Friday, August 31, 2012

Lam Mee/Birthday Noodles 淋面

Nyonya Lam Mee

Traditionally for the older generations in Penang, Lam Mee is a must serve during birthday celebration to symbolize longevity. Therefore last July when we had a small birthday party for Ming Ray, his favourite Auntie Lan insisted to make Lam Mee as his main lunch meal.    

The specialty of this dish lies in the gravy, which is made of clear soup by boiling pork ribs/chicken bones for hours which gives strong flavour of the meat taste. It is then served with yellow noodle topped with shrimps, shredded meat, pink colored shredded omelets, shallot crisps and coriander leaves. Different from the variation served in Kuala Lumpur, Penang Lam mee is not as starchy and not as dark colored compared to KL Lam Mee.  

For a true authentic way of eating Lam Mee is best eatenwith a little bit of Sambal Belacan.  However since our host and his 2 little guests couldn’t take spicy food, we did not make effort to prepare it. 

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Thai Style Deep-fried Fish Fillet 泰式脆鱼条

With a week of Raya holiday at home, I decided to spend some time to tidy up my photo folders and blog posts which was long overdue in my “to do” list.  I was surprised to find this blog post left in the folder yet to be published. It was over a year old post which I wrote in the final week in Auckland in March 2011.

Last Thai in Auckland
With our fridge sold in preparation for our repatriation to Malaysia, I had to do marketing on a daily basis. This morning when I saw fish fillet was on special, I bought a piece for dinner meal.  But without a fridge I had problem to keep the fish fresh until dinner time. To prevent the fish fillet from turning bad I had to marinate it first. To come up with deep fried ideas, I went through series of Hawkers delights cookbooks I had and spotted this yummy Thai recipe from Yummy Yummy Hawkers’ Fair by Chef Phang Fah.

The original recipe called for sweet basil leaves, which I didn’t have. Too bad basil was one of the herbs that was not available in my garden that I could harvest easily.  Without basil leaf, I substituted it with fresh flat-leaf parsley. I knew with this substitution, it would change the flavour of the dish. Basil has a sweet spicy flavour and was stronger but parsley was lighter in flavour. Nevertheless, I was glad the deep fried fish fillet turned out tasty.

For a true Thai flavour, next time I would give the original recipe a try.

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Cranberry Chocolate Chip Cookies 蔓越莓巧克力曲奇

Last Friday when Ming Ray learnt that my sister from Penang planned to bring her daughter Kyra to spend a weekend with us in KL during the Raya holiday, he anxiously counted down the days looking forward to welcoming his little cousin sister and to show her around. However, we were surprised with the little 6 years old Kyra asking for a baking session with me. Seeing my little niece being so keen to learn baking, of course as her aunt I had no reason to disappoint my adorable niece. J  When Ming Ray knew about this plan, he too eagerly wanted to join his cousin sister in baking.

Kyra asked to make heart shaped cookies.  As teaching 2 kids to bake was undoubtedly a challenging task, I decided to make this simple butter chocolate chip cookies. With kids around, you could expect this wouldn’t be a proper baking session.

Yes, it ended up more like a play dough time to the kids. In between both of them had arguments to take turn to use the mixer and to mould the cookies dough but we were pleased to see both kids enjoyed their baking session anyway.

Heykids, baking or play dough time?

I was so relieved to see the cookies came out from oven still in one piece and in proper shape. Most importantly, Kyra enjoyed her baking time and loved her cookies very much and even gave 2 thumbs up for the taste of the cookies! J

Tuesday, August 21, 2012


Red Bean Paste filling

As promised in my wholemeal steamed Pau post, this post I will illustrate  how to make homemade red bean paste. Red bean paste is a common ingredient for Asian cuisine especially for Chinese and Japanese cuisines. It is usually used as a filling ingredient for buns, dumplings, desserts and confectionaries.
I know it is not difficult to source ready-made red bean paste at bakery ingredients shop. In fact even when I was in Auckland I could easily find it in most Asian groceries shops. However, the homemade version always seems to taste better and feels healthier, doesn’t it? J
In return to enjoy better quality and healthier food we have to spend a little more time and hassle to prepare for it.  It is quite time consuming to cook the dry red bean into its paste form. Normally you will need to soak the beans for hours or even overnight before cooking to soften the beans. A quicker alternative is to skip this step  is by using a pressure cooker or a slow cooker.  Cook until the red beans turn soft. To have very fine and smooth texture, it is best to blend the cooked red bean puree until creamy form. Lastly, cook it again with oil and sugar to transform it into smooth creamy red bean paste that is ready for use.

For this trial, I used slow cooker to cook red beans overnight, this has cut down my hassle in spending time to monitor the red beans over stove.  The whole process took me more than 9 hours, but my actual working hours on blending, and stir frying the bean puree into paste only took me around an hour.

As mentioned it was pretty time consuming to get this paste done, but when you think of your loved ones getting to consume homemade paste which is free from preservative and unknown additive, plus the added benefits of adjusting the sweetness to your own preference, it all seems to justify the effort.

Mid autumn festival is around the corner. Why not give it a try to make your own red bean paste for the moon cake fillings to enjoy a healthier red bean flvaour moon cakes? You can also try out Yam/Taro paste filling, and the traditional moon cake recipe here. 

Monday, August 6, 2012

Wholemeal Pau 麦片包子

Healthy Pau   

I’ve been trying hard to keep my post up to date. However my current work schedule seems hard for me to keep up the pace. This was another month old birthday post, as this special healthy steamed bun/Pau was meant to be hubby’s birthday “cake”.

Happy belated birthday dear!

Hubby is never a pastry and sweet tooth guy, hence when I mentioned making a cake for him to celebrate his birthday instantly he declined and asking to have Supreme big Pau (steamed Bun) instead. Well, the ancient Chinese steamed peach shaped Bun 寿 did play similar role as the birthday cake today.
I had shared the steamed buns with shredded chicken breast, egg and yambean fillings and Kaya filling in my old posts. This improved version replaced 1/5 of the Pau flour with wholemeal flour. This time besides the chicken fillings, I also tried out my own homemade red bean paste. I will share the making of red bean paste in a later post.
Wholemeal Pau 麦片包子

Frankly, with the wholemeal grain, the texture of the Pau was not as refined and soft as plain Pau, kind of similar texture to expect when you eat white bread compared to wheat grain bread. Nowadays, with more and more people going for healthy diet, eating healthy and eating right has become the key factor in food preparing, overshadowing the taste of the food. Of course, it’s still best to have both!

In my opinion, all who love cooking love to be able to serve healthy and delicious food to our loved ones right? J


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