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.

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….)

 

Special CNY Vegetarian Mix


Most Chinese traditionally consume a vegetarian meal as their first meal of the Lunar New Year. This particular vegetarian mix with lots of gravy is something my granny makes every year without fail. It is a mix of various mushrooms and fungus stir fried with red yeast beancurd (lam-yue) and cabbage. The beancurd gives the gravy a pretty pinkish hue. There are lots of variation to this dish. Sometimes my granny adds tofu puff and tofu sheets as well as fatt-choy (a hair-like black algae), which without it turns out fine too.

I have helped my granny prepare this dish every Chor 1 since a few years ago thus I am familiar with her recipe. Being away from home this Chinese New Year (CNY), I made this dish as part of my CNY dinner menu with Hannah and Murray. The taste of this vegetarian dish certainly helped get me into CNY mood away from home. My version this time consisted of ingredients I can easily find at Asian supermarkets here in Auckland.

Ingredients:

  • Red yeast beancurd (lam-yue) – 2 cubes and some of its gravy
  • 3-4 cloves garlic – finely chopped
  • 1 can button mushrooms – halved
  • 1 can golden needle mushrooms
  • About 10 dried shiitake mushrooms
  • 1-2 pcs of dried cloud ear fungus (muk-yee)
  • Raw glass noodles – about half a handful
  • 1/8 cabbage – sliced coarsely
  • Salt and sugar to taste
  • A teaspoon of dark soy sauce
  • Oil for stir fry

Method:

  1. Soak fungus and shiitake mushrooms in water overnight.
  2. Slice fungus into bite size and half the shiitake mushrooms (quarter if it’s too large).
  3. Heat some oil in a chinese wok or deep saucepan.
  4. Stir fry garlic until fragrant.
  5. Add in beancurd paste, fungus and shiitake mushrooms, stir fry at high heat.
  6. Add in button mushrooms and golden needle mushrooms (don’t stir) then add in cabbage (don’t stir).
  7. Add in a cup of water, cover and let simmer on medium heat for 10-15 minutes.
  8. Open lid. Cabbage should be cooked through. Stir to combine. Add water if too dry.
  9. Stir in glass noodles, cover for another 5 minutes or until glass noodles are cooked.
  10. Season with salt and sugar.
  11. Serve hot over rice or noodles or consume on its own.