char siew (barbecue roast pork)

Growing up, I only eat the char siew that my grandma makes. If she bought it from the foodstalls, I would know, and I would NOT touch it. The ones she makes is always juicy and tender, the color is appealing, not like some that are falsely red and tough.

I have/NEED to call my grandma and ask for her secret recipe. And try to replicate just like hers.

But so far, the ones that I made have been de-li-cious!

Using Rasa Malaysia’s recipe as a base and tweaking it to what I have on hand.

I use Lee Kum Kee’s Char Siew sauce + oyster sauce + soy sauce + white pepper + five-spice powder + sesame oil.

Marinating the pork with garlic and the sauce overnight.

Roasting it in the oven at 375°F for 1 hour, with 15 minutes interval, turning the pork and brushing the sauce over the meat each interval.

Remember to wrap the baking tray with aluminum foil, this saves lots of washing troubles!

There are many wonderful things of making char siew. One is that the aroma of the char siew fills the house after roasting! Another is that I like to make 1-1.5lb of them, slice them into pieces and pack them into baggies and freeze them. Later, I’ll use them for my Wanton Noodles, or just add them to any regular noodles quick fixes.

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claypot chicken rice without the claypot

I’ve been thinking of what my grandma usually makes for dinner. There’s one dish that she puts all the ingredients in the rice cooker and it was done in no time, but I can’t remember the name of it.

Anyway, I’m glad I chanced upon Rasa Malaysia’s post about this Claypot Chicken Rice without claypot! It was so easy except making sure there’s enough time to marinate the chicken.

I started to defrost the chicken on the counter at 11am, but it wasn’t fully thaw at 3pm. And we decided to go out to get our free Starbucks, by the time we got back, it was 5pm and I was rushing through the marination. I only marinated the chicken for 30 minutes but I think it was good enough. The end result was that it smelled great and tasted great too!

I made some variations to the recipe suited to what I have on hand.

Ingredients:
2 cups rice
2 skinless chicken thighs [I actually didn’t mind the skin, but took them off anyway due to the chunk of fats]
1 stalk scallion (chopped) [I had scallions that were frozen!]
3 inches ginger (peel the skin and chop into thin strips)
Dried scallops (soak in warm water for 10 minutes)

Seasoning for chicken:
2 tablespoons oyster sauce
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1/4 teaspoon chicken boullion powder
1/2 teaspoon corn starch
1/2 teaspoon sesame oil
5 dashes white pepper powder
1/4 teaspoon sugar
1 tablespoon Shaoxing cooking wine (or rice wine)

Seasoning for rice:
2 tablespoons soy sauce
1/2 tablespoon dark soy sauce
2 teaspoons cooking oil
1 pinch of salt

Method:
Chop the chicken thighs into pieces.
Add the chicken seasoning and mix well. Marinate for an hour in the fridge.
Rinse and clean the rice in a rice cooker as if you are making steamed rice after the chicken is marinated for an hour.
Add in a little lesser the amount of water that you will normally use for making rice, the rice seasoning and cooking oil into the rice and start cooking the rice.
While the rice is cooking, heat up a wok with some cooking oil. Add in the chicken.
Quickly stir-fry the chicken until half-cooked. Add in the chopped scallions. Dish out and set aside.
Add the chicken into the rice cooker when the rice is almost dry (about 7-8 minutes) and continue to cook till rice is completely cooked.
Leave the rice cooker on “Stay Warm” for 15–20 mintues before serving.

pho-nomenal

We drive past a Pho restaurant everyday, Pho Luu. Today, I wanted to drop by there for dinner, but the husband said to make my own. I only made once with my previous landlady, and I don’t think I had the ingredients.

After some thoughts, yea I think it’s a possible feat. I already bought the rice noodles with making Pho one day in mind. I have some frozen leftover beef stock, I had some beef stew meat, onions, cilantro, jalapeno, no bean sprouts but no biggie, I’m the only one eating the veggies anyway.

I searched and found a recipe on Food Network that doesn’t require beef bones to make the stock (of coz beef bones would be the most authentic thing, but I don’t have all day to make dinner, I intend to eat today, not tomorrow, and I don’t have the ability to buy the bones to make the stock).

Anyway, the recipe calls for canned beef stock (exactly what I have), cinnamon sticks and star anise (both of which I didn’t have). I happened to chance upon or revelation struck me that I can substitute Chinese 5 spice powder for the spice.

Here’s to my yummy bowl of Pho! It tasted like Pho, except that maybe I added a little too much Chinese 5 spice powder, will try 1/4 tsp next time.

The husband slurped it up and said it filled his tummy. Saved us $15 tonight!

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help, I’m addicted to my macaroons

Even though they don’t look great. They are actually quite addicitive. Have one and you can’t stop. But I had to, as I’m still nursing the sinus flu..

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It’s my 2nd time trying to make macaroons. The first time was a complete flop. I didn’t even whip the egg whites to a foam! They were wet and useless.

This time, i did whip the egg whites to a pulp, I mean foam, measuring everything out nicely. I didn’t have a kitchen scale so I borrowed our office’s shipping scale. Well, a scale is a scale is a scale.

The messy part was when I tried to pipe the batter. It didn’t come out from the tip, but the top of the bag! Dang!

Only 2 halfs out of 20 came out the way it should be. The rest cracked.

I found that a couple of things could cause macaroons to crack – oven being too hot, tapping the tray to release the air would prevent them from cracking.

I’ll not give up! I’ll try again and master it someday. To becoming MasterChef!!!

earl grey everything

I had a sudden memory of our wedding cake. It is the BEST cake I’ve ever eaten. It was a Earl Grey flavored ! We had a friend who recommended Crummb, but of course we couldn’t afford the cake. But the founder of Crummb made the cake for us and blessed us with it! When she told us about the flavor, I chose the most special one that I’ve never tried before.

Well, since then, I had made an Earl Grey Pound Cake, which taste heavenly. I haven’t thought about making an Earl Grey cake since.

Until.. today, I want to bake 鸡蛋糕 (translated Egg Cake). Wouldn’t it be something if I make an Earl Grey flavored 鸡蛋糕? So, combining Rasa Malaysia’s recipe with 1 Tbsp of Earl Grey Tea leaves, I made myself some Earl Grey 鸡蛋糕.

Divine! A wisp of Earl Grey Tea as you bite into the cake.

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The lovely rose from the garden.

espresso shots cheesecake brownies

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There aren’t much desserts that the hubs eats and wants me to make it again. Not that it’s not delicious, but he doesn’t have a sweet tooth (or so he says). Well, he doesn’t like cookies much, I guess the dessert that he really likes is cheesecake. I saw this wonderful Espresso Cheesecake Brownies on Annie’s Eats blog. And made them for Labour Day. The hubs requested for it to be made when we go visit friends in Denver later today.

I didn’t like the idea of bringing the whole baking dish, as I actually want to keep half of the dessert for our OWN consumption. So I came up with a ‘brilliant’ idea! I cut them into little bites, using tequila shot cups, This way, I have the leftovers for our own consumption. Well, the leftovers are left in a mess in the baking dish.

To make them fancier, I topped them with chocolate shavings. MasterChef in the making??