3 Days of Non-stop Feasting @ Chinese New Year 2015 (19-21Feb2015)

as usual, had a very foodful chinese new year. it was just a spate of continuous eating, meals & snacks. no matter if i skipped meals, as there were continuous munching of snacks to fill the gaps, so weight watching was quite simply a lost cause.

my happy chinese new year blessings to all my friends here

CNY Eve

for CNY eve we had our reunion dinner at my elder brother’s place.

this year i made buddha-jump-over-the-wall(BJOTW), 1/2spicy duck 盐水鸭 & using the same marinade, a spicy belly pork.

buddha jump over the wall ingredients

buddha jump over the wall ingredients

buddha jump over the wall ingredients

buddha jump over the wall ingredients

the BJOTW was a poor man’s version. apart from a can of 6 pieces small abalones & good thick mushrooms, the other ingredients were cheap (limpets) and mostly unhealthy (pig trotter, pig ear, belly pork, pig head meat).

look was impressive (top photo), taste was pretty good. but i was not overly impressed with my own effort. there was too much food anyway & didn’t really need more unhealthy food – will skip this next CNY.

pencai 盆菜

pencai 盆菜

pencai 盆菜

pencai 盆菜

my sis brought the pencai 盆菜. flavours was very good, and the small abalones much better than what i had. this year pencai 盆菜very expensive everywhere. hers was a very much cheaper one only S$138 for 6pax.

hoe see fat choy2 蚝屎发菜(好事发财)

hoe see fat choy 蚝屎发菜(好事发财)

hoe see fat choy 蚝屎发菜(好事发财)

hoe see fat choy 蚝屎发菜(好事发财)

my wife made her usual hoe see fat choy 蚝屎发菜(好事发财), and as usual very nice, though the ones she made later on Day2 was even better, tastier.

braised pig stomach

braised pig stomach

my s-i-l’s mom made the braised pig stomach (though nowadays the person actually making it was the helper). this a dish i always like.

char siew & roast pork

char siew & roast pork

my niece made very good char siew & roast pork. she made a small business of it, selling 20kg of the tasty dish over the internet.

my spicy duck 盐水鸭 was good too. it was a lighter version c/w my teochew braised duck. in fact this dish is served as appetiser in shanghai, nanjing, jiangnan locality.

spicy belly pork

spicy belly pork

i used the same spice to do the spicy belly pork. this was ok but not great. i did this again on Day2 & that was miles better!^^

mantis prawn

mantis prawn

chilli mantis prawn & pomfret

chilli mantis prawn & pomfret

my brother bought very large mantis prawns, 5 pieces for S$35. i did not take any. it wasn’t too great also but certainly looked nice. the chilli though was very good, better than most chilli crabs. 🙂

pomfret

pomfret

pomfret was usual. i did not try it either, just too much food.

tofu with leeks

tofu with leeks

tofu with leek, and broccoli

tofu with leek, and broccoli

i liked all the vege.

my brother tried eating out for 3 years for CNY eve. we went to joyden (previously called west coast seafood). food was quite good & not too expensive, however with say 13pax or more, it still came to >S$600. all of us cook, so it was so much more fun just to cook some dishes & bring over. i definitely preferred our own homecooked CNY eve dinner. ^^

CNY Day 1

breakfast spread

breakfast spread

again our family tradition, on CNY Day 1, we went over to my brother’s place for breakfast.

hoe see fat choy2 蚝屎发菜(好事发财)

hoe see fat choy 蚝屎发菜(好事发财)

tanhoon fungus

tanhoon fungus

many of the dishes were leftover from CNY eve dinner.

rabbit fish & salmon sashimi

rabbit fish & salmon sashimi

there were too much food on CNY eve, so we kept the prawns for Day1 breakfast, and added the rabbit fish知县鱼 (very sweet) & the salmon sashimi my wife bought (very good too!).

tofu & leeks

tofu & leeks

leftovers from last evening!

mushrooms & greens

mushrooms & greens

& some more vegetables. ^^

CNY Day 2

CNY Day2 is my wife’s tradition. she would invite her brothers & sister & their families (nephews & grand nephews & grand niece).

this year we took a family photo. & there are 26pax + our dog rusty. ^^

i made my usual poached chicken 白斩鸡. this time it was especially good – colour, texture, sweetness! everyone just loved this dish.^^

the miso pork was very good too. this the longest i put in the oven, 8hrs at 90degC/85degC.^^ the result was excellent. the miso marinade gave it excellent flavours & the slow low-temperature braise an excellent texture. i have learned that 90degC is the optimum temperature to convert collagen to tasty gelatine & texture, so this made the miso pork texture & bite really good!

flavoured pork 风味五花肉

flavoured pork 风味五花肉

i did the same for the flavoured pork 风味五花肉, and this was excellent too, with a different sichuan spice marinade.

tanhoon fungus

tanhoon fungus

we had the same tanhoon fungus.

chilli pork ribs

chilli pork ribs

& my helper’s chilli pork ribs.

deepfried chicken wings

deepfried chicken wings

some chicken wigs for the young ones.

funghi linguine

funghi linguine

funghi linguine

funghi linguine

funghi linguine

funghi linguine

for my niece & her husband who are vegetarians, i made a funghi linguine. also for my wife’s sister. it was really good. they all loved it, and there was a bit of leftovers for the nephews.

after that it was my tofu cheese cake & tiramisu, which disappeared in no time.

ice jelly with longans, palm fruits

ice jelly with longans, palm fruits

i especially liked the ice jelly with longans, palm fruits my wife’s sil made. she always bring that for our gatherings. very refreshing. i had several helpings.

c.h.e.f andy

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Protected: 12-course Homecooked Buffet Dinner for RI Reunion Committee & Friends on 6Feb2015

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12-course Homecooked Buffet Dinner for RI Reunion Committee & Friends on 6Feb2015

a friend brought shepherd's pie

a friend brought shepherd’s pie

had a homecooked dinner for 22pax RI friends on 6.2.2015. 🙂

these group of friends were mostly of the committee that organised the recent RI reunion dinner on 22.12.2014 attended by 118 old schoolmates & 10 teachers. well done people!^^

i prepared 12 dishes including 2 desserts. & a friend brought shepherd’s pie & another brought cookies.

shepherd’s pie was very good. my daughter had some from the little leftover the next day & she thought the potatoes were moist & soft & the beef flavour was good.

maybe i should try making this too. shepherd’s pie is a great party food.

#1 thai prawn tanhoon

#1 thai prawn tanhoon

#1 my helper’s thai prawn tanhoon is usually a very appetising dish, spicy, tangy, tasty. this evening though it seemed to be a bit dry. about 1/4 was leftover (where usually it is finished). a friend (who comes for dinner regularly) later told me that some parts the taste was not quite the usual he had. not sure why, maybe the quantity was too much for the wok & the tanhoon was not mixed consistently.

#2 i did a Nobu miso cod.  it can be pre cooked & served cold, and the miso firmed up the flaky texture of cod so it is easier to cut into small serving pieces.^^

#3 i did my usual poached chicken 白斩鸡. this is easy to prepare dish. on this day though, i was dreaming & removed the chicken after 10mins boiling (w/o poaching it for another 20mins) & placed in ice water. though i recovered by poaching it again for longer 25mins, the temperature change caused the parts near the bones to be red/pink when i deboned it later. so i had to poach the cut pieces another time. sian! haha!

i asked several friends afterwards & they all thought the chicken was alright (& well finished), i guess it was quite ok but the moist, glistening look (like the duck had in photos below) was gone & the meat would be less tasty.

#4 盐水鸭 spicy poached duck was a replacement dish (i went 3 times to get salmon belly for miso salmon but they were unavailable). this nanjing 盐水鸭 is a 风味鸭, a bit more exotic flavours with sichuan peppercorn chillies.

it is 1 of my favourites as it has less strong flavours c/w teochew braised duck 卤鸭 & is often served as a starter in taiwanese restaurants & in shanghai, nanjing etc, the 江南region.

#5 蒜泥白肉 spicy garlic pork had been a crowd favourite in my dinners (when i served chinese food). it was easy to make as i adapted the pot roast method (cold crockpot on low slow gentle braising). so i just needed to place the belly pork in a cold crockpot with water (added salt & sugar for brining) on low for 5hrs to temperature 79degC.^^

the only thing left to do was just to prepare the spicy sichuan sauce to drizzle over the pork & japanese cucumbers.

spicy pork ribs

#6 spicy pork ribs

#6 my helper makes a very good spicy pork ribs, so that is a staple in my chinese dinners. one friend repeatedly proclaimed how much he liked the dish.^^

#7 my dry wok prawns combined pan-grilled bbq flavours with a baked-in-shell moist texture + the nice flavours of chilli padi & fish sauce infused under high wok temperature. always a popular dish.

sambal seabass

#8 sambal seabass

#8 my helper’s sambal seabass, another bedrock of my chinese dinners, was almost cleaned up before my “professional photographers” had time to train their cameras.^^

#9 the spicy seafood fried rice was modelled after crystal jade lamian xialongbao’s. unable to match that, but it was pretty good with bismati long grain rice & nice sichuan peppercorn chilli flavours.

poached romaine lettuce with shitake

#10 poached romaine lettuce with shitake

#10 my helper’s poached romaine lettuce with shitake is also a regular in my chinese dinners (usually she uses hk kailan but this time it was romaine lettuce just as good).^^

#11 everyone fell in love with the tofu cheese cake. maybe the trick was just to cut an ultra thin slice, so everyone thought it was so good & clamouring to have more. a friend had 3 helpings.^^

#12 one friend had a photo with him holding up the emptied tiramisu dish & biting the serving spoon (like nadal biting his grand slam champions trophy). i think tiramisu was just as well received but tofu cheesecake was a bit less common so everyone was intrigued by it.^^

cookies instructions

cookies instructions

a friend brought almond, shortbread & mamor cookies

a friend brought almond, shortbread & mamor cookies

a friend brought almond, shortbread & mamor cookies

a friend brought almond, shortbread & mamor cookies

a friend brought very nice cookies – almond, shortbread & mamor.

now i am thinking of trying almond & shortbread. mamor looked too exquisite & too high effort-to-results ratio for lazy & utilitarian me. told her if i want it, i will just invite her. haha!

another friend brought 6 bottles of wine & another the whole ice box with water & softdrinks.

there was also grapes. another friend packed a fruit basket for me so we were eating custard apples, mangosteens, chiku, guava, mango etc for the next several days.

& a friend brought some seaweed & almond biscuits.^^

it was really a fun, enjoyable & most satisfying get-together.

c.h.e.f andy

Protected: Fun & Satisfying Homecooked 13-course Dinner for 15pax on 3Oct2014

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Fun & Satisfying Homecooked 13-course Dinner for 15pax on 3Oct2014

had a very s  satisfying homecooked dinner last evening on 3.10.2014. 🙂

while i really enjoy cooking for my family & friends even if there is considerable effort (& a close friend said exactly what it felt like – he really enjoyed it so he did not see it as effort), the point is how to plan the dishes & keep improving to manage the dinner smoothly & achieve best results with least effort. this is also part of the fun. 🙂

i decided to follow a friend’s lead to serve all dishes pre-cooked or served at the start buffet style instead of course by course (i enjoyed the delicious food at 4 of his makan sessions, most recently at a scrumptious homechef mooncake dinner on 8.9.2014).

it is quite important actually not to be disrupted from dinner conversation even though going into the kitchen to cook every course does have its own satisfaction. 🙂 i may even try that for my monterosso seafood risotto, lobster pasta. for king prawn ramen in golden sauce etc which are best served in individual portions, it seems best still to serve them course by course. so i do those for smaller sit down dinners. 🙂

#1 poached chicken

#1 poached chicken

#1 poached chicken – i brined in sugar & salt for 48hrs which made it tasty & moist & then 10mins simmered & 20-25mins poached, then cold water. this a crowd favourite with many supporters. 🙂

#2 braised pig trotters & #3 braised belly pork – i did them together using the cold crockpot method & set meat thermometer to 82degC. this would take about 5hrs, gentle slow & low temperature braising. i did this 1 day before. both were tender, gelatinous but still firm. i prefer this firmer texture.

#4 盐水鸭 – i applied a dry brine seasoning rub & put in chiller for for 48hrs (main condiment is sichuan spicy chilli sauce). cooking method same as poached chicken, but 15mins simmered & 30mins poached. duck was tender & tasty but i felt the 风味 taste was not pronouced enough like last time.

#5 蒜泥白肉 – i got the pork a day before dinner so only brined 24hrs. used the same cold crockpot method to produce a very gentle braise using chicken stock from the poached chicken. this one again many supporters.

#6 6hr "sous vide" miso lamb shoulder

#6 6hr “sous vide” miso lamb shoulder

#6 6hr “sous vide” miso lamb shoulder – more or less perfected this dish. the miso tempered the strong gamey taste & 90degC was apparently the optimum temperature to break down collagen (tough connective tissues) to tasty gelatine, so a very tasty, tender dish. 🙂

1 friend said she especially liked the dish. another mentioned it was a bit sweet. i would probably reduce the sweetness in the miso marinade a bit.

#7 peanut carrots pig trotter soup

#7 peanut carrots pig trotter soup

#7 peanut carrots pig trotter soup

#7 peanut carrots pig trotter soup

#7 peanut carrots pig trotter soup – peanut porkrib soup is a common nice lie tong 例汤. i preferred to do my pig trotters w/o bones & the toe ends so i used those leftovers for the soup, which worked perfectly & added a gelatine texture to the soup. i added some carrots & also as the amount of soup was not enough for 15pax & i did not want to dilute the soup (better not enough soup than enough diluted soup), the chicken stock came to rescue. this i added & the soup tasted quite perfect for me. 🙂

so it was kind of a planned & orderly execution. braised pig trotters & belly pork i did 1 day before, and the leftover pig trotter bones & tips I made soup 1 day before. this freed up the crockpot for the 蒜泥白肉 on the day. chicken & duck were brined 48hrs before & an easy 10mins+20mins for chicken & 15mins+30mins for 1/2duck simmered + poached. miso lamb was marinated 3days before & just gone into oven for 6hrs on dinner day.

easy eh? 🙂

i only had to do the seafood fried rice & wok grilled prawns, nearer dinner time.

i cooked the rice in rice cooker in the morning (forgot to do day before), & i fried the rice with the sichuan spicy chilli early.

about 1 hr (530pm) before dinner at 630pm, i fried in butter the small prawns & squid. when 90% guests arrived, i heat the fried rice & seafood in the wok together, & i did the dry wok king prawns with ginger, garlic, chilli padi & fish sauce. so every dish was ready to serve together. 🙂

#10 sambal seabass

#10 sambal seabass

#11 poached hk kailan with shitake

#11 poached hk kailan with shitake

aunty bes did the #10 sambal seabass & #11 poached hk kailan with shitake. everyone loved the fish. 1 friend commented the kailan was so vibrant in colour. kailan was poached & usually looked greener.

& everyone loved the tofu cheese cake & tiramisu. i did them 1 day before. 1 friend said the dessert topped everything. 🙂

1 friend would be celebrating her birthday few days later, so i asked another to bring a candle (i did not have one) & used the tofu cheese cake as the birthday cake. 🙂

c.h.e.f andy

12-course Homecooked Dinner for 9pax on 15Jul2014

#1 cured salmon

#1 cured salmon

an update for memories.

did a 12-course chinese dinner for friends on 15.7.2014. what’s notable this time were 3 new dishes – salted egg prawns,  steamed japanese seabass 小黄鱼 & seafood fried rice. dishes all good, except lava cake was disaster as lava cake though taste was good (for a brownie…haha..). 🙂

#2 steamed oyster with light soy sauce & olive oil

#2 steamed oyster with light soy sauce & olive oil

#1 cured salmon & #2 steamed oysters were quite new dishes too, served for the first time during my recent lake como, cinque terre, milan grand tour tasting menu for RI friends on 2.7.2014.

the very fresh salmon fillet was bought on the day itself & brined in salt & sugar solution for 4 hours. nice colour & tasty.

the large oysters were IQF (individual quick frozen) from sheng shiong just S$11.95 for 1 kg pack, steamed with 2 teaspoon light soy sauce, 2 tablespoon olive oil, sliced ginger & chilli padi for 2 minutes.

#3 poached kampong chicken

#3 poached kampong chicken

#3 poached kampong chicken was quite sweet & tasty. this time though the chicken tasted a bit gamey. i used kampong chicken from sheng shiong for the first time couple weeks back. no gamey taste then.

#4 盐水鸭 spicy dry brined duck

#4 盐水鸭 spicy dry brined duck

#4 盐水鸭 was dry brined with sichuan spicy chilli sauce, sugar & various spices for 48hrs, simmered for 15minutes & poached for 1/2 hour. it was tender & tasty. i liked it. 🙂

#5 蒜泥白肉 sichuan spicy garlic pork belly

#5 蒜泥白肉 sichuan spicy garlic pork belly

#5 蒜泥白肉 sichuan spicy chilli sauce

#5 蒜泥白肉 sichuan spicy chilli sauce

#5 蒜泥白肉 – the pork belly was done 5hrs using the crockpot braising method starting cold & on low, so the very slow braise from slow rising temperature produced a very tender belly pork, thinly sliced & drizzled with the mildly sweet sichuan spicy sauce, which was key in this preparation. this was a crowd favourite. 🙂

#6 miso lamb

#6 miso lamb

#6 miso lamb was the best i did, better than the last 2 times & w/o the gamey taste. 3 day miso marinade & 5hrs in 90degC oven. many liked this. 🙂

#7 shorthand buddha jump over the wall

#7 shorthand buddha jump over the wall

#7  the poor man’s buddha jumps over the wall was another favourite. this time (also last 11pax dinner on 14.6.2014) was the best. it had very tender pig trotters & belly pork, thick mushrooms & limpets. 🙂

#8 salted egg prawns

#8 salted egg prawns

#8 salted egg prawns. was quite excited doing this for very first time. prawns was deep-fried. paste was done using salted duck egg york, curry leaves & milk. prawns were very fresh but less crispy as it was done at 4pm like 4hrs before serving & set aside with paste added on in pan before serving. too much milk, paste not viscous enough & salted egg flavour was too dilute. will improve next time. 🙂

#9 steamed japnese seabass 小黄鱼

#9 steamed japanese seabass 小黄鱼

#9 steamed japanese seabass – another first time dish, basically repeating the steamed oysters method on the fish, using light soy sauce, olive oil, sliced ginger , orange peel & chilli padi. quite successful this one, fish very fresh & tasty w/o fishy taste (even though the fish was frozen for more than 1 month in freezer). 🙂

#10 fermented bean curd romaine lettuce

#10 fermented bean curd romaine lettuce

#10 romaine lettuce was good as usual. 🙂

#11 seafood fried rice

#11 seafood fried rice

imperial treasure lamian xiaolongbao seafood fried rice

crystal jade lamian xiaolongbao seafood fried rice

#11 seafood fried rice was another new dish, and it turned out to be a crowd favourite also. 🙂

buttered prawns & sotong were done separately. the key was again the sichuan spicy chilli sauce. rice was also pre- fried & set aside. when serving, rice was returned to pan then seafood added, heat & served. 🙂

no comparison with the real thing of course – seafood fried rice from crystal jade lamian xiaolongbao! haha. 🙂

tofu cheese cake

tofu cheese cake

#12 tofu cheese cake was good as usual. 🙂

chocolate lava cake

chocolate lava cake

lava cake was outright bad though even if the taste of the “brownie” it became was good. 😦

not much lava leh, even though i followed the same timing as my much earlier efforts (checked back the records, last time was on 28.8.2014) which were mostly good ones much also had a few failures then.

mango flan

mango flan

friends brought a very nice mango flan, small seeded lychees & strawberries. 🙂

a very fun evening get-together! 🙂

c.h.e.f andy

11pax Homecooked 11-course Family Birthday Dinner on 14.6.2014

chicken rice chicken 白斩鸡

chicken rice chicken 白斩鸡

time passes us by. my brother’s & sister’s birthday fall on 14June.  since i had started cooking for 2 years hence, and had hosted many homecooked dinners, i wanted to do a homecooked chinese dinner for my brother & sister. 🙂

the chinese dishes i planned were simple stuff like chicken & duck & belly pork. there’s also fish & 2 vege as they both like vege. i added a lamb as my sister like lamb. my niece & her husband are buddhist & vegetarian, so i cooked a pesto pasta for them. also i had the tofu cheese cake. 🙂

chicken rice chicken 白斩鸡

#1 chicken rice chicken 白斩鸡

#1 chicken rice chicken 白斩鸡 was a favourite when i did my 27pax homecooked buffet for my RI friends recently on 28.5.2014. it was brined in sugar & salt water for 48hrs, then 10minutes simmering & 20 minutes poached in hot water, and placed in ice water bath to taut the skin & stop cooking. this time though i only tried a small slice of breast meat, but it did not seem as sweet, juicy & tasty as it usually were. 😦

dry salt spice brined duck 盐水鸭

#2 dry salt spice brined duck 盐水鸭

dry salt spice brined duck 盐水鸭

#2 dry salt spice brined duck 盐水鸭

dry salt spice brined duck 盐水鸭

#2 dry salt spice brined duck 盐水鸭

#2 the 盐水鸭 (dry salt spice brined duck) though was very good this time. it was flavourful yet not too intense, and the meat was tender as the boil-poach preparation (similar to 白斩鸡 but 15mins+30minutes for duck) produced a more gently cooked meat. i applied a dry brine of salt, sugar, cinnamon bark, anise seeds, clove, bay leaves, and sichuan chilli pepper for 48hrs. 🙂

when cutting & tasting the breast which was thicker than the thigh, i felt the breast meat was less flavourful. so perhaps i will reserve thigh meat for this preparation & breast meat for the sous vide duck a l’orange. 🙂

"sous vide" char siew

#3 “sous vide” char siew

"sous vide" char siew

#3 “sous vide” char siew

#3 “sous vide” char siew was a bit too fat but melt-in-the-mouth tender after 5hrs at 90degC in the oven & quick pan-grilled with butter.  it was marinated for 3 days & well infused & tasty, but after many attempts i felt the marinade recipe i used was still not the best tasting & not comparable with my miso belly pork, which marinade requires a much simpler preparation. 🙂

spicy garlic pork 蒜泥白肉

#4 spicy garlic pork 蒜泥白肉

#4 my brother loved the 蒜泥白肉 ( spicy garlic pork). this was also a crowd favourite during my recent 27pax homecooked buffet dinner for RI friends. 🙂

actually i over added the sichuan chilli so the sauce was overly spicy. i had to drizzle less sauce than i usually did. the sauce was made from light soy sauce, sugar, chopped garlic, chopped onions, sliced ginger,  cinnamon bark, anise seed, dash of cumin & sichuan chilli. the belly pork was done using the crockpot method – in cold water on low for about 4hrs. this another inventive method of slow cooking as it starts from room temperature & very slowly gets to boiling & remain simmering not hard boiling thus retaining the moisture. pork & skin were very tender. 🙂

miso lamb shoulder chop

#5 miso lamb shoulder chop

#5 my sister like lamb so i did a miso preparation for a cheap lamb shoulder chop. the lamb was marinated for 3 days in miso to infuse the flavours. it was then placed in the marinade bath in the oven at 90degC for 5hrs. this meat has lots of connective tissues & so very tough & not easy to make tender. 90degC happens to be the optimum temperature to convert collagen (the tough connective tissues) to tasty excellent texture gelatine. this time though i forgot to remove from oven & it dried out a bit c/w a quite perfect preparation for a 11pax sit-down dinner i had for RI friends recently on 5.5.2014.

pesto spaghetti with grilled eggplant, zucchini & mushrooms

pesto spaghetti with grilled eggplant, zucchini & mushrooms

as my niece & her husband are vegetarians, i prepared a separate vegetarian dish, a pesto spaghetti with grilled eggplant, zucchini & mushrooms for them. this was a very tasty dish that i experimented/recreated after very good meals during my recent travels to lake como, cinque terre & milan. 🙂

the pesto was made with pine nuts (i used almonds as substitute as pine nuts are very ex), spinach, basil, cheese & olive oil & a dash of salt, and blended. the pesto & grilled eggplant, zucchini & mushrooms were added to the pasta & tossed, with a teaspoon of sugar, some white wine & sea salt to taste. 🙂

fried large prawns with leek

#6 fried large prawns with leek

fried large prawns with leek

#6 fried large prawns with leek

#6 fried large prawns with leek was quite poor this time. the leek was “sek” somehow very tough. usually i cooked it just right so it was still brightly green but soft & tasty. this time i had to cook it very long till blackish to get it to soften. i did not try the prawns but my wife & daughter both thought the prawns were poor. i knew the prawns were large & very fresh when i cut the heads & shelled. & the butter pan-grilled method always produce a very tasty, slightly bbq flavour prawns. but because i had to heat up the dish 3 times, even though i took out the prawns & put back each time, the steam got into the prawns & the meat became “hu hu” i.e. mushy.

poor man's buddha jump over the wall

#7 poor man’s buddha jump over the wall

poor man's buddha jump over the wall

#7 poor man’s buddha jump over the wall

#7 the shorthand 佛跳墙 (buddha jump over the wall) was a dish i modelled after the very nice soup jh’s father (a chef) made. i used pig trotters, thick mushrooms, belly pork, dried scallops & also 2 cans of cheap limpets (S$10/can). 🙂

#8 auntie bes made a teochew steamed pomfret (did not take photo). this time though the pomfret was not very fresh & had a “chow chor” (fishy) taste. 😦

fermented bean curd raomaine lettuce 腐乳油麦菜

#9 fermented bean curd romaine lettuce 腐乳油麦菜

#9 腐乳油麦菜 (fermented bean curd romaine lettuce) is a common zi char dish e.g. kok sen. this time 腐乳 & chilli were just right & my wife liked it. 🙂

HK steamed chicken, mushrooms, chinese sausage rice(香汁蒸蘑菇鸡饭)

#10 HK steamed chicken, mushrooms, chinese sausage rice(香汁蒸蘑菇鸡饭)

HK steamed chicken, mushrooms, chinese sausage rice(香汁蒸蘑菇鸡饭)

#10 HK steamed chicken, mushrooms, chinese sausage rice(香汁蒸蘑菇鸡饭)

#10 香汁蒸蘑菇鸡饭 (HK styled steamed chicken, mushrooms, chinese sausage rice) is the common steamed rice dish in hk’s dim sum restaurants, usually they used chicken feet and/or pork ribs, drizzled with tasty black sauce. the sauce is very important. it is easily made – just 1 tbsp light soy sauce, 1 tsp dark sauce, 1 tbsp sugar & 6 tbsp water or to taste. it looked dark but was not salty & quite perfect taste – mildly sweet & nice soy flavour. 🙂

tofu cheese cake

#11 tofu cheese cake

#11 just as in my 27pax recent gathering, the tofu cheese cake was again a crowd favourite. it is the easiest of dessert, a no bake very light cheese cake. the simplest of recipes = 200g cream cheese, 200g silken tofu, 200ml yogurt, 100ml whipped cream, 4 tbsp brown sugar (60g), 2 tbsp lime juice (30ml), & dissolved 3 tsp gelatine powder (15g) in 50ml hot water, then blend & pour over the biscuit base (made with 7 digestive biscuits (105g) & 60g melted butter). 🙂

c.h.e.f andy

盐水鸭 Dry Brined Spice Salt Marinade Duck

#4 盐水鸭 spicy dry brined duck

dry salt spice brined duck 盐水鸭 (thigh)

i started exploring 盐水鸭 as even though my teochew braised duck was pretty ok, especially for large group buffets, i was looking for a “finer” chinese preparation for sit-down dinners. also often if i do my sous vide crispy skin canard a l’orange, i only used the breast & was left with the thighs. i also tried tea smoked duck couple of times. it was ok but the preparation was a bit elaborate & also the method i used with only 15minutes of tea-smoking offered more fragrance aroma when serving than was actually infused in the duck.

盐水鸭 spicy duck – 6.2.2015

盐水鸭 spicy duck – 6.2.2015

i googled & found 1 recipe here 🙂 = http://home.meishichina.com/recipe-33399.html

after couple of tries, i quite perfected it (the above 2 photos) & served this beautiful dish at the 22pax RI friends get-together on 6.2.2015.^^

dry salt spice brined duck 盐水鸭

dry salt spice brined duck 盐水鸭

dry salt spice brined duck 盐水鸭

dry salt spice brined duck 盐水鸭 (thigh)

dry salt spice brined duck 盐水鸭

dry salt spice brined duck 盐水鸭 (breast)

dry salt spice brined duck

dry salt spice brined duck 盐水鸭 (thigh)

the preparation was really quite easy, and much rest with the dry brining marinade.

i added table salt to a non-stick pan, then added sugar, spicy sichuan chilli sauce, and cinnamon bark, anise seeds, clove, sliced ginger, bay leaves & some fennel, and fried over low fire until fragrant, and set aside.

i cut 1/2 duck & exfoliate with salt & dried. then i used a tablespoon to apply the dry brine rub all over the duck, on the skin & on the inside. i then wrapped it in cellophane & left it in the chiller for 48hrs.

when ready to cook, i took out the marinated duck let it rest to room temperature then added to boiling water with 1 teaspoon salt. i let the duck simmered for 15minutes, off fire & poached in the hot water for another 30minutes. the poaching produced a gentler more tender texture & the dry brining produced a very nice flavourful duck.

i tried these twice for my RI friends on 5.5.2014 (only duck thigh) & for my brother & sister birthday on 14.6.2014 (1/2 duck include thigh & breast). i found that (surprisingly) it was better with thigh. i think the breast was thicker & the flavour was not infused enough. anyway it was ok result for me as i can keep the breast for the western sous vide preparation & the thigh for this 盐水鸭. 🙂

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 duck

dry brine marinade

  • 1 heap tbsp table salt
  • 1 tbsp sugar
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 small cinnamon bark
  • 2 anise seeds
  • 1 clove
  • 1cm sliced ginger
  • 1.5 to 2 tbsp spicy sichuan chilli
  • 1 tsp fennel

Directions:

  1. add table salt to a non-stick pan, then added sugar, spicy sichuan chilli sauce, and cinnamon bark, anise seeds, clove, sliced ginger, bay leaves & some fennel, and fry over low fire until fragrant, and set aside.
  2. cut 1/2 duck & exfoliate with salt & dried. use a tablespoon to apply the dry brine marinade rub all over the duck, on the skin on on the inside. wrap it in cellophane & left it in the chiller for 48hrs.
  3. when ready to cook, take out marinated duck let it rest to room temperature then add to boiling water with 1 teaspoon salt. let the duck simmer for 15minutes, off fire & poach in the hot water for another 30minutes. the poaching produced a gentler more tender texture & the dry brining produced a very nice flavourful duck.

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RI Buddies 11pax Homecooked 11-course Chinese Dinner on 5May2014

wanted to try out some chinese dishes, so got my usual RI gang to be guinea pigs once again for an 11-course dinner for 11pax on 5.5.2014. 🙂

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500g paradiso cake from swissbake at 5th avenue

got a paradiso cake too from swissbake at 5th avenue to celebrate 1 of our friend’s birthday. 🙂

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#1 蒜泥白肉

i always find chinese cooking to be much more challenging than western (re my “worthwhile to do?” philosophy). i do a good steak, Nobu miso cod, teriyaki cod, and good pasta & paella, risotto etc, and sometimes comparable to a good restaurant even, sans the artisan garnishes, sides & plating etc. 🙂

many good chinese dishes are equally hard to do but not associated with fine dining (e.g. serving up a very good whole steamed fish does not usually evoke fine dining but serving a steamed cod fillet chinese or fusion style is somehow fine dining? or i guess there is a reason in that fine dining is about the entire experience & not just the food). much of it though i suspect is market forces & cultural programming about what fine dining is.

#1 蒜泥白肉. this a new dish for me. tried once with belly pork, and this evening with lean pork. i realised that the key was getting the right sauce recipe. the sauce this evening was excellent as everyone commented, mildly sweet, spicy, tasty sauce (we all used it for the 白斩鸡 which meant the 白斩鸡 was not tasty enough..lol). 🙂 need to improve on the dish & plating though. may try loin or neck, not sure, or go back to belly pork. 🙂

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#2 drunken chicken 醉鸡

#2 drunken chicken 醉鸡. this was done the same way as 白斩鸡 but 1 day ahead for the shao xing wine marinade (绍兴酒) to infuse. the new recipe i used produced a more tender juicy chicken with nice yellow colour. for this i cut chicken in 1/2, placed in boiling water (with spring onions, red onion, garlic, salt & some tumeric) & turned down to just more than a simmer for 10 minutes, left in the hot water for 15mins to 20mins, then transfer to a ice water bath. then marinade in 1 cup 绍兴酒 1/2cup chicken stock, 1 tablespoon sugar. 🙂

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#3 sous vide char siew (1 of 2 best dishes)

#3 sous vide char siew. this was 1 of 2 best dishes for the evening, i think everyone’s favourites. (the other was poor man’s buddha-jump-over-the-wall). 🙂 again the char siew marinade was key. i had the char siew marinated in a ziploc bag for 3days, then cooked in a marinade bath in oven at 90degC for 5hrs.

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#3 sous vide char siew (1 of 2 best dishes)

hmmm…ok i am still ogling this now. it had such wonderful flavours & melt-in-the-mouth texture. 🙂

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#4 白斩鸡

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#4 白斩鸡

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#4 白斩鸡

#4 白斩鸡. same method as drunken chicken, but i brined the chicken in water with salt & sugar first for 2 days. water molecules would infuse the chicken by diffusion & sugar & salt molecules by reverse osmosis, so the chicken would be moist (as in above photos) & tender & also tasty. 1 friend commented the texture was very good, better than the drunken chicken. however in managing so many dishes i forgot to add a touch of fish sauce to bring out the taste further. i did this the next day on some leftovers for a portion i kept for my daughter & it was excellent. 🙂

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#5 盐水鸭

#5 盐水鸭. this dish was my very first attempt & it turned out superbly well, a wonderfully flavoured dish, which everyone commented. 🙂 again the marinade was the key. i googled a recipe & marinated the duck for 24hrs. was initially supposed to do a tea smoked duck using the 5hr liquid bath sous vide method (like the char siew) but it worked better with breast & i always had leftover duck legs so decided to experiment the new 盐水鸭 dish with leftover duck legs. 🙂

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#6 poor man’s buddha-jump-over-the-wall (bjotw)

#6 poor man’s buddha-jump-over-the-wall (bjotw). this was my best attempt so far, excellent, very flavourful & intense, as all my friends commented. 🙂 just pig trotters, mushrooms, belly pork, and limpets masquerading as abalones..lol. 🙂 the soup was running low for 11 bowls but i did not want to add chicken stock which would dilute the intense flavours.

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#7 HK steamed garoupa

#7 HK steamed garoupa. this had been like a reliable, “always good”, “staple” dish & the garnishing & sauce were still good but unfortunately the fish was somehow not the best. i had gotten it from chinatown 2 days before & they had always been good & but let down on this occasion. sigh. 😦

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#8 romaine lettuce with fermented bean curd 腐乳油麦菜

#8 romaine lettuce with fermented bean curd 腐乳油麦菜. this was what was served in almost all zi char restaurants & a really excellent one i had was at kok sen at kiong siak street. 🙂 this evening my version was quite ok with some wok hae, not too salty & still with the nice taste of the fermented bean curd.

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#9 my version of pineapple prawns

pineapple prawns

the real thing – shin yeh’s pineapple prawns

#9 pineapple prawns. was trying to rehash shin yeh’s dish…lol. both prawns & pineapples tasted ok i guessed. plating was million miles behind…haha. 🙂 satisfaction as a dish i guess was quite behind my dry wok prawns, but good to have variation and not same dish everytime.

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#10 miso lamb chops

#10 miso lamb chops.  this my very first attempt. i do a good pistachio crusted rack of lamb but no other variations, so decided to do a 3day miso marinade on a cheap frozen lamb cut & coincide the 5hr sous vide bath in 90degC oven with the char siew (to save electricity). 90degC is also the optimum temperature (fastest) for conversion of collagen the tough connective tissues to gelatine with excellent texture & flavours. 🙂

the result was a very tasty flavourful lamb. the miso was not enough to cover or remove the very strong gamey taste (or we say “hiang” or “bah woo” in teochew=not a good thing) but it was tasty nonetheless though many who did not take lamb for that reason would likely not like this. 🙂

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#11 HK steamed chicken, mushrooms, chinese sausage rice

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#11 HK steamed chicken, mushrooms, chinese sausage rice

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#11 HK steamed chicken, mushrooms, chinese sausage rice

#11 HK steamed chicken, mushrooms, chinese sausage rice. this was a very easy dish to make. the key again was the marinade for the chicken & the drizzling sauce, & i took my wife’s feedback & bought some xo chinese sausages (cost 2x the red wine sausages but nothing c/w – like 25% the cost of – spanish chorizo..lol..). chicken was marinated 1 day before, and once rice cooker starts to steam just add in sausage, chicken & mushrooms. and voila! the chicken was extremely tender & tasty & the sausage super nice…could see how 1 friend was walloping them…haha. 🙂

can improve further. anyway a very fun evening with very good friends & very shiok ie satisfying for me. 🙂

c.h.e.f andy

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