Pork Mince with Shiitake Mushrooms, Wood-Ear Fungus and Preserved Radish


I sort of made this recipe up myself.

I thought it will be nice to have juicy pork mince with chewy shiitake mushroom, the slight crunch of wood-ear fungus and preserved radish in a mouthful. And so that’s what I did!

It turned out to be very nice.  Versatile too. It can be served with rice or as a topping on noodles. It keeps very well in the fridge because it’s basically without a sauce. I usually prepare a large portion and store it in an airtight container in the fridge to be consumed over a few days. A very handy “stand-by” dish  😉

Ingredients:

  • 150 – 200 g lean pork mince
  • 4 – 5 shiitake mushrooms, soaked until soft and sliced
  • A handful of wood-ear fungus, soaked and sliced finely
  • 2 – 3 pieces of preserved radish, rinsed and chopped finely
  • 3 – 4 cloves of garlic, peeled and chopped finely
  • 1 fresh red chilli, de-seeded and chopped finely (I ran out of fresh chilli so I used half teaspoon of chilli powder)

Seasonings:

  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon dark sweet soy sauce
  • A pinch of salt
  • A few dashes of fish sauce
  • A few shakes of white pepper powder

Clockwise from upper left: shiitake mushrooms, wood-ear fungus, garlic and preserved radish

Method:

  1. Marinade pork mince with the seasonings for at least an hour or overnight.
  2. Heat 2 tablespoons of cooking oil in a frying pan.
  3. Stir fry garlic and pork mince until cooked, about 3 minutes.
  4. Add in chilli or chilli powder then radish, stir fry a minute.
  5. Add in mushroom and fungus, stir fry for a minute.
  6. Taste and season with additional soy sauce and dark soy sauce if necessary.
  7. Stir fry for another 5 minutes, season and taste as you go.
  8. Remove and serve hot.

Prawns in Tamarind Sauce (Assam Prawns)


My granny used to make this dish and I always licked the plate clean. Even sucked the tamarind sauce out of the prawn shells. Perfect with rice.

May be I had too much of it growing up, I don’t really dig assam prawns anymore. But it is still one of my favourite dishes to make for dinner because it needs almost zero preparation. Un-shelled prawns works best.

Ingredients:

  • ~10 large prawns, shells intact or 12 – 15 medium un-shelled prawns
  • ~ 3/4 cups tamarind paste
  • ~ 1 tablespoon dark soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon sugar or to taste
  • 1 tablespoon cooking oil

Method:

  1. In a bowl, mix tamarind paste, dark soy sauce and sugar.
  2. In a frying pan, heat cooking oil and pour in sauce mixture.
  3. Let it bubble gently until slightly darkened and reduced. Taste and add sugar or soy sauce to balance the acidity of the tamarind.
  4. Add in prawns, stirring until sauce becomes caramelised and reduced and prawns are fully cooked.
  5. Serve with hot rice.

The tamarind sauce is actually a clever way to camouflage the fishy smell of prawns that are no longer fresh. So next time, if you discover a batch of prawns in the back of the fridge/freezer which you totally forgot about, don’t throw them out, make assam prawns 😉

Spaghetti Aglio e Olio


Spaghetti with garlic and olive oil. So basic but so flavourful. I have wanted to try making Spaghetti aglio e olio for sometime but never got to it. Until I stumbled upon jars of anchovies for sale in the supermarket. There are many versions of spaghetti aglio olio recipes available on the internet but I had my eyes set on Rachael Ray’s, which calls for Italian anchovies.

I like how simple it is, I can whip it up in 20 minutes with minimal preparation. The anchovies are very salty so you don’t even need salt. I made/ate this 4 times already this week, I am officially addicted!

I simplified Rachel’s recipe a wee bit, making do without dry vermouth and substituting dried pepper flakes with red chilli powder. I didn’t have parsley so I used a sprinkle of Italian herbs which contain parsley. Works just fine for me.

This recipe makes one serving.

Ingredients:

  • ~100g dried spaghetti
  • 1 – 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil (EVOO)
  • 1 or 2 anchovy fillet
  • 4-5 large cloves garlic (I love garlic!)
  • 1/2 teaspoon red chilli powder or one fresh red chilli de-seeded
  • Parsley (I used a sprinkle of Italian herbs)

Method:

  1. Boil spaghetti in a pot of slightly salted water according to packet instructions until al dente.
  2. While spaghetti is cooking, pound the garlic and fresh chilli (if using) until a paste is formed.
  3. Heat EVOO in a frying pan on medium heat.
  4. Add in anchovies and stir/break it up until it melts into the oil. (Mine didn’t melt completely, but its okay!)
  5. Add in garlic paste and chilli powder (if using), stir and let it sizzle gently in the anchovy oil.
  6. Sprinkle parsley or Italian herbs, stir for another 2 minutes on medium heat. By now the spaghetti would have finished cooking.
  7. Add cooked spaghetti together with a little pasta cooking water into the pan and mix around until well coated.
  8. Serve hot.

I like to eat mine with plenty of fresh cucumber slices or lettuce leaves. I think it compliments the saltiness of the anchovies very well. Mmmmmmm……

Chilli Crabs


Chilli crabs, a must order dish in Singapore. I haven’t tried the authentic Singaporean chilli crabs before but this version must be somewhere there (hopefully). A super-easy chilli crabs recipe from my recipe guru Fariza. Sweet, sour, juicy with a hint of spice – definitely a crowd pleaser. The best thing is, all the ingredients are probably sitting in your pantry as we speak.

Terry is a BIG fan of crabs but I have always avoided crabs at the supermarket like a plague because I don’t know what to do with them. I guess the clamps and shell and the size scared me! Terry must be craving for crabs really bad because one day, he bought 4 live crabs at the Avondale morning market while my back was turned buying onions! It was really cheap he said. Thank goodness for Fariza  😉

Even armed with Fariza’s recipe, I still had another problem. I didn’t know how to prepare the crabs for cooking. I have frozen the poor crabs to death from the day before and determined to just do it. I was surprised at how easy it actually was! With the crab’s belly facing upward, I stuck the knife’s tip into it’s behind, held the top shell down with it and pulled its body upward. Voila, the top shell separated revealing the juicy flesh. I halved each crab symmetrically and rinsed everything. Now let’s start cooking!

Ingredients:

  • Approximately 1 kg of crabs (4 medium-sized) – cleaned, top shell removed and halved
  • Half cup sweet chilli sauce (I used Thai sweet chilli sauce)
  • Half cup ketchup
  • 1 teaspoon curry powder (I used meat curry powder)
  • 1 teaspoon chilli paste or 1 fresh red chilli chopped fine (optional)
  • 2 medium onions – one sliced, the other chopped fine
  • 1 inch bulb of ginger – sliced
  • 3 cloves garlic – chopped fine
  • 2-3 tablespoons cooking oil
  • 2-3 tablespoons water

Method:

  1. In a medium saucepan, stir fry garlic, onion, ginger and chilli paste (if using) on medium heat until soft. 
  2. Turn to low heat, cover with lid and let it fry on its own as you prepare sauce mix.
  3. In a bowl, mix sweet chilli sauce, ketchup, curry powder and add water until you get a thick soup consistency.
  4. Pour sauce mix into saucepan, stir and turn to high heat.
  5. As the sauce boils, add in the crabs, stir gently so that crabs are covered or smeared with sauce.
  6. Add in sliced onions (no need to stir in), turn to low heat, cover and simmer until crabs turn pink. If you find sauce is too thick, add some water.
  7. Serve hot with rice or fried mantou buns.

The verdict – really yummy chilli crabs, Terry approves! I love the chilli sauce with a hint of curry and the rich flavours from the crab juices. Excellent with rice or bread. Crabs can now be on my menu thanks to Fariza 😉

Try this easy chilli crabs recipe yourself!

P.S. This fits the plan perfectly too (evil grinnnnn….)

 

Simple Chicken Roast With Gravy


I love baking, grilling and roasting using the oven. Its simple, easy and you actually use one big roasting pan for everything you’re cooking. Or two at the most. Minimum washing, love it! This is a very basic chicken roast recipe with gravy that I make whenever I don’t feel like smelling like my food after cooking. Or when I am too lazy to spend my time cutting and preparing for a few dishes to eat with rice.

This recipe doesn’t call for fancy spices and no marinating is required. Just salt and pepper and well, the chicken. It works for one whole chicken of chicken portions. Since I am only cooking for two, I rubbed five chicken drumsticks thoroughly with salt and lay them on a roasting pan side by side. Then I ground lots and lots of fresh black pepper all over the chicken, making sure it’s coated all over. Pop it into the oven pre-heated to 200 degrees Celcius to roast for 30-40 minutes or until golden brown, then turn once and roast until the other side is browned (about 15-20 minutes).

Once done, set the chicken aside but don’t discard the drippings. Heat a pan on medium heat with 1-2 tablespoons of cooking oil. When hot, sprinkle two tablespoons plain flour or cornflour stirring to make a paste. Pour in the chicken drippings and 2-3 tablespoons of oyster sauce, stirring non-stop. Add in about a cup of water and let boil until thickened. Season with salt and pepper. Now you have the gravy ready!

Serve roast chicken hot with mashed potatoes, steamed peas,corn and carrots with gravy. Or, in my case, I served chicken with Hainanese chicken rice. If you intend to roast a whole chicken, follow the same method but roast it for at least an hour uncovered. If you like, you may roast it covered in aluminium foil for an hour and grill it uncovered until browned after. Throw some onions, kumara and potatoes to roast with the chicken too. Happy trying! 🙂