Sunday, August 15, 2010

My Husband's Rumbling in the Kitchen!

Today my husband insisted to spend some time in the kitchen reason being our dear girl kept on pestering the daddy to cook her favourite pork chop. He likes to do his rumbling in the kitchen once a while. If we are not in a rush to prepare a meal or the kids are napping or at least not cranky, we both do enjoy our cooking time together at the kitchen during weekends. Our daughter if were to know that we are doing a cooking project together, she would definitely try to stay awake and refuse to nap so that she could join in the fun too :). Sometimes we include her depending on what's in the menu and the plan!

We used a healthier method to cook the pork chop this time. No oil was used. We bake them instead. We marinated the pork with some soy sauce and pepper; coated it slight with whisked egg and cream crackers and baked in the oven for about 30 minutes at 180deg C. The pork wasn't as crunchy as I expected but it was so yummy to have it with the home-made tomato sauce that my husband made. He came up with the recipe and to me it is getting better and better each time.

Look at his attentive face and sometimes he looked too serious when he cooked:P.

He was busy with his pork chop while I was juggling between my egg tarts and salad. I will put up the post of the egg tarts next. This potato salad is rather easy to make. I chose to steam the potato with cauliflower, carrots and onions rather than baking them as we thought of going a little 'healthier' this weekend. Once the vegetables are soften, remove them from the steamer; drain away the residue of water; mix them with a touch of salt, pepper, cilantro, spring onions, thyme and olive oil.

We love it so much!

Thursday, August 12, 2010

What should I call these soups?

My two kids and I are coughing. The kids started coughing about 3 weeks ago and still coughing a little here and there now. They passed the bugs to me and I really hope that the chain of spread will stop there. Unfortunately, we passed it to our closed friends and the whole family was down! I felt so so bad and regreted to have stayed over their place that weekend. We are recuperating and I do really hope that the kids and adults for both families will get well very soon.

Due to the illness, I search through the recipe books that I have and I found these two great soups recipes that are traditionally believed to be able to stop coughing and expelling phlegm.

Soup No 1

The recipe called it 'Eight Treasures soup' and called for lean meet. I customised the soup as I prefer to have desert rather than savoury soup. In another hand, I would really wish to use up the balance of some ingredients that I have and of course without compromising the health properties of the ingredients and the nutritional values of this sweet soup that I am going to make. I can't really tell how much of each ingredients that I used as I estimated the volume. But this is the rough guide that I can share with you.

I would like to call this soup Ten Treasures! This soup can be served as cold or warm desert. Enjoy!

Ten Treasures Sweet Soup
3 tbsp Sweet Almonds
Slightly less than 3 tbsp Bitter Almonds
6 Dried Figs
10 Dried Longans
2 tbsp Dried Lily Bulbs
2 tbsp Lotus Seeds
5 Honey Dates
2 Dried Chinese Pear
2 White Fungus
Half medium size Papaya (deseed)
Some rock sugar


1. Soak white fungus at least for 2 hours and changing the water a few times in between. Break the fungus into small pieces and remove the central hard stem of the fungus.

2. Soak and rinse all ingredients (except papaya and honey dates).

3. Put all the ingredients in a big pot (about 2.5 litre of water)

4. Boil the soup in high heat for 15 minutes and then turn the fire to slow heat and continue to boil for another 2 hours.


1. You may use fresh Chinese Pears

2. Buy those white fungus that are not so 'white' but yellowish a little as the latter is believed to have used less whitening agent.

3. Always used Bitter Almonds slight less that the Sweet ones.

Soup No 2

The second soup called for less ingredients and infact this soup is good for baby for who are coughing or having a lot of phlegm.

400g radish
5 red dates
3 slices of old ginger
Honey or rock sugar

1. Soak and wash the red dates. Remove the seeds.

2. Use a small pot and fill it with 800ml of water. Bring the water to boil and add all ingredients except honey or rock sugar.

3. Boil for 15 or 20 minutes.

4. Add honey and it is ready to serve. If you are giving it to baby under one year old replace the honey with rock sugar.


1. Do not overboil as the soup may turn spicy hot due to the ginger slices and may not be suitable for young baby and toddlers.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Lauk Jawa

Yes.. this weekend we are fairly crazy with Peranakan cuisine. After all my husband and my in laws are Peranakan and we can't run away with chillies and spices in our cooking.

This is another simple dish cooked by my mother-in-law. In fact we cooked Lauk Jawa a day before the Assam Babi Masak Peria. Hence we have balance of spices and ingredients that could be rolled over for the latter. The spices used are quite similar for both dishes except that we didnt use lemongrass, tamarind juice and fermented soya beans for Lauk Jawa. These 3 ingredients to me were quite extinct in the sense that its simple combination is able to bring a dish to a total extreme of fragrant sourish and salty flavours that savour in your mouth. These flavours are total opposite of how Lauk Jawa can satisfy you. The later is creamily spicy.

Give it a try if you are keen!

(Some of the ingredients... forgot to take out the milk!! The chillies on the left have been combined with grinned shallots and candle nuts while the one on the left is sambal belacan.)


Long beans cut diagonally
3 Big onions (cut coarsely)
3 fresh red chillies (sliced)
3 fresh green chillies (sliced)
90ml coconut milk/ fresh milk

5 dried red chillies
2 fresh red chillies
a thumb size shrimp paste (belacan)
2 candle nuts


1. Blend the spices and fry them in low heat until oil seeps out.

2. Add the vegetables and continue to fry.

3. Add milk and a little water if too thick and continue to simmer until the vegetables turn soft. If you prefer crunchy vegetables reduce the cooking time.

4. Add salt and sugar to taste.

Monday, August 9, 2010

Assam Babi Masak Peria (Pork Ribs Cooked with Bitter Gourd in Tamarind Sauce)

We had this simple dish for dinner. This is one of my favourite Peranakan foods. I had this home-cooked dish five years ago. It was so yummy that I may forget the presentation of the dish but not the smell and taste at all! It was then cooked by my late beloved grandmother-in-law. I never planned to cook this tonight but I just kept thinking about it when my mother-in-law casually mentioned this dish yesterday. So I dug out all the Peranakan recipes books and magazine that I have and was so happy to have found the recipe!

This dish is fairly easy to cook and it did not call for complicated spices. You probably would have all the ingredients at hand most of the times. You may replace the pork ribs with pork belly or chicken if you wish. My husband and I are bitter gourd fans and we love the texture and taste of this not so likable green by many no matter how you cook it :>

1/2 kg pork ribs
1 bitter gourd (About one and half feet long)
One bowl of long beans
4 fresh green chillies (throw away the stalk and deseed)
2 fresh red chillies (throw away the stalk and deseed)
950ml of tamarind juice (use about 5 tablespoons of tamarind paste and squeeze the juice out)
2 stalks of lemongrass (Smash the head)

10 dried chillies
4 fresh red chillies
half inch thick and about 2" x 2" width square shrimp paste (belacan)
10 shallots
4 candle nuts (grinned until fairly fine)
2 tbsp mashed fermented soya beans (taucu)


1. Boil the pork ribs in boiling water for about 10 minutes, drain and put aside.

2. Cut the bitter gourd into rectangle about 3cm x 2cm each and boil them for about 10 minutes and set aside.

3. Cut the long bean about 3cm long each and set aside.

4. Blend all the ingredients for spices except the fermented soya beans.

5. Heat up the oil and fry the blended spices in slow fire until oil seeps out, about 20 minutes.

6. Add the fermented soya beans and lemongrass and continue to fry until fragrant, less than 5 minutes.

7. Add pork ribs and fry for about 10 minutes

8. Add tamarind juice and increase the fire and let the gravy boil in high heat for about 15 minutes. Transfer into a small pot at this stage. Reduce to low heat and simmer for about half an hour or more depending on how tender you prefer the pork ribs to be.

9. Add the long beans and continue to simmer for another 10 minutes

10. Add the bitter gourds, the balance of red and green chillies and continue to simmer until tender, about another 20 minutes

11. Add sugar and salt to taste.

I think everyone in the family had fairly more than a bowl of rice tonight. We had a good time enjoying this simple authentic Peranakan dish while watching the Singapore 45th National Day Parade on the TV!! I personally would give this dish 4 thumbs-up upon 5!

Notes :
1. I have blended the shallots separately with the chillies. I prefer to blend a lot of onions ahead of time and keep them in the fridge in an air tight container. This way, you may keep the blended shallots for later consumption for more than a week. I will just withdraw the required amount from the fridge whenever I need it.

2. You can do likewise for the chillies. In fact when you blend the dried chillies and red chillies, together with belacan, you are actually halfway making sambal belacan. To complete the recipe for making sambal belacan, just get a few lime leaves, shred them very finely, mix them together with the chillies paste and add a touch of lime juice. I had made this in advance also (without adding in the lime leaves and skin).

3. My late grandmother-in-law used to pound the lime leave and its skin until fairly fine and mix them together with the chillies. Do not use too much lime skin or it may cause the sambal belacan to taste bitter.

4. Cut down the spiciness of the chillies by adding some sugar. The tamarind juice will bring down the spiciness of the chillies as well. If you prefer a more spicy sambal belacan or assam babi, add chillies padi (small chillies.

5. We enjoy very tender bitter gourd and long bean for this dish rather than crunchy. So for that result, I have simmered the vegetables for quite a while.

6. My mother-in-law said that brinjal can be added in if wish, so I would think that lady fingers are suitable as well?!

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