Thursday Home-cooked Lunch – 14 April 2016

Today I had a battle within myself – a mind over matter over what to eat for lunch 😀

After paying Cass a visit in school (to ensure that she pees and to bring her Izumio), I shopped for some groceries at our neighborhood supermarket.  I could not decide whether to cook lunch for Cass and Sherilyn or take the easy way out – take out.   There were many eateries near the supermarket. I walked to the Indian restaurant and was really tempted to get a portion of chicken curry, fried vermicelli and spiced pumpkin.  But the weather has been so hot lately. We should be avoiding spicy and heaty food.  Plus spicy food would only stimulate Cass’ problematic bladder.  With a heavy heart, I left the Indian eatery.

Then I walked next door to the bakery. I was tempted to get a cake or some buns for the girls.  But I heard my inner voice shouting out “processed white flour products!  High carbo and high sugar too! Get out of here!”   I left the bakery and drove off.

So what should we have for lunch?  I could not decide. I seem to have a problem with decision making at times.

I was craving to have some Mee Siam for lunch as we have not had it for more than a week. I knew that Cass and Sherilyn would love Mee Siam too. I was about to make a right turn into our favorite cafe to get Mee Siam when again, I heard the inner voice screaming out to me “meehoon is carbs and it’s fried with sambal.  Sambal is heaty and it would stimulate Cass’ problematic bladder. It has not much nutritional value too.  Another high carb food!”.  Ok, the inner voice won the battle. I drove straight home.

After unloading and keeping the groceries, I went straight to the kitchen and took out the green tea noodles and buckwheat noodles. I blanched the noodles, cold bath them and seasoned them with sesame seed oil, black and white pepper, a few shakes of organic soy sauce and Japanese Furikake.

Next, I boiled eggs and sliced some cold kyuri.  Squeezed some Japanese roasted sesame seed dressing on the eggs.

I was already sweating buckets by the time I spent 15 minutes in the kitchen that felt like a furnace in this heatwave.  Temperature today was 38 degrees Celsius in the afternoon.  I took my second shower for the day.  I had 4 showers today!

The girls had this yummy bowl of Japanese green tea and buckwheat noodles for lunch.  Cass liked it very much and had the same thing for dinner.  She even requested to bring it to school for recess tomorrow.

 

Delightful Home-Cooked Dishes

Here are a few more  wholesome and delightful home-cooked dishes that the mil wok-ed up this week…

Below – Braised chicken with dried sand ginger, shallots and tomatoes.

 

Below – braised chicken with dried tofu sheets (fu choke) and mushrooms.

Below – pan fried prawns with soy sauce and Chinese cooking wine.

I am so thankful that I do not have to slog in our uber hot kitchen during this El-Nino heat. If ever I have the moolah to get a bigger house, I am so going to install a uber big ceiling fan plus a misty fan in the kitchen!

And let’s all pray and hope that the predicted heat wave on 20 March 2016 will be blown far far away by some strong winds!

It’s the last weekend before school starts again. Am I happy? Yes and no. Yes that I get to swim again during pre-dawn and I get back my ME TIME. And NO to waking up at  ungodly hours again.

Happy weekend everyone 🙂

 

Home-cooked Dinner – 3 March 2016

Yummy home-cooked dishes for dinner last night, lovingly dished out by the mil…

Stir-fried baby sweet potato leaves with garlic, vegetarian ‘cai’, blanched lady fingers and crispy fried baby pomfret fish with tomato + onion sauce.  Cass who has just recovered from high fever had pretty good appetite last night. It’s a joy to see her enjoy her food again 🙂

Soup of the day – watercress with carrots, Chinese almonds and lean pork.

She also cooked porridge (pork + peanuts + dried oysters + salted egg + century egg) for hubby, who is still nursing a badly inflamed tonsillitis.

Life gets much easier and sweeter when you have someone living with you who loves cooking. I am going to enjoy this before she goes away again! 😛

 

Healthy Homecooked Dinner – 21 February 2016

My healthy low in cholesterol, low in fat, low in oil and high in fiber dinner yesterday 🙂

Bitter gourd soup with carrots, red dates and lean pork with 4 tablespoons of organic oats…

Sauteed organic spinach and braised arrowroot with roast pork  and ‘nam yue‘.  I singled out only 3-4 small pieces of lean roast pork and that’s my ration of meat for the day.

Arrowroot is usually seen in wet markets and supermarkets a few weeks leading to Chinese New Year. I cherish eating arrowroot as we only get to eat it several times in a year, usually only during Chinese New Year. We like braising it with roast pork or steam it alongside Chinese sausage. I used to like munching on deep fried arrowroot (‘ngar koo’) but I have ditched  all deep fried foods a little over a year now…and feeling good 🙂

If you think arrowroot is just carbs, you’ll be surprised to know that it is chock full of nutrients and health benefits! 🙂

arrowrootinfo

Photo credits : OrganicFacts.net

 

Light And Healthy Meals

These days, I have very light meals – light in meat and light in portion. 80% composes of greens / fiber and 20% meat or eggs.

This is my breakfast this morning – a bowl of pork soup from the pork noodles stall with lots of bitter gourd and a little minced pork sans the noodles and egg. This is an ideal low carb + high protein + high fiber meal.

Bitter gourd is used to treat various stomach and intestinal disorders including gastrointestinal (GI) upset, ulcers, colitis, constipation, and intestinal worms. It is also used  for diabetes, to lower cholesterol, kidney stones, fever, a skin condition called psoriasis, liver disease and to start menstruation.

Below – my dinner yesterday was a bowl of anchovies soup with organic veggie (home grown), egg drop and several tablespoons of organic oats.  Everyone else ate roast duck.  Thankfully I do not fancy duck 😀  Duck is high in fat and cholesterol.

You should try to go meatless once or twice a week. Going meatless several times in a week may reduce your risk of chronic preventable conditions like cancer, cardiovascular disease, diabetes and obesity. It can also help reduce your carbon footprint and save precious resources like fresh water and fossil fuel.  And you may live longer too if you reduce your meat consumption 😉

 

Fried Minced Meat & Potato Curry

To all my Muslim readers, this is a non-halal post. Apologies!

Two nights ago, I created another new dish for my curry-loving kids – minced pork curry with potatoes and tomatoes. And it was so delish!

You can also use minced chicken or minced beef to cook this dish.

Direction for Minced Pork Curry:

1) Heat oil in wok. Shallow fry cubed potatoes. Once there is a tinge of brown on the potatoes, push them aside of the wok. (I used 3 washed potatoes)
2) Saute minced garlic and onions until fragrant.
3) Add minced pork and fry till aromatic. Add salt.
4) Add in cubed tomatoes (I used 2 medium size organic tomatoes)
5) Add in 2 tablespoons of curry paste. I normally buy Tean’s Gourmet Chicken Curry Paste or Mak Nyonya Curry Paste. If you want spicier, add more curry paste.
6) Add about 1 cup of water.
7) Add sugar (optional). I added 1 teaspoon of brown sugar.
8) Cover wok and simmer contents for about 5 minutes.
9) Plate up contents and decorate

 

Fluffy Korean rice cooked with pandan leaves to go with the curry dish.  Today’s rice is cooked with pandan leaves as I had plucked extra leaves in the morning to cook it with red bean sweet soup.

Nourishing soup of Chinese Yam (Wai Shan) + Solomon’s Seal (Yuk Chuk) + Carrots + red dates + goji berries + 2 pieces of Sakura chicken ribs.  I did not intend to put carrots into the soup but another packet of chicken ribs that I bought from the supermarket in the morning smelled really foul, so I binned them.  With only 2 pieces of chicken ribs and definitely insufficient, I threw in 2 Australian carrots for the sweetness. The soup turned out to be really sweet and tasty. It’s salt and sugar free. I’m going to boil this soup again on Monday.

I deliberately cooked an extra portion of minced meat curry for the girls’ lunch the following day. The next day, I cooked rice and blanched a head of organic broccoli.

While the girls had rice, I paired my curry dish with broccoli and Korean kimchi.

This will probably be the second last dinner that I need to cook. The mil will be back from Hong Kong on Monday and the role of chief chef will hence be relegated back to her, finally!   LOL!

 

Babi Pongteh / Pork Pongteh

I had a sudden craving to eat braised pork belly with soy sauce and star anise the other day.  But I found out that my bottle of organic soy sauce in the fridge wasn’t enough to prepare braised pork belly. Plus, I had some carrots, tomatoes and eggs that had been sitting in the fridge drawer for over a week already. With all these ingredients on hand, I had a brainwave and switched menu to Babi Pongteh / Pork Pongteh instead!

Babi Pongteh is a Nyonya dish, just like Ayam Pongteh.   It is best cooked using pork belly with its strips of fat in between the layers of meat. But I’ve never been a big fan of pork skin or any fats but I still buy them as this dish needs the fattiness (collagen? lol!) to give it the nice thick stew consistency for the sauce.  I’m happy with eating just 30% of the lean pork.

My Babi Pongteh consists of pork belly and pork ribs. Cass has a phobia of seeing thick fat pork or chicken skin, thus I bought some ribs just for her.

For recipe of Babi Pongteh, you can follow my recipe for Ayam Pongteh, which I cooked just a week ago. The only difference is that I did not add potatoes but added hard-boiled eggs. I stewed the hard boiled eggs with the pork for about an hour, in low flame.

I also added unchopped garlic, in addition to lots of chopped garlic and onions. I love eating stewed whole garlic, which is soft and aromatic.

With the left-over Babi Pongteh from dinner, I blanched some vermicelli and veggie and boiled some eggs for the girls’ lunch the next day…

Above – Babi Pongteh with vermicelli. Smoothie of the day – black grapes + orange + pineapple.

And it tasted even better the next day. This dish is heaven! It goes really well with just about anything — rice, vermicelli, instant noodles or bread. Try it and you’ll love it 😉

Home-cooked Dinner – 7 January 2016

Here’s our home-cooked dinner on a busy Thursday night, on the first school week of 2016 🙂

  1. Tomato omelette ala Fong Lye Taiwanese Restaurant
  2. Grilled fish cutlet with curry paste, topped with potato curry sauce.
  3. Chicken soup with green radish and organic cabbage and ‘foo pei’ (fried bean curd skin)

This is the first time I prepared grilled fish with curry paste and it’s yummeh!

I had wanted to cook something fiery but just too lazy to dish up a tedious and messy curry dish. Thus, I came up with this idea. It’s super easy and fast too.

Directions for grilled curry fish:

1. Marinate fish with curry paste and soy sauce in the morning. Put in ziplock bag and keep in fridge for at least half a day or longer.
In the evening…
2. Wrap fish in aluminum foil and base it with some oil to prevent sticking.
3. Grill in oven at 160 degrees Celsius for 20-25 minutes
4. Unwrap aluminum foil and grill for another 5 minutes or until you get a nice glossy golden brown color on the fish.
5. While fish is being grilled in the oven, heat up non-stick pan with oil. Brown some chopped garlic and onions.
6. Add cubed potatoes and lightly fry for about 5 minutes.
7. Add in the leftover curry sauce used to marinate the fish into the pan and mix well.
8. If you prefer your sauce to be spicier, add more curry paste. Add some water.
9. Remove fish from oven and transfer onto a nice plate.
10. Pour potato curry sauce over fish and decorate.
11. Whip up camera, snap pix and quickly share picture via Whatsapp, Instagram or Facebook to boast about your new creation 😀

This dish is perfect for a busy weekday.

Happy trying!

 

Ayam Pongteh For Dinner – 6 January 2016

I had a sudden craving for Ayam Pongteh since weeks ago but only got into the cooking mood at full swing a few days ago. Yeah, after the December holidays, celebrations and feasting with almost a month of hiatus in cooking, I needed a few days to get the momentum going.

The last time I dished this up was yonks ago, when we still had our dear kakak Dyah. She helped with all the tedious prep work and I only did the cooking. These days, it’s me who does all the prep work from chopping to cooking and washing, on days when our part-time helper is on leave.

Thankfully I still remember the ingredients for this dish!  And my Ayam Pongteh turned out yummylicious!

Ayam Pong Teh recipe
(Nyonya-style Braised Chicken with Potatoes)

I tweaked the recipe a little by adding carrots to add a touch of color to the otherwise dull one-color dish, for the fiber and carotenoids. Instead of using block gula melaka, I used ground gula melaka. Lazy me. I am always finding short cuts and easy way out as I hate tedious processes. Chopping hard like rock gula melaka is so not me 😀

Ingredients:
1 bulb of garlic, peeled and chopped
5 cloves garlic, peeled and chopped
1/2 cup peanut oil (or vegetable oil will work too)
2 tablespoons of taucu (brown bean paste)
1-2 Tbsp dark soy sauce
1 Tbsp soy sauce (taucu is very salty, so go easy on the soy sauce)
2 Tbsp palm sugar, chopped. I used ground palm sugar.
Chicken – I used 4 pieces of chicken thigh
3 potatoes
2 carrots
1 cinnamon stick
2-3 star anise
2 – 3 cups water

 

Method:

1. Heat oil over medium heat, add shallots and garlic and saute for about 1 minute, making sure not to burn them, else the entire pot of dish will be bitter.
2. Add taucu to the shallots and garlic and saute for another 1 minute.
3. Add in chicken piece and fry until they turn golden brown.
4. Add potatoes and carrots and saute.
4. Add soy sauce, dark sauce, palm sugar and water and bring it to a boil.
5. When the water boils, reduce heat and simmer, stirring occasionally, for about 30 – 40 minutes.  Add more water accordingly, if the sauce is reduced significantly.

The final product…

The girls loved my Ayam Pongteh. Cass wrote me this note of appreciation half way through eating her dinner 😀

Do give this recipe a try and I am very sure that it’s going to be for keeps in your kitchen 🙂

 

Home-cooked Dinner – 18 December 2015

It’s fridge-clearing day every Friday and here’s what I dished out today…

ABC soup – Sakura chicken (breast and drumsticks) with carrots, tomatoes, potatoes, lots of onions, pepper corn and sweet corns.

Sauteed organic brinjal with ‘tau cheong’ sauce, minced meat, tomato and organic ‘lai park’ veggie.  Used a little ABC soup to give this dish a little sauce.

Sweet corn rice.

This could be the last meal that I cook for this year. We’ll be back to the land of pomelos and crunchy fat bean sprouts tomorrow and will return to KL  next week!

For the first time in more than a decade, we’ll get to celebrate my elder brother’s birthday together on Winter Solstice Day. The girls will get to roll ‘tong yuen’ (rice balls) again. The last time we did that in Ipoh was 3 years ago. As well, we’ll get to celebrate my niece’s birthday a day before her papa’s birthday on 21st Dec. Back in KL, we’ll be celebrating the hubby’s birthday on 30th Dec.

December is a month lined up with birthday celebrations of loved ones with lots of over-indulgence in good food and merriment. It’s also a month that I lax on my exercise regime. But worry not I am, come Jan 2016, I am very sure that I will be stressed out with 3 kids starting school again. When the kids have school, my exercise regime is orderly.  And my zombified days will begin again come 4 Jan 2016 🙁

I have mixed feelings on school starting again. I’m happy that I am ‘forced’ to swim again at 6:30am every day and have my me time in the morning, yet I shudder at the thought of not getting 7-8 hours again. It’s tough to get by each day with only 4-5 hours of sleep. It’s gonna be worse next year as Alycia has to attend full day school even on Saturdays, which means I lose out on sleep even on Saturdays! 🙁

Well, I think I am going to make a New Year Resolution. It’s a tough one. And that’s to force myself to hit the bed by 10pm every night so that I get 6.5 hours of sleep each day. I know life is going to be really mundane like that by oh well, I have to sacrifice something in order to gain something more important. I’ll be fine 🙂  Happy weekend world!