Monday, March 27, 2006

PORK CONGEE

Been down and out in the dumps the whole of last week. So I cooked myself this comfort food; called pork porridge by some. It's a time consuming effort, but the end result is worth the wait.

I used left-over rice, which is 3 Chinese rice bowl (slightly more than 1 mug of uncooked rice). If uncooked rice is used, the proportion is 1 part rice to 20 parts broth. I used pork joints (“big bones" by the local butcher) for the broth. They can be had for around RM1 to RM1.50 for a set of 4. The boiled bones are good for the dog to chew on, if you have one.


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Pork Broth
2 big bones
Slices of ginger root
1/2 doz. dried red dates
8 litres of water

Pork Marinade
200 gm. minced pork
2 tbsp light soy sauce
1 tsp sugar
1 tsp corn flour
1 tbsp cooking oil

1 mug rice
Minced carrot
Salt or fish sauce to taste
Fried shallots

  • Blanch the bones over boil water to remove the scum for a few minutes. Remove and rinse over running water.
  • Put everything for the broth into a stock pot and simmer for 2 hours. Strain the liquid.
  • Use half the broth in clean stock pot to cook the rice. Once it comes to a boil, lower the heat and stir constantly, using a wooden spatula. Scrap the bottom of the pot so as to prevent any rice from sticking at the pot.
  • Add minced carrots. Gradually add more stock as needed. The end product will be gooey, and the rice resembling snow flakes. This will take about 2 hours.
  • Roll the marinated minced pork into 3/4 in. balls and drop them into the congee until cooked.
  • Add salt or fish sauce to taste.
  • Serve with fried shallot garnishes and ground white pepper.

Yield= 6 large bowls of congee


Monday, March 20, 2006

CLAYPOT SALTED FISH CHICKEN

This is like a stew dish. The salted fish gives this dish an added dimension. I use dark soy sauce to give the chicken a rich colour. Make sure the chicken are well seared before adding any liquid, so as not to wash away its lustre.

The marinade is something basic I use on most meat, so that meat will not taste bland. Soy sauce adds colour and taste; should be used judiciously. Corn flour binds the marinade. Too much of it will make the meat stick to the pot when fried.


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Ingredients
250 gm. chicken breast
2 in. square salted fish
Tofu (soft)
3 dried mushroom
6 slices of carrots
2 stalks of spring onion
1 clove garlic
Corn flour for dusting and cornstarch

Marinade
2 tsp dark soy sauce
½ tsp white pepper
½ tsp sugar
½ tsp corn flour
1 tbsp vegetable (cooking) oil

  • Chicken can be sliced or cubed to bite-size whatever you desire. Marinade and set aside for 15 minutes.
  • Cut the salted fish into ½ in. square. Remove stem from dried mushroom, halved. Cut spring onion to 1½ in. length. Mince the garlic.
  • Cut the tofu into 1½ x1½ in. by ½ in. thick. Amount of tofu used is up to your preference.
  • Dry and dust the tofu. Shallow or deep-fry until golden on all sides, but still soft.
  • Heat up claypot on medium flame. Pour in about 2 tbsp. of cooking oil. When hot fry the salted fish. Stir and turn constantly; before they turn crispy, put in the garlic until fragrant.
  • Add the chicken (reserve the liquid that might have accumulated). Sear before throwing in the mushroom and carrot .Toss for a further few minutes before adding water (mixed with reserved liquid); enough to cover the chicken. Add salt to taste. Cover and simmer 20 minutes.
  • Add in the tofu; cook further 5 minutes, and then thicken with cornstarch. Spread spring onion on top before serving.

Monday, March 13, 2006

PORK PLUM

I’ve these made since January – about sixty pork plums in all; stashed in my freezer. It takes about half and hour to thaw, then I deep-fried until golden brown, served with Thai sweet chilli or prickly ash. Makes great finger food.


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This recipe originates from Cheong Liew, and it’s called Prawn Plum. Over the years I have made the prawn the filler, and the pork more prominent; thus I call it Pork Plum. It’s akin to “Ngo-Hiang” (Sarawak) or “Loh-Bak” except no 5 spice-powder is used here.

The ingredients used are pork, prawn, water chestnuts (crunchiness), carrot (for colour), spring onions and sheets of bean curd skin, and sugar and salt to taste. As for the exact quantity, I usually improvise as I go along, depending on the quantities available at hand.


Monday, March 06, 2006

COCONUT SHOOT CURRY

This is a relatively easy dish to make with Thai Red Chili paste. Go easy on the coconut cream… it’s meant to be light, and not too creamy. I bought 50 sen worth of fresh grated coconut.

Saw nice coconut shoots at RM4 per kg. at the market, so I thought why not make some vegetable curry. In fact any hardy veg. like bamboo shoots, cabbage, carrot, long bean and such can be used as well.


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Ingredients

3 tbsp. red curry paste
120gm. grated coconuts
250gm. coconut shoot (cubed)
Fried soybean skin (foo-chuk/tao-pok)
4 stalks long beans (3” length)
2 tbsp. cooking oil
Sugar/palm sugar and salt/fish sauce to taste

  1. Put grated coconut into muslin cloth and squeeze out the thick cream onto a cup.
  2. Add a little water to the squeezed coconut. As in step one, extract the ‘thin’ coconut milk onto another cup (1/2 cup yield).
  3. Fry the curry paste with cooking oil until fragrant on medium flame in a pot.
  4. Add in the cubed coconut shoots. Stir around to get them all coated with the curry paste for about 2 to 3 minutes.
  5. Pour in the thin coconut and give it a few stir. The coconut milk should just cover all the shoots; if not, add a little water.
  6. Cover and simmer for 30 minutes on low flame.
  7. Add the long beans and soybean skin, and the thick coconut milk. Put in sugar and salt. Cook for further 5 to 10 minutes on medium heat before serving.

**Depending on the vegetables used, cooking time varies. It’s best not to have soft and mushy vegetables.

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As the name implies, it's all about nothing! Kongkaying is like grasping in the air - more like hot air with occasional fartulence. Hopefully, something aromatic will come out of it! If not...

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