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Posts Tagged ‘asian food’

Yes I know…Pearlyn’s been slacking again! What happened to her? Why hasn’t she been posting? Oh well…it’s the same thing again…work commitments…falling sick (AGAIN!)…lack of inspiration…moodlessness…etc etc. Well, I’m back again! 🙂

I’m not sure if any of you guys remember but I was MIA in July/August due to overwhelming “work” commitments. Up till now, I’ve yet to come up with any reasonable explanation to justify my lack of posting for that month. Well, finally, after a lot of hassling and nagging, ah koh gave me the photos I needed to make this post even worthwhile. I have to bear 50% of the lateness in this post but only because I had to do a bit of further photo editing myself.

I was actually busy with one of my “sons’ ” engagement party. About a month before the event, I was approached by the couple to handle the food side of things. After comparing prices of various caterers, it was agreed that it would beneficial for them and for me if I did the catering for the engagement. It was really exciting for me as I finally got the chance to cater for a big group of people officially, and it was the ideal event as I love weddings and engagements.

So off I went designing a menu that would entice the tastebuds of all the guests. Whoa! It was hardwork! A lot of time was spent pouring over library books, magazines and various websites. In the end, we decided on more variety but lesser quantity of each item. It was great fun revising and re-revising the menu over and over again as I decided on feasibility, deliciousness, presentation etc etc. It was frustrating too having to come up with something that would hopefully please everyone (as the saying goes: you can never please everyone!). It was also a time of bonding for me with a good friend and “sis” – Ade (who sadly has returned to Singapore), as we experimented on different food and prepared for the event. All in all it was an adrenalin packed 4 weeks filled with many ups and downs.

It was also a chance for me to try new things. Not just cooking-wise, but also in terms of baking. I was asked to make the engagement cake and was just excited at the prospect of trying new decorative ideas and brainstorming on various designs. When I saw the design at the cake decorative shop I go to for supplies, I knew then that it was THE cake! Alan doubted I’d be able to produce it as it was something I’d never tried before but being me, I was all out to prove him wrong.

I got my first taste of being a professional caterer the week leading to the event. Every night before going to bed, I’d be planning the next day’s schedule. I became a stickler to details and plans as any one being out of place would throw my entire day off. The night before the engagement, I was up till late prepping for the next day, and was up early to make sure everything was in order. Then it was off to the venue and time to “kick some ass”!

Being a perfectionist, I had selected a group of friends whom I knew could be trusted to work with and for me. With delegation and instructions, we all got down to work. I won’t say it was smooth sailing but we pulled through. We had a fair bit of wastage thanks to a couple of miscalculated accidents. But all in all we had fun and it was indeed an experience to remember.

So here are some pictures to share the amazing and memorable event with you guys and also hopefully to entice your tastebuds! 🙂

The fun and hardwork pre-event....

The fun and hardwork pre-event....

The Feast

The Feast - (fr L-R): cocktails and mocktails, sushis, nachos and dips, rosemary and balsamic glazed drumsticks

Japanese anyone?

Japanese anyone? - Assorted sushis and inaris

More food....

More food.... (L-R): BBQ pork wrapped hoisin roll, prosciutto wrapped rockmelon, pie tee and little provencal tarts

Food for the sweet tooth

Food for the sweet tooth -Mini fruit tarts, blueberry cheese tarts, serimuka and kuih lapis

Engagement Cake

Engagement Cake

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Sizzling hot dishes to keep you warm         

Sizzling hot dishes to keep you warm

Pearlyn’s been really sick…but now she’s ready to enter into and embrace the warmth, vibrance and pleasures spring has to offer. Last week, I was sick as a dog. I had a serious case of tonsillitis and was suspected to have glandular fever. Thankfully, I responded to antibiotics or else you wouldn’t hear from me for a long, long time. I was not too happy that I had to cancel a catering engagement at the last minute, but I’ll keep my fingers crossed that more opportunities will come knocking on spring’s doors!

I know it’s spring and that a winter-like post is probably not very wise but this once again was one of the many pleasures I got to experiment this winter. For those not in Tassie, winter this year was a very cold affair for us, which suits me just fine as the snow and cold are probably one of my best friends!

You know how during those cold winter nights, all you want to do is sit in front of the fireplace, with the TV or stereo playing something light in the background, a glass of wine in hand, feet tucked into the soft, fluffy carpet, a doona or a rug over you and digging into a nice steaming hot bowl of soup or plate of stew. That’s the ideal picture…perfect even some might say. This winter, I pinched a couple of sizzling hot plates off ah koh and had the best 3 dinners of my entire winter! 🙂 Oh well, mine wasn’t exactly the picture above – more like sitting in front of the heater, at a study desk in front of my computer and watching “Friends” as I ate off the hot plates – but what the heck, I was close enough to the above dream!

Personally, I think the hot plates were one of the greatest creations of men. Regardless of whether it’s a cold winter’s night or a hot summer’s evening, nothing served on a hot plate would come with any less amount of “oohs” and “aahs” from the people it’s serving. Who would have thought that a cast iron dish on a wooden board would create so much hype and anticipation? If you haven’t tried a meal on a sizzling hot plate, you need to. Somehow, even the most simple dishes taste absolutely stunning on them. 

I haven’t had yee mee for a long time. I don’t really know what these noodles are called in English, but they are these round coil of noodles which have been deep fried hence are really crispy. In Malaysia, it’s normally served on hot plates hence the famous “Tit Ban Yee Meen” (Hot Plate Yee Mee). Call me fussy, some may even say weird, but in my mind, yee mee is best served on a hot plate that’s why I’ve never cooked it in Tassie since I didn’t own a hot plate! But the instant I got my hands on Ah Koh’s hot plates, I knew this was the dish I was going to whip up.

Hot Plate Yee Mee (Tit Ban Yee Meen)

Ingredients:

  • Yee mee
  • Bok choy
  • Chinese shitake mushrooms
  • Prawns
  • Chicken thigh fillets, cut into bite size pieces
  • Baby corn, sliced lengthwise
  • Garlic
Seasoning:
  • Soy sauce
  • Oyster sauce
  • Chinese cooking wine
  • Salt
  • Sugar
  • Pepper
  • Sesame oil
  • Corn flour
Method:
  • Marinade chicken with the above seasoning for at least 2 hours or overnight. Soak mushrooms in warm water to allow it to soften. Drain and squeeze out the water.
  • Heat a wok on high. Add oil and fry minced garlic till fragrant. Add chicken and toss well. When chicken is about 80% cooked, add corn, mushroom and bok choy. Allow to simmer for a while. Add the prawns last. Mix corn flour with a little bit of cold water and add into mixture. 
  • In the meantime. place the hot plate on another stovetop, and allow to heat on medium. Drizzle with sesame oil. Put 2 pieces of yee mee on the plate and allow them to brown a little so it’s nice and crispy.
  • Season to taste and ladle the hot stirfry and grave onto hot plate. It will sizzle and gravy will thicken a little. 
  • Serve immediately.

Among some of the other dishes whipped up during my triple sizzling hot nights were hot plate tofu, cik kong (black vinegar) pork chops and spicy stir fry. Hhmm…Yum! Just thinking about them now makes my mouth water! The hot plate tofu is probably another of the famous hot plate dishes often served. I normally make something similar without the hot plate but this time round, frying the egg tofu using the hot plates was a lot more fun and definitely looked a lot tastier!

Hot Plate Tofu (Tit Ban Tau Foo)

Ingredients:

  • Chicken/Pork mince
  • Egg tofu, cut into half inches slices
  • Egg
  • Spring onion, chopped finely, split white from green parts
  • Garlic, minced finely
Seasoning:
  • As above
Method:
  • Season mince with the above seasoning. 
  • Heat a wok on high and fry garlic and bottom white part of spring onion till fragrant. Add mince and toss well together.
  • Add seasoning and cornflour mixture, allow to simmer.
  • In the meantime, heat hot plate on another stovetop. Drizzle with olive oil. Place tofu and allow it to brown on both sides. Remove and drain on kitchen towel. 
  • Crack an egg onto hot plate and make sure it coats the whole plate well. Once egg has set, place tofu on top then ladle mince and grave over it. Sprinkle remaining spring onions and serve immediately.

I’ve decided that the next 2 items I’m going to be investing in to make my all my winter nights to come sizzling hot and on fire are the hot plate and the claypot. After you’ve tried it, you’ll be converted like me. 

 

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supreme pork chop, originally uploaded by pearlyn83.When I was a kid, my parents used to bring me to Esquire Kitchen for dinner. I loved their pork chop noodles there. This recipe, once again, is from my Hawkers’ Fair Simplified book. Sweet and sour in taste, it was perfect with rice.Ingredients:

  • Pork fillets
  • Oyster sauce
  • Sugar
  • Salt
  • Sesame oil
  • 1 egg
  • 2 tbsp plain flour
  • 1 tbsp custard powder
  • 1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
  • 200 ml water
  • Corn flour

Sauce:

  • Tomato sauce
  • Chilli sauce
  • Worcestershire sauce
  • Curry powder
  • Sugar
  • Salt
  • Soy sauce
  • Water

Method:

  • Use the blunt edged side of the cleaver and pound the pork chops till tender and approximately 5-10 mm thick. Add in all the marinade except for the corn flour and season for a few hours or overnight.
  • Take the pork fillets out from the fridge and mix well with corn flour.
  • Heat oil for deep frying. Deep fry till golden brown. Dish and drain on paper towel.
  • Mix sauce ingredients together in a bowl. Bring to slight simmer in a wok. Add in pork fillets and mix well. Dish up and serve.

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deep fried special bean curd, originally uploaded by pearlyn83.

deep fried special bean curd, originally uploaded by pearlyn83.

 

I got this recipe from the Hawkers’ Fair Simplified book my mum bought me. Krys and I made these together but ours obviously didn’t look as good as the one in the picture. But the taste was nevertheless not compromised. Every piece was wiped out and it was praises all around.

Ingredients:

  • 2 pieces of soft bean curd
  • 2 pieces of egg bean curd
  • 150g fish paste
  • Fresh coriander, chopped
  • Carrots, chopped
  • Red chillies, chopped (optional)
  • Chicken stock granules
  • Salt & pepper
  • Corn flour & oil for deep frying

Method:

  • Mash soft and egg bean curd until fine. Add in the remaining ingredients and mix well.
  • Pour mixture into a greased pan and steam in a wok till set.
  • Leave aside and allow it to cool.
  • Cut into pieces. Coat the pieces with corn flour and deep fry
  • Dipping sauce: Mix chilli sauce and mayonnaise in a bowl.

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ayam percik – pre-grill, originally uploaded by pearlyn83.

ayam percik – post-grill, originally uploaded by pearlyn83.

ayam percik, originally uploaded by pearlyn83.

Selamat Hari Raya Aidilfitri to all my Muslim friends! To those who do not know, Hari Raya Aidilfitri also known as Hari Raya Puasa literally means Fasting Day of Celebration. This is because during the month before Hari Raya – the Ramadan month, it is compulsory for Muslims to fast from dawn to dusk. Hence, at the end of the month, they celebrate by gathering with family members and friends to feast together.

I’ve mentioned in my previous post that during the Ramadan month, many food bazaars will pop up all over the place, selling delicious food. Last time, one of my favourite and a must every time I visited the bazaars was Ayam Percik – a Malaysian East Coast specialty. It’s a Malay style chicken which is marinated in a spicy coconut gravy and traditionally BBQ-ed over charcoal. Yum!

This is a long overdue post. During the Ramadan month, Krystal was tempting me for days with photos of Ramadan bazaars posted in various blogs, making my mouth water and craving getting stronger daily. I couldn’t control my craving any longer, hence decided to create my own Ayam Percik. Our friends (Duy and Jeeuk) invited us over to his place for dinner – but instead of them cooking, I was to cook there. Since Jeeuk missed nasi lemak a lot, I made sambal and served it with coconut rice.

    Ingredients:

    • Chicken Maryland
    • 2 Teaspoons Tamarind Pulp
    • Lemon Grass,(bruised)
    • 1 Cup Water
    • 1 Cup Thick Coconut Milk
    • 1 1/2 Tablespoons Sugar
    • Salt to Taste

    Marinade:

    • Salt
    • Sugar
    • Chili Powder
    • Turmeric Powder

    Spice Paste:

    • Candlenuts
    • Garlic
    • Dried Chillies, soaked in Hot Water
    • Red Chillies
    • Ginger
    • Shallots

    Method:

    • Mix the marinade, combine with the chicken and season overnight.
    • Chop the spice paste ingredients and blend finely.
    • Heat Oil in a frying-pan and fry the spice paste, tamarind and lemon grass for 5 minutes. Add water and cook for another 3 minutes. Add coconut Milk, sugar and salt and simmer over a medium fire for 5 minutes.
    • Barbecue the chicken over a low charcoal fire or under a grill, basting frequently with the gravy, until the chicken is cooked.

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    Sushi & Inari

    sushi, originally uploaded by pearlyn83.

    inari, originally uploaded by pearlyn83.If I had to say what my favourite food is, I’ll probably have to say Japanese food. When I was a kid, I hated fish, especially Chinese style fish (eg the steam and fried fish you get at Chinese restaurants). Up till today, I’m still not a fan of it and would avoid it as much as possible. However, weird as it sounds, I loved sashimi – raw tuna being my favourite! When we were staying in Mauritius, we had a family friend who was the best sashimi chef. The raw tuna that goes through her knife, comes out thinly sliced, fresh and “melts” in your mouth. Hhmmm….In Malaysia, my favourite place for Japanese buffet is at the Renaissance Hotel. In my opinion, they have THE best jap buffet! They have a wide selection of japanese food – ranging from sushi, california rolls, sashimi, teppanyaki, desserts etc. Yum! Unfortunately, Tassie had no good jap restaurant until lately. When Orizuru first opened at Mures Fish Centre, they were really good. Sadly, the quality of the food there has dropped tremendously. Thankfully, Kawasemi opened in Moonah or else, there goes my source of good jap food.I learned to make sushi in my first year here. Over the years, after trialling over and over again, I’ve come to realise that the best way to prepare sushi rice is in a saucepan over medium-low heat. Remember to cool the rice fully. DO NOT ever serve hot sushi rice.Ingredients:

    • 300g Japanese short grain rice
    • 330ml water
    • 4 tbsp Japanese rice vinegar
    • 2 tbsp sugar
    • 1/2 tsp salt
    • Japanese bean curd/tofu skin
    • A few sheets of nori seaweed
    • Fresh raw salmon/tuna
    • Prawns
    • Avocado
    • Carrots
    • Wasabi and soy sauce

    Method:

    • Wash rice and drain well with a sieve. Put the rice and water in a saucepan, cover the lid and bring to boil over medium heat. When you hear the sound of boiling coming from the pot, lower the heat and allow it to simmer for a further 10 minutes. Remove from the heat and allow to stand with lid on for another 10 minutes.
    • In the meantime, prepare the vinegar mixture. Heat vinegar, sugar and salt in a saucepan till sugar and salt dissolves. Remove from the heat and set aside to cool.
    • Transfer the rice into a large, clean bowl. Slowly pour the vinegar mixture into the rice and with slicing motions, coat the rice with the vinegar. Set aside to cool completely.
    • Boil carrots to soften them then slice into thin slices. Slice avocado and raw salmon/tuna into thin slices. Bring a kettle to boil and soak prawns for about 5-10 minutes.
    • Prepare a bowl of water with a few drops of vinegar in it and lay out the sushi mat. Wet your hands with the vinegar water (this is to prevent the rice from sticking to your fingers). Place a sheet of seaweed and use your hands to spread rice evenly. The filling is laid out at the bottom of the seaweed. With your finger, spread some wasabi along the rice. Place carrots, wasabi, prawns/tuna/salmon across horizontally.
    • Slowly lift the mat with the seaweed and ingredients and lightly press and roll at the same time. As you roll, lightly press the sushi so the shape forms properly.
    • Cut into thin slices with a sharp knife that’s been wet slightly with the vinegar water. Lay out on serving plate.
    • Use your hands and form small rice rolls. Spread a little wasabi and top with a slice of raw salmon/tuna.
    • Drain inari sheets properly. Form medium size rice rolls and slowly slit open the middle compartment. Stuff it with the rice roll and spread a little wasabi. Seal the edges and lay out on serving plate.
    • Serve with wasabi and soy sauce (and preserved ginger slices if you want). Itadakimas!

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    sweet&sour crabs, originally uploaded by pearlyn83.

     

    crabs&toast, originally uploaded by pearlyn83.

    During dinner last week, someone mentioned crabs and suddenly everyone wanted to eat crabs. Hence, we agreed that on Saturday, we’ll treat ourselves to an “awesome” meal. My mum got me a recipe book sometime ago – Hawkers’ Fair Simplified and there’s a recipe in there for Crabs in Sweet and Sour Sauce. It was my first time cooking crabs, so I was pretty excited.

    Saturday’s dinner was a whole house affair. We all played our part in the preparation (which doesn’t happen very often) and there was abundant of laughter going around. The cutting of the crabs was the highlight of the day. CY said it was easy, so we assigned him the job. Throughout the entire process, Krys and him were arguing about how to do it, what to cut, how to clean etc. etc. It was funny just listening to them. In conclusion, the meal turned out pretty well. The house was flooded with a very strong “seafoody” smell as I was cooking. Mmmmm…! In KL, I had crabs served with toast at Fatty’s Crab, so we did the same this round.

    Ingredients:

    • Garlic
    • Shallots
    • Baby hot chillies (Chilli padi)
    • Ginger
    • 1 egg, beaten

    Seasoning:

    • Tomato sauce
    • Chilli sauce
    • White rice vinegar
    • Soy sauce
    • Oyster sauce
    • Sugar
    • Salt
    • Corn flour + water

    Method:

    • Minced (or blend together) garlic, shallots, ginger and chillies.
    • Heat oil in wok. Deep fry crabs until cook. Drain and set aside.
    • Leave a bit of oil in the wok and fry garlic mixture till fragrant. Add in the rest of the seasoning and bring to boil. Add in crabs, beaten egg and corn flour mixture to thicken.
    • Dish up and serve hot.

     

     

     

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