Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Chicken Soup with White Fungus and Cashew Nuts

The weather for the past one week was humid and hot. I was just graving for a bowl of nutritious, comforting and 'cooling' soup for dinner. This soup is especially good to expel heat in your body and phlegm in your lungs. I enjoy eating plain rice with certain types of soup though not all and this is one of them that I like. My husband and I enjoyed the soup and we had it for our supper. The kids did not know how to consume the white fungus but they had 2 big bowls yesterday. I was hurried to take the picture and forgot to skim off the fat. Nonetheless, I skimmed it off before serving. The cashew nuts are very soft and pleasant to eat while the lotus seeds may leave behind a after-taste bitterness due to the stem in the centre of the seed. The bitterness is mild and it didn't bother us much. It didn't affect the taste of the soup though.

Chicken Soup with White Fungus and Cashew Nuts


1 bird of chicken (About 650g)
2 handful of white fungus
1/2 cup of raw cashew nuts
1/2 cup of dried lotus seeds
2 slices of ginger
About 10 cups of water

Salt n pepper to taste


1. Soak white fungus for at least 1 hour in water (room temperature). Remove the hard part and break them into small pieces.

2. Soak the raw cashew nuts and dried lotus seeds for half hour and changing water a few times in between.

3. Put all the ingredient in a big pot except salt and pepper and bring it to a hard boil.

4. Skim off scum on the surface.

5. Slow down the fire and let it simmer for 2 hours

6. Skim off more scum and fat. Add salt to taste and pepper if you wish.


1. Remove the skin of chicken to reduce fat if you wish.

2. Soaking fungus in hot water will cause it to turn soggy and slimy instead of chewy.

3. Buy white fungus that is not totally white but yellowish in colour as the white ones are due to bleaching.

4. The amount of water used must at least able to cover the whole chicken as a guide.

5. If you wish to have more texture for the white fungus, you may add them in after 1 hour of simmering and continue to boil it in slow fire for another 1 hour.

6. If you are familiar with some basic ingredients of Chinese herbs, you should know that this soup is quite versatile and good for lungs. You may add some of the herbs like red dates,  wolfgang berries, 'Yu Zhu' (Solomon's Seal Rhizome), honey dates, dried longans and even apples or pears. To boost up the effect for phlegm remedy, you can add 'Chuan Bei' (Fritillaria Bulb) too in minimum dosage. I just want to keep this soup as clear and simple as it is.

Saturday, August 17, 2013

Chinese Fried Noodle

My boy is a noodle lover. He loves almost all types of noodles except vermicelli aka 'bee hoon'. My girl is more adventurous with food but still she practically prefers noodles more than rice. Thier favourite version of noodle is flat wheat noodle with oats tossed with homemade seasonings which combine a few sauces like light soy sauce, dark soy sauce, oyster sauce, sesame oil and fried onions with a little of its oil which is the most important ingredient for non-soup based noodle.

This simple seasonings mixture was created by my mum and it is the easiest and quickest way to flavour the noodle without frying. We usually have this version of noodle with sliced fish or fish ball soup with spinach, fried egg or/and fried pork chop cutlet.

Though my children loves instant noodles, I hardly cook them. Instead I would prefer to buy dried noodles made of wheat or rice flour. Dried noodles that have no colouring, preservatives or with the least/no chemicals added in will top my choice of purchase. In this post, I would like to share with you also some of the Chinese dried noodles that I keep in my pantry.

This is 'Lanzhou Noodles' that I used to cook for this noodle recipe. This noodle is flat and broad and it looks something like linguine. In terms of texture it turns soggy quite easily and so long there is heat and gravy, it will keep absorbing the gravy. It is very soft and easily breakable once cooked. So for this brand I would suggest to watch your cooking time carefully.

This is a thick version of mee sua. I have cooked it in both wet and dry version and it is salted a little. It is soft but it doesn't turn soggy too easily and quickly. It tastes good for both dry or wet version. It is more versatile than the Lanzhou noodle.

This is the flat wheat noodle with oats that I bought in Yong Peng, Johor Bahru. It is made of wheat flour, oats, water and salt. To me, it is the best choice of all Chinese dried noodles as it requires the least touch up. I have never tried frying this noodle as it is so good to have it just plainly tossed with simple flavourful and tasty seasonings. It is high in protein and fibre and the texture is excellent. It is chewy and a little tender and it doesn't absorb much of the gravy once cooked so it will not turn soggy easily even if you soak it in hot gravy or soup. However you need to blanch the noodle slightly longer in hot boiling water to fully cook it. In Singapore, I could only find the version comes without oats.

This is Taiwanese dry noodle. It is broader than the flat wheat noodle with oats and it has slightly fluted edges which are thinner than the center part. It is chewier and the absorption of gravy is quite low. 

For this recipe, I have used more vegetables and minimise the use of meat and seafood.


3/4 packet of Lanzhou Noodle
1 pot of water
1 cup Snow Peas
1 medium sized Carrot
1 cup Pork Fillet, sliced
1 bulb of Garlic
1 tbsp Oil
6 birds of chilli padi

3 cups of Boiling Water
1 tsp Chicken Bouillon Granules
2 tbsp Oyster Sauce
2 tbsp Light Soy Sauce
2 - 3 tbsp Dark Soy Sauce
1 tsp sugar
Dash of sesame oil
Dash of pepper


1. Remove the strings of the snow peas, cut them into half. Peel off the skin of the carrot and shred it. Set all aside.

2. Mix all the seasonings and set aside.

3. Heat up a pot of water in high temperature and let it come to a rolling boil. Blanch the noodle in high temperature first then medium until it is about 70% cook. Drain the noodle soak it in cool running pipe water and set aside.

4. Add 1 tbsp of oil and fry garlic until fragrant and a little brown. Add in the vegetables and stir fry for about 1 minute. Then add in the sliced pork fillet and stir fry about 30 seconds.

5. Add the seasonings mixture and let it boil. Add noodle. Cook for about 2 minutes or less and switch off the fire.

6. Cut the chilli paddy and mix it with 1 tbsp light soy sauce in a saucer. Serve the noodle immediately together with the sauce.


1. The noodle turns soggy pretty fast so make sure you use hot boiling water to combine the seasonings. Other wise if you use just warm water to mix together all the seasonings, you may add only the seasoning mixture first in step 5 and let it come to a boil before adding in the noodle.

2. Add any crunchy vegetables that you prefer like capsicum, baby corn, celery and french beans. You may add slice dried mushroom to enhance the flavour.

3. If you do not serve this immediately, once cook remove the noodle from the gravy and gently stir the noodle to let out the hot steam. When you are ready to serve reheat the gravy and add a bit of water if need be and pour into the noodle and mix. I find that this help prevent the noodle from turning very soggy and dry.

Friday, August 16, 2013

Winter Melon Soup

A simple, easy and quick to prepare soup that is nutritious and cooling in this tropical country. I cooked this soup and had it together with the 'Rice Cooker' Chicken Rice. The traditional version of the rice is supposedly cooked in claypot using charcoal and it usually will cause our body to be 'heaty' after consuming it. Winter melon soup is the best accompanying soup to go along with it in my opinion. Though my version of supposedly Claypot Chicken Rice is cooked using rice cooker and therefore has no issue of 'heatiness' to the body, I would love to have my 'Rice Cooker' Chicken Rice' with this soup due to the hot weather here.


800g winter melon, skin removed and chopped in chunks
1 carrot cut into cubes
1/2 cup dried anchovies
1 pc of chicken thigh
About 8 cups of water

1/2 cup cubed minced pork/chicken, marinate with little light soy sauce, sesame oil, pepper and cornflour
2 slices of ham, cut square
3-5 slices of ginger
1 Chinese spoon of Wolfgang berries

1. Wash and drain the anchovies. Add anchovies, chicken thigh and water in the pot and cook in slow fire for about half and hour.

2. Drain the stock to remove the anchovies and chicken thigh.

3. Heat up the stock and add winter melon and ginger. Let it come to a boil for about 10 and add in the carrot, ham and minced meat. Continue to let it cook for another 5 minutes. 

4. Add in salt and Wolfgang berries. Switch off fire.

1. You may use more chicken thighs to brew the stock and omit anchovies or for the easiest way out if you have really no time, just use chicken bouillon granules.

'Rice Cooker' Chicken Rice

Time is precious. My schedule as a Stay-At-Home-Mum (SAHM) is always packed with errands, chores as well as all activities to educate and nurture my kids.  If I don't plan ahead well what I want to achieve for a day, I realised that I could hardly able to find time for prayer and left with no time to myself to do something that I like or just to rest. What I had planned for dinner was a simple and easy to prepare one dish meal with quick boil Winter Melon Soup. The only unhealthy ingredient in this meal is the Chinese sausage which is high in sodium. As this is an occasional dish I cook, I am not too bothered by it. I am using the mixture of brown, red unpolished and fragrant rice to boost up the fiber content of this meal.

300g chicken thighs, chopped in big chunks
1.5 cups of rice
2 cups of water (use the residue water used to soak the mushroom and add clear water to make up to 2 cups)
4 - 5 small onions, sliced
1 stick Chinese sausage, skin removed
3 mushrooms, soaked and water retained

Chicken seasoning
2 tbsp dark soy sauce
1 tbsp light soy sauce
1 tbsp mushroom or oyster sauce
1 tbsp Chinese cooking wine
1 tbsp ginger juice
4 cloves of chopped garlic
Dash of sesame oil
Dash of pepper

Chinese Parsley for garnishing


1. Marinate the chicken with the seasonings and set aside for about an hour.

2. Wash and soak the mushroom until soften and retain the water to cook rice. Once soften remove stem, slice and set aside.

3. Fry the shallots and set aside.

4. Remove skin of the sausage and slice.

5. Wash rice and cook.  After ten minutes add in the mushroom, chicken, sausage and garlic. Open the rice cooker ten minutes later and stir.

6. Garnish with fried onions and parsley.


1. You may add  salt if you wish but I prefer it less salty.

2. You may add one or two thin sliced of salted fish. You may just add it in together with the chicken, Some people prefer to fry it and add in once the rice and chicken are cooked.

3. You can add some chopped chicken liver to this dish. Add this together with the chicken.

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Homemade Meat and Lentils Burger

Rice and noodles are the two typical staple products that I would make sure I stock them up most of the times like all other Asian households. Meals served in my household are mainly based on these two staples cooked or served in various ways. I want a change!! Yesterday I decided to make burgers for the kids and myself for lunch and we had it to our satisfactions. The fact that my boy, who is picky about food, finished almost the whole burger, it showed that it was yummy. So did my daughter.

I am not a health freak in terms of food but I do try to pay attention to the food I prepare for my family. This recipe was adapted from a book called 'Feed Your Child Right' that I bought many years back. The fact that it is a well-balanced recipe packed with lots of vitamins, minerals, fiber, proteins and other benefits made me feel good serving it. What's more..? It is light and delicious.

The only drawback I could say was that the patties didn't manage to bind together very well due to the smooth texture of the mashed potato and the grainy lentils. This could be easily fix with a little more cornstarch added to the mixture to bind everything together. The other change I made to the recipe was the seasoning. I made the change based on my inclination as of what I have in the pantry and what I thought would work to bring out the fragrance of the lentils without overpowering the rest of the ingredients.

(make 5 large patties)

200g ground lean pork
1/2 cup orange lentils cooked and cooled
1/2 medium onion, finely chopped
1 medium potato, boiled, mashed and cooled
1 medium egg
Dash of cumin
Dash of steak seasoning
Dash of garlic salt
Dash of pepper
1 tsp dried parsley
1/2 tsp cornflour dissolved in a little water

Butterhead Lettuce
Sliced Cheese


1. Mixed all ingredients together except the butterhead lettuce and cheese.

2. Shape it to approximately 5-6 round patties

3. Dust it with flour and shallow fry both sides for about 2 - 3 minutes.

1. You may make a lot of patties in advance and freeze them in the freezer. To do so, cover each individual patties with plastic or cling wrap.

2. You may use chicken, mutton or lean beef.

Thursday, August 1, 2013

Macaroni Chicken Soup

If you were to google in the web on macaroni chicken soup, you probably would find ton of interesting recipes from Western to Asian styles. The images are captivating and each one looked so delicious and has its uniqueness just for this simple dish. I took a closer look at most of the images and visited some of the sites that I thought the recipes would be closed to what I was searching for. Unfortunately, I could not find one that pleased me. What am I looking for??

I think I need to share with you a little more on how this dish was served in my family when I was young that I didn't like back then and how I fell in love with it now. This dish was only prepared whenever someone fell ill in my family. So you could probably imagine how plain this dish was going to be prepared; served with simple non-oily stock like anchovies broth, pak choi and perhaps ham or sliced pork. I remembered I would never enjoy eating it no matter how tasty it was but I am still thankful for my mum's effort very much!

When I looked through the macaroni soup recipes that I could find in the websites especially those cooked in Asian styles, many called for chicken broth as the soup base and a variety of vegetables like pak choi, carrots and/or peas and some use ham, fish balls and/or sausages, shredded chicken for the meats. Some even added Chinese Angelica Root (Dang Gui). Frankly it doesn't taste bad but not an excellent one still I would say. Somehow or rather all the recipes that I stumbled on didn't hit me at all. This wasn't only because of how this dish brought back 'unpleasant' childhood memories but mainly because I tasted an absolutely delicious bowl of simple clear chicken broth macaroni in the Church I attended every Sunday later on in Singapore.

This Macaroni Chicken Soup was flavourful with tasty clear chicken broth, fragrant with a little hint of ginger, Chinese parsley, and fried onions. Simply served it with some chopped red chillies, light soy sauce and toasted bread crumbs. Omit all the 'intimidating' ingredients like vegetables or meats for health reasons or whatsoever just for this time as to preserve the original flavour of the chicken essence and I bet that you will not regret of doing so :).

You could probably cook chicken rice for lunch and use the broth to prepare a light dinner meal just for this dish like what I did. I will share with you the recipe for chicken rice in my upcoming post...

1 bird of chicken (About 800g)
Salt to wash chicken
3-5 thick slices of old ginger
Water just enough to cover the chicken

1 packet of macaroni
Water to boil the macaroni

Chinese parsley (Coarsely chopped)
Red chillies (Seed removed and julienned)
Store-bought fried onions
Bread crumb (Cut white bread into small cubes and toast in the toaster or oven until crunchy)
Chicken bouillon granules
Salt to taste
Dash of pepper and light soy sauce when serve

1. Boil water, throw in some salt and cook the macaroni until al-dente and set aside.

2. Rub the cavity and the outer part of the chicken with salt. Rinse and wash.

3. Prepare a pot of cold water. Put the cleaned chicken in the cold water and switch on the fire at very low temperature. Make sure that the water is hot but not boiling throughout. Let the chicken sit in the hot water for about an hour to an hour and a half and cook it using indirect heat.

4. Remove chicken and rinse with cold water and set aside.

5. Chop the chicken neck off debone the breast. Pound the bones in a pestle to optimise the chicken flavour while keeping the thighs for your chicken rice. If you are not cooking chicken rice together with this dish, you may debone the whole chicken and pound all the chicken bones and throw the crushed bones back to the pot of soup. Shred the chicken meat to your liking and set aside.

6. Chop off the roots of the Chinese parsley and throw them into the pot while keeping the leaves for garnishing. Brew the soup for another half an hour or so.

7. Add salt and chicken bouillon granules to taste.

8. Remove fat from the soup.

9. Put some cooked macaroni in a bowl. Using a sieve, scoop some soup into the bowl to warm up the macaroni then drain away the soup back to the main pot.

10. Using a sieve again scoop some soup to the bowl of macaroni. Serve with shredded chicken, fried onions, chopped parsley, julienned red chillies and bread crumbs (optional) with dash of pepper and light soy sauce.

(Despicable Me 2 was in the theatre last month and it was my kids' favourite show. I thought this picture was too cute not to be posted and shared...
I thought Minions only love bananas?! heee) 

Note :

1. Just to share with you a silly experience I had when I was toasting small cubes bread. Stay near to your toaster and watch it closely as it got toasted and BURNT too fast without you knowing. My kitchen almost caught fire few years back because of this.


Thursday, July 18, 2013

Soy Sauce Chicken with Liquorice Roots

This is a modified recipe from the original recipe that I posted last month on Soy Sauce Chicken. I wanted a chicken dish with vegetables that doesn't require long time of preparation and cooking. I also wanted to have a grilled chicken meat without using the toaster or oven. If you are residing in Singapore, Happy Call Pan is a no stranger term of cookware to you. I was cooking this dish with this magical pan.

I threw in lots of carrot to this dish which added the natural sweetness to it. It is tasty and best to have it together with a bowl of white rice. The flavour and taste is completely different from the Soy Sauce Chicken I posted a while ago.

Soy Sauce Chicken with Liquorice Roots

3 drumsticks with thighs
salt to wash chicken

10 shallots, skin peeled
10 cloves of garlic, skin peeled
1 cup of water
4 - 6 medium-sized carrots, cut into thick slices
2 pieces of 3 inches long Liquorice Roots
1 piece 0.5 cm thick ginger
6 cubes small rock sugar

To Marinate the Meat:
2 tablespoon of mushroom sauce
2 tablespoon of light soy sauce
1 tablespoon of dark soy sauce
generous amount of salt
1 tablespoon of oil


1. Wash chicken with salt and remove all fat.

2. Marinate the chicken with the seasonings and set aside at least for 15 minutes

3. Heat one tablespoon of oil in a Happy Call Pan using medium fire. Fry shallots, garlics and ginger until light brown and fragrant.

4. Push onions etc to the side of the pan and place chicken flat touching the pan. Keep the balance of the sauce for later use. Fry it for about 1 minutes both side or until colour changed and the chicken slightly grilled on both surfaces.

5.  Add in balance of the seasoning sauce, water, liquorice roots, carrots. Let it come to a boil then close the pan and lock it for 15 minutes.

6. Open the pan, stir the ingredients and flip the chicken. Close and lock for another 15 minutes. If it is too dry add a bit of water.

7. Throw in the rock sugar, close and lock the pan for another 5 minutes. Stir well, let it rest for at least 10 minutes and serve hot.

Notes :

1. If you are cooking this as a confinement food, do add generous amount of small onions, ginger slices and liquorice roots into the dish.

Asian Fried Rice

A plate of fragrant, grainy and non-oily fried rice is not too hard to cook I supposed, but yet this is a simple dish that will put your Chinese cooking skills up for challenge! Like how my little brother put it, "Taste the fried rice of a Chinese chef and if he/she could cook it right, he/she is good!". He could be generalising his thoughts but to me it makes sense.

I remembered frying a plate of fried rice using leftover rice in the middle of the night for my supper when I was in primary school using simple ingredients like garlics, eggs and black sauce and light soy sauce. Those were the good old days where we had no junk food in the house and if you want to snack, do it or get it yourself! I think the fragrant smell of the black sauce fried with garlics and rice left a profound memory in me as some of my childhood memories somehow flashed back most of the time when I savoured this dish cooked this way.

I am cooking fried rice more often as my kids love it and it is easy to prepare. My version of homecook fried rice uses less oil, less salt and only fresh ingredients... so why not?!

To me, eggs, garlics and light soy sauce are the three key basic ingredients for fried rice and of course not to mention you must have a bowl of non-sticky, non-lumpy but grainy cooked rice. The rest of the ingredients are good or healthy to have.

Cooking rice overnight just to use it for fried rice the next day is not practical for me as i am quite fickle-minded and I always change my menu last minute. If you have a bowl of left over rice then you should consider to fry it the next day.

I used to cook it on the day when I wanted to fry it. What I did is to use the right measurement of water. Gently stir the rice ten minutes after it's cooked and then covered it in the rice cooker for next 15 minutes. Then scoop out the rice, spread it over a flat plate and cool it off completely with fan.


1.5 cup of rice, rinsed and cooked
3 eggs
1 stick big carrots cut into small cubes
1 bowl of green peas
1 cob of fresh corn, remove the corn kernels from the cob
6 cloves of garlic, crashed n chopped coarsely
1/2 cup minced meat (pork/chicken/luncheon meat/coarsely chopped prawn or Chinese sausage etc )
Chicken or Anchovies bouillon granules to taste
Salt and pepper
2 tablespoons light soy sauce
3 tablespoons of oil

Meat marinate
1 teaspoon of soy sauce
1 teaspoon of mushroom/oyster sauce
Dash of sesame oil
Dash of pepper
1/4 teaspoon of cornflour


1. Marinate the meat with the sauce and put one side for 15 minutes.

2. Beat the eggs. Put one tablespoon of oil in the frying pan. Pour in the egg and roughly scramble them after 40 seconds. Scoop and put one side.

3. Put 2 tbsp of oil in the pan. Fry garlic for about 20 seconds and add in carrots. After about a minute add in the marinated meat. Stir fry until meat about to change colour. Add in corn and peas. Fry until corn change colour. Add in light soy sauce and chicken bouillon.

4. Add in cooked and cooled rice and continue to stir gently. Once the rice is well coated with the gravy and mixed well with the rest of ingredients, add in eggs and stir well.

5. Add salt and pepper to taste.

Fried Rice with Luncheon Meat and lots of chopped small onions

Fried Rice with Black Soy Sauce

Fried Rice with Chinese Sausage and Long Beans

Fried Rice with Prawns

1. You can used a combination of chopped small shallots and a small portion of garlic.

2. You may add 4 pieces of soaked and chopped finely dried oysters. I bet you if you can acquire the taste of Chinese dried oyster, you will like this version especially when you cook it with Chinese sausage.

3. You may add super finely chopped petai with dried shrimp chillies. For the spicy version, do omit Chinese sausage as the taste doesn't gel.

4. For the eggs, I have cooked the version keeping the ingredients to the basic with no vegetables added but just prawns, eggs and garlic. For this version, stir fry the garlic and prawn until fragrant, add in rice and continue to stir gently. Stir in the beaten eggs to the rice and mix it well so that all grain of rice will be well coated with the yellow golden egg. Otherwise you may just fry the beaten eggs and put aside. Mix when rice is fried with prawn. Frying rice with prawn is really aromatic and nice!

5. For vegetables, you can add edamane / french beans / chopped asparagus/ chopped kailan stalks and other types of crunchy vegetables. Chopped spring onions can be added towards the end.

6. For the meat, you can replace with finely chopped crab sticks, vegetarian shrimp, barbecued pork (char siew), roasted pork etc.

7. It tastes best to just use white rice but for health reason I sometimes will just used the mixture of white, red unpolished and brown rice.


Sunday, July 14, 2013

Steamed Cakes

I have never seen my eldest brother bakes. All along I knew he doesn't mind to spend some time in the kitchen to whip up a meal or two for us. He prefers to handle everything on his own whenever he is in the kitchen. He is a man of few words but a nice guy. I love him for the way he is but I wish if he could open up a little more to me and his siblings so that we could know him better.
I was in awe when he asked me how to operate the oven in our mum's place as he wanted to try out some recipes. Without second thoughts I grab the chance to communicate with him my favourite subject. I showed him how to operate the oven, took out some of the baking stuff in the drawers and taught him how to use them. I copied the recipe and explain to him in detailed. I like his spirit of learning and wanted to know-how in areas that interest him though he isn't highly educated.
He is experimenting a lot nowadays in chinese pastry which using steaming method.  The pictures are the products of some of his experiments. He made 'Prosperity Cake' or 'Fa Gao' in Chinese and 'Red Tortoise Cake' or 'Ang Gu Kueh' in Hokkien. Both were made with no written recipes, no reference to books, websites or videos but based on his observations of taste and some small talks he had with the cakes seller in the market. It is so amazing and I am very proud of him!! If given guidance and opportunity I am sure he can go far in baking. 

Saturday, June 8, 2013

Soy Sauce Chicken

I could still remember the taste of the succulent soy sauce chicken that my confinement lady cooked for me. The ingredients used are so simple and the method is easy. The trick to make a yummy and fragrant soy sauce chicken is to use a very good quality light soy sauce. I grew up in a Chinese village in Kuala Lumpur. Our family never used any store-bought light and dark soy sauces right up to now. We are so blessed that we are able to get the supplies for both sauces fresh from a self-brewed vendor who will come to our place to sell the sauces in a small lorry. So far I could not get a brand of soy sauce that is closed to that standard. Recently I am pleased that I found this brand of light soy sauce that produced by Kwong Cheong Thye which is light, fragrant and not salty.

If you want to serve this food as confinement dish, do double the amount of small onions and add some ginger slices in but still the one that I had for confinement was without ginger. I served this with Koka fat free noodle which has no preservative. Though it was healthy but I didn't quite like the texture of the noodle.

3 drumsticks
Salt to wash chicken
1/2 cup soy sauce
1.5 cup water
10 shallots, skin peeled
1 cinnamon stick
1 star of anise
1 tbsp oyster sauce
1 tbsp black sauce
Dash of sesame oil
2 medium sized rock sugar
1 - 2 tablespoons of oil


1. Wash and rub chicken thighs with salt. Remove fat under skin, pat dry and set aside.

2. Wash cinnamon stick and star of anise and set aside.

3. Put 1 tablespoon of oil and add cinnamon stick and star of anise when the oil is heated up.

4. Add in the shallots and stir fry for a minute. Then add in the rest of the ingredients except balance of oil.

5. Cook in slow fire for about half an hour. Switch off fire let the chicken rest in the sauce for at least 15 minutes before serving the dish.

1. You can use a thermal pot to cook this dish. Simply transfer the chicken with the rest of the ingredients in step 5 to a thermal pot and let it cook in the pot itself for one hour. For this method do reduce the amount of water to 1 cup.

2. You may replace the cinnamon stick and star of anise with a few sticks of liquorice root and a handful of tiny red rose buds for another new recipe. I tried this before and it tasted yummy and fragrant with mild rose aroma.

3. If you want a stronger herbal flavour and twist this further for a real confinement food, you may omit the shallots, cinnamon sticks, star of anise and all the sauces but add in Dong Kwai (Angelica sinensis), red dates, Goji (wolfberries) and condiment like chicken essence or Huiji Waist Tonic.

4. This dish goes well with rice or noodle and it is all up to you!

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Indian Curry Chicken

This is my family's favourite curry chicken. I longed to eat it as i have not been cooking this for a long time. I used to cook this dish preparing all ingredients from scratch. The original recipe was taken from an Indian cookbook called 'Taste of India'. Suggested by the name, you should able to guess that all recipes found in the book are authentic Indian cuisine. Freshness of ingredients and uses of variety of Indian spices are not compromised. However, as much as I prefer and like the authenticity of Indian cuisine or any other cuisines, I don't think I have more energy to prepare this after a hard day of child caring.

This recipe that I came out with has almost all the essential ingredients needed to cook up an authentic Indian curry chicken. The trick is to use the ready-mixed wet curry paste that I could get in any local supermarkets in Singapore. The brand that I used is Hai's Chicken Curry Paste. It came with two types of paste; chilli paste and wet curry paste.  As they separate the chilli and curry paste, you could adjust how spicy you want your curry to be. I used one packet of chilli paste and two packets of wet curry paste. The wet curry paste has all ingredients that I needed like galangal, lemon grass, garlic, turmeric, candlenuts, salt and spices.

If you could not get this brand of wet paste curry that I used you could still make the paste yourself. Blend together one thumb-sized galangal, two thumb-sized turmeric, 5 candlenuts, 3 stalks of lemongrass, 5 fresh chillies (de-seed) and 10 dried chillies (soak and de-seed). 


1 bird 700g Chicken, chopped into big pieces 
6 medium-sized potatoes, peeled
2 packets of Hai's curry chicken paste (Use 1 packet of chilli paste and 2 packets of wet curry paste)
4 ripe tomatoes
3 cups of water

2 cinnamon sticks (about 3 - 4 inches)
8 cardamons
2 star of anise
10 cloves
6 stalks of curry leaves, stem removed
5 big onions, coarsely chopped
1.5 bulbs garlic, coarsely chopped
2inches of thumb sized ginger, sliced
4  - 6 tbsp of Baba's meat curry powder
3 - 6 tbsp cooking oil


1. Remove fat from chicken, wash clean and marinate with two tablespoon of curry powder. Set aside for 15 minutes.

2. Meanwhile wash all the dried spices like cinnamon sticks, cardamons, star of anise, cloves, curry leaves and set aside.

3. Chop tomatoes and potatoes into wedges. Steam potatoes for 15 minutes and set aside.

4. Heat up 2 tbsp of oil and shallow fry all the dried spices for about a minute or until the cinnamon sticks opened up. Then put in the curry leave and fry for another 30 seconds.

5. Throw in ginger and fry for another 30 seconds then put in the chopped onions and garlic to stir fry for another 1 - 2 minutes or until fragrant but not burnt.

6. Add chilli and wet curry paste and cook for another 1 minute then add 2 tablespoons of curry powder and cook for another 30 seconds. Do add oil at this step if the paste stick to the pot.

7. Put in the chicken and continue to stir until chicken pieces are coated with the cooked spices and paste.

8. Slowly add in 2 cups of water when the chicken pieces started to change colour. At this point you could adjust the amount of water you want to add. If you prefer wet curry with thin gravy you may add up to 3 cups and reduce it to about 1.5 to 1 cup if you want it thick and dry.

9. Add in the potatoes and cook together with chicken for next 20 minutes with lid covered.

10. Add tomatoes in and continue to cook for 10 minutes. Add salt and a little sugar, switch of fire and cover for at least 20 minutes before you  serve the dish.


1. Do look out and try other brands of instant wet curry paste that may have the essentials ingredients for curry chicken. I don't believe that there isn't substitute to the one that I am currently using.

2. You can twist this recipe easily if you want to cook Chinese curry chicken. Just omit dried spices and tomatoes. Add in more lemon grass and coconut milk.

3. If you want to have dried Indian curry chicken, simply add less water and cook with lid open. Vice verse if you enjoy curry with plenty of gravy yet thick do not sting on the curry paste and add in a little more water. Do take note that tomatoes will draw out its juices at the end so do not add in too much water otherwise the curry will turn watery and the flavour will be diluted.

4. I like this recipe as I do not have to grind any spices or ingredients but just simply wash and chop. Furthermore, it didn't call for coconut milk so you could really cook this in advance and keep them frozen for a week in the fridge.

Sunday, May 12, 2013

Steamed Red Snapper with 3 Sauces

Today we had a simple 3-dish meal with miso soup for dinner. We had fried vegetable with pork shabu shabu, fried prawn tempura and steamed red snapper with three sauces. 

The key ingredient for the sauce mixture is this special Taiwanese sauce called bull head toona bean paste that i bought a while ago during the Taiwan fair held in my neighbourhood supermarket.

This sauce goes well with rice noodles and thick 'mee suah'. You can find more details about the sauce and other taiwanese sauces in this website

Ingredients :
200g -  300g red snapper fillet
2 tsp of chinese cooking oil
One thumb size ginger - half sliced for steaming with the fish and another half shredded for frying with garlic
6 cloves of garlic -chopped
Spring Onions - chopped

1 tbsp of bull head toona bean paste 
1 tsp of fermented bean paste sauce
1 tsp of hoisin sauce
2-4 tbsp of water
Sesame oil

Method :

1. Fry shredded ginger and minced garlic and set aside.

2. Chop spring onions and set aside

3. Wash red snapper and put sliced ginger on top and steam with 2 tsp of wine for about 10 minutes in slow fire. Set aside the juice from the steamed fish and mix this with the sauce later.

4. Put a little oil in the medium heated wok and pour all the sauces into the pan and cook for a while until fragrant. Add about 2-4tbsp of water and the fish juice that we had set aside. Add sugar to taste. Add a dash of sesame oil and switch off fire.

5. Pour the sauce mixture on top of the steamed fish.

6. Garnish with fried garlic, ginger and chopped spring onions.

Note :
1. I think this dish will taste better if we were to cook the sauce with one piece of crushed sour plum and some chopped chilli paddy.

2. The bull head toona bean paste is a little oily itself. 

Friday, April 26, 2013

Minced Mutton in Mild Sauce

Have you ever experienced a day that you thought you have planned what you wanted to cook for lunch and got all the ingredients ready but changed your mind totally when you saw some other interesting ingredients you have in the fridge or pantry? I had that crazy day yesterday. I planned to cook pasta with fish and chick peas but I was inspired to cook something else when I saw a packet of minced mutton in the freezer. I guess it is that impromptu curiosity, excitement and inspiration to tweak, to experiment and of course to eat and taste that spur me to cook different stuff and continue cooking....

Something spicy would be nice for minced mutton I thought, but on second thought the lunch I was going to prepare was more to fill the hungry stomachs of my kids upon their return home from school. I decided to cook something mild yet flavourful and delicious minced mutton for them.

If you could not accept the strong flavour of the cumin and turmeric, you may reduce the amount and increase the tomato paste. I was taking a chance to cook this and true enough my boy was reluctant to open his mouth to eat it when he first smelled the dish. He said it was curry dish and that it would be spicy. Fortunately, I was able to convince him to try and that the dish wasn't spicy at all. He took the first spoon and he liked it with white rice!!  My daughter and I had it with tomato bread with herbs. My girl is a mild curry lover and she told me this today, "Mum I liked my lunch yesterday"... I was beaming in return.

Minced Mutton in Mild Sauce
250g mutton
1 big onions coarsely chopped
5 cloves of garlic coarsely chopped
4 medium size potatoes, cut into cubes
4 sticks of carrots, cut into small cubes
1 big bowl of peas
1 bay leaf
5 tablespoon of tomato paste
3/4 tsp of turmeric powder
1 tsp of cumin powder
500ml beef stock


1. Heat up a non-stick pan with one tablespoonful of cooking oil in slow fire. Fry onions and garlic until slight soft. Add bay leaf, carrots and potatoes. Continue to stir fry for about a minute.

2. Add in the mutton, tomato paste, turmeric powder and cumin powder. Continue to stir and let it simmer in slow fire for a minute.

3. Transfer it into a pot, add in beef stock. With lid covered, let it simmer in slow fire for about 25 minutes.

4. Add  in peas and continue to let it simmer with lid opened for 5 minutes.

Notes :
1. I was thinking perhaps adding cinnamon stick, cardamon seeds, star of anise, clove, cut tomatoes and garam masala would be a good blend for a more pungent mutton curry flavour.

2. I didn't add salt to this dish in view of the sodium level in the the store-bought beef stock but a little dash of the mineral was able to bring out the taste of the dish.

3. You may add natural yogurt to thicken the sauce. I was thinking whether the same recipe with a tweak towards western flavours would be suitable to use as filling for shepherd's pie?

Sunday, April 21, 2013

Strawberries Cream Cheese Butter Cake

I was having a little body ache after a bowling game with my family yesterday. If I could I would really wish to spend some time doing nothing but just relax after our Sunday Mass at the church. However, my mind just could not detach from this gorgeous picture that I saw in a blog on a cream cheese butter cake. I visited Cuisine Paradise frequently to look out for healthy, yummy and inspirational recipes. It is an awesome blog and I could almost feel the writer's energy, passion and sincerity sharing all what she knows and likes about food each time I read her post!

I find that it is exciting to bake unplanned every time. So even though my muscles are a little stiff I went ahead to do a simple baking project with the kids. I enjoyed it so much doing this with my kids though baking with younger kids means you have more clean up to do and it was time consuming as you have to be really patient explaining and giving instructions to them. But those are the points; you want them to learn through fun; it was the best way and environment for them to be exposed about home economics and to learn this important life skill. I have learned to be patient with the kids and to 'tolerate' the mess if I want to engage them with kitchen activities. It defeats the purpose of learning if you did most of the steps for them for fear of mess. It definitely kills their excitement and fun; and worst their self esteem.

This recipe is adopted from Cuisine Paradise. The changes that I made to the recipe are as follows:

a) I used strawberries instead of the blueberries as I found none in my local supermarket.

b) I used two 4" x 9"x 3" baking tin and maintain the baking time.

c) I divided the recipe into two portions for all the ingredients as I wanted the kids to get better hands-on and feel confident that they are in control.

The cake is so easy to make, delicious and gorgeous!!

Notes :

1. The cake is really soft so do take note when removing it from the tin. Revert the cake only when it is completely cool.
Related Posts Widget for Blogs by LinkWithin