Saturday, January 31, 2009

Scallops with Mixed Vegetables

The sea scallop is the largest of the scallops. They can be bought fresh or frozen. The raw meats are creamy white in color and sometimes slightly orange due to the food (algae) they consume. Scallops have a distinct, sweet odor when they are fresh.There are many ways to prepare scallops. Always take care not to overcook them; they toughen easily. As soon as they lose their translucence and turn opaque, they are done, Sea scallops may be broiled, kabobed, stir- fried, baked, or microwaved. There are many recipes for scallops. If you plan to put them in a sauce, it's best to cook the scallops and the sauce separately and then combine them; otherwise, water will cook out of the scallops and make your sauce runny.

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10 large sea scallops
Freshly ground black pepper
3 Tbsp vegetable oil
1/2 cup fresh lotus root - sliced
1/4 cup carrot - sliced
4 - 5 dried shitake mushrooms - soaked and sliced
2 slices fresh ginger
2 cloves garlic chopped
1 stalk spring onions - cut into 1 inch length
1 tbsp shaoxing cooking wine


2 tbsp oyster sauce
1 tbsp soya sauce
1/2 tsp sugar
1 tsp sesame oil
1 tbsp cornstarch/tapioca starch + 1 tbsp water
a dash of pepper


Nuke lotus root and carrot with 2 tbsp water in the microwave on high for 1 minute.

Mix the sauce ingredients together.

Lay the scallops out on a board, pat dry with kitchen paper and then season one side with salt and pepper.

Heat 1 tbsp oil over high heat in a frying pan large enough to hold the scallops. Scallops too close together in a pan will steam rather than pan-fry.

When the oil is very hot, add the seasoned scallops, and cook for 2 – 3 minutes, until the underside turns golden brown, depending on the size of the scallops. Turn the scallops over and cook for 2 – 3 minutes more. Except for turning them over the one time, do not move the scallops or fidget with them while they cook. Tip the pan onto a plate lined with kitchen paper to absorb the excess oil.

Heat 2 tbsp oil in a wok and fry the ginger until fragrant.

Add in the mushrooms and garlic and saute/stir fry.

Pour the tbsp of shaoxing wine to the side of the wok.

Add in the lotus root, carrot and the sauce mixture and cook until sauce thickens.

Add in the seared scallops and mix well.

Add in the spring onions.

Serve hot.

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Friday, January 30, 2009

Homemade Mayo

Homemade mayonnaise is one of the easiest things you can make and the taste is far superior to the stuff in the blue-topped jars. You can't buy the fresh lightness of a homemade batch of mayo, two minutes with a food processor, and you're done. Take that time and try it for yourself. Store bought variety lasts about six months in the refrigerator while homemade might last up to week.
There is an interesting read here A Homemade Mayo Clinic


1 large egg yolk
1 1/2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
1 teaspoon white wine vinegar
1/4 teaspoon Dijon mustard or powdered mustard
1/2 teaspoon salt plus more to taste
a dash of white pepper
3/4 cup canola oil, divided


Combine egg yolk, lemon juice, vinegar, mustard, and 1/2 teaspoon salt in medium bowl.
Whisk until blended and bright yellow, about 30 seconds
Using 1/4 teaspoon measure and whisking constantly, add 1/4 cup oil to yolk mixture, a few drops at a time, about 4 minutes. Gradually add remaining 1/2 cup oil in very slow thin stream, whisking constantly, until mayonnaise is thick, about 8 minutes (mayonnaise will be lighter in color).
If, however, the sauce does break, you can start over -- or re-emulsify the sauce by adding the broken mixture, very slowly, into a new egg yolk.
Cover and chill.
Blender or Processor Mayonnaise Double the recipe and add 4 teaspoons hot water
Place yolks, salt, mustard, sugar, pepper, and lemon juice in blender cup or work bowl of a food processor fitted with the metal chopping blade, and buzz 15 seconds (use low blender speed).
Now, with motor running, slowly drizzle in 1/4 cup oil (use moderately high blender speed). As mixture begins to thicken, continue adding oil in a fine steady stream, alternating with hot water and 1 tsp vinegar.
Stop motor and scrape mixture down from sides of blender cup or work bowl as needed.

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Thursday, January 29, 2009

King Oyster Mushroom,Coral Broccoli & Chicken Stir-Fry

The King Oyster mushroom has a thick, white flesh that is
firm-textured and meaty from the base to the cap,wonderfully
nutty, hen of the woods with a taste as earthy as their name. It is also referred to as the King Eryngii, Eringii or Royal Trumpet

Coral Broccoli an interesting object with a shape and color reminding me of coral or outer worldly landscapes. It is also known as romanesco, minaret, romanesco cauliflower often called romanesco broccoli or calabrese romanesco especially in Italian recipes.
The flavour is somewhere between broccoli and cauliflower, with a sweet, vegetal nuttiness - and it's bereft of the slightly bitter edge cauliflower can have.

2 cups coral broccoli flowerettes - bite-size pieces
1/4 cup carrot - sliced
2 cups King Oyster Mushroom - sliced
1 whole chicken breasts, skinned, boned, and cut in bite-size pieces
1 clove garlic, minced
2 tsp. minced fresh ginger root
1 c. green onions, cut in 1 inch lengths
1/4 cup chicken/vegetable stock
3 tbsp oil

1 tbsp oyster sauce
1 tsp sugar
2 tsp soy sauce
2 tbsp shaoxing wine
2 tbsp. sesame oil
1/4 tsp pepper
1 tbsp tapioca starch/cornstarch
2 tbsp oyster sauce
2 tsp. /tapioca starch/cornstarch, dissolved in 2 tbsp. water


Add marinate to the chicken and marinate at least 1/2 hour.
Nuke Coral Broccoli and carrot with 2 tbsp water in the microwave for 1 minute on high.
In a wok or skillet, heat oil and when oil is shimmering, Add chicken to brown.
Add in garlic and ginger and saute before adding in the king oyster mushroom and coral broccoli.
Add in the stock and let ingredients to cook until mushroom and chicken are cooked through.
Add in sauce ingredients and let sauce thickens and comes back to the boil.
Lastly add in the green onions.
Serve hot with white rice


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Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Pearl Balls

These appetizers are so christened from how their coating of glutinous rice turns to pearly grains when cooked. They are favorite mainstays in dimsum restaurants but can easily be made at home with a little bit of rolling. It contains no exotic ingredients and most of the work can be done in advance. What you end up with is a dish of delicately flavored steamed meatballs, each one covered with a pearly coating of glutinous rice.


1 cup glutinous rice
1 lb ground pork
1 large spring onion minced (at least 3 tablespoons)
2 water chestnuts, minced
4 dried shitake mushrooms
1 tsp sesame oil
1 large egg white
1 tbsp light soy sauce
1 tbsp hua tiau/shaoxing wine
1 tsp fish sauce
1 tsp cornstarch
Black pepper, to taste


Soak glutinous rice in enough water to cover for 5 hours. Drain well and using paper towels, pat grains dry. Set aside.

Reconstitute mushrooms in hot water for 40 minutes to 1 hour. Discard stems and chop the caps finely.

In a bowl, combine all ingredients except the rice. Form around a teaspoonful of meat mixture into 1-inch diameter balls.

Spread rice in a wide dish. Roll meat balls, one at a time, in the bed of rice grains, coating them completely with the grains. Arrange coated balls on a wax-lined sheet. At this stage they can be refrigerated or frozen for later use.

Set up steamer with water. Bring around 1-inch of water into a boil. Arrange balls on a plate that will comfortably fit in steamer, or, alternatively, layer cabbage leaves on steamer rack and arrange pearl balls on top of leaves. Cover and steam until rice and meat are cooked, around 30 minutes.
Serve with soy sauce or sauce of your choice.
Soy Sauce Dipping Sauce

1/2 cup soy sauce
2 tbsps rice wine vinegar
1 tsp sesame oil
1 tsp chili garlic sauce
1 tsp minced scallions
1/4 tsp sugar


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Tuesday, January 27, 2009


According to Infopidia - Popiah(also spelt Poh Piah), in Teochew for "thin pancake", is a thin paper-like crepe or pancake wrapper stuffed with a filling made of cooked vegetables and meats. When deep fried, the crispy roll is known as a spring roll, but if left raw it is known as popiah. The popiah is of southeastern Chinese origins, originating in the Fujian province. It is derived from the spring roll which was eaten during spring when there was an abundance of vegetables. The Chinese diaspora has spawned variants of the roll throughout Asia, intermingling ingredients from the local culture resulting in such likes as the Nonya version of the popiah.

I like to prepare this dish for the Chinese New Year cos it is eaten at room temperature except fpr the main filling which i will keep warm in the slow cooker. Friends and relatives who drop by to 'pai lean' - meaning respecting the new year - can enjoy rolling up a few rolls of this savory.


Filling :
3 lbs jicama shredded
1 lb belly pork, cut into thin strips
2 tbsp fish sauce
2 tbsp soya sauce
2 tbsp minced garlic
5 tbsp oil
Enough water to cover the shredded jicama
Salt and pepper to taste

2 heads green leaf lettuce
4 firm soybean cakes, cut into thin strips and fried 1/4 tsp salt
1/2 lb beansprouts, tailed and scalded
1 English cucumber, shredded finely
1/2 lb small prawns, shelled and steamed
1 cup crab meat
1/2 lb shallots, sliced and fried crisp
3 whole pods garlic, minced and fried crisp
4 eggs - make omelette and shredded fine
4 pairs of Chinese Lap Cheong - cut into thin strips and fried
Popiah skins (I used frozen Lumpia pastry - wrap with a tea towel and steam the pastry)
Chilly Sauce
Hoisin Sauce



Heat oil in a kuali and lightly brown garlic.
Add in pork belly and fry until fragrant, then add in shredded jicama .
Pour in enough water and when it comes to a boil, add in the seasonings.
Transfer to the slow cooker and let it cook until jicama is soft.
Adjust taste with salt and pepper.

To serve Popiah

Drain a cup of warm jicama and leave the rest in the slow cooker for future servings.
Put a popiah skin skin on a plate.
Spread the center section of popiah skin with chilly sauce and hoisin sauce
Place a piece of lettuce on the spread.and top with 1 heaped tbsp of jicama and then top with all the other garnishing ingredents. A little of each type of garnishing is sufficient.
Wrap up tight like you would for the spring roll.


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Monday, January 26, 2009

Lotus Leaf Rice/Chan Gee Kai/Pearly Wrap

A popular dish to be served during the Chinese New Year and a must have order in the Dim Sum restaurants. This dish is sometimes called Loh Mai Kai , Hor Yip Fun or Chan Chu Kai. To me, Loh Mai Kai's ingredients are pretty similar but it is not wrapped up with lotus leaves as in Hor Yip Fun and the meats used are in slices or chunks. This recipe below is called Pearly cos the meats used are all diced into tiny or mini cubes, making them look like Pearls.


2 cups glutinuous or sticky rice - soak for at least 3 hours
1 cup normal rice
4 pieces chicken thighs, seasoned with five spice powder, sesame oil, Chinese wine, dark and light soya sauce, sugar and pepper.
5 Chinese dried mushroom - soaked and cut into cubes
11/4 cup dried shrimps, wash and soak
5 cloves garlics and 10 shallots - chopped
1 pair of Chinese sausage - diced into cubes
1 piece Lap Yoke - soak in hot water, then remove rind and diced into cubes
Enough Chicken Stock to cook the rice
Oil for frying
Lotus leaves for wrapping


Soak two lotus leaves till soft (takes a few hours).
Boil the lotus leaves in hot water. Wash the leaves under running water. Drain, dry and oil the leaves.
Heat wok with a little oil, fry the lap yoke and lap cheong , remove and leave aside..

Fry dried prawns till fragrant then add garlic and shallots .
Add in chicken, mushroom and all the ingredients including the rice. Continue to fry until the rice has been coated with oil.
Sprinkle chicken stock into the rice and continue stirring. Add some dark soya sauce, light soya sauce, pepper and continue to stir and add in more chicken stock until rice has soaked up all the stock and about half cooked (more stock will give a softer texture to the rice)
Let the rice cool a bit for easier handling
Put the lotus leave in a huge bowl, pour in the rice mixture. wrapped it up and cook in the pressure cooker. It may take very much longer if you steam in the conventional way but I with the pressure cooker, it takes only 10 minutes.


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Sunday, January 25, 2009

Bee Koh


A Nyonya dessert, bee koh is made as one of the food offerings for the Festival of the Jade Emperor, a Taoist god. This Nyonya version is made with white sugar while there is a version made with 'gula melaka' and is called 'Kuih Wajid'


500 g glutinous rice, soaked overnight
450 g granulated sugar
1 tablespoon liquid glucose
500 ml thick coconut milk (from 1 grated coconut)

Drain the rice and steam over high heat until cooked.
Stir sugar, liquid glucose and coconut milk in a saucepan over a low fire until sugar dissolves.
Strain mixture and return to the saucepan.
Add in the steamed glutinous rice.
Stir until mixture thickens, about 20 minutes.
Pour into lightly greased trays.
Press down with a small piece of banana leaf or the back of a spoon and a little thick coconut milk.
Cool completely before cutting.

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Saturday, January 24, 2009

Cookie Mama Carrie

The name of these cookies is a mystery to me since the day it appeared on the table of Chinese New Year or Hari Raya spread. I think Mama Carrie must be an artist, as the cookie has some sort of fine art strokes. I really enjoyed putting the strokes on, it does not have to be very fancy, just a single stroke or two makes the cookie so elegant.


6 ozs unsalted butter
8 ozs flour
6 tbsp icing sugar
3 tbsp custard powder
3 tbsp milk powder
1 tsp vanilla essence
1 egg yolk
pinch of salt
Topping :
125 g icing sugar
1/2 egg white
1/2 tbsp corn flour
Chocolate emulco

Sieve custard powder, milk powder, salt and flour together.

Using the food processor, cream butter and icing sugar. Add in vanilla essence and continue creaming.
Add in sieved ingredients and beat till a soft dough is formed.
Remove from food processor and leave to rest for 30 minutes.
Roll to 1/4 inch thick and cut using cookie cutter of your choice.
Arrange the cookies on a tray lined with greaseproof paper or silpat.
Bake at preheated 350 f oven for 10 - 15 minutes.
Let cookies stand for 5 minutes before removing to cool on the baking rack.
When cool, spread the topping, using your finger, it does a better job.
Dip a toothpick into chocolate emulco and sketch on top of the topping.
Put the cookies back to oven which has been turned off, just long enough to set the topping. (the oven temp. should be quite low by now, after all the toppings are done)
Topping :
Mix all ingredients to form a smooth paste


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Friday, January 23, 2009

Dragon cookie

In China, the dragon and the phoenix are traditional animals symbolic of auspiciousness. Along with the lin and the tortoise, they were known as the "Four Supernatural Spirits." According to ancient records, the dragon appeared in a magical variety of forms. It could be long or short, small or gigantic. It could be both secretive yet active, and it also inhabited everywhere from the heights to the depths. Traveling between the skies and earth, dragons were considered the mounts of heavenly deities. They also had the power to control rain.During times of drought, dragons could bestow precious water, and in times of flood, they could stop the rain and clear the skies. It is so true especially when you make these cookies, they turned out long, short, small or gigantic. If the dough is not the right texture, you need dragon strength to pipe and when you are exhausted from piping, disappointment awaits when you open the oven door - the dragon had lost its' scales.

I did not realised that i have left out a whole egg from the recipe, therefore the dough was not right. I managed to adjust the texture with cooking oil and it did the trick - very smooth dough which this old phoenix can tackle. Managed to get a tray baked and it turned out fine but these cookies are so delicate that you have to treat them with tender loving care. To my surprise, the cooking oil did good, making the cookie melts in the month.

Time was not with me last night, it was too late to carry on baking. So, dough has to take a vacation. Very bad idea to let the dough rest, cos with time, gluten developed and the dough was tough as ever.

I refused to give up the idea of making dragons and came up with this new method which i would like to share.

Roll the dough, make straight design with the pineapple roll's rolling pin and then cut across into strips.

Shape the strips into dragons and dot the eye with red coloring


150g butter

90g confectioner's sugar

350g cornflour

20g all purpose flour

1/2 oz milk powder

3 egg yolks

1/2 tsp vanilla essence

2 tbsp milk

2 - 4 tbsp cooking oil


Sift cornflour, all purpose flour and milk powder into a bowl. Set aside.

Sift confectioners' sugar into a mixing bowl. Add butter and beat on medium speed until light and fluffy.

Add yolks one by one, beating well after each. Add in , vanilla essence and milk. Mix well.

Fold in dry ingredients in (1) and mix until a soft dough is formed. Adjust dough texture with cooking oil.

Put dough into a piping bag. Using a star nozzle, pipe out an "S" shape. Dot the eyes red.

Alternatively, roll a tiny piece of dough and roll with the pineapple roll rolling pin to get the lined design. Cut into 2 - 2 1/2 inches strips, (smaller dragons are not as delicate) shape them into dragons and dot the eye red.

Bake in preheated oven at 350 f for 10 - 15 minutes. DO NOT bake till brown. These cookies are suppsoed to be white or yellowish.

Remove from oven and cool on wire racks.

Store in air tight container.


Pipe the design as soon as the dough is ready and well mixed.

Using a smaller star nozzle, creates a better design and make the cookie smaller, longer dragons are too delicate and break, creating a storage problem.

I would suggest that when piping, have the star nozzle touching the baking sheet and pipe out in lines of length of about 2 1/2 inchs, then form the shape of "S"

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Thursday, January 22, 2009

Melting Moments

When i was chatting with my elder daughter, who is in Malaysia, she said that momentarily she misses me and especially during the Chinese New Year, she misses 'Melting Moments' . Guilt ridden, I have to make a batch of these melt-in-your-mouth texture cookies

We used to call them cornflake cookies as we often rolled them in lightly crushed cornflakes or oats cookies when rolled in oats . Either way they are delicious and must always be topped with glace cherry.


5 ozs soft butter
3 ozs fine granulated sugar
1 tsp of vanilla extract
5 ozs self rising flour
Desiccated coconut
Glace cherries
Heat the oven to 350 f.
Cream the butter with the sugar until very light and fluffy.
Beat in the vanilla extract.
Stir in the flour and mix well.
Roll walnut sized pieces of the mixture into balls and toss in dessicated coconut.
Cut each glace cherry into quarters, a quarter for each melting moment.
Place on silpat lined baking trays, flatten slightly and place a small piece of cherry on each cookie.
Bake for 10-15 minutes until golden brown .


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Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Bak Kwa/Long Yoke - Step by Step


The chinese new year celebration will not be the same if this 'bak kwa a.k.a. Long yoke is not served.

The recipe is here Bak Kwa/Long Yoke

Ground Pork

Ingredients for the marinate

More ingredients for the marinate

Mix marinate into ground meat and stir well to combine

Oil an upside-down baking tray

Use a chinese rice bowl to measure a bowl of marinated ground pork

Place ground pork in the middle of tray and top with a little oil to fasilitate movement

Use your fingers and palm to spread the meat to the edges of baking tray

Spread ground pork is ready to go into preheated oven 175 f

Bake for 7 - 10 minutes. Meat should feel dry and will not break when pressed.

Meat is dried and ready to be cut. Use a pair of scissor to cut into big pieces.

Use a off-set spatula to loosen the base of cut meat and remove from baking tray.

Stack them up and in this stage, wrap it in foil and it can be kept in the freezer.

Meat can be grilled over a charcoal stove or like me, it is too cold outside for grilling, so i either use the indoor griddle or pan fry.

Bak Kwa/Long Yoke are ready to enjoy. Pack in Greaseproof/parchment paper and then in an air-tight container and keep in fridge cos it will turn moldy if they are not grilled well.

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Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Prawn Crackers

One of the classic snacks in Malaysia. There are many flavors but prawn is the most favorite of all. My mother-in-law made the best Fish Crackers and how i wished i had learned from here. Now it is too late, recipe and know how are buried with her. God bless her soul.

Prawn Crackers


2 lbs peeled and deveined prawns

2 lbs tapioca starch

4 1/2 tsp salt

4 tsp sugar

2 tsp pepper

1 tsp msg (optional)

Use kitchen towel to dry the prawns.

Put prawn into food processor and process until it becomes a paste.

Add in salt, sugar, pepper and msg
Add in tapioca starch

Transfer to a big bowl and mix in all the tapioca starch until well combined

Transfer to the stand mixer and using the dough hook, knead mixture until very smooth

Roll paste in 1 1/2 inch logs which weighed 8 ozs each log and place in a greased plate.

Cover with a piece of foil which has been greased to prevent paste from sticking to it.
In a pressure cooker, put in 1 inch of water and place a stand to raise the plate above the water. Put the covered plate in and pressurized for 30 minutes.

Logs of prawn paste should be cooked through. Let them cool before wrapping in foil and leave in the freezer to harden, to fasilitate slicing.
Use a sharp knife and cut into very thin slices.
Put the slices in the food dehydrator and dry the slices. Friends in the tropics can sun dry the slices. Friends in Denver, you don't even need the dehydrator, just leave the slices on the cake rack and let it dry at room temp.
Heat enough oil for deep-frying. when oil is hot - 350 f - drop a few pieces of dried crackers and watch them expand. Dish out as soon as they have expanded. Do not overbrown them. Use a spider ladle to aid removing crackers from hot oil.

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