Friday, June 29, 2012

Fishcake Omelette

Fishcake is something very commonly found in Singapore, but I've never seen in the US. The Korean supermarket does sell fishcake, but it is the Korean type, which is nothing like the kinds we find in Singapore. Of course, I could make fishcake by first making fish paste - getting some yellowtail and scraping the shit out of it, add some salt and throw it around (literally) until it becomes a paste. But, why do I need to do that when I can go to the supermarket, pay $1 and get three fishcakes? 

Anyway, there is a hawker stall near my Singapore home that makes handmade fishcakes/fishballs - basically anything made with fish paste. They seem legit, but because they cost 100% more than just regular fishcakes, I always go for the regular ones. They work just fine. :) Have some fishcakes - they're actually good in many things like char kuay teow, laksa, horfun and you can even eat it on it's own. Also, like I said before, anything can be in an omelette form, hence I present fishcake omelette!

  • 1 large piece fishcake, cut into cubes
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoon cooking oil

  • Add the cubed fishcake in a bowl.
  • Crack the eggs into the same bowl as the fishcake.
  • Beat the eggs and fishcake together.

  • In a heated pan, add oil, and then pour the fishcake/egg mixture onto the pan.
  • Fry until one side of the omelette is golden brown.
  • Flip over, and fry the other side until it is golden brown too.
  • Serve with rice, porridge of sandwich it in bread. Enjoy!

Lotus Root and Red Dates Soup 莲藕汤

Lotus root soup is a Chinese soup that has been served for generations. It is know for expelling internal heat. I've had this soup and variants of it (sometimes with added peanuts) since my childhood, and like it a lot. I really like the rooty texture of the lotus roots, something that I can describe as in-between turnips and potatoes. The red dates also add a fragrant sweetness to the soup, so in all, it is a very hearty but still rather light soup. Yummy!

  • 1 large lotus root
  • 8 cups water
  • 1 lb pork ribs
  • 8 red dates
  • 4 slices ginger
  • 4 whole garlic
  • 1/2 teaspoon white pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce
  • [optional] 1 dried cuttlefish
  • Bring a pot of water to boil, then parboil the pork ribs (about 2 minutes.)
  • Remove the pork ribs from the water, and discard the water.
  • Thoroughly wash the lotus root, making sure there is no soil.
  • Slice the lotus root into 1/4" thick slices.
  • Bring the 8 cups of water to boil, then add pork ribs, ginger, garlic, dates, lotus root, white pepper, salt and soy sauce (and dried cuttlefish).

  • Turn the heat down to a simmer, and let the soup simmer for at least 40 minutes to an hour, preferably more than 2 hours. (This can also be done in a slow cooker.)
  • Serve and enjoy!

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Zucchini Poppy Seed Muffins

  • 2 cups flour (may substitute half with whole wheat flour if desired)
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 3 heaped tablespoons poppyseeds
  • pinch of salt
  • 2 cups grated zucchini, drain and squeeze away excess water
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla essence
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda

  • Add all the ingredients in a mixing bowl and mix together until an evenly distributed mixture is formed.
  • Divide the mixture into 12 baking cups.
  • Bake in the oven for 20 minutes at 350F.
  • Serve and enjoy!

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Sweet Sesame Chicken Chop

This is probably my last post from Singapore, thereby starting my 9-city dash (in one month). UAE, Scandinavia and the Baltics, here I come!

My grandmother bought a HappyCall double-sided pan at a roadshow for almost $80. The HappyCall pan is a doublesided pan from Korea. It is really an unnecessary invention and given the choice, I would have never bought it (are you kidding me - for $80!?) Firstly, you have to wash both sides of the pan when you're done using it. Secondly, because it is half-steaming when you close the pan, the colors you get aren't as vibrant as when you cook it in a normal pan, and then flipping it. Thirdly, they didn't pay me to write an add. *kidding* All in all, it's an unnecessary thing in the kitchen, and it will just be taking up space. Just get a regular pan, or a cast iron pan - cheaper and less washing!

Anyway, I've invented another chicken chop recipe. Here's the sweet sesame chicken chop. It's so sweet, it's so fragrant, everyone's bound to love it. We had it as one dish in a family-style (Chinese dinner style) meal, but it would definitely work as a main dish with sides.

This recipe (and blog) has moved to wordpress! Visit the post here!

Monday, June 11, 2012

Crispy Fried Tofu

I love tofu - especially the homemade and really silky types. I like it just raw, steamed, stirfried, braised and in just almost any form. One of my favorite tofus in the world is the fried smelly tofu from Taiwanese cuisine. I especially love the aftertaste and aroma of it, though others may run in the opposite direction due to the smell. I do believe that frying anything just makes it instantly better. I'm not making smelly tofu today, but it is pretty close, just without the smelliness/aroma.

  • half a block of tofu (I used medium-hard tofu)
  • 2 tablespoons cornstarch
  • salt to taste
  • 4 tablespoons cooking oil

  • Fold two kitchen towels into quarters, and wrap the block of tofu with the kitchen towel.
  • Press firmly (try not to break the tofu into pieces) on the top of the tofu to remove excess water from the tofu. [I was trying to be innovative, and used my Brita filter to press on the tofu instead.]

  • Slice the tofu into six equal pieces.
  • Season each piece with salt.
  • Place the cornstarch in a small bowl, and coat each piece of tofu with a thin layer of cornstarch.
  • Add oil to a frying pan, and heat the oil.
  • When the oil is heated enough [add a pinch of cornstarch to the oil, if it bubbles quickly, it is hot enough], fry the tofu pieces in the oil.
  • When one side is golden brown, turn over and fry on the other side.
  • Serve.

Friday, June 8, 2012

Stirfry Kailan (Chinese Broccoli) with Shrimp

Kailan is my favorite vegetable. In America, it is often called Chinese broccoli, but it really looks nothing like broccoli. I love the crunchy stem the most! Usually, kailan is steamed with oyster sauce, or stirfried with garlic. Here, we have added shrimp because my uncle just gave us some beautiful huge shrimps and those should be eaten as quickly as possible so as to maintain its freshness!

  • approximately 1/2 to 3/4 pound kailan (in America, you will find it as Chinese broccoli), cut into 2 inch sections
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 3-4 oz fresh shrimp
  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce
  • 1 teaspoon sesame oil

  • In a heated pan, add oil and minced garlic. Fry until the garlic is fragrant.
  • Add shrimp, and fry until the shrimp is almost cooked.
  • Add kailan/Chinese broccoli and stirfry until cooked.
  • Serve and enjoy!

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Meatball, Wonton and Spinach Soup

Coming back to Singapore, I've been having a lot of soups for lunch. What irony, because it's so smoking hot on this island, and I'm having hot soup for lunch. Anyway, soup without rice is pretty healthy, so there's no harm having more of that.

  • 1 bunch Chinese spinach, washed
  • 3 meatballs (from the frozen grocery section)
  • 3 wontons or dumplings
  • 1 1/2 to 2 cups soup base
Ingredients for soup base
  • 2 cups water
  • 2 tablespoons concentrated bone stock [may substitute with stock cubes]
  • 2 teaspoons garlic oil

  • Add the soup base to a stock pot, and turn the heat to medium.
  • When the soup base starts to bubble around the edges of the pot, add meatballs.
  • When the meatballs are cooked (when you can poke them with a fork easily), add the wontons and spinach.
  • Cook until the spinach is wilted.
  • Serve and enjoy!

Saturday, June 2, 2012

French Toast with Caramel Sauce

I made this a while back, back when it was Mothers' Day - what's that? Maybe 3 weeks ago? Anyway, it's the first Mothers' Day that I've been home with my mother and grandmother, but unfortunately, I we couldn't have a real Mothers' Day lunch or dinner because I had rehearsal, and that was followed by a surprise party for our conductor, who was turning 60 the next day. In the end, I treated my mother and grandmother to Din Tai Fung the day before, and made breakfast of french toast! :) 

Ingredients for French Toast
  • 8 slices of stale bread (I used wholewheat)
  • 4 eggs
  • 1/2 cup whole milk
  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • pinch of salt to taste
  • [optional] fresh cut fruits
Ingredients for Caramel Sauce
  • 1/2 cup white sugar
  • 1/4 cup cream
  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • some water

  • Crack the eggs on a flat bowl, add milk and salt, and beat until even.
  • Soak the slices of bread in the milk mixture.

  • In a heated pan (medium heat), add a knob of butter, and add the egg-soaked bread slices to the pan. 
  • Fry until one side is golden brown (about 4 minutes), then flip over to the other side. 
  • When the other side is golden brown, remove from heat. 
  • Repeat for the remaining slices of bread.

  • Add the sugar in a saucepan, and add enough water to 'wet' the sugar. 
  • Heat the sugar on medium-high heat, and stir with a spoon while heating. 
  • When the sugar bubbles and turns slightly brown, add in the butter and keep stirring.
  • When the butter has melted, wait for 10 seconds, then remove sugar from the heat.
  • Slowly stir in the cream, and voila! You have caramel sauce.
  • Stack the french toast pieces a la pancakes, and drizzle some caramel sauce over it.
  • Serve.