Thursday, 28 May 2015

Rice Cooker Bak Chang / Bak Zhang (Glutinous rice with pork and salted egg)

(sorry, no picture yet, I thought I'd put this post down as quickly as possible before I forget how I cooked it!)

So, I was craving Bak Chang but I didn't know where I could get lotus leaves and I certainly didn't know how to wrap the lovely things even if I DID manage to procure the leaves. So I looked around the internet for an easy recipe, and having found none that was easy enough I decided to adapt some Lo Mai Kai recipes for my purposes....

Ingredients  (this makes roughly 4 portions)
400-500 g pork belly (sliced into 1-2 cm rectangles)
4 salted duck eggs
2 cups (roughly 300 g) of glutinous rice (soaked overnight)
5-6 dried Shiitake mushrooms (soaked overnight)
2 shallots, chopped
2 cloves garlic
1 tbsp oil

Marinade for pork
4 tbsp dark soy 
3 tbsp light soy (if you are using Lee Kum Kee brand dark soy sauce or any other brand which is quite salty, reduce this to 2.5 tbsp)
1 tbsp oyster sauce
1 1/2 tsp Chinese five spice powder
A small shake of white pepper

Saute the shallots for a few minutes until fragrant, then add the garlic and fry until fragrant. Add the pork. Once the pork is browned, add enough water to cover the pork and boil until tender (this typically takes 1.5 hours. Alternatively, cook it in a pressure cooker for 10 minutes).

Wash the soaked rice until the water runs clear. Drain the rice, then add the pork pieces (without the cooking liquid) and the mushrooms. Once the pork pieces have been removed, skim the surface of the pork cooking liquid to remove the oil and fat.
Add 2.5 cups (roughly 450 ml) of the pork cooking liquid into the rice cooker, topping up with water (and salt to taste) if necessary. Turn the rice cooker on and let the rice cook (I find it useful to stir the rice occasionally during the early cooking stages to ensure an even cook)

While the rice is cooking, boil the salted duck eggs for 10-15 minutes until the yolk solidifies. Cool the eggs and peel them.

Once the rice is cooked, leave it in the rice cooker for at least 15 minutes before stirring it and serving with some chilli sauce!

Sunday, 5 February 2012

Hainanese Chicken Rice (Paste)

This aromatic rice is nothing to be sniffed at - fragrant with garlic, shallots and lemongrass, it is a match made in heaven for poached chicken pieces, sliced cucumber, and a garlicky chilli sauce. Easy peasy, tasty paste-y :)

If you somehow end up in a situation where your son, on his birthday, decides spontaneously that he wants to have Hainanese Chicken Rice for dinner, have no fear. I've been there. Here's my emergency recipe. I have no idea if it's authentic since I've not referred to any recipe sites for this and I have basically tried and guessed my way through this, but my husband says it tastes nice and that's good enough for me, really....

Chicken Rice Paste (for 1.5-2 cups of rice)

(To blend)
1 thumb-sized piece of ginger
3 cloves garlic
1 shallot
1 tsp sesame oil (or more, if you really like sesame oil!)
1 tsp chicken stock powder/granules
1/2 tbsp water
slightly less than 1/4 tsp salt

2 stalks lemongrass, cut into 2 cm sections
1 knot of pandan leaf (also known as screwpine leaf)  if available
1 tbsp cooking oil

Blend the above ingredients to form a smooth paste. Pour oil into a warm frying pan and saute the blended paste with the lemongrass pieces until it is fragrant and achieves a nice brownish hue.

Having washed your rice and added the appropriate amount of water into your rice cooker, stir the paste in and add in a little more water (I find that cooking any rice with oily things tend to result in undercooked rice, so a bit more water is required to compensate for this, roughly an extra 1/5 cup). Add the pandan leaf, then cook the rice

When the rice is cooked, remove the pieces of lemongrass and pandan leaf, and stir the rice to ensure even distribution of the paste. Serve warm, with appropriate accompaniments.

Note: If you don't fancy using chicken stock granules, just use the poaching liquid from your chicken (but that of course means that you'll have to cook your chicken FIRST before cooking the rice....). Me, I prefer to do the exact reverse, which is to fry off the paste in a deep pan, and after I've added the paste to the rice, I add water into that pan and use that liquid to poach the chicken....

Saturday, 7 January 2012

Toothache-induced headache

Apparently you can get headaches as a result of a toothache. That would explain the blinding pain in my skull right about now....

Can't wait till I see the dentist on Tuesday

Thursday, 5 January 2012

Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy

Dedicated to my colleague who lent me the DVD and is also himself a tinker, a tailor, a soldier and definitely a spyyyyyyyyy. It may not be immediately obvious what it means since most of it concerns inside jokes, but if you know a certain Matt Eckold do ask him ^_^

Wednesday, 4 January 2012

You know....

You know your roast duck recipe is an epic fail when the feedback you get is "OH that's DUCK?! I thought you seriously overcooked the chicken!" -__-"

LADIES: If you're in the middle of eating a rendang and your husband starts batting his eyelashes at you, you know he wants you to cook a sambal to go with it.
MEN: If you live overseas and your wife is cooking rendang in the middle of the week for no celebratory reason, you know she is stressed. Why are you asking her to cook sambal!

Friday, 30 December 2011

Roasted Pork Ribs

This dish is beyond description - yummylicious should sum it up quite nicely! Tender pork ribs with a slightly spicy, salty and sweet marinade - easy to cook, amazing to eat. Another stunning recipe courtesy of Rosalind Hon!

Roasted Pork Ribs
1 kg rack of pork ribs

8 Shallots
8 cloves garlic
1 to 2 tblsp. lat tau ban cheong  (chilli bean sauce)
1 to 2 tblsp. oyster sauce

Some Sesame oil
1 teaspoon Salt
2 teaspoon Sugar
1 tblsp. Cornflour
3 teaspoon soya sauce
100 ml apple juice (or juice extracted from 1 apple)

Black pepper
Melted butter.

Coarsely chop the shallots and garlic, then mix the marinade ingredients together to form a chunky paste. Marinade the pork ribs in this for a few hours (best overnight). Preheat the oven to Gas Mark 6 (180 degrees on a fan oven).
Transfer the ribs to a baking tray, and drizzle melted butter and freshly ground black pepper. Roast in the oven for 1 hour. (You may want to turn the ribs over after half an hour, but personally i prefer to allow the top section to char slightly because it looks better and tastes awesomeeeeeeee). Serve hot with rice.

Note: If you are not keen on the smell of pork, blanch the ribs in boiling water before applying the marinade.
Note 2: Any leftover marinade should be pan fried/cooked and stored. You can reuse it on other cuts of meat, or freeze it for later use.

Wednesday, 28 December 2011

Smoked Salmon and Pepper Pasta

Sweet, rich, creamy, sharp, and very boozy, this dish is a delight to prepare - it has but few ingredients and requires very little preparation, but is luxurious and velvety on the tongue. Throw in an optional fresh chili for some extra bite. 

If, like me, you inevitably end up with a post-Christmas pack of smoked salmon in your fridge (bought with the good intention of serving, but seldom actually ends up on a plate because everyone else has brought too much food anyway), this is the recipe for you. (If you don't actually have smoked salmon handy and have to go out and buy one, allow me to recommend the cheat method of buying smoked salmon trimmings instead - it is much cheaper and saves you having to slice your smoked salmon.

Smoked Salmon and Pepper Pasta  (Serves 2)

A little bit of olive oil
A little bit of honey (for drizzling)
2 smallish peppers/capsicum, in bite-sized chunks
100 g pack of smoked salmon/smoked salmon trimmings, sliced into small strips
15-20 g of salted butter
1-2 tbsp good brandy or whiskey (I have not tried any other liquor yet....)
1/2 an echalion shallot (or 1 normal shallot), thinly sliced.
150 ml single cream
150 g spaghetti or linguine (I usually allow 75 g pasta per person, but that's because we eat a lot...)

Drop the pasta into boiling water (remembering to check frequently and drain when the pasta is al dente). In the meantime, drizzle a little bit of olive oil, salt and honey onto the peppers, give it a good mix, and grill until slightly brown and caramelised. Heat butter in a pan. Once butter is foaming, lightly saute the shallots until soft, then stir in the cooked peppers. Add the liquor, allowing the alcohol to evaporate before adding in the cream. Season with black pepper if desired. Mix well, then pour in the pasta, allowing the warm cream to coat the pasta. Plate the pasta, then mix in the smoked salmon (or pile the smoked salmon atop the pasta, which is what I usually do to keep the smoked salmon from cooking).Voila!

You may have noticed that the sauce is unseasoned - that is partly because the butter and the peppers have been salted, but also because smoked salmon is salty anyway and the sweet (but bland) cream sauce will offset that nicely. If you don't have a grill, roast the peppers in an oven at Gas mark 6 for about 15-20 minutes, but if that's the case put the peppers in the oven first before you start boiling the pasta. For an extra spicy kick, add some fresh red chilli slices when sauteing the shallots.