Grilled Chicken With Japanese Potato Salad

Remember my post dated 10 May 2015 where I wrote about our Mother’s Day dinner at Kozaku-Ai Modern Teppanyaki Kitchen? I told my girls that I would try to dish out the fried chicken with Japanese potato salad dish for them soon. And I did! It sure was a big hit with the girls!

My creation — grilled chicken with Japanese potato salad…

vs.

the Japanese restaurant’s version…

Cass helped to make the potato salad…

Japanese potato salad using Just One Cookbook’s recipe, which I adapted a little.   Composition – I used washed potatoes, carrot, sweet corn kernels, cucumber, 2 hardboiled eggs, Japanese mayonaise, spring onions, pepper and salt. You can even add onions but I was time-pressed to peel onions, so omitted it but replaced onions with spring onions.

 

Mine is way healthier than the Japanese restaurant’s as mine was grilled vs. deep fried.

I used boneless chicken thighs — marinated with soy sauce, coriander powder, garlic powder, pepper and palm sugar (gula melaka) syrup.

Chicken was grilled in oven setting of 180C for 10-15 minutes on each side.

 

This dish is definitely for keeps if you have young kids.  It can be eaten without rice as the potato salad is pretty filling. You can cook a bigger portion to last you  2-3 meals. It did last us 3 meals and Sherilyn even brought some to school for recess the next day :)

 

Frying Fish – Successful Attempt!

Who hates frying fish? I.hate.frying.fish!

I hate the oil splatters on my skin. You can never miss at least a drop or two of hot oil splatters on your skin when you slide the fish into the wok unless you wear gloves and a full body protective suit.  Once, the oil splattered onto my eye lid and lips, bugger!! And never once had I been successful in frying a fish without getting the fish skin stuck onto the wok and some meat detached from the bone. I hate serving fish that looks like half of it has been eaten by a cat!

Last week, I gave fish-frying one last try!   I patted dry the fish with kitchen towels before sliding it into the wok (this step is crucial to ensure minimal splish splash of oil and for a crispy outcome).

The moment the fish touched the hot oil, the splish-splash of oil jumped out of the wok. With one hand holding the fish and another hand holding the wok lid to shield myself (LOL!), I quickly closed the wok with the transparent lid.  This time, my fish turned out PERFECT!  I was SO pleased with my little achievement and proud to show the girls that their mummy can finally dish out a perfectly fried fish with skin and meat intact!  And the fins were crispy too! 😀

 

 

I can only deduce that a good non-stick wok is key to getting nicely fried fish.  And I am glad that my new non-stick wok comes with a transparent lid with a steam hole – just perfect for me to peep at the fish whilst it’s being fried inside. It’s kind of therapeutic to see your fish sizzling nicely inside without getting any smoke and oil splatter outside 😀

So yes, the fish was perfect this time — I would rate it 9/10! 😀

I did not marinate the fish but stuffed some cut kafir lime leaves inside the flesh through the diagonal lines that I cut on the fish. After the fish was fried and removed from the wok, I fried a handful of kafir lime leaves. The leaves turned out super crispy and aromatic – like eating chips!  With the remaining oil left  in the wok, I drizzled some soy sauce in the wok of oil and let it heat up for a minute. Then poured the sauce onto the fish and serve!

Our dinner of fried fish and Nasi Briyani (bought for dinner yesterday but was not eaten as we had dinner at an aunt’s house).

 

 

Home-cooked Meals For Recess

This is an almost nightly affair for the drama queen.  Before she eats her dinner, she would ask me if there is enough food for her to bring to school for recess the next day.  If yes, she would quickly keep some in a stainless steel container with cover.  The next morning, I would wake her up 5 minutes earlier and she would put the container of food into the wok to heat up. She’s pretty hands-on in the kitchen :)

Sometimes I will heat up the food in the microwave oven for a minute.

I cooked this with egg plant dish with minced meat, tomatoes and fermented soy beans (‘taucheong’) sometime last week. Yes, another one-pot dish.  You can even throw in some beans to add more fiber into this dish.  Just this dish alone is good enough if you have no time to dish out a 3-dish dinner. And it’s so appetizing and yummy!

I also made a quick soup using chicken ribs, dried mushrooms, radish and cabbage with salmon balls (yeah yeah, salmon balls are junk and I was duped into buying them ok!)

And this portion is for Miss Drama Queen’s recess the next morning.

A warm home-cooked bento box for recess – anytime better than sausages, nuggets, fish balls and cold nasi lemak from the school canteen! Have I told you that the food sold at the girls’ canteen REALLY sucks?  I shudder just thinking of them. Poor kids.

 

 

Grilled Aromatic Lemon Grass Chicken Thighs

Here’s another sweat-free dinner I whipped up last night — grilled lemon grass chicken and blanched organic siew bok choy. I love my oven, it’s better than an air-fryer (as it’s huge vs the air-fryer) and I can save so much time by replacing deep-frying and pan-frying with grilling in the oven. And my persnickety girls love anything that’s grilled and crispy.

 

Cheat tip: if you want to impress someone with some sculptured food to decorate your dishes,  try chopping off the stem of the bok choy.  The stem looks exactly like a sculptured rose — so pretty, so green and so therapeutic to the eyes!  But remember to keep the baby that’s hidden in the middle of each bok choy – that’s the tastiest and most tender part of the veggie!  I even fooled my foodie hubs as he thought that I sculptured the flower, ha ha ha!

The boneless chicken thighs were marinated with copious amounts of ground lemon grass powder, coriander seeds powder, garlic salt, pepper, soy sauce, turmeric powder and palm sugar syrup (gula melaka).  I stuff these ingredients underneath the chicken skin and let to rest in the fridge for at least 7 hours.  OCD me always wear  disposable plastic gloves when I need to rub / stuff these ingredients evenly onto every piece of chicken 😀

Cut some fresh lemon grass and stuff them neatly underneath the skin just before grilling in the oven.

Grill for 15 minutes on each side at 180C or until skin turns golden brown.

This grilled lemon grass chicken tastes like chicken sate and it’s way healthier than sate.  Sate (grilled on coals) is not a healthy choice as  burnt meat is carcinogenic (potential to cause cancer). So if you can, stay away from BBQ meats and if you have to indulge in them, trim off the burnt parts.

Happy trying! :)

 

Down With Flu – Super Lutein To The Rescue

I have been down with the sniffles for the past two days (see, month of May is really jinx!), no thanks to the girl who brought back the woeful virus from school and spread it to everyone!

Yesterday I felt so bushed and lackluster that I popped 6 caps of Super Lutein (double my usual dosage) and voila, today I am feeling so much better! Nose not runny and no more sneezing anymore and I could even brisk-walk 5 laps and walked up the stairs to the 5th floor of my unit this morning!

So what’s the best food for someone who is down with a flu?

For dinner yesterday, I was craving for something soupy so I made a big pot of prawn and anchovies soup with a whole head of organic cabbage, tomatoes, fish balls (bought from our day trip to Sekinchan on Sunday) and tofu fish cake, to go with meehoon.  Yes, another 1-pot dish!

The soup is cooked by lightly frying the prawn heads (I used 8 big prawn heads), chopped garlic and 2 handfuls of anchovies with a little oil and let to simmer for an hour.  The aroma of the soup can send you to food heaven, literally!

Tip: For busy mothers, you can prepare a large pot of soup and store them in separate containers in the freezer for future use.  The soup can be used for noodles or you can just add veggies and meat into the soup to make it a one-pot dish on busy nights.


For more reading on Izumio and Super Lutein, please click on the following link:

Izumio Hydrogen Water and Super Lutein

Izumio and Incontinence

 Super Lutein

Day 18 On Izumio For Incontinence

Symptoms of A Body Detox

Day 20 On Izumio Hydrogen Water For Incontinence

IZUMIO – Antioxidant Hydrogen Water

Hydrogen Water Facts

Super Lutein Goodness

Lunch – 5 May 2015

These days, I am back to preparing home-cooked meals twice a day – for lunch and dinner. Everyday, I waste a little time thinking of what to take-away for lunch. I am sick of eating char siew and roast chicken rice and noodles are crap, I mean carbs. Economy rice dishes (chap fan) are too oily (and God knows what oil they use!) and I don’t trust that the vendor washes the vegetables.  So the best is to cook my own meal. On most days, I cook extra for dinner so that I have enough for lunch the next day.  Only Cass comes home to eat lunch.

This was Cass’ lunch yesterday — a fried egg, pan-fried homemade dumplings, cherry tomatoes, blueberries and smoothie of the day (orange + pineapple + apple).

Simple, wholesome and almost sweat-free to dish out — anytime better than outside food :)

 

Mushroom Pasta and Grilled Chicken For Lunch

Lunch for Cass on one of the school days last week…

Mushroom pasta, grilled turmeric and kafir lime leaves chicken drumstick, hardboiled free-range chicken egg and half a cob of sweet corn.  Smoothie of the day and her Izumio hydrogen water.

This Martha Stewart mushroom pasta recipe calls for white wine to prepare the mushroom sauce but I only have red wine at home.  So I substituted white wine with Stone’s ginger wine!  And I did not have enough whipping cream for the sauce, so I used fresh milk and cheese as substitute.  Taste was still robust (I also used lots of garlic) and the girls truly enjoyed their pasta.  Some mushroom pasta recipes include a raw egg on top of the noodles but I’ll definitely skip raw eggs for kids. So I made hard-boiled eggs.

The girls have requested for mushroom pasta for dinner again and I am going to dish this out again on Thursday.  It’s easy peasy to prepare and I like it that I can prepare extra for several meals. This is absolutely the to-cook-meal for busy mothers :)

 

 

Dinner – 24 April 2015

Dinner came very early today as Mandarin tuition class began at 5:45pm at home.  At 4:45pm, I started to work in the kitchen.  After an hour, this is what I churned out…

A big batch of pasta with beef and portobello mushroom bolognese sauce.

I used 2 big packs of antibiotic-free Australian minced beef, 2 big punnets of luschious portobello mushrooms, 1 whole garlic, loads of onions and 5 big juicy tomatoes.  The tomatoes were pulsed for a few seconds with a little water in my Blendtec blender (my most helpful kitchen helper!).

Seasoning used – sea salt, garlic salt, dried rosemary, mixed Italian herbs, black pepper and a piece of rock gula melaka aka palm sugar (the tomatoes were a tad sour, thus the need to use palm sugar).  This time, I skipped the bottled spaghetti sauce (am trying hard to avoid buying bottled sauces), yet the sauce was still irrefutably tasty! If the most persnickety girl says it’s tasty, it really is good!

What you see above can last us for 3 or even 4 meals:
1) Dinner for the girls, the  Mandarin tutor and me today.
2) In the foreground, the pasta in the glass container is to be frozen. That will be lunch for Alycia and Cass next  Friday (Friday is the only day that Alycia does not need to stay back in school and she comes home together with Cass)
3) The sauce in the glass container on the top left hand corner is extra sauce. I can use that for wraps, pizza, pasta or to be eaten with my raw alfalfa sprouts on a weekday for lunch.
4) The sauce sans noodles in the brown bowl is tonight’s dinner for yours truly. I ate only veggies with the beef and mushroom sauce. I don’t take carbs for dinner. I don’t fancy wheat noodles anyway.  They’re empty calories and only make you full and fat.  Sad but true. So if you want to get rid of that muffin top, ditch the wheat noodles first ok?

On most nights when the Mandarin tutor comes to our house, she gets home-cooked dinner on-the-house from me!  She comes in the late evening and by the time the class is over, it will be 9:30pm.  Even if she does not get a proper meal from me, I will get her some buns, which she can eat while she teaches the girls.  Some of you may shoot me for spoiling the teacher but I spoil people selectively, i.e. only those who will not go overboard and take advantage of me will get that privilege. Only people who truly deserve perks get them from me.  I believe that if she is happy teaching the kids, she will put in her all in teaching the kids.  Oh, by the way, Alycia and Cass eat their meals during tuition too, BUT only occasionally and only if easy-to-eat meals are cooked.  I want to create a very relaxed and conducive learning and teaching environment for both the girls and their teacher so that everyone is happy. The kids love their tutor and I think the tutor loves teaching them too 😀

 

 

Fool-Proof Way Of Tenderizing Beef Steaks Naturally, Anyone?

And so this is the black pepper steak that I pan-fried last night.  It was my first time pay-frying beef steaks.  I had done my homework by googling on ways of tenderizing the meat (with salt for half hour) and how long to pan-fry on each side. I even used a timer to time the 2 minutes frying on each side and pounded the steak with the back of my kitchen chopper but… why was my steak still a tad tough?  It was juicy and tasty and there was still a tinge of pink in the middle but the meat just ain’t tender. WHY???!

I covered my non-stick wok with the glass lid with steam hole that comes with it when frying my steak. Could this be the reason why the steak ain’t tender enough? Does covering the wok during cooking cause a higher temperature and I should then shorten the cooking time to only 1.5 minutes on each side of the steak? Did I make a mistake by covering the wok during cooking?

Why can’t the meat be tender and  juicy like those expensive steaks from hotels and restaurants?   Could it be that they use meat tenderizer? But I don’t like adulterating my food with food additives and chemicals.  I read that citrus juice like lemon and orange  and even papaya and pineapple can tenderize the meat but wouldn’t you think that the steak would taste kooky with a tinge of fruittiness in it?

Despite the steak having a  tough texture (not rubbery texture), the kids loved it nonetheless. They commented that it would be nicer if the meat was more tender.

I still have 6 more slices of steaks in the freezer and I ain’t going to fry them until I find a fool-proof way to produce really nice, tender and juicy beef steaks.  Does anyone have their juicy and tender steak secrets to share with me? Pretty please? :)))

 

Sherilyn’s big bowl of rice covered with dishes (and she topped up more four-angle beans and meat later.  She also ate 1 hard-boiled egg but that’s not in the picture).  After dinner, she chowed down a bowl of ice-cream with strawberries.  She eats SO much it shocks me and I wonder where all the calories go to coz she is still so slim!  Jealous!!

 

Dinner – 15 April 2015 (Exam Week)

I spent the entire afternoon today helping Cass revise for her Math test tomorrow.  Have you ever tried teaching a language that is so foreign to you to another person who is still very shallow in the language? Like blind leading the blind? Dang it, the feeling is indescribable. Very very frustrating and head-banging-on-the-wall kinda feeling.  And you just wished you had studied the language when you were younger.  We relied heavily online on Line Dictionary (previously known as NCiku) to do the translation from Chinese to English – word for word, so that I could explain the test paper (that I downloaded from another school’s website) to her.

Cass’ Math is pretty good, only if it is in English, where she understands and knows how to read the questions fully. She used to score 100% for her Math in pre-school. Currently, Cass only knows how to read 20-30% of the Chinese words in the test papers, so… she stands a 50-50 chance of getting a borderline pass!  Teaching her Chinese is like attending online classes myself.  After her exam, I will send her to Baobei (gotta fork out another RM400+ per month just on Baobei!!)  for intensive lessons on Chinese word recognition.

Despite a very hectic day, I still managed to squeeze out some time to prepare the girls’ favorite food – seafood noodles.

Soupy meehoon with anchovies, giant prawns, squids, pork balls and tofu fishcake.  Flavor enhanced naturally with chopped scallions, pepper and fried garlic oil.

 

 

I like my meehoon with dark sauce, soy sauce, garlic oil and chopped scallions.

There is extra noodles and soup for tomorrow’s lunch, so one chore is done for tomorrow!

Dinner tomorrow will be pan-fried steak – my first time frying steak and I have just done a quick googling on how to tenderize steak naturally. Wish me luck. I wish the steak will turn out juicy and not rubbery.  I will prepare another simple one-pot dish for the 3  fussy ones, juuuuust in case the steak turns out to be a failure, ha!