The ubiquitous Pigtail Black Bean Soup. This soup is as Chinese as any soup could be. Every time I think of this soup, I am reminded of Brad Pitt. The names of the ingredients have elements of his name which seemed quite unfortunate really.
Don’t get me wrong, I love his portrayal of characters in his movies. Just that with his name as iconic as that, it seem to rhyme with the name of the soup.
Anyway, I heard this soup makes your black hair blacker and shiny. Not sure if it is true or not. I guess it doesn’t really matter as long as it is a good bowl of soup with delicious pigtails.
I bought 4 pigtails for this soup, so the flavour sure to be power. Plus I added a cuttlefish to boost the flavour as well, so no excuse for it to not taste great. A very easy recipe especially with the thermal cooker.
4 Pigtails (chopped)
1 bowl of Black Beans (pre-soaked overnight)
5 large Red Dates
Half piece of Dried Cuttlefish
1 tsp Sea Salt
1. Boil a kettle of water. Place the pigtail (frozen) into the pot. Dump in the pre-soaked black beans. Add the wolfberries, red dates and cuttlefish. Finish off with a tsp of salt.
2. Once water is boiled, add into the pot. Turn fire to high and boil for at least 20 minutes. Then place the pot into the thermal cooker to simmer for at least 12 hours. Re-boil it tonight. The soup sure nice one.
I wasn’t sure if I was saveuring the simplicity in the art or the art of simplicity. In more ways than one, Saveur Art as a restaurant is truly a pleasant dining experience. Discrete and notably classy, so different from the many restaurants that tries its best to impress the discerning customer.
The nicely done medium Australian Angus Bavette was served with delicious mash potato and pickled red wine onions. The meal was executed with a technical excellence that only an expert with meats would understand. Simple and absolutely enjoyable. None of the frills of seasonal vegetables as accompaniment.
Maybe it was because it was located in a rather atas place at the iconic ION Orchard (level 4). Or maybe they already decided to set a different experience for their customers, slightly different from their small chain of simple but fantastic French cuisine.
I ordered the pumpkin soup for starters and I must say it was a welcome surprise with bespoke foam of some sort and a hint of spice. The soup was very smooth and savory, and we all loved it. It kind of reminded me of roasted pumpkin soup but this one tasted really good.
We loved mushrooms, so we ordered a serving of the sauteed forest mushrooms. It was an acquired taste for the family though, as we were usually familiar with the few varitel types like button, oyster and portobello. So the selection of mushrooms served at Saveur Art took a little getting used to. And as the name suggests, the selection had a deep earthy taste. I like mushrooms so it didn’t bother me all that much but my wife skipped it altogether.
Service-wise, the staffs were discrete and understood service and that meant a lot to me since we eat out quite a fair bit. Two thumbs up for me. I would definitely revisit and try something else, but the Angus holds dear to my heart.
Got a rare chance to go Jalan Besar today, and I thought I would grab myself a bowl of this delicious Hakka Beef Balls. I asked the boss for a $4 bowl of beef balls otherwise known as “kosong” (read: only beef balls and no noodles or bee hoon).
The boss or the guy that cooks the beef balls is quite funny. I say this because he speaks to his customers like we are all kids. But I guess that’s his way of overcoming his awkwardness and it could be his feeble attempts at small talk. Cooking beef balls all day is not exactly very exciting as you can imagine.
But who cares right? As long as the food is good, everything else is forgivable.
The Hakka Beef Balls are a mixture of meat and tendon bits and they are very juicy and delicious. Mix this with their chilli and the umami in this dish heightens almost immediately. One wonders how they actually manage to do it so well.
Presentation-wise, they score a big fat zero; but it’s 100 marks for taste. It’s a very simple meal to say the least. Even the soup they gave me was so little, as if it was so precious. Sometimes I think they forget that we are paying customers. I usually have it with bee hoon (read: white vermicelli noodles).
Few things are so perfect together as Hakka Beef Balls and bee hoon noodles. If you want a bowl, make sure you get there before they close at 5pm. They only operate Monday to Friday, so you can basically write them off for your usual Saturday morning fooding adventure.
Located at 217, Syed Alwi road, the beef house sells other Hakka favourites like suan pan zi(read: abacus discs), Hakka Yong Tau Foo and Hakka Soon Kueh (read: tapioca steam dumplings).
The NTUC Foodfare at Sembawang MRT just opened after a brief period of renovation and this time around I think they got it right. The layout of the place is now more sensible and it actually is much more spacious for their customers. Maybe they heard the cries of the populous masses that flow through their doors everyday.
But that’s not the purpose of my rambling, don’t worry. I don’t usually rant and rave about food court renovation designs.
So it seems Yu Kee has opened its own Bak Chor Mee. Yes, the famous Duck Rice guys are also selling BCM. I can’t say that I would disagree with their move, after all there is no existing Bak Chor Mee place at the food court.
So by this offering, their profits increase. People are predisposed to eating bak chor mee in the morning especially me. I love bcm and I can eat it everyday. It is comfort food to me.
So the question is, “is this yu kee bak chor mee any good?” The honest answer would be, “it fills the gap” (tongue in cheek). It is not exactly the best bcm, but it has all the elements of a standard bcm should carry.
My wife thinks I love bcm too much to give these guys a bad review. But there is nothing much to penalise them for. It’s not fantastic but it is not bad either. And especially so in the early morning when the other shops are not yet functioning, I think they make a very nice bak chor mee.
Try it if you are nearby, but I won’t drive my Ferrari down for this.
This is a restaurant grade recipe. Haha. Okay, I wish it was. I love eating almost everything in a salted egg sauce and nothing beats eating my favourite Bitter Gourd in my favourite salted egg sauce.
It’s a quite simple dish to make really, just that to do it well, you need to know what you are doing. So if you are game for something different, you can try this. It will rock your dinners and also impress a few friends.
1 whole Bitter Gourd
3 Salted Egg Yolks
Half a slab of Unsalted Butter
1 tbsp of Castor Sugar Chicken Stock (not from stock cubes)
1. Clean and gut the bitter gourd of the seeds. Cut into half. Then steam at high heat for about 5 minutes. Then slice then diagonally into bite size pieces.
2. In a wok, add half a slab of Butter, if you need directions, then half a slab of butter would be 125 grams.
3. Add the egg yolks. These eggs are cooked and hard boiled. Using the back of your frying ladle, mesh the egg yolks into the butter. Make sure the egg yolks are nicely mixed into the butter. Ensure that it is at low heat.
4. Add chicken stock made from boiling chicken bones. Just about 3 tbsp would be sufficient. Add Sugar to taste, maybe about 1 tbsp.
5. Once that is done, ladle the sauce over the butter gourd and serve.
The interesting about Asian foods is that they usually name it by describing its contents, there is hardly any pizzazz in the naming of the dish. It’s probably a dish created by the man in the street for the man in the street. I can’t find any other reason why you would call fish ball bee hoon soup by any other name.
Other foods like laksa or lor mee sound like they were created in a more refined kitchen. Maybe I am just guessing, but I think it is quite a fair assumption to think that way. It’s kind of like calling a spade a spade.
So anyway, I love fish balls. The textures, the taste, and with other else in the bowl, this would make my day. So I decided that I would make a very simple and classic fish ball bee hoon soup for lunch.
10 Fish Balls (purchased from the wet market)
1 pc Bee Hoon (I usually use the two chilli brand)
A leaf of Chinese Cabbage Light Soya Sauce
1. Boil some water in a kettle and pour into the pot. Place the bee hoon (usually dried) and cook for a minute over a small fire.
2. Put the fish balls into the pot to cook. The test to see if they are cooked is to watch them all eventually float. Easy. Add the shredded Chinese cabbage and cook a minute longer and you can serve. Add soya sauce to taste.
Comfort foods are what we need when we really need comforting. It’s like the mother/wife replacement when they are not around you or if you are traveling on a long journey to somewhere far away.
One such comfort food would be the humble sweet potato soup eaten more like a dessert more than a meal. It’s the quintessential comfort food that most Singaporeans would know and if you were to smell it from a distance with its signature spicy gingery flavour, it ust oozes goodness and warm feelings of home.
It’s also just about the easiest recipe to make as well. Just wash and cut the sweet potatoes into bite sized cubes, add ginger, sugar and water and its ready to eat when it is softened.
2 large pieces of Sweet Potatoes (for one person)
5 thin slices of Ginger Sugar (level up to you) Water (just enough to cover the sweet potatoes)
1. Wash and cut sweet potatoes, of course peel the skin first. Cut into bite sized pieces. Easy to eat.
2. Cut 5 thin slices of ginger, any type will do. Add water to cover most of Sweet potato in the pot can already. Too much water is pointless.
3. Add Sugar to taste. Up to you. Once cook, and the test is to be able to smell the fragrance. Then serve.
The foods of champions, the humble Chicken Macaroni has become the super-foods that parents love to give their kids. More so because it is so easy to prepare. Just boil the pasta, add boiled chicken and salt and you can eat.
Of course it is only true for the pure at heart. However in my less than perfect world, my Chicken Macaroni has to be done the hard way. It has to have all the necessary ingredients to make this dish truly special.
Why? You might ask. Well, why not? I am cooking for my family wat. So it has to be nothing short of special.
250 grams of Dried Macaroni (for two servings, I use Barilla Elbows, they are kind of same same.)
2 pieces of de-boned Chicken Thighs
4 carcass of Chicken Bones (for making stock)
Handful of Dried Chinese Scallops
A few Dried Oysters
5-6 whole Garlic Cloves Sea Salt Black Pepper Evaporated Milk
1. Boil a kettle of water (about 1.7litres). Add to the pot with the carcasses of Chicken Bones to boil for stock. Skim the scum and excess oil off the surface of the broth.
2. After about 20 minutes boiling at high heat, remove and discard the chicken bones. Add the scallops and oysters to flavour the soup. Fry and sear the garlic cloves in a pan before also adding into the broth to cook. You may reduce the fire to a slow simmer. Now boil another kettle of water. This is for cooking the macaroni.
3. Cook the macaroni in another pot until soften (boil pass al dente). This is so that your kids can eat as well.
4. Marinate the boneless chicken thighs with salt and black pepper. Leave aside for at least ten minutes. Once it is ready, fry the chicken with a little oil in a frying pan, 3 minutes on each side. After searing the sides, remove and slice into thin pieces.
5. Then boil the sliced chicken pieces in the broth by using the slotted ladle technique to further cook the chicken pieces. Once cooked, place in individual serving bowls.
6. Check that the pasta is cooked beyond al dente by doing a taste test. It should be reasonably softened. Once ready ladle the cooked macaroni into the bowls with the boiled chicken pieces.
7. Add salt and a little evaporated milk to thicken the broth. Cook a while longer and you can ladle the chicken broth to the Macaroni. Serve hot.
The old Cucumber Melon can readily be found almost everywhere and is available at your local wet market grocer or NTUC supermarkets. But for some reason, I have resisted cooking it until now.
Don’t get me wrong, I love this traditional soup especially at the Chinese restaurants and sometimes at the food courts. But like the Burdock Soup 牛蒡汤, I have only recently started cooking this melon soup.
Simple, nutritious and delicious. If I can do it, anyone can.
1 medium size Old Cucumber Melon
10 pieces Dried Red Dates
5 pieces Dried Scallops
2 pieces Dried Octopus
250 grams Pork Ribs Salt
1. Cut the old Cucumber in half and gorge out the seeds with a spoon. Then chop into chunks. Place the pork ribs, red dates, scallops, octopus and the prepared melon into the pot. Add a little salt. Pour in a kettle of boiling water into the pot.
2. Boil for at least 20 minutes. Then place the pot in the thermal cooker and re-heat after 12 hours when you are back from work.
I have always wanted to make this soup, but have until now been unable to do so for one reason or another. This was largely due to the fact that I was always forgetting to buy that one crucial ingredient – peanuts.
Now that I have gotten over that hurdle. I can finally make this Lotus Peanut and Pork Ribs Soup. Actually I believe I have made this soup once before but the peanuts didn’t cook as well as I would have liked. But that could also be because I was boiling the soup as opposed to cooking it in a 12 hour thermal cooking process. Also, I didn’t pre-soak the peanuts as most tradition home cooks would advise.
So I did it my way, and to be honest, the experts are right. You really need to pre-soak the peanuts overnight. Oh well, at least I managed to get a rather soft peanut, but not soft enough. Plus I kept it in the thermal cooker for more than 12 hours. Didn’t know peanuts are so resilient.
1 long tube Lotus Root (they say the lotus root should be covered in mud, otherwise not so good quality)
A bowl of Peanuts (better to pre-soak overnight, I tried not soaking and failed, so please soak)
1-2 pieces of Dried Octopus
250 grams of Pork Ribs Salt
1. Boil a kettle of water. Place frozen pork ribs into pot. Throw the pre-soaked peanuts into the pot. Throw the dried octopus into the pot also. Wash the lotus root, shave off the skin, then slice the tubular root into beautiful shapes. After that throw into the pot. Add a pinch of salt to taste. Add boiling hot water. Boil for 20 minutes. After that, place in thermal cooker for 12 hours and let the magic happen.
I tend to use only two types of meats for my soup base. Either pork ribs from Indonesia or carcass of chicken. Both yields a very lovely soup with my preference leaning more towards a pork base flavoured soup. But I tend to leave out the meats that flavours the soup when naming them because it just gets too wordy. Don’t worry, I will still make mention of them in the ingredient listing.
So today’s soup puts a twist to the ever popular ABC soup. The confinement recipe is great for mummies who are breastfeeding, somehow what you eat is what baby will grow to love when they grow up. I am adding dried shitake mushrooms into the soup today and I know that it will taste absolutely fantastic.
Just an update on the soup that I was trying out, the Carrot Radish Bamboo Burdock Soup. Interestingly the soup was suitably muted, which came as a surprise as I was sure the taste of the soup would have a strong radish or burdock flavour. Instead there was no outstanding ingredient that stood out. It tasted very nice.
250 grams of Pork Ribs
1 medium sized Carrot
1 ear of Corn
1 large Tomato
4-5 pieces Dried Shitake Mushrooms Salt
1. Boil a kettle of water. Peel and chop the carrot into chunks. Chop the corn into 8 pieces. Quart the tomato. Soak the mushrooms and then slice them. Place the frozen pork ribs into the pot. Then add the rest of the prepared ingredients into the pot.
2. Once water is boiled, add into the pot. Add salt to taste. Boil at high heat for 20 minutes.
3. After boiling, place the pot into the thermal cooker and come back 12 hours later to have it for dinner.
There are times when clarity is no longer there, and we are now into unchartered waters. I looked into my fridge and the slew of ingredients that I bought over the weekend, and for the life of me, I couldn’t recall the recipe that someone suggested for me to do.
That problem could be compounded by the fact that information fly at us all the time, in simultaneous fashion, and unstoppable. To the point that if we heard something interesting, and if we didn’t make a special effort to note it down, then it is likely to be lost in the wasteland of forgotten words.
I vaguely remember it, and it goes something like, this plus this plus that and that. Bah! I can’t remember. Forget it.
So today, I am making carrot radish bamboo burdock soup. Making it in the way that I always like to do, and that is to keep it simple.
1 medium Carrot
1 medium White Radish
1 packet of fresh Bamboo
80-90 cm length of BurdockRoot
250 grams Pork Ribs Sea Salt
1. Peel, shave the carrot, the radish and the burdock. If you want, you may soak the burdock first. Otherwise throw the prepared ingredients into the pot. By this time the frozen pork ribs would already be in place and waiting (with open arms and open palms).
2. Slice the bamboo, not too small slices, you don’t want the bamboo to “disappear”. Again once it is ready, just throw them into the pot. Add two pinches of salt and add a boiling kettle of water. Turn heat high and boil furiously for at least 20 minutes. After that is done, place the pot into the thermal cooker and allow time and heat to work the romance. Come back 12 hours later, and it’s ready.
I have always wanted to make this soup and I can already imagine how delicious this soup would taste like even before cooking. The burdock soup with pork ribs was already delicious so with the addition of the black chicken, needless to say, this soup is gonna rock and roll.
The recipe is very much like the Burdock Soup 牛蒡汤 that I made recently, but except that now the recipe is complete. No more reliance on pre-packed herbal remedies. I have found the perfect confluence of ingredients for this soup.
Every ingredient brings to the table a slew of medicinal benefits. Otherwise it really makes for a great tasting soup. Try it!
Half a Black Chicken (chopped into two parts)
80-90 cm length of Burdock Root 牛蒡
Bunch of Wolfberries
Bunch of Dried Red Dates Salt
1. Boil a kettle of water. Clean and peel off bark of Burdock Root. Then slice thinly (see picture below). You may soak it in hot water for 10 minutes if you like. Otherwise if you prefer a stronger earthy taste, then just drop it into the pot.
2. Place the half a chicken into the pot. As you can see my black chicken is frozen. My intention is always to simplify the process. So frozen black chicken is fine, no need to thaw. Just drop it into the pot. Add Wolfberries, add dried red dates and a pinch of salt. Then add the hot boiling water and boil at high heat (with lid on) for 20 minutes.
3. Place it in thermal cooker after that for 12 hours (which is when I get home) and the soup would be delicious. Black chicken tender. Soup rich with flavour.
My colleague was sharing with me the other day about a soup that she said her toddler son literally polished two bowls of the soup. Yes, according to her, it was that good. Well, I have to try it to believe it. I asked her for the recipe of course and while she told me the portions, my lightning fast mind went to work on how it would be like if I were to cook it.
Unfortunately I was so in deep thought that I totally forgotten the last ingredient that she mentioned. It was some ingredient that enhanced the flavours of chicken and white fungus. I couldn’t be bothered to ask her again and decided that I would make up the third ingredient with something that I was familiar with – huai san – my oh-so-sticky friend.
The tuber is really one of the slimmest ingredient I have ever work with before, so that’s one of the reasons why I rarely employ the use of this ingredient. But I felt white fungus and chicken would do well with huai san for this soup. And so, here we go. My first attempt at this soup.
Oh by the way, I’m case you’re wondering, my wife thought the Oxtail Stew with Carrots that I made the other day was only so-so. Personally, I thought it was fantastic.
2 large Chicken Drums (de-boned)
A packet of White Fungus
A tube of Huai San (you can get from NTUC)
A few Chinese Scallops Salt
1. Boil a kettle of water. Dump the chicken drums (with thigh meat) into the pot. Empty the packet of White Fungus into a bowl of water, let it soak for a while so that it will expand. Then once it is ready, dump it into the pot. (when I first made this soup, I made a newbie mistake of not soaking, and it soaked up all my delicious soup while it was in the thermal cooker!)
2. Clean the huai san and then chop into chunks, then dump it into the pot. Add a few dried scallops and salt to taste. Add boiling water. Turn to high heat for 15 minutes with lid on. Once done, place in thermal cooker to consume 12 hours later.
I have always wanted to make oxtail stew just plain in its own without much western influence or gastronomic fanfare. The thing that I like most is to also experiment in my choice of ingredients and hopefully conjure magic in my kitchen.
Oxtail Stew is that dish that I would always go for at the French restaurant but today I am making it as local as possible and in the style that I always like to cook, which is to cook it simply.
My oxtail stew is usually just oxtail, carrots, beef stock and a few slices of ginger. That is usually what I do. But for today’s stew, I am adding Black Fungus and Oyster Mushrooms just to complicate the flavours and hopefully achieve that special oxtail stew.
Wanna try it? It’s actually very easy.
4-5 pieces of Oxtail
1 large Carrot
3 inches of Ginger
1 packet of Black Fungus (optional)
1 packet of Oyster Mushrooms (optional)
1 cup of Beef Stock (optional) Salt
1. Boil a kettle of water. While the water is boiling, add oxtail, carrots (chunks), sliced ginger, black fungus, oyster mushrooms, a cup of beef stock to enhance the flavours and a a pinch of salt to taste.
2. Pour the boiling water into the thermal pot to boil at high heat for about 20 minutes. Once done, place the pot into the thermal cooker for about 12 hours. What will greet me tonight should be a thick pot of stew, probably my wife will hate it.
Some say you are what you eat. Eat wood, you become wood. Burdock root is well as truly wood. The woody stem of the Greater Burdock plant seems to have some nutritional goodness other then looking like a tree branch.
It tastes like ginseng and apparently help with eczematic skin conditions. Otherwise it is a very delicious soup to drink. The wife loves it.
1 Metre length of Greater Burdock
Handful of Wolfberries
Handful of Dried Red Dates
250 grams of Pork Ribs Salt
1. Shave the bark off the burdock. Sliced it diagonally and soak in hot water for about ten minutes.
2. Boil a large kettle of water. Pour it into a pot. Turn on high heat. Add pork ribs, Wolfberries, red dates, and when the burdock is soaked, add it in as well.
3. Boil at high heat for 30 minutes with lid on. Serve. The ribs might not be drop off the bone tender but the soup is very good.
The ingredient on the extreme left is frozen pork ribs just in case you are wondering. This is one of my favourite no-brainer soup for those days when you don’t want to plan or worry too much about what to cook for dinner.
The ingredients when cooked together will produce one of the best flavours ever. Guaranteed that you and your family will love it. All natural and wholesome ingredients – what’s not to love? The sweet corn that I used is the covered one that when you unveil, is a sweet crunchy vegetable. I was surprised how sweet it was. So naturally the soup would be already very tasty. Just a little salt, and it is ready to be served.
Plus, this recipe is so easy to prepare. Anyone can do it. Easy until I wanna cry.
200 grams Pork Ribs (Indonesian pork is the best)
1 ear (haha) of Sweet Corn
2 medium Carrots
1 medium Tomato (for that slightly sour taste)
A pinch of Salt
1. Boil a kettle of water. Place frozen pork ribs in thermal pot. Chop the corn into 8 parts. Slice the carrots into bite sized chunks. Quart the tomato. Dump everything into the pot. Sprinkle the salt. Pour in the hot water. Turn on high heat for 15 minutes. Then turn off fire, and place the pot into the thermal cooker. Serve 12 hours later.
There comes a time in the journey of a home cook that you would have to experiment with what you have in the fridge, cooking out of necessity rather than as an art. That moment is today, as I stare down the vegetable cabinet and the emptiness seemed to resonate the treble and bass in my voice as I mumbled to myself.
Drats! That’s all I have, arrowheads and radish. I guess that will do. Time to make magic happen.
Everybody knows that arrowhead (the waterchestnut looking thing in the picture) goes well with the Chinese yam huai san, but desperate times call for desperate measures and the only other tubular vegetable that I have left in the fridge is the humble white radish. Any-hoo, that will do.
My wife said to me one day, “can you cook some other kind of soup?” That to me is a sign that I have to constantly innovate and come up with new concoctions of soups. I guess I have been a little lazy as well, opting to cook the convenient Easy as ABC types of soups and admittedly, we have been drinking a lot of those soups as well, especially the Lotus and Radish Soup which I have been cooking week-in, week-out. Maybe wifey drink until scared liao.
So I asked her, “what kind of soup would you like to drink then?” The answer was kind of unexpected because she wanted a really simple Chicken and Potato Soup. That sounds like Chicken Soup for the Soul (think: Best Selling Book). Well, as I love a good challenge, and since we already have the required ingredients in my well stocked kitchen, I set out to develop a simple recipe. I think it’s gonna be great!
So I decided that I would bring together my great collaborators – Chinese Scallops and Yellow Onion. They are distinctively different, but yet somehow, they add to the great flavour that is Chicken Soup. I can already smell the flavours coming together. Here’s my recipe for Chicken and Potato Soup.
2 x Chicken Drumsticks
1 x Chicken Carcass
15-20 Chinese Scallops
5 medium size Potatoes
1 large Yellow Onion
Half a teaspoon of Sea Salt
1. First of all, place the chicken carcass and the chicken drumsticks (frozen) into the pot. Boil a kettle of water, then pour it into the pot, make sure that it covers the chicken. Then add the scallops into the pot and turn on high heat to boil.
2. Then peel potatoes, and rough chop these into pieces. After that is done, add them into the pot to cook. Slice up a yellow onion and add in the pot last. Continue to boil for another 10 minutes. Add salt to taste. Then turn off fire and put pot into the thermal cooker. That’s all, easy.
It seems like the unlikeliest of collaborations, more unlikely than the Lotus and Radish Soup. The bitter gourd and pork ribs is what most of us would already know, but to have an octopus swimming around in the soup, I bet the final taste would be out of this world.
As it is, the mixture of the bitterness that is in the bitter gourd juxtaposed with that of the fishy aftertaste of octopus, is probably gonna taste really yummy. I can’t wait to taste this soup tonight. Something about pork ribs that makes the soup taste so much better than chicken bones. It’s such a simple recipe anyone can do it.
1. Boil water, then pour into pot with ribs and octopus and let them get acquainted. After boiling for about 10 minutes, add the sliced bitter gourd and some sea salt. Continue to boil for another 5 minutes at high heat.
2. When done, take and place in thermal cooker and eat it when you get home. Perfect.
Friday lunch and we all thought that we would go for our favourite kway chap stall at Tampines Round Market. The lure of the pork just doesn’t seem to let down and once it gets you in the insides, you are literally gutted and you need to go eat.
So here we are at Round Market and guess what? The kway chap is closed, it has once again dumbfounded many of their loyal patrons as to why they would close on the one day that they say that they would open. Anyway, the next best porky alternative was the Pig’s Viscera Pork Ribs Prawn Noodle. The name of the stall is a tongue twister and what in the world is viscera? Doesn’t sound too appetizing. Anyway, I decided on Pig’s tail noodle soup with added handmade meat ball and it was fantastic. Look at the picture below and tell me what is not fantastic about it. See, I am right. It is fantastic.
What is more fantastic is that after I 加料, it was only SGD 4.00. That is unbeatable value in my humble opinion. So much 料 and still under five bucks. Very value for money.
You can miss it when you go there. There is perpetually a queue.
Up till now I have been making Bak Kut Teh using pork ribs which is fine but somehow the shiok feeling of being able to tear the meat off the bones seem to be missing. So in an attempt to recreate that old familiar Sin Ming Ave Bak Kut Teh feeling, I bought prime ribs from my local butcher. I know it will be sure nice one.
You can check out my other recipe which is basically an adaptation of Makansutra’s version if you prefer something more serious and structured (that one got YouTube video of Seetoh). But if this works for you, then do it this way.
I have basically removed all the frills and in a sense demystified the entire Bak Kut Teh experience. To me, pepper is the key ingredient. You don’t even need best quality white peppercorns. Just get the cheap cheap ones at the wet market but put more than the usual quantity. Sure peppery one. Trust me.
The picture above is exactly what it is, three simple ingredients, absolutely no other magical ingredient. Just load it up with water and the magic itself is really in the slow boiling of the prime ribs. That’s one reason why I love the thermal cooker so much, it is a slow extraction of flavour. By the end of the day, the prime ribs are soft, tender, and si beh shiok. Dip it in dark soy sauce and fresh cut red chillies and make yourself a cup of hot Chinese tea. The end result is really same same.
2 large Prime Ribs
4 packets of White Peppercorns (I got the cheap cheap ones from the wet market, 50 cents per packet)
10-12 cloves of Garlic Salt to taste
1. Place the ribs, garlic (unshelled) and the peppercorns in a pot. Add water to cover the ribs. Boil at high heat for at least 15 minutes. After that dump the pot into the thermal cooker and come back home in the evening to eat. Don’t forget to add some salt.
They have become the unlikeliest of friends, meeting once a week every Saturday morning as they get jostled together and acquainted in the dirty and grimy vegetable stall baskets reserved only for customers. It’s always a bumpy and bruise-full meeting at first, as they are slotted into plastic bags and then heap together with other vegetables.
Then somewhere throughout the week, they are reacquainted again, this time washed and chopped, and all ready to be boiled in a pot with chicken bones and a slice of dried cuttlefish. The end result is often a thick beautiful broth of nutritious goodness.
The lotus root and the radish, uniquely different in their taste, but when brought together in a soup, just makes so much sense. It’s a great confinement soup as well for new mummies, if you wish, you can leave out the cuttlefish and even the sea salt. Just have it plain and it would still be full of flavour.
1 large or 2 medium tunes Lotus Root *try getting short rounded cylinders*
1 pc Radish *medium size*
1 pc Chicken carcass *bones*
1 half dried Cuttlefish
1. Wash then peel off the outer layers of the lotus root and radish. Then chop into smallish bite-sized pieces for the radish, and for the lotus root, just thin half a centimeter slices will do. This will ensure that the flavour is maximized.
2. Put the chicken carcass (whole) into the steel pot of the thermal cooker and a piece of cuttlefish *optional for newbie mummies* and sea salt to taste. We usually don’t take so much salt in our soups so maybe a teaspoon or less is sufficient. Also, if your chicken bones are frozen, you can either place it frozen in the pot or defrost it. I usually don’t bother defrosting if I am gonna boil it anyway.
3. After all the dry ingredients, vegetables and bones are placed in the pot, add about 1 litre of boiling water and turn on high heat for about 15-20 minutes and when that is done, place the pot into the thermal cooker. The soup should be delicious and ready by the time you get home from work. Just right for dinner.
This is my mother-in-law’s recipe. Which I tried to follow but failed miserably because I was busy doing some other things – like paying bills. So multitasking is just another word for distraction. Nuff said.
She cooked this lovely pork belly, boiled and it was just the simplest dish in the world. I dipped it in home-made chilli sauce and it was out of this world. I had to learn and do it.
I asked her in my mixture of pidgin Chinese and deciphered enough to know that it was really the easiest recipe in the world. The only criteria was that the pork belly had to be beautiful or 漂亮. I asked her how to know if it was 漂亮, she said that I would know it when I saw it.
And so, I met the butcher this morning and he offered me what he had left for the day. The slab of pork belly had two nipples on it, and I thought maybe this was what she (MIL) meant by 漂亮.
So I asked the uncle to give me pork belly that was 漂亮, and he proudly said “这个很漂亮!”
I guess since he was the butcher, he can’t be wrong, and so I paid the man $15 (SGD) and the rest was as they say, history.
1 kg of 漂亮 Pork Belly
1. In a large pot, boil water till boiling. Place pork belly into pot with water covering the meat. With slow fire, boil for at least 45 minutes. After the meat is cooked, turn off the fire and allow it to sit in the pot for another 15 minutes.
2. Take the cooked pork belly and then rub it with sea salt. Allow the meat to cool and then wrap it up in a ziplock bag and throw it into the freezer.
3. You can keep the meat for all kinds of dishes, either sliced and eaten in its own. Or fried with vegetables. The stock can be preserved into plastic containers and used for flavoring for other dishes.
This is my all time favourite local dish. I guess you would know by now that I have a lot of all time favourites. It is okay I supposed since we are Singaporeans. Every local delicacy it seems is an all time favourite with most of us. Anyway, I love Bak Kut Teh and I am always on a lookout for a good Bak Kut Teh stall. To me the one at Prome Road at Balestier rocks. Second in line is the one at Sin Ming Ave. The rest of the Bak Kut Teh stalls that people rave about is just so-so IMHO.
Anyway, so I decided that I would replicate the humble Bak Kut Teh for dinner. A quick search and guess what? Mr Seetoh from Makansutra has already beat me to it and has developed a simple and easy to cook Singapore styled Bak Kut Teh. Enjoy people. If you noticed, I have already wrote a Bak Kut Teh recipe, but I really love this dish, so this time, I decided to try it again, but without the spice packet that I would usually get from NTUC. I want to see if I can make an awesome Bak Kut Teh without “cheating”.
400 grams Garlic
50 grams White Peppercorns
1 kg Pork Ribs
1 kg Pork Bones
5 litres of Water
3 tsp of Sea Salt
1. Par boil the pork ribs, then discard water to get rid of scum. Then boil a fresh pot of water – 5 litres. Add the garlic, (slightly bruised), white peppercorns (slightly cracked and roasted over a pan). Add sea salt.
2. Boil on high heat for 15 minutes, then place the pot into the thermal cooker.
3. When you’re back from work, boil the broth again, and then have a taste test. Adjust with sea salt accordingly. Serve with steam rice.
I realized while trying to pen down this recipe that there was no way of phrasing this delicacy without murdering the name of the dish. Maybe not murder but definitely it would be a herculean challenge to describe the name in just one language alone or one that everyone would understand.
If I said Kiam Chye Arc, you might think it was a monument of some sort. Or salted mustard duck soup and it might be a tad too literal for some. Furthermore, it might not bring to mind that old familiarity. Or if I were to call it 咸菜鸭, you might wonder why I am writing this recipe in English. Either way it would be best to come to a compromise of terms. So Kiam Chye Duck it is then.
Anyway, this is my first time trying this recipe and according to the law of trying a recipe for the first time, I should really hammer in the works but yet not cloud the original intention of the dish. You got to taste the salted mustard, the indelible flavour of the duck and the sourness of the tomatoes and sour plums. Everyone else in this quintessential Macbeth broth is secondary. Now all you need is a little lightning, thunder and rain and it would be perfect.
1. 1 kg or Half a duck *buy from wet market is cheaper*
2. 500 grams of Kiam Chye aka salted mustard
3. Bunch of garlic.
4. 100 grams of ginger *sliced*
5. 4 sour plums *Chinese preserved plums*
6. 3 medium Tomatoes
1. Par boil the chopped duck pieces for about 5 minutes. Discard the water. This is to get rid of scum as duck meat tends to have lots of that. Also it is very oily, so best to boil twice and discard the water.
2. Place the Kiam Chye leaf by leaf into the pot. Cut tomatoes into quarts and dump them in. Dump the garlic in the pot and the sour plums. Dump the sliced ginger into the pot. Once they are all in the pot, make sure the water covers the ingredients.
3. Boil the ingredients in high heat for 15 minutes before putting the pot into the thermal cooker to slowly braise the meat further. By evening it would be ready and delicious.
My all time favourite (I realized I have a lot of favourites!) Bak Kut Teh – home cooked, and very easy to do actually. These days with the easy herbs spice sachets available at NTUC supermarkets, you have no reason not to try it out.
My only issue with these herbs spices is the taste at the end of the day. Sometimes some brands the taste cannot make it. By far red man brand from phoon huat is the best. The blend and taste is really tok kong. So I couldn’t get to phoon huat that day and so I settled for this other brand Seah’s something-something from ntuc.
The taste is not too bad just that I may have added too much garlic perhaps. But it’s so so easy to make. Try it.
1. 500 grams of pork ribs *ask the butcher to give you the type for making bak kut teh.*
2. 1 packet of spices *Seah’s*
3. A bunch of white peppercorns.
4. A bunch of garlic 6-7 pieces.
1. Boil a pot of water. Par boil the ribs for about 5 minutes and discard water to remove the scum. Add a fresh container of water. Then continue boiling the pork ribs in the new water.
2. Add the sachet of bak kut teh spices. Add white peppercorns and garlic pieces. You may leave the skins on.
3. Boil for 15 minutes at high heat. Off the fire and place pot of soup into thermal cooker to allow it to continue cooking in the vacuum pot.
4. By evening it would be perfect. Succulent, meat falling off the bone. I still prefer red man bak kut teh spices though. Much nicer.
There comes a time in the extended new dawn that there isn’t much to be afraid of anymore, where vampires and werewolves are just a figment of ingenious creative writing and gnomes and goblins become neighbours. There was no prodding or shoving of any kind this morning and I naturally got up and decided that there could be a greater purpose today than what it was originally intended for.
Time to make my soup, and perhaps a little more.
Today’s complicated soup of the day (just to prove that I am capable of complicated soups that still taste decent and nice), is none other than my easy as ABC soup, but with a little more pizzazz. So a complicated soup like this, would mean something like an ABCDEFG soup. I personally think that this soup has got great potential. It carries with it all the ingredients that came from near and far, and their masters’ blessings, hopes and understanding. These ingredients would typically hold its own weight, and be staple where they may come from. Carrots from Australia, Scallops from the sea of Japan, snowflakes from the top of the Himalayan ranges near the border. Yes, very exotic.
Ingredients that have no known origins, (actually I know where most of them came from) but where exactly, that is immaterial. What’s most important is that everyone is represented here in this huge pot, all ready to blend together and become one soup. So is it really a complicated soup then? Or is it really just a collation of many varied ingredients with distinct characteristics that would wow even the richest sheik or the wealthiest tycoon? Perhaps.
200-250 grams of Pork Ribs *frozen or thawed – it doesn’t matter*
2 Carrots *cubed*
1 Sweet Corn *chopped*
1 Medium Yello Onion *sliced*
5 Dried Scallops (Japanese)
5 Dried Red Dates
1 handful of Wolfberries
1. Par boil the pork ribs and then discard the water. Boil a fresh pot of water, add all the ingredients and bring to an intense boil.
2. Once boiled for 15 minutes. The soup is ready for the thermal cooker.
The wifey broke my sleep and woke me up to the new dawn. She mumbled some words to which I had to say a “har?”. Maybe my brain is slow at processing slur words. So I asked her again, and it was then that I realized that she wanted me to cook one of my fabulous soups *shines fingernails*.
Alright, that shouldn’t be a problem, I thought to myself, making soups in the wee hours of the morning has now become my specialty. The only hurdle between me and making soup these days is probably the waking up part. It has been been a challenge since I got rid of that ridiculous cock-crowing ringtone which apparently irritated the entire population in my cluster; it also irritated my wife as well. So the ringtone had to go. Now in its place is this very zen and space-like ringtone named neon.
It’s not the John Mayer kind of neon with his signature slap and pluck style of guitar playing. But it was more like a vibrating double-stringed instrument sounding more like a cricket’s mating call. Very alien. Unfortunately it was also quite soft and good for if you wanted to continue to sleep.
“I already placed the black chicken in the sink.” came the voice in my semi-state of galactical subconsciousness. It was as if the voice transcended space and time to speak to me. “wake up lah.” My wife slapped my shoulder. Just as quickly my subconscious mind returned to full consciousness albeit my eyes still glued-closed due to excessive secretion of the tear duct (heaty?).
I peered into my mobile phone and it was just nice, one minute before neon; one minute before the new dawn. Now my quest can begin.
So to make black chicken soup the quick and dirty way, you really need a packet of dun ji tang herbs from the supermarket. This is the proven method of making the delicious soup. But the problem now is I am all out of the herbs! Jialat!
I really need to quickly summon my creative culinary powers in order to make sense of this newfound dilemma. Thankfully I always keep a stash of my favorite generic condiments somewhere, always ready to be deployed in any crisis of a lack of dun ji tang herbs.
2 bottles of Brand’s Essence of Chicken
5 pieces of Japanese dried scallops
5 pieces of dried red dates
25 pieces of wolfberry seeds
1. Par boil the chicken pieces to get rid of the scum.
2. Add in new water (not newater) and begin boiling. Add the chicken essence. Dump the condiments into the pot and close the lid.
3. After boiling for 10 minutes, place the pot into the thermal cooker and walk away. Serve at night when you return from work.
Day four of the new dawn. I could hear the crackling of thunder not too far away. When I looked out of the window, flashes of lightning lighted the twilight sky. It’s gonna be a good day today. I have always loved raindrops on the window of my Aircon bus.
Good days therefore deserves a good pot of soup. I decided that Herbal Black Chicken Soup would really make the day even more special. Don’t worry, baby won’t be partaking in this soup. I will be making plain porridge with minced pork and marmite for him. I know he sure like wan.
So just nice the black chicken would be so totally perfect for dinner. The wife even asked for a bowl when she returns home. I bought the herbs the day before at NTUC and I was sure the end result would be a perfect bowl of soup.
I was right.
Where I shop?
I got my black chicken from the wet market. There is something more fresh about buying fresh meats from the wet market. Okay, I needed to say that. Of course if there wasn’t a wet market around where I lived, I would have gone in search of one. Fresh meats are more fresh at the wet market (myth#1).
The herbs I got from NTUC. Once I heard from a friend that her child asked her..
Child: “mama, is there a giant in the supermarket?”
My friend thought to herself and polled Facebook for an answer on how to reply the child.
Me being the good-hearted person replied..
Me: “that’s not a problem, wait till she asks you if there is a National Trade Union Congress in the supermarket. That would require much more explanation.”
Okay, that was a lame supermarket joke.
1 Black Chicken chopped into 4 parts
1 Packet of Dun Ji Tang herbs
2 bottles of Brands Essence of chicken
1. Dump (I love the word!) the black chicken into the pot. Par boil it and then discard the water. Fill it up again.
2. Dump the herbs into the pot. Turn high heat and boil (bubbling) for 15 minutes. Switch off and load the pot into the thermal cooker.
Day three of the new dawn. I am tired. My lifeforce seems to have been zapped by some mysterious incubus. Either that or I am still riling over the fact that baby didn’t like my black bean porridge that I made yesterday.
Maybe he wasn’t accustomed to the taste as yet; maybe it was his first time trying it. I have come to realize that kids take a while to like something. It was the same experience with ice cream. At first he didn’t like it. Now he does.
So maybe one day he will develop a penchant for my black bean soup. I spent quite a bit of time cooking his porridge last night, and used quite a bit of the soup to cook it as well. *Grr* I think he kind of humored me a little and ate some at the beginning but I guess the taste was too foreign for his liking.
So today, I decided that I would make ABC soup again. Actually I wanted to make chicken soup, but since I already started defrosting the ribs last night by mistake – I decided to heck it. Chicken soup can be for tomorrow. Or maybe tomorrow can be lotus root, peanut and pork ribs soup. Hmmm..
I also realize by now that I may have overbought my ingredients for the week’s cooking rituals. There is no way that I can finish cooking all that I bought for the week, by the end of the week. I need to buy less. I also realize that it is near impossible to cook for baby without eventually cooking the same stuff for myself. Ok, I admit I have been lazy.
If you want my recipe for my ABC soup. You can check my post soup for three. Baby loves ABC soup.
Day two of the new dawn. Still no twilight vampires or werewolves. I got up early to make my soup of the day. The very Chinese Black Bean, Radish and Pork Ribs Soup. This should be good. I can already imagine how it would and should taste like by tonight. The tenderising effect of the thermal cooker is not to be discounted. I mean what goes on within the pot is just simply amazing. The pork ribs will be tender, the vegetables soft and everyone just so delicious.
I usually don’t salt my soup when cooking them, just so as not to complicate the natural flavours of the ingredients. There must always be clarity in whatever soup we do. So when the soup is ready to be consumed, I must be able to tell the ingredients apart upon tasting, most importantly I must be able to enjoy my soup. Salt tends to confuse our tastebuds. That said, I usually add a pinch of sea salt just before serving for that little bit of taste. Like her friend garlic, salt can only be servant to the dish, but never a master – that’s only if you aren’t making salt-baked chicken.
So I decided that I would try out my own rendition of this classic soup. I tried searching for a video on YouTube using the keywords “black beans and pork ribs” – but to no avail. It seems that Asian cooks aren’t so keen on taking videos of their cooking as compared to some really awful videos of cooking processes. Those are not cooking demonstrations IMHO – they are more like sanctifying rituals of epic proportions. One moment is do this, set apart that, next is remove this, reserve that. I mean, how is anyone going to learn how to cook anything if the ingredient list is so technical and most of them sound as if we have to climb a mountain to pluck it.
Practicality and simplicity should be what cooking is all about. Soups should be simple three to four ingredients – that’s it!
Anyway, before I get carried away, my version of the black bean soup is nothing short of simple. Try it!
250 grams Black Beans
250 grams Pork Ribs
1 large White Radish
4 Dried Scallops
1. Par boil the pork ribs to remove scum. Slice radish into quarts and dump them into the pot. Then dump all the black beans into the pot as well. Drop 3-4 dried scallops to flavour the soup.
2. Fill the pot with water until all ingredients are covered. Turn on high heat for about 15 minutes. Once the soup is boiling and bubbling, turn off the fire and place the pot in the thermal cooker.
If you are unsure of how the thermal cooker looks like, I have a photo appended.
Our favourite soup. I guess it is favourite because it is the only soup that I can remember how to make at the snap of the finger. For the other recipes, I can’t seem to recall for some very strange reason. I could only conclude that this was the soup of the day and that I should therefore cook it. Not such a big decision anyway.
A simple soup or four ingredients of corn, carrot, potatoes and pork ribs. My wife calls it ABC soup but I struggled with that definition. As far as the soup is concerned, it should be abbreviated as PPCC or CCPP or PCCP (you get the idea), so maybe I will refer to my own abbreviation for convenience.
Maybe it is so easy to make that some folks might have said that it was as easy as ABC. Okay, that I agree. It is so easy you could train a monkey to do it.
1 ear of Corn
1 large Carrot
3 medium Potatoes
250 grams of lean Pork Ribs
1. Par boil the pork ribs just so to remove the scum. This is good practice so that you only get the good stuff. Don’t boil too long or you might lose all flavour.
2. Slice carrots, corn and potatoes and then dump it into pot. Fill with water until it covers ingredients. Turn on high heat. Boil for about ten to fifteen minutes with lid on.
3. Then place pot into thermal cooker (no electricity needed) and let it cook for the rest of the day. I use a thermal cooker because the meats are tenderized and the vegetables are sufficiently cooked without disintegrating into the soup. For all my morning soups, I use the thermal cooker. It’s great!
4. When you are about to serve, add salt to taste. Easy!
My wife taught me this recipe one day and I thought it to be one of the best recipes ever. I love drinking lotus root soup but I never heard of a sweetened version of this delicious root. It’s really simple to prepare. The recipe is so simple that you would be shock to learn it.
In her words, “just dump the lotus root in water, boil and add sugar.”
For the sake of our puritan traditionalist readers, I will make the recipe a little more complicated so that it looks and sound legit. I understand how you guys think.
So to make it easy (or complicated) for you guys, I managed to find an awesome YouTube video on how to boil this delicious Lotus Root drink. The only problem is, there is no such recipe online for a sweetened version of the Lotus Root!
I fired up YouTube and searched the following keywords “sweet lotus root drink recipe” and it yielded a whole slew of salty versions of the Lotus Root Soup with other condiments. I thought, perfect right? Since I needed to make this recipe complicated. So here goes, just for you guys..
I think the above video on how to prepare Lotus Root Soup totally rocks.
Now how does that video relate with what I am trying to teach my readers. Well it is simple, let me teach you how to use the video to achieve what I want to share with you. Firstly disregard everything that the video tells you to prepare and only remember the Lotus Root. Slice it like the way the person do it. That’s the most important part. Everything else that the person does in the video you can disregard since my wife’s recipe doesn’t require them.
Now imagine there are pandan leaves in the video. You can replace the carrots with images of pandan leaves. If you can’t imagine, just google “pandan leaves” – then take a long hard look at the leaves and quickly switch over to the video and imagine the carrots to look like the pandan leaves. I tried it, and it works.
So my little addition to the recipe is to add pandan leaves into the lotus root drink and basically that’s it!
Where I shop?
The best place for Lotus Root is really the wet market where you can find the freshest of groceries in the entire housing estate. The softer alternative is to go get it at the supermarket. I often choose NTUC because it is the nearest to my place. So you can choose whichever resource you like, as long as you get the right item. Then probably a few baskets away, you will also find the pandan leaves. Easy.
A few tubes of Lotus Roots
1 bunch of Pandan Leaves
1. Wash the mud off the Lotus Root, scrub the root and then shave off the skin of the root. Then slice it into half a centimetre slices.
2. Put the sliced Lotus Roots into a pot of water and turn on to high heat. Add the pandan leaves in knotted bunches into the pot. Boil until you smell the fragrance of the pandan leaves. Taste test the broth, and see if you are able to taste the faint flavour of the Lotus Root. If so, it should taste like Lotus Root.
3. Add the rock sugar. This is when the magic happens. Sweetened it until it is almost just right sweetness. If just right sweetness is 100%, then you should sweeten it until it is about 80% sweetness.
4. Taste test the Lotus Root Broth now, and you will experience hints of Sugar Cane and Water Chestnuts as well. Interesting right? I knew you would love this recipe.
This is a French classic that I have always watched Anthony Bourdain time and again prepare in his usual haphazard manner on board a boat floating in the middle of nowhere. It was in one of his shows, I think either No Reservations or Parts Unknown. I can’t remember.
Anyway, so I decided that I would scour the web for the best Coq Au Vin recipe that I can find and finally decided to try this particular one on YouTube.
I think the recipe rocks.
Here’s the YouTube video link in case you want to try.
If you’re thinking of doing it, then here’s a localised recipe that you can try based on the YouTube video.
2 Tbsp Olive Oil
100 grams Streaky Bacon
4 Chicken Drums with Thighs
1 Yellow Onion
2 Punnets of White Button Mushrooms
6 cloves of Garlic
Half Bottle of Red Wine
1 packet of Fresh Thyme
1 Cup of Chicken Stock
1 Tbsp of Plain Flour
1 Tbsp of Butter
1. Add olive oil into an oven safe pot or Dutch oven as the video suggests, but any pot that can be placed in an oven is good enough, no need to buy that expensive pot. Of course, if you have that pot, then it is good because cooking in it will make your meals taste fantastic. Well, I don’t know actually.
2. Slice the Streaky Bacon into small pieces and then fry the bacon in the pot over medium heat. Fry until bacon is crispy and the oil has been infused with the saltiness of the bacon.
3. Turn off the fire and remove the bacon with a slotted spoon or in my case, I used a wire mesh scoop. You can use anything actually as long as you can separate the bacon from the oil in the pot.
4. Season the chicken pieces with salt and pepper, and as soon as you have done that, quickly place the chicken pieces into the pot to fry. Do this until the chicken pieces are gold brown and crispy.
5. Once the chicken pieces are browned, take them out and place aside.
6. Dice the yellow onion and then fry it in the pot at medium heat. Then chop the carrots into one inch pieces and add to the pot to cook as well. Add the quartered mushrooms into the pot. Then smash 6 cloves of garlic and add into the pot to fry.
7. Pour in half a bottle of red wine. You can use any type of red wine. I use Cabernet Sauvignon.
8. Add back in the bacon bits. Stir thoroughly.
9. Now add the chicken pieces back into the stew. Add the whole packet of Thyme and drizzle in the cup of chicken stock.
10. Pre-heat your oven to fan mode at 180 degrees. Then place the entire pot into the oven with lid on and bake for 45 minutes.
11. After 45 minutes, take the pot out and continue to cook under medium heat and pour the beurre manie paste into the stew. This will thicken the stew a little into a sauce.
12. Preparing the Beurre Manie is simple. It is actually a combination of 1 Tbsp plain flour and 1 Tbsp butter. Simple. Stir the two ingredients into a paste and it is ready to be mixed.
I have always loved Prawn Noodles and for a long time now I have always wondered what it was that was included in that special broth that is synonymous with great tasting soup. I think it is largely monosodium glutamate is we were to consume the Prawn Noodles at the coffee shop or the hawker centre. But what if we were to try out that old local favourite at home? Would we do it the same way?
I chanced upon a packet of Prawn Noodle mix by Ah Hai (can find at NTUC) and at first glance, I thought that it was just another pre-mix recipe that will probably yield some salty end result. That may be true for some, but I decided to give it a try anyway, and it was one of the best decisions I made (alright you know I am exaggerating a little. This is Prawn Noodles that I am talking about.)
Most people would think that the pre-mix package is probably not good, and probably not great. But it was all good for me. The taste was just right. In fact I went on to make a fresh version of Prawn Noodles eventually, and it tasted just as good. But here is the recipe that I did for the Ah Hai’s Prawn Noodle paste. Enjoy.
Recipe – Serving for four
8 Prawns (Large)
Egg Noodles (500g)
Kang Kong (one bunch)
Bean Sprouts (one bunch)
Yakibuta (prepared separately) [optional]
Fish Cake (1 pc)
Red Chilli (1 pc)
Ah Hai’s Instant Prawn Noodle Paste (1 packet)
1. Cut off the heads of the Prawns and fry the heads in a large pot with a little oil. Fry till fragrant.
2. Pour Ah Hai’s Instant Prawn Noodle Paste (NTUC sells it) into pot and pour in 2 litres of water. Bring to a boil and keep it at medium heat for 30 minutes.
3. Sieve the broth and pour into another soup pot. Blanch the egg noodles, Kang Kong, Bean Sprouts and Prawns in hot water.
4. Place all the cooked ingredients into a bowl and ladle the steaming hot broth into the bowl. Serve with Red Chilli in dark soy sauce. I use Yakibuta as opposed to the traditional Pork Ribs simply because it is tastier.
Yakibuta – Japanese Char Siu
Pork Belly (300gm)
Shao Xing Cooking Wine
Mirin (Japanese Sweet Wine)
Light Soy Sauce
1. Sear the Pork in the bottom of a pot and allow the sides of the meat to cook. Be careful not to cook the meat for too long.
2. Add in the Shao Xing Wine (1 cup), Mirin (3 Tbsp), Light Soy Sauce (3 Tbsp) and fill with water until liquid slightly covers pork. Add in the Dried Kelp. Bring to a boil and cook the meat over a slow fire for about an hour. Use a wooden skewer to test for doneness.
3. Slice the Pork Belly and decorate over Ramen noodles or in this case, Prawn Noodles.
We are always experimenting with different flavours to get baby to taste and get used to different types of foods. One way is via the soup method as a stock for the porridge that we cook.
So hopefully he will like his green vegetables next time when we cook it. We love vegetables so it would be tragic if baby doesn’t. So we really need to engineer his meals so that he will eventually join us in our meals.
This is a simple three ingredient soup stock. Again it is for infants, so there is no salt to be added. It is just pure flavour and all the goodness in the ingredients. I just went to the wet market early this morning to get the best produce before some aunty gets it.
I got a huge bunch of baby spinach and a chicken carcass (bones only). And just a little ikan bilis for flavour. This recipe should make about seven 120 ml cups of stock for baby’s porridge for the week.
I included a little before and after photo for comparison.
Recipe – serving for seven 120 ml cups
Baby spinach (a huge bunch)
Chicken carcass (bones only)
Ikan bilis (7-9 pieces)
1. Wash the baby spinach first as these contain a lot of sand. Wash till the water in the pot is clear. Soak also the Ikan bilis in a small bowl of water.
2. Place the chicken in a pot. Then place the baby spinach together with the chicken. Sprinkle the Ikan bilis all over. Pour about 1 litre of water into the pot and boil on low heat.
3. The soup is done when the flavour escapes the covered pot and you can see the fat of the chicken on the surface of the broth. Allow the broth to cool before pouring into the containers for freezing. This should provide for seven servings of 120 ml of soup stock for porridge.