Celebrating Food! Celebrating Life!

Simple Eats

Pak Putra Tandoori & Naan Restaurant @ Melaka

20151215_211129 s
There are lots of interesting eating places in Melaka apart from those that serve Peranakan cuisine. Like the Chinese braised duck noodles and really good “hum jeen pheang” I had recently in Tengkera nearer to Limbongan, as well as uber fresh cockles and clams at Taman Merdeka Batu Berendam. While many of these require a bit of traveling away from Melaka Central and thus often out of the tourist radar, some of these places which have really good food are right smack in town just minutes away from the bustling shopping districts, like Sun May Hiong Satay House in Kota Laksamana, as well as Pak Putra which many purportedly serve the best naan and tandoori chicken in all Malaysia!

雪菜肉絲炒年糕 Stir Fried Ningbo Sticky Rice Cake

DSC_5373 s
I love visiting Taiwan and despite having made than a dozen trips there over the years, the place, the food, and the people continue to astound and inspire me in ways one or another. For most of my previous trips, I was more interested to discover and learn about the mainstream local food fare of Fujian (Min) origins and how the same dish may vary across different places within the island, be it the way which the dish is cooked or sometimes even how they are named. I was also fascinated by the incorporation of local specialty produce into some common dishes which set them apart from the other versions. In doing so, I try to map out the similarities and differences between the Taiwanese local cuisines, with dishes we commonly see at home here in Singapore and Malaysia, especially those of Hokkien origins and even those from the Peranakan heritage. In my most recent trip however, I turned my attention to cuisines from the minority communities within the Taiwanese Chinese diaspora, namely the Shanghainese and the Hakkas and the best place to start is usually chatting with the stall vendors at their local markets. That was where I’d learned and became inspired to cook many Taiwanese local dishes, including this classic dish, 雪菜肉絲炒年糕 Stir Fried Ningbo Sticky Rice Cake. (more…)

广式煲仔饭 Cantonese Claypot Rice – A Revisit…

DSC_4719 s
The weather has been rather cooling of late and this makes me crave for piping hot food. Such an irony right I know… when it’s hot and wretched, we want something cold and chilling, and when the temperature takes a dip, we yearn for something to get our rumbling tummies all warm and happy. There are many things I love to cook and eat really warm, like stews, soups, porridge and of course claypot rice. I love eating 广式煲仔饭 Cantonese claypot rice for the piping hot and perfectly cooked grains with succulent bits of chicken and of course my favorite Chinese sausages and salted fish! Really yums!!!

昙花润肺养颜甜汤 Keng Hua Sweet Broth

DSC_4631 s
Seasons are changing, yes even in tropical Singapore. More cooling and rainy days, I simply love it! A good break from the hot and humid weather we typically get in the earlier months, leaving us all balmy and frustrated. I like to cook some hot “tong sui” during this time of the year too, a bowl of warm sweet broth packed with nourishing ingredients to prep us for the months to come. My small pot of “keng huay” is in bloom again, perfect timing to use those flowers to curb the cough and ease the sore throat that accompanied the flu bug for the last week or so!

Kuih Cara Berlauk & A Free Cookbook Giveaway!

DSC_8182 s
Gosh time really flies and we are into the last two months of 2016 already! What and eventful year it had been so far! Just around this time last year, I was still working out the recipes for a joint collaboration with nine other recipe bloggers from Singapore and Malaysia in a cookbook kindly sponsored by Kwong Cheong Thye and published by InfoMedia. It was a crazy period for all of us, cooking and cooking and cooking to fine tune the recipes, the eventual photo shoot when we took turns to slog in the kitchen the whole day and work around the clock to churn out 40 dishes and bakes to put in front of the lens over two frantic days. The adrenaline rush was overwhelming, both stressful and fun at the same time!

On the Trail of the Phoenix – Itek Sioh

DSC_4238 s
Yes my writing and blogging mojo is back and hopefully it would last a tad longer this time round. It is afterall nearing the end of the year and the festive mood is kicking in, with Christmas in just a couple of weeks’ time and Deepavali tomorrow! My Hindu neighbours are already cooking up a storm in their kitchen and I can smell the aromas of mustard seeds and other spices blistering in the oil as they are used to cook an assortment of yummy dishes! I’m busy in my own kitchen too, after getting a new hob gifted by Turbo-Italia. Lovin’ it totally! So spacious and the heat is so strong to the point of roaring! I can almost smell the wok hei as I was stir frying, or so I thought! Yet another homecooked meal yesterday to satisfy my cravings, and this time round, I am cooking Itek Sioh, a really old Peranakan dish. I checked my old photos and realised that the last time I’d cooked it was more than 2 years back. A timely revisit indeed!

红糟鸡面线 Ang Jiu Chicken Mee Sua

DSC_4109 s
Yet another meal that is a result of a fridge clearing exercise, this time round, a bottle of anka paste which had been lying in the abyss of fridge since last year. I got this from my last Taiwan trip and havent gotten round to use it yet. Thank goodness it hasn’t expired yet! Ang Jiu Chicken Mee Sua for dinner, it shall be!
DSC_4021 s
The ingredients for cooking this Foochow aka Hock Chiew dish is really simple. I’m using a recipe that I’d cooked it several times after 2013 and still love the taste a lot. Only thing is this time round, I no longer have the homemade red yeast wine and lees like I’d used to, I’m using the regular mee sua which is thinner compared to the ones from Setiawan and I’d added Chinese mushrooms during the brief stewing as well!
DSC_4032 s
And this is what the bottle of anka from Taiwan looks like. It has 香椿 added as well which means that it would likely to be more salty than what one would have expected. Have to go easy on the salt and other flavourings…
And this is what the contents look like, all mashed up to release the flavours but it is not as heady with alcohol or just as aromatic. Nothing beats homemade! Gotta go pester for another batch for this and next year!
DSC_4043 s
红糟鸡面线 Ang Jiu Chicken Mee Sua Recipe (serves 3-4) adapted from here

600g fresh chicken drumstick and thigh, chopped into chunks
thumbknob old ginger, julienned
5-6 dried Chinese mushroom, reconstituted with warm water
4-5 tbsp anka paste
1 cup ang jiu, can be replaced with huadiao wine or shaoxing wine
Salt to taste
2 tbsp sesame oil
1/2 tsp ground white pepper
coriander leaves and fried shallots garnishing
3-4 hardboiled eggs, peeled
1 1/2 cups water (including mushroom soaking liquids)

In a heated wok, add sesame oil and sautee the ginger strips until nice, dried and aromatic.
Add chopped chicken chunks and pan fry them to render some fat into the oils. Fry until the skin begins to turn slightly brown.
Add anka sauce and soaked Chinese mushrooms.
Stir fry slightly to coat the chicken chunks uniformly with the reddish sauce.
Add mushroom soaking liquids and top up with more water if necessary. The chicken chunks should be at least 3/4 covered with liquids. Add hardboiled eggs at this moment as well. Simmer for 5-8 min, stirring periodically.
Remove lid but continue heating to reduce the liquids considerably, about 15-20 min under medium high heat.
Pour in the wine and give everything a good toss.
Ladle chicken and sauce over a bowl of cooked mee sua.
Top with coriander leaves and fried shallot bits.
Enjoy !!!

DSC_4068 s