Monday, October 24, 2011

My Cooking Journal 25 - Stir Fry Salt And Pepper Prawns

As a Prawn lover, I enjoy the firm texture and natural sweetness of this ocean creature. It makes me mouth watering and tempting when served in any style. Prawns are well known for its high cholesterol contents. You need to watch your diet and avoid eating too much deep fried prawn as deep frying foods contain higher cholesterol levels (due to saturated fat). It should be alright if you consume in moderation and have them in steam or grill style for health benefit effects. Here is some basic nutrition that prawns can provide for our body. 

Prawns are low in saturated fat and calories and with good source of protein and omega-3 fatty acids.  It contains vitamin B3 and B12 and good source of minerals such as iodine, potassium, phosphorous, selenium, iron, sodium, calcium and magnesium.

Its complete supply of protein will assist in maintaining healthy skin, hair and nails. By eating a portion of prawns will provide 50% of the daily protein needed in our body. Prawns rich in Vitamin B3, B12 and iron (copper) aid the production of red blood cells in our body and prevent anemia and symptoms of weakness and fatigue.  It also helps to maintain a healthy thyroid through its supply of copper.

Minerals like phosphorous, calcium and magnesium in prawns will work together to give us stronger bones and teeth and a relaxing nerves and muscles too.

Prawns provide significant amount of Omega-3 fatty acids benefits our mental health and reduce risk in depression as well as stroke and heart disease.  It also contains selenium (antioxidant) that will help to fight against certain form of cancer and ease the symptom of arthritis by reducing the inflammation in the body. 

Buy and Store:

You can purchase prawn from local supermarkets or wet markets. When selecting prawn, choose those with shinny and firm shells. Just ensure that the shells are not broken, not in slippery texture and not with loose or missing heads. The eye should look shiny, intact and not distorted . If there's any sign of discolouration and odour smell, it is likely to turn bad soon.

It is best to cook after purchase or within three days of purchase. Refrigerated it in the freezer compartment  for up to 5-7 days can still be good. You can used back the orignal packaging or transfer it to a plastic container prior storing it in the freezer compartment.

Ingredients:


  1. 10 Medium Prawns
  2. 2-3 stalk Spring Onions - Wash & Cut into 2 inch length
  3. 2-3 stems Curry Leave  - Wash, remove leave from stem and cut the stem into 2 inch length
  4. 4-5 slice Ginger
  5. 1 clove Garlic - skin peel and mince
  6. 1 Red Chiller - Wash, Deseed, Cut into thin slice (3 to 4 Chilli Padi is prefer)
  7. 2 tablespoon Corn Flour
  8. 1/2 teaspoon Ground White/Black Pepper - crushed
  9. 1/2 teaspoon Sea Salt
  10. 3 tablespoon Olive Oil
  11. 2 tablespoon Martell (Hard Liquor)

Monday, October 17, 2011

My Cooking Journal 24 - Stir Fry Broccoli and Cauliflower with Fish Cake

Broccoli belongs to the cruciferous family of vegetables which includes relatives such as cabbage, cauliflower, turnips, bok choy etc. With its high nutrition properties, it is recommended to consume regularly. 

This vegetable is low in calories and packed with Vitamin such as C (high level), A (high level), B1 (Thiamin), B2 (Riboflavin), B3 (Niacin), B5 (Pantothenic acid), B6, B9 (Folate). Its also contain minerals such as calcium, iron, magnesium, phosphorous, dietary fibre, potassium and zinc.

Vitamin C helps the body to absorb iron, eases symptoms of common cold, boost immune system and repair body tissue. And with the presence of sulphur and amino acids in Broccoli, it has become a good detoxifier that will help to purify our blood, remove free radicals and toxins from your body, combat problems such as skin disease, rashes, arthritis, rheumatism etc.

Vitamin A (mostly beta-carotene) helps to maintain good eyesight and prevent cataracts. It also helps to balance the Vitamin D metabolism in our body and boost our immunity with the assistance of others vitamins and minerals such as copper, zinc, phosphorous etc.

With the presence of Vitamin C, B and A, it helps us to maintain healthy skin and hair and revives our skin tissues. Folate (B9) is good for woman in sustaining growth of normal tissue, prevent birth defects. Broccoli being rich in Calcium assists us to build strong bone and teeth and prevent osteoporosis.

It is definitely a great food for weight watcher as it is low in calories and high in fiber. It helps to prevent constipation problems and maintain good digestive system. Beside this, its rich in fiber, beta-carotene, omega-3 fatty acids along with chromium (mineral) help to regulate blood pressure and reduce blood cholesterol levels, this in turn will help us to maintain a healthy heart.

Last but not least, one impressive characteristic of Broccoli is it helps to fight against cancer. It contains phytochemicals (anit-carcinogens) which includes indoles and isothiocynates also called suolforaphase that helps to promotes good enzymes to fight against cancer like breast cancer, lung cancer, prostate cancer etc.  

Buy, Storage and Preparation:

You can purchase broccoli from local supermarkets or wet markets. Before purchase, choose those that are firm, greenish or purple-green in colour and compacts with florets. Make sure the broccoli is unwilted, no yellow/brown spots on stalks/forets and no yellow flowering as this is a sign of maturity.

It is best to cook after purchase or within three days of purchase. Refrigerated it for up to 5-7 days can still be good. To maintain it freshness, wrap in paper towels or newspaper, then place it in a plastic bag and refrigerate it. 

If happens that you decided not to cook it after washing and trimming of the broccoli, just store them in a air-tight container and keep it in refrigerator for up to 3 days.  It can still maintain it freshness.

Preparation (Broccoli or Cauliflower):
Cut the flowerets into quarters or halves to achieve even size for ease of stir frying. Peel the stem and slice stems diagonally to 1/2 inch length . Wash thoroughly in water and drain.

Ingredients:

  1. 100g Broccoli - Refer above for preparation
  2. 100g Cauliflower - Refer above for preparation (same method as broccoli)
  3. 50g Red Capsicium - Optional (I used up my remaining portion)
  4. 1 piece Fish Cake - Cut into thin slice
  5. 3 slices Ginger
  6. 1 clove Garlic - skin peel and mince
  7. 1 tablespoon Oyster Sauce - mixed with 1 tablespoon water
  8. 1 teaspoon Corn Flour - for sauce thickening
  9. 1 tablespoon Olive Oil
  10. Pinch of Pepper, Sea Salt and Sugar
  11. 1/4 cup Water
 

Saturday, October 8, 2011

My Cooking Journal 23 - Spinach Soup with Meat Ball and Silver Fish

One afternoon, I was at an eating house along Joo Chiat Road enjoying their famous delicacy that is the curry fish head with two others dishes to accomplish a satisfying lunch. One of the side dish that we ordered was this spinach soup with silver fish. I really fell in love with this spinach soup because of its refreshing and flavourful taste. It is a simple soup comprises of spinach, silver fish, mince pork and some shallots to enhance the flavour of the soup. I think it would be easy to cook and decided to copy their version using my own cooking instinct.

 
Well, the result was satisfying and I started to cook this soup for my family occasionally. It is a simple, hearty and nutritious soup embrace with high volume of calcium as I used ingredients like ikan bilis, spinach and silver fish which contain significant amount of calcium for our body. You may refer to My Cooking Journal 9 to find out more on the benefits of spinach and I hope you will enjoy this soup as much as I do.   

My Ingredients:


1.      1 pack (200g) Spinach – Wash and trim (Refer to my Cooking Journal 9 for preparing spinach)
2.      200g Ikan Bilis - (Stock) Wash and rinse
3.      100g to 200g minced pork – Rinse, marinate and roll into balls
4.      50g – Dry Silver fish - Rinse
5.      3 slices Ginger
6.      2 - 3 cloves Garlic – Deskin and cut into slice
7.      3 cloves shallot – Deskin and cut into slice
8.      1 teaspoon sesame oil – for marinate
9.      1 teaspoon fish sauce  - for marinate
10.  Pinch of corn flour – for marinate
11.  pinch of pepper, salt and sugar – for marinate and to taste 
12.  1 tablespoon olive oil
13.  1.6 litre Water (enough to serve 2-3 person)
14.  Fried shallot and diced spring onions (for garnish)

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

My Cooking Journal 22 - Herbal Chicken Slow Cook Soup

Oh my God! My "part-time lover" (laptop) really give me lots of problem lately, kind of frustrating coz I have difficulty browsing internet and my lover just “hang” himself whenever he likes it.  

Oh no! I gonna need some Chicken herbals soup to strengthen and tonify my brain and body. To me, its kind of painful and irritable when comes to tackle computer problem. My hubby had helped me to reformat the entire system but problems still occur inevitably.

Talking about Chinese Chicken herbals soup, it is one of the best soups that will help those with weak body constitution to strengthen and tonify their body system. Of course it must be used with right proportion of herbs and ingredients. Otherwise, overdosing or under dosing of the herbs will not benefit your health and the former will cause harm to you. It is also crucial on the type of pots that you use to brew the soup. Claypots or ceramic pots are best for brewing soups. Stainless steel pot can be used but not on metal or aluminium pots. Some herbs might react with the metal pot therefore; reduce the effectiveness of the herbs and your effort will be wasted.

My Ingredients:

The dry ingredients that I used can be easily obtained from any Chinese Medical hall and some common one like red dates, dry mushroom, wolfberries can be easily purchased at any supermarket.  Here are some basic introductions of the ingredients/herbs that are used for my Chicken Soup:

Chicken meats are rich in proteins, fats, Vitamin A, B, C and D. However, it is important to remove any excess skin before cooking to reduce the fats and cholesterol contents will give you a clear and less oily soup base. It is preferably to use kampong chicken as it is less fatty and using whole chicken will also retain its rich flavour and moisture at tip top quality.

Dry Scallops (乾瑤柱):  contains vitamin B12, Magnesium, Selenium, Protein, Fat, Calories. It is often use to add flavour and sweetness to the soup and is good for improving your immunity.   

Dry Chinese Mushrooms (Shiitake): High in protein, low in fat, Vitamin B2, help to treat cold, flu, stimulate immune system, fight against infection and suppress cancer cells spreading. It is also good for adding flavour to your soup. 

Dry Huai Shan (淮山) also known as Chinese Wild Yam or Shan Yao (山药):  Has neutral property. It helps to nourish the spleen and stomach and strengthen the kidneys and lung. It has the ability to lower blood sugar and cholesterol levels, promote fluid secretion and clear urine protein, stops diarrhea, cure cough and reduce phlegm and thirst and can be used to strengthen those with weak body constitution.

Dry Yu Zhu (玉竹): With cooling effect that helps to tonify yin, boost internal fluids level, balance heatiness, contains Vitamin A which is good for skin as it helps to moisten skin dryness, ability to nourish your dry lung and strengthen your stomach, relieve dry cough, dry throat and thirst. But people who have loose stools, spleen deficiency, stomach deficiency, phlegm stagnation is not suitable and is best to consult your physician before consume.

American Ginseng (西洋参) : It tastes bitter and has cooling effect that is capable to promote production of body fluids, reduce heat in the body, moisten the lung and boost the body’s collagen levels. It also can reduce dry and thirsty mouth and throat, boost energy (reduce fatigue) and boost immune system, relieve menopause symptom for woman, regulates blood sugar level and effective for treating diabetes, calm the brain, boost the heart. It helps to harmonize your entire body system and maintain healthy function of spleen, stomach, heart, brain and nervous system. Avoid taking carrot, radish and tea if you are taking American Ginseng. This will reduce the effectiveness of the herb.

Chinese Almonds (杏仁) : They are two types often known as Southern (南杏) and Northern (北杏) Chinese almonds.  The former is larger in size and sweeter whereas the latter is more aromatic and bitter.  Northern is more beneficial than southern and is often used in soup to smooth inflammation in lungs, treat cough, calm wheezing, moisten intestines and unblocks bowels. It is effective for clearing the airways in lung and smooth breathing.  

Red dates (红枣) : It is rich in Vitamin A, B2, C and E, minerals such as phosphorus, calcium and iron. It helps to reinforce the blood-building function of heart, strengthen body immune system and is often use as a sweetener in the soup.

Wolfberries (枸杞子) : It contains essential amino acids, vitamin C and B2, iron, potassium, zinc, selenium, phosphorous, calcium and germanium and also with small amount of vitamin E, dietary fiber and proteins. Is good for curing giddiness, cough, thirst and reduce heat in the body. It can tonify your kidney and liver, nourish your lung and improve vision. With the sweet taste, it is often use as a sweetener in the soup.

Ingredients:

  1. 1 Kampong Chicken (whole)
  2. 4 pieces Medium Dry Scallop
  3. 3 pieces Dry Mushroom
  4. 4 slices Dry Huai Shan
  5. 20g Dry Yu Zhu
  6. 2 slices Ginger
  7. 2 tablespoon American Ginseng
  8. 1 tablespoon Wolfberries
  9. 6 pieces Red Dates
  10. 1.6 litres of water

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Hong Guo (红锅) @ Nex Mall

I was hungry and desperately looking for a place to settle my dinner at Nex mall. Most of the eatery in Nex mall seem crowded and worst, some with queue. We happened to pass by this Chinese restaurant in oriental style with red and white decorations. It appeared to be less crowded and a female waitress approached us politely to see if we want to dine in Hong Guo (红锅). So, we decided to try out.

I have not heard of this restaurant and no idea what their specialty was. Then I saw the white wall and menu written with a story of "Cross bridge vermicelli" (过桥米线 ).  The legend of this noodle was originated from Yunnan.

This "Cross bridge vermicelli" comes with an old history about a devoted wife preparing daily meal for her husband, a scholar who always forget his meal when he study hard. One day she accidentally discovered that the top layer of oil from the chicken soup could prolong the soup warmness. She soon adopted this method and improvises a combo-style meal with other ingredients such as vermicelli, vegetables and meat added into the soup. It then becomes very popular in Yunnan and others began to name the dish as “Cross bridge vermicelli” because of her devotion crossing the bridge daily to deliver this heart warming dish for her husband.  

I decided to order their specialty – Zhuang Yuan Mi Xian (状元过桥米线) and share with my kids. The dish is served in a tray contains 15 different kinds of ingredients dished in a sauce plate and with a bowl of hot soup and vermicelli served seperately. The waitress will provide assistant to pour in the ingredients starting from egg and raw and lastly, vermicelli. You can also DIY yourself if you do not requires any assistant. To my surprise, the soup was good and appetizing. 


There's something I need to highlight. You must add pepper in the soup, it really makes a great difference in taste. I choose to opt out pepper in the soup at my 2nd time dining because my kids complaint about the spicy taste when we 1st tried out in the restaurant. Well, the taste of the soup turned out to be alittle bland which is not as tasty as I have had before.


Cross Bridge Vermicelli

Vermicelli waiting to swim in the soup!
  
Ingredients all queue up for a good shower with the soup....yee pee!


All ingredients dive into the great soupy ocean waiting for me to enjoy... the soup was indeed tasty.

As for my hubby, he choose to try the spicy beef noodles which is quite satisfying. We also order two side dishes which are “Sichuan Saliver chicken” (口水鸡) and the crispy silver fish (盐银针鱼) . The Sichuan Saliver Chicken is a cold dish. The chicken is tender and coated with sichuan style chilli paste and bean sauce. The latter is the deep fried silver fish wrapped up with a layer of golden flour coating. It is also a spicy dish but I requested them not to sprinkler chilli power on it (For the sake of my kids). Both side dishes are indeed delicious and my kids enjoy the silver fish very much!


If you are a 1st timer tasting the Cross Bridge Vermicelli, you might find it quite cute and interesting in term of the food presentation. The food that Hong Guo's served is delicious and not too expensive, say about $8.00+ for noodles and $6.00-$7.00+ for one side dish. In overall, the sevice is good, fast and the staff is responsive and polite. It is worth giving a try! 



Yummy Beef Nooldes

Non Spicy Crispy Silver Fish


Address: 23 Serangoon Central #B1-75 S(556083)
Operating Hours: 11am - 9.30pm


Friday, September 9, 2011

My Cooking Journal 21 - Chinese Style Stir Fry Asparagus With Fresh Squid

Thinking of what kind of well-balanced nutritional veggies to prepare for your kids? Try cooking asparagus which is really a wise choice for all ages and great benefits to weight watchers as asparagus is low in sodium, calories and no cholesterol or fat.

Asparagus is well loaded with fiber, folate, vitamin A, B6, C, K, thiamin and minerals such as phosphorous, selenium, potassium, iron, copper, calcium, manganese and magnesium. This herbaceous plant is also well rich in glutathione that act as a body detoxifyier, super antioxident and immune systems booster.

In all,  the antioxidents present in asparagus helps protect our body from growth of cancerous cells. The vitamins and minerals contents will help to regulate blood sugar level, lower blood pressure, prevent kidney stones and urinary tract infections, enhance growth of immune cells and red blood cells, strengthen capillary walls, neutralize free radicals, reduce aging process and helps to maintain healthy skins and bones.

It is a leading Folic Acid's supplier among any others vegetables (provide 60% of the recommended daily allowance). As Folic acid is well known for helping your body to produce and maintain new blood cells, preventing cause of cancer and helps our brain to fight against cognitive decline. It is specially important for pregant woman in preventing of neural tube defects.

Buy, Selection and Storage:
Asparagus can be thick or thin and comes in three colours: white, green and purple. Usually green is commonly found in local supermarkets or wet markets. For stir fry purpose, I prefer to choose thick asparagus. Choose those that is straight, firm, uniformly sized spears with closed tips and not dried up. It is best to use it within two or three days of purchase. Otherwise you can wrap it up in paper towels or newspaper and stored in refrigerator for up to 5 days.

If you have wash and cut into pieces and decided not to cook instantly, just pat try and store them in a air-tight container and use within 2  or 3 days for best quality. Storing in the air tight container can still maintain it freshness.

Preparation:
Cut off the tough end of the stem and discard. Wash thoroughly, then use a vegetable peeler to deskin the asparagus stem all the way through the lower part. Do not deskin the top part with "leaves". Cut stalks diagonally of about 2 inches length.   

Ingredients:
  1. 3 to 4 stalks Asparagus - See above for preparation
  2. 1 piece Squid - Wash, remove membrane, vein, eyes and cut into rectangle slices with diagonal pattern on surface. (refer my cooking journal 4 - method no. 1 if you want to find out how to process the squid) 
  3. 1 tablespoon olive oil
  4. 3 cloves garlic - skin peel and sliced
  5. 3 slices of ginger
  6. 1 teaspoon sesame oil - for marinate of squid
  7. 1 teaspoon fish sauce - for marinate of squid
  8. 1 tablespoon oyster sauce
  9. 1 teaspoon of corn flour - for marinate of squid and sauce thickening
  10. pinch of pepper, salt and sugar - to taste 
  11. 2 tablespoon water

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Malacca Trip 2011

We went for a short break to Malacca for three days. The trip was booked from deal.com.sg and final reservation was arranged at Five Star Travel. The deal was a two days Malacca tour package with one night stay at Equatorial Hotel (5*)  and transport (via Coach) @$78 per person. The best part is a FOC giveaway to upgrade your delux room to suite. We extended another night with Five Star Travel @ $135.00 for additional nights at Hotel Equatorial (for two adult and one child with bed for a delux room).

This was our first encounter to Malacca. Needless to say, my kids were very excited and happy from the moment we left home and at Golden Mile Complex waiting to board  the coach.  The journey took about 4 hours. We had a smooth journey through out the way with no traffic jam and long queue at Causeway check point. 

Our Day 1:

When arrived, we check in Hotel Equatorial (Delux Room at 1st night and transfer to Suite on 2nd night). This hotel is situated in the heart of the Malacca city that is within walking distance to shopping centres, entertainment and historical site. My kids love the great view from our hotel room overlooking the Malacca city and its seaview.

Our first destination was Dataran Pahlawan Melaka Megamall as it is closest to our hotel. Our first lunch was A&W fast food restaurant located at the Basement of Dataran Pahlawan Melaka Megamall. This fast food restaurant was quite popular in Singapore during the 1980. It can no  longer be found in our hometown. Anyway, we were delighted to taste it  in Malacca again.
After our lunch, we strolled along street of Jalan Merdeka and were attracted by some interesting displays of old jet plane, old train, canon and bull lock carts located in Coronation Park. Opposite the park, you see a few historical buildings mostly in red that housed along Jalan Kota street. These buildings mainly are museums that tells you the significant history of Malacca.   

We then, took a ride at Menara Taming Sari (Taming Sari Tower) . It is a 360° revolving tower of 110m height that will rise from ground to the top of tower in about 7 minutes. You will get to enjoy excellent view of the Strait of Malacca and Malacca city. The operating hours was from 10am to 10pm daily and ticket price is RM$20 for adult and RM$10 for children under 12.

About 5 minutes walk from the revolving tower, we visited the Maritime museum (the Flora de la Mar - a portugese galleon) with a minimal fee of RM$2.00 for adult. They will provide you with a plastic bags to store your dirty shoe as visitors are not allowed to wear shoes inside the ship museum. You are to keep them in the plastic bag and placed it on the shoe rack located at the entrance.  The museum basically presented some Malacca's history with display of old maps, scale-model ships, weaponary and olden day's accessories and relics. 

The weather was pretty warm and humid and we were really tired after a long day walk. We took a rest at a drinking store near Malacca river enjoying the windy breeze and cooling coke to rejuvenate our energy. 

With recommendation from the hotel personnel, we decided to perform a brief survey along this street, Jalan Melaka Raya knowing that a few nice Nonya Restaurant were housed along this street. Our conclusion is to try Makko Nonya Restaurant (123, Jalan Melaya Raya) as we were attracted by their traditional interior and the crowd they draw.


We ordered beef rendang, sambal sotong, Ikan Chuan Chuan (Steam fish with bean sauce), Itik Tim (duck and salted Vegetable Soup) and last but not least, our dessert of the day - Chendol.  I would give MAKKO three 'Thumb Up'. The tender beef rendang infuse in your mouth and the spices aroma melt your soul as you taste it. The duck and salted vegetable soup is very appetizing and refreshing. It is capable to help you to reduce the spicy sensation in your mouth.  I would say, this two dishes that we tried is really awesome. We are not fancy over the Steam fish and Chendol which is considering average. The overall is still pleasant with reasonable price, nice ambience and good service.  Also, you can get some nice prawn crackers before you left the restaurant.  


  
Our Day 2:

Firstly, buffet breakfast at Hotel Equatorial. We then visited one of a well known historical site - A'Famosa Fort, a portugese fortress that was badly destructed during Dutch invasion with only a small part of the main entrance remains.

Behind this site, there is this St. Paul's Hill where St. Paul church is housed on top of the hill. The walking journal toward the hill top was  really tough for us. We have to carry our pram up to the hill top and occassionally carried my kids up the stairs if they wouldn't want to walk due to tireness. Our final achievement was still a good one. We enjoyed a breathtaking view of Melaka city and its coastline and a closer view of the historical church building.

Then, we booked a Ducktour thinking that our kids would enjoy a land and sea sightseeing tour. You will be entertained by the tour guide sharing some details about Malacca's attraction and history. Well, my two boys dozed off during the one hour journey probably due to tireness and nice sea breeze. Anyway, you can purchase the ticket at ticket booth at Merana Taming Sari (Adult - $38.00 and children 3 to 12 years at $22.00).

Our next interesting destination was Jonker Street - the Chinatown of Malacca that is rich in Nonya culture. You can see the street occupied with rows of terrace shop houses selling antiques, souveniers, fashions and eatery; giving visitors a sense of blending of history and modern cultures.  

A nice place to ease your thirst is Jonker 88, a popular dessert shop that serves nice chendol and ice kachang and others local delights like Baba laska, rojak etc. It is located at 88, Jalan Hang Jebat (along jonker street) and is mostly occupied with crowd.

Then, we visited another interesting historical building, the Cheng Hoon Teng Temple constructed in 1645. It is located at No. 25 Jalan Tokong and is one of the oldest functioning temple in Malacca.

Another popular attraction is the Dutch Square comprised of a few significant structures such as the Christ Church (built in 1753 by Dutch), the Stadthuys (built in 1650), the Queen Victoria Fountain (built in 1901 by British) and Tan Beng Swee Clock Tower (built in 1886). They are located along Jalan Gereja (also known as Church Street) and these building are mainly painted in brick-red colour that made them look very special.

After a hectic day, we headed back to our hotel for a rest. My kids were dying to return to the hotel because they wanted to play in the spacious suite room and to sit on the daybed playing with their toys. They love to are more happy to stay in the Hotel room than roaming around Malacca Town.  

Then, dinner time, we wanted to try the famous chicken rice ball in Malacca. We went to Ee Ji Ban Restaurant (275, Jalan Melaka Raya 3) that is just 10 minutes walk from Hotel Equatorial. We ordered two different style of chicken, roasted and steamed with chicken rice balls. Another dish was Asam Fish Head. Well, the chicken meat is indeed tender, juicy and infuse with sesame oil and soy sauce fragrance. The chilli sauce is indeed good. But we are quite disappoint with the sticky, lumpy texture of the rice ball and ordered more chicken rice to go with the chicken instead of the balls. 


Our Day 3:

Our Five Star coach will arrive Hotel Equatorial at around 2.00pm. We are supposed to check out by 12.00 nn. We requested for an hour extension (check out by 1.00pm) because we wanted more time for our final shopping. 

Our last tourist attraction was Melaka Sultanate Palace which is located at the foot of St. Paul's Hill. The replica palace is built in 1984 to replicate the Sultan Mansur Shah's palace who ruled Melaka from 1456 to 1477. The building is constructed of hardwood and the roof is made of 'belian' wood where the structure are secured only by wooden pegs.

The Cultural Museum is a three storey building that display the Malaca's history with photographs, paintings, weaponry, musical instruments, gifts from foreign emissaries etc. Admission charge is RM2.00 for Adult and RM0.50 for Children. It will be closed on Mondays and opening hours is from 9am to 6pm.

Well, our lunch time before heading back home is at this authentic Japanese restaurant, Kampachi located in Hotel Equatorial. The food is delicious with expensive price.

Sayonara Malacca! It a pleasant trip and we will be back again!

I feel that Malacca is a small, friendly city to visit. It is easy to access around the city via foot. You can also hire those decorative trishaw along the street to explore this attractive city, a mixture of old and new establishments. Bear in mind to ask for the price first before boarding and to bargain if necessary. In fact, I have enjoyed a good Nonya meal and enjoyed some of their tasty local delights. Cya!



Wednesday, August 17, 2011

My Cooking Journal 20 - Mum's Black Bean Soup

If you were thinking of improving your body overall health and maintaining youthfulness, you can try drinking black bean soup frequently.

Chinese believe black bean is a good nutrition food that is suitable for all age especially for woman before or after their pregnancy. This bean is rich in cholesterol-lowering fiber, antioxidants, protein, Vitamin B1 and contains good source of magnesium, iron and  folate. 

Black bean can helps to nourish our  blood, reduce blood viscosity, regulate menstral cycle for women, lower blood cholesterol level, strengthen kidney and prevent constipation. Others than this, it can eliminate free radicals, delay ageing and eliminate wind in stomach. It contains lot of nutrients that is essential for normal growth and maintenance of our body cells.  The beans if consume regularly can help to fight against cancer and heart disease. 

My mum told me to use pork trotters instead of pork ribs for the bean soup. The pork trotter (with bones and skins) not only provides calcium, but also contains collagen that will reduce dryness of our skin and  strengthen our ligaments and joints. Its make a fantastic thick broth base with nice sweet flavour. It is really delicious and easy to make.  


Buy and Prepare:
You can purchase black bean from local supermarkets or provision shops. It is usually sold in packet form.

My mum also taught me some basic tips to take note before cooking them. Before cooking these beans, spread them on a plate and remove any debris, spoil beans or stones. Then place the beans in a pot, wash and rinse the beans with hot boiling water. Drain the hot boiling water and then rinse the beans with cool runnng water. Discard the water and prepare to presoak for at least 2 hours. This is to shorten the cooking time.  After 2- 4 hours of soaking, discard the presoaked water and prepare for cooking.

  
Ingredients:

  1. 200g Black Bean - prepare as mentioned above
  2. 1 Pork Trotters - cut into small pieces and rinse
  3. 1 Dried Cuttlefish - cut into small pieces and rinse
  4. 6 Red Dates - rinse
  5. 1.6 Litres Water

Methods:
  1. Prepare a pot of boiling water and blanch the pork trotter in the pot to remove the smell of blood and scum. Remove and set aside.
  2. Boil a pot of water. Pour the hot water in the slow cooker pot. Add in pork trotter pieces, cuttlefish slices, red dates and presoaked black beans into the pot.
  3. Turn on to high heat and let it cook for at least 2 hours. Then reduce to low heat and simmer for another 2 hours. Add salt to taste.


Method 1
  

Method 2 & 3

Ps. Whenever I drink this soup, it reminds me of my beloved mum. Her black bean soup is real delicious and fantastic. She is using the traditional charcoal stove to boil this bean soup. As a result, the taste is immensely different and able to bring out the full flavours. Thanks Mum!

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

My Cooking Journal 19 - Chinese Fried Rice

Sometimes, if I have run out of idea on what to cook or my laziness has simply shut my brain to generate any cooking ideas, I would then choose to cook fried rice (Chinese Style) for my family. It is a very simple dish to cook and the ingredients involved are usually very easy to source in your fridge.

The main ingredients are white rice (preferably overnight/left over rice), egg, garlic, fish sauce whereas the rest of the ingredients really depends on individual's preference. 

However, to get a nice and tasty fried rice, it is best to use chilled overnight rice as the freshly cooked rice contains more moisture in it tends to give you a sticky lumpy texture after cooked.

My Ingredients:

  1. 1.5 cup cooked rice, preferably refrigerated overnight or for at least 4 hours
  2. 5 cloves garlic, minced
  3. 1 carrot (small size), cut into small cubes
  4. 1 piece fish cake, cut into small cubes
  5. 1 small stalk cauliflower, wash and cut into small florets
  6. 1 piece chinese sausage, cut into thin slice
  7. 4-5 pieces sliced ginger
  8. 2 eggs
  9. 2 tablespoon olive oil
  10. 2 tablespoon fish sauce
  11. Sugar, Sea Salt and Pepper, as desired
  12. Fried Shallots and sliced red chilli, for garnish

Saturday, July 30, 2011

My Cooking Journal 18 - Stir Fry Pork Liver (猪肝)

I love to eat pork liver. Whenever my craving is haunting me, I would cook this famous authentic Chinese dish.  However, not all people can accept the taste of pork liver as it has raw smell and looks bloody if it is undercooked. So, one must be careful with the handling and cooking process to make it tastier.

Before we talk about cooking pork liver, there is some good points of pork livers to be shared with everyone. 

Pork livers are low in sodium, zero sugar, very high in iron, niacin, pantothenic acid, phosphorus, riboflavin, selenium, vitamin A, B12, C and zinc. Also high in thiamin and vitamin B6. Therefore, it is a good food that helps to regulate our blood circulation, capable in maintaining our eyesight, bones, skins, nervous system, promotes growth and maintenance of cells, tissues and sperm production (for men).   

The only main bad point about pork livers is they are very high in cholesterol. It contains around 100% of the daily recommended amount that we needed. This has indirectly increase our risk for coronary heart disease if we do not consume in moderation.

Buy and Selection:

Pork livers can be purchased at any local supermarket and wet market. Choose those that are bright red in colour and remember to check the packing date if you purchased from supermarket. Try to consume the pork liver within one to two days after purchased. It will tend to lost out its freshness and becomes more powdery in texture if you refrigerate it for too long.

Ingredients:


  1. 1 piece Pork Liver (150g - 200g), rinse well and cut into thin slices
  2. 3 stalks Spring Onions, cut into two inch length and seperate out the white and green part
  3. 15g Ginger - cut into thin strips
  4. 5 cloves Garlic - cut into slices
  5. 1 Red Chilli, cut into slices
  6. 1 tablespoon - dark soya sauce (thicker texture)
  7. 1 tablespoon - light soy sauce
  8. 1 tablespoon Sesame oil (for cooking)
  9. 1 teaspoon Sesame oil (for marinate)
  10. 1 teaspoon Cornflour (for marinate)
  11. 3 tablespoon water
  12. A dash of black pepper, sea salt and sugar (to taste)

Methods:

  1. Marinate pork liver slices in a bowl with 1 teaspoon sesame oil, dash of sugar and pepper, 1 tablespoon of light soy sauce and  1 teaspoon of corn flour. Mixed well and set aside (Preferably marinate for 30 min.)
  2. Boil a pot of water and add dash of sea salt. Once boiled, pour in the seasoned pork liver slices and off the heat. Blanch the pork liver briefly in the pot of hot water, then remove them from the pot within 15 second. This will help to reduce the raw smell. 
  3. Heat up 1 tablespoon of sesame oil, once heated, add in ginger strips, white part and some green part spring onions and stir fry over high heat till fragrance. Add in garlic and red chilli slices, stir fry till garlic become lightly brown. Then, reduce to low heat.
  4. Add in pork liver slices, give it a quick stir and add in 1 tablespoon dark soya sauce, dash of sugar and black pepper and stir well for 2 minutes.
  5. Add water (to make a sauce base) and stir well.
  6. Then , follow by green part of spring onions and stir till spring onions become soft.
  7. Off heat, dish out from wok and serve hot.
Note:
Pork Liver has no connective tissue, so try not to overcook it as it will become very dry and tough which will destroy the taste. However, pork liver must also be cooked till little pinky in the inner side (to give a soft and tender texture) as eating raw pork liver may cause irritation to your digestive system.

 

Method 3

Method 4
Method 5
Method 6
This dark soya sauce (superior grade) makes a great sauce for my stir fry pork liver