It’s exactly one week to go until Chinese New Year! Have you bought all the necessary things (by necessary I mean mostly food) yet? Some of you have been baking up a frenzy, no doubt. Since we finally got a decent oven for this household, I’ve been hardworking enough to churn out some Chinese New Year cookies as well, and this year I’ve decided to try something new: Salted Egg Yolk Cookies!
Salted Egg Yolk (SEY) anything have always been hugely popular in Malaysia/Singapore and people are putting them in everything: ice cream, croissant, waffles, pasta…. you name it and it has been tried. It’s hard to resist the allure of it, of course. It’s the very definition of umami, and adds that extra decadence to your dishes, be it sweet or savoury. Because of the SEY craze, I’ve tried putting it on pizza, pasta and our favourite concoction has to be these melt-in-the-mouth cookies. Easy to make, absolutely delightful to eat. You just can’t stop at one bite!
Here’s the recipe I use with a little bit of adaptation of my own. It’s pretty straight forward and it goes without saying that the better ingredients you use, the better it will taste. So try to get Salted Egg from the market, and best butter you can buy (I’d suggest Kerrygold because I only use Grassfed butter, the cheaper alternative is Anchor). I added milk powder because I like the taste, you can totally omit it if you wish. Let’s get to it!
Salted Egg Yolk Cookies (adapted from Bake for Happy Kids)
125g Plan Flour
10g Corn Starch
1/8 Teaspoon Baking Powder
2 Salted Egg Yolks
1 Tablespoon Milk Powder
Pinch of Salt
First, cook the salted egg yolks, you may choose to cook the salted egg whole and just scoop out the egg yolks, or steam the yolks alone. What I do is I usually boil the whole egg for about 9 minutes (I’ve tried cooking for shorter time but the egg yolks tend to be undercooked). By the way if you have some fantastic ideas for leftover salted egg whites, send it my way! Mash the egg yolk with a fork and set aside until needed.
Weigh out the ingredients accordingly. I usually do the flour, corn starch baking powder, salt and milk powder together.
In a big bowl, weigh out butter and sugar and mix it together well (you can use a handmixer for this too). Pour the rest of the dry ingredients together along with the salted egg yolks, and mix well.
The dough now should come together easily when you gather by hands.
Flatten the dough to a disc (around 6mm thickness would be ideal) and wrap in cling film to cool in fridge for around half an hour. When you are ready, pick your favourite cookie cutter and cut out the dough. When it’s sufficiently cold, it should be quite easy to handle. If it gets too soft, put it back into the fridge for a while and then continue working.
By now you should have your oven preheated to 170 degree Celsius. This number should yield around 80 small cookies so you can do it in 2 batches. Brush the top with some egg wash and sprinkle sesame seeds on top. The egg wash is important here because not only it will give the cookies a nice sheen, it also acts as a glue for the sesame seeds.
Send the baking tray into the oven and bake for 15 minutes or until lovely golden. Let cool completely and try not to steal too many of it before storing it in airtight container.
I’ve already made 3 batches of these and there’s barely anything left now (it’s only a 3 person household, mind you). Kevin actually finished the first batch in one seating. So much for watching his diet. Hehe. I guess I need to make some more before next week then.
Si Chuan Dou Hua at PARKROYAL Kuala Lumpur is gearing up to usher in the year of the monkey and the team led by Chef Foong Koon Sang has put together a variety of set menus of Yee Sang for diners to swing to a Prosperous New Year. There are 8 menus in total starting from RM388nett for 2 person to RM2188 for 10, so there’s something to suit every budget.
The menu we had the pleasure to sample was RM1988 for 10, so you can imagine the feast we had! Of course, with most Chinese New Year menu, we started with Yee Sang.
We had the Prosperity Sliced Abalone Yee Sang, which comes with plenty of fresh ingredients.
As usual, we muttered all sorts of auspicious wishes. More money, more job opportunities, more happiness and most importantly good health for 2016.
A soup course is to me, the most important part of the dinner and usually for Chinese New Year, really expensive ingredients go into this course. At Si Chuan Dou Hua, they still serve Shark Fin. Personally I don’t eat it due to ethical reasons, and diners may be pleased to know that you can swap your soup course too.
Double-boiled Shark’s Fin Soup with Dried Scallop, Sea Cucumber, Bamboo Piths and Ginseng is definitely nourishing, but the Shark’s Fin free option is equally luxurious.
The 8 Treasure Soup with Seafood comes in a delightful green hue thanks to the addition of Spinach. Little bits of scallop, crab, prawn and more, encased in slightly thickened soup, this is full of umami flavours and definitely satisfying.
Fish signifies abudance so it’s important to eat plenty of them for Chinese New Year. This Tiger Garoupa here is simply steamed and served with Superior Soy Sauce. I love the super tender flesh of the fish, and with such supreme quality, nothing more than a dash of soy to complement the sweetness of the fish.
The Steamed Village Chicken with Chinese Herb was hands down our favourite of the night. The Chicken has just a slight bit of chew, and the skin has absorbed the lovely aroma of Dong Guai. My favourite was the broth, so rich and intense and nourishing. I think we will steal this idea for our reunion dinner.
A prawn dish is also commonly served during Chinese New Year because Prawn is pronounced as “Ha” in Cantonese, so this dish signifies plenty of laughters and happiness for the new year. The Prawns here are deshelled, and coated in a sweet and tangy sauce, not unlike those of Sweet and Sour, but a touch more umami.
Important to note that even though Si Chuan Dou Hua serves Szechuan cuisine, the CNY menu is veered towards Cantonese instead for some reason.
The next course was the Braised Vegetables with Sea Cucumber Dried Scallop, Sliced Abalone, and Dried Oyster. Seems to be a standard dish for any CNY banquet, it’s enjoyable if you love these lux ingredients. For me, it was a good opportunity to fulfill my vegetable intake.
The carb option at Si Chuan Dou Hua this year features this impressive looking Fried Rice with Black Mushroom and Smoked Duck. This is very well done, and totally irresistible as Kevin and I both tucked in double portions.
Our menu ended with double desserts, and the first was the Chilled Grapefruit Sago which was perfect to balance the richness of the meal.
Filled with bits of fruits and sago, the grapefruit and mango cream is delightful to savour.
And if you can fill yourself with more food, these deep fried nian gao with yam will sure end your dinner with a good note.
The 8 Set Menus (including a Vegetarian set) is available from 18th January to 22 February. Besides the above, Chef Foong has also crafted two ‘Poon Choy 7-Course Feast’ set menus which will be complemented by six other courses including a Prosperity Salmon Yee Sang or Wealth Sliced Abalone Yee Sang.Available from 1 January to 22 February, the sets are priced at RM418 nett for 2 to 5 persons and RM988 nett for 6 to 10 persons.
Celebrate Chinese New Year at Chatz Brasserie with a buffet lunch and buffet dinner on 7, 8 and 9 February from 12.30pm to 4.00pm and 6.30pm to 10.30pm. All buffets include unlimited flow of juices and soft drinks.
Buffet Lunch – RM88 nett for 1 person, RM160 nett for 2 persons, RM232 nett for 3 persons, RM308 nett for 4 persons and a savings of 20% for 5 to 10 persons.
Buffet Dinner – RM138 nett for 1 person, RM248 nett for 2 persons, RM358 nett for 3 persons, RM468 nett for 4 persons and a savings of 20% for 5 to 10 persons.
For reservations or enquiries, please call +603 2147 0088 or email email@example.com
I go to Kuala Lumpur Golf & Country Club on a weekly basis because I perform every Thursday (and sometimes other nights too) at one of their dining outlets, Connoisseurs Lounge & Restaurant. From time to time my band also gets invited to perform at special occasions such at CIMB Classics several moons ago. Needless to say, this is almost like a second home to me. There are several restaurants covering different cuisines at KLGCC, and you might be surprised to find out that these are all open to the public (just remember to keep up with the dresscode).
I received an invitation to dine at China Treasures and sample their Chinese New Year menu. Initially I had invited my keyboardist Vicky to come along to just eat, but as luck would have it, I received a call to replace the band that night. So as workaholics we are, we decided to do both anyway. It was my first time stepping into China Treasures and it is everything I expected: sophisticated, elegant but not over the top. The ambience is welcoming and non-pretentious. We left ourselves on the capable hands of Chef Eddie Chua and let’s take a look at the food.
The Yee Sang at China Treasures is kept relatively traditional with Salmon. There are also other options such at Abalone too. After the usual chanting of auspicious phrases, we tossed our Yee Sang with gusto!
Various forms of seafood soup is always present during Chinese New Year feast and here we were treated to a Crab Meat Soup with Braised Seafood.
Letting the natural sweetness of the seafood comes through, this is made perfect with just a tiny splash of vinegar. Of course everyone has their own preference but this is good enough for me to finish.
Well this is probably the most interesting dish of the night. The rectangle you see is actually fish cake wrapped with crispy chicken skin. There are almond flakes too, on the other side. Taste wise, you can tell the freshest fish is used and I just love the fun textural contrast with the smooth paste and crispy skin. Brilliant! In the middle was some black bean chicken presented in a fried vermicelli basket. It was tasty, but nothing to shout about.
The cod is merely steamed to perfected and seasoned with premium soy sauce, placed on a bed of sauteed mushrooms, dressed with the usual spring onion, chili and coriander. Might be simple, but the taste is textbook perfect. Needless to say, it was the most popular dish of the night.
Almost every restaurant serves this dish for their Chinese New Year menu. Why Broccoli? It isn’t really a Chinese vegetable to begin with. But anyway, I wouldn’t say no to some healthy greens. The Oyster rolls themselves are tasty though, with substantial pieces of whole dried oysters encased with fish paste.
The Chinese direct translation for this dish is actually Prawns with “Strange taste”, haha. I guess that probably would scare a few people. But strange taste it was not, the hot and sour (and slightly sweet) notes would appeal to many. Bonus for perfectly cooked prawns with its bouncy texture.
X.O. sauce is always good with carbs and here the fried rice is made decadent with the addition of scallops. Very hearty.
Finishing our feast on a sweet note, the soy bean we were told is homemade. I can’t say I have had this preparation before, although white fungus is commonly seen in Chinese sweet tong sui. This is as comforting as it sounds and nourishing too, especially for us women.
The CNY set menu is available now until the 8th of March. Options of 6 pax and 10 pax, pricing ranges from RM1102.88 to the most premium Wealth Prosperity menu at RM4740.88. Place your reservation now for a wonderful gathering with your loved ones.
I have always been quite fond of Celestial Court, having visited a couple of times in the past couple of years. If you haven’t been, make sure you check out their weekend dim sum buffet (now priced at RM98++ per pax). And having sampled their CNY menu last year, I know that Chef Vincent Loo will not disappoint this year. So I invited my daughter/band mate Vicky with me to toss our first Yee Sang of the year.
It’s now customary to have Yee Sang for CNY and I always love to see creativity with Yee Sang ingredients because you know, after a while every Yee Sang starts to taste the same. Here, we see a couple of unusual ingredients: Swordfish (pronounced without the W by the way), and Arctic Char Fish.
Netherland Arctic Char Fish? Sounds fancy! Mr Google tells me it is closely related to Salmon and Ocean Trout, hence the similarity in facial features and the colour of its flesh. Tastes rather similar too.
After pouring everything into the plate along with auspicious wishes, we were ready to toss. The higher you go, the better! Needless to say, our table was the noisiest, thanks to yours truly, Mr Fatboybakes and Miss Rebecca Saw.
Despite having been to quite a few CNY review, I have managed to miss out on Poon Choi and that was finally rectified this year. Celestial Court offers a Premium Treasure Pot featuring a total of 18 ingredients.
Each ingredient here is cooked separately and then meticulously arranged in layers, and this signifies abundance in the coming year. It’s fun fishing out different ingredients and make sure you taste the superior stock which has been infused with all that surf and turf components.
There are abalones, scallops, dried scallops, sea cucumbers, prawns, sea asparagus, roast duck, roast chicken and various vegetables. Each component is cooked perfectly too, I think my favourite would have to be the juicy prawns and the super tender sea cucumber.
This is such a pretty dish with all that vibrant colours. I am a lover of Asparagus so this instantly grabbed my attention. Interestingly the prawn is cooked with nutmeg, which imparts some sweetness and its distinct pungent aroma to the prawns. The prawns were crispy and I didn’t mind the slight dousing of mayo (my inner kid approves). The smoked chicken induced a round of discussion as KJ insisted it tastes like duck, but I have to agree it’s very well smoked with a nice bite. I’ll say this is my favourite dish of the night, and Vicky agrees too.
More Asparagus and I certainly won’t complain. I like how clean this dish look, and each component tastes of their natural sweetness. My favourite would probably be the pumpkin, and I thought that adding Macadamia nuts is a decadent touch.
Never one to pass up an opportunity for controversy, I very quickly pointed out that Hasma has something to do with Frog’s reproductive organ, and google further confirmed that it is indeed Frog’s fallopian tube. Who discovered this?! Anyway, hasma is considered a delicacy and claims to replenish vital essence in the lungs, kidneys, and improving skin complexion. I guess it doesn’t hurt to try. By the way, I had half the refreshing syrup before reading the menu and when Cheng Yi heard “Earl Grey” he literally jumped. Heard that he had a sleeplessness because of this. Hah!
Thank you Shirley and Youhe for another fabulous meal!
Plan your Chinese New Year gathering with your loved ones today at Celestial Court, Sheraton Imperial Kuala Lumpur Hotel.
3. Braised Garden Chicken with Lettuce in Dried Scallop Sauce
Half – RM 60++ Whole – RM120++
4. Combination of Barbeque Premium
Small – RM 68++ Medium – RM 102++ Large – RM136++
5. Signature Braised Duck with Ginger, Water Chestnut and Bean Curd Stick
Small – RM 68++ Medium – RM 102++ Large – RM136++
Vegetables & Bean Curd
1. Stir-fried Scallops with Pumpkin, Asparagus, Celery and Macadamia Nut
Small – RM 88++ Medium – RM 132++ Large – RM 176++
2. Home-styled Special Assorted Vegetarian Curry in Claypot
Small – RM 38++ Medium – RM 57++ Large – RM 76++
3. Braised Vegetarian with Glass Noodle in Claypot
Small – RM 38++ Medium – RM 57++ Large – RM 76++
4. Braised Bean Curd with Marrow Gourd and Assorted Seafood
Small – RM 68++ Medium – RM 108++ Large – RM 138++
5. Stir-fried Seasonal Vegetables with Dried Prawn Topping
Small – RM 58++ Medium – RM 88++ Large – RM 116++
Noodle & Rice
1. Braised Rice with Roasted Duck and Dried Scallops in Abalone Sauce
Small – RM 80++ Medium – RM 120++ Large – RM 160++
2. Thai Fried Rice with Tomato, Seafood and Walnut
Small – RM 60 ++ Medium – RM 90 ++ Large – RM 120++
3. Fried Rice with Pickled Cabbage, Minced Chicken and Mushroom
Small – RM 38++ Medium – RM 58++ Large – RM 76++
4. Fried Rice with Minced Duck and French Bean in Peanut Sauce
Small – RM 38++ Medium – RM 58++ Large – RM 76++
5. Wok Fried Glass Noodle pairs with Rice Noodle with Crispy Cod Fish
Small – RM 80++ Medium – RM 120++ Large RM160++
6. Signature Prawn Consommé with Egg Noodles, Seafood and Enoki Mushroom
Small – RM 60 ++ Medium – RM 90 ++ Large – RM 120++
7. Wok-fried Flat Noodle with Beef, Spring Onions, Ginger in Black Bean Sauce
Small – RM 38++ Medium – RM 58++ Large RM 76++
Celestial Court, Level 3, Sheraton Imperial Kuala Lumpur,
Jalan Sultan Ismail, Kuala Lumpur.
Tel: 03-2717 9900 ext 6988
or email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Business hours: Lunch, Mon to Sat, noon to 2.30pm;
Sun and public holidays, 10.00am to 2.30pm.
Dinner, daily, 6.30pm to 10.30pm.
If I were to choose a few meals to eat before I die, Hainanese Chicken Rice would be amongst the Top 3. I’m not sure when or how I fell in love with this dish (certainly not when I was growing up because Bintulu is deprived of good Chicken Rice), but I can tell you this is something I will never get sick of. In fact, if you want me to get really really fat, just serve me this everyday and I simply would not be able to resist it.
And my love for Hainanese Chicken Rice was reaffirmed during the year I did my Medical Elective in Singapore. For a month, I was stationed in a couple of hospitals and one day, a local friend brought me to this place called Boon Tong Kee, which is famous for its Chicken Rice. Yes I know Tian Tian is supposedly the best in Singapore but I met BTK first! Anyway, I remember there were 3 of us, and we polished off the whole chicken and then some. I’ve never had such smooth skin, such fragrant rice and such complex chili sauce. By the way they also do this superb tofu dish which you must try if you ever visit.
Anyway, from then on everytime I visit Singapore, I insist on going to Boon Tong Kee (a tip for you KL people: If you take Odyssey Bus to Singapore it brings you straight to the Balestier Road branch). I had since tried Tian Tian but it didn’t have the same magic. To each their own right?
So for this month’s Asian Food Fest, what else but Hainanese Chicken Rice for my first submission! This is not a difficult dish to make, but you do have to multitask. From start to finish, it takes about an hour give and take. As I’m the only one in my household who eats chicken, I decided to just go with half chicken so I can get 3 meals out of it. I didn’t go for fancy chicken either, just regular supermarket non-organic one because otherwise I will have to go for whole chicken. There is a trick to ensure smooth skin though, which I will mention later.
This wasn’t the first time I made this dish, but compared to last time, I think I have nailed the rice! Adding the chicken fat and pre-frying the rice really does make a difference. I’ve also made my own chili sauce this time, which proved to be really easy if you have a blender.
3-4 stalks Spring Onion
3-4 slices Ginger
2 Cloves Garlic, smashed
Water, enough to submerge chicken in a pot
1 tablespoon of Shaoxing Wine
1 tablespoon of Sesame oil
Clean the chicken and remove any stray feathers. Rub some salt over the skin and perform a little massage, the skin will be smoother if you do this.
Submerge chicken in a pot of water and add ginger, garlic and spring onion. Bring to boil and start removing the impurities on the water surface with a mesh strainer. Gentle simmer for about 10 minutes, then turn the chicken over and cook for another 10-15 minutes. You want the chicken to be just cooked, so remember to use really fresh chicken. If not, then cook for another extra 10-15 minutes to ensure food safety.
Once the chicken is cooked, lift it out gently and then submerge in a pot/large bowl of ice water. This helps stop the cooking process and also tighten the skin. Just before serving, drain all the water and rub the chicken with some Shaoxing wine and Sesame oil. Chop into smaller pieces.
The remaining broth will be served with the chicken rice after tasting for seasoning (just simple salt will do).
1 cups of Jasmine Rice
1 cups of Chicken stock from cooking chicken
Some Chicken Fat (I managed to trim off about 1 tablespoon worth)
1 tablespoon Sesame Oil
Few slices Ginger
2 Cloves Garlic, Minced
2 pandan leaves, rinsed and tied into a knot
In a pot, render the chicken fat, and then add sesame oil, ginger, garlic, take extra care not to burn them. Add rinsed rice and stir fry for a few seconds, then ladle in the Chicken stock, and place the pandan leaves on top. If you are using a rice cooker, you will need to move everything into the rice cooker pot. I usually cook my rice on the stove top so it’s a matter of turning the heat to lowest, cover and cook until all water is absorbed.
Chilli Dipping Sauce
3 large Chillies, chopped coarsely
1 Cili Padi i.e. bird’s eye chilli (optional), chopped coarsely
2 cloves of Garlic, peeled and chopped coarsely
1 small knob of Ginger, chopped coarsely
3 large Calamansi Limes, juiced into a small bowl
1-2 tbsp Chicken Poaching Liquid
1/4 tsp salt
Place all the ingredients into a food blender and blitz everything until a smooth paste is formed. Transfer into sauce dishes or a small bowl and set aside.
Topping and Garnish
Thick black soy sauce
1 stalk of spring onion, chopped (Can also use Coriander)
Several Cucumber Slices
You can assemble the Chicken rice according to your preference. As I was cooking for one, I arranged some cucumber slices on a large round place and place the chicken pieces on top, sprinkled some spring onion, then serve my rice next to it, with the chili sauce on the side. I also dish up a bowl of chicken broth garnished with spring onion. Needless to say, it was a satisfying meal.
The smooth soft chicken rice, tender meat, aromatic rice, tangy and spicy chili sauce, and the comforting light broth; I can’t think of a better homecooked meal. Though after this attempt, it will be a while until I do it again to keep my waistline where it should be.
Phew…. another crazy week has gone by and can’t believe this is already the end of August! Today is also Malaysia’s Independence Day and I basically spent the whole day recuperating in bed. Well, and cook, of course. And since this is the last day for the Taiwan leg of Asian Food Fest, I better get this post finished by midnight.
Uhh…. I’m not here to boast, but my grandma and my mom make the best Oyster Omelette and so far I don’t think I have had better anywhere else. Well of course my grandma is an expert in the kitchen and she makes pretty much everything from scratch and does not limit herself to only Teochew cuisine, but also many Foochow/Hakka dishes too. The Oyster omelette she makes always has the right balance of crispiness, stickiness and great umami flavour. She uses a specific type of canned oysters and the mixes the juices in as well, which apparently gives a better flavour then just using fresh oysters. I believe her version is very traditionally Teochew (it’s also very different to the one serve in KL or Penang), so naturally I’m curious about the Taiwanese version too.
Like I have mentioned previously, I have never been to Taiwan so I don’t know how the authentic Taiwanese Oyster Omelette tastes like. But I did try it once at a popular Taiwanese restaurant called Fong Lye and I bet their version isn’t even close to the good ones in Taiwan. But there are plenty of recipes online, so I went ahead to my local Village Grocer and found some frozen oysters, along with other essential ingredients. This was also the first time I’ve actually tried Tong Ho (茼蒿), a popular green vegetables much loved by the Taiwanese. It’s actually a very simple recipe but the trick is that you have to keep everything together so you can work fast. It only takes about 5 minutes and the result is a very satisfying treat. At least for me because I sure love my oysters! I decided to keep the sauce simple because I don’t have cornstarch at home, I believe the basic flavours are there, but purist would probably scoff at me.
Simplified Version of sauce: 1 Tablespoon Ketchup 1 Tablespoon Chili Sauce 1 Tablespoon Rice vinegar 1/2 Teaspoon Fish Sauce
Mix everything together well and set aside.
Oyster Omelette 1 egg ¼ teaspoon salt Pinch ground white pepper 2 Tablespoon Sweet Potato Starch 2 Tablespoon Tapioca Starch 1/4 cup cold water 1 tablespoon Lard 1 Clove of Garlic, chopped Handful of Raw oysters (I used about 10) 1 stalk of Spring Onion, chopped 1/4 Tong Ho, roughly torn or chopped
Mix Sweet Potato Starch and Tapioca Starch with water and set aside.
Heat the oil (Lard for best result) in pan over medium high heat. Add the garlic and cook until aromatic, then add all the oysters and cook for about 30 seconds. Add the starch slurry, then crack an egg in. Break up the yolk slightly with the spatula. Place the Tong Ho and Spring onion on top and let it cook for about a minute.
Loose the side of the omelette to ensure smooth flipping process. I recommend using 2 spatulas for this. Once flipped over, cook for another minute or until the egg is set. Pour over the sauce and serve immediately.
I generally don’t like cooked oysters but I would gladly make this an exception. It’s so easy to make now I know what to do whenever I get a craving. Oh and if this is eaten without the sauce it’s basically Paleo too! I think next time I will have it with some homemade Sriracha.
I have a confession: I’m obsessed with Taiwan as a country. The entertainment industry (I’m guilty of following all the current talk shows and my favourite is Kang Xi Lai Le 康熙來了), the food, the culture in general; but I have never been to this country! I think that one day when I finally set foot there I’ll probably cry tears of happiness. Not joking. I’ll definitely be stalking a few celebrities, and visit all the night markets that has appeared on TV. And most of all, I’ll definitely put on a few kilos with the growing list of food I want to eat in Taiwan.
But since this month’s Asian Food Fest is covering Taiwanese Cuisine, it’s a perfect opportunity for me to at least try my hand on some of these recipes. With Taiwanese cuisine, I can tell you that I do have to throw the Paleo diet out the window. After all, it’s all about rice, noodles, and even their ‘xiao chi’ is mostly gluten or grain based. Once in a while won’t hurt I guess. Not that I’m been super strict lately anyway as I’ve been eating out a little more often due to my workload.
But anyway, the number 1 dish I wanted to try was the super sinful Lu Rou Fan 滷肉飯 (Roughly translated to Minced Pork Rice). It’s one of the most talked about dish on talk shows and everyone seems to have their favourite. As I understand there are 2 types of Lu Rou Fan, one with very finely minced fatty pork, and the other type with diced pork belly. Knowing me, of course I prefer the latter. Just check this out:
Lu Rou Fan is considered comfort food and is available pretty much everywhere. It can be enjoyed anytime of the day really and I’d say this makes for a perfect after party supper (not that I’m advocating having supper, or partying, for that matter). At its simplest form, it’s just meat over rice, although eggs are commonly added. Some places serve this with green vegetables, some with Japanese pickled daikon. But there’s no denying that this will please any porcine lover. Well it most definitely pleased me. Over and over again. I love cooking a huge portion for one. Hehe.
Cooking this is relatively easy, and I opted for the lazy method with my trusty Philips Pressure Cooker so the cooking time was significantly reduced. But I have typed out both lazy and traditional methods for you.
500g of skin-on pork belly, cut into small dices (think of dicing thick-cut bacons)
3 cloves of garlic, chopped
40g Rock Sugar
1/4 cup good soy sauce (I used a mixture of liquid aminos and dark soy, you might want to adjust the ratio depending on how dark your soy sauce is)
1/4 cup (45 grams) of Chinese rice wine
1 small stick of cinnamon
1 tsp of ground white pepper
1/4 tsp of five spice powder
1/2 cup of fried shallots (store-bought or homemade)
2 cups (710 grams) of water
5 large hard-boiled eggs, peeled
Pressure Cooker Method:
Dump everything except for the eggs into the pot and cook with pressure on for 30minutes. Release pressure and add hardboiled eggs, cook uncovered until the sauce thickens and reduced significantly. Season to taste.
Stove Top Method:
Heat non-stick pan and add pork belly (no oil needed, it’s fatty enough!) to cook for a few minutes until the fat is starting to render. Add garlic and cook until fragrant, then add soy sauce, rock sugar, cinnamon, rice wine, white pepper, fried shallots. Mix everything together and then finally add water and bring to a simmer. Cook for around 1 and 1/2 hour to 2 hours on medium-low heat until the sauce is thickened slightly and the pork is starting to get quite tender. Add hard-boiled egg and cook for 10-15 minutes further until the sauce is nicely gelatinous. You may need to add water during the cooking process if the liquid is reducing too fast.
Serve the Lu Rou over rice garnished with greens of your choice, and watch it disappear!
Meltingly tender pork, the aroma of 5 spice, savoury sweet sticky gravy, with perfectly cook eggs (I like my egg yolk just set or slightly runny). I served mine with some homemade pickled daikon for that extra bit of piquancy. Mmmm that was such a perfect meal.
Sunway Pyramid isn’t somewhere I frequent due to the distance (and laziness, mostly to sit through the traffic), but the month of April is extra tempting with their World of Cravings campaign. During this month, there is a special promotion for different restaurant each day and diners get to join contests to win attractive prizes. One of these restaurants is Paradise Inn, which is a subsidiary of the Paradise Group founded in 2011.
The concept of Paradise Inn is simple and charming with authentic yet affordable food; as Inns are traditionally referring to teahouses. Here they serve a variety of double boiled soups, fruits and flowers tea and most importantly a lot of good pork dishes. Some dishes are given a new life with modern interpretations. Needless to say, this is a place suitable for all kinds of occasions. The interior is clearly Oriental with tailor made Chinese lanterns, rustic terracotta bricks with accents of Chinese Symbols.
I arrived in the restaurant with a hearty appetite after a long day of meetings and photoshoot (read: didn’t eat much during the day) and was happy to see the different pots of flower teas, good to relax my mind.
All the tea has Chrysanthemum and Dried Longan as the base and my favourite is between the one with Lavendar/Rosemary and the crowd favourite with Forget me not/Rose. Each comes with their own list of health benefits too.
Paradise Inn takes their Double-boiled Soups seriously and we got to try 2 of them. The Double-Boiled Black Chicken with Ginseng is something I would do at home during hectic gig period as it’s good for our respiratory system and at the same time rejuvenates the body. The soup is savoury with a touch of bitterness from the ginseng, very comforting.
The Water Goby with Fresh Apple soup on the other hand, is a rather unusual combination for me and I’m pleasantly surprised by the clean flavours and subtle sweetness. This is also good for the lungs and claims to re-energise the mind too.
With all that liquid in my stomach, I was happy to get started on their signature dishes. The first one, is their Stew Pork Belly served with Lotus Bun. The pork belly has absorbed all the flavours from the stewing and is amazingly tender. Love the mouth feel along with the soft bun. The serving is quite substantial though so one if definitely enough.
We tried their Crystal Prawns cooked in 2 ways and I fell in love with the Salted Egg Yolk version. Then again, nothing will taste bad with an Umami salted egg yolk coating. With the crispy exterior and juicy sweet prawns, this is definitely a winner.
The Wasabi Mayo version has a vibrant and alluring green hue, yet the wasabi taste is quite subtle and I was a little surprised by the sweetness of the sauce. It’s still delicious nonetheless.
I can’t resist a good chicken wing and here it’s marinated with Shrimp Paste and then fried to perfection. It has a lovely depth of flavour and a great mouth feel. Finger-licking good!
Almost every Cantonese themed restaurant offers a Chinese Spinach soup with 3 types of eggs and here they up the ante by adding some mince pork too. The greens are still crunchy and vibrant, and the broth is absolutely delicious with the usage of superior stock and the eggy flavours. In fact, I would be happy to indulge in this dish alone, no need for rice. Yum.
A traditional Chinese feast would not be complete with some carb dishes. And to my stomach’s dismay, I decided to try all of them.
The seafood fried rice gets its golden colour from egg yolk apparently and is topped with some crispy rice puffs, which is a creative touch. It’s incredibly aromatic and you get bits of fish roe in between bites too.
Even more tasty is this one with Chinese sausage and Mushrooms, full of umami flavours and a touch of sweetness too. I have to stop myself from having more to prevent a food coma.
But the ultimate winner of the night has to be this sinful Braised Vermicelli with Pork Trotters, presenting in all its glistening glory. The trotters are braised for hours, resulting in a wonderful gelatinous texture releasing all the collagen into the vermicelli. There is a slight char taste which means the dish even more addictive. So good!
I barely had any space for this but I did make sure I try the noodles with a couple pieces of crispy pork lard. Plenty of wok hei in this one, rivaling some of the best Hokkien Mees I’ve had in KL.
I was impressed with the standard of the food here and would not hesitate if anyone suggest to visit Paradise Inn again (or any of the restaurants within the Paradise Group, in fact). The service here is excellent too.
So a bit more on the World of Cravings running from 1st to 30th April:
During this month, when customer spend above RM50 (RM40 for HSBC cardholders) , they’re entitled to join the contest and 10 lucky diners can stand a chance to win RM2,000 worth of Sunway Pals points each.
2) Immediate Redemption
By spending RM150 (RM100 for HSBC cardholder) in a single receipt, diners will be rewarded with RM20 worth of Sunway Pals points.
3) Tap. Eat. Save!
Everyday in the month of April, 1 F&B tenant in Sunway Pyramid will be having a promotion. To be entitled for such promotion, diners have to download Sunway Pyramid mobile app and present it to the restaurants.
Paradise Inn is doing their part in the campaign on the 27th April:
10% Off for Any of the 8 types of Double Boiled Soup for the entire month
50% Off for Any of the 8 types of Double Boiled Soup on 27 April 2014.
Terms & Conditions
– Applicable for Dine In only
– Price are subject to 10% Services Charges & prevailing government tax
– Not applicable with any other promotions, voucher or credit card discount
I have never been a fan of fried rice, but lately, I think I’m addicted. Not just original fried rice of course, and you guessed it: Fried “Cauli Rice” or Cauliflower Fried Rice. Whatever it’s called, there is no actual rice in this, and the grain is replaced by grated or pulsed cauliflower, making this an ultra healthy meal.
As I have mentioned in my previous post on Cauliflower Crust Pizza, we have been going through kilos of Cauliflowers lately. And of all the recipes, the fried rice is the simplest and quickest, perfect for a busy lifestyle or pure laziness when I’m recuperating from my weekend gigs. In fact, I’m quite happy to have it few days in a row, just changing around the ingredients to keep it exciting.
Traditionally, fried rice is made with whatever you have sitting in your fridge (at least the homecooked versions are), and it’s generally quite a quick dish. However, with cauliflower rice, the total cooking time is reduced dramatically. Just pulse, chop ingredients, fry everything together and voila! Your lunch/dinner is served.
It’s entirely up to you what you want to put in the Fried Cauli Rice. I generally add a couple of other vegetables, bacon (or omit for vegetarian if Frank is joining me for the meal), and of course an egg or two would be essential. As for the seasoning, I either stick to just a sprinkling of salt and pepper, or a dash of fish sauce. Sometimes I even throw in some spices for a curried version. It’s extremely versatile.
Cauliflower Fried Rice (for 1)
1 clove of Garlic, minced
1 stick Celery, diced
2 Strips of Streaky Bacon, chopped
Pinch of Salt and Pepper
1 teaspoon Fish Sauce*
1 Chili Padi, chopped
Cut or tear the florets by hand, remove excess moisture and pulse in food processor or blender until resembling rice. If you don’t have either of those, you could also grate, or finely dice by knife.
Add bacon pieces into a pan and turn on the heat (generally no oil is needed for this dish, but feel free to use a tablespoon of ghee or coconut oil if not using a non-stick pan), cook bacon until slightly brown.
Add garlic and celery and stir fry for a minute until fragrant, then push everything aside.
Beat egg and pour into the pan and cook until just set. Break up into small pieces and push aside.
Add “Cauli rice” and mix everything together. Cover the lid for 2-3 minutes until Cauli rice is tender. Season to taste before turning off the heat. Sprinkle chili on top. Serve hot.
*If strict Paleo, use Red Boat Fish Sauce or Coconut Aminos.
It’s possible to enjoy a delicious meal and feel good too. The dish above was my lunch yesterday, and today I had another version with Purple cabbage and Mushrooms, which added an extra touch of colour.
Have I convinced you to give Cauliflower rice a try yet? 😉
It’s the first day of the Chinese (Lunar) New Year and here I would like to wish everyone Happy Year of the Horse! May this year be a successful one filled with joy, good health and prosperity! How are you celebrating your first day? I’ve been drooling at all the CNY feasts and checking out all the pretty outfits and cheongsam my friends have shared over their social media sites.
As for me, I’ve had a small dinner last night with Frank, and today I am spending the day baking at home. My hometown is over an hour flight away and this year I’m remaining in my third home (KL). Thus I don’t really have relatives to visit. I’m meeting up with a few friends tomorrow and didn’t want to go empty-handed, so I prepared something very special for them: Bacon Bakkwa!
Couple of years ago, a friend of mine brought over a pack of these for me, and it was love at first sight (the Bakkwa not my friend). I heard that people have to queue up to buy these and they are not cheap at all. So I decided to google and found a couple of useful recipes. Turns out it’s incredibly easy to make, and even easier than regular bakkwa! So off I went for an emergency groceries trip and these crazy deliciousness were born. The recipe I was referring to uses a few salty ingredients; I simplified it because Bacon itself should be salty enough. Feel free to adjust to your own taste though.
Bacon Bakkwa (adapted from I am What I Cook)
300g Streaky Bacon, sliced in half
1/4 Cup Castor Sugar
1/3 Cup Honey
1/2 Cup Water
1 tablespoon 5 Spice Powder
1 teaspoon Shao Xing Wine
1 teaspoon Soy Sauce
Rinse the bacon to get rid of the excess water from the packaging if any, pat dry and set aside.
Mix sugar, honey, water and microwave for a minute to dissolve sugar, then mix in the 5 spice powder and soy sauce.
Coat bacon slices with marinade, cover and leave in fridge overnight (or 12 hours)
Preheat Oven to 200C and bake the bacon slices in batches for about 10 minutes or until caramelized. Drain off the fat, let cool completely and store in airtight container for up to 2 weeks (That’s if you can control yourself not to consume everything at once).
I think you should be able to make this a little more Paleo friendly by omitting sugar and soy sauce, just use more honey or maple syrup. I shall experiment more with these soon!
Of course, I had a small piece to taste and they were just as good as the one I was given last time, maybe even better! Chewy, sweet, savoury, smoky, addictive! I have no doubt they will go empty in minutes. Do try this if you want to impress your guests!