Arrowroot Soup (粉葛湯)

Arrowroot is a huge root vegetable that many people may not heard before nor sounds familiar to them. Especially younger generation nowadays. But if any of the Chinese family who usually cook at home, I think most of them cook this soup before. If you don’t even know what is Arrowroot, then, maybe 粉葛湯 (fěn gé tāng) sounds more familiar to you?

Arrowroot is very much like a big sweet potato. I crave for this soup. The very last time I had this soup was during Chinese New Year, brewed by my mother. Ahhh… I missed the taste of my mother’s soup so much! And so, I bought arrowroot today. Like all root vegetables, it is best slow boiled with pork ribs, red dates, dried octopus / cuttlefish to make a nice and simple soup.

This piece of 450 grams of arrowroot 450 grams cost S$1.20. Got it from the market.

The arrowroot is harder in texture and it is extensively starchy than potato. When it is cut up, it has patterns on surface that looks like the ages of a tree trunk.

And this is what I’ve prepared….

Yes! You didn’t see it wrongly. I’ve got some lotus root there. I did it on purpose. But you could opt it out if you wanted to. My mother told me that arrowroot has a mild cooling effect. A very mild one. By adding some lotus root in the soup. it will kinda neutralize the soup and the soup will be more nutritious.

Ingredients (Serve 4 to 6 pax)

  • 450 grams of Arrowroot, scrubbed cleaned and sliced.
  • 250 grams of Lotus Root, cleaned, peeled and sliced. (Optional)
  • 300 grams of Pork Ribs, scalded (I want the soup more meaty taste this time)
  • 5 to 6 red dates.
  • 4 to 5 dried scallops
  • 1/2 of a foot long dried octopus. Snipped into small pieces.
  • 3000ml water
  • sea salt to taste

You could peel the skin of the arrowroot if you like. But my mother told me that brewing arrowroot with the skin on gives more nutrition. So, I listen to my mother. But, it’s up to you.

This soup is high in protein and fiber.  It is a very neutral soup and requires little effort to make it. I could proudly promise you that this soup is really sweet and tasty. Just like usual way of cooking a good old pot of soup, adding in seafood ingredients such as dried scallops and dried octopus is unavoidable. This makes the soup so refreshing sweet with the natural sweetness from dried seafood. You can omit if you don’t like seafood, just add in more pork ribs or pork bones. But I personally don’t advise that.

Method
1. Rinse pork ribs, scald in boiling water for awhile, remove and rinse. (Refer to this if you are unsure on how to prepare the ribs)

2. Wash scallops, red dates, dried octopus. Prepare lotus root & arrowroot accordingly.

4. In a soup pot, put everything in (except salt). Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer the soup over low heat for 2 hours. And if you have more time, make it 3 hours.

5. Did I ever mentioned to you before that your soup will have the Umph! after 3 hours? Remember to sprinkle some salt to taste before serve.

This soup is high in fiber and is ideal for children as it is very natural and neutral. It strengthens Chi (气) and could boosts immune system.

This delicious soup with ingredients which have been softened through long hours of brewing. I’m sure your family will love this heart-warming pot of soup.

I hope you like it 🙂

Easy Sambal Tumis Petai

This dish is just like durians. You will either hate it or love it madly. Max loves durian and petai equally mad. Seriously…

Petai (Parkia speciosa), we called it chou-dou “臭豆”, or literally stinky beans. It is a unique green bean used in Malaysian home cooking. It grows in long pods on a large tree. Petai is semi-wild; it is usually grown on the outskirts of villages. Normally people get it directly from the forest. The beans have its unique pungency. It is usually cooked in sambal tumis ikan bilis, a fried chilli paste with dried anchovies. Traditionally, petai is believed to flush or “cleanse” the kidneys and urinary tract. How true? I don’t really know or care, but the elderly told me that. But you get a sense of its effect, from the pungent urine, after your petai meal. For that, I think the elderly makes sense. 

Preparing ingredients for Sambal Tumis is never easy. During my secondary school time, I ever saw a Malay auntee cooking Sambal Tumis in a traditional way. It’s really a pain when it comes to preparation this all the way from scratch. She prepared the spice and ingredients to be pounded with mortar and pestle. It consists of shallots, garlic, red chili, lemon grass, belacan and lots of dried shrimps. To cook the dish, she sautes the spice and pounded dried shrimps till fragrant and the chili oil separated. Then the petai is added to mix well. Gah! This is not for the lazy person like me!

Last week, while I was doing my shopping at Tebrau City Jusco, a lady approach me and asked me to purchase a pack of this to give it a try. Another cheat recipe. Sigh!

Pre-packed Sambal Tumis sauce. She kept assuring me that this pack of pre-packed sauce is really tasty and I will regret if I don’t give it a try. I was like… “Urgh? Really so nice meh? Describe until so good wo“. Well, since I don’t have the habit nor any intention of making my own sambal tumis from scratch at home because I felt that it is too much of effort for doing that. And since this lady say until so good, I decided to give this pack of pre-packed Sambal Tumis sauce a try.

Here’s the ingredients I’ve got :-
Some people may think that since I’ve got myself a pre-packed sauce, those chopped garlic, onions, chillis may not be necessary. But well…. I don’t think so. No matter what, nothing beats the taste of the real stuff you know?

Ingredients
A pack of Petai from the market. I weighed, and it’s about 135grams. Cost me S$2.00
A pack of Sambal Tumis sauce.
About 10 prawns or more. It’s up to you.
chopped shallot
chopped garlic (2 cloves)
1 chilli (half chopped, half julienned)
a small onion
1 cup water
a handful of anchovy fish (Ikan Bilis) – Optional.

You noticed that my Petai is splitted into two? Leave it if you don’t have the time to do this step. It’s fine. And it’s really individual preference…..

You’ll spot some tiny white worms if you are lucky. This is why I always like to split them into two. Unless you dont bother about it, as you don’t mind to add some exotic “protein” to our sambal petai dish. Ahh… well…

Method
1. Cooking oil on the pan. Fry chopped garlic, shallots, chillis till fragrant.
2. Add in Sambal Tumis sauce. Give it a quick stir.
3. Add in the remaining ingredients (except water), give it a quick toss.
4. Add in water, stir evenly. Cover up, simmer for a minute or two. Until the sauce has thickened and no longer watery. Heat off & dish up. Garnish with julienned chillies, and fried anchovies. Serve.

I fried some anchovies to put on top as a garnishing. Max loves crunchy anchovies. Hence, I did it on purpose for him. However, this is optional. You don’t really need to follow.

I think this is a very good pre-packed sauce that will not fail you. It’s worth a try. One thing I need to warn you is that… This is another dish that need you to cook more rice for the meal.

Like it?

p/s : Friends, if you really can’t get this pre-packed Sambal Tumis in Singapore, email me (mwmannie@yahoo.com). I will try to get it for you when I happened to go JB for shopping. But… must self collection at my place ok? 🙂

Lotus Root Soup 莲藕汤

I love this soup!

This is also one of the soup that I cook very often. It’s easy, and nutritious. Lotus root has many benefits like strengthening the bodies, dispelling heat and enhancing the appetite.

I love the delicious soup with ingredients which have been softened through long hours of brewing. It is really very heart-warming.

Although the cooking time is long, the preparation procedure is pretty simple. See my picture and you will know what you need to prepare.

Does my blog just made your life easier? 🙂

Ingredients (Serve 4 to 6 pax)

  • 480grams of Lotus Root, cleaned, peeled and sliced.
  • 200 grams of Pork Ribs, scalded (200grams is about S$3.00 from wet market butcher. You can buy more ribs if you like your soup to have more meaty taste.)
  • 5 to 6 red dates. Mine is really miserably mini sized, so I throw in 7 instead.
  • 4 to 5 dried scallops
  • 60 grams of dried peanuts
  • 1/2 of a foot long dried octopus. Snipped into small pieces.
  • 3000ml water
  • sea salt to taste

This is the dried octopus that I get from market. It cost S$5.00 per 100g. This is about 88g, and I paid S$4.50 for it. Expensive! I cut it into half, keep the other half for next time use.

For the Lotus root, I would highly recommend you to put in effort to make a trip to the wet market to get the muddy type of Lotus root. The fresh root is harvested from ponds, so they are usually covered in mud. That’s one of the ways we tell the fresh ones from the not so fresh ones. Avoid those that look dry or too white. This type of muddy root is fresh, crunchy and it taste really good. See this picture… This cost me S$2.00, weighed about 480 grams.

Cleaned, peeled, sliced… You should only left with about 370 grams.

For the dried peanuts… I always put in effort to remove the skin by rubbing it hard with each other. The reason is because I would prefer my soup to have a clearer broth. Peanut skins tends to darken the color of the soup. Slowly read on, and you will know…

You don’t need to put in so much effort for those peanuts. If you have somebody (be it husband, kids, parents or whoever) is sitting infront of the TV comfortably, engrossed with their favorite TV show, get them to do this for you!

And don’t be bothered to remove the skins for all of them. Just estimate will do. I just did half of it. I don’t bother to put in effort to remove all of them today. I’m lazy. My maid husband is not around to help me when I’m preparing this soup.

Some people like to pre-soak the peanuts overnight (or at least 5 hours) before use. You can do that if you have the time. It will soak away all the peanut skins color.

For me, I have a speedy way. After I removed the peanut skins, I soak it for half to 1 hour. And then, par-boiled it in a boiling water for about 5 minutes, and you can see the color of the water is pale brownish. This color comes from the peanut skin. It’s edible. Don’t worry. But I just personally don’t want this dull color. You can skip all these extra work if you want.

Discard the water…

And your peanut will turn softer, light in color and it’s ready to use.

Method
1. Rinse pork ribs, scald in boiling water for awhile, remove and rinse. (Refer to this if you are unsure on how to prepare the ribs)

2. Wash scallops, red dates, dried octopus. Prepare lotus roots & peanuts according to what I’d mentioned above.

4. In a soup pot, put everything in (except salt). Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer the soup over low heat for 2 hours. And if you have more time, make it 3 hours.

5. Your soup will definitely have the Umph! after 3 hours! Woohoo!!! Remember to add salt to taste before serve.

Now you can take a look at the soup. And if you were to compare my lotus root soup with others (who also use dried peanuts), you will realized that mine is clearer in color. This is the reason why I always put in extra effort to remove the dried peanut skins.

Now… would you like to have a bowl of soup?

Oh! By the way, I love to dip the pork ribs and the lotus root slices in soy sauce. It’s nice!

Spicy Stir Fried Winged Bean (四角豆)

Winged Bean is one of the vegetable that is not commonly seen in Singapore, but very common in Malaysia. In Singapore, general supermarket usually don’t sell this. But if you are lucky, you will found it in wet market sometimes. According to the Wikipedia, it is also known as Goa bean and Asparagus Pea or Winged Pea. But in Malaysia & Singapore, we  usually called it Four-angled bean, or 四角豆 “si-jiao-dou” in Mandarin.

Whatever. As long as it taste good. Hahas…

I saw it at Tebrau City Jusco JB over the weekend. And from the packaging, I get to know that the Malay name of winged bean is Kacang Botol. Shame on me! I had been staying in Malaysia thru my entire childhood time and eating it so often. Now then I know this is called Kacang Botol.

I won’t google it, write grandfather story here about winged bean and pretend that I know alot about it. Infact, I really know very little about this vegetable. I only know that this vegetable is good, crunchy in texture and it has slight slimy substance when it’s cut. Other than Okra / Lady Finger, this is another good source of collagen from the vegetable.

How to cook this?

Seriously, I don’t have any special idea. What I know here is the general way of home style cooking the winged bean that I learnt in Malaysia. Yea… It’s spicy stir fried. It is the most appetizing way of preparing this vegetable I assume.

Ingredients

  • 400g of Winged Bean
  • 200g of minced pork
  • 2 cloves of Garlic, chopped
  • 1 red chilli, chopped
  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • 1 small piece of belachan (about a thumb size)
  • a tablespoon of cooking oil
  • a pinch of sugar, salt & dashes of pepper to taste

Method
1. Washed winged bean, cut diagonally. Set aside.

2. In a saucepan, oil, chopped garlic, chopped red chilli, chopped onions, belachan. Fry till fragrant.

3. Add in minced pork, give it a toss. Add in winged bean, and toss.

4. A splash of water onto the wok, toss, and cover it up for awhile, open the cover, toss, and cover it up again.

5. Belachan itself is very flavorful and salty. So, you got to taste before you add any salt. If it is salty enough for you, no need to add salt. Add a pinch of sugar instead. It will slightly enhance the taste. And finally, dash abit of pepper, give it another quick toss. Off the heat & serve.

It’s easy. Right?

I hope you like it 🙂

QUICK MEAL : Tteokbokki (Korean Rice Cake)

Tteokbokki!

I had been wanting to eat this popular Korean Snack since a year ago! But I just don’t have the opportunity to buy it. The 1st time I saw this from a TV show, I already tell myself that I’m gonna find this. Several times I saw it at Takashimaya Basement. But it cost S$5 for a tiny bowl which I think there’s only about 5 to 7 pieces of rice cake in there. And the Tteokbokki that they’re selling is being kept at one corner, and it is obviously no longer warm. Max stopped me from buying it. Feelin’ miserable.

I saw this when I was in Jusco Tebrau City JB over the weekend. Without a 2nd thought, I just grab it. I don’t care! Hahahas!!!

This pack of Rice Cake (600gm) cost RM9.90, and Tteokbokki sauce (150g) cost RM7.90.

RM 9.90 + RM 7.90 = RM 17.80 * (exchange rate 2.39) = That would be around S$ 7.45 only!!! And with this pack of rice cake, I can cook alot!!! And cooking at home, I will get piping hot Tteokbokki. Hahaha!!!

This supposed to serve as a snack I suppose? It shouldn’t be a main course right? I’m not sure. But I think there’s no rules here. It’s weekend. We normally won’t take breakfast nor lunch over the weekend. We wake up slightly late, and had brunch instead. So, the next meal should be around 3pm. And normally we just eat light food as hi-tea, because dinner time is just near. A pack of rice cake like this, if I serve it as a hi-tea snack, it should be able to make 7 to 8 servings easily. And if u wanna make it as a meal (lunch maybe?), then, it serves about 4. This is my assumption. Because I only cooked half pack just to give it a try and keep the remaining in the fridge for the next round. I don’t throw a party of 8 you know? But even if I cook for 8 pax, I just paid S$ 7.45 for that pack of rice cake & Tteokbokki sauce only. Not expensive.

As usual, I dig whatever I have from the fridge. Korean cook Tteokbokki with lots of veggies and fish cakes. But I don’t have fish cakes at home. So, I don’t bother. I just cook using whatever veggies I have. That’s my lazy style. Ha!

Okays! Here’s the recipe.

Ingredient (Serves 4 small eater as Hi-Tea Snack)
300gm Korean Rice Cake
75gm Tteokbokki Sauce (or just estimate it yourself, about half pack of the sauce)
1 cups of water
some fish cakes (if you have some, go ahead and add it in)
1 small onions, julienned
1 spring onions
some carrots, julienned
a handful of cabbages, julienned
a pinch of salt to taste if you want. It’s up to individual

Method
1. In a sauce pan, bring the water to boil. Put the rice cake into the water, let it simmer under medium heat. Use a spatula to press the rice cake, you should know it when the rice cake is about to turn soft. The water will turn starchy. Just gauge it yourself.

2. Add in the Tteokbokki sauce, give it a quick stir. Add in all the veggies (and fish cake, if you have some). Mix well.

3. Simmer under low heat for awhile, taste. If you think you need to add a pinch of salt, go ahead. But I personally don’t. Until the veggies turned soft, off the heat and serve.

It’s easy isn’t it? Another quick meal done in less than 20mins.

Ahhh…. I love the color of Tteokbokki.

Look at the rice cake. It’s soft and chewy texture. I love it.

Max doesn’t like it. Although the Tteokbokki sauce taste sweet and spicy, which is quite nice. He complaint that the rice cake itself is rubbery and tasteless. Urgh! This is a rice cake! He expect it to taste like what? Like albalobe? (-_-)

Max mama likes it. When Max is grumbling about the rice cake, she commented that I should try cooking it in Chinese Style. Because she say his son is a CHINESE MAN (chinese-taste-bud). Ha! Maybe she is right. She know her son well.

If you wanna try making this, Rice cake & Tteokbokki sauce should be available at Korean food stores or hypermarkets that carry Korean Imported stuffs. I’m unsure which hypermarket has this, but I could remember there’s a Korean Mini Mart at Vivo City basement. Just opposite Giant. And another Korean Mini Mart at Kallang Leisure Mall. Besides that, I believe Orchard – Takashimaya, Istetan, CK Tang & etc should have Korean Imported stuffs. 

Try it! Remember to post your photos on Facebook and show it to me if you did yours ok?

Stay tuned 🙂

Quick Meal : Pan-Fried Saba Fish & Stir-Fried Linguine with Mixed Vegetables

It’s Friday evening. Stay up at work quite late. I managed to reach home at 7.15pm. Wanted to take a break and skip cooking tonight and eat out. But Max text me that he’s coming home for dinner. So? He expect a dinner! Gosh! I left with 30mins!

I open the fridge, and I dig out whatever I have… and I started brainstorming…

Frozen Saba! This is Max all time favorite. Got it from Giant S$8.20 for 2 pack (Promo) last weekend. This is indeed comes in handy whenever I wanna cook a quick meal.

It had been a loooooog time I never buy frozen Saba to keep stock. The reason? Because whenever I pay frying Saba, the whole house will smell sooooooo fishy, and the smell just doesn’t go away for the whole damn night! No matter how much air-freshener I spray, how I use fan to “blow” away the fishy smell also no use. But kinda no choice sometimes. Max love to eat this. So, it’s really a love-and-hate thingy. But that is BEFORE i purchase HappyCall Pan lah. It’s different now. Hahas…

Ever since I bought HappyCall Pan, my phobia of pan-frying fish is gone. The moment when Max saw me buying Saba Fish, he’s mad happy and kept asking me when will I be cooking it for him. Urgh! Ignore him anyway…

Come back to the fish. There’s no recipe for pan-frying Saba Fish. Yes! You hear me! There’s NO RECIPE at all! This is extremely easy. Even a kid can do that.

Method (Pan-Fried Saba Fish)

  1. Take the Saba Fish out of the freezer, wash the fish fillet. Pat dry using kitchen towel.
  2. A tablespoon of oil. Fish fillet on the pan straightaway. Yes! You can skip the long-waiting thawing process. Trust me, it works. Look at the thickness of Saba Fillet itself, and you will know why I say it works.
  3. In a medium heat, pan-fry it with your lid covered. If you have HappyCall Pan at home. Your work will be much easier! And the fishy smell in your house is much much much lesser.

Normally frozen fishes are soaked in brine water before they’re packed and freeze. So, it has a mild salty taste. Marinating is not necessary. Unless you don’t like it plain, you may want to baste it with some shop-bought Teriyaki sauce to add more flavor to the fish. I like my fish plain tho. It’s up to you.
…………………………………………………………………………….
While the fish is cooking…. At another stove, a large saucepan, I boiled some water, throw a handful of Linguine and let it cook.

And then.. I turn to the fridge and start digging out whatever veggies I have. I always did that. Sometimes, when I wanna cook a quick meal, I don’t really have a recipe to follow. I just cook based on what I have, what is left-over, which veggies can’t keep any longer and need to be consumed fast & bla bla bla…

Ahhh…See what I get in my fridge today? Beautiful!

With these, I shall cook stir fry Linguine with Mixed Vegetables! Asian Style! (The easiest way… hehe!)

Ingredients (Serves 2 hungry people)

  • 100grams of Linguine. Make it 120grams if you are feeding a hungry man.
  • 1/4 stick of carrot. Julienned.
  • 2 shitake mushroom, sliced.
  • 1/2 Lettuce, Julienned
  • a stalk of spring onions
  • 2 cloves of garlic, skinned, chopped.
  • 2 tablespoons of olive oil / cooking oil
  • 5 – 6 tablespoons of good quality soy sauce
  • a splash of white wine (if you have it at home)
  • salt & pepper to taste

Don’t stress yourself. No need to follow whatever veggies I use. Just relax & be flexible.

Method (Stir Fried Linguine)

  1. In a saucepan, boil water, cook Linguine (you can use Spaghetti or Angel Hair or Fettuccine. It’s your choice)
  2. Strain Linguine, set aside. Keep the starchy water that you used to cook Linguine. It will be useful later.
  3. In a saucepan, 2 tablespoon olive oil, lightly fry the chopped garlic till fragrant, add in julienned carrot & mushroom. Give it a quick toss.
  4. Add in Linguine, Lettuce, spring onions, soy sauce, salt, pepper. Toss. Add abit of the starchy water along the way, to give the noodles more moisture. Give a splash of white wine and give it a quick toss before you turn off the heat.

And… Wala!

Oh yes! The pan-fried saba fillet is ready too!

All done in less than 30minutes! And the 30minutes includes spending time shooting these photos. So, in total, i think i only spent 20 to 25minutes to prepare this meal. Haha!

The Saba fish looks charred? Yes. It looks abit charred on the picture. But the actual thing? Crisp on the outside, and juicy on the inside.

There’s nothing special about my stir fried noodles. It’s really a plain ordinary pan-fried noodles that everybody can easily do better. And the part that I wanna highlight is that… I’m really using whatever I have in the fridge. Save the time & hassle. But I do serve Max a complete meal here. Noodles, varieties of veggies, and fish.

I hope this could give you abit of idea if you wanna cook a quick meal if you fought your way thru the rush hour try to make a meal for your loved ones. Now, who say cooking is a fuss? 😀