"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

Mum's Food

Home-cooked Heng Hua Pa-Mee (兴化打面)

My mum’s version of Heng Hua pa-mee that she adapted from our neighbour many years back. The broth contains all the sweetness from the venus clams (la-la) that gives the dish its distinct flavour. Absolutely delicious!


Ingredients: (Vary amounts according to your liking)

1. Pa-mee 1 kg (feeds 8 people)
2. Wong Bok (chinese cabbage)
3. Prawns 300 g
4. Venus clams 1 kg (soak and wash sand away)
5. Pork belly 100 g
6. Lean meat 200 g
7. Flat taupok 5 pieces
8. One chicken breast


1. Stir-fry minced garlic and shallots together with sliced pork belly till fragrant or light brown.
2. Add water (about 8 big soup bowls) and chicken breast. Simmer till broth is slightly creamy (about 1 to 1.5 hours). (Add ikan billis if you like.)
3. Use a strainer to remove residue in the broth.
4. In another pot of water, cook the venus clams till they are cooked (opened). Discard those that did not open. Let this water stand for about 30 minutes so that any residual sand can sink to the bottom of the pot. Otherwise, use a fine mesh strainer.
5. Add this water to the broth and bring to boil.
6. Cook the noodles in another pot of water so that the excess starch does not go into the broth.
7. Slice up all other ingredients. Add ingredients and noodles into broth. Mix in the venus clams.
8. Season with salt.
9. Garnish with coriander, spring onions, fried shallots and serve hot.
10. Mince some garlic and chilli to make a garlic-chilli dip. This goes very well with the noodles.


Home-cooked Basil Pesto Sauce

During one orchestra rehearsal, a chorister made pesto sauce and spread it over cream crackers as a break-snack. It was so good I couldn’t forget the taste and had an urge to make it! I went to ask her about the making process and googled and youtubed.

So I went to buy the ingredients one day after work. Boy, basil leaves are expensive! It cost about $3.50 for just 30g! Pine nuts were expensive too!!! That packet cost me $11.50! Other ingredients include garlic, olive oil and cheese.


I washed the basil leaves, strained them and throw them into the blender together with the rest of the ingredients. Add in some pepper and salt.


Here’s my pesto sauce – less than 100g of basil leaves makes just a little sauce.


This is the pesto sauce spreaded on cream crackers by the chorister.


Though I had good reviews from my relatives, I am not satisfied with it. It didn’t taste the same as what I ate! I posted on FaceBook and many friends gave me comments on what I could improve on. I will make some adjustments and test it out again soon.

– roast the pine nuts… more garlic….more basil
– use Parmesan cheese
– Use Parmesan, and roast the pine nuts in a pan first until a bit golden brown or when you see the oil or smell it. Add some salt and pepper to taste

Home-cooked Fried Rice

I was craving for fried rice and this day I finally had the chance to fry my own rice! I love to add big onions into my fried rice. So coincidentally, there were big onions in my house and I sliced them up immediately. They add a lovely sweetness and fragrance to the rice!


The other ingredients were crab meat, chicken patty and egg. The seasonings include salt, pepper and mushroom powder.

This is the version that my dad likes: shallots instead of big onions.



Will add on pictures when I fry them with different ingredients such as spam and ginger!

Home-cooked Steamed Rice Wine Chicken

Marinate chicken meat with little bit of salt, light soy sauce, corn flour, rice wine, sesame oil, some honey and dang gui (chinese angelica root). Leave to marinate for 20 minutes.

Place some sliced mushrooms, red dates, gouqizi (chinese wolfberry) and ginger and steam together with the marinated chicken meat for 20 to 25 minutes.

Serve hot!


Home-cooked Pancake

Parents are out again!! It’s time to mess the kitchen! Ok, just kidding.

Made this last Saturday for brother and I for breakfast. This is my first time trying out how to make a pancake. Seriously, I have never fancy my mum’s pancakes but after this try, I will eat every pancake she makes.

I actually bought a pre-mix from a Korean super mart. I roughly followed the instructions that were written in Korean with no friendly English translation sticker. Just in case you are wondering, there were no pictures on the pack too. 😦

The mixing was quite easy. I used a soup spoon to try out on the non-stick pan first. The first one got slightly burnt. So I turned the fire even lower. The difficult part is actually flipping the pancake! After making three pieces, I suddenly recalled watching my mum tossed the pancake by flipping the pan. So I tried. It wasn’t that difficult tossing the pancakes.


As for the taste of the pancakes, it must be because of the pre mix that it tasted “flour-y“. The maple syrup that I got was not good either. I still think the maple syrup from McDonald’s is the best.

Verdict: FAIL. Try again this Saturday!

Home-cooked Fish Soup and other dishes

My parents were out of town and my cousin sis and bro’s gf came over for dinner. That sums up to 5 people and I’ve never cooked any meal more than for 3 people. But i felt cooking more is easier than cooking for less.

So here’s what I whipped out:

Fish Soup

1. Fish soup:
I bought fish trimmings, garoupa fish head and a garoupa fillet from NTUC Finest. Heat the pot with oil and garlic. Then add in half a bowl of Shao Xing wine into the hot pot. Be careful of the sizzling. Then add in bowls of water. More sizzling. This should give the soup a very fragrant taste. When the water boils, add in the fish head and tomatoes. You may add in soft beancurd too. Add salt, chicken cubes, pepper, mushroom powder to enhance the taste. Lastly add in the remaining fish and vegetables.I used chinese big cabbage here as it gives the soup a very sweet taste. It’s surprising these easy steps can give a very good soup.

2. Sitr-fried mixed vegetables:
Heat the wok with oil and big onions. Cook the carrots, peas and mini corns as they are more difficult to get cooked. Lastly add in the mushrooms. Season with salt, mushroom powder and 鱼露.

3. Luncheon meat omelette:
Cousin Sis favourite food is luncheon meat. So brother went out to buy Mei Way 美味 Pork Luncheon Meat which tasted very well! Cut the luncheon meat into small cubes and fry till the surface till golden brown. Then scoop them out and mix into the beaten eggs. Add in cut chilli for more spice! Do not add salt as luncheon meat is salty by itself. Pour a little of the mixture into a well-heated wok and fry under low heat. I even fried two additional pieces of luncheon meat for her!

4. Stir-fried beef with broccoli:
From NTUC, buy the beef flank or beef for stir-fry. Marinate with pepper and soy sauce. Boil the broccoli in hot water till cooked. Stir fry the beef over high heat, and dash in Shao Xing wine at the end to create the aroma. Serve beef on top of the broccoli.

5. Sambal chilli brinjal:
Boil the brinjal in hot water till cooked. Then I used Team’s Gormet Chrispy Prawn Chilli and fry them a while to mix the chilli into the brinjals. Super fragrant and spicy!!!

Serve with piping hot rice! Of course, all the food were finished!!


This packaging doesn’t really state the flavour of the noodles except only that it’s spicy. Just by looking at the colour of the soup, you are well assured that it is of certain spicy-ness. The taste is really quite good and you get the “shiok” factor after slurping it down.



후루룩 칼국수

These noodles have a nice texture accompanied by a light chicken base broth. The garnishes add a lively yellow, green, orange and brown colour to the slightly off-white flat noodles.




It was a surprise when I opened this packet of noodles for lunch yesterday! It comes with a vacuumed packet of clams!!!

The noodles are not the traditional thin type. It is white, flat and thin! Its texture is good too!

I cooked this in a microwave, so after the noodles are cooked, I opened the packet of clams and poured them inside my noodles. The clams opened themselves so elegantly!

The soup base is light yet filled with the sweetness of the clams. Lovely instant noodles!



Mamee Kari Xtra Pedas


My colleague introduced me this instant noodles saying this is hotter than Maggie’s kari pedas. I can’t find this in Singapore’s stores. My colleague bought this from JB’s supermarket.

The soup color is redder than Maggie’s and is really hotter. Try it!

Instant Bi Bim Myon 비빔국수/국수비빔/골동면

Me getting a little sick of kimchi ra myeon decided to buy a packet of noodles lying on the shelf that looks interesting. Missing Korea’s cold noodles, I decided to purchase a packet of instant noodles that is eaten dried. The first packet I bought is this:

Bi Bim Guk Su $2.40

I bought from the korean mart at KeyPoint (Beach Road) – SHINE. The instructions says to wash the noodle under running tap after being cooked. It is optional to put in into ice water after that. This was what made the noodles spring-y. It comes with seaweed and sesame seeds garnishings. I’ve added pork balls to my noodles. I must say that it tasted really nice though I have some hesitation taking my first bite. It is not that spicy and tasted more like tomato sauce. The sesame seeds enhanced its flavour. I finished it within five minutes. It was really tasty and I love the texture of the noodles.

I visited Sol-Mart at Tampines 1 not long after and bought two more packets of bi bim myeon. Here’s one of them:

Char Bi Bim Myeon $1.70

The one that I cooked doesn’t even look like the one in the picture on the packet! The instructions that comes with it does not say to run the noodles under running water or cool it in ice. It was still palatable but doesn’t taste as nice as the first. It also doesn’t come with seaweed and sesame seeds garnishings.

The second packet:

Yor Mu Bi Bim Myeon $1.80

This packet is more spicy than Char Bi Bim Myeon. It tasted a little better but the texture of the noodles can’t be compared to the first packet. Probably because the first one is so-myeon and the second and third packets are instant ra-myeon. I added additional seaweed in the noodles. Again no sesame seeds in this packet.

Try making your own Bibim myeon: http://www.homecookingdiary.com/2008/03/korean-spicy-cold-noodle-gook-soo.html

Bibim guk su is one of the most popular traditional noodle dishes in Korean cuisine. It is a cold dish made of very thin wheat flour noodles called “so myeon” with added flavorings.  It is also known as “guk su bibim” or “gol dong myeon”. All of which literally mean “stirred noodles” or “mixed noodles”. This dish is especially popular during summer.

What makes this dish so distinct from other cold noodle dishes from different cultures is the strong spicy flavor produced from the combination of red pepper powder, “go chu jang” and minced garlic, along with a sweet-and-sour flavour created by vinegar and sugar. Most spicy cold noodles are prepared with a slight touch of sesame oil to enhance the richness of its flavor.

Typically the dish would be prepared by stir-frying diced beef, julienned pickled cucumbers and mushrooms in sesame oil, which is all mixed together with the cooked noodles, soy sauce, sesame oil, sesame seeds and sugar. Garnishes placed on top and around the spicy noodles include hard-boiled eggs, pickled mu, dried gim strips, sliced cucumbers and sometimes sliced Korean pear or tomato.

– adapted from Wikipedia

Home-cooked Ma-la Fish 麻辣水煮鱼

My favourite ma la in instant packaging!! I have bought a few different brand packets from China to try, but it was only average. Finally, my parents bought this in Chengdu which gave the taste I have been searching for. My dad says this might be found in the Yu Hua stores in Chinatown. Here’s how the packaging looks like:

We used fresh red garoupa (my mum went fishing recently and caught a super huge one) added some 花椒 (Sichuan Pepper) to add in more numbness. And the final product:


Home-cooked Braised Minced Pork with Rice (Taiwan-Style)

You should be very familiar with this braised minced pork in soya sauce put on top of hot fragrant white rice! It is also known as 台湾卤肉饭. I have been to Taiwan twice but have yet to taste one that is as good as my mum’s!!!! The ones I ate in Taiwan were fatty minced pork and the soya sauce which is not fragrant enough.

This minced pork style is called 肉燥饭. You can also cut the pork belly into strips to become 卤肉饭. I prefer it minced.

Here’s to share with you my mum’s recipe!! (Taichung-style). You’ll never expect it to be so easy!

1. pork belly 600 g
2. small shallots 5 pcs
3. Garlic 5 (peeled) pcs
4. Soy sauce 100ml
5. Dark soy sauce 200ml
6. Water 1000ml
7. Rock sugar 1 tablespoon
8. coriander
*9. Star aniseed/anise (八角) 2/3 pcs – optional if you don’t like its taste

1. Minced the pork belly.
2. Heat wok and add in a small amount of oil. Throw in the finely-chopped shallots and fried till fragrant.
3. Add in the minced pork belly and stir-fry together.
4. When the pork belly is almost cooked, throw in the finely-chopped garlic, soy sauce, dark soy sauce and water.
5. Bring to boil. Add more water if necessary.
6.  Add in the rock sugar and simmer.
7. Pour gravy over pipping hot white rice. Garnish with corianders and serve hot. Stir and mix the minced meat with the rice evenly and feast!

You may want to reduce or add in more soy sauce to suit your taste buds. The type of soy sauce you use is crucial here as it directly determines how delicious your minced pork is.

You can also add in eggs. Leave it overnight and cook the next day to allow the meat to fully absorb the soy sauce. Yummy!!



Many readers have enquired about the brand of the soya sauce. You may get it at Taiwanese marts and People’s Park Da Xin supermarket. I think there are also many places selling them. The dark sauce is 油膏. Soy sauce is 酱油.  Here is the picture:


Home-cooked Potato Chips

Ooooooooooo…. I came across this when my friend was making her own potato chips at home! She followed the steps and her photo was really enticing!!!

Photograph courtesy of Ms Toh 🙂

I’m gonna make this one of these days!!

1) Get some potatoes. I used the little tiny ones, but you can use whatever you have laying around. Experiment to find out which ones you like best.
2) Wash your potatoes. Peel them if you want to, but I like to leave the skin on.
3) Slice the potatoes between one-eighth and one-sixteenth inches thick (about 2-6 mm for you non-American readers), use a mandolin if you have one. Thickness is something that you can experiment with, it’s mostly preference, but it has a pretty big effect on cooking time.
4) Put all of your sliced potatoes into a bowl. Add about a teaspoon of your favorite oil (I like olive oil).
5) Toss the potato slices in the oil. Slowly add more oil and toss if you need to. Go with about a teaspoon at a time. Only add enough to coat, if you have oil pooling in the bottom of the bowl, you have added too much.
6) Get a baking pan and cover it with aluminum foil. Spray that foil with your favorite non-stick spray. If you don’t the chips will stick, and will be really hard to remove.
7) Lay your oil-coated potato slices in a single layer on the baking sheet.
8 ) Heat your oven to 400 degrees (F), set the timer for twenty minutes. This isn’t the total cooking time, since we will watching them to see when they are done.
9) Put the potatoes into the oven and keep an eye on them. They are done when the edges start to curl up. I like mine a little more crispy, so I left mine in a little longer. It’s another personal preference thing that you can play around with.
10) When the chips are done, pull them out and set them aside to cool. If you want to put some seasoning on them, this is the time to do it. Most people will add a little salt, but you can get creative with your toppings. I like mine with some black pepper and Old Bay seasoning.
11) Enjoy!!

Adapted from Website: http://how2dostuff.blogspot.com/2008/09/how-to-make-your-own-healthier-potato.html

Home-cooked Ma Po Toufu

Dad’s rendition of ma po toufu (麻婆豆腐). I have never like this dish. But my dad says I probably have  not eaten a good one. Hence, he tried to whip this up. It’s really nice, but it lacked the spiciness. Perhaps I really need to eat a good one to like this.

Dad’s second try was definitely much better, with the addition of more Sichuan pepper.

Home-cooked Niang Chilli and Dou Pok

Following up on my previous post on stuffed hairy squash, I finally got my mum to cook this!!! This is one of my favourite dishes!! I love the sauce that goes with the chilli. I can even dip the dou pok in the sauce and it goes very well with rice!



1) fish paste 400g
2) Minced pork 200 g
3) water chestnuts 6 pcs (coarsly chopped)
4) red chillies 10 pcs
5) green chillies 5 pcs
6) small square taupok 20 pcs
7) spring onions ( finely cut)
8} pepper, salt, sesame oil to taste

Gravy for the chilli:

1) 3 tablespoon light soy sauce
2) 1 1/2 – 2 tbsp. sugar
3) 1/2 cup water
4) cornflour for thickening the sauce


1) Mix the fish paste, minced meat, salt, spring onions and water chestnuts together.
2) Cut each red and green chillies lengthways. Remove the seeds and thick membranes. Pad dry with kitchen tissue pepper and spread little cornflour on the inner surface.
3) Cut each taupok into half. And turn inside out.
4) Fill the chillies, taupok with minced mixture.
5) Heat up wok, put enough oil , When the oil is hot , carefully place the taupok pieces, meat side down, deep fried until lightly golden brown, turn to the other side. When both sides are golden brown, transfer to a plate.
6) With the same wok, remove excess oil, just leave enough oil to pan fry the chilies, meat side down. When the meat coulour change white , pour the light soy sauce , stir fry for few seconds until you smell aromatic. Pour in water and sugar, let simmer (low heat, do not cover with lid) until the chillies are cooked. Thicken the sauce wiht cornflour. Garnish and serve.

NOTE: fish paste from the market is quite salty. So do not add too much salt to it.

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?!?!?!

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 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.