Wafu 和风 (Japanese Style) Braised Eggplants – Simply Wonderful!

#5 wafu 和风 (japanese braised) eggplants - this dish was simply excellent!

wafu 和风 (japanese braised) eggplants

japanese is a very wide cuisine like chinese, indian, french, italian (whereas my impression is korean cuisine is quite limited).

in japanese cooking there are so many very nice side dishes and great combination of different dishes even in a simple bento at the railway station.

& in kaiseki they always have many diffferent types of appetizers, steamed, broiled, poached, boiled, stewed, braised, vinegared, cured, stir-fired, grilled, hotpot, really endless array of dishes.

for my recent 9pax japanese course dinner on 28.9.2015, i paired the shabu pork with grated radish & small japanese cucumbers.

& i wanted to pair the wafu (和风) pasta with teriyaki cod & a veg.

after surfing/looking up a bit, i found a simple interesting wafu (和风) braised eggplant recipe from japanesecooking101 here.

following the recipe, i cut 2 egg plants in 1/2, then sliced the egg plants (this to let the sauce infused into the egg plants), then cut in 1/2 again, so i have 8 quarters. i fried them a bit, turned over, then added 1 cup dashi (i used chicken/vegetable stock), 1 tbsp tsuyu, 1 tbsp mirin, 1 tbsp sake (basically to taste) & reduced & set aside. when serving i reduced a little further while warming up & served. 🙂

wafu 和风 (japanese braised) eggplants

wafu 和风 (japanese braised) eggplants

the wafu 和风 (japanese braised) eggplants was simply excellent! this the first time i did a japanese braised eggplant. it’s so easy & the taste was just fantastic!^^

egg plant is really a very nice veg. you can do it in so many ways.

i had very nice eggplants with minced pork in hong kong at 富记大排档 at tai wai, and i recreated the minced pork egg plant dish at home,

and later a vegetarian version of the egg plant dish. 🙂

& i still want to do the chinese version though (i like the ye shanghai one very much). don’t think much difference, probably just use oysters sauce instead.

a wonderful, most satisfying dish! ^^

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

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

Chicken Rice Chicken 白斩鸡

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Chicken Rice Chicken 白斩鸡

#1 poached chicken

chicken rice chicken

the 白斩鸡 or hainanese wenchang (文昌) chicken (i just call it chicken rice chicken) is a cheap popular ubiquitous hawker dish in singapore.

so it’s really a challenge to make the dish – it has to be as good if not far better than the good ones you can get in many chicken rice stalls, hawker centres or food courts. 🙂

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Chicken Rice Chicken 白斩鸡

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Chicken Rice Chicken 白斩鸡

i started cooking 2 years ago & did not try this for 1 year+. subsequently when i wanted to try out curry chicken noodles (the ah heng hong lim hawker centre style which basically used chicken rice poached chicken) as i make a good flavour nonya curry chicken & wanted to use it as the soup base, i decided to do my own curry chicken noodles.

for a time, i used the method that boiled/simmered whole chicken for 30minutes & then placed it in ice water bath (to taut the skin & stop further cooking).

recently i found that poaching – by cutting the chicken in halves then boiling/simmering both halves & leaving it in the hot water for 20minutes with the fire off – was a better method that produced more tender chicken. 🙂 you can do this with whole chicken w/o cutting of course. however w/o cutting in halves (a) you have to lift the whole chicken up & down several times while boiling to allow boiling water inside the cavity w/o temperature drop (b) it is easier to pull out 1/2 chicken w/o tearing the beautiful yellow skin. 🙂

the yellow skin colour was from turmeric, just small amount (1 teaspoon) in a bath with spring onions, red onions, ginger & salt. boiled (just slightly above simmering) 10 minutes over medium heat, another 20 minutes fire off, then placed in ice bath (to have taut skin & stop further cooking), then in fridge.

i also brined the chicken (3 tablespoon sugar, 1 tablespoon salt & 1 tablespoon lemon juice in 1 litre water) for 2 days (this is an important step to get water molecules into the chicken – diffusion; and to infuse the sugar & salt – osmosis). this made the chicken moist, sweet & tasty.  i also added fish sauce, very very slight drizzle, just using a teaspoon & slightly touched the deboned chicken pieces. this brought out the very sweet taste of the chicken. 🙂

c.h.e.f andy