Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Cabbage and Mung Bean Vermicelli Stirfry (The Non-Nyonya Nyonya Chap Chye)

This is another of my grandmother's recipes, and I've remembered having this since forever. In my mind, it is the non-nyonya version of Nyonya Chap Chye (mixed vegetables), because it more or less uses the same ingredients, except bean paste, and it's a quick stirfry, instead of a long stew.

I like the taste of stir-fried cabbage. It is sweeter than raw cabbage (though raw cabbage is great too), and not as limp as stewed cabbage, which is another popular way of working with cabbage. Also, it literally takes only 3 minutes to stirfry!



Ingredients
  • 1/2 head cabbage, cut into shreds
  • 1 large dried shiitake mushroom, soaked and sliced (or 2-3 smaller ones)
  • 1 bunch mung bean vermicelli (tang hoon/tung fen)
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce
  • 1 teaspoon sesame oil
  • 1 tablespoon cooking oil
  • 2 tablespoons water


Method
  • In a heated pan, add oil and fry the garlic until fragrant.
  • Then, add the mushrooms, cabbage and mung bean vermicelli, water and fry until the cabbage is slightly wilted.
  • Add the soy sauce and sesame oil, and fry until cabbage is cooked.
  • Serve.


Sunday, May 27, 2012

Corn and Pork Bone Soup

I'm really not a soup type person, which is why there are very little soup recipes on this blog. I enjoy it, but I'm just a little too lazy to boil soups for a long long long time to make it super sweet and tasty. (My grandmother, on the other hand, makes the most delicious soups because she puts everything in it - all sorts of odds and ends!

However, corn soup is one of my favorite soups, and so when I went to my friends' JL and YH's places to make dinner (yup, I was invited to be their 'chef' for the day), I decided to go all out and make some soup for dinner too. At home, I just wouldn't bother, since the boiling process takes forever!



Ingredients
  • 2 carrots, cut into smaller pieces
  • 2 cobs of corn, cut into 4 pieces each
  • 1/2 lb pork bones
  • 1 packet enoki mushrooms, washed
  • salt and white pepper to taste
  • water


Method
  • In a pot of boiling water, parboil the pork bones for about five minutes.
  • Discard the water used for boiling, then add the corn, carrots and pork bones in the pot again, and fill with 'new' water.
  • Turn up the heat till the soup comes to a rolling boil, then turn down to low heat, cover, and let the soup simmer for a few hours (at least 2 hours, but preferably 4 or more hours.)
  • When about to serve, add in the enoki mushrooms, salt and white pepper to taste.
  • Serve.

Friday, May 25, 2012

Steamed Vegetables with Scallop and Shrimp Gravy

This is one of my maternal grandmother's signature dishes. She always makes it at large family gatherings - Grandpa's birthday, Chinese New Year, Christmas etc. It's a very opulent dish, with huge scallops and shrimps in the gravy, but it is very simple. I guess that is just keeping things classy :)

I'm so blessed with having good food in my life. My maternal grandmother is an awesome cook, and my uncle always buys the freshest and best ingredients. Life is just that simple - good food, good company. 



Ingredients 
  • 1/3 head broccoli, cut into florets
  • 1/3 head cauliflower, cut into florets
  • 2 carrots, sliced (yes, my grandmother slices the carrots with patterns!)
  • 1 handful baby corn, cut into 1" sections
  • 1 can button mushroom, drained and sliced
  • 6 oz scallops, sliced in half lengthwise
  • 6 oz shrimp, deshelled and deveined
  • 2 tablespoons oyster sauce
  • 1/3 cup stock
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 teaspoon sesame oil
  • 1 tablespoon corn starch, mixed with some water
  • [optional] 1 teaspoon garlic oil



Method
  • Steam the broccoli, cauliflower, carrots and baby corn until cooked. (About 7 or so minutes.)
  • When cooked, set aside.
  • In a wok or pot, add water, stock, oyster sauce and sesame oil.
  • Bring the mixture to a boil, then add scallops and shrimp. 
  • When the scallops and shrimp are cooked, add mushrooms, and corn starch solution.
  • Mix, and pour over the steamed vegetables.
  • Serve.



Thursday, May 24, 2012

Roasted Brussels Sprout, Avocado and Tomato Salad

I love roasted brussels sprout, and have always been interested in using roasted vegetables in salads, since I really like the chao tar (burnt) smell that roasted vegetables always have. It's not a 'burnt' smell per se, but the crisp caramelization on the edges of the brussels sprout do give a slightly smoky flavor to the salad.



Ingredients (2 servings)
  • 4 oz brussels sprout, halved
  • 2 tablespoons cooking oil
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 tomato, diced
  • 3 - 4 tablespoons pecans, chopped
  • 1/2 avocado, cubed
  • 1/2 lemon, juiced
  • 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons goat cheese, crumbled
  • [optional] other salad vegetables
  • [optional] croutons


Method
  • Toss the brussels sprout halves in the cooking oil, and add salt and pepper to taste.
  • Spread the brussels sprout on a baking sheet and bake at 450F for 8 to 10 minutes.
  • When the brussels sprout are done, put them in a large mixing bowl.
  • Add the tomato, avocado, pecans and toss.
  • Add the lemon juice, goat cheese, extra virgin olive oil, salt and pepper.
  • Toss lightly and serve.

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Salted Fish Fried Rice

I love salted fish, salted eggs, salted vegetables, salted everything. When I was younger, I was a big kid for my age, and people always asked me what I ate, since I was so big. My to-go answer was always "salted fish, salted eggs, salted vegetables." 

There is so much to do with salted fish, but unfortunately, it is very expensive. My maternal grandmother just got some for $80/kg (obviously she couldn't buy one whole kg since it's so expensive.) The salted fish we used for the fried rice today was given by my maternal grandmother. My maternal grandmother is the head chef of the family, and everything she cooks is just simply delicious. Everything. Among the grandchildren, we say that even grandma's shit tastes good. *haha*



Ingredients
  • 1/4 cup salted fish, minced
  • 1/2 lb bean sprouts
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 cups cooked rice (preferably rice kept overnight in the fridge)
  • 1 teaspoon soy sauce
  • 2 teaspoons sugar
  • dash of white pepper
  • 2 tablespoons oil
  • 1 teaspoon sesame oil

salted fish

Method
  • In a heated pan, add oil and garlic. 
  • Fry the garlic for 20 seconds, then add salted fish.
  • Fry the garlic and salted fish until fragrant and golden brown.
  • Add rice, and fry everything together.
  • Make a hole in the middle of the pan. Crack the eggs in the hole, and scramble the eggs.
  • When the eggs are almost cooked, push the rice onto the egg, and stirfry until the eggs are evenly combined with the rice.
  • Add bean sprouts, white pepper, sugar, sesame oil and soy sauce.
  • Fry everything until evenly combined.
  • Serve.

Saturday, May 19, 2012

Basic Bone Stock

There are many kinds of stock that people use - vegetable stocks, meat stocks, bone stocks etc. I enjoy using stocks in my cooking as well because it gives more flavor, and often substitute water with stock. I always keep the bones of my whole chickens, pork chops, root ends of spring onions etc and make stock out of these.



Ingredients
  • all sorts of bones - mostly chicken and pork
  • [optional] shrimp/crab/lobster shells
  • [optional] stalks of green onion/celery

Method (for slow cooker)
  • Put all the bones, stalks, shells etc. in the slow cooker, and fill the slow cooker with water, almost covering all the bones. (Just almost.)
  • Turn the slow cooker on high for at least 8 hours.
  • After 8 hours, strain away the bones, and pour the stock into a stockpot.
  • Bring the stock to a boil, then turn down the heat to a simmer.
  • Reduce the stock until its volume has halved. 
  • Let cool, then store in the refrigerator. 




Method (for stove top)
  • Put all the bones, stalks, shells etc. in a large stock pot, and fill the stock pot with water, almost covering all the bones. (Just almost.)
  • Bring the water to a boil, then turn down the heat to a simmer, cover, and simmer for at least 8 hours.
  • After 8 hours, strain away the bones, and pour the stock back into the stock pot.
  • Bring the stock to a boil, then turn down the heat to a simmer.
  • Reduce the stock until its volume has halved. 
  • Let cool, then store in the refrigerator. 

Thursday, May 17, 2012

[moved] Hainanese Chicken Rice Chili Sauce

Hainanese Chicken Rice - Singapore's unofficial national dish. Some people say its the special spices that flavor the chicken, other say its the stock-flavored rice. However, in my humble opinion, the secret is in the chili. 

I am very picky with my chili, which is why there are very few stalls in Singapore whose chili I am happy with, and I will 'taint' my chicken rice with. [One of the good ones is made by the chicken rice stall at Kampong Arang, the one I ate so often when I studied in Dunman High.] Chicken rice is good without chili itself, so I would rather just eat it without chili, than ruin it with bad chili. However, good chili will blow your brains away, and elevates the dish to celestial levels.

This is my grandmother's recipe for chicken rice chili. I never made chicken rice chili when I posted the chicken rice recipe because I was so afraid of screwing it up, and it is one thing I must not ever screw up, because it is my birthright. Nuff said, here's my grandmother's recipe for Hainanese Chicken Rice chili sauce.



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Sunday, May 13, 2012

[moved] Sambal Terong (Indonesian Eggplant with Sambal)


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Saturday, May 12, 2012

Veggie Noodles in Black Bean Sauce



Ingredients for sauce (2 servings)
  • 2-3 tablespoons fermented black beans, chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 onion, chopped
  • 1 carrot, diced
  • 1 celery stalk, diced
  • 1/2 green pepper, diced
  • 1/2 block tofu, cut into 1cm x 1cm cubes
  • 2 tablespoons chicken stock
  • 1 teaspoon sesame oil
  • 1 tablespoon oyster sauce
  • 1 tablespoon cooking oil
Ingredients
  • 1/2 pound lo mein noodles

These are the fermented black beans!

Method
  • In a medium sized pot, add oil and fry the onions. 
  • When the onions are slightly transparent, add garlic and fermented black beans. Fry until everything is fragrant.


  • Add the carrots, celery and green peppers. Fry until they are half cooked.
  • Add tofu, sesame oil, oyster sauce and stock, then fry until everything is combined.
  • Let simmer for about 5 minutes.


  • In another pot, boil water, and cook lo mein noodles to the desired doneness. (Approximately 5-7 minutes.)


  • Drain noodles, then divide equally into two portions.
  • Pour half the sauce onto each portion.
  • Serve, toss and eat.


Friday, May 11, 2012

Baked Stuffed Zucchini

The picture below looks really weird. I used a block of cheddar from a Christmas basket that was given to us, and the cheese did not melt at all - I'm guessing it wasn't real cheese. Anyway, we peeled it off and threw it out. Strangely enough, it tastes like cheese, but doesn't melt like one. So, use real cheese!

 

Ingredients
  • 1 zucchini
  • 1/2 onion, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 tomato, diced
  • 1/2 onion, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1/2 to 2/3 cup cooked rice
  • [optional] fresh herbs
  • 1 tablespoon cooking oil
  • salt and pepper to taste

Method
  • Steam the zucchini for10 minutes, then slice it it half lengthwise.
  • Using a spoon, spoon out the flesh of the zucchini, and set the flesh aside.
  • Dice the zucchini flesh.


  • In a pan, add oil and onions. 
  • Fry until onions are transparent and fragrant, then add garlic.
  • Fry until garlic starts browning, then add rice, zucchini, tomatoes, salt, pepper and herbs.
  • Fry to combine, then turn off the heat and let cool.


  • Fill the zucchini shells with the rice filling, then add cheese on top.
  • Bake in the oven for 10 to 15 minutes.
  • Serve.

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Cinnamon Pound Cake

Everyone loves a good pound cake. I remember having Sara Lee's pound cakes when I was really little (at that time, those were good, since we didn't have an oven at home), and being really excited about it. It was the equivalent of ice cream, and I always wanted to take some to school.

These days, we don't buy Sara Lee's pound cakes anymore. Those are full of saturated fats (oh my poor heart...) and sugars, and now, I have an oven. I make my pound cakes!

 
Ingredients
  • 1 1/2 cup plain flour
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla essence
  • 1/2 to 1 teaspoon cinnamon powder
  • 1/4 cup sugar [this is a reduced sugar recipe]
  • 3/4 sticks butter
  • 2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda

Method
  • Mix all the ingredients in a mixing bowl.
  • Pour the mixture into a loaf pan.
  • Bake this at 350F for 30 to 40 minutes, or until a cake tester comes out clean.
  • Slice and serve!




Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Baby Scallop and Chives Ommelette

Scallops! These were from the time I made pasta with baby scallops in white wine sauce, and scallops are delicious. It's such a pity that I'm the only one in the household who likes scallops. I guess that just meas there will be more for me! :)



Ingredients
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 bunch chives, chopped
  • about 4 oz fresh baby scallops
  • 1-2 tablespoons cooking oil
  • salt and pepper to taste



Method
  • In a pan, add oil and fry the baby scallops until slightly cooked.
  • Add eggs, chopped chives and salt and pepper.
  • Fry on one side, then fold over and fry until the inside is mostly cooked (I like mine slightly undercooked inside.)
  • Serve.


Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Asian-Style Lemon Chicken Cutlets

First post back in Singapore! This is a fried chicken cutlet that can be found at almost all tze char 煮炒 stalls. It's just a simple cutlet, but the secret is in the lemon sauce. I like my lemon sauce to have a bunch of 'zing' in it. It must be tangy, and full of oomph. I concocted a great sauce that even includes chicken broth - it's fantastic! :)

 
Ingredients
  • 4 chicken thighs, deboned
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 1/3 cup white flour
  • 3/4 cup bread crumbs (any kind)
  • 1/4 + 1/4 cup cooking oil
  • salt and pepper to taste

Ingredients for Lemon Sauce
  • juice from 1 lemon
  • zest from 1 lemon
  • 1 tablespoon concentrated chicken stock
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons brown sugar
  • pinch of salt to taste
  • [optional] cornstarch solution

Method
  • Season the deboned chicken thighs with salt and pepper on both sides.
  • Set up a three-plate breaking atation. The first plate contains flour, the second plate contains and beaten egg and the third plate contains breadcrumbs.
  • Bread two chicken thighs by coating it with flour, then egg, then breadcrumbs.

  • Add 1/4 cup of oil to a heated pan, then fry two pieces of chicken thigh.
  • Do the same for the other two thigh pieces.

  • Combine all the ingredients for the lemon sauce in a saucepan.
  • Heat to combine.
  • [optional] if a thicker sauce is desired, add some cornstarch solution to the sauce
  • When the sauce is evenly combined, pour over chicken pieces.
  • Serve.

Monday, May 7, 2012

Strawberries n' Cream Meringue

I'm a sucker for dessert - especially warm desserts. There's something about this cold New England MAY that really bothers me. I had no idea that I was still going to be wearing winter jackets in MAY. It might have made me rethink my options before deciding to come to the land of the Red Sox for grad-grad school. *sigh*

Anyway, back to warm desserts. I love warm desserts in this weather. There is something really cosy about warm desserts - steamed egg custards, bread puddings, carrot puddings - I love them all!



Ingredients (2 servings)
  • 6-8 strawberries, cleaned, tops removed and halved
  • 4 tablespoons cream
  • 1 eggwhite
  • 1 tablespoon castor sugar


Method
  • Arrange the strawberries in two small ramekins.
  • Add 2 tablespoons of cream in each ramekin.
  • Using a hand mixer, beat the egg whites and slowly add castor sugar.
  • Beat egg whites until fluffy.
  • Spoon the fluffy egg whites on top of the strawberries and cream in the ramekins.
  • Place ramekins in oven, and bake at 325F for 15 to 20  minutes.
  • Serve.



[moved] Baked Asparagus Fries

I have come to the conclusion that if you fry anything, it will be good. However, frying is really unhealthy, so I've recently come up with breading and baking everything. It surely isn't as good as frying, but it comes really close. 

In an attempt to find new and fun things to do with asparagus, I've decided to use them as fries!



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Sunday, May 6, 2012

Apple Phyllo Crisps

Somewhere in my youth, I've had apple phyllo tarts before. Where, when and how, I have no idea, but I definitely remember the idea and taste of an apple phyllo tart crumbling in my mouth, and the mild sweetness of apples oozing after biting into it. It fuzzies up my senses thinking of myself as a kid, and that really wasn't too long ago either. Hopefully my mom can shed some light about when and from where I remember apple phyllo tarts. One thing's for sure, they are delicious, and they were gone within 10 minutes!

I'll be heading to Singapore in a few hours to see family and friends. It's my yearly pilgrimage to the motherland where I'll feel completely out of place as usual. Yeah, I feel out of place in my own country. Sad, isn't it? Anyway, posts will be sporadic for a few days because I'll be spending a night 'camped' out somewhere in JFK (my flight leaves JFK at 11am, but the latest bus leaves Boston at 8.30pm the night before, and I'm too stingy to bother with getting a hotel/hostel room for the night), and the flight takes about 24 or so hours. 



Ingredients
  • 8 sheets phyllo dough
  • 2 tablespoons butter, melted
  • 2 apples
  • (tiny) pinch of salt


Method
  • Brush the bottom of a cookie sheet with some butter, then place a sheet of phyllo on the cookie sheet. 
  • Brush the cookie sheet with butter, then add another sheet of phyllo.
  • Repeat with all the sheets of phyllo dough.
  • When the last sheet is placed, brush with some butter, then add sliced apples on top of they phyllo sheets.
  • Sprinkle with a tiny amount of salt.
  • Bake in the oven at 400F for about 15 to 20 minutes, or until the sheets become golden.
  • Cut with a pizza slicer and serve.


Saturday, May 5, 2012

Breakfast Bacon Cups

I learned of this recipe from Reddit, and since Reddit is often about bacon, and we have a strict bacon ration in this household (I know many of you think it's lame, but bacon is way too addictive for us!), I don't get much of my 'inspirations' from Reddit. However, every now and then, something of a pure genius just pops up, and you can't hide that.

Well, bacon cups was one of those times. It seems like something so stupidly simple - to add all your breakfast foods together in a one-pan mega-show. This is exactly what it is. There's bacon (duh!), toast and eggs - all in a two-bite extravaganza. Now, are you excited?





Ingredients (2 servings)
  •  2 eggs
  • 1 slice of toast
  • 2 slices bacon
  • salt and pepper to taste

Method 
  • Coil the bacon and line them on the sides of a muffin pan. I cut mine in halves, then lined both halves in the muffin pan.
  • Cut the toast to fit the bottom of the muffin pan. 
  • Crack an egg on top of the toast.
  • Season with salt and pepper. 
  • Bake this in the oven at 400F for about 10 minutes (if you're like me and like your eggs wet), or 15 to 17 minutes if you like it semi-set (like in the picture below).

[moved] Spicy Crusted Salmon

I love salmon, and if there's a fish I could eat forever, it would be salmon. I just love the fattyness of it and how the bones are easy to find. The best part - salmon is good for you, with all that omega 3 fattyness in it. I can't stop raving about the salmon oils - they look and taste so good.

So, for a spicy and delicious twist on my regular just plain-ol'-baked salmon, I present my recipe - Emy's Spicy Crusted Salmon! It's good, I wish I had more, and it was a 1 and a half pound steak I bought.




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