Friday, February 27, 2009

Kuching Kolo Mee

This is another very long overdue post, which I prepared a while ago, but completely forgotten about it until I checked the drafts. And CI, this is the other recipe that I did not manage to give you before you leave for the States. And I have simplified it into a simpler and healthier version.

KoLo Mee (Mee Kolok, Kon Lou Mien) is a very popular Kuching hawker fare. It is basically noodle (curly type in Kuching), stir with garlic and/or shallot oil, not unlike the Italian Aglio Olio. In Cantonese, it is called Kon Lou Mien and the Foochows also have a version called Kam Pua Mien. All of them mean the same thing - dry noodles.

The toppings are individually added, ranging from the humble spring-onion-only, which is essentially called Mee Kosong meaning Empty Noodle (Dad always says his kam pua kosong cost only 10 cents when he was a poor lad); to roast meat topping like char siew or roast chicken; to small & super seafood like jumbo prawns and fish fillets with one type of vegetable like choy sum or curly vegies.

Good kolo mee needs good fresh base oil. Good shallot oil is a must for Kolo Mee. Traditionally lard is used. Take pork fat cubes and place them in wok & heat up with a tablespoon of vegetable oil. Turn to low and slowly let the fat release the oil till the fat shrinks and turn golden brown. You get your crispy pork leftovers (chu yu cha) this way. Crispy pork is really yummy with stir fried vegies and is very popular in Penang Char Kueh Tiaw. Try this if your arteries are still young and vibrant.

Base Shallot oil:
8 shallots
1 cup of vegetable oil

1) Slice the shallots up thinly and chop them up slightly. Wet it with some water. Turn on the fire and heat up oil only very slightly before quickly placing the wetted shallots in. This way shallots will not be burnt before they could release their fragrance. Let the shallots simmer in warm oil till fragrance are released. Turn up heat right before you dish out to cook the shallot golden brown.

Shallots will continue cooking even after taking them off the fire, so dont brown it too much. You can separate oil with shallots for storage or if you are using it soon, they can be kept together in one container. Set aside for later use. Should keep up to one month out of refridgerator.

To make one bowl of Kolo Mee as a main meal:

2 tbsp of shallot oil, with or without shallots
1 tbsp of fish sauce, instead of msg
1 tbsp of light soya sauce
1tbsp of dark vineger (latest trend in Kuching, optional)
1/2 to 1 tbsp of dark soya sauce (optional for colour)
1 tbsp of chilli sauce (optional if you like it slightly spicy)
Sprinkle of pepper
150gm of curly noodles/Kampua noodles (about 4 portions for 500gm of curly noodles)
Water, one pot boiling another one room temperature
pickled chillis

Toppings suggestions:
char siew ~ pork or chicken
soya sauce minced pork
Stew meat and sauce
fish, pork or prawn balls, placed in boiling water
Large prawns, cleaned and sliced halves and pan fry with salt and pepper or just boiled with water.
Fish Fillets like mackerel (scrapped off) or white pompret (sliced), pan fried with salt and pepper
vegies like curly vegies or choy sum, cooked in boiling water

1) Prepare the bowl with shallot oil, fish sauce and light soya.

2) Prepare toppings and side aside.

3) Heat a bowl of boiling water and place noodle in water, stirring all the time with a pair of chopsticks to loosen the noodles till cooked about 1 min or so. Dish out and quickly dunk into the pot of room temperature water. Dip it back into the boiling water for a few seconds. Strain to dry. And toss noodles in the bowl of sauce.

4) Place toppings on and sprinkle slightly with pepper and top with spring onion or crispy shallots. Serve with pickled chillis and a bowl of vegie soup.

My dear hubby will get his bowl for Saturday or Sunday lunches. And he gets jumbo prawns, fresh mackerel meat straight from the bones to the pot, veg and fish balls. He gets his homemade char siew version too. But he has the cheek to complain that my char siew is not RED. I am very sorely tempted to take up Jo's suggestion to paint the meat red with his poster colour. But that means that there is nothing that he can complain about the noodles. But do adjust the seasoning according to your taste. Whether your bowl will taste authentic really depends on the base oil.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Beef in Ragu Sauce

I think there isn't anyone who has not heard of Bolognaise Sauce, which essentially is Ragu, a tomato based sauce of Bologna, Italy. This dish is pretty similar to that but a whole log roll or cube of beef is braised in ragu. Please don't use bottled ragu as the sauce can be cooked up pretty fast. It is similar to making the tomato coullis. The result is a really appetizing dish with tender meat and sweet-sourish taste that comes from the tomatos and red wine. Excellent way of making cheaper cuts of meat really tasty.

It can be used as a main course served with a carb (I did polenta) and salad, or a first course starter on spaghetti or pastas.

Serve 6-8 as Main
1 no of beef log roll about 1 to 1.2kg, such as rump or chuck tender
olive oil

Marinade for beef:

1 teasp of salt
some black pepper
1.5 teasp of cayenne pepper or paprika
1/2 teasp oregano

1) Make deep incisions all over beef with a sharp knife. Marinade for 1-2 hours.

2) In a flat pan, heat up olive oil to hot but not smoking, sear all sides of beef to brown.

3 tbsp of olive oil
2 cloves of garlic, diced finely
1 no of big onion, diced finely
2 no of med carrots, cubed
1 no of big red capsicum, cubed
1 no of big tomatos, diced
1 no of celery stalk, cubed (optional)
150 ml of red wine
350 ml of beef stock (1 heaped tbsp of beef sauce powder + 350 ml of water)
400gm of whole peel tomatos with juice, mashed with the back of spoon
2 sprigs of basils, leave torn
1/4 teasp of dried oregano
some parsley (fresh or dried)

3) In a deep pot, heat up oil and saute garlic and onions till soft and brown. Add capsicum, tomatos and carrots and continue saute-ing till fragrant. Transfer meat to pot. Deglaze pan for searing with red wine and pour all juices into pot.

4) Stir in beef stock and mashed whole peel tomatos. Bring the pot to boil. Add fresh basil and dried oregano. Cover and simmer till beef is tender, about 1 1/2 hour or more. Seasoned with salt and pepper and some sugar to taste. Sprinkle with some parsley. Optional: Stir in 50 ml of cream for extra richness.

5) Remove meat from pot and allow to rest for 10 min before carving. Line them on a plate and drizzle some vegetable and ragu sauce over them. Serve with salad or serve on pastas or spaghetti.

Monday, February 23, 2009

Greg's Great English Breakfast

Okie, I am sloooooowly going back to cooking and gaining my zest & excitement to try out new dishes once again, and am doing old ones as well. Guess the month of December and January are so packed with cooking and baking and eating out and binging that the body and mind are just so sick of food. It has been gluttony at its most ugliest. I baked some bread for ourselves over the weekend and am perking myself up for new recipes for breakfast and dinner.

After our London trip, I have been trying out what they called the Great English Breakfast, letting Greg indulge once so often with this super breakfast and accompany that with a lighter lunch to balance it out. Anyway, didn't they say that we should be eating breakfast like a king, lunch like a prince and dinner like a beggar?

And I think this is a pretty easy breakfast to do anyway. So why not?

2 slices of back bacon
1 piece of fresh sausage like English or Italian, steam baked to semi cooked
1 no of egg
1/4 cup of baked beans
2 pieces of homemade toast
2 pieces of portobello mushrooms, lightly seasoned with salt and pepper
1/2 no of medium tomato, lightly seasoned with salt and pepper

1) I normally run my bacon through the water to rid the saltiness a little. Without oil, grill the back bacon in a pan over medium fire. Dish out. Add semi cooked sausage and grill it to cook.

2) With oil from the bacon, cook egg to your liking ~ scrambled, sunny side up. Grill portobello and tomato to lightly brown them.

3) Meanwhile toast the bread. And warm up the baked beans. Assemble and serve Greg.

Nuffnang Ad