Friday, September 5, 2008

Stew Meat with Beancurd and Eggs

This is a perfect go-with-the-rice dish, IF you are under 30 and don't mind drowning yourself with cholesterol and fats. But with all things fatty, it is YUMMY! And fat is really flavourful. Also I think it's a good party dish because it can be prepared way ahead and looks really presentable.

800gm to 1kg of belly pork, get a nice square piece with distinctive layers
2 tbsp of dark soya
2 tbsp of light soya
1 tbsp of five spice powder (optional)
1 tbsp of cooking wine
1teasp of salt and pepper
3-4 cups of cooking oil

1) Season pork with dark soya, light soya, cooking wine, salt and pepper, preferably overnight. Heat up oil to deep fry the pork to brown on both sides. Dish out and drain.

2-3 pieces of star anise
1-2 pieces of cinnamon stick
2 pieces of ginger, thumb size, pounded lightly
1 piece of galangal, approx 1 1/2 bigger than thumb size, pounded lightly
1 whole clove of garlic, leave it whole
3 pieces of shallots, skin off and pounded lightly
3 tbsp of coarse sugar
3 tbsp of atap sugar (palm sugar, i think)
4-6 tbsp of oil
1/2 cup of dark soya
6 cups of water
3-4 pieces of beancurd
3-4 no of eggs

1) Heat up oil in a deep pot. Add cinnamon and star anise and fry till fragrant. Add sugar and stir fry till sugar melts. Add atap sugar and stir fry till the atap sugar melts and goes bubbly.

2) Add garlic, ginger, galangal and shallots and continue to stir fry till fragrant. Add the whole piece of belly meat. Add the remaining seasoning from (1). Add water and soya and bring to a boil.

3) Turn fire to low and continue to simmer till meat goes soft. Turn the meat occasionally to colour all sides. Taste for more seasoning.

The best is to do the above a day before serving and leave it in the pot to continue seasoning.

4) Boil eggs and rid the shells. Take meat out to cool slightly before cutting to ensure easier cutting. Add eggs and beancurds to sauce and continue boiling to thicken the sauce. Turn eggs and beancurds to colour all side.

5) Cut meat, eggs and beancurd and arrange them nicely on a plate. Dish out sauce onto the platter. Serve.

Thursday, September 4, 2008

The Mystery of the Claws of Death Explained

I thought I'd better clarify the new toy because Greg's eyes opened as big as guli when I showed it excitedly to him. Well, as it says on the box, it is a meat tenderiser.

I was with Jo shopping at Cold Storage a few weeks ago. We passed through their non-halal section, ie. ham and such, and we saw them roasting pork. Both of our eyes popped out like guli when we saw how nice the Roast Pork (Siu Yook) crackled on the top.

So in all kaypo-ness, we asked the sales lady very hush-hushedly how that was done. Hush-hushedly in response, she told us that it wasn't easy cos they used nine types of herbs, etc etc & so on, & then she pointed to this strange looking poking device which her boss brought all the way from KL.

My precioussss!!!
Jo & I probably looked like Gollum at that moment.

And guess what? We didn't have to go as far as KL. Jo called last weekend, really excited, like she found gold. The claw of death is now available at Syn Hap Hin in Padungan for only RM12.50!!!

Jo was probably holding it in one hand & the phone in the other, grinning like a mad woman. I think if both our husbands saw us right there & then, we'd be banned from each other's house.

But little do they know, their loving wives are attempting to make roast pork for experimentation & for the thrill of it, uhm, I mean for our husbands' gastronomical pleasure. The pork is already seasoned, & is now drying in the chiller. We will do the violent poking and scouring on Saturday.
So Ladies and Gentlemen, stay tuned. If you see a roast pork recipe sometime soon, you'd know that we had succeeded. If not, this claw of death probably didn't work. So please don't run out to get one for yourselves just yet.

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Nee's New Toy

Nee bought a new toy again.

Being very kitchen & cooking challenged, I didn't know what it was & I thought I could use it to shave or something to that extent.

But fortunately I didn't, for it had retractable claws of death.

This thing could really do some serious damage to its unfortunate victims. Remember Bruce Lee in Enter The Dragon?

Well, that's what could have happened to me if I had used it on myself.

I just realised how violent & brutal cooking can be. My prayers go out to all the cows.

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

The Louvre

This is one of the must-see must-go places in Paris. If you don't, then it's like going into a restaurant without eating, or like buying an oven without using it.

This place is called The Louvre, unfortunately pronounced as The Loo in French. It was originally constructed as a fortress in 1190 by King Phillippe-August to protect the city of Paris, whenever he was away on an overseas business trip (The Crusade).

But over the centuries, this building became one of the most heavily reconstructed & renovated in France. It seemed that each of the successive French kings couldn't agree on one design & purpose. They all had different ideas.

I bet the construction industry at that time was booming. I bet the French Ah Beng contractors must have made lots of money from the turnkey projects.

When king Charles V took over in the 14th century, he decided to convert the whole place into a chateau. But the design was unlike anything of today's. It was dark, narrow & rat-infested. (Now you know where they got the idea for Rattatouile)

Then in 1528, king Francois I took over & flattened the whole area & built a new palace altogether in the open style of the Rennaisance. That must have shot up steel prices along with oil, dairy products, kolo mee & laksa.

And there you have it, the Grand Palace of today...

Grand Palace Courtyard Left.

Grand Palace Courtyard Right.

Grand Palace Courtyard Centre.

The courtyard was so huge that even Singapore could fit in it.

There was also a Grand Fountain, but somehow someone forgot to turn the water tap on.

And just when a Malaysian auntie tourist would start asking, 'Like that only ah?', there's more behind the adjoining gate.

And out of nowhere & without warning (like the Malaysian road construction 20 meters ahead), a haunting voice started permeating the entire surrounding of the courtyard. And it came from this powerhouse soprano lady.

And it was simply beautiful & emotionally moving. If I was to leave Paris at this point, on our first day, I would have been satisfied. This was it. This was the moment.

OK. Alright. I take it back. That was just an expression. Being practical & being true Malaysians, the idea of leaving on the very first day doesn't make a lot of sense.

And then through the gate, we saw again, another breathtaking site - The Palais-Royal-Musee du Louvre! Tom Hanks. Da Vinci. Mona Lisa. Dan Brown. The Da Vinci Code.

Sunday, August 31, 2008

My Mother-in-Law's Grand Birthday Party Bash

My Mother-in-Law celebrated her birthday recently at a hotel restaurant in Kuching. The venue was at this little place called Mandarin Restaurant at Li Hua Hotel.

Nee & I haven't really been to this place a lot, but since we had a little gathering with Brede & the Lions Club, it has always been there at the back of our heads. The food here is not bad, despite it's Ah Lien Auntie kinda atmosphere.

When you step inside the ground floor, you're greeted by very-the-Ah-Beng, flourescent-blue, seafood water musical show.

Nolah, it was actually just some seafood swimming in a lit up tank.

And when you go up the stairs, the first thing that you'd notice is the karaoke stage.

Confirming Nee's utmost fear, whenever her mother celebrates anything in a restaurant, it automatically comes with one the most favourite past time of all Malaysian aunties - the dreaded Karaoke.

But I'm glad we had food to distract our attention cos once the karaoke started, all conversations had to stop. The first dish for the night was this curious looking soup with pork leg & cuttlefish, which is a very signature Foochow dish. Yum!

For a dish like this, it's very important for the cuttlefish not to be overpowering. And that night, it was perfect cos the cuttlefish behaved very well.

And then came this showy cold dish spectacle with the usual jellyfish, drunken chicken, fruit and lobster salad (That is why the lobster is there), & what we thought to be an interesting 'sausage siew mai'.

Nee particularly liked this combination of mango duck in fried man tou.

Then there were more singing & drinking. The uncles were on a roll, & there's no way they'd be stopping.

And the aunties were just, well, auntie-ing away.

And the distraction kept coming. This was yam & fish. Another very Foochow dish, which features in many Foochow restaurant.

The suddenly out of nowhere, my father-in-law jumped on stage & in super-hiao-ness sang a duet with mom. My body couldn't decide between having goosebumps or feelings of romance. Nee and siblings could not decide between hiding under the table or signing them up for Astro Old Folks' Idol Competition.

And in all filial piety, Nee baked mom two cakes for the evening - Napolean & Strawberry Cream cakes.

Nee's two younger brothers are still single & available for booking.

I hope Raymond's funny faces is not the reason why he's still single.

The Chinese food at Mandarin Hotel was really pretty good, especially the Foochow style and lard was in abundance in every dishes. Definitely rated 7/10 for food alone. Other than that, can tell for yourselves. It is located along Song Thian Cheok Road next to the old Upwell Supermarket.

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