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Deep-fried Beancurd Skin Rolls with Fish Paste Recipe

Thursday, October 30, 2008 | Labels: , , , , | 22 Comments »

I seem to be cooking a lot with tofu or at least tofu products lately - my latest offering is the crispy beancurd skin rolls with fish paste filling. Crunchy on the outside and chewy on the inside - this dish will be a great finger food at parties or served as one of your dishes on your dining table. I actually wrapped these beancurd rolls when I was making my yummylicious deep-fried shrimp wontons . I decided to put my beancurd rolls away in the freezer - this is the good part about wrapping dumplings/ dim sum, you can make a big batch and put the remaining in the freezer for later consumption.

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These beancurd skin rolls are popular fare at many Chinese restaurants serving dim sum and they can be either steamed or deep-fried. I 'cheated' a little by using store-bought fish paste (you can get this at any decent Asian grocery store) and just mixing some green onions, garlic powder and sesame oil into the tub. However, as always you can be creative with the filling and use shrimp or pork as well. Try another version of this by making my equally delicious Deep-fried Rice Paper Rolls Recipe .

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Deep-fried Tofu and Pork in Spicy Bean Sauce Recipe

Tuesday, October 28, 2008 | Labels: , , , , | 9 Comments »

Tofu is definitely a 'wonder-ingredient' in that it has a ton of health benefits and since it is essentially flavourless and highly-absorbent, you can cook it in a variety of ways to suit your taste buds. Today I opted for some deep-fried tofu packets I purchased with some ground pork cooked in a spicy bean sauce. This dish is no stranger to most Chinese dining tables and is definitely a family favourite of mine.

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As I purchased these tofu packets already fried, I could skip the slightly messier step of deep-frying, but if you're feeling particularly diligent or up to it, you can always buy plain tofu and deep-fry them before cooking. I always keep some bean sauce in my fridge as they are so versatile, they can be used in sweet sauces, in stir-frys with vegetables, seafood or in this case, pork and tofu. To make this dish vegetarian, you can opt to skip the ground pork or substitute with ground chicken to make this a delicious halal dish.


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Soba Noodles in Bonito Broth Recipe (My Deluxe Version)

Sunday, October 26, 2008 | Labels: , , , | 11 Comments »

Soba or buckwheat noodles are very healthy and unlike most 'good-for-you' food are very tasty as well. Soba noodles are very versatile and are delicious served hot or cold. For a guilt-free noodle fix - today I am featuring my 'deluxe' yet quick version of soba noodles in bonito broth. I used bonito powder and konbu (dried kelp) to flavour my light and nourishing broth that was the perfect 'backdrop' for these healthy noodles. A dash of soy, sake, white pepper and my broth was ready to go. I added some fish cake, fried tofu packets and wakame for a quick 'deluxe' factor in my noodles. This is easily a healthy and delicious alternative to regular instant noodles, where the latter usually has zero nutritional value not to mention all the calories. Finally, I topped my noodles with some toasted nori (seaweed) strips and dried bonito flakes for a 'toastier' bite.

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If you like the flavour of miso, you can add about 1 tablespoon of white miso paste to the broth for an earthier flavour. You may also substitute the soba with udon noodles. A relatively low calorie yet tasty noodle dish, it's easy to justify a second bowl!

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Like a versatile black dress, these noodles can be 'dressed' up or down depending on your mood and availability of ingredients (think accessories) in your closet, er I meant kitchen.

Belacan Shrimp with Green Beans Recipe

Saturday, October 25, 2008 | Labels: , , , , , , | 7 Comments »

Here's another way I'm 'exploiting' the oh-so versatile and fragrant (stinky to some!) belacan that is so uniquely Malaysian. On my prolonged spicy mood, I present shrimp and beans stir-fried in belacan - a delicious way to incorporate some healthy greens and my ever-favourite seafood in one single dish. My specially-treated belacan consist of toasted shrimp paste, shallots, dried chilli peppers and dried shrimp all pounded together in my mortar and pestle before cooking. Growing up in Malaysia, belacan and all sorts of pungent fare are the norm rather than the exception, however you have been forewarned, make sure you have good circulation in your kitchen before you attempt to make belacan - this is definitely not a delicate flavour!

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On a side note, I think it's official - you really do know you're a food blogger when you start receiving birthday gifts in the form of pretty dishes and gift cards to Crate & Barrel . Definitely no complaints from me though! As most of my family and friends know, I am always on the look-out for interesting looking dishes just to make my photos appear just a tad bit more fun or maybe as a means to compensate for my very-amateur food photography skills that I'm hopefully improving on (?!)'. Now apart from thinking on how to cook a tasty dish, a blogger usually puts in thoughts on how to present the delicious dish well as the eyes are the only ones doing the tasting on the computer screen!


Also, a few of my food photos did make it to Tastespotting and Foodgawker , the fabulous food porn sites, so I'm feeling a tad encouraged. By the way, the very first time I encountered the term 'food porn', I did feel a little puzzled - hey, might sound weird to some but I have to admit, this term describes the luscious food photos perfectly and succinctly.

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Spinach Tofu with Salted Fish Stir-fry Recipe

Monday, October 20, 2008 | Labels: , , , | 13 Comments »

I am usually not a huge fan of plain tofu as it is rather flavourless - but there are days when I hanker for tofu and today was one of them. This spinach and tofu stir-fry is quite healthy and very 'ching' (cleansing and not rich translated from Cantonese). I decided to dress it up a little by flavouring this dish with some salted fish bits. The crunchy and fragrant salted fish bits definitely up this simple stir-fry a few notches but beware, salted fish is another acquired taste and if you're not a fan of salted fish, simply leave the stir-fry plain or flavour with some shallot oil if preferred. A delightfully short list of ingredients and very tasty plus economical at the same time if I must say so myself.

After featuring some richly flavoured foods ranging from my Malaysian Butter Prawns to Kam Heong Crabs , this is a nice deviation for days when your tastebuds feel like taking a respite (albeit a short one?!) from all the spicy flavours!

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Dry Curry Noodles with Shrimp Recipe

Saturday, October 18, 2008 | Labels: , , , , | 15 Comments »

I must be in a spicy mood recently, I threw this dish together as I had some fresh noodles sitting in my fridge that were begging to be used and I just bought some curry powder from the same Indian store where I found my beloved curry leaves! This is so easy to throw together, and I decided to add some shrimp and chives to the mix. If you want more heat in your dish, add some bird's eye chili peppers to saute together with the garlic. I did not add the peppers while cooking and decided to sprinkle some atop my noodles. These noodles will be great served with some lime on the side as well.

After whipping this up, I think this resembles the a popular fare at the Malaysian Mamak food stalls in Malaysia, the Mee Mamak - except that mine did not have the requisite dried tofu strips and egg stirred in. I can't wait to visit Malaysia next Chinese New Year and go to one of my favourite Mamak stalls, Rajoo's in Petaling Jaya.

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Kam Heong Crab Recipe 金香炒蟹

Thursday, October 16, 2008 | Labels: , , , , | 24 Comments »

Kam Heong (金香) literally translates to 'Golden Fragrance' from the Cantonese dialect - yes the Chinese do like to name dishes with auspicious names like these, this is another uber popular Malaysian dish that encapsulates Chinese, Malay and Indian flavours in a most delicious way. Since I bought 2 packets of the wonderful curry leaves last weekend, what better recipe to feature than to my next favourite recipe after Butter Prawns than Kam Heong crab?!


I used crab claws for this recipe mainly because I had some frozen ones in my freezer - I really am not up to chopping up live crabs while they are still crawling and moving! I'm such a coward, I do admit. Anyway, these were really delicious too despite the fact that they were frozen. Fresh curry leaves cannot be compromised however, the curry leaves are really the soul of this dish as with butter prawns - definitely more than worth your while to track these down.

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The crab claws are first fried, then cooked in an aromatic mix of dried shrimp, curry leaves, bird's eye chili peppers and curry powder. A spicy and extremely tasty dish, you won't regret trying this - the heavenly aroma alone is enough to make one drool! The little dried shrimp bits are laden with aromatic flavour and perfect even on its own. The Kam Heong method of cooking is also great for clams, prawns and most seafood.

Steamed Ground Pork with Preserved Vegetables (Dong Choy) 冬菜蒸猪肉

Thursday, October 16, 2008 | Labels: , , , | 4 Comments »

May I present the humble yet tasty steamed ground pork with preserved vegetables (冬菜) dish. This dish is a very well known family favourite in many Chinese homes and mine is no exception. For those unfamiliar with this dish, this dish derives much of its flavour from the unique saltiness of the preserved vegetables (essentially dried vegetables marinated in salt) which goes really well with the ground pork. I added some slivers of ginger for an added layer of fragrance, however you may opt to skip the ginger. Steaming is also one of my favourite methods of cooking as it is easier, healthier and also much less messier! This dish may also be taken one step further by pan-frying the pork patties after steaming as I did with my earlier feature pan-fried ground pork with ginger recipe.

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Do not be deceived by this humble looking dish, it packs a lot of flavour and is extremely tasty served with hot steamed rice. Since the preserved vegetables may be an acquired taste, you may just try this recipe omitting the preserved vegetables but use more ginger and more green onions if you wish.

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Malaysian Butter Prawns Recipe 奶油蝦

Sunday, October 12, 2008 | Labels: , , , | 42 Comments »

Words cannot begin to describe how much I love and lust after butter prawns. This recipe is just so uniquely Malaysian - it totally captures the essence of Chinese, Indian and Malay cooking resulting in a to-die-for concoction! Head-on prawns are best for this recipe to fully display the rich flavours and colours of this dish. The fresh curry leaves lend an irreplaceable fragrance to this dish that is enhanced by the presence of bird's eye chilli peppers. Prawns poached in oil, then fried in butter, garlic, chilli peppers and super fragrant curry leaves - what's not to love?!



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I have been on the search for fresh curry leaves in San Diego for a while, and finally found some (and reasonably priced too!) in an Indian grocery store. I was waiting with bated breath when I asked the polite salesperson if they had fresh curry leaves - when he nodded and led me to the aisle, I was so ecstatic and could hardly contain my excitement when I detected the familiar and fragrant scent of curry leaves. What a lot of fuss for something that grows commonly in everyone's garden in Malaysia! This scenario reminds me of a saying in Chinese, "When a person leaves his or her hometown, he or she is not that precious anymore, when goods leaves their original locations, they become very dear". Though this saying might be rather wide-sweeping, the second part does hold true most of the time!



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The little bits in this dish are definitely the pièce de résistance (to me), I can really eat a whole bowl of rice with just the little bits! I used egg yolk this time, but you can opt to use toasted grated coconut as well.

Fresh curry leaves are essential to Butter Prawns!


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Dim Sum: Steamed Siu Mai Recipe 燒賣

Saturday, October 11, 2008 | Labels: , , , , , , | 6 Comments »

As a self-proclaimed dim sum (點心) aficionado, I felt that I should feature one of the most popular dim sum dumplings ever, the celebrated 燒賣 (siu mai in the Cantonese dialect). These delectable little bites are usually steamed but you can also opt to fry them if you're so inclined. As with most dim sum or dumplings, you can be creative with the filling - for this recipe, you can add Chinese mushrooms if you like as well.

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So today, I had my friend J come over for lunch together with her little puppy - I wanted to make some siu mai that would accompany our lunch but alas I was running late on some errands and J actually helped me to wrap these delectable little bites after we dug into some lunch she bought. Anyway, hope that her husband will like these as I sent her home with some siu mai. I have to admit that making siu mai and dumplings in general do require a bit more time so it was fun to have a girly chat while wrapping these little dumplings.

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Siu Mai literally translates to cook and sell dumplings, 燒 meaning to cook and 賣, meaning to sell.

Pan-fried Salmon in Miso and Ginger Recipe

Thursday, October 09, 2008 | Labels: , , , , | 8 Comments »

I absolutely adore Japanese food from sashimi to doriyaki and today I decided to feature a very simply pan-fried salmon fillet in miso and ginger. As you know, salmon has a distinct and pungent flavour that I incidentally love - but if you're not a fan of salmon, you may substitute with cod, halibut or any other white fish. This is rather light and the list of ingredients is delightfully short. I used liberal amounts of sake (in marinade and as I was pan-frying) as I absolutely love the fragrance of sake but adjust according to your preferences.

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This dish will be perfect on lazy days, I timed myself and I only spent 15 minutes from taking the salmon fillets out of the fridge to plating. I love to eat crispy fish skin as well, and these did not turn out very 'fishy', if you like, you can simply bake or grill the fillets. On another note if you're planning to make sushi, I recommend for you to try my very cute salmon sashimi brocade balls posted under Assorted Sushi and my colourful rainbow roll (tazuna maki).

Itadakimasu! いただきます (similar to Bon Appetit!)

For more Japanese recipes on Tastes of Home, please click below:
Chicken Escabeche Nanban (Japanese Fried Chicken)

Seared Hamachi

Tatsuta Fried Chicken

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Ingredients:
2 salmon fillets
White sesame seeds (for garnish - optional)

Sauce:
1 tbsp white miso paste
2 tbsps mirin
2 tbsps sake
2 tbsps grated fresh ginger
1 tbsp sugar

Method:
Firstly, mix the ingredients for the sauce together in a separate bowl. Now is the tim for a taste test, adjust the quantities of the ingredients above according to your preference. Simply spoon the sauce onto the salmon fillets and spread on the fillets as evenly as you can. As you can see, no soy was needed as the white miso paste is already salty.

Now, heat about 2 tbsps cooking oil in a non-stick pan. Once hot, pan-fry the salmon fillets, about 3-4 minutes on each side. My salmon fillets were not very thick and hence they were cooked through pretty quick. I then sprinkled some toasted sesame seeds on my fillets as a garnish and also because I love the crunchiness they add to the fillets.

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Stir-fried Manila Clams in Spicy Black Bean Sauce Recipe 豆豉酱炒蛤蜊 (辣)

Tuesday, October 07, 2008 | Labels: , , | 11 Comments »

Today I feature Manila Clams cooked in some very fragrant and spicy black bean sauce. Very easy and simple but it is best to soak the clams overnight in some water (place in the fridge), this is to get rid of the dirt and sand particles prevalent in clams. The heat in this dish comes from the dried chilli peppers - if you wish to have less heat in your dish, just soak the dried chilli peppers in some hot water for about 15 minutes, or you can remove the seeds from the peppers.
I absolutely love seafood and clams are one of my favourites. The clams should open up when you cook them, if they stay closed, it is best to remove those and not eat them. A very appetising and flavourful dish, perfect with rice and should provide a nice variation on your dinner table. I added some water to cook the clams, resulting in a fragrant gingery broth that was the perfect complement to the natural briny taste of the clams.

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Red Snapper in Ground Bean Sauce Recipe 油煎豆酱红鲪

Sunday, October 05, 2008 | Labels: , , | 19 Comments »

Let me present another hit from Tastes of Home's kitchen - the Red Snapper in Ground Bean Sauce! I picked up this Red Snapper and thought that it would go well with some ground bean sauce I had in my fridge. The versatile ground bean sauce is mainly made from soy beans, and goes rather well with many dishes -it is also used to make sweet dipping sauces used with chee cheong fun (flat noodles) and yong tau foo (stuffed beancurd), both popular streetfood in Asia.

I used some red chilli peppers to add another layer of spicy fragrance to my bean sauce and added some Chinese Rice Wine (Shaoxing Wine) to delicately flavour the fish as well. If you prefer your dish to be less spicy, simply soak the chilli peppers in cold water for a bit and remove the seeds since the heat comes mainly from the seeds. As always, I added ginger and green onions for a fragrant fish dish.

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In a 'fishy' mood? Please click below for some other fish recipes of mine:

Chinese Steamed Copper Rockfish

Seared Hamachi (Yellowtail)

Chinese Pan-fried Red Rockfish Fillets

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Pan-fried Ground Pork with Ginger Slivers

Friday, October 03, 2008 | Labels: , , , | 11 Comments »

Instead of the ever popular steamed ground pork, I decided to add a little tweak and I pan-fried these ground pork patties after steaming. The pork was flavoured mainly with ginger slivers and minced garlic. To get the roundish shapes of the pork patties, I merely used a cup to 'shape' the patties after steaming. You can also just choose to pan-fry the ground pork as is. If you don't like pork, just substitute with ground chicken.

This is a very delicious and simple dish, if you don't feel like having them pan-fried, just stop at the steaming step and you will have a very simple and flavourful dish. Steaming is a wonderful cooking process as it involves very little mess (relatively!) and is also relatively healthier.

Delicately crispy on the outside, moist and tender on the inside!
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Interested in more pork recipes? Please click on my other recipes below:

Hakka Steamed Salted Egg with Ground Pork

Stir-fried Mui Choy with Pork

Hakka Char Yoke

Sweet and Sour Pork

King-to Spare Ribs

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Deep-fried Shrimp & Pork Rice Paper Rolls Recipe

Wednesday, October 01, 2008 | Labels: , , , , , | 12 Comments »

Here's another installation of the Taste of Home's ultra-delicious dim sum for home series! Instead of using the regular spring roll wrappers (made of flour), I decided to use rice wrappers that you always see in Vietnamese cuisine. The rice paper rolls are very thin and most delicate when wet. The outer layer crisps up really nicely while the inside layer remains moist - a winning combination if I do say so myself.

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These rice papers really do take on the look and feel of plastic almost (before being soaked), after a few tries, I realised that most cook books will tell you to soak them for about 1 minute which will cause the rice wrapper to be too delicate to handle by then! So I devised a 'plan' where you just soak the pieces for about 12 seconds, then start wrapping - this is because the piece of rice wrapper will still be soaking while you're wrapping, so it will be pliable yet not too delicate. This may of course be common knowledge (?) to those who often work with these delectable rice wrappers, but for a first-timer like me, it's definitely a good tip.

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