1st RI FGS (For Goodness Sake) Charity Dinner Raised S$16,948 for HCA Hospice on 20May2016

salad

salad

a group of RI friends have the idea that as we all have a good time coming together enjoying the food & company, making new memories together, maybe we can also do a charity fundraising while we are having our makan & chill get-together. ^^

so on 3.12.2016, we got together at a friend’s place to try out the logistics.

there were 28pax. 3 of us did the cooking. it was a good practice too to help with the planning & food logistics, and of course also another good excuse for our usual makan & chill together.

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a lot more organisation had gone into it by the guys this time, and we also discovered that the generous host is a accomplished auctioneer & mob rouser.

he donated 4 macallan rare cask & 3 mac18, & got everyone into the mood. there were like 28 bids for the whisky & the auction closed with 2 equal winning bids at S$1,888 for 2 bottles for each group, so that was S$3,776 in total for the whisky.

a friend donated a book about hawker fares in singapore that went for S$188.

in total the 33pax dinner (about 27 attended inner, the others came to join drink after dinner) raised S$16,948 for HCA Hospice.

what is important is that everyone was in the mood of giving & feeling good about it. & in fact a lot of chat continues afterwards on whatsapp. people were feeling happy about the occasion, the time together & doing something for the needy, & wanting to do this again.

for me whether we had raised more or less is not as important as just spending time together & doing something meaningful together.

which bali resort is this?

which bali resort is this?

this time we had it at another friend’s beautiful home, an architect, on 20.5.2016. ^^

some of us were there early, preparing salad & cutting fruits. i was reheating the curry dishes we shipped over & organising the dishes for dinner.

the vast kitchen looks out into nice greeneries, like in a nature reserve. 🙂

we were saying no need to go ubud la for retreat & relaxation…just come over here & cook…

3 of us did the cooking.

another friend brought the veg to make fresh salad (top photo). & couple other friends brought cut fruits & lots of apples (30). 

mee siam

mee siam

one friend did mee siam with prawns & fish cakes & fried tofu. 🙂

side dish

side dish

he made a very tasty side dish too with ikan bilis & tofu.

mutton stew + pilaf rice

mutton stew + pilaf rice

another friend made mutton stew & pilaf rice. 🙂

mutton stew

mutton stew

he thought of doing mutton rendang. 🙂

i was doing a few curry dishes, so he settled on doing a stew.

pilaf rice

pilaf rice

& nice long grain pilaf rice.

the host was doing some plain rice for the curries. so we reduced the amount of plain rice a bit, & started dinner off with the pilaf rice. still i think there was quite a bit of rice leftover.

i made 7 dishes + chocolate banana cake

i made 7 dishes + chocolate banana cake

i did 6 dishes (2 servings of fish head so 7 dishes) + a chocolate banana cake.

i chose curry because it was very easy to cook, and could feed many.

i figured that one dish of fish head (2 halves) was not enough for 27pax so i cooked 2 separate dishes of fish head.

the serving came with lots of veg – yellow onions, ocra, egg plants & tomatoes.

fish head was easy to cook as i used a ready curry paste – mak’s curry.

i did this couple times already & my friends all liked the curry.

so it’s just frying the rempah (curry paste), yellow onions, ocra, adding fish head & coating with rempah thoroughly, then adding egg plants, chicken (or fish) stock, coconut milk, cover & let it simmered for 10mins, then adding tomatoes.

& it’s done, that simple! 🙂

for nonya curry chicken, i used my own rempah instead of a ready paste.

i prefer to first debone the 2 chickens, and make a tasty stock using the chicken bones & carrots.

again cooking was very easy.

just fried rempah with star anise, cinnamon bark, clove & curry leaves, added chicken to coat with rempah thoroughly, then added coconut milk, chicken stock, covered & let simmer. i removed the chicken pieces after 5-6mins & cooked the wings for another 10mins.

one of the key consideration is logistic.

for curries, i cooked them in the morning so i had complete dishes & tasted them to know they were ok. then removed the fish head & chicken & let the curries cooled. then i transfered them to separate sealed plastic containers & stored in the fridge.

(basically difficult to transport a dish with liquid unless in properly sealed containers la…).

reheating was easy. the only consideration was that the fish head & curry chicken not be overcooked.

it may seem strange to choose curries with the hassle of transporting but they are easy to cook, can do in bulk & easily reheat to serve hot, and have wider appeal to diners c/w with other dishes.

kou rou 扣肉

kou rou 扣肉

i did a kou rou 扣肉.

among my own dishes this was most popular, & disappeared in double-quick time. & our friends who were early were taking this (to try haha!) before reheating & before dinner started. 🙂

this was done 4hrs in a 90degC oven to have a slow low-temperature gentle braise, then steamed in a steam oven for 1hr 15mins, so it was very tender, flavour-infused, but still have bite & texture, not falling apart.

chap chai

chap chai

i did a chap chai to balance the curries.

chap chai

chap chai

this again a very easy dish, just fry, stew cabbage, add stock, then add beancurd puffs (taupok) and add tanhoon when ready so tanhoon will cook in residual heat & not be overcooked. remember this has to be reheated later when serving.

sweat peas baby corns with prawns

sweat peas baby corns with prawns

someone commented maybe have more veg, so i reduced 1 meat (omitted the teriyaki sutchi fillet) & added 2 veg dishes.

sweat peas baby corns with prawns

sweat peas baby corns with prawns

the sweet peas baby corn with prawns was excellent when my helper made it for our home dinner.

this though was my first time cooking it. it turned out quite badly, i think the worst dish for the evening.

the ingredients were good. prawns were fresh, sweet peas & baby corns were always very tasty.

sweat peas baby corns with prawns

sweat peas baby corns with prawns

however i made a bad mistake of frying the prawns first in butter, like i do for pastas.

unlike double-cooked pork回锅肉, prawns cannot be fried & steamed. it destroyed the texture, so the prawns were no more bouncy but mushy like not-fresh prawns. & this especially so when the dish had to be covered with aluminium foil & kept in a 50degC oven for long periods to keep warm.

on hindsight it was better to serve the dish cold…

ocra in nonya sauce

ocra in nonya sauce

i used a very nice tasty nonya sauce for the ocra.

ocra in nonya sauce

ocra in nonya sauce

so this dish was real easy, just fry, make sure it was cooked right then add the nonya sauce at the end.

ocra in nonya sauce

ocra in nonya sauce

ocra in nonya sauce

ocra in nonya sauce

looking at the photos, the vibrant green went off quite a bit, though the dish still tasted very good.

on balance, it was better to serve the dish cold w/o additional treatment after cooking.

i made a chocolate banana cake.

this was quite popular. everyone liked it. ^^

it was my second time. the first time my OPS friends talked about awfully chocolate & their chocolate banana cakes. so i went to google & found a recipe & went to phoon huat to get a 9″ by 9″ cake tin to make the dish.

this time i got better quality bananas & also added more bananas. quite a good cake.

cut fruit stall

cut fruit stall

some friends prepared the cut fruits.

watermelon

watermelon

watermelon from our regular watermelon supplier…

yellow watermelon

yellow watermelon

pineapples

pineapples

mango & guava

mango & guava

& others, like pineapples, mangoes, guavas etc…

apples

apples

one friend brought 30 apples. we all ate or brought home some…

it was a really good, fun dinner.

the host was assisted by another equal mob rouser, and our mabuk friends & others were all into the spirit of sharing, whisky & donations in equal parts.

bless them all good people! 🙂

c.h.e.f andy

Nonya Curry Chicken – 7th Teban Gardens Community Breakfast on 4Mar2016

this morning i made nonya curry chicken. ^^

this my 7th friday breakfast community meal at teban gardens community service centre (CSC).

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.

i used my usual nonya curry chicken recipe here.

for this recipe, i don’t use curry powder but make the curry paste from scratch.

so last evening, i made the paste, deboned 2×1.5kg chicken, & boiled the bones of 1 chicken with 1 cut carrot, 1/2 cut radish in crockpot to make stock for this morning.

this morning i fried the cinnamon bark, star anise, clove & curry leaves in 2 tbsp oil, added the curry paste & fried till fragrant, then added the deboned chicken & coated them. then added 2 cups of chicken stock & covered, lowered fire & boiled for 10mins (20mins if not deboned). then i removed the chicken & boiled the cut taupok & potatoes for 15mins, till taupok was soft & soaked with curry but not falling apart, & potatoes broke in 2 when pressed with a fork – just right & not overcooked.

it was a wonderful tasting dish, incredible aroma & taste.

yum yum!

taupok

taupok

love the taupok too, and the potatoes also very tasty, just don’t take much for the carbs la…

of course the potatoes & taupok need not be cooked separately, but 2 chicken in a pot was quite a lot to manage & i wanted to make sure the chicken were tender & not overcooked, and likewise the taupok & potatoes, so easier to manage them separately la…

c.h.e.f andy

(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.

 

Good & Cheap Teochew Muay 潮州靡 @ ye shanghai 夜上海 on 8Aug2015

teochew muay 潮州靡dishes

teochew muay 潮州靡dishes

wife wanted to try the cheap havelock turtle soup at havelock food centre. unfortunately it was closed.

we passed by bukit merah view to see if ye shanghai teochew porridge  夜上海潮州靡 was open (i was here recenty on 16.7.2015). it was, so i parked & joined the short queue (4pax in front) at 1130am on 8.8.2015.

Ye Shang Hai 夜上海 Teochew Porridge

Ye Shang Hai 夜上海 Teochew Porridge

i got our food soon enough, maybe just 5 mins waiting in the queue.

Ye Shang Hai 夜上海 Teochew Porridge

Ye Shang Hai 夜上海 Teochew Porridge

by the time i sat down, the queue had grown to >15pax and remained so. the turnover though was quick enough.

teochew fishcake

teochew fishcake

i ordered 7 dishes. it came to S$11.40 including the 2 porridge. 🙂

the teochew fishcake here was nice, much better than the shi le yuan version.

taupok & taukee

taupok & taukee

wife did not like the taupok & taukee. they were not the very soft well infused with the lor flavours, but overall still ok for me.

salted fish minced pork 咸鱼饼

salted fish minced pork 咸鱼饼

the salted fish minced pork 咸鱼饼 was good as ever, salted fish very flavourful, maybe shi le yuan’s version was better. our own salted fish minced pork 咸鱼饼 would be better than this.

eggplants

eggplants

eggplants was the best! ^^

not sure how they do this. maybe will give it a try at home. 🙂

chilli ray

chilli ray

chilli ray was good, one of the dishes i like more. fish was great, so was the sauce. 🙂

chai buay

chai buay

chai buay the usual good standards one, just mildly sweet not sour.

cauliflower greens

cauliflower etc greens

the cauliflowers etc were freshly cooked, nice & crunchy, nothing special i guess. only the price is special.haha!

very nice simple lunch.

c.h.e.f andy

Good Ter Kar (Pig Trotters) Lunch @ Han Jia East Coast Lagoon Food Village on 7Jan2015

ter kar (pig trotters)

ter kar (pig trotters)

i didn’t have great ter kar (pig trotters) the last time at han jia bakuteh & pork leg, east coast lagoon food village.

2 good friends took it upon themselves to convince me otherwise, so we had a 4pax lunch there on 7.1.2014. they felt that the trotters were overcooked & too soft at dinner time, and lunch time was the right time to try the trotters.

there was a short queue, my friend bought lunch & ordered 1 trotter each. there goes my 10km jog! ^^

was it good?

well, i couldn’t say it wasn’t. it was good,

but was it any special? i didn’t think it was. i think the ones at  ng ah sio bakutehsong fa bakuteh were just as good, and same for lao ah tee, rong cheng etc.

& the ones at 幸福潮州小食 pig trotter at whampoa market probably better in look & texture. the one i like most was at zion road hawker centre quite a while back, probably not there now.

one friend who generally has a better palate than i said it was very “pang”, and indeed it was. i put it down to personal taste. for pork trotters, i like it to be “kar kar” where the meat texture, the bite is gelatinous. this was indeed less soft than the last & overall pretty ok, but not near the perfect gelatinous texture i like. if anything i prefer my own braised pig trotters – the colour, texture & taste, and here.

anyway, it is a matter of personal preference. ^^

kidney liver souppig

kidney liver soup

kidney & liver soup was good, not special also.

taupok

taupok

taupok was average.

buay chai

buay chai

i didn’t like the buay chai much, prefer the chai buay at teochew muay stalls better.

ter kar (pig trotters)

ter kar (pig trotters)

cheng tng & soupsop jelly

cheng tng & soupsop jelly

soursop jelly

soursop jelly

the soursop jelly was great! ^^

overall it was a good lunch, good friends, cool weather, nice food. i always like ter kar though don’t eat that often, and 1 ter kar is a big large portion for 1pax.

c.h.e.f andy

Shiok Curry Chicken Noodles @ Ah Heng on 16Sep2013

ah heng curry chicken noodles

ah heng curry chicken noodles

was in the area so dropped by hong lim food centre #02 for ah heng curry chicken noodles on 16.9.2013. there was no queue at 11am & i got my S$5 medium bowl with thick beehoon & mee right away. 🙂

i had tried the other stall heng kee at #01. could not really tell much difference (maybe ah heng’s chicken & curry were slightly tastier?) anyway so i stick with ah heng.

ah heng curry chicken noodles

ah heng curry chicken noodles

ah heng curry chicken noodles

ah heng curry chicken noodles

today like most days, both the chicken & curry were very tasty. i think i will still have to admit that the chicken is still better than what i made for curry chicken noodles & of course there was straightforward hands down no comparison when it came to the curry (though my curry was quite tasty too). also i haven’t got any chilli (have not tried making any yet!).

for S$5, it was really satisfying – everything from chicken, curry to taupok, fishcake, noodles & potato, could only describe as “shiok”, & like everytime. 🙂

c.h.e.f andy

Curry Chicken Noodles – Part One

chicken for curry chicken noodles

chicken for curry chicken noodles

see also shiok curry chicken noodle @ ah heng on 16.9.2013. 🙂

my friends were talking about doing a hawker food tour.

my favourite is bakuteh (Rong Cheng bakuteh at Sin Min, though lately price went up from $6 to $7 & standard seemed to have gone south – which is usually the case when price goes up, sign! – and Lao Ah Ti at Boon Keng Road, in that order). & my second favourite is Ah Heng curry chicken noodles at Hong Lim. 🙂

bakuteh is easy to do at home, but curry chicken noodle is something else…I googled but there is no internet recipe for curry chicken noodle..the closest I got was a channel 8 面对面 program youtube video on Da Po curry chicken noodles at Golden Mile Beach Road. 🙂 they don’t tell you the recipe of course, but it was mentioned that some special ingredients included dried prawns (虾米) & lemon grass (香茅). 🙂

so it looked like i have to be inventive to reconstruct my favourite Hong Lim curry chicken noodles.

to me the 2 things special about curry chicken noodles (which is NOT throwing noodles into a curry chicken dish) is (1) the chicken which is chicken rice standard (2) the curry. though the curry is somewhat different & sweeter as mentioned in the video, my nonya curry chicken recipe approximates somewhat. so that’s what i did! 🙂

i used my nonya curry chicken recipe, and added (1) 2 lemon grass (white part) to the paste & (2) dried prawns. since I was cooking the chicken the chicken rice way & not the curry chicken way I needed to flavour the soup, so I used the carcase of 1 chicken as stock base. subsequently after i cooked & debone the whole chicken, i use the bones/carcase to add to the soup – so there were 2 chicken bones/carcases to provide the soup stock flavours. 🙂

butcher twine to secure & lift chicken

butcher twine to secure & lift chicken

i cleaned the chicken & rub salt on the skin & inside to exfoliate & make the skin ultra smooth. i used a string (butcher twine) to secure the chicken neck & tied it to a ladle so that i can lift the whole chicken when it’s cooked w/o tearing the skin. 🙂 in the above photo, i did not cook curry, so it was just chicken stock with scallions, garlic & ginger.

curry for curry chicken noodles

curry for curry chicken noodles

the photo above is the curry soup for the curry chicken noodles. 🙂 I later added (1) dried prawns (2) lemon grass (3) 12 dried chilli instead of using chilli padi in my nonya curry chicken recipe. the soup became redder & it was very tasty just like in my curry chicken recipe. it was still not Hong Lim curry chicken standard of course, but it was pretty ok. 🙂

i added enough chicken stock so that when it was boiling on high heat & i lowered the whole chicken, it was just completely submerged. once the soup was boiling again after lowering the chicken, i turned the fire to low & simmer for 1/2hr. i was using a 1.4kg chicken from Giant & 1/2hr was about right. you can also use a meat thermometer & set at 170degF (77degC). 🙂 when chicken is cooked, i lifted it out & deposited it in an ice bath to stop the cooking & to produce a very pretty taut skin (top photo).

DSCN4553  DSCN4554

my chicken though, i think, was the same standard as Ah Heng, and as good as most good chicken rice chicken, self-praise haha. 🙂 it was moist, tender, very sweet & tasty. 🙂

chicken for curry chicken noodles

chicken for curry chicken noodles

chicken for curry chicken noodles

chicken for curry chicken noodles

& yes, i am quite proud of my chicken. 🙂

DSCN4558 DSCN4560

i prepared the ikan parang (西刀鱼) fish cake – grilled them in my toaster oven, let them cool & then slicing them.

DSCN4562 DSCN4564

DSCN4566 DSCN4568

DSCN4568 IMG_3849

for the curry soup, i added potatoes to add to the body of the soup & cooked till i can break the potatoes by pressing against the side of the saucepan. i added taupok (dried bean curd) nearer the end of cooking. 🙂

i boiled yellow noodles & thick beehoon for laksa till just cooked (al dente) and put in ice bath to stop cooking so noodles were QQ. when everything was done, i served the yellow noodles & thick beehoon in bowl & added the fishcake & cut chicken. then add boiling curry soup with taupok & potatoes & serve.

though it was not quite Hong Lim curry chicken, i must say it was very enjoyable. i served it to my friends for the 11pax Homegourmet Dinner on 11Jun2013, & everyone loved it. 🙂

c.h.e.f andy

Ingredients:

  • 1 whole chicken (I use 1.4kg from Giant hypermarket OR Sheng Shiong)
  • 200ml thick coconut milk or to taste
  • 2 star anise
  • 1 clove
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 4 tbsp oil
  • 1 tbsp sea salt
  • 1 tbsp sugar
  • 100g dried prawns boiled in chicken stock
  • 10 pieces of dried taupok
  • 2 potatoes peeled & diced
  • 3  ikan parang (西刀鱼) fish cake

for spice paste (ground – in my case I mince & pound them):

  • 3 cloves garlic
  • 18 shallots
  • 12 dried chilli (soaked in water & removed seeds)
  • 10g coriander seeds
  • 1 tsp fennel
  • 2 tsp cumin
  • 1 tsp tumeric powder
  • 2 stems lemon grass (white part)

Directions:

  1. Cook the chicken curry – stir-fry star anise, cinnamon stick & cloves over low heat. add in the spice paste and stir-fry till fragrant. add the curry leaves and fry them really well. add chicken stock with dried prawns & bring to boil. use the carcase of 1 chicken as stock base. subsequently after cooking & deboning the whole chicken, use the bones/carcase to add to the soup – so 2 chicken bones/carcase to provide the soup stock flavours. add diced potatoes to add to the body of the soup & cook for about 1/2hr or till they break by pressing against the side of the saucepan. add sea salt & sugar & add 200ml thick coconut milk OR to taste.
  2. Cook the chicken – clean the chicken & rub salt on the skin & inside to exfoliate & make the skin ultra smooth. tie a string (butcher twine) to secure the chicken neck & tie it to a ladle. add enough chicken stock. bring soup to boil on high heat & lower the whole chicken so it is just completely submerged. once soup is boiling again after lowering the chicken, turn fire to low & simmer for 1/2hr. i use a 1.4kg chicken from Giant & 1/2hr is about right. one can also use a meat thermometer & set at 170degF (77degC). when chicken is cooked, lift it out & deposit it in an ice bath to stop the cooking & to produce a very pretty taut skin.
  3. Condiments – grill ikan parang (西刀鱼) fish cake in a toaster oven, let them cool & then slice them. add taupok (dried bean curd) nearer the end of cooking.
  4. Serve with noodles – boil yellow noodles & thick beehoon for laksa till just cooked (al dente) and put in ice bath to stop cooking so noodles are QQ. when everything is done, serve yellow noodles & thick beehoon in bowl & add the fishcake & cut chicken. then add boiling curry soup with taupok & potatoes & serve.