"Gourmandism is an act of judgement, by which we prefer things which have a pleasant taste to those which lack this quality." – Jean-Anthelme Brillat-Savarin

Archive for August, 2010

Home-cooked Scallop Porridge

Have been craving for this for a few weeks. Hence, decided to cook my own rendition, with the addition of prawns and some shredded chicken.

The porridge is cooked in chicken broth. Dried scallops were put into the porridge to cook together. Then thawed some frozen scallops (YUMMY!!!) and fresh prawns were added. Seriously, all these ingredients in total are much cheaper than to eat this outside. Prawns are so cheap now, why can’t hawkers put more prawns into their Hokkien mee, prawn noodles, cereal prawns, etc?!?!?!



Wow, I learnt a new word – antipasto through a Korean drama (파스타) I’m currently watching.

So I wiki-ed for it and here it is:

Antipasto (plural antipasti), means “before the meal” and is the traditional first course of a formal Italian meal. Traditional antipasto includes cured meats, olives, roasted garlic, pepperoncini, mushrooms, anchovies, artichoke hearts, various cheeses (such as provolone or mozzarella) and peperone (marinated small green bell peppers, not to be confused with peperoncini). The antipasto is usually topped off with olive oil.

Many compare antipasto to hors d’oeuvre, but antipasto is served at the table and signifies the official beginning of the Italian meal. It may be referred to as a starter, or an entrée outside the United States and English Canada.

Pictures say more than a thousand words:

Home-cooked Stir-Fried Beef With Ginger And Spring Onions 姜葱炒牛肉


300 g beef
50 g spring onion (cut into portions)
50 g ginger (sliced)


1 tablespoon oyster sauce
1 teaspoon light soy sauce
1/2 teaspoon sugar
1 tablespoon ‘shao shin’ wine
1/2 bowl water


1) Cut beef crosswise into thin slices. Marinate with quarter teaspoon salt, 1 teaspoon light soya sauce,  1/2 teaspoon corn flour, 1/2 teaspoon sesame oil and dash of pepper.
2) Heat wok. Par-fry beef then dish out. Leave 1 tablespoon of oil in wok. Stir-fry ginger until fragrant. Add spring onion, stir-fry for 1 minute until soft.
3) Quickly add in gravy and beef. Stir-fry until beef is tender. Thicken with starch.
4) Serve hot. (optional: Add a dash of pepper)

Home-cooked Stir-fried French Beans with Minced Pork


French beans 200 g
Preserved Vegetables (冬菜) 10 g
Minced pork 80 g
Spring onions (葱花) 10 g
Garlic (蒜茸) 10 g
Broth 120 g
(You may add some cut chilli)


Soy sauce – 1 tablespoon
Sugar – 1/2 teaspoon
Dark soy sauce – 1 tablespoon
Sesame oil – 1/2 tablespoon
Hua Diao Wine – 1/2 tablespoon


1) Remove the “heads” of the french beans. Wash clean and dry them.
2) Heat up wok of oil. When the oil is 70% hot, put in the french beans to deep-fry them slightly. Then remove from heat and leave aside for later use.
3) Heat up some oil in wok. Add in minced pork, preserved vegetables and garlic and stir-fry them till fragrant.
4) Add in the broth and the french beans and stir-fry together.
5) Add in the seasonings.
6) Simmer till dry.
7) Garnish with spring onions and serve.

Before deep-frying the french beans, wash them with cold water to keep it’s green colour.
Use pork bones or chicken to make the broth. Cook up to 4 hours.

Home-cooked Cod Fish

My favourite Cod Fish!!!!!!!!!

Cod is a popular food with a mild flavor, low fat content and a dense, flaky white flesh. Cod livers are processed to make cod liver oil, an important source of vitamin A, vitamin D, vitamin E and omega-3 fatty acids (EPA and DHA).

Home-cooked Tuna Potato Patty

I used to always add a piece of begedil whenever I have nasi padang. However, they are a little tad expensive. The best begedil I had was when I was studying at CJC in my first three month there many years ago. Then, I also had some nice ones at NTU Canteen B.

Begedil is a Malay name for potato cutlet or potato patties. It is a popular side snack sold everywhere at Malay hawker stall or food court in Malaysia and Singapore.

In Japanese style, they are called croquette or korokke, made of vegetables and potato. But the Malay and Japanese ones are of different tastes.

So here is the Malay style begedil:

Recipe (about 8 pcs)


200 g potatoes (boiled)
1 can tuna fish 185 g ( drain well)
80 g big onion (chopped)
1 egg
1 tablespoon tapioca flour
8 bird’s eye chillies (chopped)

Coating: 1 egg, lightly beaten


1/2 tsp. salt
1 tsp. sugar
1 tsp. chicken stock powder


1) Peel and mash potatoes. Combine with tuna fish, onion, chillies, egg and tapioca flour. Season the mixture with the seasoning. Mix and blend well.
2) With well-floured hands, shape mashed potato into egg-sized balls. Flatten slightly, dust lightly with flour and dredge with beaten egg.
3 ) Heat oil in a wok over high fire. Fry patties until golden brown . Drain cutlets on paper towels and serve hot.


Home-cooked Nasi Ulam

Mum rarely makes this and it has been more than 5 years since we last had this. It is tedious as there are many different spices to prepare. But it’s definitely worth the effort as it tastes superb!!

Nasi Ulam is a traditional mildly spiced rice salad, popularly enjoyed amongst Penang nyonyas and babas. It is prepared with a combination of cooked rice, fried salted fish, fried fish, dried shrimps (or fried fresh prawns), pepper, roasted grated coconut and local herbal leaves. Usually served cold together with other traditional dishes such as pickles, curries, sambal belacan, etc.

It’s quite troublesome to gather and chop up so many herbs but the dish is so absolutely fragrant and delicious, served with sambal belacan that it’s worth the effort.

Recipe (serves 4)

2 cups (280 g rice, washed and drained)
2 1/4 cups (450 ml) water
1 chicken stock cube

3 tablespoons dried shrimps, soaked, fried and finely pounded
1/2 cup finely pounded roasted, grated coconut
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper or to taste
salt to taste
20 g salted fish meat (“ikan kurau”), soaked to reduce saltiness and drained
300 g batang fish (deep fried and flake)
200 g small prawns (fried)
oil for shallow frying

3 stalks lemon grass, thinly sliced
2 bulbs ginger flowers, finely shredded
8 ” limau purut” leaves (kaffir lime leaves) finely shredded
1 ” daun kunyit” (turmeric leaves) finely shredded
2 tablespoon finely chopped mint leaves 2 tablespoon finely shredded daun kesum (polygon um leaves)


1) In an electric rice cooker, place ingredients A and blend well.
2) Cook covered until rice is done. Uncovered and fluff rice, cool.
3) Meanwhile, heat oil and fry salted fish until crisp and lightly brown. Drain and pound until fine. Fry the fish, flake. And then fry the prawns.
4) In bowl, combine salted fish, ingredients B, C and rice. Toss and mix well all ingredients.
5) Serve immediately, if desired as an accompaniment to chicken curry.

Making the Sambal Belacan

30 g shrimp paste (belacan)
8 red chillies
1/2 teaspoon salt


1) Grill shrimp paste until aromatic and dry.
2) Blend the red chillies, shrimp paste and salt together until quite smooth.
3) Use as required in the recipe.
4) If serving the above sambal as a condiment, add in 1-2 tablespoon of freshly squeezed small limes juice.

Home-cooked Stir-fried French Beans with Prawns

Similar to the previous few posts on stir-frying vegetables, this one is with prawns.


1. Cut the french beans and stir-fry them till 80% cooked. Alternatively, for a healthier choice, boil them in water. Dish up for later use.
2. In the hot wok, fragrant some oil with garlic. Add in sliced onions and fry together.
3. Throw in the prawns and pan-fry them till 80% cooked.
4. Add in the french beans and fry together.
5. Sprinkle the seasonings (water + oyster sauce) and pepper.
6. Add hua diao wine along the sides of the wok before scooping up to serve.

You can add some corn flour solution to thicken sauce.

Home-cooked Stir-fried La-la

Once in a while when the market is selling these shell fish at a cheaper price, my mum would buy them and cook for us. It has been more than 10 years since I last remembered her cooking this. This blog post must be so honoured to be featuring this!


1) Soak the shell fish in salt water to make them “spit” out the sand inside their shells.
2) Cut chilli padi, spring onions, garlic and ginger.
3) Heat up wok with oil and throw in the ginger and garlic bits.
4) Once fragrant, throw in the shell fish and stir.
5) Add soy sauce, hua diao wine, sugar and some water (or chicken broth). Do not add salt as the shell fish are salty in nature.
6) Add in the spring onions and chilli padi and stir.
7) Cover the wok and simmer for a while.
8) Remove from heat and serve.

Home-cooked Char Siew

My mum is always very proud of her char siew. She cannot find any as delicious as this. And me, being someone who does not like pork, totally have to agree with her. I ONLY eat her char siew. When I order wanton mee, I will always ask for pure wanton only. In order words, no char siew.


1) 1 kg to 1.2 kg belly pork or 不见天 (ask the butcher to cut for making char siew)

1) 1/2 teaspoon edible food red colouring powder (optional)
2) 2 teaspoon dark soy sauce
3) 1 tablespoon light soy sauce
4) 1 tablespoon salt
5) 10 tablespoon sugar
6) 8 tablespoon water

Glazing: (optional)
1) 2 tablespoon maltose
2) 2 tablespoon water
3) 2 teaspoon light soya sauce
Cook until maltose dissolves.

1) wash and pad dry the pork.
2) marinate pork with seasoning for 5 hours or keep in the fridge for overnight.
3) Place the pork on a metal rack. Grill for 15 – 20 minutes. (top fire only). Remember to put a shallow tray ( lay with aluminium paper) filled with some water underneath to collect any excess juice from the meat, to prevent burning smoke. Keep the leftover seasoning for step (4).
4) Turn to other side and brush the meat with seasoning and grill for further 15 – 20 minutes.
5) Remove from oven, glaze with maltose syrup. remember to keep the juice in a small bowl for dipping purpose. if you find there is too much oil in the dipping, decant some away before serving.
6) Cut and serve.

Note: as each oven is different, adjust the grilling time accordingly in your next attempts to obtain moist, soft and chewy meat.

Tai Cheong Bakery Express 泰昌饼家

We followed some food guide to this place to try their egg tarts. It cost about 60 cents, which is considered very cheap! However, I found the egg custard too sweet and the pastry was a little hard. No second try for me.

Stall: Tai Cheong Bakery Express 泰昌饼家
Address: 中環擺花街35號地下, 香港
Tel: 852 2544 3475
Email: infor@taicheongbakery.com
Website: http://www.taicheongbakery.com

Noodles and Dumplings in Xi’an

I had some really nice noodles during my stay at Xi’an in June. This post is to share some of the types of noodles I had.


This noodles does not come with any meat or vegetables. The essence to this noodles is the fragrant oil and chilli that you add to it. Stir them up well and they are very yummy. I totally fell in love with its texture. It is not “flour-y”. They were very chewy, thin and slippery. I added lotsa chilli to it. Finished a big bowl of it very quickly. Unfortunately, I did not take down the address of this lovely noodles.


This is the familiar “la-mian” that we usually eat. The chef does the “pulling” of the noodles on the spot, then drop them into the boiling water and cook for you instantly. You can choose to top it up with its braised beef broth or have it dry. Top up with chopped spring onions and cilantro. Woohoo!! The details of this place:

Restaurant: The Theatre Restaurant 剧院餐厅
Address: 75, Changan Road, Xi’an Shaanxi, People’s Republic of China (Inside Xi’an Hotel)
中国陕西省西安市长安路75号 邮编:710061 (西安宾馆)
Tel: 86 29 8782 2222
Email: postmaster@xiantangdynasty.com
Website: http://www.xiantangdynasty.com

Another feast that I had was dumplings feast, 饺子宴. Though I had eaten it in Beijing, but you can’t miss this staple food of Xi’an.

This is not really a very fancy one. Neither was it really tasty. If you search online, you will find many delicate dumplings of different designs, colours and method of cooking. The ones I had here were normal – chives, pork, pumpkin, duck, chicken, prawns, walnut and red bean paste. If I didn’t remember wrongly, the whole course consisted of 18 different types of dumplings, ending with a last one – mini dumpling soup:

In this finale mini dumpling soup (Empress Cixi hotpot), you have to use the ladle and scoop up the mini dumplings, but just one time. The number of mini dumplings that you scooped up has certain significance.

One – pleasant trip 一帆风顺
Two – double happiness 好事成双,双喜临门
Three – promotion in near future 吉祥如意, 步步高升
Four – wealthy throughout the year 四季发财,财源广进
Five – reap a harvest and be successful in the year 五谷丰登,事业有成
Six – everything will be well-off 六六大顺
Seven – lucky and be blessed 七星高照
Eight – make a fortune 恭喜发财
Nine – everlasting love 天长地久
Ten –  perfection in everything in your life 十全十美

Zero – nothing to worry about 无忧无虑

I got two! HAHA!

Restaurant: Hantang Era 汉唐天下 (陕西汉唐天下茶饮有限公司)
Address: 陕西省西安市雁塔区经七路副18号C-03栋 邮编:710061
Tel: 029 8235 7660 / 61

Read up on some other Xi’an foods: http://www.chinaodysseytours.com/shaanxi/xian-meals.html

Home-cooked Plain Porridge

My cousin was here in the house, and parents were not in. So I thought of frying luncheon meat for my cousin, which is her favourite food. Then accompanied with plain porridge and a few side dishes:

What a simple and hearty meal!

Paradise Inn

My whole family decided to go to a restaurant for lunch one fine Sunday. I was elated!

The food was not bad and servings were quite value for money. The pork vermicelli was kind of special and fried rice were not oily. We ordered:

Tofu with salted fish and diced chicken (medium) – $15
Dong Po pork (1 serving) – $12
Pork vermicelli (small) – $15
Salted fish fried rice (medium) – $15
Supreme fried rice (medium) – $18
Stewed egg plant (small) – $10
Chinese spinach with egg trio (small) – $14
Peanuts – $1.50
Towel – $0.30

Prices exclude  7% GST and 10% service charges. 10% off using OCBC credit cards.

Restaurant: Paradise Inn
Address: 3 Simei Street 6 #02-14/15 Eastpoint Mall Singapore 528833
Tel: 67866618
Website: http://www.paradiseinn.com.sg/

Home-cooked Somen in Chicken Broth

Had the mood to cook for my family one Saturday morning. After visiting the dentist, I went to NTUC and bought my ingredients. Light and healthy lunch!



1)  Wash and cut one whole chicken.
2) Fragrant the pot with smashed garlics and dried ikan bilis.
3) Then pour water into the pot over the fragrant garlics. Add more water to make the soup.
4)  Put in the chicken to boil together.
5) Once the chicken is cooked, remove it from heat. Tear out the chicken meat into shreds and save it for serving later.
6) Put the chicken bones back into the soup and continue boiling under gentle flame for 1 hour.
7) At the end, you can add chicken stocks or mushroom powder, salt and pepper to taste.


1)  Wash and clean the prawn intestines.
2) Cook the prawns in a separate pot. Add some of these “prawn” water into the chicken soup.
3) Wash and cut the chinese cabbage. Cook in the chicken soup to add in the sweetness. Remove from heat after cooked.
4) Boil the quail’s eggs in a separate pot. Remove shells after cooked.
5) Cook the fish balls in a separate pot too if you do not like the “fishy” smell to get into your soup base.


1) I bought Japanese somen. Used 3 bundles to serve 4 pax.
2) In a wok of boiling water, I cooked the noodles.
3) Be careful not to overcook the noodles.
4) Remove from heat and throw into ice water to make them springy.
5) Separate into individual serving bowls.

Add the cooked ingredient into the bowls and run and strain everything with the hot soup, then finally add soup.

Garnish and serve hot!

Por Kee Eating House

We went to this place for my Dad’s 60th birthday. Situated near many famous eating places in Tiong Bahru, this restaurant rests in a quiet corner with humble interiors. You can see big tanks with live seafood.

The food is not bad. I liked the fish, prawns and beancurd. The prawns were big, the soon hock was chewy and the beancurd was tender and flavourful. This was also the first time I see longevity noodles cooked in such a style. The ones I have eaten uses egg noodles cooked in dark sauce, then topped with quail’s eggs.

Abalone: $40 each per piece
Steamed Soon Hock in Cantonese style: $49
Cereal Prawns: $20
Half roasted chicken: $15
Braised beancurd: $15
Deep-fried baby squids: $14
Pork: $21
Longevity noodles: $15
Spinach: $12
Towels: $1.50 each
Peanuts and Pickles: $2.50 each
Plain rice: 80 cents

Prices excludes 7% GST. No 10% service charges.

Our total bill: $218.20

Restaurant: Por Kee Eating House
Address: Block 69, Seng Poh Lane, Singapore 160069
Tel: 62210582
Opening Hours: 11.30am – 2.30pm, 5.30pm – 12.30am