Monday, May 30, 2011

Pork Ribs with Orange Sauce


720g pork spare ribs, chopped
2 large oranges
2 garlic cloves, crushed
 cup rice or tapioca flour


2 tablespoon light soy sauce
¼ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon sesame oil
a pinch of pepper

Orange Sauce:

200ml fresh orange juice
50ml orange liqueur (e.g. Cointreau)
2 tablespoons white sugar
4 teaspoons orange zest
1 teaspoon salt

  1. Zest the oranges and squeeze the juice
  2. Mix the marinade ingredients together in a shallow dish, add the pork ribs and marinate for 30 minutes.
  3. Heat some cooking oil in a fry pan over medium high heat. Dust the marinated pork ribs with the flour. Fry the pork ribs until they become golden. Drain on paper lined plates to remove excess oil. Drain the oil and wipe pan clean.
  4. Combine the orange sauce ingredients together in a jug and set aside
  5. Put 2 tsp oil into another pan and sauté garlic until fragrant. Pour in orange sauce and bring it to the boil. Return the pork ribs back into fry pan and pour the orange sauce over the pork ribs, stir well to combine. Cover pan and cook on medium heat for a few minutes or until pork is cooked through.  Serve with orange slices and rice.

Friday, May 27, 2011

Apple Crumble

Apple crumble- it's a delicious, fruity and an old-style dessert that is real comfort food on a cold Winter's night. Apart from using apples, other fruit (or canned fillings) can be used such as rhubarb, cherry or peaches to make this crumble.


4 granny smith apples, peeled, cored, cut into 8 wedges or 800g tinned apples
¼ cup, white sugar
½ teaspoon cinnamon
1 cup plain flour
½ cup, firmly packed brown sugar
100g chilled butter, chopped into small cubes
¼ cup rolled oats
Vanilla ice-cream, to serve


Preheat oven to 180°C.

Place the apples into a lightly greased 1.5L (6-cup) capacity oven-proof dish. Combine the white sugar and cinnamon powder in a bowl and mix until well blended. Sprinkle the sugar mixture over the apple slices in the baking dish and combine well.

Combine the flour, brown sugar and butter in a food processor and pulse briefly, or rub with your fingertips, until the mixture resembles very coarse breadcrumbs. Put this mixture in the freezer for 10 minutes, or if making ahead, in the fridge until you're ready to bake (this step improves the texture of the crumble topping, feel free to omit this step if you're pressed for time).

Scatter the crumble mixture evenly over the apples. Sprinkle with oats if using.

Bake in oven for 20-25 minutes or until apples are tender when poked and the topping is golden brown. Spoon the apple crumble into serving bowls. Serve with vanilla ice-cream.

Notes & Tips

Have fun experimenting with different ingredients in your Apple Crumble. Try these ideas:

Add frozen blueberries or raspberries to the apple.
Replace the apple with fresh in-season fruits or drained canned fruits.
Use 800g can baker's apple if fresh apples unavailable
Try adding nuts such as pecans, walnuts or hazelnuts, in the crumble.
Try adding dessicated coconut

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Steamboat/Hot Pot

Why hotpot/steamboat is an ideal meal for social gatherings:
  • It is so easy to prepare! It involves more of logistics (gathering ingredients) rather than any expertise in cooking. Hence anyone can host a fail-proof, yummy meal.
  • You get to sit around the table for a long time as you cook your own food, hence promoting interaction and bonding
  • You can choose almost any ingredients for your hotpot based on your preference and budget. It can be really lavish (with lobster, abalone etc) or really simple. Either way is totally delicious.
Ingredients for a Sumptuous Hot Pot (Steamboat) Feast

1) Equipment

A) Hot Pot

A gas powered hot pot

The basic equipment is of course a hot pot. I use one with a gas canister and my hotpot actually has a divider in case I want to have two different soup bases- one plain and one spicy.

B) Cutlery

Each person should have his/her own soup ladles as well as a slotted ladle to cook foods. Do provide an extra pair of chopsticks specifically for cooking raw meats. The other usual utensils include chopsticks, plates, bowls and soup spoons.

2) Soup base

I personally like to use instant chicken stock liquid with some finely chopped shallots to make a fuss free soup base. I don't think that it is necessary to brew a special soup base since the soup will become really sweet by the end of the meal due to all the ingredients that are cooked in it. If you cook sweet corn and carrots as part of your hotpot meal, at the end of the meal, the soup will be really sweet and you can also eat the sweet corn which will become very juicy.

Main Ingredients

A) Sliced Meats

Thinly sliced lamb and beef

Thinly Sliced Pork and Chicken

Due to the extremely thin slices (which are cut by machines), the meat will be cooked within seconds of dipping in hot broth. Because they are usually sold frozen (and vacuum sealed), you can buy them in advance and store in the freezer.

B) Seafood

Mussels (cleaned, scrubbed and debearded)

Fresh Prawns

Popular seafood for hot pot includes firm white fish fillets (e.g. Ling, Ocean Perch), prawns (either with shells on or heads, tails and veins removed, leaving only a bit of shell and a part of the tail intact), mussels, oysters, scallops, abalone (thinly sliced), squid, octopus and fish maw. 

C) Vegetables

"Tong Oh"

One of the most popular vegetables for hotpot is "tong oh". Other vegetables you can also add include Chinese cabbage, baby bok choy, baby choy sum and moon bok.

Chinese Cabbage

D) Mushrooms

You can use an assortment of mushrooms such as shiitake mushrooms, button mushrooms, oyster mushrooms and enoki mushrooms in your hotpot. 

E) Non Meats

Non meat choices include tofu (buy firm tofu which is recommended for steamboat/soup, cut to cubes), corn, carrots and daikon (cut to large chunks), tomato (cut to large wedges), and eggs. If you are adding eggs to your hotpot, add them at the very end because it will cause the soup to be murky. Eggs are also good to add into your bowl and to coat your other cooked ingredients.

F) Carbohydrates

Besides rice, you can also prepare long strand noodles which is a symbol of longevity (hence do not cut them to shorter strands). Popular hotpot noodles include udon and cellophane noodles. To prepare, soak the noodles in hot water for a few minutes than drain.

Wontons and dumplings are also common additions to steamboat/hotpot.

G) Meatballs

Lobster Balls

Beef Balls & Fish Balls

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Stir Fried Beef Rice Noodles

If you've ever wondered how to achieve that soft, tender meat that you get from your local Chinese restaurant at home, then wonder no more. The Chinese method of tenderising meat is to marinate thinly sliced meat with baking soda! I've used fillet steak for the following recipe, however you can use a cheaper cut of meat when using this form of marinating since it will tenderise the meat so much, you wouldn't be able to tell the difference! Great tip for home cooks especially when watching the budget :)


600g beef eye fillet, thinly sliced
2 tsp baking soda
4 tablespoon vegetable oil
1 red onion, sliced
1kg flat rice noodles, strands loosened
100g bean sprouts
2 shallots, cut into 2.5cm lengths
Sesame seeds, as garnish


2 teaspoons sugar
½ teaspoon sesame oil
1 tablespoon Chinese rice wine (Shao Hsing wine)
1 tablespoon dark soy sauce


3 tablespoon dark soy sauce
3 tablespoon light soy sauce


Marinate the beef with the baking soda for 20 minutes and then rinse the beef thoroughly (make sure that the beef is properly rinsed clean of the baking soda). Pat the beef dry with paper towels and then marinate with the rest of the seasoning ingredients for at least 2 hours.

Heat the wok over high heat and add 2 tbsp oil. Stir fry the beef in several batches for 20 seconds then set aside.

Heat the rest of the oil in the wok then add the onions and stir fry until they are lightly browned.

Toss noodles in and stir gently until heated through. Add combined soy sauces and stir fry until well mixed.

Return beef slices to the noodles, add bean sprouts and shallots then stir fry until heated through and all ingredients are mixed together well. Dish out and sprinkle some sesame seeds on top as a garnish, if desired.
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