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Posts tagged “枸杞子

巴生肉骨茶 Klang Bak Kut Teh

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Bak Kut Teh for us has always been a treat since childhood. My family stayed in the Whampoa area when I was a small boy, which is not far from Balestier Road, whose shophouses are dotted with Bak Kut Teh shops, all claiming to be the “most original”, the “most authentic” or the first to set up shop here. Whichever the case, I’d never eaten at any of these Bak Kut Teh joints when I was young because the price was really prohibitive. The cost for a bowl of Bak Kut Teh with rice for one could easily settle dinner for my family of four at the Whampoa Hawker Centre nearby. Moreover, my mum always cook our meals which is more economical, not to mention homely.

Soup is a big thing in our family but usually kept very simple.  It would be cabbage, peanuts or black beans cooked with some chopped pork ribs or lean pork and chicken feet. Once a while, when spare ribs were more affordable and the costs more bearable, my mum would cook Bak Kut Teh, using pre-mixed sachets from the neighbourhood grocery store. So my childhood impression of Bak Kut Teh has always been really peppery and somewhat savory, which I got to know later on as being “Singapore-Teochew Style”. When I learned about the Hokkien style Bak Kut Teh from Klang Selangor, I remember being quite fascinated by it. The idea of a Chinese herbal soup is not alien to us. Mum cooked a variety of traditional soups using Chinese herbs all the time, mostly for their medicinal properties to cure certain minor ailments or boost our “qi“. But the herbs used, together with their beneficial effects, not to mention bitter taste are the key components of the concoction while any meat, be it chicken or pork added to form a broth simply act as a vector. So for the pork ribs to take centrestage and soya sauce subsequently added into a soup, the idea was quite mind-boggling. So when Selangor MFF was announced, I knew I have to try to cook the Hokkien-style Bak Kut Teh, a delicacy which Klang is mostly known for, not only by the locals but also foodies from other states in the Peninsula as well as folks from as far south as Singapore.

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养生八宝粥 Eight Treasures Porridge

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八宝粥, literally to mean “Eight Treasures Porridge” is a traditional congee concoction enjoyed on 腊月初八 the 8th day of the 12th month in the Chinese Lunar Calendar, hence giving rise to its other name, 腊八粥.  Having it roots in Buddhism, the history of this dish can be traced back more than 2200 years back to the Han dynasty when it was generally used as part of prayer offerings and not consumed. Interestingly during the Song dynasty more than 800 years ago , the folks then began enjoying this porridge for themselves, causing it to evolve and change to reflect the culinary characteristics of each period in history, as well as in accordance to personal taste and liking.
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Telur Cangkok Manis 马尼菜炒蛋

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As far as I remembered, vegetables have always been part of our staples over the dinner table for almost every meal. My mother made it a point to incorporate vegetables whenever she can in our meals since young, very simple dishes like garlic stir-fry of sawi greens,  or a spinach with ikan bilis soup, and of course cabbage in our all-time favorite, 高丽菜饭  gor leh cai png, i.e. one-pot cabbage rice. The spread of vegetables were usually our local fanfare of 菜心 choy sum, 苋菜 bayam and 小白菜 bak choy. Carrots were expensive then, far and few between and broccoli was virtually unheard of until I was much older. Despite being one of her favorites, my  mum avoided cooking 空心菜 kangkong as it was deemed too “cooling” for our young constitutions, much like how she would enjoy braised chicken feet in 凤爪面 Fung Zao Meen on her own but sternly forbade us from eating itas it is believed that children who ate chicken feet would develop jerky and wobbly limbs, resulting in ugly handwriting! But I’m glad that years later, I’d inherited her love for local fanfare which we enjoyed together, kangkong and braised chicken feet amongst other things.

Cangkok Manis is a vegetable which appeared infrequently in our meals.It usually manifests as an egg drop soup, with minced pork balls and ikan bilis, finished off with an off-flame swirling of a beaten egg. Truth be told, I didn’t really enjoy it when I was a boy, despite being told how dark green vegetables are beneficial to us. Its taste cannot be more different from what its name depicts, leaving a slightly bitter aftertaste in the mouth. I much preferred the version with bayam! So with much discouragement and negative feedback from us, the appearance of this soup from our dining table grew infrequent and disappeared altogether as we grew older. Now that my mother is no longer with us, how I wish I could taste her version of this soup again…

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