Celebrating Food! Celebrating Life!

Latest

Porridge Postulations – Part 2 清粥小菜 – 第二篇

DSC_4523 copy
The weather was crazy hot today but still I need to make a trip to Geylang Serai market for my weekly replenishing of provisions. I had wanted to get my nasi ambeng fix while I was there but as I was strolling along the aisles of the stalls selling fresh seafood, I saw some really lovely stingray and batang roe sacs. So a quick change of plans to come home to whip up something really fast. Unleashing the not-so-little-teochew in me to cook a small spread of dishes with the fresh produce to go with teochew porridge. Perfect for the weather I thought as it would help to sweat it out a bit and hopefully help provide some temporal relief to the excruciating heat…
Read the rest of this page »

Advertisements

川味炸酱面 Szechuan style Zhajiang Mian

DSC_4488 copy
Tuesday homecooked lunch – 川味炸酱面 Szechuan style Zhajiang Mian. Many of us are accustomed to eating the 老北京炸酱面 Beijing version of Zhajiang Mian or better known as 京酱面 or even the Korean “Jajangmyeon” but not many might have tried the Szechuan version of this noodle dish which one ironically, may not be able to find in Sichuan China itself! This is only because it is an improvisation of the original form, cooked and sold by the KMT soldiers and their families from Sichuan who retreated with Chiang Kai Shek in the mass exodus from Mainland China to Taiwan in 1949.
Read the rest of this page »

On the Trail of the Phoenix – Jiu Hu Char… A Revisit

DSC_4321 copy
Yesterday was Cheng Beng, traditionally a day when prayers would be made to our ancestors. Some folks would take the opportunity to visit and pay their respects at the graves of those who have passed on, a custom which is known as “teh chuah“. Those who “piara abu” i.e. house ancestral tablets at home may also prepare offerings of food and welcome their “nenek moyang” for a feast. And that was what I did. Traditionally, chap chye is one of the staple dishes  prepared in our home for ancestral worship but this year I’d decided to go for something similar yet different, and cooked Jiu Hu Char instead.
Read the rest of this page »

鱼香茄子 Szechuan Style Spicy Brinjal

DSC_4099 s copy

鱼香茄子 Szechuan Style Spicy Brinjal is a classic dish from one of the 8 main cooking styles representative of Szechuan cuisine, which also include 麻辣,宫保 etc. There are several sources to how the name came about. One mentions the use of a range of ingredients like spicy soya bean paste, garlic, chilies, ginger and spring onion etc to create the sauce which was used traditionally for braising fish. In those days, fish was not a common dish on the daily dining table and only available during important festive occasions when the family pay their respects to the deities or ancestors was when fish was offered and the family got to eat. For everyday meals, cheaper vegetable alternatives often grown in their own fields like brinjal wer used instead…

Read the rest of this page »

鸡精蒸滑鸡腿 Steamed Chicken Thigh with Essence of Chicken

DSC_3863 copy
A good friend recently gave birth so when some friends and I visited her last week in the hospital, I thought of cooking her something which is simple yet nourishing at the same time. Remembered I still have some bottles of essence of chicken at home so a quick trip to the market in the morning to get some fresh chicken thighs to go along with some chinese herbs and dry ingredients I already have at home for a fix of 鸡精蒸滑鸡腿 Steamed Chicken Thighs with Essence of Chicken.
Read the rest of this page »

八珍杜仲滋阴乌骨鸡汤 Herbal Silkie Chicken Soup and 马蹄腊肠蒸肉饼 Steamed Minced Pork Patty

DSC_3822 copy
The whole week has been rather chilly in tropical Singapore with temperatures dipping to a low of 21-22°C a couple of days back. A rare sight to see everyone going around in jumpers and light jackets. It is the perfect time for herbal tonic soups as well. In the past, my mum used to stock quite a bit of dried Chinese herbs at home for soup making but nowadays, they are easily available in prepacked “concoction packets” where one just needs to buy one which is suitable for one’s needs and constitution to brew. And that was exactly what I did.
Read the rest of this page »

Teochew Kana Chye Pasta

DSC_3798 copy

I stayed in hostel during some years of my Uni and NIE PGDE years in NUS and then NTU. Those were the fun and crazy years, away from home with lots of me time. Perched on the Kent Ridge hilltop, staying in KEVII Hall isn’t the most convenient of all places to be. Yes the canteen provided meals of course but as we all know, hostel food sucks so sometimes we would eat out, either NUH canteen just down that treacherous and scary flight of steps down the hill, taking a bus to Clementi central or finding our way the other side of the campus where Fong Seng Nasi Lemak is. Nowhere remotely near to being the best nasi lemak around but that would have to do. But some days ended really late, with lab sessions that stretched all the way past sunset or rehearsals and sessional practices. It helped to stock up some “supplies”, usually canned food of course since we are not allowed had to pay more rent to keep a mini bar fridge in our rooms. Campbells was my best friend then, good with instant noodles as a “cheat meal” for “creamy pasta”. Then there are the familiar Asian flavours of course, pickled chye sim stems in soya sauce, fermented beancurd cubes, and of course a good old bottle of kana chye to go with Teochew porridge cooked in the common pantry, when the cylinder gas hadn’t been completed exhausted by my PRC hostel mates that is! So simple yet so so gratifying. On some days, when I decided to get experimental, weird concoctions and adventurous sounding dishes were derived,  usually out of hungry desperation truth be told, usually when some ingredients ran out, thus the need to put whatever’s available together.  In retrospect, the creations then which folks now cleverly call “fusion dishes”  looked more like a case of “confusion”. But it was fun nonetheless and Teochew Kana Chye Pasta was probably “invented” under such circumstances…

Read the rest of this page »