回锅肉Doublecooked Pork Collar + Long Beans in Nonya Sauce – 13th Teban Gardens Community Breakfast on 10Jun2016

回锅肉doubecooked pork collar + long beans in nonya sauce

回锅肉doublecooked pork collar + long beans in nonya sauce

i made a 回锅肉doublecooked pork collar + long beans in nonya sauce for teban gardens community service centre’s friday community breakfast on 10.6.2016. ^^

this my 13th friday breakfast community meal at teban gardens community service centre.

i first started doing a community meal dish for teban gardens CSC on 8.1.2016.

the centre was started in 2002 after much effort & challenge by our RI friend who is a pastor of pasir panjang hill brethren church (pphbc) which owns & runs the CSC.

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long beans in nonya sauce

long beans in nonya sauce

for the long beans (quite a lot about 1 kg) i just fried with chopped garlic, cut chilli padi & a bit of gimson nonya sauce. i added oyster sauce & fish sauce & fried a bit more.

then i added some stock & covered to cook the long beans.

i reduced & tasted the dish, then off fire, added 1 tbsp of nonya sauce & mixed.

very tasty dish with unique flavours imparted by the nonya sauce.

回锅肉doubecooked pork collar after 4hrs in 90degC oven

回锅肉doublecooked pork collar after 4hrs in 90degC oven

for the 回锅肉doublecooked pork collar, i had about 1.3kg for 4hrs in a 90degC oven.

usually 回锅肉 uses belly pork. as some of my friends pointed out, belly pork kind of fatty for the older folks so i switched to pork collar.

i used a marinade or brine – 4tbsp shaoxing cooking wine, 2 tbsp mirin 1 heap tbsp sugar, 1 flat tbsp salt. i then fried 2 cinnamon bark & 4 star anise till fragrant & added the marinade mix. then i marinated the pork collar & placed in a oven-proof dish in the oven.

i use this method also to make “mock kurobuta” steak!

just fry the pork collar on high heat to brown the meat & serve like usual steak. 🙂

回锅肉doubecooked pork collar

回锅肉doubecooked pork collar

for 回锅肉doubecooked pork collar, it means to return to the wok & cook a second time, i sliced & fried the pork over high heat for 1/2min.

回锅肉doubecooked pork collar

回锅肉doubecooked pork collar

i added a tsp+ of the mala 麻辣sauce (& some oyster sauce) to flavour the pork a bit more. the older folks cannot take too spicy so i added very little just to give it colour & flavour, just as i added just 1 cut chilli padi to 1kg of long beans. 🙂

c.h.e.f andy

Dried Mustard Leaves Belly Pork 梅菜扣肉

#4 dried mustard leaves belly pork 梅菜扣肉

dried mustard leaves belly pork 梅菜扣肉

i read about mei cai kou rou recipe on internet many times but never got to try it.

post our 6pax hong kong eat & hike 10-14jan2016,

my friends gathered at my place to relish hong kong food fun moments on 20.1.2016

though we did not have 梅菜扣肉 in hong kong, i was thinking what dishes to add to the lunch menu.

this my first try at梅菜扣肉 & in any case a good opportunity to get my friends to try it.

it was very well done. ^^

i varied a 梅菜扣肉 recipe i read on internet.

  1. i bought the sweet mustard leaves, mei cai,  梅菜 from sheng shiong & used the whole packet with about 500g+ of belly pork. the mei cai,  梅菜 need to be soaked & washed many times to remove the sand.
  2. i placed the belly pork in a 90degC oven for 3 hrs, instead of boiling it in water for 35mins according to the recipe.
  3. i then seared the skin & sides & added 1/2tbsp dark sauce to coat the belly pork. & sliced the belly pork when cool.
  4. then i melted 1 tbsp sugar, added 1 tbsp oil & fried the 梅菜 & added 1/2cup chicken stock.
  5. then i placed the 梅菜 on the sliced belly pork & placed in the steam oven for 75mins.

the 梅菜 was just perfect, texture, colour, taste, everything & the belly pork 扣肉excellent, so tender & tasty!^^

c.h.e.f andy

Ingredients:

  • 500g belly pork
  • 1 packet sweet mustard leaves, mei cai,  梅菜
  • 1/2 tbsp dark sauce
  • 1 tbsp sugar
  • 1 tbsp oil
  • 1/2 cup chicken stock

Directions:

  1. soak & wash sweet mustard leaves, mei cai,  梅菜 many times to remove the sand. cut into small bits.
  2. scald the belly pork to remove scum. place the belly pork in a 90degC oven for 3 hrs (or boil it in water for 35mins).
  3. sear the skin & sides & add 1/2tbsp dark sauce to coat the belly pork. slice the belly pork when cool.
  4. melt 1 tbsp sugar, add 1 tbsp oil & fry the 梅菜. add 1/2cup chicken stock.
  5. place the 梅菜 on the sliced belly pork & place in the steam oven (or a steamer) for 75mins.

 

 

 

 

RI Friends 10pax curry rice lunch+bakuteh post JB trip 14Mar2016

had a really fun JB trip last week with my RI buddies. we had really good bakuteh at shoon huat at sentosa JB & roast duck from ya wang opposite, and dinner at canton-i at city square, but we missed out on the kam long fish head curry.

the guys were coming to my place for lunch & watching jeju slides & guide from a friend who had been there.

so i decided to do a curry rice lunch + bakuteh (reminiscence of the recent JB trip) on 14.3.2016. ^^

7 dishes = curry rice + bakuteh + dessert

7 dishes = curry rice + bakuteh + dessert

i had 7 dishes –

bakuteh singapore style
fish head curry
nonya curry chicken
sayur lodeh (using thai red curry)
kueh chap (pig head, pig ear, belly pork)
sio bak (roast pork)
lotus ginkyo nut cheng chow 莲子白果凉粉

for bakuteh i bought the frozen prime ribs from sheng shiong. it’s the le bao brand 乐宝, just S$10.95/kg.

i used the usual ILC bakuteh sachet, about S$1.50 for 20g sachet.

the bakuteh was excellent! soup was very tasty. many friends so commented.

1 used hara fried bean curd puff this time, i think this had more sweet 黄豆 flavours than the usual bean curd puff i used, the overall soup flavour was excellent, very tasty. a friend said it enhanced rather than overwhelmed the bakuteh sachet.

i think my soup was almost as good as shoon huat, and my pork ribs itself clearly better, more meaty, fatter & more flavoruful & excellent taken with my dark sauce which was very “pang” & not so salty.

fish head curry

#2 fish head curry

it’s the first time i cooked fish head curry.

mak's curry paste for fish head curry

#2 mak’s curry paste for fish head curry

i went to grab a curry paste from sheng shiong. found this mak’s nonya fish head curry S$2.45 i think, used it for the first time.

fish head curry

#2 fish head curry

wife went to chinatown market on sunday. i didn’t go. she bought a angkoli (sea bream) fish head. i though it was very expensive at S$16, but i had not bought this before not really qualified to comment on the price.

fish head curry

#2 fish head curry

anyway it was super fresh, meat was firm & sweet.

cooking was easy. i just followed instructions at the back of the sachet-

  1. cut okra (lady’s fingers) and fried first with sliced yellow onions, curry rempah & some coconut milk.
  2. added cut egg plant, fried another few minutes.
  3. added fish head & coat with rempah
  4. added chicken stock & coconut milk, covered, simmered about 8 – 10mins
  5. added cut tomatoes.

curry was very tasty, maybe could be stronger, almost as good as outside, think curry wok.

i did my usual nonya curry chicken.

i did this nonya curry chicken recently for teban gardens community breakfast.

today though, it was just slightly below my own expectations.

my friends all liked it. the curry was very flavourful & lemak. they said just like outside nasi padang stall.

i did my usual kueh chap too.

i was also not all that satisfied with the flavours. i felt the texture was great but the braising sauce flavours not “pang” enough.

my friends told me i ate too often. for them it was fine. 🙂

sayur lodeh

#5 sayur lodeh

the sayur lodeh was quite fine. the long beans & hara fried bean curd puffs went very well with the cabbage & curry.

sayur lodeh

#5 sayur lodeh

i used the dancing chef thai curry paste, but added the wrong one yellow instead of red (hard to tell from a previously open sachet w/o cover description) so it looked a bit more yellowish & just like sayur lodeh instead of red colour, by accident…haha! 🙂

sayur lodeh

#5 sayur lodeh

anyway this dish i was quite happy with, nice vegetable for curry rice.

airfryer sio bak

#6 airfryer sio bak

& a repeat of my recently “mastered” airfryer sio bak, learned from a friend.

i thought the belly pork was a bit too fatty. & i over compensated by grilling it 5mins longer. i told them this third time was poorer than the first 2.

airfryer sio bak

#6 airfryer sio bak

but all my friends thought it was very good, the skin was crispy.

one friend said the skin was crispy on most, but some parts were tough. i told him probably because i used a fork to furiously stab the skin, kind of primitive, so not evenly done.

lotus ginkyo nut cheng chow 莲子白果凉粉

#7 lotus ginkyo nut cheng chow 莲子白果凉粉

i made the easy dessert we all enjoyed at hoe kee dessert 浩记甜品馆 during our jan2016 hong kong trip- lotus ginkyo nut cheng chow 莲子白果凉粉.

just boiled the lotus & ginkyo nuts in syrup & added to the cheng chow from sheng shiong. almost no effort & so enjoyable, refreshing to have.

friends brought strawberries & also longan & a friend brought a red, a bottle of michel torino.

after lunch we watched the slides on jeju. looks like a great place to eat & hike. according to guides, oct & nov are the best time to visit, dry & cool weather.

c.h.e.f andy

Good & Value Wine Dinner @ Greenwood Fish Bistro on 19Nov2015

smoked canapes

smoked canapes

a friend arranged a wine dinner at Greenwood Fish Market & Bistro on 19.11.2015. 8 of us attended. ^^

the same friend arranged fun wine dinners at (1) zaffereno & (2) halia previously

greenwood fish bistro

greenwood fish bistro

i’ve been to greenwood fish bistro some years back (before i started blogging) and had the S$39.95 whole lobster promotion twice before (they still have that). it was quite good.

wine dinner menu

wine dinner menu

this evening we had a S$69pax 5-course eqwines dinner w/o dessert & coffee.

as i don’t drink i look only at the food menu whether i want to pay that just for the food.

for those who don’t drink, the restaurant was kind enough to offer juice etc, very good of them since wine was sponsored by the wine merchant but i guess, not the other drinks. 🙂

prosecco

prosecco

i decided to take the wine. prosecco was good. i liked the white after this best. 🙂

red wines

red wines

reds were quite good too. the restaurant gave me a cranberry juice afterwards too, a great gesture.

smoked canapes

smoked canapes

first course were some smoked canapes. these were very good!

smoked canapes

smoked canapes

the smoked salmon & mussels were excellent…how to describe? smokey i guess, very flavourful.

the smoked trout (the server said cold smoked) was so-so, not so tasty.

cured salmon with avocado

cured salmon with avocado

cured salmon with avocado

cured salmon with avocado

the second course cured salmon with avocado also very nice. it was though nothing special.

barramundi & pea puree

barramundi & pea puree

the 3rd course barramundi was excellent!

not sure if barramundi is farmed in singapore like the smaller local seabass. this one the meat is firmer, not so “hu” liek falling apart.

barramundi & pea puree

barramundi & pea puree

however 2 of my friends complained that the meat was soft. the rest of us were ok…maybe they got the local seabass instead? just kidding. 🙂

duck confit - this a disaster

duck confit – this a disaster

the 4th course was a duck confit?

it was a huge disaster! meat was tough & not edible!

actually the server said it was sous vide then cooked in oven (mayeb the server got it wrong, just don’t sound right!)..

firstly of course duck confit is cooked in duck fat..while the word confit is used loosely to mean slow braise like say pineapple confit or belly pork confit, for duck confit it usually mean strictly duck confit. & i’m not sure you can roast in oven after sous vide.

i would think a cold pan method of rendering out the fat & crisping the skin w/o overcooking the meat makes a lot more sense (above photo)…notice the fat had rendered out..

octopus confit

octopus confit

restaurant was great to do a service recovery.

they replaced the dish with a octopus confit.

it was competent dish, not the best but i guess good enough. 🙂

octopus confit

octopus confit

you could say a fish bistro would do an octopus dish better than a duck dish?

belly pork & grilled pineapples

belly pork & grilled pineapples

but then for the last course they served a really “kick-ass” belly pork.

belly pork & grilled pineapples

belly pork & grilled pineapples

this was one of the best i have taken! ^^

belly pork & grilled pineapples

belly pork & grilled pineapples

not really smoked but just a hint of a flavourful ham, very tender & delicious.

i have a tea brined belly pork in the fridge now. planning to sous vide then pan-charred the skin. see if i can get anywhere close or similar to this excellent piece. 🙂

thanks to our friend, we had many fun evenings trying out different wine dinners & spending great time together.

i am not sure how their service is on normal days but for this evening, i think service was really quite exemplary & they really tried their best (from offering non alcoholic drinks to replacing the 4th course – even though they did not have much choice with the duck being such a quite monumental failure).

c.h.e.f andy

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Greenwood Fish Market & Bistro
No. 34 & 38 Greenwood Ave S289236
Tel: 6467 4950
Fax: 6467 4965
email: greenwoodbistro@yahoo.com.sg
OPENING HOURS: Mon – Sat: 12:00 – 22:30, Sun & PH: 11:00 – 22:30

 

(My First) Babi Pongteh

babi pongteh

babi pongteh

did my first babi pongteh today on 21.11.2015. resonably satisfied. ^^

babi pongteh

babi pongteh

sauce was wonderful! tau jeon & gula melaka really did the trick! 🙂

texture was gelatinous (“ga ga” in teochew), still have good bite, not falling apart. 🙂

i used only 400g belly pork. was supposed to braise for 2 to 2.5hrs, but at 1.5hrs, already softened & gelatinous, so i took out the pork, added the taupok & reduced. 🙂

seasoned 0.5 tbsp dark sauce

seasoned 0.5 tbsp dark sauce

for recipe, i referenced (followed quite closely actually) –

  1. annielicious’ babi pongteh recipe;
  2. mummymoo’s babi pongteh recipe.

for my first attempt, i did not add potatoes. & since i used 400g instead of 800g for experimentation, i 1/2 the recipe. anyway i always taste (ie drk sauce, light sauce etc to taste, in this case i did not add salt) but the recipe quantities provided were quite accurate actually. 🙂

seasoned 0.5 tbsp dark sauce

seasoned 0.5 tbsp dark sauce

i blanched 400g belly pork & cut into large pieces (i think if pieces were too small they may dry out & overcook).

i marinated with 1/2 tbsp dark sauce & set aside.

i had 5 chinese dried mushrooms in hot water overnight.

browning shallots then garlic

browning shallots then garlic

i fried 5 chopped shallots till translucent, added 2 tsp chopped garlic & lightly browned.

added tau jeon

added tau jeon

i added a tbsp tau jeon & fried till fragrant, medium fire.

coating & stir-fry

coating & stir-fry

i added the belly pork & stir-fry a bit. then i added 1/2 tbsp dark sauce & 1 tbsp light soy sauce.

coating & stir-fry

coating & stir-fry

& coat the belly pork & stir-fry a while longer.

then added 5 mushrooms & the mushroom water (less the sediments) & deglazed.

slow braising 1.5hrs

slow braising 1.5hrs

transferred to pot, added water to cover, brought to boil & placed on an induction heater at low 100W.

i set timer at 2hrs but tried the pork at 1.5hrs & the texture was what i liked, tender & gelatinous, with bite not falling apart. 🙂

i took out the belly pork & put the sauce back to the wok, added cut taupok trips (4pieces taupok) & reduced, about 10mins. 🙂

babi pongteh

babi pongteh

when serving, garnish with coriander. 🙂

mushrooms were very tasty infused with the sauce, just like the belly pork.

so was the tau pok.

babi pongteh

babi pongteh

i did not add salt throughout as the taste was just good for me. 🙂

for this experiment i did not add potatoes.

i am planning to include this dish for a RI eat-together at a friend’s house on 3.12.2015. ^^

it is more than passable. i will see if i can improve a little.

c.h.e.f andy

Ingredients :-

  • 400g belly pork
  • 5 chopped shallots
  • 2 tsp chopped garlic
  • 1 tbsp oil
  • 1 tbsp dark soy suace
  • 1 tbsp light soy sauce
  • 1 tbsp tau jeon
  • 1 tbsp gula melaka (palm sugar)
  • 5 chinese dried mushrooms
  • coriander for garnishing
  • 2 cups water (include mushroom water)

Directions :-

  1.  blanch 400g belly pork & cut into large pieces (i think if pieces were too small they may dry out & overcook). marinate with 1/2 tbsp dark sauce & set aside.
  2. soak 5 chinese dried mushrooms in hot water overnight.
  3. fry 5 chopped shallots till translucent, add 2 tsp chopped garlic & lightly browned.
  4. add a tbsp tau jeon & fried till fragrant, medium fire.
  5. add belly pork & stir-fry a bit. add 1/2 tbsp dark sauce & 1 tbsp light soy sauce, & coat the belly pork & stir-fry a while longer.
  6. add 5 mushrooms & the mushroom water (less the sediments) & deglazed.
  7. transfer to pot, added water to cover, brought to boil & placed on an induction heater at low 100W. set timer at 1.5hrs.
  8. take out the belly pork & put the sauce back to wok, add cut taupok trips (4pieces taupok) & reduce, about 10mins. garnish with coriander.

 

Very Nice Char Siew

char siew

char siew

i have tried char siew quite a few times using different meats & preparations.

a rather successful one was almost 2 years ago using belly pork & an oven “sous vide” method at 60degC or 70degC over 4 hrs to 6hrs.

i used the same method for miso belly pork which was very nice too.

i must say while the miso belly pork is a more unique dish the char siew by the “sous vide” method is a bit more tedious & not really my favourite as one can buy cheap & good char siew easily outside.

char siew

char siew

but now i think now i found the right combination to reproduce easily very flavourful & tender, moist char siew, like so. a really excellent char siew. ^^

char siew

char siew

the key is (a) the marinade to produce the right flavour (b) the meat & preparation to produce a tasty, tender, moist meat.

so far, pork collar is the best choice. i tried the same recipe on belly pork but it was quite inferior by comparison.

char siew

char siew

i marinated the meat for 3 days in the chiller.

then i placed the meat on a rack in a preheated 250degC oven for 20mins.

it was as easy as that.

char siew

char siew

& the result was just perfect!

c.h.e.f andy

Ingredients:

  • 400g pork collar (i used frozen pork collar from sheng shiong S$9.90/kg)

marinade

  • 2 tbsp dark sauce
  • 3 tbsp light soy sauce
  • 1 tbsp oyster sauce
  • 1 tbsp heap sugar
  • 1 cinnamon bark
  • 2 star anise
  • 2 cloves chopped garlic
  • 2 chopped shallots

Directions:

  1. scald the pork collar & wash under slow running water to remove scum.
  2. add the marinade & transfer to a ziploc bag & place in the chiller for 2 or 3 days.
  3. bring out of chiller for 1/2 to bring to room temperature.
  4. place on a rack over a aluminium foil lined tray & place in a preheated 250degC oven for 20mins.

Excellent Food at Saveurs @ Purvis on 1Mar2015

capellini, minced prok sauce, sakura ebi

capellini, minced pork sauce, sakura ebi

wife was away skiing in hokkaido. SKI=Spending Kid’s Inheritance.^^

eldest daughter organised a 3pax family dinner at saver @ purvis on 1.3.2015. 🙂

we had very good family dinner recently at concetto (another saver restaurant) on 18.1.2015.

& this place was just as fun.

the next day i came with my godsis & a good friend’s daughter for the set lunch at S$22.90, & it was just as good. the set lunch menu here is more attractive than that at concetto, which really had very limited choice (they really should review that!).

saveur @ purvis

saveur @ purvis

saveur @ purvis2

saveur @ purvis

the restuarant had 2 adjacent dining area. this one was absolutely packed. we were not able to get sitting at the other side where the sitting was more spacious even though we booked beforehand. i booked the next day lunch, making sure i could get the other, but that turned out to be unnecessary as we were the only table. what a difference lunch & dinner!

 chef preparing cold capellini

chef preparing cold capellini

capellini, minced prok sauce, sakura ebi

capellini, minced prok sauce, sakura ebi

this saveur pasta was different from concetto pasta. that had crab bisque & ikura, this one minced pork sauce & sakura ebi & priced cheaper at $4.90 (vs S$6.90). i liked both (& was quite happy to take it again the next day).

capellini, minced prok sauce, sakura ebi

capellini, minced prok sauce, sakura ebi

one reviewer said it tasted like bakchormee? it didn’t to me, but it was nice, very al dente & flavourful.^^

belly pork, lentils, poached egg

belly pork, lentils, poached egg

belly pork, lentils, poached egg

belly pork, lentils, poached egg

the belly pork was excellent, very tender, moist & still having the texture, excellent low temperature cooking. the crackling skin was not crackling like the chinese roast pork, but totally edible. love the lentils.

pan-seared seabass, potato, crabmeat

pan-seared seabass, potato, crabmeat

the seabass was excellent too! this was really a very good pan seared seabass! liked the potatoes too. 🙂

duck confit, mased potato, shitake

duck confit, mashed potato, shitake

the duck confit was very good, just like that at concetto.

cookie dough ice cream, cherry kirsch, peanut butter

cookie dough ice cream, cherry kirsch, peanut butter

the cookies & milk ice cream was good, but no wow factor for me, & it was more expensive.

pistachio panna cotta

pistachio panna cotta

pistachio panna cotta

pistachio panna cottaEx

the pistachio panna cotta was lovely. my doughtier liked it very much. maybe i will try this at home.

c.h.e.f andy

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

Instant Chashu Mala Ramen (麻辣快熟面)

instant chashu mala ramen (麻辣快熟面)

instant chashu mala ramen (麻辣快熟面)

had some 蒜泥白肉 belly pork ingredients leftover from my 14pax RI friends & spouses dinner on 18.12.2014.

added them to instant sichuan mala noodles (麻辣香锅快熟面) the next day on 19.12.2014, just putting 2 & 2 together.

instant chashu mala ramen (麻辣快熟面)

instant chashu mala ramen (麻辣快熟面)

instant chashu mala ramen (麻辣快熟面)

instant chashu mala ramen (麻辣快熟面)

instant chashu mala ramen (麻辣快熟面)

instant chashu mala ramen (麻辣快熟面)

instant chashu mala ramen (麻辣快熟面)

instant chashu mala ramen (麻辣快熟面)

it said only mildly spicy on the packet. indeed this was just the ideal level of spiciness & still quite explosive flavours. & the chashu (slow braised belly pork using cold crockpot on low) made a perfect combination.

i am rediscovering instant noodles – this one just S$3.50 for 5 packets. the other very good ones i had were –

nissin kyushu black japanese ramen,

mykuali penang white curry noodles.

all 3 cost about S$0.70 per noodle packet, between S$3.50 and S$3.80 for 5 packets.

i liked all of them. currently i like this 麻辣香锅面 best! ^^

c.h.e.f andy

 

Cheap & Really Good for Economic Rice @ Joyful Palace Clementi Ave3 on 2Dec2014

economic rice @ joyful place clementi av3

economic rice @ joyful palace clementi ave3

went for early lunch with a friend (friend’s guided food tour of old airport road hawker centre)

later we drove back to my place for coffee.

i totally forgot my coffee meeting with another friend at commonwealth mrt koufu at 3.30pm on 2.12.2014. after i sent my friend out to bus stop & got back, only when i checked my phone which was charging that i realised i was very late. anyway i managed to get to koufu 45mins late & we had a good chat.

my wife was not back for dinner & this friend was free so we went together to try out joyful palace, a coffeeshop at clementi ave 3 (clementi central locality). i had seen the economic rice when passing & wanted to try this.

economic rice @ joyful place clementi av3

economic rice @ joyful palace clementi ave3

economic rice @ joyful place clementi av3

economic rice @ joyful palace clementi ave3

i had the steamed fish. it was probably the cheap vietnamese pangasius, a cheap catfish, the common supermarket sutchi fillet. i also had the belly pork & spinach.

the fish was very good. of course it was not fine dining restaurant standard, but it was equal or better even than what you get at zi char places. the belly pork preparation was not my preferred braise, a bit sweet sauce, but it was really good standard. very nicely done. spinach was quite fine.

& it was just S$4.50!  and for that price & the quantity i had, this was excellent actually. 🙂

c.h.e.f andy

Kueh Chap Homecooked Lunch for 10pax Friends on 17Sep2014

braised belly pork, pig ears & ter tau bak

braised belly pork, pig ears & ter tau bak

i have been applying the pot roast method using a crockpot (slow cooker) to produce very tender & moist & more gentle slow-braised meats. 🙂

i tried it very successfully on 蒜泥白肉, spicy garlic pork, and i used it once also to make a good braised belly pork, pig ears & ter tau bak (猪头肉).

for this 10pax lunch for my friends on 17.9.2014, i added braised pork trotters & also kampong chicken.

the gentle braising started with a cold crockpot on low & took about 4-5hrs to produce the very tender & still firm texture (“kar kar”) which i prefer over the more overcooked soft texture. i was able to reproduce the same tasty braising sauce. see the detail steps in the recipe here.

tau kua, tau pok, lor nerng

tau kua, tau pok, lor nerng

i used the braising sauce for the tau kua & lor nerng (braised egg) to infuse the flavours. i cheated for the tau pok & added water to dilute the braise as tau pok absorbs too much & i won’t have any sauce left for the “kueh chap”. 🙂

big intestines

big intestines

ter kar (pork trotters)

ter kar (pork trotters)

i braised the ter kar (pork trotters) separately by the same method, and took out some braising sauce to do the big intestines separately.

the big intestines from sheng shiong were already cleaned but i could not take the risk so i washed them thoroughly then rubbed with flour and salt & turned inside out. of course all the meats were scalded with boiling water to remove the scums before braising.

getting feedback from the friends –

  1. they all felt the dishes (belly pork, ear, pig head meat & trotter) were all quite ok comparable with good hawkers, both taste & texture.
  2. one mentioned that the intestines were good w/o the odour (even though it was still a strong tasting dish) and good texture.
  3. another didn’t think the intestine was as good as these were the thicker-walled tua terng tau (大肠头) whereas usually the ones outside were the thinner walled type. it’s just that on this day sheng shiong did not have the thinner walled type. 😦
  4. & of course they all noted as i did that i added the braising sauce to the trotters & big intestines but forgot to add to the 2 large plates of belly pork/ear/pig head meat & tua kua/tau pok/lor nerng. that would have enhanced the flavours. the braising sauce were used up after diluting for the “kueh chap” which i used hor fun to substitute as i could not get the flat sheet kueh chap. one thought the kueh chap sauce was a bit sweet though it was ok for me.
  5. one friend missed the “crunchy” birth intestines (生肠) i made last time. this time round sheng shiong did not have 生肠 so bought large intestines instead. not quite the same i guess. 🙂
  6. & i thought my pig trotters was almost the standard of 幸福潮州小食 pig trotter at whampoa, and much better than the han jia bakuteh pig trotters at east coast lagoon food village.
poached kampong chicken

poached kampong chicken

i was confident of my poached kampong chicken, which was tender, moist & sweet.

excellent crackling belly pork (shio bak)

excellent crackling belly pork (shio bak)

excellent crackling belly pork (shio bak)

excellent crackling belly pork (shio bak)

a friend brought 1kg of shi0 bak (roast belly pork). it was really good. just look at the crackling skin + the really nice meat layers colour. texture & taste was excellent. this motivated me to want to try again to do this difficult roast pork dish. 🙂

garlic brocoli

garlic brocoli

my helper did a garlic broccoli everyone liked it!

the lunch spread

the lunch spread

the lunch spread

the lunch spread

i experimented on a slow braised beef briskets & ribs with daikon (radish) & carrots but it was not good & we did not take photos. i will give it another try again, having thought about how i can do it differently & hopefully better. 🙂

tiramisu

tiramisu

tiramisu was a crowd favourite. one friend had 3 helpings and all enjoyed this light & very flavourful tiramisu recipe.

c.h.e.f andy

Very Good Kueh Chap

kueh chap

kueh chap on 4.8.2014

toyed with making kueh chap.

there are many hawker places one can get good kueh chap in singapore, so may not be a very worthwhile venture.

since i can use either of the (1)5hr sous vide method OR (2) cold crockpot on low method to produce just the right texture belly pork, i figure it should be quite easy to do the other items for kueh chap.

anyway i decided to try it on 24.6.2014 for my sis. it was pretty ok (bottom 2 photos). 🙂

kueh chap

kueh chap on 4.8.2014

kueh chap

kueh chap on 4.8.2014

kueh chap

kueh chap on 5.8.2014

a few friends decided to watch guardians of the galaxy (which btw was an excellent movie), so i invited them to come over to have simple kueh chap dinner, and with 1/2 a kampong chicken thrown in. 🙂

i went to sheng shiong & bought a 400g frozen belly pork (about S$4) & 1/2 pig head or face (S$4). the pig head came with the ear, so i had both ter tao bak 猪头肉 & ter heenh 猪耳. i tried the big intestine last time on 24.6.2014. both texture & flavour were good but it was still a bit strong taste, so i decided to be more conservative & bought the birth intestine aka fallopian tubes 生肠 instead. maybe you don’t think that was conservative. haha! 🙂

i prepared my own braising sauce (see recipe), which later became the soup for the kueh chap.

i did the usual preparation, scalding the belly & pig head after cleaning (i used a large kitchen knife to scrap off hair from the belly & face) to remove the scums. i then placed the pig head, belly & ear in the crockpot, added the braising sauce to cover the meat completely, then turned on low.

i learned this cold crockpot method to make a good pot roast which i have applied to cook belly pork very successfully e.g. 蒜泥白肉, a spicy garlic pork. what it does is that because the temperature rises quite slowly initially over 2-3hrs depending on the amount of cold liquid, it is equivalent to mild low temperature braising, resulting in a gentler, moist & tender meat. for this meat, total about 1kg, it should take about 5 to 6 hrs. you can also use a meat thermometer which i do & set at 90degC. i then set the meats aside. the braising sauce was now very tasty. i added the tau kwa, tau pok & the shelled cooked eggs & cooked on low for 2-3hrs.

for the birth intestine, i washed with salt (for large intestine the last time, i washed with salt & flour), cleaned thoroughly & left in a large bowl of water in the fridge overnight.  i was worried about the taste so i took out a small amount of braising sauce & cooked over the stove on low fire for 20minutes then dropped it in cold water. my friends later commented the texture was excellent, crunchy as it should be, flavourful & no strong taste. 🙂

the belly, pig head meat & pig ear were all quite good. nice flavour & just the right texture. 🙂

on 4.8.2014, i could not get the kueh for kueh chap from sheng shiong (i went to 2 different stores w/o success), so i used kueh teow instead. the next day my sis brought the kueh from another sheng shiong outlet & we walloped the leftovers. 🙂

the kueh only took 1 minute. by now the sauce was very tasty & i just added water & salt to taste to make the soup to add to the kueh. 🙂

when serving, garnish the dishes with chopped coriander & add fried shallots to the kueh chap.

kueh chap

kueh chap on 24.6.2014

kueh chap

kueh chap on 24.6.2014

overall, i think it was very successful, and comparable to a good kueh chap at the hawker stalls. 🙂

c.h.e.f andy

Ingredients:

  • 400g belly pork
  • 500g pig head meat
  • 100g pig ear
  • 1 birth intestine
  • 1 packet (2 pieces) tau kwa
  • 1 packet (10 pieces) tau pok

braising sauce

  • 3 tbsp dark sauce
  • 5 tbsp light soy sauce
  • 2 tbsp zhengjiang black vinegar
  • 1 tbsp heap sugar
  • 2 cinnamon bark
  • 4 aniseed
  • 4 cloves
  • 1 bulb peeled garlic
  • 3cm sliced ginger
  • 1 tbsp 5-pice powder
  • 1 litre water
  • salt to taste (about 2 -3 tsp)

Directions:

  1. mix the braising sauce.
  2.  scalding the belly & pig head after cleaning (use a large kitchen knife to scrap off hair from the belly & face) to remove the scums. place pig head, belly & ear in the crockpot, add the braising sauce to cover the meat completely, then turn on low & braise for about 5 to 6 hrs. you can also use a meat thermometer. set it at 90degC. the mild low temperature braising results in a gentler, moist & tender meat.
  3. set the meats aside. add the tau kwa, tau pok & the shelled cooked eggs & cook on low for 2-3hrs.
  4. wash birth intestine with salt (for large intestine, wash with both salt & flour), clean thoroughly & leave in a large bowl of water in the fridge overnight.
  5. take out a small amount of braising sauce & cook birth intestine over the stove on low fire for 20minutes then drop it in cold water. this produce a crunchy, flavourful dish & w/o the strong taste.
  6. when serving, garnish the dishes with chopped coriander & add fried shallots to the kueh chap.

Good Thai Food @ Patara Fine Thai Cuisine on 19Jul2014

tomyam talay

tomyam talay

had not been to patara for a while. the last post on patara was almost a year on 29.7.2013.

we decided to take advantage of the ongoing amex promotion which gave 1 person free or 33% discount for 3pax.

tomyam talay

tomyam talay

the tomyam tally (seafood) was chokeful of ingredients, prawns, scallops, sotong & sliced coconut. flavourful but we thought it was far too spicy this time.

stuffed chicken wings

stuffed chicken wings

thai stuffed chicken wings not my favourite but they were good standard.

belly pork curry

belly pork curry

belly pork curry

belly pork curry

we asked the chief waiter whether we should order the roast duck curry or belly pork curry. he recommended the later. it was a very good recommendation. the belly pork was very tender & the curry flavour was excellent.

alaskan crab legs in yellow curry

alaskan crab legs in yellow curry

we decided to skip the whole garoupa dish which we ordered every time & try something new. we picked the alaskan crab legs in yellow curry. it cost S$39++ same as the garoupa. we would have been much better off with the garoupa. this dish was very expensive with just about 5 crab leg sections. the yellow curry was too thin. to me it was not worth the price even with 33% discount.

thai olive rice

thai olive rice

patara’s olive rice was as perfect as ever. 🙂

overall the cost came to S$105nett after 33% discount, which was quite fine for 5 dishes, though i was not much into the stuff chicken wing & the alaskan crab was a rip-off!

c.h.e.f andy

蒜泥白肉 Spicy Garlic Pork

#5 蒜泥白肉

蒜泥白肉

蒜泥白肉, a spicy garlic pork, is a common sichuan dish which i like but don’t take often.

it was 1 of the dishes i explored when planning a “fine” chinese menu for 11pax RI friends on 5.5.2014. 🙂

spicy garlic pork 蒜泥白肉

spicy garlic pork 蒜泥白肉

i also tried drunken chicken. it was ok but several friends though my chicken rice chicken白斩鸡(a much easier preparation) was better. i tried ter kar tan (teochew pig trotter jelly) but so far not very successful. the other which i have not yet try out is 镇江肴肉, a cured pig trotter terrine.

spicy garlic pork 蒜泥白肉

spicy garlic pork 蒜泥白肉

i already produced a very tender belly pork by brining in sugar & salt & then using the crockpot method – place the belly pork in a crockpot & add enough brine to cover completely, turn on crockpot to low & cook for about 4hrs (OR use a meat thermometer set at 76degC & off the crockpot when alarm sounds).

i felt that the key to a good 蒜泥白肉 is a good sauce. so i googled & picked what i thought would be a good sauce recipe for 蒜泥白肉.

#5 蒜泥白肉 sichuan spicy garlic pork belly

蒜泥白肉 sichuan spicy garlic pork belly

i added 1/3 cup light soy sauce (80ml), 2 tablespoon brown sugar, 1 cm sliced ginger, 1 cinnamon bark, 1 clove, 2 anise seeds, 1 teaspoon cumin to 1/2 cup stock (chicken or from the pork) to a pan on low fire. i then added 4 cloves chopped garlic, 2 chopped shallots & 2 tablespoon sichuan spicy chilli oil. i heat it for until fragrant (5mins or more). i checked the taste. it should be very mildly sweet, just slight spicy & quite fragrant/flavourful. sliced the belly pork thinly, lay out on a dish with sliced zucchini, & drizzle the sauce over the pork. serve. 🙂

the result was in the above photos. when i brought out at the 27pax dinner for RI friends on 28.5.2014, everyone liked it. so was the case for the 11pax family birthday dinner on 14.6.2014. 🙂

c.h.e.f andy

Ingredients:

  • 400g belly pork
  • small zucchini (sliced)

sauce

  • 1/3 cup light soy sauce (80ml)
  • 2 tbsp brown sugar
  • 1 cm sliced ginger
  • 1 cinnamon bark
  • 1 clove
  • 2 anise seeds
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1/2 cup stock (chicken stock or from the pork)
  • 4 cloves chopped garlic
  • 2 chopped shallots
  • 2 tbsp sichuan spicy chilli oil

Directions:

  1. scald the belly pork in boiling water to remove scum. place in 600ml water (or enough to cover the pork fully) with 2 heap tbsp sugar & 1 heap tbsp salt & brine for 48hrs. placed the belly pork in a crockpot (cold) & add enough brine to cover completely, turn on crockpot to low for cook for about 4hrs (or use a meat thermometer set at 76degC & off the crockpot when alarm sounds).
  2. add 1/3 cup light soy sauce (80ml), 2 tbsp brown sugar, 1 cm sliced ginger, 1 cinnamon bark, 1 clove, 2 anise seeds, 1 teaspoon cumin to 1/2 cup stock (chicken or from the pork) to pan on low fire. add 4 cloves chopped garlic, 2 chopped shallots & 2 tbsp sichuan spicy chilli oil. heat until fragrant (5mins or more). check the taste. it should be very mildly sweet, just slight spicy & quite fragrant/flavourful.
  3. slice the belly pork thinly, lay out on a dish with sliced zucchini, & drizzle the sauce over the pork. serve.

 

“Sous Vide” Char Siew

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sous vide char siew

as i mentioned in my recent post on a homecooked 11pax 11-course dinner for RI buddies on 5.5.2014, i always find chinese cooking to be much more challenging than western (re my “worthwhile to do?” philosophy). peking duck for example requires such fine & painstaking preparation as air-blowing the skin to produce a very crispy skin peking duck, and xiaolongbao (小笼包) & 石榴包 are such intricate dumplings c/w ravioli served in modern european fine dining. & while perhaps not quite fine dining, teochew braised duck, chicken rice chicken, 蒜泥白肉, char siew & roast pork are such simple, tasty & very cheap food one can buy anywhere in singapore that it is really challenging to make home-cooking such dishes “worthwhile to do?”. anyhow, i did have quite successful recipes for very cheap & easy to do teochew braised duck & chicken rice chicken, but am unable to make a good crackling belly pork thus far. char siew also was not easy, and i had made quite a few attempts. anyhow finally, i think i have developed a really good “sous vide” char siew recipe, that made for a truly fabulous dish. 🙂

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sous vide char siew

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sous vide char siew

i scalded the belly pork as usual to remove scum. then i cut into several 3in pieces & placed in a ziploc bag when cooled. i prepared a very good marinade after much scouring through internet recipes plus some adjustments of my own. this method is similar to my very good miso belly pork except that the marinade is an adapted char siew marinade & not miso. like miso belly pork, i let it marinate for 3 full days to infuse the wonderful flavours. then i placed the belly pork fully covered/drenched in a marinade bath in a pre-heated oven at 90degC for 5hrs. 90degC is the optimum temperature (fastest) for conversion of collagen the tough connective tissues to gelatine with excellent texture & flavours. 🙂 this made the char siew especially the fatty parts, totally tender & delicious, & melt-in-the-mouth, such wonderful texture & flavours combined. 🙂 the final step was just to char over a non-stick pan on high heat. i used butter (if you want higher temperatures, use vegetable oil). i then charred the char siew on all sides which took just minutes. that imparted even more intense flavours to the char siew. 🙂 c.h.e.f andy Ingredients:

  • 500g belly pork

char siew sauce

  • 1 tbsp soy sauce
  • 1 tbsp fish sauce
  • 1 tsp dark sauce
  • 1 tbsp oyster sauce
  • 1 tbsp mirin
  • 1 tbsp cooking sake
  • 2 tbsp brandy (or 2 tbsp shaoxing wine)
  • 3 tbsp ketchup
  • 1 tbsp honey
  • 1 tbsp chopped garlic – 3 to 4 cloves
  • 1 tsp sesame oil
  • 1 tsp ground coriander
  • pinch of black pepper

Directions:

  1. scald belly pork as usual to remove scum. then cut into several 3in pieces & place in a ziploc bag when cooled. make marinade by combining all the ingredients
  2. marinade for 3 full days to infuse the wonderful flavours. place belly pork fully covered/drenched in a marinade bath in a pre-heated oven at 90degC for 5hrs. 90degC is the optimum temperature (fastest) for conversion of collagen the tough connective tissues to gelatine with excellent texture & flavours. this made the char siew especially the fatty parts, totally tender & delicious, & melt-in-the-mouth, such wonderful texture & flavours combined. 
  3. char on a non-stick pan on high heat. use butter or if you want higher temperatures, use vegetable oil. char the char siew on all sides, just few minutes. that will impart even more intense flavours to the char siew.

Mykuali Penang White Curry Noodles on 9May2014

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mykuali’s penang white curry noodles with belly pork

didn’t think i would be blogging about instant noodles, but the penang white curry noodle by mykuali which i bought recently from sheng shiong was really hot stuff (pun intended). 🙂

it has not taken root in singapore yet, but the koreans regularly buy & eat instant noodles at the grocery stores & at street-side “sarabat” stalls which sells them with all kinds of toppings, just as they do in indonesia. 🙂

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slow-cooked belly pork (japanese chashu standard)

i added very thinly sliced slow-cooked belly pork. the whole thing looked very like a very delicious craving-inducing chashumen. 🙂

i found a quick way of making very good tender & tasty belly pork. you can brine the belly for 1 to 2 days in sugar & salt or just add garlic, shallots, spring onions etc for flavours at time of cooking. anyway place the belly pork (after scalding with boiling water to remove the scums) in a crockpot COLD & add either the brine OR the other flavouring ingredients. turn crockpot to low & in about 3 to 4hrs you get a very tender belly pork just like the japanese chashu. it is that simple! 🙂1507033_10152381320064494_6440200458511359462_n10308084_10152379373874494_1604373033650047404_n

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mykuali’s penang white curry noodles

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mykuali’s penang white curry noodles

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mykuali’s penang white curry noodles with belly pork

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mykuali’s penang white curry noodles with belly pork

i used belly pork but could have added prawns & squid, maybe even cockles. of course like jap ramen, it could be chicken or tonkatsu (breaded pork cutlet) as well. 🙂

a most satisfying meal.

c.h.e.f andy

Incredible Artisan Fusion Molecular Cuisine @ Labyrinth on 30Apr2014

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lime sorbet

my wife’s close couple friends bought dinner @ labyrinth by han li guang at neil road on 30.4.2014. 🙂

i knew of the restaurant the day before, started googling, and found the beautiful food photos in bibikgourmand.

there was a reference made on willin low of wild rockets fame. i did like wild rockets & the laksa pesto pasta maybe 15 years back. personally i did not see any similarity just looking at bibikgourmand photos or having seen & tasted the food afterwards. 🙂 one was fusion in combining “western” & “singaporean” ingredients and most importantly, making the result taste good & not for fusion sake (in that both were similar).

in labyrinth’s case, it was going back to the ingredients, reassemble them into something that looked quite different (but very artisan & beautiful) and yet delivering the (excellent!) taste though perhaps not the overall experience eg the chilli crab ice cream combined with deep-fried soft-shell crab tasted like very good chilli crab but it’s not the same as eating a meaty crab, nor was it expected to be. 🙂 the science of taste? molecular cuisine in its finest form? i am NOT qualified to say… 🙂

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garlic mousse, olive powder, balsamic jam for focaccia bread

amuse bouche? the lime sorbet was nice, simple, refreshing, nothing special.

we were served focaccia bread with a garlic mousse, olive powder, balsamic jam. quite unique & pretty good & fun. could’t say this would match good freshly baked bread in a good restaurant, but they were good anyway & matched the food theme. balsamic jam was good, garlic mousse too, olive powder too refined for my taste buds..tasted nothing. 🙂

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beef tartare masquerade (imposter)

#1 this dish looked very like a beef tartare with the egg yoke even, and the taste was quite exquisite. 🙂 the mango sphere sat on a roasted tomato, which was very tasty & great with the greens. the mango sphere was, to me, amazing only to wonder how it was done but did not add much taste nor texture. it was a thin liquid & did not have the silky egg yolk texture.

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chilli crab

#2 the chilli crab looked incredible, a piece of art, so pretty. & excellent flavours, superb dish 🙂 the deep-fried soft-shell crab combined very well indeed with the chilli crab ice cream. they were arranged with the crab mousse, ikura, seaweed on mantou (馒头) sand to give a picture of sea (and tropical island?). not sure if the mantou sand added anything, my palate not sophisticated enough to capture all the taste & texture, need more practice..haha. 🙂

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curry chicken rice

there was a choice of mains – curry chicken or siew yoke fan.

#3 the curry chicken was better than what i expected, though my wife did not like the dish so much. deep-fried chicken balls did not sound that great for main course, but these were quite tasty & you could taste the curry. the quinoa (“kin wah”) risotto was tasty too. i am beginning to like quinoa. my son’s friend made a good quinoa salad & my wife too so she was less impressed. as a “deconstructed” or “reconstructed” or “pigeon-holing not important” dish that was plated quite nicely, looked different & yet tasted like curry chicken, the dish was a great success. so it was good & exceeded my expectation but c/w with a good main (fish or meat) in good restaurant, it may or may not measure up after the initial excitement. also, like going back to the excellent chilli crab, it was indeed a “wow” experience, very pleasantly surprised, but not the same as eating a meaty crab. so it’s a different kind of satisfaction & expectation.

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siew yoke fan

#4 the siew yoke fan was again superbly executed. 🙂 the crackling belly pork was excellent, though our friends said the ones they had at basilico recently were even better. the risotto was very tasty, though i could not really tell if it was a ramen (tonkotsu?) stock.

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chendol xiaolongbao

there were 2 desserts in the set – chendol xiaolongbao & a deconstructed apple crumble.

#5 the chendol xiaolongbao, with red beans, coconut milk ice shavings inside, had genuine chendol taste, was light & quite refreshing. it was pretty ok, i enjoyed it though it was not a favourite for me.

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deconstructed apple crumble

#6 the apple crumble was very good. the stewed apple balls, apple crisp, baked white chocolates & yogurt ice cream all very tasty & combined well. an excellent dessert. 🙂

5-course menu

5-course menu

the 5-course menu was S$78pax, a reasonable price for the quality of food & overall a very enjoyable fun experience. the food was very artisan (perhaps that would become an industry standard in due course), very creative (to me it felt totally new & had no peers in Singapore as yet).  the other “affordable” place where the food presentation is very artisan is jaan (where i had the best degustation dinner on 20.1.2014 with the same couple friends), recently just got on to pelligrino world’s best 100, at 100th place. andre, iggy’s, les amis all very costly & i have yet to convince myself it is worth spending the money. it’s all about experience, very subjective, and also depends on expectations and perspectives, and perhaps very importantly on the the company too. 🙂

c.h.e.f andy

 

Recipe = Miso Char Siew (or Miso Belly Pork)

miso char siew

miso char siew

N.B. subsequently i did a wonderful melt-in-the-mouth miso belly pork dish for a homecooked japanese-themed dinner on 12.12.2013, but finished by pan-charred over butter instead of oven broiled.

i can call this a self-invented recipe. 🙂 basically, after i started making a rather good Nobu miso cod, i was trying to re-use the miso (didn’t want to make miso soup all the time and didn’t want to discard the miso after 1 use). also i was having a hard time making char siew both getting the texture right & also charring the outside. & not to forget the very lovely miso belly pork we had for the wonderful set lunch at pollen @ gardens by the bay! 🙂 just a note – though i started my experiment by reusing the miso, for best effect the proper way of course is 1 use & discard (or make miso soup..haha..) & for sure i would not use the miso cod miso for belly pork or vice versa, so if reuse then use second time only for the same meat!

miso belly pork

miso belly pork

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anyway i put the belly pork to marinade in miso for 3 days as i would when preparing miso cod. before that i rinsed the belly pork with boiling water, then cleaned up in cold water & then cut off the skin. unlike miso cod which you don’t want it to be too sweet, i added one more heap tablespoon sugar to the marinade. when cooking, i took out the belly pork & placed it in an oven dish with lid with the marinade just covering the pork for 1 hr to get it to room temperature. i then placed it in the preheated oven at 90degC for 1 hr. after removing it from the oven, i placed the pork on a rack over an aluminium foil lined baking tray, and preheat the oven to the highest temperature at 250degC. i then turned it to broil & cooked the pork for 11 minutes, turned over & broiled for another 5 minutes=total broiling time 16 minutes.

i did this for 600g of belly pork + pork collar combined about 3/4 portion was served as in the top photo. i did a second time for about 250g (the belly pork portion in the 2 photos below which included kurobuta steaks), and i had to adjust the timing to 8minutes + 5minutes=total 13minutes. if you have a meat thermometer, you can also check for 170degF or 77degC .

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the result = a very tender consistent inside texture & a charred & flavourful layer outside (with miso helping the charring) & overall a very tasty dish! 🙂

note the broiling time is key – though it is important to char the outside the inside will overcook if the timing is wrong!

c.h.e.f andy

Ingredients:

  • 2 long strips of belly pork (about 600g)
  • 2 tbsp sugar
  • 2 tbsp miso paste
  • 1/2 cup mirin
  • 1/2 cup cooking sake

Directions:

  1. boil saké and the mirin  in a medium saucepan over high heat for 20 seconds to evaporate the alcohol, turn to low and add the miso paste, stirring to dissolve the miso completely, then turn to high again and add the sugar, stirring constantly so that the bottom of the pan doesn’t burn. cool down marinate mix to room temperature.
  2. rinse belly pork with boiling water, then clean in cold water & then cut off the skin. place belly pork strips in a ziplock bag & pour in the cooled marinate and leave in fridge for 3 full days. turning over once in the morning & once in the evening to ensure all sides are fully coated.
  3. take out belly pork & place it in an oven dish with lid with the miso marinade just covering the pork for 1 hr to get it to room temperature. place it in the preheated oven at 90degC for 1 hr. after removing it from the oven, place the pork on a rack over an aluminium foil lined baking tray, and preheat the oven to the highest temperature at 250degC. turn to broil & cook the pork for 11 minutes, turn over & broil for another 5 minutes=total broiling time 16 minutes.

Oven Slow-braised Chashu (Japanese Braised Belly Pork for Ramen)

chashumen

chashumen

have not done any blogging on recipes for a while.

lately, after seeing some internet recipes on cooking Japanese chashu (see a very good one by http://www.seriouseats.com on chashu pork), I did a few attempts myself, with some reasonable success. 🙂

I had also in fact undertaken a 10pax homegourmet dinner recently on 11.6.2013, where I also served 10 bowls of chasumen, which was rather well received. 🙂 the top photo (and the one right at the bottom) were taken during that dinner. 🙂

chashu (Japanese oven slow-braised pork belly)

chashu (Japanese oven slow-braised pork belly)

now on the cooking. I blanched a 300g belly pork in boiling water to remove the scums & then rinsed with slow running water.  I then used a string (butcher twine) to tie the pork belly to make the semi-circular shape. 🙂 I prepared the braising sauce which comprised 1/2 cup sake, 1/2 cup mirin, 1 tablespoon sugar, 3 tablespoon light soy sauce and 1 cup water. I added sliced ginger (3cm block), 4 peeled garlic cloves, 1 stalk spring onions, 1 shallot quartered and heat till boiling. I added the belly pork & transfer to a preheated oven at 130degC for 1/2hr. I then let the oven cooled and set to 90degC and left the belly pork to slowly braise over 2hrs. 🙂

chashu (Japanese oven slow-braised pork belly)

chashu (Japanese oven slow-braised pork belly)

the result was a very tender texture of belly pork including the skin. 🙂 & it was sweet & tasty from the sauce marinade. 🙂

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the above photos were from my very first attempt.

just to add – I have now perfected the 6 minutes runny yoke egg (will make a separate recipe post later!). also though the chashu would go very well with the regular ramen, I prefer the much lighter version using the thin Japanese noodles, especially when this carbo item is served as part of a 8-course menu. 🙂

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the bowl on the right with the runny york egg was from the recent 10pax homegourmet dinner on 11.6.2013. 🙂

c.h.e.f andy

Ingredients:

  • 300g belly pork
  • 1/2 cup mirin
  • 1/2 cup sake
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1 tbsp sugar
  • 3 tbsp light soy sauce
  • 4 cloves peeled garlic
  • 1 shallot quartered
  • 1 stalk spring onions
  • 3cm ginger (sliced)

Directions:

  1. blanch 300g belly pork in boiling water to remove the scums & then rinse with slow running water.  use a string (butcher twine) to tie the pork belly to make the semi-circular shape.
  2. prepare the braising sauce which comprises 1/2 cup sake, 1/2 cup mirin, 1 tablespoon sugar, 3 tablespoon light soy sauce, and 1 cup water. add sliced ginger (3cm block), 4 peeled garlic cloves, 1 stalk spring onions, 1 shallot quartered and heat till boiling.
  3. add the belly pork & transfer to a preheated oven at 130degC for 1/2hr. let the oven cool and set to 90degC and leave the belly pork to slowly braise over 2hrs. serve or store in fridge for future use.

Homegourmet 8-Course Lunch @ 14Mar2013

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I had another homegourmet 9pax lunch with friends recently.

I had quite some success on the pan-roasted brined chicken breast recipe, and was raring to try it on duck. 🙂 I wanted to test it once before I dumped the dish on my friends.  I did this using both the pan-roasted chicken quick-roast method & the prime rib slow-roast method successfully, the slow-roast method producing an even more tender meat.

The slow-roast pork belly was still a work-in-progress. It turned up very well for my daughter’s 14pax friends lunch on CNY 3rd Day, but I felt it was still mostly touch & go. I would not have time to do on 14Mar if it turned up poorly so I did it in the evening of 13Mar & as it was passable if not great so I kept it in the fridge to warm up & serve the next day.

For the soup. I had been doing a “kick-ass” …self-praise haha…Basque seafood soup using prawn shells but was a bit tired of doing the same soup every time. I looked up some creamy mushroom soup recipe and thought it could not go too far wrong and was worth a gamble, since I had on hand willing devoted risk-taker volunteers high on faith. 🙂

skin-on pan-roasted brined duck breast

skin-on pan-roasted brined duck breast

We started off with 4 tapas – (a) pan-roasted brined chicken breast (b)slow-roast brined duck breast (c)slow-roast pork belly & (d) Margaret River wagyu MBS6/7+angus striploin.

I think all were happy with the brined chicken breast & duck breast (except that I was rushing a little & destroyed the crispy skin of the chicken quite badly, I relaxed and did it right for the duck). They were moist, tender & tasty! 🙂 The belly pork was a bit iffy. This was a rather fatty piece & though the fat & meat were quite soft, the skin was still a tad tough to the bite, so the “mouth feel” 口感 wasn’t quite right. Fortunately, the natural jus was quite tasty & the Spanish spicy mustard sauce was a very good dip to go together with.

I thought the wagyu was below par. I had better marbling for MBS4/5 striploin from the same supplier mmmm previously for the “Best of” dinner on 28Jan2013 (of course my friends would say its the bad carpenter..haha). The rockets were also not good. I forgot to buy on 13Mar & there was no time to get it on 14Mar so went at 1am the night before to Sheng Shiong’s 24hr mart at Ghim Moh & the only ones there were quite old & not fresh. 😦

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I had a separate portion of 3 pan-seared Hokkaido scallops for WL as he does not take beef. It should be quite ok now that I learned the simple technique=very hot pan +very dry scallop (scallops & fish etc contain a lot of water & if not bone dry, pan temperature will drop sharply & you will be steaming/poaching & will not have a hardened seared layer so it will stick to the pan). 🙂

pan-seared Hokkaido scallops

pan-seared Hokkaido scallops

After the tapas, we had a pasta item, which was my seafood alio olio spaghetti with white wine. I was quite confident on the taste department as this dish mostly turned up quite well but I thought the texture was not enough al dente this time. 😦

seafood alio olio spaghetti with white wine

seafood alio olio spaghetti with white wine

Next came my very first attempt at creamy mushroom soup, and gratefully it turned up very well indeed – really quite smooth in texture and tasty – though from the photo below, I could see the caramelised mushrooms but NOT few drops of extra virgin olive oil.

creamy mushroom soup

creamy mushroom soup

The pistachio rusted rack of lamb was also my very first attempt, and this was quite an excitement for me actually. The lamb rack looked fabulous & tasted great! although I found it slightly overdone as I would prefer medium rare. It was moist, tender and did not have much of  the strong lamb gamey taste. 🙂

pistachio crusted rack of lamb

pistachio crusted rack of lamb

The 8-ribs lamb rack was good for 4 serving, and being my first attempt it was actually a stand-in for my more “established” Spanish 2-hr slow-braised beef ribs. This had been very good the few times I served previously, but the taste was a bit off this time, & we were at a lost to explain (other than bad carpenter). The vegetable base ratatouille (celery, carrots, yellow onions) should be sweet & balancing the beefy taste, the Chinese sausage added some sweetness & the chorizo (though may not be everyone’s favourite) had combined very well previously.  I thought that it could be the chuck rib itself, though I bought it from Giant the day before, but I could not be sure how long it was on their shelves. Photo below still looked ok but looks deceived 😦

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Spanish 2-hr slow-braised beef ribs

We had the usual chocolate lava cake.  I was getting a bit bored though, hoping to try out a new soufle recipe next time.

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WL brought very nice tarts and CH his usual strawberries & this time it was especially sweet. All the leftover tarts were polished off by my daughters soon enough. 🙂

c.h.e.f andy