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Savoury Mushroom Puffs/ Tarts Recipe

Sunday, February 26, 2012 | Labels: , | 4 Comments »

When you're in a pinch and you do not have adequate time to prepare puff pastry from scratch, it is absolutely fine to use store-bought - I mean really :O.  But, I still think it's a fun idea to make your very own puff pastry from scratch at least once and it is really not difficult but just a tad time-consuming and a little more work involved as you can see here.  Totally achievable though and you can always freeze half of the portion you make and keep for the next time you want to do something with puff pastry.  Today's puffs are of the savoury variety - the puffs are simply brushed with olive oil, topped with some mushrooms and scented with some fresh thyme.  Sprinkle a bit of rock salt or regular salt and your puffs are all ready to be baked.

Savoury Mushroom Puffs


I like to use eggwash as well to give the puffs that golden look but take care not to brush the eggwash onto the sides of the puff pastry as this will act rather like a 'glue' and hinder the rising of the layers in the pastry.  These will be great served as finger food at parties especially if cut the pastry sheets smaller.  I hope you enjoy these and have a great week ahead!

Savoury Mushroom Puffs

p.s. My apologies if I have not been as prompt in replying to your comments/ questions and also to my fellow bloggers for hardly commenting on your blogs lately as I have been tied up with some other things and my mind has been all over the place.  I will be back to 'normal' soon!

Salmon Congee (Rice Porridge) Recipe

Saturday, February 25, 2012 | Labels: , , , | 9 Comments »

I hope everyone is having a lovely weekend.  It's been awhile since I've featured one of my favourite Chinese comfort foods, congee or also known as rice porridge.  Today's recipe is an extremely easy and refreshing salmon congee dish that you can whip up pretty quickly and easily whenever you're in need for a dose of some delicious warmth or just when you feel like some congee.  I used salmon belly today but you can also just use salmon fillet if you like - then again you can totally substitute the salmon with another fish of your choice.  Apart from the fish, all you need are some ginger, scallions (green onions), chicken or vegetable broth and of course well rice. 

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I prefer my congee to be of a smoother consistency hence I like to soak the rice in water for at least 30 minutes before cooking which really helps break down the grains considerably more producing a silky smooth consistency.  Then again, if you like your congee to be more substantial feel free to increase the ratio of the rice grains to water.  I used homemade chicken broth for my congee today but you can definitely just use any good quality (no MSG) store-bought chicken broth.

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Chinese Steamed Chicken Recipe

Tuesday, February 21, 2012 | Labels: , , , , | 8 Comments »

Simply steamed chicken.  This dish requires very litle introduction and most Chinese households probably have their own little twist to make this classic chicken dish uniquely theirs.  In our household, this dish requires first and foremost very good quality fresh chicken (frozen usually does not cut it) but not to the extent of having chickens running in your backyard of course.  The key to this dish is the timing of steaming - you have to steam the chicken up until the point that it is fully cooked yet not overly so to preserve the smoothness and deliciousness of the dish.  We like to serve it with some crispy fried shallots or you can go for some chopped up ginger mixed with hot oil and salt.  You can't go wrong either way.


Chinese Steamed Chicken



Chopping the chicken into the bite-sized pieces is another challenge, to ensure clean cuts it is best to allow the chicken to cool completely before wielding your cleaver.  As you can see, I photographed a whole chicken leg as seriously it was getting dark and I still rely on natural light for my food photography.  We simply rubbed the chicken with a teeny bit of salt and steamed it.  If you like, you can sprinkle some Chinese rice wine on top of the chicken while steaming for added fragrance.  Garnish with some cilantro, green onions and you're done!


Chinese Steamed Chicken


Chinese Malaysian Food

Friday, February 17, 2012 | Labels: , | 10 Comments »

It's already the end of another week!  Today's blog post is not a recipe but I thought it would be a good idea to share with you some of latest food photos where the subjects are popular Malaysian street food.  If you visit Malaysia, street food is definitely something that should not be missed.  There is just nothing like Malaysian street food in Malaysia - it just does not taste the same overseas, well at least not to me.  I hope you enjoy looking at the photos and I also hope to give you a better idea of how Malaysian street food looks like which will perhaps whet your appetities :O.


First up, one of my favourites, stir-fried radish or turnip cake with beansprouts and chili peppers.  This dish is really best cooked in those huge woks on gas stoves as the rather elusive 'wok hei' or wok breath gives the dish its' signature smokiness.  This is also quite a simple dish to whip up at home, radish or turnip is shredded and added to a mixture of flour and rice flour, steamed to form a cake then sliced up and stir-fried with whatever ingredients you fancy.  Usual ingredients include beansprouts, Chinese sausages and chives.  Serve with some spicy Sichuan chili oil for added spiciness.


Stir-fried Radish Cake


Next, Chinese Malaysian wonton noodles served with BBQ pork (char siu) and vegetables.  These noodles are of the lo mein variety which means the noodles are simply boiled and then tossed in a savoury mixture of mainly soy sauce.  The boiled wontons, char siu and vegetables somehow make the best combination for this dish.  This is a perennial favourite of Malaysian street food or hawker fare.


Chinese Wonton Noodles (Dry)

GUEST POST: Nami's Curry Udon Recipe

Monday, February 13, 2012 | Labels: , , , | 28 Comments »


I am extremely pleased and excited today to introduce a popular blogger in the blogosphere, the lovely Nami of Just One Cookbook.  If you are a lover of Japanese food, I am pretty sure you would have bumped into her wonderful and beautiful blog.  Nami and I 'met' via our blogs awhile ago and I count her as one of my best blogging buddies and friends, apart from being a wonderful cook and great photographer, she is also a lovely friend as I remember sharing my angst with her on certain issues we bloggers face sometimes :O.  Today, she has generously shared a delicious noodle dish - curry udon below and I hope you enjoy.  Do hop over to her blog for her detailed step-by-step pictures.

Thanks so much Nami dear!

Curry Udon

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Hello everyone, my name is Nami and I share quick and easy Japanese home cooking recipes on my blog Just One Cookbook.  I am very honored that Jen has invited me to guest blog on her beautiful blog today.  Jen and I have been good friends since we’ve met in the foodie blogosphere sometime last year.  I don’t quite remember how and when we got to know each other, but she’s been an amazing blog mentor for me (since she’s been blogging for a while and I was just a newbie back then).  Not only has she been a wonderful and supportive friend, Jen’s blog has been a great inspiration for my food photography and recipes. 

When she requested me to guest post some time last year, I knew I wanted to share some delicious Japanese noodle recipe.  As readers of Smoky Wok, you probably know Jen is really good at making noodles, both Asian and Western style. 

So today I want to share one of my family’s favorite noodle recipe, Japanese Curry Udon, with readers of Smoky Wok.  This recipe was requested by several readers on my own blog as well so I hope you will enjoy this recipe too! 

Curry Udon has been a popular menu item in Japan for a long time but still not so well known yet in the US.  No worries, nowadays you can buy a box of Japanese Curry Roux at many American supermarkets.  It’s very tasty so I hope you try Japanese curry if you haven’t tried it before.  Japanese curry when compared to Thai or Indian curry is much thicker and the spices are milder.  Some people do make curry roux from scratch and that’s definitely on my to-make list.  But for today it’s going to be a quick curry recipe.

Thank you Jen for inviting me today and I hope you enjoy this Japanese noodle recipe!


Malaysian Pan Mee (Flat Flour Noodles) with Anchovies and Mushrooms Recipe (Dry Version) 板麺

Saturday, February 11, 2012 | Labels: , , , , | 5 Comments »

Pan mee (板麺) or flat flour noodles are of Fujian/ Hokkien origin and is popularly served in Malaysia.  These noodles are mainly made of flour and water and used to be torn by hand in the olden manner.  These flour noodles have since been shaped more uniformly but usually retains its' flat shape.  There are two versions of pan mee in general, one served in a savoury soup of anchovies and pork ribs with the other being a dry version usually tossed with some soy sauce.  Today's feature is my interpretation of the dry version where apart from soy sauce, I used some abalone sauce for some additional umami flavours.  I used dried anchovies, fresh shiitake mushrooms and served the noodles with some fresh Chinese broccoli or choy sum.


Chinese Malaysian Pan Mee (板麺) - Flat Flour Noodles


The noodles have a toothsome texture and are mildly flavoured and they lend themselves particularly well to a mixture of savoury anchovies and meaty mushrooms.  You can also add some minced pork and slices of wood ear fungus for more texture.  This much-loved noodle dish is one of my favourite noodle dishes and is definitely easy and quick to whip up at home.  Admittedly, I did not make the noodles from scratch today but I think it will be a worthwhile endeavour sometime soon.  I hope you all have a lovely weekend!

Chinese Malaysian Pan Mee (板麺) - Flat Flour Noodles

This post is part of my series of Yuen Chun Recipes, an ongoing project on this blog.

Chinese Malaysian Style Hokkien (Fujian) Noodles Recipe 福建麵

Thursday, February 09, 2012 | Labels: , , | 9 Comments »

Alright, it's time for another delicious noodle dish on Smoky Wok - today's feature is quite a sinful noodle dish said to have been brought over by Chinese immigrants from the southern province of Fujian a long time ago to Malaysia.  Hokkien noodles has since turned into almost a Chinese Malaysian culinary icon, almost all Malaysian styled restaurants serve this savoury and addictive noodle dish.  Why do I call this sinful? Well, because a true Hokkien noodle dish contains pork fat or 'chu you cha', essentially pork fat rendered in hot oil and fried to crispy deliciousness - rather artery clogging so this is definitely not a dish you want to eat too often :O. This dish also depends a lot on the increasingly less elusive wok breath or 'wok hei' where the slight smokiness gives this dish its' deeply pleasing flavours.


Chinese Fujian (Hokkien) Soy Noodles Chinese Fujian (Hokkien) Soy Noodles 福建麵


It is not that difficult to re-create at home although I have to admit that industrial sized woks and stoves really give much better wok breath but nevertheless remains a satisfactory substitute.  For today, I used some shrimp, squid, pork and choy sum as the accompaniments and you can of course switch this around to suit your fancy or availability of ingredients.  I used both thick egg noodles and rice noodles as I prefer to have a mixture of textures but the classic version usually calls for only the thick egg noodles.  I like to serve this dish with Chinese tea as the tea does a good job of cutting into the oiliness a little bit.

Chinese Fujian (Hokkien) Soy Noodles 福建麵

Chinese Waxed Meats Rice Recipe (Lap Mei Fan) 腊味饭

Monday, February 06, 2012 | Labels: , , , , | 10 Comments »

It's already the last day of Chinese New Year and I hope you have all had a good celebration with your loved ones.  The fifteenth day of Chinese New Year is also known as the Chinese version of Valentine's day 元宵 (Yuanxiao) where lanterns are lit and the full moon is enjoyed.  To be honest, I didn't see a full moon tonight but it is still nice to be able to spend such festivals with your loved ones.  Today's feature is a very popular yet extremely easy dish to whip up - especially popular during the Chinese New Year due to the abundant availability of Chinese waxed meats, lap mei fan is essentially claypot rice made with well, Chinese waxed meats.  A simple seasoning of rice wine, some soy and sugar is used to mix with the rice and waxed meats and there you have it, a heartwarming simple and comforting dish you can make pretty quickly at home.


Chinese Waxed Meats Rice (Lap Mei Fan) 腊味饭

I would like to take this chance to wish all of you my wonderful readers a very Happy Chap Goh Mei or 元宵节快乐!

Chinese Waxed Meats Rice (Lap Mei Fan)

Easy Glazed Chocolate Cake Recipe

Saturday, February 04, 2012 | Labels: , , | 6 Comments »

When I have to think of something sweet for guests, chocolate cake is always a safe bet - I mean almost everyone loves chocolate cake right? Well, except for my dad who detests chocolate with a vengeance but he is really in the minority :O.  Anyway, today's incredibly easy glazed chocolate cake was my choice to serve to my friends who will be dropping by tomorrow.  Another good thing about this cake is that you can make this the day before which really saves time and right before serving, heat the cake up very quickly in the microwave if you and your guests prefer your chocolate cakes a little gooey.  All in all, a great recipe to tuck away that will serve you well when your mind is at a blank on what to make for dessert when you have guests i.e. like yours truly.



Glazed Chocolate Cake


Preparation is very straightforward, cream butter with sugar, add eggs, flour and the other dry ingredients and of course bake.  The baking time takes a little longer, about 50-60 minutes depending on the size of your pan.  This recipe calls for sour cream which may sound a little 'weird' to first-time bakers but sour cream acts to moisten the cake and this cake was a perfect combination of rich chocolate deliciousness and yummy texture.  What's more, as this cake is glazed, you won't have to bother about icing or frosting the cake - really makes life that much easier!  I think it looks pretty good too, don't you think?

Glazed Chocolate Cake

Stir-fried Pork and Arrowhead Lettuce Wraps Recipe

Wednesday, February 01, 2012 | Labels: , , , , | 11 Comments »

Arrowhead or 'nga ku' as it is known in Cantonese is very popular during Chinese New Year especially in its' crisply fried chips incarnation but this potato-like 'vegetable' is also very popular in stir-fries like in today's simple version.  Arrowhead has a crunchy and slightly powdery texture that is great with this usual pork stir-fried in dark soy sauce - wrap some pork and arrowhead in a piece of crisp refreshing lettuce and you've got yourself a winner!  For arrowhead, do make sure to clean them with a stiff brush as peeling does not work that well here, especially if you bought the small versions.  We are always lucky as my aunt who lives outside of the city actually plants them and we of course get a bounty - tastes invariably better than the ones you buy at grocery stores, at least in my opinion.  Anyway, this is savoury and appetizing dish will be sure to fit the bill if you like lettuce wraps, the addition of the crunchy arrowhead is sure to be pleasing.

Stir-fried Pork and Arrowhead Lettuce Cups


In other non food-related news, I have been hobbling around with a hurt knee since yesterday as I am actually suffering from 'runner's knee' - never thought this day would come as I am well, rather extremely lazy and running/ jogging really was never my thing if you know what I mean.  For some reason, I started jogging and running a few weeks ago and surprise surprise - I really enjoy it and I think I probably overdid it too fast considering that I was such a lazy non-exercising person earlier.  I guess that goes to show that apart from being lazy, I am rather impatient as well.   So here I am, having to hobble around for at least another week or so - it's really hard to resist running right now as I think I got addicted to the once elusive runner's high, but yes I shall rest for if not I can kiss all my high heels I mean my knee good bye!  I can only say that I guess it's true what they say, life really is unpredictable :O.


Stir-fried Pork and Arrowhead Lettuce Cups



This is part of my series in my Yuen Chun Recipes, an ongoing project on this blog.


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