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Tuesday, June 30, 2020

BITTERGOURD OMELETTE

A very simple omelette but wow is amazing. It tastes better than what I expected.  Bittergourd is supposed to be bitter but it isn't.
Blanching it before mixing with the beaten egg, speeds up the frying process and gives it a nice bright green colour.  A quick cook dish that goes well with rice and porridge.  
Just 3 eggs and half a medium size bittergourd, it makes a 8-9 inch size omelette depending on the thickness of the fried omelette.  I wonder if you have tried frying omelette this way, read the steps below, no harm trying.
Ingredients
[makes an 8-9 inch omelette]
3 medium eggs 
1/2 a medium size bittergourd - seeded and cut in 4 quarters lengthwise
salt, pepper and cooking wine to taste
1 tsp cornstarch mix with 2 tsp water
oil for frying

  1. Bring some water to boil in a pan with some salt.  Quickly blanch the bittergourd until it turns bright green.  Remove into a bowl of cold water.  Drain and cut into small cubes.
  2. Break up eggs into a bowl, add in bittergourd and seasoning to taste together with cornstarch mix.  Light beat up the ingredients. Mix well.
  3. Heat some oil in a non stick pan, pour in 1/3 to 1/2 of the mixture.  Quickly stir fry to almost firm.  Dish out and mix with the remaining egg mixture.
  4. Using the same pan, heat up some oil, pour in the mixture, swirl the mixture into a round.  Leave to fry until almost cooked.  Flip over to fry the other side until the omelette is done.  [If it is difficult to flip it, slip the omelette onto a round plate, then flip by inverting it into the pan].
  5. Dish up onto a plate, serve whole or cut into pieces. 


Monday, June 29, 2020

VIETNAMESE CARAMEL PORK BELLY [THIT KHO TAO]

I have been trying out some Thai dishes but I have not gone into recreating Vietnamese dishes at home. By chance, I came across a tempting picture of this Vietnamese food speciality that seems simple to prepare. It just needs marinating, frying and slow cooking until the sauce is sticky and tastes savoury sweet and looks glazy.
I have added hard boiled eggs, to cut down the chances of eating too much of the pork belly which could be too fatty. But, no worries, you can use pork shoulder meat instead. Cook them till fork tender and the sauce caramelised, is exotic. This is a flavourful, appetising dish to go with a plate of steaming hot rice and some refreshing salad.
I am sure that I will be cooking this during festive times as it can be prepared way ahead of meal time.  Best is this dish can be prepared earlier and frozen [without the eggs] up to 1-2 weeks.   Using coconut water gives an added sweetness and richness to the dish.
Ingredients
500 gm pork belly or pork shoulder meat - cut bite size pieces
3-4 shallots
3-4 cloves garlic
1 red chilli
3-4 hard boiled eggs 
30-50 gm palm sugar [gula melaka] 
700-1000 ml coconut water or water
1 stalk spring onions - chopped for garnishing
some chopped red chillies for garnishing
Seasoning
3 tbsp fish sauce to taste
1 tbsp light soy sauce to taste
 
  1. Pound or blend coarsely the shallots, garlic and red chilli.  Squeezed out some juice from half portion of the paste to marinate the meat pieces. Add in seasoning and mix in the remaining pounded paste and leave to marinate for at least an hour or more.
  2. Caramelise palm sugar in a wok, pick up the pieces of meat to fry in the caramelised palm sugar until brown and firm.  Add in the remaining marinade.  Stir fry to mix well and aromatic.
  3. Add in hard-boiled eggs and enough water to cover  the ingredients.  Bring to boil, cover with lid and braise for about 40-45 minutes until the meat is tender, sauce is thick and glazy.  Remove  lid to stir the meat pieces a few times to ensure even cooking.  When necessary, add some water if the meat pieces are not tender.  The dish is done when the sauce thickens over high heat towards the end of cooking time.
  4. Dish up to serve, garnish with chopped red chillies and spring onions.


Thursday, June 25, 2020

DUAN WU JIE 2020 - HOKKIEN KIAM BAK CHANG

For this year's Rice Dumplings' Festival [Duan Wu Jie 2020/ 端午节], again I made these savoury rice dumplings for the family and friends as it is our favourite and well accepted by many especially those who have tasted before. 
This year, we have shared some of these 'changs' to some Filipino friends and new friends.  There feedback is just 'good and awesome'.  One friend commented that when he took the first bite of the lukewarm 'chang', he could smell the nice aroma of it and can't wait to take another bite. The meat is tender, fats has melted to semi-soft and the mushroom is crunchy sweet and tasty. To him, it is so delicious and yummy.  All he could say is 'anytime you make these, remember to keep at least '2' for me'.  Thank you so much for your description of this 'bak chang'.
This is my previous description of the 'bak chang' - It is tasty, aromatic and the numerous fillings are delicious and yummy'. Again, I like to stress that 'Bak Chang' is best eaten warm [not steaming hot] so that you can enjoy the chewy glutinous rice and fragrant fillings.  Some people prefer to eat these rice dumplings with or without sweet chilli sauce.   Awesome home-made Kiam Bak Chang.   
Kimmy's Kiam Bak Chang 


The recipe of this post is similar to my earlier posting 'HERE' but is a bigger portion that yields about:
20 pieces '250 gm' and 30 pieces '160 gm' rice dumplings.
The procedures are the same and if you break up the steps/procedures, it is not difficult at all to make Kiam Bak Chang at home. 
1st Part - getting the ingredients
2nd Part - soak the leaves, chestnuts and mushrooms and washing/wiping the leaves
3rd Part - marinate the meat and prepare the shallots/garlic then frying and set aside in the refrigerator until required
4th Part - fry the rice
5th Part - wrapping and cooking the rice dumplings
Ingredients
At least 120 pieces or more rice dumpling leaves or bamboo leaves - soaked overnight with tap water or hot boiling water, washed, rinsed several times and wiped. If using boiling water, it is faster to soften the leaves. 

some hemp strings enough to wrap dumplings - soaked and drained or use thick white strings
1-2 tbsp salt to add to water for boiling dumplings
30 salted egg yolks - steamed for 10 minutes, cooled and halved [you can used whole egg yolk for each dumpling - own preference]
Ingredients and Seasoning for Fillings 
1.5 kg pork belly [with more fats] - cut into chunky pieces - about 60 pieces or more
60 dried chestnuts - soaked with a drop of alkaline water for several hours, rinsed and boil for about 30 minutes, drained
60 pieces or more dried mushrooms - soaked and keep whole
120 gm dried prawns - rinsed and drained
150 gm chopped garlic
350 gm chopped shallots
100 ml oil
4 tbsp Chinese five spice powder and sugar
3 tsp pepper
3 tsp salt
1 tsp msg or chicken stock granules [optional]
4 tsp sesame oil
4 tbsp oyster sauce
4 tbsp dark soy sauce

  1. To Fry Fillings - Heat 100 ml of oil, fry shallots until soft, then add in garlic.  Continue to fry until golden brown.  Dish up, leaving the oil in the wok.
  2. Add pork, fry over high heat for a few minutes until meat pieces are firm and white with some oil oozing out.  Add in seasoning and continue to fry until fragrant and aromatic.
  3. Add in mushrooms, continue to fry until well coated with seasoning sauce.  Push aside, add in chestnuts and fried shallots/garlic. 
  4. Continue to stir fry to mix well for a few more minutes until almost dry but moist.  Off heat, remove ingredients by separating pork, mushrooms and chestnuts to separate containers. Set aside.
  5. Using the remaining oil and seasoning in the wok, add in dried prawns.  Fry until dried prawns are well mixed and coated with the seasoning.  Dish up, set aside to add to rice later.
Ingredients and Seasoning for Rice
3 kg glutinous rice - washed, soaked overnight and drained
150 gm chopped garlic
350 gm chopped shallots
100 ml oil
3 tbsp Chinese five spice powder [ngoh heong hoon]
3 tsp pepper
3 tbsp salt
1 tsp msg or chicken stock granules [optional]
3 tbsp light soy sauce
3 tbsp dark soy sauce
  1. Mix drained rice with seasoning for rice [except the shallots, garlic and oil].  Set aside.
  2. To Fry Glutinous Rice - Heat 100 ml of oil, fry shallots and garlic until golden brown.  Dish up half of it.  Set aside. Add in the rice mixed with seasoning.
  3. Fry over medium heat until the rice has absorbed the seasoning liquid.  Add in fried shallots/garlic and dried prawns.  Stir to mix and combine all ingredients.  Dish up into a large container or pot.  Set aside.
TO WRAP DUMPLINGS
 
  1. To Wrap Dumplings [average size dumplings] - take 2 pieces of bamboo leaves and fold into a cone.  
  2. Add 1 heaped tablespoon of rice, add a slice of pork, a piece of mushroom,  a chestnut, a piece of salted egg yolk, top up with 1-2 tablespoon of rice.
  3. Wrap into a pyramid shape dumpling and secure tightly with a hemp string.  Do the same until all the ingredients are finished.
  4. Put the bundles of rice dumpling in a big pot.  Top up with water enough to cover the changs.  Add in salt to the water.
  1. Bring to boil over high heat, then lower to medium and continue to cook for 2 to 3 hours or until rice dumplings are cooked.  Replenish with more hot water to the pot when required.
  2. Remove and hang to let it dry.  Best to serve rice dumplings warm.

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