Sunday, June 24, 2007

Har (prawn) Mee

I was totally craving for Prawn Mee and remembered I have prawn shells that I've been saving in the freezer. So I made prawn and pork rib soup served with Beehoon.

~ Mina

Ingredients for the broth:
- 4 cups of water
- 1 quart bag of prawn shells (clean the prawn head)
- 4 Pork ribs
- 2 tsp salt
- 2 tbsp fish sauce

Other ingredients:
- Beehoon
- Cooked prawn
- You Choy or any other leafy vegetbales
- Fried onions

Heat water to boil. Add prawn shells and pork ribs. Turn the heat down to low and cook for 1 hour. Add salt and fish sauce for seasoning.

Blanch beehoon and vegetable. Put in the bowl and add prawns, pork ribs. Pour broth over the nooldes. Garnish with fried onions.

Saturday, June 23, 2007

Thai Panang Curry

Last month my husband's company organized a cooking class at a local Thai restaurant they go to often. There about 20 of his co-workers and their wives eager to learn the secret to Thai cooking. We made Thai Panang Curry which turns out to be a lot easier than I expected. I've tried to make it at home twice since.

Here's my version with chicken breast, eggplants and carrots.

~ Mina

Panang Curry Ingredients:
1 Can of Coconut Milk
A couple of Kaifer Lime Leaves
Chicken tenders
2 Chinese Eggplants
2 Carrots
1 Can of Baby Corn
2 Tbsp of Red Curry Paste
2 Tbsp of Fish Sauce
2 Tbsp of Sugar
Basil leaves

- Cut the chicken, eggplants, carrots and baby corns into bite sized cubes
- Using medium heat, add in 1/2 can of head of the coconut milk and let it come to boil
- Add in 2-3 tbsp of curry paste and mix well
- Add chicken to the curry/coconut mixture and cook until the chicken is thoroughly cooked
- Add the carrots, eggplants and baby corn
- Add in the other 1/2 of the remainder of the coconut milk and 1/2 cup of water. Keep stirring
- Add 2 tbsp of fish sauce and sugar
- When the coconut milk thickens, add in the basil leaves and lime leaves
- Taste the curry. Add more fish sauce or sugar depending on your preference. If you want it spicier, just add chili pepper flakes.

I also made a side dish of vegetable with fried tofu.

A bunch of Tagu Choy
Fried Tofu
Minced garlic
1 tbsp of spicy Shrimp Paste

- Heat minced garlic and shrimp paste in the wok
- Add the Taguy Choy and fried tofu
- Cook until vegetable is done

Thursday, June 14, 2007

Mushrooms Stroganoff

I was so thrilled when they gave away these beautiful mushrooms at work.

I did a quick search on, and found a simple Mushrooms Stroganoff dish. The creme fraiche and fresh parsley were freebies as well. Score! The only thing from my pantry was white wine and pasta.

1 tablespoon butter
2 large garlic cloves, chopped
1 large onion, thinly sliced
2 pounds mushrooms, sliced
1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
1/2 cup dry white wine
1 cup nonfat sour cream
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
12 ounces linguine, freshly cooked

Melt butter in heavy large Dutch oven over medium-high-heat. Add garlic and sauté 30 seconds. Add onion and sauté 2 minutes. Add mushrooms and sauté until tender and most liquid in pot evaporates, about 10 minutes. Reduce heat to medium. Add flour and stir 1 minute. Add white wine and cook until mixture thickens, stirring frequently, about 3 minutes. Mix in sour cream, then nutmeg. Season mushroom mixture to taste with salt and pepper. Add linguine to pot; toss to blend well and serve.



Speaking with Hawaiian fusion chef Roy Yamaguchi actually made me crave Spam. Go figure! So, since my husband was away on business, I decided to make myself some Spam onigiri.

I bought these nifty onigiri maker for $1. It's awesome.


Monday, June 11, 2007

Fried Macaroni & Cheese

Rae has been on my case about not posting for awhile. My's been a busy busy month!
Anyway, I've been wanting to post about this Fried Macaroni & Cheese that we had last month at Cheesecake Factory. This was our appetizer and boy, were we surprised by the size! The fried macaroni & cheese was the size of a tennis ball. It was very tasty with a creamy tomato sauce.
I was only able to eat husband managed to eat 3!

~ Mina

Sunday, June 10, 2007

Prima Taste Restaurant - Vancouver

A few weeks ago we visited our friends in Vancouver, B.C. Before going I did a little research and was excited to find out that there is a Prima Taste Restaurant there. I told my friends we have to go try it out. They've never had Singaporean dishes before so we ordered the classic favorite, Hainanese Chicken Rice. One of our friends is vegetarian so we ordered a few vegetarian dishes. I was so hungry that I kept forgetting to take photos before eating...but I managed to take photos of a few dishes. Overall, I liked the flavors and was not disappointed. Our friends loved the dishes -- they thought the dishes were different from anything they've ever had. Like most folks in the NorthWest, they are more familiar with Thai food.

~ Mina

Belachan Eggplants

Hainanese Chicken Rice


Vancouver, Canada
Prima Taste Restaurant
570 Robson Street
Vancouver BC, V6B 2B7
Tel: 1 60 4 685 7881

Wednesday, June 6, 2007

Lard, The Magic Ingredient

It seems for most Singaporean hawkers, lard is their not-so-secret weapon to whipping out mouth-watering char kuey teow, Hokkien mee, and bak chor mee. However, the way the lard is used is still a mystery to me. Did they use lard as cooking fat, in place of oil? Is it a combination? If so, what's the ratio? Or did they just use the pork's back fat, and fry it up like cracklings? Or is the answer: All of the above?

I decided to do a little investigating on the Web. I found several recipes that call exclusively for lard as the "cooking oil." And the fried pork fat bits are separate. Mystery solved. Now, I know lard has a terrible reputation, but new studies have shown that they're actually better for you than vegetable shortening and margarine. Of course, moderation is the key.

Bruce Aidells, Bay-area's sausage king, frowns upon the store-bought packaged bricks of lard, which are "highly processed and don't taste anything like real lard." Instead, he encourages you to make your own. Here's his lard recipe"

6 pounds pork back fat, cut into 1/2-inch cubes

1.) Preheat the oven to 300F
2.) Put cubed fat in large pot or Dutch oven, making sure it's no more than half full
3.) Slip into oven and bake until the fat begins to melt.
4.) Stir the mixture every 45 minutes, until the bits of cracklings (fat) brown and float to the top. It could take as long as 4 hours.
5.) Strain lard and store in canning jars. Cool and refrigerate.

If you grind them, the cooking time can be reduced.
The lard could store up to 6 months.

It's tedious, but could be worth it.


Tuesday, June 5, 2007

Eh, What's Up Doc?

I don't know what possessed me to buy this large bunch of carrots from the Farmers' Market. Maybe I was seduced by the pretty green leaves. Honestly, I don't really like carrots.

So, I decided to get a little creative. I made carrot and scallion fritters with a recipe I got from Gourmet magazine. It was quite tasty. It does require some kind of sauce, though. Maybe a garlic mayo would work.

3/4 cup coarsely grated carrot
1/2 cup thinly sliced scallion
1 large egg, beaten lightly
1/3 cup fine dry bread crumbs
vegetable oil for deep-frying

In a bowl combine well the carrot, the scallion, the egg, the bread crumbs, and salt and pepper to taste. In a large skillet heat 1 inch of the oil until it registers 375°F. on a deep-fat thermometer, in batches drop the carrot mixture into the oil by tablespoons, and fry the fritters for 1 1/2 to 2 minutes, or until they are golden. Transfer the fritters to paper towels and let them drain. Serve the fritters as hors d' oeuvres or as a side dish.


Mee Pok

Fellow bloggers, I need help. I have all the right elements of a mee pok dish (pretty right?), but I'm not happy with the taste. All I used was sambal and fish sauce. Anyone know how to achieve the spicy/vinegary sauces you find at mee pok stalls?


Saturday, June 2, 2007

JJ Cafe

Ever since my friend told me that there's good chicken rice at JJ Cafe, I've been obsessing over it. I finally guilted my poor, tired husband into going with me on a Sunday night. I eagerly ordered the Hainanese chicken rice, he ordered a pork chop rice with black pepper sauce, and we shared a salt and pepper fried chicken. Most people told me JJ was not very good, maybe OK for a late night, post partying snack. I have to agree. The chicken rice was on the greasy side, and the chicken was too warm. The pork chop rice was good, though.

JJ Hong Kong Cafe
447 W Garvey Ave Ste 102
Monterey Park, CA 91754
(626) 280-3833