Pan-Fried Soy Sauce Prawns

Today I wanted to teach Cass to be responsible at home by helping to clear and clean the table after lunch. If Alycia and Drama Queen are around, they would be the ones to clear and clean the dining table after every meal. They are normally not around for lunch on school days. After lunch, the little spoilt brat with a cavalier attitude would leave the table and dash straight to the bathroom. Today, I decided that Cass is old enough to take on the duty.  She should start to be responsible just like her 2 older sisters. As there were plastic takeout boxes with watery gravy inside, I warned her specifically to be extra careful before she brought the boxes to the bin, lest she dropped them onto the floor.

Me: Cassandra, be VERY, VERY, VERY careful when you bring the boxes to the kitchen. First, close the lid tightly so that the gravy won’t spill out.  Be very careful NOT TO DROP THE BOXES on the floor, else the gravy would splatter and it’s going to be a big big mess. Understand?

Cass: OK!

And what do I know? The second she turned her back from the table with the gravy-filled takeout box, SPLAT!!  Her butter fingers dropped the box with gravy onto the floor.  Oh. My. Goodness. I can’t believe her!! That scatty girl.  I was seething!!

I made her clean up the floor and showed her how to clean up while berating her.

Does this sound familiar? Do you have a child like this too? That “I can’t believe you” anger can really send you a few years earlier knocking on Heaven’s door. Right? Right?

OK, moving on to the food scene!  Just a few days before the mil returned from Hawaii, I discovered that there was still a packet of prawns in the freezer. It was sitting in the freezer for over one month. She bought them just before she left for Hawaii.  What would she say when she returned and saw the packet of prawns?  I didn’t want her to have the impression that I hardly cook. Truth is the girls and I are not fans of prawns. Thus, I hardly buy them.   So I quickly cooked the prawns  the same evening that I discovered them.

This soy sauce pan-fried prawn recipe is the mil’s signature dish. And it’s SO easy to cook that you’d think I’m not revealing all the ingredients and steps.

Don’t you just love the vibrant colors of the prawns, broccoli and tomatoes? I love traffic colors on my plate 😀 I am utterly enamoured with this colorful dish that tastes as good as it looks. Even the ‘fussy king’ (a moniker the girls and I give the hubs, HA HA!!) loved it and had no criticism darted at it. Being a perfectionist caterer, the fussy king is VERY VERY critical of the food people cook, his mum and I inclusive!

Ingredients:
Medium / large size prawns – devein the prawns with a pair of scissors
Cooking oil
Soy sauce
Sugar – I used organic muscovado sugar
A dash of Chinese cooking wine
Spring onions and Chinese parsley cut into 10 – 15cm length (as this was a last-minute dish, I didn’t have the time to buy spring onions and parsley, thus omitted them)
Cucumber, tomatoes, lettuce, whatever vegetables you have to decorate the plate.

Method:
Heat up oil.

Pan-fry prawns until they turn orangy in color / thoroughly cooked. That will take approximately 10 – 15 minutes, depending on the size of the prawns. Be very careful not to over cook the prawns or they will be rubbery and dry and that’s the last thing you want. You don’t want the prawns to end up being ‘recycled’ in fried rice the next day.

Dish out the prawn and leave aside.

With the remainder oil in the wok / pan, add in soy sauce and sugar. Mix well. You can add a little water if you wish.

Add in the spring onions or Chinese parsley and a dash of Chinese cooking wine. Let them simmer for about one minute. Do not overcook the spring onions and Chinese parsley.

Pour the sauce over the prawns

Decorate the plate with the vegetables.

This is a perfect dish for Chinese New Year or any Chinese festival celebrations and is a total crowd-pleaser.

Do give this one a try, it’s a winner! Bon Appetit!

 

 

Pan-Fried Five Spice Powder Chicken Fillet

Now that the mil is back from Hawaii, I feel a little weight taken off my shoulders 😁   This weight that I am talking about is cooking lunch and dinner. For someone who is not that passionate about cooking, cooking can sometimes be stressful for me. When I had live-in helpers, I liked cooking very much. I would  plan my menu ahead for a few weeks.  My helpers would help me prep the ingredients while I took my leisurely morning and evening walks with my toddlers, followed by watching TV. Speaking of TV, I have not watched TV for God knows how long. Not that I do not like watching the TV, I love watching TV. I can be a couch potato, if I want to.  But I simply cannot afford the time to do so, plus the TV is usually not allowed to be turned on, on school days.  When it was time for dinner, all I had to do then was to walk into the wet kitchen and whip up the dishes. All the ingredients would be laid nicely on the kitchen top for me.  My dear helpers would then clean up everything for me after I was done with the cooking.  Gone are such good days. How I wish we still have live-in helpers to pamper me. I miss those good old days so much!

Now that I have the mil around, my duty is to plan the menu (sometimes she plans it), shop for the ingredients and tell her what’s for dinner.  The mil would then gladly whip up the dishes.  She loves cooking. She’s a natural talent in cooking, baking and sewing. Thank God she’s around to help me sew the girls’ torn uniforms and clothes and fix lose buckles on pinafores.  I’m hopeless like a spoilt brat like that, coz at my parents’, I have my dear mummy to help me alter and mend my clothes. I know basic sewing but am just too lazy to do it.

Ok, enough of gloating. Now, moving onto the food pictures, staring at you hehe!

I wokked up this pan-fried five-spice chicken fillet with Bombay onions some time last week.  This glorious dish is cooked using antibiotic and hormone-free Kee Song lacto chicken fillet.

I like using chicken fillet as it’s healthier (lower in calories and fat) and easier to clean, cut and cook.  Chicken breast is cheaper than drumsticks and wings too. I can cook it in 101 different flavors and our finicky girls will scoff off the dish and lick the platter clean. Not exaggerating here but someone really licks her plate clean 😆

One plate is for dinner and the other portion is for next day’s lunch.

Ingredients:
~ Chicken breast
~ Chinese five-spice powder
~ Soy sauce
~ Black pepper
~ Palm sugar syrup
~ 2 Big onions – 1.5 big onions cut into rings or half rings and remaining half onion finely chopped
~ A little corn flour
~ Cooking oil

Method:
~ Cut chicken breast/fillet into strips
~ Marinate meat with Chinese five-spice powder, soy sauce, palm sugar, chopped onions, black pepper, a little corn flour and a little cooking oil. Set aside for several hours in the fridge.
~ Heat up oil and shallow fry the chicken fillet till thoroughly cooked and browned.
~ Remove the chicken fillet from the wok. If your wok is large enough, just push the chicken fillet aside. Add in the onion rings and saute the onions till they turn soft and brown.
~Pour in remaining marinate sauce into the wok. You can add a little water if you want some gravy.
~ Mix the chicken and onions together.
~ Plate up and eat while still hot

This dish goes well with rice, noodles and even bread. I love the aroma of the Chinese five-spice powder.  Just a touch of Chinese five-spice powder can give a distinctive depth of character to dishes. Not only is this spiced concoction flavorful, it is also packed with many medicinal properties.

After cooking this dish, the hubs came home with 5 loaves of potato baguette, an excess from one of his functions. With so much baguette, someone decided to have toasted potato baguette with the dishes that I had cooked.  She quickly fished out the long bread knife, sliced the potato baguette and popped them into the toaster oven.

Crispy potato baguette with Emmental cheese, five-spice chicken fillet and pak choy 😀  Super yummy this Oriental open-faced pizza sandwich 😋

Since there was so much potato baguette, I had a slice of it with fish curry, also from the hubs’ kitchen.

Chicken fillet is extremely versatile and easy to cook. You can use whatever spices and marinates that you have to marinate the fillet and you’ll always get a lip-smacking chicken dish. Make sure you add lots of big onions to it as that’s what impart a lot of sweetness and flavor to the dish.

 

Simple, Nutritious And Yummy Home-Cooked Dishes

This week will be the last week that I have to slog in the hot evenings to dish out dinner, woohoo! The mil will be back from Hawaii on Saturday. I can have back the 1-2 hours daily to do my work on the computer instead of playing chef in the hot kitchen to prep lunch and dinner 😂 The weather these days have been sizzling hot and I have been having showers of up to 5 times each day.

Despite my lack of love for cooking, I must admit that after one month, the cooking momentum is at full swing and I am slowly starting to like cooking. I watch cook videos everyday to get ideas on what to cook.

These are some of the dishes that I wokked up for four of our dinners last week:

Dinner #1

Pan-fried chicken fillet marinated with turmeric, Teriyaki sauce, black pepper and palm sugar with caramelized onion sauce.

This lip-smackingly delish chicken goes well with buns…

or rice:

The meat is juicy and not at all dry, though I used chicken breast (organic). I think the trick of having juicy meat lies in the marinate. I used a heap teaspoon of corn flour, cooking oil and chopped onions to marinate the chicken fillet together with soy sauce, palm sugar, turmeric, ground black pepper and a dash of teriyaki sauce.

Dinner #2

Braised brinjal with minced pork, home-grown sweet basil, kafir lime leaves and ‘lai park‘ vegetable. I added the greens as Cass is not a fan of brinjal.

Steamed pomfret with tomatoes and garlic + onion soy sauce

Dinner #3

Steamed egg with minced pork and ‘mok yue’ (wood ear fungus) strips.

Stir-fried organic cabbage with ‘fu pei

Dinner #4

Marmite pork with orange zest. This is a newly tried dish and it tasted just like the real deal from ‘tai chow’ stalls except that mine is not coated with flour, not deep-fried and has zero MSG.  This is a guilt-free dish made with superfood Marmite and I could gorge on more pieces without feeling the inches creeping on my hips 😜 as I used lean pork shoulder loin with minimal oil for pan-frying. I love the shiny glaze from the marmite and palm sugar. And the orange zest gives this dish a very appetizing lift.  Next time I will add more orange zest for a stronger citrus punch.

I can’t believe I cooked all these in my busiest week as it was exam week for Drama Queen and Cass. After cooking and helping our part-time helper clean up, I went straight to the table to revise with Cass.   For Chinese subjects, I just sat next to her at the table to give her moral support, though I couldn’t help much as yours truly is one very yellow banana.  We’ve had late nights the entire week. What a turbulent week that was for me last week. I am reeling from the effects of sleep deprivation this week and taking longer naps in the afternoon.  I CAN’T WAIT for the girls to finish school, college and graduate from uni. I CAN’T WAIT to enjoy my golden years with no more stress and worry about the kids’ exams 😁

Ultra Lazy Healthy Meat And Broccoli Pasta Bake

Busy moms and dads, you’ll thank me for posting this recipe. It’s an ultra easy and fast healthy pasta to dish out not only for your little ones but for the adults too. This is a complete meal that takes under half an hour to prep, made in ONE baking dish, there’s no need to crank up the stove, no oil splatter and it’s absolutely yummy. It’s 100% healthy with no crap, cooked only using fresh and mostly organic ingredients. I used organic broccoli, organic pasta, organic chicken (for broth) and organic pork.

Just plonk flour, UNCOOKED pasta (YES, you read me right! RAW pasta), raw meat, vegetables, milk, butter and chicken broth into the baking dish, give it a quick stir, then pop it into the oven. Pull it out partway through cooking, stir through cheese, then finish baking. Easy peasy.  After I had cooked this and left it in the oven, I quickly drove to the pasar malam to grab some fruits before the skies turned dark, came home and dug into this pasta with my lovelies.

As this recipe requires chicken broth and we don’t use instant broth at home, I made a quick chicken broth using 2 pieces of organic Kee Song chicken (ribs + breast meat), 2 carrots and 1 large onion. Only took 45 minutes to cook this soup and it’s so tasty!  You can skip this step if you do not have the time. Just get instant chicken broth from the supermarket.

I first tried to use a Le Creuset baking dish but it was too small.  I quickly summoned Drama Queen to help me look for a bigger baking dish and she managed to fish out a stainless steel baking tray from some hidden corner. It was so messy to have to transfer the raw ingredients from the Le Creusent to the stainless steel tray  What the FISH!!

Instead of using chicken fillet as per the recipe, I used minced pork. I marinated the pork with soy sauce, dried thyme, pepper, and 1 big chopped Bombay onion.

For the pasta, I use organic mini fusilli.

This is how it looks just before it’s popped into the oven:

I thought that the portion was too big but it was so delish that my 3 piranhas managed to finish over 3/4 of it. I saved the remaining portion for lunch two days later.

You can get the recipe here.  Nagi is my current favorite food blogger and she writes awesome recipes.  I tweaked her recipe a little; for eg. I used thyme to marinate the meat instead of rosemary. She used chicken fillet while I used minced pork.  I had no plain flour at home and substituted it with corn flour 😀  It turned out beautifully too.  Happy trying!

P/S: as I didn’t want to waste the cooked carrots and onions in the chicken broth, I dumped them into the dish and baked them together.  Waste not, want not 😉

Tomyam Fish

I bought a packet of Mak Nyonya tomyam paste the other day. As our girls cannot stomach a dish that’s too spicy, I only use a couple of tablespoons of paste each time to cook the dish. This packet of tomyam paste is enough for me to cook three dishes: tomyam fried rice, tomyam fish and I haven’t decided yet what I want to dish up with the remaining paste; maybe I’ll cook tomyam pork or tomyam fish again since I have another pomfret fish in the freezer.

Instant Tom Yam Sauce

The dish is not only outrageously good, it has a kaleidoscope of bright colors too. And it’s a one-pot dish. That’s so important for busy mothers and fathers who are cooking dinners. I always take great pains to ensure that we eat a colorful meal each day, comprising of all natural green, red, yellow, orange and sometimes purple, black and blue.

Ingredients:
Pomfret fish
Tomyam paste – I only used 2 tablespoons. You can add more for a stronger Thai punch and more intense spiciness.
3 tomatoes
Long beans – about 4
Ladies fingers – 10 pieces
Big onions – 2 large Bombay onions
Garlic – 2 or 3 cloves
Carrot – half
Juice of half a kafir lime
Kafir lime leaves – a handful
Water

Method:
Brown the onions and garlic
Add tomyam paste and saute until fragrant
Add in all the vegetables except the ladies fingers as they turn soft pretty quickly
Add water enough to cover the fish and vegetables and let simmer for about 15-20 minutes
Add in the ladies fingers and simmer for another 10 minutes
Add in juice of kafir lime. Mix and turn off the fire.
Meanwhile, steam the pomfret fish in another wok for 10 minutes.
Once the vegetables and fish are cooked, ladle up the vegetables and sauce and pour over the fish.
Eat while it’s still piping hot.

Photobombed again! Someone pinching the onion omelette!

 

Monday Lunch – 17 July 2017

Lunch today was cooked at the spur of the moment.  I had wanted to get takeout lunch but when I was looking at the fridge planning what to cook for dinner, I had this craving for something light and easy since we had spicy Korean food the day before.


Our lunch at Oiso Korean Restaurant on Sunday.


Minced pork porridge (marinated with organic soy sauce, sesame seed oil and pepper) with carrots and sweet potatoes seasoned with chopped scallions, garlic oil,  pepper and salt.

Porridge lover just like her mummy, Cass couldn’t wait to dig into her bowl of porridge the moment she stepped into the house upon return from school. And just like me, she only likes porridge cooked with a motley of her favorite ingredients and never plain white porridge. Never thick and gooey porridge.

After digging into a big bowl of porridge while still in her school uniform, Cass finally washed up and changed; next course was her fruits (dragon fruit, purple grapes and orange), another half bowl of porridge (what?!) and a packet of Izumio hydrogen water.

Cass is always extremely hungry each time she comes home from school. The moment she drops her school bag, off she goes to the kitchen to see what’s for lunch. Without even washing her hands, she then stuffs food into her mouth.  This reminds me that when I was her age, I was also super hungry after school dismissal. I remember very vividly that almost everyday, I would feel so famished that I felt nauseous during the car ride home. In the car, I would be wondering what my por por (maternal granny) had dished out for us.  I loved all her dishes.  My por por was a fantastic self-taught cook who, during her teenage years, escaped poverty in China to work in the then Malaya. She was a very well loved and respected Amah who worked for a British expatriate for many years.

Wednesday Night Dinner – Yee Mee With Braised Minced Pork

Yesterday’s dinner was a quickie as Alycia has Math tuition to attend at 8 p.m. every Wednesday.  This means that I have to start cooking at 4:30 p.m.; then eat at 5:30 p.m.; dinner over at 6:30 p.m.; give her an hour to shower and dilly dally before her friend’s mum comes to pick her up at 7:30 p.m.

I cooked yee mee with braised minced pork and wood fungus (mok yue).

I prepped a big pot of meat sauce so that Cass and I could have it for lunch the next day.

I used spinach yee mee bought from the organic shop.


Cass having her lunch of yee mee with braised minced meat today while enjoying a good book. Smoothie of the day is orange + apple + passion fruit + lemon + raw honey.

Cass to me ~ “mummy, the number one thing that I can’t live without in this world is book. I love story books. Err, nope. Number one is you. I can’t live without you. And number two is story books”.

If only she could say the same about her SCHOOL books.

Turmeric Roast Chicken

The first dinner that I cooked after the mil left for Hawaii two days ago is roast chicken. For the next one month, cooking meals for the family will be my responsibility.  After half a year of hiatus in cooking and feeling really indolent now, I need time to warm up with simple dishes before my culinary skill springs back into action in full force. As I have mentioned before, cooking is just not my thing. I cook for the love of my girls and for the OCD in me.  I love the convenience of eating out. However, the OCD in me screams out in horror each time I taste outside food laden with salt, oil, sugar and MSG.

I always start the first dish with roast or grilled chicken after a long absence in cooking. It’s the easiest to whip up and is almost fool-proof. This dish will never gain any objection from the 3 fussy girls.

This roast chicken is marinated overnight with black pepper, turmeric powder, salt and rosemary.  I roasted it with lemon, olive oil, bay leaves, big onions, garlic, tomatoes and lots of potato, sweet potato and carrot (all cut into strips like French Fries) in the oven for an hour at 180C.   Drama Queen helped me to slice all the tuber. It’s her idea of wanting the tuber cut into French Fries like strips.

 

I bought a whole organic Keesong chicken and got the supermarket staff to half it for me. With 3 growing kids with humongous appetite, the entire chicken was walloped over dinner.

I love prepping roast chicken for dinner. The beauty of roast chicken is versatility – you can use whatever spices you have in your kitchen.  You can have roast chicken five times in a week and yet feel like you have 5 different dishes everyday as you can use different spices to marinate the chicken and roast it along with different bits and bobs each time.

 

 

Post Laproscopic Myomectomy Surgery

I got my period yesterday – 9 days after the laproscopic myomectomy surgery.  My surgeon had warned me that the flow will be very heavy  this time but subsequent periods will see a normal flow.  Though my Aunt Flow is quite heavy this time, it pales in comparison with the periods I’ve had during my fibroid days. There are no ‘feels like dying’ abdomen cramps and no chunks of blood clots. Thank you God! I pray that period cramps, blood clots and super heavy flows will be behind me now.

I am still pretty much holed up at home, except for brief trips to the coffee shop for breakfast and supermarket to get groceries. I have been enamored with love from my papa, mum and mil with lots of TLC and yummiest home-cooked confinement-like dishes. I am having such a cushy life now, with nice meals served to me and not having to do much of house chores.  All these will come to an end soon when the mil goes to Hawaii early next month, for a whole month. That’s when I have to take over the kitchen and the girls’ meals everyday *gasp*

The typical meals that I would have each day ever since I was discharged from the hospital 9 days ago consist of rice wine chicken with ginger and wood ear fungus (I can never get bored of this confinement dish), mugwort omelette with ginger strips, boiled red dates + black dates + tong sum tonic, double boiled chicken essence (2-3 times a week), lots of meat and lots of green vegetables. Pretty much like confinement dishes. Each time I pour out the warm red dates tonic from a flask, it reminds me of my confinement days.


Chicken cooked with rice wine and ginger wine, ginger and wood ear fungus strips, fried fish, stir-fried red spinach and blanched ladies fingers.


Sauteed young lotus root with pulled pork, char siew and roast duck.

I didn’t touch any of the duck though as it’s considered a ‘tuk’ (poisonous) food for the Chinese and I don’t fancy eating duck anyway.


White bitter gourd omelette with homegrown basil leaves and fried fish.

Have you ever seen white bitter gourd? It looks like an albino bitter gourd to me 😁.. but it tastes like the regular green ones. Bitter gourds / melons are superfood. They kill cancer cells, prevent gout, diabetes and have a whole lot more of health benefits.


Minced ginger (with skin) + sesame seed oil omelette and blanched ladies fingers with roast sesame seed dressing.


Steamed brinjal with fried garlic oil and soy sauce. This dish is SO easy to prepare and insanely addictive.


Onion omelette, sauteed siew yoke and roast chicken (leftover) with ginger, garlic, sugar, wine and soy sauce.

With SO MUCH ginger, wine and meat that I eat everyday with no exercise, I am surprised that I am not feeling heaty. Must be the Izumio that I am drinking that’s helping to cool down my body. The weather these days is crazy. I am sweating buckets everyday and need the ceiling fan and stand fan blowing at me at full blast and yet need at least 3 showers a day. I don’t even need to cover my body with a blanket in an air conditioned room at night.  Can’t wait to rest for another 2 weeks before I start swimming and running again!