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Crackling Pork Belly

I bought quite alot of food whenever I have the chance to visit Chinatown.I almost forget I still have a big chunk of belly pork aka "5 fah lam" in my freezer.So what should I do with this pork belly?.If I stew this pork belly I don't think Elliot want to eat it.How about a simple crackling pork?.It's really easy,I don't go through all the long process like Chinese restaurant to make the perfect crackling pork aka Siew Yoke.Mine is just marinate and roast!


Ingredients:


5 lbs pork belly


2-3 tbsp fermented bean curd(fu-yee)


1 tbsp salt


1 tbsp sugar


1 tsp 5 spice powder






Method:



1:Wash and clean pork belly.Sliced pork belly to 2-3 pieces.Marinated with above ingredients in a zip lock bag for 5-6 or overnight.


2:Preheat oven at 400 F on bake.Use a baking tray and lay aluminum foil on it before arrange those marinated pork belly on the tray.


3:Bake for 30 minutes each side,then switch to broil for 10 minutes on the top skin


4:Cut to sliced and ready to serve warm with rice or pasta.




Note:


I choose this pork belly with some ribs.At the end of crackling ,the tray with over aluminium loaded with oil/fat.I save those fat/oil for cooking later.I didn't prick the skin with fork or sharp object.If you want your crackling look really like "Siew Yoke" aka BBQ pork then do this step.Elliot said Spanish have a dish similiar with this.Of course they don't use fermented bean curd.You can buy bottle fermented bean curd in any Asian grocery store.


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Shrimp Miso Soup

My daughter Mishu request me to make her soup in this hot and humid 90 plus F.. weather!!.I can't tell a 3.5 year old "NO" soup for her.I always encourage her to drink chinese herbs and vegetable meat soup,so I quickly crank my brain to come up with something healthy and simple!.I still have plenty of miso paste left in air tight container.I always store extra bean curd(tofu) in the fridge .Mishu love seafood...so here you go Shrimp Miso Soup!!.In less than 10 minutes,her soup is ready!


Ingredients:



1 liter water


1 tbsp miso paste


10 clean shrimp


2 tbsp cube firm tofu


1 tbsp dried seaweed(wakame)


1 tsp scallion



Method:



1:Prepared water in pot and bring to rolling boil.Add in miso paste and shrimp,let it rolling boil again before remove from the heat.


2:Cut firm tofu in to cube, soaked cube tofu in cold water in a container.


3:Raise 2 tbsp dried seaweed under cold water,removed the water immediately.Don't soaked it!.Cut scallion fine .


4:Use a bowl ,add in cube tofu,seaweed,and scallion before scoop the miso soup into it.Serve warm or hot.


Add tofu,seaweed and scallion portion accordingly to your likeness.



Note:


Remember when you make Miso soup use FIRM tofu.The texture and taste is not much different from "SOFT" tofu.You don't want your tofu to get mushy before you can drink your soup,so Firm tofu is ideal for miso soup!.Don't add all the tofu,seaweed and scallion into the miso soup unless you have a large group of guest who can finish the whole pot in an hour or two.You still can keep the remaining tofu,seaweed and scallion for a week in the fridge.Just make miso soup with miso paste in rolling hot water and add those ingredients,then you're good to go...

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Flaky Chicken Curry Puff

Curry puff is a famous snack which is of Malay origin. It is a small pie consisting of specialised curry with chicken and potatoes in a deep-fried pastry shell. The curry is quite thick to prevent it from oozing out of the snack. I love spiral curry puff texture and design.Spiral pastry dough is more flaky and crispy compare with the regular doughy skin.I understand it's take some skill to master the flaky dough especially when it's look like spiral.I only know how to make regular curry puff pastry dough and it's nothing to shout about!.So far I can just admire the expert who make spiral curry pastry puff.I decided to try my hands for the first time for this special dough.I bought a recipe book by Pastie Cheong from Malaysia but my problem is I don't understand the gram measurement.I only know how to measure from cup ,teaspoon and ounce.Furthermore my weight scale is in ounce not gram!!..So I created my own recipe , of course it's turn out differently .Not a spiral skin puff but a flaky skin puff!!.



Ingredients:


Oil Dough(A)


1 cups flour(extra 1/4 cup for dusting)


6 oz butter


*mixed and knead*



Water dough(B)


2 cup flour


1 tbsp butter


1 tsp salt


150 ml cold water


*mix and knead*



Filling:


500gm chicken breast cut cube


1/2 pound potato(diced)


2 large onion(diced)


2 tbsp Baba's curry powder


1 tbsp chili paste (optional


1 tbsp sugar


2 tbsp oil


2 cup oil for frying






Method:



1:Mixed dough (A) and (B) separately and pack up in a ball size individually in a plastic wrap.Store in fridge for an hour before roll out.


2:Peel potato and diced ,boil until soft.Set aside


3:Heat wok or skillet with oil and add in cube chicken breast,potato and onion.Add all the seasoning and curry powder,mixed well.Leave cooked filling for cooling in a plate.


4:Sprinkle some flour on the counter top before roll out the dough.Roll out (b) dough lightly.Then roll out (A) dough as well.Put (A) dough on top of (B) dough and wrap up like a parcel.Flatten with rolling pin.Roll the dough repeating by folding few times until it about 1/4 inch thickness.


5: Cut a round cookies cutter to cut the shape .Repeat this step until all the dough finish.Use rolling pin to lightly roll again the round cut dough before filling the center with chicken filling.


6:Use 1 tsp filling for each dough.Seal the edge with finger by clamping a braided design until all the dough finish.If you have difficulty clamping,just use Empanada mold to do it.


7:Heat oil at medium heat for deep frying until golden brown.Serve warm.


I make about 25 medium size curry puff with my recipe.I only fried 6-8 pieces at each tea time.The remaining I store in freezer by stacking each layer with wax paper. Whenever you feel like eating this special snack bring straight out from freezer and deep fry.Remember don't let the frozen puff stay too long in room temperature!.I did not add chili paste ,only curry powder and Elliot who don't like spicy or curry food love this puff!!


Note:


Only elastic water dough (B) can wrap around (A) oil dough and not vice verse!.This snack is suitable to eat at teatime or breakfast with a cup of hot coffee or tea.



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Stewed Chicken with Goji Berries and Shitake Mushroom

Last week I visited RITA blog and what caught my attention is she braised chicken mushroom.It's been a while since I cook chicken mushroom.When I talk to my mom 2 weeks ago ,she did suggest to me to cook chicken and mushroom with extra gravy for Mishu .Last month I bought 2 pound of shitake mushroom from Chinatown and I think it's good idea to make this healthy and simple meal for dinner.My mom gave me some wolfberries when I return from Malaysia.Mishu love wolfberries and it's good for eyes sight accordingly to the herbalist.Wolfberries (枸杞子 Gou Qi Zi in Mandarin) are also called “Fructus Lycii Wolfberries” or “Goji Berries”. They look like bright red raisins, don’t they? Wolfberries are considered a “yin” tonic, a cooling herb.Wolfberries have long played important roles in traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) where they are believed to enhance immune system function, improve eyesight, protect the liver, boost sperm production and improve circulation, among other effects.
I like to cook meat with pressure cooker .The advantage of using pressure cooker that it is fast and clean beside saving your green dollar.The cooking time is just about 15 minutes and you don't have much clean up to do.I strongly suggest every household should get a pressure cooker if you cook meat and soup regularly.You can save time, save propane /electricity and preserve the flavor of your delicate dish.



Ingredients:


8 pc chicken thigh


2 inch ginger(sliced)


6 cloves garlic(smash)


15 mushroom(soaked ,remove the stump and cut)


1/4 cup wolf berries


1/4 cup Shaoxing 绍 兴 cooking wine


2 tbsp soy sauce


2 tbsp sugar


1 tsp salt


2 tbsp sesame oil


2 tbsp oil






Method:


1:Wash and clean chicken thigh.Soaked and cut each mushroom to 2 pieces .Wash goji berries ,peel garlic and sliced ginger,set all the prepare ingredients on the side.


2:Heat oil in pressure cooker at high heat ,add in ginger and garlic,fry until fragrant .Add in gojiberries ,chicken ,mushroom,wine,salt,sugar,soy sauce and sesame oil.Close the lid and let it stewed for 15 minutes.


3:Removed the pressure cooker from heat .Let the heat and pressure released slowly by removing the top knot.Serve warm with rice.


Note:


Do not add water,because chicken tend to have water retention.Furthermore,cooking with pressure cooker have the advantage of getting your dish extra gravy.Trust me the liquid level will remain the same or maybe more than you expected.The meat is really tender and soft.You can adjust the salt and soy sauce accordingly to your taste.

I submitted my entry to Weekend Herb Blogging at archanaskitchen .See you yea! enjoy!


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Fried Sambal Chicken and Shrimp Mee(Spicy Shrimp Paste Noodles)

Few weeks ago I bought few packets of soft yellow noodles from Asian market.I cooked everyday,sometimes I like to change my daily staple from rice to noodles.As we all know ,we Asian eat rice and noodles daily.I won't be any different.Mishu love noodles ,so to make things easier for me I cook both our meal the same way except for her daddy.He can't take any spiciness or pungent flavour dish.Last week I had my homemade sambal paste prepared , so I take this advantage to cook my noodles with this yummy delicious paste. You can find my homemade sambal (spicy shrimp paste)recipe here


Ingredients:


1 packet soft yellow noodles ( or 1 lb)


1/2 lb green mustard(choy sum)soaked and wash thoroughly to removed the soil


2 large egg


5 cloves fresh garlic(minced)


2-3 shallot(sliced)


2 tsp sambal paste


1 pc (250 gm)chicken breast(sliced)


10 pc shrimp(clean and deviened)


2 tbsp oyster sauce


1 tbsp thick soy sauce


1 tbsp soy sauce


1 tbsp chicken bouillon powder


1 tbsp sesame oil


2 tbsp oil


1 red pepper for garnishing





Method:


1:Prepared wok at high heat,add in oil,fried scramble eggs,dish out ,set aside.Then add in garlic and shallot,fry until fragrant or lightly golden brown.Add in sliced chicken and shrimp,fry for 1-2 minutes ,then dish out, set aside.


2:Add in sambal paste, yellow noodles and all the seasoning in the wok,mix well.Stir-fry for 1-2 minutes ,then combine mustard green and ready cooked shrimp,scramble eggs and chicken.Fried all the ingredients and noodles at high heat for another 2-3 mins before drizzling with sesame oil and garnish with cut red pepper.Dish out and serve warm immediately


A easy yet simply meal for lunch and dinner.If you don't have sambal(dried shrimp paste)or dislike the pungent flavour just use ready make sambal olek as replacement.We both love the spiciness of this noodles.I'm sure if your family like spicy meal,this fried noodles is one of them!!

I submitted Fried Spicy Shrimp Noodles to Ruth for this week Presto Pasta Night!.See yea!


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Grilled Chicken Salad

What is a better meal in summer than a simple plate of grilled chicken salad?.Right?.Last week I run out of idea what to cook for Elliot.I ask him ,would he mind eating salad ,coz I know he not a fan of vegetable.He said he like iceberg salad only ,not others.So I make a note what I should get when I shop at BJ's Wholesale.Bought a pack of 2 lbs ready wash and clean iceberg salad at $1.99.Since I'm a loser when using open fire charcoal BBQ pit,I grilled the chicken breast on a skillet.


Ingredients:


1 pc chicken breast sliced to 2 pieces


1/2 tsp cajun spice


1 tsp sugar


1/2 tsp salt


1 tsp oil


2 handful shredded yellow cheese


2 handful clean and wash salad






Method:



1:Sliced the big piece of chicken breast to 2 thin pieces.Then use tenderizer to soften the chicken meat before rubbing with cajun spice,sugar and salt.Leave it in the fridge for 1-2 hours before grilling.


2:Heat a skillet with oil at medium heat.Lay the chicken breast on the skillet ,pan-fried both side until golden brown.Removed from skillet and cut to pieces.


3:Prepare clean salad in a plate,top the cut grilled chicken and shredded cheese .Serve with your favourite salad dressing.Elliot like his salad with Blue cheese dressing and I like mine vinegared dressing.


Note:


You can add avocado,tomato,cucumber and celery into your salad.I'm sure your family will enjoy this simple summer treat.


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Blueberry ,Plum and Peach Leaves Pie

These few days I'm in the mood to bake pie and tarts..Furthermore ,fruits and berries are relatively cheap in summer.Yesterday,I shop at Shop and Stop supermarket,bought 2 punnets of blueberries for $3.00.Cheap ,right?.I don't buy fruits at regular franchise supermarket,the price are quite expensive unless they have weekly sale..Well usually I shop fruits at our local Farm Market in the town.Mostly all the fresh peach,plum nectarine,pear,grape and etc are $0.99 /lb!..I know I still have some fresh fruit in the fridge,but I can't resist not to buy the beautiful fresh fruits once I see it.What should I do with all the fruits I bought last week and the week before?.How about baking some pie?.That right!.


Ingredients :


For Dough:


2 cups flour


1/2 tsp salt


1/2 cup cold butter cut in pieces(1 stick)


3 tbsp cold shortening


5-6 tbsp cold water


1 egg beaten with 1 tbsp water for glazing



For Filling:


3 cups pitted and sliced fresh peaches


2 cups fresh blueberries


1 cup pitted and sliced black plum


1/2 cup sugar


1/4 cup corn flour


1 tsp cinnamon powder


1 tbsp fresh lemon


1 tsp vanilla


2 tbsp butter,cut into pea size pieces






Method:


1:For the crust,sift the flour and salt into a bowl.Add the butter and shortening and cut in with pastry blender until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs.Then add in enough water to bind the dough.


2:Gather into 2 balls,one slightly laregr than the other.Wrap in clear plastic and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes.


3:On a lightly floured surface,roll out the larger dough ball about 1/8 inch think.Transfer to a p inch pan and trim the edge.Refrigerate.


4:Preheat oven at 4250F.


5:Roll out the remaining dough 1/4 inch think.Use a leaves cutter to cut out all the dough.Mark veins with a knife.Brush the bottom of the pie shell with egg glaze.


6:In a mixing bowl,combine all the filling ingredients,mix well.Spoon the fruit mixture into the pie shell.Dot with pieces of butter or margarine.


7:To assemble,start from the outside edge and cover the filling with a ring of leaves.Place a second ring above,starrering the position.Continue with rows of leaves until covered.Place a ball on the center.Brush with glaze.


8:Bake for 10 minutes.Lower the heat to 350F and continue to bake for 35-40 minutes more.


I used my fondant and gum paste cutter to cut the leaves shape.
I need an expert advise for my filling..I found out that the filling is too watery or liquid.I guess the fresh fruit contain alots of water retention.Maybe I should cook the fruit first ???Anyone?.This is my first time baking fruit pie with cover leaves.I like this leaves shape.How about you?.
Any suggestion for improvement is welcome.I have never said die attitude!!.I'm going to experiment more fruit pie before the summer is over!.Come back for more pies!!

Check here for my last week baking-Fruit Tarts


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Sambal Belacan Paste (Spicy Shrimp Paste)

It's been awhile since I cook my homemade sambal belacan(minus the belacan) for storage.The last batch I make was end of 2007!!.Of course I freeze it ,if not it will get moldy in the fridge.I'm been thinking for the longest ,how to fried belacan at home?As you all know living in western world ,frying or cooking belacan is "No...No"!!.I recalled years ago when I cooked spicy dried shrimp not the paste,Elliot was yelling like bloody murder!!.He said the pungent smell and spiciness choked his eyes and nose.Too bad at that time it's was winter,all doors and windows has to closed.I guess he used to my daily exotic cooking,these days he didn't complaint or make any remark!!.Practise make prefect!!.On July 4th,I BBQ our lunch and dinner on charcoal grill.After grilling all the foods,I plan to fried pungent belacan(dried shrimp paste) outdoor!Don't ask me how our neighbour feel!!hahaha!!I told Elliot the smell is FREE,not everyday they can smell this exotic flavour!


Ingredients:


200 gm dried chili pepper(soaked hot water for 20 min)


10 fresh red chili pepper


20 cloves fresh garlic(peel)bawang putih


1 lb shallot(peel)bawang kecil merah


3-5 inch old ginger(halia)


1 inch fresh tumeric(kunyit)


2-3 inch galangal(lengkus)


2 bundle lemongrass (10 stalk)(sliced)


10 pcs candlenut(buah keras)


1 cup oil


*Blend above ingredient until fine*


-----------------------------------------


2 tbsp salt


3 tbsp sugar


2 tbsp fried belacan (dried shrimp paste)


1 cup oil





Method:



1:Blend above ingredients until fine.Prepares wok with oil over medium heat.Add the blended paste into the wok,fry until fragrant.(About 30 minutes)


2:Add in all the seasoning ,plus belacan and mixed well.Fried for another 5 minutes before removed wok from the heat.


3:Let it cool down before storage.



Note:


This paste is good to use for curry ,rendang or sambal base.If you're cooking curry,just add in curry paste on top of this ready prepared paste.If you're cooking sambal,you can add in ground dried shrimp(hei bee) or kaffir lime leaves..I bet your own homemade sambal belacan is much much better than the brand out there!.Don't worried,you can store in freezer up to 1 year.Just take a small portion out for your daily usage from fridge.I think this batch will last me 6 months.Try to make homemade sambal belacan yourself,no preservative added,more healthy
.

Suggestion Dish:

Rendang Ayam(Dry Curry Chicken)

Ayam Masak Lemak(Creamy Curry Chicken)

Curry noodles Soup

String Beans with Shrimp Sambal

Spicy Creamy Sambal Shrimp


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Fruits Tarts

Over the long weekend,4th July,I baked some fruit tarts.Actually I bought quite alot of fruit when we went to Smith Point Beach week before but Mishu and Elliot both just eat apple and still left plenty of others fruits.It's was raining over the long weekend,so the weather seem to cold down abit.I'm been dying to bake something and it's the right time for me to make use of the left over fruits.
I'm making the basic pie pastry from scratch.It's really simply and easy.


Ingredients for the Dough:


2 cups all purpose flour


1/4 tsp salt


4 oz shortening


3-4 tsp iced water



Ingredients for filling:


1/4 cup sugar


5-6 tbsp cornflour


1 dash salt


2 cups milk/half & half


4 egg yolks


1 tbsp vanilla



Fruit:


I punnet Blueberry


1 nectarine


1 mango


1 plum






Method:


1:Sift the flour and salt into a bowl.Add the shortening.Rub it into the flour with your fingertips until the mixture is crumb like.


2:Sprinkle 3 tbsp water over the mixture.Press the dough into a ball.If it is too dry form a dough,add the remaining water.


3:Wrap the ball of dough with plastic or saran wrap and refrigerate it for at least 30 minutes.


4:Preheat the oven at 400 F.


5:On a lightly floured surface,roll out the dough 1/4 thick.With a flute pastry cutter,stamp out 20 of 3 inch rounds.


6:Transfer the round to the mini tart pan and prepare to bake for 15-20 minutes or until golden brown.




1:Prepare a pot add in the sugar, flour, and salt together. Add milk and egg yolks ,whisk until well mixed.


2:Place mixture over hot water over medium-low heat and cook until smooth and thick, stirring constantly. This should take about 10 minutes. Cool, stirring occasionally to prevent a "skin" from forming over the top of filling. Lastly add vanilla.Let it cool down .


3:Wash and cut all the fruits .Scoop the cream filling into the baked pastry tart halfway.Then top up with your favourite fruits.Ready to serve .


Note:


I chilled all the tarts before serving.If you notice,I used custard filling which is very creamy .Elliot love it and almost finish everyone except one left for me!.I'm going to try another flavor tart soon.Enjoy!


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Salmon Nigiri-zushi 握り寿司

Recently I bought a big piece of fresh salmon from BJ's wholesale at $5.99 a pound.Mostly salmon sold in retail or supermarket are Farmed salmon. Well,I guess due to the price ,color and texture I still prefer farmed salmon than wild salmon.Farmed Salmon flesh is generally orange to red in colour while wild salmon white fleshed . Orange color are added as artificial colorants to the feed of farmed salmon ,that the reason farmed salmon look more appetizing.I decided to make some salmon sushi for Elliot.He is weird,refused to eat cook salmon but welcome sushi or sashimi salmon anytime.

As usual,I will soaked the fresh salmon in apple vinegar mixed with salt,water and sugar before removed the skin and cut to pieces.I just soaked the salmon for 30 minutes It's just for safety reason.I know alot of sushi restaurant didn't do this step,but for me prevention is better than cure!!


Ingredients:(A)


For making su-meshi/ vinegared rice


1 cup calrose rice/sushi rice


2 tbsp mixed sushi vinegar


1/4 cup water



Ingredients:(B)


For Soaking Salmon


500 gm fresh salmon


1/2 cup apple cider vinegar


1/4 cold water


1 tbsp salt


1 tbsp sugar







Method:


1:(A)Prepared a large container,mixed vinegar,water,salt and sugar well,then placed the whole piece salmon into the large container for 30 minutes.


2:(B)Wash calrose rice ,change the water 3-4 times,then put the rice in rice cooker with water.Let it cook until it pop to warmer method.


3:Remove salmon from the soaked vinegared and pad dry with hand towel before cut to pieces.Usea very sharp knife to cut salmon fillet into 8 x 5 cm or 3 x 2 in pieces,4-5 mm thick.Placed the salmon on a tray or plate,cover with clear film ,then chill.


4:Remove the rice from rice cooker,then add in vinegared mixed into the rice.Mix well.


5:Ready a bowl of cold water on the side for moulding.This water is used for your hands while making nigiri-zushi


6:Wet your hand with the water and scoop about 1 1/2 tbsp su-meshi into your palm.Gently but firmly grip the su-meshi and make a rectangular block until all the rice finish.Do not squash the rice but ensure the grains stick together.The size of the blocks must be smaller than the topping(salmon)


7:Put the su-meshi block on a damp chopping board,Take out the cut salmon from chiller and top each piece salmon on top of the rice block.Gently press it the salmon and form your palm into a cup shape nigiri-zushi to a smooth surfaced mound.Do not overwork,as the warmth of your hands can cause the topping to lose their freshness.


8:Repeat this process until all the rice and topping are used.Serve immediately with little shoyu(wasabi and soy sauce).



I love this orangy color
I garnish with scallion...but you can just leave it as it is..
Tips-*If you prepared cut scallion in advance,cut scallion with sharp knife,wash in cold water and squash the scallion with hand towel.Let it dry before packed it away.By doing this step your scallion will last longer and you won't taste the strong scallion flavor*


Note:


Don't worry if your su-meshi block doesn't look neat.Wet your hands with hand water frequently,and keep the work surface tidy all the time.Some people like their fish(topping) thicker but I like mine longer and thinner.You can cut any size you like depend on your preferences.I omit adding wasabi under the topping since I'm going to mix wasabi with shoyu.

For more sushi post:

Assorted-sushi-and-maki

Spicy-tuna-roll

Assorted sushi and rolls



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About the Author:

Hi!! My name is Lesley and I'm a simple SAHM(stay at home mom) who currantly live in Long Island,New York with my daughter Mishu and hubby Eliot .I'm Malaysian who live in US and A for many many moon and I'm also a person who love to eat, cook and bake. If you have any suggestions ,questions or comments please feel free to email me at beachlover1917(at)yahoo(dot)com. To know more about my life or my kitchen you can always hop over to my other 2 blog.