It’s nice to stock up some pumpkins at home, however, once cut opened, do you also have the same problem with me? That is to think of different dishes to finish them. I have made a batch of pumpkin, carrot and leek soup and still got some left, all of a sudden it came to my mind that my mom had a Chinese way of preparing pumpkin which is very easy to prepare and yet very delicious, particularly for those who do not like pumpkins very much. Thanks to the black bean sauce which does not taste too pumpkinny if you know what I mean. Bas enjoyed this dish a lot and I thought maybe I will cook one time for my in-laws to try when they visit us this Christmas, they don’t normally eat pumpkins, wonder if they are courageous to try, ha ha!
I have been craving for Singapore Fried Rice Noodle for some time but I did not know which curry powder I should use as I read that I should use Malaysian Meat Curry Powder which is not accessible for me. The recipe I have at home says wet curry paste which I cannot find here as well. Later I found out that I can use Madras Curry Powder from House of Annie which I have it at home all the time, so I finally got round to make it tonight and the results was satisfactory. You can eat this alone or go with a bowl Chinese plain rice porridge which is my family’s favorite match: noodles and porridge.
I wish you all and your family have a rewarding and exciting Year 2010! Eat well and eat healthy!
To end 2009 and welcome 2010, I would like to share this local Hong Kong speciality-Yin Yang Fried Rice (駌鴦炒飯). This is always served at the end of the wedding banquet in Hong Kong, I think this can also be a nice joyous dish during the festive seasons and I have chosen this to be my last post of this year!
Over the last year, I am very glad to have made new friends through blogging. Thank you for visiting my blog and your comments, I look forward to your continuing support and more exchanges!
Best and warmest wishes
Janet @Gourmet Traveller 88
Yesterday I was wondering how to cook these long green peppers from our vegetable garden. I thought it would be a good idea to showcase how the Chinese (Cantonese) would make them.
The Chinese panfried stuffed pepper is very common in dim sum restaurants or as a street food.
The two main differences between the Chinese method to the Western method are that:
Further to my previous post on Wanchai Open Market, I have bought some dried shrimp roe egg noodles (蝦子麵) from this popular noodle shop. Don’t be scared by the name shrimp roe, it does not taste fishy at all, the shrimp roe sticks to the noodle and just make it more precious. If you just buy pure shrimp roe in a jar it is very expensive by weight.
How do we eat these dried noodles? You can simply cook them in boiling water for a few minutes, unwind them and served with some oyster sauce on top, mix through and eat.
Recently I have found Pig legs available in the supermarket (Manor) and this reminds me the Braised pork legs (we called it Pig hand actually) in the noodle shops, not all noodle shops can make this good, some do not cook long enough and therefore the flavor is not infused enough.
I am very satisfied with my attempt and here is the recipe to share with you. By the way, the good thing about eating pig legs is that it has a lot of collagen, very good for our skin!!!!!
After eating meat during the weekend, it’s not a bad idea at all to have a Meatless Monday. I found this food event in Twitter #meatlessmonday initially by Chris at Blog Well Done and thought it’s meaningful and easy to join.
Last week, I actually joined with my baked zucchini and its flowers but forgot to link back.
So today I made a simple Chinese / Cantonese dish which my mom made very often, the ingredients & seasoning are really simple, you will have these in the kitchen a lot of the time. When I made this the first time for my hubby, he is amazed how tomato and eggs can be cooked in this way and needless to say, tasty of course.
Frankly speaking, this may not be an exciting dish but it’s certainly a very healthy and easy to make. If your kids lose their appetite, try this. Most children like this, very appetizing with a bit of the sourness from the tomatoes.
So here is the recipe:
- 4 tomatoes
- 3 eggs, whisked + 1 tbsp cold water
- 2 slices ginger, then cut into thick stripes
- cooking oil
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 tbsp sugar
- 1 spring onion, finely chopped
- Boil some hot water in a saucepan, turn off the heat when water is boiling. Put the tomatoes into the water (the water level should just cover the tomatoes). Leave for a few minutes,remove the tomatoes from the water and peel the tomato skins.
- Cut the tomatoes into large pieces.
- Whisk and beat the eggs, add in a tbsp of cold water and season with a little salt, white pepper and sesame oil.
- In a wok or large pan, heat some cooking oil, when the pan is hot enough, pour in the whisked egg and quick stir fry it. You can break the eggs into smaller pieces and as soon as they solidify, immediately transfer the egg onto a dish and set aside.
- Wipe the pan with a kitchen towel, heat the pan hot again, add in a little oil and then the ginger, let them cook for 20 seconds and then add in the tomatoes, keep stirring for half a minute and then add in half cup of water and bring to boil. Season the tomatoes with some salt, 1 tbsp sugar, squash the tomatoes gently with the wooden spatula. Simmer at medium high heat until the tomatoes become thickened but still able to see the pieces of tomatoes.
- Add in the eggs from Step 4, quickly stir to mix well with the tomatoes.
- Serve immediately on a dish and sprinkle the spring onion on top as garnish. Or alternatively, you can also mix in the spring onion so to let them slightly cooked.
- Best served with steamed rice.
- Do NOT overcook the egg!!!!!
- Adjust the seasoning ( sugar, salt & water )according to your own taste as this depends on the types of tomatoes you get.
And next, thanks to Anne from Annes Kitchen who has passed me this Premio Meme Award recently.
To pass on I have to write 7 random things about myself:
- I love eating and cooking but I am scared of putting on weight.
- I hate freezing cold weather, only skiing can get me active outside.
- I am a collector, I like buying things that I do not use them immediately, such as shoes,
handbags, clothes. However, not all of them are a bad habit as for example, wine can
increase its value tremendously over time. My vintage 2004 and 2005 futures have already
doubled their price
- I am scared of insects: spiders, cockroaches, bees, etc. I was told I have to be friends with them if I learn gardening, this is a challenge for me to overcome all these.
- I love all kinds of hotpot: chinese, shabu shabu, fondue, chocolate foudue, hotpot noodle, hotpot
- I love all kinds of noodles including pasta.
- I always say Yes, but
And here I would like to pass on to :
- Cooking Etcetera
- The Cooking Ninja
- LK-Healthy Delicious
- Rosa Yum Yums
- From Scratch
- Sophies Foodiesfiles
- Noob Cook
Happy Cooking & Eating Out (CEO) !!!!! And of course more Happy Blogging !!!
I have always been wondering why the Chinese restaurants here do not use authentic Chinese vegetables in their dishes, maybe it’s because they are more expensive or maybe the restaurants’ owners are concerned if the local Swiss will not like them? Anyway, I learnt something from them, apart from Chinese leaves and broccoli they use, I have discovered the ‘lattich’ (translation: lettuce) which is commonly used in salads, can also be used in hot dish in Chinese cooking. The Lattich here looks very similar to Romaine lettuce but it does not taste exactly the same, a bit more bittery.
Lattich is easily found in local Swiss supermarkets, and it’s nice for me to be able to cook vegetables in authentic Chinese way without specially going all theway to the Asian groceries shop.
In Hong Kong, we have Chinese lettuce (唐生菜) which has a stronger subtle bitter taste. One of the modern and popular ways to prepare them in the last years is with yellow bean sauce. Chinese lettuce is not available in Basel and lattich is an ideal substitute and enable me to remain the essence of Chinese (Cantonese) cooking. You can find the Lee Kam Kee Brand yellow bean sauce in the Asian food stores. The one I used here is a famous local brand in Hong Kong called “Kowloon Soy “or “Mee Chun”, I visited their store in Central last Oct. For local customers, you can buy their sauces which are kept in the glass containers, otherwise they have cans or bottles to choose from. For me it’s indeed more appropriate to buy the canned ones (see pictures below).
- 1 lattich/romaine lettuce/iceberg lettuce/ chinese lettuce, tear into large pieces, wash and drain
- 2 tbsp Chinese yellow bean sauce
- 1 tbsp Chinese cooking wine (or mirin)
- 1 tsp thinly striped fresh ginger
- sunflower oil or other cooking oil
- Heat up 1 tbsp of cooking oil in a saucepan, add in the ginger stripes, let it cook for 30 secs at medium high heat. Then stir in the yellow bean sauce and Chinese cooking wine or mirin, stop when it’s boiling, you have now got a a sauce. Keep warm and set aside.
- Boil hot water and pour into a deep pan or wok, bring to boil.
- Add 1 tbsp of **cooking oil to the water and then cook the lattich in portions, only leave them in water very briefly for about ***10 secs each and take them out from the water and lay them on a serving plate. Discard excess liquid.
- Split the vegetables in two separate plates if necessary.
- Finally pour the warm yellow bean sauce on top and serve with your other favorite Chinese main dishes and steamed rice.
* it does not matter if you use the one that contains beans or not, the fine paste which is more commonly found is absolutely fine.
**It is important to add a little oil to the water when cooking vegetables, this will make the cooked lattich or lettuce staying green.
***Do not overcook the lettuce as they are best eaten when they are crunchy.
Chinese Yellow Bean Sauce, there are actually 3 types of Chinese yellow bean sauce, a course one which you can still see some yellow beans, a fine one and a dark yellow bean sauce.
Snow Hiking at Muottas Muragl 2456m, Samedan-Engadin, St Moritz
Just came back from St Moritz and catching up with things and back to normal daylife. Every time when I have been away and back home, I will crave for my mom’s homemade dishes, today her braised beef brisket with red dates popped into my head. This is just one of the variations of the braised dish she prepared for us. Another traditional Chinese version (radish, carrot & pork stew) was one of my earliest posts which I used Pork instead of beef. My mom has never bought a single cookbook or written down her recipes whatsoever, she always teased me that I have to follow recipes. Although she does not have good memory on other things but she can just cook by heart. This version of braised beef brisket is actually inspired by the Korean braised beef ribs we ate from time to time in the restaurant. My dad used to insist me to help in the kitchen, I did not always enjoy it in the past but now I feel it all pays off. I could learn so much by just watching and helping her on bits and pieces in a casual way. The beauty of this braised beef brisket is that the sauce is not too dark where sometimes I prefer a clearer sauce and this taste a bit on the sweet side which most kids will love this and it tastes even better the next day.
- 500g beef brisket, cut into large pieces (e.g. 3cm x 3 cm)
- 2 small carrots
- 1-2 white radish (I used 2 radishes because I like more vegetables)
- 12 red dates or jujube (紅棗), deseed and cut into halves)
- 6 slices of ginger
- 2 shallots, keep in a whole piece)
- 3 cloves of garlic, keep as whole)
- 12 chestnuts (about 12 pieces, canned or fresh)
- 2-3 pieces chinese rock sugar (or 5-6 tbsp brown sugar), according to your personal taste
- 2 tbsp cooking oil
- 2 tbsp mirin
- 4 tbsp light soy sauce
- 1 litre water
- Peel the white radish and carrots. Cut into chunky pieces in a zigzag way to give some irregularity to the dish and looks more natural.
- In a large pan, bring water to boil (water level should be able to cover the beef), put the beef brisket into the boiling water, let it boil for 3 minutes. You will see the scum floating on the water. At this time, discard the water and rinse the beef in tap water and drain the excess water. This step is important to ensure you get a clear sauce later.
- Heat up a large pan or a cast iron pot, add in some cooking oil, when it is hot enough, add in the ginger, scallots, garlic, stir with a wooden spatula for about 40 seconds and then add the beef brisket. Keep stirring for about a minute or so to sear the beef.
- Add in the radish and carrots, quickly mix and then add in the water (the water level should NOT cover the ingredients). Bring to boil.
- Add the red dates, rock sugar and mirin, let it boil, stir to mix and cook for 10 minutes. Then cover the lid and reduce to medium heat. Let this cook for 90 minutes. Stir occasionally to make sure it does not stick and no burning at the bottom.
- Add in the chestnuts and soy sauce at this time and let it cook for another 30 mins at least or longer the better for another hour before serving.
- Serve with steamed rice.
- In Korean restaurants, they like using beef ribs, I choose to use beef brisket as the ones in Switzerland are less fatty and the fat is all trimmed which make it convenient to prepare.
- One very important point highlighted by my mom is that the light soy sauce has to be added in the end, reason for this is to get a relatively clear and not so dark sauce.
- Red date is an important traditional medicine for both Chinese and Korean. It is believed red dates can alleviate stress and improve blood circulation.
- Rock Sugar is a famous product from Guangdong Province (South of China). It is processed from pure sugar cane using tradition method to give its clear and bright yellow color. It is used for dishes which you would like to have clearer liquid in contrast to chinese brown sugar.
When I was trying to make the Western desserts, I seem to have almost forgotten my hometown desserts. Well, I have to say my family do not eat desserts very much, my mom does not have sweet teeth at all and so is my dad. The sweet potato dessert is one of the few that my mom makes occasionally, it is extremely easy to make and a very typical dessert you can find in Hong Kong. It can be eaten all year round but particularly suitable during winter, as ginger will warm you up. You may ask why brown sugar, it gives a distinct taste, more natural and a nice brownish color to the dessert. Chinese brown sugar is also said to have a detoxification function. Overall, this is a very healthy dessert.
Tell you a little something, when I was little, during Winter, from time to time, we would take a hot bath with a bar of Chinese brown sugar dissolved in the water, this is to make our skin less dry, a simple and cost effective spa, isn’t it? In the past, there were not so many skincare products and even if there were, a lot of people would not be willing to spend on these luxurious products. I still occasionally do this in Switzerland. I am not sure if it really helps but there is no harm to do it, reminds me my childhood : )
- 1 big sweet potato or about 400g, cut into cubes
- 1 bar of chinese brown sugar (see picture below)
- 2 slices of ginger
- 300ml water
- Put the ginger, sweet potato cubes, brown sugar into a medium pan and add in the water.
- Bring to boil and then turn to medium heat, simmer for about 30 mins or until the sweet potatoes are soft enough and the brown sugar water has slightly immersed into the sweet potatoes.
- Discard the ginger and serve while it is hot.
Chinese Brown Sugar
Feel miserable the whole day because of the headache keeps coming and going. Just having the Ginger, Lemon & Honey (GLH) tea and Chinese Herbal tea, Xia Sang Giu (夏桑菊) are not enough. Time to eat something but no appetite tonight. Having a sweet potato sitting at home, it reminds me of my mom used to cook Sweet potato rice congee (rice porridge) occasionally at home.
My mom told me that this congee was very common in the old days in South of China when the poor people did not have enough money to buy proper food but have to fill up their stomach. The sweet potatoes which give a tint of sweet taste to the congee make it possible that no extra seasonings are required to add to the congee. In the past, people makes this congee to fill up their stomach but in the modern days, at home we cook this occasionally to cleanse or detox our body after a lot of good meals or when we are feeling unwell. The sweet potato does not only serve the purpose of making the congee taste less plain but it also provides a very good source of fibre. We sometimes like to use this as part of our dieting program! But I have already forgotten and should use it again. There is one celebrity in Hong Kong which spare one day just to eat congee for keep fit purpose.
We are so fortunate nowadays that we have too much good food that we have to find ways to diet; on the contrary, this simple dish was an important dish that people cooked to fill up their stomachs! When I think of this, I will blessed of how lucky we are today and should treasure what we have each day! My mom has always taught us not to waste food: “Don’t have eyes bigger than one’s stomach“. That’s also one of the motives behind why I would join BloggerAid without hesistation!
Makes 2 bowls for one person
- 1/2 cup of long grain rice
- a small sweet potato (~200g), peeled and cut into cubes
- 1 slice of ginger
- Wash the long grain rice in a deep pan.
- Add about 1 litre of water into the deep pan and add in the sweet potato cubes and ginger.
- Bring to boil and then turn to medium heat and cook with the lid half closed, (to avoid spilling) for about 45 mins.
- Stir occasionally to avoid sticking at the bottom of the pan.
- If the porridge begins to stick, this means it should be cook and ready to serve.
- Best to finish the porridge on the same day, keeping it overnight is possible but may create wind and not suitable to do especially when you are unwell, just sharing some old Chinese believes…
Don’t know why after dinner last night, I had a headache all of a sudden, so I went to bed a bit earlier than usual. Fell asleep but woke up a few times in the middle of the night and the headache was still there, I tried not to taking any pain-killers, hoping a good rest will make it go away but it did not. So at 6am, I crawled out of my warm bed and took a Panadol. Funny enough, being worked in the pharmaceutical industry for so many years and got a degree in Pharmacology and Toxicology, I resist to take any medication for as much as possible unless I really need to, ironic, isn’t it???
In Basel, there are so many people I know got sick this week and I don’t want to get sick as we are leaving for 5 days skiing this Friday, so now I am trying every possible ways to avoid it.
As a matter of fact, not sure if it was because if I have had too much coffee and oven food recently, my lower jaw teeth gum is a little swollen. In the Chinese terms, I have got “Hot Air 熱氣“, and it means I have to pay attention to these little changes in my body. It’s very important to cure the root cause before it becomes something more serious.
If I am in Hong Kong, I will go to a Chinese Medicine doctor to get some herbal medicine, but since I am now in Switzerland, I have to rely on these simple chinese herbal drinks. To me this is very normal to me but I thought it will be interesting to share with my readers of what do I take in my normal life. Being a Chinese, despite being somewhat Westernized, my mentality and believes are still very Chinese.
Although the Panadol has been able to stop the headache but this moment after hours, I can feel it’s slowly creeping back. And now while I am writing I am drinking this brown tea called Xia Sang Giu. It tastes sweet, with a tint of bitterness but very easy to drink.
Xia Sang Giu is one of the most common Herbal Tea in the Guangdong region in China. It has a long history for over 200 years since the Qing Dynasty. This herbal tea is useful for removing heat inside your body, improving eyesight, headache, swollen and sore throat.
Xia Sang Giu is considered to be a health drink which is very neutral and is even suitable for daily intake. However, with living in Basel, a lot of time, I slowly forget about these goodies I have at home. Nevertheless, one thing I don’t quite understand is why the Causacians do not seem to have such”hot air” things, they can drink a lot of cold drinks, eat a lot of fried food, etc.
Since I was little, my mom also stopped me and my brother from drinking soft drinks and eating sweets and crisps. She said we got sick and cough so easily whether we took these food and only occasionally we would get as a reward when we get high marks in our school tests or examinations.
And now I believe my mom is doing for our own good as I have observed our kid at home that many times when he goes on holidays, he will drink more frequently cold soft drinks and by end of the holiday, he will get a cough anf sometimes even sick. And last week, I tried to persuade him to try stop drinking soft drinks for a few days to see if there would be any difference, and the outcome? Even the little boy could feel the significant improvement. I am glad that he would not think I am the bad guy. I completely understand how hard it is to stop kids from drinking soft drinks or eating crisps, in the past I did not like my mom stopping me eating this or that at all.
Anyway, I think I am going a bit too far and now back to the Xia Sang Giu I am having here this morning, I would like to review the ingredients to you which are as described in the pack. And maybe you are curious to try one day?
Xia Sang Giu (夏桑菊) Herbal Drink:
- Dissolve the content in a cup of hot water, 1 sachet each time.
Normally, people can buy the real chinese herbs and boil this at home, but nowadays we all have a busy life and these granules are certainly very convenient indeed. Meanwhile when I was in Hong Kong, I like visiting one of these Chinese Herbal Tea Shops which I can just buy one that is freshly cooked, you can just stand there quickly have one, pay and then leave. This is part of the busy lifestyle in Hong Kong. Below is a picture of one of the famous Herbal Tea and Chinese Medicine Shops in Hong Kong, located in Central, you can also go there for Chinese Medicine consultation. (the two pictures were taken when I was there in Oct 2008)
When I was working in the office in Hong Kong, our pantry always have Xia Sang Giu stocked there free for us to consume, thanks to “Ching Tse 清姐”!!!. I saw my colleagues drink them from time to time, so at that time I followed too. And this morning, I took some out from the shelf and have a cup this morning, hope my headache and teeth gum will gradually diminish.
I would like to thank you the author of the following link for the useful information which has helped me to make this post more insightful. http://library.thinkquest.org/06aug/01423/xia_sang_ju.htm
Bah Kut Teh (肉骨茶), literally translates as “meat bone tea”. I found out from Wikipedia that actually Bah Kut Teh is originated from Hong Kong, Canton and Fujian where Chinese workers introduced to Malaysia in the 19th Century. This is a Chinese soup very popular in Malaysia and Singapore. It consists of pork ribs and mushroom simmered for hours in a complicated mixture of Chinese herbs and spices.
I am making one using the premix Spices bought from Singapore. There is a street in Singapore where there are numerous shops selling these spices and Singapore food. It was not an easy to know which one I will like best so I relied my ex-colleagues who knew which one they thought is the best.
I have to say I never like Bah Kut Teh in the past, the first time I tried was when I was still in university in UK. I found a premix in London China Town and was so excited, bought a pack and make it myself. Unfortunately I was so disappointed with the taste that I only had a small bite and had to throw everything away. I think the mix was not blended to my taste and had too much star anises, cloves and licorice.
This pack I bought from Singapore is much much better. A box contains 20 packs, I gave half of them away as souvenir. This is the third time I make and this time I want to take a closer look of what spices and chinese herbs are inside my Bah Kut Teh, as I am sure I will get this question from my hubby, so he won’t be scared by the exotic ingredients.
There is no single formula for a truly authentic Bah Kut Teh, just like any other recipes as a matter of fact. Each place has their own secret recipes but the key spices that a Bah Kut Teh should consist are : star anise, cloves, garlic, cinnamon and Dong Quai (當歸). Whether it’s good or not, it’s very personal, you are the one to judge yourself!
There are 3 main types of Bak Kut Teh, the most common one is Teochew style which is lighter in color and with more white pepper in the soup. Hokkien is a second variation which is more salty and the Cantonese one, which we loves long-cooking soup, like adding more medicinal herbs to create a stronger flavoured soup.
Reading the description on my pack, below is the English translation of the herbs and spices used. The one here consists a lot of Chinese medicinal herbs, maybe that’s why my excolleagues chose this shop.
Here are the ingredients inside my pack:
- Chinese angelica root or Dong Quai (當歸)
- Ginseng (人參)
- Goji berries or Chinese wolfberries (枸杞子)
- Codonopsis root (党参)
- Astragalus root (北芪 )
- Chinese yam (淮山 huai shan)
- White Pepper
- Licorice (甘草, gancao)
- Suk Tei
- Cinnamon bark (肉桂, rougui)
- Cloves 大茴香 or 八角
- Szechuan Pepper
- 1kg pork spare ribs
- 2 bulbs garlic
- 10 puffy fried tofu, blanched to remove excess oil (skipped this time)
- 1 pack Bah Kut Teh premix
- 3 tbsp light soy sauce
- 3 tbsp black peppercorns
- Pour 2 litres of hot water into a large pan, bring to boil and blanch the pork ribs for 2 minutes. Discard the water and rinse the ribs in tap water.
- Add 2 litres of hot water again to the pan, bring to boil.
- Add the Bah Kut Teh premix pack, the two bulbs of garlic into the pan. Simmer for 1.5 hrs.
- Skim off the oil that comes out. Add the soy sauce into the soup and 3 tbsp of black peppercorns. Simmer for another 1.5 hrs.
- Half an hour before dinner, add in the puffy fried tofu (optional).
- You should have about half of the liquid evaporated by end of cooking, if it is too watery, then the taste would not be strong enough.
- Serve with steamed jasmine rice and some green leaves vegetables such as watercress or spinach.
- I differ to the recipe described on the pack by adding the extra peppercorns to fit for my taste buds but surprisingly it did not feel that peppery at all, probably because I added them in the second 1.5hrs.
- The pack says 1.5hrs cooking time but I prefer cooking it for at least 3 hours.
- To make slow cooking soup, you can stop cooking after 1.5 hrs, keep the lid on, remember not to open the lid, this is to keep the heat and let it continue cooking. Simmer again after you have been outside or 1-2 hrs before dinner time.
Below are some links which I found very useful and interesting to read:
If you are interested in knowing more about chinese medicinal herbs, Phoebe from Homemade Chinese Soups has a blog post which has covered quite a lot common herbs used in Chinese slow-cooking soup:
Heartily thanks to all of you for the great posts!!!