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Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Prawn In Spicy Milk Sauce Recipe | Easy Asian Cooking

Prawns are deep-fried and then coated in a sweet sticky glaze of evaporated milk and given depth of flavor with the addition of butter, curry leaves, curry powder and bird's eye chillies. Mouth-wateringly different, it's a harmonious blends of  'chilli hot' with subtle additions of aromatic curry leaves and sweetness of milk to lessen the 'bite'.

Prawn In Spicy Milk Sauce Recipe

Moving beyond a big dose of fatty pork dishes, we are now shifting the attention to seafood treat, which is also calorie-laden. Sorry for those weight watchers, you have to temporarily endure the temptation that the dish induced.

Aromatic in nature, fresh curry leaves lend an irreplaceable fragrance to this dish and is enhanced by the sting from the bird's eye chillies and the lovely sweetness from the evaporated milk and sugar. Curry powder is thrown in to impart a little bit of local flavor, making this shrimp course bursting with flavors and unique on its own.

If you wish to lay your hands on the dish in your very own kitchen, here's the how-to recipe. 奶香虾食谱

Ingredients :
600g medium to big prawns, slit back and deveined
2 tbsp butter
2 tbsp curry leaves
2 tsp chopped bird's eye chillies (cili padi)
100ml evaporated milk

Seasoning :
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp sugar
1 tsp curry powder

Method :
1. Heat up oil in a large non stick skillet, when the oil turns hot, deep-fry prawns until cooked. Dish up and drain in paper towels.

2. Melt butter in a skillet, saute curry leaves and bird's eye chillies until fragrant. Add in evaporated milk, seasoning and bring to boil.

3. Add in pre-fried prawns and stir-fry at high heat, toss to mix well. Dish up and serve immediately while hot.

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Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Steamed Pork with Pumpkin and Yam Recipe | Easy Asian Cooking


This is a variation of Hakka dish with assemblage of sliced pre-fried pork belly, yam and pumpkin that are steamed in a full-bodied gravy sweetened by sugar and shaoxing wine and balanced by a savory counterpoint of fermented red beancurd (南乳) and fermented soy bean paste (豆酱). This savory sauce thoroughly infuses all three layers of pig skin, fat and lean meat after long hours of steaming that elevates this classic to new gustatory buds.

Steamed Pork with Pumpkin and Yam Homecooked Recipe

Here's another recipe for pork belly, so my poor reader, you will just have to 'pig out' with me! The picture above may not justify how flavorsome this pork dish is, but I'll wager it's among the most delicious.

The ingredients of steamed pork with pumpkin and yam (南瓜芋头扣肉) have some resemblances with Hakka steamed pork belly with yam (客家芋头扣肉), with additional pumpkin and fermented soy bean paste, but omitting Hakka nam yee red sauce. The pork belly is gelatinously tender, reminiscent of Hakka steamed pork belly with yam. The texture of the pumpkin is cooked just to tender, soft but not beyond mushiness, in contrast to the yam, which is way too much mushy after long steaming. Both pumpkin and yam add hint of sweetness to the dish, complement well with the savoriness of pre-fried pork slices which are smothered in the bath of fermented red beancurd (南乳) and fermented soy bean paste (豆酱) sauce mixture.

So, why still waiting? Get ready to pig out with this easy steamed pork with pumpkin and yam recipe (南瓜芋头扣肉食谱).

Ingredients :
5 cups oil for deep-frying
150g yam, peeled and cut into thick slices (芋头)
150g pumpkin, peeled and cut into thick slices (南瓜)
500g pork belly (五花肉或三层肉)
1 tsp dark soy sauce (黑酱油)
1 tbsp chopped garlic
2 tbsp chopped coriander leaves (芫茜)

Seasoning :
3 cubes fermented red beancurd (南乳)
1/2 tbsp fermented soy bean paste (豆酱)
1 tbsp light soy sauce (生抽)
1/2 tbsp sugar
2 tbsp shaoxing wine (绍兴酒)
1 tsp dark soy sauce
250ml water

Method :
1.  Heat up oil for deep-frying, deep-fry yam until golden brown. Dish up and drain.

2. Rub pork belly skin with 1 tsp dark soy sauce and marinate for a short while. Deep-fry in hot oil until golden brown. Dish up and drain. Leave it to cool down and cut into thick slices.

3. Leave 1 tbsp oil in wok, saute chopped garlic and chopped coriander leaves until aromatic. Add in seasoning and bring to boil. Dish up.

4. Arrange pork, yam and pumpkin repeatedly in sequential order into a steaming bowl. Pour over the prepared sauce (from method 3) and steam over high heat for 1 1/2 hours or until pork belly is tender. Before serving, you may want to invert onto a serving plate lined with lettuce with sesame oil drizzled on top. To do this, place the serving plate over steaming bowl, then invert it quickly.

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Monday, September 28, 2009

Stewed Hakka Fried Pork Belly with Black Fungus Recipe | Easy Asian Cooking


This Hakka dish is a perfect mingling of chewy pork belly morsels and crunchy black fungus, slowly stewed in low heat in the bath of Hakka nam yee red sauce to please discerning appetites.

Stewed Hakka Fried Pork Belly with Black Fungus Homecooked Recipe

Once you laid your hands on Hakka nam yee red sauce (客家南乳酱) and kept it refrigerated, you just simply can't stop making a series of Hakka cuisines before the storage period of nam yee sauce due. After making Hakka Steamed Pork Belly with Yam (客家芋头扣肉) (Cantonese "khau yoke"), it seems like trigger an avalanche of desires to get my hands on its "cousin dish" - Stewed Hakka Fried Pork Belly with Black Fungus (客家炸肉) (Cantonese "zhar yoke"), which I'll lay out here. Here comes a good dose of Hakka fattiness. :-)

Similar to "khau yoke", the soul ingredient that make this "zhar yoke" an unforgettable flavor is five spice powder, but with a somehow stronger hint of five spice powder and more stew-meat in texture than in the "khau yoke". My mother-in-law usually deep-fry the sliced pork belly and store in fridge before Chinese new year and this makes the dish really easy by just stewing with the rest of the ingredients for reunion dinner.

Here's my in-law's Hakka "Zhar Yoke" Recipe (客家炸肉食谱). This legacy divulged by my sister-in-law.

Ingredients :
600g pork belly, wash and drain well, then slice thickly into an inch each or bite-sized pieces (五花肉或三层肉)
100g black fungus, soak in water till fungus soft and cut quarterly (木耳), pat dry with kitchen towels
1 egg (beaten), 4 tbsp plain flour (面粉) - for coating meat slices before deep-frying
5 cups oil for deep-frying
800ml water
1 tbsp chopped garlic

Seasoning :
1/2 tbsp dark soy sauce
light soy sauce to taste

Marinade :
1 tsp five spice powder (五香粉) - to make the meat more flavorful in addition to nam yee sauce
Extract of ginger+shallots+garlic in proportion of 2:1:1 tbsp (See method 1 below)

Method :

1. Blend ginger, shallot and garlic finely (approximate proportion should be 2:1:1) to become paste and extract out the juice mixture, set aside for marinade.

2. Combine pork belly with all the marinde above and marinate for at least 2 hours. Preferably marinate overnight in the fridge (wrapped with cling wrap) to allow sliced pork belly to absorb the marinade well.

3. Heat up oil to deep-fry black fungus (to exude aromas for the dish).  Dish up and sieve excess oil or drain with kitchen towels.

4. For marinated pieces of pork belly, dip in the beaten egg and then followed by plain flour, deep-fry until the pork belly slices become golden brown and crispy. This is to prevent the meat pieces from being too dry after deep-frying. 

5. Heat up 2 tbsp cooking oil in a wok or stock pot, saute 1 tbsp chopped garlic, add in 4 tbsp Hakka nam yee red sauce (客家南乳酱), 800ml water and bring to boil. Add in pre-fried pork belly pieces and black fungus, stir to mix well. Cover, simmer with low heat for 45 minutes or stew until the pork is tender. Add dark soy sauce and light soy sauce to taste. Garnish with coriander leaves before serving.

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Sunday, September 27, 2009

How To Make Hakka Nam Yee (Fermented Red Beancurd) Red Sauce | Easy Asian Cooking

Hakka Nam Yee (Fermented Red Beancurd) Red Sauce
Fermented red beancurd (南乳 in Mandarin, "nam yee" in Cantonese or "ang tau ju" in Hokkien) has a distinct flavor that is often used in Hakka cuisine to impart saltiness and to assuage greasiness associated with massive consumption of multiple super fatty meats, such as Hakka steamed pork belly with yam (客家芋头扣肉) , stewed Hakka fried pork belly with black fungus (客家炸肉), nam yee spare ribs (南乳排骨), nam yee fried chicken wings (南乳炸鸡翼), fried fish in nam yee sauce (南乳酱干烧鱼) and etcera. You can find here how fermented red beancurd looks like, it's usually sold in glass jars in Asian market. Differ from typical fermented white beancurd (beancurd that have been fermented in rice wine) that goes well with porridge, fermented red beancurd made with red yeast rice (紅糟) and commonly used in cooking.

Many hawkers' stalls in Malaysia usually prepare Hakka nam yee red sauce in advance by combining fermented red beancurd with other pungent spices in order to cope with hoards of patrons with the rumbling stomachs. Similarly for home cooking, Hakka nam yee red sauce can be prepared prior to cooking Hakka cuisine, with storage period up to one month if it's kept refrigerated properly.

Variations to Hakka nam yee red sauce and cooking methods :

(i) Fried fish in nam yee sauce (南乳酱干烧鱼)
  • Pan-fry fish until cooked and dish up. Heat up a dab of oil, stir fry minced meat until fragrant. Add in nam yee red sauce, water, fish and cook until the gravy thickened.
(ii) Nam yee spare ribs (南乳排骨)
  • Mix spare ribs with nam yee red sauce, water and egg to marinate for three hours. Deep-fry in hot oil until golden brown and cooked.
Learn how to make Hakka nam yee (Fermented Red Beancurd) red sauce with below ingredients and spices, with truely simple steps providing you offer all the trimmings!

Ingredients :
8 pieces fermented red beancurd ("nam yee" 南乳)
3 tbsp chopped garlic
3 tbsp chopped shallots
1 tsp chopped ginger
2 star anise (八角)
5cm long cinnamon stick (桂皮)
3 tbsp oyster sauce
2 tbsp sugar
1 tsp sesame oil
2 tbsp shaoxing wine (绍兴酒)
250ml water
50ml oil

Method :
1. Heat up 5 tbsp oil, saute chopped shallot and garlic until fragrant.
2. Add in the remaining ingredients and bring to boil until the sauce thicken.

After cooling down, Hakka nam yee red sauce can be kept refrigerated until one month for cooking use to create a versatile of dishes.

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Friday, September 25, 2009

Hakka Steamed Pork Belly with Yam Recipe | Easy Asian Cooking


This heavenly Hakka piggy dish is thoroughly infused with five-spice powder and nam yee red sauce, inducing sweet-savoriness. Pork belly is deep-fried and sliced thickly, then alternately "sandwiched" with deep-fried yam slices in steaming bowl and steamed over long hours. This Hakka classic cuisine is characterized by its saltiness (from the use of soy sauce in marinade and fermented red bean curd in nam yee red sauce), sweetness (from rice wine, oyster sauce and yam), greasiness (from multiple layers of fat), rich aromas (from the use of star anise and five-spice powder) and yumminess (from right blend of ingredients).

Hakka Steamed Pork Belly with Yam Homecooked Recipe
Chinese New Year celebrations is not complete without pigging out on savory dishes and my in-laws family have no exception until recently. This Hakka signature dish - "Hakka woo tau khau yoke 客家芋头扣肉" used to grace our dining table during Chinese Lunar New Year. Being a Hakka, my mother-in-law is good at reciting the recipe theorectically and my sister-in-law practically transformed it into a scrumptious meal, while hubby and I are the lucky buggers who eagerly partake and savor this irresistible Hakka dish. I was previously not that zeal in the culinary pursuit, hence not noting down the recipe mentally. My culinary adventures and passions only grow intensely and culminate after I ceased my industrial job to be a stay-at-home mom.

Hakka steamed pork belly with yam is a spectacular dish that I dubbed the dish as "killer pork"! However, daunted by its complexity, labour intensive, time-consuming and its glorious fat, I don't usually cook the dish. It was until recently that I stumbled across a cookbook featuring how to make Hakka nam yee red sauce and I found it is not as complicated as I first thought. Knowing that my hubby is a hardcore fan for this classic Hakka dish, I grabbed home this cookbook from Popular bookstores. I gave it an attempt after mustering up all the courage for having a written recipe narrating the nam yee red sauce and steamed pork belly with yam making process.

It is such a gastronomic pleasures when you sink your teeth into this bowl of this thoroughly sauced-soaked Hakka cuisine. Though there's a big dose of fatty pork, I just can't resist the temptation and simply put aside all the gnawing guilt and sit down to indulge on these pieces of piggy heaven! I know, I know, I must put an extra effort in reducing that disgusting bad cholestrol later on!

I structured the recipes into two sections, first the Hakka nam yee red sauce recipe and secondly Hakka steamed pork belly with yam recipe (which I will lay out here).

Hakka "woo tau khau yoke" recipe  客家芋头扣肉食谱

Ingredients :
1kg pork belly (五花肉或三层肉)
500g yam / taro (芋头)
5 cups oil for deep-frying

Marinade :
1 tbsp light soy sauce
1 tsp five spice powder (五香粉)

Gravy (Mixed) :
4 tbsp Hakka nam yee red sauce
100ml water

Method :
1.  Cut pork belly into 3-4 big chunks and mix with marinade ingredients. Deep-fry in hot oil until golden brown and pork skin firm up and crispy. Dish up and rinse with water. Keep aside.

2. Use a fork (or toothpick) to prick some holes on the skins to allow the pork to absorb gravy later. Cut into 1.5cm thick slices. The half-cooked pork belly enable more efficient slicing process, unlike wobble raw meat slicing.

3. Clean yam and skin. Cut yam into 1cm thick slices and deep-fry in hot oil until golden brown. Dish up and drain. Absorb excess oil with kitchen towels.

4. Arrange pork belly and yam alternately onto a steaming bowl and pour over gravy.

5. Steam pork belly and yam on high heat for 1-2 hours until yam and pork is cooked and tender (the longer the better, so as pork belly is tender enough to melt in your mouth). Serve hot with white rice.

Tips :
If you're particular about aesthetics and presentation, you can invert onto a serving plate lined with lettuce with sesame oil drizzled on top. Place the serving plate over steaming bowl, then invert it quickly.

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Thursday, September 24, 2009

Pork Belly Stewed in Dark Soy Sauce (Tau Yew Bak) Recipe | Easy Asian Cooking


Pork belly chunks is braised in an aromatic dark sauce flavored with star anise, cinnamon, white pepper and whole bulbs of garlic. Pork belly stewed in dark soy sauce (Tau Yew Bak) is a memorable nostalgia Chinese provincial dish that went on national scale. Though simple, it never disappoints our tastebuds with its intense flavors and spice.

Pork Belly Braised in Dark Soy Sauce Homecooked Recipe(Tau Yew Bak)

When talking about nostalgic country style homecooked food, this comfort homey dish - pork belly stewed in soy sauce (Tau Yew Bak in Hokkien) will naturally comes into my mind. This is part of my mum's legacy and I must say I grew up with this. Pork belly stewed in dark soy sauce is a very Penang Hokkien dish and its popularity has even reached our Teochew kitchen. The dish may vary in every Chinese kitchen with different cooking styles, as cooking this family tradition dish is intuitive, liberating and improvisational instead of following a set of strict instructions from a recipe.

Learning how to cook can be a daunting task, but not with this how to recipe. Whilst some Hokkien homes like to use five-spice powder for marinade, I prefer star anise and cinnamon stick. You can add in some amount of fried bean curds (tau kua in Hokkien) and Chinese mushrooms to have a more substantial dish. For those weight watchers, this sinful and cholesterol laden pork belly can be substituted with chicken or lean pork.

Ingredients :
600g pork belly with gelatinous skin, cut into 1 inch length or bite-sized pieces (五花肉或三层肉)
4 whole bulbs of garlic, keep whole with papery skin peeled off
1 piece of star anise
1 piece of cinnamon stick, roughly 5cm in length
4 hard boiled eggs, with shells removed
Some water

Marinade :
4 tbsp of soy sauce
4 tbsp thick dark soy sauce
1/2 cup of rock sugar (can be substituted with brown sugar or 3 tbsp castor sugar)
1/2 tsp white pepper

Method :

1. Marinate pork belly slices with soy sauce, thick dark soy sauce, rock sugar and white pepper for at least 1 hour or preferably overnight in refrigerator. 

2. Heat up a claypot. Without adding any oil, pour the marinated pork and the excess marinade into the claypot, keep stirring the pork to prevent scorching. Add in in the whole garlic, keep stirring until the gravy is thickened and the pork belly slices are tender.

3. As soon as sugar begin to caramelize, add just enough water to cover the pork and garlic. Bring to boil, reduce to low heat and stew for 40 minutes (with the claypot lid covered) or until the liquid is reduced to about half its amount. Stir occasionally to ensure even cooking.

4. Add in hard boiled eggs (with shell removed). Coat the eggs with sauce mixture and toss frequently. Simmer for another 5 minutes. Add some water (if required) to prevent the sauce from drying up. Taste and add additional soy sauce or salt as desired.

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Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Yong Tau Foo Recipe | Easy Asian Cooking


Yong Tau Foo Homecooked Recipe : After deep-frying and steaming

This is a Malaysian famous Yong Tau Foo recipe that hubby and I made another day with a twist to traditional Yong Tau Foo dishes (Yong Tau Foo is stuffed tofu, chilli, eggplant and okra with fish paste). Instead of using fish mousse or fish paste as stuffing ingredients, our home-made Yong Tau Foo are customized to use grounded pork belly meat which replaced the fishy taste to earthy flavor of pork. While traditional Yong Tau Foo usually drenched in a clear and soupy broth, we have our Yong Tow Foo deep-fried until the grounded meat turned to brownish color (with bitter taste of bitter gourd and aubergine removed) and later brought to steam to ensure the stuffing ingredients are thoroughly cooked, excess oil removed and the textures of chilli, eggplant and okra are soften.

Learn how to make a simple homestyle Yong Tau Foo (tofu and vegetables stuffed with grounded pork Meat) using recipe below.

酿豆腐食谱

Ingredients :

3 large okras (ladies fingers), slit lengthwise in the middle, remove seeds and veins (for stuffing later), do not slice all the way through
3 large red chillies, slit lengthwise in the middle, remove seeds and veins (for stuffing later), do not slice all the way through
½ bitter gourd, cut into ½ inch thick slices, remove white core
½  large Chinese eggplant (aubergine or brinjal), remove stem, cut into 1½ inch slices
1 piece firm tofu (soy bean curd), slice horizontally into halves to form a pocket
2 cups vegetable oil

Ingredients for Stuffing :

400g grounded pork belly meat
1 tbsp cornstarch
½  tsp salt mixed with 2 tbsp water
1 tsp soy sauce
½  tsp freshly-gounded white pepper
½  tsp sesame oil

Method :

1. Using a blender, grind 400g pork belly meat while adding a bit of salt water slowly. In a mixing bowl, add sesame oil, soy sauce, white pepper and corn flour, stir well in one direction to combine and mix into a sticky paste with a springy texture. This forms the stuffing paste for Yong Tau Foo.

2. For vegetables and tofu preparation :
  • Slice firm tofu (bean curd) through the center to form a pocket to tuck in the stuffing paste later.
  • Slice bitter gourd into ½ inch thick slices, remove white core. This leaves an empty ring in the middle to be stuffed with stuffing paste later.
  • Cut Chinese eggplant [aubergine or brinjal] into 1½ inch slices. Then cut across in the middle with even thickness to form an opening for stuffing later, be careful not to slice all the way through .
  • Slit ladies fingers and red chilies lengthwise in the middle, remove seeds and veins (for stuffing later), be careful not to slice all the way through.
Pat dry with paper towels for stuffing and deep-frying later.

3. Stuff with grounded meat paste using a butter knife but make sure that you do not over-stuff them. Else the stuffing ingredients will disassociate and fall off the vegetables and tofu during deep-frying.

4. Add 2 cups of vegetable oil in a large heavy skillet, when the oil turns hot (make sure oil starts to bubbles), deep-fry the stuffed Yong Tau Foo until the grounded pork meat turns into brownish color on both sides. Dish up and drain on paper towels to discard excess oil.

Yong Tau Foo Homecooked Recipe : After deep frying

5. Transfer to a steaming plate for steaming. Steam for 5 minutes to ensure all the stuffing ingredients are well-cooked and to soften the textures of chillies, okras and sliced eggplants. Yong Tau Foo are now ready to be served with Thai chilli dipping sauce and they go well with white steamed rice.

Cooking Tips :
  • Chinese eggplants are available in several varieties. They are long, curved and slightly wider at one end. Choose Chinese eggplant that are firm with bright shiny skin.
  • Any vegetable suitable for stuffing can be used, such as squash, zucchini, baby eggplant, peppers and tomatillo.
  • Instead of steaming, alternatively you can prepare gravy and simmer for 5 minutes before serving. Saute some minced garlic, chillies, shallots and preserved beans (taucu). Then add in pre-prepared fish stock (boil fish bones with big onions in some water). Add pepper, sugar and soy sauce to taste. Lastly Yong Tau Foo added in and simmer for 5 minutes.
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Friday, September 18, 2009

Super Chef Blog Award | Easy Asian Cooking

Today marks the third month of my blogging life. The joy of being a tiny part of this vast blogosphere is, beside sharing my culinary adventures and enjoying the nuggets of thoughts of others, I developed a true friendship and an affinity with fellow wonderful bloggers along the way through Adgitize and Entrecard, which values will never been measured.

I made an exception to my usual line-up of topics on culinary to share the honourable recognition as the recipient of Super Chef Award  from Windy from Windmill on the Hill. I was really overwhelmed, stunned and humbled when Windy notified me through my chatbox to grab my blog award this morning. Thanks from the bottom of my heart, Windy, for bestowing this wonderful, meaningful and prestigious award to me. You will always find Windy's outstanding and blissful writings that captures his exuberant spirit through his website.

As earlier featured on Windy's blog Yippeee! I found another fellow citizen Blogger, I was really humbled and speechless. Yes, Malaysia is a potpourri where all races culinary expertise has been brought together in one volume and you'll find gastronomic experience is a joyful ride. Besides promoting a wealth of culinary delights like many other websites do, introducing various homecooked recipes is also essential, which led to the creation of this "virtual kitchen" of mine.

While there's way to go in my blogging journey, this distinct privilege make my day and has given me a shot in the arm. Again, thanks Windy!

Here's Super Chef Award for Home Cooking Recipe by Windy :

Super Chef Award for Gladys Kock Home Cooking Recipe

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Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Assam Pork Curry Recipe | Easy Asian Cooking


This savory tamarind-based pork curry dish is perfectly complemented by the rich coconut gravy, chilli paste, curry powder, sugar and spices which adds a distinctive sweet, sour and spicy flavors that guarantee to spike the appetite. This Indian pork curry appeals to more than taste alone.

Assam Pork Curry

With rich cultural milieu, Malaysia is a culinary heritage that spans several hundreds years. Over a period of time, the culinary expertise of different cultures and races have been influenced by one another and have been brought together, resulted in a delicious fusion of local specialties and the original traditional fare. Hence, there's a different variation of pork curry dish, which is originally an Indians piquant traditional fare.

Below is a quick, easy and hassle-free recipe which calls for assam paste (or assam jawa), the Malay word for tamarind, which gives the dish its sour taste. To enhance the sourness, dried slices of tamarind fruit (assam/asam keping in Malay) are also added to the dish. Mouth-wateringly different, Indian food is generally 'chilli hot', blended with subtle additions of aromatic herbs and spices to lessen the 'bite'. This dish has no exception.

Mingling sourness from tamarind, sweet kick from sugar, spicy note from curry powder and chilli paste, the heady fragrant of curry leaves, distintive richness of coconut gravy and earthy flavor from pork, this assam pork curry dish  is a harmonious blend of the sweet, sour and spicy flavors designed to appeal to both the eyes and palates.
While this may be one of the most easy pork curry recipes you can find, don't be surprised by its superior taste. Learn how to cook assam pork curry with below simple recipe.

加哩猪肉片食谱

Ingredients :
300g sliced pork (cut into strips)
100ml thick coconut milk
50ml water
2 tbsp tamarind paste ("assam" paste), mixed with 50ml water and squeezed out tamarind juice
2 tbsp oil

Curry Spices :
4 tbsp chopped shallots
2 stalks lemon grass, mashed up
2 tbsp curry leaves
1 tbsp curry powder
3 tbsp chilli paste
3 pieces dried tamarind (assam jawa keping in Malay)

Seasoning :
1 tsp salt
1/2 tbsp sugar
1 tbsp light soy sauce

Method :
1. Heat up 2 tbsp oil and saute curry spices until fragrant.

2. Add in pork slices and stir well. Add in coconut milk, water, tamarind juice, seasoning and bring to boil. Cook until meat is tender. Dish up and serve hot.

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Saturday, September 12, 2009

Double-boiled Ginseng Roots and Chicken Soup Recipe | Easy Asian Cooking


Ginseng roots and chicken soup provides the perfect meal-in-a-bowl at lunchtime. Taste of this tonic soup is pleasant and flavorsome with natural sweetness in the palate.

Double-boiled Ginseng Roots and Chicken Soup

There's something supremely comforting about hot soup, especially when you prepare it yourself at home, the aroma ensures that the pleasure starts long before you lift the ladle. Soup, especially Chinese herbal tonic soup, is the most frequent dish serves our dining table maybe due to my tiredless advocacy of it as a dietary supplement and herbal remedy. Due to this, soup has become so entrenched in my life.

The recipe calls for double-boiling (炖/燉), which is a controlled heating technique that you place the chicken soup in a pot and then place that pot in boiling water in another larger pan or pot. This technique ensures there is no loss of essences from the food being cooked without scorching or drying it and it's often used to prepare delicate food and Chinese herbal medicines.  Alternatively, you might run into a stovetop apparatus called a double boiler, a specialized pot with two layers, the top vessel contains the food to be heated and is fitted into the lower pot which holds the boiling water. 

For the convenience of preparing the soup, my hubby has tweaked the technique from double boiling into stewing by using crockpot (or slow cooker). This allows unattended cooking overnight and will be ready in the next morning. Well, I should say there's some advantages of  this long slow crockpot cooking, besides leaving the gelatinised tissue in the meat without toughening the lean muscle fiber, cooking the soup in a crockpot keep the washing up minimal due to its low cooking temperature and also glazed ceramic or porcelain pot make cleaning very easy.

For those who think cooking dinner is a chore, this foolproof approach will transforms mealtime into a hassle-free experience yet enhances the flavors and taste of the entire soup. The chicken is so tender that it just slips off the bone and provides melt-in-your-mouth morsels.

Follow this simple tonic chicken soup recipe to impress your family and guests.

洋参须炖鸡汤食谱

Ingredients :

1 kampung chicken, cleaned, skin removed and cut into 4 pieces
50g ginseng roots (洋参须)
10 red dates (红枣), seeds discarded
2 tbsp Chinese Wolfberries or qi zi (杞子)
1000ml water
salt to taste

Method :

1. Blanch chicken in boiling water for a short while. Remove and set aside.

2. Put all ingredients into a double boiler and double-boil at high heat for 4 hours. Alternatively, you can use crockpot (slow cooker) and stewing it overnight (Or you can set to slow-cook before leaving for a day's work, and will be ready on return).

3. Add salt to taste. Serve hot.

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Friday, September 11, 2009

Stir-fry French Bean with Minced Meat and Preserved Radish Recipe

The dish, highlights the key ingredient - French beans by itself with delightful crunch. Preserved radish, dried prawns and minced meat make a wonderful accompaniment to French beans, which is rounded up together with salty and spicy touch from the condiments and red chillies. Delectable!

Stir-fry French Bean with Minced Meat and Preserved Radish

When it comes to home cooking, my philosophy is always the same - simple, comfort, nutritious, unpretentious, humble, homey, possibly with ingredients that could stretch every dollar spent, never rigid in ingredients used or cooking approach whilst maintaining a wholesomeness to the dish. Nothing beats the feelings of preparing the dish ourself, serving the dish hot the moments it's ready and having a warm dinner with family. To me, good old fashioned home cooking is sufficient to fit the bill.

If you are a frequent hawker's stall patron, you'll notice that French beans (green beans or kacang buncis in Malay) are usually deep-fried in hot oil for a while before cooking. This step can be omitted if you opt for cooking at home. At least, instead of having something unhealthy, unappealing or both in the form of expensive take-out, you now have the choice of having less oily dish by cooking yourself at home and dine in the comfort of your home.

This recipe shows you how to make a zippy meal featuring French beans.

酱爆季豆食谱

Ingredients :
300g French beans, cut into 5cm length
100g minced meat
3 tbsp chopped preserved radish, soaked
3 tbsp dried prawns, soaked and chopped
2 tbsp oil
1 tbsp chopped garlic
1 tbsp chopped red chillies

Seasoning :
1 tbsp fermented soy bean paste
1 tbsp light soy sauce
1 tsp sugar
dash of pepper
20ml water

Method :
1. In a skillet, heat up 2 tbsp oil, sauté chopped garlic, preserved radish and dried prawns until fragrant.

2.  Add in minced meat and stir well. Add in French beans, chopped red chillies, seasoning and stir-fry at high heat until it's cooked. Sprinkle some water to keep it moist, but not watery. Dish up and serve hot.

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Thursday, September 10, 2009

Deep-fried Tom Yam Chicken Recipe | Easy Asian Cooking

Characterized by a subtle blends of hot and sour flavors, deep-fried Tom Yam chicken ups the flavor ante and adds some tang to the dinner. Succulent chicken is battered with Tom Yam paste which is blended with shredded kaffir lime leaves and chopped lemon grass, then deep-fried to form a crispy brown coatings. The shredded kaffir lime leaves and chopped lemon grass which is interspersed within add an extra kick to the dish.

Deep-fried Tom Yam Chicken

You can always find bottled Tom Yam paste in my fridge, as the commercially premix Tom Yam paste can be turned into a versatile dishes by pairing either with prawns, chicken, fish, mixed seafood etcetera. But sometimes, as I keep on storing fresh ingredients into my fridge, this little bottle of Tom Yam paste will be inadvertently pushed aside and left unnoticable until I did not sense the existance of it. Till few days ago whilst I was running out of idea on what to cook with chicken thighs and looking high and low for the right ingredients to go with it, this unpretentious Tom Yam paste suddenly catched my eyes, hiding right at the corner of the fridge. Gosh, how could I miss this whilst Tom Yam is perfect enough to go with chicken especially to awaken lethargic appetites this hot weather?

The thought of Tom Yam always set my stomach juices kicking into high gear! Tom Yam is a subtle blends of herbs and spices such as lemon grass, kaffir lime leaves, galangal, shallots, lime juice, fish sauce, tamarind, slices of ginger and crushed chili peppers, which embraces a rich almalgam of evocative aromas and contrast in textures. Traces its origins to Thai, Tom Yam is also one of the key ingredients in Malaysia, Singapore and Indonesia cuisines.

Here's the recipe for deep-fried Tom Yam chicken which will definitely enliven the Thai palate! Enjoy!

冬炎炸鸡食谱

Ingredients :
3 chicken thighs, cut into pieces
8 cups oil for deep-frying

Marinade :
4 tbsp Thai Tom Yam paste
1 egg
1 tsp salt
1 tbsp shredded kaffir lime leaves
1 tbsp chopped lemon grass
1 tbsp oil (Add in a little oil while marinating chicken can help to prevent chicken pieces from sticking onto the skillet while deep-frying. Besides, the fried chicken pieces will be more juicy.)
3 tbsp plain flour
2 tbsp corn flour

Serving and Garnishing :
1 onion, shredded
1 lime

Method :
1.  In a mixing bowl, combine the sliced chicken with marinade. Let it stands for about 3 hours in fridge.

2.  In a skillet,  heat up oil for deep-frying. When the oil turns hot, deep-fry the marinated chicken until golden brown and cooked.

3. Arrange the fried chicken onto a serving platter, sprinkle shredded onion and freshly squeezed lime juice on top of the chicken before serving.

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Sunday, September 6, 2009

Braised Sea Cucumber with Spare Ribs Recipe | Easy Asian Cooking

Earthy flavor of spare ribs and licorice taste from star anise bring this rather bland sea cucumbers to a new dimension. The finished dish embraces a harmony of tastes, colors and textures designed to appeal to both eyes and palates.

Braised Sea Cucumber with Spare Ribs
Sea cucumber (海参) don't usually comes up in my daily cooking menu except special occasions such as Chinese new year. The usual occasion when sea cucumber dish graces our tables is during wedding banquet (if we are lucky enough). For me, it sounds bothersome and time-consuming especially dealing with dried hard form sea cucumber, which it will turns unappealing with strong 'fishy' odor and tough-to-chew texture if not managed properly. Intimidated by the thought of this, I'd rather lay my hand off this Chinese revered sea dweller, for fear that I might unintentionally spoil the cozy jelly-like sea cucumber.

Guess what make me came out with this staple dish eventually? Okey, I should thanks to the availability of the processed sea cucumber (that have been pre-cleaned and pre-soaked) in Jusco deep-frozen section which catched our eyes when we browsed through departmental stores. I like sea cucumber and naturally it screams delicious to me. Considering the readily-processed sea cucumber could save me from extensive works without having to discard the inner guts, repetitive washing and boiling which could take place over several days, I snapped this up without having a second thought.

Prized for its gelatinous texture and slippery feel, sea cucumber which has a number of therapeutic values has been known to ease arthritis pain, relief joints discomfort and reputed to be a general tonic. Prominently used in Chinese cooking than other cuisines, sea cucumber can be cooked in many ways - braised abalone with sea cucumber and chinese mushroom, stewed with pork ribs, stir-fried with condiments or boiled in chicken stocks. Like tofu which is rather bland in taste, sea cucumber has the ability to absorb and accentuate the flavors of the ingredients it is cooked with. Hence, pairing with the right ingredients and seasonings to bring out its flavors whilst maintaining its succulent jelly-like texture become essential.

This quick and easy homecook recipe infuse sea cucumbers with distinctive licorice taste from star anise. The taste enhanced by simmering the dish under low flames for roughly 45 minutes.

海参焖排骨食谱

Ingredients :
1 tbsp oil
8 slices ginger
2 star anises (八角)
250g pre-soaked sea cucumber (浸发海参), cut into thick slices
300g spare ribs (排骨), cut into pieces

Seasoning :
1 tbsp Shaoxing wine
1 tbsp oyster sauce
1 tbsp light soy sauce
salt to taste
300ml water

Method :

1. Heat up oil in a skillet, saute ginger and star anise until fragrant. Add in sea cucumber, spare ribs and mix well.

2. Add in seasoning and bring to boil. Lower the heat and simmer for 45 minutes or until spare ribs are tender. Dish up and serve.

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Saturday, September 5, 2009

Crispy Butter Prawns Recipe | Easy Asian Cooking

The curry leaves lend a distinct flavor and complement the richness of butter whilst the bird’s eye chillies inject some fiery hot and add some depth to this appetising butter prawns.

Crispy Butter Prawns
If any aromatic could lay claim to the title of signature ingredients when it comes to Malaysian food, then surely curry leaves must be the odds-on favourite. Curry leaves lends Southern Indian influences into this Malaysian specialties. There is something about its warm, fragrant-scented curry leaves that even in the non-Asian countries which have growing Asian demographics, you still can find someone is hunting down with bated breath for curry leaves. This is one of the Malaysian delicacies which embraces a mingling of races and encapsulates a wealth of culinary delights. I would say, without going through the hassle of complicated cooking or compromising on the flavors, this easy to whip up butter prawns simply get your mouth watering and your taste buds tantalizing with buttery, sweet, fragrant-scented, spicy and garlicky flavors!

Here's a Malaysian cooking recipe for quick and easy butter prawns with aromatic flavors which make you want a second helping. Enjoy!

脆口牛油虾食谱

Ingredients :
1kg medium size prawn, slit down the back and de-vein, the rest of prawn shells left intact, pat dry
8 cups oil for deep-frying
50g salted butter or margarine
1/2 bowl curry leaves
1 tbsp chopped bird's eyes chillies

Batter (Mixed) :
3 tbsp plain flour
2 tbsp corn flour
1 egg
1/2 tsp sugar
1/2 tsp salt
100ml water

Seasoning :
1 tsp sugar

Method :
1. Trim the prawns, wash and drain well. Pat dry with kitchen paper towel.

2. Heat up oil for deep-frying. Coat prawn with batter and deep-fry in hot oil until golden brown and cooked. Dish and drain, set aside.

3. Melt butter in a skillet, saute curry leaves and bird's eye chilies until fragrant. Add in seasoning, prawns and stir-fry until well mixed. Dish up and serve.

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Friday, September 4, 2009

Clay Pot Chicken with Chinese Sausage Recipe | Easy Asian Cooking

Chinese sausage exudes greasy sweetness and is perfectly paired with chicken, imparting a unique sweetness and chewy texture to this savory dish.

Claypot Chicken with Chinese Sausage
Chinese sausage (waxed sausages or lap cheong) is flavorful on its own, you don't need any fancy recipes or prominent ingredients to disperse the flavor.

There are some varieties in cooking Chinese sausage, as simple as slicing and stir-frying with veggies (baby bok choy, cabbage shreds, leeks, snow peas, bamboo shoots etcetera), used for fried rice noodles or rice, an interesting accompaniment with waxed duck or chicken, steaming on top of rice to make it into one-pot dish, grilling over charcoal, made into puffy Chinese sausage roll, coupling with omelette or pairing with seafood (shrimp, scallops etcetera).

You might have a second thought when come to this greasy dried pork sausage due to its colourings, preservatives and highly seasoned. I think you'll feel less sinful if you cook it first to render out the fat before adding it to stir-fries or any other dish. You can either steam the Chinese sausage first or quickly blanch it in boiling water. Well, it really comes down to personal preference when cooking Chinese sausage, some people find the fat unhealthy, but on the other hand, fat imparts flavor in a dish. As for me, I opt for the later, besides discards some amount of fat, it also softens this dry and hard Chinese sausage when I first grabbed from a groceries store in a wet market in Lip Sin, Bayan Lepas.

This is another quick and easy recipe, if you do not wish to labour extensively in your kitchen.

瓦煲蜡味鸡食谱

Ingredients :
2 chicken whole legs, cut into pieces
6 button mushrooms, cut into half
1 pair Chinese sausage, sliced thickly
5 cloves garlic, minced
5 shallots, minced
1 tbsp oil
250ml water

Seasoning :
2 tbsp light soy sauce
2 tbsp Shaoxing wine
1 tbsp sesame oil
1 tsp oyster sauce
dash of pepper
1 stalk spring onion, cut into approximately 4cm in length

Method :

1. Heat up 1 tbsp oil in clay pot, saute garlic and shallots until fragrant. Add in chicken and stir well.

2. Add in Chinese sausage, button mushrooms, water, seasoning and bring to boil. Lower the heat and cook until the gravy is thick. Add in spring onion and mix well. Dish up and serve. This dish goes well with steamed rice.

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Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Home Cooking Recipe Index | Easy Asian Cooking


A summarized Asian home cooking entree recipes for you to cook at home. This recipes index mean to ease recipes navigation, browsing and searching according to categories, from soup to poultry, pork, seafood, vegetables and beancurd.

Main Dish :

Soup Recipe

Nourishing, easy to digest, comfort, quick to cook and convenient, hot soup provides the perfect meal-in-a-bowl that you can make for brunch.

Poultry Recipe

This chapter lifts the cooking thong on delicious homecooked poultry main courses made on top of the stove at lunch and dinner time. With below quick and easy recipes, the hidden secrets of heavenly poultry revealed - How to cook them and how to savor every mouthful.
Pork Recipe

Pork holds up to just about any combination of spices you can imagine.  Redefine the flavors of pork with these pork recipe without having to labor extensive efforts in kitchen or compromises on taste and texture.

Seafood Recipe

Although fresh seafood is hard to be hunt down in some regions, it is definitely worth the search. Whether fresh or frozen you still cannot beat the craving that seafood installs in you. Add some flair to seafood with the following quick and easy homecooked recipes.

Vegetable Recipe

With the modern emphasis on eating plenty of vegetables, serving at least a vegetable course at lunch or dinner time make sense. Whether you go for a dish that's quick and easy or a little out-of-the-ordinary, below hearty and family-style comfort vegetable recipes are at your fingertips.

Beancurd Recipe

Up the spice on this bland ingredient that parasitically relies on others for it’s flavor. Perhaps it’s time to give beancurd (tofu) a second look we are musing. Quick and easy beancurd dish do not get any easier with below recipes.
Condiment & Sauce Recipe

A series of sauce recipes you can prepare prior to cooking and kept refrigerated for later use for versatile dishes.

Rice & Noodles Recipe

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