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Kitchen Delight
Chronicles of an amateur cook
My six year old niece was coming over to my place for the first time so wanted to make sure the food will be to her liking. Did prior checking with my sis and found out she likes pork with soy sauce thus the idea for this dish. Being the typical 'kiasu' singaporean,  I wanted to give this dish an extra "punch" by having not only pork slices but a whole lot of other ingredients as well so there is something for everyone.

The jumbo pot included lean pork slices, pork belly, glass noodles (tang hoon), eggs, fishcake and cabbage. 

My first attempt was a bit too peppery but otherwise, it tasted rather good.
I have adjusted the proportion of peppercorn to what I think would be sufficient in the attached recipe.

The dish is relatively easy to make and it is very versatile since you can basically add any ingredients you like.
You do not need to use a claypot and in fact I only used it for aesthetic purpose. =P

What you need is time (at least 1 hour cooking time) and tasting throughout to adjust the amount of water and seasoning to your preferred flavor.

5th-Jul-2010 09:08 pm - Pork Congee
I'm not a congee fan and the only stall I will patronize is 'Rong Ji' at Jurong East. My mum used to cook congee for me whenever I was sick, so with time, I naturally associate congee as "food for the sick". My hubby found it amusing when there was once I immediately asked if he was sick in response to his dinner request for congee.

Compared to porridge which is slightly soften rice grains in water without meat e.g. Teochew porridge, congee is more flavorful and you can add either pork, chicken or fish into it. It also takes more effort to cook since constant stirring is required during preparation to help the rice break down.

I am happy to say that today's congee is a great success and tasted really good, but then again I did not expect otherwise.

There are a lot of ingredients to enjoy with every mouthful thus making it impossible to be bland.
This is also why I love home cooked meals because it is practically impossible to find a food vendor investing so much capital into a dish. *^_^*

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7th-Jun-2010 12:36 am - Hainanese Chicken Rice
There are two things in this world that I can eat every single day and not get sick of it. They are instant noodles and Haiwanese Chicken Rice. In fact, that was exactly what I did during primary school. I went to the same chicken rice stall everyday after school and ordered the same - steamed chicken rice with drumstick. I think that lasted about a year and was also the time when I was at my heaviest. So guess you can't have too much of the good thing. =P

Now whenever I'm back from a long trip, the first thing I eat when I'm back is chicken rice. The couple of places we love to go to are Boon Tong Kee and Sin Kee at Margaret Drive. This attempt is of course.... not of that standard but it's still rather good. Need more work on the rice and would want the chicken to be oiler the next time I try this.

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2nd-Jun-2010 05:28 pm - Steamed Sea Bass in Hong Kong Style
Sea Bass is famously known as a freshwater fish but they actually can live in both salt and fresh water. Another strange fact is they first mature as males but eventually become females capable of reproduction. Interesting huh?

Sea Bass is commonly served during wedding dinners and the most famous way of preparing it is the Hong Kong Style. Compared to the Teochew style which have a tasty soup base with salty vegetables, chicken stock and etc, the Hong Kong Style depends primarily on the fish itself since it does not use much ingredients other than soy sauce so it is very important to make sure that your fish is fresh.

To do a quick check on freshness, look for clear eyes and bright red gills. There are other suggestions such as avoiding the ones with fishy smell or pressing the fish to test for firm flesh but the idea of holding a raw fish anywhere near my face isn't too appealing and I don't think I can stand killer stares from the fishmonger.

The recipe said that the fish should not be steamed more than 10 minutes to prevent overcooking. This photo was taken following that instruction but I soon realized the fish was undercooked. So I had to steam it again for another 15 minutes and revert to my mum's way of checking i.e. "popped" out fish eyes.

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31st-May-2010 08:19 pm - Ribeye Steak
Fun Facts
A raw steak is about 75% water.
On a per capita basis, Argentines are the world's biggest beef eaters.
A 2007 study reported red meat is one of the main causes of bowel cancer.
The word cow originated from German but the word beef originated from French.
The name associated with Tartar is believed to have come from the Latin word Tartarus meaning hell.
The Koreans differentiate beef cuts into 120 different parts.
The largest restaurant steak recorded in Guinness is 200 oz (approx 5.67kg)
Ribeye is believed to be the tastiest of all steaks

With the last fact, I went for Ribeye this time. The meat stall owner (we are officially friends now) at the supermarket recommended I do away with all sauces and just enjoy the steak in its pure form with simple salt and pepper seasoning. Have to say I totally agree with him and I didn't even need to suffer from the oil stings. 

Will definitely prepare more steaks in the future to feed my Tyrannosaurus at home.

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27th-May-2010 01:30 pm - Chicken Chop Improved Version!
We liked the chicken chop I made last time although I did think it was slightly on the salty side. So this time round, I decided to use slightly less soy sauce and oyster sauce and the result was better! The supermarket didn't have any deboned chicken thighs left so I had to debone them myself which was messy business and the meat didn't look so nice after but nothing a grill pan can't fix ! =)

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23rd-May-2010 06:55 pm - Tofu with Sardines
Didn't have ingredients in my fridge except for two packets of tofu so decided to scramble something with my collection of canned food. The bright idea? Ta Da !! Tofu with Sardines!

As expected, there is nothing complicated about this since I can just ride on the sardine's gravy. Everything took all but 10 minutes inclusive of preparation time and the bright colours helped spice up our dining table. Definitely a great choice for after work dinner!

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23rd-May-2010 04:30 pm - Grilled Chicken Fillets
I experimented this without any recipe and to use my grilling pan more often. Simply love grill lines cos I think it automatically makes food look more appetizing. Don't you think so?

I only grilled the meat for a while to prevent it from drying out but I forgot to pound the meat before grilling.
Think it might help to make the meat even more tender. 

The end result was good. It was succulent and the aroma of butter was fantastic although it did reduce the nutritional level of the dish.. So for the more health conscious and calorie counting cooks, you might want to skip the butter. 

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The first attempt of this dish wasn't too successful. There was too much meat and the egg wasn't smooth enough. So I decided to do this again and used slightly less meat, more water, added sugar and less soya sauce. And this time round it was great!! I finally got the ratio right and it's now my hubby's favorite dish. =)

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13th-May-2010 05:25 pm - Tenderloin Steak
We are true-blue asians who love and eat asian food almost everyday. Occassionally when the mood arises or when we are overseas, we will go for western food. It is not difficult to predict what my hubby will order because his eyes will usually zoom to the steak section of the menu. Since all my postings are asian dishes, I decided to spice things up with this entry.

Till now, I still can't really taste the difference between different cuts of meat so I was a bit lost on what I should buy at the supermarket. Luckily the guy at the beef stand was nice enough to entertain me. Tenderloin is the most expensive cut but I was sold on his comment "It's hard to go wrong with tenderloin. Even if you overcook the meat, it will still be tender." Nevertheless, it was still a bargain because I got 450g of meat at $22.

Having looked through a number of recipes, one particularly caught my eye with an exotic ingredient - Rosemary (an herb with fragrant, needle-like leaves). FairPrice did not carry it but I managed to find it at Cold Storage.

We prefer the meat to be medium rare so I cooked it for approximately 7 minutes. The end product was satisfactory but was quite troublesome with basting (periodically pouring gravy in the pan over the meat) and my hand got stung a couple of times by oil splatter. Think next time, I will attempt simple black pepper steak.

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