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Bacon Fried Rice, Etc.

It has been busy around here the past week. I would like to apologise to my blogger friends for not visiting and commenting on their new posts! My parents are here for a long visit – they arrived last Sunday night – and we had been organising the house in preparation for their visit. We made trips to Ikea, moved furniture about and threw out a lot of garbage! :)

I’m looking forward to learning more dishes from my mum. Just last night I watched her make my all-time favourite, Vinegar Pork Ribs, and it was great. No time for photos, just eat! This afternoon she whipped up a plate of fried rice for the boys’ lunch. It won’t be sandwiches every day for lunch when Grandma’s here!

Bacon fried rice with eggs and cucumber

2 cups cooked rice (left over or day old rice is best)
3 strips of bacon, cut into strips
2 eggs, lightly beaten
Half a medium yellow onion, chopped
1/2 cup of julienned cucumber
Light soy sauce
Dark soy sauce

Fry bacon in a skillet till crispy. Remove, set aside and drain fat from pan.
Pour in beaten eggs and scramble. Season with light soy sauce and pepper. Remove and set aside.
Add a teaspoon of oil and saute the onion. Add in the rice, season with the soy sauces and mix, breaking up clumps of rice. When the rice is warm, put in the bacon, egg and cucumber and mix well. Taste and season with more soy sauce if required. Serve.

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There was a surprise in my Inbox recently – I was offered an ‘Editor’s Choice’ award from Be @ Home, a specialty blog with lots of tips and guides for the home and garden! It is my pleasure to have the button on my blog. Click the button and check out the site!

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Lastly, I doubt I’ll be posting before Thanksgiving (Canada celebrates Thanksgiving on October 10) so I would like to wish everyone celebrating Thanksgiving a Happy Thanksgiving and hope you’ll have a great day and meal(s) with your family!

We haven’t been celebrating Thanksgiving Day as 1) it wasn’t part of the culture in Malaysia and 2) we didn’t have family here to celebrate with. This year, however, my parents are here and we’ll celebrate! When you’re in Rome, do as the Romans do, eh? Since there’s just 6 of us, I won’t roast a full turkey but will make a turkey roulade instead. Hope it’ll turn out well and we’ll have a splendid meal. Here’s the menu I have in mind:

Turkey roulade
Potato gratin
Roasted vegetables
Pecan tart
Apple pie

Care to share your ideas for a Thanksgiving meal?

HAPPY THANKSGIVING!

 
7 Comments

Posted by on October 5, 2011 in Cooking, Food, Life

 

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French Fridays: Coconut-Lemongrass-Braised Pork

Another Asian-influenced dish from Around My French Table; pork curry-stew. Turmeric, curry powder, cardomom seeds, coriander seeds, lemongrass and coconut milk are used in this curry. This recipe says to braise the stew in the oven but I cooked it the way I cook curry – entirely on the stove. It was too hot to have the oven on anyway! I cooked the potatoes and carrots separately as Dorie said but cooked the onions with the pork to add extra sweetness to the stew. I also poured all but 1/4 of the can of coconut milk into the Dutch oven and added the remaining milk only at the end as the flavour of the coconut milk will be cooked away when cooked too long. I omitted the honey too as I didn’t think the stew needs it, preferring it savoury than sweet.

It was a pleasant and mild curry. I found the strongest flavours were the lemongrass and cardomom. My kids could eat it and they think it’s quite nice. After all, only 1 heaped teaspoon of curry powder was used. I found a drizzle of soy sauce to chicken curry enhances its flavour and it worked on this dish as well. We had it two days in a row and it did taste better the next day. The first night I served it over white rice and garlic fried rice the second. (The second night’s dinner was better!)

That’s all from me on this recipe. I’m curious how other French Fridays with Dorie members found it. Click here for their links. (I’ll update this post with the link when it’s up. The FFwD website appears to be down at this moment.)

 
 

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Homestyle Char Koay Teow (Fried Rice Noodles)

Char Koay Teow, one of our beloved hawker food back in Malaysia. Flat rice noodles fried in a hot wok with shrimp, eggs, bean sprouts and Chinese chives. It’s oily but so delicious! It could be eaten for breakfast (like in the picture below), lunch or dinner!

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Anyway, back to reality here in Canada, we could only find this dish in restaurants that sell Malaysian food. The taste could be pretty authentic if you’re lucky but it’s expensive. I might as well make it at home and fortunately, it’s quite easy. Ready the ingredients as shown below and have a wok on hand.

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Have the oil in the wok hot and put in a generous amount of chopped garlic. That’s the secret ingredient to char koay teow – the garlic. And the chives. Add in the shrimps and fish cake and stir-fry quickly till the shrimps are opaque. Put in the bean sprouts, and a sprinkling of water if the wok is too dry, and give them a quick toss to cook. You want the bean sprouts to be still crunchy. Push all the ingredients to the side of the wok and put in the noodles. Pour a tablespoon of light soy sauce, a teaspoon of thick (dark) soy sauce, some salt and pepper, and another sprinkle of water. Quickly toss the noodles to combine. Push everything to the sides again. Now the fun part – crack the egg into the middle of the wok. Cover the egg with the noodles and leave it! Stand back from the wok and just let the egg cook under the noodles. How long to leave the egg depends on the heat of the wok. You want to let the egg cook enough so that when you toss the noodles, you’ll see big pieces of eggs, not tiny bits clinging to the noodles. You don’t want hard pieces of eggs either. After about 30 seconds, or when the yolk is almost cooked, break up the egg and toss the noodles. Throw in the chives and toss to combine all the ingredients. Do not overcook the noodles or they’ll be too soft. Turn off the heat. Scoop up the noodles and deposit into a plate. You should have something like this:

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I still can’t get the exact taste as the char koay teow in Malaysia and it’s mainly because of the seasoning – the soy sauces I use here are different. I couldn’t get the same noodles too, the rice noodles here are thinner. And I don’t have the traditional wok that contains heat so well that the food cooks faster and better. Oh well, it’s good enough. ;-)

 
6 Comments

Posted by on June 15, 2011 in Cooking, Food

 

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French Fridays with Dorie: Cola and Jam Spareribs

This week’s French Fridays with Dorie recipe is ribs marinated with Chinese 5-spice powder and ground ginger. Chinese 5-spice and ginger? I’m not so sure about that! They are both strong spices and I don’t like Chinese 5-spice powder very much. However, in the spirit of adventure, I went along. The ribs are first rubbed with the spice mixture and then marinated in a mixture of apricot jam, orange juice and lemon juice. The cola gets pour in at the last 45 minutes of roasting. My ribs were marinated overnight in the dry spice rub only as I didn’t have the jam and juice and could only get them the next day. Instead of apricot jam, I bought a bottle of orange jam with orange peel that was on sale. I like the slight bitterness that the orange peel imparts. The second change I made was to use back ribs instead of spareribs.

Baking the ribs was easy but it was a hot day that Tuesday. It was 29C in the afternoon, humidex at 38C! Each time I open the oven door to baste the ribs I would wince! Finally, after almost 2 hours, the ribs were done. There were still a lot of liquid left in the pan. I wonder if it’s due to the pan being small – I used a Pyrex glass pan and the ribs were touching the sides and each other.

Tasting time and …. meh. The ribs were a little sweet and a little bitter and that’s about it. The flavour was mostly on the skin. The flesh beneath was tender but just tasted of pork. Sorry, Dorie, I prefer my ribs to be more flavourful. Dorie didn’t give much description about the ribs so I’m not sure if this is the way it’s supposed to turn out. I haven’t cooked enough ribs to know. It seems more braised ribs than barbecue ribs…

There was almost one rack left over. The next day I pulled the meat off the ribs, shredded them and cooked them with BBQ sauce. Yum! ;-)

I’m going to go read what the other FFWD members think about this recipe. Click here and join me.

 
 

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Stir-Fried Pork in Black Bean Sauce

I received a very nice belated birthday present from RC this weekend – The Williams-Sonoma Cookbook. It is a beautiful book with more than 370 recipes. I love that there is a picture for every recipe and each page has, in the sidebar, a tip or a fact about one of the ingredients in that recipe. This gift came in perfect timing as I’ve lost all enthusiasm for cooking after a long holiday in Malaysia where good food was everywhere and easily obtainable!

My inaugural recipe from this book was Stir-fried Pork in Black Bean Sauce. It’s a Chinese recipe and it’s ironical that I’m learning to cook this dish from a Western cookbook. ;-) It’s not so much the seasoning to use but the steps in cooking the dish that I need to learn. This is a tasty dish, thanks to the fermented black beans. I didn’t care much for the taste of the pork (gamey) and I’ll make this dish with chicken next time.

Stir-Fried Pork in Black Bean Sauce
(Adapted from The Williams-Sonoma Cookbook)
Makes 4 – 6 servings

3/4 lb (375g) pork tenderloin
1/2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp plus 1/4 tsp sugar
Salt and freshly ground white pepper
1 1/2 tbsp fermented black beans, well rinsed
1 tbsp oyster sauce (use less if your oyster sauce is very salty)
1 tbsp light soy sauce
1 tsp sesame oil
1 tsp cornstarch
2 tbsp sunflower oil
2 cloves garlic, sliced thinly
2 slices fresh ginger
1 small yellow onion, diced
1 each small green and red bell pepper, cut into cubes
1 tbsp Chinese rice wine
3 cups steamed white rice

Cut the pork into bite-size cubes. In a bowl, combine the pork, baking soda, 1/4 tsp sugar, 1/4 tsp salt, 1/8 tsp white pepper, and 2 tbsp water and mix well. Cover and marinate in the refrigerator for at least 1 hour or up to 3 hours.

To make the sauce, stir together the black beans, oyster sauce, soy sauce, sesame oil, 1 tsp sugar, cornstarch, 1/8 tsp white pepper, and 1/4 cup water in a bowl. Set aside.

In a wok or large saute pan over high heat, heat 1 tbsp oil until almost smoking. Add the garlic and ginger and fry till fragrant, about 5 seconds. Add the onion and bell peppers and stir-fry until just tender, about 5 minutes. Add the rice wine and deglaze the pan, stirring to scrape up any brown bits from the pan bottom. When the wine has nearly evaporated, transfer the vegetables to a bowl.

Remove the pork cubes from the marinade and place on paper towels to drain. Return the pan to high heat and add 1 tbsp oil when the pan is very hot. When the oil is hot, add the pork and stir-fry until it browns and turns opaque, about 3 minutes. Return the cooked vegetables, add the sauce and stir-fry rapidly until the sauce thickens and the mixture is heated through, about 5 minutes.

Transfer the pork mixture to a warmed platter, garnish with cilantro sprigs (optional), and serve with the rice.

 
3 Comments

Posted by on May 30, 2011 in Cooking, Food

 

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FFWD: Garlicky Crumb-Coated Broccoli

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I made this awhile ago but I had notes written in my Around my French Fridays cookbook. The broccoli was first steamed, seasoned and set aside. The crumb coating was then made in a skillet – butter, garlic, bread crumbs and lemon zest. I didn’t have any fresh mint or parsley to add on so I left it out. While the crumb coating is nice, I felt this was only a mediocre way of dressing up broccoli. It would have been nicer if the broccoli wasn’t cold. Tossing the broccoli with the crumbs in the skillet wasn’t enough to warm up the broccoli that had gone cold while sitting. The crumbs didn’t stick well to the broccoli too and most of it end up at the bottom of the plate. I also felt the dish was a little dry but that could be due to me not using the full 4 tablespoons of butter for the crumb coating!

Check out how other FFWD members did with this dish, click here.

 
 

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Malaysian Chicken Curry

Chicken curry ranks right up there when you’re talking about popular Malaysian cuisine. In almost every potluck or party, chicken curry, with or without potatoes, will be there. It’s a time-consuming dish to make if you’re making it from scratch. There are spices to pound or grind before cooking them till the spices turn into a fragrant paste. The paste is the all-important base of the curry. Needless to say, I’ve never attempted to make it from scratch. Nowadays, we have the convenience of packaged curry paste. However, Malaysian curry paste wasn’t available in supermarkets here till a few years ago. I’m very glad T & T brings in Tean’s Chicken Curry Paste. It’s delicious and authentic, no more missing chicken curry from home! I add in lemon grass and curry leaves for extra flavour.

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Malaysian Chicken Curry with Potatoes

1.5 kg chicken meat, cut into bite-sized pieces (bone-in, skinless pieces)
3 tablespoons curry powder
2 tablespoons kosher salt**
1 packet curry chicken paste (200g)
2 medium potatoes, cut into big chunks
1 red onion, cut into thick wedges
2 stalks lemon grass, bruised
A few sprigs of curry leaves
500ml water
200 – 300ml coconut milk, use more or less depending on how creamy you like your curry (I used Aroy-D canned coconut milk)

1. Marinade the chicken with the curry powder and salt for at least an hour.

2. Heat some oil in a Dutch oven or a wok and stir-fry the curry paste and potatoes for 5 minutes.

3. Add in the marinated chicken and cook till the chicken is cooked on the outside. This is to seal in the chicken juices.

 

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4.Add in the onions, lemon grass, curry leaves and water. The water should just cover the chicken and potatoes.

5. Bring to a boil, cover, reduce the heat and simmer for 25 to 30 minutes until the chicken is cooked through and the potatoes are tender.

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6. Add in the coconut milk and simmer for another 10 minutes. The coconut milk is added only at the end as the flavour of the coconut milk will be cooked away if added too early. Taste and season with salt if necessary.

7. Serve with white rice or roti paratha (flat bread).

** The salt can be omitted if you want to reduce the salt content in this dish.

 

 
6 Comments

Posted by on March 27, 2011 in Cooking, Food

 

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