Friday 26 June 2015

Mushrooms Aglio Olio

Mushrooms aglio olio for hubby...

If you are thinking of instant noodle, why not try making aglio olio? It is easier and cooked within 10-15minutes is a healthier choice :)

Detail method of cooking spaghetti is found in my recipe for Bolognese Spaghetti.

8-10pcs swiss brown - sliced
4 cloves of garlic - chopped
1-2 tablespoons olive oil
2 stalks spring onion - cut 1 inch length
1/2 tsp chicken stock powder/knorr chicken seasoning powder

100g -125g  spaghetti
Water for cooking spaghetti
1 tablespoon of oil
2 tsp salt

1. Cook the spaghetti in boiling salted  water(added oil) according to packet instructions and drain  thoroughly. Set aside. Note : keep 1/2 cup of water after boiling the spaghetti.

2. Fry garlic in olive oil until fragrance and golden brown.  Remove fried garlic into a bowl, leave  the oil in the wok. Add mushrooms in the wok and fry until soft. Add chicken powder and 1/4 cup of the water from boiling spaghetti. 

3. When the mushrooms sauce is boiled, add the cooked  spaghetti.  Stir well. Check saltiness. Adjust to your taste. Last add the fried garlic and spring onion. Off fire and turn into a serving dish. Serve while it is hot.

Wednesday 24 June 2015

Ama's Pan Fry Dark Soy Pork Chop

This is mother-in-law's signature dish.  Hubby and children love this dish very much. Mum-in-law used to use more sugar and dark soy sauce for this dish. Over years, for healthier choice, I have reduced the sugar and dark soy sauce. And I have added plum sauce. For this dish, the kind of soy sauce play a important part.  I use Tai Hua special grade dark soy sauce because my Mum-in-law has been using it for years and I follow. Mum-in-law is very loyal to this brand. She doesn't like to change brand once she finds it is good.  Similarly,  I too do not like to change the type of soy sauce in my house.  Personally,  I prefer the taste of special grade soy sauce both dark and light. 
When I started to learn cooking,  I did tried other brands. But after several trying,  I still find this brand is more to my liking. It could be my taste buds has been accustomed to my Mum-in-law's dish.  :)
To do this dish, it is better to half frozen the meat first then cut. Then you will be able to get a thinner slice.

600g pork chop without bone
2.5 tablespoons dark soy sauce*
1 tablespoon plum sauce
1/4 teaspoon pepper
2 tablespoons sesame oil
1.5 tablespoons soft brown sugar
1 small onion -chopped
1 clove garlic - chopped
1 tablespoon cooking oil

1. Cut the pork chop into thin slices 3mm thick. And use the top of the knife or a kitchen hammer to  gently chop/hammer each slice of meat. 
2. Place all meat in a big bowl, seasoned the meat with the rest of ingredients.  Mix well. Cling wrap and leave in the chiller for at least 30min.
3. In a wok , put in oil and chopped onion and garlic and fry until fragrance and light brown.  Remove the fried onion and garlic and leave the oil in the wok.
Alternatively, if you are using a stainless steel wok, you may turn you stainless steel into Non-stick wok and do not required any oil for healthier choice.
4. With moderate fire in the same wok with leftover oil, spread each slice of meat onto the wok to pan fry.Do it piece by piece until you finish all the meat. Flip the meat as you are spreading the meat on the wok. You may want to low the fire if the meat is burning.  Make sure every piece is pan fry on both side. There might be some liquid, turn to high heat and let the meat soaked up all liquid. Once all are done. Add the fried onion and garlic. Off the fire. Remove from wok and serve.

Note* : the saltiness depend on what brand of dark soy you use. I use tai hua special grade dark soy. 

You may like to try this braised pork recipe to cook pork in the different way. And this good for kong bak bao. 

Monday 15 June 2015

Ama's Nonya Chang (Rice Dumplings)

Lunar 5th month 5th day is dumpling festival. Approaching this day you will see everywhere in Singapore selling dumpling 粽子(Hokkien called it bak chang). One month before the festive,  supermarket and wet market or provision stalls will be seeing them selling the ingredients for making dumpling.

Mum-in-law makes very nice nonya dumpling. She has experience in making this dumpling for over 50 years. She is a very good cook. Over years she has fine tuned her recipe to suit our taste. She likes to experiment new recipe with her taste buds. She did many homecooked food based her knowledge and wisdom and fine tune along the way. Hubby also like eating Nonya Dumpling and  the only bak chang he will eat is his mum's nonya chang.

In the past years especially those years when I was living with my in-laws, I do help in the wrapping process when mum-in-laws make this dumplings. I have never really help 
in preparation or frying the fillings or ingredients. 

Few years ago, I asked my mum-in-laws for her recipe. The older generations have their recipe all stored in human "memory chip". Mum-in-laws has been making this for over 50years that it is like drinking water - easy. Of course it is alot of work involved. After asking her for recipe, I kept the recipe for few years and did nothing about it because she make such yummy bak chang that I prefer to eat her bak chang. 

Few weeks ago, I was at Sheng Siong supermarket and saw this packet coriander seeds hanging on the rack. I bought it and came home pan fry it and grind it into powder. This is how I started...perhaps I should try making mum-in-law's bak chang...So I started buying the dried bamboo leaves and string and kept them in my store room. Preparing, in case I want to make dumplings someday...

Yesterday, since I have all the ingredients in my kitchen. Started soaking the glutinous rice at 10am. And defrost the fresh meat which I bought earlier from wet market. In the process I realised this:

Eating bak chang is so easy...just open your mouth and you can finish it within minutes. But making bak chang is really an experience and long "process". From preparation to cooking the ingredients, washing the leaves.. to wrap, then boiling the bak chang in hot water and continue adding hot water to make sure no drying up and the patiently wait until it is completely cooked is really alot of work and time. Today I made 11 bak changs using 500g of rice with 800g meat plus 100g winter melons with all other spices and ingredients. ..took me few hours. 

I cut the meat at about 2pm and put it aside in the chiller. Started at 4pm cutting the onion and garlic and then frying the meat and and the rice and washing the leaves..finished wrapping at about them until 8.30pm. Total time is 4.5hours.

Yes, alot of work and time spent. But it is worth it. My daughter gave me a thumb up as she tried the first mouth of dumpling...she said.."Mmmmm nice! Taste like Ama's dumpling!"
It is great achievements for me because this is somethings that i have KIV for years and finally I did it!

500g glutinous rice
800g pork -shoulder meat 五花肉
100g small onions - chopped
3-4 cloves garlic - chopped
100g winter melon candy- cubed*
1.5 tablespoon homemade coriander powder
1/2 tablespoon five spices powder
3 tablespoons dark soy sauce
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1 teaspoon of salt
20-24 dried bamboo leaves
strings for wrapping
3 tablespoons of oil

Water for boiling dumpling
750mil water and 2tsp salt for boiling meat

1. Wash rice and soak it overnight. (I soaked it for 6hours) Discard water the next day.
2  Put dried bamboo leaves in a big basin, pour 2 litres of hot water over them and let them soak until it is soft. With a small towel, clean every leaves on both sides. Rinse twice.  Set aside. 
3. Wash meat and cut it into small size of 1x1x1cm. Set aside.
4. Boil 750mil water in a wok. Add 2tsp of salt into water like how you boil spaghetti.  Put in the meat once water is boiled. Let the meat cook for 1-2 minutes in the boiling water until it is 3/4 cooked. This is to remove the blood and smell and make it easier to fry. Remove meat from water and discard the water. 
5. Add 2 tbsp oil in wok and fry onion and garlic until it is fragrance and light brown.  Add meat and winter melon. Stir fry for 30sec, add dark soy sauce to taste. Continue to stir fry another 1 minutes.  Add coriander powder, five spices powder and pepper and fry until meat is totally cooked.
Remove from wok. Keep the oil if any for fry the rice.
6. In the wok, add 1tbsp of oil and garlic. Fry garlic until fragrance and light brown.  Add any oil from frying meat if any. Add rice and 1tsp of salt.  Quickly stir the uncooked rice for a minute.  Off fire and remove rice from wok.
7. Wrap the bak chang.
8. Prepare a big pot that can contain 10-12 dumpling (bak chang). Boil water in the pot. When water is boiled,  put in all the bak chang and let it boil for 2.5hours on high fire. Keep watch the fire make sure water always cover the bak chang. Replenish with hot water if water evaporated.  
9. Remove bak chang from pot after 2.5hours. Serve while it is hot.

Note*: I bought the ready cubed winter melon candy. If you can't find them, just get the normal one and cut them into size of 0.5x0.5x0.5cm.

Saturday 6 June 2015

Bolognese Spaghetti

The first time I learnt to cook bolognese sauce was 15years ago when I first this cook book called Family Meals from a cheap sale. Back then I was working. After lunch my colleagues and I like to go shopping in the industrial building near my office. In one of the GSS , I browsed through many cook books and found this book which has simple recipes and cost only $5. I bought it because it was cheap. Eversince then I have been doing this bolognese sauce. Now I no longer need to refer to the book when I cook this sauce. And of course I have also modified the recipe to our taste. We have bolognese Spaghetti very often because my children love all kinds of pasta. 

For personal taste, I do not like pasta or spaghetti which are too soft. I prefer 
it to be "al dente". That is undercooked and let the heat of the spaghetti "cook" the spaghetti further after drained. Though I have cooked spaghetti for many years , however, until today I still do the "spaghetti test" when I cook. I find different brand the texture is different and time to cook to "al dente" is different too. So, I prefer to do the test. It should not be powdery but yet it is hard. After drained thoroughly,  I will add butter or margarine and let the heat in the spaghetti "cook" the spaghetti till "al dente". Try it. :)

Ingredients for sauce:
500gm minced beef
1 big carrot- diced
2 big ripe tomatoes - diced
1 big red onion - chopped
3 cloves garlic - chopped
10 or 125g swiss brown mushrooms - sliced
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 bottle of pasta  sauce(250g)
2 tablespoons light soy sauce
1 tsp chicken stock powder (optional)
1/4 teaspoon of dry basil
1/4 teaspoon of dry oregano
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg

Seasoning for meat:
1.5 tablespoons light soy sauce
Dash of pepper
2 tsp of cornflour/potatoes flour
Dash of dry basil

Ingredient for spaghetti:
Aprox 2 litre of water
2 tablespoons sea salt
1/4 tsp dry basil
1tbsp butter or margarine

Method for sauce:
1  Add meat seasoning into meat and mix well and set aside.

2. Heat up olive oil in  big saucepan, add onion, garlic and fry until onion turn softened and translucent and garlic turn light golden brown. Add the meat and fry briskly, stirring, until evenly browned. Add carrot and tomatoes and mushroom and continue to fry until mushrooms turn soft. 

3. Add pasta sauce and remaining of the ingredients and seasoning to taste. (You may replace light soy sauce with salt if you do not like using light soy sauce)

4  Bring bolognese sauce to simmering point, keep stirring. Then cover and simmer over low heat for an hour. Stir occasionally to prevent sauce get burn. You may transfer sauce to cook in slower cooker if you do not have time in the kitchen. That is instead of simmer over low heat, cook it in slow cooker.

Method for spaghetti:
1. Boil water in a big pot. Add salt. When water is boiled,  put in the spaghetti.  Boil it according to the packet instructions.  Most spaghetti instructions stated 13min. But I like spaghetti not too soft. I like "al dente" texture. So I usually undercooked the spaghetti. That is, I reduce the cooking time to 8min.  Test a strand of spaghetti and it doesn't have powdery taste but hard.

2. Drain thoroughly.  Add butter or margarine and basil.

3. Turn into serving dish and top the Bolognese sauce. You can sprinkle with parmesan cheese. 

Thursday 4 June 2015

Blueberry Yogurt Muffins

Made this blueberries yoghurt muffins for my church Shekinah Saturday exercise group.  I came across a recipe by Joy Of Baking. Notice the amount of sugar that she used is what I usually use which is the less sweet version. Usually I have to reduce the amount of sugar from the recipe. This round I used the same amount of sugar as her recipe. And I did some mmodification...I replaced plain flour & baking powder with self-raising flour and replaced vegetable oil with melted butter. It turned out well and nice and it is not too sweet. After trying the first batch with small quantity and it turned out well, I decided to make some for the ladies in our Shekinah exercise group. I made total 30 muffins using small cups. This round I used home made yoghurt instead of store bought yoghurt. The result was good and everyone who tasted gave very good feedback. Thanks be to God. :)

1 large egg, lightly beaten
1 cup (240 ml) plain yogurt (I used my homemake yoghurt)
1/3 cup (80 ml) melted butter
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
2 cups (260 grams) self-raising flour
1/2 cup (100 grams) caster sugar
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 - 1 1/2 cups (240-360 ml) fresh or frozen blueberries

Method for Homemade Yoghurt/Yogurt

Blueberry Muffins: Preheat oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C). Position rack in center of oven. Butter or line 12 muffin cups with paper liners.

In a large bowl whisk together the lightly beaten egg, yogurt, melted butter and vanilla extract.

In another large bowl whisk the flour with the sugar, baking soda, and salt. Gently stir in the blueberries. With a rubber spatula fold the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and stir only until the ingredients are combined and moistened. (The batter will be thick.)

Evenly fill the muffin cups with the batter, using two spoons or an ice cream scoop. Place in the oven and bake for about 15 - 20 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center of a muffin just comes out clean. Transfer to a wire rack and let cool for about 10 minutes before removing from pan.

Makes 12 muffins.

You may like to try these muffins recipes too :
1. Double Chocolate Chips Muffins
2. Blueberry and Bananas Muffins
3. Orange Muffins

Wednesday 3 June 2015

Ama's Simple Chicken Rice

Learn this chicken rice recipe from my mum-in-law. Easy to cook and chicken meat I
is tender and rice is very fragrance. Mum-in-law cook very well and this dish is our family favourite. Chicken can be prepared and seasoned in the morning and cook it in the late afternoon. 

Ingredients for chicken:
1 large chicken( about 1.4 to 1.6kg)
1 thumb size old ginger - cut into 2
2 cloves of garlic removed skin
1 stalk spring onion
1 tsp sea salt
1/4 tsp pepper

Ingredients for rice:
2 cups of white rice
2 cups of chicken stock*
1 tsp sea salt
1 tsp chicken stock powder
2 thumb size old ginger slice into 3
6 cloves garlic removed skin
2 stalks spring onion
5 pandan leaves

Method for chicken:
1. Use a 38cm wok with lid, put 3/4 wok of water. Bring water to boil with lid on.

2. Wash and clean chicken. Remember to remove all the internal and rinse it clean. Remove head and neck and legs with knife.

3. Mix salt and pepper together and apply onto the whole chicken including the stomach area. Put the garlic, ginger and spring onion into the internal of chicken.  Cover chicken with cling wrap and set it aside in the chiller and let the chicken seasoned for at least 30min.

4. When water in the wok is boiled, put the whole chicken into boiling water. Chicken breast facing downward. Cover the lid. Let it boil for 30min on high fire.

5. When 30 is due. Off fire. Do not open lid. Let the chicken sit in the  wok with lid on for another 10min. Then open lid and remove chicken into a plate. Keep the chicken stock for the chicken rice*

6. Chop the chicken into small pieces abd serve with spring onion sprinkle on top

Method for chicken rice.
1. Wash rice. Pour way the water.

2. Add 2 cups of above chicken stock frim boiling the chicken into rice.

3. Add in all the rest of ingredients for rice.

4. Put it into rice cooker and set to cook like cooking plain rice.

5  Once it is down. Serve rice with chicken meat and cucumber and chilli. Enjoy

Tuesday 2 June 2015

Pan Fry Beancurd (Tofu)

2 pcs firm tou fu板豆腐 - cut small pcs
6 fresh scallops -seasoned with salt
150g minced meat- seasoned
1 small onion - chopped
1 garlic - chopped
1 cup water
Some pepper
1 tsp cornflour mix with 2tsp water
2-3 tablespoons of oil
1 tsp of sambal chilli (optional)
1 stalk spring onion - cut small pieces

Seasoning for meat
1tsp soy sauce
1tsp sesame oil
Dash of pepper
1/2 tsp cornflour

1 tablespoon light soy sauce
1 tablespoon fish sauce

1. Heat up wok. Add oil. Pan fry tou fu untill golden brown. Remove tou fu from wok and leave the oil in the wok. 
2. Add garlic and small onion. Fry till fragrance and garlic and onion turn light brown.
3. Add meat and scallops to wok. Stir fry few seconds,  then add water and seasoning and chilli.  When cravy is boiled, add in fried tou fu.  Turn gently. Once it is boil. Add the cornflour water and turn gently.  Sprinkle spring onion. Off fire. Remove from wok and serve in a plate.