Monday, 24 February 2014

Fried Minced Meat


Before I started my blog, I used to stalk a handful of my favourites, waiting for updates. One of my frequent hangouts was The Little Teochew (ultimately it was this blog that inspired me to start my own). I would read Ju's posts and eagerly wait for the next, checking every other day. If there was no new post, I was disappointed just like a forlorn little puppy. Is there such a thing as a blog crush?

Thursday, 20 February 2014

Stir Fried Zoodles


I'm at it again. First it was fake rice, now fake noodles. Sorry ah, I miss my mee goreng. So what's with this thing called zoodles?

Monday, 17 February 2014

Cauliflower Fried "Rice"


Or you can call this fake fried rice because there isn't a grain of rice in it. Huh? Sounds strange?

Wednesday, 12 February 2014

Fried Prawns with Chilli, Garlic and Salt


Seafood lovers, are your drooling? Look at these big beautiful prawns my dad gave me.



They came back with me by air, beautifully frozen and neatly packed. Thanks Pa! 



Before the Chinese New Year, my dad bought a whole lot of fish and prawns. On the day I arrived home with my brother, my mum prepared a feast of fried fish with taucheow (beanpaste) and these gorgeous prawns.


My mum's fried prawns. Plain and simple but oh so delicious!
I have never been a seafood enthusiast (I prefer chicken anytime) but I relished the prawns! My mum fried the prawns with just salt and yet they tasted so good. The fish was also fantastic and will be featured in a future post.



When I gratefully agreed to bring home a packet of prawns, my mum suggested that I try the prawns with the classic mixture of chillies, garlic and salt (we call it "han chio eam"). This trinity of ingredients combine to give you an explosion of flavours which you simply have to try it to believe it.



I defrosted these huge prawns overnight in the fridge and brought them out to room temperature before carefully frying them, one at a time in hot oil.



There was some degree of splattering but I am now immune to these minor explosions after earlier experience frying fish. Oh well, I would endure any number of explosions just to eat this :)



After mixing the fried prawns with the aromatic fried chilli, garlic and salt mix, it was time to get my hands dirty. 



Get down and dirty - peel the shells and dip the prawns into the spice paste and oil. 



Total ecstasy I tell you! I served these prawns with my mum's French Salad and it was a perfect low carb meal. 



Thanks again Pa for the prawns and Mummy for the inspiring recipe!










Fried Prawns with Chilli, Garlic and Salt
Recipe source : Phong Hong

Ingredients :
- 8 large prawns
- enough oil to fry the prawns

Chilli, Garlic and Salt paste :
- 8 dried chillies, soaked to soften
- 2 fresh red chillies
- 10 cloves garlic
- 1 tsp salt or to taste

Method :
1. Heat oil in wok and deep fry the prawns until cooked. Drain on paper towels and set aside.
2. Blend chillies, garlic and salt.
3. In the same oil used to fry the prawns, saute the paste until it is aromatic and slightly browned.
4. Return the prawns into the wok and stir to evenly coat the prawns with sauteed ingredients.
5. Serve immediately.


Sunday, 9 February 2014

Mummy's Ginger Chicken


This is another dish that makes regular rounds on my mum's menu. It has lots of ginger, garlic and spring onions. My mum likes to add mushrooms as they are meaty and become very tasty after absorbing the flavors from the seasonings.


Ginger chicken with sesame oil is a dish usually consumed by Chinese mothers who are in confinement. But you don't have to be in confinement to enjoy this dish. My mum's version is slightly different from the traditional dish. If I remember correctly, the confinement dish is cooked with just ginger, chicken and sesame oil.


As much as I love sesame oil, I do find the smell quiet overpowering. Because of that, I cook using a mixture of grapeseed oil and sesame oil. That way, the smell of sesame oil is not too strong. This is a simple and hassle free dish that uses lots of ginger, garlic and spring onions as aromatics.


My mum would cook extra so that it can last for lunch and dinner. She is very practical in her approach and we kids did not mind having the same dish for lunch and dinner. After all, we love our mum's cooking and we were happy having a yummy dish twice in a day. In fact there were days when I felt I didn't get enough. Hee..hee...me and my bottomless stomach :)


My auntie on the other hand is a bit more particular. She ensures that her family has variety and she prepares different dishes for lunch and dinner. That's a lot of work and far as I am concerned but I guess my auntie, who loves cooking finds it fun to cook twice a day. Me? Well, I love cooking but I take the practical approach just like my mum.


As a matter of fact, I take after my mum quite a bit. One of my mum's unmistakable traits I inherited is that nobody is allowed within a ten meter radius from the kitchen when I am cooking. I must have the whole kitchen to myself and nobody is allowed to come in and hang around. 


My auntie is the exact opposite. She loves having an entourage when she is cooking or baking. She will be barking orders for you to measure the sugar, beat the eggs, slice the cucumbers or whatever else that needs to be done. She is the master in the art of delegation.


Anyway, to each his own. We all have different styles of doing things and our own little, little, idiosyncrasies. Now how did ginger chicken lead to this? Ah, just a little bit of story about me. Now, let me nip to the kitchen for another helping of ginger chicken!









Ginger Chicken
Recipe source : Phong Hong

Ingredients :
- Half chicken, cut into bite sized pieces
- 10 small Shitake mushrooms, soaked to soften
- 4 big cloves garlic, chopped
- 10 slices ginger
- 3 stalks spring onions, separate the white part and green part
- Cooking oil and sesame oil (or can just use sesame oil)
(I mixed 2 tablespoons cooking oil with 1 tablespoon sesame oil)
- 1 tablespoon Shiaoxing wine

To marinate chicken :
- 1 big clove garlic, finely minced
- 1 tablespoon light soya sauce
- a dash of pepper
- 1 teaspoon sesame oil

Seasonings :
- 1 tablespoon oyster sauce
- 2 tablespoons light soya sauce
- 1 tsp dark thick soya sauce

To thicken gravy :
- Mix 1 teaspoon potato flour or corn flour with 1 tablespoon of water.

Method :
1. Mix chicken with marinade and marinate for 30 minutes.
2. Heat oil and saute ginger, garlic and white part of spring onions until aromatic.
3. Add chicken and fry until chicken turns opaque.
4. Add mushrooms and seasonings and mix.
5. Add a little bit of water and cover the wok to simmer.
6. When the chicken is cooked, add the green part of the spring onions and stir.
7. Add potato flour/cornflour mixture to thicken gravy.
8. Dish out and serve.

Thursday, 6 February 2014

My Chinese New Year in Kuala Terengganu


It was my last day in Kuala Terengganu. And please excuse me as this is a rather self-indulgent post. You might find it boring so it's OK with me if you skip this one :)



My brother and I decided to go down memory lane by taking a drive downtown. I wanted to see the old haunted house we once lived in, our old kindergarten, primary and secondary school and Kampung Cina. I also wanted to go to Pantai Batu Burok as I have not been there for a long time.


I sat in the car and took a shot of the side view of the house.

Our first stop was the government quarters at Batu Burok. The area has changed quite a bit. Looks cleaner and more modern. I had to have a look at that old house.


Front of the house.

The trees and shrubs have been trimmed and it looks a lot brighter. More sunlight all around and I suppose the "ular-ular" have been exorcised. Gulpss...



I felt like a stalker taking clandestine shots at the house. Or a papparazzi stalking a celebrity.




As we were driving out (first round stalking the house) we realized that the house is so near the beach. We decided to stop and take a short walk. 



Saw some people taking a dip. From their car registration plate, looks like they are from the west coast. 



It is a pity that the beach was littered with all sorts of rubbish. If only all of us would clean up after ourselves, our environment would be cleaner.


Colourful kites for sale. If I were 8 years old, I would have insisted on one.

Next stop was the Pantai Batu Burok. I am not much of a photo journalist. Forgot to take photo of the signboard that said "Taman Awam Pantai Batu Burok". 


Inflatable toys for sale. Luckily my nephew and niece were not around hee..hee...

We parked and walked to the beach. And we stared at the sea.



It was hypnotic watching the waves come to shore and hearing the sound of the breaking waves. "Don't stand too close, ah...", I warned my brother.


My brother attracted to the waves. Now you can roughly guess my size.

He was clearly enjoying the sights. "I want to get closer", he told me. "OK. But not too close". Like I mentioned before, I am a scaredy cat. Waves also scared. 



The waves were picking up momentum and I guess the tide was rising. I could see the waves getting taller and the water was inching closer.




There is still a 6 year old inside me and I had visions of jaws sharks jumping out of the water. Or the "raksaksa" from the old Ultraman series or Godzilla rising from the waters. It was a beautiful but frightening sight (for me lah. Other people not scared of the sea). This was the distance between me and the water at slightly past 10:00am.


This was where we stood. Not too close to the edge.
The water coming closer.


Getting stronger and stronger.


I was getting ready to run.

About 40 minutes later it was this close. Cabut!!!



Never underestimate the power of the waves. They are very strong and can pull you under.

It has been awhile since I walked on sand. I saw some seashells.



And in spite of this sign.....


Together let's keep the cleanliness and beauty of our town.

......the beach was full of litter.



The MBKT (Kuala Terengganu Municipal Council) and the people of Kuala Terengganu (and visitors, please) must make an effort to keep our beautiful beaches clean. This is painful to look at.



We had enough of the waves and crossed over to the playground. As we walked, I spotted the pony rides.



Aren't they cute?



Yeehaw! Gallop...gallop...galllop....

A very young footman.

The carriages were decorated with artificial flowers and ribbons and were very colourful. I saw a few families enjoying the ride.



It looked like fun but me and my brother combined, the pony carriage would have tilted backwards and the poor pony would have had a fright. And so would we. Better not lah.



I used to come to the playground with my cousins when I was small. It has definitely been upgraded with new and colourful stuff.





The old colourful tyres that used to line the periphery of the playground is gone. We kids used to walk on those tyres and see who could maintain their balance longest.



I sat on one of the slides and almost got stuck. And the swing could barely accommodate my girth. I was also afraid that the chain would snap. That would have been embarrassing! 



We then proceeded to my first school - St Theresa's Kindergarten. Imagine that! I was a little kid once. I am now an old relic of an alumni.



The kindie is still there and now the whole place is fenced up for security unlike in days past when the world was a lot safer.



Next was my primary school. Memories.....



The school is a lot more beautiful than it was in the old days.


Yes, I was one of the smart alecks who studied here.

Next destination - Kampung Cina (Chinatown), where the Chinese New Year atmosphere was in the air though it was fairly quiet.






I spotted these beautiful shopfronts.








And there were many pretty lanterns hanging in the air.






The Chinese Temple in Kampung Cina.
















Some of the old buildings have been converted into bird hotels and you can distinctly hear the boids birds when you walk past.



I must really check out these restaurants next time.


This is a very old restaurant. I have been here when I was a little girl.





And being a plant lover, I couldn't help taking a snap at the foliage.


This was taken at the beach.









Our last stop was to "tapau" lunch. Our favourite Malay food stall is Binjai. Just say Binjai and our stomachs will growl.



The selection of dishes is rather good. I want to taste everything but I only have one stomach.


Fish head curry. We are earmarking this for our next trip. But don't know when.


Don't know what is this. Looks like satay but it is not.


Gulai daging. This beef curry was delicious but the meat was tough that day. Could use another 30-45 minutes of stewing.


Kari ikan merah. Very tempting.


Grilled fish.


Raw wing beans for ulam.


The sayur lemak. Very good.


Ayam masak merah. A bit different from the west coast style but it was delicious.


Chicken curry.
Fried chicken.
Fried fish. Looks good doesn't it?

And after paying for the food, we had to make our way home. Along the way, I snapped more pictures. I don't know the name of this place but it is behind the Kedai Payang.


Pity that there is rubbish everywhere.


Nice bridge.



And I realized that wherever you go, you can't escape from these people :


The Inland Revenue Board of Malaysia, Terengganu branch.

Yes, yes. We know where you are.

And that concludes my sightseeing in town. There are lots more to see but that would have to wait for another time.