had a homecooked dinner for 22pax RI friends on 6.2.2015. 🙂
these group of friends were mostly of the committee that organised the recent RI reunion dinner on 22.12.2014 attended by 118 old schoolmates & 10 teachers. well done people!^^
i prepared 12 dishes including 2 desserts. & a friend brought shepherd’s pie & another brought cookies.
shepherd’s pie was very good. my daughter had some from the little leftover the next day & she thought the potatoes were moist & soft & the beef flavour was good.
maybe i should try making this too. shepherd’s pie is a great party food.
#1 my helper’s thai prawn tanhoon is usually a very appetising dish, spicy, tangy, tasty. this evening though it seemed to be a bit dry. about 1/4 was leftover (where usually it is finished). a friend (who comes for dinner regularly) later told me that some parts the taste was not quite the usual he had. not sure why, maybe the quantity was too much for the wok & the tanhoon was not mixed consistently.
#2 i did a Nobu miso cod. it can be pre cooked & served cold, and the miso firmed up the flaky texture of cod so it is easier to cut into small serving pieces.^^
#3 i did my usual poached chicken 白斩鸡. this is easy to prepare dish. on this day though, i was dreaming & removed the chicken after 10mins boiling (w/o poaching it for another 20mins) & placed in ice water. though i recovered by poaching it again for longer 25mins, the temperature change caused the parts near the bones to be red/pink when i deboned it later. so i had to poach the cut pieces another time. sian! haha!
i asked several friends afterwards & they all thought the chicken was alright (& well finished), i guess it was quite ok but the moist, glistening look (like the duck had in photos below) was gone & the meat would be less tasty.
#4 盐水鸭 spicy poached duck was a replacement dish (i went 3 times to get salmon belly for miso salmon but they were unavailable). this nanjing 盐水鸭 is a 风味鸭, a bit more exotic flavours with sichuan peppercorn chillies.
it is 1 of my favourites as it has less strong flavours c/w teochew braised duck 卤鸭 & is often served as a starter in taiwanese restaurants & in shanghai, nanjing etc, the 江南region.
#5 蒜泥白肉 spicy garlic pork had been a crowd favourite in my dinners (when i served chinese food). it was easy to make as i adapted the pot roast method (cold crockpot on low slow gentle braising). so i just needed to place the belly pork in a cold crockpot with water (added salt & sugar for brining) on low for 5hrs to temperature 79degC.^^
the only thing left to do was just to prepare the spicy sichuan sauce to drizzle over the pork & japanese cucumbers.
#6 my helper makes a very good spicy pork ribs, so that is a staple in my chinese dinners. one friend repeatedly proclaimed how much he liked the dish.^^
#7 my dry wok prawns combined pan-grilled bbq flavours with a baked-in-shell moist texture + the nice flavours of chilli padi & fish sauce infused under high wok temperature. always a popular dish.
#8 my helper’s sambal seabass, another bedrock of my chinese dinners, was almost cleaned up before my “professional photographers” had time to train their cameras.^^
#9 the spicy seafood fried rice was modelled after crystal jade lamian xialongbao’s. unable to match that, but it was pretty good with bismati long grain rice & nice sichuan peppercorn chilli flavours.
#10 my helper’s poached romaine lettuce with shitake is also a regular in my chinese dinners (usually she uses hk kailan but this time it was romaine lettuce just as good).^^
#11 everyone fell in love with the tofu cheese cake. maybe the trick was just to cut an ultra thin slice, so everyone thought it was so good & clamouring to have more. a friend had 3 helpings.^^
#12 one friend had a photo with him holding up the emptied tiramisu dish & biting the serving spoon (like nadal biting his grand slam champions trophy). i think tiramisu was just as well received but tofu cheesecake was a bit less common so everyone was intrigued by it.^^
a friend brought very nice cookies – almond, shortbread & mamor.
now i am thinking of trying almond & shortbread. mamor looked too exquisite & too high effort-to-results ratio for lazy & utilitarian me. told her if i want it, i will just invite her. haha!
another friend brought 6 bottles of wine & another the whole ice box with water & softdrinks.
there was also grapes. another friend packed a fruit basket for me so we were eating custard apples, mangosteens, chiku, guava, mango etc for the next several days.
& a friend brought some seaweed & almond biscuits.^^
it was really a fun, enjoyable & most satisfying get-together.
last time i came imperial treasure teochew at level 4 ngee ann city was on 1.9.2013. wa…almost a year now…
that’s the plus point about blogging. memories do not get better, but at least i can refer back. 🙂
i ordered the usual 1/2 teochew braised duck S$28, and charcoal broiled pork collar. children ordered the rest. 🙂
i think the teochew braised duck is exceedingly good, lots better than all the teochew restaurants like chui huay lim, or cheaper ones like mu liang zai liang kee. it was the usual moist, tender & very flavourful. i do a very good teochew braised duck myself. this though was somewhat different, the meat was tender but firm, not overcooked, and very flavourful. 🙂
charcoal broiled pork collar was good as always, though portion had shrunk!
har gao (虾饺) always good here, thin skin, tasty filling. 🙂
the har fun cheong (虾粉肠) and char siew fun cheong (叉烧粉肠) were almost good HK standard, smooth skin tasty fillings. 🙂
this reminded me that the fun cheong at timhowan were also very good.
this was good – already said!
siew yoke (烧肉) was leaner & very good this time, very nicely pressed, good consistency, crispy skin & tasty. this such a standard common dish but surprisingly many other restaurants can still get it wrong.
this was ok competent.
this kind of too much bones & fat. taste was good but many places like royal china did a much better steamed pork ribs.
this was ok. did not leave any impression.
always enjoyed the fried rice here. this had less chilli & less robust flavours than the excellent spicy seafood fried rice at crystal jade lamian xiolongbao. have to put them both as my equal favourites. 🙂
the crystal jade version had inspired my own pretty good seafood fried rice. haha! 🙂
wife ordered the teochew char kueh teow. kueh teow was too soft but taste was pretty ok & there were quite many prawns. i am ok with this dish, not my favourite & for me neither was the one at chui huay lim.
this was good, better than the salted egg custard bun at royal china (with the strange mango concoction) but canton paradise might be even better than this.
total bill was S$186nett. not cheap at S$31pax nett for dim sum but a tasty enjoyable lunch with variety & quality of food to please all. 🙂
i started exploring 盐水鸭 as even though my teochew braised duck was pretty ok, especially for large group buffets, i was looking for a “finer” chinese preparation for sit-down dinners. also often if i do my sous vide crispy skin canard a l’orange, i only used the breast & was left with the thighs. i also tried tea smoked duck couple of times. it was ok but the preparation was a bit elaborate & also the method i used with only 15minutes of tea-smoking offered more fragrance aroma when serving than was actually infused in the duck.
i googled & found 1 recipe here 🙂 = http://home.meishichina.com/recipe-33399.html
after couple of tries, i quite perfected it (the above 2 photos) & served this beautiful dish at the 22pax RI friends get-together on 6.2.2015.^^
the preparation was really quite easy, and much rest with the dry brining marinade.
i added table salt to a non-stick pan, then added sugar, spicy sichuan chilli sauce, and cinnamon bark, anise seeds, clove, sliced ginger, bay leaves & some fennel, and fried over low fire until fragrant, and set aside.
i cut 1/2 duck & exfoliate with salt & dried. then i used a tablespoon to apply the dry brine rub all over the duck, on the skin & on the inside. i then wrapped it in cellophane & left it in the chiller for 48hrs.
when ready to cook, i took out the marinated duck let it rest to room temperature then added to boiling water with 1 teaspoon salt. i let the duck simmered for 15minutes, off fire & poached in the hot water for another 30minutes. the poaching produced a gentler more tender texture & the dry brining produced a very nice flavourful duck.
i tried these twice for my RI friends on 5.5.2014 (only duck thigh) & for my brother & sister birthday on 14.6.2014 (1/2 duck include thigh & breast). i found that (surprisingly) it was better with thigh. i think the breast was thicker & the flavour was not infused enough. anyway it was ok result for me as i can keep the breast for the western sous vide preparation & the thigh for this 盐水鸭. 🙂
- 1/2 duck
dry brine marinade
- 1 heap tbsp table salt
- 1 tbsp sugar
- 2 bay leaves
- 1 small cinnamon bark
- 2 anise seeds
- 1 clove
- 1cm sliced ginger
- 1.5 to 2 tbsp spicy sichuan chilli
- 1 tsp fennel
- add table salt to a non-stick pan, then added sugar, spicy sichuan chilli sauce, and cinnamon bark, anise seeds, clove, sliced ginger, bay leaves & some fennel, and fry over low fire until fragrant, and set aside.
- cut 1/2 duck & exfoliate with salt & dried. use a tablespoon to apply the dry brine marinade rub all over the duck, on the skin on on the inside. wrap it in cellophane & left it in the chiller for 48hrs.
- when ready to cook, take out marinated duck let it rest to room temperature then add to boiling water with 1 teaspoon salt. let the duck simmer for 15minutes, off fire & poach in the hot water for another 30minutes. the poaching produced a gentler more tender texture & the dry brining produced a very nice flavourful duck.
my turn to organise may G20 dinner. 🙂
thought i would do a homecooked buffet which was more casual than having 3 tables in a restaurant, and unlike 20 years ago, these days i stopped walking around tables…lol. 🙂
there were 29pax initially, but in the end we had 27pax.
we had 2 may birthday boys. i made 2 tofu cheese cake (though my daughters reserved a quarter), so we just put on 1 candle & sang happy birthday…forgot to also sing auld lang syne…
everyone loved the tofu cheese cake. it was light, very mildly sweet & slight zesty with a bit of lemon juice & lots of yogurt. 🙂
for the dinner, i had 13 dishes, 5 (tanhoon salad, pork ribs, spicy seabass & 2 vegetables) were ably prepared by aunty bes. 🙂
#1 the thai tanhoon 1 of my favourites, very good appetite teaser. 🙂
#2 this nonya curry chicken was made w/o curry powder using a recipe blend. very fragrant & sweet curry. 🙂
#3 the “sous vide” char siew (90degC oven for 5hrs in a marinade bath marinated 3 days before) was below par this evening. the belly was too lean. i had to marinade 3 days before & only saw that it was too lean when preparing. also this was a much larger portion than my usual & my marinade amount was somewhat insufficient to infuse the pork with the usual deep flavours.
#4 the teochew braised duck was the usual, quite tender, moist & “pang” = tasty.
#5 the braised egg, tau kua & tau pok was just to put to good use the flavourful lor (braising sauce). 🙂
#6 aunty bes fried the pork ribs then placed in the steam oven, so the pork ribs was very tender & also tasty with the spicy bean sauce. when aunty bes went back to philippines, i did this myself, pretty ok but of course not as good as hers.
#7 the 白斩鸡 or hainanese wenchang (文昌) chicken (i just call it chicken rice chicken) was a favourite for the evening, tiang chye, chee hong etc all liked it, very tender, moist & sweet. the yellow skin colour was from turmeric, just small amount in a bath with spring onions, red onions, ginger & salt. boiled (simmered) 10 minutes medium heat, another 20 minutes fire off, then placed in ice bath (to stop cooking), then in fridge. i also brined the chicken in sugar & salt for 2 days (this is an important step to get water molecules into the chicken – diffusion; and to infuse the sugar & salt – osmosis). 🙂
#8 蒜泥白肉 was the other best dish for the evening. the sauce was the key. this sauce i prepared was very mildly sweet & hardly spicy but very flavourful. the belly pork was done different from the char siew using the cold crockpot on low method for 4.5hrs (i used the cooled chicken stock for cooking 白斩鸡 for the water bath starting on cold crockpot), creating a very tender, juicy pork & skin.
#9 the spicy, zesty seabass was another very appetising dish. local seabass usually has “mud” taste & the meat is “hu” (not firm & falling apart – not a great texture). this method of preparation musked all that & produced a very tasty fish. 🙂
the dry wok prawns was a very simple dish i cooked on the spot. the non stick pan was on high heat with a lot of minced garlic & 1 chilli padi for 1 kg prawns. the prawns should be dry & at room temperature, otherwise pan temperature would drop significantly & you would not get the very nice charred flavours. it was dry wok as you could not cover otherwise condensation would steam the prawns instead. the shells were on so in fact the de-veined prawns were baked in high heat & retained moisture not touching the pan, and lastly fish sauce was added & you could feel the fragrant smell wafting in the kitchen. 🙂
the final 2 dishes were blanched HK kailan with shitake & romaine lettuce. the latter is a favourite dish in many zi char stalls in singapore & daipaitong in hong kong, either simple garlic fried or with fermented bean curd. 🙂
it was a very enjoyable get-together. some wanted G20 to become G30. for this evening we had 27pax…anyway maybe the actual numbers (the more the merrier) is not really that crucial. what is important is we have a ongoing forum to get together that people can just join whenever their schedule permits. 🙂
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. 🙂
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
- 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
- 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.
- 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.
decided to record this year’s 2014 reunion dinner & cny day 1 breakfast. this a really good tradition & important occasion for families to get together & spend time with their loved ones. 🙂
we had been doing reunion dinners at my elder brother’s house all these while, but had varied a little with cny dinners at joyden restaurant (former west coast seafood) for a few years. last year we decided to go back to homecooked reunion dinner & did the same this year.
for myself, as i grow older & memories fade it is good to have a record to see what i do & how i spend my time from 1 year to the next. 😉
my brother’s m-i-l does excellent braised dishes, and their indonesian domestic help now does it very well. the teochew braised duck was excellent! meat was tender & sweet. i did a braised duck for the reunion dinner last year (2013) but it was not good. now my braised duck is consistently good & i think same or better than this and more “pang” (flavourful). the braising sauce was made to good use for the braised tofu, egg & the large intestines.
the broccoli with deep-fried tofu, mushrooms & fa cai 发菜 (which in chinese sounded like striking fortune) was very good. my eldest daughter was not much into meats & more into bread, tofu & vegetables so she enjoyed this dish especially.
the leek was always a great dish, a very sweet vegetable i liked from young.
my wife does a good hör see fat choi (dried oysters with moss) & she does that for reunion dinner & chinese new year every year. fa cai 发菜 is supposed to cause top soil erosion & sand storms in beijing & is forbidden to farm so not sure probably this was not the real fa cai.
my sis brought a eu yan san canned buddha jump over the wall?? (not sure if it was really). the soup was tasty, though most of us felt it was canned & not the type one would drink much. there were whole small abalones & other cut ones/shellfiah etc & mushrooms. i guess it was ok to try.
my brother did a teochew steamed pomfret. it was good. the drunken prawns looked very fresh. i took some soup, don’t take much of this dish lately, & did not take the prawns. the abalones were the usual canned nz abalones, quite ok for me. 🙂
it was very good dinner get-together! 🙂
next day we gathered as usual on cny day1 at my brother’s place. we had some of the braised dishes leftover from reunion dinner, some fresh fried vege, the rabbit fish 知县鱼(which was a favourite during cny & very expensive for those with fish semen..i didn’t see them much these days & these ones were cheap fish w/o the delicacy..haha..). my wife cooked & brought some black fungus tanhoon mushrooms with fermented beancurd. very nice!
after that we dropped by a friend’s place & then another friend in the area (a close friend of my wife & we visited every cny) for laksa lunch. in the afternoon we went to watch the lion men – quite a good locally produced movie about lion dancers(& massively sponsored by advertisements…haha), certainly worthy of support. 🙂