Wonderful 4pax Homecooked Lunch for my Outram Primary School Classmates on 17Mar2016

5 dishes-claypot rice, bakuteh, steamed 桂鱼,tau jeon eggplants, cabbage with taupok

5 dishes-claypot rice, bakuteh, steamed 桂鱼,tau jeon eggplants, cabbage with taupok

3 OPS (Outram Primary School) classmates came to my place for lunch yesterday on 17.3.2016.

i did 5 dishes –

bakuteh
claypot rice
港蒸桂鱼
eggplant with tau jeon
cabbage with tau pok (fried beancurd puff)
lotus ginkyo nut cheng chow 莲子白果凉粉

quite excellent food & company! ^^

bakuteh is an easy dish to make, tasty dish which i did for my RI friends recently on 14.3.2016, reminiscence of our trip the week before to JB.

the only variation was i added tau pok, in place of tau kee (bean curd skin) they added in shoon huat 顺发JB.

i used back the hara fried beancurd puff, which made the tasty soup even tastier! 🙂

i used the same frozen prime ribs from sheng shiong, S$10.95/kg. it was meaty, fatty, and so much tastier than the less marbled pork ribs. i generally boil them for 45mins, so that pork ribs are tender but not falling apart, even after 1 or 2 reheats. just the texture, the way i like it. 🙂

claypot rice (my first time)

#2 claypot rice (my first time)

this the first time i did a claypot rice!

this was inspired by the new lucky claypot rice my RI friend bought me at holland drive food centre recently.

of course i searched internet for a recipe. it did not look too difficult.

  1. i fried some chicken fat (veg oil do just as well), added cut ginger pieces & salted fish & some chopped garlic, fried for short while to get the aroma.
  2. then i removed the salted fish & set aside, added 2 cups of rice & fried.
  3. i then added just less than 2 cups water (to provide for liquid in the marinated chicken so rice would not be wet & soggy), boiled & simmered.
  4. i had some cut chicken (i used 1/2 chicken + 1 thigh deboned) marinated with 2 tsp fish sauce, 1 tsp oyster sauce, 1 tsp sesami sauce, 1 tsp dark sauce, 2 tsp corn flour for about 2hrs. also sliced 1 pork sausage & 1 liver sausage.
  5. i set my timer to 10 minutes but water was boiling off by 5 mins, so i added the the chicken + sausage at 5 mins.
  6. i reset for 10mins but stopped at 8 mins as i was preparing the claypot rice 2 hrs earlier & would be reheating another 5mins plus when my guests arrived.
  7. lastly i added the shanghai greens + salted fish
claypot rice (my first time)

#2 claypot rice (my first time)

it was my very first time, and unlike other dishes you cannot really taste & adjust as you go, so the arhgak-logy (estimation) had to be like first time right almost.

and i did adjust it/improvise as i went along.

anyway, the results were wonderful, and you could tell as the rice was cooking. i could smell the smoky, wonderful aroma. & my friends too, when i removed the claypot cover.

smelled wonderful, and tasted super la!

claypot rice (my first time)

#2 claypot rice (my first time)

the rice could be just a tag drier, but it was pretty ok as it were.

chicken were very tender, not overcooked (maybe i could increase a bit the fish sauce & sesami sauce marinade), and i had good quality pork & liver sausages.

it was quite perfect actually!

the lunch also came about because one friend brought me 2 桂鱼 mandarin fish airflown from shanghai the last time he came to my place after CNY.

the 2 fish were in my freezer for 1month liao, i took out 1 of them. it was very fresh, totally fresh!

i did the usual 港蒸 HK steamed style with a slight variation, 2 tbsp light soy sauce (& i used 2 tbsp olive oil + 1 tbsp mirin).

when all the friends were here, i put it in the steam oven (any steamer will do) for 10mins, just right for a 500g fish. 🙂

fish was very fresh, tender, texture a bit finer than red garoupa but firmer than the yellow croaker. a very nice fish, personally speaking, i still prefer the red garoupa though. 🙂

i tried out tau jeon 豆酱 for the egg plant this time. it was very nice, better than what i had previously for my 9pax teochew muay lunch. ^^

1 friend commented how the egg plant was not mushy, and this an important consideration, to make it soft but not mushy, stock much reduced almost dry so more tasty, intense, favourful.

i think it was a very good egg plant dish, quite excellent!

my cabbage with tau pok was also a variation of my usual cabbage for teochew muay.

this time it was a lot tastier even, because i reduced the stock more & also the hara fried beancurd puff added a very pleasant, sweet taste.

a great improvement even compared with the cabbage everyone liked on 28.10.2015!

fried ikan bilis

#5 fried ikan bilis

i had the idea of adding ikan bilis.

i got that from the nice ikan bilis bee hoon we had last time at ayer rajah food centre afte the indian rojak.

it went very well with the cabbage dish actually, but you can’t have too much of it so i just added 1/2 portion of what i made.

dessert = lotus ginkyo nut cheng chow + durian pudding

#6 dessert = lotus ginkyo nut cheng chow + durian pudding

i made my usual  lotus ginkyo nut cheng chow 莲子白果凉粉, modeled after hoe kee in hong kong.

& my friend brought durian pudding, made with XO durians.

lotus ginkyo nut cheng chow 莲子白果凉粉

#6 lotus ginkyo nut cheng chow 莲子白果凉粉

a very simple dessert, just boiled lotus seeds & ginkyo nuts in 5 tbsp brown sugar for about 2hrs. then added to ready made cheng chow from sheng shiong. very nice & refreshing.

durian pudding

#6 durian pudding

durian pudding/custard was very nice, very good durian flavours, not too sweet. i was eating it just now, left from yesterday, enjoying it.

after lunch we chatted for another hr plus, then decided to go out for coffee. i had to leave so 3 of us went to assembly coffee at evans road for a cuppa. 🙂

great lunch, company, chit chat & coffee afterwards. 🙂

c.h.e.f andy

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Tak Shiok Fish Head Steamboat @ SICC Bukit Room on 4Dec2015

fish head steamboat

S$36 1/2 fish head steamboat

not been to bukit room for sky knows how many eons?

got a S$20 birthday voucher to use, need to spend S$50 to redeem, and only 2 of us this evening, can’t do that at 19th hole, so decided to go bukit room on 4.12.2015.

the 1/2 red garoupa head steamboat is a promotional item at S$36, so we ordered that.

asparagus

S$12 asparagus

also ordered the aspagaragus S$12.

asparagus

S$12 asparagus

this was pretty good. nicely done with good wok hae, wok aroma.

fish head steamboat

S$36 1/2 fish head steamboat

the fish head steamboat?

well, how to say? can’t say fish head steamboat was no good, but it’s 1/2 fish head in a steamboat rather than fish head steamboat la! haha! 🙂

fish head

pre-fried fish head

more like a decent salted veg tofu soup at an ordinary coffeeshop zi char & added some fishhead…

miles from the real thing like whampoa keng intense broth standard..

fish head steamboat

S$36 1/2 fish head steamboat

dinner was just over S$50, so after $20 voucher, about S$31 maybe…

after dinner, we tapao cha kuay teow from 19th hole..basically tak shiok… if you know what i mean. so the S$30 is much better spent at the 19th hole. 🙂

this restaurant is really like old fashion zi char stall higher price, surprise to see quite a few tables occupied, so the restaurant does have some regulars i guess.

c.h.e.f andy

Steamed Yellow Croaker, Japanese Seabass or 小黄鱼

steamed yellow croaker, japanese seabass or 小黄鱼

steamed yellow croaker, japanese seabass or 小黄鱼

bought yellow croaker, also called japanese seabass or 小黄鱼 at chinatown market, so decided to steam it for dinner on 7.10.2015. ^^

my helper does a very good hong kong steamed red garoupa. it is really of good zi char & restaurant standard. though the red garoupa we bought from chinatown market were not live (or swimming), they were always very fresh.

i was thinking of varying the hong kong steamed 港蒸style, & i had previously done very good tasting-

steamed yellow croaker, japanese seabass or 小黄鱼

steamed yellow croaker, japanese seabass or 小黄鱼

so i marinated the fish (a large one for yellow croaker maybe 600g+)with 3tbsp light soy sauce, 2tbsp olive oil & 2tbsp mirin (optional). & that’s it!

then it’s garnishes like sliced red chilli (i forgot to add sliced ginger), & cut spring onions near the end of steaming.

steamed yellow croaker, japanese seabass or 小黄鱼

steamed yellow croaker, japanese seabass or 小黄鱼

i steamed in the steam oven for 12mins. if not using a steam oven, then similarly in a steamer for 12mins.

the fish was really excellent, very sweet & tasty & fine. 港蒸style小黄鱼 texture is finer than red garoupa & equally good.

the sauce was very tasty & not really so different from hong kong steamed 港蒸style, the same flavourful light soy sauce taste, not too salty, but it is a very good variation & equally tasty, instead of resorting to the proven style everytime.

小黄鱼 is also good served chilled similar to the chilled mullet 乌鱼.

we had very good ones at chao inn 潮楼 at kwun tong in hong kong on 3.6.2015!

fried yellow croaker, japanese seabass or 小黄鱼14.9.2015 fried yellow croaker, japanese seabass or 小黄鱼14.9.2015(2)

i also tried fried yellow croaker 煎小黄鱼 (above 2 photos), not too bad too!

that after trying a pretty good one at imperial treasure nanbei at taka on 23.8.2015.

but really, steaming is the best to bring out the freshness & sweetness of the fish la!

c.h.e.f andy

Mediocre Food @ Tunglok Xihe Grandstand on 30Aug2015

tan jia sharksfin fishmaw soup

tan jia sharksfin fishmaw soup

we go to tunglok often but have never tried tunglok xihe. this evening we decided to try the food at tunglok xihe @ grandstand on 30.8.2015. 🙂

tunglok xihe set menu

tunglok xihe set menu

there was a 6-course S$68 menu which seemed ok at 50% palate discounts, so we ordered that.

tunglok xihe @ grandstand

tunglok xihe @ grandstand

there are ample parking at grandstand & the ambience of the restaurant was pretty good.

tunglok xihe @ grandstand

tunglok xihe @ grandstand

there were quite a few expat family tables. guess grandstand is quite a go to place for expat.

tan jia sharksfin fishmaw soup

tan jia sharksfin fishmaw soup

the tan jia braised sharksfin fishmaw soup turned out to be the best dish for the evening.

it was chokeful of ingredients & wife liked it a lot.

tan jia sharksfin fishmaw soup

tan jia sharksfin fishmaw soup

very good standard, like tunglok signature. i think majestic’s is better though.

steamed fish fillet with ginger & orange peel

steamed fish fillet with ginger & orange peel

the steamed fish was very poor. not sure what fish? menu said 野生鱼wild snakehead? the bill said sea fish.

it had soil taste so maybe it was snakehead. it could be garoupa. not sure

steamed fish fillet with ginger & orange peell

steamed fish fillet with ginger & orange peel

anyway it was very poor. our steamed fish (red garoupa from chinatown market) at home would beat this every time & by a long margin.

prawn in 2 ways

prawn in 2 ways

prawns were pretty good. both preparation were crispy outside & tender, bouncy inside. 🙂

asparagus, fungus, bamboo shoots

asparagus, fungus, bamboo shoots

the vegetable was good. as good as the mixed vege we like at tunglok signature orchard parade.

asparagus, fungus, bamboo shoots

asparagus, fungus, bamboo shoots

it had wok hae, colour & good taste.

lion's head meatball with rice

lion’s head meatball with rice

can’t say the lion’s head meatball with rice dish was bad. but it was no comparison to (say) the cheap 凤爪排骨饭 steamed chicken feet & pork ribs rice at timhowan in hong kong.

lion's head meatball with rice

lion’s head meatball with rice

there was no kick in this preparation – rice not fragrant, meatball just meatball & sauce non descript. at least it was not a bad dish, just non descript.

hashima with pear & ginseng

hashima with pear & ginseng

hashima dessert was pretty good though.

hashima with pear & ginseng

hashima with pear & ginseng

quite refreshing & i guess good ingredients.

the bill was higher than i expected. i think S$87 for 2pax. the reason was that the 10% service was charged on the full amount & not after the 50% discount. i queried the staff as this was not the practice of other tunglok outlets. the staff explained that since June2015 they had changed to the current system. i guess it was not as good as having the previous deal. it’s just a matter of what one considered the “real” price but anyway i am ok for the staff to have the 10% service at the “normal” un-discounted price.

i may still come back during weekdays to try the ala carte items & dimsum. for this set i think it was really mediocre & don’t think i will take it again.

c.h.e.f andy

Below Par (for the Price) 4pax Dinner @ Restaurant Home on 25Jun2014

mini buddha jump over the wall

mini buddha jump over the wall

was truly disappointed with the S$59.80+ ala carte buffet at restaurant home on 25.6.2014. 😦

probably had to do with wrong expectations, as the award winning chef tan yong hua has so many accolades, not least the first singaporean chef to win against iron Chef Thailand. also the price of S$59.80+pax would be quite ok if the dishes were good & not just mediocre.

mini buddha jump over the wall

mini buddha jump over the wall

#1 the mini buddha-jump-over-the-wall(bjotw) had a light decent soup base (not intense & maybe that was intended), a good flower mushroom, a quite small abalone which was ok & lots of chicken plus a cheap fish maw (not 花胶). i supposed average ingredients were quite ok if the soup was really tasty. it was not a bad soup. 1 of us commented any lie tong (例汤) soup of the day by tunglok or imperial treasure would beat this, so there was nothing much to say.

8-head abalone, mushroom & spinach

8-head abalone, mushroom & spinach

8-head abalone, mushroom & spinach

8-head abalone, mushroom & spinach

#2 the bite/texture & flavour of the 8-head abalone & also the flower mushroom were quite good. the spinach was just average, and perhaps it was more the method of preparation, but any brown sauce braised chinese abalones (ah yat, tunglok, xin restaurant etc) would be a better overall taste experience than this (not a better abalone). i guess this dish would be above average to good whereas the mini bjotw was just average.

salmon & maguro sashimi & mayo prawns

salmon & maguro sashimi & mayo prawns

#3 the salmon & maguro (tuna) sashimi were ok, the lobster was buried in mayo. a wasabi or salted egg prawn would be better. the dish was ok but nondescript.

herbal drunken prawns

herbal prawns

#4 the prawns were big & fresh & quite tasty. i guess it was about as good as a herbal prawn could be. it was not a dish i would much fancy though, unlike the wow factor with the golden prawns at mikuni.

deep-fried soon hock

deep-fried red garoupa

#5 the deep-fried red garoupa was competent, good even. but as 1 diner commented, it was no better than ah yat though the garoupa tasted better than soon hock. i also thought it was not much better than peach garden miramar, not counting ban heng’s deep-fried soon hock which was very average.

roast duck

roast duck

#6 the roast duck was to me about the best dish for the evening (& it was not among the chef selected dishes above limited to 1 serving). skin was crispy, meat was tender, moist not overcooked & very flavourful.

cabmeat brocoli

crabmeat brocoli

#7 the crabmeat broccoli was another better dish, looked good, tasted great, more like the standards of tunglok or imperial treasure.

sichuan beef with rice crackers

sichuan beef with rice crackers

rice crackers (for sichuan beef)

rice crackers (for sichuan beef)

#8 the sichuan spicy fish fillet (i forgot to take a photo) was ok edible not good but as 水煮鱼 it was a disaster! even the NUS canteen foodgle hub just above average S$6 水煮鱼 was better than this.

#9 the sichuan spicy beef with rice crackers was worse than the fish! beef was bad by any standard, the sinewy quite tasteless like rubber type. even the artificial tenderised beef at coffeeshop zi char stalls were better! not sure the thai type rice crackers qualified as 锅巴. if it were any zi char stall, i guess one could argue that’s just a choice of words.

osmanthus jelly

osmanthus jelly

#10 the osmanthus jelly was pretty good, i guess not so far off timhowan which was better, but it’s just jelly.

fruit jelly

rosella jelly with diced mango

#11 the rosella jelly was ok for a jelly but really a poor dessert c/w any of tunglok, xin, imperial treasure, i guess better than having red beans & green beans at ah yat.

#12 3 of us ordered the almond jelly (no photos). this was good restaurant standard.

i had earlier booked en japanese dining @ alocasia to try their S$56++pax queen crab wagyu ala carte buffet, but had canceled that to try this new restaurant. it was a manifestly wrong decision to take this ala carte buffet. it was not near as good as peach garden miramar’s (S$30.80++pax 3 paying 1 free) which was 1/2 the price. this 4pax dinner cost S$264nett. my recent fabulous 4pax dinner at mikuni cost only S$195nett. there was totally no comparison at all regards the food! 😦

1 Facebook friend who dined there recently commented that the ala carte orders –  lychee wood smoked peking duck, claypot steamed fish, tofu egg, braised pork knuckles vermicelli in oba leaf – were pretty good. i guess a sound opinion & i am not totally ruling out trying ala carte here if there are takers among my friends(but i think not likely), but the ala carte buffet is totally out for me! & i think really the organisation is still not in groove to put up this below par level of cuisine for a S$59.80 ala carte buffet. 😦

c.h.e.f andy

Second 55ers Homecooked 11-course Dinner Buffet on 7Nov2013

See privacy & perspectives.

this the second RI 55ers homecooked dinner before 2013 runs out. the first RI 55ers dinner was on 5.5.2013. 🙂

27pax attended. 2 had to leave earlier, so did not manage to get in the group photo (though we could have had the cake & photo done earlier).

one friend brought a very nice cake for the 3 november birthday boys & the 55ers, wonderful chocolate & a nice biscuit base with contrasting texture. it was an excellent cake. that reminded me that another friend’s sister made excellent cakes (incredible camera cake & cupcakes during his 30yr wedding anniversary dinner last year! btw that dinner was better organised than most young couples’ weddings). we should order from mongstirs next time.

let the party begin – makan time! 🙂

thai prawn tanhoon appetizer

thai prawn tanhoon appetizer

beer can chicken

beer can chicken

teochew briased duck

teochew briased duck

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braised egg, tau kua, tau pok

braised egg, tau kua, tau pok

we had 11 dishes.

#1 the thai tanhoon by my domestic helper was good as always – tasty, spicy, tangy, just the right amount of chilli padi, lime & shallots.

#2 the teochew braised duck was 1 of my best (it was also very good the last 55ers dinner on 5.5.2013 though i did struggle a bit couple other times including cutting my fingers for the 1st & only time preparing meals). it was very “pang” ie flavourful & meat was tender & not “june” ie tough.

#3 the “pang” braising sauce was put to full use with the braised egg, tau kua, tau pok.

#4 the beer can chicken was i guess ok, tasty, but nothing special. the chicken was brined in sugar & little salt for 24hrs, rubbed with oyster sauce, & with herbs & garlic slices pushed under the skin. & roasted for 40mins “standing” on a 100plus can. this way of roasting enable all round browning (almost la!) w/o need to turn over the chicken.

miso belly pork

miso belly pork

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nonya curry chicken

nonya curry chicken

steamed black bean pork ribs

steamed black bean pork ribs

chilli sotong

chilli sotong

steamed red garoupa HK style

steamed red garoupa HK style

blanched HK kailan with shitake

blanched HK kailan with shitake

high heat dry wok garlic prawns

high heat dry wok garlic prawns

#5 the miso belly pork was inspired by a lunch at jason atherton’s pollen @ gardens by the bay. i was doing a good nobu miso cod & decided to use the same 3-day marinade recipe, and the char siew method (oven slow low temp cooking immersed in miso marinade so retaining the juices  & no drying out + high temp broiling). the meat was moist (as seen in the photos, just like the duck & chicken were moist) & tender & the miso flavour was excellent.

#6 nonya curry chicken was my consistently good dish, made w/o curry powder directly using a self-blended spice mix recipe, and of course unhealthy coconut milk, and so very fragrant in smell & taste. i love this curry.

the other dishes (plus #1 thai tanhoon) were ably done by my domestic helper.

#7 chilli sotong was excellent – a craving inducing dish.

#8 the steamed pork ribs looked so wonderful in the photo & was tasty with tender bite.

# 9 steamed red garoupa HK style was always good, & at 20% restaurant prices.

#10 blanched HK kailan was a good accompaniment after all the meat dishes. 🙂

#11 the last was my dry wok garlic prawns. wok needed to be dry & on open high heat to get charred flavour (so cannot cover as condensation would result in steaming the prawns). fish sauce is the chief ingredient to create the flavour & wok hae under high heat. prawns de-veined but not shelled so would bake in shell & not overcook & also not salty with reduced contact with fish sauce. 🙂

all fun moments come to a close. so this post is for memories, till the next get-together. 🙂

c.h.e.f andy