Sunday 24 April 2011

Mushroom Fried Rice

Vegetarian version of the Chinese Fried Rice


Original recipe yield: Serves 2 as a main course

Sliced fresh button mushrooms, 1 packet
300gms of mixed vegetables (finely cubed corn, peas and carrots)
3 eggs beaten (use 3 egg whites and only 1 yolk for healthier version)
Cooked rice (from 1/2 cup of uncooked basmati rice or any other white rice), left overnight in the fridge
1/3 ginger, finely chopped
1 medium onion, diced
Soya sauce
Cooking oil
Belachan or other chilli sauce to taste (if desired - optional)
Spring onions to taste (if desired - optional)

1. Boil water in a pot. Throw the mixed vegetables in once the water boils. Once cooked, drain the water and leave aside.

2. Heat up the oil in the frying pan. Use around 2-3 tablespoons of oil at least. Fry the onions until translucent. Add some ginger and saute for a while. Add the beaten eggs mixture. Break up the eggs mixture and add a pinch of salt and pepper.

3. Add the mushrooms and stir fry until cooked. Sprinkle some water if you do not have enough oil and do not want to use too much oil. Next add the cooked mixed vegetables. Mix well. Add more salt and pepper to taste. If you have soya sauce, add in a little as well.

4. Mix the separated rice (before adding into the wok you should break up the clumps so the rice grains are nicely separated) into the mixture of vegetables and mushrooms. Keep on low heat and mix well. Add more salt, pepper and chilli sauce (or belachan) to taste if desired. Otherwise you can switch off the fire once the rice is well mixed and not too moist.

5. You can garnish with spring onions if you wish.

Note: Onions help to give this vegetarian version a very good flavour. Add more onions if that's your thing. Just make sure it's finely diced!

Instead of mixing the belachan or chilli sauce, just have the belachan or chilli sauce served on the side.

Handmade Noodle (or rather Flour Cakes), more commonly known as Mee Hoon Kueh / Kway

Comfort food for the soul. Nothing beats homemade shaped mee hoon kueh over the flat squarish ones you get out of a machine outside.

PREP TIME Rather long, if you want to make a good broth
COOK IN 30 Min

Original recipe yield: Serves 2 as a main course.

1 bowl of dried shitake mushrooms, washed and soaked for at least an hour
Anchovies, a handful or as much as you wish
Fish balls, around 6
Chicken fillets, 250 gms
Plain or multi purpose flour, 300 gms
Tong Cai (Preserved vegetables), a handful
Green leafy veges, chye sim or spinach, half a packet
Pepper, to taste
Salt, to taste
Ikan bilis stock, 1/2 cube (Optional)

1.To create a really tasty stock, boil dried anchovies in boiling water. Once the water boils, simmer on low fire for at least an hour. Set aside flavourful stock for the actual cooking.
2. Set aside and slice the mushrooms that have been soaked. The water used to soak the anchovies can be added to the flavourful stock created earlier from the boiling of the anchovies. The stock made from boiling anchovies and soaking the mushrooms create a very rich soup.
3. Slice chicken and season with salt and pepper for a short while (10 - 15 mins). Boil the soup and throw the chicken inside to cook.
4. In a bowl, throw in 300gms of multi purpose flour. Add tong cai or preserved vegetables into the flour. Sprinkle some water, bit by bit. Try kneading the dough and mixing with the tong cai thoroughly. If it is too wet, add more flour. If it is too dry, sprinkle a little bit of water. Continue until you knead to get a ball of dough that is of decent consistency (not too sticky). Let the ball of dough settle for a while (say 15 mins).
5. Rub the ball of dough (presumably to be still slightly sticky with some flour so it doesn't stick too much. Put it on a dry chopping board or surface coated with some flour. Either use a rolling pin or your hands to flatten the dough. Use a knife to cut vertically into strips.
6. Using your hands, take a reasonable sizeable piece from each strip and flatten with your finger tips. Throw into the boiling soup, one by one. Stir with a ladle to prevent pieces from sticking together. You can estimate the size of each mee hoon kueh by your own preference. Take just a bit of dough if you prefer small thinner strips, more dough if you prefer thicker bigger pieces of mee hoon kueh.
7. Add vegetables and fishballs. Add stock or salt to taste, if preferred. Add some pepper to taste.

1. You can make mee hoon kueh without preserved vegetables (tong cai), just that that ingredient makes the mee hoon kueh tastier. The mee hoon kueh served outside is usually w/o this ingredient.

2. Instead of boiling anchovies in water for a natural tasting stock, just add more ikan bilis stock (up to a cube) and salt if you do not have time to make the stock.

3. Instead of using fishballs, some people may prefer to use minced pork which is fine as well. Add the minced pork in towards the end.

4. You can also shallow fry anchovies and serve on top of the mee hoon kueh soup once it is ready.

5. You can also crack an egg over the mee hoon kueh as is the case when you are served this dish outside.

Simple steamed fish

Simple & tasty steamed fish.


Original recipe yield: Serves 2 as a main course

2 fillets of red snapper / cod (or any other non-fishy fish)
Mirin, enough to rub over the surfaces of the fish
Spring onions, chopped or cut into 2 inch pieces
Sea salt
Garlic, finely chopped OR 1 tablespoon garlic paste
Ginger, finely chopped OR 1 tablespoon ginger paste
Sesame oil, drizzle
Chilli powder, optional

1. Firstly, wash and then marinate the fish fillets with mirin, rub with sea salt, pepper, garlic and ginger. In this recipe, I used red snapper, and marinated it for at least an hour before steaming. Previously, I have used cod which I find to be a very excellent choice for people who hate the fishy taste of fish. For that reason, cod (less fishy than snapper) hardly needs to be marinated. You just rub the ingredients (mirin, salt, pepper, garlic and ginger) on the fish and you can steam the cod in ten minutes time.

2. Boil water in a pot. Arrange the fish in a bowl (or other appropriate saucer for steaming). Place the spring onions over the fish and drizzle some sesame oil over it.

3. Once water is boiling, lower the bowl into the pot carefully and close the pot with a lid.

4. For fish fillets of usual thickness, after 15 mins, you can test whether it's cooked by putting a fork through. If the fork comes out clean, the fish is cooked. Otherwise, if the fork has sticky or rubbery residue, put the lid back on and continue cooking until it's done.

When it's cooked, serve with white rice and some side vegetables.

Note: Instead of putting ginger, for a more western flavour, you can sprinkle some italian herbs as well on the fish as part of its marinate. I have tried it before and it tastes equally heavenly!

You can add some chilli powder into the marinate for some slight kick. Be careful not to overpower the taste of the fish though. Chilli lovers can also put a couple of red chillis with slits on the fish before steaming.

I personally prefer to use cod instead of snapper, as it's easier to serve it without marination. Cod has a very nice flavour (so does red snapper, but cod wins hands down) and is suited for people who are adverse to the fishy taste of certain types of fish.

Monday 18 April 2011

Healthy Bitter Gourd & Fish Bee Hoon Soup

Good when you are craving a simple home cooked meal and something soupy. A healthy, 'cooling' dish in the chinese sense, due to the nutritional value of bittergourd.

COOK IN 30 Min

Original recipe yield: Serves 2 as a main course.

1 bittergourd, sliced
Fish slices (Catfish or any firm fish without overpowering fishy taste)
Bee Hoon, 2 servings, soaked and drained
Spring onions or coriander, to garnish
Pepper, to taste
Salt, to taste
One pinch of preserved vegetables (tong cai), to taste
Ikan bilis or chicken stock cube, 1/2

1.Cut the bittergourd into half and cross sectionally. Remove middle part with seeds. Rub generously with salt and soak in water for at least half an hour to remove the bitter taste.
2. Season fish slices salt and pepper for at least half an hour.
3. Boil water and a pinch of preserved vegetables in a pot. Once water boils, add bitter gourd. Cook till preferred level of thoroughness (some prefer the slightly raw crispy taste, while others prefer the softer and blander bittergourd). Add in bee hoon. Stir in stock. Add salt and pepper to taste.
4. Garnish the cooked soup with some coriander or spring onions.

For those who have a bottle of mirin at home, you can add mirin to your fish to remove any residual fishy taste. It also gives a wonderful flavour to soup.

Saturday 16 April 2011

Stir Fried Bee Hoon (Mee Hoon)

A basic asian meal. The recipe has been adapted for the health conscious.


Original recipe yield: Serves 2 as a main course

Bee Hoon, 1/2 packet (or 2 servings), soak in water for a short while
6-8 celery stalks, chopped into thin slices
Garlic, 3-4 cloves (finely chopped)
Dried mushrooms, soaked in water for at least an hour, 1 small packet of around 100gm
1 chicken breast, sliced
Fish cake, 1 packet
Chilli powder, to taste
Ikan bilis stock, non-msg version, half cube
Cooking oil
Chilli padi, to taste
Salt, to taste
Soy sauce, to taste
Pepper, to taste

1. Marinate the chicken pieces with salt, soy sauce and pepper, just for a short while (approx 10 mins, though the longer the better). Shallow fry in a pan with some cooking oil. Remove and set aside for use later.
2. Next, heat up the oil on low heat in a wok or pan. Fry the garlic and then add in the celery before the garlic browns. Add the mushrooms and the fish cake. Sprinkle a little bit of water to prevent over-use of oil if necessary. Add some salt and pepper, to taste.
3. Break up the ikan bilis stock and add a little bit of water to make a slight paste. Toss it over the soaked and drained bee hoon (uncooked). Mix well.
4. Once the mushrooms are cooked and the celery is soft enough to your liking (depending on whether you prefer it crunchy, we prefer it slightly overcooked), toss in the bee hoon. Mix well on low heat. If there is not enough water, be careful not to pour but just drizzle / sprinkle a little bit and continue mixing and turning until the bee hoon is cooked to a nice consistency and the water is soaked up.
5. Add chilli paddi if you prefer a spicy dish. Toss in your chicken at the end.

Note: How long you soak the bee hoon depends on how thick/what brand of bee hoon you buy. We personally like a thicker bee hoon to fry. For soup based dishes, you can use the thinner type. Usually the prep time (10-15 mins) is enough time to soak the bee hoon, however if it is thicker, at the final stage, when you toss in the bee hoon to mix with the ingredients, you may have to keep it on low heat and mix for a longer period of time until it is properly cooked and the bee hoon is not too soggy or dry. Sprinkle water sparingly.

You can use seafood rather than chicken if you prefer.

Homemade Chicken Rice

The chicken rice is a very cheap & popular dish served at local food centres. It is tasty and suits most palates. Definitely a dish to recommend to visitors to Singapore or Malaysia who are not all that used to Asian cooking. The food centre version is usually portrayed to be delicious yet sinful, here we teach you how to make a healthier version at home. It is not hard to make at all!

READY IN 40-50 Min (depends on how good you are at multitasking ;))

Original recipe yield: Serves 2 as a main course


1 small frozen or fresh chicken
Half a packet of chye sim or any other leafy vegetables, washed and cut
2 baby carrots, sliced
1 onion, sliced into rings
1 cup rice
4-5 cloves garlic, finely chopped
Ginger, finely chopped OR Ginger paste, to taste
Sea Salt
Soya sauce
Chicken stock, non-msg version (half a cube)
Sesame oil (a drizzle)
Cooking oil
Spring onions or coriander (a handful) for garnish
Cucumber (optional)
Chilli sauce (optional)
Mirin (optional)

1. Prepare and wash the chicken. Make slits across the skin and cut out as much skin as possible for a healthier meal. Use a fork to poke parts of the chicken especially the breast meat area. The holes will allow the marinate to soak through better and improves the flavour of the mea tdish. Marinate with salt and pepper. Marinate with mirin too (if desired, though not necessary).

2. Boil water in a pot. Once the water boils, you can throw the chicken into the boiling water. Mine took around 20 minutes to cook. Just test by poking through the meat with a chopstick, if it comes out clean, your chicken is cooked. Fish out of the water and set aside.

3. While the chicken is cooking, you can heat oil in a pan. In this case, I used olive oil, a healthier alternative and because there is no heavy frying involved. Stir fry the garlic followed by the ginger (or ginger paste). Put the stir fried garlic and ginger together the washed rice in the rice cooker. Break into small pieces the half cube of the chicken stock and place into the mixture. Add a little bit of water and cook rice as per the norm.

4. While you leave the chicken to cool, the soup stock made naturally can be used to make a light vegetable soup. Throw onions and carrots (which take a longer time to cook but which add a delicious sweet flavour), followed by chye sim or any other leafy vegetables. Add salt and pepper to taste.

5. Once the chicken cools, cut the chicken up with a knife or a big pair of scissors. Add sesame oil, soy sauce, sea salt and pepper (all to taste) and rub all over.

6. Garnish the chicken with coriander or cucumber if you have that.

7. Once your rice is ready, serve plain, garnished with spring onions, additional ginger paste or with chilli sauce. Together with the boiled but very tasty chicken and vegetable soup, it comes together as a very hearty meal indeed.

Note: In cooking the rice, if it is in time, the chicken broth from boiling the chicken instead of water can be used instead for a richer chicken flavour.

More ginger paste or chopped ginger can be used if you love that gingery taste, which we do.

Be careful not to overcook your chicken, otherwise it will not be moist.

We did not use chilli sauce as it is too much trouble to make for one meal. There was no need for it either. The dish was really satiating on its own. If you are one of those who needs the chilli sauce, perhaps you can get the bottled version for your convenience. Or try making it and share with us your recipe.

Enjoy! Xox (We had the rice and the soup served separately and did not want to take pictures as we were just too famished, our apologies!)