are very small (pls refer to photo above). Hence, it's easier and faster to steam and shred it. If you are using larger one, you might need a longer time to soak and soften it.
  • The mushroom I used are slightly larger than a 50cents coin. If you are using larger one, you might want to reduce the number of mushroom.

My simple fried rice with homemade XO Sauce for extra flavours

Friday, December 23, 2011

Cupcake with Buttercream

It was winter solstice yesterday and incidentally it was my birthday too. :P Nope, obviously I'm not 4 years old but 10 times older. ;)

I decided to bake myself cupcakes and make buttercream (for the first time) to top it. I will have to practice piping more to do it better. Other than that, both the cupcake and butter cream was a successful.

  • 125g Butter, softened
  • 1 teaspoon Vanilla Extract
  • 150g Caster Sugar
  • 3 Eggs
  • 225g Self Raising Flour
  • 60ml Milk
Vanilla Buttercream
  • 125g Butter, softened
  • 1 teaspoon Vanilla Extract
  • 200g Icing Sugar
  • 2 tablespoon Milk

How to do it:
  1. Cream butter and sugar till light and fluffy.
    Add vanilla extract.
  2. Add one egg at a time and continue beating.
  3. Add in flour and beat well till mixture is smooth and pale.
  4. Spoon batter into muffin cup.
  5. Bake for 20 minutes in preheat oven at 180C.
  6. Turn cupcakes top-side up on wire rack to cool.
  7. Meanwhile prepare the Butter Cream.
For Vanilla Buttercream
  1. Beat butter and vanilla extract till pale.
  2. Gradually beat in half the icing sugar.
  3. Add in milk and continue beating.
  4. Gradually beat in the remaining icing sugar.
  5. Add in a drop or colouring if you like.
  6. Use it to spread on the cupcakes or put into a piping bag with star nozzle to be used.

Recipe adapted from Women's Weekly Cupcakes & Cookies

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Pearl Balls

Winter Solstice 冬至 falls on every 22 December of the year, except for the year where there are 29 days in February, which happens every 4 year. If that happens, Winter Solstice will be on 23 December instead.

On this day, Chinese like to prepare Glutinous Rice Ball 汤圆. it's usually cooked in a water with Chinese brown sugar, ginger and pandan leaves.

This year I have plans to do something different and try to replicate a 'seasonal' promotion item from 鼎泰丰. It's like 汤圆 except it's steamed and rolled on dessicated coconut to give a subtle aroma. However, I find it more 'Q' (chewy). Due to it's slight opaque outlook. I suspect it might have Wheat Starch, those used to my Chinese Dim Sum, Har Gow 虾胶.

My replica is definitely not as good as the original but I glad I could still get it out successfully. It's very chewy. Only regret is that I'm not able to make the Pearl Balls thin with more fillings. Hopefully, I'll be able to improve on the recipe and my skills further.

Meanwhile, if you would like to try my recipe for Winter Solstice 冬至 tomorrow, here it is. And have a Happy Winter Solstice, 冬至快乐!

  • 300ml Water 水
  • 70g Caster Sugar 糖
  • 65g Wheat Starch 澄面粉
  • 315g Glutinous Flour 糯米粉
  • Desiccated Coconut 椰仁干
  • Ground Peanut Powder 花生粉

How to do it:
  1. Bring water to a gentle boil.
  2. Add sugar and melt it.
  3. Remove from heat.
  4. Add in wheat starch and glutinous flour.
  5. Mix well till dough become smooth.
  6. Divide into balls of 25g - 30g each.
  7. Flatten the ball and put some peanut powder in the middle.
  8. Fold and roll the dough back into a ball.
  9. If your dough is not smooth and is with 'crease' lines, wet the surface with a drop of water and roll.
  10. Place peanut dough on a oiled dish.
  11. Prepare your steamer or boil water in the wok.
  12. When the water starts to boil, place your dish of prepared peanut dough in.
  13. Steam on high fire for 10 mins.
  14. Remove immediate and roll on desiccated Coconut.
  15. Best if served while hot.
  • When mixing the dough, use a spatula first. Once the dough is cool enough to handle, use your hands to mix and knead it.
  • When removing the steamed peanut ball from the steamer, remember to wet your hands or utensils, otherwise it will stick.

Have breaking several dough filled with peanuts, I decided to steamed plain dough balls and sprinkle peanut powder after it's steamed instead.

Wheat Starch &
Glutinous Flour
Desiccated Coconut Ground Peanut Powder

The prepared dough

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Clams in Miso

My original plan was to make spicy clams but realised I had some ingredients short. Hence, I decided to tweak the recipe a little.

I had some miso left. I save a little to use on this dish after using some of it to make miso soup my kids.

My husband  could tell I used miso and thought it tasted a little like fermented bean bean but like it anyway.

  • 1 kg Clams, cleaned and soaked in salted water for 20 mins
  • 1 tablespoon Oil
  • 2 tablespoon minced Garlic
  • 1 tablespoon Miso
  • 2 tablespoon Mirin or Chinese Cooking Wine
  • 1 Red Chilli, de-seeded and chopped
  • 1 teaspoon Sugar
  • Corn Flour Mixture

How to do it:
  1. Heat wok with oil and stir fry garlic and chilli till fragrant.
  2. Add miso and sugar and contine to stir fry for another minute.
  3. Dish everything out.
  4. In the same wok, add in the clams and mirin.
  5. Stir fry for about 5 minutes.
  6. Add in the miso seasoning made earlier.
  7. Stir fry and cook for 1 - 2 minutes.
  8. Remove clams that did not open.
  9. Thicken the sauce with corn flour mixture.
  10. Dish and serve immediately.

Monday, December 19, 2011

Lemongrass Infused Roasted Chicken

I love the aroma of lemongrass and have been experimenting a few dishes using it. This dish got to be one the favourites. My husband love it.

It's similar to (Singapore) Roast Chicken (which I'm updating a revised recipe to be posted soon),  except I did change some seasoning and bake it instead of oil fry it. There's some amount of work required making this but it's worth it.

I was a bit upset when I was making this dish as my new neighbor came visiting unexpectedly, during the last 10 minutes of my cooking. I turned off my oven but I didn't remove the chicken. The skin of the chicken become over browned and wasn't as nice looking as I want it to be. It tasted great nonetheless.

I will be making this again very soon! And I shall try to prefect it then. :)

  • 1 Chicken, cleaned and pat dry (I'm using a 1kg chicken)
  • 4 tablespoon Oyster Sauce
  • 12 talks Lemongrass, crushed
  • Oil enough to cover the lemongrass
  • A dash of Pepper
  • 2 Calamansi

How to do it:
  1. Rub chicken outside and in the cavity with oyster sauce and pepper.
  2. Leave it in the fridge uncovered for half an hour, to marinate and dry.
  3. Place lemongrass on oven-proof dish and have enough oil to just cover it.
  4. Place the chicken on top and cover.
  5. Roast chicken in preheat oven at 190C for 1 hour.
  6. Baste the chicken with the lemongrass oil every 15 minutes.
  7. After half an hour, turn the chicken around.
  8. Continue to baste the chicken with lemongrass oil every 15 minutes.
  9. During the last 10 minutes of roasting, remove cover.
  10. Increase the temp to 220C, baste the chicken with lemongrass oil.
  11. Roast the chicken for 10 minutes.
  12. Turn the chicken over, baste with lemongrass oil and continue to roast for 10 minutes.
  13. Remove chicken and place in a dish.
  14. Drizzle chicken with juice of 2 Calamansi and serve .

Check if chicken is cooked by piercing a toothpick in the thigh. If the liquid that comes through is clear, the chicken is done.

A bouquet of unwanted part of lemongrass in a vase
to brighten my kitchen for a day. :P

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Ika Teriyaki

Another easy recipe using the Happy Call Pan. ;)

I did my own teriyaki sauce here but you can always get ready-made ones from the supermarket for less hassle. I like to make my own sauce, though it may not be authentic, as I can adjust the taste. Furthermore, I don't use teriyaki sauce that often. So making it when I need it makes more sense to me.

You may do this using a regular non-stick pan if you don't have a Happy Call Pan. Just add in 2 - 3 tablespoon of water when you are cooking it as the regular pan (covered) doesn't not generate as much liquid as the HCP.

  • 2 medium Squid, innards removed and cleaned
  • 1 tablespoon Sake
  • 3 tablespoon Mirin
  • 3 tablespoon Light Soy Sauce
  • 2/3 tablespoon Brown Sugar
  • 1 tablespoon Oil

How to do it:
  1. Marinate for half an hour.
  2. Place squid in the pan and pour the marinade into pan too.
  3. Grill with pan covered for 4 minutes in medium low fire.
  4. Grill on the other side for another 4 minutes.
  5. Open cover and slit the squid by using a scissor.
  6. Continue to grill on medium low for 1-2 minutes with cover opened, to thicken sauce.
  7. Turn the squid in-between grilling to get the colour even.
  8. Remove from pan and spoon some thicken teriyaki sauce over.
  9. Serve.

Sake                                            Mirin

Monday, December 12, 2011

Steamed Winglets with Herbs

Another dish done using the Happy Call Pan. I have all steamed dishes for tonight's dinner. I had 2 dishes in the steamer and wanted the 3rd dish to be done at the same time too. Hence I decided to try using the HCP.

I did the same dish twice, once for the kids and me and the 2nd time for my husband when he return late from work. I used slightly different methods to steam the dish. Both turned out great. If you don't own a HCP, you can still steam using the normal way.

  • 6 Chicken Winglets or other parts
  • 10g Condonopsis 党参 Dang Shen, steamed for 10 mins
  • 15g Wolfberries 枸杞子 Gou Qi Zi
  • 2 slices Ginger, shredded
  • a pinch Salt 
  • a dash Pepper


  • 1/2 tablespoon Chinese Rose Wine 玫瑰露酒 or Chinese Cooking Wine
  • 1/2 tablespoon Light Soy Sauce
  • 1/2 teaspoon Sugar

How to do it:
  1. Marinate winglets with salt and pepper for at least half an hour.
  2. Place the marinated winglets with the rest of the ingredients and seasonings in a piece of foil.
  3. Add 6 tablespoon of water.
  4. Seal the foil and place in HCP with water filled about 3/4 of the lower pan.
  5. Close pan and steam at medium low fire for 30 minutes.
  6. Check in-between to make sure there is still water in the pan. Mine is just enough for the whole process.
  7. Remove and serve.

  • If you have a shallow dish, you can use that instead of using the foil. However, do not add water (in step 3) to the ingredients as the steaming will add water into the dish.
  • If you don't have Chinese Rose Wine 玫瑰露酒, you can use any other Chinese Cooking Wine, like 绍兴花雕酒 Shao Xing Hua Diao Jiu. The difference other than the alcohol level is that Chinese Rose Wine adds a much pleasant aroma to the dish.  However, both helps to bring out the flavours of the dish.
  • To better bring out the flavours of the herbs, you may want to steam it for 15-20 mins, seal with foil.

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Hotate Mentaiyaki

Those who has been to some Japanese Restaurants might be familiar with Hotate Mentaiyaki. It's scallop baked with fish roe in mayonnaise. Well, at least that's what it taste like to me.

I have attempted to replicate it and was a success!

I bought my half shell scallops from the supermarket. It came with scallop roe too. You can use regular scallops and baked them in a oven proof dish. It's so easy (& tasty), you got to try it yourself!

  • 4 Scallops, clean and pat dry with paper towel
  • 1 slice Cheese, cut into 4 squares
  • 3 tablespoon Tobiko aka Flying-fish Roe
  • 4-5 tablespoon Japanese Mayonnaise
  • Dried Parsley & Parmesan Cheese for toppings (optional)

How to do it:
  1. Mix Mayonnaise with Tobiko together.
  2. Place scallops in the shells or baking dish.
  3. Top each scallops with a piece of cheese each.
  4. Cover the scallops and cheese with Mayonnaise mixture.
  5. Bake in preheated oven at 210C for 12 minutes.
  6. Remove carefully and serve immediately.

  • The amount of mayonnaise used depends on the size of scallops. The one I'm using is about 5cm in diameter.
  • You can use Ebiko aka Shrimp Roe instead of Tobiko.
  • Do not add seasoning as the mayo, cheese and tobiko already give the seasoning it needs.
  • The amount of time needed to for baking depends on the size of the scallop. Shorter time for smaller scallops. It should be done when you see the mayo toppings bubbling gently.