Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Smoked Whole Chicken


Steamed whole chicken can also be smoked for added flavour.

1 whole chicken - properly cleaned and innards removed
A few ginger slices
1 stalk spring onions - cleaned and knotted
some salt and wine
some pepper and 5 spice powder
  • Put ginger and sping onion on a steaming tray. 
  • Rub chicken with wine, salt , pepper and 5 spice powder and place on steaming tray
  • Steam chicken over boiling water for 25 minutes.  Off fire and leave for 15 minutes before removing cover.    Leave to cool.
How to smoke chicken using the wok

  1. Place 2 pieces of aluminium foil on a wok.  Sprinkle 1-2 tbsp tea leaves followed by 1-2 tbsp flour and 1-2 tbsp sugar. 
  2. Place a tray over the above.  Put boiled chicken on tray [skin side up].
  3. Cover wok and turn on to medium fire for 10-12 minutes [you should be able to see white smoke and then yellow smoke].  Off fire and leave covered for another minute.
  4. Remove cover and brush sesame oil over skin.
  5. Chopped and serve with shredded spring onion, cucumber and chilli sauce.

    Steamed Whole Chicken

    This is a simple way to prepare 'Pak Cham Khai' instead of the usual boiling method. Ingredients need are spring onions and ginger, salt and wine.  The chicken should be ready by 40 - 45 minutes.

    1 whole chicken - properly cleaned and innards remove
    A few ginger slices
    1 stalk spring onions - cleaned and knotted
    some salt and wine
    • Put ginger and sping onion on a steaming tray. 
    • Rub chicken with wine and salt and place on steaming tray
    • Steam chicken over boiling water for 25 minutes.  Off fire and leave for 15 minutes before removing cover.  Keep the chicken stock for chilli sauce.
    • Brush with sesame oil while hot. Cut into smaller pieces before serving with chilli sauce.  
    The same method can be used to steam just a drumstick or half chicken.  Reduce steaming time to 15 minutes, off fire and leave for 15 minutes.  I didn't cut the chicken because I am keeping the chicken to be smoked [please refer posting on smoked whole chicken].

    Chilli Sauce for Chicken
    This is a simple chilli sauce that goes well with the steamed chicken or smoked chicken.

    Ingredients [blend and combine together]
    5 red chilli
    3-4 cloves garlic
    20 g ginger
    4 tbsp vinegar or less
    Juice of 2 limes
    salt and sugar to taste

    chicken stock
    • Blend all ingredients together then pour hot boiling chicken stock over blended ingredients.

    Friday, January 27, 2012

    Steamed Waxed Meat Rice in Casserole [CNY 2012]

    This is a very easy delicious dish to prepare for CNY lunch or dinner.  Usually, I will prepare this dish for dinner with hubby when we are back to our own home after spending many days at my in-law's place.  This is usually our most enjoyable CNY dish because it is easy to prepare.  Most time, we never really enjoy a good meal at my in-law's place since CNY eve until we are back home [that is for several days].  This is because I have so much cooking to do and we usually have to rush through our meal because there are so many people eating [about 30 people] in the house.
    Anyway, this dish no doubt a bit 'sinful' [healthwise] but it is a consolation after so many days of hard work and never mind I prepare this only once a year.
    Cooked rice
    Chinese sausages, waxed duck meat and chicken
    Shredded ginger, spring onions and cucumber
    [serve 2-3]
    500 gm cooked rice [cooked rice enough for 2 pax]
    1 drumstick [or 150 gm boneless chicken meat] - sliced and marinated with 1/4 tsp of sesame oil and cornflour
    1 Chinese sausage [any type - meat or liver] - sliced
    1 pc waxed duck [drumstick or duck breast] - sliced *
    * boiled whole piece in boiling water for 5 minutes to reduce the saltiness and fats
    a few slices of ginger - cut fine strips
    spring onions - cut fine strips
    Sauce ingredients in saucepan to be boiled
    Sauce Ingredients [Combined and boiled]
    1 tbsp light soy sauce
    1/2 tbsp oyster sauce
    1 tbsp cooking wine
    2 tbsp chicken stock
    1/4 tsp each of chicken stock granules, sesame oil and thick soy sauce
    Dish before steaming
    After steaming with sauce added
    1. Place cooked rice in a casserole or pyrex dish.  Lay the chicken pieces all over the rice, followed by sausages and waxed duck slices.  Top the ingredients with shredded ginger.
    2. Steamed the dish over boiling water for about 15 minutes or until chicken is cooked.
    3. Meanwhile, bring the sauce ingredients to a boil.  When rice is ready, pour sauce over dish and garnish with spring onions before serving.  Serve immediately.  To serve, mix rice and meat well before scooping onto serving bowl/plate.
    Doesn't look delicious [It tastes good also]
    Note:  This time, I served this dish with sliced cucumber, chilli sauce and simple Miso Soup.  My neighbour's daugther gave me a tub of Miso [from Japan].  I used it to prepare a simple Miso soup stock with romaine lettuce.

    Chinese New Year 2012 - Dragon Year [II]

    I know my MIL will never keep to her words.  It is not steamboat for ancestral worship on CNY eve.  Steamboat is for CNY eve dinner for her childrens' families.  Got to know that only when I reached her house a day before CNY eve.

    For ancestral worship prayers, these were the items that I have to get ready for cooking on CNY eve morning.  Most of the items were bought by my MIL because she loves to buy.  Myself, I bought the ingredients for Chicken Curry Kapitan, Meat Rolls, Penang Prawn Noodles [recipe posted before] and bake a Chocolate Marble Chiffon.

    Food for CNY Eve
    1. Pig Tripe's Soup
    2. Chicken Curry Kapitan
    3. Stir Fry Turnip [Jiu Hoo Char]
    4. Stir Fry Cauliflower and Brocolli
    5. Stir Fry Teow Chew Noodles
    6. Fry Fish [Senangin]
    7. Lor Bak [Family Style Meat Rolls] - recipe posted before
    8. Pak Cham Kai [Boiled Whole Chicken - 2 birds] 
    9. Chocolate Marble Chiffon [recipe posted before]
    10. Braised Duck Teow Chew Style [prepared by my MIL]
    11. Braised Bamboo Shoots with Pig Trotter [prepared partially by my MIL]
    Apart from the above, I have to prepare steamboat for dinner and also Prawn Noodle Stock for CNY first day lunch [taste better to cook the stock earlier before serving].   Moreover, I cannot cook this on CNY day because I am on vegetarian diet.  Mind you, the quantity is not small [about 40 pax]. 

    Apart from all of the above, my MIL bought more items below to add to the above for ancestral worship.
    1. Roast Duck and Pork [Siew Yoke]
    2. Angku and Huat Kuih
    3. Fruits
    4. Thnee Kuih [Sweet Glutinous Rice Cake]
    I think it is too excessive but they are great eaters, the food were all finished up.  Is it because of one's character or too much money?   With so many things prepared, the saddest thing is that none of her other children [my hubby's siblings] turned up for the prayers.    I think they must have forgotten the meaning of ancestral worship on such ocassions.  Some came later for dinner.  Myself, have been in the kitchen the day before to prepare the ingredients and cooking since 6 am in the morning on CNY eve and busy till late afternoon and again in the kitchen from 5.30 pm to get the steamboat ready for my hubby's siblings and families.  You must be wondering why I have to slave myself, my problem is I can't bare to see an old lady doing all these things for her grown up children.  It should be the other way round.  I would find it hard to sit down  and enjoy these food.

    There are still many, many more things to prepare such as Kwang Cheang, drinks and sweet dessert.  My MIL didn't manage to prepare the Kwang Cheang before the second day of CNY because of her knee problem.  I could not help her with this because my hands are tight with so much to handle single-handedly and of course she has her own recipe [different from mine].

    Don't forget the cleaning up of the kitchen, dining hall, living room and house compound when all have left late in the evening.  My legs are aching by then.  It is really very tiring and you can't even complain or make a comment.  You may be branded as 'calculative'.  Even a maid has the right to make face when overworked but not me.   My hubby wanted to comment on this when his siblings arrived but I stopped him because they may blamed the wife.   Best to do more and zip up the mouth.

    So what's the meaning of CNY for  me especially when my hubby and me do not have any children.  Just take it that we are doing charity work for people.

    Food for First day of CNY 
    Lunch -  Penang Prawn Noodle Soup [40 pax] , Chai Boey and reheat the CNY eve leftover dishes/soup.

    Dinner [30 pax] - Steamed Fish, Vegetarian Curry, Chai Boey and the CNY eve dishes etc.
    [managed to take pictures of only a few dishes - too busy with the serving].  
    Cooked according to my MIL's instruction

    Luckily for today, I did have 2-3 of my sisters in-law to help with the serving and washing.

    Food for Second day of CNY [no pictures taken - really busy with the food preparation and also have to visit my mother before lunch and has to rush back to cook dinner [35 pax].  The following were the food for the whole day.
    1. Braised Sea Cucumber with Roasted Pork
    2. Chicken Soup with Straw/Button Mushrooms
    3. Stir Fry Boiled Chicken with Soy Sauce
    4. Stir Fry Beansprouts and Tau Mui
    5. Stir Fry Leafy Greens with Fish Sauce
    6. Steamed Fish with Ginger/spring onions in soy sauce
    7. Spicy Sweet Sour Big Prawns
    8. Stir Fry Vegetarian Dish [Snow Peas, Mushrooms and vegetarian gluten balls etc]
    9. Stir Fry Vegetarian Mutton with Sesame Oil and shredded ginger
    10. Steamed Braised Duck with braising stock
    * The vegetarian dishes were prepared for one my hubby's  sibling [the couple are vegans]

    For 3 consecutive nights, I have to wait till almost midnight before I could clean up the hall after all the people has left otherwise I would not have the time to do it the next morning when there are more chores waiting to be done.  Imagine how can one enjoy this kind of CNY with lack of sleep/rest and especially when there is not even a word of appreciation from the people. But I felt happy because I have done something good for the CNY [this I have being doing yearly since I got married in the 1990s].

    Lucky for this CNY, most have left earlier because the the official off day was till Tuesday.

    Friday, January 20, 2012

    Meatballs for Steamboat

    Meatballs for steamboat
    This steamboat meatball recipe is my Ma's very own and very popular among the family and friends whom we have shared the recipe.  These are very tasty and flavourful meatball very different from the store bought meatballs. 

    It is worthwhile to make more because the leftovers can be coated with flour and deep fried to eat as a snack or to cook any noodle soup.
    Ingredients for meatballs
    Meatball paste
    [makes about 100 meatballs]
    800 gm lean meat with 50 gm pork fat [minced/grounded]
    300 gm prawn paste
    Seasoning A
    2 - 2 1/2 tsp salt
    2 tsp pepper
    1/2 tsp msg [optional]
    2 tbsp oyster sauce
    2 tbsp sesame oil
    2 tbsp cooking wine

    200 gm cabbage [chopped]
    1 small carrot [chopped]
    100 gm bombay onion [chopped]
    50 gm garlic [chopped]
    4-5 pcs dried mushrooms [soaked, drained and chopped]
    some spring onions [chopped]

    4 tbsp cornflour
    2 tbsp plain flour
    Meatballs before steaming

    Meatballs after steaming for 15-20 minutes
    1. Mix minced meat and prawn paste together with seasoning A.  Stir in one direction till paste is sticky.
    2. Add in the rest of the ingredients.  Mix well and stir in one direction.  Slap paste against the mixing bowl for about 5 minutes. Leave to rest for about an hour in the fridge.
    3. Grease a few steaming trays and shape meatballs about the size of a ping pong ball.  Place on greased tray and steam over boiling water for 15 - 20 minutes.
    4. Cool meatballs before storing in containers and keep in the fridge before serving.
    Meatball stock
     Note:  The stock from the steaming of the meatballs can be added to steamboat stock.

    Chinese New Year 2012 - Dragon Year [I]

    This CNY falls on 23rd January. My Ma's side will not be celebrating the new year because of my Pa's passing in October 2011.  By CNY it is not even 100 days after his passing.  Myself, eventhough my hubby's parent's side is celebrating the CNY, I am not in the mood because I really miss my Pa.  Even while writing this post, I couldn't control my tears with the thought that this is the first CNY that I no longer have a 'Papa' to say 'KEONG HEE HUAT CHYE" [one of the chinese new year greetings in the Hokkien dialect] which I will usually say to him when I returned to his home on the second day of CNY.  

    For years, I have always baked various types of cookies, grilled meat 'bak kwa' and fried potato chips for my parents and parents in-law but this year I just don't feel like doing anything because for most years, my Pa will always remind me that I have to bake more of certain cookies for his visitors, such as peanut cookies for my cousins, butter cookies, potato chips and grilled meat for his grandsons and the sweet glutinous rice cake 'thnee kuih'  for his Malay friends etc.

    Hopefully, by next CNY 2013, I will be able to make the various CNY delicacies and share the recipes with you all.  

    Although, I am not in the mood to celebrate the CNY, I still have to carry out my duties as a responsible daughter in-law at my mother in-law's place.  This year she has requested to prepare steamboat for CNY eve prayers [I think this will include several CNY traditional dishes], Penang Prawn Mee [Hokkien Mee] for CNY day lunch and many, many more lunches and dinners [I usually will get to know what to cook until almost near meal time] that I have to prepare for all her children, grandchildren and visitors. The cooking will go on for several days. Guess I just have to follow her orders to make things easier. 

    I will not be posting the recipes for the dishes that will be prepared because what ingredients used will depend on what my mother in-law has in her kitchen.  I would not have the time to take pictures of the ingredients and the dishes because I am cooking for several families and I have no say of what to cook.  It will be very stressful to cope with all these in one go and with the house full of people.

    Some of the CNY decorations in the Penang Heritage Zone
    Anyway, I hope the CNY 2012 will be a good and happy year for all of us.
    Wishing my Chinese readers a 

    Monday, January 9, 2012


    I love making bread using the sponge dough or overnight dough methods because these 2 methods yield very soft and moist bread which stays fresh even on the third day.  Lovely bread worth making for the family and friends.  This recipe makes 2 loaves of bread.
    Ingredients for Sponge Dough
    300 gm bread flour
    200 ml water
    2 tsp instant yeast
    • Mix all ingredients into a soft, rough dough.  Cover with a clean cloth to proof for 1-2 hours or until double in size.
    Ingredients for Bread Dough
    200 gm bread flour
    2 tbsp sugar
    1 tsp salt
    1 egg
    50 ml water [may need less]
    110 gm Oreo biscuits [crushed]
    1-2 tbsp butter
    • Mix all ingredients [except water, Oreo cookies and butter] to prepared sponge dough.  Then gradually add in water.  Knead till a soft dough is formed.   Takes about 10 minutes.  Add in crushed cookies and butter.  Continue kneading till dough is soft and smooth [another 10 minutes].  Remove dough and shape into a ball.  Cover with a clean cloth and leave to proof for 15 minutes.
    • Punch down dough, then divide into 2 portions.  Roll out each portion and fold into thirds, then roll swiss roll style into a log.  Place in loaf tin.  Cover to proof for at least 1-2 hours or until double in size.
    • Bake in preheated oven at 180 degrees for 25 minutes.
    • Remove from pan to cool  on rack immediately after baking.

    Sunday, January 8, 2012

    Purple Sweet Potato Chiffon Cake

    Came across this chiffon cake on several blogs and managed to find a Pumpkin Chiffon Cake recipe using 3 eggs.  I substituted the pumpkin with purple sweet potato [can use any other coloured sweet potatoes].  Here are the ingredients.

    Ingredients for Egg Yolk Mixture
    3 egg yolks
    1-2 tbsp castor sugar
    1/4 tsp salt
    2 tbsp oil
    60 gm purple sweet potato [skinned, steamed and mashed]
    60 ml coconut milk or fresh milk
    • Whisk egg yolks with sugar and salt till creamy, then drizzle in oil.  Continue whisking for awhile then drizzle in coconut milk/fresh milk.  Lastly stir in mashed sweet potato.   Fold in the flour and diced potatoes until well combined.  Set aside while you whisk the egg white.  Preheat oven at 170 degrees.
    70 gm cake flour sifted together with 1/2 tsp baking powder
    100 gm purple sweet potato cubes [diced and steam for 15 minutes] - set aside to cool

    Ingredients for Egg White Mixture
    3 egg white
    3 tbsp sugar or 50 gm
    1/4 tsp cream of tartar
    • Whisk egg white till frothy then add in cream of tartar.  Continue whisking till foamy then gradually add in sugar.  Whisk till soft peaks formed.
    • Fold in 1/3 portion of meringue into egg yolk mixture till well combined.  Then fold mixture into balance meringue till well incorporated.  Add in sweet potato cubes. 
    • Pour batter into 7" chiffon pan and bake in preheated oven at 170 degrees for 40 minutes.
    • Invert pan immediately after baking to cool cake before removing from pan.

    Friday, January 6, 2012


    This recipe is for 2 loaves of bread.  Measure half the quantity if you are making only 1 loaf [550 gm].  This bread is very soft and moist even on the third day.  Can substitute purple sweet potato with other coloured sweet potatoes or pumpkin [reduce water if puree is too wet].
    Ingredients for Sponge Dough
    230 gm bread flour
    20 gm plain flour
    2 tsp instant yeast
    100 ml water
    • Mix all ingredients into a soft rough dough.  Cover and leave to proof for at least 1-2 hours.
    Ingredients for Bread Dough
    230 gm bread flour
    20 gm plain flour
    1 tbsp milk powder
    2 tbsp sugar
    1 tsp  salt
    260 gm purple sweet potato - skinned, steamed and mashed
    50 ml water or slightly more
    40 gm butter
    Dough ready for proofing 
    Dough ready for shaping
    Loaf bread ready for proofing for 1 hour or double in size
    Bread ready for baking for 25 minutes @ 180 degrees
    Purple sweet potato loaf bread
    • Add all the ingredients [except water and butter] to the sponge dough.  Knead till well combined, then gradually add in water while kneading till a soft dough is formed [you may not need all the water].  Knead for about 10 minutes then add in butter.  Continue kneading till soft, smooth and elastic. 
    • Shape into a ball and cover with a clean cloth to proof for 15 minutes or until double in size. Punch down dough.
    • Divide dough into 2 equal portions.  Roll and fold each portion into thirds, then roll swiss roll style into a log.  Place in baking tin [Pullman's tin] and leave to proof in oven for more than an hour or until double in size.
    • Bake in preheated oven at 180 degrees C for 25 minutes.  Remove to cool on rack immediately after baking.