Nothing is as easy as this healthy meal. Boiled Salmon and boiled vegetables has got to be the least imaginative meal in the world. It is like going into the white t shirt section of a clothing store searching for white t shirts.
Eating salmon in this manner helps you with your cholesterol levels it seems and it is a good way to eat clean and maybe feel good about yourself. Needless to say the boiled vegetables also provide essential vitamins. I usually have a mixture of broccoli, cauliflower and carrots.
So one might say “Alright! How do I start?”
So easy. So simple (as uncle sim would tell you). Just boil the ingredients in water until they are cooked. For the vegetables you may want to make sure they are not cooked through until mushy soft, they should have that bright shine after you blanched them.
Just drizzle some salt, black and pepper and a squish of lemon and it is ready to be serve.
Fresh Salmon (Per portion maybe 110 grams)
Broccoli, Cauliflower and Carrots (Just enough for one portion)
Juice if half a Lemon
I have always wanted to learn how to make Thai Green Curry, and chanced upon a healthy cooking workshop at one of those Residents Committee places. They were demonstrating how to cook a healthier version of Thai Green Curry, and while watching them demonstrating it, I thought to myself that the healthier version actually looked quite oily in reality.
Anyway, I was there to observe, so no comments. Like I always say, if I wanted to say anything, I will only make comments on my own cooking. It looked fairly easy enough. And surprisingly, the results were really yummy when I cooked it. I used fresh Chicken Drumsticks as the meat was usually more tender and juicy. I think the meat from chicken breasts would be too dry or tough if not cooked properly, and not as yummy as the chicken drumstick meat. For my version I added a little more colour in terms of the vegetables used, yellow and red capsicum, carrots and long beans, and instead of the recommended high calcium milk, I used packet Coconut Cream (more lemak, more nice).
The key ingredient is of course the Thai Green Curry paste, I decided to get a pre-mix version from NTUC called “Dancing Chef”, and it was really nice. Of course, you can make everything from scratch if you wanted to.
2 Chicken Drumsticks with AdjoinedThigh (Chopped into small pieces and marinate with Light Soya Sauce and White Pepper)
1 packet of “Dancing Chef” brand Thai Green Curry paste
3 cloves of Garlic (Chopped finely)
1 medium Yellow Onion (Chopped finely)
3 sprigs of Curry Leaves (Use only the leaves)
3 stalks of Long Beans (Chopped into 3 cm pieces)
Half of a Carrot (Chopped into bite-sized pieces)
Half of a Yellow Capsicum (Chopped into small pieces)
Half of a Red Capsicum (Chopped into small pieces)
1 small packet of Kara Coconut Cream
2 cups of Water
2 tbsp Light Soya Sauce
1/2 tsp White Pepper
Drizzle of Thai Fish Sauce (Optional)
1. Chop the chicken thigh into bite size pieces and marinate with light soya sauce and white pepper for about 5-10 minutes.
2. Add 1 packet of the Thai Green Curry paste into a wok and fry at medium heat. There is no need to add additional oil as there is already oil in the packet (The paste can be quite spicy, so no need to add additional chilli). Add the chopped garlic and onions and fry together with the paste (Actually the paste is made up of these ingredients, I just added more so that it is not so spicy).
3. Add the Curry Leaves into the paste to fry, this will make the Thai Green Curry paste more fragrant (See picture below). Add the marinated chicken pieces to fry. Fry at medium heat for about 5 minutes. After that, add the chopped capsicum (both red and yellow), long beans and carrots. Continue to stir fry, this time around, turn the heat up to high.
4. Add the Kara coconut cream and add water. Give it a good stir. Do a taste test. If it is okay, then there is no need to add more flavouring. But if it is not tasty enough, then add a drizzle of Thai Fish Sauce. Cover the lid and let it boil for about 8 minutes or until it is bubbling. Do another taste test, it should be tasty and full of flavour with the coconut milk, the chicken pieces should be juicy and succulent. Then it is ready. Serve with steamed rice.
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 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.
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 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.
“Boeuf bourguignon, French beef stew in red wine..” Says Julia Child, one of the most inspiring cooks (home cooks) that ever lived. She represents to me hope that anyone can take mastery of their kitchen and cook up awesome French cuisine from the comforts of their humble home.
Julia to me personifies French cooking for servant-less home cooks. A socially awkward lady yet adventurous and passionate in her craft, her example inspired many to try, fail and subsequently succeed in following her footsteps.
Maybe I might eventually do all the recipes that she has in her book. Well we shall see.
Julia Child – Boeuf Bourguignon
For this classic, I would usually take reference from her YouTube video and then make up as we go along. Some of the ingredients are not locally available but the spirit of Julia is always to make do with what you have.
I had fun making this dish my own, and I have been making it my own way for a while now and getting the same awesome results each time. I hope it will be the same experience for you as well. I don’t use the oven as the recipe calls for it, but I use a gas stove to cook the beef.
Recipe – serving for 4
Beef cubes (for making stew) 750 grams
Streaky bacon (ask for more fat) 50 grams
Garlic 10 wedges, 4 to minced, 6 to braise
Yellow onions (medium) 2 whole
Tomato paste 3 tablespoons
White button mushrooms 15 pieces
White onions (small) 15 bulbs
Carrots 2 whole
Thyme 5-6 sprigs
Bay leaf 2-3 leaves
Olive oil 2 tablespoons
Red wine 750 ml
Beef stock 4 cups
Salted butter 250 grams
1. Add oil to a large pot. Heat till slightly smoking. Add sliced bacon to fry til crispy. This is to extract the fat from the bacon and saltiness.
2. Remove bacon and discard. Add beef cubes and sear beef till brown. The key is not to crowd the base of the pot or they won’t brown. Once done, remove from pot to allow the beef to rest.
3. Add minced garlic to pot and fry till fragrant. Then add chopped onions to fry until soft. Then add beef cubes into the pot. Now pour in the beef stock about 2 cups. Add the red wine about half a bottle. Add thyme, bay leaf, tomato paste and continue to stir. Add carrots, remaining garlic. Continue to cook at high heat.
4. In another pot fry the mushroom in salted butter and olive oil mixed. Fry until mushrooms are slightly brown. Reserve the mushroom aside and continue to cook the white onions in salted butter and olive oil. Cook until onions are soft.
5. Once the beef is sufficiently cooked and tender. Combine the mushrooms and onions together. Serve with baguette or steamed rice.