Tuesday, January 31, 2006

Massive CNY eve dinner

My Chinese New Year eve dinner this year was massive! We had more number of dishes than the persons eating. LOL! My mom over over...over cooked. We actually had one more dish to eat buy the table was over crowded with food already. Phewww... we all ate like there was no tomorrow and there were still ample of food.

But you know like what all the typical Chinese myth believers say... "Eat till you are full on the eve so that you will not starve for the year" and "Food remains on the table is a sign of good luck as you will always have something on the table to eat." And from my aunty..."Hahaha and we have back up too! The other chicken and the other dish is still uncooked. That means more luck for food!!" LOL!

My stomach managed to cram in all of the below and shark fin soup. I remembered I took a picture of it but it didn’t turn out.

Lou Sang. (Lou = mix; Sang = raw) The dish contains slices of carrots, ginger, crispy crackers, colored, rice flour crispy strips, preserved onion, sweet and sour cause, mixed spice power, raw fish and a few more ingredients (the ingredients varies from different Lou Sang's). The ingredients are arranged neatly on a large plate and before it is eaten, the dish must be mixed.

This dish is usually eaten on the 8th day of CNY (...I think) but for those who likes it... well every day is the 8th day. This Lou Sang dish was actually bought but I have sliced some green apples, yellow pears and peeled some pomelo to add to the ingredients of the Lou Sang. You can use any kind of raw fish for the Lou Sang. Marinate the raw fish first, if the smell of the fish is too strong.

Sambal Heh Bee. (Sambal = grinded chilies mixed with spices; Heh Bee = Small dried shrimps) The Sambal Heh Bee is a mini side dish acting like a sauce. But taste really good even if eaten just by itself. [Edit: also see Sambal Heh Bee recipe]

We didn't manage to finish this but Sambal Heh Bee makes a good filling for the Mini Springrolls. This will taste good with white porridge or plain dried noodles. Or can be mixed into a can of plain tuna that later can be made into tuna sandwich.

Acar. This dish is a mix of carrots, cucumber, cabbages, long beans and the Acar gravy (sour and spicy) topped with shopped groundnuts.

Acar and Sambal Heh Bee are actually Nyonya dishes. Some people might be wondering how come this two is on the menu for a typical Chinese dinner. Well... food is food on any table and I welcome them muahahha!

Mixed Vegetables. There is a very grand name for this dish but I can't seem to recall the name. This dish is basically stir fried mix vegetables of garlic, onion, French peas, button mushrooms, lotus flower, lotus root, carrots and also gingko.

Steamed Pak Chong. To really enjoy the sweetness of the fish meat, the fish was only steamed with sesame oil. Ginger and light soya sauce is added later.

Choosing the right soya sauce important to bring out the 'correct' taste of your food. Did you know that more expensive soya sauce are sweet and salty? The cheaper ones are just salty. Buy more quality and expensive soya sauce for better tasting dishes.

Wou Tau Kau Yoke. (Wou Tau = Yam; Kau Yoke = Pork) This yam and pork dish is one of those dish where it taste better as leftover. The dish would taste as it best after the sauce have sipped into the yam and the pork.

Marmite Prawns. (Marmite is a brand for yeast extract.)


Hoi Sam. (Hoi Sam = Sea cucumber) Like the Wou Tau Kau Yoke, this dish will taste better after the sauce have sipped into the sea cumber. But there something I have to remember, over boiling\re-boiling the Hoi Sam will actually melt it. So don't let it disappear.

Yong Tau Foo. (Stuffed ToFoo) My mom did not limit the stuffing just to fish paste alone. For a delicious stuffing, my mom mixed fish paste and minced pork. Finely chopped dried cuttel fish, salt, sugar and pepper are also mixed for better taste.

Kai Lan with rice wine. Instead of using garlic to stir fry the Kai Lan, a few table spoon of rice wine is used.

Steamed abalone. As the meat of the abalone is sweet, it is a waste if its cooked with sauces. Would taste good in a steamboat too! or in this case, I ate the abalone with the Sambal Heh Bee. YUM!

Saturday, January 28, 2006

What's on my food trolley for CNY?

Sorry all, I can't find time to record episode 11. I know I said I would be talking about pineapple jam tarts... but you know what, i didn't make them this year. I made so many other cookies I just didn't have time for that. I decided I would not make them this year and continue making more unique Chinese New Cookies.

So just to make your mouth water (...then again the pictures aren't that impressive, let me do I run down on what I have made.

Butter Orange Cake. This one is for my grandma (Dad's side). I woke up at 6am this morning to bake this cake. Initially I wanted to bake Pandan Cake but it was still dark outside and I didn't dare walk out to collect Pandan leafs. The cake is soft and has little pieces of orange peel in it. Very suitable for my grandma who can't really take cakes with nuts.

Double Chocolate Walnut Cake. I baked this after I made the Butter Orange cake for my grandma. Since my other grand parents still have strong teeth, ...plus all my cousins will be back and most of them are kids... and kids love chocolates, I decided on Chocolate cake. Too bad I can't make the frosting for the cake... I won't be able to keep the cake long then.

Marble Cake. Woops! This turn out to be a 'bomb'. I added way too much baking powder. By the time I realized, my teaspoon full of baking powder was already emptied...and baking power is in the flour mixture. Ah well.. I guess Uncle K will just have to cut the cake and enjoy the marble pattern on the sides of the cake instead of the top.

Rum Fruit Cake. You know what... I baked 2 square cakes, and 9 rectangle fruit cakes since after Christmas till now but I have not even eaten one myself! =( I have been aging the cakes too and when the cakes are ready to be eaten... mom gives them away for Christmas... and now for Chinese New Year. Well I guess I can't complain because mom bought the ingredients.

L-R: Ngah Ku aka Arrowhead, Bread Crips, Green Peas Melts

Ngah Ku is really easy to make, but this year prices of Ngah Ku is much higher because everyone is making them. Listen to episode 10 for steps to make your addictive Ngah Ku chips.

The bread crips is my own recipe\creation. It's actually Lebanese bread baked with mixture of spices and herbs. So far everyone that has tried it likes it.

Ok, the green is scary, but you'll think differently when you try it. Most Chinese New Year cookies are sweet so made some thing salty to add more variety to my food trolley. The texture of the cookie is soft and melts in the mouth, very different from the normal crunchy cookies or crumbly shortbreads.

L-R: Peanut Cookies, Deep Fried Mini Spring rolls

Check out Episode 9 for more info on the peanut cookies. I have also made some almond cookies using the same concept of making the peanut ones.

I made 3 different types of Mini Spring rolls. The two most common ones sold in the market are the ones filled with chicken floss ("Yoke Si" or in Hokien "Bak Hu") and small dried shrimp ("har mai"). I made them both. For the last filling, I used satay jelly fish. They usually come in small flat pieces in the size of 50 cents coins in a satay stick. Instead of eating them just like that, I cut them into tiny pieces and used it as my spring roll filling. You should try that out, taste delicious and very unique if you give them out to your friends and relatives.

I have actually made yam munchies to add to my variety of Chinese New Year tidbits but mom has already given them all away... so no pictures. =(

Anyway, I hope I will find time... or time find me ... so I would be able to do another episode of Eat First Think Later. Till then, just look out for more pictures! The reunion dinner is tonight... can't wait!

Saturday, January 14, 2006

Cooking for New Years 2006

This post is a track back of Episode - 008 - Cooking for New Years. Here's what I ended up cooking\not cooking.

31 Dec 2005 : Dinner : Dory fish, vegetables and 2 choices of smashed potatoes.

I had to fry the Dory fish using a hot plate stove... yikes. The heat wasn't enough so I had a little trouble. The Dory fish was marinated with salt, some spices and sweet squid oil. I coated the fillet with flour before frying.

The mini tomatoes and carrots look so lonely. I though I had broccoli and cauliflower so I didn't buy them while buying the ingredients for the dish, but I didn't.

I made two types of smashed potatoes. One mixed with butter (best eaten cold), and one mixed with cream of mushroom (best eaten hot).

31 dec 2005 : Supper : Pulut Hitam Tong Sui.

This is a sweet watered dessert made from black glutinous rice. I did not cook this, but bought this at one of the stalls in First World Plaze in Genting.

1 Jan 2006 : Breakfast at 4am! : Stuffed black pepper and cheese sausages, scrambled eggs and garlic bread.

I had a can of baked beans that I wanted to reheat and add it to the breakfast dish but we were too hungry. We skipped the baked beans and right to the food.

And once again, my garlic bread rocks!

1 Jan 2005 : Breakfast : Desert after breakfast. Ginger Sea Coconut Tong Sui.

I initially planned for Ginger with Sweet Potatoes Tong Sui but I would take too long for the sweet potatoes to cook and soften for a nice tong sui. I poured a can of sea coconut into the ginger water I boiled and the tong sui turned out great.

1 Jan 2005 : Lunch : Pasta with mushroom cheese sauce, and garlic bread.

It would be really difficult to prepare my bolognaise sauce from scratch in Genting so I took the short cut for this dish. I bought mushroom cheese sauce and mix it with my pasta. Added carrots, button mushrooms and sausages as well.

1 Jan 2005 : Supper

We hung out here and there and came across these cakes. A friend treated us with the cakes. The brown is chocolate, I ate the strawberry and the yellow is some French cake I think. Definitely not mango. I can't remember the name but it's like La' something something. The chocolate cake tasted the best, the yellow one comes next. The strawberry cake was just so so.

Tuesday, January 10, 2006

Eat First Think Later - Episode 010

Episode : 010 - Chinese New Year Baking Part 2, Deep fried Arrowhead (Ngah Ku)
File size : 4.4MB
Running duration : 9:27 minutes

Episode summary : Really like eating those munch potatoes chips? Try making Ngah Ku (Arrowhead vegetable). Listen to this week's episode to learn how to make them. Very simple, requires no baking.

This is how the arrowhead vegetable looks like after the skin is peeled off. Remember to leave the arrowhead shoot attached for easier slicing.

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Sunday, January 08, 2006

Eat First Think Later - Episode 009

Episode : 009 - Chinese New Year Baking Part 1, Peanut cookies
File size : 4.1 MB
Running duration : 8:50 minutes

Episode summary : I have tried baking 2 different versions of the peanut cookies. The first batch I baked was more like the western style peanut cookies where the texture is crispy crunch. The second version is the typical Chinese style peanut cookie where the cookie melts in the mouth when eaten.

I have forgotten to mention this in my podcast, but you can use normal sugar can blend it until as fine as icing sugar.

Blend and mix some sesame seeds into the nuts to give it more aroma.

Also, you can use the whole egg including the egg white for the egg wash. Apply your egg wash before you bake the cookies.

For the second batch recipe, you can replace the peanuts with other hard nuts such as almonds, cashew nuts, macadamias or pistachios.

Edit(10 Jan 06): Here's a picture of the 2nd batch peanut cookies, I was having problems with my cam so I could only get the picture up now.

Peanut cookies, first batch (western style)
Ingredients :
- 150g margarine
- 250g peanuts
- 300g flour, sifted
- 1/2 tsp bicarbonate soda
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 150g icing sugar

Method :
1. Roast peanuts at preheated oven at 180 degrees C for 15 minutes or until golden brown. Let it to cool and remove the skin.
2. Blend peanuts in blender\food processor until fine but not oily.
3. Add flour, bicarbonate soda, salt and sugar. Mix well.
4. Add margarine. Mix well. Use hands to form the dough into a big clump.
5. Use hands to form balls (about the size of a 20 cent coin) from the dough and press against a slightly oiled cookie pan. Leave some space in between as cookie will expand a little.
6. Apply the egg wash before baking in a preheat oven at 180 degrees C for 15 minutes.

Peanut cookies, second batch (eastern style)
Ingredients :
- 110g vegetable oil
- 150g peanuts
- 150g flour, sifted
- 120g icing sugar

Method :
1. Roast peanuts at preheated oven at 180 degrees C for 15 minutes or until golden brown. Let it to cool and remove the skin.
2. Blend peanuts in blender\food processor until fine but not oily.
3. Add flour, and sugar. Mix well.
4. Add the oil last. Use hands to form the dough into a big clump. Refrigerate the dough for 20 to 30 minutes if the dough cracks up too much.
5. Use hands to form balls (about the size of a 10 cent coin) from the dough and press against a slightly oiled cookie pan.
6. Apply the egg wash before baking in a preheat oven at 170 degrees C for 15 minutes.

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