29 June 2013

Vietnamese Pho (Beef Rice Noodles)

At here, Vietnamese restaurant is the one I will regular beside going for Chinese food. People over here, not just Asian but local love to eat Vietnamese famous Pho, a rice noodles dish with either beef or chicken. Most of the time I will go down to Richmond area to eat the delicious Vietnamese Beef Pho, I have tried one at the food court at Brendon Park shopping mall, it is delicious too. 

I have not buy any marrow-rich beef bones before, so when a website recommends to have marrow-rich beef bones to cook the Pho broth, I went down to Preston Market to look for it. The butcher pointed me to a heap of bones laying in a box at a corner on the floor, I couldn't believe that the piles of bones over there where I always think is for dog is the bones I'm looking for. Of course, I didn't buy it!... I bought chuck bones, six big pieces of them with just 2.99/kg. and also a half kg of girello with 11.99/kg, I requested it to be thinly sliced.

A good broth is the important element for this dish. Before I eat the noodles, I will taste its soup first, the delicious soup is the key for me to come back for more. I did some research before I try out cooking one, it frighten me when I know that some restaurants take at least 3 hours to cook their broth. Sincerely, I don't think I can do that so I brought the beef-stock spices where the ingredients are: coriander seeds, fennel seeds, star anise, cassia and brown cardamon pods as a short cut, by adding the spices in the broth I only cook the broth for 1.5 hour and the fragrance of it filled my kitchen. Huh, ready to slurp up the Pho? :) 

Note: I'm using a big soup pot which is about 6 liter. 

Cooking the Pho broth

Vietnamese Mint Leaves in my garden

Recipe from Tze's Kitchen Play
(6 liter soup pot)
6 big pieces of chuck bones 
200g thinly sliced girello 
3 big yellow onions, sliced
1 inch of ginger, sliced
1 pack of Pho Saigon spices powder
1 pack of Pho beef stock spices
100g of sugar (prefer using yellow rock sugar)
6~7 tbsp of fish sauce (to taste)
1.5 tsp salt (to taste)
some Vietnamese mint leaves, wash
some fresh Pho rice noodles 

(1)Prepare the chuck bones: place the bones in boiling water for about 5 mins, when you see lot of brown impurities surface, remove the pot from heat. Wash the bones under running water, drain and place the bones into the big soup pot with clean water.

(2)Prepare the broth: fry the sliced onions and ginger on a pan, until slightly browning. Place the fried onions and ginger into the soup pot (1) together with chuck bones. Add the Pho Saigon spices powder and Pho beef stock spices into the soup pot, cook until the water boiling, turn the heat to medium and simmer for 1.5 hours, seasoned with fish sauce, salt and sugar. Strained the broth.

(3) Prepare the noodle: place about 200g of fresh Pho rice noodles in boiling water, boil for 2~3 mins until the noodles turn soft. Set aside. Place a few pieces of thinly sliced girello in a serving bowl, blanch it with the hot Pho broth for a few times until the beef is 90% cook (you can see with your eyes). Place the soft Pho noodles into the bowl, add in some Vietnamese mint leaves, add the broth. Serve hot.

26 June 2013

Fried Radish Cake (Char Koay Kak 炒萝卜糕) : MFF

This is another long overdue post, I made this fried radish cake (Penang street food) when I was still in Singapore, haha... it was more than 7~8 months old!! 

I swing into action when I saw Jane's Corner made it purely because I missed this Char Koay Kak or Fried radish cake so much! Still remember there was a three wheels hawker cart selling this Char Koay Kak outside my primary school, that time it was only RM0.20 a pack, in cone shape wrapped with banana leaves and newspaper! The salty pickled radish (chai poh) in it was what I anticipated for :) and I always left the bean sprouts behind. 

I am using the recipe from Jane's Corner (original from Minty's Kitchen), a beautiful recipe which I will want to try many times!

Recipe from Jane's Corner (original from Minty's Kitchen)
(a) 300g radish (shredded)
(b) 220g rice flour, 40g tapioca flour, 20g wheat starch, 250g water, 1 tsp salt, 1 tbsp sugar
(c) 500ml water

Ingredients for frying the radish cake:
3 tbsp chopped sweet pickled radish (chai poh)
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 eggs
some spring onions
some bean sprouts
cooking oil

seasoning (to taste):
dark soy sauce, kecap manis (sweet dark soy sauce), light soy sauce, pepper, sambal chilli (if using)

Making radish cake:
1. In a mixing bowl, combine (b) and cold water together.
2. Cook (a) with water till soft (turn translucent). Discard water.
3. Heat pan with 1 tbsp oil, fried the shredded radish for 2 mins. pour it into (c). (500ml water)
4. Continue cooking till boiling. stir in flour mixture and cook over low heat all the time until the mixture turns to a thick paste.
5. Pour the batter into a steaming pan. Steam over boiling water for 30 mins. Cool the radish cake thoroughly before cutting into cubes.

Frying radish cake:
1. Heat oil and fry minced garlic and sweet pickled radish till aromatic.
2. Add in radish and fry with medium heat until the radish cake turn lightly browned and slightly crisp. 
3. Add in seasoning and fry to coat evenly.
4. Push the radish cake to the side of the pan then crack eggs into the pan. Allow the eggs to set slightly before flipping the radish cake over.
5. Finally add bean sprouts. Toss until well combined. Garnish with spring onion and serve hot. 

I am submitting this post to Malaysian Food Fest, Penang Month hosted by Alan of Travellingfoodies

Cauliflower Tempura

(Backlog post)

Cauliflower is a kind of vegetable which I find it tastes a bit blend if we use it in stir-fry. My hubby and son only eat cauliflower if I deep-fry them. They can eat a lot if it is cauliflower tempura. This dish is easy to make, just thinly sliced the cauliflower length ways into small florets and dip it into the batter with consistency of pancake is the key to success. This is another common dish in the house, simple yet delicious.

There are many ways to eat this cauliflower tempura, some recipes used spices such as turmeric, oregano etc. for my version I didn't add any spices to cater for my son taste bud :)

Recipe from Ah Tze's Kitchen play
1 medium size cauliflower thinly sliced length ways into small florets
100 plain flour (if the cauliflower is big, you may need more flour)
1/2 tsp salt
water (you have to mix the batter into a lump free runny consistency of pancake)

1. Heat a deep pan with inches of oil, lower the cauliflower stalks into batter. Coat the cauliflower stalks well with batter, deep fry it in the pan until it turns brown or crispy. 
2. Drain the fried cauliflower stalks on kitchen paper before serving, eat while it is warm. 

25 June 2013

Braised Chicken with Basil (三杯鸡 aka 九层塔焖鸡)

These few days I nearly go into hibernation because of the foggy cold weather. My camera is yet to come back, not sure when the service centre will done with it! Many baking and cooking on the list, but without good sunlight and with the auto camera really make me feel like a cripple. Looking into my computer, there are more than 60 posts flagged as  unpublished, I think I better do something with some on it or later means never. 

This braise chicken with basil from my garden is indeed a delicious dish. First time trying out this dish was at a restaurant in Singapore Gillman Village, that time I was pregnant with my son and I love this dish enough to go there two times in a week for many months until I delivered :) Now the place has been converted to be name as Gillman Barracks a centre for the creation, exhibition and discussion of contemporary art, in the city of Singapore (if I'm not mistaken) 

The soul of this dish is in the fragrance of basil leaves, with fresh basil in my garden really make a different. I'm using the recipe from Carol with minor modification as I find the colour of the chicken is not able to turn brown if without sugar. 

Recipe from Carol
3 big boneless chicken drumsticks cut into small (you may use drumlets)
8~10 cloves of garlic, peeled
some basil leaves
red chilli (omitted)
4~5 sliced ginger

4 tbsp sesame oil 
3 tbsp soy sauce 
4~5 tbsp Chinese rice wine 
1 tbsp dark soy sauce (for darken the chicken)
2 tbsp sugar 
150ml water

1. Heat the wok, add the sesame oil and fry the ginger with it until fragrant. Add garlic, red chilli (if using), stir fry for 2 mins.
2. Add the chicken cubes, stir fry until it turn brown, add the soy sauce, Chinese rice wine and other seasoning. Add water.
3. Pour all the ingredients into a clay pot, cover. With medium heat, let it braise until the gravy dry out. Stir in the basil leaves, transfer the chicken to serving plate. 

17 June 2013

Penang Char Koay Teow 槟城炒粿条: Malaysian Food Fest

If we talk about Penang food everyone will relate it straight to the its famous hawker delights. Among the hawker delights, Char Koay Teow standout a lot from the rest of the food because of its wonderful aroma from the 'wok hei' or the heat from the wok. At here, in Australia you will find Char Koay Teow in the menu list of most  Malaysian or Asian cuisine restaurants! see, this is how famous it goes! 

But to cook a plate of delicious Char Koay Teow is not easy, some may make the Char Koay Teow too wet. The Penang Char Koay Teow in Penang is mainly cook by the street hawker who not just focus on selling one type of food, but they are using charcoal fire to cook the Char Koay Teow, the mouthwatering aroma is heartwarming! For me a Penangite to cook this food is mainly nostalgia, it has so many memories in it... the time when I was still young and stayed with my parent, and the time with all my high school girls friend. 

I'm glad that Alan of Travellingfoodies wrote so much information about Penang's street food, just hop over to see his blog. Attached a video on how a street hawker frying Char Koay Teow at Lorong Selamat, Georgetown Penang for your viewing  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=u8FbdQcKW-o 

I don't have blood cockles, fish cake and bak eu phok (croutons of deep fried pork lardons)  in hands, so I'm using Travellingfoodies's recipe with minor modifications. This dish is suppose to fry in small quantity, it means one plate at a time, and don't ever add any water in this dish, if the noodle is too dry while frying, add a bit of oil instead otherwise you will get mushy koay teow!

14 June 2013

Kimchi Gyoza 泡菜锅贴

These few days I was not able to snap any photos on the food I cooked or baked because ... my (hmm..sorry hubby) Nikon camera is sending for servicing! It wouldn't be back anytime until end of next week, hopefully, keep my fingers cross! 

Then I decided to do the old fashion ways, snapping my food using my auto DMC-TZ10 and hand phone hopefully you don't mind. Well, I can't imaging I was using this DMC-TZ10 before as it is now appears too light for me to hold it still while need to focus and snap :D

Gyoza or dumpling is not consider as a mainly Japanese/Korean dish, there are many ways to make and eat it. Adding Kimchi in the gyoza definitely make this dish more interesting and I say you should try this out as pan-fry make this gyoza stand out and is healthier than deep-fry. 

Saw this Kimchi Gyoza appeared at My Little Space's blog then came out on Li Shuan's house again. I decided to make it because I have my homemade kimchi and all ingredients ready. But I give the filling a twist because I would like to add celery and egg in the filling. Making 44 pieces with 500g of chicken. Dipping the crispy outer, tender and juicy inner Kimchi Gyoza in Chinkiang black vinegars and 老干妈风味鸡油辣椒 (chilli)I can't stop eating the gyoza!  

Oh, yes! you see something here? in the supermarket I found this ready made minced garlic and crushed ginger, it really make my life easier :)

I'm using Li Shuan's recipe (original from My Kitchen) with modification on the filling.


1 pkt guoza wrapper

500g minced chicken

300g chopped celery
200g finely chopped kimchi

 (cup measurement)
2 tsp finely chopped/ crushed ginger

1 tsp finely chopped/minced garlic

2 tsp sesame oil

1/2 tsp salt or to taste
1 tbsp oyster sauce
1 tbsp mirin

½ tbsp corn flour

1 egg

3 tbsp of Chinkiang vinegar (can get from any supermarket)
1 tbsp of 老干妈风味鸡油辣椒 (Chinese chilli, which can get from Asian Groceries shop)
some chopped coriander 

Mix all together

To prepare filling:
1. Bring together all ingredients except kimchi and chopped celery in a medium mixing bowl, mix well and marinate for 10-15 minutes.
Squeeze out all liquid in kimchi and chop finely, add in (1) together with chopped celery and mix well.

Place one tablespoonful of filling in the middle of each wrapper. Wet the edges of the dumpling with water if necessary. Fold the wrapper over the filling into a half moon shape and pinch the edges to seal.

Heat 2 tbsp oil in a medium size non-stick frying pan, arrange gyoza in the pan.

Pour in hot water (water level have to cover up to 1/3 of the gyoza height) and cover the pan immediately. Gyoza will be cooked by hot steam. Listen to the sizzling sound, once the sizzling sound goes off remove the cover. At this stage the water in the pan is dried out. Let it cook further for 1-2 minutes. Flip gyoza over, pan-fry the side until lightly browned.

Serve warm with vinegar!  

07 June 2013

Glutinous Rice in Lotus Leaves

Lotus leaf glutinous rice / glutinous rice or sticky rice in lotus leaves is one of my "must order" dim sum dish when I go Yum Cha or morning tea. I just happened to see the dried lotus leaves laying around in an Asian Groceries Shop when I go marketing at Box Hill Market. They are selling at AUD$4.50 for around 10 pieces. First time seeing this "real" lotus leaves, very excited! 

I swing into action of making a few big parcels of glutinous rice with lots of filling I love. I'm using my previous recipe (2 May 2012) for filling and glutinous rice with minor modifications. The rice for this glutinous rice is white in colour at Yum Cha in Singapore, so this round I will make my rice not dark in colour too. For those who love the rice to be in darker colour can just add 2 tbsp of dark soy sauce when you are frying the glutinous rice.

Because of some concerns on whether the wrapped glutinous rice is able to cook thoroughly just by steaming without any liquid contains in it, I have chosen to fry the glutinous rice to "half-cooked" condition. Sincerely, stir-fried the glutinous rice for that 20 mins was not an easy task. I think I'll built up arm muscle if I continuous stir-fried the rice until it is thoroughly cooked :D 

To me, I love my glutinous rice to be sticky therefore, the stir-fired process is a must, as I stir-fried the rice, I have to sprinkle some water. For that 20 mins, I think I have sprinkled around 400ml of water. 

04 June 2013

Vanilla Milk Chiffon Cake

This is one of my son favourite cake, soft texture of chiffon cake... I call him "old man" as he likes to eat this type of texture :D I actually baked this cake the same day as the Topo Map Butter Cake. My son likes this chiffon and his friend likes the butter cake.
I was trying to make a chocolate swirl pattern in the chiffon but obviously the chocolate batter is not enough to make a pretty swirl. Overall still a lovely cake with nice soft and bouncy texture. Have to beep up on my baking skill. A recipe from Carol.

Recipe from Carol
Ingredients for flour mixture:
5 egg yolks
30g fine sugar
60g olive oil
120g top flour/cake flour
1 tsp vanilla essence
6 tbsp milk

Ingredients for meringue:
5 egg whites
60 fine sugar

1. Add fine sugar and egg yolks in a bowl, whisk until well mix.
2. Add olive oil, sift in flour alternate with milk in two batches. whisk until mixture is smooth.
3. In another mixing bowl, whisk egg whites until bubbles, add in sugar in three batches. Whisk until the meringue is soft peak.
4. Add 1/3 of meringue into egg yolks mixture, mix well. Fold in the rest of the meringue in two batches.
5. Pour the cake batter into baking pan. Knock the baking pan on the worktop a few times to release trap bubbles in the batter.
6. Place the baking pan into oven and bake at 160C for 50 mins.
7. When cake is baked. Take it out from oven immediately and turn it upside down. Cool completely before dislodge the cake from mould.