Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Garlic Chives Omelette

I had a bunch of garlic chives sitting in the fridge today so I thought I'd make a simple home style Chinese stir fry for dinner tonight. This dish is so simple to make and is ready to eat in minutes! Perfect to make on a busy night.

Serves 2


1 bunch garlic chives, chopped
4-5 large eggs, lightly beaten
Salt and pepper, to taste
1-2 tbsp vegetable oil


  1. Heat wok over medium high heat. Add vegetable oil, then add the chopped garlic chives
  2. Add beaten eggs, salt and pepper, then fry until eggs are set and brown
  3. Serve hot with jasmine rice

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Steamed Chicken Wings with Chinese Mushroom and Chinese Sausage

Another Cantonese home-cooked meal.... steaming food is great on a hot day since you don't need to stand next to a hot stove to cook it :) It was 41 degrees Celsius here in Sydney today!

Serves 2


10 pieces of chicken mid wings
6 dried or fresh shitake mushrooms
1 pair of Chinese sausage


1 tablespoon grated ginger
1 tablespoon green onions, finely chopped
1 tablespoon light soy sauce
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1 tablespoon oyster sauce
1 tablespoon Chinese cooking wine (Shaoxing rice wine)
1 teaspoon sugar
1 teaspoon sesame oil
¼-½ teaspoon ground white pepper
1 tablespoon cornflour
2 tablespoon chicken stock


  1. If using dried mushrooms, soak them in a bowl of boiling water overnight or until soft. 
  2. Cut off the hard stem, slice the mushrooms diagonally and set aside
  3. Strain the soaking water into a bowl.
  4. Slice the sausages diagonally.
  5. Marinate the chicken wings with the marinade ingredients except the chicken stock and corn flour.
  6. Put the cornflour in a small bowl and pour a bit of the mushroom soaking water or chicken stock to make a thin paste.
  7. Mix well with the marinated chicken wings.
  8. Put the chicken wings in a glass or ceramic pie plate or similar type of dish.
  9. Cover and refrigerate for 1 hour. 
  10. Spread the mushrooms and pieces of sausage on top.
  11. Put a steamer rack in the wok, add water to cover the rack and place the dish on the rack.
  12. Cover wok and steam on high heat for about 15 minutes. Check the water hasn't boiled dry. Check that the chicken is cooked. If not, steam another 5 minutes.
  13. Splash a bit of sesame oil on top of the meat.
  14. Place hot dish on a plate and bring to the table.
  15. Enjoy!

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Pot Sticker Dumplings

When I make dumplings, I like to make double batches and freeze some for later use. You can steam, boil or pan fry these dumplings. The choice is yours really! I personally like them pan fried :P

Makes approx. 60 pieces


2 x 4cm pieces ginger, peeled
250g Chinese cabbage, finely shredded
350g minced pork
2 green onions, finely chopped
2 tbs soy sauce
1 tbs oyster sauce
2 tsp sesame oil
1 tbs Shaoxing rice wine*
cornflour, for dusting
2 x 275g pkts gow gee pastries wrappers
 peanut oil
Chinese red rice vinegar**

  1. Finely grate 1 piece of ginger, then finely shred second piece. Place cabbage in a bowl. Sprinkle with 1 tsp salt then leave for 30 minutes. Squeeze handfuls of cabbage to remove excess water then place in a bowl. Add 1½ tsp grated ginger, minced pork, onions, sauces, sesame oil and wine and combine well.
  2. Line a large tray with baking paper then dust with cornflour. Using a finger, wet edge of a wrapper with a little water. Place 1 level tsp of filling in centre. Fold wrapper in half and, using your thumb and index finger, pleat one edge, then press edges together to seal. Place, in a single layer, on prepared tray. Repeat with remaining wrappers and filling. Dumplings can be made up to 6 hours in advance, store covered in the fridge.
  3. Preheat oven to 150°C. Heat 1-2 tbs peanut oil in a non-stick frying pan over medium high heat. Add 12 dumplings, pleated side up in a single layer, and cook for 1-2 minutes or until brown underneath. Carefully add ¼ ½ cup boiling water, then cover partially with a lid and cook for a further 4-5 minutes or until water has evaporated.
  4. When the water boils off, remove the lid and reduce the heat to medium or medium low. This allows the potstickers to dry out and crisp up.
  5. Transfer to an oven tray, cover with foil and keep warm in oven. Repeat with remaining oil and dumplings. Serve with bowls of red vinegar combined with shredded ginger, for dipping.
Notes & Tips
To boil: Bring a large pot of water to a boil and add dumplings to pot. Boil the dumplings until they float.

To steam: Place dumplings on a single layer of cabbage leaves or on a well-greased surface and steam for about 6 minutes.

To pan fry: Place dumplings in a frying pan with 2-3 tbsp of oil. Heat on medium high and fry for a few minutes until bottoms are golden. Add ¼ -½ cup water and cover. Cook until the water has boiled away and then uncover and reduce heat to medium or medium low. Let the dumplings cook for another 2 minutes then remove from heat and serve.

To freeze: Assemble dumplings on a baking sheet so they are not touching. Freeze for 20-30 minutes until dumplings are no longer soft. Place in ziploc bag and freeze for up to a couple of months. Prepare as per the above instructions, but allow extra time to ensure the filling is thoroughly cooked.

    *Shaoxing rice wine is a rice based cooking wine and can be found in Asian grocery stores.

    **Chinese red rice vinegar is made from glutinous rice and coloured red. It is most commonly used as a dipping sauce.

    Homemade Basic Chicken Stock

    Chicken stock has almost endless uses, from soup bases to gravies and making your own home made stock is considerably cheaper than buying from the shops. But not only is making your own stock cheaper, you also have the peace of mind knowing that nil preservatives or additives have been added.   

    For ease of use, after you've made your batch of stock, freeze them in ice cube trays, especially for those recipes that only require a few tablespoons of stock or freeze them in small containers. This stock freezes well and will keep for up to 3 months. After trying home-made stock you will never want the shop-bought kind again!
    I used my slow cooker for this recipe, mainly because I don't have a large stockpot to fit in all the ingredients and because it's so much easier to let it simmer for hours on its own without the need for constant supervision.

    Makes approx. 3 litres of stock

    2 chicken carcasses
    1 large onion, quartered
    1 leek (white part only)
    3 carrots, chopped
    3 stalks celery, halved
    2 bay leaves
    2 garlic cloves, bruised with side of a knife
    1 tbs sea salt
    1 tsp whole black peppercorns (optional)

    1. Place chicken carcasses in a large stockpot and add water to cover. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to low. 
    2. Add the rest of the ingredients into the stock pt. Simmer covered for 3 to 4 hours, skimming the foam/scum as it comes to the surface.   
    3. Strain the stock through a fine sieve and then allow to cool uncovered.  
    4. After skimming the fat from the cooled stock, use or freeze immediately. Freeze in ice cube trays or bags, or for larger amounts in small re-closable freezer bags or in small containers.

    Notes & Tips

    You can buy chicken carcasses from your local butcher or chicken shop. I paid $1 for a bag and it contained 4 chicken carcasses!      

      Friday, November 13, 2009

      Thai Pineapple Fried Rice

      I was holidaying in the Gold Coast a couple of months ago and whilst there, hubby and I decided to visit a Thai restaurant located not too far from where we were staying. We ordered Thai pineapple fried rice amongst other Thai dishes and were pleasantly surprised and amused that the fried rice came served in a pineapple boat!

      I've always admired fruit and vegetable carvings so it wasn't a surprise to my hubby that I was keen to try and carve out my very own pineapple boat when I got back home to Sydney. But as usual, life got very busy as soon as we got back from our holiday and so I just never got around to playing around with this dish. Until...

      Just the other day I had a whole pineapple left over after making my fruit kebabs. So, I thought this was the perfect opportunity to recreate some Thai pineapple fried rice.

      The ingredients in this fried rice is a little different to how I would normally make my fried since it is Thai style fried rice as opposed to the Chinese-style fried rice. Nonetheless, the method of cooking is very similar. 

      In this recipe I have added lots of extra curry powder and chilli since hubby likes a bit of spiciness in his food ;) However, you can adjust the following recipe to make it as mild or as spicy as you wish just by adding more or less curry powder, omitting the chillies etc.

      This is also a good dish to bring along for a pot luck or to make if you're having a lunch or dinner with friends over. They'll be pretty impressed with the presentation!


      2-3 tbsp oil
      1 whole pineapple or 225g tinned pineapple pieces, juice drained
      4 cups of cooked rice, cooled
      1 cup frozen carrots, corn, peas mix or whatever vegetables you desire
      3 cloves garlic
      1 shallot, finely chopped
      2 red bird eye chilli
      2 tbsp curry powder
      1 tbs soy sauce
      3 eggs, beaten
      8-10 medium prawns, peeled, deveined and chopped into small pieces
      ⅓ cup cashew nuts (optional)
      cracked pepper (optional)


      1. Slice off one side of the pineapple to remove the skin (do not cut off the leaves). Carve out the fruit from inside the pineapple. Set carved pineapple aside.
      2. Pound chilli and garlic in a mortar and pestle to make a paste. If you don't own one, just use your knife to flatten it.
      3. Place oil in a work or frying pan and turn heat to medium high. Add the chilli paste and diced shallots. Saute until fragrant.
      4. Add the frozen vegetables, cashew nuts, prawns and stir fry for about 2 minutes.
      5. Add the rice, soy sauce, curry powder and cracked pepper. Stir fry everything together until well combined then add the pineapple pieces.
      6. Push the rice to the edges of wok/fry pan, add the beaten eggs into the centre of the wok/fry pan and scramble them till cooked.
      7. Continue to stir fry the rice and ensure that all ingredients are mixed thoroughly.
      8. Taste the rice, if not salty enough add some soy sauce or salt.
      9. Serve in the carved out pineapple.
      10. Enjoy!

      Wok Seared "Shaking" Beef + Vietnamese Red Rice (Com Bo Luc Lac)

      Com Bo Luc Lac is a widely popular dish in Vietnamese restaurants despite it not being part of many Vietnamese home cook's repertoire.

      A Vietnamese friend of mine tells me that the “luc lac” is merely a description for the “shaking” or tossing of the beef back and forth in the wok after it’s quickly seared. This dish is often paired together with red rice.

      To make the red rice, it's best to use 'one-day-old' rice instead of freshly cooked rice so that the rice doesn't become soggy after cooking. I actually didn't have any left over rice when I made this dish, so I just cooked the rice as usual on the day, spread the rice out on a flat dish leaving it at room temperature for about 15-30 minutes than I popped it into the fridge to dry out for about an hour or two. The results still turned out OK :P

      Serves 2-3


      750g beef (any cut you like)


      ½ teaspoon freshly cracked black pepper
      1½ teaspoons sugar
      2 cloves garlic, minced
      2 tablespoons oyster sauce
      1 teaspoon fish sauce
      2 teaspoons light soy sauce and 1 teaspoon dark soy sauce


      Lettuce leaves
      2-4 Tomatoes, sliced
      1 Cucumber, sliced

      2 tablespoon canola or peanut oil
      ½ Spanish onion, thinly sliced

      1. Trim excess fat from the beef and then cut into cubes. In a shallow dish, combine the pepper, sugar, garlic, oyster sauce, fish sauce and soy sauce. Add the beef and toss well to coat. Cover and place in the fridge to marinate for 2 hours.
      2. Place lettuce leaves onto a platter or serving dish. Heat oil in a wok over high heat then add the onions and beef  (spread it out in one layer. Cook in batches, if necessary). Let the beef sear for about 1 minute, before shaking the wok to sear another side. Cook for another 30 seconds or so and shake. Cook the beef for about 4 minutes total, until nicely browned and medium rare.
      3. Transfer the beef onto lettuce leaves, sprinkle some more cracked black pepper and garnish with sliced tomatoes and cucumbers. Serve immediately with Vietnamese red rice (see recipe below).

      Vietnamese Red Rice


      1 1/2 cups cooked rice
      3 tablespoons canola oil
      2 large cloves garlic, minced
      2 tablespoons tomato paste
      1/2 teaspoon salt
      1 egg, beaten


      1. Put the cooked rice on a baking sheet and refrigerate it, uncovered, for 8 to 24 hours, until it is dry enough for you to gently crumble in your hands. Midway through, turn the rice to ensure even drying. Before cooking, return the rice to room temperature.
      2. To make the rice, heat a large nonstick fry pan over medium-high heat and add 2 tablespoons of oil. Then add the garlic, and cook, stirring frequently for about 2 minutes. Add the rice and stir to combine. Add the tomato paste and stir to coat the rice and turn it red. Increase the heat slightly and cook, stirring constantly for about 3 minutes, until the rice is heated through.
      3. Push the rice to sides of wok, add the beaten egg to the centre of the wok and scramble it for about 2 minutes. 
      4. Sprinkle the salt on the rice and eggs and stir fry everything together to combine well. For extra richness, add the remaining 1 tablespoon of oil. Continue to gently fry the rice for another 1 to 2 minutes, to sear in the flavors. Remove from the heat, taste and add extra salt, if necessary. Transfer to a bowl and serve immediately. 
      Notes & Tips

      Like all good fried rice, cook your rice on the firm side (use less water than usual) so that the grains retain their individuality. Then let the rice dry out in the refrigerator. If you have leftover rice, here's a great way to use it up! The rice will literally fry without soaking up tons of fat. The less moisture the better for fried rice, otherwise it becomes soggy.  The tomato paste is a great addition to the rice since it gives the rice great colour and a touch of sweet flavour.

      Saturday, November 7, 2009

      Mango Mochi/Glutinous Rice Balls/Sticky Rice Balls

      I went to a surprise hen's afternoon tea party today. Wondering what I could bring along to this party, I looked into my pantry and saw that I had some glutinous rice flour expiring soon so I thought of using it to make mango mochi. Also known as Glutinous Rice Balls or Law-Mai-Chee in Chinese, these are a Chinese dessert made from glutinous rice flour. There are an assortment of fillings that can be used, with red bean paste and peanut butter being the more common ones. I decided to use mangoes since mangoes are in season now, so they're nice, sweet and juicy.

      This mochi recipe is nice in that the skin is still soft and chewy even if it has been in the refrigerator overnight. A good recipe for make ahead desserts :)

      Makes approx. 30 pieces


      300g glutinous rice flour
      60g rice flour
      1 tbsp Santan powder (coconut cream powder)
      1.5 tbsp corn oil
      200ml hot water + 60g caster sugar
      160ml evaporated milk
      250ml mango nectar juice
      2 ripe mangoes (diced into small cubes)
      desiccated coconut for coating


      1. Sieve glutinous rice flour, rice flour and Santan powder into a big mixing bowl. Add in the oil.
      2. Dissolve sugar in 200ml of hot water. Pour this and evaporated milk into the flour mixture and mix till smooth and well blended. Stir in the mango nectar.
      3. Strain batter into a greased tray/bowl and steam on high heat for 30 minutes.
      4. Remove tray/bowl from steamer and stir the cooked dough with a flat plastic knife. Leave dough aside to cool. NB: the dough needs to still be warm in order for it be pliable, so don't cool it for too long, just long enough for it to be handled with your hands.
      5. Wear a pair of plastic gloves and grease it with some oil. Take a 30g piece of dough and flatten it into a round disc (approx the size of your palm), and wrap as much mango cubes as desired. I used approx. 1 tsp worth since I love to bite into lots of mango filling :) Seal the edges tightly and shape it into a round ball. 
      6. Coat/roll the shaped mochi with desiccated coconut.
      7. Serve mochi chilled or at room temperature.

      Fruit Kebabs/Fruit on Skewers

      I had brunch with some women at church on the weekend and thought I'd bring along some fruit. Wanting to deviate from the traditional presentation of fruit as a fruit salad or a fruit platter, I decided to make fruit kebabs. The arrangement of the fruit is simple enough but the presentation makes it look quite elegant. I'm glad that these fruit kebabs were a hit with the ladies :)

      The following is more of an idea than a recipe, and can include anything you want to try. Choose a variety of different coloured fruit or whatever is in season at the time. Other fruits for suggestion that are good to use for fruit kebabs include: kiwifruit, oranges and red grapes.


      Bamboo skewers
      Melted chocolate, optional


      1. Chop up fruit into uniform pieces or of similar bite sized pieces and place into bowls.
      2. Thread fruit pieces onto skewers, alternating with different types of fruit.
      3. Serve chilled with melted chocolate for dipping or serve on its own.

      Thursday, November 5, 2009

      Fish Congee

      Hubby wasn't feeling too well the other day so I thought I'd make him some comfort food. Fish congee was what came to mind.

      Congee is basically just a lot of water and a little rice. The amount of water you add determines how thick or thin the congee will be. Hubby and I prefer our congee to be very smooth and thick. Soaking the rice for a couple of hours prior to boiling it ensures this texture is achieved but if you don't have the time, you can purchase 'broken rice' from Asian grocery shops and skip that step entirely.

      I used basa fillets for this congee, but any white fleshed fish should be fine. I sliced the fish really thinly and marinated them in some Chinese rice wine, sesame oil and soy sauce - as the fish slices are only cooked for a short while in the congee, the marinade is important for a sweet and fragrant flavour.

      Serves 4


      ½ cup rice (soaked for 1-2 hours)
      5 cups of water (add or more less depending on consistency you'd like to achieve)
      2 fish fillets, sliced thinly
      2 inches fresh ginger, sliced thinly (use vegetable peeler for paper-thin slices)
      4 stalks green onions, sliced

      Marinade for the fish:

      2 tsps Chinese Rice Wine (Shao Xing Wine)
      ½ tsp sesame oil
      ½ tsp light soy sauce


      1. Marinate the fish with the rice wine, sesame oil and light soy sauce in a bowl for at least 30 minutes. Cover and refrigerate.
      2. Boil the soaked rice with water in a pot/saucepan.
      3. Once the mixture is boiling, turn the heat to low, and add 3 ginger slices, let rice simmer for about 30-40 minutes, checking frequently and stirring the mixture occasionally.
      4. Add fish slices to the congee and bring to boil again. Cook approximately 5-10 minutes (depending on thickness of your fish slices). Note that the congee will continue to boil on its own even after removing from heat, so don't boil it with the fish for too long as overcooked fish is not very tasty. 
      5. Serve the congee in bowls and allow your guests to spoon desired amounts of green onion slices, ginger into their individual bowls. I usually add another dash of sesame oil and white pepper to my bowl before eating as well.

      Tuesday, November 3, 2009

      Singapore Noodles

      Get your chopsticks into these aromatic noodles packed with prawns, BBQ meat and flavour. Feel free to add more curry powder and pepper than what the recipe states if you like your noodles spicy!

      Serves 4


      200g rice vermicelli noodles
      Vegetable oil
      ¼ BBQ chicken, shredded
      100g Char Siew (BBQ sweet pork), sliced
      50g cooked, peeled, prawns
      3 garlic cloves, crushed
      2cm piece ginger, grated
      1 onion, cut into thin half moons
      1 red capsicum, sliced
      4 tsp curry powder
      2 tsp turmeric powder
      a handful of fresh or tinned bean sprouts
      2 spring onions, chopped
      4 eggs, beaten
      Salt and pepper, to taste
      2 red chillies, sliced, to garnish

      1. Soak the noodles following the packet instructions and drain. Heat 1 1/2 tablespoon oil in a wok and fry the garlic and ginger until light brown. Add the onion and capsicum and cook until  just beginning to soften, then add the spices and cook for a minute. Remove vegetables to a plate and set aside.
      2. Add a bit more oil to the wok. Stir in the eggs and scramble them till cooked. Push eggs to sides of wok, add the noodles and the rest of the ingredients (except chillies) together. Make sure that everything is mixed thoroughly so that the flavours are combined and everything is heated and cooked well.
      3. Garnish the meal with the chillies and serve on individual plates.
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