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!

 

Breakfast & Dinner Today – 2 December 2015

This morning, I was greeted by 2 forlorn looking over ripened bananas in the kitchen counter. And a bag of wholemeal bread too.  I wanted to bin the bananas but hey, they are imported bananas and cost over RM7 a bunch! We will be away for a one-week vacation and I had better clear all the perishables in my kitchen.  Suddenly, I had a light bulb moment! The first menu that struck me was caramelized banana french toast! I remember how delish this dessert was in one of those fanciful cafes that the hubs brought us to not too long ago.

After my 22 laps in the pool and a warm shower, I spent 15-20 minutes in the kitchen to whip up a yummylicious Caramelized Palm Sugar Banana And Nuts French Toast.

Directions:

  1. Heat up butter in non-stick pan.
  2. Beat eggs in a plate. You can add some fresh milk or cinnamon but I did not have these in my kitchen.
  3. Dip slices of bread into egg mixture allowing the bread to soak up the eggy goodness
  4. Place the soaked slices of bread onto non-stick pan with butter over medium heat and fry until golden brown on both sides.

5. Once the bread slices are done, in the same pan, add more butter and pour some palm sugar syrup. Lower down heat.

6. Add in bananas (sliced into halves) and nuts. I used toasted almonds, pistachios and walnuts.  Let the bananas and nuts sizzle for about 2-3 minutes under low flame. Be careful not to burn the syrup.

7. Serve immediately while it’s still hot.  I added a scoop of Sunnyside Farms strawberry ice-cream to clear the box from the freezer.

 

And dinner…

 

  1. Pan-fried black pomfret fish with tomatoes, cucumbers, onions, garlic and tomato sauce.
  2. Stir-fried organic cabbage and julienned carrot.
  3. Chicken stew from last night

 

This will be my last home-cooked dinner for this week as well as next week.  Our kitchen will be closed until we are back from Hong Kong on 14 December 2015.  I’ll be busy the next 3 days doing X’mas shopping, last minute errands and packing for our trip :)

 

Home-cooked Dinner – 30 November 2015

It was a last minute preparation, with only half an hour for the marinate sauces to seep into the chicken boxing.  My bad.

I find that I am so much lazier during school holidays and so much more efficient on school-going days. I find that when I sleep in an additional of 2 hours a day, my days are SO much shorter and I get so little work done! Well, I can’t have the best of both worlds. If I get ample sleep, I lose out on time for accomplishing tasks.  Money can wait. Work can wait. But our health can’t wait. My body is screaming for 7-8 hours of sleep each day for it to repair and to perform optimally. I can only repay all my sleep debts during school holidays. If only God could give us an extra of 2 hours a day, that’ll be awesome!! :)

So back to my home-cooked dinner yesterday. It was a dinner executed in under an hour.

Below: Pan-fried red snapper fish coated with coriander powder. Coating a fish with flour / powder reduces oil splatters.  Once fish is fried, I fried some minced garlic and drizzled some soy sauce on the pan with the leftover oil.  Pour sauce onto fish.

Below: Chicken Boxing marinated with soy sauce, cracked black pepper and palm sugar syrup. This is super yummy and the girls can never get enough of grilled chicken boxing.

Below: Organic broccoli blanched with oil and sea salt.  Sweet corn steamed together with rice in rice cooker.

Cost of dinner = below RM40 and to me, it’s considered a budget dinner for four.

How much does your dinner cost per person? Times are bad. I’m striving to learn how to cook more budget meals 😉

 

Breakfast And Lunch – Thursday, 19 November 2015

Breakkie today – organic quick oats with mango yoghurt, topped with pistachio nuts, toasted whole almonds, toasted strip almonds and a few shakes of Japanese flavored seaweed. Love this savory yoghurt!  It’s low in carb and high in calcium and fiber.

Lunch:

Lunch was some modification of last night’s extra portion of dinner that I cooked:
1. Coca Cola chicken
2. Baked spaghetti / lasagna – just add 4 slices of cheese on top of the ribbon pasta and sauce and bake for 15 minutes at 160 degree Celsius and voila, a new dish is whipped out!

The baked ribbon pasta with minced beef + Portobello mushrooms + celery + fresh rosemary + onions + garlic bolognese tasted like lasagna and it’s a much simplified and fuss-free version of lasagna.

Directions for simple baked spaghetti / lasagna:

  1. Grease a baking pan. I used a cake pan with aluminum foil. I drizzled avocado oil on the aluminum foil.
  2. Place a layer of ribbon pasta at the base of the foiled pan.
  3. Add a layer of bolognese sauce.
  4. Add another layer of ribbon pasta.
  5. Add slices of cheese on top.
  6. Bake at 160C for 15 minutes

While spaghetti is being baked in the oven, place overnight Coke chicken into the oven to reheat.

 

Coca Cola Chicken (cooked using non-stick wok)

Ingredients for Coke Chicken:

  1. 1 can Coke
  2. 2 tablespoons tomato sauce
  3. 1 ripe tomato
  4. Minced garlic
  5. Cracked black pepper
  6. Salt – optional. I did not use any salt

Directions (adapted from regular one / two ingredients Coca Cola Chicken recipes found on the internet)

  1. Brown garlic until fragrant
  2. Brown chicken for 15 minutes
  3. Add tomato and tomato sauce and stir fry for another 5 minutes
  4. Pour 1 can of Coke and let simmer for another 15 minutes (with lid closed)
  5. Dish out and serve

Verdict: there is absolutely NO taste of Coke in the chicken dish. Thus, many people who had tried cooking it commented that this 1-ingredient Coke chicken dish has no taste of Coke. It is only sweet.  Some creative people added tomato sauce but I’m more innovative and added fresh tomatoes, cracked black pepper and garlic 😀  The girls liked this dish as it’s sweet and tomatoey.

 

Lunch And Dinner – 12 November 2015

With some leftover vermicelli and curly carrot wheat noodles from the previous night (I made pork noodles for dinner), I recycled the noodles into a plate of delish stir-fried vermicelli  for lunch with lots of shredded carrots, eggs, minced pork and scallions.  The  girls loved it.

Dinner menu:

Grilled pomfret fish marinated with turmeric powder, black pepper and Kikkoman preservative-free Teriyaki sauce.

Steamed pomfret fish with premium abalone sauce, pepper and scallions. No oil and soy sauce added. The sauce is flavorful enough.

Braised organic bitter gourd with tau cheong, minced meat and organic tomatoes. I just discovered that the natural sweetness from the tomatoes added so much sweetness and flavor to the dish and helped in masking the bitterness from the bitter gourd. The girls ate it without much fuss, albeit I did coax them to eat 😀

I also sauteed a lai park veggie with garlic and onions specially for the fussy ones who don’t quite fancy bitter gourd but no picture was taken.

And TGIF and the weekend is here, which means that my kitchen will be closed, yipee! 😀

 

Garden Theme Tuna Fried Rice

When I run out of ideas on what to put on the dining table, fried rice it is for the kids!

This time, I cooked tuna fried rice.

Ingredients used:

1) 1 can of tuna in water
2) Loads of chopped garlic and chopped onions. These 2 ingredients add a LOT of flavor to the fried rice. You need not necessarily have to add in meat to make your fried rice tasty if you saute lots of garlic and onions with the rice.
3) Julienned carrot
4) Sweet corn kernel
5) Scallions
6) Soy sauce
7) Pepper
8) Sesame seed oil
9) 5 eggs (my girls like their fried rice with lotsa eggs)

Side dishes — blanched organic lai park veggie with fried garlic oil

Decor — moke yue (wood fungus) and dried golden needle mushrooms from leftover steamed chicken with wood fungus and mushrooms, cherry tomatoes, baked cashew nuts, USA black grapes and a few shakes of Japanese seaweed seasoning.

This is an easy peasy one-pot dish and there was even enough to last us for another meal 😀